I don’t really feel like bringing up what Mr. Beck said recently about social justice churches anymore. Everyone already knows he’s full of baloney, so it’s no use wasting my breath on him. But I will say that there are some churches people do need to stay clear from, but it has nothing to do with social justice or activism.
If your church talks about tithing like it is a pyramid scheme, RUN!
During my ten-year walk with God, I’ve attended several churches, and one thing I’ve noticed is how some churches talk about tithing. For example, the first church I went to was a charismatic church that loved talking about prosperity and “sowing seeds of faith.” I was a baby Christian at the time, so I thought that’s what Jesus was all about. Then I noticed something--whenever they passed the collection plate, they would always say how God was going to pour his blessings one-hundredfold on everyone who gave cheerfully. This always made me feel a little uneasy, but I never understood why. Years later, I finally understood why: these folks were more focused on the reward than on the act of giving itself.
This particular church is not a unique case. I’ve heard many pastors talk about tithing as if it’s a get-rich-quick pyramid scheme. They’ll say things like, “For a love gift in addition to your weekly tithe, God will anoint you with endless blessings and prosperity.” It’s like those infomercials that promise if you call now, they’ll throw in a vegetable peeler for free.
You’re probably thinking, “Doesn’t the Bible says that we reap what we sow?” Yes, that is true (Galatians 6:7). But the reward isn’t the point of giving; it’s the giving itself. Let’s take the story of the widow who offered her last two copper coins (Mark 12:41-44). Jesus praised her for giving all that she had. But did He praise her because she successfully followed God’s sure-fire get-rich-quick pyramid scheme? Or was it something deeper? The Bible doesn’t say what the widow was thinking, but I like to think that the widow didn’t offer her last two coins in order to get rich. If she were only thinking about her own prosperity, she would have kept the coins. Isn’t that what any reasonable poverty-stricken widow would do? But that’s not what happened; she gave the last two things she possessed to God, because everything belongs to God. Our offerings to God are our meager way of thanking the Maker of Heaven and Earth for all His blessings, none of which we deserve.
If you want to know whether or church is a biblical church, pay attention to the way they talk about tithing. If tithing is a humble offering to God, then you’re in good company. If your church makes tithing sound like a pyramid scheme, RUN!