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Thursday, 28 June 2012

When the prosperity Gospel makes believers look like Zombies : Singapore City Harvest Church Pastor facing ‘allegations’ of Using Church Funds to Finance Wife’s Pop Music Career


DON’T FORGET TO READ THIS:

The day a courageous Singaporean Christian stood up against the false prosperity Gospel of City harvest Church

http://watchmanafrica.blogspot.com/2012/06/day-one-courageous-singaporean.html

 

Singapore Pastor Allegedly Used Church Funds to Finance Wife’s Pop Music Career

http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/06/27/singapore-pastor-allegedly-used-church-funds-to-finance-wifes-pop-music-career/  

 

Kong Hee, the founder of Singapore's largest megachurch, was arrested on charges that he misused up to $18 million to support the aspirations of his wife, Ho Yeow Sun.


By Catherine Traywick |



Kong Hee, the founding pastor of Singapore’s largest church, was arrested this week on charges that he misused up to $18 million in church funds to finance his wife’s career as a pop singer.


An investigation by Singapore’s Commission on Charities alleged that Kong had misappropriated millions of dollars from the City Harvest Church’s charity fund, the Wall Street Journal reported. Four other church executives were arrested in connection with the crime. Kong’s wife, Ho Yeow Sun (whose pop name is Sun Ho) was not arrested, but has been removed from her executive position on the church’s board.


Wondering what $18 million will buy an aspiring pop star these days? Evidently, an album produced by Wyclef Jean, a no. 1 hit on the Billboard dance charts and a $20,000 a month Hollywood Hills mansion, according to the Straits Times. (By comparison, Grammy Award winner Alicia Keyes earned $10 million in 2011).


Kong and Ho co-founded the non-denominational City Harvest Church—which professes “prosperity theology,” a school of thought asserting that material blessings are God’s will. Ho, a popular singer in both English and Mandarin, is considered a lay pastor by the church’s 33,000 member congregation.  Although some of the more devout might raise an eyebrow at the bootylicious video for her 2007 song “China Wine” (featuring Wyclef Jean).

 

A STATEMENT FROM CITY HARVEST CHURCH

http://www.chc.org.sg/_eng/church/church_StatementFromCHC-27-June-2012.php

Dear Church Family,

This morning, Pastor Kong Hee, Pastor Tan Ye Peng, John Lam Leng Hung, Chew Eng Han and Sharon Tan were charged in court. The next mention date is 25 July 2012. They are now out on bail. As the matter is before the courts, we are not in the position to comment further.

Church operations and cell group meetings will continue as usual, including all weekend services at Singapore Expo and Jurong West.

We request church members to continue to keep the church, Pastor Kong Hee, Pastor Tan Ye Peng, John Lam Leng Hung, Chew Eng Han and Sharon Tan and their families in prayer.

Yours faithfully,
Rev Aries Zulkarnain
Executive Pastor
City Harvest Church

A STATEMENT FROM CITY HARVEST CHURCH

http://www.chc.org.sg/_eng/church/church_StatementFromCHC-26-June-2012.php
 
Dear Church Family,

This morning, Pastor Kong Hee, Pastor Tan Ye Peng, John Lam, Chew Eng Han and Sharon Tan were informed to attend court tomorrow.

There is no case that is being brought against the Church.

The CHC Advisory Committee, comprising Dr Phil Pringle, founder and Senior Minister of Christian City Church in Sydney and Dr A R Bernard, founder and CEO of Christian Cultural Centre in New York, will continue to provide spiritual leadership. Both pastors were appointed advisory senior pastors over CHC.

The Church Management Board continues to provide guidance on the running of the church.

Church operations and cell group meetings will continue as usual, including all weekend services at Singapore Expo and Jurong West.


In the meantime, do keep the church, our pastors, leaders and their families in prayer.

Yours faithfully,
Rev Aries Zulkarnain
Executive Pastor
City Harvest Church

Founder of Singapore’s Biggest Church in Hot Water          

http://blogs.wsj.com/searealtime/2012/06/27/founder-of-singapores-biggest-church-in-hot-water/   

June 27, 2012, 8:35 AM SGT

By Sam Holmes

SINGAPORE—Singapore’s fast-growing megachurches have long been a source of debate in the city-state, which takes pride in having secular policies designed to maintain religious harmony.


Now those debates are likely to heat up again after authorities on Tuesday arrested the founding pastor and four executive staff of City Harvest Church for alleged misuse of church funds to fund the pop music career of the senior pastor’s wife, Ho Yeow Sun. Ms. Ho is not among the five arrested.


City Harvest Church is a charismatic non-denominational church that has a membership of 33,000, making it Singapore’s largest congregation.


The arrests follow a two-year investigation by Singapore’s Commissioner of Charities and the Commercial Affairs Department of the Singapore police into the church. According to a police statement issued Tuesday, Kong Hee, the church’s 47-year-old founder, is among the five people arrested Tuesday who will be charged with conspiracy to commit criminal breach of trust. All five are due to be charged in court Wednesday.


The Commissioner of Charities said the investigation commenced in May 2010 found financial irregularities totalling at least 23 million Singapore dollars (US$18 million) from the church’s charity funds.


“These funds were used with the purported intention to finance Ho Yeow Sun’s secular music career to connect with people,” the Commissioner of Charities said in a statement released Tuesday. “There was a concerted effort to conceal this movement of funds from its stakeholders.”


City Harvest Executive Pastor Aries Zulkarnain said in a statement posted on the church’s website that the five had been instructed to attend court on Wednesday and said church operations, including weekend services, would continue as usual. Efforts to reach Mr. Kong and Ms. Ho were unsuccessful and it was not immediately known if they had lawyers. A message posted on Twitter using Mr. Kong’s handle Tuesday afternoon said: “Tough day … I trust in You, Lord Jesus … Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done!”


The arrests aren’t the first time Singaporean authorities have clashed with church leaders. In a country where about 40% of elected lawmakers identify themselves as Christian–higher than the 18% share of the resident population–Christian activists and leaders have at times found themselves at odds with the prevailing pluralistic ethos of the state, which seeks to maintain the religious and ethnic harmony of its diverse population through secular policies.


While religious freedom is mostly respected, government leaders have at times put curbs on some religious displays in order to maintain social cohesion and preserve the secular nature of the city’s civic spaces, especially as Christian congregrations have grown.


For example, City Harvest’s 310 million Singapore dollar (US$241 million) acquisition in 2010 of a stake in Suntec Convention Center, a major real-estate property located in the city’s prime downtown area, to boost its meeting place capacity prompted the government to slap some curbs on church expansion.


The government restricted the religious use of commercial property to two days a week and banned religious promotional displays in the properties’ public areas. It this month allowed religious organizations to use industrial property to conduct meetings.


Like megachurches elsewhere, City Harvest has often courted criticism both from secularists, wary of Christians’ influence on civic matters, and other Christians, who disagree with its brand of so-called “prosperity theology,” a religious school of thought that teaches material blessings and health are God’s will for all Christians.


Ms. Ho, who helped found the church with her husband and is also known for her modest success as a Mandarin pop singer, is not among the five charged but has been suspended by the Commissioner of Charities from her executive position on the church’s board.


Twitter and Facebook were filled with messages of support for the husband and wife team, mostly from members of City Harvest Church. Supporters of the church maintained that Singapore is a better place for their contributions, and offered their unwavering dedication to the church and its leaders.


“Standing by City Harvest Church,” said one Twitter user, Joel Kuek (@joelkuek). “I will not be who I am today, if not for what they have done.”


“This changes nothing,” said another Twitter user and member of City Harvest Church, Wayne Choong (@waynechoong). “My gratitude and love to Pastor Kong Hee for what he’s done to rescue me and my entire family remains.”


Singapore’s Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean in a separate statement Tuesday sought to head off potential tensions that may arise from the arrests, stressing the charges laid are against individuals from the church and not the church itself and that the organization remains free to continue its services and activities.


He also counseled against “speculation or making pre-judgments that may unnecessarily stir up emotions.”

Ho Yeow Sun: '$23 million bid for stardom'

http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_815527.html

Published on Jun 27, 2012

Some industry insiders say money did not get pastor-singer very far



By TAN DAWN WEI ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR and NG KAI LING 

What did a purported $23 million do for Ms Ho Yeow Sun's music career?

It apparently gave her four No. 1 hits on the Billboard dance charts, an English-language album produced by famed rapper-producer Wyclef Jean, a slick music video featuring her gyrating to a pulsating beat, and a US$20,000 (S$25,500) a month Hollywood Hills mansion.

On Tuesday, Ms Ho's pastor husband and four others were arrested for allegedly misusing at least $23 million in church funds to finance her career without the knowledge of the church's executive members, who were not told how the funds were being used.

Efforts had also been made to conceal how the funds were diverted to this purpose, said the Commissioner of Charities.

City Harvest paying $310m to become Suntec co-owner

 
Mar 7, 2010

By Esther Teo

Amid cheers from the congregation, City Harvest Church (CHC) yesterday announced that it will pay $310 million to become a co-owner of Suntec Singapore, a prime piece of downtown real estate.


Senior pastor Kong Hee broke the news first at CHC's service at its Jurong West building, then later at another service at the Singapore Expo in Changi.


He said CHC had acquired a 'substantial stake in a consortium company that owns 80 per cent of a joint venture fund that owns Suntec Singapore'.


The complex's full name is Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre.


The $310 million includes the cost of acquiring shares in the consortium, rental costs, renovation costs and others.


Suntec Singapore was acquired by ARA Asset Management through the ARA Harmony Fund last year, with its investors comprising Suntec Reit - which holds 20 per cent - and a consortium company which holds 80 per cent.


The latter is what CHC has bought a stake in. However, CHC said it was unable to reveal its current shareholdings due to conditions stated in the agreement.


The church has spent the past five years looking for a suitable plot of land, said Dr Kong, who founded it in 1989 as a small Bible study group of 20.


Suntec was its 26th attempt after other sites such as Lion City Hotel in Tanjong Katong and Iluma in Bras Basah Road were considered unsuitable due to their small size or likely traffic congestion.


Dr Kong revealed in January this year that CHC had secured a large complex in the 'central-south' district that also housed shops, restaurants and a 12,000-seat auditorium. Further details were unavailable then due to a non-disclosure agreement.


Yesterday, he told his congregation he had approached Suntec's new owners to explore the possibility of co-ownership in July last year, after an initial unsuccessful bid for the property in November 2008.


The option agreement was signed in six months, with the sale sealed on Feb 5.


The 33,000-strong megachurch is expected to move there by the second quarter of next year, after its lease at Singapore Expo expires. It will retain its Jurong West building for prayer services and Bible study.


Singaporean singer Sun Ho, who is married to Dr Kong, is also back this weekend - from Los Angeles, where she is currently based - for the celebrations.


The more than one million square feet of usable space in Suntec - equivalent to 25 soccer fields - would make it 20 times the size of the church's premises in Jurong West and 10 times the size of the hall it currently leases at Singapore Expo, Dr Kong said.


'This is a prime location with 78 years left in its lease. Right now we're paying $310 million, but how much is it going to be worth 30 years from now? I have to be a good steward...to maximise every dollar our members have given,' he said.


CHC told The Sunday Times it will be operating an 'ownership and lease' business model. This would allow the rent paid to Suntec Singapore to be recovered in the form of profits and dividends from space rental and tenant leases.


The church's plan is that its share of the profit from the business will eventually be able to cover the rent, and the financing will be self-sustaining.


With the opening of the Esplanade and Promenade MRT stations on the Circle Line next month, and together with the existing City Hall MRT station, members will have easier access to its services.


In a posting on the church website, Dr Kong wrote that the project 'allows us to move from a present expensive rental model to a more financially sustainable ownership model for the long term'.


He added that his present congregation is more than 14 times the capacity of its Jurong West building, which can accommodate only 2,300 people.


As to why the money was not spent on the poor and needy instead, Dr Kong said on the website that CHC spends 20 per cent of its annual budget on local community and overseas humanitarian work.


'With a facility to house the church's growing congregation and multifaceted ministries, we can serve the needs of the community in an even greater way.'


He said that while some areas will be used solely by CHC - such as the sixth and seventh storeys which will be used to house its 12,000-seater auditorium - other areas like the three ballrooms on the second floor and the exhibition halls will be open to the public for rental.


'But as co-owners of the entire convention centre, we have a share of the annual revenues of all facilities. Every time somebody rents a room there, we get a cut for the next 78 years,' he said.


The news coincided with the start of CHC's fund-raising drive that hopes to raise $17.3 million from this month to June, its fifth campaign in a series of 13. It has raised $99 million in its past four campaigns.


Knight Frank group managing director Danny Yeo said the acquisition was a good alternative to buying a plot of land.


'Existing plots of land offered by the Government are too small for the large auditorium that City Harvest is looking to build and it's even more difficult if you're looking for somewhere central.'


Similar plans were also announced in 2007 by New Creation Church, another large Christian group.


New Creation's business arm Rock Productions has teamed up with mall developer CapitaMalls Asia to build an 'integrated hub' in Buona Vista. When ready in 2012, the $1 billion project will house shops, a concert hall and a theatre.

The Day One Courageous Singaporean Christian stood against the False Prosperity Gospel of City Harvest Church


Non-Biblical Teachings Of Kong Hee Of City Harvest Church




March 30, 2008

Foreword: this is a word out to Christians out there, and please
understand that I do it in all love as I care about your salvation and
what you’re learning from church. Sure, I might not know you from Adam,
but my concern for you as a brother or sister-in-Christ compels me to
write this even as I know it might draw a ton of flak.

Listen to me, and listen well: if you desire a true relationship
with God and a real Christian walk, stop listening to the filth that is
coming out of that pulpit at City Harvest Church!

This is my personal comment on the teachings of the pastor Kong Hee, after watching his sermon presented this morning (Sunday, January 6, 2008) via the net.

The entire sermon was about setting goals
that are Specific, Measurable, Action-Plan, Realistic Goals,
Time-Conscious, or S.M.A.R.T goals. For the Christian, since, well,
it’s a church eh?, he added 2 more characteristics for goals that one
should set — Expectation management and Revelation, thus making the
goals for Christians S.M.A.R.T.E.R.

I took notes as I watched the sermon once there was an indication
that this sermon was going to be the filth that is the prosperity
gospel again as is the norm at City Harvest Church.

First off, our Christian walk is not a self-improvement course in
how to better set goals and realize our best in finances, marriage,
relationships, etc.! Our Christian walk is about our relationship with
our Lord Jesus Christ, and working with ‘fear and trembling’ towards
our salvation (Philippians 2:12).

Secondly, Kong Hee took passages from Bible versions as and when
they fitted into the message he was trying to bring across. For
example, if the New Living Translation (NLT) had the word ‘goal’ in one
verse, he’d take the interpretation of Scripture in that version and
underline that word.

Below is my point-for-point rebuttal of the sermon:

Taking Verses Out of Context


Kong Hee reads from the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, citing Luke 11:34
and only mentioning the first part of the verse where it says “The
light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy
whole body also is full of light;”

It’s not surprising that he only mentioned the first part of the
verse, because next up is veering the topic towards how the fact that
“thine eye is single” equates to focus and therefore leads to
goal-setting.

The entire verse in Luke 11:34 (KJV) actually states this:

The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine
eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye
is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.
Luke 11:34 (KJV)
Now, you tell me: even someone with some rudimentary knowledge of
English will tell you that reading the entire verse does not give one
the impression that it has anything to do with focus and goal-setting.
One can easily infer from the word ‘evil’ in the opposite lesson the
word ’single’ would mean something similar in meaning to ‘good’, no?
In fact, the English Standard Version translates that verse thus:

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is
healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your
body is full of darkness.
Luke 11:34
There is nothing in that verse that speaks of focus and goal-setting!
In fact, I’d like to ask Kong Hee why he is teaching something else
together instead of the entire context from which verse 34 is in? Our
Lord Jesus Christ taught this:

No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or
under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the
light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy,
your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full
of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If
then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be
wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.

Luke 11:33-36
What a contrast when pitted against his brand of market-place gospel, isn’t it?
There’s more:
  • Quotation of 1 Corinthians 9:26 out of context
  • Quotation of Philippians 3:14 out of context
  • Quotation of Proverbs 16:9
    out of context and without mentioning (again!) the second part of the
    verse where it says that “but the Lord establishes his steps.”

I beseech you, brethren, that those who were there at the sermon
read those verses for yourself in their context and search as the good
Bereans did if indeed the pastor has taught the Bible or some
self-improvement goal-setting lesson from the pulpit instead.

Purpose-Driven Drivel

I am not surprised at all that at the closing of his sermon that he brought the purpose-driven drivel into focus.

Oh, yes, my dear brethren, the promise that the new year will be the
best that you’ve ever had is repeated all over the world in churches
expounding the prosperity gospel in case you don’t already know! In
fact, there’s record that they do it almost every year!

Calling to Unbelievers

How does a sermon that has served nothing but to teach a
non-Biblical lesson touch any non-believers in the midst of that
many-thousand-strong congregation?

I was surprised that a call to the unbelievers was even made! Look,
if I were an unbeliever, I wouldn’t have gone forward to be led to
become a Christian unless I’d said “hey, I’d like some of that riches
that your God gives!”.

What kind of Christians will they be?

Where’s the preaching of sin in the first place? I don’t believe
anyone can become a true Christian and disciple of Christ unless there
is conviction in their hearts that they are sinners and are repentant
and know that only the Lord Jesus Christ is able to forgive them and
make them acceptable before God!

Can someone be moved to know that he or she needs Christ because the
pastor taught a lesson in setting goals? If so, we should be seeing
more conversions at Anthony Robbins seminars than in churches!

I worry for the souls of those who went forward. I really do.
Because like the parable that our Lord Jesus Christ taught, these will
be those who shall be building their houses on shifting sand, and a
great fall they shall have when the winds blow and the rains beat down!

What Gives Then?

No, I am not jealous of the success of City Harvest Church nor Kong Hee (in fact, Kong Hee is a senior at our alma mater). I have no reason to be.

Neither did I start out with an agenda to be mean or unkind, but
after hearing so much filth from the pulpit in the church and having
listened in on a few archived sermons at their website, it weighs
heavily on my heart to warn.

The truth of the matter is that a cousin from my wife’s side of the
family now attends that church and I’m hoping to counsel him and help
him see the truth. That’s why I sometimes would watch their sermons and
find out more about the church for myself.

Dear brethren, besides fellowship, attending church is for your
education in all things spiritual and edifying to your soul, so that
you might be further strengthened in your understanding of teachings in
God’s Word and be no more as babes, but matured disciples of Christ.

The prosperity gospel is a false gospel that will lead you astray!
It teaches nothing but worldly principles and treating God as some
vending machine. And all you’re in fact doing when you give to the
church (or sow, as they call it), is buying some lottery ticket that
says “God shall bless me when I give more to the building fund” (thank
you, Deborah, for sharing this analogy).

If you are from City Harvest Church, or even from another church,
and are truly concerned, then pray for Kong Hee to wake up from his
delusion, repent, and start preaching God’s Word instead of the
prosperity gospel.

I shall also pray that you shall learn to discern and seek to study
the Bible and learn what God teaches about the Christian life, instead
of listening to the apostasy many teachers now falsely teach.
Shalom Aleichem.

Comments on Article

Raymond Sim said

Yes, I agree with you what all of you said to the City Harvest Church. I used to attend City Harvest in Subang Jaya about a year in 2005. It is also a prosperity church and all the sermons in that church is about prosperity. for about 52 weeks i was in that church i NEVER EVEN ONCE that pastor kevin said about dying to self, dying to sins, deliverance from demonic bondage and the like. every time i go to their bible study, i asked the bible study leader some questions, he could not answer me!! i got frustrated and question his leadership over me. the church leaders over there and they reprimanded me from not going to their church. from that day onwards, i did not step into that church again. what i want to look for in the church prior to that is to look for spiritual meat and not milk!! there are about 1500 students there, they will be straight going to hell if they do not repent!! Can you imagine that this church got karaoke sessions, singing competition, Mr. and Mrs. City Harvest??
SO PLS STAY AWAY FROM THE CHURCH!! This is what Paul said in 1 Tim 3:6. TURN THESE PEOPLE AWAY!!



Singaporean Christians Dialogue  about  The Prosperity Gospel Of City Harvest Church

http://ian.onthereddot.com/2008/01/09/the-prosperity-gospel-of-city-harvest-church-or-at-least-the-way-i-understand-it/   

 

Comments       

Ian:
Now, Sicarii talks about Jesus Christ’s teaching to lay up treasures in heaven instead of on earth.  I agree with that.  We shouldn’t hoard what we have on earth.  We should give as much as we can on earth to help other people.  The prosperity message again does not conflict with Jesus Christ’s teachings because it isn’t just about how much we can receive from God and then hoard it but about how much we can receive from God and then pass it on.
To end, I just want to say that the prosperity gospel doesn’t exist in isolation.  It has to be part of a bigger framework in our relationship with God and our understanding of that relationship.
And that is indeed the place the prosperity gospel exists in CHC (or at least when I was there).

 

Ian:
First, you need to understand that perhaps not many think the way you think, and that many take the messages at face value.
And that’s the problem I have with the prosperity gospel.
Yes, God will always give us everything good, but is it always in financial terms? Definitely not.
In fact, sometimes God even breaks our spirit so that we are made to sink to very low points and submit to His will. Sometimes, God also makes us go through trials to only emerge victorious later, or to learn a lesson in serving Him.
The prosperity gospel paints a rosy picture that once you become a Christian, these promises of good will come. Not so, not so at all.
What happens when the winds blow and the rain beats down? The prosperity gospel is shifting sands upon which one’s faith is built then! There’ll be those who shall turn away because they’ll be wondering where their blessings are when they have given so much to the church.
Do you seriously think that many young impressionable people think what you think about the limitless possibilities of God’s miracles when they hear those messages? Sadly, I think not.
The prosperity gospel doesn’t teach repentance, hating of sin or the living of a true Christian life. It’s tailored for the “me” and “me now!” generations that we have today. In other words, give to receive.
One last point: you don’t have to be rich to give, nor do you have to make more in order to give more. That’s wrong teaching. You give what you can and not think about receiving anything in return. That’s what being a true Christian is, and what being a true disciple is.
Shalom.

I understand your points. The thing is the prosperity gospel isn’t bad. Only focusing on it is. And I don’t think CHC just focuses on it. You need a lot of things to grow as a Christian and CHC takes care to ensure such stuff is provided.
What stuff?
1. Structured bible studies.
2. Cell groups.
3. Church-wide bible study services.
4. Fellowship with fellow brothers and sisters.
5. Counseling with cell group leaders.
6. Plus many others.
The prosperity gospel message doesn’t teach repentance, hating of sin and the living of a true Christian life because that isn’t its purpose.
Like I said about, it exists part of a larger framework and the other parts are responsible for those messages which you have highlighted and are indeed important.
I agree you don’t have to be rich to give and you don’t need to have more to give more. But imagine if you have a larger pool of resources to give from. Isn’t that better? Of course the attaining of that larger pool shouldn’t compromise your relationship with God and in fact the prosperity gospel is about how you can increase that pool with God.
The thing is, you should always start by giving your best in whatever capacity. But your best can always improve. No?
I also agree one should give without demanding anything in return, but that doesn’t mean you don’t expect.
When I pray or rather when I used to pray, I never demanded God answered my prayers. But I expected him to with the mindset that the expectation is not based on some right I think I deserved to have, but the acknowledgment that it was a privilege he had the power to give.
When a person gives, there are many things he can be thinking. I understand some people give only thinking about what is the upside for him. But giving and thinking about receiving something in return isn’t really wrong if the ‘thinking about receiving something in return’ is about thinking about how God can and will refill the pool of resources so that we can give again.

I’m going to disagree with you and say that it is not part of the framework, nor should it be.
Jesus Christ taught nothing of the sort, nor did any of the apostles and disciples in their epistles. Not Paul, nor John, nor James, nor Peter, nor Timothy.
The entire teaching of the Bible is centered on one: Jesus Christ. The Apostles and disciples taught on living lives centered on Christ Jesus, perfecting our walk in Him, that this life is to work out our salvation with fear (of God) and trembling.
It is man who is preaching either a false or distorted gospel. The prosperity gospel is teaching idolatry, for whoever covets practises idolatry. The prosperity gospel elevates gifts above Giver, whereas God should be and is always first and above all.
Shalom.

I’ll like to leave these verses for anyone who comes to read your post to think on.
Philippians 3:17-21 ESV:
“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
Habakkuk 3:17-19 ESV:
“Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.”
Shalom.

Well, I guess it is pretty obvious I disagree with you too.
Wanting to be prosperous does not mean you are coveting nor does it mean you are practicing idolatry.
Centering our lives on Jesus Christ, perfecting our walk in him, does not mean we cannot desire prosperity and use that prosperity for his glory.
Just want to say that some things are not mutually exclusive and some things are not mutually inclusive.
And I’ll stop here.

Oh. Just saw the verses you left. You do realize of course you are selectively quoting parts of the Bible without considering that there are other verses that might tell a different message?
Like for example.
Genesis 39:2 =>
“The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.”
My goodness, God actually made Joseph prosperous, in the house of an idol worshiping master.
Note prosper here doesn’t mean rich but means Joseph found success in everything he did where making money for his master was probably one of those things.
Why? Maybe because God realized that Joseph could only rise to a position where he could make a difference for his people by being prosperous.
Which if you read the story of Joseph was what happened. Imagined if Joseph just, I don’t know, made mediocre sums of money if not lose them for his master. The fields did not produce as much but normal cos they were just well maintained.
Would Joseph have been able to rise to a position where because of his influence Egypt stored enough grain which was eventually useful to God’s chosen people if he hadn’t been able to find success in earthly matters?
You see. If it is in God’s plans for us, prosperity isn’t a no no. Paying attention to earthly things doesn’t equal to obsessed and minds set (only) on earthly things.
Your second verse is exactly the balance to the prosperity message which is also taught. Wanting, hoping and working towards prosperity isn’t wrong. It isn’t even wrong to ask for God’s help to be prosperous.
But if the shit hits the fan, and we aren’t prosperous, we don’t blame God. What we do recognize is that it wasn’t part of God’s plan for us for the moment and we are thankful to him because ultimately salvation is the most important thing.
Like I said, expecting something isn’t demanding.
And like I said in my first paragraph, I also chose a verse that tells a different message about prosperity.
If prosperity is the end. NO NO.
If prosperity is a means to an end which is to glorify God, then maybe YES?
Of course being humans, there is also the other inconvenient notion that people might not be able to handle wealth and although they started out with the attention to use their wealth to honour God, they eventually turned away from God in the pursuit of that wealth or after having gotten it.
The hammer isn’t bad just because you hit your finger while hammering the nail.

You are confusing being blessed with wealth for a purpose with the prosperity gospel, Ian.
In your zeal to tell me how I am selectively misquoting, and how Joseph is blessed, you forget to mention that he first was sold to the Egyptians by his brothers and he went through a bad period before being elevated by the Pharaoh so that his family could be preserved during the famine.
Examine first if Joseph was still faithful despite his difficult circumstances, Ian. The preservation of him and his family also served God’s will, for the 12 tribes of Israel came through the 12 sons of Jacob, and Christ Jesus from the tribe of Judah.
The prosperity gospel is this: that people are promised riches and wealth and well-being just because they believe in God!
I do not deny that some will be blessed with wealth, just because God sees their hearts, and know that they will serve Him with what they shall receive. Neither am I saying that Christians must be poor as church mice.
But to preach again and again that just because they are Christians, and that when they give, they shall receive many times blessings of what they have given is plain wrong.
This deflates the gospel into some kind of lottery system — buy more tickets, chances of winning 4D or Toto is higher. Same thing here: give more, in the end God shall prosper you financially many times over!
As like those who gave testimonies, I gave so much dollars, or my last $500, to Arise and Build in the past years, today my net worth is US$2 million. Now, you tell me, what’s the difference between that and the lottery system?
Shalom.

Firstly, I think I said ‘selectively quoting’, not ‘selectively misquoting’, if there is any difference.
Secondly, I’m laughing over here. Not to make light of our discussion, but I think I finally see where our differences lie. I made the noob mistake of not seeing that the phrase ‘prosperity gospel’ has different meaning to both of us.
You constraint it to just ‘that people are promised riches (JUST FOR THEMSELVES) and wealth (JUST FOR THEMSELVES) and well-being (JUST FOR THEMSELVES) AUTOMATICALLY just because they believe in God!’ and they are taught nothing else.
You constraint it to just ‘preach again and again that just because they are Christians, and that when they give, they shall receive many times blessings (JUST FOR THEMSELVES) of what they have given AUTOMATICALLY‘.
I on the other hand have always understood (or assumed) that the prosperity gospel referred to all those you said above (minus the bold words of course) BUT that it would not be a something that just happens easily without trials, tribulations and it most definitely would not happen independent of our faith being testing, stretched and strengthened plus it is not a confirm chopped stamped signed and sealed given during our time on this world.

Oh… From my personal experience of two full years (plus on and off after that) going for all their bible studies, sermons, services, cell groups …, they most definitely do not preach the prosperity gospel which you are talking about.
Never was I under any pretension that prosperity was an automatic right just based on my belief in God or that it was linearly (or what ever mathematical formula you can throw) tied to how much I gave.

Good, at least that misunderstanding is cleared up. As human beings, we naturally want good lives, have more than enough and live rich.
But that’s not the message of the Gospel. The message of the Gospel is eternal through our Lord Jesus Christ. For me, I can’t care less if I am rich in this life or will become prosperous (save for a middle-aged tummy that’s growing).
What I care about is my eternal state, i.e. will I be with Christ Jesus or banished into the darkness where there’s crying and gnashing of teeth.
You seem like a matured person who understands what a Christian life entails, which is good.
Just out of curiosity, why did you leave the faith?
Shalom.

Yup. The misunderstanding should be cleared up. So I hope you feel less strongly against CHC’s prosperity gospel because it really isn’t of the variant you described.

I was referring to the definitions of the prosperity gospel. It doesn’t do anything about what I feel are wrong teachings from the pulpit there.
Shalom.        

It has been exhilarating to read the views and comments by you and Siarii.
It has also been great to see two intellectuals arguing out their cases in an urbane manner.
Both of you have expressed some valid truths in the process of arguing your positions.
I take advantage of the opportunity to express the following point which I have never had the opportunity to express in a forum such as this: That when selling the idea of giving cash in return for 30, 60 or 100 fold financial blessings, one must not do so in isolation, that is, emphasing such blessings without also making it manifestly clear that blessings come in different forms to all who are faithful to God in every way.
The church must be sensitive when it ‘pushes’ this idea, bearing in mind that for every individual who gives and is rewarded with a 20-fold increase in salary, there must be hundreds out there in the congregation who did not profit from any financial miracles.
How are these members to explain to themselves why their giving has not yielded the kind of results like those who went up to the rostrum to give their testimonies.
Will questions and thoughts such as, “Have I sinned?” or “God does not love me like He loves others! I’m born insignificant”, come to disturb them?
The church needs to be sensitive in this area or else people will become confused or hurt.

Hello Warren, thanks for sharing. Your comment pretty much sums up the discussion nicely.

I have a problem with the prosperity gospel because it focuses too much on the amount (to be) given. God wants us to give with a cheerful heart. Period.
He did not promise that if we give $X amount, we will receive $Y amount. He will bless us according to our attitude and His will, and the blessings might not be in the form of $ amounts or immediate.

To me, that is the reason why people are so vexed about how much to give. Just give. Don’t worry about the amount. Worry about the motive instead. Because that is what God is interested in.
A church might be very rich because the congregation has given much. But it will not please God, if the motive is not right.

The focus is wrong. Why Prosperity Gospel and not Salvation Gospel or Redemption Gospel? Aren’t salvation and redemption more important than prosperity?
It seems it is a marketing crafted message to appeal to the worldly desires of people. That is why CHC is so loaded with $$. It is not an organization focused on God. It is focused on $$. IF people think of wealth as a primary driver or motivation to embrace Christianity, they got it wrong. Christianity is also about humility, suffering, sacrifice, etc. Why do CHC need so much money? Is it to fund the multi-million dollar facility and the liftstyle of its founders? Don’t deny that!
I am glad that Ian Timothy saw through this. It is a disgrace to Christianity. Because, this gives non-Christians the perception that Christianity is swaying to the direction of $$.




The day a Ugandan Anglican Bishop warned Singaporeans about the Rotten fruit of the Prosperity gospel


SINGAPORE: Ugandan  Archbishop Blasts Prosperity Gospel

http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=12442#.T-1a7YFheCk

By David W. Virtue in Singapore

April 21, 2010

The made-in-America health and wealth gospel, also known as the prosperity gospel, got ripped by an African bishop who said it is a huge problem for Anglican Christians in Uganda. Rather than bringing the blessings from God, it is wreaking havoc in the lives of families and undermining the true cost of discipleship.

Speaking to more than 130 Archbishops, Bishops, clergy and laity at the Fourth Global South Encounter, the Rt. Rev. Bishop Stephen Kaziimba said it is nothing but cheap grace and greed that has been baptized. The common false belief of “I am poor” makes this Gospel attractive, he added.


Speaking on behalf of Ugandan Archbishop Henry Orombi who could not attend because of the volcanic eruption in Iceland, Kaziimba said the prosperity gospel produces disciples who are like the seed that fell among the thorns. When the “worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke them,” they wither and die.


“We need to popularize a Biblical theology of wealth, stewardship, and material possessions. The only people in Prosperity Gospel churches who prosper are the pastors who take money from their members.”


Kaziimba said they do not preach the cross of Christ and the cost of discipleship. “This is a betrayal of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and, for us in Uganda, a betrayal of Archbishop Janani Luwum and our early martyrs who considered it better to die for their faith than compromise.”


The bishop said the Global South Provinces must think about mission from a Biblical starting point. “Mission is not about us; it’s about God! Mission is about participating in God’s work in the world today of drawing people to Himself who have been separated from Him. Mission is about participating with Jesus in inviting people from every ethnic group to become Jesus’ disciples and to be part of His Kingdom here on earth so they will also be part of His Kingdom in heaven.”


Kaziimba said mission obstacles still remain and need to be addressed along with mission opportunities, as they relate to Eastern Africa.


“One of the challenges we face as Anglicans is that our Mother Church in England is a State Church. While we are not in that situation in our own countries we have this problem that we think England represents ideal Anglicanism. The Church of England is declining; it is aging; there are few young people, and less than 1 million attend church on any given Sunday. I’ve read the statistics, and I’ve been there to see for myself that this is true. If you look at other countries that have State Churches, you will see very similar patterns. There are massive church buildings where once there was a thriving congregation. But, not any longer.”


The bishop said we must purge ourselves of the “State Church” mentality that we inherited from our Mother Church in England. “I see it all the time in my own Province, where we are often mired in bureaucracy and institutional inertia. Our capital city of Kampala is located in two dioceses – Namirembe Diocese and Kampala. The population of our city is growing rapidly, but we have not kept pace with church planting. We are paralyzed because of diocesan boundaries. We have churches in Kampala Diocese who could spin off daughter churches and plant them in growing sections of the city. But, those parts of the city are in Namirembe Diocese, and the process to establish cooperative and collaborative relationships is so cumbersome, that we get tired of the bureaucracy and give up. Recently, however, we have renewed our efforts and are formulating a new strategy for inter-diocesan cooperation in order to move forward church planting in our capital city.


“We must not equate pure Anglicanism with England and the English way of doing things. A major focus of the English Reformation, to which we are an heir, was to bring the Bible and worship into the language of the people. That value is at the heart of Anglicanism. We must not fear bringing the Bible and worship not only into the spoken language of our people, but also into the cultural language of our people.”


The bishop blamed what he called secularism through globalization. “We are experiencing this through the media, mostly television, movies, and radio. We are being bombarded with this message through international NGOs that have set up businesses in Uganda, with some who are masquerading secularism under the guise of human rights and development.


“Ugandans in particular and Africans in general, are religious and spiritual people. Secularism is not natural to us; it is quite foreign. The media worldview is, in general, secular. The current generation is growing up with this foreign influence and their parents and relatives do not understand it…they see only the impact it has on their children. Our institutions of higher learning have professors who have been educated in secular Western institutions and they pass on secularism in the form of “higher education.” Yet, our theological colleges have not kept up with the apologetics task of training our clergy and lay readers on how to respond in compelling ways to the challenge of secularism.”


Kaziimba said religious education, which has been mandatory in the schools, faces being eliminated because of secular pressure being put upon the government. “This is a big challenge for us. We have always considered ourselves partners with the schools in providing education, and a group of churches have come together to continue fighting this change.”


The bishop said the church still faced problems of dependency. “We in Uganda are a self-governing church. We are a self-theologizing church. We are a self-propagating church. But, we are not yet a self-supporting church. We are like a three-legged cow. When a cow breaks its leg, at best it limps. But, usually, we will just slaughter it. We are a limping church because we are so heavily dependent on outside funding. It is only by God’s grace and mercy that we have not yet been slaughtered. But, the potential to be slaughtered is a distinct possibility. Our mission in our local contexts and around the world is seriously hampered because of our dependency on others.”


Citing regional instability and conflicts the bishop said one of the main reasons the Gospel was able to spread so quickly and so far and wide during the first centuries of the Church was because of the Pax Romana – the peace that existed during the Roman Empire. “They had good roads and infrastructure. Our regional conflicts in Southern Sudan, Northern Uganda, and Eastern Congo have made it very difficult for the Church to accomplish its mission, and for people to move in those regions.”


“I would hope that we could leave this meeting of Global South Provinces having resolved together to make the next ten years a Decade of Mission in the Global South.”

Pride, Prosperity Gospel Preventing Revival: Pastor

http://sg.christianpost.com/dbase/education/777//1.htm
 
Monday, Mar. 22, 2010 Posted: 8:36:57PM HKT

Revival is not about a large crowd but it is about broken people who want to get right with God, said the Baptist pastor whose church made the hit films "Facing the Giants" and "Fireproof."


Depending on the time, place and people, revival can look different, said Michael Catt, senior pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga. But all revivals share a few common elements: repentance, confession, restoration and brokenness.


“If we’re hungry and thirsty after God, if there is a desire for more, if there is a holy dissatisfaction with the way things are, believing that surely God died for more than what we are seeing in our typical church today – we start 11 o’clock sharp and end at 12 noon – those are the elements for a revival,” said Catt in an interview for his new book 'The Power of Surrender: Breaking Through to Revival', released in March.


Catt plainly stated that revival is not about church growth. Rather it is about church “pruning and purifying.”


“[T]aking the things that we swept under the rug and ignored and excused and bringing it out in the open and saying, ‘Lord, we have sinned against you and we ask your forgiveness for what we’ve done,’” said the pastor and film producer.


The prosperity gospel movement and its teachings, however, present a problem to revival because it confuses people, he noted.


Prosperity gospel, as defined by the Lausanne Theology Working Group, is the teaching that "believers have a right to the blessings of health and wealth and that they can obtain these blessings through positive confessions of faith and the 'sowing of seeds' through the faithful payments of tithes and offerings."


Catt pointed to an article found in the December issue of the 'Atlantic' magazine. In the article “Did Christianity Cause the Crash?” the secular magazine ponders if the teaching of the prosperity gospel played a role in America’s economic and housing crisis.


The prosperity gospel encourages people to buy things they cannot afford and do not need by justifying that God wants to materially bless believers, and if they just have enough faith then God will provide the means, the magazine criticised.


“Sometimes the prosperity gospel and the feel-good gospel tell people what they want to hear,” Catt said. “[But] when you lay that by the side of Jesus’ teaching [to] take up the cross – the only reason for the cross in the first century is to die – and to die daily, to crucify your flesh then you have to think how does this fit?”


The Baptist pastor said that for him if the sermon does not work in a “mud hut, third-world” country then it’s probably not true.


“I can’t go to a guy that only has a towel around his waist and lives in a dung hut and tell him the good news you’ll get a Mercedes and you’ll go from dung to stucco because it probably won’t happen,” Catt said. “But the power of the life changing Gospel can happen.”


In his book, Catt maintains that there is little in common between the “success, health, and wealth of the prosperity gospel and the Word of God.”

Providing an example, he pointed to the life of Apostle Paul who “didn’t live in a mansion and cross the Mediterranean in a luxury liner.”


“He spent most of his life running from town to town, being beaten up, attacked, chased around by the Gnostics and Judaizers, and chained to Roman soldiers,” the pastor wrote. “Not the glamorous life we see in preachers today.”


Apostle Paul, Catt said, clearly states in Romans 7:18: “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.” The apostle also writes in Philippians 4:12: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”


The pastor who earnestly wants to see revival in America says he wants to “warn the body of Christ about false teachings that soothes people’s hearts and smoothes over their sin, belittling the glories of life with God.”


“It’s not up to me to use biblical words and try to redefine them to appease the crowd or my seared conscience,” the pastor wrote.


Catt said pride is one of the biggest reasons keeping revival from happening. People are too proud to admit they need to be restored and to ask for forgiveness. The three hardest words for people to say are “I have sinned” or “I am wrong,” he said.


But over the past year and a half, Sherwood Baptist Church has seen elements of a revival springing up, its pastor shared.


This week some 75 middle and high school students from Sherwood church woke up early and went to three different schools to pray over the campus. Half of the students fasted this week for their lost friends and about half of the students met at Starbucks at 6 a.m. to pray before going to the campuses.


“That is not the norm,” Catt said happily. “God has just moved in on our students and just done a work on their hearts.”

The pastor further shared that many of the students come from families where the parents are divorced and they have gone to their parents to ask for forgiveness for their hatred and dividing of their parents.


“Only God can do that,” the pastor said. “Only God can change a person’s heart like that.”

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The tithe on Trial: Exposing the Golden Calf of Today’s Prosperity Gospel



The trial of Pastor Jones

http://www.tithing.christian-things.com/jones.html


Judge: Mr. Jones you have been charged with multiple counts of extortion. Your crime spree covers 20 years and thousands of victims. You have defrauded people out of their money with fear and manipulation, telling them they had to tithe 10% of their income to your church and that God would bless them if they did. You also told them that if they didn't tithe God would curse them. How do you plead?




Mr. Jones: I plead not guilty your Honor, I have done nothing wrong. I have only preached what the Bible says. In the Bible Abraham tithed to Melchizedek and God blessed him for his faithful giving. The Bible even says he was rich in silver and gold. 



Judge: Is it not true, Mr. Jones, that in Genesis chapter 13 verse 2 the Bible says Abraham was rich with livestock, silver and gold?




Mr. Jones: Yes, you are exactly right, that's what I just told you.



Judge: Ok, we read about Abraham being a rich man in chapter 13 but it is not until Genesis chapter 14 that we read about Abraham's tithe to Melchizedek. So Abraham was already a rich man before he tithed to Melchizedek, wasn't he?



Mr. Jones: Yes, I suppose you are right.



Judge: So his riches were not the result of his tithe to Melchizedek?


Mr. Jones: No.

Judge: Mr. Jones, you also say God blessed him for his faithful giving. How many times is it recorded that Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek?

Mr. Jones: Well, just once.


Judge: So the Bible never said that he gave week after week?



Mr. Jones: No it does not.


Judge: Where did Abraham get the things that he gave to Melchizedek?



Mr. Jones: Well the Bible says it was from the plunders of war?


Judge: So you are telling me that he gave from the plunders of war?



Mr. Jones: Yes that's what the Bible says.



Judge: So he basically took things that were not really his in the first place and gave them as the tithe?


Mr. Jones: That is what the scripture seems to indicate.

Judge: Is it recorded that he ever took anything from his own possessions
and tithed them to Melchizedek or anyone else?



Mr. Jones: I guess not



Judge: You guess not, you are a Pastor and you are only guessing, is it or
is it not written that he ever gave any of his own possessions as a tithe to
anyone?



Mr. Jones: No it is not written anywhere that I have seen.



Judge: Is it recorded as to what exactly Abraham did give Melchizedek?



Mr. Jones: I believe it says plunder?



Judge: So plunder could be any number of things?



Mr. Jones: Yes, I suppose



Judge: It could have been food, cattle, sheep, the people's
possessions or any number of things. It does not say it was all money
correct?



Mr. Jones: Yes you are correct, it does not say just money



Judge: As a matter of fact money is never mentioned in that account at all
is that correct Mr. Jones?



Mr. Jones: Yes your Honor, money is never mentioned just goods and food and
people.



Judge: So there is no way you can say with any certainty that Abraham in
fact gave Melchizedek any money at all?



Mr. Jones: That is right.


Judge: I only have one last question for you Mr. Jones, did God command Abraham to give this plunder tithe to Melchizedek?

Mr. Jones: No, it appears that he did this voluntarily.

Judge: So are you trying to tell me that because of this voluntary, one time gift by Abraham, that may not have even consisted of money, all Christians everywhere are obligated to bring 10% of their weekly paycheck to a local church?

Judge: Considering all the evidence I would say you are beyond any shadow of a doubt guilty of deliberately trying to make the scriptures says things they have not said for financial gain.

Mr. Jones: Ok your Honor, I can see how foolish I was to try and use the story of Melchizedeck to try and get the people to tithe money. But there are many other verses that will support my belief on tithing. Jacob said he would give God 10% of everything. I think we should follow his example.

Judge: Let's see what Jacob said. Please read the verse you are talking about for me Mr. Jones.

Mr. Jones: In Genesis chapter 28 starting at verse 20 it says. Jacob vowed a vow, saying, "If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and clothing to put on, so that I come again to my father's house in peace, and Yahweh will be my God, then this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, will be God's house. Of all that you will give me I will surely give the tenth to you."

Judge: You said we should follow Jacobs's example, is that right Mr. Jones?

Mr. Jones: Yes that is right, he vowed to give a tenth and we should too.

Judge: Let me point out one thing for you Mr. Jones, Jacob said he would Give God a tenth, ONLY if He blessed him first. So as you said previously, we should follow Jacob's example and tell God that we will only give him a tenth if he blesses us first. Is that right?

Mr. Jones: That is not what I meant.

Judge: What did you mean then?

Mr. Jones: That we should give God a tenth also.

Judge: There you go again, trying to make the scripture say what you want it to say for your benefit. I would also like you to tell me the scriptures that say that Jacob kept his vow with God. I would also like to know where he gave the tenth to because there was no temple or levites to give it to at that time.

Mr. Jones: I can not think of any scriptures that say where or if he ever tithed after his vow.
Judge: It seems fairly obvious to me that Jacob made a voluntary and conditional vow to God. This in no way can be used as a reason to demand others to bring their income to you or any other place.

Mr. Jones: I do have a few more scriptures that I believe will show that we are supposed to tithe.

Judge: You have not said anything yet to convince me one little bit that people are obligated to tithe money to the local churches and that you were justified in what you were doing. You have taken scripture and misapplied it to your beliefs and for your gain. But in order to be fair to you I will allow you to present more evidence.

Mr. Jones: In the book of Malachi chapter 3 starting at verse 8 it says, will a man rob God? yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, In what have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the store-house, that there may be food in my house, and prove me now with this, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. So you see your Honor, we are commanded to bring the tithes into the storehouse or God will curse us.

Judge: Answer me this Mr. Jones, were you aware that God never required anyone to tithe money?

Mr. Jones: No I didn't know that.

Judge: The tithe spoken of here was always edible products never money.

Mr. Jones: well your Honor that is because they didn't have money at the time so God had them tithe food instead.

Judge: Not true, money is first mentioned in Genesis and Malachi was written hundreds of years later. God had them bring food in so that the levites, the fatherless and widows may eat and be satisfied. The tithe was used mainly to take care of people. Also notice it says in the verse you quoted, that there may be food in my house. How do you completely overlook the word food in those verses?

Mr. Jones: I don't know

Judge: I also want you to know that these verses speak to people under the Old Testament law. As you may or may not know Jesus fulfilled the law, it is no longer binding. Tithing was part of that law that has been abolished.

Judge: Once again you have tried to completely take a scripture out of context and apply it to others for your benefit. Can you give me a single scripture where God changed the tithe from food to money?

Mr. Jones: I do not know of any.

Judge: So if God never changed it from food to money who did?

Mr. Jones: Man must have.

Judge: So far all you have done Mr. Jones is take Old Testament scriptures out of context and try to apply it to believers under the New Covenant. Is this all the proof you have?

Mr. Jones: I do have a New Testament scripture that will show that Jesus told us to tithe.

Judge: Ok let me hear it.

Mr. Jones: Jesus said in Matthew 23:23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faith. But you ought to have done these, and not to have left the other undone. See Jesus said we should be tithing.

Judge: Let me ask you a question, who was Jesus talking to?

Mr. Jones: The scripture says the scribes and Pharisees.

Judge: Are you a scribe or Pharisee?

Mr. Jones: Of course not.
Judge: Jesus also said in that passage, you have left undone the weightier matters of the law. Are we under the law Mr. Jones?

Mr. Jones: No.

Judge: Why not?

Mr. Jones: Because Jesus fulfilled it.

Judge: When did Jesus fulfill the law?

Mr. Jones: When He was crucified.

Judge: So the law was still in effect until Jesus death?

Mr. Jones: That is correct.

Judge: I think you know where I am going with this don't you?

Mr. Jones: Yes your Honor. Since Jesus had not yet been crucified and the law was still binding the Pharisees were required to tithe because it was part of the law. Once the law ended, tithing ended also.

Judge: I want you to take a look at that verse again. Also tell me, what were they tithing?

Mr. Jones: The scripture says it was mint, dill and cumin.

Judge: Is money mentioned?

Mr. Jones: No it was not.

Judge: Once again it was edible products that they were tithing, not money. Do you have anything else you would like to say?
Mr. Jones: If people only tithed edible products like the scripture says, then how would the church survive? We have our mortgage payment, utility bills, my salary and a host of other things that we have to pay each week. We depend on the money from the people.

Judge: The need does not justify the means. In other words, just because you have all these debts does not give you the right to twist and manipulate scripture and cause people to give under fear of being cursed by God to meet your needs. In closing, let me recap a few things for you Mr. Jones. The tithe was never money; the tithe was an Old Testament law, which is no longer binding. When it was binding the tithe was used to take care of people, not buildings. We are under a new covenant now. Paul instructs the Corinthian believers how they are to give. He says in second Corinthians chapter 9 verse 7, Let each man give according as he has determined in his heart; not grudgingly, or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. So each believer is supposed to give as he or she has determined in his or her heart. If you are trying to make people give under the threat of being cursed or any other reason you are wrong. Someone can not give cheerfully if they are being forced to give. If your church can not survive on freewill offerings maybe God is not part of your church at all.
Mr. Jones: I never realized all these things, I have always been taught that we had to tithe money to the local church and that is what I have always taught. I can see now that I was completely wrong. I did not study the scripture for myself, I only took mans word for it. Yes I am guilty. I will not teach this error anymore.

Judge: Mr. Jones, I can see that you done this in ignorance and are repentant, this court will not hold you accountable. It is your responsibility to know the truth. I would advise you and everyone else in this courtroom to really start studying the Bible and seeking God on the subject of tithing and your eyes will be open. Do not just take mans word any longer. Start seeking God as to how and where He would have you give. Court adjourned.

ALSO SEE

Tithing, The Truth About Tithing And The Tithe - Fact vs. Fiction This Complete Tithing Study Exposes The Corrupt Doctrine Of Mandated Tithing
Which Has Become The Golden Calf Of The Modern Church

http://tithinginfo.com/             

 

Tithing, the old lie that could send you to hell

http://www.tithing.christian-things.com/articles.html