There are the three main categories of the local and global church needs, non-Christian needs, and non-human needs to which I may distribute the money. Keller argues that the church should not provide for only those within the church, but those outside of it as well, paralleling the provisions commanded for the strangers and aliens of the Old Testament (Keller, 13-14). He also suggested that we should not give to others with the condition that they are a Christian or will become one after the aid. When Jesus healed the blind man, there was “no indication that Jesus gave the aid conditionally. He did not press him to believe as he healed him…” (Keller, 18). Also, non-Christian organizations may provide aid for Christians. Paul encourages believers to “…do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). Thus, though the church should definitely help the homeless shelter, orphanage, and children sponsorship program, whether or not the recipients or the corporation running the programs are Christian, the church should provide for the needs of Christian brothers first.
I allotted more money to the benevolence category than to any other category. This is consistent with the many verses throughout the Bible commanding Christians to support their brothers and sisters in Christ. It is also consistent with the pattern the early church followed in the use of its finances until the influence of Constantine (which, according to our class lecture, resulted in a higher percentage of resources being allotted for building expenses). As in the examples given earlier, Jesus and the apostles continually taught others to provide for the needs of the poor in the New Testament. In the Old Testament there were various rules enacted every 1, 3, 7, and 50 years. These regulated the use of one’s resources so that those in need, specifically the poor, widows, aliens, and Levites, would be continually cared for.
It is not wrong for the Pastor to be financially supported by the church. In Num 18:24 we learn that “…the tithe of the people of Israel [God has] given to the Levites for an inheritance…” Though this situation is slightly different since Levites were not allowed to provide for their needs by other means, there is still a principal of providing for spiritual leaders. This is also seen in Gal 6:6 which states, “One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches”. Perhaps the pastor’s salary should not be based on the average income in the area, though, but by what his needs actually are. This would be more in alignment with how land was distributed in the Old Testament. “…Numbers 26:52-56 portrays a system of dividing up the land so that every tribe would have an amount proportionate to their numerical size…this did not mean that everyone should have the same, but that every family should have enough – enough to be economically viable” (Economics and...