We’ve discussed the topic of paying ministers before here at Theology Today. I believe one of the Scriptures that is most widely misunderstood and abused in order NOT to support the pastor is 1 Corinthians 9:18 which reads;
1 Corinthians 9:18 NKJV
What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.
That was Paul, a man that went over and above what is required of an overseer. Please consider what Paul said prior to verse 18;
1 Corinthians 9: 3-14 NKJV
My defense to those who examine me is this: Do we have no right to eat and drink? Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working? Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock? Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about? Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.
Paul was an exception not the norm. Jesus command, as Paul states in verse 14 is that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel. So why is it that there are those that don’t believe in providing for the pastor?
Here’s another Scripture that gets thrown into the mix as an excuse for not paying the pastor;
Matthew 10: 7-10 NKJV
And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food.
A worker is worthy of his food. Nothing more and certainly nothing less yet some would lead you to believe the above verse claims you are to teach without compensation. They would be wrong.
What Jesus was clearly telling his disciples is they were given Spiritual Gifts freely and they weren’t to charge anyone when they healed the sick or cast out demons, cleansed the lepers or raised the dead. He certainly wasn’t talking about not paying the pastor.
How can you expect a man to basically work 24 hours a day in the full time role of overseer and not provide for his and his families basic needs like food and shelter? If the pastor wants anything other then the basics then he needs to either “make tents” like Paul or find another line of work because he is abusing the role of overseer for personal gain….IOW he is a hireling and there are plenty of those out there.
Of course there are many that abuse the words of Christ and Paul and live like gluttons. Gluttony is a sin kids and there is plenty of that in our churches today. Living off of the gospel doesn’t mean million dollar homes, fancy clothes, cosmetic surgeries and such. It means what it means. Moderation is the key here and there seems to be little if any moderation especially in the WoF Movement.
One other thing to remember is anyone that asks for compensation isn’t worthy and is a hireling. Teaching is a spiritual gift as well and one that shouldn’t come with a price tag and we already know Jesus’ clear commands regarding that.