One of the crying evils of our churches is a too loose discipline. It is often the case that little or nothing is known by a church in its aggregate capacity of the whereabouts or spiritual condition of a large proportion of its members. This is a sad state of things, and how to remedy it is difficult to determine. How to build up and to perpetuate a church of live, working members is a desideratum worthy of every effort to attain. How to enlist the membership of a church in the work of the Master so as to develop its highest capacity for good is a vexing question with many. Some will not attend regularly, others will take no part in the service, or business of the body, whilst a large number will not pay anything for the support of the pastor. What to do with the latter class is a perplexing question. Let me present a hypothetical case and ask your opinion as to what should be done in such a case. The brother intelligently moves in good society, moves in good style, enjoys good health and discharges his social duties as a person in independent circumstances, though not in affluence; he is the owner of about $8,000 worth of real estate. When approached and urged to contribute something to the support of the pastor, he replied he is not able, and so does nothing. He has failed and refuses to pay anything on the pastor's salary for several years. He has occasionally paid small sums for incidental expenses. Can the name of such a brother be carried on the church roll of membership indefinitely, without his paying anything to the support of the pastor? Some of our Baptists have strange views of church polity. Many of them act as If they were mere honorary members, without any duties or obligations to discharge. Perhaps our preachers do not call attention to this subject often enough from the pulpit. I find, occasionally, a brother who claims that he does not owe anything on the pastor's salary, because he has not subscribed anything. Such a member fortifies himself behind one wrong (not subscribing) to justify a second.
I take this means of calling a pastor and the payment of his salary: The church appoints a committee to call a pastor, with the tender of a certain salary. The call and salary are accepted by a minister. This is submitted to the church and is approved by a majority. This becomes the action of the church and is binding upon that church and every member of that church. The church having acted as an organized body through its regularly appointed agents, the contract (a civil one) becomes binding on every member, and should suit be brought by the pastor for the stipulated salary, the judgment would be rendered against the member in their organized capacity, and each and every member would be liable for the entire salary in a court of law. Please give your views.
P. T. Glass.
[From Baptist and Reflector, February 15, 1900, p. 6. CD edition from M/F. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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