Sunday, January 25, 2009

more on paying pastors

Simon J. Kistemaker, who served for many years as professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, states:

In his [Paul] letters he discloses that he worked night and day with his own hands to support himself, so that no one would ever be able to accuse him of depending on the hearers of the Gospel for his material needs (compare 1 Samuel 12:3). He refused to be a burden to anyone in the churches he established. By performing manual labor, he provided for his financial needs. Paul received gifts from the believers in Philippi, as he himself reveals (Philippians 2:25; 4:16-18), yet he declares that he did not solicit those gifts... The Ephesian elders had observed Paul's ministry and physical work during his three-year stay. They were able to testify that he had never exploited anyone (2 Corinthians 7:2), but had always set an example of diligence and self-sufficiency, in the good sense of the word. He was a model to the believers and taught the rule: "If you will not work, you shall not eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10)... It appears that Paul generated sufficient income to support not only himself but even his companions... In every respect, says Paul to the elders of Ephesus, I taught you to work hard and with your earnings to help the weak... He exhorts them to follow his example and to labor hard (New Testament Commentary: Acts [Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1990] pp. 737,740).

Commenting on Acts 20:33-35, Roland Allen, author of the classic work, Missionary Methods: St. Paul's or Ours? (Grand Rapids: Wm.B. Eerdmans, 1962), notes:

When I wrote this book I had not observed that in addressing the elders of Ephesus, St. Paul definitely directs them to follow his example and to support themselves (Acts 20:34-35). The right to support is always referred to wandering evangelists and prophets, not to settled local clergy (see Matthew 10:10; Luke 10:7; 1 Corinthians 9:1-14) with the doubtful exceptions of Galatians 6:6 and 1 Timothy 5:17-18, and even if those passages do refer to money gifts, they certainly do not contemplate fixed salaries which were an abomination in the eyes of the early Christians (p.50).

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2 comments:

Randy (no blog) said...

OK, so what's your point and what's your conclusion?

rick said...

Me? The short answer is that I think our "churches" have a leadership model that is neither Biblical nor helpful. And that 95% of the teaching I have heard/read regarding giving is in error. Those are separate but intertwined topics.

reftagger