bchandler wrote:I have always paid pastors for their services such as weddings, and funerals. Voluntarily. I have never been asked for money... we just gave it to thank the pastor for his time and service. We did pay a fee to have the church cleaned after the wedding though... Someone has to clean up all the decorations and rice and what not.
But I would rebuke anyone for charging or even receiving monies for anything associated with preaching the Gospel.
Taking money for praying, healing, preaching, baptising, etc... is just wrong IMO.
Our reaction should be the same as the Apostle's when offered money for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Act 8:18 But Simon having seen that the Holy Spirit is given through the laying on of the hands of the apostles, he offered them money,
Act 8:19 saying, Give to me also this authority that to whomever I may lay on the hands he may receive the Holy Spirit.
Act 8:20 But Peter said to him, May your silver be with you into perdition, because you thought to get the gift of God through money.
Act 8:21 There is neither part nor lot to you in this matter, for your heart is not upright before the face of God.
Act 8:22 Repent, then, from this wickedness of yours, and petition God if perhaps you will be forgiven the thought of your heart.
Act 8:23 For I see you being in the gall of bitterness and a bundle of unrighteousness.
Act 8:24 And answering Simon said, You petition to the Lord for me, so that nothing of which you have spoken may come on me.
I don't have anything against asking people to voluntarily join in supporting a ministry though. As it is by supporting those who carry God's word and seed to the world that we fulfill the prayers of the saints... For the Lord of the harvest to send workers into the fields.
Actually, I disagree with you a bit here.
I believe it is inaccurate to compare taking wages for working with taking bribes to bestow the Holy Spirit.
Allow me to present a couple of verses in support...
17 The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.
18 For the Scripture says, "YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING," and "The laborer is worthy of his wages."
1 Timothy 5:17-18
9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, "YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING " God is not concerned about oxen, is He?
10Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops.
11 If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?
1 Corinthians 9:9-11
7 Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you without charge?
8 I robbed other churches by taking wages from them to serve you;
9 and when I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone; for when the brethren came from Macedonia they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from being a burden to you, and will continue to do so.
2 Corinthians 11:7-9
It seems clear that Paul DID take support from some churches and he also seems clear that his explaination of the "you shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing" can relate to workers in ministry. Most notably this statement from Paul...1 Corinthians 9:11 "If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?".
Furthermore, there are people who have to clean up the church after weddings which shouldn't be ignored.
It is my guess that one would be hard pressed to find a church one can use at no cost whatsoever.
Does that mean there should be a charge for baptism? I'd say no. I think the issue here is rather something is a "charge" or if it's a gratuity. I'd bet that if one were poor and couldn't afford a wedding that a pastor would perform the ceremony at no charge (although it might not be the huge chappel wedding sort of thing).
But if the issue is rather the people could avoid paying to clean up the church and a gratuity to the minister for taking time on a Saturday (that they could be spending with their family) to administer a wedding so that they might instead of that money for a more posh honeymoon then I believe there is a problem.
The fact is, most churches do have pastors on staff who receive pay. Is this wrong? Should all church staff be fired and expected to volunteer?
(I have attended churches that had no staff, but they also were sometimes lacking in their ability to provide assistance and attention when it was needed to some of the congregants).