Non-Tithers Living in Stolen Houses

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Non-Tithers Living in Stolen Houses

Postby trich » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:10 pm

Just wondered how the pastors here at the SBC News and Trends forum teach giving and stewardship to your people.

I have chronicled on my blog how the pastors of two of the most prominent SBC churches - FBC Jax and Bellevue - view tithing, and how they teach it to their people.

Do any of you pastors participating in this forum agree/disagree with the following:

- the current economic conditions in our country are a judgment of God on our country as a penalty for Christians who don't trust God with their tithe.

- a Christian who gives sacrificially, cheerfully, consistently at a percentage less than 10%, is "robbing God", and therefore they are driving stolen cars, living in stolen houses, and sending their kids to school with stolen money.

- if you do believe that a Christian must give at least 10%, undesignated, to the general budget of their church to be obedient in their financial stewardship , if they don't because of economic hardships and family obligations - do you consider those Christians to be in sin and robbing God?

- if you have a member of your church who gives at something less than 10% of their income, and they feel led to donate some amount to Haiti or to orphans in Latin America, and they ask you: "Pastor, am I obligated by God to give this $100 to our church budget, since I give less than 10%?"...what would your answer be? In other words, must a Christian give ALL of their first 10% to their church to be an obedient giver?

- if a church member who gives less than 10% of their income to the church gives to another Christian ministry, or a tither cuts their 10% to 9% and gives the other 1% to other Christian or secular relief agencies, is that Christian putting a curse on that ministry that is getting a portion of the tithe?

- do you teach your people that obedient giving means that they MUST give their tithe in an udesignated fashion? Or do you let the Holy Spirit guide people in how they give and whether they designate?

Would love to hear your views on any of these.

The above are views held by either the pastor at FBC Jax or Bellevue Baptist.

Do these views represent the majority of SBC pastors?
Last edited by trich on Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Non-Tithers Living in Stolen Houses

Postby Big Daddy Weaver » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:14 pm

How does Gaines support the "undesignated" part of his argument? Not sure whether my Bible talks about designated gifts vs. undesignated gifts. I will have to check.
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Re: Non-Tithers Living in Stolen Houses

Postby William Thornton » Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:42 pm

Funny thing, we're in a big budget crunch in the SBC at every level - church, state, national - and folks are ratcheting up the rhetoric on tithing - robbing God and driving stolen cars. This shouldn't be a surprise. There is a tremendous amount of financial pressure in our churches. That some pastors bear down on the sheep for not tithing is to be expected.

Some bash the "preacher bashing" bloggers and then blithely say that "Perhaps God would be better served if we pay more attention to where He has placed us instead of criticizing what others are doing." Go figure.

I don't approach Christian stewardship with the tithe as the bedrock legal requirement that must be met before God is pleased but I do commend and appreciate the members of my church who are tithers.
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Re: Non-Tithers Living in Stolen Houses

Postby Jonathan » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:51 pm

I'm not a pastor...but I can tell you how these comments would go over in my home and those of a significant number of folks that I attend with (I numbered your list to make the post shorter). As a preface, I'll state that my understanding of the tithe is very close to what John MacArthur teaches.

trich wrote:1. the current economic conditions in our country are a judgment of God on our country as a penalty for Christians who don't trust God with their tithe.

2. a Christian who gives sacrificially, cheerfully, consistently at a percentage less than 10%, is "robbing God", and therefore they are driving stolen cars, living in stolen houses, and sending their kids to school with stolen money.

3. if you do believe that a Christian must give at least 10%, undesignated, to the general budget of their church to be obedient in their financial stewardship , if they don't because of economic hardships and family obligations - do you consider those Christians to be in sin and robbing God?

4. if you have a member of your church who gives at something less than 10% of their income, and they feel led to donate some amount to Haiti or to orphans in Latin America, and they ask you: "Pastor, am I obligated by God to give this $100 to our church budget, since I give less than 10%?"...what would your answer be? In other words, must a Christian give ALL of their first 10% to their church to be an obedient giver?

5. if a church member who gives less than 10% of their income to the church gives to another Christian ministry, or a tither cuts their 10% to 9% and gives the other 1% to other Christian or secular relief agencies, is that Christian putting a curse on that ministry that is getting a portion of the tithe?

6. do you teach your people that obedient giving means that they MUST give their tithe in an udesignated fashion? Or do you let the Holy Spirit guide people in how they give and whether they designate?


1. I always get a bit uneasy when someone makes a pronouncement that a particular event is God's judgment on sin...especially when the judgment is said to be upon Christians. Among the implications of such a suggestion is that a) Christ's work on the cross was insufficient a payment for all my sin and b) that God is okay with x amount of sin but not with x + a amount (i.e. that not trusting God with our tithes for all of the years since that last recession was not enough for judgement...but that we just didn't trust God for one day more than He would tolerate).

2. This is contradiction to 2 Corinthians 9:6-7...so, I would disregard the teaching (or maybe strike up a proper dialogue with the pastor on the point...which would probably, if I attended one of the two churches you reference, get me placed on a malcontents list).

3. Also contradicts 2 Cor. 9:6-7. I don't have a problem with "undesignated". If a member of a church feels that the church is not able to properly use the offerings as determined congregationally (under the leadership of the pastors/elders), then the member probably needs to find a church that is able. This does not mean that one ought not to ever designate some of their offerings (i.e. we designate a portion of our overall giving each year to various items like Lottie Moon).

4. I think I covered this in parts of 1-3.

5. No.

6. This goes to the issue of trust; trust in the church's leadership, congregational polity, and ultimately trust in God. I don't have a problem with designating specific amounts (again, we designate certain funds for missionary support, some for periodic benevolence offerings, etc..) but I think that there is a lot being said about trust and community when a member designates all of his/her offerings.
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Re: Non-Tithers Living in Stolen Houses

Postby Dave Roberts » Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:24 pm

trich wrote:Just wondered how the pastors here at the SBC News and Trends forum teach giving and stewardship to your people.

I have chronicled on my blog how the pastors of two of the most prominent SBC churches - FBC Jax and Bellevue - view tithing, and how they teach it to their people.

Do any of you pastors participating in this forum agree/disagree with the following:

- the current economic conditions in our country are a judgment of God on our country as a penalty for Christians who don't trust God with their tithe.

- a Christian who gives sacrificially, cheerfully, consistently at a percentage less than 10%, is "robbing God", and therefore they are driving stolen cars, living in stolen houses, and sending their kids to school with stolen money.

- if you do believe that a Christian must give at least 10%, undesignated, to the general budget of their church to be obedient in their financial stewardship , if they don't because of economic hardships and family obligations - do you consider those Christians to be in sin and robbing God?

- if you have a member of your church who gives at something less than 10% of their income, and they feel led to donate some amount to Haiti or to orphans in Latin America, and they ask you: "Pastor, am I obligated by God to give this $100 to our church budget, since I give less than 10%?"...what would your answer be? In other words, must a Christian give ALL of their first 10% to their church to be an obedient giver?

- if a church member who gives less than 10% of their income to the church gives to another Christian ministry, or a tither cuts their 10% to 9% and gives the other 1% to other Christian or secular relief agencies, is that Christian putting a curse on that ministry that is getting a portion of the tithe?

- do you teach your people that obedient giving means that they MUST give their tithe in an udesignated fashion? Or do you let the Holy Spirit guide people in how they give and whether they designate?

Would love to hear your views on any of these.

The above are views held by either the pastor at FBC Jax or Bellevue Baptist.

Do these views represent the majority of SBC pastors?


1. I find this is dangerous theology. If I don't tithe and get cancer, I guess that iis just God punishing me. Also, why are all the non-Christians being punished by the economic mailaise? Something is missing in this.

2. Malachi said it, but most Christians don't believe it. I do believe there is a lot of stolen money in members' hands.

3. I thin there are many things to be taken into considraation,and I am not God.

4. I would encourage but hadly be legalistic. A generous heart grows, a guilty one does not.

5. It must be nice to know the mind of God that well.

6. I ahve always encouraged undesignated giving as a mater of trust, but the church needs to take as people give and use it for the Lord.
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Re: Non-Tithers Living in Stolen Houses

Postby rfuss » Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:18 am

Wade Burleson had some interesting thoughts on this subject on his Blog yesterday.
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Re: Non-Tithers Living in Stolen Houses

Postby johnfariss » Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:19 am

Dear trich,

Like Dave, I am very wary of pronouncements like, "the current economic situation is God's judgment on the US (or American churches, or individual Christians) for not tithing." No matter how logical the syllogism seems to be, we are not God, and He is not bound to follow our logic. As the Bible says in Isaiah 55:8, "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord."

Are non-tithers robbing God? Well, very possibly. That seems to be, as the lawyers would say, "black-letter," in other words, it requires no logic, no extrapolation, it's right there in the open. Must the first 10% go to the local church and that only--and if so, is it sin to do otherwise? Certainly I have a vested interest in the tithe going to the local church, but none of that is specificially New Testament/New Covenant. As for the failure to give that to the local church rather than some other worthy Christian cause--I refer you back to the end of my first paragraph. Actually, the whole concept of the tithe is barely mentioned in the New Testament, and from the lips of Jesus, is a criticism of the Pharisees. When the question was asked in the early church about why the New Testament was silent about it, the answer was that to restrict Christians to giving only 10% would be to hold them back! The expectation was that Christians would joyfully and easily exceed that figure. Perhaps this figures into my own pragmatism: what I see is that people give to what they believe in, not to budgets per sa.

My own base line perspective is that tithing/giving is related to maturity. If you will notice, the earliest "layers" of the OT teach tithing as a rule or law, with punishment for failure--do this or you will suffer consequences. It is very much like what we would tell a small child, "Obey, eat your veggies, use your words, don't hit or bite, because if you disobey, you will be punished." Hundreds of years later, we get to Malachi, where a reward is promised for tithing--just as we might tell an older child that if he/she studies hard, gets good grades, is obedient, & gets their driver's permit/license, they will be allowed to take the car out. What was just the stick has become a carrot dangling in front of them. But then Jesus comes along, does not mandate tithing or even mention it other than once in passing (and then in a somewhat negative way, as a criticism of the Pharisees), and Paul springs on us, "God loves a cheerful giver." He seems to be saying that giving is joy, giving is hilarity, with no references to demands of any sort, internal or external, for fear of punishment or hope of reward. THAT is a comment that requires maturity to grasp. Neither name-it-and-claim-it or (I think) tithing-for-the-storehouse preachers have the requesite maturity.

We all have to start somewhere; we all begin as babes. But we are to strieve to maturity, and to leave the Law as our "Schoolmaster," our pedigoges (the slave in charge of a student's discipline) far behind.

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Re: Non-Tithers Living in Stolen Houses

Postby johnfariss » Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:29 am

Oh, I forgot to add: the one thing that is "iffy" in the Malachi passage is to whom it was directed. Malachi was a Jewish prophet speaking to the Jewish people. To say it applies to us (and likewise the passages from the Books of the Law, Leviticus, etc.) requires us to say that people of the New Covenant "inherited" the requiorements and promises of the Old. One can make a case for that, mostly through passages like Galatians 3:24 ff, but it is not airtight. As old J. Vernon McGhee used to say, "All the Bible was written for us, but not all of it was written to us."

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Re: Non-Tithers Living in Stolen Houses

Postby Jonathan » Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:46 am

To add to my earlier comment, I am advocate of cheerful and sacrificial giving where the conversation ultimately goes beyond 10%. There are needy in our community, so our church takes up a special offering for that purpose. Our church is heavily involved in advocating adoption so we routinely highlight the various needs within our church (couples who have decided to adopt and need assistance with the "startup" funds). We very much promote mission work and designate gifts for that purpose. We've done capital campaigns and debt pay off campaigns in the past.

We also discuss our regular offerings in terms of our annual budget to fund specific and ongoing local ministry work that the congregation has approved.

In my experience, where pastors hammer home the concept of the tenth (in the way that the OP pointed to), budget problems are symptomatic of deeper issues that must be addressed with the goal of maturing and restoration. To the family that has overextended its budget (for whatever reason) to the point where there is a huge debt load, shelling the corn about not tithing might reap some amens but it will not work to help extricate the debt-ridden family.

On the other hand, as a pastor's son who grew up in a home where we always qualified for free lunch, commodity foods, and most other assistance to folks below the poverty line, I wholeheartedly endorse undesignated giving. When a member designates all of his/her offerings, something has run off the rails.
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Re: Non-Tithers Living in Stolen Houses

Postby Tim Dahl » Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:25 pm

trich wrote:
Do any of you pastors participating in this forum agree/disagree with the following:

- the current economic conditions in our country are a judgment of God on our country as a penalty for Christians who don't trust God with their tithe.


No. I would not agree with this statement.

- a Christian who gives sacrificially, cheerfully, consistently at a percentage less than 10%, is "robbing God", and therefore they are driving stolen cars, living in stolen houses, and sending their kids to school with stolen money.


Nope, I don't agree with this one either. I always teach that %10 is a mark to shoot for, not a legalistic rule. The only thing I find in the NT is that people should be cheerful givers in every giving circumstance.

- if you do believe that a Christian must give at least 10%, undesignated, to the general budget of their church to be obedient in their financial stewardship , if they don't because of economic hardships and family obligations - do you consider those Christians to be in sin and robbing God?


I believe that people who don't give what they 1) have determined God wants from them; or 2) refuse to take the time to discern God's will for them in the matter, are committing a particular sin. I would have no problem saying they are robbing God, regardless of their circumstance. We are supposed to be obedient in all circumstances. So, if God wants a family in hardship to give %1, then they should give %1 and look for God's blessing.

- if you have a member of your church who gives at something less than 10% of their income, and they feel led to donate some amount to Haiti or to orphans in Latin America, and they ask you: "Pastor, am I obligated by God to give this $100 to our church budget, since I give less than 10%?"...what would your answer be? In other words, must a Christian give ALL of their first 10% to their church to be an obedient giver?


Remember, I don't think people "have" to give %10. That being said, yes I believe that all of one's tithe goes to their fellowship of faith. If it isn't given there, then it isn't a tith...it's an offering.

- if a church member who gives less than 10% of their income to the church gives to another Christian ministry, or a tither cuts their 10% to 9% and gives the other 1% to other Christian or secular relief agencies, is that Christian putting a curse on that ministry that is getting a portion of the tithe?


No, they are not putting a curse on any ministry. If they are sinning, then it is between them and God.

- do you teach your people that obedient giving means that they MUST give their tithe in an udesignated fashion? Or do you let the Holy Spirit guide people in how they give and whether they designate?


Yes, I believe and teach that tithing is undesignated giving. Again, it is about being obedient to God; and tithing is giving a little bit out of the vastness that he's given us. We give it to him, worshipfully, allowing him to do with it as he wills. Any designation would be considered an offering. Oh, and the church (collectively) discerns God's will...not the preacher. Thank goodness for baptistic views of Priesthood of Believers.

The above are views held by either the pastor at FBC Jax or Bellevue Baptist.


I have to honestly say that I have not the slightest care of what these churches teach. If the pastor is going nutty, then the church has the right to fire them (imo). This isn't the first time, nor the last that I've disagreed with some other pastor.

Do these views represent the majority of SBC pastors?


I doubt that all of the particulars brought up here are held by the majority of SBC pastors. Though, I wouldn't be surprised if the idea that tithing has to be %10 may be held by a majority of them. But, the idea that some other ministry is cursed because someone gave part of their tithe to them is ridiculous. I doubt that a majority of any denomination would hold to that.

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Re: Non-Tithers Living in Stolen Houses

Postby Ed Pettibone » Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:34 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:I believe tithing is a good discipline but that we often miss the point in our conversations about tithing that actually 100% of everything we have, are, or will ever be belongs to God and that we should be using all of God's resources to live our lives as God would have us live rather than the idea that we give God 10% than then get to do whatever we want with the rest.


ED: Well said Tim.
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Re: Non-Tithers Living in Stolen Houses

Postby Dave Roberts » Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:05 am

Is 10% enough for those of us who enjoy the abundance of God's blessings? Wasn't it R. G. LeTourneau who decided God should have 90% and he should live on 10% of the millions he had made?
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Re: Non-Tithers Living in Stolen Houses

Postby Ed Pettibone » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:47 am

Timothy Bonney wrote:
Ed Pettibone wrote:
Timothy Bonney wrote:I believe tithing is a good discipline but that we often miss the point in our conversations about tithing that actually 100% of everything we have, are, or will ever be belongs to God and that we should be using all of God's resources to live our lives as God would have us live rather than the idea that we give God 10% than then get to do whatever we want with the rest.


ED: Well said Tim.


Thanks Ed. BTW, how is the new place?


Ed: Thanks for asking, TIm, but let's not lose Dave R's comment "Is 10% enough for those of us who enjoy the abundance of God's blessings? Wasn't it R. G. LeTourneau who decided God should have 90% and he should live on 10% of the millions he had made?

Things seem to be going well, BUT much more busy than up state. I am still unpacking and have to wait for Trudy to get home before I put all of it away. All in all there is more space in this house but not as much readily accessible storage. Just Saturday we final got the car into the garage.

An example of why I think all is going well is that in our second week here one of the pillars of the church had major surgery and when the Hospital asked in his pre-admission interview if he wanted a chaplain to visit he said it is not necessary, My Pastor will be here.
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Re: Non-Tithers Living in Stolen Houses

Postby Ed Pettibone » Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:05 am

Ed: Now to answer Dave, If we are very legalistic 10% might be enough. Trudy and I make every effort to give more than just a tithe. Our local church gets the tithe but we also give to CBF and participated in the offerings at the New Baptist Covenant meeting and even to the SBC when we visit one of their churches while traveling ( although we do attemt to locate a CBF affiliated church when traveling in the south or ABC when in the north. And we also contribute to Tony Campolo's EAPE; (Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education) .
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Re: Non-Tithers Living in Stolen Houses

Postby ET » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:24 am

Try this on for size. YIKES!!!

Tithe Rap at FBCW

Nothing makes me shake my head more than some white crackers trying to take-off on the rap culture. Goodness me. :brick:

However, I will admit that all-in-all it was quite a creative thing. I do believe, however, I would have walked out or sat there in shocked silence once it ended. Talk about beating people over the head.

Is there any other church issue so heavily dependent upon the Old Testament Law than the "storehouse tithing" issue? Must be lean times at FBCW.

P.S. Yikes and double yikes!!! It's not an original production....there's several videos of this (c)rap at different churches!! :roll:
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Re: Non-Tithers Living in Stolen Houses

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:51 pm

The best part of the video was the speechless preacher at the end. Too bad he had to find words for that. My question is whether that is really worship or just entertainment that "raps" on your head.
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Re: Non-Tithers Living in Stolen Houses

Postby David A. Johnson » Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:53 am

ET,

You thought that was something? Opine on this one. :o

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQcp-J-3njw
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Re: Non-Tithers Living in Stolen Houses

Postby ET » Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:46 am

David A. Johnson wrote:ET,

You thought that was something? Opine on this one. :o

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQcp-J-3njw


YOWZERS!!! :o Was that EY, Jr??? They really should make a movie...."White Men Can't Rap". Watching white folks rap is like the famous scene from Seinfeld of Elaine's dancing. About all I can say is that it doesn't appear to be something used in church to push a doctrine.

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