"...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, October 9, 2012

Dr. Watchdog Gives a Tithing Alternative to Pastors as We Enter the Season of Tithing Sermons

 "I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving." (II Cor 9:7)
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October is the month when we see the absolute worst tithing sermons. Of course Perry Noble and Steve Gaines are tithing preachers for all seasons, but October is on average the worst month for pastors misusing scripture to deliver the anti-gospel bad news that God has cursed you, your family, and your checking account because your offering each week does not equal 0.1 times your gross income.

So I want to try to help this year. I would like to take a proactive approach, to help prevent the sheep-beatings and scripture twisting BEFORE it starts, rather than having to blog again this year about pastors threatening church members with curses from on high.

Pastors, because I care, here is an alternative approach to the same old tired tithing approach you've taken year after year:

1.  Acknowledge Your Tithing Sermons Don't Work: Pastors, please recognize that while you might be teaching tithing year after year, it is not helping. You aren't gaining a larger percentage of tithers, and the amount donated per "giving unit" is not going up. 

2. Understand that Your Members KNOW You Aren't Telling the Truth: Realize that since such a low percentage of Christians practice what you are preaching about the tithe, this means they don't believe your tithing nonsense. They KNOW you are lying and scripture twisting, or at best they are demonstrating their grace toward you by tolerating your ineptness at this one theological point. They KNOW God does not require 10% as a starting point, or as a condition for God to bless them, or a threshold below which God curses them and their families and their finances. They know there is no set percentage at all! While you preach fantasies and fairy tales of tithing and first-fruits giving from the Old Testament as a fund-raising tactic, your church members know the NEW Testament says clearly:

"Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (II Cor 9:7, NIV)

Or better yet, what another version of this verse says:

"I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving." (II Cor 9:7, The Message)

Your church members don't want to hear your sob stories and they don't want their arms twisted again this year. Christians decide what percentage and amount to give. When you arm-twist and threaten and coerce, you make it very hard for your church members to delight in what they give.

3. Acknowledge to Your Church You Might Be Wrong: In your stewardship series this fall, start off by humbling yourself. Admit from the pulpit that you might have been wrong about tithing in the past. Tell them that you've researched things a bit - you can mention John MacArthur and David Croteau and Andreas Kostenberger as credible sources on the topic - and that you have decided that Christians should decide what they give because that is what the New Testament teaches. Even challenge your church members to read John MacArthur's views on tithing, tell them about Croteau's book

4. Don't Misuse Malachi and Don't Mention Melchizedek, "First Fruits", and "Storehouse":  Tell your people that you might have been wrong about the "church" being the Old Testament "store house". Tell them that what the Jews gave under the tithing tax probably has no bearing on what Christians do with their finances in 2012, but that the New Testament does say we should all be generous, regular givers of our resources, and this will manifest itself in varying percentages and dollar amounts. Please resist the urge to misuse Malachi and Melchizedek. Whatever you do, don't bring up Ananias and Saphira in the context of tithing. Teach New Testament grace giving.

5. Tell Your Church Members You Trust and Appreciate Them:  Tell church members that they are the best ones to know what percentage of giving to the church is best for them, their kids, and for their futures. Tell them no mater what they give you will appreciate it, and you know that it represents a sacrifice on their part. Tell them that you are fully trusting them to do the right thing, and that if the church revenue increases you'll praise God, and that if the money decreases you'll praise God and gladly adjust the budget accordingly.

6.  Actually trust God: I know this is hard to trust God with the finances at the church. You have for so long told your church members they should trust God and blindly fork over 10% of their income - well, now is the time is for you to blindly trust God that he will deliver the finances to your church as you release the members to decide in their hearts what to give. 

I believe that if you humble yourself and take this approach, you might be shocked as to how people in your church actually respond. You may actually free them up to be generous givers at your church.

You say that no one would ever preach something like this, that it wouldn't work.  Not true. Click here, and you can see a Baptist preacher who actually has taught this for decades, and whose church grows numerically and meets their budget year after year.

Pastors, give it a try. Be innovative, cutting-edge, willing to try new things - you know, just like you tell your congregations to be.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

God's Plan for Giving - John MacArthur:
http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/1302/gods-plan-for-giving-part-1

Anonymous said...

John MacArthur says that pastors are constantly asking him not to preach Grace (NT) giving because they fear that the sheep will not give.

They don't have much faith in the Holy Spirit to motivate the members to give do they?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Post on Thursday: tips for church members when their pastor rolls out the same tithing nonsense again this year. Watchdog offers a new tithing "challenge" for church members when their pastor tells them they must give 10%. A novel twist on the trend of pastors offering a "tithing challenge" to their members. Stay tuned!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Have some upcoming posts on for pastors on "What Not To Do" in your stewardship sermons. Some real doozies, a few of them from pastors right here in Jacksonville.

Anonymous said...

On any given Sunday within a multitude of churches, it is not uncommon to hear Malachi 3:8-10 quoted shortly before it is time to pass the offering plate. These popular verses have been used to manipulate thousands of people into giving millions of dollars outside of a desire within their own heart (2 Corinthians 9:7).

However, the true purpose of what is seen in Malachi 3:8-10 has nothing to do with “our” giving. In fact, it is a type and shadow of the ultimate gift given to us by God.

You see, Jesus was the whole tithe that God brought into the storehouse on our behalf. When Jesus hung on the Cross in our place, God ultimately created a situation in which there is meat in the storehouse (the bread of life – John 6:35). In fact, this blessing of the complete forgiveness of our sins is such a great blessing that we cannot contain it!

Christ is the blessing that God poured out from Heaven: something that money cannot buy and giving cannot overcome!

The bottom line is simple. If God had not given his Son as our tithe and offering, we would most certainly be cursed with the curse!

This is what needs to be preached!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I know of an 11-year-old boy that was recently struck by lightning and died. I know of a husband and father of several kids right here in our community who simply died in his sleep. My question for these preachers is which is true about these sudden deaths:

1.) God struck them dead because they (or in the case of the boy, his parents) were NOT tithing. They were robbing God. And like Mac has said "God collects." If this is true. What does that say about your "Loving Heavenly Father" that he would strike a sweet boy, or wonderful Christian husband/father dead for not giving 10% gross to the congregation where they attend during the week?

2.) God struck them dead even though they were tithers. This would make all those sermons about God will rebuke the devourer, your refridgerator will run longer, your kids will have good health, etc, etc., exposed as fraud.

Preachers have painted themselves in a corner with their nonsense, non-biblical preaching and application on the Jewish nation's financing of their theocracy during biblical times.

And be honest, those that don't like the Watchdog. Had he suddenly died in his sleep, or had his son been struck by lightning, you and your preacher would have said "you see what happens when you question God's man." yet you say nothing when these types of tragedies happen every day to both tithers and non-tithers.

Wake-up. You are being manipulated. Ask your pastor why Malachi 3:10 is the "command" and not the New Testament verse 2nd Corinthians 9:7. Which verse is written to Christians. Which verse deals with money and not food being brought to the ancient storehouse? Wake-up.

Anonymous said...

Mercy is the last area that Jesus mentioned in Matthew 23:23 concerning how we ought to tithe. The word translated “mercy” is sometimes translated “love.” The believer who says that he cannot afford to tithe is not only operating without faith, he is out of line with judgement because he has forsaken the house of God.

Read Nehemiah 10:38,39 and you will see what I mean; "And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, unto the treasure house. For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God.

To attend church every Sunday and always be on the receiving end and never on the giving end is selfish. The person who does this has forgotten the weightier matter of mercy and love. Love gives. To withhold the tithe is to forsake the household of God.

Anonymous said...

Tithing is not only not biblical, it makes no logical sense and if applied to Christians, is not fair. Why would God want a single mom with 3 kids who makes $2000 per month to sacrifice $200 per month (that she doesn't have) and give it to a church with a $15 million budget; and say that is equal and fair compared to a preacher making $30,000 per month who gives $3000 per month and is sacrificing nothing since he still has $27,000 per month to pay his bills and live in luxury. Isn't this dreadful news for the single mom and great news for the rich preacher? He "only" has to give 10% (and maybe will brag about giving 11%) while the poor mom has to see her kids go without so that she can "obey God" by giving $200.

This tithing doctrine really hurts those that Jesus wanted us to help; while benefitting the rich that he was quick to warn us against. This is sick exploitation. And they (Gaines, Brunson, Young, etc.) preach it with such anger and arrogance to boot.

Anonymous said...

Read Nehemiah 10:38,39 and you will see what I mean; "And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, unto the treasure house. For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God.
___________________________________

Why not read 2nd Corinthians 9:7 instead of this ancient trivia about what the Levites (lineage of priests in the Jewish nation) did. And didn't the Jews have ONE temple, supposedly where God actually dwelt? Is the building on every corner in town, the local 501(c)(3) now the equivalent of the nation of Israel's holy temple? Seriously? Is that the verse you put forth in response to 2nd Corinthians 9:7? Really? WHY?

Anonymous said...

To attend church every Sunday and always be on the receiving end and never on the giving end is selfish. The person who does this has forgotten the weightier matter of mercy and love. Love gives.
___________________________________

Agreed. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with Christians giving 10% of their gross income to the local 501(c)(3) budget.

Anonymous said...

You can huff and puff and blowhard all day long. No one is buying the OT fund raising manipulation any longer.

Since that doesn't work in these enlightened times, wouldn't it be wise just to preach what the NT says about giving?

Anonymous said...

If every Sunday School teacher is doing what they are doing because they love the Lord, then why can't the hireling pastors? We work a 40 hr job, and still prepare to teach FOR FREE! It isn't the Lord that these professional clergymen love, it is their paycheck. And they have to resort to extortion (using their office and authority to demand money) from people that do not need them anyway. We have laymen in every church that are perfectly able to teach for free. Alot of pastors are plagiarising those sermons anyway.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
... he is out of line with judgement because he has forsaken the house of God.

Do you think that a brick building is "the house of god? We are the house of God, not some silly little building.

Acts 7:48
Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,

Acts 17:24
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

1 Corinthians 3:16
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

You have been taught by an apostate religious system that building are the house of God. The Bible does not teach this. They tell you that to keep you coming and keep you giving.

Anonymous said...

W. A. Criswell said, “Lay leadership of the church is unbiblical when it weakens the pastor’s authority as ruler of the church . . . a laity-led church will be a weak church anywhere on God’s earth. The pastor is ruler of the church.” In 1988 the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution affirming that the pastor was the ruler of the church.

Thank God for the SBC that still stands on the Word of God.

When the man of God stands behind the sacred desk and says "Thus sayeth the Lord", then we will see revival in the land.

man said...

I go to FBC Orlando, and though they mention tithing in passing, they don't beat it over our heads. They even dropped "tithe" from the envelopes. Though I am not giving 10% at this time, I feel comfortable with my giving there because it isn't a main area of focus unlike many of the churches I attended growing up.

56 years a Baptist, mostly SBC said...

That statement by Criswell is not founded on the Bible and is contrary to Baptist ecclesiology and tradition. It borders on heretical.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:08PM

"Thank God for the SBC that still stands on the Word of God.

When the man of God stands behind the sacred desk and says "Thus sayeth the Lord", then we will see revival in the land."

---
Whatever SBC is "standing on" is resulting in people leaving, not coming in.

The pastor is not the ruler of a church. He is the shepherd. That's what the word means.

Arce said...

And the shepherd/pastor is an undershepherd, taking care of another's sheep. Shepherds rarely own the sheep or the sheepfold, but are hirelings. The owner of the sheepfold is Jesus Christ, the One True Shepherd.
When a pastor gets into "ruling" or "owning" the congregation or the facilities, that pastor is heretical, because he is denying the lordship of Jesus Christ and the priesthood of each and every believer.

Anonymous said...

"The pastor is ruler of the church."

The Bible teaches that Jesus is the ruler of the church. So who is right?

Anonymous said...

COUNTDOWN: 82 days

That's when we will find out if the TROLL's prayers are in God's will or not.

WishIhadknown said...

Asked this before and never got an answer so I'll ask again, what is the "sacred desk?"

Anonymous said...

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." - Orwell

Modern translation applied to modern day evangelicalism:

"All christians are priests, but some christians are more priests than others."

Anonymous said...

tithing was for Jews ,not the whole world , read it and see, and only the Levites could take them are you telling me these preachers are Levites, , if you take tithes and are not that then you in trouble, Tithing did start with Moses not with Abraham, Abraham never tithed of anything of his own just the spoils

Thy Peace said...

Asked this before and never got an answer so I'll ask again, what is the "sacred desk?"

Wade Burleson > The Contaminated Pulpit and Other Weird Things

Anonymous said...

HAhaha! I can't wait to see the government remove the tax free status of the religious hirelings.

I think I am going to write my representatives and tell them that a growing number of us Christians would fully support this.

WishIhadknown said...

I am looking for the source of the quote from W. A. Criswell so I could read it in context but I have not found it yet. I did, however, find the following sermon from 1979 that is extremely relevant:

http://www.wacriswell.org/PrintTranscript.cfm/SID/11.cfm

Anonymous said...

P.S.
And tell the church the good news that when they cease tithing and practice giving freely, that they are no longer under God's curse (Deuteronomy 11 & 12) through obeying the old Mosaic law as Galatians 3:10 says. Hip pip hooray! Praise the Lord!

New BBC Open Forum said...

Asked this before and never got an answer so I'll ask again, what is the "sacred desk?"

It's been replaced by the "sacred music stand."

New BBC Open Forum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
New BBC Open Forum said...

... the following sermon from 1979 that is extremely relevant...

1979... the year the "Conservative Resurgence" (or the "Fundamentalist Takeover" depending on your viewpoint) was implemented with the election of Adrian Rogers as president of the SBC. W.A. Criswell was one of the key players in the CR. Just reading that sermon and thinking about what would happen later that year (the groundwork had long been laid), you could practically hear the urgency and excitement, bordering on giddiness, in his voice.

From the sermon:

We’re to win people to Jesus.

How, exactly, does one "win" someone to Jesus? Honest question.