For what reason has God entrusted this job of stewardship to us for?
“The churches must arouse. The members must awake out of sleep and begin to inquire, How is the money which we put into the treasury being used? The Lord desires that a close search be made.” KC 120
Who is responsible for the use or misuse of the money entrusted to us by God?
“The unfaithful steward did not enrich himself with his master's goods; he merely wasted them. He let idleness take the place of sincere, wholehearted labor.He was unfaithful in the appropriation of his lord's goods. Unfaithful steward, do you not see that you will lose your soul if you do not co-operate with God and make the most of your talents [a talent is literally a piece of money] for the Master?” 6T 297
Does God hold us responsible for supporting worldly ministers and conference leaders from the sacred tithe?
“There are fearful woes for those who preach the truth, but are not sanctified by it, and also for those who consent to receive and maintain the unsanctified to minister to them in word and doctrine.” 1T 261
Compromising ministers are not to receive tithe money!
“It would be poor policy to support from the treasury of God those who really mar and injure His work, and who are constantly lowering the standard of Christianity.” 3T 553
Many proclaim “I know the conference misuses the money I put in the plate, but as soon as the money falls into the plate I am relieved of my stewardship! God will then bless me because I am no longer responsible for its use or abuse.” This is an appealing argument to cling to because if you accept this argument you will almost surely be assured of being in good and regular standing in the eyes of the church, and will have a greater influence in the church as well!!” But does God’s prophet agree to these kind of arguments?
“It is not in the province of the Conference or Any Other Organization to relieve us of this stewardship. If you lack wisdom, go to God; ask him for yourself, then work with an eye single to his glory. By exercising your judgment, by giving where you see there is need in any line of the work, you are putting out your money to the exchangers. If you see in any locality that the truth is gaining a foothold, and there is no place of worship, then do something to meet the necessity. By your own action encourage others to act, in building a humble house for the worship of God. Have an interest in the work in all parts of the field. While it is not your own property that you are handling yet you are made responsible for its wise investment, for its use or abuse. God does not lay upon you the burden of asking the Conference or any council of men whether you shall use your means as you see fit to advance the work of God in destitute towns and cities, and impoverished localities. If the right plan had been followed, so much means would not have been used in some localities, and so little in other places where the banner of truth has not been raised. We are Not to Merge Our Individuality of Judgment Into Any Institution IN OUR WORLD. We are to look to God for wisdom, as did Daniel.” PH146 45.[Note- Although this quotation did not directly refer to tithe paying, we could conclude that the principals found here could easily apply to it, especially since she made the statement that this counsel applies to “any line of work” - would this not also include the gospel ministry?]
The story of the widows mite has been misused to make people feel that God is glad when we support apostasy. Was this what Jesus was trying to prove when he said “she hath cast in more then they all”?
“The Saviour called his disciples to him and bade them mark the widow's poverty; and as they stood looking at her, words of commendation from the Master's lips fell unexpectedly upon her ear: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all." Tears of joy filled the poor woman's eyes as she felt that her act was understood and appreciated by Jesus. Many would have advised her to appropriate her small pittance to her own use rather than to give it into the hands of well-fed priests, to be lost among the many and costly gifts donated to the temple; but Jesus understood the motives of her heart. She believed in the service of the temple as appointed by God, and she was anxious to do her utmost to sustain it. She did what she could, and her act was destined to be as a monument to her memory through all time, and her joy in eternity. Her heart went with her gift, the amount of which was estimated, not by its intrinsic value, but by the love to God and interest in his work which had prompted the deed.” 3SP 72
The issue at stake here in this story was not where the right or wrong place was to give your tithes and offerings; but rather that God is not impressed so much by the amount but more by the ratio compared to the resources. To try and make this story say what God has condemned would be as foolish as attempting to make the parable of the unjust steward say that God is glad when we are dishonest! “And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” Luke 16:8. If you have looked closely at this parable, it is not the dishonesty that is commended, but the rational thinking that was commended. When it comes to money, the rational thinkers in this world will not invest in known scams, were they know that they will loose at least a portion of their money, but will rather invest their money in the best possible place, which has the best potential for making more money.
But shouldn’t somebody have the monopoly on all tithe money?
“If there are any of our brethren who think that they have devised plans by which they can secure a monopoly of any line of God's work, they are released from all such burdens.” RH, July 23, 1895
What about the quotes that say that God will reward those who give even though the money may get misused!
These quotes are wonderful assurances that God will not hold us accountable for what we did not know. For instance, any time you invest money, there is some risk no matter were you invest it. The probability of some of it getting misused is there, but God has given us the wonderful assurance that if we hear that the money we have wisely invested for him has been wasted, we do not then need to repay it. But it is presumption to use these quotes to justify the irresponsible application of the money that God has made us stewards over.
There is only one store house and that is the Conference!
This is another argument designed to manipulate people into feeling obliged to give without any discernment. Let us see if it holds water.
It is a well known fact that when a person gives their tithe, the majority of it will stay in one of many conferences depending upon were the church is located. For instance, there is the Kentucky Tennessee Conference, the Georgia Cumberland Conference, the Mountain View Conference, the Michigan Conference, the South Central Conference, the South Atlantic Conference, and many many more. So you can see that although this argument sounds convincing, it holds no water at all because there is no one physical storehouse, no matter were you give in the Seventh-day Adventist Church .The only reason why it has been believed for so many years is because people desperately want to believe it; because if they don’t pay their tithe to the conference they will most probably not be regarded as one of the well respected members in the church and will, according to the church manual, be disqualified from having an influential office in the church.
But if we don’t give our tithe money to the conference we won’t be supporting global missions and evangelistic efforts, etc!
The rational for this argument, which by the way, is very popular, is as absurd as someone donating money to the IRS because the government does famine relief around the world. This, no doubt, would make “Uncle Sam” happy, but if your object was famine relief, your money would be better spent giving to a relief agency than by giving extra to the government. A good relief agency would hopefully spend most of the money on relief work, while the government would probably direct a few cents at best per $100 toward the object you were seeking to support!
But all ministries and ministers must be under Conference control, since the conference has the divine right to rule.
“Now I want to say, God has not put any kingly power in our ranks to control this or that branch of the work. The work has been greatly restricted by the efforts to control it in every line. Here is a vineyard presenting its barren places that have received no labor. And if one should start out to till these places in the name of the Lord, unless he should get the permission of the men in a little circle of authority he would receive no help. But God means that his workers shall have help.” GCB, April 3, 1901 par. 34 [What kind of help does a ministry need? I suggest that money would be a major factor. No more effective way could you stop their work than by cutting off all donations.]
During a time when the SDA Conference was not in apostasy, and you could be assured that the tithe would be used properly. Ellen White set the record strait by proclaiming that even back then the conference was not the Lords only treasury!
“It has been presented to me for years that my tithe was to be appropriated by myself to aid the white and colored ministers who were neglected and did not receive sufficient properly to support their families. When my attention was called to aged ministers, white or black, it was my special duty to investigate into their necessities and supply their needs. This was to be my special work, and I have done this in a number of cases. No man should give notoriety to the fact that in special cases the tithe is used in that way. In regard to the colored work in the South, that field has been and is still being robbed of the means that should come to the workers in that field. If there have been cases where our sisters have appropriated their tithe to the support of the ministers working for the colored people in the South, let every man, if he is wise, hold his peace. I have myself appropriated my tithe to the most needy cases brought to my notice. I have been instructed to do this, and asthe money is not withheld from the Lord's treasury, it is not a matter that should be commented upon, for it will necessitate my making known these matters, which I do not desire to do, because it is not best.” 2MR 99 [Remember, this was written around a hundred years ago, when the conference was one of the safest places to give tithes and offerings to.]
The following quotations were not written in reference to tithe, but the principles they espouse are worth considering by anyone who would try to prove a conference - only tithe plan from the Spirit of Prophecy!
“I am again much burdened as I see you selecting words from writings that I have sent you, and using them to force decisions that the brethren do not regard with clearness. I have received letters from Elder Daniells and Elder Kilgore asking me to send them instruction at once, if I have any light in reference to the points you have quoted from my letters. Your course would have been the course to be pursued if no change had been made in the General Conference. But a change has been made, and many more changes will be made and great developments will be seen. No issues are to be forced.” 19MR 146
“God wants us all to have common sense, and He wants us to reason from common sense. Circumstances alter conditions. Circumstances change the relation of things.” Ellen G White 3SM 217