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Devotionals

The Tithing Switcheroos Pastors Like to Play

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828ministries.com H3'ed 7/15/16
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3) Tithing must only be one time in our life.

4) Tithing must actually be 100%, since later on we see that Abram gave all of the spoils of war because he did not want God to lose the glory for the victory.

Remember, at the heart of this is a fast one. It is a con game. A blatant switcheroo if we start to look closer at it. Abram did not engage in tithing. He gave a tenth of the spoils of war. Because the key verses are in the ESV, the word "tenth" is used instead of "tithe." It makes things a lot clearer for us. I heard a pastor recently claim that this pattern must have been divinely given to Abram directly from God. That God himself must have whispered it in his ear to give this tenth because it is now a pattern. Why else would Abram give a tenth? I don't know, maybe because it was customary at that time? The truth is we do not know why because the Bible does not specify why. So to pretend we know why and add it to Scripture to create doctrine is a giant theological mistake. That is how heresies are born. "Tithing" is a compulsory system of fleecing ten percent from a church congregation. On the other hand, the word "tithe" is an English translation of the Hebrew and Greek words for "tenth." Abram did not establish a pattern of tithing. He did not regularly tithe. He did not engage in tithing. One time, in 175 years, he gave a local king ten percent of his spoils of war and actually ended up giving it all. To pretend otherwise is to engage in willful deception. The second switcheroo we would like to look at today is the notion that Jesus endorsed tithing:

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of law; justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. -- Matthew 23: 23 (ESV)

See! Jesus said you ought to have tithed! He endorsed it! Not so fast there. First of all, what is Jesus speaking to them about? The law. So as a matter of the law, Jesus did endorse tithing as a practice. But who is He speaking to? Jewish people who are under the law! Of course they ought to have tithed! It was part of their law! The final consideration on this point is simple. What has not happened yet? The cross. Jesus has not gone to the cross yet, where He will nail the law, including tithing, to it. Consider those Galatians verses for a minute. Every man that accepts tithing is obligated to keep the entire law. Christ will be of no use to him and he is severed from Christ. Sound extreme? I am sure we know plenty of diehard tithers who miss the weightier matters of the Gospel like the Pharisees missed those matters of the law. That is the problem with a compulsory system. It generates a sense of entitlement and helps people ignore some of the more personal areas of obedience.

These are just two examples of the Bible twisting many pastors engage in to enforce tithing. The reality is that they simply do not have faith in the Holy Spirit. If we followed the verse from Second Corinthians, we would allow people to decide what they ought to give based on prayer and the indwelt Holy Spirit. I would wager that most people who are truly saved will give more than 10% if they prayed about it. Especially if they are in a good church. Quite frankly, enforcing tithing lets them off the hook too easily. But therein lies the hidden problem. The truth is that when you look at the current purpose driven church landscape, you start to understand why pastors rely upon tithing so much. The purpose driven model is good at "churching" people but not at getting them saved. Without salvation there is no Holy Spirit and the things of God, such as giving, are foolishness to them. If you tell a saved individual to pray about giving, they understand what it means and thus you will probably get more than 10%. If you ask someone who is unsaved, they will not understand. They will give what they want because they are giving from a point of personal consideration where a believer gives out of eternal consideration. I know it is the topic no one wants to discuss but the microwaved sinner's prayer does not save anyone. Not without the Gospel:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. - Romans 1: 16 (ESV)

This may come as a shock but the vast majority of what people hear on Sundays in churches is no longer the Gospel. Preaching self-help and motivational messages saves no one. Preaching messages about improving your marriage or becoming more significant will not save anyone. A summer series exegeting the hottest movies will not save anyone. Sprinkling in a few Bible verses will not help either. When Paul says goodbye to the Ephesian elders he tells them he is free of their blood. Why was he free of it? Because he was a great speaker who always entertained them? Because he always tried to be relevant and understanding of where they were coming from? No. Because he did not hesitate to proclaim the entire counsel of God. Who do we think we are fooling? If the Gospel is the only thing that has the power to save man and we refuse to give it to them; why would we consider anyone saved?

That is why you have to enforce tithing. Because when you have reduced church down to a business transaction, tithing becomes simply the cost of doing business. That is something the unsaved can understand and believe in. The more they are entertained, the more they might give. But explaining to them the universal law of sowing and reaping? That will not work on an unregenerate heart. It cannot work because the Bible tells us so. At that point the faux-pastor needs to find ways to increase giving so he scours the Bible to proof text his pre-determined point that we ought to tithe. In some translations he finds the key verse says Abram tithed and voila! He can claim "tithing" started before the law, which it most certainly did not. It is the ole switcheroo at work. He sees that Jesus told the Pharisees they ought to tithe and without regard for context or any sense of sound hermeneutics he declares that Jesus affirms tithing. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Besides being theologically wrong, tithing is often then abused beyond a mere faux obedience issue. Robert Morris and Ronnie Floyd for example preach that if you do not give them the first ten percent of your money that God will curse all of your money. This is a horrible mangling of the Prophet Malachi, who was speaking to the leaders and not the people. They were robbing God. Even if it somehow was to the people the law gets nailed to the cross. A fact that every one of the tithing teachers will affirm; except they still teach tithing. I have seen local pastors strip people of their church memberships if they did not like their tithing records. People who have been loyal and faithful for decades. People in the hospital at the time. No regard. Just beat the sheep, beat the sheep, beat the sheep. As if the church belongs to the servant shepherd instead of the sheep as a whole. It is a disgusting con game they play. Butchering Scriptures to increase their profit margins. Pummeling sheep into submission or blessed subtraction. Creflo Dollar once famously preached that he wished he could pass out machine guns to the tithers so they could kill all the non-tithers in his congregation. This is the man currently worth 27 million dollars.

Beloved, there is no greater source for our money than a church that correctly preaches the uncompromised Gospel of Jesus Christ as it is the only divine power unto the salvation of man. If you are blessed enough to find yourself in one, you should give all you can because there is no greater investment. If your church however is in the purpose driven game then they are likely creating an army of goats who are told they are sheep. They will stand before Jesus one day and He will say He never knew them. If this is the case you should not give one dime to the work of Satan. Not one dime.

Reverend Anthony Wade -- July 15, 2016

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