Let me begin by laying down what I do and don't believe:
* I don't believe in prosperity doctrine.
* I believe tithing is an old testament command and us in the new testament have to live by an even higher standard.
* I don't even believe the finances you give into the kingdom have to go to your local church.
* I don't believe in taking verses out of context.
* I also object to taking verses from scripture that were part of specific prophesies at specific times for specific people and applying them almost as a threat for today - Jer 29:11; Mal 3:8-10
So now I've ruffled a few feathers let me explain.
In 2 Corinthians 9 Paul makes reference to a financial gift, an offering for the saints even.
6 The point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work. 9 As it is written, "He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever."
10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God; 12 for the rendering of this service not only supplies the wants of the saints but also overflows in many thanksgivings to God. 13 Under the test of this service, you will glorify God by your obedience in acknowledging the gospel of Christ, and by the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others; 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
v8 God supplies all we need why? - so that we may always abound in every good work.
Now remember that this chapter is about finances and here is where prosperity doctrine gets it wrong. You don't sow financially to reap the financial benefits for yourself whether you are member or a pastor. You sow in faith what you have made up in your mind to give (v8 - note nothing about 10% here). You reap in accordance to what you sow - sparingly or bountifully - again remember this chater is about finances. but why do you reap - so you can sow more again. Here I don't necessarily mean to your local church. v9 says that he who scatters abroad and gives to the poor - his righteousness endures forever. hmmmm ... I guess that isn't the local church then ??
v10 makes the statement that the finances come from God and it is he who will supply and multiply our resources.
Let's go to Luke 19 now. Lk19:11-27 tells the story of the king who goes on holiday and gave his servants money to deal with while he was gone. When he returned one had increased 10 fold one 5 fold and the other nothing. He had hid the money in fear. The king was furious and said:
22 He said to him, `I will condemn you out of your own mouth, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then did you not put my money into the bank, and at my coming I should have collected it with interest?' 24 And he said to those who stood by, `Take the pound from him, and give it to him who has the ten pounds.' 25 (And they said to him, `Lord, he has ten pounds!') 26 `I tell you, that to every one who has will more be given; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.'
I'm not saying this passage refers directly to finances but the principle is there. God has given us all that we have. There is nothing that we can give him back that he hasn't already given us (except our obedience) and that includes our fincances. I'm not saying that if you give you will get richer. NO! When you sow what you have into his kingdom you reap the return for sure BUT IT STILL BELONGS TO HIM.
Go back to 2 Corinthians 9:11
11You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God
Another translation says: You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occassion. You aren't enriched to go out and spend it on yourself. NO! Sure enjoy life - that is scriptural - but when the king comes calling for it you must be generous on every occassion.
v12,13 for the rendering of this service not only supplies the wants of the saints but also overflows in many thanksgivings to God. 13 Under the test of this service, you will glorify God by your obedience in acknowledging the gospel of Christ, and by the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others;
The reason that we sow and reap, the reason that we give any offering at all is not because God tells us to tithe, is not because some demented prosperity doctrine advocate tells us to, but because it gives glory to God. It causes others to praise God. It strengthens the faith of others and encourages them causing them to long for you and pray for you (v14).