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|The Art Of Religious Extortion by oludyke: 2:49pm On Oct 31, 2012|
The Art of Religious Extortion
The art of religious extortion focuses on the skills and abilities developed overtime by Pastors, Bishops, Apostles and other types of ministers in order to make the members of their congregation give to the ‘work of the kingdom’. This is usually done through manipulation, intimidation and domination. In Mark 12:40, our Lord told the Jews to beware of scribes (religious leaders) who devour widows’ houses. Some of the religious leaders in the days of Christ (while here on earth) took advantage of unsuspecting and lonely widows to seek and receive offerings from them. They exploited the widows’ willingness to help those whom the widows believed to be men of God. By manipulation these leaders persuaded the widows to give more than they could afford, while they lived in luxury on these misguided offerings. This same pattern has occurred throughout the church history till date. Each age has its own experts in the art of religious extortion.
The art of religious extortion in our days can be traced to the emergence of the ‘faith is everything gospel’, also known as the ‘believe it you’ll have it gospel’. These are class of ministers who emphasise so much about faith without the requisite righteousness. Their own faith is synonymous with wealth acquisition and empire building, not the kind of faith the Bible teaches in Hebrew 11, which talks about the heroes of faith who were tortured, had cruel mocking and scourging, bonds and imprisonments. These ministers teach their members to give more in order to receive more ‘blessing’. The Bible is very clear on the principles of giving. Brethren please come with me as we look at the Bible together. The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9 took time to teach some principles of Christian giving. He pointed out to believers that:
1. We belong to God and whatever we have is held as a trust for Him (2 Cor 8:5). Hence we have to give sacrificially and cheerfully. Sacrificial giving is that offering which you are convinced in your heart as an offering that costs you something (2 Cor 9:7; 2 Sam 24:24-25). This is not a giving that you are compelled to do but that which comes from your cheerful heart. God loves such cheerful givers. Any offering you give that stems out of compulsion is not acceptable before God (2 Cor 9:7).
2. Giving is done to meet a specific need in the church or congregation, especially those in need (2 Cor 8:14; 9:12; Pro 19:17). The Corinthian brethren were encouraged to give for the needs of the poor Judean brethren to be met. Paul did not, like some of our today’s pastors, tell them to give in order to acquire a property (that may end up being his) nor did he tell them to give in order to open schools or universities that their children may eventually not be able to attend because of its high tuition fees. There was no manipulation neither was there intimidation in the message of Paul.
3. We give in order to advance God’s kingdom and not the kingdom of men (Phi 4:15-18). Let me state unequivocally that any minister who tells his members to give for projects that have no direct correlation to the salvation of lost souls is building his own empire. He is not building the kingdom of God, so members beware.
4. We give to store up treasures in heaven not on earth (Mt 6:20; Luke 6:32-35). When we give to God, we don’t do it with the aim of expecting a financial return from God. We give because we love God and this serves as a token of our appreciation for His goodness in our lives. It is wrong for any minister to tell his members to give £100 in order to receive £1,000 from God. Neither is it right and scriptural to teach your members to give tithes as an upfront for an unearned income. These are nothing but extortions.
5. Our giving should be in proportion to our income (2 Cor 8:3, 12; 1 Cor 16:2). Let me point out that giving is not measured in terms of quantity but of the quality of our hearts’ motives and desires. Do not allow any pastor to hoodwink you by making you believe that the more you give, the more money you get from God.
I observed that many ministers now teach their members to give all they earned in the first month of the year, first salaries from new jobs or first increments in salaries/allowances received as first fruits. I am yet to see where Christ and the Apostles taught this doctrine of first fruit offering in the Bible (if you have seen it can you please let me know so we can look at it together). It is all religious extortions.
You are told to give offerings, pay tithes, redeem pledges etc with your debit and/or credit cards. Let me ask you, ‘have you forgotten that the money in your credit cards is borrowed money, even the overdrafts in your debit cards are borrowed money from your banks that you will have to pay back with interest?’ Do you then wonder why you struggle with your finances, while your pastors smile to the bank every Monday morning? It is very sad and pathetic.
Space and time would fail us to talk about pastors who will not refer their members to the study of the Bible but to their books, which they usually would sell to them at exorbitant prices. What do we say about those who use numbers (e.g. 7 for completion, 8 for new beginning etc) to extort money from the congregations by telling them to give in multiples of 10s of such numbers? For example they will tell you to give £70, £700, etc for number 7. But what amazes me is that they don’t start from the number that they are emphasising upon which in this case is 7. Your guess is as good as mine, £7 is small amount of money? Have we not seen those who sell Ribena, olive oil, handkerchiefs etc to their members and tell them that such will attract God’s favour, protect them from their enemies and cure all manner of diseases and sicknesses, including HIV-AIDS? Brethren the list is endless. God help us.
My brothers and sisters, it is very easy to detect these extortionists who call themselves ministers. Do not allow any minister to be an intermediary between you and God. There is only One Mediator between God and man and that is our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Tim 2:5). Our access to God and His throne of grace is exclusively through Christ Jesus Who is our Mediator and High Priest (Heb 4:14-16; 7:25). Do not make yourself a prey of these tricksters. Ask God to open your eyes to the truth in His Word. Read, study and meditate on the Word of God and ask the Holy Spirit to give you interpretation. Pray unto God to give you the Spirit of Truth, Who is the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth (John 16:13). This Spirit operates in the lives of true believers and true churches in order to teach, correct and guide us into all truth.
He, who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
God bless you.
|Re: The Art Of Religious Extortion by PastorKun(m): 3:52pm On Oct 31, 2012|
I hope our WOF members on this forum are reading and learning something form this thread.
|Re: The Art Of Religious Extortion by ijawkid(m): 4:00pm On Oct 31, 2012|
I love this thread.....
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