In several articles here, we will continue to examine this false doctrine of "storehouse tithing" that many pastors continue to teach to their people. The first article was posted a few weeks ago here.
"Storehouse tithing" is a stewardship doctrine that tells a Christian something like this: As an act of obedience to God, you must give 1/10 of all your income to God, just as God commanded the Israelites in the Old Testament to give their "tithe" to God, to the priests at the "storehouse". To not be obedient in meeting this 1/10 standard of giving, is to openly disobey God, and God will hold his blessings from you. And when you, a Christian, give 1/10 of your income to God, you MUST give the entire 1/10 to your "storehouse", which is your local church, and to no other organizations. To give anything LESS than 1/10 of your income to God (at your church) is total disobedience in the matter of stewardship.
The doctrine takes other forms, and the degree to which pastors push it on their people varies greatly. Some pastors set the tithe as a criteria for church lay leaders. Some pastors, like Mac Brunson, believe that God takes this 1/10 threshold so very serious that He will in fact punish a nation economically for the failure of Christians to tithe. Many pastors misuse Malachi 3:10 to accuse Christians of "robbing God" who don't meet the 10% giving threshold. Other pastors teach it as a "principle of giving", that 1/10 is a good idea for Christians, a starting point, without overtly calling people disobedient who don't fork over the full tenth.
My intent in shining a light on this false doctrine is NOT to encourage people to give less to their church, or to be less charitable in their giving. Far from it, it is my desire that people know the truth about this doctrine, and that the preachers who continue to brazenly teach it - especially those that do so in a particularly arrogant and offensive and abusive manner to guilt people into giving - and turns people away from Christianity - are held accountable for their false doctrine. The best way to hold them accountable is to put their words up against credible people who have looked at this doctrine.
We will examine what writers like John McArthur and Charles Ryrie have to say about this doctrine. We will look at what Andreas Kostenberger and David Croteau have written about this doctrine - Kostenburger is a very respected New Testament professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Croteau a professor at Liberty University who studied under Kostenberger. Croteau has perhaps written the most extensive and exhaustive work on tithing to date as part of his Ph.D work at SEBTS, which will be published in book form next year. Kostenberger's and Croteau's work have been peer-reviewed and published in the "Bulletin for Biblical Research" - which may not mean much to the average lay person but this is very significant as we shall see. We will compare what these men have said about storehouse tithing as compared to what some of the more rabid teachers of the doctrine say about it.
To give you perhaps one of the best views into what this false doctrine looks like, how it is taught, I recommend reading the following bible study posted at the FBC Jax website under their Theology Driven Ministry materials:
This document is one of the best examples of this false doctrine you will find on the Internet, clearly articulating a hard-line approach urging Christians to fork over 10% of their income to their church to prove their faith and obedience to God. Preachers have preached the doctrine hard, but its rare to find anything IN WRITING like this. The document is a bible lesson that is part of Jim Smyrl's "Theology Driven Ministry 2010 Curriculum" that they are offering to churches for free on their website. Its great that Smyrl is offering free curriculum, but I shudder to think that churches are pulling down this particular document and then teaching it to their people. By the way, its unclear exactly who the author is, as none is given. Darn, those anonymous writers who won't put their name on their material. :)
More to come...