Hired help

The Wall Street Journal ran an interesting column about the outgoing pastor of Riverside Church in New York City. Riverside is a bastion of liberal Protestantism and some of the congregation was, apparently, upset that their brand new pastor preached that Jesus alone is the way to salvation. They ran to the media with stories about his huge compensation package and he ended up just resigning rather than fighting the faction. Anyway, this quote caught my eye:

At the same time, ministers no longer command the respect that they once did. “In the 19th and even in the 20th century, clergy had real moral authority, not only in the congregation but in the community as well, but that isn’t the case any more,” said the Rev. Randall Balmer, a professor, Episcopal priest and author of several books on church history. “Today they are regarded as hired help.”


Hired help — 3 Comments

  1. The truly sad part here is that the pastor who left fit’s Jesus’ definition of “hired help” as found in John 10:12. The good undershepherd would lay down his life for the sheep, fight the wolves with his bare hands, and suffer all things for the sake of his sheep. Rev. Balmer hits the nail on the head in more ways than I think he realizes. John 10 treats also on Jesus being the only way to eternal life. (“I am the door.”)

  2. The resignation request attached to a dangling severance package carrot is a technique that can be used to allow a congregation to claim they did not unjustly depose a pastor.

    It can even work in the Missouri Synod, sometimes including a non-disclosure agreement to prevent the malodorous details from getting out to other synodical members.

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