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Church Office discuss Should Elders use individual giving as metric of faith? in the The Church forums; Should / could the Elders of a church use a family / individual giving (tithe) as a barameter of their faith? This is, of course, ...

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    Should Elders use individual giving as metric of faith?

    Should / could the Elders of a church use a family / individual giving (tithe) as a barameter of their faith? This is, of course, over an amount of time?

    There are a lot of things that may go into it like someone knowing roughly how much someone makes, the frequency of giving, etc.

    Rough times in someone's life is taken into consideration as well.

    Basically, if someone has somehow been informed that someone makes $100,00 a year but only gives $2000 in giving for the church, should that be addressed, lovingly, by an Elder?

    Or if someone gives X amount and then stops giving or gives substantially less w/o going through any harsdships ...

    Is giving indicitave of someone's faith? I say yes since it has been provided by the Father but what sayeth yea?
    For the sake of the Name,

    John Hill
    Faith Community - Woodstock, Ga
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    Not trying to change the subject, but two related questions:

    1) Are there any reformed denominations that are confessionally bound to expect a tithe of their members?

    2) If you found out that a member made a million dollars, but only gave 10% to the Church, should they be counseled on their lack of generosity as a potential sign of a lack of faith?
    Tom Albrecht
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    Of course, I agree that there are many factors that have to be taken into account. But in general, yes. If an individualover a period of time does not seem to be tithing (and great caution needs to be exercised in making that judgment) then I do believe it should be addressed as a pastoral concern. Of course, just to reveal my presuppositions on this one, I do believe that the tithe is still required.
    Adam King
    Reformed Presbyterian Church
    Wichita, KS

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    Are you asking if "not tithing" is grounds for fencing from the table?

    I think you have to be careful not to confuse Law and Gospel. I think "not tithing" is as relevant as having a short temper, or gossiping, or having a critical spirit, etc...

    But none of these should be confused with a credible profession of faith.

    Rooting for Tennessee, however, definitely brings into question ...

    Last edited by The Swan; 06-07-2008 at 08:44 PM.

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    And is a church member required to give 100% of their tithe to their local assembly or can they give it to other causes as well?
    Pergamum


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    Pergamum's Avatar
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    Also, why would elders be reviewing the giving records of their congregants? And how would they gather info on how much each congregant is actually making?


    Should we be asking the wives in our congregations if they are giving "it" enough to their husbands too, since that is a duty? Or do we recognize that the domain of the church stops at a certain point and people need to know where not to stick their noses?
    Pergamum


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    Pergamum;

    Also, why would elders be reviewing the giving records of their congregants? And how would they gather info on how much each congregant is actually making?
    This was going to be my question...how would the elders KNOW if they are tithing enough of their income?

    Are they going to do as the LDS Church does and require it's members to submit their income tax returns so they know exactly how much they make and send them a Bill for their tithes? Or are they going to guess on the income of it's members and send them a bill for their tithes?

    I believe as a Pastor teaches on tithing and giving, the Lord will convict the hearts of those He desires to convict to give more..
    Bobbi Clark
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Swan View Post
    Are you asking if "not tithing" is grounds for fencing from the table?

    I think you have to be careful not to confuse Law and Gospel. I think "not tithing" is as relevant as having a short temper, or gossiping, or having a critical spirit, etc...

    But none of these should be confused with a credible profession of faith.

    Rooting for Tennessee, however, definitely brings into question ...

    Ouuuccchhh, that hurt right thar.
    For the sake of the Name,

    John Hill
    Faith Community - Woodstock, Ga
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    I am a deacon and I don't tithe because I make no money. I have no job and no income.

    Am I faithless?

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    Andrew
    Member, Independent Presbyterian Church (PCA)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zenas View Post
    I am a deacon and I don't tithe because I make no money. I have no job and no income.

    Am I faithless?


    Surely you are tithing, 10% of zero is zero.
    Mike
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    Quote Originally Posted by BJClark View Post
    Pergamum;

    Also, why would elders be reviewing the giving records of their congregants? And how would they gather info on how much each congregant is actually making?
    This was going to be my question...how would the elders KNOW if they are tithing enough of their income?

    Are they going to do as the LDS Church does and require it's members to submit their income tax returns so they know exactly how much they make and send them a Bill for their tithes? Or are they going to guess on the income of it's members and send them a bill for their tithes?

    I believe as a Pastor teaches on tithing and giving, the Lord will convict the hearts of those He desires to convict to give more..


    Addressing an obvious sin (known adultery, illegal business deals, etc) is one thing, but investigating to find sin when there is no reason to suspect it is something else.

    What if a very wealthy man gave anonymously? There would be no record of his giving, but he could be giving appropriately...
    Mason
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    Destin, FL

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    Absolutely not. For one thing, it is not the business of the elders to be looking into the financial assets or giving of the congregants. They should have NO clue what people give. Just knowing how much money a person gives sets things up for elders to show favoritism to members who give large amounts. (I've seen this many times in churches over the years.)

    Also, who is to say that money is the only thing that can be tithed? What about time? What about material items? Giving money is not a measure of one's faithfulness to the body of Christ. It can be ONE measure.

    At different times in our lives, we have been able to give more or less to the church based on our income. Other times we felt led to give money to a particular missionary or work outside of our local congregation. In those times, we have donated large chunks of time to the church doing jobs that would have otherwise required the church to pay someone. Is that not the same as giving money?
    J Baldwin
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBaldwin View Post
    Absolutely not. For one thing, it is not the business of the elders to be looking into the financial assets or giving of the congregants. They should have NO clue what people give. Just knowing how much money a person gives sets things up for elders to show favoritism to members who give large amounts. (I've seen this many times in churches over the years.)

    Also, who is to say that money is the only thing that can be tithed? What about time? What about material items? Giving money is not a measure of one's faithfulness to the body of Christ. It can be ONE measure.

    At different times in our lives, we have been able to give more or less to the church based on our income. Other times we felt led to give money to a particular missionary or work outside of our local congregation. In those times, we have donated large chunks of time to the church doing jobs that would have otherwise required the church to pay someone. Is that not the same as giving money?


    The only people in a church that should know who gives what are the treasurer and bookkeeper and their lips should be sealed. (Of course deacons would probably notice if they are tasked with counting the offering and preparing the deposit.)
    Soli Deo Gloria

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    Actually, John, I believe the treasurer and bookkeeper have no business in that affair, when they are not also office bearers in the church.

    I believe only the deacons should see how much the giving is by each member. And the deacons may, and should use that information in the exercise of their office, in various ways.

    For one thing, through it they may be able to gauge if someone may need some financial help. Also, if someone is not contributing, or only contributing very little, they should investigate way. But it should never ever be used as a club.

    Deacons can only come with education in this matter. If it comes to turning into a disciplinary matter, where someone is not contributing for sinful reasons, the matter should be referred to consistory. Still, no one besides the deacons would ever know how much was being contributed.

    The angle I am approaching this from is our church's practice where the membership votes on an annual budget. Thus each member makes a vow, right then and there, to contribute. Realizing that is not a hard and fast amount, but the responsibility is joint and several. So don't go enquiring when someone is generally contributing, but falling a little short.

    And contributing, other than the pledged amount, falls entirely in the realm of Christian liberty, and is no one's business, not the elders, not the deacons. It is a matter between the believer and God Himself.
    Bert Mulder
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zenas View Post
    I am a deacon and I don't tithe because I make no money. I have no job and no income.

    Am I faithless?

    What's 10 percent of 0?



    DOH!!! Hippo beat me to it.





    Bert: How would a deacon bring up the subject to a church member who is lagging behind on giving? That would make for a REALLY ackward conversation... "So.....I noticed that you only slipped a 10 in the plate this week....your kids still have shoes and you appear well fed....what's going on?" The deacon would need to be a REAL good communicator or this could get messy real fast.
    Pergamum


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    No, no, no and no. Oh...no, no, NO, No, nO and finally, no.
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    How do you really feel Bill. Some of the No's were not capitalized, making your statement a bit tentative and weak.
    Pergamum


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    Quote Originally Posted by jfschultz View Post
    The only people in a church that should know who gives what are the treasurer and bookkeeper and their lips should be sealed.
    "Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” - Zechariah 3:2

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    Completely agree that Elders/Pastors should have no knowledge of giving, and the people should know that they have no knowledge of it, so that they can freely minister without hindrance, without fear or favour.

    If someone isn't tithing, God will sort them out if the ministry is faithful. He sorted me out once and for all when I considered the scriptures surrounding Cain and Abel.
    Jonathan Hunt

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    No.

    Only the deacons should know who is giving what. And only the deacon who is acting as treasurer. (IMO that is a job for a deacon.)

    I can not honestly think of a situation that would require the deacons to discuss the specific giving levels of the members as a normal part of the job.

    In some cases, if a person was applying for an intrest free loan (yes we did that!) to pay off debt, then we would ask the treasurer if they gave regularly and consistently. He might, if in his judgement it was relevent, tell us the amount, or mention that it was inconsistent. However those loans came with manditory budget meetings with the district deacon, so he would know the circumstances of the persons giving. Since in this case he knew of all giving & spending he could recomend (or not) the loan based on his financial counselling with the people involved.
    TE Kevin Rogers
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zenas View Post
    I am a deacon and I don't tithe because I make no money. I have no job and no income.

    Am I faithless?

    No, just poor....financially.
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    As a pastor, I address the issue of tithing (every once in while) from the pulpit. I would never make someone's giving an issue of personal pastoral council with one exception...

    A candidate, potential candidate or one who already holds office (deacon or elder), would be spoken with if it appeared that over time they were failing to give at least a tithe. Ultimately, I believe a failure to tithe disqualifies a man from holding office in the church though I think great care needs to be taken to make sure a rash/incorrect judgement is not being made.
    Robert Truelove
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    Quote Originally Posted by govols View Post
    Should / could the Elders of a church use a family / individual giving (tithe) as a barameter of their faith? This is, of course, over an amount of time?

    There are a lot of things that may go into it like someone knowing roughly how much someone makes, the frequency of giving, etc.
    No. You can not use tithing by itself as a barometer of faith. And I don't think you could use it with "a lot of other things". There are just to many things you'd have to know.

    However, if someone's level of giving drops, that might be grounds for concern. It would not tell you anything about his level of faith, but could indicate there is some kind of problem. The problem may be a lack of faith, or a financial problem, or a lack of commitment to that church, or simply a even a matter of being absent minded. Or it might not be a problem at all. Maybe he gave all he could for the year.

    How would you know? An elder or a brother might know if someone's given has dropped off, but unless he knows a great deal more, it would be unwise to become concerned for that reason alone. Rather, they should already know much more about the person and already be showing him Christ's love. They should already know what's going on with that person and have been pastoring him. And if so, a drop in giving might be no surprise, and any concern would be based on many other factors.

    So although a weakening of faith could cause a drop in giving, a drop in giving would not necessarily indicate a weakening of faith.
    R. Anthony Coletti
    Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA)
    Jonesborough, TN
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    No.

    Giving is a personal matter between the believer and God. It is no one's business how much one gives.

    I think Christ's words are applicable here:

    Matthew 6:1-4
    Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. [2] Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. [3] But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: [4] That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
    Now, I know, this passage is not specifically about tithing to the church, but the principle is that God sees what we give--and He is the one who really matters.

    The Pastor of a local church has an obligation to preach on giving when it is in the text of scripture, and the faithful expositor of God's Word will do that.

    Elders are given spiritual oversight of the congregation, and it is the duty of elders to inquire into the spiritual condition of their members. But there are some things which are not their concern.

    Deacons are given to the financial care of the church. Deacons are charged with "developing the grace of liberality" among the members of the congregation. And that is done by leadership and example.

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    Quote Originally Posted by North Jersey Baptist View Post
    No, no, no and no. Oh...no, no, NO, No, nO and finally, no.
    Hi Bill:

    A matter we agree in? Amazing!

    -CH
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    Wow! Brethren, America is more part of us than I realized! Where did all of this obsession with privacy come from on the PB???

    Since when is sin a "private issue"? Since when is a spiritual need an issue that deserves to be kept strictly private from everyone, including the pastor?

    Here was my rule when in the pastorate.

    1. I did not/nor did I want to know what ANYone gave. And, I never did during my decades of service.

    2. However, God charged me with responsibility of providing spiritual care for people. Part of knowing them was knowing their needs. So . ..

    a. If a giver of record quit giving, my finance person would say, "Pastor, I think you might want to see how So-in-So is doing. I've noticed some drastic changes in their giving." Sometimes people quit giving out of anger or hurt feelings, sometimes out of guilt, sometimes due to financial pressures. Often times, this encouragement would be enough for a low-key conversation to surface issues that needed to be dealt with pastorally. Even when my congregation averaged 500 or so on a Sunday, nobody ever reacted badly to having me "touch base" and check in on how they were doing.

    b. When we examined nominations for church office, I would always ask if anyone on the committee had a reason for disqualifying a person. They did not need to express what it was. But, this helped a lot. On the finance side, the potential names would be vetted by the finance person. "Are these folks all regular contributors to our ministry?" In my view, nobody should serve on the ruling board of the church who does not have a willingness to contribute.

    Suffering law students get a pass, primarily because we know that they will all become ridiculously overpaid big shots or politians.
    Dennis E. McFadden, Ex Mainline Baptist (in Remission)
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMcFadden View Post
    Wow! Brethren, America is more part of us than I realized! Where did all of this obsession with privacy come from on the PB???

    Since when is sin a "private issue"? Since when is a spiritual need an issue that deserves to be kept strictly private from everyone, including the pastor?

    Here was my rule when in the pastorate.

    1. I did not/nor did I want to know what ANYone gave. And, I never did during my decades of service.

    2. However, God charged me with responsibility of providing spiritual care for people. Part of knowing them was knowing their needs. So . ..

    a. If a giver of record quit giving, my finance person would say, "Pastor, I think you might want to see how So-in-So is doing. I've noticed some drastic changes in their giving." Sometimes people quit giving out of anger or hurt feelings, sometimes out of guilt, sometimes due to financial pressures. Often times, this encouragement would be enough for a low-key conversation to surface issues that needed to be dealt with pastorally. Even when my congregation averaged 500 or so on a Sunday, nobody ever reacted badly to having me "touch base" and check in on how they were doing.

    b. When we examined nominations for church office, I would always ask if anyone on the committee had a reason for disqualifying a person. They did not need to express what it was. But, this helped a lot. On the finance side, the potential names would be vetted by the finance person. "Are these folks all regular contributors to our ministry?" In my view, nobody should serve on the ruling board of the church who does not have a willingness to contribute.

    Suffering law students get a pass, primarily because we know that they will all become ridiculously overpaid big shots or politians.
    Hi:

    Pastoral visitations should be the rule of a Reformed Pastor, and not the exception. Yet, I understand the Baptist model to be quite different from the Reformed.

    Blessings,

    -CH
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    Pittsburgh, PA

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    ADKing is offline. Puritanboard Junior
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    As the diversity of answers shows, I believe the real issue to this question is: is tithing a moral duty in the NT? Those who do not believe it is will obviously answer that the pastor should not counsel members on this issue. However, if one does believe it is a moral duty then the minister must be faithful to confront people who in ordinary circumstances can tithe and choose not to do so.

    This need not be a matter of scrupulously pouring over financial records any more than a minister needs to try really hard to find other moral infractions. But if it becomes obvious it should be addressed. A good way of doing this is periodically reminding people of their duty in home visitations.
    Adam King
    Reformed Presbyterian Church
    Wichita, KS

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post
    And is a church member required to give 100% of their tithe to their local assembly or can they give it to other causes as well?
    That is a good question; from what I remember, Gary North says it is to be given to the church, R.J. Rushdoony says to Christian causes in general.
    Daniel
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    I implied this in my last post, but now I am going to make it a formal question since no one has really answered it.

    Does tithing only equal money? Or can tithing include service to the church and material donations? And if that is the case, how can we measure a tithe of that? Though money is the standard currency in our society, I believe that all that we have, including our time, material possessions and money is the Lord's.

    When it comes to NT giving, I have always believed that tithing is the minimum, but I have also leaned in the direction that it means more than just money.
    J Baldwin
    Keowee Presbyterian Church, PCA
    Pickens, SC
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  32. #32
    nicnap's Avatar
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    Hi:

    Pastoral visitations should be the rule of a Reformed Pastor, and not the exception. Yet, I understand the Baptist model to be quite different from the Reformed.

    Blessings,

    -CH


    sorry, can't exactly work the quote thing.
    soli Deo gloria!
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by govols View Post
    Should / could the Elders of a church use a family / individual giving (tithe) as a barameter of their faith? This is, of course, over an amount of time?

    There are a lot of things that may go into it like someone knowing roughly how much someone makes, the frequency of giving, etc.

    Rough times in someone's life is taken into consideration as well.

    Basically, if someone has somehow been informed that someone makes $100,00 a year but only gives $2000 in giving for the church, should that be addressed, lovingly, by an Elder?

    Or if someone gives X amount and then stops giving or gives substantially less w/o going through any harsdships ...

    Is giving indicitave of someone's faith? I say yes since it has been provided by the Father but what sayeth yea?
    Nearly everything for a believer is technically a measure of sanctification; but faith for salvation or justification is measured only upon the dependence that one has upon the work and promise of Christ to account for them on that great day!

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  34. #34
    LadyFlynt is offline. Inactive User
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    I have nothing to add...just had to jump in with the "Go Clemson!" comment
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicnap View Post
    Hi:

    Pastoral visitations should be the rule of a Reformed Pastor, and not the exception. Yet, I understand the Baptist model to be quite different from the Reformed.

    Blessings,

    -CH


    sorry, can't exactly work the quote thing.
    I don't get the joke - maybe you can fill me in?

    Grace and Peace,

    -CH
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  36. #36
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    As has been said, individual giving is a matter of Christian liberty, and is between the individual believer and God. Yes, the members of a congregation do have a biblical responsibility to give, but that's still between him and God.

    The last thing a church needs is for the officers to go snooping around in people's personal finances. Sinners that we all are, that's not a situation that would end well. It could be ripe for all kinds of abuse.
    Richard Zuelch
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    Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest and receivest unto Thee. He shall dwell in Thy court and shall be satisfied with the pleasures of Thy house, even of Thy holy temple. (Psalm 65.4) in Miles Coverdale's (1488-1569) translation (1539).

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBaldwin View Post
    I implied this in my last post, but now I am going to make it a formal question since no one has really answered it.

    Does tithing only equal money? Or can tithing include service to the church and material donations? And if that is the case, how can we measure a tithe of that? Though money is the standard currency in our society, I believe that all that we have, including our time, material possessions and money is the Lord's.

    When it comes to NT giving, I have always believed that tithing is the minimum, but I have also leaned in the direction that it means more than just money.
    By definition a 'tithe' is 10 percent of your 'increase'. If God gave you an increase of 10 chickens, then you could give a chicken and it would be a tithe. However, putting a chicken in the modern day offering basket may be placing more of a burden on the elders than it is worth. That is why most people sell the chicken and give the $$$ to the church or make some awesome chicken salad and give it to the pastor or the widow or the fatherless.

    I agree with Dennis that as a shepherd the Pastor may want to check on those whose giving suddenly drops off. It may be due to a financial crisis or 'controversy' or sin. In any of these cases, the Pastor may be just the person that is able to help.

    I understand the appeal of a pastor being ignorant of individual giving, but is it really biblical? The Levites knew who was giving what. In fact, it would appear that the giver would want the Levite to know that he had tithed because the act avouched that he was a part of God's people. Also, Ananias brought his offering 'and laid it at the Apostles feet'.


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  38. #38
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    I understand the appeal of a pastor being ignorant of individual giving, but is it really biblical? The Levites knew who was giving what. In fact, it would appear that the giver would want the Levite to know that he had tithed because the act avouched that he was a part of God's people. Also, Ananias brought his offering 'and laid it at the Apostles feet'.
    I completely understand your point. However, I still question why an officer in the church should have any reason to pry into the finances of an individual church member. For one thing, a simple word from a treasurer that a person's giving has dropped off, someone might want to see if they are having financial troubles, is entirely different from keeping track of what people are giving.

    In the case of Ananias and his wife, Peter made it clear that they were free to do whatever they wished with their property, and that the sin they commited was that of lying about it. They wanted to appear more spiritual in the eyes of the congregation, and that is what Peter rebuked them for.
    J Baldwin
    Keowee Presbyterian Church, PCA
    Pickens, SC
    “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27

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  39. #39
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    We are also in danger here of encouraging people to give just for show and to be well thought of.

    1 "Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
    2 "Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
    Matt 6:1-4 (ESV)
    Mike
    Free Church of Scotland
    England

    "Surely, we wish to be orthodox, but we must first learn what real orthodoxy is. Surely, we wish to be progressive, but we must first have a basis to progress from."

  40. #40
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    Well, it appears we now have a new avenue of ministry... we can spot a spiritual or financial crisis in a brother's life today by totalling the checks we find he has placed in the offering basket! This is a wonderful thing! Imagine how hard it must have been in the olden days, when cash was the currency of the land, to have the knowledge of a man's level of giving. How could they know when a brother needed some attention? I mean, a profession of faith, attendance (we do keep attendance records, right?), involvement in the fellowship of the Church, visible behaviour, and reputation are never really enough evidence for admittance to the table, are they?

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