Tithe – Pastors holding people at gunpoint

Picture of Auguste Henri
Inspiration from the Ministry of New Creation —
By Augustus Henry (PhD)

Prior to 1870, tithing was not even discussed in Protestant churches in the United States. After a Baptist history of more than 300 years without tithing texts (1649-1963), the Southern Baptist Convention first introduced references to tithing in The Faith and Message in 1963 (Russell Earl Kelly, Ph.D. ).

Also, from 1844 to 1859, Sabbath Adventists had no plan to give regularly, but relied on voluntary donations from interested listeners. “In April 1858, James White (Ellen White’s husband) described the small band of preaching brethren as ‘sunken in poverty, with failing health and despondency. Something must be done soon to support the cause financially or the Adventist movement will come to a screeching halt,” he said.

Historic church giving plans

In February 1859, a three-man committee in Battle Creek proposed a systematic benevolence plan based on 1 Corinthians: men ages 18 to 60 were to give 5 to 25 cents a week. It didn’t work out, so they came up with the Sister Betsy plan. Church officers came to members and supporters to collect money on Sundays. One thing though, these plans never mentioned Malachi 3, or sacrificial gifts, curses for unfaithful gifts, or blessings for gifts.

In the 1860s and 1870s, the systematic benevolence plan of Adventists [became], based on the principle of tithing, a system where full-time workers were asked to donate a tithe or ten percent of their annual raise to the cause. James White estimated that one person’s increase was about ten percent of his annual asset growth, but in reality the SB plan was only one percent. So he was looking for a more lucrative program to make money, not a solid Bible teaching. In 1932, for the first time, tithing entered the list of “fundamental beliefs” (https://spectrummagazine.org/).

Once that was established, the fear factor set in. That’s when the church started pointing biblical guns at people’s heads. That’s when they struck fear into your heart. This is when pastors threatened members for not paying tithing. It’s supposed to be a voluntary donation, but Adventist pastors have told me that the church will deduct their tithes before these ministers even see their paychecks. I have seen pastors threaten church officers with removal from office for not paying tithing.

The fear factor:

This is how the fear factor appeared in Adventist churches, just as it did in the SBC. They always start with that ominous statement from Malachi 3: Will a man rob God?

Malachi 3:8 “Should a mere mortal rob God? Yet you steal from me. But you ask, ‘How are we going to rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. Chapter 9 says, “You are under a curse – your whole nation – because you are stealing from me.

So these religious organizations began to hold a gun to the temples of their members, forcing them to pay. It’s one thing if it was a physical weapon, but when God is the weapon pointed, that’s another story.

In order to force obedience to the doctrine of tithing, pastors will portray God as that Tsar Ivan the Terrible who waits to ruin our lives as soon as we miss a payment. They say, God gives food and he can stop giving. God gives blessings but he can also curse. God can take your Work. It can prevent your child from recovering. He can decide not to protect you in the event of an accident. It can change your good fortune into misfortune. Your prosperity depends on tithing. When these brimstones come down from the pulpits of the church due to infidelity, those who believe in the church have no choice but to line up and pay their tithes.

Tithing for Jews, not for Christians

But who are the thieves in Malachi 3 talking to?

Verse 6: “I, the Lord, change not. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Verse 7: “From the days of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Almighty Lord. It’s the same chapter with curses and thieves.

Also, Numbers 18:24 says, For the tithe of the children of Israel, which they offer for an offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance; therefore I said of them, ‘They shall have no inheritance among the children of Israel.’ Obviously, when you read the whole chapter of Malachi 3 and Numbers 18, they realize that this system was designed for Israel as a theocracy. – A nation designed by God and operated religiously. Thus, the thieves referred to here are not Christians.

Jesus’ teacher on tithes

In recent weeks, Creflo Dollar, a pastor of a mega church, has reneged on the Malachi 3 doctrine of tithing that has earned him millions. Following this reversal, Creflo was reprimanded by dozens of other pastors for this retraction. And many have cited Matthew 23 as supporting scripture for tithing in the Christian Church. However, as you will see, this scripture refers to Jewish law and officials who participated in the hierarchy of the Jewish religious order. Not to mention that this conversation took place before the death of Jesus. In Matthew 23:23, Jesus speaks to the Pharisees and says this: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, anise and cumin and have neglected the most important matters of the law: justice, mercy and faith. You should have done them, without neglecting the others. Again, notice that Jesus is referring to the law. It is also addressed to the leaders of the Jews. When Jesus referred to tithing, it was always in the context of the Jewish practice of the law. I challenge any pastor to show me where Jesus taught his disciples about tithing.

So how should Christians support the church?

“Then the disciples decided, each according to his abilities, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea.” —Acts 11:29.

“Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” —Romans 12:13

For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. —Romans 15:25–26

Now, the total number of those who believed were of one heart and one soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him were his, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace rested upon them all. There was not a single needy among them, for everyone who owned land or houses sold it and brought the produce of what had been sold and laid it at the feet of the apostles, and it was distributed to each according to his needs. – Acts 4:32-35.

Not a single place where tithing is mentioned in the early church, let alone tithing for prosperity purposes. Why don’t churches use this method? On the one hand, he takes over these denominations; for another, a repentant heart is needed. Conversion is at the heart of the ecclesial movement. When people are converted, when they know Jesus for themselves, no gift is too great. Peter baptized thousands of people in a single day with the method they had. People were fed and satisfied. People loved more.

With conversion, no fear is needed, no lies need be told, no false hopes of ownership are needed. No proverbial head gun required.


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