Greg Garrison, with AL.COM, writes:
Many churches are picking up on a trend of getting people to donate to the church by offering a money-back guarantee if God does not bless them, according to Christianity Today.
NewSpring Church in South Carolina is one of hundreds of congregations across the country that have offered 90-day tithing challenges, the magazine reported.
. . . "Participants sign up with a commitment to give 10 percent of their income or more, and if 'God doesn't hold true to his promises of blessings' after three months, they can request their money back—no questions asked. It's the church's version of 'satisfaction guaranteed,'" CT said.
The idea is backed up by a Bible verse in the Old Testament Book of Malachi:
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it." (Malachi 3:11, NIV).
"God literally says, 'Test me out, see if I'm God,'" NewSpring Pastor Perry Noble said in a sermon. "You and I cannot out-give him."
Try to imagine the “Oh, ye of little faith” looks received by those with the nerve to ask for their money back! After all, aren't they impugning God’s reputation, suggesting He hasn't fulfilled his part of the bargain? But that's where the problem lies, theologically speaking. These churches are appealing to a conditional promise made to the adherents of Judaism, under the Old Covenant .
The Book of Hebrews tells us that The New Testament, or New Covenant, is a better agreement than The Old Covenant, being based on better promises. The New Covenant is based on unconditional promises, on heavenly promises, as opposed to conditional, earthly ones. The New Covenant is not only better, it also happens to be the one currently in effect in this, the Church Age.
This means that conditional promise like this one found in Malachi, have been replaced by the New Covenant. The New Covenant does not demand a tithe (the concept never appears in the Epistles where The New Covenant is explained) nor does it threaten a curse on those who fail to offer one, not does it promise blessings based on the giving of said tithe. Those who push this conditional promise cherry pick from the Old Covenant, ignoring many other laws and regulations laid out under the contract between God and the nation of Israel.
Under the New Covenant the blessing is found in the giving itself, as Jesus promised when He said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). That's because at the heart of The New Covenant is a New Command; "Love one another. As I have loved you" (John 13:34). The love of Jesus doesn't worry about whether there will be earthly gains that come for its efforts. Agape love, being selflessly motivated, doesn’t ask for a money back guarantee. It just loves.
"But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises" (Hebrews 8:6).