The Myth of the Tithe
As it pertains to observing God’s Law,
and to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Colossians 2:8
First Principles of the Tithe
Proverbs 3:9 tells us to “Honor God with your wealth”.
In 1Chronicles 29:17 King David said that willful giving “proves uprightness of heart”. 2Corinthians 9:6-7 tells us that “God loves a cheerful giver”.
There is no question that giving has its place in God’s Kingdom – both the Old and New Covenants are loaded with examples and references to freewill generosity. “Willful giving”, particularly to the needy, is a foundational concept of Christianity just as it was in Old Covenant times, but it was always a separate and distinct activity from tithing. So whether or not the tithe is valid for today, this study will provide no one with an excuse to selfishly hoard their money and thereby refrain from honoring God with their wealth by the proper scriptural means.
The main questions that we want to address in this book are: “Does God’s law mandate that ten percent of all income is required of us today, as some people would have us believe?” If so, the second question then becomes “To whom should it go?”
Congruent to that is the question: How exactly are we to “honor God” with our wealth? If you believe that tithing money to the church/preacher today is commanded by and pleasing to God just as I used to believe, get ready because you are definitely in for some scriptural surprises.
The use of the word “preacher” in this book is meant as an all-inclusive word that applies to pastors, ministers, priests, elders, lecturers, or anyone else who speaks before others on religious or Biblical matters. In particular it refers to those who are paid, or have the intention of being paid money for their speaking efforts in any amount over their actual reasonable expenses. This includes anyone, whether an agent of an incorporated church organization (priests, pastors, ministers, elders, etc), or an unaffiliated lone operator of his own religious enterprise (independent preacher). My focus of course is primarily on “pro-tithe” preachers – those who promote the tithe as a means of leverage to get money from their audience.
Defining the Tithe: What It Was, and What It Isn’t
First of all, the noun tithe means a tenth. By definition that is all the word means – one part out of ten. It has no exclusivity whatsoever to Christian or even Old Covenant Israelite activities. The verb tithe means to deal with a tenth of something or divide it into tenths. You could tithe out a bale of hay to ten cows, for example.
Any ten-percent portion of anything is technically a “tithe”, though we usually do not call it that. If, for example, the Mafia puts the squeeze on a local business for ten percent of profits, they are tithing that business, and the business is tithing to the Mafia.
The general belief among Law-respecting Christians is that today’s tithe doctrine is simply the Old Covenant Law of tithing carried over and applied to New Covenant Christian life. This notion is completely erroneous, however. In reality, modern tithing has no similarity to the tithe instructed in the Old Covenant at all, except for the figure of 10%, and the name “tithe”.
The subject of the tithe, though its history is rather deep, has been approached in pro-tithe presentations in a manner that makes it appear shallow and almost two-dimensional. With all the embellishments removed, the basic bottom line is that “Moses told us to tithe, Abraham tithed, so you should too”, and that’s about all that we supposedly need to know about the subject.
The Levitical priesthood and the tithe designated for them by God’s Law did not exist in Abraham’s time so we have to wonder why Abraham just happened to pick the figure of 10% to give to Melchisadek (Gen 14:20), or why Jacob also came up with that same figure for his vow to God (Gen 28:20-23), since both occurred long before God gave a Law to His people instructing them to tithe to the Levites.
The reason as to why these two key Biblical figures offered their gifts in the first place will be discussed in later chapters. The reason that they each offered an amount equal to a tithe in particular is a bit less holy or dramatic than tithe promoters would like to admit.
Tithing was not an uncommon practice for taxation and tribute purposes in the ancient world, as well as being a voluntary act of respect or submission to deities, heroes, or government officials long before it was ever established for Levitical support you that pagans also tithed purposes.
to their gods. This practice Tithing existed in many forms and for various
was not exclusive to the purposes among the numerous peoples in the
Israelites.” Mediterranean/Middle East area, during and before
the time of Abraham. This is common knowledge to
anyone who has researched the word “tithe” in most Bible dictionaries,
encyclopedias (especially the older ones), and ancient writings.
For example, Melchisadek was not the only high priest and king that Abraham tithed to.
A common reference work is the Book of Jasher, which pro-tithe preachers are often familiar with. While it has its own peculiarities and weak points, every pro-tithe preacher that I have known has referred to it at one time or another to clarify details of Genesis on various subjects.
In the Book of Jasher chapter 15:8 it states “And Abraham and all belonging to him rose up from the brook of Mitzraim and came to Egypt; and they had scarcely entered the gates of the city when the guards stood up to them saying, ‘Give tithe to the king from what you have, and then you may come into the town’; and Abraham and those that were with him did so.”
So, why did the Egyptian king just happen to want a tithe? Was he a Melchisadek priest? A Levite, perhaps? Obviously the answer is no on both counts. It appears that a tenth is not the exclusive sacred financial figure of God that the pro-tithers want to make it out to be.
A history search will tell you that pagans also tithed to their gods. This practice was not exclusive to the Israelites. It is known that Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Canaanite, Roman and other cultures often used the 10% figure for taxation, tribute and honorarium purposes for their heroes, as well as tribute to their gods. In fact it is also known to have been enforced in ancient Asian and Central American civilizations.
This fact is no secret. For example Smith’s Bible Dictionary when talking about the history of the tithe, states in part:
“These instances [Abraham and Jacob] bear witness to the antiquity of tithes, in some shape or other, previous to the Mosaic tithe-system. But numerous instances are to be found of the practice of heathen nations, Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, Arabians, of applying tenths derived from property in general, from spoil, from confiscated goods, or from commercial profits, to sacred, and quasi-sacred, and also to fiscal purposes, viz. as consecrated to a deity, presented as a reward to a successful general, set apart as a tribute to a sovereign, or as a permanent source of revenue.”
In the case of Abraham being in Egypt it was a tribute tax placed on foreigners which was not related to income or increase at all, but on his then-currently held possessions. tax/custom called tithing was in widespread use long before the Mosaic Covenant was established.”
“The point is that this Established reference sources like this tell us two things:
First, that tithing was in widespread use throughout the ancient world for a variety of purposes. Secondly and more importantly, it tells us that today’schurch tithe on all income, in all forms (money,in particular), from all sources doctrine has its origins with the heathen nations and profane sources, not with Yahweh God of the Bible who specified a tithe of food items only. (see Chapter 2, “The One-Two Punch”)
The historian Flavius Josephus is generally considered an accurate writer and historian of ancient times. His works are often quoted as clarification and back up to scriptural research for Bible studies.
Josephus has several references of tithing, not only to Levitical priests, but also as a tribute to kings. Book XIII chapter 2, paragraph 3, and book XIV chapter 10 paragraph 6, to name a couple of the latter.
Maybe it has to do with having ten fingers, but ten is a pretty convenient figure since it is so easy to work with and calculate. It is also very profitable for the tithe-taker while it does not seem like too much for the tither to have to give. So tithing, gift-tithing, and tribute-tithing in numerous forms, for numerous reasons, and to numerous entities was going on all over the place in Biblical times. Apparently giving a tenth for various taxation purposes was practiced so often that it not only got its own name as a noun (tithe), but also as a verb, (tithing).
I mean, what is the word for giving nine percent – “nithe”? Or five percent – “fithe”? These figures do not have their own commonly known names because they were not used often enough to require such a name.
Another example of tithing to a king is in 1Samuel 8:15 and 17 which point out the nature of kings and how they would take a tenth of the people’s property. “And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.”
Why would these kings just happen to want a tenth? Were they Melchizadek priests as well? Not quite.
God was simply pointing out what would happen if Israel ever acquired a king. This warning was not just a prediction of the future, it was also a statement of observation based on the facts of what had already been commonly happening in the neighboring kingdoms up to that time. That is, the kings were taking and the people were surrendering 10% of their property for whatever the occasion called for.
The point is that this tax/custom called tithing was in widespread use long before the Mosaic Covenant was established. The cultures who engaged in this activity had nothing necessarily to do with Yahweh God or His People and their religious beliefs, but were instead often related to pagan religion, or were governmental in nature like Abraham’s experience in Egypt.
The Biblical Tithe
Then there is the tithing that many Bible readers are familiar with. This is a tithe as described in the Law of Moses in which the purpose was strictly limited to supporting the tribe of Levi, so that they in turn could conduct the extensive religious and civil activity of Israel. The terms and conditions of this particular tithe have little in common with the previous examples besides the fact that they all involve the figure of 10%. We will examine God’s Law on Levitical tithing in Chapter 2, “The One-Two Punch”.
Today we have yet another tithe: It is a tithe that preachers repeatedly tell us has God’s full authorization for collection, and that in theory it is used to support His workers; which of course every preacher and his church organization claims to be. Just like the Levites were.
In reality however, the tithe doctrine that we see today is a genetically altered hybrid of most of the previously mentioned tithe concepts:
It is a tithe that promoters assert has its origin in God’s Law for ancient Israel (some preachers make the unfounded claim that it goes back to Adam). In reality however, the Levitical tithe was abandoned as obsolete by the Apostles and Christians of the first century. (See Chapter 7, “Hebrews 7”)
It is a tithe that was resurrected by the Roman Catholic Church, though most preachers will not readily admit this (see Chapter 22 “Rome: The Mother of Today’s Tithe”). That church organization then cross-bred the Levitical tithe of food items, with concepts from ancient pagan tithe cultures; developing a definite preference for cash.
Resisted at first, this modern tithe gained its foothold of perceived historical legitimacy when it began to be enforced through that church’s partnerships with the reigning political forces (the king’s soldiers and
This honey pot of coerced wealth proved to be so lucrative and psychologically effective for its Catholic creators, that it was eventually adopted as being scriptural hundreds of years later by a wide array of Protestant factions as well. It has become highly prized as a key commodity in the stock and trade of today’s commercial religious preaching industry.
Today’s hybrid tithe is claimed to have a Biblical basis, but unlike its true scriptural counterpart, the modern church tithe is extracted from any and/or all sources of income, profit, or gain just like some of the pagan/secular tithes were. Thus, today’s tithe can accurately be called an income tithe. As we shall see, an income tithe, like its cousin the government income tax, is an entirely man made concept without any scriptural justification whatsoever.
The scriptural tithe went to a specific tribe of Levi, and for a specific purpose, as ordained by God. This modern income tithe is collected by self-authorized private individuals and church corporations and is used for practically any purpose that these entities feel like using it for.
Giving and Offering is not “Tithing”
The Bible has many instances of “giving” that people confuse with the word tithe. Some were freewill, (usually called offerings) and some are obligatory like the tithe was: sacrifices, various offerings (some of which are tithes, some
freewill about the tithe at all.” And every man’s hallowed things shall be
“…there was nothing generous or not), soldiers’ ransom, first fruits, poll tax, peace offerings, heave offerings,
etc, as well as a separate and distinct tithe for the poor, and even a tithe to yourself for feast day enjoyment. Deuteronomy 12 verses 6 and 11 list a few.
The payment of vows – a subject not often discussed – appears to have been a peripheral source of cash income for the temple as well, but this was not a tithe. See Leviticus 27, Numbers 18:16, and 2Kings 2:16, for examples.
Of these various offerings, many were designated for the priests only, and excluded the rest of the Levites (Numbers 18:8-18). Numbers 18:21 specifically differentiates the tithe as being that which is the common Levite’s (as compared to “the sons of Aaron” – the priest class) compensation or reward.
Numbers 5:9-10 “And every offering of all the holy things of the children of Israel, which they bring unto the priest, shall be his. [the priest’s]And every man’s hallowed things shall be his: whatsoever any man giveth the priest, it shall be his.”
This description for offerings is very unlike the general tithe which was collected under the supervision of accountable Levites and priests, then taken to the storehouses, then allotted to individual Levites to take home to their families as needed. A person did not just hand the nearest Levite a few apples to put in his pocket and say “here is part of my tithe”, as is done today when people hand the preacher a wad of cash. (See Chapter 12, “The Accountability Shuffle”)
It is not our goal to get into the specifics of Old Covenant penalties and offerings, other than to point out that there was more involved and a lot more exacted of the Israelites under different circumstances, than just the ten percent tithe. The closely regulated tithe was only one aspect of a much larger tradition of sacrifices, extractions, and freewill offerings that existed during the Aaronic/Levitical priesthood era.
This knowledge is necessary to prevent the confusion caused when preachers take scriptures about offerings and wrongfully refer to them as tithes.
The tithe went to the Levites in general, and according to Leviticus the offerings went to the individual priests along with a specially selected tithe of the tithe that the priests in general got from the Levites, as stated in the scriptures cited above.
What you may not be aware of is the fact that, even though tithing was necessitated by the Law for that time, scripture does not define or refer to this activity as “giving to God”, or “honoring God with your wealth”.
Modern tithe theory has hybridized the compulsory aspect of the old tithe law with the laudable personal attributes associated with generosity and freewill giving, when there was nothing generous or freewill about the original Old Covenant tithe at all; it was mandatory.
Like a Fish Out of Water
Tithe promoting preachers will often flip-flop: blending together the offerings, sacrifices, and tithes one moment, and then drawing a hard line between tithing and freewill giving the next; but only if and when it serves their purpose.
In his lecture “The Law of the Tithe”, mega-tithe promoter R.J. Rushdooney, for instance, melds it all together by stating “No man could say he was ‘giving a gift to God’ until he gave above and over the Lord’s tithe, and these were called ‘free will offerings’”.
In effect, people like this consider that anything you give to a church is payment on account toward your balance owed, and only after that alleged debt of ten percent of your income is paid, are you allowed the privilege of making any kind of freewill offering to God.
So, while pro-tithers take scriptures about freewill offerings and then present them as justification for promoting a modern tithe, some will also contradict themselves and clearly delineate between the two as it suits their purpose.
That audio, by the way can be listened to, and is for sale at http://chalcedon.edu/research/audio/law-of-the-tithe/
It is a textbook example of many of the techniques of wordsmithing, sophistry and deception that I examine in this book.
Identifying the Tithes
There were many tithes that did or do exist. So to avoid confusion we really need to sort them out and identify them for the purposes of this study:
- There were widespread secular and pagan tithes of money and property in the ancient world used for tribute, political funding, and personal aggrandizement and reward for certain individuals.
- There were tithes of food, property, and money for pagan religion activity. We touch on these ancient worldly tithes in order to understand that theyonce existed, and to avoid confusing them with Levitical tithes. In doing so, we may gain an understanding of the true origins of today’s modern tithe. Biblically there were 3 tithes described in the Law according to Moses:
- A festival tithe saved by and given to yourself and shared with others for festival celebration purposes. (Deuteronomy 14:22-26)
- A poor tithe taken up for the needy which is generally understood to take place every third year, either in addition to, or in place of the regular Levitical tithe. (Deuteronomy 14:27-29)
- The Levitical tithe or common tithe of agricultural increase which went to feed the Levites, and which is the most often referred to of the Old Covenant tithes. (Numbers 18:21-22, Also see Chapter 2 The One-Two Punch) In the category of Biblical tithes, there is no need to focus on the benign poor tithe or festival tithe, since the widows, orphans and strangers are not notably out to exploit a false tithe in order to defraud anyone today. For the same reason the tithe to yourself is not a big issue either. So these two aspects of the Mosaic tithe are for the most part not the subject of this study. Finally, we have the Levitical tithe which has been co-opted to become today’s modern church tithe or income-tithe:
- A heavily promoted tithe which claims its origin in the Old Covenant scriptures, but does not fit any of the conditions or description of a scripturally based tithe, except for involving the figure of ten percent. It is no longer “a tithe”, but is now The Tithe, the one and only. We could almost put a little “TM” after it.
The subject of this book is primarily concerned with this modern income-tithe, and how that tithe compares (or doesn’t) to the historically scriptural and legitimate Levitical tithe of old upon which the modern tithe claims to be based. These are the two tithes that we will be talking about, unless specifically indicated otherwise.
The “Tithe” Misnomer
Tithe or tithing, though only one facet of Levitical Israelite culture, has been successfully instilled in Christians to mean any type of giving to a church. When the collection plate was passed someone may have said “I tithed ten dollars”, but this would be a misapplication of the word from a strict definition, unless the ten dollars was exactly one tenth of what he made that week. What most people are actually doing with their money at church in those cases is giving gifts or offerings, which have no relationship to a tenth of anything.
The Tithe is Not a Gift, and a Gift is Not a Tithe.
Technically and most specifically, the scriptural tithe was a mandatory offering of the heave offering type. It was an obligation to deliver one tenth of agricultural production to the temple after it was produced. This is as opposed to a wave offering which was a voluntary offering of a token amount that was made beforehand in anticipation of a bountiful harvest (or other request).
So “wave offering” was made in advance of a desired outcome, and “heave offering” was made after the fact. While the tithe was technically a mandatory heave offering, it is almost always referred to in scripture as simply “the tithe”. I would challenge anyone to find a scripture that says that tithing is “giving to God”. This notion was invented by the Roman Catholic Church. They apparently wanted money while also making the assertion that they literally represent God on Earth. This misleading term “Giving to God” as it applies to giving to a church, has since that time become one of the most profitable concepts of advertising ever invented.
To equate tithing with offerings, sacrifices, alms, and charitable giving, etc., leads only to confusion, but this ambiguity is absolutely necessary for the pro-tithe preachers to successfully promote their position. This grey-shaded lack of clear definition about tithing appears to be widespread among the Christian brethren today. A true understanding of this subject cannot be achieved if all of these separate and distinct acts of contribution are mentally lumped together and vaguely mis-identified as tithe.
By blurring the line between Old Covenant tithes, offerings, and gifts, they can and do hijack scriptures on freewill offerings and improperly use them as examples to support a modern day tithe when in fact these scriptures do no such thing. Examples of freewill giving which are seriously abused for pro-tithe purposes are 1Chronicles 29:1-17 involving the building of the temple, 2Corinthians 9:7 on gifts for the needy, or even Cain and Abel’s offering in Genesis.
A blatant example is that of an internet/radio pastor who insisted that 1Kings 17:9-16 demonstrated the benefits of tithing, even though that scripture did not have one iota of tithing inference in it.
This is the story of the Sidonian widow woman (likely not even an Israelite) who provided the prophet Elijah room and board during a famine. She used the last of her oil and meal to provide her guest a cake or biscuit of some kind, and after that, her nearly depleted container of meal never ran empty and they had food for the duration of the famine.
The preacher went on to say that this miracle happened because of her “tithing” to Elijah; and that this sets the precedent for you to expect these same kinds of serendipitous miracles when you tithe (presumably to that preacher). I knew this preacher, and it is apparent to me that he knew better than to make a false statement like this as an honest error. This woman did not give Elijah a tenth of her meal; she used all that she had left as a gift to the prophet. So where does a tithe come into this story? In reality it doesn’t, but in fiction it can be placed anywhere they wish to.
I call this type of behavior “yellow preaching”. It is a misleading, manipulative, irresponsible behavior, the name for which comes from the definition of “yellow journalism”: The yellow press is a type of journalism that presents biased or little legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers. Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, omission of facts, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism. By extension “Yellow Journalism” is used today as a term to identify any journalism that is indifferent to truth, and instead serves to manipulate sentiment rather than provide truthful information; or that treats news in an unprofessional or unethical fashion.
The basic concepts of yellow journalism relate directly to “yellow preaching” in that the same techniques are used, and that the purpose is not to inform or teach, as much as it is to manipulate an audience to achieve a desired outcome.
This is in many ways similar to “tobacco preaching” in which, like “tobacco science”, evidence in favor of the desired outcome is fabricated and exaggerated, while it ignores, conceals, and downplays evidence that contradicts their desired conclusion.
Conflict of Interest
The above statements bring to light the obvious potential for a conflict of interest that applies to the preaching of money-related subjects like tithing.
In other words: The outcome of the preaching affecting the income of the preacher.
The pro-tithe preachers routinely ignore the massive conflict of interest that they engage in when promoting the tithe. They try to deny or downplay the importance of this conflict by saying that it exists equally on both sides of the tithe issue and that these counterbalancing biases somehow cancel each other
out and thereby negating any conflict of interest as being a valid issue. This evasive maneuver of theirs is not true at all, however.
Unlike the professional tithe-accepting the outcome of this issue, while clergy, I personally have nothing to gain or lose the preacher has up to 100% of financially by presenting this study or the outcome thereof. Scripture indicates that in order to stay on the sunny side of God’s good graces, Christians by definition are expected to be generous in giving, whether the tithe was abolished or not. This type of giving can easily exceed ten percent. So what would be the difference to the average Christian if they gave to the needy, or if they tithed to a preacher? Either way the wealth has left their hands.
Because of this, the issue of self-interest is of a one-sided nature, and the problem of biased preaching is in fact huge.
The real heart of the issue, one that preachers dread, lies in the bigger picture that the tithe issue provides a gateway to: the question of whether or not the flow of this ever-present wellspring of Christian wealth and generosity should ever be directed toward preachers or church corporations at all.
The Bible abounds with scriptural prohibitions against paid preachers, and it makes this issue a very legitimate question and a real concern for all of us; actually dwarfing the tithe discussion.
If you are not aware of this question of whether or not anyone is to ever profit financially from preaching or teaching God’s Word, it is by itself evidence that biased preaching has concealed it from you, because this concept is abundant in the Word itself. Selective preaching has a massive influence on what you hear or do not hear from the pulpit. This will become even more apparent as we compare the pro-tithe arguments to what scripture tells us.
The pro-tithe preachers definitely have a dog in this fight; their whole standard of living is at risk. Even if this were a black and white issue of giving ten percent, or give nothing at all, in theory, the potential tither/non-tither would have 10% of his income at stake on the outcome of this issue, while the preacher has up to 100% of his income on the line.
One evangelist-preacher that I have known for years is quoted as candidly saying that his preaching business “stands or falls depending on whether or not the tithe is preached”. Yet he publicly proclaims that financial interests do not influence the slant of his preaching.
Big Bucks in Jesus
As an example of today’s tithe paradigm: A pro tithe “Kingdom author, teacher and evangelist” said that he had 1600 families on his list for bi-weekly CD mailings. This customer base is in effect his “congregation”, in addition to a small local one.
Let us say they had incomes of $25,000 per family (not per person), per year which is about poverty level. Let’s also say half of them tithed on their income the way the preacher has instructed them to. No, let’s say one-fourth of them tithed and the rest paid nothing; no gifts as we know many non-tithers today will offer, no purchases of tapes or cd’s which is also common, no book buying or any other profit-generating activity. For this example seventy-five percent of that preacher’s customer base contribute absolutely nothing to this man’s business.
That is 400 families that actually tithe, out of the 1600. Take those 400 families times $2500 of tithe money (one-tenth of $25,000) per family, for a total of a cool million dollars to that preacher in tithe money per year.
No, wait – let’s cut that in half again, because you know how stingy and stubborn some of those Kingdom Israelite Christians are. So let us say that only one-eighth of them tithe as instructed, on a poverty-level income, and seven-eighths of the congregation do not give a single dime (what some preachers call free-loading parasites). So after cutting it all down, we still are left with a half-million dollars a year gross income for that preacher’s business.
Subtract this preacher’s overhead of 26 mailings of 2 cd’s X 1600 on the mailing list for a total of 41,600, or let’s say 42,000 mailings at a cost of $1.50 each, which includes wear and tear on the equipment, postage, etc for a total of $63,000 in cost/expenses. Let’s round it up another 70% to $100,000 in expenses incurred for the year, just to be generous. That leaves $400,000 per year net profit for your preacher who claims he has “surrendered all for Christ”, tax free, year after year after year, for coming up with a 45-60 minute message, (much of it being jokes, small talk, and review of other messages) per week. Modern internet service allows for downloading the audio files, making most CD mailings obsolete and thereby increasing profits even more.
If you would like, cut the above figure in half yet again, to show I’m not exaggerating or being unrealistic, and it still comes to about $200,000 per year net profit. About eight times the income of the average congregation family income that we started with as a reasonable minimum; it could easily be double that, on up to five times that amount, depending on the prosperity of the tithers.
No wonder they love the tithe – a person could almost live on that kind of money. And they are trying to say that this money does not influence their tithe preaching? I mean, let’s wake up and smell the cappuccino latte supreme. Do not forget that even at this kind of income, a preacher like this feels “robbed” because in his mind he should be getting four million dollars a year, based on the above quoted numbers.
Furthermore, if you consider the incredible cash flow of the larger television, Christian radio, and shortwave businesses, including the world-wide internet ministries, you can be sure that they make this guy and his $200K annual net income look like a shoe-shine boy. This is particularly true when they advocate that people leave their estates to the preacher’s ministry/business (“eating widows’ houses” as per Matt 23:14, Mark 12:40 and Luke 20:47, an absolute violation of Numbers 27:1-11), and other such predatory-parasitic fund-raising efforts in addition to promoting regular life-long tithing.
The icing on the cake is that, due to their sweetheart relationship with the government it is all tax-free and they can also exempt themselves from the dead-end government deals like social security, Medicare, even Obamacare etc, that the average person is saddled with.
I bring up these numbers not to create class envy, but to show you how unrealistic and extremely lucrative this tithe racket is. But then, you already know this. Everyone knows it. The trouble is that while everyone knows it, they do not want to know it about their preacher because he is a “down-to-earth regular guy like the rest of us”. and people are clannish about this sort of thing.
Religion is a big business, potentially even for the local preacher that complains how tight money is. This kind of hard-luck story is often a ruse. What do you expect – that he’s going to show you his precious metals hoard or real estate portfolio?
Have you ever wondered where your tithe money is going – what it is actually being spent on? Do you see your tithe going for anything like soup kitchens, shelters or other missionary efforts for the homeless? Do you see funds for foreclosure or other legal defense teams to protect families from being victimized by criminal banks; anything that would benefit the congregation while it confronts the World Order? Something useful like the Apostles might have done to help the brother in need? You may, from time to time see such activities, and they should be applauded because they are the relatively rare exception. Pro tithe preachers may point to humanitarian efforts like this, particularly when they achieve notable results, and take credit for them as being examples of the results of tithing, but do not believe it for one second without clear proof. Almost universally, charitable relief efforts are funded by freewill giving, not tithes.
Normally what you will see is tithe money spent and attention aimed at growing the preacher’s religion business. The goal of the enterprise is to spend more money to reach more people to get more money to reach even more people, etc. They buy more air time, to build a bigger church, more office space, high tech equipment, higher salaries and bonuses. This is all done in the name of spreading the Word, but with the end result really being – what? Obtaining a larger milking herd of a congregation? A larger flock of sheep to support the preacher’s lifestyle with their tithe that they thought was “going to God”?
Do you see any political or social action by these tithe-taking preachers at all? Not on your life! Not once they are established and prospering. With investment accounts, real estate, vacation homes and a hefty tax-free income, these preachers have too much to lose by rocking the boat and actually becoming a force for good in the community. Intentionally or not, they have sold out. Life is good in their gold-plated diapers, and they know it.
1Timothy 6:8-10 “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
We know these scriptures hit the nail right on the head. Most of us have seen the truth of this statement played out many times in real life. The “love of money” quote is axiomatic and the concept is recognized by nearly every culture and philosophy on Earth because this tendency is so prevalent in human nature.
Preachers can spend all day claiming that they are unaffected by this lure of wealth, but this lofty position of theirs certainly comes across as sounding pious and arrogant; as if this scripture (and many others) did not apply to them. This claim seems particularly disingenuous when it is made at the kick-off of any pro-tithe campaign designed to increase the personal wealth of the preacher making the claim.
We will see in this study if the veracity of their teachings agrees with their sanctimonious claims, and whether or not the tithe doctrine provides the perfect soil in which this root of all evil can flourish.