What is one of the crazy things Christians believe?
That their church is a storehouse—you know, like for grain.
Here’s my story and then some common sense Bible refutation of this unbiblical belief.
For very many years of my early walk with Jesus, I was taught that Christians should bring their tithes into the storehouse. God was upset when the people of God didn’t do this. They were robbing Him by not tithing. This well-known teaching originated from this passage in Malachi.
“Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the LORD of hosts. Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:8–12). 1
This is a golden passage for churches and their pastors. Why?
Think about it.
First of all, the Lord accuses His people of robbing Him because they’re not tithing. Robbing God is a pretty serious charge, don’t you think? But the pastor doesn’t need to say much or shake an accusing finger after reading this text in order to make people feel guilty about not putting their ten percent into the offering plate. He’s just reading what is right there in plain sight. Mr./Mrs./Ms. Christian, you are robbing God by not tithing. Therefore, since not tithing is robbing God (but not his church), he’s free from any appearance that he or his organization is greedy for some more money.
The solution to this terrible robbery of God that you’re doing? Bring the full tithe into the storehouse.
There. Just do that and guilt disappears. Boom. You’re obedient. God is happy.
But that’s not all. This is a win-win proposition.
You give your ten percent and the windows of heaven will open and the Lord will pour out a huge blessing on you. He will rebuke the devourer for you. The vines in your field shall not fail to bear. All nations will call you blessed because you’ll be a land of delight.
Much is needed in a discussion about tithing, and posts exist on this site and many others that deal with it. Primary among the arguments against it are that Christians are not obligated to be obedient to Old Testament civil and ceremonial laws. However, having addressed that issue before, I will not address it here. There is just one question I want to ask:
Seriously, Christians, how in the world did we reach the conclusion that the church is a storehouse? It’s a crazy thing to believe.
We know what a church is, right? How many times have we been told for many, many years that the church is not a building, it’s people? And the purpose of Christians gathering is for the strengthening and encouraging of the saints, through teaching, care, and the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit. To take Communion together. To baptize believers. To worship and glorify God—not for storing things. Feel free to do a search in your concordance. There are over one hundred verses where the word “church” appears. When one tries substitute the word “building” for the word “church,” it’s humorous at times. Here’s just one example: “For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1 Corinthians 15:9).
Paul persecuted a building?
Maybe it was a storehouse. Maybe Paul persecuted a storehouse.
So, shouldn’t it be obvious that people are not a place for storing things? Somehow—and this is on me for swallowing this goofy idea hook, line, and sinker—that the word “storehouse” was synonymous with the word “church.”
But let’s give our teachers the benefit of the doubt. Although they knew and even taught that the church isn’t a building but a people, they, in their ignorance, just kinda fuzzily morphed the idea of church=people into church=building—like I did.
Funny how that happens when money is involved.
I’m not sure how that came to be, but it did. Weird, isn’t it, how I just accepted the teaching that the church apparently was a people in some cases but a building/storehouse in others.? And I didn’t bother to ask, “What’s stored in the building/church/storehouse? Chairs? Tables? Styrofoam cups?”
No, of course not. Agricultural products.
In next week’s post, we’ll look at what the Lord really meant when He said He wanted tithes brought into the storehouse.
1All Scirpture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society).