Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Reply to Pastor Rich Morris

Reply to pastor rich morris Most of you understood tithing to mean “a planned and consistent commitment.” That’s good.

Russ: True biblical tithes were always only food from inside Israel. Although money was common even in Genesis and essential for sanctuary worship, money was never included in 16 texts which describe the contents of the tithe for over 1500 years from Leviticus to Luke. Jesus, Peter and Paul did not qualify as tithe-payers and neither did the poor nor those who lived outside Israel.

Rich: The word and practice of “tithing” comes from the Old Testament, involving two persons of legendary status, Abraham …

Russ: Those were solely pagan in nature and did not quality as holy tithes under the Law. Almost all pagans in Abraham's time required tithes from spoils of war.

Rich: Heb 7.4

Russ: Read all of Hebrews 7. It was necessary to change the law (of tithing from 7:5) per 7:12 in order to bring in the high priesthood of Jesus. That "change" was its "annulment" in 7:18.Rich: Abraham: A tenth of his wealth was quite a gift.

Russ: You just quoted Hebrews 7:4 which proves that he only gave tithes from pagan spoils of war! Abraham is not an example for Christian giving: (1) only unholy spoils of war, (2) only once recorded, (3) not from personal property, (4) kept nothing and (5) gave the 90% to the king of Sodom.

Rich: Everything we have belongs to God.

Russ: God owned everything during Old Covenant times also. However he only accepted tithes from food sources inside Israel.

Rich: Tithing becomes a consistent practice among God’s people. In a largely agricultural society it was understood that people of faith tithed what the land produced. You tithed all the resources God gave you.

Russ: The tithe came from what God's hand miraculously increased.

Rich: Tithing practices became so detailed among the Pharisees that Jesus criticized their practices because they used them to ignore justice and love for God.

Russ: Jesus criticized their abusive CHANGE of the law.Rich: Jesus tells the Pharisees you ought to tithe and do these other things.

Russ: This is Old Covenant context before Calvary. Read Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42! Jesus was discusing "matters of the law." He could not have commanded his Gentile disciples to tithe because it was illegal.Rich: But I am saying that God clearly instructs his people to give and give with purpose, sacrifice, and consistency.

Russ: Yes.
Rich: In the New Testament Church tithing was clearly practiced, but it was seen as a minimal step of faithfulness to God. How can I say that?

Russ: There is not a single text after Calvary where the New Covenant church is commanded to tithe. The tithing statute is Numbers 18. In addition to tithing it commands tithe-recipients to forfeit property ownership and to kill anybody who dared to woship God directly. Why are the last two parts ignored?Rich: Quotes Acts 2.44-45. The followers of Jesus were bringing it all to God. Did God need it? No, but the church did. Because the church was ministering and making disciples.

Russ: Acts 2:46 says that they continued to meet and worship in the Temple daily. Read Acts 15 and especially Acts 21:20. It is clear that 30 years after Calvary the Jewish Christians in Judea were still TITHING TO THE TEMPLE SYSTEM. Acts 2:42-45 described sacrifical freewill giving --not tithing.Rich: St. Paul writes to the church at Corinth, “For if the readiness (to give) is there, it is acceptable according to what a man has, not according to what he has not.” Chapter 8.12

Russ: Finish the quote from 2 Cor 8 by adding 8:13-14. This is "equality giving." Some give much more and others give much less but it equals out. That is NOT tithing.Rich: Quotes 2 Cor 9:5-8. This is a discussion of freewill sacrificial giving. It is not a discussion of church support or pastoral support. And it is not a discussion of tithing.

Rich: We tithe our budget every year so that we are always giving at least ten percent to needy ministries.

Russ: That is commendable but it is not scriptural. Old Covenant tithes were never used to mission work to convert Gentiles. Rich: … Most of us are not approaching a tithe. Our first and best step is always to look at our giving from the biblical tithe perspective and only secondarily according to the budget and needs and so on.

Russ: Your first and best step would be to look at giving from the NEW COVENANT POST CALVARY BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE. (1) 1st Timothy 5:8 compels us to spend our FIRST income on medicine, food and essential shelter. (2) OT tithes were never the same as firstfruits and should not be confused with them per Num 18:1-20; Deu 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-38.

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