Feb 16, 2009

Peck Circular

"Circular Address to the Baptists of Illinois"
by John Mason Peck

This was written in response to the anti-missionaries, and those who opposed ministerial education, Sunday Schools, benevolent work, etc.

"The gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation, must be preached, regularly and constantly, to all classes. All the efficiency of working is of God, but he works by means, and we have no more just reason to expect a crop, where no culture has been bestowed, or seed cast into the ground, than to expect a harvest of souls without the word of truth being sown in the heart. We ought to have a number of preachers, wholly devoted to traveling, preaching and laboring for the good of souls, throughout the different settlements of this State. They cannot do this without the means of support. Every man who preaches the gospel has to be supported. The expenses of his living and that of his family must be paid. No man ever did or ever will preach the gospel without support. Either he must support himself, - or the church must do it, - or the world must do it. We know of many preachers in our State who pay the exorbitant tax of from 50 to 100 working days labor (besides Lord's days,) with a horse, and frequently ferriage and other traveling expenses within a year, while their brethren pay nothing. A man and horse is worth from 75 cents to one dollar per day on his farm. Consequently these preachers really pay from 50 to 100 dollars yearly to support the gospel, while their brethren, who get the benefit of their labor, pay nothing. Is this just, equitable, or scriptural? Christ has said, "the laborer is worthy of his hire," the workman is worthy of his meat, and he forbid his disciples to take "purse or script," that is, to support themselves.

There are no two ways about it. Either the gospel cannot be preached, and the command of the Savior must be violated, - or the preachers must pay all the expense, as they have heretofore done in this country, and thus violate the law of the Savior; - or the brethren must aid them according to the scriptural command. The question then, is, will the churches voluntarily and freely give of their substance to support preachers, whom God has called and sent into the field, and who will devote their whole time to the gospel ministry, - or shall the preachers be compelled to pay a tax of from fifty to one hundred dollars each, per annum, as many of our brethren in the ministry have done, while private members pay nothing.

See here

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