Tag Archives: Abraham

Spotting fake denominations

When churches write gibberish like this to justify anti-biblical and oxymoronic “same-sex marriage,” it is another major sign that they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

In the United Church of Christ’s endorsement of fake marriage in in 2005 they noted:

The message of the Gospel is the lens through which the whole of scripture is to be interpreted. Love and compassion, justice and peace are at the very core of the life and ministry of Jesus. It is a message that always bends toward inclusion. The Biblical story recounts the ways in which inclusion and welcome to God’s community is ever expanding — from the story of Abraham and Sarah, to the inclusive ministry of Jesus, to the baptism of Cornelius, to the missionary journeys of Paul throughout the Greco-Roman world. The liberating work of the Spirit as witnessed in the activities of Jesus’ ministry has been to address the situations and structures of exclusion, injustice and oppression that diminish God’s people and keep them from realizing the full gift of human personhood in the context of human communion.

Sadly, those radical pro-abortion moral freaks deny the full gift of human personhood  to the unborn.  But they make up nonsense about the Bible being “inclusive” of those who continue to rebel Romans 1-style.  Christianity is inclusive in the sense that God will take anyone — that is, anyone who repents and believes.

Run, don’t walk, from fake Christian churches.

Thoughts on tithing: Something to offend everyone!

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It is stewardship campaign season so I wanted to rerun this post from 2008, which had an interesting comment thread.  I’m also adding this link describing a plan for giving generously.  The four suggestions were simple and excellent.  One that has worked well for us is the Lifestyle Cap:

Lifestyle cap.  As we earn more, we should give more. If you are wealthier than you used to be, have you done more to increase your standard of living or your standard of giving? 

Living below your means — not just within them — is a great place to be.  As you cap your lifestyle in terms of cars, housing, clothes, vacations, etc. you’ll be amazed how much more you have to give and save.

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I have mixed views on the Biblical concept of tithing.  On the one hand, I think 10% is a nice, round number and a great amount for people to give.

But I don’t see New Testament support to make it a requirement for Christians, and I see many preachers take Old Testament verses that were just for the Israelites and project them onto the New Testament.  The only NT passage that I am aware of that mentions tithing is Matthew 23:23, and that was to point out the hypocrisy of the listeners (“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices-mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law-justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former”).

Also, 10% was not the upper limit for the Israelites.  My guess is that many of the people reading this could give more than that.  We’re in the richest 2% of people who ever lived, and I think that as a country we’re wasting a huge opportunity to put our wealth towards advancing the Gospel and his kingdom around the world.

Some think they can’t afford to tithe, though God expected the poorest Israelite to give 10%.  If you really want to give 10%, you can find a way.  Think of it this way: If your boss cut your pay 10%, what would you do – die?

And the hypothetical wage cut figure really isn’t 10%, since your contributions are tax deductible.  Roughly speaking, going from 0% giving to 10% would reduce your spending by roughly 8% or less.  And if you are already giving, say, 5%, then it would only impact you by 4% of your income.

Most importantly, I really don’t like to over-emphasize anything that might turn giving into a legalistic enterprise, because that can take the fun out of it.  Giving should be joyful!

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Yet if we really believe what Jesus said and don’t consider this next passage just a sound bite, our giving habits will reach into eternity.  Right after we die I think we’ll have some serious regrets about how we handled our money much of the time, and some serious joy over the good decisions we made.

Matthew 6:19-20 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Is that enough of a contradiction for everyone?  How do you help turn people on to the joys of giving without making it legalistic and burdensome?

Don’t be slaves to the 10% target, but don’t assume you are limited by it, either.  You may be able to give much more.  Are you taking advantage of the opportunity you have in this life to help advance God’s kingdom?

And when you give, give intentionally and give to God first.  Don’t give him what is left over.

P.S. Here’s a good article on why the often-used example of Abraham is not a good justification for requiring tithing.

Who are the children of God?

KSBJ
Image via Wikipedia

I was pleasantly surprised this week when a DJ on our local contemporary Christian radio station, KSBJ, made the theologically accurate point that not everyone is a child of God.  Here are some additional thoughts on that theme.

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People often say we’re all God’s children.  Since He created us all in his image and every human being has worth, I suppose we have a kinship.  And those who believe in Christ didn’t do anything to earn their salvation, so it isn’t like we earned the right to be his children based on our works.

Yet if you look for the teaching that “we’re all God’s children” in the Bible you won’t find it.  Every instance I could find only references those whose faith is in Christ.  For example:

John 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

Romans 9:8 In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.

Galatians 3:26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus

Mark 3:32-35 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

And the extensive and important theme of being adopted by God (Romans 8-9, Galatians 4, Ephesians 1) would make no sense if we were his children from birth, because you don’t adopt those who are already your children.

Now consider these verses which point out that before our salvation we were enemies of God and objects of wrath:

Romans 5:10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

Colossians 1:21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.

James 4:4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Ephesians 2:3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

The only passage that hints at the opposite view is in Acts 17, where Paul quotes a Greek author noting that we are God’s “offspring,” but that context is much more clinical and doesn’t outweigh the very specific and numerous passages elsewhere.

If I am missing any Bible verses that teach otherwise, please correct me.  I mentioned this once at church and got dirty looks.  Yet it is a clear message of scripture: You will spend eternity as a friend of God or an enemy.  Communicating the “we’re all God’s children” theme could give people a false sense of security.

Thanks be to God for the gift of his Son so that we could be reconciled to him and adopted by him!  By his grace, God adopts, completely forgives and eternally blesses everyone who repents and trusts in Jesus.