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#24988 Mon May 23, 2005 11:35 PM
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Persnickety Presbyterian
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Ted said:

Wouldn't a more Biblical question be, "Where in Holy Scripture is it written that God's people are no longer to tithe?"

A still more biblical question would be, "Where is the tithe ever commanded of Christians?"

There were three tithes instituted for ancient Israel:

1) An annual tithe which was to be taken to Jerusalem and used for festival celebration (Deut. 14:22–23).
2) A triennial tithe which was to be deposited in one's town in order to support the Levites and the poor (Deut. 14:28–29; Deut. 26:12).
3) An annual tithe which was given to the Levites in return for their priestly services (Num. 18:21).

Which of these is continually binding on the church? Surely neither the first nor the second is binding: we do not travel to Jerusalem once a year (imagine paying the tithe solely to feast!), and we do not live in towns in ancient Israel that are made up entirely of members of the church. Is the third binding? Well, if you think the Levites are still around performing priestly functions, perhaps it is! But actually, the levitical priesthood is done away, and we are all priests in Christ Jesus.

In fact, all of these tithes have been done away as part of the civil and ceremonial law of ancient Israel. We are instead left with a weightier principle: "Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (II Cor. 9:6–7).


Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.
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CovenantInBlood said:
We are instead left with a weightier principle: "Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (II Cor. 9:6–7).

Great point, Kyle. Isn't that the whole point of what Jesus was teaching in verses 21 thru 48 of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5)? Over and over Jesus thunders at me, "You have heard that it was said to those of old . . . . but I say . . . ."

In that passage of scripture I hear Jesus thundering at me, "but you, 'Christian' -- self-professed follower of me -- you will be held to a higher standard!"

Matthew 5:17-43 (ESV)
17"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Anger
21"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.' 22But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire. 23So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

Lust
27"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' 28But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Divorce
31"It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' 32But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Oaths
33"Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.' 34But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37Let what you say be simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything more than this comes from evil.

Retaliation
38"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' 39But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

Love Your Enemies
43"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'[/b]

Thanks be to God that He, in His magnificent wisdom and grace, provided the cross as a means of taking us out from under the condemning burden of the Law!

With great thankfulness,
Ted

#24990 Tue May 24, 2005 2:37 PM
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Ted,

I feel like we're talking past each other, here. Could you deal with the questions I brought up regarding the continuity of the tithe? Or do you agree in full with my assessment?


Kyle

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Kyle says:
Quote
In fact, all of these tithes have been done away as part of the civil and ceremonial law of ancient Israel.

Jesus says (in Matthew 5:17-20):
Quote
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Kyle, there seems to be a little conflict in thought here . . . . . . .

#24992 Tue May 24, 2005 4:21 PM
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Ted said:
Kyle says:
Quote
In fact, all of these tithes have been done away as part of the civil and ceremonial law of ancient Israel.

Jesus says (in Matthew 5:17-20):
Quote
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Kyle, there seems to be a little conflict in thought here . . . . . . .


Do we still have to circumcise? Eat kosher food? Perform the various sacrificial offerings in the form of animals and grains? Support a levitical priesthood? Make annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem?

Or were these things all done away in Christ Jesus, to whom they ultimately pointed?


Kyle

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Kyle said:
Do we still have to circumcise? Eat kosher food? Perform the various sacrificial offerings in the form of animals and grains? Support a levitical priesthood? Make annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem?

In Jesus' words:
"But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void." (Luke 16:17 ESV)

"For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:18-19 ESV)

#24994 Tue May 24, 2005 5:20 PM
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I'm glad you can quote the Bible, Ted. But going by that I'd have to assume you are a Judaizer and therefore a heretic. Why don't you answer my questions? Are we obligated to obey the ceremonial and civil ordinances of the Mosaic law?


Kyle

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Kyle wrote:
I'm glad you can quote the Bible, Ted. But going by that I'd have to assume you are a Judaizer and therefore a heretic. Why don't you answer my questions? Are we obligated to obey the ceremonial and civil ordinances of the Mosaic law?

Is what Jesus says about the Law is too "hard?" Perhaps a little "grace" is needed?

Galatians 3:10-12 (ESV)
For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them." Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for "The righteous shall live by faith." But the law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them."


Our original question was:
Quote
Are Christians mandated to tithe? That is to give a tenth of their goods to the church?

I have responded as follows:
Quote
I would respectfully submit that the question you ask doesn't get to the heart of what the Bible teaches.

Quote
Frankly, I think your original question ("Are Christians mandated to tithe?") is not a particularly good one.

Quote
The Biblical problem surrounds this line of thinking . . . .

Quote
Pilgrim said:
. . . . no one has yet established the biblical mandate which would require all believers to tithe 10% of their gross income.

. . . . which is just NOT a Biblical question/issue.

I think that the problem we are having here is that we are blurring the distictions between justification and sanctification.

We are justified before God by God's grace and by HIS glorious grace alone. However, God (through the work of the Holy Spirit) is sanctifying us from the moment we trust in Jesus' atoning work on the cross.

The original question, "Are Christians mandated to tithe? That is to give a tenth of their goods to the church?" is, in regard to justification, a simple "no." There is NOTHING we can do to be justified before God (short of keeping ALL the Law -- which we know is impossible!).

BUT as to what followers of Christ (who are in the process of being sanctified) do in regards to giving? From what I read of Scripture, we are called to a higher standard than the Law - we are called to glorify God. And I just can't image, in this culture, that glorifying God would look like anything less than a tithe -- especially for those of us with the relative leisure (time and money) to make entries on this discussion board (myself included!).

Amen?

Thankful to the LORD who atones for the sins of those whom He calls -- and for the grace of those who have been "discussing" this matter with me,
Ted

#24996 Tue May 24, 2005 7:23 PM
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Ted said:

I think that the problem we are having here is that we are blurring the distictions between justification and sanctification.

I don't think that's the problem here at all, which is perhaps why I feel like we're talking past each other. There was never any question as to how we are justified; the question was whether the tithe carries over as a commandment to be observed by Christians. I pointed out the hermeneutical problems with affirming that the tithe is an obligation for Christians. You have seemed to avoid that question all along, and focus on the fact that we are called to consider all that we have as Christ's. While that's true and important to keep in mind, it doesn't answer the basic question.


Kyle

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Kyle wrote:
. . . . the question was whether the tithe carries over as a commandment to be observed by Christians. I pointed out the hermeneutical problems with affirming that the tithe is an obligation for Christians. You have seemed to avoid that question all along, and focus on the fact that we are called to consider all that we have as Christ's. While that's true and important to keep in mind, it doesn't answer the basic question.

I take you, once again, to the words of our LORD Jesus . . .

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21 ESV

"Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Luke 12:33-34

#24998 Tue May 24, 2005 9:24 PM
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And Ted, I must say once again that it is great you can quote the Bible, but that doesn't answer the question at hand. Neither of those passages refers to tithing. We are told not to store up earthly treasure, but rather to give to the needy and to store up heavenly treasure, but nothing is said about percentages of total income, nor is anything said about giving to the local congregation or the national denominational body. So, could you kindly indicate where you think Scripture indicates that the TITHE is obligatory upon Christians?


Kyle

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CovenantInBlood said:
And Ted, I must say once again that it is great you can quote the Bible, but that doesn't answer the question at hand. Neither of those passages refers to tithing. We are told not to store up earthly treasure, but rather to give to the needy and to store up heavenly treasure, but nothing is said about percentages of total income, nor is anything said about giving to the local congregation or the national denominational body. So, could you kindly indicate where you think Scripture indicates that the TITHE is obligatory upon Christians?

Thanks Kyle that is what I've been trying to get him to answer for quite some time now. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />


Peter

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. Augustine of Hippo
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Boanerges said:
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CovenantInBlood said:
And Ted, I must say once again that it is great you can quote the Bible, but that doesn't answer the question at hand. Neither of those passages refers to tithing. We are told not to store up earthly treasure, but rather to give to the needy and to store up heavenly treasure, but nothing is said about percentages of total income, nor is anything said about giving to the local congregation or the national denominational body. So, could you kindly indicate where you think Scripture indicates that the TITHE is obligatory upon Christians?

Thanks Kyle that is what I've been trying to get him to answer for quite some time now. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

You guys are pulling my leg, right?

#25001 Tue May 24, 2005 11:39 PM
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You guys are pulling my leg, right?

Ted, I'm not pulling anyone's leg. I've asked some straightforward questions and would like some straightforward answers.


Kyle

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Kyle, my brother, you give me too much credit. The answers you seek are in the Bible. Please keep reading it and praying that the Holy Spirit will enlighten you. I will lift you up in prayer, also.

Yours in HIS service,
Ted

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