THE communication of “Joseph,” commenced on the first page of this number, may seem to some of our readers some what out of the ordinary course of this paper. It has been common for Old School Baptists to bear heavily upon those who preach for filthy lucre’s sake, and make merchandise of the gospel. We have no doubt that some of our brethren, in entering their honest protest against the monied religious institutions of the day, and the avarice of those who, like Isaiah’s dumb dogs, can never have enough, have, either from want of proper discrimination, or from some other cause, left great reason for many to suppose they considered it unscriptural for churches to sustain, by pecuniary aid, those whom God has placed among them as preachers of his word. We have, ourself, heard some zealous brethren repudiating, in unmeasured terms, the idea of preaching for money, as though they could not in conscience be prevailed on to receive a cent from those to whom they were preaching, when we have known that their circumstances and those of their families required rather that they should call the attention of their brethren to those passages of scripture quoted by “Joseph.”
We are far from believing that a preacher should consider himself called of God to remain year after year with a church which, having the ability to relieve his necessities, has not the faithfulness to do it. Nor do we believe it is scriptural for a church to wait till the patience of her pastor or preacher is exhausted, and force on him the necessity of begging or fretting. There are mutual obligations devolving on both pastor and church.
If a man preaches for filthy lucre’s sake, he is a hireling, and should receive no encouragement from the people of God. But, those who are called of God to the work, and of whose calling the church has no doubt, they are as fully bound by the laws of Christ to supply his temporal wants according to their means, as the preacher is to preach.
With “Joseph,” we are inclined to believe that much of the fault lies with the preachers, in withholding the proper admonition of the gospel; but a still greater fault is in frequently preaching as though they thought it wicked for the ministers of Jesus to receive remuneration from their brethren for their time, service, &c. Let this subject, with every other in the New Testament, receive due consideration and prompt action.
New Vernon, N.Y.,
September 15, 1845
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 590 – 591