By Jun P. Espina | Last updated on February 17th, 2020 at 05:12 pm
If I were to preach Faith Promise Giving,” my first question would be: What’s God’s precise instruction concerning Faith Promise giving? Well, Faith Promise giving is without a supporting verse, for God does not “preach” it. Yesterday, I heard someone using the book of Esther in teaching this subject. And the emphasis was that Faith Promise giving is a sacrifice to be a part in saving the lost world, just like the sacrifice of Queen Esther to save the Jewish people from genocide as decreed by King Ahasuerus (see Esther 4 and other related chapters).
Some sermons really sound scriptural. The preaching on “Faith Promise” is one. Preach it and the people in the pews tend to have a sense of joy of having the opportunity to help financially the missionaries through Faith Promise giving. This sermon always follows the standard main point that Faith Promise giving is not “tithes and offerings.” Rather, it is going to be provided on top of “tithes and offerings”! Then the preacher will start to stir the emotions of the church by saying that death is coming, but we haven’t done anything yet to help our missionaries apart from our tithes and offerings.
I always think of preachers as ambassadors (spokespersons!) of Christ. But since Faith Promise giving is not biblical, what will be your thought on someone, a pastor or a Bible scholar, who is telling the people emotionally and authoritatively, that Faith Promise giving is every Christian’s responsibility to help “save the lost world.” Well, God has a scriptural way of supporting missionaries through cheerful giving (cf. 2 Cor. 9:7) and giving as you prosper (cf. 1 Cor. 16:1-20). Faith Promise giving thus is not God’s way. Hence, a pastor preaching it is not truly honest with his Bible and to God.
Faith Promise giving is unscriptural; it is without a supporting verse of scriptures. A pastor preaching it ceases to be Christ’s ambassador. What do you think?
Another concern I have against the Faith Promise teaching is the insinuation for the people in the pews to make a vow to the Lord. Both the Old and New Testaments warn against a promise you cannot fulfill. Christ taught us not to “make false vows”; “make no oath at all.” Note Matthew 5:33-37:
Christ said our statement should be “‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.” How about making a Faith Promise to give a quarter of your salary monthly to the church-mission contribution? Then, later, your income hit bottom because of hospitalization and other unexpected expenses. As you could no longer meet your promise, your so-called “Faith Promise” would turn out to be “sometimes yes; sometimes no.” It “is of evil,” Christ said.
In the Old Testament, God said it is sin to delay your payment (or fulfillment of your promise). But “if you refrain from vowing, it would not be sin in you.” Here is God’s Word in Deuteronomy 23:21-23: “When you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay to pay it, for it would be sin in you, and the Lord your God will surely require it of you. However, if you refrain from vowing, it would not be sin in you. You shall be careful to perform what goes out from your lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God, what you have promised.”
When this man-made Faith-Promise teaching is shoved down our throat Sunday after Sunday, we must resist, reject, and regurgitate emotional and nonsense thoughts attached to it as we did to all false teachings. Keep to heart Deuteronomy 23:23 (easy to remember!): “You shall be careful to perform what goes out from your lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God, what you have promised.”
If you love to promise God and you can fulfill your vow 100% (and you understand God’s displeasure and anger if you vow falsely) then you may participate a Faith Promise campaign. To borrow a familiar warning: “Do it at your own risk!” Me? I won’t make a vow to God since I cannot guarantee a perfect monetary promise. I gave financial contributions within my means, but a specific Faith Promise is putting me into a box that could get God angry at me. I don’t want a false doctrine to enslave me.
The Doctrine is Cheerful Giving.
Faith Promise is not Cheerful Giving
“Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. 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.” (2 Cor. 9:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2, NASB)