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Posts Tagged ‘tithing’

By Jim Gordon

When you first hear this, you think of someone who has lost their faith and turned their back on God. That is certainly not the case with me. Let me explain.

When I say christianity I am talking about the religious organization. The true sense of the word Christian means little Christ, or someone who follows the example of Jesus by loving God and loving others. This is not what I am talking about.

The religion of Christianity is the many denominations, the various doctrines and the requirement to follow the rules that men and women tell us we need to follow to be “good christians”.

Church attendance, tithing, adhering to the belief that the bible is inerrant, basically following the rules of the traditional institutional church organization. Being told that grace is not enough because we have to add following the rules and do things that people think are right to be considered a christian.

So often you see two or three church buildings within a mile of each other. There are so many usually because those that attend cannot agree on doctrine and bible interpretation and they have to separate from one another. They still try to follow the ten commandments and try to be good people by what they do when God said it is finished. Because of the grace of Christ we can rest in the love of God.

Jesus said to love God and love one another, but we tend to fight and argue amongst ourselves while those outside of christianity watch and wonder why they would need to be a part of it.

It seems more often than not, when christianity is mentioned the thought is of people who go to church on Sunday then act like everyone else the rest of the week. The thought of people who try their best to follow the rules but spend most of their time feeling guilty because they cannot do so. So much of christianity seems to be so exclusive to people who they feel are different. It says love your neighbor and love your enemy but christianity so often loves only those who have the same views and opinions about the bible.

That is why my wife and I have left the religion of christianity. We have been walking outside the walls of institutional church and religion yet have not left our faith in God. We want to follow the example of Jesus who showed us what God is really like. A God of love and acceptance. A God who loves people and treats everyone with kindness, respect and as equals. We want to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit who lives within us. We have given up on following the pastor or evangelist or any human who thinks they are the mouthpiece of God. We no longer need a human teacher or guide since Jesus sent the Spirit to be with us constantly.

All that is asked of us is to share the good news of the gospel which is that God loves us. We share that by loving God and loving all people, not by shoving our opinion down the throats of others. Making disciples is sharing the love of God, encouraging one another and helping each other to daily live a life that is loving and helpful.

So yes, I am done with christianity. I am not done with faith in God. I am not done with following the example of Jesus. I am not done with loving people and sharing the love of God with everyone. Forget the religion and follow the way of God by loving one another.

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by Jim Gordon

If you have spent anytime in the institutional church system you know something about tithing. Tithing is talked about in every church whether it is every week, every month or only a certain time during the year. We need to remember there is a difference between tithing, giving and financial support.

I remember feeling guilty because I felt I could not afford to tithe. You know, the real tithe, ten percent of your income and that was not take-home pay that was ten percent of all you made.

I can remember one church we used to attend the pastor would have the ushers count the money after the offering and if there was not enough in it he would tell them to pass the plates again. Another church we went to the pastor told the congregation they needed to give one month’s salary to support a special building project they had going.

Now I know not all churches go to that extreme, but all churches will talk about the tithe. What bothers me about all this is that the tithe is an old covenant teaching. I believe that tithing is no longer something we need to worry about. We no longer have a storehouse to bring the tithe into. Many teach that the church is the storehouse but that is certainly not the case. If you read more about what tithing was and what the purpose was back in the old testament you will see it is no longer for us.

The church is not a building or storehouse. God does not live in buildings made by hands. We are the temple of God and he lives within us. The Church that God is building is not a religion or institution or organization. The Church is made up of the community of believers who live for God each and every day by the guidance of the Spirit that is within us.

I have no problem with giving. In fact, we are to give but we are not to tithe. Giving is done out of love, it is done out of caring. It has no set amount and is not an obligation for us to fulfill.

cheerfulgiving

If people decide to attend a church building and be part of the religious institution that is OK as long as they know that it is not God’s house and tithing is no longer required. If the pastor would just be honest and tell the people that they are part of an organization that meets in a building and it needs their support. They have bills to pay, salaries to meet, utilities to pay and expenses that have to be paid if they are going to run the organization.

What upsets me is when the pastor tries to guilt the members into giving their money because they are giving to God, or they are told they are robbing God by not giving their ten percent. They are told to bring the tithe into the storehouse so that others can be helped, then most of the money goes to pay the expenses of the organization. Just be honest and tell them there are expenses that need to be paid and if you are part of this group you need to help pay the bills.

I could go along with that much better. I could go along with being told we need to financially support the organization to pay the bills. Beyond that we are free to give what we feel is right and directly to people who need it without going through the organization who takes its cut.

So, for those who are still in the institutional church give your money as financial support of the organization. There is nothing wrong with that, but do not think you are giving to God. Do not let the pastor guilt you into giving because you are robbing from God. The old covenant has been fulfilled and we now live by grace in the new covenant where tithing is no longer needed.

Follow your heart and give to others out of love and as you feel led. If you attend a religious organization then give your money to financially support it, but do not feel guilty or be guilted into giving money out of any obligation. You are free to give as you see fit.

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by Jim Gordon

One big sore spot with me within the christian religion is listening to big-named evangelists and preachers tell us we need to give them our money so they can go forth and proclaim the gospel.

money

They will pile up big bank accounts, nice houses, huge buildings, expensive jets, cars and who knows what else, all under the guise of being able to proclaim to gospel to more people.

Many times the money they raise is coming from people who can barely afford to meet living expenses day to day. They will give money to these people because they are told it will help them better spread the gospel around the world. They are also told they are robbing from God if they do not give.

If I understand what I read in the bible, Jesus and his twelve disciples turned the world upside down with their love and by teaching the good news that God loves them. I do not remember reading about how much money they had, or how many luxuries they had that helped them spread the gospel.

It really bothers me that the money spent buying these people some of the luxuries of life could be used to help many starving, homeless, jobless people across our country or around the world.

As christians, we are all called to proclaim the gospel. We do so in the way we live. We are to show love to all people and help those in need with the means we have been given.

We are not under the old covenant law that said bring ten percent into the storehouse. We should give to help others, but not out of obligation. We are to give out of love and that amount we have determined without our own heart to give.

PriesthoodofBelievers

No person, man or woman, should be looked upon as more important or more spiritually holy than anyone else. We are to be a priesthood of all believers with no one more important than another.

Rather than focus on those who are demanding we give them our money to support the kingdom of God, let us follow after the example of Jesus by loving all people and using the money, gifts and talents he has given us to help those we can directly.

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Originally Posted on February 1, 2011

As I become more inclined to follow my feeling that the church of today is way off base of what God intended, the organized, man-made denomination, the ‘religious’ church, I continue to come across books and websites that confirm my thoughts.

Take for instance the teaching of the church on tithing. We are constantly told we need to give our 10% to the church or we are robbing God. Wait a minute, that was in the Old Testament. Jesus came to fulfill the law and provide grace for us. Follow the following links and read a different thought on tithing:
http://freebelievers.com/article/tithing-is-not-a-christian-doctrine
and
http://freebelievers.com/article/rethinking-the-tithe

Tithing

Am I saying it is wrong to tithe? No. If you attend an organized church and you feel they are doing what God wants for them, yes, support it. But do not feel you ‘have’ to tithe. Do not let a pastor guilt you into giving because he uses some Old Testament verse to tell you that you are robbing from God. Give because you love God and want to give. Give 1%, 5%, 10%, 50%, whatever you determine in your heart to give. We are free to give the amount we determine and are no longer under law and required to tithe.

Why get so caught up on being in a building each week listening to one man (or woman) telling us what God is saying or what the bible says. Is it not written in the bible that we now have the Holy Spirit to teach us?

Am I saying it is wrong to go to church? Of course not. I do believe the modern-day organized church is not in line with what God intended, and I do believe we do not have to attend any organized church. Some will say the bible says do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together. That is true but it does not say you have to assemble together anywhere in particular. Meet up with other believers in a restaurant, or invite them to your home for a meal and a time of fellowship. That is what I feel the bible is talking about. Check this article to see what I mean:
http://freebelievers.com/article/the-flabby-body-of-christ-why-is-church-so-dull

In our day and age it is time to get over man-made religion and the church building being the center of our Christian life and realize there is more. Most churches today are more of a social meeting place or a big business than anything. We should focus on Jesus and build our relationship with him and realize that WE are the Church and the Holy Spirit lives within us, making us the dwelling place of God. We are the temple of God. We need to build our fellowship with God and with one another. This does not need to be done in a building with an organized service, but in spending time with our brothers and sisters in Christ, helping one another and talking about God and His love for us. Others should be able to know that we are Christians because of the love we have for one another.

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I can remember growing up in the organized church being told all the things I needed to do to be a good Christian.

I think most of us who were part of the church were taught we needed to do certainly things to be pleasing to God.

We were all told that we are saved by grace, but after that we have to do, do, do to be good Christians.

What are We to Do

Usually the first thing we are told after coming to Christ is to find a Bible believing church, read your Bible, and witness to your friends. As we got involved in church we were again told to be at church whenever the doors are open, tithe your ten percent, get involved in a small group, do visitation, go on a mission trip, and on and on it went.

To be a good Christian, you can forget about grace because it all depends on how much you can do for God, at least that is the way it seems if you listen to others.

Always being told how to be a good Christian also brings up the thought that if you do not do all the things you are told you should do, then maybe you will be considered a bad Christian, and none of us want to be known as a bad Christian.

So what do we do? We try even harder to do all the things we were told to do to be a good Christian.

I think there are so many people who love God, yet feel so guilty because they just cannot measure up to being a good Christian, at least in the way that we have been told.

Grace

It is time we reprogram our minds from what the church told us and focus again on what God has told us. We are saved by grace, NOT OF WORKS. Ephesians 2:8-9 reads .. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

No More Guilt

We can stop feeling guilty about not doing enough. We need to stop listening to the do, do, do message and realize God has already done it all. God has done all that is needed to have a relationship and fellowship with Him. It is a gift from Him to us.

Good works will naturally flow from us through the love and power of the Spirit, not by our own effort trying to measure up and do things to earn God’s acceptance.

In Christ, we can relax and rest in Him. We do not have to worry about being a good Christian or a bad Christian. We can know that we are loved and accepted by our Father just as we are.

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