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Quote “A Napier pastor is defending his reputation and that of his church after being accused of taking the life-savings of an elderly tetraplegic man. The Oasis Elim Church is accused of taking at least $20,000 from Whetu Abraham who lives at Otatara Rest Care and Rehabilitation in Taradale”. End of quote.

This article is in the Public domain yet we need to remember the charge has not been proved. By law the accused is entitled to the presumption of innocence. The burden of guilt is incumbent on the plaintiff to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is in fact guilty. These cases often never come to court.

The whole point of this article is to ask “why do Churches want our money” in the first place.
These types of accusations against church leaders seem crop up often and so the question arises “why”, and how transparent are their intentions with regard to what’s been entrusted to them?

In charismatic evangelical and independent expressions of Christianity they insist that God’s word gives them the right to take 10% plus of our hard earned cash to spend as they see fit.
For proof they point to a reference in Malachi 3:10 about tithing.

Why do they insist on imposing this tax upon us when there is no command in the New Testament for us to part with 10% plus to these money hungry institutions; and don’t forget that’s over and above the taxes we pay to our democratically elected (and accountable to us every three years) government.

We are stewards of all that He has given us. Not slaves to be fleeced by the clergy. They have taken a command given by God to Moses for running the affairs of the Sovereign Nation of Israel as their authority. But I already pay taxes to the Government in my country; in return for which I receive many benefits.

Here’s a short list of some of the blessings I receive in return for the taxes I pay.
Protection against foreign aggression:
The right to an education for us and our children; libraries; hospitals, and health care.
Parks and recreational areas, police protection, retirement benefits when I become too old to be gainfully employed.
Then there is the entire infrastructure that my taxes help to provide. I.e. motorways bridges, rail and airports to facilitate travel within my country, and abroad when I wish to visit family and friends.

If I allow churches to insist upon another tax of at least (10%) on top of the 20 – 40% I already give to my government what benefits can they have to offer me that I don’t already receive? (Apart from saying they’ll get me to heaven?) But I’m not that sure that they know the way?

Under God Moses received a constitution to govern by with no ambiguities.

  1. Look at the wonderful benefits the Israelites received for their taxes (tithes)
  2. Good Government
  3. No murderers walking around on probation; no prisons to maintain
  4. Insurance to cover for dumb deals done by forbears that restored the family’s inheritance every 50 yrs (Jubilee)

  5. This eliminated the Bill Gates types from accumulating massive fortunes via their slaves.
  6. Widows received a pension
  7. Aged parents were the welcomed and honoured responsibility of their children
  8. They were instructed by God’s law to set aside a third tithe to spend for themselves on their annual holidays during the feast of Tabernacles. They camped out with their children, their relatives and friends. It was a harvest festival which they looked forward to every year with relish

What I want to know is what benefits can we expect to receive in exchange for the taxes they are insistent that we give to them?
Precious little you can be sure about that. You’ll pay a cleric who lies in bed most mornings thinking about how he will spend his day, except Sundays when he has to get up and go to church to deliver his sermon. He is accountable to nobody. He may come to your home to visit you once and a while; but if you are a well heeled he will make it his business to visit you regularly, oh yes he will.

What do they do with all the money they harvest from their people?

Firstly you need to realise that money is power and it drives everything. Who needs God when you can lay your hands on money?
Some have raffled their homes to facilitate their dream. I personally know church built on land with money won on an Art Union Ticket, I knew the circumstances. The winner’s son was a friend. I was still a Catholic at the time. I didn’t think that Protestants did such strange things.

A greyhound track owner gave Oral Roberts six million to bail him out of a financial hole. Go to Google if you don’t believe.
Pastors’ have a love affair with real estate. Having their very own Church building of is a symbol of success. Every “sola” pastor has the same pipe dream which is to build something they can’t afford, they don’t need, and God hasn’t ordered. John 4:

To facilitate their lust for success they must have numerical growth. It’s the “cash cow” that will help to pay for their dream and then maintain it. They speculate on the incomes of phantom people who as yet don’t exist. They ignore the warnings of scripture, and gamble on the future by taking out mortgages they will expect their people to foot the bill for.

If you are silly enough to accept the rhetoric of a man driven by an ego as large as an elephant you need a head transplant. Jesus said “Feed my sheep not fleece them”
Sheep ramble; preachers gamble, both are fleeced.


An ‘alligator’ is real estate investment jargon for negative cash flow. It means, when your outgoings exceed your income; you can be sure your upkeep will be your downfall.

When Alligators first hatch they are very small. They don't take much to feed initially, but they have a habit of growing. They feed on green backs ...$$$.... As they grow they develop an insatiable appetite for more $. Most building programs kill congregations they rarely edify them. They are demanding mentally physically and particularly financially; it leaves precious little for anything else. Predictably God's servants have to make sure that they keep generating enough…$$... to keep the alligator breeder (The Banker) happy or they will kill it. A large portion of their time is spent raising funds to keep the alligator happy. Adding people to meet mortgage payments is a poor reason for evangelism.

An extremely high profile minister with a large movement in California told us proudly that only a small percentage of their cash flow went into facilities; and that warehouses and rented buildings were the way to go. He said that they had all the money they needed to do what God was telling them. Then that very same fellowship went into debt for multiplied millions, and was appealing outside their own fellowship for assistance to meet the payments. I know preachers in NZ who quite recently had that philosophy, until it all went wrong.

Sociologists tell us that the last thing a movement does before it dies is to build monuments.
You can find memorials to past moves in every city in our nation.
The soil test for a large monstrosity in Auckland cost $100.000 before they could lift a finger to commence building their nightmare. It’s true; the surveyor was a relative of mine
How can they squander money on unnecessary, costly, ineffectual buildings that stand empty several days a week? Is God really behind a project that goes belly up?
Or was it just another trip by a “sola” pastor with a large ego supported by zombies who robber stamped his whims? How can this kind of expenditure be justified while millions go hungry?

I am not saying we cannot have buildings, but why buy one when there are plenty freely available? Don’t fall into the trap of borrowing large sums of money that place intolerable burdens upon people.
The culprit often simply runs away to another town or country and leaves others to clean the mess up.

The borrower is servant to the lender said a wiser than you or I. If you can’t pay for it, forget it, and even if you pay for it; still forget it.
Did you know that on an average it takes 10% of the capital cost annually to maintain a building?
There’s no faith in borrowing. It’s blatant disobedience. It’s a sin. I trust you still know what that word means.

For more material on Kingdom living view
Shaun Kearney
en engape!