Pastor: Your paycheck is 'church welfare'


That’s what historian David Barton said in a recent interview.  It starts at about the 2:45 mark:

Barton  said:

“What they (pastors) believe is that they can’t survive without it. Now, I’m a big believer in the way Paul did it. Paul was bivocational. He had his own income so that he wasn’t dependent on a church…Right now what happens is so many ministers depend on their church, and I’m sorry, I often call it church welfare. These are guys that get their check from the church and they don’t want to mess with their check, don’t want to jeopardize that.”





  • pietrosquared July 3, 2013 Reply

    Paul, the bivocational guy… SPECIFICALLY defended and encouraged the practice of paying full-time clergy. This guy is all wet.

  • Robert Barnes July 3, 2013 Reply

    I’m no fan of David Barton. But there is a strong bi-vocational theme in the NT. Church welfare is of course an overstated phrase but I’m a fan of reading the text and letting it shape the way we approach our salaries and such. And brothers, we are not professionals!

  • Ron Boehm July 3, 2013 Reply

    I like Dave Barton and think he is good “in his field.” I hope that others will take a few moments to listen to the audio clip. That being said, Dave is not known for his Ecclesiology or Biblical exegesis. I do not recall Paul ever referring to himself as “Pastor Paul.” He is “Paul, called to be an Apostle.” His role was to plant churches by taking the Gospel to new regions, and to work among the churches. Referring to a pastor’s financial support as “welfare” is offensive and inaccurate. It is rather unfortunate that Dave Barton used this idea as he argued his political point.

  • Steve Miller July 3, 2013 Reply

    Bi vocational means you work full time doing something other than church work. This means the bulk of your time and energy will be spent somewhere other than the church.

    If your church can afford to pay you so you can focus full time on the church’s needs, then bi-vocation is unnecessary and probably a distraction.

  • Art Good July 3, 2013 Reply

    I hear what he is saying. If you are dependent on the church as your primary source of income (which I am), and you are told either marry homosexuals or lose tax exempt status (and eventual property tax exemption as well, wait and see) churches will not be able to pay their pastors like before and pastors will have financial issues. If pastors are NOT dependent on the church as their primary income they can preach freely and act freely without fear of losing an income.

  • bishopdave July 3, 2013 Reply

    It’s entirely impossible then that some full-time pastors would still take a stand and risk losing their income. Our church has also voted to put in the bylaws stating that no facilities will be used nor staff allowed to perform homosexual unions.

  • If you are going to introduce Barton as a historian, you should be precise and call him a disgraced historian, given that he’s terrible at writing history and has had his most recent book recalled because of all the errors. (Source: )

  • Bob July 5, 2013 Reply

    How can anyone pass a plate around church asking for money and saying its a gift to God and then you take the money and stuff into their own pocket and then think they are not going to hell for that theft? You guys have been perverting the gospel for your own profit for centuries and getting away with for so long you don’t even think you are doing anything wrong. Oh and if someone starts asking questions just blame Gay marriage for all the trouble.

  • Fred July 5, 2013 Reply

    My father was a pastor who worked a full time job. He printed the church bulletin, visited the sick, performed weddings, and did counseling. He didn’t do any of the things other people did, like fishing, watching movies, lounging around watching TV and etc, It didn’t seem to hurt him one bit and I cringe when I see pastors today who live a life of luxury and work hard to stay away from visiting the sick and counseling.

  • David July 7, 2013 Reply

    David Barton is no historian. He cherry picks historical documents looking for information that serves his political agenda, presents the information to conservative believers as history, and laughs all the way to the bank. Barton is loose with his facts and his speech. “Welfare” has a disparaging meaning, generally connoting getting something for nothing. Whether bi-vocational or not, the many pastors I’ve known worked hard and earned their church pay.

Leave a Reply

0 Total Shares
Current Events Humor Leadership Staffing
Businessman running in a hurry with many hands holding time, smart phone, laptop, wrench, papernote and briefcase, business concept in very busy or a lot of work to do.
Pastors Don’t Own the Church and Churches Don’t Own Pastors

Timothy Paul Jones writes that a deacon saved his ministry and...

Content Distribution Is Changing And So Must the Church

How people interact with content and institutions is changing, but that...

Soup Kitchen Shut Down for Two Months and Came Back Stronger

Greenpoint Reformed Church in Brooklyn had plans to feed 25 people...