Fear is one of the factors that motivates some religious leaders to promote monetary ‘tithing.”
They may not admit it openly, but they are afraid that unless they promote monetary ‘tithing’, congregants will not donate enough money to cover the two largest expenses: staff and the church-building.
For example, a while back I had a public discussion about tithing with a religious leader. Once this leader saw that monetary ‘tithing’ contradicts both the tithing laws and New Covenant giving, she said “Well how am I going to pay for the building and my salary?” Her question indicated that she was afraid of losing funding for her salary and the church-building if she stopped teaching monetary ‘tithing.’
I have seen this same scenario play out many times in discussions with religious leaders who promote monetary ‘tithing.’ At the end of the discussion, their primary concern is covering the costs of overhead.
This fear of lack gives rise to other fears that congregants will find out what the Scriptures really teach about tithing and stop forking over 10% of their income. And so, some religious leaders come up with all types of fear tactics to discourage and forbid congregants from discussing tithing with other Christians.
Congregants are told that anyone who “speaks against tithing” is cursed, in rebellion to God, operating in witchcraft, deceived, stingy, greedy, selfish, and of the devil. Such accusations are slanderous, divisive, unrighteous judgments, and tantamount to being an accuser of the brethren.
Congregants are also told that discussions about tithing are “foolish and ignorant debates” and therefore, they shouldn’t participate in them. This is totally false. In Acts 15, the apostles held a council in Jerusalem to discuss a doctrinal dispute and settle a disagreement over the Law of Moses. Why? Because new Christians (who were Gentiles) were being told that they had to keep the law of circumcision and the Law of Moses to be saved. This false teaching had to be confronted, because it perverted the Good News by adding additional religious works to the Cross which changed the Gospel. It was no longer Good News but a yoke and a burden.
This same false teaching spread among the saints in Galatia, and we see Paul refuting and rebuking this error in the Book of Galatians. The same problem exists today in the body of Christ — except Christians are not being told that they have to keep the law of circumcision, but that they have to “tithe” their income in order to be in right-standing with God, to be blessed, to be prosperous, to avoid being “cursed with a curse,” and to avoid bad things happening in their life.
This is a false teaching and a commandment of men which perverts the Good News and adds to the finished work of Jesus Christ. As such, it must be confronted, discussed, and examined under the lens of God’s word. According to Scripture, this is considered reproof, discipleship, edification, and using discernment. Not a “foolish and ignorant debate.”
Be careful of religious leaders who try to insulate you and isolate you so that you only hear their interpretation of Scripture. Do not let them dictate or control what you can or cannot discuss. That is called “controlling the flow of information.” It’s a tactic that some leaders use to ensure that congregants only hear their views and close their ears to outside information. It is a form of mind control.
You are an adult with your own mind and your own relationship with God, and you are free to discuss whatever you are being taught with other Christians — as a matter of fact, you should! The Jews at Berea were called “noble” because they tested everything the apostles said against Scripture (Acts 17:11).
Iron sharpens iron, and there is safety in a multitude of counselors. There are Christians outside of your local church who can sharpen you, build you up, challenge you to grow doctrinally, and stir you up to do greater works. Don’t let fear hold you back from growing spiritually.
Are you afraid to test what your pastor teaches? Are you afraid what people at your local church will say and think of you? Are you afraid of being seen as “cursed” or “in sin” for questioning monetary ‘tithing’? Will you be pulled to the side and reprimanded or pressured? Will you be “sat down” from participating in some ‘ministry’? Will people at your church stop associating with you and give you funny looks? If so, I hope that God will take away your fears, comfort your heart, and give you confidence to discuss tithing and re-examine what you have been taught. The truth will set you free!~
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