Below is a video of Perry Noble, pastor of NewSpring (yes, one word) Church in Anderson, SC. No, that is not Conan O'Brien having a flat hair day.
I like to listen to Perry Noble. He is a gifted speaker. He is funny, and he has no problem speaking what's on his mind. He is the pastor who declared in his pastor's conference earlier this year that critical bloggers are "jack asses". Hee haw.
In this sermon he spends 10 minutes telling his church members that they are obligated to give 10% of their money to his church. Because, he says, it is in the Old Testament, and no gift recorded in the New Testament was less than 10% (which is false), and because his members signed a "membership covenant" that says they WOULD fork over 1/10 of their income.
But they aren't forking it over, and Perry ain't happy.
Perry admits his church is checking the finanical records of its members. He says only 10% of his members are tithing. He says he knows "because we looked". Why don't these churches just require a 10% automatic withdrawl from the members' checking accounts - it would be so much easier!
And Perry is like so many in the modern church: they whine about how much ministry they COULD do if only the recalcitrant sheep would stop "robbing God" and give their money to Jesus - and "giving to Jesus" means only giving it to their 501(c)3 and no one else's. "Giving to Jesus" is not putting your kids in a good school, buying a safe car for your teen, or saving money for your kids' education...or giving it directly to another charitable cause. "Giving to Jesus" only counts when stroking a check to the church. Perry claims that if his church members tithe the state might be able to reject bail out money because the church would be able to help so many poor people. Really? Or would that extra money be used to purchase advertising, hire more professional ministers with comfortable salaries and bennies, build a new building, and open more satellites?
Finally, something very interesting about Perry Noble's sermon is that immediately after he got done hitting the tithing doctrine, he went into a 20 minute tirade ridiculing the modern church (that is all churches but HIS emergent church) - I mean he bashed everything from deacons, to lay leaders, to Sunday School, to Church Training, to bible studies, dress shirts with long sleeves, men's ministries, Sunday luncheons...according to him, its ALL bad, but HIS church has it right.
Funny how the emergent church rejects just about everything from the traditional church...all of the traditions are out the window and trashed...but by golly not the tradition of requiring the sheep to fork over a tenth of their income.
That tradition is still alive and well, even in the emergents, apparently. They absolutely cannot let that tradition go because they need to rake in millions and millions and that tradition helps them toward that end.