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This is an article from ‘My C3 Church Review’, written by Dan Gorter. The conclusion is startling.

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The purpose of this article will be to critically examine the Connect Notes for 23 May 2011, entitled:

Financial Excellence – Ps Phil Pringle

Every 12 months leading up to the end of the Financial Year, Phil Pringle starts preaching heavily on topics like ‘Financial Excellence’. These sermons are specifically geared toward getting people to pledge money to the building fund – and various other initiatives – collectively known as ‘Vision Builders’. So then, being late May, this years round of Vision Builders hype is just getting started.

My main focus as I move through these Connect Notes will be to address the Scriptures Phil Pringle has cited in order to examine whether or not he has dealt honestly with the text. Bear in mind that (as a self proclaimed Bible teacher) Phil Pringle needs to be held accountable to the self-same authority of Scripture which he himself professes. My aim will be to demonstrate with evidence that Phil Pringle does NOT properly handle the Biblical text. Instead, he persistently twists Scripture at every turn of the page.

Please do not buy into the mischaracterisation that I have a ‘poverty mindset’ or a ‘critical spirit’. I have never preached a gospel of poverty or ascetism, nor am I being cynical just for the sake of it. I am simply advocating the preaching of the Biblical Gospel and the proper handling of the Scriptures. If you get to the end of this article and disagree with something I have written, then please say so; I am more than willing to discuss and defend my comments. If you can prove to me from Scripture that something I have said is wrong, then (in all sincerity) I will be open to correction.

Lets start by considering the Connect Notes in full:

“Beloved I pray that you prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” 3 John 1:2 (NKJV)

Financial excellence is having money in your life, in your control, and well-managed, not money managing you.

God is not evil, He is good. The Father delights in us as a good earthly father would. Praise is elicited when blessing comes on us, as a testimony to the unbeliever.

Prosperity is not an accident. We are saved by grace but need to work out our own salvation. There is no excuse for laziness. God does things with excellence.

It is advisable to have several streams of money flowing into our lives: with integrity, hard work, discipline, perseverance, education.

The will of God revealed in Scripture is that He wants His people to be financially healthy and blessed. It honours God when we receive His blessings; He wants us to be blessed, and favoured, living abundant lives.

The Bible is the story of some extraordinarily wealthy people and was written by extraordinarily wealthy people:

- Abraham, considered the father of tithing, gave one tenth to the Priest Melchizedek, Gen 14:18-20.

- Jacob, made a decision to tithe, Gen 28:22 and, God blessed him with wisdom so that he became ‘…exceedingly prosperous…’ Gen. 30:43

- Isaac, Gen 26:13,14 Prospered in time of famine. His world under covenant.

- Paul, Supported not only himself, but also those who travelled with him, Acts 20:34. He taught people to lay aside at the beginning of each week the first fruits of their increase, 1 Cor 16:2.

- Job, considered the wealthiest man in the East during his time, Job 1:3. He regularly gave offerings to the Lord, Job 1:5, and didn’t stop in difficult times.

- David, a man after God’s ‘own heart’, became a billionaire after God chose him to be king over Israel and he gave today’s equivalent of two and a half billion dollars of his personal fortune to his building fund for the temple of God, 1 Chron 29:4-5. This billionaire also wrote Psalms of anguish, praise, and prophecy, Psalm 23.

- Solomon, was even wealthier than David. He revealed amazing wisdom in Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs. This wise man chose to give over and above the tithe, 2 Chron 7:5.

Humility and lack don’t necessarily go together, Col 2:18. Prospering financially releases the ability to bless others, to be the Good Samaritan.

God gives the grace, and power to attain wealth in order to establish His covenant here on earth, Deut 8:18, Psalm 35:27.

Malachi reveals some important aspects of financial excellence, it teaches that when you tithe not only will the windows of heaven be opened unto you, Mal 3:10, but also that God promises to rebuke the devourer in our finances, when we are obedient to Him, Mal 3:11.

TALK ABOUT

  • Do you tithe on a regular basis? How can we ensure that tithing becomes an important discipline in our lives?

  • What breakthrough in your financial and personal world are you, or can you, believe for right now?

  • Is there an area you can commit to financial excellence linked to a breakthrough for someone else?

Phil begins by quoting 3 John 1:2 and makes reference to various other passages throughout the notes. Notice, however, that Phil does not exegete a single Scripture he cites. There is absolutely no sound exposition whatsoever, and most importantly, no attempt to remain faithful to the intended meaning of each verse in its CONTEXT.

Lets start by looking more closely at 3 John 1:2:

3 John 1:1-4 (NASB)

1 The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.
2
Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. 3 For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth. 4 I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.

As the context indicates, 3 John 1:2 forms part of the greeting of a personal letter. John is very appropriately communicating a sincere greeting to a beloved brother in the faith. I suspect that we would all greet our beloved friends and family members in a similar manner: that is, praying that they would succeed and prosper in all aspects of their welfare. Phil has neglected this fact in order to support the notion that, “The will of God revealed in Scripture is that He wants His people to be financially healthy and blessed.” But what does the Scripture say?

Ecclesiastes 7:14 (NASB)

14 In the day of prosperity be happy,
But in the day of adversity consider–
God has made the one as well as the other
So that man will not discover anything that will be after him.

The text is clear that we may experience both good and bad times during the course of our lives, and that God has made the one as well as the other. However, remember the timing of these notes. With Vision Builders being right around the corner, Phil is trying to make us think that its God’s will for us to financially prosper. Once we accept that, we’re only one step away from buying into the notion that (in order to obtain this prosperity) we must commit our finances to the ‘house of God’ (…enter Vision Builders).

Phil continues:

Financial excellence is having money in your life, in your control, and well-managed, not money managing you.

The biggest problem with this assertion is that it appeals to our flesh. That is, nearly every depraved sinful human being wants to have money in their life and under their control. What’s important to realise, however, is that you DO NOT need a crucified and risen saviour for that. Sure, God may cause us to have wonderful seasons of prosperity, but as we’ve already seen, there’s a balance.

Now of course, since many of us are likely to have a problem with Phil’s focus on money, the next step for him is to pre-empt the critics and put our consciences at ease by making us think that God is okay with it:

God is not evil, He is good. The Father delights in us as a good earthly father would. Praise is elicited when blessing comes on us, as a testimony to the unbeliever.

Right away, the subtle inference is that God would be evil if He did not financially bless us. Phil is forcing us to make a choice: agree with his notions of prosperity theology or make God out to be evil. If you say that God can desire not to financially bless you, then you are saying that God is evil.

Even Phil’s analogy of the earthly father falls short. That is, while an earthly father would certainly delight in the success and prosperity of his children, he would also have their best interests at heart. He wouldn’t give them everything they wanted right when they wanted it. Sometimes he might choose to make his children wait in order to teach them patience. Perhaps he may also let them experience some life lessons the hard way so that they might grow in maturity and learn wisdom. Only a foolish father would continually shower his children with material blessings all the time, as they would turn out to be immature, spoiled brats.

As for praise being elicited when financial blessing comes on us, this is true (see 2 Corinthians 9:10-15). However, this is not necessarily a testimony to “the unbeliever”. We know that the world is full of financially prospering non-Christians, and so its clear that you don’t need Jesus to transform your finances. The testimony that we as believers proclaim is repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Phil continues:

Prosperity is not an accident. We are saved by grace but need to work out our own salvation. There is no excuse for laziness. God does things with excellence.

So, after appealing to our greed and easing our guilty consciences, Phil can now go about showing us the way to actually achieving financial excellence. The problem with this third assertion, however, is that it tries to separate the grace by which we are saved from the hard work involved in living out the Christian life. But what does the Scripture say?

1 Corinthians 15:9-10 (NASB – emphasis mine)

9 For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, YET NOT I, BUT THE GRACE OF GOD WITH ME.

Colossians 1:28-29 (NASB – emphasis mine)

28 We proclaim [Christ], admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. 29 For this purpose also I labor, striving ACCORDING TO HIS POWER, which mightily works within me.

Philippians 2:12-13 (NASB – emphasis mine)

12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 FOR IT IS GOD WHO IS AT WORK IN YOU, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NASB – emphasis mine)

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are HIS WORKMANSHIP, created in Christ Jesus for GOOD WORKS, which GOD PREPARED BEFOREHAND so that we would walk in them.

As we can see, Scripture overwhelmingly testifies to the fact that grace and good works are not separate in the Christians life. Having alluded to Philippians 2:12, Phil is simply trying to bolster his paradigm that prosperity is not an accident. The problem, however, is that the Apostle Paul was not talking about financial prosperity in Philippians 2. In context, the work Paul was referring to included things such as doing nothing out of selfishness, looking out for the interests of others, and having the attitude of Christ (v1-11).

So then, having mishandled Philippians 2:12, Phil continues by claiming that, “there is no excuse for laziness”, the inference being that if you disagree with Phil’s idea of working out your salvation as a means of attaining financial prosperity in your life, then you’re simply making excuses out of laziness. Phil then drives the point home by spouting that, “God does things with excellence”; a loaded phrase that everyone is forced to agree with or else imply that God is not excellent.

Phil continues:

It is advisable to have several streams of money flowing into our lives: with integrity, hard work, discipline, perseverance, education.

Very sound advice. However, Phil is just covering his bases. You’ve heard it before, first he tells us that we can be blessed if we give money to ‘God’, then when we fail to see any results, he tells us that its because we are lacking the integrity, hard work and discipline it takes to generate wealth. Then, once we find we still haven’t made a ‘breakthrough’, he reminds us of areas in our life where we might be ‘withholding’ from God, like tithing on our net income instead of our gross income (for example), or failing to tithe on the sale of an investment. Once we get our tithes and offerings in order, the problem once again becomes discipline and perseverance (and we get the ‘seed, TIME, and harvest’ speech), and the cycle continues.

Phil continues:

The will of God revealed in Scripture is that He wants His people to be financially healthy and blessed. It honours God when we receive His blessings; He wants us to be blessed, and favoured, living abundant lives.

After telling us about hard work and discipline, Phil is now assuring us that our labor will not be in vain, since (after all), “The will of God revealed in Scripture is that He wants His people to be financially healthy and blessed”. If this is indeed the case, then why doesn’t Phil point us to the clear teachings of God’s Word to prove it? He is yet to correctly handle a single Scripture to demonstrate his point.

Phil continues:

The Bible is the story of some extraordinarily wealthy people and was written by extraordinarily wealthy people:

The inference here is that you can be wealthy like the people in the Bible if you do what they did. Consider this quote from Part 1 of the actual Sermon these Connect Notes come from:

Phil Pringle, Financial Excellence Part 1, 22 May 2011, Sunday 10am Service, Oxford Falls Campus

The Bible – this is kind of a shocking thought for some people – its been written by the wealthiest people in history. If you got Bill Gates to write a chapter, Warren Buffett to write a chapter, the telecommunications guy in Mexico – I’ve forgotten his name – to write a chapter, the three richest men in the world, that’s what the Bible is. Its these unbelievably, extraordinarily successful people who have written this book and said do these kinds of things and life is going to work for you.

Keep this important point in mind as we move through the Connect Notes.

Phil continues:

- Abraham, considered the father of tithing, gave one tenth to the Priest Melchizedek, Gen 14:18-20.

The first problem with this is that Abraham is not considered the father of tithing, yet Phil introduces this concept as if it were a widely held view among the theological community. Its not. Its a completely foreign concept that only exists in the minds of prosperity preachers like Phil who try to twist Scripture to fit their own faulty paradigm of Biblical prosperity. Do me a favor: go to Google and type in, “Abraham father of tithing”. I did it, and surprise surprise, I didn’t get a single relevant hit; I’ve never even heard of the phrase before.

The fact is, Abraham is considered the father of faith, not the father of tithing. This concept is derived from Romans 4 and Galatians3:

Romans 4:11-12 (NASB)

11 and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.

Galatians 3:7 (NASB)

7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.

With that said, lets consider the text that Phil cited:

Genesis 14:18-20 (NASB)

18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. 19 He blessed him and said,
Blessed be Abram of God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
20 And blessed be God Most High,
Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.”
He gave him a tenth of all.

So, Abraham did in fact give a tenth of all to Melchizedek, but all of what? Lets consider the context.

Chapter 14 tell us that the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah and their allies fought a battle against the king of Elam and his allies (v. 8-9). The king of Elam was victorious and stripped Sodom and Gomorrah of all their food and possessions (v. 10-11). They also seized Lot, Abraham’s nephew, and all of his goods (v. 12). Word of all this eventually came to Abraham, and so he gathered the 318 trained men born in his household and went after the king of Elam and his allies (v. 13-14). Eventually, Abraham caught up with them and attacked them, recovering all the goods as well as Lot and all his possessions (v. 15-16). Then, after Abraham had returned from victory, Melchizedek blessed him and Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods that he had recovered (v. 17-20). Then the king of Sodom told Abraham that he could keep the goods for himself, but Abraham had sworn an oath to God that he would not accept anything belonging to the king of Sodom, lest he say he had made Abraham rich (v. 21-23). He took nothing except for what the young men had eaten, and the share of the men who went with him (v. 24).

The important thing to note here is that Abraham did not tithe from any of his own possessions, he gave a tenth of all the spoils that he recovered (none of which did he personally keep for himself). Go and read the whole chapter for yourself. Abraham’s tithe bears very little resemblance whatsoever to the kind of tithing that goes on in today’s modern churches. If we want to follow Abraham’s example of tithing, then we shouldn’t tithe on anything we personally own. Somehow this doesn’t seem to fit Phil Pringle’s tithing theology. You do the math…

Phil continues:

- Jacob, made a decision to tithe, Gen 28:22 and, God blessed him with wisdom so that he became ‘…exceedingly prosperous…’ Gen. 30:43

There is a lot that can be said here, however (for the sake of being brief), all we need to do is take a quick look at the context:

Genesis 28:20-22 (NKJV)

20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God. 22 And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”

The first thing to note here is that Jacob’s tithe was part of a conditional vow. That is, if God kept him in his way, gave him bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that he returned to his father’s house safely, then the LORD would be his God, and he would tithe. This is the complete opposite of Phil’s tithing theology, which says we need to pay our tithe first before God blesses us. It simply doesn’t add up.

Furthermore, by connecting chapter 28 to 30, Phil is tying to link Jacob’s prosperity with his commitment to tithe. The problem is, however, that Jacob was still living in Laban’s land at the time of Genesis 30:43, having not yet returned to the land of his father’s house. Thus, the conditions of his vow were not yet fulfilled. Unlike what Phil is implying, Jacob’s prosperity simply wasn’t a direct result of his decision to give a tenth to God. His tithe was part of a conditional vow that he hadn’t even had a chance to fulfill yet. Lets consider the text:

Genesis 30:41-31:3 (NKJV)

41 And it came to pass, whenever the stronger livestock conceived, that Jacob placed the rods before the eyes of the livestock in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods. 42 But when the flocks were feeble, he did not put them in; so the feebler were Laban’s and the stronger Jacob’s. 43 Thus the man became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks, female and male servants, and camels and donkeys.

31:1 Now Jacob heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, “Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s, and from what was our father’s he has acquired all this wealth.” 2 And Jacob saw the countenance of Laban, and indeed it was not favorable toward him as before. 3 Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you.”

Again, there are some much deeper theological considerations that arise from Jacob’s vow (which we simply don’t have time to address in any detail here), but suffice it to say, a quick analysis of the text at face value is more than enough to expose Phil’s misuse of the Scripture.

Phil continues…

- Isaac, Gen 26:13,14 Prospered in time of famine. His world under covenant.

Yes, Isaac did in fact prosper. Lets look at the text:

Genesis 26:12-17 (NASB)

12 Now Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. And the LORD blessed him, 13 and the man became rich, and continued to grow richer until he became very wealthy; 14 for he had possessions of flocks and herds and a great household, so that the Philistines envied him. 15 Now all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines stopped up by filling them with earth. 16 Then Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are too powerful for us.” 17 And Isaac departed from there and camped in the valley of Gerar, and settled there.

I don’t have any problem with the fact that Isaac became very wealthy. I do, however, have a problem with Phil taking this passage from its natural context to try and support his completely foreign notions of financial excellence. If we look at the context of this Scripture, we will see exactly why Isaac became so wealthy:

Genesis 26:1-5 (NASB – emphasis mine)

1 Now there was a famine in the land, besides the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham. So Isaac went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the Philistines. 2 The LORD appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. 3 Sojourn in this land and I WILL BE WITH YOU AND BLESS YOU [cf. Gen 26:12], for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. 4 I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; 5 because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws.”

So, Isaac’s wealth was a direct result of God’s promise to bless him (and there is no evidence to suggest that Isaac ever tithed). One might respond to verse 5, however, and say that Isaac’s prosperity was a direct result of Abraham’s obedience to keep God’s laws, and that Abraham’s tithe demonstrates this (see Gen 26:5). Therefore, by this logic, Isaac’s prosperity could be directly linked to Abraham’s tithe. Problematic, however, is the fact that the Bible never refers to Abraham’s tithe as a law, and we have already established that – even if it was – it bears very little resemblance to the kind of tithing that goes on in modern churches (like C3) today.

Phil continues:

- Paul, Supported not only himself, but also those who travelled with him, Acts 20:34. He taught people to lay aside at the beginning of each week the first fruits of their increase, 1 Cor 16:2.

By pointing out that Paul supported those who travelled with him, Phil is trying to prove that he was a wealthy man. This kind of argument is speculative at best, but lets look at the Scripture anyway.

Acts 20 tells us that Paul had called for the leaders of the church at Ephesus to come and meet with him (v. 17). He was on his way to Jerusalem and would not be seeing them again, and so he was calling them together to say his final goodbyes. He reminded the elders of his time spent together with them, and how he had not ceased to serve the Lord with all humility (even in the face of persecution from he Jews) and how he had continued to preach and teach the gospel to both Jews and Greeks (v. 18-21). He told the elders that he was on his way to Jerusalem, not knowing what would happen to him there, except that the Holy Spirit testified to him in every city, saying that bonds and and afflictions awaited him (v. 22-23). Yet despite this, Paul considered his life of no account, in order that he may finish his course and the ministry he had received from the Lord Jesus to preach the gospel (v. 24). Since he would not be seeing them again, Paul also testified that he was innocent of the blood of all men, having declared to the elders the whole purpose of God (v. 25-27). Finally, after charging them to be on guard against savage wolves that would come in and not spare the flock, Paul commended the elders to God and to the word of His grace (v. 28-32). We will pick up the text Phil cited at verse 33:

Acts 20:33-35 (NASB)

33 I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes. 34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. 35 In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

This text doesn’t really say anything about whether or not Paul was a wealthy man. Paul was simply pointing out that he had conducted himself in an honourable manner, being above reproach. Paul had not coveted anyone’s possessions, working hard with his own hands (not necessarily his big bank account) to minister to his own needs and to the needs of the men who were with him. He did this to set an example: to help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus. Nevertheless, Phil Pringle has once again plucked a verse from its context and tried to make it say something it simply does not say. And as if that wasn’t enough, it gets worse…

Phil then tries to connect Paul’s ability to support himself and his companions with the notion that, “he taught people to lay aside at the beginning of each week the first fruits of their increase, 1 Cor 16:2.” The subtle inference here is that the reason Paul was supposedly wealthy was because he believed in the principle of first fruits. Lets look at the Scripture in context:

1 Corinthians 16:1-6 (NASB)

1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. 2 On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. 3 When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem; 4 and if it is fitting for me to go also, they will go with me. 5 But I will come to you after I go through Macedonia, for I am going through Macedonia; 6 and perhaps I will stay with you, or even spend the winter, so that you may send me on my way wherever I may go.

Immediately, we see that the purpose of Paul’s instruction to, “put aside and save”, was to provide for the saints in Jerusalem. We read in Romans 15 that some among the saints in Jerusalem were suffering poverty:

Romans 15:25-27 (NASB)

25 but now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27 Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things.

Paul also spoke of the purpose of this contribution in 2 Corinthians 8:

2 Corinthians 8:13-15 (NASB)

13 For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality— 14 at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality; 15 as it is written, “he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little had no lack.”

Another important thing to note is that no where in 1 Corinthians 16:2 do you find the words “first fruits”. I could not find a single translation that uses this particular phrase, neither does it seem to appear in the original Greek. “First fruits” is simply a phrase that Phil Pringle inserted into the text to imply that we need to give the first of our income to the ‘house of God’. Again, remember the timing of these notes: Vision Builders is just around the corner.

The fact is, Paul was not teaching “first fruits” to the church at Corinth. He simply instructed each of them to set aside and save (as they prospered – or in keeping with what each person had), so that when Paul arrived no collections would have to be made. This has nothing to do with Phil Pringle’s notion of “first fruits”. Rather, Paul simply didn’t want to arrive and find the Corinthians unprepared to give, so he told them to save up in the meantime. Very simple.

Phil continues:

- Job, considered the wealthiest man in the East during his time, Job 1:3. He regularly gave offerings to the Lord, Job 1:5, and didn’t stop in difficult times.

Yes, Job was very wealthy, and he did in fact give offerings to the Lord. But what kind of offerings did Job make? Lets consider the text:

Job 1:1-5 (NASB)

1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil. 2 Seven sons and three daughters were born to him. 3 His possessions also were 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and very many servants; and that man was the greatest of all the men of the east. 4 His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 When the days of feasting had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.

The inference Phil is making here is that Job was wealthy because he regularly gave offerings to the Lord. The problem is, however, that these were offerings for the sins of his children, not tithes or first fruits given to open the windows of heaven. The underlying suggestion is simple: follow Job’s example and you’ll be rich like him. Once again, Phil is twisting the Scripture to try and make it fit his own faulty paradigm of prosperity.

Another interesting point about Job, which even Phil himself notes, is that he experienced difficult times. Somehow I struggle to see how this is consistent with Phil’s overarching prosperity theology. After all, “The will of God revealed in Scripture is that He wants His people to be financially healthy and blessed.” Are we to believe that God Himself, Job’s loving Father, allowed Satan to take away his health and wealth? Even though he did not stop giving offerings to the LORD? Lets consider the text:

Job 1:20-22 (NASB)

20 Then [after hearing about the loss of his children and livestock] Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 He said,
Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked I shall return there.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
22 Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.

Job 2:7-10 (NASB)

7 Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 8 And he took a potsherd to scrape himself while he was sitting among the ashes.
9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

So then, despite the fact that Job was a blameless and upright man, he still suffered a season of financial and physical ruin. This happened to him even though he regularly gave offerings to God. Not only this, but even in his time of trouble, Job did not sin or charge God with doing wrong.

Phil continues:

- David, a man after God’s ‘own heart’, became a billionaire after God chose him to be king over Israel and he gave today’s equivalent of two and a half billion dollars of his personal fortune to his building fund for the temple of God, 1 Chron 29:4-5. This billionaire also wrote Psalms of anguish, praise, and prophecy, Psalm 23.

Phil’s language here is absolutely loaded with suggestion. First, in order link his alien notions of prosperity with the heart of God, he mentions that David (“a billionaire”) was, “a man after God’s ‘own heart’”. This is a reference to 1 Samuel 13:14. Lets consider what this verse says in context:

1 Samuel 13:8-14 (NASB)

8 Now [Saul] waited seven days, according to the appointed time set by Samuel, but Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattering from him. 9 So Saul said, “Bring to me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. 10 As soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him and to greet him. 11 But Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “Because I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the appointed days, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, 12 therefore I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not asked the favor of the LORD.’ So I forced myself and offered the burnt offering.” 13 Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, for now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”

Saul failed to keep the command of the LORD. Therefore, the man whom God sought (David) was a man who would have a heart to keep His commandments.

Phil then continues by colouring the Biblical account. He tells us that David, “gave today’s equivalent of two and a half BILLION DOLLARS of his PERSONAL FORTUNE to his BUILDING FUND for the temple of God, 1 Chron 29:4-5” (emphasis mine). These are loaded words charged with underlying meaning designed to influence the way you think. Remember the timing of these notes: Vision Builders is fast approaching and Phil is trying to get people thinking about giving to the building fund. Consider this quote from Phil’s sermon:

Phil Pringle, Financial Excellence Part 1, 22 May 2011, Sunday 10am Service, Oxford Falls Campus

David: God referred to Him as a man after His own heart. About mid thirties, when he’s in his mid thirties, thirty five, probably around there, maybe a bit more, maybe 45, not old. [In] 1 Chronicles 29:4-5 he says, “I am donating more than a hundred and twelve tons of gold from Ophir, and two hundred and sixty tons of refined silver”. Now, just the gold adds up by today’s standard [to] around about 2.5 billion. Billion. Not million, billion, B for Barry. [David] just pulls it out: he says, “this is my own private offering for the house of God, there’s some silver too”. And then he says, “now then, who will follow my example and give offerings to the Lord today?” Twenty two times David refers to the tithes and offerings he brought to the house of God, the fulfillment of pledges he had made.

Take note of the associative significance of words such as, “donating”, “private offering”, “house of God”, “who will follow my example”, “tithes and offerings”, and “fulfillment of pledges”. Phil is using these words to try and change our thinking in time for Vision Builders. Consider another quote:

Phil Pringle, Financial Excellence Part 1, 22 May 2011, Sunday 10am Service, Oxford Falls Campus

So you and I have got to start working on our thinking, and you know, change this idea and say you know what, I am gonna make a change today. I am gonna actually get a hold of this thinking, because its our thinking that prevents us, or makes us do all kinds of things that are crazy.

Now, with all that said, lets actually look at the Scripture Phil cited:

1 Chronicles 29:1-9 (NASB)

1 Then King David said to the entire assembly, “My son Solomon, whom alone God has chosen, is still young and inexperienced and the work is great; for the temple is not for man, but for the LORD God. 2 Now with all my ability I have provided for the house of my God the gold for the things of gold, and the silver for the things of silver, and the bronze for the things of bronze, the iron for the things of iron, and wood for the things of wood, onyx stones and inlaid stones, stones of antimony and stones of various colors, and all kinds of precious stones and alabaster in abundance. 3 Moreover, in my delight in the house of my God, the treasure I have of gold and silver, I give to the house of my God, over and above all that I have already provided for the holy temple, 4 namely, 3,000 talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and 7,000 talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the buildings; 5 of gold for the things of gold and of silver for the things of silver, that is, for all the work done by the craftsmen. Who then is willing to consecrate himself this day to the LORD?”
6 Then the rulers of the fathers’ households, and the princes of the tribes of Israel, and the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, with the overseers over the king’s work, offered willingly; 7 and for the service for the house of God they gave 5,000 talents and 10,000 darics of gold, and 10,000 talents of silver, and 18,000 talents of brass, and 100,000 talents of iron. 8 Whoever possessed precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the LORD, in care of Jehiel the Gershonite. 9 Then the people rejoiced because they had offered so willingly, for they made their offering to the LORD with a whole heart, and King David also rejoiced greatly.

So, David did in fact provide for the house of God with all his ability. However, consider what David said about these provisions:

1 Chronicles 29:16 (NASB)

16 O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided to build You a house for Your holy name, it is from Your hand, and all is Yours.

There is simply nothing in the text which extols the virtues of David’s “personal fortune”. Phil is once again neglecting the natural reading of the text in favor of his own ‘vision-building’ agenda.

Phil continues by making a passing reference to Psalm 23:

This billionaire also wrote Psalms of anguish, praise, and prophecy, Psalm 23.

Another quote from Phil’s sermon reveals more:

Phil Pringle, Financial Excellence Part 1, 22 May 2011, Sunday 10am Service, Oxford Falls Campus

Now, [David] is the guy who wrote, “the LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want”. Most of us associate that Scripture with war scenes: all these soldiers down in the trenches and they’re all fumbling through Scriptures and there’s a priest there or something, going [mumbles in a low tone of voice], “the LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want” [makes bullet sounds], all this going on. We think, ah you know, its like when people are in real trouble [and] their gonna die. Or there’s some guy at a funeral on the movies and down the casket going [mumbles in a low tone of voice], “the LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want”, you’re thinking, ah you know, “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil”. No, this is written by a king who’s just given 2.5 billion to his building fund; he says [arms raised in triumphant tone of voice], “the LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want, I got no lack in my life, because God in heaven is my shepherd”. [David] is celebrating. He isn’t like in some nervous foxhole in a war zone, he’s got a crown on his head, a purple robe on is back, a white horse underneath. He said [triumphantly], “the LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in lack.

Is this really what David meant when he wrote:

Psalm 23:1 (NKJV)

1 The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.

The English translation, “my shepherd”, comes from the Hebrew word, “ro’i” (resh-ayin-yod, pronounced ‘roe-ee’). It is composed of the Hebrew verb, “ra’ah” (resh-ayin-he, meaning to pasture, to feed, to tend), and the Type 1 1cs pronominal suffix, “i” (Hireq Yod, translated “my”, in the possessive sense). This simple (but theologically significant) word forms the basis of David’s statement, “I shall not want”. That is, the reason why David will not want is because the LORD Himself is the One who feeds him, who tends him, who pastures him. With this in mind, consider the remainder of the Psalm:

Psalm 23:2-6 (NKJV)

2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD
Forever.

Its clear that David was drawing on his own experience as a shepherd to describe God’s relationship with him. It is also true that David became an extremely wealthy king, and that the LORD did in fact cause his cup to run over with abundance; I don’t have a problem with that. I do, however, have a problem with Phil Pringle taking Scripture from its natural place, embellishing the details, loading it up with associative significance (using phrases such as “building fund”), and then turning it upside down to support his own extra-Biblical notions of financial excellence.

Phil continues:

- Solomon, was even wealthier than David. He revealed amazing wisdom in Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs. This wise man chose to give over and above the tithe, 2 Chron 7:5.

The implication here is that Solomon’s wealth and prosperity can be directly linked to the idea that he “chose to give over and above the tithe”. But what does the Scripture say?

2 Chronicles 7:1-6 (NASB)

1 Now when Solomon had finished [his prayer of dedication], fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the house. 2 The priests could not enter into the house of the LORD because the glory of the LORD filled the LORD’S house. 3 All the sons of Israel, seeing the fire come down and the glory of the LORD upon the house, bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave praise to the LORD, saying, “Truly He is good, truly His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifice before the LORD. 5 King Solomon offered a sacrifice of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. Thus the king and all the people dedicated the house of God. 6 The priests stood at their posts, and the Levites also, with the instruments of music to the LORD, which King David had made for giving praise to the LORD—“for His lovingkindness is everlasting”—whenever he gave praise by their means, while the priests on the other side blew trumpets; and all Israel was standing.

Far from linking Solomon’s wisdom and prosperity with the notion that he “chose to give over and above the tithe”, this Scripture simply details the events of the temple dedication. Also, by using the phrase, “over and above the tithe”, Phil is of course drawing a parallel to Vision Builders commitments. Consider this excerpt from last years promotional booklet:

Frequently Asked Questions, Essential Info., Vision Builders Promotional Booklet, C3 Church, 2010, no page number

[Q:] Can I give to Vision Builders instead of tithing?
[A:] The bible instructs people to tithe the first 10% of income to the church – the ‘House of God’ for the operation of the church (Malachi 3:10, Matthew 23:23). Vision Builders giving should be seen as giving ‘over and above’ the tithe.

So then, having considered 2 Chronicles 7:5 in context, we can clearly see that Phil Pringle has once again neglected the intended meaning of Scripture in order to support his own ideas of financial excellence.

Phil continues:

Humility and lack don’t necessarily go together, Col 2:18. Prospering financially releases the ability to bless others, to be the Good Samaritan.

Concerning Phil’s statement about humility and lack, I would really love to agree with him here, since the gist of what he is saying (separated from the rest of his prosperity theology) is correct: you don’t have to be poor to be humble. The problem, however, is that once again he has failed to remain faithful to the intended meaning of text. Colossians 2:18 comes midway through Paul’s warning extolling the supremacy of Christ over the traditions of men (probably a reference to first century Jewish tradition and/or pagan Greek philosophy). And yet, here comes Phil, taking a single verse from its context and using it to bolster his own man-made tradition of tithes and offerings (instead of leading us to Christ). Oh, the irony! Lets consider the text:

Colossians 2:3-4, 8, 18-23, (NASB)

3 in [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.

8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.

20 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, 21 “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” 22 (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 23 These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

Having said that, lets move on and address Phil’s reference to the Good Samaritan:

Prospering financially releases the ability to bless others, to be the Good Samaritan.

The first implication here is that if you aren’t financially prospering, then you don’t have the ability to bless others (or more to the point, you don’t have the ability to make a financial commitment to the ‘house of God’, which is what this is really all about in the first place). Secondly, when Jesus told the Parable of the Good Samaritan, His point was not that prospering financially releases the ability to bless others. Lets consider the text:

Luke 10:25-37 (NASB)

25 And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; Do this and you will live.” 29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ 36 Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” 37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”

By asking who his neighbor was, the lawyer seemed to expect the answer to be confined to his own Jewish brethren. Thus he would justify himself according to the law by claiming that he had kept the command to love his neighbor as himself. However, by playing on the historic tension between the Jews and the Samaritans, Jesus demonstrated that the lawyer did in fact fall short of the righteous standard of the law, as its unlikely that he would ever have acted kindly toward a Samaritan (his neighbor).

So then, far from trying to teach us a lesson about financial prosperity, the Parable of the Good Samaritan simply teaches us who our neighbor is. Once again, Phil Pringle has neglected the intended meaning of the text in order to support his own ideas of financial excellence.

Phil continues:

God gives the grace, and power to attain wealth in order to establish His covenant here on earth, Deut 8:18, Psalm 35:27.

Lets consider the text:

Deuteronomy 8:18 (NASB)

18 But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

Context, context, context. Why remember the LORD? What wealth? What covenant? Who was being spoken to here? All these questions can be easily answered by considering the context; lets just read it:

Deuteronomy 8:11-20 (NASB)

11 “Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; 12 otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 15 He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. 16 In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end. 17 Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ 18 But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 It shall come about if you ever forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish. 20 Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so you shall perish; because you would not listen to the voice of the LORD your God.

So then, the people of Israel (brought “out from the land of Egypt”) – not C3 Church – were commanded to remember the LORD by keeping His commandments, ordinances and statues; that is, the whole of the Mosaic Law (and not just the tithe). Otherwise, once they experienced the wealth of the Promised Land (8:7-10), they would forget the LORD their God, thinking that their own power and strength had made them wealthy. Thus, they were to remember that God was the one who gave them power to get wealth, in order to confirm the covenant which He swore to their forefathers, to give them the Land (8:1). Also note that God had the power to TAKE AWAY this wealth (8:19-20).

Having said that, lets address Phil’s reference to Psalm 35:27. Consider the half-a-verse that prosperity preachers often pull out of context:

Psalm 35:27c (NASB)

[The LORD] delights in the prosperity of His servant.

Classic prosperity theology uses this text to support the notion that God wants you to prosper in your health and finances, yet (as is so often the case) it fails to acknowledge the meaning of the verse in its context. Lets consider a few relevant verses:

Psalm 35:1-4, 25-28 (NASB)

1 Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.
2 Take hold of buckler and shield
And rise up for my help.
3 Draw also the spear and the battle-axe to meet those who pursue me;
Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”
4 Let those be ashamed and dishonored who seek my life;
Let those be turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me.

25 Do not let them say in their heart, “Aha, our desire!”
Do not let them say, “We have swallowed him up!”
26 Let those be ashamed and humiliated altogether who rejoice at my distress;
Let those be clothed with shame and dishonor who magnify themselves over me.
27
Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who favor my vindication;
And let them say continually, “The LORD be magnified,
Who delights in the prosperity of His servant.”
28 And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness
And Your praise all day long.

The first thing to note here is that the English word ‘prosperity’ is actually a translation of the Hebrew word ‘shelom’ (shin-lamed-vav-mem). This word is most often translated as ‘peace’ throughout the Old Testament (but does in fact have connotations of overall well-being, health and prosperity). Secondly, if we let the word speak to us based on its usage in context, we will see that it doesn’t really have much to do with Phil’s notions of financial excellence anyway.

Psalm 35 describes the persecution that David was suffering at the hands of his enemies. He wanted God to rise up and defend his cause and do justice (instead of letting the wicked triumph). David said that those who persecuted him should be ashamed, but that those who were on his side should rejoice and declare that the LORD delights in the prosperity (or well-being) of His servant (David). In my opinion, and I could be wrong, based on studying the context, it seems that God would delight in David by interposing to defend him; that is, to bring well-being (shelom) by setting things right. For this reason David would declare God’s righteousness (in justly defending the cause of the wronged and oppressed).

However, having said that, its definitely possible that David may have received a greater physical blessing as a token or sign of his vindication by the LORD. Nevertheless, verse 27 should not be ripped from its context and turned into a principle (or ‘promise’) that we parrot in support of the idea that God wants to financially prosper us. To do this is to neglect the intended meaning of text.

Phil continues:

Malachi reveals some important aspects of financial excellence, it teaches that when you tithe not only will the windows of heaven be opened unto you, Mal 3:10, but also that God promises to rebuke the devourer in our finances, when we are obedient to Him, Mal 3:11.

Lets consider the text:

Malachi 3:10-11 (NASB)

10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. 11 Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says the LORD of hosts.

Context, context, context. Who was Malachi talking to?

Malachi 1:1 (NASB)

1 The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi.

The Book of Malachi was addressed to the people of ISRAEL, not the Church (and I am not saying that Malachi is irrelevant to us today, just that it has a proper historic context). This distinction is even made clear in verse 12 of chapter 3:

Malachi 3:10-11 (NASB – emphasis mine)

12 “All the nations will call YOU blessed, for YOU shall be a delightful land,” says the LORD of hosts.

Secondly, opening the windows of heaven has got nothing to do with God spiritually or financially blessing you. It is a reference to God bringing rain on the nation of Israel. He had shut up the heavens because Israel had broken His law:

Deuteronomy 28:15, 23-24 (NASB)

15 “But it shall come about, if you do not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:

23 The heaven which is over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you, iron. 24 The LORD will make the rain of your land powder and dust; from heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed.

Furthermore, the devourer is not a metaphor for a demonic onslaught on your finances, its a reference to the insects which consumed Israel’s crops:

Deuteronomy 28:38-42 (NASB)

38 “You shall bring out much seed to the field but you will gather in little, for the locust will consume it. 39 You shall plant and cultivate vineyards, but you will neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes, for the worm will devour them. 40 You shall have olive trees throughout your territory but you will not anoint yourself with the oil, for your olives will drop off. 41 You shall have sons and daughters but they will not be yours, for they will go into captivity. 42 The cricket shall possess all your trees and the produce of your ground.

Note very carefully that this Covenant was made with the children of Israel, NOT the Church:

Deuteronomy 29:1 (NASB)

1 These are the words of the covenant which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the sons of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which He had made with them at Horeb.

There is no Biblical or exegetical imperative whatsoever that suggests these Scriptures are an allegory for the Church today. Either the words on the page mean what they say, or they mean nothing at all.

In short, Church tithing is Biblically indefensible. Go and research it for yourself, there are plenty of excellent resources out there which expose the truth about tithing (email me if you want some links). Once again, Phil Pringle has taken Scripture out of context and misapplied it to support his own faulty notions of financial excellence.

Phil continues:

TALK ABOUT

  • Do you tithe on a regular basis? How can we ensure that tithing becomes an important discipline in our lives?

Having exposed Phil Pringle’s prosperity theology for the frail, tattered mess that it is, why on earth would you still want to tithe? Why put yourself into bondage under the law? Someone will say to me, “but the tithe was before the law”. So were animal sacrifices, but we don’t make them anymore do we? And we have already seen that Abraham and Jacob’s tithes do not substantiate the kind of tithing that goes on today.

Also, don’t forget that these notes are designed for Connect Groups. What if someone says that they don’t tithe on a regular basis? Is the group dynamic going to be used against them to convince them to make tithing “an important discipline” in their life? Are these notes going to be used to divide people away from the purity of the Gospel message? Is Phil Pringle’s false doctrine going to be made binding on the consciences of New Covenant Blood-Bought Christians?

Phil continues:

  • What breakthrough in your financial and personal world are you, or can you, believe for right now?

It doesn’t require any faith to “believe” for something if you can just buy it for the price of 10% of your increase. This kind of double-talk confuses the meaning of words and makes people think that faith is works and works is faith.

Besides, what has any of this got to do with Christ crucified for our sin? Answer: absolutely nothing. Phil is once again priming us for Vision Builders. He is trying to create in us a need (for breakthrough) that will be fulfilled through our own works of financial sacrifice. That is, if he can make us hungry for breakthrough, then he can give us a reason to pay tithes and offerings. The implication being (of course) that getting a breakthrough depends on whether or not you make a financial commitment.

  • Is there an area you can commit to financial excellence linked to a breakthrough for someone else?

The implication here is that you can cause a breakthrough for someone else if you commit to paying tithes. Consider the following quote:

Phil Pringle, Financial Excellence Part 1, 22 May 2011, Sunday 10am Service, Oxford Falls Campus

There’s a curse in not tithing. Malachi 3:9 [says], “the whole nation is cursed with a curse”. You know, one of the deals that I think is so essential for you and I to understand [is] that we can pray, we can fast, we can worship, we can preach – and we do, all over this nation, [in] churches every weekend – and yet there’s still not the kind of revival that we would imagine is due to happen. And I would say that one of the greatest things holding back this revival, is that we haven’t brought our tithe into the house of God, all over the nation. If every church and every member and every believer turned up next Sunday and said, “you know what, I’m gonna bring all the tithe into the house of God”, I can guarantee you in a second, boom, the heavens would open because we would’ve proved to God – as the Church of Christ – that He is more important than our money. And when we prove that, when we say that, I mean we can say it all we like but we prove it when we actually bring that tithe into the house of God.

Pathetic. What does the Scripture say?

Galatians 3:13-14 (NASB – emphasis mine)

13 CHRIST REDEEMED US FROM THE CURSE OF THE LAW, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Conclusion

After considering the Connect Notes in full, we can clearly see that Phil Pringle has NOT remained faithful to the intended meaning of Scripture. On the contrary, in order to bolster his own alien notions of financial excellence and compel people to give to his ‘ministry’, he has twisted and mangled the text at every turn of the page.

Please think critically. Ask yourself, is Phil Pringle’s interpretation of the Scripture consistent with what the Holy Spirit originally intended to mean when He breathed the Scripture? If not, then by what Godly authority does Phil Pringle change the meaning of Scripture to make it say something different to what the Holy Spirit intended it to say?

Someone will say to me, “But Phil Pringle is just encouraging people to give in support of the gospel”. What gospel? Its certainly not the Gospel that the Apostles preached. And why is it considered acceptable to twist God’s word just so long as WE deem that the ends justify the means? A genuine preacher and teacher of God’s Word would not mishandle Scripture like this, he would value and respect the text by being careful to preserve its original meaning in context.

Please consider the timing of these notes and the fact that Vision Builders is just around the corner. Do not be deceived into thinking that you can receive a ‘breakthrough’ simply because you make a financial commitment to C3.

Finally, if you have any questions or concerns about anything I have written, then please say so; I am more than willing to discuss and defend my comments. If you can prove to me from Scripture that something I have said is wrong, then (in all sincerity) I will be open to correction.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far!

**Addendum**

In defense of my claim that these Connect Notes were a form of grooming for Vision Builders, please consider the following quote from Mark Kelsey:

Mark Kelsey, “Financial Excellence – Tithing”, 29 May 2011, Sunday 6pm Service, Oxford Falls Campus

Pastor Phil may have talked about this last week, I was preaching in one of our other churches last week, and I know he preached about tithing as well. But here’s the deal: as we move into Vision Builders in the next few weeks and as we make commitments to see the physical house built, to see beyond purposes [and] initiatives grow, and to see the media and TV area grow out through the whole world, you better have this foundation, this cornerstone [the tithe] in place, so that you give from faith, based on that strength and based on that deal and that foundation in your world.

So then, as I previously stated in my critique (and now defend), the recent focus on “Financial Excellence” (and tithing in particular) has been in preparation for Vision Builders. The logic goes like this: you can’t expect God to bless your Vision Builders commitment if you are already disobeying Him in the area of tithing. But what does the Scripture say?

Galatians 2:21 (NLT)

“I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.”

(Source: http://myc3churchreview.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/connect-note-critique-%E2%80%9Cfinancial-excellence%E2%80%9D-%E2%80%93-phil-pringle-23-may-2011/)

NOTE: ALL SCREEN GRABS WERE TAKEN BEFORE THE 26/10/2011.