Prosperity Gospel

Fundamentalists generally rail against the so-called “health and wealth” gospels that promise prosperity to anybody who has enough faith to pretend to be an Old Testament Jew. Instead, the fundamentalists insists that financial prosperity is only for those who have enough faith to tithe like an Old Testament Jew. And you might still get sick — otherwise we would have nothing to talk about during prayer request time on Wednesday Night.

Along with this promise of the windows of heaven opening up a blessing upon modern day tithers there also is a warning that if a person does not tithe that God will make his car break down or his dog die or visit some other calamity upon him of equal or greater value than his tithe. Of course, none of these things ever happen to tithers. Ever.

It’s quite a reality check when hard economic times come and affect both the tither and non-tither alike. It seems the rain really does fall upon the just and the unjust alike. Not that you’ll ever hear that verse used in a tithing sermon.

So bring your tithes into the storehouse and give of the first fruits of your labor. Only don’t try giving actual fruit. We prefer cash in small unmarked bills.

147 thoughts on “Prosperity Gospel”

  1. And now that I’ve actually had time to read the post I can comment on it properly…

    My pastor did a series of messages during the Sunday evenening service a few months ago on proper principle of tithing/giving. He examined all the tithing arguements that are commonly cited and presented some very interesting rebuttals and counter-arguements. The series was enlightening to me as I had always heard tithing preached as gospel truth.

    I also find it interesting how we can try to attribute bad things in our life as being a result of unconfessed or unrepentant sin. Sometimes that may be true but mostly its just stuff happening as a result of living in a fallen world and corrupt humanity. Like Darrell said, the rain falls on the just and the unjust.

    1. Hi C-Fresh. My pastor did the exact same thing about 6 years ago. I was shocked and came up with a much greater respect for him. Well then, about 3 years later and with more expenses the same pastor called a meeting of all the deacons, ss teachers etc, basically all with some authority in the church. In this meeting he sais that he and the elders went through the members list and estimated what each member got paid. Based on these figures he told us that if any of us werer not tithing we should resign our positions!!! Not long after that My famioly left that church forever.

      1. Wow, that is messed up! Sounds like something the fundy college I went to would have done. Except they barely paid their teachers anything to begin with.

        If you were a student there and weren’t within a 2hr drive of your home church you were required to attend their church. And tithe by numbered envelope so they knew you were doing it. I know at least one person who refused and would mail his tithe back to his home church. The pastor/college pres claimed that not tithing to his church was like eating at Wendy’s and paying Burger King. Any truth to that statement was invalidated by the fact that the students had no choice in church attendance.

  2. I give a tithe out of tradition. I’m not sure how else to give. I suppose you have to come up with some kind of persoanl plan, be it percentage or whatever. I must say I never could see the “command” in the New testament. All the terror threats given by pastors are just control mechanisms to keep the sheeple in line. A tithe makes it easy for me.
    Maybe I’m lazy and don’t want to pray about it every week to see how much I give, if anything 😉

  3. As a former Fundy, I’ve struggled with the different views on tithing.

    I am interested in hearing different views on this from those here in this forum.

    1. I grew up with the tithes and offerings envelope as mentioned by Mounty below and with the frequent “messages” on how all giving must be through the church and if you’re not giving more every year than you did last year, then you aren’t growing spiritually. I know my dad was told that our car was broken because he had missed tithing on a paycheck…

      So, my current view is that you should give as you feel like it. In my experience, when I’m regularly spending time with God I feel like giving quite a bit. I give regularly to our church as our budget allows (but not an exactly measured percentage), but I also believe in giving to other people/causes as I see needs. I don’t believe that all giving has to go through the local church – the church is made of believers and I’m a believer, so God can lead me to give wherever he wants. When I see a person who has a need that I can take care of, I take care of it. The first year that I adopted this approach, I was still a little worried that not measuring out my tithe would result in not giving adequately, so after a year I counted up all the money I had voluntarily chosen to give either to church or individuals who needed help or mission agencies and the total of my giving exceeded the old tithe. That reassured me that I didn’t need to worry about numbers any more – if I give as I want to/as I “feel led”, then I will give an appropriate amount of my income.

    2. To start, I keep my giving between God and myself (and my wife). I put cash in the collection plate and don’t worry about the tax deduction.

      I try to take II Cor. 9:7 to heart and give, not grudgingly, not because I have to, but cheerfully and from the heart.

      When a tithe is a burden, I don’t think you should. I am poor, and have had times where food was a higher priority that giving. God understands.

      Enough seriousness. Back to the regularly scheduled silliness. :mrgreen:

    1. This is actually the point of what Jesus was saying in passages like Matthew 19, the infamous verse about the “camel passing through the eye of the needle.” It was a widely-held belief among the Jews at the time that prosperity and wealth were signs of righteous living. It would have been quite a shock to his followers to hear Jesus say that a rich man has such a slim chance of getting to heaven, since their natural inclination was to say, “If he’s not going to make it, what chance does a beggar like me have?” Much of Jesus’ teachings were about dispelling illusions and shattering paradigms, but much of that is lost on modern readers because of the cultural disparity.

  4. In high school bible class, we spent several days discussing how many crowns and mansions (it says mansions in the KJV, so it must be right) we would get based on our righteous deeds on earth. The pastor made appeals to the shame we would feel if we had few, if any crowns compared to everyone else. Not exactly prosperity gospel, but the same idea – gotta work for those blessings.

    Reminds me of that joke where the punchline is “..and I saw my wife riding a tricycle…”

    1. Truly, how many crowns can you wear? And wouldn’t a regular hat be more practical?
      And how many mansions can you live in?

      … And what’s the joke about the tricycle?

      1. The joke goes like this:
        In heaven, in addition to getting your mansion, you also are rewarded with a car, the make and model of which are determined by your level of faithfulness to your spouse.

        So three guys all died on a fishing trip together when their boat capsized. St. Peter, at the gates, is also responsible for handing out cars. (I assume it’s because Oprah is burning in hell.)

        First guy was a bit of a sleeze, he gets a fiat. Second guy had a few brief indiscretions, he gets a Toyota. Third guy remained faithful to his last breath – he gets a Ferrari.

        Fast forward a few days. The guy in the Ferrari is spotted sitting on the curb, weeping with his head in his hands. His friends take notice and ask him what could possibly be wrong. He tells them that his wife just died and he’s in heaven. Great news, they say, what could possibly be the problem?

        His answer: “She was riding a tricycle.”

    2. Really, a bigger house means more upkeep, more housecleaning, bigger mortgage payments, and so on. Give me a room or two in Heaven, and I’ll be fine.

      1. Well, there are tears in heaven, at least at first… maybe they are tears of shame at how often we have failed our Lord. But, praise the Lord, we are not judged against another person!

        1. Tears of shame in heaven?…as in the fundy ” You sins are going to be shown on a big TV screen for everyone to see” shame?
          That is one of the all time worst fundy lies there are. I guess Micah 7:19 and Isaiah 43:25 are lies to. )= Sorry- not picking at you Guilt Ridden, I just hate that particular lie that binds people with shame with a passion of all passions.

        2. It was pounded in my head that every thought or sin committed would be broadcast in front of millions at the end our life courtesy of Jack Chick’s (in)famous “This was Your Life” JumboTron… There are still days when I struggle with that concept. Thank you for sharing those verses, IAHB.

        3. @Belle: Will there be some guy and two robots sitting in the front tow making snide comments on your life, just to rub it in?

    3. Mansions (pl) does that mean we get to rent the exras out or will heaven be like “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous?” So we see Jack Hyles is bragging to John R. Rice, “Yeah, you should come over to my place on the River of Life if you think this is impressive.” Or maybe Jack is bragging about his place overlooking the Lake of Fire? 😈 😯 Whatever…

  5. The Prosperity Gospel is rank heresy.
    Where in the Gospels does Jesus say that the children of Heaven will be prosperous in this life? I can only find Him saying things like, “If anyone has two coats, sell one and give the money to the poor.”

  6. Somewhere in my reading of Hebrews I came to the realization that a mindless adherence to the OT tithing rule in order to earn or keep favor (let’s call it “righteousness”) with God was exactly the kind of thing that mocked Christ’s sacrifice. It’s trying to attain righteousness by keeping the law, it’s what the Pharisees were condemned for, and it’s what we’ve been delivered from when Christ nailed the law to the cross. Now, I’ll admit I still follow the 10% rule, but only because it’s easy to move the decimal place over one spot. 😆 But I think it’s more accurate to say that I now “give” rather than “tithe.”

    Hasn’t always been that way. I was taught that you give tithes *and* offerings. So I took my paycheck, moved the decimal and got my 10%, then rounded up to the next nearest increment that I could afford at the time ($15.17 rounded to $20, $60.30 rounded to $75, $92.87 rounded to $100, etc.) Then I’d put it in my numbered envelope, mark down the *exact* 10% in the “Tithe” line, and write the balance in the “Offering” line. Look how cheerfully I was giving! The Lord loves (and rewards) a cheerful giver, right? 🙄

  7. “equal or greater value than his tithe.” Wrong. Greater, always greater. Because if there’s anything I learned in fundamentalism, it’s that God has no sense of proportion in meting out judgment.

  8. The Prosperity Gospel was hatched in the very pits of hell. I’m surprised only by two things about it:
    (1) That so many Christians have swallowed the lie.
    (2) That “so called” reputable Christian organizations have not fought it by boycotting those media outlets on which it is promoted. (Graham’s association with the crooks on the West Coast is the best example that comes to mind.)

  9. There is a pretty clear view of giving in the O.T. and somewhat seemingly vague in the N.T. What is clear is that we do give of our earned income. Some try to make it an O.T. vs. N.T. issue, but more often than not I am trying to see how little I can be comfortable with giving. You know, appease the conscience. Darrell is right in pointing out that giving money doesn’t guarantee me physical blessings in this life…could be in the life to come. That kind of thinking tends to make my giving become detached from this planet. But there are others who treat God like the “divine vending machine”. I put my 50 cents in, push the button so give me my stuff. However, we’ve all had the candy bar get stuck on the doo-hickey inside and became quite angry when we didn’t get what we were expecting. (R.W. Glenn used that as an illustration).

  10. It’s hard to get past the idea that if something big happens (like your car breaks down and needs mega-expensive repairs) that it’s not because God was trying to “get” you because you hadn’t been giving BACK 10% to the church that pays your salary in the first place.

    I WANT to see God as loving Father not vindictive, “out-to-get-me” Potentate.

    1. True, but don’t forget that if we disobey the Father, He will mete out punishment to those that are His children. God is as holy and righteous as He is love and merciful.

        1. Yes; lots of fundy extremism left in me.

          But I do think an unbalanced view of God leads to errors; God is not just waiting to “get” us when we sin; He loves us. But neither is He loving only; He is also holy and righteousness and will punish sin.

          When we are sin, Hebrews tells us that he deals with us about the sin as children. If we are not chastised for our sin, we are not His children, the Scripture says.

        1. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 1 John 2:1

    2. I am not in the ministry, but I do believe Jesus requires all of His children to obey. This perspective…I WANT to see God as loving Father not vindictive, “out-to-get-me” Potentate…
      is really the flip-side of the prosperity gospel. It’s the so-called “humble” approach. What I mean is this approach to our God misunderstands the gospel as much as the person who is giving to get blessings. It’s the approach that “Jesus saves me and I do the rest.” Of course, I am doing it to please Him, right? The effects of the prosperity gospel are so subtle.

      1. The only “thing” we deserve is eternal punishment. After Christ invades your life and redeems you, everything else is icing on the cake. Granted, some people’s cakes are mull-layered and chock full of icing and some of us have have a single layer sheet cake with little to no icing. And some of us feel like our cake is missing ingredients but whatever our portion God is using every part to gather His Kingdom. We give to show that our hearts are thankful for whatever He has chosen to bless us with. Sometimes we have a lot and sometimes we have a little. It’s an attitude, not a number.

        By the way, I would like my “mansion” to be filled with an endless supply of profiteroles and doughnuts! 😀

        1. Jesus never (invades) anyone’s life, we must invite Him in, just as the entire new testament teaches.

          He came unto to His own, but His own received Him not. Yet to all who received Him, to those that believed in his name, He gave the right to become children of God. John 1:11-12

        2. So Christ’s death on the cross doesn’t actually save until the sinner activates it through faith?

          Are you saying that the sinner is partly responsible for his salvation by bringing faith (which he draws from within himself) to the table?

        3. I just say and believe ((exactly))what the Word of God says, if you don’t believe it, that’s between you and God.

          It doesn’t matter what you or I say, it only matters what thus saith the Lord. So I repeat “He came unto His own and His own received Him not. Yet to ((all)) who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”

          That invitation is as valid today as it was when it was written. How anyone in the world could confuse such a simple invitation, I simply don’t know.

          I thank God today that after I was drawn by the Holy Spirit of God, I accepted His free gift of salvation. I am so glad that I did not neglect this “great” salvation, as so many do.

        4. @Polished Shaft. Meet Greg and his interesting theology where the Holy Spirit draws but can be resisted and we choose to be saved. It’s been debated to death in the forums. I say “if you resisted” it wasn’t Jesus calling….can I get a Haymen?

          @Escapee I chided myself all day for mentioning profiteroles and doughnuts which I too have been craving thanks to my own self. Sorry about that. 😐

        5. Greg,

          Jesus invaded my life. He sought me out when I wasn’t looking for him. He saved me while I was his enemy…while was spiritually dead.

          God did 100% of the saving, I had nothing to do with it. To God alone belongs all the glory.

        6. Indeed to God be the Glory!!

          Talk about interesting theology, I’m dying to see the “invasion” verses in the scripture. I see neither of you provided any scripture whatsoever to support your beliefs, nor did you attempt to “explain” away our Sovereign Lord’s very simple invitation to become “children of God” in the passage I quoted.

          What is the Gospel? The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation (for who?)to everyone that believes. Romans 1:16 – Yep I’m stupid enough to believe it.

        7. @Presbygirl: not to interrupt a spirited debate (and I know I can google this too) but I just had to ask: what are profiteroles? ❓

        8. @somethingfishie. Profiteroles are a puff pastry that are filled with ice cream and topped with chocolate sauce. They are generally credited to the French are one definitely one of God’s good gifts! Oui? 🙂

        9. Greg,

          I admire your theological passion, and I want you to know that I do not doubt that you believe the gospel. The reason that you believe the gospel is where you and I would disagree.

          I would argue that the origin of your belief is God. Jonathan Edwards wrote: “If every event has a cause, then so do free human choices; God is the First Cause of everything; therefore, God must be the First Cause of our free choices.”

          God made the first move. He opened your eyes. He drew you to himself. He predestined / determined before the creation of the world that he would save you. That is awesome news!

          You were loved and chosen by him before you were even born. He chose to show grace to you based on his good pleasure alone.

          All we can do, after realizing this, is praise him, thank him, and live to glorify his name.

          You and I are truly blessed beyond measure to have been adopted into God’s family.

        10. Greg seriously man retreat. i think you need to pull back a bit. your argumentation is kind of off or at least kindd of random. Maybe you should read some books written by non-Calvinist to better articulate your position.

          Calvinists: Have you read any books written by an actual Classical Arminian so you know what your talking about when talking about Arminianism? The only book I can comment on is Arminian Theology: Myths and realities by Roger Olson(cause I own it).
          If you want other resouces like some kind of blog or website I would give this
          http://thearminian.net and The Society of Evangelical Arminains(I visit the former which is a personal blog of the owner so there will be other things on the blog besides the topic of Arminianism).

          And as a bonus for Calvinists one I frequent is
          http://calvinandcalvinism.com

          A site with primary historical sources in Calvinism. It has some interesting primary sources concerning things like pecunary satisfaction vs. penal satisfaction and Diversity at Dort.

          Hope you all find these sites interesting.

        11. Polishedshaft/Phil – I appreciate both of your tones as we have commented over these belief systems. I am very familiar with Jonathan Edwards having read much of his work, I think he has much to offer, but what I always attempt to convey, is that this is just merely a man, his books, man’s thoughts, some very good, some not so much. I would point everyone everywhere at all times to allow the Precious Word of God to be the final authority. I think it is great to read other men’s work, btw, I think Calvin was a good thinker and has many great ideas, many have said that Calvin never had an original idea, only parrotted Augustine, I disagree, but still, Augustine, Calvin, mere sinful men. Let me add Jacob Arminius to that list as well, though his “system” of theology is closer to my beliefs than Calvin’s, I still disagree vigorously with certain points of his theology and can easily refute those portions with the scripture, and by now (cockiness coming) it is very simple to refute all of the (tulip) from scripture.

          So friends we must agree to disagree.

        12. @ greg
          You would have fit right in at the SOTL last night. Your doctrine is in lock step with what they were preaching last night to be sure. After reading your reply I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t still there. 😆

        13. @greg, something to think about. It’s my observation that certain folks, in pushing their own personal philosophies, have made a hobby out of dismissing historically influential thinkers and writers because they were “mere sinful men,” thereby dismissing also their writings or teachings. They then attempt to claim certain higher moral ground by asserting special illumination from Scripture, as if they had become privy to something that wasn’t otherwise clear 1000 years ago. It also seems that most of the people doing this are fundies. I find this practice insulting: it suggests that the dismissed really didn’t know what they were talking about. While few would call them inspired, Christian philosophers throughout the last two millennia are generally considered reliable sources of valid biblical interpretation. I say all this to point out how self-absorbed you sound when you say things like, “I would point everyone everywhere at all times to allow the Precious Word of God to be the final authority.” WHAT DO YOU THINK CALVIN, ARMINIUS, AND AUGUSTINE WERE DOING? I strongly doubt the Christian Classicists were sitting around Geneva smoking pot and saying, “Hey, Election sounds like a groovy idea. I bet if we debate about it, it’ll screw up the course of Christian thought for the next five centuries.” These men were doing exactly what you called the rest of us to do. The only difference is they were better educated and more dedicated to their study than any of us will ever be. This doesn’t mean you accept every written word as inspiration, but I’d say it’s worth more than your pastor’s opinion. So show a little respect and drop the “I’ve got a special line” routine.

        14. I’m not making it a hobby to diminish anyone. I wonder how you can read my posts and say that, I credited several of the scholars from both “streams” of theolgy with being good thinkers, etc. It will never change the fact that they are indeed men, it seems you venerate them much too highly, reminds me of the KJVonly’s that venerate the KJV translators way beyond what they should. Do you really believe that Calvin was not hugely influenced by Augustine?

          I love it when anyone directs me to the Word of God, you simply cannot go wrong when you advise someone to do this. I have told this story before, but prior to leaving my fundy church, my pastor would very often encourage us “not just to believe me, study it out for yourself” I did, and guess what, I ended up having to leave his church, it was the best, smartest thing the man ever said.

          I’m not above the criticism that I mete out on these men, I say along with my old fundy pastor, compare anything I present here to the Precious Word of the Lord, if I say something false, disregard it.

          One final story to demonstrate how little I venerate men. When I was in Europe (military)in the early 80’s some of us when to Rome. The pope was going to speak at St Peter’s square and my group were given special VIP seating. I left the tour that day and didn’t even attend. I’m not catholic, but the fact still remains, I don’t regard man too highly, and I submit if you are, you are making a huge mistake. Men are in fact sinful creatures.

  11. The prosperity gospel also applies to devotions. I’ve heard so many lessons where the preacher’s day seems to go oh-so-smoothly when he does his pre-crack of dawn devotions. But whenever he doesn’t do his devotions or, God forbid, does them at 6am instead of 5a, everything goes wrong! Car breaks down, misses the train, kids are cranky, gets mugged in a bank hold-up, you name it.

    I’ll admit I fell into the prosperity gospel of devotions trap. One friend was asking me how my devotions were going, and I said I wasn’t doing them anymore because whether I did them or didn’t do them, bad things happened anyways. Which is completely missing the point of devotions, but there it is.

    1. You know what I have noticed Senda? Sometimes it helps me if I skip a day of my devotions. When I have devotions every day it can get kind of stale and routine.

      1. Yeah, I had the same experience. But I always felt so guilty skipping days. Though my accountability partners always thought it was good that I was doing them regularly (as opposed to not at all), I knew that to be right with God I had to do them every day. Usually the guilt just turned into giving up.

        Thinking back, to some extent I kept up with my devotions only because I knew people would ask me if I was doing them.

        The idea of living without these kinds of rules still seems bizarre…

        1. Not my concern, really. The NT does tell us to give. Jesus said “Give and it shall be given to you” and we are commanded to give as we have been prospered in I Cor.

        2. I Cor seems to indicate that we are to give on Sundays to the church, as the Lord has prospered us during the week. The NT Scriptures do not set a percentage to give.

          Presumably the church votes on how to spend the money that is given to the church.

        3. The members are to support the church. But we shouldn’t stop there. If we’re able, we are to help others directly. Our judgement (Matt. 25) is on what WE do, not what our assembly does.

      1. My understanding of the passage in 1Cor 16 is not something that was instituted in the church for giving at all times, but appears to be an instance where a specific need was being met for the destitute folks that were in Jerusalem.

  12. The “doctrine of tithing” does a great disservice to the entire body of Christ. You see, we are supposed to give cheerfully and what we have been led to give by the Spirit. All the “tithe” does is make poor people suffer under a weighty burden and let rich people off the hook (“I gave my 10%, I don’t need to give more”). This isn’t Jesus’ church economy. No, instead those who were able were supposed to give more so that those who had little or none could survive. Instead we have preachers guilt-tripping poor folks who can barely afford food because they only gave 5%. It’s truly vile!

  13. It doesn’t matter if you put $1 in the plate or $1000; God isn’t looking at the money. He’s looking at your heart.

    I had a pastor say once, “One of these days I’m going to take all your tithes to the front of the church and we are going to burn them all in a bonfire. Maybe then you will understand that it’s not about the money, it’s about where your heart was when you gave it.”

  14. Ok where are we to give? To whom are we to physically give the money over to? There are no more apostles to take the money and divide it among the needy.
    What is the money going for? Utilities and building and grounds maintenance? Paying off the mortgage for the building? Salary for the Full Time M-O-g? Salary for staff? Insurance for the building, liability, fire, or health insuracne for the M-O-g? What percentage of the intake goes to all of these?

    How much actually goes to aid the poor and the needy? The sick? The orphans? The Fatherless? (as in single income households) How much goes to helping the families of those who are in prison? to those who can’t put bread on their table? Who can’t afford to go to the doctor?
    (don’t get me wrong I am just as guilty in not giving to these biblical causes I just named)

    What percentage of the offering intake goes for these?

    Until I see a church what gives more to the later than it does the former I won’t be giving “any” money to the local Christian Social Club.

    1. Hey bro, do you meet weekly with a congregation that doesn’t take up a collection weekly? How do you think money should be collected? After collecting it, who should decide where it goes? Should any congregation provide necessities for those who labor in the Word and minister to them?

      1. Where does it say that money has to be collected? Most of Paul’s collections were for relief of the persecuted church in Jerusalem. Do you think that Paul would actually support giving money to the thousands of B&M facades that litter the Christian religious landscape today? Don’t think so. I just can’t see what passes for church today being covered by any scripture regarding giving and offerings. I have spent thousand$ and thousand$ of dollar$ giving to the Americanized system of corporate religion. I’ve thrown away too much money into that system already. Not a dime more.

        1. WE SO NEED A “LIKE” BUTTON!!! I couldn’t agree more. Giving to the Lord has nothing to do with building multi-million dollar campuses and all that that implies. The way we do church here in America disturbs me. Hopefully, one day, it will disgust me. In the meantime, I hope to find a church locally that tries to emulate N.T. Christianity.

        2. This is for anyone to answer: how do you give to Christ? I’m just curious, not trying to start a fight! Tithing was hammered into my brain as ALWAYS being done in church and ALWAYS 10%! So I’m interested in learning from others how they practice NT giving because like Don said, I’m tired of throwing my money into a system that does not glorify Christ.

        3. Give AS you are able, WHERE there is a need. What did Jesus say? “If you did it unto the least of these my brethren, you did it unto me.” Oh, and that doesn’t always mean money. 😉

        4. Come on, my man. I’m not speaking of bricks & mortar at all. I’m just saying all we need to do is look at our bank statements and credit card statements to know where our treasure really is. This idea of having an attitude of giving (money & time) is more often than not something we use to escape the issue altogether. Yes, giving is an attitude of the heart, but it is not less than that. If it doesn’t lead to giving, the “attitude” is revealed for what it truly is…fake. Blaming people who misuse funds as a reason not to give is a dangerous way to live, bro. Trust Jesus, bro. God knows what we need. This is why money is so deceptive. It lends itself to trusting it rather than Jesus. Last time I checked no one held a gun to my head and made me give. It’s amazing what freedom the gospel of grace gives us to DO. His commands will not be burdensome. If they are burdensome, I am misunderstanding the grace of the gospel. I obey because the Holy Spirit’s work is making me more like Jesus. (Phil.2:13) How can I think that loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength can KEEP me from giving….money….really? (The last part is from an earlier post to Mark)

  15. Percentages apart. Are we supposed to give our money to the church? Or am I looking for an excuse not to give it? If I don’t have a right attitude when I give, am I better off disobeying? John Piper would say,”Obey…then repent of a wrong heart”. I guess this is not a one or the other situation. The Scriptures are clear that we do give, tithe, donate or whatever we want to call it…even when we don’t feel like it or because the teaching we heard on giving wasn’t the greatest.

    1. Well, it seems from I Cor that we are to lay aside during the week as God prospers us. This is to be given when the church gathers on the first day of the week. This certainly implies that the funds should go to the church.

      1. That’s all I’m saying. God has ordained that money be gathered by the church to take care of the pastors, missionaries, widow’s, orphans and those that have need. Me taking my money and doing this on my own is good and right to do, too. But taking the money I would give in my congregation and doing that on my own is starting on a slippery slope that makes me the boss and not Jesus.

        1. But what “church” are we giving to?
          The brick and mortar administration?
          Or to the Church as defined in Scripture?

          If the B&M Administration gets the lion’s share of the money given then I submit to all, that is NOT biblical giving. I’ll go a step further, I challenge anyone to find in scripture the whole americanized idea that every B&M ediface has to have a FT M-O-g on payroll.

          (stones at the ready) In fact, I submit that the vast majority of these B&M’s w/FT M-O-g’s see the gifts in Ephesians 4 as offices to be filled and I’ll go on record stating that I doubt there is one in a thousand who are fulfilling Ephesians 4:12-13. for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

      2. Well, it seems from Philemon that slaves are supposed to return to their masters. I really wish that pesky Congress hadn’t passed that 13th Amendment, because then maybe I could try to subjugate someone and call it biblical.

        (See? I can do that trick too!)

        1. Trust Jesus, bro. God knows what we need. This is why money is so deceptive. It lends itself to trusting it rather than Jesus. Last time I checked no one held a gun to my head and made me give. It’s amazing what freedom the gospel of grace gives us to DO. His commands will not be burdensome. If they are burdensome, I am misunderstanding the grace of the gospel. I obey because the Holy Spirit’s work is making me more like Jesus. (Phil.2:13) How can I think that loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength can KEEP me from giving….money….really?

  16. NO ONE, absolutely NO ONE pays the Biblical tithe today.

    Leviticus 27:30-33, Numbers 18: The First Tithe – a tenth of crops and animals and commanded to take the tithe to the Levites.

    Deuteronomy 14:22-27: The Second Tithe aka The Festival Tithe – a tenth of crops, plus add to that the firstborn animals, and take for the yearly feast.

    Deuteronomy 14:28-29: The Third Tithe aka The Three-Year Tithe aka The Poor Tithe – a tenth of crops, kept at home, and invite the Levites, widows, orphans, stranger to eat.

    Now, tell me. Which of the above three tithes commanded by God does anyone follow today?

    The ONLY people in the Old Testament that were commanded to tithe were those who INHERITED THE PROMISED LAND WITH EVERYTHING ON IT. They got the land, house, animals, crops, etc. ALL FREE AND CLEAR. No mortgage payment or rent to pay. And THEY were commanded to tithe on the crops and animals and take it to the Levites who INHERITED the tithe INSTEAD OF the promised land with everything on it. No one else tithed. Wage earners did not tithe. Jesus didn’t tithe as a carpenter. Paul didn’t tithe as a tent maker. Peter didn’t tithe as a fisherman.

    The Bible CLEARLY SHOWS that the tithe ENDED at the cross in the Book of Hebrews. In the first nine verses of Hebrews 7 the words tenth or tithes appears SEVEN TIMES. The ONLY place in the Bible, after Calvary, that tithing appears is in Hebrews 7.

    In Hebrews 7:5 we are told that Levi (the Levites) took the tithes under the law. In Hebrews 7:12 we are told that when the priesthood changes, the law will change. Hebrews 7:18 is telling us that Numbers 18 was disannulled. Numbers 18 established the Levitical priesthood, and part of that establishing included tithing. When the Levitical priesthood ended (at Calvary, or at least in the year 70AD when the temple was destroyed), all laws that established that priesthood were canceled. If Numbers 18 wasn’t canceled, we would still be under the Levitical priesthood.

    Isn’t it odd that even though Abram gave a tenth directly to Melchizedek, the king/priest, that some Christians think they can give directly to God by giving it to their pastor?

    I find it quite offensive that pastors have appointed themselves to be the receiver of what belongs to God. After all, the pastor says the tithe belongs to God. Then he appoints himself to receive the tithe!!!

    God never gave any pastor or church permission to receive his tithe. God commanded His tithe be taken to the Levites, FOREVER, in Numbers 18.

    Since the tithe belongs to God, if a pastor accepts it isn’t he stealing it from God?

    1. Regarding Abraham and Melchizedek, if you look at the account of him giving a 10th after rescuing Lot you would notice that he gave a 10th of the spoils and gave the rest back to the original owners. So essentially, the tithe he gave wasn’t actually his.

  17. Like many of you, I grew up listening to the fear and manipulation tactics inherent in the doctrine of tithing/storehouse giving. How true – that the congregation gives ‘cheerfully’ but out of fear… I certainly did. This doctrine dilutes the meaning of giving to the status of an insurance policy or, at the very least, another item on my checklist as a way to earn God’s favor.

    I visited a church recently where the pastor, a black woman, said these words to the congregation: “We’re not taking an offering. Put your money back in your wallet. Sometime this week, take the money that you would have given today and use it to pay for something tangible for someone in need. If possible, do it anonymously. Next week we’ll come back together and talk about what God did.”

    To me, that’s what giving is all about… 🙂

  18. If I were a pastor I would hope I would not use fear or the desire for God’s “blessing” to motivate people to give. That is very shallow I would hope instead to build a church that people would want to give their time and money to. Besides, the highest form of giving is giving with the expectation of nothing in return. And if I feel I am getting scammed like I felt at my last IFB church I am not going to give.

  19. Been going to a local gigachurch where they preach tithing often. Since I didn’t want God to curse me, I studied up on this tithe thing and decided to give it a go. Me and my boys, Malachi, Jedediah, Obidiah, Ebeneezer, and Bruce culled the best of our herd of cattle, and other critters, too, and loaded them up into the trailer. When we got to the church Sunday AM, we commenced to unload the cattle – and sheep – and sent Obidiah off to find the churches or preacher to check out our tithe for flaws like they did in the Old Testament. We kept looking for the storehouse, but none of the volunteers that helped us part in the guest parking knew anything about the storehouse for our tithes. Soon, church security showed up and I thought they were there to help up round up our tithe as they, the cattle and such – not the church security (though they honestly looked a little uptight) were getting restless. The parking lot was getting kinda messy, too. Needless to say, things did not go as well as I planned, and we still haven’t rounded up Helga, our best milk cow.

  20. Heard the pastor at that aforementioned gigachurch makes 3mill a year and owns and 500K house. Dang…how did he do that? If the church is the storehouse of the NT tithe, I guess that makes the preacher the NT priest, right? Now, I thought the OT priests could not own property, but this MOG owns massive property. I am confused. Maybe he tithes, too. That is probably how he managed to make bank by being a pastor that overflowing blessing thing he talks about alot. He says he thinks that prosperity gospel thing is wrong, too.

  21. We tithe because we want to. We give money and items above the tithe when we feel led. We donate to many other charities outside church because we want to. It’s not because we feel obligated or because we fear what could happen if we don’t. We aren’t rich, but we’re out of debt. That is how we are able to give when we want. We just wish our church had the same desire. People are more interested in projects than paying off the debt. It doesn’t click that when the debt is paid off, there will be expendable income. 🙄

    1. We do give because we want to, but where does that desire come from? This question is key because if we answer it wrongly we will fall into the mentality of the prosperity gospel. We obey because of the gospel of grace. Because of the Holy Spirit’s work of grace that is changing us every day into the image of Jesus. Phil. 2:13…”for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Understanding where my desire to give comes from changes e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

  22. I understand that many pastors use the tithe to abuse people, but I have seen the other side of the abuse, that is that Christian liberty and freedom excuses people from giving. There is not a clear mandate in the NT to release people from the responsibility of giving. In fact, the descriptive passages we see is of believers giving everything the had to advance the Kingdom of God. I think most people start to neglect giving for 2 reasons: 1, they are selfish. 2, the don’t see the Kingdom of God being advanced through the church, they see the money going to buildings or the MOG’s wealth. So I guess no one is innocent. Ron Sider points out that born-again evangelicals give less than 2% of their income to charity, and that if only American born-agains (the supposed Bible believers) gave 10% the whole world could be given adequate food, education, and healthcare. What a witness we are withholding from the world.

    I am a pastor and preacher called by God. I have dedicated myself to the preparation of ministry for the better part of a decade. While going to school I always worked as close to 40 hours a week in a secular job to support myself and wife as well as engaging in near full-time ministry (often unpaid). Now I am done with school and have been unemployed for over a year because churches claim they do not have the money to support me. I hear that giving is down, but have not seen an actual drop in budgets, and new buildings keep being erected. Recently my wife had to have a medical procedure done. The church seemed less than interested in giving to help us out. We eventually found out that Planned Parenthood of all places would help us for free. In the past year my wife has become so bitter toward the church I am called to serve because we both see that the “world” is often far more willing to give to the needy than the so-called followers of Jesus. We continue to give our skills, time, and resources to the church and the needy children of God because we know that we are really just giving back to God what he has given to us.

    1. Pastormike – I think it’s because of the false teaching of mandatory tithing that has caused folks like you to suffer. I believe if Pastors were to start teaching wonderful free will giving, as a christian purposes in his heart to give, I think we would have an overflowing abundance.

      1. exactly. Why is the tithe the one thing that pastors hold over from the old testament laws that is still for some reason manditory? It’s because they are scared to not preach on tithing. How would they pay for their buildings and their staff if they couldn’t bugdet and plan on 10% of everyone’s income? If they would just preach giving instead of tithing, can they not trust God for the same result? That’s what they are asking the congregation to do, tithe even if it hurts because God will bless. Why shouldn’t the church bless others and trust God for the needs to be met in the church budget.

    2. Pastor Mike, I think I can relate to your wife and her feelings. She no doubt gave everything she could to help people in need, and now when she’s in trouble there’s no one to help. When our family hit rock bottom about five years ago, it was much the same situation. We were judged for having medical and financial trouble and were told things like, “God did this to you, let him take care of you.” It was quite a horrible time, but the crisis of faith is eventually leading to a rebuilding and redirecting that I am thankful has occurred. I literally got kicked out of fundamentalism’s nest, and as time goes by I see ever more clearly the wickedness of it all.

      This particular prosperity teaching, even though it is often veiled and mislabeled is one of the biggest reasons as far as I am concerned why the entire cult is in trouble.

      I am praying that your wife will separate people’s bad deeds from God’s goodness, and will one day have complete healing–physical and emotional. Godspeed to you and your family.

    3. Having worked as a church secretary (SB-FBC in a small town), I know that much of the offering goes toward salary and benefits for the ministerial staff. People want the Pastor and his family to be the best dressed, entertain often and a whole host of other things, but expect them to do it on a tiny amount of money. I’m sorry your congregation is letting you down. Hugs to you and your family.

    4. I’m very sorry to hear that the body of Christ wasn’t there to step up and help with medical expenses (or even pray the prayer of faith that heals the sick). However, to your previous statement about being unemployed for a year because no church could “support you”, I have the perfect solution. Go get a job in the real world like everybody else. Why don’t more “pastors” take Paul’s example and actually refuse money from the body instead of demanding it. I know this sounds harsh, but I was a pastor’s kid and I know how hard they don’t work and yet claim they’re just so overworked. Honestly, go get a job at McDonalds, then you’ll have some money and a source of outreach to the community at large.

      1. from personal experience, it is a pretty hard thing to do. When a pastor has gone to Bible College, gotten a Bible degree and worked in churches his whole life, it is pretty hard to break out and find a different career. McDonalds or Walmart is about all you are qualified for in the secular world and that is a hard thing to support a family on.
        Totally agree, I wish we could get to a place to not accept a paycheck from a church, but so far, my husband is no Joel Olsteen that is doing just fine without accepting a church paycheck.

      2. Congregations tend to insist on a full time vocational pastor. The problem is much deeper than just the fundies. I was in a SB church where they threw the pastor under the bus because the salary wasn’t enough, his wife had a full term who died before birth. She couldn’t work at that point, and he got a job driving school bus and the congregation eviscerated him and kicked him out. He gave it up and got a “real” job, but lost his joy and enthusiasm.

    1. Jesus did not tell us to “Sell everything you’ve got and give it to the poor.”

      Matthew 19:20-21 (KJV)
      20The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
      21Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

      You are taking a verse or two out of context and are missing the whole point.

      This verse does not teach salvation by works. Rather Jesus was proving the error of the man’s claim to have fulfilled God’s law (v. 20). If the young man loved his neighbor to the extent required by the Law of Moses (v. 19), he would have had no difficulty in giving away his wealth to needy people.

      1. That’s not entirely true. I wrote a bit on this earlier, and since I can’t link to it, I’ll just quote it (which seems to be the thing to do today).

        “It was a widely-held belief among the Jews at the time that prosperity and wealth were signs of righteous living. It would have been quite a shock to his followers to hear Jesus say that a rich man has such a slim chance of getting to heaven, since their natural inclination was to say, “If he’s not going to make it, what chance does a beggar like me have?” Much of Jesus’ teachings were about dispelling illusions and shattering paradigms, but much of that is lost on modern readers because of the cultural disparity.”

  23. Besides Green Eggs and Ham, I’m probably the most fallen away here (thank god). I give to the church I go to for the same reason I chose it: it’s an active church that gives back on so many fronts (kids, community outreach, prison outreach, medical missions, etc etc). Why would you even consider sitting your butt in a church that you wouldn’t whole-heartedly support with your dollars? Or worse, would mistrust how those dollars were spent?

  24. Saw an obviously wealthy church – nice cars in the parking lot, large building, etc. holding a bake sale for a infant in need of surgery. I throw up in my mouth just a bit. Better to be Sodom on the the day of judgement.

      1. And the congregants are up to their eyeballs in debt for the nice cars and the big houses they park in front of. Most people (and most churches) have a lot of stuff and very little cash.

  25. Ahhhh-the fundy tithing tension.

    One of the things about the Anglican church that I think is a “downside” is that they want members to fill out a pledge card for the amount they expect or plan to give. If they notice it slowing down, you do get a letter with a gentle reminder. I have yet to fill out one of the pledge cards, but oh my how they try to get you to fill one out. Then, they are always asking for more money for this or that.

    We give what we can give and do not make pledges.

    1. We don’t have pledges in our Anglican church so its not an integral part of Anglicanism. Our church always struggles to meet its budget because we have few working people. Every year it’s made up to the needed amount by an ‘anoymous donor’ who we guess is the vicar (pastor).

  26. Growing up my pastor talked on little else besides tithing. The man was obsessed with the topic. Often he would yell something like, “You just think you were in the hospital getting your appendix out. But God was really cutting out your tithe”! The church went bankrupt of course. It was quite a mess. I hear the same guy is in the mid-West preaching on–guess what–TITHING!

  27. Ah, tithing, an essential part of every IFB spiritual health checklist.

    Friend are you suffering today from poor financial decisions? is your marriage on the rocks? are your rebellious teenagers begging to attend an accredited state college and applying for federal aid behind your back? Let me show you from the KJV Bible where the problem lies, turn with me now to any random verse, hold your finger there and look at me. Now before I read from the blessed KJV lets ask for the Spirit to lead powerfully tonight, Amen?
    Now as we all know from the Bible a real bible believing (KJVO only folks), new testament church believer must first check his heart (ladies as true submissive wives ask your husband to do this for you). Are you spending 24 hours a day having deep meaningful devotions? do you read through the Bible every month? do the calluses on your knees have calluses from your fervent prayer life? have you gone door to door in every neighborhood for 50 miles sharing the good news of the gospel at supper hour? are you tithing 10% off your gross income rounding up to the nearest thousand? in addition are you giving cheerfully to the faith promise offering, building fund offering, and special needs offering (AKA the MOG retirement fund)? have you purged your home of all appearance of evil-no TV, no pants on the womenfolk, no music with that devil beat, no NIV, ESV, or other perversion of the Good Book . . . ? If you can’t answer “yes” to any of these questions than I can’t help you, if you can’t follow the clear and simple instructions from the KJV word of God, than friend you need to come down this aisle and repent right here and right now! Come now as the pianist plays all 760 verses of “Is Your All on the Alter”*

    *naturally as a woman I’m not permitted to preach, just pretend George is delivering this sermon, thank you

  28. Small or large unmarked bills that can be taken out of the offering plate and put directly into “The Family” pockets. I wondered why the anonymous giving was $100 a week when the plates were FULL of $1, $5, $10 & $20 bills!!! 💡

  29. In my catholic church the offering envelopes read, “5% to the church:5% to any charitable giving”

    I was impressed. Sure it is still tithing but the church encourages giving to others as we see fit.

  30. Prosperity Gospel? The words just don’t seem fit together. besides, prosperity is highly overrated, to much to worry about, thieves, cheats, “friends”, and then there is the paparazzi…

  31. We give more than 10% but that is because have our house paid off and feel like that is how God is leading us. I firmly believe that giving is between you and God. You should give to who and what as you are lead. We give the majority to missionaries that we know.

  32. This whole argument is really simple to solve. In Hebrews the comparison of Abraham and the Levites is given in the same chapter. Abraham “gave” (option) the Levites “paid” (obligation). Giving is always optional, paying is always obligatory if you want something in return or are commanded to by a higher power. That is why we pay taxes, not give taxes. It is an authority that places that upon us. Abraham willingly gave, but it was his option. Lastly I will say this: Malachi proclaims a curse for missing tithes. In Christ the curse of the law is removed. I was on the guilty trail myself until I learned how clear scripture is on this topic. I give now. I no longer pay out of obligation. It really is a simple argument once you study it out.

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