Warren Throckmorton recently did a series of posts regarding the alleged bullying tactics of Faith Christian Church. In addition to reports about bizarre teachings on spanking infants, former members have described feeling forced to give money to the church. One Former staff minister Jeff Phillips said that “tithing is strictly enforced. We were taught that if we did not tithe, we were cursed.”
Phillips recalled FCC pastor Steve Hall saying, “‘I WILL NOT pastor cursed people.’”
Phillips related the following account:
“There was one occasion when some of the staff, including me, were caught not tithing soon enough. We were waiting until we had deposited our checks into the bank to tithe to the church. Steve found a verse in the OT about paying late fees for late tithes, so we were forced to pay extra for our lateness. So, essentially the ministers raised their own salaries and gave 13% of that and beyond to the church, which went to pay Steve’s salary along with the other members’ tithes.”
In another separate incident close to 100 people attended a protest across the street from Sterling’s Calvary Temple church in an effort to raise awareness to practices they say have gone on for decades behind its closed doors. The protest was sparked after an article broke where two women said they were physically and sexually abused for years by the church’s leadership and teachers.
In addition to the alleged sexual abuse there are allegations of financial abuse. Former congregant Chris Trent remembered his last day at the church: It was a Wednesday Scott threw his Bible down, enraged that congregants were not constantly giving tithes. According to Trent:
“He said some of you only tithe sometimes. He said according to the Book of Leviticus, as your high priest I can ask for double tithe every three years. Now all you people that broke ground here and help put down the roots to the foundation of this church .. I want you to give 20 percent … A lot of people from Calvary gave it to him.”Now the purpose of this article is not to pass judgement on pending church investigations of abuse, the purpose is to bring to light a practice that if unchecked can bring ruin: bullying.
The word “bully” means “a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.” In the 1500’s it originally meant “sweetheart,” applied to either sex, which came the Dutch boel meaning “lover; brother.” The meaning deteriorated in the 17th century to mean “harasser of the weak.” This was perhaps the influence of bull. It carries with a connecting sense of “lover” and “ruffian.”
For the record I’m not against giving/tithing, I’m for it. I have seen TREMENDOUS benefits in my life as a result of it.
But I am against bullying.
So what do you do if you’re being bullied financially? Don’t allow it. The people in the previous examples got to a point where they said, “Enough is enough.”
Get into the Bible yourself and see what it has to say about it giving. What is the giving that is acceptable to God? What does He recommend? What does He want? And then allow that to be between you and Him.
But what do you think? Does this bullying exist? Have you seen it before?
Have you ever been bullied? What are your thoughts?
Mike Holmes is founder of Tithehacker.org, a site dedicated to stirring up a revolution of giving. He is also the author of I Shall Raise Thee Up: Ancient Principles for Lasting Greatness. It’s a book teaching how people are raised up as they learn and apply certain time-tested and timeless principles. He is also the husband of 1 lady and the father of 2 small people.