Saturday, October 09, 2010

Best of the week entry 1

Comes from Guy at The M Blog where he blogs about the idea of Kingdom giving instead of "storehouse giving" (a perpetuation of the idea of tithing from the Old Testament into the New Covenant church). Gus is a missionary and as he points out the "storehouse" model is what helps to support him in the field. Rather than heart-string appeals to give more to your local church, bring more to "the store house", he has a somewhat different take. Here is a lengthy excerpt from Kingdom Giving trumps Storehouse Tithing:

While storehouse giving can certainly in line with Paul's admonition to give what one purposes in his heart (2 Cor.9:7), it should not be seen as the one and only biblical way of giving. For me, kingdom giving trumps storehouse tithing.

But if everyone practiced kingdom giving, the argument goes that our churches and programs would crumble overnight. The economic system of financing church-as-we-know-it would collapse. Would this be a bad thing? Undoubtedly things would be terribly chaotic for many of us, especially for those of us like myself who depend upon storehouse tithing/giving to pay our bills and buy our food. But I am convinced that after the dust settles from such a 9.0 magnitude earthquake by this transfer of assets from the storehouse to the kingdom, there would be a dramatic surge forward towards the fulfillment of Kingdom purposes in all spheres of life and giant steps forward in making Christ known amongst the nations.

Yes, some people, ministries, churches, organizations would suffer and probably die off within days. I am not saying it would be pretty! Many of us would suffer the consequences of this upheaval. But others, who have long been neglected or underfunded, would flourish with fruit bearing 30,60, and 100-fold.

To me there is little doubt the current storehouse financial system under which Christendom operates is crumbling. It would seem the Lord himself has allowed the current global economic crisis to set the stage for the next major shift in Christianity where storehouse tithing gives way to kingdom giving.

As a missionary, all around me on a daily basis I see need. I see pain, suffering, disease, violence, poverty, and hopelessness. Within the community of Christ followers in just the city where we live, there is ample human and financial resources to make a major impact upon not only this city but the nation of Ecuador. Yet, very little is being done. Why? All the resources are tied up within the budgets of maintaining local church ministries, programs, salaries, buildings, etc. When will we begin to break out of the storehouse giving mold that retains between 90-98% for our own use, and truly start seeking first the kingdom? What would our world look like if we retained between 2-10% for ourselves and gave 90-98% to Kingdom causes?

The prevailing Christian mindset wrongly assumes that if a believer is faithful to tithe to one's local church, the remaining 90% is ours to spend as we deem best upon ourselves. This flawed example has long been modeled by the very churches we give to week by week. The typical church retains 90-98% as it's storehouse "right" to spend how it deems best. The time has come for kingdom giving to become the norm for Christ followers. This doesn't mean we neglect or turn our backs on those who serve us in the Lord, but it does mean we get serious about seeking first the kingdom, rather than seeking first the needs of our local storehouses.

Great stuff. We need to seek first the Kingdom and not what the local storehouse needs to keep operating.

I recall quite clearly when my friend James questioned a pastor about the applicability of the tithe in the New Covenant church and how hostile the response was. This is one of those doctrines that we are just supposed to accept on face value because that is what our tradition tells us. Unfortunately I don't see that the Bible calls believers to bring their tithe to the local church storehouse to support the operation of that local church.

For an alternate view, check this post out from Evangel that perpetuates the idea of 10% tithing to the local church organization: Is That a Tithe-Deductible Expense?

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