The Disappearing Middle Class…In The Church

There is a disappearing middle class – within the church – that (in my opinion) is rivaling the effects of the economic conditions that are plaguing America today. Many people are losing their homes, finding it harder and harder to make ends meet, and “robbing Peter to pay Paul”, but that doesn’t stop the pimps from pursuing the money that you have left.

One of the many casualties of the Word of Faith, prosperity, “name it and claim it” heresy is that it creates an almost unquenchable desire within the Body for money and material things – and it leaves those who desire “stuff” in a much worse position than they were before they ever heard the heresy.

In direct violation of 1 Timothy 6:7-11, false teachers whip you into a frenzy by:

  • falsely equating prosperity with financial gain
  • twisting scripture to justify tithing, love offerings, and all other manner of extortion
  • and making you think that something is wrong with you because God isn’t blessing you with a “30, 60, 100 fold blessing” in return for giving them your last dime.

In many previous posts, I explained that I was a loyal soldier to my former pimps. I bought the money cometh” scam hook, line, and sinker. In fact, I parroted their weak responses when confronted about why God “didn’t open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing” even though someone gave their last dime.

“You don’t have enough faith”, or “don’t worry, your breakthrough is on the way!” I used to say.

I’ve long since repented before the Lord for such stupidity, but the scam keeps going on and on.

Personally, I reject the concept of tithing – because it has become nothing more than a revenue making scheme that pimps use to guilt and extort money from the sheep today. You don’t want to be “cursed with a curse”, so you give under compulsion – or even worse, duress – in direct opposition to 2 Corinthians 9:7.

The tithing concept has been so twisted and maligned by false teachers, that many people will use credit cards to “pay” their tithes, so much so that tithing has replaced the concept of benevolence.

The average person would rather give their last dime to the Bentley driving pulpit pimp than the neighbor next door who has no money for diapers. The sick logic is that “the next door neighbor can’t ‘curse me with a curse’ so I’d rather give God His”.

Apparently, we don’t much focus on what Jesus said in Matthew 25:35-46. We’d rather do the most convenient thing by giving money to the pastor in hopes that he would distribute it to the poor, just like he says he will. It’s only a “coincidence” that the more we “give to the poor” through the pastor, the better his lifestyle gets.

Some churches will even dis-fellowship you for“robbing God”!

There is lots of evidence in the bible to prove that tithing was a law giving to Jews and Levitical priests. It’s interesting to me that folks use Malachi 3:8-12 to scare you into giving them your tithe, but if you read the entire book of Malachi, you’ll clearly see that God is expressing His displeasure with the priests who are charged with interceding to Him on behalf of the people.

By the way, these priests lived in the Temple, and were supported by the Israelites. Does your pimp live in your church?

To this day, I hear horror stories from people who tithe their utility money, yet the church won’t extend benevolence in order to help them pay the utility bill – after the pimp has admonished the sheep to give their utility money and God would bless them anyway!

I embrace the concept of grace giving – giving as the Lord leads to areas He directs…even if it means giving to people or causes that are in more need than a pastor or church as opposed to the extortion techniques that are used in churches across America today.

Even The Barna Group – one of the most widely referenced research firms in Christiandom has released a report stating that not only is tithing down in churches across the country, but:

Strangely, tithing is a Jewish practice, not a Christian principle espoused in the New Testament. The idea of a tithe – which literally means one-tenth or the tenth part – originated as the tax that Israelites paid from the produce of the land to support the priestly tribe (the Levites), to fund Jewish religious festivals, and to help the poor. The ministry of Jesus Christ, however, brought an end to adherence to many of the ceremonial codes that were fundamental to the Jewish faith. Tithing was such a casualty. Since the first-century, Christians have believed in generous giving, but have not been under any obligation to contribute a specific percentage of their income.

Who knew that George Barna was so “controversial”? I wonder if the pimps will still use his research to aid in growing their “ministries”?

The end result is that many churches are filled with two kinds of people: the “haves” and the “have nots”…the “sort of haves” are either leaving or have already fled the pimp because they’re sick of hearing the “offeratory appeal”.

I’ve seen it up close:

  • pastor so-and-so spends 10 minutes after every sermon telling you how God wants you to be rich (after he has you recite a scripture – out of context – exclaiming that you are a tither and that God HAS TO rebuke the devourer for your sake).
  • He points to his own lifestyle and how he “activated his faith” in order to walk in God’s abundance.
  • He also talks about how “the anointing flows from the head down”, so if you give him your money, you’ll be blessed too!
  • He then says that tithing is “just an entry level action – you can’t get a return unless you sow first fruit, love offering, offering, building fund, first lady’s birthday” blah blah blah.

“Don’t hate on your neighbor! If God is blessing them, at least you know he’s in the neighborhood!” (que the jumpy organ music and the running around the church while babbling in “tongues” at that “revelation”)

At that point, the “haves” pour their earnings into the coffers and anxiously await their “return”. The “have nots” are told “God knows your heart, and He knows that you will give when you get it because you have a heart to give”.

Sometimes, the “haves” even pass a few bucks the “have nots” – or the pimp peels a few bucks out of his money clip to give a “have not”- and as a sign of obedience to the pimp prophet, the “have not” drops the money into the coffers and gives it RIGHT BACK TO THE PIMP…waiting on their return as well.  

The pimp may even read an email that he received from a “have” detailing how “God was faithful to the seed that they sowed last week, and He returned their tithe PLUS INTEREST!”, further stoking the allegiance of the “haves” – and the envy and determination of the “have nots”.

Meanwhile, the middle class is looking around wondering what is going on. They give out of obedience to the pimp prophet because they earnestly want to please God (and the pimp prophet told them that this pleases God). They also, however see that they’re not getting the promised return.

They grow weary of hearing the same begging speech over and over again – and seeing the pimps parade of new cars, suits, and homes. They also grow weary of seeing the poorest among them exploited, and they’re tired of feeling guilty when they give $100 to a homeless person instead of standing in the “money line” at the church revival later that evening.

So, they leave – hoping to find a church home that teaches the true meaning of giving, and that God is not a slot-machine, and that his people are not to be neglected while we pursue earthly treasures that we can’t take with us when we die anyway.

Unfortunately, many pastors erroneously think that if they keep preaching to the “haves”, then the middle-class doesn’t matter because the “have nots” will eventually become “haves”.

They fail to realize that the church is not a business or a revenue stream.

As believers, we are to evangelize the liberating Gospel of Jesus Christ without injecting our personal desires or interests. Period.

I find the words of Jude to be quite sufficient:

17 But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ said. 18 They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. 19 These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.

 20 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,[a] 21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.

 22 And you must show mercy to[b] those whose faith is wavering. (Jude 1:17-22)

I pray that those of us who reject the “pay to play” doctrine pray earnestly for those who embrace it. Let’s pray God’s mercy on those who are led astray by this divisive doctrine, and let’s all recommit to caring for the needs of one another – not under compulsion or duress, but because it is the Will of our Father through His Son.

Advertisements

13 Responses to “The Disappearing Middle Class…In The Church”


  1. 1 lavrai May 1, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    My own personal view point on tithing hasn’t changed much from what I learned as a child from my parents — you give what you can when you can and only if you want to.

    I eventually came to an understanding that I only give really because GOD has given me… I can’t give something I don’t have and I couldn’t have gotten it unless MY FATHER gave it to me. So, I give in thanks and appreciation. I don’t ever give expecting to get something back in return, although I know that GOD takes care of HIS children. Thinking about it now, I don’t even consider things like that (what kind of money I’ll be getting later) when I drop my tithe envelope or offering into the collection basket.

    GOD blesses me, so I show my appreciation. I don’t sew to reap. How could it be any other way?

    And I am not using this to ‘prove’ anything, but what do the pulpit pimps make of the fact that Abraham only gave a tithe of what he had obtained because he knew the hand of the LORD was in his victory? Abraham did not sew a seed/tithe BEFORE he went into battle, but gave a tithe afterwards. (Genesis 14)

    Why do we forget that there is nothing we can do on our own or of ourselves to move GOD? There is nothing we have materially that GOD wants or would even be worthy of presenting before HIM.

    And you know what, you could tithe twice a month, every month every year of your life, but if you fail to act with compassion towards those around you, your tithing is worthless.

    Would those looking to ‘reap’ under the doctrine of the pulpit pimps think buying a hungry child a meal or paying for someone else’s groceries to be a futile act?

  2. 2 Speaking Truth May 1, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Blessed are you, LaVrai for flesh and blood has not corrupted you 🙂

    No really, you are blessed if giving to get wasn’t ingrained in your thinking. Many of us do what we saw our parents do, and they do what they’re parents do, and so on.

    I know that many pastors bind with the tithe out of ignorance – and what they’ve been taught by their mentors. Others, however, know very well that it is a scam – and they use it as such.

    The bottom line is that we should give because we are helping others in need and advancing the kingdom – not because we want a new building or to “bless” our pimp with a G4 jet.

    Would those looking to ‘reap’ under the doctrine of the pulpit pimps think buying a hungry child a meal or paying for someone else’s groceries to be a futile act?

    Sadly, yes – and I know that all too well. When you buy the “cursed with a cursed” line, you believe that God will strike you dead for “robbing Him” before you get in your car to leave the church parking lot. I mean that seriously.

    You’re right, there is NOTHING that we can give God that is worthy of Him…I just wish more people knew that.

  3. 3 Speaking Truth May 1, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    Also, I forgot to add this LaVrai

    — you give what you can when you can and only if you want to.

    The hardliners would say that your’re not a tither, since tithe means “tenth”! 😦

    I’m just saying 😉

  4. 4 dupednomore May 1, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    You must have watched bible study last night @ NBS. The timing on this is impeccable. I have recently begun to “divert” my “Tithes” to other area in my life that require my attention. These area were neglected because I didn’t want to be “cursed” or worse, be found unworthy. Only now have I found true freedom to give according to the unction of the Holy Spirt, and believe it or not, I’m not always led to give just to my church. We are often hit over the head with Matthew 10:41, but in order to be a prophet-your words are fufilled by God to the letter. So if you say that this is the year for manifestation, then it better be the year for manifestation, and not just for you!

  5. 5 Speaking Truth May 1, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    DNM,

    I try not to watch Landers anymore because it upsets me to see such foolishness easily swallowed by the sheep (well, the sheep that haven’t left yet).

    You’re right, the pimps love to trot out Matthew 10:41 to engender allegiance, but I like the New Living Translation of the verse because it clearly denotes what Jesus was saying (my emphasis in bold):

    41 If you receive a prophet as one who speaks for God,[a] you will be given the same reward as a prophet. And if you receive righteous people because of their righteousness, you will be given a reward like theirs.

    Pimps always equate themselves as the “prophet” and the reward as “money”, but Jesus didn’t say what the prophet’s reward was! In fact, some prophets were “rewarded” with death when they obeyed God and declared and unpopular message to the king.

    I wonder if Landers, Long, or any other pimp would exegete that?

  6. 6 Beth Welsh May 2, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    I haven’t yet heard of it as pimping, but it is true! The Bible calls it exploitation in 2 Peter 2:3 “By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words;” NKJV

  7. 7 Ann Brock May 3, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    My question to you is, if the pew setters don’t give to the church how can the church do what it’s been call to do? For real, how do the church function without money? I have read other sites were people are saying don’t give a tithe to the church but I don’t understand how it can work with out money. Will you please answer that for me, I might be looking at this thing wrong.

    Now I don’t believe in that foolishness about God want you rich but I do believe in tithing my money, time and service unto God through the church. Now, in my heart I feel if I am part of a particular church I should contribute to the operation of that church. Help me understand.

  8. 8 Speaking Truth May 3, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    @ Beth.

    I wrote an earlier article exploring the concept of pulpit pimping, and in my opinion this kind of exploitation clearly qualifies as such.

    If people gave what they wanted to and they weren’t intimidated into doing so, then it would be a moot point. The travesty is that you are guilted into giving – and that’s completely counter to scripture.

    @ Ann,

    My question to you is, if the pew setters don’t give to the church how can the church do what it’s been call to do? For real, how do the church function without money?

    You’ve asked a very good question.

    Based on your statement, it sounds like you give because you want to support your assembly and the work of the Gospel, and that’s a noble reason to do so. If you don’t feel guilty when you give to someone in need instead of your church on that particular day, then you are (again) giving from your heart.

    Since the tithe (or the10%) is where most pastor tie you into bondage, then are you cursed with a curse if you give 5%, or 9%, or 22.4%? What about the people who have a heart to give, but they only have about 2% to contribute after they’ve paid rent, daycare, groceries, etc.?

    I made it clear that I’m not against giving to a church for the futherance of the Gospel – as well as for those in need. That’s why I believe in “grace giving” as opposed to a percentage that doesn’t apply to you unless you were a Jew under Levitical law.

    My problem is that when the message becomes all about “give to get” or “give for the new multi-million dollar building” or “give cause pastor needs a Bentley” or “give because God will strike you dead if you don’t”, then it becomes a joke – and a game.

    We SHOULD give, but not to a pyramid scheme or because we’re afraid of what will happen if we don’t.

  9. 9 Alan Higgins May 4, 2008 at 2:33 am

    IST, I was one of those people who was stopped from doing ministry because I didnt tithe. I actually spoke to one of the ‘pastors’ and asked what would you do if it could be shown biblically that we didnt have to tithe and he said that he has to follow the vision of the ‘man of gawd’. It breaks my heart to see so many of these kind of people who blindly follow these ministries

    Anyway, here is my two cents on tithing
    http://realchristianity.wordpress.com/2008/03/04/to-tithe-or-not-to-tithe/

  10. 10 Speaking Truth May 4, 2008 at 8:03 am

    Alan,

    Unfortunately, I was one of those leaders in ministry who would have told you that you weren’t qualified for leadership if you didn’t tithe 🙄 .

    We actually checked peoples giving records – that’s how off base I was before I repented before the Lord and left my former plantation!

    Your article is a very clear and well written exposition on tithing and giving – I recommend that anyone who has read this post go to Alan’s link (above) and take a look as well…

  11. 11 E.Bert Todd May 9, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    How I LOVE this blog…
    Thank you for speaking the truth on this issue

  12. 12 Speaking Truth May 9, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    To God be the Glory E.Bert.

    It’s only through my relationship with Him through Jesus Christ that I can even attempt to understand the mystery of the Gospel – and to shine the light on those who use Him for their gain.

  13. 13 speaking truth July 8, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    I received an email from Berry after he stopped by the blog, and he’s given me permission to reprint his comment here:

    Really interesting Blog…..Kinda goes along with my own thinking….There is no gift without the giver. In my opinion one of the biggest problems the CHURCH has is that it has become more a business than a place to minister to the people. Anytime the attitude exist that a member of a church is EXPECTED to tithe instead of giving from the heart that ministry has become confused. Anytime that money becomes a point of contention in a church the church is on the wrong path. The church is designed by God essentially to help the individual to find HIM. The relationship we have with God is a personal one. When we pass from this world what happens from there will be just between us and our Lord. His desire is for each of us to grow in the spirit. We must learn that the physical things of this world will in the end count for nothing and that our choices here will determine the fate of our immortal souls. The lessons we learn through trial are designed for the purpose of assisting us to grow
    spiritually through forgiveness the love of God and the love we have for one another. If you view the tithe as a gift to the church and the church is an instrument of God to help us find him the church has a duty to help that person learn why giving is important to God and the truth must be disclosed. In truth everything God does or request we do is motivated by his desire to bring us closer to him. If an individual gives out of any reason other than because he or she is moved from the heart to do so then in truth there has been no gift given. The spirit of that individual experiences no growth. As long as the church sees only the needs of the church and forgets the needs of individual to find a true relationship with God it is not serving God but man. Just my opinion…..

    In my reply to Berry, I echoed the exact same thing I say to anyone who is bound by the “law of the tithe” (or the “principle” as some call it now, all the while still trying to “guilt” you into giving) – imagine the groundswell of benevolence towards those who REALLY NEED assistance if the false teachers would stop twisting God’s Word for their own selfish gain.

    Because we make giving a “self-centered” activity (“If you give, then God will open up the windows of Heaven…”), then we’re not giving from our heart – we’re “loaning” money to God in hopes (erroneously) that He’ll return it “with interest” – thus satisfying our flesh.

    Such a sad reason to “give” in the first place. Thanks for the excellent comment, Berry


Comments are currently closed.



AddThis Feed Button Add to Technorati Favorites
twitter

Get Daily Email Updates:

Sign up for email updates and get the latest articles in your email inbox!

People Looking For Truth:

  • 1,087,020 ...and counting

RSS John MacArthur Sermons

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS John Piper Sermons

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS RC Sproul Sermons

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS The White Horse Inn

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

Categories

Archived Articles…


%d bloggers like this: