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April 20, 2008


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Amen here too!!

It also came to me that without God's help, we cannot pay our debts. Not only the debts paid by our Saviour, but financial debts as well.

2 Kings 4 - the widow could not pay her debt, but her husband had been faithful to God all his life. God gave her the ability to pay them AND to live.

One thing thing that readers should understand concerning tithing, is that you tithe to a priest, not a preacher, teacher, pastor, elder, bishop, church or etc.

You give a tenth to the priest that makes atonement for your sins. Basically that was the priests life, to work in the temple and not in fields. Nehemiah 13 Anyone who studies the Scriptures should know that. If you're going to tithe in this church dispensation you need to tithe to Christ, the High Priest who has made a one time atonement for us all. Prior to the law, who did Abraham tithe to? How do you give to Christ? Matthew 25

This topic is not up for debate, the scriptures teach us clearly.

And also, Why do people say they are not concerned with what is done to the money they give to their churches? Should you not know the ground that you sow into? Is it not vain to sow seeds into corrupt ground?

• 2 Corinthians 8:12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. 13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: 14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: 15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
• 2 Corinthians 9:6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity : for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

For you and most Christians, giving is not about helping others; it's about meeting your quota and assuaging your guilt. That's clear from the fact that you don't even care what your money goes to or whether or not it's used responsibly. What a sad life to live, in which not only are you forced to give away your money based on your irrational beliefs, but that money doesn't even end up helping others in need. I have no doubt that, for you, Christianity is just another tool to help you climb the social and financial ladders of life. When it comese to putting it into practice as Jesus intended, you come woefully short. You might as well discard your beliefs and keep your money. I promise you that no bolt of lightning is forthcoming.

Read the Sermon on the Plain from Luke 6: "The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good." Jesus is saying here that you should NOT blindly and obediently follow commands, but seek to improve your own heart, and from that will flow charity and goodness. Merely following the commands of others is morally neutral, not good.

The path that Jesus instructs Christians to follow is a path of introspection and self-improvement, not a path of following commands. From introspection and self-improvement comes the fruit of the good tree mentioned in that parable - charity from the heart, not from some rules in a dusty old book.

I disagree with points in the post. I agree that we are to still give and to give sacrificially. I do believe it does matter where that money goes. I believe that we would be better off serving people in serious needs or directly supporting missionaries who are trustfully using (and are audited and reviewed) the money than to a church that takes the money and uses it corruptly.

Yes tithing or offering is in part to say to God, I give you the first of my labors, because I admit in my heart that it ALL comes from you, that you own ALL my possessions, ALL my time, ALL my increase. So it is about obedience but that doesn't mean blind obedience that makes tithing become a ritual or a point of worship.

The money is used by God's people to further God's work. Yes, God doesn't need our money, he doesn't need us to support him. He is god and he could make whatever work out that he wanted to. That still does not get rid of our responsibility to be careful stewards of our money. That means in personal finance but it also means with giving.

If you have a family member or friend who has a serious gambling problem, they are about to go out on the street and take their young children with them. They need rent money. Would you give that person a wad of cash? I don't believe we are to do that. We are to instead maybe help pay the bill directly. It would be foolish to give that person cash. Likewise, it would be foolish to freely tithe to a church that does not open it's books, that does not have more than one person doing the finances and auditing, etc. Money is an easy area to get tripped up in.

It also kills a witness. You can be a church full of the spirit with a congregation that serves God in awesome ways all the time, that loves the Lord and loves the Lost in your community. You have a scandal with embezzlement and it hits your local papers, that is what the lost will see. That will be one more reason for them to say "See, I am better than those stealing church people, why should I go to hear how to get to heaven when I am better?!". Now we who believe know that it isn't about being better. Most of those who don't attend church regularly or haven't really heard the Gospel message don't know that Church is full of sinners, that every single one of us is a sinner from your grandmother to mother teresa to the Pope to Billy Graham. They have preconceived notions and something like that adds more weight to their arguments (even if they are illogical when you fully understand the gospel).

Otherwise, I agree that we are to give, give sacrifically, give up on some of the pleasures in life to help others. I agree that it is not our tithe that saves us. I think some folks are misled by a lot of corrupt televangelists and churches that make it feel as though your answers to prayer or salvation are directly proportional to your tithe dollars. I think those ministries should be punished and explained away in the public light.

We are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, by His atoning, sacrificial, loving death for us. We are all sinners and deserve death in hell, eternal separation from God. But as it says in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.".

Whoever means you, me no matter what we have done. We are all on a level playing field as sinners. We can't earn our salvation and we don't even deserve it if we could. It was given to us in spite of us. While we were yet sinning it was given to us when Jesus Christ paid for our sins.

Believe that you are a sinner, believe that Christ died for those sins, believe that his death was the substitutionary sacrifice for your sins and trust in Him to lead you and you will be saved.

To Devin:

Unfortunately the term Christian is overused and misused these days. I define Christian the way the Bible does. One who believes that Jesus Christ paid for their sins, accepted his death, admitted their sin nature and asked God to clothe them with Christ's righteousness and is now identified to God as Christ. Because he sees Christ as having completely paid our sin debt. So a Christian isn't just one who "believes in God" or "likes the Bible". It is someone who has taken the step in faith to ask Jesus into their hearts and lives. As I define it anyway.

That being said, a Christian is one who seeks to live their life more like Christ and that means letting the Holy Spirit guide them through life, denying the normal inner motives of mankind (I don't know about you, but I am not a good person. I mean I haven't killed anyone, I try to do good things but I am selfish, can't even go a day without sinning and am overall very far from God's definition of perfect). Part of that means looking to the example of Christ's life and trying to earnestly and honestly model your life after his.

Looking at his life from the Bible (or from secular historic works from his time) you see that he had a genuine heartfelt concern for people. (Which makes sense when you think... hey he is God!). His life was spent in service from his Healing Ministry, to his giving, to feeding the poor and the hungry, to consoling people with sick or dead family members and finally in giving his life (which he didn't have to do) to give ALL mankind the opportunity to accept and believe and receive a new nature and eternal life with Him in Heaven (which none of us deserve, least of all, me).

The Bible explains that we are not to give out of guilt or fear of punishment (in fact, one could be saved and never give a dime and still go to heaven.. they probably wouldn't want to, and they would potentially receive lesser reward in heaven but they will not lose their salvation). The Bible tells us not to give with a heart that doesn't agree with the act. In fact we are told to keep the money to ourselves if we are going to give begrudgingly.

So a Christian, as I believe the Bible defines, does not give for the reasons you suggest. That does sound sad indeed. When I tithe I tithe because I am saying "Thank you God for blessing me in my ups and my downs, thank you for providing all that I have, I am giving a very small portion of what you gave me anyway to try and help others". Our church takes "love offerings" for situations where sudden unemployment, loss of a loved one without insurance, fire, other tragedy and people give abundantly. This is above the tithe normally (though our Pastor typically suggests if people can't both give their tithe and help the family to help the family only). These love offerings wouldn't be that successful and helpful if what you say is true.

Please try to look at all angles before commenting so matter of factly. Go to a Bible Believing, evangelical church locally and attend a service, talk to the people about why they tithe, I think you will find more people in agreement with my line of thinking than yours.

Trent --

Are you saying the Bible is simply a "dusty old book" or are you referring to something else?

Devin --

I'm assuming you're talking to the guest poster and not me, correct?


Thank you for addressing the dusty old book comment. I figured I had already rambled for far too long here to talk about that one. I was liking where Trent was going until that comment :)


I am talking to the poster as well as anyone else who feels the way the poster does, which I believe is most Christians. If you disagree with the poster, then my comment is not directed towards you.


I spent over 25 years of my life in Bible-believing, KJV-only, Evangelical churches. While it's very possible that you have more experience in this realm than I do, don't mistake me as an ignorant outsider. I don't need a lecture on what it means to be a Christian. I know exactly what it means, and I know from experience that it doesn't take long for it to become something quite different from trying to live like Christ lived. Otherwise, a lot more people would be selling all they have and giving it to the poor and dedicating their lives to loving others. But since we are talking on a money blog, am I correct in assuming that most of you haven't quite gotten there yet?

Deny it all you want, but Christianity as you define it (you know, the one where you go to hell if you don't believe the right things before you die) is based on fear and guilt. The original poster does a tremendous job of illustrating that point.

Devin --

Then you're wrong. I don't give to "meet my quota and assuage my guilt." Nice way to lump everyone who gives into one category.

I suggest you read what I've said on this issue in other posts and you can have a more-informed comment.

Trent, are you a Catholic? I am, and what we were taught and act on is more in line with your comment than the fire and brimstone stuff. Which isn't to say we're right, we'll know eventually :)

Interestingly (or not) though I come from a country that until very recently was probably 99% Christian, I'd barely even heard the word "tithe" until I moved to the states.


I don't need to be familiar with the opinions of one particular Christian (in this case, you) to have a good understanding of the whole, much in the same way pollsters only need to talk to a fraction of the population in order project trends for an entire state. If you have something to add, say it here, but I'm not going to dig around your blog studying your beliefs. Based on my experiences both as a Christian and now as an agnostic, I am confident that my assertions are generally correct (there are always exceptions to any rule). I think if you applied the level of analysis that I have in coming to my conclusions about religion and, more specifically, Christianity, you would eventually feel the same way. Looking at it from the surface, I'm sure you feel that Christians give purely out of love and kindness, just as I'm sure you feel your love for God is based on what he "did for you" and not because he's a sadistic, egotistic bully whose wrath you're trying to avoid.

Devin --

I guess you're right. I can tell by your words that you are so all-knowing that you have to be right about me -- even though you don't know me in the slightest. And, of course, why look for further information before you make a claim -- you certainly wouldn't want to cloud the issue with facts and supportable arguments.

I'm not even sure what your argument is, FMF. If you didn't write the original post, what do you care? Initiating a conversation by telling me to refer to old posts is just lazy. As I said, if you have a point to make, go right ahead. Otherwise, I am primarily waiting for Mike to respond.

Devin --

I don't really have an "argument." I just find it interesting that you can categorize all Christians without knowing them individually. People who make blanket, general, stereo-typical statements about any race, religion, sexual orientation, and so on lose my interest and respect immediately. To me it's a sign of a little mind.


Unlike race, gender, sexual orientation, and other groupings, religion defines people very specifically. If someone bases their life upon a literal interpretation of the Bible, that is a very specific set of principles and it is quite easy to categorize them. The little minds are those who willingly place themselves inside that box to begin with.

I am always thrilled to meet a spiritual person who has broken free from the confines of religion. It is not those types of people who my generalizations are about. My comments above are about a very specific type of individual and they have been proven true time and again. But do not mistake my thoughts on this brand of Christianity with a judgement as to who here falls within that category.

Uh huh.


Thanks for the post. Of course our observance of God's commands must be guarded from legalism. Here's how:

CHRIST is the one who perfectly kept all of God's commandments. His record of righteousness (including tithing) is credited to your account on the basis of faith alone. So then, in God's book, you're already a perfect tither and generous almsgiver.

Now, out of our renewed hearts, we tithe and give generously in order to demonstrate our love and devotion to Christ who saved us (Jn 14:15). So we still tithe and give, but we do it out of love for God, and not to "assuage" any guilt. We know that our good deeds don't add one bit to our salvation. We do them because God is at work in us to will and to do according to all his good pleasure (Phil 2:13).

Of course the gospel will always have critics because the wisdom of God is foolishness to the world (1 Cor 2:14ff). So we simply speak the truth in love and stand on Prov 9:7-8. Let's just leave it at that.


Devin -

So you paint Christian's with a broad brush, you proceed to say that all Christian's give out of guilt or fear and for no good motives. To me that sounds like someone that doesn't understand what the term Christian means. I would actually say that if you have moved away from Christianity that you potentially never were a Christian if you don't believe that salvation comes from Christ, that we are all guilty of sin and He is the only way.

It's funny we started from different points. I started and lived the majority of my life (so far) as an agnostic bordering atheist. I gave my life to the Lord over 7 years ago and have been trying to live my life in service to Him ever since. Now if that makes you mad, I apologize.

If Christianity "no longer" works for you then that is your business. I think your bitter and angry, borderline insulting comments are a bit unnecessary. I wouldn't insult someone's desire to not believe.

If you have sincerely believed in the past then maybe you are going through some rough times and you are still a believer though your heart and conscience seem a little thick or seared from the anger and bitterness in your posts. Your salvation is between you and the Lord obviously, as you know having been in Bible Believing Evangelical churches much longer than I.

I disagree that more people would be selling all we have if we are trying to be more Christ like. I don't believe I am instructed in the Bible anywhere (in context, mind you) to give all that I have and have that be my service. Service to others comes in many flavors. I practice tithing, offerings and helping those less fortunate through ministires at my church. I also help with time and service to those who need various assistance (from shoveling a driveway to stopping and changing a tire, etc.) I am not saying this to brag because this is the work of the Holy Spirit in my life, His drawing to do so. So when I give I don't make it a legalistic, guilt-erasing, make sure I get to heaven kind of measure. I do it because of the reasons I already stated. I know a lot of Christians (again Christians as I define it) who give for the same exact reasons.

One Last point.. You said "(you know, the one where you go to hell if you don't believe the right things before you die) is based on fear and guilt"

Yes, the Bible is clear there is only one way to Heaven and that is to put your trust in Christ and his death as payment for your own sin debt. So that is the "right thing" to believe in from that point of view. You said right things so I am not sure what else you meant but the Gospel is simple. I think maybe it seems too simple for some and therefore they can't possible believe it.

Based on fear and guilt? I don't think so. I think some denominations out there do focus on guilt through their services and rites but that is not what I read when I read the OT (from a NT perspective, that is knowing that the Law was given as a school-teacher, to show us how we sin, to show us where we fall short, basically to prepare the way for Christ) and the NT, I see hope, resurrection, brand new life, a new creature being created within a believer, a selfless love for all mankind, a desire that believers strive to have that same selfless love for friends and enemies alike, a peace that is indescribable, the only sensible answer to creation (when you look at the complexities of a simple cell, let alone an entire organism as one example), a hope through down times, a promise of blessings, and a future so worth looking forward to.

Yes Hell is mentioned, and yes hell is a scary sounding place. But the Bible is not all Hell. The Bible is not all "turn or burn". And if one sees it as such either they are not listening with an open mind or are so full of their own guilt and a desire to quiet their own conscience that they won't hear anything but the fear or guilt. Before I believed, I had this sense in me that the Bible was true but I refused to go that way, because I knew that would mean I would be a different person and in my sin-laden life I liked right where I was, at least I thought I did. No I know better. So much better.

Anyway, I mean no offense to you. I hope you mean no offense to me and you can reply in anger again but I will not reply to you because I don't want to go down a tit-for-tat road with you ending with us arguing and both of our minds still made up. I will pray that you have a healthy and happy life and that maybe someday you'll feel a desire to head back on the path that you were potentially on before.


You speak of painting with a broad brush, but you do the exact same thing when the only way you can explain my deconversion is by saying I either was never saved or I still am and am just going through a tough time. Neither of those is the case. I was "saved" at a young age and recommitted my life as a teenager. I can tell you that neither of those decisions was insincere. I once believed sin created a need for salvation and that Christ was the only way to be saved. But I don't anymore. And it wasn't rough times that brought me to this point. In fact, I am the happiest I have ever been. Coming to the realizations I did lifted a huge burden from my back. This is not borne out of anger, sadness, or a feeling of betrayal. My deconversion came after taking an intensely rational look at the things I had been basing my life around. Some people are good at ignoring the logical inconsistencies and others just chalk them up to the "mysteries of God." I could no longer do either of those things.

I would be interested to hear details on your conversion story. Without knowing the facts, I would take a guess that it's very likely you turned to Christ for the same emotional reasons for which you believe I turned away. Many people turn to God because they are going through tough times and they don't have anyone they can depend on so they turn to the psychological comforts of an invisible friend. If this is not the case, I'd love for you to set me straight.

You are correct that service can come in many flavors and there can be a very reasonable approach to it. But if you recall, a young rich man asked Jesus how to inherit eternal life. He was told to follow the commandments. When he replied that he had kept those all of his life, Jesus dropped the bomb:

"One thing you lack: Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

As I'm sure you know, the rich man could not make this sacrifice, prompting Jesus to say to his disciples:

"Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

I'm sorry, but do you think Jesus was joking? This is a financial blog and so I assume that many of you are rich or, if not rich, at least very well off. I have no doubt this hits home for many of you, but I firmly believe that Jesus was right. A man cannot serve two masters. You cannot dedicate your life to gaining riches and, at the same time, come even close to knowing God. If you give 10 percent, congratulations, but that's 90 percent you keep for yourself. And don't worry about bragging, Mike, because the great deeds you list are nothing. You are a Pharisee, flaunting your so-called righteousness in public when the truth is you are spiritually bankrupt.

The next logical question is, if I condemn all of you for being rich, have I given away all of my possessions? Who am I to criticize if I haven't done it myself? Well, I have my own attitudes about money (which surely do not come close to those found on this blog), but the fact is, I do not base my life around the teachings of the Bible. You have chosen to give your life to one of the most radical men to have ever lived. Most Christians believe in a literal interpretation of most of the radical claims about Jesus: that he was born of a virgin, that he raised the dead and performed other miracles, that he died and arose three days later and ascended to Heaven. But when it comes to a literal interpretation of some of the most radical things he commanded his followers, you always find a way around it. The above example of the rich man is the most blatant one you will find. In all my life I have not known a single Christian who took that suggestion literally or even struggled with whether or not they should. It's just too much of a sacrifice to make. Sure, you'll give up your porn and stop listening to raunchy music and going to R-rated movies and maybe even get rid of some of your friends, but all of your money? Uh....isn't 10 percent enough?

And when you draw a line at 10 percent or 25 percent or whatever it may be, you have to ask yourself why you draw this line. Especially when Jesus specifically said to give it ALL up and follow him. I would guess you draw the line because it is reasonable to do so. And suddenly you are taking a reasonable approach to a radical faith. Why is this? Is it perhaps because somewhere deep inside you do not truly buy into the principles of Christianity? You are superstitious enough to believe Hell awaits you, so you have to take care of that danger. Having done that, you are free to take your faith as far as you want, and as has been illustrated, most all of you draw some very reasonable lines. I submit that this is because you have met your quota and anything beyond that is just unnecessary. It may take some digging, Mike, but it always comes back to fear and guilt. If you were truly free to love as Jesus did, you would not draw lines for yourself. It is then and only then that, if God exists, you would find him.

This topic sure always seems to stir people up. Good read above, good to see that for the most part it's civil, although it got real close to bad a couple of times.

Devin -

Thank you for the reply. I said I would not reply if you did so in anger. Your reply was civil for the most part so I will.

I haven't drawn lines. I am not rich as you suggested, btw. I am not bad off either. I would say I am a middle-income American, maybe slightly to the lower side of that.

I think what Jesus was saying to that rich man who wanted so bad to work for his faith (he asked what he must DO to be saved), was you can't do anything for your own salvation. He was basically showing him why we can't earn our salvation. He knew this man was tied to his money and so he told him, give it all up and follow me with the shirt on your back. He wasn't willing to do that and Jesus' point was made... Works can't get you saved. Our own feeble attempts at salvation are futile.

So that is not a "radical command" for all to follow today. There are some who feel called and or led to do so, and they do. I believe we are called to give sacrificially, to not put our focus on earthly possessions. I believe the Bible tells us it is better to have less and to give more but when I read that story in full context I don't see that as an order to us today.

One of the sins I struggle with (for most of my life I didn't see it as a sin...) is pornography. Jesus taught that if our eyes were to offend us, it would be better to pluck them off. Or if your hand were to cause you to sin we would be better to cut them off. Surely the majority (if not all) of people who ever lived can recount a situation where their eyes and/or hands were part of a sin. I don't believe we are really told to pluck them out. That is an allegory, not a mystery as you indicated. It is Jesus explaining that we are to strive for a sinless life, that we are to value serving God over valuing the members of our own body, or our own lives (or family even in other areas of scripture).

As for my testimony. I was not going through a particularly tough time in my life. I was a partyer, enjoyed drinking, smoking dope, trying to discover the meaning of life through existential philosophy or my own brand of it. I was happy as I was (or at least I thought I was, I now see I was not at all happy). I had a serious relationship going with a girl from a Christian family. She didn't like the drinking/drugs so I had stopped those because she was more important. I still was big into the idea that we were accidentally "created" that the only purpose of life was to enjoy it for the time you are here, to do good things for people while you are here and to just exist, then I would die, cease to exist and that wasn't so scary or bad. But deep down something always questioned that. I had some chats with my girlfriends mother who is a rather solid, Bible believing, evangelical Christian with some of the questions I had about Christianity (more in a mocking thought process than genuine interest)... Asked why So many have died in the name of God, why Good people suffer, if God really loved us why would he send us to Hell, etc... She directed me to her pastor and he had some answers for me from the Bible that through rational thought made a lot of sense. Some of the answers didn't make sense (because they require faith in the sovereignty of God which I definitely didn't have at that time). I wrestled with it for awhile and one night after much thought and wrestling, I asked Jesus Christ to forgive me for my sins, I admitted that I was a sinner, that I needed Him and asked him to change my life. And the Holy Spirit has been working on me ever since. Still has a long way to go but when I shared my testimony at church a year ago, I realized in the middle that I had really come a long way and that the Lord has really made a change in me.

You also said:

"If you give 10 percent, congratulations, but that's 90 percent you keep for yourself. And don't worry about bragging, Mike, because the great deeds you list are nothing. You are a Pharisee, flaunting your so-called righteousness in public when the truth is you are spiritually bankrupt."

I think you sincerely missed the point I was making. I certainly hope I am not sounding like the pharisee. My point was not bragging but giving an example against what you are saying. Do I give as much as I could? No, that is something I need to work on... Do I really need to have an internet connection at home, do I really need to have cable, are there other areas of spending (food, going out on occassion) that I can trim? Absolutely but my motive in giving is not to say "Phew! I am good with God, or look how great I am!!!" it is because I know that everything I have is because of the Lord, He has blessed me far greater than I deserve and I thank and praise him. When I fall on tough times, I will hope that I count that as a blessing also, as a time to grow and learn and increase in patience and reliance on God.

So I apologize for sharing my motives and vague details on my giving. I was sincerely not flaunting. I have nothing to flaunt about really. The Bible says that I am a sinner, I say that I am a sinner, I am sure my wife and coworkers would tell you about all my faults. The only bragging I can do is on the Lord for working change in one like me.

So then you say you have truly given your heart to the Lord. Again, that is your business. I believe the Bible teaches that we are secure in our salvation that we can't loose the grip that God has on us when we have asked him to make a change in us and to take our life. That is good news.

At any rate, I thank you for your response and please know that I have and will continue to pray for you, your family, your health and that you can open your heart to the drawing of the Lord and maybe someday rededicate your life to Christian service.

I will not reply again to you on this thread as I don't want to keep an appearance of an argument (even though from my end I mean no argument here, just chat). If you want to reply to me offline, I give FMF permission to share my e-mail address with you. Otherwise you can feel free to reply with the last words here.


I would like to continue our conversation in private so either FMF can give me your email address or you can email me at "devin walker 1979 at yahoo dot com" (take out the spaces and quotes, convert the "at" and "dot", you know the drill) and we can go from there. Thanks.

Sorry. All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
I am from Republic and also am speaking English, give true I wrote the following sentence: "Com offers discount international airline tickets and travel reservations; cheap car, eurorail, hotel, vacations and cruises."

Thank :D Hadassa.

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