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.
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.