Christian historian David Barton recently described a pastor's salary as "church welfare" and said ministers of the Gospel need to have alternative sources of income to protect themselves from undue influence.
In an interview with conservative political commentator Glenn Beck on Wednesday, Barton argued that pastors should be "bivocational" to prevent them from relying on a salary from the church which he referred to as "church welfare."
"What they (pastors) believe is that they can't survive without it. Now, I'm a big believer in the way Paul did it. Paul was bivocational. He had his own income so that he wasn't dependent on a church," explained Barton in the interview.
"Right now what happens is so many ministers depend on their church, and I'm sorry, I often call it church welfare. These are guys that get their check from the church and they don't want to mess with their check, don't want to jeopardize that," he noted.
He then called for more pastors to become bivocational so they can have better control over their money.
"It's time for more pastors to become bivocational so that nobody can tell them what to do with their money. They own their own money," said Barton.
"If the church money dries up, great, they are still ministers and they can still preach because they've got an income. So I'm really into that mold. And until we get out of the church welfare mold, the church takes care of me and I can't afford to lose my check from the church. It's going to be really tough to get the guys in a different direction."
During the interview, Barton discussed the effect of the recent rulings by the Supreme Court on gay marriage, arguing that the tax exempt status of churches could be used as a bargaining tool to get pastors to perform gay marriages.
On Wednesday, however, President Barack Obama promised that he would not force churches to perform gay marriages.
"On an issue as sensitive as this, knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation's commitment to religious freedom is also vital," Obama said in a Washington Examiner report.
"How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions. Nothing about this decision — which applies only to civil marriages — changes that."
The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that same-sex couples are entitled to the same federal benefits that heterosexual couples receive. It also denied an appeal against a lower court ruling that overturned an amendment banning gay marriage in California, thus clearing the way for same-sex couples to marry in the state.