Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dennis on "A Short Sermon on the Amount"

ht: Otogosh

A Short Sermon on the Amount

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorLet's face it; every church wants your hard earned money and resources.  "Send it in..." is the mantra with proof texts to follow.  How much do you have to give to your Church when it comes right down to it? 

The first answer is "absolutely nothing."  

2 Corinthians 9:7

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 

That's all you need to know.  No more proof texts about what exactly that means.  No twisting it around for two hours until you forget it is in your Bible.  No being told erroneously that we can only discern this by going "here a little and there a little."  The real meaning of that scripture is hilarious and has nothing to do with how to study your Bible but we'll skip that for now.

 Now if you want to stress yourself or rather be stressed by "You have robbed God," and "Prove me now herewith," knock yourself out.  But give as you are able trumps that every time. 

If you really think an actual God needs your money or can be robbed of it to the point of throwing a hissy fit and wreaking utter destruction and curses on the earth for not paying up, then I can't help you.  I'm going to go with human priests thought that one up and it has guilted and frightened millions for millennia into giving, not as they are able, but as they are afraid not to give.  Humans feel robbed and humans get miffed about not collecting their religious taxes, not any real God.

Do I have to tithe?

Of course not.  You don't have to do anything.  See above. 

Do I have to actually give a pledge I pledged when I felt I was guilted into pledging what I did not actually have to pledge?  In other words, do I have to give what I have not got?

Of course not.  Now here's the trick you have to understand.  In Acts, Peter, well the Holy Spirit who you can never quite pin down, struck two nasty young church members down for holding back on a pledge they made of THEIR land and THEIR money.  Somehow Peter says there as a moment when it was actually theirs, but once they said...”I pledge..."   all bets were off and you were going to die if you didn't pony up.  Great story and great fear, which is the effect you want, came on the whole church when they saw them buried in the alley outside the building...uh huh.  Do you really think Romans would not wonder why people dropped dead at your services or some kid or family member didn't wonder why mom/dad, aunt/uncle or my kids didn't come home from your church this week...where are they? 

Listen to me once and for all and get this story used as threat reveals its true sense for you.  This story, written by Luke, cohort of Paul who both thought Peter, who denied Jesus was NO better than a Judas who betrayed him, is meant as a joke on Peter. It is meant to send a not so subtle message to Paul's followers to reject Peter.  Because see...here we have two fine church folk who said they would do one thing, give it all, but then held back being killed off by the grand and glorious Apostle Peter, who also said he would do one thing...never deny leave or forsake Jesus and denied him!   Get it?  It's a slam against Peter and not a pay up or else story for you.  There are lots of subtle and not so subtle slams the apostles throw at each other in the New Testament if you know where to look but I spare you.   This one is not about scaring you into sending anything in when you realize the reality of your situation cannot actually match the generosity of your spirit the day your were badgered into giving what you actually did not have for something you may not actually agreed with in the first place. 

If you're mind says "That's a stupid reason to send my money in," goes off before, "Oh...I better do this," go with the first thought.  It's rather like if your head tells you one thing and your stomach another, your stomach is telling you the truth.

You cannot give what you have not got nor should you.  You put your family and children first.  You don't short yourself to enrich your church. You don't put off personal needs to meet the needs of others if you feel inside that you can't but outside that you should.  You don't need to obey any man in these matters and while dozens of scriptures can be thrown at you to make you feel like a Bronze Age Church member, YOU don't have to give what you do not have or do not wish to give.

And actually I hope you never do again no matter how sincere you are and convinced of the truth taught by your church.  I never met anyone who fessed up to belonging to the wrong, false or deceived Church so I expect none of you feel that way either. But don't let anyone falsely guilt you into giving or using the specter of a God or Big Bad Apostle visit to get you to meet your "obligations."

You have no obligations in these matters if you stop running all over the Bible from Genesis to Revelation trying to figure it out.  Giving is an inside job from YOU to THEM and not an expectation of you from THEM TO YOU.

And a real God doesn’t need your money incase that comes up again...  But men do...

2 Corinthians 9:7

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 

And that's today's Sermon on the Amount...


Anonymous said...

The context is interesting and one you will see applied to members and pledging. Paul wants them to send it in as they promised but says "You must give it...cheerfully and without cohersion." This is a bit like saying, "you MUST relax." Must and relax don't go together any more than freely give and you "You MUST send it in" do

In other words, you will give it but you must change your griping attitude about what you must give. LOL Paul gets himself all twangled up in their thinking they can give willingly but they can't undecide to give it.

I guess it is, you will give it so you may aswell like it and change YOUR attitude about it. As always, the burden is on the follower, not the spender

Crazy stuff and a bind if ever there was one.

Anonymous said...

Hey, you can always go Flurry's route and say if you don't follow PCG, you'll get raped by Assyrians ("Lamentations" booklet)

Anonymous said...

I hate it when the Assyrians are in town!

Assistant Deacon said...

Intellectually, I guarantee you the majority of COG ministers know tithing is simply not mandatory.

However, such an admission betrays the fact that no-tithing undermines the COGs' obsession with British-Israelism (which many/most are skeptical about, anyway), which in turn undermines the obsession with keeping "the Law," which in turn chips away at their Sabbatarianism, which...

...and it all falls apart.

So...give till it hurts, brethren!

Anonymous said...

people need to reclaim their critical thinking skills. But when minsiter or apostles go on auto pilot skipping through the shoulds and musts, it goes out the window.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Jesus say, give as you are able. This statement has a much broader meaning far beyond giving money, and much more important then giving money. I believe this broad and vague statement covers all the ways we can give to our fellow man most important of which is spending our time which is our most valued asset. Yes giving something of value or money can be a part of giving and many times is but it usually isn't the most important way to give. As for giving money to a church, you are giving to nothing but a human devised institution and not to God so don't feel guilty if you don't give a penny to your church.

Brenda said...

Bob Thiel is the antichrist.

Anonymous said...

actually the context of the chapter is Paul telling them to pay up what they pledged but is trying to tell them that they should do it cheerfully and of a willing mind. He's not letting them off the hook. lol

Nor will Dave Pack

Byker Bob said...

Hey, the real Assyrians are actually Christians! An Assyrian teller at my local bank invited me to her church! (I enjoyed meeting and talking with her, but didn't accept the invite!)

This tithing thing has just exploded into people's consciousness during my lifetime. Very few people taught tithing other than the Armstrongs while I was growing up. Now, many of the Christian churches (practically all of the Evangelicals) teach it. Those who don't sometimes teach the same scrip that Dennis quoted, but point out that God's guideline for such giving has always been a minimum of 10%.

Over the past five years, I've actually enjoyed contributing to some Christian works and causes. It's not like the old WCG days where you knew that bad things were going on, and tithes were being misappropriated and fraudulently used but felt like you had to keep giving anyway because it was "God's True Church".
Tithing isn't half bad if you get to do due dilligence and use discernment as to who you send them to.


Anonymous said...

Always loved the idea that tithing was the law but the spirit of the law is MOOOOOORRRRE than 10%.

I did see a sign once that said, "Stay Home From Church this Sunday...Save Ten Percent!"


Anonymous said...

The churches of this generation (including the COG's) have it completely backwards.

1. They trust in money, not in God.
2. They draw people inwards, to form exclusive clubs, instead of growing outwards converting by examle.
3. They mandate tithes and offerings (Herbert did 3x + offerings + funds under threat of the lake of fire if enough wasn't given), but give very little to the needy and hurting, and then only a tiny bit.
4. They build huge churches and headquarters and buildings with every extravagance, when that simply is not the model of the biblical church.
5. Instead of showing meekness and humbleness, many exalt their positions and their glorious church edifice.
6. Leaders exalt their office as a glory position, instead of being a humble servant.

This is why I despise organized religion. I really feel the ones with the highest positions in the kingdom are going to be the unknowns and the outcasts who no one's ever heard of, because they did everything in secret outside of the walls of the corporate church. Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

actually it is not God at all loves a cheerful giver. God has no need to be cheered by cheerful giving. That's a human thing and what Paul seems to be saing is that "I would love it if you gave me your resources in a good attitude."

In the COGs when ministers say, "God wants.." "God needs.." "God expects..." etc, it simply means "We/I expect..."

Anonymous said...

wasn't the money given to go towards helping those in Jerusalem who were suffering from a drought? It wasn't going for buildings, etc.

Anonymous said...

yes, It was not to build a Pauline Headquarters . That came later with Catholicism where "screw the poor , let's build!!!" became the battlecry.

Also remember Dave Pack does not believe in helping out with disasters or human (well his own yesssssss) needs. Satan runs the Red Cross remember. Send it in!..to him

Allen C. Dexter said...

"This is why I despise organized religion. I really feel the ones with the highest positions in the kingdom are going to be the unknowns and the outcasts who no one's ever heard of, because they did everything in secret outside of the walls of the corporate church. Just my opinion."

What positions? What kingdom?

It's an illusion. A concocted story from dillusionary minds just as stupid as anything Gerald Waterhouse ever blathered.

Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

The only money that Christians should be giving is 1) to the poor (members and non-members) and 2) to those "ministers" who are actually evangelizing, or ministering to the poor in such a way that they literally have no time to earn money. Unfortunately, the latter conditions can be interpreted to mean anything.

Giving money to a church these days is a gamble, even if they appear to have a program that helps people. How much money actually goes to the program as opposed to fluff? How much "helping" are they doing as opposed to evangelizing? Prayer doesn't fill an empty stomach, though I am sure some Christians would argue that it's all cool since if the person does die of starvation, he or she will go straight to heaven.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add my name to the above post...

Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

The Old Covenant was more for prosperity and give to get. The New seems more personal austerity, less materialism and more inner spirituality, when NOT read by COG Ministry or the Gurus with Ediface Complex. These are concepts they cannot grasp evidently. Weinland, Pack and Flurry certainly dn't

Douglas Becker said...

Dennis, shame on you for your cover up.

The issue of 2 Corinthians 9:7 was to collect money to help other church members who were particularly distressed. This was not about tithing at all -- it was a free will offering.

Then there's the issue of Malachi, where the priests were to bring the tithes into the temple. Let me repeat that: The priests were to bring the tithes into the temple. It was to the priests, not the people.

Then there's the little matter that the Olde Covenant was done away and the New Covenant replaced everything, leaving off sacrifices and... well, you know -- if there's no temple, you just can't bring the tenth of your produce (except the fruit trees weren't a tenth) to the temple at the Feast of Tabernacles to keep the Feast TO FEAR GOD instead of loving him.

And finally... FINALLY, there is not one shred, hint, or whisper of tithing on wages -- none! It was to be done on produce from the land God gaveth thee. Has God given you any land? Do you even necessarily own property? Does buying planting soil from Fred Meyer mean that you have to tithe the cherry tomatoes you grow in a planter on your windowsill.


There is no tithing on wages even in the Ye Olde Testament and even what tithe there was, there was only one on produce to be used solely for the purpose of keeping the Feast of Tabernacles, when you went, or given to the fatherless and widow to go on the third year as you stayed home and sent them.

And if you want to get snarky about tithing, consider the Land Rest: You were to get twice your bounty on the sixth year and let your land lay fallow so you could go to the Feast both the sixth and seventh year. WCG farmers tried that and went broke because GOD BROKE HIS PROMISE TO GIVE THEM DOUBLE THEIR SIXTH YEAR. Well, no, because God only promised that to Israelites in the land of Israel -- the land God gaveth them -- and only for the time of the Ye Olde Testament.

So, as Paul Ray pointed out, they lie to you and then they take your money.

And for that, they deserve... well, since they are also false prophets... death. Based on the Olde Testament, of course.

Die, you scoundrels, die!

Anonymous said...

I understand that DB I was going for emphasis on "in his heart," "not reluctantly," and "under compulsion" of giving ....


Anonymous said...

Evidently, even in the context , the crowd felt pressured to give what perhaps they did not have to the poor in Jerusalem, which they also may not have wanted to do with Jerusalem types being Jewish Christians and all not on the best of terms. It would be like the Baptist Church being told to give to WCG poor in Pasadena.

The context is Paul telling these folk they have bad attitudes and need give in a better one. He was not letting them off the "send it in " hook lol.

My view is that Paul had no right to push this on them either and they needed to give not as Paul wanted but as they wanted with concern for not being pushed or giving from the heart of someone else not them.

The bottom line is that I dont think what one gives is the business of anyone including the Church. Churches DO read the donation stats. I guarantee Dave Pack does big time as Mr. I'm Not About the Numbers.

One of the first things checked on by WCG before any ordination was if they were tithing and you can bet that is still in effect with certain ones

Douglas Becker said...

I know Dennis, I was being snarky, ironic, sarcastic and hopefully hilarious.

Thanks for letting me play.

Anonymous said...

It's all childish play, this speculating on the Kingdom. If any of us is going,we are all going. I protest any merciful god who would make human beings the way we are and then some of us have mental disorders and huge disadvantages, and awful upbringings. It just isn't fair to dispense us into eternal damnation for whatever we might do on this globe, this includes not tithing or frying several million. What about the big picture? "Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more."

Anonymous said...

Oh sorry db, lol, ur welcome