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.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Message from the Pew to the Pulpit: The Expressions of Disgust from Church Member When Lied to About Tithing

In the comment section of the Robert Morris shakedown article a few weeks ago,, a Watchdog commenter posted a very insightful comment. I have copied and pasted it below in its entirety.

Pastors, please read it. I don't endorse everything said, but this comment I think expresses the frustration that many of your church members have when you lie to them and try to convince them that they are some how obligated by God to give 10% minimum of their income to your church as a "first fruits" offering - before even paying for their bills or giving to the poor. They see your efforts as having nothing whatsoever to do with God, but instead as a means of raising funds.

Church members like this one are fed up with it, they see through your tactics, and they see the unbiblical and illogical nature of your argument.

And worst of all, you're driving people away from the faith that you claim God called you to preach about. You've turned the "Good News" into "Terrible News" in your quest to raise revenue for your organization.

So go ahead again this year, pastor, and try to shake down your church members, attempting to convince them that there is an obligation to give 10%, and that blessings await them at the 10% giving level, and that the devourer will eat it if they don't give it, so best to go ahead and just fork it over.

Or try something else this year, pastor. Admit to your congregation that tithing 10% is NOT required. Tell them that the "devourer" is not going to eat their resources. Tell them God is NOT waiting to poke holes in their purses unless they fork over 10%. And tell them to be generous, and to give to the church what they purpose in their heart to give. I think there is a verse that says something close to that.

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"Anything I have that could be construed as a blessing from God, is not from any local 501(c)(3)church that I attended. My ability to earn wealth came from the degrees I earned from the University of Florida. They also are a non-profit that raises millions of funds. Yet they never threaten me with words like "curses", or saying I am not a Christian, or telling me "you would not have that job if it were not for us" or "this is where you went to school, you owe us support." No, they simply inform me of all the good they are doing and the needs they have, and I respond out of gratitude and understanding and logic and reason. They raise billions doing it this honest and upfront way!

Who do I owe my ability to earn income from more: my local church I went to once a week for an hour or two, or my university where I invested thousands of dollars and thousands of hours to earn a degree that gave me job skills to find employment?

And health? My family doctor, or local hospital, don't send me solicitations telling me I owe my health to them, even though logically they could, right? Why would the latest pastor down at the corner church claim I should give to his organization because my health is good. Might my primary care doctor, who actually examines me and prescribes medication and diagnosis based on his earned doctorate, have a greater claim? Of course.

And my children's "blessings" and future? Again, my investment and support in giving them the best education I could, and their years of hard work and academic achievement, isn't that what gives them hope and a future for financial "blessings" in the future? Or is it the pompous ass preacher giving a history lesson once a week that is deserving of monetary donation as a thank-you for my children's success?

Think about it! Who do you call when you are sick? Your doctor? Who do call when your power gets turned off? JEA [power company]. Where do you go when you need money for food, clothing and shelter? Your job.

The church offers history lessons, fables, and TAKES your time and money from your family. It never GIVES YOU any. But it sure does give your pastor, and his wife, and his son, and daughter-in-law lots and lots of money, health care, car, clothing, etc. So yeah, they do owe it all to the church. So they make tithing a priority and tell you to give to their family and business before you give any to your own, or to the poor and needy.

And finally, what about your parents. Was it not THEM, that loved you, sacrificed for you, and provided you with food, clothing, shelter, love, care, teachings on life, etc. Yet they did it not expecting you to give them even one half of one percent of your income for the rest of your life! Honor them with your first fruits if you feel compelled to say thank you to someone or to God. Not the local 501(c)(3) on the corner you just love to attend once a week. I mean, what parent would put that kind of guilt or logic on their children? But we are supposed to believe that is what God wants us to do? Really? Or is it just what the CEO running your church wants so he can have a bigger campus, more staff, or more money?

No wonder Christians are viewed as non-thinking, illogical, gullible human beings."

27 comments:

PP said...

I'm a pastor. I don't teach the 10% tithe requirement. The Bible doesn't teach it. You give generously, sacrificially, and joyfully as the Spirit leads whether that is to your local church or missions or the poor or all three. I've been very clear with our members about this. But yet I have noticed that our giving is down and no one has died, and no one has lost a job or in any financial hardships of any kind, and in 3-6 months, they will not be able to pay the small salary they pay me (I have 5 kids). I'm not defending pastors who teach the 10%, but you can see how great the temptation is when you know very shortly you will not have grocery money.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Pastor - I don't see how the temptation is there to actually stand in the pulpit and lie about what the bible says.

I heard another pastor this weekend actually say that the verses about being a cheerful giver and purposing in your heart what to give - don't apply to the first 10%...that these verses are speaking about what you give OVER 10%. This is so nonsensical that if this man's primary job is to rightly preach the bible, he should be fired.

PP said...

Agreed. Again, i'm not defending pastor's who teach this. but if you do not study to show yourself approved and you do not STICK TO THE TEXT, it is very easy to twist scripture to suit your own desires especially when your means to provide for your family stops. Our adversary is at work; always deceiving, relentlessly tempting.

Karen said...

As the discussion continues on tithing, it strengthens my opinion of all pastors being bi-vocational. This way, I KNOW the pastor has a skill other than speaking. You know, something practical which can support their family. Some might question about what happens as the church grows, but that is easily solved with hiring additional bi-vocational pastors.

I just don't think any pastor should put all of his/her eggs in one basket. At the same time, it is an excellent example to the congregation and shows the pastor is completely aware of what it takes to work, really work, these days.

Karen said...

As the discussion continues on tithing, it strengthens my opinion of all pastors being bi-vocational. This way, I KNOW the pastor has a skill other than speaking. You know, something practical which can support their family. Some might question about what happens as the church grows, but that is easily solved with hiring additional bi-vocational pastors.

I just don't think any pastor should put all of his/her eggs in one basket. At the same time, it is an excellent example to the congregation and shows the pastor is completely aware of what it takes to work, really work, these days.

Anonymous said...

@PP Thanks for being faithful to the text and honest with your congregation. I will pray for you. It's too bad, because the spectrum of honesty, greed and corruption is enormous when it comes to churches and pastors. Many (or most?) are just barely scraping by. And then there are ones who teach tithing to ensure their (probably reasonable level of) income. And there there are the Furticks...

Anonymous said...

The ability to earn a living comes not from a degree but from the gifts and talents that God gave you and the intelligence he provided to earn the degree. Your health comes from God having created you and instilling the gifts and talents within doctors and the provision of meds to heal your body. Every good and perfect gift is from God. The minute we even suggest otherwise we enter a dangerous realm. We don't earn anything. We experience God's favor and God's blessing.

People, like Karen, want to make the argument that maybe pastors should be bi-vocational. Maybe people like Karen, should consider what it takes to be a pastor. Many couldn't handle it. Yes, it is a unique calling.

Now WD and his cult will tear me up and spit me out. What else is new?

Caleb

Karen said...

God has made talented individuals who can indeed be bi-vocational pastors. This wasn't an unknown concept in the not so distant past. I know someone who is doing just this in NC today. Of course, he doesn't brag on his mega-church numbers, have several campuses or have a hundred member staff.

I have a difficult time thinking pastors work harder than any other profession as they like to encourage attendees...

Anonymous said...

"The ability to earn a living comes not from a degree but from the gifts and talents that God gave you and the intelligence he provided to earn the degree."

It's not either/or, it's both/and. God gives us talents and skills, and the opportunities to hone them through education, training, being mentored, etc.

It all works together, and how God is involved in every detail is beyond what we can fathom.

We give, support, "give back," or whatever you want to call it, as we are PERSONALLY led by the Lord. There is not a formula for giving in order to bypass discomfort, challenge, or crisis. There IS NOT.

We so desperately want there to be, because then we can feel so great about ourselves for doing it right. That is missing the point, entirely and erroneously.

Yes the Bible talks about giving, not to tell us the magic formula, but to guide us to seek God about it for ourselves, personally and privately.

Giving is PERSONAL. PRIVATE. And done out of PERSONAL, PRIVATE conversations with God.

Mark said...

"Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day." - Deuteronomy 8:17-18

When you read the Bible you will see over and over that the gravity in the human heart is to forget God.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. - Psalm 103:2

Glory and thanks and honor should go to God for everything in this life. All that we have is God's.

Lynn123 said...

Does just plain old common sense enter into any of this? If you don't have enough money, you must cut expenses or earn more income. Worrying about what is or isn't biblical (and of course Christians disagree on that) is an added weight to carry. If you weren't a pastor, what would you do to help yourself? I'd surely hate to have to guilt a congregation or beg people to give me more money. That sounds like a miserable life.

Wouldn't you just tell the congregation or deacons that you love them dearly, but this is not working, and you must support your family?

Anonymous said...

If a pastor is having problems making ends meet then he needs to get a job.He's not entitled to live off of the congregation. Not to mention, a "pastor" is not in the Bible anyway.It's not a vocation.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:15,

"In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the Gospel should get their living by the Gospel." - 1 Cor. 9:14

And yes, the idea of a "pastor" absolutely exists in the Bible.

Moms For Truth said...

I go to a church that is lead by 5 elders- ALL have other jobs.
One is a lawyer; others are in business related jobs.

They do an outstanding job TEACHING and SHEPHERDING- there is no pastor.
Our church also does not adhere to 10% tithing or church membership. We believe that both are not Biblical.
We have no debt on the building because it is small and paid for.
We seem to do fine with the expenses and mission work, because that is all it is used for.
The main "pastor" refuses to be called pastor and goes by his first name. The beauty of this church is that it is a family and is not functioning on profit but only for the glory and praise to Jesus Christ.

yes, there are still these churches out there but rare.


Faith said...

I go to a church that is lead by 5 elders- ALL have other jobs.
One is a lawyer; others are in business related jobs.

They do an outstanding job TEACHING and SHEPHERDING- there is no pastor.
Our church also does not adhere to 10% tithing or church membership. We believe that both are not Biblical.
We have no debt on the building because it is small and paid for.
We seem to do fine with the expenses and mission work, because that is all it is used for.
The main "pastor" refuses to be called pastor and goes by his first name. The beauty of this church is that it is a family and is not functioning on profit but only for the glory and praise to Jesus Christ.

yes, there are still these churches out there but rare.

New BBC Open Forum said...

And tell them to be generous, and to give to the church what they purpose in their heart to give. I think there is a verse that says something close to that.

Steve Gaines claims those verses apply only to "special offerings." I have to give him points for originality if not exegesis.

Anonymous said...

Lev.27:30-31 "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."

According to the WORD of God, one could buy back their tithe, but would be penalized. To buy back fruits and vegetables, even with a penalty, made perfect sense: the Levites benefitted by receiving a monetary value; but the tither also benefitted by receiving a substantial return of goods: what a blessing! Resale at market value could then be an option, or feeding ones family or anyone else could be optional. However, this modern day tithing system presents no such option, even though God himself gave the instruction. To buy back money with money at a penalized rate: would not be a blessing to the tither, but rather, a stupid proposition only benefitting the preacher who has changed the WORD of God to his own advantage!

Grace & Peace - Elder gab

Anonymous said...

If you don't trust your pastor to live and teach the word of God, look for another church. Study God's word yourself. God isn't asking us to put trust in people, but in him. Look at your heart--if you are honoring God with your choices, he will bless you. Jesus bought us our freedom from all the "laws." Please don't let pompous, untrustworthy people who want you to follow the rules turn you from God. That's what was happening when Jesus came.

Anonymous said...

Mark said ""Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day." - Deuteronomy 8:17-18

Mark - why are you quoting Deuteronomy? Are you an orthodox Jew? Is God giving me wealth to confirm his old covenant with the Jews? Have you heard of the new covenant? Is that all you've got in response to this layman's post?

"When you read the Bible you will see over and over that the gravity in the human heart is to forget God." I don't see that. I see a story about the Jews and how the leaders/priests were robbing God, and how the Jews were held captive, and were constantly killing and being killed.

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. - Psalm 103:2"

I do not forget his benefits. But what does that have to do with giving the local 501(c)(c3) 10% of my income? Are you saying that the local 501(c)(3) is the Lord himself and so by giving money to it, I am actually giving it to the Lord? Are you saying the way to "not forget" the Lord is by giving him money? Did HE say that?

"Glory and thanks and honor should go to God for everything in this life. All that we have is God's." I agree. All that I have is God's, so why do I need to give what is already God's, to the newest preacher down at the local 501(c)(3)? So that he can rob it from God like was happening in Malachi?

Your church clich├ęs make no sense to anyone but other Kool-Aid drinkers. Let's get real, Mark!

Anonymous said...

WD...look at the turn of events happening in the church realm evidenced by Caleb and Mark on your very blog.
Only 10+ years ago preachers and good ordinary lay people would rightfully refute and condemn "anonymous bloggers" in their parents basement in pjs as disgruntled misguided fringe elements.
But now the flip has been HUGE!
Those knowledgeable of the word have been driven underground while the sheep have been dumbed down. It is very sad!

Mark...throwing out scripture as you look up references to defend your ideas= WEAK. Tell us what You think- we will know if you know scripture.

Caleb... Do you even know what a cult is? Just because WD has provided a VENUE to sound off on and a little bit of CATALYST to continue the depth of various opinions doesnt make any of it a cult.??? Yes... Google both capitalized words to learn what they mean.

Thanks for your continued work WD. As long as we focus on HIM he can " ...use the foolish things to confound the wise (or so they think)..."

Anonymous said...

I recently heard John MacArthur's message on grace giving. He said that after he delivers this particular message he is often contacted by fellow pastors asking him not to preach "that message" any more. Not because it isn't Biblical, but because they are afraid that it will reduce contributions. That should answer any questions you have about the OT tithe being taught out of ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:15 ....If what you say is accurate then my thought earlier today is valid.
Think back. At one time preachers pounded alcohol consumption until "christians" began to drink in mass, against movies until "christian" movies came out, against rock n roll until "christian" rock developed, against working on Sundy till "christian" athletes and businessmen pushed into that area, you get the point Im developing or more examples needed?
THEN the new focus was to go positive "Purpose Driven", Joel O with "Think Happy", Robert S's Crystal Cathedral,Etc.
Just maybe this is the last "hook" anyones got SO none of the Big Preacher Talking Heads want to ruin it !! All the while Christ waits ever patiently and quiet in the distant corner for those who will ignore them and seek him out!

What a case of the sheep leading the shepards has been built!

Anonymous said...

I don't recall the apostle Paul ever preaching a sermon on tithing.He was a Hebrew of the Hebrews one entrusted with writing about 1/3 of the NT. If tithing was so important and required why did he never speak on it? Also, I don't believe he established a 501-3-c 4 or any other such entity to make himself a small fortune. He bore his cross and followed God's plan of reaching the lost world.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe people like Karen, should consider what it takes to be a pastor."

Yes. A whole lot less than what it takes to say, be a good plumber or electrician. You do need a certain amount of brashness to make shameless claims regarding peoples' eternal welfare if they don't give you their money every week for getting up on stage and pontificating/editorializing and then asking for money again.

Most people have some modicum of conscience or shame. But once you can get over that, you can get people to support you for essentially doing nothing.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:56 PM Nov 4, What you believe has been taught by those to benefit themselves. But hey, if you want to give your hard earned money away to those who think they are entitled to it, that's your prerogative.

Chris said...

Anon 3:56,

The verse you cite is about Paul and the Apostles. There's no evidence it has anything to do with the modern-day concept of pastors. To believe as much is to remove the verse from context (particularly 9:2).

Furthermore, Paul goes on to say in subsequent verses that he and others did not invoke this right. Rather than hinder the gospel, they gave up their rights and focused on spreading the good news. Based on their public messages of increased giving and the strong-arm tactics that accompany them, this cannot be said of preachers like Morris, Furtick, etc.

Anonymous said...

I have heard people testify how their finances turned around once they started tithing. I have also seen financial blessing that I believe were from God when I gave. I am however, highly opposed to any teaching that is legalistic or taken out of our New Testament context. I can not see in the NT grounds for OT type tithing and the fear that taking the teachings from the OT. I am also opposed to those who say that Jesus made grape juice and not wine and those that have turned Sunday into a sabbaath.

Tithing implies fearful obligation, not joyful giving. Giving at your home fellowship is too me something that is very practical. Do you want the lights on and heat in the winter? Then we need to give in order to have them. If you want a pastor to visit you, prepare good teaching, counsel and do a job that requires 40 or more hours per week, then you need to pay him.

The OT tithe was for the maintenance of the temple and pay for the priesthood, who did not recieve and inheritance of land.

If I had pulpit time I would promote that we don't do all of our giving to the Church, but have funds to help out in a personal way to those around us.

I am not against people deciding to give 10 percent if that is the way they want to budget, but I am against teachers who teach tithing from the OT and use fear and manipulation to get money out of the familly of God.

Bill W.