Another Regrettable Example of Coerced Tithing

I don’t believe in mandatory tithing. See my post on the topic from January 2017 here. I think it’s very wrong for pastors to appropriate a law meant strictly for ancient Israel and impose it on the church, but of course it’s obvious why they do it.

The only standard for giving in the New Testament is found in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7:

“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

I really don’t wish to go through my arguments against coerced tithing that I stated in my January 2017 post. So why do I bring it up again?

While my wife was in the hospital a couple of weeks ago, a Christian couple who are good friends came up to visit her. The conversation eventually turned to their church. For several years, the pastor and elder board have been contemplating purchasing or building a larger facility. One of the local YMCA* branches (photo above) is moving into a new facility and the pastor would like to purchase the old “Y” and convert it into the “new” church building. The purchase of this large complex and the subsequent renovations will require a massive amount of money. The pastor addressed the membership and told them that many of them are disobedient because they currently do not tithe and he is compelling…er…”asking” them to make a commitment to begin tithing immediately to support the purchase and renovation of the YMCA property.

This is so wrong. Giving to the Lord’s work is surely a privilege and a blessing, but using coercion and making the Old Testament law of tithing mandatory is un-Biblical. Pastors drive people away and lay unnecessary guilt trips on people with this type of un-Biblical, heavy-handed manipulation.

The short article below offers a very helpful perspective on tithing:

Does God require me to give a tithe of all I earn?
Pastor John MacArthur, Grace to You

*It’s quite strange that the YMCA – Young Men’s Christian Association – still uses that name. The organization moved away from any kind of connection to Christianity many decades ago.

33 thoughts on “Another Regrettable Example of Coerced Tithing

  1. We left a church one of the many reasons being because of a similar situation as this- they went from being an “old fashion” church to a church that all of the sudden wanted over a million 💵 to build on! There are many people that go there – it entertains not convicts- that was how my husband and I are starting to feel… I could go on and on…

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thanks, Beth. These building programs often take on a life of their own and in many cases become idolatrous, in which the building becomes THE THING. No doubt a church does need a building, but there’s great opportunity for the flesh to enter into these building programs. There’s much temptation to emulate the world in many ways, especially these days with the popularity of the “church-growth” movement and the switch to entertainment worship that you refer to.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. She’s doing well, thanks Beth! I’m able to work from home this week to help her. She has two physical therapists coming daily, but it will probably be a couple of months before she can go back to work. We thank the Lord for the care and healing he has provided and we’re grateful for everyone’s prayers!

        Liked by 3 people

  2. That is a sad story to hear, Tom. Do I think Christians should give financially and support the local ministry, relief of the poor, and missions? Absolutely I do. I will flat out say that to have the resources to give, and not give, is basically thumbing one’s nose in God’s face. Having said that, it clearly remains a matter of individual conscience, as there is nothing to indicate a mandatory tithe. I personally like that as a place to start, as it builds in me the discipline of giving. But, that’s me.

    You know about 7 years ago, we built a new building. Buildings are not cheap, as you know I am sure. We certainly could never afford a turnkey operation, so we relied on Mission Builders and such to do the actual work. Despite that, we still incurred an almost $250,000 note to get that thing built. 26 months, Tom. That is how fast that note got paid. Not once did the subject ever come up publically. No one asked for additional giving, and certainly, no one applied pressure. People just did it. That, my friend, is a testimony to a giving church. Oh, and during the time this was going on, we actually voted to send support to two additional missionaries, and raise our support to one. 

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks for weighing in on this, Wally, and providing some good testimony from your church! Yes, I am thrilled to write a check out to our church every Sunday to support the Lord’s work. What a privilege it is to be a part of the Lord’s Gospel outreach to our city.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Ok – first, excellent post! My grandma lived on social security until the day she died penniless. I inherited the only two things of value she had, a family Bible and pearl earrings. Her pastor was constantly ranting to the two dozen members in his church about not giving enough. My grandma was a very sweet woman who didn’t want credit or tax exemptions for her tithe so she gave without filling out the cards. She was treated as if she wasn’t tithing, even though she always did. I can still remember her crying about it. At the same time, my grandpa won’t set foot in a church or hear the Gospel, due to the fact that he views churches as businesses. This is a very serious topic, I so appreciate you dealing with it! I have other family members who have been taught that if they don’t tithe they’re robbing God, and will not receive any blessings. Both of those are wrong motives for giving to the Church. This post was such a blessing to read!
    Second – I had no idea that’s what YMCA stands for! I learn so much from you, brother. God bless you! I’m praying daily for your wife to have a swift recovery.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sister, thanks so much for your good and gracious comments! Unfortunately, there have been so many people who have been turned off to the Gospel or, if saved, turned off to discipleship because of the pastor’s insistence on tithing. Many Christians who do attend church are made to live in a constant state of guilt because they do not tithe. Thanks for sharing details from your family. Such a shame.
      Thanks so much for your prayers for my wife! She is doing well, thank you!
      Yes, I have read a bit about the secularization of the YMCA over the years. It paralleled the gradual liberalization of the mainline Protestant denominations. I would like to write a post about the secularization of the YMCA someday.
      Thanks for the encouragement, sister! Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I look forward to a post on the YMCA, brother! It seems like a good symbol of warning to us all, compromise is a slippery slope. I’m so thankful to hear your wife is doing well. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, sister! Yup, the YMCA is symbolic of once-solid ministries compromising their way to absolute uselessness. Thanks for thinking of and praying for my wife! She wants to get up off the couch and clean, clean, clean but her leg is putting the kibosh on that. Unlike me, she has a hard time just sitting on the couch.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I personally give well beyond the tithe. I don’t think it is right for the pastor to coerce to give. It is unbiblical. I’m sorry to hear this…I have seen many pastors change their theology in giving when suddenly they get concern about church building. This ought not be.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. In my church I rarely preach on giving. I feel God has been faithful that as I minister to people where they are at in their lives, preach the Gospel both accurately and faithfully and also live out the Christian life in my small church God has led people to give sacrifically. I am deeply humbled by it. I hope and pray I never will strong-arm tactic the church into giving. God has been faithful and have provided what we need and not always what we want.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, Jimmy. I appreciate your pastoral perspective on this. I had to learn the joy of giving on my own because my three pastors previous to the current one tried to shame people into giving by imposing the tithe.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. A few weeks ago I almost walked out of the Church service when the Pastor was telling the congregation that God will curse them if they didn’t bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that they were robbing God. And then he continued to sponge Malachi 3/8-12 .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Crissy. I am really revolted when I hear a sermon from a pastor clubbing the membership over the head with Old Testament tithing. It’s so wrong. Yup, they always invoke Malachi 3. I believe many pastors know full well that tithing is no longer the standard, but they preach it anyway because it’s been an acceptable part of church culture for so long and they hope it might motivate people to give. I think if pastors scaled back worldly building programs and taught joyous giving as in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, they’d actually attract and retain more contributing members.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There is no fear of God in these pastors and their congregations don’t study the Word of God . Thank you Tom. Blessings to you and your family.

        Liked by 1 person

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