"But we must not forget that the principle
of tithing itself remains appropriate for Christians. As my father explained,
tithing is legalistic for those who make it that way by trying to earn merit
with God. But Abraham, the father of the faithful and the one whose children
we are if we have faith (Galatians 3:7), tithed long before the old covenant."
Referring to tithes and offerings as a member's
"responsibility to God and to the church," Mr. Tkach warned that
"I have to tell you, when you decided to hold back tithes and offerings
from God, you are deciding to close up your heart from doing your part in
spreading the news of what God has done in your life."
The letter concluded with the plea, "Let's
get on our knees and decide before God to put him first in every part of
our lives, including tithing. We will find that the
frustration and pain of constant downsizing will be replaced by steady growth
and gospel outreach!"
60 percent want traditional dates
In a related story, The Worldwide
News reported in its Jan. 21 issue that a registration fee will be required
to register for the 1997 fall festival and requested donations to assist
those unable to afford the fee.
No fee amount was given, since "the actual
figure will be based on projected expenses divided by expected attendance."
Attendance for the 1997 Feast was projected at 16,000 to 20,000.
The article also summarized results of a survey
given to WCG members regarding their preferences for timing and manner of
observing festivals throughout the year.
The "traditional dates" were preferred
by 60 to 65 percent of respondents, with roughly a quarter opting for evening
services and a quarter wanting to observe the festivals on "the weekend
nearest the traditional dates."
In stating that "our goal is to make worship
opportunities available for the largest number of people we can," festival
planner Mark McCulley wrote that the WCG intends "to observe the Feast
in a carefully chosen number of locations, meeting for eight days of worship,
fellowship and other focused activities."
He also stated that pastors will be given "tools
for planning local observances of the Feast on the weekend of Oct. 17-19
so as to maximize the positive impact on the attendees."