"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Takin' It Up With Da Book: MacArthur on Tithing, Part 1

John MacArthur is the Pastor-Teacher of Grace Community Church. He is one of the most respected bible expositors amongst conservative evangelicals. MacArthur's preaching is heard over the world on their church's "Grace to You" broadcast ministry, and he has authored numerous books. I think its safe to say that most teachers who preach "storehouse tithing" have a great deal of respect for MacArthur; many SBC preachers routinely quote MacArthur in their sermons, as they know the weight of his views on doctrinal matters.

In this post I want to present what the New Testament says about Christian giving according to MacArthur, and then in the next post will share what MacArthur has to say about the "storehouse tithing" doctrine. MacArthur preached a sermon series "A Biblical Model for Giving" upon which this information is based.

Note that I am using his sermons on this topic, and not his writings in books or reference materials. The information shared here is what MacArthur has stood in his pulpit and TAUGHT HIS CONGREGATION from the Bible. He was not afraid to be honest with his congregation about what Christian giving IS and what it is NOT. Just a side note about MacArthur - he has been pastor of Grace Community Church since 1969, and has had some health challenges this year. Totally unrelated to this topic, if you want to hear a preacher pour his heart out in gratitude to and love for his congregation, listen to or read this sermon from 9/13/09 upon his return from a few months away during his recuperation.

From the third sermon in the Biblical Giving series, MacArthur explains the following characteristics of Christian giving from 2 Cor 8 and 1 Cor 16: it is instituted by God's grace, it transcends difficult circumstances, is done with joy, not hindered by poverty; it is liberal, proportionate, sacrificial, and voluntary.

I think any Christian would agree that scripture clearly teaches those principles of New Testament giving. But MacArthur makes a few points under the "proportionate" and "voluntary" characteristics that are especially relevant to the matter of storehouse tithing; and also about "sacrificial" that we'll look at later.

Proportionate Giving (1 Cor 16:2)
Says MacArthur: "They gave whatever they were capable of giving. God doesn't expect you to charge giving on your credit card and go further into debt. God expects you to give out of what you have. We aren't supposed to give a fixed amount, that's not what the Macedonians did, that's not, as we shall see in a few moments, what God asks of us, or a fixed percent. We're not supposed to worry on whether it's set against the gross or the net, those questions are not germane to the discussion of Christian giving. The issue is you give as you are capable of giving. And they did that."

MacArthur rejects a discussion of a fixed percent - its not even relevant to the discussion. The preachers who answer the question of whether a Christian should tithe on their gross or net income by saying "do you want to be blessed on the gross or the net" - its not even a matter to be considered.

Voluntary Giving (2 Cor 8:3)
Says MacArthur: "It says at the end of verse 3, "They gave of their own accord." They gave literally of their own volition. They gave of their own will. They gave out of their own initiative. They were self-motivated and spontaneous. This was their choice. In fact, the term here is very interesting, authairetos in the Greek which is the word used, "they gave of their own accord," literally means one who chooses his own course of action. They chose to do this. They weren't coerced. They weren't manipulated. They weren't intimidated into this. They weren't bribed into it. They weren't sort of coddled into it. They weren't brought into it by some promise of something or some trickery or some gimmick. There was no manipulation. There was no coercion. It was out of their own hearts."

I would classify some of the hard-core storehouse tithing tactics used by preachers as coersion, trickery, and gimmicks to get people to fork over 10% of their money when perhaps they shouldn't - and perhaps allows those who should give MORE than 10% to stop there and feel spiritually superior when maybe they should give more.

Consider Brunson's following statement on tithing delivered in a sermon on stewardship in 2008 (click here for the audio clip):

"Congregation, I say this as an act of leadership, and not as anything else. I give my tithe to this church. Anybody who says otherwise of giving a tithe to the church is doing the work of Satan....I live by a standard that my father took the word of God when I was a boy and taught me and he says 'You give God the first tenth'. And you say 'Pastor, but wait a minute, Pastor, I cannot tithe' - that's probably why you're in the situation you're in. And you say 'But give us some leeway here, tell us surely we can do it with 3%, let us just start somewhere'. You know what God's word says in Malachi? 'You're robbing me of tithes'. So you want your pastor to stand up here and say "OK, give 3 percent, rob God a little less than you've been doing.' Is that what you want me to say? I can't tell you that. I can tell you as a personal testimony of my life and our marriage, that God...gets...the tenth...first. And it comes to my local storehouse, the church I'm a member of."

Well, I sure don't think MacArthur is "doing the work of Satan". This is typical "storehouse tithing" nonsense, made worse when considering it comes from a very wealthy megachurch pastor, living in a million dollar home, traveling the world, that has accepted a six-figure gift from a member of his congregation, and then misuses OT scripture to accuse his people of "robbing God" if they don't meet the magic 10% threshold.

In the next post, we'll look at what MacArthur says about this 10% threshold taught by the storehouse tithers. As MacArthur says:

"And that leads us to the issue of why do Christians today think they need to give ten percent? Where does that come from? And I want to answer that. It comes basically from a misunderstanding of the Old Testament. And I feel obligated to make that misunderstanding clear to you and then set it right."

Amen. A preacher not afraid to teach the truth from scripture about Christian giving. That will be discussed next...

52 comments:

Bro./Pastor Rod H. said...

Dr.Dog thanks for these series of blogs.People need to see the other side of the argument when it comes to christian giving.

Thanks for using the man whom I consider to be my mentor from afar and the man and ministry that I attempt to model my ministry after.

Dr.Dog early in my christian life,soon after being saved I had lived like the world.I was in debt up to my neck trying to live the american dream..

I tried to tithe after hearing my then pastor preach the same kind of message as Brunson delivered to FBCJ.
It was either miss paying some bill(s)or give a tenth.I also had a invalid mother and had to assist with her living expenses.
It was probably the most miserable postion and time of my then short christian life..
I was giving about 8% on the gross and still I felt inadequate.
Feeling that God was not going to bless me because it was'nt exalty 10 percent.

Then thank God Dr.Dog He led me to discovered Johnny Mac and I heard his series on christian giving(tithing-vs-grace giving),and that revelation set me free,removing the burden of the law and allowing me to give cheerfully and have peace!!!

It did'nt set me free from my responsiblity to give;(I give more now out of love of Christ than I ever have given);it set me free from the legallity of this false and oppressive mis-interpretation and application of Scripture that is force on believers by both well meaning and some deceptive men!!!

By the way Dr.Dog,Mac's explanation on tithing is by "FAR" the worse and most abrasive I have ever heard!!!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Bro Rod - I agree with you about J.M. I've read several of his books that have had a significant impact on me, one of them being "The Gospel According to Jesus" where he takes on what he calls "easy believism". He is probably the most respected bible teacher among lay people, as his books are/were very popular, and his Grace to You broadcast is so prevelant on Christian radio.

What I find very interesting about him and the Grace to You website is the INCREDIBLE amount of material he provides for free. Every single sermon he has ever preached is there for the downloading, along with the transcribed TEXT of each sermon, searchable by scripture and topic.

I found his sermon preached in September 2009 after returning from surgery to be very moving as he described his love for his people and the church.

A good read on his church's website is their view on "Church Discipline".

After I review more of MacArthur's views on tithing, just as compelling will be the views of Kostenberger and Croteau. They are NOT preachers, but are seminary professors who have exhaustively studied the tithing doctrine and written about it. They carry GREAT credibility as Kostenberger is at SEBTS, and Croteau at Liberty - and most of all they are not pastors and have no financial stake in taking a position either way.

So stay tuned!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Bro Rod - I can relate to your feelings about giving when being under the tithing yoke.

During my years at FBC Jax I never reached the 10% threshold. I reached perhaps 3 or 4% some years, but with my wife being a stay at home mom, and having three young ones in Christian school, and debt we had accumulated, I couldn't afford to tithe. I know that makes the storehouse tither's skin crawl to hear someone say it, but yes, I couldn't afford to tithe. But there was always a feeling of inadequacy or inferitority about not giving the 10% being a member at FBC Jax. I was "robbing God" I was taught. I believe my giving was very generous given our circumstances, and all of what I did give to charity was given to the church, and was according to what God had placed on my heart, and what I was able to give. My only regret is that I didn't give some of that money that I gave to the church, to other charitable purposes. I can see now that as Christians we are not obligated to give the FIRST 10% to the church, but as a Christian I have freedom to give to other organizations in addition to my church that I believe are carrying out Christ's commands in a variety of ways. Again, that makes the storehouse tither preachers mad, to think that a Christian gives less than 10% to charity, and NOT all of it comes to the "storehouse".

Junkster said...

FBC Jax Watchdog said...
After I review more of MacArthur's views on tithing, just as compelling will be the views of Kostenberger and Croteau. They are NOT preachers, but are seminary professors who have exhaustively studied the tithing doctrine and written about it. They carry GREAT credibility as Kostenberger is at SEBTS, and Croteau at Liberty - and most of all they are not pastors and have no financial stake in taking a position either way.


Watchdog, I agree with and am happy about what you are sharing about the unbiblical doctrine of storehouse tithing. I do think, however, that seminary professors, particularly SB seminary professors, have a financial stake in promoting tithing, since the seminaries receive their funding (or a large portion of it) through the churches. So it is no surprise to me that many pastors are taught the doctrine of storehouse tithing in seminary, because pastors and seminary profs alike rely on a regular and reliable source of funds being funneled through the local churches.

So when some pastors and profs, who do potentially have a financial stake in promoting storehouse tithing do not teach that doctrine, it raises their credibility. It has always seemed suspicious to me that those who teach storehouse tithing have the most to gain from it, and the most to lose if people don't practice it. When someone who can potentially benefit from teaching something refuses to do so because they believe it isn't right, that person is demonstrating real integrity.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Junkster - well said. Yes, that is right, considering that their views on tithing were peer-reviewed and published, and they are in an SBC seminary and many in the SBC leadership still hold to the tithing 10% doctrine, that makes Kostenberger's and Croteau's work all the more credible. I would assume they DO have something to lose. I wonder just what is the official stance on tithing that is taught to new pastors at the SBC seminaries?

Croteau's wrote his PhD dissertation on this, and I understand that will be out in book form next year.

The lay people need to be told the truth about this doctrine, and Croteau's book I think will help. And in some small way maybe some bloggers can help as well.

Bro./Pastor Rod H. said...

Bro Rod - I agree with you about J.M. I've read several of his books that have had a significant impact on me, one of them being "The Gospel According to Jesus" where he takes on what he calls "easy believism."



Dr.Dog the above book by Johnny Mac should be required reading for all Christians!!!

After coming to believe in Christ,I read the "Gospel According to Jesus".
This book has had the most profound affect on me and my Christian walk of any book I have ever read(with exception to the Bible)!!!

All bloggers if you have never read this book its a must read!!!!!!!

Bro./Rod H./Pastor said...

During my years at FBC Jax I never reached the 10% threshold. I reached perhaps 3 or 4% some years, but with my wife being a stay at home mom, and having three young ones in Christian school, and debt we had accumulated,"



Can sympathize with you Dr.Dog.
I also forgot to mention that my wife also stopped working and became a stay home mom shortly atfer we became Christians!!!

Also Dr.Dog Johnny Mac was the signular person who influence my desire for precision in Biblical interpretations!!!

Also my other mentor from afar is Dave Hunt!!!

Anonymous said...

Croteau has a sermon series on tithing available on his blog. The series is basically a summary of his dissertation.

Here

The dissertation itself is also available for free download.

Here

Pastor Pryme said...

I've read several of his books that have had a significant impact on me, one of them being "The Gospel According to Jesus" where he takes on what he calls "easy believism".

J mac A has many fine qualities, though I take issue with his views on "complementarianism". But I think it might be good sometime to talk about the other extreme of "easy believism"-- Lordship Salvation. I think we really need to be careful to distinguish what it takes to be saved from what we should expect after being saved

Anonymous said...

There are lots of areas of the Christian life that the Bible addresses in principle, but not in the particulars. Giving is one of those areas, in my opinion. Of course, I feel the same way about a lot polity issues - the Scripture just doesn't give us a cookie cutter go-by.

Louis

Anonymous said...

"J mac A has many fine qualities, though I take issue with his views on "complementarianism"."

Agreed. Some of it is down right silly.

However, his teaching on basic salvation is dead on. An interesting tidbit about McA is that he was jailed during the civil rights movement in the South as a protester.

Matt

Thy Peace said...

PyroManiacs > John MacArthur arrested in Mississippi [10 FEBRUARY 2006].

Thy Peace said...

GTY > A Retrospective on 40 Years: John MacArthur with Rick Holland.

Jon G said...

There are so many discouraging things in this stream of dialogue. Pastor Rod says he could only give 8% after his wife started working, Watchdog says he could only give 3-4% with his debt.

Those aren't issues of grace, those are issues of lack of faith. The problem with many of your definitions of grace is that it allows you to put debt, education, and personal spending habits to trump giving to the church or to ministries.

Grace doesn't down the ante, it ups the ante in our lives - Titus 2:10-13 speaks to this, the entire book of James speaks to this, the enire book of I John speaks to this!

I think Jesus spoke to this when he said, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God. No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." (Luke 9)

Grace isn't the license to give less, it is the power to give more. Grace isn't the license to be your own person, it is the freedom to be the slave of Christ.

I know you both are going to explode on this observation, but cheap grace demands so little of us, like 4% - costly grace, as Bonhoeffer describes, demands our soul, our life, our all!!

Anonymous said...

There are lots of areas of the Christian life that the Bible addresses in principle, but not in the particulars. Giving is one of those areas, in my opinion. Of course, I feel the same way about a lot polity issues - the Scripture just doesn't give us a cookie cutter go-by.

Louis
__________________________________

Louis - I agree. So for Mac to say we are obligated to tithe, and its "in da book" and to give less than 10% is robbing God,and to brag that he gives a tithe, is abusive preaching. Not to mention how he (Mac, not God) uses the money to enrich himself and his family.

Anonymous said...

I know you both are going to explode on this observation, but cheap grace demands so little of us, like 4% - costly grace, as Bonhoeffer describes, demands our soul, our life, our all!!

December 5, 2009 9:03 PM
_________________________________
I agree. So why does Mac teach we are obligated to give 10%? Why does he only give 10% to the church? These guys want to have it both ways. Demand it all, yet force the OT tithe on us or say we are robbing God and are under a curse. Which is it?

And WD showed a lot of faith giving what he did, even though it was not 10%. Maybe his 4% was much more sacrificial than Mac's 10% since Mac's margin is so much more, AND Mac and his wife and son are taking that tithe and offering in salary, AND Mac was given a gift of land that is worth more than 10 years of his tithe. So he has actually taken much more from FBC Jax and its members than he has given. And he is our leader in this area?

Pastor Pryme said...

Grace doesn't down the ante, it ups the ante in our lives - Titus 2:10-13 speaks to this, the entire book of James speaks to this, the enire book of I John speaks to this!

Are those passages in conflict with 2 Cor. 8:13-15? "Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: "The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little."

And who are being called greedy in those passages? Is it not those who demand payment? And what about 2 Cor. 12:14? "... I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children."

Anonymous said...

"Grace doesn't down the ante, it ups the ante in our lives - Titus 2:10-13 speaks to this, the entire book of James speaks to this, the enire book of I John speaks to this!"

the 'ante', as you call it, in these passages is about much more than money.

Giving to the 'church' does not mean to a building or salaries in God's economy. It is about helping brothers and sisters in Christ and spreading the Gospel.

It would be sinful to give money to maintain a "building" and a wealthy pastor when your family has no health care, for example. But it would be radical giving to help another poor believer pay his medical bills when you have no health care.


We have all our priorities backwards.

But I could just feel the prosperity Gospel between the lines of your comment.

You might give everything and never be blessed financially for doing so. But you might instead be blessed spiritually. Abundant life refers to the Holy Spirit not the material world.

In some cases (many these days) it could be an outright sin if we give to a 'church'. Especially when we know it is corrupt by leaders behavior or there is some questionable teaching.

I never forget that the one preaching tithing lives off those "tithes". How much more credible they would be if they did not. Which is one reason Paul did not live that way and made tents. (He did accept hospitality which is what we should all offer other believers)



Publius

Pastor Pryme said...

If I may be so bold...

It is a conflict of interest for any who benefit from the tithe to have anything to say about enforcing it.

Let all those who believe the tithe is for Christians be the first to leave the paneled offices, step out of the pulpit, come down from the platform, and take their places at the oars.

Let them, like all others, support themselves as well as the needy.

Let them give the proceeds from their speaking tours, their book sales, and the sweat of their backs to the missionaries and inner city workers.

Let them peel the "clergy" stickers from their cars and stop being called "Pastor" in the marketplace.

Let them give up the seats of honor.

Let them trade their thrones and private jets for basins and towels.

Let them serve the Body, for no charge. Then and only then will we know the sheep from the wolves, because wolves do not work for free.

Anonymous said...

This I have wondered often with tithe teachers: If the church is the storehouse, then why does the money go to the bank? The bank can not be considered the storehouse in the slightest.

Anonymous said...

I read with sadness today an article about a middle aged single mom who was interviewed about her 'tithing'. She attends a mega church (I know the senior staff well there) that just completed the 6th building on their campus for a youth church.

She is a low wage earner living at poverty level and she spoke about obeying the Bible with her storehouse tithing. She is proud that her children go without and they give to the mega. Of course, the mega is promoting her story. (Expect to see many stories like this as giving takes a dive in this economy)

I happen to know that 20 staff ministers at that church make over 100,000 year. I happen to know that 2 pastors there make over 250,000 year plus many perks like cars, housing allowance, etc. And a retired pastor is still paid 150,00 year in addition to his income from a personal ministry he uses for speaking gigs and consulting.

I also happen to know that this particular mega has less than 1% budgeted for missions because they believe their mega church is missional in that they attract the unchurched to come to church. (Never mind the Gospel)

This poor woman has been taught storehouse tithing and really believes she is obeying God.

She believes by doing this she is pleasing God by helping to maintain huge buildings and paying high salaries to the staff. (Their salaries are not public knowledge to the pew sitters but it is obvious they make serious money due to 6,000 sq ft homes on golf courses and such)

I want to make it clear that I do not believe this woman is in sin. I believe she is doing this out of ignorance and has been deceived by those who should know better who take her money that benefits them and keeps them in a much higher lifestyle of private school for their kids, nice neighborhoods, big houses, etc.

But my question to the readers here is this: Should the church be helping her instead of taking her money and making her the poster girl for the erroneous doctrine of storehouse giving in the New Covenant?

And what about the fact that churches tend to teaching giving as only money related, when in fact it also includes deeds such as helping, praying, etc.

Matt

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Matt - can you share the link to the article?

I agree, its sick.

But most of the people who do tithe, think it is wonderful to see a poor person tithing, because they equate her writing a check for money that her kids need, as being equal to "obedience" and "love".

It really is little different than the RCC in Luther's day selling indulgences to the peasants to buy favor with God for their dead relatives.

Pastor Pryme said...

But my question to the readers here is this: Should the church be helping her instead of taking her money and making her the poster girl for the erroneous doctrine of storehouse giving in the New Covenant?

Paul's answer: "...that there might be equality". Let the rich give to the poor until all are equal.

I wonder how the world would react to see a true Christian community where people have no poor among them, where everyone takes care of their own, where people band together as family. Think how radical it would be for them to see us self-insured and supporting, a microcosm of what everyone thinks the world should be like. The rich would use their talents to earn income the poor and sick cannot, yet they would be willing givers, unlike a commune where such support is forced. That's the key difference.

Anonymous said...

"Matt - can you share the link to the article?"


It is not online. It was a printed newsletter that was mailed out.

Matt

Bro.Rod H. said...

"There are so many discouraging things in this stream of dialogue. Pastor Rod says he could only give 8% after his wife started working, Watchdog says he could only give 3-4% with his debt"


Jon G. my brother please re-read what I blogged;I stated that my wife quit working and became a house wife,not started working!!!

Secondly;question:

Should a new christian or for that fact a poor woman as Matt mentioned first pay her tithes or pay some bill(let's say electric)that's is due at the same time as her tithe...Which should she pay first???

Is it Biblical or proper to miss paying a creditor in order to tithe???

Jon G.one more question my friend:

There were three tithes "REQUIRED" in the Old Test.theocracy which was Israel..How come Mac and others only force one on the New Test.church and not all???

Anonymous said...

These stories like Matt shares are very common, and very sad. This blog, and others like it, along with John McArthur and seminary professors and upcoming pastors, are being used to expose this false teaching. And guess what the obvious fall-out will be...those pastors that beat their sheep to give under false pretenses, and who got rich off the doctrine, will be exposed as pathological liars and manipulators in the pulpit. History will remember them as being liars and manipulators, not just in tithing matters, but people will lump in all their other teachings too. I mean if they will blatantly lie and manipulate scripture about something as important as the hard earned money of their sheep, then they will lie about anything and everything else.

Many already see it. But too many others have been deceived for decades and continue to feed the appetites of these millionaires.

Anonymous said...

How have we robbed thee? In TITHES (plural) and offerings (plural) Why is only one tithe mandatory according to some megas?

When did Christian giving stop going to PEOPLE and start going to organizations so they could build big buildings, pay staff, pay family, pay retirement benefits, pay for automobiles, insurance, etc.

When did pastors and their wives start cruising the Danube, traveling Europe, shopping in NYC, putting their children on staff, living in mansions, driving the best cars? When the sheep gave so much they could afford to, that's when. But they are insatiable, and continue to demand MORE! If not, we cut the A/C of our missionaries.

Wake up, you are writing the checks to these places.

Anonymous said...

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Pretty strong, new testament, stuff from our Lord's own lips. Hard to spin this or take it out of context. I would hate to have to explain how I spent an $18 million dollar budget every year (given to me by people who expected me to do the things above), lived like a king, put family on staff, increased advertising, paid life coaches, cruised the rivers of the world and traveled the world with my family, and did NOT do the things above.

But, maybe I am misinterpreting those versus.

Anonymous said...

wow this is a beautiful post. Amen. This guy has it right on the money. Mac is so off the mark. Hes trying to manipulate and twist the Bible into "guilting" people into tithing. Many churches today are doing the same thing. They focus so much on the money and not on Jesus!! This needs to stop now in churches.

Jon G said...

Bro Rod,

I did read your posting correctly, but I typed my response incorrectly. I did mean to say "stopped" instead of "started" when it came to your wife's job.
I use the word tithe as a "tenth" statement, not an OT tax statement. I personally think that 10% is a great place to start. Someone who only has 4% to give to the church or ministries is mismanaging their money.

Publius,
There is no prosperity gospel in my orthodoxy. But my great fear of the emerging church is the thought that grace equals selfishness, anonymity, lowering gifts (both financial and time) as well as freedom to live as one wishes, all under the banner of "grace"
If I was reading on this blog that people were using grace to give 20% off of their gross income, I would applaud and say "Yes! That's costly grace!"
I have never heard Brunson preach, but I don't think should be the issue. The issue is what grace compels us to do - - and there is a lot of cheap grace on this site when 3% and 4% and 8% giving is stated.

Jon

Anonymous said...

I would applaud and say "Yes! That's costly grace!"
__________________________________

Jon - you might want to re-evaluate what you mean by "grace" if my giving amount percentage to a local church budget has anything to do with it being cheap or not. The grace is unmerited, infinite, and awesome. Your giving, no matter what percentage is it, is "cheap" in comparison. Plus, you still don't discuss why the giving should go to support salaries and buildings and utilities and operations and not go to "the least of these." Why would grace compel you to give money to a local church's budget and not to people in need?

Not Publius

Bro.Rod H. said...

" I personally think that 10% is a great place to start. Someone who only has 4% to give to the church or ministries is mismanaging their money."



Jon G.my brother it's not what "you" think is where one should start to give,it is what God's Word states!!!
And "NO,NO,NO" where in the New Test.is the Church commanded to tithe anything!!!

Secondly::You must be really well off and live a life among the affluent are upper middle income totally oblivious to what people with lower incomes deal with!!!

But I know plenty of people who earn minimum wage or just above the proverty line with chrildren;

Yet according to "YOU" they are expected to buy food,pay rent or mortgage,buy clothes,etc,etc,or they are mis-managing their monies!!!

After they've done all of these things they are not going to have any monies left for many necessities much less to pay some preacher making 300,000 dollars yearly,living in a million dollar house,driving expensive auto's,traveling the world or whatever else he wants to do!!!

This is mis-guided thinking my friend and totally out of touch with reality!!!

Anonymous said...

Dr. Dog-
Thanks for this post. I've struggled with the tithe for most of my 30 years as a Christian, and have carried a measure of guilt for rarely living up to the "church"'s 10% mandate.
It is still discouraging to attend FBC Jax, and listen to Mac Brunson's request for prayer, for he and Debbie's New York vacation this week....the privilege and arrogance still amazes me.
On Sunday morning, Mac asked for prayer as he and Debbie would be flying out of Jax this morning to be in New York all week. He indicated they would be giving devotional books to 50 seminary students in Albany, and then witnessing to ambassadors at the United Nations. Then he joked about how he wished "things would be closed" on their "free day" in NYC...I suppose so Debbie wouldn't get carried away with spending up all of OUR hard-earned contributions!!
There's nothing wrong with encouraging our seminary students, but it just sounded like a way to write off a New York Christmas shopping spree.....sheesh. And he has the gall to ask for PRAYER for this !!
All I can do is echo what other contributors to the blog say...Worse and Worse !!!

Bro.Rod H./Pastor said...

"It is still discouraging to attend FBC Jax, and listen to Mac Brunson's request for prayer, for he and Debbie's New York vacation this week....the privilege and arrogance still amazes me."

December 7, 2009 6:04 PM


Anon the Book of Hebrews states that "The Word of God is living and powerful,and sharper than any two-edged sword,piercing even to the division of soul and spirit,and of loints and marrow,and is a "DISCERNER" of the "THOUGHTS" and "INTENTS" of the "HEART"(MIND).[Heb.4:12]!!!

I've stated once and I'll stated again Mac's actions belie's what lies in his "HEART"!!!

What Mac does and says;is who "MAC"is and does!!!

What's in a man "HEART" will come to the surface eventually[Matt 15:19]!!!!

Mac's greed and disregard for the saints of FBCJ and how he brow beats them to give and then how he spends their offerings is on full display by what he says and does,and there's "NO" to spin it!!!

Let him who has ears to hear,let them hears!!!!!!!


"AND THAT'S THE BIBLICAL TRUTH"!!!

Anonymous said...

"There is no prosperity gospel in my orthodoxy. But my great fear of the emerging church is the thought that grace equals selfishness, anonymity, lowering gifts (both financial and time) as well as freedom to live as one wishes, all under the banner of "grace""


So you teach the law, instead? That makes no sense. The Holy Spirit compels us to give so your teaching that 10% is starting place is simply bringing the OT law into the New Covenant. Some are afraid the 'giving' will not go to the church and instead to a burdened brother or sister. That is also the law and is not nice. It is quite selfish from those who continue to burden the brothers and sisters by living off giving.

Man compelling people to give out of obedience to the law is not grace. Grace is likened to Barnabas who sold his estate for the Body.

Do not worry about the emergents. They are pretty much dead because they did not believe in truth but a continual conversation about what is truth. One can only have a conversation for so long...

Besides, DA Carson's book did not help them a bit.

Publius

Anonymous said...

'Jon - you might want to re-evaluate what you mean by "grace" if my giving amount percentage to a local church budget has anything to do with it being cheap or not. The grace is unmerited, infinite, and awesome. Your giving, no matter what percentage is it, is "cheap" in comparison. Plus, you still don't discuss why the giving should go to support salaries and buildings and utilities and operations and not go to "the least of these." Why would grace compel you to give money to a local church's budget and not to people in need? "

Not Publius, Very good points! I tried to say the same kind of thing but muddled it by talking about a wrong obedience to man. You got it right. And ask very good questions to boot.

Publius.

Yellow Dog Tither said...

I just have to comment on this issue. No, I'm not a pharisee or rabbi (Great learned men of scripture) as so many posters on here. My own experience is this. Yahweh has ALWAYS met all my needs acccording to HIS riches in glory. For 25 years, I have been a 100% commissioned salesman and small business owner and with 5 plus kids. My bride has never worked but you know what. Every check that comes through my hands, we take 10% off the top and GIVE it. We give to our place of worship, we give it to charitable ministries, we have used it to help a desperate situation in someones life but we have always given our first and best back to G_d as a way of giving him glory and saying thank you. No, we're not rich but our cars are all paid for, our house almost debt free and we have no credit card debt. We have 2 kids in college and 2 in Christian school. We SQUEEZE every nickel but I would NEVER, ever not consider giving back to G_d. Are you all crazy!!!! G_d has always made a way. I have stood on the banks of the Red Sea with the Egyptian army at my back and the roaring sea in front. G_d has AWAYS honored the tithe so go ahead and look for ways to skirt the blessings. Go ahead and justify not giving. Go ahead and do G_d a favor and give your 2-3% but you will be the one that misses out on the blessing that could be yours. One plus one plus G_d equals anything he wants it to equal. Where you treasure is, there is where your heart is. As for me and my house, we will serve (and GIVE back to) G_D. Oh ye of LITTLE faith. Amen brother now that's a good word. Let him who has an ear, HEAR.

Yellow Dog Tither said...

And no, I have no dog in this hunt. I could care less where you give. Let the Spirit lead you as you give. When you get a check in, write that giving check. You and your wife get down on your knees and bless that check and thank G_d for his provision. Quote scripture over that check and lay hands on it and claim the promises of G_D. Oh yea of LITTLE faith. He owns the cattle on a 1,000 hills and he cares for His children. Tithing/giving is putting your finances in G_d's hands and freeing yourself from the this world's corrupt Babylonian finacial system.

Anonymous said...

Yellow Dog,

So, we should expect material blessings for giving? What if they do not materialize? Does that mean God likes you more?

What about believers in other countries who give what little they have to help one another and are jailed for their witness, separated from their families and even die? Does God not like them as much as you?

Be careful. It could be that God is NOT using you at all. No discipline from God can mean he cannot use you at all for His Glory. I would rethink your position biblically before I bragged about such things. Abundant life is about spirituality not material blessings. Many confuse that.

Publius

Anonymous said...

Yellow Dog,

Which Levite priest do you give your tithe to? And is it to maintain a building? Are you Jewish?

Jews write G-d.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and if you lose it all tomorrow..a la...Job, will you still feel the same way about
God? Job was faithful, too.

Read Job. You seem to not understand the basics.

Pastor Pryme said...

we have always given our first and best back to G_d as a way of giving him glory and saying thank you... G_d has AWAYS honored the tithe so go ahead and look for ways to skirt the blessings.

Which is it?

Either you give out of gratitude or you invest for a return aka "blessing". Why use "blessing" as the motivator if it really should be gratitude? Why not call us ungrateful instead of berating us for not getting blessings we could have had?

When I read the great "faith chapter" of Heb. 11, I see that some of the people were "blessed" while others were martyred or oppressed. Which set tithed?

And how do any arguments for what I'd call "invest to be blessed" negate those given already from scripture which show that the Body is under no such law?

Pastor Pryme said...

Quote scripture over that check and lay hands on it and claim the promises of G_D.

Sounds like an incantation to force God's hand.

Oh yea of LITTLE faith.

I can feel the love...

He owns the cattle on a 1,000 hills and he cares for His children.

By punishing them for not obeying a law he never gave them in the first place?

Tithing/giving is putting your finances in G_d's hands and freeing yourself from the this world's corrupt Babylonian finacial system.

No, giving ALL your life, your thoughts, your deeds, your house, your car, AND your money is putting your $$ in God's hands. It is a LIVING SACRIFICE instead of a mere 10% for Him.

And as you pointed out, it isn't God who needs the money, it's the poor, the suffering, the missionaries.

Pray over that.

Anonymous said...

Is it against the "Biblical Law" to go on vacation as a pastor? How about to pray for safety in front of a congregation that cares for you? (yes, some still do) Is it wrong to joke about your wife shopping? Now you can have your opinion about NT tithing, I would warn against your opinions turning into a judgemental personal war against a pastor. He might be "wrong" about something, but if you haven't noticed, there is just as much debate on tithing as there is on speaking in tongues or predestination. These are open hand teachings and i dont see any of you on here belittling some pastor for preaching for/against that. Give the man a break. It's not FBC Jax watchdog, its MAC BRUNSON Judge. Which you have no authority to do...Why don't you leave the judging to God and put your focuses on more important things *ESPECIALLY YOU PASTORS COMMENTING* Your comments show either jealousy or immaturity enough to disrespect a man while you should be say...studying up for a sermon or on your knees begging God to forgive the wicked man you are. We all are wicked. WICKED WRETCHED beings who deserve hell. Everyday we fail. All of us. Everyday we fail continually in the same sin. Satan is not stupid. He knows our weaknesses and he preys on them. Therefore, we should focus first on our own lives, then (pastors) on the lives of your flock, and then, look at yourself again before you persecute another, because i promise you are missing something. Don't worry, if you think Mac is REALLY single handedly destroying the church (which he won't before the coming) leave the judgement to God, he knows what he is doing.

-Frederick Von Lichtenstein

Anonymous said...

Tithing/giving is putting your finances in G_d's hands...
__________________________________

I agree. Which is why I don't put my finances in the hands of the hand picked yes men that give it to mac and debbie and trey and maurilio. I give it to G-D, not to Team Brunson or the yes men at FBC Jax. So you and I are in 100% agreement. (Unless you are giving any money to FBC Jax.) :)

Anonymous said...

In the immortal words of Jack Sparrow "Simple, easy to remember, I like it..."

Tithing is a tenth of your income. It is fair and proportinate. Whether someone is on SSI at $1400 per month or earning $30,000 per month and if each pays 10% then they have taken care of their responsibility. Every pastor in the world will tell you that only about 20% of a given church's membership pays anything that approaches a tithe. If a pastor fails to teach the tithe then he fails his church.

I have been around church's with pastors that pull their punches on tithing. I'll take a strong pastor that teaches tithing any day. People can be like hogs under an oak tree. They eat and eat and never look up to see where the acorns come from. I do not want to carry their dead lazy butts nor do I want to become a burden myself.

The truth is that the church does not need any given members money. If a member can live with not paying then the church can live without it.

I will give you that there are some ridiculous pastors teaching false doctrine on tithing and really out to take advantage of the little old ladies. By the same token, there are church goers that think that their lifestyle is more important than tithing.


You see, satisfaction of doing one's part is the natural joy that God gives us in tithing. There is a sense of accomplishment that comes with the discipline.

Watchdog I think that you are very bitter and are using your blog to try and disrupt FBC by attacking the tithe. Your ploy is simply childish and you should be ashamed of yourself. The worst stereo type in life is the deadbeat that pays 0 tithes and try to stir up trouble.

I got news for you. We already know how this situation is going to turn out. God wins!

Pastor Pryme said...

Ironic, isn't it, that those who scream loudest about not judging pastors have no qualms about judging pastors who judge pastors.

And I've yet to see anyone who supports the tithe do so by scripture alone, without judging the motives and faith of those who argue against it.

Judge rightly; give "double shame" to those guilty of sin who demand "double honor" to be accused. Stop shooting the whistleblowers.

Anonymous said...

I'll take a strong pastor that teaches tithing any day.
___________________________________

I would too. But so far, Mac or Gaines or Smyrl nor anyone else can teach it from the Bible. Do you know anyone that can teach tithing from the Bible?

So you feel good about yourself and your disciplined giving? Sounds like pride and works and a basis to judge others who do not tithe. Self-righteous, judgmental people like yourself will kill a church. No matter what percentage of their income they give.

And how is it equal for a guy on SSI to give 10$ of his $1400 per month, who without that $140.00 can not pay to replace the tire that just was damaged on his car? Yet Mac would give $3000 and still have $27,000 each month left to cruise the Danube. That is NOT equal my friend, no matter how you try to spin it. And Mac would have his tire repaired free by some church member anyway.

Your thinking is twisted and very harmful to honest, Jesus loving Christians. The one who can give more should to help out the poor. And do so without judging or thinking he is "carrying" some "deadbeat." We all have different gifts in the body. Lighten up on the "obligation" and "duty" to tithe. I am glad you are called to give and that you are obedient to do so. God is using you. Do so cheerfully, not under compulsion and without pride. We all need you in the church. Thank you for your generous gift. I have other gifts. God Bless.

Anonymous said...

"Simple, easy to remember, I like it..."

Simple, easy to remember, unbiblical guilt-indusing manipulation, I don't like it...

Anonymous said...

"*ESPECIALLY YOU PASTORS COMMENTING* Your comments show either jealousy or immaturity enough to disrespect a man while..."

A true believer would never be jealous of Mac. And I am a bit curious about what you mean by disrespect? Is it the title?

Anyway, a true believer would be concerned for Mac...his behavior and teaching...yes. And evn more concerned for those following him...yes.

" you should be say...studying up for a sermon or on your knees begging God to forgive the wicked man you are. We all are wicked.""

If one is truly saved, they cannot continue to be knowingly wicked. Many of us were sold a bill of goods about this in order to teach the cheap grace of license to continue in sin. But Jesus Christ transforms hearts. The sin I once loved, I now hate.

Now, that does not mean that we do not agree on what is wicked. Perhaps in your book, questioning or critsizing the teaching or behavior of a pastor is wicked. According to 'the Book', it is long overdue in most churches in Amnerica.


" Don't worry, if you think Mac is REALLY single handedly destroying the church (which he won't before the coming) leave the judgement to God, he knows what he is doing."

In other words, ignore the Epistles. I have to wonder why they were written at all when I see comments like this.

Perhaps these pastors, as Pastor Pryme reminded us, should leave the problem of 'tithing' to God and never mention it? That would fit your perspective of leaving it all to God.

Your perspective would also negate the reality of the Word that God mostly works through humans to achieve His purposes.



Matt

Anonymous said...

John MacArthur & Pretrib Rapture

Who knows, maybe John (Reformedispy) MacArthur is right and the greatest Greek scholars (Google "Famous Rapture Watchers"), who uniformly said that Rev. 3:10 means PRESERVATION THROUGH, were wrong. But John has a conflict. On the one hand, since he knows that all Christian theology and organized churches before 1830 believed the church would be on earth during the tribulation, he would like to be seen as one who stands with the great Reformers. On the other hand, if John has a warehouse of unsold pretrib rapture material, and if he wants to have "security" for his retirement years and hopes that the big California quake won't louse up his plans, he has a decided conflict of interest. Maybe the Lord will have to help strip off the layers of his seared conscience which have grown for years in order to please his parents and his supporters - who knows? One thing is for sure: pretrib is truly a house of cards and is so fragile that if a person removes just one card from the TOP of the pile, the whole thing can collapse. Which is why pretrib teachers don't dare to even suggest they could be wrong on even one little subpoint! Don't you feel sorry for the straitjacket they are in? While you're mulling all this over, Google "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty" for a rare behind-the-scenes look at the same 180-year-old fantasy.

Ruthie

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anonymous for confirming what I have been feeling for some time now. I am at peace and have become a cheerful giver. I let The Lord lead and direct my giving. My eyes have been opened to the false teaching of New Testament tithing, robbing God, blessings in proportion to our giving of our tithes, and thus neglecting those who are needy in the church including widows and orphans and the poor. Thanks for your wisdom and insight.