Giving & the Local Church: Expectations of Leaders?

>I read recently where a pastor asked what other pastors do with regard to giving. In particular, he wanted to know how much and to where other pastors gave, for he prioritizes the local church.

Though he was not convinced of the tithe, he was convinced of the need to lead by example:
“I do think pastors should set an example for the congregation by giving the first fruits of their income to their own local church.”

After reading my following post (and his cited above) I want to know …

  • from church officersWhat is your giving policy?
  • from church membersWhat are your expectations with regard to church officers and their giving?

I will share my own sentiment, not because I imagine I will impress anyone, for I certainly doubt that, but also because it’s really already known (but I’ll get to that).

Though the perpetuity of the tithe (i.e., the giving of 10%) is debated, I give 10% of my gross income to my church for 2 main reasons.

1. Although I wasn’t prior to ca. 1999, I am a believer that a Christian should tithe to his/her local church.

I know some say it’s odd to give back to the church from what they’ve given to you, but it is a pleasure and a privilege to give and it’s a good reminder that everything we have is graciously from His hand (James 1:17).

I’m convinced that a Christian should give 10% of his/her income to the local church, and cheerfully give offerings to other things as the Lord leads (cf. 2 Cor 9:7). For me, that includes things such as the Lottie Moon Christmas offering through our church for SBC missionaries and my regular support of Ligonier Ministries and some missionaries in Ukraine with the Navigators.

However, this post is not a defense of that practice, but an explanation of what I do and the first reason why. Perhaps I will attempt a post to clarify and justify that, but just bear with me for a moment.

2. The second reason I tithe to my church is that it’s an expectation at my church for a leader/officer (i.e., elder or deacon) to do so, and it’ s my expectation as well.

Per the constitution of Providence Church:
“It is expected that church officers will lead by example, which includes financially
giving, with tithing as the ideal minimum.”

(As you can see, anyone familiar with our constitution would pretty well know at least the minimum of what I do.)

In other words, our church expects an elder or deacon to tithe as a minimum. We don’t check W-2s or anything like that, but our expectation of officers is that they do at least that. Of course, biblically, we encourage them and others to sacrificially giving and generosity as is repeatedly emphasized in the New Testament, so much so that it’s easy to see the tithe as a minimum expectation.

I said all that for this reason, I think the non-officers in a church have that expectation on them anyway. Don’t you? Wouldn’t you feel uneasy about the spenders of the money not being contributors at least to the level of a tithe?

God is not impressed with our 10%, not even for pastors. He owns it all and I expect He’s underwhelmed with anything other than 100%. (cf. Mark 12:41-44)

  • Regardless of your convictions about tithing, what do you think about your church leaders and their giving? What are your expectations of church leaders in this area?
  • If you are a church leader, what is your practice?

About Eric "Gunny" Hartman

Gunny is pastor of Providence Church in Plano, TX, and has taught at Dallas Theological Seminary and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has completed coursework for a PhD in Rhetoric at University of Texas at Arlington and tries to be a good father to his 4 kiddos, exhibited by coaching a girls soccer team.


21 thoughts on “Giving & the Local Church: Expectations of Leaders?

  1. >Good observation and good point, Hylander.I guess it gets to what one sets as his/her default.Is the default that I don’t give UNLESS I am confident of a discernible prompting of the Spirit to give?OR …Is my default that I give systematically (based on a percentage or whatever) and generously UNLESS I am confident of a discernible prompting of the Spirit to NOT give?Incidentally, I have seen some antinomian leanings in this area, even along the lines of “I’m so spiritual that I don’t have to give, unlike the poor saps who ‘tithe’ to their extortion houses they call their churches.”Giving is certainly an interesting topic to track, particularly as it relates to one’s spiritual maturity and growth.Some see themselves growing in grace, but actually giving less than they did before.In my mind, it’s hard to see becoming less giving/generous coinciding with growing spiritual maturity.

    Posted by GUNNY | January 9, 2008, 4:12 am
  2. >I appreciate this post. This is something that has had my preoccupation for quite some time. Interestingly, there was a post on the Ooze a while ago around the same time this was posted. Anyway, what I found interesting was how so many over at the Ooze, (and I won’t name names as I am sure you already know to whom I am referring), but the overwhelming emphasis on love, grace and freewill giving to the point that some infer that you can almost forego giving. I certainly do not wish to broadbrush, but I certaintly feels hints of antinomianism at the Ooze with regards to the giving. I would rather error on the side of obedience with accordance of God’s law than to have an attitude feeling like I need to give when and if I feel the Spirit prompting me. I would rather give whenever I see that there is a need. Granted, I must use discernment when giving, but the church does need to operate, there will be people in the congregation who will have needs, and of course, there will be the nearby community outside the church body who will need to have their needs met. I agree with your premise that it is all God’s, and we ought to not only be good stewards of what God has given us, but be sacrificial in our giving above and beyond 10 percent.Thanks again for your post sir, hylander

    Posted by hylander | January 9, 2008, 4:00 am
  3. >I’ll do my best to avoid percentages here. Jesus commands his followers (leaders and others) to “Store up your treasures in heaven, rather than on earth.” He also says, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”So a fella makes 200G’s a year. He has a nicer home than most people in the church. He trades in his vehicles every couple of years for newer and better ones. His house is filled with all sorts of trinkets, like flat-screen TV’s, etc. He’s got a retirement account that is larger than many people make over a few years’ time.But he’s faithful in church attendance. He teaches Sunday School. He serves on a committee or two.And he drops $100 a week in the plate. He supports no missionaries. He does not give to poorer church members when they’re in need. Where is this man’s heart, according to Christ?Could the “above reproach” quality could be applied here? Is this man submissive to Christ when it comes to his treasures?Is it wise to call a man into spiritual leadership who refuses to worship God with his money?

    Posted by Lance | December 7, 2007, 3:44 pm
  4. >Self employed people like farmers and small business owners should not be expected to give from their gross income but from net after expenses. That is fair.The NT teaches us to give sacrificially, proportionally and generously. There is no percentage involved. The man who nets $70,000 (after deducting $20,000) expenses does not miss $100 per month. Therefore he is not giving in proportion to what he pays for other desires. He is not giving proportionally or generously. I doubt that his giving level makes a sacrificial dent in his wallet. He is wrong and is not showing the example of a leader.However a family of four with $20,000 income and high medical bills should be allowed to hold a church office if it gives in proportion to what it has left over after essential expenses. No percentage again

    Posted by russkellyphd | December 6, 2007, 10:17 pm
  5. >So … to curve it back around, since the post was never intended so much to be a discussion of tithing as much as discussion on expectations with regard to church leaders.That being said, how would you feel about a pastor/elder/deacon (of normal middle-class means) who gave significantly less than 10% to his church?Let’s say you knew that an unpaid elder in the church gross income from his stable company is $93,000. He has had no unexpected medical weirdness or anything other than his usual life with his wife & 2 kids.They have 2 nice cars and all that good stuff.He gave $100 per month, for a total of $1200 for the year.Your thoughts?I’m inclined to think that most of us would say that’s not good enough, which raises the question (again) of our expectation of our church leaders.Should they lead in this area as well?If so, what might that look like?

    Posted by GUNNY | December 6, 2007, 9:31 pm
  6. >I like what StrongTower wrote: ” many people in the church live hand to mouth with no residuals. Second, the tithe allows those with the majority of income as residuals to escape with conscience intact.”While reading Rod Rogers book, Pastor Driven Stewardship, I disovered a fatal flaw in his reasoning. He treats 2 Cor 8 and 9 as if thery are the weekly expectation and that “generous” means at the very least begin with the tithe. And when the text says give beyond your ability he interprets taht to mean that even the poorest shoudl give something even if it measn doing without medication and food.I ask, how long can one survive if he weekly gives “beyond his ability”? The context is a one-time sacrificial frewill offering to those who were even more poor than the Macedonians and already had reached the point of no fooo.It is wrong to make the context say to the poorest and sickest to weekly give beyond their ability for elder salaries and church buildings.

    Posted by russkellyphd | December 2, 2007, 6:20 pm
  7. >The income amounts are arbitrary, it could just as well be 5000 and 50000. The point being that many people in the church live hand to mouth with no residuals. Second, the tithe allows those with the majority of income as residuals to escape with conscience intact. The 100000 earner in my scenario could easily tithe 40%, or even give the 10000 earner a gift of the tithe and relieve their burden.When I counsel a person on giving, I do indeed discuss the tithe, but not from the mandatory guilt trip traditionalism that I have never failed to hear from others. I tell my counselee that he should give. Their question revolves around how much. My advice is that they start with a set reasoned amount. If based on a percentage, fine, if not, a set dollar amount will do. It is the discipline of giving and not the amount that is important as you said, it is a matter of obedience out of love that is the reasoning behind the giving anyway.The tithe is not grounded in any NT article and even Jesus’ admonition and rebuke to the lawyers cannot be used, because, not only is it appealing to Jewish cerimonial law, it does not account for all manners of income. It infact indicates as I did, that the Pharisees were great at recognizing what the could see that was in their hand, but horrible at recognizing the whole gambit of life was what God had propered them in. And it was to that which he spoke, that if they really wanted to keep the spirit of the Law they would sell all and give. That is if they truly trusted God’s provision. But, how does one tithe of the sun, wind and rain. How does one tithe of their breath, or a child. Suppose a poor man having only one cow is blessed that she give birth to a calf. What portion of the calf is to be tithed? Hind, quater, front? It does no good to say that it could be redeemed, for with what, the cow? It is presumptuous to think that the poor has the redemption money. Ah, but his nearest kin might, and in the church that nearest kin is you. When it is begun to be taught that I am responsible for my neighbors tithe, then we will come closer to the ideal, but it will not be through an oversimplified accounting called tithing.There is of course the other side of Christ’s rebuke. Compassion was inherent in the Law of the tithe. It’s purpose was not just to pay the livelihood of the Levites. They were to tend to the poor among their brethren, the widows and orphans as well as their own and the maintenance of the physical properties of the priesthood. It was this that they were in great neglect of beside the spiritual aspect of humility, mercy, and justice.To that we might add that today’s churches do not usually have a widow’s role or an elders role, or a teaching elders role. They do not do the in house charity that they are commanded to do, but they want those tithes. Yes, we can excuse ourselves because we have SSI, CHIP, and SCHIP, Medicare, Medicaid, ladadada. But beyond that are numerous needs. Even when the churches have a needs ministry, do they consider it charity, or duty? The maintenance of the needs of the family of God are not charity any more than one might consider feeding their own children charity. And that maintenance is just as vital as the maintenance of the buildings and programs.The scenario that I laid out contrasting the two family incomes is no stretch of the imagination, but it does bring into focus the ludicrousness of demanding a tithe. Even if the CoL of the upper income was five times that of the lower, the discretionary residual would be 50000. Is a tithe sufficient to match the gift of the lower if the lower indeed gave a 1000, accruing debt? The parable of the minas says no. For this upper income to give an equal portion of their residuals they should give the entire 50000. That is why it is a copout, because by giving the 1000, the poor has given more. That is what Jesus said of the tithe, that the poor widow gave 100%, more than the Pharisees miserly ten percent In this what I am suggesting is that reasoned giving is what is encouraged in the NT, as each man purposes in his heart, which is a far greater gift than the tithe. Because it counts the cost. That is reasonable.When and if the church begins to take its full responsibilities for their own poor seriously, then, it can demand a tithe. But, since the church itself does not even do the weightier matters of the law, it is almost hypocritcal for it to heap guilt upon its poor.

    Posted by Strong Tower | December 2, 2007, 3:45 pm
  8. >Strong …Just a few quick hits as I’ve got to get back to prep for tomorrow.First, in reality I would question the comparison/contrast between the two scenarios you listed. In particular, those 2 humans/households would NOT have the same CofL.Perhaps I’m splitting hairs, but depending on where they live, etc., they are not both spending the same amount on food, clothing, shelter, etc. In reality both of these people are probably living beyond their means accumulating debt and NOT giving 10% or more to their local churches.In other words, those are the statistics as to how they really play out in the lives of professing Christians.Second, and this is not just in response to strongtower, I think there has arisen a false dichotomy between the tithe and giving “of the heart.”Obedience is not legalism and those under the Law (clearly obligated right?) would/could/should have given in a manner pleasing to God, not grudgingly. If I’ve misunderstood what you meant there, I apologize, particularly if I’ve read into your comments that which I’ve experienced in the past (i.e., an assertion that giving 10% of one’s gross income is and can only be legalistic and contrary to the Spirit).

    Posted by GUNNY | December 2, 2007, 4:57 am
  9. >Subject A:Earned Income= $10,000/yrCost of Living= $10,000/yrTithe= $1000/yrAccrued Debt= $1000/yrDiscretionary Residuals= $0Subject B:EI= 100,000/yrCL= 10,000/yrT= 10,000/yrAD= -$80,000/yrDR= $80,000/yrTo the above one must add all other types of income that is received in kind for exampleCost of Schooling provided by state: @6,000/yr/child (low-end)Estimated cost of all other services provided by the government: some estimates are a minimum $30,000/yrInsurance paid to providers: varies, low end based on health maintenance, check-ups, common maladies: hundreds or thousands; high end could reach hundrends of thousands, even millions for catastrophic care. (If you’re recieving SSI+Medicare/Medicaid for a long term care individual in your family, say your elderly mother who you are supposed to provide for not U.Sam, tack an additional $30,000-100,000 to your income per year minimum).Annuties and Retirements: their current value, even if you have not started drawing upon themAppreciation of properties: include home, land, and all other properties that increase in value such as investments, art, jewlery, furniture….The reality is that when we begin to really assess our income it becomes an impossible task. No wonder the tithe was given, it could not be figured let alone estimated, and related to us our hopeless situation being unable to satisfy the righteous demands of the law.I think that if teachers of the tithe or any kind of giving, really begin to look at the issue they must conclude that giving has to be of the heart. Short of that, then go sell all you have and give to the poor church. Until you’ve done that you have not given anything says the parable of the minas.

    Posted by Strong Tower | December 1, 2007, 10:52 pm
  10. >I use to think that believers were obligated to tithe to the church and give from the excess. The persistent appeal to the OT, and silence from the NT, helped me to reconsider.I still tithe, but I give it primarily to needy individuals and to a ministry where I know the leaderhship. If it were a matter of being able to support a minister, my tithe would still go to my congregation. When the preacher’s finances are not at risk, I don’t feel an obligation to programs and buildings to the neglect of the poor and those who are effectively ministering to the lost and needy.Jacob

    Posted by Jacob | November 30, 2007, 6:50 pm
  11. >Mr. Kelly,The name is Mark (sorry). Again, I am in agreement with you. I do not think there is any mandate for the church to “tithe.” I will say I probably get there a different way, but we agree nonetheless.You have yet to address the situation that I have continually brought up. That is, the issue of divisiveness and the amount of time spent on such a peripheral issue.I would say that the majority of NT scholars would agree with your assessment. I know I do. I think what is most troublesome is that on your website and in your book, and some of your articles you make very general sweeping statements about the SBC in general that I’m not sure are accurate in every situation. I’m not a Southern Baptist nor a Baptist at all. But it seems like the tenor of your website is pointed at these people “in general.” I have been a part of an independent, fundamentalist, Baptist church (the situation I alluded to before) and they were hellbent on beating people over the head EVERY Sunday about tithing. It got really old. However, I left the church like you did. But I didn’t feel the need to start a website that brought “railing accusations” against by brothers. I think they’re wrong. And when asked I voice my opinion on the matter. But to take such issues into the public forum is exactly what the world wants to see us do. I also have been a part of a church that as a 12 million dollar budget and in four years I never ONCE heard them say anything about tithing or giving except in a new members class they mentioned “giving” not “tithing.” So I have seen both ends of the spectrum.I do appreciate the fact that you feel a call to teach the truth of God’s word clearly. I too have the same desire. It makes me angry when I hear people twist the Scriptures to make it work for their program. However, I do not think I should take up a public forum against them. I can either deal with them face to face and work out these differences, or I can move on. You have done a great deal of work to both write and publish your book. For that I commend you. My point is, try not to come across so angry as it appears you have a vendetta against the very people you are related to spiritually. —————————-I have written two books since the tithing book and they do not generate a lot of correspondence. On the other hand the tithing issue does not let go.—————————-I wonder on this issue, do the people who make such glorifying comments about what they are learning recognize that believers in the church have an obligation to support the ministry or are they simply reading this and saying, “Ah! I can finally quit tithing?” I know you teach giving just not tithing. I just wonder if there is any fallout such as this.I will finish our chat in this way. You are my brother and I appreciate what you are trying to do. I am in agreement with you. I would just ask that the entirety of your ministry not be to ride one hobby horse. I see this happen quite often. You have much more to teach than just what you have taught. Take care and may the Lord continue to bless you.Mark

    Posted by me | November 29, 2007, 5:15 pm
  12. >First, I feel strange addressing somebody called “me.” It is rather silly.Second, I have written two books since the tithing book and they do not generate a lot of correspondence. On the other hand the tithing issue does not let go. I am daily inundated with questions, thank you notes, and very llittle negative feedback. If you look on my web site under “endorsements” you will find how much my work is appreciated. The book also has rave reviews on Amazon.com so I am not as paranoid as some might think. See endorsements at http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/id84.html.Third, I love and encourage contrary biblical arguments. That is how we learn and it challenges me to rethink my positions. Fourth, about the poor widow’s mite. She was not giving a food tithe to the Levitical cities (Neh 10:37b) to pay the salaries of the Levites and priests. Rather she was giving a sacrificial freewil monetary offering to the poor chest inside the temple to help other poor persons. She most likely also received money from that same chest when she left since that was its purpose. The story has nothing to say about tithing and everything to say about sacrificial freewill giving. Fifth, :”me” mentioned the law and alluded to Mt 5:17-19. If you interpret the text literally you must conclude that Jesus is speaking of the entire Mosiac Law of commandments, statutes and judgments becasue he used all three for illustrations. In other words, for the Jews, they MUST keep ALL of the Law until ALL of the Law was fulfilled. Gentiles were anever under any part fo the law except the moral law written in our hearts (IRom 2:14-16). Jews were always obligated to keep al of the law. When Jesus died adn said “It is finished” the veil in the Temple was ripped and the efficacy of the Law even ended for Jews. The standard of judgment for all is now the righteousness of Chrsit I(Rom 3:20-24).Wehn we accept Christ we died to the law (Rom 7:4) and the law cannot tell a deaad person what to do. We live in Christ. Like a choolbus which you rode for 12 years, when you graduated from high school it no longer serves as your faith-guide. There is much moe on this in my book.

    Posted by russkellyphd | November 29, 2007, 4:34 pm
  13. >Mr Kelly,I am in no way challenging what you teach. To the contrary, I agree that there is no basis for teaching tithing to the church. This is EXACTLY what you teach so I’m not sure what you mean. What I am challenging is your attitude and the way you deal with fellow believers. We can discuss these issues without being accusative and divisive. You are spending much more effort trying to discredit the SBC than you are trying to further the kingdom of God. Your methodology lacks compassion and is extreme. Again, I agree with what you teach, I just think how you go about it is quite unloving. Now I could give you a whole host of biblical texts to support what I am saying. However, I think you know what they are. I am not interested in getting into a Bible drill of sorts. We are both familiar with the biblical text and there is no need for me to try and outdo you in quoting texts. ————————If you have something to discuss from God’s Word go ahead.————————You did not give any comment as to the widow who gave all she had. Do you have any comment on that? I think your response to me is quite telling. Somehow a nerve has been struck that is quite painful to you. Your comment that you receive a response like this about twice a year is also telling, especially in light of the fact that you have completely misunderstood my response. Your response is indicative of an “extremist” type attitude (I am not calling you an extremist just noting the similarity in attitude) in that you respond before thinking about what I have said. I have agreed with you totally. I have just disagreed with your approach. So let me clear the air. I am in no way trying to psychoanalyze (note the spelling) you nor am I casting judgment upon you. You are my brother in Christ. I am simply asking for a better response to those who claim the same status as you, that they are children of the living God, joint heirs with Christ, accepted in the beloved. We are on the same side. Are we all doing everything right? No! But we must demonstrate grace toward one another. Perhaps it would be good for you to actually entertain some of the responses you get from other people. It is easy to sift through the responses to your views and note those who agree. However, there is much to be learned from those who disagree. This is how theology is done; within the community, with grace, and compassion toward one another.

    Posted by me | November 29, 2007, 1:29 pm
  14. >”If you have something from God’s Word to discuss, then go right ahead.”Seems to me that “something from God’s Word” was woven throughout his post just without the citations. “I am standing up for those who are being abused and doing without basic necessities in order to “tithe.””I am not sure how anyone can be forced to tithe (stipulation of membership, I suppose? along with automatic withdrawal from their checking accounts?) but I would think that there are greater problems with the leadership than the issue of tithing if there are members of the church who are going without basic necessities, no?

    Posted by Jeff Wright | November 29, 2007, 4:27 am
  15. >me I get your kind of response about twice a year. Rather than present Bible texts to challenge what I teach you want to psycoanalyze me. Well, I don’t play that game. If you have something from God’s Word to discuss, then go right ahead. Otherwise I will not reply to you any further.Russ Kelly

    Posted by russkellyphd | November 29, 2007, 4:08 am
  16. >I just had to jump in on this one.First of all, I agree that there is a great deal of abuse that takes place in local churches all over the world with regard to pressuring people into “tithing.” Clearly there are no NT texts related to the church that teach any such practice under that name. However, this argument is often taken to the extreme as well and is used by many people to avoid giving in any way. The NT is replete with teachings on giving to support the community of believers. Certainly some are able to give far more than others and it may be that the church’s failure to address the accumulation of wealth for so long that it has come to bite it in the #@&!. In fact, the whole concept of “tithing” (10%) feeds this very problem. Many wealthy people hear these teachings on tithing and give their 10% and see no need in providing more for the church although they have been entrusted with more. So it can work both ways. One cannot say, however, that the Bible does not teach the responsibility of believers to support the ministry of the church.This problem in the American church is a symptom of the insidious idea of individualism. The church is a community and when one sees it as such he/she is more inclined to help support it. It is the individualism of the American church that causes people to fail in seeing their responsibility to care for others. The needs of other people are rarely seen as a responsibility to most in the church. This is tragic. So we have, “I tithed my 10% let the church sort it out,” or “I give, I’m not responsible to take care of everybody else.” There is too much focus on “I” and not enough on “others.”But I have gotten off track. My point was to say this. The issue of tithing has gone round and round for many years. There is no mandate in the NT for “tithing” (semantics) but there is an obvious teaching on giving. Consequently, I would comment that Jesus did not say the widowed woman made a bad decision or was being irresponsible or being taken advantage of. In fact, she was commended not only for her giving but also for her faith that God could provide for her. Regardless, there is no teaching about tithing, especially compulsory tithing. That method turns my stomach. If one simply teaches the totality of Scripture and acknowledges both issues, 1) there is no mandate for tithing in the NT, 2) the Bible teaches we should give and support the ministry of the gospel, then people might be more inclined to give on their own. It is the constant bickering and fighting that turns everyone away on these issues. I must say to Mr. Kelly that it seems like you have a personal axe to grind and while you seem to mask it behind “standing up” for the disadvantaged, I must say your tone and method do nothing for the testimony of the unity of believers. Your vendetta is obvious in your language and it seems you have committed your life’s work to combatting the SBC (of which I am not a member and could care less). I agree that they don’t do everything right. In fact, I would agree that they don’t do most things right. But I am not casting accusations at them and deriding them in the public forum. There are ways to deal with issues like this but engendering divisiveness is not the way.I think you have done what is necessary by leaving the SBC and moving on. However, I think you have failed to move on. Perhaps people there have brought some hurt and pain into your life, but retaliation is not the answer.I had a similar situation that left me bitter for some time, but I had to move on and get over it. It even caused me to question the integrity of the people who were handling the money I was giving to the church, but I never stopped giving to them until I left.I believe in giving to support the local church. I do it as meagerly as I am able. I am a full-time student pursuing a PhD in England and I still send money to our home church in the US. Needless to say we are not lacking for anything and we are not doing without. I gave over 10% of my gross income throughout my entire seminary career and never did without. The Lord always provided. I didn’t do it because I felt I had to, I did it because I felt I could trust the Lord to care for me and my family. I am not advocating anything universal for everyone to do. I am simply telling you what I do. Thus, I don’t tell other people what to do or not do. I don’t bash the SBC or any other Christian denomination for their teachings. If I feel I don’t agree with them on certain peripheral issues, then I determine whether or not I can attend that church in good faith and make a decision accordingly. But I don’t separate fellowship or resort to name calling because they are still my brothers and sisters in Christ.I hope my words are not too strong and if they are I apologize. I just think we should expend more effort on worthwhile causes rather than beating this dead horse. To spend so much effort and time on peripheral issues is not wise.

    Posted by me | November 29, 2007, 1:39 am
  17. >My web sie is wsww.shouldthechurchteachtithing.com It is also at http://www.tithing-russkelly.comn. My profile is under About the Author on the left.Today theh Baptist Press had an article by SEBTS president Daniel Akin which I approve of almost 99%. I am far from being alone in this issue. Even Martin Luther agreed.

    Posted by russkellyphd | November 28, 2007, 9:41 pm
  18. >Russ,I am not able to access your profile nor your website. Do you have a link?I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but it occurs to me that you’re bringing a great deal of context to the table on this issue.That’s okay, but it hadn’t occurred to me at first.On the being able to tithe bit, first I would say that tithing is based on one’s income and one could still be a tither even with no income. If my policy is to give 10% of what I make and I’m not making any money, then I would argue that doesn’t make me a non-tither.Also, it seems to me that there are instances wherein one could evaluate the totality of the situation.For example, if an elder suffered a severe injury incurring mountains of bills, I would understand his inability to give and yet would expect his church to now financially help him recover.The thrust of our policy is with regard to those who are able but don’t give, which is a sign of spiritual immaturity, I would say.Speaking to the caveat of means, to not give at least 10% seems to betray some character issues. I know it could be a “catch all” and abused, but it would raise questions in my mind about being “above reproach” and perhaps questions about being a lover of money.Russ wrote: “My position from 2 Cor 8:12-14 is that most in the USA should give more than 10% BUT many cannot.”I would agree with that first part, but not the “many” in the second part. I don’t want to downplay the difficulties some face, but I would certainly see that as a distinct minority.On another note, as an SBCer I’m intrigued by what must have been some of your experiences. I would actually be very interested in hearing more … off the record, of course.;-)Thanks again, Russ, for your insight and thought-through comments.

    Posted by GUNNY | November 28, 2007, 9:01 pm
  19. >GunnyThanks for engaging me in a discussion of tithing. That is better than I get from church leaders……………….. I think I can understand some of the angst you must have felt in leaving the SBC………..Russ: I used to think it was the greatest denomination on earth. Now I think the leaders in Nashville are dictating to the churches what they must teach. See my article on the almost-secret Position Paper. Evidently at least three professors at SEBTS agree with me plus their president. I wonder why they don’t treat them like they were invisible like myself. Have you noticed that the BP has no spot for comments or blogging?……….Yet, I think your labels of “sinful” and “heresy” are more than a bit harsh………..Russ: The Bible explicitly spells out the qualifications for church elders and deacons in First Timothy and Titus. Yet the SBC has added to that list a doctrine which their own Faith and Message does not explicitly teach. The earliest church leaders were only administrators or presidents who presided over the order in the church. The gifts of teaching were dispersed among the church laity. Now the SBC looks just like the Roman Catholic Church in the way its gifts are recognized………..First, nobody is suggesting making an “addition to the Word of God,” particularly as many are convinced it is the biblical mandate for all, not just leadership………..Russ: They why did Paul not include it in his list if it is so important? Those leaders who are “convinced” will not enter dialog with us and usually run from ordinary church members who question them. If it is their web site they almost always close the thread when the flow of evidence is against them……………..Would you also say that a church requiring a seminary degree as sinfully adding to the Word of God? ……….Russ: Frankly, yes. It should hire the person who is a proven leader of godly persons and who knows how to grow the church. I have a B.A. from an SDA seminary. Does that make my theology correct. My PHD is from a less-credentialed school. Does that make my theology wrong? Many SBC presidents have their degrees from unaccredited seminaries. Does that make them less qualified?…………….I think from your perspective, the more appropriate criticism would be “adding non-biblical qualifications” instead of alleging that people are heaping a curse on themselves by adding to God’s Word………..Russ: I agree. I get carried away sometimes………..I’m not sure I understand your comments about not wanting “the biblical poor widow as a member,” as nothing in the post addresses expectations of members’ giving………..Russ: The poor widow had absolutely nothing left after her sacrificial freewill offering. She was not tithing to support Levites and priests. She was putting money into the temple basket for the poor. I say that many churches would not want her as a member if she had no potential to give afterwards. I also say that, if this woman was in great pain and needed medicine, most of the SBC pastors would tell her to tithe first and suffer without medicine. You very well know that is true!………The only other thing I would add is that I don’t know what you mean about not being able to tithe.Perhaps I’m idealistic, but I think anyone can tithe. Regardless of what I make, I can still give 10% of it to the Lord’s work in the local church………..Russ: Yes, I think you are being idealistic. You are speaking of yourself in the present. God forbid you have a serious accident but you just might find yourself a quadriplegic with no income before the day ends. Our nursing homes are full of indigents who don’t have a dime to their name for tithe. This is also true of people in the ghettos and India and Africa………..We might argue that some are prospered by God to the point where they can (and perhaps should) do more, but I’m not convinced that a person who gives 10% of whatever is made won’t be able to make that 90% work, particularly in the USofA………..Russ: My position from 2 Cor 8:12-14 is that most in the USA should give more than 10% BUT many cannot. I am standing up for those who are being abused and doing without basic necessities in order to “tithe.” That is cruel. I dare say that you actually observe ANY of the tithing principles found in the OT and there are NONE in the NT for the church. As Rob says, join our group and you can bend the ears of about 100 of us.You call yourself Gunny. If that means what I think it does, then you probably know a lot of wounded soldiers who cannot afford to tithe.

    Posted by russkellyphd | November 28, 2007, 8:40 pm
  20. >Russ,I think I can understand some of the angst you must have felt in leaving the SBC.Yet, I think your labels of “sinful” and “heresy” are more than a bit harsh.First, nobody is suggesting making an “addition to the Word of God,” particularly as many are convinced it is the biblical mandate for all, not just leadership.Would you also say that a church requiring a seminary degree as sinfully adding to the Word of God? I think from your perspective, the more appropriate criticism would be “adding non-biblical qualifications” instead of alleging that people are heaping a curse on themselves by adding to God’s Word.I’m not sure I understand your comments about not wanting “the biblical poor widow as a member,” as nothing in the post addresses expectations of members’ giving.The only other thing I would add is that I don’t know what you mean about not being able to tithe.Perhaps I’m idealistic, but I think anyone can tithe. Regardless of what I make, I can still give 10% of it to the Lord’s work in the local church.We might argue that some are prospered by God to the point where they can (and perhaps should) do more, but I’m not convinced that a person who gives 10% of whatever is made won’t be able to make that 90% work, particularly in the USofA.Thanks for the comments. I’ll try to check out your further thoughts.

    Posted by GUNNY | November 28, 2007, 7:42 pm
  21. >I have had to leave the SBC over this matter. The qualifiecations for church leaders in First Timothy and Titus do not include tithng, so that is a sinful addition to the Word of GodDoes God only give spiritual gifts to the rich? If a poor person has gifts but cannot tithe you will never find that person in SBC leadership. That violates the principles found in James 2. I seriously doubt they would want the biblical poor widow as a member since she has nothign left after giving her all as a freewil loffering. The “minimum expectation” heresy is built on the false assumption that everybody in the OT was required to tithe. In reality that only applied to farmers and herdsmen inside Israel. Thsoe who earned their livelihood throough their own skills did not qualify. In other words Jesus, Peter and Paul had nothing to tithe.Russell Earl Kelly, PH. D., author of Should the Church Teach Tithing?Check out my site and the section on Southern Baptists for many articles. .

    Posted by russkellyphd | November 28, 2007, 3:59 pm

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