I received an email recently from a site visitor who had some questions about the IFB’s teaching on Tithing and I wanted to address the questions and answer them on the site for all to read. Thanks for the great question!!! Please find the message below along with my reply:
Hello Friend. I love your website….it has helped me so much I can’t even begin to tell you. Your articles on tithing are very informative. Do you go to church now? Are there churches that don’t teach tithing? It seems that every time I visit a church I feel let down because of the tithing issue. It isn’t that I don’t want to give…I do. I consider myself generous. It’s just that it bothers me when they begin to teach that we must give 10 percent or we will be punished. Where are the churches that don’t teach this? I feel depressed today. Thanks.
I’m thrilled when I get emails such as yours. I love hearing that the site has been helpful and I appreciate your kind words. Let me answer your questions as best I can.
A lot of people write and ask if I go to church. To set the record straight, I do go to church occasionally (no it’s not an IFB church and I will not return to an IFB church) when I feel it’s appropriate to be with family or on special occasions, but I do not attend regularly, I do not participate in any traditions/programs, and I am not a member. I prefer to study the bible individually or with a small group.
I don’t know of any church or denomination that doesn’t teach tithing. I did attend a Calvary Chapel for a little while a few years ago and that church didn’t pass the collection plates or actively promote tithing/giving on a regular basis, but they did, on occasion, talk about giving (most of which was the same basic ideas that most other churches teach) and they had an offering receptacle available for those who wanted to give offerings. That’s as close as I’ve ever come to experiencing a church not teaching tithing. I would say that it was still taught there, but just not emphasized. It was simply spoken of minimally, but not actively taught. Other than that I don’t know of any churches or denominations that don’t teach tithing.
The idea that one will be punished if they don’t tithe is an unfortunate staple in most IFB churches. It’s found in other churches/denominations simply because of the verses in Malachi that are used to teach tithing (Malachi 3:10-11) – You can read more about this on the Tithing Deception article, but I think the IFB emphasizes this aspect because it fits nicely with their works based righteousness ideals.
I also believe its a fear and manipulation tactic in order to squeeze more money out of the congregation. The IFB is notorious for trying to elicit a fear based response. Fear is a strong motivator and the cynic in me believes that this is nothing more than psychological manipulation. They do this with other topics such as salvation, behavioral change efforts, and many other issues and they do it with tithing as well. It’s abusive and unscriptural.
I know that “psychological manipulation” is a strong phrase and that most IFB pastors aren’t intelligent enough (sorry if that seems harsh) to even know what that is let alone do it on purpose, but someone somewhere is teaching (or has taught) these guys how to reach the seat of our emotions and back it up with scripture to elicit an emotional response… and it works! This was heavily taught in the IFB churches I experiences. “The devourer will come and cause your car to break down or your house to need repairs if you don’t tithe your 10%” the pastor would bellow from the pulpit citing Malachi. This is simply ludicrous. God doesn’t operate that way and there is no scriptural support for it except for the twisting of a few choice passages to fit this agenda.
I assure you… there is no need to fear retribution or retaliation from God for not giving 10% as tithe to the local church. If you don’t give your 10% and something bad happens I can almost guarantee that it’s simply coincidence. I know many many people who gave faithfully their 10% without failure all while struggling to meet their monthly bills. Cars still broke down and the house still needed repairs and updating. This went on for years and all the while our pastor drove around in a Cadillac and had two houses (not including the parsonage). If his “blessings” ever came up he would argue that he was simply a good steward of his finances, gave his 10% and God had blessed him. I say BULL S#@T (pardon my French). He and his staff were lining their pockets with the proverbial ‘widow’s mite’ while the widow went hungry.
Don’t fall for this lie!!! It’s trickery and deception plain and simple.
Here’s my challenge for those of you who are still unsure about this tithing issue. Open up a special savings account and take your 10% each week and put it in that account until you’ve made up your mind. If the time comes that you’ve decided that tithing is indeed biblical, then you have still set aside your 10% as instructed and you can give it to the church then to avoid your punishment or get your blessings. If, however, you’ve gotten to a point that you’ve finally seen the light and realized that tithing isn’t scriptural, you’ll have a nice little savings account started that you can pay off debt (the real thing we should be doing with our 10% rather than giving it to the local church), go back to school, give it as a free will offering to the church or another ministry/non-profit charity (see 2 Corinthians 9:7), start a trust fund, or whatever you’d like with it because it will belong to you and not the church.