I know I am probably beating this subject to death and will be a bit repetitive with this post, but I am absolutely infuriated by the often errant implications and the scripture twisting that are fellow travelers with this doctrine. It is not an issue of money for me. It is not an issue of obedience for me. It is not an issue of stewardship. It is, ultimately, an issue of Law and Gospel, or more specifically, a confusion of the two. I am, again, talking about tithing.
Here is, verbatim, part of a sermon on money, on tithing, I recently watched. The sermon by Perry Noble is found here and the quoted section starts at approximately one hour and two minutes into the sermon.
In exodus 13, God says the firstborn is mine, and then the passover took place, and the people that did not put the blood over the door frame and said I’m not going to consecrate my son to you, what happened to the son in that house? He got killed. Your either gonna give your 10 percent to God or He’s gonna take it. The Bible says God will not be mocked. For some of you, there’s a reason your car keeps breaking down. There’s a reason you cant keep your kid out of the doctors office. There’s a reason you cant keep a job. You’re trying to mock god.
Such is, unfortunately, not a unique approach to the subject. I have heard similar sentiments from other pastors, and I spoke on it just recently here. My first and overarching thought on the above quote is thus: The pastor portrays a grievous and confused understanding of Law and Gospel.
Let me say it one more time just so that I am not misunderstood: He Does Not Really Understand Grace. And it’s not just him. Again, I have heard the same sentiment from other stages and pulpits, and I would say the same thing about others who infer that God acts like a mobster running a protecting racket on His own children. What we find in this sermon is essentially a quid pro quo Gospel. Christ did this, so you gotta do that.
What I see from the aforementioned sermon are verses ripped out of context and used as proof-text to prop up an errant pretext. But, as this pastor graciously and humbly mentions at one hour into the video, you must be stupid and Biblically illiterate if you disagree with him on this subject. Be that as it may…
Going off a bit tangentially, I think the overarching issues is one of methodology. Some preachers are topical teachers, speaking often to the felt needs of the audience. Others are expositional teachers. Topical preachers tend to hover over the Scripture and pick verses, often out of context, to communicate some point, often a favorite subject of the pastor. They, by their methodology, become lord over the text. Expositional preaching, where the pastor goes through a book of the Bible verse by verse, is bound to the Word and it forces the preacher to open the word, in context, to the congregation. The text is lord over the pastor.
I want to be clear that I am not so much anti-tithe, but more anti-how the tithe is often taught. I know of Christians who give their ten percent as a holy act of worship. Personally, I do not think the percentage is as important as the condition of one’s hearts.
Speaking of how the tithe is taught, here is a video that might be of interest:
Christian, you do not have to tithe to ‘earn’ God’s favor. There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. You are not blessed because of your obedience to the Law, you are justified by grace alone, by faith alone, by Christ alone.
This is not healthy truth:
Radical Grace is Life!
Just uploaded the section of the sermon to which I refer to YouTube. So much error and mishandling of scripture. I honestly fear for Perry. Here is the video:
I Timothy 1:7 – “They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:10-14 ESV)
Addendum of 6-25-2012: More thoughts on tithing – Don’t Place Yourself Under A Curse