Stewardship Series (part 2)

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But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

(Gal 2:14)

  (part 2) see parts – (1) (3) (4)

Whether by current circumstances alone, or as the result of past behavior, there are many families who cannot part with ten percent and more of their income and still meet their basic living expenses and other financial obligations. In terms of financial management, even when funds may appear discretionary they should in fact be set asides for accounts such as automobile maintenance and repair, home maintenance and repair, clothing allowances, and even insurance policies. Unfortunately, these expenses fall under the “no exceptions” clause and are to be ignored if they would prevent the paying of tithes. Because these types of expenses must inevitably be met, these tithe paying Christians find them selves resorting to the use of credit cards to meet them. This behavior would be bad enough if it weren’t for the other heresy that usually ends up accompanying this one.

By thundering threats from the pulpit of financial doom, and lives destined for impoverishment and ruin, in order to extract tithe payments; many Protestant denominations have unwittingly come full circle back to the Catholic Church’s practice of selling indulgences. 

To further motivate the faithful to give, pastors will place special emphasis on last verse: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it (Mal 3:10). This practice is of a particular odium because it is held out as a lure to entice giving beyond one’s means for the promise of greater financial rewards in exponentially greater sums than one has leveraged himself. Set alongside inculcating Christians with the habit of responding to temporal expenses by going into dept, this inducement to give to get more, if not more out of the remainder, perpetuates even greater dept.

The question to ask the Southern Baptists Convention (see Part I) about their selected financial stewardship teaching series is: are these SBC causes of dept addressed and corrected in the new materials? More importantly, this question, while it will probably be balked at, is only superficial to a third heresy which it covers. By thundering threats from the pulpit of financial doom, and lives destined for impoverishment and ruin, in order to extract tithe payments; many Protestant denominations have unwittingly come full circle back to the Catholic Church’s practice of selling indulgences. The only difference is that these Protestants depict their purgatory upon the earth and not beneath it, but it is still a purgatory of suffering escaped from only by the payment of monies and the purchasing of questionable merchandise. Are Baptist seminaries and colleges graduating so many psychologists and musicians that there is a want of theologians and church historians who could be consulted before the Reformation irrevocably retrogrades?

As for the correct biblical standards for Christian giving, the Church was never instructed to give under the ordinances, or laws, of the Hebrew tithes. Notice, for example, that the verses from Malachi are addressed to “this nation” which is the nation Israel; and the Church is not to supplant Israel.[i] The Church is under a completely different dispensation of grace, and indwelt by the Spirit of God to do what the law, or increments of the law, could not do being weak in the flesh.[ii] The only incremental standard given to the Church for giving also carries in it that element of grace, and is found in the Apostle Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians: “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be not gathering when I come” (I Cor. 16:1,2; emphasis added).

When early churches brought their collection, they were to do it on the first day out of seven, or Sunday. To show how duplicitous some denominations can be in invoking the letter of the law on the people when it serves the greed of the clergy, this New Testament admonishment is being ignored where mega churches have begun to query congregations to declare in writing what they intended to give for the coming year “by faith,” and then send them fixed amount, monthly payment coupon booklets to utilize any six day period the mail runs. This practice illustrates the selectivity of applying the law where the clergy can position a church to function and profit after the business model. Of course, in compiling their tabulations, they completely ignore the equation determining giving “as God hath prospered” one.


[i] Replacement theology of the transfer of Israel‘s blessings and heritage to the Church began early in the fourth century when the Catholic Church had acquired great wealth and power, and also assumed for itself a priesthood fashioned after the Levitical model. With this they resumed the role as mediator between God and man, even though it is strictly reserved to Christ (see 1Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:6, 9:15, 12:24), and established their hierarchy of clergy over laity. To see how this heresy persisted even after the Reformation, note that copies of the King James Bible carried chapter introductions such as this one for Isaiah 43: “The Lord comforts the church with his promises.” Here it is obvious that the chapter deals with Israel alone, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the Church. Replacement theology is the result an apostate church’s effort to justify its wealth, solidify its power, and has resulted in the spread of anti-Semitism.


[ii] Rom 8:1-5 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (5) For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

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