Interesting Thoughts on the Influence of Wealth in the Local Church

These thoughts are well-worth the consideration of local churches today…

“If a church is composed of many wage-workers with a few well-to-do families, the contributions of these few will be of inordinate importance in the financial affairs of the church. The departure of a single family may mean that the church can no longer pay the minister’s salary nor support itself. Such a condition will almost inevitably breed an unwholesome deference at some points and an unwholesome jealousy at others.

It would be strange, too, if those who are the financial stays of the church did not have the feeling that their wishes ought to be decisive about the coming and going of the minister and others matters deeply affecting the spiritual life. But the preference of wealthy men and their wives [sic] may select a pastor who is more of a courtier than a saint….

The fundamental evil in the union of Church and State is that worldly men [sic] with their interests and points of view dominate the life of the Church which ought to be guided by moral and Christian interests…Church and State are separate with us, but the essence of the evil may creep in once more as soon as the mass of church members are financially weak and a few persons hold the financial existence of the church in their hands.”

–Walter Rauschenbusch, “Christianity and the Social Crisis” (1907)


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