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Would a Christian pastor or leader ever deceive people in order to accumulate wealth for his church?

For many of those reading this, that has probably already happened.

But what did Jesus and the New Testament authors teach about riches?

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If tithing to the Church is not a binding principle for Christians, to whom, then, should we give?

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In this blog’s series on Christian giving, I attempted to present the biblical truth that riches have a negative, not positive, effect on the Church.

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P1030504In the last post, we looked at the giving statement of a well-known mega-church. The opinion put forth in that article was that many Christians have an inaccurate, even unbiblical, idea about Christian giving because the Church has offered very confusing teaching about this topic. In this post, we’ll look at the giving statement of another very large mega-church and try to determine the biblical truths that support their giving statement. As before, the text has been copied and pasted, with no editing.

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P1030504The last post ended with this question: “Why do Christians give to churches?” I think most church-goers cannot provide a clearly thought-out biblical answer to this question. The minds of my brothers and sisters, sincere and faithful believers in Jesus, are infused with a mish-mash of misapplied beliefs and traditions, patch-worked together with vague biblical statements they have learned through the years—from churches using a mish-mash of misapplied beliefs and traditions, patch-worked together with vague biblical statements. After reading this post, I think you will begin to understand why Christians’ perceptions about giving to the church are so clouded.

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P1030504The questions asked throughout this series on Christian giving have been along this line: “Since Jesus taught that riches are deceitful and actually make it extremely difficult for people to enter His kingdom, why do our churches present themselves as prosperous? Isn’t that a dangerous thing to do?” These are very good questions and should be asked. After all, James asked a good question himself about wealth: “Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? (James 2:5).1 This gathering of wealth is a peculiar response for God’s people to make in light of these biblical truths, and it becomes more peculiar the deeper we dig into Scripture.

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P1030504In this series about Christian giving, two New Testament passages have been offered to prove that riches deceive believers and are detrimental to our spiritual growth:

  1. “And Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God’” (Matthew 19:23–24).1
  2. “As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22).

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P1030504In the last two posts, this author has attempted to posit that, according to Scripture, wealth has a negative, even dangerous, influence on the Church. The first article ended with this statement: “The pervasive influence of wealth in the Church has resulted in a systematized tendency toward spiritual poverty.” However, we should ask, “Why is there a systematized tendency toward spiritual poverty in the Church?” Here are a couple of things to consider.

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P1030504

In the article posted here two weeks ago, entitled I Have Been Misled About Christian Giving–and It Is My Fault, As Well, I expressed my concern about the dangerous effect of money and power in the Church. This distress is based upon Jesus’ explanation of the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:18-23. These conclusions seem obvious regarding His teaching about the third seed:

  1. Riches are deceitful. Corollary one: Wealth can be a spiritual enemy. Corollary two: I am a fool if I don’t think I have been deceived by riches.
  2. The cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches cause the seeds that Jesus disperses, not to die, but to be unfruitful.

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P1030504As a Christian, I have been misled about giving money. I hurl no accusations here. All the people I have known throughout the years who have taught me either formally or informally have been, as far as I know, good Christian folks. Therefore, I am going to chalk up this misinformation to ignorance—mine included. After all, I believed it all and didn’t bother to check what I’d heard against Scripture. For that, I have asked the Lord’s forgiveness. My ignorance was stunning. It’s embarrassing.

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