Sure enough, I saw it pop up first on Twitter, and the vultures are circling. The idea that professing Christians are obligated to “tithe” their stimulus checks to the ministry – many commentators suggesting from ten percent to even one hundred percent. A cursory reading sees the faithful parroting the mangled theology of the American prosperity gospel that has infected the culture for decades, evidence of how many have bought into this lie.
The 2020 stimulus checks were issued by the US government for one purpose – that laid off and furloughed workers might possibly weather for a while the economic downturn due to the quarantine the same government decreed in a furtive attempt to manage the Covid-19 pandemic. As during the 2008 banking/real estate market crash that financially decimated so many lives, a sovereign God permitted this as a corrective measure on a Church polluted by the prosperity and materialism of a our country and era. Likewise, the Covid-19 pandemic – plagues being a Biblical sign of God’s judgment – is a corrective measure as well. This pandemic did not happen outside of the Lord’s sovereign will, but has a purpose. Very, very few are talking about that.
So, should Christian people “tithe” money from their stimulus check? The Bible teaches first that men should “provide for their families.” I guarantee
you, if you have qualified for a stimulus payment, you are square in the demographic that is most vulnerable in our fractured, crippled economy. That money is for groceries and rent and providing for your family. It is for, perhaps, car repairs, so you are prepared to go back to work, or paying off your utilities.
It is NOT to continue to underwrite the thoroughly spiritually and morally bankrupt American Evangelical Industrial Complex; the “mega church” model that has grown like a cancer across the country. Some of these “celebrity” preachers are worth millions, having lived like parasites off the naive generosity of the true Church for generations, or unfortunately the unrepented of greed of the same. It is lost on the undiscerning that the two major catastrophes of recent years to so negatively impact American culture and visible Christianity – the 2008 market crash and the Covid-19 pandemic – have both directly targeted the biggest idol in the modern day American Church – the almighty dollar.
The simple guidelines for New Testament giving are clear. It is what Christianity has become in America that has perverted the simplicity of it.
Statistics show that an insane number of people are in debt, most living paycheck to paycheck, and few with even a small savings to fall back on in the event of an emergency. Acknowledging many reasons for the cost of living in some states and areas or circumstances beyond an individual’s control, a lot of this is still because of simple gross mismanagement of personal finances. Giving ones hard earned money to these “Christian” shysters and extortionists who mainly appeal to people’s greed is first of all, unbiblical, it’s also irresponsible. The Lord does not need your money to “further the ministry.” These wolves in sheep’s clothing need it to underwrite their exorbitant, posh lifestyles and bloated corporate budgets, and that at the expense of the naive, undiscerning, and ill-informed.
Further reading: Why Tithing is Biblical but it’s Not Christian