Now I agree here with Larry that tithing lets people off the hook and actually shows a tremendous lack of faith on part of the pastor. If you leave giving to the indwelt Holy Spirit you would probably get a lot more than 10 percent. The problem with this snippet however is the mixing of Christianese metaphors. God wants our hearts surrendered to Him. We are supposed to pick up our cross daily and deny ourselves. It is connecting this back to money that cheapens it so much. God gave His only Son to die on the cross for the redemption of our souls from Satan and the control of sin. It has absolutely nothing to do with money, which Jesus made very plain you cannot serve with God. Do you honestly believe that God wants "proof" that He is first in your life? Is He somehow confused on the throne? Unsure of your level of commitment to Him until your check clears? What if you gave 100% of your money to Him but still treated people poorly, committed adultery, and disobeyed Him at every turn? Wait a minute -- you gave Him proof didn't you? This is why tithing teachers are so easily debunked. Their greed eventually betrays them to Scripture. Now Poole reveals who he really is:
"And yes, He wanted to bless my finances tremendously. But only if I trusted Him completely. As I began to mature in my spiritual walk, it all started to make sense. Everything belongs to God (Psalm 24:1). The more I trust Him with my finances, the more He can use me to reveal His glory. The more I get to be a conduit for His miracles, the more my faith gets to be tested and grown." -- Larry Poole
This is where the Larry Pooles and Joel Osteens of the world simply do not get it. They cannot see past their own carnality. The notion that God always wants to bless our finances is not only biblically ignorant but biblically absurd. How does Larry Pool explain the vast portion of Christianity in other countries that are completely indigent but yet give everything they have like the widow and her mite? Doesn't God want to bless their finances tremendously too? Doesn't He want to reveal His glory through them as much as through Larry Poole? Beloved, if your theology only works in certain countries or with certain castes of people then it is by definition a false gospel. We do not give to get but that is exactly what Poole alluded to earlier and what he is selling right here. He is selling a whore not a God. As Christians we do not give to receive -- we give because we have already received. The reality is that the Apostle Paul gave everything and was blessed as follows:
Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one--I am talking like a madman--with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death.Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers;in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. -- 2Corinthians 11: 23-28 (ESV)
You will never hear hucksters like Larry Poole teach on these verses because he can't sell them. Beloved, our giving should have absolutely nothing to do with us but rather everything to do with Him. If we receive some blessings because of the principle of sowing and reaping, hallelujah but if we are shipwrecked and beaten with rods -- hallelujah. Jesus can do no more for me than He already has. THAT should be why we give. Poole goes for the punch line:And that's why I quit tithing. Don't hear me wrong. I still give the first 10 percent of my income to God through my local church. I think 10 percent is a great starting point. But I've started asking a different question. A question that's radically changing my life. It's no longer, "How much should I give?" Instead, I've started asking,"How much should I keep?" -- Larry Poole
Now that he has lured in the unsuspecting readers with sleight of hand and carnal wisdom he goes for the kill. Forget ten percent! Give it all! Again, principally I do not disagree much. Ten percent is a good starting point. The problem is in how he got here. He got here by pretending he was quitting a false teaching of tithing but the false underpinnings he still maintains. He still is selling a ponzi scheme where God is waiting for you to prove to Him that He is first so He can tremendously bless your finances. No beloved. God already knows exactly what we hold back from Him and giving our entire check to a snake oil salesman like Larry Poole will not prove anything except our own biblical illiteracy. Poole concludes:"I believe God when He says: "Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. " (Malachi 3:10b). When the Holy Spirit prompts me, I respond. It's simple. I can't say it's always easy. Is it possible that you're limiting God with your giving? God doesn't just want your first 10 percent. He wants your whole heart." -- Larry Poole
That was not the Holy Spirit that prompted you Larry. If it were, He would have led you into the truth of the Book of Malachi as seen in our key verse today. That it was written to the priests who were robbing God, not the people. The Holy Spirit would have shown you that this is an historical recounting, not meant to develop doctrine around. Lastly, the Holy Spirit would have reminded you that this too was nailed to the cross and that insisting on picking tithing back up, which is what this verse in Malachi is referring to, is essentially severing yourself from Jesus Christ.
Beloved, perhaps the most egregious thing he saved for last here. We cannot "limit" God. This is the same error taught by word faith preachers like Joel Osteen and tithing abusers such as Robert Morris. That God is just salivating to throw open the windows of heaven and bless our socks off but He can't. The reason God can't is because He is waiting to be paid off. He is waiting for His bribe; His cut. Until then He simply has no proof that we have Him first in our lives. Once we do though - watch out! Blessings will just start falling from the sky and puddle around us! Unless we live in a third world country. Or are part of the underground church in China. Or of limited resources right here in America. Yeah, then it doesn't work so well. How ridiculous.
Larry Poole is the huckster the Bible warns us about who peddles the Gospel for profit and makes merchandise of the sheep of the Lord. He has not quit tithing. He simply has found a more lucrative way to market it. No thanks Larry. God already paid the price.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- December 9, 2016