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A Plan of Deception
Many times the answers to all of our questions are right in front of us, but because many of God’s people are not trained or taught properly how to use what God has already given us: His examples, His pattern, and His Word. Rather than the flawed knowledge of man, cultural traditions, and silly superstitions, the Church is deceived and the only people who tend to see the deception are those who are outside the church.
In the book of Philippians, Paul gives us insight to the character of Christ. Paul tells us that Jesus made himself of no reputation and took upon Him the form of a servant. In other words, Jesus didn’t make it a point to draw attention to Himself. Though He was and is the King, His lifestyle was a modest one, unlike the Pharisees of then and today. I have come to believe that many love the Pharisees’ lifestyle because the Church is the only organization where the servant lives a lavish lifestyle. Paul backs up the importance of the lifestyle that Jesus lived when he said: “Let your moderation be known unto all men.” (Philippians 4:5) He said moderation meaning “avoiding extremes, TEMPERATE, not flashy, expensive or excessive.” Here is one meaning of moderation that Church leaders should pay attention to: moderate in indulgence of appetite or desire.
Controlling Ministries and Spiritual Abuse
In ministry, I have discovered that many church leaders do things based on tradition and “Church” culture. They say things that are popular with other leaders or the general body and their frame of reference is based on the teachings of leaders who came before them. Rarely will they truly research the topics or issues in which they speak about. This causes a lot of flawed information to be dispensed to congregations. I always say that, “If your foundation is flawed, your works will be also.”
A lie is an untruth. It empowers the ones telling the lie and deceives those who believe the lie. Why are church leaders dominating, controlling, manipulating, and exploiting their followers for their own personal gain and private kingdom building? Without realizing it, many faithful followers have become “slaves of men" in blatant violation of God's explicit warning against that very thing:"DO NOT BECOME SLAVES OF MEN!" (1 Cor. 7:23).
Is the Lord Your Shepherd or the Shepherd Your Lord?
One of the biggest errors of heretical doctrines in the contemporary institutional church is the matter of "spiritual covering". The practice of so-called "spiritual covering" is prevalent and used as a means of intimidation and control amongst churches that teach prosperity. In many so-called Holiness or Charismatic denominations, it has become the centerpiece of spiritual abuse by church leaders.
"Spiritual covering", as it is practiced and used today, is an absolute myth. There is no resemblance of the current form "spiritual covering" anywhere in the bible, especially under our current New Testament covenant of Grace.
"Spiritual covering", in the vein it is presented and used by certain denominational leaders, is an outright deception! It is a complete lie invented by its originators, the Discipleship/Shepherd-ship doctrine of the 70’s and 80’s. This non-biblical doctrine teaches "delegated authority", "covering", "unquestioned submission to the shepherd & his teaching", "covenant commitment to the group", and more subtly control through disapproval, manipulation and peer pressure. In the late 70’s, many Charismatic or Holiness Churches began to repent and denounce this doctrine of “Lording” and forcing Gods people but unfortunately many still exist and clones are spun and hatched every year.
Tithing - What Your Pastor Failed to Tell You
You will notice that the scriptures I am using first come from the book of Acts since the book of Acts tells the historical account of Christian origin. It tells of the founding of the church, the spread of the gospel, and its firm historical foundation. With this in mind, you would think that there would be some mention of Christians paying tithes. As a matter of fact, there is no mention of the Christian obligation of paying tithes by the Apostles. Though the concept of tithes does appear in Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42, and Luke 18:12 but wait! The Gospels are a narrative of Jesus’ life, and the words of Jesus to the scribes and Pharisees take place under the Law. Remember, the Law had not yet been fulfilled until the death of Jesus Christ. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all take place under the Law. Remember, Jesus was born under the Law. He lived during the time of the Law and also died under the Law. The Bible lets us know that His life was offered as fulfillment and obedience to the Law.
Tithing - What Your Pastor Won’t Tell You
As I was writing chapter six of this book, I kept hearing the Spirit of God saying, “Read Galatians 3.” I strongly urge you all to take the time to read Galatians. In this book, Paul establishes that Christians are no longer under the bondage of legalism. In the book of Galatians, many of the Jewish Christians were being led to believe that the Law of the O.T. was still binding. Someone should tell this to the folks at Daystar as they conjure up new ways to get your money.
Paul responded to these lies by clearly establishing his Apostolic authority, acclaiming that it is by faith alone that man is justified. Which brings me to this question, are Christians offered or promised a physical blessing if and when they tithe? Despite what you may have been told, the answer is NO!
Tithing - Who was Malachi Really Talking To?
Who was Malachi talking to? I can tell you with all confidence that he was not talking to Gentiles or any Christian under the covenant of grace. All we have to do is read, but because the devil knows that most Christians will not read, it makes it easy to deceive them from the pulpit or the television. If by chance you do decide to read Malachi 1 verse 1, you will discover who he was talking to. Malachi was talking to an Israel that was under the law. Israel was completely backsliding and the priests were NOT doing their jobs. (Sound familiar?) The sacrifices were polluted and therefore rejected by God. The people were completely neglecting proper marriage laws and the maintenance and restoration of the House of God. (The Temple)
It is unfortunate that so many church leaders use Malachi 3, as a "curse" against saved people, who are trusting in God's Perfect Sacrifice, respecting marriage, and are NOT neglecting the New Testament temple (their bodies and spiritual condition) or "the gathering of the Body together." It is also unfortunate that so many church leaders misapply the word of God in Malachi for financial gain.
Here is the shocker: The book of Malachi has only 4 chapters, but is rarely if at all read in it's entirety. I wonder why? If church leaders, and lay persons alike would read the entire book of Malachi, one would notice that Deuteronomy, chapter 28, contains the Old Covenant blessings and curses referred to in Malachi 3:10. “Windows of heaven” refers to rain (Gen. 7:9; 2 Kings 7:2, 19). See also Leviticus 26:2, 3 and Deuteronomy 26:12.
"In a land often stricken by famine and drought, the greatest blessings were from the “windows of heaven” in the form of rain. Israel was primarily a nation whose wealth and success depended upon its herds and farm produce. God promised that there would not be enough storage room to preserve the food from a bountiful harvest. The obedience of the priests would lead to blessings in all of the land." Russell Kelly PhD. Author of "Should the Church Teach Tithing?"
Tithing – Old Covenant Store House in a New Covenant Church?
Today, many people are fond of calling the building in which the Church meets, the “House of God” or “the Lord’s house.” In the New Testament, there is never any reference to the Lord’s house being a structure in which Christians worship, nor is there any indication that the church gave any special consideration to the building in which they met. Yet, many use Malachi 3:10’s reference to the storehouse to support their justification of pushing tithing on Christians under grace.
The terms “House of the Lord, "My House," "House of God," or "God’s House" as used in the Old Testament, always refers to the tabernacle or tent assembled and erected in the desert, or the temple that was built and rebuilt again, in Jerusalem.
When Malachi rebuked Israel and told them to bring the tithe and offering to the storehouse, he was referring to the O. T. Temple’s storehouse. He was not referring to the N. T. buildings where Christians worship today. Remember, there were no Christians in the Old Testament or under the Law.
After the death and resurrection of Jesus, there arose a new temple. Paul is one of the first to mention this new temple. The Church, the body of Christ, has become the new temple. In 1 Corinthians 3:16 Paul says this, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
Giving Under Grace Not Under Pressure
New Testament Giving vs. Old Testament Tithing
This chapter is intended to teach Christians, leaders, and lay persons how we are to give under grace. It is also intended to take the pressure off of God's people to give what they don't have.
Many Christian denominations (though not all) teach what is incorrectly called biblical tithing, yet not practicing tithing with the required oaths (Deuteronomy 26:12-15), communal responsibilities, and resource distribution that came with the land-based tithing system. This example of communal responsibilities and distribution of resources by the Church was evidenced in the Book of Acts. In the New Testament Church, people sold what they had and gave the proceeds to the Church, so no one had need of anything (Acts 4:34-35). It is important to note that under the Law of Moses, communal responsibilities were mandatory, but New Testament giving was and is voluntary, and tithing was never mentioned by any of the Apostles. [Acts 4:34-35 and 5:4]. Tithing was never mention by the Apostles because they understood that they were no longer under the Law but under Grace.
Giving is a heart thing. In other words, it is a, who-so-ever can and will opportunity. So, Christians should give according to the example of the New Testament Church. Why? Because we are under the covenant of Grace, not the Old Testament covenant of the Law.
Tithing is under the old covenant!
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17) KJV
"Don't misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the Law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17) NLT
There are three meanings to the word fulfill: to bring into effect, to make complete, and to bring to an end. Jesus' birth, teachings, miracles and even His death, brought into effect all those things that were written and stated by the prophets. At the same time, His death, burial and resurrection made the law complete, which means to bring to an end. The only parts of the Law that believers are obliged to keep, are the ethical and moral principles of the O.T. (Matt. 7:12, 22:36-40, Rom. 3:31, Gal. 5:14)
The O.T. Law which applied directly to the nation of Israel, such as the sacrificial, ceremonial, social, or civil laws(this includes the ordinance of tithes, as stated in the Leviticus Law, Heb 10:1-4, Lev. 1:2-3, 24:10, Lev.27, Num.18:21-29, Deut.12:6-18, 14:22-29, 26:12) are no longer binding. (Gal. 3, Gal.10, Rom. 8:3, 2 Cor. 5:21)
The New Testament is clear on giving; we are encouraged to give. In order to be blessed, we are to give generously, cheerfully, willingly, not out of necessity, (Pressure) but according to our means, in faith, with love and in the right spirit. The New Testament is NOT at all clear on amounts and percentages. Paul does not say to give according to a percentage, and he was certainly familiar with tithing. (1 Corinthians 16:2) Several times Paul compares voluntary giving to fruit and burnt offerings. Paul uses Old Testament tithing terminology such as fruit and burnt offerings, without the mention of tithing. This could not have been an oversight, given Paul's Jewish background. (Philippians 4:17-18, Romans 15:26-28) The Bible teaches us to give "as God has prospered us," in other words, "according to our ability and means." (2 Corinthians 8:11, 2 Corinthians 9:5-13, Acts 11:29) The Greek word for "means," is signifying possession and ownership. That means, what you are giving is fully yours, not credit or loan based.