2 Samuel 16:9,11 - "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head...let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him."

Matthew 7:15 - “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Matthew 24:11 - “…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"Would a Man Rob Ed?" - Ed Young Issues the God Challenge - Signed Tithing Committment Cards With a Money-Back Satisfaction Guarantee

A new tithing gimmick has been introduced into the Southern Baptist Convention, by Ed Young, Jr. at the SBC's Fellowship Church.

Last year Ed Young pulled a stunt to try and collect checking account and bank routing numbers from his people to allow Fellowship Church to auto-withdraw their tithe.

This year the salesman Ed Young is trying a new tithing gimmick: a money-back tithing pledge. Ed distributed tithing commitment cards to be signed by all members last Sunday for them to commit to tithe 10% of all their income for seven-weeks, and if they are not satisfied with the blessings Ed has promised they will receive, Ed says he will give "God's money" back!

Ed says in the video above:

"Here's the deal: this is the 'God challenge'. This is a money-back guarantee, is what I'm sayin'. In other words, we have 7 weekends from now until the end of the year. And I'm going to ask you to sign up. If God does not bless your life and show up in huge ways, we'll give you God's money back. [scant applause]. I'll say it again. I know it's hard to believe, a church doing this. You do this for seven weeks, make sure you participate in a way that we can track it in our financial office, we'll give you God's money, ha ha, did you get that, God's money, back!"

Let's analyze this:

- first of all, it is absolutely amazing that Ed says while laughing heartily, that "we will give you God's money back" (watch the video, I looped this laugh several times, it is incredibly revealing). I think he laughed accidentally at the ridiculousness that it is "God's money". Ed knows it is not. The entire premise of his sermon was that your first 10% of your income is not yours, it is "God's portion", and it belongs to God. According to Ed you can't even "give" it, you can only "bring" it, since it is not yours. But if the money is God's then on what authority does Ed claim the right to give it BACK to you? This gimmick actually shows that Ed doesn't believe his own nonsense - if that money you give - sorry, I mean bring - to Fellowship Church is holy and God's property, Ed certainly would understand he has no right to give it back to you. But it is Ed's money once you give it, and he can give it back.

- does Ed not fear the God he preaches about? The bible says he is a jealous God, and would not share his power or glory with anyone. Yet here is beautiful, blonde Ed Young in his skinny jeans, telling people that giving 10% to his church will unlock all sorts of blessings. God is a genie, and he is released from his magic lamp when he sees you put in 10% of your income to the collection bags at Fellowship Church. But now Ed removes even the requirement to trust God because God has apparently anointed Ed Young to manage God's storehouse. Ed will take your money, but he has the power to give it back to you.

- I know of no one who donates their hard earned money to their church, or to the United Way, or to a rescue mission, that expects ANYTHING in return. What does this guarantee offer say about how Ed views Christians? He thinks people are stupid enough to believe that 10% of their income is the magic key to blessings, that 8% or 9% means God's cursings and 10% means blessings. Then he thinks people are stupid enough to be motivated to give to their church by their pastor promising something in return. Hey Ed, people donate to your church or to any 501(c)3 non-profit because they believe in the ministry or cause and they don't expect anything in return.

- God can't be confined to the limits of a 7-week test defined by Ed Young, Jr. God may or may not bless someone between now and the end of the year, whether they do or do not tithe. How about a test to see if someone gets blessed WITHOUT tithing? Ed's ploy is pure poppycock and gimmickry, and I feel sorry for any person at Fellowship Church foolish enough to play into Ed's scheme by signing that card.

- do we need any further evidence to demonstrate that Ed and the other first-fruit tithing teachers are peddlers of the gospel for profit? Only companies selling things for a profit offer money-back guarantees. When will the IRS begin taxing these mega temples? They are salesmen at heart. As I wrote back in 2008 and then in 2010, Ed himself acknowledges the intense pressure he has as the church's "franchise player", responsible for raising money, when he said:

"We're responsible [pastors] every year, we're the main one, that raises money. I call pastors the 'franchise player' because we're the ones who are responsible before God for raising money...every year I've stared a lot of money in the face, and I know at the end of the day it's up to me to raise that money...and now it's many, many millions of dollars, and that's a taxing thing."

There you have it: Ed has to "raise" the millions. I thought it was God who did it all, that he was sovereign over matters in his church. But no, apparently God needs Ed and other franchise-player-pastors to raise the money, thus we see these cheesy gimmicks like this money-back guarantee to extract more money from trusting Christians.

- interesting how the money back clause is worded: "If at the end of 7 weeks you believe that God did not honor his word and pour out blessings in your life, then Fellowship will give God's money back to you promptly." So you have to call God a liar to get your money back, saying he didn't honor his word. Actually, it should read: "If you discover at the end of 7 weeks that Ed Young's claim of blessings for tithing is nothing more than a gimmick to get his hands on your money, then we will give you your money back." Can you imagine being put on the list of people at Fellowship that called God a liar and asked for "God's money" back? Might be a sure way to not be asked to serve in any capacity at the church, right?

- will Fellowship Church require you to show that you gave 10% of your income in order to get your money back? After all, if all you did was give 9% of your income, and come and claim God didn't honor his word and bless you, you didn't keep your end of the bargain. Of course God won't bless you at 9%, right? So get ready to hand your tax forms over to the finance department of the church so they can confirm that you indeed were tithing on the gross for 7 consecutive weeks.

This is a just a repackaged form of the false prosperity gospel that is peddled by televangelists that has now made its way into the Southern Baptist Convention. You give to get blessed, and you call God's hand by tithing, he HAS to bless you.

I'm still trying to figure out which is worse: this tithing gimmickry by Ed Young, or James Merritt peddling FHTMC, a suspected pyramid scheme, in his church.

Either way, the Southern Baptist mega church pastors, the "franchise players", need your money, and they will go to any lengths to separate you from your money, even under false pretenses, even during the holiday season.


Anonymous said...

Ed is kinda slow on this tactic. It's been used in independent Baptist circles at least back to the early 60's.

Anonymous said...

Such a huge room full of people. It's hard to believe there are that many dumb suckers in the group to fall for this. Hopefully, they will realize the vulgarity of this guy and his presentation.

Just pathetic.

Thanks WD, for being a watchman on the wall.


New BBC Open Forum said...

It'll be interesting to see if anyone asks for their money back in 7 weeks and, if so, if Ed will pay them interest on it.

Sheri said...

It doesn't appear that very many church members were falling for this scheme, as evidenced by the scant applause.

I'm choosing to be optimistic, and believe that more and more Christians are waking up to these charlatans and their sales pitches.

It seems Ed Inc. is falling short of his budget, and is trying to make up for it now, at the end of the year.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Sheri - good observation, I think you are right. There were a few smiling bobbleheads on the front rows, but the applause was not even a solid golf clap. Ed himself was uncomfortable at the end explaining it. Just a way to catch up the budget at the end of the year.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Any my post said nothing about the ridiculous teaching of the first 30 minutes of his sermon. Full of the "first fruits" doctrine from the bible, trying to make the case that there is something magical about the "first"....even did the "Jesus was God's tithe that he gave to the church, so you should give your tithe to the church" routine.

Anonymous said...

Franchise player.


Anonymous said...

Anytime you have to guarantee your product there has to be something fundamentally wrong with it. I suppose this is another Marketing Tool. It just makes Christianity look cheap in the eyes of the lost who hear or see such things going on in a church. Its no wonder people are leaving the organized church and staying home. Laodicea is all around us more and more each and every day.

Anonymous said...

And it looks cheap for a "so called" preacher to stand in the pulpit with tight "girlie girlie" blue jeans prancing up and down the platform. What a performance!

Seasoned christians are not blinded by men like him asking for more & more money.

Giving your dollars is the main subject these days, not the salvation message by the majority of preachers.

It's like Black Friday concept for a lot of what these mega preachers are preaching to their congregation.

Anonymous said...

To get directly to the point-I am young and have been serving as an SBC pastor for ONLY two years. However, I will not let being young in age and service hold me back from speaking boldly on this matter. The issue with the God Challenge is not the commitments and givign of the people but, rather, the lack of teaching and challenging the people to be cheerful, grace givers. I believe God is more ocncerned about the heart of the giver than the gift itself. It is man (pastor) that stresses the giving. We must focus on the heart. It is vital that our people commit themselves to the Lord as opposed to the church's plan for giving. "And not oonly as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God" (2 Cor. 8:5).

New BBC Open Forum said...

Anon 10:42,

What a breath of fresh air! You know you're going to have to adjust that "unvisionary" attitude if you have any aspirations of climbing the SBC ladder. Somehow I don't get the impression you do.

FormerFellow said...

Ed prides himself on being soooo creative. This message series "In the Zone" is a rerun of the exact same message series from about 4-5 years ago. At some point in the Fall, every year, Ed does a 'giving' message series (in addition to 3-4 other times during the year) and every Sunday at the end of the service. This man, and all his minions, talk about money and tithing every single weekend of the year.

How is it possible for other churches in the area to rarely or never talk about tithing, and never pass a plate, how is it possible for those churches to be "blessed". Hmmm?

This man has built such an authoritative monstrosity of a corporation and his own personal lifestyle has exploded so much, that if he doesn't constantly ask people to give, he can't pay the bills.

I went to this church for many many years, and once considered myself a fully devoted member. I served, I gave, I volunteered, I invited others to do the same. I am now so ashamed to see the shallowness of depth involved in this place. Ed is probably a good man, devoted to his family, and desires for many to come to know Jesus. But his recent lifestyle and popularity intensity have driven this man to only care about himself, his lifestyle, his authority, his power, and his influence. He needs to simply stop, ask for forgiveness, and apologize.

Try talking about the heart of giving Ed. Try talking about the first church and how they gave and what their hearts were like when they did. Try leaving the OT authority/prosperity gospel behind and push into the NT gospel of love and humility. I would bet much more would happen if you did Ed. Try it.

Ramesh said...

WD: Maybe all these mega church mega pastors need a pepper spraying [cop] meme ... imagine Mac B pepper spraying non-tithers ... Steve Gaines will in reality do this.

Anonymous said...

here are some photoshops of ed young as the pepper spraying cop.


Anonymous said...

Jesus was God's tithe to us.

God gave us His best.

What's wrong with us giving Him our best?

This is preschool stuff......It is time for you people to get the pacifier out of your greedy mouth and give it all to Jesus.

Anonymouse said...


1 Thessalonians 5:21 said...

Anonymous (November 25, 2011 7:58 PM) said: “Jesus was God's tithe to us.”

By what basis do you make this statement?

Anonymous said...

The word "Tithe" literally means "the Best".

Jesus is God's best....thus Jesus was God's "Tithe" to us.
God is not going to ask us to do what He himself does not do.

Thank God for Jesus being our Tithe.

There is no hope without the Tithe.

jack said...

Anon 10:45: Really? It means the best? Who taught you that, Ed?

New BBC Open Forum said...

The word "Tithe" literally means "the Best".

I realize I'm responding to the resident troll, something I usually try to avoid, but I believe the word "tithe" means one-tenth. Literally speaking.

Anonymous said...

A Son is far greater than a tithe.

God did not "tithe" to us. He gave his only Son.

Young's tactics and theology are an insult to the cause of Christ.

Anonymous said...

It is painful to see all those folks in the audience just sitting there, passively watching. It would be awesome to see a handful of families, led by father and mother, husband and wife, just get up and walk out in disgust, and then others follow suit. But ol' Ed the salesman knows that will not happen. They're hooked.

Anonymous said...

"Seasoned Christians" as you put it, would probably know that the notion of a tenth went out at the cross, that's where Jesus gave ALL that we might be saved. Jesus paid it ALL, ALL to Him I owe, sin has left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow. And, because of the cross, we can gladly sing (and not debate), ALL to Jesus I surrender, ALL to Him I freely give. I surrender ALL to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender ALL. Seems sort of silly, standing before the cross, to be debating percentages doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

"Last year Ed Young pulled a stunt to try and collect checking account and bank routing numbers from his people to allow Fellowship Church to auto-withdraw their tithe."

As a bit of an aside, you should NEVER set up any sort of automatic payments from your financial institution. That's too much access to your account.

When I give money to the church, I normally write a share draft from my convenient no-fee share draft account, or, on occasion, I give cash.

Name said...

How can they sit there are listen to that money grubber? For crying out loud, he'll be shaking people down for their pocket change next!

Seeing Ed begging for dinero reminds me of 2 Peter:

"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." (2 Peter 2:1-3)

Anonymous said...

If you want to automatically send your tithe all you have to do is tell your bank and they can do it for you. The church doesn't have to know any of your information.

For those very, very few who give cash I am assuming you don't need a giving record for your taxes. Most who give cash don't give enough to really matter anyway.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 said...

Anonymous (November 25, 2011 10:45 PM) said: "The word 'Tithe' [sic] literally means 'the Best'. [sic]"

No, the word "tithe" (ref. המעשׂר [Strong’s #4643]) means "tenth" or "tenth part."

Anonymous (November 25, 2011 10:45 PM) said: "Jesus is God's best....thus [sic] Jesus was God's 'Tithe' [sic] to us."

No, if the word "tithe" means "tenth" or "tenth part," then, under your logic, YHWH Elohiym gave only a tenth of Mashiyach Yehoshua to us and, thus, did not fully give Mashiyach Yehoshua for our full salvation.

Anonymous (November 25, 2011 10:45 PM) said: "God is not going to ask us to do what He himself does not do."

Good. Because, under your logic, YHWH Elohiym did not fully give Mashiyach Yehoshua for our full salvation.

Anonymous said...

Was watching Wonderful Life FBC Jax thinking of this....tithing churches do indirectly bless a community if you think about it. 90% goes to bless other projects in the nation. Malachi 3 deals strictly agricultural tithes of that time and with Israel only.

Anonymous said...

Same song, second verse.. not so much has changed really, in the past this same tune was sung in cheap polyester suits, then expensive designer suits and flashy gold rings....nowadays it's middle-aged guys who still think they're twenty in skinny jeans and "hip" hair. Same old nonsense, nothing hip about it!

Mark said...

Check out the video again, and watch the crowd closely at about 1:37. The guy in the crowd is letting out a huge yawn. I bet he's like, "Gosh, I think I just heard this message. Honey, I'm gonna take a nap, wake me up when it is time to go."

WishIhadknown said...

I would like to propose you pay your tithe from now to the end of the year to a local homeless shelter and see how God blesses.

Ramesh said...

Off Topic: Another [man-made] financial tsunami is coming ...

Mark said...

Under the new covenant there's no 10 percent minimum. Ed Young twists and distorts Old Testament scriptures to control his followers. I once was part of that church and still have friends who operate under Ed's spell.

Unfortunately, when you hold Ed's teaching up against the light of the gospel and authentic Christianity, his teachings are about as genuine as his Botox and Blond highlights.

Unfortunately, his celebrity prowess has many in his grasp. If anyone is willing to study tithing (in the light of the new covenant versus the old covenant), they can only come to the conclusion that Ed Young is distorting scripture (probably through ignorance) and could be extorting his followers for personal gain.

Anonymous said...

Does nobody stand up to him there at FC? I guess I'm naive. I have a buddy who goes there with his family. He is so enamored with Ed that when i call his teaching into question, I'm a hater. My buddy's wife is on the staff there and teaches at times. I just don't know what to do for him other than pray. It drives me nuts!

Mark said...

There's no standing up to Ed Young. First, he is inaccessible, unless you are willing to take him to see the Mavericks with front row seats behind Mark Cuban, or fly him somewhere exotic for fishing. You have to BUY your access to him.

Your comment about "haters" is so true. I see it all over Facebook with posts about "haters". Any criticism of Ed falls on deaf ears to those who attend. He's been able to convince his followers that instead of "come, let us reason together", they should label anyone who questions his financial approach to maximize personal profits as a "hater" and therefore not worthy of attention. Keep the ignorant, ignorant.

As long as he can keep those who attend brainwashed enough to be enamored with celebrity Ed Young and believe that anyone who questions his theology or decisions are "haters" then there's really no hope. Ed can maintain his private jet and live the lifestyle that only a fraction of a percent of his members experience.

Yeah, I am a "hater". I hate those who exploit the gospel for financial gain. Just go into his bookstore and look around. He hooks "new Christians" on his brand much like the tobacco companies get children smoking at an early age and being brand loyal.

Anonymous said...

I know this post is old... but wow. Ed Young just left me jaw-dropped.

And Ed is so flawed... who are we to say how God is blessing us? The Bible says in James to be joyful when you encounter trials (things we'd deem as hardship), as it will build you up. So If a person doesn't receive the blessing as they see it, then hot dang... "JESUS! I WANT MY CASH BACK!"

Ed, leave your cash back for the checkout line at my local Walmart. The man's skinny jeans might be a little bit too tight...

Glad you posted this.

Anonymous said...

God's tithe to us? That is goofy and has no biblical support. Sounds like something a hipster preacher would have pasted to the screen behind him to give false merit to a con. Give ten percent if you want. I would rather give money to the needy than an overstaffed, utility sucking monstrosity that put on a show once a week for the ego of one man.