Question: My church is raising funds by a “faith promise.” The promise to give what one doesn’t have and can’t afford is supposed to allow God the opportunity to supply it. Isn’t this presumption and pressuring people? Praising the “faithful” who miraculously got the right amount, the pastor shames those whose “faith” has failed. They feel condemned and even go into debt sometimes to live up to the pastor’s expectations. Is this biblical?
Response: The so-called “faith promise” is neither taught nor practiced in Scripture, but is a pressure tactic invented by men. The words “faith” and “promise” occur together in the same thought only eight times in the Bible: Romans:4:13,14,16,20; Galatians:3:14,22; Hebrews:11:9,39. In each case God is the one making the promise, and the faith referred to is our trust in Him.
What you describe is a technique for persuading people to pledge more than they otherwise would if they had to give it immediately. It is used by many churches and ministries, especially those on radio and TV. While we cannot judge hearts, we can judge the method by Scripture, and it fails that test.
There is an old saying which, though not a quote from the Bible, echoes its teaching: “Where God guides, He provides.” That is a major reason that we at TBC rarely mention our needs and avoid soliciting financial support. If the Lord is guiding us—and that is all we desire, just to do His will—we are certain He will move the hearts of His people to provide what is needed.
In saying that, we know there will be tests and trials that may overwhelm us. We have faced some and they have caused us to cling ever closer to our Lord. We appreciate your prayers that we will clearly discern and faithfully follow His perfect will in fulfilling the ministry to which He has called us. And our prayer is the same for all those who know and love Him.