“It is not intolerant to reject falsehood, neither are we tolerant when we warmly appraise and accept [unsound] ideas. But in our wise intolerance we must not lose our love: and in our tolerance we must not give away our souls.” – William Barclay.
Sometimes we in the Christian church have an idea that those who volunteer or are called, for full time Christian missionary service, expect to not get paid much, if at all. More Than Money More Than Faith; Successfully Raising Missionary Support in the Twenty-first Century is a book by Paul Johnson, I’m currently reading. I’m going to quote parts of pages 37 & 38 from it.
Does the Bible present a clear mandate for missionaries to go to assignments without the complete financial support of God’s people, to go by faith alone? Do the Scriptures teach that financial resources are always gained through the prayer of faith, with no other means, or methods employed? When we first started with Wycliffe 25+ years ago, we thought so. But now as we actually study the Scriptures about funding Gods work we see how wrong we were.
One of the Scriptures often quoted for the “faith alone” mentality is Luke 9:1-6, the story of Jesus sending out the twelve. “Take nothing for the journey – no staff, no bag, no bread, no extra cloak”. But often we don’t seem to get to “The rest of the Story” found in Luke 22:35-36, Jesus asked them, “when I sent you out without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing” they answered. He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag, and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one”.
The first command was a faith builder, the second was how life would normally be. We call it Reality.
Elijah, fed by the ravens, (1 Kings 17:2-6) is often used as a justifying text by those who accept the “live-by-faith-alone” philosophy. [use to be us] In the 28 times Elijah is referred to in the New Testament, not once is his experience cited in any context where financial provision is under discussion. The Elijah experience is never used by any other prophet or priest of the Old Testament to instruct Israel in how financial needs should be met. It was a special case for that time and situation. It is spurious and spiritually dangerous to make application of this story the way some faith missionaries have done. The way we did.
The disciples experience in Luke 9 and Elijah’s experience were special cases.
This may be the greatest error faith missionaries make in building a “by-faith-alone” ideology: observing a special case in the Scriptures then assuming it as the general case for their lives.
Get the book, its a good read!