Wednesday, December 7, 2016

TITHE HOAX: ⑥ God loves a cheerful giver, and pastors dupe him!

Dear in Christ,

This is the 6th article in the series on tithes. you may read the previous articles by clicking on these links: , .

Whenever a natural disaster strikes our nation or one of our neighboring nations, people come to our doorsteps for collecting blankets and clothing, claiming that they will be sent to the victims. In most of the cases, our donations would end up in used goods markets.

If we were to call those who engage in such large scale cheating as crooks or frauds, what else should we call those pastors who cheat the believers using the passages that Paul wrote regarding collecting donations for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem?

Most of the pastors aren't even aware of the fact that the 3 New Testament passages that they misuse to extort money from believers are interrelated.

① Romans 15:25-27

Rom 15:25 But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.
Rom 15:26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.
Rom 15:27 It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.
Please note that the donors are from Macedonia and Achaia (a place in Corinth - 2Cor 1:1) and the beneficiaries are the the poor saints at Jerusalem.

Our pastor John Doe may be a saint, but he doesn't qualify as a poor, first century, saint in Jerusalem! Pastor John Doe owns a fleet of cars and also is the “proprietor” of several churches, so, he doesn't qualify as poor, and hence don't deserve a penny from such collections.

Please note that the collection is:
  • NOT for the local church.
  • NOT for Pastor's salary.
  • NOT for paying the bills.
  • NOT for purchasing microphones or speakers.
  • NOT for purchasing limousines and private jets.
  • NOT for church planting.
  • NOT for evangelization.
  • NOT for seed money.

② 1 Corinthians 16:1-5

1Co 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
1Co 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
1Co 16:3 And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.
1Co 16:4 And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.
1Co 16:5 Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia.
Just as in the case of Rom 15:25-27, the donors are the churches at Achaia (Corinth, to whom the epistle is addressed) and Macedonia and the beneficiaries are the saints at Jerusalem. The collection is not for the personal use of Paul or for the local church and its pastor.

The contribution is not to be brought to the church!

Please read 1Co 16:2 again:
1Co 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store
[G2343], as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
The Greek word [G2343,θησαυρίζω, thay-sow-rid'-zo, meaning: "lay up (treasure), (keep) in store, (heap) treasure (together, up)] translated as store in this verse  is also used in passages like:
Mat 6:19 Lay not up[G2343] for yourselves treasures upon earth...
Mat 6:20 But lay up[G2343] for yourselves treasures in heaven...
The donors have to lay up or store up by themselves whatever they intend to contribute, they are not supposed to bring it to the church. Many scholars do agree that the verse is not about bringing the contribution to the church. Moreover, there were NO church buildings, parsonages or church offices in the first century, so that people could bring and lay up their contributions there.

One may ask what does the phrase “upon the first day of the week” doing here. While I am not sure about the Western culture, among the Oriental people there is this practice of laying aside a handful of rice before cooking food for the family, Some do it every time they cook. Some do it once in a day. Some do it every day and some others do it once in a week. Whatever they have garnered over a period of time would be donated to charity. It is safe to assume that Paul was suggesting that the believers at Corinth may do this laying up on the first day of the week.

Even if the laying up of contributions are done at the local church upon every first day of the week, Paul was unlikely to visit the church every week to take the contribution to Jerusalem.

③ 2 Corinthians 9

2Co 9:1 Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints,
Though it is not specifically mentioned that the collection is for the saints in Jerusalem, anyone who is familiar with the scriptures would be knowing that the topic discussed here alludes to the previous epistle to Corinthians. (1Co 16:1-5)
2Co 9:2 for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them.
Just as in the previous passages, donors are the churches at Macedonia and Achaia (Corinth).
2Co 9:3 But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be.
2Co 9:4 Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated - to say nothing of you - for being so confident.
2Co 9:5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.
Please note that Paul was planning to send some brothers ahead of him to Corinth to arrange the the contributions. This means that it was NOT for the local church or Pastor John Doe to gather the contributions. The local church or pastor have no role in the collection.
2Co 9:6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Please note the usage of agrarian terms.
2Co 9:7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
It is not about 10%. Once the church stipulates that its members have to  give 10%, it is no more according to the heart of the members, it becomes extortion. The church or the Law of Moses have no role in deciding what (how much) a member has to give.
2Co 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
2Co 9:9 As it is written, "He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever."
2Co 9:10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
Whereas Mal 3:10-11 offered protection for crops for those who brought foodstuff to the temple, this passage offers increased yield for the donors - “multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest”. One may be tempted to spiritualize the passage because of the presence of the word “righteousness”. Such spiritualizing won't work, as the passage is about the rewards or the material blessing that the donor would receive. Material or financial donations cannot make one righteous.

So, Pastor John Doe, there is nothing in these passages that entitles you to fleece the believers of their monies. The scriptures don't provide for church buildings, forget about collecting money.

I know, Pastor John Doe, you may be thinking of other scriptures that may come handy in your extortion. In fact, a few people have sent me a few scriptures thus misused. If it be the will of Our Lord, I will address those passages, in future blog posts.

In Christ,
Tomsan Kattackal