Now Stringer feels he has set up his false argument enough that anything that deviates from giving him money is deemed "robbing God." To further this point Stringer relies upon the old staple of tithing teaching, Malachi. As all false tithing teachers, he relies upon three verses from the third chapter and ignores all of the context. The first contextual truth he ignores is that Malachi is written to the priests, not the congregants. They were robbing God. When you cross reference this with the Book of Nehemiah you see the actual story occurring behind the Malachi writing. When Nehemiah returns to Babylon, the people in charge back in Jerusalem defile the storehouse and temple. They rob the tithes. That is what Malachi is speaking to in the third chapter. The storehouse is an actual storehouse where the agricultural tithes were kept for the Levite Tribe, in keeping with the Mosaic Law. It is hermeneutically criminal to pretend the storehouse means the church and the tithe now means money today. It also presents a cruel, Mafioso type of God that only does right by you after He receives His tribute. The Lord is not waiting to kneecap you for not giving correctly. Stringer also sets up a promise God never made. We give because of what God has already done for us, not in exchange for material things in the future. God may or may not work supernaturally on our behalf. He does not check our balance sheet first.
Now there is a universal law of reaping and sowing. This simply means that those who tend to worry so much about money that they are stingy by nature, not necessarily towards the church, will never feel like they have enough. Those that do not let money rule them and give as is needed, will generally feel like they have enough. This is not an exercise on not giving. If you have a church that is truly preaching the uncompromised Gospel then you will not find a better outlet for your giving. If they are not, then you are beholden to NOT give them a dime to further their scattering people away from Jesus and you need to ask yourself why you are there.
"One of life's best feelings comes from walking in obedience to Scripture. The Scripture says, "Owe no one anything, except to love one another" (Rom. 13:8). When a person truly experiences the forgiveness of sins, he makes restitution as far as possible for anything he may have stolen in the past. One such person mentioned in the Bible is Zacchaeus, a tax collector. In the time of Christ, tax collectors were despised, because they often extorted more money than was required for taxes to make themselves rich. Zacchaeus was such a man. But on the day Zacchaeus met Christ, he experienced a total change of heart. Formerly miserly and covetous regarding money, he repented and became generous. Zacchaeus said to the Lord, "Look, Lord, I give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I will repay him four times as much" (Luke 19:8). Zacchaeus' response to the mercy of Jesus was to make restitution for what he had stolen and not only restitution, but he repaid four times more than the amount he had taken. Jesus took the heart of a thief and turned it into the heart of a generous man. Zacchaeus honored God by giving his finances to the poor and paying back with interest those he had wronged." -- Doug Stringer
This is a careful mingling of two things that are unrelated. The story of Zacchaeus is a story about salvation, not tithing. God was honored because Zacchaeus had truly repented. He gave to the poor because he knew his wealth was acquired through illicit means. This is not meant as a formula for everyone upon salvation. Sure if you feel led to, you should restore the faith of those you may have wronged before you were saved. To mix this in however in a lesson about tithing seems malicious at best.
"Once you make this type of commitment, there's no telling what the Lord can do. I have tried to make right what I've done wrong in every area of my life. I know I fall very short; I haven't always been able to make restitution, but I've made many apologies to people I've hurt over the years even if unintentionally. If I haven't been able to find that person, or my words were not received, I have learned to trust God by giving it all back to Him. In my personal journey, I have learned the importance of being honest with myself and with God. If I'm going to live up to the Golden Rule Jesus taught during His Sermon on the Mount, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," then I must love other people. I must be respectful and honorable. I must make sure that I don't rob others of their reputation through slander because of personal biases, jealousy or envy. These are things we all need to submit to the altar of God. It is part of offering ourselves as living sacrifices, which are holy and acceptable unto God. As we place ourselves on the altar of God, we're asking Him to be glorified in all that we do, say and think. I pray that He would give me His heart, even in my flawed, frail humanity. The great grace that He has poured out on us we must extend to others." -- Doug Stringer
I think I see the angle here. Doug Stringer is mixing in what is reasonable to lend credibility to the unreasonable thesis he has created about robbing God and tithing. Should we try to make right what we have wronged? Absolutely. Should we always be honest with God and ourselves? Most assuredly. Should we live by the Golden Rule? Definitely. This turn in the article however is completely unrelated to what he was talking about! It is akin to putting lipstick on a pig. Stringer is creating an image of what a Christian should look like but he started with the unchristian teaching of tithing by misusing Malachi.
"If we want to live in a place of deeper consecration with God, we need to realize we cannot project our personal consecrations on others. We must each yield and submit ourselves to the purposes of God in His Word, through communication and prayer, through worship, as well as through making sure our minds are being washed regularly through the reading and studying of His Word. In the fast-paced world that we live in, we need to give God the best of our time, the best of our resources and the best of our day. We must put the kingdom of God first so we do not rob God of what belongs to Him. When we do that, we can be assured that He will put all the other things that are important to us in place. And we will live in the blessing and abundance of God, which is far greater than anything the world has to offer." -- Doug Stringer
Cleverly insidious. Stringer now returns to the premise, which was the point of his article. He spent two paragraphs pouring our truths about restitution and how we should behave as Christians and then calmly returns to the tithing paradigm as if that is a part of the whole Christian picture. He returns to the quid-pro-quo that God has never agreed to. God does not exist to be a blessing dispenser for our lives. If God never gave us another thing after Calvary He still offers infinitely more than this world has to offer. That is entirely the point. The NAR purpose driven church model needs money because they are so out of alignment with the will of God. So they rely upon one Mosaic Law. The rest of the laws have apparently been nailed to the cross but this one, they need. They twist agriculture into money and an actual storehouse into the local church. They beat the sheep into submission. I know local pastors who have stolen church memberships from people there for decades just because they would not reveal their giving practices. It is sheep-beating, nothing less. Give because you are cheerful to give to the work of the Lord. Do not stand for the threats, intimidation and promises of Malachi-sized blessings from hucksters and charlatans. Remember and be grateful for all God has already done, not the empty promises of the abusive tithing system.