Lifestyle of giving shown to be beneficial

An intriguing article on the benefits of generosity and giving from The Pulse, an ABC online magazine:

sharing breadTHE GIFT OF GIVING REAPS HEALTHY REWARDS

It’s now clear that doing good for others without any expectation of reward – known as behaving altruistically – can give you better physical and mental health and even help you live longer.

As US-based altruism and health researcher Stephen G. Post puts it: “A remarkable fact is that giving, even in later years, can delay death. The impact of giving is just as significant as not smoking and avoiding obesity.”

Indeed one study of 2025 older residents of California found those who volunteered for two or more organisations had a 44 per cent reduction in mortality over five years, even after accounting for factors like differences in prior health status.

And yes, even giving in a more material sense can boost your wellbeing – although not as much as “hands on”, face-to-face helping.

Sydney positive psychology expert Dr Tony Grant says most of the studies have focused on behaviours like volunteering or practising acts of kindness, but some have looked at spending. These have shown those who spent money on others or on a charity are happier than those who spent on themselves. “Part of the problem is that [at Christmas], we get sucked into commercial rituals that have become completely divorced from any sort of intrinsic meaning,” says Grant, director of coaching psychology at the University of Sydney.

“But if you focus on why you’re giving – to make another person happy – it really can make you feel better and there are physical changes that underpin that.”

Give and thou shalt receive

Exactly how giving boosts health is not fully understood, but reduced exposure to stress hormones such as cortisol may be one factor.

Knowing we’ve done something to improve the life of others not only boosts our self esteem and gives us a sense of purpose, it also shifts our attention away from our own stresses and worries, Grant says.

“Your attention is placed on making other people feel better, not on worrying about yourself.”

Giving also “integrates you more solidly and cohesively into your supportive social networks”, making it more likely you’ll have helping behaviour returned to you when you need it – such as when you suffer illness or a loss in your own life.

“Twenty year follow-up studies at Harvard [University] have mapped thousands of people and shown those who pay attention to others tend to move towards the centre of their social network, whereas those who don’t get pushed further and further to the edges as the network changes over time. This is very important. Shared social support is one of the things that would probably play quite a major role in longevity.”

Some of the other changes that happen when we give have even been observed in brain scans. Studies involving functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans have shown donating money to charity triggers the same pleasure and reward systems in the brain as food and sex.

How much is enough?

Wonder how much you need to do for others before you get the rewards yourself? About two hours a week, it seems.

A 2002 study of 4860 elderly people found strong positive effects from a combination of volunteering and paid work up to about 100 hours a year, with no extra boost to wellbeing for those who did more than 100 hours.

While the study couldn’t separate the effects of volunteer work alone, and there will always be variations from one person to the next, “it seems as if we don’t have to put too much time in each week to receive benefits”, Grant says.

“And even volunteering on a random one-off basis will have immediate effects on our wellbeing.”

But overdoing altruistic acts can be harmful if you don’t have enough support or respite.

Just be kind

If you don’t have time to commit to regular volunteer works, you can experience the benefits of altruism simply by practising acts of kindness, Grant says.

In one of the most famous studies, students asked to practise five random acts of kindness a week for six weeks experienced a more than 40 per cent increase in self-reported happiness levels, measured on a type of standardised questionnaire widely used in psychological research.

Examples of acts of kindness you could try include:

  • Helping out a soup kitchen or homeless shelter
  • Phoning or visit a housebound person
  • Collecting goods for a charity
  • Letting someone in front of you in the traffic or in a queue
  • Surprising a colleague at work with a snack, drink or coffee
  • Donating blood
  • Doing something for someone that requires time and effort

But there’s a hitch. If you volunteer, or do kind things, specifically to make yourself feel better, you might end up feeling worse or at least not as good as you’d hoped.

You might for instance feel resentful that others don’t appreciate what you’ve done, Grant says.

So it’s important that your primary motive is to enhance someone else’s wellbeing.

“It can be really small gestures, but the hallmark is that you do it genuinely as an act of giving. “When we feel good because we’ve made someone else feel good, that’s the secondary glow we can savour.”

From an article by Cathy Johnson


457 thoughts on “Lifestyle of giving shown to be beneficial

  1. The article seems to say that it is important that you give without any expectation of reward. Expecting any sort of reward can negate the beneficial effects.

    This should be taken into account by Pastors when they give their offering talks – suggestions of ‘seed-offerings’, 100-fold blessings etc can be harmful.

  2. The outworking of love and compassion in our lives will result in all kinds of giving to others over time.

    Its interesting that the article gave a couple of warnings as well:

    “But there’s a hitch. If you volunteer, or do kind things, specifically to make yourself feel better, you might end up feeling worse or at least not as good as you’d hoped.

    You might for instance feel resentful that others don’t appreciate what you’ve done, Grant says.”

    “But overdoing altruistic acts can be harmful if you don’t have enough support or respite.”

    People can burn out, especially if they do a lot of volunteering and find that everyone becomes dependent upon them, and they feel they can’t step back without letting everyone down. Resentment can definitely begin to build then.

    Learning to be kind to themselves as well as others can be important as well, and knowing that its OK to place some boundaries, or to stop, or that things can be seasonal.

    If legalism sneaks in to giving, it can be damaging, and robs giving of the joy it can be when it is a completely free choice.

  3. I find that daily giving has made all the difference in my life. In fact it has saved my life time and time again. Thanks for posting. I hope more people post more stuff about the benefits of giving with your full intention. Take care.

  4. James 2-17, In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

    18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

    Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

  5. When did it become harmful or dangerous to show people how to sow?

    Is Paul giving harmful or dangerous teaching in the following passage?

    2 Corinthians 9
    5* Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation.
    6* But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
    7* So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
    8* And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
    9* As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.”
    10* Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness,
    11* while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.

    It is only harmful or dangerous when those who obstinately doubt God’s word throw false assertions, unfounded fears and doubting misrepresentations of truth into the mix.

  6. “It is only harmful or dangerous when those who obstinately doubt God’s word throw false assertions, unfounded fears and doubting misrepresentations of truth into the mix.”

    Well, I agree with you here. False assertions of rewards, unfounded fears of witheld blessings and even curses. We should all stand together to condemn these things.

  7. Giving is subtly different to sowing, wazza2. Can you work out why?

    Sowing is essentially a selfish act, taken principally for ones own benefit. Giving is an unselfish act.

  8. Eh??

    So the farmer who sows is being selfish?

    The teaching on sowing in the Word is promoting selfishness?

    Paul’s teaching in 2 Corinthians 9 specifically discusses sowing to suffering Christians. Is this selfishness?

    Are you calling Jesus a teacher of selfishness for giving us the parable of he sower, and some great teaching on stewardship?

    I think you’re being either naive or ignorant of scripture.

    And deliberately setting up arguments which detract from some of the great teaching truths of the Bible.

    I don’t understand your antagonism towards Pentecostals or charismatics, because I’d say that is who you are targeting with your ‘devil’s advocate’ stance.

    Sad.

  9. Well, I agree with you here. False assertions of rewards, unfounded fears of witheld blessings and even curses. We should all stand together to condemn these things.

    Definitely agree.

  10. Lets be clear on what we are talking about.

    Sowing seed into a field (by a farmer) is a essentially a business undertaking. The farmer hopes that by his/her toil, capital and planning that a material profit will be gained. It is not an act of charity or giving, it is done to increase the wealth of the farmer. Whether the farmer then chooses to share that wealth is a separate matter. The farmer sows seed to benefit him/herself – that is what I meant when I said it is essentially a selfish act. I don’t want to moralise or denigrate the activity, it is just a description of an essential activity for society.

    In the Parable of the Sower and other parts of the Bible, the image of sowing seed and reaping is also used – and mention of a hundred-fold return etc. But this does not mean a reward or investment return to us if we give. This is discussing a return or increase to God for his Word.

    Many people confuse the two types of return, and preach a hundred-fold monetary return if we give. This is to be deplored.

    What do you think the difference between sowing and giving is?

  11. Can you guys help me out with something please? I am confused as to who the admin of this blog is these days, and I have a question. Can anyone tell me who the admin is and how I may be able to contact them via email?

    Thanks a bunch. May God bless you all!

  12. Fantastic article. I honestly didn’t think it would start any kind of debate. Just shows …

    I would love to see more preaching on giving and serving and loving. It’s interesting that when Jesus was asked about loving one’s neighbor, he told the Samaritan story. When preachers talk about giving, serving, loving, it seems to always be in the context of the local church (and usually the local mega church). We could change the world if people just did simple things like in the article. There are probably millions of Christians who don’t have any spare time, energy, or money to do good with in their families and communities because it’s all been spent on the local church – which may or not be the best use of resources.

    (I am well aware that it is in some cases – but obviously not in all).

  13. I would love to see more preaching on giving and serving and loving. It’s interesting that when Jesus was asked about loving one’s neighbor, he told the Samaritan story. When preachers talk about giving, serving, loving, it seems to always be in the context of the local church …

    Good point, sm. I do believe that as Christians, we are to love one another (pretty obvious) and so this includes those we are in community with, which for many is their local church. If love doesn’t exist there, then that community isn’t an expression of church.

    Love results in all kinds of giving. But if we have love in us, we will definitely not restrict that love to only our church community. How could we?

    While I am all for supporting local pastors if you are part of their congregation, I think that when some churches preach so hard on the necessity of giving into their own coffers, when they are already plentiful, or have a high physical standard of church to maintain (all those lights, seats and space cost money and creates pressure), they are discouraging their congregation from giving to the poor, even in their own families or community, who need it more. They preach to give on top of the giving to the church, which is all very well, but I still think this effectively robs the poor at times, as the poor come fourth, after the tithe, the building fund, and other one off donations are met–a salary only stretches so far on a regular basis.

    Because I believe New Testament giving results from the love and compassion within us, for God and our neighbour, I believe that preaching on loving and its outworking in all kinds of ways would encourage people to give–most particularly if the elders in a community are an example of this themselves. The churches may be poorer, but they will receive what they need in a healthy congregation, and the poor may receive more.

    Preaching isn’t enough though. What really transforms giving is a close relationship with God our Father, and knowing how much he loves us, being secure in that relationship, and having our hearts transformed.

    If there is coercion, then the environment begins to kill love and add fear. People will do a lot out of fear (law driven), but perfect love drives out all fear, and when love drives us, we won’t need coercion. When we give out of love, with no expectations attached, we won’t become resentful. I think resentfulness can show that legalism is creeping in, whether it be in one’s own attitude or a church environment.

  14. The article is on the benefits of giving, yet the same ol’ same ol’ push against wrong teaching, ie ‘coercion’, is raised.

    Very sad.

    Can’t you enjoy the blessing of giving being confirmed scientifically and psychologically without reverting to attacks on another doctrinal stance you don’t like, just in something good is…well…good?

    I’m attempting some positive input.

  15. Giving is sacrificial, with no expectation of return. Sowing is deliberate and expects a return.

    Sometimes there will be a return on giving sacrificially anyway, but it is not the motivation.

    If a farmer gives seed to another person as a favour he has no expectation of a return.

    If he sows seed he expects a harvest.

    But of course, you knew that.

    What some people try to do is suggest that it is poor form to sow with an expectation of a harvest. Wazza2 called it selfish, whereas, in fact, it is an act of diligence for a farmer to sow seed for the next season.

    God gave the seasons. God gave the earth. God gives the seed to sow. We are obeying him and showing faith when we step out and sow into the conditions he creates for us.

    <b<It is God who gives the increase.

    If we do not comply with the conditions he provides to make the increase possible we are not working in cooperation with him. We deny his grace towards us in seedtime and harvest.

    Proverbs frowns on the farmer who fails to sow or reap because of prevailing conditions, calling him slothful.

    In Corinthians chapters 8 and 9, for instance, Paul likens giving of finance to a godly cause to sowing seed into the earth. He tells us that if we sow sparingly we will reap sparingly, if we sow bountifully we will reap bountifully. He gives the pattern for both giving and sowing financially into a godly cause.

    This is not the language of some ‘prosperity cult’. This is the admonition of one of God’s Apostles called to reveal these truths.

    There are many other precepts given which confirm this and make it plain.

    I was encouraged to read the article I posted, since it gives research data on something the Bible has revealed for centuries.

    Would not other Biblical truths then be worth trusting?

  16. So were the poverty stricken Macedonians, who Paul commended and who gave out of their extreme poverty, expecting in return financial blessings? Or was the seed sown (Macedonian giving)that which supported Paul and the spreading of the kingdom of God (the reaping)? It has to be the latter.

    Problem is Steve, and I know you’re trying to be positive and we should be like the Macedonians – you’re right, but many of us have heard the scripture twisting and manipulation of the prosperity movement. Our cynicism is a result of the teaching of many of your fellow pastors.

  17. “Giving is sacrificial, with no expectation of return. Sowing is deliberate and expects a return.”

    Actually, I think the idea of “giving” with the thought of later reward is all through the Bible.

    In fact, from Genesis to Revelations, the hope for future personal benefit to the one who obeys, believes, accepts, gives, loves …. is everywhere. Nothing to be ashamed of.

    Humans everywhere want to be healthier, happier, safer, more peaceful, etc etc . Kids, adults, and then we want that for our children. That’s okay. It’s built into us, and that’s why almost everyone I know comes closer to God. If not for this life, then knowing that even if this life is the pits, then there is a better place when we die.
    Jesus “for the joy that was set before him” …

    Obeying the law, tithing – following God’s ways. We go overboard with this concept that we can’t really ever want to do anything for reward. I see incentives, and the hope and expectation of receiving or becoming better everywhere.

    We must be reading different bibles.

  18. Then, SM, if you expect a harvest, you are sowing, surely. A gift is given. But, as I said, there is a subtle difference, and I don’t totally disagree with you.

    Bones, if you say you have become cynical because of some teaching, you need to decide between your cynicism and the Word, do you not? Which has more importance and influence on your giving or sowing?

  19. Well I think if you have an expectation of reward then its not giving. Its an investment proposition.

    It would only be giving if you have no expectation of reward.

  20. Wazza2, it was you who brought up the concept of expecting a return. It was not proposed in the article I posted.

    A question, though. How do you give something if you have not first received it in some way?

    Secondly, however you put it, God gave us the concept of seedtime and harvest. Why do yo treat it so scornfully? Is there something amiss with earning a living?

  21. People who have contrarian views of the notion of sowing, as in seedtime and harvest, miss the vital point that God put the idea into place so that we could plant seed to produce crops.

    Unless someone planted a crop last season none of us will eat or sow during this season.

    The folly of suggesting that sowing is a mere selfish investment proposition, as proposed by wazza2, is that it discounts the prospect of a return which benefits everyone in the long run.

    The truth is that whatever we give does have the capacity to provide a return, wether we look for it or not. Jesus himself told us this. “Give and you shall receive, pressed down, shaken together and running over shall men give into your bosom”. This in reference to seed which produces a harvest, or bread.

    I put it to you that those who do not plan ahead with their giving and sowing are actually less obedient to God’s Word than those who do.

    Paul, by the Holy Spirit, admonishes us to purpose in our hearts what we should give and when. Purpose – proaireomai – to bring forth from one’s stores, to purpose, to have as one’s intention or objective.

    The result of this purposed giving, Paul goes on, is that God is able to make all grace abound toward us, always having all sufficiency in all things, so we may have an abundance for every good work.

    Wow!

    Think about that! It’s a pretty profound reward for liberal and cheerful giving. Makes us happy to consider what God wants to do through us.

    Those who oppose the concept of giving into God’s harvest often do not understand how to give cheerfully. They begrudge givers their willingness to give in a purposed way.

    They even warn them that it is dangerous or harmful to give in a purposed way. They guard their storehouse above all and warn others to do the same in fear of loss as if God is powerless to support them no matter what they have or have not.

    This is because they treat giving begrudgingly themselves. They are insecure in their giving and think everyone must be the same. They worry unnecessarily tat God isn’t really able to make all grace abound to those who do give or sow with a cheerful heart.

    But we’re not all the same about giving. Many of us see giving and sowing as a fruitful part of living. Whether we have a return or not is not the issue. Whether we assist with the supply to those in need, or the work of the ministry or to the cause is what we enjoy and want to be a part of.

    It is a joyful occasion to sow, or to give, or assist others where there is a need. Some of us actually look forward to the offering message, or the offering time. We want to be part of the giving stream, the seedtime and harvest.

  22. Wazza2, it was you who brought up the concept of expecting a return. It was not proposed in the article I posted.

    The first sentence of the article is:

    It’s now clear that doing good for others without any expectation of reward – known as behaving altruistically – can give you better physical and mental health and even help you live longer.

    It then goes on to say :

    But there’s a hitch. If you volunteer, or do kind things, specifically to make yourself feel better, you might end up feeling worse or at least not as good as you’d hoped.

    So I think it does address the issues of expecting a return from giving.

    There is nothing wrong with earning a living. Its a good thing to work,invest, plan and get ahead in the world. It keeps the economy going, and its what everyone in the world does. The expectation of reward is the major motivation for nearly everything we do in life.

    But its fundamentally not the same thing as giving. It isnt a sacrifice to give money if you expect to get much more money back. Its not a sacrifice to spend time with someone if you are getting brownie points for it either in the organisation or in heaven.

    The problem comes when we mix the two things. We try to think we are doing something for someone else when we are principally doing it for ourselves.

  23. The whole context of sowing and reaping in 2 Corinthians has to be seen in the light of the Macedonian church. Here were a group of believers, persecuted and lacking employment because their businesses were closed down, giving more than they could afford, Paul tells us.

    Were they sowing to get a financial reward? NO. I doubt if the Macedonians would have expected anything in return. Paul is looking at the advancement of the kingdom of God, the spreading of the word, supporting our brothers and sisters in Christ. That is what will be reaped, that is the harvest.

    The Macedonians certainly didn’t give out of their poverty so Paul could buy a mansion and some gold plated donkeys. Oops sorry, being cynical there.

  24. There is an element of truth to what you say in your last paragraph, and I think I’ve reiterated it,with qualifications, on this thread somewhere.

    But, tell me how you regard Paul’s prayer –

    “Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.”

    Clearly he is advancing the idea that God supplies and multiplies seed sown, and this in reference to finances as well as natural seed.

  25. Steve, I agree with everything you are saying. In fact, I’m further away from Wazza than you are. To me, giving will always be sowing. We are taught to give (and to me “giving” can include money, time, energy – anything), even without thinking that we will get anything in return (“reap”), but always knowing and having the hope that God will bless.

    This concept is EVERYWHERE. And it doesn’t matter if you are a prosperity person or not, because in the end, we basically all believe in abundance and blessings – we just all disagree on the timing!

    All the anti-prosperity, I hate money people all have this faith or hope that in heaven things will be good. Don’t they?

    I don’t hear any Christians talking about how when they finally reach Heaven, that they expect to live with God forever in pain and suffering etc.

    We are all motivated by this notion that somehow are lives or existence will somehow benefit in the future because of what we do now.

    Maybe it’s wrong to want joy and peace too?
    Maybe it’s really bad to want to go to heaven?
    Of course not.

    Everything God asks, commands us to do he does while also promising or explaining that it will be in our interests to do so.
    That sounds bad? No that’s what every single person understands.

    My kids are asleep in the next room. I hope they get stronger, healthier and happier and blessed. If they don’t, then I like all the other normal parents in the planet, hope that one day they will be in heaven where things are good.
    And God knows I think like that. We all do.

  26. Bones, ‘Paul is looking at the advancement of the kingdom of God, the spreading of the word, supporting our brothers and sisters in Christ. That is what will be reaped, that is the harvest.’

    In part, but he doesn’t confine it to these benefits. He also tells us that seed sown brings increase of that seed, so if it is finance, then increase will come in kind, not necessarily in cash, but in similar providence as the need arises.

    He says we will be enriched in everything for all liberality.

    We will be blessed in our giving for our giving. Paul talks about the fruit that abounds to the account of those who gave financial support to his ministry, and that financial giving was a ‘sweet smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God’, which would cause God to supply all their need according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

    “Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Phil.4:15-19

    God doesn’t actually have a problem with people who have wealth, just with wealth which has people.

    “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” 1 Tim.6:17-19

  27. The irony is that having said that, I could be accused of being greedy and selfish, but the truth is that I could safely assume that I have less money than the ones who will attack me, and have given up more.

    Different topic, but the people I know who are the most against prosperity teaching, are more interested in money and securing their lifestyle and comfort than others. And many of them haven’t even known struggle – they got a good lifestyle from parents, husbands etc. Which is why there are so many middle class white people with lots of free time to bash prosperity preachers.

    It’s kind of funny in a way.

    So, I’m all for prosperity. My criticism of most who preach it is that they usually are the ones who are receiving the offerings.

    Give and it shall be given unto you. There should be more preaching on that. Just have more of telling people to give to other people than your own ministry.

    Jesus didn’t preach “Give and it shall be given”, and then get the disciples to pass around offering bags, and then go out and buy four chariots which were the envy of the richest Romans and keep them in his garage.
    That’s the difference.

  28. “storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life”

    Maybe it’s wrong for them to want eternal life? …..

    I was so influenced by this anti-desire thinking that as a kid when I thought “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”, meant that if I was good I would never want anything.

    Christianity is not the absence of desire. We just don’t put evil desires over God.

  29. I think Jesus added social responsibility as well as financial stewardship when he said “Give and it shall be given you”, didn’t he?

    If we sow condemnation or judgment it will come back to haunt us. It will fill our sack too.

    Giving comes as a negative or a positive. We can give strife or blessing, good or evil.

    Death and life are in the power of the tongue. We eat the fruit of what we say as much as what we hold and release from our hands.

  30. My thought for today will be that God gives us richly all things to enjoy (1 Tim:6:17). That was a pleasant rediscovery from this discussion.

  31. Which is why we give to the poor. How about the poor in Jerusalem. Paul took up an offering for them. Why? Simple. God wants people to have food, shelter, joy, peace, blessings. If we have them, we will want others to have them too.

  32. Good preaching Steve.
    “enjoy”.
    Interesting doing a study of how often joy, joyful, rejoicing is mentioned in the BIble.

    What does a person look like who has exceeding joy, is rejoicing, and enjoying …?

  33. Does anyone know who can help me? I am just looking to remove some personal information that I included in a public post several months ago. Thanks.

  34. I think Jesus added social responsibility as well as financial stewardship when he said “Give and it shall be given you”, didn’t he?

    Yes, its about social responsibility and reciprocity, not something motivated by thoughts of personal gain.

    Its preceded by verses on forgiving others that you might be also forgiven, not judging other that we might not be judged.

    The idea is that if you give to others in their time of need, then others are more likely to give to you when you fall on hard times.

    But I’ve only ever heard of it preached like some spiritual investment where God provides the payoff – “Pressed down, shaken together, running over – Amen??”

    Some churches ask people to put up their hands if they are on the dole, and then when people do, they ask them for a tithe. They think that if they can get them to give, God will reward them. Its completely backwards – the idea would be for the church to give to them.

  35. Some churches ask people to put up their hands if they are on the dole, and then when people do, they ask them for a tithe. They think that if they can get them to give, God will reward them. Its completely backwards – the idea would be for the church to give to them.

    Eek – that’s a horrible thing to do to someone.

    SM, earlier you said that mostly well-off people are against prosperity teaching. The churches I went to, in Sydney, had many well-off people who were big proponents of prosperity teaching, as well as those who were struggling. People who had done well financially, sometimes gave testimonies of how this was a return to them for their giving in the past. They sincerely believed this was the case. The problem was that others who had given just as generously would have to wonder why they weren’t similarly blessed, or else, they just kept giving, waiting patiently for that day when it would all happen.

    I knew struggling people who were scared not to tithe, even when they couldn’t afford to buy groceries, because their finances were desperate and they worried about being cursed. I knew others who had sacrificed the deposits intended for the mortgage for their house, towards the church building fund. Expecting that God would give it back to them somehow.

    It’s not that there’s anything wrong with giving these things but you have to be genuinely willing to pay the price and go without if that’s how things work out, rather than do so in the expectation that God will automatically resupply what you have given, multiple times over, in kind. Because as others have said, God is not a vending machine.

  36. Different topic, but the people I know who are the most against prosperity teaching, are more interested in money and securing their lifestyle and comfort than others. And many of them haven’t even known struggle – they got a good lifestyle from parents, husbands etc. Which is why there are so many middle class white people with lots of free time to bash prosperity preachers.

    You’re kidding right. What a load of rubbish. That’s the argument the prosperity teachers use to shut up debate – you don’t want to give because you”re too tight.

    I can think of many Christians of all income levels who are against this eg Catholics, Anglican, Uniting, Baptist, Evangelical. But they’re all too well off.

    Oh and I’m antiprosperity doctrine and we really struggle financially, I mean I suppose we could tithe and sell our house. With five kids we’d never get another one. But I suppose we deserve it.

    Show me where prosperity teaching fits in with the history of the Church (closest I can find is indulgences). It is a recent teaching born out of our western materialistic society.

  37. wazza2,
    ‘Some churches ask people to put up their hands if they are on the dole, and then when people do, they ask them for a tithe. ‘

    Can you show evidence of this?

    I was on the dole years ago and counselled to consider tithing, not from the pulpit, but by friends. It was very fruitful to us and helped us get out of serous debt.

    Which churches tell people on the dole to tithe, and why?

  38. Hillsong for one:
    http://groupsects.wordpress.com/2009/05/22/hillong-pressures-the-unemployed-to-give-10-of-what-theyre-not-earning/

    There was a person on the original signposts that mentioned this experience. When I expressed dismay other people said they had heard that preached.

    This church asks you to tithe on the Dole: http://www.casagrandebaptistchurch.com/Finances.html

    This financial ministry, used by a large number of Evangelical churches in the States to educate their flock on financial matters teaches to tithe not only on welfare funds, but also on insurance payouts from the death of a spouse!!!

    http://www.crown.org/library/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=576#

  39. Err… got put in moderation due to too many links.

    Answer:

    Hillsong for one:
    http://groupsects.wordpress.com/2009/05/22/hillong-pressures-the-unemployed-to-give-10-of-what-theyre-not-earning/

    There was a person on the original signposts that mentioned this experience of being asked to tithe on the dole. When I expressed dismay other people said they had heard that preached.

    This church asks you to tithe on the Dole: http://www.casagrandebaptistchurch.com/Finances.html

  40. I know of this ministry from 12 years ago when I was in the US and they were broadcasting on Christian radio, I bought some of their materials. Crown is by no means a fringe ministry it is quite mainstream.

    That they can print such extreme stuff encouraging people to give when they are most financially and psychologically vulnerable – shows that it is a common teaching.

    Evil and exploitative, but common.

  41. “Oh and I’m antiprosperity doctrine and we really struggle financially, I mean I suppose we could tithe and sell our house. With five kids we’d never get another one. But I suppose we deserve it.”

    You mean you have five kids, your own house, probably a car, a computer, you live in Australia a free country, have the time to read blogs and you don’t think you are prospering???

    What a load or rubbish!

  42. Wazza, I believe in prosperity. I don’t believe that Christians have to tithe. And I don’t believe that people on the dole should be tithing.

    But, I personally think that Australians have no idea how well off they are, when they can have no job, and get money from the government and still buy cigarettes and eat so much that they are fat.

  43. Whether you believe the bible is talking literally or figuratively, think about what the Bible says.
    In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had everything they needed.
    Didn’t need clothes, and had plenty to eat. Paradise.

    Heaven is apparently even better. No lack, hunger, thirst, want, crying, pain.

    The promises of blessing (financially and health etc) as a result/reward for obedience were given over and over again. And yes, in Malachi as well. (I don’t think Malachi applies to us – but there was the promise of blessing for just doing what they were required to do).

    And the whole tithing system, and jubilees and festivals meant that there didn’t need to be hungry people in Israel.

    Come to Jesus time, and he healed the sick. Not once, did He tell anyone that they should stay sick. he told people to give to the poor, Why??? Because God doesn’t want the poor to go without food! Simple.

    Come to the book of Acts. They gave money to the poor. They had a system for welfare for widows. Paul not only preached the gospel, but he worked (or had a business) and had money to spare.

    I believe God wants people to prosper. And people who follow God’s laws will prosper!

    The only time they won’t is during trials, tribulations, persecution.
    But, when the war/persecution is over, they will prosper.
    It’s normal for those who follow God to prosper.

    Just like it’s normal for plants to grow. And it’s normal for people to want to improve their lot in life. That’s the whole basis of life!!!
    That’s why people go to school, work, get educated, and why all your ancestors left Europe to go to Australia to have a better life.

    So yeah, the really poor people (not just those of you living comfortably in middle class paradise Down Under who think you are poor if you only have one or two houses) have no problem with prosperity.

    Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Jesus and God like the idea of prosperity.

    No wonder “being poor and sick is great” theology doesn’t work in Asia.

  44. “The Macedonians certainly didn’t give out of their poverty so Paul could buy a mansion and some gold plated donkeys. Oops sorry, being cynical there.”

    I totally agree, and I don’t think that’s being cynical.

    Preachers who preach prosperity and link it exclusively with the hearers giving offerings to their ministry in order to receive great financial blessings are ruining a very fundamental truth.

    You can believe in prosperity and encourage people to study, work hard, plan, sow, give to the Red Cross, give to your nephew, the old lady down the road, start a business, save money, etc etc without talking at all about tithing or giving monthly offerings to a preacher who comes into town on a lear jet.

    Give and it shall be given unto you. that still stands.

  45. “Well I think if you have an expectation of reward then its not giving.”

    Then maybe you have some super cooper definition of the verb “give” that I am not aware of.

    It would only be giving if you have no expectation of reward.
    Why?

    I can give to a person without any expectation of reward from that person later, or from God at all, but just give because I think that person needs what I give, or would simply feel happy.

    I can also give because I think that person can help me out later.
    And I can also give to person A, knowing and believing that God will bless me, or that person B or C or D will give to me later.

    There is nothing wrong with that. Giving is one of the greatest truths in the Bible.

    But as far as I know the simple verb “to give” just means….to give. It has nothing to do with a thought or lack of thought of reward.

    But…….in the bible over and over, we are told to give, and we are told that as givers, things will go well with us.

    God is a giver. it’s a universal spiritual principle.

    (and it has nothing NECESSARILY) to do with people on the dole tithing, or whether I commit to the building fund, or to give for a jet for a preacher.

    I do realize that my ideas about prosperity are pretty different. I could preach prosperity and abundance and blessing and not take up an offering. It’s a way of life.

    Joseph prospered. Then he was in jail. Then he got out and prospered.

    It’s actually all a lot simpler than you are all making out.

  46. Wazza2, you said,
    ‘Some churches ask people to put up their hands if they are on the dole, and then when people do, they ask them for a tithe. ‘

    You didn’t produce an example of this. You referenced a typically abrasively titled gripesex article which doesn’t even mention putting pressure on unemployed people to tithe, merely suggests that people ‘between jobs’ can still maintain their giving as part of their lifestyle.

    Te other quotes form fairly obscure sources are not confirming your claim either. You said some churches asked people to put up their hands f they are on the dole, and when they do, they ask them to tithe, which sounds awful. But you haven’t given an example of this claim, just a couple of sites which suggest tithing even when claiming benefits.

    You can source just about anything on the web if you care to and look hard enough, as gripesex clearly does, fishing constantly for snippets of badness in the Church, which is a tragically futile way of spending time.

    The beauty of the tithe principle, hough, is that it is a tenth, which is a percentage, so that no matter where you salary structure is, you pay the same comparative amount. So someone on a low income pays the same percentage as a person on a high income.

    We began tithing when unemployed. Within weeks I had commenced work, having, in prayer, been impressed by God to do a number of things which led to us being out of serious debt within 18 months. We have continued this principle, as purposed giving, ever since. It has blessed us, and blessed others. Besides this we have given into other areas, such as missions, and been involved in building projects.

    Amazingly, even though, at times, it has looked impossible, God has blessed us mightily, not without hard work and application, but nevertheless he has taken care of our needs ever since we began tithing. So I have no problem with the idea of setting a goal for giving which allows God to work with us in our finances.

    That is how we have set our lives. Not in a legal sense, because we feel we are obliged to tithe, but as a Biblically sound means of setting a goal for giving and giving offerings to God.

    I know others who have a similar story. If you do not believe in tithing as a principle that is your concern, but our household has been abundantly blessed by it.

    Would I encourage a person going through tough financial times to consider the tithe? Yes, if that is what they can believe for, and have an expectation with God for. Would I condemn them for refusing? Never. That is between them and the Lord, but I am certain he will bless our giving, even when we are at a point in life when we are struggling.

    I agree with you that the church should, wherever possible, help those who are really struggling to get to a place where they can stand on their feet, but we should also give them every encouragement to allow God be their sufficiency, and enter his covenant of grace to become self-supporting through their own efforts and offerings.

  47. Wazza2
    That they can print such extreme stuff encouraging people to give when they are most financially and psychologically vulnerable – shows that it is a common teaching.

    Evil and exploitative, but common.

    That’s not surprising. I’ve heard it regularly preached that if you are on welfare benefits in Australia you are in the top 10% of income earners in the world!

  48. No wonder “being poor and sick is great” theology doesn’t work in Asia.

    You’re right, there’s nothing really appealing about the suffering Christ. Far better to appeal to one’s aspirations. If only God could bless us and we could be like those in the West!

    Go to Africa and start preaching prosperity. You’ll become a millionaire in no time. No one else will though.

  49. Steve, I cant give you proof of something that happened in church unless I go in there with video cameras.

    What I have given you is evidence of a widespread teaching that holds that one should continue to tithe when on welfare benefits (eg the dole). You yourself seem to hold to that view, and think it is beneficial.

    Some ministries even go further and hold that it is required that you tithe on alimony payments and life insurance payouts from the death of a spouse. Not only 10% on the initial lump-sum but 10% of all the payments from then on.

    It wouldnt be surprising then if this came out in a sermon in church. Why would you be so worried that someone would say this in church when you think it is scriptural and beneficial? You said it sounds awful.. that’s because the whole concept IS awful.

    The church has traditionally been a provider of charity and welfare to society. As society secularised the welfare function was largely taken up by the state. Now some churches are trying (and often succeeding) to be a recipient of a percentage of that welfare, rather than being a provider.

  50. @Bones, If I went to Africa I would preach the good news.
    That Christ suffered and died and took our sin.

    So we have forgiveness of sins, and can receive new life.
    Those who have this new life will give up illicit sex, drugs, drunkenness, hate, violence, and have a hope for the afterlife and a hope for now. They will obey God and walk in his ways – the way of life, giving and wisdom. They would be encouraged to work hard, study hard, sow, be the best employee, start businesses etc.
    And the church would “go up”, and the whole country would benefit.

    It happens wherever the gospel is truly embraced.

    I get really tired of elitist Westerners who someone hate the West, while enjoying the lifestyle of the West.

    Bones, if I went to Africa and as a result of preaching, everyone could have five kids and have a house that looks like yours, food, clothing, access to water and hospitals etc, that would be a job well done.

    First, you don’t understand how prosperous you are.
    Second, I am not a millionaire, and don’t care if I ever become one.
    Personally, I am not interested in clothes, nice cars, expensive food etc.

    Nobody has to be poor. Being poor is no great thing. Neither is being sick.

  51. Steve, while I don’t think it’s absolutely essential for people to tithe, and don’t believe there is a curse for not tithing, I think there are lots of great reasons to establish the principle of tithing.

    First, every week/month Christians have to decide how much to give. A tenth makes that simple. It’s like having a diet within a range of calories, or deciding on only having one drink, or a limit of three. And it’s why we set an age for driving, sex and drinking alcohol etc. Makes life simple.

    And lots of people spend a tenth of their income on rubbish.
    Most people would be better off deciding to give a tenth and being careful with the rest. It also might make people think about what they will do with their money – whereas some people never think about it.

    @Wazza. Steve is right. You often come up with the most outrageous examples.

    It’s like being against TV because you can find some people who watch it 18 hours a day.

    Or like the people who hate any kind of religion because after all, some religious people have been evil.

  52. Giving is good.

    Guess what. I believe that I get blessed in my life simply because I often shout people if I have coffee.

    btw, Aussies are great with charities and giving in times of need, but in other cases can be pretty stingy.

    “ducking”

  53. Outrageous examples? Yes, of course they are outrageous – because the whole concept of enforcing an OT law for gain is outrageous. You cant discount these examples simply because they are outrageous – you should be outraged by them.

    I think giving 10% and saving 10% of your income is a great goal and a recipe for success. But it is not achievable for many people – not least those on welfare, but also a large proportion of people in Australia who are near or below the poverty line. Yes, poverty exists in Australia too – a significant proportion of Australians are under housing stress because of structural problems in the market. I’m arguing against the whole tithing as law thing, as well as the implication or explicit message that you will be financially blessed if you do.

    To dismiss some arguments simply because they are outrageous is foolish. Scientology for instance has caused some serious financial, sexual and physical abuses of cult members. These allegations really are outrageous, but should nevertheless (or even because of the outrageousness) should be taken very seriously.

  54. Paul Simon’s song “Outrageous” starts with the line:

    “It’s outrageous to line your pockets off the misery of the poor.”

    Get outraged!! Stop blaming the victims!!!

  55. Bones, if I went to Africa and as a result of preaching, everyone could have five kids and have a house that looks like yours, food, clothing, access to water and hospitals etc, that would be a job well done

    But it would also accelerate climate change a great deal.

    The fact is that not everyone can have the standard of living that we have. Our prosperity is built on the poverty of others, who make much of our consumer goods and provide our resources. Africa has had Christianity preached to it for 200 years, and is now one of the fastest growing regions for Pentecostal Christianity. It has not grown richer.

  56. “Yes, poverty exists in Australia too”

    Except that strangely enough the poor look extremely well fed judging by their waistlines and they have big TV’s and drink and smoke.

    So, there is poor and there is poor.

  57. “The fact is that not everyone can have the standard of living that we have.”

    Yes they can. I believe they can. So now, you are agreeing that we have a great standard of living?

    “Our prosperity is built on the poverty of others, who make much of our consumer goods and provide our resources”

    sniff. So Wazza, tomorrow you will be selling your computer right? Get enraged Wazza!!

    “It’s outrageous to line your pockets off the misery of the poor.””
    Yeah. Paul gives away his music for free, and let’s the poor come to his concerts all the time. Only costs 50c to attend right.

    “and have a house that looks like yours, food, clothing, access to water and hospitals etc, that would be a job well done

    But it would also accelerate climate change a great deal.”

    lol So…..when you go to Africa and preach wearing clothes and taking your iPad along, you will tell them to receive Jesus and enjoy suffering and to forget about hospitals, water and a nice house so they can stave off climate change so water levels don’t rise and affect your next beach holiday?

    You need to enroll in anger management class Wazza. (That is after you make sure you aren’t buying anything made by “poor” people.

    I trust your next post is made from a library that you rode your bike to get to…

  58. Well, thats about your standard of argument. Play the man, mock, and throw in stereotypes.

    So the poor are all fat and have large-scteen TVs? Charming, but probably not surprising coming from a Prosperity theology adherent.

    Its only one step away from Prosperity theology to blaming the poor for their troubles, and justifying your riches to yourself.

    Hope you do well preaching Prosperity to the Africans. Maynyou get extremely rich doing it.

  59. So here we have in SM’s corner of prosperity doctrine:

    Steve, Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, Brian Houston. Oral Roberts, Jim Bakker, TD Jakes, Creflo A Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Jimmy Swaggart, Kenneth Hagin, Bishop Eddie Long, Paula White, Joseph Prince, Mike Murdock, Ted Haggard.

    In the anti prosperity corner we have (the fat middle income earning tight arses – which apparently are most people SM knows):

    John Piper, Charles Spurgeon, David Wilkerson (remember him Steve), John McArthur, John Wesley, John Stott, JI Packer, Tony Campolo, Martin Luther, John Smith, Martin Luther King, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, St Francis, Mother Teresa, Al Mohler, Desmond Tutu, Rowan Williams, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, the Early Church Fathers.

    I think I know which side I’d rather be on and trust.

    Now which side is Jesus on?

  60. The Bankruptcy of the Prosperity Gospel: An Exercise in Biblical and Theological Ethics

    For full article see below

    http://bible.org/article/bankruptcy-prosperity-gospel-exercise-biblical-and-theological-ethics

    Conclusion

    Through this study of the theology and the biblical interpretation of the prosperity gospel, one may discern five clear reasons why this movement’s teachings concerning wealth are incorrect:
    1. The prosperity gospel is built upon a faulty understanding of the Abrahamic covenant.
    2. The prosperity gospel is built upon a faulty understanding of the Atonement.
    3. The prosperity gospel is based upon a faulty understanding of the biblical teachings on giving.
    4. The prosperity gospel is based upon a faulty understanding of the biblical teachings on faith.
    5. The prosperity gospel, in general, has been constructed upon faulty biblical interpretation.

    Aside from these five specific theological and biblical arguments against the prosperity gospel, and without even considering the practical implications of this movement, there is perhaps one general, summary reason why the prosperity gospel is a wayward gospel: its faulty view of the relationship between God and man. Simply put, if the prosperity gospel is correct, grace becomes obsolete, God becomes irrelevant, and man is the measure of all things. Whether it is the Abrahamic covenant, the Atonement, giving, faith, or the biblical interpretation of any given verse, the prosperity teacher seeks to turn the relationship between God and man into a financial quid pro quo transaction. As scholar James R. Goff noted, God is “reduced to a kind of ‘cosmic bellhop’ attending to the needs and desires of his creation.” This is a wholly inadequate and unbiblical view of the relationship between God and man and the stewardship of wealth.

    Footnote 2: While it is impossible to trace the prosperity gospel back to an exact starting point, there are at least three movements from which it draws its ideas. One is the experience-centered Christianity which was birthed in the mind of nineteenth-century theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher and has come to fruition in the form of the twentieth-century Charismatic movement. A second philosophy that gave rise to the prosperity gospel was the “positive thinking” school of Norman Vincent Peale. Indeed, scholar Harvey Cox wrote concerning the prosperity gospel that “it owed much to the ‘positive thinking’ of the late Norman Vincent Peale.” Harvey Cox, Fire from Heaven (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1995), 272. The third modern movement that has influenced the prosperity gospel is simply the “American dream,” or materialism.

  61. I’ve noticed a couple of times that SM justifies his argument with “Most people I know…”

    This one’s for you, SM

  62. If someone walked up to you in the street and said that if you gave them $100, God would make you rich, you’d think they were mad.

    But if they stood up on a pulpit….

  63. Yes they can. I believe they can. So now, you are agreeing that we have a great standard of living?

    Not if you go to many Aboriginal communities. And you’re comparing standard of living to finance and wealth. I contend that we are not happier even though we have more money and toys. Did someone say something about storing up treasure?

  64. Steve said: ‘Amazingly, even though, at times, it has looked impossible, God has blessed us mightily, not without hard work and application, but nevertheless he has taken care of our needs ever since we began tithing.’

    How is it that every Christian who supports tithing uses their personal life as an example, yet can’t that it was their ‘hard work and application’ which got them through? God assists the diligent and abhors the lazy. It’s all through Proverbs (and Thessalonians)

    No doubt God wanted to bless you in every area of life, but I would not be putting tithing down as the root cause of my healthy marriage or great kids, for instance. It’s twisted logic, which is the only logic that works for pro-tithers.

  65. Apparently not everyone gets rich by tithing

    Tithing and Still Broke by Niral Russell Burnett

    No one ever hears these testimonies.

    From
    http://churchtithesandofferings.com/blog/tithing-and-still-broke-by-niral-russell-burnett/


    Me and my husband are struggling financially. I decided one Friday morning to tithe (husband just got paid) 10%. My husband has been against it for a long time because we are just making ends meet. I prayed and begged God to please not embarass me in front of my husband, because I kept telling him to have faith in God. My husband’s car broke down. It cost about $700 to fix. He had a credit card and paid it that way. We ended up going negative by almost the exact amount we tithed by. I was so confused and I got depressed. I never felt so abandoned by God. We stopped tithing. We are still not doing well financially, and I just don’t understand why that happened. I am really struggling in my faith now.

    My husband and I tithed for nine months. It was hard to start “cold turkey,” but we did it. I felt so comforted when we did this because I felt I was putting us under the blanket of God’s love and protection that we had not really done when we gave as we thought we could afford.
    However, every month we tithed, we had had one financial set-back after another, and were looking to having to get a new (old) car to boot. We asked ourselves what we were doing “wrong”, but since it didn’t seem to be “working,” we were not going to be so proud that we were going to allow ourselves to get into the position of having to refinance, or worse, lose the house. We stopped paying, and things became a lot easier.
    I don’t know what the answer is. I would love to believe Mal. 3, but we did “prove (Me) this day” and we were not blessed, at least not in the sense that the windows of heaven allowed us to completely pay everything off and have more to spare.
    What we got was a lesson on how to accelerate our pain.

    i tithed for 3 months consistently even beyond my tithe and my electricity has just been cut off on account of it..do i hate god? i want to BUT im the one who was been mislead by my own peers around me that i had to tithe in order to be blessed..jesus loves me and no im not selfish ,and im not trying to “”ROB GOD””..but something is wrong if i have to ask for money which i am now doing…somebody please pray for me im caught between doing the right thing and being religious.

    Some christians are idiots .My sister is a faithful christian. She does no wrong but lives on a poor income only egnough to pay her bills but because she tithes something is always getting cut off she continues to tithe and every month THE same thing HAPPENS ,something gets cut off,she cant lower her bills ,and they are ridicousley low to begin with.She works 50 hours a week. I suggest that she should get a second maybe a third job as it appears this is the only way out of this situation.Now she has me in debt because she borrowed money to pay her bills.Quit being idiots it does not work the way you say .Give god 10 percent but dont expect miracles because they are not coming,only the power company cut to cut off your utilities.I am staying with her this weekend in the dark as she prays so that god can once again tell her no.She could however, lower her bills by living in a tent,and maybe this is what God wants.When a family has a car wreck and one child dies but the other in the e.r lives because you prayed ,is that god? No that’s really good doctors.Gee you must have sinned BIG TIME for your other child to have died.I believe in God without a doubt I do ,but things don’t work the way most Christians believe.PAY YOUR TITHE AND GET A SECOND OR THIRD JOB ,and dont borrow money from me and expect god to make it magically reaapeer he wont ,because by that way of thinking he’s already picked out your tent.I from here on out will only give money to the church the rest of my family can continue to sit and pary for thier miricles or coincidences but I wont be sitting in the dark because they only work one job.

  66. Bones, that song made my day! Haven’t heard that in years.

    Thanks man.

    (I just love seeing the faces to the old songs I heard as a kid)

    And yeah, I can in fact relate to the title of the song.

    btw, Jimmy Swaggart was ant-prosperity. And I have nothing against Joel Osteen and many others in the first list, and nothing against the ones in your second list.

    I like John Wesleys approach. Make as much money as you can, save as much as you can and give as much as you can.

    (Hopefully, he did actually say that).

  67. Bones, you put me in the wrong list.

    My camp starts with Jesus, and includes Peter, Paul, James, John etc.

    Thanks

  68. Bones you also make the erroneous assumption that we are talking about getting rich through giving or sowing.

    You’re the only one to mention this.

  69. Does anyone here believe that God still considers the tithe to be holy unto him?

    If it is no longer holy, what is it?

  70. Bones you also make the erroneous assumption that we are talking about getting rich through giving or sowing.

    You’re the only one to mention this.

    I just wanted to give some balance to the magic of tithing. It doesn’t work like that for everyone. And when it doesn’t work people blame themselves for stopping the magic.

  71. Does anyone here believe that God still considers the tithe to be holy unto him?

    If it is no longer holy, what is it?

    Dunno, I’m not Jewish. You’ll have to ask someone under the Old Covenant and the Law for that curly one. Any Messianic Jews around?

  72. SM, if it makes you feel better, I’ll drop Jimmy Swaggart to the reserves and put in Phil Pringle at hooker.

    I’ll have to put Mark Driscoll on the other team but I think he’ll just tackle everyone to show he’s topdog.

    Mark Driscoll verses Joel Osteen, I’d pay to see that.

  73. Why would the tithe be ‘holy to the Lord’ any more or less than circumcision (which was pre-Law for those that grasp that straw)?

  74. Circumcision is not ended, it is superseded by the circumcision of the heart, which is of faith and of the Spirit. Where did the tithe go, then?

    What made the tithe holy unto the Lord? What was it about the tithe which the law substituted for truth, because all in the law had a precedent in the Promise?

    It has to come back to the Christ, the Messiah, the First-Born, the First-Fruits, the Preeminent One.

    Did not God protect and bless Israel under the law, and promise to open the windows of heaven for their adherence to the tithe as a nation? Were there not blessings attached to their offerings?

    What, besides the introduction of a New Covenant, based on the same Promises made to Abraham as the Old, has changed in regard to offerings, or giving, or honouring God with our possessions and with the first-fruits of all our increase?

    You who make light of the tithe of the OT, what do you know of its significance to God, the Christ, and to the Jewish believers of the first century?

    The tithe was always about recognising a separation – between the nation and the priesthood, between Israel and the Gentiles, between those who serve at the altar and those who are served, between God and his chosen people.

    What is the importance of the tithe being termed holy unto the Lord?

    How does it reference us today, who are the circumcision by faith?

    Romans 2
    25* For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.
    26* Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision?
    27* And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law?
    28* For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh;
    29* but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

  75. zeibart,
    ” It’s twisted logic, which is the only logic that works for pro-tithers.’

    Are you saying that God exhibits twisted logic because he introduced the tithe?

  76. Circumcision is not ended, it is superseded by the circumcision of the heart, which is of faith and of the Spirit. Where did the tithe go, then?

    Paul is replacing an actual ceremony (given that many Jewish Christians believed that gentiles should be circumcised too) with a metaphor.

    What’s replaced the tithe? Off the top of my head: freewill giving, grace, Jesus, my whole life (instead of 10% of my crops – have to say my 6 celery plants are looking very sad. I’d have to roll up to church with 0.6 of a poor old celery bush).

    Btw which tithe are you referring to?

    Steve do you ever preach that you can place a condition on your tithe like Jacob did? Like I’ll tithe 10% if God is with me and lets me win Lotto.

    Genesis 28

    20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21 so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the LORD[f] will be my God 22 and[g] this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”

  77. SM “there is poor and there is poor”

    There sure is, where I grew up (in the lowest socio-economic part of the state) there was a small part of town which composed of shanties. Small huts made of corrugated iron, with no internal wall linings and dirt floors. There were probably about 40 or so of these residences – I don’t think they had building planning approval or owned the land they were on.

    My friend lived there, he had six brothers and sisters and I used to go to his place after school. His mum used to threaten him that if he didn’t pick up his toys she would bury them in the floor the next time she turned the earth over and packed it down again. If they ever saved up for a large-screen TV it wouldn’t be much use to them because they didn’t have electricity. I remember my friend showing me his chicken sandwich at school which was full of maggots – which I suppose is quite a hazard when you don’t have refrigeration.

    Another family we were friends with lived in an open shed next to the river. There were three kids and all of them were as tough as old nails – even the Mum was tougher than most men I’ve met. Our family used to go their and fish with them, and afterwards they would give my Dad their home-made wine. During the ’74 floods their shed got flooded out so they came to live with us for a few months. The father paid by giving us sides of beef and sheep that he’d slaughtered.

    Sometimes we weren’t much better off than them, with the farm making a loss for several years. I don’t want to sound like a Monty Python script though. My parents scraped by for years with nothing and finished up retiring as millionaires having never stepped inside a church after their wedding ceremony. And no, they didn’t set me up with any money.

    So I’ve known rich and poor and both extremes exist in my family and friends. And, in general in my experience the poor work a damn-site harder than the rich.

  78. Bones, the tithe we are talking about is the tithe that God called holy unto himself. Aren’t you following this conversation?

    By the way, lacing this dialogue with a sarcastic tone only reflects on you, not on the person you are having the discourse with. It also demonstrates that you don’t have much of a handle on what the tithe references in the Spirit.

    Several times now you have attempted to point this thread towards those who are greedy for gain, or live by the presumption that God is a Banker in the Sky. I have never gone down this avenue. It is merely your way of locating a safe corner from which to swing haymakers.

    I am putting in front of you some scriptural issues which are worth considering. To merely discount everything in the Old Testament by saying it is superseded by the New Testament, ad therefore doesn’t count isn’t either logical or good exegesis. There are many elements in the Old Covenant which are crucial to our understanding of the New.

    Those who oppose the concepts of giving or sowing with an expectation of a return are most likely to bring up the excesses which have been brought into the Body through misuse of tithing scriptures as an argument against purposed giving, which I have demonstrated on this thread is a Biblical concept, and one initiated by God, and, therefore, valid to our walk.

    So far, you have merely thrown in arguments which have no scriptural foundation. I can’t remember the last time wazza actually demonstrated a point with relevant scripture. You take a similar tack, using the googled testimonies of people who support your cause but show it with unscriptural interpretations of why they thought they should try something out for a few weeks.

    Zeibart, meanwhile, dismisses the scriptural concept of purposed giving and sowing by saying it was hard work and diligence alone which caused a person to prosper. So he accepts the idea of prosperity, but only on the basis of human endeavour devoid of any contribution from God, which means those who are not saved are just as likely to prosper as those who do.

    But Biblical prosperity isn’t exclusively about financial or material gain. I could give it all away today and still be prospered by God, because it is not wealth for wealth’s sake which indicates a believers blessed circumstances, but godliness with contentment.

    But you can be a Christian who shuns giving, has nothing, despises the idea of the tithe, and still be discontented. That, in fact, seems to be the condition of many who oppose the concepts of purposed giving by those of us who believe we have benefited through obedience to God’s word in this regard. They are mean-spirited, thinking everyone should be like them, and they have the [selected] scriptures to prove it.

    I’d prefer to encourage a gregarious nature of generosity.

    The reason the tithe was holy to the Lord was to do with its connection to Christ, the First-Born. Do yourself a joyful favour. Study the tithe and see if you can find the connection.

    Le 27:30
    ‘And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S. It is holy to the LORD.
    Le 27:32
    ‘And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the LORD.

  79. Wazza, you must be a lot older than me. I don’t know anyone in my era who lived without electricity. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the examples you gave had something to do with alcoholism.

    Most people with any kind of normal job could rent a house somewhere with electricity back in 74 in Qld. (I assume that’s where you lived).

    I do think you come up with really extreme examples – both of these poor, but then also of the extreme prosperity preachers. People like Steve who preach tithing, were tithing before they were recipients of offerings – so most who believe in tithing, don’t do so to use it as a money making scheme. Also , as for the poor, “they will always be with us”. You could give everyone in Australia a million dollars tomorrow, and I bet I could find some people with nothing in 5 years.

    As for your comment about my method of mocking, I actually thought about that a lot. I end up doing that in real life, and realize it’s not productive. So it’s good you pointed that out.

  80. Bones, Jimmy preached against prosperity preachers. (Though he and his family live extremely well!!!). Actually, most people would be surprised.

    But, and this is no proof of anything ….but looking at your list, it’s interesting that the non-christian world have probably heard more about Osteen, Jakes and Oral Roberts than most in the second list.

    btw, I think it’s not totally wrong to talk about the attributes of those who believe in a certain thing (“most people I know…”), but I take your point that it’s not addressing the argument at hand.
    So, I’ll try not to do that. It’ll take discipline because I probably do that a lot too.

    One day, I’ll get there!. Really liked the youtube too!

  81. Steve, “where did the tithe go” and the first fruits….

    Good question.

    But for me, tithing is in the same deal as most everything else in the old testament. I think the church is a new wineskin.

    That’s another reason why I am not really into calling Sunday the new Sabbath, and I don’t get into doing the Feasts like some of my charismatic friends do.

    The question people who don’t believe in the necessity of tithing have to really address deep down is…..”Am I a cheerful giver?”, Do
    I love to give to God?

    On the other hand, I’ve met tithers who are really stingy….

  82. My conclusion.
    I want to be a giver.
    I think the giving mentality is beautiful and leads to blessing.
    I don’t think there is a curse on non-tithers.
    I wish, hope and pray for health and prosperity for my loved ones, and I believe we can create a world where everyone has not only a roof over their head, but also food and water, and if we stopped wars and crime and sin, with the technology we have now, everyone should be able to have a decent standard of living, but some will always have more than others.

    have a nice night folks.

  83. My previous post was serious. Do you teach conditional tithing?

    And of course we get the standard if you are against tithing you are a mean spirited tight arse.

    Tithing has morphed into something that can’t be found anywhere in the Bible even if it was something which Christians were to practice. Beyond the gospels is a deafening silence on the practice even by Paul the ex-Pharisee. One would have thought he would have instructed the gentiles to tithe. Then of course we have the argument that tithing was pre-law made into law but in the New Covenant it is pre-law again. (???!!!)

    I also worshipped in the Anglican church for over 15 years and tithing wasn’t mentioned once. I’ve only encountered it since moving into the Pentecostal stream.

    A study of tithing in church history is interesting.

    Ancient Church Fathers, Modern Leaders and Encyclopedia

    Quotes on the Subject of Tithing, Updated July 17, 2006

    A survey of all the writings of the Early Church up to A.D. 600 (easy to do
    with computers) is silent about tithing in the Church being a necessity. In
    fact, it was the position of the great early Church Father Irenaeus that tithing
    was a legal obligation in the Law of Moses and therefore is no longer
    binding. He explains this in chapter XIII of book IV in “Irenaeus Against
    Heresies”…

    Irenaeus (A.D. 120-202)
    And for this reason did the Lord, instead of that [commandment], “Thou
    shalt not commit adultery,” forbid even concupiscence; and instead of that
    which runs thus, “Thou shalt not kill,” He prohibited anger; and instead of
    the law enjoining the giving of tithes, [He told us] to share all our
    possessions with the poor;

    And again in chapter XVIII of book IV he again states…

    And for this reason they (the Jews) had indeed the tithes of their goods
    consecrated to Him, but those who have received the liberty set aside all
    their possessions for the Lord’s purposes, bestowing joyfully and freely not
    the less valuable portions of their property, since they have the hope of
    better things [hereafter]; as that poor widow acted who cast all her living into
    the treasury of God.

    Tertullian –c. 150-220 (apology, XXXIX, 1-18)…
    Our presidents are elders of proved worth, men who have attained this
    honor not for a price, but by character. Every man brings some modest coin
    once a month or whenever he wishes, and only if he is willing and able; it is
    a freewill offering. You might call them the trust-funds of piety; they are
    spent… on the support and burial of the poor.

    Tertullian (c. 197, W 3.46) Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs (p.9)…
    Though we have our treasure chest, it is not made up of purchase money,
    as of a religion that has its price. Rather, on the monthly day, if he likes,
    each puts in a small donation – but only if it is his pleasure and only if he is
    able. For there is no compulsion; all is voluntary.

    Hasting’s Dictionary of the Apostolic Church…
    It is admitted universally that the payment of tithes or the tenths of
    possessions, for sacred purposes did not find a place within the Christian
    Church during the age covered by the apostles and their immediate
    successors.

    The New Catholic Encyclopedia…
    The early Church had no tithing system… it was not that no need of
    supporting the Church existed or was recognized, but rather that other
    means appeared to suffice.

    John Wesley “On the Use of Money” (excerpt from a 1744 sermon)
    …give all you can; or in other words give all you have to God. Do not stint
    yourself, like a Jew rather than a Christian, to this or that proportion.
    Render unto God not a tenth, not a third, not half, but all that is God’s (be it
    more or less) by employing all on yourself, your household, the household
    of faith and all mankind, in such a manner that you may give a good
    account of your stewardship when ye can be no longer stewards; in such a
    manner as the oracles of God direct, both by general and particular
    precepts; in such a manner, that whatever ye do may be “a sacrifice of a
    sweet-smelling savour to God” [cf. Lev. 8:21], and that every act may be
    rewarded in that day when the Lord cometh with all his saints.

    The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association…
    …the question as to whether to tithe from one’s net or gross income is not
    answered in Scripture, nor is the question of whether to give it all to the
    local church or to include other ministries. We feel that such decisions
    should be based on personal conviction… It (tithing) is not mentioned in
    the New Testament except where it is describing Old Testament practices
    or in the Gospels where Jesus is addressing people who were under the
    Old Testament law. Note Jesus’ comments to the Pharisees in Luke
    11:42… A New Testament teaching on giving which may be helpful to you
    is found in 1 Corinthians 16:2: “On the first day of every week, each one of
    you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income.” This
    passage brings out four points: we should give individually, regularly,
    methodically, and proportionately. The matter of your giving is between
    you and God, and He always takes into account our circumstances. He
    knows when they are beyond our power to direct and control. The
    important thing is that we see giving as a privilege and not as a burden. It
    should not be out of a sense of duty, but rather out of love for the Lord and
    a desire to see His kingdom advanced. Second Corinthians 9:6-7 says:
    ‘Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and
    whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should
    give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under
    compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.’ The deeper question, you see,
    is this: What has priority in our lives? Is Christ really first – or do we put
    ourselves and our own desires first? Make sure Christ is first in your life,
    and then ask Him to guide you. (Underlining Added for Emphasis)
    Gordon Fee & Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth
    The Old Testament is not our testament. The Old Testament represents
    an Old Covenant, which is one we are no longer obligated to keep.
    Therefore we can hardly begin by assuming that the Old Covenant should
    automatically be binding upon us. We have to assume, in fact, that none of
    its stipulations (laws) are binding upon us unless they are renewed in the
    New Covenant. That is, unless an Old Testament law is somehow restated
    or reinforced in the New Testament, it is no longer directly binding on
    God’s people (cf. Rom. 6:14-15).

    Walvoord & Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary (p. 1585.)…
    While not requiring a tithe of believers today, the New Testament does
    speak of God’s blessing on those who give generously to the needs of the
    church and especially to those who labor in the Word.
    Theologian, Dr. Russell Earl Kelly, Ph.D. (from book “Should The
    Church Teach Tithing” p.139-140)…
    None of the three main hermeneutical approaches to theology today
    support tithing. First, the advocates of covenant theology divide the law
    into moral commandments, ceremonial statutes, and civil judgments.
    They, next, recognize, and dismiss, tithing as a ceremonial statute.
    Second, advocates of dispensational theology also divide the law into
    commandments, statutes, and judgments. However, they see it as an
    indivisible whole, dismiss the entire law, and start over again with God
    repeating his eternal moral principles in the New Covenant after Calvary…
    Advocates of a third approach to hermeneutics between covenant
    theology and dispensational theology also dismiss tithing because of its
    cultic non-moral usage.

    Bruce Metzger, The Oxford Companion to the Bible…
    The New Testament nowhere explicitly requires tithing to maintain a
    ministry or a place of assembly.
    Nelson’s Bible Dictionary (s.v. “tithe”)…
    In the New Testament the words tithe and tithing appear only eight times
    (Matt. 23:23, Luke 11:42, 18:12, Heb. 7:5-6, 8-9) All of these passages
    refer to Old Testament usage and to current Jewish practice. Nowhere
    does the New Testament expressly command Christians to tithe. However,
    as believers we are to be generous in sharing our material possessions
    with the poor and for the support of Christian ministry. Christ Himself is our
    model in giving. Giving is to be voluntary, willing, cheerful, and given in the
    light of our accountability to God. Giving should be systematic and by no
    means limited to a tithe of our incomes. We recognize that all we have is
    from God. We are called to be faithful stewards of all our possessions
    (Rom. 14:12, 1Cor. 9:3-14, 16:1-3, 2Cor. 8-9).

    John MacArthur, Jr., Commentary on Book of Romans 9-16 (p.233)
    …Christians are not under obligation to give a specified amount to the
    work of their heavenly Father. In none of their forms do the tithe or other
    Old Testament levies apply to Christians.

    John MacArthur – Thoughts On Tithing (excerpt from sermon
    preached at Grace Community Church in Panorama City, CA)…
    Tithing, basically, is never, ever advocated in the New Testament; it is
    never taught in the New Testament – never!

    New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia Online:..
    In the Christian Church, as those who serve the altar should live by the
    altar (1 Cor., ix, 13), provision of some kind had necessarily to be made for
    the sacred ministers. In the beginning this was supplied by the
    spontaneous offerings of the faithful. In the course of time, however, as the
    Church expanded and various institutions arose, it became necessary to
    make laws which would insure the proper and permanent support of the
    clergy. The payment of tithes was adopted from the Old Law, and early
    writers speak of it as a divine ordinance and an obligation of conscience.
    The earliest positive legislation on the subject seems to be contained in
    the letter of the bishops assembled at Tours in 567 and the cannons of the
    Council of Macon in 585. In course of time, we find the payment of tithes
    made obligatory by ecclesiastical enactments in all the countries of
    christendom.

    The Encyclopedia Americana reveals this about Christian tithing…
    “It was not practiced in the early Christian church but gradually became
    common (in the Roman Catholic Church in western Europe) by the 6th
    Century. The Council of Tours in 567 and the second Council of Macon in
    585 advocated tithing. Made obligatory by civil law in the Carolingian empire
    in 765 and in England in the 10th Century… The Reformation did not abolish
    tithing and the practice was continued in the Roman Catholic Church and in
    Protestant countries… (until it was) gradually replaced by other forms of
    taxation. The Roman Catholic Church still prescribes tithes in countries
    where they are sanctioned by law, and some Protestant bodies consider
    tithes obligatory.”

    The Encyclopedia Britannica points this out about tithing…
    “The eastern Orthodox Churches never accepted the idea of tithes and
    Orthodox Church members have never paid them.”
    It is important to note that the split between the Roman Catholics and
    Orthodox occurred in the 6th Century. The Roman Catholics adopted tithing
    after the split which explains why the Orthodox have never tithed.

    Dr. Roger Sapp from his book The Children are Free, page 88…
    … this doctrine (of tithing) is pieced together from these various passages.
    Not a single passage in itself teaches what the Church practices today.
    Spiritualization of the Law is used to teach tithing. Reasoning that is not
    found in the Bible is used to justify Christian embracing a legalistic practice
    from the Old Testament. In more than 4000 years of recorded biblical
    history, there is not a single recorded example of tithing that is similar to
    what the Church practices today. We recommend that every Christian
    renounce this unscriptural practice and reject any lingering fear, guilt or
    condemnation! God’s children have no debt to their Father to pay other than
    thanksgiving and praise. Their elder brother, the Lord Jesus Christ, has paid
    in full the debt. Christ will build His Church but only with the truth. He needs
    no help from a false doctrine that puts the Children of God under bondage
    and the curse of the Law. The children are free!

  84. But, and this is no proof of anything ….but looking at your list, it’s interesting that the non-christian world have probably heard more about Osteen, Jakes and Oral Roberts than most in the second list.

    You’re kidding right. They are unknown outside of Pentecostal circles. I never heard of them when I was in the the Anglican church. As a matter of fact, I was selling calendars last year and I had to explain to a lot of Christians that Joel Osteen (who we had a calendar of) was a Christian pastor. Most people I know have never heard of them (as opposed to Martin Luther, Martin Luther King, St Francis, John Wesley, John Smith (God Squad), Dietrich Bonhoeffer and I’d add advocates for the poor such as Oscar Romero and Dom Halder Camara).

    Also most in the prosperity list have been under some sort of fraud investgation/scandal.

    Also what is the point of your statement?

  85. No, not alcoholism SM. When you ‘assume’ you make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’.

    I wrote that story to let you know I’m not your average Chardonnay liberal Christian. I’ve lived among the poor and also lived among the rich. The worst people to live with are the ones just above the poor who are looking up at the rich and think they have found the recipe for success.

  86. In fact, to his credit, zeibart did write that ‘God assists the diligent and abhors the lazy.’

    This, of course, is main way people are blessed. God gave us the power to get wealth.

    The tithe, under the Old Covenant, however, did come with certain provisos, including blessing for adherence, and cursing for neglect, and this on a national as well as a personal level.

    To neglect the tithe was to abandon the priesthood, and, by association, to forsake God, who gave Israel the priesthood as intermediaries.

    It was a serious offence to remove support for those who were unable to own land, make a living, plant crops or reap harvests for themselves because they were to be before the Lord on behalf of the people at all times.

    Hence God called it robbing him, and cautioned Israel to return to tithes and offerings to ensure that the treasuries of the Temple were well supplied.

    The result would be security of borders, guaranteed seasonal rains for crops, protection from pestilence and natural disaster, respect and honour by neighbouring nations, to whom Israel would be lenders, and accompanying prosperity.

    Under the new Covenant, we are still encouraged to bring offerings. I do not believe first-fruit giving has been negated as means of honouring God. It does carry with it the promise of blessing, and it is a freewill means of giving, not a legal requirement.

    God ut something in Abel’s heart which told him that bringing the firstling of his flock would be a blessed thing to do. he didn’t hear a sermon on a Sunday in a megachurch. he had an encounter in his own spirit with the Spirit of God who planted a seed of a principle by which he could live; that of honouring God with the first-born of his increase in every season.

    Flocks, like crops are seasonal. Each season brings increase in an ideal agricultural or horticultural scenario.

    It is God who gives the increase.

    This seasonal increase is worthy of thanksgiving. It is a good thong to honour God for the increase. It is blessed thing to say to God, “I present the first of each season to you in thanks for giving me increase.

    No one told Abel to bring the first-born. He received it by revelation from from God. He acted on it by faith, and God honoured his giving.

    Sadly Cain didn’t have a real handle on first-fruits offerings and failed bring his gift with a cheerful attitude of faith, but, rather, brought his offering begrudgingly and was rejected. He resented the fact that God received Abel’s offering, but not his, so he murdered his brother because he had been blessed by God.

    I think there is something of this spirit on some people who begrudge the giving of those who have a revelation of how to give and what kind of giving God requires of them as disciples of Christ.

    I think we need to go to God and find out what it is that we are to give and how we are to give it.

    That is not to say that those who give purposely are better or worse that those who don’t, but I think, like Cain, some are guilty of judging incorrectly, when the only judgment they should have is of their own giving, and their own purpose for giving.

  87. Sorry for that quip SM.

    I dont know what to say when you claim that stories of school and family friends were just extreme examples, and dismiss them because of that. And then go and make another assumption about them based on a sterotype.

    Do you have much to do with the poor in your community? Don’t just drop a few bucks in the collection box and think “I’ve done my duty, and now I’ll be rewarded”

    Actually get to know a few people. Find out their struggles. Yes there will be alcholism, drug addiction and mental-health problems. But which is cause and which is effect is not always a simple matter.

  88. Bones, I would wholeheartedly agree with the Wesley and Graham quotes.

    I do not teach tithing by law, or by condition.

    Under the New Covenant, the early Church sold all they had and placed it at the feet of the Apostles.

    In the Book of Acts, one couple who pledged land in this manner to the Church but failed to carry out the promise were struck down dead for their disobedience.

    I do not hear that preached here by those who condemn the idea of giving a percentage as a regular gift.

    I have constantly advocated purposed giving, not of compulsion, or by force, but as cheerful givers.

    ‘On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.’

    ‘As he may prosper’; so according to the means of the person giving, which indicates a disciplined state of giving dependent on the level of increase received.

    Therefore, ‘as he may prosper’ could be fulfilled if a person were to determine a percentage on a regular basis as disciplined giving, including a tenth.

    There is no law to those who walk in the Spirit, so let them live by the Spirit of the law, and not by the letter.

  89. The problem is when tithing/non-tithing is presented as obedient/disobedient and blessed/cursed and that’s not infrequently used at our church. I’ve given giving talks at my church and I refuse to use that kind of rhetoric or tithing. I always talk of giving of our love for Him because He has given us so much (ie forgiveness, salvation – not stuff).

  90. There is more than one level of obedience, though, isn’t there?

    There is obedience to what is known by the Word, and obedience to the Spirit who leads on a personal basis.

    To obey is better than sacrifice, but what if obedience involves sacrifice?

    For King Saul offering at God’s altar was disobedience, so Samuel chides him by saying that to obey is better than sacrifice, and rebellion as the sin of witchcraft. For the Samuel, the Levitical priest, the sacrifice was part of his obedience, and yet the saying holds true for him also.

    If I am instructed by Christ through his words, or through the Spirit to act in a certain way or not to act in a certain way I have the responsibility of obedience to the instruction.

    If the Spirit one day instructs you to change your present stance when you teach will you obey, or rebel?

  91. Steve, thank you for recognising that I credit God for blessing the diligent, even though you didn’t quite go to the next step of concurring that this would be the root cause of your wealth rather than your methodical (purposed) tithing.

    Your quotes above are, I’m afraid not in context with the present day church, and so cannot be used to prop up ‘purposed’ giving (let’s call it what all these charismatic churches do – tithing or first-fruits).

    The collection Paul is talking about is for the gift he intends to take back to bless the poor believers in Jerusalem, not to support the pastor/vicar/priest, his missions program, his youth pastor, his building program, his admin staff or his new media adventure. This is what your tithe will go towards, not to the poor fellow believer.

    ‘As he may prosper’ is a simple statement to suggest that AFTER the believer in the town he is writing to has earned a sum, used it to live on, he can assess what remains to offer to the corporate gift.

    You force the current church paradigm into the early NT church-life and assume that their giving supports all the usual churchianity activities we see today. Wrong way round Steve. That is the twisted logic; not God’s, yours. You claim Abel was doing sort of spirit-lead giving without being mandated and Cain was somehow the reluctant one who sneered and so landed up becoming a murderer. That this mean spirit is upon some of those who do not hold to tithing is an outrageous slur. Read verse 6 of Gen 4. They both knew what was right to bring; Cain just thought he knew better and was judged for it. Don;t reach back there for ammunition to fire at non-tithers (or non-first fruiters 🙂 )

    Your approach to giving is classic fudging and causes nothing but confusion. You don’t want to be seen as legalistic, but then suggested ‘a percentage’ of one’s income as ‘disciplined’ giving.

    Just as circumcision has been superseded, in Christ, from flesh to heart, so has tithing/first-fruits. All is his for him to determine what gets apportioned to whom, through the Holy Spirit, as he leads, not as we are mandated by men or OT Law. That’s freedom in Christ – to be a financial-and-everything-else slave to Jesus, holding nothing back. Graciously he lets us (in Aus) live on quite a lot, but tests us at times to see whether money or him has control in our hearts.

  92. As an aside, how would you call Jacob’s business practices in Gen 30? Ethical? Not really, but he prospered nevertheless.

    And he wheedled a deal from God, even though we never see how or when he gives this tenth to God.

  93. Still no response on Jacob’s tithe in Genesis 28. He tithed AFTER he got the blessing. Waiting for a heap of biblical quotes that have nothing to do with it or show that I’m mean-spirited.

  94. There is more than one level of obedience, though, isn’t there?

    So a Christian who tithes is more obedient than one who doesn’t?

    That’s actually what you’re saying. Just say it and don’t be embarrassed because it’s wrong.

  95. zeibart,
    ‘Your quotes above are, I’m afraid not in context with the present day church, and so cannot be used to prop up ‘purposed’ giving (let’s call it what all these charismatic churches do – tithing or first-fruits).’

    No they are completely in context.

    By purposed giving I refer to the New testament not the old.

    “According as every man purposes in his heart”.

    That is purposed giving.

    ‘As he may prosper’.

    Again purposed giving.

    “Give, and it will be given to you”.

    Again purposed giving.

    “Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation. But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”

    Purposed giving!

    This is not a giving principle for a one off gift at all, but for all levels of giving.

    The gifts were to be put aside on the first day of the week by every giver so that Paul did not have to take up a collection when he came, but would take the pool of offerings straight away.

    There are certain aspects of the Old Covenant, which you s readily dismiss, which remain relevant to the New, which can only be fully understood by reference to the Old.

    The first-fruits, first-born offering which honours God is neither irrelevant nor superseded. If so, show me where.

    Purposed giving is an excellent discipline for any believer.

    Who are you to dismiss it as out of context, wen it is clear to anyone who grasps it that it is fully in context. Do you know how it all works? Are you superior in your understanding of the connection between the Old and the New Testaments?

    What you call ‘fudging’ is actually only the tip of the iceberg of understanding of the subject. You re clearly still short of the context of many things to do with the relationship between the Old Testament and the New.

    That is not a bad thing, but your rudeness towards me for trying to point out something, perhaps, which you do not yet know is not helpful, even when you put a smily there ;-).

    The law was preceded by the Promises. It was based on the Promises. It was added because of transgression until the promise of the Christ, and of the Spirit and of faith.

    The Promises are first witnessed in Genesis. The gospel has its roots in the Promises, not the law. The law held Israel unto Christ and the fulfilment of the law.

    If you only base your dismissal of the concepts of the Old Testament on the law you miss the whole of Genesis as a reference, and you enter folly.

    Abel saw something in the Spirit about offerings which are commended in the New Testament as an example of faith. You would do well to seek out a better understanding of what you criticise before you step into a dismissive attitude and are not recoverable.

  96. Bones,
    ‘So a Christian who tithes is more obedient than one who doesn’t?’

    No I didn’t say that, and I actually told you what I teach on the tithe. I have never said those who are obedient to the tithe are more obedient than those who don’t. Neither have I suggested this in any way.

    I have said that each of us must be obedient to the Holy Spirit and to the Word. If he tells me to give a certain amount I can obey or ignore the command. It won’t cost me my salvation, but it will keep me away from an area of my walk he is directing me to take, and I will miss out on his direction in that place, even though he remains with me where I am until I move ahead with him.

    If that is in an area of giving then I need to take heed, because he is leading me in many different ways towards many different goals he has set for my life.

    You, too, have to be obedient to what he has told you, either through the Word, or by the inner witness bearing witness with you spirit.

    If you read the comment again, you will see that I maintain that we all have different levels of obedience. Saul’s level was that of a King, and was not permitted to sacrifice, which was the work of the Priest in his day. So Samuel’s level of obedience was to sacrifice, Saul’s level of obedience was not to sacrifice.

    The point is that you are at a different place to everyone else, and we are all to obey the promptings of the Spirit and the Word as we receive them.

    My comments were purely on the understanding of dis/obedience which you raised.

  97. zeibart,
    ‘‘As he may prosper’ is a simple statement to suggest that AFTER the believer in the town he is writing to has earned a sum, used it to live on, he can assess what remains to offer to the corporate gift.’

    Where does it say this?

    You made that up!

    It actually says ‘storing up as they may prosper’, which is thesaurizo, treasuring, or heaping up according to the level of prosperity they enjoy, as they go along, on a weekly basis, giving on a certain day at a certain place.

    Very purposed giving.

    So a person on low income stores up according to his level of prosperity, and a wealthy persons stores up according to his level, which sounds awfully like the principle of providing a percentage as an equitable standard for giving, but I won’t harp on it, since, like your theory, it isn’t conclusive, although it probably has more substance.

  98. You would do well to seek out a better understanding of what you criticise before you step into a dismissive attitude and are not recoverable.

    There are plenty of theologians, bible teachers, ministers who would disagree with you. They too are being dismissive and in danger of being unrecoverable.

    The first-fruits, first-born offering which honours God is neither irrelevant nor superseded. If so, show me where.

    The majority of Christianity disagrees with you.

    Show me where a one off tithe to Melchizedek (on the spoils of war), a conditional tithe by Jacob and the myriad of other tithes prescribed in the Mosaic Law (The Levitical Tithe Lev 27:30-32; Numbers 18:24-28, The Festival Tithe Deut. 12:5-7, 17-19; 14:23 and Welfare tithe Deut. 14:28-29; 26:12-15) became a principle for New Testament giving notably giving 10% of your gross income every week.

    You can’t because it didn’t.

  99. Bones,

    If so show me where.

    You are the one who is focussing on the tithe. I am not. I have given you what I think of the tithe, and also said that I agree with what you quoted from Wesley and Graham as my standard. That should be enough.

    There are may threads on this site which demonstrate my stance on the tithe not be ing a legal requirement.

    I am asking questions in regard to the claim that the tithe is no longer holy to the Lord, which you have not answered.

  100. By the way, Bones, what you quoted me as saying was not in reference to the tithe, which shows you are not actually paying attention to what is being said.

    I was addressing zeibart’s comment that purposed giving was not a Christian concept, something which I have adequately refuted from scripture. I also pointed out that Genesis predated the law, and that it should not be dismissed in context to giving.

    You appeal to anything but the scripture for most of your arguments.

    Scripture and verse, please, as 5PS would say (without the ‘please’).

    The episode with Melchisadek is referenced in the New Testament by the way, and concludes that Levi tithed unto the Eternal Preisthood in Abraham.

  101. I did answer it. That you didn’t like my answer isn’t my problem.

    Even though this is part of the abolished Mosaic Law, I’ll go with ‘no’ as the tithe was to the Levitical priesthood which as far as I know no longer exists. Unless you want to compare yourself with the Levitical priesthood, in which case you may as well become a Catholic priest.

    The Levitical tithe. This was entirely devoted to the priestly tribe of Levi. The priests received no earthly inheritance. They received the tithe INSTEAD. A tithe of grain, fruit and animals. Lev 27:30-32; Numbers 18:24-28

  102. Purposed giving read tithing. You don’t even want to mention it.

    Ok I’ll give you the verses which support tithing (sorry purposed giving) in the New Testament. I’ve listed them below:

    Happy now.

    How are you supposed to have scriptural references for something that didn’t happen?

    That’s like show me a verse which says Jesus didn’t drive a car.

  103. Incidentally, Bones, the Melchisedek incident is usually dismissed as a one off spoils-of-war occurrence which has no relevance to today, but, if you read and study the episode carefully and with an open mind, you will see many covenantal attributes to what took place.

    You have to read the entire passage to grasp exactly what took place and why.

    If, as many critics do, you only focus on the tithing aspect as a one-off you will miss the point of what is happening, and why it is so significant it is mentioned in Psalms and in Hebrews as key part of unlocking scripture.

    The reason Abraham enjoyed victory over Lot’s captors is hi9s covenant with God, which was sealed in blood. He knew that God would be with him as a partner in this war and that he would be protected and likely win the victory.

    Abraham went to war because Lot was his nephew and they were also in covenant. According to covenant he had no choice but to go and recover Lot and his family.

    According to covenant, God was with him, and he won the victory, recovered Lot and his family, and took the spoils, which were actually the property of the King of Sodom, where Lot had been residing when he was captured.

    On his return, Abraham, prophetically, is met by Melchisedek, the High Priest of Salem. There is an exchange of gifts. Melchisedek, a forerunner of Christ, brings bread and wine. What do you think is the significance of this? It is covenant.

    Abraham brings a tithe – the tenth of all, the tithe on the spoils of victory. He presents it to the High priest – the Priest of the Mighty God.

    It is in recognition of the victory won for him through covenant with God.

    Abraham returns the rest of the spoils to the King of Sodom, so he cannot claim to have made Abraham wealthy, when it was God, always, who blessed Abraham and his descendants with wealth.

    The exchange at Salem is an exchange of covenant. There are so many types and shadows in this event that it is worth studying and learning the significance of the passage.

    When you take this up in Psalm 110, and then in Hebrews 6 through 7, you will see the point that is being made in reference to the truth that Levi, being in Abraham’s loins at this time, tithed to the Mighty God through Abraham’s tithe to Melchisedek, and that Christ is made to be Melchisedek, the Eternal High Priest through the oath sworn by God in Psalm 110.

    Please, don;t dismiss these things as insignificant or as not New Testament. They clearly reference who we are in Christ, and who Christ is to us.

    Abraham was the father of faith to all who believe. We too were ‘in his loins’ when he tithed to the Priest of the Most High. You cannot single out a single scripture as evidence to refute an entire doctrine, especially when that doctrine spans Genesis through to Galatians and Hebrews and beyond.

    And there is so much more to this. I have just rushed trough this comment from memory, but the truths are heaped up in these passages for all to see if they care to look wit open hearts and eyes.

    That is why I advise caution.

    None of us knows it all enough to dismiss many of the things which are so readily ejected.

    And I don’t care who of the ancients disagrees with this. My source is the Bible and the Spirit, not men.

    God’s riches in his Word are beyond most of us, but we need to keep on seeking, not standing still or resting on false laurels.

  104. Bones,
    ‘Purposed giving read tithing. You don’t even want to mention it. Ok I’ll give you the verses which support tithing (sorry purposed giving) in the New Testament. I’ve listed them below:

    Happy now.’

    That’s just childish, Bones.

    If you want to attribute things to me that I don’t say you are in error and we have nothing to say, really.

    If you don’t understand what I mean by purposed giving, which is giving with a sense of resolve or determination, or giving with a set amount in mind at a set time, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the tithe, which you introduced, and which I didn’t, then I am afraid you can’t grasp anything else I have said, so it’s a waste of time talking to you.

    Purposed giving doesn’t read tithing. It does not read tithing!

    What it reads is a predetermined amount – ‘according as you purpose in your hearts’, as Paul puts it. It could be anything – $20, 5%, £500, a one-off annual $300, 20%, weekly, monthly, a tenth, etc.. It could change. It could fluctuate. It could be differnt every week or month, or year. As one purposes in their heart – predetermined by according to the individual’s will.

    What is it that you don’t understand about this?

  105. Bones:

    From 2 Corinthians 9:

    “Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation. But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”

    Purposed giving!

    From the New Testament, which, amongst other examples, I have placed on this thread at least four times now. I don’t think you read the comments before taking aim!

    Nothing to do with tithing, is it, Bones?

    No!

  106. Bones, in the US where they minister, everyone knew Oral Roberts, and now Joel Osteen is a household name. Much more well known than Bohnhoffer and others you mention. Same with TD Jakes.

    Australia is different. Not that it matters. My simple point was that the first group are impacting the world.

    Wazza, I was making the point that when I was a kid I knew some pretty poor people, but no electricity in 1974?

    I was there back then, and I know what you could rent a house for that had electricity. So I concede there may have been people without it but they were in exceptional circumstances.

    btw, have you visited countries that don’t have social security?

    Anyway, Wazza, just so you know that like I said before, I don’t believe in the necessity of tithing, and I don’t like the way offerings are done. I also think that the church worldwide doesn’t need anymore money. It’s scary looking at the money spent on evangelism and churches in the US over decades and see the results.
    The apostles turned the world upside down and Paul could even do it while working half the time.

    okay back to Bones, you say you never heard about tithing, but in some European countries they even had tithing to churches through the taxation system. I agree with you that it wasn’t in the early church though.

    gnight.

  107. btw, have you visited countries that don’t have social security?

    Yes, I’ve been to Asia too. Saw families living on the side of the highway in China. Yes they are extremely poor, but it dosent mean that poverty dosent exist here.

    So you reckon it was cheap to rent a house back then. Actually where I was there werent that many rental properties. Not surprising because I dont think the capital appreciation would have been that great.

    There were people in the shanties, then the next step up was to get a caravan and put it on some land somewhere. Next step up above that was to go to the caravan park (which wasnt for holiday makers).

    This is not exceptional. There are thousands of families that are homeless in Australia right now. People are sleeping in their cars, in short-term hotel accomodation etc.

    You ought to get out more. The trouble with prosperity thinking is that it encourages one to look for links between one’s fortunes and something one has done in the past. Then its a small step to thinking that others (mis)fortunes must have been due to something they have done.

  108. So we should deny those parts of God’s covenant which speak of blessing and prosperity?

    Why? Surely for a person in poverty the only way is up. We need to find a way to help them up. Preferably by assisting them to get into the workforce so they can become self-sufficient and have an opportunity to become part of the solution.

    There are times, also when we have to help ourselves as well as be helped by others, unless we are unable to provide for ourselves because of illness or injury.

    Australia does have a marvellous welfare system, so it does go towards providing for people who are genuinely doing it tough. I’ve been there, and it is no fun, but we have to look at our options and make a way. We relocated to where the work was.

    My parents also struggled in the early years, and never really got out of the lower socio-economic strata. Their children, however, were given every opportunity to succeed because they instilled a work ethic into our lives. That doesn’t mean it has always been honky dry, but it means that the survival instinct includes doing what it takes to make a living, even in hard times.

    In other nations, such as the Philippines, it is not such a simple thing to eke a living out of such poverty. They are the real poor.

    Australia is, I agree, comparatively well off, even for those who are considered the poorest. There are poor people here, but what conditions drive them into poverty?

    Many people, these days (which should be better than thirty years ago), are struggling, not because they are neglected by the state, or by welfare agencies, or even lack of employment opportunities, but because they have poor financial habits, or have dependencies which take whatever benefits they do have.

    Financial miss-management is an issue amongst the poor, who need to receive the kind of training for skills which will bring relief. But where there is a problem with literacy or numeracy there is poverty. Where there is drug or alcohol addiction there is lack. Australia is one of the world’s gambling hotspots, people are suffering as a result of addiction. These are moral issues as well as welfare concerns.

    The gospel can and does help because it leads people into a different kind of lifestyle and expectancy. I know this to be true for our family, which was in a poor state when we were first saved, but for whom recovery was relatively swift once we adopted Biblical principles.

    In poor nations it can still help because it raises community spirit and dignity. Australia, though, needs to become a provider nation because it has been blessed with such huge resources. But each nation has something either in its earth or inits people which can be organised and utilised to provide prosperity. That is why we need God. That s why we need to preach the gospel and see change come even in the poorest areas.

  109. Okay, you got me. I’m surprised. Early 70’s in Queensland and people had no electricity? People like that could have existed but in Brisbane? Ipswich? Toowoomba? They didn’t have to be in that situation – not permanently. If they had a change of mind they could have gotten out of that.

    That’s why I believe in abundant life theology. If there is a person now in Australia with no money, what will be better for them. To hear that there is hope and that they can have a goal and a dream and work, pray and plan for a future, or to say “It’s not your fault. Life is like that. There are poor and there are rich. Just wait there and I’ll see if I can get someone to donate for your next meal. Or lobby the govt to give you an extra 20 bucks. No 50, No 200. ”

    btw wazza, the world is almost broke.

    We all make choices.

  110. No it was in SA. Not in a large city or regional town – I suppose your next statement will be, “Well why didnt they move to the city then?”

    ” They didn’t have to be in that situation – not permanently. If they had a change of mind they could have gotten out of that.”

    The logical conclusion from this type of thinking is that the poor in Australia are always responsible for their own poverty.

    Why then, if you are in a church that thinks this way, would you put any effort into establishing charity organisations – as the mainstream churches have done. Far better to give the poor a few pep-talks and show them where they have gone wrong – much cheaper too. And while you are at it, get the poor to establish regular habits of giving – they can give to your church. That will really bless them.

    Hillsong was one of the organisations used by the Government to distribute charity to the poor in the form of electricity vouchers back in 2004. They gave out the Government’s money but then encouraged people to come to church and to tithe – leading to suggestions that Hillsong was recycling the Government’s money into their own coffers. Thats not as bad as getting people to tithe on life insurance payouts – that is surely robbing widows.

    Here’s a thought – has it ever occurred to you that most people try to do the best for themselves and their families in the circumstances they are in? Do you think that if they had the opportunity to get a new job or move to a better house, the poor would say “Nah.. might hang around here for a few more years”. No, they are just like you and me – some of them a lot smarter.

    Why cant we do both, give them the “hope” pep-talk, but still provide charity where its needed.

    I could provide proof-texts for charity, but I’m sure both you and Steve know where they are. Actually I’m not completely sure, but you could look up charity in your concordance.

  111. Identifying the needs which presented themselves, we actually, with some volunteers, started a registered community service organisation in our church which ran for the years I was there.

    I saw that many poor are in that position because they need help with functioning effectively with finances because we saw the same people repeatedly arrive for assistance, many of whom were known to receive large benefits because they had big families, and yet could not go from one week to the next without food assistance, lived in the bush because they could not keep a home, even when Housing Commission provided one, and survived on Government and community service handouts because they’d never worked a day in their lives.

    The main issues we faced were drug and alcohol dependency, gambling addictions, and an inability to grasp the significance of making ends meet without welfare or assistance, being gainfully employed, self sufficient and off dependency.

    We worked to help people break free of substance abuse, starting programs for them, but it is not an easy task. Once people are dependent on drugs or alcohol it consumes their lives.

    We saw very few poor who were unavoidably poor. Those we did see we worked with because they were the ones who usually would like to break free. They had more dignity that the welfare dependent. They were prepared to work.

    In all that time I saw few who had an interest in becoming self-sufficient. I also saw the toll it took on volunteer workers who gave themselves tirelessly to assisting people who, on the whole, did not have a vision to get out of welfare, but, in fact, had developed a sense of entitlement, which occasionally included abusing the people who were doing their utmost to help them.

    Most volunteers came to a place of potential burn-out. This is common in many welfare agencies which work with welfare based people who have no desire or compulsion to get out of it.

    My parents were poor, but they would never have dreamed of being on any kind of permanent welfare from the state. My dad worked three low paying jobs to feed and clothe us. My mum held down two part time jobs to subsidise their income. They made sure we grew up with this kind of ethic.

    Soem of the poor in Australia I have seen are not really poor, they are just poor spenders. But we reached out and helped them anyway, because that is the Christian way.

    Some, very few, but some were put on their feet. Bu please don’t speak about us as if we do not care for the poor or are not aware of their needs or plight. There are poor and there are poor and we will have them with us always.

    How we present the gospel, is, of course, crucial to their chances of coming up from poverty, but how they receive it is also part of the deal.

    And no, no-one was forced or coerced into paying money to the church to support it. That is always a free-will decision.

    But I do believe in giving to God’s cause, and will continue to encourage it, because it simply is a blessed thing to do and works, because it was God’s idea.

  112. Soem of the poor in Australia I have seen are not really poor, they are just poor spenders. But we reached out and helped them anyway, because that is the Christian way.

    Perhaps, but if you really believe that they are just poor spenders then by giving them money or assistance you are just helping them avoid responsibility. It would be like “helping” a drunk by giving them another drink.

    Did you register as a CSO in order to obtain funding from the government for charitable works?

    These types of churches trying to provide charity from the government start to have mixed motivations. They are funded and obliged to provide charity, but they really dont believe in it. They look down at the people they are supposed to be helping. They get into conflict with them because their motivations are not to freely give.

    They are so used to the idea of getting something back, that they focus on their own church-building rather than the person supposed to be assisted.

  113. Goodness, wazza, you re not very easy to please! Always looking for a way to accuse.

    We were totally self-funded and self-supporting through the generosity of members as part of our local missions giving. Everything accounted for in our financial statements. We gathered surplus food and other goods from supermarket outlets, even supplying food and other items to the Salvos and other agencies in our area. It was completely run by volunteer staff who gave everything to help the helpless. It was registered for legal purposes only.

    I think I’ll leave you to your continual moaning and groaning about Pentecostal churches which actually do a good job. Why should anyone have to justify their motives to you anyway? N mater what I say you find something else to criticise us for.

    I’m so glad God isn’t as contentious as you are, or we’d all be in trouble.

    What a waste of time it is putting up positive posts when there are such kill-joys around to spoil anything decent or honourable.

    Most of what you say is supposition, anyway, I find, for instance, you still haven’t provided evidence for your dole claim earlier, which I take it was just a rumour or made up, or another of your moans. So now, were’s your evidence for your latest claims? Can you actually give any?

    Get some joy in you about the Church, man! Find something good or nice to say, for goodness sake! You are supposed be a believer, not a Christian basher!

  114. wazza2,
    ‘Perhaps, but if you really believe that they are just poor spenders then by giving them money or assistance you are just helping them avoid responsibility. It would be like “helping” a drunk by giving them another drink.’

    Do think for one second we did not realise this or consider it?

    I am showing you one of the issues facing community services in Australia today, and all you can do is find a way of criticising us for doing our best to help people in need, including those who abuse the system, but whom we cannot detect immediately because they know exactly how to work the system.

    Of course we found ways to deal with this kind of abuse of our willingness to assist, and took measures, which meant increased time-consuming paper-work and filing systems.

    I hope one day you’ll find a way to admit there are Pentecostals who do not match your derisive opinion of Pentecost in general.

    I don’t think there is much point in attempting to work through issues with you since you have such a poor opinion of other Christians that I find it hard to believe we are actually on the same side.

  115. Bones, in the US where they minister, everyone knew Oral Roberts, and now Joel Osteen is a household name. Much more well known than Bohnhoffer and others you mention. Same with TD Jakes.

    The witnesses of Bonhoeffer, Romero, Mother Teresa, St Francis, Desmond Tutu, Martin Luther King are known throughout my family the vast majority of which aren’t Christian. I only knew Oral Roberts as the clown that said if he didn’t get a million dollars, God would strike him dead.

    They didn’t need their own TV show, get caught in scandals to be aired on the News or dupe their congregations with false theology and live the high life and throw money around the stage.

    You also seem to equate popularity with sound teaching. Which must make Catholic (and Muslim) theology extremely sound.

    Somehow The Cost Of Discipleship doesn’t resonate with Your Best Life Is Now.

  116. I find, for instance, you still haven’t provided evidence for your dole claim earlier, which I take it was just a rumour or made up, or another of your moans.

    What about your claim of being blessed through tithing? Have you provided any evidence of this at all? You can send all your financial statements and giving records to me to substantiate your claim.

    Why do you take all the claims of prosperity through giving at face value, while demanding documentary evidence of anything I say has been preached at church? You yourself believe in giving from welfare, so why would you be surprised that other people are preaching it?

    I do think that you should not be providing welfare to people if you don’t accept and respect their choices. And you should not be asking them to give to your church.

  117. A message sent to Jakes via twitter today….

    “@BishopJakes is not a Trinitarian unless he unequivocally confesses a historic Trinitarian creed & publicly repudiates Modalism as a heresy.”

    That is what many are hoping to hear if he turns up as guest at the Elephant Room….

  118. What a waste of time it is putting up positive posts when there are such kill-joys around to spoil anything decent or honourable.

    Actually you guys are doing that yourself.

  119. You guys amaze me sometimes.

    You dont comment on Hillsong or other Pentes requesting a tithe on the dole (or even on a widow’s payout) – effectively robbing widows and the poor.

    But someone suggesting that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are different modes of the same being rather than separate persons – well that really gets you going.

    You’ve really got your priorities all wrong.

  120. @ wazza2 – my priority is God as revealed in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, as three separate Persons.

    The tithe as far as I’m concerned, does NOT apply to the NT believer but giving cheerly and generously as you’re able whether rich or poor, really falls back on God’s original promise to give us enough for today and not worry about tomorrow…

  121. And if Pentecostals read their bibles instead just taking on board whatever comes from the pulpit, without checking the truth about what the bible actually says, then who is to blame?

    Yes there are men out there fleecing their congregations, do you really believe at the end of the day, that the Lord is ignoring it?

  122. wazza2, you unequivocally stated that you knew of churches (plural) which asked people on he dole to put up their hands, and when they did, told them to tithe.

    You have failed to give one instance, let alone name churches.

    If you were being anecdotal and have no specific churches to name, ten at least have the honesty to say so.

    I have given personal testimony of God’s goodness to my own family since we determined to give a set amount. It is not strictly a tithe in the OT sense, since we are no longer under law, but it follows the pattern God gave.

    I have also given more than ample scriptural backup for everything I have claimed, which I have, on occasion, repeated, because you just don’t seem to get the importance of scripture to the way Christians give, sow or assist the poor with their finances.

    But I put it to you, if God has not blessed me in my giving, then tell me who has.

    I will continue to give God the glory for anything and everything I have which is of value, and which belongs to him to ask me to do with it what he wills.

    I came into this world with nothing, and I will leave with nothing. Everything is his to give or take away. What I have I have because he has attributed stewardship to me at this time.

    I prefer to believe his Word on giving, and not yours, whatever that may be, because you have yet to produce one scripture to back anything you’ve said, just on this thread alone, I can’t remember a single reference to scripture from you, except you sarcastically told sm and I we could do our own search on charity.

    Bones, I don’t know why you associate me with ministries you deem unfavourable. I have told you which clan I am from. I am am Pentecostal because I believe that Pentecost, the day when the Holy Spirit was poured out on all flesh, is still with us today, and the Bibel can be believed in all aspects of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

    It is too easy to google controversy and paste it up as ‘proof’ that Pentecostals are whacky. I could probably you tube a few liberal dopeynesses if I so ventured, but I prefer to work around scripture and verse, and the testimony in real terms which follows.

    Why not give scriptural reasons for doubting that God blesses people for their giving?

    Why do you have to regurgitate issues which have plagued signposts0 for years when I have posted a positive article which confirms what God has told us in the Word – that giving is blessed thing to do?

  123. I would say the quote below sums up what I believe about it. The Eastern Church may well have grounds to reject it though and the Anglicans and WCC have recommended it be dropped.

    Although the Eastern Fathers were aware that in the West the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son was taught, they did not generally regard it as heretical:[34] “a whole series of Western writers, including popes who are venerated as saints by the Eastern church, confess the procession of the Holy Spirit also from the Son; and it is even more striking that there is virtually no disagreement with this theory.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filioque

  124. margot,
    ‘And if Pentecostals read their bibles instead just taking on board whatever comes from the pulpit, without checking the truth about what the bible actually says, then who is to blame?’

    You take on board anything that comes from John McArthur and co.. Why is that any different?

    You also make the assumption that Pentecostals don’t read their Bibles. They do. More often than you realise, but not in the same legalistic way Reformists do.

    I’ve seen and pointed out some scripture gymnastics by some of the Reformist mob which is astonishing.

    They may read their Bibles, but they do not believe them, since they find it such a simple matter to revise what is actually being said to fit their own ideology.

    That is not reading your Bible.

    It is by being a doer of the Word, not a hearer only, that we become Bible-based believers.

  125. Steve, giving is a beneficial thing to do. I’ve been blessed by people in Pentecostal and non-Pentecostal churches who through their generosity, have helped us out in hard times. That is an expression of the love of God.

    But did you really think that tithing and prosperity wouldn’t be brought up?

    From your original article

    “But if you focus on why you’re giving – to make another person happy – it really can make you feel better and there are physical changes that underpin that”.

    I suppose the question is: does motive matter?

  126. Wazza2 would have every poor person remain in poverty and in need of welfare because he refuses to believe that God blesses giving.

    He would have us disregard Jesus’ words so that poor people never find out how to enter into godly stewardship.

    He would have us ignore Paul’s instructions on sowing and reaping so that we do not offend the people who are suffering lack and deprivation.

    He would have us keep them in the flooded basement of poverty and not help them up to higher ground in God because we might encourage them to contribute to their own welfare and increase by learning how to be generous.

    He would have the poor on handouts rather than giving them a business model to bring them up from poverty, or an entry into education which pulls them into a better economic stream.

    He’d rather keep them down and under his power, give them a daily supply of fish rather than a rod with which to catch their own.

    His doctrine is more akin to communism than Christianity.

    On this thread alone he has lied about what others have said and what they believe, and given false testimony of Pentecostal meetings.

    That is what is really astonishing, wazza2.

    The refusal to hear anything a Pentecostal might say which points towards meeting just some of your list requirements for a moral Christianity.

  127. Steve, I don’t think that is what Wazza is saying.

    For starters I’ve no doubt that what Wazza said re dole recipients is true. As I’ve said before we are regularly told in my church that people in welfare in Australia are in the top 10% in the world. Then you have the Pentecostal churches in Africa and Latin America, no doubt those congregations would be tithing from their poverty.

    Jssus spoke a lot about the poor, about sharing, about giving to others. Christians such as Dom Halder Camara have sought to improve the lot of the poor not through tithing, but through social change. Dom Halder Camara was considered a Communist as well, why? Because he asked “why are they poor, why are they hungry”. Yet through his influence, life has improved abundantly for the poor and workers in Brazil.

    What Pentecostal Christianity is saying is

    1. There doesn’t need to be social change.
    2. The poor can help themselves just by tithing.
    3. The poor are to give out of their poverty so that they can become rich.

    A study of Gustavo Gutierrez, Leonardo Boff, Jon Sobrino and Juan Luis Segundo, who all lived among the poor in Central and Latin America identified social injustice as the cause of poverty. And the need for social change.

    Western Christians don’t want social change and don’t see a need for it. Western Christianity sees no such thing as corporate sin such as greed and might makes right. For many Western Christians it’s about the individual, not the community.

    Take some of the Aboriginal communities. As Christians are we outraged over their conditions enough to say something is wrong. Or are we just interested in personal salvation.

  128. And yes the poor can come out of their poverty without tithing. It takes education, employment and housing opportunities, addressing societal imbalances through unified action (eg the union movement) to name a few.

  129. Steve, that was an extraordinary attack.

    Bones expressed my views better than I could. We all live in a social system which is unfairly skewed towards the financial benefit of some people.

    It is not simply a matter of some individuals pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. We are not all on a level playing field. I think you will be extremely conflicted if you continue to try to run a charity with this type of far-right dogmatic thinking.

    I dont see why you continue to demand evidence for a preacher encouraging those on welfare to tithe. My understanding is that you believe this would be a good thing for the welfare recipient. I have stated this understanding of your beliefs a couple of times and you have never corrected it.

    So if you believe in it, why would you not think that some preachers would state it in church? Why did you say that it “sounds terrible”?. What is terrible about it – encouraging someone to tithe from lack, or openly stating that encouragement in church?

    I have repeatedly said that I cannot provide the evidence unless I do something illegal like surreptitiously record sermons.

    Now lets look at one of your claims:

    “On this thread alone he has lied about what others have said and what they believe, and given false testimony of Pentecostal meetings.”

    You of course have evidence for this, and will provide it in a timely manner or retract the claim.

  130. @ Steve – I KNOW they don’t read their bibles!!!!! Good grief, doesn’t 22 years of observation stand for anything! Try talking to a C3 attendee who only reads a small devotional because it’s all about what’s in for them rather than being all about Christ. It’s heartbreaking.

    They never talk about Jesus, only about themselves or whatever great vision they have spent the last 15 years trying to “make” come to pass. Poor exhausted sheep, trying so hard, never at peace….

  131. I’m amused by Steve’s response to my comment about people not checking what they hear from the pulpit, when the experience we had was never large blocks of text in context, but one verse, generally out of context (and from The Message Bible 😦 )

    And how many sermons do we still hear that make no sense whatsoever, if one takes the time to stay in touch with the current crop of up and coming young guns, I.e. Furtick, Noble, etc etc.

    So, Steve, are you suggesting that we don’t be like the Bereans? Did you put your preaching above Paul’s response to that commended group?

  132. Steve, you wrote; ‘Who are you to dismiss it as out of context, wen (sic) it is clear to anyone who grasps it that it is fully in context. Do you know how it all works? Are you superior in your understanding of the connection between the Old and the New Testaments?’

    And then you said I was being rude about you!! But I know you have thicker hide than that really.

    Anyway, let’s play ‘who are you’ tennis…who are you to say your comments are in context, and my dismissal is wrong?

    If there was any, shall we say, ‘directness’ in my post about ‘purposed’ giving (the ‘purpose’ being to give a set amount – normally 10% of one’s income – to the church every week) it is because of the obvious duplicity and underhandedness of this ‘helpful’ mandate from the church. On the one hand we are to give ‘as each man purposes in his heart’ and on the other, the start point is 10%. Which is it?

    Importantly, you haven’t answered the core issue at all. That being – to what or who are the NT believers giving? It wasn’t their local fellowship; it wasn’t their local church building and its upkeep; it wasn’t to the elders overseeing them. So why wrench the principles held dear by the early church and bang their square peg into today’s round hole?

    Even if you, Steve, vary your giving based on the initial donation of 10% (a tithe), and so donate ‘tithes AND offerings’ (first-fruits, wave whatever) then you are still applying OT principles that have been subsumed in Christ.

    For instance and in similar vein, he is our sabbath rest (Heb 4). He IS our sabbath, not a day of the week. If you believe certain pre-Law principles as still applicable today, then why don’t you keep the sabbath, as that too was deemed ‘holy to the Lord’? Moving to Sunday is another example of the Christianising of pagan worship. The history is out there, and expressed very well by Viola et al.

    I liked your bit on Melchisedek. Some lovely types to be seen, but, I would suggest that the writer of Hebrews is saying that because Jesus was in the order of Melchisedek we are in one who subsumes and fulfills all feasts, tithes, sabbaths, and festivals. The entire Law is embodied in him and the true spirit of the Law (to draw us to God through Christ) comes and dwells in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We cannot give directly to Jesus as Abraham did (once) to Melchisedek, but we can give directly to the Christ in another believer who is in obvious need. We can still be generous, rejoicing in our giving because we are being obedient to the unction of the Spirit, still give according to our means as each prosper, and so be entirely biblically contextual in so doing. 🙂

  133. ”The Promises are first witnessed in Genesis. The gospel has its roots in the Promises, not the law.”

    Steve, please could you explain more about this doctrine of the Promises. As one who holds closely to the foundational truths in Genesis, this sounds interesting to me. At the moment though it’s just an ear-tickling statement. Cheers.

  134. wazza2, you were disingenuous about what I have said in regard to tithing.

    You, along with zeibart and Bones, have made what I have said into a legal requirement and argued along those lines, which is wrong, and you know it. It’s all on this thread, and available for anyone to see. I don’t have to change anything.

    I have said often that there is no legal requirement to tithe, and that it is, for me, a useful measure for giving, but not a law. I prefer to walk in the Spirit, where their is no law, and live according to the Spirit of the Word and not the letter, as I have said.

    You have also made erroneous claims about how we operated a sound work which reached out to the poor.
    –––––––––––––––––––––––––

    Bones,
    ‘What Pentecostal Christianity is saying is

    1. There doesn’t need to be social change.
    2. The poor can help themselves just by tithing.
    3. The poor are to give out of their poverty so that they can become rich.’

    That’s utter rubbish, and very provocative, but to respond:

    1. Of course there needs to be social change. That is the point of the gospel.

    Pentecostal missiology includes the charge to preach repentance – change – and the ushering in of the Kingdom of God. That is radical social change.

    What liberalism does is confuse the gospel of the kingdom with social justice based on humanism, and these threads are filled with evidence of this error. Much liberal ideology is closer to socialism than Christian social justice.

    The best way to liberate a man is through bringing him to Christ. He cannot understand the principles of the kingdom until this has taken place. It is only through kingdom principles of living that a man can be truly liberated.

    2. The claim that the poor can help themselves just by tithing is totally refuted already by much of what I have written on this thread alone.

    I have said that the church needs to assist the poor wherever possible, to give them bread when they are hungry, but, as well as this, give them seed to sow, and a field to plant it in, and tools to help them reap their own harvest.

    If you have missed this on this thread then you have clearly failed to read all that I have written on the subject, and more than once. It is one thing, I said, to give a man a fish to eat, but quite another to give him a rod with which to catch fish. That is surely the way up.

    Once he has a harvest of fish and is experiencing increase he is in a position to begin giving to those in poverty he has left behind to help them up also.

    3. Which is covered by ‘2’, but it is a nonsense to say that the poor have to give out of their poverty if it causes undue suffering. What do you consider poverty?

    Most pentecostal churches I am aware of have or are outlets for assisting those who are going through hard times. I have already given testimony of how we approached the situation in our locality.

    Paul tells us that the Macedonians gave out of their poverty, but this was because they determined to assist those who were going through worse conditions that they were out of Christian charity.

    Paul also commends them because they gave in a time when they had something to give to those who did not, but there would be a time when the situation might be reversed, which says that we can all go through times of abundance and times of lack, but that we should always be ready to assist those in the Body who are suffering at any given time.

    In my experience Pentecostals are very good at this and have given much to missions and especially to people who are suffering through famine, or natural disasters which take place from time to time, as any Christian would, be they Baptists, Anglicans, Uniting Church, or whatever.
    –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

    Margot, I dont really give much credence to your 22 years in one church which you have constantly knocked ever since you left, mainly because I have been in contact with many of the people you claim don’t read their Bibles and found that not to be true. I’d say they do read their Bibles at least as much as I do, and you know that I am fundamentalist who does nothing without a Biblical principle to base it on. I think your perception has been warped by time and attitude. What you really mean is that they don’t preach the same Reformed message you have not become an adherent of, and so you don’t rate their theology.

  135. zeibart,
    ‘Importantly, you haven’t answered the core issue at all. That being – to what or who are the NT believers giving?’

    Again, this has been answered often.

    We are honouring God with the first-fruits of all our substance.

    At other times we give to the poor, which is akin to lending to God.

    The reason I question your capacity to dismiss what I’ve said as out of context is that you clearly don’t see the context yourself in the first place. You miss the truth of what I am saying because you clearly don’t know the basis.

    It’s one thing to challenge an assumption, but to dismiss it as out of context when it was the context which was actually being given, and is right there before your very eyes, and, if you were, as margot says, Berean, you would take the time to check out the scriptures for yourself and then you would see that what I said was perfectly in context.

    When I say ‘purposed giving’ I am referring to what Paul called giving according to what we purpose in our hearts to give, which could mean a set amount, or it could be a variable amount determined beforehand, but is always an amount which has been predetermined, and not an amount which is thought of on the spot.

    It has nothing to do with the tithe, since the tithe is not being referred to by Paul at 2 Corinthians 9. He is comparing giving to sowing.

    There is also an attitude of giving which goes along with the discipline of giving, which, again Paul alludes to.

  136. zeibart<

    Galatians 3
    16* Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ.
    17* And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect.
    18* For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
    19* What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.
    20* Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.
    21* Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.
    22* But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
    23* But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.
    24* Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
    25* But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
    26* For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
    27* For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
    28* There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
    29* And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

    Enjoy the journey which follows from this starting point! 🙂

  137. “@BishopJakes is not a Trinitarian unless he unequivocally confesses a historic Trinitarian creed & publicly repudiates Modalism as a heresy.””

    “Where does everyone stand on the filioque controversy, ie. do you believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son or just from the Father alone.”

    Christians have such riveting conversations …

  138. Wazza, the irony is that none of my relatives in Australia are Christians. So they don’t tithe and aren’t believing in God for increase. On the other hand, they aren’t capitalist pigs who are exploiting the poor. But just by going to work for forty years even when they felt bad, tired, unfulfilled, would rather be doing something else, felt their bosses made too much money, etc etc , and by not gambling much or getting addicted to drugs or alcohol, and by not using credit cards unwisely, and by saving money (some still don’t have wide screen TVs), they are living comfortably.

    The poor you talk about it – if you could sit down with them and interview them, can you honestly say that there is no way they could have lived differently to avoid their “poverty” (however you define it), and do you honestly think there is NOTHING they could do to be comfortable in 5 or 10 years unless the government gives them more money, and we instigate “social change” (whatever you mean by that)???

    So, they couldn’t relocate? If there is a father, he couldn’t go to WA and work in a mine for a year? There’s NOTHING they can do, except wait for the govt to give them an extra how much? Would another thousand dollars a month be sufficient?

    Okay, let’s give all the poor people a thousand more dollars a month. Would you still call them poor and demand an end to this rotten system we live in? (So bad of course that millions would come here tomorrow if they had the chance, and some risk death to get here)

    Wazza,
    How much more should those on welfare be given?
    Do you know any poor people in Australia working two jobs, and have saved all their money, and done all they could to stay out of poverty?
    What social change do you want? Something like Greece? North Korea? Old Soviet Russia?

  139. “1. There doesn’t need to be social change.
    2. The poor can help themselves just by tithing.
    3. The poor are to give out of their poverty so that they can become rich.’

    1. We could have social change TODAY, if everyone loved one another, stopped sinning, did the Will of God, and prayed “They will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.
    2. Actually, I think if you listened to pentecostal preachers, nobody is saying that – unless you want to come up with the worst example. But you can always come up with the worst examples. If I said Islam is dangerous because of terrorists, no doubt i would be accused of not being fair, and reformists would like me to use examples of hyper-calvinists to attack someone who holds to reformed theology.
    Joyce Meyers, is a “prosperity” preacher, but she talks for hours in her meetings about not living on credit, not living beyond your means and wise living. So I don’t know any Pastors who say the poor can help themselves by JUST tithing. Never heard that. Never.
    3. In many charismatic mega churches, people are told that they don’t HAVE to be poor, that it IS possible to be rich, and are given examples of people in the Bible who ACTUALLY DID give when they didn’t have much. Actually, if I knew a poor person, I’d be helping their future more by sending them to Osteen’s church than the local “it’s not your fault, it’s the governments/societies/capitalist pigs fault …there there, just wait until we change society for you, you poor little poor person”, “Oh excuse me while I go back to my manse and change for the latest conference where we will discuss feminist hermeneutics, modality and the filioque controversy” church.

    No malice intended 🙂 Just havin’ fun.

    Honestly, you guys are not hearing Steve at all. I think you’re not being fair at all. He’s the only Pentecostal preacher I know who would dialogue like this. At least quote him properly.

  140. btw, you people talk about the poor in Australia, and I here talk about how we are in times similar to the depression. It’s NONSENSE.

    Go talk to your grandparents about the depression! Men WALKED for hours to get a job. Some got on trains and went to the other side of the country for work. I know people who went to their in-laws for lunch so that they could EAT!.

    And those on welfare in Australia ARE in the top 10% in the world.
    It’s a beautiful system to be living in where if you lose your job for a time you can get money for free. In the country I’m living in, I DON’T GET THAT. If I lost my income, I either starve, or I work at Macdonalds.

    But here’s the thing. I know 50 yr olds who work at two different Macdonalds. And they just do that for extra pocket money, whereas I know some people who only take jobs that they are trained for. And yes, I know people who literally haven’t worked for decades. And, there are second generation welfare recipients.

    These people don’t need more handouts, they need to change their thinking. And if they don’t get that in the church, then they should go get a Tony Robbins book.

    Faith, hope, positive attitude, believing that you can change your circumstances, hard work, having a vision, having a plan. Really nasty stuff isn’t it…

    Okay, lets all go out and make millions and then give cheerfully!
    Peace!

  141. 1. We could have social change TODAY, if everyone loved one another, stopped sinning, did the Will of God, and prayed “They will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.

    That’s the copout. Isn’t it. You have to recognise institutional evil ie what is it that keeps the poor poor. Or any other system of injustice. That’s what being a prophet is about. The prophets of the Old Testament and Jesus Himself confronted social evil. Martin Luther King, Bonhoeffer, Desmond Tutu, Wilberforce, Camara did more than just pray. Pentecostals and right wing Christianity are far more outraged by homosexuality than the living conditions of many of our Aboriginals or the treatment of asylum seekers.

    Actually, I think if you listened to pentecostal preachers, nobody is saying that

    The message is implicitly there in every study you want to watch whether Meyer, Jakes, whatever. It’s easy to tell others how to live when you are a mutlimillionaire.

    3. In many charismatic mega churches, people are told that they don’t HAVE to be poor, that it IS possible to be rich, and are given examples of people in the Bible who ACTUALLY DID give when they didn’t have much.

    Once again that’s a western fallacy. You will do very well telling that to Latin Americans and Africans. Camara realised that unless the social structures that keep the poor and workers down are broken down than the poor will always be poor. Osteen will undoubtedly sell more dvds and books but make no change to those people’s lives but will no doubt increase his bank balance.

    Do you think our great way of life came from nowhere or from people tithing? We have great working conditions because of a strong labour and union movement. Which I hear regularly criticised from the pulpit btw.

    Right wing Christianity and the forces of capitalism and greed are all over each other.

    I’d be helping their future more by sending them to Osteen’s church than the local “it’s not your fault, it’s the governments/societies/capitalist pigs fault …there there, just wait until we change society for you, you poor little poor person”,

    You mean like the attitude that King, Tutu, Bonhoeffer, Wilberforce, Romero had which you’re belittling and is disgusting. But I’m not surprised. Because that is prosperity teaching for you. Golly go and read about some real Christians.

  142. Faith, hope, positive attitude, believing that you can change your circumstances, hard work, having a vision, having a plan. Really nasty stuff isn’t it…

    No, its beautiful and inspiring. The nastiness comes in when you imply (or state explicity) that people who are poor in Australia are that way because of lack of Faith, positive attitude, hard work, lack of vision, lack of plan.

    Sure if I sat down with someone who was poor, I could probably think of 5 different ways they could improve their circumstances. But they would be my ways – not theirs. I wouldnt know all of their problems and limitations nor all of their talents and strengths. I would never presume to tell them what to do, or be so paternalistic or condescending to say that I could work out their lives for them.

    Thats probably the core difference between you and me.

  143. So let me get this right.

    The poor shouldn’t tithe from their poverty.

    God will bless you financially through tithing.

    There’s something illogical with believing those two statements.

  144. @ Steve – “Margot, I dont really give much credence to your 22 years in one church which you have constantly knocked ever since you left, mainly because I have been in contact with many of the people you claim don’t read their Bibles and found that not to be true”.

    Really? You have been in contact with some of our friends? Close family members? Interesting – hate to call you out on that one.

  145. So, wazza, you see a poor person, and can tell they’re in trouble, have a few solutions for them, but you wouldn’t want to help them out of their fix because they might think you’re being paternalistic or condescending.

    You have the means to assist but you withhold because they might think badly of you.

    How about looking at it differently. You mentioned researching charity. Why don’t you become charitable instead of paternalistic and show them a few ways to get on their feet again?

    You could be brotherly rather than condescending and give some options.

    Jesus – “I went down there, Father, but I withdrew from helping them because they may have thought I was being too God-like!”

    I wouldnt know all of their problems and limitations nor all of their talents and strengths.

    Gosh, wazza, have you ever heard of conversation, you know, asking people about their situation, finding out what they can do, going over their attributes, skills, abilities and strengths?

    I mean, what does it take to get you to actually commit to something?

  146. The truth is, I’m saddened that they don’t read their bibles, that they would rather be told what it says rather than do the hard yards of study (and for some it is). But it does make them very vulnerable to false teaching generally and as I said before, who is to blame for that? They are, and their children become second generation unbelievers. It’s already happening.

  147. Margot, it’s really not worth going down that track. You were insulting of Pentecostals and your former church. I was generalising, but, since you claim to have known people in leadership I can honestly say I have met some of them, fellowshipped with some of them, or heard some of them minister and they are people who read their Bibles.

    I also left a church and movement, but I have no desire to condemn them in any way, publicly or privately, or claim to know them better than I do, or put them down for anything. I’d rather maintain my relationships and thank God they are believers even if they do have a different way of showing it. The fact is that people move on and they grow.

    Your comments were unnecessary, and not even relevant to the post and thread.

  148. I didnt say that at all Steve, yes I’ve heard of conversation and dialogue.

    I sometimes wonder if you have, or whether you engage in one enormous monologue.

    ” you see a poor person, and can tell they’re in trouble, have a few solutions for them “

    I dont have solutions for people, I may have questions, suggestions, I may offer to help in some areas. But I never have solutions. I always respect their choices and their free-will, their personhood. They arent a problem to solve.

    Have you come to this forum with “solutions” for us? Can you see that this attitude always causes friction?

  149. Steve, unless you following my comments on FB, my comments here are very rare these days. And you seem slightly miffed that I dare comment here again? And off topic!

    A little stirred up at the moment having 6 year grandson in tears because “God” doesn’t speak to him in an audible voice as instructed at some church he goes to.

    Still, at least as grandparents, we can point him to his little bible (he can read) and show where the Lord is speaking to him all the time.

    Such a pity that one’s experience is worthless unless it lines up with your take on church life generally.

  150. @Steve,

    ““Margot, I dont really give much credence to your 22 years in one church which you have constantly knocked ever since you left, mainly because I have been in contact with many of the people you claim don’t read their Bibles and found that not to be true”.

    It’s not such much that you are completely clueless; it’s that you are firmly wedded to the lie and therefore refuse to open your eyes to see what is plainly apparent. There was a service at C3OF several months ago where the pastor asked for a show of hands: “How many of you have read the book of Jeremiah in its entirety?”. There were perhaps two hundred people there, and only around 20-25% put their hands up. Is that too anecdotal for you? I can tell you that even the pastor looked a little shocked.

    You know that it says that God’s people perish for lack of knowledge? Woe to those self-appointed apostles who pervert the truth for their own gain; who feed themselves and not God’s sheep. Woe to them who twist God’s word and in so doing rob Him of His glory – who defame Him and besmirch His character. Woe to those who travel over land and sea to plant a church, and who then hasten to put on the necks of their followers the heavy yoke of the law – a yoke that neither the early apostles nor their forefathers could bear. Woe to the blind guides who preach a neutered Gospel that is insipid and powerless: they themselves are not entering, and they will not suffer others to enter.

    Judgement is coming. In its time it will come swiftly, and it is going to start in the church.

  151. @ Steve – when one of the senior pastors stood in as lecturer in OT studies a few years ago, he asked how many of the 2nd year Bible College students had read Isaiah? None…..was he shocked? You bet he was – how do they even get accepted into Bible College, let alone 2nd year if at least they haven’t read through the Bible?

    This “anecdote” told to us at a private dinner with the lecturing pastor.

    I’m not C3 bashing, this is endemic in seeker churches world-wide. These young men and women are then sent out to start churches, any wonder why so many crash and burn(out)……but then we don’t like to talk about failure.

  152. Too bad he wasn’t prosperity and had to fight for his community. his people, his neighbours

    He was assassinated the next day.

    A prophet.

  153. wazza,
    Have you come to this forum with “solutions” for us?

    Do you have problems? You seem very convinced of your position to me, but, any way I can help…

    Can you see that this attitude always causes friction?

    What attitude? I put up a few posts which I think are relative to current affairs, and take us away from a former Christian condemning style of blogging, and you seem to be the first to contradict whatever I say. So who’s attitude are you discussing?

    This particular post was a positive slant on giving which could have produced an enlightening thread, but has slowly sunk into the mire of criticism of Pentecostalism. I didn’t promote that attitude.

  154. @Bones, it will take me a while to get through all of this.
    So, you are saying what I said about prosperity (that God’s will is not that people remain poor) is wrong, because. ……Martin Luther King Jr gave speeches against racism….??!?!

    Guess what. Martin Luther King is on MY side. I never once said racism was good. I never once said that segregation was good. I never once said that laws and social norms can’t be changed for equality.

    And I have never said that I believe in order to get rich that poor people should just sit down and send tithes.
    I believe and have said quite the contrary.

    But, since you want to be ridiculous, I’ll take you up on it.

    It’s been decades since Martin Luther King was killed. Things are different. But guess what? Look at black poverty levels and what do you see?

    So, do you think we need MORE laws? Extra money given to blacks? What are saying?

    Really man. You must have studied theology or gone to uni before the collapse of Berlin Wall or something..

    (I know I did -and i remember dingbat lecturers who were enamored of communism).

    eh….it doesn’t work Sunshine!
    Maybe you should go set up shop in North Korea.

    As for Brazil…you ever been there lately?
    and …Look at the economic rise of Wesley’s methodists.
    Might be good for Wazza to study Wesley too. You’ll probably accuse him of being paternalistic too.

    And for the record I am the least racist person. I’ll bet you on that. Wait up, I’ll go through your angry posts an see if I can get around to answering all the attacks.

    man, anyone would think that Christianity, and esp pentecostals were the cause of all the worlds problems.

    Talking to you guys is like talking to anti-christian atheists sometimes.

    ps, As a minister, I think Steve deserves more respect. Our society has gone to the dogs.

  155. Steve, could you expand on these Promises please. I read Gal 3 and Gen 12 & 13. All I can conclude is that the Promise to Abraham was that he would be part of the lineage that ended with Jesus and through his faith in the promise to become a father of many. Fast forward to 60AD, and Paul explains how the faith element annulled the Law which was put in place temporarily to point the Jews to Christ. The Seed of Abraham – Jesus – is the fulfilment of the Law and so we need not remain in legal bonds having been freed by faith in Christ.

    Jesus is the Promise. Is there something deeper I’m missing here?

  156. Margot, why not go to the local Methodist/Lutheran/Uniting Church and ask for shows of hands there.

    Yes, christians need to read the bible more. (So, I’ll probably be on less here).

    But it isn’t just Charismatics. I’ve been in Methodist, Lutheran, Uniting, baptist churches AND pentecostals.
    I don’t think there is any less bible reading going on.

    As for the Bible school anecdote, well, isn’t great that they were encouraged to read the bible more, and they probably read it by the time they graduated. What’s amazing is how many people are in a church so full of zeal that they are willing to go to Bible College and serve God without years and years of bible study behind them.

    And you might be surprised if you looked at missions. Ever go to worldwide missions conferences? Last one I went to was almost all full of charismatics. Maybe they haven’t read calvins institutes, but they are the ones making the progress in the world.

    Don’t believe me, look it up. That’s why outside of the reformed “let’s bash everyone” internet world, when you go to the mission field evangelicals and pentecostals get along fine. There is respect. And one reason is because it’s mostly the charismatics/pentecostals that have people willing to go the mission field.

    So, yeah the pentecostals have their problems, every movement has. Go study the reformation.

  157. “Thats probably the core difference between you and me.”

    You presume so much Wazza. And yeah, there are too many poor people who ARE poor because they don’t have a plan, a vision, hope, strong work ethic.

    And actually …..I’m not the only one who thinks so.

  158. This website has give me a new appreciation for the Charismatic world. In fact the more I read the more I like Hillsong and C3.

  159. “Western Christians don’t want social change and don’t see a need for it. ”
    Like what???

    “Take some of the Aboriginal communities. As Christians are we outraged over their conditions enough to say something is wrong.”
    You ever been to one? Have many aboriginal friends?
    What is your solution? Give the more money? Let them live in Bill Gate’s mansion?
    You scream a lot, but I don’t hear any specifics.

    Bones, go hang out in an aboriginal community, and talk to them about Luther King and Brazil and tell them to stay angry about “the system”, and see what you can do for them.

    And while you’re at it, do something for me.
    Go to Hillsong and count the number of people of minority groups and other races.
    Then go to your local liberal, liberation theology church and count how many are there.

    Unless of course you get my point, then you can save yourself the bother.

  160. Yep, you don’t have any idea.

    You still equate any sort of class struggle or proactive help for the poor as communism. That’s why Romero and King were assassinated and Camara was removed from office. You have no idea but totally misrepresent the theology of those who have lived and struggled in some of the poorest communities.

    For a Christian group in Australia check out Dave andrews and the Waiter’s Union working with disadvantaged in Brisbane (those fat lazy cigarette smoking drunks – which characterises all the poor in Australia).

    http://www.daveandrews.com.au/

    Most Christan groups who have spent years supporting, helping and advocating for the poor, see prosperity doctrine for the cynical exploitation of the poor that it is. And theonly one getting rich out of it is the one selling the product. That you can’t see it means the scales are still on your eyes.

  161. “You presume so much Wazza. And yeah, there are too many poor people who ARE poor because they don’t have a plan, a vision, hope, strong work ethic.

    And actually …..I’m not the only one who thinks so.”

    Yeah but not many of them are running charities to help the poor. I’ve certainly learnt something new here, the existence of far right-wing charities.

    Now get a hair-cut and a real job. We didn’t win the war by blogging you know. GET OFF MY LAWN!!!

  162. Wow Greg, take it to the next level, but you’re right. I’ve noticed the same thing at our church with some of the older folks.

    Having pew bibles as they do in Anglican churches is great but I prefer a bible I can mark so I take my own.

    Still, going back to my original comment, people need to practice discernment in church by checking the context of the message and if they don’t, how much more easily can they be deceived, in ANY church? I appreciate that our minister asks us to check his words, from the pulpit, on a regular basis.

    And SM, we support and have missionaries in our home. You know, the ones that go into third world wide countries, the ones that lay their lives on the line, even the ones off very soon to Damascus, though undercover.

  163. Margot, that’s great. But I stand by what I say. I went to the latest worldwide missions conference. If you dislike Charismatics you wouldn’t have had a fun time there.
    They basically did most of the talking. And did the worship. And the hosting.

    I just wish the hostility levels would go down a little here.

    The world is going to the dogs, and half the church seems to be spending its time trying to convince the world that the other half of the church is evil.

    PS Margot, I love missionaries. Great that you are supporting them. Really. It’s a hard life and many feel forgotten once they leave, and find it hard to adjust when they come back.

  164. SM, I love you.

    PS

    Prosperity Gospel is still a rip off.

    Do you want a front row ticket to the Joel Osteen Show?

    It’s $147 to check out his nose hairs.

  165. Bones…..maybe this whole thing is because of definitions. I believe in the possibility and availability of abundance and prosperity for Christians. I think you can give it up and leave it for various reasons (I am one of those), I don’t think the bible promises that your life will be one unbroken line of good times, and I don’t believe that people get rich by just sending money to Copeland. I thought I went out of my way to explain that.

    I believe in charities. I believe in short-term assistance. But I also firmly believe that there is no “Inherent” problem with the “system” in Australia. What needs to be changed? You tell me? Double the welfare payments?

  166. Wazza and Bones, do you realize that most of the world looks at Australia as the land flowing with milk and honey? That people are astonished at the welfare system? And yet you are both still angry at the “system”.

    Going back to wazza and the poor in the 70s in QLD. I know plenty of vietnamese refugees who had absolutely nothing, got jobs as gardeners, factory workers, night cleaners – jobs nobody wanted, but got all their kids through university. What was the difference? Besides their thoughts and choices?

    You guys need to go to a Tony Robbins seminar or something.

  167. Bones, I don’t know about 147 dollar seats at Joel Osteens church. Are you talking about some other kind of event?
    All I know is that not everyone has to pay 147 dollars to go to Joel Osteens church. That is simply not true.

    In fact, the beauty of Australia is that you can go to your local library and use the internet for free and watch Joel Osteen or Martin Luther King or the Brazilian guy you love so much for free. It’s the best time ever to be alive.
    Nobody has to be poor.

  168. SM

    I already said that you can thank movements like the strong Labour and union movements for our way of life.

    Our system isn’t perfect. For starters, poverty in Aboriginal communities and asylum seekers need to be addressed as well as other issues such as the sheer greed and influence of the banking system.

  169. @Bones. While I’m a believer in free enterprise, I agree with you re unions and banking.
    If there was no political intervention there’d still be kids working in coal mines.
    And the fact that CEOs can make gazillions whether they make a profit or not and fire thousands, needs to change.

  170. SM, the difference for the Vietnamese in part was that they had access to free coaching, and free housing loans through their community.

    When they benefitted they were expected to provide tuition and loans to other Vietnamese refugees. Sort of a private welfare system, if you like.

    Thats what my refugee co-worker told me anyway. They were mostly Catholic or Buddhist so didnt have the benefit of the Prosperity Gospel.

    The worlds the darndest thing isnt it? Kind of hard to make simple rules for.

  171. I don’t remember saying I was an adherent of the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’, or not the one you are claiming I am part of, at least.

    If I were, I wouldn’t discuss it here with you lot. It would be like wearing a St Kilda scarf in a Collingwood pub on a Saturday night.

    No, boys, you have entirely attributed that doctrine to me, despite the very clear and scriptural doctrinal stance I have produced (even in monologue form) on these threads.

    I have said that the tithe is not a legal requirement, but that giving in a predetermined (purposed) way is acceptable, and even encouraged Biblically.

    I also believe that there are times when we abound and times when we are abased, so the best way to live is with godliness and contentment, which is great gain.

    I believe there is blessing for the Body, but it also comes with suffering at times and even persecution for the righteous, some unto martyrdom. To live is Christ, and to die is gain.

    I believe that God is the God of increase, and that he will multiply our seed sown, but there are times when we are called to fast, or walk through famine, but that God always gives a way of escape from trials and temptations.

    And fiery trials will come to us all, during which we are admonished to count them great joy, and allow them to purify our faith, and develop endurance so that we will lack nothing.

    I believe that Jesus promised us a life more abundant, and that that life is in the here and now, but he also said it would come with persecutions. He said that we would have tribulation in this world, but to be of good cheer.

    Prosperity is often spoken of in the Word of God, and sometimes it produces wealth, but wealth and riches are not the guaranteed right of every person who confesses Christ. In fact, for some people, riches are a curse, and wealth a millstone.

    For others generosity is a way of life and some are called to liberality, whereby the more they give the more comes in, as God uses them as a supply chain to the gospel.

    Prosperity is not measured in wealth, money, material wealth or position, although there may be times when some of us will enjoy the good things God has provided in this earth. He says they are ours to enjoy, but to be covetous over.

    Prosperity is measured by our spiritual condition in our relationship with God, his children, and the people who are yet to be saved. It could include material well-being, but is not dependent on it.

    ‘When wealth is the prime motive, and motive is always more slippery than we’re prepared to admit, we’re likely “to fall into temptation and are trapped by many harmful desires that plunge us (them) into ruin and destruction.” 1 Timothy 6:9. And v10 adds, “For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” You can always tell a person taken by money – it’s all they talk about or that which their conversation sooner or later gets around to.

    Prosperity is something all together different. It is always an attitude before it is ever an acquisition and it exists when the other doesn’t.’ [Simon McIntyre, Pastor, C3 London]

    The reason many people either hang their faith on prosperity, or at the other end of the scale, despise prosperity altogether, is their association of prosperity with money, material riches and excess, but prosperity is far more than earthly comfort, gain or power, it is our connection with Christ, regardless of our financial position.

    My family have prospered as much being in a developing nation in a Missions location for a sustained time with very little money at our disposal, as being in a developed nation debt free and with disposable income. In either state we are only as prosperous as our relationship with God and his people.

    So before you cast fiery darts and accuse me of being of a crowd you despise, please take the time to check out where I come from and what I am engaged in, and why.

    I was the prime mover in removing Kenneth Copeland materials from our church and giving warning to members about his ministry in this area in 2000 after his Conference, where a group of ministers, including Creflo Dollar, preached excess. Kenneth Hagin also warned them about their wrong doctrine, and even wrote a book about the issue.

    So your attack by association on what I teach is both harsh and wrong, so I hope you’ll please take note, and revise your strategy somewhat.

  172. Steve, wouldn’t you say the teaching of TD Jakes, Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen are prosperity teachings.

    Maybe a defintion is helpful.

    Prosperity theology (sometimes referred to as the prosperity gospel or the “health and wealth” gospel) is a Christian religious doctrine which claims the Bible teaches that financial blessing is the will of God for Christians. The doctrine teaches that faith, positive speech, and donations to Christian ministries will always increase one’s material wealth.

    https://signposts02.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/lifestyle-of-giving-shown-to-be-beneficial/#comment-26012

    If you deny that is what you believe then that’s good enough for me.

  173. Bones,
    Prosperity theology (sometimes referred to as the prosperity gospel or the “health and wealth” gospel) is a Christian religious doctrine which claims the Bible teaches that financial blessing is the will of God for Christians. The doctrine teaches that faith, positive speech, and donations to Christian ministries will always increase one’s material wealth.

    If you say so.

    Sounds like a very loose interpretation of prosperity teaching to me, but, then, I have never really analysed it, since being blessed, or experiencing abundance is only a part of the potential of the gospel. I am probably more from the full gospel school.

    As long as we live in this earth there will also be trials and tribulation, suffering and hardship along with the possibility of material and emotional well-being.

    Faith does play a part in the outcome of affairs, but we’re not here to be comfortable in goods, but to further the cause of Christ. That has always been a Pentecostal goal. The prosperity accusations have always clouded the main intentions of Pentecostal teaching, which is more about the doctrines of the Holy Spirit being correct than personal materialism.

    I think it may have been a reaction to the poverty teaching which is still prevalent in some quarters, but, to an extent, perhaps, an overcorrection, which needs to be righted at some juncture.

    I do not listen to much of Jakes or Meyer, or Osteen, for that matter. I find Jakes very Calvinistic in his teaching, from what I have heard, which would be ironic for margot. He very much teaches a similar message to Rick Warren, who is definitely not a prosperity teacher, which declares that God might put things on us to teach us a lesson, the extreme side of sovereignty teaching, which Osteen also teaches, from what I have heard of him.

    Jakes, however is compulsive listening because he does bring out some things from scripture which are worth noting, which is why he draws big crowds. His sovereignty doctrine, however, is too Calvin for me.

    I would be closer to Osteen’s father, John Osteen, a great Baptist teacher/missionary/evangelist who was filled with the Spirit and ejected from the Southern Baptists for teaching on healing, the gifts and tongues, but always considered himself a Baptist preacher, as did Hagin, who is much misunderstood and maligned unfairly.

    I don’t know what Meyer teaches, but she does a phenomenal amount of work which encourages people to get into Christ and have their lives picked up and directed towards faith in God.

    If you are going to define prosperity gospel you need to check the scripture too to see if any of the people you are against might have something going for them.

  174. Something for wazza’n’Bones to chew on:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100131209/capitalism-isnt-immoral-its-the-most-virtuous-system-on-the-market/

    There’s nothing selfish about capitalism. Like every economic model, it is a matrix within which individual actors can behave morally or immorally. But here’s the thing: no one has yet come up with a system that rewards decent behaviour to the same extent.
    In an open market based on property rights and free contract, you become wealthy by offering an honest service to others. I am typing these words on a machine developed by the late Steve Jobs. He gained from the exchange (adding fractionally to his net wealth) and so did I (adding to my convenience).
    Under the various forms of corporatism tried by fascist and socialist regimes, by contrast, someone else – generally a state official – gets to allocate the goodies, guaranteeing favouritism and corruption.
    That’s not to say, of course, that malpractice is unknown in capitalism. Man is fallen and, under any system, some will give in to temptation. It’s just that in a state-run economy, corruption is systemic and semi-legal. Indeed, the most egregious forms of wrongdoing in our existing Western economies tend to be the ones that involve governments: lobbying for improper favours, securing taxpayer bailouts and the like.
    Greed – that is, the desire for material possessions – is not a product of markets, but a product of a human genome evolved in a competitive environment. Capitalism harnesses greed to socially productive ends. The way to become rich in a free economy is to give others what they want, not to suck up to those in power.

    Daniel Hannan, European MP for the South West of England

  175. I’m not advocating or condoning greed by the way, just agreeing that it is not confined to free enterprise but also shows up in a welfare-heavy state. However, it is more likely to be regulated in a capitalist society than a socialist-run economy, which is easier to rort.

    Corruption is of the individual, not just the system, and infects everything.

    Greed and corruption are the result of the fall. Only Christ and kingdom values bring true equity, not a socialist welfare state.

  176. Wazza, not every Vietnamese got free housing loans from their community.

    btw, you give no specifics. What would you change about society?
    Double the welfare payments? Triple them? Triple tex on the rich?
    Make it a crime to preach tithing?

    We don’t need more laws, we need for people to get tougher and more positive.

  177. Steve

    Who here is advocating a socialist welfare state?

    You moan and groan that you’re not being listened to when you do the same to others.

    Ever heard of liberation theology? God is on the side of the poor not the rich.

    Amazing! When you talk about advancing the conditions of the poor and oppressed you are labelled communist or socialist.

    You can thank unionists, socialists and workers for our way of life not Jakes/Meyer/Osteen.

    SM, capitalism is God’s system is it?

    Haven’t heard that since the Cold War. Aaah yes, Jesus the capitalist, the worshipper of money.

    So God’s system consists of rich countries ripping off the poor, wars for the sake of resources, pouring money in to prop up shoddy run companies, …greed, Greed, GREED.

    Watched the movie Wall Street lately?

    I don’t believe any economic system is ‘God’s system’. All systems are human therefore sinful.

    You wouldn’t be saying that if we didn’t have a strong labour movement otherwise you’d still be working 18 hours a day for bugger all. After all the bottom line for capitalism is profit. That’s why China is prospering. Huge population of workers working for bugger all therefore undercutting Australian products therefore Australian companies go bust.

    If you believe that then you haven’t read your Bible nor understand the term Kingdom of God.

    “Woe to those who enact unjust statutes and who write oppressive decrees, depriving the needy of judgment and robbing my people’s poor of their rights. Making widows their plunder, and orphans their prey!” Is. 10:1-2

  178. “Make it a crime to preach tithing?”

    Close. I would definitely make it a crime to give false and misleading financial advice or promote pyramid schemes as some pastors do.

    But if people can’t see that it shows how stupid they are.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing tithing promotes prosperity and wealth tested in a court of law.

  179. Bones,

    I thought you were, but wazza is apparently. You said, ‘You can thank unionists, socialists and workers for our way of life’. I would have called that a socialist welfare system, but there you go.

    Maybe you’re not advocating a socialist welfare state, but you seem to think the welfare system is of labour and is the reason for Australia’s diminishing poor.

    I thought it was more to do with job security and mineral wealth.

    Liberation theology is another term for communism with a cross, generally considered liberal catholicism gone to seed, and the violent edge of extreme left-wing religion. Hence militant conflicts in many South American nations in the 80’s. The poor convinced by catholic liberation theology to rise up. And you think Joel’s Army is dangerous!

    The only equitable system is God’s kingdom. That is why we preach it and advocate it.

    So! Is God, in view of his Kingdom, against prosperity?

    Will the New Jerusalem reflect glory or poverty?

  180. That is clearly a right wing definition of liberation theology.

    http://liberationtheology.org/

    This web site presents Liberation Theology as the effort to think clearly about the meaning of religious faith in the context of oppression, war, poverty, inequality and environmental destruction, and the effort to live a compassionate, courageous and life-sustaining response to those conditions. Over the past several decades, people inspired by Liberation Theology have sought to give voice to a response that both addresses the needs of those who are injured and oppressed, and also works to change the structures and ongoing processes of injury and oppression.

    Liberation theology varies greatly according to the culture in which it arises, but its underlying themes are immediately recognizable across the world: the transformation of everyday life through a new awakening of compassion, courage, truthfulness and justice. It is a work in progress, born out of enormous pain and extraordinary hope, which is sure to inspire many and offend many. We hope you will be inspired by what you find here, and also that you will explore this world of thought and feeling with empathy and patience for the concerns of those with whom you may disagree.

    But it’s communism if you say it is.

    Maybe you’re not advocating a socialist welfare state, but you seem to think the welfare system is of labour and is the reason for Australia’s diminishing poor.

    Nope don’t believe that either.

  181. Steve, you give a solid explanation of your general position re money, prosperity and wealth back at 6.04am. That there are times when God gives and when God takes away (my words not yours). I for one agree with your post.

    We will have to remain at odds over this – ”I have said that the tithe is not a legal requirement, but that giving in a predetermined (purposed) way is acceptable, and even encouraged Biblically.”

    That ‘predetermination’ in so many churches is referred to and preached as ‘the tithe’ and is a 10% minimum figure. You may be comfortable overlooking this kind of preaching, but it underscores a legalistic (not to mention uni-directional) heart towards giving. You may well see yourself flowing in spirit=led giving, but most will not and so blindly hand over their 10% in the clear understanding that somehow God will look kindly on their gift due to it being a tithe, and so bless them somehow or other.

    My fundamental issue is that this approach taken by so many C3-type churches is a lever to garner church funds which would otherwise be meagre and leave the church financially unsustainable in many cases. This type of structured giving to local church leaders was not what Paul was encouraging or advocating in his letters. He was encouraging them to act generously towards the poor – Christian socialism if you like. Jesus was, ultimately, downwardly mobile and calls us to look below us rather than aspire to the wealth generation capabilities of commercial business above.

  182. So, zeibart, how do you give if you don’t predetermine what you’ll be giving? Or don’t you give anything?

    Do you give nothing on principle? If so, isn’t that predetermined not giving? What’s the difference?

    Or do you turn up at church and, when the offering basket comes around, you suddenly whip out your wallet and drop a random amount into the basket? Or loose change?

    Do you spend time wit your wife determining what to give, or does she leave it all up t you and never ask whether you gave of not?

    Or do you not give at church on principle, but give to a favourite charity? If so, do you give a set amount? Is that not predetermined giving? Especially if you give an online donation, or a regular gift to a charity of your choice.

    I think that predetermined giving is actually unavoidable in some form or other.

  183. Capitalism is God’s system?
    Read your Bible?? Capitalism wasnt even thought of when the Bible was written.

    Greed is good??

    Greed – that is, the desire for material possessions – is not a product of markets, but a product of a human genome evolved in a competitive environment. Capitalism harnesses greed to socially productive ends. The way to become rich in a free economy is to give others what they want, not to suck up to those in power.

    I’m going to put up an article about how Christian prosperity thinking contributed to the sub-prime loans debacle and hence the GFC. Some of the pastors who encouraged migrants and poor people to get $300K homes were also the ones that provided the loan-broking service to them.

    Thats not to say the bankers werent responsible too. And what did they do when it all hit the fan? Did they do the capitalist thing and say we took a risk and it failed, lets call in the receivers? No, they said “We’re too big to fail, bail us out and we’ll socialise the losses”

    You ought to wake up SM. While you are reading “Rich Man, Poor Man”, working to pay off your little investment property – and looking up to Warren Buffet and wondering if you can get there one day, others are making off like bandits.

  184. You completely missed the point of the article on a point of order. One word stumbled you and you fell into the hole, wazza. He didn’t say greed was good at all, as I pointed out in the following comment. he said greed was not confined to capitalism. It also comes with socialism, especially in welfare programs. In fact it is more likely to surface and be active in a social welfare environment because capitalism is easier to monitor and harness.

    Typically you cut and paste the part which fits your argument and left out the mass which qualifies the remainder.

    This is what you left out: Under the various forms of corporatism tried by fascist and socialist regimes, by contrast, someone else – generally a state official – gets to allocate the goodies, guaranteeing favouritism and corruption.

    The point is that corruption exists as a bi-product of the fall. Hannan calls it the human genome of corruption, but since you are an evolutionist that shouldn’t be a problem for you to understand.

    if corruption is in the dna of the individual it doesn’t matter if capitalism or socialism are governing the day, greed and corruption will raise its head on some form or other.

    When people on welfare rort the system is it any more moral than if socialist governments take advantage of capitalism, as with the sub-prime loans, which were forced on the US by Bill Clinton, who ordered the banks to give housing loans to people who, ultimately, had to default because they could never have afforded the repayments. It was a Democratic President, a socialist, who made the corporate banking empire give loans to people who could never have sustained repayments in any kind of environment whereby jobs were lost.

    I hope you remember the Democrat Clinton’s lead in the sub-prime debacle when you write the article, because I will certainly remind you on the thread if you don’t.

    If there were a handful of churches encouraging low income parishioners to enter the housing market on the back of low interest loans, then go for it, but please don’t say that they were the driving force behind the debacle which broke the back of finance globally.

    The truth is that the socialist President of the USA forced banks and lenders to underwrite his social welfare scheme to bring poor people into the housing market, which is admirable, but led to the greatest collapse in financial markets in modern history.

    It has brought Europe, who’s banks were heavily involved in the resultant greed and sculduggery, to its knees and converted the US from the world’s leading and most powerful nation to a basket-case of socialism and weakness.

    I look forward to reading what you have to say.

  185. The way to become rich in a free economy is to give others what they want, not to suck up to those in power.

    True but the way to become super-rich in a free-economy is to put people in power who will suck up to you.

  186. No one, beside the tea-party extreme right calls the Democrats a socialist party. Clinton dosent call himself a socialist, nor would any sensible socialist call him one.

    Clinton bears some responsibility but mainly as a result of weakening regulation and trying to use Business to provide welfare. Business will always provide welfare, but they will figure out how to make a buck out of it too – at least for a time.

  187. Since when are Democrats socialists? I thought I was reading something there from the Cold war days.

    Welfare proograms are terrible though. I mean look at our medical system. We should adopt the American system which really disadvantages the poor.

  188. Of course the good ol US would have been better served with Christian right wing nutbags like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann as president.

  189. Steve said:

    “Under the New Covenant, the early Church sold all they had and placed it at the feet of the Apostles.

    In the Book of Acts, one couple who pledged land in this manner to the Church but failed to carry out the promise were struck down dead for their disobedience.”

    But *The Bible* says:

    “Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.

    Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”

    When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.

    About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”

    “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”

    Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”

    At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. […]”

    This is the *same* Steve who upbraided Margot:

    “You also make the assumption that Pentecostals don’t read their Bibles. They do.”

    How ironic.

  190. Can you point out the error for me, Anonymous (can’t you come up with a better pseudonym?)?

    I think the scripture is confirming what I said. The property was promised to be laid at the apostles’ feet, but they conspired to lie to the Holy Ghost by withholding the price, and they were the ones who ended up at the apostle’s feet!

    Of course, if you have another exegesis I’d be interested to know, and if I am wrong I’ll correct myself and apologise to margot.

    Feel free…

  191. Bones,

    I’ll leave the political commentary to you!

    At least we’ve identified that you and wazza are lefties! That explains a lot.

    And Democrats are generally considered to be of the left side of politics in America, and Republicans of the right.

  192. @Steve,

    “I think the scripture is confirming what I said.”

    Of course you do Steve, of course you do. That’s why you feel right at home in a “church” like C3.

  193. Bones,

    I’ll leave the political commentary to you!

    And there we have it folks. Like I said Pentecostals are not remotely interested in political or social change which benefits the community unless it involves protesting against homosexuality or (shock, horror) pastors losing their salary sacrifice benefits (good old Family First had to make sure that was an important policy). This coming from someone who thinks welfare programs are terrible (eg social security, family assistance, Medicare, pensions) yet benefits from fair and reasonable working conditions (attained by the workers struggle).

    Let’s make a list of Pentecostal activists:
    1)
    2)
    3)

    Hmmm. Maybe someone can fill that in for me.

    We used to call it wanting the King without the Kingdom or Christianity without the Cross.

    If being a Leftie means I’m committed to fighting injustice, helping the poor, following Jesus then yep, I’m Left. So is Jesus.

    You then must be on the other side.

  194. So, Ano (can I call you this? It’s more distinctive than Anonymous) your exegesis on the passage is…

    Can you show me where the error is so I can be Berean and check your exegesis against my understanding of the passage and what the passage actually says.

    I’m still waiting, but I have to go to work, so please give your outline, and we can catch up later…
    –––––––––––––––––––––––––

    Bones,
    I’m quite happy to discuss political activism and the persuasions of the day with you, and I have extensively given a politically activist outline on these pages, if you’d notice.

    I think the piece on abortion is activism and political, don’t you? As are the posts on gay lobbyists and the like.

    So don’t come the raw prawn with me, cobber, over political activism. Where’s your post to support your lefty cobblers?

    The reason I said I’d leave the political commentary to you was that as soon as Australian lefties start mentioning the US Tea Party I completely lose interest in the debate, because you know exactly what is coming before it even starts, and it’s really a tedious parody of analysis.

    So fire away, but give us some real issues to chew on, not clapped out innuendo.

    I’m all ears…

  195. There is no law stating that Christians shouldnt be left-wing. The Evangelicals were originally left-wing and progressive.

    Somehow they got captured by the Right. I blame Karl Rove.

  196. A lot of Christians identify with the Republican Party because they are antiabortion and antigay. Which is interesting because in all the Republican Presidents since Roe v Wade, none of then have done anything about it.

  197. “In the Book of Acts, one couple who pledged land in this manner to the Church but failed to carry out the promise were struck down dead for their disobedience.”

    They did not “pledge” anything – the word is not mentioned at all, nor anything resembling it.

    Nor, according to the passage, did they die as a result of “disobedience”. (In any case, even if there *had* been a pledge, failing to fulfil it would not have constituted “disobedience”).

    Read the passage – it’s all there in black and white. You don’t need to “be Berean”, nor do you need to indulge yourself in some convoluted exegetical exercise – all you need is to possess comprehension skills approaching those of the average sixth grader.

    Just out of interest, what do the other posters here make of this? My strong suspicion is that you are in fact spouting this nonsense second-hand. I think that you have heard a pentecostal “preacher” use this mangled interpretation as a stick to threaten those who might renege on their promises to the church: “You better come good on those building fund commitments, people – you don’t want to end up like Ananias and Sapphira, do you?”

  198. Ano,
    So lying to the Holy Ghost isn’t disobedience? Or withholding? If it wasn’t a pledge, what would you call it?

    I would say a pledge was implied even if it wasn’t so stated. Explain why that isn’t a reasonable assumption, given the previous verses i the previous chapter about the giving of the Jerusalem church.

    If it wasn’t a pledge by the couple, it must have been a hard fast law by the Holy Ghost that they bring the proceeds of the land to the apostles’ feet, which doesn’t line up with Peter’s saying that the money was at their disposal, or, in other words, it was theirs to do what they willed with it.

    So, if there is no pledge, what is the issue?

    And when is lying not disobedience?

  199. Anonymous, on the face of it, I would agree. It’s about dishonesty, fraud, embezzlement not disobedience. Were Ananias and Sapphira required or ordered or forced to give all their money? If not, and there is no evidence they were, then it cannot be disobedience.

    A closer look at the context of the chapter really contrasts Barnabas’s offering with Ananias and Sapphira. There’s a real duality going on with God/Satan, honesty/deceit, sacrifice/sacrilege. What then were Ananias and Sapphira’s intentions in withholding a share? Greed? Hardly? Were they trying to be like Barnabas but not able to measure up? Were they trying to be someone else to become significant, like buying the position of being a disciple to become someone more important? Was God’s judgment on them because of their dishonesty and cheating and hypocrisy which God saw in their hearts? Would God have spared them if they had’ve said “look we can’t give all yet, we’re not there yet but we can give this much” instead of pretending? I think God would’ve.

    That’s what I think.

    Thanks for making us think.

  200. Disobedience: failure or refusal to obey rules or someone in authority

    So dishonesty, fraud embezzlement or lying are not failure or refusal to obey rules or someone in authority?

    Is dishonesty obedience then?

  201. I can’t help it if I don’t agree with what you read into the text.

    You could go further: dishonesty = sin, so therefore Ananias and Sapphira were judged because they sinned. Well that makes sense then because we all sin.

    Your using disobedience to justify your understanding of the text eg when encouraging giving talks by showing what happens when you disobey the man of God.

    It’s actually quite scary for many pastors.

    dis·hon·es·ty   /dɪsˈɒnəsti/ Show Spelled[dis-on-uh-stee] Show IPA
    noun, plural -ties.
    1. lack of honesty; a disposition to lie, cheat, or steal.
    2. a dishonest act; fraud.

    ly·ing2    /ˈlaɪɪŋ/ Show Spelled[lahy-ing] Show IPA
    verb
    present participle of lie2 .
    Related forms
    ly·ing·ly, adverb lie1    /laɪ/ Show Spelled [lahy] Show IPA noun, verb, lied, ly·ing.
    noun
    1. a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.
    2. something intended or serving to convey a false impression; imposture: His flashy car was a lie that deceived no one.
    3. an inaccurate or false statement.
    4. the charge or accusation of lying: He flung the lie back at his accusers.
    verb (used without object)
    5. to speak falsely or utter untruth knowingly, as with intent to deceive.
    6. to express what is false; convey a false impression.
    verb (used with object)
    7. to bring about or affect by lying (often used reflexively): to lie oneself out of a difficulty; accustomed to lying his way out of difficulties.

    fraud   /frɔd/ Show Spelled[frawd] Show IPA
    noun
    1. deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.
    2. a particular instance of such deceit or trickery: mail fraud; election frauds.
    3. any deception, trickery, or humbug: That diet book is a fraud and a waste of time.
    4. a person who makes deceitful pretenses; sham; poseur.

    em·bez·zle   /ɛmˈbɛzəl/ Show Spelled[em-bez-uhl] Show IPA
    verb (used with object), -zled, -zling.
    to appropriate fraudulently to one’s own use, as money or property entrusted to one’s care.

  202. ”Or do you turn up at church and, when the offering basket comes around, you suddenly whip out your wallet and drop a random amount into the basket? Or loose change?”

    Well, I suppose, Steve, that because the gathering you call ‘church’ is not really church (imho), your question is moot.

    I prefer the ‘be liberal with your material assets as the Holy Spirit guides, and scatter your gifts to the needy’ approach.

    The more times I used to listen to the pre-offering speech and then watch the tins come around, the greater my sense of how mechanical and manufactured the whole money gathering thing had become. It actually made me uncomfortable the lengths the speaker often went to in order to squeeze dollars from wallets. Not joyful, not Spirit-filled, not Jesus.

  203. Steve,

    Bones understands. Disobedience is failure to comply with a directive, whereas lying is saying something that isn’t true. They are two completely different things.

    “I would say a pledge was implied even if it wasn’t so stated.”

    Of course you would say that. You belong to a movement whose founder has said such things as “Abraham is referred to as ‘the father of tithing'”, which is arrant nonsense – Abraham is the father of our faith. We know that “everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher”, so it is not surprising that you never let scriptural truth get in the way of a good story. For you the text says whatever you would like it to mean. Your real problem is not with comprehension at all – it’s the fact that you are captive to the spirit of C3, and you are therefore hamstrung in your efforts to divide between truth and error.

    “If it wasn’t a pledge by the couple, it must have been a hard fast law by the Holy Ghost that they bring the proceeds of the land to the apostles’ feet, which doesn’t line up with Peter’s saying that the money was at their disposal, or, in other words, it was theirs to do what they willed with it.”

    If there had been a pledge, do you think that Peter would have said that the money was theirs to do with what they wanted? Wouldn’t he rather have said “You should have fulfilled your pledge”? So the fact that Peter said what he did indicates that it was not a pledge.

    You’ll notice something else: Peter didn’t say “The money was yours to do with as you wished, except of course, for the 10% tithe on any capital gain you may have realised”. Do you suppose that he simply forgot to mention that?

    “So, if there is no pledge, what is the issue?”

    I am truly amazed that you need to ask. Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit – an act by which they mocked God. Surely even you understand that God is not mocked.

  204. It actually made me uncomfortable the lengths the speaker often went to in order to squeeze dollars from wallets. Not joyful, not Spirit-filled, not Jesus.

    Yes, that makes me wonder. I remember at the old Anglican church, the plate would be passed around, while a hymn/song is sung then we gave thanks to God for our offering.

    How simple that was.

    I’m starting to miss it.

  205. Actually since you guys brought up the US election, it’s interesting that Romney’s tithing practice has come up. Evidently with the tithes Mormons collect they have a very good in-house welfare system. (They look after their own and have employment centers etc).

    Of course the advantage they have over the pentecostal/evangelicals is that while they have one church for a region, there can be 10 pentecostal churches in the same area all embarking on their own building funds.

    So good on the Mormons. (they are also encouraged to stock up on months of supplies in case of emergencies.).

    You can learn from everyone.

  206. Ziebart said: “It actually made me uncomfortable the lengths the speaker often went to in order to squeeze dollars from wallets.”

    There are many churches where people are manipulated into giving.

    In these same churches, people are told they must “submit”, and be under the church’s “covering”. This constitutes domination.

    And in these same churches, anyone who voices dissent or expresses a contrarian viewpoint is threatened, and perhaps expelled. That is intimidation.

    In Ziebart’s words: “Not joyful, not Spirit-filled, not Jesus.”

    What is it then? Who knows what manipulation + domination + intimidation equals?

  207. Well, all you and Bones have done, Ano, is segue into your pet arguments (against Pentecostal churches and leaders), which have nothing whatsoever to do with the discussion in hand, namely, is sin a form of disobedience.

    Bones, having redefined disobedience to not mean anything to do with sin, has created an unscriptural theological stance which fails to address why sinners are called the children of disobedience who are subject to their god the devil, who is the father of disobedience.

    Basically you are using semantics to produce a false premise.

    Bones is also completely wrong in his surmising, as is Ano, that this scripture has been used by me to force people to be guilty about whether they should give or not, which I have already refuted at length on this and other threads by affirming Paul’s instruction that giving should not be by compulsion or given begrudgingly or even out of necessity.

    Sin is disobedience to God’s will.

  208. Dishonesty, lying, embezzling, cheating, adultery, murder, coveting, blaspheming, idolatry, fraud, lying, greed, hatred, genocide are all sins therefore are all disobeying the will of God.

    I mean did Hitler commit genocide or was he disobedient to God. That’s a ridiculous argument. Hitler was evil because he was disobedient!!?? Rubbish, he was a genocidal maniac who spread hate.

    If I follow your logic than dishonesty/fraud/lying = sin therefore Ananias and Sapphira were condemned because they sinned. That is taking away clearly the meaning of the story.

    That’s without going into how they disobeyed God which you have to read into the text.

  209. Maybe you haven’t used it like that way but others certainly have as well as a consequence of disobeying God by withholding the tithe. I’ve heard that too.

  210. Ephesians 2
    1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
    2* in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
    3* among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

    All have sinned, remember. There is none righteous. So all are the sons of disobedience, no matter who and no matter which sin.

    I see where you are trying to go with this, but, as I said, it was just a segue into a pet argument and complaint. I’m having none of it.

    All sin is disobedience to God, and all sinners are disobedient in their sin.

    Semantics don’t become you.

  211. Ano,
    Disobedience is failure to comply with a directive, whereas lying is saying something that isn’t true. They are two completely different things.

    Well, no, not if the directive us to tell the truth.

    For instance, take a look at the following verses:

    Colossians 3
    4* When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
    5* Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
    6* Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience,
    7* in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
    8* But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.
    9* Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,
    10* and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him…

    So included in the works of the sons of disobedience is the propensity to lie, but we who are saved have been told to put off that old man, who was the so of disobedience, who had a tendency to lie, and put on the new man who is renewed after the image of Christ.

    I mean, those verses alone refute your argument adequately. Disobedience includes lying, and Annanias and Saphira, who were supposedly Christians, lied to the Holy Ghost.

    How, then, did they lie to the Holy Ghost in context with the events as they unfolded? They kept back the proceeds of a house they sold, when the rest of the Church at Jerusalem laid the proceeds of their possessions at the Apostles’ feet. Peter says they conspired to lie to the Holy Ghost, so what was it they said, in conjunction with the rest of the Church in Jerusalem, which was so serious that, when they broke their word, because lying is of words spoken, they were confronted by the Apostle in the name of the Holy Ghost, and fell down dead for their lie?

    Acts 4
    32* Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.
    33* And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.
    34* Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold,
    35* and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.
    36* And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus,
    37* having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
    5:1* ¶ But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession.
    2* And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
    3* But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?
    4* “While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
    5* Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things.
    6* And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.
    7* Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.
    8* And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?” She said, “Yes, for so much.”
    9* Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”
    10* Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband.
    11* So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.

    Even if you make the claim there was no pledge in the words they spoke to the Holy Ghost, which he then punished for their breaking of their word with a lie, making the claim that I do not read my Bible because you disagree with my exegesis is utterly stupid, since I have demonstrated adequately, whether you like it or not, that actually do read my Bible, and not only that, am able to find my way around it without the assistance of a C3 co-ordinator to completely refute what you say within a few comments on this thread.

    I put it to you that some kind of verbal pledge or spoken arrangement was highly likely since their sin was to lie to the Holy Ghost, and he took it very seriously. It is sound exegesis to surmise this to be the case, and it is adequately backed up with what I say here.

    I have also shown clearly from at least two places that disobedience is connected with sin, and that sinners are, in fact, called the sons of disobedience, and the sons of wrath.

    Going on from this I put it to you that claiming sin is no connected with disobedience is whacky, and I have been kind to accuse you merely of semantics.

  212. In fact, if you read your Bible</B. you'll see that the pledge is given at Acts 4:32:

    Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.

    They said as one that they had all things in common.

    Now Ananias and Sapphira were in this pledge also, since the two chapters, 4 and 5, are linked with but a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession and he kept back part of the proceeds, which tells us clearly that they were part of the corporate arrangement, but broke it by withholding a portion of the price for their land.

    This makes the event a very serious one indeed, and something you don’t see anywhere that I know of in the Church of today. Not that I’m advocating that we follow the lead of the Jerusalem Church of Peter’s day, but it would seem that they were extremely advanced in their giving when they sold all and pooled it so that there was no lack amongst the church, and to be administered by the Apostles.

    Clearly the Holy Ghost took it seriously enough to be involved in a dramatic and powerful way.

    The result of this occurrence was that great fear came on all in the city, believers and unbelievers alike, the Church grew mightily, and great miracles and signs were done by the Apostles.

    Don’t you absolutely love the Word of God?

  213. My, oh my, how you do wriggle and squirm – like a live worm stuck on a fish hook.

    So now the statement “neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.” means that there was a “pledge”, and not only that, it proves beyond all doubt that Ananias and Sapphira were a part of it.

    It’s really too bad that Peter gives the lie to that hypothesis: he unambiguously stated that the land was theirs to do with as they wished, as was also the money after the land was sold – that is, they were obviously *not* bound by any pledge.

    Your problem is that you aren’t seeking the truth in all this, you are seeking to justify yourself – you aren’t seeking to be righteous, but rather to be seen as being right. You are a true son of the C3 movement, and a classic example of why those who are Biblically literate and spiritually discerning have very little time for pentecostal “pastors” and their Donald Duck theology.

    The reason that Ananias and Sapphira died is that they lied to the Holy Spirit – an act by which they mocked God. Read the passage – it’s right there in black and white:

    ‘”[Peter said] You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”

    When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died.”‘

    Can you see that? Peter told Ananias he had lied to God, and when Ananias heard that said, he fell down and died.

    You should most certainly apologise to Margot. Not only that, you should repent before God for mishandling His word, and for the spiritual pride that has rendered you unable to acknowledge error or accept correction.

  214. So, Ano, s&p, 5PS, whoever you are (surely 5PS isn’t this stupid), here are a couple of questions for you:

    1. In view of the scriptures I presented for you earlier from Colossians, do you agree that disobedience includes the sin of lying?

    2. Where have I denied that they were struck down for lying to the Holy Ghost?

    What on earth do you mean by ‘wriggle and squirm’? I’ve answered your accusations in a measured and Biblical manner, and comprehensively refuted your erroneous claim that lying isn’t disobedient t God. Would you like more evidence of this?

    Finally, your claim was that do not read my Bible. Even Margot wouldn’t agree with you on that. She knows I read my Bible, just has a different perspective on how it is interpreted, that’s all. You haven’t shown anything which proves I don’t read my Bible, or understand it, or know how to relate it to others.

    Secondly you are harping on my about being somehow Biblically led away from truth by C3, which is a ludicrous and unimaginative as your use of ‘Anonymous’ as a pseudonym.

    The short answer to all of this is that yours is merely a disgraceful personal attack on me for being associated with C3 in some way, a vile, bigoted attitude which I had hoped this blog had moved away from by now so that grown ups could civilly discuss or debate issues.

    You seem quite literate, but you have bad manners and a bitter attitude. Perhaps you should come up with some real points rather than personal attacks.

  215. “You are a true son of the C3 movement”

    Some of the insults really make me smile.

    Actually, Steve I think you are a great ambassador for C3.

    To me the interesting thing is that many churches want to be just like the “early church”, or the church of the book of Acts/new testament era but I see a lot of variety there. One time they have everything in common, the next the rich are being told to share with the poor, one time they are all in one accord and miracles are everywhere, then another there is racial strife and accusations of favoritism with the widows.

    So it seems they were up and down, muddling their way through trying to work it all out. Just like we are now. Do you think Jesus ever rolls his eyes or sighs? Weeps?

  216. Why is it that Christians love to have fun proving their superiority in bible knowledge? It’s like biblical cage fighting sometimes. Except none ever taps out..

  217. I see where you are trying to go with this, but, as I said, it was just a segue into a pet argument and complaint. I’m having none of it.

    Actually you’re making more out of it then I am. Ananias and Sapphira sinned. But I can understand why YOU would want to interpret it as disobedience as opposed to sin.

    Calling it disobedience is far more controlling.

  218. come on Bones, does Steve really come across as a controlling kind of pastor?

    I’ve met a lot of pentecostal pastors in my time. He’s one of the most reasonable ones I’ve met….er…read.

    Don’t know any others who would or could continue to dialogue/debate like this.

  219. Bones, the segue was by your bosom-buddy Ano. It was a blatant attempt to use what I said to disgorge vitriol.

    The only thing that surprises me is the way you embrace/d his bigotry.

    There was never a false motive behind using the word ‘disobedient’ It is standard theological jargon referring to people who sin.

    You jumped in the way he twisted what I said to mean something far more sinister and accusative.

    After all this time of commenting with you I thought you had more of an understanding of where I come from as a person and as a teacher.

    It wasn’t I who made more of it that you. It was you who took hold of Ano’s mess and slung his mud at me. You made more of what I said that I ever intended.

    You took his bait and bit off the major slice. Notice that no one else agrees with Ano’s exegesis of lies not being disobedience.

    Semantics.

    Now that I’ve Biblically demonstrated to you that lies are indeed disobedience to God, Old or New Testament, you are backing down from your attack somewhat, but accusing me of being controlling is uncalled for and baseless.

    All Ano wants to do is splurge off spitefully at some C3 person, and I’m a target because I am prepared to come on here and discuss issues with folk who may have differences, and Iv’e had connections with C3. But I’m also a child of the Wesleyan Methodists, Anglicans, Uniting Church and Baptists, so my influences straddle a broad school of thought.

    Bigots like Ano let the whole side down (if he is a Christian) because he is unable to see further than his own prejudice so he strikes out thoughtlessly, and slings punches at anyone who wears a certain colour or badge.

    That doesn’t mean I’m a walkover in the boxing ring, however, and I’ll dish out as much as I get, but let’s at least base what we say on what we actually know or believe, not take out our anger on someone just because we think they represent something we don’t like.

    It’s people like Ano who are control freaks, because they don’t know how to show anything but disdain for anyone but themselves and their own opinion.

  220. Dear Oh Dear Steve,

    You seem to have trouble not only following the logical thread of an argument, but also recalling what you yourself have said. Let me refresh your memory. You stated:

    “In the Book of Acts, one couple who pledged land in this manner to the Church but failed to carry out the promise were struck down dead for their disobedience.”

    That is to say, you claimed that Ananias and Sapphira died because they reneged on giving to the church that which they had previously promised.

    That which you have posited and subsequently defended in the face of well-founded correction is a bare-faced lie – a lie which misrepresents the Scripture and defames the character of God. So what does that make you?

    As usual though, you have resorted to a veritable panoply of artifices as you attempt to prove that black is white and white black. To be sure, you are a master of your craft, obscuring as you do your disingenuousness beneath a cloak of righteous umbrage. And who can fail to be impressed by the vigour with which you frenetically flail away at your carefully constructed straw men? Unfortunately, such transparent nonsense does not cut any ice with me, nor indeed will it do so with anyone who has the barest modicum of wit.

    SM has opined:

    “Actually, Steve I think you are a great ambassador for C3.”,

    whereas the truth of the matter is that we can see, writ large before us, a prideful mix of the pseudo-spiritual and the pseudo-intellectual that is both immune to correction and proof against learning. It leaves no doubt in one’s mind as to exactly how beneficial is association with C3.

  221. Did you work all of that out all on your own, Ano? You garble on and on in manufactured, staccato prose just to get to your preconceived, yet weakly contrived, ‘gotcha’ based on SM’s friendly remark, which you twist to suit your own monstrous exaggeration.

    Did you get a flash of inspiration instantly, or did you have to mull over this for a few hours to come up with your put-down?

    As usual you generalise an insult without actually saying anything of substance.

    Anyone with a slight grasp of the language can engineer a sentence filled with vitriol. It takes a brighter person to actually say something of consequence which persuades a person of their need of change.

    Give me some specifics in plain English. How have you corrected anything? I have shown you exactly the Biblical connection between disobedience and sin, and you go on about some kind of correcting device thrown up by the group-think here, which seems prevailingly absent to me, especially in the light of scripture, which, you claim, makes lying, somehow, not disobedience to God.

    I adequately qualified my intentions in using the word ‘disobedience’ innocently to mean one thing in context with an observation, whereas you bent it to mean something completely different, presumably to enable you to fabricate a controversy which was never present.

    All your concoction does is yell out for an explanation as to why you bother to comment at all if you have nothing to say of any real assistance to anyone, and in a manner which suggests concern for the person’s spiritual well-being.

    I don’t see any level of correction anywhere, least of all from you. Argument, yes. Discussion, certainly, even debate, but nothing therapeutic.

    And if there was a remedial element to your argument it is totally lost in the presentation, which is ugly and aggressive, beckoning a reaction rather than a response, or a resolution.

    Once again, are you saying that Ananias and Sapphira obeyed God in withholding part of the price of the piece of land they sold?

    If that is the case, why did they drop down dead when Peter told them they had contrived to lie to the Holy Ghost? Is lying not disobedience to God? Does God, on the one hand, allow lying, since it is, you say, not disobedience, but on the other hand cause a person to drop down dead for lying in certain circumstances, even though it is not, you say, disobedience?

    If it is not disobedience, what is it? There is no in-between, is there? It’s either obedience or disobedience. So why would God destroy the body of a person for not being disobedient?

  222. Come on, Steve, admit it – that’s not really you commenting, is it? It’s Julia Gillard in drag.

    “Give me some specifics in plain English.”

    Oh yes, I love plain English: “We’re going to grow the church and powerfully impact our community by resourcing them in such as a way that they can meaningfully connect with God, and so proactively engage with community stakeholders to further the kingdom”. Awesome – truly, totally awesome, don’t you think? It’s all good, Steve, it’s all good, and I’m really, really pumped; so pumped I think I’m going to say BAM! (There, I *said* it).

    Truly though, that’s the funniest thing I’ve read in ages: ex-C3 pastor asks for “plain English”.

  223. Thanks for the heads up Margot.

    I guess I’ll never make it as a pentecostal pastor…what a shame 😉

  224. Pyromaniacs Dan Phillips takes full credit….

    “Perhaps you’re new to these parts and unfamiliar with the expression. I invented the term “Leaky Canoneer” to denote the person who formally says that he affirms the completeness, inerrancy, and closed nature of the Biblical canon, but who informally gives the lie to that profession. How? By asserting that God

    …continues to speak…
    …directly…
    …and quotably (or at least paraphrasably)…
    …to him…
    …apart from Scripture.”

  225. Where did you find that quote, Ano? Can you link me to the context of it, please?

    What has it to do with you actually saying something which has a specific meaning, and not a general insult which says nothing much except that you don’t like C3 people?

    I think you’re afraid to commit to an actual Biblically based doctrinal point in case you’re found out.

    You are reformed, so I am not surprised you have issues with what I say, but you seem to hold back on actual reasons for your antipathy.

  226. There is no online source to that quote, Ano, and you never gave one, so I’ll assume you made it up.

    Margot, are you saying God no longer speaks?

  227. Can you explain tongues, interpretation, prophecy, word of knowledge and word of wisdom in the light of the claim that God no longer speaks through the Church?

    What does pyro say about this?

    What has the canon of scripture, in terms of it being complete, to do with ‘they shall all prophesy’, in terms of God speaking through his people?

  228. Have the vocal gifts and manifestations of the Spirit ended?

    1 Corinthians 12
    12:1* ¶ Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:
    2* You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led.
    3* Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
    4* There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
    5* There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.
    6* And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.
    7* But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
    8* for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,
    9* to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,
    10* to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
    11* But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

    1 Corinthians 14
    1* ¶ Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.
    2* For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.
    3* But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.
    4* He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.
    5* I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.

    1 Corinthians 14
    39* Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues.
    40* Let all things be done decently and in order.

  229. Well Steve, here we go again, how many “prophecies” has one heard that haven’t come to pass?

    How many instances of valid tongues and interpretations has one heard, done biblically in a church setting?

    As far as I’m concerned, these are very rare events. And it’s to the shame of the church (universal) that they don’t own their false words and tongues.

  230. OK, Ano, I’ll take it you don’t actually want to engage in a meaningful conversation, even on why you’re antipathetic towards C3, or someone you’ve made assumptions about, but never met. You just have a line in trading insults, which is pointless.

    You haven’t taken me up on anything I’ve asked you, or Biblically specified why you oppose what I say

    All waffle and no bottle.

  231. Margot you haven’t answered the question. You’ve just shifted the goal posts.

    Have the vocal manifestations of the Spirit ended? Has God stopped speaking through the Church? Are 1 Corinthians 12 to 14 still relevant to us today?

  232. As has been better said by many others – it’s not that He cannot speak today but that God has clearly spoken and it’s all about Christ.

    I believe the canon is closed (do you?)

    And to quote Al Mohler’s famous statement – “if God spoke to someone today, they won’t walk away from it feeling like they won a prize, they will walk away from it about to pee their pants in fear”.

    Where’s the fear of the Lord in men and women today that they dare speak for Him apart from His Word, in other words, take His Name in vain.

  233. Steve – I’m not a cessationist (here we go again), however I do not believe what passes for gifts ie tongues & prophecy are truly and biblically operating in most churches today.

  234. You still avoid the questions. Does the Spirit of God still manifest himself through individuals severally as he wills in the Church today?

    Is God silent? Does he speak to his children?

    Will we know the voice of the Shepherd, or has he stopped speaking to the sheep of his pasture?

    Yes, I believe the canon is complete. There is nothing of scripture to be added.

    But this doesn’t mean the Father has stopped speaking to his children, does it?

  235. What does pyromaniac say about this? Does he say the Shepherd no longer calls his sheep by name? That we will not know his voice?

    How will we know the things God has freely given us if we no lager here the Spirit speaking to our spirit?

    1 Corinthians 2
    9* But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
    10* But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
    11* For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
    12* Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
    13* These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
    14* But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
    15* But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.
    16* For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

  236. And yes it’s all about Christ. I have said that countless times. But it’s also about the Body of Christ. He is the Head. We are the Body. The Head communicates with the Body. How? Didn’t Jesus send another just like him, the Spirit of Christ, who would lead us into righteousness and show us things to come and guide us and teach us?

    Are we not led by the Spirit. Isn’t he bearing witness with our spirit that we are the sons of God, crying “Abba Father”?

  237. I’m not avoiding anything. You may not like my responses but I am answering.

    Tell me, so you would claim that apart from His Word, God speaks “words freshly spoken from heaven” (so says Jack Deere who also claims those very words do NOT have the inerrancy of scripture)?

    Confusion reigns – however at least I know He has spoken and I can hold it in my hands and read it.

  238. When I read His Word, meditate on His Word, pray for His wisdom to apply that Word through the Holy Spirit, I trust I will generally find my ever-sinful self growing under His grace and mercy day by day……

  239. By the way, the concept that ‘God told me’ is the end of all arguments is erroneous, since all prophecy or utterance should be judged against scripture. This is our safeguard against error. It is necessary that the canon is complete so that we can judge all prophecy interpretation and utterance. If the canon were incomplete we could not do so.

    The Sprit of God will always testify of the Son, who always glorifies the father. There is the Godhead working as One, and the same is true of the Church, the Body of Christ.

    If and when the Spirit gives utterance through a believer it can never be ex-canon. It must confirm what is already known, although it may give specific instruction, warning r counsel to an individual or to an assembly, but it can never be something which adds to or takes away from the canon.

    So quite the opposite is true to what pyromaniacs say. Prophecy, tongues, interpretation, utterance gifts do not add to scripture. They work within the confines of scripture to give information to people which is relevant to their current or future situation.

    if they go outside of the guidelines of scripture they should be considered false.

  240. You are avoiding the questions, margot. You cannot say that the Spirit of Gd still speaks through the Church today as recorded in the scripture examples I have given you on this thread, including 1 Corinthians 12 to 14, chapter 2 from 9-16, John 10 on the voice of the Shepherd, Romans 8:14-17, and other passages which confirm that God still speaks to his children today.

    What pyromaniacs claim sounds smart and clever, but is wrong.

    I understand their and your concerns, because there is error, and teaching on hearing from God has been abused and misused, but what they say about the canon and God speaking to his people is wrong and misleading.

  241. Wasn’t sure if that would post – anyway it’s always enlightening to read the cessationist view particularly as part of their opening statement states…..

    “Nor is the point that all spiritual gifts have ceased and are no longer present in the Church today. As will become clear, at issue is the cessation of a limited number of such gifts; the continuation of the large remainder is not in dispute.”

  242. Steve,

    “You are reformed […]”.

    Really? Are you sure? Or is this just another manifestation of your propensity to take on a position without any real basis or proof, and to subsequently defend it with vigour, even when you are clearly in error?

    You have everything neatly in a box, which I imagine is why you are so desperate to get me to fit into one as well – we can’t have the confronting untidiness of contrary opinions being bandied about for all and sundry to see and consider, can we? “Am I a cessationist?”, you ask. “You are reformed”, you confidently state. Perhaps I am S&P, you say, or maybe I’m someone else – but I’ve definitely commented on here before, haven’t I?

    “You haven’t […] specified why you oppose what I say”.

    Because so much of what you say is ill-founded misconceived rubbish, based on your own prejudices and opinions, and informed by a distinctly carnal world view (particularly for one who claims to have been a pastor).

    “All waffle and no bottle.”

    Says the ex-C3 pastor. Do you know what “projection” is?

  243. So we leave the Pentecostal church, declare ourselves Sovereign grace believers aka “calvinists” (apparently), lose none of our zeal and passion for Christ and His gospel – but as this linked story suggests, lose our “holy ghost fire”.

    Wow, does this happen to us all the time (now we are out of the club)! Seriously though, how does Steve explain this, in our lives, what would he call us in light of that ongoing passion?

    http://atwistedcrownofthorns.com/2012/02/07/calvinism-makes-people-lose-their-holy-ghost-fire/

    @ Greg – my friend and emergent, cessationist, universalist enigma…..

  244. Margot,

    ‘So we leave the Pentecostal church, declare ourselves Sovereign grace believers aka “calvinists” (apparently), lose none of our zeal and passion for Christ and His gospel – but as this linked story suggests, lose our “holy ghost fire”.’

    Oh yeah, you’re gone – definitely gone, and probably with no way back. You lost the vision, and you are out of step with the Anointed Ones. You no longer set foot in the place that we all know is His house, the very gateway to heaven (and, dare I say it, a spiritual portal). You are no longer under the covering of the cognoscenti, and are thus doomed to be fodder for the enemy. On top of all this, you are doubtless robbing God through failure to observe the law of tithing, and have thus brought a curse on yourself. I detect that you are bitter, critical, negative, cynical, arrogant, unteachable, and probably in the sway of evil spirits.

    Well, that’s what C3 would say of you, anyway (except maybe for “cognoscenti”; they don’t tend to use such big words). Mind you, that doesn’t make me think that they are a pack of domineering and manipulative frauds who deal with the wayward by means of intimidation and threats. Nor do I think that they are a gnostic cult or a bunch of New Age mystics with a none-to-thin Christian veneer, despite what others may say of them.

  245. Well, to boost my self-esteem, I can always fall back on a spiritual pick-me-up from Joel “I am what I say I am” Osteen?

  246. We should check with Steve about that – he probably “doesn’t agree with everything that Joel Osteen says”, but he doubtless reckons Osteen can’t be all bad: after all, Joel is such a “gifted communicator” who is “really successful” (what with a huge “church” and a big reputation and a really healthy income and all).

  247. Seriously though, having to start from scratch after 22 years of “different” thinking I like what Tullian Tchividjian said recently….

    “If our center is not Jesus Christ, then even our Bible reading will become self-focused, self-therapeutic, and the Bible will become for us nothing more than a self-help manual.”

  248. @ Anon – and apparently he (Joel Osteen) gets lots of people saved? How?

    By the way, that was a direct quote from a senior pastor of a church previously attended.

  249. Margot,

    “and apparently he (Joel Osteen) gets lots of people saved? How?”

    This is where you need to understand the deep truths of the pastor’s craft: Joel gets people “saved” by being scrupulously careful to avoid preaching any aspect of the true Gospel. (Come the judgement and Joel will doubtless be most surprised to discover that there’s no market at all for self-help books in the lake of fire, and certainly no positive confession that will get a man out of there).

    “By the way, that was a direct quote from a senior pastor of a church previously attended.”

    About self-esteem pick me ups? Seriously? I wonder how much that “pastor” was paying himself – whatever it was, it was too much.

  250. No – in a former life, we were told by senior ministry, among other things (like we shouldn’t be listening to John Macarthur), that Osteen gets lots of people saved.

    Osteen? Or Macarthur?

    Hmmm…..that’s a no-brainer.

  251. Ano, you are unable to actually have a conversation. There is nothing more to say, really.

    I have tried to engage you, but you are out there in some bubble of hatred which makes s&p seem quite pleasant about C3, although there are some marked similarities.

    So if you have to go ahead and pour out your vitriol against C3 people, and even me, but your methodology can never persuade a person to change, or be considered, as you claim, correction.

    There is no point in continuing any kind of discussion with you (if indeed you ca call this a conversation) if all you have is insults, innuendo and vagaries.

    *turns other cheek*

    margot,
    quite why you’re feeding the Ano is beyond me.

    You may claim not to be a cessationist in yourself, but you are promoting cessationist doctrine in all the examples you have produced, so I still don’t know your point of view.

    And you have avoided the issue of whether God, through the Spirit, speaks to and through his people. You have not commented on the scripture I gave which, contextually, confirms what i have said, and demonstrates exactly how Gd the Holy Spirit speaks through his people.

    You have not commented on how the canon is the basis for measuring whether the Spirit is speaking through prophecy, tongues and interpretation, word of knowledge or word of wisdom.

    I understand what cessationists say, and they are very wrong. They are the charlatans of doubt who leave out a significant part of the operation of the Spirit.

    What I am asking you is if you believe the Spirit still operates the according to 1 Corinthians 2, 12, 13 and 14, and if not, why not, and where does the Bible indicate what you believe.

  252. Incidentally, margot, I have never said you couldn’t have the fre of the Spirit and be reformed, at any time. Neither have I seen anyone else wrote anything like that on here. I don’t know why you an’t just answer a straight question in a straight way without resorting to putting some one down from an assumed association with C3.

    This is spiritually juvenile really, when all a Christian can think of is how to find ways to insult and put down another group of people who are also Christians.

    At least Greg was able to say what he personally believes without slinging any mud at the team.

  253. I’ll take it, then, margot, that your position is that of Richard Gaffin, who says gifts ended when some Apostolic age ended.

    I can discuss your position from his, since you quote him as a source.

  254. Margot,

    “No – in a former life, we were told by senior ministry, among other things (like we shouldn’t be listening to John Macarthur), that Osteen gets lots of people saved.”

    Ah, I see. I imagine that would have been said, then, by hucksters who are of the same ilk as Osteen. It brings to mind something Paul said:

    “When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”

    Of course, they are spiritually blind, and wouldn’t be able to grasp that in the least.

  255. I’ll get the counsel of the collective here. Does anyone else here consider Anonymous’s contribution to the discussion to be helpful or edifying, or is he merely being abusive and trolling?

    I can’t seem to get him to engage in an actual conversation which doesn’t involve put downs and insults. I am loathe to go into some kind of moderation of his comments, but, if he can’t be civil I see no other option.

    Is this the work of a troll, or does he actually have something to say?

  256. The only issue I’m having these days is the issue of anonymity. To each his/her own, perhaps to protect others. There’s a certain freedom in being upfront about who we are and why we believe what we believe and the circumstances that led up to it.

    And Steve, you do give as good as you get. Especially if one is ex-C3 or reformed.

  257. @ Steve – Anon is entitled to his/her opinion, however I would appreciate a little more information as to his/her background and what theological position he/she holds in light of C3 critique….

  258. I for one don’t see Anonymous as a troll. He has strong views on the C3 movement but nothing doctrinally wacko.

  259. Perhaps he has a gutful of righteous anger to bear. Christians are not called to be perma-tanned ‘nice’ (although peaceful co-existance is a mark of sound fellowship). If you had a beer together, perhaps your opinions would change. This will always be the limitation of ‘relationship by blog post.’

  260. @ Steve – posting articles like that of Richard Gaffin should challenge us to think critically, think biblically “and compare what people are saying in the name of God about the word of God”, as my favourite Lutheran apologist Chris Rosebrough says.

    I’m constantly challenged these days and am no longer “fearful” of having my theological boat rocked by opposing views (as I was when first introduced to John MacArthur et al).

    Hey, I’ve even sat through hours of amillennialism lectures with Kim Riddlebarger. Try that on a rainy (or in your case, a snowy day?)!

  261. Hello Ziebart,

    “I for one don’t see Anonymous as a troll. He has strong views on the C3 movement but nothing doctrinally wacko.”

    Thanks, Ziebart, I appreciate the sentiment.

    “Perhaps he has a gutful of righteous anger to bear.”

    Steve would be shaken to know what God thinks of C3. I have understood for a long time that things were not right, but I can tell you that when God spoke to me about this matter, I was absolutely stunned by what he said. A friend of mine recently asked God to show her what was behind C3, and she was likewise shocked beyond belief – so much so that she received only the beginning of the revelation, since she was unable to bear seeing any more, and asked God to stop.

    I cannot say any more than that, because the time is not right – but I know that there is nothing that is hidden that won’t be brought into the light, including even the thoughts and motives of men’s hearts.

  262. How did God speak to you, Anon? Using the same rule of thumb as Steve, it will have to clearly line up with His already revealed Word.

    I actually find what you’re saying quite troubling, to be honest.

    These days I hope I could sit in a church and fairly quickly pick up whether it’s truly God’s church simply by how they deal with the text of scripture from the pulpit. I wouldn’t need a “word from God” – He’s already given that.

    So, what does one do? If you are a member of that church, do you go to your pastor and share your concerns? Do you then go with another member, likewise troubled? Having done all you should, biblically, and see no fruit from your endeavours, then by all means leave, find a church that is faithful. It’s almost too easy….

  263. In other words, with respect, has God appointed you “judge, jury and executioner” or deliverer for the masses attending? I would love to know as I have family still there, just as troubled about different things, and are slowly moving on, attending another church at times, as they sort the position they find themselves in. (They are not involved in any ministry, as others are).

  264. ” If you had a beer together, perhaps your opinions would change. This will always be the limitation of ‘relationship by blog post.’

    Maybe this is just how it is because we are in the first few decades of blog/internet use. Maybe in 20 years people will look back and be aghast at the way people talked to each other on blogs.

    Is it possible to discuss things on blogs/youtube like you would in real life? Maybe it is. But maybe we as a society and church society are just getting worse.

    (But now I’m reminded of Greg and someone else saying that things aren’t worse than the old days – he has a point. Didn’t they used to throw rotten tomatoes at performers and speakers they didn’t like in days of old? Not to mention stoning people.

    So I guess thrashing things out like this is good.

  265. To be completely clear, as much as I’ve had my own issues with C3, I would NEVER say I know what God thinks. I can only repeat what He has already said in His Word

    And the last time I looked C3 doesn’t get a specific mention.

    False teachers, false prophets, wolves, “business corporations” calling themselves churches etc, we find everywhere and yes, we can draw conclusions.

    But I won’t make such declarative statements for fear of taking the Lord’s name in vain.

  266. “And the last time I looked C3 doesn’t get a specific mention.”

    I’m sure someone thinks they did though.

  267. @ SM – yet the church has become just as entranced with pastoral blogs, technology and all the latest gadgetry, smoke machines, mood lighting, emotive music as the pastor preaches etc etc…

  268. “Except I give reasons for my perspective. I see none in Anon. Only invective.”

    So invective without perspective is defective?

  269. Margot,

    “How did God speak to you, Anon?”

    I was asking him question A, and He gave me the answer to B. In other words, what He told me was not something that I was actually asking about.

    “Using the same rule of thumb as Steve, it will have to clearly line up with His already revealed Word.”

    It lines up perfectly with scripture.

    “I actually find what you’re saying quite troubling, to be honest.”

    I can tell you that I found it troubling myself. What He said knocked the breath out of me.

    ‘In other words, with respect, has God appointed you “judge, jury and executioner” or deliverer for the masses attending?’

    Sorry, I can’t say anything beyond the fact that matters are unfolding.

    “But I won’t make such declarative statements for fear of taking the Lord’s name in vain.”

    For every hundred times I hear, there are ninety-nine that I doubt. This is a time when I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever.

    “Anon, are you CCCer?”

    I don’t go to C3.

  270. ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Rev 2:12-13.

    Jesus made declarations over seven churches containing commendation, criticism, warning and encouragement. I believe he does so today. So we cannot say Anonymous has not heard the word of the Lord. If he has any discernment, it will be held up to the light of scripture and either found wanting or confirmed. He is not blabbing the details in an open forum.

    Jesus only calls those in sin to account, especially leaders walking according to their own desires. So, what if Anonymous believes he has heard God declare that the highest leaders in C3 are walking in step with, say, Balaam’s doctrine, or have a Nicolaitan spirit? Would that not be shocking? Would that not be an awful environment for the many honest worshippers attending each week to be under that spiritual yolk?

    Somewhere along the line, our desire to remain inoffensive has been usurped by satan for his purposes to create a bland vanilla Christianity that is lukewarm. However, I do not advocate spiteful attacks that degrade or have no depth of heart and compassion. It will be interesting to see how Anonymous takes his statement forward.

  271. @ zeibart – I believed I heard the Lord telling me this and that while still attending C3, something not discouraged. Saw things, felt things, heard things, all these same things I can now comfortably say were “vain imaginations” and still be a non-cessationist.

    Wonder why He didn’t “tell” me to read scripture in context, test the spirits, be Berean? He didn’t have to “tell” me anything, He had already “told” me – I just didn’t do the things He has instructed us to do.

    So, sitting in church one day, He graciously allowed me to “see” – and has graciously allowed the painful journey to run it’s course. Not so painful these days…

  272. Anon, did you ever go to C3?

    And if you don’t go, why would Gpd “reveal” things to you, if you are not a voice to be reckoned with, as part of that community?

    Just curious.

    Now if you were a street preacher, standing outside Joel Osteen’s church, or outside the so-called Lakeland “revival”, calling pastors/people to repentance, as some did, and you felt called to do the same at C3, I could perhaps understand and accept that.

  273. Margot,

    ‘Wonder why He didn’t “tell” me to read scripture in context […]’

    You’ll be glad to hear, then, that one of the things that God has been laying on my heart for around the past year or so is to get stuck into reading the Bible – and the leading has been very strong.

    I have been given no particular indication as to why, but I have my suspicions. I’m not fussed, though – it’s an important matter quite apart from any particular reason. We don’t need to know all His plans, but we do need to be obedient. Moreover, I’m well aware that God’s people perish for lack of knowledge – that is exactly why there are so many who are beholden to deceiving spirits.

  274. If we have to hear the audible voice of God, the Holy Spirit is shouting 🙂 His quiet voice allowed you to see things differently; so Anonymous has heard things differently. The Word jumps out at you or the Spirit bring previously unrealised illumination to a passage. All examples of God ‘speaking’ to us today.

  275. He certainly did – I started putting the verse (singular) given from the pulpit back into its surounding context and guess what? It didn’t mean what was being said from same pulpit!

    It’s at this point, i repeat my favourite mantra “context, context, context”.

    Major, major problem with preaching today. Lazy pastors too often going to Rick Warren’s “Toolbox” (or plagiarize other’s sermons) for ideas rather than do diligent study and preparation.

  276. Margot,

    I understand your curiosity. It’s hard to converse on-line, and all the more so because there are some things that I wouldn’t say, and some things that I cannot say.

  277. This is why I no longer like anonymity.

    Thinking about Jonah and Ninevah, for some reason. God sending Jonah (not anonymously), calling them to repentance, showing great love for those people.

    Now if Anon is a “Jonah” sent to warn C3, there’s something fishy here. Looks like we may need another whale?

    Don’t go swimming Anon 🙂

  278. Your reading needs a *lot* of work, Steve.

    I have not said “a disaster is coming upon C3”; this is a fantasy that you have concocted in your own mind as a result of reading things into what I have said. Nor have I stated that anything is imminent. I never said I hate C3, either; I have expressed strong disapproval of what it is that they do, which is an entirely different thing.

    I have been deliberately circumspect regarding some matters because that has been a wise course of action, and in some cases because it has been the proper one (Ziebart understands this). We are on line here, Steve – this is the most public forum in which things can be discussed. You of all people, as an ex-pastor, should be able to comprehend what I am saying. Instead you badger me for information as though I am in some way answerable to you, and you continue in your frantic efforts to pigeon-hole me in some way. (Have you ever noticed that Jesus adroitly avoided all efforts that were made to trap Him or force Him into a corner?)

    The universe does not revolve around you Steve, and no matter what you may think, you have no particular entitlement to anything, including information about others. You may ask politely; if they decline for whatever reason or reasons, that is their business and not yours. That is a lesson you really need to learn.

    With respect to C3, we all know that they are preaching tithing, which is law. We know that they are manipulating people to get them to give; the manipulation includes appealing to their greed (“God will bless you with riches”) and fear (“you are robbing God and under a curse if you don’t tithe”). Preaching law is a mishandling of scripture, and manipulating people is unconscionable behaviour of a higher order again. We know that when we see the tip of an iceberg, there’s a lot more that remains unseen – and so it would be with C3:

    “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.”

    (I’m assuming that you understand that people who are chasing money are motived by jealousy and selfish ambition).

    So if C3 is conducting themselves in that manner, does anyone really think that God will stand idly by? I know how He deals with me when I sin: He graciously gives me time to repent, He convicts me of my guilt – and, if I fail to respond, He disciplines me as He sees fit. That’s what God does; it’s an expression of who He is – His mercy and His justice. God is the one who sets the times and selects the means and chooses the people – not any of us. I’m not at all fussed about who will do the job or how it will be accomplished, but it is quite clear that if C3 continue in their current vein, they will be headed for trouble – in exactly the same way that if any one of us were involved in wilful and persistent wrongdoing, we would eventually find ourselves on the wrong end of God’s anger.

    Anyone here who is compos mentis should be able to grasp these things. I mean, it’s hardly theological rocket science, is it?

  279. Margot,

    You are quite correct that anonymity is a pain.

    If you would care to do so, I would be happy to discuss things with you via email.

  280. Obviously there are many true believers attending C3, we were there a very long time before we left. Coming to an understanding of election has helped us understand that God allows things to happen in our journey to the Cross and beyond. Bewildering at times, looking back but faith and trust become so more important.

    It’s frustrating when pastors continue to use OT scriptures to pressure NT believers to tithe, it simply shows their own lack of trust in the same God they say will provides all “your needs”!

    It’s frustrating to see the church constantly exposed to the latest “rockstar” pastor/ speaker (with his accompanying product for sale). As Phil Johnson from Pyromaniacs rightly calls it, we have become the “fad-driven” church.

    It’s frustrating when people who truly care for their church, are unable to have a voice for fear of being labelled divisive, who have been told that even if their pastor is less than biblical, one must still support them, because the pastor is the one God gave the “vision”?????

    At the end of the day, there will be an accounting for those given charge over His sheep. There’s also the wheat and the tares, so we may not see any change or judgment this side of eternity.

  281. Hello Margot,

    “It’s frustrating to see the church constantly exposed to the latest “rockstar” pastor/ speaker (with his accompanying product for sale).”

    That’s another interesting area – product promotion from the pulpit. You are probably aware that the C3 constitution forbids that. (It reminds me of the fact that not only is the law unable to prevent wrongdoing, it actually stimulates it).

    The fact that it was considered necessary to include in the constitution a specific prohibition against preachers hawking their wares to the congregation really speaks volumes in itself. It reminds me of the quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

    “”The louder he proclaimed his honor the faster we counted the spoons?”

    The leaders have neither integrity nor shame.

  282. I’m aware of the constitution. However I think it’s circumvented by having a separate business manager and company selling products. Does that make promoting and selling product or, let’s say, artwork etc, (via FB or newsletters) after church services, appropriate in a “house of prayer”?

    Certainly taking advantage of a captive market. One example being Valentines Day artwork for viewing/sale. I know because I’ve seen it promoted via FB.

    And are these opportunities to sell product available to ALL talented church members? (Not that it’s the place to be doing any such thing…..)

  283. “However I think it’s circumvented by having a separate business manager and company selling products.”

    If that is indeed the case it represents a breathtakingly cynical ploy. On the surface there is wide-eyed innocence and a squeaky clean image, but underneath there are some in a headlong rush to make merchandise of the Gospel. Of course this is all part of the obsession with money, as is the flawed dogma regarding tithing.

    Does that make promoting and selling product or, let’s say, artwork etc, (via FB or newsletters) after church services, appropriate in a “house of prayer”?

    It is clearly not appropriate under circumstances whatsoever, but I would lay odds that if anyone queried the leadership they would be regaled with a well-prepared spiel, including cherry-picked out-of-context versus that had been subjected to the requisite degree of tweaking and twisting.

    The money changers are in the temple. Maybe God will rebuke them at the judgement, but I personally would like to see tables being turned over and those responsible being physically driven out, the way temple cleansing was done in the good old days 😉

    “And are these opportunities to sell product available to ALL talented church members?”

    Now, now, Margot! You know that all the talent that there is to be had at C3 resides within those in leadership, and that the second-class citizens of the laity are distinguished by their ignorance and ineptitude! (After all, if a sheep had talent, they wouldn’t be a sheep, would they? They would be a shepherd).

    By the way, where is Steve? Is it just me, or has he gone all quiet?

  284. Jake, didn’t C3 OF allow you to hold an exhibition of your own artwork in one of the rooms in their gallery, or something similar? Didn’t you hold exhibitions in another church in the locality?

    Why is a meeting hall for Christians being converted, in this conversation, into a holy shrine like the Temple at Jerusalem? The Church is the people, not a building made with hands.

    You can sell what you like in a meeting hall. Your claim of product unholiness is religious folly!

    Aren’t you guilty of accusing a church of reverting to law to request the tithe, and then yourself apply the law to selling merchandise in the Temple? Isn’t that hypocrisy?

    I attend a C3 church where the tithe is not demanded, nor preached for as law, so your claims are not correct. Giving is according to conscience.

  285. It’s not “same old, same old” Steve. The marketing is very troubling.

    If you had a talent, not a gift such as pastoring, teaching etc for the edification of the body, would you take advantage of a captive audience to market that talent? Profit from that talent?

  286. Steve,

    “Why is a meeting hall for Christians being converted, in this conversation, into a holy shrine like the Temple at Jerusalem? The Church is the people, not a building made with hands.”

    I knew that I’d cop that line from you, and I can’t say I blame you for using it – it’s a not uncompelling argument, after all. I personally don’t think I’m drawing an overly-long bow, though.

    “You can sell what you like in a meeting hall. Your claim of product unholiness is religious folly!”

    Except that I didn’t claim that products are unholy – it’s the practice of flogging them from the pulpit that I find abhorrent. It’s not something I would ever contemplate doing myself.

    “Aren’t you guilty of accusing a church of reverting to law to request the tithe, and then yourself apply the law to selling merchandise in the Temple? Isn’t that hypocrisy?”

    No, because I’m not objecting to it on the basis of any law being broken, but because it is offensive. The give-away is that the C3 constitution forbids plugging wares from the pulpit, so C3 obviously understand that it is something that shouldn’t be done (or at the very least, they understand the need to maintain the *appearance* that it won’t be done).

    “I attend a C3 church where the tithe is not demanded, nor preached for as law, so your claims are not correct. Giving is according to conscience.”

    I know that not all C3 churches are tarred with the same brush Steve, and I no that you don’t push tithing yourself (that’s how I know you’re not all bad 😉

  287. margot, with respect, I think that’s a rather cynical approach to what actually happens for a couple of reason.

    Firstly, the condescension required to make the assumption that the person in the pews is so mesmerised that they can’t make rational decisions about what they buy after the meeting is breathtaking.

    You know as well as I do that C3 folk tend to be pretty bright, and well able to make decisions for themselves, including which book or music dvd they’d like to buy.

    Secondly, if my pastor wrote a book I would be very interested because he has some great things to say, is very articulate, and explains scripture in a clear way, so it would be no problem at all for him to tell his local church members, his faith family, that he’d put his thoughts down on paper and it was available in the foyer. What on earth is onerous about that?

    Goodness gracious, we’ve had ministers from the classical Anglican fold preach in our church, and have a table at the back with their materials. Anglican churches have substantial bookshops attached to their buildings.

    Thirdly, it’s just religious claptrap to decry this as merchandising the Temple, when the Temple has been destroyed, as Jesus said it would be.

    These are worship CDs, DVDs and books which explain doctrine, scriptural means of dealing with issues, testimonies, missions adventures in God, the nature of God explained in layman’s terms, etc, not Enid Blyton novels!

    You talking out of your own disgust for s system you do not like.

    It will be interesting to hear your report on the Piper meetings, whether or not he has any ‘merchandise’ or a resource area so you can purchase his materials, and whether or not he or one of the team promotes any materials from the pulpit.

    Guard your purse, margot. I can’t see how you are going to resist that one!

  288. That should be “I know that you don’t…”, not “I no that you don’t…”

    Why don’t spell-checkers do “context, context, context”?

  289. I wasn’t talking about me, Jake. Our pastor doesn’t teach tithing as law.

    You really do need to come out. It’s as clear as day who you are, and you have already been outed on this thread by one of the people who outed you before for being so mean to them on this blog. They know who you are and the word is that they tolerate you, but see right through you, so there is no reason to be anonymous.

    And C3 did let you have an exhibition of your art in their gallery, didn’t they? Is that merchandising?

  290. Piper meetings? Did I say something about Piper?

    Don’t go to conferences Steve. Don’t buy books from Christian bookstores – I buy books via Amazon Kindle (cheaper).

    Don’t have a problem with good books by good expositors of scripture being available at churches.

    Unless I wasn’t being clear, I’m talking about selling artwork in purpose-built galleries on church property (paid for by the congregation).

    Steve, I seen how people go crazy for an “anointed” piece of artwork, unfortunately there will always be a certain amount of gullibility. Most of the product will be purchased by the congregation who patronize the “business”.

    Being forewarned that Valentines Day paintings will be available for viewing/sale after the service is simply wrong. This done the week before Valentines Day, come on!

  291. “I wasn’t talking about me, Jake. Our pastor doesn’t teach tithing as law.”

    I know that, but you don’t hold to tithing as law either, do you?

    “And C3 did let you have an exhibition of your art in their gallery, didn’t they? Is that merchandising?”

    I don’t paint (I’ve no artistic ability whatsoever, I’m afraid). If I did paint, however, I wouldn’t display it in C3’s gallery – precisely because that would be crossing that particular line.

    (By the way, “nacht und nebel” was a word-play on five levels.)

  292. margot,
    It’s frustrating to see the church constantly exposed to the latest “rockstar” pastor/ speaker (with his accompanying product for sale). As Phil Johnson from Pyromaniacs rightly calls it, we have become the “fad-driven” church.

    Wouldn’t John Piper be considered a ‘rockstar’ preacher for reformists and evangelicals? Do you expect he will carry any product when he speaks in Australia?

    Isn’t reformed theology a ‘fad’ you are hoping will catch on amongst the youth, especially, as you have said countless times, the youth of C3?

    What people like Phil Johnson misses is the fact that no matter what persuasion you are from there will always be people who are better able to articulate the cause or doctrinal stance, who will attract larger crowds to their meetings, which will become conventions to fit all the people in, which generates a level of excitement for participants, who will often have to travel a long way to get to the meetings which have to, by necessity, be held in large halls in major cities to accommodate the crowds, who will also expect to purchase relevant resources. It all becomes a major operation, and generates greater interest across the board.

    So one man’s influence is being touted as another man’s ‘rockstar preacher’ in derogatory terms.

    So you will be very interested in Piper, but completely angry about Furtick. The only difference is of kind and content, not stature in the Body.

  293. So, folks, this is entirely your opinion, not anything based on scripture or Biblical principle.

    That’s OK. You’re welcome to an opinion, of course. As long as you realise that is what it is.

    I don’t see how Gd is going to pour out his wrath based on either of your opinions, however.

  294. Piper? John Piper? No, very rarely listen to him except for the occasional YouTube clip that may pop up on FB (the one where he denounces the prosperity gospel). Even C3 folks like posting that one….

    I’m just ignoring the rest of your comment. 🙂

  295. “So, folks, this is entirely your opinion, not anything based on scripture or Biblical principle.”

    No, not at all. It is something that is symptomatic of the spirit that is behind C3. And God will most certainly deal with that spirit and it’s various manifestations at the time of His choosing.

  296. That’s a serious charge, Ano.

    Can you provide evidence?

    If you cannot, then you are deluded, a conspiracist, a liar or a fraud. It is that simple.

  297. “Can you provide evidence?”

    God is the One who will judge, and it is He who will therefore provide the evidence. It’s that simple.

  298. margot,
    I’m just ignoring the rest of your comment.

    That may be, but it is true, nevertheless. The sad thing is that people like Phil Johnson can’t see it.

    By the way, it’s not that I particularly disagree with him. I long ago thought faddism was an excess in the church and have publicly warned against some of the folly of it. Gosh, I’ve been caught up with it in the past and realised how futile it can be, or rather, I was rebuked by the Holy Spirit, long ago, for being caught up in it. What I mean is the pursuit of this anointing and that anointing, as if it changes anything.

    Now I believe in impartation, but that is mainly by the Word of Truth, not always by the laying on of hands, although there is some merit to it. But the Holy Spirit once spoke clearly to my spirit when I was asking if I could receive some anointing or other from some famous and highly respected minster, and He said, “Yes, I’ll arrange for that to happen, but how about I anoint you, why haven’t you asked me!” (my paraphrase of a prompting, not an actual audible voice, although it was that clear to me).

    It was a clear rebuke, but given in a loving, fatherly way. (By the way, he did arrange for that minister to call me out and pray for me, which was amazing because that particular minister didn’t often call people out for an impartation by laying on of hands.) But the point was made, and I haven’t prayed that way since. He is my Anointer and anointing. He is all I need.

    In other words, it’s very immature to run from meeting to meeting collecting ‘anointings’ when it is the anointing of the Holy Spirit we need, and that of Christ, not a servant of Christ.

    But that was a fad I was caught up in for a while, as many have been, and some still are. I don’t think it is entirely harmful, more an innocent, child-like desire to be all one can be in Christ. I say harmless, that is, unless someone carries a wrong spirit, so I qualify that by warning that we have to be careful who lays hands on on us and why. I tend to stay away from that stuff unless I am first prompted by the Spirit, these days.

    So Johnson is correct about faddism, but wrong to suggest it is confined to a particular crowd. There is just as much faddism about Paul Washer by the people who love his brand of ministry. I think he carries and awesome anointing, by the way, although I don’t agree with the way he wields his gift at times. Bit he is surely a weapon ion God’s hands in certain circles.

    John Piper is also a godly man with a strong anointing. Not totally my cup of tea doctrinally, but a worker in the vineyard for sure. I think PP recently quoted him in a Tweet. Even John McArthur has a place in the Body, but he needs to grow up in some areas and lose some weight of prejudice which pulls him back. But don’t we all?

    But those are all people who could be considered ‘fads’ and ‘rockstars’. We just have to be careful about what our own fads might be.

  299. If you are jake’s twin brother I’ll call you Joke.

    You said,
    God is the One who will judge, and it is He who will therefore provide the evidence. It’s that simple.

    Well we all know that, and each of us will be judged, and face the wrath if found wanting, but you said it was imminent and you were privy to it. It doesn’t stack up Biblically for you to be in the loop with God and not be allowed to warn anyone.

    As a C3 member who is being accused by you, apparently through the leading of the Holy Spirit, of being in some kind of error which will lead to die consequences, i ask you to help me know what it is that I need to do to repent of these things you are privy to so hat I can get my lie right before God, because I can’t see anything, beyond the usual flesh and blood things which happen in local churches, which points to some kind of error which will lead to God’s wrath being poured out on my beloved brothers and sisters in my local church, or in the other C3 local churches we are in relationship with.

    Surely you owe it to us to love us and tell us, with Biblical evidence, what our error is that will lead to God’s judgment.

    We share communion on a regular basis, and confess our sins, forgive others, and remember the body and blood of Christ.

    We are encouraged to repent of our sins, and walk in the Spirit, walk in love, against which there is no law.

    We are under the grace of God and not his condemnation.

    We worship God and no other. We have faith in Christ. We are led by the Spirit. We have a good report with those within and without. We owe no man anything but to love him.

    What else do we need to do to walk in holiness and righteousness before God?

    Please tell.

    If you cannot then you need to repent of fearmonging and delusional accusations with no basis in truth.

  300. Yes, well we just have to realise that religious fads are here one day and gone the next…..

    “Reformed theology came out of the Reformation and in particular the theology of John Calvin (1509-1564), although its roots go back to Augustine (345-430), it was formulated by the puritans, especially in the Westminster confession of faith (1646). This Confession is the enduring fruit of the solemn Assembly of some 100 leading Puritan divines, convened at Westminster Abbey in London from July 1, 1643 through to Feb.,1649. Other reformed confessions: Belgic (1580), Baptist (1689), 39 Articles of the Church of England – Anglican and Episcopal (1571, 1662, 1801) etc etc etc……”

    And now we have Steven Furtick. If the Lord tarries 500 years, will “Sun Stand Still Prayers” be the new confession of faith?

  301. On faddism, I was talking to a Pentecostal pastor the other day about the Pentecostal liturgy, which is as obvious as any, if not written down in a prayerbook. It has also been satirised on youtube, which is silly really, because we have among us melancholy, list-oriented, organised people who must have everything set out properly (decent and in order) as well as sanguine folk who are surrounded by seeming chaos but know how to have fun at the drop of a hat.

    But there is some kind of liturgy in every movement. C3 has a liturgy of sorts, which would be similar to other contemporary pentecostal set-ups. It is written down on the order of service, and beautifully segued and stage managed. But you can’t have order and decency without back-room staff, pre-organised events and schedules, equipment, specialists and technicians as well as trained volunteers, who need leaders to organise them. So liturgy is good. It is helpful to the adherent.

    As long as the Holy Spirit has time and space to move in these arrangements, I see no problem with liturgical practices. They can be quite edifying and inspiring, and many people need repetition and order to help sooth the tumult of everyday life.

    But, in discussing faddism, we can’t allow our perception of order to interfere with the order of the Holy Spirit, who, being like the Wind, sometimes comes into meetings like a storm and sometime like a breeze, and turns our liturgy upside down into a lesson on trust and faith, as long as we welcome him in and allow him to express himself amongst his people.

  302. No, not at all, SM. It’s a really good movement with some excellent churches. Great ministry, friendly, warm, relaxed people. Love Jesus. Spirit filled. God glorifying.

    Not everyone’s choice of new wine, that’s all.

    There are plenty of other churches to go to if you prefer another flavour.

    God’s vineyard has many vintages.

  303. I’ll take that as a complement, margot, but I don’t blog here in any official capacity, as you know. I am just an ordinary Christian who loves his church and pastors.

    Lots of people like Phil’s artwork. We have a couple of small paintings. They’re colourful and friendly, and brighten up a room. God bless him for expressing himself through the arts and encouraging others. He’s consistently promoted art and music a s a worship form, so it’s nothing new.

    I think you’re making a mountain out of a molehill.

    Now there’s an idea for a painting!

  304. I like his work too (apart from the sculptures :(, his Valentine series is very good.

    I think he should retire and enjoy doing what he obviously loves. 🙂

    Still think that the church, in its setting, is for the preaching of the gospel, not marketing product.

  305. Fine, but it’s an opinion, not a Biblical law.

    Phil has successfully built a work which, thanks to Jesus, has gone beyond his ability to run everything without a large group of people dedicated to the task, and has the momentum to continue with sound leadership without him if necessary, but he is still vibrant, enthusiastic, strong and far more experienced than before, so let him lead and paint, sail and preach until the day he goes to be with the Lord.

    You make it sound as if promoting artwork were the only thing that happens. It’s not, it’s only an interesting but very small part of what takes place every week, but, after 22 years there, you know that.

    I know people who are inspired to paint, write books and compose music because people like Phil and Chris were out there pioneering expression in the Church, when it wasn’t fashionable to do so.

  306. General comment on creating income from your fellow congregants: it should be a staple of our lives that we go to our brothers and sisters for assistance and business. I would rather use a believing plumber than one who wasn’t, despite their abilities as a plumber. Often we don’t know the skills and talents of those we meet with every week, which is a shame. That the pulpit is used to promote stuff is out of balance. If one does it, all should. There is plenty of leverage that the leader of a ‘movement’ (aren’t the Krishnas a ‘movement’ too?) can exercise which could be deemed a conflict of interest.

    Do you remember when Rick Warren went public after his Purpose-Driven Church book sailed to the top of bestseller lists? He said that due to the revenue returns, he had given back the entire sum of what his church had paid him down the years. The pretty sad fact is that he was prepared to take a full salary and then magnanimously hand it back when his ‘private’ authoring business did not required church funds to keep his bills paid.

  307. Next point on LEAVEN. In Rev 2 & 3 Jesus is at considerable pains to emphasise the aspects of the seven churches which fall short ie the leaven. We overlook leaven in the midst of church at our peril, and open ourselves up to the judgement of God. Many streams appear to be a mix of Sardis and Laodicea, and I honestly think we go about our ‘holy business’ without considering what Jesus thinks of it all. Leaven was to be identified and eradicated; a quick word search in the Gospels will show you how Jesus viewed leaven in his people. We tolerate far too much, and the ever-increasing way in which society (and the legal system) forces a more tolerant landscape infiltrates the church to our detriment (and I’m not advocating hate speech or the like, so no-one go off the deep end please). The devil’s subtle lies increase our tolerance for leaven to the point where our meetings are, in all likelihood, an abomination before the Lord.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9075653/George-Carey-time-to-say-that-Christians-have-rights-too.html

  308. “I would rather use a believing plumber than one who wasn’t, despite their abilities as a plumber.”

    Interesting – I would rather use a plumber who is great at his job, even if he was a Muslim, (always looking for opportunites to be a witness for Christ?).

    The number of failed business (run by Christians) that have roped in fellow-believers, now there’s a story. Flyers under car wipers on cars parked at church. Home groups bible studies that turn into marketing promotion or recruitment etc

    Seriously, even Phil Pringle discouraged people from using the congregation for promoting their business (do you see what I just wrote!!!)

    Hypocrite, can’t get that word out of my mind…….

  309. ”(By the way, “nacht und nebel” was a word-play on five levels.)”

    Do explain Anonymous. A bit like crime in a multi-story car park, which is wrong on so many levels 🙂

  310. Well, off to church now where our old-fashioned non-painting minister continues on with his verse by verse exposition of Matthew.

    Where are we up to? Chapter 25:31-46 – this will be interesting, “the sheep and the goats”.

    Could do flannelgraphs for us?

  311. Margot, I am suggesting an ideal, but the reality is more as you describe sadly. What I mean, is that all working Christians should be a blessing to the Body first and others afterwards. A Christian economy should be part of our witness to the world that causes it to be attracted to the people of Christ. I have heard of companies that actively don’t like to recruit Christians because they believe they will just do the minimum and shirk generally, which is a very poor state of affairs.

    Talking of ideals, Steve, you post how things are in your world, and it all seems so perfectly biblical (no tithing preached, lovely pastor, great Jesus-shaped people). If they have the C3 logo, then I suspect the reality would be somewhat different, but maybe being 12000 miles from the Mothership allows you to do things more freely. Thoughts?

  312. zeibart,
    Thoughts?

    Thoughts? You’re being far too harsh and cynical (in the view you portrayed of distance making things ‘better’). I’ve been a member of three C3 churches on a regular basis and all have been great.

  313. Leaven referred to the teaching of the lawyers who took the Law and added constraints which were never intended.

    The equivalent would be the people who try to make scripture into law rather than allow believers to live according to the Spirit of the Word, not the letter.

    Tithing by law would be one example, but there are many others, which can turn faith into a ritualised belief system. All things are lawful, but not all are expedient. The answer is to walk in the Spirit, against which there is no law.

    By walking in righteousness, which can only be achieved by grace through faith, we can fulfil the requirement of the law without even referencing it.

  314. ”You’re being far too harsh and cynical”.

    Not at all. It’s all in the eye of the beholder. But then, I wouldn’t expect the Pope to slam the Catholic church, so this conversation is pointless.

  315. ”Leaven referred to the teaching of the lawyers”.

    And you don’t think that man-made laws in the churches, and the associated Pharisaical spirit, are not alive and well today?

    Leaven is leaven and not to be taken lightly.or dismissed as a historical or contextual irrelevance, Steve.

  316. “[…] you said [judgement] was imminent […]”

    Where did I say that it was imminent?

    “It doesn’t stack up Biblically for you to be in the loop with God and not be allowed to warn anyone.”

    Oh, really? So it’s not the case that someone should be exclusively privy to certain things of God? Why don’t you tell the gnostics in C3 leadership that, Steve?

    And who said I can’t warn anyone? And who said I haven’t warned anyone? All I’ve said is that there are some things that it would be unwise or improper to discuss in an on-line forum.

    In any case, C3 leadership *have* been warned on numerous occasions that they are in error, and they have continued on their merry way regardless. Why don’t you ask Margot about that?

    Since you are an ex-pastor, you should be aware that if anyone persists in wilfully mishandling the scriptures then they are headed for judgement. If they have been told repeatedly that they are in the wrong and they stay their course, then the prognosis is not at all good, as it is written:

    “A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed–without remedy.”

    They are preaching lies and manipulating people. You know that, don’t you? Do you think God will just wink at that? Perhaps you think He’s really a lot like you, and He will accept heresy and unconscionable behaviour if the pastor in question is “well-respected” and a “great communicator” and is “successful”, and if his church has a large attendance. I think you haven’t read the Bible Steve, it says:

    “[…] God is no respecter of persons.”

    God doesn’t give a rat’s a*** how many continents a man has preached on, or how many books he’s sold, or how well his thoroughly crappy art is regarded. Man looks at the outward appearance, God looks at the heart. God is not at all impressed by any of the outward trappings of worldly success, no matter how well it may be disguised as being of a spiritual provenance. Go and read your Bible, Steve – it’s all in there.

    So now that I’ve explained that in terms that you should be able to understand, I’ve got a challenge for you. Why don’t *YOU* go and warn them, since you are part of the movement? Or are you somehow absolved of any responsibility in this matter? Do you think that haranguing outsiders for their perceived failure to do a job that you yourself should have done long ago means that you can wash your hands of all this?

    I have been thinking that you have been getting antsy over my posts because you are clueless, but I was wrong. You are suffering from a guilty conscience that my words have been pricking. You are not clueless – you are a moral coward.

  317. “Phil […] is still vibrant, enthusiastic, strong […]”.

    You haven’t seen him preach, recently, have you Steve? Spiritually speaking he is absolutely bone dry – he’s running on fumes and reputation now.

  318. Hello Ziebart,

    “Do explain Anonymous.”

    Well, we were discussing German, so I thought I’d toss some more German in. Then then there was the fact that S&P (Jake?) disappeared from this blog without trace (like a victim of NN). Then there was the fact that some thought that I was S&P (Jake?), but they couldn’t quite make out my true identity (like a man who appears dimly at night through fog). Then there’s the fact that C3 wishes they could make all the dissidents in their movement vanish without a trace (hence the nod to Godwin).

    That’s four out of five (I have to leave something for Steve to puzzle over, so he can accuse me of being some deranged discernment wannabe).

    “A bit like crime in a multi-story car park, which is wrong on so many levels”

    Crime in a car park? What on earth would drive someone to that? 😉

  319. It’s been useful that the first 3 chapters of Rev have been on my mind whilst this discussion has been unfolding. According to that passage of scripture, a real church, as seen by God, has a lampstand. This has several meanings; one being that the church is the provider of light by demonstrating the life of Christ in its midst; a second being like the Jewish menorah that flowed with oil, a picture of the Holy Spirit. I am sure there are others.

    Jesus then describes all the ways in which the seven churches he is addressing are in danger of relinquishing their lampstand. Would you say, Anonymous, that C3’s lampstand (if they ever possessed one in God’s sight) has been removed, yet they continue as if nothing had happened? Balaam’s error, the Nicolaitan doctrine and a spirit of Jezebel can all exist today, despite no actual animal sacrifice occurring down the street. Greed and a prostituting of one’s ways with the world’s are hallmarks of an adulterous person/church/city/nation.

  320. Now I think about it, there was a time in my early days at the C3 church we attended when I sensed God impress on my mind that there existed a glass ceiling in the church that he wanted to break. I spoke this out and believed that some healthy soul-searching, seeking God’s word and repentance would bring the required fracture in man-made ceilings. There was a real (but subtle) resistance to that approach from the senior leaders. It was almost a rejection of the humble heart required, and the recognition that all was not well, which blocked any further progress down that path.

    Needless to say, that was the beginning of the end for me, but things took many months to work through until we finally had had enough of wading through treacle.

  321. “Would you say, Anonymous, that C3′s lampstand (if they ever possessed one in God’s sight) has been removed […]”.

    Through my discussions with a few people recently, I would say that is what is in the process of happening. God would rather see the leadership repent, but repentance has not been forthcoming, and so the Holy Spirit is less and less in evidence as time goes on. Some people maintain that the rot at C3OF set in when they moved into the building they currently occupy.

    “Now I think about it, there was a time in my early days at the C3 church we attended when I sensed God impress on my mind that there existed a glass ceiling in the church that he wanted to break. I spoke this out and believed that some healthy soul-searching, seeking God’s word and repentance would bring the required fracture in man-made ceilings. There was a real (but subtle) resistance to that approach from the senior leaders. It was almost a rejection of the humble heart required, and the recognition that all was not well, which blocked any further progress down that path.”

    The problem is that you’ll get short shrift trying to swim against the tide. The pastors are always right, with the corollary being that anyone who disagrees with them must, by definition, be wrong. Arrogance, spiritual blindness, a spirit of control – it’s a toxic mix.

    To me the clearest indicator that things are not well is the mishandling of scripture. If anyone loves God, it will be the case that either their doctrine is sound, or that God will reveal to them where any problems lie, so that it will become sound. Anyone who persists over time in preaching things that are not true does not love God, and they are not hearing from Him. The fruit of this is clear at C3OF – if you watch the sermons on the web, you can see how empty and powerless the preaching is. And yet, as you say, they continue on as if nothing is amiss. Either they can’t recognise that there is a problem, or they can’t bring themselves to admit it. Some of the leaders appear to have lost their sparkle – they look tired and worn out. I suspect that some may be feeling a little perplexed: maybe they are wondering how it is they’ve spent thirty years of their lives being enthusiastic and jumping around and shouting and carrying on, and yet have so little to show for it.

  322. Shuffle, shuffle. Obscure, obscure.

    No, you are S&P. The language and temper are the same. The shift from one declaration to another. Blame throwing. Finger pointing. Focused anger at C3. Indications of inside information and knowledge. Lack of actual evidence or fact. Opinion rather than content. Failed context. Everything.

    There isn’t that much coincidence in the world, not in this little world of SP02, anyway.

    And you’ve made this about you. This isn’t the hurt ex-C3 member come to seek solace. This is the returned former SP02 leader who handed over the blog to Bull when C3 youth leaders outed you for being abusive to them on this blog, and you ran a mile when your true identity was revealed.

    Quite why you’re attaching the blame to anyone here is beyond me. No one ever asked you to leave. You did so off your own bat, and have been told you’re welcome to return anytime. By everyone, including me. This is just a childish masquerade.

  323. zeibart,
    The lampstand refers to the citywide Church, not a local church.

    The Church at Ephesus, for instance. The entire Christian body in the city of Ephesus, which was referred to as having a lampstand and an angel who was the messenger to the church, sometimes thought to be the main Overseer of the city.

    God doesn’t give individual lampstands to the local church on he corner which he might remove one day if they play up. That is not what Revelation is saying at all.

    Secondly, it’s Jesus who makes the judgment call, not some ‘discernment’ ministry on earth. If there is something which needs fixing in that citywide church Jesus will send word. But it won’t be through endtimespropheticwords dot com! LOL! Thank God for that!

    So now you don’t like the way C3 present the message. You don’t especially like the tithing message. They talk about the windows of heaven and Gates of Heaven. God speaks to some of the preachers sometimes in an audible voice. They sometimes promote the availability of resources and paintings in their own Bookshop from the pulpit. Like God is going to send a firestorm for that!

    I mean! Come on! This is getting utterly ridiculous. I can’t actually believe you’re having this conversation. Again!

    Is it possible to start to grow up, but then revert to juvenility?

  324. Steve, Anonymous is not ‘attaching the blame to anyone here’ that I can see. It’s the entire movement, and it’s top leadership, that appear to be copping it. If he is S&P, he’s apparently welcome; if he’s not, he’s apparently welcome. Countering by ad hominem will get us nowhere.

    How can this move forward? You seem to be continually rotating around the same stuff. Don’t you find it all rather repetitive?

  325. I wrote my last before reading your 7.21pm and we seem to be accord over the circular nature of all this!

  326. As I said earlier, I wouldn’t expect the Pope to bag Roman Catholicism.

    So, Jesus is speaking to an angel, who is passing this message to John, who is relaying it to the churches. Perhaps Jesus still does speak to people today, even those running ‘discernment’ ministries.

    Further, the church in Ephesus would have been the only expression of Christ in that city. Jesus did not have to talk to the Baptists, Presbys, RC, C3 mobs individually. Doesn’t that get you thinking. It does me.

  327. Jake,
    Through my discussions with a few people recently

    Nice try!

    I think you actually have some kind of compulsive obsessive thing going on.

    You are suffering from a guilty conscience that my words have been pricking. You are not clueless – you are a moral coward.

    Some moral coward, coming on this blog to talk to people like you and offer a willing attitude to discuss issues in an adult, mature way.

    No sorry, ‘people like you’ is rude to any others here who are generally reasonable and easy to get on with, despite our differences.

    My conscience is clear. That is why I am fine with talking with people here who have very different views. I am secure in my faith and trust in Christ. My life isn’t about C3. It’s about Jesus. He is my source, confidence and leader.

    Your words no more prick my conscience than Dave’s.

    You think far more highly of yourself than you ought. It’s a dangerous place to be.

    I am not an ex-pastor.

    You need help!

  328. zeibart.

    If you’d prefer I go and leave you all to the anti-C3 discussion with S&P, then fine.

    I see no point in regurgitating old material and stinking innuendos about a decent church.

    The reference to the Pope is unhelpful.

    I represent my point of view, and that is all.

    Let S&P have his way with you all, because it’s going to be a very tedious, boring, unedifying journey, and I want no part of it.

    Last words – C3 is a great church, that has helped my family greatly. Phil Pringle is a wonderful leader. The people are Christ-loving and serving.

    That is not papal. If you can’t say that about your own local church and movement, there is something seriously amiss.

    Have fun!

  329. ”If you’d prefer I go and leave you all to the anti-C3 discussion with S&P, then fine.”

    That wasn’t what I wrote or intimated. The simple fact is that going over the same ground in pointing out C3-isms and having them defended is trench warfare and manifestly unproductive. Each side has ample ammunition and won’t surrender ground – that’s all. It goes nowhere and does harm to both parties in the end.

    Now, robust discussions about some more meatier subjects would be welcome (although I suspect they would gravitate back to the C3 black hole eventually *sigh*). Although, no more gay dead horses please!

  330. If your spouse decided to have a sex-change operation, would it be sinful to remain married to them?

    Would it be adulterous to divorce them and marry someone else?

  331. Well I wouldnt want to whip a gay dead horse. Then you would not only accuse me of homosexuality and beastiality, but sado-masochism and necrophilia aswell.

  332. Wazza, I also thought it might be CCCer, but margot, thinking the same, actually asked the question, and Anonymous declared that he isn’t CCCer.

    Whoever it is clearly has knowledge of the flow of conversations on this blog for some time, but has chosen to enter, using more than one pseudonym, to draw the conversation into his C3 hatefest, which I consider trolling.

    Zeibart,
    The reason I have continued the discussion with Anonymous was the dire warning he gave earlier, which implied judgement with consequences from God on C3, and, if true, should mean that he has information which should be revealed to C3 people if he is correct.

    But he has refused to give anything except generalisms. To me, if he has something to say he should spell it all out, and reveal himself, not hide behind pseudonym, or start a fear tactic which he refuses to elaborate on because this is a blog. Why, then, say anything if he doesn’t have permission form God. That is sin (or is it disobedience?)

    If he genuinely has prophecy concerning C3, he should put it out before the church so it can be judged by the prophets, otherwise it should be treated with the contempt it deserves.

    Here is part of the flow of conversation he initiated:

    Steve would be shaken to know what God thinks of C3. I have understood for a long time that things were not right, but I can tell you that when God spoke to me about this matter, I was absolutely stunned by what he said. A friend of mine recently asked God to show her what was behind C3, and she was likewise shocked beyond belief – so much so that she received only the beginning of the revelation, since she was unable to bear seeing any more, and asked God to stop.

    I cannot say any more than that, because the time is not right – but I know that there is nothing that is hidden that won’t be brought into the light, including even the thoughts and motives of men’s hearts.

    margot, concerned because of relatives at C3, asks Anonymous to elaborate. Response:

    Margot,

    “How did God speak to you, Anon?”

    I was asking him question A, and He gave me the answer to B. In other words, what He told me was not something that I was actually asking about.

    “Using the same rule of thumb as Steve, it will have to clearly line up with His already revealed Word.”

    It lines up perfectly with scripture.

    “I actually find what you’re saying quite troubling, to be honest.”

    I can tell you that I found it troubling myself. What He said knocked the breath out of me.

    ‘In other words, with respect, has God appointed you “judge, jury and executioner” or deliverer for the masses attending?’

    Sorry, I can’t say anything beyond the fact that matters are unfolding.

    “But I won’t make such declarative statements for fear of taking the Lord’s name in vain.”

    For every hundred times I hear, there are ninety-nine that I doubt. This is a time when I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever.

    However, since then, Anonymous has backed off and softened his stance, having been pressed to be more forthcoming about his dire predictions, and is now saying that the judgment on C3 is obvious to everyone, and it is not a specific warning he has to give. In fact, he says others should give warning, thus and so:

    Why don’t *YOU* go and warn them, since you are part of the movement? Or are you somehow absolved of any responsibility in this matter? Do you think that haranguing outsiders for their perceived failure to do a job that you yourself should have done long ago means that you can wash your hands of all this?

    But give warning of what, and to whom? Anonymous has refused to elaborate on what it is C3 has to be warned of, and why.

    In fact, he has throughly avoided anything but generalisation and fearmonging comments.

    This is throughly wrong.

  333. @ Steve – the full comment about relatives…

    “In other words, with respect, has God appointed you “judge, jury and executioner” or deliverer for the masses attending? I would love to know as I have family still there, just as troubled about different things, and are slowly moving on, attending another church at times, as they sort the position they find themselves in.”

    My point – if Anon has some insight or belief that God has told him something, he should realise that God-fearing, bible-believing,
    Christians attend C3 and God is quite capable of showing THEM things too. And He is…

    Will this bring change? Maybe, maybe not. “Community” rather than “gospel” seems to be the glue that keeps people attending. And in the end, that becomes the “gospel” to them, loving relationships between each other (as it SHOULD be). However I find that when you try to engage in a more in-depth conversation about Christ’s redeeming work, there’s considerable ignorance.

    Steve, you could argue against that, but biblical literacy has never really been high on the agenda. Especially when even pastors preach verses out of context.

    I’m not being condescending, as I was (and will always be) less than perfect in my approach to the Word.

    In closing, thanks for the new post “how do you judge online prophecy”, much prefer to open up on the picture of the Cross than Hitler…

  334. OK Steve,

    I’ll keep this post nice and simple for you. Two questions:

    1) Do you believe that those who fail to tithe are “robbing God”?

    2) Do you believe that those who fail to tithe are “under a curse”?

    If your answer is “Yes”, could you please explain why?

    If your answer is “No”, could you please explain why it is that Phil Pringle teaches these things?

    (Good luck with the above: there’s nothing there that even you could misunderstand, misconstrue or misrepresent 😉

  335. “Although, no more gay dead horses please!”

    Did you hear about the gay skeleton?

    It came out of the closet 🙂

  336. These doctrinal questions, amongst others in scripture, are not really clear cut, yes or no issues on which to base some controversial discussion, and I certainly won’t answer for another man’s convictions but my own, or judge others where no definitive answer is given in the New Testament, but I’m in basic agreement with the great Spurgeon on this one, where, in this passage, he gives an analysis of the paradox between duty and liberty, expedience and grace:

    “Much has been said about giving a tenth of one’s income to the Lord. Methinks that is a Christian duty which none should for a moment question. If it were a duty under the Jewish law, much more is it so, now under the Christian dispensation. But it is a great mistake to suppose that the Jew only gave a tenth. He gave very, very, very much more than that. The tenth was the payment which he must make, but after that came all the free-will offerings, all the various gifts at divers seasons of the year, so that, perhaps, he gave a third, much more near that, certainly, than a tenth!”

    “I do not, however, like to lay down any rules for God’s people, for the Lord’s New Testament is not a great book of rules; it is not a book of the letter, for that killeth, but it is the book of the Spirit, which teacheth us rather the soul of liberality than the body of it, and instead of writing laws upon stones or paper, it writes laws upon the heart. Give, dear friends, as you have purposed in your heart, and give proportionately, as the Lord hath prospered you, and do not make your estimate of what you ought to give by what will appear respectable from you, or by what is expected from you by other people, but as in the sight of the Lord, as He loveth a cheerful giver; and as a cheerful giver is a proportionate giver, take care that you, like a good steward, keep just accounts towards the great King.”

    Charles H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 68 vols. (Pasadena, TX: Pilgrim, 1974), 14:567–68.

    We’ve had many tithing debates, and I’m sure you’re welcome to locate a post with much comment it to add your thoughts.

  337. For your perusal and comment:

    Seven Biblical Reasons to Tithe

    The way I would like to handle this is to give seven summary reasons—which I will try to show from Scripture—for why I pray my sons will all give the first 10% of their income to the work of Christ, and then grow beyond that as God prospers them.

    1. Honoring an Old Testament Principle

    Tithing honors an Old Testament principle of how God provided for the ministers he called and the expenses of their ministry.

    You recall that in the Old Testament God designated one of the twelve tribes of Israel, the tribe of Levi, to be the tribe that would have the ministry of the tabernacle and the temple. So instead of giving them a portion of the land, God said that these vocational ministers of the tabernacle should live off the tithes of the other eleven tribes. In Numbers 18:20–21 God said to Aaron,

    You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor own any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the sons of Israel. And to the sons of Levi, behold, I have given all the tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they perform, the service of the tent of meeting.

    When we tithe today, we honor a principle found here. Some of God’s people are called not to do moneymaking business in the ordinary ways. They are called to be pastors and ministers and missionaries and ministry assistants, and so on. The rest of God’s people (call them “lay ministers”) are to be gainfully employed and support the “vocational ministers”—and the costs of that ministry. In the Old Testament God laid down that this be done by tithe.

    If the question is raised whether Jesus, in the New Testament, continued this principle for the sake of his church, one of the strongest arguments that he did is Matthew 23:23 where he says,

    Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.

    So Jesus endorses tithing: don’t neglect it. It is not as essential as justice love and mercy; but it is to be done.

    Yet one might say that he is only talking to Jews in an essentially Old Testament setting. Maybe so. But there is another pointer that the principle was preserved in the early church. In 1 Corinthians 9:13–14 Paul says,

    Do you not know that those who perform sacred services [in the temple] eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar [of sacrifice in the temple] have their share with the altar?

    In other words he reminds the church that in the Old Testament economy there was this system in which the Levites who worked in the temple lived off the tithes brought to the temple. Then he says in verse 14:

    So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.

    The least Paul is saying is that those who spend their lives in the service of the Word of God should be supported by the rest of the Christians. But since he draws attention to the way it was done in the Old Testament as the model, it seems likely that tithing would have been the early Christian guideline, if not mandate.

    In other words when we tithe today, we honor a principle and plan of God that sustained the ministry in the Old Testament and probably sustained the New Testament ministry as well.

    2. Honoring the Creator as Owner of All
    When we release a tenth of our income and give it over to the ministry and mission of Christ in the world, we honor the Creator rights of God who owns everything, including all our income.

    One objection to thinking of a tenth of our income as especially belonging to God is that ALL our money belongs to God. Psalm 24:1,

    The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.

    That is absolutely true. It’s why my main way of talking about money year in and year out at Bethlehem is not to focus on tithing, but to focus on lifestyle. What you do with every cent says something about your view of God and what he means to you. And what your values are in this age. And what you think your few years on earth should be spent for. That’s true.

    But God is wise and knows us deeply. He knows that there is something wrong with the husband who answers his wife’s complaint that he doesn’t give her any time by saying, “What do you mean, I don’t give you my time? ALL my time is yours. I work all day long for you and the children.” That has a very hollow ring to it if he doesn’t give her any “especially time.” Giving her some evenings together and some dates does not deny that all his time is for her, it proves it. This is why God declares one day in seven especially God’s. They are all his, and making one special proves it.

    And this is the way it is with our money and God. Giving God a tenth of our income does not deny that all our money is God’s, it proves that we believe it. Tithing is like a constant offering of the first fruits of the whole thing. The tenth is yours, O, Lord, in a special way, because all of it is yours in an ordinary way.

    I believe the tithe should be the first check we write after the income deposit is made in the bank. And when you write it, you put a seal over what’s left: GOD’S. The tithe reminds us of that, and proves that we really believe it.

    3. The Antidote to Covetousness

    Giving away a tenth of our income to the mission and ministry of Christ is an antidote to covetousness.

    The last of the Ten Commandments says: “Thou shalt not covet.” Jesus said in Luke 12:15, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of covetousness [or greed].” And in Colossians 3:5 Paul calls covetousness “idolatry.” Wanting things too much is incredibly dangerous for your soul. Hebrews 13:5 says,

    Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have.

    Every time you give a tithe, you must deal with the desire for what you might have bought for yourself. To give is not to buy. And that weekly crisis is utterly important to maintain. We must fight covetousness almost every day. And God has appointed an antidote: giving. He tests us again and again: what do we desire most—the advancement of his name or 10% more security and comfort and fun? As Jesus says, You know where your heart is by where your treasure is. Tithing is one of God’s great antidotes to covetousness.

    4. Governing Ever-Expanding Spending
    The fourth reason is almost the same as the last one, but not quite. When we go to the tithe and beyond, as I am suggesting we should, it puts a governor on ever-expanding spending.

    There is an almost infallible human rule: spending expands to fill the income. This is why you could have a book a few years ago entitled Getting By on $100,000 a Year. If you make more, you buy more, and the things you buy have to be stored and repaired and insured. Spending begets spending. If you have less at your disposal, you spend less. And most of the time you don’t even think about it. I spend absolutely no time thinking about world cruises and $30,000 cars. But if I made two or three hundred thousand dollars a year, pretty soon things like that wouldn’t seem any more strange to me than all the stuff I buy now—because I could afford it.

    If this is true—if expenses almost inevitably expand to fill the income—how shall we restrain ourselves from accumulating more and more stuff and more and more expensive stuff, and looking to the world like we have all the same values they do in our little earthly prelude to eternity? The answer is that as our income grows, we move beyond the tithe. We resolve to give a greater and greater percentage of our income to advance the kingdom. This puts the brakes on our natural impulse toward luxury.

    Illustration: John Wesley

    Take John Wesley for example. He was one of the great evangelists of the 18th Century, born in 1703. In 1731 he began to limit his expenses so that he would have more money to give to the poor. In the first year his income was 30 pounds and he found he could live on 28 and so gave away two. In the second year his income doubled but he held his expenses even, and so he had 32 pounds to give away (a comfortable year’s income). In the third year his income jumped to 90 pounds and he gave away 62 pounds. In his long life Wesley’s income advanced to as high as 1,400 pounds in a year. But he rarely let his expenses rise above 30 pounds. He said that he seldom had more than 100 pounds in his possession at a time.

    This so baffled the English Tax Commissioners that they investigated him in 1776 insisting that for a man of his income he must have silver dishes that he was not paying excise tax on. He wrote them, “I have two silver spoons at London and two at Bristol. This is all the plate I have at present, and I shall not buy any more while so many round me want bread.”

    When he died in 1791 at the age of 87, the only money mentioned in his will was the coins to be found in his pockets and dresser. Most of the 30,000 pounds he had earned in his life had been given away. He wrote,

    I cannot help leaving my books behind me whenever God calls me hence; but in every other respect, my own hands will be my executors.

    In other words, I will put a control on my spending myself, and I will go beyond the tithe for the sake of Christ and his kingdom. (Quotes from Mission Frontiers, Sept./Oct. 1994, nos. 9–10, pp. 23–24.)

    The last three reasons for moving to the tithe and beyond are all found in one text, 2 Corinthians 9:6–8. Let’s read it and then point out the reasons briefly. Paul is talking about giving.

    Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.

    5. God’s Way of Bringing About Good Deeds

    The fifth reason for going to the tithe and beyond in our giving is that this is God’s way of bringing about many good deeds for his glory.

    At the end of verse 8 Paul says that when you sow bountifully and cheerfully, you will “have an abundance for every good deed.” The goal is good deeds. Excess money is for good deeds. These are the things that make your light shine and cause people to give glory to your Father in heaven. If you lay up treasures on earth, people have no reason to think your Father in heaven is glorious. You look like you love what everyone else loves. According to Titus 2:13 Christ died “to purify for himself a people who are zealous for good deeds.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 says that the aim of material bounty is “for every good deed.” Verse 11 says, “You will be enriched in everything for all liberality.” Excess money is given to us so we can show where our treasure is by giving it away.

    So the fifth reason for going to the tithe and bountifully beyond is that this is God’s way of providing for many good deeds.

    6. God’s Way of Providing for You

    The sixth reason for pressing to the tithe and beyond is that it is God’s way of providing you, the tither, sufficient money for your needs.

    Giving is a way of having what you need. Giving in a regular, disciplined, generous way—up to and beyond the tithe—is simply good sense in view of the promises of God. Verse 6 says, “He who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully.” Then verse 8 says, “God is able to make all grace abound to you that always having all sufficiency . . . ” In other words the “bountiful reaping” promised in verse 6 is explained in verse 8 by God’s pledge to give a sufficiency for us and an abundance for good deeds.

    This seems to be Paul’s way of expressing Malachi 3:10,

    Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.

    This is an amazing challenge from God. Test me, he says. You think you can’t afford to tithe? Well test me. And what we will find when we test him is that we cannot afford not to tithe—and beyond! This is the only safe way to handle our money. Jesus once said, in Luke 6:38,

    Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap.

    This is not a guarantee of getting rich. It’s a guarantee of “an abundance for every good work” and sufficiency for yourself.

    7. Proving and Strengthening Our Faith
    Finally, in our giving we should press toward the tithe and beyond because it will prove and strengthen our faith in God promises.

    There is an absolute correlation between faith in the promises of God and peace of mind in giving away what we may think we need but don’t. Hebrews 13:5 puts it like this,

    Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; [why? because of a promise] for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.”

    Every time you doubt that you can live on 90% of your income, let the glorious promise of God strengthen your faith: “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

    So you can see why I care so much about my sons and whether they are remembering the rock from which they were hewn. Because what tithing boils down to is a faith issue. Do we trust God’s promises? I appeal to you, my sons. I appeal to you, my people. Trust God. He will never fail or forsake you. He will supply all your needs.

    John Piper
    http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/toward-the-tithe-and-beyond

  338. John McArthur on tithing:

    ADAMS: I?m glad to be here, Pastor MacArthur. My question is as it pertains to tithing and giving. I would like you to shed some insight on tithing and giving as it pertains to those who live in the Old Testament and then as it pertains to New Testament and pertains to us today.

    JOHN: Good question, John, let me give you a quick answer and I think we might have time for maybe two more. Sorry for those of you who have been in line, you guys can discuss your question, pick the one that is most urgent there, guys. Anyway, let me answer this question, okay. Here we go real quick, John.

    Tithe is a word that means tenth, ten percent. In the Old Testament, let?s just start with the Mosaic Law, in the Old Testament there were three tithes every year…okay? Tenth which was basically the tithe that went to fund the Levites and the priests. [Numbers 18:20-22] In other words, the theocratic kingdom was basically…the officers of the government were priests and Levites. They…they ran the religious structure so they were paid and subsidized by the tithes of the people, it was ten percent…ten percent of everything they possessed, not just money but ten percent of whatever they had, crops and so forth…animals and things like that.

    There was a second ten percent. The second ten percent went to fund the national festivals, [Deut 14:22-26] just another way to fund the theocracy. That?s twenty percent.

    Every third year they paid a third ten percent which was a poor tax [Deut 14:28-29]. So that broke down to 23 and a third percent a year.

    Then there was a temple tax [amg: I believe he is speaking of the Levite’s tithe, which of course was from the tithe paid to them, Numbers 18:25-31], then they couldn?t harvest the corners of the field and the poor could come in and pick up the corners of the field and if a bundle fell off the truck they couldn?t pick that up, that was for the poor [amg: I believe he is referring not so much a tax here, but that the gleanings were to be left on the field for the poor].

    So we estimate then that in the theocratic kingdom a Jew would probably give to the government twenty-five percent a year. That was basic taxation, okay? That was basic taxation. It was never just a single ten percent.

    Now, that was what was required giving. And in Malachi 3 God says if you don?t give Me that, you?ve robbed me. Since it?s a theocratic kingdom, God is the King, you rob the government, you rob God. Okay. So 25 percent. That?s not what you hear today when people talk about tithing, but that was Old Testament taxation.

    Now in addition to that, there?s free-will giving. And I wrote a little book on this called Giving God?s Way [amg has not read this]. Free will giving, you give whatever you want, whenever you want. You have statements like, ?Bring the first fruits of your crops to the Lord.? It doesn?t tell you how much, just whatever you want.

    So they had to give 25 percent to fund the theocratic kingdom and beyond that, they gave whatever they wanted as free-will giving. And the Old Testament says if you give the first fruits, your bonds [ed: s/b “barns”] will be full. God will bless your free-will giving.

    Come into the New Testament, Jesus puts it this way, ?Render to Caesar what is Caesar?s, pay your taxes, and render to God what is God?s.? [Matthew 22:20-22 ] What is Caesar?s is whatever Caesar says, what is God?s is whatever is in your heart to give.

    And Jesus puts it this way, ?Give and it shall be given unto you, pressed down, shaken together and running over.? [Luke 6:38] The New Testament says whatever you purpose in your heart, do that [2 Corinthians 9:7]….do it on the first day of the week when you come together [1 Cor 16:1-2].

    Sow sparingly, reap sparingly. You know, the question about free-will giving is how much do you want a return on, how much do you want back from God? You give a little, you?d get a little invested with God, you get a little back. The principles never change, pay your taxes, render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. Paul says the government?s ordained of God, pay your taxes, tax to whom tax is due, tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom is due, Romans chapter 13 [Rom 13], and give God whatever you want. And that is biblical giving.

    ADAMS: So the argument that tithing is an Old Testament law thing and Jesus? coming fulfilled the law and tithing is no longer applicable today has nothing to do with…

    JOHN: Tithing was a way of funding the national government. Jesus carries it into the New Testament by saying Give Caesar what Caesar asks. Paul adds, pay your taxes. So the equivalent now to the Old Testament tithe system is taxation. Okay? Free-will giving has always been the same.

    ADAMS: Thank you very much, Pastor MacArthur…J. Mac, baby.

    JOHN: Thanks, John. All right.

  339. Anonymous didn’t give a ‘prophecy’ as far as I can see. He said he was stunned by what God had shown him about C3. That isn’t a prophecy. There are no specifics other than that eventually something will be revealed – using a scripture which applies to all of us and everything.

    So there’s not enough info to discredit or investigate anything. I don’t think he has delivered a prophecy here, just insinuated that God showed him something and he won’t share it online.

    Ian Williams delivered prophecies. False ones, but they were detailed, with events, dates and locations.

    God shows us all things, and as Margot and Steve have said, you judge what you think you are shown against scripture where you can. Sometimes its more specific than that, as showing you actual direction. In my own life, rarely, God has shown me very clear, specific things, once via His voice (a resounding ‘No’) and once via repeated ‘visual impressions’ (best way I can describe it) during prayer time, relevant to my own life, when needed. These weren’t for the church. Things that have later come to pass or been shown to be very correct. Its not the same as prophecy though. (In my view.)

  340. Billy Graham on tithing:

    Christians who want to please the Lord often have questions about tithing. The dictionary defines the word “tithe” as “a tenth part of something paid as a voluntary contribution or as a tax especially for the support of a religious establishment.” It was a common practice in the Old Testament and required of members of the nation of Israel.

    Many Christians believe that this principle of giving one-tenth should be carried over to the New Testament in giving to the church and other Christian organizations. Mr. Graham would fit into this category. He has said, “We have found in our own home, as have thousands of others, that God’s blessing upon the nine-tenths, when we tithe, helps it to go farther than ten-tenths without His blessing.” However, even then the question as to whether to tithe from one’s net or gross income is not answered in Scripture, nor is the question of whether to give it all to the local church or to include other ministries. We feel that such decisions should be based on personal conviction.

    Other Christians who tithe do so simply because they respect the Old Testament principle and find it a helpful place to begin in their giving. They do not believe, however, that tithing is a New Testament obligation. It is not mentioned in the New Testament except where it is describing Old Testament practices, or in the Gospels where Jesus is addressing people who were under the Old Testament law. Note Jesus’ comments to the Pharisees in Luke 11:42.

    A New Testament teaching on giving which may be helpful to you is found in 1 Corinthians 16:2: “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income.” This passage brings out four points: we should give individually, regularly, methodically, and proportionately.

    The matter of your giving is between you and God, and He always takes into account our circumstances. He knows when they are beyond our power to direct and control. The important thing is that we see giving as a privilege and not a burden. It should not be out of a sense of duty, but rather out of love for the Lord and a desire to see His kingdom advanced.

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

    The deeper question, you see, is this: What has priority in our lives? Is Christ really first—or do we put ourselves and our own desires first? Make sure Christ is first in your life, and then ask Him to guide you.

    http://www.billygraham.org/articlepage.asp?articleid=1999

  341. Thanks Steve. As I’ve said often here, I personally don’t believe that tithing is an absolute requirement or that there is a curse on those who don’t.

    But …I think there are good reasons for it, many Godly men throughout history and now believe in it, teach it or recommend it.

    And what some people HERE need to remember is that it’s NOT just a Hillsong/C3 prosperity theology scam.

  342. @RP,

    “Anonymous didn’t give a ‘prophecy’ as far as I can see. He said he was stunned by what God had shown him about C3. That isn’t a prophecy. There are no specifics other than that eventually something will be revealed – using a scripture which applies to all of us and everything.”

    Exactly. I was stunned by what was revealed.

    You can do something that is completely beyond Steve – read and comprehend.

    Steve says that he isn’t an ex-pastor; if he means that he is still pastoring then I feel very sorry for those under his care. I mean, he really doesn’t come across as someone who would be able to rightly interpret Scripture under any circumstances.

  343. Steve,

    “not
    clear
    cut”

    So you can’t say for sure, eh? Don’t have a particular opinion or conviction of your own? Aren’t you leading-edge, bright, relevant, contemporary, filled with the Spirit, anointed with God’s power, in step with the vision, called to have an impact on the world? But you are a little confused about whether preaching law rather than grace is correct, are you?

    Do you remember when Jesus was challenged by the Pharisees and he asked them a question?

    ‘They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?”

    Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or from men? Tell me!”

    They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men’…” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.)

    So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”’

    You see that answer? That’s the same as your answer: you don’t know.

    This is very interesting. You have challenged my authority to make the statements I have made, and you have worked very hard to discredit me by any means possible. You have impugned my character, questioned my motives, attempted to cast me as someone who is motivated by “hate”, stated that I “need help”.

    But what happens when I ask you two straightforward questions that require simple “yes” or “no” answers? You can’t say. You don’t know. You remind me of how it was when Jesus was teaching in the temple courts:

    “The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.”

    Jesus spoke with certainty because He was in the Father and the Father was in Him. He had authority and spoke boldly because He was given the Spirit without limit. Those of us who are saved are sealed with that same Spirit – the Spirit of Truth – and we are confident of the things that God reveals to us, so we can also speak with authority and boldness.

    But you are apparently cut from a different cloth. You don’t know. Maybe that’s really true, and you are not a man of conviction. Or maybe you do know, but you can’t answer the question without admitting that your “great leader” is not so great after all. Either way, I know what I think of it: it’s pathetic.

    What is the gallery’s opinion?

  344. Greg,

    “Personally I think you’re full of s*** Anon – nothing can be said less than that about someone who claims to have received a vision from God about impending doom and yet fails to warn people.”

    You’ve been reading what Steve wrote about my posts, rather than what I actually wrote in those posts (taking someone else’s word as Gospel, rather than checking for oneself: I call it “the pentecostal disease”). I am surprised at you, and disappointed.

    Read RPs observation, and my reply to that.

    I await your apology, which I will graciously accept.

  345. Greg,

    “So in conclusion – Sorry – no apology will be forthcoming.”

    That’s fine, it’s your choice: you can apologise now, or you can apologise later. I’m not fussed either way.

  346. Greg,

    “Your suggestion that the time is not right implies that there will be a time that it is right, and that that time will be a time of judgement…i.e. impending doom for C3 – am I not correct in that deduction?”

    No, you are not correct you goose – otherwise I’d be apologising myself, rather than asking for an apology.

    The time is not right to tell people exactly what I was told – that is, to tell them exactly what God thinks of C3 (more precisely, the leadership and their actions and motives).

    I have no inkling of “impending doom”, although I am aware the the leadership will be held to account – but as Margot has correctly pointed out, we all know that (it is Scriptural after all). What sort of accounting will be demanded of them I don’t know, but it will involve humbling at the very least (hopefully followed by sincere and heartfelt repentance). In any case, I don’t believe that God will condemn those who are innocent along with the guilty.

    If I thought that C3 was going to cop fire and brimstone from heaven, I can assure you I wouldn’t be sitting here typing this – I’d be down at the front gate with a megaphone.

    Is that any clearer?

  347. “Steve would be shaken to know what God thinks of C3. I have understood for a long time that things were not right, but I can tell you that when God spoke to me about this matter, I was absolutely stunned by what he said.I cannot say any more than that, because the time is not right – but I know that there is nothing that is hidden that won’t be brought into the light, including even the thoughts and motives of men’s hearts.”

    I think the problem is that we are so used to apocalyptic, judgmental, fire and brimstone prophecies, that it was assumed that is what Anon was saying. But If you read over these paragraphs again, this is not necessarily a physical doomsday prophecy.

    Just goes to show the way we interpret things. And that’s why we interpret the bible and what our spouses say differently.

    e.g being stunned by what “God spoke” to you about is something that people say (that is, the ones who use that kind of language).
    And “I cannot say more than that because the time is not right”, is something similar to what people say in legal disputes, or in answering kids about the surprise trip.

    So, I’m not anti C3 at all, and don’t think they’re as bad as Anon says, but in fairness to him, he never gave any kind of “doomsday prophecy” here. Words are funny.

  348. You have a point, wazza2. This person is an expert at obfuscation, obtuse debate and denial of his own confessions.

    I am in full agreement with Greg, here, in regard to Anon’s behaviour on this thread. he is full of it, and it slinging it around as he wobbles from one version of his position to another.

    And, contrary to Anon’s wriggling claim, I did not cherry-pick anything he wrote. I placed it on the record in context because zeibart thought I was arguing for the sake of it, but there was a far more serious edge to what Anon was saying.

    He certainly did imply a visionary impression from God of a negative outcome for the people at C3. Y0u may not consider that prophecy, but it is certainly akin, as Greg says.

    As Greg also points out, failing to warn people of any kind of disaster revealed from heaven means that the blood is on the hands of the person who refused to warn those people and consequently they do not repent. It is as serious as that.

    Secondly, Anon now lies about and twists around what I say to indicate that I don’t know the doctrine of tithing, when I clearly indicated that I did.

    I showed that I was in the same school as Spurgeon on it, quoting him, but was not prepared to go into a yes or no discussion or judge another man for his own understanding when it is not clearly mentioned or refuted in the New Testament.

    I then gave several examples of people on the evangelical side of the Body who were in favour of the tithe to illustrate how many people on all sides are convinced tithing is a relevant New Testament means of giving.

    Incidentally, I can recommend Piper’s piece. It is well worth reading through, well written and constructed and very compelling.

  349. Prosperity teachers WILL come under the judgment of God. In this life or the next.

    They have received their reward.

    They shall be like the rich man in Luke 16.

  350. SM, Anon stated that he was praying about ‘A’ and God answered him ‘B’ which shook him up at the severity of it, and was a revelation of something bad unfolding at C3.

    Tell me that is not a claim of visionary insight into a negative possibility for God’s people.

    He has toned down his claims since then, perhaps because he realised the implications of his remarks, but only as a result of being pressed by margot and myself for a deeper explanation. The context of that discussion included how we hear from God.

    If a person is going to write this kind of stuff from a position of anonymity he is showing a marked disrespect for both scripture and the people of God.

  351. You may be partially correct, Bones. The same could be said of gay theologians in theology departments of universities, or people who deny the virgin birth, or abortion clinic owners, but we don’t need a special revelation from God to know that, do we?

    It is written!

    So you think Danny Nahlia has a point? I mean, his work is in a similar vein, isn’t it? Doom over grace?

  352. Nope, don’t need divine revelation. I have a lot of time for most Christians: Catholics, Reformed, Emergent, Pentecostal. I have friends and family in these churches and I can understand how their theologies have developed.

    Prosperity teachers however are full on charlatans, the lowest of the low, worse than most used car salesmaen and their greed is insatiable.

  353. Steve, interesting articles from seriously big hitters on tithing, but with the possible exception of Piper, they agree that it’s all about generous giving not a percentage. They also come from staunch positions of the formalised construct of pyramid-shaped churchianity, so their thinking will flow to support that long-held tradition.

    It never fails to surprise me how established, scriptural and highly-regarded teachers as Piper put out a message with such blatant suggestion, supposition and yawning holes in their argument. If he wants to ‘honour an Old Testament principle’, I hope he also preaches on the merits and benefits of male circumcision. His basic point is that if you can hand over 10%+ without screaming out in anguish, you will be free from covetousness and enter into the faith realm. It’s simply not sound thinking on his part.

  354. Some more John MacArthur

    Now you come to 2 Corinthians, chapter eight, and you learn how the church gave. The church knew there was a need so the church gave. How did they give? Well, it wasn’t 10%, it says, “The churches in Macedonia, 2Cor 8:1, gave abundantly out of deep poverty. It says that their deep poverty abounded to the riches of their liberality.” Here was a very poor church in Macedonia, very poor, but they gave generously, out of their hearts liberally. In fact, verse three says, they gave beyond their ability. They gave more than they should have given, more then they could of given, and the reason they did that was in verse five, because they first gave themselves. I mean when you give yourself then everything you have belongs to the Lord. So, Paul is saying to the Corinthians, “If you want a lesson in giving, look at these people. Out of deep poverty they gave everything they had.” In fact, they gave more then they should of, but they did that because they had already given themselves to the Lord. Now you have the key motive in giving; what is the right motive in giving? It is not to get anything. It is in that whole hearted abandonment, “they gave everything.”

  355. The Big Mac on how the Health and Wealth merchants do it.

    http://www.ondoctrine.com/2mac0050.htm

    I worry about this Charismatic “Health and Wealth” prosperity business, where you are just simply saying, “Well I am going to give my money so I can get it!” That is not the spirit of the Macedonians, they didn’t even have enough to give what they gave, but they gave it anyway, because they had already given themselves to the Lord. Their whole program was a “give myself away” program, not a “get for myself” program. We are suffering today, in Christianity, from an absolutely pervasive greed. Our contemporary Christianity is so self-indulgent it boggles the mind. That is why we don’t reach out to people, because we are consumed with feeding ourselves. It’s a mentality that all of us fall prey to.

    A guy in our church told me the other day that he was meeting with a group of Christians, and all they could talk about was their latest investments. You look around you and you see people all around the world, you know, who have need. I was talking to Mitz (sp.) and he was telling me there are about 32,000 people in the city of Los Angeles who are homeless. We have been strategizing the last few days about what we are going to do about that. Some people are talking about how they can get another Mercedes, and there are some people who are trying to get up out of the gutter to feed their family.

    So, we have a mentality, and of course, what we have done, see, we justified our materialism by developing a theology to accommodate it–you know, “Jesus wants you healthy and wealthy.”

    There was a book called Prime Time Religion; about Oral Roberts, and it showed how he has become a multimillionaire by the way he works things. In the book it points out, for example, he writes a book or has someone write it for him, and then he publishes it with his own publishing house (it describes all this, one of the guys on his staff wrote the book, unhappily for them); it shows how he publishes the book and then sells it to the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association–sells them about two million copies so they can send it out to all the people on their mailing list, who send them twenty-five bucks, only he sells to them for a dollar profit on each book. So he writes a book, publishes the book, makes a buck profit selling it to his own organization, pockets two million dollars and then they distribute it.

    Now, those are the kinds of people, for the most part, who are on television begging you for your money, and telling you that God is going to make you rich and so forth.

    So there is a theology that has developed, and then what they do, trying to live with that is very difficult, so in order to live with that kind of thing you develop a theology that says “Jesus wants you wealthy,” and that’s how you deal with your conscience.” God wants you rich!” I mean, you read in a magazine, we were in Israel and we find people, who go over there to lead tours to Israel, demand $1,000 per day rooms, they demand limousine service everywhere, they go into these little shops where they take their tourists to buy things, and one guy told me that one group went in there and the leader wanted $12,000 worth of jewelry to bring his group to their store.

    These are the people who develop this kind of accommodating theology, “Jesus wants you wealthy, Jesus wants you rich, Jesus wants you prosperous, He wants you healthy and all that kind of thing,” and I really believe that it is a “back door” means to justify a materialistic attitude, and the Lord needs to deliver us from that.

    These people [2 Cor 8:1] gave out of their deep poverty, not because they wanted anything back because they were so abandoned to the Lord. Having said all of that, all right, this is a long sermon, I want you to look at chapter nine, verse six, “But this I say, he that sows sparingly shall reap sparingly; he that sows bountifully shall reap bountifully.” In this sense, we have to admit that they have a kernel of the truth, because if you sow a little bit you reap a little, if you sow a lot you reap a lot, and it is true that when you give to the Lord, He does give back, but if that is your motive, it’s warped. It is true that He does that, but if you come to the Lords work and say, “I’m going to put this in, because I know that I am going to get back multiplied, then your giving is illegitimate. But if you can do it with a free, clear conscience, and even though you have to fight yourself, you know, sometimes you say, “Boy, I know the Lord is going to return this but that’s not going to be my motive,” you know, you kind of go back and forth, but if you have a clear conscience about that then it is ok. So, “you sow sparingly, you reap sparingly; you sow bountifully, you reap bountifully.” There is the fact that God will bless, Luke 6:38, Jesus says, “Give, and it shall be. . . .” what? “Given unto you, ” That’s a great statement, “pressed down, shaken together and running over.”

    Did you ever buy a box of crackers and shake it, and open it, and you got about a third of a box of crackers? But that isn’t how it is going to be when the Lord gives, it will be pressed down, shaken together, and still running over. He’ll give.

    Now, you say, “Yeah, I know what will happen to me. I will give all of my money and the Lord will give me back all spiritual blessings.” That might happen, but in verse seven it says, “every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, nor of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” And, he will minister (verse 10) “He that ministers seed to the sower will minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness.” Verse 10 is really key: He says He will not only give you back what you sowed; He’ll give you back bread for your food. He’ll take care of your physical needs when you give, and He’ll increase the fruit of your righteousness. It doesn’t say that He’ll make you wealthy, does it? It says, He’ll meet your needs, and He will fill your life with righteousness.

    It’s very popular doctrine. People want to be rich, they want to be wealthy. The hottest new cult there is, is Terri Cole Whittaker. I don’t know if you’ve seen her? She is nothing but a slick Doris Day type Reverend Ike! She is in it for the money. She comes out of “Science of Mind.” She’s manipulative. She has figured out how to make a fortune and she is “milking” it for every dime that she can get out of it. And she can do it because people will do anything to get rich. People will do anything to get two things: money and health–and if you can promise people health and wealth, they will follow you off the end of the pier–believe me, they will.
    Why do you think Jesus told the disciples when He sent them out, “Take no money when you heal,” because if they would have taken money, they would have become instant millionaires, people will pay any price for healing, and they could really do it! And they [people] will pay any price, they will invest anything, if they think that they can get rich.

    You see, this is what “Reverend Ike” did for years. What he did was, he told these people, “You send me money–you might get rich.” And he told story after story, after story about it and what “his” company did was, at random they would pick out people off their mailing list and deliver a new Cadillac to them. They would do that to 100 to 200 people a year, with the millions that were coming in, and then they would have them get up and give a testimony, how that one day there was a new Cadillac delivered in front of their door. And it becomes a lottery system–that’s all it is. It is like buying a ticket in a raffle, and you know raffles work and people are gamblers. Look at Las Vegas.

    So if people think there is a way to get either health or wealth they will do anything, and that kind of doctrine will be popular and people will send money to it like “gangbusters.” Oral Roberts has been doing that for thirty years. You ought to read his letters, “If you will send me $25 today, right today, the day you get this letter, I’ll promise you that Jesus will give you back $250 within the next six months from an unexpected place.” Very typical letter. And you know, you are liable to get $250 back somewhere you didn’t expect it. Right? You old Aunt died, or you got an income tax return, or you got a social security check you didn’t expect, or whatever. In the long run it hooks people. It’s really tragic.

  356. It’s a pity John doesn’t give details of who said what and the evidence of the accuracy of their report, otherwise he would be believable.

    I mean, anyone can say, “I was talking to this guy who told me…” and come up with some negative report which is uncorroborated, gives no opportunity for response from the accused and is empty of proof!

    Doesn’t that have a name in scripture? Don’t they call it…gossip! Or is it…backbiting? Or…slandering? Sowing discord?

    And in a sermon, too! Shouldn’t it be as the oracles of God?

    Doesn’t God hate some of these things?

    These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

    A proud look,
    A lying tongue,
    Hands that shed innocent blood,
    A heart that devises wicked plans,
    Feet that are swift in running to evil,
    A false witness who speaks lies,
    And one who sows discord among brethren.

    Proverbs 6:16-19

  357. It’s a rather cynical view, which Bones obviously shares, of the charismatic churches. But you’d find people like those he uses to illustrate wrong-headedness in any denomination. They are not confined to the charismatic church, any more than the idea o God blessing his people is.

    There are also charismatics who are good givers, who support major Missions works, who do charitable works, who give their time and resources to assisting others.

    I would agree with both Bones’ and McArthur’s descriptors of excessive greed in the church. I would agree that God will judge it. I would agree that those who pursue riches for the sake of wealth are in error, and those who live in excess whilst Lazarus lay at their gate with nothing are in serious trouble.

    I do not agree that it is either exclusive to charismatics, or that all charismatics are greed-driven or money-mad.

    There is definitely scriptural teaching on prosperity, and it is Biblical. How it is represented is key to its understanding. There is also suffering, and lack. Being wealthy is not a sign of success. Neither is being poor a sign of holiness.

    Better to be poor and keep your soul than rich and lose it. But this doesn’t exclude wealthy people from the gospel. They are admonished to use their wealth to support those in need, and to be generous.

    I agree with some of what McArthur says about using finances to bless others and build the kingdom. I do not think he fairly represents the charismatic branch of Christianity. I think he is both harsh, and, at times, mistaken in his characterisation of charismatic people, many of whom are the poor, not the rich.

    The charismatic move has reached more people in poor nations than any other form of Christianity, possibly barring Catholicism, but it is debatable in my mind whether this can be called true Christianity, especially when Mary is idolised, and demons allowed to resurface as saints.

    I think this kind of teaching does a great disservice to sound teaching on the blessing of God and the result of following his principles.

  358. Steve,

    “These doctrinal questions, amongst others in scripture, are not really clear cut, yes or no issues […]”.

    That’s interesting. If they are not clear cut, why does Phil Pringle stridently, repeatedly and confidently affirm that those who fail to tithe are “under a curse”? If it’s not clear cut, shouldn’t he rather be circumspect, and preach on the different views held so that his congregation are in a position to make well-informed decisions? Or doesn’t Phil think that the members of his congregation are intelligent or discerning enough to be trusted with having to think for themselves?

    If the issue is “not clear cut”, then the possibility arises that Phil may be wrong – wouldn’t you agree? And if he is in error, isn’t it an egregious error to make? God loves a cheerful giver – do you think that someone who has been threatened with a curse, someone who is being coerced into giving, is a cheerful giver? Or is cheerful giving meant to be the “offering” that is above and beyond the tithe?

    Do you personally believe that those who fail to tithe are under a curse? Would you preach it in church yourself? Is it preached in your church? If not, would you be happy for it to be preached in your church? If so, why? If not, why not?

    I look forward to your “obscure, obscure, shuffle, shuffle” replies: long-winded rambling from a man who is clearly out of his depth discussing even simple matters. I have many, many more questions for you that you won’t be able to answer…

  359. Tweet from pastor…..

    “Your mouth is God’s holy instrument to create your future!” @philpringle incredible!

    Got me thinking about Isaiah 6:5 – any thoughts?

  360. I knew it Greg, but didn’t want to own up. I know the guy. He wears bifocals, loves Benny Hill and is a Mormon. 😀

  361. Margot, I was thinking more of Proverbs 18:21…

    Anonlymouse,
    I have many, many more questions for you that you won’t be able to answer…

    Don’t bother asking them, then. No one will mind.

  362. Steve,

    “Do you personally believe that those who fail to tithe are under a curse?”

    A simple question with a simple answer: “yes” or “no”.

    So what’s your answer Steve?

  363. It never fails to surprise me how established, scriptural and highly-regarded teachers as Piper put out a message with such blatant suggestion, supposition and yawning holes in their argument. If he wants to ‘honour an Old Testament principle’, I hope he also preaches on the merits and benefits of male circumcision. His basic point is that if you can hand over 10%+ without screaming out in anguish, you will be free from covetousness and enter into the faith realm. It’s simply not sound thinking on his part.

    Yep, its still manipulation, to make people feel guilty if they aren’t comfortable handing over 10%, as if that is the bar they should aspire to. Still using shame to coerce.

    And some people can very easily hand over 10%, or 20%, or 90%, without screaming. They may not be in the same circumstances as someone who hands over 1% or 3%. Also, people’s circumstances change.

    It’s a myth that 10% is the same for everyone. Our tax system recognises that issue.

    Focusing on the percentage can make people compare themselves to one another, too.

    This is all a far cry from simple, compassionate, generous, New Testament giving, which does not measure itself. After all, does God measure His love towards us?

  364. Steve,

    “I certainly won’t answer for another man’s convictions […]”.

    But that’s not true, is it?

    You have been happy to defend Phil Pringle for selling his artwork on church property (property that was paid for by members of the congregation, not by him). You are happy for Phil to promote his art from the pulpit, in direct and blatant contravention of C3’s own constitution. You are happy for him to make merchandise of the Gospel by flogging fifth-rate self-help books. You are happy for him to play host to heretics such as T.D. “I’m a modalist” Jakes and Benny “Nine in the Godhead” Hinn.

    So it’s clear that you are quite willing to answer for another man’s convictions in all manner of areas. But if someone asks you a simple question about tithing, you can’t back off fast enough. Funny, isn’t it?

    Now everyone who reads your posts knows how incredibly intelligent and wonderfully erudite you are, Steve. So go on, don’t be shy – regale us with gems of wisdom, put your considerable learning on public display. Don’t hide your light under a bushel – that would surely be a sin.

  365. It’s a rather cynical view, which Bones obviously shares, of the charismatic churches. But you’d find people like those he uses to illustrate wrong-headedness in any denomination. They are not confined to the charismatic church, any more than the idea o God blessing his people is.

    Through charismatic churches, especially Anglicans, I came to faith in Christ and led me to developing a relationship with my God. Jesus turned my life around for a guy who was on the edge.

    That doesn’t mean that I am going to turn and ignore excesses which are quite contrary to scripture.

    I am attending a Pentecostal church at the moment. Last year our Connect Group studied TD Jakes, Joyce Meyer and Jon Bevere. Submission, and prosperity, not pushed from the pulpit but into people’s homes. There are many battlers in our group who have to silently sit through Jakes throwing money around the stage and Meyer telling us that if we would only start tithing God would make you rich.

    I’m surprised that there is little actual Bible study. More a study of personalities.

  366. “By the way, Steve, kudos for sticking with it here even though you are copping it from all sides. You are a good man! You have a supporter in me”

    So Crayola, given your support for Steve, perhaps you can answer the question that he cannot bring himself to address:

    Do you personally believe that those who fail to tithe are under a curse?

    While we are on the subject, do you have any thoughts as to why Steve might be unwilling to answer? It is a closed question, but when I first posed it he responded with a couple of posts stretching for page after page, waffling on with other people’s views but not seeming game to venture an opinion of his own. It’s strange, because he typically has something to say about anything at all that is raised on this blog, whatever it may be, but on this subject he’s now gone all quiet. I do hope he’s not unwell.

    Are you a faithful tither yourself, Crayola, or are you taking the risk that Phil Pringle claims you are? I wonder what the consequences of the “curse” might be: lose your job? marriage breakdown? something worse? (Just thinking about the possibilities makes me really, really glad that I live under grace myself.)

  367. You are a liar, Anonymous, either deliberately or out of ignorance. Disingenuous at best, which is just a nice way of saying the same thing.

    I gave you my response to your questions:

    https://signposts02.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/lifestyle-of-giving-shown-to-be-beneficial/#comment-27477

    You are not a lawyer, or a judge or a jury. This is a blog not a court. I am a person, not a dog to be kicked by an angry, bad-mannered, controlling handler.

    You don’t make the rules of comment. You can’t just demand a man to bow to your will and then call him out when he refuses.

    I am here of my own free will. I came out as a blogger some time ago so that an old pseudonym controversy could be dealt with, and because my position in ministry changed. So I am known, or can be if anyone cares to search, although I am nobody in particular, so why would they. I just come here and give an opinion on issues.

    I do not represent any other man but myself, and, I hope, Jesus.

    In this you have me at a disadvantage if you want to persist with your aggressively nasty interrogative method.

    I don’t know you, or your background, or your motives. You are totally anonymous.

    Therefore I treat you as a person I will not be completely open with on every issue.

    I am happy to engage with anyone on any subject in a peaceable and open manner, and on the whole I think that has been achieved here for some time now despite our different backgrounds. Most of us at least know how to be civil and Christian, even though we might spice things up with passion from time to time.

    But you are downright nasty. I don’t like your heart or your spirit. It is offensive.

    I too apologise, again, to S&P. He was never like this. 5PS could be rough in the middle of a debate, but I don’t remember him being this disgusting.

  368. Yep, its still manipulation, to make people feel guilty if they aren’t comfortable handing over 10%, as if that is the bar they should aspire to. Still using shame to coerce.

    Interesting comment, RP. You could fit it to Malachi 3, couldn’t you, or would you:

    6* “For I am the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
    7* Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” Says the LORD of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’
    8* “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.
    9* You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation.
    10* Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.
    11* “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the LORD of hosts;
    12* “And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land,” Says the LORD of hosts.
    13* “Your words have been harsh against Me,” Says the LORD, “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’
    14* You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, And that we have walked as mourners Before the LORD of hosts?
    15* So now we call the proud blessed, For those who do wickedness are raised up; They even tempt God and go free.’”
    16* Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, And the LORD listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the LORD And who meditate on His name.
    17* “They shall be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him.”
    18* Then you shall again discern Between the righteous and the wicked, Between one who serves God And one who does not serve Him.

    Is God now manipulating Israel by pointing out their guilt? Is he coercing them to give the tithe? Or is he reclaiming from them what belongs to him which they have withheld for too long?

    Is he using shame to coerce them? Or is he warning them of the dire consequences which come from dishonouring his rules of conduct for being his chosen people, protection from his wrath, which all men deserve, and potential for a prosperous, successful life, which he promised them in Deuteronomy?

    Are you saying there is no place in preaching for pointing out a man’s error, or show him his shame?

    Do we coerce or persuade, do we manipulate or speak truth?

    My thoughts on Piper were that he presented a good case for a disciplined pattern of giving. How is sound advice coercement?

  369. So Steve,

    Your answer to the question:

    “Do you personally believe that those who fail to tithe are under a curse?”

    would be “no” then.

    That’s good; we’re making progress here.

    Now onto the next question:

    What do you make of the fact that Phil Pringle’s answer to that question is a resounding YES – an answer that clearly contradicts the New Testament (study hint: it might be a good time to read Galatians).

  370. “Or is [God] warning them of the dire consequences which come from dishonouring his rules of conduct for being his chosen people, protection from his wrath, which all men deserve, and potential for a prosperous, successful life, which he promised them in Deuteronomy?”

    Sounds like you’re giving us an on-line prophecy of dire judgement coming upon the church, Steve.

    I hope you won’t leave us hanging here – that would be a terribly sinful thing to do. What can I do to avoid the coming wrath? How much information do you have – times? dates? names?

  371. Re Steve at 7.16pm, you only have to read Piper’s seven points to realise that he wants people to fund the OT Levitical system of temple worship, with its representative priests vicariously acting on behalf of the nation, transplanted into church life post-cross. I like Piper, but think he should stick to the desiring God stuff. There are all manner of mixed messages in the piece quoted above. Believe it or not, I can give 10% and still covet my neighbour’s speedboat, and have my spending out of whack. Conversely, plenty of non-tithing atheists can live within their means as well.

  372. Steve, being a lone wolf here must be quite fun actually. You are truly in a target-rich environment. Lob in a juicy verse or two and see the reformed, anti-C3, non-tithing pirahnas tear it apart – amusing eh?

    Anyway, you did quote Mal 3, which to me means you support the view that non-tithers ARE under a curse. I think you said once ‘context, context, context’. Please tell me 1) who is God reprimanding; 2) why is he doing so, and; 3) what were the consequences?

    Save you the trouble, I’ll give you the answers. 1) After tearing into the corrupt priesthood, God is remonstrating with Israel; 2) because they have been lazy and unfaithful in supporting the work of the temple and Levites, so 3) the priests had abandoned the temple work to gain employ in the fields and vineyards leaving the nation religiously bankrupt.

    That’s the context, so tell me how that applies today when 1) we are the priesthood, 2) we are God’s temple; 3) Jesus never set apart some form of ministry base to administer ‘the work of Christ’ (Piper’s words), he just said ‘go out into all the world and make disciples.’

  373. While I’m on my soap box…the whole construct of church life as Piper sees it is summed up in his rationale to tithe. It’s very traditional and held across much of the Christian denominational streams. Here is the root of the problem though. There is a very obvious parallel in the way God created man to move out across the face of the earth (Gen 1:28), and how church is supposed to operate. He told Abraham to walk up and down and across Canaan – to appropriate the promise (Gen 13:17). But earlier, what did man do after the flood? Settled down and built cities, not wanting to be scattered (Gen 11:4). This was in direct rebellion against God’s command to spread. Nimrod birthed the city of Babel and the rest is failed history.

    Church evolution has followed the same spiritual path by and large. Jesus commands us to go to the ends of the earth in his name, and what did man do not long after? Settled down and built monolithic structures to ‘honour God’, and remain tied to a location, whilst handing over spiritual responsibility to a tiny elite. That’s why I believe that Jesus, by his death, took upon himself and reversed every curse – from sin, the law, and man’s aspirations for his own glory rather than God’s.

    So, in wrenching out OT verses (such as Mal 3) and planting them in NT soil, we actually curse ourselves because we are nullifying that which Jesus came to fulfil in himself. He did not die that we might give a form of supportive tax to a strata of intermediaries between his people and himself, whilst they fund a specific building to carry out these activities (and its attendant support staff). That’s not what his blood was shed to achieve. But that is Piper’s paradigm, and we will be all the poorer for it. Think on these things the next time Mal 3 is used to extract more money into the tin.

  374. “Lob in a juicy verse or two and see the reformed, anti-C3, non-tithing pirahnas tear it apart – amusing eh?”

    LOL – like tossing a cat into a room full of dogs.

    You are a funny bloke, Ziebart.

    It’s a very good post – hard to argue with. Steve really is pushing ever so hard up a very steep hill; sometimes I almost feel sorry him (of course, he then goes and accuses me of being “full of the devil” or some such thing, at which point the sympathy fades fairly rapidly).

  375. Steve,

    I hope you didn’t forget that I have many, many questions for you.

    Here is another one (with an answer given, as a bonus!):

    Q: What was not, and was, and is now not?

    A: Phil Pringle’s doctorate.

    Now I understand from what you have said that Phil Pringle is “well respected” as a “great leader”. However it appears that he wanted just a little *more* respect (can you ever have too much?), and also to keep up with the spiritual Jones’, as it were.

    We all know that every serious mega-church mover and shaker is financially flush, they live comfortable lives, and they really like to travel by private jet (I think Phil may have mentioned that he has upwardly-mobile aspirations in that regard). But how can the President of a movement stand on a stage before the multitudes and look even one person in the face if he doesn’t have a fine sounding title? And how is one to flog books without appearing to be an intellectual giant who has scaled the academic heights? And how bare does a business card look that doesn’t declare him who proffers it as having a PhD?

    So, according to what I understand of the matter, Phil did lots of research to seek out the most prestigious and well-regarded University in the entire world. Strangely enough he found it in Florida, of all places. I can’t remember the exact name of the institution; it might have been something like “Dodgy Dave’s Doctoral Distributorship”. Anyway, I think that Phil may have got on some fast-track program where he didn’t get a degree with honours, and he didn’t do a masters, but just went straight to the head of the queue (you can correct me if I’m wrong there; but that’s my understanding). Because Phil was so well known and had such a big church and all, they waived all the normal requirements for getting a PhD – he just wrote a book on Acts, and Bob’s your uncle, he got that coveted title. How easy was that?

    For a while he was proud as punch, and everything we heard about him was “Dr. Pringle” this and “Dr. Pringle” that. Then, suddenly, it all went terribly quiet, and we didn’t hear him referred to that way again. This is really puzzling: after all, if you’ve got a PhD, you want people to know, don’t you? And it’s not like they can’t strip you of a doctorate for blood doping or steroid use, is it?

    Anyway, since you are such a big fan of his, I thought you might know the inside story on all of this, and that you might be in a position to fill us in on what really happened.

  376. zeibart,
    you did quote Mal 3, which to me means you support the view that non-tithers ARE under a curse.

    I did? Where? You fellas really don;t read anything very well do you. Anonymous, also needs to be much more careful about his reading! LOL! 😀 Hilarious! 🙂

    I was responding to RP’s comment in which she seemed to say that preaching which produces shame or guilt is coercion or manipulation, or both. I am asking her if she thinks there is ever a place for preaching which inevitably produces guilt or shame in a hearer. Isn’t remorse and contrition essential for repentance? Doesn’t come form sound preaching?

    So I put up Malachi 3, and deliberately used more than the tithing part of it to encourage context, to demonstrate that God himself was pointing out their disobedience to the law he gave them to help them prosper and have good success.

    So you’ve both missed the point entirely.

    I’ve moved on into a completely different area of thought, based on RP’s remarks!

    I’ve said what I need to say to Anonymous, and left it at the Spurgeon quote for him, because it sums up nicely what I think, and I couldn’t put it any better.

    It also, coincidentally, damages zeibart’s claim that I come on to drop in bundies to annoy the reformists! Spurgeon is a Calvinist, so is Piper. I am happy to quote them on occasion, because I have often said I don’t disagree with everything reformists say.

    I quoted them to help you see that there are many, besides so-called prosperity teachers and Pentecostals, or even charismatics, who consider tithing to be acceptable practice.

    I didn’t quote Piper because I wholeheartedly agree with him on what he says, but to produce an example of a well-constructed, compelling argument, and to deflect Anonymous from his projected course of accusing Phil Pringle of being in error for having an almost identical take on giving. Hard to use a God’s wrath claim on Phil without taking out half the evangelical church and most of the reformed mob too! 🙂

    Anonymous,
    I suggest you do the manly thing, which is also the godly thing, and make an appointment to see Phil Pringle so you can address any concerns you might have with him personally.

    I’m not here to answer your questions in a public forum or give you the license to abuse a man, although I’m sure you’ll have a go anyway, because you don’t seem to have a decent bon in your body.

    Of course, for someone like you, the easy way out is to appear anonymously on an anti-C3 blog and shoot down the closest you can get to the real deal.

  377. In fact, what stands out about Malachi 3 is God’s preface to the issue of how Israel robbed him. He says “For I am the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.”

    He identifies his eternal Godhead, and, yes, Sovereignty, and unchanging Being, and says “therefore you are not consumed”.

    In other words, Israel, in being slack in all of the things Malachi is anointed to reveal through prophecy, had placed themselves in the position of being consumed, yet God, being Who He Is, withheld his Hand for consuming them completely, and, instead, sent Malachi to warn them.

    So God still judges Israel, but he extends mercy not wrath, despite their shortcomings, and he also reminds them, in regard to tithes and offerings, that the promises he made to them of rain for their crops and protection from pestilence, abundant harvests, and peaceful borders, would be restored if they were to repent and come back to him with tithes and offerings for the storehouse, which was the treasury from which the levitical priesthood, who were not permitted to own land or farm, could draw from so they were in a position to remain before God at all times and be at his call on behalf of the people.

    This is a wonderful examples of the grace and tenderness of God to give Israel another opportunity to get things right before him and walk in the blessings which could be accrued through hearing and doing all that he commanded them through Moses.

    But God, through Malachi, doesn’t hold back from revealing to Israel exactly what their shortcomings were, and the reason for the shortfall. They should have been expected to be shamed for their behaviour. they were guilty. That is what God is telling them. Ultimately they lost everything because they failed to comply with Malachi’s warnings.

    1 Corinthians 10
    11* Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
    12* Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

  378. zeibart,
    Steve, being a lone wolf here must be quite fun actually. You are truly in a target-rich environment. Lob in a juicy verse or two and see the reformed, anti-C3, non-tithing pirahnas tear it apart – amusing eh?

    Well, actually I put up a post (that’s the lead article at the top of the page, Ano. This is a comment, not a post, and it’s on the thread, which is the continuous line of comments following the post) – a post which is very positive and talking about scientists confirming that giving is good for us.

    Then Ano came, splatter guns blazing, and introduced his pet-hate C3 agenda, so I don’t know quite what you mean by lone wolf. I’m not alone, and I’m no wolf.

    I don’t lob in juicy verses. I produce scriptural evidence for what I am saying, in context, and with sound exegesis.

    Contrary to you claim of being in a target-rich environment, I think there is much good to be had from discovering other Christians’ perspective, and like to contribute to the discussion. I do not like it when people make unsustainable comments about individuals or ministries, so I say so.

    It takes two to tango, doesn’t it? If you have suspicions about my motives or intentions, just let my comments go by without response. But it seems to me that, despite the derision which you and Ano have served up towards my theology, intelligence, morals and beliefs you are only to happy to engage when I do respond.

    Neither do I consider he people here to be pirañas. They people with a different perspective. I enjoy the banter and commentary, even the controversy, and I think I have a better understanding of how people who don’t see eye to eye with my perspective think, and how they will respond if I approach an issue in a certain way.

    What don’t appreciate or like is the intrusive, exclusive, abusive, aggressive stance Ano takes towards where I come from. It is so short of Christ-like in presentation that I do actually believe that the devil is involved somewhere along the line.

    But you, dear friend, are a seeker after truth and a learner in the Way. I don’t agree with your perspective sometimes, but you make a lot of sense at other times. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Kin getting on together, despite their differences. We’re blood in Christ whether we like it or not.

    I’m called to love my brother. If I don’t I have none of Christ in me. Bottom line.

  379. zeibart,
    Church evolution has followed the same spiritual path by and large. Jesus commands us to go to the ends of the earth in his name, and what did man do not long after?

    So you think God is against cities? Where does Jerusalem stand in this? Especially New Jerusalem, which he is preparing for us?

    In fact, the problem at Babel was the Tower, which was being built to ascend to God’s Throne.

    And what do you consider he ends of the earth? Actually Jesus said, “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

    It starts with communities, then cities, then spreads to nations, and across the whole earth. The first Christians were scattered from Jerusalem because they failed to move on from there as Jesus told them they would, so a great persecution scattered them to other regions where they preached the gospel and it spread.

    Everywhere they went they established Christian communities in the regions they travelled to, until the whole world was turned upside down.

    So, yes, we go to the ends of the earth, but starting with where we are, otherwise we’d be started from where we are where we go, and the ends of the earth will be at the opposite end of where we went to, if you see what I mean! That’s juts simple logic, but it puts what Jesus was saying into perspective.

    He said “As you go, preach”, which is a better translation of “go”, because where you go is where you are!

    The thing is, what are you doing about it? Have you gone yet?

  380. So Steve,

    Your answer to the question:

    “Do you personally believe that those who fail to tithe are under a curse?”

    Is *not* “no”? Is it “yes”? (It’s a simple proposition: it can only be “yes” or “no”).

    Phil Pringle’s answer is “YES, failure to tithe puts you under a curse”.

    Is Phil correct? (Should we trust him because he is [or was?] “Dr Phil”?)

    What will God do to me if I don’t tithe? Will He strike me blind? Will He kill my first-born son? (You do know that curses are very nasty things, don’t you?)

    Did Jesus die to set me free from the curse of the law? Was the death of Jesus on the cross somehow not quite sufficient, or His blood not quite powerful enough? Did His atoning death satisfy most of God’s wrath, but not all of it – so that we still need to do works of the law to avoid being cursed?

    What do you call a man who wilfully, publicly, and repeatedly contradicts God’s written word? What does God think of someone like that? Will God cut such a man some slack if they have a “doctorate”, or if they run a big church, or if they are well-known?

  381. “I was talking to a guy the other day who said he knows you and says I’m better looking, funnier and have a more solid basis in biblical doctrine than anyone he knows.”

    I’m gonna use that. Except in from of GUY I’ll put “really well respected”, and at the end put “I tried to argue with him, but he wouldn’t have anything of it, and insisted”

  382. Here, take an interlude, and get your breath back before it stifles you! What’s the use of going on about a plain man who God uses, despite his, and our, shortcomings, through His grace, to create a movement which is reaching the burned and broken, the hurt and hopeless whilst you’re hanging yourself on someone else’s words!

    Time to reach for the Sun! Get some Life into you or crash and burn!

    “Coming Back To Life”

    Where were you when I was burned and broken
    While the days slipped by from my window watching
    Where were you when I was hurt and I was helpless
    Because the things you say and the things you do surround me
    While you were hanging yourself on someone else’s words
    Dying to believe in what you heard
    I was staring straight into the shining sun

    Lost in thought and lost in time
    While the seeds of life and the seeds of change were planted
    Outside the rain fell dark and slow
    While I pondered on this dangerous but irresistible pastime
    I took a heavenly ride through our silence
    I knew the moment had arrived
    For killing the past and coming back to life

    I took a heavenly ride through our silence
    I knew the waiting had begun
    And headed straight..into the shining sun

    Malachi 4:1-3
    “For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” Says the LORD of hosts, “That will leave them neither root nor branch. But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves. You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day that I do this,” Says the LORD of hosts. “Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”

  383. Margot, it’s as plain as day that prosperity theology is a massive fraud perpetuated against the Body of Christ. It’s also as plain as day that many don’t want to see that because of it’s ‘good works’.

  384. margot,
    He’s so well known I’d never heard of him before.

    As I told you several comments ago, the E W Keynon lie was started at ORU by a student, whom Olsen, ignoring other facts which have come to lght about Kenyon, including his own writings, which were not available to McConnel, completely disprove the basis for McConnel’s book.

    Olsen says:
    While I was teaching at ORU a graduate theology student was conducting research into the origins of the Word-Faith teaching and found word-for-word parallels between the writings of E. W. Kenyon, an early 20th century Pentecostal healing evangelist who had been influenced by New Thought, and Kenneth Hagin, the then leader of the Word-Faith movement. He published his findings in A Different Gospel. His name was D. R. McConnell and his critique of the “name-it-and-claim-it” movement and teaching was devastating. He proved its genesis in New Thought and demonstrated its unbiblical character while also strongly hinting that it is downright dangerous to people’s health and financial well-being (insofar as they were being taught to act like they were well and rich even when they weren’t).

    Well that is complete garbage, and, if Olsen bothered to do any research he would know this and could be instrumental in putting right a wrong about both Kenyon and Hagin which is, in Christian terms, defamatory. Kenyon himself had no association with New Thought, and roundly condemned it and Christian Science, which was gaining momentum in his day, in magazine articles from the period which were released after McConnell made his spurious, unproven claims.

    The truth is that, as a very young man in his early 20’s Kenyon backslid from the holiness movement of the day, and decided to enter drama school, which he did for less than a year, because he attended a Free Baptist meeting with his future wife, whom he had met when in college, and had an encounter with God which led him to become part of that church, and ultimately be trained as a pastor for that movement.

    It was pure coincidence which McConnell latched unto that the drama school was headed up by a man who later taught New Thought. That is a very weak connection on which to hang a very big theory which led to accusations of gnosticism in Kenyon’s ministry. In fact he was a well respected teacher in his day.

    Hagin always said it was far better to walk in love with his critics and let God deal with situations than to say a bad word about them. And he never did. Nt one bad word about his critics. Kenyon’s family has taken the same tack with McConnell. Everyone’s entitled to be wrong. What is doubly error though is to fail to right a wrong when it is discovered.

    Worse still is the way in which so-called discernment ministries have perpetuated McConnell’s error and repeated it so often that it is now considered standard fare for Word of Faith criticism. It’s an utter joke, a farce, and a shame. Why don’t they do their own homework and find out what I did in a few hours of effort. because they’ve already made their mind up, and they’re lazy, bone idle, wannabes.

    I don’t see that Olsen is any different to Phil Powell, actually. Of course there are opponents… of just about everything, but why bother looking? Waste of time, really.

  385. By the way, you could write to Olsen and remind him that Kenyon wasn’t a Pentecostal. He doesn’t say much about speaking in tongues. I believe he may have been baptised with the Holy Ghost, but he had a different view on it to the Pentecostals.

    He is mostly quoted on his teaching on the Love Walk, Walking in the Spirit, and New Creation, also on Righteousness, The Great Exchange, Healing, Prayer and the Blood Covenant, although he wrote extensively.

    The Pentecostal churches opposed the healing movement of the 40s and 50s.

    Surely Olsen should have known this.

  386. So, were you a lecturer at ORU? Do you have access to the information that he has? Looking at his biography makes me wonder how your theological credentials stack up against his?

    You make me laugh Steve, you haven’t heard of him, so anything he says is of no consequence. You need to broaden your horizons.

  387. ”So you’ve both missed the point entirely.”

    Maybe, but I made a heap of indefensibly awesome ones in doing so.

  388. ”despite the derision which you and Ano have served up towards my theology, intelligence, morals and beliefs you are only to happy to engage when I do respond.”

    Derision? Nah. Happy to engage? Yep, iron sharpening iron and all that.

    ”So you think God is against cities?”

    I think God is against rebellion. Notice that early post-flood man is inherently fearful of being scattered, so they huddle together and produce a false religion. Nevertheless, God still scatters the human race. God tests the heart and if we hear him say go here or there, we do it. Fear keeps us locked down, acting in denial of his commands, but we temper that rebellion by creating a pseudo relationship with him. In other words a tower of Babel.

    Do you know what I think, Steve. Put this one to the test. Just as God scattered rebellious, self-focussed mankind from Babel by giving him a thousand different languages, so he has done within the construct of church life when it all settled down into a man-centred organisation. A thousand denominations and splinter groups; no-one understanding the other; going to war to defend their plot of theology, and still scattering across the face of the earth.

    The antidote? ”But you, dear friend, are a seeker after truth and a learner in the Way.” And you too, for which I am grateful to God for your pursuit of the Matchless One in whom we can unite from being scattered. Jesus gathers his sheep and you know his voice, Steve.

  389. I don’t like the ‘we are gods’ thing, or the fact he was anti-glossolalia, not complementary about Pentecostals, and a few other things which actually reveal he could not have been either a Pentecostal or a charismatic, as Olsen, in margot’s piece, claims.

    But Smith’s is a thesis which relies heavily, as I said before, on the work of another thesis by McConnell, which was strewn with errors, and based its entire premise on incorrect research, and other more complementary writings by people like Simmons, who at least saw Kenyon as an evangelical.

    Kenyon’s College became one of the most liberal colleges in the US and is still going. I think he’d be sad about that turn of events.

    As I said lots of people recycling error doesn’t make it right.

    Kenyon raised some good points and some not so good, but the attempts to link him, and therefore the whole of the so-called ‘faith’ movement with New Thought and Christian Science is amateur, schoolboy stuff, especially in the light of other publications which refute McConnell.

    Smith merely quotes from three other authors and makes his own conclusions. Is that how you get a degree these days?

    Besides, in 1995, when Smith wrote his thesis, he would not have had access to other pamphlets which were released by Ruth, Kenyon’s daughter, which clearly refuted McConnell’s theory, including into Kenyon’s actual time at oratory school, which he did not enter for philosophical purposes, as he temporarily gave up on God, being disillusioned with the Methodist holiness people (he was only 19), but to learn drama, and the following encounter with God (at 20) which radically changed him and caused him to enter the ministry with the Free Baptists.

    He could have started with Joe McIntyre’s book, E W Kenyon, the True Story, which is a well put together piece, and deals with many of the issues McConnell gets wrong. Start at page 299…

    http://www.amazon.com/W-Kenyon-True-Story-unpublished/dp/0884194515/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

    One would hope that Smith has subsequently revised his work to reflect the truth. I don’t think McConnell has, and is still gaining mileage from his original thesis.

    Smith attended Liberty University, which was started by Jerry Fulwell.

  390. Of course, Liberty University was baled out of debt by the Rev Moon. Yes, that Rev Moon! They said they didn’t realise the company which bailed them out was owned by Rev Moon, but there you go. $400,000 later…

    So, you could say, that’s merely a coincidence, and has no bearing on whether they are evangelical or not. There is not necessarily evidence of influence from the Moon cult.

    Agreed…

    …in the same way attending a college to learn oratory in drama is not in any way connected to the college owner’s personal beliefs.

    You get my drift?

  391. Just sharing:

    A.W. Tozer,

    The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it.

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