Tithing and Melchizedek


 One of the principal ABC teachings, just past the foundations, is tithe, or a tax or assessment of one tenth of a person’s income. After one begins their foundation word studies, they are then introduced to what is termed the “Island Hop” teaching. (See illustration). 

The first two steps past the foundations in the "Island Hop" teaching are “Melchizedek”  then “tithing” and the accepted teaching is one must pay ten percent of their entire income to the ABC, in lieu of paying it to Melchizedek, as Abraham is said to have done. Genesis 14 and He. 7 are the primary references for this teaching. This ten percent includes businesses which are expected to pay ten percent of the gross income of the business, not the net. That’s not quite in line with the Old Covenant principle of “those that pass under the rod” which I will later examine a little further.

Tithing is an area where I ran headlong into trouble on several occasions. I accepted tithing, offering and alms at face value and participated to the full extent when I was in the ABC, even though I had serious questions and concerns, which eventually proved to be valid. 

There were a few egregious incidents that happened over the years that gave me pause. One of these involved a woman who retired and sold a huge piece of property which could legitimately be measured in miles rather than acres. This woman sold this property for a considerable sum, some years back, and was living fine from the proceeds of the sale until her health turned. She then ran into some  some serious financial difficulties very late in life. This is not an unusual scenario. Medical bills can wipe out a person’s savings rather rapidly.

For many years, this woman had provided food and shelter for many. She was a kind and generous soul and was loved by all. When my dad was still living, she donated a great deal of money to him to help build his ABC church movement. Whenever he felt he had a special need, he asked, and she came through. To many people this woman had been very kind over quite a few years and regularly received honor from others. I remember one all-church meeting where she was brought to the middle of the room and given special appreciation for all she had done. 

I learned of this woman’s financial difficulties but soon discovered they were much too large for just one person to handle. I went to Bruce Leonard, who considered himself the ruling elder in Vancouver, and suggested the church help her out since she had given to so many, for so many years. I have no doubt the amount she paid in tithe, and offerings, over the years was many, many tens of thousands, if not in the hundreds of thousands. I have no way to verify the actual amount, but it was a considerable sum and she was quite faithful with her tithe and offering. My suggestion the church help her was immediately thrown back in my face by those in charge of the tithe. The reason given was this woman loved to play the organ and, when she played,  "sang the old Mystery Babylon hymns", not the “body songs”. Therefore, it was reasoned, she was still "caught up in Mystery Babylon" and did not deserve any help. It is true she loved to play hymns on the organ and sang old hymns but so what!  I assure you this woman dedicated her life to the ABC, and would never suspect she would become so mistreated near the end of her life. But she was. The situation in the ABC has always been this volatile. No one is ever immune from torment if you purposely, or accidentally, cross the leadership.

This was a turning point for me. I continued to tithe and pay offerings to the ABC but became very suspicious in how the monies were actually being handled, and who exactly was profiting from them. Per Bruce Leonard the tithe was completely under the control of one man, the "apostle" Gilbert Larson and his word was the final word.  I approached Bruce Leonard several more times on this matter. He alleged to have consulted with Gilbert Larson, the "apostle", and in the last encounter became enraged I would even consider helping this woman. To say I was shocked at these responses would be an understatement at the very least. It was very cold.

I would later be accused, behind my back, of “robbing God” even though I had always paid both tithe and offering in the full amount. When I saw a need, I gave alms.  I heard through the grapevine Bruce Leonard and Gilbert Larson felt I had not tithed properly after I received an insurance settlement from my accident. 


I heard from a couple others I had allegedly “lied to the Holy Spirit”, like Ananias and Sapphira, and would suffer the same fate as them. I was never struck by lightning and didn't drop dead as had been assumed would happen by Bruce Leonard and Gilbert Larson. That entire settlement received was earmarked to pay for current and future medical expenses, since both of our injuries were severe. Both of us required years of additional medical care to return to normal and, if you have ever been injured, you find you receive bills many months later that must be paid. I inquired whether this was truly income, since it was basically passing through my hands to medical professionals, and was told this was income and I must pay tithe on it. If I did not pay, I was told I was “robbing God”. A record is kept of everyone’s tithe and it is regularly compared against assumed income to see if  one is “tithing correctly”. I know this for a fact. When the computer used to record the tithe went on the blink, I was asked to help fix it. More on that income thing later.

I heard it was assumed by Bruce Leonard and Gilbert Larson I had received a larger amount of money than I had paid tithe on.  This was not true. I am alleged to have lied about the amount, thus the accusation about "lying to the Holy Spirit".  I didn’t. Bruce Leonard and Gilbert Larson both felt I had not paid enough tithe based on their own false assumptions. Both felt I had “cheated the tithe” and therefore "robbed God". This is a total falsehood. I had actually paid more than the ten percent in tithe plus offering as well. The nineteen-year-old who hit us head on was minimally insured, hit one other car before he hit us,  caused major trauma to three people, laying one person up for more than a year in bed with a full-time aide and I spent five years recovering from my injuries. My wife’s medical expenses would require a lifetime of minor palliative care to manage chronic issues from a head injury that had already required years of occupational and physical therapy by the time we received that settlement. We had many past due medical bills.

The day after the accident my employer health plan showed up at my bedside, in the hospital, insisting I sign a form they would never be billed for medical care related to the accident.  There was very little auto insurance money to go around since there were three severely injured people as a result of the kid crossing the center line. We all received very little. Bruce Leonard and Gilbert Larson felt I had “robbed God” based on their own erroneous assumption of the amount of that settlement, not based on fact, and I heard they based this on the fact I put a down payment on a house. I had not long previous sold a home and could have bought that house, even if I had never received that small settlement. The two facts were completely unrelated. No one ever questioned Bruce or Gil's ability to purchase a home or how they were able to afford it. Hypocrisy.

The generally accepted teaching is one must tithe to Melchizedek, just as Abraham did. This is Old Testament. What is interesting to note is Abraham was paying this tithe to Melchizedek from the plunders of a war he was returning from, and not from his usual income.

Genesis 14 describes what happened, but there is no place in any of this text where it is prescribed one must pay a tithe from plunder. Enter Hebrews seventh chapter. This section of the letter to the Hebrews happens to mention, Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder…” in speaking of Melchizedek but, again, this is not a prescription for New Testament tithing, just a description of what happened way back when.

I am not opposed to the concept of tithing, per se, but what does not make sense is there are a few men who hold this tithe in secret, profit directly from it, then use “rules” to forbid others from receiving assistance, unless they authorize it. They see themselves as the representatives on earth of Melchizedek and therefore they must be tithed to...or else. If one pays their tithe elsewhere, is that wrong? It's still tithe. These men are not Melchizedek embodied on earth, they are mere mortals using spiritual intimidation and fear to extract money. There is controversy on who Melchizedek is exactly, but the most accepted viewpoint is that Melchizedek is the Holy Spirit or Christ. I can’t prove or disprove any particular viewpoint as there is inadequate information.

I have seen others accused of “robbing God”, using the same false assumptions. I have gone to bat for several people who were  severely “disciplined” based on false assumptions.  One couple, as example, were brought before the elders and accused of robbing God because they had bought new bicycles and allegedly had withheld tithe to pay for them. I examined this personally, discovered they tithed from their gross income and bought these bicycles from a tax return check. Despite my supplying this proof they were still severely disciplined and eventually left the church devastated. This is but one example of many similar scenarios.

Whenever I asked for an accounting of the tithe, I am told I must trust God it is used correctly.  I trust God, but I don’t trust men will always deal with honesty and integrity. No matter how righteous they seem. Self-righteous men still appear righteous. There are those who use the church tithe to profit in filthy lucre for their own sake. If not, they would have no difficulty with a full accounting of its use, with continued oversight.

But let’s assume for now that tithing is a requirement. What is income or increase exactly? As one example, the Old Testament states in reference to animals; “And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord.”  Using sheep as an example; many new lambs died by disease or predator, and these did not "pass under the rod" so were not part of the increase. The larger adult animals were too large to "pass under the rod". Only the healthy newborns were considered increase. Using a more modern example, say a new business has a nine percent net profit margin. Paying ten percent of the gross would soon cause them to go out of business. It would be the equivalent of killing off the sheep who produce the lambs. In my case, receiving money intended to be paid for medical care is not really increase, but I knew the consequences of not paying and paid it anyhow...and then some. I was still accused, behind my back, of “robbing God” then viciously ambushed later. I heard others after me were also accused of the same and ambushed as well. I am far from alone in that regard. It can happen to anyone. Even if it is based on a false assumption.

But here’s the thing. This is Old Covenant text, not New Covenant promise. There is no rule that says if you pay tithe and offering it must go to the ABC. If one paid tithe to a different nonprofit to feed and clothe the poor, something Jesus did, is that still not tithe?  Of course, it is. The ABC is just a registered nonprofit corporation the same as all other registered nonprofit corporations, not Melchizedek personified. The ABC have a few men who regard themselves as the physical representation of Melchizedek on earth, but they are not. They hold people captive, then demand a tax of ten percent and provide no accounting. This is wrong.

Tithing was not one of the ten commandments. There is actually little said about tithing. I do not disparage tithing but, if a person tithes, it should be up to them to tithe where they see fit. We are no longer restrained by Mosaic law. A registered nonprofit, like the ABC, should have an accounting. There should be no duress to tithe to the ABC, or else.  I have no doubt it was this alleged tithe issue I previously mentioned that led to my eventually being accused of blasphemy under a very shady premise. The roots of indignities and indecencies always trace right back to the money. 

If one were to be really technical, the people spoken about in the letter to the Hebrews were Jews. They were likely  paying their tithe to the local synagogue or temple, not to the "apostles". It would be centuries before Western Union and electronic transfer would be invented and transferring money, cattle or sheep around the globe by mailing a check was just not a possibility. 





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