"...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

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"Tithe or You're Dead" - A Satire Piece on Steve Gaines' Sermon Comparing Non-Tithers to Ananias and Sapphira

Below is a satire post by Matt Mundke at the "Steam Tunnel Pilot" blog that was posted today. It points to the absolute absurdity of Steve Gaines' March 2012 sermon in which he claims non-tithers might be killed by God, claiming "everytime a Christian refuses to tithe, they are just like Ananias and Sapphira".

I asked the blog owners for permission to post it on my blog in its entirety, and I heard back from Sergius Martin-george via email giving me his blessing to post all of it, graphics included! Thank you, Sergius!

Readers, don't miss the last paragraph - Matt quotes yours truly from my March 14, 2012 blog post - go to my blog post to see for yourself Steve Gaines in action, telling Christians they might be killed by God if they don't tithe.

Be sure to add the "Steam Tunnel Pilot" to your Google reader or Favorites list!

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Tithe or You're Dead

Though evangelicals generally eschew the euphemistic notion of a departed believer “spinning in his grave,” it’s hard not to imagine the posthumous subterranean pirouettes currently being executed by one Adrian Pierce Rogers, who went to his reward in 2005.  The twice-elected president of the Southern Baptist convention, known to most American evangelicals through his TV and radio ministries, served as senior pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in suburban Memphis, Tennessee, for more than three decades.   And while he was no stranger to theological controversy, Pastor Rogers has been spectacularly eclipsed in that department by his successor, 54-year-old Steve Gaines, whose latest pronouncement on Christian giving has raised a few eyebrows—though apparently, not nearly enough.
Pastor Steve Gaines of Bellevue Baptist Church
may need to call another press conference to explain
why his parishioners have been dropping dead
During Bellevue’s annual “Prove the Tithe Sunday” service, Pastor Gaines preached from Acts 5, a text containing one of the most dramatic incidents of the New Testament church: the judgment and sudden deaths of Ananias and Sapphira.  In a feat of eisegesis worthy of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, however, Steve Gaines, who holds a Ph.D. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, declared this passage to be about tithing:

“As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell on the floor dead. God killed him....Every time a Christian refuses to tithe, they're just like Ananias and Sapphira. They're lying to God and they're stealing from God. If God treated us this morning in this room like He treated them in that day, how many people would be wrapped up in blankets and taken out the back door [dead]. Think about it. Think about it.”

Thus, completing a sermon series called “Live Life,” Gaines placed the emphasis on sudden death.  It was only the beginning.     
NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, posing under the
famous crosses overlooking Interstate 40 on
the campus of Bellevue Baptist Church. 
Gaines made these comments on February, 5 but like the Trayvon Martin case, a very long incubation period has preceded their media saturation. Two factors are responsible for bringing this situation to the fore: attention from Christian bloggers such as Tom Rich of FBCJax Watchdog; and the fact that dozens of Gaines’s parishioners have been dropping dead. 
In his February sermon, Gaines graciously exempted visitors from tithing that day, all of whom left the church service alive.  But in the ensuing months, 108 of Bellevue’s 30,000 members have been considerably less fortunate.   More than half of those have died on the premises.  Post-mortem investigations by forensic accountants have demonstrated that nearly all of the deceased failed to contribute a minimum of 10 percent of their yearly gross income to the church. 
In recent weeks, vehicles from Kingdom
Ushers Funeral Services have taken Tim
Tebow's place
“Having people drop dead during the service can be distracting,” said Gaines in a rare interview.  “But on the plus side, it’s gotten folks really excited about tithing!”    Gaines reported that the first few weeks after Prove the Tithe Sunday were the most difficult, with 27 deaths occuring during the February 12 service.  “Our ushering crew really had a tough time.   The men in Acts 5 who carried out Ananias and Sapphira really knew what they were doing,” he said.  “But you’re only talking about two people.  What do you when dozens of people go down—during a service?  It can be very unruly.”
Help came from a very unlikely source, however, when the Benny Hinn Evangelistic Association offered the services of trained, professional “catchers,” those men you see during healing crusades whose responsibility it is to stand behind those “slain in the Spirit” by Benny Hinn, and catch them.   Brother Hinn flew a team of twenty catchers to Memphis free of charge in order to conduct training sessions on catching and “striking” felled believers from the premises. 
“It’s a little more challenging with the dead weight—if you’ll excuse that expression,” said Marty Nystrom, head usher at Bellevue.  But the Benny Hinn guys have been great.  They’ve been doing this for a long time and they really know what they’re doing.”
The death wave has proved a boon to local Funeral Home directors, most notably Les Apt, 57, of nearby Garden Meadows, Tennessee. The church has placed Apt on a retainer, a rare luxury in the undertaking industry.  In fact, so many parishioners have been dropping dead that the arrangement has become a “win-win” for all involved.   A fleet of hearses sits outside the church during all services, a commission which has enabled Apt to found a spin-off business, “Kingdom Ushers,” which is dedicated specifically to Bellevue’s departed non-tithers.  It has also led to terrific discount rates for the families of the victims.
         
At first blush, the campus of Bellevue looks like
that of any other megachurch.  A closer look at
the campus directory, however, reveals something
you don't see every day.
“I guess I was just in the right place at the right time,” Apt told us via Skype™.  “And yes, if you’re wondering, I do tithe.”   Apt reports that once Bellevue installed an on-site morgue (see photo), operations have become so efficient that he estimates they will soon be able to handle one hundred bodies in a single service, “Just in case.” 
But while some are marveling over the glory of God’s righteous judgment and the Church’s efficient response, others are perplexed at Pastor Steve Gaines’s atrocious pastoral theology.
Funeral director Les Apt is making a killing off of non-
tithers.  Graciously, though, he passes the savings
right on to their families.
“I believe Gaines knows full well what he is saying is a total fabrication and stretch of scripture,” writes Tom Rich of the FBCJax Watchdog blog.  “No credible theologian teaches that there is a connection between the Old Testament tithe and the story of Acts 5. Most scholars interpret this story as a warning against hypocrites in the church who deceive people with phony piety, who present themselves to the church as being super-spiritual to gain the favor and applause of men.   To extrapolate that occurrence to the modern church, and to connect Ananias’ and Sapphira’s death to believers today who don’t practice the law of tithing, is spiritual abuse perpetrated by Steve Gaines on the believers at Bellevue Baptist Church.”

29 comments:

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I love the graphic of the grim reaper putting forth a calculator....I'm sure as the recalcitrant non-tithers slip into a devil's hell the grim reaper is there to show them the calculation of their percentage giving.

Anonymous said...

Very funny! But I recommend that this church establish a TSA (Tithe Setting Authority) checkpoint on the premises to avert these needless deaths.

Thy Peace said...

My understanding from Barna's study is that around 20 to 30% of evangelicals tithe. So assuming the most generous estimate of 30% tithers at Bellevue, there remains 70% of NON-tithers.

So there should be LOT more than 108 out of 30000 should be dead. About 21000 should be dead or may be they will die over time to accommodate the logistics of dealing with death due to non-tithing at Bellevue.

Anonymous said...

Can someone in the area do a search of obituaries and tell us how many members of Bellevue have died in the past 100 years, or since it was founded? And can someone tell us how many of the current membership at Bellevue will die in the next 100 years?

My research tells me that 100% of the past and current membership of Bellevue will be dead. So....if you go to Bellevue, God will strike you dead just like he did our friends in Acts.

And if you give your tithe, you will eventually be dead. So if you are giving to avoid dying, you are even more foolish than someone who gives thinking it is an investment scheme and that God (that great entrepreneur in the sky)will return to you one hundred fold what you have given.

I have heard of a lot of BS reasons that I have to give by these greedy CHARLATANS, but fear of being struck dead if I don't, pretty much takes the cake. How much more threatening can you get to a God fearing man or woman or child, than to tell them that God loves them, but HE might strike them dead if they "rob" him of his money. (Which all of it is his anyway, but he needs you to give back to him what is already his, get it..wink, wink.)

Anonymous said...

I still don't understand why I should give "God's money" (which I wouldn't have any of "God's money" if I didn't get up and go to work every day) to Bellevue, or any other congregation of believers. Has the congregation, meeting place of Christians, become GOD? Why should the employees of where I meet once or twice a week receive, and spend, "God's money?" If I were God, that would make me angry. Millions of my money being spent by the Bellevue or local meeting group's staff. I mean, God might want his money to go to the poor, orphan, widow, or the "least of these" but Bellevue is taking millions of it for themselves. Doesn't make any sense to me. Not logical, not in the Bible, but yet these preachers focus so much on it, and get so angry about it. I guess they have a biased interest in getting that money don't they? Or is that not obvious enough to everyone?

Anonymous said...

Is it any surprise that more and more Christians are leaving these churches and doing home bible studies. These mega pastors are totally out of control and whose focus these days is not the gospel but money.

I'm thankful for the internet where these preachers now are nationally exposed for what they are really focused on these days - not the gospel, but money!

Anonymous said...

Can I add my personal opinion about a public figure: (it even rhymes to help everyone who knows Steve remember it when they see or hear him)

Steve Gaines is a world class horse's ass! :)

Anonymous said...

From what I am told, Gaines turned down the pastor search committee three times and told them that he would wreck their church.

And they still hired him!

Be careful what you wish for.

Anonymous said...

Seriously...

When Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed. —Galatians 2:11

Fortunately, we can do the same thing, confront a brother or sister in Christ, or a church leader, using technology, such as the U.S. Mail, or email, or twitter, or blogger. Perhaps we should follow Paul's example on these false teachers and charlatans who teach tithing is required of Christians, and if it is required, they are the rightful recipients of the cash.

Paul had to confront Peter for compromising grace (Gal. 2:11-16). Peter had been fellowshiping with Gentiles, but when the Judaizers arrived (who believed that sinners are saved through Jesus plus keeping the law of Moses), Peter separated himself from the Gentiles. He ostracized them while professing to be one with them. Seeing this hypocrisy, Paul, in love and with passion, confronted Peter face to face for cowering to a legalistic system that was powerless to change lives. He vigorously reminded Peter that grace leads to freedom from sin’s slavery and to obedience to God.

Having courageous conversations with fellow Christians can be difficult, but they will promote purity and unity. We can carry out our responsibility to one another to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) by walking in the power of the Holy Spirit.

So lovingly, if your teacher is preaching storehouse tithing doctrine, he is lying to you. And he, with his PhD in religion, knows he is lying to you. Stand up to him. Demand he preach out of the Bible where it commands believers to give money to a local congregation. And then, STOP tithing. Don't stop giving what you feel led to give, just stop the legalistic tithing of cash to your local congregation. Thanks.

KarenM in NC said...

This is brilliant satire...so much to like on many different levels!

KarenM in NC

Wendy said...

Awesome satire! When are SBC leaders going to start holding each other accountable for their false teachings? It's so discouraging to know that folks are continually being deceived in the area of tithing, as my family and I were for so long.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, Bellevue is doing fantastic now with Dr. Gaines.

There are a lot of lies and falsehoods about the attendance and giving at BBC.

Giving is up, attendance is going up, certainly morale is up.

We weathered the storm of the "Saving Bellevue" Website and now we are reaping a harvest.

I encourage the folks at FBCJax to hang in there. This website will soon go down to nothing like "Saving Bellevue". Saving Bellevue is a joke!

Tom is already getting tired and we must outlast critics like him. The thing that holds us back are the "Pillars of the Church".

A lot of the "Pillars" are gone at Bellevue, and GOOD RIDDANCE!!!

This blog is losing viewers as you can see there are very few people even commenting on this Blog. The only ones left reading this mess are the basement dwellars.

Don't give up Mac, The "Dog" is losing his bark!

Anonymous said...

Again I will say, either the TROLL is trying to be funny or is the biggest IDIOT in the world.

Bellevue has cut 3 million from its budget for several years in a row. They have also been cutting jobs and not replacing those who leave.

That's because attendance is down and giving is down since the scandals started. All of this information is available to the public. I found it in the annual report.

I attended BBC a few weeks ago and it is shocking to see all of the empty seats (1/2 empty). It was always full when Dr. Rogers was there.

Sorry TROLL, you can't cover up the truth any longer. The Internet has exposed these CHARLATANS for who they are. The times have changed and for the better I might add.

Your kind, the man-worshiping lemmings, are the ones that are going away.

GOOD RIDDANCE!!!

Anonymous said...

"Giving is up, attendance is going up, certainly morale is up."

Right, budget under Adrian Rogers was right up at $25 Million, now its just cracking over $20 Million.

And whats stopping the completion of that long awaited Coffee Shop?

If attendance is up , why all those gimmicks to get people to attend?

Morale is up?
That's if you like Kool Aid

New BBC Open Forum said...

Steve Gaines: "If I could grab your checkbook right now and tithe for you, I'd do it!"

I actually believe that, and it was probably the only really true statement he uttered that day. He says he's not one of those televangelists who wants your money. Baloney! About the only differences between Steve and those televangelists are that he's not on national TV, he doesn't fly around in a private jet (that we know of), and he doesn't have evangelist hair.

I recommend that this church establish a TSA (Tithe Setting Authority) checkpoint on the premises to avert these needless deaths.

Don't laugh. They've come up with something similar.

Watch and Pray said...

Anonymous May 16, 2012 @ 2:17PM

Is this another Satire Piece?

Are you what has replaced the "Pillars"? The "Pillars" being the christian people that came before you and made Bellevue what it was. Godly people that loved the Lord. You say good riddance to those people?

Just so you know I keep up even if I do not comment often. I am sure there are many others that do too.

You should be ashamed.

Watch and Pray said...

Anonymous May 16, 2012 @ 2:17PM

Is this another Satire Piece?

Are you what has replaced the "Pillars"? The "Pillars" being the christian people that came before you and made Bellevue what it was. Godly people that loved the Lord. You say good riddance to those people?

Just so you know I keep up even if I do not comment often. I am sure there are many others that do too.

You should be ashamed.

Anonymous said...

Steve Gaines latest Facebook comment:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pastor-Steve-Gaines/132492183490292

"Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking."

Colossians 2:8 NLT

He is also using the gay issue on You Tube to propel him into the limelight:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C29jMZ-V25s

even when he had harbored one on his staff, when they had performed such acts on their child (and who knows if anyone else?)

Anonymous said...

Who is the 2nd watchdog? I missed that part.

Anonymous said...

Was Adrian Rogers lying about his giving? Why did he die?

Anonymous said...

Regeneration is not evidenced by fruit, faith nor tithing.

Anonymous said...

"Was Adrian Rogers lying about his giving?"

He never mentioned the amount of his giving.

"Why did he die?"

Cancer.

Anonymous said...

You should be ashamed.


Should a man be ashamed for exposing the quiescent church? No tom is imperturbable and is just statring him ministory. Some one needs to wake up this reticent church.

Anonymous said...

I have been feeling rather sick to my stomach when asked by someone who is a friend and leader in the same church we attend to remove a comment from my facebook. This is what I have posted...I have been very uncomfortable with the fact of how my church have been mismanaging funds and it's waste. What do I mean by this.....Pastors have announced certain programs such as youth programs, Literacy Programs, prisons programs, etc......the people sacrifice their money as to see this as God's plan for the church. After the programs manifest and people have literally given their money, then after some years the senior Pastor closes it down. I am a leader in my church as and see so many things that are not Biblical Based and it deeply grieves and disturbs me.

Anyway, this is what I post and was told to remove from my facebook.

Church leaders demand a tithe of your income - Many Bible scholars agree tithing was an Old Testament practice discontinued by the early churches, as was worshipping on the Sabbath and animal sacrifices. In fact, the word 'tithe' is only mentioned in the New Testament to describe giving under Old Testament law. Paul's instruction to New Testament believers is "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9:7, NIV) If you want to give your church 10% (tithe) of your income, fine, but it is be YOUR decision. Paul states, "Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law." (Gal. 3:25, NIV) Church leaders using scare tactics and intimidation based on Old Testament law to illicitly obtain tithes are in biblical error. For more information on tithing, we recommend the book Perspectives on Tithing.


The problem was.....Paul's instruction to New Testament believers is "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9:7, NIV) If you want to give your church 10% (tithe) of your income, fine, but it is be YOUR decision. Paul states, "Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law." (Gal. 3:25, NIV)

the two words that bothered them was "Each man DECIDED" and it is YOUR decision.....

I am truly feeling depressed and sick to my stomach at this moment.

What is going on within the Churches? What I see now is the interest of "MONEY, MONEY, MONEY." THEY MAKE ALL THE DECISIONS AND MANIPULATES BY SAYING THAT THEY KNOW WHAT THE SCRIPTURES IS TRULY SAYING.

I AM SO SICK!

Anonymous said...

I have been feeling rather sick to my stomach when asked by someone who is a friend and leader in the same church we attend to remove a comment from my facebook. This is what I have posted...I have been very uncomfortable with the fact of how my church have been mismanaging funds and it's waste. What do I mean by this.....Pastors have announced certain programs such as youth programs, Literacy Programs, prisons programs, etc......the people sacrifice their money as to see this as God's plan for the church. After the programs manifest and people have literally given their money, then after some years the senior Pastor closes it down. I am a leader in my church as and see so many things that are not Biblical Based and it deeply grieves and disturbs me.

Anyway, this is what I post and was told to remove from my facebook.

Church leaders demand a tithe of your income - Many Bible scholars agree tithing was an Old Testament practice discontinued by the early churches, as was worshipping on the Sabbath and animal sacrifices. In fact, the word 'tithe' is only mentioned in the New Testament to describe giving under Old Testament law. Paul's instruction to New Testament believers is "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9:7, NIV) If you want to give your church 10% (tithe) of your income, fine, but it is be YOUR decision. Paul states, "Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law." (Gal. 3:25, NIV) Church leaders using scare tactics and intimidation based on Old Testament law to illicitly obtain tithes are in biblical error. For more information on tithing, we recommend the book Perspectives on Tithing.


The problem was.....Paul's instruction to New Testament believers is "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9:7, NIV) If you want to give your church 10% (tithe) of your income, fine, but it is be YOUR decision. Paul states, "Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law." (Gal. 3:25, NIV)

the two words that bothered them was "Each man DECIDED" and it is YOUR decision.....

I am truly feeling depressed and sick to my stomach at this moment.

What is going on within the Churches? What I see now is the interest of "MONEY, MONEY, MONEY." THEY MAKE ALL THE DECISIONS AND MANIPULATES BY SAYING THAT THEY KNOW WHAT THE SCRIPTURES IS TRULY SAYING.

I AM SO SICK!

Anonymous said...

I have been feeling rather sick to my stomach when asked by someone who is a friend and leader in the same church we attend to remove a comment from my facebook. This is what I have posted...I have been very uncomfortable with the fact of how my church have been mismanaging funds and it's waste. What do I mean by this.....Pastors have announced certain programs such as youth programs, Literacy Programs, prisons programs, etc......the people sacrifice their money as to see this as God's plan for the church. After the programs manifest and people have literally given their money, then after some years the senior Pastor closes it down. I am a leader in my church as and see so many things that are not Biblical Based and it deeply grieves and disturbs me.

Anyway, this is what I post and was told to remove from my facebook.

Church leaders demand a tithe of your income - Many Bible scholars agree tithing was an Old Testament practice discontinued by the early churches, as was worshipping on the Sabbath and animal sacrifices. In fact, the word 'tithe' is only mentioned in the New Testament to describe giving under Old Testament law. Paul's instruction to New Testament believers is "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9:7, NIV) If you want to give your church 10% (tithe) of your income, fine, but it is be YOUR decision. Paul states, "Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law." (Gal. 3:25, NIV) Church leaders using scare tactics and intimidation based on Old Testament law to illicitly obtain tithes are in biblical error. For more information on tithing, we recommend the book Perspectives on Tithing.


The problem was.....Paul's instruction to New Testament believers is "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9:7, NIV) If you want to give your church 10% (tithe) of your income, fine, but it is be YOUR decision. Paul states, "Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law." (Gal. 3:25, NIV)

the two words that bothered them was "Each man DECIDED" and it is YOUR decision.....

I am truly feeling depressed and sick to my stomach at this moment.

What is going on within the Churches? What I see now is the interest of "MONEY, MONEY, MONEY." THEY MAKE ALL THE DECISIONS AND MANIPULATES BY SAYING THAT THEY KNOW WHAT THE SCRIPTURES IS TRULY SAYING.

I AM SO SICK!

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:07. You are ok to be sick. The problem with the tithe deals with a "false asumption". The asumption is that what God revealed to the state of Israel does not belong to the church and vice versa. The seminaries teach how one is to learn from the Bible narrative, unfortunately fortune hunters get hung up on money rather than souls. That is why in the book of the Revelation you constantly hear over and over again you have left your first love..winning souls. Another fact to remember Jesus is on the outside of the current church age knocking on the door. He is ready to come in but He will not force Himself to come in just yet. What the current church needs is a good old fashioned revival!!!!

WishIhadknown said...

I know talking tough has become popular because people mistake it as “speaking with authority” but does the phrase “good riddance” belong in the vocabulary of a Christian”
Matt. 23:23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cumin.” (I think you should read the preceding sentence sarcastically) “But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
The point Jesus was trying to make was do not neglect “justice, mercy and faithfulness.”
If you are practicing justice, mercy and faithfulness can you bid even a pagan good riddance?
I just pray for the day believers wake up and see that these popular tough talking preachers are not speaking with authority but actually are just mean.

Anonymous said...

Question? Does the church have to have a license in order to qualify a morgue on its premises?