Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Allen: voluntary clergy

Tuesday, March 10, 2020
    For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow.
    —2 Thessalonians 3:7-9 (NIV)
    Clerics often say that if voluntary clergy were admitted, the laity would cease to support stipendiary clergy, and that they would say, “We can get clergy for nothing, why should we pay for them?” That argument suggests that the laity do not want stipendiary clergy and must be compelled to have them against their will. Whatever truth there may be in it, and it is a very serious indictment of the present stipendiary clergy as a body, one thing is certain: we cannot make people want what they do not want by compelling them to pay for it.
    ... Roland Allen (1869-1947), The Case for Voluntary Clergy, London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1930, included in The Ministry of the Spirit, David M. Paton, ed., London: World Dominion Press, 1960, p. 149 (see the book)
    See also 1 Cor. 4:10-13; 9:14-18; 2 Cor. 11:9-11; 2 Thess. 3:7-9
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You have made your Gospel completely free.
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