Monday, November 29, 2010

Mark Twain on Christianity and Hell

Mark Twain's autobiography was published this year, 100 years after his death (as he requested). He made this observation about Christianity and hell:

"There is one notable thing about our Christianity: bad, bloody, merciless, money-grabbing, and predatory. The invention of hell measured by our Christianity of today, bad as it is, hypocritical as it is, empty and hollow as it is, neither the deity nor his son is a Christian, nor qualified for that moderately high place. Ours is a terrible religion. The fleets of the world could swim in spacious comfort in the innocent blood it has spilled."

This reveals a sad history of some of Christianity and gross misunderstanding of the God we Christians worship.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Book on Amazon-May 2011 release date

Here is the description on amazon:

Was the tithe just for Israel, or is it also applicable to Christians? Must a tithe go only to your local church, or can it be received by any Christian organization? Do we tithe on the net or the gross amount?

Perspectives on Tithing presents in point-counterpoint format the most common views about how Christians are to give of their financial resources, addressing the myriad of questions that surround the complex issue. Ken Hemphill (Empowering Kingdom Growth) and Bobby Ecklund (Ecklund Stewardship Ministries) contribute "The Foundations of Giving" while the book's editor, David A. Croteau (Liberty University), writes "The Post-Tithing View: Giving in the New Covenant." A chapter by Reggie Kidd (Reformed Theological Seminary) is called "Tithing in the New Covenant? 'Yes' as Principle, 'No' as Casuistry." Finally, Gary North (Institute for Christian Economics) looks directly at "The Covenantal Tithe," and Scott Preissler (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) provides the epilogue.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Perspectives on Tithing

A new book has just been completed: Perspectives on Tithing. It looks at the arguments for and against the continuation of the tithe for Christians from 4 different angles. I'm the editor and a contributor. Also writing chapters were Reggie Kidd (Reformed Theological Seminary-Orlando), Ken Hemphill and Bobby Ecklund, and Gary North. I was very pleased with some of the chapters and responses.

Some have asked: how can you have "four views" ... isn't it just "yes you have to tithe" or "no you don't"? Far from it! All the chapters come to slightly different conclusions and get there using very different texts, methodology, and terminology. Some might accuse one chapter of legalism and another of antinomianism. It should be released around May, 2011.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Rick Warren and Calvinism

This post is for those who think that Rick Warren's beliefs on Calvinism (John Piper said that Warren is a four-pointer) are a recent ... that he is changing beliefs for this conference or to speak at the conference.

Quotes from Rick Warren on some of his theological leanings: "An Interview with Rick Warren: A Purpose Driven Phenomena" in Modern Reformation, volume 13, number 1, January/February, 2004.

"Theologically, I am a monergist and firmly hold to the five solas of the Reformation. It's pretty obvious from the book that I believe in foreknowledge, predestination, ... and, especially, concurrence--that God works in and through every detail of our lives, even our sinful choices, to cause his purposes to prevail."

"I'm a fourth-generation Baptist pastor. My great grandfather was led to Christ by Charles Spurgeon, attended Spurgeon's college, and was sent by Spurgeon to America to pastor. So I guess God predestined me to be a Baptist!"

"In closing, I'd like to mention that I have personally benefited from the writings of a number of the Alliance council, especially D. A. Carson, Michael Horton, Mark Dever, Gene E. Veith, Phillip G. Ryken, Mark Talbot, and R. C. Sproul. I'd like to commend them and thank them for their works."

"I read every issue of MR, and I think it is a magazine that is needed in our world today."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Selection of Post-Tithe Quotes: Late 1900s

Jerry Horner (Southern Baptist; 1972)

“Exegetically and thus dogmatically the New Testament does not recognize tithing as a regulation in the new covenant.” 183

Jerry Horner, “The Christian and the Tithe,” in Resource Unlimited,

ed. William L. Hendricks (Nashville: Stewardship Commission

of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1972), 183.

Richard B. Cunningham (Southern Baptist; 1979)

Richard Cunningham was a SBC seminary professor of Christian philosophy.

“The problem is that the New Testament nowhere contains a specific commandment that the Christian should tithe. The tithe is mentioned only three times in the New Testament.”

He also said that “in each case the allusion to the tithe is merely incidental to another point being made.”

“If that were the clear standard of giving in the New Testament church, it would have been useful to appeal to the tithe in the major giving passages in the New Testament. But in those passages … there is not the slightest hint of the tithe.”

Richard B. Cunningham, Creative Stewardship, Creative Leadership Series,

ed. Lyle E. Schaller (Nashville: Abingdon, 1979), 101.

Garry Friesen (1980)

“Christians are not under obligation to practice tithing.”

Garry Friesen, with J. Robin Maxson, Decision Making & the Will of God:

A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View, Critical Concern

(Portland: Multnomah, 1980), 357.

James Montgomery Boice (1986)

“Sometimes in question-and-answer periods I am asked whether Christians today are obliged to tithe. I suspect the questioner wants to know how little he must give to Christian causes and how much he can keep for himself. I reply with what I believe to be a proper statement of the case, namely, that the tithe was an Old Testament regulation designed for the support of a particular class of people. It was not carried over into the New Testament. Nowhere in the New Testament are believers instructed to give a specific tenth or any other proportion of their income to Christian projects.”

James Montgomery Boice, The Minor Prophets: Two Volumes

Complete in One Edition (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1986), 2:255.

Paul Fink (1982)

“It is interesting to note that tithes are never mentioned in the New Testament. … Nowhere in the New Testament is it suggested that the believer is to give 10 percent of his income … The storehouse, contrary to much popular preaching on the subject, is not the local church.”

Paul Fink, “Malachi,” in Liberty Bible Commentary: Old Testament,

ed. Jerry Falwell (Lynchburg, VA: The Old-Time Gospel Hour, 1982), 1859.

J. Vernon McGee (1991)

“We are to give, but on a different basis. The church is not under the tithe

system as a legal system. That does not mean that some people couldn’t give a tenth to the Lord—that may be the way the Lord would lead them to give.”

J. Vernon McGee, Malachi, Thru the Bible (Nashville: Nelson, 1991), 81.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Selection of Post-Tithe Quotes: Mid-1900s

Francis Pieper (Lutheran; 1953)

“We Lutheran professors deplore and reprove as sin the undeniable fact that New Testament Christians make use of their deliverance from the Old Testament tithe to excuse their indolence in contributing for the purposes of the Church, particularly for missions. Also Luther reproved this sin. [the sin of not supporting ministers and missions] But we also know that the Christian Church never commands where Scripture does not command. The obligation to pay the tithe has been abolished in the New Testament. While the New Testament Scripture inculcates that obligation of generous and untiring giving, it leaves the exact amount and the details of the contributions to Christian insight and freedom.”

Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, vol. 3, trans.

Walter W. F. Albrecht (St. Louis: Concordia, 1953), 50.

Paul Leonard Stagg (Baptist; 1958)

Tithes “are not thus binding upon Christians.”

Leonard Stagg, “An Interpretation of Christian Stewardship,” in

What is the Church? A Symposium of Baptist Thought,

ed. Duke K. McCall (Nashville: Broadman, 1958), 151.

Hiley H. Ward (Baptist; 1958)

Ward wrote a whole book dedicated to why tithing is not necessary for Christians: Hiley H. Ward, Creative Giving (New York: Macmillan, 1958).

Roy T. Cowles (1958)

Cowles said that he has “taken the position against the tithing doctrine for many years.”

Roy T. Cowles, Scriptural Teaching on Stewardship:

Tithing or Stewardship? (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1958), 3.

R. C. Rein (Lutheran, Missouri Synod; 1959)

“The fact that many church members today contribute far less than ten per cent does not constitute a valid reason for advocating the tithe as the ideal guide for giving. For, apart from the fact that the tithe is not a worthy standard for giving in the New Testament, those who advocate it should, in fairness, call attention to the many offerings that the Israelites brought in addition to the tithe.”

R. C. Rein, First Fruits: God’s Guide for Giving (St. Louis: Concordia, 1959), 64.

Wick Broomall (1960)

Broomall says that the silence of tithe in NT is “best explained only on the ground that the dispensation of grace has no more place for a law on tithing than it has for a law on circumcision.”

Wick Broomall, “Tithes,” in Baker’s Dictionary of Theology,

ed. Everett F. Harrision (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1960), 525.

Alfred Martin (1968)

Martin was a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. At one point in his career he was a Vice President at Moody.

“The Christian, since he is not under the law, is not under the obligation to tithe.”

Alfred Martin, Not My Own: Total Commitment in Stewardship (Chicago: Moody, 1968), 36.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Selection of Post-Tithe Quotes: Early 1900s

Albert L. Vail (Baptist; 1913)

“My judgment is that the strong probability at this point favors the New Testament plan, to be considered later, as better even for immediate financial results than the tithing plan.”

Albert L. Vail, Stewardship Among Baptists (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1913), 73-74.

John Harvey Grime (Baptist; 1934)

Grime provided ten reasons Christians are not required to tithe.

“1. It violates the divine plan laid down in the New Testament Scriptures.

2. It violates every principle of church polity upon which all our churches stand.

3. If the Scriptures require our churches to tithe, we have not a single scriptural church in our association.

4. It changes our giving from the realm of voluntary worship to that of slavish obedience to law.

5. It makes our churches tax gatherers.

6. No Baptist Church has ever adopted it. Should a church adopt it, they would cease to be Baptist.

7. So far as history goes, it was never mentioned as a Christian or church obligation until after the ‘great apostasy’ in 250 A. D., and the union of Church and State in 325 A. D., and then only by the apostate church, and not by Baptists. The agitation among Baptists, of this question, is of recent date.

8. No Baptist Confession of Faith has ever mentioned it.

9. It screens the rich, and oppresses the poor.

10. Not one syllable in all the Bible that connects the tithe system with the churches of Jesus Christ. When Baptists leave the Bible, they get into trouble.”

John Harvey Grime, The Bible and History on the Tithe System ( n.p.: n.p., 1934), 4.

John Theodore Mueller (Lutheran; 1934)

“With respect to the tithe which God enjoined upon the Jews in the Old Testament, Lev. 27,30, we must remember, on the one hand, that also this provision belonged to the Ceremonial Law, which has been abolished by Christ, Col. 2, 16.17, so that it is no longer binding upon Christians in the New Testament; on the other hand, however, the abolition of the law of tithing must not be abused by Christians in the interest of neglecting liberal giving, since also in the New Testament God exhorts His saints to give continually and liberally, 2 Cor. 9,6.7.”

John Theodore Mueller, Christian Dogmatics: A Handbook of Doctrinal Theology

for Pastors, Teachers, and Laymen (St. Louis: Concordia, 1934), 414.

R. C. H. Lenski (Lutheran; 1946)

Lenski said “[t]ithing is Jewish” and “Paul shunned tithing.”

R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Paul’s First and Second Epistle

to the Corinthians (Columbus: Wartburg, 1946), 1172.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Selection of Post-Tithe Quotes: Spurgeon and Tithing

Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834–1892)

Charles Spurgeon is one of the most confusing preachers when trying to decipher his beliefs on tithing. Some quotes seem to lead to the conclusion that he believed it was required for Christians. The following quotes are those that cast doubt on that conclusion.

“It is also noteworthy that, with regard to Christian liberality, there are no rules laid down in the Word of God. I remember hearing somebody say, ‘I should like to know exactly what I ought to give.’ Yes, dear Friend, no doubt you would; but you are not under a system similar to that by which the Jews were obliged to pay tithes to the priests. If there were any such rule laid down in the gospel, it would destroy the beauty of spontaneous giving, and take away all the bloom from the fruit of your liberality!”

Charles H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 68 vols. (Pasadena, TX: Pilgrim, 1974), 47:97.

“I have read some amazing statements upon the divine right of tithes. It seems to be established in the minds of some that if God gave the tithes to Levi he must, therefore, have given them to Episcopalian ministers: an inference which I fail to see! I should just as soon draw the inference that he had given them to Baptist ministers; certainly it would be no more illogical. The idea of our being priests, or Levites, in order to get compulsory tithes, would be too abhorrent to be entertained for a moment!”

Charles H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 68 vols. (Pasadena, TX: Pilgrim, 1974), 28:694.

“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!”

Charles H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 68 vols. (Pasadena, TX: Pilgrim, 1974), 14:567–68.

Again, if one were to stop reading right there, then his view seems obvious. But he continued:

“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), 14:568.