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#25033 Thu May 26, 2005 12:56 PM
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You keep missing the point, my brother.

No, Ted, it is you who is missing the point. Giving of myself and my possessions is part and parcel of Christian living. The TITHE, however, is not a mandate to which Christians are expected to adhere. The TITHE, like the rest of the ceremonial and civil laws of ancient Israel, has been done away. We no longer have a levitical priesthood or a theocratic Israel. We no longer need concern ourselves with percentages of our income, any more than we need concern ourselves with making annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem or sacrificing animals or keeping kosher. We are rather to be concerned with giving freely and cheerfully, in accordance with our means and with prayer and the exercise of wisdom, to the glory of God and the advancement of the Gospel.


Kyle

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#25034 Thu May 26, 2005 1:14 PM
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Ted said:
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Kyle wrote:
No, Ted, it isn't. The question was whether we are commanded, as Christians, to give a tenth part our income to the church. "Yes" or "no" suffice as basic answers. From there you could make your scriptural argument.

I wrote, in my very first post,
Quote
I would respectfully submit that the question you ask doesn't get to the heart of what the Bible teaches. A simple answer would be, "No, we are required to give everything we have, but only after we've given our hearts to God."

In a subsequent post, I wrote:
Quote
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!).

So, it would appear, that the "no" has been plainly stated.

No, it hasn't, Ted. The intent of the original question was not to determine whether we should consider all we have as God's and whether we should be willing to give it all, which at any rate none of us disagrees with. The intent of the original question was to determine whether the TITHE is a perpetually binding mandate. Here was a question regarding a specific, practical example, which you refused to answer on the same terms, but instead expanded to universal morality and have confused at least three people (myself, Pilgrim, and Boanerges) as to what, exactly, you are trying to convey in regards to the tithe itself. Rather than telling us whether the tithe itself is a continuing ordinance, you have insisted on constantly repeating that we are called to give. Yes, we are called to give, but GIVING is not the same as TITHING. Furthermore, you have made it into an issue of justification where NO ONE has even touched on justification! As I've told you at least two separate times now, we have no disagreement regarding justification. Justification is, in fact, beside the point of this particular discussion.

Quote
Let's look at it from a different angle, my brother. Which of the "fruits of the Spirit" have you been displaying to me in the process of our "discussion?"

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. - Galatians 5:22-24 ESV

Quote
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?

--------------------
By His Grace,
Kyle

Respectfully submitted with the best interests of your soul,
Ted
[/quote]

Ted, what about that quote of mine is unloving, unjoyful, unpeaceful, impatient, unkind, bad, unfaithful, gruff, or out-of-control? It is a statement of fact which I stand by, which I made to make it all the more clear to you that I wanted you to expound rather than merely spout verses! When I say that the ceremonial and civil law, of which the tithe is a part, is done away, and you reply with Jesus' words saying that whoever annuls the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called the least in heaven, without any explanation of yours attached what other conclusion can be drawn but that you think the entirety of the Mosaic law is still in effect and binding on the Christian conscience?


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Hey lets back up a bit and take in all this...

Thats a great way to put it, now that I think about it. Thank you both Ted and CIB for making me think about the idea of a tithe. I don't think it ought to be a legal matter (it never was, but I never thought about it like that). Like Wes said, its a matter of cheerfully giving from your heart.

I don't think there's a biblical mandate, as such, but I do think that Christians are frequently guilty of quenching the Spirit of God moving them to give--mostly in the interests of their own materialistic wants and desires. I don't know how many folks I've talked to who have said they've given instead of buying some thing for themselves only to discover that they were better off without the thing or found that it was provided later.

That said, most churches call it a tithe. Does that mean that they are demanding ten percent of your income in the tradition of the OT Law?


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doulos said:

I don't think there's a biblical mandate, as such, but I do think that Christians are frequently guilty of quenching the Spirit of God moving them to give--mostly in the interests of their own materialistic wants and desires. I don't know how many folks I've talked to who have said they've given instead of buying some thing for themselves only to discover that they were better off without the thing or found that it was provided later.

Yes, we can certainly agree on this point. I have found myself guilty of the same on numerous occassions. It's all too easy to deceive ourselves into treating our desires as necessities, forgetting that the real necessity is trust in God working though obedience to Him.

Quote
That said, most churches call it a tithe. Does that mean that they are demanding ten percent of your income in the tradition of the OT Law?

I think a lot of churches do make it a legalistic requirement, though certainly not all of them. The terminology of "tithe" certainly recalls the Mosaic law, as well as the tithes of Abram to Melchizedek and Jacob to God and so forth. To give a tithe is not wrong, but too often undue emphasis is put on the 10% figure of the tithe. The suggestion you made earlier to Pilgrim, that a poor family should move into worse living conditions than they are already in so as to meet the 10% mark is, I think, legalistic. We should give freely and in accordance with our means, with prayer and wise stewardship. A poor family may not have the means to give 10% of their income to the church without unwise stewardship. As I have said, I don't believe such a family should have to worry about meeting that mark of giving, but rather the whole church should be concerned about providing for the needs of that family.


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Must have read that post wrong or something. I suggested what to Pilgrim?


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doulos said:
I don't think there's a biblical mandate, as such, . . .<cut>

That said, most churches call it a tithe. Does that mean that they are demanding ten percent of your income in the tradition of the OT Law?
Can you see the tension here? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/Ponder.gif" alt="" /> There is no biblical mandate which would require a N.T. believer to render a "tithe" offering, i.e., defined as "10% of one's gross income to the Church". So, if a church teaches that N.T. believers are to give a "tithe", then it is most definitely inextricably connected to the "tradition of the OT law", for there is nothing in the N.T. that would require it to be given.

This is the issue which some of us, especially CovenantInBlood, have been trying to discuss, i.e., is the O.T. teaching concerning the "tithe" continuitous; carried over into the N.T. church? If it is, then it is a mandate and obligatory upon all who profess Christ. It becomes a matter of obedience to the will of God no less than one reading the Scriptures, attending worship services, worshipping God aright, praying, etc., all which are evidences of ones spiritual state. (cf. Jam 2:26) So, while this matter is specifically one of sanctification (how one lives out their faith), if the "tithe" is accepted a a mandate, then it of necessity becomes a "test" of one's spirituality; "faith without works is dead". Thus the importance of establishing whether tithing is binding upon the conscious of a Christian or not. If it is a mandate, then it is not a matter of choice but of duty. And a failure to "tithe" would be therefore a sin and also a basis for discipline by the Church.

If one is convinced in their heart that the O.T. "tithe" is binding, then that person should do as they think is right. However, if the "tithe" is not binding, then one is free to give more or less than the "10% of the gross income to the Church" and give more or less and to whomsoever they choose. But in either case, the giving must be done from the heart, for the furtherance of the kingdom of God, the maintenance of God's servants, the aid of the poor and needy, etc. And so I think this matter belongs to the category of the "Adiaphora" (things indifferent, cf. Rom 14; 1Cor 10). The "weaker brother", i.e., those who believe he is bound by a mandate to tithe must do so for the sake of his own conscience. But it is not permitted that this weaker brother judge others who have come to live under the freedom merited for them in Christ. It is certainly permissible to urge all believers to be good stewards and to use what God has given to them wisely and for the glory of God. But it is decidedly a whole other matter to demand that one give "10% of one's gross income to the church" as a minimum. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/nono.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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It reminds me of the dilemma that Peter found himself in. On the one hand he was the Apostle who went to the tanner's house to be shown that the gentiles were to have the gospel preached to them just as the Jews. On the other he is publicly denounced by Paul for not sitting with them. He knows in his heart what is right but facing his peers he follows the pack.

Is it the Law or not? Is it mandated or should you do so because you feel it is the right thing to do? I think that if we ever reach a consensus it will ruin the idea of giving from your heart and turn it into a Law. Its not a public thing, its a personal decision made in the "prayer closet" and carried out as quietly as possible.


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doulos said:
Must have read that post wrong or something. I suggested what to Pilgrim?

Sorry if I've confused you. Here's the exchange I'm speaking about:

Quote
Pilgrim said:
Quote
doulos said:
We give him the top piece from gross income before we pay any bills. There is always enough. Why does it have to be so hard?
I'm really curious how you would feel if your situation was like far too many in the world outside of the affluent Western societies who barely have enough to eat, never mind concerning themselves with which DVD to rent? There is no question that the Lord provides for all the necessities of life for His own, although at times even those are sometimes meagre, yet they are enough to sustain life. So, let's take a hypothetical example, although it is probably all too real for some. You are working two jobs and bring home $250/week. Your monthly obligations, which include no "luxuries", total $999. So, if you distribute your alleged obligation of a 10% tithe, i.e. $100, to your local church and other agencies, who would you suggest you do not pay what is owed? Do you slight your rent/mortgage payment? eat less? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/scratch1.gif" alt="" /> Would you suggest that a family of 5 live in a 2-room apartment which is less costly so that this 10% tithe can be met?

That post is here. You responded here as follows:

Quote
Yes, actually I would.

Now, unless I've completely misread you, you were saying that you think a family of five should move into a two-room apartment in order to pay the tithe. That's what I was refering to.


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doulos said:
It reminds me of the dilemma that Peter found himself in. On the one hand he was the Apostle who went to the tanner's house to be shown that the gentiles were to have the gospel preached to them just as the Jews. On the other he is publicly denounced by Paul for not sitting with them. He knows in his heart what is right but facing his peers he follows the pack.

Is it the Law or not? Is it mandated or should you do so because you feel it is the right thing to do? I think that if we ever reach a consensus it will ruin the idea of giving from your heart and turn it into a Law. Its not a public thing, its a personal decision made in the "prayer closet" and carried out as quietly as possible.
doulos,

Your illustration using Peter is quite good, IMHO. But I fear you have missed the fundamental issue which he faced. His heart was right, i.e., he knew that the Gentiles were to be included in the Church, yet he was still bound to the old civil law which drove him to his dissimulation and for which Paul had to rebuke him. If it is of the law or not has little to do with the disposition of the heart. For in fact, the moral law is still binding upon Christians, yet our conformity to it is not one done begrudgingly, but cheerfully and with thanksgiving.


Romans 7:12 (ASV) "So that the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good. . . . 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: . . . 8:12-14 (ASV) So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh: for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God."

1 John 5:2-3 (ASV) "Hereby we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and do his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous."


Thus, once again, it is incumbent upon us to determine whether or not tithing is of the law? or if it is of the Spirit? And whether it is of the law or of liberty of the Spirit, it must be done most freely, willingly and cheerfully. However, IF it is of the law, then it is not a matter of a "personal decision", for we are bound to keep whatever God has commanded. And if we refuse to obey that which God commands, then we are guilty of sinning against Him and we are duty bound to repent. However, if the "tithe" is not part of the new covenant administration, then no one is conscience-bound to keep the letter of that mandate/law. But rather one's giving is unfettered and to be given as God enables.

What Ted and some others in this thread are espousing is that the "tithe" is of the law, i.e., it is mandatory (ignoring the manner of how it is given at this point) that all who profess Christ are under obligation to render 10% of their gross income. And further, not only the amount, i.e., 10% of the gross income, is required, that it be given specifically to the Church. Anything beyond the tithe can then be given to other areas, e.g., feeding the poor, parachurch ministries, political parties, etc. The remainder of us dispute the verity of that position and have asked for biblical arguments, e.g., exegesis of specific passages and/or reasonable rebuttals of our premise that the "tithe" belongs to the civil and/or ceremonial laws of theocratic Israel.

Unfortunately, I have my doubts that any biblical defense will be forthcoming if what has gone before is any indication. [Linked Image]

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#25042 Thu May 26, 2005 10:42 PM
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Using the "logic" that you boys have been employing, those verses don't mention ANYTHING about the abolishment of tithing. And, once again, where do you get off saying that tithing is "ceremonial?"

First of all unless your 100 years old don't refer to me as boy. Having being married for thirty years and raised all my children to adulthood I don't think pejoratives of that kind are needed. I have not referred to you in such a manner and do not deserve such treatment.

As for the civil laws I shall answer that in due time if someone doesn't beat me to it first.


Peter

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Boanerges said:
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Using the "logic" that you boys have been employing, those verses don't mention ANYTHING about the abolishment of tithing. And, once again, where do you get off saying that tithing is "ceremonial?"

First of all unless your 100 years old don't refer to me as boy. Having being married for thirty years and raised all my children to adulthood I don't think pejoratives of that kind are needed. I have not referred to you in such a manner and do not deserve such treatment.

Please forgive me. No offense was intended. I have, in fact, been VERY disappointed with some of the tone of this thread -- myself included. I repent of my un-Christ-like tone and ask for God's forgiveness, as well.

Begging your forgiveness,
Ted

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What Ted and some others in this thread are espousing is that the "tithe" is of the law, i.e., it is mandatory (ignoring the manner of how it is given at this point) that all who profess Christ are under obligation to render 10% of their gross income. And further, not only the amount, i.e., 10% of the gross income, is required, that it be given specifically to the Church.

Nope. Not true.

Jesus calls us to much more than that. He doesn't want 10%. He wants it ALL. ALL our hearts. ALL our minds. ALL our money. ALL.

"Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. - Matthew 10:34-39

Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first." - Matthew 19:28-30

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." - Mark 10:21

Respectfully submitted with Christ's great love,
Ted

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Pilgrim said:
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doulos said:
I don't think there's a biblical mandate, as such, . . .<cut>

That said, most churches call it a tithe. Does that mean that they are demanding ten percent of your income in the tradition of the OT Law?
Can you see the tension here? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/Ponder.gif" alt="" /> There is no biblical mandate which would require a N.T. believer to render a "tithe" offering, i.e., defined as "10% of one's gross income to the Church". So, if a church teaches that N.T. believers are to give a "tithe", then it is most definitely inextricably connected to the "tradition of the OT law", for there is nothing in the N.T. that would require it to be given.

This is the issue which some of us, especially CovenantInBlood, have been trying to discuss, i.e., is the O.T. teaching concerning the "tithe" continuitous; carried over into the N.T. church? If it is, then it is a mandate and obligatory upon all who profess Christ. It becomes a matter of obedience to the will of God no less than one reading the Scriptures, attending worship services, worshipping God aright, praying, etc., all which are evidences of ones spiritual state. (cf. Jam 2:26) So, while this matter is specifically one of sanctification (how one lives out their faith), if the "tithe" is accepted a a mandate, then it of necessity becomes a "test" of one's spirituality; "faith without works is dead". Thus the importance of establishing whether tithing is binding upon the conscious of a Christian or not. If it is a mandate, then it is not a matter of choice but of duty. And a failure to "tithe" would be therefore a sin and also a basis for discipline by the Church.

If one is convinced in their heart that the O.T. "tithe" is binding, then that person should do as they think is right. However, if the "tithe" is not binding, then one is free to give more or less than the "10% of the gross income to the Church" and give more or less and to whomsoever they choose. But in either case, the giving must be done from the heart, for the furtherance of the kingdom of God, the maintenance of God's servants, the aid of the poor and needy, etc. And so I think this matter belongs to the category of the "Adiaphora" (things indifferent, cf. Rom 14; 1Cor 10). The "weaker brother", i.e., those who believe he is bound by a mandate to tithe must do so for the sake of his own conscience. But it is not permitted that this weaker brother judge others who have come to live under the freedom merited for them in Christ. It is certainly permissible to urge all believers to be good stewards and to use what God has given to them wisely and for the glory of God. But it is decidedly a whole other matter to demand that one give "10% of one's gross income to the church" as a minimum. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/nono.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

In His Grace,

Jeff, must we have a "mandate" in order to commit ourselves to God's will? Is not our faith and trust in God's grace-filled promises enough? Is not His precious love and grace enough to prompt us to drop everything we hold dear in this fallen world to follow Him?

With love and thankfulness for Him who calls us,
Ted

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Kyle wrote:
Ted, what about that quote of mine is unloving, unjoyful, unpeaceful, impatient, unkind, bad, unfaithful, gruff, or out-of-control? It is a statement of fact which I stand by, which I made to make it all the more clear to you that I wanted you to expound rather than merely spout verses!

Calling a professed brother in Christ a "heretic" during the course of a theological discussion glorifies God how, exactly? OR is representative of which fruit of the most HOLY and precious Spirit? <sigh>

With love in Christ,
Ted

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Pilgrim:
The remainder of us...have asked for biblical arguments, e.g., exegesis of specific passages and/or reasonable rebuttals of our premise that the "tithe" belongs to the civil and/or ceremonial laws of theocratic Israel. Unfortunately, I have my doubts that any biblical defense will be forthcoming if what has gone before is any indication.


You aren't the only one!!! <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/Banghead.gif" alt="" />

Whatever position one holds on this matter, only one side in this argument (so far) has consistently attempted to "reason from the Scriptures" (Acts 17:2) as opposed to merely cutting and pasting passages of Scripture that rarely relate directly or unambiguously to the real issue at hand.

I don't wish to further muddy the waters, and forgive me if I missed this somewhere back in the first 80 posts; but, has anyone yet bothered to explain how and why most theologians (whether Dispensational or Covenantal) make a distinction between the moral, civil, and ceremonial laws of the Old Testament? Some folks here seem to be under the mistaken impression that these are nothing more than a clever excuse to ignore or abrogate God's eternal commandments, or as Kierkegaard put it, to "pad their breeches against the Law of God."

Quote
Ted:
Where in the Bible is it taught that the tithe is "ceremonial?" C'mon. Are you guys making this stuff up as you go?

My sense (and it may be mistaken) is not that it is being denied that tithing should be classified as civil or ceremonial, but rather that "ceremonial law" and "civil law" are invalid distinctions or categories, since these terms do not appear explicitly in Scripture. Such a view (if anyone here in fact holds it) is mistaken and should be corrected.


"Law: Civic, Cermonial and Moral" - Richard Alderson


Westminster Confession of Faith XIX


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