As you see above, even President Obama's old church, Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, formerly pastored by Jeremiah Wright, has a pastor who tells the poor in his congregation they must tithe to receive God's blessings - and they embarked on a campaign to get people to give MORE than the tithe. This campaign of "next level giving" is the pathway to more and more of God's material blessings.
The tithing doctrine knows no bounds. It doesn't matter if the church is a Southern Baptist mega or micro. It can be a huge emergent church, or it can be in the chapel of a baptist seminary. It is taught by the Mormons. Even Islam requires a percentage of gain from its faith community. Even the ancient Mesopotamians had their God, "Marduke the Moon God" require a tithe of his subjects.
As Frank Viola and George Barna say in their book "Pagan Christianity":
"If a believer wishes to tithe out of a personal decision or conviction, that is fine. Tithing becomes a problem when it is represented as God's command, binding upon every believer. Under the Old Testament system, tithing was good news to the poor. However, in our day, mandatory tithing equals oppression to the poor. Not a few poor Christians have been thrown into deeper poverty because they have felt obligated to give beyond their means."
And so it is today. Even Paige Patterson told his poor seminary students they are poor because they rob God of the tithe. He said he had to borrow money at times to keep his tithe commitment. He said God CANNOT bless someone who is not tithing. Is that the message to Christians? Borrow if you have to because that is the requirement for God to bless you? Put your tithe on your credit card?
Viola and Barna continue:
"[Christians] have been told if they do not tithe, they are robbing God and breaking his command. In such cases, the gospel is no longer 'good news to the poor'. Rather it becomes a heavy burden. Instead of liberty, it becomes oppression. We are so apt to forget that the original tithe that God established for Israel was to benefit the poor, not hurt them!"Indeed, and this makes it quite disturbing when you see an inner-city church that has so many poor people, when their wealthy preacher stands in front of them to teach the 10% tithe is the beginning point to trusting God, and giving above the tithe is the pathway to prosperity. The preacher in the video is communicating during his illustration that if you give ABOVE the tithe, God will give you MORE and thus you can give more. I wonder if this pastor would recommend people on welfare to tithe out of their poverty? I've heard a Southern Baptist preacher in Nashville recently recommend that. It is all prosperity gospel.
So while tithing is bad news to the poor, it is good news to the rich in modern day America, as Barna and Viola write:
"Conversely, contemporary tithing is good news to the rich. To a high earner, 10 percent is a paltry sum. Tithing, therefore, appeases the consciences of the prosperous without impacting their lifestyle."I would take this a step further, it is a doctrine that allows pastors of very large churches to amass huge personal fortunes through the generosity of their followers. If these wealthy mega church pastors actually followed the principles of giving in the New Testament rather than the Old, they would give most of their fortune away and live more modest lives. No better example of this is Obama's church, Trinity United Church of Christ: the church built their pastor, Jeremiah Wright, a 1.6 million dollar home. Must have taken quite a bit of yam tithing to buy that house!