Thursday, May 05, 2005

Research

I have a problem with correctness. In my lifelong quest to become 'perfect' I feel the need to right every wrong. If I let something 'wrong' go unchecked, I feel like I am not being true to myself. Crazy, huh? I know. And it is not like I don't like to be corrected - b/c I do. I welcome correct correction. Consequently, in my quest to be right all the time, I usually am.

I know what you are thinking: She thinks she knows everything. I know that some of you are thinking that b/c I've been told "You think you know everything" more than a few times.

But, I honestly don't think that know everything. As a matter of fact, when I have conceited thoughts about myself - it is never about my knowledge base at all. I think that I know SOME things. No, let me correct that: I KNOW that I know some things.

I always stand to be corrected in things that need correcting. As should everyone.

If someone wants to hold a 'strong' opinion about something, that person should thoroughly research the topic. That way, they will hold the 'correct' opinion or at least one that can be logically defended - without all the drama.

Tithing is a great example. Many Christians get very bent out of shape on this topic.

The bible never commands Christians to pay a tenth of their income. I know many Christians that will have a panic attack in the reading of that statement alone. But it is a fact. I have spent many hours researching the topic of tithing/giving in the bible. Because I have done this, when Christians say: "you are robbing God" I don't have an emotional breakdown and try to convince the person by my yelling and illogical statements.

I calmly ask them to direct me to the scripture they are referring. They usually go to Malachi 3:8-10. But then I ask them why don't we (as Christians) follow the entire Law ( see previous post on 'The Law'), because this is same context from which Malachi was written. Most don't have an answer - well not an answer that will effectively refute my original arguement.

Some that are a little more savvy - will point out that tithing is mentioned in the New Testament when Jesus was talking to the Pharisees Matt 23:23. But we have to keep in mind that when Jesus was on earth, the Jews were still under the Law. The Law wasn't fulfilled until after His death.

In any case, Paul (in his letters to the church) not once mention tithing (except when referring to the Old Testament. see Hebrews 7). But he never commanded us (Christians) to tithe.

I know that this veiw - or shall we say: truth - is not very popular among many Christians because many of us do not study as we should.

In conclusion, if everyone held views on thouroughly researched topics, there would be less angry people in the world.

I stand to be corrected.

16 comments:

John Jenkins said...

Ayana, I completely agree on your suggestion that people should become "thoroughly" educated on the material they are researching/debating, as to not appear as a fool or create unnecessary drama. I also admire how you are willing to admit that you are capable of making mistakes and are willing to accept "correct" corrections. It is the stubborn ones who resist any form of correction, because they are so sure of themeselves that they forget that they are human beings. Humans have a propensity to make mistakes and fail because of the sinful nature of our "flesh". Paul says in Romans 7:18, "For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out" (ESV). Therefore, it is right to say that your "lifelong quest to become 'perfect'" is in vain, because we shall never experience "perfection" while we are in our flesh. Not even the angels are perfect, as God does not even put His trust in the angels (Job 15:15). For one to say that he or she is "striving toward perfection" would be more accurate than making perfection a goal, because it is unattainable. But when you strive toward something, you try to get as close as possible to the object of your attention, thus making you a better person.

As for the tithing issue, I believe that it is imperative for "Christians" to tithe. The book of Malachi speaks of man robbing God by not giving Him their tithes and offering. Malachi, whose words were inspired by God, writes that people are to bring their tithes into the storehouse so that the Lord will rebuke the hand of the devourer and open up the windows of heaven that they will not have enough room to store their blessings. It is like a bank: you make a deposit into a savings account and let the money sit. Interest will accrue and your deposit will multiply exponentially. God has the same plan for us, but we must first make a deposit.

And there were sacrifices being giving even before Malachi came onto the scene. Cain and Abel offered sacrifices (although God did not find Cain's sacrifices acceptable), Job, Abrahama, Moses, et al. gave sacrifice offerings. All throughout the book of Leviticus, God gives critera for what is acceptable as offering and what is not (burnt offering, wine, grain, etc.). Even they understood the concept of sowing and reeping way before Malachi came into existence. So giving offering is not a debatable issue as far as I am concerned.

Now, concerning how much to give, Paul speaks of Abraham giving a tenth of his spoils to Melchizedek, High Priest of Salem of the Most High God, as you [Ayana] mentioned in your post. After Abraham did so, this became a law/tradition for the people to give a tenth of their possessions to High Priest (Hebrew 7:5). And one could argue that we are living in the New Testament and are no longer bound by the law, but by Grace. But this is a half-truth. We are saved by Grace (see my comment on "The Law"), but we must also abide by the law, as Jesus said to the Pharisees in Matthew 5 that He did not come to take away the law, but to fulfill the law. Therefore, all of the commandments and laws from the Old Testament still should be applied to our New Testament lives.

You cannot just look at those scriptures (Malachi 3:8-10,Matthew 23:23, Hebrew 7) individually, but you must combine them all and put them into context. In addition, we all should be more than glad to give back to God (although we will NEVER be able to repay Him what He has given and done for us), not trying to find loop-holes around the Word to justify our slackness or frivolousness. Giving to the Kingdom of Heaven is just one of the many keys to ensure our eternity in Heaven.

Anonymous said...

I thought I might mention that the way "john jenkins" worded the comments about Hebrews it is a bit misleading. Yes, Abraham did give a tenth of the spoils...if you go over to Gen (14) you'll see the full account of what happened, and nothing there suggests that it became a regular practice until God directed it to be given in the Law of Moses.

Ayana said...

John, I really appreciate your thoughtfulness on my blog. I also strongly agree with your suggestion to take the scriptures into context. However, I would have to disagree with you on your main point.

First of all, I NEVER said that Christians should not give to the Kingdom of God. Because we should.

Second of all, if you do as you suggested (put all scriptures into context), you will see that Hebrews was written to show the sovereignty of Jesus.

The Jews were trying to 'go back' to the Law - because they felt like Abraham was 'above' Jesus. Paul mentioned Melchizedek (who was a type of Christ) and showed that Abraham gave to him to prove that Christ is over Abraham. Furthermore, the bible doesn’t even tell us that Abraham gave a tenth, continually (it is beside the point b/c we are not pre-Law Christians either). The letters of the New Testament are our guide for Christian living.

Nowhere in the context of these scriptures does it even imply that Christians are required to give a certain amount. As a matter of fact Romans 8:3 tells us how to give – like the Macedonians – which is in direct opposition to the idea that everyone is supposed to give a certain amount.

You also imply that Malachi was written to us (and the storehouse is (in) the church building?). Yet, the bible NEVER compares the church building to the Temple of the Old Testament.

Another thing, if we are to follow the tithing commandment – why aren’t we to follow the eating commandment, or the dressing commandment. Why do we (as Christians) only pick out from the Old Testament, tithing (and some pick out the Sabbath – which is actually Saturday – but that is a-whole-nother argument).

God is always (in my experience) very clear in what he requires. We don’t have to manipulate scriptures in order to ‘get something out of them’.

If you can show me:

1.)Where Paul directly implies that Christians should give a certain amount.
2.)Where the church building is compared to the Temple.

I would greatly appreciate it.

MHJONES said...

Outstanding work. But do you get the feeling that people don't really listen? Jenkins almost immediately began to step through the usual argument as though you hadn't addressed it. It was almost like the reaction when a doctor is testing your reflexes by tapping you on your knee with a hammer.

It's really interesting to watch. It's also a little depressing.

Again, a great job of presenting the truth about tithing.

UM

Anonymous said...

I kind of agree with John in bits and pieces. Tithes should be paid and this is mentioned numerous of times in the Old Testament in Malachi 3:8 as stated before and Leviticus 27:30-33. Paul never addresses this issue, because he has no need to, I mean what can Paul say to make these scriptures any plainer. And if one sides with the argument that these were Jewish customs, we must not forget was Paul not a Jew, so his opinion would then reflect that of a Jewish man. And if one reads Leviticus 27:30-33 you will also find out if a man spends God tithes he must pay 20% of the origiinal amount. But like any topic tithes can be made to be good or bad, but the ultimate decision is God's. As Jesus said "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them". The bible also mentions paying a tenth unto God numerous of times, so the logical conclusion should be ?

Ayana said...

I made a reference to Romas 8:3 in an earlier comment, but I meant 2Cor 8:3.

John Jenkins said...

Anonymous, I never said that Genesis 14 speaks of tithing becoming a general practice. I said that Hebrews 7:5 speaks of how this practice became a Commandment! It's in the word of God. There's nothing misleading about it...

Ayana, I never said that you were trying to imply that Christians should never give to the Kingdom of God. I just included that into my comment to support my own statements. Also, I know very well that Hebrews is explaining the 'sovereignty' of God. When I suggested to 'put the scriptures in context', I was not only talking about Hebrews 7, but the scriptures in Malachi and Matthew. You have to put them together like a pieces to a puzzle, not excluding any pertinent scripture. And you asked for a scripture where Paul "directly implies" that Christians should give a certain amount? First of all, although Paul was a significant contributer to the Bible, he was not the only author. I gave you plenty scriptures. It is up to you on how you interpret them. Second, you cannot "directly imply" something. That's a contradiction.

And the modern church is a type of temple, even as the Bishop/Reverend is a type of Christ. This dwelling place is not only a habitation for God, but also for us. Psalms 68:5 says, “A father of the fatherless, and a protector of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.” In ancient times God’s habitation was the tabernacle, but today His habitation is the church.

Isaiah 6 speaks of himself having a vision in which he "saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple". This establishes that there is a temple in heaven. And God instructed Moses to build a temple (possibly a replica of the one in heave) for Him to dwell in (Exodus 26). I support my claim of the temple that was on earth being a replica of the temple in heaven because Jesus said, in what has become to be know as "the Lord's Prayer", " Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Luke 11). In addition, Jesus told Peter, "I give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 16:19). And is not Peter known as the first Bishop of the Christian church? And this case is true in all of the Christian churches I have ever know of. Even Hebrews 8:5 suggests that the temple is a copy of that which is in heaven. And since there is no longer the temple on earth that God instructed Moses to build, but there is still one in heaven, God needs somewhere to rest and to be with us. Revelations 21:3 says, ""Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them". But God needs a place on earth to rest if He is to be with us. That is why Moses was instructed to build a temple, that is why Solomon built a temple, and that is why the Hebrews recontructed the temple after their exile. And the church is the modern day temple. The Apostles, Paul, and several other missionaries traveled far off spreading the word of God and establishing churches. A church is not a hangout, but a place of worship. And who is worshiped? God.

And "mhjones", I very well noticed and understood that Ayana had already mentioned those scriptures, but I intentionally re-used to scriptures validate my argument. I wasn't ignorant or oblivious to the fact that she had aforementioned those scriptures. Those are KEY scriptures in the debate on tithing. The problem is that there are so many different interpetations. I believe that God deals with people in His own way, therefore, people will most likely have different outlooks on issues. As H.G. Wells said, "No one has the monopoly on truth". But we will all know the real "truth" on "Judgement day".

John Jenkins said...

I did not realize the last two posts that Ayana and "anonymous" made before my last post, so don't get confused when you read my response to "anonymous". I am speaking of the first "anonymous" to comment on the "Reseach" BLOG. Thank you.

Ayana said...

And what does Paul's heritage have to do with anything?

I will try to make the point clearer: we are either commanded to follow the letter of the Law (which includes tithing) or we are not.

If you believe that we are commanded to follow the letter of the Law - see post: The Law.

Everyone: Please read what I have posted for John.

Unfortunately, It is a more than little discouraging to have to address the exact same argument with the exact same statements.

So, if you want to comment (against my argument) please use an approach that effectively uses scripture to convey your view.

Otherwise, I will not respond.

Ayana said...

John, as stated before, please show me where the church building is compared to the Temple.

you said:

"God needs somewhere to rest and to be with us. Revelations 21:3 says, ""Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them". But God needs a place on earth to rest if He is to be with us."

Never does it say that the church building is a resting place for God. NEVER. It does say, however, that the Holy Spirit dwells on earth (in us). But not a church building.

WE are a temple of the Holy Spirit 1 Corinthians 6:19.

John Jenkins said...

Yes, the Holy Spirit dwells in us, but have you never felt the presence of God at church during worship? It is not only the Holy Spirit inside of us "quickening" our bodies, but the presence of God. God is omnipresent.

He IS where ever you call on Him. The first "church" on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2. They met together daily at the temple and worshiped and rejoiced in the Lord (Acts 2:42). But since the temple was destroyed, and since Christianity began to spread at lightening-fast speeds, they had to contruct make-shift temples (churches) in which to worship God. How could you not deduce from this information that our modern day church is a temple of God? Do you need Jesus Christ, Himself, to come down and explain it to you more clearly? (That ain't gonna happen). God gives us a physical mind to think and reason, and the Holy Spirit gives us the mind of Christ. We must use these to rightly divide the word of God. There are many things in the Bible that are implied, but are not specifically enumerated.

For instance, there is nothing in the Bible against masturbation. Yet, Leviticus 15:16-18 speaks of one being "unclean" after a man's seed from copulation goes out from him. And this law cannot pertain to lawful matters of reproduction, as God commanded his people to "be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:22). The law is obviously talking about masturbation.

Also, the Bible never speaks about not smoking any narcotics, but in 1 Corinthians 6:19, Paul states that our bodies are temples of the Living God, as you earlier inferred. And we all know what carcinogens do to our bodies -- they destroy us. Therefore, would not smoking cigarettes be the same as defiling our bodies? I must say so.

Or the Lottery, for instance. The Bible nevers says that it is unlawful to gamble or play the Lottery. Yet, Hebrews 11:5 says, "But without faith it is impossible to please him, for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him". Proverbs 3:5 says, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding". When you play the Lottery hoping to win oodles of $$$, you're leaning unto your own understanding, trying to find a way out of your financial circumstances yourself. You are putting your faith in man and in the Lottery system, not God. There, one could conclude that gambling and the Lottery are an abominations in God's eyes. That's why Timothy tells the Christian church to "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15) so we will have the knowledge to understand God's word for ourselves and not be deceived by diverse temptations and corrupting doctrines.

So, Ayana, I am not asking you to believe what I believe. I am mere telling you what I believe. It is up to you whether or not you agree or disagree. You have not disproved my beliefs, so I will continue to to believe what I believe, and I am sure you will continue to do the same. See you around.

Ayana said...

John,
What is a make-shift temple. The word temple implies a meaning contrary to anything make-shift. The temple had to be built a certain way - proper size, lighting, ect. There was nothing make-shift about it.

In any case, Christians met in each other's homes - not temples (or even churches). The Church as referred to in the bible was the body of Christ - not a building.

Yes, I do have an emotional feeling when I am in church - sometimes. But what about the times when I don't? Is God not there?

God is not the goosebumps that I get when I feel emotional. Heck, I've gotten goosebumps to a secular song.

Our emotions are sometimes (a lot of times) misleading. We should not think that because we 'feel' something - that it is God.

We should only go by cold-hard facts - which are abundant in the bible.

Another thing, you keep referring to the Old Testament. DO YOU FOLLOW THE LETTER OF THE LAW? If you don't - drop that argument. Please.

You also say:

"God gives us a physical mind to think and reason, and the Holy Spirit gives us the mind of Christ. We must use these to rightly divide the word of God."

However, you are not logically defending your arguement. Your words are nice and fluffy, yes. But you do not present a rational, logical arguement.

The fact remains: God does not require that Christians pay a certain amount of money.

It does not say, nor imply that in the bible.

My purpose is not to convince you. I encourage you and everyone to study on your own - and allow the scriptures to show you.

And if you can find something in direct opposition to what I have presented. Please show me.

I'm done.

John Jenkins said...

I never said that the temple that God ordered Moses to construct was a "make-shift" temple, but the churches that were constructed by the Christian believers. And yes, I am aware that many of them met in houses, but their gatherings were not held at houses exclusively. They built places of worship. There are ancient church building all around the word that stand as a testimony.

And as far as this discussion is concerned, I too am done. I have given you all of the evidence and have logically backed everything up. If you do not find it acceptable, that's your problems, not mine. Contiue to believe what you believe, and I will do the same. I can't afford to invest anymore of my time going around in circle on the same issue. Hopefully, the real "truth" will be revealed to us someday. See ya.

MHJONES said...

John,

You have got to be kidding. You haven't logically backed up much of anything. You've given several mistatements and opinions, and you write well, but you have not demosntrated much anything. (And you took a lot of words to do it!)

For starters, Moses constructed a tabernacle not a temple.

Another example is your statement: After Abraham did so, this became a law/tradition for the people to give a tenth of their possessions to High Priest (Hebrew 7:5).

Would you care to support this with some reference to scripture. Specifically, where does it say that it became a law/tradition after Abraham did so?

You say "I think it is imperative for the Christian to tithe" and then chase down the path Ayana has more than clearly disqualified. This is not a logical argument. At a minimum, a logical argument would have to explain what Ayana got wrong in her presentation. It should look something like this:

"Ayana's interpretation of Malachi 3:8-10 and its application to the Christian is incorrect because..."

And at that point you would provide support from Scripture to counter her argument. Making stuff up or repeating an error someone told you earlier is not a logical or biblical argument.

All you did was jumpt to Malachi and a couple of others she had already addressed and said "But these say we are supposed to tithe."You merely repeated your previously unsupported argument.

Give www.pulpit-pimps.org a visit. I should have a more comprehensive argument against tithing posted out there by this evening.

Melvin Jones

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

From where i sit either you can pay tithes or you cant. this is not up for debate, either you want God to open up the heavens or you dont. and truly and person that is filled with the holy spirit would not have to ask such a question because the Comforter would do the conviction (Answering). Tithes can be traced back to Abram in the book of Genesis he paid tithes way before it was written the law, so that he could be part of the seed ( which is Christ himself), so we pay tithes no only for the financial blessings but to be connected to the seed. Now also Jesus came not to abolish the law, but to fullfill the law. the fullfillment of the law was Christ love as mentioned by Paul in the book of Romans. i could keep going on but every sin that one cometh he will have to give account to God on that judgment day and no excuse is Good Enough.