Funding the Clergy

Robin Lane Fox addresses how the early church funded its clergy:
...both the bishop and the clergy depended on the good will of the laity for funds in the first place. At first, they were supported by a "dividend system," financed by the total of their Christians' offerings: the sum seems to have been paid monthly, and a bishop's share was probably twice as big as an Elder's. The offerings included first fruits from crops and produce: Christian polemic against the letter of the Mosaic law did not extend to its rules on first fruits and tithes: tithes, on one view, were payable to the minor clerics, widows, paupers and virgins. The notion of fixed clerical salaries was considered an outrage as late as c. 200, in both Rome and Asia. It was the shocking practice of Christian sectarians and heretics. In the Christian Empire, however, it became the orthodox system in the East. Salaries are the heretics' one lasting legacy to Christian life.


  1. "Salaries are the heretics' one lasting legacy to Christian life." Beautiful...I could not agree more! What book was this from? Joel, presumably you are quoting this with approval, but how-so as a supporter of the bureaucratic institution that is the Anglican church?

    1. It's called "Pagans and Christians" by Robin Lane Fox.
      I'm actually not quoting it with approval, I just thought it was an interesting bit of history!

    2. Cool. Yea, I was wondering...and it is interesting. Thanks. May our mutual Savior be with you and your's this coming year brother!