No tithing – now what?!

Rows of pound coinsI’ve just been rereading my tithing article. These are a few points that I should have made many years ago, when I first published this post:

No tithing – so what?!
Even if tithing is not actually a Biblical commandment, the fact is that as Christians we clearly still have to financially support churches and ministers. So if we are going to throw out tithing itself, then we need to find or agree on an alternative model

It’s between you and your church!
It is about finding a church which encourages a model of financial support that you can agree with. The most important thing is that you are in agreement with the model promoted by your church. If that happens to be tithing – then so be it!

Why I dislike tithing:
Commercialisation
With a passion I hate the commercialisation of the church and the christian message. I believe that the principle of tithing is the single thing that attracts many charlatans into supposed “ministry” who don’t even really believe in God or submit themselves to His truth. The principle of tithing brings the possibility of financial multiplication with zero accountability which makes “christian ministry” a very attractive business to many people who have no heart for God. By their greed and various unsavoury practices these people then consistently and predictably bring the Gospel of Christ into disrepute.

Financial multiplication?
This is how the multiplication works. (The way many of these pastors behave, they act as if they can simply keep the tithe contributed by the church. So then let’s assume for argument’s sake that the pastor keeps the tithe of the church. And then on top of giving the tithe, the mandatory 10%, many of them encourage you to bring an additional offering….!)
If a pastor was keeping the entire tithe contributed by the church, (and everyone gave a tithe, which in candour, almost never happens) then he would get 10% of the total income of everyone in the church put together. So if the church had only ten people, then he would be receiving the average income of a single member of his congregation. (10%x10=1) However if the church had a hundred people, then he would be receiving as income 10 times the average income of a member of his congregation. (100X10%=10) If the church had a thousand people, then he would be receiving a staggering hundred times the average income of a member of his congregation. Even if he “only” awarded himself 10% of the tithe then with a church membership of 1000 he would still be earning 10times the income of an average congregant. Some of these bigger congregations have tens of thousands of members.

If you think about it this way, it suddenly becomes very obvious why it might be attractive to an unscrupulous individual to gather as many people as possible, and to insist on this principle of “tithing”. This is why it is so attractive to individuals to build congregations that are as large as possible – to exploit the dynamics of multiplication combined with the principle of tithing. I sincerely believe that if this single principle of tithing were removed from the Christian faith, so many fraudsters would suddenly disappear from “the ministry” overnight. And then to get as many people as possible into the church people preach these prosperity messages which are all about the material success that God would bless you with – if only you would financially “sow” into their ministry. So it also completely corrupts the actual message of Christ – which focuses on humility, especially financial humility. And then you get people saying “My Pastor says…” as if what their pastor says is more important than what the Bible says.

No checks and balances
This is one thing that truly horrifies me when churches insist on the principle of tithing: they make it sound as if the Bible says that I have to give them my money. But absolutely anyone can spring up overnight, and start calling themselves a church, without any kind of checks and balances at all – whatsoever! And then they will start insisting that you must pay them 10% of your income! (Although admittedly no-one forces anyone to go to any particular church.) This is the big difference with the Old Testament: back then there was one single Temple and there was a highly regulated system of collecting Tithes. Sub-Temples could not just spring up overnight just anywhere and start designating themselves as anointed representatives of God, ready to swallow your tithe without trace. If we were to follow that thinking right to its conclusion then I could anoint myself as a “pastor” and simply pay my tithe – to myself! So of course in this greedy, unregulated environment all manner of chicanery is to be found, and charlatans abound, and of course it is ridiculously easy to collect an anthology of ugly “church” experiences. Many of these people are not about God at all, but rather about the money that they seek to spirit away from your wallets – and the power and the prestige to be won from being seen to be “successful pastors”. These people are not motivated by the love of God but rather by the greed of the devil; by putting yourself around them you are putting yourself not in the heaven of a place ruled by God’s principles but rather in the hell ruled by the greed and power-grabbing of the devil. Please believe me, I have been in these church-flavoured expressions of hell so many times. And then, it happens that you actually find a church that is presided over by someone who genuinely loves God and pursues God rather than filthy lucre, and it is…totally shocking.

So this is why I seriously dislike tithing.
That said, obviously we still need to support our pastors and churches….
To be continued…

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