A LETTER TO WAYWARD CHRISTIANS
By: Bro. Fred Kinzie
A dateless exhortation
Dear Brother and Sister 000000:
Greetings from Toledo!
I received your recent letter and should not be answering it for two reasons, namely: 1. It is not ethical for a former pastor to correspond in any manner with one who has been released from his church. 2. I am very
reluctant to put anything on paper to anyone who possibly will try to find in every word, every sentence, some reason to fault the information contained in it.
Now the last reason is a general consensus, not one aimed in particular at you folks. But since you have involved me in your remarks, I feel constrained, in spite of the above reasons, to do my best to help you. So
First of all, I love you folks and anything I say is from a standpoint of desiring to help you. It is never in the best interest of anyone to hurt another unless it must be done to help them. I’ve had to do this on occasion as a pastor but allow me to say, as a parent correcting children, it hurt me more than those corrected.
I will address the last issue, Sister 000000, that you raised and perhaps it will throw some light on the first. I quote from your letter: “Brother XXXXXs told us that he met you (meaning me) at the fall Conference and you told him that we were not going to make it, but he said, he told you that he was praying for us. I asked him what right you had to pass judgment on us?”
I remember of talking to Brother XXXXXs, but do not recall saying those exact words. I do not doubt, however, that I said something very similar. But the meaning was there because I believe in certain principles that I’ve observed in my many years of ministry.
Allow me to explain. The whole issue revolves around tithe paying. As I do not handle the tithes, and haven’t for many years in our church, I do not know whether you paid them or not. I would suspect from this correspondence that you did not conform to that ministry of the saints, at least not in the later years of your membership here.
Now first of all, if a person were paying more than a tithe, which should be expected of a New Testament saint, he would not be complaining about them, nor finding fault with those who received them! You see, the New Testament saint should have learned to participate in this ministry out of love for God, not out of necessity as the law demanded.
Tithes were not initiated under the law, but in the days of Abraham when he was thankful for the goodness of God in delivering Lot out of the hands of wicked kings. It was an act of gratitude, not of necessity. Several centuries later God incorporated tithes into the law, but like most things under the law, few observed it.
So the condemnation in Malachi, included not only their failure to pay tithes, but other things such as bringing the sick of their flocks and offering a blemished sacrifice unto God. God knew that if He could
straighten out their giving habits, the other things would follow suit also. That’s why Malachi chapter 3 was written. One must not single out just verses 8-10 as the whole fault, (even though a serious one) but a list
of other things were out of order which God also addressed through Malachi.
Now to the practical side of the issue. In the church in Toledo, the tithe represents possibly 40% of the income needed to keep the church afloat. I would suspect that the same condition exists elsewhere. If there are not offerings other than the tithe, the church would soon have to shut it’s doors. I’m sure you are not aware of this. It is the faithful tithe payers who keep the doors open because they understand the necessity of additional commitments.
You folks were saved in the Toledo church. I remember when you first came and the joy and happiness that surrounded your lives for a considerable length of time. I’ve a question to ask you: Have you ever considered what it cost to buy the property, construct the building on it, and who gave to make this possible? Of course, God made it possible by calling men and women to Him, saving them, and putting within their hearts a desire for a lighthouse where folks like you would have a place to find salvation in
Christ! If there had not been a group of faithful tithers and contributors involved there would not have been a place for you to be invited to. It took many, many faithful people to be deeply involved to accomplish such a worthwhile task.
Now back to the issue. Why would I have said what I did and what right did I have to say it? Out of my vast experience as a minister, I have encountered many who have made an issue of money as you’re doing now.
You’re following the very same, destructive pathway that they did. I remember one family in particular with whom we were deeply involved in our early Christian life. They taught us by example a very tremendous lesson. They followed off after a minister (at least, he was supposed to be one) who complained about the tithing issue in the church they were all attending. He led them away with a seemingly superior revelation on tithing, but unfortunately, supplied no place for them to worship. They were soon left stranded. They floated around, never finding a church to suit their complaints. They found fault with every pastor, every church, and condemned those of us who would not follow them in their financial complaints. Their lives ended with no home church, no place to worship, no minister who agreed with them to preach their funerals, their lives practically wasted by their contentiousness. People who paid the bills, built churches and contributed to the salvation of others avoided them because of their belligerent attitude. They helped build nothing for future generations to have a place of worship and see people saved. They were an
island to themselves, remained contentious, infected their children with the same attitudes, and finally ended, embittered!
Why did I make the remark about your not making it? I see you folks heading in that same direction. You’ve started on the road to church hopping, and believe me, you’ll never find that perfect church. Sooner or later you’ll decide there is none, so you might as well stay home and have your own church and worship. It’s a disastrous road whether you realize it or not.
Now what should you do! Get involved! Joyfully pay your tithes and give more if possible. Tithes are a bare minimum and not the measuring line for dedicated saints of God today. Faithfully doing this will, as Malachi stated, open the windows of heaven to you.
Too, offer your services to your pastor and stand behind him. Put your shoulder to the wheel and push, push, push! You’ve children to be saved. Help provide an active, solid church for them to attend and be saved in when the moment arrives that God speaks to them.
In my observation throughout the years, people who complain about tithing are almost 100% self-serving. They have no real vision of the work of God. They only think in terms of what that money could do for themselves. Don’t be that kind of a person. Let your influence as a faithful servant of God infect others. When you bless God with your substance, you bless yourselves, the church, and others who will find the Lord through your church. They, in turn, will follow your example, thus generating a never-ending flow of your right attitudes and influence.
I apologize for mentioning ‘stingy’. I don’t recall it, but I may have said it. In just what context, I don’t remember, but please accept my apology.
I trust you’ll receive this letter as a token of love. My objective throughout my pastoral years has always been to help people find God; teach them to walk with Him and be ever ready to meet Him when He returns for His church. It has not always been an easy task, but regardless, worthwhile and rewarding.
God bless you is our prayer.
Sincerely in Christ,
(The above material appeared in an October 1991 issue of Ohio Apostolic News.)
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