Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Free Markets (26) - Tithing Trumps Compassion

The modern church has not done well at compassion, because its own needs come first. Running the modern church is really expensive, so tithing to support the pastor-manager and maintain the church system has become the top priority.

Tithing to the church has become the accepted standard for giving. This is sad, because tithing is easy. Once the money has been given to the church, the believer’s responsibility is complete. Helping someone who is poor is more difficult. They will need training and guidance. The responsibility is not complete until they poor person has escaped from poverty.

Theologians worrying about the limitations of free markets should be teaching churches how to shift wealth from the rich to the poor, and how to help the poor escape from poverty. Unfortunately, most church leaders teach more about tithing than caring for the poor. Paul was different. He never mentions tithing to the church, but wrote incessantly about giving and sharing.

Bill Gates recently gave a large chunk of his wealth into a foundation that is committed to helping the poor people of Africa. I am glad that he is not a Christian. If he were a Christian, his pastor would be advising him to tithe, build a ten thousand seater auditorium and setup a Christian television station.

Great Wealth Transfer
Many church leaders are looking for a great wealth transfer. Most prophecies suggest that this wealth will be transferred from the world to the church. God is not interested in giving more wealth to the church. He does not need larger auditoriums, more professional pastors or, television ministries. God wants more “living letters” from which the world can read the gospel.

You yourselves are our letter….. known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ…. written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts (2 Cor 3:2-3).
Living letters do need huge tithes. They do not require large wealth transfers. The great wealth transfer that God is seeking is a transfer from the rich to the poor. This flood of wealth will not be complete until equality is achieved.

No comments: