Ted said:
Man, Jeff. You are one tough customer when it comes to this thread. Me thinks you doth protesteth to much, but . . . . as you have CLEARLY pointed out to me before, I don't know your heart. To that, I concur.
Yes, I am one "tough customer" when someone tries to sell me that which God forbids I own. Can one protest too much when someone tries to bind your conscious to things whether they be laws, mandates, standards or principles which would negate or diminish the freedom found in Christ which He purchased with His own blood?

My opposition in this thread is to any form of teaching which would impose the old covenant "tithe" upon a new covenant believer in any shape or form, either directly or indirectly. One of the major problems here is the uncertainty of where you and a couple of others stand on this matter of the "tithe". You have made many contradictory statements in this regard. On the one hand you appear to insist on allowing the old covenant tithe, which belonged to theocratic Israel and them alone, to determine to some measure how a new covenant believer should govern himself in regard to giving; now called "stewardship". Yet, on the other hand you say you do not believe the "tithe" to be binding upon new covenant believers. What we, who oppose what you and the other(s) have been communicating is that the "tithe" has ANY bearing whatsoever upon Christians. I cannot help but be reminded of what Peter was doing in Antioch and which Paul rebuked him for.

Galatians 2:11-14 (ASV) "But when Cephas came to Antioch, I resisted him to the face, because he stood condemned. For before that certain came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing them that were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that even Barnabas was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Cephas before [them] all, If thou, being a Jew, livest as do the Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, how compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?"

Peter's problem was that he had one foot in the old covenant civil/ceremonial laws and the other in the new covenant. Evidently, Peter was slow to learn that in Christ, we are free from that which has passed. (cf. Acts 10:9-16). Pharisaism is unpalatable not matter how it is served. And even though it is hidden underneath the garnish, it will be discovered eventually.

Here is the truth once again: The tithe was specific to theonomic Israel and is not continuitous to the new covenant. It is not to be embraced as a law or mandate nor used as a principle or guide in regard to Christian stewardship. Once again, allow me to quote from the Apostle Paul; specifically his admonition to the Colossians:

Colossians 2:8; 16-23 (ASV) "Take heed lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ: . . . Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a feast day or a new moon or a sabbath day: which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ's. Let no man rob you of your prize by a voluntary humility and worshipping of the angels, dwelling in the things which he hath seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast the Head, from whom all the body, being supplied and knit together through the joints and bands, increasing with the increase of God. If ye died with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, do ye subject yourselves to ordinances, Handle not, nor taste, nor touch (all which things are to perish with the using), after the precepts and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship, and humility, and severity to the body; [but are] not of any value against the indulgence of the flesh."

You then asked:
Jeff, are you OPEN to what the Bible teaches about stewardship? (You know, just because the words "tithing" and "stewardship" are NOT used in the New Testament doesn't mean that there isn't something to learn about EACH in the New Testament . . . . )
Without doubt, I am open to the Bible's teaching about stewardship and everything else it teaches. But I am not open to the teachings of men who would bind my conscience to that which the Bible forbids. Even here, you cannot escape from this alluring "tithe" for you have bound it with "stewardship" and thus try to defend its perpetuity. The reason the "tithe" is not used in the New Testament is because it has been abrogated.... it's gone and never was it intended to be carried over into the new covenant. It has no place whatsoever in the new covenant. "Tithing" and "Stewardship" are mutually exclusive!!

Galatians 3:3 (ASV) "Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now perfected in the flesh?"

Beware of the Pharisees my brother. Have you fallen to the allurements of the flesh? If you believe that new covenant stewardship is to be determined and/or judged on the basis of "how much" one gives in relation to the old covenant tithe, i.e., 10%, then you have eaten of the leaven of the Pharisees. In short, if you believe that anyone who gives less than 10% of their gross income, etc., then they are guilty of [practicing sub-standard stewardship. And contrariwise, if one gives more than 10%, then this is at least an acceptable practice of stewardship. Then this is at best Pharisaism and can lead to legalism.

Lastly, and unfortunately you asked:
And, if we opened your checkbook, where would we see your heart is at?
And I must ask you, Would you judge my heart by totaling up how much money I have given to the Church and/or other Christian agencies? Would you conclude that if my total expenditures to the Church and other Christian agencies exceeded "10%" my heart was right before God? and if less, then my heart was not right before God. Would you judge that if less I am not practicing "good stewardship"? What of the use of my time and/or talent and the sharing and/or distribution of my material goods? Are they not part of biblical stewardship? Do these also have to meet the minimum standard of 10%? Is this a legitimate "test" of a man's heart?

Luke 18:10-14 (ASV) "Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I get. But the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, God, be thou merciful to me a sinner. I say unto you, This man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."

If, as it appears, you have allowed yourself to be under the yoke of the law; i.e., bound to the old covenant "tithe", then may God be pleased to cut those bonds and set you free, both in regard to your own stewardship and in regard to others.

In His Grace,

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simul iustus et peccator

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