Friday, February 08, 2008

OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD

So busy at work these days, but my mind is constantly plotting and pondering.

Here's what's on my mind and most likely to formulate into an article down the line:

*Preaching: It's not that I don't believe in it, it's just that I have really very little faith in the ability of preaching to motivate people to change their life. Most people sit and listen to a sermon and go home the same as before and repeat it over and over again, week after week. Yet, I often speak or preach at other churches and events, so it's not that I think it's completly worthless. I just wish there was a better way to teach people and to inspire them to move forward in their walk with Christ. At our house church I never preach and yet our people are growing and learning and stepping out of their comfort zones. More on this later...

*Constantinian Church: Once again I am faced with my misgivings concerning traditional church and the way this model inhibits real community, vulnerability and transformation. Still struggling with how to respond to this.

*Heretical Televangelists: Why is it that this guy can get on television and twist the words of Jesus into something he absolutely didn't say or teach, and yet still be the most popular and beloved "Christian" pastor in America? What am I supposed to do about that? Is the best response to keep silent and pray for him privately, or to speak out and sound the alarm that this person is mis-representing the words of Jesus and turning the Gospel into something unrecognizable as being "Christian"? Still working this one out...

*The tithe and the offering belongs to the poor, the outcast and the marginalized. My personal faith has been challenged due to this conviction and our house church was founded on the desire to give 100% of the offering away to the poor in our community. How do I speak out about this without alienating or "attacking" those in the traditional church? How do I share my deepest convictions without causing division in the Body? Not sure about this one either...

More later, I promise.
kg

4 comments:

George said...

A recent book by Frank Viola and George Barna may prove beneficial to you. The book is 'Pagan Christianity'. It will help you understand the success at the house church versus the failure of spectator Christianity. The book was a blessing to me.

On the issue of tithes -
None of the 'tithing' that occurs now has any connection to the definition of tithing contained in the Bible. (other than to mention 10%)

In a nutshell, the were four tithes.
1)The Levitical tithe required those who raised crops (not everyone and not all professions - just those who raised crops) to give 10% of that to the Levites. This tithe only occurred 6 years out of the 7 year cycle. It also required those that raised 10 or more animals to give each tenth animal that passed under the rod to the Levites. If a person raised less than 10 animals, they were NOT required to tithe.
2) From what was given to them, the Levites in turn had to give the very best to the priests.
3) The festival tithe required that those who raised crops or animals to set aside 10% for the annual festivals. It was for the people to have a party and consume the food joyfully and alcoholic beverages (strong drink) if they wanted.
4) The Poor tithe occurred only in the 3rd and 6th years of the seven year cycle. This was set aside for the poor. 



All tithes were always food and NEVER money.




I go into more detail on my website www.inyourbible.com, where, if you have a high speed internet connection, you can view or download my FREE series of 10 - 30 minute lessons titled "The Truth About Tithing".



I take two of the lessons to explain the 'Truth About Abrams Tithe'. It clearly is NOT the precedent setting example that we have been told. For starters, Abram did not give his own money.



We should be generous but the poor widow is NOT our example. She was being plundered by church leaders. (
Video Lesson- The Truth About the Widow's Gift" on www.inyourbible.com)

There is no single formula for Christians to be able to judge for themselves whether they are generous or not. Each person needs to hear from God for themselves.

pablo said...

Funny thing all this discussion of the tithe. In 30 plus years of full time ministry mostly in 3rd. world countries, I have been approached by scores of people who wanted prayer for their financial problems. Only one or two in all were faithful tithers. I have talked on tithing in the poorest villages and seen the most dramatic results in a very short time. It a little late to tell me that the tithe is not biblical. You can boast in your New Testament freedom but if a believer, especially in our rich country, is not giving at least 10% of his income to the work of God then I think he is just stingy!

Keith Giles said...

I wouldn't say the tithe is "unbiblical", but I would say that the way the Church uses it is. That is, for themselves.

The early Church, for the first 300 years, would never dream of spending the offering on itself...and they never did. For 300 years, beginning with Jesus and under the leadership of the Apostles and early church fathers, the Church always spent the poor to assist the poor, the widow, the orphan, the sick, and the outcast.

If anyone wants to receive a 25 page PDF documenting this I'd be happy to send it via email totally free. Just email me at elysiansky (at) hotmail (dot) com and ask for it.

Giving is something every believer should do, but I object to the practice of spending 90% of the offering/tithe on the building, the sound system, the pastor's lunch meetings, etc. and 10% (or less) on actually helping people in need.

Last year our little house church gave away over $4k to the poor in our community. That's what it's all about.

kg

Brent said...

I'd like to contribute to this conversation from my understanding of the scriptures.

Giving and tithing are two very different things. The New Testement if full of examples and exhortations to work diligently and give generously. Believers in relatively prosperous Asia Minor gave to other believers in Jeruselem who were hit by hard times. Believers sent a financial gift to Paul on more than one occasion to help him while he was working to start new churches or was in prison. Believers helped out widows and orphans. Believers opened their homes and dinner tables to traveling teachers and prophets. Paul taught that God does bless those who give, and that giving should be done joyfully and freely - not out of compulsion.

Tithing on the other hand is a religious duty or law. By definition therefore to not tithe would be a sin and is robbing God. Tithing was intended to support the levitical priesthood who did not get a portion of land as did the other tribes - for service to God was their portion. The system of levitical priesthood and the law were nailed to a cross with Christ. We can now live in the liberty of walking in the Spirit. Joyful giving is a part of that walk. A legal requirement to give 10% of our income to support a new clergy is something that the New Testement simply does not support.

Therefore, I am sure George has done his homework and knows more about the Old Testement system of tithes than I do. In addition, everything Pablo said is still true if we replace the word "tithe" with "giving." Lastly, as generous givers we can be a blessing to the poor, the widow and orphan as Keith states. And we certainly wouldn't want to consume our own charity so that we have no impact outside of our own religious community.