Cheryl is a poet, freelance writer, author, and former newspaper columnist. She has degrees in Psychology and Biblical studies
Don''t be kept in the dark
This article is not to discourage anyone from attending Sunday services or tithing. This information is to inform so that should you find yourself in certain situations you will have appropriate answers.
Believer in Christ, need honest answers regarding what is taking place in many congregations. It is unfortunate but there are some issues where the answers you need will not come from the pulpit. This is why you need the Holy Spirit to alert you to false doctrine. When you are indoctrinated each week with the same propaganda you may accept it as true. It helps to know that others have experienced the same thing and that you are not alone. You don't have to be in the dark because the Holy Spirit will lead you into the light of truth and bring confirmation.
1. Jesus and His views on prosperity
Prosperity preachers say that Jesus talked about money more than any other subject. Congregants wrongly assume this makes it OK to listen to messages every week about how you should be a millionaire. Jesus did speak about money in parables in order to make spiritual principles, but pay attention to what He said when directly addressing the rich.
Matthew 25:45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
Jesus said to help the least of these. He never said to make preachers rich. He also said that a man's value is not in material possessions but you may be hearing from the pulpit that your pastor needs to own a specific type of vehicle, or that the church should help him get a home in a certain neighborhood.
Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
You will hear from the pulpit that you need wealth to represent Christ, but He said your value is not in material possession.
2. A personal walk with Christ outside of the church building
Some pastors today care more about filling the seats than leading people to Christ. You will hear how you need to be in the building every time the door is opened. Emphasis is on the needs of the church rather than letting your light shine once you leave the service. If you feel as if you are being guilted into service within the four walls, you probably are. Your personal walk with the Lord includes every day of the week and not just Sunday and midweek service, In Mark 16 and Matthew 28 Jesus said to go into all the world and make disciples. He never said build a brick and mortar structure and fill the building with paying customers.
3. The truth about tithing
I suggest that everyone do their own comprehensive research into tithing because if you don't you may find yourself basing your relationship with Christ on a dime. The short version is that tithe in Biblical times were products from the ground and giving money was a choice. When Jesus discussed the widow's mite He said she gave all she had and the Pharisees gave a portion of their abundance. (Mark 12:41-44, Luke 21:1-4), There is no Biblical precedent when it comes to giving money except II Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
Your giving cannot be cheerful if you are being threatened with the curse of not tithing, Your pastor may know and understand that Malachi chapter 3 was written to unscrupulous priests and not addressing the children of Israel, but: He or she may be enforcing tithing as a way to keep the money flowing so the budget will be met and he will maintain his salary. Whether you give 1 percent or 50 percent of your income is between you and the Lord.
4. Honesty related to church attendance
The thief on the cross received salvation because of his faith, period. He was a criminal and had not lived a righteous life, Christians in third world nations are experiencing churches being torn down, prayer bans, confiscation of Bibles and death. In American churches, Christians are told that showing up for church services is proof of their faith. People sitting in the building, giving tithes, working faithfully and pleasing the pastor does not indicate they have a strong personal relationship with Christ outside of the building. Your name on the church roll will not get you into heaven but your name can be in the Lambs book of life without setting foot in a church.
Be ware of pastors giving you teasers in sermons and saying if you want the rest you must show up for the midweek service or come back the next Sunday. This is a ploy to get you to attend an additional service and give in the offering.
5. Facts about financial sowing and reaping
From the pulpit, you will hear that what you sow you reap and what you make happen for your pastor, God will make happen for you. When those in the congregation have given for years without receiving the promised reward and ask questions here is what they are told.
1. You didn't give your full tithe.
2. You must have missed a spiritual principle.
3. Your faith is not strong..
4. You haven't sown enough seeds into your leader.
5. You have bitterness in your heart.
When you hear these things week after week, you begin to believe them.
When my family attended one prosperity preaching church, my oldest son asked me why I, myself, and other women were not receiving the promised financial reward and the first lady was. He said that the first lady did not attend noonday prayer, intercessory prayer, leadership meetings or clean the church as was required of leaders. He said that I and other women did all that and so much more and we were all struggling financially.
I replied: Our family lived as we did because if my husband wanted $20,000 he had to go to work for an entire year and earn it. If the first lady's husband wants $20,000 he can have a preacher raise it for him in one service. If sowing and reaping worked as it is being taught there would be no need for fundraising services.
The Bible points you towards a relationship with Christ and not making a pastor rich. This is why you won’t get honest answers from some pulpits regarding these matters. Churches need money to run but lies do not have be to be told in order to obtain the necessary finances.
Truth sets free
Misleading teaching will have church members feeling guilty because they miss a service or cannot give what is being asked for. The truth will free you to develop a relationship with Him that is not bound by manmade rules. When services were shut down because of COVID this should have opened everyone's eyes that God didn't curse anyone who was not attending service or tithing. No one was punished because they could not perform their duties in the building. If you have a good and loving shepherd then please thank the Lord. If anything you have read here applies to you then pray for His direction. Remember that church is about salvation of lost souls and not making anyone a millionaire.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Cheryl E Preston
Cheryl E Preston (author) from Roanoke on February 16, 2020:
Yes so true
OLUSEGUN from NIGERIA on February 16, 2020:
"When you are being indoctrinated each week with the same false propaganda you may accept it as true." It is said that liars continue to lie so that it becomes part and parcel of listeners and afterwards would become accepted as the truth in the society.
Cheryl E Preston (author) from Roanoke on February 14, 2020:
Thank you so much for reading and commenting.
Lorna Lamon on February 14, 2020:
You provided some invaluable answers to questions I have often pondered over. I grew up in Ireland and fear seemed to be the weapon of choice in our church. Eventually I walked away as I could never come to terms with the total hypocrisy of it all. I believe that my relationship with God is purely personal and you don't have to be in Church to prove this. Thank you for an enlightening article Cheryl, which makes sense to me.
Carolyn Fields from South Dakota, USA on February 13, 2020:
I've been reading "Conversations with God" by Neale Walsch. So much of what we are "taught" in formal Church settings is the work of man - not of God.
Faith and love are all we truly need.
Cheryl E Preston (author) from Roanoke on February 13, 2020:
Margaret Minnicks from Richmond, VA on February 13, 2020:
Great article, Cheryl. Thanks for sharing!