Faith Promise Missions Deception

Faith Promise Missions GivingThis article is about a fund raising endeavor used by many Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) churches to raise money to support missionaries.  This fund raising endeavor is called Faith Promise Missions (FPM) giving, and was conceived by Oswald J. Smith.  An aspect of FPM that should be of a concern to IFB pastors and members is its widespread use among other denominations, considering the IFB philosophy of separation. 

Historically, churches would use a portion of the general fund to support missionaries, or take offerings dedicated to missionary support, and use these funds to financially support foreign missionaries.  Many churches still do this, having not bought into the Faith Promise Missions philosophy.  Then, in the late 1920s, came Oswald J. Smith.  In 1918 he was ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian Church of Canada, but resigned from them in 1918 and started his own church in Toronto.  In 1928 he started the People’s Church in Toronto, and became an avid missions advocate.  His history should be enough to keep IFB preachers away, because the IFB teaches that a man cannot start a church without authority from another church.  However, there is so much money to be made through FPM that preachers overlook many things, including the lack of a Biblical precedent for Faith Promise Missions. 

Oswald’s idea was that if people only gave what cash was in their pockets, he was not receiving as much money as he could.  He developed a plan where people would make a promise to God to give a certain amount of money each week.  He found 2 Corinthians Chapter 8, and twisted it to meet his needs.  (More on the perversion of Biblical principles later in this article.)  He began to preach that a man must make a promise to God, based on his faith that God will supply his needs, of what he will give each year for World Evangelism.  The process was simple; pray and ask God what He would have you give, promise that amount each week, and make the payment to the church each week thereafter.  Tithe first, Faith Promise Mission giving next, then any other offerings, and finally pay your bills, buy food, gas, other needs, and then waste whatever is left on your wants; that is the IFB way these days.

Now concerning the Biblical basis for FPM, I mentioned earlier that preachers use 2 Corinthians Chapter 8.  Since the IFB is KJV only, that is the version I will quote from in this article.

1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;

2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;

4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

Then they usually skip to Chapter 9:

1 For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you:

2 For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.

3 Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready:

4 Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting.

5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.

6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

9 As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.


In context, these verses are a message from Paul asking the people to give sacrificially to the Saints who have need due to a famine in Israel.  Reference Acts 11:27-30.  Out of context, which is what IFB preachers do in order to preach FPM, we are told that these verses tell of a desire for the churches to give sacrificially for the support of missionaries.  The verses clearly show that this was a onetime gift, but it is preached at Faith Promise Missions conferences as an annual requirement for churches, based on chapter 9, verse 2.

IFB preachers then, teach that we should be in a perpetual state of sacrificial giving in order to support missionaries.  They completely ignore 2 Corinthians chapter 8 verses 13 and 14, “For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:  14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality”.  This program is lucrative; most IFB churches raise tens of thousands of dollars through this method.  My own church raised around $200,000 in 2012, and that’s less than 200 people.  Preachers now have a way to boast of the amount of money collected, and of those members whose Faith Promise Missions giving is more than their tithe.

Another aspect of FPM preaching that I find disturbing is the effect of the guilt trip.  The preachers always say things like, “There is no faith in $5 a week, or $10 a week.”  You will often hear them say to give up your sodas, coffee, or dining out, and use that money for your Faith Promise Missions giving.  You will hear how someone, usually the preacher, received a check in the mail that was exactly the amount needed for FPM gift, and how that if he hadn’t given his FPM gift he wouldn’t have received that check.  Many preachers also use 2 Corinthians Chapter 8, verse 8 to help with making the congregation feel guilty.  That verse states, “I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.” Preachers use this verse to guilt the people into giving according to their love for Christ and others.  It’s a ‘Give little, and you have little faith and little love’ message.  In context, this verse is Paul once again exhorting the church at Corinth to cease being selfish and prideful.  While it is entirely possible that Christians today can be selfish and prideful, and often are, a preacher’s use of this verse to guilt people into giving is wrong.  The preachers always say that you don’t give to get, but then in the next breath they say that God will give it back to you and bless you for giving – just as they do for the tithe.  Nowhere in the Bible do we find a basis for FPM giving, which is to say, give by faith more than you can afford.  2 Corinthians 8:12 clearly states we are to give of what we have, not of what we don’t.

I hope you as a reader have found this article informative and helpful.  I personally struggled for many years with the concept of Faith Promise Missions giving because I never received an amount from God when I prayed, and so gave an amount that seemed to ease the guilt I felt after the mission conference was over.  I suffered many financial problems due to tithing and FPM because I took the preachers at their word, thinking they had some special message from God.  Fortunately I decided to start doing some self-studying, and found that both tithing and FPM are invalid programs for the New Testament Church.  I still struggle at times with guilt because for various reasons I still attend an IFB church, but I am able to give, or not give, based on my own convictions, and not some commandment to give 10%, and some amount I expect God to give me in order to support missions.



Additional reading, sources, and references for this article: – Steve Van Nattan gives an excellent history of Oswald J. Smith, the Faith Promise plan in comparison to true Biblical principles,  and a personal story of how he “fleeced the sheep” in regards to Faith Promise Missions. – This bible study course covers Faith Promise Missions very well.

“Contra the ‘Pray and Pay’ Model of Giving”, by Jason Dulle – An excellent article, though I am no longer able to find a link for it, but you are welcome to search for the author for his contact information. 


  1. The comments were interesting and some very biased based. The basic premise has been overlooked to a great degree. The word “faith” is the key. Properly presented the FP is money given above and beyond regular giving and is NOT a pledge which is to be paid. By faith means that if God supplies the funds will be given , if not nothing it paid. I’ve seen multiple miracles supplying such funds due to faith. One example: one couple committed to $500 (in 1967), he was an out work electrician, 17th in line or work at the union. Within 2 weeks had started a furniture store, poor sales at the time. Very shorty they had a large furniture order and he got a call to a job. This was multiplied several time in the congregation. Negative comments are based on “non faith”, trusting a mighty miracle working God, not on some personal scheme for selfish income.

    1. Lee,

      Did you read the article? Your comment leads me to believe that you either didn’t read the article or that you didn’t understand the article.

  2. Some advice. The tithe was first mentioned by Abraham’s offering to Melchizedek, who may have been the Angel of the Lord. Tithing is fine, yet I would not require it.
    If a church cannot support missionaries on their budget based on the tithe, they should reduce missionaries.

    If you are going to practice faith promise. Here are some rules. Have a home budget just like the churches. Have a savings account with at least one month salary, preferably two. Be completely out of debt, otherwise no faith promise giving. Remember churches keep large savings accounts.
    I notice IBF and BBF pastors like lincolns, cadillacs, fancy suits and shirts with 50.00 ties.

  3. Dear Gentlemen:
    I am a Baptist pastor and a veteran missionary, retired, who worked for 20 years in Chile. I was a church planter, and endeavoured my best to start and raise up independent, fundamental, self-supporting Baptist Churches in that needy country. MY TAKE ON YOUR COMMENTS: Most of you have missed the point of FPM giving. Paul summarized his teachings in II Cor. 10:15 and 16 when he said, “When your faith (of giving) is increased, that we be enlarged by you. . . (then we will be able) to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. . .” FPM is “derived” from II Cor. 8, 9, and 10 for the SOLE PURPOSE of fulfilling the Great Commission, Matthew 28:,19 and 20. The vast majority of my State-side support came from Church which practiced FPM. . .and helped us to win souls, organize 4 local congregations, and start and develop a local AM radio station preaching the Gospel 24/7, all the while without borrowing money from no one. We preached and taught FPM and tithing to our people, and they responded and were blessed. I am offended that you “know it alls” speak as if Churches practicing FPM and carnal and sinful. IMHO you critics should be ashamed!!!!

    1. Ron,

      You’ve said I missed the point of FPM giving, but I think you’ve missed the point of the article.

      I’m not saying FPM giving is bad! The thing I don’t like is the manipulation of people to give more. This is a subtle version of prosperity giving and is pure manipulation. What most preachers and missionaries do is conveniently skip right over 2 Cor. 9:7 which tells us that: “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure.” (NLT)

      If the church is manipulating people into giving to FPM (which has been my experience) then they are the ones in error, not me.

      I would also ask you to refresh your memory of what Paul later said about accepting money from the church just a few chapters over in 2 Corinthians 11:7-15

      Maybe instead of writing with emotion, try actually reading the article and the rest of the website. I’ve been part of a church planting ministry as well, but then again you’d know that if you would have actually read the article before you felt the need to share your “opinion” of me.

  4. Wow, would you know that I’m an IFB pastor and I don’t use the KJV and we give a set amount each month to the missions program of our church….all give is by faith with the tight budget we have. The missions program has to be supported some way. It’s amazing the erroneous ideas and broad brushes with which that many IFB churches get smeared.

    1. So you read one article and decided that we use broad brushes to smear the IFB? Yet you can make a judgment about this site from one article out of 77? Please read the rest of the site before making such comments… you can start here:

    2. Well, it can be said safely that your church’s “authority” is self-proclaimed and unbiblical. What is even more, is that this comment is coming from somebody who is highly conservative! You’ll say just about anything to proselytize your denomination, all in the name of “ole’ fashioned.”

  5. Do you know the year that Smith came up with the Faith Promise? I haven’t seen any reference online to indicate it. Thanks in advance.

    1. O.J. Smith saw Faith Promise in action and simply promoted it to greater acceptance. It was called Grace Giving or Giving by Faith(Faith Promise Giving). He did not start Faith Promise Giving. “The faith promise approach to giving is often credited to A.B. Simpson, a 19th-century Canadian preacher and the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance.”( Smith had joined the Missionary Alliance in early 1921 or 22) and that is when he became exposed to the faith promise concept of giving, which was nothing more than biblical grace giving with different terminology.

  6. I am a former pastor of a non denominational independent church, although I was ordained in a IFB Church. I never preached on giving except one Sunday every September, on the benefits that giving to the Church can have for your life. I had read George Muller’s biography and it affected me very much. I came away realizing that when a preacher is doing God’s work, God’s way, that God will take care of the needs for that church, and he was right, for God always met the needs. We took 20% of everything that came into the church and gave it to missionaries, and God blessed our church so much, that other preachers who practiced FPM would ask me what I did to get people to give so much. They were shocked when I told them I did nothing but preach and teach God’s Word and God, through His Holy Spirit over abundantly meet all of our needs. Pastor Jim.

  7. Basically, I agree with the author of the article. I am IFB and the churches that I have been a member of use Faith Promise Giving. I don’t personally use FPG and I don’t think that anyone at the church knows it. I don’t hide it but they don’t ask, although I have discussed it thoroughly with the pastor. Like Kevin, I have never seen it portrayed as some respondents have, but I don’t doubt it. IFB can and does get extreme. Kevin used sarcasm very effectively when he said “Shame on those IFB’s for raising money to preach the Gospel to a lost and dying world in a manner of which you do not like. The DECEPTION!!!!!” His commit was not “snarky” at all. It is effective sarcasm all day long.

    The author, Wayne, is correct when he said that the giving in 2 Corinthians 8 & 9 was talking about a onetime gift and it does not obligate people to live in a constant state of “giving beyond their power”. I don’t know exactly what is meant by “beyond their power” in 8:3 because 8:14 clearly shows that they were giving out of their abundance and not out of their physical poverty. 2 Cor 8:12 clearly teaches that people are to give according to that which they already have and not some amount that was above their ability. Next, these verses are not even talking about missionary giving. This money was taken up money for the saints of Jerusalem who have experienced a famine. Kevin is right again when he said, If you don’t believe in FPG, give to missions in a way that you believe in. My only problem with FPG proponents is that they take the scriptures out of context to teach us that we should practice giving to missions “beyond our power” which means they try to convince people to give beyond their natural ability to give and that is unscriptural. FPG is practicing the art of manipulation therefore I don’t like it and I don’t use it. However, supporting missions is right.

  8. Wow. You know a very different group of IFB’s than I do. Nothing like taking a broad brush and painting the lot of ’em. I’ve lived in Australia and the USA and traveled around a fair bit. I’d say I’ve been in 150-200 IFB churches. Never seen it like you’re portraying it. There are most likely the shenanigans you speak of in some of these churches. I don’t have a problem believing that. BUT, my experience has been that, those who kick up the bull dust about such matters have a “beam in their own eye” in regards to another matter. That’s an observation, not a dogma.

    This much I know, there are a number of methods to accomplish Scriptural mandates. If you don’t like Faith Promise, no problem. Do it in a way you believe (1) Is Scriptural, (2) Gets money into the hands of missionaries to preach the Gospel. I doubt God’s judgment will fall upon those people and churches who gave money through Faith Promise Missions. Can you imagine??!!!

    There’s a lot to your article that is off. Seriously. But I don’t have the time to pick it apart. (Yes, I’m sure there will be great objections to that statement. NO, I won’t take the time and be lured in.)

    It looks to me like you have WAY too much time on your hands to occupy yourself with such things. Shame on those IFB’s for raising money to preach the Gospel to a lost and dying world in a manner of which you do not like. The DECEPTION!!!!!

    1. You don’t have time to formulate a real argument, just time for a snarky sarcastic response? Thanks for being a shining example of the brainwashing that I (and thousands of others) have witnessed in the IFB.

      1. This isn’t an argument and wasn’t intended to be. I gave facts based upon experience. Frankly, I was gob-stopped that such an article was written, but without a single indication of what “The Right” method is. We have a saying here: “If you are pointing out a problem without offering a solution, you’re just whinging.”
        There was only one or two statements in the entire post I made that would be considred “sarcastic.” Odd that you answered with sarcasm. Isn’t that the definition of hypocrisy? Yet, you’re going to pin that on IFB’s and villainise them.
        What about the rest of my comment that asked a legitimate question? What about the charity and grace I showed in saying, if you don’t like this method, then chose one that works for you and sets well with your conscience? Where’s the brainwashing in that?
        Steve, if you want to find fault you will. But that’s not the spirit Christ intended us to have, is it?
        I won’t reply any more. I only came back to see if my comment “made it.”
        God bless you Brethren.

        1. I think you need a refresher on what exactly sarcasm is. I asked you a question, then made a statement. I didn’t make a sarcastic response. Unlike you’re comment which is nothing but sarcastic.

          I don’t really care if your are “gob-stopped” about the article. I don’t need or want your approval.

          I don’t need to offer a solution because a solution is in the Bible already – free will offerings. I talk about this here: Tithing Deception. Maybe if you had taken time to understand where I was coming from before you made your snarky sarcastic response you would have known that (and yes your entire comment was sarcastic – again look up what sarcastic is). You didn’t ask any “legitimate questions” in your comment. You only asked ONE question and it was a sarcastic “Can you imagine?”. Please stop trying to back peddle.

          So just like other IFBers you try and chastise me and then run away refusing to engage in an actual discussion. If you don’t come back I don’t really care. If you want to engage in a discussion then do it instead of berating and bullying me. Frankly I hope you don’t come back. I’ve been exposed to abuse like yours for far too long already.

  9. I agree. My church just finished a week long missions conference. I agonized over what I heard from the pulpit concerning Faith Promise (and tithing). Christians should love and give according to scripture, not according to man’s schemes.

  10. I have always belonged to Independent Fundamental Baptist churches and I have lived in many towns and cities across the United States. Each one has used Faith Promise giving to be able to support missionaries that we send out into the world to preach the gospel. I have never had a pastor that spoke individually to anyone about what they promised to give. I have never received any prodding or reviewing of my giving. In fact, I have never had one Independent Fundamental Baptist preacher mention to me or to any of my friends outside of the pulpit anything about tithing or our Faith Promise (which is between you and God). I don’t know where you get your “information” but I got mine from my own life and by attending Independent Fundamental Baptist churches since 1973. By the way any Independent Fundamental Baptist preacher I know will state emphatically that they are first Christians because of the precious blood our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ shed for each of us on the cross and that they are Independant Fundamental Baptist by choice. Jesus Christ did not come to die for us and start a “religion”. He died for us so we can have a personal relationship with him. There is no room while standing at the foot of the cross of Jesus for arguments over how Christians use their money to help other Christians go out and spread the gospel. Please spend more time spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to everyone you meet and less time judging other Christians.

    1. I think you’ve missed the point. I would encourage you to read the testimonials and other articles on here that discuss your concerns.

    2. I too am a member of an Independent Fundamental Baptist church. I can understand how you feel about Faith Promise (FP). I too felt the same way. But then I began to think about the manner in which FP is presented. It is not scriptural. To start, a promise is a vow, and we are not to make vows. Second, many people give to FP out of fear that God will do something terrible to them or to have some peace of mind that they gave. Preachers know this and they feed off this tactic because it works. They also manipulate scripture. I say love and give according to scripture, and between you and God. And not by some man-made device.

  11. Wow.. We have faith promise at our independent Baptist church but without all the guilt. “Between you and the Lord” is what is mentioned about what we wish to give. I am fortunate to not have a pastor who is marketing giving.

  12. Organized Religion is a hustle. They take in billions and pay no taxes. Then the clergy resort to all sorts of unethical behavior to get more, more, more money.

  13. Very interesting… I never understood where Faith Promise started. At the IFB I was at, they based how many missionaries they were going to support based on the Faith Promise of the year. They said the money would go directly to the missionary, not to a central office where admin fees would be taken out before it went to the missionary. This was the selling point they used for Faith Promise. On, the other hand, I see how a pastor can take advantage of this system. I believe in supporting missionaries, but, as alluded by the article, is this the best way to do it?

  14. Pastor Ken – You said “I strongly believe in tithing” and being a pastor, I’m assuming you teach tithing to the congregation. I was wondering what portion of the NT you might refer to, in order to teach tithing?

  15. I strongly believe in tithing and willingly and generously giving. After all, every church has bills to pay if they are to stay open and function adequately. However, I too have heard many misuses of scripture to coerce people to give more and more whether or not they could afford it. The old “give ‘til it hurts then give ‘til it quits hurting” bit.

    I am a pastor and I have never encouraged people to give more than they could afford. I have never made people feel guilty about the amount they gave. I taught what the Bible really says about giving and left it up to them and God.
    From childhood I have been a thither and a giver. I have often triple tithed. I have also had my power turned off and had late fees and other expenses related to not paying bills because I had given my money to the church. I have gone without food and other necessities for me and my children because God doesn’t always pay us back dollar for dollar each time we give. I still love to give, but I don’t rob my family or the people to whom I owe money. God doesn’t expect or command me to either.

  16. Wow…..Excellent! I have never seen FPM broken down like this, and didn’t realize this tracked right back to Oswald Smith.

    We had missions giving month and was in Oct each year. I would take the phamphlet they handed out, and would try to go through it, and it never made any sense to me! I would actually get frustrated about it, because it SEEMED that everyone else was GETTING it, yet I wasn’t! I was always reluctant to PLEDGE any amt, because I didn’t want to lie, if I wasnt’ able to afford it one month, but the pressure was on because they had to budget for the missionaries (so did I for my household) so I would feel guilty about it, I would pray hard about it , the MOG said to pray about it and the Lord would place a figure in my head that I could afford. This is starting to make me sick as I type this. You want to know something? MOG in the U.S. are gonna have an awful lot to answer for, guilting folks into making, in some cases, horrible financial decisions, forcing them into financial ruin.

    Wayne thanks alot, I learn alot on this site.

    God BLess!!

  17. Wayne,
    This is an excellent article! You wrote:

    “Another aspect of FPM preaching that I find disturbing is the effect of the guilt trip. The preachers always say things like, “There is no faith in $5 a week, or $10 a week.” You will often hear them say to give up your sodas, coffee, or dining out, and use that money for your Faith Promise Missions giving.”

    I completely agree. My pastors were always urging us to give bigger and better than we had the previous year. We were also encouraged to give up soda, starbucks, dining out, etc. They always had a Missions goal that we were expected to meet.

    1. Yes, I have been in churches that set a goal each year, but my current church only expects us to exceed the previous year. It is phrased to say, “Do more this year than ever before for missions”. One thing I didn’t mention in the article is that we are expected to increase our giving each year. Giving the same or less means we are not increasing in faith.

Comments are closed.