"I want to tell you something. You cannot convince me, that a big portion of the economic downturn in this country doesn't rest squarely on the shoulders of Christians who will not honor God with the tithe. When you come to the place in this country where only 2 to 3 percent of the people tithe that call themselves Christian, we should expect the judgment of God." Mac Brunson, 10/10/10
To me there is nothing more disgusting in Christianity than to watch a preacher misuse his position as a spiritual leader, and to misuse the Holy Bible for his own selfish ends to extract money from his congregation through fear, guilt, and intimidation.
I've called it out when Steve Gaines has done it, accusing his non-tithing congregants of being criminals dealing in stolen goods. I've called it out on this blog when Robert Jeffress at First Baptist Dallas advised his people to discount advice from their financial advisors and "slice off" a chunk of their personal assets to give to the building program as a means of getting closer to Jesus.
And I've called Mac Brunson out on it before, almost two years ago to the day, and I'm going to do it again.
On Sunday October 10, 2010, Brunson made the most spiritually abusive, careless remarks to his congregation that I think he's ever made regarding financial stewardship. There were several parts that I'll break up into separate blog posts. Below is the first excerpt:
The first remark he made is a rehash of his comments from October 2008, declaring that the economic downturn in America and in the world rests squarely on the shoulders of non-tithing Christians. Mac says we should expect the judgment of God on our country because only 2-3% of "people who call themselves Christians" actually tithe. As his proof text, he uses Haggai 1:10-11, and he assumes that how God dealt with Old Testament Israel in that situation translates directly over to Christians in the New Testament.
Is there anything more deplorable than a preacher blaming an economic recession on Christians who ARE obeying the Lord in their giving? This is making false accusations against the brethren. This is harming the saints of God. This is confusing those who know in their hearts that they are giving as the New Testament says, out of their resources, out of their time and energy, doing it cheerfully and generously, but maybe not at the 10% financial threshold. Mac heaps the guilt on their heads for our economic recession, blaming those lowly OTHER Christians that don't tithe like he does. How Pharisaical can you get? I'm now convinced that the Pharisees all wore giant cufflinks and had monogrammed cuffs.
And the church leaders sent ME a letter accusing ME of being divisive, of harming the fellowship, and unjustly criticizing the church?
In a way I feel sorry for preachers like Brunson. What a miserable existence as a pastor it must be to believe that 95% of the people you are trying to lead are robbing God Almighty and hindering your mighty God-called ministry at the church because they are stingy recalcitrants who have actually brought about economic recession through their disobedience. It must be awfully hard to have love for such cold-hearted, tightfisted people, who might not even be real Christians. No wonder pastors leave the ministry, who would want to pastor such evil people?
The truth is Brunson's accusation doesn't even stand up to historical scrutiny and common sense. It is well documented that the percentage of tithers has been pretty consistent among evangelicals for 100 years. So now all of a sudden God is condemning our country for non-tithers? Or maybe Brunson and Gaines convinced God recently that we're all thieves and He is obligated to punished us like He did Israel. Or is this just a guilt trip conveniently used by a pastor whose church is 2 million dollars behind budget, and who needs to raise a quick million for new carpet and pews to get ready for his "Pastor's Conference" in February?
If God is judging America for Christians and their financial stewardship, I'll go out on a limb and say it is not for non-tithers. It is more likely we face God's judgment because we are forking so much of our money over to mega-palaces of entertainment to enrich rock star preachers and to build grand and glorious buildings with new pews and carpet, and in so doing we are neglecting our brothers and sisters who are in need during recession, we are not caring for our families and their future, and we're failing to give to the poor and stand for justice as we are called to do under the New Covenant.
Did I just say that? You better believe I did.
Stay tuned for the next post, "God Always Collects on What He is Owed", where Mac explains that God WILL get from Christians what they owe him, one way or another - roof leaks, car wrecks - if we don't tithe.