Pastor Says God Curses People Who Don’t Give Money To Church

This tweet* came out of the ministry of a church in New Brunswick:

Ms. Lintner is not listed on the church website as a staff member, but her husband is one of the pastors. When other people on Twitter started questioning her statement, Phil Hutchings, the founding and senior pastor of the church, stepped in.

There were more instances of the pastor defending the horrible tweet, but this one is enough to show that this is a church that teaches the legalism of tithing (a law that does not apply to people under the New Covenant at all) and that questions the salvation of anyone who disagrees with their teachings.

But that’s not the part that has me shaking my head so much as the completely wrong focus in the original tweet.

When a church starts preaching the tithe, they’ve stopped preaching the gospel.

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Caring for Others

If a child needs shoes, the church’s focus shouldn’t be on whether the family has given ten percent or any other amount to the church. The focus should be on making sure the church’s members are taken care of. So buy the kid a pair of shoes.

But instead, these teachers follow in the footsteps of the religious leaders Jesus criticized for making people follow rules without understanding God’s priorities.

They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. …

You [religious teachers] give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. (Matthew 23:4, 23.)

Justice, mercy and faithfulness are an interesting trio. It brings to mind Micah’s call:

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:6-8.7)

This is what we are to focus on, and it is what is missing from that original tweet and all the follow-up messages from the pastor (and there are many). All he can focus on is whether the church is getting its money, not the needs of a family to clothe their children.

Jesus spoke to that as well:

“I needed clothes and you clothed me … .”

Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you … needing clothes and clothe you?

The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:36-40.)

Yet the pastor says the family is to sacrifice shoes for their children in order to pay the church money. In teaching this, the pastor ignores this passage:

Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:7-8.)

And for those who are unable to care for themselves the Bible shows examples of the church providing for them, like this one:

And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. (Acts 4:33-35.)

Nowhere does the Bible even hint that the Apostles required a showing that the needy person had tithed before distributing to them according to their need. It just says some people had much and others had little and everyone’s needs were taken care of.

So let’s have no more threats against parents who care for their children’s needs. Instead, let’s make sure the church is not focused on money and stays focused on Jesus and the people he’s put in our lives, both those in and out of the church.

Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6:8-10.)

Sowing to please the flesh in this instance is the New Brunswick church’s emphasis on money. (They even put tithing in their statement of faith, a topic I don’t usually see in such documents.) Doing good to all people would be to teach their members to recognize and see the needs of those around them who are unable to provide for themselves.

So I ask again, why doesn’t the church just buy the kid a pair of shoes? I’ll never know their answer. Shortly after tweeting that question, the pastor blocked me on Twitter.

***

*My thanks to Jonathan Bolton for posting the original tweet on his Facebook page.

***

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39 Responses to Pastor Says God Curses People Who Don’t Give Money To Church

  1. Ruth says:

    This lot need to hear about the Australian teacher who won a fair amount if money on a local quiz show, then bought ALL the children at her school new shoes! Companies then stepped in….pun…..! And donated extra pairs to the children. No particular Christian affiliation mentioned…just Christ like behaviour because she loved her kids….such a breath of fresh air!

    • Tim says:

      What a wonderful way to use one’s winnings. I bet those kids will never forget her generosity and kindness.

      • Ruth says:

        Just to add to the joy, friends of ours went on this same quiz show and won several hundred thousand dollars! There wasn’t much left after this delightful Christian lady gave away nearly all she had won. She was the Secretary at a Christian school where I taught, and had been through many ‘toils and woes’ , but never lost her gracious spirit and generosity

  2. Deanna says:

    Such awful theology coming from that church! Out of curiosity, I checked out their Statement of Faith and saw that tithing was in there: if they’ve elevated tithing up to the same level as essentials of the faith such as the nature of God and Scripture, it’s no surprise that this kind of warped theology and emphasis results!

    • Tim says:

      I thought the same when I read their statement of faith. Tithing is so important that they have it as an article of foundational faith. It shows that one of their main priorities is to get their members to give money to the church.

  3. Kevin Mason says:

    Thank you for daring to step on the ‘third-rail’ and calling out the financial process/means of the modern church growth movement. Paul wrote” “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Yet we hear often how helping those in need should be via tithing to the church. Giving directly to others in need does not count. The church becomes the middle man and the arbiter of who is deserving of help. (if there are any funds remaining after paying the staff, the building loan, the new lighting and sound system, the coffee shop, the decorative art work, the landscaping, etc.) My Jaw dropped when my pastor preached on giving and that giving should be to the church, and he then stated that he believes the amount to give is at least 10%. He took the teaching on tithing from the Old Testament and tried to imply that it is also part of the New Testament teaching. My jaw dropped again when he paraphrased 2 Corinthians 9:7 and omitted ” …or under compulsion” from the verse. I think the pastor knew what he was saying was not biblical but he wanted to increase the church’s income.

    • Tim says:

      How Bible teachers can take Jesus’ conversation with the Pharisees who were under the Old Covenant and say this shows Jesus want New Covenant people to tithe (especially in light of NT teaching on giving and law) shows horrible reading comprehension at best and willful avarice at worst.

      • Kevin Mason says:

        I would guess ‘willful avarice’ since the pastors’ voice noticeably wavered when he gave the specific amount. He knew, but the enticement of more money superseded biblical accuracy.

  4. Pastor Bob says:

    SOME churches are legalistic in this regard, but so many that are do not hold anyone “accountable.” (audits?) If you like the church, give as God directs.
    Many churches use the tithe as a guideline, since many can give more, obey God. Some cannot afford the 10% (!) they give less, as God guides, yet some give more and above and have their needs met.

    The key is OBEDIENCE. If 10% would hurt but God directs say 12% – DO IT. If 10% is easy, God may direct more to the church or another ministry.

    IF I had been involved in the twitter-change, I would have told the pastor that if he would insist tht the church live like the Israelite, the pastor MUST live like a Levite.

    • Tim says:

      I agree about the amount to give, PB. More or less, but give as led by God and with a cheerful heart.

    • Kevin Mason says:

      “…if he would insist th[a]t the church live like the Israelite, the pastor MUST live like a Levite.”

      Exactly! But hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

  5. Pastor Bob says:

    YES!
    == led by God and
    == with a cheerful heart. <– Double YES!

  6. Jeannie says:

    Tim, I looked at the verses that precede Matt 23:4 and it’s interesting: Jesus says, “Do what the teachers TELL you but don’t do what they DO” (because the teachers were not practicing what they preached – they were hypocrites). In this case it seems like the NB church IS being consistent in their words and actions — unfortunately they are consistently wrong. The “their steps will be cursed” part is dangerous, even evil, teaching.

    • Tim says:

      It takes Jesus’ conversation with those teacher of the Old Covenant and turns it into a manifesto for people under the New Covenant.

      And I still want to know why the pastor is so focused on money and instead of on the kid who needs a pair of shoes.

  7. Ahab says:

    What a twisted tweet. A parent’s first priority is to provide for their children, not to make their pastor richer. Should children go without shoes just to line the pastor’s pockets? No.

    • Tim says:

      Paul taught that it is important for people to take care of one another’s needs, and never said those needs are secondary to giving to the church.

  8. I must say I really liked your question to that tweet. Why doesn’t the church buy shoes indeed. The original tweet, I just have no words. What would possess you to put it that way? If one wanted to make a point out of tithing, which may not even be quite right in the end anyhow, why not give the example of something frivolous like going out to eat or to the movies. Not a need like shoes for your children.

    Granted after one look of her twitter feed, I must say I’m not impressed by any of the tweets I find there. This is the first time I’ve ever seen tithing as on a statement of faith of a church and we’ve been looking at a lot of churches in our area over the last three years. Why am I not surprised it seems to take prosperity gospel turn. You need to give us money so that God can bless you. Getting blocked over a question like that shows what they’re really after and sadly it isn’t helping those in need.

    • Tim says:

      It does show what they’re really after. I think her tweets are taken straight from the pastor’s sermons, based on the fact he’s tagged in them, what I saw on the website and his own tweets defending the church’s position.

  9. Sarah says:

    Readers should not be surprised by this. The core of the New Apostolic Reformation and Empower 21, is deeply intertwined with Gateway Church’s Robert Morris’ “The Blessed Life” false teachings. Morris also claims if you don’t tithe to your local 501c3 corporation, you’ll be cursed. Morris says you should tithe at 12%-13% of gross pay to make it 10% on net pay. You are also to give above and beyond the tithe, plus special capital gifts. Children are taught they must give birthday money and college funds, or else they are cursed. Morris claims Jesus was God’s tithe. Baloney!

    Morris exports all of this (First Fruits and Principles of Multiplication) to so many other churches, and the other mega-pastors and mega-wannabe’s lap it up because it’s profitable to the local church. Morris teaches 4,000 pastors a year this twisted message every year at his Gateway Conference. Gateway has dozens of affiliates who use simulcast and delayed broadcast. Morris earned $328,000 in 2013 going to other churches (about $20K/gig) to be the “hit man” to “teach” the tithing so the home pastor doesn’t look like the bad guy. People think they are giving “to God” or “to the Kingdom” but it’s just going to the local 501c3. Very little actually goes to outreach.

    Morris is now hooking up with Ronnie Floyd, President of SBC, who also endorses Morris’ false teaching on tithing, because SBC is losing members and cash flow. They will share the stage in July 2016 at a massive political rally in Cowboys Stadium, gathering 75,000 pastors there. Headliners will be all the presidential nominees (right before both D and R political conventions). Be very scared.

    • Tim says:

      Isn’t it interesting that the only mention of tithing in the New Testament writings is by Jesus prior to instituting the New Covenant, and then only to those who by physical birth (not necessarily spiritual birth) were under the Old Covenant. The only writing after the New Covenant came into existence that mentions tithing is Hebrews, and then only in the historical application to Old Covenant believers.

  10. Mary Anne says:

    Thinking of an old Irving Berlin love song: “Don’t Bring Me Posies–It’s Shoesies That I Need.”

    Seriously, though, what IS it with the tithing stuff? God doesn’t call for a tenth of you; He wants ALL of you. I think when people understand this then giving to those in need (and all finanical aspects of your walk) should fall into place on its own.

    And I’ll never forget going to one pastor/counselor who, when I confided the problems I’d been having, said first of all, “Well, I notice you haven’t been giving very much lately; being behind in your tithes and offerings can really mess you up . . .” Silly me for not getting up and walking out the door right then.

    • Tim says:

      That’s what he got from your drop-off in giving? He couldn’t ask how things are going and how the church could help? Sheesh.

      • Mary Anne says:

        Well, there were many very grave problems in this group–by the time I left it had assumed cult proportions, and I mean that in the worst possible definition of “cult.” And I had far more tolerance for foolishness then. Nowadays a remark like that would trigger my Crap Detector, which is pretty much always set at DEFCON 1. And that in turn leads to my standard proclamation of “There are eight ways to kill a man with his own foot…”
        ;-D Seriously, though, I had a narrow escape there.

  11. Mary Anne says:

    Tim, you know I’d be delighted, but I assume this is a family-friendly blog . . . 😉

  12. LT says:

    I hope readers understand how very real his kind of spiritual extortion is. I know of one family with two school age children at Gateway who was just served an eviction notice. Instead of paying their back rent they are keeping their 12% tithe going and trying to give extravagantly on top of
    that. They are fearful that things will get worse for them if they stop tithing to pay their bills. They are also taught through anecdotal videos and written testimonies about how God will generously bless and care for them if they give >10% to Gateway. GW has over 30,000 attendees yet they can only produce a handful of these testimonies. If this were a weight loss program or a secular “get rich quick” scheme, the government would make GW tell consumers “results not typical”.

    I also have a close friend who is a single mother, with no child support, who finally stopped tithing after she was presented with enough factual data to prove this is a scam. Then she had a series of events, including medical emergencies, that hit her. These were not freak accidents or unusual occurrences – just stuff life throws at you. Her first instinct was to believe that God was cursing her and she immediately brought her tithe current to stop the curses. However, bad and expensive stuff kept happening. Now behind on her bills, she could end up losing her tiny home if she gets too far behind on the mortgage. She is a wreck right now. This family is living off of 99 cent pasta bags so they can pay for Robert Morris’ three massive homes.

    This Cursed Life teaching is insidious. It is similar to payday loans in that it punishes those who can least afford it. Families in financial difficulties, desperately trying to get out from under them, tend to be the ones most enslaved by this false teaching. In any other industry besides “the church” con artists preying on the most vulnerable would be brought to justice.

    • Tim says:

      Those stories bring me back to the original question, LT: why isn’t the church helping out their members who are in need? They should be asking those needy members to take the assistance, not tithe to the church.

        • Lisa says:

          That’s what the tithe is for, isn’t it? To help the needy? I know some shoddy “pastors” who lay claim to this 10% as theirs (some even say the members owe another 2% beyond that, directly to the “pastor”‘s pocket (it’s called “first fruits” teaching)). They don’t like it when you mention that the tithe went to the Levites for their needs, and that they weren’t allowed to own land of their own! No mansions for you, “Pastor”!

        • Tim says:

          No mansions for you! Ha, love it!

    • Elle says:

      Exactly. I could write a book about this scam. My mother never stopped believing this, although I think she changed her view over the years. She was nearly penniless when she died. Ministries and churches that do this shouldn’t be allowed to claim non profit status and should be shut down. Unfortunately victims don’t speak up until 20-30 years later.

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  14. Lisa says:

    There is a well-known TV preacher who says that every dollar you give to him–I mean, give to God through him–will be returned to you tenfold. So I said to myself, “Well, then, why doesn’t he donate $1,000 to his church, God will return to him $10,000. Then he can give that out, and God will return to him *$100,000.* Then he can give THAT out, and God will give him $1,000,000! He then gives that out, and now has TEN MILLION DOLLARS! What does he need MY money for? Surely not his private plane, 10,000 square foot mansion, Rolex watches and limousines.”

  15. joepote01 says:

    Score for Tim! 🙂

    I couldn’t think of a better site from which to be blocked for speaking truth.

    Way to go! 🙂

  16. Elle says:

    I grew up with this theology. It was a lifetime ago but when I see stuff like this, it still breaks my heart. It reminds me of the little girl I used to be who had nothing and watched my mom pour all our money, which wasn’t much, into the church. Pastors walked around with nice suits and the pastors wife had fine dresses and jewelry. Their kids got whatever they wanted. My siblings and I had no clothes except from hand me down stores. Our food consisted of packaged foods and powdered milk from a food shelf. My dad died when I was 11. We got evicted from our house that same week. The church didn’t do a damn thing to help. They lived it up on poor peoples incomes. My mom was afraid not tithing would bring us much worse things. That theology devastated my family. I think there’s a special place in hell for people like that. I feel sad for those who are sucked in and living in fear by these monsters.

    • Tim says:

      I am so sorry your family had to endure that, Elle. That teaching has nothing to do with the love of Jesus for his people.

    • Lisa says:

      I’m so sorry to hear this, Elle. It’s wrong and it turns people away from Christ. The local paper ran one of those human-interest stories on how a single mother on government aid *actually* lives. It wasn’t pretty. But then they showed her at the church getting help from a financial planner–and he was showing her how to budget her tithe to the church.

      How wrong! She is the one the church is supposed to be helping! There are no verses on letting your children go without to feed the fancy clothes of the pastor and his family. But there ARE verses on evicting widows (like your mother) from their homes. These people need to repent! I hope this didn’t cost you your faith.

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