For a great song by Don Francisco encapsulating the issue..... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4g0QIu2fdeU
A few years ago now I came to the place where I felt compelled to share what I believe God’s Word teaches about TITHING and the PROSPERITY/BLESS ME doctrines which seem to pervade so many churches today.
The TRUTH is not what some preacher may have said....nor is it what someone has written it is in their book. The only basis for truth is what the bible says. We should also look at the historical context and practices of the society it addressed but that must never be used to overlook or contradict the clear teaching of the scriptures.
The Word clearly teaches that our giving today under the NEW covenant IS voluntary and that it will come from a generous heart (regenerated life) rather than under compulsion....ie being demanded by a law.
About three years ago I had an encounter with God …after having been a born again Christian for about 30 years. God literally stopped me in my tracks with His Word …
“WHAT PROFITS A MAN IF HE GAINS THE WHOLE WORLD AND LOSES HIS SOUL”
(Question What do you think God would say to you about your priorities and attitudes to wealth and the way you handle your money? ….. Would He say “Well done good and faithful servant? ….. I believe many in the church would be as shocked as I was about His opinion)
In looking with an open heart into what Jesus taught about worldly riches and His life along with the teachings of the Apostles and the practices of the early Gentile churches a stark distinction exists with what is currently taught in many churches today
What we seldom hear in today’s church is what Jesus actually says about money ie
Mat 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth...”
Mat 6:21 “For where your treasure is there will your heart be also”
Mat 6:23 “No man can serve two masters……You cannot serve God and Mammon (ie riches)”
My primary concern about tithing and the prosperity doctrine as taught today is that when Gods people eventually get into reading His word they will arrive at the conclusion that they have not been taught the truth by their churches. Even worse there will come a day when they stand before God ....and the excuse 'but my pastor said...' will not suffice.
Jesus says ‘I am the Way, the TRUTH and the Life’ (Jn 14:6)
It is NOT ACCEPTABLE to twist God’s Word to teach whatever is believed to be necessary to raise money for the churches expenses and programs. Truth alone is what the Spirit of Truth and the word of Truth are about.
Jesus says ‘You will know the truth and the truth will set you free’ (Jn 8:32)
The second concern about tithing and the prosperity doctrines as taught today is the impact they have on the poor….those who Jesus loved and came to help. They are left to feel that they cannot participate in Gods work and receive his blessings as they are unable to tithe (if not possibly even going to hell because they are told over and over that they are 'robbing God'). They are left to conclude that God doesn't love them as much as others who are visibly 'more blessed' in material things which is totally contrary to Gods word. Many are suffering under condemnation and deprivation and even fear.
Luke 6:20 Blessed are you who are poor for yours is the kingdom of God
Rom 8:1 Therefore there is now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
Much of the church today languishes in the futilty Jesus warns about below...
Mat 13:18-23 ‘Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful'.
If we don’t want to find ourselves choked and unfruitful in the kingdom the only answer is to learn that we HAVE received the blessing of God in Christ through faith (rather than by doing the 'works of the Law...such as tithing). We also need to learn that God's way of providing for us materially is that we WORK (1 Thes 4:11) rather than waiting for money to fall down from heaven ..if we are 'good'.
Our abundance and riches can then be to seen as a means to bless others through our generousity (ie practical expressions of Christ's love) ...and for sowing into the kingdom by supporting needs of itinerant ministers!
(Free online books)