The War on Pastor’s, Tithing, and Fundamental Bible Truths. part 1

A respected pastor and seminary professor in our associated work said one time, “You have the right to your own opinion, but you do not have the right to your own set of facts.”  I am afraid that today there is a “War” on certain facts within professed Christianity that has greatly heated up in the last few years since the proliferation of the Internet. 

The liberal idealogues, Oprah Baptists, moderate theologians, shade-tree philosophers, and self-made meologians have been coming from everywhere with an all out hostility aimed squarely at some rock solid Bible truths.  I fully expect that from those outside of professed Christianity.  I half way expect that from nominal Christianity.  I have either been naive, or simply unfocused concerning those that have taken the name of Jesus, the Word of God, and through the practice of eisegesis, (putting into scripture) rather than exegesis, (discovering out of scripture) attempt to re-write, and redefine Conservative Christianity.

From some of the comments written on a few blogs that I have read, some of the doctrinal/practical targets that the “re-writers”/”redefiners” are taking shots at are some of the following Bible truths:

        1. – That women are forbidden from teaching/preaching/pastoring/ men.

        2. – That Christians ought to be in the practice of voluntary tithing.

        3. – That true God called Pastors have a special divine calling.

        4. – That the local church is God’s New Testament structure for ministry on earth

        5. – That there is such a thing as Doctrinal Certainty

That’s just to name a few.

Now the fact is that some of these attacks are in direct response to some legitimate controversies that have risen within the last few years among Baptist circles.  

When Mac Brunson became pastor of the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida he walked into the batter’s box with an 0-2 count.  Steve Gaines did the same when going to Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, TN.  Following a legend is like getting up and singing karaoke, AFTER the Celtic Women have left the stage.  Regardless of the decisions of these two pastors, standing next to Vines and Rogers at this point in their ministries would require a lot of grace and patience from their congregations. 

Now that being said, some FBCJax church memebers did express some legitimate concerns.  I for one, believe in church authority, and pastoral transparency.  Anytime I hear of surprise business meetings, quick by laws changes, and undisclosed financial issues, I do not think that wise pastoring, nor is it as Paul said, providing all things honest in the sight of all men.

However I do not think that means that when Brunson preaches on Tithing, it is because he is greedy.  Pastor’s salaries do not, or generally do not, have any tie to the ebb and flow of church offerings.  Pastor’s salaries, generally, are not “negotiated” like CEO, or Professional Athletic contracts.  Somewhere in all of the fray, because a church chooses to set their pastor’s salary at a high level, the pastor automatically is an unethical, money grubbing, fat cat, whose only interest is wealth. (I am speaking generally here. I do not know Mac Brunson personally.  I have enjoyed the last few messages that I have heard him preach.)

The fact is that most preachers/pastors who preach and teach the tithe in conservative Bible believing churches do so out of Biblical conviction.  They do not legalistically twist the Scriptures in order to avoid the overriding principle of the tithe.  In the Old Testament, the Lord showed and demonstrated for us the desire of His heart when He chastised the people of Israel for not “tithing” and “giving offerings.”  We know that the desire of God’s heart is for His people to be a tithing people.  Now you couple that with the plain warning, “To knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin”, I’d be ashamed if I didn’t want to tithe.

Thinking for a minute about 2 Corinthians 8:12-14 Paul made it clear that there are three things required in Biblical giving.  1.) A Willing Mind. 2.) According to that a man hath. 3.) An Equal amount.  Tithing or not tithing if your mind is not willing, it is not accepted.  Anytime men teach anything about “obedience” if they are teaching that they have to obey, rather than teaching them that they have to want to obey, then they are not teaching proper Biblical obedience.  Whatever command we obey, or principle we submit to, or law we find, requires our desire.  Every command to obey, constitutes a command to WANT to obey, or it cannot be followed.

2.) According to that a man hath. – Much or little.  No one ever argues with that.  If I have ten dollars or ten thousand dollars worth of income amonth, I am still to be a giver.  I am still to give God the first and best of my ten dollars, as much as I am the the first and best of my ten thousand dollars.

3.) By an Equality. – “not that other men be eased ye be burdened.” – When it comes to giving according to that a man hath, AND by an equality, the principle of the tithe fits wonderfully and perfectly into the practice of giving.  When a $10/ man, and a $10,000/ man tithe, they both have “given according to their ability” AND given by “an equality.”

The bottom line is that the Tithe of the Old Testament is Principle that New Testament Christians ought to WANT to practice because it fits New Testament guidelines, and has been pictured for us as the desire of God’s heart.

Now that being said, the “tithe” controversies that are continually being stirred, have lead to accusations against the office of pastor.  I have said and always will say that hirelings exist.  However not all pastors are hirelings. I’ll defend that issue in my next post, but I will say here that, that is one battle that lost people do not need for Christians to have.  The world, and the devil stand in permanent accusation against God-called pastors, leading Christ’s New Testament churches.  When Christians begin to do the same, they are aiding the devil in undermining the credibility of gospel preaching pastors to lost and dying people.  They are undercutting the gospel.   Proverbs 6:19 tells us that the Lord hates “he that soweth discord among the brethren.”    It is one thing to raise a hand or voice in disagreement, it is another thing to wage all out warfare, and launch piercing accusations at those we are in disagreement with.  “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” 

Disagree, yes.  Accuse, no.  That would be a change worth making.

(Hostile, Vulgar, Belligerent and Biting comments will not be posted.)


15 comments on “The War on Pastor’s, Tithing, and Fundamental Bible Truths. part 1

  1. steward says:

    – Only Famers & herdsmen tithed off their increase, while others such as doctors, lawyers, bankers, and carpenters did not tithe from their occupational increase. (Leviticus 27)

    – Israel’s tithe was only allowed from animals or agriculture (Leviticus 27), while Abraham’s tithe was allowed from the spoils of war. (Hebrews 7:4)

    – There were times when giving from increase was not a tenth (Num. 31:9, 27-29), and sometimes it was a tenth (Genesis 14:20, Hebrews 7:4)

    – At one point tithing was voluntary (Genesis 28:22), and then at another it is mandatory (Leviticus 27).

    In the 3 examples i gave above- who gave the tithe, what they gave, how much they gave, and whether it’s required, are all different in each scenario.

    So, if there is not a single, consistent pattern from all the examples, how exactly can we claim that those examples should be a pattern or a principle in the New Testament?

  2. Steward,

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    We can swap scriptures back and forth, and no doubt we both believe them to be true, it is the end result of those scriptures that we come to different conclusions on.

    Let me give you an illustration of what I am speaking of concerning the principle of the tithe, if I may.

    You have a wonderfully pointed out the different scenarios within scripture concerning the tithe. I will say that the word itself means, “tenth” as I understand it.

    Let’s say you have two men. One is a farmer, and the other is a banker. One is under law, and the other is under grace.

    The Lord says to the farmer under law. I want you to give a tenth of your increase.
    Then He turns to the banker under grace, and says “give what you want.”

    My point is that it would be completely wrong for the banker, not bound by any law, or mandate, to NOT WANT to give at least a tenth, because he has seen what the Lord commanded, when the Lord was doing the commanding.

    Some then are going to say, “let the spirit lead”. The Spirit did lead. It spoke to us clearly in the pictures of the OT. The scriptures and the Spirit are inseparable. One cannot follow the spirit without, or apart from the scriptures that He, (the Holy Spirit) wrote. Following the book is following the Spirit.

    We do not use our liberty to exercise our own pleasure, we are to use our liberty in surrender to what have seen the Lord’s will to be.

    You may not, and probably will not agree with that illustration, but my main point here is to help you see what it is that I am trying to say. I do not speak of “law giving.” I am saying that any giving that is not Grace Giving is not giving. When you pray for direction in how much, the scriptures have already given us the example of a 10th.

  3. steward says:

    My purpose is to not make people give less. Even though in the examples i gave, Israel was commanded to give less than 1% of their increase in spoils of war. Also, if i was a banker in the Old Testament i didn’t give a tithe of my occupational increase at all. Those examples just beg the question, how and to whom can we apply this sporadic rule today?

    If we are sons of God, and can directly seek his will because of our personal relationship, then why must the banker follow the farmer when the banker has a direct channel to seek the will of God? Because of the veil, the farmer had no access. Matthew 17:25-26

  4. Steward,

    You said, “then why must the banker follow the farmer when the banker has a direct channel to seek the will of God?” Great observation.

    Because God revealed his will in the farmer! – It’s like praying for something we already have the answer to.

    The Spirit of God in your Heart uses the Word of God in your Head, to reveal the Will of God in your Life.

    Going to the Lord in prayer for direction takes you right back to the scripture for clear revelation. We pray about where to begin with our giving, and the example in the law stands as a revealed principle for those under grace.

  5. steward says:

    Since a minister’s tenure was for 25 years in the Old Testament should this also apply for today since this is revealed by God in scripture?

  6. If you had a New Testament command to retire yes.

    You have in both testaments, the instruction to give. There is no example or direction to retire in the New Testament.

  7. steward says:

    I don’t understand. There is a command under the old covenant to tithe, but there is no command in the new covenant to tithe either.

  8. Tithing is to giving what singing is to praising.

    The OT has a command to give, (in which you are commanded to practice tithing.)

    The NT has a command to give, (in which I am to want to put into practice the principle of the tithe that God has shown.)

    Tithing and giving are not “separate” issues. Tithing is a method of giving.

    But I think you probably already know that. 🙂

    I do smell a hook in the worm.


  9. steward says:

    I could keep going because part of me loves discussions like this, but I’ll bow out. thanks for the good dialogue.

  10. Thank for the “vitriole free” discussion. I too enjoy iron sharpening. My guess is that, based on your blog, you’ve been down this dialogue road before. Thanks again for the discussion.


  11. anonymous says:

    Acts 13:39 Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.

    Galatians 3:11
    “So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

    Hebrew 8:6
    “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises”.

    For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

    Galatians 3:13
    “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree”

    Galatians 3:10
    All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”

    Don’t quote Matthew 23:23 incorrectly because Jesus was addressing Jews before his finished work on the Cross of Calvary

  12. David says:

    When I come in contact with Tithe Teachers who mandate tithing in order to gain favor with God it is an indication that these people have no understanding of what Jesus did on the Cross and or the meaning of what he said when he declared on the Cross “Paid in full”.Those in the body of Christ have now been given Grace upon Grace. Grace means unmerited favor. Unmerited means a gift that you did not pay for yourself.

    Jesus paid a debt he did not owe for a debt we could not pay.

    People stop your boasting in your own payments and give the glory and praise to the payment Jesus made. You got that job and home because of the Grace of God. The only reason you merited favor and access to God was because Jesus died on the Cross and said PAID IN FULL. He alone met all 613 Requirements of the law and fulfilled the law for you.

    Colossians 2:14- “Blotting the handwriting of Ordinances which was against us, he took it out of the way nailing it to the Cross”.

    Romans 8:32- “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, freely give us all things”?

    Paul rebuked the circumcision and law keeping crowd who looked backward to Mosaic law keeping instead of toward free Grace. What you pay for is no longer free but a payment you owned by your own efforts. This is a slap in the Lord’s face. He handed you Grace for every aspect of your life.

    John 1:16-“And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace”.

  13. David,

    I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Anyone who teaches anything, Tithing included, as a means of gaining favor with God truly doesn’t understand what Christ did at the cross. To that I say Amen, Amen, and Amen again!

    I’m not quite sure what that has to do with the principle of the tithe. No one that I know teaches that tithing brings you into a greater favor with God, more than you already have, if you are talking about salvation, sanctification, and your standing before God.

    The fact of the matter is that through the cross of Jesus Christ I have been placed in right standing before God. I can do nothing to make Him love me more, I can do nothing to gain greater grace, or more mercy. I am His child, signed, sealed, and delivered.

    I can though disobey His will. I can obey His will. I can be pleasing to Him, or I can be displeasing to Him. He has demonstrated His love for me, is demonstrating His love for me, and will demonstrate His love for me. Now I want to return the favor, by Loving and Obeying Him, and “grieving not His Spirit” in anyway. I know what He likes, and I want to live like He likes not for what I will get out of it, but for what He will get out of it.

    You are absolutely correct. He has freely given us all things, and I believe we are to return the favor back toward Him, by giving to Him what we know He likes, loves, and desires.

    • Jorge says:

      When you say “we are to return the favor back toward Him, by giving to Him what we know He likes, loves, and desires.” is that Money? Mike Murdock, did you write this? I already know you love Money. lol

      joking aside, I have a serious problem with a preacher trying to enslave us in an old testament tithe. many preachers fall into the snare that is, God wants you to PROVE your love for him, God wants you to OBEY him, God wants you to SOW A SEED, etc. Then they follow up by basically telling us that all these things we can ONLY prove with “Money”.

      so changeworthmaking how can we not see them as money hungry wolves in sheeps clothing.

      Besides why only adhere to tithing and forget about the remaining 612 old testament Laws? The laws also MANDATED that we sentence to death a “False Prophet” so then we surely must give Benny Hinn and Jack Van Impe along with the “Prophetess” Juanita Bynum their due death sentece…Finally God never asked for Money, they had shekels in those days, so if he wanted money he would have said “Bring thy Shekel tithe” God has always been specific in his word, it is false teachers who do infact manipulate scripture.

  14. Tom says:

    I just saw this article, so I thought that I would add my two cents. I oppose the teaching of the tithe because simply put, there is no scripture to support the supposed “tithing principle.” All of the examples traditionally given to support such a principle have vastly different context. Trying to say that these passages are evidence of some principle creates many contradictions:
    Abraham: Tithe the spoils of war (stuff he didn’t own, but took from others).
    Jacob: Get blessed FIRST and then tithe later. Also, be sure to swear an oath.
    The Law of Moses: Some people were told to tithe, some people were not. If you had a small enough number of animals, you didn’t tithe at all.
    Malachi: It was actually the Levites that were not paying the Levite tithe to the Priest (the OT had a Federal style priesthood, see the law and the book of Nehemiah). If you don’t understand the two levels seen in the Levitical priesthood, then I would suggest that you learn about them before talking about tithing.
    Jesus: Even in Jesus’ day, money was not tithed. In his rebuke, Jesus says that they were tithing food products.
    So which “principle” is it? At the very least, I don’t see anything close to what is preached today.
    There is no principle of tithing. It is a flat out lie to say that there is one found in the Bible.
    “We know that the law is good if one uses it properly.” – 1st Timothy 1:8
    We are under grace, but that does not mean that we can lie about what the Bible says. Please read more about the tithes found in the scripture before you continue to profess that there is some “principle.”
    I hope I wasn’t too harsh, but I hope that you will re-read the passages listed.
    “For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God”

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