Question: I’m a 59 year old Christian. I have watched and listened to what the — network has to say. I speak in love, and not hate. I have come to the conclusion, that these so-called Christian stations, many denominations, are full of snakes, and are doing just what Christ said they would. False teachers, something new, for a price, and God said there is nothing new under the sun. My question is, where are God’s people, and ministers, and why don’t they speak the truth? I thank you.
Answer: I have given you a sample of our 1 Corinthians study on this subject. It is taken from chapter nine in the third section of our study. There is a proper use of money in the church as seen by these verses, but then today we are seeing also a misuse of how to get money. Never do we see in scripture the church asking the world for money, so after you read these verses I have added something to answer your specific questions:
“(7) It is only logical that a person who works in a ministry should be supported by that ministry. Some would question ministers of the gospel right to being supported by the ministry, because they think this is a wrong motive for serving the Lord. Think about it, how could a person work fulltime in the ministry unless they are given money for service? It is true some do their ministry for the wrong reason and are only concerned about the money they can make, but I believe this is the exception rather than the rule. Actually ministers are often the most educated and receive the least amount of salary for their ministry, compared to other people in the world that have the same amount of education.
(8) Do you think I just made this rule up about ministers being supported by the church?
(9) Look at the Old Testament this is where this principle comes from about being supported at the same time you work. Even oxen get to eat some of the grain they are grinding or treading out. Do you think God is only talking about the oxen, or is their a spiritual principle here for us in the ministry?
(10) There should be hope in knowing at the end of the work when the harvest comes, I will also have some of it to eat.
(11) So too, if a person who sows the Word of God, shouldn’t he or she be given something in return, so they can have the money they need to buy the things they need to live on?
(12) Paul says, others who preached to you received money, could we too, since we led you to the Lord? But Paul did not take money because he worked to support his ministry. He is not saying others should not take money, he is just saying that he does not want to, this is because he does not want them to think that is his motive for preaching.
(13) Those that served in the Jewish temple and worked at the altar got food to eat from the temple. So too, in the church, ministers are like the Levites, in that the priests did not have land of their own to raise crops or animals, but they were supported by the temple ministry.
(14) It is the same in the Church Age, Christian ministers of the Gospel are to be supported by the Gospel.
(15) It, of course, is not wrong for them if they choose to be self-supported as Paul was either. It would really be very beneficial to the church if more ministers were self-supported so we could get the Gospel out quicker. There are sometimes more people who want to minister than the church can support. However, sometimes the reason there is not enough money to go around for missions is because Christians are not giving at least a tithe. Often Christians give far less than a tithe, so God’s work suffers. Paul’s point in writing about this, though, is not because he wants them to support him. He is not taking money from them so he can “boast” (he is saying this facetiously) to them, I am not working for the money, there is no way you can accuse me of this. He feels very strongly about this, he would rather die than have people accuse him of serving the Lord for the wrong motive.
“(18) Paul hardly ever mentioned money, unless it was to give to the poor or other Christians, but for himself never. He could have asked for money for his ministry as the other apostles did because they were not supporting themselves for the most part. And by the way, there is nothing wrong with this, as we have seen before in the example of the oxen treading out the grain getting to eat some of it. But for Paul he was a “tent maker” missionary. In other words, he made his living by making tents, so he did not have to ask for money. In this way no one could doubt Paul’s motive for preaching the Gospel. He makes it clear that he is the exception rather than the rule. God had given him a special ministry to fulfill, so he needed to go about it differently than most missionaries.
Some other Christians have felt lead of the Lord to live like this since Paul, men like George Muller who lived by faith and never asked for money. God blessed them abundantly for their faith. However, we are not commanded not to tell people our needs, and each Christian must use their own judgment and guidance from the Lord. I personally have enjoyed the times through the years when God has allowed me to “make tents,” so to speak, to support myself. I have had other ministries where I was paid for them, but I feel like Paul, in that there is great freedom when you are not answering to the individuals that support you. Also, no one can doubt your motive for preaching the Gospel. I personally feel we in Christendom have swung too far today toward the side of always taking up an offering, even from the unsaved. I believe it would better, to do like Paul did, and that is to have ministries that are supported by Christians, where we do not have to ask the world for money.
Can you imagine the impact the Gospel would have in the world, if ministries would stop asking for money? You say, how could they continue without the world’s money. My belief is that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, so He can sell a few if we ask Him to. So often today the Church uses the world’s methods to do the work of the Church, for example, they call people and ask for money, or send out letters asking for money. They have their “evangelistic” meetings and ask even the unsaved for money. I do not believe God ever intended for us to ask the world for money. Why can’t we preach like Paul did, and not ask the world for money? The money should be coming from believers, and if Christians would give at least a tithe in the Church, we would have more than enough money to do God’s work in God’s way!”
This is my personal view, and I feel if people are pleading for money it will backfire. I have spoken to several Christians that left the church they were in and went to another one because all they heard about was how much money was needed. God is not short of money, yes He wants us to do our part, but do you see Jesus going around asking for money?
It does bother me as it does you to hear Christians speaking on the airwaves about their needs. If you are raising money to feed and clothe the poor, this might be something else, but to ask for money for your own ministry is just not Scriptural.
I know of an “evangelist” that came to a small church and raised thousands of dollars for his own ministry. He did this by telling the people God would punish them if they did not give, and God could not bless them without their giving to him. This is just not of God! Christians be aware of wolves in sheep’s clothing! “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain.” (1 Peter 5:2)
While I am at it let me get this off of my chest too. Singing groups that ask for people to buy a ticket to go to the church to hear them sing is not of God. They have no reward coming from the Lord, they are “charlatans.” “.useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.” (1 Timothy 6:5) They are causing people to pay to hear the gospel. They are no better than those who in Martin Luther’s time went around getting people to pay their way out of hell!
So, yes, brother these things turn me off too, and many other Christians, but most of all the unsaved. They think that we are doing what we do for money to begin with, then when they see these “Christians” asking for money all the time, then they know that is what they are all about. I better give you some references before I get overly carried away with this, but thanks for your comments, and insight, I only wish others had your kind of wisdom!
Twice Jesus cleansed the temple of money changers. He did this; it seems, at the first of His ministry, and at the end of his ministry just before He went to the cross. Do you suppose this upsets Him now as it did Him then?
“Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of thieves.'” (Matthew 21:12-13)
Counterfeit Revival and Christianity in Crisis are two excellent books on this topic, written by Hank Hanegraaf of the Christian Research Institute.
In Christian love,
Gary T. Panell
For more information email me.