Thank you for contacting the Ellen G. White Estate. I will try to answer your questions.
Dear Sir: Thanks for helping me out in the past.
We just started going to a new church and they have put me in as Treasurer. This is the church I was raised up in. We moved here to help keep the church open. There are only about 12 people that go here.
Blessings on you for being willing to help a struggling church!
I have heard that Sister White says if we have leaders in the church that do not pay tithe or are not in good standing the church will not be blessed and will not grow. We want to try very hard to get more people to join the church from this area. What is her council on this?
I did not find a statement just like this in the time that I could give to the search. I looked through all the Index entries on tithe and looked up a few of the references, but I didn't find one that said this. There may indeed be such a statement, though.
What I did find was abundant counsel to individuals to be faithful in tithe and not to rob God. And Mrs. White seems to credit faithful attention to the tithe as the cause of advancement in the church. Here is something you would want to look at, from Counsels on Stewardship, pp. 95-100 (selections):
A decided advancement in spirituality, piety, charity, and activity, has been made as the result of the special meetings in the--church. Discourses were preached on the sin of the robbing God in tithes and offerings. . . . Many confessed that they had not paid tithes for years; and we know that God cannot bless those who are robbing Him, and that the church must suffer in consequence of the sins of its individual members. There are a large number of names on our church books; and if all would be prompt in paying an honest tithe to the Lord, which is His portion, the treasury would not lack for means. . . . As the sin of robbing God was presented, the people received clearer views of their duty and privilege in this matter. One brother said that for two years he had not paid his tithes, and he was in despair; but as he confessed his sin, he began to gather hope. "What shall I do?" he asked. I said, "Give your note to the treasurer of the church; that will be businesslike." He thought that was a rather strange request; but he sat down, and began to write, "For value received, I promise to pay--" He looked up, as if to say, Is that the proper from in which to write out a note to the Lord? "Yes," he continued, "for value received. Have I not been receiving the blessings of God day after day? Have not the angels guarded me? Has not the Lord blessed me with all spiritual and temporal blessings? For value received, I promise to pay the sum of $571.50 to the church treasurer." After doing all he could do on his part, he was a happy man. In a few days he took up his note, and paid his tithe into the treasury. He had also made a Christmas donation of $125. . . .
Let those who have become careless and indifferent, and are withholding their tithes and offerings, remember that they are blocking the way, so that the truth cannot go forth to the regions beyond. I am bidden to call upon the people of God to redeem their honor by rendering to God a faithful tithe.-- MS 44, 1905.
Prayer is not intended to work any change in God; it brings us into harmony with God. It does not take the place of duty. Prayer offered ever so often and ever so earnestly will never be accepted by God in the place of our tithe. Prayer will not pay our debts to God.-- MYP 248.
It will not be long before probation will close. If you do not now serve the Lord with fidelity, how will you meet the record of your unfaithful dealing? Not long hence, a call will be made for a settlement of accounts, and you will be asked, "How much owest thou unto my Lord?" If you have refused to deal honestly with God, I beseech you to think of your deficiency, and if possible to make restitution. If this cannot be done, in humble penitence pray that God for Christ's sake will pardon your great debt. Begin now to act like Christians. Make no excuse for failing to give the Lord His own. Now, while mercy's sweet voice is still heard, while it is not yet too late for wrongs to be righted, while it is called today, if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.-- R. & H. Supplement, Dec. 1, 1896. God has given special direction as to the use of the tithe. He does not design that His work shall be crippled for want of means. That there may be no haphazard work and no error, He has made our duty on these points very plain. The portion that God has reserved for Himself is not to be diverted to any other purpose than that which He has specified. Let none feel at liberty to retain their tithe, to use according to their own judgment. They are not to use it for themselves in an emergency, nor to apply it as they see fit, even in what they may regard as the Lord's work.
Here's more, from Counsels on Stewardship, pp. 106, 107: Let the church appoint pastors or elders who are devoted to the Lord Jesus, and let these men see that officers are chosen who will attend faithfully to the work of gathering in the tithe. If the pastors show that they are not fitted for their charge, if they fail to set before the church the importance of returning to God His own, if they do not see to it that the officers under them are faithful, and that the tithe is brought in, they are in peril. They are neglecting a matter which involves a blessing or a curse to the church. They should be relieved of their responsibility, and other men should be tested and tried. The Lord's messengers should see that His requirements are faithfully discharged by the members of the churches. God says that there should be meat in His house, and if the money in the treasury is tampered with, if it is regarded as right for individuals to make what use they please of the tithe, the Lord cannot bless. He cannot sustain those who think that they can do as they please with that which is His.-- R. & H. Supplement, Dec. 1, 1896. It is the duty of the elders and officers of the church to instruct the people on this important matter, and to set things in order. As laborers together with God, the officers of the church should be sound upon this plainly revealed question. The ministers themselves should be strict to carry out to the letter the injunctions of God's word. Those who hold positions of trust in the church should not be negligent, but they should see that the members are faithful in performing this duty. . . . Let the elders and officers of the church follow the direction of the Sacred Word, and urge upon their members the necessity of faithfulness in the payment of pledges, tithes, and offerings.-- R. & H., Dec. 17, 1889.
Also should someone that is not even a member here be allowed to be a Deacon?
No. Only those who are members of the local church in good and regular standing may hold offices in that church. I believe that this is church policy worldwide. But you should contact your conference secretary for the official word on the policy.
This is someone that has stolen over $500.00 from me and bought bread from my niece and wrote a bad check to her that he has never made good. He borrowed over $2,000.00 from a bank here and never paid it back. He went to my cousins home and while they were gone stole her $1,000.00 camera and sold it and has never made that good or even said he was sorry to any of us. He is my nephew and I love him dearly. He is going to church now and the pastor knows nothing about his past and thinks he is absolutely wonderful. He put him in as ___________. The pastor says to me this last week he was going to see if he could get his membership transferred. The church where his membership was he has not attended for over 20 years. I told the pastor there was no way he should be brought in on a transfer that he needed to be rebaptized. The pastor told me he did not want to know what my nephew had done. Will just being rebaptized be enough or should he pay back all he owes to people.
Real repentance should make one want to restore, shouldn't it? Ezekiel 33:15 says, "If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity, he shall surely live, he shall not die." See also what Jesus says in Matthew 5:23, 24.
I don't want him to pay me back. I have forgiven him for what he did to me long ago. My other relatives do not feel the same. Please advise. I do not want to discourage him in any way or cause any hard feelings. I just want this church to grow. Also one of the Elders hauls hay on Sabbath and does not pay tithe. Just because this is a little church is that ok to put those kind in to hold offices?
See the references above on tithe, especially as relates to the officers of the church. Hauling hay on Sabbath would legitimately be an additional concern. One cannot effectively lead the church in faithfulness in areas where one is not himself setting a faithful example.
The Church Manual is explicit about the elder and tithe. On p. 49 of the 1995 edition, under the work of the elder, it says, "As one who faithfully returns tithe, the elder can do much to encourage the church members to return a faithful tithe. . . . Anyone who fails to set an example in this important matter should not be elected to the position of elder or to any other church office."
Thanks for any help you can give me.
Thanks for writing, and God bless.
William Fagal, Director
Ellen G. White Estate Branch Office
Berrien Springs, MI 49104-1400 USA
Phone: 616 471-3209
FAX: 616 471-2646
Website: www.WhiteEstate.org or www.egwestate.andrews.edu