I have been a born-again Christian for many years and so I have seen how preaching in evangelical circles has evolved. When I became saved, pastors preached mainly about how to live a life that was pleasing to the Lord. However, a few years after I became a Christian, the tune of preaching started changing. Pastors were now teaching, imploring and cajoling church members to give, give and give some more. I have even heard of some churches having facilities for members to swipe their credit cards.
I believe in giving tithe and offerings to your local church. Why? Because the pastor has to be paid a salary for his livelihood, church bills have to be paid and the needy have to be helped by the church. I have no problem with pastors teaching about the blessings of giving and why we should give. However, I have a problem with how some do this as follows:
1. Getting members to give no matter what, even if they have to swipe their credit cards .
2. Threatening and scaring church members that God will not bless them unless they give the pastor more, more and more still. A person who does not research or know their Bible well will be duped into giving in one way or another.
3. Telling members that the more you give, the more God will bless them.
4. Preaching that the best way to see whether one is blessed and how much faith they have is through how much material things they have. Both points are lies. How many people (e.g. child molesters) are financially successful in spite of their wickedness?
5. Many pastors preach that you only need to have faith in God and give to the church and all your financial problems will be solved. What happened to the other part that we shall eat after working hard (Genesis 3:19 paraphrased)? Why are church members not told to simply go back to school, improve themselves and then work hard in order to have ‘better’ lives?
I used to give – a lot – when a preacher played on my emotions, but I have stopped. I started giving my tithe and regular offerings and needed extra offers (e.g. repair of church roof) without listening to pastors who sent me on guilt trips in order to get more out of me.
The Bible says we should give cheerfully and I doubt that giving our of fear is being cheerful. I believe that expensive gifts from people who are mentally incapacitated should not be received without their guardian’s knowledge. I say so because a close friend who had a mental breakdown gave all her furniture to the Church and then her family had to step in to help her. Her church was nowhere to be seen and did not help her in her time of need.
People should be taught to give responsibly and people should also learn to read their Bibles on their own and use their own logic before resources are taken from them.