Saturday, January 27, 2018

Nigerian Charismaniac pastor claims that church members have an obligation to tithe to the pastor--even if the pastor embezzles it

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
Romans 16:17-18

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
II Corinthians 11:13-15

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
II Peter 2:1-3

Preachers of the false gospel known as the "prosperity gospel" aren't just to be found among the ranks of North American televangelists. The Lagos Daily Post contains more articles on these false shepherds than this blogger is prepared to examine (readers are encouraged to click on the link above and search for themselves), but enough to give the impression that Nigeria has more than its share of prosperity preachers (is it just a coincidence that Nigeria is notorious as the country of origin for more than its share of Internet scams?).

Submitted for your disapproval, the following item, as reported by Ameh Comrade Godwin of the Daily Post, January 14, 2018:

Pastor Seyi Adeyemi, the Senior Pastor of The Worship Centre, has reacted to the debate on whether pastors are entitled to collect tithes from members.

The cleric said it was a must for people to pay tithe, even if their pastor embezzled it.

Speaking with Vanguard, the cleric said tithing had been in existence since Abrahamic era and could not be stopped for any reason.

He said, “When you speak about the things of God, you need to speak out of the knowledge which reveals the mind of God and not from convenience or circumstance. A lot of the people who spoke against tithe spoke because they don’t pay and they probably want to get people to align with them.

“Second, they spoke because they felt that recession is biting so hard and they felt that tithe was taking part of their income and, therefore, affecting their ability to live which, in itself, is ignorance. Third, because I know that whenever you see a campaign against biblical principles and doctrines, the devil is behind it. The scriptures that talk about tithe began as far back as Genesis where Abraham paid tithe to Melchizedek. Then it moved on to Deuteronomy where the people of Israel were required to make 10 per cent contribution to the house of God in order to take care of the Levites.

“That is how the issue of tithe was established in the Jewish setting and, of course, when it got to Malachi, which is the popular scripture, Malachi 3:10, the Bible says ‘bring all tithes into the house that there may be meat in my house’. That is the first part of that scripture. Then it says ‘prove me now if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing’. Now here’s the question, by demanding tithe, does God really need our money? No. God requires man, wherever there is a physical demand for anything in church, it is not because God is in need, it is because God wants us to learn how to honour Him with what He has given to us.

“People need to understand that the needs in the house of God will be met whether or not people decide in their own wisdom or knowledge to bring. So people need to come to the understanding that we are not doing God a favor by obeying that scripture, we are doing ourselves a favor. The argument that tithe was given as a commandment to Jews and that it was supposed to be paid to the Levites, and we are not Jews and neither are pastors Levites simply shows the ignorance of those who say so.

“The Bible makes it clear that everything that took place in the Old Testament was an example for the future. It used physical things to give analogy for the understanding of spiritual things that were going to come. So when we talk about tithe, there is a need in the house of God that transcends just meat and drink. The Church has a role to take care of the brotherhood. The Church has a role to step in and try to bridge the gap where government fails as far as people’s welfare is concerned. The Church has a role to propagate the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ for God till the end of the earth. All these assignments require money and that is what tithe is meant for.

“Do people arrogate tithe and offerings to themselves? Yes! But the misuse of something does not nullify the authenticity of its command. Every man, pastor will give an account of his stewardship to God. So if somebody is not being faithful, it does not nullify the Commandment of God. It simply means that you are being unfaithful to the commandment of God. So, if somebody takes the tithe that belongs to the church and uses it for his own personal need, that is unfaithfulness. I don’t believe that the money that comes from tithe and offering is enough to buy private jets. We need to talk about something else.”
Fortunately, not everyone in Nigeria is taken in by the prosperity preachers, as reported by Fikayo Olowolagba in the Daily Post, January 10, 2018:

Reno Omokri former aide to ex president Goodluck Jonathan has spoken against issue of tithe and ownership of jets by pastors.

Making reference to richest men in the world: Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, Omokri said tithe does not guarantee riches as those men don’t pay their tithes but were the richest.

According to him, point of faith is salvation, not prosperity.

He also condemned ownership of jets by pastors, saying Jesus never flew jets but his message was everywhere.

“If paying tithes makes you rich, then @BillGates and Mark Zickerberg would have been poor. Go to Forbes lists of the top 10 richest men-none of them pay tithes. And bedsides, the whole point of faith is salvation, not prosperity.

“While some do, very very few pastor need a private jet to do the work of God. There are commercial flights that can get you there ON TIME. Jesus never flew but His message is everywhere. Your lifestyle preaches more than your message. Live like Jesus. Die to self.

“One of the greatest deception satan has perpetuated in churches is that financial breakthroughs and prosperity is evidence that God is pleased with you. People don’t realize that satan can give wealth if it will deceive you as to your true spiritual state,” he said.
I've become increasingly convinced in recent years that tithing isn't for the church, but was limited to Israel under the Old Testament. The tithe in the Old Testament was of food grown in the Holy Land, not income. Nowhere in the New Testament are Christians commanded to tithe; it's worth noting that when the apostles and elders came together in Jerusalem in Acts 15 to discuss the requirements for Gentile converts to Christianity, there was no mention of tithing (or sabbath-keeping, for that matter). The New Testament standard for giving is that of 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.

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