Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pleasing and Acceptable: Allowing the Word of God to Define the Definitions - Part 1



* As always, please read preceding parts first to get the full picture.

Offerings/Tithing

Getting right into the thick of it now, do you embrace the 10% teaching? Why? (pause) OK, do you know why? How many times have we all heard, that "your tithe belongs to your home church and your offerings can go 'x'", basically. Who came up with this anyway? We'll look into this in a minute.

What did Jesus have to say to the promoters of the tithe in His day, in Matthew 23:13?

"But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in."

What was one of the ways that Jesus said that they did this in verse 23?

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others."

There is more revelation regarding how many Christians still errantly follow the old law in Matthew 23. For example, "Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: 'The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them'". (verses 1 through 3)

Let me ask you, do we still look to the teachings of the Scribes and Pharisees? Are they still seated in the chair of Moses? Absolutely not! We are a new covenant people under a new system, if you will, under Christ. Although I don't want to get too far into this, if the OT law on tithing applies with equal force to Gentile Christians as to Old Testament Jews, then multiple tithes are required, not just 10 percent but up to 20 to 30 percent, including your land! Perhaps tithing would be less acceptable in the eyes of men if this percentage were embraced, no?

The main issue with many who have used words like "seed", "house of God" and "tithe" never seem to really examine them biblically. For example, Exodus states, "You shall bring the choice first fruits of your soil into the house of the LORD your God." Fair enough. But if you read the rest of the verse, it goes on to say that "You are not to boil a young goat in the milk of its mother." I just don't remember a sermon about that part when the "church" needed a new sound system. Oh well.

We must wisely look at what the Word says as a whole and not pick and choose what we'd like to fit our personal preference. We must understand what is in place today, under the new covenant of Christ. The Bible is not a sermon outline resource book written to promote organizational agendas. It is the very Word of God and should be handled accordingly.

"Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, 'How have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, 'If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes' says the LORD of hosts." Malachi 3:8-11

Until I began looking into this, I did not fully realize how many "leaders" actually use this verse to endorse tithing. I do remember always hearing the "test the Lord with your tithe" part quite well however. I guess I just see this verse completely different than proponents of the common tithe. I was shown this verse by a friend over dinner as we discussed how we can effectively please the LORD. We discussed how it has been twisted to fit the religious mold. It has been taught that the storehouse is somehow the institutional church, God's "house". How do we arrive at such oddball conclusions? To me it simply states one thing - that God wants it all, not just some percentage. If you're going to "tithe", tithe it all! The latest thing now is if you "partner with us", you'll receive some double, triple, quadruple "ministry anointing" and such. I ask, who is partnering with God?

In this day and age, we always hear about the law of sowing and reaping, especially if you ever turn on Christian broadcasting. In fact, this seed-sower nonsense must be a requirement to get airtime anymore! But few seem to ever point out the entire verse that follows: "Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." 2 Corinthians 9:7

This verse absolutely does not fit what these self-professed evangelists push. Nor does it fit the institutional church mold whatsoever. You have to give under compulsion and obligation! Why? Well, the pastoral staff needs paid. The lights need to stay on. The van ministry needs gas money. The parking lot needs repaved. You get the idea. Have you not heard someone in leadership stand up and say that "unless you give today, we won't be able to (fill in the blank) this month". Of course you want to be a giver! You want to help! We are to desire to give – giving is not the issue, but how are you called to do it? What does God approve of and deem acceptable in His sight?

(Please keep in mind that I, on two separate occasions was on paid staff salary at churches. I know first-hand what it means to depend upon tithes and offerings in order to do "ministry".)

The obligatory tithe absolutely goes against God's desire for you to give cheerfully.

God wants us to give out of our being given to, not out of obligatory ritual or guilt. Ritualistic giving because it's "just what a Christian is supposed to do" negates the entire idea. One might even be able to assess that it could potentially make it all in vain, in God's eyes, according to the aforementioned Scriptures.

It is obvious that the LORD views giving in a completely different light than men as we see in Luke 21. "And [Jesus] looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins. And He said, 'Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.'"

Would you like a good gauge to find out where your heart lies in regards to giving? Do you keep track of what you give weekly, monthly, annually? Do you grab a calculator and figure up what exactly 10% is? Do you seek out tax exemptions and 501c3 organizations? It is not difficult to discern one's approach to giving really. I believe we should live a lifestyle of giving. I believe that when I see a need and can meet it, then I do so accordingly.

"But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?" 1 John 3:17

Because I'm no longer bound to tithing in order to pay for salaries, campus power bills and building programs, I can actually help people in need. I am free to extend the love of God!

We are called to love. Giving is loving in freedom. Tithing is obligatory law. There is a great difference.

Next we'll take a look into several biblical examples of how we are to worship. We'll place them side by side with common worship practices that we see today and see how they compare.



27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi! i have read some of your previous blogs and thus far agreed with you. On the tithing tip however, i don't agree with you AT ALL!!! Let me give you a little bit of my testimony, if i may, which i can trace back to tithing!!! I was working for Disney, making $9/hr, trying to raise my 15 yr old. Just left an abusive relationship of 11 years. I was living in an one bedroom apt. with 3 other girls (none of which helped me financially).... i went down on my knees and prayed for help....shortly thereafter GOD sent me my now husband who showed me the way to GOD and how to get saved. My hubby had backslid from GOD for a while, but used us getting together as a new start... we started paying our tithes every week and 4 years later we are living in a palace!!! we have 9441sqft under air, my hubby just got blessed with a Mercedes SL 500 and me with a Mercedes CLK320 (i have pics of it all on my profile)... NOBODY can tell me that tithing is not pleasing to GOD, as it wouldn't be in the Bible if HE was going to "change His mind" about it later! GOD has opened the windows of heaven over us and the blessings just keep coming...just like HE says in HIS word. Please don't lie on GOD.... i am deeply saddened that you would publish such a blog with your own opinion and try to make it truth! It is in the Bible and if you don't believe or you don't want to tithe (so that GOD can open the windows of heaven for you) then so be it....But don't try to stop others from getting blessed....GOD wants us to live abundantly, right? But hE also wants us to have faith right? So how would this play out, if not through tithes? If you have no faith you will try to work for everything yourself, so that you don't have to give GLORY TO GOD... How sad.... Anyways, i could go on and on but i wont... all i am asking is that you don't lie on GOD..i mean what's your next blog? JESUS was poor??? Come on now... can you write about the end times which we are in and what we can do to lead people to GOD.... THAT'S what's important...not how you don't think people should tithe cause it doesn't fit into your lifestyle.....

Harriet said...

*jumping up and down*
YAY!!
You are right on with this one too. ;)

I have always considered my helping others who had need to BE my tithe..nice to hear someone else with that understanding.

Like a Mustard Seed said...

God wants us to live abundantly, right? (but does "abundantly" = rich?)

"...men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."
1 Timothy 6:5-10

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence,
"The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?"
Hebrews 13:5,6

- Daniel

Joel Spencer said...

Anonymous: Out of respect that this might be a legitimate comment, I will address it accordingly. For starters, if a mansion and a Mercedes is somehow proof that tithing is biblical, then what do you say then for those who tithe and have little to nothing? What does this approach say to what Jesus taught of the widow's mite?

As far as "lieing on God" by "publishing my own opinion" I ask you, what do you say of the Scriptures that I listed? Do you disagree with what They state as well?

I just don't see how earthly gain fits into the teaching of giving. I don't give to receive. I give because I have been given to, beyond measure.

As you mentioed, I have heard preachers say that Jesus was wealthy and that the wise men brought Him gold and frankinsence because He sold them to "fund His ministry". Do people really believe this to be true? Did Jesus, The Word made flesh, really need ministry partners? (sigh)

My friend, the "riches" that I have been given cannot be counted or measured with earthly scales. I have been blessed with what I need and much more and that is enough for me.

Thank you for sharing your opinion and view, even if it is vastly different than mine.

Joel Spencer said...

Harriet: I always felt so guilty for never knowing if I was "meeting the required 10%".. would God favor me more if I gave more and be mad at me if I gave less?

Just like what I'm learning that is applicable in nearly every area of our Christian walk, it is the origin that is the issue. If I give out of obligation/duty/guilt it is nothing like when I give out of love and cheerfulness. God wants me to obey/submit/give/love because I want to.

Daniel: I hear ya. Less is more when it comes to earthly riches compared to the riches of the eternal Kingdom.

Tammy said...

Thank you!! This is also what I thought to be true about tithing. We do not tithe with the thought that God will love us more or not or that maybe will find greater favor with him if we tithe this much or that. Or maybe he will give me more earthly things if I tithe this much. We do not give so that we can get. We give as unto the Lord and where he leads us to give and in doing so our heart in giving is what Jesus looks at. Nothing else. Christ was a carpenter by trade and never once did he build a physical church. Christ does not look at a building with importance. He always looks at the heart. Not that a church building if serving God through is not important if thats how you want to worship but that was never his agenda. Thank you again as you lift my spirit in truth!

Amy said...

Joel,
Great post! I agree with everything you mentioned here. Truly, we New Testament Believers are wise to give then the Holy Spirit prompts us to. I certainly have noticed a love for giving renewed, and also a freedom. Truly, we give from our hearts, not according to any formula or law.

This Scripture verse truly rings it home to me: "Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7)

Blessings,
~Amy :)

Anonymous said...

isnt that what God is all about,
blessing us???
isnt He all about
giving us new cars, houses, fancy shoes and clothes to wear to our fancy church building with fancy chairs with your pastor who also is wearing a fancy suit so after our the service we can go and drink our punch in our fancy cups.
Wait, thats why he sent his most precious thing to earth to die the most gruesome death for our sins, that we would live in luxery and dont forget that free pass to heaven, right?

mm, so easy, 1, 2, 3 steps to Gods favor in your life.

God has purpose for us, blessings for us, doors that no man can open for us, seeds of blessin'' that no man can other then God can sow into our life...RIGHT.

doesnt he want me to HAPPY?!
happiness is the main goal right?
AFter all Jesus preached happiness in the kingdom along with him being rich and having a place to rest his head. Didnt he have a treasury disciple traveling around with him, budgeting his money
?

the bible definitively doesnt teach us if we're to follow him that we would be persucted, no he didnt teach self denial rather self gain.

IF I JUST GO AND TITHE MY LITTLE 10% TO GOD, THEN MERCY, ILL RECEIVE MY HEARTS DESIRE (STUFF, GAIN, RICHES )
IF I TITHE.
mm im so glad i havnt shut off mhy bowls of mercy towards people, because i tithe to my pastor, so he can drive his fancy car.

When good things happen to us, we mark it with Gods blessings and how hes led us into prosperity paradise. I do not think its wrong to have stuff, nor do am i against living in a house and owning a car, if it was then i would be missing Gods whole point.

Its all about Jesus. Cant we see that?!!!

Tithing is one of the most ridiculous things ever. And if I'm wrong someone please correct me, point me somewhere in the bible that God wants me to live abundantly in health and wealth and happiness?

frustrated?
hurt?


just a little.

modern mainstream Christianity today, speaks,
and what does it say?

it speaks: SELF>God

Anonymous said...

anonymous #1,

why dont you tell your testimony to the thousands of brothers and sisters that are dying & suffering for the sake of their abundant life that they lead for THE GOSPEL of Jesus? Maybe if they tithed God would pour out a blessing upon them and they would stop uh..suffering?..
OR,
tell that to those living in complete poverty, that if they would get 'saved' and tithe that God would open up the heavens and pour out a blessing on them. That would mean for some that relatives would be cured of sickness and livestock would increase and they would have all the food to their hearts desire.

"tithing" is not FOR US, its for God. My possessions, my life is not my own. For its not I who longer live, but
christ in me.
READ the book of ACts on how the early church lived. They sold
everything the owned, lived
in community and gave to shared
their belongings.
The reason why tithing and
this prosperity gospel is
so popular because
our american culture is
centered around it. We
almost have to get stuck
in its system in order
to even function in society.

What about the thousands of
pepole that are blessed with
riches yet live wicked
life styles?

How God gets glory is when I have forsaken myself and live by faith in such a way that i seek first his kingdom, because its life more then food and clothing? Yes yes, their is joy beyond
measure and riches
beyond fathoming.
Not where rust
can destroy
or thieves can come in
and steal,
no
they are REAL ETERNAL
riches.

Anonymous said...

10% of my money

or

100% of my life, ,

Which one does He want?




(lauren)

Joel Spencer said...

General Response: I can't seem to figure out sarcasm versus real convictions in some of these "anonymous" responses so I will say this - humans are the ones enamored with God giving us "things". Preachers and evangelists declare "test God" and give! He has to bless you! This is not the God that I know, He does nothing because He owes me. When He offers salvation to us, He offers health, wholeness, completeness, etc. - much more than financial gain.

As I don't believe He would desire anyone to be without food to eat and clothes to wear, I personally have seen that those without are far closer to Him than those with much. The less ties one has to this earth, the closer they are to the understanding the temporal reality of it all.

Lastly, to Lauren, He does want all of us! He doesn't need or want my money, He wants me.

Anonymous said...

I tithed my whole life after getting a job at 15 years old and have given 10% until I realized that God my Father wanted more! My tithe was nothing to HIm. He wanted ME! since I quit tithing I have given more financially then I ever did. all of "My" money is really not "My" money. IT is HIs and HE has it all. So....I agree that the windows of blessing are not just the nice things and great cars. To the poor person who thinks that a car is a proof of the blessing of tithing, I pray that you will see the true blessing of giving....Christ came to set us free from the Law and the only law he said that we are to keep is to love HIm and love others. If we do that..well you get the point. MOney is not the issue.
bpk

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Hi! The subject of tithing is one of the more controversial topics in the church. Nothing gets people more nervous than the issue of money! As a believer, I think it is really up to individual churches to decide how they are going to fund their ministries. Are they going to fund their ministries mainly through donations? Or are they going to fund their ministries through commericial enterprise such as fundraising concerts, garage sales, book sales, CD sales, wall plaques, trinkets, etc. Many churches have resorted to "buying and selling" to make up short-falls in their budgets due to poor giving (and some churches just like to have big bank accounts!).
I used to be in a church that did not believe in tithing. The members would return very paltry donations such as $1 or $2, and yet would spend great amount of money on themselves in expensive homes and cars. I remembered when I thought I was being generous when I dropped $20 in the collection plate! Those days are now behind me. I give happily because I want the ministry of the church to continue, and I know there is no lack of funds in God's ministry. He will provide us the funds so that we can fund His ministry.
Here is what people misunderstand about giving. They think it is all about them. They think that the more money they give the more money they will get. Where does it say so in the Bible? That is a selfish approach and promotes greed. Many have tried to justify this approach by quoting Luke 6:38 where it says, "Give, and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give unto your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." If you however read the whole chapter, you will see that Jesus was not talking about specifically about money, but about life. In that, you reap what you sow. If you are uncondemning, others will be uncondemning of you(vs. 37, if you forgive, others will forgive you (vs. 37), if you give love to others God will reward and honor you (vs. 35), etc.
The giving that the Bible promotes is selfless, where the focus is on helping others or a ministry, and where the reward and blessing is in seeing your hard-earned dollars bearing the fruit of righteousness in the life of others. This is the true law of sowing and reaping; but in our modern greed-driven culture, this idea just won't sit well.
In my book, "Surviving a Global Economic Crisis: A Biblical Perspective" I deal with just such issues of giving and prosperity. A direct link to a summary of my book is on my blog.

Joel Spencer said...

Bpk: What you stated reminded me of how we always used to do car washes for youth group fundraisers. Often, if we charged a set price we'd make less than half of what we would if we made it a "donation only" event. The freedom to give allows the giver to let loose and give freely - often more generously because they're not bound to limitations and boundaries. I believe it is the same thing with tithing. When I removed the "10% to the penny rule", I found that I could give whatever whenever and that is freedom.

Daughter: I personally believe that if the Body grasped the biblical concept of giving, so many more needs would be met and we'd see so much more Kingdom fruit. As you referenced what Jesus spoke on this matter, it involves much more than just our money.

NINA said...

To the anonymous after AMY . Proverbs 13:21 "Misfortune pursues the sinner, but prosperity is the reward of the righteous.
Proverbs 19:8
"he who cherishes understanding prospers"
"Jesus came so that we may have life more abundantly"
"He would that you would prosper and be in good health"

The problem is that people confuse prosperity with money. The problem is that people confuse abundance with money.people confuse wealth with money. Wealth is defined as an abundance of valuable possessions.To prosper means to flourish or to make successful. A rich man is not defined by what He has but by the things that he does not go in need of. God does not care about a dollar ok. There is no Nations bank in heaven. God has no need of money, nor does He care if we have money. In biblical times people gave animals, oil, crop etc.Truthfully, the dollar is not worth anything in the world today but simply serves as means of currency representing gold that is somewhere else. The point of tithing has nothing to do with money, but the issues of the heart. The reason the dollar is used as a tithe is because obviously, it is the thing "worth" most to man.If not, the topic of money would not even be the major issue in a blog about tithing.(smile) It's a means of exchange representing the gold that is somewhere else."Where your heart is there lies your treasure". Yes God does award some with "money" but He has no concern about money. Just like I might reward my son with a toy or I might take away a toy for punishment. That toy means nothing to me> The truth is that food, clothing, and his education are much more important but toys are a way of exchange that HE can relate to.Once we have grown to a point where "money" is not our treasure we then realize that God has awarded us in abundance even when our bank accounts are empty. It no longer serves as our primary means of exchange.I don't have a lot of money, but I have much more. I have provision. My needs are being met, sometimes supernaturally. Tithing is a personal decision between man and God.It is a means of exchange that can only be defined by a man's heart.I found that I have tithed much more in deeds than in money, in return God has rewarded me much more in deeds than in money.That tithe thing is a touchy thing. I never touch it. But I believe that people who are animate about the dollar tithe SHOULD just go ahead and pay the dollar tithe. Because that just may be their wealth.It is the same as the widow's coin, only in reverse. How can we look down on them for giving "just money" if that's all that they have?(smile) Just something to think about...? Tithing is about putting God first and not forsaking Godly principles.Anyway, I believe the point of tithing is to present a sacrifice for the Kingdom of God.However, first we have to have an understanding of Kingdom, but that is a whole other topic.Not gonna touch that either...LOL

Joel Spencer said...

Nina: You brought up some good points. The subject of tithing and offerings should be much larger than just money issues.

I felt I couldn't overlook it, despite how much controversy it brings. I just want us to know why we do what we do and, most importantly, what the Word of God has to say about it all.

NINA said...

I'd just like to add that the real problem is not with the givers, but with those are receiving. Many tithers tithe with the belief that they are sowing into the kingdom of God and we both know that is not the case. The problem with the tithe is not the money but the ignorance. There would be no problem with giving 10 percent of income or first fruits(whatever that may be) if we sow into fertile ground and most of all, we should sow with a pure heart. The very concept of tithing has been perverted by "church" people. They give to receive and those receiving, receive and not give.The very seed has become cursed. Is the harvest cursed because of the seed or is the seed cursed because of the harvest? What came first the chicken or the egg?

Tim Rhodes said...

Thank you for this post-- it perfectly articulates my unorganized thoughts on tithing.

You put it so well: the obligation of tithing takes away the joy we should have in giving.

Joel Spencer said...

Nina: Good point. The problem is on both ends. We just screw it all up don't we! ;)

Tim: I'm glad that this article gave some order to your thoughts. I don't believe that anything done out of duty alone can be done joyfully. My willingness to give exemplifies my understanding of what I have been given.

Great to see you here!

rave.n said...

I do believe that it is biblical to help support those that are feeding us spiritually.

Also that when we're called to clothed the naked, feed the hungry, and visit those that are lonely and in prison -- that sometimes means US. Not just a "paid staff" from the church.

Both of these scenarios will cost us and whether we call it a tithe or not I do believe that God does require it out of us.

Maybe not everyone at the same time but that's the beauty of walking closely with God. If we're sensitive to His voice He'll direct us.

And He'll even direct us when we need to have faith on Him to provide or ask others for help.

You know I've struggled to keep food in my own cabinets at times but still feel led to host large groups in my home. It was a painful process to not just ask God for help but to ask others as well.

And I was NEVER turned down. People cheerfully gave and some even referred to it as their tithe. As long as people are cheerfully giving out of obedience and/or a heart to connect others to Christ - does it really matter if they call it a "tithe"?

Joel Spencer said...

Raven: I don't disagree that it's biblical to support those who help us, I just desire to see us do it correctly. For the most part, people give because they are told they're supposed to - again, arriving back at the obligation point, but do they know why?

To answer your question "does it really matter if they call it a 'tithe'?", I personally like to call things what they really are, but I know most people see that as getting hung up on wording. Whether you call you "tithe" or something else, it's not the label but the intention that matters. If I help someone out of guilt or because God will be upset if I don't, what I name it is insignificant. Likewise, if I give out of a heart of generosity and love, it is what it is and needs no definition. Again, this is about much more than money. Money should be easy to let go of, for it is the epitome of temporal. (I'm also saying this to myself!).

My point with this, as with all matters we address here, is the origin of why we do what we do. I guess I just believe that if the Body truly gave out of love (and knew one anothers needs to begin with) we wouldn't need all of these programs and things to do it for us. This applies to those within the Body and those who are not.

The bottom line for me is this - do I give because I love or do I give to meet a quota? One has no boundaries or limitations, the other is always checking to see if I have met the goal yet. I see a great difference.

Good questions Raven. :)

rave.n said...

kewl.

Seth said...

Thanks for this post. I have recently come to this understanding as well. Some have been teaching on it for years. One little booklet that I read and endorse which is actually from an ongoing publication called "Searching Together" edited by Jon Zens of searchingtogether.org. The issue that I read was titled "How Shall We Then Give" It had a critique of a book titled "There is gold in them there pews" and the main article which dealt with the whole tithe issue and how we ought to give, along with how coming under the tithing law actually hurts our faith. He made the point that those who come back under the old covenant law of tithing (although as you mentioned and as it is mentioned in this booklet that the true OT tithe is around 30% and isn't neccasarily money) actually start living by works again and frustrate the grace of God. He states that those who currently teach tithe or writhe are the new juadizers and that there is more evidence to promote circumcision than tithing in the bible. He states and I agree that when you come under the OT law of tithing then you begin to suffer from a guilty conscience. For instance did I give enough or not. Some have fear some give for gain and when someone gets a guilty conscience then they start going up and down with the walk with God and incite sin in them. We are free from the law of sin and death. This is a poor synopsis of what is in that booklet and the author does a much better job. If you want to obtain a copy go to the website and get Jon Zens number give him a call and he will send it to you. I believe its like $5 or something or you can e-mail me at zoelifeseth@gmail.com and I will send you a copy for free. I only have a few. Also, a brother from Austrailia recently did a series of video blogs on this subject and covered in detail and attempted at bringing a biblical balance from those who were under tithe or writhe and those who flee from all type of purposed giving. go to christisall.org and check out the 5 part series titled "Principles in New Testament Ministry Money". The brother who did this series is Brett Jacobsen and he used to be a head pastor of a Instutional church and lived off of the salary until the Lord opened his eyes to much of what you Joel have been teaching on your blog and he dismantled the church and took himself out of the official pastor role so that the believers could start living in a more day to day kingdom of God Christ centered community. Very encouraging stuff. Thanks for your work. I personally feel it is encouraging to connect with those the Lord is speaking through the same and similar lines of truth from the word whether through their writings or in personal fellowship.

Joel Spencer said...

Seth: Welcome! Thanks for sharing where you are personally as well as what some other people/materials are saying about the matter.

I agree, we must let each other know that we're out here. Sometimes the little flock seems painfully so. I hope to see you stick around and continue to share your views, whether we agree or not.

thehoov143 said...

Good writing on tithing. I do believe this is the bruise on the church's face. Yes we need to give. But not to an organization if we don't want to. We are all stewards of God with our money. Not just the amount we give to which ever cause but the amount we live on and spend on things for ourselves. Is what we are doing with the money God has given us pleasing to Him? Most likely it is not. The bible says you will not truely trust in the lord with everything if you don't trust him with your money. (due to time i am not looking up the verse, i paraphrased)

I know i have struggled for years on where, how much and how to give. I am getting better at it. And honestly it wasn't til a couple years ago that i realized i didn't have to give to a church.

Thanks for this blessing!

Joel Spencer said...

Hoov: Good points. I think we'll continue to understand how to freely give the deeper we go in Him. The more I leave the things of this world behind, the more free I become to "my" possessions.

zantocon said...

There is nothing wrong with giving 10%. You are correct in saying that it is not required. However, one who is truly a disciple of Christ will give. He will give, and give. It will not be about the percentage, it will be about the giving.

The 10% mark is a good goal to meet. It is something to set and see, but one doesn't have to feel guilty if they do not make it. If they have more one month, it's also something they can give more of. We should always be wanting to give more to God, since it all belongs to him anyway. Tithing is about more than money. It's about time, energy, clothing, ourselves.

We should be willing to give to charities in the form of donations, volunteering, and yes money. As you said above, we should be meeting the needs of those who do not have, with what we have been given. Even if it's not a lot.

I tithe as much as I can when I can. I do not have a Mercedes SL 500. Nor do we have a palace. Through frugal living, we are paying off our home and our car. Our children have food and clothing, and we are trying to stay out of debt. (As I think all Christians should be good stewards of what God has given them.) The lesson here I think is that 10% is not a requirement, since we are not under the theocratical laws nor the priestly cleanliness laws of the Old Testament. I do however believe we are still bound by the moral laws.

To make a long post short: we are not required to tithe, but we should tithe.

In Christ,
Brian