Having understood clearly that the Bible does not require tithing 10% of one's income as the dividing line between Christian obedience and disobedience, yet so many preachers DO teach this false doctrine, I have struggled with the answer to this question:
Do these preachers who teach the 10% tithe as a requirement KNOW that the tithe is not required yet do it out of pragmatism thinking they must to maintain revenue streams, OR, do they really believe it?
I have come to the conclusion that the former is most often the case, and I we will pursue the reason for this in the weeks ahead on this blog.
Just as I struggle to understand how preachers still teach this doctrine when it is clear that it is not biblical to tell Christians they will not be blessed, or they are "robbing God" when they don't fork over 10% to their church, I'm sure pastors who teach this doctrine struggle with the answer to this question:
"If I and other preachers are teaching Christians in our churches that the tithe is binding on Christians, and to not tithe hurts the cause of their Savior and causes God to curse them, why do so few (less than 10%) obey and tithe to their church? Why are 90% of professing Christians disobedient in this important area that is hurting the funding of the gospel?"
I think I have the answer: most people in the pews have been converted by being presented a "false gospel".
If the tithe is binding on Christians, if failing to tithe causes God to curse you as a believer, if Christians not tithing causes God to unleash his wrath on a nation of non-tithers, if not tithing causes our marriages to fail and our kids to be rotten because we are living in stolen houses and driving stolen cars, then here is the question:
Why then, is tithing not part of the modern gospel message?
Is it not disingenuous to tell someone that God has a wonderful plan for your life if you will just ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins, ask Jesus to come in to your heart, and you are going to heaven....but AFTER they pray the prayer, and AFTER they get baptized, you add some requirements to that message and now tell them, "oh, by the way, if you want to be blessed and not cursed, IF you want to have a successful marriage, if you don't want to be a modern day Christian thief, you have to give 10% of your income...and you have to give it to the church. It's required, it's in the Bible."
Why not tell people that up front when witnessing? It wouldn't be hard. Throw Malachi 3:10 at the end of the Roman's Road and gently explain that as a non-believer you have been robbing God of your life and of your resources, and by giving your life to Jesus you also are committing to give at least 10% of your income to your church - and in return, God will "open the windows of heaven" as a Christian. Why wait in explaining that? It is not a deep theological concept that must wait. Shouldn't people be able to "count the cost" before committing to Jesus? Most sinners know how to move a decimal point. Even little kids understand the 10 cents on the dollar concept.
Let's face it: the tithing doctrine has become a modern day Christian "bait and switch"...lure people into getting saved and joining your church by telling them that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives if only they will accept Jesus. We tell people: "all you have to do is pray this prayer, walk an aisle, and you are saved." Even baptism is not required, we say, it is just symbolic. Just believe, and you are saved.
But after they are saved, the tithing preachers change the message: you will suffer at the hands of God if you don't give 10%. You're robbing God, you're greedy, you're harming the gospel, you're causing God to bring wrath on our nation.
So tithe-teaching preachers - at least be intellectually honest - and mention the tithe in your gospel presentations. Stop lying when you say "God doesn't want your money, He wants you." That is not true, according to you, God wants at least 10% of their cash flow to be delivered to your church, so tell them that UP FRONT.
Tithe-believing evangelists and soul-winning Christians: tell the people you are witnessing to about this tithe requirement so people can count the cost of following Jesus. Then, and only then, will we see a rise in the percentage of tithers - as we weed out those looking for a free trip to heaven, and convert those who are truly willing to commit their all (and 10% of their finances) to Jesus. Percentages of tithers will go up as people are given the opportunity to count the true cost of following Jesus, and many decide Jesus is not for them because they can't afford a 10% tithe to the local 501(c)3 religious organization.
After all, could Jesus not have been any clearer about "counting the cost" in Luke 14?
"And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it." Luke 14:27-28 (NKJV)