Published with Permission, 5-5-2011
Dear Brother Kelly,
I’d like to thank you for your work helping believers escape the bondage of tithing and the Old Testament Law.
My wife and I suffered under that bondage for 15 years until I finally took the initiative to research the claims of tithe-teachers myself. I came to the Lord when I was 21, started attending an Assemblies of God Church, and faithfully gave 10% of my gross income to that church regardless of whether I could afford it or not. Unable to afford it because my wife and I were raising 4 young children on a meager income, we started to accumulate a lot of credit card debt. We approached our Pastor at the time who told us we had to tithe, but that the church couldn’t help us out financially. We continued like this for years eventually ending up with over $30,000 in credit card debt, mostly from buying groceries.
There were many times during those years that I questioned whether Christians needed to tithe, but would always run into opposition from my wife, friends, and pastors. Several of our closest friends were Word of Faith people who operated under the fear that if they didn’t tithe, they’d be cursed.
I used to work a job in a paper mill that required me to work 6 or usually 7 days a week, so I rarely felt I had time to study God’s Word. In the long run, it cost me dearly. Eventually though, I grew disgusted with what I saw as abuse in the church as I listened to pastors preach to poor people that, regardless of their circumstances, still needed to tithe. After all, they’d say, “who knows what kind of trouble you’re saving yourself by tithing. Quit now and your life will really get tough.”
After months of careful study, compiling my notes into a book and practicing what my arguments would be, I felt confident enough to share with my wife, friends, and pastors what I had learned regarding tithing. My wife eagerly listened and eventually saw the light. Most of my friends were so fearful of not tithing that they wouldn’t see the light unless their properly ordained pastor told them they didn’t have to tithe. Most disappointing of all was the response I received from almost every pastor I spoke with---5 of them absolutely refused to discuss the issue or even look at my copious notes. Over the years, only 1 pastor of a very small fellowship read what became my book and changed his mind about tithing.
This has been a very discouraging battle for me. Prior to becoming a Christian, I was a devout Roman Catholic. You can imagine the turmoil I endured as I explained to my parents that I was leaving the Catholic Church to attend a Protestant Church. They were heartbroken and even considered not attending my protestant wedding because their Priest told them it would be a sin for them to set foot in my church. I had to leave Catholicism though. I had always questioned authority and had I not I’d still be Catholic today. This is why I have a hard time with the people I know not wanting to question tithing. Many of these friends came out of Catholicism as I had, but it’s as though, once they became protestant, they quit questioning everything. They’ll believe anything their pastor tells them.
Your Fellow laborer in Christ,
Joel P. Parker
P.S. I love your book.