I grew up when Diff'rent Strokes was a popular television show. That's no big deal unless your last name is Willis. To this day I still hear those famous words popularized by Arnold: "Whatchu talkin bout Willis?" Usually they are uttered by someone looking at me as though I may have never heard it before. Yeah, right! Well this blog is what I (Willis) am talkin bout...my thoughts, observations & opinions. Enjoy...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I couldn't convince Vince...

Some of you who stop in here at WTBW? also visit Vince Anotnucci's blog, so you may be aware of the current discussion over there. A few days ago Vince posted about "tithing." The post that caught my attention contained the following from Vince: "(by the way, I'm not a "If you don't tithe, why don't you incrementally increase your percentage until you give ten percent" kind of guy. Personally, I think that's crap. To me it's the same as saying, "If you're living in disobedience to God now, why don't you slowly decrease the amount that you're disobeying Him until you get to the point of obedience." Yeah, that's great. No, we need to obey God. He says 10%, give Him 10%. Actually, I teach our people that 10% is the starting point, but a real bad place to stay. Give as much as you can...)"

Since then he has written a lot more and received a great number of responses (pro & con). For the record I know longer teach the concept of monetary tithing. Ironically, Vince's quote above could have been mie a fews years ago! Back then I did teach "monetary tithing" with much fervor, but eventually abandoned it in favor of what I now understand to be the New Covenant standards. Giving in the the New Covenant is about the heart. 2 Corinthians is probably to most thorough teaching on giving in the NT. Notice what Paul writes... 2 Cor 9:7 - Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 8 & 9 is all about sacrificial giving and generosity, but no mention of a "monetary tithe."

Let me say I don't have any personal animosity toward Vince Antonucci. He seems like a good brother who is passionate about reaching the lost and Christ's kingdom. His blog offers lots of keen insights from someone who gets the mission of the church. I do, however, vigorously disagree with what he a has recently espoused about "tithing." It also appears that he isn't going to give up his position (at least not right now). If you want, you can read it all for yourselves.

The discussion (like most on blogs) had some very informed comments along with the occasional ad hominen, but it was a good exchange over all.

For a better understanding of this issue (IMHO) I'd recommend the work of Russell Kellley which can be found here.


Anonymous said...

It has been a rather spirited discussion, hasn't it? It's had a very "sharpening" effect for me, causing me to think, rethink, consider the other views again, flip through Scripture. A good time... except for the anonymous posters.

Laura Saufley Photography said...

Dave--It's interesting to me that you and Aaron have come to the same conclusions--and he would definitely have fallen into that same category as you several years ago (as far as teaching that tithing was a requirement). I enjoyed reading your comments as Aaron and I had recently been discussing this as well.

I have always had issues with churches begging people--including poor people--for money. Where do you draw the line between who has enough to give and who is too poor to give? At what point do you decide that someone should be receiving from the tithes rather than giving to it? In the logic of people that believe that every believer is suppose to give 10%, then there is no line--people living in poverty should still 'be generous' and give 10%.

I have seen homeless people come to our church and put money in the basket and I'm like, "What the crap? We should be giving them money, not making them feel like they have to give it to us." I can seriously remember one of our homeless members telling me that she put her one and only dollar in the basket and I'm thinking, "Hold on a minute and I'll go get it back plus some more!" (Aaron has even gotten money out of the collection plate and given it to people in need--because that is what we are suppose to do! We shouldn't be begging these people for their money! Aren't we called to care for the poor? Or did I miss something..?)

Sorry to be long winded. Just felt the need to vent and I felt much more comfortable doing it here then over on Vince's blog--they can be brutal over there!

Thanks for preaching the truth and keeping it real. : )


William Mckinley Dyer said...

Have you ever noticed a man can believe something but not be 100% on it. But if he voices that opinion and someone challenges him on it the view automatically becomes 100% solid in his mind b/c now he has to defend it?

Laura W. said...

I completely agree. I think that if you are a follower of Christ and are not giving generously then there is a bit of a problem. Giving generously does not just include your money. I sat in a church we were visiting not too long ago and heard the preacher state (at almost a scream... to get his point across) that if all you were giving was 10% to the local church then you are a disgrace. As we left I couldn't help but notice the state of the art flat screen televisions hung on every wall, the marble flooring and luxurious fabric. As we left and drove down the street a bit we saw people living in poverty, surely in need of food and clothing to say the least. I was disgusted. Giving is about meeting the needs of others and giving back some of the gifts God has given you... money, time, talents, service, clothing, food, etc. Tithing is OT. Giving is NT. For some, 10% would not be giving up much of anything. For others, 10% would be giving up the food and clothing off of their kids backs. I have been a Christ follower since I was a little girl, and i can honestly say that preaching generosity seems in line with the Bible and feels "right". Hearing a minister call someone ungodly for not TITHING 10% sounds greedy and feels stiff and "lawish". I can't imagine how much worse it would sound to someone new to the faith who isn't used to that type of "preaching".

David H. Willis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David H. Willis said...

Thanks for the insightful comments.

It was a "sharpening" time for me too. Your comments were really string too. And the anonymous posters annow me too.

Laura S,
It is interesting that Aaron & I ended up in the same place after beginning in basically the same place. Your persective and story are very compelling. I read it and I wondered how anyone couldn't see your point. Thanks.

Laura W,
A powerful real world example from you. It hit home with me and you're soooo right. Your comments were spot on. Thanks.

I get exactly what you're saying. I have been there and done that too.

Melissa said...

I'm right on with you about tithing here. I used to be a tither but there have been times when I haven't had the funds to spare at all.

I believe in giving generously from the heart. If you are giving 10% because you are required to, then it's not really generous...it's a mandate. Too many people fall in to the mentality that if they put an extra 20 in the plate it will cover their sins or that it takes the place from them giving of their time. So, is it more important to put your 10% in the plate each Sunday or to give of your time? Some churches have way too much money and not enough benevolence in my honest opinion. And then there are some that are just not good stewards of the money that they do get in.

William Mckinley Dyer said...

I think we all understand this point but Let us never forget the encouraging words of James

If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
(Jas 2:15-17)

As long as their is a need there will always be a requirement for us who are fortunate to give of our possessions.

Levi said...

Isn't tithing Old testament and to go back under it is to return back under the law? I think Jesus fulfilled the law gave us the the New Covenant and now we are required to give joyfully, liberally, and not under compulsion. I see the early Christians giving to meet needs but haven't found them tithing they may have I'm not sure.
Interestingly enough this issue has come up at my Church as I was following the old Christ Church concept of box in the back and reminding people to give to support the needs. I was approached in an elders meeting and asked what I though about offering which I talked of it being for the mature christian, a time of worship, and something we do joyfully and it goes beyond our money. I was then asked then why do you keep it out of the service and not allow people to worship God in that way. OUCH! He was right and since then I corrected it. I was reacting to the accusations of churches being all about money and had pushed it to a box in the back kind of the elephant in the room that no one talked about out of fear. we now have incorporated it into a private time of worship where we give a time to worship around the communion table and to give their money offerings.
It has done two things given me a chance to teach each week through a devotion about giving and has made it a part of worship.

David H. Willis said...

Thanks for the thoughts Levi. I really enjoyed being with you all at Old Ford and appreciate what you are doing there.