Saturday, September 12, 2009
OSTENTATIOUS DISPLAY OF WEALTH BY THE "CHURCH"
Those of you who have previously written me off as an ascetic and a crank can just skip this post...nothing new here folks, move along!
Recently I saw a blog post which included a comment about being entertained by Paige Patterson and Mrs Patterson at "Pecan Manor." That's the mansion provided for the President of South Western Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft Worth.
That picture of the house was taken by Dr Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary at Louisville. He also took this picture of the mansion he lives in there....(on the right).
So, I'm wondering why it is necessary for the "Church" to provide luxurious living like this for its leadership? These guys are not President of General Motors (ooops, bad example.....showing my age)...these are servants of Christ's church.
Financial data on such situations is hard to come by. I'm good at "finding stuff" by searching the internet....I can find your phone number, address, maybe a picture of your house or at least the street you live on; I can find out how much the President of AIG makes.....but I sure can't find out what these two fellows are paid. It's even tough to find out what some Big Name pastors are paid....their salary is lumped into large budget categories, thus obscured, like "Preaching Ministry" $1,000,000. That could include 3 or 4 salaries, for example.
I'm trying to keep this short. I'd like some discussion. And I'm not picking on Al Mohler or Paige Patterson.....they were just in the room when the thought hit me. They are not the problem; they are just in a problem-fraught system.
Thinking about the book of Amos. "Come to Bethel and transgress" In chapter 4, Beth-El "the place of God" had become representative of corrupted religion.
"Hear, and testify against the house of Jacob," declares the Lord GOD, the God of hosts, "that on the day I punish Israel for his transgressions, I will punish the altars of Bethel, and the horns of the altar shall be cut off and fall to the ground. I will strike the winter house along with the summer house, and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall come to an end," declares the LORD.
In this world populated with lost souls and impoverished men, it is incomprehensible to me how the "Church" can possibly justify corporate-level salaries and aristocratic mansions for the leadship...leadership which according to Biblical example is humble and self-sacrificing....in a Church where those who "had" were willing to sell all and give to those who "had not"
We've come a long way.......
We've come to Bethel.