"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Spending (and Raising) God's Money - A Return to the Topic of Tithing, Spending, and Giving

We've spent a good deal of time here on this blog discussing the modern-day topic of tithing.

As you might recall, I opened the discussion last winter in "Takin' It Up Wit Da Book" , and then reviewing what John McArthur's views are on the doctrine of "storehouse tithing", and a multitude of articles in December 09 and January 10 on tithing. One of my favorite articles was the Steve Gaines claim of non-tithing members driving stolen cars and living in stolen homes, and declaring tithing to require "undesignated" gifts. A real classic.

I am going to return to the topic of tithing, giving, spending, raising money at our churches during the month of September.

During the month I will be using information in Mary Kinney Branson's book "Spending God's Money" (link to book at Amazon.com here) - a book written in 2006 describing her experience working for the head of the North American Mission Board Bob Reccord (dubbed "Hollywood Bob") and the wasteful spending practices at the NAMB. If you have not read this book and you give money to a Southern Baptist Convention church, I highly recommend it - a real eye-opener as to how donated funds were spent at NAMB during those years. Branson also gives practical advice to Christians when it comes to giving.

In the forward of Branson's book, the writer dubs a quote from Branson's book as "Branson's Law". It is:

"It all boils down to a simple formula: The extent of misuse is directly proportionate to the distance between the giver and the spender."

The less transparency, the more concealment there is on details of how money is spent, the more apt there is to be waste and abuse. Our government and publicly owned corporations have realized this for decades, but the church crowd is slow to get on board. We've even seen a recent example of local government spending gone amuck with little oversight and clever accounting practices.

So let's return to the topic of tithing and accountability and spending in our churches today.

Should make for an interesting September.

43 comments:

Wade Burleson said...

"The extent of misuse is directly proportionate to the distance between the giver and the spender."

A great principle that applies to churches, governments and all non-profits.

Anonymous said...

While I don't agree with your stance on tithing, I do appreciate the ability to know why you believe what you believe.

I think the quote by Branson: "The extent of misuse is directly proportionate to the distance between the giver and the spender." This is a tremendous truth.

I think this is at the heart of why you did not question tithing under Dr. Lindsay, Jr but now you do under Dr. Brunson. That is a great quote that all pastors and church members need to take to heart and be transparent and held accountable.

Thy Peace said...

Mainstream Baptist [Bruce Prescott] > Podcast: Mary Kinney Branson Interview

Stop Baptist Predators [Christa Brown] > Spending God's Money

Ethics Daily > Insider Book Details Waste at NAMB

Ethics Daily > Former NAMB Head 'Saddened,' 'Grieved' by Book

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - thanks.

The challenge was that if you don't agree that tithing is a requirement, then "Take it up wit da book". And I have, and I have read a wide variety of very smart people on this topic like McArthur and Kostenberger and others, and have "taken it up wit da book", and it is quite clear. The doctrine of "storehouse tithing", that Chritians are required to give 10% minimum to their local church in order to be obedient and to receive the fullest of God's blessings....is false. That has been well established on the blog, and we will continue to look at this doctrine, as well as what church leaders do to raise money using this doctrine, how they spend the money, and how they entice their followers to even spend it on them.

I will say it again: I am not saying people should not give 10% or 15% or whatever percent....but to teach them that 10% is the threshold between obedience and "robbing God" is phony baloney false doctrine and self-serving nonsense.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Thanks TP.

Thy Peace, we all are looking forward to the day when you have a blog (and you should, you have very insightful things to say on so many blogs and you would have many readers), and we all are looking forward to having the privilege of putting a link on one of your posts!

Keep 'em coming!

Anonymous said...

While we are speaking about money... When Jerry Vines puts on a conference like the one on the Rapture and others, why do seminaries give money to support them? His ministry makes revenue from the registration and other sales. Is this common? Is there any way to find out how much the SBC gives to such efforts?

Anonymous said...

WD-
I am the anon 11:52. I was not commenting to disagree with your article, per say. I was actually desiring to comment on the quote.

I do agree with your thoughts and beliefs that tithing is not something you do to simply get God to just open up and start "blessin' ya!" But I do think it is the natural outflow of loving the Lord Jesus and desiring to be obedient to Him.

However, I won't let our disagreement keep me from your blog and for praying for you and your family as you continue this ministry (and I do believe you are providing a ministry for the church) and your litigation with the JSO. And I still love you in the Lord, as a brother in Christ.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - thanks...we I think are more in agreement than disagreement on tithing. No question, giving to one's church is an outflow of love for the Lord, and for the church and it's ministries. But the idea that obedience means the first 10% must all go to one's church as the "storehouse" is poppycock, and we'll discuss this during the month of September.

This will prove to be a very interesting month on the blog I'm sure.

Bro./Min.Rod H. said...

"But I do think it is the natural outflow of loving the Lord Jesus and desiring to be obedient to Him."


September 2, 2010 3:04 PM



The only problem with your statment Anon is what about the poor widow whos on a minute income,who also has to pay health cost,medicine,electric,food,phone,etc,etc,etc just like those of us who well paying job?

She now gives what she can from what she has left.
Does this mean she does'nt "have a natural outflow of love for God",because she can't give 10%???

Anonymous said...

"the extent of misuse is directly proportionate to the distance between the giver and the spender" is crazy! The people that will steal from you the most are the ones closest to you...open your eyes Wade Burleson!
It's easy to say..."Oh the Mission Board is misappropriating funds"..."Obama is stealing us Blind"...come on, it's the people under your own roof that are robbing you. This lady's book is nothing more than sour grapes of a person that could not handle authority and therefore had to go public with her issues....Go to therapy and get over it!
You give to GOD not to Man...read the BOOK!

Anonymous said...

I thought too about the hardship a lot of the members at FBCJ are going through these days and the sermons Mac said he was going to start preaching on the Tithe.

In the meantime he is promoting on the website his upcoming 2011 Holy Land and Rome trip - this tour will run about 8to10K for a couple to have the privilege of joining M/M Brunson.

This couple does love to travel!

Comfort said...

I join with others here and encourage everyone to read to teachings of John MacArthur on the subject of tithes and joyful giving. He provides all of the scriptural foundations and the correct context.

He is not one to parse words, nor is he ever afraid to call sin, well...sin.

Yes... his website provides all of his sermons (and they can be printed out)absolutely free of charge.

They simply do not come any finer than John MacArthur.

FBC Jax Dawg... I support you completely.

I also admit, that as of a month ago, I left my SBC church. I can no longer support an organization that seems to be infested with sin, cover-ups, running to the rescue of so-called entertainment preacher, when he should have been rebuked by every single member of the convention for his lies, and willful deceit.

I do not judge anyone who stays. We all have to make our choices in the light of what we feel is best. But they offended my sense of right and wrong for the very last time with this whole Ergun Caner fiasco.

I appreciate your courage for coming forward and shining the light of truth on this terrible problem at FBC Jax.

Romans 8:28-39

Anonymous said...

GEt a copy of Mary Kinney's book, Spending God's Money to see how it was done at NAMB. And don't think for a moment the basics of that system have changed.

The entire SBC org is a big black hole.

Anonymous said...

"You give to GOD not to Man...read the BOOK!"

Actually, YOU give to a building.

Anonymous said...

This lady's book is nothing more than sour grapes of a person that could not handle authority and therefore had to go public with her issues....Go to therapy and get over it!
You give to GOD not to Man...read the BOOK!

September 2, 2010 5:05 PM

This one sounds like Bruson's surfer kid on staff.

Anonymous said...

Tithing taught as doctrine is false. You had to be a Jew in order to tithe and the funds were used to keep up the Levites and feed the poor. Once an individual learns to seperate the Law of the Old Testament from the Grace of the New Testament and realize the Cross removed this Law from us who were born again under Grace it is so clear. Its not us. Its all about Jesus...your money will not buy you one inch of Heaven. That is why pastors (some not all) do not desire to discuss these differences nor want their members to study the scriptures. They actually might find that the message is false. Blessings to you Watchdog and you do have a ministry...its called truth and it has set you and many of us FREE.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Branson made a lot of accusations with ZERO evidence. I could look at your life and say you live extravagantly...compared to who??? Mother Teresa??
To quote an ex-employee who made money at NAMB yet got fired and then started firing shots at NAMB is in poor taste.
What's really in poor taste is the way you try to tear down the Body of Christ.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - wow, now THAT is a wild accusation, that Branson had ZERO evidence. You have no evidence that she had ZERO evidence, in fact her book contradicts your claim, because she does have evidence given in her book.

But it is convenient for you to just say she is disgrunted, and has "zero" evidence. Sounds like the same defense of Ergun Caner.

But I will be quoting from Ms. Branson's book quite a bit, so get ready.

Kevin in Manila said...

"The extent of misuse is directly proportionate to the distance between the giver and the spender."

I love this quote!

Kenneth said...

Every Scripture in the Bible that deals with tithing / giving are all based on the idea that you are supposed to give something to help the church. Not giving is not an option.

The widow gave her two mites and Jesus praised her because of it. I am all for the debate about how much to give but nobody should try to justify not giving as a suitable alternative. Now before I start getting bashed on here, I'm talking about a lifestyle of giving over a long period. I'm not talking about specific instances when medical bills or some tragic accident has occured and for a short time somebody is not able to give.

Anonymous said...

Kenneth: You have got to be kidding, huh? Just where are these churches that deserve our money. Would you post a list so that we can determine the credibility of your remarks? We are the church not some organization or just because a large crowd is inside a building. Looking forward to seeing your list of churches. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Who said it:

"Independent, original thought has been made illegal in this country. We’re a nation of sheep, too lazy to think for ourselves, too fearful to stand on truth, too convinced of our own righteousness to consider another man’s perspective."

This observation was made by Jason Whitlock at Fox Sports regarding a dispute between Jim Brown and Mike Holmgren:
http://www.comcast.net/articles/sports-nfl/20100902/Whitlock-Jim-Brown/


"Holmgren, like most successful coaches, is a bully."

Those two things seem interconnected in the SBC churches too...arrogant Bullies and fearful, lazy, sheep. The similarities are obvious.

That first quote would certainly apply to the WD saga. And the second quote to Mac Brunson. Sometimes, though, you bully the wrong guy.

Anonymous said...

it's the people under your own roof that are robbing you.
__________________________________

Sounds like the attitude of a professional clergy person.

If a man doesn't take care of his own family he is worse than an infidel. Should we, as a society, be giving more to support staff and buildings and less to our own families? This is Christianity. How many preachers later in life realize that they were terrible fathers, terrible husbands, and terrible stewards because they were so busy giving their time, talents, energy, and money to some local congregation that they no longer even live in the same town?

Don't believe this garbage. Give and sacrifice for your own family first, then help the poor and needy second, then give to where you attend church last, if you can, and if they are actually doing any real ministry other than taking your money and doing exactly what they tell you not to do: use the funds for themselves and their families!

Anonymous said...

You give to GOD not to Man...read the BOOK!

September 2, 2010 5:05 PM
___________________________________

AMEN and AMEN! Question anon Sept 2, 5:05 p.m. Why do MEN keep taking up the money and spending it then?

How do I give it to GOD, not MAN, when they make me write my check to MEN?

God is not pleased. He is a jealous God. Stop giving to some corporation in your town (local "church") and robbing God. Give to God, not to men. Unless your argument is that your church, and the men who spend the money ARE actually God himself? Is that what you are saying? Idolatry is what?

Bro./Min.Rod H. said...

"The widow gave her two mites and Jesus praised her because of it. I am all for the debate about how much to give but nobody should try to justify not giving as a suitable alternative."

September 3, 2010 9:22 AM




Kenneth the passage of the widow giving her two mites is another passage that those who support tithing twist to their own advantage!

Notice the context of that passage on the widow.It is sandwiched between two passages of condemnation of the relgious leaders of Christ day!

The revelation of the passage is that the religious leaders had become so corrupt and "GREEDY"(sounds familiar),that they perverted Judaism to the point that it preyed on the most vunerable in Jewish society(widows,strangers,orphans,poor) instead of aiding them)!!!


The truth of the passage is that the widow should have "NEVER" had to giving all her living;


"THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS WERE REPONSILBE FOR TAKING CARE OF HER;" as required by God's Law!!!
[Ex.22:22;26:12;Deut.10:18;24:17;27:19;Job 22:9;Jer.22:3Isa.1:23;10:1-2;Mal.3:5;Zec.7:9-13;Luke 20:47;1Tim.5:3,16],and there are plenty,plenty more like this!!!


Secondly Kenneth just because many of us "KNOW" that we are not under the "LAW" of the tithe,and are "FREE" to give as we purpose in our hearts;
Now give abundantly because of "OUR LOVE FOR CHRIST"!!!

That is the principle of "GIVING" in the "NEW TESTAMENT"!!!

No mature "True" believer would not want to give to the true work of God!!!

Love!!!

Anonymous said...

Kenneth: Notice that Jesus remarked about those that loved to hear the clank of coins in the offering plate. The widows two mites were so small they could not make a noise at all. Truly in giving silence is golden.

Anonymous said...

When the pastor drives a newer car and more expensive car (s), lives in a more desirable and high scale residence, takes trips often, sells his own sermons for profit, takes time to get on a paid circuit, hires his own family and lets other staff members go then something is definitely wrong about that institution that needs fixing and the sooner the better. Its out of control and who needs it??

Anonymous said...

The widow gave her two mites and Jesus praised her because of it. I am all for the debate about how much to give but nobody should try to justify not giving as a suitable alternative. Now before I start getting bashed on here, I'm talking about a lifestyle of giving over a long period. I'm not talking about specific instances when medical bills or some tragic accident has occured and for a short time somebody is not able to give.

September 3, 2010 9:22 AM

This is where basic interpretation is not taught because it would not benefit those who should teach it.

What is the occassion in this passage? What is the setting?

Who is Jesus speaking to? And what message was he sending to that audience/person?

See, you do not understand the New Covenant or you would not make this huge mistake.

Yes, we are to give but if you notice when the New Covenant came in (Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant) the giving was to others in the Body who needed help. Even in other cities. Some was used to those going out preaching the gospel and planting churches. No where are we given a percentage to give in the New Covenant. Some were selling their posessions and even their estates (Barnabas) to give to those who were needy.

It was not a requirement to build a building or maintain a building and professional "clergy". (There is NO laity in the New Covenant)

Quite frankly, the way "tithing" is taught and practiced today could very well be encouraging sin. And in many cases, we can see that happening before our eyes.

Anonymous said...

"The truth of the passage is that the widow should have "NEVER" had to giving all her living;


"THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS WERE REPONSILBE FOR TAKING CARE OF HER;" as required by God's Law!!!
[Ex.22:22;26:12;Deut.10:18;24:17;27:19;Job 22:9;Jer.22:3Isa.1:23;10:1-2;Mal.3:5;Zec.7:9-13;Luke 20:47;1Tim.5:3,16],and there are plenty,plenty more like this!!!"

Exactly. It was a rebuke as well as pointing out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees who sound just like many of our modern day pastors.

Bro./Min.Rod.H. said...

"Quite frankly, the way "tithing" is taught and practiced today could very well be encouraging sin. And in many cases, we can see that happening before our eyes."

September 3, 2010 1:56 PM



"AMEN.AMEN,AMEN"!!!

Kennth said...

Anon 9:55

When I asked Jesus Christ to forgive me of my sins, I gave my life to him. Everything I have is from Him and because of Him. My money is from Him, so it's all His. Just like everything is His.

There is no need to list churches. You are changing the subject. I am a member of a local body of believers. I give about 11% of my income to the church. It helps to pay for salaries of a wonderful staff, building costs, and is supporting missionaries both domestic and overseas that are telling people about Jesus while we have a civilized discussion about giving.

I just don't see where there is a Scriptural problem with anything I have just typed or my previous statement. There is no place in the Bible in either OT or NT that affirms NOT giving. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.

Kenneth said...

The widow gave her 2 mites. You're right, she wasn't required too. She gave all she had because she loved God. Too bad they didn't have blogs back then so that one of you guys could've told her how wrong she is to thing everything she has is God's.

Anonymous said...

Kenneth 9:34. You suggest that there is neither in either Testament a commandment not to give. Please observe that in the OT the giving was from the Jews to the Jews. The gentiles were not commanded to give anything as they were not Jews. In the NT the epistles of Paul teach that collection was made and given to the "saints". Notice those who received the funds were the "saints" not a building, and not an organization. Caesar was the King and he had the authority to take whatever he wanted in taxes. God got his part from the Jews. Jesus was talking to the Jews. He never addressed the gentiles to provide funding for His work it was all Jewry. Some people get their doctrines mixed up when they put the church of the NT into the OT Law and pastors love to use the OT for collections to carry out their WORK!!!! Today we are still taxed as a people, however, giving to God through so many different organizations...Catholic, Mormon, Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalians, Church of Christ, Church of God, and on and on. There are hundreds and even thousands of organizations standing in line asking for our money. Which one is the correct one and how do you know which one is the right one? Hope this helps you and anyone else when it comes to passing the buck.

Anonymous said...

Kenneth 9:44. You are getting a little sarcastic here. Loosen up a little. I do not believe any Christian is thinking the widow did anything wrong. She gave "her all". Sort of like the woman who gave all her money to physicians who never cured her. She had to secure healing from the Great Physician. Similarly, the woman at the well told all her neighbors come he told me all about myself. Likewise, Jesus said about Mary Magnalene that she gave all of that ointment in the alabaster box. And then there was Mary the mother of Jesus who kept all of these things in her heart.

I believe Jesus wanted us all to realize that "all" means all and most of us hold on to most of our things way too long. They eventually wind up in estate sales or given to those we leave in our wills. The widow was recognized because she had no more to give, it was her all and she was talked about 2000 years ago and still is being praised and discussed today. God bless her and any like her/him.

Anonymous said...

"There is no place in the Bible in either OT or NT that affirms NOT giving."

I have not seen one single comment that affirms NOT giving.

And you should be ashamed of 11%. The total tithe was more like 23%. Where do you see 10% taught in the NC? If you are going to live by the law, even a part of it, you will be judged by the law. Look it up, that is from the NT scriptures.

Anonymous said...

There is no need to list churches. You are changing the subject. I am a member of a local body of believers. I give about 11% of my income to the church. It helps to pay for salaries of a wonderful staff, building costs, and is supporting missionaries both domestic and overseas that are telling people about Jesus while we have a civilized discussion about giving.
"


You should not be so proud and bragging. God knows who you are. Ever read Matthew 6?

Where in the NT does God tell us to build buildings? We are now the temple where God resides. That money could help other Christians in need. And why do you pay others to do worship for you? Where is that in the NT?

Anonymous said...

I do not "give" to those crusing the Danube or shopping in Paris. Because, believe it or not that is where much of it goes!!!! Otherwise, people would know the exact salary figure being paid to individuals.

Kenneth said...

I wasn't bragging. There is just so much negativity when it comes to giving on this blog. Just wanted to stand up and I say I give and where the money goes to. That's all, nothing more, nothing less.

tikatu said...

Actually, Kenneth is to be commended for he is giving as it sounds like the Holy Spirit is guiding him to give. There is nothing to complain about if the Holy Spirit is speaking to a Christian's heart.

But for clarity's sake, Kenneth, it's not giving that most of these people are against. It is the requirement of the OT "tithe", its use as a club to beat church members with the idea of stimulating more giving, and the unBiblical substitution of the pastor and the local church for the Levites and the Temple.

The NT tells us that God loves a cheerful giver. Someone burdened by the tithe (where it takes away from supporting themselves/their family) is usually anything but cheerful.

Anonymous said...

"I wasn't bragging. There is just so much negativity when it comes to giving on this blog."

You are wrong. There is no negativity to GIVING. There is negativity to TITHING. You simply do not understand the HUGE Covenant difference between the two.

Kenneth said...

Anon 2:48

there is no way you could read this blog and think there is not a negative undertone towards giving. I completely understand about not believing tithing is biblical. But go back and read some comments from this thread and then previous times talking about tithing and the ones that will come up this month.
I don't care if my pastor preaches at other churches/ conferences and I certainly wouldn't care if he goes on a cruise. Whoever plans the trip gets to go for free, that's the way those things have always worked.

If you don't like your preacher or something about the church, it doesn't mean that the light bill doesn't have to be paid anymore or that the missionaries stop needed support. You can designate your giving for missions. If you still go to that church, then you should be a part of helping pay the bills and support the ministry.

Also, I wish WD would spend some time on exactly what designated gifts are and how they are to be used. Many of you might not know that a fund has to be established for any designated gift before it can be received by the church. If you try to write a check for a designated ministry or purpose and a fund doesn't exist for that, then it is illegal for the church to take it and give you contribution credit.

Anonymous said...

"there is no way you could read this blog and think there is not a negative undertone towards giving. I completely understand about not believing tithing is biblical. But go back and read some comments from this thread and then previous times talking about tithing and the ones that will come up this month."

You still do not get it. NO ONE IS NEGATIVE about New Covenant giving. Most just do not want to be under the law of tithing because Paul said if you keep the law,you are a debtor to the keep the whole law.


the "tithe" is much more than 10%. More like 23%.

There is no command to tithe to build a church building or maintain it. Your argument about designations are silly. Those are man made rules and have nothing to do with scripture. Kenneth, get out of tradition and get into the Word. You are following the traditions of men.

You have brothers and sisters in Christ who need your help. While they are in need, giving to a building and to maintain a man made operation could very well be sinful.

If you do not believe me, get into the Word and pay attention to Acts 1-5. Follow the passages about the offerings Paul gathered for the persecuated believers in Jerusalem.

Where do you see anything about a "tithe" after the Cross? And while you are at it, read Matthew 6 about those Pharisees who wanted everyone to know what they tithed.

So find a single mom who needs help. Fix her brakes on her car or give her a gift card for groceries or something. Do it in the Name of Jesus.

Kenneth said...

I don't think gaining insight on the actual rules and regulations that IRS places on churches taking in designated offerings is silly. It's what the law of the land says and I thought people would like to know that there is a legal reason why you can't designate money without having a fund established already.

And I would tell you that I do alot of the things that you mentioned about helping people but I'd just get thrown under the bus again. Nobody on this blog, knows me so I nothing I say is bragging one way or the other. I just wanted to stand up and say I was in favor of supporting my local church and I was confident where the money went once it was given.

Why not ask me a question about what I was saying if I wasn't clear enough, instead of making me out to be a Pharisee? Pretty harsh words