An article came out in the Wall Street Journal regarding the backlash against institutional Christianity and the issue of tithing. (You can read it here: WSJ.com/tithing) One of those interviewed was from the state where we live and I was able to make connection with him. It turned out he was in the church system and in leadership for twenty years before the Lord delivered him out. He was ostracized and marginalized by the church of 400 once he saw the truth that there is not a single verse instructing Christians or churches to tithe.
What is also interesting is that when he wrote letters to each of the pastoral staff asking for a discussion he could not understand that after weeks and weeks had gone by, no one would grant him a hearing according to Matthew 18 in regard to an offense. His article and correspondence may be read here. Rather than responding to his serious, scriptural questions, he was labeled a "gadfly" and relegated to the irrelevant murmurer pile rather than acknowedging he was a truth-teller.
He wrote: I met with the preacher and discovered he didn’t know what the scriptures taught. He requested I write a summary that would show what the Bible teaches about tithing. I did this (see 'The Scriptures and The Tithe' for what I gave him) and then was offered to meet with David (the youth pastor) and the senior pastor Mike. So, I met with Michael ***** and the conclusion of that meeting was… he would check with the elders and draw up some conclusion to our meeting. Two months later I called and asked what the conclusion to our meeting was, had he talked with the elders? ***** said, "no, he had not talked to the elders, but he said I had not proved my point about tithing so he considered the case closed." I wrote more to the pastors and talked to an elder about it. I emailed and tried to get a move out of the leaders. It was all like I was talking to a rock, no response."
His experience so closely paralled ours, we were stunned. The last time we met with the pastor, Elders, and pastor's wife, when the tithing issue and scripture were brought up, discussion was immediately squashed. "We're not gonna talk about that..." -the pastor said.
In the six years since we left and 3.5 years since our book was printed, we have had ZERO response from any of the pastors, prophets, or ministers we freely gave our book to. In one of his articles the writer mentioned how the wicked flee, and their tithing doctrine was built on sand that cannot stand the storm of testing by the Word.
Now I understand the silence from coast to coast from those we sent our book to, the many pastors that we have known over the years, and the professional tithe-espousing clergy in our old assemblies.
The local paper even did an article on our book and I post regularly on our local community website/ forum. Not one "reproof" from anyone although I offered to receive correction according to scripture. (I did get a personal accusation about tithing in which I offered to give the emailer a free book and asked him to correct me from scripture but he never responded.)
You must understand that for 20+ years we were zealous church goers and always involved closely with the various pastors and lay leaders. We zealously defended our church, teachings, and pastors during that time. So when we left church it came as a great shock to many people, including ourselves, as we never imagined leaving our church.
Our friend writes:
"My conclusion in this struggle…
Many churches teach tithing. If you are required to tithe at your church I recommend that you question this practice. If your questioning brings change to this doctrine, your church is to be commended, repentance is possible there and where repentance/change can occur then there is great potential for fellowship and healthy body life. If your questioning brings about argument with no scriptural evidence or if there is only a stony response I would consider that church organization to be an empty shell and old wine skins, a business run on a budget obtained by deceiving people"
I could not agree more.