Summary: A look at the traditions of present day church
Pragmatism within the House of Faith. By F.Martin
An approach to philosophy which holds that the truth or meaning of a statement is to be measured by its practical (i.e., pragmatic) consequences.
A man stands within the confines of his office looking out at the gathered multitude. He is perplexed and not understanding why more have not come this Sunday. The more people the more successful and blessed as a team they would become. He ponders for a moment and comes to the conclusion that he must emphasize the importance of support from those who attend. It is why he feels strongly that if more attend, more can be gained. After all it is for a good cause. These that attend would like to see a wonderful building here in the midst of them. They would like to be proud of the place they come to cheer and laugh and be with like minded people who share the same loves and spirit. He wonders what he can say to incite the people to action on this premise of giving to the common cause. He fears within that without their support, that which was built previous would not stand. He fears that without the correct words of encouragement there will be abandonment in great proportions. That exodus would lead to major changes and quite possibly an end to the entire operation. The man stands and exits his office and out to the conference room which parallels the 50 yard line. There civic leaders have come to discuss a bond issue that would likely keep the team in town.
For a moment did you imagine this story to be about a church and a Pastor? The sad thing is it could very well be. Churches across the nation are bombarded with requests from leaders to give in the hopes of obtaining bigger buildings, paying off older buildings, building wings to add on, as well as a variety of other additions that a church building may need. In this country this has taken on a competition aspect between denominations and as well as leaders of those denominations. Who has the most Bentley’s, who has the private jet or the mansions? I hold these few men in no ill light. It is my hope to awaken the brethren to the truth that sits so freely before them. It is clear that if the body of Christ would read His word, the lifeblood of these charlatans would be extinguished and the true faith would rise like cream to the top. I am speaking primarily about the tithe that permeates our church and our spiritual culture. We are not talking about giving. Giving is definitely taught to the Church. Tithing, on the other hand, is a mandatory 10% of your gross income given to your church. We are also not asking if tithing is a good idea. There are many good ideas in the church today that are not necessarily scriptural. The question is not if it is good; we want to know if it is God! Baptism is scriptural. Prayer is scriptural. Loving God and your neighbor is scriptural. But what about tithing? Did Jesus teach it to His Church? Did the Apostles teach it to His Church? If they did, then that would make it a principle that we all should obey. But if they did not teach this Old Testament law to the Church, then not only would it be improper to hoist this mandate on the necks of the Believers (Acts 15:10), it could actually be fraudulent, exploitive and even blasphemous. I believe that if we were to examine with an open heart we would find tithing to actually be a shackle to the believer. On the one hand a believer may begin to feel puffed up or superior because of the amount of their giving as it pertains to their brethren. They may also obtain this feeling from the privileges bestowed upon them by their legalistic giving through man made tradition. Also if a believer fails to meet the 10% criteria, there is a feeling of guilt and fear attached that comes from today’s pulpits. You may have at one time or another heard this scripture;
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
Wow! That sounds like serious business. But was Malachi written to the Church or to the Jews under the Law? Malachi 1:1 says it was, "the burden of the word of the Lord to Israel". Notice it does not say, "The burden of the word of the Lord to the Church". We are not under the Law, but under the New Covenant of Grace. The Law no longer has a hold on us.