In the three years plus we've discussed tithing on this blog, we've looked at a number of ridiculous, sometimes even abusive arguments used by mega church pastors to convince their congregations that they must fork over 10% of their gross income to their pastor's church to stay in good graces with God.
But Mac Brunson recently has put forth one of the wackiest, over-the-top arguments I've ever heard on tithing: that because ancient pagans supposedly "tithed" to their phoney-baloney gods, that we as Christians today should be quite happy to practice the same ritual.
Yes, according to Mac because the Mesopotamians apparently tithed to "Marduke the Moon God" 7000 years ago, and becauses hieroglypics depict Ramses tithing to Ra (did he write a check or put cash in the offering plate?) Christians should do nothing less than divide our weekly gross income by 10, and fork that over to the pastor's church. This argument really should be a Saturday Night Live skit making fun of mega church pastors - not seriously put forth from the pulpit of a Baptist church.
Below you can see and hear it yourself, courtesy of Kevin Oliver, a Christian discernment video blogger who was appalled when he heard Mac Brunson use the pagan practice of tithing to rip into Christians who dare to debate the issue of tithing. Watch Kevin's video and commentary:
Even Chris Rosebrough of the Pirate Christian Network got word of this Brunson sermon, and did a segment on his radio show recently entitled "The Worst Reason Ever Given by a Pastor as to Why You Should Tithe" where he spent 15 minutes analyzing the above clip and pointing out the logical and scriptural fallacies of Brunson's argument (click here if you want to hear Rosebrough's analysis, fast forwarding to the 22:00 minute mark).
As you see in the video, Brunson gets all worked up explaining how ancient civilizations tithed to their "gods", including the "Mesopotameians tithing to Marduke the Moon God." and thus it seems Brunson believes that God has placed "tithing" as a basic truth in the heart of man.
Several things about this argument pointing to tithing practices of pagan religions:
- David Croteau in his book "You Mean I Don't Have to Tithe: A Deconstruction of Tithing and a Reconstruction of Post-Tithe Giving", references author Henry Landsdell's work that discusses how ancient cultures exhibited some form of giving increases to their gods. But Croteau points out: "...how they gave differed in the amount, the voluntary nature, and the timing. There certainly was not a uniform 10% of increase prescribed across the board." Crouteau goes on to point out that in Arabia tithes were paid on frankincense, but if the ground had been watered by Baal (as in rain) a double tithe was due. So it certainly is quite a stretch to compare these pagan tithes to even Old Testament tithing, and just completely absurd to compare it to believers under the new covenant who are to give joyfully, out of their blessings, and without compulsion.
- I would take exception to Brunson's opening statement in his diatribe: "Its amazing how the human heart knows that when you come before God, I'm supposed to bring something to him." Absurd. God planted in the human heart the knowledge that we are to bring something to God when we come before him? Where does he come up with this? I thought that under the new convenant we have finally understood that God doesn't want us to bring something to him, because we have nothing he wants. He had to redeem us, we couldn't redeem ourselves. Isn't the essence of false religion (i.e. paganism!) man's attempt to reach God by "bringing something to him"? And we're now to believe that God put that in the human heart, and thus Christians are supposed to bring God the tithe because of this? Lord, I hope they are not teaching this in seminaries!
So the next time you are considering what to give to the Lord, stop and think of what our pagan brethren did.
They tithed to Marduke and Asar and Ra, and so should you! You didn't know it? You know it now.