(This article can also be titled “Has God Really Commanded That Pastors Be Paid? Part III”)
Not only do droves of so-called pastors who expect to be supported by the church not preach the Gospel (or more importantly the real Gospel), even worse they HINDER The Gospel by their financial shenanigans and other abusive nonsense.
As we saw in Part I of this article, the Apostle Paul was very careful with the subject of money so as to not hinder the Gospel. Sadly this is simply not the case among most modern pastors who do not uphold Paul's teaching and excellent example in financial matters. Their acquisition of money is far more important to them regardless of the appearance of evil that it can cause, even though we are commanded to avoid all appearance of evil (1Thess 5:22). Apparently this does not matter in the least to these people.
Think about it. One of the reasons that so many people hate Christians is because of all the money grubbing hypocrisy that they typically see from televangelists, TV preachers and from the pastors in the pulpits of the churches they sometimes visit. Many non-Christians attend church “service” at least on Christmas and Easter and see all the outlandish service that these men do for themselves. They see kings ruling congregations and enjoying much power and prestige. (It's utterly amazing how the world can recognize the inconsistency of all this yet so many Christians are blind to these problems.)
The world hears all kinds of talk of the love of Christ, the Savior who displayed the ultimate humility and servant's heart. Yet they constantly see arrogant greedy men who bear no resemblance to Christ preaching in His name. The world hears talk of Jesus' free gift of salvation through faith, but they see the same men who preach this making all kinds of never ending appeals for money. It doesn't make sense to them (nor should it) and this foolishness hinders the Gospel.
Hence we have the very sad modern view expressed by so many unbelievers” “I can't afford to be a Christian”. Lousy preachers and false pastors have given the impression that it is financially expensive to be a Christian when in fact Jesus paid the full penalty for our sins FREE OF CHARGE and has given us the FREE GIFT of salvation. While Christians should certainly give to the poor and needy if they have the means, they owe nothing to commercial churches or to these men in the pulpits.
Another interesting thing to note is the fact that a huge number of unbelievers have heard of tithing (the modern false tithing doctrine) and can tell you exactly what it means, while few of these same people have heard the real Gospel! This is one of many things that proves that the average pastor is busy building his own kingdom not the Kingdom of God.
All of this clearly demonstrates the Gospel-hindering impact that hirelings (along with all their ungodly tithe teachings and other practices) have had on the church and the world today. In Bible times Christians were persecuted for preaching the Gospel. Today many true Christians are persecuted because of how the world (rightfully) hates all the hypocrisy and ungodly practices that they see going on in the commercial church sub-culture, a sub-culture that has become enormous in size and negative impact.
Many people haven’t even had a chance to accept or reject the true Gospel being preached. Many are not open and aren’t listening. In their eyes Christianity has no credibility so “why bother?” This is their view and it's based on the bad impressions that they have of the average pastor and his congregation. Can you blame them? Sadly, what they don't realize is they have not seen true Christianity in action, only a total mockery that the enemy has cleverly engineered. Nevertheless, real Christianity gets blamed for the practices of false Christianity. This is a brilliant strategy on the part of the devil.
The Apostle Paul is obviously very correct (of course) in his analysis of how questionable financial practices hinder the Gospel. In my desire to preach the Gospel, I regularly talk with unbelievers and I have found that one of their number one grievances with Christianity in general is not the Gospel message (many have never even heard the true Gospel) but rather it's all the money preaching that goes on and how church leaders run churches like CEOs run businesses. These issues are often the first thing on their minds and these issues are often what they are most interested in talking about. I have found that explaining the truth and being upfront with them about these things is an excellent stepping stone to opening the door to be able to share the Gospel with them.
I hope you follow suit. Let the truth be told. Let's start showing the world the real church of Jesus Christ. This inevitably involves being upfront and exposing the false church system so that people can tell the difference. The world appreciates forthrightness and honesty and this can go a long way towards winning their hearts.