Few have given serious consideration to the power of the way it is. The status quo within evangelicalism surpasses the Bible as the evangelical’s guide and authority, though this no evangelical would admit or even realize. How else could non-Biblical practices have survived so many decades and centuries?
Selling spiritual wares and services is done, and because it is so done and has been done for so many years and continues to be done by the renown and respected, it is a thoroughly entrenched okay. No need for New Testament precedent. The words of Lord Jesus (“Freely give”) are trumped by custom birthed many years ago by unbelieving believers needful of an alternate way to finance their religious ambitions. These pygmies of the faith would be amazed at the gigantic industry their compromise has evolved into.
“The just shall live by faith.” Faith is God’s method for getting the job done. However, insufficient faith in Christ necessitates another way, something more practical than trust in God. Practicality, not faith, rules the evangelical way.
Martin Luther was a son of catholic practicality. Practicality ushered in the papacy and a suitable city of residence for popes. The selling of indulgences (an indulgence being a plan of escape from purgatory – purgatory being a fiery place of punishment and purification in preparation for heaven) helped finance the palaces of the pope’s resident city and other complexities of catholicism. This merchandising sparked Luther’s “95 Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” which, in turn, sparked the reformation.
Evangelical builders and controllers have their own plan for financing their own spiritual behemoth…. the tithe. The tithe is productive practicality, having been used to help build and maintain buildings in every city in North America and most cities throughout the world. As indulgences helped the catholic escape purgatory, the tithe keeps the evangelical from being “cursed with a curse” from the very God who to them “gave His only begotten Son”.