Monday, June 21, 2010

Reply to Pastor’s Reflections


How To Get Rich Quick EDITED

Pastor Jeff: Deuteronomy 14:22-29

Russ: You dare to quote an Old Covenant text designed only for national Israel land then you obey NONE of it. (1) holy tithes were always only food from inside God’s holy land, (2) the second festival tithe was eaten by all during 3 annual feasts in Jerusalem and (3) a third year tithe was kept in the homes and towns for the poor.

Jeff: Jesus’ … only quoted statement in the New Testament outside the Gospels was, "it is more blessed to give than to receive". In essence those who give, not those who get, are the rich people of the world. The rich are to those who "get it", that they are blessed with much so that they can bless much. They are blessed to BE a blessing.

Russ: You have taken this completely out of context. It is not addressed to the “rich.” Read Acts 21:29-35. It is addressed to church elders. They are to get a secular job and assist the needy in their congregations.

Jeff: Deut 14:23 “And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.”

Two things are important here. The first is at the end of verse 23. "The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your life." That's simple and clear. Money, food, material wealth is where the rubber meets the road. If I want to put God first I will do so in my giving. It will be sacrificial and generous. Maybe the best guideline is to always give an amount that exceeds what I can afford.

Russ: The text tells me (1) tithes are only food from inside Israel, (2) the second tithe is to be eaten in the streets of Jerusalem during 3 annual feasts and (3) tithing taught FEAR of God. Since tithes are not the same as firstfruits and, since, only food producers inside Israel could tithe, it does not ALL to give firstfruits.

Jeff: Second is that tithing is how we care for others.

Russ: “We”? Tithing was never commanded to the Gentiles or Church. “We” Gentiles never were under the tithing laws. Tithes could not come from non-food products, outside Israel or Gentiles.

Jeff: The Christian Church is the greatest force for social justice on the planet. …

Russ: Its power has been severely lessened by legalism such as tithing which makes rich preachers look selfish and greedy.

Jeff: There's a third thing. They ate their tithe together. Pretty awesome. Feasting together, they proclaimed YHWH provider and sustainer of all of life. And foreigners, widows, orphans and other underprivileged people got in on it.

Russ: Why do you even point this out when you personally do not teach it or follow it?

Superior NT giving principles for the Church after Calvary are: freewill, generous, sacrificial, joyful, not by commandment (or percentage) and motivated by love for God and lost souls. For many this means MORE than ten per cent; others are giving sacrificially even though less.

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