Televangelist Creflo Dollar Renounces Past Teachings on Tithing, But Questions Persist

By Josh Shepherd
Popular televangelist Creflo Dollar is senior pastor of World Changers Church International in College Park, Georgia (Photo via Facebook)

In a recent sermon, popular televangelist and megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar renounced his decades-long teaching on tithing—the practice of giving 10-percent of one’s income to the church.

“Tithing isn’t required or even encouraged for believers in Jesus Christ,” Dollar stated in his June 26 message, “The Great Misunderstanding.

Dollar, senior pastor of World Changers Church International in College Park, Georgia—a multi-ethnic megachurch with nearly 30,000 members—said his past messages were “not correct.” 

The televangelist, who began his preaching ministry in 1986, even encouraged his flock to “throw away every book, every tape, and every video I ever did on the subject of tithing.”

However, Dollar did not formally apologize for past errors in teaching. He also did not address questions about his lavish ministry and personal spending that many watchdog groups continue to raise.

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Referencing the New Testament passage of Romans 6:14, Dollar preached that he had a revelation about grace superseding Old Testament law. “Today, I stand in humility to correct some things I have taught for years and believed for years but could never understand it clearly because I had not been confronted with the Gospel of grace, which has made the difference.”

David Croteau, dean of Columbia Biblical Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, has written extensively on biblical principles of giving and critiqued teachings on tithing. After listening to portions of Dollar’s sermon, he said he appreciated what he heard as “humility” and “careful exegesis,” which “surprised” Croteau, given the megachurch pastor’s past messages. 

david croteau
David Croteau

However, Croteau questioned the televangelist’s solution.

“I wish he was a little bit more like Zacchaeus,” said Croteau, referencing the biblical story of a tax collector who saw the error of his cheating of the poor. The Gospels record how Zacchaeus gave back more than he had stolen from them.

“What if (Dollar) had said, ‘Get those books and tapes back to us, and we will refund you the money?’” asked Croteau. “Maybe that would have been financially devastating, but it would have been so impressive if he could have done something like that.” 

The Roys Report reached out to Creflo Dollar Ministries for comment but did not receive a response. 

Where Are the Dollars Going?

For years, The Trinity Foundation, a nonprofit that tracks religious fraud and seeks to help victims, has documented the lavish spending of Creflo Dollar Ministries, his church, and its related financial entities. 

In a post this week, Trinity Foundation investigator Barry Bowen stated he found the televangelist’s actions misaligned with this new message.

“If Dollar really wants to change course, he should abandon his extravagant lifestyle and also embrace financial transparency with accountability,” wrote Bowen. 

Bowen, who also leads Trinity Foundation’s Pastor Planes investigative project, noted that Dollar owns two jets—a Gulfstream G-IV and Learjet 60—which are “registered to a shell company named World Heir.” 

In addition, Dollar and his wife, Taffi, own two homes near their church which are collectively valued at $5.7 million, according to Redfin data compiled by Trinity Foundation.

creflo dollar mansion
Screenshot of Creflo Dollar’s Family Mansion in Fayette County, Georgia (Video screenshot via Trinity Foundation)

Another investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed that in 2006, Dollar formed two offshore entities in the Bahamas whose purpose and assets have not been disclosed. And MinistryWatch recently gave Creflo Dollar Ministries an “F” rating for lack of transparency.

Commenting on these documented financial concerns, Croteau said he is “going to reserve judgment,” considering that Dollar “is in a process.” He added: “Maybe in a month, he has plans to sell off property and give it to the poor, we just don’t know.” 

The biblical scholar, who has contributed to three books about tithing, said there are several errors of interpretation in how tithing is often taught in evangelical churches. He said “in many cases” it leads to fear and obligation motivating church members’ giving.

“People have this idea that God is going to punish me if I don’t give 10-percent of my income to the church,” said Croteau. “But, even in the Old Testament, if you didn’t own land or cattle in Israel, you wouldn’t pay the tithe. So, this modern-day tithing paradigm isn’t biblical—and it actually harms the poor, who so often give to these ministries.”  

However, a 2018 study from Lifeway Research found that the majority of evangelicals believe tithing to be a biblical command that still applies today.

In a past interview, longtime Baptist pastor Ken Hemphill expressed views often heard in the pulpit. “I believe tithing should be a beginning point and not an ending point,” he said. “Giving a tenth has not been rescinded.”

Croteau summed up his views. “The way that tithing is taught drives people to a calculator rather than to the risen Christ. But nothing in Christianity is a formula. It’s about living in closer relationship with Christ, who gave himself for us.” 

This article has been updated to include the nonprofit group’s MinistryWatch rating.

Freelance journalist Josh Shepherd writes on faith, culture, and public policy for several media outlets. He and his wife live in the Washington, D.C. area with their two children.

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29 thoughts on “Televangelist Creflo Dollar Renounces Past Teachings on Tithing, But Questions Persist”

  1. Vanessa Latimer

    Crefllo Dollar, has done what he has been lead to do. I understand that everyone wants to talk about the lifestyle he and his family live. I find it very hard to judge this man on his past. I do believe that, for him and Benny Hinn to denounce their belief in tithing to gain profit, is a move of God. To openly repent, is a major defeat to satan and his lies, which these two and others has pushed for decades. I asked that we as servants of Christ, must forgive and allow God to continue to use us to grow His kingdom.

    1. I find your comment confusing, at best.

      You find it “very hard to judge this man on his past”? Why? The man is a fraud and a grifter. A false teacher. An absolute disgrace. If I have a apple tree in my yard and the apples it is bearing are sickly looking and disgusting, then I can safely “judge” that there is something bad about that tree. It’s not rocket science.

      I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and conclude that you don’t mean tithing in and of itself is of satan and his lies, but that tithing to gain profit is. That is, telling his gullible followers to send in 10% of their check so old Brother Creflo can live the high life.

      However, if you mean tithing is of satan, then you are way off the beam. Tithing came straight from the lips of God Himself. “All tithes of herd and flock, every tenth one that passes under the shepherd’s staff, shall be holy to the Lord.” Leviticus 27.32 NRSVue. It is part of the Mosaic Law. Note: it is interesting that the tithe is older than the Mosaic Law. See Genesis 14.20 and Hebrews 7.2.

      Tithing in your evangelical circles seems to be a touchy subject. It seems clear to me, however, that this Dollar character is a con man and will answer to God one day.

      1. Acts 18:3-4 tells of Paul working as a tent maker – perhaps during the week and preaching the Gospel on the sabbath.
        King James Version
        3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.
        4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.’

        Dollar and Paula White and others taking poor worshippers money is not Christian.

      2. Lashaun Joseph

        It is of God to forgive. We are not to judge. And if God spoke to him to deliver this word, then that is between him and God. The world judges. No matter if you ask for forgiveness the world will crucify you. He is still a man that need God. Like us all. No one sin is less or better. He who is without sin throw the first stone. And you are throwing stones. WHY?

    2. That sounds very sanctimonious. However, you will know them by their fruits.

      Repentance requires restitution especially if it’s true that he bilked millions out of the family of God.

      This is the only crime that does not require justice but only forgiveness!

      This is not a sin of the flesh. It’s a crime.

  2. Dollar is a little slow here… I figured this one out in Bible College – about 40 years ago in my mid-20s… Not too complex, e.g. just read Acts 15…nothing re Tithing…, etc., etc. Of course 2Cor sections…NOTHING re tithing…. And I can well bet Dollar has always eaten pig and prawns…😖

    Tithing is simply more Evangelicalism gone amok….

    If “Dollar” is wrong here – wonder where else…🤔🤔

    1. Bernard Tennyson

      Greg, Christians have to tithe. Even in the most Christ-abiding churches, missions need financial support, the full-time pastor should be paid a salary and receive benefits, utility bills have to be paid, and on and on. We, as Christians, shouldn’t grieve that a part of our obligation – if not, right – is to give back to the Church so that it can carry out the Great Commission.

      I know that the Lord will provide. But think about it! If we call ourselves the Church and are sure He will provide for us, how can we our response be no when we’re asked to provide for His work.

      It’s evidence of our salvation at work when we can relinquish the things of this world, especially when it means God’s will is being done in return.

        1. Bernard Tennyson

          Call it whatever you choose, David. My point is the obligation (to give, donate, tithe) is non-discretionary. We should accept the responsibility or close down our churches and their ministries, or look to secular institutions to support them. Far too many Christians seek to avoid this truth. We take care of our homes, our cars, etc. Let’s take care of our churches and their work.

          1. Bernard,

            A non-discretionary obligation? Tell me book and verse in the Bible that states this about tithing?

            This is the issue with the Evangelical approach to tithing, it’s a guilt driven, got to keep the lights type of approach. One where the highest “donors” get the most attention and the special invites to dinners, lunches and open appointments with staff members.

            This approach to tithing is no more than a gym membership or better yet, country club for those who can afford it.

          2. David Adenuga

            We should indeed close down most churches. If their fruits are the “christians” we see today on social media and Fox News, then they have no business existing.

          3. Bernard, the public did support many these churches with free loans from the government.

            Lesson 4: Why You Should NOT Tithe (Selected Scriptures)

            https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-4-why-you-should-not-tithe-selected-scriptures

            You might want to give more than 10% and you might want to spread it around to more than one place! ;-)

            Churches should have the information available to their congregants that would be used to fill out an IRS Form 990–even if they don’t submit one, for the sake of transparency!

      1. Many of us who oppose mandatory Tithing are not opposed to free will offerings to supporting our churches. What we oppose is all the fear mongering, condemnation, guilting and making God out to be a Bill Collector in the sky ready to punish and curse everyone regardless of income who may not have financial resource to Tithe ten percent on the dollar.
        We also realize we have been given the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us into all truth. Can’t the Tithe Police allow Him to do his job on leading us on how much to give with being tricked into it. It will be a wonderful day when the Church realizes what Paid in full means! Jesus never at any time meant Pay in Full was the same as Paid in Ful.

        1. OOPS, on the six line I meant to say WITHOUT being tricked into it. The word WITHOUT WAS LEFT OUT WITH being tricked into it WAS A MISTAKE.

  3. The principle is to give as you can and do it out of love. To some poor people that could be a few dollars; for others it could be 25% of their annual income, or more. It’s never been about the amount, except the amount of love one has for others.

    Many years ago I took my son, who was in his early teens, to visit a very poor church in the inner city. When the collection plate came around I noticed the woman sitting next to me open a little worn coin purse and take out two dimes. I was working then and financially very comfortable. I don’t remember how much I gave but I wonder, in the Lord’s eyes, who gave more?

  4. Levieta Haulk

    I agree that tithing drives you away from Jesus Christ. I’ve always believed that God knows the heart of the true believer, whether they are able to give or if they are not able to give. And, if one is not able to give, God doesn’t love them any less. He doesn’t need your money and that isn’t what He desires from you. He desires your heart and your praises.

  5. The ability to voluntarily admit one has been in error at such a scale of influence and fame is nothing less than monumental. When was the last time you heard of ANY high profile preacher admitting they were wrong about ANYTHING?
    Only one that comes to mind is…Carlton Pearson. At the time I couldnt see it, but in time I realized what he did. A Deity who can create such a universe and who is self-identified as Love could not be an eternal torturer of souls. To keep the majority of humaity alive forever just so they can know how much you hate them, by using a Lake of Fire on them is more like the character of the worst human beings ever produced and not the God who is infinite love and wisdom.

    1. It was not monumental to admit after thirty years Tithing is not for New Covenant Christians. What would have been monumental would have been to refund the money he got rich off of from all the books, audios and tapes he sold on pushing Tithing, instead of saying throw them away.

  6. Honestly…. Could care less.

    What would be an article or headline worth celebrating would be when he repents about his teaching on the Divinity of Christ, and his beliefs that we, like Christ, are humans who can become gods.

    Let me know when he does that….

  7. i have some issues with the approach most christians have taken on this issue of tithing. dr creflo came up with different scriptures to show forth his new understanding on this subject. the bible say that we all know in part. no body has the monopoly of knowledge when i comes to the Bible. once we get a new understanding on a biblical subject we need to change also our belief on the same. that is what dr creflo has done.

    i am yet to see one person coming up with a body of scriptures, explain them exegetically to prove that what Dr creflo said is wrong. instead , people seams to have some issues with his riches and personal prosperity. this is not good because we are now moving from the tithe issue to attacking a person. let us be sober and keep PEOPLE OUT OF IT. God is the one who will judge all of us because we all err in different ways. may be yours is different from what you are accusing dr creflo of.

    dr creflo has come up publicly with his new understanding on this matter, let anyone who think differently bring scriptures on the same and show forth why they believe so.

    this is my challenge to the author of this article and any other person who think they have a word to speak on this matter.

    shalom.

  8. Farther along in his message he says
    “I won’t apologize because if it wasn’t for me going down that route, I would have never ended up where I am right now. But I will say that I have no shame at all, at saying to you, ‘throw away every book, every tape, and every video I ever did on the subject of tithing, unless it lines up with this’. I’ve done some corrective teaching in Atlanta last 10 years, but not to the degree of what we’re getting ready to do now.”

    I would suggest that he is going to take the road of many in evangelicalism today. 1. They will start with Matthew 23:23 that says, concerning tithing. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”
    2. Then they go to 2 Cor 9
    “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. ”
    And they will agree that tithing is not a legalistic requirement, but that grace giving is, and since we live in a very wealthy country, should we not be giving at least as much as the poor agrarian farmers in OT times? In other words, the tithe is the lowest amount.

    That will preach well for Creflo Moneybags. He’ss end up with 3 mansions worth $20m and 4 jets.

  9. Ministry Watch report on Crafto Dollar 👉

    https://db.ministrywatch.com/ministry.php?ein=000005020

    where the better part of it started at the sentence that began:

    “….
    Prudent donors want to understand what it is they are going to support. Some ministries claim they have no legal obligation to share financial or other information — but they do have a moral obligation to do so…..”

    Read to the end of the statement not long — but very good ❗

  10. Brian Patrick

    The aptly-named Creflo is a particularly egregious example but the vast majority of megachurch rock stars are crooks and charlatans. Some make obviously bogus promises about what will happen when you tithe to them; others merely are content to babble on about you living “your best life” or finding your purpose.

    As loathsome as they are, I can only knock them so much. They’ve found their hustle, and you-know-what are born every day.

  11. Tithing is a doctrine of faith not only in old and new testaments but before the old testament as well. Jacob made a vow to God that if God makes his journey successful he will give God a tithe of everything that crosses his hands. We tithe because God has blessed us. Tithing is a form of worship. Tithing is an exercise of faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. I Corinthians 13:13 says that faith, hope and love abide. Tithing is expression of faith. Tithing is a form of obedience.

    1. Tithing can be all right but your donations don’t have to be to one organization. You can give money to the Salvation Army, food banks, etc. besides your local church. If your local churches are not transparent in their finances I will definitely say divide your giving ❗

      Also if your local church happens to have a problem with—

      “Body of Christ or Family Business? Nepotism in the Church”

      https://www.apologeticsindex.org/3001-nepotism-in-the-church

      I definitely, “would not put all my eggs in one basket!”

      The above article by David Kowalski has my seal of approval, but the church he belongs to doesn’t.🙄

  12. Tithing is godly period.The message behind tithing is what we call deceptive teaching.Martin Luther dealt a great blow to the church in his time because the church twisted their teaching to amass wealth.

  13. Very glad Creflo has changed his position on tithing and wish other Pentecostal pastors and teachers would follow suit. My pastor is a staunch advocate on tithing which irritates me as I am not. We have had discussions on the subject but he does not agree with me.

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