I have decided to write this letter to the editor after hearing a sermon by a Dr. Abel Damina in a recent lecture on television. He openly stated that tithing is nothing but a scam. His subject reminded me of the furore caused in the Eastern Cape when I also wrote a Xhosa book on tithing having the title Izishumi Lulahlekiso. I now perceive that I was wrong in stating that Izishumi Lulahlekiso, I should have openly stated that Izishumi Bubuqhophololo (Tithing is a scam) simply because most pastors who make money through tithing and other biblical principles know the true facts about tithing. There also could be something positive regarding the Covid-19 lockdown as people stay home reading and studying their bibles. I was recently introduced to a man who was once a pastor but after studying the bible thoroughly during the lockdown, he discovered that Christian tithing is not biblical. He openly confessed that he discovered that he had been robbing the people and left the tithing ministry to earn an honest living by driving a truck.
I am also once more going to prove that money tithing is not a Christian principle at all. There are a few pastors who genuinely believe that tithing is Christian after being misled themselves. Most religious millionaires use the tithing principle fraudulently to mislead their congregants. I was once called to debate tithing principles on radio with a prominent tithing bishop, but instead of answering my questions, the bishop embarked on assassinating my character. Further requests by me to once more engage any pastor on radio with regard to the same subject have not been successful. I will therefore appreciate any pastor who can take up the challenge and engage me on the same subject without being angry or assassinating my character. Seeing that a newspaper has limited space, I will deal with the topic in point form. This may of course be useful in preparing any pastors who might find themselves debating with me on any medium, be it radio, on stage or on television. The following are merely the biblical principles in summary form that I espouse in my assessment of Christian tithes as being a big universal scam. Please contact me if you do not agree:-
1. Nowhere in the Word of God is money to be used for tithing, tithes are food items only(Lev.27:30-33).
2. Abram never tithed on his riches but on spoils, while Jacob merely promised but never tithed.(Gen 14 and 28)
3. Besides tithing, pastors go through scriptures searching for ways of making money rather than salvation of souls, and the concept of “first fruits” (Deut. 26:1-4) is another favourite scam that I would like to comment on. According to this particular scripture, each farmer had to put a few examples of the first crop in the new land of Canaan in a basket and take it to the priest for blessing. Can you guess how today’s pastors interpret this scripture? They state that all of your whole first salary when you get employment goes directly and literally into the pastor’s pocket.
4. Tithing was exceptionally a Jewish tradition as authorised by God through Moses, it had nothing to do with Jesus Christ and Christianity at large (John 1:17). That is why not even Jesus and Paul tithed (2 Cor. 9:6-7).
5. .During the initial thirty-nine years of Exodus and Numbers (1444-1405 B.C) only a specific tribe, the Levites received tithes which is 10% of the harvest or the live stock of a tither. Even Israeli priests, the sons of Aaron, unlike our modern pastors, only received 1% from the hands of the Levites (Numbers 18:20-26).
6. From 1405 B.C. as they were camped on the plains of Moab, God changed the tithe law. Everyone, starting with the tithers themselves, their relatives and the Levites of course, were to eat their own tithes at a place chosen by God. (Deuteronomy 12:8-12). Besides the fact that biblically, tithes are not money, why do today’s pastors hide this scripture and not allow the tithers to eat their tithes?. That is one of the basic reasons the whole tithing process is a big scam. Vuka darkie.
7. Tithing was only once a year precisely because it was farm produce. But today’s pastors receive tithes as many as a thousand times a year under the lie that ,”every time you have money my brother, a tenth belongs to God…..otherwise..” (Deuteronomy 14:22).In other words my pastor, you are no different from a robber or a con artist, the only difference is that your robbing weapon is the bible.
8. Precisely in accordance with God’s will, (Matthew 19:21) tithing was merely God’s way of feeding the poor as in the case of gleanings (Levitikus 19:9-10), it had nothing to do with enriching pastors., therefore tithing was in some instances done on the increase of the harvest only (Deuteronomy 14:22).
9. If the tithing place chosen by God was far, the tither (not a priest/pastor) could convert the tithe into money, and on arrival at the tithing place, buy something to eat, not a horse/wagon (or a Mercedes benz).This is the only instance whereby tithes were converted to money. Even then, as stated above, tithe money had to be tied to the hand to ensure that the tither does nothing else with the money besides buying food. This also proves that there was money in biblical times and God would have used money for tithing if He so desired. ..In certain versions including the Xhosa version, the tithe money had to be tied to the hand until arrival at the tithe place.(Deut. 14:24-26).
10. Now coming to the greatest hoax of all time, the book of Malachi especially Chapter 3 verse 10.”Bring all the tithe into the storehouse. That there may be food in My house. And prove Me now in this” Says the Lord of hosts, ”If I will not open for you the windows of heaven. .And pour out for you such blessing ,That there will not be room enough to receive it” (NKJV):-
I. Tithing pastors jump the whole of chapters 1 and 2. Why? Is it not because they know that these two chapters expose that the book of Malachi, first and foremost, does not refer to the ordinary congregants, but is specifically written for the Priests and the Levites? .Priests and Levites who, on being forcefully returned from exile, by Zerubbabel (538 B.C), Ezra (457 B.C) and Nehemiah (444 B.C) were corrupted by the exile and on returning home did not adhere to the laws of Moses like the tithe law. I will not have the space to explain everything in this column, but I would like to refer the pastors to Chapter 1 verse 6 and Chapter 2 :7-9.of Malachi. Or are they deliberately avoiding these verses? That is why I regard tithing as a scam since pastors are supposed to know the scriptures. Sometimes you should try and look at their eyes as they lie, you shall see guilt written all over..
II. Biblically, “opening windows of heaven” as in verse 10 of Chapter 3 refers to rain not money as pastors would lead us to believe. (See Genesis 7:11 and 8:2).
III. Some pastors like to give people the impression that Levites depended on handouts without working. As a result most if not all tithe pastors today have no other jobs besides working as tithe collectors. That is why most of them are stressed and end up verbally abusing and threatening their church members. Even during the lockdown, some were seen collecting tithes from members’ homes. They should read the book of Numbers 35:1-5 whereby God enriched the Levites by allocating portions of land and even cities to Levites.
IV. From III above, one of the reasons Malachi reprimanded the Levites for, was precisely because the corrupt Levites often left their posts to tend to their fields as in Nehemiah 13:10.
Finally, during these difficult economic times, our people should heed the words of Jesus Christ Himself when he inferred that it is not all who shout His name who are “men of God” in today’s language (.Matthew 7:15 and others).After such gross abuse by some pastors on their congregants, I would advise that, one false move by the “man of God” should disqualify him or you will both be in trouble. People should read the scriptures for themselves because Jesus specifically instructed that anyone who preaches the gospel should not charge for it (Matthew 10:7-8). Our people also should not be impressed by false miracles (2 Thes. 2:9-12). They should ask themselves simple questions like (a) Why would God, Maker of heaven and earth desperately need money to the point of punishing those who do not pay Him? (Psalm 50:12) (b)Has God ever made any attempt to fetch His money from the Earth as it is alleged that what is impossible with man is possible with God?(c ). Where does “God’s money” that is collected from people, some of whom are poor, end? The common sense is that one should love God more than his pastor, because pastors are fallible.2 Cor. 11:13-15.
Pumzile P. Mfenyana