92-Year-Old Woman Given The “Left Boot of Disfellowship” At First African Baptist “Church” [Bainbridge, GA]

The leadership of First African Baptist “Church” better repent before tables start flipping, because you better believe Jesus is angry about this one. I think I just heard the crack of a homemade whip.

Another evil letter from a business pretending to be a church of Jesus Christ has gone viral on social media.

Josephine King, a 92-year-old elderly woman who is suffering from cancer, received a letter in the mail notifying her that she is in “violation” of an unbiblical policy for not “tithing” since March and lack of attendance/participation. And therefore, she has been removed from the membership roster of First African Baptist “Church.”

Never mind the fact that Ms. King is an elderly woman with cancer and diabetes (which basically makes her “sick and shut-in”) which would explain the lack of attendance/participation.

Never mind the fact that she has been a faithful member of this organization for 80 years.

Never mind the fact that she has been paying “monetary tithes” to this organization all the way up until March of 2015.

None of that means anything to the new “Senior Pastor” Derrick Mike and his willing accomplices. As far as they’re concerned — if you miss 3 months of “tithes” and frequent attendance — three strikes, YOU’RE OUT. Your membership is revoked. See the cutthroat letter below (yes it’s real).

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Frankly, I find this cold mechanical letter and the mentality behind it disgusting and trifling.

It is an inversion of the teaching of Christ and the exact opposite of how we are suppose to treat seniors in the body.

Scripture says to honor our elders and treat older women of God as mothers. Would you kick your mother out of church? Would you demand that your mother pay you 10% of her (probably fixed) income every month? Would you ignore your mother’s health condition and demand that she put stress on her body by traveling to you all of the time and attending every activity?

If your mother was almost 100 years old with cancer and diabetes, wouldn’t your foremost concern be spending time with her, taking care of her, and making sure that the end of her life is as comfortable as possible?

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27)

The leadership of First African Baptist “Church” should be visiting Ms. King and ministering to her spiritual and material needs. But instead, they are more concerned with TAKING money from her and having her travel to them and show up every time the doors are open.

“They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.” (Matthew 23:4)

“They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.” (Luke 20:47)

Apparently their idea of “church membership” is not the same as church membership according to Scripture. There is ZERO Bible to support this unbiblical anti-Christ policy.

If you have never done your own personal in-depth Bible study of what the Scriptures teach about being a member in the body of Christ and tithing, I suggest that you do so now.

It is important to know the truth about these subjects, because apparently, some religious leaders are requiring that Christians pay 10% of their income (among other false traditions) in order to remain in “good standing” as “members” of their corporations.

Jesus died for our freedom (Galatians 5:1). Yet God’s people are subjecting themselves to man-made requirements which pervert the Gospel message and bring them in religious bondage. When your blood-bought freedom is on the line, you cannot afford to base your beliefs solely on what your pastor, relatives, church or denomination taught you — study the Scriptures for yourself so that you know the truth and stay free.

I also suggest that you ask for a copy of your church’s Constitution and by-laws (if they have any).

When you become a ‘member’ of a for-profit business pretending to be a ‘church,’ you are agreeing to their unbiblical & anti-Christ policies. This is why it is so important for us to do our homework and ask questions.

BEFORE you get swept away with emotion during the ‘altar call’ and walk down the aisle to join a local church, do your research first — and definitely DON’T SIGN ANYTHING (“church membership covenants” are unbiblical & legalistic).

Instead of sitting back passively and allowing “Pastor” Derrick Mike and his accomplices to evict Believers — the real saints at First African Baptist “Church” should firmly rebuke everyone involved in this appalling and wicked behavior, and have them swiftly removed from their leadership positions. Head for the door and find a healthy Biblical church. You don’t want to be a participant or an enabler of this money-making set-up or you will share in their sins.

Derrick Mike needs to be checked THIS Sunday, if not today. He needs to hear from concerned saints that this is totally unacceptable, ungodly, unbiblical, and unethical. Call him, email him, and give him a piece of your sanctified mind.

No one should be so desperate to “go to church” somewhere. . . anywhere. . . that they would be willing to put up with such hypocrisy, foolishness, and cold-blooded behavior.

Western Churchianity & The “Left Boot Of Disfellowship

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If this is your first time hearing of situations like this, please know that it happens all the time.

I have lost count of the number of Believers who have told me that they were disfellowshiped from some religious organization calling itself a “Christian church.” So when I first read the letter, I was appalled, but not surprised.

These personal accounts go largely undocumented. But the fact that so many Christians across the West have been blackballed, shunned, forcibly removed, voted out at secret meetings, and formally banished via letters, emails, and phone calls show that it is not uncommon.

 

Leaders beware: If you send a Christian a menacing “collections” letter or “excommunication” letter — it just might end up online for the whole world to see and go viral. Do you want your name and face plastered on the evening news? It’s better to humble yourselves and repent now, than to be prideful, stiff-necked, and brought to an open shame. Pride comes before the fall.

It seems to me that judgment has come first to the house of God like a whirlwind and the Lord is exposing organizations that are not built on Him. Do you really want to be brought low before everyone? Anything and anyone that has exalted itself to a high position will be left desolate, pulled down, and demolished. But those who humble themselves will be exalted and honored by the Lord.

I will end this by saying that the leaders of First African Baptist “Church” ought to be ashamed of themselves and they would do well to be zealous and repent.

In this hour, the Lord is clearly making a distinction between those who are truly with Him and those who are against Him, and you do not want to be found standing on His left hand side.

Members of First African Baptist “Church” — which side are you standing on? Are you with the Lord, or are you not?

“41 Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.

42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink.

43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’

45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’

46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:41-46)

“You’re Cursed With A Curse!!” [Malachi 3:8-9]

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Malachi 3:8-9 is one of the most misused and abused Scriptures in the Bible.

Many who quote this passage have never studied the entire book of Malachi (it’s only four chapters long). Therefore, they don’t know the historical background behind it. This lack of knowledge makes it very easy for religious leaders to misuse Malachi 3:8-9 for financial gain.

It is important to study the context surrounding a passage of Scripture so that we understand its meaning and won’t fall prey to Scripture-twisting.

Firstly, who was God rebuking when He said “you have robbed Me of tithes and offerings” and “you are cursed with a curse”? Malachi 1:6 and Malachi 2:1-9 indicate that God was specifically rebuking dishonest Levitical priests, not the general assembly of Israel or New Covenant Believers.

Secondly, when did this take place? Knowing the time period is important. Malachi 3:8-9 took place during the Old Covenant era while the curses of the law were still in effect (see Deuteronomy 28:15-68).

These curses are no longer in effect and do not apply to New Covenant Believers, because the Old Covenant is obsolete (Hebrews 8:7-13). God has replaced the Old Covenant with the New Covenant, which is a far better covenant based on better promises (Hebrews 8:6).

We are not under the Old Covenant law nor its curses. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Old Covenant law, having become a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). Pronouncing curses from the Old Covenant upon born-again Believers is anti-Gospel and equivalent to witchcraft.

Let’s look at the historical context surrounding Malachi 3:8-9.

During this time, the Levitical priests represented the nation of Israel before God. As such, not only did their disobedience bring a curse upon themselves, but also upon the entire nation of Israel whom they represented.

What did the Levitical priests do to bring a curse on themselves and the nation of Israel? Here are God’s charges against them:

They despised God’s name by presenting defiled food on the altar, they kept the best for themselves and offered God blemished sacrifices, they were swindlers, they complained about serving God, they caused many to stumble, they corrupted their priestly covenant (the covenant of Levi), they showed partiality, they mistreated their wives, they cheated employees of their wages, they oppressed widows and orphans, turned aside the stranger, and they robbed God of tithes and offerings.

Let’s zoom in on God’s charge against them regarding the tithe. How did the Levitical priests rob God of tithes? What were they doing? In order to understand how they robbed God of tithes, you have to know how tithing worked during the Old Covenant. Pay close attention.

You may not be aware of this, but there were three different tithes during the Old Covenant: The Levitical Tithe, The Festival Tithe, and The Poor Tithe.

1. The Levitical Tithe was the first tithe. This tithe provided food for the Levites and the priests, since they received no inheritance of land in Israel (Numbers 18:21).

2. The Festival Tithe was the second tithe. This tithe provided food for festivals in Israel and was eaten/drank by tithers and their family (Deuteronomy 14:22-27).

3. The Poor Tithe was the third tithe. This tithe was stored in the nearest town and used as a “food pantry” for poor people in the local area (Deuteronomy 14:28-29).

These three tithes were carried out over a 7-year cycle, with a break from tithing during the 7th year because it was a Sabbath year of rest. No one was allowed to “work the soil” by sowing and reaping during Sabbath years, and thus, no one was suppose to tithe during Sabbath years. Sabbath years gave the soil in Israel a time to rest and replenish nutrients (Leviticus 25:3-7).

Now that we’ve briefly covered the three tithes in the Old Covenant, we’re going to talk a little bit more about The Levitical Tithe, because this is the tithe that God was rebuking the priests for stealing. Once you understand how The Levitical Tithe worked, Malachi 3:8-9 will make even more sense to you.

So, how did The Levitical Tithe work?

Once again, The Levitical Tithe was the first tithe. The purpose of this tithe was to provide food for the Tribe of Levi since they did not inherit land with the other tribes.

Here is how it was carried out. . .

The tithers in Israel (farmers and shepherds) would transport their tithe (one-tenth of their crops, herds, and flocks) to the Levites who lived in nearby Levitical cities (remember, there were 48 cities set aside for the Levites to live in because they did not inherit land with the other tribes).

The Levites would then transport *only* one-tenth of this tithe to the Old Covenant temple in Jerusalem when it was their turn to assist the priests. This is the ONLY portion of tithe that made it to the temple in Jerusalem. Let me make it plain: out of all 3 tithes — only 10% of The Levitical Tithe ever made it to the temple in Jerusalem.

Once that tenth of The Levitical tithe made it to the temple into the hands of the priests, the priests were supposed to present it as an offering to the Lord and put it in the storehouse so that there would be food in God’s house. The food in the storehouse was supposed to be shared with the poor and with the Levites who assisted the priests at the temple.

Yet Malachi 1:14 shows that the priests offered up the worst of this tithe to God and kept the best part for themselves — God considered this to be robbing HIM.

The priests did not put this tithe in the storehouse so that there would be food in God’s house to share with the poor and the Levites who assisted them at the temple — they kept it for themselves — God considered this to be robbing HIM.

As we can see, the issue was not that the general people were robbing God of tithes and offerings. The issue was that the PRIESTS (the religious leaders) were robbing God of tithes and offerings by keeping it for themselves and offering up the worst part to God.

There’s sin in the camp! Just like Achan’s sin, the priest’s disobedience impacted everyone, and God cursed the whole nation of Israel by sending devourers (pests and diseases) to consume their crops (Deuteronomy 28:18). He also shut up the windows of heaven (the clouds) by withholding rainfall which caused a drought (Deuteronomy 28:23-24).

Religious leaders who twist Malachi 3:8-9 to obtain 10% of your income are operating in witchcraft. It is divination and sorcery to misuse God’s word to pronounce empty curses on blood-bought Believers. Leaders who are guilty of such are the one’s robbing God.

If a leader claims that you are “robbing God” and “cursed with a curse” if you don’t pay 10% of your income to his 501 c3 organization, please know that he is lying on God, twisting the Scriptures like Satan, and in disobedience to God.

No weapon formed against you shall prosper. This is fear-mongering and condemnation, which utterly opposes the Gospel.

The God-robber is the person standing in the pulpit operating in witchcraft like Balaam who tried to curse God’s people for financial gain.

Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse will not land on its intended victim.” (Proverbs 26:2)

For further study, read the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah and Malachi were contemporaries, and Nehemiah provides additional background information to Malachi 3:8-9.

Click here for the next article in this series.

“Should I Tithe Or Pay My Bills??”

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Many Christians are drowning in debt, struggling to make ends meet, and living from check to check.

Some Christians are taught that if they tithe 10% of their income, God will protect them from financial hardship and prosper them financially. However, reality is that many Christians who believe in tithing and faithfully give 10% of their income are struggling financially, and some of them are pondering whether they should give 10% of their income or pay their bills.

Some religious leaders would advise them to “keep tithing and trust God to provide.” This is unbiblical, unsound, financially irresponsible advice which shows no regard or concern for the authority of Scripture and the well-being of God’s people. Here is why:

1. If the staff at your church discovers that you are struggling financially and in urgent need — their immediate response should be to “care for the flock of God” and find a way to meet your need(s).

Meeting your need(s) might entail them reaching into their own pocket (if they have the money), raising an offering from the congregation, cutting a check from the church, or contacting non-profit organizations to see if they can help.

The staff at your church should be charitable and focused on finding a way to meet your needs and ease your burdens. Not focused on receiving 10% of your income and encouraging you not to pay your bills so that they can use your money to cover the church’s expenses while your bills/debt go unpaid and pile up.

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” (Philippians 2:4-5)

Telling someone to “keep tithing and trust God to provide” sounds ‘spiritual’ and ‘sacrificial,’ but it is actually pseudo-spiritual and apathetic, because there is no tangible action being taken to ease the burdens of others. This was one of Jesus’ problems with the Pharisees:

“They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.” (Matthew 23:4)

Telling someone who is financially strapped and in urgent need to use their bill money to give what they cannot afford, while offering them no tangible material assistance puts an unbearable religious demand on their shoulders. It crushes them. It is financial oppression, financial exploitation, and spiritual abuse.

Anyone who instructs a believer in urgent need to “keep tithing and trust God to provide” is no different than the person in James 2:14-17 who sees a brother or sister in need and says “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well” and doesn’t help them. What good will such advice do? Faith without good works is dead. It’s not good enough to talk about faith if we don’t show it with our actions.

“If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” (1 John 3:17-18)

“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’ “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’ “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’ “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:41-46)

2. Telling people to tithe 10% of their income before they pay their bills contradicts the spiritual principle of taking care of our household first.

It also contradicts the spiritual principle that human beings are more important to God than religious rituals and temples made by human hands [e.g., church-buildings].

Scripture teaches that we are to take care of our own household first before we try to take care of anyone or anything else.

We see this principle in God’s standard for shepherds. A man must take care of his own family first in order to qualify to be a shepherd. The reasoning behind this is, how can someone be trusted to take care of God’s household if he does not take care of their personal household?

This spiritual principle applies not only to shepherds specifically, but to all Christians generally. Paul the apostle had strong words for believers who neglected their own household. In 1 Timothy 5:8, he said that a man who does not provide for his own, especially for those of his own household, is worse than an unbeliever. Although the word “he” is used in this passage, it applies to all believers, both male and female.

Whether you are a man or a woman, if you neglect your own household in order to give 10% of your income to a religious leader or religious organization, you are being worse than an unbeliever — because even unbelievers take care of their own household as their first and foremost priority and understand that it would be irresponsible and immoral to neglect their own household in order to allocate their income elsewhere.

Do not neglect your own household in order to give 10% of your income to a religious leader or religious organization, especially considering that research shows that religious organizations tend to spend most donations on operating costs, not charity or evangelism.

Some religious leaders would say that you are “putting God first” “demonstrating great faith” “being obedient to God” and “being a living sacrifice” by forking over 10% of your income before you pay your bills. This is false.

Paying the bills of a religious organization before you pay your own bills demonstrates misplaced priorities due to false teaching — not putting God first, demonstrating great faith, obedience to God, and being a living sacrifice. Obeying God is better than making religious sacrifices that He did not command us to make in His word. (1 Samuel 15:22).

Ensuring that the expenses of a religious organization are covered before you make sure that your own expenses are covered is out of order and backwards. Paying the utilities of a building that no one lives in, while not paying the utilities of the building where you and your family live is negligent and irresponsible.

If you get evicted or your utilities are shut off, can you sleep in the church building? Will church staff take you in and provide for you while you live with them? Or will you end up staying at a homeless shelter, living in your car, or sleeping on someone’s couch while church staff tells you to “keep tithing and trust God to provide”?

Before religious organizations existed, God created the individual and the family unit. This means that you and your family are of utmost importance to God and your needs are more important to Him than the expenses of a religious organization. False teaching convinces people to reverse this order and prioritize the expenses of religious organizations over the financial obligations of their own household, which is contrary to the will and word of God.

God would never have you risk an eviction, shut-off notice, repossession, sink further in debt, damage your credit score, and neglect your family all for the sake of keeping an unbiblical financial practice and covering the expenses of a religious organization.

Does it make any sense to pay staff salaries while your fridge is bare, you have no gas to get to work, rent is overdue, and your utilities are behind? Does it make any sense to pay off the mortgage on a church-building while your mortgage is not paid and you are struggling to pay your rent? Does it make sense to pay off the church’s debt while you are drowning in debt and creditors are calling your phone? Would church staff help you pay your mortgage, rent, or debt, or are they just interested in getting 10% of your income so that they can spend most of your money on their operating expenses? This is not good financial stewardship. This is financial irresponsibility cloaked as worship, obedience, and spirituality.

Your needs come before the expenses of a church-building. The church-building is not the house of God — you are. Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and the Holy Spirit lives in you? Church-buildings are temples made with human hands. They aren’t anywhere near as important to God as you are.

Even during the Old Covenant, the needs of the people came before the temple and its religious rituals.

For example, when David and his men were hungry they ate the shewbread, which was not lawful. Yet God permitted it because He values human lives over religious rituals.

Another example would be when Jesus and His disciples picked heads of grain on the Sabbath day. The Pharisees — not knowing the heart of God — accused Jesus and His disciples of breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath day. They failed to realize that Jesus is the Lord over the Sabbath and that He made the Sabbath “. . .to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:23-28).

The same could be said of the tithe. The tithing laws were given to meet the needs of the people (“that there might be MEAT in My house”), and not people to meet the requirements of the tithing laws.

If you study the tithing laws in Scripture, you will see that there were 3 tithes:

The First Tithe which provided food for the Levites and the priests, since they received no inheritance of land in Israel (Numbers 18:21).

The Second Tithe which provided food for festivals in Israel and was eaten/drank by tithers and their family (Deuteronomy 14:22-27).

The Third Tithe which provided food for the poor (Deuteronomy 14:28-29).

These three tithes were carried out over a 7-year cycle, with no tithing during the 7th year because it was a Sabbath year in which the land of Israel rested from sowing and reaping (Leviticus 25:3-7).

Notice that each tithe was eaten by the people. None of the tithes went towards financing the temple or paying salaries. The purpose of the tithe was not to raise money, but to provide food for God’s people and meet their needs.

As you can see, the tithe was similar to the Sabbath day in the sense that it was given to meet the needs of the people.

If someone is using the doctrine of tithing to COVER THE EXPENSES OF A RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION OR FUND THE LUXURIOUS LIFESTYLE OF A RELIGIOUS LEADER and not to meet the needs of God’s people — they are twisting the purpose of the tithe, ignorant of the heart of God, and putting a religious ritual and man-made temple before human lives.

Poor people weren’t even commanded to tithe under the Old Covenant — they RECEIVED the third tithe as a form of charity. The tithe was to be given by those who owned land — NOT by those who didn’t own land (e.g. Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows). The poor were permitted to glean food from other people’s land because they were POOR. They had no abundance to tithe from!

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Many leaders today are oppressing the poor by telling them that they have to tithe 10% of their income before they pay their bills, when in fact, in Scripture, God commanded the third tithe to be GIVEN TO THE POOR. These leaders use slick phrases like “You can’t afford NOT to tithe” and “Give until it hurts” to convince poor people to fork over 10% of their income. Once again, this is financial oppression, financial exploitation, and spiritual abuse. This kind of false teaching grieves the heart of God and moves Him to judgment.

God didn’t command the poor to tithe because they couldn’t afford to. God is against religious leaders who oppress the poor by telling them that they have to tithe 10% of their income (Malachi 3:5). It does not matter if some of the money is being used to help the poor — in God’s Kingdom, we do NOT financially exploit or oppress the poor in order to “help the poor,” “spread the Gospel,” or pay the church’s bills.

We do not take Scripture out of context, promote religious error, make emotional appeals, or engage in any unethical, immoral, or ungodly fundraising methods in order to raise donations for operating expenses or church activities. We do not inflict financial, psychological, emotional, physical, or spiritual harm upon anyone so that “good may come” and try to justify it by saying that we are financing “kingdom building.” In God’s Kingdom, the end does not justify the means. If we are using unbiblical and unethical fundraising methods, then we need to question just whose kingdom we are actually building. God or man’s?

3. Telling people to “keep tithing and trust God to provide” sets a poor example of Christlike leadership.

Jesus said that the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve others and give His life as a ransom for many.

The Lord did not put His needs before people who were in need. He selflessly put the needs of others before Himself. This is “the mind of Christ.”

Elders are suppose to demonstrate the mind of Christ and set a godly example for God’s flock by serving selflessly like the Lord.

Telling someone who is in need to give 10% of their income (to an organization) does not serve them in any way, shape, or form. But rather, it serves the organization and leaders who financially benefit from it.

Some of these organizations are well-off. Yet they feel comfortable telling single parents, widows, college students, financially stressed middle class families, and poor families to “pay their tithe” first and forgo paying their bills. This is selfish and the exact opposite of serving like Christ.

4. Telling people to “keep tithing and trust God to provide” oppresses the poor.

While some Christians testify that they gave 10% of their income before paying their bills and their needs were still met, many others testify that they gave 10% of their income before paying their bills only to experience financial hardship.

This oppression of the poor is the dark side of ‘tithing’ that many people don’t hear about.

The purpose of the tithe was not to oppress the poor and put them in the predicament of deciding whether they will tithe or pay their bills. One of the main purposes of the tithe was to feed the poor and RELIEVE them of their burdens.

One of the reasons why God told the Levitical priests that they were “cursed with a curse”in Malachi 3 was because they kept the best of the tithe for themselves and didn’t put it in the storehouse, thereby oppressing the poor, the fatherless, and the widows.

The Lord said that He would draw near the Levitical priests for judgment and to be a swift witness against them. This is the part of Malachi that many religious leaders skip over during tithes and offering time.

“‘Thus says the Lord God, “Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock.” (Ezekiel 34:2-3)

5. Telling people to “keep tithing and trust God to provide” encourages Christians to be financially irresponsible, which sends a poor witness to people around us.

Financial responsibility is a part of our Christian witness.

By taking care of our household, we demonstrate love, discipline, honesty/integrity, and maturity.

Sending 10% of your income to a religious organization while neglecting your own household sends a message that Christians are financially irresponsible, gullible, lack integrity, and do not take care of our financial obligations.

Integrity means keeping our financial agreements by paying our bills and paying down our debts if we owe anyone. Scripture speaks against not paying people when we have the resources to do so.

I’m not saying that being in debt is automatically sinful. I understand that we can fall into the trap of making poor financial decisions and unexpected expenses can take us by surprise. But it is irresponsible to forgo paying your bills/debt if you have the funds to pay them off, and then give your income to a religious organization or religious leader.

Some Christians will give their bill money to a religious organization or religious leader, and then hope that God will bail them out of their financial problems and make them wealthy instead of simply taking care of their financial obligations.

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Some have given dozens of thousands of dollars (or more) in ‘tithes’ to organizations instead of taking care of their household, paying off their debt, and leaving an inheritance for their children. This does not make any sense whatsoever. Monetary ‘tithing’ and positive confession are no substitute for good old fashioned financial responsibility.

Rather than telling struggling believers to “keep tithing and trust God to provide” — religious leaders should take their own advice by trusting God to provide for their organizations and tell struggling congregants to use the money that God provided for them to pay their bills.

If God truly called someone to minister and start a church, He will sustain it HIS WAY (through sound doctrine and cheerful giving), not by oppressing, exploiting, or abusing anyone through false teaching.

Click here for the next article in this series.

If you are struggling financially and you attend a church where the leaders are more concerned about receiving 10% of your income than you paying your bills, that might be a sign that it’s time for you to find a new fellowship.

New Covenant Giving

“If we don’t “tithe”, how will we provide for the work of Christ??” By giving

Giving pre-dates tithing.

In Exodus 35, before the tithing laws were instituted, the children of Israel donated materials for the construction of the Old Covenant tabernacle by giving.

God did not tell the leaders of Israel to collect a tithe or a set percentage of anything from the children of Israel. It was a freewill offering (Exodus 35:4-5).

God wanted the donations to come from a willing heart.” Not as a result of pressure or compulsion.

Notice that Moses did not lie on God by changing the freewill offering into a tithe. He was a humble man who trusted God to provide. He knew that God would provide for the construction of the tabernacle, because God showed him the pattern for the tabernacle while they were on Mount Sinai. When a work is God’s will, God WILL provide for it.

The Old Covenant tabernacle was built from freewill offerings. In like manner, God also wants us to give freewill offerings and decide how much we will give (2 Corinthians 9:7-8).

Paul wrote the passage above to Believers in Corinth. They were collecting donations for poor persecuted Believers in Jerusalem.

Notice that Paul didn’t tell them to “tithe” their income. He told them to decide in their heart how much to give, and not to give unwillingly or hesitantly because they felt pressured to give. God loves it when we give joyfully and because we WANT to, not because we feel coerced.

Notice that the passage says “. . . God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” When God’s people are free to decide the amount and give cheerfully, God generously provides ALL that we need and we have plenty left over to share. Don’t take my word for it. Study Exodus 35:20-22 and Exodus 36:2-7 to see what happened after Moses told the children of Israel to bring freewill offerings for the construction of the tabernacle.

The children of Israel gave so much that they had more than enough, and Moses had to tell them to stop!

When God’s people are free to decide how much to give, they give cheerfully, and God generously provides ALL that we need and there’s plenty left over to share. We see another example of this in Acts 4.

“All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.” (Acts 4:32-35)

Notice that there was no sermon preached on tithing, robbing God, being cursed with a curse, or false promises that if you “sow a money seed” you will reap wealth and riches. So what was it that moved the saints to give so generously? The apostles were preaching the word of God and testifying powerfully to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. When Jesus and His gift of eternal life are the focus, it brings us on one accord and cultivates the same selflessness and love that Jesus has. We won’t have a selfish perspective of our possessions, but see them as gifts that God has blessed us with to share with brothers and sisters who are in need.

Jesus and the apostles directly taught and exemplified giving. They did not command anyone to tithe their income. They instructed us to give to the poor, the orphans, widows, and support ministers of the Gospel. Jesus even taught us to give to our enemies if/when they are in need. This is a higher level of giving than the tithe. It deals with our heart, and not a fixed amount or mechanical 10% of our income.

Some of us look around the church and wonder why so many Christians are struggling. And instead of being compassionate and helping them, some of us assume that it’s their fault and say “Oh it’s because they aren’t tithing. They’re under a curse. They have a poverty demon, etc”

One of the reasons why so many Christians are struggling is because unbiblical methods of fundraising (including monetary “tithing”) are being promoted and practiced, instead of the word of God and freewill giving. There will always be a huge gap between the haves and the have nots in the body of Christ as long as we cling to false traditions.

Some will object that “Jesus said the poor will always be among us!” And yes, He did say that. But why? Why will there always be poor people among us? Because many ‘religious’ people do not love God nor their neighbor. If we truly loved our neighbor as Jesus loves us, then we would give to one another freely and cheerfully, there would be more than enough and no one would lack.

Here are some Biblical guidelines for giving:

1. The most important guideline is to give ourselves first to the Lord as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1, 2 Corinthians 8:5).

Once we have given ourselves to the Lord as a living sacrifice, we will be prepared to do good works and give anything that He requires whether it is our time, our energy, our patience, our prayers, our money, our clothing, lodging, transportation (helping someone get to and fro), food, hygiene products, forgiving a monetary debt, and so on.

In order to have this kind of heart and mind (which is the heart and mind of Christ), we must do as Jesus commanded by denying ourselves, taking up our cross daily, and following Him. This is a higher way of thinking than thinking in terms of “10 percent of one’s income.”

If you are a born-again Believer and you are still thinking in terms of “10 percent of your income,” I encourage you re-study the 4 synoptic Gospels and prayerfully examine each instance where Jesus provided for someone. Look deeper than the monetary value of what He gave or the material item that He gave, and discern the heart, the mentality, and the motive behind WHY He gave. Look at the selfless, loving, merciful, gracious ATTITUDE that He had.

Why did Jesus give in this manner? Because He had already given Himself to the Father as a living sacrifice (the Lamb of God) and considered His life to be an offering for the well-being of others and not for the benefit of His own interests (Philippians 2).

THIS (Christ and Him crucified) needs to be the centerpiece of our giving in the New Covenant. Thinking in terms of percentages is inferior and carnal. God is not calling us to a tenth — He is calling us to take up our cross like our Blessed Savior and be a living sacrifice.

Once we have given ourselves to the Lord as a sacrifice and counted our life as an offering to glorify God and serve others, then we will be willing to give like Christ and even take joy in giving to those who slander and persecute us.

Instead of reaching back to Malachi 3 and taking it out of context to defend “10 percent” thinking. We need to immerse our minds in Matthew 6 and learn what it means to give like Christ. Most of Matthew 6 is about how to provide for others and trust that God will provide for us. If we desire to give, we must first give ourselves to God.

2. Give generously (2 Corinthians 9:6).

 

We tend to think of giving generously in terms of giving money, but giving generously means so much more than giving money. For example providing food, clothing, transportation, medical care, a place to stay, helping the sick, elderly and imprisoned, and dedicating our time, talents, and spiritual gifts to serving others.

Our Savior gave us an example of giving generously. He said that the measure we give will be given back to us (Luke 6:38).

Many people interpret this passage to mean that if we give money, we will reap money. God can most certainly bless us with money if He desires, but that does not mean He necessarily will. Jesus and the apostles were generous, but they did not reap money. Most Christians do not reap great material wealth, but we will all reap everlasting life and heavenly rewards (1 Timothy 6:6-7, 17-19).

In Luke 6:38, Jesus was speaking of something much more substantial than money. He was speaking of generously loving our enemies, forgiving others, and showing mercy. The measure of grace and mercy that we show others will be measured back to us by God. Our giving should be motivated by grace, mercy and love. . . not a desire to reap money and prosper ourselves.

Reaping generously means so much more than reaping money. When we give generously, we are sowing to the Spirit — and those who sow to the Spirit shall reap everlasting life. Material riches will perish. But heavenly treasures and eternal rewards will last forever.

3. Give proportionally (2 Corinthians 8:11-15).

Some religious leaders say that “10% is the minimum” or “tithing is the training wheels of giving.” False. There is NO Bible for that.

In the New Covenant, there is no “minimum percentage” or “10% training wheels.” We give freewill offerings in proportion to our income. The higher your income, the more you should give. And the smaller your income, the less you are expected to give. 10% is easy for someone who is wealthy, but it is a burden for someone who is poor and in debt. Giving proportionally is fair to everyone and brings equality in the body of Christ.

4. Give to your immediate family or household before giving to others (1 Timothy 5:8). Some of us have been conditioned to view giving to our immediate family or household as “less important” to God, “less glorious”, or a lower priority than giving to a religious organization. Nothing could be further from the truth. Taking care of our immediate family or household glorifies God and is a powerful Christian witness to our loved ones. Many Christians take great pride in giving to famous preachers and well-off religious organizations — yet they do not consider meeting the needs of their immediate family or household. Or if they do help, they hang it over their relatives’ head and bring it up at a later date. Then they wonder why their own relatives don’t want to go to church with them or hear them preach/talk about God. When people know that you care, they are more apt to care what you know, and it can open up doors to minister to them and bring them to Christ.

5. Give to the least of our brothers and sisters in Christ (Matthew 25:42-45). When we give to them, we are giving to the Lord Himself and He will reward us beyond measure.

6. Don’t give to the rich (Proverbs 22:16). Those who give to the rich will end up in poverty. Many professing Christians donate to rich preachers, only to become poorer while the wolves become richer. Rich leaders and rich religious organizations don’t need your money — poor people do, poor churches do, poor ministers do. Give to people and organizations who need it, not those who don’t need it.

7. Give graciously (2 Corinthians 8:9). Jesus gave graciously to us by making Himself poor to make us rich — not material riches, but “the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7) and “the riches of his glory” (Ephesians 3:16). The saints in Macedonia demonstrated the grace of Jesus Christ by giving sacrificially and abundantly to poor brethren in Jerusalem, even though they were in extreme poverty. No one commanded them to take a vow of poverty or “give until it hurts.” They freely and voluntarily decided to give beyond what they were able because of their love for the brethren. They considered it a privilege. It’s understandable for a wealthy person to give beyond what they are able. But how can Christians who are in poverty do this? God gave them a special grace to give beyond their ability and they were so dedicated to Him that they would not miss an opportunity to help their brethren.

Click here for the next article in this series.

Out With The Old, In With The New! [Hebrews 8]

Although Hebrews chapter 8 does not specifically mention tithing, this chapter (along with the entire book of Hebrews) is a fundamental text in understanding why we are no longer under the tithe or any Old Covenant ordinance.

The Historical Context Behind Hebrews

The book of Hebrews was written to Jewish Believers. The content reveals that this letter was written while the Old Covenant temple was still standing, which shows that it was written before the destruction of the Old Covenant temple in 70 A.D.

At this time, while the Old Covenant temple still stood, many if not most Jewish Believers continued to observe the Law of Moses and the Levitical priesthood. But as Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24, one day, things would change drastically. . . .

In Matthew 24:1-2, Jesus prophesied to His disciples that one day, the Old Covenant temple and all of its buildings would be destroyed. Not one stone would be left upon another. Why? Because Jesus, the one who is greater than the Old Covenant temple, the one who IS the perfect final sacrifice, the one who IS the eternal Priest, the one whom the entire Old Covenant pointed to, had come to fulfill the Law of Moses and the prophets.

The Old Covenant revolved around 3 main things: the temple, the sacrifice, and the priesthood. Jesus embodied all of these things and brought them to their fulfillment, so they were no longer needed.

The Old Covenant temple was not intended to last forever. It was only an earthly copy of a heavenly pattern, serving a temporary purpose of foreshadowing the Son of God who is the heavenly temple, the heavenly sacrifice, and the heavenly High Priest. And once you have the Heavenly Substance, you no longer need the earthly shadows, copies, and Christ-types to point you to Him.

The time was approaching for the Old Covenant temple to be rendered obsolete. As a matter of fact, before Jesus prophesied of its destruction, He had already warned the scribes and Pharisees that He would leave their house unto them desolate (empty and abandoned). Why? Because they had turned His Father’s house into a den of thieves, a marketplace, and rejected their own Messiah.

The Jewish Believers, while believing in Jesus Christ as their Savior, had not yet realized that the Old Covenant temple system was desolate, obsolete, and ready to disappear.

They had not yet fully realized that Jesus is superior to the Old Covenant temple system.

They were still dependent on the temporary earthly copies, and their faith in Christ was immature and not very strong.

They were not prepared for the persecution and pivotal turn in Jewish history that would surely come after the Old Covenant temple system was gone, and all they had was Jesus to cling to. They were not prepared to walk solely by faith in Jesus and not rely on the old religious system of their forefathers.

And so, the book of Hebrews was written to strengthen the faith of these Jewish Believers, encourage them to progress beyond the elementary teachings of the faith and become mature, transition out of the Old Covenant into the New, and realize the supremacy and sufficiency of Jesus Christ.

The Old Covenant temple system was no longer needed to live out their faith in Jesus Christ. They had Someone who was much greater than the Levitical priesthood, the Old Covenant temple, and its sacrifices.

The Levitical priesthood was earthly. But Jesus sits in the place of honor in heaven. And there, He ministers — not in an earthly temple, but in the heavenly Tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands (Hebrews 8:1-2).

The Levitical priesthood offered gifts required by the Law of Moses. But they were serving in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven (Hebrews 8:3-5).

Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the Levitical priesthood. The Levitical priests had sin. Jesus has no sin. The Levitical priests all died. But Jesus lives forever. The Levitical priests had to keep offering sacrifices year after year. But Jesus sacrificed His life once for all. The Levitical priests ministered a covenant that brought curses, condemnation and death. But Jesus ministers a covenant that brings eternal life and reconciliation with God. He mediates for us a FAR BETTER covenant with God, based on better promises (Hebrews 8:6).

If the first covenant had worked out, then God wouldn’t have needed to replace it with a second covenant. The fault was not with the Old Covenant, but with the children of Israel who continued to break it.

And so, finding fault with His people, God prophesied (in Jeremiah 31) that the day would come when He would make a NEW covenant with His people. This New Covenant would NOT be like the Old Covenant that He made with their ancestors who left Egypt. They didn’t remain faithful to the covenant made at Sinai — so God turned His back on them.

This is the New Covenant that God made with us: He wrote His laws in our minds and on our hearts. He is our God and we are His people. We don’t need to teach one another “know God”, because we know Him already by the indwelling Holy Spirit. In this covenant, God forgives all of our iniquities and He will never again remember our sins and hold them against us (Hebrews 8:7-12).

God called this covenant “NEW”, which means that He made the first covenant OLD. And any agreement that is old is useless and ready to disappear (Hebrews 8:13).

In Christ, we have a better covenant based on better promises — this also includes a better way of giving. Giving that is based on New Covenant principles like love, grace, freedom and faith. Not fear, curses, condemnation, bondage, and compulsion.

In the New Covenant, we do not give because we *HAVE TO* or God will curse us and bad things will happen to us (especially our finances). We give because we are GLAD TO and we know that it is more blessed to GIVE than to receive.

I’m super excited about the next article, because we’re going to journey through the New Testament to see what Jesus and the apostles taught about giving. We’re also going to take a look at some living examples of giving.

Monetary ‘tithing’ has clouded and obscured what true giving is. Many Christians have no idea what it means to give like Jesus and meet urgent needs. Hopefully the next article will shed some light on this and bring understanding.

Click here for the next article in this series.