Skip to comments.Church Shames Congregation Into Cheerless Giving
Posted on 05/06/2012 11:12:51 AM PDT by CHRISTIAN DIARIST
My wife and I have traveled back and forth across the country the past year. It has given us the opportunity to visit a number of churches.
We have felt the movement of the Holy Spirit in every service we have attended. That is, until recently, when he heard a message we found quite disturbing.
It actually wasnt the main topic of the pastors sermon. Rather, it was a sidebar at the end of his message.
It concerned the churchs finances.
He told the congregation that weekly collections had not met budget all year long. And he admonished church members that many of them were disobeying God by failing to faithfully tithe 10 percent of their weekly earnings.
Well, my wife and I believe it is our Christian duty to tithe. And we are mindful of the Scripture advising that God loves a cheerful giver.
Our problem is when pastors emphasize certain of Gods commandments like tithing while purposely ignoring other commandments for fear of offending the sensibilities of certain members of the congregation..
Indeed, I am certain the church we visited included couples who were living together outside of marriage. But the pastor didnt guilt them.
I am sure there were homosexuals in the pews that Sunday. But he didnt call them out.
And I suspect there may have been a few substance abusers in the church. But he didnt rebuke them.
Yet, the pastor took the congregations non-tithers to task.
I know most of you, he said, surveying the sanctuary. I know how much you make. And I know youre not tithing.
The pastors remarks fomented a palpable uneasiness among the congregation.
I believe it was because the church is located in an economically-distressed metropolitan area with one of the nations worst jobless rates, worst rates of home foreclosures and worst percentages of households without health insurance.
What made matters worse, as far as my wife and I were concerned, was that, despite the economic hardship afflicting many members of his congregation, the pastor declared that the church was moving forward with plans to relocate to a bright and shiny new building.
And he reminded the congregation that it needed to join him in raising $200,000 in so many months to put down earnest money with their bankers.
That was, of course, in addition to the tithes and offerings the pastor expected the congregation to put in the collection plate each week to meet the churchs ongoing operating expenses.
I understand that churches need financial support. But I believe the absolutely wrong way for a pastor to generate that support is to use his pulpit to make a hard sell; to shame his congregation into giving until it hurts.
They just might put more in the collection plate. But they will not do so cheerfully.
If one is tithing because its a commandment, its not a tithe.
If a leader is telling people to bring offerings that are not from the heart then he is not teaching the bible.
My wife and I briefly attended a mega-church in San Antonio. Not a Sunday went by without the congregation being hectored for more money, more so than any other church I’ve ever set foot in. The pastor was living pretty large too. In my view they crossed the line between asking for sacrifices for the glory of Gad, and squandering widows’ mites for the glory of Man.
This is what the Lord has commanded: 5 From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering of gold, silver and bronze; 6 blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; 7 ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather[a]; acacia wood; 8 olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; 9 and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.
10 All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the Lord has commanded: 11 the tabernacle with its tent and its covering, clasps, frames, crossbars, posts and bases; 12 the ark with its poles and the atonement cover and the curtain that shields it; 13 the table with its poles and all its articles and the bread of the Presence; 14 the lampstand that is for light with its accessories, lamps and oil for the light; 15 the altar of incense with its poles, the anointing oil and the fragrant incense; the curtain for the doorway at the entrance to the tabernacle; 16 the altar of burnt offering with its bronze grating, its poles and all its utensils; the bronze basin with its stand; 17 the curtains of the courtyard with its posts and bases, and the curtain for the entrance to the courtyard; 18 the tent pegs for the tabernacle and for the courtyard, and their ropes; 19 the woven garments worn for ministering in the sanctuaryboth the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests.
20 Then the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses presence, 21 and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the tent of meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments. 22 All who were willing, men and women alike, came and brought gold jewelry of all kinds: brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments. They all presented their gold as a wave offering to the Lord. 23 Everyone who had blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen, or goat hair, ram skins dyed red or the other durable leather brought them. 24 Those presenting an offering of silver or bronze brought it as an offering to the Lord, and everyone who had acacia wood for any part of the work brought it. 25 Every skilled woman spun with her hands and brought what she had spunblue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen. 26 And all the women who were willing and had the skill spun the goat hair. 27 The leaders brought onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece. 28 They also brought spices and olive oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense. 29 All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the Lord freewill offerings for all the work the Lord through Moses had commanded them to do.
I went to a church that started in an old bowling alley that we converted. Within 10 years it was a mega church.
It went from a wonderful bunch to a nest of vipers that ran credit reports on members. I got a letter with a copy of my TRW enclosed from them admonishing me for more “love” donations for the new building.
Never set foot in there again. I still get fund raiser letters a couple of times a year and I’ve moved several times and to another state. Not a dime will ever be sent.
I have no desire to attend anywhere anymore.
The tithe is not required of a Christian. It applied only to the Jews of the time to support the temple. Paul does say to support the Church though.
I’ve seen a lot of guilt laid upon church members in order to obtain their cash. I am one of those who do NOT believe that the modern church is owed an attendance payment. I believe tithes were for the temple set up, and not for the modern day church.
Yet I’ve seen pastors who say that the 10 commandments are not for Christians today, who mock what they call ‘the law of Moses’ who then turn right around and draw upon Malachi 3 to run the guilt trip to get the cash!
Mal 3:8 Will a man rob Elohim? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
Mal 3:9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
Mal 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith Yahweh of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing of sufficiency.
Taken out of context and used against people!
That’s not all I’ve seen, but it fits with the topic.
I know the feeling. I was the head usher at a church that grew from 300 to 3000 in 2 years. Being intimately involved in the collection of the offering, I became uncomfortably aware of how closely each individuals giving was being tracked. I saw how the wealthier members of the congregation were being cultivated and patronized.
What was once a spirit filled church became a business that seemed to seek little more than profits. I
“Guilt” is NOT a verb.
My pastor (Catholic) encourages the congregation to tithe our expendable income, if feasible given your individual situation.
That is so unfortunate. It seems to be ever thus.
This reminds me of 2 stories, neither one about Church but both about money.
A little historical society got together and wrote a book about their town. Everyone had a great time and the book turned out fine.
In fact, it turned out so well that it actually started to sell.
Then the fights began.
Also, there was a merger of a couple of firms. One person thought “if we make money, everyone will be happy”.
Then they did make money.
Then the fights began.
I’ve tried to keep the details vague here, but I assure these are both actual situations.
Big building projects are an extension of the ego of the pastor or church leadership in many cases. The biggest building is assumed to be the most prominent, regardless of how well the needs of congregants are met or the value of the church to the community (through charity or outreach).
I’ve seen churches focus on building while abandoning relief childcare for special needs children, less free childcare for women on job interviews and cutting back mission trips.
This is why we attend a church where we not only teach Dave Ramsey’s FPU course, but they have a “get out of debt” goal to pay off the church’s mortgage before building up a maintenance sinking fund.
Well, it doesn’t seem that unusual to me for a pastor or other church officer to bring up the need for “collections” or tithing. After all, it is the collections and donations which keep a church going and if there is a need it should be brought to the congregation. How else is a church to keep opening doors for worship. The alternative is for the church to no longer exist for the congregation. It’s up to the congregation. It’s their church.
The church I go to does not pass a collection plate and there are boxes in the back where you can quietly give your offering. It is also not talked about either in the service.
And they are doing very well !
That’s too bad, I hope you’ll not blame the Master for the deeds of His sinful subjects. Jesus died, so ‘you’ might have eternal life. Do not miss this opportunity over the reprehensible behavior of a fallen few. After experiencing ‘a near death experience’ I saw the Truth for the very first time. It’s shocking, because you learn quickly that everything you thought important is a huge lie. I hope you choose wisely. Can I please pray for you and yours Whirlwind?
You see Malachi 3 as a guilt trip? It’s a challenge, the one time in the whole Bible where God says to test Him.
I’ve taken Him up on it, and, so far, I haven’t been able to out-give Him.
So find a different church. There are still good ones out there. Shop around.
Those handpicked verses are referring to a single one time free will offering used for the construction of the Tabernacle. Its VERY clear the Jews were COMMANDED to tithe in the Old Testament.
But you won't hear that from pastors.
Yes. It is impossible to outgive God.
It is EXPECTED that you give 10% of your income...
No 10%...no temple recommend...
No temple recommend, no callings in the church...
No temple recommend, no getting to watch your daughter (or son) get married in the Mormon temple...
No temple recommend, no "family is forever" (together as a family) for you in the Mormon highest kingdom of heaven (the celestial kingdom)...only temple Mormons in good standing with the church get that...
No temple recommend, no godhood for you...no own-planet for you...no reception-of-worship-as-a-'god' for you...no prayers sent to you...no ability to have eternal sex with your wife or wives to create spirit children for that planet...
You can see that the Muslims can't even compete with the Mormon version of "paradise"...Muslims only offer 72 virgins...
...multiple wives (these days, you just have to marry them sequentially vs. overlap)
...+ your own family,
...+ your own planet,
...+ your own very godhood!
(Plus, Mormons say non-Mormons & non-temple Mormons are the ONLY ones who get to live with Heavenly Father in Heaven...everybody else is shut out)
Talking about "legalizing" & "guilting" people into 10%!!!
only one true Christian church on earth....the other 20,000 or so "denominations" are somewhat in error.....not bad, mind you, but somehow incomplete and erroneous.
When a church takes the congregations joy out of giving, its loses more than just the finances. It eliminates one form of praise and worship, the act of giving is important to a lot of people, just as singing praises and hearing a sermon. Sadly, the church has done nothing to culture an atmosphere that encourages allowing the congregation to enjoy all forms of worship; Singing, hearing sermons, benevolence in one form or another and the pure joy that comes from giving. M2C.
the tithe was mandated in the days when the “church” supported the poor, widows, and orphans. Since the government has taken that duty over, with a passion, I consider a large portion of my state and federal tax burden as a good portion of my tithe. I am still supporting the poor, but through a different venue. I support my local parish and diocese, buy not with 10%...God can figure it out.
For the most part it’s a motivational speaking business now.
My wife was told by the pastor of a parish we once belonged to that in order to be a “Member In Good Standing” of the parish, it was not even necessary to attend Mass - it was necessary only to stop by the parish office weekly to drop-off the weekly offering.
As it has come to pass, that particular priest was subsequently excommunicated.
You can see that the Muslims can’t even compete with the Mormon version of “paradise”...Muslims only offer 72 virgins...
Gonna have to (VERY tongue-in-cheek) disagree with you on that one.
Let’s see what the Muslims, well, at least the guys, get:
Hot wives. Lots of them. And they’re faithful too.
Palatial mansions with stunning views.
Rivers of wine that you get drink all day.
A non-stop buffet of the finest foods imaginable.
Getting to chat with God all day long about everything you’ve always wondered about (that’s kind of cool, actually.....imagine learning quantum physics from God Himself). Of course, I’d ask Him about boobs and why us grown men are so inordinately fond of them.
Absolutely perfect weather, every day, for the rest of eternity.
Your very own butler.
And much, much more !! (in my best Wink Martindale voice)
Granted, I give the Mormons an edge with that whole “being your own God on your own planet”, but keeping it confined within the realms of Middle Eastern religions, and what would or would not be considered outright blasphemy, Muslim paradise ain’t half bad (even though I have to admit, being a God on my own planet; whyl heck! That’s like being Emperor Palpatine. I wonder if I could get some Force lightning with that?)
Well, with the Muslims, I suppose it’s all copacetic if you’re a man. But seeing as how I am, hey.........I’d have nothin’ to gripe about. :)
If you live by the law you will be “guilted” by the law... Is the tithe one of the original ten commandments? When was the tithe instituted? When has the church ever been under the burden of upholding laws anyway... it seems to me the church has long lilted toward traditions of men.
Would that be the church of the inquisition?
Used to attend a megachurch years ago where the pastor asked us to raise 1 million for the new building. Then the next million fundraiser was supposed to be for missions but then another building fundraiser was added instead. I prefer smaller churches now with constrained budget priorities and the emphasis is on the Word and not floating cameras everywhere either.
I think you’re misunderstanding Malichi.
There were four tithes in the Old Testament.
The first tithe is found in Numbers 18:21: I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the Tent of Meeting.
The people paid a general tithe to the Levites. All the tribes of Israel, except the Levites, had a designated geographical area as their inheritance. But the Levites in return for their work within the nation received income tax of 10% from the rest of the population.
The Levites were Health Inspectors, Police, the Justice Department, and the Education Department. The Levites were the Public Service in Israel, and they were supported by a system of income tax called tithes.
The second tithe was in Numbers 18:25-31: The Lord said to Moses, Speak to the Levites and say to them: When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the Lords offering. . .to Aaron the priest. . .
The Levites paid a tithe of the general tithe to the priests, that is 10% of the 10% they received from the general population. All the priests were Levites, but not all Levites were priests. The priestly caste were descended from Aaron and they had specific responsibilities related to the Temple worship. This second tithe guaranteed the financial security of the priests and protected the Temple system.
The third tithe comes in Deuteronomy 14:22-26: Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always. But if that place is too distant and you have been blessed by the Lord your God and cannot carry your tithe (because the place where the Lord will choose to put his Name is so far away), then exchange your tithe for silver, and take the silver with you and go to the place the Lord your God will choose. Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice.
The people of Israel were required to assemble three times a year at Jerusalem (as the place chosen by the Lord) for the major feasts. This was a time of rejoicing and the Lord ensured that everybody had sufficient resources available to enable them to fully enter into the rejoicing by commanding that they set aside 10% of their annual income for that purpose. Notice the next verse (27), And do not neglect the Levites. . . This was a reference to the first tithe. In other words, the third tithe for the annual feasts was not to be confused with the separate and distinct general tithe for the Levites.
The fourth tithe is in Deuteronomy 14:28-29: At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.
The people paid a tithe to support the poor, the orphans and the widows. In the United States, we call that Social Security. For the Jews, it was payable once every three years, or one-third of a tenth annually.
These tithes were not gifts, they were taxes. Gifts, or offerings, were completely separate from tithes in the Old Testament. So, the total tax burden paid by the Israelites were 23.3% of their total income, about the same as what the average American pays today in income tax.
Finally, we come to Malichi 3:7-10: Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.
To understand this, we have to ask which of the four tithes in Israel is referred to here? The key word is storehouse. In Nehemiah 10:38, we find,”And the priest, the son of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes, and the Levites shall bring up the tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the chambers of the storehouse.” Only the tithe payable by the Levites to the priests was taken into the storehouse, so Malachi is not rebuking the people, he is rebuking the Levites for cheating God.
Beware false prophets.
God did not send out beggars.
If the word of God is TAUGHT, with an understanding of the root meaning of His words (Aramaic, Greek, Hebrew), people will support the church teaching it.
"I got a letter with a copy of my TRW enclosed from them admonishing me for more love donations for the new building."
I am sorry you had to go throughout it. TRW report from a Church. Amazing.
Did you get to see his TRW report or police record. Also did you ask to see everyones TRW report to be Fair . One for all-all for one by true christians.
Did The church own a Mansion and Yacht. If not did they rent the house for the pastor who owns the house. Which means more money.
There are so many tricks like a La -Biden.
My Brother was the Maitre de at the Diner where Jessica Hahn's Pastor would go after service. He would go with all the young girls only. Hmmmm. Gene Profeta . He did romantic/abuse with Jessica Hahn at fourteen.
A date I had was the weaver for Hair Club for Men. He tried to give her a diamond ring. He is "nuts". Wolves in Sheep clothing.
He still does the Christian Magical Mystery Tour on Long Island.
When I was in the Indy Churches you would hear some of these stories. But remember there are some who are Real Christians who I am still friends and Brothers with in Christ.
Pray and seek. Jesus loves You!!
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by Prayer..................................
I seem to notice this too at my church. Aside from the collection plate and the over-seas mission appeals there seems to be an almost never-ending ‘’Bishops Appeal’’, “School Fund Appeal’’ and an almost constant ‘’Give, give, give, Christ compels you for the sake of the needy...’’. Never once in so many years have I ever heard a sermon decrying homosexuality, priest sexual abuse issues, illegal immigration or abortion, never once.
so true....the baptist!
As Bono said, “My God doesn’t need cash, Mister.”
Always an interesting discussion when it comes to church finances and tithing.
Paul provided his own way as a tent maker.
I once heard a guy say “God has all the money He needs. But I don’t think he distributes it right.”
My church is the exact same way. I love my church home - it teaches and practices God’s word.
Article doesn’t say (I might nave missed it), but I guess Methodist. First United Church of the Holy Denomination.
Equal sacrifice — not necissarily equal giving.
I have heard more and more in the church that it is a reward based system you give money you get money. I finally did a study writing down every time money was mentioned in the New Testament...and well let’s just say Jesus compliments were higher on the side of the poor then the rich. Sure he loved the rich, but they had a whole lot more “issues” than the poor. I do believe in supporting the church, but the American church is becoming shameless in promise reward system. The American church should prepare for are you going to serve God when you lose your money because every indication is that troubled times are coming, and then the people who have faith will remain Christians in spite of difficult circumstances
Church operations are very expensive, as you know. People would be aghast at how much one prayer book or hymnal can cost, much less hundreds. With that said, I find that pastors dun the congregation for money much like the government covets taxes - to fund the myriad new “programs” they’ve dreamed up - which then can never go away.
Wait, you mean non-temple Mormons and non-Mormons do NOT get to live with Heavenly Father and be happy with Him forever, right?
IMHO your not running into this sort of thing before is the aberration.
The life of a Christian is difficult, but it is also rewarding, blessed, and full of adventure.
Agreed! You would be surprised at how many “members” in many medium to large churches do not tithe but a mere pittence, if at all, yet use the facilities. If they want a nice church, put something into the offering plate or move on. It is a simple fact of having a church.
I went to a church where the pastor lived in a huge McMansion, wore designer suits, sent his kids to the most expensive universities (and paid cash for it), but was constantly demanding the congregation give more. He took a spirit-filled church of 2500 and turned it into a spirit-dead church of a couple hundred. The new building that he was funraising for a solid year for, stands empty most of the time.
If God wants you to have that new building, he will lay it on the hearts of the people to give. There’s no need for 60 Sundays of “stewardship sermons” (read: fundraising demands.).
Let's see now, the true Christian church was not the Catholic church, established by Christ, on the Apostles, 2,000 years ago. The true church was established in 1609 in Amsterdam, by John Smythe.....O.K., but I'll stay with Jesus' church. Just an aside question....how many Baptists were there when America was discovered?? A/ (0)
Yes...(My error in failing to include the word "not")