Tag Archives: discernment

Joel Osteen – True or False Gospel? (Part 2)

English: Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church, Houst...
English: Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church, Houston, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Greetings beloved readers! As promised, I am continuing the series on false teachers. Specifically, this post is a continuation of my post on Joel Osteen. In my first post on him, {Joel Osteen – True or False Gospel? (Part 1)}, I focused on Larry King’s interview with him. In this post, I want to focus on other statements and teachings by Joel Osteen, so you can see that his interview with Larry King wasn’t just a fluke or a one time thing.

In an interview with Michelle A. Vu, Christian Post in April 2012, Osteen was asked if he considered himself a preacher of the prosperity message, and if it was heresy. His response, along with my thoughts on his response follows:

Osteen: You know, I don’t consider myself a … I don’t really know what the prosperity gospel is. The way I define it is that I believe God wants you to prosper in your health, in your family, in your relationships, in your business, and in your career. So I do … if that is the prosperity gospel, then I do believe that.

Image Credit:
Image Credit:
oprah.com

This sounds so good and positive, and yes, the Lord cares about our health, our relationships and our families. I’m also certain He cares about our business and careers, though not necessarily in the way that Mr. Osteen implies. What concerns the Lord first and foremost is whether we bring glory to Him. Have we repented and been born again? Do we love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength?

Bring all who claim Me as their God,
for I have made them for My glory.
It was I who created them.

~ Isaiah 43:7 ~

As you can see from this scripture, we were created for God’s glory. As I think about that, my heart and my mind goes immediately to the man who was born blind, and later healed by Jesus…

As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 “Rabbi,” His disciples asked Him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”

3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.”

~ John 9:1-3 ~

Image Credit: bible-daily.org
Image Credit:
bible-daily.org

Why was this man born blind? According to Jesus, he was born blind so that the power of God could be seen in him. Just think about it. This man was born blind, and throughout his childhood and into his adulthood, he remained blind. Imagine how difficult and trying his childhood must have been. Imagine how difficult his adulthood must have been. How would a blind man find work in that day and age? What kind of career could he hope for? And yet, it was God’s will that he remain blind for all of those years, until he met Jesus. It was God’s will for Jesus to restore his sight, so that God’s power working through Jesus would be revealed in him. It seems to me that God was more interested in showing His power in this man than in any career or business venture the man could have been involved in…

I don’t believe we are supposed to go through life defeated and not having enough money to pay our bills or send our kids to college. So you know, when I hear some of that, I think that is not who I am, he doesn’t know me or what I teach. Because he is saying God doesn’t believe that… there is no demand, I don’t think I’d put it like that but I always talk about God rewards obedience. When you follow His way, the Bible says that His blessings will chase you down and overtake you.

Image Credit: flickr.com
Image Credit:
flickr.com

This sounds really nice, especially to someone who is struggling financially, with no job, no income, and mounting bills. But is it true? If God wanted everyone to have enough money to pay their bills and send their kids to college, then why are there so many poor people? And why did Jesus say this?

“You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have Me.”

~ Matthew 26:11 ~

No one was more obedient than Jesus, and yet He was homeless…

But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay His head.”

~ Luke 9:58 ~

Image Credit: ImageShack.us
Image Credit:
ImageShack.us

Jesus never sinned, and yet He was never rewarded with money or a career. Instead, His obedience led Him to Golgotha, where He was beaten, mocked, spit on and nailed to the cross, where He died. All of His disciples, except for John were martyred. And all of them, though they were obedient to the Lord, were tortured an suffered much. None of the apostles were blessed with lots of money and a good career, and certainly none of them, except for possibly Paul, went to college, nor did their children. So why should we expect the Lord to bless us financially, when we certainly haven’t suffered for the sake of the gospel?

Image Credit: examiner.com
Image Credit:
examiner.com

Just this year, Osteen joined forces with Oprah Winfrey, (who denies the truth of the Gospel), in a televised class entitled, “I Am: Life is How You See It”. I have a problem with this on several different levels.

First of all, if Osteen truly is a man of God — if he truly is a servant of Christ, then why would he team up with Winfrey, who spouts New Age rhetoric?

14 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15 What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever?

2 Corinthians 6:14-15~ ~

The other problem I have with Osteen and Winfrey’s class is the title of it… I Am is the name of God..

13 Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”

14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” 15 Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’

~ Exodus 3:13-15 ~

Image Credit: oprah.com
Image Credit:
oprah.com

For a pastor, who claims to be a Christian to join forces with a New Age leader, to minister to the spiritual needs of people is outrageous. Further, to entitle their class, “I Am” is blasphemous. Anytime a Christian ministers to the spiritual needs of people, he/she should point the way to salvation through Christ, but how can he do this when his co-leader is teaching New Age principles? Furthermore, the I Am that Oprah and Joel are pointing people to is themselves, not the Lord. Just look at this exchange between Joel, Oprah and a man named Saul, who has problems trusting people since his father committed suicide.

Oprah Winfrey, “I would say to you, can you trust yourself? Would you say that?”

Saul, “I am unable to trust because I feel that.”

Oprah Winfrey, “Okay I would say to you and I have, I am no pastor at all. But I would say to you can you trust yourself? Would you say that too pastor?”

Joel Osteen, “Absolutely!”

Oprah Winfrey, “Can you trust yourself? I mean you may be afraid of what somebody else is going to do. But can you trust yourself? Do you trust yourself enough to know that if somebody harms you, if somebody is not going to be advantageous to you, then you can make a decision to move out of that relationship, can you trust yourself enough to do that?”

Saul, “I think so.”

Oprah Winfrey, “You think so, alright I love that.”

Joel Osteen, “That is good. I think that is perfect. Right, well I think…..”

Oprah Winfrey, “What I am’s can he start today? What I am’s can he start?”

Joel Osteen, “I am not fearful. I am confident. I am excited about my future. I think Saul you have to realize that you know God will bring the right people across your path, part of that healing is being open to say, “Okay God I was hurt before and I couldn’t trust, but God I am going to be open enough, vulnerable enough to trust that you are bringing the right people across my path and like Oprah said you will feel that His Spirit in here the still small voice when something is not right. But you have got to know God has right people in your future and… You know don’t let one bad break ruin the rest of your life. It doesn’t have to you, you can move forward.”

Image Credit: oprah.com
Image Credit:
oprah.com

Did you notice that throughout this whole exchange, Jesus Christ was not mentioned once — not even one time! I wouldn’t expect Oprah or “Saul” to acknowledge Him, but Joel Osteen claims to be a Christian pastor. Therefore, it is shocking for him not to mention Jesus even once. Further, for a pastor to agree with a New Age teacher, and encourage someone to trust himself, rather than to trust Jesus, totally goes against scripture…

The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?

~ Jeremiah 17:9 ~

Why would a pastor, knowing that the human heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, encourage someone to trust in himself, especially, when scripture commands us to:

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

~ Proverbs 3:5-6 ~

Also, how can Joel Osteen promise that “God will bring the right people across your path”, when he has no knowledge of whether Saul has asked Jesus Christ to be his Lord and Savior? How can he presume that Saul “will feel that His Spirit is here the still small voice when something is not right”, without knowing if Saul is a born-again Christian or not?

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

~ Colossians 2:8 ~

17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.

~ Romans 16:17-18 ~

In my last post and this one, I’ve shared several valid reasons that explain why Joel Osteen is a false teacher. I realize that he has many fans, and that these words may not be popular with everyone, however, I stand firmly on every word I’ve written and shared with you. Beloved readers, the choice is yours. Will you follow a false teacher, who refuses to honor Christ? Or will you choose to follow Christ? I leave you with one final scripture, which sums things up perfectly, and describes those who choose to follow Joel Osteen, after being informed of his false teachings…

1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires,because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

~ 2 Timothy 4:1-5 ~

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Joel Osteen – True or False Gospel? (Part 1)

ה He

Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end.

Psalm 119:33 — NKJV ~

Image Credit: sodahead.com
Image Credit:
sodahead.com

He has a sweet, gentle demeanor as he speaks, always careful to avoid causing offense to anyone, which can be quite refreshing in this day and age, where most people seem to go out of their way to offend people. His message is always positive, gentle and filled with hope, Who wouldn’t love hearing the positive words he speaks?

“Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is going to determine how you’re going to live your life.”

~ Joel Osteen ~

“Why don’t you start believing that no matter what you have or haven’t done, that your best days are still out in front of you.”

~ Joel Osteen ~

Image Credit: news.softpedia.com
Image Credit:
news.softpedia.com

From all that I’ve read or seen, Joel Osteen seems like a nice, likable man, with a nice, positive message. He has the love and admiration of many, many Christians. Indeed, I would venture to say that Joel Osteen is loved and admired by many who don’t claim to be Christians, and frankly, that is one of the problems I have with him.

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

~ James 4:4 — NKJV ~

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that in order to be a good Christian, you must hate non-Christians, because Jesus demonstrated His love for non-Christians by suffering, bleeding and dying for their sins, and He calls for His followers to be willing to suffer for the sake of the gospel as well. However, just as the world hated Jesus and the gospel message He preached, so they will hate His followers for preaching that same gospel message.

ה He

Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end.

Psalm 119:33 — NKJV ~

Joel_Osteen
Joel_Osteen (Photo credit: My American Odyssey)

As I stated in my last post (ה He (Behold!) Show Me Your Ways), the Hebrew word for “keep” in this scripture is natsarwhich means to watch over, guard, keep and preserve from dangers. Because I love the word of God, and because the Lord has called me to preach and teach His word, He has also given me a charge to preserve the integrity of His word. Therefore, whenever I hear someone preach a gospel different from the Gospel of Christ, the spirit within me arises, and I must share the truth and speak out against false teachers, for the lives of men, women and children are at stake.

It is vitally important that false teachers and false doctrines be revealed, because no one can be set free by believing a lie. As  a matter of fact, the only thing that can set a person free is the truth…

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

~  John 8:32 ~

Therefore, let’s take a close look at Joel Osteen and determine whether the gospel he preaches is the Gospel of Christ, or a false gospel. Let’s start things off by looking at his infamous interview with Larry King…

Joel and Victoria Osteen on Larry King Live
Joel and Victoria Osteen on Larry King Live

KING: Is — have you always believed?

OSTEEN: I have always believed. I grew up, you know, my parents were a good Christian people. They showed us love in the home. My parents were the same in the pulpit as they were at home. I think that’s where a lot of preachers’ kids get off base sometimes. Because they don’t see the same things at both places. But I’ve always believed. I saw it through my parents. And I just grew up believing.

The problem I have with this statement, is that a person can’t be saved or born again based on his/her parents’ faith. Osteen states that he’s always believed, and I guess I could say the same thing. From the time I was a little girl, I believed that Jesus is God’s Son. However, there is so much more to it than that. You see, there came a point in my life, as a preteen, when I realized that I was a sinner, and no matter how hard I tried to be good, I just couldn’t do it on my own. While my grandmother’s faith saved her, it didn’t have the power to save me. 

You see, there came a point where I realized that apart from Christ, I was utterly lost. I realized that I needed a Savior, just as every man, woman and child does, and I cried out to Him, repenting and asking Him to forgive me for my sins, and to save me. Joel Osteen had the opportunity to share the testimony of his salvation with Larry King and the millions of viewers who watched him that night, and Osteen had no testimony of his own to share. 

Joel Osteen on Larry King Live
Joel Osteen on Larry King Live

KING: But you’re not fire and brimstone, right? You’re not pound the decks and hell and dam nation?

OSTEEN: No. That’s not me. It’s never been me. I’ve always been an encourager at heart. And when I took over from my father he came from the Southern Baptist background and back 40, 50 years ago there was a lot more of that. But, you know, I just — I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe — maybe it was for a time. But I don’t have it in my heart to condemn people. I’m there to encourage them. I see myself more as a coach, as a motivator to help them experience the life God has for us.

Osteen’s statements here cause a righteous anger to rise up in me. This man is supposed to be preaching the Gospel of Christ, and he doesn’t believe in fire and brimstone or hell and damnation? There is no one more loving or compassionate than Jesus, and He spoke of eternal condemnation on several occasions. Therefore, by stating that he does not believe in hell fire and damnation, he is saying that he doesn’t believe in what Jesus spoke. 

44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

~ Matthew 25:44-46 ~

KING: But don’t you think if people don’t believe as you believe, they’re somehow condemned?

OSTEEN: You know, I think that happens in our society. But I try not to do that. I tell people all the time, preached a couple Sundays about it. I’m for everybody. You may not agree with me, but to me it’s not my job to try to straighten everybody out. The Gospel called the good news. My message is a message of hope, that’s God’s for you. You can live a good life no matter what’s happened to you. And so I don’t know. I know there is condemnation but I don’t feel that’s my place.

How can one presume to be a preacher or a teacher of the Gospel, if they refuse to preach or teach the Gospel in its entirety? Further, by stating that he is for everybody, Osteen implies that God isn’t, or at the very least, that he is more compassionate than God. However, it is important to remember that the Good News is a positive message of hope for sinners, those who are lost… If there is no hell, why would people need a Savior? Further, if Joel Osteen was as compassionate as he claims to be, he would realize that it is his place, just as it is the place of every born again Christian, to warn the lost that they are in danger of condemnation if they do not repent and cry out to Jesus!

KING: You’ve been criticized for that, haven’t you?

OSTEEN: I have. I have. Because I don’t know.

KING: Good news guy, right?

OSTEEN: Yeah. But you know what? It’s just in me. I search my heart and I think, God, is this what I’m supposed to do? I made a decision when my father died, you know what? I’m going to be who I feel like I’m supposed to be. And if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. Not the end of the world if I’m not the pastor …

~ Joel Osteen and Larry King on Larry King Live,         June 20, 2005 ~

Joel Osteen  "Your Best Life Now"
Joel Osteen
“Your Best Life Now”

This exchange really disturbs me. Mr. Osteen stated that he made a decision to be who he feels like he’s supposed to be when his father died. To become a pastor, one must be called by God to become one. It is not merely a decision man makes according to his own will.

Furthermore, when a man or woman answers the call of God to preach the Gospel, we are called to preach the whole Gospel message, not just those parts which are appealing to us. As a matter of fact, by omitting the part of the Gospel about judgment and condemnation and refusing to preach it, Joel Osteen condemns himself. For if someone is truly called by God to preach the Gospel and to be a pastor, he/she would not consider it a job to straighten out the wrong beliefs of others. Rather, the need to rescue others from the fiery pits of hell, would burn within that person!

You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.

~ Deuteronomy 4:2~

18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

~ Revelation 22:18-19 ~

"Hell Picture" http://digital-art-gallery.com/picture/13415
“Hell Picture”
http://digital-art-gallery.com/picture/13415

Clearly, Joel Osteen omits all references to hell from his gospel, speaking only about those things that he deems encouraging and “good news”. Therefore, by omitting part of the Gospel, he opens himself to condemnation. By preaching another message, other than the message Jesus taught, Osteen not only condemns those who believe his false teaching, he also condemns himself…

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

~ Matthew 7:21-23 ~

Let’s look at some other things Larry King questioned Joel Osteen about, and look at his response to those questions…

KING: Is it hard to lead a Christian life?

OSTEEN: I don’t think it’s that hard. To me it’s fun. We have joy and happiness. Our family — I don’t feel like that at all. I’m not trying to follow a set of rules and stuff. I’m just living my life.

Again, I take issue with Mr. Osteen’s reply to Larry King’s question about whether it’s hard to lead a Christian life. Scripture does not tell us that being a Christian is fun and easy…

23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.”

~ Luke 9:23-26 ~

Does Jesus’ description above look fun or easy? Of course not! Beware of the leaven of false teachers.

KING: But you have rules, don’t you?

OSTEEN: We do have rules. But the main rule to me is to honor God with your life. To life a life of integrity. Not be selfish. You know, help others. But that’s really the essence of the Christian faith.

I find it ironic that Pastor Osteen says the main rule is to honor God with his life and to live a life of integrity, not being selfish. He also stated that the essence of the Christian faith is to help others. What I find ironic about this statement is that Pastor Osteen is unwilling to help people by sharing the full Gospel with them, in an effort to save them from eternal torment. Instead, he merely shares those things that make them feel good for now, but offers no saving grace…

KING: That we live in deeds?

OSTEEN: I don’t know. What do you mean by that?

KING: Because we’ve had ministers on who said, your record don’t count. You either believe in Christ or you don’t. If you believe in Christ, you are, you are going to heaven. And if you don’t no matter what you’ve done in your life, you ain’t.

OSTEEN: Yeah, I don’t know. There’s probably a balance between. I believe you have to know Christ. But I think that if you know Christ, if you’re a believer in God, you’re going to have some good works. I think it’s a cop-out to say I’m a Christian but I don’t ever do anything …

KING: What if you’re Jewish or Muslim, you don’t accept Christ at all?

OSTEEN: You know, I’m very careful about saying who would and wouldn’t go to heaven. I don’t know …

KING: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They’re wrong, aren’t they?

OSTEEN: Well, I don’t know if I believe they’re wrong. I believe here’s what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God with judge a person’s heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don’t know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don’t know. I’ve seen their sincerity. So I don’t know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.

Joel Osteen and Larry King on Larry King Live,         June 20, 2005 ~

Image Credit: thegospelcoalition.org
Image Credit:
thegospelcoalition.org

Joel Osteen doesn’t know if those who have not been born again are wrong? Does he or does he not believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God? He claims to preach a message of hope, and yet, the hope he offers is a false hope. He claims to live a life of integrity, and yet he preaches a false gospel, and has no qualms about leading countless numbers to hell with his gospel of lies! If he truly cared about people as he claims to do, he would speak the truth to them, so that they would have the opportunity to choose life, rather than preaching a false gospel of tolerance.

Beloved readers, I’ve shown you several reasons why I believe that Joel Osteen is a false teacher. Please join me later this week, when I follow up with further proof of why Joel Osteen is a false teacher.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

To Tithe or Not To Tithe? (Part 5)

Greetings to My Beloved Readers,

Thank you so much for your patience in waiting for me to continue with the tithing series, To Tithe or Not To Tithe?, while I was temporarily out of commission. Thanks also to everyone who has been praying for me. I truly appreciate your prayers, more than you know…

Image Credit:http://usafreemoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/bag_of_money_wallpaper-other.jpg
Image Credit:http://usafreemoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/bag_of_money_wallpaper-other.jpg

And now, let’s continue with the fifth part of the series, To Tithe or Not To Tithe?. In the last few posts, we’ve compared Old Testament teachings about tithing to New Testament teaching. Now, let’s take a look at the early church to see if they tithed. Let’s also see where their money went, and how they got it…

“It is admitted universally that the payment of tithes or the tenth of possessions, for sacred purposes, did not find a place within the Christian Church during the age covered by the apostles and their immediate successors.”

Hastings Dictionary of the Apostolic Church ~
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“The Christian Church depended at first on voluntary gifts from its members.”

~ Encyclopedia Britannica ~
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44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 

~ Acts 2:44-45 — NLT ~
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Image Credit: http://usafreemoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/bag_of_money_wallpaper-other.jpg
Image Credit:
http://usafreemoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/
bag_of_money_wallpaper-other.jpg

As you can see from the scripture above, and from the references above, the early church did not tithe. Instead, all of the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. Now take note of who shared… All of the believers shared… This included apostles, pastors, prophets, teachers and evangelists, as well as everyone else…

Next, let’s look at what they shared… And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. ~ Acts 2:44 — NLT ~ Wow. Just think about this. All of the believers shared everything they had. Obviously, there would have been no apostles, pastors, prophets, teachers and evangelists who were independently wealthy from the tithes and offerings they received from other believers, because they would have shared everything they had. There would have been no worshipers or Christian musicians who charged people to see them and listen to their music, because it all would have been for the glory of God.

Finally, it’s important for us to see who the early church shared everything they had with… They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. ~ Acts 2:45 — NLT ~ The early church shared with those in need. Money was not collected to pay ministers, but to give to those who were in need.

“The New Testament nowhere explicitly requires tithing to maintain a ministry or a place of assembly.”

Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan,Oxford Companion to the Bible ~
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Image Credit: http://www.taringa.net/posts/imagenes/12339622/Catedrales-mas-asombrosas.html
Image Credit:
http://www.taringa.net/posts/imagenes/12339622/Catedrales-mas-asombrosas.html

As you can see, giving in the early church differs greatly from the church today, who gives first to pay for clergy, buildings, maintenance, heat and air conditioning for the buildings, utilities, administrative staff and administrative costs, and a portion goes to whatever denomination the church members belong to. It is only after this and so many other expenses are met, that the money taken in is shared with those in need, and then, it is often given very selectively, after those in need meet certain criteria. I can’t help but wonder what Jesus or the early apostles would think of the giving of tithes, which are given to support many pastors, evangelists and televangelists, who never even come in contact with those who are in need?

“The silence of the N.T. writers, particularly Paul, regarding the present validity of the tithe can be explained only on the ground that the dispensation of grace has no more place for a law of tithing than it has for a law on circumcision.”

Baker’s Dictionary, 1960 ~
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2 Corinthians 9 encourages the Corinthian believers, and us as well, to give to those who are in need. It is not a command to tithe to any church, but to give to those who are in need. It also encourages believers to determine in their hearts how much to give, and not to give reluctantly or in response to pressure. It does not command us to tithe our income…

In fact, after studying the subject, I’ve come to the conclusion that tithing is part of the Old Covenant, which was fulfilled by Jesus. Further, Old Testament tithing never included the people’s income – rather, they tithed their produce and their meat. Finally, we must remember that we are no longer under the law, therefore, if we tithe, we are placing ourselves under the law…

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.

~ Galatians 5:1 — NLT ~

I’d like to share one final thought about tithing and giving. The Lord wants us to give to the poor, orphans and widows. He wants us to give with a cheerful heart, not under compulsion. What if we listened to Holy Spirit as the early church did, and gave accordingly, not limiting ourselves to a 10% tithe? The early church shared freely of everything they had. If they had  nothing to give, they felt no shame for it. The early church didn’t need a lot of money to share the gospel with their coworkers, families, friends and acquaintances. 

My friends, I urge you to prayerfully consider what you’ve read in this series, and give according to what Holy Spirit leads you to give. Don’t limit yourselves by tithing to a place of worship. Instead, let Holy Spirit lead you to give to those in need, according to the will of God. 

Related Articles:

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

To Tithe or Not To Tithe? Update

Greetings Friends,

Please forgive me for taking so long with my next post. Since returning home from my trip out of town, I’ve been under the weather, and with medication changes, unable to focus. Please keep me in your  prayers. I will be continuing this series and seeing it through its completion, so I ask for your continued patience.

May the Lord bless you!

Love,
Cheryl

To Tithe or Not To Tithe? (Part 4)

8 “Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.
9 You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation.
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

Malachi 3:8-10 — NKJV ~

Image Credit: http://slaveoftheword.blogspot.com/ 2013/05/old-testament- tithing-passages- response.html
Image Credit:
http://slaveoftheword.blogspot.com/
2013/05/old-testament-
tithing-passages-
response.html

I’m really enjoying this study, and I don’t mind confessing that I’m learning as we go along too. I have also tithed for most of my walk with Christ, (at least since I seriously started serving Him), and until I complete this study, I will reserve my final judgment on tithing. What I am discovering is that many of the things I’ve always believed or been taught to believe about tithing were based not on what the scriptures say, but on the teachings of the church. Also, please understand that I am not telling anyone that they should not give as the Lord leads you to give, and until we complete this study, I’m not even telling you to stop tithing, especially if you feel that it is sinful not to tithe. 

The purpose of this study is for us to discover what the word of God truly says regarding tithing in the church. Please let me be very clear about one thing before we continue with our study, because several people have expressed concern that I might be encouraging you not to tithe. I am encouraging you to join me in this study of God’s word, and after we have completed the study, if you choose to continue tithing or to stop tithing, I encourage you to do so based on what the bible says, NOT because I told you to do so. Now that I’ve cleared that up, let’s continue our bible study with Malachi 3:10…

10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

Malachi 3:10 — NKJV ~

Image Credit: http://www.templesanjose.org/ JudaismInfo/faq/temple wall.htm
Image Credit:
http://www.templesanjose.org/
JudaismInfo/faq/temple
wall.htm

In Malachi 3:10, the Lord instructs the Levite priests to, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house…” 

In our previous studies, we learned that tithes were seeds and fruit, and herds and flocks. We also learned that 10% of these tithes were given to the Levite priests, who were dedicated to a life of service to the Lord and His temple, and had no land of their own, in order to provide food for them and their families. Therefore, in order to ensure that the Lord’s priests would always have enough to eat, the Lord instituted the tithe. This information is important, because it explains why it was important that there be food in God’s house.

Now look at the first part of that scripture again, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house…” What was the storehouse, and where was it? (2 Chronicles 31)

  • The storehouse was where the tithes and offerings were kept until they were distributed to the priests.
  • The storehouse was located within the temple. 

There are several reasons why this scripture does not apply to Christians… 

  • Firstly, as I shared with you before, tithes were never cash or credit…
    • Tithes were for a sacrifice to God, and food for the Levite priests.
      • The priests served the Lord in the temple, offering sacrifices, playing music, mediating to God for the sins of the people, etc.
      • Because their lives were dedicated to the Lord, and they had no land of their own, 10% of the tithes were given to the Levite priests for food for them and their families.
      • After Christ was crucified, there was no longer a need for the priests to serve in the temple, because Jesus became our High Priest.
  • The temple was destroyed in 70 AD, and has not been rebuilt.
    • Therefore, there is no longer any storehouse.
    • Further, since Christ was crucified, He became the final sacrifice, and there is no longer a need to present tithes and offerings to the Lord to be sacrificed… In fact, it was never our sacrifices that the Lord desired…
      • You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings.
        Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand—
        you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.
         ~ Psalm 40:6 
      • I want you to show love,
        not offer sacrifices.
        I want you to know me
        more than I want burnt offerings. 
        ~
        Hosea 6:6
    • Levite priests are no longer necessary, there is no longer a need to collect tithes to feed them.
    • Since the temple was destroyed, there is no longer a storehouse for the tithes to be brought to.
Image Credit: http://blog.adw.org/ wp-content/uploads/ Faces_of_Christ.jpg
Image Credit:
http://blog.adw.org/
wp-content/uploads/
Faces_of_Christ.jpg

Now, some claim that the storehouse we are now supposed to bring our tithes and offerings (cash and credit, no longer food, although scripture makes no mention of this change) to, is the church. However, according to the scriptures, the church is not the building or the place where we worship…

  • 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. ~ Ephesians 1:22-23 — NKJV ~

According to the scriptures, Christians are the church. We are the body of Christ, not the building that we go to worship at. If I am in my home, then my home houses the church, but it is not the church. If I am in my car or Walmart, then they house the church, but they are not the church. When I go to my place of worship on Sundays, as soon as the men and women of God show up, that is where the church is, but as soon as we leave that building, although it may be dedicated to God, it is not the church. 

Not only that, but the bible tells us in several different places that not only are we (all Christians) the church, but we are also the temple of the Holy Spirit.

  • Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself… 1 Corinthians 6:19 — NLT ~
  • 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. ~ Ephesians 2:19-22 — NKJV ~

So, the tithes and offerings were brought to the storehouse for the purpose of sacrificing to God, and feeding the Levite priests. There is no longer any need to do either, because Jesus was the sacrifice for our sins once and for all. Further, consider this…

  • you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. ~ 1 Peter 2:5 — NIV ~
      • And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. ~ Romans 12:1 — NLT ~
  • But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. ~ 1 Peter 2:9 — NIV ~

The tithes and offerings were taken to the temple and given to the priests. If all Christians are the church and temple of the Holy Spirit, and if we are also a holy and royal priesthood, then it’s important to know this fact. The Levite priests were not required to tithe, because a portion of the tithes were to feed them. 

Therefore, since we are a royal priesthood, and the temple of God’s Holy Spirit, are we bound by the law to tithe? Also, let us not forget that the Lord doesn’t desire sacrifices, and the sacrifice that is required of all believers is for us to offer our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, which is pleasing to the Lord. Brothers and sisters, this is truly the way to worship God. As I study the scriptures, which tells us that we are not bound by the law, why would God command His people to obey this law? And would He change the terms, requiring priests to pay tithes now, and changing the food offerings to cash or credit offerings? And to whom and where would God’s holy priesthood present tithes?

I urge you to prayerfully study the scriptures, asking the Lord to reveal the truth to you through His word. I also encourage you to join me for To Tithe or Not To Tithe (Part 5)when we will continue our study.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

To Tithe or Not To Tithe? (Part 3)

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Image Credit:
http://thepropheticbooksofbible.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/tithe.gif

Welcome to the third part of To Tithe or Not To Tithe?, and thank you for your patience in waiting for part 3. I just left my daughter’s home in GA and headed for home yesterday, and was unable to finish this post during my last few days there. However, I’m home now, and hopefully, Lord willing, I will be able to continue on this series more regularly. If you’re just starting this series, please be sure to check out the following posts first…

In part two of this series, I said that we would be studying Malachi 3:8-10…

8 “Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.
9 You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation.
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

Malachi 3:8-10 — NKJV ~

In part two of this series, we began the study with verse 8…

8 “Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.

Malachi 3:8 — NKJV ~

In verse 8 we learned:

  • The Lord spoke these words these words to warn the Levite priests who had turned away from Him, and were not treating the sacrifices they were to make to Him seriously, to repent and obey the Law.
  • The Lord did not require monetary tithes and offerings.
    • He required a tithe of seeds and fruit
    • He required a tithe of herds and flocks
  • When Jesus was crucified on the cross, as a sacrifice to pay for the sins of man, there was no longer any need for sacrifice in the Temple…Since there is no longer any need for sacrifices to be made, there is no longer any need for priests to offer sacrifices, approach God on our behalf, or mediate for our sins, for Christ is our High Priest…
    • For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus — 1 Timothy 2:5 (NKJV)
    • 14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. — Hebrews 4:14-16 (NKJV)
Image Credit: http://www.tithing.com/wp-content/ uploads/2012/02/tithing-on-trial.jpg

Now, we’ll continue the study, with verse 9 of the passage…

9 You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation.

I have heard this message directed at Christians, and have sat under pastors who have said that not only are people cheating themselves out of a blessing for not bringing our tithes to the storehouse, but they are also bringing God’s curse on themselves. However, as we learned in To Tithe or Not To Tithe? (Part 2)this specific message was never intended for Christians. The Lord spoke this message to warn the Levite priests who had turned away from Him, and were not treating the sacrifices they were to make to Him seriously, to repent and obey the Law. Further, we also learned that the tithe was not 10% of one’s income. It was not cash or credit. The tithe was seeds and fruit, and herds and flocks, which the people were giving. 

  • Therefore, the Lord was telling the Levite priests that they were cursed with a curse. (Remember, they were still under the Law)

For those who would imply that this law applies to Christians, and if we as Christians do not give 10% of our income, we will be “cursed with a curse”, please consider this:

13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

~ Galatians 3:13-14 — NKJV ~

Brothers and sisters, this post is short and sweet, because I really want you to focus on these verses from Galatians 3. When someone speaks a curse over you for not tithing or for not living by the law, remember that Christ set us free from the curse of the law, and whom the Son sets free is free indeed!

Please be sure to join me for the next post in our study of To Tithe or Not To Tithe?, when we will continue this study, focusing on verse 10.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

To Tithe or Not To Tithe? (Part 2)

8 “Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.
9 You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation.
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

~ Malachi 3:8-10 — NKJV ~

Image Credit: http://media.salemwebnetwork.com/worshiphousemedia/ resource/images/main/s/mo/pow/ss/tithesandoffering.jpg
Image Credit:
http://media.salemwebnetwork.com/worshiphousemedia/
resource/images/main/s/mo/pow/ss/tithesandoffering.jpg

First of all, let me state very clearly, I love the Lord, and I don’t want to rob Him. I don’t want to sin against God. I want to love Him and serve Him, and be a blessing to Him. My heart’s desire is to be a woman after God’s own heart. I want to know Him and understand His word. I want to be all that God has called me to be, and I want to walk in the liberty that He has given me…

Therefore, let’s begin To Tithe or Not To Tithe? (Part 2) by looking at verse eight of Malachi 3…

8 “Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.

~ Malachi 3:8 — NKJV ~

Image Credit: http://cdn1.tillhecomes.org/wp-content/ uploads/2012/01/Malachi-3.jpg
Image Credit:
http://cdn1.tillhecomes.org/wp-content/
uploads/2012/01/Malachi-3.jpg

One of the first rules when studying scripture is to discover who, what, when, where and why. Therefore, let’s start first with who…

  • Who was speaking in this passage?
    • God was speaking
  • To whom was God speaking?
    • To find out who God was speaking to, I had to go back to the beginning of Malachi, where I discovered that God was speaking to the priests, not the people, who had brought their tithes, and it was the priests who failed to distribute them according to the Law.
  • What was God saying?
    • He accused the priests of robbing Him in tithes and offerings.
    • The priests were not presenting the tithes and offerings to the Lord as they should, instead, keeping the best of the tithes and offerings for themselves, while offering the Lord blind, sick and lame sacrifices.
  • When did God speak these words?
    • Malachi was written some time between 440 and 400 B.C.
  • Where did God speak these words?
    • The word of the Lord came to Israel.
  • Why did God speak these words?
    • He spoke these words to warn the priests who had turned away from Him and were not treating the sacrifices they were to make to Him seriously, to repent and obey the Law.

When studying the scriptures, after determining the 5 W’s, we also need to see if these scriptures apply to us (Christian believers) today… Therefore, at this point, it’s really important for us to understand what the tithes and offerings that the Lord was talking about, were. Just so everyone is on the same page, let’s look up the Law’s tithe requirement…

  • Leviticus 27:30-33 (NKJV) — 30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is holy to the Lord. 31 If a man wants at all to redeem any of his tithes, he shall add one-fifth to it. 32 And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord. 33 He shall not inquire whether it is good or bad, nor shall he exchange it; and if he exchanges it at all, then both it and the one exchanged for it shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.
  • We see here that the tithe was food, both from the fruit of the land and from animals
    • The Lord did not require monetary tithes and offerings
    • The tithes and offerings required were food, which was given to the priests, who were to offer a tithe of what they received to the Lord.
    • The rest of the tithes and offerings were given to the priests, who owned no land to grow or raise their own food, because their lives were dedicated to the Lord.
Image Credit: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_ sdEWIhL1Dsc/TK0l3D3Zl VI/AAAAAAAAADI/C8N2 W3n19aM/s320/tithe.jpg
Image Credit:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_
sdEWIhL1Dsc/TK0l3D3Zl
VI/AAAAAAAAADI/C8N2
W3n19aM/s320/tithe.jpg

Does the Lord still require these tithes and offerings, as required by the Law? Of course not! For Christ paid all of our debts once and for all…

11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days,” says the Lord: “I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

~ Hebrews 10:11-18 — NKJV ~

When Christ died on the cross, there was no longer any need for sacrifices, because He paid for the sins of mankind once and for all. Therefore…

  • There is no longer any need for priests to offer sacrifices, approach God on our behalf, or mediate for our sins, for Christ is our High Priest…
    • For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus — 1 Timothy 2:5 (NKJV)
    • 14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. — Hebrews 4:14-16 (NKJV)

My beloved Messianic readers, if you have given your life to Christ, you are a new creation, and you are no longer bound by the Law. Beloved Gentile believers, you have never been bound by the Law, and you shouldn’t allow anyone to deceive you into giving your freedom away…

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.

2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. 4 For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.

5 But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. 6 For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.

~ Galatians 5:1-6 — NLT ~

My beloved readers, I do not want to influence anyone, nor do I want to tell you what to do or believe. However, there are those who try to shame and coerce the people of God into giving money to their ministries by misusing  the Word of God, and my desire is that the men and women of God will read and study His word so they will know what God’s will for His people truly is.

Therefore, I encourage you to pray about what you are reading here, and seek God’s face. Also, please don’t misunderstand what you are reading or what I am saying. As you read this  series, please be sure you hold this scripture close to your heart as you pray…

You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”

~ 2 Corinthians 9:7 — NLT ~

 Thank you for reading, my friends, and please, be sure to join me for To Tithe or Not To Tithe (Part 3), when we continue our study of Malachi 3:8-10…

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers