The first is the new book on the tithing doctrine by David Croteau, called "Perspectives on Tithing: Four Views", in which Croteau and 5 other authors lay forth four different views of the tithing doctrine and New Testament giving. What is unique about this book is that each author has a section of the book containing their view on the tithing doctrine, followed by rebuttals from the other authors. This is a great way to compare and contrast the different views on tithing. Croteau gives Ken Hemphill, the SBC's point-man on the tithing doctrine, a chance to give the SBC party-line on tithing.
This book by Croteau is a follow-up to last year's "You Mean I Don't Have to Tithe: A Deconstruction of Tithing and a Reconstruction of Post-Tithe Giving." Croteau is a Ph.D. graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and an assistant professor at Liberty University, whose dissertation was on the tithe under the tutelage of Dr. Andreas Kostenberger. You might remember the hullabaloo created when SBC pastor Les Puryear contacted Danny Akin attempting to get Kostenburger fired because he doesn't teach "storehouse tithing" at SEBTS. It was all documented on Wade Burleson's blog last year.
Perhaps I'll write another article after I read the book, but one thing that stands out to me: those of you who have preachers who stand in the pulpit and declare with 100% certainty that you as a Christian are obligated to give 10% to your church, else you are disobedient and under a curse from God: your preacher does NOT want you to read this book. They don't want you to know is that there are very conservative scholars who have examined the doctrine, who don't have a financial stake in convincing you to tithe, that have determined that the tithe does not apply to those under the New Covenant - and that your finances are not cursed until you tithe on your "first fruits".
I hope many lay people read this book to compare and contrast the views of tithing and come to a conclusion, rather than just listening to their preacher tell them about curses and God's judgments on those who don't fork over 10%.
The other book is by Jon Zens, entitled "The Pastor Has No Clothes: Moving from Clergy-Centered Church to Christ-Centered Ekklesia". Those of you who have read "Pagan Christianity" by Frank Viola and George Barna will want to read this. Jon Zens and Frank Viola are close friends and have much of the same views on the state of the modern church. Here is Frank Viola's plug for the book:
So there you have it.
"Jon Zens has written one of the most important books of the 21st century. If you thought Pagan Christianity was controversial, think again. Jon’s book demonstrates beyond dispute that the clergy-system (in the form of the modern pastorate) is not only unbiblical, but contrary to the headship of Jesus Christ. I hope that every Christian reads this volume with an open heart and mind, especially those who deem themselves “leaders” in the body of Christ. I applaud Jon for his courage in adding another Scripture-based book to help foment the growing revolution that God has begun today — a revolution designed to give His church back to His beloved Son." Frank Viola
Two books that your pastors definitely don't want you to read, because they will challenge you to reconsider the two pillars of their power: their ability to convince you that you need a headliner pastor in your life to tell you what the bible says, and that God requires you to give them 10% of your gross income.
In my book, Croteau and Zens are modern day Christian heroes who are not afraid to speak the truth.
Other related Watchdog posts:
"Dr. David A. Croteau Has Another Book on Tithing Coming Soon" - November 21, 2010.
"A Look at the Doctrine of Storehouse Tithing" - November 18, 2009 (looking at Kostenburger's and Croteau's research at SEBTS)
"Daring to Question the Storehouse Tithing Doctrine" - November 23, 2010.
"Brunson Defends Tithing Doctrine, Impugns Authors' Financial Motives" - September 18, 2010. (Brunson impugns the financial motives of Barna and/or Viola).
"As a Gift to Our Mothers and Daughters, Consider You May be Wrong About the Doctrine of Male-Only Authority in the Church" - May 8, 2011 (mention Jon Zens' teaching on women in the church).