Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Kicked Out For Not Tithing?

Who would’ve guessed that you could be kicked out of a church for not tithing? That seems to be the general sentiment of the comments concerning a news story titled 92-year-old Woman Kicked out of Church for Not Tithing. I really have no way of determining whether this was an appropriate action or not, so I won’t address that, but what I find interesting is so many people were quick to criticize the church for this action. Here are some examples:

Dennis A. Gauger - money grubbers, go to another church

Brenda Meggs Turner - That is why Jesus kicked the money changers out of the temple for charging people to worship. This is not God’s Church!!! Read your Bible people!!!

Carolyn Guffey Crain - She doesn’t need that Church’…..A real Bible believing Church would not do that ….

Colbey Newsom - Nonsense!!! No one should ever be kicked out of church..that’s prolly not a Christian church then

Natalie Tabor McPherson - I believe that pastor needs to be removed because he is not a man of God.

It goes on, and on. There are hundreds of these comments and most of them are critical of the church. But on the same day that I saw this story, I read 1 Corinthians 5:12-6:8. Paul is critical of the church at Corinth for taking each other in front of judges outside the church. He tells them to let the least esteemed in the church judge. But that isn’t to say that the least esteemed in the church are better able to judge than some of the other members. Paul is showing them the foolishness of letting people outside the church judge. Even though the least esteemed will also be among those who will judge the world, they aren’t capable of doing that yet. So why would you go to the people the least esteemed are going to judge for judgment? Instead, 1 Corinthians 6:5 suggests that they should find a person of wisdom who is a member of the church.

When I read the comments about that news story I think, “Who are these people to judge that church?” These are the people who are outside the church. Some are members of other churches and some may be Christians who haven’t been taught concerning church discipline, but it is foolishness for outsiders to pass judgment on that church without knowing the facts. The Bible calls for at least two witnesses to bring an accusation. At this point, we have only one.

The church was contacted by the news media and asked to respond, but they did not. Nor should they have. This is a matter of internal church discipline. It would be improper for a church to practice church discipline and then go tell the world about what they have done. At most, they could speak to what their bylaws require of their members and the process they use to remove a member from their roster. But they should not speak concerning this particular case and the news media would make every attempt to persuade them to talk about it. More than that, the news media would probably make them look bad when they didn’t.

I find it disturbing that so many people who appear to be church goers are so quick to jump on this church for removing this woman from their roster. Their reaction is a reminder that we have a big problem in churches. People treat churches like they are a restaurant. They go to church with the expectation that they will get fed from the word of God. They go with the idea that they need to do their duty to worship God. Churches, they believe, have an obligation to provide a mechanism by which they can worship God for about an hour on Sunday. But that type of worship has no significant difference from pagan idol worship. It that is all worship is, you could replace the teachings of Jesus with stories about Zeus, sing songs about Zeus, pray prayers in the name of Zeus, and it would all work out just fine.

So, let me ask you, would you want someone who worships Zeus, or Allah, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster deciding what a church should do? Neither should we listen to those who claim to worship God but see no reason for a church to require its members to participate in the work of the church.