Money and the institutional church

Gotta love it when someone in a church service admits they are having financial hardship, and the congregation is encouraged to surround them and pray for them.  Ten minutes later the call goes out to bring your tithes and offerings, and the people dutifully submit a tenth or more of their weekly wages into the church coffers, not a dime of which will go to feeding or clothing the one we just prayed for.

Isn’t this exactly what James the Lord’s brother rebuked the church for?  Isn’t this simply our modernized and well-disguised way of saying “be warm and well fed!” And then sending our needy brother on his way?

It is my firm belief that money and power are the two things that drive false preaching.  Indeed, these (especially money) hold the institutional church together.  Yes, even those parts of the institutional church that are led by the sincere, humble and well intentioned.

Tithing is taught as a means to encourage people to have hearts of generosity towards the needy dig deep and fund the institution.

Tithing is is taught as a “principle” which pre-dates the Mosaic law.  Therefore (the logic goes) it is not a matter of law and must be an abiding command for all of us.  Abraham giving a tenth (of the spoils of war, as a one time act?) to Melchizidek is hailed as the ultimate proof of this.

Some people will say that tithing is not for today (the tithe preachers say).  These people expose their selfish, greedy hearts, they conclude for you.

This is intellectually dishonest at best.  Furthermore….

They teach (or suggest 😛 ) that if you want to tithe your net income and not your gross, you are exposing a heart that is holding back from God.

They teach that tithing is something we should do cheerfully and is something we “get to do”, not “have” to do.  (Really? Is that what Malachi 3 says? Did the Israelites not “have” to tithe?  Didn’t failure to tithe come with curses and consequences and a description of robbing God?)

They teach that what percentage you tithe is between you and God… but really, you should tithe a minimum of 10%. (Totally inconsistent and confusing)

They teach that you should tithe to the church institution and expect you to trust them with the details of how the money is spent.

Giving to any needy believer directly does not count as tithing.

You should not tithe anonymously or it will look like you never give anything, and will not be under consideration for leadership positions within the institution. 😛 that’s my favourite! 🙂

They teach from any passage that comes up in a word search for “tithe”, but deliberately omit/fail to address basic questions like:

– who was required to tithe?

– what was acceptable tithe?

– what was the purpose of the tithe?

– how was the tithe used?

– did Jesus or the apostles ever tithe?

– how was giving viewed by the New Testament church?

– why don’t we have any teaching of the tithe principle in the New Testament?

I am so thankful for the LIBERTY that is in Christ!  Freedom from religious obligation!

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