FLEECING THE FLOCK
Written by Jerry Baysinger
Would you believe that some of the most hurting and abused people are actually members or past members of churches? Many people I’ve met since being in ministry will not even step foot in a church. Why is that? Are they against God? Well, yes and no. Yes, because they may have been terribly hurt by “Christians” who claim to be servants, or even ministers of God. So therefore, they think God is like those who say they represent Him. But they would answer no, if they only know what God is really like. God is Love. God wants you free. God wants you to be in love with Him, and to receive His love, and to be full of exceeding peace and joy. God wants you healed, spirit, soul, and body. God wants you blessed and prosperous.
One particular sore spot among Church goers is the subject of “tithing”. I myself have been an advocate of tithing, and have faithfully tithed of all my income since 1988, every single cent of it. Not the “net” but the “gross”. I had been taught that a tithe was a minimum God demanded, and that if I didn’t pay my tithe, I was robbing God, and would be cursed. Not wanting to be under the curse, I obeyed. Every church I’ve been in has used Malachi 3:10-12, promising blessings beyond your ability to even have room enough to receive them.
And if you mention that Jesus was the fulfillment of the law, and that we are not under the law in the New Testament, then, it would be argued, you are rebellious, that Abraham tithed before the law. And he did. He gave a tenth of the spoils of war, stuff that wasn’t even his to begin with. Not to mention the fact that Abraham gave the tithe to Melchisidec himself, which was the pre-incarnate Christ, not to the church. But we won’t mention that fact, to keep from stepping on toes here.
Anyway, always feeling such a desire to please God, we have gladly paid our tithes faithfully without grumbling or complaining, no matter how sorely pressed we were in our finances. We believed God would take care of our needs. It was a way of life. On January 30th (2003), while on a ministry trip, after spending three days in prayer and study, parked in our motorhome without getting out of it, the Holy Spirit spoke strongly to me about tithing, and I wasn’t even seeking God about that. I had to repent. He said, and I quote, “Do you think it a marvelous thing that I, the Holy One of Israel, should set my people free from the oppression the Pastors are putting on them?” I said, Lord, what are you saying to me? He went on to say, “I am tired of the Pastors fleecing my flocks. Pastors are teaching their congregations to live by faith to believe I will meet all their needs by their tithing. And all the while, the Pastors are counting on men to supply their needs by the tithes they receive, instead of relying on Me to meet their needs. And I am fed up with the oppression of my people by the churches!”
He led me to Ezekiel 34, and Jeremiah 23 about the Pastors and Shepherds that are abusing His church. Judgment is beginning, at the church. And some of it is happening right here, right now.
A few months ago, I received a prophetic word from a Pastor, “You are going to receive revelation from God, preach it!”
But I have a real good idea this revelation I received isn’t going to sit well with him, or with most churches. I’ll probably be branded a troublemaker and avoided. Why? Because if the people stop tithing, the churches will have to start believing God for their income. And they’re not going to want to do that. It would require repentance, and getting out of their comfort zone.
Well, let me tell you what. I’ve had to do both, and I made it through to the other side, to a place of peace and joy. There are people like me out there who have tithed faithfully for years, believing they were pleasing God exceedingly with their obedience, showing God that they put Him before their own needs. I believe God knew my heart and honored it to an extent. I did it out of a right attitude. But now God has corrected me, and is holding me responsible to walk in this new knowledge, and no longer in the old. Actually, it’s not new knowledge at all, just new to me.
Some people at reading this are going to jump with joy at being told they don’t have to tithe, because they don’t have a giving heart in the first place. Their money is their god. I sorrow for you, and pray for you, that God may change your heart, and give you a heart to give, like His.
Others of you, have a mind like a steel trap…rusted shut, and you are not open to correction by God or anyone else. If this be you, I pray for you also, that God will grant you repentance and give you a teachable and tender heart. Still others, are teachable, but have been taught error. And they’ve accepted it, because, rather than get in God’s word and search it out, they have taken other people’s word for what it says. That’s just plain being lazy. If you say, I don’t understand what I read, then ask God for wisdom. He says He will give it to you if you ask in faith. Others of you may be baby Christians, and just don’t know enough yet to know what to believe.
Listen, people, your eternal future depends on what you believe and do. You’d better make sure of what you are putting your faith in, that it is God’s doctrine, and not Man’s doctrine. Take the advise of John, written in 1 John 4:1-3, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of Antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already it is in the world.” Test this word I am giving you here by the Spirit of God. Don’t just take my word for it that it is from God. The Holy Spirit will speak to you Himself, whether this be true or not.
First thing you may argue is that Jesus taught tithing. Yes, He did. Remember though, Jesus was a Jew, and Jesus was Himself under the law and was required to obey it. Everything Jesus taught was under the law. But…everything changed upon the resurrection of Jesus! Out with the old, in with the new. Actually, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are all Old Covenant right up to the resurrection of Jesus. Read on. Tithing is not taught or even mentioned in the new covenant. Yes, that’s right, it is not there. But don’t take my word for it, search it out for yourself, like I did! Get out your Concordance. Look up the words “tithe”, “tithes”, “tithing”, “firstfruit”, “firstfruits”. Can’t find in the New Testament where the disciples or Paul demanded tithes? Isn’t that odd.
Maybe the church’s Bibles read different than yours and mine. The truth be known, the law was given to the Jews. Gentiles weren’t tithers in the first place, they weren’t Jews. And very likely, you aren’t either. And the counsel of James in Acts 15:13-31, told the Gentile converts the following; “Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment;……..For it seemed good to the HOLY GHOST, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication; from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare thee well.” Hmmmm. There must be some mistake, tithing isn’t even mentioned here. Maybe a translator error. Or maybe tithing is a New Testament doctrine of men and not of God??
Oh, by the way, do you know what you were supposed to do with your tithes under the Old Testament law? You ate them! Yes, that’s right. Check it out in Deuteronomy 12:1-28.
So tell me, how is the work of God to be financed if the churches quit demanding tithes from their people? Hey, listen up, I didn’t say giving is done away with. Actually, quite to the contrary. We are instructed to give freewill offerings. James 2:15-16 says, “If a brother or a sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them no those things which are needful for the body; what doth it profit?”
Just as in the first Church, giving kept the work of God going. And it still does today. Giving is not done away with at all. But tithing is. God loves a cheerful giver, and He wants you to give as you purpose in your heart. A happy heart always gives ungrudgingly and bountifully. Galatians 6:6-10 says, “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. (That means support your Pastor or Minister with your finances, prayers, time, labors, and goods) Be not deceived: God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall reap corruption; but he that soweth to the spirit shall of the spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
If you want a church like the early church, it said in Acts 4:34-35, “Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the Apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” Do you see this happening in your church? No? I didn’t think so. In fact, Paul himself didn’t own a home of his own, and he wrote most of the New Testament. True, the Bible says in 1 Timothy 5:17-18 says, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, the labourer is worthy of his reward.” But there are some churches out there whose directors are putting a yoke of bondage on their congregations, threatening them with “the curse“, that they are robbing God if they don’t tithe, living like kings, while their people are crying out to God for help just to make ends meet after they pay their tithes with much fear and trembling. Woe to those Shepherds. It’s all about to come crashing down on their heads.
Let me tell you this, my friends, while I may never get to preach in a church ever again after putting this out on the internet, I will sleep tonight knowing I have set a lot of you people free. But that’s ok, because I’m not on anyone’s payroll, so I don’t have to teach tithing to keep my job. God is my employer, and He told me teach this, so teach it I will.
Jesus came to earth to set people free from bondage. And that includes bondages from the churches. That’s one reason I love to minister and evangelize in the prisons, no one can ask for tithes there. You can preach the Gospel without price and without cost, and people are set free….for free, even!
Isn’t it funny, most New Testament churches teach the law is done away with. But they want to pick and choose which ones. Tithing suits them for keeping because it means money in the bank account, guaranteed. They want their people to be free, but not to the extent it jeopardizes the Church’s income. Just free enough to keep you coming back with your tithes in hand. Plus your offerings, by the way. And don’t forget the building fund, and the missions fund, and the benevolence fund, and the local outreach fund. In fact, why don’t you just hand over your whole paycheck? It takes money to run the church, you know. You need to learn to trust God anyway, right? Well God is telling you right now, stop being fleeced. Many churches are pulling the wool over your eyes, hoping you won’t search the scriptures daily to learn the truth. Find the door and use it. Go where there is truth and liberty and Jesus is being taught.
Now, please understand this; I want you to give to your church and to your Pastor. But I want you to do it according to God’s word, and not according to man’s word.
I’m a giver, and I love to give. That’s the joy of my life. You must learn to listen to the Holy Spirit about your giving. Pray before you give. Ask God what He would have you give. He will surely tell you. True, He may stretch you sometimes to give more than you would otherwise, so He can bless you. He has asked me to give $1000 offering when it was all I had to my name. But I knew it was Him. And you will know if it is God and not man asking you to give an offering. You will not feel conviction or guilt, but rather a peace and joy about giving. It will indeed give you joy to give.
You should be able to look at the arm you give with and not see twist marks on it. Know what I mean? I’ve been in churches that will make you feel guilty for not giving more than you put in the plate, far too many, I must add. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. If you are a poor person who can’t give much and you find you are largely shunned, then you aren’t in God’s church. Find the door, it says “EXIT” above it. God has a better place for you. God’s church will see to it that there is no lack in any of it’s members. That is the church Jesus is coming back to take for His bride. It’s out there, but you will have to ask God to show you where it is. Then get in there and do your part.
My friend, don’t blame God for the oppression in the churches. It didn’t come from God. It came from the greediness of men for money, for power, for dominion. God granted mankind dominion over all the earth, but not dominion over other people. God sent Jesus to free the oppressed, but churches are putting them right back into oppression again. STOP IT!! The Apostle Paul addressed teachings of going back under the law very strongly in Galatians 3, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (keeping the law, and tithing) Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 10. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 13.Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: Gal 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, That if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace .”
You would do good to read the whole book of Galatians. I don’t have room here to put every scripture in this letter.
I have a good idea that multitudes of people will now want to give to the work of God, not because they are under bondage to do so, but because they have been given liberty. I pray the churches will obey the voice of God and set their people free, so that they may grow and flourish. Those who don’t will be judged by God Himself. And quickly, I might add. The days of fleecing the flock are over! The Lord will set shepherds over His flocks who will feed them truth and love them with their lives.
End of Article
Evangelist Michael Parker’s commentary:
I want you to watch this video..it’s short..and it’s to the point..then I will comment about it after you watch it.
Here’s another example yet more refined….Paula White, who is now part of the spiritual advising team of President Trump
The answer to this may shock you…
According to scripture, and all of the examples that are used by prosperity gospel teachers, is that this “concept” is very wrong, deceitful, and is a way to gain financially during the upcoming Income Tax Refund time period. This year, as President Trump has successfully passed Income Tax Reform, many people who have money to give may give more abundantly. And much like the advertisers of our product consuming country, Pastors and Evangelists will jump on the bandwagon to convince people that giving as much as they can, sets the foundation of what they will receive from God in the future. Churches win big with the Tax Reform too. They are no longer allowed to be scrutinized by the IRS as a Non Profit entity.
So, am I calling out these women and judging them? Perhaps. Maybe you should also take a long hard look at where your dollars go, and to what ministry you give. With the Anita Fuentes ministry, last year she received nearly $27,000 to start a Church Studio/Church…only to tell followers that they have decided after hearing from God, and taking a long absence (vacation) after receiving the money, that the Church was a no go. Some of the money was spent on advertising billboards for their ministry, moving them from California to Texas, and funding their home. Followers of this ministry never demanded to see an accounting sheet of where their tithes went.
Paula White can now use the popularity of President Trump to get millions to give to her ministry.
Our ministry has been online for nearly 9 years. In that time, we have received less than $6,000 in donations and gifts. We have made it a point to tell those who have followed this ministry, that if they chose to give, that is up to them. We do not under any circumstances pretend to give some financial interpretation of scripture to gain money from it. We have had donations and tithing come from all over the world too..and when someone was compelled to give, I know that God blessed them for doing it. My wife and I have full time jobs…we earn in excess of $100,000 a year working. Nothing to get rich on, and nothing to brag about. Our goal is to see others come to Christ, and become believers. First Fruits is the Feast in Israel that declares that we are also First Fruits, and those first fruits will be blessed as Christ said they would be…”Blessed are those that believe and have not yet seen”. It is also part of the Rapture and the teaching of the Feasts, in divine order. God does nothing outside his divine order. Don’t be fooled by these women, or any other ministry for that matter. There are MANY out there now pushing this gospel….beware.