So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. - 1Peter 5: 1-3 (ESV)
For the uninformed, Perry Noble is the lead pastor at New Spring Church in South Carolina. New Spring boasts 10 campus locations and claims over 27,000 in attendance every week. Noble is one of the brash young gun pastors in this country who has taken the Warren theology of a purpose driven church and jacked it up on steroids. A lightning rod for controversy and false teaching Noble seemingly doesn't care and routinely tells people in his church they are welcome to leave. His altar call and preaching are devoid of any semblance of sound doctrine, leading to over 10,000 potential false conversions every year. Today however we will take a look at a subject so many false teachers mangle in their pursuit of money - tithing.
The clip above starts in a typical Noble fashion. He calls anyone who believes tithing is Old Testament law stupid and accuses them of not knowing their Bible. The next words out of his mouth are so revealing as he says, "You don't want to play the Bible game with me on this subject." As we proceed through the remaining two and a half minutes of this clip, we watch as Perry Noble eviscerates the Bible to try and prop up his bad theology. He goes through nearly every false tithing teaching I have ever heard of in less than three minutes and does so by beginning his discourse by calling it a game. Because that is all the Word of God is to Perry Noble. A game. A game to make more money. A game to write more books. A game that goes expressly against the key verses for today which say a Pastor must never shepherd the flock for shameful gain. Must not be domineering over his flock. So I tell you what Perry Noble. I do want to play this game with you. His first unscriptural argument is that it isn't really the law of firstfruits but the principle of firstfruits which he claims was established in Genesis 4 in the story of the sacrifices offered by Cain and Abel. Noble gleefully says that Cain brought "some" but Abel brought the firstfruits. Therefore he concludes - the principle is established. Let's take a look at what God's Word actually says:
In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it." - Genesis 4: 3-7 (ESV)
Beloved, you do not create doctrine out of thin air. If the Bible does not expressly state why something happened we are not free to guess. These verses in no way state why God was displeased with the offering of Cain. Frankly, the usage of the term, "Abel also brought of the firstborn might indicate that the Cain offering was firstfruits anyway! Now Hebrews 11 tells us that Abel's sacrifice was more excellent but again the "why" is missing. That brings us to one last verse regarding this story:
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. - 1John 3: 11-12 (ESV)