Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Churches keeping secrets
by Aaron Menikoff (9Marks, 29 Apr 2009)

It was interesting to read the uproar last week about the salary Manhattan's famous Riverside Church offered its new pastor. The church is infamous in evangelical circles for its pastors that have stretched evangelical tenets to their breaking point--Harry Emerson Fosdick in the 30's and 40's, William Sloane Coffin in the 70's and 80's. It started as a Baptist church but its membership policies were broadened in the 1930's. Today, Riverside describes itself as "interdenominational" and is formally associated with the United Church of Christ and American Baptist Convention.

Some members of the church are upset that they were unaware that this historically congregational church offered its new Senior Pastor a compensation package that far exceeded the previous pastor, James Forbes.

What I find interesting is Juan Gonzalez's description of the brouhaha in an piece he wrote for the Daily News. He cited one long-time member of Riverside who said that Congregational churches "have complete transparency on finances." Apparently finishing this member's thought, Gonzalez quipped, "Baptist churches, on the other hand, tend to keep vital information among key church leaders."

(read more)

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