God is Not a Slot Machine
Biblical Principles of Giving and Living
in a Materialistic Age
Under construction. Downloads will be added upon completion.
What do people want from God? From life?
Why do many people play religion as if was God a slot machine?
What does the Bible teach about money and materialism?
Who got what tithes and offerings in ancient Israel? Why?
Did Jesus establish a New Testament priesthood?
Are Christians required to tithe?
What does God want from each of us?
This book is written to answer sincere questions about the Bible and the practice of tithes and offerings. Many teach that tithing is a law of God and/or that to give less than 10% is a sin. It discusses abuses in financial markets and business as well as in television evangelism. We live in a society that evaluates life from the perspective of material wealth for its own sake. Popular culture considers anything bordering on being legal that produces lottery like payouts is good. This something-for-next-to-nothing attitude affects almost all of us to one degree or another.
Quoting Malachi 3:8-10 out of context, many will go so far as to say that one steals from God unless he first pays a tithe. Some ministers teach, and many believe, that if they give God his tithe, then God is obligated to “open the windows of heaven and rain down blessings to fill the giver’s house to overflowing.” Yes, those blessings are blatantly or subtly described as material.
Some ministers teach that believers should pay two or three tithes! Where does this come from? What is the rational, cultural context correct basis for these ideas and practices that have become so distorted today?
In making the claim that this teaching comes from the Bible, Christian ministries make themselves into a priesthood structurally privileged in comparison with the average member. Is that what the book of Hebrews means when it discusses the Melchizedek priesthood? And, why is this slot machine attitude so deceptively dangerous?
PREFACE to the Second Edition (under construction)
Take a Chance on this Book!
God is Not a Slot Machine, but many people live their lives as if he is.
Atheists, agnostics and those who only give lip service to God or the Bible, often focus their attention on other kinds of slot machines. People seem to naturally look for a source of material benefits that can supply their needs the easy way. In other words, they look for a jackpot god to serve who will one day pay off for them. Meanwhile, the daily losses mount.
Taking a look around the world today, it is not religious evangelists so much as politicians and financial wizards who made the slot machine sales pitch to a global society. Modern cultural values still strive for a big payoff for little productive work. Creative energy has focused on increasing the odds through risk manipulation strategies more akin to Ponzi schemes. Money is seen as the solution to all problems, and governments have direct and indirect control of the manufacture of money. This is the system of Mammon, which is the true slot machine god.
This book is dedicated to all those who leave the salvation of mankind where it belongs in the hands of God. Because they trust God to love humanity enough to save it, they are liberated to the opportunity of loving their neighbor in sincerity and tolerance. These are the practitioners of unconditional love who today look to the future wholeness of mankind in God. They look beyond the now rampant divisions of a proud species bound by false knowledge. March of 1989
God is not a slot machine.
Listening to many preachers, you'd think He was. "Just send me your ten or your hundred dollars, and God will open His storehouse of all the World's wealth and bless you," they proclaim. Some will even bellow, "He'll bless you ten, an hundred, or a thousand fold!"
Supporters of Christian tithing often refer to sacrificial offerings in the stories of the Biblical Patriarchs as proof that tithing is a law of God that predates the Law of Moses and the Levitical Priesthood. The idea is that tithing is an eternal and universal religious law that is not tied to the people and land of Israel.
The ancient Israelites were required to offer the first fruits and continual offerings for the atonement of sin. They were encouraged to offer sacrificial gifts of thanks and repentance. Both were teaching mechanisms for their own edification and eternal benefit. It was not for God's.
Aaron and the succession of his sons and their sons as high priests foreshadowed the role of His only begot¬ten Son, Jesus, who is today the Christian's High Priest. Just as the Aaronic priests then mediated between God and Israel, so Christ now mediates between God and the Church, which is spiritual Israel.
The laws of the Sinai Covenant applied to Israel once they arrived in Canaan. They are still valid for anyone who wishes to live in the Promised Land, become a "son of the covenant" (a physical Israelite) through circumcision, and tithe to support temple worship when it is revived. The Law is not done away or abolished; it simply is not a requirement for salvation. Salvation is the inheritance of spiritual Israel.
How did tithing fit into the civil government of ancient Israel? What was actually done? Who had control? How many tithes were collected and for what reason?
The power to make wealth and general advice from Proverbs.
Malachi 3 in Context
The Bible is a collection of books making up what is generally referred to as the Old Testament and the New Testament. But just as the Bible is One collection of many books, so it is One Covenant with several expressions or magnifications of that One Covenant as applied to different contexts of time and place, and in dimensions temporal or eternal.
Jesus was and is the Messenger of God's covenant with man. He is the promised Messiah of Israel, a nation which came into being by the codified implementation of the Abrahamic Covenant at Sinai. The gospels proclaim the Messiah's work as the Messenger, Husband and Enabler of God's eternal promise to man in His Body and Bride, the Church.
New Testament teachings on tithing and giving include the practical questions of life during the Herodian Temple era (the time of Jesus and the early church in Judea), and the those that refer to the theological exposition of the ideal New Testament teaching for Jew and Gentile everywhere. We need to look at both aspects to fully understand what the Bible commands us today.
Although Jesus upheld the Law and did not change it, many Christian teachers who claim to be His disciples and ministers have in effect changed the tithing and other Biblical laws. These changes are almost always accompanied by some kind of scriptural justification. For tithing, they often focus on Hebrews 7:12 to establish New Testament authority for Christian ministers to collect tithes from church members.
God prefers His people to lend and not to borrow, for that is the key to freedom. If a nation obeys, then there are no poor. But people have never obeyed, so there have always been poor. Poverty and debt are curses to teach lessons of spiritual righteousness. These lessons are for nations and for persons.
Many have an intuition that tithing does not seem to fit the New Testament church. So far, I have given firm substantiation for that feeling. But it is also true that is does take money to do the works of the Lord today. The Bible teaches the principle of financial support for the ministry and the works of the church by all believers.
Material and spiritual blessings are not dependant on a legal obligation to tithe to any minister or church.
To please God, man is to be thankful in deed as well as in attitude. If we aren't thankful in deed, most likely we are fooling ourselves should we consider ourselves to be thankful in attitude.