Thursday, December 10, 2015

We Three Kings of Orient Are

Over at Facts & Trends, they have an excerpt from my book, Urban Legends of the New Testament. Check it out here.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Christmas Urban Legends

CIU just published this article about Urban Legends dealing with the Christmas story and our nativity scenes. See here.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Thursday, October 01, 2015

John Ortberg and Tithing

A few months ago John Ortberg preached a sermon called "The Main Thing." The general theme was about how to keep the main thing the main thing. In this message (around 22:45 into it) he brings up being generous. Being generous is a great principle for giving clearly advocated in Scripture. I have zero doubts about this. But as he discussed the concept of "generous giving," he reminded them a "The Tithing Challenge" he gave to the church last year. That is, give 10 percent of your income to the church for 90 days. If, at the end of 90 days, that is not financially sustainable, inform the church as they will refund your money. Over a 100 signed up, only 2 said it didn't work. What to make of this?

First, I do believe that the vast majority of American's should be able to give 10 percent of their income to their local churches without it being a huge financial strain. That is what this anecdote demonstrates. But that's all.

Second, the real issue is whether this challenge can legitimately be based upon Malachi 3. A few things to note about Malachi 3:
    1) the tithe discussed was probably meant for the support of the Levites and priests.
    2) the "offerings" discussed were not voluntary but required.
    3) the "storehouse" referred to an actual building (see 2 Chronicles 31:10-12) constructed many, many years after the Mosaic Law of tithing was given.

These three things are the beginning reasons for the issues of directly applying the Malachi 3 passage on tithing to Christians today:
    1) pastors are not Levites nor priests; in the church age we are all now priests, with Christ Jesus as our high priest.
    2) the word "offerings" are used today to reference voluntary gifts rather than required gifts; however, if they were required gifts in Malachi 3, and tithing is required because of the reference to it in Malachi 3, then those offerings would be required today.
    3) the "storehouse" in no way refers to the church today; it was simply a barn-type structure.

Therefore, using Malachi 3 the way that Ortberg does is not justified. Many people in America should be able to give 10 percent of their income without it being too burdensome, but many people in America cannot. There is no justification in Scripture for mandating a tithe. Theological and historical arguments fall short as well.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Podcasts of Recent Interviews

I was asked if I could list some of the podcasts for recent interviews I've done on the Urban Legends of the New Testament book. Here are a few:

Rush to Reason on Tuesday, 9/15, see HERE.

The Chosen Generation on Thursday, 9/17, see HERE.

Sunday Night Live on Sunday, 9/20, see HERE.

Point of View on Tuesday, 9/22, see HERE.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

You Mean I Don't Have to Tithe?

Some of you know that I published a revision to my dissertation in 2010. While published dissertation's usually cost over $100, mine is a paperback and only $44. However, that price is still a little high for some people. My publisher has just made available (about 1 month ago) my dissertation in Kindle for only $9.99. This is a huge savings. So if you were wanting to get it but were inhibited because of the price, now is the time to buy it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Interview with Kerby Anderson

I'm being interviewed right now by Kerby Anderson. The podcast should be available here soon if you can't tune in.Christianity Today called this show America's "most popular live Christian call-in show."

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Rush to Reason

I am scheduled to appear on Rush to Reason at 3:30 today to talk about Urban Legends of the New Testament. Tune in if you can!

Interview with Michael DelGiorno

I am scheduled to be interviewed today on WTN (Nashville, TN) 99.7 Super Talk with Michael DelGiorno today at 10:35 EST to discuss Urban Legends of the New Testament.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Gospel Driven Giving

This summer I was blessed with the opportunity to preach at Heritage Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA. My sermon, Gospel Driven Giving, can be viewed here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Columbia International University

Christian Universities Online is a website the ranks Christian universities based on five equally weighted criteria:
1) Faculty-to-student ratio,
2) Percent of full-time beginning undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid,
3) Selectivity,
4) Overall retention rate, and
5) Overall graduation rate.

CIU is ranked #3 on this list! If you or someone you know is considering college, take a look at CIU!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Radio Interview on Urban Legends of the New Testament

Bill Feltner with "His People" will air an interview with me about my new book, Urban Legends of the New Testament. It's broadcast over the Pilgrim Radio Network (California, Wyoming, Nevada) and on their website at It will air today, August 11th, at 5:30am, 3:30pm, and 12:30am (8/12) eastern standard time.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Sample of Urban Legends of the New Testament online for free

B&H, my publisher, has posted a sample of the Urban Legends book here.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Schreiner's endorsement for Urban Legends of the New Testament

Here is Dr. Tom Schreiner's endorsement:

“As evangelicals who believe that Scripture is inspired and authoritative, we want to preach and teach what the Bible truly teaches. Croteau takes on a number of ‘urban legends’ and unpacks for us the meaning of a number of texts by paying attention to context and to historical background. Even if one were to disagree with Croteau here or there, one will be challenged to support alternative interpretations. This is a valuable resource full of wise advice and persuasive exegesis, and I hope it is read widely.”

Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of
New Testament Interpretation and professor of biblical theology
and associate dean of the School of Theology,
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Monday, August 03, 2015

Interview on Stewardship

On Tuesday, July 28, 2015, I appeared on a Google Hangout and was interviewed (along with Steve Kindle) on the topic of stewardship and tithing. The interview was conducted by Henry Neufeld (editor at Energion Publications). It has been posted to YouTube and is about 1 hour long. Here is the link to the video. Here is the link to purchase the book on amazon.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Video on Urban Legends of the New Testament

Well, the day is here: Urban Legends of the New Testament: 40 Common Misconceptions has been released and is available to purchase. Both a paperback and kindle versions are available. The publishers of the Urban Legends book, Broadman & Holman, interviewed me last year about the book. They have recently published that interview on YouTube here

Friday, July 31, 2015

Endorsement from Two Pastors

Two pastors graciously agreed to endorse the Urban Legends book: Greg Gilbert and Sam Storms.

“We live in an age of biblical illiteracy; that much is undeniable. But as someone once noted, it’s not just what you don’t know, it’s also what you do know that just ain’t so! David Croteau does a great job in Urban Legends of winsomely, kindly, and carefully correcting misconceptions about the Bible. Here is a book that will not just interest, but inform!”

Greg Gilbert, senior pastor,
Third Avenue Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky

“Although we prefer not to acknowledge it, all of us hold fervently to certain beliefs about what the Bible teaches that, on closer inspection, turn out to be false. No one has done a better job of demonstrating this than David Croteau in this excellent and informative book. Not everyone will enjoy reading it, as human nature typically recoils from admitting error and being forced to give up long-held and deeply cherished interpretations. But there is no virtue in error, and no Christian can be edified by it. Read this book closely and humbly. Even though you may not agree with everything Croteau asserts, your grasp of God’s Word will undoubtedly increase.”

Sam Storms, lead pastor for preaching and vision,
Bridgeway Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Gilbert wrote one of the best books on the gospel that I've read: What is the Gospel? I'm currently reading through What is the Mission of the Church? that he wrote with Kevin DeYoung. Sam Storms has written several books of note, particularly Tough Topics. The sequel, Tough Topics 2, is also available.

Another Endorsement

Here is another endorsement for the Urban Legends book:

“Evangelicals rightly insist that ‘Scripture only’ is our source of truth. Yet our interpretations of Scripture sometimes owe more to tradition than to the Bible itself. David Croteau unmasks some common interpretations that have only dubious biblical support. But he does more than debunk these ‘myths’ of interpretation; he also helps us understand what these passages really are saying and why they matter. Perhaps just as importantly, he encourages all of us to be more careful and attentive readers of Scripture.”

Douglas Moo, Kenneth T. Wessner Professor of New Testament,
Wheaton College

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Endorsement for Urban Legends of the New Testament

I thought I would share with you some of the endorsements I've received for the book. You can order the book here.

“It is a pleasure to commend this book that lays to rest forty common New Testament urban legends. No doubt it will ruffle the feathers of many believers, including some pastors and even scholars, but it is hard to fault Croteau’s careful analysis of each urban legend, the relevant texts, contexts, and array of significant scholarly insights. But perhaps even more important than correcting these urban legends is the careful reading of Scripture that the book models. Let us not blindly accept handed-down beliefs about the New Testament; rather, examine the text carefully for the truth of God’s Word. This compelling and engaging book helps us all to do just that.”

Constantine R. Campbell, associate professor of New Testament,
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Release of Urban Legends of the New Testament

The release of my new book, Urban Legends of the New Testament: 40 Common Misconceptions, is fast approaching. The official release date is August 1st ... this Saturday. There are a few reviews on amazon already. Please pray that God will use this resource to bring clarity to the issues addressed. I'll be posting about this over the next few days.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Stewardship After the Cross-Google Hangout

I will be appearing on a Google Hangout tonight at 8pm (EST) with Henry Neufeld (editor at Energion Publications) and Steve Kindle (author of Stewardship).

Here are the two ways to link to the video of our discussion:

Google+ Event:

I believe you'll be able to submit questions as well. Please join us tonight. I expect it to be an interesting dialogue!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

CT Article update

Apparently the previous link was only available for viewing if you had a CT subscription. However, now the whole article is viewable here.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Christianity Today article

Christianity Today just posted a "three views" article on tithing. HERE is the link. What are your thoughts? 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Up For Debate - link to broadcast

Here is the link to listen to the debate between Dr. Ken Hemphill and myself on the issue of the applicability of tithing to the Christian. I hope this clarifies the issue for many of you!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Up For Debate thoughts

I had the honor of appearing with Dr. Ken Hemphill on Up For Debate with Julie Roys today. Dr. Hemphill did a great job communicating why tithing is the foundation or base for Christian giving. His walked through many passages like Genesis 14 (Abraham and Melchizedek), Matthew 22 (using the Caesarian argument), Matthew 23:23, Luke 18, and 1 Corinthians 16. He is very eloquent speaker and obviously knows the content of Scripture well.

We agree that we want giving among Christians to increase. We want to see people give more sacrificially, generously, and cheerfully. We both have a heart for the good stewardship of money. However, of course, we disagree on the applicability of the tithe. Here are a couple of things I didn't have time to say on the show (here the link).

Regarding the Use of Luke 18
Dr. Hemphill argues that since the Pharisee stated "I give tithes of all that I get" (Luke 18:12, ESV) that tithing was done from income, not just crops and cattle. There are several significant problems with this interpretation (dealt with in more detail in Tithing After the Cross), but I'll mention a few here. 1) This is a parable. Basing the doctrine of tithing off of a made up statement by a Pharisee in a parable is tenuous to say the least. 2) What was cited was NOT the entire verse, just part b. The beginning of the verse says, "I fast twice a week." Why is this important? Because the Old Testament NEVER required this. Therefore, the Pharisee is stating in 18:12a that he went BEYOND what the Old Testament Law required. This context of course would carry over into 18:12b: giving off of ALL would be going beyond the requirements, something the Pharisees were prone to doing and something we should NEVER require of Christians. 3) While I can't get into the details, it seems most likely that this made-up Pharisee in this parable was actually referencing the practice of the Demai Tithe, as explained in the Mishnah. The Demai tithe was 1% of increase, not 10%.

The Use of Matthew 5 as a Paradigm for Tithing Today
I actually have no problem using Matthew 5 as a grid for the issue of tithing. Let's look closely at one of the Laws Jesus discusses there: oath taking (Matthew 5:33-33, ESV):

33 "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.'  34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,  35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.  36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.  37 Let what you say be simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything more than this comes from evil.

Jesus abrogates or "undoes" the Law in order to get to the underlying principle of the Law: truth-telling. Note that he doesn't approach every Law this way. However, for this Law, He destroys the way the eternal principle was manifested for Israel and gives the overall underlying principle: tell the truth without deception or lying. The same would apply to tithing. He would destroy the particular manifestation (all the references to 10%) and stick with the principle: give generously and sacrificially.

Abraham's Spontaneous Giving and Using "Difficult" Passages
Dr. Hemphill stated that their are some very difficult passages that cover the issue of tithing in the Old Testament. In saying this he specifically referenced Genesis 14 (he actually accidentally said 18), Genesis 28 (Jacob), and all the specifics in the Old Testament Law (Leviticus 27, Numbers 18, Deuternomy 12, 14, 26). However, he still used them to advocate his position, citing Abraham's example several times. When I responded he reminded us that he said they were hard passages. If they are too difficult to interpret and apply (which I disagree with), then they shouldn't be used for doctrine at all.

He also stated that Abraham and Jacob gave a tithe "spontaneously." This is not how I would describe their "tithing". It misses the entire cultural background of tithing in the Ancient Near East. Tithing was practiced by pagan religions before Abraham came on the scene, just like circumcision was practiced before Abraham. This was not "spontaneous" meaning "out of nowhere" at all. They were giving in a way that was consistent with pagan practices. The important thing is to note how God takes that pagan practice of tithing and shapes it in the Mosaic Law, something most tithing advocates avoid at all costs. Once we realize the definition of the tithe in the Mosaic Law is 10% of crops and cattle connected to the Land of Israel giving at least twice yearly, then the interpretation of Malachi 3, Matthew 23, and Luke 11 becomes rather easy. Applying the word "spontaneous" to Abraham and Jacob's "tithe" (note that we never see Jacob actually giving this tithe) is not entirely appropriate.

I appreciate Dr. Hemphill's emphasis on the New Testament and I wish we could spend another hour discussing all those passages one-by-one. Nonetheless, hopefully the show served to deepen the discussion on tithing. Remember, the word "tithing" does not mean "giving," as it's commonly used today. It referred to crops and cattle connected to the Land of Israel and never referred to money. It absolutely was not 10%, but over 20%, plus other REQUIRED contributions. Some estimates place required Israelite giving at over 25%, others at over 33%, and some close to 50%. Let us give generously, but for some that might be under 10% and for others much, much more.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Mythbusters/Urban Legends

I've been getting a lot of examples about urban legends from people when they hear about my forthcoming book Urban Legends of the New Testament. Just saw a couple videos on a medical urban legend and thought I'd pass it along!
Link 1
Link 2


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Two Updates

First, Today's Christian Women just published three perspectives about tithing in hard financial times. See the responses by Dave Ramsey, Ruth Soukup, and myself here.

Second, Ken Hemphill and I are scheduled to debate the issue of tithing this Saturday on Up For Debate with Julie Roys.