Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Church should preach Z-Giving, NOT Tithing

My pastor has been preaching a sermon series on spiritual warfare.
In this series he mentioned that it is a ploy of Satan for us to "ignore the subtle". Another week he mentioned that we are tempted by Satan to compromise the truth.

I observed that many pastors in churches we have attended, preach tithing and that it should be at least 10% of one's gross income.

However, in 2 Corinthians 9:7 it clearly states, "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver". There is nothing anywhere in the NT that says it should be 10% or more. In other words, when God says "free-will giving", are pastors tempted by Satan to fudge the truth and say "at least 10% tithing"? Shouldn't also pastors trust God to supply their need rather than be tempted to "ignore the subtle" (a ploy of Satan). Aren't they being tempted to compromise the truth?

I observed that these same pastors are often angered or refuse to discuss the truth about tithing. Last month I was working in Atlanta GA, and visited Victory church in Norcross (8/29/2010). It was heartwarming to see the sincere congregation; almost every service had baptisms. However, the pastor was an abusive person. 

The senior pastor Dennis Rouse preached a blistering sermon on tithing The senior pastor Dennis Rouse preached a blistering sermon on tithing He preached against those who were sitting in the pews and consuming and not giving, against those who pass the offering bucket without dropping anything in, against those who did not contribute to the building fund. He also preached that those who gave less than 10% of their gross income to his church were robbing God. Finally, he said that he wanted non-tithers to leave his church. 
I went to him afterward and said, "I have no problem with giving to the church. I used to give 11% of the gross and now it has dropped to 10% of the net. I have studied this topic and believe in the NT, 2 Corinthians 9:7 applies", and quoted it.  Whereupon he got enraged, stepped into me, literally breathing into my mouth and jabbed me in my side with his finger and said angrily, "Listen, Everything in the OT remains and became more in the NT". Then he walked away saying he would not argue this topic.
I feel such strong reactions come because they secretly know the truth and are guilty.

As a result, they pull out the Tithing sermon once or twice a year hammering the congregation with Malachi 3, accusing them of "robbing God" and "cursed with a curse".
The rest of the year, they are afraid to talk about money lest the congregation get fed up.

Not Tithing, does not mean Not Giving.

From other passages, Giving should be generous, regular, a percentage of income, cheerfully.  "As he has decided in his heart" does not mean whimsical or sporadic based upon mood.  In other words it should be disciplined and regular.

I wonder what would happen if pastors preached thus. They should regularly preach this kind of, let us call it, Z-Giving. When they do not hint at 10% but leave the percentage up to the person and God, then it allows God to work in their heart to give generously and cheerfully. The closer they grow to God, the more they want to give.

When their Z-Giving is dependent upon how close they are to God, then as the pastor does his good work, it can only grow and be joyous and generous.

The OT required obedience from the congregant to give 10%. The NT requires obedience of the pastor to faithfully preach Z-Giving and to get the people close to God.

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