Matthew 7:15 (NIV) “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Matthew 24:11: (NIV) “…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

2 Timothy 2:23 - 25 (NIV) - 23Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

More Tithing Madness: "Give by Revelation, Not By Reason" Says Rick Warren

We are in the last weekend of October, and you know what that means: the last Sunday that your pastor has to deliver his Malachi 3:10, "bring the tithe" sermon during the month of October.

So in keeping with the time of the year, I wanted to share a quote from a Rick Warren article entitled
"8 Reasons Believers Give to Your Church" that appeared on the Pastors.com website October 24th, 2013. Rick Warren is probably the one man that most evangelical pastors look to for guidance on how to grow their church. If you wonder why your pastor this Sunday is going to be illogical and manipulative in discussing what the bible says about tithing read this gem from Rick to his fellow pastors:
"Teach people that they can either give by reason or by revelation. Giving by reason means this – I look at what I have, I figure out what’s reasonable and I commit that amount. It doesn’t take any faith to give by reason. I just figure out what can I afford to give. Giving by revelation means I determine my gift by praying “Lord, what do You want to give through me?” This requires faith. When you give by revelation, you’re committing an act of worship and saying, 'How much am I willing to trust God?' "

Doesn't this explain why pastors lie to their congregations about a non-existent 10% Old Testament tithe (it really is 23 1/3%) that applies to Christians in order to avoid a "devourer"? The pastors want you to NOT use reason - they want you to have "faith" and give by "revelation". And where do the pastors want this "revelation" to come from? From your pastor standing in a pulpit and telling you that Malachi 3:10 means you are robbing God unless you tithe, and that the devil (or God, depending on the verse they use) will steal the tithe from you anyways. Or that it's not your money anyways, or that your money needs to be "redeemed" by giving the first fruits, etc. etc. That is not revelation, it is lies and manipulation.

How far has modern evangelical Christianity fallen that we are just flat out telling people to not use reason in important matters like giving? One place a father, a mother, a husband and wife - or a young person just starting out - must use logic, reason, and planning, is in the area of their finances. But Rick Warren turns this upside down suggesting to use reason in figuring out how much to give to one's church is to have a LACK of faith. It is not "trusting God" to give by revelation instead of reason - it IS trusting your pastor, and your pastor is wrong if he is telling you this nonsense.

I say pastors who preach this manipulative nonsense are the ones without faith. They don't trust their God to provide the resources for their salary and their church by being honest to people about what the bible says regarding finances.

So have some faith, pastors. God will provide, right?

By using reason, and planning, and careful discussion - looking for the immediate and future financial needs of your spouse and children, you THEN determine how much you can give to your church. Do NOT give by "faith" - meaning don't give the first 10% and think you're being super spiritual waiting for God to give you the rent and electric by month's end. That is illogical, unbiblical, and just plain stupid.

If your reason leads you to being able to give 10% or more, and you purpose in your heart that this is what you want to give to your church, give it. If it is 1%, or 0.5%, then give it cheerfully and don't feel bad. I hear stories every day of people's homes in foreclosure, they've been unemployed or underemployed for months - and these are very decent, honorable Christians who are suffering. Yet their pastor will put a guilt trip on them about robbing God, or worse yet that they are in the financial shape they are in because they didn't tithe.

And pastors, by the way: when we use reason in determining what we give, that does glorify God. God gave us brains, and he gave us the ability to reason.

And God gave us the reasoning ability to detect religious nonsense from a man of God.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Okay, I am confused here. Rick Warren said: "Giving by revelation means I determine my gift by praying “Lord, what do You want to give through me?”

WD are you saying that we cannot even trust the Lord to tell us how much we should give?

Tom Kelley said...

The problem with what Warren is saying is that he assumes that reason and revelation are incompatible, or that revelation is unreasonable. It's true that what God says (revelation) sometimes goes beyond reason (i.e., we could not figure it out on our own, or we can not fully understand it by reason alone -- like the doctrine of the Trinity). But it is also true that God is reasonable and that He expects (even commands) us to use reason also.

God may indeed sometimes command us to do things that we don't fully understand, and we must accept what he says on faith. But His revelation has already been given to us in Scripture. That's His primary way of guiding us, and it takes reason to know and understand what Scripture means. So reason and revelation work together, not against each other.

Also, God may also lead us by His Spirit to do something specific, which we also may not fully understand. But his guidance or illumination is not "revelation" -- revelation is a theological term that refers to the inspiration of Scripture. "Revelation" is not the proper term for the personal guidance we might receive through prayer, etc. But such guidance is also not incompatible with or contrary to reason.

I don't know if Warren teaches that Christians are under obligation to give 1/10th of their income to their local church or if he doesn't teach that. If he does, then he is the one not following God's revelation, as God's Word (revelation) nowhere indicates that there is a requirement for Christians to obey Jewish tithing laws. If Warren doesn't teach that Christians are required to tithe, then he is just being sloppy in his theology, confusing personal guidance with revelation, and assuming that such guidance will run contrary to what is reasonable.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 10:15 - you ask if we can't trust the Lord to "tell us" how much to give. Here's my answer: sure, he already told you. "Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give..." There you have it. Anon, you can decide how much you give. Yes, God told you, but he said for YOU to decide. Make sense? OK, he also told you to do it cheerfully. I would say use logic, use reason, careful planning, looking out for your family's long and short term interests in making your decision. Then don't complain once you give it. And oh, when God says for you to decide, I would say it doesn't allow for you to be convinced by a preacher that 10% is what you MUST give.

So give by reason...the revelation already occurred: purpose in your heart, and do it cheerfully.

Amen, and amen.

Anonymous said...

Revelation, not reason.

Another tired old church cliche, with two unused but intended pronouns:

Give by [my] revelation, not [your] reason.

Elder gab said...

Lev.27:30-31
30 "One-tenth of what comes from the land, whether grain or fruit, is holy and belongs to the LORD.31 If you buy back any part of it, you must add one-fifth more to it.

I have yet to hear a sermon, instructing the tither, just how to go about redeeming (or buying back) their tithes, just as the Bible says that one may do.
Grace & Peace - Elder GAB

Man of the West said...

"Doesn't this explain why pastors lie to their congregations about a non-existent 10% Old Testament tithe..."

There's an old saying: "Never ascribe to malevolence what stupidity can explain."

I hate to say it, but in my experience, an awful lot of clergy believe this stuff and practice tithing themselves. It doesn't say much for their ability to reason from Scripture, but I don't know that I'd want to make a blanket suggestion that they are lying.

They may just be that heavily indoctrinated.

Man of the West said...

"Doesn't this explain why pastors lie to their congregations about a non-existent 10% Old Testament tithe..."

There's an old saying: Never ascribe to malevolence what simple stupidity can explain.

I hate to say it, but in my experience, an awful lot of clergy believe the tithing doctrine they preach and practice it themselves. In my opinion, it doesn't say much for their discernment or ability to reason from the Scriptures, but I don't know if a blanket suggestion that clergy are lying when they teach this is justified (though certainly some are!).

Anonymous said...

Rick Warren is exactly right! It's ashamed that you don't see that.

Tim said...

I went to a leadership conference at Saddleback Church years and years ago. They taught 10% tithing. The leader of the session (who was on staff and also Rick Warren's brother in law) said he'd never met a person who advocated that the tithe did not apply to the church who also gave 10%.

After the session I went up to him and told him he'd have to stop using that line because I did not hold to tithing as a doctrine and my wife and I regularly gave over 10% of our income annually.

He looked like he didn't believe me.

It all depends on which side of the cross he wants to stand on. I choose the New Covenant side: http://timfall.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/which-side-of-the-cross-are-you-on/

Cheers,
Tim

jared bartholomew said...

Your article is waaaaay off track. I don't think Warren is disregarding reason. . . He just thinks that you should follow his reason, not scripture's ;)

Anonymous said...

Dog,

I have to disagree with you on this one. Warren is simply saying that some Christians like to stick with a percentage for budgetary reasons and others like to give on a more "gut level" as they feel led by God. This seems totally unlike the tithe madness where pastors want to *insist* that everyone give a specific percentage. Warren is leaving room for people to be led in different ways and take different approaches to giving.

Irwin F. Fletcher

Anonymous said...

Tom Kelley, If Warren is saying that reason and revelation are incomparable, then it would certainly be a problem. But I see no reason to think he is saying any such thing. Warren is just saying, in effect, not everyone takes the same approach to giving and that's OK. Whatever one may think of Rick Warren, he certainly has avoided the pitfalls of legalistic tithing nonsense and also the fallacies of the Word Faith Movement, so I see no reason to conclude that on this matter he pits reason against revelation.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what Rick would say if I was giving 15% by reason, and God told me by revelation to give only 10%. No I don't wonder. He would say God would never tell you to give less than you already are. Amen and Amen.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog, if you watch the Oct 28, 2013 "The 700 Club" show, during "Bring It On," host Pat Robertson defends a church whose preachers is demanding that 9 and 12 year old kids of members tithe.

The letter writer who wrote the show with the question said his preacher asked this before the church light bill comes due and before he goes on vacation to the Caribbean.

I don't think Robertson acknowledged the part about the preacher going on a tropical vacation.

You can normally find these "Bring It On" videos on CBN's site, or on You Tube.

The letter Robertson addressed was the second or third one in the video.

I think Robertson's advice about thinking it's great to make children tithe appears in this video (remember, it comes after the first 2 or 3 letters):
Robertson sides with preacher who thinks ten year old children of church members should tithe

Anonymous said...

I am sure many insurance policies were cancelled or driven through the roof and tithing had very little to do with it. You know Tom, overseers used to guard and care for the widows welfare.

Anonymous said...

I just had a revelation regarding the tithe! Run as fast as you can away from wolves in sheep's clothing! Stay home, read your Bible and pray, and give what you decide is right for you to give to a real ministry who is in the trenches feeding and clothing the poor--for where your treasure is there will your heart be also.

Anonymous said...

Can someone site a verse that supports this philosophy?

II Cor. 9:7 seems to saying the opposite.

William Quinn said...

Ha Ha, funny that right below my comment is an ad for a site showing why Christians SHOULD tithe. Priceless.

I hope they click it and get the truth that tithing works!!!

Who said...

Anon as Irwin said:

Dog,

I have to disagree with you on this one. Warren is simply saying that some Christians like to stick with a percentage for budgetary reasons and others like to give on a more "gut level" as they feel led by God. This seems totally unlike the tithe madness where pastors want to *insist* that everyone give a specific percentage. Warren is leaving room for people to be led in different ways and take different approaches to giving.


Warren's target audience is pastors who run churches. It is training material for pastors on methods they can use to get people to donate more to their church.

If you've ever worked in sales, you'll recognize what Warren is doing. He's training pastors in how to "sell" giving to their flock.

How is this one different than one titled "8 ways to get your customers to buy a larger refrigerator"?

Warren's document is pure up-sell training.