Pastors With Millions Stir Debate

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, is an example of a wealthy spiritual leader.

A recent article on Huffington Post featuring 10 pastors who have made hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars, includes Lake Forest's own Rick Warren, pastor at .

The article, "Best Paid Pastors Make Hundreds Of Thousands To Millions Of Dollars Annually," has drawn more than 4,500 comments.

It's important to note that Warren differs from some of the other spiritual leaders in the slideshow. In 2005, he returned 25 years of salary to the church and stopped accepting paychecks.

According to Warren's website, he and his wife, Kay, give away 90 percent of their income through three foundations: Acts of Mercy, which serves those infected and affected by AIDS; Equipping the Church, which trains church leaders in developing countries; and The Global PEACE Fund, which fights poverty, disease and illiteracy.

Part of that income comes from sales of Warren's books, including his bestselling Christian advice book The Purpose Driven Life.

Some commenters said spiritual leaders are hypocrites for drawing huge salaries while preaching the gospel of helping others.

One reader wrote: "People, WAKE UP. The pastor has the mansion, the Rolls Royce, the jet aircraft, etc. And you have NOTHING. ... The givers are out of work, living pay cheque to pay cheque, and doing without, so that the pastor can live the high life."

Conversely, others said rich pastors should not be castigated for their wealth.

"Frankly if you have issue with what your pastor makes then you can certianly [sic] opt out of tithes and offerings. If you feel good about that decision so does the good Lord who is only interested in cheerful givers ... Running a large church is like running a large company and as such the CEO should be compensate­d well," another HuffPo reader opined.

What do you think? Should pastors pull in big paychecks? Why or why not? TELL US IN THE COMMENTS

Julie January 24, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Great job on the follow up. LOVE that our pastor "Rick Warren" drives a 12 year old truck, wears watches from Walmart and lives in the same house he has had for a LONG time. He practices what he preaches...however, I don't think God is against being successful...as long as you are actively following the bible and doing all He personally asks of you...on an ongoing basis....
Robert Crittendon January 24, 2012 at 04:40 PM
My first response is to repeat a joke that my father, a Baptist minister, told. He said that a preacher was awakened one night by a burglar ransacking his house. He confronted the burglar and said, "What do you think you're doing?" The intruder replied'' "I'm looking for your money." "Well, wait for me to turn on the light," said the preacher, "and I'll help you look." I don't recall ever meeting any dedicated ministers who got rich in their pastorates. It isn't money that is evil,,, just the inordinate "love of money" that corrupts. Bob Crittendon
Helen Mills January 24, 2012 at 05:45 PM
As a 22-year member of Saddleback Church I am a front row witness to the blessings that God has bestowed on Pastor Rick Warren and his wife Kay. I am also a front row witness to the multitude of blessings that Pastor Rick and his wife Kay have bestowed on millions of others around the globe. Their teachings and outreach to our local communities is only the tip of the iceberg. Their outreach to the hurting and needy in our world is awe inspiring. I am certain God has bestowed these financial blessings on the Warrens as He knew they could be trusted with it. "...From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." Luke 12:48 (NIV). Thank you Pastor Rick & Kay for all you do for our broken world.
Karen Koczwara January 24, 2012 at 11:56 PM
I have a great respect for Pastor Rick and all he and his wife do..they are the real deal. He drives an old truck and gives away most of his money. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for some other pastors of mega churches out there. Kudos to him for practicing what he preaches.
M January 25, 2012 at 04:31 AM
They may be the real deal but their intolerance, as usual amoung Christians, is ungodly and if course unchristian.


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