I’d like to go back this week to 1 Corinthians 9. Bruce led an excellent and highly charged discussion of this chapter where we focused on Paul’s refusal to take money for preaching in Corinth. It’s natural that we would focus on that aspect of the chapter. What is appropriate for those who work in what we moderns call “full time vocational ministry” to be paid, and just how much of the wealth of this world should be held by the church (however that is defined) and its leaders has always been a hot topic.
It even manages to make it into modern fiction (albeit set in a 14th Century monastery). If you read Umberto Ecco’s excellent book The Name of the Rose , the main character, William of Baskerville (played by Sean Connery in the movie of the same name), travels to a remote Monastery in the Italian Alps to witness a theological trial on the topic, “did Jesus own His own clothes.” This was big stuff in the Medieval world because if He did not, then the Holy Church had no claim on its vast estates and the secular powers and prerogatives it took for itself. The arguments end badly in the book and people burn at the stake. There is a lot of that going on today in a metaphorical sense.