In the video you see the familiar tactics that the hard-core storehouse tithers use, and a few new ones:
- the twist this preacher uses that I haven't seen before, is he is calling not just for a 10% tithe, but he wants it given as "undesignated". I wonder how necessary it is to actually say that. Most people who give regularly to their church, do so without designating a particular budget item. If they do designate, its usually into a capital fund. Are there givers that are giving significant sums to a capital fund? If so, so what, let them give as they purpose in their hearts to give! Is it his place to tell people how to give? He seems to imply that giving to a captial fund or to a designated fund is not obedient storehouse tithing.
- this preacher emphatically tells his congregation to support NO other ministries with the first 10% of their charitable giving. He says that people will be bombarded with requests for money this time of year from "everybody and their brother", and they are to not give to these unless it is over and above the 10%. If a man in that church is able to give say 5%, or $400 per month, is he really obligated by God to give it ALL to this preacher's church? I know the preacher PREFERS it all be given to his church, but really, does God demand that it ALL go to Steve Gaines' church? If so, where in scripture does it command this as an act obedience? Would it be disobedient for someone to support another ministry like a local rescue mission, or even to help a single mom whose car needs repairs with their first 10%? This strong, emphatic call for ALL of the FIRST 10% is perhaps one of the most arrogant and greedy parts of the storehouse tithe doctrine. But it works, apparently.
- he talks about "unwritten checks" - apparently those you did NOT write to his church - as showing the condition of your heart. Amen! Perhaps if people stop forking over all of their charitable money to the mega churches and to other worthwhile charities, these "unwritten checks" will show them to have a discerning spirit!
- one positive note: at least this guy has some soft music playing, and uses his "prayer voice" to ask for the money, at least in the first part of the video, and actually does thank his church for their generosity. If you're going to tell me God Almighty has told me I need to give 10% of my money to your church as a test of my obedience, please set the mood right and be gentle. :)
- he has someone give a testimony of a wonderful ministry that their tithes are paying for. This would be a good tactic, if any measurable percentage of the money was actually paying for that ministry. This minister offers an example that really doesn't cost any money, as an example of what their money is paying for. Do they think the sheep are that stupid?
- the preacher calls the giving a wise "spiritual investment". Make the sheep believe that their gift is an "investment". Televangelists use this verbiage quite a bit...even going so far as to encouraging people to get their investment money and "put it in the kingdom" to earn a higher return! One televangelist recently told viewers that instead of putting aside money for their children's college, they should take that same money and "invest" it in his ministry and God will give them a much greater financial return.
- the power of a personal testimony of a storehouse tither is used. These testimonies are very persuasive. People in the pews who are giving generously, but not 10% will feel a sense of guilt to get to 10% so they too can be blessed, and be obedient to God. Notice the terminology used by the man and woman giving the testimony. No doubt they are very sincere, but they speak of the tithe as "an act of obedience", a "test of my faithfulness", tithing is what "the Lord has commanded". The woman mentions "the Malachi 3:10 thing", and apparently has been tithing all of her life. We'll look at this "Malachi 3:10 thing" a bit later.
Enjoy the video, and I look forward to more discussion!
"Tithing is not synonymous with giving. Tithing means to literally give 10% of your income to the work of the Lord in your church in an undesignated fashion. It was brought to the storehouse in Malachi Chapter 3 and all over the Old Testament. And in the New Testament, Jesus affirmed it as well when he was talking with folks....and I know at the end of the year you're going to have everybody and their brother sayin': 'Give to our cause, give to our cause'. Just remember though, God wants your tithe to go to your local church. And this local church is not just spending that money to build buildings and all that kinda stuff, we're putting that money back into the lives of people, to help people, so they can know about Jesus Christ. So I want to encourage you, even though a lot of people are going to be sayin' 'We need this and that', you pray about that and give to them if you're led to, but don't give your tithe, your tithe goes to your church......[then later when preaching]....What about unwritten checks?...Jesus said 'where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.' And I'm telling you, the way you spend your money shows the condition of your heart. How is your heart? Are you tithing? I tell you, that's to be an undesignated check to this church if you're a member of Bellevue. Your tithe goes to the general fund, the budget of Bellevue, it doesn't go to anyplace else. Offerings above that if you're led by the Holy Spirit, fine, but your tithe goes to the budget of this church." - Steve Gaines 12/6/09