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Statement of Faith
Signs & Wonders
Church as a Business
The End Times
From Andrew Strom:
Regarding "prosperity", I have to say that the arguments of those in the 'Faith' camp are very familiar to me, but my own studies on this matter convinced me of quite a different viewpoint. Yes, I do believe in God's provision, and that He will financially bless His children so that they can continue to GIVE OUT. But this is very different to the 'Prosperity doctrine' (which I cannot go along with). The Old Testament was very different to the New. It was a "physical" covenant, while the New Testament is a "spiritual" covenant. They had physical riches; we have spiritual riches. I do not believe you can argue that "God wants Christians wealthy" from the Old Testament.
I would ask everyone who wants a real answer on this issue to simply get out a Concordance, such as "Strong's" or another resource. Then look up the words riches, poor, mammon, rich, etc. Look at all the occasions these words were used in the New Testament, and you will develop a very good picture of the correct NT view of this issue. Simply look up every NT Scripture relating to this issue and it will all become very clear.
I believe that Jesus' view of this is pretty much the opposite of today's prosperity teachers. Look up the Scriptures and see for yourself!
From Tom Plumb:
Think about it.
Martin Luther fought the Roman Catholic practice of indulgences, even though they brought in unprecedented revenue into his church. Indulgences enabled the Vatican palaces to be built into the splendor that we now associate with them. They were far simpler before indulgences were invented!
Today's prosperity doctrine could be viewed as a revival of the essential philosophy behind this fallen practice.
Indulgence: "The remission of temporal punishment still due for a sin that has been sacramentally absolved."
More precisely, it is the payment of money to the church so that the church would clear the plantiff from specific responsibilities before God.
Similarly, today's churches clearly request us to tithe. Give one tenth of your earnings, and God will let you do what you want with the rest . . . and bless you for it. In faith, give more, and God will bless you more.
In contrast, Jesus clearly asks many to give all their treasure to the poor (not necessarily the church), and then follow Him, so they may have treasure in heaven. It was a common practice for new believers to sell their lands and give the proceeds to God. They then went on to live by faith in Him, that He would provide their daily needs, while they were ministering and working. They supplied resources to Him. He then supplied resources to them. There were no churches or mortgages. They met from house to house.
Today's doctrines, as often taught, limit required faith to 10%. Any more is extra. The New Testament pattern is total giving, and total faith for Him to supply as they functioned in their church body that was similarly committed.
Today's doctrines let us off the hook . . . for a fee! Bribe God, so He will let you be as worldly as you please. It's sort of a protection racket.
It even goes so far as being espoused essentially as a God approved high yielding ponzi investment scheme! Paul never had it this good. He had to trust Him directly.
[Editor's Note: In January 2002 I received an informative e-mail on the subject of tithing. With the writer's permission I am publishing it here:]
You have some interesting material on your web pages.
Years ago I attended the Worldwide Church of God in Pasadena, California.
My wife and I left that organization in 1974. At that time I was the
payroll supervisor for that church, which also had three college campuses
called Ambassador College. The payroll was an annual multi-million dollar
In that church we paid 1st tithe, 2nd tithe, and every third year 3rd tithe.
In addition to this, we were asked to contribute to special funds, such as
the building fund, and even go to the bank and borrow money (which we did),
and give it to the church.
I would like to recommend to you a book entitled "Beyond Tithes and
Offerings" by Michael Webb and Mitchell Webb, published by ON TIME
PUBLISHING. I ordered my copy from Barnes & Nobles Bookstore. To my
knowledge this is the most complete and thorough book available on the
subject of tithing. It is because of the false teaching that tithing is
applicable to New Testament Christians, that so many churches and their
pastors become so wealthy.
The Apostle Paul, who was the Apostle to the Gentiles, never instructed
Gentile Christians about tithing, circumcision, animal sacrifices, or any of
the laws which God gave to physical Israel, and which were abolished at the
The Worldwide Church was not a Pentecostal or Charismatic church, but was
extremely wealthy, and the leaders lived like kings at the expense of the
sheep. In fact, at their peek, before the founder, Herbert W. Armstrong
died, they took in approximately $180 million per year. Since that time, that
church split into many, many factions. Some of the most bitter people I
know came out of that organization.
[Editor's Note: Van Robison has also recommended to me an outstanding book called "Tithing: Low-Realm, Obsolete & Defunct" by Matthew E. Narramore. The book is available online for free, or can be purchased from Tekoa Publishing (www.tekoapublishing.com).]