Tithing error (Buffalo trip-part 3)

On my recent trip to the Buffalo area…

buffalo-western-new-york_map

I also went to a Wednesday night church service that was completely ANNOYING.  The experience turned out to be a catalyst for talking with many family members about legalism and error within the church, so that was a plus.    At this service, well after only about 10 minutes, one of the preachers went off about how tithing is COMMANDED in the Bible.  I lightly shook my head no….. which only fueled him some more as I was sitting close the front – and then he laid the tithing plug out there even more and so I just put my head down to doodle.  This pastor, Larry, was mistakenly applying old covenant law to Christians today – which is error (go here for more).  He was misunderstanding the Jewish historical practice of giving tenths to support Levites, and then insisted that the New Testament commands this also, when it does not!  I was not even really annoyed by this part of the service, because so many churches promote this tithing error (More here in short summary).

Corinthians is the book to read
Read 1st Corinthians to grasp more about cheerfully giving to the church….

But the real annoyance from the service came with the disjointed sermon because it was as if the speaker was skip-jumping Bible verses –going from Leviticus to Luke to Revelation and back to Leviticus, etc.   With all due respect, It was like he looked up verses that had the word “thanks” and then tried to piecemeal a holiday message together.   In an attempt to try and sound extra scholarly he revealed what appeared to be shallow Bible knowledge with what seemed like ADD delivery.   And ironically, the guy that first went off about tithing did not refer to even one Bible verse while his colleague seemed to have had too many disjointed Bible references.  It was definitely the worse church service I have been to in a long time -and the one single guy that led worship was hard to follow because he yodeled at times – imagine James Taylor with a yodel.  I was grateful I had the patience to not get up and leave during the sermon, and instead, I gracefully exited when he was done!

But it is SO sad, and this is part of WHY church attendance is in decline in America – because preachers do not even know the word of God.  It is not just Millennials that are NOT coming to church – because many Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, and even Vets are finding that in their gut they are not at peace with many of the the American Sunday morning services (or Wednesday night services).  It is time for a change!

Now I am not saying to start the whole 1990’s Bill Hybel’s “seeker friendly movement” again – and I am NOT saying to water anything down; instead, let’s just freshen things up with our scheduling of services and teach the Bible more accurately – and realize that as the Culture Monk noted, Church does not have to be so boring…does it?    What worked for the 1940’s, 1950’s and even the 1960’s is just not jiving with what people need and want today!  This is NOT to say that we need to “modernize with compromise” – because we need to note what C.S. Lewis referred to as chronological snobberyinstead, Church services are lacking and improvements can and should be made to meet current needs and wants better.

We are to not forsake the gathering with other believers, and there is strength in unity because we need each other as we are all part of one body– but when people find that they DREAD going to church and when so many come up with VERY good reasons to NOT go – it is NOT always because they “want” to miss – instead – many times it is a matter of pain avoidance.  And I say it is time for serious change!  We are the church and we bring our sanctuary with us – and we need change.  But fixing the church scene in America is not easy, and as Jeremy Statton put it, the answer seems to be “both simple and impossible.” But change can (and will) happen – because the good news is that we know God has the perfect plan for His church – because it is He who builds His church – and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. 


7 thoughts on “Tithing error (Buffalo trip-part 3)

  1. SIGNS OF TIMES

    LETS DON’T GET IT
    CONFUSED
    CHURCH AIN’T HEAVEN
    NOW IS NOT THE TIME
    TO CRY THE BLUES
    WHEN THE SONS OF MEN
    VISITED GOD
    BY ONE’S AND TWO’S
    THE DEVIL WAS THERE TOO
    WE HEAR WHAT
    WE WANT TO HEAR
    BEWARE HE’S COME
    DOWN AMONGST
    YOU’S
    NOW IS THE MURDER
    THE MAYHEM
    THE SANCTITY OF
    THE SANCTUARY
    VIOLATED AT
    WHAT COST
    DO WE MOURN
    THE DEAR SOULS
    THAT WERE LOST
    YOU HAVE BEEN MISLED
    YOU HAVE BEEN LIED TO
    YOU HAVE BEEN MISDIRECTED
    THESE WORDS WERE SUPPOSED
    TO BE PROPHETIC
    BUT LET ME SHARE WITH
    YOU WHATS IN MY HEAD
    AND I WON’T BE
    APOLOGETIC
    NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
    WE ARE ALL SPIRITUAL BEINGS
    HAVING AN HUMAN
    EARTHLY EXPERIENCE
    OUR BODIES ARE TEMPLES
    LETS KEEP IT SIMPLE
    IN THE CHURCH THE OTHER DAY
    YOU KNOW THE ONE MADE
    WITH HANDS
    BY MAN
    SOMETHING HAPPENED
    THAT THE MASSES
    DIDN’T UNDERSTAND
    HOW A YOUNG MAN
    COULD KILL A WOMAN
    WHO WAS THERE TO
    FELLOWSHIP AND WORSHIP
    BE UPSET
    CONCERNED AND IT SHOULD
    MATTER
    ABOUT THE CONTENT OF THE LETTER
    ITS NOT ABOUT THE

    TITHES OR OFFERINGS
    ITS ABOUT GOD’S
    GRACE AND MANY BLESSINGS
    SADLY TO SAY
    THESE ARE THE SIGNS OF TIMES
    WHICH CAN ONLY EXPLAIN
    WHY HUMANITY ACTS THIS WAY

    By Jeffrey D. Simmons

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  2. Hey Doc Jeff – great poem (you are a talented poet) – liked so many parts of this poem- but especially the ending “ITS ABOUT GOD’S GRACE AND MANY BLESSINGS…”

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  3. Well my husband said that I should not leave out that at this service – the worship leader was also making folks raise their hands. Twice he stopped – during his three hard to follow solo songs – and TOLD everyone to LIFT both of their hands to praise the Lord. (really?) And with all due respect to churches who mean well, this “lift in hands” expression of worship should be optional and should be a result of an inner desire that wants to praise God this way – it comes from the gut and results as an inner desire – and forcing people to do it is wrong. Also, my rib still hurts from where my aunt nudged me – reminding me to add money to the basket that was coming around – I was still just settling in (still had my big wool jacket on and my red holiday beret was only head -) when the tithing plug and pressure to give was permeating through the air – whew, still digesting this whole scene….

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  4. “He was misunderstanding the Jewish historical practice of giving tenths to support Levites, and then insisted that the New Testament commands this also, when it does not!”
    There couldn’t be a truer statement about tithing than this. So glad you wrote a piece about it.
    As a Christian, I have always loved the account at Luke 21:1-4 and Mark 12:41-44 of the needy widow who driopped in only two small coins of very little value…saying that she dropped in more than all the Rich, who dropped in many coins. It has been said that the “Flocks are being Fleeced” today, in reference to tithing or passing the contribution plate right down the row so that everyone can see what the other is putting on-which brings me to Jesus’ other words on this topic: “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” when giving. (Matt 6:2,3) In reference to how we view our own contributions to our place of worship or cause, I am grateful for a congregation which does not pass the plate, nor give guilt ridden sermons on how much money they need. I’m also grateful that the Bible is studied deeply with men, women & children commenting on scripture – not on the minister’s interpretation of what he/she or has not even studied.
    Thanks for posting

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    1. Thanks for your rich comment beachcomber! I agree with what you said – and you put it so nicely! And of course we need to support ministries and give generously as God leads – but wow – there is a lot of error out there.
      okay, thanks again for dropping by! ~Yvette

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