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.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Pastors, Please Read This: Don't Do This to Your Families in Your Congregation....

I know, another tithing post from the Watchdog.

Please bear with me, I'll try to be as brief as I can.

I'm trying to help here.

Pastors, please don't abuse your church members by ever insinuating that God is harming a Christian's family or their children because they are not "bringing the tithe" to your church each week. I'm not sure what to call this when you do this: it is maybe spiritual/financial extortion, or maybe it is spiritual abuse. But it is lying. And it hurts families. It damages your families. And you need to stop it if you're doing it.

Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about, so you know never to do this.

I'm going to use Tim Maynard, the pastor of Fruit Cove Baptist Church here in Jacksonville as my example. Tim is the elected president of the Florida Baptist State Convention. I have absolutely nothing against Tim Maynard or Fruit Cove Baptist. I have friends that go there, and I've never heard anything negative about the church or Tim Maynard. I've heard they are a very generous church and do a great deal of good in St. John's County.

But a member did alert me to this ridiculous tithing illustration/testimony/fable (take your pick, I'm not sure which one it is) that their pastor used very briefly this past Sunday, and once before in 2012.

Pastor Maynard spends his tithing sermon trying to convince his church members the standard "storehouse tithing" nonsense is true: Christians must give 10%, that none of the money they earn is theirs but it is all God's, that they must give it to the church because the church is the "storehouse", that they must tithe on the gross not the net, and that blessings or cursings of one's finances are dependent upon obedience to the tithe. Those are all lies and tall tales, but nothing out of the ordinary for pastors who push the tithing doctrine.

But my beef with Tim Maynard is how he closes out his sermon with this illustration/testimony/fable:
"There was a cattleman, he owned a lot of land in Montana, and thousands and thousands of head of cattle...he had been going to this pastor's church for a long time but had never given....he said 'I will be a tither in your church from now on.'

He said 'But pastor, would you do one thing for me? I have not spoken to my oldest son in ten years. Would you please pray that God would bring my son back to me, and back to himself before it's too late?'

The next Sunday, the rancher did as he promised. He tithed. He put the money in. It's hard. A big check. It's hard. The middle of the next week, the rancher got a phone call. The first time in ten years he heard from his son. His son said 'Dad, I'm broke, I've been wrong, and I want to know if it's OK that I come home. And I want to give my life back to God.'

Now here's the story folks: you can say 'what a great coincidence'. Maybe. Or maybe God was waiting for this man to fix this part of his life, before the other blessings started to flow.

The promise in God's word is if you will put God first in this, he will bless your work, he's going to bless the investments you make, he's going to teach you the joy in giving."
Pastor Maynard is actually telling his people that the God he serves is a God who would actually harm this man's son and his relationship with his dad - that God COULD HAVE gotten his son back to him, but God was NOT going to do that until the man started forking over 10% of his fortune.

He actually says it: God was "waiting for this man to fix this part of his life"....before he would help the man restore his son to well-being.

This hurts families. If what Maynard says is true - and it is not, it is complete hogwash - but if the religious faithful in his congregation believe it, then here's what might happen:

1. What about that family that has a son or daughter with autism and they are suffering over the lack of development in their son? Perhaps God COULD help their son, but God WON'T help their son. Maybe God is sandbagging, waiting for them to get some area of their life right. Maybe they aren't tithing. Maybe they don't pray enough. Maybe they don't serve enough. If they would only perform to some level - the 10% financial level according to Maynard - THEN maybe God would help them.

2. Or, perhaps Pastor Maynard's closing story opens the door now for one of the family members to play the blame game. If what their pastor says is true, maybe the reason their son is on drugs, or their daughter was maimed in a terrible accident, or their son is now an atheist - it was the dad's fault. If only the dad had given more, or read his bible more, or had prayed more, or had stronger faith, or hadn't criticized the pastor's sermon - then maybe God WOULD have intervened and fixed things before they went awry in the family. Way to go, dad. You blew it. God has been waiting for you to fix your life; you didn't; now you're to blame.

I'll be optimistic and say most pew sitters know just to roll their eyes when Pastor Maynard tells the story, and smart enough to not fall prey to either of the above logical extensions from Maynard's tale. But some WILL. And it will harm their family. And sadly, all in an attempt to get people to believe the false notion that a tithe is required.

So Pastor Maynard, please don't do this anymore. I would hope that you would altogether stop the storehouse tithing nonsense and preach what the New Testament says: give according to the dictates of your heart, and be generous, and be happy about it. THAT will get the job done at your church.

But pastor, if you can't get away from preaching the storehouse tithe, at least stop harming families by painting a picture of God as a holy extortionist who will only come to your aid in your family's troubles if you fork over 10%.

And other pastors, please learn from this. Don't do THIS.

Thanks for reading.

21 comments:

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

The good news is that I've been to a number of churches in this town over the past 4 years, and there are plenty of pastors who know better than to push this hogwash on their families. Most pastors do NOT do this, and thank God for them. Those that do, like Pastor Maynard, I hope they will stop doing it.

I was told by my previous pastor about tithing: "don't argue with me, take it up wit da book". I did, and I took it up with respectable men like John MacArthur and David Croteau, and realized how wrong the storehouse tithing doctrine is.

The point of my post here is that it is not just a joke - it actually hurts families.

Anonymous said...

Extortion is a good word for it. Bribery is another. You see this type of logic whenever a man wants something from someone else. "Give me your money or I will harm or kill you or your family." (Robbery and a crime) Give me your money or God will eternally damn you to hell, or curse your life. (perfectly legal, not a crime, applauded as truth by some in society.)

To women and young children: If you really love me, you will have sex with me. Trust me. I love you. God loves you, so give yourself fully to me. Extortion. Crime. Men trying to get money and sex from people that look up to them, and using the name of the lovely Lord Jesus to gain their confidence. Which reminds me...its all a con. And if you don't believe me, take it up with the book. It warns us about these predators and false teachers over and over again.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the SBC is drifting into debt, controversy, and irrelevance because they allow celebrity preachers to abuse and cajole their flocks for money.

Let's call it what it really is: evangelical terrorism.

LA

Anonymous said...

Why is it that we almost never hear stories like this when it comes to other areas of disobedience?

Perhaps because getting right in the other areas of your life won't benefit the 503(c) financially.

I'm sure glad God didn't wait till everyone got their finances right before sending his Son to die for our sins.

Anonymous said...

Somebody e-mail this to Steve Gaines.

Anonymous said...

You need to keep exposing the truth around tithing Watchdogs. In the last twenty years as a 40 year old, it is now making sense. The church has been captive by this philosophy of prosperity tithing after the cold war ended. So in the seventh jewish year next year will churches set aside their tithing teaching? I think it makes perfect sense when one connects it to the Jewish calendar but then perhaps I am taking God's word too literal??

JW said...

Perhaps the real irony here is that if believers were exhorted to give in line with 2 Cor 9:7 as you suggest rather than this regimented 10% figure, these greedy hirelings might find that very often more than 10% went into the offering!

TOM PARKER said...

To be the President of the Florida State Baptist Convention he has to be approvable by the big boys in Florida. How many times were we told the SBC convention needed to remove the liberals who they said did not believe the Bible, but yet these guys violate the spirit of the Bible every day and none of the big boys calls their hands on it? The SBC is a sick organization and will not get well any time soon with this kind of 'leadership".

Anonymous said...

One thing that I suspect about these ministers is that they have learned how to influence people with the psychology of religion. It comes across as a big game of manipulation.
Putting psychological burdens on people with distorted half-truths from the bible is something I have seen for years. The Word of God taken in its complete entirety is a beautiful thing that liberates people from ignorance and makes them less susceptible to manipulation in any form.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

That's sad. It's like there's a Benny Hinn mentality when it comes to the tithe. If you don't get healed of your sickness it is because you don't have enough faith. Could this tactic be some sort of mind control or brain washing method? Guilt people into conforming?

Anonymous said...

http://www.pajamapages.com/perry-noble-says-planned-parenthood-is-more-christian-than-you/


Perry Noble says planned parenthood more Christ like than you.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the reasonable tone of this post.

Karen said...

My vote is for you to continue to bring these pastors and their false tithing sermons to light until they stop.

There are still people who have not a clue...

KarenM in NC

Anonymous said...

Thank you.
Wish someone had said this 20 years ago.
Maybe they did.
I just didn't hear it.
Must not have been tithing enough, or been the spiritual leader of my family enough.

Anonymous said...

That, and they are also just mean people, Watchdog. I a watched church leader tell a single mom with 5 kids that the reason she's broke is she doesn't tithe. She was reduced to a crying heap on the floor. Oh, they LIKE seeing that!!!! Not offer to help someone find a job, even as a cleaning lady or maybe a barista at the fancy coffee bar, they browbeat her into the ground. These elitists KNOW they are hurting people.

Anonymous said...

Okay, enough is enough! You get your point across about tithing. Move on already to other topics!

Susan said...

If the rancher asked him to ......"please pray that God would bring my son back to me, and back to himself before it's too late?'" ... then why assume it was this man's tithe and not the heartfelt prayer that brought the answer?

Susan said...

If the rancher asked him to ......"please pray that God would bring my son back to me, and back to himself before it's too late?'" ... then why assume it was this man's tithe and not the heartfelt prayer that brought the answer?

Anonymous said...

Well if people don't tithe how do you expect these big churches to put on Broadway-level musicals?

In the churches called by God to minister only to the rich people, they have to hire creative directors for this type of thing.

https://workforcenow.adp.com/jobs/apply/posting.html?client=gwpeople

Anonymous said...

"I watched a church leader tell a single mom with 5 kids that the reason she's broke is she doesn't tithe.She was reduced to a crying heap on the floor.Oh, they like seeing that!!!! Not offer to help someone find a job,even as a cleaning lady or maybe a barista at a fancy coffee bar, they browbeat her into the ground."

Yeah, a typical pos sociopath who doesn't have a conscience. Most people don't realize how many of them saturate the "church."

Anonymous said...

you better take a look at the springs church in jacksonville