Monday, February 9, 2009

Legalistic? Or Just Honest?

I don't often write on theological stuff because, quite frankly, I find theology boring as all get out. Theology is what a bunch of old men talk about when they want to try to bore one another to death. They get all hung up, and nuts even about, such minor points as whether it will be a pre-tribulation rapture or a mid-tribulation rapture. Who cares? We're going to have a rapture AND a tribulation and God knows when it will be. All we have to worry about is whether we're in a right relationship with Him.

Well, yesterday I asked a lady if she had watched a DVD that I had loaned her of a sermon that James MacDonald gave on living as a Christian in tough economic times. "Yes, I did watch it," she replied. "He's awfully legalistic." Legalistic? Or was he just being honest? MacDonald preaches is a very, "in your face" sort of style. He doesn't sugar-coat the truth of the Bible and he often confronts you with what the Bible says vs what society says. In the Bible, God makes some very direct statements regarding such things as tithing, serving others, loving your enemies, forgiving others, and so forth. Is it "legalistic" to preach these things, to preach what God thinks if His children ignore His standards? I don't think so. Take tithing, for example. In Malachi 3 God commands us to "bring the whole tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in My house". He then goes on to say that we should test Him in this and see if we won't be blessed beyond measure. Is it legalistic to say that if we don't tithe, even during tough economic times, that God will withhold blessing us? I don't think so.

We Christians seem to want to throw around the term "legalism" with every c all by someone to live according to God's standards. Society has so poisoned our thinking that if we hear someone preaching a black and white standard such as tithing we call it legalism rather than rejoicing in the fact that God has made plain to us that we will be rewarded for our obedience.


Russell Earl Kelly, PHD said...

The only way to be blessed by tithing is by observing all 600+ commands of the OT law which is impossible.

Malachi 3:10 has been replaced by Galatians 3:10; 1:8-9; 3:1-2 and 2 Cor 3:10.

Gal 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

See Deuteronomy 28-29. The entire law was a TEST. Obey and be blessed; disobey and be cursed.

NT giving is primarily sacrificial with no set limit up or down.

For over 150 articles on tithing see:

Jim Zeirke said...

Malachi 3 does not say anything about the whole of the Law. It speaks only to bringing all of the tithe into the storehouse.

If you want to invalidate all fo the OT law by the arrival of the NT, then you have to eliminate the 10 Commandments, the aaronic blessing, and all of the prophecies as well.

Besides, I love the Lord. If I want to tithe as a means of expressing that love, why would God not want that?

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD said...

Jim Zierke

Do you really think that the church is commanded to tithe but not commanded to obey any of the other 600+ commands of the law? Read Malachi 4:4 and Nehemiah 10:29. The law was in indivisible whole and we are dead to it per Romans 7:4. The new law is the Spirit of life in Jesus Christ per Romans 8:2-3.

Please tell me how the entire tithe of the nation could fit into the two small storerooms inside the temple. Read Nehemiah 13:5-10 and 12:44 to see a description of the storerooms.

The Levites and priests lived in 48 cities and rotated work in the Temple one week out of 24. Therefore at least 98% of them were in the Levitical cities most of the time. Why would God tell the people to bring all the tithes to the Temple when 98% of those it was intended to feed were elsewhere? How do you reconcile that? It makes no sense and God is logical.

Also, Nehemiah 10:37b commands the ordinary people to bring their tithes to the Levitical cities which makes sense. Malachi 3:10 only makes sense if it is addressed to the priests from 1:6 and 2:1. How do you reconcile Nehemiah 10:37 with Malachi 3:10? Or do you really care whether it makes sense or not?

Do I want to invalidate the entire OT law including its command to kill disobedient children? God never commanded anybody other than national Israel to keep that law in its Old Covenant form. It has been set aside as a reminder of where Israel has been in the past. The OT Temple and priesthood have been replaced by the priesthood of individual believers. And the Aaronic priesthood was replaced by the non-Hebrew Melchizedek priesthood per Hebrews 7:12 to 7:18.

That part of the moral law which carries over into the New Covenant has been repeated after Calvary to the Church in terms of grace and faith. The NT is not a revision of the OT --it is entirely new based on entirely new principles.

OT tithing had nothing to do with love for God. It was a cold hard commandment to food producers who lived inside Israel. Although money was common in Genesis and essential for sanctuary worship, money was never tithed in the Bible. There are simply no texts to prove otherwise.

NT giving is freewill, generous, sacrificial, joyful, not by commandment or percentage and motivated by love for God and lost souls. That is enough motivation to give sacrificially.

God does not tell us to tithe and do without medicine, food and shelter per 1 Timothy 5:8.

Russ Kelly