What do all these men have in common? They are modern-day Balaams, who in their covetousness eagerly peddle the word of God for gain. He has given them over to their greed and they heap burning coals upon themselves by deceiving their congregations. They have assumed the role of leader without proper authority and fleece the flock for every penny they can. These men are shameless and I am amazed that so many people are gullible enough to buy their propaganda. It is a testament to the human need to belong.
Today, if you want to be a pastor, simply decide on it as a career choice, justify it by stating “I feel called in my heart”, go to seminary, learn all the key doctrines, and voila, you’re a man of God. Who exactly called these men into ministry? Certainly not God, because nowhere in the Bible does a prophet make a fortune selling his message. If you write a book and claim divine inspiration, you damn well better give it away electronically for free to as many people as will read it. I have no issue with someone making a donation in gratitude if they benefit from the information.
There is certainly a place for the body of Christ to support a pastor who shepherds them. You do not muzzle the ox while it is plowing the field, as the laborer is worthy of his wage. However, the apostle Paul worked as a tent maker for most of his income and relied on the brethren to make up the difference. It is through charity and voluntary donations that the members should support their leader. He should be employed in another field and not be on salary from the church.
The love of money is the root of all evil and it is difficult for a rich man to enter into heaven because you cannot serve two masters. You love one and hate the other. Most of God’s prophets were poor, as was the messiah himself. Oddly enough, it was the wealthy religious elite that Jesus most harshly condemned. His betrayer, Judas, was the greedy money manager for the disciples.
You want to be a generous man of God? Fund it yourself. That’s right. Put in all the sacrifice and hard work required to become successful and bless your congregation with your wealth by not saddling them with the burden to support you. Not too many takers now are there? I question the wisdom of financing a building with debt and the need for a recreation center. Most of today’s churches are country clubs. They are expensive to maintain and are typically used only a few hours per week. It is a wasteful use of resources.
Unfortunately, modern Christianity views prosperity as a sign of God’s blessing. Mega churches, choirs, schools, and event centers reflect the pride of man. Jesus was a humble servant and we are called to walk in his ways. A fellowship has operating expenses, but they should be kept as low as possible. The congregation can and probably should help defer these costs; after all, they are the beneficiaries. However, no man has the right to blaspheme God by profiteering as a religious con man.