Here is Pastor Robert Morris of Gateway Church. He's been mentioned on this blog in the past. His modus operandi is to teach that your money is cursed until you break that curse by tithing.
Here we see Pastor James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel alluding to a similar "curse." We hear him tell his congregation that, if they are experiencing financial difficulties, it is because of their own disobedience in their tithe:
I wonder what MacDonald would say to this woman, who apparently has been faithfully tithing, yet is still in dire financial straits:
Yes, Robertson employed the infamous "shall a man rob God?" argument from Malachi 3. This is a favorite twistable Scripture among Seeker-Driven and prosperity preachers. We've heard it from Perry Noble:
And, we hear eerily similar teaching from James MacDonald:
In another sermon about tithing, Perry Noble alludes to the same "curse" which Morris and MacDonald spoke of above. Namely, that the bad things in one's life (a broken-down car, even a sick child!) may be the result of one's disobedience in tithing:
Again, here is some dangerously similar teaching from James MacDonald. "Why won't my life work?" he asks rhetorically. The implied answer is of course because you have not been faithful in your finances. With this video I would like to note that I appreciated MacDonald's final statements that it is error to teach that God blesses someone's financial faithfulness by bestowing more money upon them. However, this seems to directly contradict his statements in the second clip above, where he declared that those who were experiencing financial difficulties were enduring those trials because of their failure to tithe.
The above clips of James MacDonald were taken from his November 6, 2011 sermon delivered at Harvest Bible Chapel, entitled "This I Know For Sure." This was known as "Commitment Weekend" when all members were to make a 3-year pledge to HBC's "5G Campaign." Lest I be accused of taking these clips out of context, I wholeheartedly encourage you to visit the HBC website and listen to this sermon in its entirety. Having posted these clips, I would like to make the following points:
- I appreciated that MacDonald did make mention near the end of his sermon that he did not want anyone to give out of compulsion. This proved to be simultaneously confusing, however, in light of the broader tone and context of the sermon, which is evident from the clips above.
- I did not disagree with all that was preached in this particular sermon (As one example, at the outset of the second clip above, MacDonald declares that riches and honor come from God. This is a statement with which I heartily agree. All that we have is His!). However, once again the broader tone and context in which the agreeable points were couched seemed to nullify the redeemable moments.
- Please know and understand that I do not in any way oppose giving - and giving generously - of our resources to God! Indeed, we are called to give cheerfully and we know that we can rest in the promises of God that He will always supply for our needs. It is not the concept of giving that I oppose, rather it is the misuse and abuse of Scripture to threaten and instigate guilt into the congregation. It's my personal opinion that if a pastor does not use such tactics on the sheep of his flock in order to preach a mandatory tithe, he will see generous, heartfelt giving far above and beyond a pre-determined percentage!
- Finally, please understand that I am not in any way accusing or implying that James MacDonald is of the same caliber as such Word-Faith heretics as Creflo Dollar, T.D. Jakes, Paula White, Joel Osteen, and the like. This sermon of MacDonald's, however, appears to make his friendly associations with men like Seeker-Driven and quasi-Word Faith pastors Steven Furtick and Perry Noble far more understandable. Perhaps it may also aid us in understanding MacDonald's staunch defense of his invitation to T.D. Jakes to join in the Elephant Room? Perhaps now, MacDonald's statement of September 27, 2011 regarding T.D. Jakes seems less peculiar than it did initially:
I am also excited to hear him [Jakes] state his views on money, which may be closer to Scripture than the monasticism currently touring [the] reformed world. (Online Source)My point in posting all of this (because I know that someone will ask) is not to accuse, but simply to cause my readers to begin to think about what is being preached even by today's "conservative" Bible teachers. It is so easy for us to fall into a pattern of blind trust with our favorite pastors, yet no one is above the test or accountability of Scripture. And when we begin to hear glimmers of something as potentially dangerous as the teachings above, then we must begin to ask questions. I pray that the elders of HBC are asking questions; I pray that the congregation is asking questions; and I pray that MacDonald himself may be brought by the Holy Spirit to a place of questioning of some of his own recent actions.
"[Y]et we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified." (Galatians 2:16)
"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose." (Galatians 2:20-21)SEE ALSO:
Is Your Money Cursed Until You Redeem it with the Tithe? (Fighting for the Faith)