Tag Archives: tithing

Support of Church Workers: The Law but not the Law on Tithing

Many are using the Malachi 3:10 to impose tithing on modern Christians . When pressed for their Galatianism -they retreat to passages in Hebrews about Abraham giving the tenth of the spoils to Melchizedek. Without going to the typology of such passage -I will  just to have a positive exposition of 1 Corinthians 9:

Image result for abraham and melchizedek

3 This is my defense to those who would examine me.
4 Do we not have the right to eat and drink?
5 Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?
6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living?
7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?
8 Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same?
9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned?
10 Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop.
11 If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?
12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more?Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.
13 Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings?
14 In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.
15 But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting.

Here the my inferred implications of such verses:

1 Workers in the church -apostles or modern-day missioaires have right for support -food and taking care of their family.

2. Support for them is compared to 3: Soldier , plowman and herdsman . The first is based on salary (money) or percentage of produce ( plowman and herdsman- usually at the harvest time) so it can be in kind.

Image result for soldier's salt salary

3. This method of support is based on the Law -but not that of Levites or priests -it is about “ox treading out the grain”

Image result for ox treading out the grain

4.This right to be supported -can be waived by the recipient in case it will be a hindrance to the furtherance of the Gospel. Here comes the rationale for support from sending churches or mission agencies.

5. Also -it is based on the comparison with temple food and sacrificial offerings at the altar -an indirect referrence to supporting priest and Levites . Paul could have easily mentioned titihing -BUT did not because Tithing is related to a physical Temple and the physical bloodline of Levites.

6. The spiritual temple and the spiritual priesthood of Jesus was already there -but he did not used this as justification for tithing for church workers support.

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Tithing Again- If not for the fact of existing bondage

Many people training in biblical theology is dismally low since their pastors wanted to protect a doctrine that should have been consigned immediately to Judaizing of Gentile Christianity.

tithing-on-trial

However -since many of these pastors are fearful of their source of income or that they are fearful that the blessings will stop once they comment against such doctrine (specter of elemental spirits hovering)  – they have resorted to allegorization or universalization of a practice that should be confine to Old Testament  times only.

And it pains me to see people that their relationship with the Lord should have raised to an intimacy between a child and his father. Instead we are  back to an OT relationship of a mere master and servant.

True that God owns everything but in the New Covenant -we are co-heirs with Jesus and thus we also own everything including OUR money. Yet we are bound to our husband Jesus in these and His Law.  But we are sons of the King-adopted in Christ.

He gives us a tremendous amount of freedom to realize the real priority/ies in this life- and He wants us to invest in His expanding Kingdom. But this Kingdom only expands willingly and by love -and peace -and by the most free creatures in the universe.

jesus_return3

Don’t get me wrong -I believe in supporting the church-its officers and and its ministries. But i don’t believe in a holdup or scam or playing guilt trip when there is no longer an objective standard to back it up or playing with people’s conscience as hostage. In the Days of the Messiah-his followers will come in strength and willingly.  I also believe in the promise of return on investment as spelled out by the Apostle to the Gentiles -Paul in 2 Corinthians 7 to 9.

2010_12 Children of God

So when will other learn that we are sons and daughters of a King and we are also co-heirs with Christ -we must learn to be act s free individuals. And this is one advice coming from a Reformed Christian who believe in a Sovereign Father/God who sent His Son to die willingly for his brothers.

 

Still…

Here is my current theological status with respect to Baptism and Tithing:

Though I am still a credo-Baptist- I now no longer see Christians (especially confessional reformed)  espousing covenantal infant baptism as in deep error. But now I see them instead as Christians wanting to submit all of their lives -including their loved ones (children) and possessions under the Lordship protection of Jesus Christ. But I still see that it is misguided and eisegesis that Confessional reformed uses the covenant with Abraham as a textual prop for this ancient church practice . It can be proved however that a credo-Baptist practice is much older and much documented in the Patristics writings like that of the Didache , Apostolic Constitutions, Tertullian and the writings of Justin Martyr .

Current Baptist must regain however the covenantal (New Covenant) basis of baptism which is they woefully ignorant of. And instead of dedications of infants-it must be covenantal blessings/laying of hands should replaced such practice since dedications has an OT flavor to it.

In order to arrest the errors of baptismal regenerations, infants as members of the New Covenant and Half-way Covenantalism- those baptized as infants-local churches should always allow rebaptism as adults so that those infant baptized will understand that it is through their own living faith that unites them to Jesus and not the faith of their believing parents. For here –in the believers/disciples baptism – the death and resurrection of Jesus is properly portrayed instead of in infant baptism.

With regards to Tithing –Now more so –I still, with my readings in the background of Reformed Confessions, ancient church history and New Covenantal Theology- tithing should not be imposed on Christians. Tithing can be used as a personal guide in giving- but local churches should emphasize that this is not the only one guide. We are not under the Mosaic Code-but under Jesus’ Covenant-which is far better and gracious in fact in these days of Jubilee. To impose this-is the error of Galatianism and we are back under the curse of Mosaic Law.

 

A Year Hence – a Retrospect

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It has been one year since I was suspended by the Council of Elders and Deacons of the Jesus, Lord of All Presbyterian Church for alledgely teaching against infant’s baptism and tithing. Though it is true that I hold believer’s baptism from a New Covenantal view , instead of the generic baptist reasons (e.g- not directly commanded by the Lord, no infant baptism example int he NT, baptism is by immersion only, faith is always connected with baptisms) – I have not yet taught it beyond the two elders then (Bro Sam & Romy) and the board secretary-Geordel Libao.

As for tithing – it was the view and agreed  decision of the elders before (Elder Vic Ebojo, Romy dela Cruz and myself-as well as Pastor M) in 2001+ that we will no longer be preaching tithing since it is not commanded by the Lord in the New Testament, nor the NT example does not presuppose a tithing scheme. The epistle to the Hebrews trumpets the view that with “a change in the priesthood-here is a necessary change in the law’. It was Pastor M’s assertion that tithing is the NT scheme and he wrongfully accused me that I did not asked his permission to preach it at Rosario Christian Fellowship.

I do not need his permission -since it was already an agreed position not to impose tithing. He lost it during the elders meeting then in early 2000+ and secretly subsumed his views from us -until a time when I am in voluntary relief from office of the elder and board secretary in 2008.  Immediatley after he suspended me -he taught tithing at Jesus,Lord of All Presbyterian Church-and was met with doubts by some of the members.

Hus_prays_persecutors

And so why was I suspended? This is my guesses fromt he one year of trying to out the pieces together:

1. Pastor M-through his wife’s influence-was feeling overshadowed by my efforts in training (the elders and other members) and guiding the church corporately (since I practically taught them how to conduct meetings and annual church visioning and planning). He thinks I am out to get his job from him. He did not believe the vision  I shared with him about multiplying outreaches with him-since he is the ordained pastor of the church.

2. Pastor M does not want to start the disciplinary inquiry regarding a family in RCCF since this might affect the giving or tihtng of this church. At that time he is receiving additional P 3,200.00 a month from this endeavor.

3. My preaching against tithing was construed as against grace-giving (which I envisioned as more guilt-free and more generous way to live as a Christian)..He fears that his additional income will be reduced this way.

4. Supposed faithfulness to Westminster Confessions-when in actuality he made a public act supporting the baptist interpretation of baptism last May 2008 during the church outing -when he wanted to re-baptized the covenant children-especially with his daughter. It is true that I no longer subscribed to the Westminster Confession because of its covenant theology. It tends to flatten the rich biblical theology of the redemptive historical covenants by subsuming it under the so-called ‘Covenant of Grace’. It smacks of hypocrisy. He made a mistake publicly-and I corrected him privately (whispering the correction in his ears during the public baptismal act). But I mentioned my change of views through texting-and he rewarded my discretion by announcing my suspension to the whole congregation in less than a month’s time.

Hus_Executed

This without a trial where I can present my views to the elders nor to the board deacons who where reluctant to discipline me-but was persuaded by Pastor M.  If these things were doen through the use of the church order- we will be both discipline. I know it but I preferred to not to accuse him at the Southern Presbytery so that he can retain his job -for the sake of his two children.

But I am still without justice-and I can no longer use my preaching and teaching gifts. The baptist church where my family and I worships-still does not trust me enough and my belief system. And so I am reconsidering of finding a small church or group who will allow me to use my God-given gifts-or if this situation remains as it is – I will just burn inside. I  might reconsider joining a CRC church here in San Pedro-since the ‘Three Forms of Unity’ is better worded and less restricting compared to the Westminster’s Standards. Though it have a covenant theology- it is not as thoroughly worded as the Westminster’s. It is also not as narrow in interpreting the Sabbatarian laws. I hope I can find my peace sooner.

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Tuesday Special: Woe to Pharisees and Scribes

pharisees2Luke 11: 33-36

33″No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness.35 Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness.36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”

My Take:

The text is from Verse 33-53. The initial paragraph highlights that we must remain pure in our own hearts -and that no deceit,subterfuge and pride must be part of it. Our good works will become futile if we fail here.

Jesus was invited to a dinner by a Pharisee -but failed to wash His hands before eating-thus risking physical contamination-and to the Pharisees-spiritual contamination. And here Jesus jeard their thoughts-and did He politely told them what He thinks? NO! He castigated them for these wrong perspective. In fact the Phjarisees felt insulted themselves.

The reaction of Jesus is commensurate to the importance of the issue-What is really important to Him-Internal motives and purity-or outward morality-without concern to those in need?

What are the activities that merits his warning-and even disapproval:

1. Washing of cups and dishes-instead of giving alms to the poor

2. Tithing spices and herbs-yet neglecting justice and the love of God

3. Having prominent seating location during dinner-instead of having a new life.

4. Burdening the people with endless rules-instead of using their knowledge to open the road to heaven. And killing the prophets who showed the way.

It is not easy to follow the Lord-His Word will be our guide-but we need constant renewal in Him to be able to do good in His sight.And that good is for Him to see-not for others to praise us for.

Escaping the Force of the New Covenant

Most Presbyterians and Reformed Christians answers the basis of believers’ baptism derived from the New Covenant taught at Jeremiah 31 by saying that:

a) The covenant mentioned there is the Mosaic Covenant-and not the Abrahamic Covenant which is unconditional
b) or that this is eschatological-that its full fulfillment is at the last days. (Richard Pratt)

I am just amazed that Reason A is also similar to other Christians who rationalized that tithing is still applicable today since they based their doctrine not at the Mosaic Law (though they always quote Malachi 3) but on the Abrahamic covenant.As if the God of Israel in the time Moses is not the “…God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” (Exodus 3:6). The covenantal sign of circumcision only proves their continuity. It is based their lineal descent-bloodline-or seedline.

The sign of baptism clearly proves its discontinuity-it is born from above-not through human descent-father’s or husband will.

My take is that even if you do not read Jeremiah 31 (or Hebrews 8-which clearly applies to the then present day Church) you cannot escape the force of John 1:12-13 and Galatians 3:7 which states that it is by faith that we become children of Abraham.

And that ,quoting from http://adampowers.wordpress.com/2008/08/20/what-about-infant-baptism/ :
“Also, Romans 9:6-8, and Galatians 4:22-23, 28 teach that believers are not children of the flesh (Ishmael’s seed), but children of promise (Isaac’s seed). Therefore the spiritual Israel that was within Israel in the Old Testament was the group that moved forward into the Church, not the whole mixed body. So now the Church is not to be the same mixed body as Old Testament Israel was, it is to be pure. But because of sin, we will have a mixed body, and that is why God has ordained Church Discipline, to keep His Church pure. “

Reason B is an assault on Gentile Christianity-and it smacks of the need for second-work of Holy Spirit (Sorry Dr Pratt-I like your books and your RTS mp3 teachings-but the log of infant baptism is clouding your eyes here) -and it distract from the completeness of benefits received by the believers during conversion. Do you really mean that “we still don’t know God? That his law is not written in our hearts? And that our sins are still not forgiven? and that he still remembers them? C’mon-In order not to feel the force of the newness of the New Covenant-you want it to be the same as the Old Covenant!

Covenant Theology doe not only flattens out the distinction-they want regression.

Questions that were not answered

NOTE: I am narrating these things so that those still left in JLOAPC will have all the facts for them to make inform decision. Not for gossip or maligning their pastor-but so that what is still fresh in my mind will be recorded immediately of what really happened . If only I am allowed to record it –I would have doen it.

I prepared the following questions yesterday January 1, 2009. I texted Pastor M last December 31, 2008 for a meeting. He answered me after almost 1 hour later. And he asked if it is about the church-he is not willing to talk to me, but if it is a personal matter-he is willing. I told him in the vernacular ‘Ikaw ang pakay ko lamang’ (You are my objective only). And so he agreed. And it is true. This is the first time we met since I told him by text that I no longer believe in infant baptism-last July 2, 2008.

Before going to JLOAPC, I passed by the Ranara’s and Sardino’s to deliver my Christmas gifts to my ‘inaanak’ around 5:45 pm. Then we met by 6:00pm. We started by talking about my work and he apologize for the way we parted ways. I said that my family is already aclimatize to our new church home at Powerhouse and that my mission now to is cheriah and value my new church. I even mentioned the names of our brothers at Powerhouse- Val, Celso , Wilfred and Pastor Maroi and Abet. But I said that I still have one more responsibility to him. And since the others church mate I already informed -like Gerwin,Jaymee,Rovic and Sis Tess had already chosen to remain in the church because of the memories there-I don’t need to prod them anymore. I still have to ask the questions that was bothering me to him. And he immediately said that if these are regarding what happened before-he will not answer it. 

These questions are as I felt, is needed so that Pastor M will face up tho his sins-if he accept it as one. I am responsible to tell him-since he maybe only hearing it from others-or worse, no one is telling him all the wrong things he had done. In the morning of January 2, 2008-I felt maybe I can leave this out-I know in my gut that nothing substantial will really happen.But I know it is my duty for him to hear it from me.

I told him that I still will ask him these questions whether he will answer it or not. So here is the list:

1. Why , after we , the elders, made agreement after we talked with Bro Elmer-that we will ask the Family P regarding the issue of insulting Bro Elmer by saying within his earshot publicly, that no one is tithing anymore. We-elders made agreement that we will ask the P family after their membership interview. And after 3 times of reminding Pastor M that we need to made inquiries to P family- Pastor M just said that he will not do it because he felt we made a mistake in the first place in listening to Bro Elmer. To him it is a private matter (?).

I told him that night (Jan 2) that I already interviewed the P family when I said goodbye to them-and Sis N lied to me by denying that it was public-then somewhat make a turnaround at the end before I left-but it is unclear to me if she did confessed. However, Sis Carmen corroborated with Bro Elmer that P family publicly said those words. So it is a public matter.

2. Why did Pastor M suspended me witin 5 minutes after I told him through text that I no longer believe in infant baptism. (this is after I questioned him why backout in interviewing the Family P) -and that when I reminded him on July 4, 2008 that since it is already  Friday-His brother elder wont be able to prepare a message- I told him that I am willing to do preach since I will not be discussing baptism since my text is Matthew 9. I also told him that night (Jan 2) that he is really the rebaptizer since last summer outing he really wanted to baptized at least 2-3 covenant chidren -just so they can have an experience of it .In fact he still was able to baptize one covenant children-the daughter of Ranara.

3. Why he did not allow an elder’s meeting when we have a previous understanding that we must always make decision together. This, after repeated request through text to him and through his brother-elder, through a voice call, and then a letter.

*Here he accuses me going house-to-house to his brother-elder, Elder S, and the Libaos-where Geordel was the board secretary. And yes he also reminded that I went ot Sis Tess (after their July 17 meeting)-but I did not give her a copy of any letter. Only those 3 persons (and the P family which he did not mentioned) has a copy of my 2 letters. I told him that Elder R & S are elders-and they need to know the issue. And the board secretary must have it for file purposes-and yes I did mentioned what is bothering me to the Libaos-and receive some emotional support and advice where to transfer (Lord Reigns) . I did mentioned baptism and tithing but it is not  elaborate like a doctrinal class. It was more spontaneous-just like when my wife and I went to Sis Tess who invited as for a dinner when we told her we will be leaving. These 2 families were close to me since I spent a lot teaching and discipling them when they were just starting in their christian life. 

*During that time (July, 200 I believe that elders must decide questions regarding doctrine and how to discipline members. I  no longer believe the second part of it-I am now a baptist and believes that the congregation has a say in the discipline process based on Matt 18:17. So I held my peace then.

4. Why write a letter to the whole congregation and reading it in front regarding my suspension and exclusion from any contact or conversation-when the elders were not even willing to hear me and my side.

*Here he answered that he did not alowed it because ‘ipipilit ko lang ang gusto ko’ and that ‘I have a problem with infant baptism and not them’. I told him ’sino kaya ang nagpumilit dito? and why did he not allow to discuss this matter with an open bible and see where it leads? He said ‘can all presbyterians be wrong?’-And I said-‘how about calvin and servetus?, Zwingli punishing Anabaptist with drowning-and that Presbyterians are allies of the King during the English Civil War-while the baptist were treated as criminals? He also asked me if I had taught infant baptism from the Scripture before (As if he did not know that I am the one who taught the church many times regarding reformed doctrine from Heidelberg Cathechism)-and I said that it is based on the covenant with Abraham-and that it expanded to include the Gentiles in the NT. But there is a discontinuity there similar to tithing and sabbath. In John 1:12-13-it is no longer “the will of man or will of flesh” that one becomes a child of God,  and that in Galatians -the spritual children of Abraham-are those with faith in Christ-and this is borne out by the Newness of the New Covenant as mentioned in Jeremiah 31.

* He asked me that does Presbyterians taught me that baptism saves- and I said no!-and countered that “why in adult baptism-we always look for faith-and then make an exception for children?” . (Why is it that with reformed christians-covenant does not mean salvation?- only possible salvation-when in Jeremiah 31-to be in covenant-is to be saved-that is to know the Lord and be forgiven.)

5. Why say in the letter read in the congregation that I preached against tithing without his permission when in fact before -a few years ago-I preach a series in tithing-and yet he did not rebuke me then ? and that during an elder’s meeting -Bro Vic even countered him-and we thought he was convinced then by his arguements. I also told him (Jan 2) that Elder S even told me (july 22) to write a letter countering his letter but  I said I will abide with the elders’  decision.

6. Lastly-I told him why he deliver the general suspension letter to my house when I already left for the office. He answerd that I left for the office early-which he knew. So i said-why not deliver it in the evening where I ma there personally, so that he can fulfill his promise to 2 deaconesses that he will deliver it in person so that we can have a talk.

I left the JLAOPC by 6:30pm -since he keep saying that “nagpupumilit ako katulad ngayon”. I told him that I must ask my question-so that I can discharge my responsibiity. He said that I am the same-that I keep insisting my way. I told him I expected this-not answering my question.I said finally ‘Sige pastor’

*I am disappointed since he stills pastor people I cared about and since he is blind to his sins-and keeps insisting that he is responsible to God on thesematters. I told him-to whom this church belongs? the denomination or the Lord-He said the Lord. I countered then-“Why not resolve this with an open bible. He also said that “Di niya kailangan magpaliwanag ng kanyang dahilan” (especially with regards to my questions) and “at walang na ikaw na karapatan para tanungin ako”. I told him -’wag siyang magpakataas’ because “we are both elders-kapantay ko lang siya”.

And so during the same night of January 2, 2009 I penned this when I can still remember what happened during our conversation.