Giving to Church

* Giving Under the Covenant of Grace: On today's Theology Thursday program, Bob Enyart explains the difference between tithing under the Covenant of Law and giving for the Body of Christ under the Covenant of Grace. A beloved listener who disagreed with Bob wrote in his reasons, and Bob replied, below.

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* A Token Listener Who Disagrees: Other than changing his name, here is our exact email exchange:

Kenneth, thanks for writing! You may be surprised how much that I agree with you on. In fact, I'm a bit unsure about why you would think that I'd disagree with so much of what you wrote...

On Mon, Apr 22, 2013 at 3:46 PM, <Kenneth> wrote:
Thanks for your ministry, you make me think.  And I know you love the Word and the Gospel of Jesus so keep on brother.

Thank you Kenneth! Being gracious in a situation like this certainly helps communicate, and whereas I don't assume infallibility for myself (see kgov.com/doubts), I attempt to read your email and others like it acknowledging that I may wrong and in need of correction on the matter at hand.
 
I don't agree that trusting a subjective sense is all we have to go by. If someone prays, says I have an inner sense from God to cheerfully give only $1 a month.  Is that ok?  I'd at least want to ask where that man's treasure (and heart) is

Kenneth, the questions you're asking (above & below) seem perfectly valid to me, but I would think that you should be able to see that they are equally subjective, and as to determining how much money I should give to church, these issues you raise are virtual synonyms for letting God's peace rule in your heart.
(BTW, to let you in on my thinking, as soon as I made the observations in the previous comment, it makes me wonder about your motives; not in an evil way, but... what is driving your thinking? If you were being more objective :)  you'd likely have realized that you were offering subjective tests to replace a test that rejected because it was subjective.)
 
where his faith is, does he desire the gospel to be proclaimed or not.  As a brother who loves him and Jesus.  In it's context the part about cheerfully not under compulsion comes immediately after sowing sparingly and bountifully.  
It is possible to hear instruction on why God wants us to give generously and then turn and give cheerfully and not under compulsion.

Of course.

It does not follow that the only way someone can give cheerfully is if no one asks them to give. 

Of course. See above (and below).
 
Be generous (if we are to be like God we must be generous, numerous proverbs, 2 Cor 9:6+11, I Tim 6:18, widows 2 coins, Rom 12:13, pastor worthy of their wage, Luke 12:13-34, contentment with food and clothes, give and it shall be given, Acts 20:35 and Phil 4:15-17 givers get a blessing why withhold that teaching?!

Of course. As I hope you are seeing Kenneth, I am confused as to why you would think that I would disagree. Something in your mindset pushed you to make assumptions that do not follow from what was presented (that's called a non sequitur).
 
Please consider preaching through books of the Bible and not cherry pick, don't avoid giving Scriptures because of personal sensibilities.

:)

Assuming you'd like my thoughts on what you've written, I'll share them with you :)  If I had been in your shoes, I would have turned the previous statement into a question. I would have asked, "In your ministry, do you preach through books of the Bible?" Yes, for almost 40 years now, I've been teaching verse-by-verse studies through books of the Bible. After traveling the country in a first-hand investigation of where I could get the best teaching on the Scriptures, in 1985 I moved to Denver, Colorado to study in a school that did not allow the English New Testament in class, because only the Greek NT was used. Many of the Bible book studies that we've done are available in the Bible Study Department at our kgovstore.com. (We've always had a 30-day money back guarantee and we've always told people, if you can't afford our price, than you can pay whatever you can afford... sort of like what God tells us now for determining how much to give to church :).
 
 Can we look at the OT tithes and firstfruits and all offerings, now for us after we have seen the fulfilled prophecy and the Son of God, the long awaited Messiah crucified raised and know He is returning and has freely given us His Holy Spirit et al - can giving less than them be generous and full of faith?

Yes.

Of course Kenneth, neither the OT tithe, nor our NT giving, could ever relate in any kind of proportional way to what Jesus has done for us. (In our Bible Study called The Tree, I present an account about this that was very moving to me; if you ever hear that study, or read it in The Plot, please share your thoughts about it with me.) 

In the part of our study that you heard, I don't recall if I gave a taxation example, of the times when governments (including the U.S. in the 1950s) have millionaire income at 90%. If they then gave 10% to church, they'd be left with nothing. That's a rare case no doubt. But there are plenty of homeschool families who have their potential income cut in half because mom stays home to give their children the best possible Christian education. And they might hardly be surviving on the husband's income. Denver Bible Church doesn't agree with the superstition that says to the struggling young father, if you give more money to us, the God will increase your income (or lower your bills).
 
For the OT saints 10% was a starting point but in my desire to see the gospel proclaimed and Jesus Christ honored I'll decide 3% is plenty generous in the richest land in history?  I just can't get there sorry.  I'm not suggesting hold up tithing legalistically, but rather as an example of faithful saints for us to consider.  imho nitpicking OT tithing and giving to say 'only landowners'

Of course I wouldn't say anything like "only landowners", for that would miss God's point.

And of course, whether someone is thinking of giving 10%, 3% or a widow's mite, it does not matter to a dad if he lives in the richest country in history if in fact he's struggling to put food on the table for his kids.
I'm confused by your comment that you're "not suggesting hold up tithing legalistically, but rather as an example..."

Tithing today can only be legalistic. And as an indication of that, in your own email, you say that you take tithing not legalistically, "but rather as an example", but it seems that to you, this is an example that others must duplicate, or you will judge them as sinning. (I'm all for judging, but as Jesus said, not based on outward appearance.)
 
and such is to wipe out a principle of God's people not just a part of the Law.
Tithing can certainly be taught and done legalistically, however I think you may be falling off the other side of the horse.
 
It seems to me your teaching encourages people to not think much about giving at all, perhaps it is more blessed to save and spend than to give?

Regarding saving and spending, I agree completely, of course one should see giving as more blessed than receiving.

But Kenneth, on your last three sentences, I think you might be able to see that your argumentation is arbitrary, or even special pleading. For the exact arguments can be used against someone who tithes 10%. Try seeing these statements from the other perspective. One could just as easily write (in fact, I think I have): "It seems to me teaching on tithing encourages people to not think much about giving at all."

And as to your specific objection above to our anti-tithing message, let's try to test your own use of this point. For even someone earning $10,000 a year who tithes 10%, could still be criticized using your very argument, and told concerning the remaining $9,000, "What, you think it is more blessed to save and spend than to give? You should really consider giving most of that $9,000 in the service of the Lord. Don't you care about the eternal souls of people headed to hell?" There's no bottom to that abyss.

As for me, I want to grow up to the place where I want to be scheming and scrimping to use every penny I can to get the hope of the gospel to as many people as I can (not just for salvation but also sanctification = making disciples and observing all things).

Kenneth, I do love you brother! No doubt, I'd enjoy hanging out with you. (If you live in the Denver area, let's go for coffee: my treat :)

But I want you to know that, up above, when I said that I didn't know what was driving your thinking, I now believe I know.
 
 If I believe my church is effective in doing this I'm going to give a lot to them.  If I don't I'm going to find another church where they are and give.  Giving little is not an option to me, even if I'm dirt poor.  God help my unbelief.
 
ramble...

:)

Could it be Kenneth that you misunderstand what it means to let the peace of God rule in your heart. Certainly, you assumed a limitation on that the Bible does not intend for you to assume, and a limitation on that biblical concept which I did not intend. You assume that, if you are seeking to let God's peace rule in your heart, let's say, in deciding whether or not to become a business partner with a thief, that you must ignore everything the Bible says about stealing, the appearance of evil, etc., and only focus on a subjective feeling that you have inside of you. That's a misunderstanding of the biblical, relational idea of God's peace. It's not God's peace while you're doing everything you can to ignore everything God has said about the matter. It's God's peace as you meditate on His Word, seek His Will, serve Him with not just your money, but your entire life. Here's how I know that you misunderstood and wrongly limited that biblical concept:

You wrote: I don't agree that letting God's peace rule in your heart is all we have to go by. Even those who teach tithing, as you've pointed out, would never claim that giving 10% is all you have to go by. When asking for God's peace to rule in your heart, of course you can take into account the important issues that you raise:

I have much and yet I give only $1 a month.
Where is my treasure? Where is my heart?
Do I exhibit faith? What is my commitment to the work of the gospel?
Am I sowing sparingly or bountifully?

...
 

Feel free to write back Kenneth. I appreciate knowing you.

-Pastor Bob Enyart
Denver Bible Church & KGOV.com

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