by James A. Fowler
"Oh, no! The preacher's talking about money again. Hold on to your pocketbooks. It seems like that is all the preacher talks about these days - money, money, money!"
To even address the subject of Christian giving causes some people to be leery of the motivations and intents of the speaker or author. "What is his angle? What is in it for him?" It is tragic that such a glorious privilege as Christian giving should be cast into such suspicion by the misrepresentation of the subject in many religious environs today.
What is needed is some unbiased, unadulterated instruction concerning the subject of Christian giving that will explain what the God-inspired Scriptures teach, and at the same time expose the subtle (and not so subtle) fallacies of much religious solicitation. There is so much perversion of what is called "giving" in religious circles today, that many have a difficult time sorting out the legitimate from the fallacious and fraudulent.
Richard Plache noted this difficulty when he wrote:
"In today's religious marketplace, we are confronted by a host of hustlers competing for the Christian dollar.
In order to explore God's intent for Christian giving in the context of His church we will utilize chapters eight and nine of Second Corinthians, the most extended and explicit passage in all of the New Testament on the subject. We will allow these chapters to serve as our primary source of developing a balanced Biblical perspective.
Monthly in letters, weekly from pulpits, and daily over radio and television, their plaintive pleas arise, placing us under constant pressure to give. They make it sound like a matter of survival. They emphasize that obedience to God's financial laws is essential for our spiritual welfare, and don't omit to mention of the fact that their financial survival will be jeopardized if we don't send them donations to pay their bills!"
All of us want to help financially with the Lord's work. But how are we to know where to give, when to give, and how much? Are we left to fall prey to the various emotional and psychological gimmicks that preachers use? Is it a question of giving to the most persuasive of them, who somehow convinces us of his great needs? Perhaps in the end we begrudgingly respond because we feel guilt as a result of some trip that has been subtly laid on us.
The present pathetic scene of mass-media preachers begging for money so they can expand their organizations is totally foreign to the early church's experience." 1
1 Plache, Richard, article entitled "Spontaneous Giving" in Union Life magazine, February, 1980, page 3.
©1999 by James A. Fowler
This is a sequence of articles. Though they were intended to be read in order, each article also stands alone. We've numbered them below so that you may choose to read them in sequential order.
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