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Monday, August 17, 2009

To Tithe or Not To Tithe,Church Member Gets Shocking Letter From Pastor.

A church member of Victory Time Full Gospel Church received a letter from her pastor stating she would lose her church membership if she did not pay her tithes within the next thirty days.

Emma Hafferkamp says her friend has been distraught ever since she received the letter. "In the letter, it says she had only tithed twice last year and she needed to pay her tithes within thirty days or her name would be removed from the membership list," Haffercamp told 27NEWSFIRST.

Haffercamp says the church means everything to her friend and the thought of losing her membership made her sick. "She was so upset last night, she had like an anxiety attack. They called the ambulance and she went to the hospital", Hafferkamp said. She also says her friend cannot afford to tithe because she is about eighty years old, on a fixed income and lives in subsidized housing. The letter does say the church member is still welcome to attend church services but will not be a member if she does not start tithing. Questions:

  1. Should she lose her membership because she can't afford to tithe?

  2. When did tithing become a prerequisite for membership in any church?

  3. Do you tithe? if, so is it off gross pay or net pay? What are your thoughts?



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25 comments :

  1. Oh Ann, you had to get me worked up this morning, didn't you?

    You are already keenly aware of my biblically-based opposition to the law of tithing (I believe that we should practice grace giving from the heart, directly to whomever the Lord leads).

    This is why many of these false teachers will have to account for their lies on judgment day. They are intentionally throwing millstones of debt around the necks of people who are either too afraid to challenge them with the Word of God, or too ignorant (and I don't mean that in a derogatory way) to study what God said about giving in the first place.

    To answer your questions: no, this woman should not be disfellowshipped for "non-payment of tithes", though she should flee the false teacher who leads her soon to be former church; I do not believe in tithing - I believe in giving; and I do not tithe...I give to others as the Lord leads.

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  2. Titheing is not a requirement at my church. To send a letter like that to an 80 year old member is cruel. A letter? I can't imagine how this woman who loves her church must have felt. It's like "we're gonna cut off your lights if you don't pay the bill." I seems to me that with this woman's financial struggles and her age and committment to the church, she should have been getting help not threatened to withdraw membership. it's a shame.

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  3. That pastor should be defrocked and the building doors should be closed so the real church can flourish. If the pastor wants to obey the tithing statute from Numbers 18, then he should (1) give the first whole tithe to the Levites who correspond to modern ushers, deacons, choir, musicians, etc. (2) only give one per cent to the preachers, (3) forfeit land and property ownership, (4) only allow pastors inside the sanctuary and (5) kill anybody who dared to worship God directly.

    Since when do Timothy and Titus include the ability to give 10% as a qualification for holding a church office, much less than being an assembly member??? Organizations that add this requirement are adding to God's Word and damming themselves. Does God not want gifted poor sick persons who cannot afford to tithe to be church members? What about the poor widow in the Bible who gave a sacrificial freewill offering and had nothing left to give afterwards? Would you kick her out when the next offering plate is passed and she had nothing to put into the second plate? The incident makes me want to vomit on the building (not the real church) front steps.

    How can tithes be a prerequisite for anything? True biblical tithes were always only food from inside Israel. Although money was common even in Genesis and essential for sanctuary worship, money was never included in the 16 texts which describe the contents of the tithe. Jesus, Peter and Paul did not even qualify as tithe-payers and neither did the poor nor those who lived outside Israel. And you cannot disprove that.

    God deals with New Covenant Christians under the terms and conditions of the New Covenant. The whole law was a test --not merely tithing. Obey ALL to be blessed; break ONE to be cursed. Read Galatians 3:10-13 which clearly supersedes Malachi 3:10-12. God does not deal with Christians under Old Covenant terms which were only given to national Israel. Get it straight and stop teaching tithing.

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  4. This is a real hot mess! Tithing is not a mandate for the NT yet many churches cooerce the people to do so; citing curses and plagues. A senior citizen on a fixed income can give a dollar or two as she is able to give.
    What about the widow's mite? The real issue iof giving is what is in the heart.
    Sadly, too many churches are now businesses and the pastors are CEO's or CFO's. This is a disgrace.

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  5. Russel Kekkey makes some great points about continuity and the tithe. How about all the pastors forfeiting owning property and living soley on the tithes of the people? Hmmm. I don't think that'll fly.

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  6. This is a total shame! I can't understand, for the life of me, why so many preachers are so quick to say that Jesus did away with everything in the Old Testament when He died on the cross, but then turn around and drag up tithing, which is only mentioned 1 time in the New Testament, and even then, was simply based on an observation by Jesus of a practice of the Pharisees (now what does that say about all these preachers who are promoting this whole tithing business).


    This is the very reason why I always decline whenever my pastor tries to get me to do the "offering appeal" in church. People are going to give what they feel led to give, irregardless of what you say and how you say it. Anyway, aren't they supposed to giving it unto the Lord? Well then, it seems to me that He ought to be the one raising a complaint about those who don't give. What a person gives is simply a matter between that individual and God. No one else has any right to criticize and scrutinize another person's giving.


    I pray that God will have mercy on this pastor's soul, because he is going to have to give an account for tormenting this poor, elderly woman's soul with such an abominable doctrine. The Bible commands us as Christians to care for the poor, widows and orphans, not take advantage of them for our own gain.

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  7. This is deep, this is ugly. I've always been taught that tithing was about time-talent-and treasures.

    I can not add to the wealth of knowledge of the other comments.

    I've always said that to take scripture out of it's context is a very dangerous and slippery slope. Having said that, I doubt the spirit of the Bible would encourage the thought that a poor woman should be removed from membership, from her church, for not paying a tithe!

    Many people mangle scripture for their own personal gain. It's a shame. I am considering writing a post "Does God have a layaway plan"

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  8. Sad, and maybe bordering on criminal. Churches can't mandate tithing. (Wonder exactly what the non-profit tax laws say and how the IRS might feel about this payment-for-membership thing?)

    The good news is that the Church is not the church she attends. I hope that other churches in this woman's local area woo the pants off her, and let her know that she's welcome with them, as she is with Jesus, no matter whether she ever gives a dime.

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. So I am confused with the foregoing comments about tithing not being biblical? Isn't the 10% holy to the Lord. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse? How will the work of the Lord continue? Shouldn't we trust God to provide our needs when we do our part?

    Now putting her out is a little brutal.... but help?

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  11. Your confusion is warranted, Anonymous, which is why I linked to my articles on tithing. I walked through the bible (with references and links to other solid dissertations on the subject ) to prove that giving is commanded by God, but the tithe has been inappropriatly applied for centuries.

    I would also visit Russell Kelly's website (and buy his book or check it out of the library). He has studied this subject for years (he was also interviewed regarding the subject on CBS News).

    Above all things - pray to the Lord for guidance and give to His people whatever amount you want as He directs you. DO NOT be compelled to pay a tax by threats and intimidation from people who use your money to fund their lifestyles.

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  12. i AM a tither and a giver and a sower....

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  13. The 10% was holy as part of the Old Covenant in which hundreds of other things were holy but the church has discarded as purely for OT Israel. They only kept tithing and conveniently threw out rest of the holy and most things as irrelevant. In order to be a holy tithe it must be (1) only food from inside Israel, (2) only increased by God's miracle and (3) only to support OT Levites and priests. None of this exists in the New Covenant.

    How will the work of the Lord continue? The same way it continued during the book of Acts. (1) freewill generous sacrificial joyful offerings motivated by love for God and love for lost souls. (2) Churches that stress personal evangelism and preach eternal hell rather than water down the gospel. (3) Obeying New Covenant post-Calvary giving principles.

    Don't assume that gospel preachers must be full time. That was not the pattern during the book of Acts nor did Paul commend it in Acts 20:29-35 and 1 Cor 9:7-19.

    Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
    www.tithing-russkelly.com

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  14. @ST, thanks for your comment and I am glad you are back. Thanks for the links!
    @Jackie thanks for your comment and I agree that was mean spirited.
    @Russell Earl Kelly thanks for your comment and for stopping by."God deals with New Covenant Christians under the terms and conditions of the New Covenant. The whole law was a test --not merely tithing. Obey ALL to be blessed; break ONE to be cursed. Read Galatians 3:10-13 which clearly supersedes Malachi 3:10-12. God does not deal with Christians under Old Covenant terms which were only given to national Israel. Get it straight and stop teaching tithing." I love it thanks.
    @saint james thanks for your comment, hot mess I agree.
    @Harmonic Praise thanks for your comment."offering appeal" is that something new?
    @CareyCarey thanks for your comment I agree you can tithe more than money.
    @PatriciaW thanks for your comment.
    @Civilla thanks for your comment.
    @Anonymous I hope IST and Russell Earl Kelly answer your questions.

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  15. That was mean-spirited and most certainly not of God. My husband and I Pastor a church; Yes we do practice tithing and give sparingly to offerings and benevolence funds. Since we are a small church with a few members THAT DO give tithes and offerings let me show you another side of what it does: tithing does this for our ministry:
    * keeps the lights on and pays the rent.
    * since we are small, tithing is what we used to purchase bags of groceries to give to the destitute.
    * the small tithes is what we used to bury the oldest member of our church.
    * those small tithes and offering is what we use to purchase food from the food bank and purchase book bags, pencils, papers for those that do not have the resources to buy their kids these essentials.
    * We have those in need lined up at any given time at our small church doors with our few tithers and those that give offering and we carry out the great commission and provide for the spiritual and natural needs of those that are in need.

    Whether you agree with tithes is not my debate; but I am simply showing you another side of the equation.

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  16. I speak out of love for the Word of God correctly interpreted. If I have written an erroneous post then please correct the texts and explanation.

    If tithing from Numbers 18 were given to the church then you would be required to obey all of the tithing commandment in that statute.

    May God bless your FREEWILL, sacrificial, generouss and joyful offerings to help God's Chilcren. That is what they really are.

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  17. Wow! I don't think the letter is warranted at all. I also don't think the wholesale attack on tithing is warranted either.

    I do not believe it would be accurate to say that the Lord abolished the OT laws with His death on Calvary.

    Colossians 2:13-17 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

    This passage shows that the Lord removed ordinances that were contrary to us including those pertaining to meat, drink, holydays, sabbaths and the like. There is no mention in this of tithing.

    Jesus declared that He had not come to destroy the law in Matthew 5:17-18 (Matthew 5:17-18 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.). Now if we follow this thinking to the conclusion that the Lord teaches in the context of the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5-7 we do not find a decrease in our responsibilities under the new covenant but an intensifying of those requirements. An example of this can be found in Mat. 5:27-28 (Matthew 5:27-28 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.) Here our responsibility moves from not committing adultery through physical acts to not even looking upon a person with lust because that is adultery. You get the point I am sure as the Lord gives several other illustrations of this truth in this passage. His examples are clearly not inclusive but illustrative.

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  18. Now for NT giving. It would certainly have to exceed OT giving to comply with the spirit of this passage. Do we find any examples of this. Sure we do in the book of Acts we see them giving all and their giving is done at the church in Jerusalem not according to their own discretion and then distribution was made from the church to those within the church who were in need. How about 2 Corinthians 8 which displays a fabulous example of selfless giving even though the people were in deep poverty themselves. Verse 7 seems to establish a basis for the giving these NT saints were practicing (2 Corinthians 8:7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.) They were seeking to abound in the grace of giving as they had abounded in all the other graces. The NT also teaches systematic giving much like that of the OT. First Corinthians 16:1-2 has the following direction for us (1 Corinthians 16:1-2 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.) I know that this is speaking of their giving for the care of other needy churches but it seems pretty systematic. It is given the first day of every week and it is given as the Lord has prospered them. I don't know of any way to systematically give as the Lord prospers you without using a percentage of your income.

    So what is the take home from all of this?
    1. This church should be ashamed of itself. They should be caring for this 80 year old sister instead of troubling her.
    2. NT giving because it is grace led must exceed OT giving to comply with the spirit of the teaching of the Lord in the Sermon on the Mount.
    3. Our giving should be systematic and orderly in proportion to God's blessing of us which will require the use of percentages as was demonstrated by Israel. Since we do not live in a barter society we will have to use money.
    4. Christians should be more willing to give in excess of 10% regularly to the church that cares for their souls than to give additional tax dollars to the government to care for their bodies.

    My personal testimony is that I began to give 10% when I was still lost because of what the Bible teaches and because I knew that the church would have expenses to maintain a meeting facility. After being saved I increased my giving to about 15% regularly because I realized that there was also a need for materials for evangelism and money for benevolent ministries. As I have matured in the faith my family and I now give in excess of 30% off of my gross income. We have had to make some lifestyle adjustments and some personal concessions but Christ gave His life for the church so I have no problem giving some niceties of life in order for the church to effectively evangelize, disciple, and minister to humanity. God has always blessed richly because we are not paying a tithe but worshiping the Lord with a worthy offering. For the record my wife and I have 16 children of which 4 are adults and 3 live outside of our home. I guess this giving has been easy for us because like the saints in 2 Corinthians 8 we first gave ourselves then it naturally followed that we would give our money instead of consuming it upon ourselves.

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  19. Wesley: I also don't think the wholesale attack on tithing is warranted either.

    Russ: Sound like what the Pharisees might have said to Jesus and what Dr Eck might have said to Dr Martin Luther. Why do you ignore the positive things we say that many Christians should give MORE than ten per cent?

    Wesley: I do not believe it would be accurate to say that the Lord abolished the OT laws with His death on Calvary. Colossians 2:13-17 shows that the Lord removed ordinances that were contrary to us including those pertaining to meat, drink, holydays, sabbaths and the like. There is no mention in this of tithing.

    Russ: Read Numbers 18. The ordinance-statute which funded the Levitical priests and allowed them to minister the sacrifices and holy days of Colossians 2:13-17 was tithing. When their priesthood and all of their duties ended at Calvary then tithing ended also. Common sense.

    Wesley: Jesus declared that He had not come to destroy the law in Matthew 5:17-18.

    Russ: You forgot to quote Matthew 5:19 "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

    Your admission that Colossians 2:13-17 ended the ordinances contradicts your use of Matthew 5:17-18 because of 5:19 and the context of 5:19-48. You cannot have it both ways. Either Hebrews must keep ALL of the Law or NONE of it. Jesus quoted from all three sections of the law in 5:20-48.

    Please tell me which consistent biblical principle you use to determine what part of the Old Covenant to bring over into the New Covenant.

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  20. The Old Black Church: To Tithe or Not to Tithe,1-13-10b

    Wesley: Now for NT giving. It would certainly have to exceed OT giving to comply with the spirit of this passage.

    Russ: Sounds good but your statement is not biblical. It is based on the false assumption that everybody in the Old Covenant was expected to begin giving at ten per sent. In reality tithes could only be given by food producers who only lived inside Israel.

    Wesley: Do we find any examples of this. Sure we do in the book of Acts we see them giving all and their giving is done at the church in Jerusalem not according to their own discretion and then distribution was made from the church to those within the church who were in need.

    Russ: This is an example of sacrificial freewill giving --not tithing. They still worshipped in the Temple daily (Acts 2:46) and were still "zealous of the law" over thirty years later in Acts 21:20-21. That means that they were still giving tithes to the temple system.

    Wesley: How about 2 Corinthians 8 which displays a fabulous example of selfless giving even though the people were in deep poverty themselves. First Corinthians 16:1-2 has the following direction for us (1 Corinthians 16:1-2 Now concerning the collection for the saints…

    Russ: Second Corinthians 8 and 9 and First Corinthians 16 are more contextual examples of freewill sacrificial giving. They are not about tithing to support gospel workers or pay for buildings.

    Wesley: So what is the take home from all of this?
    1. This church should be ashamed of itself. They should be caring for this 80 year old sister instead of troubling her.

    Russ: 1 Tim 5:8 "But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." Yes. They should not be telling the poor, sick, elderly widow to (falsely) give tithes first as firstfruits before buying medicine and food. Tithes never were the same as firstfruits.

    Wesley: 2. NT giving because it is grace led must exceed OT giving to comply with the spirit of the teaching of the Lord in the Sermon on the Mount.

    Russ: There is no principle to exceed for those non-food producers who lived among Paul's Gentile converts outside of Israel. Such attempts to tithe were illegal.

    Wesley: 3. Our giving should be systematic and orderly in proportion to God's blessing of us which will require the use of percentages as was demonstrated by Israel. Since we do not live in a barter society we will have to use money.

    Russ: The word "money" occurs 44 times in the Bible before the word "tithe." And money was essential for sanctuary worship --yet money was never included in 16 texts which describe the contents of the tithe.

    Wesley: 4. Christians should be more willing to give in excess of 10% regularly to the church that cares for their souls than to give additional tax dollars to the government to care for their bodies.

    Russ: According to 2nd Corinthians 8:12-15, this is true of many Christians. However some are giving sacrificially even though giving LESS than ten per cent.

    Wesley: My personal testimony is … God has always blessed richly because we are not paying a tithe but worshiping the Lord with a worthy offering.

    Russ: Doctrine is not based on personal testimony. You are to be commended because of your generous freewill giving but that does not prove that you are being blessed because of tithing. God is now operating on New Covenant promises and conditions. You most like have been motivated to better yourself. However many sincere God-fearing "tithers" in the ghettos have been giving for generations and remain in deep poverty. Only testimonies of the financially blessed is ever heard from the pulpits.

    www.tithing-russkelly.com

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  21. Thanks Brother Wesley for your testimony and your insight on this sensitive subject. I also believe in tithing and have written about it extensively on my blog. As a result I have been labeled "liar, ignorant and thief" by those who believe in "grace."

    For some reason that just doesn't fit with the Old or the New Testaments. A gracious person would allow a different opinion without maligning the person who holds it.

    As for the elderly lady, the New Testament allows for the use of tithes to take care of such needy members. The church in question apparently got it wrong but it is a shame that one bad example is used to cast doubt on the offerings of God's people, tithes or otherwise.

    We'll never know how much good has been done with these offerings till we get to heaven since churches don't usually advertise the many things done to help the needy. There certainly aren't any agencies polling them to keep the record. In spite of Mr. Kelly's comments, offerings are still holy, tithe or not.

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  22. Thanks Brother Wesley for your testimony and your insight on this sensitive subject. I also believe in tithing and have written about it extensively on my blog. As a result I have been labeled "liar, ignorant and thief" by those who believe in "grace."

    For some reason that just doesn't fit with the Old or the New Testaments. A gracious person would allow a different opinion without maligning the person who holds it.

    As for the elderly lady, the New Testament allows for the use of tithes to take care of such needy members. The church in question apparently got it wrong but it is a shame that one bad example is used to cast doubt on the offerings of God's people, tithes or otherwise.

    We'll never know how much good has been done with these offerings till we get to heaven since churches don't usually advertise the many things done to help the needy. There certainly aren't any agencies polling them to keep the record. In spite of Mr. Kelly's comments, offerings are still holy, tithe or not.

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  23. Now for NT giving. It would certainly have to exceed OT giving to comply with the spirit of this passage. Do we find any examples of this. Sure we do in the book of Acts we see them giving all and their giving is done at the church in Jerusalem not according to their own discretion and then distribution was made from the church to those within the church who were in need. How about 2 Corinthians 8 which displays a fabulous example of selfless giving even though the people were in deep poverty themselves. Verse 7 seems to establish a basis for the giving these NT saints were practicing (2 Corinthians 8:7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.) They were seeking to abound in the grace of giving as they had abounded in all the other graces. The NT also teaches systematic giving much like that of the OT. First Corinthians 16:1-2 has the following direction for us (1 Corinthians 16:1-2 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.) I know that this is speaking of their giving for the care of other needy churches but it seems pretty systematic. It is given the first day of every week and it is given as the Lord has prospered them. I don't know of any way to systematically give as the Lord prospers you without using a percentage of your income.

    So what is the take home from all of this?
    1. This church should be ashamed of itself. They should be caring for this 80 year old sister instead of troubling her.
    2. NT giving because it is grace led must exceed OT giving to comply with the spirit of the teaching of the Lord in the Sermon on the Mount.
    3. Our giving should be systematic and orderly in proportion to God's blessing of us which will require the use of percentages as was demonstrated by Israel. Since we do not live in a barter society we will have to use money.
    4. Christians should be more willing to give in excess of 10% regularly to the church that cares for their souls than to give additional tax dollars to the government to care for their bodies.

    My personal testimony is that I began to give 10% when I was still lost because of what the Bible teaches and because I knew that the church would have expenses to maintain a meeting facility. After being saved I increased my giving to about 15% regularly because I realized that there was also a need for materials for evangelism and money for benevolent ministries. As I have matured in the faith my family and I now give in excess of 30% off of my gross income. We have had to make some lifestyle adjustments and some personal concessions but Christ gave His life for the church so I have no problem giving some niceties of life in order for the church to effectively evangelize, disciple, and minister to humanity. God has always blessed richly because we are not paying a tithe but worshiping the Lord with a worthy offering. For the record my wife and I have 16 children of which 4 are adults and 3 live outside of our home. I guess this giving has been easy for us because like the saints in 2 Corinthians 8 we first gave ourselves then it naturally followed that we would give our money instead of consuming it upon ourselves.

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  24. The 10% was holy as part of the Old Covenant in which hundreds of other things were holy but the church has discarded as purely for OT Israel. They only kept tithing and conveniently threw out rest of the holy and most things as irrelevant. In order to be a holy tithe it must be (1) only food from inside Israel, (2) only increased by God's miracle and (3) only to support OT Levites and priests. None of this exists in the New Covenant.

    How will the work of the Lord continue? The same way it continued during the book of Acts. (1) freewill generous sacrificial joyful offerings motivated by love for God and love for lost souls. (2) Churches that stress personal evangelism and preach eternal hell rather than water down the gospel. (3) Obeying New Covenant post-Calvary giving principles.

    Don't assume that gospel preachers must be full time. That was not the pattern during the book of Acts nor did Paul commend it in Acts 20:29-35 and 1 Cor 9:7-19.

    Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
    www.tithing-russkelly.com

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  25. This is a total shame! I can't understand, for the life of me, why so many preachers are so quick to say that Jesus did away with everything in the Old Testament when He died on the cross, but then turn around and drag up tithing, which is only mentioned 1 time in the New Testament, and even then, was simply based on an observation by Jesus of a practice of the Pharisees (now what does that say about all these preachers who are promoting this whole tithing business).


    This is the very reason why I always decline whenever my pastor tries to get me to do the "offering appeal" in church. People are going to give what they feel led to give, irregardless of what you say and how you say it. Anyway, aren't they supposed to giving it unto the Lord? Well then, it seems to me that He ought to be the one raising a complaint about those who don't give. What a person gives is simply a matter between that individual and God. No one else has any right to criticize and scrutinize another person's giving.


    I pray that God will have mercy on this pastor's soul, because he is going to have to give an account for tormenting this poor, elderly woman's soul with such an abominable doctrine. The Bible commands us as Christians to care for the poor, widows and orphans, not take advantage of them for our own gain.

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