"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.