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Friday, 27 February 2015

When an excellent African Tithing critic fell into a bottomless pit of confusion: Tithing bananas: Every pastor who collects tithes is nothing but “a thief and a robber.” When Christians Cut the tree branch(bible) on which they sitting and expect not to fall down.




christs sake
Dr.Femi Aribasala : He bases his salvation on the scriptures and questions the authenticity of the scriptures that are the very basis for his salvation. In other words he cuts the tree branch (bible(God's holy word)) on which he is sitting .
Can Some one attack the authenticity of scriptures and remain a born again Christian ??

20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 1 Corinthians 9:20-22) 

Can Some one attack the authenticity of scriptures and remain a born again Christian ??


Warning


Dr. Femi Aribisala has written excellent articles on the tithing heresy and the prosperity  gospel in Nigeria. However ,  his views on  Apostle  Paul are simply ridiculous. He for example argues that  Paul remained a Pharisee even after his conversion to Christianity and uses (Acts 23:6: “I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee.”) as evidence. Paul was a Pharisee son of a Pharisee, saved by grace.  If I say ‘’I’m a heathen , son of  a heathen, saved by grace; does this mean I’m still a heathen.  Paul said that “I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee.” because he wanted to cause confusion between the Pharisees and Sadducees.  We know that Paul was a saved ‘’Pharisee’’ who had a heart for the Jews and wanted to show them that salvation was not by works of the law but by grace. In theory,  he was  Pharisee because his father was a Pharisee(you know the saying that once a Pharisee always a Pharisee)  but in practice he was a ‘Pharisee’ saved by grace and therefore no longer a Pharisee in practice .  In Acts 16:3 Paul circumcised Timothy not because he was a hypocrite who believed that circumcision was necessary for salvation  but because he believed that circumcision was necessary for evangelization. Some times he behaved like a Jews win the Jews(I Cori.9:20)  . If Paul remained a Pharisee in practice :




1. How can a  Pharisee in practice spend time writing  two major letters on the differences between grace and the law( see, Paul letters to the Galatians and Romans ).



2. If Paul was a Pharisee in practice , how comes the tithing doctrine is missing in all his letters. Paul never taught Christians to tithe but to give(2 Cori.9:7-8) .  I thought Pharisees were best tithers ( See, Mathew 23:23 )





3. If Paul was a Pharisee in practice , why did he advocate for circumcision  of the heart instead of circumcision  of the flesh(Roman 2:28-29) ??



4. If Paul was a double minded hypocrite , how comes none of the Apostles ever rebuked him about this hypocrisy. It was Paul that rebuked Peter in Galatians 2



5. How could a double minded Pharisee decide to loose every thing for the sake of Christ (Philippians 3:7-8) such that at the end of his ministry  the material things he could show for it were  a cloke, books and parchments(II Timothy 4:13).   



13 The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments. (2 Timothy 4:13)


 


But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, Philippians 3: 7-8)




When Christians Cut the tree branch(bible) on which they sitting and expect not to fall down.



Other million dollar questions for Dr. Femi Aribisala



1. If Paul remained a Pharisee in practice , them Jesus was also failure because he failed to convert Paul from Phariseeism .



2. If Paul’s letters can not be trusted,  then,   they were not inspired by the holy spirit and therefore the majority of the New testament was not inspired by the holy spirit(II Timothy 3:16: All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness  ).



3. Can some body call himself a born again Christian after  rejecting the majority of the new testament?( the majority of letters in the New testament were written by Paul under the inspiration of the holy spirit.)



4. If Apostle Paul was a male chauvinist, how can a male chauvinist tell husbands to love their wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave him self for it.(Ephesians 5:25).



5. If Paul was a double minded Pharisee , how could a double minded Pharisees suffer all that  kind of humiliation and torture (most it inflicted to him by his ‘Pharisee bothers’ for the sake of Christ. It is written :


10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. 11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; 12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: 13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day. 14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. (1 Corinthians 4:10-14 )


24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; (2 Corinthians 11:24-26)


When Christians Cut the tree branch(bible) on which they sitting and expect not to fall down.


CONCLUSION

Dr. Femi Aribisala’s erroneous views about Apostle Paul show the failure to understand Paul’s mission of evangelization with in its own cultural complexities. He some times seems to have compromised but never SINNED(as a result of his ‘compromise’) OR CONTRADICTED THE TEACHINGS OF HIS MASTER JESUS CHRIST.   



Dr.Femi Aribasala's outrageous and ridiculous criticisms of Apostle Paul.

christs sake
Dr.Femi Aribasala : He bases his salvation on the scriptures and questions the authenticity of the scriptures that are basis for his salvation. In other words he cuts the tree branch (bible) on which he is sitting .
Those who insist Paul's word is the word of God might need to explain his hypocritical doctrinal somersaults.



Paul remained a Pharisee even after his conversion to Christianity.  He declared to the Sanhedrin: “I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee.” (Acts 23:6).  Moreover, with the compilation of his epistles into the bible, Paul’s hypocrisy is no longer hidden.  It is now abundantly clear. 






THE PROBLEM WITH PAUL (2)











PAUL WAS A MALE chauvinist








JESUS CAN NEVER BE A SACRIFICE FOR SINS (1)


If Jesus’ death was a sacrifice, it can only atone for sins committed before his death.  High priests don’t atone for future sins.  However, if Jesus’ life is seen correctly as a ransom, its lessons remain relevant even to those of us born after his death.    







Dr.Femi Aribasala's must read articles on tithing fallacy and fleecing of the flock in Nigerian Churches
christs sake
Dr.Femi Aribasala : Has Written excellent criticisms of the tithe doctrine

Every pastor who collects tithes is nothing but “a thief and a robber.”


Femi Aribisala



As far as many pastors are concerned, the most important scripture of all is not to be found in the word of Jesus. Neither is it even in the New Testament. That scripture says: “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try me now in this,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’” (Malachi 3:10).


This scripture is drummed repeatedly into Christians on Sundays. However, the only time Jesus mentioned tithing in scripture, he pointed out that it was not a weighty matter of the law. (Matthew 23:23). Hebrews says people only receive tithes “according to the law.” (Hebrews 7:5). It then insists tithing (and everything else under the law) has been annulled: “The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless.” (Hebrews 7:18-19). Nevertheless, mercenary pastors continue to insist on the payment of tithes.


Latter-day Pharisees

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for keeping part instead of the whole law. (Matthew 23:23). That is what tithe-collecting pastors do today. If we insist our congregants must pay tithes, we must also insist that they keep the rest of the law. James says: “Whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10). Therefore, if we insist on tithing, we should also refrain from eating pork. We should stone adulterers, execute homosexuals, kill Sabbath violators and restore blood-sacrifices.


Tithe-collecting pastors counter this by maintaining the payment of tithes pre-dated the law. Here Abraham is cited as the cardinal example of someone who paid tithes before the promulgation of the Law of Moses, as did Jacob, his grandson. However, such arguments are disingenuous.


Before the law, tithing was at best an example but not a commandment. Moreover, pastors fail to mention that Abraham only tithed once in his lifetime. When he did, he did not even tithe his own money: he tithed the spoils of war. He gave ten percent of the plunder he took when he rescued Lot to Melchisedec, king of Salem. But then he did not even keep the rest but returned it (all ninety percent) to the king of Sodom.


For his part, Jacob also tithed only once. He did this in a “let’s make a deal” arrangement he offered to God: “Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God. And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will surely give a tenth to you.’” (Genesis 28:20-22). This kind of deal about accepting God only under certain self-serving conditions should certainly not be a term of reference for any serious believer.


Lies upon lies

The first lie pastors tell Christians is what some have referred to as “the eleventh commandment:” “Thou shalt pay thy tithes to thy local church.” But the bible says no such thing. The storehouse of Malachi was not a church. It was a place where food was kept.


Pastors hide from church-members the fact that money was not acceptable as tithe. The tithe was a tenth of the seed and fruit of the land and of the animals which ate of the land. (Leviticus 27:30-32). That is why God says: “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be FOOD in my house.” (Malachi 3:10). He does not say “that there may be MONEY in my house.” The food was used to feed the Levites, the poor, widows, orphans and strangers.


Pastors also conveniently fail to teach the biblical tithe. The principles of tithing were not laid down by Malachi. They were laid down by Moses. The study of Moses’ guidelines quickly reveals that the biblical tithe has no application whatsoever to Christians and is mischievously violated by tithe-collecting pastors today.


According to the Law of Moses, the tithe was divided into three allocations. The first year, it was given to the Levite. The second year, it was given to widows, orphans and the poor. The third year, it was eaten in the company of the faithful before the Lord as thanksgiving for his faithfulness. (Deuteronomy 14:22-28). In the seventh year, there was no planting and no reaping and therefore no tithing.


So the next time your pastor asks you to pay tithe, ask him about the seventh-year reprieve. Also ask him if you can give your tithe to the orphanage, or bring it as food items to be eaten in church. Believe me; he will not agree with you because it is your money he is after.


Inapplicability of tithes


Tithing was only applicable to Jews and to the land of Israel. When large populations of Jews lived in Babylon, Ammon, Moab, Egypt, and Syria, these lands became tithe-able lands. However, tithes were not acceptable from strictly Gentile lands. So you need to ask your pastor how come he is collecting tithes in Nigeria.


Servants or slaves who worked on the land did not tithe because the land did not belong to them. Since only agricultural and animal resources were included, a fisherman gave no tithe of his fisheries. Neither did a miner or a carpenter pay tithes, nor anyone from the various professional occupations. So if you are not a farmer or a keeper of livestock, tell your 419 pastor tithing is biblically inapplicable to you.


Moreover, the only people authorised to receive tithes were the Levites. (Hebrews 7:5). So if your Pastor is a “tithe-collector,” ask him if he happens to be a Jew. Remind him that, even though a Jew, Jesus could not receive the tithe because he was not from the tribe of Levi but from that of Judah.


The trick, of course, is for pastors today to claim we are “Levites.” If your pastor is one such dissembler, ask him if he lives as a Levite. Remind him that Levites had no land and did not have private property. Ask him also how he knows he is from the tribe of Levi, which happens to be one of the lost tribes of Israel. Point out to him that even Jewish rabbis don’t claim to be Levites today because all Jewish genealogical records were lost with the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, ensuring that it is no longer possible to ascertain the true identity of Levites.


Therefore, if Jews no longer tithe because the Levites are a lost tribe, how can Christian pastors collect tithes when we are not even Jewish, how much more Levites? If Jewish rabbis, whose terms of reference remain the Old Testament no longer collect tithes, then pastors who insist Christians are under a New Testament have no business doing so.


The conclusion then is inescapable. Every pastor who collects tithes is nothing but “a thief and a robber.” (John 10:1).


Every pastor who collects tithes is nothing but “a thief and a robber.”


As far as many pastors are concerned, the most important scripture of all is not to be found in the word of Jesus. Neither is it even in the New Testament. That scripture says: “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try me now in this,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’” (Malachi 3:10).


This scripture is drummed repeatedly into Christians on Sundays. However, the only time Jesus mentioned tithing in scripture, he pointed out that it was not a weighty matter of the law. (Matthew 23:23). Hebrews says people only receive tithes “according to the law.” (Hebrews 7:5). It then insists tithing (and everything else under the law) has been annulled: “The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless.” (Hebrews 7:18-19). Nevertheless, mercenary pastors continue to insist on the payment of tithes.

Latter-day Pharisees

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for keeping part instead of the whole law. (Matthew 23:23). That is what tithe-collecting pastors do today. If we insist our congregants must pay tithes, we must also insist that they keep the rest of the law. James says: “Whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10). Therefore, if we insist on tithing, we should also refrain from eating pork. We should stone adulterers, execute homosexuals, kill Sabbath violators and restore blood-sacrifices.

Tithe-collecting pastors counter this by maintaining the payment of tithes pre-dated the law. Here Abraham is cited as the cardinal example of someone who paid tithes before the promulgation of the Law of Moses, as did Jacob, his grandson. However, such arguments are disingenuous.


Before the law, tithing was at best an example but not a commandment. Moreover, pastors fail to mention that Abraham only tithed once in his lifetime. When he did, he did not even tithe his own money: he tithed the spoils of war. He gave ten percent of the plunder he took when he rescued Lot to Melchisedec, king of Salem. But then he did not even keep the rest but returned it (all ninety percent) to the king of Sodom.


For his part, Jacob also tithed only once. He did this in a “let’s make a deal” arrangement he offered to God: “Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God. And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will surely give a tenth to you.’” (Genesis 28:20-22). This kind of deal about accepting God only under certain self-serving conditions should certainly not be a term of reference for any serious believer.


Lies upon lies

The first lie pastors tell Christians is what some have referred to as “the eleventh commandment:” “Thou shalt pay thy tithes to thy local church.” But the bible says no such thing. The storehouse of Malachi was not a church. It was a place where food was kept.


Pastors hide from church-members the fact that money was not acceptable as tithe. The tithe was a tenth of the seed and fruit of the land and of the animals which ate of the land. (Leviticus 27:30-32). That is why God says: “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be FOOD in my house.” (Malachi 3:10). He does not say “that there may be MONEY in my house.” The food was used to feed the Levites, the poor, widows, orphans and strangers.


Pastors also conveniently fail to teach the biblical tithe. The principles of tithing were not laid down by Malachi. They were laid down by Moses. The study of Moses’ guidelines quickly reveals that the biblical tithe has no application whatsoever to Christians and is mischievously violated by tithe-collecting pastors today.


According to the Law of Moses, the tithe was divided into three allocations. The first year, it was given to the Levite. The second year, it was given to widows, orphans and the poor. The third year, it was eaten in the company of the faithful before the Lord as thanksgiving for his faithfulness. (Deuteronomy 14:22-28). In the seventh year, there was no planting and no reaping and therefore no tithing.

So the next time your pastor asks you to pay tithe, ask him about the seventh-year reprieve. Also ask him if you can give your tithe to the orphanage, or bring it as food items to be eaten in church. Believe me; he will not agree with you because it is your money he is after.


Inapplicability of tithes


Tithing was only applicable to Jews and to the land of Israel. When large populations of Jews lived in Babylon, Ammon, Moab, Egypt, and Syria, these lands became tithe-able lands. However, tithes were not acceptable from strictly Gentile lands. So you need to ask your pastor how come he is collecting tithes in Nigeria.



Servants or slaves who worked on the land did not tithe because the land did not belong to them. Since only agricultural and animal resources were included, a fisherman gave no tithe of his fisheries. Neither did a miner or a carpenter pay tithes, nor anyone from the various professional occupations. So if you are not a farmer or a keeper of livestock, tell your 419 pastor tithing is biblically inapplicable to you.


Moreover, the only people authorised to receive tithes were the Levites. (Hebrews 7:5). So if your Pastor is a “tithe-collector,” ask him if he happens to be a Jew. Remind him that, even though a Jew, Jesus could not receive the tithe because he was not from the tribe of Levi but from that of Judah.


The trick, of course, is for pastors today to claim we are “Levites.” If your pastor is one such dissembler, ask him if he lives as a Levite. Remind him that Levites had no land and did not have private property. Ask him also how he knows he is from the tribe of Levi, which happens to be one of the lost tribes of Israel. Point out to him that even Jewish rabbis don’t claim to be Levites today because all Jewish genealogical records were lost with the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, ensuring that it is no longer possible to ascertain the true identity of Levites.


Therefore, if Jews no longer tithe because the Levites are a lost tribe, how can Christian pastors collect tithes when we are not even Jewish, how much more Levites? If Jewish rabbis, whose terms of reference remain the Old Testament no longer collect tithes, then pastors who insist Christians are under a New Testament have no business doing so.


The conclusion then is inescapable. Every pastor who collects tithes is nothing but “a thief and a robber.” (John 10:1).

 Dr.Femi Aribasala's must read articles on tithing fallacy
christs sake
Dr.Femi Aribasala : Has Written excellent criticisms of the tithe doctrine

TITHING BANANAS

According to the scriptures, money is not acceptable as tithe; it has to be food-crops or livestock. 
 
http://www.femiaribisala.com/13-articles-of-faith/pastors/276-tithing-bananas  

As far as many pastors are concerned, the most important scripture of all is not to be found in the word of Jesus.  Neither is it even in the New Testament.  That scripture says: “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try me now in this,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’” (Malachi 3:10).

This scripture is drummed repeatedly into Christians on Sundays.  However, the only time Jesus mentioned tithing in scripture, he pointed out that it was not a weighty matter of the law. (Matthew 23:23).  Hebrews says people only receive tithes “according to the law.” (Hebrews 7:5).  It then insists tithing (and everything else under the law) has been annulled: “The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless.” (Hebrews 7:18-19). Nevertheless, mercenary pastors continue to insist on the payment of tithes.


Latter-day Pharisees
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for keeping part instead of the whole law. (Matthew 23:23). That is what tithe-collecting pastors do today.  If we insist our congregants must pay tithes, we must also insist that they keep the rest of the law.  James says: “Whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10).  Therefore, if we insist on tithing, we should also refrain from eating pork.  We should stone adulterers, execute homosexuals, kill Sabbath violators and restore blood-sacrifices.

Tithe-collecting pastors counter this by maintaining the payment of tithes pre-dated the law.  Here Abraham is cited as the cardinal example of someone who paid tithes before the promulgation of the Law of Moses, as did Jacob, his grandson.  However, such arguments are disingenuous.

Before the law, tithing was at best an example but not a commandment.  Moreover, pastors fail to mention that Abraham only tithed once in his lifetime.  When he did, he did not even tithe his own money: he tithed the spoils of war.  He gave ten percent of the plunder he took when he rescued Lot to Melchisedec, king of Salem.  But then he did not even keep the rest but returned it (all ninety percent) to the king of Sodom.
For his part, Jacob also tithed only once.  He did this in a “let’s make a deal” arrangement he offered to God: “Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father's house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God.  And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God's house, and of all that you give me I will surely give a tenth to you.’” (Genesis 28:20-22).  This kind of deal about accepting God only under certain self-serving conditions should certainly not be a term of reference for any serious believer.

Lies upon lies
The first lie pastors tell Christians is what some have referred to as “the eleventh commandment:” “Thou shalt pay thy tithes to thy local church.”  But the bible says no such thing.  The storehouse of Malachi was not a church.  It was a place where food was kept.

Pastors hide from church-members the fact that money was not acceptable as tithe.  The tithe was a tenth of the seed and fruit of the land and of the animals which ate of the land. (Leviticus 27:30-32).  That is why God says: “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be FOOD in my house.” (Malachi 3:10).  He does not say “that there may be MONEY in my house.”  The food was used to feed the Levites, the poor, widows, orphans and strangers.

Pastors also conveniently fail to teach the biblical tithe.  The principles of tithing were not laid down by Malachi.  They were laid down by Moses.  The study of Moses’ guidelines quickly reveals that the biblical tithe has no application whatsoever to Christians and is mischievously violated by tithe-collecting pastors today.
According to the Law of Moses, the tithe was divided into three allocations.  The first year, it was given to the Levite.  The second year, it was given to widows, orphans and the poor.  The third year, it was eaten in the company of the faithful before the Lord as thanksgiving for his faithfulness. (Deuteronomy 14:22-28).  In the seventh year, there was no planting and no reaping and therefore no tithing.

So the next time your pastor asks you to pay tithe, ask him about the seventh-year reprieve.  Also ask him if you can give your tithe to the orphanage, or bring it as food items to be eaten in church.  Believe me; he will not agree with you because it is your money he is after.

Inapplicability of tithes
Tithing was only applicable to Jews and to the land of Israel.  When large populations of Jews lived in Babylon, Ammon, Moab, Egypt, and Syria, these lands became tithe-able lands.  However, tithes were not acceptable from strictly Gentile lands.  So you need to ask your pastor how come he is collecting tithes in Nigeria.

Servants or slaves who worked on the land did not tithe because the land did not belong to them.  Since only agricultural and animal resources were included, a fisherman gave no tithe of his fisheries.  Neither did a miner or a carpenter pay tithes, nor anyone from the various professional occupations.  So if you are not a farmer or a keeper of livestock, tell your 419 pastor tithing is biblically inapplicable to you.

Moreover, the only people authorised to receive tithes were the Levites. (Hebrews 7:5).  So if your Pastor is a “tithe-collector,” ask him if he happens to be a Jew.  Remind him that, even though a Jew, Jesus could not receive the tithe because he was not from the tribe of Levi but from that of Judah.

The trick, of course, is for pastors today to claim we are “Levites.”  If your pastor is one such dissembler, ask him if he lives as a Levite.  Remind him that Levites had no land and did not have private property.  Ask him also how he knows he is from the tribe of Levi, which happens to be one of the lost tribes of Israel.  Point out to him that even Jewish rabbis don’t claim to be Levites today because all Jewish genealogical records were lost with the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, ensuring that it is no longer possible to ascertain the true identity of Levites.

Therefore, if Jews no longer tithe because the Levites are a lost tribe, how can Christian pastors collect tithes when we are not even Jewish, how much more Levites?  If Jewish rabbis, whose terms of reference remain the Old Testament no longer collect tithes, then pastors who insist Christians are under a New Testament have no business doing so.

The conclusion then is inescapable.  Every pastor who collects tithes is nothing but “a thief and a robber.” (John 10:1). 

PASTORS ARE PLANNING A MAJOR ROBBERY IN THE CHURCHES IN JANUARY



he armed robber takes your money from you with a gun in his hand: the pastor takes your money by brandishing a bible.

Jesus berated the mercenary religious leaders of biblical days.  He told them: “‘It is written, my house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” (Matthew 21:13). 
This word remains pertinent to pastors in the churches of today.  They come up with all kinds of schemes designed to squeeze money out of their church-members.  They search the scriptures, looking for quotable quotes that can be used to make merchandise of men.  Some of their favourites are those scriptures dealing with giving first-fruits to priests.

Fleecing the flock
Those months with names ending with “ember” in English are sometimes referred to as the “ember” months.  These include September, October, November and December.  Strictly-speaking, October does not fit this bill; otherwise it would have been called “Octoember.”  Nevertheless, it is conventional also to include it as one of the “ember” months. 

In these months, there is a definite change of emphasis in the messages preached by pastors in many of today’s new generation churches.  If you have been paying attention, you would have noticed this already.  In the “ember” months, pastors start to talk repeatedly about the need to give “first-fruits;” laying down the foundation for a major robbery routinely planned for January.

In the Old Testament, first-fruits were required to be given to priests.  Ezekiel says: “The best of all the first-fruits and of all your special gifts will belong to the priests.” (Ezekiel 44:30).  This scripture is seized on by today’s money-grubbing pastors who now insist that the “first-fruits” of all the members of their congregation must be handed over to them.

This is disingenuous because, in the New Testament, there is actually no longer an exclusive priesthood.  Instead, Jesus has made all believers: “kings and priests to our God.” (Revelation 5:10).  But this fact is conveniently ignored by today’s first-fruits collectors.

First-fruits were given to priests because they were not allowed to own landed-property in Israel.  God said: “I am to be the only inheritance the priests have. You are to give them no possession in Israel; I will be their possession.” (Ezekiel 44:28-29).

However, the pastors of today are men of means and property owners.  In no way whatsoever do they fit the bill of a people without inheritance who only have God as their possession.  Indeed, some of today’s mega-pastors are multi-millionaires who drive around with bodyguards in a cortege of Jeeps and even fly around in private jets.

Fruits of money
As the word indicates, first-fruits were strictly-speaking agricultural produce.  Moses says: “The first of the first-fruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God.” (Exodus 23:19).  This shows first-fruits were crops.  Indeed, money was never regarded as first-fruit in the bible; neither was it ever paid as such.

However, today’s pastors would not find it funny if you were to bring your first-fruits to them in bananas or pineapples.  First-fruits are now only acceptable in cash or cheque.  If you ask why, don’t be surprised if you are told that: “Money is the answer to everything.” (Ecclesiastes 10:19).

Scripturally, first-fruits were only required from Jews living in Israel because God gave them their land.  First-fruits were inapplicable to Israelites living in foreign lands.  This also means first-fruits are inapplicable to today’s Christians who are mostly non-Israelis and do not live in Israel.  Nevertheless, pastors hoodwink Christians by claiming there are special blessings attendant upon giving first-fruits to pastors anywhere.

In biblical days, first-fruits were not required from those in non-agrarian trades, such as carpenters or fishermen because these professions were not tied to the land.  However, today’s opportunist pastors collect first-fruits from anybody and everybody.

It should be clear from the foregoing therefore that pastors who insist on collecting first-fruits in the churches of today are nothing but thieves and robbers.  The armed robber takes your money from you with a gun in his hand: the pastor takes your money by brandishing a bible.


Bonanza
It used to be the case that first-fruits were defined as a Christian’s first salary after leaving school and securing gainful employment.  But some pastors quickly realised that this only gives them the right to a Christian’s salary once in a lifetime.  Therefore, this soon became inadequate, leading to more ingenious and more financially lucrative biblical “revelations” about first-fruits.

Many pastors now insist that since the January salary is the first in the year, it legally falls under the definition of first-fruits.  Therefore, they now require that all church-goers hand over to them their entire January salaries in the name of first-fruits.  This makes the first-fruits boon far more profitable than the tithe; which is just a tenth of the Christian’s salary.  Moreover, the tithe is nominally given to “the church.”  The “first-fruits” is a far more rewarding scam because the money is specifically addressed to the pastor.

If this “godliness” is taught effectively, a pastor can make a bundle of money at the beginning of every year.  Just do the maths.  Imagine a situation where the pastor gets the January salary of every single member of his congregation.  Depending on the size of his church, he can get in one bonanza enough money to last him a lifetime.  Is it any wonder, therefore, that pastors are very zealous in preaching about first-fruits in the “ember” months?

Many even refuse to be limited to their churches.  Turn onto Christian television such as the Trinity Broadcasting Network in the “ember” months, and you are likely to find Paula White or Steve Munsey extolling the blessings of giving first-fruits.  Of course, the first-fruits must be sent to them and to no one else.

Comeuppance
In one of Nigeria’s big churches with a large branch-network, the pastors were making a killing collecting first-fruits.  But one of them used the money to put up a church building.  This went a long way to endear him to his congregants.  Other pastors who had nothing to show for the first-fruits they collected became concerned that the pastor would soon bring them into disrepute.  So they decided to take “appropriate” action.

They reported him to the General Overseer of the church.  His transgression was that he put up an entire church building single-handed.  So doing, they claimed, he prevented others from getting blessed by not taking contributions from them.  The General Overseer wondered where he got the money to erect the entire building by himself.  So they told him the money came from the first-fruits he collected from his church-members.

The General Overseer became even more curious.  Just how much first-fruit were these pastors collecting?  He was astonished to discover the sums involved.  It was unacceptable that such lucrative business was taking place in his churches without due recognition for his position.  Therefore, he fired a memo to all his parishes: henceforth, all first-fruits must be forwarded intact to headquarters.


However, his memo backfired.  Thereafter, his subordinate pastors noticeably lost all interest in collecting first-fruits.  “Let everybody shout hallelujah.”


“They are greedy dogs which never have enough. And they are pastors who cannot understand; they all look to their own way, every one for his own gain, from his own territory.” (Isaiah 56:11).

"It used to be robbers who mugged pedestrians.  Now it's a gang of priests assaulting worshippers." (Hosea 6:9).
A colleague of mine insists he is still looking for Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo of Kingsway International Christian Centre, London.  He said: “Anybody who knows where I can find him should let me know.”  “Why are you looking for him?” I wondered.  “He owes me money,” he maintained.

Money Doublers
He had attended one of the services conducted by the pastor as guest-preacher in his church.  Pastor Matthew preached a sermon entitled: “24-Hour Miracle.”  At the climax, he asked the congregation to write cheques for as much money as they possibly could, with the iron-clad guarantee that it would more than double within 24 hours.  In that time, he assured them, someone would send them a ridiculously large sum by divine ordinance.  You might get a call or a visit from someone about the miracle money, or notification that it had been deposited in your bank account.

This gentleman was so hoodwinked by this hocus-pocus that he first wrote a cheque for half of his entire savings.  Then, on second-thoughts, he gave the other half as well.  The next day, he did not go to work, waiting for the miracle call; but nothing happened.  He thought perhaps he had made a mistake.  Perhaps the 24 hours would start counting later than he had expected; so he waited for another day.  Still nothing happened.  After two weeks, it dawned on him that he had been scammed.  By that time, the cheques had long been cashed.  He went looking for the “man of God,” but he had left the country.

Let me let you in on a secret.  Pastors don’t usually do a scam of this scale in their own churches.  They do it at the invitation of another pastor.  But they have an agreement beforehand that for every naira raised, the host pastor would give them a certain percentage as commission.  This is then done on a tit-for-tat basis.  When they do the scam in your church, you reciprocate by doing it in theirs.

Sometimes it gets really wild and this scam is done over several days.  People are told to go and bring their televisions, stereos, fridge-freezers, cars, jewellery, money; anything and everything.  Some even bring the Certificate of Occupancy of their homes.  Some give the very suits they are wearing and go back home in their underwear, confident that God is going to astonish them.  It usually takes a while before they realise they have been conned.  But some never wake up from the hypnosis.

Daylight robbery
Jide Ayanfalu inherited a generator from his late “guardian.”  He used it for business purposes by renting it out to people who needed it on special occasions.  It so happened that the generator in his church, Zoe Ministries Worldwide, was stolen.  The pastor insisted that church-members should not be told about the theft; otherwise they might conclude that God was not in the church.  He asked Jide if they could use his generator in the meantime.

Jide was agreeable to this: some of his best customers were churches.  But one week, two weeks, three weeks, one month, after the church took his generator; Jide was not paid a dime.  Two months, three months, four months afterwards; still no payment for the use of the generator.  Finally, Jide summoned up courage to confront the pastor.  If they would not pay him for the use of his generator, at least they should give it back to him.

The pastor was very offended.  He preached a fiery sermon in which he told the people in no uncertain terms that their destinies were tied to his church.  “Don’t you know,” he asked menacingly, “we have the power to withhold your blessings?”  The royal “we” referred to the pastor himself.  Then he button-holed Jide after the service and went for the jugular: “Don’t you think you should give the church your generator?” he demanded.
Jide was troubled and could not answer.  He came to me to seek counsel as to what he should do.  I immediately pointed out to him that a robbery was in progress.  I said to him: “Jide, forget about having any discussion with your pastor.  Hire a van and go and remove your generator from the church.”

Gangs of priests
In biblical days, Shechem was a "city of refuge" as well as a city of Levites and priests.  The cities of refuge were established to provide hiding-places for the guiltless refugee on the run for his life from a stubborn-pursuer.  But the priests banded together as a gang of robbers, and they waylaid the hapless on the way to Shechem.

In effect, those appointed to teach the people the truth of God that they might live were the very ones who endangered their lives.  Thus, Hosea observes that: “It used to be robbers who mugged pedestrians.  Now it’s a gang of priests assaulting worshippers.” (Hosea 6:9).

Today, pastors are no longer preoccupied with the rehabilitation of thieves.  They are now single-minded in swindling members of their congregation.

Offerings by extortion         
My wife and I had gone one Sunday to worship at our local parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Lagos.  But what ensued that morning caught us off-guard.  The pastor was in a nasty mood.  The new church building was not progressing at a desirable pace.  Apparently, the funds for it had dried up.  So the entire service was devoted to reprimanding church-members for not contributing enough money to the Building Fund.

Suddenly, he ordered the entire congregation to stand up.  Then he asked those prepared to contribute a very high amount of money to raise their hands.  When they did, he instructed the ushers to write down their names.  He then told them to sit down.  Then he mentioned another sum a little lower than the previous one, and went through the same process again and again.  By so doing, he was determined to extract a commitment from everyone present by hook or crook.

We were not opposed to contributing to the Building Fund, but were determined not to be arm-twisted.  We were also opposed to the making of public pledges.  Jesus says: “When you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will himself reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:3-4).

So we resolved not to oblige to the pastor’s demands.  He kept going one sum lower than the next and soon, he was down to one hundred naira in the attempt to shame those of us still on our feet.  But we kept on standing and refused to make any public commitment.  Then he did something strange.  He asked an usher to give me a cordless microphone and then he asked: “Dr. Aribisala, maybe you can tell us how we are supposed to pay for the new building.”

The eyes of the entire church were upon me.  I noticed that many were even embarrassed for my sake.  But I refused to be intimidated.  So I answered him: “Pastor, I am not qualified to answer that question.  I think we should fast and pray and ask the Lord.”