“Is he not doing the exact same thing that the money changers were doing in the temple? Using God's house to make a profit?” “Do you know what Jesus did? He made a cord of whips and drove those damn people out of God's house. The church does not exist for this.” Chris Rosebrough link
I have been wanting to write this post for a long time. Stuart Watson's excellent expose' on the lifestyle of Furtick, along with the Charlotte Observer's informative article, made it clear that there is no time like the present. This post is aimed at well compensated pastors, not the majority who never make the news, slogging along in the trenches and living on a shoestring. We respect your hard work and labor of love.
Are you, church contributor, vaguely discontented by what your money actually supports? Do you ever wonder if your money supports anything of eternal value? If you are a member of a church with a well paid pastor, and you see any of the following, maybe you should consider giving your money elsewhere.
But shouldn't you stop attending such a church? Well, that's what I would do. However, some people have lifelong friends within a given entity. Others have a family member who really wants to keep going. Some may just like the coffee. This post is for those of you who want to stay. I am also going to assume that you give some money to the church. If you don't, good for you.
Recently, I read a story on SGM Survivors in which a family ate oatmeal for dinner in order to scrape together money to give to an SGM building campaign. This reportedly happened while SGM employees were reportedly traveling to conferences, sending their kids to private Christian schools, living in nice homes, etc. SGM was begging for money to build and grow and were telling other people to sacrifice.
I remember an article in the PDI magazine that focused on a large family who ate oatmeal every night so that they could give to PDI. They were praised for this wonderful sacrifice beyond their tithe.
I say enough of this nonsense.
Stop giving if you cannot find out your pastor's salary and compensation package.
From the Charlotte Observer we learn
(Chunks) Corbett would not divulge Furtick’s salary,
If you give money to the church, you have the right to know exactly how your money is being used. For example, we have reported on pastors who make $700,000 a year and also gets a parsonage allowance. Parsonage allowances are tax deductible which also should be figured into the total compensation package. One needs to also look at FICA, sabbaticals, conference and travel fees, etc.in order to fully understand how much money is involved. If they will not tell you, why would you give them money? Also, ask yourself, given all that you know from reading this blog, why should you "trust" them to handle all this money appropriately?
Stop giving if the church hires outside "well to do" pastors to be on a compensation committee in which the proceedings are kept secret. Also, ask if any of those people on the committee are ever given perks like paid speaking engagements, etc.
(Furtick's undisclosed salary) which is set not by a group of lay members of the church, but by a board of five out-of-town pastors. Furtick is also on the board, but doesn’t vote on his salary, Corbett said. These out-of-town board members are friends and mentors to Furtick and, like him, lead growing megachurches. They include Perry Noble of NewSpring Church in Anderson, S.C., and Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist in Plano, Texas.
Can you really trust other mega church pastors, who all live well, to actually police their buddy's income? Take a look their names and try to find out how well they live. I bet that they keep their income a big, fat secret, as well. Also, besides being on a committee, see if they ask each other to speak at each other's conferences and are paid for doing so. If so, could you see how can I get involved in this cash cow? I have heard of another church which has a retention fund in order to keep the pastor when he starts threatening to go elsewhere. Such Godly behavior demands rewards.
Stop giving if the church also has to hire an attorney to do a compensation study.
This board bases Furtick’s salary, Corbett said, on a “compensation study formulated by an attorney’s office” that’s not tied to the church.
Why in the world are your precious donations going to attorneys to figure out how much to pay your pastor? You can be sure that it will not be the median of the congregation. They want more, a whole lot more. Then ask, why do they need an attorney? Attorney's are always involved in limiting liability. So, think of it this way, your donations this year may have paid for a well off attorney to up the compensation for your very wealthy pastor. What a way to give to back to God!
Stop giving if your well paid pastor lives better than most of the congregation
Drive by his house. See what kind of car he drives. See what kind of vacation he takes. Think about it.
Stop giving if your pastor won't answer the question of how much he makes while acting like a wuss by sending his "good ol' boy" friend to speak for him.
Corollary: Be suspicious of any spokesman who tries to sound like a good old boy who drives pickups (For example, they have names like Chunks or Bubba.) They are not good old boys; they just play one at church.
(Chunks) Corbett said
Stop giving when your pastor says, in a sermon, that the church is being made to look bad when it is he who is looking bad.
You may view such a cowardly act on the infamous video. You, the hard-working contributor, are supposed to take the hit for your pastor's poor judgment? He should take it on the chin like a "real man." Instead, he is hiding behind his congregation and his wife, Holly. He gets the glory for his books and fame. Holly gets tacked on when he is in trouble.
Stop giving when your money goes to more buildings, expensive equipment and well-off pastors.
Look at the church budget. Add up the salaries and administration and building debt. Look at the top of the line audiovisual system. Look at the glossy presentation materials and expensive, personalized videos. Now ask yourself a question. Do you really think your money is making a "difference" for the kingdom when you compare it to example of Jesus and His apostles?
Stop giving if your pastor, who is well paid, claims he owns intellectual rights to his sermons.
Your pastor presumably develops his sermons during his expected work week. Would Proctor and Gamble give away the rights to a new dish detergent to a researcher who was hired to do just that?
Stop giving if your well paid pastor complains he works more than 40 hours a week.
How many hours should your pastor work? Well, I have read of some pastors who make $500,000 a year, plus benefits, complaining that they have to work more than 40 hours a week. They need "family time." Most people in the real world who make that kind of money usually work far longer than 40 hours and don't whine about it.
Stop giving money if your well paid pastor writes books on church time and then gets all of the proceeds.
See my comments on intellectual rights above. Also, if he asks you to purchase his book in order to be an intern at the church, ask who gets the profits. (Thanks to a new commenter.) Ask to see it spelled out in writing.
Stop giving if your well paid pastor is double and triple dipping.
Here is how this plays out. The pastor gets a certain amount of conference time a year for which the church pays room, board and fees. In fact, Kevin DeYoung says that this is what you should do to really show you care for your pastor link.
So, your pastor could speak at the conference and be paid by the sponsors as well as being given room, board and the conference fees. He could also get to sell his book, developed on church time, and then keep those proceeds. He could even encourage his church to use the book in Sunday school classes and small groups which means more book sales.
True story: My friend walked into a room in his former church and found copies of the pastor's books stacked ceiling to ground. I wonder. Did the church purchase those books, hoping to sell them? Perhaps someone's hard earned tithe money went to furthering the kingdom by purchasing stacks of books to hold up the ceiling? Ask questions, folks, ask questions.
Does the Bible say you must give to the local church?
All authoritarian pastors tell us that we must give to support their vision and enterprise. Many of them also demand a tithe which they define as 10% gross. But, if you look carefully at Scripture, this is not said anywhere in the New Testament. And the actual percentage of the tithe in the Old Testament was greater than 10% but that is a subject for another day.
I would urge all of you to stop giving to rich churches and pastors or abusive churches and pastors. Do you think they even give a hoot about your sacrifice? Instead, look around you and find Christian ministries that are housed in old buildings, sacrificially serving the poor, the let down, the homeless, and the disenfranchised.
How about an African American church that helps poor kids after school or feeds people under the bridge? How about rescue missions that reach out to the unloved? There are ministries that look after persecuted people groups or victims of human trafficking. I bet each of you know quite a few. I know such ministries would be thrilled with your donation and you might feel like your have done something worthwhile and eternal. Your money would actually do more good with these groups than the purchase of one more Bose speaker for Sunday morning. Think about it as you view the video from last evening. I will post tonights follow-up after it appears.
Stop Giving Money To Rich Pastors and Churches!
Lydia's Corner: Job 23:1-27:23 2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11 Psalm 41:1-13 Proverbs 22:5-6
Wow . . . What suburb is this mansion in? Heaven?
@ Jason Coates:There is a saying ” If God isn’t a Tar Heel, then why is the sky Carolina blue.” If you saw the Smokeys this past weekend, you might have thought you had arrived.
Spot on although I disagree with the title. There are local churches who are actually doing what the Bible says to do that need help financially. It is a good thing to give too. It actually would be a bad for their communities if they weren’t there. As far as salaries for pastors, again just my humble opinion but full financial disclosure should be priority, and secondly I think the pastor’s salary should be consistent with the average salary of the members. And even more important in my opinion, is that members aren’t just sources of revenue. They are people with stories of grace to share and gifts of the Spirit to use for the edification of the saints. Just faithfully being there in love and service for worship and mission to help in reaching their communities for Christ is such a blessing. I’m of the opinion that if a church is faithfully preaching the Bible, caring for and loving their members and community, and seeking to take the Gospel to their neighbors, co-workers, and friends, the whole giving stuff just takes care of itself. I know guys that rarely preach on giving. If there is a need in their church, they just state it and wait. Their financial needs of their church has always been met. No scripture twisting, guilt trips, or teaching series. Here is the need. You can give if you like. That’s it.
AMEN!! and AMEN!!
a voice to the plundered poor
I did that to suck people in. Look how I qualified it at the start of the post.
Elevation will be packed this weekend! WE DONT CARE about HIS HOUSE!
We care about Gods House! We are going to the hedges and highways and compelling them to come in! We love rich people, our pastor is rich and so our a lot of our members. The poor will be with you always (Jesus) and a lot of Churches focus on the poor, we go after the rich. Jesus had a treasurer so He was rich too!
Hey Miss Warburg, are you on food stamps? If not, shut up about him being rich, you hypocrite!
Sharon Long wrote:
Since we are becoming acquaintances, you may call us Deebs.
Sharon Long wrote:
Sharon, perhaps you should dismiss the prosperity gospel babble, and reflect on what the Bible actually teaches. Like for example, ESV Matthew 8:20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” or ESV Luke 6:20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God or ESV Matthew 19:24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” or ESV James 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. just to name a few. oh, and yes Jesus had a treasurer, and that treasurer’s love of money ended up betraying.
@ Jason Coates:
Sharon is a parody by a very funny person from the environs of Charlotte. One person does several personas and is so good that he/she fools everyone. Promise!
Does said person do all three personas?
my new blog post: Sacrificing of Souls for the Sake of the Institution http://watchkeep.blogspot.com/2013/10/sacrificing-of-souls-for-sake-of.html
I think the disparity between rich churches and not so rich churches is similar to the disparity among public schools. Wealthy people like to say “it’s not our fault we can afford to pay our church / school district well, and you can’t.”
I’ve thought for awhile that instead of these rich, white, suburban churches trying to implant themselves in urban areas, or just hoarding it all to themselves, why not partner with a poorer church that is already there? What if churches acted like the early church and shared their resources for the common good?
“Elementary my dear Watson.”
While the non-profit, tax exempt church paid for the promotion – the profits from the book were paid to Furtick himself, profits that he said paid for the multimillion dollar home.
Thank you TWW for publicizing this.
And thank you to Stuart Watson at NBC Charlotte for doggedly pursuing and digging up these facts. Hopefully, there are investigative reporters in other cities that will be inspired by Watson and start looking into the chicanery of the rest of Furtick’s Elephant Room buddies who are living in their mansions and amassing small fortunes through their book sale gigs promoted by their “churches.”
Yes, even Mr Rodgers reporting in from the great beyond!
Dee, South Africa is a bit too far from NC and too late at night for me. I’m also reading “12 Years a Slave.” For a split second I saw some very compelled poor reporting for duty. Click.
The thing that bothers me most, is the aspect of conflict. How can a pastor, that purports to be an employee by getting a salary, create ‘property’ with the resources of the church, then turn around and announce that that property is now his/her personal property, to which the church only gets a “tithe”. That is just plain dishonest. And possibly illegal.
Ed Young is this kids mentor, and Furtick is doing everything just like his daddy. All the way to the big house, owned by the ‘trust’, on a rural road so no one from the church can find him, let alone share in the bounty. I wonder if Elevation allows the worship leader who writes great worship tunes and has them recorded, gets to claim those tunes to be personal property. I wonder if Elevation allows the children’s minister who writes awesome kids curriculum gets to claim that intellectual outflow as personal property. I wonder if Furtick, as CEO of Elevation, would even allow ANYONE on his staff to write/produce/create ANYTHING and put their own name on it and sell it to the benefit of the artist/producer?
The answer at Elevation as it is at Ed Youngs Fellowship church is a resounding NO NO NO. The church (and I mean the people) is there to benefit the “man of God” pastor, and no one else. After all, there can only be one rock star.
What a pile. God, I hope this pile crumbles as your word and your spirit endure. I hope the straw and the stubble get burned up. And I hope that one day, these mega-men and women come to their senses and finally realize that their efforts are in fact the exact opposite of the greatest command of love your neighbor as yourself. Because right now, they just love themselves.
Jason Coates wrote:
No, just a 19-acre (10 hectare) forest estate somewhere in North Carolina.
Since North Carolina is a Former Confederate State, the term “Big House” gains a whole new meaning. Massa Furtick gwone need lotsa “servants(TM)” to upkeep his Plantation. What’s his take on Doug Wilson?
It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood…
There’s a new name for us: “Ele-haters”
And complete with a cartoon.
I want to know how a pastor can get the opportunity to purchase a $1.6 valued piece of land for only $325,000.
Here at the Union Co property appraiser’s website:
You can see that this property is valued at $1.6M, yet he purchased it for only $325k.
Who took the loss? A church member? Can other ministers at Elevation get sweet land deals like this one? Or only the chief MOG?
“Stop giving money if your well paid pastor writes books on church time and then claims he gets all of the proceeds.”
I also strongly agree with the “stop giving” if your church won’t disclose his salary package.
Tom R wrote:
I totally agree. There is something behind this one.
@ Sharon Long:
Can you prove that you go to Elevation?
Amy Smith wrote:
So, those who speak out against what Furtick is doing are now equated with Satan? And we are the “haters”(TM)? Nobody here has called Futick or the Ele-vators Satan. Who are the real “haters”(TM) here? These people have made an idol of Furtick and Elevation.
@ Jason Coates: To bad there is no pope to spank Furtick. He is a member of the SBC which means that he will be held up as a role model for SBC pastors. Now, if he hired a woman pastor, it would be a different story.
@ Wendy Alsup: Thanks for chiming in Wendy!
@ Caleb W: She/he is doing a parody and went there for a short time.
This whole “system” is morally corrupt ad cannot be justified in any way. Shameful. How these men who fleece the church believe that they are actually serving God is beyond comprehension.
I once had a pastor accuse me of being a hireling because I answered to a board consisting of actual church members. While he sat as a dictator over “his” church.
There will be an accounting. God will require an accounting for every cent. I would hate to be in their shoes.
By the way, I left an $80,000 a year job in the oilfield to pastor a church for $2,000 a month. And seven years later, I was making $2,750 a month. If I was in it for the money, I sure didn’t know what I was doing!
@ Sharon Long:
Sharon, I hope that someday, you and little Stevie, and everyone else at elevation might become Christians and start following Jesus.
@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
Not when it’s done of your free will, Hug!
I HAVE arrived, and I assure you, it’s a beautiful day in THIS neighborhood.
But I’m not the same as great-nephew Bill Rogers and great-niece-in-law Sharon Long. I’m from Pittsburgh, not Charlotte, and went home to the real Elevation before the little elevation was *planted*… 😉
Thank you for being my neighbor. *dons zip sweater*
To Our Readers: Former Fellow is an expert when it comes to Ed Young jr who “mentored” Steven Furtick. Make sure you read his comment.
When I saw this, I immediately thought about old Ed. I thought I could avoid it here in North Carolina but Ed’s tentacles reach everywhere. I heard that Brett Shipp was contacted about this situation here.
So, Ed versus Furtick…who wins?
Everyone speaks of how the church gave $10 million to charity. No one seems to point out that if the congregation just gave the same amount of money directly to charity, then likely 10 times as much would have been given to charity.
“Aren’t they generous? They take in $200 million, skim off 80%, and give $10 million to charity.” It doesn’t sound so sweet phrased that way.
My figures were meant to be approximate, btw. I realize that you’d have to skim off 95% to get from $200 million to $10 million. Then again, I figure their figures are also very approximate. 😉
You betcha it would! They’d react to remove him faster than you can say Timothy.
@ Fred Rogers:
LOL! I have the family tree down now!
Dee Parsons…this blog will forever be your repentance for attending Ed Young’s church. Get used to it girl! You will forever be repenting of being into Ed Young, just as I will forever repent for thinking highly of John Piper. I still say that we flood Bethlehem Baptist with boxes of toilet paper when Johnboy returns from Geneva. 😛
You know, a *lot* of people around the world see this kind of idiocy and think “religious” people here have lost their marbles.
It’s no wonder is it?
In fairness, I have no connection to the South, and the only time I was ever inside a Southern Baptist church was back in the mid-80s, for a friend’s wedding.
This (and other situations like it) is very, very surreal to me… one of the things that has always baffled me when reading here are the threads and comments on Southern Baptist churches and culture.
@ Sharon Long:
” we go after the rich”
… you quote Jesus who said “The poor will be with you always”, but you do not realize that Jesus was quoting the Old Covenant. the original quote is : “For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.’” (Deuteronomy 15:11, NKJV)
… you say that you do not care about his house, but you should be aware of how Jesus told us to identify false teachers. He said : ““Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7:15–20, NKJV)
… we know that the Bible also says : “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” (James 1:27, NLT) and again “If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?” (1 John 3:17, NLT)
… definition for ‘greed’ : πλεονεξίαa, ας f: a strong desire to acquire more and more material possessions or to possess more things than other people have, all irrespective of need—‘greed, avarice, covetousness.’ καὶ τὴν πλεονεξίαν ἥτις ἐστὶν εἰδωλολατρία ‘and greed, which is idolatry’ Col 3:5; καρδίαν γεγυμνασμένην πλεονεξίας ἔχοντες ‘they are experts in greed’ 2 Pe 2:14. *
… 17,000 children starve to death every day on this planet. your ‘pastor’ is by definition a ‘greedy’ man. “But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed.” (2 Peter 2:1–3, NLT)
“shameful immorality” – it is utterly shameful and immoral to live in a house this size while so many are starving to death.
* Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (290–291). New York: United Bible Societies.
If you give money to the church, you have the right to know exactly how your money is being used. Except you don’t have that right, which is part of the problem. You do have the right to view the 990.
Most people in the real world who make that kind of money usually work far longer than 40 hours and don’t whine about it. Ha! most of the people I graduated with work more like 60 hrs. a week.
You’re 90% right. I don’t have a problem with these:
1. Pastors sermons are his intellectual property. If they actually have dollar value, then the church and he can execute an agreement. I understand the approach that has the pastor as a paid employee whose ‘production’ on ‘company’ time should belong to the employer but disagree that the pastor, any pastor, should have his sermons viewed in that way.
2. Tom rich and I have disagreed for years on the propriety or impropriety of the pastor receiving discounted land (or a car, etc.) as a gift. I don’t see a problem here. The donor wishes to do this. It is a private transaction. It doesn’t follow that al church members may expect the same gift.
Although the news article quoted someone as saying that the house and church have no connection, if the pastor utilizes the housing allowance (which is an income *exclusion* not a deduction) then I suspect that there is a connection. If his ministerial income (through a separate ministry entity) is sufficient then maybe he can cost it out there, but then you would be able to find a 990 for that. The housing allowance tax break for ministers is a scandal at these higher income levels and when applied to mansions, not at the $2k or so level of the average pastor…but then we are speculating on furticks HA.
You are doing a good job here. Who ever thought that baptists would be the new Rev. Ikes? I hate to see it.
I thought guys like Furtick and Ed Young were more non denominational. It is hard to find anything that links them to the SBC. They do not acknowledge any CP percentages or giving. Not sure if they are in the SBC or not after they made ity to the big time. Anyone know?
@ J Pow:
J Pow, Exactly. I saw this sort of thing all the time in my mega days. People bragging about something like 10 mill when you knew it could have easily have been a half mill considering the money flow.
You got to the point where you knew they were buying good will in the community and 10 mill was nothing to them.
First, a minor point for accuracy: The housing allowance for pastors is not “tax deductible” (as the article states). It is pre-tax or non-taxable for federal income tax purposes, provided it is used for housing. It is not tax-free for social security/FICA/self-employment tax purposes.
Second, the ownership/IP rights of authors who are also employed is not entirely clear. Even if a person is employed and the work is done for employment, if it is also used for something else, it could well be considered personal property, such as a teacher who writes a textbook in teh course of teaching a class, and the notes are used for that class. If that text is also published, it is doubtful that the school has any claim on the IP. Take for instance someone like John Maxwell, a motivational/leadership speaker who has an organization and writes books. It is doubtful that the organization owns the copyright or the IP rights. That belongs to Maxwell. In the field of engineering, that is likely stated in the contract of employment than anything developed in this job belongs to the company.
The issue with Furtick and others is character; it’s not money. Money is simply the point at which their character is being revealed.
@ Gene: I didn’t say he did anything illegal. Good heavens, he sure spends a lot of “tithe” money making sure he is legally covered. Ed Young Jr did exactly the same thing in Dallas. His church is his shell and he uses it to launch his “worldwide ministry.”
I know one pastor who, while on the job, developed Sunday school material. He formed a company, made a big marketing portfolio: glossies, slick ads, etc. Then, he had the church for which he worked, buy the material to be used there. So the church paid for his time to develop it and paid for the materials after he did so. This is flat out ridiculous even if it is not illegal.
However, over the past few years, I have watched churches skating on the thin ice of ethics, whether it come to confronting pedophilia or making money. I m not impressed.
Thank you for your kind correction on my wording of the housing allowance. Still is a nice perk when some pastors get $200,000/year for their modest parsonage. The ice is cracking….
I agree with that to a point. But money is not THE big motivator. It is on the list but not at the top. Number one is “recognition/influence”. The celebrity mentality. Being famous or well known. Having many people following you. That is number 1.
Money can come along with that and once one is used to the money, it becomes a measuring stick for the first one. But once they get used to the money flowing in, watch out. It is never enough because it IS their measure now.
@ J Pow: I saw your comment before I went to bed last night and was too tired to respond. However, you have made a most important comment that needs to be considered by everyone.
They have given 10 million in ten years. That sounds amazing. But, is it? Last year they had an intake of @$19 million from generous givers. That. presumably, does not cover the supposed “windfall” from Furtick’s generous sharing of his wealth with the church.
Obviously they were not making bank in the first couple of years, But, as time progressed, the tills were overflowing. $10 million sounds like a lot. But, what was kept for the “ministry” is what is most interesting.
Furtick could have given $10 million from last years receipts alone and still have @$10 million to support the ministry. Most ministries would give anything to have that sort of budget. However, his budget is waaaaaaay more than $10 million.
The buildings are nice, the music is great, the videos are classy-just like they did it in the time of Jesus….right?
Here are a few ideas from yesteryear that some of you clever ones might use.
(Why aim ministry toward the more affluent folks?)
Because the up and out are just as lost as the down and out.
(Why aim ministry toward the more affluent?)
It’s not about us, it is just that the church needs their tithe in order to finance it’s outreach.
(And you call that a call to missions?)
Can I help it if God called me to Hawaii when he called you to the Congo?
(Conversation at seminary reunion.)
A: So where do you pastor now?
B: The Lord made it clear to me that I am of more use to the kingdom as a wealthy businessman than in church work.
A: Oh. So what are you doing for the kingdom?
B: Actually, my wife and I feel that using our witness in our social circle is our best avenue of honoring the Lord.
A: OK. And how are you doing that?
B: Just by being the best and the most successful that we can be. So we can relate to people at their own level. Then maybe other people will want to be like us. Nobody admires a loser. Perhaps we can raise the profile of the church a little in people’s eyes, make it look a little better, you know.
A: Well, got to go. Glad I ran into you again. “Thank you, Lord, for restraining my hand from whapping him up side of the head.”
Or how about this line of reasoning. Please do not think that I am saying this–but I have heard it and I don’t like where it goes, no matter whether some of the observations may or may not be accurate. It has a bad ending.
I am just sick and tired about hearing about “the poor.” Don’t you realize that Jesus was actually rather well off for his day and station in life, you know. After all, he had a seamless robe. As for nowhere to lay his head, well he had a house in Capernaum, and there was the bunch in Bethany of course. Besides, it has been suggested that his extended family was pretty wealthy and well connected and that Joseph of Arimathea may have been a relative. And he did get his education somewhere. And Joseph may have been just a skilled craftsman, but he got the money from somewhere to leave it all and flee to Egypt. And don’t forget that he did get referred to as son-of-David. Does it seem reasonable that that title would be applied to some poor boy from nowhere? I mean, really, maybe there is more to this bit of Jesus and his attitude toward riches than meets the eye. Nobody ever said he was stupid, if you get my meaning. If you want to lead the unwashed masses you got to tell them what the want to hear. I don’t know, but I’m just saying that maybe the “real truth” is there for those who are clever enough to see it. But I don’t guess you would know about that, would you?
My personal observation s that is easy to follow one’s own oh-so-clever reasoning to one’s own destruction.
Anon 1 wrote:
I think you are correct. It is about them. The money flows when you are a celebrity so the point is to become a celebrity. Furtick has been about Furtick. Look at his Hey Haters video. It shows Furtick putting the finishing touches of his perfectly tailored wardrobe. The camera zooms in on his mug and then shows us his ring. This guy is cool. And arrogant in his demeanor. (Albeit with a slight maniacal gleam in his eye but whose noticing).
I gotta hand it to him. He did it even quicker than Ed Young Jr.
Anon 1 wrote:
They are part of the SBC. The SBC acknowledges them in their list of the fastest growing SBC churches in the US.
And since when do Christians focus on what is legal and illegal when it comes to morals and ethics in such situations? Is Ceasar now the arbiter of Christian deportment?
You give us a perfect example of that. What that pastor did was unethical to say the least. But then, I read Mary Kinney Branson’s book and found out many SBC entity employees have been doing the same thing for many years! They are employees of the SBC entity, paid a salary but then also write curriculum (or songs, or whatever) and get paid for that. Then they are paid royalties on it.
Thinking has changed so much that many will not see the ethical problems. This is what happens when there is too much distance between people and the money they give.
Mary Kinney Branson has some excellent suggestions in her book for how to give money, time, resources where it helps the most. And it is amazing what can be accomplished. Her book is “Spending God’s Money”.
Seriously, church is not a safe place for your money. In fact, we might be held accountable for giving our money to an institution that we do not know what is going on with it.
@ Anon 1: So long as they are growing the flock and making plenty of dough, they are welcome in the SBC. Goodness knows the SBC cannot afford to lost the numbers in a big church.
However, if either one of them hires an associate woman pastor, they will be thrown out quickly.
Hee Hee. I wonder if anyone going to Elevation knows they are considered SBC? The young cool churches in the South are ashamed of the old fogey SBC and play it down. This goes for the NC/REformed ones and the others with cool names like Revolution, Elevation, Adventure, etc.
(Can you all picture a “Revolution” church 30 years from now meeting in a warehouse with a bunch of 70 year olds? You think they thought this concept through for longevity?)
Well, my question is one of benefit. Perhaps the SBC likes counting them because of the numbers (and 7 campi). Maybe they take credit because they funded Furtick for start up. (I would love to know the name of the people who signed off on that!)
However, the true test is whether they are a part of their state convention in giving to the CP. From what I can find, and I am not by any means astute in this researchg, I cannot find they actually give to the CP. (I don’t think Ed Young does either anymore)
This is sort of significant because the SBC is funding all these church plants (many Acts 29) and it seems they take the money and then do their own thing later not giving much to fund missions, pay bureaucrats, seminaries, etc. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, how wise is that?
Are folks not looking at the model? Of course they would disassociate with a woman pastor pronto. That is in the Gospel, dontcha know? Reprobate behavior does not count.
Wow! 90%. I must be having a good day. 🙂
And you can be darn tooting sure that pastors have taken advantage of this for years. Note that most elder boards in wealthy churches are made up of elders who seem to “give” an awful lot to be thought of as an elder. Private plane rides, etc. Perhpas that is why there are few blue collar workers that are found to be “spiritual” enough to be on the boards?
You can buy influence and the office of “spiritual” leadership.. You got it happening right in front of you and I am happy that you are at peace with this. I’m not. There is a heckuva difference between giving a pastor a used washing machine and promising him to rent a private jet for his out of town forays.
Anon 1 wrote:
Ed Young jr’s church was also a mission outreach. That is why he used to tell us in sermons that they didn’t need to give to mission because we were a mission. You should have seen the audience-there were more Lexus and Escalades than you can imagine. Mission, my foot! They wanted the numbers.
Anon 1 wrote:
Well, Young and Furtick learned from the best of them. Take what you can get. As for wise….who said anything about wise? 🙂
@ Anon 1: One of my husband’s patients was attending on of those stealth SBC churches. He swore up and down that he was not a Baptist. My husband told him to check it out. Guess who was right?
Anon 1 wrote:
Bingo. And the SBC wonders why the numbers are declining? Anyone with half a brain can recognize systemic hypocrisy.
People use this excuse all the time. I still remember a terrible pedophile incident in a former church in which a number of kids were harmed. The church didn’t even offer counseling to the boys until a few of us blew a gasket. (This blog is one outcome of that incident.)
A former friend and church member called me to chat about pleasantries, totally ignoring the conflagration. I told her I couldn’t understand why she was ignoring what was happening to the boys. She said, and I quote, “God has not called me to be concerned.” Note “former” friend.
My decision to give to the local church was confirmed when my pastor and his wife moved out of their house (which is modest) and moved in with an asst. pastor and his wife so that a visiting missionary family could have a place to stay for the ~9 months they were part of our congregation while on furlough.
One of the reasons we left a church that we were very involved with was due to the pastors and elders decisions on how to use the money in the church. I finally came to realize that if I were giving to another non-profit, and I didn’t agree with their use of the money, I would stop giving. How was that any different than giving to the church?
Because in many “churches” there is this pervasive attitude cultivated by guilt-trip preaching from the pulpit on “tithing”:
How many times have you heard that mantra repeated?
That mindset is what creates these mega-religious empires and opens the door to all sorts of shenanigans by the recipients of the tithes and offerings.
Like the commitment we signed in our former “church.” If we did not tithe we were robbing God.
“I confess my conviction and clear understanding that, without a doubt, the Bible mandates that one-tenth of all the profitable bounty that comes to me belongs to the Lord and is given by God into the charge of those whom He has designated as ministers in His temple (Gen. 14:18-20; Lev. 27:30-32; Mal. 3:8-11; Matt. 23:23; Heb. 7:1-5, 8; 1 Cor. 9:11, 13-14, ESV; Rom. 15:16, ESV). I further confess my understanding as to why this would be a point of fellowship. This tithe is not something I can take pride in giving, as if it were a free-will offering: it is what I owe God; and so if I withhold it, according to Scripture, I rob God (Mal. 3:8-11).”
I totally agree with your assessment and almost mentioned that. The message of “God wants your tithe” is preached every Sunday.
Your title is so over the top. Stop giving based on only your criteria? What authority do you have? Sounds like your website has become an activist group and not a blog with helpful insights. Yes, do SOME churches do things wrong. Why not encourage people to give instead of saying ‘stop’. Stop reading your blog may help people too.
If you are at a church that begs/pleads for money, find out why? If you do not like what the church you attend is saying, leave to find one that you do agree with. Bashing people and churches is not helpful. Be proactive in your own life and stop blaming others for things you cannot control and, possibly, do not understand.
Great comment! It would have been nice to have had some of that type of balance and encouragement in the blog post.
If you hang out here long enough, you will come to realize that many have done exactly what you recommend, only to be abused for asking. And as far as leaving to find one – well, good luck! For many, that is like looking for a needle in a haystack – and the search becomes wearisome.
I wonder if Craig is a pastor. 🙂
A boatload of common sense which is sorely lacking in your following statement.
Ted – There is NO church in your entire area that biblical and transparent? Then that is a terrible problem. I am sure there is one but looking for a good one can be tough. However, giving up looking is worse. There is no perfect church just like there is no perfect comment or blog.
@ buddyglass:Sounds like a great guy.
Then why don’t you attempt to be a part of the solution instead of coming here to insult those of us who are speaking out? What is your goal here?
You state how you are for people, here to help. Then, your first reply to me is to more or less call me dumb by “saying I lack common sense”. You are helping people? You care about people? Obviously, you showed me no care or concern. How sad that you are viewed by many to be a place to come for support. I make one comment and you blast me and put me down. Thank you for showing that you are not any different than the people you say to stay away from. You are bullying in your comments. This is called helpful?
Dee, spot on. Where I live, we too have a number of these SBC “churches” where 90% of the attenders don’t even know it’s SBC. My wife has a friend who got quite upset with my wife when she told her friend that she goes to an SBC church. sigh….
Craig, what authority do any of these so-called pastors have? Because a circus clown like Furtick decides that he can be a pastor doesn’t mean he has any actual authority.
Building a 16,000 square foot house is something I can understand (along with most people) and that is why I write this blog.
How do you know that we are not already proactive in our lives? Do I know you? Are you in Raleigh? I could have a few friends give you a call and let you know when I am out and about, being proactive in my life.
Congrats Buddy, you seem to have found the one needle in the proverbial haystack.
Hmmm, and I was supposed to think that you came onto this blog to be of help to me? Reread your comment.
When my son was in 7th grade, a couple of guys started to bully him. I told him that the next time they did so (bullies understand one language), to shove them hard and that I would defend him if he got disciplined. So, he knocked two guys up against the lockers and continued walking. He won. They settled down and one became his friend.
With your lack of kindness or understanding, it would be safe that be should be encouraged to have more discernment reading your blog posts and comments. Thank you for showing very little respect concern for another Christian. Your emblematic of the divisiveness that plagues our world.
Comments are about winning and losing? How sad is that? Have you lost the entire ability to even consider that other people have voices? Or are we to read your comments agree with everything you say? You gave an analogy about children. This is supposed to be convincing? Do you use reasoning or just emotion?
Stop giving to Elevation Church is completely understandable. Stop giving to local church is destructive advise. I left a church that mismanaged money. I did not stop giving. Instead, my wife and I chose to designate funds. If they decided to launder the money, that would be on them. Giving is part of being a Christian. This is why your title was over the top.
Craig’s comments remind me of the saying about those who “can dish it out, but can’t take it.” He came on here insulting people, and then whined when someone pushed back. And now he’s the victim. Let’s hand him a bed sheet to dry his tears. He needs our sympathy. 🙂
You do not know what the ministry of Dee is unless you go back and read a lot of this, now four year old blog. You were snarky and you got snarky back. Before you make judgments about Dee and Deb and their blog, you need to do a lot more research. You dissed them without justification in your first comment. If you are going to be a troll, expect to be respected as a troll and treated as a troll. If you are not, then apologize to your host here.
One of the best things that has happened since I stopped giving to a church is that it has freely opened up my ability to give to other people or organizations that I want to. When I was told to give my tithes to the church, other people and groups were neglected because we could not afford to give more than our tithe to the church.
Now, I am able to support a couple of kids through Compassion, give to a friend from college who is a missionary, give to my dad who works with an organization to stop sex trafficking, and give to a local home that supports young pregnant women.
When I found myself giving my tithe to the church, I found that I was angry and resentful for giving money to an organization that in the end I did not agree with. Now I find that I thankfully give to people and organizations that are doing wonderful things in this world to help people in need. The ability to freely give where I want to, and not where I feel I have to, has been one of the best experiences for me since we left church.
I am, of course, singing to the converted choir here. But there is a little-known scripture buried just behind the pancreas of Ezekiel 16 that runs thus:
It doesn’t start when we “tolerate sin” (meaning, of course, approved sins like abortion, homosexuality and public women). It starts when our personal convenience, and the powerful and influential whose prominence maintains the status quo that serves us so well, become more important to us than the least of those for whom Jesus came.
Arce – If you have a blog criticizing people and you cannot take a tad of criticism than there are a bunch of issues. Elevation Church is not most churches. However, when you state to stop giving to the local church, you are encouraging an action and that deserves criticism. If you helped by their personal critique of things that is great. Continually finding areas that are not good and criticizing anyone that does not agree with you does not show much common sense.
So that is what we are supposed to do to each other as Christians? We are supposed to dish it out. I made a comment and was given no kindness or concern for my comments. If we are about winning and losing against other believers, we have already lost the reason and purpose.
Why? Do you believe the local church is owed it’s tithes and offerings?
There was not a shred of kindness or concern in your comment. Can you explain that?
Buddy, you are describing the sort of SBC churches I grew up in. That is RARE today. Very rare.
You are an example of why people get hurt in churches. You came onto this blog like a bull in a china closet, playing the authority game. You weren’t interested in dialogue, you were more interested in in getting me to shut up about my concerns in this area.(Stop giving to local churches if they look like Elevation.)
You want to know about hurt. Here is how it goes. A decent person raises a salient point about their church. They go to their pastor who starts the authority garbage and then turns it around to make the concerned individual the problem.
What you are saying is typical gamesmanship. Perhaps you do not know that it is but you seem to be pretty darn sure of yourself.
This blog exists to help those who have been hurt by such tactics. I couldn’t care less about your accusations about me being abusive. Anyone who has read this blog or knows me understands. So, flame away.
Baloney! Absolute baloney. Unlike most bloggers and most churches, we allow serious criticism of us, including name calling. Look around and see the “nice” blogs with pleasant comments about how nice the editor is. Tripe-all of it. So, go at it…
Awesome comment which expresses my thoughts exactly.
Can you imagine if he was a pastor of a church and you had a concern? It would be “your fault.”
This is good. Gives us a perfect view of the type of thinking out there:
1. Stop giving based upon only your criteria?
Craig is coming from an “authority” over people view. otherwise, he would know this is a blog and about OPINION. Dee and Deb have no other influence except those who agree with them. Obviously you don’t, Craig, so what is the problem? Disagree. We are grownups. But please base your arguments on more than just the “authority” model.
2. What authority do you have?
So Craig must base all his truth or information on some perceived human authority? I would suppose the title would decide the amount of authority. This must become confusing for him.
3. like your website has become an activist group and not a blog with helpful insights.
When all else fails resort to this. So, now who is the arbitur for what is a proper blog?
An activist group? That is sort of funny. How does that work and what is the official criteria to be an activist group? I find it interesting how threatended some are from a “blog”. I suppose it is the lack of control and censorship.
“Yes, do SOME churches do things wrong. Why not encourage people to give instead of saying ‘stop’. Stop reading your blog may help people too.”
I am sure we are SHOCKED that SOME churches do wrong. :o) Sounds like Rick Warren referring to “sin” as “mistakes”.
What Craig has missed are the many comment threads where we have discussed how to help others in the body instead of recarpeting the church or supporting charlatans like Furtick. “Which I suppose is the benign “some” church doing “wrong”. I would not call it a church. After all, it has an outside board of directors.
As far as I can tell there is NO pressure for folks to read here. It is strictly voluntary. And free.
I think Dee and Deb had their garments constructed of Nomex as part of starting TWW.
Anon 1 wrote:
… is that someone else got there before him, and did the job far better. PP wrote:
… and carried on in the same manner. PP, it would seem, read the post before commenting. And raised a perfectly valid point, which Dee answered moments later (the other point our rocky friend has missed).
Anon 1 wrote:
I have always wanted to be the head of my own activist group. It sounds absolutely cool.
Only the authority that he and others like him arrogate to themselves, and the authority their congregations grant them by default: hanging on their every word, religiously giving them piles of money, signing The Code, submitting to their whims without questioning, and using language like, “We are under Pastor so-and-so’s authority.”
My point wasn’t directed at you specifically, but at those who expressed difficulty with it or opposition to it. And my point wasn’t primarily legal, but ethical. It is not unethical to write something or create something, and then publish it and make money off of it, even if you did it while working for an organization.
It’s not wrong ethically, and probably not legally wrong in most cases to write a book while under the employ of someone and then publish it and make money from it, particularly if you used it as a part of your employment. So a pastor who write sermons for his church and preaches them is getting paid to do that. If he then publishes them, they belong to him and he can do what he wants with them.
Of course, it should be transparent with the church.
I think they’re just asking people to be very careful about who they do give to, if or when they give.
There are a lot of greedy charlatans out there, who have the title of preacher.
Christians can be too trusting, and too naive, which also causes them not to get bilked by money hungry people masqueradeing as shepherds (preachers), who steal their money, but also be hurt by spiritually abusive churches who beat people down, then (as this blog has discussed many times), to have their children victimized by churches/preachers that protect pedophiles.
I personally would not give a dime to a church whose preacher is living in a multi-million dollar home.
The tithes in such a church may very well be going to pay for the preacher’s swimming pool or car collection, and not to helping financially strapped church members who need a hand, or to church sponsored food banks for the needy public, etc.
That is something you should at least consider as being a possibility.
All this reminds me of reading books for codependents about how to conquer codependendcy… one reason some women get used by men or end up in abusive relationships is that they remain naive and refuse to even begin to suspect that a man who approaches them may be being nice to them only to get money or sexual favors.
It’s the same thing with a lot of Christians.
It’s as though some Christians refuse to deal with the fact there is real evil and wrong in the world, they feel too scared to admit there are wolves wearing sheeps’ clothing for the express purpose of ripping them off, and that they might be one of the targets.
I think Christians should think carefully about when and where they tithe, or donate money.
which also causes them not to get bilked by money hungry people masqueradeing as shepherds (preachers)
I meant “causes them to get bilked.”
I don’t know why I put the word ‘not’ in there.
(P.S.) As to your “authority” question.
Each Christian is a priest (1 Peter 2:5-9) and is given authority by Jesus Christ, to act on Christ’s behalf in various areas.
Each believer is expected to use discernment, to question others who claim to be Christian if those persons appear to be acting contrary to the Scriptures.
Christians are not to unquestioningly accept every comment or action from other Christians, which is a concept that is spelled out in several passages and verses in the New Testament.
1 Corinthians 5 (Christians are to judge other believers and enact negative consequences against them, if need be)
The Bereans did not simply take Paul’s word on things, but compared Paul’s teachings to the Old Testament (Acts chapter 17):
1 John 4:1
Jesus Christ told all believers to be on the look out for false prophets/ teachers (because, he said, there would in fact be false prophets and false Messiahs spring up over time); Matthew 7:15: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. The Apostle Paul:
Why would Paul issue such a warning if there were no need for it? There must have been people teaching a false Gospel if Paul was giving warnings about it.
There are several other verses or passages in the New Testament that warn against false teachers, false prophets, and that Christians should user discernment and be on the look out for them.
So, a Christian’s authority for this comes from God (as recorded in the Bible).
I don’t know of any Christian who is looking for a “perfect” church.
Most of us (at least me, maybe I shouldn’t speak for most here) would settle for a church that at least has a modicum of genuine concern for fellow Christians, and consists of members who attempt to consistently(*) live out Christ’s teachings.
I notice when people shame Christians who have dropped out of church attendance over having been burned by a church, or for being critical of church/churches, they always shoot back with comments like,
“No church is perfect,” or, “So you say you don’t like hypocrites, well welcome to our church because you’re one too.”
I’m not looking for ‘perfection.’
Secondly, I’m also most often not a hypocrite, or I honestly strive not to be one (because hypocrisy is one trait that drives me nuts in other people as well as myself)…
But there are some self professing Christians who are regularly hypocritical in one or more areas of life, they don’t feel the need to change that hypocrisy and won’t even try, and/or they are spectacular hypocrites in a glaring way.
I can handle a preacher who preaches Christian love and fuzzies from the pulpit one day but who later loses his temper in traffic the next day and flips a motorist off. I know that’s not right behavior, but I can understand banal shortcomings like that, if it’s every so often.
But the glaring hypocrisy? No. Such as, Jack Schaap, IFB preacher who rants against women being evil from the pulpit for years, he even wrote a dating book admonishing women to be sexually pure and modest, but then he gets arrested and jailed for having had sex with a teen girl for about two or three years!
*(not perfectly, or all the time, but regularly, that is, more often than not)
I’m sorry if you felt you were being attacked in your first comment on this blog.
I think maybe it was just a misunderstanding in tone.
You were being earnest in your first post, not snarky? It’s hard to tell sometimes, especially if someone is new to a blog, and you’re not used to their communication style.
I don’t understand why people feel the need to defend questionable preachers, especially if it’s one who appears to have been caught with his hand in the cookie jar, but do you sincerely feel bad for Furtick, as though he’s a nice guy, innocent, and everyone is unfairly picking on him, and he deserves a break?
Is that where you are coming from?
I used to feel more touchie feely about conflicts in Christendom myself. It used to make me feel sad to see Christians fight with each other, and it sometimes still does a little, but I see a need for Christians to keep watch on other Christians who may be up to no good. The Bible does ask Christians to be on guard against false teachers.
That is spot on. I wish my Mom had raised me that way.
Instead, I was raised to be a doormat, to never express anger or act out when picked on, so I usually did not react at all, and it really screwed me up later in life, made life ten times harder for me.
I noticed the few occasions I did fight back against bullies (verbally and/or physically), the bully backed off!
One bully respected me afterwards. One not only respected me but wanted to be my pal, and I was like, what?
I have read that some women from abused marriages (who left their spouses) are not comfortable teaching their kids to fight back, which I understand, but like the old Kenny Rogers song said, sometimes you have to fight when you’re a man (or woman).
Anyway, I hope Craig comes back and realizes he’s maybe got the wrong idea about you and this blog.
Speaking of ethics, if you walk down the street and you see that a house is on fire and you know that there are people inside, is it OK to just walk on by and say nothing because it is not your house and those are not your people?
Some people think that is OK. Some do not. But everybody has to make that decision.
Note that the “golden rule” requires me to treat someone else as I would want to be treated–not as I think they might want to be treated. The onus is on me to decide. If I have become involved in something shady would I want somebody to call my attention to it? That is the question for each individual. If the money I give to the church is being used recklessly or as cover-up money for abuses or to promote something I do not believe in, I would want to know. IMO this stuff needs dragged out into the light so that those who are among the innocent can make their decisions about what to do.
I would not want to be complicit in something i did not believe in because people left me in my ignorance about it. Bottom line.
I can’t agree with your philosophy that Christians are to just give and not care or check up on where the money they donate is going.
Jesus says to be as wise as serpents.
I won’t give money to individuals homeless or panhandlers I come across, because a lot of them suck it up their nose in the form of drugs, or go buy alcohol.
I used to date a guy who would hand out $5 – 10 – $20 to random homeless guys on the street when we were out and about.
I told him, “you realize that guy is likely just going to buy booze with that?”
And he’d say the same thing as you, “All that matters is I gave, that is all God cares about, it’s not up to me how the guy spends it.”
Well, that same God wants you to be a wise steward with your money. Maybe God does in fact care that you’re basically just enabling some drug addict.
If you really care about homeless people, it seems to me a wiser choice would be to donate funds to some soup kitchen in your city, where they have to show up and plant their behind in a chair, or where the volunteers hand out sandwiches to them on the streets.
It seems more foolish to me to just hand money out without checking where it’s going.
Not defending him in any way, but it is possible that the 1.6 million figure is updated to reflect the addition of the house. At 1.6 million, the price per acre would be about 84,000. That seems to be awfully high per acre. Of course, given the location, that might not be that out of line. I’m not sure if there is a way to check the appraised value for previous years. Either way, 1.7 million for a pastors house is crazy. @ Tom R:
Sometimes giving money to a local church is a waste of funds, since it is not going to spread the Gospel or help people in need, but to pay for the preacher to get a new, in-ground heated swimming pool.
Did you see Kathi’s post, right above yours?
Now that she’s stopped going to church, her former tithe money is going to help actual needy people in her area, rather than helping the preacher pay for a new BMW.
You mean “Shaft Polishing Schaap”? Heir to the throne of Jack Hybels’ megachurch by marriage? (Hybels himself kept a mistress in the office next to his, with a hidden door between the two so she could service him on demand. Almost all of his male heirs (by blood and marriage) have gone down in some sort of sex scandal — except for the one who kept Taking the Fifth on the inquiry of the battering death of his infant son…)
This. I know people who are struggling in this down economy (it’s never really recovered) and I give them money as I’m able. There are a lot of people falling through the cracks, proud people who are mortified to ask for help. When I was not doing well financially, people helped me and it’s now my turn to give back.
With tithing, all I see is money going into the gaping maw of a church and it gets churned into the next building project or multimedia extravaganza acquisition. Just my personal opinion, but I don’t think that’s what Jesus had in mind.
I would just like to point out that giving a drunkard a drink is unethical. Giving a heroin addict a needle is unethical. And giving money to an organisation that is irresponsible with that money is unethical. The technical term is “enabler”. So an attitude that says “just give – if they misuse it it is on them” is unethical and irresponsible.
I am trying hard to picture Paul doing that. Perhaps sell his letters? :o)
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
Yep. I said the same thing in some post today, maybe this thread, or another Furtick one.
If I remember right, there are verses in the Bible that talk about believers being responsible stewards and I would think making sure the money you are donating is not being misused would fall under that.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Yes, that’s the one. He is incredibly sexist, going on in the pulpit about how he wold never let a women teach him (you can watch that video on You Tube), he wrote a book telling women to dress modestly in a book on dating advice (it’s for sale on Amazon).
Meanwhile, he was gettin’ it on with a 16 year old kid from his church. And he went at it with her for like two years, I think.
It’s those sorts of huge, glaring, stupefying (and/or on-going, over several months/years, repetitive) examples of hypocrisy that get me concerning Christians, not the rank and file, occasional junk (like the Christian who, takes ten extra minutes on his lunch break, or flips someone off in road rage).
Anon 1 wrote:
I am not sure how that is helpful. Might that be a problem with your imagination more than a problem with the issue? Remember, Paul was a tentmaker who worked to support himself. So he didn’t see any problem having another source of income. He also claimed his right to make money from ministry. So both things are clearly biblical. Having another source of income (whether from digging ditches or writing books) is not biblically wrong. In fact, many people think pastors should be bivocational.
The large amounts of money are a simple matter of economics of scale. When you write a book, you get X% or $X per book. No one cares if your book sells only one. If it sells a million copies, things change. But there’s not really much control over that. If the church is doing something unethical to increase sales, that’s wrong.
All of that to say, please don’t take my comments as supporting Furtick. I have far greater problems with him than the money.
But if someone makes money (a lot or a little) from writing, the question is whether you handle that responsibly or not.
Let me ask you all this: If this was just a church member who wrote a book and made a lot of money, would you still have the same complaints? Or is it different because it is a pastor?
That was not your title. Steven Furtick Proves That It Is Time to Stop Giving to the Local Church. I commented that your title was over the top. You did not raise a point about the church. You said stop giving to it. You are the one that seems to be very sure of yourself. You have many people to follow you to tell you so. You seem to have the same issue that you accuse others of. You say that pastor would not listen. Well, you do not consider that your title was over the top. You author things (state with authority) about many subjects. I do not possess an authority handle nor am I able to see all sides. I am not playing any game!!! I would say that is what you are doing. You have want to help people by demeaning others that you believe have demeaned/hurt/abused others. Yet you have sized up me off some comments and now you think you now who I am. To many people that would be quite pompous that you have a higher level of discernment than others. You could care less my comments. How caring, thoughtful and Christian of you. So, flame away? What does that even mean? Is this the type of civility you show to all people that disagree with you?
I am so sorry that you found my intent difficult to understand and that you find me pompous.
Darn straight, IMHO.
Anon 1 wrote:
No, I have no authority over people. I have been a member of two churches I left over leadership problems. One was rather cult-like by wanting 500 people to switch from Sunday AM to Saturday PM and switch locations in two weeks. I was in my 20’s and quite impressionable. It caused me to be more cautious and to learn the leadership better. However, I still made a mistake only a few years later. At this church the pastor accumulated too much power over time without any checks on him. When he had his daughter to become the financial secretary, it did not take long for us to leave the church. However, even with all of that, I would never tell someone to stop giving to the local church. I would not tell people to leave a church based on my own opinions or thoughts. I would encourage them to be cautious, ask questions and expect transparency. After you have one of these issues, you now have a host of questions to ask any other prospective church pastor. Believe it or not, there are some pastors that not all about money, are servant leaders and care for their flock. My pastor is like that. He has earned the respect of the people because he is transparent with the church. Every month there is a business meeting with budget made available. The title says Steven Furtick Proves That It Is Time to Stop Giving to the Local Church. It did not say Stop Giving to Elevation Church and Ones Like Them or Be Careful Who You Support with Your Giving. Encourage giving to churches and ministries that you know are accountable and handling ministry in a manner that is accountable. Of the articles that I have read on here, the tone comes across more negatively than positively. They come across more divisive than supportive or looking to build others up. Lastly, they come across with much authority as if their view is the correct view and if you do not see it that way than you are wrong. However, this is my opinion and I could be wrong or misunderstand the tone. It is free and I am free to comment.
He’s not a pastor that I can tell. But what he is doing to make money is done in God’s name.
The article explains Dee’s thoughts on the church, hard working pastors, and giving further. Did you read it?
PS – There is no “authority” in a blog article. Writing is only someones thoughts and ideas.
I have a great idea. Why don’t you start a blog of your own? Then, you can dream up titles to posts to your heart’s content.
Oh, since I have suggested that you start your own blog, let me give you a piece of advice. Owning a blog is not free. Besides paying for the domain, hosting ,etc., I also pay for some help for the problems that come up. I do not take ads because I want to freely express my opinions without the encumbrance that is inherent in a business operation.
So, it is not free for me. However, because I am interested in dialogue, I ALLOW you to comment here, in spite of your negative attitude. It is not your right and I can turn off the comment section whenever I wish and I can block your individual comment if I wish.
Finally, this is my blog and this is my opinion. And, of course I think I am right just like you think you are right. And I let people like you come onto this blog, for which I am paying, and tell me how to write titles. Good night! I am going to bed.
Darn! I finally thought I actually had some authority. Alas, it is not to be….
I understand you are taking issue with the title of this post. Dee states at the very beginning of the post that she is not referring to the honest, hard working pastors. So, I would interpret her title as hyperbole. I ripped this quote right out of Wikipedia:
“Hyperbole (/haɪˈpɜrbəliː/ hy-pur-bə-lee; Greek: ὑπερβολή hyperbolē, “exaggeration”) is the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, but is not meant to be taken literally.
Hyperboles are exaggerations to create emphasis or effect. As a literary device, hyperbole is often used in poetry, and is frequently encountered in casual speech. An example of hyperbole is: “The bag weighed a ton.” Hyperbole makes the point that the bag was very heavy, though it probably does not weigh a ton.”
I believed you may rest assured that our blog host is not demeaning the wonderful, well-intentioned pastors who serve their congregations. And, may I say you are blessed if you now have found such a pastor.
He’s way past being able to see that. This dog’s got a bone and won’t let go.
Dr. James Duncan over at Pajama Pages takes this even further – how one of the celebrity pastors on the Furtick committee begs for freebees. After the search for celebrity,seems that the money and entitlement does take over.
In which I argue that Perry Nobel and Steve Furtick are not overpaid.
To push back a little against what I wrote…
I’m not in the least concerned that my pastor is “in it for the money”, but I’m nevertheless conflicted. Mainly because most of my giving goes to fund things that are inwardly focused. 10% of my church’s budget does go to missions (and that doesn’t include direct contributions to missionaries made with the church as an intermediary) and we do have some outwardly focused ministries, but the lion’s share of the budget goes to staff salaries, maintaining the building and funding ministries that mainly serve the congregation itself (e.g. children’s ministry).
It’s not that I don’t get anything in return for that giving, because I do. I just wonder whether the Church (capital “C”) would be more effective in fulfilling its mission if we had lay leaders, met in homes, and used all that money for something else. Caring for the poor, outreach, foreign missions, whatever.
So what in the world do you think that some of are saying and doing? A lot of us think that, say that and live that. And then if the “local church” says no, we own you and have first dibs on ever dime you give and we will tell you exactly what to believe and how to live according to our values, and you better not tell (sign right here) ….Yeah, sure. Good luck with that buddy.
And, yes, I belong to a local congregation and contribute financially to it. It serves a purpose. But it is not, cannot be, all there is to what christianity needs to be doing in this nation at this time. And the antics of some local churches (see this blog site) bring embarrassment and shame on all of us.
Maybe I just haven’t looked hard enough, but I’m not sure I’ve seen this “done right”. Here are the models I see:
1. House church devolves into solely a time of fellowship; worship, teaching and service suffer.
2. House church adopts weird heterodox teachings due to more-or-less total lack of oversight.
3. House church does worship, teaching, service and fellowship right, but members reduce their overall giving due to the lack of building, paid staff, etc.
It often seems like (for some folks) the decision to leave the institutional church flows from a desire to not feel guilty about not giving. When you’re using a congregation’s building, staff and ministries, which all cost money, it’s hard to avoid feeling guilty when you don’t give to support them. And, honestly, I think that’s understandable and right. So if you’re looking to stop giving, it’s a lot easier on your conscience to do so when you’re not using anybody’s building, staff or ministries.
But you will find all of the errors and abuses re worship, teaching, service, etc., in many mega churches, along with financial shenigans!
“House church” is a particular thing itself. Never been a part of that and never known anybody who was. As I said, I am a member of a local congregation and financially support it. That said, “meet in homes” does not mean just “house church.” For example: in SBC the WMU (women’s missionary union) frequently met in homes and was independent of the local church to an extent. It raised lots and lots of money given to missions through the SBC. It also did things that the current SBC does not approve of, like train women for missionary and other service. Now, some (all?) SBC churches refuse to have WMU on campus, though moderate Baptist churches still participate. That meets the “meet in homes” criteria and also the somewhat separate from the local church criteria and and also the designation of funds to other than the local church criteria.
What I am saying is this, as my grandmother used to say, there is more than one way to skin a cat. It is not an either or decision. It is not either “house church” or “local church” but it is rather a matter of not letting oneself be limited by the control issues of the local church. And it is most certainly about saying that stewardship of finances includes to whom one gives the money.
FWIW: I attended the WMU affiliated Carver School of MIssions and Social Work during summers while I was in med school. Carver school was associated with but not a part of SBTS. They quit the missions part, apparently, and Mohler “shut down” the social work part when he shut down the school, and the school building is now Boyce College. Then SBC “shut out” WMU as a whole, partly because they refused to limit themselves to SBC churches, if what I heard is correct. And now Russ Moore is interviewing some Boyce College grad about hip hop as an evangelistic tool. Well, hey, that sure is better than letting the women get away with anything.
So what’s the lesson? Stop going to church and be the church. Begin to fulfill that which Christ called all His disciples to do. It takes a realization that you are a Saint in the Lord called upon to be a witness in whatever manner and gift He has given you. Let us stop following man and man’s doctrines and follow that which is Christ! It is simple and the pattern is simple. Submitting to Him and to one another in Humility and Love for one another. But not apart from His Holiness and Righteousness!
Every point you made is golden. I’d add: stop giving to any church that teaches tithing, whether they are a mega-congregation or a tiny little outpost of the kingdom. Tithing is on the Old Covenant side of the cross, and we live under the New Covenant. Any church that teaches tithing is teaching slavery to the law, not freedom in Christ: http://timfall.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/which-side-of-the-cross-are-you-on/ .
I was going to ask is full disclosure not the norm in megachurches? In my Catholic parish, the budget is published once a year, spending on projects (such as recent renovations in our sanctuary and education building) is recorded and sent out to registered parishioners, and total giving each week is published weekly in the bulletin.
Of course, our pastor also lives in a four room space attached to the church office and drives a six year old Ford that I’m sure he got on discount from a dealership that did that regularly for priests in a parish that I previously worked with him at.
“3. House church does worship, teaching, service and fellowship right, but members reduce their overall giving due to the lack of building, paid staff, etc.”
I am not sure how you would know that “overall giving” would be reduced. I believe lot of Christians give
a lot and you can do that in many ways.
‘It often seems like (for some folks) the decision to leave the institutional church flows from a desire to not feel guilty about not giving.”
That may be true. For me, it is statements like this from JMacArthur/GTY that keep me wondering the institutional church:
“We also need to commit ourselves to the local church. Whether or not your congregation is charismatic or has coninuationist leanings or not, you’ll never be able to make a difference from the fringes. Find a way to use your giftedness for the service of your church. Get involved, serve, and support the godly men the Lord put in place to shepherd and lead you.”
GTY Strange Fire: What Now Oct. 23
NEVER be able to make a difference from the fringes? Support the godly men…….
That depends. Some house churches I have been exposed to came out of a few people who were sick of the fluff teaching at church and decided to dig into scripture together. That was how they got started and some went on to become a body because they no longer saw the need to update the carpet in the sanctuary every few years or discuss staff salary increases. It was more of a “we are digging deeper than we ever have so why are we encumbering ourselves with all the overhead and politics an institution demands?”
I think they are on to something. I just do not see subsequent generations being content with what passes for “preaching” or “pastoring” today in the institution. They will be people who have interacted with others on social media using their phones at stop lights. They INTERACT. And being in person won’t be that big of a deal for them. If you notice, some pastors are catching on to this and using text as a way for people to ask questions after a sermon, etc. Grey Boyd uses this quite a bit. Driscoll has used it. But folks will catch on that it is all vetted first. I think that will work for a while but I just don’t see the inability to stop and discuss a point as being that attractive to them at some point. However, study in a house church or even blog community offers exactly that.
I don’t think the institutions will die out completely. There are always going to be people who want a guru to lead them and tell them what to think/believe instead of doing the heavy lifting themselves.
You are not alone. And guess what age group I am hearing this from more and more? 40+. I have been a bit shocked at how many folks in their 60’s and over have expressed concern for just this very thing, too. And I think many of them remember a time when they were very young the most churche spent quite a bit on missions, community outreach, helping the poor, etc and were less concerned if their pastor salary was on par with surrounding churches.
I think those in their 40’s are feeling the crunch and asking what it all means and if it is worth giving hard earned money to. I say NO. It isn’t.
Craig, you came out swinging so your appeal seems a bit silly.
Anon 1 wrote:
Not only are adult singles leaving church, but even married people who are in their 40s and higher with children are leaving, or expressing dissatisfaction, one reason being that many evangelical churches are built around serving married with kids still living at home families.
40+ Adults And The Church / Outgrowing The Congregation?
Churches are far too enamored of meeting the needs of the young, the 1955 nuclear family model, which is making a lot of people (the never marrieds over 30 years old, college singles mid 20s, married in their 40s with college kids, divorced of all ages, seniors, widows) feel excluded.
There are several other factors driving people away from church that I’ve read about (and experienced first hand), such as shallow, fluff teaching.
But the rampant obsession many churches have with attracting and keeping teens and college kids/ young married families is fueling a lot of it too.
Your parish is catholic and is apparently relatively small. That is one thing. My methodist church is methodist and somewhere between small and mid-size and is extensively managed by lay committees with committees to oversee the committees and everybody seems to know everything. The big and bigger mega let’s-pretend-we-are-not-baptist churches are a whole different thing all together. They are independent and do not answer to anybody. They have no priests–just the self-declared elders–and a weak lay system. They are not a “parish” of a larger system like catholicism, nor did they start out as a lay movement as methodism did. And (I repeat) they answer to nobody except themselves, that is to say the leadership only answers to itself. Whole different ball game.
@ Craig: I disagree and am getting weary of discussing a “title.”
There is a reason that some evangelicals are fleeing to the Catholic church. The Pope just slapped a high living cleric upside the head for living large. The SBC, on the other hand, would congratulate him and try to figure out how every pastor and SBC employee could live in a mansion.
I think you (and others) are right, and I think it’s because that particular group has relatively simple needs. That is, their needs are easily met on a Sunday morning + midweek meeting, or else swept under the carpet.
To be involved in church building around the marginalised, the disinherited, the poor and the victims of systemic injustice means having to get behind what Jesus himself is building. I.e. I’d really need to have God with me, which is different from just claiming that the Biblescriptures agree with me.
@ Nick Bulbeck:
Not to mention the fact that the so called traditional family tends to have some money that they are willing to spend for the church that offers something for the kids. Better profit margin there.
At least in America (this information is in books I’ve read), currently only 20% of American families consist of married couples with children at home. Everyone else is single and/or married with no children.
So you have all these American churches chasing after a tiny number of people. They might get more money if they began going after the childless / singles.
The church I just left had zero in the budget for outreach or giving in community,except for a nominal amount, like fifty bucks a month to the local food bank. They sent about 100 a month to foreign missions. The rest went to Pastor. Small church. Pastor and wife went on up to 4 holidays a year. One of them to either Europe or Hawaii.my husband and I got sick of it all, and all the work heaped on us for up keep of the church. We are now shunned by congregation, and have been called names.
Welcome to TWW. Deb and I, as well as many of our readers have been shunned and called names as well. I am so sorry that happened. We understand and will pray for you.
Well, Brenda, you are in the company of friends here. I feel your pain. We were shunned, too. I’m so sorry you’ve gone through this.
Anon 1 wrote:
You said a mouthful there Anon 1. It’s been one of my schticks for awhile now as a partial explanation for why people continue to fork over their hard earned dough to these guys. That and their fear and dread of hell if they do not toe the line with their check books. I am so glad to be free of all that and unplugged from that horrible matrix.
Boy, your title is so unfortunate. I am the pastor of a small local church. I have to work multiple jobs to pay the bills. “Don’t give to Furtick’s church” is not the same thing as “don’t give to the local church.” My wife and I pour so much of our own resources into the church. We love it with our actions every week, during the week. The light bill doesn’t magically pay itself, you know? The cynicism present today can be so hard to cut through. We are doing our best. A title like this is just really discouraging.
@ anon pastor: Did you read the post? It had nothing to do with pastors like you which I made clear in the beginning. The post itself should have encouraged you since it appears that you are not at all like Furtick, YOung, etc.
You do know that there are those who claim that one must give to their local church, no matter what, don’t you? Furtick would say so. I believe that it is time to challenge that paradigm and take into consideration the points that I made in the post. There are a number of local churches that should not be the recipients of another’s hard earned money. So, it goes way beyond Furtick, as well.
If people can see that their church is actually doing something with their money beyond giving bucks to BFFs who speak and buying a gazillion Bose speakers,etc. then they might give and think their money is doing something worthwhile.
I like the title. It shocked you and I hope it caused you to read and think about what I am saying.
Same in my parish.
We’re getting more appeals for money than usual this year because of acquiring a new Cathedral (the former Crystal Cathedral), but I’m giving my usual yearly amount for Pastoral Services Appeal. (With a couple “you can always sell indulgences” jokes regarding a fundraiser for real estate expenses some 500 years ago that backfired BIG.)
A Pope who has never “lived large” in his entire career. Check his lifestyle as Bishop of Buenos Aires before and his lifestyle as Pope after. Including his new/used “Popemobile.”
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The Lord says to give to God. He doesn’t say, “Give under these circumstances”. He also doesn’t say, “Don’t give under these circumstances”. I suspect the authors might say they don’t give to beggars because ‘they’ll just drink it away’. We give because God wants us to give, either by tithe or by grateful hearts. What those to whom we give do with what is given is between them and The Lord. He commended the woman who gave her last at the temple, He didn’t run up to her and say, “Don’t give! they’ll only spend it on themselves!”.
@ janis v:
Wowza! I get it. I should throw the money up in the air and see where it falls? Nope. Give it to good and decent charities in which you can see the work, see the financials, and keep it away from pastors’ mansions.
@ dee:I’m not in favor of mansions but I can’t read the hearts of men. A called and ordained man of God is still a called and ordained man of God. Has he strayed? Unknown but it sure looks like it. Have you strayed? Unknown but all people have strayed. Have I strayed? In unimaginable ways. Charities are good, too. Money can be given to both church and charity.
janis v wrote:
Sure you can.
“….. for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. Luke 6:45
…for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matt 6:21
@ janis v:
@ janis v:
We are called to evaluate each other’s works. This is Biblical. I would never give money that God asks me to set aside for the poor or for spreading the gospel to someone who skims a hefty portion for himself.
The responsibility is NOT only between the skimmer and God. I gave my money to God because S/He asked, and thus it becomes neither my money nor the pastor’s nor the church’s; it belongs to the poor and missional. It is from God for them.
If I allow a skimmer like Furtick to come in between, neither the mission nor the poor receive what is theirs (what they need!) simply so that a man can have a mansion. What an insult to God and His/Her work! That work is damaged because of it, in many many ways, including the witness it sets before everyone about how we value the poor and missional compared to the materialistic whims of celebrity pastors.
Yeah, we all do wrong. Should we simply ignore sin and let it grow because it happens anyway?
@ janis v:
Hmm… couple of things here, if I may.
With the greatest respect, that’s a very woolly summary of what the Bible says on the very wide and deep topic of giving. Since God doesn’t have physical hands or a bank account, and we no longer give him things by putting them on an altar and setting fire to them, we obviously give to God by giving to things he cares about. But dropping our money in a denominational offering plate, and giving to God, are not the same thing.
Not entirely true. The New Testament church gave to the needy, and there are numerous commands reinforcing that. Proverbs 22 puts it thus: One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and one who gives gifts to the rich—both come to poverty. Paul is pretty strict in his letters regarding those who most definitely are not needy and to whom one should not give. I agree that, if and when we appoint someone to dedicate themselves full-time to service among believers that otherwise would be unpaid, then as believers we have a responsibility to ensure that they can feed their families. But after a point, that need is met; and we’re also responsible to help them safeguard their own souls.
Agreed. The fact that tithing is in no way commanded to christians doesn’t mean it is forbidden to us. If someone wants to tithe there’s nothing wrong with that in principle.
Up to a point, but how we spend our money is inextricably linked with our character and our behaviour. We wouldn’t wash our hands of a junior member of the church by saying “it’s up to him what he does with his life”, nor would we allow a pastor who spend his money on drugs and pornography to remain in office. The fact that someone holds an ecclesiastical title does not disqualify them from pastoral care any more than it places them above the standards expected of the least of believers.
… would be a believer. Maybe you’re thinking about the old testament prophet or priest?
janis v wrote:
How do you differentiate the church from a Christian charity? Aren’t they the church as well?
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
Bingo. The differentiation of the pastor from the people is most concerning. That is how the problems escalate.
It’s easy enough to pick apart anyone’s msg w a bit of Scripture here or there, in or out of context. If we couldn’t find Scripture that doesn’t “back up” what we want to say then we wouldn’t have so many denominations. Why does a pastor have a mansion? Maybe he built it using church funds. Maybe he built it as a result of wise investing. Maybe it was given to him. Maybe it’s came to him through his family. Does he share his house with others? Does he use it to help others?
Does a pastor need to reveal what he gets paid? Maybe he doesn’t take any pay from the church and doesn’t want others to know? Do church members make public how much they give to the church? Does the pastor walk after them checking out their purchases? Could the price of a Starbucks be used to support the needy? Of course every body wants an honest pastor and church leaders, as Paul demands, but the church needs members who are honest and willing to sacrifice as the Bible expects. Being a cheerful giver doesn’t supplant titheing but instead asks us to go above and beyond, to sacrifice, not to give what makes us comfortable as shown by the 2.4% average giving per household annually.
If we were as conscious of our use of money to the the rest of our lives as we are to our churches we’d be more aware of where our money ends up. We hand money over to companies that support the war machine, abortion mills, leftist or rightist media, all sorts of agendas, etc. Apple spends $2.00 per hour per Asian worker to keep product costs down whereas American workers are paid an average of $34 per hour to build the same product. Maybe we ought to demand American corporations to pay its foreign workers a living wage. If we have churches that don’t give enough to those overseas then business could certainly do it.
Janis v wrote:
Tell that to Furtick. He has a loooootttt to give before he will feel uncomfortable. Think of all the needy people who will hear about Jesus and who will get food in their empty stomachs from the amount that he will give.
janis v wrote:
And the Bob Tiltons and Benny Hinns of the world say, “Amen!”
Then, the question comes up, “Should I tithe based upon my gross or my net pay?”
And the Bob Tiltons and Benny Hinns reply, “Do you wanna be blessed on the net, or the gross?”
Which is why you don’t have to worry about judging them or any other churches with how they spend the money. Jesus will do it for you, if you’re the one He’s judging for that is. Let them say what they want, net or gross; Rev Lovejoy of The Simpsons says the same thing. Big deal. It doesn’t matter which church or charity you eventually give your money to, if at all. They’re all operated by human being who are as broken as the next one and there is always going to be something in those enterprises where the money won’t be spent to your liking. Maybe Christians could help the pastors and the leaders by praying for them, that The Holy Ghost will lead them to make wise and honest decisions regarding the money given them. People say they believe God is a God of Miracles but they usually want a receipt with that, proof that God is their vending machine God – I pray, He responds accordingly. Regardless of the methods, Christians, whether they sit dumb in pews, preach from the pulpit wearing fine clothes, teach the Gospel on the radio, or howl at the world from street corners, they are still on Christ’s side fighting Satan. But Satan prefers people to snip and snap back and forth, pointing fingers and claiming the moral high ground. Pride is his weapon.
@ janis v: I cannot disagree with you more. I will only give to organizations with which i can confirm the good that they do. I will not give a dime to support men like Furtick. However, have no fear. There are plenty of people like yourself who will continue to build mansions for pastors. That’s very nice of you.
janis v wrote:
But parts of the New Testament tells Christians to judge the character /works of other self professing believers.
I do not understand why Christians doing so is often misconstrued by some Christians who want to defend preachers as it beig gossip, Satan’s work, etc.
1 Corinthians 5:
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”
There is an extant fallacy that crops us here in this issue of church spending. It is that the PASTOR has the right to spend the donated money as HE chooses. (Rarely a she in authoritarian churches). But the fallacy is that we are all priests and the congregation should be the ones making the decisions and running the enterprise, not the hireling preacher, who is probably no more qualified in finance, business operations, etc., than the average congregant. And studies have shown that better decisions are made by groups than by individuals or groups dominated and controlled by an individual. It is contrary to the NT for a pastor to be the CEO of the church, and it leads to abominable irresponsibility and misdirection in use of funds, etc.
I don’t recall ever having said that.
What’s your opinion of the members of the churches where you find the pastors’ actions disagreeable?