RELIGIOUS LAS VEGAS XXV: God, Tithe and the Church! (Part 1)

Posted: August 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

 

By Olumide G. Adeyinka

 

In the next few essays of mine, I will delve into a very sensitive part of the Church and ministry life that will nonetheless make me a victim of vicious attack from members of the pulpit and the pews in the Church. I have no choice, since my ultimate loyalty is to God and Christ Jesus my savior. I have friends to lose and some to gain, but that in itself is not important. I will remain loyal to God and my commitment to expose the errors and the wrongs in the Church of Christ, not minding the popular acceptability of it. I am not a pioneer of what I am standing for in this stride, but I am going to be as exhaustive as life and knowledge can afford me. Let me first of all ask that strife should not attend this writings. I have no greater ambition than to see the truth of the gospel dispense in the right aroma of God’s intent. This is not targeted at anybody or denomination but an attempt to infuse some truth into the very popular discourse. I challenge all Pastors to look into issues raised here and address tithe or tithing in the best interest of the truth and Christ!

 

There is no bigger error of judgment, no bigger error of intent, no bigger error of commission, no bigger error of omission, no bigger error of interpretation, no bigger error of sound doctrine, simply, there is no bigger absolute error in the Church of Christ than the issue of tithe and tithing as being religiously practiced and preached in the Church of our days. I was ordained a Pastor in the early part of the 90s, pastored some Churches, paid tithes and have collected tithes too. I have done it all, when it comes to ministry and tithe or tithing. I believed it as I grew up in the Church and so I practiced it. I sincerely believe in God, and so His words. So I did what I was told without questioning anything for a long time, because, tithe or tithing is said to be out of rational human and constructive verification. “You cannot question God neither can you understand the mysteries of tithing” was the popular mantra behind the drivel of the casuistic and very cosseted argument to keep error in the rings of divine compulsion just to satisfy surreptitious practices. The capricious countenance that goes with any contrary opinion, even when justifiable evidence and clear-cut positions are advanced, is not only strange but suggest there are hidden agenda around the message of tithe. The hebetudes, the lassitude and the simplicity of the folly with which the pew buys into it almost foreclosed the case for sanity. The truth is, the congregations are frazzled! Nobody wants to be seen as a rebel or be addressed as ‘anti-Christ’, so everyone just dance around the topic even though many are not convinced of its legitimacy. I am ready to be called names, probably taken for a lost soul or a problem for the practices of the church. I am more than convinced I have a mandate to join other voices and make what seems too muddled up clear, and at least present a good opportunity for some people to understand the topic of tithe or tithing.

 

I am not against raising enough money in the Church to meet obligations and perform the task of evangelism and outreaches. I am not fighting against the idea of having everyone within a congregation contribute his or her quota to meet the needs of the vision set for such congregants. I know the Churches, especially the evangelicals, have very tall dreams of showing off. It is in our message of “manifestations of the sons of God”. We have the wrong notion that mundane activities are part of the spiritual necessities of a Church that Christ will come for as a bride. In that quest, a lot of what drives the Church are worldly undertakings that makes finances always unavailable, and then makes certain ungodly and menacing messages of the compulsion of tithes, and what offerings should be, unavoidable. I have heard it all, and probably have said it all. The difference between my today and my past is that I came to a point in my search for the truth where it does not matter what I was told and heard, there is a need to check, and bury my head to ascertain what the truth is through God’s word. I have just come to believe in Christ much more than man and his understandings. I came to a point where I no longer clap and get excited anyhow, not by the preachments of a Bishop or a Pope. My confidence is no longer in the flesh, neither is my trust nor loyalty. I have not stopped respecting those that deserved it, no, not at all. I diligently paid my tithes in those days and believed what man told me and shown me in the Bible, but I did not apply my heart to wisdom, neither did I challenged my doubts even though I had plenty of it then. I just did what I was told to do and was expecting the reward of obedience for years and years, and it was like my heart was heavy every time I did what I was told. That wasn’t a right feeling to have in obedience. I couldn’t find peace even though it was the ‘right’ thing to do then. My heart rends and my soul was searching for how to please my God. I had a thirst and an eternal hunger within me like a shallow lake will envy a flowing river. I was empty, was dry, was tormented, was harassed, was intimidated, was tortured, was threatened, was pushed, was made obsequious of man, sometimes roguishly offended, and always feeling empty even though I thought I was doing the right thing. There was a serious need in my bosom, but then I could not discover or define it then. I just knew something was sincerely amiss! I was giving my tithes with all joy and all religious compulsion with a mix of feelings difficult to define. It was like the more I do it the less I find solace in doing what was right. Then in the late 90s and the early 2000s, some more strange messages started to come around about giving God tithes of 90% of what you owned. I thought may be God wanted me to do more and give more, so I can have peace that I have done what was required. I tried to do a little above the 10%, and it was getting worse. Remember, this was a choice I made out of no compulsion but certainly influenced or indoctrinated by the new messages I have heard (not so much of enforcement but of the drivel of assertiveness). The more I try to do what was ‘right’ the more I sink down in the abyss of emptiness of my soul. The first call of wisdom ran through my mind sometime in 2005, when I realized God was worth much more than my money and the money of all men put together. I started listening to messages on tapes, TV, in Churches, videos etc, and started to listen more attentively and pay enough attention to the driving force behind the message much more than what was preached by man about God. I then saw the subtility of the love for money behind many a message.

 

 After every great message on hope, after every great message on faith, or the beatitudes of the virtues humanity should possess, after every sound doctrines of humility, righteousness, redemption, salvation and brotherliness in a world of self, then comes a few minutes when all that was good was poisoned with the short message on giving. Whoever takes the offering and tithe comes with a big sledge and brake to pieces great messages by simply summarizing all the good stuff with tithe as the only way to show your accountability to God. I found it almost everywhere, and it occurs to me that the timing for taking money was strategically opposing to what one can relate to in the scriptures. It was always after a sound message, and then it is “offering time and blessing time”. In the days of the Bible, offerings are first made before any other mandatory services of the tabernacle are done. That in itself is not an abomination, but just an interesting one to note.

 

All kinds of threat are used to get everyone give, sometimes people do it beyond their means, not out of trust but obedience to the collector. Tithe is said to be what you must set aside, must not be touched and it should be minimum of 10%. It is to protect what you have, something like a comprehensive insurance premium. Offerings are raised as something well beyond the tithe because that is how God will approve of your love and affection to Him. So they expect a minimum of 20% of all income of the congregations into the offering box to be used for sundry matters outside God or His treasured possessions. It is very possible to misunderstand my writings as of a man that is mad or jealous or rebellious to the Church as a whole, especially in regards to money in the Church. I have no problems with money in the Church, but I have a big problem with two things. How the money gets to the Church and how the money is spent on behalf of God who was the means of the collection effort.

 

At this point, I had some peace in my heart. It was like I found a new gold on my ground. Joy of the Lord sprang from my heart but I also knew it was not full. I started feeling a little free in my soul and it was obvious there was so much more to find out. So I started to research very vastly on tithe. Why? How? Where? When? What? I was so determined to get the truth, and it will not matter where it falls, will be my pride possession forever as the truth. I had to listen to both sides of the argument first without doing a private and very exhaustive study myself. Both sides seem to make good peripheral arguments on the perimeters of the doctrine of tithe. I then decided to ask God to empower me do my own study and guide me through with understanding and wisdom.

 

There were eternal truths revealed by God’s word, and from His word I gleaned a lot beyond my search. God needed my attention, and so something that detoured me in life happened as a result of the answer to my prayers to God. I wanted to know God with all my heart. God saw it and I have never been the same ever since. I am not bitter about the detour of life, as it has enabled me to see beyond my envisaged dream and push me to a realm I would have never thought I would be in life. Honestly, if I had continued with the way I know and was taught ministry, by now I would have been one of those prowling around in big cloak of error. God gave me a dose of what it takes to be effective in such pursuit, but somehow God allowed something to happen to me, which has changed my perspective of life and ministry. Please do understand that I am not claiming perfection of any sort. My flesh would not allow that, but grace has given that to me in Christ. I am a man full of his own errors but speak of the little I have come to know of my God. If you had been reading my essays on the Church in the last few years, you would be tempted to feel I am above errors myself. No, I am not. I simply strive to be better day after day, but there is a fire burning in my soul for the Church of Christ and the nations on earth.

 

To my co-minister of the gospel, my seniors and juniors (if there is anything like that), to those who have been a blessing to me along the way, those who have contributed to make a part of the person I am today, please do not see my writings in the past as an effrontery but as a point to have all of us see where we have missed it. My intent is not to placard the Church into a new truth, the truth is older than all of us put together. I believe the error of tithe and tithing has hindered the Church from getting a robust harvest of latter day saints, harvest of God’s influence on the heart of men and women to give what they have willingly and beyond the vision we all have for God on earth. The mordancy and acerbity with which we carry along errors in the face of very obvious contradictory facts and truth, is repulsively malignant, atrociously enslaving, perfidiously recalcitrant to the truth of the gospel of Christ. Please and please, let us return to the center of our calling and build trust in God as the only supplier of the needs of the vision He has given us. To trust and boast in men to supply our needs is against what we preach and how we should live. I am pleading by the grace of our Lord that we come back home and retrace our steps. No one gets the glory but God, not even this stench of a flesh – me.

 

Peace and grace to all.

 

Olumide G. Adeyinka can be reached at nigardgroup@yahoo.com  

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