Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pastor, Inc.

Recently I was contacted by a member of John MacArthur's inner circle. It was in response to this post:

I'm going to post my side of the email exchange. In the interests of confidentiality, I'm stripping out biographical references which would identify my correspondent. 

Since he thinks I misrepresented the situation, my quoting him gives him an opportunity to publicly set the record straight (in his own mind, at least). And he is, of course, free to comment on my post, is he so desires. 


Before responding to your specific statements, I'll make a general point. My post didn't single out MacArthur. Moreover, I linked to your prior response. Furthermore, what I said in reference to MacArthur was carefully qualified. That's why I said "if." 

In addition, your email conflates the Bayly's allegations (or your interpretation thereof) with what I said in my post. 

I hadn’t seen this post at Triablogue. (And I stopped reading the Bayly blog last year where they accused MacArthur of
covetousness and profligacy.)

In my post I didn't accuse MacArthur of covetousness or prolificacy. Rather, I raised the issue of moral consistency. If he's publicly attacking prosperity preachers when he himself has the same standard of living, then that's morally duplicitous.  Holding MacArthur to the same standard as he applies to charismatic prosperity preachers is completely legit. 

Neither the Baylys nor Steve Hays bothered to ask
any questions of me or John MacArthur before making these insinuations public.

i) I don't have MacArthur's email address. Does he even have a public email address? I doubt it.

ii) Even assuming I had his direct contact info, there's no expectation that he'd respond to a nobody like me.

iii) It's my impression that you're already hostile to me because I criticized the Strange Fire Conference. So if I were to ask you about the Bayly's allegations, I doubt my questions would be well-received. 

iv) Once again this raises the issue of consistent standards. Did speakers at the Strange Fire Conference who excoriated charismatic televangelists first attempt to contact them directly? Before he wrote and published Strange Fire, did MacArthur first attempt to contact the charismatics he targets in his book?

v) In the very post you find objectionable, I also comment on Driscoll, Furtick, Franklin Graham, Richard Roberts et al. Are you suggesting I'm not entitled to comment on them unless I first attempt to contact them directly? Are you suggesting it's inappropriate to form an opinion based on public records and investigative reports?  

If the Baylys or Steve Hays were truly concerned about stewardship at GTY, they
could have asked. Publishing such accusations based mainly on hearsay and
speculation is the act of a busybody.

i) On the face of it, the Baylys were quoting from tax records which are in the public domain. Is that "hearsay"? They also attempted to analyze those records. Yes, that's a bit "speculative," but they say they had to speculate due to lack of transparency. 

ii) Do you think critics of Driscoll like Janet Mefferd, Warren Throckmorton, and Wenatchee the Hatchet are simply "busybodies"? When a reporter for World Magazine does an expose on Furtick, is he a "busybody"? 

What about speakers at the Strange Fire Conference who go after Benny Hinn and his ilk. Are they "busybodies"? 

John MacArthur has lived in the same house for the past 35+ years and he quietly
supports more missionaries and missions projects than most mid-sized churches. I
know of several cases where he has discreetly and generously met the needs of
individuals and families in the church and community—and I’m certain he has done
this far more than anyone knows (Matthew 6:2-4). It would, of course, be utterly
inappropriate for me to broadcast the facts I do know about his personal giving.
But it should be sufficient that no one who actually sees how he lives has ever
accused him of self-indulgence or even thought in their wildest dreams to
describe him as a lover of money. 

I didn't level that accusation in my post. 

His lifestyle, not his income, is what
biblically-minded people should look at if they want to evaluate his character.

i) That blurs a fundamental distinction between a business and a non-profit organization. When John Seffrin, CEO of the American Cancer Society, makes 2.1 million a year, it wouldn't matter if he donated 90% of his income to charity. It's still inappropriate for an officer of a non-profit organization to be paid that much. 

And, frankly, the bar is even higher for a pastor. If he's overpaid, that's a misappropriation of tithes and offerings. You're making accuses for MacArthur's income which you'd never make for Creflo Dollar. 

ii) I also notice that you don't take the occasion to say what MacArthur's total annual income actually is. 

Regarding specifics: contrary to the Triablogue claim, MacArthur doesn’t ALWAYS
fly 1st class, but since he almost died of pulmonary embolism a few years ago,
it’s not good for him to be immobilized in a middle seat on a long flight. So
when we at GTY make his reservations for flights more than 3 hours, we do put
him in business class whenever we can so that he can move around and stretch
more easily. He’s 75 years old and often has to preach multiple sessions
immediately after arrival on an overseas flight. It’s hardly an unreasonable

That's embedded in a larger quote from Bayly's post. 

The money paid to the Welch Group is NOT “salary” for John MacArthur’s
son-in-law. What’s listed in our Form 990 is the entire annual cost of GTY’s
television and video ministry, which we subcontract to Kory Welch’s video
production company.

That's a helpful clarification. However:

i) You skirt the issue of nepotism.

ii) You don't say what his son-in-law actually makes. 

GTY paid John MacArthur no salary or benefits for the first 30+ years. The board
mandated a change to that policy shortly after the start of the new millennium. 

Are you suggesting that MacArthur was forced to take the additional salary and benefits? Once again, I doubt that would fly if you were taking about Furtick. 

Since they know John’s personal giving is unstinted, and considering the
principle of 1 Timothy 5:17-18, they made a deliberate decision to pay him a
full salary rather than a diminished wage based on the fact that he has other

You're absurdly proposing that it's okay for MacArthur to be overpaid so long as he turns right around and gives most of that back to charity. Why should parishioners who live paycheck-to-paycheck be contributing far more to MacArthur's income than he needs to live on, just so that he takes their money and gives it to someone else? Is that MacArthur's version of income redistribution?

For the record, his lifestyle now is as modest as it was before the
board voted him that benefit.

I didn't say anything about his "lifestyle." Rather, I raised questions about his "standard of living," which is defined as "The level of wealth, comfort, material goods and necessities available to a certain socioeconomic class in a certain geographic area" (Investopedia). I'm comparing his standard of living to the charismatic prosperity preachers who he rightly assails. 


Thanks for your latest response.
You weren’t critiquing something I taught or published;
Here's how it works. You make a statement, then I respond to you on your own grounds. You implied that it's inappropriate for me to publicly raise questions about MacArthur's finances without first consulting you or him. I'm responding to you on your own terms by pointing out that, by that logic, it's inappropriate to publicly raise questions about Furtick's finances or Creflo Dollar's finances without first consulting him or one of his lieutenants. 
To judge by your responses to me thus far, you seem unaccustomed to having others hold you to the same standards you hold others to. And that's part of the problem.
some of your comments and questions were based on hearsay and speculations.
i) You keep alleging that it's hearsay. To the extent that the Baylys relied on publicly available IRS filings, that's not hearsay. 
ii) It's also circular for you to complain about speculation, if–in fact–MacArthur isn't forthcoming about his various sources of income. Institutional transparency is the way to squelch "speculation." 
Your post was loaded with insinuations about matters you admitted you had no knowledge of.
To the extent that MacArthur conceals his sources of income, that, itself, is problematic–especially when he presumes to attack prosperity preachers. You and he have a blindspot on this issue.
They were making accusations based on guesses about private matters they have no knowledge of and had not seriously attempted to investigate. 
The fact that you classify MacArthur's sources of income as "private matters" illustrates the problem. As an officer of a non-profit organization, this should be a matter of public record. And, once again, prosperity preachers also like to keep their finances out of the public eye. It goes back to the question of using consistent standards.
That, as you well know, is a classic example of hearsay. Before I made any public accusation based on what “They say . . .” about you, I would have tried to verify the claim—if possible by asking you directly.
i) Except that later on you say it's nobody's business what any author makes in book royalties. So, by your own admission, some of MacArthur's revenues are unverifiable. Does that also apply to speaking fees (if any)? 
ii) And I didn't make public "accusations." Rather, I raised questions based on prima facie evidence. 
John MacArthur isn’t paid anywhere near 2.1 million. 
I didn't suggest otherwise. Once more, I'm merely responding to you on your own terms. I was responding to your claim that:
His lifestyle, not his income, is what
biblically-minded people should look at if they want to evaluate his character.

If an officer of a non-profit organization is overpaid, then his lifestyle is irrelevant. A lavish lifestyle would be an aggravating factor, but the underlying problem is his inflated income. 

For instance, Red Cross CEOs have been accused to making exorbitant salaries. What makes it exorbitant is that people donate money to the Red Cross to go to victims of natural disasters. It's not supposed to be a piggybank for the CEOs. 

MacArthur’s total annual salary from GTY is roughly $200K, including all benefits and perks.)
And is that separate from a Master's College and/or Seminary salary and the Grace Community Church salary?
Likewise, does he charge speaking fees? If so, how much?
It’s none of mine or your business what any author makes in book royalties.
There are many things wrong with that blanket statement:
If an author is a self-employed businessman, then I agree with you.
But that's not comparable to a pastor. For instance, suppose a pastor receives royalties from his published sermons. There are obvious ethics problems with that transaction. To begin with, the congregation is already paying him to preach. He's not supposed to make money from hawking his sermons. That's why he's a salaried employee in the first place. Preaching is part of his job. 
In addition, if a church staffer edits the pastor's sermons, to produce draft MS to send to the publishers, then that's using additional church resources in a profit-making enterprise. But the congregation isn't paying the staffer to help the pastor make money selling his sermons. To the extent that you treat his sermons as a commodity, the congregation ought to share in the profits.
To take a comparison, some businesses supply their employees with company cars. But the company car is supposed to be used on company time to do company business. The employee is not supposed to drive it home after work, use it to go to the supermarket, take the kids to extracurricular actives, or drive to a vacation resort. 
To take another comparison, if I commission an artist to paint a landscape for my living room, he takes my money, then sells the painting to another customer and pockets the proceeds, that's double-dipping.   
You yourself pointed out that there are legitimate reasons for employing or contracting with family members, and in this case there’s a very good one: it’s about ten times easier for the Welch group to set up and videotape segments with John MacArthur because of the trust, convenience, and familiarity built into the family relationship.
You're omitting my crucial distinction between a private business and a non-profit organization. 
Moreover, it depends on the business. I'm not a corporate lawyer, but it's my understanding that if a man starts a successful business, and begins to sell shares in the business, then he no longer owns the business. There are restrictions on what he can do. 
Again, you surely know that’s not what I was suggesting. The point is that after 30 years without any kind of compensation, he is entitled to a salary and benefits—even double honor.
A prosperity preacher could say the same thing. A prosperity preacher can wear several different hats. He can hold top jobs in his organization, collecting a salary and benefits from each position. 
I don’t think he is “overpaid.”
Except that you've justified his income on the grounds that he donates so much of what he makes to charity. But if you think he's entitled to all that income, then why do you keep touting his frugal lifestyle? Is it proper or improper for him to have a lifestyle that matches his income? 
He’s within the scale of normal compensation for the CEO of an organization our size.
Which certainly explains your attitude. You're explicitly operating with a CEO model of a senior pastor, where what the pastor makes should be commensurate with what he'd make in the private sector if he were heading a corporation with the same size budget and number of employees. Pastor, Inc. rather than pastor as servant. 
That still seems awfully far-fetched—even contrived.
You yourself just admitted that MacArthur's income is "within the scale of normal compensation for the CEO of an organization our size."
That dovetails with how a standard of living is defined: "The level of wealth, comfort, material goods and necessities available to a certain socioeconomic class in a certain geographic area."
That puts MacArthur is a socioeconomic bracket far above the average parishioner. 
But since when is the standard of a minister’s compensation merely “what he needs to live on”? I wouldn’t limit the window washer’s pay to “what he needs to live on.”
As a rule, I think a pastor should make what, on average, his parishioners make. And if the church can afford it, he should have an expense account for buying books (e.g. commentaries). In general, I don't think he should live much better or worse than his parishioners. 
And 1) we don’t ask or encourage anyone who lives “paycheck-to-paycheck” to support our ministry. In fact, 2) we don’t actively try to persuade anyone to support us. 3) We do encourage our listeners to support their local churches first. (That’s just three fairly obvious ways your comparison to the prosperity preachers breaks down.)

Surely JMac's ministry depends in large part on tithes and offerings from members, as well as donations from out of state supporters.

Is that Hays’s version of “double honor”?
You seem to think double honor means double payment. As commentators like Marshall and Tower explain, that's a very disputable interpretation of 1 Tim 5:17.
BTW, let's revisit the issue of subsidized airfare. I don't have a problem with MacArthur flying first class. Rather, the matter of subsidized airfare raises two additional issues:
i) How much time can a pastor spend away from his church and still be a real shepherd to his parishioners? Is he receiving a full-time salary, but treating the pastorate as a part-time job? At the risk of stating the obvious, a pastor's primary responsibility is to his parishioners. To the members of his church. The time he spends away from church, doing various speaking engagements, is time taken away from visitation ministry, getting to know his parishioners, finding out what's happening in their lives. 
ii) When he doesn't even pay for his own plane tickets, not only is he not doing the job he was hired to do–he's being reimbursed for not doing the job he was hired to do.
Some celebrity megachurch pastors seem to think they are too important to be tied down to their church. They'd be squandering their talents unless they spend lots of time away from their congregation, jetting around the country or far-flung parts of the world. It's a waste of his time and talent to concentrate on the local church that employs him. He's needed in so many other places. 
but it did surprise me that you seemed so deeply stung by the critique.
That's your imaginative projection.
Your quest to establish moral parity between John MacArthur’s GTY salary and the televangelists’ obsession with filthy lucre seems such a reach that it’s hard not to wonder if you think it’s some kind of fitting retribution.
Having spent most of your professional life inside the celebrity megachurch bubble, you've lost the perspective to appreciate how the subcultural mores you take for granted look to an outsider. As long as we're wondering, I have to wonder how the sense of entitlement you defend comes across to the average, overworked pastor of a small church who has to do everything singlehandedly. 
I'll just tie up a few loose ends:

i) I don't think ministers should use the pastorate as a launchpad to enrich themselves through corporate-level compensation packages, or books sales, or speaking fees, &c. 

ii) Just as folks donate to the Red Cross to help victims, not pad the salaries of Red Cross CEOs or regional directors, the same principle applies tithes and offerings. 

I'm not one of those critics who holds pastors to a "higher standard." I don't think a pastor ought to have a frugal lifestyle while it's okay for a layman to have a lavish lifestyle. I have the same standards for both. 

But I don't espouse the commercialization of the ministry. 

iii) On the one hand, you say I should have contacted you first to to learn firsthand about the financial aspects of MacArthur's ministry.

On the other hand, I'm getting a "That's none of your darn tootin' business!" to some of my inquiries when I ask specific questions.

On top of that, you complain about "speculation." Well, if you refuse to lay it all out...

iv) Likewise, why talk about how much JMac gives to charity if you think JMac is entitled to all that largesse? It's like saying JMac is entitled to the "compensation" as long as he doesn't spend it on his wife and himself. Well, who's it for, then? 

Thanks. This will be my final response. 

Your argument seems to boil down to this: 1) because GTY as a 501c3 is obliged to report all the salary and compensation we pay John MacArthur, he’s not entitled to keep any of his income figures private; 2) if he has other sources of income (book royalties; salary from the church, or whatever) he’s not entitled to a full salary from GTY; and 3) if he works for multiple organizations, they should consult amongst themselves to make sure that the combined amount of his income equals no more than “what he needs to live on.”

No, that's not what my argument boils down to. Here's what my argument boils down to:

i) A wealthy preacher disqualifies himself from attacking health-n-wealth preachers.

ii) A pastor shouldn't make far in excess of what his parishioners make (on average). 

iii) If a pastor is an outspoken critic of prosperity preachers, then he should be forthcoming about his own total income. 

iv) A prosperity preacher can (and many undoubtedly do) create multiple organizations which then employ him for the express purpose of feathering his nest from each separate "ministry." I'm not accusing MacArthur of that. Rather, I'm making the point that his practice, which you defend, makes it impossible for him to criticize prosperity preachers who do the same thing.

In other words, the workman is not really worthy of his hire if he has other income sources.
i) You're acting as if 1 Tim 5:18 is literally a blank check. If you think there are no caps on how much a pastor is entitled to make, then there's no basis for attacking what prosperity preachers rake in.
ii) I also don't see St. Paul using a CEO model of pastoral compensation. 
With regard to details about book royalties and other income, I did not say, “That’s none of your darn tootin’ business.” My point is that there are some aspects of any pastor’s personal finances that are none of anyone’s darn tootin’ business—neither yours nor mine. The only knowledge I have regarding specific income figures for John MacArthur is what we pay him at GTY. I’ve never tried to keep secret what I know and am obliged to make known. I haven’t been coy with you or refused to answer your legitimate questions. But I don’t know (and have no inclination or need to investigate) what the church, college, and seminary pay John MacArthur. I also don’t know and don’t care what he makes from book royalties or honoraria.
i) Part of the problem is your slippery definition of "personal finances." If, say, some of a pastor's income derives from church funds or church resources, then it's a type of money laundering to reclassify that as his "personal finances."  
ii) For instance, since a pastor is already salaried to produce sermons, he shouldn't make money off of published sermons. Any profits ought to be plowed back into the church's general fund or ministries. And that consideration is magnified if he uses church resources to prepare his sermons for publication.
iii) Likewise, if a pastor has his hand in the till of various revenue streams, then he disqualifies himself from waxing indignant at prosperity preachers. 
(I do know that he waives all royalties on books purchased by GTY, so he’s not getting any income from any books that GTY sells or gives away to listeners. I also know—and it’s well known—that he sets no speaking fee. He never has. His hosts at speaking engagements are free to pay him—or not—whatever they decide. Do you really think pastors should be obliged to report the amounts of all gifts they receive—not “fees,” but voluntary honoraria? Do you imagine that’s what the apostles did? It seems to me that all kinds of evil would ensue if every guest speaker were required to disclose whether and how much whenever they are given an honorarium.)
i) It depends on the individual or combined value of the gifts. If, say, he's given a Rolex watch, that should be reported. Indeed, he should refuse a gift like that.
ii) Expensive gifts can be a form of influence pedaling. That should either be reported or (better yet) simply refused.
iii) We're not talking about the modest love offering which a small-town pastor might receive, but the sums which a celebrity/megachurch pastor might receive. 
iv) Likewise, if his travel expenses (transportation, room and board) are already subsidized by the church, why should he collect honoraria on top of that? 
v) As I said before, I don't think a pastor should be spending lots of time away from his congregation in the first place. 
Anyway, here’s the bottom line: John MacArthur’s salary at GTY is set by our board based on his role in our ministry, without regard to what he earns elsewhere. It’s not an exorbitant amount by any reasonable standard. We don’t care or need to know details about other sources of his income, as long as he is above reproach in the way he uses his wealth. If he prospers even more, we rejoice. It’s not our board’s duty to mitigate his total income or otherwise penalize him for receiving an abundance of material blessings.
You disagree with our board’s policy. I’m sorry you do.
i) A prosperity preacher can also have a board that approves his income. For that matter, I'm sure W. A. Criswell had a church board, but that didn't  prevent the financial abuses documented by Joel Gregory: Too Great A Temptation: the Seductive Power of America's Super Church. 
ii) You've indicated that MacArthur has the following actual or potential sources of income:
a) GTY salary
b) Church salary
c) College salary
d) Seminary salary
e) Book royalties
f) Speaking fees
Such financial self-aggrandizement is unseemly for a critic of prosperity preachers. 
I’m merely trying to point out the sinful absurdity of publicly insinuating that a respected pastor and faithful Bible expositor is secretly a lover of mammon—even though he has served the same congregation for 45 years; lived in the same house for 35+ years; and is well known for his generosity, frugality, and modest living.
i) You keep imputing to me an allegation I never leveled. The problem is if MacArthur has a standard of living comparable to the prosperity preachers he denounces. 
ii) It's contradictory for you to constantly excuse his income by appealing to his modest lifestyle. If he's really entitled to all that largesse, then what would be wrong with his having a lifestyle to match his income? The fact that you're so defensive on this point is revealing. 


  1. Since when does someone in the inner circle at GTY think it's OK to compare a pastor to a CEO?
    Just makes me shake my head.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Steve Gregg is another charismatic who has criticized many of the errors and excesses in the charismatic movement and the Word of Faith movement. Here's a link to his 4 part series critiquing the Word of Faith movement. He even occasionally critiques some of the things that happen among charismatics in his series Charisma & Character where he attempts to argue for continuationism.

  4. Thanks Steve, this has been one of the most helpful things I've read in thinking through these matters.

    It is also an excellent warning to all of us lest we fall into something we never intended to. It left me conscious of the tremendous danger of not having the regular habit of repentance in ones life. When God sends us critics, we can't hear them due to our own defensiveness, end can end up throwing away so much of what we worked for.

    Every personal rebuke we receive is an opportunity examine ourselves and keep the fires of repentance warm in our hearts, may God continue to send them to us.

  5. It seems to me that the problem is largely one of appearances combined with man's sinful tendencies; particularly mammon in the case at hand.

    Even if JMac isn't a lover of money, he's apparently rolling in it. Would it be acceptable for a well respected Bible teacher to maintain an ever-growing harem just so long as he were a faithfully committed one woman man in keeping with the Biblical requirements for an elder?

    I suppose a clever exegete might successfully argue "yes", but the question would remain, "why"?

  6. “As a rule, I think a pastor should make what, on average, his parishioners make.”

    Where does this rule come from? Do you limit it only to pastors? Should a doctor make more than what, on average, his patients make?

    1. Huh? How is a doctor comparable to a pastor?
      And there are numerous warnings in the NT about not loving money, not giving any occasion for rebuke, elders bring above reproach and not loving money...

    2. The rule comes from the fact that the pastorate is not a private business, unlike the medical profession (at least US doctors). A pastor shouldn't use church funds or exploit church-related activities to enrich himself. Tithes and offerings ought to go to the support of the ministry, not to push the pastor into an income bracket well above the donors.

      If you were paying attention, you'd note that I don't limit it to pastors. I also apply it to employees of non-profit organizations, like charities and disaster relief organizations.

      I'd add that we should expect even more from pastors than secular non-profit organizations.

    3. And what if the Pastor/Shepherd, like the Beloved Paul of scripture, had his own private business or businesses?...so much so that he was able to not require a salary, except maybe a few basic expenses.

  7. Why are individuals in private businesses apparently exempt from making "too much" money?

    If pastors should only make what the parishioners, on average, make, how much should the employees of a non-profit make?

    1. Since you're logically and ethically challenged, let's remind you of the context. MacArthur is an outspoken critic of prosperity preachers. Get that? If you don't think it matters how much a pastor rakes in from donations or turning his ministry into a profit-making enterprise, then there's no consistent basis to attack prosperity preachers. Sorry if that's too subtle for you. Would it help if I use a sledge hammer?

      Likewise, what do you think donated money is donated for? If, say, you donate to a disaster relief organization, is your contribution intended to help victims of natural disasters or to enrich the CEO? Do you think there should be no caps on what the CEO of the Red Cross makes?

      Private businesses exist to be profitable. To make money for the businessman. By contrast, the purpose of churches and parachurch organizations is to evangelize the lost and disciple Christians. Once again, sorry if that distinction is too subtle for you.

    2. Steve, i'm still not sure I get your point. You keep using terms like 'rake in' and 'small local church' etc. Surely, each scenario would/should have a context sensitive balance. JM's wide organisational scope and reach suggests to me that the compensation approved by the various boards for the charities he serves are remunerating him appropriately for the work he does and the value he provides.

      He is doing multiple 'jobs' for multiple organisations simultaneously, why should he not be compensated by each one?

    3. How much "compensation" does he need to be financially secure or have a comfortably lifestyle? Does he serve the charities, or do the charities serve him?

      It becomes a great racket to start multiple organizations, then collect from each one.

      "The value he provides"? There's a difference between making money and taking money. He isn't getting a cut of the wealth he produces. Rather, he's double- (triple, quadruple, quintuple) dipping into donated funds. Funds donated for ministry, not for making him rich.

    4. If you want to know how much a non-profit organization is paying their officers go to guidstar.org and look at the organizations fed 990. I recently did and dropped supporting four organizations for paying them excessively amounts including GTY and John MacArthur. He is a exceedingly good Bible teacher but is wrong to pay him in excess, it doesn't look right it's an appearance of evil.

    5. If you want to know how much a non-profit organization is paying their officers go to guidstar.org and look at the organizations fed 990. I recently did and dropped supporting four organizations for paying them excessively amounts including GTY and John MacArthur. He is a exceedingly good Bible teacher but is wrong to pay him in excess, it doesn't look right it's an appearance of evil.

  8. So, then, you don’t have an answer as to how much employees of a non-profit organization should make?

    Your post went beyond the issue of MacArthur to the question of how much pastors should make. And your answer, by apparent fiat, is that a pastor should make what the parishioners, on average, make.

    And apparently, as long as your job doesn’t entail helping victims of natural disaster or evangelizing the lost and discipling Christians, you can make as much as you want. If your job involves giving heartplants and treating burn patients, feel free to make as much as you can.

    “Do you think there should be no caps on what the CEO of the Red Cross makes?”

    The CEO should be paid whatever the board of the non-profit organization thinks she is worth. If they believe she is bringing more value to the organization than her salary, then she is worth it to the organization. Who are you to say otherwise? If you, as a contributor, think the organization lacks integrity or that the CEO is making too much money, take your contributions elsewhere.

    1. JTT

      "So, then, you don’t have an answer as to how much employees of a non-profit organization should make?"

      Since you have difficulty grasping basic concepts, let me help you out. Your question is like the sorites paradox. How many grains of wheat does it take to make a heap? One grain doesn't make a heap. Or two. Or three. There's no exact threshold. Does it follow that a pile of a million grains is not a heap?

      Little-by-little arguments have vague boundary conditions. But that doesn't mean we can't draw any lines. Three grains of wheat are not a heap. But a pile of grain a mile high surely is. In-between a mountain and a few grains of wheat you can still have a heap.

      I don't have to give you an exact figure for how much the CEO of Red Cross should make to say that a salary (and other benefits) above a certain amount is excessive.

      For instance, if 95% of the Red Cross budget goes to overhead, and only 5% to victims, that's a misappropriation of funds. That defeats the purpose of a disaster relief agency. It's a means/ends relation.

      Sorry if you're unable to grasp that concept.

      "Your post went beyond the issue of MacArthur to the question of how much pastors should make. And your answer, by apparent fiat, is that a pastor should make what the parishioners, on average, make."

      Pastors aren't supposed to be a breed apart from those to whom they minister. A pastor is also a sheep.

      "The CEO should be paid whatever the board of the non-profit organization thinks she is worth."
      So if the board thinks that for every $100 that's donated, $95 should go to the CEO, and $5 to victims, then the board's priorities are above criticism.

      "Who are you to say otherwise?"

      Because I can give good reasons, and you can't.

      "If you, as a contributor, think the organization lacks integrity or that the CEO is making too much money, take your contributions elsewhere."

      By your morally twisted logic, no ministry or nonprofit could every be guilty of malfeasance as long as the board and the CEO enter into a consentually incestuous relationship of mutual kickbacks.

    2. “I don't have to give you an exact figure for how much the CEO of Red Cross should make to say that a salary (and other benefits) above a certain amount is excessive.”

      So, then, you can’t tell us exactly how much the CEO of the Red Cross should make, but you know an excessive amount when you see it. What are you basing this excessive amount on? Is it a percentage of the revenue of the organization? Is it a percentage of what a “for profit” counterpart would make? Do you just intuit excesses?

      If the Red Cross has 3.5 billion in revenue, is a salary of 2 million for the CEO inappropriate? What fraction of the for-profit comparable salary do you suggest non-profit workers should be paid? Should doctors in non-profit hospitals be paid less than doctors in for-profit hospitals? Should government IT professionals be paid less than their for-profit counterparts.

    3. I see that my point about the sorites paradox sailed right over your head. Thanks for illustrating your persistent irrationality.

      "What are you basing this excessive amount on?"

      I already explained that to you. Sorry that you can't follow the argument.

      "If the Red Cross has 3.5 billion in revenue, is a salary of 2 million for the CEO inappropriate?"

      Yes, that's inappropriate. Its raison d'être is to provide relief to victims of natural disaster (among other things), not to make profits or enrich the CEO. In exchange, they receive tax breaks.

      However, your question is nonsensical, for you've already "intuited" that "the CEO should be paid whatever the board of the non-profit organization thinks she is worth."

      So by your logic, if the board agrees to pay the CEO 3 billion a year, $400 million for the remaining employees, and $100 million in actual relief to victims, that's not a misappropriation of funds.

      "Should doctors in non-profit hospitals be paid less than doctors in for-profit hospitals?"

      Non-profit hospitals present so many different financial trade-offs that it may be a wash.

      "Should government IT professionals be paid less than their for-profit counterparts."

      Since gov't employees enjoy greater job security, yes.

      However, the real comparison would be between CEOs and heads of gov't agencies. For instance, as a "civil servant," the Secretary of the Treasury shouldn't make the same amount as the CEO of Goldman Sachs. Not to mention that being Secretary of the Treasury is, itself, a very marketable position to have on your resume when you leave gov't to return to the private sector.

    4. JTT said:

      "Should doctors in non-profit hospitals be paid less than doctors in for-profit hospitals?"

      1. As I understand it, most not-for-profit or non-profit hospitals try to make as much money as they can. The main differences are how the non-profit hospital is structured for tax purposes, and how non-profit hospital profits are plowed back into the hospital and other "causes" the non-profit hospital would support, which could mean a variety of different things.

      2. Also, doctors at non-profit hospitals aren't necessarily employed by the non-profit hospital itself. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, what's most common is doctors are employed by private groups that contract with the non-profit hospital.

  9. Hmm. How much money is a pastor worth?

  10. On the one hand there's clearly the fact that JMac will give an account to the Chief Shepherd, so in that sense his accountability is ultimately assured.

    On the other hand one of the qualifications of an undershepherd is to be above reproach, and that accountability is of the "here and now" variety.

    His inner circle's remonstrances not withstanding, it's not clear that "above reproach" is feasible in this case (mammon-serving) precisely because of the lack of transparency bordering on secrecy.

    This raises a host of concerns.

  11. Regarding the Bayly's post, "Appreciation for John Macarthur, warts and all..." And since I saw that Phil Johnson responded to this post, I'd like to also respond with some factual information regarding GTY, and money and nepotism and salaries. And I will also provide proof. Hopefully this sheds some light on the discussion and pardon me if you already are aware of these things.

    The latest information that is available to the public regarding GTY's finances is within GTY's IRS 990 form for the 2011 calender year. In that year, John Macarthur claimed to work for GTY for 20 hours per week and was compensated $402,444. The Masters College and Seminary's 990 form for this same year states that Macarthur works 40 hours/week for them and earned %103,000. That's more than a half million right there. Also, I have good reason to suspect that he didn't worked 60 hours per week for these organizations as stated.

    This 500K Macarthur earned in 2011 doesn't include his church salary (if he had one), book royalties (which could be extremely lucrative), speaking fees if he had them.

    From this same 990 for GTY, one can see that Phil Johnson earned more than $218,000 in 2011. And this doesn't include the money Phil earns for editing Macarthur's books. In total, 7 employees of GTY, including Macarthur, earned more than $150,000 in 2011.

    Now allow me to make a point about nepotism within GTY. First, Macarthur is President of GTY and his two sons are the Treasurer and a Director of GTY. And GTY awards annually about $700,000 to a private firm that is solely owned by Kory Welch. Who is Kory Welch? He is John Macarthur's son-in-law.

    His company, The Welch Group, receives this money for GTY's video production work. And because it's a private firm, we don't know what salary, if any, he draws from this 700K. Is there any competitive bidding going on for this lucrative contract? When I spoke to Rufus Harvey, the CFO of GTY, he assured me that there was bidding, but when I asked him to tell me who the other bidders were he told me, "We don't have to disclose that information by law." It's most probably the truth that no other bidders exist.

    If you'd like to see proof for what I've just said then go to these links.

    The finest expose on John Macarthur to date was written by a top Christian researcher named Barbara Aho of Watch Unto Prayer. This 5-part expose which is thoroughly researched is most shocking and proves (and I don't say that lightly) that Macarthur is a fraud. But don't trust me. Please read it for yourself.

    BTW, if you ask Phil Johnson about me then you'll just receive adhominem attack. Over many years he's called me every name in the book.

    I appreciate your time and indulgence,

    Bob Johnson

    1. The amount of credibility you lose with that ridiculously foolish post about the Mark of the Beast is enormous, Bob Johnson. Do yourself a favor. Delete that post, apologise for ever saying something so inane, and focus on things that actually have some importance like the salary figures you found.