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Free Of Charge

April 6, 2012

Greetings,

“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.  For you yourselves know how you  ought to follow our example.  We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyones food without paying for it.  On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.  We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow.  For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.'”  2 Thessalonians 3: 6-10

This passage says a whole lot about being a true leader in the church.  It tells me that for the sake of the Gospel that Paul thought it was vital to work hard with his hands among the people rather than taking pay for his ministry.  Paul thought that being a model and an example was far better than taking the right of pay.  In fact in First Corinthians chapter 9 Paul says flat out that taking pay for ministry “hinders” The Gospel of Christ.

“Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach.  Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!  If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me.  What then is my reward?  Just this:  that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make use of my rights in preaching it.”  1 Corinthians 9: 16-18

The example that Paul gave us makes it quite clear that being paid in any way for ministry is dead wrong and in fact hinders the gospel.  According to these passages there should be no such thing as paid ministers in the church.  The gospel was always intended to be made available free of charge.  Paul worked hard with his own hands to support himself when he was not in chains.  In fact he even paid for all his own food when he visited a community.

Jesus never asked for pay either when he ministered.  In fact when Jesus passed the offering plate it had food for others on it and it was not for the purpose of collecting money for ministry.  Walking the walk and being an example and a role model is far more important than taking any right of pay for ministry.

For these reasons I am a tent making counselor by trade and I never take ANY pay for ministering the gospel to others.  This is the example that Jesus and Paul gave us in the Bible and I want to follow their lead in these matters.  Taking all this under consideration I really do not understand why any Pastors or church Leaders can accept pay of any kind for ministering the gospel.  I do not want to put myself in any situation where my sincerity can be brought into question because of money issues.  Truth and love are always supposed to be free.

Love and…..

Kirk Out !

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13 Comments
  1. Kirk,
    It amazes me how the pulpiteers of today can take these same passages and make them say the very opposite. It would seem that “If a man does not work he shouldn’t eat,” applies to everyone but them!

    How about the verse, “God loves a cheerful giver”? What was Paul referring to? It is followed by this verse, “For the administration of this service not only supplies the need of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God.” (2Co 9:12). Paul was encouraging the saints in Corinth to give not to line HIS pockets, but to the need of the poor believers in Jerusalem (in fact Paul sent the offering on ahead of him and didn’t want to even touch it). Paul was an unselfish lover of the people of God and his own needs were never what concerned him (see Phil. 4:12). How backwards is this from today’s “pastors.” For one of them to actually give up his pulpit to go and support himself and his family is considered in this culture to be “an affront to the gospel”! How much more of an affront to today’s “gospel” is it when a pastor goes to work to support the poor in his care!!! (I speak tongue in cheek). If I could find a lowly servant of Christ that lived out church leadership as Paul did, I would be more than happy to support his giving.

    But today we have men in church leadership that are all concerned about their grinding out the corn for the sheep, so much so that the sheep never learn to go to the scriptures and hear the voice of the Lord for THEMSELVES! God forbid that they would ever teach a man to fish… they would lose their place (the same sin that was behind the murder of Jesus 2000 years ago- see John 11:47-48). So these “oxen” who grind out the corn make sure we know that they have total rights to every bit of corn that the Farmer pours into THEIR grist mills. Any farmer that had an ox that ate up the total of his harvest would kill that ox and invite the neighbours over for a barbecue! And, may I say, God is about to do exactly that very thing (see Luke 20:9-16)! We have gone full circle in the last 2000 years, except now it is not called the religion of the Jews, the religion of the Gentiles.

    This sin of today’s church leadership has made the gospel of Jesus of no effect in a world that needs to hear it the most. What do you think would happen if Christians quit feeding that over-stuffed “ox” and put him out to pasture to fend for himself and started tending to the needs of the poor, the widows and the orphans in their own neighborhoods? Would not this be a real witness that the kingdom of God has come down among men? No longer could the world’s people say about the church, “All they want is your money!” Maybe then, they might be able to hear the message of the Gospel of Jesus over the din of our hypocritical actions.

  2. “The example that Paul gave us makes it quite clear that being paid in any way for ministry is dead wrong and in fact hinders the gospel. According to these passages there should be no such thing as paid ministers in the church.”

    No, I don’t think so. You have brought your idea against unpaid ministers to the text, just as Professional Paid Ministers bring their preconceptions to the text, and make it serve their notion.

    Not that I have any love for professional ministry, as you know. But Paul never, ever says, flat out, “being paid in any way for ministry is dead wrong.” Paul explains how HE does things…it is up to the interpreter to try and make them universal for the church. And you know, Chris, that this is the ONLY church that he says this to…he even hints at doing otherwise in other churches, no?

    You are trying to make LAW out of your ideas of the New Testament (“hat do you think would happen if Christians quit feeding that over-stuffed “ox” and put him out to pasture to fend for himself and started tending to the needs of the poor, the widows and the orphans in their own neighborhoods”). How about if you encourage them, rather, to do whatever God is asking of them?

  3. Jim, I am not trying to make any LAWS, just taking an honest look at these passages. If we disagree, then we disagree. But no one is making anything a law. I am not giving commands or edicts, just sharing my portion of the truth as have you.

  4. How about throwing an, “As I see it…X…you may see it differently.” You state it as hard law. “Being paid for the ministry is dead wrong.”

    There ain’t no wiggle room in the body of Christ there. I either have to reject what you’re saying, or reject that God may work differently than you’re saying.

  5. Can you see how “The passage means this, without a doubt” is playing pastor for the rest of us?

  6. Jim, Jim, Jim, I shared my perspective, my best opinion, concerning this issue and these scriptures. Am I allowed to do that on my own blog? There is always abundant “wiggle room” when it comes to discussing these and any other issues in the body of Christ, but most of these issues never see the light of day in the traditional/institutional “church”. Because they get shot down right away and explained away by the Clergy. I, unlike a Pastor, have not a dog in this fight because the way the housechurches I relate to don’t do clergy or LAW in the first place. Any way thanks for sharing your portion Jim. I love it! Because I love to see healthy dialog concerning all things church. Please come back and visit again soon?

  7. Jim Wehde permalink

    I’m not gone yet : )

    Now Chris, where did I say you couldn’t say whatever you want on your blog? You’re baiting and switching, brother. I actually challenged you, and you haven’t taken the challenge yet.
    I think you stretched your scripture to the point of breaking, and I think your original statement is given in a way that leaves no room for ddisaddisagreement, without cooperating with evil. If there’s room for disagreement, leave room! If not, don’t

  8. Jim Wehde permalink

    That is, if not, don’t pay lip service. And don’t act persecuted for the disagreement! Either God can lead His people as He sees fit, or He can’t lead them in the ways you don’t think He should. I applaud you for listening to Him and following…now grant others do the dame, especially when the Scripture you used is NOT clear at all to mean what you say it does. Make sense?

  9. It makes some sense, but Paul did say those things about how recieving pay “hinders” the gospel and how he would rather be an example and not take pay. If anything the other side of this issue stretches the scripture to the point of breaking. NOw I have called it as I see it and you have done the same. Let the chips fall where they may my brother. I think that taking pay harms the gospel and I won’t back down from that.

  10. I think you can conclude unequivocally and unashamedly that Paul thought that it would be best if he did not take payment, without work, from the Corinthians. Nothing is absolutely conclusive beyond that, though it is open for discussion!

    Did you notice that the word “hinder” does not appear in your 1 Corinthians 9 quote? How could you be so conclusive?

  11. 1 Corinthians 9:12 “hinder”
    Don’t forget about Thessalonians.

  12. Reformed by the Holy Spirit permalink

    Jim, I can speak from experience and say that I believe that Chris is right. I believe that making it a profession to be a minister of the Gospel does, in fact, hinder this effort.

    Jesus was clear…you cannot serve God and Mammon. I think that it is easy for too many concerns to be placed upon making a living, or supporting your family, when you are making “ministering” a profession. It takes a person off focus. Some people get so wrapped up in the money aspect of the ministry that they flaunt it as “being blessed”.

    I can really see what Chris is saying and do see this in the Scriptures as well.

  13. So Jim, are you saying that the letters written by Paul, under the influence of The Spirit, are exclusively meant for individual churches of that day? I do not beleive that way, I feel that they have universal application also, Using your method of interpretation the encouragement for every member ministry in 1 Cor 14 would not apply to other churches? I don’t see it that way.

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