Why Love Offerings Irritate Me

I can’t stand the term ‘love offering’. Let me be clear. I don’t mind giving money and supporting ministries or appeals that seem to me to be worthy of support. But the term ‘love offering’, apart from seeming twee, seems to obligate people to give. The term ‘love offering’ is emotive, and conveys an expectation that everyone will give since we are all to love one another. It can be a manipulative name for an offering. How can one say no to the ‘love’ offering? Perhaps the love offering becomes for some a ‘guilt’ offering. What does it imply if we do not give?

Why not just call it a free will offering? After all, that is how we are supposed to give – freely. There is no guilt attached if we think the teaching is off and can’t bring ourselves to support it financially. There is less implied expectation of people – they can give as they are able, or not at all. People won’t feel guilty of ‘loving’ any less by not giving.

Assuming that an offering is taken, if a less emotive term were used, visiting preachers may find they need to preach freely too, with the possibility of reward, but not the same expectation of it. Preaching may then become an expression of their love – freely given, regardless of reaction. The potential appearance of peddling the gospel is reduced.

Sometimes it is more loving not to give – not to support harmful teaching. How can it be loving to support the propogation of things which hurt people?

A free will offering won’t prevent people giving when they do desire from their heart to support a ministry or when they do want to express love to someone by donating money. For example, a member of the congregation being sent out may in fact be the recipient of money as a genuine token of affection and support from their brethren, or it may be a genuine token of compassion and support for another church experiencing hard times.

The term ‘love offering’ equates the giving of money with the giving of love. It may also equate the measurement of affection with the amount of money. The more money you give, the more you love. They may sometimes correlate, but there are many other ways of showing love that do not have to do with money at all.

Is it just me that finds the term ‘love offering’ a source of irritation?


114 thoughts on “Why Love Offerings Irritate Me

  1. You’re probably irritated by most of the things your church does at the moment.

    Whether it’s called a ‘love offering’ or not is neither here nor there. It’s a term which goes way back to somewhere no one can remember, and probably began as a kind expression of wanting to assist genuine travelling ministries.

    You obviously have a huge problem with giving anything to your church for any reason, and it’s getting to you. I wonder that you’re still in there.

    I doubt that you’ll see terms such as this change in the near future, anymore than the corrupted use of the word ‘gay’ is going to change anytime soon. It’s just a fact of life.

    I hate to tell you this, but most people are not bothered by the term. Most of us understand it to mean a special offering for someone who derives their income from ministry and has little other support. No one is obliged to give a thing. Lt the bucket pas you by if you don’t like it.

    I think it’s a sad thing in Australia that we don;t have more travelling ministries. The main reason for the shortage is the low offerings they receive. Mot have a genuine call on their lives and help build the local church, but it must be a real struggle to survive with a family when they have to depend on the ‘love’ of congregations who, on the whole, don’t have the will, the desire, or the heart to give more than a pittance to their own local church needs.

    The myth of the oppressive tithe and ‘love’ offering scams is overblown by a huge degree. Most people are smart enough, self-interested enough, or selfish enough, depending on how you look at it, to give what they want to, when they want to. That’s a fact!

    Usually it’ a handful of faithful, dedicated, committed believers who support a local church and ministry.

    If people gave even 5% of their income to the local church on a regular basis, to help meet needs and support ministries, it would be far more effective in its mission, and guest ministries would be taken care of from the general account, and ‘lerv’ offerings would be almost unnecessary.

    You don’t like to tithe, yet you don’t like to support the travelling minister with a ‘love’ offering. You don’t like offering messages. Can you really have it every way? Or do you never want to see another travelling minister in your church ever, ever again?

  2. Umm – I think you did not understand my point about manipulation, Facelift. And I could be wrong about it, but you did not address that aspect of the post. You attribute a negative motivation to me. But, you go for it!

    (If you read my post again, you might find that I’m not saying quite what you seem to think I am.)

    However, I do agree with you that the term wont change in a hurry. It probably did start out innocuously. Perhaps the term is OK, but I am reacting to some kind of over use.

  3. I don’t know, RP. When we come to a place with ‘family’ we sometimes cross the line into familiarity, where we see more faults than favour, we can be overly critical, to the point where we are miffed by just about everything that goes on. It’s a dangerous place to enter, but we usually don’t notice we went through the door.

    Some of the symptoms include being upset by things we used to think were OK, or even cool. it happens to all of us, but we have to recognise when it is affecting our fellowship and find a way to see things through fresh eyes, or we will tend to mouth our disrespect and seek hearing ears who will empathise. This is how we cause minor schisms over pointless offences.

    There’s poor old assistant pastor, asked to do a love offering message for the guest speaker, and a small group of disgruntled sheep scattered across the auditorium, usually towards the back, inwardly groan and grumble when they hear the words ‘love’ and ‘offering’ in the same opening phrase.

    The pastor wonders what all the fuss is about when someone points out their annoyance at the assistant’s use of the word ‘love’ next to ‘offering’, and tries to change the subject so he can move on to the more weighty matters of looking after sheep, and leave the offended to their offence.

    There are any number of similar grievances in any number of local churches all over the planet.

    One day we’ll look up and see the real purpose for our lives, and why God actually left us on this sad dying planet to be bored stiff by constant meetings. maybe we need to go out and win a few souls to get over it!

  4. So you are saying that my perception of the term ‘love offering’ as manipulative is due to over familiarity, and that I need to find a fresh way to look at things or I will start to seek to cause schism. And I should feel sorry for the assistant pastors asked to do a love offering message, and not care about the grumpy sheep, of which I am one. I should get over it. Actually, I frequently do feel sorry for the person giving the main offering message, but I don’t think the love offering message is particularly challenging. Most people don’t mind it.

    I agree with you that my irritation is probably somewhat petty.

    It has probably come about by not seeing too many poor travelling pastors like you describe receiving love offerings, and seeing plenty of relatively wealthy ones also on salary somewhere happily and unashamedly receiving very large ones after preaching dubious messages. Then the practice comes across like peddling the gospel.

    Still, I must confess to once organising meetings myself where we gave visiting speakers love offerings, and those committed people were very generous as none of us had much to give at the time.

  5. I think its valid to analyse the language we use, to see if it can be used manipulatively. Putting the words ‘love’ and ‘offering’ together can of course be used to manipulate, although I dont think this was the intention back in the early days of traveling Pentecostal ministries.

    There could also be a secondary purpose also. A Pastor travelling to another church could argue that the ‘love offerings’ were not payment for services, but merely free-gifts due to the affection and love of the community. That Pastor could then argue that they were not income from his job and not declare them to the tax authorities. I have heard of at least one Pastor who took this approach.

  6. Oh, I had not heard of that approach, wazza. If it happened on a regular basis, I imagine the tax office would certainly deem it as income if it knew about it.

  7. I think those days have passed. Ministries have to be more accountable all round. I dare say some will still take advantage if possible, but generally things have sharpened up.

    RP, I think when we engage in rescuing a fallen world we tend to forget petty irritations and get on with it. Besides, if we give then maybe we have a cause for irritation if the offering message seemed to be in any way pressure, but if we don;t give, maybe we should let it go, or, better still, pray about it.

    Giving things away, for many is pressure. Just the thought of it happening again this Sunday at church can give people the huff. maybe it tests our character.

  8. Hey my love,

    let me inject some psychotherapy into the pot; mild terms like “irritate” actually disguise the ‘truth’ which in psychotherapy is the word ‘anger!
    ‘Anger’ happens when ‘that which you love feels threatened’, so if we dig deep, then the issues may take on a different shade;

    “Why ‘Love Offerings’ make Me angry” …….sounds a little different, eh?

    I agree that ‘love offerings’ are an evolved terminology open to manipulative use, and never heard it myself before coming to CCC; I get your drift.

    We all know that you Ravingpente, love Christ & the holy Church passionately, and thats whats bothering you on so many levels;— it’s ‘impurity’ in so many areas!

    No Facelift, I dont agree that ‘winning a few more souls’ is going to necessarily cover up Ravingpentes feelings…..for Impurity in the service of the saints is barely tolerable even to a humorist like myself.

    ‘Impurity’ doesnt refer to merely ‘sexual impurity’- it means having tainted motives-and God loves Purity-He is a Spirit, so spiritual purity is first, followed by purity in his direct service, and thence purity in every place in the believers life….ie, in ‘truth’. [Jn4]

    My niggling question for some years now has always been ; “into what kind of church are we bringing people?”–and I would not be blogging with you if I were not deeply concerned with the ‘truth’ of things, and the forward development of our Christian culture; especially functionally, in effective service.

    While Facelift is strictly correct about the ‘facts’ of the present church culture above, Im curious that he doesnt seem keen to develop this status-quo forward into a Church that is more functionally ‘true’ to the truths of life rather than the abstract ‘ideals of church.’

    People love passionate and humble service to Jesus; we love to see the money get to effective and efficient service and we despise stagnant culture or being preached to by an Ass; we want the saved to move into dynamic places of safety and love ; we love seeing people freed, and we despise those who seek to enslave others,especially in a cowardly and dishonest fashion- through deception in a religion; we hate idolatory in Christianity and worldly behaviours like ‘show-and-switch’ parading as ‘Faith’; we love Mother Teresas and hate our ‘eternal pinyatas; the Pharisees’ and their idiotic offspring, and we hate evil and all its strategies & effects.

    ….And yet, “Mercy triumphs over Judgement” my dears; and you may substitute the word ‘Love’ for ‘mercy’. [James 2:13]

    So much suffering in the world happens because we people are created ‘with compassion’ in our beings; we are tormented when our fellow human beings are hurt; I myself do not want the faintest abuse or dishonesty used against the sheep.

    Therefore you do no wrong Ravingpente in even being angry at a manipulative terminology; for as long as you love people & the Church so much, you would be in accord with the following;

    1 Peter 4:8
    “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

    Psalm 69:9
    for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.

    Z.

  9. FaceLift!

    When RP highlights a common concern about words and their power to manipulate, not only do you turn around and belittle her, you DEFEND (possibly without knowing it) the very use of the manipulative term used by well trained SPEAKERS who know EXACTLY the words they use to see a crowd respond in a certain way. If a speaker doesn’t what words they are speaking, then they must be pretty bad speakers. Obviously it’s the sheep at the back who have the problems with such minor words? The ‘discerners’ again, dare I say?’

    I think it’s great Australia doesn’t have many traveling ministries. What good do they do unless called by God? If someone feels called by God, God WILL supply them for their God-given ministry. Even though I do support financially traveling ministries, I hear more testimonies how God does actually provide for their ministry anyways- supernaturally.

    By showing how little concern these words apply, you go to the opposite extreme buy including the entire church around the planet, implying that one day we will see Jesus dangling like an air freshener between our eyes, suspended from our fringe telling us our purpose and what the universe is about.

    Go seek Buddha. Maybe he can teach you the power of words and how significant they are in every day life if you don’t heed how powerful our words are as warned in the bible. Maybe he can guide you out of the church and into the street so you can start evangelising, starting a whole new church experience.

    Maybe we should follow you FaceLift and change the topic completely to show how irrelevent evangelism is?
    Evangelism is nothing compared to looking to the stars and picking up astronomy. Because one day the stars will take us all away…

  10. There are people on the internet asking for a love offering of $x to buy their book. There are events where the fee is a love offering of $x. There are _wealthy_ speakers making money speaking at megachurches receiving a love offering (unspecified amount) every week. These offerings aren’t love offerings. They are an expected payment for a service, sometimes with an amount specified.

    There are speakers out there who will not speak at a church unless the church has a minimum number of congregants to cover the offering. Are these people really sent by God if they rely on this as their criteria to go?

    When an offering is taken to support a gifted person being sent out to minister, it can be a love offering – the love is towards those ultimately being ministered to.

    When a speaker is truly relying on travelling ministry for income, I don’t have an issue with them receiving a thanks offering, or a love offering towards their expenses and support, as long as no guilt or manipulation are applied to obtain it. If their ministry is worthwhile, many people will want to give out of compassion or a sense of rightness in supporting what they are doing.

    If the ‘love offering’ was to go to our brothers and sisters suffering in different ways around the world or in our community, then I think it should be called a love offering. Then it is truly us showing God’s love by sharing what we have with them as He has loved us and we recognise them as our brothers and sisters in need.

    However, the term ‘love offering’ has been appropriated from good uses to apply to things which bear no resemblance to that original good. In those contexts, it manipulates people to view things a certain way instead of acknowledging them for what they are.

    Perhaps they should be called honorariums (or some other more appropriate term if that one is already used) for speaking – at least that acknowledges the purpose of the payment, and love offerings when they are going to support needy causes inspired by compassion.

  11. It seems strange that FL who is sympathetic to Word of Faith theology, can emphasise the power of words in one context, yet minimise their power in another context (ie. their power to manipulate people).

  12. s&p, unbelievably says:
    ‘Evangelism is nothing compared to looking to the stars and picking up astronomy. Because one day the stars will take us all away…’

    I guess that takes care of Matthew 28:19, then, doesn’t it! Jesus must have missed it. Thank God we have s&p to show us the way of the stars!

    And yet, the stars are important – ‘Those who are wise will shine as the heavens; and they will turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever’ Daniel 12:3, which kind of lines up with God’s promise to Abraham that his descendants will be as the stars of the sky for number, and the the proverb which says those who win souls are wise. Which means soul winning is akin to producing stars – evangelism is important.
    _____________________________________

    Well, RP, now we are on the internet and there are people asking for ‘love’ offerings to support their TV careers. That’s different. I support your tendency to irritation on this one, but it’s not he same as being irritated because the Pastor wants to bless a guest speaker, and help him or her on their way.

    And the ones who ask for minimum payments are few and far between. I know of organisations who have invited such ministries, to be told these facts, and then rejected their ministry. I would agree with this. As for minimum congregants, well it depends where they’re coming from, and what is expected of them, really. Again, most travelling ministries have more integrity than this. The other thing is, if they have already determined their minimum costs for coming, what has a ‘love’ offering to do with their ministry? Surely they are asking for wages.

    I find that you’re wanting to change terminology for the sake of diminishing irritability. But that is not likely to happen. Who cares what the offering is called. ‘Thank offering’ would be great. ‘Costs offering’. ‘Offering to offset expenses and send Br. Soanso out knowing we appreciate his ministry’. ‘Love offering’.

    Maybe they use it to manipulate in your church. I hope not. I haven’t heard it used as manipulation, but as an expression of goodwill towards someone who has done a fine job of encouraging, challenging or uplifting the saints of God.

  13. You’re a tricky so and so, wazza2.

    You have already fraudulently used my words out of context on another thread, and yet to say you were wrong, and now you twist what has been said here to imply that I don’t understand the power of words, which is totally wrong.

    I haven’t, until now, mentioned anywhere the power of words. if you want to set up a post which challenges this, I’d be delighted to comment.

    It’s not the power of words which is being discussed here, but the attitude of people who are irritated or angered by certain phrases. maybe I’m right to challenge the attitude before I discuss the power of the words. Maybe I’m wrong, but at least try to stay on track.

    In fact the attitude behind words can contribute to the the effect of the words spoken, don’t you think?

  14. Fraudulent? You did directly imply that Mr Toohey would have bad health or even die as a consequence of his actions against Benny Hinn.

    And now you have called me a so-and-so. This is probably a euphemism for what you really want to call me. Anyone who says to his brother “Racca” has committed murder in his heart.

    But I would never lie to you FL, and I can prove it. Just look at my medical records. If I had lied I would be very sick, or not even here.

  15. Yes, fraudulent, wazza2.

    Again you use wazzaspeak to imply something I didn’t say.

    You give some of the facts and leave out just enough to make a false accusation, then add your own slant on it as if I said it – fraud. You’re no better than the people you accuse.

    So you already have lied.

    You even imply ‘tricky so and so’ means something other than tricky dicky!

    Stick to the facts, and the truth. or at least apologise if you’re proven to be mistaken instead of pretending to be right anyway by making up some other nonsense.

  16. Back on thread: I don’t have a problem with you having a problem with terminology, RP. I just feel, tough, that sometimes our gripes are indicative of other emotions, and they get in the way of sound judgement on issues. This is not really a major issue, really, is it? There are far more important things we could be irritated about, if indeed it is godly to be irritated at all. We could be irritated about the prevalence of sin on the world, the stranglehold the devil has on people’s lives, the politics of =fear poured out by religious extremism, the murderous despotism of people like Mugabe, the abuse suffered by innocents, etc., but to grumble about innocuous terminology during a church meeting strikes me as being close to the 1 Cor. 10:10 zone.

    In some ways being angry about just about everything our local church does is sad, and it is highly featured on sites like this, although I’ll concede that there may be some point to some complaints, and it may be that the church is so flawed that it warrants criticism, but here must be some things which we have to admit rub us up the wrong way, and the real problem isn’t what is being done or said, but our own low threshold of tolerance, patience or our tendency to reaction.

    Maybe I’m wrong about you, and can accept I possibly am, and I’m actually trying to be helpful, but it raises the point that once a person crosses a certain line of disenchantment with their church, pastor, leadership team, denomination or movement, there is very little that can be done to retrieve them, and they will gradually offload responsibility in the local church, and increasingly qualify the reasons for their growing distaste for their spiritual environment.

    ‘A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city’. I think his applies to many involved with he various versions of Signposts.

    If this is not the case for you, then I apologise, but this seems to be a petty thing, even if there is some kind of point, ad if in fact manipulation is being applied in the case of your church.

  17. Facelift said to wazza: “You’re no better than the people you accuse.”

    _Sigh_

    Given that in the above comment FL has made it clear what he thinks of wazza, he must have a very low opinion of those that wazza accuses.

    Why didn’t you just say so, Facelift. If you think so little of these people and their practices, then you are in agreement with wazza after all!

  18. Oh so and so! Slam-dunked!!

    What a pointless thread. I guess now we’re all irritated. Spreads like an ice-cream on a summer day. Pity it doesn’t taste as good!

    No! I don’t agree with wazza2’s assessment. Perhaps I should rephrase the phrase so you understand me better, but, what the so and so. It’s not worth the effort really. I think you know what I mean.

    Who cares anyway. Be irritated if it makes you feel better. Can’t be bothered personally.

  19. Given how you twisted my words and motives (heaps) – I felt I had carte blanche to twist yours – just a little.

    Its really cheered me up though. I’m not irritated any more. 😉

  20. Thank goodness for that. Hope you can get through Sunday OK! ‘When you’re smiling, when you’re smiling the sun comes shining through!”

  21. BTW, thanks wazza for understanding my point – small though it may be in the big scheme of things. I believe language is important, because the words we use often define the boundaries of our understanding.

  22. Thanks for the best wishes, FL. Sunday and every day are a trifle challenging at the moment, as my husband is immobilised due to an injury. Only temporary though. I am strangely cheerful despite it all.

  23. RP: “thanks wazza for understanding my point – small though it may be in the big scheme of things”

    Personally I think this type of discussion is important. Although each example of a twist in language is small individually each example is still significant because language shapes culture. If the language becomes twisted and is not returned to truth (repented as it were) the culture becomes twisted. For example from above “love offering” equates to “book purchase”.

    It matters what we say because it reflects and shapes our culture.

  24. BTW the fact that “love offering” does not occur in scripture is a bit of a hint that this piece of our culture might be a bit dodgy.

    Happy to be shouted down here 🙂

  25. I’ve really enjoyed this dialogue! Very entertaining. I don’t mean to sound so flippant but it’s great to read people’s opinions and takes on different aspects associated with this topic “love offering”. I myself get cheesed off with the concept. Over the years I’ve seen one-too-many of these and do question the motives of the leadership. I personally think the phrase “love offering” is foreign to us as a culture, talking from an Aussie point of view, and may well fit in and be more readily accepted by other cultures. My question is…. why do people need prompting to donate a “love offering” anyway? I just wonder if we give God enough credit? Why does church leadership have to superficiously engineer such a “loving” action into the congregants? Shouldn’t such giving (over and above tithes and offerings) be more of a spontaneous nature anyway, inspired supernaturally? I think if I was the receiver of a “love offering”, I would be extremely surprised and appreciate the gesture if it was more of a spontaneous act of love, care, concern and appreciation, and I’d be very over-whelmed at such an unexpected show of kindness. However, if it was an engineered and organised event, I’d feel really embarrassed, realising that some may feel intimidated, shamed or even bullied into giving, and may also come to the conclusion that some, who have given of their finances, may not even really personally support my ministry and have just followed the “party” line.

    Anyway, hope my ramblings make sense. It’s in the early hours of the morning during a period of sleeplessness.

    Blessings to all!

  26. Here is a suggestion, dear reader.

    Next time you are in a “love offering” situation, restrain yourself by refusing to open your purse. Do not place anything in the collection. If someone queries you, tell them “People don’t discuss personal financial matters in polite company. Where do you come from?”

    If people start to shun you, hold your head up high and walk on by. You don’t need their friendship.

  27. Hey arti1234, good to see you,

    A real split happens inside a person when they say they ‘love’ when clearly they do not; Im sure we can all tell when people start going through trained motions and the truth is somehow missing, and I for one need a more sincere kind of faith than that; there’s been far too much ‘junk’ lying around in our faith through all of my Christian life, and this kind of stuff has to end, to really free us all to move onwards.

    Good observation on the …’financial matters in polite company’ David , though I rather wish people openly did!; we’d more of us be more knowledgeable and realistic, and I hazard to say, ‘dynamic’, if we openly dealt with our financial stuff in this faith!

    Excellent observations all round above-; Heretic, I really appreciate that you’ve pinpointed that “Language shapes Culture-“, and really appreciate your presence and feelings Wazza.

    Facelift, Facelift;
    “1 Corinthians 10:10…

    10And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.”

    Really, friend…-I do wonder why you deign to keep company with these…’grumblers’ ;after all, “you’re only as good as the company you keep”, arent you?

    I am curious about how you regard ‘reality’- I can only draw from your above comments that you wish to ‘debate the conservative position’, yet your remark;

    “Who cares anyway. Be irritated if it makes you feel better. Can’t be bothered personally,”
    reveals a person going into denial about an issue…

    So, I suppose you fail or refuse to see the systemic problems rife in our religion, and our determination to set things right in our time, with whatever opportunity the Lord presents to us!

    I believe that we are almost all, a people very passionately and intelligently dedicated to the active development of Christs Church; we love because HE loves as an obvious motivation, and we mostly seek excellence in the Masters service, brotherhood and friendship; the very word “love’ demands our utmost care and determined application and study, so I am extremely respectful of the above study, thought & opinion on “the Love offering”.

    A “petty issue”?-… I so wish to see you all in the active development of thought & action my friends, and not hurry to simplistic conclusions about ‘the offended brother’ etc!

    Z.

  28. FaceLift said:
    “I guess that takes care of Matthew 28:19, then, doesn’t it! Jesus must have missed it. Thank God we have s&p to show us the way of the stars!

    And yet, the stars are important – ‘Those who are wise will shine as the heavens; and they will turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever’ Daniel 12:3, which kind of lines up with God’s promise to Abraham that his descendants will be as the stars of the sky for number, and the the proverb which says those who win souls are wise. Which means soul winning is akin to producing stars – evangelism is important.”

    Yes. True. Somewhere in the Book of Jashir the stars are desribed the way scientists of today depicted red dwarfs, novas supernovas. The Book of Enoch alludes that stars are reborn and make new ones confirming the scripture above. So the scriptures not only confirm that when one focus’ on minor things such as the wording of the ‘love offering’; they reveal how relevant it is to take our eyes off such nonsense onto bigger more dramatic ‘things’ that seem relevant. As Bob Dylan wrote ‘From little thing big things grow’. This little saying is now being used globally, generally in a manipulative manner to support the works of wolves. Irrelevant?

    Is this ‘little’ thing really worth letting go until someone else feels ‘bitter’ enough to highlight their concerns about it. If only Martin Luther didn’t operate out of bitterness out of those ‘little things’ he was against. If he just looked at the bigger issues and gazed at the stars for answers, maybe they would reveal the answers to the church’s problem.

    FaceLift said later:
    “Back on thread: I don’t have a problem with you having a problem with terminology, RP. I just feel, tough, that sometimes our gripes are indicative of other emotions, and they get in the way of sound judgement on issues. This is not really a major issue, really, is it? There are far more important things we could be irritated about, if indeed it is godly to be irritated at all. We could be irritated about the prevalence of sin on the world, the stranglehold the devil has on people’s lives, the politics of =fear poured out by religious extremism, the murderous despotism of people like Mugabe, the abuse suffered by innocents, etc., but to grumble about innocuous terminology during a church meeting strikes me as being close to the 1 Cor. 10:10 zone.”

    And as El Woods from legally blonde stood up and was awaiting results for her case against animal cruelty (Legally Blonde II), it was agreed that there were bigger problems then animal rights and ‘that’s a problem worth fixing’.

    So firstly you imply that the wording for the offering ‘love offering’ is hugely irrelevant, only those who are bitter seem to have a problem with it. Then you encourage us that we need to look at bigger things like this… and that… and this again… BUT BACK ON TOPIC! *my thoughts my thoughts my thoughts my thoughts my thoughts*
    But of course there are more weightier things to look at! But getting back to topic *my thoughts my thoughts my thoughts my thoughts my thoughts* But bringing back this to the topic, I think this. But really there are more grander things to consider to prevent the church from stumbling… *my thoughts my thoughts my thoughts my thoughts my thoughts*…

    Have you ever considered ONCE FaceLift that it may be the minor things that the major church believe and act on that make that minor thing so major? A thorn in the foot of the body of Christ may be irrelevant, but we all grimace and experience the pain when the foot cops it.

    I think this little saying that originated as something good has sprouted into quite a weed that will be hard to be pulled out of our pentecostal traditional sayings.

  29. S&P:

    Have you ever considered ONCE FaceLift that it may be the minor things that the major church believe and act on that make that minor thing so major? A thorn in the foot of the body of Christ may be irrelevant, but we all grimace and experience the pain when the foot cops it.

    Well spoken S&P. What I think we are seeing on this thread are two competing world-views that could be called “pure” religion (to borrow from Z) and pragmatic religion.

    The pragmatists emphasise behaviours that work and achieve things and can be measured. How many people in my local church. Is my church growing. How does my church compare to others. Am I doing the right things. Is the worship excellent. Is everyone accountable.

    Rick Warren is a classic example, church life systemetised and measured. Clear lines of control. Everyone categorised by defined behaviours into “concentric circles” of trust. What is measurable and observable is what matters to pragmatists.

    Purists want religion to be a real as possible. They want to throw everything out that is not exactly as is laid down in scripture even if that loooks bad to other people. They emphasise relationship with God over what is accomplished.

    Wayne Jacobson from http://www.lifestream.org is a classic example. He wants to get involved with “what I see my Father doing” on a daily basis to the exclusion of every other activity. He does not care if his reputation is rubbish or if he appears to do nothing for God for long periods or if he has no measurable results at all.

    It is difficult for people with these different world-views to communicate in some ways because the fundamental drives are different. For the pragmatist the form of what a thing is, or the behaviour of what a thing is is what the thing is. Examples:
    1. Brian Houst’n says he does not believe that people who don’t tithe can be christians. The form of the behavious defines the person.
    2. If you have the title pastor you are often considered more correct that the people you lead because you are “anointed” for that position. The form is more important than the reality (which may be that the laity went to seminary when the pastor did not).
    3. If you are prominent in the church you should be defended, if you are not you should not voice your concerns.

    I would go so far as to say that a pragmatist emphasises what seems whereas a purist emphasises what is.

    In the example of this thread FaceLift argues that “This is not really a major issue, really, is it?” meaning that little wrongs are OK, in other words little lies are OK and only big lies are bad. So we can see what role FL takes on. But to the purist little hypocracies matter – “a little leaven leavens the whole lump”.

  30. I guess what I am saying here is that to the purist world-view small lies, small hypocracies and small errors are not OK. Perhaps for their own sake but more because they point to the error/lies/hypocracy inheritance in the system that produces them. That is, they are a pointer to the real problem

    But to the pragmatic world-view these things are OK because they positively affect the measurable things like, in this case, how much money we give the visiting speaker, or, in other cases, how much money do we get each week, how big is my church, how many people respond to the alter call etc.

    My contention is that the measureable things are the seen things and are not important whereas the things that are not seen are important and that the purist approach is the more correct of the two world-views from a biblical perspective.

  31. “Hear Hear above!- Christian skyrockets of brilliance my friends!”

    God is Holy; it is extremely fearsome to approach a womb,…a sanctuary….an Ark, and that space between the two covering angels on the mercy-seat; these things are crafted in love and holy fear for the Spirit-God of Love who heals us from sin;
    …..-again I was reminded today that “love covers over a multitude of sins”…

    Truth [Christ] sets us free; why should any believer put up with lies or any kind of substitute to the Gospel, or even ‘persona’ of Jesus?

    So right above Heretic; the ‘systems’ we perpetuate are very much the problem, -so what are we going to develop forward now, in our generation?

    Z.

  32. Heretic,
    So you think my assertion that it is more useful to win a dying world to Christ than be irritable about terminology isn’t ‘pure’ religion, isn’t seeing things as they are rather than what they seem?

    If a minister says the church will take a ‘love offering’, and there is a guest speaker present, to what is he referring? Why would you become irritable about such an understood term?

    Why come to the conclusion that there is a divide between pragmatism and purism, or clam one is better than the other?

    Presumably your own irritability would make the love offering a lie, because you actually wouldn’t have any love, so, for you it wouldn’t strictly be a love offering, but then you would give so then there is no offering and no lie.

    But another person in the congregation may actually feel love towards the speaker and consider their offering to be exactly a love offering. How, then, does that make it a lie.

    Is your irritability the gauge of an offering? Is your attitude a gauge of an offering?

    Is the minister’s performance the gauge of an offering – your offering, my offering? Is it a pure offering if I give grudgingly, or of necessity? Or is my offering gauged by my willingness and cheerfulness in giving? Is that pure or pragmatic? Or both?

    If I choose to give regardless of how well an offering message was presented, and I give because I consider it a love offering, and want to show my love and appreciation for a ministry, what has your bad attitude to do with my offering?

    Surely I make that offering into a love offering anyway, and exercise pure religion by choosing to love someone unreservedly.

    Or do you only give into an offering if the conditions are right? The speaker only says exactly what you consider to be pure religion and perfect doctrine, the person taking the offering gives exactly the right kind of offering message, for exactly the right length of time, and the entire presentation meets your standards for love? And of course you are not irritated in any way.
    _____________________________________

    Where does Brian Houston say that a person isn’t saved if they don’t tithe?
    _____________________________________

    s&p,
    Whose thoughts are you thinking when you write?

    It’s getting hotter than a steam bath in here! The ‘back on thread’ thing was in reference to wazza2’s diversionary accusations. I’m not going to let him make false statements about what I write or think, but I’m not going to digress form the thread either.

    The ‘love’ offering controversy, which I gave ‘my thoughts’ on above, is nothing compared to the incorrect doctrine you are pouring out on astrology, which Heretic seems to agree with for some strange reason, since I thought he was pretty on the level when it comes to orthodoxy, and your appealing to the Apocrypha doesn’t make it right.

  33. “Where does Brian Houston say that a person isn’t saved if they don’t tithe?”

    I watched a video on signposts2 in which he said something like “I find it hard to believe a person who does not tithe is a christian” or “saved” or some such thing.

  34. I’m going to bed, but this thread has taken some strange turns. Too much here to reply to really.

    I would only say to you Facelift, that I have not bothered to refute your false assumptions about what I feel or think, as there were too many! So its a bit one eyed of you to point the finger at others that in your opinion do that, and not restraining yourself in any way.

  35. OK, Heretic, so how do you answer the other questions on purism vs pragmatism? How does your attitude have anything to do with anyone else’s offering, including their love offering?

  36. Heretic, I don’t think, from memory, you’re correct about what Brian Houston actually said, although it was similar, but I’m sure wazza2 will have the answer for you shortly, since he has access to he S2 Files.

  37. Then apologise to you, RP, for making wrong assumptions. I don’t think they were false assumptions, just wrong. I genuinely assumed those things.

    It didn’t make sense to me why an innocuous phrase like ‘love offering’ could upset people. But there you go. Another wrong assumption. You’re all obviously upset about it!

  38. Not at all upset dear Facelift,

    it seems very wise to me to open up this subject to deep thought, for even if Ravingpente senses a mild ‘irritation’ , that is enough to suggest there may be a problem; and from the above dialogue it appears there are numerous problems in detail- all useful for thought & action.

    …& Even Jude ‘appeals to Apocrypha,’ brother!

    Anyhow, Ive read it again and thats quite a rant above, Facelift; all very complicated; you appear to be shadow-boxing!

    Anyhow, Peace to you all; have a good sleep.

    Z.

  39. FL: “OK, Heretic, so how do you answer the other questions on purism vs pragmatism? How does your attitude have anything to do with anyone else’s offering, including their love offering?”

    To be honest I have to appeal the communication difficulty between the world-views because I don’t really understand the question or its significance. I did not really understand the relevance of the first part of the comment at June 29, 2008 at 1:00 pm. They are obviously meaningful questions from your point of view but from mine they don’t have a bearing on the topic.

    FL: “Heretic, I don’t think, from memory, you’re correct about what Brian Houston actually said, although it was similar, but I’m sure wazza2 will have the answer for you shortly, since he has access to he S2 Files.”

    My aural memory is pretty good. I am confident I have the gist. It has been taken off youtube unfortunately so Wazza2 would have to find a transcript.

  40. facelift:
    “So you think my assertion that it is more useful to win a dying world to Christ than be irritable about terminology isn’t ‘pure’ religion, isn’t seeing things as they are rather than what they seem?”

    Well either one we focus on will:
    1. Free those who carry misconceptions in the church and outside the church.
    2. Not give the unsaved a leg to stand when they decide to attack evangelists on the hypocrisy that comes from the church pulpit/leadership.

    So in the end, both are just as important. Issues need to be addressed or be made aware of in the church, to help those in the church and those that are not saved.

    facelift:
    “If a minister says the church will take a ‘love offering’, and there is a guest speaker present, to what is he referring? Why would you become irritable about such an understood term?”

    It still does not have to be termed love offering. Possibly inform the congregation of the tight budget that the traveling ministry is traveling in light of their tight schedule. As some churches say, ‘don’t be obliged to give if you don’t have the money, pray for them instead’. Guilt gone, awareness made, all are happy, guest feels blessed.
    Some churches down in South West Sydney still use the ‘don’t give’ talk as they deal with quite a few working poor.

    facelift:
    “Why come to the conclusion that there is a divide between pragmatism and purism, or clam one is better than the other?”

    They both work together. As long as we are made aware of things like ‘love offering’, one can be more sensitive or creative in ways to encouraging the congregation to support a traveling brother. I believe it is possible for the church to do this.

    facelift:
    “Whose thoughts are you thinking when you write?”
    PINYATA!

  41. S&P
    ‘‘don’t be obliged to give if you don’t have the money, pray for them instead’’

    Interesting. Phil Baker was one of the first to use a slightly different version of this in the 90’s when Riverview was still Rhema. No obligation giving.

    Our church has done this for years, and makes it clear what offerings are for, but use of the term ‘love offering’ which occasionally mentioned, isn’t in any way seen as manipulative. may people would be upset if there wasn’t an opportunity to give to a travelling ministry, or to the church, be it general offering or missions or special offerings, including building programs, or even present a tithe. In fact, there are probably more for giving than against, especially in Pentecostal circles.

    I don’t have an objection to offerings being taken after someone has explained exactly ad honestly what they are for, and, in fact, think that is a great way to do things, so now does that mean hat you support the concept of an offering talk before an offering is taken up, to let people know why it is beg taken up, and where the funds will go?

  42. The statement from Brian Houston was from :

    [audio src="http://www2.hillsong.com/podcasts/Brian%20Houston%20-%20A%20Leaders%20Measure.mp3" /]

    and was quoted on SP2 as :

    “Well, if we want to prosper and we want all the right things to prosper in our life …by all means….I’ve personally ..and this is a big statement..and I know I’ve said it before …but personally..I don’t think you can be in the will of God ..and not put Him first in your finances.

    I think I make some people mad when I say it ..but I actually believe it.

    I actually believe that you can’t be right with God ..if you don’t get that basic right ..that foundation right…..”

    The context made it clear that “putting Him first in your finances” meant tithing.

  43. So then he hasn’t said one can’t be saved unless one tithes.

    It is possible to be already saved and then be either out of God’s will, or not be right with God.

    Otherwise you are claiming Houston teaches we can only be saved through works, and not by grace through faith. Which can’t be true.

  44. FL: “So then he hasn’t said one can’t be saved unless one tithes.”

    He says you can’t be right with God if you don’t tithe. Are you saying FL that you can be saved and not have right-standing before God?

    I admit I had not thought along those lines. My current assumption is that you don’t have a relationship with God without having right-standing before God. And a relationship with God is eternal life, which is salvation.

    I would have thought that right-standing before God is a pre-requisite for a relationship with God. No right-standing means no relationship which means no eternal life which means not saved.

    I am reasonably sure that to not be right with God means to not be saved. Not 100% sure but confident. It was certainly my assumption and I should probably check it.

    BH certainly elsewhere says you are cursed if you don’t tithe. I don’t see how someone who is in Christ can be cursed without Jesus being cursed. Jesus seemed to say that whatever is done to us is done to him. So for God to curse us we could not also be in Jesus and therefore not have eternal life and so not be saved.

    The purpose of BH’ comment is certainly to make you doubt your salvation if you are not tithing.

  45. FL: “Otherwise you are claiming Houston teaches we can only be saved through works, and not by grace through faith. Which can’t be true.”

    I like the way this statment assumes that it is impossible (“can’t be true”) for BH to teach salvation by works. Why is it impossible? Because he runs a big church?

  46. Well, if I’m saved, does that immediately mean that I’ll always be right with God? Does it guarantee tat I’ll never sin again? Am I right with God if I sin, even if I’m born again?

    You know the answers to all of these questions is no.

    So I can say I am saved, but I can do things which are not right with God. Does this mean I lose my salvation? Do I have to be born again again? Not at all! I need to repent and get right with God. 1 John 1:9.

    So, there is a difference, presumably, between being in right-standing, and therefore saved, and always being right with God. I put it to you that, even though you are saved and in right-standing, there are times that you are not right with God, and need to ask his forgiveness. I take Houston to mean this.

    I don’t, by the way, necessarily agree that tithing makes us right with God or not tithing makes us not right. That I would have to assess according to what Houston fully says, not a few words in a short clip. But I do think you made a wrong statement to say hat Houston teaches we can’t be saved if we don’t tithe.
    _________________________

    ‘ I like the way this statment assumes that it is impossible (”can’t be true” for BH to teach salvation by works. Why is it impossible? Because he runs a big church?’

    It can’t be true because his teaching is orthodox Pentecostal teachning on salvation by grace through faith, which I explained in the same paragraph.

    You need to deal with our prejudice.

  47. FL, you dont understand the doctrine of imputed righteousness if you think you can be saved and not right with God.

    As it says in Romans 3 “21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”

    The only way to be “right with God” or righteous, is through faith leading to salvation. If you are saved you have the righteousness of God (no other). So how can you also be not right?

  48. FL: “It can’t be true because his teaching is orthodox Pentecostal teachning on salvation by grace through faith, which I explained in the same paragraph.

    You need to deal with our prejudice.”

    You just don’t get it FL. I was pointing out your prejudice. You pre-judge BH to be correct by definition. You basically said it was impossible for him to have a particular error. That is prejudice.

  49. Wazza2

    Well .. he did say “You need to deal with our prejudice”

    You mean BH and FL? LOL 🙂

  50. Wazza2

    As it says in Romans 3 “21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”

    The only way to be “right with God” or righteous, is through faith leading to salvation. If you are saved you have the righteousness of God (no other). So how can you also be not right?

    What you are saying is correct. BH on the other hand has changed being right with God to be “apart from the law through faith” and tithing, i.e. law.

  51. And FL agrees with him, that there is an additional righteousness to Gods righteousness. Our works. Good luck with that one, FL.

  52. Facelift said:
    “I don’t have an objection to offerings being taken after someone has explained exactly ad honestly what they are for, and, in fact, think that is a great way to do things, so now does that mean hat you support the concept of an offering talk before an offering is taken up, to let people know why it is beg taken up, and where the funds will go?”

    I agree with this. In fact, I never disagreed with it.

    I like hearing what the offerings are for. Often I am inspired to give more when I know the particular cause and wholeheartedly agree with it. Some examples for me would be giving funds to assist churches and programs in developing countries where the people have almost nothing. The speakers about those things often have personal experiences to share. Its frequently very humbling to hear about what people are doing in places like that when we are so rich here.

    I’m also more than happy to support speakers who clearly have a unique and needed ministry, are obviously called, and rely on such things for a living.

    Sometimes I like to consider giving to certain ministries like the above on an ongoing basis, after prayer.

  53. Arti1234 said:
    “My question is…. why do people need prompting to donate a “love offering” anyway? I just wonder if we give God enough credit? Why does church leadership have to superficiously engineer such a “loving” action into the congregants? Shouldn’t such giving (over and above tithes and offerings) be more of a spontaneous nature anyway, inspired supernaturally?”

    Apparently when tithing is taught on a regular basis, the amount churches receive escalates significantly. I know this happened in my most recent church. Previously the pastors believed in tithing, but once they preached it regularly as well, the finances significantly improved – to a point not anticipated for some years to come.

    So that is why churches will ‘engineer’ these things. If they don’t, they will not receive as much money.

    Perhaps the congregants don’t listen very well to God when it comes to giving money to the church. Or perhaps God doesn’t call them to give as much money to the church.

    I wonder which is true?

    Some forms of church require more money than others.

    If a Christian does not give to ‘church’ (assuming they don’t attend one), they may very well still be giving as part of God’s call on their lives, to a vast variety of other things. The same may be true of other Christians who don’t choose to tithe for whatever reason and do attend a church.

    I would not want to jump to conclusions about church being more needy of their money than a whole world of other things. Personally, I think if you attend a church you should support it financially if you are able to do so. But I also think that stewardship involves donating to other causes, perhaps even more generously.

    While the NT talks about those who serve being worthy of their pay, more emphasis is placed on giving to the poor. In fact, the Jerusalem church urged Paul to make sure he encouraged people to give to the poor when Paul discussed his mission with them. It was the only extra thing thing urged Paul to do, and Paul was keen.

    Galatians 2:10 (Amplified Bible)

    10They only [made one stipulation], that we were to remember the poor, which very thing I was also eager to do.

    I think this shows that the gospel is meant to go hand in hand with caring for and giving to the poor – this is a higher priority than many church ‘needs’. But we hear a lot less about it.

    We aren’t encouraged to give more to the rich. (So why give more to visiting speakers who are rich – or their churches or ministries that are likewise?)

    Proverbs 22:16 (Amplified Bible)

    16He who oppresses the poor to get gain for himself and he who gives to the rich–both will surely come to want.

  54. BTW – I agree with wazza and heretic re righteousness only by faith and no works.

    We are all works in progress. Even if we were all supposed to tithe, which I don’t believe is the case, and if we all did it, there would be so many other areas in our lives (well in my life anyway) where I need God’s grace as without that I am a slave to those things. Without faith I could never attain enough righteousness, and to be missing that in only one thing would be enough to miss it completely. So praise God it is by faith and not by any works that we are saved and in right standing with Him. And that we can ask Him for his help on a daily basis.

  55. The prejudice was assuming I defended error because man runs a big church.

    I think you knew long ago on this thread that you had wrongly represented Brian Houston, but have continued to hang on to your error without correcting it. Your call!

    Wazza2,
    Interesting thoughts, and worth looking at on another post, probably.

    I understand imputed righteousness.

    What do you understand of a person who has righteousness imputed to them, but sins? Is their sin right before God, or not?

  56. 1 John 1,
    If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is no in us. If e confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say hat we have not sinned we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, these things I write unto you that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world.

  57. FaceLift said:
    “It is possible to be already saved and then be either out of God’s will, or not be right with God. Otherwise you are claiming Houston teaches we can only be saved through works, and not by grace through faith. Which can’t be true.

    … Well, if I’m saved, does that immediately mean that I’ll always be right with God? Does it guarantee tat I’ll never sin again? Am I right with God if I sin, even if I’m born again?
    You know the answers to all of these questions is no.”

    … So I can say I am saved, but I can do things which are not right with God. Does this mean I lose my salvation? Do I have to be born again again? Not at all! I need to repent and get right with God. 1 John 1:9.

    … So, there is a difference, presumably, between being in right-standing, and therefore saved, and always being right with God. I put it to you that, even though you are saved and in right-standing, there are times that you are not right with God, and need to ask his forgiveness. I take Houston to mean this.

    … I don’t, by the way, necessarily agree that tithing makes us right with God or not tithing makes us not right. That I would have to assess according to what Houston fully says, not a few words in a short clip. But I do think you made a wrong statement to say hat Houston teaches we can’t be saved if we don’t tithe.

    Heretic said:
    ‘ I like the way this statment assumes that it is impossible (”can’t be true” for BH to teach salvation by works. Why is it impossible? Because he runs a big church?’

    FaceLift said:
    “… It can’t be true because his teaching is orthodox Pentecostal teachning on salvation by grace through faith, which I explained in the same paragraph.”

    … You need to deal with our prejudice.”

    Facelift. I am not afraid to say this, but you do not understand the significance of the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. Read what He’s done! What you have just spoken concerns me. I’ve heard that kind of confession before and those not from a Christian church.

    Quick gospel trivia to you:

    Through Christ’s death the WHOLE WORLD has been FORGIVEN of their SINS? T/F
    Through Christ’s burial, He left the Law and your sinful man in the grave? T/F
    Through Christ’s resurrection, God raised you through His Holy Spirit where you are now a born again SINLESS creature in Christ? T/F
    In His new life, you have the mind of Christ, the heart of the Father and are in union with the Holy Spirit? T/F
    In Christ you are right standing before God, are in His will and are no longer under the Law or works of men? T/F
    Through Christ’s Holy Spirit in you, you are made holy, righteous, glorious, king and high priest? T/F
    Being in Christ, nothing can separate us from Him, not even our own works? T/F

    Final question: Now partaking in the glorious blessings of Christ in the Godhead, you are still a sinner? T/F

    Answer these. Seriously. Whatever church you are in at the moment, get out. Think for yourself. Seek God for a few weeks and read the bible for yourself and focus on what the Apostle Paul is saying in his letters. What he and the writers of Hebrews talk about are considered (from the majority I’ve seen) heresy in today’s Pentecostal world. This is not about me trying to win an argument with you, this is to encourage you to think for yourself, rather then having Signposts or a Pentecostal church think for you. These doctrines are major yet have been so watered down by these types of churches. You walk in the power of Christ’s forgiveness, no matter how much you think you’ve missed the mark. It’s great you walk with integrity, but walk in full knowing that even when you think you are not worthy to carry his name, you are still worthy and forgiven!

  58. … Tithes and guilt offerings are preached from the pulpit. And when guilt works in the heart of a believer they become trapped and ensnared by the snakes clever words. We are meant to remind our brothers and sisters who are in Christ the freedoms they have.

    When we give out of guilt then there is something that needs to be addressed. When a ‘man of such excellence’ teaches thousands of Christians that they are not right before God because they don’t tithe, he is cursing them with a curse, not God. He is devaluing the work of Christ. He is belittling the cross. He is mocking salvation and turning the saints of God into slaves for his own purposes.

    Maybe by accident, maybe on purpose. If on accident (which I don’t think), he is ignorant and should not hold such power that he does have over people.

  59. I decided to type out the last of his message because I found it so disgusting:

    “Well, if we want to prosper, and we want all the right things to prosper in our life, by all means! I’ve personally, (and this is a big statement, and I know I’ve said it before), but personally, I don’t think you can be in the will of God and not put Him first in your finances.

    I think I make some people mad when I say it, but I actually believe it. I actually believe that you can’t be right with God if you don’t get that basic right. That foundation right.

    But on top of that, some people, they are legalistic tithers. It’s like a bondage in their life. They’re thinking they’re not planted in living water. So their thinking is so…
    Basically they’re building on one hand and tearing down with another.

    And so let’s make sure that we’re… yeah… we’re putting God first. But also let’s make sure that what is in us; our delight, where we’re planted, our meditation; is leading towards the right things prospering in our lives. I had resonated onto my spirit, since I was five years of age, that I wanted to build- I wanted to be a part of the kingdom of God… … …

    That’s the thing that has been in my spirit all my life. And I believe I’ve done much, much more. But that’s what’s prospering in my life- but it’s a combination of things. Over the years, it’s just making sure that you delight, and that your meditation, and where you’re planted is lining up with that thing that’s in your spirit… … …

    … So I just really want to encourage you: whatever we do does prosper. It’s not the measure someone else used that ultimately determines where our life ends up, it’s the measure we use. You have something happen that is not fair, that wasn’t right, that wasn’t just, it actually doesn’t have to be the measure that determines your life.

    I mean theirs the inspiring stories of people who end up in wheel-chairs that do incredible things for God because they didn’t let somebody elses measure, (the person who hit them from the side drunk driving). They actually didn’t let that person determine ultimately what prospered in their life. And if someone in that kind of situation is able to keep the right things prospering in their life, how much more can you and I? How much more?

    So lets really decide that our delight, our meditation and our planting is going to cause all the right things to prosper in us. Don’t be down on yourself if you find yourself entertaining the wrong kind of thinking. Because you’re just doing the exact thing that I said: you are allowing the wrong things to prosper. Don’t be down on yourself, but also don’t accept it. Challenge it and replace it with the word of God. And it’s an active choice to do that.”

    I don’t know why New Age shops don’t sell his products. He’s right in line with their teachings. Our righteousness is what makes creation and Creator submit to our ways so that we may prosper. You too can make yourself righteous! You too can prosper with or without God. Jesus doesn’t even need to play apart in any of it (where was he mentioned?). One thing that really irked me was how BH called the Holy Spirit ‘that thing’. How belittling!

    FaceLift. If you cannot see the power of words and how they are used to manipulate people in the body of Christ… God help! Words are extremely powerful. I think this sermon is a good example of a preacher being close but so far away from the Gospel message of Christ.

    Even though this thread has gone slightly askew, at least we can still examine the power of words and how they do steer the body of Christ to do some unhealthy things.

    I conclude though that it should be called a ‘guest offering’.
    There’s less guilt behind that.

  60. facelift said:
    “So, then, s&p, you never sin? Or your sin no longer counts, if you do?”

    If you answer the test, i will answer the test. And then your question of me will be answered.

  61. S&P said to FL: “Whatever church you are in at the moment, get out. Think for yourself. Seek God for a few weeks and read the bible for yourself and focus on what the Apostle Paul is saying in his letters.”

    I think its been fairly well established in the past that FaceLift is either a Pastor or in some kind of ministry work in a Pentecostal church. Also, he is in contact with, or in the wider network of many of the leaders we are discussing. He has discussed some of the Signposts material with these leaders.

    Which is fine, but I just wanted to make sure that everyone knows where he is coming from.

  62. “by that thing in your spirit” I think BH was refering to a desire rather than to Holy Spirit Himself.

  63. Facelift has never specifically stated what he does or which church denomination he attends. We know he teaches at times, and does appear to either be or have spent time highly involved in ministry of some kind.

    That’s one of the reasons its good to have him here, I think. He is not as extreme as some of those he defends. At the same time, he gives a pretty good example of some of the points of view that others of us contend with. He demonstrates that we aren’t making these things up, and puts the case for the views we challenge. Sometimes he backs down to a less extreme version of the views most of us challenge.

    On this thread, his initial reaction to my post was to question my motives, then dismiss my concern as too small to be worthwhile. Sometimes these reactions are reasonable, other times they are a typical tactic used to dismiss the credibility of the questioner.

    A person may not agree with the point I made about love offerings. But this is a blog, and we can talk about large or small issues. The issue of language used is actually a big deal – look at how popular a tool propaganda is for so many causes. The power of choosing particular words even alters their meaning over time. Its worth examining church practices and understanding whether or not the use of language is manipulative or in line with scripture.

    For example, Jesus is Truth and Light. Our language should reflect this. Jesus did not manipulate people – he was forthright and honest. People could accept or reject him. In following His example, we also should avoid manipulation, when we become aware we might be doing it. (We may not always be aware, and what is manipulative in one context may be quite OK in another, which I think is the case with ‘love offerings’.)

    As the church is the Body of Christ, it is to be Christlike. When it becomes aware that it is not Christlike, that thing can be abandoned or fixed, and the body will remain pure. The more Christlike the church is, the more successful it will be in truly building the body of Christ up. Therefore small things are important in so much as whether they truly represent Christ. If they are showing something counter to the nature of Christ, the witness they produce to those who don’t yet know Him is false.

    What may not seem important or urgent can still be worth reflecting on and in the long run, help achieve that ultimate goal of the body of Christ increasing and filling all things. It certainly wont do this if it just borrows pragmatically from the latest effective practices of mankind, without examining them.

  64. RP,
    ‘On this thread, his initial reaction to my post was to question my motives, then dismiss my concern as too small to be worthwhile. Sometimes these reactions are reasonable, other times they are a typical tactic used to dismiss the credibility of the questioner.’

    I’m not your Pastor. I don’t use any tactics on you. I don’t have typical tactics for dealing with people in this area. I take every post or comment as if it were an original thought with a process of its own.

    You took things the way you wanted to take them. I later apologised to you, and everyone for misunderstanding your motives. Is that a typical tactic? Did you mention this?

    I am troubled when Christians are irritated by some of the things Pentecostal or Contemporary churches do, when in fact, they are well understood by the majority of attenders, who are not offended by them. I aired that view. It’s my personal point of view. Perhaps you and others don’t understand what a love offering represents in a Pentecostal or Contemporary church setting, but heaps of us do, and are OK with it.

    I asked a few questions which weren’t answered by anyone:

    ‘Is your irritability the gauge of an offering? Is your attitude a gauge of an offering?

    Is the minister’s performance the gauge of an offering – your offering, my offering? Is it a pure offering if I give grudgingly, or of necessity? Or is my offering gauged by my willingness and cheerfulness in giving? Is that pure or pragmatic? Or both?

    If I choose to give regardless of how well an offering message was presented, and I give because I consider it a love offering, and want to show my love and appreciation for a ministry, what has your bad attitude to do with my offering?

    Surely I make that offering into a love offering anyway, and exercise pure religion by choosing to love someone unreservedly.

    Or do you only give into an offering if the conditions are right? The speaker only says exactly what you consider to be pure religion and perfect doctrine, the person taking the offering gives exactly the right kind of offering message, for exactly the right length of time, and the entire presentation meets your standards for love? And of course you are not irritated in any way.’

    The questions are valid, but have been ignored. I that a typical tactic of people who are irritated?

    I don’t have a problem with love offerings being called something else, and having a specific tag asserted to them, and I also aired that point of view. Is that a typical tactic?

    I told you that our church does specify what offerings are for, and where they go. Is that a typical tactic?

    Do you only want to put up arguments I make which are against your cause, or are you able to also include things I say which are supportive of your cause?

  65. s&p,
    In the last few days you have exhorted me to get involved in astrology, soul power, and now to leave my local church.

    ‘Get out’ you say, as if there were something wrong with Pentecost. ‘Get in” I say, so that you can actually get over the need for astrology and soul power, and get into some real Word & Spirit teaching.

  66. “I am troubled when Christians are irritated by some of the things Pentecostal or Contemporary churches do, when in fact, they are well understood by the majority of attenders, who are not offended by them.”

    Well one things for sure, they aren’t encouraged to think. And no. What you said is a load of BS. Allot of what is spoken about in Pentecostal Contemporary churches is not clear. What’s generally preached is not Christianity but a mixture of Judea-Christianity, New Age, prosperity gospel, word faith and then I’d say 30% gospel truth. There messages are not clear.

    You are a perfect example of this. You are essentially defending confusion.
    BTW. I said:
    “Whatever church you are in at the moment, get out. ”

    I don’t mean permanently. Maybe for about a month. Pray and go through the bible yourself and do your own research in reading the letters of Paul and writer of Hebrews.

    FaceLift:
    “I aired that view. It’s my personal point of view. Perhaps you and others don’t understand what a love offering represents in a Pentecostal or Contemporary church setting, but heaps of us do, and are OK with it.”
    I sure do. I totally related to what RPente was talking about. I did feel guilt when I didn’t give. I never realised it before until now. I don’t think you understand some people in your congregation. I know what it represents. Sometimes people pull pathetic faces when they too don’t have enough to give because they previously gave it all in the first offering.

    I laughed with others once. When the pastor mentioned about taking up a laugh offering when someone behind, quite loudly said the following:
    “Oh shit! I forgot about the f$cking love offering!”

    Facelift said:
    “I asked a few questions which weren’t answered by anyone:
    ‘Is your irritability the gauge of an offering? Is your attitude a gauge of an offering?
    Is the minister’s performance the gauge of an offering – your offering, my offering? Is it a pure offering if I give grudgingly, or of necessity? Or is my offering gauged by my willingness and cheerfulness in giving? Is that pure or pragmatic? Or both?
    If I choose to give regardless of how well an offering message was presented, and I give because I consider it a love offering, and want to show my love and appreciation for a ministry, what has your bad attitude to do with my offering?”

    Didn’t see these questions til now. Are you going to answer my questions FaceLift?
    I’m happy to give. However, when manipulation is involved I withhold. It’s my choice to give. As soon as they apply the pressure and start play the cunning wolf, I withhold.
    They plug up my generosity.
    For a ‘love offering’, if feel the person speaking is indeed transforming peoples lives with his teachings and his lifestyle, I give. I will withhold likewise. If I am manipulated into giving, then I withhold and approach the guest afterword and have a word with them, and put my offering in their hand in a way they don’t see it until I leave.
    I do my best discern the ministry they live.

    Now please answer my questions to you FaceLift.

  67. s&p,
    In the last few days you have exhorted me to get involved in astrology, soul power, and now to leave my local church.

    ‘Get out’ you say, as if there were something wrong with Pentecost. ‘Get in” I say, so that you can actually get over the need for astrology and soul power, and get into some real Word & Spirit teaching.

    Lol! You completely missed my point at the beginning with astrology! You think I was serious about that? Fair bloody dinkum!
    As for soulpower, I’ll post another thread on it and how it has crept into the church. I’ll do your homework for you FaceLift since you choose to shift and remain ignorant of your spiritual responsibilities. It’s a shame you choose to remain ignorant of spiritual things and live in plastic pentecostal land. It’s important to recognize it in the church setting. I’ve seen people operate in it at Hillsong, CCC and various other pentecostal denominations- and they don’t even realise it! There are preachers that teach us to operate in it’s power. And leaders unfortunately lead the congregation to operate in it in worship. I saw this done last week!

    As for the last comment, ask for leave for a while. Step out and step back. Spend time with God and His Word. Let Him minister to you and then come back to church. Then observe and watch your congregation for a while and see if your spirit is right with everything. You may be blessed and you’ll see that nothing’s wrong. But chances are you’ll be able to see through the eyes of a visitor for a while. Observe what they may see and see things for once that aren’t right.

  68. I’d be interested in that thread on soulpower, S&P. There is a lot of that in the teachings of BH which you have transcribed.

    Thanks also to Lance for drawing our attention to this originally, and for keeping a record of what BH said, on his blog.

  69. s&p,
    There is assumption, and then there is presumption. I made an incorrect assumption, but you com up with the biggest of presumptions!

    So now you are saying that you didn’t mean what you said about astrology, that it was all a joke! Ha ha! I laugh with you, my friend! But, in the light of things said here, I have to ask, what are the power of your words here then, s&p? And your other words, which seek to remove me from my call!

    Frankly, you don’t have a clue what is happening in our church, or with the churches we are involved with, or how people are developing. You don’t know what we teach or what we are taught. You don’t know what influences I have, or who i influence. You know nothing, and yet you speak like some kind of expert by giving advice to a person about leaving their church! Wolves do that! But you’re not wolf, so what are you saying?

    You, like wazza, not knowing us, or our doctrine, make assumptions which are incorrect, align us with people we are not aligned with, decide doctrine for us, followed by correction for us, and decide our mission and effectiveness, and make a list of changes for us.

    I say us, because you think ‘they’, meaning my church, are a bad influence on me in some way, so I should be separated from them, and therefore if you were talking to them you’d tell them to be separated from me – nice!

    You, like wazza and Lance before him, think that because you think that we are aligned with certain groups you are uncomfortable with, we should get out an go somewhere else, or worse still, go nowhere for a while and dissociate with our brothers and sisters in the Lord to suit what? …your fears.

    Does this mean you think I can’t talk to or hear from God right where I am? I have to leave and God will speak to me more clearly when I am separated from my brothers and sisters? You think I’m so spiritually dense that I don’t know if I’m saved or not. or filled with the Spirit, or fulfilled in ministry, or effective, or called,or sent, or in the right place for God exactly where I am at present?

    You presume to know more than God the Holy Spirit about what we should be doing, thinking, studying or actioning?

    You make a list of what I think is incorrect doctrine on a blog and then advise others to follow your example.

    Are you in fellowship anywhere, s&p. I man by this, do you attend a local church? Are you in harmony with that church? Do you support the leadership of that church, and the vision? I don’t say this with a view that you should never be positively critical of some things, but to be in basic agreement with them.

    I agree tat thewre are times ot separate ourselves from everything and be alone with the Lord. I do. I will! But not leave peopl I love and enjoy.

    Would it help if I added to wazza’s little assessment above, and remind everyone that i read widely, have friends from many denominations, whom I meet with and discuss doctrine with on a regular basis, and am respected for evangelical orthodoxy amongst my peers. I also come on this blog and others similar to discuss issues with people who frankly have little respect for my position anyway! On purpose. For dialogue. To crack some hard questions and deal with some ingrained offences.

    So please don’t throw ‘brainwashed’, or doctrinally inept at me. I have massive needs, yes. I have much to learn, and I’m open to persuasion, but I’m not a novice. Maybe you need to strengthen your arguments to convince me. Iron sharpens iron. As I do my arguments. Or maybe you need to work at some things. As I. Maybe you’re even wrong about some stuff. As I. Just maybe!
    _____________________________________

    In answer to your questions, so you an answer mine. I am born again. I gave my life to the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe he is the Son of God, the Christ. I believe he died and was buried and raised again, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. I belive my faith in Jesus imputes righteousness to me as a son of God. I believe salvation is through grace by faith alone.

    I also confess to having sinned since I became a Christian, and to have repented of sin on many occasions. In fact, every time we take communion, break bread, together, which is often, I make sure I ask forgiveness for sin, and forgive others. I also confess my sin to the Father as it is revealed to me by my heart. I do not bear grudges, or live in in unforgiveness. I believe I am forgiven, and do my best not to sin. I resist the devil, and temptation. I believe life n the Spirit brings liberty.

    Therefore, I believe it is possible to have been accredited by God with righteousness through faith in Jesus, even made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, and yet, from time to time, to sin, and need to confess that sin before the Father, who forgives, and cleanses us of all unrighteousness. I believe sin breaks fellowship with the Father, but not relationship.

    I believe salvation is instant on accepting Jesus, and spiritual regeneration, sanctification and justification are instant, but there is also a process of sanctification, whereby the mind is renewed to the Word and will of God, and things carried over from our pre-salvation life are dealt with. So we are saved, going on to salvation – working out our salvation with fear and trembling. The body is not yet redeemed, and is still subject to the corruption of this world.

    So yes, we are forgiven, and washed clean, and justified, but yes, also we can sin, and need to confess it.

  70. I never claimed that you, FaceLift were aligned with these people or that you were in any way influenced by them.

    I merely claimed that you are in dialogue with some of them and defend their doctrine.

  71. Facelift said:
    “I’m not your Pastor. I don’t use any tactics on you. I don’t have typical tactics for dealing with people in this area. I take every post or comment as if it were an original thought with a process of its own.

    You took things the way you wanted to take them. I later apologised to you, and everyone for misunderstanding your motives. Is that a typical tactic? Did you mention this?”

    No, apologies are certainly not a usual tactic, and that’s a good point. Mostly in churches (in my experience, maybe not yours) we find a denial of any issue or responsibility instead. I must admit that in life outside the blogosphere, I find myself continually apologising for all sorts of things. If only I could do better sometimes. Still, in these things, God is working in me over time.

    It is common for you to play the man and not the ball when a question is raised, Facelift, but you usually do eventually address the issue as well. That is how it looks to me, anyway.

    The fact that you do even engage with us on issues where we see differently is unusual – many would simply dismiss anything said when they don’t like it, rather than try to grapple with it. Plus you raise scriptures which if we see things differently, we still also learn from addressing.

    And I do accept your apology, and apologise likewise if I have offended you. I guess we are all being honest about how we see things, and that in itself is pretty hard to come by in a verbal context. None of us have run away from it in a written context, and perhaps that is a good thing in some ways for us all at times. We engage in a way that could have benefit for all, which would be very difficult to do otherwise.

  72. FL: ““I’m not your Pastor. I don’t use any tactics on you.”

    What an indictment of pastors!

  73. Until churches are aware that there may be several ways of viewing the same scriptures, many churches will defend their doctrines because they cannot recognise that there might be another scripturally valid position, using even the same text. They are incapable of seeing things except through their set worldview. Their interpretation is therefore seen as the only possible correct version. If they are wrong about something, that position then results in blindness.

  74. FL: “You took things the way you wanted to take them. I later apologised to you, and everyone for misunderstanding your motives. Is that a typical tactic?”

    You did not misunderstand RP’s motives, you invented them.

  75. FaceLift:
    “So now you are saying that you didn’t mean what you said about astrology, that it was all a joke! Ha ha! I laugh with you, my friend! But, in the light of things said here, I have to ask, what are the power of your words here then, s&p? And your other words, which seek to remove me from my call!”

    The power of my words in that instant were hoping to expose what you were saying to RavingPente. I was suppoingly being clever. I didn’t realise you dind’t get what I was saying. I obviously failed to get you to understand the point of me de-railing the thread onto astrology.

    FaceLift:
    “Frankly, you don’t have a clue what is happening in our church, or with the churches we are involved with, or how people are developing. You don’t know what we teach or what we are taught. You don’t know what influences I have, or who i influence. You know nothing, and yet you speak like some kind of expert by giving advice to a person about leaving their church! Wolves do that! But you’re not wolf, so what are you saying?”

    I asume you go to a local CCC in your area and you hold a certain position. From what I know, some local CCC’s are not as bad as the mother. That’s great. As long as you’re moving in the Holy Spirit and people are being born again, that’s great. I didn’t have a problem with what your church teaches until started showing some interesting beliefs on this thread. You freaked me out for your sake.

    That’s what made me concerned FOR YOU. I didn’t tell you to banish them or run away. I suggested that you leave for a while and seek God and abide in His Sord so that he may teach you truths that aren’t taught in your church. I’ve done it. My friends have done. Some awesome teachers I know have done.

    Maybe I am in error for suggesting such a thing, but I don’t want you to live your life without fully knowing the power of God’s gospel message. I go to such churches. I have seen people so involved in practical ministry that they don’t realise they can do so much more in the kingdom. And it’s simply because they don’t know any better.

    Great! More people are being saved! More people to give their time to support and build programs. More door welcomers. More ushers. More lighting guys and sound guys. But does anyone know what on earth they are doing there? What is there purpose? Who are they in God? Who are they spiritually? What else can they do? What are they called too? Can all prophesy? Can all heal? Can all lead? These types of things aren’t addressed or taught. Signposts kind of does that. So I’d say we encourage (in the most weirdest ways!), people to learn and have an opinion for themselves.

    Now I know there are various types of opinion. And I like difference of opinion. But your confession of defence of certain peoples beliefs goes further then just opinion. Someone has taught you error. I’m simply addressing that you spend quality time with God and His Word and let Him teach you. Does that sound like I’m brainwashing you? Or does that sound like I am concerned for you and I want you to figure it out for yourself with God?

    “You, like wazza, not knowing us, or our doctrine, make assumptions which are incorrect, align us with people we are not aligned with, decide doctrine for us, followed by correction for us, and decide our mission and effectiveness, and make a list of changes for us.”

    If you are apart of the CCC movement, chances are your beliefs and teachings would have been affected by the teachings of PPP. They ingrain into your very spiritual being the sickness of their doctrines- that being the tithing doctrine, excellence doctrine, the covering doctrine, the word-faith doctrine, the prosperity doctrine, the house of god doctrine and many more.

    I came from them. I am still unlearning such doctrines, teachings and habits from them. I still find myself programmed their way and it is a war within me. If they’ve had a toll on me, chances are they are working on you too.

    Facelift:
    “I say us, because you think ‘they’, meaning my church, are a bad influence on me in some way, so I should be separated from them, and therefore if you were talking to them you’d tell them to be separated from me – nice! You, like wazza and Lance before him, think that because you think that we are aligned with certain groups you are uncomfortable with, we should get out an go somewhere else, or worse still, go nowhere for a while and dissociate with our brothers and sisters in the Lord to suit what? …your fears.”

    I am simply telling you to be away from them for a while. I NEVER said leave for good.
    For your sake, I am uncomfortable. You don’t have to go to another church. Go to the beach, have a cuppa, be with the poor, join a choir. Enjoy society and find where God wants you to be while also making time available to study His word. I don’t go to CCC any more except when I’m invited by a friend. I will often be polite and try to decline the invitation. Is it that hard to do? Do you think that when you return, people would have forgotten about you? Or has the House of God doctrine been so reinforced in your thinking and living that you don’t know how to.

    Facelift:
    Does this mean you think I can’t talk to or hear from God right where I am? I have to leave and God will speak to me more clearly when I am separated from my brothers and sisters? You think I’m so spiritually dense that I don’t know if I’m saved or not. or filled with the Spirit, or fulfilled in ministry, or effective, or called,or sent, or in the right place for God exactly where I am at present?

    It’s not uncommon when it’s just you and him and no one else for a while, He starts prompting you to be in constant dialogue with him. He then brings things up you usually wouldn’t think about. When you make more time with him and yourself, it’s amazing what he does start revealing to you. He has done this to me and others on numerous occasions.

    FaceLift:
    “You presume to know more than God the Holy Spirit about what we should be doing, thinking, studying or actioning?”

    I know Christian living is more free and more easy then it really should be and much more affective.

    FaceLift:
    Are you in fellowship anywhere, s&p. I man by this, do you attend a local church? Are you in harmony with that church? Do you support the leadership of that church, and the vision? I don’t say this with a view that you should never be positively critical of some things, but to be in basic agreement with them.

    Yes. I am well grounded in a local church with solid teachers on theology and practical living. The church encourages people to operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and minister to those in need. It is largely community orientated and works with other local ministries. We are fussy on teaching accuracy and all teachers are held accountable to what they teach. I’m part of a home group fellowship and am involved with community events and evangelism. I am not afraid to sometimes not go to church on Sundays and am free to explore other churches and fellowship with various other believers.

    So it does sound like we have a lot in common FaceLift in some areas.
    Chances are I am wrong in some things I’ve said. But I haven’t stopped studying these subjects and would like to be proven wrong with the things I’ve said. I know I’ve apologized before when I was in error.

    FaceLift:
    “In answer to your questions, so you an answer mine…”

    Answer my T/F questions. I didn’t ask you to confess what you believe. Still I found your confession interesting.

  76. RP said: “It is common for you to play the man and not the ball when a question is raised, Facelift, but you usually do eventually address the issue as well. That is how it looks to me, anyway.”

    The issues do not always get addressed. If FL attacks me rather than discussing the issue I tend to skip to the next comment.

  77. Heretic,

    ‘FL: ““I’m not your Pastor. I don’t use any tactics on you.”

    What an indictment of pastors!’

    Astonishing, Heretic, that you, of all people, use such a tactic. Take, like wazza elsewhere, a portion of something written and pose it as something else.

    Do you really, honestly think I meant anything but that I am not RP’s Pastor, and therefore have no tactical scheme in mind to do anything – oh whatever!? I guess attempting to explain things to post-modern deconstructionists is as hard as understanding their bleak small mindedness. You don’t see the big picture, or any picture, really, only the dots and tittles which make it up. You don’t see a graphic, just the 10101010. What syntax can we destroy today? Never mind the context, or the contact, the concern or the contract, just discern the content, and hit it with a spell-check. You need to see the heart, and not just hammer the stone, and then you’ll get somewhere and not appear so superior.

    If it will make it easier for you I’ll withdraw.

  78. I think we need a new thread to avoid the descent into tawdriness. I just haven’t had time to come up with a new one, sorry. Feel free, anyone, to do so!

  79. FL:

    Astonishing, Heretic, that you, of all people, use such a tactic. Take, like wazza elsewhere, a portion of something written and pose it as something else.

    Do you really, honestly think I meant anything but that I am not RP’s Pastor, and therefore have no tactical scheme in mind to do anything – oh whatever!? I guess attempting to explain things to post-modern deconstructionists is as hard as understanding their bleak small mindedness. You don’t see the big picture, or any picture, really, only the dots and tittles which make it up. You don’t see a graphic, just the 10101010. What syntax can we destroy today? Never mind the context, or the contact, the concern or the contract, just discern the content, and hit it with a spell-check. You need to see the heart, and not just hammer the stone, and then you’ll get somewhere and not appear so superior.

    If it will make it easier for you I’ll withdraw.

    It was a quip not a tactic. And you believe it anyway “I am not RP’s Pastor, and therefore have no tactical scheme in mind”. The implication is that pastors use tactics and schemes. I think that is an indictment. Obviously you do not.

  80. No. Just a clumsy way of putting things, especially in view of what I’ve written elsewhere. I guess I’ll have to make sure I put everything ever so carefully so that I’m not misunderstood by those who are looking for the slightest misunderstanding.

    In the circumstances, I’ll accept your claim that it was a quip, but it came in at a time when my very salvation was being questioned, I was being advised to leave my church, and I was accused of using the same tactics you all seem to claim Pastors use. I’m afraid your quip didn’t translate well in that environment, any more than s&p’s astrology doctrine, which he claims was a joke, but wasn’t at all clear, or funny.

    Your quip looked more like a swipe, either at the inadequacy of my English (fair call), or what you saw as an indictment on my part (unfair call).

    In fact, it has taken quite some time to work out why you claimed it was an indictment, because, honestly, I never meant it as such, nor do I think this way. Just a quirk of the English language. God save us from stupid misunderstandings over phrasing.

    Mark this. I’ll be really careful, but I’m afraid my English is poor, and my simple Islander background leaves me short sometimes.

    So, I guess you’ll all continue to be irritated by ‘love offerings’ in your church. I rather hoped you’d be able to get over it.

  81. “…it came in at a time when my very salvation was being questioned, I was being advised to leave my church, and I was accused of using the same tactics you all seem to claim Pastors use.”

    Gosh, you’ve been through a real ordeal on this thread, haven’t you FL!

  82. “…get over it”

    …I thought we’d emptied the discussion on ‘love offerings’ some time ago and moved on to the more general topic of manipulative use of language.

    In that vein, I would say that ‘get over it’ is a dismissive term that minimises concerns and avoids discussion. In its own way, it can be both patronising and manipulative, as if the subject is continued, the continuee is understood to be overstating the trivial, and can feel a sense of embarrassment if they continue to display concern. (This is a general comment about the language only, not about FL or his behaviour.) So it encourages self censorship without addressing an issue.

    Sometimes this is a good thing. It might cause less problems than other problem solving techniques, such as inadequately supervised reprogramming, such as MM appeared to do recently.

  83. FL – yes, it was a quip! If I’d been through that in real life I’d feel dreadful. But this is only a blog, luckily.

  84. Nothings maybe, but the thing which really stung was actually the accusation that I would indict Pastors in the way Heretic suggested, quip or no quip, blog or no blog. But I’m over it.

  85. FaceLift:
    “Mark this. I’ll be really careful, but I’m afraid my English is poor, and my simple Islander background leaves me short sometimes.”

    Wow! I didn’t know FaceLift! This explains a lot and confirms a lot of what I was thinking about you. I’m backing right off. I’d still appreciate it if you’d answer my T/F questions. In this discussion alone I was wondering if you did come from an Islandish background. Please answer the questions.

    And for the sake that I’m no spook, I’ll attempt to explain my intentions when I made my ‘joke’ about astrology.

    In your very first post you were alluding to more weightier concerns and solutions and were taking the topic way off course:

    “The myth of the oppressive tithe and ‘love’ offering scams is overblown by a huge degree. Most people are smart enough, self-interested enough, or selfish enough, depending on how you look at it, to give what they want to, when they want to. That’s a fact! Usually it’ a handful of faithful, dedicated, committed believers who support a local church and ministry. If people gave even 5% of their income to the local church on a regular basis, to help meet needs and support ministries, it would be far more effective in its mission, and guest ministries would be taken care of from the general account, and ‘lerv’ offerings would be almost unnecessary.
    You don’t like to tithe, yet you don’t like to support the travelling minister with a ‘love’ offering. You don’t like offering messages. Can you really have it every way? Or do you never want to see another travelling minister in your church ever, ever again?”

    In an attempt to show what you just did, I attempted (and failed) to highlight the irony of what you did to this thread in your very first post- talk about something else that was completely irrelevant to the topic of ‘love offering’. I bought up star gazing being part of the solution hoping you would pick up on the irrelevance of me talking about such nonsense as well. That really fell flat and seemingly got you concerned about who has taken over SignPosts.

    Sorry about that confusion.

  86. One ministy’s take on love offerings –

    “Peter Horrobin, the founder and international director of Ellel Ministries, has become angered by Christian ministers “raping” the body of Christ by promising miracles in exchange for donations. He gives ministers a stern warning against these practices and encourages belivers to be shrewd in their offering giving.

    In the 16th century some sectors of the Roman Catholic Church fell into the trap of selling “indulgences,” saying there would be relief in purgatory from the consequences of sins already forgiven. The Catholic Church became rich and powerful, but the people were financially and spiritually raped through this abuse. I’ve watched a number of Christian TV shows recently and I have been shocked at how close some high-powered evangelists are to falling into something similar to an indulgences trap.

    We don’t obey God to get blessed. We obey Him, or should, because we love Him, regardless of whether or not He blesses us materially.

    I have heard preachers imply, even promise, to those who give in their offerings that their debts will be resolved, their family and friends will get converted, they will have a year of blessing, and many other alleged benefits the vulnerable are itching to hear. The subliminal message is: “Think what you might miss if you don’t give.” This manipulates people to give from fear of missing God’s blessing, not out of sacrificial love either for God or God’s people.

    I passionately believe in true prophecy, which is a gift of the Holy Spirit given freely. But when offers of healing and prophetic words get mixed up with fundraising for the ministry, we should all recognize that a big warning flag is being waved in the spiritual realm.

    As the founder of an international ministry, I understand more than most how important finances are to making the gospel available. God told us very clearly that for our particular work we should never charge money.

    So in the last 21 years we have conducted thousands of three-day healing retreats in many parts of the world and have never once charged for the ministry or the stay in one of our centers. People can make donations if they wish, but that is very different from offering healing in exchange for money.

    So how do the ministry bills get paid?

    Largely through the sacrificial giving of those who give so that others will be blessed. This is the giving that truly blesses the heart of God. After all, isn’t that what was in Jesus’ heart when He went to the cross? “

  87. FL said “my simple Islander background”. S&P, one might assume from this he’s from the Pacific islands or similar. No, he’s from the British Isles, and English is his first language.

    He has a good (almost too good) grasp of the English language and he wields it like a weapon.

  88. s&p,

    Through Christ’s death the WHOLE WORLD has been FORGIVEN of their SINS? T
    Through Christ’s burial, He left the Law and your sinful man in the grave? F
    Through Christ’s resurrection, God raised you through His Holy Spirit where you are now a born again SINLESS creature in Christ? F
    In His new life, you have the mind of Christ, the heart of the Father and are in union with the Holy Spirit? T
    In Christ you are right standing before God, are in His will and are no longer under the Law or works of men? T
    Through Christ’s Holy Spirit in you, you are made holy, righteous, glorious, king and high priest? T
    Being in Christ, nothing can separate us from Him, not even our own works? T

    Final question: Now partaking in the glorious blessings of Christ in the Godhead, you are still a sinner? F

    Qualify F’s:
    Through Christ’s burial, He left the Law and your sinful man in the grave? F

    He nailed the law to the cross, and it no longer applies

    Through Christ’s resurrection, God raised you through His Holy Spirit where you are now a born again SINLESS creature in Christ? F

    I am born again, and a saint, and seated in Christ in heavenly places, but will not be raised until the resurrection of the Church, when the last thing to be redeemed, our bodies, will be changed, and we will be with him ever more, and I can’t say I’m always sinless, although I now have power over sin.

    The F’s are partially T’s, but not completely.

    It’s always hard to work with simple T/F questions. Especially when the person writing them has their own doctrinal stance.
    ____________________________________

    I have mentioned a few times before that I am from Guernsey, and lived a simple Island life in a working class family. My English is obviously poor because smart people like Heretic and wazza are able to cut it to pieces and make it say something it wasn’t intended to. If it was good, I’d see the problem in advance and avoid their cynicism.

  89. If we were to have a competition about who was the poorest, in the manner of the Yorkshiremen from the Monty Python sketch (“We lived in a shoe-box by the side of the road”), I think I could keep up with you.

    Still, I’d judge my own command of the English language to be reasonable, and yours to be of a similar or higher standard. Maybe you dont intend to convey those meanings, but they are being conveyed by your subconscious?

  90. We used to lick t’road wi’ tongue!

    My subconscious thinks in patois, and doesn’t know how to spell, so it can’t be.

  91. Thanks Facelift!
    I really appreciate you doing that. Plus your comments are good in return.

    I meant to say:
    “Through Christ’s burial, He left the Law and your sinful nature in the grave?” T/F

    Would that still be false?
    I’m trying to understand you more.
    Oh and that was a good find Teddy!

  92. LOL – I do like that sketch.

    I _know_ you guys weren’t doing this, but its funny isn’t it how Christian people can compete for both who is poorest and who is richest – depending upon which one sees value in at the time.

    For example, amongst those who think it is a sin to have any money or possessions beyond immediate needs, and who practice self denial as an expression of their faith, competing for who is poorest (and therefore holiest) could be desirable.

    Then amongst those who have an extreme prosperity stance, competing for who is richest demonstrates who God has blessed most and who has therefore been most approved by the Lord. (Why else would they flash it around?) BTW, FL, please don’t think that I include you in this extreme.

    Anyway, both attitudes are chasing the flesh!

  93. My wife subscribes to a couple of Christian womens newsletters which are about living extremely cheaply, having as many children as you possibly can, never letting them leave your side, home schooling, and never going to the evil outside world to get a job or interact with anyone.

    These newsletters torture the truth just as much as your average triumphant newsletter from a Mega-church pastor on his annual jaunt to France. My wife gets so upset that she cannot possibly measure up to these women who live on farms with 18 kids and adopting 4 more from Africa.

  94. “Through Christ’s burial, He left the Law and your sinful nature in the grave?” T/F

    Still false. He nailed the law to the cross. In doing so he fulfilled its requirements, for us, and for the world, past, present and future. He paid the price of our sin, as a ransom. Our sin was cast as far as the east is from the west, as far as God is concerned, into the sea of forgetfulness, it’s as if we had never sinned. We were still sinners, but Christ paid the price – took our place. There was still a death required. He died for us. Once a price is paid, there is no place for sin. Our sin is nowhere.

    He redeemed us – paid the purchase price for the ransom.

    Our old sin has nothing to do with it.

    So, now, having been forgiven, when we sin, which we all do, we are convicted by our heart, or conscience, and we repent, we confess that sin, and he is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.

  95. S&P said : “Are you joking wazza?”

    Not really, here is an example : http://rubies.articledirectoree.com/

    These ministries are run by women and have strict interpretations of 1 Timothy 2 and similar scriptures. They look ok on first look, but some are quite extreme. Basically to be in the inner-circles of these groups you need more than 4 children, be a stay-at-home mum, able to live on a very low income, and homeschool no matter what.

  96. I’ve failed! They sound bad, wazza. (Not that having 4 kids or homeschooling or living on a low income aren’t OK per se.) Just introducing lots of guilt and shame.

    Still, I do have Christian friends who home schooled their kids due to moving around a lot, and the kids are fantastic. I totally admire their mother’s dedication. (This married couple was also kicked out of their church for nude sun bathing at a nude beach… ooh aah!)

  97. Good question!

    I _think_ the couple probably mentioned it to friends in passing, thinking nothing of it. To them, it was nothing. Then they found themselves subjected to some kind of disciplinary process.

  98. Nude bathing at a nude beach? Hmmm. I have a problem with that. Check out the “perverse” types who hang around those places. Years ago at Camp Cove the more adventurous only had to take their tops off and it was ants turning up at a picnic. Yuck!

    Interesting question – should Christians go to nude beaches?

  99. Um – well I’ve been to one.

    I don’t believe I was sinning at the time. I don’t _think_ I’m perverse.

    I was not nude, neither was the person I was with. The nude people stayed in a slightly more sheltered area. We weren’t there to stare at anyone, but to enjoy the beach. So I think was every one else.

    As for my friends, they are people who are fortunate enough to genuinely experience no self consciousness about their bodies (which are normal) or those of other people. Adam and Eve didn’t cover themselves or feel shame until they sinned. In itself, I don’t think nudity is necessarily an issue. Context and culture are probably a key.

    While I acknowledge there are some people who will enjoy nude beaches for voyeurism or for some kind of kick maybe, there are others for whom this is not an issue. Its just a great place to enjoy the beach without clothes, where nudity won’t bother others since it is recognised as an area where that can take place. Those bothered by it don’t need to go there. So yes, I think that for Christians to whom nudity is a non-issue its OK to go to nude beaches.

  100. “Talk about sycophantic, feigning yes people, Christians really take the cake. Listen to the bullshit Christianese speak above. Sickening.

    Same old brain washing repeated over and over.”

    (–I say David, that was a bit thick!- You sound like a person who knows no fear;… ‘pretty stupid, that is!’
    -You don’t know your gear do you, or you may develop some simple reverence about life!-though I sense your anger and disgust with what the Christian church may have done to you-I get this much; why dont you unpack all those thoughts above for us in more detail?)

    Anyhow, following that; a really great thread guys-huge mileage in just 3 days!

    And particularly brilliant analysis S&P & Wazza [Im really worried about your wife now;-we must come over & cheer her up with some pastries & lots of children to visit!]—particularly of Houston’s spiritual errors about the nature of financial giving; very well spotted all-around.

    ; FL we really must all pile into your house one day for some serious fellowship with all this lovely food you keep mentioning here and there; dont be afraid; Im sure we wont treat you as a REAL Pinyata!-…..or at least, face martyrdom with courage, friend!-Im sure all these ‘brothers & sisters’ you have hanging around will help put up a good fight one way or the other!

    [‘Shock!!-exposed as a Guernseyan!’]

    Proverbs 22:16 -I really loved how you reminded us of the poor RP; and this particular scripture; this very evening Ive been studying “the eye of a needle”, so your thoughts were a gift.

    So much for the ‘manipulative use of language’ dear Ravingpente- I mean, so many misunderstandings, misreadings, [miss-spellings are easily forgiven!], and ‘witch-hunty’ statements, claims & counterclaims in one thread!,…and then Facelift emerges as a Guernseyan of ‘poor english’ Theology!–all quite funny & strange as we pursued the rights & wrongs of these issues!!

    And yes Teddy, Christians should go to Nudist beaches-prepared to defend themselves against perverts; discreet enough to not tell brethren(who really can’t be trusted!) ; and believing that Nudity is ‘the natural state of man’![Gen]

    …..& no, I dont go myself; Im too shy!

    Z.

  101. Why are words relevent? Check out this MythBuster from Don Francisco’s RockyMountainMinistry’s website:

    Myth # 23 If you don’t bear fruit, you’ll get chopped off.
    I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. –John 15:1-2, King James Version

    This verse has brought fear into the lives of countless believers because of bad translation. The problem begins with the Greek word, ‘airo’, which is translated “taketh away”. Its usual meaning is “to raise, to lift up”; “to take away” is a secondary meaning. If a branch is “in Jesus”, He will not “take it away” if it does not bear fruit! The context is the same passage where Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you,” and “Let not your heart be troubled.”

    Jesus does not treat His own that He died for like that– if you are in Him, you are safe in Him. Anyone who knows grapes will tell you that a branch will not bear fruit if it falls into the dirt— it must be raised, lifted back up onto the trellis, not removed!

    Unfortunately, the NASB and the NKJV repeat this error, and then compound it by choosing the harshest possible meaning for the next phrase: Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. –NASB and NKJV

    Now we have the Father removing the branches that fail– and cutting those that succeed down to a nub! You can’t win! However, since pruning is done to dead branches after the growing season is over, it is not what Jesus meant here. Living branches are not “pruned”– the plant would go into shock and be unable to bear at all. But allowing the leaves to become coated with dust and dirt reduces the crop, so the vinedresser cleans/washes them.

    The Greek word ‘kathairo’ that’s translated “to prune” has a usual meaning of “to cleanse”. “To prune” is a secondary meaning at best–

    it’s not even mentioned as a possibility in one of the best Greek dictionaries. ‘Kathairo’ comes from a root word that means “clean, pure”. Jesus actually uses this same root word in the very next verse:

    “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” — John 15:3

    It would make no sense to say, “You are already pruned because of the word which I have spoken to you.” Neither does it make sense for a vinedresser to prune living branches. God cleanses us with the water of the Word— He doesn’t chop limbs off.

    Don’t let your heart be troubled. Here’s a better translation:
    “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He lifts up from where it has fallen; and every branch that bears fruit He cleanses, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”

    So… It’s important not to focus on the insignificant, eh?

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