Control. Manipulation. Intimidation. It’s sad. It’s unthinkable, but it does happen in the body of Christ from time to time. To be honest, it probably happens a lot more than what we think.

Did yo hear the story about the “pastor” in Houston, Texas who refused to bury a 93-year-old grandmother, a longtime member of his congregation, just because she wasn’t “current” on her tithes?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you read that right. The “pastor” refused to bury the lady because she was not paying her tithes. You can watch this news report on it here:

This is not right, and everybody knows that it’s not right! Even people who don’t follow Christ know that it’s not right.

This pastor is abusive!

First things first: He’s abusing the family. They are the ones who are undoubtedly damaged by this pastor’s words and actions. A minister should be the first to step in, comfort and counsel the family. But not this “pastor.” His actions and his words heaped condemnation on the very saint who they are mourning, who has already gone on to glory.

Secondly, he’s abusing the lost and dying. What kind of message is this “pastor” sending to the lost and dying? What is he saying to those who are on the outside of the walls of our places of worship, whom we are so desperately trying to get to come inside? The message that he’s sending and the message that they’re receiving is this: It’s all about the money.

And lastly, this “pastor” is not only abusing just this family. He’s not only abusing those who are lost and dying, but he’s also abusing his congregation; the very same one he should be protecting and nurturing.

“Ok, Eric, how is he abusing them?”

Simple. He’s abusing them by sending them a stern message: Pay your tithes or pay the consequences.

And it’s not just this particular pastor who’s doing it, but there are other “pastors” out there just like him, using tithes and offerings to intimidate, manipulate, and control the sheep that have been entrusted to their care. They may not be doing it to this extreme, but they are doing it. Some are a little more subtle than others.

  • Do you want to serve in ministry? Pay your tithes…
  • Do you want to be in leadership? Pay your tithes…
  • Do you want to be a part of the pastor’s inner circle? Pay your tithes…
  • Do you want to be treated like someone who’s valued and important to the ministry? Pay your tithes…
  • Do you want to rob God? Pay your tithes…
  • Do you want live without guilt, shame, or condemnation? Pay your tithes…
  • Do you want to be healed? Delivered? Anointed? Called by God? Pay your tithes…
  • Do you want to feel holy, righteous, & in right standing with God? Pay your tithes…

These type of pastors will use fear, guilt, and condemnation. Sometimes they will even make threats, lie, and even gossip. They will do anything and everything that they can to retain their power, their control, and their own personal quality of life. Sheep are being abused by their shepherds. Some for greed. Some for control. Some for power. The reason is because these pastors are building their own kingdom, not God’s.

Are all pastors doing this? No. Are all ministers doing this? Once again, no. Is this going on in each and every church across the country and world wide? No.

Benny_HinnBut it is going on. And it’s happening in too many places. And it’s not just the mega-church/TV evangelist that you see on TBN. It’s happening every week at our local mom and pop neighborhood churches, just like this one. And it hurts people. Real people. People who need Jesus, no matter if they’re able to give or not.

This simply has to stop!. There are too many people being hurt. There are too many people who want nothing to do with church, the Bible, or even Jesus Christ because of the abusive nature of pastors. This is one of the reasons why people are leaving the church left and right. This is one of the reasons why people struggle to invite friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers to church. People are running away from anything remotely related to Christianity, and a part of the problem is the way pastors are abusing their flocks over giving.

Is tithing the problem? Even though it’s not biblically required for a Christian to tithe, tithing’s certainly not a problem in and of itself. If a person chooses to tithe on their own free will, then that’s one thing. God loves a cheerful giver! And being able to give regularly and faithfully certainly is a blessing.

But if one is being guilted, shamed, and pressured by the pastor or other church leaders into tithing, then this is certainly creating a big problem, not just for that particular church, but for the Body of Christ at large.

Because what affects one part of the Body affects the rest of the Body. We need to hold our church leaders and pastors accountable. No, it may not be your church, but it is supposed to be a part of the same body that you’re a part of. Stand up against injustice in the church. Stand up against abuse. Because if you don’t stand up against, then you’re standing in favor of it.

2 Corinthians 2:14-17 (ESV) – “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.

For more information on tithing, ThM suggests the article
To Tithe or Not To Tithe? That Is the Question!

Photo by epSos.de via Flickr