Friday, December 13, 2013

When Pastors Lie

58% of evangelical leaders say tithing is not required of Christians.
That was the result of a survey done by the NAE (National Association of Evangelicals) of their members1 (members here refers to the leaders of the various churches that belong to the NAE—the pastors who actually run the church). When was the last time you heard an evangelical church preach that tithing wasn't required? I can't think of a single instance. Every sermon I've heard on tithing has maintained that not only is tithing required, but to not tithe was the same as robbing God—a literal sin. The conclusion is obvious:
Some of the 58% of evangelical pastors that don't believe tithing is Biblical are preaching it anyway; they are preaching something from the pulpit they believe in their heart to be false.
Why? Why would a pastor preach something from the pulpit they don't believe is Biblical? The NAE article along with follow up articles to the survey by The Christian Post2 and The Denver Post3 provide some insight.
Leith Anderson, NAE President said “Since there is such a strong evangelical tradition of tithing I was a little surprised that a majority of our evangelical leaders say the tithe system of the Old Testament does not carry over to the New Testament or to us.”

"Anything less seems like an ungenerous response to God," wrote David Neff, editor-in-chief of Christianity Today, in his response.

“While tithing isn't required,” said Alan Robinson of the Brethren in Christ Church, “the Old Testament model should lead New Testament Christians to "live lives of sacrificial generosity."”
Ungenerous? Sacrificial generosity? Since none of the men quoted above actually believe tithing is Biblical—that God actually demands a tithe of Christians—who do they think Christians should “sacrifice generously” for? Their brick and mortar churches—that's who. They directly benefit from the misconception among their flock that tithing is a mandate and not merely a tradition. That's the reason they not only do nothing to correct the misconception, but actively work to promote that misconception among their flock.

The point of this article is not to debate tithing. The point is to provide a concrete example of pastors who deliberately and with forethought lie to their flock. And in tithing (which 58% of evangelical pastors don't believe in) we have that concrete example.
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. (Mt 7:15 WEB)
Jesus warned us men like this would come one day. Men who would speak falsehood in the name of God. That day has come. I'm sure the pastors in the 58% who still preach tithing consider it just a little white lie; that the benefit justifies it; that it really doesn't hurt anyone. But, even a little white lie is still a lie. Once someone becomes comfortable with the small lies, how long till they become comfortable with the big lies? How long till they forget why truth matters?
For the time will come when they will not listen to the sound doctrine, but, having itching ears, will heap up for themselves teachers after their own lusts; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside to fables. (2Ti 4:3-4 WEB)
We are well on our way to the fulfillment of the above prophecy. Some would argue we're already there. Regardless, the Bible has given us some direction on how to comport ourselves in these times.
I have not sat with deceitful men, neither will I go in with hypocrites. I hate the assembly of evildoers, and will not sit with the wicked. (Ps 26:4-5 WEB)

The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Beroea. When they arrived, they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. (Ac 17:10-11 WEB)

For we are not as so many, peddling the word of God. But as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, we speak in Christ. (2Co 2:17 WEB)



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