Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 15, 1951

What I Owe My Preacher

Harold F. Sharp, Blytheville, Arkansas

In a recent issue of the Lamar Avenue Church News, published by brother Perry B. Gotham of Paris, Texas, appeared an article entitled "What I Owe My Minister."

The article had been quoted from another paper, and it sets forth some pretty dangerous teachings. I review it for two reasons: (1) Everything this article mentions a Christian owes the preacher is what one owes to God, and (2) the preacher belongs to God and not to the individual. Here is the article:

"What I Owe My Minister"

I owe him respect as the ambassador of God, sent to teach me a better way of living than the selfish, sordid existence I might be guilty of but for his guidance.

I owe him trust, that he may be free to serve the church unhampered by criticism and faultfinding.

I owe my minister prayer, that God may make his service a blessing to everyone with whom he comes in contact.

I owe my minister the protection of kindly silence by refraining from repeating, in his presence, the slander of unkind gossip—that would worry him and prevent him from doing his best.

I owe him encouragement when vexations and annoyances make his work difficult.

I owe him enough of my time to help in his work whenever he may need me.

I owe my minister consideration not to interrupt and hinder his work by financial worry.

I owe my minister my attention when I go to church, that he may not be annoyed by seeing my careless, inattentive actions that I am not interested in what he is saying.

— Firm Foundation Comment

"I owe him respect as the ambassador of God"—No one owes a preacher respect as an ambassador of God, we are not his ambassadors. The apostles were his ambassadors. Ambassador as defined by Webster means: 1. "A minister of high rank sent by one sovereign state to an- other." 2. "A minister of highest rank accredited to a foreign government or an official representative of his own government." Now are we, as preachers, of high rank sent by one government to another? Are we of highest rank accredited to a government or kingdom? Are we official representatives of Christ's Kingdom? To answer in the affirmative would make us look like "Jehovah's Witness." Did not men who published this in the F.F. and several church bulletins know better? Will they teach the brethren better or will they help soften the brethren for the modern "Pastor" system? We owe the preacher the respect he deserves by the life he lives, and the sacrifice he makes. Do not we owe the same to every other member of the church?

"I owe him trust"—Some would think they might let the preacher go unquestioned, and no criticism of him is justified. That idea makes him a local "papa" or priest.

Bah! Do we not know better than this? Every loyal member of the church owes every other member trust and, of course, we should not be fault-finders or critics unless there IS fault or someone needs to be criticized.

"I owe my minister prayer"—Of course the article being reviewed does not contain a single reference to the scriptures for there is nothing scriptural about it. That is the sad part of it. The idea conveyed to the reader is that the preacher being the one who serves, we should all pray for God to bless his service. Looks just a little like a trend to the modern Pastor, Priest or Rabbi system.

Kindly Silence—Do not the scriptures teach the sin of gossiping? Then why not make obedience to God's command rather than homage to an individual our precept for conduct in such matters. If there is slander or unkind gossip the one guilty should be admonished and if correction is not made then the scriptural teaching is to withdraw. Keep silent, don't say anything about it, looks like the ostrich putting his head in the sand. Looks very much like some of the brethren on the "centralized control and oversight issue."

Encouragement—We should encourage EVERY man in things right. Of course the preacher has vexations and annoyances but it is my humble opinion most of the faithful preacher's annoyances and vexations are caused by those who have the attitude expressed in the article being reviewed.

Time Spent In His Work—We all have a work to do. This seems as though the preacher has the oversight of the flock and we, as members, let him tell us what he wants us to do and then let the sheep come running. Let each member do his work and the preacher do his and cooperate. Maybe I shouldn't use the "cooperate" for some of the brethren have the opinion the Guardian does not believe this scriptural.

Financial Worry—I have been around several preachers and most of them have financial worries—as does most of the world. Surely the preacher should be supported. He should also live on the support given him. The consideration we owe here is to the Lord. We are but stewards and should contribute "as we have been prospered."

Attention—We owe reverence to God and our reason for not being careless and inattentive is that we are worshipping God. One should be attentive, alert and zealous for God commands it. One does not owe another this because he is a preacher. When we worship God we should free our minds of things temporal and "in spirit and truth" pay homage to and reverence God.

My Preacher—The preacher belongs to the Lord. One may say this is an accommodative use of the word "my" but there has been too much accommodative usage. Put the accommodative usage in the garbage with other sectarian ideas and stand on the Word. Remember people in the long ago spake the language of Ashdod.


C. C. Doggett, Spring City, Tennessee, Nov. 6: "Our meeting here, beginning October 14th to 25th, resulted in eleven baptisms. The writer did the preaching and our song leader, brother Greer, led the singing. The church here is making progress, to the glory of God."


Robert A. Bolton, Box 737, Lefors, Texas, Nov. 5: "We are continuing to thank the Lord for the 30 restorations, one baptism, and one membership during the gospel meeting just concluded, in which W. R. Smith of Abilene did the preaching."