Today, the gospel message has transformed from a message of committment to Jesus, to now a committment to a 501(c)3 religious organization proven by a financial commitment of at least 10% of one's gross income.
And it is not just a transformation by the young hot shots like Steven Furtick, Perry Noble, and Stovall Weems. Even men like Johnny Hunt, in their quest to keep their megachurches afloat, have changed their message.
I want to offer two recent examples from two very prominent preachers: Johnny Hunt, and Steven Furtick. You can watch the video below.
In the Johnny Hunt clip above, Johnny goes on a rant to tell people that you shouldn't just talk about how you give God credit for your blessings, but you have to show it with cash:
"Jesus said 'You believe in God believe also in me'. What he was saying is just don't go around with this attitude [saying this mockingly]: 'First of all, before anything else I want to give God the credit for everything that has happened'. No, don't just give him credit, if you know him and you're famous, GIVE HIM CASH!! SUPPORT THE WORK OF THE KINGDOM! PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOU MOUTH IS!!! That is unless there's another God that is more important!"Johnny's first sentence used to be the gospel preached in churches. Believe in Jesus. Accept Jesus. Follow Jesus.
But that isn't good enough anymore. Now you have to give God cold, hard cash to show you really HAVE believed in Jesus - unless as Johnny says, you have a God that is more important. So you can accept Jesus, but don't think for a second you've really trusted Jesus unless you're also "putting your money where your mouth is". Ed Young said the same thing a few years ago in two of the Watchdog's most viewed videos (here and here) when Ed Young told his congregation "It's all about the money, you don't get it!!", and his infamous "Why are you even coming to church, if you're not bringing the tithe? I mean what are you expecting?"
Johnny says we have to give God cash: yet last time I checked, God and Johnny do accept cash, check, money order, credit card, or tangible and real assets donated to the organization. And God and Johnny do accept Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Discover. Glad to know God doesn't just take "cash" in the year 2014.
In the video above, Johnny is really ticked off. He doesn't like people not giving their fair share to Johnny's church, when Johnny's church is doing "the work of the Kingdom". I see the same anger from Ronnie Floyd when I watched his 45-minute pack of lies earlier this year telling his church members they are cursed and not true Christians unless they give his church 10% of their income. Ronnie flat out told his non-tithing church members that they don't know the same God he knows if they don't tithe.
Next, Steven Furtick. This example is even more disturbing. Here Steven tells non-Christians listening to him that they need to pay attention to the tithe requirement, to see if they really want to become Christians:
"...God wants you to bring the first 10%. My expectation is that every follower of Christ - if you're not a Christian you can just sleep through this this sermon because this is for those of us who love Jesus and believe he died for us. So, you know what, don't sleep through it: just listen to what you don't have to do yet, and make sure before you become a follower of Christ that you really want in on this."On one hand, I have to commend Steven for his honesty. He is being upfront with non-Christians that the gospel he is preaching includes a requirement to tithe 10%, and Steven recommends you count that cost before making the decision. Thanks for the honesty, Steven.
But how sad that now when a preacher says "count the cost" of following Jesus - this cost now includes the 10% fee to earn God's favor, and to avoid God's curses. The gospel has been turned from "good news" into "bad news", especially for the poorer church members who literally cannot afford 10% or even 1% - they are themselves in need of help from the church, but instead have the burden and guilt placed on them by their "pastors" that they must fork over 10% of even their social security or welfare income to the church as proof of their love for Jesus.
And these men profess to preach the bible as the holy, inspired, inerrant "Word of God" - when what they're preaching is found nowhere in the Bible, except in their contorted interpretation of selected bible verses.
There was a hymn penned in the early 20th century by A.J. Hodge entitled, "Have You Counted the Cost?". The last verse of this hymn is:
While the door of His mercy is open to youThe "cost" being preached today is now not just a life wasted or an eternity in hell - the cost preachers are speaking of today is forking over 10% of your gross income to buy God's favor and hold back his cursings.
Ere the depth of His love you exhaust
Won't you come and be healed, won't you whisper, I yield
I have counted, I have counted the cost.
So show your love for Jesus by giving your pastor 10% of your income.
I'll show my love for Jesus by giving such a pastor's church not even one red penny.