The Wall Street Journal has just published a decent article on the fight against the tithing heresy, and it’s scary how similar my own story is to that of one of the believers in the article:

When he objected to his church’s instructions to tithe, Kirk Cesaretti took it up with the church leaders. In response, he received a letter from the pastor and elders of Hydesville Community Church in Hydesville, Calif. “At this time, we believe your concerns do not warrant any change in our church policy or positions,” the letter read.

The letter closed with a verse from Hebrews 13:17: “Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls; as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”

Mr. Cesaretti, an engineer in Fortuna, Calif., says he took the letter to mean he was no longer welcome at the church. Hydesville’s senior pastor, Michael Delamarian III, says he believes “the more you give the more you’re going to be blessed.” He says he did not bar Mr. Cesaretti from the church.

There’s a lot of passive-aggressive manipulation happening on the part of these pastors toward the flocks under their care. The article also mentions the practice of pastors making applicants sign a document essentially vowing to tithe. Are there so few people who understand that inclusion in the visible expression of the Body of Christ is not something to be held for ransom? My heart breaks for the people who have turned (or rather, been turned) away from Christ on account of grinning, greedy wolves like this at the pulpit.

So yeah, if you were wondering… the wound‘s still a bit fresh.