Donations – BT7
“Paid ministry” was actually a sign of false prophets/teachers in the early Church!
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Seeking “gain or profit” was another sign of false teachers: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (a). Paul says, “They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for the sake/favor/pleasure/cause (b) of shameful (c) profit (d) – what they ought not to teach” (e). “Teaching for profit” is what is “shameful” – the adjective describes the phrase “teaching for profit,” not just the noun “profit” as too many like to read it! We also know this from the context and other verses about this “error” of Balaam! <Notes> a) 2 Timothy 4:3, b) charin, c) aischros: base, filthy, disfigured, dishonorable, disgraceful, of indecorum, d) kerdos: advantage, profit through the trading ‘might and power’ assets for trusting-relying-faith in Christ: Philippians 1:21-25, 3:7-9.
These “false teachers” use “words of flattery as a pretext (a) for greed” (b), “showing favoritism for advantageous profit (c)” (d). “In their greed they will exploit you with false logos messages” (e). I witnessed this first hand! The godly pastor of a little inner-city church I played on the Worship-Team for was near to dying and there were rumors that his wife wanted to take over for him when he died. She had never come to one of our rehearsals, but now she non-expectantly shows up one night and wants to pray with us. Something clearly was up! During our prayer to God, she was actually eloquently preaching a logos message (f) to us and flattering members of the band as our heads were bowed. It was very obvious! <Notes> a) prophasis: outward show as a cloak, b) 1 Thessalonians 2:5, c) opheleia: advantage, usefulness, profit, d) Jude 1:16, e) 2 Peter 2:3, f) It sure wasn’t the logos gospel message of The Truth.
Well I looked up as she was doing this and I saw in the spirit a yellow wasp flying around the room looking for various members of the band to land on to sting with its poison, and I instantly knew the demonic spirit of greed and cunning flattery to secure allegiance to her. I couldn’t take her long-winded ‘prayer’ any longer and I boldly said, “Are you praying or are you preaching? Because it sure sounds like you are preaching!” And she stopped immediately. She never spoke to me again! Soon after, it was confirmed that she did try to take over the church to get at its finances, and when the main denomination they belonged to heard about this, they sent in a team to depose her! She wasn’t the only one that came out of nowhere to assume control of the church – people I’ve never seen before just showed up and offered their valuable advice! And wow, were they smooth talkers!
Paul warns Timothy of these false teachers in 1 Timothy 1:3-10: “If anyone teaches a different doctrine [than what Paul taught Timothy] and/coupled does not absolutely in fact agree with the sound logos gospel messages of our Lord Jesus Christ and/coupled the teaching that accords with [true] godliness . . . He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words (c) . . . who are depraved in the mind and/coupled deprived of The Truth (d), imagining that godliness is a means of gain (a), but great gain (b) is godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if WE have food and clothing, with this WE will be content. But those (the false teachers) who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people (like them) into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of ALL kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some (e) have wandered away from The-trusting-relying-Faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” a) porismos: acquisition, source/means/route of procuring/furnishing gain, especially money, b) porismos, c) this was characteristic of the Jewish scribes and Pharisees, experts in the wording of the Mosaic Law, always comparing manuscripts and writing commentaries on the words, teaching endless genealogies of names, and rabbinic speculations/controversies/arguments/quarrels about the Law – see Acts 8:15; 1 Timothy 1:4; 2 Timothy 2:14, 23; Titus 3:9, d) Jesus and His sound logos gospel message, e) implies that these “false teachers” weren’t just Jewish teachers of the Law but actually Jewish-Christian teachers who fell away.
This was the ‘error’ of the false prophet/teacher Balaam “who loved pay/wages for service (b) of/belonging to unrighteousness” (c). “Woe unto them for they have . . . run greedily, liberally, or rushed headlong out after (d) the error of Balaam for pay/wages for service (b)” (e). Clearly the “error” of ministry is doing it for “pay/wages for service” to “suit your own passions,” “teaching for profit, [which is] shameful” – again, that adjective describes “teaching for profit,” not just “profit” as too many like to read! The “unrighteousness” of Balaam belonged to (genitive case) that fact he “loved pay/wages for service!” <Notes> a) 1 Timothy 6:5-6, b) misthos, c) 2 Peter 2:15, d) ekcheo, e) Jude 1:11.
Therefore, Church’s shepherd-overseers were explicitly warned “to do so not in possibility in compulsion, force, or constraint (a) but instead willingly and eagerly and not in possibility in eagerness for gain [, this being] base, sordid, or filthy (b) but willingly with passion/enthusiasm/spontaneous generosity” (c), “not in possibility eager for gain [, this being] base, sordid, or filthy (d)” (e). Furthermore, the same was required of deacons (f). In Acts 20:17-35, Paul gathers the elders/overseers/shepherds, . . . for from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away disciples after them, so be alert . . .” Paul then says: “I worked by my own hands to take care of my necessities and those with me. In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak/feeble/impotent ….remembering Jesus, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” It seems a lot of pastors nowadays sure want to “receive” money, submission to their authority, and even fame! I knew a well-known internet New Ager named “Shadow” that said he was going to start a Christian church in California and teach his New Age stuff in it to become filthy rich and said that Christians and Californians were so gullible that they will believe anything! I couldn’t believe how he boasted of this! <Notes> a) anagkastos, b) aischrokerdos, c) 1 Peter 5:2, d) aischrokerdes, e) Titus 1:7, f) 1 Timothy 3:8.
We can see above that Church leadership likely wasn’t even supposed to get paid any more than serving deacons were, and that a clear sign of the “fakes” were those who were eager for pay! This was Balaam’s error! The fact that they were “in it for the money” is what made it “base, sordid, and filthy,” because the Greek word is simply an adjective modifier describing “the gain they were eager for” or the “gain they were teaching for!” In other words, these verses aren’t saying that there is “good gain” and “bad gain” to be eager for and to “choose wisely,” but that “choosing to teach for gain is what is bad!” Well, that rules out most churches today. SpiritMusicMeetups will follow Paul’s ministry team’s example!
“Paid Ministry” was a common “sign” of a false teachers: Paul “headed this objection off at the pass” by saying he and his staff worked to provide their own needs (a), not making use of any so-called “right of support” (b) or “demands as apostles/missions” (c), but instead “preaching free of charge” (d), so as to be “no burden to them or the gospel” (e), telling Christians “to keep away from the brother who is walking . . . not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us . . . with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have the [so-called] ‘right’ (f) but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this charge: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. . . . Now such persons we charge and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly that they may eat their own bread” (g). <Notes> a) Acts 18:3, 20:35; 1 Corinthians 4:12, 9:15; 1 Thessalonians 2:9, b) 1 Corinthians 9:12, c) 1 Thessalonians 2:6, d) 2 Corinthians 11:7, e) 1 Corinthians 9:12; 2 Corinthians 11:9, 12:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:9, f) to eat and drink, to take along a wife, to refrain from working for a living: 1 Corinthians 9:3-6, g) 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12.
Evidently, these Corinthians were eager to give money to so-called “super-apostles” (a), likely a reference to false apostles (b), for Paul says of himself and Barnabas in 1 Corinthians 9:12-15, “If others be partakers of this ‘rightful claim’ from you, should not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this ‘right,’ but we endure everything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. . . . The Lord (c) prescribed (d) that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel. However I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision.” <Notes> a) 2 Corinthians 11:5, 12:11, b) 2 Corinthians 11:13, c) Kurios: Master, rightful owner. We know from Donations-BT4 that this likely is a reference to Yahweh from Oral Torah teachings, d) arranged through appointment.
Now it’s possible that Paul is referring to Matthew 10:10, “Deserving is the workman for his food,” quoting from the OT. However, it is here that Jesus also said in v. 10:8: “Freely (without pay) you received, so freely (without pay) give.” Many commentaries rightfully point out that there were many travelling “preachers for pay” like the Cynics, so Christ’ prohibition to carry a “bag (a) for your journey” would certainly distinguish His disciples from MANY others. <Notes> a) for clothes and money.
The first century “Teaching (Didache) of the 12 Apostles” Church-order document, contemporary with Paul’s writings, warned about those “that don’t teach that which has been said before” (a), but “a different doctrine” (b) than that which “increases righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord [Jesus]” (c). Furthermore, “concerning prophets and apostles, they shall not dwell more than a single day or second, but if three days, he is false (d), receiving upon departure nothing but bread, but if he asks for money he is false (e), and if they prophesy that a table be laid for food, if he eats of it, they are false (f), and if they say in the Spirit to receive money or anything else, you shall not listen to him unless he orders it be given to others (g). Boy, the modern Church’s requirement for “paid ministry” staff sure has departed from the NT and early Church model! <Notes> a) 11:1, b) 11:2, c) 11:3, d) 11:4-7, e) 11:8-9, f) 11:14-15, g) 11:20-21.