The gimmicks employed to keep funding the Apostasy continue to sink to new lows. The book of Malachi is clearly addressed to Israel, stating in the opening verse it is: “The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi” (Mal 1:1). Further, it specifically singles out priests of the Levitical priesthood and the “sons of Jacob” for rebuke and correction (Mal 3:6). Nevertheless, the leadership at North Point Church in Springfield, Missouri claims the book is, instead, written to the New Testament Church. They further claim that the tithes, which were always food, are representative of money; and the storehouse, which was always a food storehouse, is representative of the local church.1 With this eisegesis of reading a false meaning into the text, they then conclude that the “ordinance” (Mal 3:14; 7), or law, of tithing applies to Christians and their gross income.2
After digressing into cold, black and white balance sheet figures, North Point rallies back into nebulous spirituality by claiming that “as New Testament believers, we worship the Lord with the tithe, or ten percent.”3 That claim cannot be substantiated with scripture because it isn’t true, so North Point has come up with an astounding gimmick to entice attendees to give them their money.
They call it the 3 Month Tithe Challenge. The audience of prospective tithers are distributed tithe challenge cards by the ushers so that they can sign up to tithe for ninety days “risk free.”4 The ushers are instructed to stand at the exits with five gallon buckets to collect the cards when the audience is dismissed (no pressure there). North Point claims by this challenge: “We are going test God for you,” to prove His promise of blessing the Israelites in this regard has been transferred to the Church.5
Pastor Tommy Sparger states in the video series All In, and it is repeated in their advertisement, that North Point will repay the tithes at the end of the challenge to anyone not completely satisfied with the results, no questions asked, but upon reading the Challenge Agreement it is easy to discover this is by no means a money back guarantee.
The agreement participants must assent to states for the challenger that:
At the end of the 3-month period, if I am not convinced of God’s faithfulness to bless my life as a result of my obedience to His Word, then I will be entitled to request a refund of the full amount of contributions made during that 90-day period.6
In the video series, Pastor Sparger emphasizes what he purports as God’s promise to today’s tithers of making the remaining 90 percent of a person’s money exceed the buying power of the original 100 percent, and also the blessings God would bestow which would be overflowing and exceed existing capacity to contain them.
These aspects of Pastor Sparger’s pitch seem quantifiable, and so his legal department changed the terms to ‘God’s faithfulness,’ something they gamble few would be willing to brazenly challenge, and they enlarge the requirement of performance to the totality of ‘God’s Word,’ making wide an ‘obedience’ clause North Point can easily escape through.
Notice the challenger is nowhere promised a dime back from the challenge. If, in an isolated case, North Point should find itself unable to wiggle out of honoring their guarantee, the guarantee is that the challenger will only ‘be entitled to request a refund,’ and a request is something that may either be approved or denied at the discretion of North Point.
Pastor Sparger, to lighten the mood, admits that he is afraid of the liability North Point is exposing itself to with the tithe challenge, and at one point left open the option of God not only having to work supernaturally, but also to work “magically” to bring the expected, overflowing increase.7 It will be remembered here that it was Pharaoh’s magicians (sorcerers) who by means of enchantments used magic with their rods to imitate Moses’ sign of the Lord’s calling (Ex 7:11-12; 4:1-5).
Here is what North Point has unwittingly accomplished with their gimmickry. While they profess to align themselves with the terms set forth in Malachi; including, the provision cursing disobedient Israelites for robbing God by withholding the tithe (Mal 3: ), North Point proclaims to be ready to take back the tithe from God after it has been given Him. That is the 3 Month Tithe Challenge on its face.
Beneath this slick tithe campaign is another implied confession that North Point knows full well that Christians are not under this ordinance of the law, subject to neither its blessing or cursing, and they have no authority to extort ten percent of their incomes from them. This is deduced by the fact that North Point does not take the cursing in Malachi seriously for themselves. It appears that the only terms in the law North Point recognizes are the ‘blessings,’ and that of increasing the leadership’s salaries and building their empire.
North Point currently has two service locations, or campuses, and entertains about 4,500 people regularly. They did some number crunching using studies showing average interest payments on credit card debt and pondered the happy circumstances that would prevail if North Point received those payments. Consequently, integrated in their tithing teaching is loose financial strategy for getting out of debt and making due with less. They are right to point out the numerous products and services that eat away household incomes and that are largely unnecessary and even harmful. They undermine their credibility here by adopting the same marketing techniques that lead many into serious trouble, and even ruin, to make fulltime dues payers for themselves.
The weightier issues, though, are the sophomoric preaching, if it can be called preaching, that passes for biblical teaching, and the misuse of scriptures that will produce real harm in the lives of the simple. For example, ten percent of a starving student’s income cuts a lot deeper than ten percent of, say, a comfortably salaried person at a large enterprise like North Point, but they are demanding ten percent across the board.
There are very predictable and crushing consequences from this sort financial exploitation, and its attendant wickedness, and they are outlined in the conference series the Church of What’s Happening Now at TheNewsBeats.com. Here we address North Point’s claim that not only is tithing required of Christians by the law, it is also a timeless biblical principal for obtaining God’s blessings that predates and supersedes the law.8
North Point calls to the witness stand one Abraham whose story is told in the book of Genesis. They are able to establish that 430 years before the law Abraham did indeed give a tithe, or ten percent, to Melchizedek. A cross-examination on the incident, however, produces evidence that sufficiently discredits North Point’s case and calls for it to be thrown out.
Firstly, Melchizedek blesses Abraham before he gave a tenth of all, establishing that the blessing certainly wasn’t contingent on the paying of the tithe (Gen 14:19). Secondly, Abraham did not give any of his own money, but gave a tenth of the spoils of war (Gen 14:16; Heb 7:4). Thirdly, there is no record of Abraham ever meeting Melchizedek again, or ever repeating a tithing transaction of any kind.
Ostensibly, North Point may reasonably argue that a person must attend a church only once, and that after waging a successful battle campaign, and then give a tenth of the spoils obtained from the concurred enemies, and the religious figure they appear before should be in character on the order of Melchizedek, the king of Salem (peace), and the priest of the most high God (Gen 14:18). To sum, Christian tithing in terms of biblical law is illegal, and a short perusal of Pastor Sparger’s messages easily disqualifies North Point as a depository for war spoils (Sparger is no Melchizedek). These are a few things the innocent would do well to learn before too long. Another is that the Raiders of the Messianic Kingdom know no shame in building their empires on earth.
1. “3 Month Tithe Challenge,” North Point Church.http://northpointchurch.tv/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=258&Itemid=243
2. “Frequently Asked Giving Questions,” North Point Church http://www.northpointchurch.tv/images/stories/giving/NPC%20Giving%20FAQ%27s.pdf
3. “3 Month Tithe Challenge.”
4 – 5. Pastor Tommy Sparger, “The Risk and the Reward,” North Point Church. (Video 2011). http://northpointchurch.tv/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=224:all-in-week-1-|-the-risk-and-the-reward-|-2/12–2/13&Itemid=192
6. “3-Month Tithe Challenge Agreement,” North Point Church. http://northpointchurch.tv/images/stories/giving/webtithe.pdf
7. Pastor Tommy Sparger, “The Risk and the Reward.”