John Piper, a prominent theologian and pastor, is pleading with his fellow preachers “to avoid the sinful seduction of money.” In a recent installment of his “Ask Pastor John” podcast, Piper offered five pieces of advice for Christian leaders.
His action points were sparked by the recent situation surrounding David Yonggi Cho, pastor and founder of Yoido Full Gospel Church in South Korea, who was recently convicted of embezzling $12 million from the church, the Christian Post reported.
“With every public dishonoring of Christ, every public dishonoring of His Word and His Gospel, and His Church, it makes me angry and it makes me sorrowful,” Piper said. “My response to this is really not to pile on any additional condemnation … but rather to try to respond for the rest of us in a way that tries to prevent these kinds of things.”
He then offered up his five points of advice for Christian pastors:
1) “Kill every desire to be rich and get rich”: Piper encouraged pastors not to want wealth and to “take aim” at any desire to have it by turning to the Bible.
“Jesus said how difficult it is for those who have wealth to get to heaven,” the preacher said, reminding his fellow faith leaders of the problems and barriers that often accompany personal riches.
2) “If you see your income starting to grow, set a governor on it”: Piper’s second plea involved keeping away from continuing to acquire more and more money. If a pastor sees increasing income coming in, he said the individual should start donating more to worthy causes.
Piper, who claims “money is insidiously deceptive,” said he isn’t impressed with a pastor who tithes 30 percent of a million dollar royalty check, nor is he impressed when a preacher only gives away 90 percent of a $10 million check. Riches, Piper said, lead people down a dangerous path.
3) “Be totally transparent with your fellow elders from inside your church”: Piper recommended that pastors let church leaders know their complete income from all sources and that financial books be open to church members. This assists in keeping faith leaders on track and responsible, he said.
When it comes to money, Piper said secrecy isn’t a good thing.
4) “Live simply to show that your treasure is in heaven and not on earth”: Piper said he doesn’t want people to abandon entertainment entirely, but recommended being practical with the vehicles, homes, vacations and other purchases one makes.
5) “Put in place a leadership structure of a plurality of elders”: And finally, Piper recommended pastors not elevate themselves too far above others. Rather than having veto power over church decisions, the preacher said that the pastor should only have one vote among his or her elders.
The subject of pastoral income and expenditures has been discussed frequently of late, with the most recent news about Cho re-invigorating the discussion. Last October, TheBlaze asked: “Should pastors live in extravagant homes?“
Of the more than 16,000 online votes that were cast, 35 percent of readers answered affirmatively, with 65 percent saying that they should not.
Read more about the Cho scandal here.
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