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December 9, 2016

The Latest Tithing Scam -- Pretend It's Not Tithing

By Anthony Wade

A new article presents slick lipstick on the old pig of tithing.


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Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. -- Malachi 3: 10 (ESV)

As I was browsing through Facebook this evening I came across the above linked article entitled, "Why I Quit Tithing (And Why You Should Too)." Since so few truly get the truth about the false teaching of tithing I was immediately interested until I saw the author (Larry Poole) was a renowned tithing guru who is designated hit man when it comes to fleecing the flock. Sure enough after reading the article it became apparent that this ploy was designed to lure people in only to check their pockets for any loose change. As always, let me start by saying that I believe in giving to a local church so long as they are properly preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If the church you attend is not doing so however you have a Christian duty to not give a dime to any work that is scattering people away from Christ.

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. -- Matthew 12: 30 (ESV)

There are only two choices beloved. Please realize that I am not speaking about adding church members. I am not speaking about people willing to raise their hands for some faux altar call. I am speaking about preaching the cross, the blood, sin, and the need to repent. No false teaching allowed. No purpose driven nonsense. No seeker friendly industrial complex marketing schemes and gimmicks. If the Gospel is being preached then there is no greater place to invest your money and to do so cheerfully:

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. -- 2Corinthians 9: 6-7 (ESV)

This is the New Testament model for giving. We are universally bound by the principle of sowing and reaping, confirmed in other portions of Scripture. This does not have to do with money exclusively, but finances would certainly count. Throughout the New Testament we see the new church give in relation to need, out of a pure heart. Tithing is the opposite. It is a compulsory system that was nailed to the cross along with the rest of the civil law. The problem most purpose driven pastors face today is that they lead congregations of falsely converted goats. Without the indwelt Holy Spirit they cannot just leave it up to them to decide what they will give. So they dredge up an old archaic portion of the agrarian economy of Israel and pretend historical narratives reveal commands from God that are simply not there. The complex employs gifted communicators such as Larry Poole to convince Christians that they must give in order to be blessed. A quid-pro-quo arrangement with a Mafioso god that will spiritually kneecap you if you do not give him his cut first. So did Larry Poole see the light? Has he renounced all of his false teachings in the past regarding tithing in the church? Has he really quit tithing? Let us reason together beloved.

"Most people simply don't understand tithing. To many Christians, it seems like some sort of country club due. Another bill in the long list of monthly expenses. Giving is supposed to be an act of worship that draws you closer to the heart of God." -- Larry Poole

Yes Larry. Most people do not understand tithing because charlatans like you confuse them with your spurious false teachings. For instance, take the teaching he presents hear about giving being an act of worship. We have all heard something similar in evangelical circles but the truth is this is not taught anywhere in Scripture. The best people come up with is the following instruction from the Apostle Paul:

Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. -- 1Corinthians 16: 1-2 (ESV)

Was this Paul's way of establishing a New Testament tithing system? Not at all. False tithing teachers such as Larry Poole would have us believe that because Paul is instructing them to take this offering on the first day of the week that it is thus part of the "worship service." What a stretch! The fact that is omitted is that this specific instruction was regarding an offering for the poor in Judea. It was relevant to the time the letter was written not meant to be taken as doctrinal instruction. Again, hear me well. I am not arguing against giving during a church service if that church is truly doing the work of the kingdom. I am against spiritual and emotional manipulation and that is what Mr. Poole is engaging in when his opening salvo is that giving is worship. Why is that manipulation? Well, how much to you truly worship God? Is He worth five percent? Ten? It is a set up beloved designed to make people feel like whatever they are not giving is an indication of not worshiping and that is simply tying the yoke of the law back around the necks of believers who were set free by Christ's work on the cross. Poole continues:

"Then why is it that the concept of tithing, giving the first 10 percent of one's income, has become so divisive in the church? Christians debate questions like: Is tithing still even required? Wasn't it an Old Testament law? Didn't Christ abolish the law with His death and resurrection? Should I tithe off the gross or net of my income? Does God really expect me to tithe if I'm struggling in my personal finances? I "tithe" my timeto the church. Isn't that enough? These questions all have the same recurring theme--what's the least I can give and still receive God's blessings. When you debate these questions, you totally miss the point." -- Larry Poole

Only to someone trying to get your money are these legitimate questions viewed so negatively. The truth is that Larry realizes that the jig is up. Most savvy Christians know now that tithing has always been a scam in the church. So he presents these questions as being bad because he knows the answers reveal he is a fraud. Is tithing still required? The answer is absolutely not. It was part of the Old Testament civil law that allowed the Levites to have a share of the agriculture produced. Not money, which they had in those days, but agriculture. This matter is settled clearly by God in Paul's letter to the Church in Galatia:

Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.You are severed from Christ, you who would be justifiedby the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. -- Galatians 5: 2-6 (ESV)

Beloved, the Galatian Church was being infiltrated by teachers known as the Judaizers who taught that one needed to be circumcised in order to be saved as well as have faith in Christ. Paul makes it abundantly clear that the by insisting on keeping one part of the law meant you are severed from Christ! What does this have to do with tithing? Today the church is infiltrated by teachers insisting that you have to keep a different part of the law, tithing. Re-read these Galatian verses and insert the word "tithing" wherever "circumcision" is. Beloved, neither tithing nor not-tithing counts for anything. Christ did abolish the civil law on the cross. Your time does count in terms of service to the body of Christ. Lastly on this portion is the fact that Larry Poole tips his hand when he indicates that giving to him is about receiving God's blessings. We will see this theme develop as we continue:

"Biblical generosity isn't about giving the minimum. It's about surrendering it all to an all-powerful, all-loving God. A God who gave everything in his son Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Randy Alcornsaid it best: "Giving affirms Christ's lordship. It dethrones me and exalts Him." Bull's-eye. I used to write checks to my church that looked like this: $112.14. To the penny. Nothing more. Nothing less. "There's my 10 percent God. Hopefully that'll cover the upkeep in Heaven until my next paycheck. Now bless me." I didn't get it. God didn't need my money. He wanted proof that He was first in my life. He wanted me to trust Him completely. He wanted to grow my faith." -- Larry Poole

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

Authors Bio:
Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.