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.”

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Frank Page at SWBTS: Jesus Expects Christians to Give MORE Than a Tithe, So He Says: PONY UP!!

"If Jesus required the tithe of those who lived in the darkness before the cross, what do you think he expects of those who live in the blinding light after the cross? So, OK, it's Old Testament; New Testament calls for a lot more. PONY UP!" Frank Page preaching at SWBTS 3/21/12
Preaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary chapel last week, Dr. Frank Page - the head of the SBC Executive Committee and arguably the most powerful man in the SBC - declared that Jesus himself expects Christians to give MORE than a tithe since they are under grace, and he summed up Jesus' expectation in two words:


Where in scripture did Page find Jesus' expectation of Christians to "pony up"? Well, Page used Jesus' words to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:23, and he uses that to extend the Old Testament requirement to tithe to an "expectation" of Jesus!!

Page conveniently left out of his quote of Matthew 23:23 the important part that Jesus was speaking directly to the Pharisees, not to his followers! To interpret Jesus' remarks to the Pharisees who were, and wanted to live under the law, as a statement of his expectations for Christians, is just flat out a misuse of scripture. For an excellent layman's discussion on how Mat 23:23 is commonly misused by preachers today to say that Jesus commanded tithing, read this excellent article by the writer at the Church Stewardship and Tithing Report website.

This term "Pony Up" is interesting...it is slang for "fork it over", sometimes used as slang to tell someone to begrudgingly hand over money that is owed, to hand over one's fair share of what they are obligated to pay based on services rendered. Hardly an expression to be used to tell Christians that they should give freely and generously and not under compulsion.

Perhaps this implication that Jesus wants us to "pony up" is really not the most disgusting part of the Page sermon.

Page's sermon was not on tithing or on Matthew 23:23. Instead, Page was preaching about the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14. In that passage, Jesus tells the story of the tax collector and the Pharisee praying in the temple. Jesus draws a contrast between the prideful Pharisee who prays about how he gives a tenth of his income, while the tax collector was crying out to God for mercy. About them, Jesus says: "I tell you that this man [the tax collector], rather than the other [the Pharisee], went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

So what does Page do? After he tells Christians to "pony up", he then declares how he himself is a tither, "and more". Like the Pharisee in the temple from Page's own sermon, Page beats his chest in the SWBTS temple of how generous HE is because he tithes! Jesus had to get a hearty chuckle in the irony of this. And I wonder if Page's standard is the partial OT tithe of 10%, or the full tithe of 23 1/3%. If Jesus expected 23 1/3% in the Old Testament, wouldn't he want Page to pony up more than 23 1/3%?

Lastly, I can't help but point out the last bit of irony in Page's comments on tithing. In the video you'll see that Page brags about how his tithing records are open for inspection by his church members, and he makes a point that giving records should NOT be confidential.

How ironic that Frank Page, the head of the SBC Executive Committee, is advocating for the transparency of tithing records of pastors, but the SBC can't even advocate for the establishment of a database to provide transparency on convicted sexual offenders amongst the ranks of SBC pastors?

Seems to me Frank Page is more concerned about transparency of the non-tithing SBC pastors than being transparent about the sexual predator pastors in the ranks of the SBC.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ergun Caner at Truett McConnell Chapel Service: Makes Another Racial Stereotype Joking About "Gay Haitian at a Bloodbank"

Ergun Caner preached the chapel service at Truett-McConnell College on March 21, 2012. Ergun's brother Emir is the president of TMC.

Caner's sermon was another one in which he rails about the evils of people who criticize pastors. Caner allegorizes the story of Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, making it a story about how men of God are to respond to church critics.

Above is a very brief video clip of Caner making a reference to a "gay Haitian at a blood bank" near the end of his sermon. Caner has made racial slurs or used racial stereotypes regarding Hispanics over the years (here and here and here), this is just another example.

How sad that Ergun Caner chooses to utter these kinds of racial stereotypes in his sermons anywhere, much less at a chapel service in front of aspiring pastors. Caner is a poor example for young preachers or young Christians at all, but his friends and family still allow Caner access to the eyes and ears of young people at chapels and even at high school camps.

Next we'll take a look at just how evil are those who dare to criticize the men of God who are doing great things - according to Ergun Caner.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Perry Noble Actually DOES Have Much to Teach on How to Increase Fund Raising!

In the last post I wrote about Perry Noble and friends speaking at a seminar to teach pastors how to "fund their vision", and how to "talk to banks", how to "engage high capacity donors".

At the seminar pastors will also learn how to "increase operational giving by 30% or more".

Well, as shown at left, Perry Noble's church saw a 30% increase in revenue in 2011. Perry's church raked in $24.6 million last year, up from the nearly $19 million in 2010.

The chart comes from the NewSpring Church "Annual Report" that highlights the ministry accomplishments of the church for the prior year.

So while NewSpring members praise God for the increase in giving and the generosity of the members, their pastor will participate in a seminar next month to teach pastors how they too can get their congregations to increase their giving by "30% or more" too!

This is why we see more and more preachers beating people over tithing - Perry Noble's church is an example that IT WORKS! The fundraising tactic of telling people they are sinning, that God will not bless them, that their finances must be "redeemed" by the tithe, that to protect themselves from the wrath of God they MUST give large gifts to their church - has worked at NewSpring Church!

This also explains the popularity of Robert Morris as a guest speaker at churches all over the country in 2011. Perry Noble brought in Robert Morris for two consecutive Sundays in May to preach his "Principles of Multiplication" and "Principle of the First" sermons. These are classic examples of this new "First Fruits" tithing teaching.

Even here in Jacksonville, Robert Morris was brought in last year to teach at the rapidly growing Celebration Church to teach his First Fruits message, and the church used Morris' book "The Blessed Life" for an entire sermon series and church-wide small group bible study.

So that really is the lesson, pastors - try teaching the "First Fruits" message - that God commands the very first 10% off the top of your income, to your church, and in so doing you have secured God's blessings and you will remove the curse of God over your finances.

It works.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Perry Noble and Friends to Teach Pastors How to "Fund Their Vision" and "Engage High Capacity Donors"

Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. Sometimes my spoofs of pastors get out-spoofed by the pastors themselves.

Case in point: a friend emailed me this past week with a link to a "Funded and Free" seminar to teach pastors how to "fund their vision", that I thought for sure must be some sort of April Fool's spoof making fun of the fund-raising practices of preachers Perry Noble, Clayton King, and a few others.

This seminar bears a striking resemblance to my 2011 April Fool's spoof, "Al Mohler's Save Them From Their Ignorance Retreat for Pastors".

But this seminar next month is real. Perry and friends - along with a group called "Injoy Stewardship Solutions" - will be holding a one-day seminar at a church in Charlotte, NC that will teach pastors how to "fully fund" their vision.

What will Perry and friends be teaching your pastor if he attends this seminar? Some very important topics that all holy men of God need to know:
- how to increase operational giving by 30% or more
- how to talk to banks
- leading and developing those with the gift of giving
- best practices for engaging "high capacity donors"
Yep, just what a pastor needs to know. Talking to banks? (Maybe like "Hi, Bank, I'm the man of God.."?) Engaging "high capacity donors"? As I blogged one year ago, another church marketing consultant brazenly explained to pastors how they can tap into "high capacity" donors within their church.

That Perry Noble would use his face and name to sell this sort of nonsense tells you what he really thinks of what he preaches. He tells people that they must trust God with their finances by blindly forking over 10% to receive God's blessings. Yet when it comes to pastors, they need to go to a seminar so THEY CAN LEARN how they can "fully fund" their vision?

Where is THEIR faith in trusting God to provide resources? Answer? There is no faith. Instead there are tips, tricks, and best practices to get trusting, gullible people to separate from their money.

Look at what the conference leaders say at their website to pastors:
"Dear Church Leader,

Are you frustrated that despite your efforts, you can't seem to increase your giving?

Does all the latest "generosity lingo" seem to be getting lost in translation?

Does it often feel impossible to take the next step in your God-given visions, because of money?

These are some very common issues we see church leaders struggling with all the time. You have a strong desire to fulfill your God-given vision for growth in your ministry, but you get discouraged at how difficult it can often be to raise the necessary funds."
Look at the terminology: "your God-given vision"..."frustrated by your efforts"....this explains why they mercilessly beat the sheep to fork over 10%. Because the pew sitter has the money in their pocket that can help the preacher fulfill the "vision" God has given directly to them. What is this vision? Look at what they say next:
"Perhaps your vision includes one of the following...

• Building Project
• Pay Down Debt
• Hire More Staff
• Increase General Fund
• Do More Ministry"
Yes, the pastor's God-given vision might be to "hire more staff"....and the catch-all "do more ministry".

Here is the line-up of speakers:

We all know about Perry Noble. But who is Clayton King? He is the friend of Perry Noble, and is on staff at Nobles' church, and more shockingly, he is the "Campus Pastor" at Liberty University. The preacher to the students at Liberty is participating in a seminar on how to tap into rich donors, how to talk to banks, and how to fund visions from God.

So there you have it, friends. This is what your pastor can learn in Charlotte, North Carolina at this "free" seminar. Free in that there is no registration cost, but this in and of itself is a marketing ploy to help a church consultant possibly gain access to your church through your pastor. So it ain't free, and church members, don't pay for your pastor's travel expenses to this seminar.

And if your "man of God" does attend, watch out for the sales pitch coming from the church marketers, as they will want to help you raise your revenues at your church; and their services ain't free.

Now off to sulk over being out-spoofed by Perry Noble himself.....and to figure out what in the world I am going to do for the 2012 April Fool's Post.

This is getting tougher and tougher each year!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Misusing Scripture to Scare Christians: Gaines Suggests Non-Tithers Could Be Killed by God Just as Ananias and Sapphira

"As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell on the floor dead. God killed him....Every time a Christian refuses to tithe, they're just like Ananias and Sapphira. They're lying to God and they're stealing from God. If God treated us this morning in this room like He treated them in that day, how many people would be wrapped up in blankets and taken out the back door [dead]. Think about it. Think about it." Steve Gaines shamelessly misusing scripture to scare the sheep at Bellevue Baptist.
How low does a "man of God" have to stoop to misuse his own holy scriptures to threaten his congregation with death if they don't tithe 10% of their income to his church each week? How spiritually blind must a preacher be to suggest that non-tithers might be killed by God for their stealing from and lying to God?

Last month Steve Gaines completely took the story of God killing Ananias and Sapphira out of context in Acts 5 and dared to tell his congregation that those who don't fork over 10% of their income to his church "are just like Ananias and Sapphira". He then poses the question of "how many people would be wrapped up in blankets and taken out the back door" if God dealt with his own sheep the same way that God dealt with Ananias and Sapphira.

The sick part of this is I really think really Steve is engaging in wishful thinking....he HOPES that God would strike at least a few non-tithers dead, as this might help prompt non-tithing recalcitrants to start forking over the prescribed 10%. In Gaines' view, if you don't tithe you're darned lucky God doesn't just strike you dead in the pew.

A couple of things that we as Christians must learn about these supposed holy men seminarians like Steve Gaines who again has misused scripture to get at our pocketbooks through guilt and fear and intimidation:

- this is a sign of desperation. Gaines is determined to use whatever means necessary to get his own sheep to fork over 1/10 of their income to his church. He every few months has accused them of being thieves, bankrobbers, and dealing in stolen goods. He has said God will make the children sick of those who don't tithe. He has even said soloists who don't tithe should not be singing in church.

- I believe Gaines knows full well what he is saying is a total fabrication and stretch of scripture. He is a Ph.D. graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. No credible theologian teaches that there is a connection between the Old Testament tithe and the story of Acts 5. To extrapolate that occurrence to the modern church, and to connect Ananias' and Sapphira's death to believers today who don't practice the law of tithing, is spiritual abuse perpetrated by Steve Gaines on the believers at Bellevue Baptist Church.

- Not only does the story of Ananias and Sapphira have nothing to do with tithing, but in 2000 years of church history there is no evidence to suggest that God still deals with his church in such a swift and drastic manner as killing people for their sin in church. Most scholars interpret this story as a warning against hypocrites in the church who deceive people with phony piety, who present themselves to the church as being super-spiritual to gain the favor and applause of men. Hmmm, so who REALLY might be subject to God's judgment in like manner as Ananias and Sapphira - non tithers or deceptive preachers?

- one of the most disturbing parts of Gaines' statements on this passage is when he says that he believes that Ananias and Sapphira were true believers! Of course! This is Gaines' way of again connecting their sin and death to his congregants. Even though you're under the blood of Jesus Christ, if you don't give 10% to your church, God might just strike you dead. This is how these first-fruits tithing preachers view the people who don't tithe: you are robbing God, you're not as devoted to God as they are, and you're worthy of a death sentence by God for your sin of not forking over 10% to their church.

- Steve Gaines should immediately apologize to his congregation. Other Christian leaders who watch this video should contact Gaines and ask him to publicly retract his remarks and apologize to believers everywhere. He won't do it, as these "holy men" will not publicly apologize. But at least his fellow seminarians should call him out for his abuse of scripture.

Steve Gaines' abuse of scripture, his attempts at painting himself as the pious tither and deceiving his congregants about what this scripture means, makes him more like Ananias and Sapphire than anyone else in his entire congregation. As he jabs his index finger at his congregation, three stubby fingers are pointing right back at him.

Repent, Steve Gaines, of your bible twisting and deception. Stop spiritually abusing the sheep at Bellevue Baptist Church over the Old Testament tithe. Trust God to move in the hearts of people to give generously, and stop the not-so-veiled threats of death and destruction directed toward God's people.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Watch Video Below: It Demonstrates Why Crystal Cathedral Has Hit the Skids (And This is NOT an SNL Skit)

Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral has hit the skids. Family turmoil, lawsuits between family members over millions of dollars, Catholic Church buying the property, arguments over gays in the choir, family members hired and fired.

Now their Senior Pastor, Sheila Schuller Coleman, has announced that she is leaving the Crystal Cathedral to start her own church.

Watch the video above of Sheila Schuller Coleman, and you'll see what her new church might be like.

And you'll see why Crystal Cathedral has been in turmoil since the elder Schuler departed.

And you'll see the best case against church nepotism ever caught on camera.

And no, this is not a Saturday Night Live skit spoofing a Crystal Cathedral church service, it is an actual service.

Note: I have repented of my criticism of Perry Noble after watching this video.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

More Ordaining of Political Candidates at SBC Mega Churches

Who would have thought that just six years after the Vines, Lindsay, and Rogers era at FBC Jax and Bellevue Baptist Church that political candidates would be featured as part of the worship services. The pulpits where men simply proclaimed the good news of Jesus Christ are now used by preachers to promote their preferred candidates for political office.

It happened last May with Mac Brunson performing a "laying on of hands" ceremony and pious prayer for mayoral candidate and FBC Jax member Mike Hogan. Then, last Sunday we are treated to Steve Gaines holding a similar ceremony for presidential hopeful Rick Santorum.

Steve Gaines brought up Rick Santorum and his wife to the Bellevue Baptist platform and had two men lay hands on Rick as Steve offered up a most holy and humble prayer. While sappy music played softly in the background, Steve asked for the congregation to "lift your hands up your hands toward these people like you're touching them and you'll be touching them in the spirit."

Then they all sang "Kum-bay-ya".

Of course Brunson and Gaines try to mask their efforts by trying to sound non-partisan. Gaines said multiple times that anybody can come to worship whether they be Republican, Democrat or Independent.

But only conservative Republicans get the laying on of hands by the holy men of Bellevue and FBC Jax.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Florida Baptist Convention Statement on Gilyard: Passes the Buck to JBA, But They ARE Concerned About Church's Lack of Giving

Below is the statement issued by the Florida Baptist Convention, headed by John Sullivan pictured at left, on the Darrell Gilyard matter and Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church. Yesterday Bob Allen of the Associated Baptist Press published an article on this and the Jax Baptist Association statement I posted on Sunday.

Here in my own city, a Southern Baptist Convention church has hired a convicted pedophile. Not as the janitor. Not as the maintenance man, or even as an adult bible study teacher. As the preacher. He is a confessed, serial adulter in multiple churches, and then he was convicted of having sex with a minor in his church, and sending lewd text messages to others.

So how does the Florida Baptist Convention (FBC), under the leadership of John Sullivan, respond to this? How does John Sullivan and the staff at the FBC respond to the knowledge that women and children are at risk at a church who is Southern Baptist and a member of the Florida Baptist Convention who has hired this man? Below is their official statement, with my commentary.

"A hallmark of Southern Baptist life is the autonomy of the local church. Southern Baptists do not have a hierarchal (sic) system and do not appoint pastors to serve in local churches. The local congregation determines who will serve its church."

OK, this is already known. Obviously no agency appoints pastors to Southern Baptist churches, the congregations pick their pastors. However it is true that if a church selects a female pastor according to their interpretation of scripture, there is a "system" by which that church can be removed from the SBC.
"The Florida Baptist Convention has taken a proactive stance to encourage all churches to run background checks on employees and volunteers—as we do with every volunteer who works with children and teens in Convention-sponsored events and programs"

How ironic that this is brought up in the context of the Gilyard saga. Had Shiloh Baptist done a background check on Gilyard he would have come out clean back in 1993 - he had no criminal record. But he was KNOWN to be a serial adulter by Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines, and had confessed to having sex with women he had counseled in his churches prior to coming to Shiloh, yet a background check would never have revealed that when Shiloh hired him in the early 1990s. Of course now if we run a background check, he is a convicted sex offender.

Christa Brown and others have called for the Southern Baptist Convention to establish a database to track ministers who have been convicted of crimes, or credibly accused of serious misconduct. The SBC heavies have opposed such a system, and the Gilyard disaster is example #1 of why such a system is required. The FBC statement above painfully points this out.
"Christ Tabernacle Baptist Church (sic) in Jacksonville has been affiliated with the Florida Baptist Convention since 1998. During that time, the congregation has not demonstrated cooperation as defined by our Bylaw 2, which includes participating in the Cooperative Program giving and providing statistical information. They have given nothing in the past six years."
OK, that is interesting. Glad to know that in addition to hiring a pedophile and kicking the kids out of the church, they also are guilty of the terrible offense of not giving any money to the Cooperative Program. Who really cares that they have given no money to SBC missions, if they are putting a pedophile in the pulpit?
"Under Bylaw 2, the Convention affirms the role of the local association as the theological guardian of theology, faith, practice and polity. We affirm the leaders of the Jacksonville Baptist Association in that role."
OK, so they were saying that they would rather have the local association handle this matter. So John Sullivan passes the buck to Rick Wheeler and David Tarkington. Now in the next paragraph, the Florida Baptist Convention does say what is important to them, what DOES cause them to jump to action.
"Our staff has attempted to contact church leaders of Christ Tabernacle Baptist church even before the appointment of Darrell Gilyard as a preacher to discuss their financial situation. Since the current situation developed, we have made additional attempts to contact church leaders. Yesterday we were able to contact the chairman of the deacons and express our concern about the on-going relationship with the congregation."
Interesting. They just said in the previous paragraph that the matter of one of their own churches hiring a pedophile needs to be handled by the JBA. But by golly, the Florida Baptist Convention wants everyone to know that what is important to them, where they WILL jump to take action is when your church stops giving money to the Cooperative Program.
So the matter is put to rest now. We now know: the Florida Baptist Convention will pass the handling of serious matters such as pedophile preachers at churches down to the local associations that really have very few resources as compared to the state association. But when it comes to collecting money from the churches, the Florida Baptist Convention will get involved.

Their statement above does specify the CTMBC offense of not giving money to the Cooperative Program, but doesn't detail the offense of greater importance: putting women and children at risk by hiring a pedophile preacher.

Finally, I do commend Rick Wheeler and David Tarkington for taking the ball from the Florida Baptist Convention and getting Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church to agree to remove their membership from the JBA.

And thank you Rick and David, for getting CTMBC removed from the JBA church website so no one is directed to that church from your database.

Sadly, CTMBC is still as of this morning, showing up on the Florida Baptist Convention Church website.

John Sullivan, can you at least get CTMBC removed from your church database?

At least until they begin contributing money again to the Cooperative Program.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Jax Baptist Association Issues Statement Regarding Darrell Gilyard - Gilyard's Church is Withdrawing from the JBA

Friday an anonymous commenter on this blog posted an email they had received from David Tarkington and Rick Wheeler of the Jacksonville Baptist Association regarding Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church (CTMBC) agreeing to withdraw from the JBA over their hiring of Darrell Gilyard.

David Tarkington is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Orange Park (suburb of Jacksonville), and Rick Wheeler is the head of the JBA being appointed as the "Missional strategist/Director of Missions" last year. Prior to his JBA appointment he worked on staff at the Florida Baptist Convention.

I did contact Rick Wheeler Friday to confirm that the email posted on my blog was legitimate, and he did respond back that both the JBA and the Florida Baptist Convention had issued statements regarding the Gilyard matter and that they "...represent a great deal of hard work and sincere, prayerful leadership conversations." I have posted the JBA statement below exactly as Rick Wheeler sent it to me on Friday night. I will be posting the Florida Baptist Convention statement next week in a separate article.

This is good news. Although it seems the CTMBC has not been active in the JBA in any way for at least 9 years, it is important that the association take a public stand on the matter of Gilyard being allowed to stand in the pulpit of a church affiliated with the JBA. They are one of the largest local associations in the Florida Baptist Convention. They have a local, state, and international ministry, and I have been most impressed with their Haiti ministry through their orphanage and school in Cabaret, Haiti. It is right for the JBA to disassociate from a church that would put women and children in harm's way here in our city by putting a serial adulterer and registered sex offender in the pulpit. I commend the JBA for this action.

However, sadly, as of Sunday morning, Gilyard's church is still in all three of the SBC national, state, and local denominational church databases. Rick did not email me back Saturday when I asked him if and when Gilyard's church would be removed from the state and local databases.

I would have liked to see the JBA statement deal more directly with WHY they sought CTMBC's removal and condemn the hiring of Gilyard, rather than just referring to their objection over a "recent pastoral staffing decision." The Gilyard matter is much more serious than just a poor hire! CTMBC is putting a registered sex offender in a position of spiritual leadership where he can again build the trust of women and children and possibly abuse again. The JBA statement says we should all pray for "...the unity throughout the entire body of Christ in our region and for the purity of our faith and practice." I don't think at all the Gilyard matter has anything to do with unity in the body of Christ or purity of faith and practice - it has to do with the safety of women and children in our city who are purposely being exposed to a registered sex offender and serial abuser in a position of spiritual leadership who is scripturally unqualified, and the JBA statement should have explicitly said so.
Jacksonville Baptist Association (JBA) Statement Regarding Gilyard

Recently, the Jacksonville Baptist Association (JBA) became aware of an issue relating to one of our constituent member churches. The church in question is the Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church (CTMBC) and the issue at hand relates to their recent pastoral staffing decision. While affirming the autonomy of member churches, and recognizing our role as an association in Baptist polity, the circumstances of CTMBC do concern us. Further, we are broken and saddened by the information shared regarding CTMBC in recent reports.

While the church is currently listed on our membership rolls, they have not contributed to the JBA since 2003 and have not provided statistical information to the association.

In addition to following the clear teachings of Scripture, the JBA has a by-law process in place for responding to such issues with related churches. With Christ Tabernacle, we have taken those steps by contacting CTMBC to communicate our concern. These conversations with church leadership produced the mutual understanding that it is necessary for CTMBC to leave the fellowship of the Jacksonville Baptist Association. They are currently forwarding a written confirmation of that understanding.

We ask that all church leaders and members of the Jacksonville Baptist Association continue to pray earnestly for the unity throughout the entire body of Christ in our region and for the purity of our faith and practice. We seek to honor the name of Jesus in all we do and in how we conduct ourselves in these matters.

Rick Wheeler, Lead Missional Strategist
David Tarkington, JBA Moderator

Friday, March 2, 2012

Perry Noble Uncovers Hidden Tithing Message in the Sermon on the Mount: "Seek Ye First the Kingdom" Means "Give First 10% of Income to Church"

As we've seen over and over again, preachers who push the nonsensical "first-fruits tithing doctrine" are willing to use Jesus, use the Bible, use their celebrity status - use anything and everything at their disposal to convince Christians that forking over a minimum of 10% of their income is the pathway to favor with God.

Case in point: this past weekend Perry Noble used an important verse in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and declared that it is about specifically about tithing.

Says Perry:

"When He says 'seek first'...Jesus is specifically talking about our finances. He is saying 'seek first, put God first'. People who say that tithing does not exist in the New Testament simply misunderstand this verse. Jesus is specifically referring to the tithe."

So darn it, Christians for centuries simply have misunderstood the Sermon on the Mount. Perry now helps us finally see the hidden message: Jesus wants us to tithe 10% to the church.

Perry continues:

"Jesus said 'seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness' and what's the rest of that verse say? 'And all these things' - all what things? Money, clothes, food. 'And all these things will be added to you.'"

Jesus' teaching to "seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness" was not a prescription for tithing so you can have your needs met. It had absolutely nothing to do with the Old Testament practice of tithing. One could better make the case that Jesus was referring to the practice of circumcision before claiming he was referring to the tithe! Jesus was teaching his followers to forsake the pursuit of temporal possessions on earth and replace those with pursuits of eternal significance - like those things Jesus prayed for in the model prayer earlier in Matthew 6.

But megachurch preachers can't preach what Jesus actually was saying, because they might have to lead the way in forsaking their enormous incomes and lavish lifestyles. So Perry just conveniently says Jesus was referring to the tithe.

But on the bright side, Perry gave the best advice I've heard from him, immediately following the Sermon on the Mount scripture twisting. Perry said:

"Close your eyes and run."

Yes, close your eyes and run away from Perry's church and his teachings on this subject.

"Close your eyes and run" was Perry's advice to blindly trust his scripture interpretation about the absolute necessity of Christians to tithe. Perry was telling his peeps that if you even the slightest inkling that you should not be tithing 10%, or that your circumstances dictate something less than that or even nothing at all - Perry says you should just blindly close your eyes, and run - that is start forking over the money and trust God to feed you and clothe you.

Sorry, Perry, we are not bound to Old Testament laws of tithing and sacrifices and circumcision to earn favor with God, or to receive blessings and provisions from God. It doesn't matter how you often try to say it or how much scripture you trample over to convince us; it just ain't so.

As we learned in E-church this weekend, from Wade's excellent sermon, Christians have the greatest law written in our hearts by the Holy Spirit that directs our lives, even how and when we give our finances:

"For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Heb 10: 14-16

So open your eyes and run, Christian, from this legalism taught by Perry Noble and others concerning your finances. Instead, follow the law of love, and give where, when, and to whom the Spirit leads you. And when you do give, be generous, and do it cheerfully.

And for sure, when a manipulative preacher tries to get you to give under compulsion:

Close your ears and run.