Vol.III No.XI Pg.7
December 1966

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Dear bro. Turner:

We hear of churches that pay their elders (overseers) a salary. Do the scriptures authorize this? Could this develop into a paid pastorship?


Paul wrote: "Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power (the right, rt) to forebear working? Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? Who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? Or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?

Say I these things as a man? Or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that plougheth should plough in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we reap your carnal things?"

This, and much more, is written in 1CO.9:6-f concerning support of those who labor in the cause of the Lord. It is a good and right thing.

The word &qu chuonour" is from a word whose basic meaning is "price, value". It does not necessarily mean financial remuneration in every case; (it may mean "respect") but in 1TI.5:17 the context warrants this sense. Yes, the scriptures warrant the financial support of scriptural overseers, "especially they who labour in the word and doctrine". Could this "develop into" something bad? It could and has. Whenever elders are motivated by "filthy lucre" (read 1PE.5:2 carefully) the situation is just as bad or worse than when preachers are so motivated. Some such cases have already come to my attention, and there will be more as elder support becomes more general. There is nothing really surprising about. I have known all along that being a preacher didn't make a man lazy and money-crazy. It's just that some lazy, money-crazy men get into the "preaching business". And if those same kind of men get into the "elder business" we will see the same sordid results.

Support of a preacher, or elder, should be just that -- adequate support, on the basis of his needs and ability to produce results. By results I mean, capable of teaching and functioning on a sound scriptural basis. The "fruit" of such labor is not always apparent in numbers, etc.

Paul did not accept support from the Corinthians; but his, and the elders "right" is clearly established.