FBC Jax Watchdog beat us to the punch on this one. But considering that Jax Watchdog is just another angry blogger who should rightly be ignored (totally unlike the Pulpit & Pen), we’ll harp on this, too. When it comes to hateful bloggers typing vitriol with their Cheetos dust-covered fingers from the safety of their mother’s basement, it’s a free market.
It seems that Ronnie “Armani” Floyd (as he’s been known for a number of years, thanks to his trademark high taste in suits and characteristically-expensive wardrobe) is giving Southern Baptists until December 31 to pay our tithes…or else. Floyd is known for issuing dates for Southern Baptists to recognize and obey, like the day he set aside for all Southern Baptists to share the Gospel (which was a relief, because most of us were waiting around for one of our convention leaders to give us permission). This time is different, though. This time, pastors are exhorted to encourage their people to “walk in complete obedience to God” by “giving at least the first tenth [of their income] to their local church.” The time frame this needed to be done, according to Ronnie, is December 31. This way, the church can be the “number 1 priority in the lives of our people” (forget spouses and family, apparently).
This wouldn’t be so troubling – maybe we could pass it off as just sheer goofiness – if Floyd hasn’t already been teaching the Word-of-Faith and Prosperity Gospel teachings of Robert Morris.
Or, maybe it wouldn’t be so troubling if we didn’t already see what “walking in complete obedience to God” gets his own church members in return (chiefly, a Walt Disney designer-created set, confetti cannon and fire-engine baptistry or maybe a new karaoke machine in the youth complex). In some Christmas traditions, Santa goes over his list and checks it twice. In Ronnie’s tradition, it’s time for you to go over your bank statements, check it twice, and make sure you haven’t left out any from your tithe obligation from which you might miss a blessing or gain a curse. And don’t let the clock strike midnight on the 31st without having completed this end-of-year ritual.
Sadly, the Mohler-nominated president of the SBC doesn’t understand – or doesn’t care – that while we are to give faithfully, joyfully, regularly, substantially and (some could argue) proportionally to the Lord’s Work, and while a case could be made that our giving be primarily made through the local church, employing “first fruits” and “ten percent” talk is more the language of a prosperity gospel hustler than an actual exegete.
Pay up, chumps. There’s a deadline for our new Happy Happy Fun Time Wing, and Armani suits don’t just buy themselves.