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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Do we rob God when we don't tithe?

Upon reading the following message, I encourage you to “test all things.” The truth is that this is a very challenging message to write and I know that, perhaps, it is a challenging message to read.
I strongly encourage your thoughts, comments, and opinions.. 

Lately, I have felt God leading me to question why things are done in a certain way in our churches. To me, it seems evident that something isn’t working. Every day when I turn on the news, I see images of violence. The world seems to drift further away from Christianity and Christians, in our efforts to be “right” , seem to be getting things desperately wrong.
The truth is that I have a heart for all people, and a deep concern. Today, I read an email from a man who claims that his family and church completely ostracized him because his ways of thinking were different. Lately, I have heard other stories like his.. I have heard of people being cast out of their both their families and churches simply because they went against the grain, pointed out how scriptures have been twisted, and dared to stand alone in their thoughts.
It’s humbling..but, as I read and research..I find that I am not alone in my ways of thinking..
There are thousands out there who can see things in the same way… perhaps, it is the light of truth..I truly believe it is..
I encourage you to pray and seek the face of Jesus.. ask for discernernment, and don’t always be ready to satisty the “itching ears” that the disciples warned about in the New testament. 

I grew up in a tithing church. It has always seemed normal. I have always been told that if I don’t tithe, then I am robbing God. The truth is that I love my pastor and my church family. I also truly believe that God speaks through my pastor. One only has to read through the pages of this blog to see how God moved in our church services.

Today, however, I want to challenge the concept of the modern day tithe.
Before you write me off as a heretic and attach a scarlet letter to my name and cast me away, please listen to what I have to say with an open heart and a discerning mind. I am not alone in challenging the tithe..there are hundreds, if not thousands of us, who believe that the tithe is doing harm to the body of believers..
Let me explain….
A while back ago, I met a man named Darryl. One day I was browsing the internet and I came across a website that interested me.. Five words flashed before my eyes that truly caught my attention.. Those words were, I DO NOT ACCEPT DONATIONS..
It was those five words that bid me to read more.. I thought that a man who doesn’t charge for something, must truly believe in the words that he speaks. So much so, that he is willing to shout his message to the world free of charge.
So, I read…
Some of the things I read astounded and confused me at the very same time. I was astounded because I came to realize that God's plan for us is much larger than what we realize, and confused because  I was challenged as Darryl’s words dismantled many of the things that I had accepted as "normal" or even "right." The amazing thing is that everything he said made sense and seemed to be solidly backed by scripture.  He presented a narrow gate approach to the gospel that I wasn’t accustomed to hearing, and quite frankly.. it frightened me..

But..
Finding that particular site..led me to seek God and find answers for myself… The ironic thing is I believe that God has shown me many of the same things.

One concept that Darryl challenged was the tithe.. I had a hard time accepting this, but as I prayed God began to show me how money is used as a tool in the church for purposes of manipulation. I am thankful that my pastor doesn’t use fear tactics, but I have seen many others attempt to use scriptures to strike fear into people’s hearts, while using “mammon” to do it.

Another thing that God allowed me to see is the dangers of seed faith and how miracles are often sold for profit.

All of these things have disturbed me deeply, and I am forced to acknowledge that they are a growing problem and the reason for the overwhelming sense of complacency in our churches.

We have replaced the Jesus of Humility with the Jesus of Prosperity and, to be honest, I can see that the lies that have infiltrated our Body have run deep, as we accept "another gospel"..in which the apostles warned against.

Two weeks ago, I got a tiny little  thorn in my thumb. It seemed to be lodged in too deep to remove, so I simply pretended that it didn’t exist…

Only…a few weeks later..I noticed that my thumb is beginning to swell.   I started secretly wondering if my hand wasn't becoming infected. At one point, I actually wondered if an infection could find it's way into my bloodstream and ultimately lead to my death.. I know it sounds far fetched, but I have heard of fatal blood infections that begin with something very small and simple.. like a thorn..

Lately, I feel as if Christ has pointed me to research and learn about false teachings. He has been leading me to read about it in the Bible. Today, He gave me an illustration. False teachings are like the tiny thorn. They seem tiny and insignificant, but they begin to infect the Body of Believers in very serious ways. They get into the bloodstream, and like a poison, they make their way into the heart.  Before you know it, the entire Body is sick and infected.  The fruit becomes evident..selfishness, greed, and a severe lack of love.Through these teachings, many of us are.being led into "another gospel"  ....one that doesn't match or even resemble the gospel of the scriptures...

Even though I don’t know if I will classify the teaching of tithes as a false teaching, I want to point out why I believe it has been twisted and misused.  I think that is so commonplace that many pastors don’t even realize that they are twisting scripture..

I’ll explain…and please hear me out and offer you comments prior to pinning on the infamous scarlet letter… One thing I will say is that, when I feel God is showing me that something is wrong, He always shows me that He has a much greater plan that we could ever imagine…

So…. Here is what I believe to be a twisting of scripture..but if you can hold out…you will see something much bigger and better unfolding…

I am going to post an article and several links for your consideration..This is a very lengthy subject, but I pray that you come away enlightened…

….but before I post the article I will mention that I don’t always pay my tithes..
I’ll explain why…

In the not too distant past, I learned of the Hebrew word, Koinonia.. Koinonia is word that can be found in the New Testament over 18 times. It refers to the community of Believers in the Book of Acts.  The community of believers is often referred to as the Early Christian church.

42 The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. 43 A sense of awe came over everyone. God performed many wonders and signs through the apostles. 44 All the believers were united and shared everything. 45 They would sell pieces of property and possessions and distribute the proceeds to everyone who needed them. 46 Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. 47 They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved.
Acts 2 42-47

The scripture states that the believers shared their possessions. They were joyful and trusted in Lord  What the belivers shared..Koinonia....  refers the deep, rich experience of sharing, fellowship, faith, and the "breaking of bread."  I love the idea of koinonia and feel that it could possibly be something that God intended for our lives - imagine a world where we take care of one another,and we aren't separated by denomination hatred and division.

One thing that I have heard that actually makes sense to me...is that many times the lost will never set foot inside of a church.. There are dozens or hundreds of churches in any one given area..There are thousands or millions of dollars poured into concrete and brick structures..but yet.. quite often, the truly lost will never venture there. 



One thing that I can attest to is that the systems that we have in place aren't working. We live in a dark world and many are not coming to Christ because of what they have seen and experienced in churches.

There have been days when I have felt led to give, what would have been my “tithe” to helping the poor.. I have used what would have been my tithe to buy blankets  for the needy and even buy teddy bears for children placed in shelters. I have had the opportunity minister to people in ways where they would not have otherwise been reached.

In doing so..and in heeding God’s command to share and give to the needy, I have essentially, “Stored up treasures in Heaven.” 
One thing that we should realize is that church was never about a building, but about people.. who are the temple of God..

I will ask a question that will challenge you… Do you think that the community and the poor could be better served if the church decided to forego a tithe so that patrons would have more money to distribute in spreading the gospel and helping the needy? By not doing such are we simply not trusting  God for provision?  Is church maintaining the cost of a building or can we say that chuch is a Body of Believers working  together for the good of Christ Jesus?

The Bible says, “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philipians

And “ Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? “ Matthew 6:26

1 Corinthians 12:12-14
12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body-whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free-and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.


I encourage you to read these article that explain how the teaching of tithes has been misused… but first I will attempt to give a brief explanation. (Stay tuned because I have some more nuggets..and I want to you hear about something interesting that happened today')

I have recently been doing research on the tithe, and I want to tell a story that I learned from a young man’s youtube testimony…keep in mind that there are numerous articles and scripture that point out what I gathered from the video..

Here is a summary, and I’m paraphrasing to the best of my memory

1.     A young man spoke of how he was pressured to tithe in his church. He was told that if he didn’t pay his ten percent, then he was robbing God and that God would not bless him. The young man spoke of how he earnestly struggled to pay bills and was even borrowing money from his student loans to meet the obligation to his mega church. He then said that he prayed about it, and was reading from the new testament one day and he came across a verse in Galations that says that we are no longer bound by the Old Testament Mosaic Law..instead, through the grace of Christ, we have a new Law.. and through his indwelling spirit..we should  “give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver..”2 Corinthians 9:7

The man also noted that there were three tithes in the Old Testament. Each tithe never involved money, but instead, crops and meat..

He said that his mega church refused to help him when he desperately needed assistance despite the huge amount of money that he had poured into the pastor’s salary and the enormous cost of the building.

Ok..so here are my nuggets..First of all, I want to summarize what I feel I have learned  and please correct me if I am wrong.

  • Church is not about a building, but about a Body of Believers
  • Tithes were a part of the Old Mosaic Law, intended for Levitical priests..(one also went to help orphans and widows)
  • Galations says that we are no longer under the Old Law, but instead are under the Law of Grace .."Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law."  Galations 3:25
  • Romans 6:15 also says that we are no longer under the Old Law. "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!"
  • Romans 13:10 tells us "Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."

Ok, so here are my thoughts and correct me if I am wrong. We are no longer under the Old Law, now Love fulfills the law.  The New Testament says that we are to " Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galations 6:2 

We are also called to "give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."  This verse says that We should not give because we have been made to fear or through intimidation but because simply because we want to give in our hearts.

We are also called to:

Romans 12:13
Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

and

1 John 3:16-18
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.


So, here is what I am going to do.
I will continue to support my pastor when I feel led to do so in my heart, but it won't be "out of compulsion" but simply because I love him and his family.
I can also say that I am free from the tithe and can now use those finances to give to poor. I am free to "cheerfully" give to my brothers who are in need without feeling as if I am "robbing" God.

Final word.. I am using this simply for purpose of illustration. I do not think we should be boastful givers, but we should give in secret, as the Bible says.. However, I am using this to make a point.

Today, I was at the grocery store. An elderly man was waiting behind me in line. He only had one item, and I truly wanted to pay for his item. It was something that was in my heart. It was a joy and I can say that it was done cheerfully.
The man was very grateful.
He, in turn, offered to carry my things out to my car.
I hugged his neck, and he hugged me.
I told him that Jesus loves him.
It was a beautiful moment.
I felt right then that we were carrying "one another's burden's," so to speak.
It felt right. It felt like the New Testament idea of Koinonia...

Now, I have to ask a pertinent question? Does the tithe, tie us up financially in such a way that we are missing moments like this one? This is the love that our world needs to see and I think the tithe hinders these kinds of beautiful moments from happening.

Your thoughts, please?

One final thought.. Can anyone show me a New Testament verse where Jesus mentions the tithe.
The only one I can think of is where He criticized the scribes and pharisees for tithing, but forsaking love and justice..

 But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, but you bypass justice and the love of God. You ought to have done these, and not to have left the other undone.

Also, keep in mind that in the Old Testament, we would be stoned for many of our sins.
There is a new law now, and that Law is the law of Grace.
"Love fulfills the law."

Keep in mind one more story. I once knew a man. He was a humble man. He died recently. He didn't go to a church, possibly because he saw much manipulation. But one thing that I will say..is that God knew his heart. This man was a very generous giver. I don't know if his heart was right with God, but I refuse to believe that this man "robbed" God by not paying a tithe.
Peeps, pay away..It doesn't matter to me what you do.. the entire purpose of this post is simply to get people to think about why they do things in a certain way. I believe in supporting with one another. Read this blog and you will see that, but I simply don't like the fear and manipulation rhetoric. To me, it's just plain wrong. Today I was told that I was blinded and had scales over my eyes. So be it..But if people can't talk about things in a civil way, then that makes me question who they are in God. Be nice, folks.. agree to disagree..with that being said.. I'm not suggesting that we sell off all of our wares and live like hippies, I'm saying that we should "test things" as the Bible states..I'm saying that Grace is good and the Old Law is no longer valid.. with that being said.............just a quick thought..do you realize that trillions and trillions of dollars are spent on churches every year.. Hmmm. Each one teaches something different. How many are teaching from the Bible? I truly believe that church was always meant to be about the people. I truly believe that we aren't meant to be separated by denominational differences. I am working on a post about that as we speak.. But think for a moment, how many starving and hungry children..how many homeless men and women could be cared for with all of the money that we are pouring into building churches.... Think of the George Muller story. ..The man never asked for a dime, and yet God provided provision to house over ten thousand orphans. The man read the Bible on his knees over two hundred times... Wow, all of that for simple faith in God.. That's all I'm saying folks.. God provides when we trust Him... He takes care of us when we do His will...and you are not robbing God if you don't pay a tithe.. I truly believe that God doesn't want our money..He wants our whole hearts... He wants to fill us in such a way that we love one another with such intensity that we find joy in giving... .
I can't help but think of the verse, "Freely give as you have been given." Jesus told His disciples NEVER to charge for the gospel, and yet we are seeing how money is used as a tool in church. We are seeing rich pastors who flaunt wealth, while their congregants are often poor. THE aposlte Paul spoke of the "superapostles" of his day. Today, we are seeing the same thing...a rise of "superapostles" Jesus said "be content with what you have," and yet today's superapostles are anything but content. They continaully make more pleas for money..they buy unneccsary private jets and live in mansions. Do they think the will of God cannot be carried out without a private plane? Did they lose sight of humility and forget that the nature of the Cross is self sacrifice? Are they really emulating Jesus or are we being decived? We are deceived in thinking that there are no false teachings and practices. Nearly every book of the New Testamant warns of the dangers of them, and yet do you wonder why no one ever speaks of  them? The apostles said that they would be "among us," The Bible says the the enemy comes as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Unless we are operating as a solid body of Believers using our gifts to serve, then we are not as strong as we may think.

If I am wrong, please someone tell me why...


Please read the following articles that thoroughly explain how the scriptures do not support the need for a tithe.. Please watch the videos as well. One is extremely disturbing! Also, please note..that if your view of tithing is changed from this message, I encourage you to lovingly speak to your pastor about your concerns. Also, I am open for discussion.. Test all things..

http://www.inplainsite.org/html/tithing.html




http://www.batteredsheep.com/tithing.html

http://411tithesofferings.411-cashflow.com/Malachi3Mis-Interpreted.html - THIS EXPLAINS HOW MALACHI HAS BEEN MISINTERPRETED. IT GIVES THE VERSE IN ITS PROPER CONTEXT.















Preach IT! I love you, lady!

5 comments:

  1. wow great i have read many articles about this topic and everytime i learn something new i dont think it will ever stop always new info , Thanks for all of your hard work! teddy bear

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    1. thanks teddy bear.. :) God Bless you ..I added some more to the post if you are interested in reading it again..

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  2. wow, can you believe some of these mega preachers? It's all about the money? let's shoot the non tithers? there is something wrong with this picture....

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  3. Good post. I would like to add a bit more to the discussion. Tithing, is an old testament sacrament. Most 'New Testament Churches' continue to endorse tithing as a modern sacrament in Christendom. This is puzzling to me because we do not continue in the other sacraments of the old testament, such as sacrificial worship. Why one and not the other? I think there are 2 reasons for this. 1. Man has an amazing ability to shift his focus from God's provision to his own. A pastor still needs to provide for his family. Lacking focus on Christ, he teaches the sacrament of tithing to ensure his needs are met. 2. Man is utterly depraved prior to being awakened into salvation by grace. Afterward, he still battles the chains of the flesh which crave opposition to God. "The love of money is the root of all evil." This love of treasure,success, etc is the driving force of our flesh - ultimately to sustain "self." Now, the problem with tithing is that it is too little. Even the pharisees tithed strictly everything in their possession. And scripture tells us that our righteousness should exceed that of the pharisees. Tithing should be our starting point, not just with the church, but to all believers. To quote myself from your facebook earlier, many Christians have forgotten that we were bought with a price and are no longer our own. Our very lives and everything in them has been purchased by the blood of Christ on Calvary in order that Christ might be glorified through us. I'll end with the words of the Apostle Paul, "It is no longer I who lives, but Christ in me."

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  4. Don't worry about what the unknowing say. Hard to overlook but you just can't argue with centuries of lies and bad teachings. Ask them to show you in the New Testament where the tithe is required. Jesus and all of HIS disciples spoke about being charitable to the needy. The idea is good and if the churches would do it - it would be wonderful but they want the income for higher salaries, more outings, bigger buildings, everything but helping the needy. There are some churches that have pantries for the needy but those goods are contributed by other charitable givers. The churches don't spend their money to stock the pantry. At least not that I know of.You can't argue with people. Simply write your messages and don't give personal advice to people. You're not going to convince anyone. It only invites insults. They all know more than you, just ask them. They are all perfect and knowledgeable.

    Just say, show me where Jesus tells me to do it. If they go back to the OT then you can go back to the OT and show them where they need to be stoned for their pat sins. People are no good. They are all of Satan. Fact. You were too before the HS enlightened you. You then became a New Creation. Those people are still trying to fool God and think if they say those things it will win favor from God.

    Maybe you should quit witnessing unless you are asked. You are not going to change anybody. Jesus didn't argue. HE spoke HIS truth and only had one-on-one conversations when approached and asked HIM. HE stated HIS truth clearly and went on. They either accepted the truth or not but HE did not worry about it. Look at the Rich Man. HE told the young man the truth and the man went away sad. Jesus didn't beg him or argue with him. HE just turned to HIS disciples and told them that it is nearly impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom. HE didn't say anything more to the rich man.

    Just follow Jesus and do as HE did.

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