Posts Tagged 'tithing'

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.

What If…?

I have a process-oriented mind, so I have a hard time thinking creatively. My mind logically flows from point A to point B and so on – I get nervous if I’m asked to jump from A to Z back to F and over to P…you get my point.

As a Christian, I understand that I have to have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5) - and that is my daily prayer – but I also understand that God gave me a sound mind to make wise decisions (2 Timothy 1:7).

Which brings me to the point of this post. What if the wolves and charlatans in the Body of Christ made it tougher for me to do my job (blogging to expose the truth to counter their lies about God)?

While this blog does allow me to channel my frustrations with pimps and their pimpery, I’d be happy to go read a book or play Wii if they just went away.

In the meantime…

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What If

  • …pastors aspired to preach God’s Word, instead of  aspiring pimpdom?

As I’ve stated in earlier posts, it seems as though most pastors are either pulpit pimps, pimps in training (who are “spiritual sons” to super or alpha pimps), or wannabe pimps (longingly waiting for their day to “shine”).

We know what a pimp is, and what he (or in some cases she) does, so who would want to emulate that?

I understand that this can be construed as a general statement, but my perception (and what I’ve seen up close for the past 11 years) is my reality.

I’m only in my mid-30′s, but when I was growing up, the pastor had a full-time job, and he preached on Sunday’s and Wednesday’s because he was led by the Holy Spirit. My mother can attest to the same from her childhood (and she’s in her early 70′s).

Now, pastoring has become a fulltime “racket” that could be confused with any pyramid scheme out there today – except the product that’s being exploited is the Word of God.

While many pastors do labor in the Word of God so that believers will be matured in Christ (and you don’t generally see them on TBN, The Word Network, Daystar, or BET), others take one verse of scripture (out of context) and distort, butcher, & hoop it until it’s dead – while imparting nothing.

  • …pastors preached without compromising God’s Word?

It seems as though many pastors preach the Word of God from a perspective that furthers their own agenda. Worse, they seek the scriptures that will “illustrate” their point (again, out of context of course).

Anyone who has ever taken a Hermeneutics course knows the difference between exegisis and eisegesis. Exegisis is an interpretation or understanding of scripture based on the text itself. In other words, when you exegete the bible, you read scripture with an open mind and asking the Lord to impart His wisdom about His Word in you. 

Eisegesis, however, is an interpretation of an existing text that introduces one’s own ideas. When you eisegete, you have an idea in mind, and YOU interpret scripture to suit YOUR purpose. God isn’t involved at all.

When pastors preach about how we should accept homosexuality (because they’re in the closet themselves), or when they preach the prosperity gospel (because they want more of your money), or when they preach about salvation apart from belief and acceptance in Christ (because they don’t want to offend society at large) – and they use scripture to make you believe it – then they are guilty of eisegesis.

There are many in the body of Christ today who’d rather eisegete than study the Word, and recite it verbatim. Even Paul had to encourage Timothy to stand flat-footed and preach the true Gospel:

2preach (A)the word; be ready in season and out of season; (B)reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great (C)patience and instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2)

I guess it’s easier to please the crowd than to please God.

  • …pastors didn’t “shake you down” for money?

7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV)

If this is true (and I believe that it is), then why do pastors beat you over the head and drag you back into bondage by demanding that you tithe, give them a “love offering”, a “first fruit” offering, and birthday and anniversary money, etc. by distorting 2 Corinthians 9:6?

God commands that we care for the needs of those in our homes and communities, so why are you “cursed” if you focus on giving to the mission field vs. giving to the “man of God”?

Also, in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 Paul clearly talks about putting aside some of your earnings to give to the saints.

We should practice what I call “grace giving” – giving what the Lord leads you to give to whom He leads you to give it to.

When we “pay God” because of the pimps extortion, then we begin to resent Him when He doesn’t give it back to us “30, 60, 100 fold).

Note: Melvin Jones over at Pulpit Pimps did an excellent thesis on the error of tithing, and Independent Conservative took a closer look at “first fruits” – one of the fastest growing scams in the church. You did know that the “first fruit” offering goes DIRECTLY to your pastor, didn’t you? 

  • …pastors didn’t intimidate you into staying under their “covering”?

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, the pulpit pimp is an expert at making you think that you need him in order to hear from God. You can’t possible seek God unless you’re “submitted to them” or “under their covering”.

I never understood how insecure people use their insecurity to try and convince you that you can be secure with them. It’s maddening. If your pimp was truly preaching God’s Word, then the Word would speak for itself.

He wouldn’t have to twist it to make sense to you. In fact, if he believed what he was preaching to you, then he would “allow” God to move your heart – he wouldn’t rely on threatning you so that you stay (“you’re cursed if you leave your covering”; “I’m God’s mouthpiece, you can’t hear from Him if you don’t listen to me”, etc.).

There are many more things that I can point out (and you’re welcome to leave your comments and add your own “what if’s”), but I could go on forever.

The bottom line is that Christ died on the cross to redeem us back to the Father. He didn’t die so that pimps could distort His image and sell His Gospel for earthly gain.

Listen to Peter describe the role of elders (pastors) in the church, and see if your leader is a pastor…or a pulpit pimp:

Serve God Willingly

 1(A)Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your (B)fellow elder and (C)witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a (D)partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,

 2shepherd (E)the flock of God among you, exercising oversight (F)not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and (G)not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;

 3nor yet as (H)lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be (I)examples to the flock.

 4And when the Chief (J)Shepherd appears, you will receive the (K)unfading (L)crown of glory.

 5(M)You younger men, likewise, (N)be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with (O)humility toward one another, for (P)GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.

 6Therefore (Q)humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time (1 Peter 5:1-6)  


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