Untouchable, Unclean, Unheard

Bread for the Bride

jesushealingleper

Leprosy is a debilitating and contagious disease.  In ancient Israel lepers were the untouchables. It was not unusual for people to run in the opposite direction from any leper who came too close, or even to stone him.  A leper was subject to certain religious laws that meant he could not associate at all with his family, must live outside the city and was banned from worshiping at the temple (Leviticus 13 and 14; Leviticus 22:4-9; Numbers 5:1-4).

On the day a leper approached Jesus we can imagine the horrified reaction among the multitudes following Him.  We can imagine also the infected man’s sheer desperation.  Just by coming within speaking distance of Jesus and others, he was breaking the law.  He worships, prostrating himself before the Man he knows is his only hope.  “Lord, if you are willing, You can make me clean.”  Not: ‘if you would like…

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PROUD LEADERS: Made possible by blind followers

Biblical Connection

angry preacherOnly proud leaders desire blind followers.  Such men usually:

  • Place their ministry or career before their family.
  • See others as a way to support their ego and pleasure.
  • Love to be seen as “spiritual”, and hate anyone who makes them look otherwise.
  • boastAre unreasonably controlling of their family and others under them.
  • Do not allow others to compare them to the Word of GOD.
  • Emphasize their exclusive understanding of the Word of GOD.
  • Have a violent temper in private if their control or ego are threatened.

abusiverelationshipIn this life, there will always be the blind, foolish throngs who follow blindly after narcissistic proud men.  Slowly, these leaders become hollow, cruel individuals who will crush anything that threatens their pride, control, and status. Their followers are content with being told what to think and mock those who research and seek truth on their own.  These proud leaders cannot exist without the…

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CHRISTIAN ETHICS: Two ways to do anything you wanna?

Biblical Connection

How much does GOD really mean to most Christians today? For Him are they willing to:

  • Die?
  • Look unpopular or change their lifestyle?
  • Take ten minutes each day to devote to Him?
  • Sacrifice just a favorite song or movie for Him?

Or do they just accept what is the popular belief and practice prevalent today (whatever that happens to be)? Do they find the convenient, popular path to be “acceptable to GOD”, even if they contradict the unchanging beliefs of their GOD? If so, what type of love is that?

When it comes to syncretic versions of evil or even pure evil, it seems that those who call themselves “believers” appear to be vehemently against evil practices at first, but as evil practices become popular and with time, they decide that GOD finds these pagan practices “acceptable”.  Thus, we find the first plank of today’s American “Christianity” is not…

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Satan’s Seat in the Churches

My thoughts exactly!

Mark Finger

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He that hath an ear,let him hear what…

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Charles Stanley! This Has to be Said!

Charles Stanley Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing images This is from Mike Desario’s site on Wolves, Past and Present…the reason I’m posting this article is because I know Charles Stanley has a lot of devoted followers. This is unfortunate, because many are being deceived by his teachings…(he buys a lot of expensive TV time in order to propagate these false teachings). As a new spirit filled Christian, I once listened to Charles Stanley trying to explain the baptism of the Holy Spirit in this way; he said when someone accepts Christ, (believes in Him), and is baptized, “they get all the Holy Spirit their ever going to have”. He was so flustered when he was trying to explain this in the Southern Baptist way, it was as if even he didn’t believe what he was saying, but was going along with SBC doctrine and what he himself had been taught by their man made doctrines. I knew in my spirit it was wrong! http://standingthegap.org/False%20Teachers%20Page.html “Stanley Quote:
The debate is over whether or not a man can be on his way to heaven one minute and on his way to hell the next. To answer that question, we must understand exactly what sends a person to hell. As we have seen, sin alone is not enough. . . . It takes more than simply sinning to get to hell. . . . It is not lying, cheating, stealing, raping, murdering, or being unfaithful that sends people to hell. It is rejecting Christ, refusing to put their trust in Him for the forgiveness of sin”

This is in DIRECT Contradiction to Bible Truth. Paul himself said many times, “Let NO ONE DECEIVE YOU! The wicked will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” But that isn’t enough for most people. They would rather put their trust in a ‘Wolf’ and be lead by the hand down the road to perdition than search the Scriptures for themselves and find the truth. The Truth is NOT difficult to understand….here are just a few passages that refute the statement above and expose this Wolf for what he is….

“If you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live” (Rom. 8:13).

“Do you not know that the wicked will NOT inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9,10).

“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will NOT inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21).

“For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person — such a man is an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore, do not be partners with them” (Eph. 5:5-7).

“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those that practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death” (Rev. 21:8).

Stanley Quote:
“… there are Christians who show no evidence of their Christianity

Really! That’s NOT what the Bible says. In fact it says the every opposite. IF a person failed to bring forth the proper fruit of his repentance and subsequent redemption, his faith is labeled ‘counterfeit’ and without effect! Paul frequently pleaded with the believers to beware least they ‘receive the grace of God in vain!’ 2Cor6:1. As many are doing today thanks to Wolves like this one teaching a deceptive message to multitudes of ‘faithful’ listeners. Again, read the simple truths contained in the Word of God and see for yourself that true Christianity is NOT a spectator sport!

“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness” (Rom. 6:18).

“They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him” (Tit. 1:16a).

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” (Jam. 2:14).

“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 Jn. 2:3,4).

“Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the very beginning” (1 Jn. 3:7,8).

“This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; neither is anyone who does not love his brother” (1 Jn. 3:10).

Stanley Quote:
“When He died on the Cross, He took care of all of our sin. You say, ‘You mean to tell me that if a person takes their own life, after all these things that you just talked about, all these sins, that that person is forgiven?’ Yes! A believer who commits suicide is ‘already forgiven’. Now I didn’t say it was going to be good for him, but he is forgiven in advance. Pardoned of that sin. No matter what you do as a Child of God, you are forgiven. Murder, stealing, adultery, worshiping idols….all forgiven in advance!”

Makes you wonder how many people have actually ‘pulled the trigger’ on themselves, believing what these wolves have to say. What a travesty. A perfect example of the ‘way of truth being blasphemed’ 2Pet2:2, by covertness and deceptive words. This ‘already forgiven’ theme doesn’t follow Bible Truth, but most of the wolves preach it, mainly because it keeps the people happy and coming back for more. Financially it’s MUCH more beneficial to tell someone they can sin their way to heaven as long as it keeps them a ‘contributing’ member of the church. The fact that Jesus died for ‘all sin’ doesn’t translate into ‘License’ to sin for His followers. Continuing in sin is the chief factor in hardened hearts, seared conscience, defiled testimony and falling short of the Grace of God. The Bible warns repeatedly about it in some of the following passages…

“For if we sin willfully after we have received a knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.” Heb 10:26-27

“Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God, on those who fell, severity, but toward you, goodness, IF you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.” Rom 11:22

“To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Rom 8:6

“For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord Jesus, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning!” 2Pet2:20

“let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, least anyone fall after the same example of disobedience.” Heb 4:11

“Whoever hates his brother is a murderer and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” 1John3:15

NONE of these passages are difficult to understand. The meaning is not hidden in some ‘theological’ interruption. DON’T fall for the double-talk and deceptive speech of the wolves! The Bible is VERY Clear about the consequences of continuing in sin and the Spirit of God provides everything you need to live a godly and self-controlled life in Christ. 2Pet1:3-11.

Stanley Quote:
“Even if a believer for all practical purposes becomes an unbeliever, his salvation is not in jeopardy. Believers who lose or abandon their faith will retain their salvation. A Christian who at no point in his entire life bore any eternal fruit would remain secure in Christ!”

Pretty outrageous, isn’t it? No wonder the churches are full up of people with no intention of Obeying God or KEEPING His Commandments. NOTHING in Scripture could be more clear than the Absolute necessity of CONTINUING in the Faith and ENDURING to the end! But these wolves would have you believe that a ‘moment’ of faith placed in the finished Work of Christ at any given juncture of your life is all you need to secure your eternal inheritance. Live like the devil, in abject unbelief, without worry, just put your trust in the ‘preacher/teacher’ and all will be well. Wake up before it’s too late!

“eternal life to those who by Steadfast Endurance in doing good seek for glory, honor and immortality, but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath.” Rom 2:7

“My mother and brothers are those who hear the Word of God and KEEP it!” Luke 8:21

“More blessed are those who hear the Word of God and KEEP it!” Luke11:28

“If you love Me, KEEP My Commandments!” John14:15

“You are My friends IF you DO whatever I command you.” John15:14

“Do you see that faith was working together with his works and by WORKS faith was made perfect!” James2:22

“But do you want to know, O foolish man that faith WITHOUT Works is dead!” James2:20

“And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we KEEP His Commandments and DO those things that are pleasing in His sight.” 1John3:22

“These things I have written to you who believe in the Name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life and that you may CONTINUE to believe in the Name of the Son of God.” 1John5:13

“But he who endures to the end will be saved.” Matt10:22

It may be convenient now to follow the likes of Charles Stanley and others like him, but at the Great Judgment you will have NO EXCUSE. A child could understand our Lord, “KEEP, holdfast, practice, obtain, be diligent, fight, endure be Steadfast!” He DID NOT make it Difficult! The problem lays within yourself. You have no love of the truth, but rather love unrighteousness, God then sends you a ‘Strong Delusion’ so that you will believe a lie and perish. This is why millions of professing Christians can not understand the Simplicity that is in Christ. That KEEP means to Holdfast and Continue means to endure. Anyone could easily find these truths and obey them, but their desire is to please self and follow the wolves. There’s no shortage of false teachers who will tickle your ears with what you want to hear, but it won’t be long before you must give an account of things done in the body to HIM who sits on the Great Throne.”

Starting a Church?

worship canceled

Webmaster note: Many professing Christians today claim that God has charged them to form themselves into “local churches” with certain duties that only it can do. They also claim that disciples cannot do these “certain duties” except through the “local church.” You never read anywhere in the New Testament about this, but yet this is what many assume!

They assume that we must start so-called “churches” in order for us to carry out God’s purposes in the world. They say that first, you must realize that Christ was forming your little group into a “church”. Next, there must be a commitment to “public worship”; and after that, a commitment to the Bible’s order of so-called “church government.”

Then, we must “recognize a man or some men as elders and/or pastors;” “constitute ourselves;” “sign a covenant;” “adopt a confession of faith” and “ipso facto, abracadabra,” we now have a real church that has just been born! None of these things, mind you, is even alluded to by any stretch of the imagination in the Scriptures! In fact, the early Christians in the New Testament era would not have tolerated for one minute, such blatant violations of clear Scriptural teachings. But then again, since when does the Church need Scripture to support ANYTHING they teach?

The following article reveals the absolute absurdity of such half-witted reasoning’s, and exposes the length’s to which professing Christians will go in following their man-made, long-established traditions.
http://www.wickedshepherds.com/StartingAChurch.html

Without controversy, the most controversial subject in the Bible is “the church.” This is what most of the fussing is about both between “us” and the denominationalists, and between us and us. In one way or another everybody argues over the Church; not Christ, but the Church. But the longer I linger around Church-anity the more I come to realize that much of this controversy is based on incorrect or unclear concepts.

As I perceive the situation, there are two basic “Church” concepts loose in the land. First, is the popular concept, the one traditionally accepted by the majority of people. It is the notion that “the Church” of the Bible is a religious institution, albeit a divine one. Whether you talk to Catholics, Methodists, Mormons, Baptists, or “Christians only” in the Christian Church, this is their mental picture of “the Church.” When they use the word “Church” they are referring to the religious organization with which they are affiliated. Naturally they believe their Church is holy, a divine institution set up or established by Almighty God Himself, therefore one to which all Christians should belong.

Then there is a not-so popular concept of the church that is revealed in the New Testament and slowly being recognized by more and more thoughtful readers. According to this view, the “church” is a New Testament term describing people, particularly God’s people. By definition “ecclesia” (the Greek word found where the English word Church appears in most versions) denotes a “called out” group of people.

These two views are diverse. On one side, the “Church” is always thought of as if it were an entity separate and apart from the Christians who belong to it, preach it, promote it, support it, love it, etc. On the other hand, the “church” is simply thought of as people related to one another in Christ. The church is the body of Christ which we (if we are Christians) ARE! (1 Cor. 12:27).

My purpose here is not to explore all the differences between these two concepts. This would require a book I do not have time to write. All I want to do is make us aware that the traditional concept has some frightful holes in it. In an effort to make this clear, I want to ask you to do a little “supposing” with me. Briefly, I want us to suppose that we are about to “start a Church.” For the purposes at hand, “starting a Church” is a good place to start doing some real thinking on this subject.

When we speak of “starting a Church” what do we mean, ordinarily?

We do not mean what a young couple means when they speak of “starting a family.” We understand that a family is started when little babies are born. But a Church is “started” when newborn babes in Christ are born. No, no! Starting a Church in a community and starting the family of God are two entirely different processes. For, according to popular understanding and usage, a large number of God’s children can live in a place, yet “the Church” not be there at all! In fact, it is God’s born again children who supposedly are obligated to get together and start the Church!

So (and we all understand the terminology perfectly well) when we today speak of “starting a Church,” what we mean is that the Christians who live in an area should get together and form a religious organization that bears the official title of “Church.” Keep in mind that the “Church” that these Christians will “form” is not the church they already are, but is one that they will somehow create. This “Church” is perceived to be an institution that has to be “set up” before it can exist; an organization that must be organized before it can operate.

It is not a matter of disciples living together in a community, or even assembling together in the name of the Lord, for that matter. In our day, it takes MORE than this to make a bona fida “Church.” In order for a Church “as such” to exist, it is simply imperative – someone has to “start it.”

Right here is the first surprise. Believe it or not, the New Testament does not anywhere, in any way, discuss the procedure or practice of “starting a Church.” This seems a little odd, since we talk about it all the time. If there is not a “Church” in a certain city we say, “….someone should go there and start one!” If a lot of Christians live on the north side of town we say, “…that would be a good place to start a Church.”

If a new church shows up in town we are immediately curious to find out “who started it.” While such talk is familiar to us, it is foreign to the Scriptures. The nearest thing in the New Testament I can find to this kind of terminology is in Acts 16:5 where it says, “So were the churches established in the Faith, and increased in number daily.”

Notice however, that this passage does not speak of “establishing churches” It speaks only of establishing (strengthening) them in the faith. Can you think off-hand (or on-hand either) of ANY instruction in the New Testament on the proper program for starting a Church? Can you think of any historical instance where Christians went through the process of “starting” one? Before you answer, remember, preaching the gospel in a community and baptizing those who believe is NOT the same thing as “starting a Church” there. A Church, according to the popular concept, is something that those who have heard and obeyed the gospel will need to “start” later on, as soon as they can. And this involves more than just meeting together, or assembling the first time. As we shall see, again according to traditional teaching, the Christians in a community can assemble with one another for an extended period of time without “starting a Church.” Now if none of the problems are showing up in your mind yet, then maybe it is time for us to start supposing.

Let us suppose that I, my wife, and my son John; you, your wife and your son John, along with two other couples have just been transferred to a strange town where the gospel has never been preached. We are all baptized believers, brothers and sisters in the family of God, members of the body of Christ. We are all Christians. We have all arrived in town. But according to the popular concept of what a Church is, the “Church of the Lord” has not arrived yet. For as yet, no local “Church” has been “set up.” Therefore at this time, the community is thought still to be un-Churched. Alas, there is “no Church anywhere in town.”

So you and I and our Christian associates need to get together and discuss this situation. Suppose we do this. We get together and talk about how important the Church is, how every community needs one; how if we Christians don’t start one perhaps no one ever will. We discuss the feasibility of starting a Church, the probability of success, the possibility of failure, etc.

Now for some reason we do not discuss this situation in terms of “starting a family of God” in our new-found town; nor do we talk about the need to “start the body of Christ” there. We speak only in terms of “starting a Church.” Strangely enough, we somehow understand that God’s family and Christ’s body are already represented in our community. The town just does not have “the Lord’s Church” yet. And it will NEVER have “the Lord’s Church,” we think, unless someone like us starts one. So we feel the need to “get a Church started right away.”

Please bear in mind that in our discussion we are contemplating much more than the practice of assembling together with one another as fellow Christians. As a matter of fact, the little group is assembled at the very moment of the discussion, as we will be later on. But starting to assemble does not start a Church, whether or not to “start a Church” is the very item under consideration. We are already assembling, you see, but we may or may not “start a Church.”

In any event, after lengthy discussion we agree. Yes, that’s what we should do, “Let’s start a Church.” But right off, there are several questions that come up, in my mind at least. Let me put them in yours.

First, WHAT is this that we are about to start? From what I know, all the spiritual relationships mentioned in the New Testament already exist between us. We are already members of Christ. We are already members of the body of Christ. We are already members one of another. We are already holy brethren, part of the same brotherhood of believers. We are already meeting with one another in Jesus’ name. So what exactly are we getting ready to start? What is going to exist once we get through?

According to the contemporary way of looking at this matter, the thing that will exist once we complete our plans is a divine, “blood-bought INSTITUTION” that Jesus died for! Evidently, THIS is what we think we are about to produce. But wait just a minute. I thought Jesus built the Church. But Jesus is not building this one. We; you; and I and our Christian friends are going to bring this one into being. We are the ones, literally, who will cause it to exist as an independent entity. We are arranging for its formation and formalization. Yes, Jesus Christ is responsible for us and our faith, and in this sense we are the church that He built. But “the local institution” is something that WE are going to erect. Undoubtedly this is a different sort of Church. We are already members of the “church” that Jesus built, are we not? But we are not yet members of the Church we are about to build. It does not exist yet. Once it exists, after we “start it,” we will, I presume, be members of TWO Churches. This is all very interesting.

The second question is: WHY are we going to set up this institution later to be christened a “Church?” Did Jesus tell us to do this? Did He tell anyone to do such a thing? In the Great Commission, He told the apostles to go into all the world and “make disciples” of all nations. Is this enough? Or do we need to go into all the world and “form Churches” also? Remember, according to popular preaching, we can “make disciples” all day long in a community yet “the Church” (as such) will NEVER BE THERE until someone decides to start one.

Let me repeat the question. Why should you and I undertake to do this? The answer usually given is that you and I as Christians cannot please God outside a local religious organization. We cannot serve God without a local Church “through which” to function. Although, admittedly, we Christians are indeed “the church” in some sense, we are not the Church in the required way to do what God wants done.

But, let us suppose a little further. Suppose after talking it over, we Christians decide to postpone for a month or two the decision to “start a Church.” (We may get transferred again in a few weeks and would not want to start a Church and then go off and leave it unattended.) Are we now “Church-less?” Are we helpless, unable to serve the Lord? What is it the Lord would have us do in the community where we have moved that we, as disciples and because we are disciples, cannot do in the meantime, before we get around to forming an official Church?

Can we do good to all men? Yes. Can we let our little light shine? Yes. Can we teach our new neighbors the gospel? Yes. Can we baptize them? Yes. Can we continue to glorify God in word and deed? Yes. Can we gather together in my living room (or yours) in the name of the Lord? Yes. Can we have a prayer together? Yes. Can we sing hymns together? Yes. Can we put some money together to help a brother who has come down with a case of bad luck? Yes. We can, I suppose, do all these things without the benefit of the yet-to-be-formed Church.

On the Lord’s Day can we remember the Lord’s death by eating bread and drinking fruit of the vine? Uh, oh. Here we have hit a stump. “Wait a minute,” someone says, “we cannot commune apart from a Church.” This is “one of the main reasons” the Church needs to be established here; so we can eat the Lord’s Supper. Think about this seriously. Did the first Christians on Pentecost, somewhere between Acts 2:41 and 2:42, have to stop and start a local Church before they could “continue in the apostle’s doctrine” by breaking bread? Is this what we really believe? Are we actually prepared to say that Christians who find themselves outside the precincts of a religious institution cannot remember the Lord’s death on the Lord’s Day? What about those Christians who, like Paul much of his life, spend their life on the run? Do they take “the Church” with them wherever they go? Do they quickly form a new one at each stop? Or do they forget about communion altogether?

Also, consider this. Jesus gave his disciples two great “ordinances”: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Why is it that we Christians, before we “start a Church” and therefore in the absence of one, can practice baptism to our heart’s content, but without the presence of a “local Church,” we cannot practice communion, not even once? Why is one “ordinance” different from the other? Does “the local Church” have custody of communion but not baptism? All this is very strange to me. So I ask again, why are we required to “start a Church” in the first place? What is it (make a list) that we as fellow disciples of Christ cannot do in the absence of one?

But all the above questions are easy compared to the last one. Suppose that after a month or two we have another meeting and decide to go through with the proposal to start a Church. Now the question is: HOW do we go about doing this? Some may think this is easy. If we want to start a scriptural Church all we have to do is appoint some elders, ordain some deacons and hire a preacher. Presto! The organization is now organized; the “Church” is now formed; it now exists. But once more let us do some supposing.

Suppose there are none in our group “qualified” to be Elders; none willing to serve as Deacons; and no one wants to be the Minister? What then? We still want to start a Church. But how are we going to do it? Some kind of action must be taken that will make a “Church” among us where heretofore there has been no “Church.” Here is the intriguing part. Everybody who is anybody agrees that a legitimate institutional Church (one recognized by the Lord himself as being “HIS divine institution,” authorized to do “the work of the Church”) can indeed exist and operate as the approved “functional entity” WITHOUT having a staff of Elders and Deacons. This is known as being “scripturally unorganized” as opposed to being “scripturally organized” or “unscripturally organized.”

Let us look at this supposed situation very, very carefully. It is not an unheard of situation at all. Here we are a group of Christians intent on starting a Church, yet in the beginning we are not going to have ANY biblical officers; no Elders or Deacons. We are not going to have an Eldership or Deaconhood. Then HOW, pray tell, are we going to “form” this Church entity? We have decided to start the proposed Church, but how shall we proceed? This is the question.

Suppose we have one more meeting, say on Wednesday night, and decide that Sunday is the day. We will start “the Church” this coming Lord’s Day. This means two things: there will be no Church in town till Sunday, but there will be one after that. Fine. But the question lingers. Come Sunday, how, oh how are we going to pull off this feat? Sunday arrives and we all show up at the place where we have agreed to meet. There is no Church there, unless one has miraculously materialized since Wednesday night when we had our last planning session. So here we are, a group of disciples gathered together, but as yet no “Church” is present. We have a brief prayer together; but still there is no “Church” among us. We sing a few hymns together; but we don’t have a “Church” yet. We have a Bible lesson; still no “Church.” Now we are in trouble. We are getting perilously close to the Lord’s Supper time, and without the presence of “the Church” we dare not, as mere disciples, commune. Somehow we need to bring “the Church” into existence before the time to commune. Can it be done? How shall we accomplish this? Does some brother at some point in the proceedings merely arise and ANNOUNCE the “Church” into being? Does someone make the pronouncement, “NOW there is a divine institution in this good town!” So a moment ago there was just a group of Christians present. Now we have a scriptural Church! Hallelujah! A moment ago we, the Lord’s disciples, were assembled here, but without a “Church.” We are all still present, but now a “Church” is here also, one that we are henceforth obligated to sustain and support.

In the beginning God said “let there be light” and there was. Is this how it is done? Is the Church of the Lord (in an institutional sense) merely SPOKEN into existence? This must be how it is done. For in our supposed situation “the Church” certainly was not “organized” into existence, because it was not given ANY kind of organized structure. The Church we have started evidently exists only because someone has SAID it exists. Can just anybody announce one of these “divine institutions” into existence; or does it require special credentials and/or authorization? We need to know all this in case we really want to “start a Church” some day.

To come to the bottom of all this supposing, let me ask one more question. Once we have finished the task of starting this new Church (however we managed to accomplish it), what do we have? It looks to me like we have a very, very, very mysterious “Church.” We are told these days that the disciples in a community do not, in and of themselves, constitute the Lord’s church. The Church is something ELSE, besides them; something they form or create. What is this entity? Of what does it consist? In the case described above, where there are no Elders, Deacons, or Preachers, the Church seems to exist only in our minds. It is an organization, but without any officers or agents It is an institution, but without any institutional framework. It is a corporate body, but without any corporate structure. What we have is a group of disciples who are meeting together, PLUS something else. Because we have “started a Church” everyone seems to think there is also hovering around the premises a divine (functional) entity, complete with a set of assigned duties or works that the aforementioned disciples could not in its absence perform. Again I ask, of what does this mythical “Church” consist? Apparently we have successfully completed our mission of “starting a Church.” But, what do we have that we did not have before we started it? Before we started our Church all we had was a group of Christians, brothers and sisters in the family of God. Now that we have established a “Church,” all we have is the same group of Christians. Of WHAT, then, does this mysterious “local Church” consist? It does not consist solely of the Christians. We had them before we started it. It does not consist of Church officers. We don’t have any, scriptural or otherwise. It does not consist of a church building. We do not have one of these yet. This Church does not appear to consist of anything you can lay your hand or mind on. Frankly, I am at a loss. I fear that “the Church” we have started may be a figment of our imagination.

To some readers perhaps all of these questions will seem too silly to ask. To me, they serve to raise some serious doubts about the traditional concept, the institutional Church. In fact, the whole Church system as it is presently preached and practiced generates confusion and controversy. This itself ought to raise our eyebrows if not our curiosity. Is it just possible, do you think, that we may have a few chinks in our “Church” concept? Frankly, I believe it is time for all Christians to look again at the ecclesia of the New Testament, and see it in a more scriptural and simple light. Hopefully this article will encourage efforts in this direction

Written by Gaylon Embrey

“…For there are indeed many unruly men, empty talkers and mind-deluders; who overturn whole houses,

teaching things which they ought not.” Titus 1:10

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Should Pastors be “Cared For”?

Should Pastor’s Be “Cared For?”

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SHOULD PASTORS BE ‘CARED FOR?’

Warning: Not For The Timid

The following quote in regards to 1 Timothy 5:17, is just another example of the evil, manipulative practices that are abounding in many local institutional churches.

“…..In other words Timothy, you are to BIND THE CONSCIENCES

of God’s people to care for their pastors…..”

Pastor Albert N. Martin, in reference to 1 Timothy 5:17

INTRODUCTION

The following material is from a variety of contributors. It is to be presented in the clearest possible terms, without mincing words, just like the Apostle Paul would have done if he were alive and witnessing what’s happening in the churches today. He would hit the nail right on the head.

What we will do in this article, as we do in all of our articles, is to put the Word of God ahead of all man-made teachings and creeds which leave off the “every word” part of Christ’s statement to the adversary in Matthew 4:4, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

If the Word shatters cherished beliefs, then we are willing to be shattered, no matter how painful it is. Isn’t God’s Truth more important than personal belief, and loyalty to that Truth more important than loyalty to traditions, the commandments of men, or our local church?

When we are willing to drop all our pre-conceived ideas and ask the Lord for His wisdom and only His wisdom, then we will be on the right path to learning what is truth and what is error. When we become willing to believe what God will teach us, regardless of what anyone says, then we will be on the right path to learning truth.

It is a shameful tragedy that many men will exert such anti-biblical rule and control over the saints of God and brazenly assert that binding your consciences to care for your pastors is in harmony, even the requirement, of our Lord Jesus Christ. What is needful is for God’s people to realize that what IS in harmony, and what IS a requirement of our Lord Jesus Christ is to expose and stand in opposition to this outrageous claim by those who “lord it over” those in the church.

The church has become, as Jesus foretold, a field of wheat and tares; a field of genuine believers and counterfeits. These are indeed perilous times we live in. The devil’s favorite place to trap people and bring them into bondage is not your local tavern or drug dealer, nor is it with religions like Hinduism, Islam, etc. No, the devil’s favorite place to render powerless God’s people is a pulpit in a church that advertises itself as a “God glorifying” and “Christ-centered” church.

We need to very carefully examine ourselves and ask where our loyalties rest. Have we believed and practiced something just because our church or pastor said it was biblical and true?

Can’t we see how dangerous this is?

“Now the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually examined. But he that is spiritual examines all things, and he himself is examined of no man.” 1 Corinthians 2:14-15

The importance of this verse in arriving at truth and understanding God’s Word cannot be overestimated. As you read this article, hopefully, there will be some of you who will gain a little knowledge and understanding as to how men have corrupted and disfigured the church; turning it into institutional slave camps, which was not founded by Jesus Christ, but by men who love to feed upon and control other human beings.

Remember though, as you read and study, pray for the ability to see and hear the deep truths presented throughout. Without God’s Spirit, all the time in the world will not bring one to the knowledge of the Truth. The Spirit of God is not something that I, or any man, can give to you.

The Truth is available, but only in the One who said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. When you make it your goal to follow Him and His leading first, being determined to believe whatever He will show you, regardless of the cost, or the scorn and ridicule it may bring from others, then and only then can you be sure you are in the true faith.

May you find that true faith and the courage to do what God would have you to do, because doing it will bring you the peace, joy, and freedom that Jesus died to provide.

Last Sunday, as the announcement was made: “Let us continue to worship God in the giving of our tithes and offerings,” (or words to that effect) many of you gave your money away to the church to help support the income of some of your church leaders because you were told that this is what the Scriptures command. Dear friends, you were a victim of extortion. This is the dictionary definition of extortion: Illegal use of one’s official position or powers to obtain property, funds, or patronage.

What do the Scriptures say about extortioners? If you believe the Scriptures, then you also believe that anyone who extorts shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:10: “…Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (KJV).

Those church leaders who took your money are extortioners, plain and simple. They have twisted the Scriptures, and then emptied your pockets.

You have probably been extorted like this week in and week out, maybe for decades! Perhaps those questionings in your heart that you’ve always had regarding passing the plate around for your “tithes and offerings” were right! Yes, you were a victim of deception. Deception: to obtain from another by coercion or intimidation.

Incidentally, this weekly exploitation known as “the offering,” used mostly to support the incomes of the professional church leaders, isn’t even authorized in the New Testament, but rather it is plainly condemned. No where in the Scriptures will you find even a hint that “the offering” is to be part of some “church worship service” or that a large part of this money should now go to the “pastor” or “elders” or “teaching elders.”

Christians didn’t even have “church worship services” let alone “church buildings!” The extortioners who engage in this deception are twisting the Scriptures for the purpose of wringing ever-increasing profits from unsuspecting dupes.

As the Apostle Paul said: “…For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites and by fair and flattering words, they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded…” (Romans 16:18) RSV

Professor of New Testament at Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary, Carl B. Hoch, Jr., says:

In New Testament days, leaders were normally not paid. That is, money was given more as a gift than as an income or a salary. Leaders like Paul could receive money, but Paul chose not to receive any from the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 9:8-12). He wanted to serve without depending on any church for financial support. Churches had a responsibility to “reward the ox” (1 Timothy 5:17-18) and to share with those who taught (Galatians 6:6). But money was never to be the driving force of ministry (1 Peter 5:2). Unfortunately, churches today will not call a man until they feel they can support him, and some men will not seriously consider a call if the financial package is “inadequate” (All Things New -Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1995- p.240).

Acts 20:33-35 the Apostle Paul says, “….I have desired the silver, or gold, or clothing of no one. But you yourselves know, that these hands ministered to my needs, and to those who were with me. I showed you all things, that working in this way we ought to help those being weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, it is more blessed to give that to receive.” (Inter.Grk/Eng. NT)

Commenting on this passage, the New Testament scholar F.F. Bruce writes:

Returning once more to the example which he had set them, he reminds them finally that those who take care of the people of God must do so without thought of material reward. As Samuel called all Israel to witness when he was about to lay down his office as judge (1 Samuel 12:3), so Paul calls the Ephesian elders to witness that all the time he spent with them he coveted nothing that was not his; on the contrary, he did not even avail himself of his right to be maintained by those whose spiritual welfare he cared, but earned his living–and that of his colleagues–by his own labors: “these hands,” he said (inevitably with the attendant gesticulation), “ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me” (v.34). Let those to whom he was speaking likewise labor and thus support not only themselves but others as well–the sick in particular (The New International Commentary on the New Testament: Acts – Grand Rapids: Wm.B. Eerdmans, 1986 – p.418).

In 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12, the Apostle Paul says some revealing statements. I will quote it here in its entirety in order that you can see it for yourself.

1 You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure.

2 We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi,

as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell

you his gospel in spite of strong opposition.

3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives,

nor are we trying to trick you.

4 On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God

to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to

please men but God, who tests our hearts.

5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask

to cover up greed— God is our witness.

6 We were not looking for praise from men, not from you

or anyone else.

7 As Apostles of Christ we could have been a BURDEN to you,

but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.

8 We loved you so much that we were delighted to share

with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well,

because you had become so dear to us.

9 Surely you remember brothers, our toil and hardship;

we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to

anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.

10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous

and blameless we were among you who believed.

11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father

deals with his own children,

12 Encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy

of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. (NIV)

The Apostle Paul comes right out and says that if the church is paying someone to do the teaching and the preaching, that this is a burden to the church, not a help.

This, of course, runs contrary to what you’ve been told all your life by paid “pastors” and “elders” in the church. They tell you the exact opposite – of how much a church is hurt by not having a hireling like themselves.

They will convince all who will listen of how much they are needed by the church, of how much they help the church, and how essential they are to the well being of the church, and of how all of this is Scriptural and to the glory of God!

The Apostle Paul will say, “these men are a burden, not a benefit, to a church, weighing it down, stunting it’s growth, and making it harder to minister to the people.” Or, as someone else has said,

“The pastor is not a necessity. He is a fungus growth

upon the church, the body of Christians, dwarfing its growth…

and until the church gets rid of him it will never prosper.”

In verse nine of 1 Thessalonians 2, Paul points out that in addition to working DAYS, he also worked NIGHTS. And he is talking about REAL work – working with his hands building tents.

And as if that wasn’t enough, on top of working nights AND days HE ALSO PREACHED to the Thessalonians- month after month after month. He did all this so that the church there wouldn’t have to pay a cent as he ministered the word.

Now, contrast THAT behavior with the modern church today – with the “teaching elder” or “the pastor” with their nice hair cuts, and nice business suits. Even if he wanted to, there are some pastors that are not allowed to mow their own lawn! Too “degrading”. Too “blue-collar”. And too “humble”.

From the book entitled, “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse,” in Chapter 11, the authors convey the folly of the “pastor” always trying to maintain his image:

“But, [the false leaders] do all their deeds to be noticed by men…” Matthew 23:5-6

“Your wife and children must address you in public as ‘pastor.’ This would serve to communicate reverence and respect for your position, which would be helpful in maintaining the proper image. Sitting on the platform appropriately is vital. Wear the right socks, never cross your legs in such a way as to show the people the soles of your shoes….

More advice: You’re working on your car on your day off, and you discover that a trip to the parts store is necessary. Always change your clothes before you go out in public. Never let the people see you in a context other than pastoral dignity. Image is everything.

And the voice: When you ascend the platform, remember – you are the voice of God. Sound like it! So we open our mouth and it sounds like we’re playing a part, an actor on a stage. Material for stand-up comics…..

Can you picture Jesus giving this kind of “training” to the disciples? ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, how you look is what really matters. Create thou a good impression. Forget what I said earlier to you concerning having only one coat. Bringest thou two in case thou mayest be seen in public by those who payeth their tithes in great measure. And never, never let them smell the fish!”

“Do we really believe that how we sit on the platform has the power to discredit the message and short-circuit the power of God?” (“The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse”, Chap. 11 pg. 131-132)

You know what would be nice to see?

One day, it would be so nice to see a dirty, sweaty, smelly, haggard Apostle Paul walk into the “Sunday worship service” and go up to one of these self-righteous, smug, over-paid, egotistical pulpit-pounders engaging the audience in their “public performance”, and “publicly” expose them for who they are.

Also, notice this: The Apostle Paul does not equate “working” with preaching the gospel.

Did you get that? The Apostle Paul does not equate working with preaching the gospel.

The two activities are clearly and distinctly separate in Paul’s mind. You know what this does? This pulls the rug out from under those pompous windbags who are always telling you that their preaching is work. Not only that, but that its “hard work!” “Why”, they say, “it’s one of the hardest working jobs that anybody can have!”, and so he is therefore entitled to be paid for his “working”.

In 2 Thessalonians 3: 6-15, the Apostle Paul says the same thing, except with even more emphasis.

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in

accord with the tradition that you received from us.

For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle

when we were with you, we did not eat any one’s bread without paying,

but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not BURDEN

any of you.

It was not because we have not that right, but to give you in our CONDUCT

an EXAMPLE TO IMITATE.

For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one

will not work, let him not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in

idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work.

Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ

to do their WORK in quietness and to earn their OWN living.

Brethren, do not be weary in well-doing.

If any one refuses to obey what we say in this letter, note that man,

and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not look

on him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. (RSV)

Again, the key word here is “burden”.

The Apostle Paul has clearly labeled the “paid pastors” or the “teaching elders”, in other words, the paid professional clergy, not a benefit, but rather a burden; not a help, but rather a hindrance.

Imagine 25 pound weights tied to your legs in a race. That’s a paid “pastor” to a church. Whatever you think the benefit that might arise from having him minister the word to your church every Sunday is,

according to the Apostle Paul, far outweighed by the BURDEN HE PLACES UPON THE CHURCH by doing so.

This is what the Scriptures say; not what I’ve said.

Once again, Paul hits the nail right on the head. In this section, he condemns their acting like “busybodies.” They think that it’s their job to busy themselves sticking their noses into the business of others. And why not. Aren’t they always propping themselves up with the false notion that they are “God’s duly-authorized overseers?”

They act like self-appointed “moral police”, busying themselves with the private affairs of others. The root definition of “busybodies” sheds even more light on this:

“To bustle about uselessly, to busy one’s self about trifling, needless, useless matters. Used apparently of a person OFFICIOUSLY inquisitive about others’ affairs.” (Thayer’s Dictionary)

Remember, the Apostle Paul worked not just one, but TWO jobs, while on top of that continuing to teach and preach, never once complaining or taking even a nickel from them for this.

In light of this, I tend to laugh at some church leaders publicly complaining they don’t have enough time for this or money for that. Let them try to get some sympathy from the Apostle Paul! Paul suffered all these troubles for just one purpose and one purpose only: to leave an example to imitate.

He even clearly labels it: ” but to give you in our CONDUCT an EXAMPLE TO IMITATE.”

Paul goes out of his way to make it clear that there are NO exceptions to this rule; that it applies to “anyone” which certainly means all pastor’s and elders as well. But what do modern church leaders do today in response to that?

Not one rotten thing! They totally ignore applying Paul’s example to themselves. Why?

Because they have a vested interest in NOT applying it to themselves. As one noted author has said,

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something

when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

So they will look at clear passages like this, and pretend to not understand how it could possible apply to them. They make themselves completely blind to this whole section of the New Testament, as if it doesn’t exist.

And if they do happen to speak on these texts, they are very careful to apply it to the people sitting in the pews and not to themselves. Many times, I have actually witnessed this from a pew, listening to the pastor dance around this section, careful to avoid any areas that might expose himself. Such verbal tap dancing seems to be a skill of both the professional clergy and politicians.

The “pastor” will shout loudly and thunder loudly and point to Paul’s right to be supported, while ignoring Paul’s example of not being supported. They play “pick n’ choose” with the Scriptures, speaking on what they like, ignoring what they don’t like.

Of course, those in positions of church leadership are going to say that none of this applies to them. That’s a given. They are special. It applies to you – dumbbells in the pew – not to him. Remember – he’s special. He’s been “duly authorized”. He’s “met the qualifications.”

Well, the Apostle Paul would disagree. Paul says that this applies to EVERYBODY: “if anyone will not work, neither let him eat.” I think “anyone” would include “everyone” which includes your lazy, special, duly authorized church leader as well.

In fact, Paul himself was a teacher and preacher – and PAUL WORKED- real jobs, at that.

Again, This passage proves that Paul did NOT equate preaching with working. And since this applied to Paul, and Paul was a preacher, then it certainly applies to YOUR preacher as well – even more so. They are to work REAL jobs to support themselves, do their preaching for free, and not take even a nickel from the churches they preach at. As Paul says, “if anyone does not obey our instructions in this letter… do not associate with him.” (v. 14). That “anyone” includes “everyone” which includes the “pastor.”

Has the so-called “ministry” earned a reputation for honest labor, lack of idleness? Paul rightfully refused to equate preaching with working. Those who minister the word in churches today should find honest, honorable employment- i.e. a real job, and not be free-loading off of a church, for which they have no right to do so anyway. Paul not only commanded this of Christians, but even set examples several times, to back up his words with deeds.

It is high time that some in church leadership start following Paul’s specific examples of working a real job, while teaching and preaching on the side. Don’t hold your breath though.

New Testament professor Simon J. Kistemaker at Reformed Theological Seminary said:

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).

Don’t we believe that the gospel is God’s free gift? How do you think the Lord sees the events of today where we have the paid professionals; the “pastors,” the “teaching elders” turning around and selling the gift so freely given them – a gift that cost the life of God’s Son to acquire? Some of these “church leaders” have taken what was freely given them, slapped a price tag on it, and sell it week after week…….. for a pay check!

The Apostle Peter condemned one who tried to buy it (Acts 8:18-24); how much more those who sell it week after week!

Of course, there might be some die-hard “men worshipers” who are reading this and thinking to themselves “Oh no! Not our “pastor.”

Our “pastor” isn’t in it for the money!

Our “pastor” is so humble; he’s so godly; he just looooves the Lord!”

Let’s try this experiment: stop paying him. That’s right. Stop paying your “pastor.”

See how long he remains being unpaid like the Apostle Paul!!

See how much he “looooooves the Lord” when he isn’t getting paid to “love the Lord!”

Tell him he can still minister the word week after week, but also, he will have to get a real job like the Apostle Paul did.

I guarantee you, him, along with 99% of all other so-called “pastors” will be out of there, searching for a new pulpit to fill. “Looooves the Lord?” Yeah, right. It’s that weekly paycheck that he loves, and if the church won’t pay him, he’ll pack his bags and sell himself off to some other church that will! Guaranteed !!!

Rest assured, most of the so-called “men in the ministry” today live according to this principle:

“NO PAY, NO PLAY.”

1 Timothy 6:5-10

“……and wrangling among men who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth, IMAGINING THAT GODLINESS IS A MEANS OF GAIN. There is great gain in godliness with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world; but if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and hurtful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs…” (RSV)

The Apostle Paul, once again in plain language, condemns those who have turned “the ministry of the word” into a full-time paid job.

He condemns those that have made a living out of it. He condemns those that have turned the gospel into “a means of GAIN”. In short, he condemns EVERY SINGLE PAID PREACHER THAT EXISTS TODAY.

Why haven’t you heard this before? Why hasn’t this teaching of the Apostle Paul been “broadcast” widely and proclaimed from pulpits across this land? Why is it that the “church leadership” has consistently avoided teaching and preaching on verses like these?

Well, to even ask such questions is to answer such questions. The reason why the “leadership” keeps quiet on this issue is because they themselves are the target of Paul’s wrath.

They are the ones guilty of having turned “the ministry of the word,” i.e. preaching, into a full-time job.

For them to preach this from their pulpits would be the end of their livelihood.

They have been forced to choose between God, and mammon – and guess what? They’ve chosen mammon. They have been faced with the choice of picking what they love more – their salaries, or the truth; and truth has lost out.

The very people who are in the best position to inform their congregations of the truth of this matter, turn out to be the same people who have a “vested interest” in keeping quiet.

Indeed, the wolves have been placed in charge of the hen house, and are doing their best to keep the hens ignorant of the slaughter of truth going on.

There are many, many in “church leadership” today that have turned religion into a “means of gain”.

Remember. A “pastor” is a professional religionist – one who gets paid to teach; to preach; to minister the word. And, as we’ve seen, is clearly and distinctly condemned by Paul.

Anybody who can read the verses of Scripture above, and go away with any other conclusion is either:

#1) a lazy Christian who refuses to think for themselves or

#2) a “pastor/elder” with a vested interest to protect.

It’s just like the tobacco lawyers from a few years back – trying to blind others to the dangers of cigarettes;

so also these church leaders have blinded their congregations to verses like the above. The day they start to deal honestly with verses like the above, will be the day they quit their jobs.

So again, don’t hold your breath here either.

2 Corinthians 2:17

For we are not like so many, peddlers of God’s word; but as men of sincerity,

as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. (RSV)

For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity,

but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God. (NASB)

For we are not as the many, hawking the word of God… (Grk/Eng. NT)

For we are not as the majority…. (CLT)

ANY church leader, pastor, elder, preacher, – regardless of how popular he is, how handsome he is, of how good an orator he is, and regardless of “how many decades” he has been in the ministry,- ANY preacher that makes his living from a church is nothing but a crook.

And be not deceived, there ARE many that have been at it for decades!

Nothing could be more obvious as the Apostle Paul himself condemning those who “make a living” out of preaching the gospel. And was that the majority, or minority of preachers, who are, contrary to plain Bible teaching, making their living from peddling the gospel?

The Apostle Paul said that it was the MAJORITY. And guess what? It’s the same in our day too!

99% of all the professional clergymen have managed to turn their religion into their livelihood, in clear and direct violation of this verse. Yet these same people have the audacity to stand in their pulpits and condemn others for ignoring the same book they themselves ignore.

Is the word “hypocrites” appropriate here?

And the gutless and spineless church members in the pews keep putting up with it, gladly submitting to being sheared of their money!

Titus 1:10-12

“For there are indeed many unruly men, empty talkers and mind-deluders,

especially those of the circumcision, whose mouth you must stop, who

overturn whole houses, teaching things which they ought not for the sake of ill gain.

One of them, a prophet of their own said: Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” (Grk/Eng. NT)

For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially

those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting

whole families, teaching things they should not teach, for the sake of sordid gain.

One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” (NASB)

We should note that it was the “gain” (“sordid gain,” “ill gain”) these men were making, that is, the profit, the fact that they were profiting off the death of Jesus, and not the money itself, nor the teaching, which was “sordid” or “ill.” Their teaching was of course “something that should not be taught,” but the money was just common everyday money. It is the profiting off the death of Christ that is being objected to. Even if they were teaching things that were 100% true, they would still be in the wrong for “doing a Judas”, i.e. profiting off the death of Jesus.

Notice that Paul also calls these men “lazy gluttons”. Maybe the fact that they were “lazy gluttons” has a lot to do with the profession they picked. There are many “ministers” around, contrary to their constant objections, that are in reality some of the laziest people out there. It is certainly the “dream-job” for a “lazy glutton” to have.

Another occupational trait Paul brings up is the fact that many “paid professional ministers” are full of hot air. They can just go on and on “spinning a yarn”. It does seem to make sense that an empty talker; a deceiver; a mind-deluder could really profit in this profession.

1 Thessalonians 4: 11,12

“…to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands,

as we charged you so that you may command the respect of outsiders,

and be dependent on nobody.”

1 Corinthians 4:11-12

“…To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are ill-clad

and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands.”

Acts 28:30, 31

“…And he lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed

all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching about

the Lord Jesus Christ quite openly and unhindered.”

2 Corinthians 11:6-15

“…Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not in knowledge; in every way

we have made this plain to you in all things.

Did I commit a sin in abasing myself so that you might be exalted,

because I preached God’s gospel without cost to you?

I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you.

And when I was with you and was in want, I did not burden any one,

for my needs were supplied by the brethren who came from Macedonia.

So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way.

As the truth of Christ is in me, this boast of mine shall not be silenced

in the regions of Achaia. And why? Because I do not love you?

God knows I do! And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine

the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission

they work on the same terms as we do.

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising

themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan

disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his servants

also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.”

Here, the Apostle Paul implies that it is mostly the “ministers of Satan” who are getting paid to preach the gospel.

Paul also is explaining to the Corinthians the reason as to why he refused to accept any money from them for preaching. Remember, this was so disconcerting to the Corinthians that they thought the Apostle Paul was a phony!

“Ministering the word for free?” Even they were scratching their heads. Some of the Corinthians were reasoning that the Apostle Paul must not be a real Apostle, or at least not on the same level as the other Apostles.

Paul explains the reason he refused their money (not to be a burden to them), and also says he’ll continue to refuse their money, more or less daring their (false) Apostles (the “ministers of Satan”) to follow suit.

He knows they won’t – just like the professional paid pastors today also won’t. They will all refuse to “put their money where their mouth is” and instead will continue to pocket money that doesn’t belong to them.

2 Corinthians 12:12-18

“…The signs of a true apostle were performed among you in all patience,

with signs and wonders and mighty works. For in what were you less favored

than the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not burden you?

Forgive me this wrong!

Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden,

FOR I SEEK NOT WHAT IS YOURS BUT YOU; for children ought not to lay

up for their parents, but parents for their children.

I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you the more,

am I to be loved the less? But granting that I myself did not burden you,

I was crafty, you say, and got the better of you by guile. Did I take advantage

of you through any of those whom I sent to you? I urged Titus to go, and sent

the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not act in the

same spirit? Did we not take the same steps?”

Here again, Paul is explaining his actions to the Corinthians. He also lays down a principle that destroys the modern day paid professional clergy system.

The Apostle Paul says that he does not seek what is theirs (i.e. their money), but rather seeks them. He then backs it up with an analogy, showing that if anyone is to be paid, the people in charge of a congregation ought to be paying the congregation!

Children, he says, are not the ones who are to “save up” for the parents. Let’s see some pastor’s in the pulpit try that shoe on for a change!

The truth of the matter is that today’s “pastors”, “elders”, “preachers” fear to tread the path laid down by the Apostle Paul. They say (with words) they will pay any price for Jesus, but with their deeds, they do the opposite. In fact, they won’t even get a job for Jesus!

Galatians 6:6 “Let him who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches.”

This is another Scripture that the word twisters get a kick out of. Here they claim the word “share” means to pay a salary, a fixed compensation paid regularly for services rendered. How about that?

R.C.H. Lenski writes:

“This is just about the opposite of the common view (salaried teachers). In addition to the context and the meaning of the words themselves one must note that when Paul writes about the one instructing, the Galatians would at once think of their first and greatest instructor together with his assistant who had twice been in their midst. Could Paul tell the Galatians in this letter that they owed material contributions to him and to his helpers? Could he do such a thing with no further word of explanation? Paul never took money for his work. When he speaks of this subject in 1 Corinthians 9 he does so with the fullest and clearest explanation. See the same thought in 2 Corinthians 11:7-12, which should be read in its connection with 1 Corinthians 9. We ought also not to forget the Judaizers who also came as teachers, on whose greediness 2 Corinthians 11:20 enlightens us. When such greedy fellows were working in Galatia, Paul could scarcely write the Galatians to share “in all things” (material) with their teachers. Aside from the implication involving himself, such an admonition would reflect on the true teachers in Galatia and suggest that they were also men who were to be paid… Pay for these teachers? There is no reason for mentioning it in this epistle. The efforts to have what Paul now says support the idea that teachers are to be duly rewarded show that this conception is untenable. Paul and his assistants took no such reward. Sowing for the flesh and sowing for the spirit deal with a subject that is far greater, namely with the desire for all good spiritual things in which the Galatians should seek to share” (Commentary on Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians – Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1961 – pp. 303-304).

2 Timothy 2:6 “It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.”

The Apostle Paul is not talking about “paying your pastor” but of eternal life. Read the context!

1 Timothy 5:16-18

“…If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her assist them;

let the church not be burdened, so that it may assist those who are real widows.

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor,

especially those who labor in preaching and teaching; for the scripture says,

“You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain,” and, ”

The laborer deserves his wages.”

From the context, you will notice that the main emphasis of the Apostle Paul here is to not burden the church down with unnecessary financial obligations.

With such an emphasis, it is surprising that some “church leaders” (like the one quoted at the beginning of this article) point to this verse as a “proof text” to justify themselves bumming off the church. This only shows their utter desperation and blindness. They’ve totally missed the point of the passage!

In fact, Paul is being so fussy with even poor old destitute widows being supported by the church, it would be strange in the same breath for Paul to be opening the flood-gates wide enough for able-bodied “church leaders” as well. And, in case the clergy hasn’t noticed, Paul isn’t even talking about them here – they are not even under discussion. Paul is talking about widows, and elders. He is not talking about anyone else.

Some Greek lexicons define “honor”, in this passage alone, as meaning money. What would you expect? The “hired professionals” who wrote the lexicons, as we all know, have a vested interest in preserving their jobs.

But there is no excuse for their inconsistent translation of the word honor in other passages.

If “honor” really means money, as they claim, let’s be consistent and “translate” it as such in the other passages where it’s used, to show these men that “honor” means “honor”, and not money. You will see that these verses, using their logic, make no sense at all. Likewise, neither does rendering “honor” into money, in 1 Timothy 5:17.

Romans 2:10 “(honor) money, and peace, to every man…”

Romans 13:7 “…fear to whom fear; (honor) money to whom (honor) money…”

Mark 7:6 “This people (honors) monies me with their lips…”

Hebrews 13:4 “Marriage is (honorable) moneyable in all, and the bed undefiled…”

The Scriptures say that elders should, when deserving, be honored twice as much. But certain theologians say that “honor” means “honor” in all passages EXCEPT in 1TImothy 5:17, where the word magically turns into money, which ends up in their pockets.

Which do you believe?

And, in reality, what do the “pastors and preachers” really believe about this verse? If they really believed that “elders” should be getting paid, then “elders” would be getting paid. Do they get paid? Many “elders” that I know don’t. Therefore, by their actions, by their refusing to pay the church elders, “pastors and preachers” agree with me on this verse. Their actions speak louder than their words – as usual.

Again, here’s Lenski’s comments on this matter:

“It is generally assumed that the elders were paid for their services in the apostolic churches. We are convinced that this assumption is not tenable. The probability is that none of them were paid. The elders of the synagogues were not paid or salaried. Each synagogue had a number of elders, too many to have a payroll that would be large enough to support them. The apostolic congregations imitated the synagogue in this respect. Our passage speaks of “twofold honor,” not of twofold financial pay or salary. Paul’s two quotations support the injunction relating to according due honor to diligent elders; such honor is to be their reward just as the ox treading out grain is accorded the privilege of eating as he tramped along, just as the worker is accorded his pay.

The tertium of the analogy lies in the worthiness and not in the identity of what the three are worthy of: the elders worthy of what naturally should go with their office–honor; the ox worthy of what naturally goes with the task for which he is employed–wisps of grain; the workman worthy of what naturally goes with his work–pay for his work.” (Commentary on Saint Paul’s Epistles to Timothy – Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1937 – p.683).

Atkerson and Svendsen write:

“The word “honor” in this verse means just what it is translated as–honor, not pay (unless we want to conclude that we should give some elders “double pay”!). If Paul had intended to teach that elders are to be paid, he could have used the Greek word misthos, which means “wages” (which he used in v.18). In v.18, Paul simply says that, just as an ox deserves to eat because of his work, and just as a worker deserves to be paid because of his work, so an elder deserves honor because of his work (v.19 gives an example of such honor–see also 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13). This same word (time) is used in 1 Timothy 6:1; are slaves to “pay” their masters?” (The Practice of the Early Church: A Theological Workbook – Revised – Atlanta, GA: New Testament Restoration Foundation, 1995 – p.42).

Russell Kelly writes:

Verses 17 and 18 have been quoted by many commentaries as texts in God’s Word that discuss pay for gospel ministers. However, this author strongly disagrees with such conclusion for the following reasons:

(1)…..The context of “double honor” in 5:17 is that of rebuking wrongdoers in the church, and not “salary.” Verses 1-16 and 19-20 are clearly discussions of discipline. Immediate context must be the primary determining factor…..

(2) If “wages,” or “salary,” were the intended meaning for “honor” in verse 17, then the inspired writer would have certainly used a better word than “honor,” timees…..

(3) The Greek word for “honor,” as used in verse 17 and in the rest of the New Testament, does NOT mean “salary” or “wage.” As just mentioned, the noun in 5:17 is timees (Strong’s 5092). It occurs 38 times in the KJV New Testament: 28 times as “honor,” 8 times as “price,” once as “sum,” and once as “precious,” but NEVER as “wage.”

When used as “price,” it does not mean “wage” or “salary,” but “value.”

Timees is the “price of blood” (Matt. 21:6, 9), the “prices of things sold” (Acts 4:34), the “price of land” (Acts 5:2-3), the “price of Sarah’s sepulcher” (Acts 7:16), and the “price of books” (Acts 19:19). Redeemed believers are “bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23). In NONE of the occurrences is timees “pay” for work performed. Timees is the “price,” “worth,” or “value” of a person or thing bought or sold.

The verb form of “honor” (Strong’s 5091) occurs 21 times in the New Testament. With the lone exception of Matthew 27:9, when Judas received the “price” (noun) of Jesus according to the way Israel “valued” (verb), the word merely means “honor” or “respect.” Of the 59 total occurrences of this word in the KJV New Testament, it is never translated as “wage” or “salary.” Therefore, it is inaccurate to teach that it must be interpreted as “salary” or “wage” in First Timothy 5:17.

(4) ….Concerning the immediate context, the Greek word for “honor” is not used elsewhere in Timothy to mean “pay” or “wage.” Timothy’s Greek name is a combination of “honor” and “God.” God and Paul saw Timothy as very honorable and valuable to God. In his pastoral letter to Timothy, Paul used the noun, timees, four (4) times. “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever” (1:17). “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed” (6:1). “Who only has immortality dwelling in the light which no man can approach to; whom no man has seen, nor can see; to whom be honor and power everlasting” (6:16). The verb form is used once in 5:3, “Honor widows.”

(5)….. if the writer of First Timothy had wanted to clearly express the meaning of “wage,” or “salary,” there are much better words he could have used. The Greek word for “labor” in 5:17 is the verb kopiao (Strong’s 2872) but it does not implicitly mean “labor for a living.” The word merely means “grow tired, become weary.” Ergazomai (Strong’s 2038, 2039, 2040) is the common verb for “work to acquire” and occurs 41 times in the New Testament. Without a modifier, such as “hired,” even its noun form for laborer, ergates, does not necessarily mean one who is paid. Again, misthos (Strong’s 3408) is the more common word for “reward, wages, hire” and would have been the preferable word to use in 5:17, if “salary” were intended.

(6) Why would Paul tell the church to give Timothy a double salary when he himself refused any at all (1 Cor. 9:12, 15; Acts 20:33-35)? Was not his companion, Timothy, included in the injunction, “I have shown you all things, how that so laboring you ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35)?

(7) Why were the two examples of 5:18 given? We must remember that the context in Timothy relates to discipline, while the context of First Corinthians 9 relates to being worthy of the honor of receiving some sustenance (which he refused). In 5:18 the ox is being honored while it is treading the grain. The emphasis here is on the fact THAT it is being honored, and not HOW! The quotes are included to remind the church of the HONOR of the elder about to be disciplined.

Also, although Paul concluded in First Corinthians 9:12 and 9:15 that he and others had certain legitimate “rights” of compensation for their work in the ministry, he did not say that he meant double salaries for all. That would have been the very last thing Paul would have said about wages! Remember that, although in Second Corinthians 11:8 Paul admitted to receiving “wages” (opsonion; Strong’s 3800), this Greek word merely means “a soldier’s ration,” or daily bare necessities of life, while continuing his trade as a tentmaker.

The real emphasis of 5:18 is on the “double worthiness” of the ox. While it was normally unmuzzled while not working; it was double-worthy of not being muzzled while working. Thus the ox “plowed in hope” that its needs would be met. If Paul had wanted to teach tithing at this point, he would have quoted Numbers 18:20-26 and compared Christian workers to the Levitical system instead of referring to a grinding ox.

(8) “The laborer (ergatees) is worthy (axios) of his reward (misthos),” again, in its context, refers to double honor, and not double pay. Think this through. Why would a discussion of honorable discipline (vv. 1-16 and 19-20) be interrupted by a reminder of how much salary a minister should get (vv. 17-18)? Such an idea is absurd! It is true that, even the word “wage” is not the only definition which can be assigned to misthos in verse 18 (Strong’s 3048)! Of the 29 occurrences, only 5 could possibly be “wages,” or “salary,” while the remainder simply mean “reward.” In fact, Paul used misthos twice in First Cor. 9:17-18 as “reward” in his refusal of a wage! Misthos is the believer’s “reward” in heaven and the “reward” which Christ brings with him.

In the context of First Timothy 5:17-18, the ministering elder’s “reward” is the “double-honor,” or double-cautious discipline due him! The minister is first worthy of single honor while being disciplined because he is a elder Christian, and he is worthy of double honor while being disciplined because he is a laborer in the church.

(9) If Paul had meant “double-pay” in First Timothy 5:17, then why did he quote references to paupers who owned or accumulated nothing? How can one refer to penniless paupers to prove that one should receive double salary?

(10) 1 Tim. 6:1 “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine will not be blasphemed.” If “worthy of double honor” in 5:17 means “worthy of double pay,” then what does “worthy of all honor” mean only nine verses later in 6:1? Certainly Paul is not saying that a Christian slave should give his master ALL the money he accumulates! Thus the context and word usage in First Timothy does not support the translation of “double pay.”

(11) 1 Tim. 6:5 “. . . [those who are] destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness–from such withdraw yourself.” Timothy is told to “withdraw” from those who think that religion, or godliness, is a means of gaining wealth (6:3-5). This is a strange command to follow-up “worthy of double salary” with!

(12) 1 Tim. 6:6 -8 “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us therewith be content.” Paul told ministers to be content with bare necessities. This also is inconsistent with the “double pay” interpretation of 5:17. Their “great gain” is not double salary, but “godliness which brings contentment.”

(13) 1 Tim. 6:9-11 “But they that want to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money [covetousness] is the root of all evil, which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” Paul warned Timothy against accumulating wealth. Yet today many ministers of wealthy churches are themselves very wealthy.

(14) 1 Tim. 6:12, 14 “Fight the good fight of faith . . . That you keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul encouraged Timothy to “fight the good fight of faith” and be “un-rebuke-able”. From the context, this “fighting” at least includes the warning, “don’t get caught up in money matters and a desire for wealth.” Unfortunately, all too often, ministers need to be rebuked about money matters.

(15) Tithing (ed. ‘or caring for your pastor’) is not even implied in these passages. The author did not tell the church that the pastor is due full-time support through tithing. As in First Corinthians 9:14, another “golden opportunity” to teach tithing has been totally ignored.

In conclusion, Paul would not expect his best pupil, Timothy, to follow lower standards than himself. As a Pharisee, lawyer, and teacher of the law, Paul had been taught to refuse payment to instruct others in the honored Mosaic Law. Yet teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ was a much greater honor than that of teaching the law. Since Timothy accompanied Paul from a very young age, it is very likely that Paul became a surrogate father to Timothy and taught him the highly-important trade of tent-making.

First Timothy 5:17and 18 do not teach that a minister should receive double salary for his services. Since Timothy was among “them that were with me” in Acts 20:31-35, he witnessed firsthand how Paul worked night and day for three years at tent-making while not asking the church at Ephesus for money or food. Paul concluded his farewell sermon by telling his co-workers, including Timothy, to follow his example and work in order to help the needy in the church (Acts 20:35).

It is impossible to conclude that Paul is now asking the church to pay Timothy a double salary! Claiming that Paul wanted Timothy and church leaders to receive “double-salary” contradicts his convictions about preaching the gospel. In First Corinthians 9:12 he refused a “right” to receive compensation “unless we should hinder the gospel of Christ.” In 9:15 he stated that, not only had he not accepted support, he did not intend to start accepting it; as a matter of fact, he would “rather die” than have anybody deny him of boasting that he preached for free. Why would Paul expect Timothy to do otherwise, and not follow his own example? (http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/id35.html)

This should be enough to clear up the false teachings of people like Albert N. Martin (and many, many more like him) who is quoted at the beginning of this article concerning 1st Timothy 5:17-19. So-called “ministers of the gospel,” who have probably never really worked a day in their lives; who have bummed off the church for decades, siphoning money week after week from unsuspecting sheep for nothing else but to gain their own ends, are being exposed for what and who they truly are and will continue to be exposed.

Read on!!!

Acts 3:6

“But Peter said, (to the beggar) “I have no silver and gold, but I give you what I have; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”

This is an amazing verse. Here we have the Apostle Peter – a leader of the church in Jerusalem. By the time Peter was confronted by this beggar, the church had grown to over 3000 members (Acts 2:41).

It would be very unlikely for a modern day “pastor/preacher” of such a large congregation to have no money, to be flat broke. Yet this is one of the things that separates the “pastors”, “elders”, “preachers”, in other words, the “professional ministry” of today from their forefathers.

A pastor of such a church in our day would certainly have a pocket full of money.

He would also probably have a new car, possibly a nice pension plan, health insurance, a nice mortgage-free house in a nice neighborhood – where such beggars as Peter ran into are not even allowed.

The Apostle was flat broke because he was not siphoning off church money into his own pockets.

The church supported those that were truly in need (Acts 4:35, 6:1), and not those who put themselves in need by refusing to get a real job, such as a “pastor.”

Matthew 11:5

“…The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and THE POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.” (KJV)

When it lists these miracles, did you notice what was saved for last?

It appears that the greatest miracle of all these miracles is that the poor will have the gospel preached to them! “This even out-ranks resurrections!”

Incidentally, the poor that are mentioned here are not the American poor; you know, the “poor” that have a house, a car, indoor plumbing, electricity, TV, heat. No, we are talking 1st century poor – no house, no food, no welfare, and zero money. Starvation is a daily possibility. And the miracle in that someone would preach the gospel to these people is the realization that someone would minister the word for free, with no chance whatsoever of making any money out of it!

Even in our day, someone preaching without getting paid is such a rarity as to count as a true miracle.

Even the most pathetic of churches seem to always burden themselves with a full-time “pastor/elder,” regardless of the financial load it places upon the church. Oh no, can’t live without that! We can’t have “the pastor” go out and get a real job like the “laity” of his church!

He can’t stoop to their level – or to the level of the Apostle Paul, who supported himself with a real job.

Matthew 7:15

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (RSV)

“Be on your guard against false religious teachers, who come to you dressed up as sheep but are really greedy wolves.”

(Phillips)

“But beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inside they are plundering wolves.” (Grk/Eng. NT)

Note the terms throughout the Scriptures: “ravenous wolves”, “greedy wolves”, “plundering wolves”, “burdensome wolves.” Do you see a common theme here?

Jesus and Paul both warn against a professional clergy.

Note that Jesus compared these false teachers – as did the Apostle Paul – to wolves. He did this because wolves, like the clergy, make their living by feeding off flocks of sheep – except the wolf has more honor than to hide its true mission under a religious cloak.

Matthew 10:5-10

“…These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, “Go nowhere among the

Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost

sheep of the house of Israel. And preach as you go, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers,

cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay.

Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, no bag for your journey,

nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the laborer deserves his food.”

Jesus commanded His disciples not to sell what they had gotten for free.

“Freely you received, freely give.” Yet in direct violation of this, many a “clergyman” today have made a full-time business of selling the gospel message.

For “x” amount of gold or silver every week, your church can buy a clergyman who will sell you what Jesus gave freely.

This is such a blatant hijacking of Jesus’ intent, Christian’s should be out rioting in the streets – yet nothing happens. They continue to get sheared at every opportunity.

In some translations, the word “support” is used in verse 10. The word translated “support” means (just as in the verse quoted above) in the Greek, “food, nourishment.”

But somehow, just like in other instances,

these words magically turn into meaning “money” for some reason.

The same word in the Greek is used in Acts 2:46; 9:19; 14:17; 27:33,34,36,38.

All it means is food. Nothing more, nothing less. Not money, houses, medical care, late model cars, retirement funds, etc.

You might get fat from such support, but you’d never get rich. In fact, remember what Peter said? He said that he had no money at all (Acts 3:6).

Most probably, the Apostles in the early church, when being supported by the church (i.e. food, and a place to sleep), received their food the same way the widows did. (Acts 6:1)

2 Peter 2:1-3

“….And by covetousness, with well turned words, they will use you for gain, for whom judgment of old does not linger, and their destruction does not slumber…” (Grk/Eng NT)

2 Peter 2:14,15

“…They have hearts trained in greed; accursed children. Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray; they have followed the way of Balaam…” (RSV)

Titus 1:7

“…For a bishop, as God’s steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or addicted to wine or violent or greedy for gain…” (NRSV)

Matthew 21:13

“….He said to them, “It is written, `My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you make it a robbers den.”

2 Corinthians 11:20

“…For you bear it if a man makes slaves of you, or preys upon you, or devours your substance, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face…”

Isaiah 56:9-11

“…..The dogs have a mighty appetite; they never have enough…

The shepherds also have no understanding; they have all turned to their own way,

each to his own gain, one and all.”

Jeremiah 6:13

“For from the least to the greatest of them, every one is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, every one deals falsely.”

Ezekiel 34:1- 4

“…Thus says the Lord GOD: Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?

You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings; but you do not feed the sheep.

The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the crippled you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.”

Micah 3:11

“…The heads give judgment for a reward, its priests teach for hire, its prophets divine for money;

yet they lean upon the LORD and say, “Is not the LORD in the midst of us? No evil shall come upon us.”

Exodus 18:21

(Jethro’s advice to Moses) “…And you, you shall look out men of ability out of all the people, who fear God, men of truth, haters of unjust gain…..”

Exodus 20:17

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or ANYTHING that belongs to your neighbor.”

Does your “pastor/elder” or “church leader” covet, i.e. desire to have for his own, your money?

What about your “tithes and offerings?” Does your “pastor/elder” or “church leader” covet (desire) these? Does he try to make you believe that your love for God and His “church” is measured in the dollars and cents you give to your pastor and/or church? The Apostle Paul, unlike the preachers of today, did not desire your money—Acts 20:33.

Some have asked about the passage in 1 Corinthians Chapter 9.

“….Doesn’t this support the idea of pastoral support or paying your minister?….”

If you read the passage very carefully, ABSOLUTELY NOT !! 1st Corinthians Chapter 9 does not contradict the Apostle Paul’s example of “not being a burden” ( 1 Thess. 2); of not desiring silver or gold (Acts 20); of working days and nights at real jobs (1 Thess.2; 2 Thess. 3); warnings of peddling the Word of God; signs of unruly, rebellious men; Peter’s example; the true meaning of 1 Tim. 5 and Gal. 6; Jesus’ warnings and practices and policies; etc., etc., etc.

Many people read the scriptures (1 Corinthians 9 for example) with their already pre-conceived not