Swaziland, with its extreme poverty and extreme HIV percentage, also suffers the pillage of prosperity preachers, tithing, and limosines for rich preachers.
February 5, 2012: http://times.co.sz/Guest-writer/37354.html
Collecting tithes is fraud
By Qalakaliboli on February 05,2012
Last week I was stopped dead in my tracks by a very angry pastor, apostle, reverend or bishop (I don’t know what they call themselves these days).
He wanted to know why we who write in the media are so silent about what the Swaziland Revenue Authority (SRA) is doing to the church and economy of Swaziland.
He spoke like a true preacher because I must have stood there listening to him for a good 15 minutes or more before I could even get the chance to respond to his complaints. “Ever since the SRA came into inception, it is clear that they are on a witch-hunt for the people God has showered with blessings,” he said.
“It’s obvious that the leadership of this country does not want to see a rich Swazi.
What did they do to Ron Smith (late) when he developed his Tiger City empire? They even sent traffic police to stop Smith’s limousine from using the public roads that we pay taxes for.”
Since the SRA and the churches’ debate started last year, I had told myself that I would not be part of it. On numerous occasions, I have been asked by readers and members of the esteemed church to comment about the daylight robbery the government has embarked on through the SRA.
Honestly, I have respect for the men of God in this country but on the issue of churches or pastors paying taxes, I will definitely not side with them.
They are behaving like the Pharisees and hypocrites of old, who we read about in the scriptures.
Already, one pastor is on his way to marrying a second wife and they now endorse the traditional marriage despite what they have been saying about it in the past. How can a man who claims to be sent by God have two wives?
The Swazi Commercial Amadoda initiative in the rural areas is another long process that hinders development. When you develop your business and begin to make money in Swaziland, there are eyes looking at your direction with the hope that you will offer them shares in your business, failing which, there will be a witch hunt against your businesses until they completely run you down. There are countless Swazis whose businesses have been destroyed and yes, I agree that many small businesses are also shutting down in fear of the SRA and its high tax rates.
The hypocrisy displayed by our pastors and bishops is just disgusting to say the least.
I have read through the New Testament and nowhere are we told that Jesus paid tithes, or where Jesus even mentions that people should return tithes.
Even Paul’s letters to the churches of Ephesus, Corinthians and Thessalonians do not mention the fact that the people in these churches should pay tithes but he does mention that they must give to God with a clear heart (II Cor 9:6-7) so that their giving may yield good fruits.
We have to differentiate between giving and tithing.
Paul, in his works, emphasised on redemption on the cross and not redemption through tithing. In his letters to his son (in the Lord) Timothy, Paul warns Timothy about a certain group of people who will go to Ephesus with a false gospel and he also tells Timothy that he should be exemplary in his doing, in his talking, in his appearance and in being respectful.
Paul also warned Timothy about the false gospel of prosperity and the love of money (1Timothy 6:10). Paul further goes on to tell Timothy what to do about the rich and wealthy.
In Timothy 6:17-19 Paul writes that the wealthy and rich should share their wealth with the widows and orphans. He says their wealth must be accumulated through good deeds. It then worries me when people who proclaim to be serving Jesus Christ live in marbled homes and drive sleek cars when the Lord rode on a donkey.
I am not saying that pastors should be poor. That would be very conservative but I am saying that the gap between the rich pastors and their poor followers is too wide.
Some of these folks dig even deeper than they can afford to try and get the promised blessings that never come.
The reason conservative churches were not taxed was that they contributed to the social needs of the country. They built schools and clinics for the poor communities and even contributed towards the well-being of some impoverished families.
These prosperity gospel pastors do not even attend a funeral of one of their members, unless it is someone generous in tithing or active in the church.
They do not want to identify with the suffering masses but will identify with the debt-ridden few who showcase their false prosperity by tithing religiously.
One of the female Cabinet ministers, who is wealthy, was believed in her church to have been blessed by God and yet it recently turned out that she was in debt with one of the banks in the country. It then leaves me with a question as to whether
God can bless a person with a debt.
I do not think so. When God blesses, He blesses your spirit first before blessing your body. If your spirit cannot grasp the blessing, then your body will also suffer.
That is why people today have opted for false blessings in the form of bank loans, so that they can show off in church. When God blesses, the blessings are real and debt-free.
There is no debt, and there is no suffering in God’s blessings. Tithing has a historical background. During the evolution of mankind, tithing was done by giving the first fruits of your labour (Genesis 4:3-4). This was because the people at that time were farmers and hunter gatherers.
We know that tithing was introduced after Man (Adam) had sinned before God, and a way had to be devised to cleanse people of their sins (Leviticus 4).
Then came civilisation where the Denary was introduced as a form of currency for Denariyo (Greek for daily pay). It was during the Ecclesiastic period where the Levites had to collect all tithes and store it in the house of the Lord so that at least once a year, those tithes could be shared among the people from other nations, widows and orphans (Duet.14:28-29).
Before Jesus died on the cross, he said in a loud voice, “It is finished!”
Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice and the tithe that God paid for our redemption.
So what are people tithing for today, when the ultimate tithe has been paid for our sins?
Today, people should just give that which comes from the bottom of their hearts and not allow themselves to be duped by the prosperity gospel.
If the tithe does not empower the widows and the poor, you will not receive any blessings from God. From the beginning in Exodus 22:22, God never wanted widows and orphans to suffer but our esteemed pastors honestly do not care for these people.
During the recent annual prayer service at Lozitha palace last week, it was an opportunity for the pastors to tell the truth and preach God’s word and also speak against the falling economy to the leadership of the country. Instead, they chose to tell lies. The economic problem in this country is not a spiritual problem, but a man-made one.
For pastors to go and give false hope and comfort to those who cared to listen speaks volumes about their credibility as men of God.
What worries me most is that these pastors were given numerous opportunities to preach God’s word to the leadership of this country but instead of giving sound and godly advice, they play to the gallery with false prophecies that never come true. Instead of preaching the word of God, they went there to grovel and seek earthly appointments from the appointing authority. As the years went by, some of our pastors even said they would die where the King died and would support the King in everything he did. Now that they are being taxed, some of them turn around and say they cannot contribute their money to witchcraft. Suddenly, the SRA has made them realise there is witchcraft in Swaziland and they have now come out with a list of problems they feel are affecting the country. Are these people really working for Jesus or themselves?
Swaziland has had problems all along and our pastors have been silent, while committing the biggest fraud the world has ever seen – collecting tithes.
All of a sudden, because the SRA wants what belongs to it, our pastors are now coming out to decry the country’s problems and seek support from us? Please, can these hypocrite pastors leave us alone! ttp://times.co.sz/Guest-writer/37354.html