"For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. - Matthew 25: 14 (ESV)
Fine hotels and big cigars
Up for grabs, all for a price
Where the red hot girls keep on dancin' through the night
The claim is on you
The sights are on me
So what do you do that's guaranteed
Hey little girl
You want it all
The furs, the diamonds, the painting on the wall
Come on come on, lovin' for the money
So ended "worship" at Pointe Church in Fort Wayne Indiana last week. If you are confused, this is a song from the heavy metal band ACDC. Pastor Ray Harris is not the first to use absurdly carnal music during worship and in fact is not even the first to use ACDC. That dubious honor belongs to disgraced mega church preacher Perry Noble who once had his worship band play Highway to Hell -- on Easter Sunday. As the church slides further and further into apostasy we can expect more displays of human stupidity in the name of Jesus Christ. We have see Hillsong over sexualize Silent Night. We have seen Hillsong also sing "I like to Move It, Move It" during worship. The aforementioned Noble once did Miley Cyrus's Wrecking Ball. Andy Stanley recently did sexual boy band songs from the 1990s. These things no longer result in our outrage because they are simply expected and accepted. When the church no longer honors God why in the world would their worship? To be honest when I first saw this story I was just going to let it pass by with an honorable heretical mention but then I read the story that explained they did this song because of the sermon series Harris was preaching called, "I was broke, but Now I'm Not." A not so clever but certainly disgusting play on words from the I was blind but now I see Bible verse. I have linked the sermon series audio files above so we can reason together and see that Ray Harris was merely using ACDC to promote another financial sheep beating at the hands of a hireling.
Money is vitally important within the purpose driven paradigm. Without increased levels of giving from the congregants, the church cannot match the growth it plans for. The reality is that the majority of the people who attend mega churches are simply unsaved. They are falsely converted because the Bible teaches us that none get saved without hearing the full Gospel of Jesus Christ and these men and women do not preach the full Gospel. The purpose driven model does not allow a discussion of sin and repentance, which means no one gets saved. One Easter, Rick Warren actually advised pastors to not preach the Gospel at all so their visitors would "have a reason to come back." That is the purpose driven pastoral mindset. The result is a congregation filled with goats who we know still think the things of God are foolishness. Giving your money for example is something they often find quite foolish. So the pastors drag up an old law requirement known as tithing to try and guilt their members into giving ten percent of their income. They abuse much of the Bible in order to "teach" these false principles, beating their sheep and goats into submission. Ray Harris has approached this very seriously this time around. This apparently is planned to be a five part series, culminating in a special guest speaker who is supposed to be a famous financial expert. To further entice people to come for part five and the guest speaker, he is throwing a free bar-b-q that day as well. After this the church will launch a six part small group series to reinforce the "principles." Harris is leaving no stone unturned here. To date, there have been three of the messages preached. Let us review:
The first part Harris considers foundational. He needs to establish a false foundation upon which to build his false theology. He does mix some truth as well, which makes the teaching that much more dangerous. He opens with Psalm 24:1 to prove that the Lord owns everything.
The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, - Psalm 24: 1 (ESV)
Now, does the lord "own" everything? Sure but if that is what you glean from this verse you miss the point. The point of the glorious nature of creation as a whole. This verse and the Psalm are not provided for us to establish "financial principles" as Harris pretends. In fact in order to try and set up this flawed foundation, Harris just skips all over Bible cobbling together verse fragments that have nothing to do with each other. His next stop is in the Garden of Eden:
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. -- Genesis 2: 15 (ESV)
Believing he has established that God owns everything he now moves to the next point of foundation -- that He has set us up as managers. Yes, you read that right. Ray Harris thinks that because Genesis 2:15 says that God put Adam in the garden to work and keep it that you and I are now managers in the God Corporation. For the final point, Harris hop-scotches over to the Gospel of Matthew:
His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.' -- Matthew 25: 21 (ESV)
We will see that Harris has absolutely no clue what this verse or parable is actually about later on but for now he believes this establishes that managing money on behalf of God is a matter of trust. Beloved this is the anatomy of a false teaching. God wants to say things to us through His Word but not like this. What we see here is the worst form of proof texting. To take three different verses spanning the entire four thousand years of Scripture and patch them together to pretend that somehow God was actually laying down financial principles when you tie these three unrelated verses together. That God owns everything, has made us His managers, and that how we manage is a matter of trust. It sounds pious doesn't it? I mean, he used three whole Scriptures! No beloved. Ray Harris has a motive here and that is greed. He proves it by quoting the textbook false claims made by tithing teachers. He claims that 17 of the 38 parables deal with money -- no they do not. He claims that one sixth of the verses in the Gospel accounts deal with money -- no they do not. He says that the Bible as a whole speaks more about money than love, hope and prayer combined -- no it does not. Our wickedly deceitful hearts can see whatever we want to see beloved. Harris will eventually eviscerate the Parable of the Talents because he thinks it is about money -- but it is not. When your greedy heart is concerned about money you can see it everywhere. Harris closes the first lesson with the old standby for tithing hucksters. The Prophet Malachi. Perhaps no book is most abused than Malachi. Harris claims the same tired old false teachings here. That the storehouse is somehow the local church. It is not. It was literally referring to the storehouse where the tithe was kept for distribution to the Levites. You should really do a study one time on Malachi beloved because it is fascinating. You will need to also read Nehemiah, as Malachi was a prophet during the story of Nehemiah and the robbery that was going on in Malachi 3 is explained in Nehemiah 13. You see the Book of Malachi is not written to the church today. Heck it was not even written to the people in the days of Malachi! It was written to the priests because they were robbing God! Not the people. The bottom line here is tithing was part of the civil law of Israel and according to Galatians 5 if you insist on adhering to any part of the law then you actually sever yourself from Christ and He is useless to you!
What Harris does next is stunning and revealing. He challenges those who are in attendance to test God because Malachi 3 says test me. He offers to them what is called the 90 day challenge. Perry Noble and Steven Furtick have made this popular. He asks them to test God for 90 days and tithe correctly. Beloved there are so many problems with this. First of all the set up is obvious. In the old days there would be scammers who would routinely call people up and offer "inside information" on sporting events. They would tell half their calls the information says to play Team A and the other half to play Team B. The fifty percent that lost? Who cares? It was free information and you lost nothing but the fifty percent who won? They now think you have inside info on games and that can be sold over and over again. This 90 day tithing challenge is the same scam. Let's just say that 50 percent of the people will have positive developments in their lives over the 90 days and half will have negative. It is probably higher for the positive because people will be looking for a reason why this works. We want to believe in the inside info. Realize it does not have to be money. Anything positive will be placed in the light of the windows of heaven opening to pour you out blessings! At the end of ninety days you will have some who will feel nothing happened positive but they were not tithing anyway! Those that feel blessed however? New tithers added to the coffers. The second problem here is this turns God into a blessing whore. It makes it seem like God is just waiting to unleash a torrent of blessings in your life if you would only pay Him first. How obscene can you get? Lastly on this point, I thought the tithe was holy? I thought I was consecrated and set apart for the Lord yet here it is being turned into a mockery. In doing so it reveals that it is nothing but a scheme for Ray Harris as it is with all tithing teachers. With that Harris closes and we move onto week two. There is not much to review in week two as it mostly deals with truths about money. I will highlight one thing that I found particularly offensive and that was the usage of this verse:
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. -- 1Timothy 6: 17 (ESV)
You want to talk about unconscionable sheep beating! It was taught here that if you are living on welfare, you earn about nine thousand dollars per year in benefits and that places you in the top 17% of money makers on the planet so this verse is written to you! Wow. Where do we start? How about that the nine thousand is not in money! Most of it is the form of subsidies to assist people from becoming homeless. The maximum cash award in New York City for example is less than $140 per month. How about the fact that you are comparing apples and orangutans? When you compare the entire world you lose the context of cost of living. This was just a disgusting way to try and loop even the poorest in Fort Wayne, which has a 19% poverty rate, into the tithing equation.