Should We Be Talking To Satan?

What Scripture Has To Say Concerning Rebuking and Conversing With Satan

Rev. Kenneth D. Willis

“Think about what you are thinking about. As you recognize a lie to your mind, always defend yourself out loud. That means speaking to Satan and the evil forces out loud, binding them in the Name of Jesus, and forbidding them to lie to you and to use your mind.”

   We could look at dozens of examples from prosperity gospel preachers and those from the Word of Faith and Charismatic movements, and some even within Fundamentalism–all of which instruct us to verbally rebuke Satan and to even bind him. People listening to these messages from such people will feel empowered, emboldened and even led to do so in Jesus’ name. To be honest, it is a topic that not many in the Fundamentalist world address, due to the particular controversies attached to the topic and I believe due to a general hesitancy towards addressing the demonic subject matter it entails. 

   Those who preach and teach rebuking and binding the devil do so for several reasons: First, it sounds like a great sermon for victorious Christian living. Who does not want Satan to be rebuked and bound? I do, and I would be hard pressed to find any true believer in Christ who would not love to see Satan bound and rebuked. Second, the message sells. There are far more controversial topics for people to speak on; topics that would pick up a great deal of heat and rejection. Binding Satan is a topic that anyone can speak on with a one hundred percent approval rating. 

Third, they use several Scriptures to defend the practice of verbally rebuking and binding Satan. 

   This article will deal with each “proof text” often used for rebuking and binding Satan,  address the systematic theological problems that follow such teaching and also provide clear Scriptural teaching on how to deal with Satan. 

   First, we will examine the proof texts that are used to justify rebuking and binding Satan. The classic text from which folks draw this idea is found in Matthew 16 just after Peter’s great confession that Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah. Christ then gives a great proclamation to Peter: 

Matthew 16:18-19 – “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

As Fundamentalists, we are most familiar with misapplication of this passage by the Roman Catholic Church as proof for Papal authority (which we categorically reject as heretical), but here we can see another great misapplication of truth when someone says this passage gives them authority to bind Satan. The first problem here is that Jesus is speaking to the Apostle Peter. He is not speaking to us. The second problem is that the binding and loosing here is a Jewish teaching concerning teaching authority. Jesus is telling Peter He is giving him apostolic authority (and as Paul will later explain, when the Scriptures were completed, the need for apostolic authority and gifts ceased.) Jesus was not giving Peter a literal ability to bind and release people or things to heaven or hell–as the Roman Catholic Church teaches. So to argue for binding of Satan from this passage is both poor hermeneutics and heretical. 

   Another passage used is found in Matthew 18 where Jesus is addressing church discipline and unrepentant brethren. Because this verse contains the words “bind, bound, loose and loosed”, many jump on it as proof for binding Satan. 

Matthew 18:17-19 “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”

The first problem with this passage being a proof text for binding the devil is that it is not talking about binding Satan, but church discipline and reconciliation between brethren. Therefore, applying it to binding Satan is poor hermeneutics at best. The second issue is that the binding and loosing here does not in any way have to do with binding or loosing Satan. The words used here are referring to the fact that once someone is forgiven and restored in human terms, they are loosed and God looses them in His eyes as well. This whole passage has absolutely nothing to do with binding Satan. 

   Another passage used in the one in Mark 3 where the scribes accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Satan. They were essentially saying, “because you work for Satan, you have the power to command demons”. Jesus refutes their absurd claim by showing it to be impossible and non doctrinal. However, the word “bind” appears here and many again jump on this passage as proof to bind Satan. 

Mark 3:22-28 – “And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:”

Jesus demonstrated in this passage that He has power over the demons because He has power over their master, Satan. Jesus has the power to bind Satan. Nowhere in this passage does it say we have that power or are to exercise that power.

   We can however find an example of someone trying to bind a demon outside of the authority and direction of Christ. They thought they could simply bring up Christ’s authority and command demons. They found out however, that demons know when someone has the power of Christ or not. 

Acts 19:13-16 – “Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

These sons of Sceva, thought they were endowed with the same Apostolic power of Paul and could simply put Jesus’ name in their rebuke and experience divine results. The message here is manifold, but one takeaway is that simply adding Jesus’ name to a Satanic rebuke does not mean anything. 

   So how do we as New Testament, post-apostolic believers deal with Satan and demonic forces? Well, we need to consider a few facts based on the clear teaching of Scripture. First, Satan will one day be bound, but is not right now. Even a child can figure out today that Satan is far from bound. If people are truly binding him, someone is letting him out–frequently. If someone could truly bind Satan, we would live in a very different world. No one has ever bound Satan outside of Jesus Christ and His command. Scripture does clearly teach though that one day Satan will be physically and eventually permanently bound–and it will not be by some would be apostle. 

Revelation 20:1-3 – “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”

Revelation 20:10 “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

Second, Satan is powerful and we are no match for him outside of God’s divine protection. The idea that we can go head to head with Satan is a fool’s errand. Jesus told Peter, the apostle, that if it were not for His intervention, Satan would destroy Peter.

Luke 22:31-32 – “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

If the apostle Peter was no match for Satan, how can we be so stupid as to think we can head off into battle to challenge him in single combat? People who think they can try this are headed for disaster. As if Peter is not enough of an example, consider the following two passages: 

Jude 1:9 –Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”

Zechariah 3:1-2 “And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?”

   Jude 1:9 is one of only two places in Scripture where the word “rebuke” is used in relation to Satan. The archangel Michael, the most powerful angel in Heaven, did not dare to rebuke Satan. He chose to let the LORD do the rebuking. This is profound and we should take heed to Michael’s example. Let God do the rebuking. We can ask the LORD to rebuke Satan, but nowhere in Scripture do we find permission to engage Satan and converse with him. 

  Zechariah 3:1-2 is the only other passage in Scripture involving Satan being rebuked. The amazing fact in this passage is that the one doing the rebuking is the LORD, YHVH. It is fascinating to me that when Yahweh Himself rebuked Satan, He said, “the LORD rebuke thee”. Even if we quote the words of God Himself, we still end up not rebuking Satan ourselves and laying the rebuke in the hands of God!

   Third, we are commanded to resist Satan and not to give him opportunities to harm us. James 4:7 and Ephesians 4:27 both teach us that we can and should resist Satan’s attempts to wreak havoc in our spiritual and physical lives. 

James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Ephesians 4:27 – “Neither give place to the devil.”

Surprising to some is the fact that neither of these verses say anything about engaging with or rebuking Satan. James 4:7 teaches us to submit to God and resist Satan. This instruction teaches a quiet submission to God and quiet rejection of Satan. Nowhere does this verse even remotely imply conversing or directly engaging Satan. Like James 4:7, Ephesians 4:27 teaches us nothing of rebuking Satan, but only that we should not let him have advantage over us. Submitting to God and resisting Satan included putting Scripture up as our defense. Jesus did that on the three occasions Satan tempted Him and we are to follow His example. 

Finally, we must remember that it is God who keeps us from falling to Satan’s attacks and He has given us everything we need in Scripture and prayer to stand against Satanic attack.

II Thessalonians 3:3 – “But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.”

I Peter 5:8-10 – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”

Ephesians 6:10-18 – “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”

In conclusion, while we are to resist Satan and cling to the resources and One who will shield is from being wounded by Satanic darts, we do not find any Scriptural basis for challenging Satan one on one and trying to rebuke, much less bind him. He will be bound and vanquished, but not by any mere mortal. Even the archangel knows that only God can do this. Resist Satan by being submitted to God, by prayer, by the Word and the heavenly armor given to us by the Almighty Creator—who alone can vanquish the enemy of our souls.

Why Millennials Leave The Church

teen-leaving-homeThe latest statistics show that out of every 10 millennials, 6 will leave their church and most likely remain outside organized religion. As a minister of a small Independent, Baptist church, these statistics do not shock me, but that lack of shock does not lower my heartbreak at such a reality. We as ministers, church leaders and certainly those of you who are parents, need to ask WHY? From my time in Christian school, Christian University and several years in the ministry, here are some reasons I believe they are leaving, and in many cases, will never come back.

The Failure Of Men In The Homes

While every individual is ultimately responsible for their beliefs and actions, every Christian home is to be governed by the father. He and he alone assumes full responsibility before God for his child’s spiritual upbringing and instruction. The cold hard facts in most Christian homes is that fathers are failing miserably to execute their sacred duties of insuring their children are educated in the Scriptures and receiving spiritual guidance. They are leaving this task to the mothers or to the Church. Kids spend an average of less than  one hour per week in a church receiving instruction. How can this offset the hundreds during the week spent at school and home? It cannot. As a result, the influences of the world, secular education and humanism overwhelm the minds of young people and under that vast load of pressure, they cave in. This usually happens their senior year in high school or by their sophomore year in college. The decision to physically leave the faith may not become public for a year or two after the decision to mentally leave is made, but it happens, almost like clockwork. Until the men step up and be the fathers God intended them to be, we will only see the statistics grow.

The High Number of Tares Amongst The Wheat

In connection with the previous reason, many young people go through churches from the nursery to the graduation platform never having truly been converted. They have learned to blend in and fly under the radar to get by and wait until they have the chance to make their own choices without parental consequences. It is almost too easy in most churches for people to know the lingo, do the basics and just slip through the cracks having never truly been born again. This is sometimes their intent, but many times it is to the shame of parents, leaders and churches.

The Signs of The Times

We know from the Scriptures that we are expecting a great decline in the faith before his return. Jesus made a somber statement in Luke 18 when he asked,

“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”.

We know that many will fall away and many will depart from the faith and grow increasingly in love with this present world. That was even a problem in Paul’s day, as he noted by telling of one of his laborers, Demas, who abandoned the ministry because he “loved this present world”. God can send revival at any time and place, but right now in America, people are not flocking in masses to conservative, traditional, Biblical Christianity. The ones that do flock in go to more contemporary and seeker-friendly perversions of Biblical Christianity. There will certainly come a day when God again blows the winds of Revival and we must be always ready for it when it comes. But right now, the pews are not packed, the aisles are not crowded and the altar is not full. Kids today want excitement, entertainment and they are finding it in churches that use rock music, or something very close to it. The church is not a place to entertain people. If we give into that thinking, we will never match the thrill of a rock concert or party environment. We must teach our youth that God is holy, as is His house.

The Epidemic of Modern Bible Perversions

I remember sitting in a Christian University where I was told that the Bible I had been taught from–the same used of God in every revival since 1611 by the way–had mistakes in it and only the original manuscripts had the complete, inerrant Word of God in them. This caused a deep thinker like me to really struggle with questions. Thankfully I was raised by parents who taught me the truth about inspiration and preservation–something not really believed in a lot of Christian education institutions. God said His Word would never pass away and not one jot or tittle would be lost. The introduction of modern perversions of Scripture in English, by men such as Westcott and Hort–rank apostates who denied the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, miracles, Christ’s blood atonement and Biblical Creation–only adds fuel to Satan’s fire in the hearts and minds of impressionable young people forming their world view. What do we expect when we see this happen? What outcome should we expect? Nothing less than doubt, shaking of faith and departure from the faith. I went to school with several guys who were headed for the ministry or full time service and now one is an atheist, one is openly a homosexual and one is muslim. They had the authority and purity and accuracy of the Scriptures taken from them by men with doctorates. And now these young men have no foundation for their faith. This is why I am a passionate apologist for the Scriptures, the Textus Receptus and the Traditional English Bible, the Authorized Version. It is also why I fearlessly oppose those who promote the work of two rank apostates and others like them. This is the oldest and most effective tactic of Satan that he began in the Garden of Eden: attack the inerrancy of God’s Word.

The Shallowness of The Pulpit

Sadly, it is my observation that most old-time preachers and conservative pastors spend most of their messages on salvation and not on the deep doctrines of Scripture and Christian living. When a church full of saved people hear only a salvation message, they are being done a great disservice. We are to preach the whole council of God from cover to cover. Many preachers shy away from prophecy, Revelation, hard questions and apologetics–leaving our young people to face the secular classroom unarmed and ill-equipped to deal the unrelenting attack of the secularists on God, the Faith and morality.

The Tradition of Man vs. The Commands of God

Too often, I fear, we have majored on human tradition and made concrete rules and standards out of things the Bible has not said. Allow me to give a few examples of things we have taught blind obedience to, that cannot be clearly defended by Scripture. (And I am not necessarily advocating doing these things).

“You must be in church every time the doors are open!”

Being in church is a wonderful and beneficial thing whenever that happens. But to tell someone they must be there every Sunday School, Sunday AM, Sunday PM, Wednesday Prayer Meeting and any other time something is happening or they are a sinner….where can that be substantiated in the Scriptures? The PM service was designed in recent decades for working people to be able to attend an evening service they missed in the AM. Where in the New Testament does it say that a church prayer meeting is limited to Wednesday night, or at the Church building? Please do not mistake me as one discouraging people from going to church! I am there every time the doors are open, but I am also a minister and serve full-time doing so. But to blast someone who cannot make a service and hold them to such a man-made standard as if it were God’s law…that is sin! Maybe that person had a serious obligation or needed to spend time with family or had a personal issue they were dealing with that kept them from attending every single event on the calendar month. That is between them, the Holy Spirit and God. Who am I to pass such harsh judgment?

“Any woman who divorces her husband is an adulteress!”

This to me is one of the most tragic and sickening things I have ever encountered in the church that bears Christ’s name. So many times we have seen women who were being abused, cheated on or abandoned and yet the church told them they had no way out or they would be branded an adulteress. That is not what God or Jesus taught. The Old and New Testaments teach that a woman who is abandoned, being abused or whose spouse is unfaithful is free to divorce and remarry and be innocent of any wrong doing. (Please see my doctrinal statement on this site for references). This is grievously cruel to be in positions of help and guidance and cruelly force a woman to endure such heartbreak and even physical abuse. Jesus stood up for women, Paul stood up for women and God stands up for women. No woman should ever be mistreated or harmed and expected to remain married to and with such an animal. What kind of God would expect that? Not the One I read of and pray to. When young people witness such injustice in the name of Christianity, why should they hear anything else we have to say?

“Christians do not eat where alcohol is served!”

I whole-heartedly respect anyone’s personal convictions and would never suggest they violate their conscience. But when someone takes a statement like this and forces it on others as if it were Scripture, I ask them only to be consistent and refrain from purchasing food from grocery stores or gas from gas stations.

“Christians do not use Facebook or other social media!”

I would love to have seen Paul and Peter if the internet were available. I have a very hard time believing they would not have been live streaming the Gospel to everyone possible. Again, convictions respected, but please be consistent and stay off YouTube, Gmail and the entire internet as well. This is just silly folks.

“You must be a church member to be baptized or take communion!”

That is interesting. Because the Bible I read says that all one must do is believe in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and be baptized and do in remembrance of Him. This sounds much like the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church and bars sinners from the Kingdom of Heaven.

“Christian men should be clean-shaven!”

I have been scolded before for having a beard. Thankfully I took it in good humor and was mature enough in the LORD to not get offended or upset. I was saddened however and explained that the God of the Bible instructed his holy people Israel, that is the men, not to round off the corners of their beards, but to have full manly beards. Being clean-shaven in Israel was a disgrace and disobedience. I remarked, “Well, I was rather under the impression from my Bible reading that the LORD rather likes my beard”.

“You must tithe to be a member of this church!”

This issue is further addressed in my article posted here: https://vitw2018.wordpress.com/2018/08/08/tithing-and-tithing-disclosure/

Since when do we force people to pay for the blessed benefit of belonging to the body of Christ? If you are saved, you are part of the church. And if membership in a local church is dependent on your mandatory giving, you need to find another church. God wants your heart and your cheerful giving–of time, money, resources, priorities, etc.–not just a ten percent tax.

“Courtship is the only model for pursuing marriage!”

The Bible is full of premarital counseling and dating advice: Mainly, stay pure, flee youthful lusts and love each other as Christ loves the church. Trying to argue for dating, courtship, arranged marriage, or anything else will be impossible. Of course Samson had a prearranged courtship. He told his parents: “I want her, get her for me”. That did not end well. Or Jacob had such an arrangement, and his father in law worked him for 14 years and still tried to rip him off. Whatever suits you I suppose.

“Christians do not go to movies!”

Now, please know that in all honesty, I do not attend movies for several reasons. Mainly, I don’t like crowds, gun free zones or sitting in the dark with random strangers. But this issue is one where we can easily become very hypocritical. We can blast someone for going to a public showing of a movie, yet sit in our homes and watch in total secrecy anything we so desire from Amazon or Netflix. If we were honest, which one has the greatest potential for sinful behavior? The Scriptures say we must guard our hearts and minds and view that which is moral, righteous and edifying. That is a much higher and stricter standard than “you cannot go to a movie”.

Conclusion

Some of these examples were funny and silly, some were not. The point I make is this: When young people observe a system of man-made rules being elevated to Scripture, only one day to realize they are not on the same level, what reaction do we honestly expect them to take? Why would they not question many things about church and Christianity? We must endeavor to teach the Scriptures faithfully in a way that develops convictions based on personal witness with the Holy Spirit. If we hold human teachings and traditions and give them more weight than the Scriptures, we are no better than the Pharisees who “shut up the Kingdom of Heaven”.  I am not proposing we lower our Biblical standards or convictions. Just make sure they are Biblical, and not man-made.

Tithing And Tithing Disclosure

Alright brothers and sisters. This is the promised post from yesterday. This subject has been weighing on my heart for some time, and I feel compelled to open up my heart and share my position on the issue of tithing and giving in the church. Please hear my words knowing they come in brokenness and sincerity. I know some will disagree, but my heart is confident in the peace of the Spirit and a proving conscience that both agree that this has been the moving of the LORD on my heart.

My personal position on tithing and the disclosure of personal tithing records in the church for the members and the leadership:

I am well aware that many believers are in the practice of using tithing envelopes with the amounts being recorded by the church treasurer or finance committee for the purpose of tax deductions and or accountability to the church and or leadership. I am also aware that some feel each member’s tithing records should be accessible by the finance committee, and or the treasurer, and or the pastor. This is apparently a big issue and one that many have opinions and positions on. I write this publically, not to attack, defend or change anyone’s mind, but to explain why I take the position I do and why I live it out in the manner I do.

I will address this issue in two parts.
Is The Tithe Mandated For New Testament Believers?
Should tithing records be disclosed to anyone in the church?

Is Tithing Mandatory For The New Testament Believer?

The strongest argument for tithing comes from the examples of Abraham and Jacob when they tithed a tenth. Abraham tithed a tenth to Melchizedek (or a pre-incarnate Christophany), and Jacob gave to God. The problem with this argument is that neither example shows a continual pattern of monetary tithing and neither establishes a mandate for anyone else to do so. They were tithing food, possessions, etc. No matter how hard anyone tries to make that doctrine fit in these examples, both are one time incidents and do not establish a required practice. Tithing seen in these examples was good and reflected a grateful heart toward God, but nowhere can I establish these incidents as mandates for anyone to repeat them systematically.

The second strongest argument is that of tithing being a requirement under the Mosaic Law. Yet the requirement of tithing in the Torah (Law of Moses, Pentateuch, Law, etc.) is specifically for national Israel. Believers are not under the Mosaic covenant, but are under the blood of Christ and operating under the New Covenant (Rom. 6:14–15; 7:5–6; Gal. 3:15–4:7; 2 Cor. 3:4–18). Tithes under the Mosaic covenant were given to the Levites and priests, because they had no land or inheritance. Yet in the New Covenant, there are no Levites or levitical priests. We are all priests in God’s eyes now, under our Great High Priest, Yeshua (Jesus) (1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6; Heb. 7).

The third argument is that Jesus taught the tithe. Yes He did, but He did so under the Mosaic covenant and He taught obedience to the Mosaic covenant. But after His death and the beginning of the New Covenant, we never again will hear Him or any Scripture commanding it. Jesus also commanded offering sacrifices in the temple (Matthew 5:23-25), yet we clearly know He did not intend for us to continue that after the New Covenant was in place. He was using these good things as illustrations for godly living, and was only commanding them to be done under the current covenant–which was the Mosaic covenant. Never under the New Covenant will anyone find Jesus, Paul or anyone commanding to offer sacrifices or tithe. What you will find is constant mention of Christians being commanded and encouraged to give generously to the poor, the needy and to the work of God in the Church and Missions (Acts 2:43–47; 4:32–37; 11:27–30; Gal. 2:10; 1 Cor. 16:1–4; 2 Cor. 8:1–9:15; Matt. 10:10; Luke 10:7; 1 Cor. 9:6–14; 1 Tim. 5:17–18; 1 Tim. 6:17–19; 2 Cor. 8–9).

I believe that the Christian who believes they are obligated to give God ten percent of their income is severely limiting their Christian life by viewing themselves bound to give God His 10% “cut” and living by a traditional teaching that has no Scriptural basis under the New Covenant. They should view giving as an opportunity to worship the LORD from a cheerful and grateful heart that is not grudgingly relinquishing a mandatory ten percent tax. I realize the potential backlash I may receive for posting this position, but I humbly and heavy-heartedly beseech my brethren to realize that we have made this tradition of men a stumbling block that prevents a cheerful giver–which the LORD loves, and we have tread the path of the Scribes and Pharisees–who transgressed the perfect law of love by their tradition. There should be no limit set on how much a loving and grateful giver gives. It is a matter of the heart and not one of duty to fulfil a requirement under the Mosaic Law. Give hilariously unto the LORD out of love for Him with a grateful and worshipful heart! If you are worrying about “do I have to tithe?”, you have entirely missed the point. And why would God even want such an offering? He doesn’t need your money. He wants your heart.

Should Tithing or Giving Records Be Disclosed To Anyone In The Church?

I understand many desire to write off their donations to the church from their taxes. I see no issue in this, if someone wants to do so. And on this point, there will have to be a written, kept record. And that is entirely up to the giver.

But should people in the Church, or even the pastor know how much individuals give for “tithes” and offerings? Nowhere in Scripture will you find this man made teaching of modern Christianity. We are to not let our right hand let our left hand know what we give, let alone others, or even more concerning, a committee or the pastor? I deliberately stay away from the money at church. I know what we have in the bank and how we spend it, but I refuse to know who gives what. That is none of my business and is purely between God and the heart of a worshipful giver who is honoring God in secret, and who will be blessed and rewarded by God in the open. Jesus railed against men who gave for others to see what amount they contributed. It leads to preferential treatment, respecting of persons, gossip and pride. There is nowhere in Scripture where you will find anything teaching where your pastor or your fellow believers should know what you are sacrificially giving to God. That is a very sacred and precious issue of the heart between you and your Creator. Pastors should be accountable for how they handle the church’s money, yes. But no one should know what they are tithing or giving unto the LORD.

My giving record is kept in Heaven and it is not for the admiration of men. It is my personal, sacred privilege to give freely from my heart in love and worship to my God. And so it is with you. While some mean well when they preach on tithing, all too many times, men who harp on tithing and faith promise giving, are seeking bigger salaries, vacations, bigger churches, more entertainments and seeking to control their congregations. God help us if that is what we believe a church is for. We need to repent of our sin of worshipping the building funds and remember why we should give after all.

First, we give to worship and give thanks to our God. After all, does He not deserve 100 percent of everything we have? Why stop at 10? The Old Testament tithe was closer to 20.

Second, to support the work of real missionaries who are dedicated to reaching the lost and spending their lives on the field, reaching the unsaved and waging war for Jesus Christ—not touring the world under the guise of evangelism on the church peoples’ dollars.

Third, to help those who are unable to provide for themselves, such as widows, orphans, the infirmed and the handicapped.

Fourth, to support their pastor. He is giving up more than they know and cannot be an effective undershepherd if every moment he has is dedicated to earning a living to feed his family and keep his home.

Fifth, spread the Gospel in their community, to print Bibles, tracts, and spread literature to the lost to bring them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

I realize this may sound radical and shock even the closest of friends I have. I am not angry or attacking anyone because I know good people can disagree and I know I am not infallible and may be wrong, yet I am convinced by my understanding of the Scriptures and the peace in my heart of the Holy Spirit that we must carefully examine ourselves and see whether we are making our own tradition a stumbling block to others, and one that keeps them from experiencing the freedom in the New Covenant where we are not bound to a mandatory tax, but are free in Christian liberty to give freely and infinitely from a worshipful and grateful heart.

May God open our hearts to His Word and keep us from repeating the same mistake of the self-righteous Pharisees. Amen and God bless,

Very sincerely,

Kenneth Willis