sábado, 6 de março de 2010

THE ISSUE OF TITHING - A STUMBLING STONE

Devido ao fato de ter recebido muitos emails comentando o texto sobre o dízimo, fui solicitado a fazer uma versão do mesmo para enviar aos povos de fala Inglesa. Assim sendo, o texto segue abaixo.

As I am bothered for months now and I don't tolerate more those Brazilian Evangelical radios preaching that their followers are victorious only because they tithe, here comes the kick.

The evangelical people that live a foot in the Law and another in the Grace are the most incoherent people that I have already found! You know, it displeases God deeply, because they don't have faith that His Son’s sacrifice, Jesus Christ was totally enough to free us of all “schoolmasters” (Galatians 3:24) that tied men to Him.

I am sick tired of sermons that distort Christ's Gospel and link God to a mere servant of those who give money to the church and the ones who receive it. What these preachers are doing with the Word of God is the same that our irresponsible Brazilian government is doing with the National Constitution, distorting it, corrupting it in benefit of few.

People of God need to FREE UP themselves from leaders/pastors that preach LAW and not GRACE!

The evangelical ones (those that follow the Gospel - the Good News) contradict themselves in their own form of believing in the Word of God. This subject is very serious and it confuses the ones of the house (meaning church) and the ones of outside also, serving as scandal for the totality.

And which is the motive of that whole confusion?

Last week I heard Pr. Carter Conlon’s sermon. He was preaching about tithing, as he faced that subject when he accepted Jesus Christ and how he believes now. He is a man of God, no doubt about it, he has a very good word, he really preaches Christ Jesus alone, and I like hearing him a lot. I admire him, however, the interesting is that even him slept (to error is human) was took by those who preach the Law, contradicting himself during his preaching. Please, access the site www.tscnyc.org/media_center.php?pg=sermons and seek for the sermon “We Can´t Escapes the Hard Truths, of the 21/02/2010, and you will know about what I am talking about.

To summarize, he said that the evangelical ones should tithe (10%) of their earnings, but that the pattern of the Old Testament was tithing 10% and that the pattern of the New Testament was everything (in another words, 100%). How is it now Pr. Conlon: 10% (to please God of the Old Testament) or 100% (in obedience to Christ Jesus for our death with Him)? Which one of the two dear pastor? Preach, but don't teach wrong!

Every time that I hear a pastor imposing his voice to saying that we, born again Christians, have to “tithe” because it is only 10% and we can stick with 90%, that this is fair, and blah, blah, blah (all that mumbo-jumbo that they always force into our throat), I smell the disgusting rancidity of the Law. And the evangelical people continue living their lives chained again to the “Israeli traditions” and the devil, very probably; laughing at us for the lack of faith we have in Christ Jesus to free us of it all.

To preach tithing for the evangelical ones and to impose that obligation is the same as preaching against our own Lord Jesus Christ, better know that pastors! No, I accept not even a freely “request” for tithing without any commitment to the church, because in the New Alliance, THAT DOESN’T EXIST; TITHING (10%) it simply DOESN’T EXIST!

I already wrote on this subject of tithing before in my blog (www.tempodagracadedeus.blogspot.com which means time of God’s grace), showing extensively the reason for which the evangelical ones, those who follow the New Alliance are not forced to decimate anything at all. The tithe was instituted for the people of Israel and it doesn't have anything to do with those who follow Jesus Christ. After all, do we follow Christ or the Law?

My dear, only to inform you, we are living in and by GRACE and not in CURSE anymore. Those who decimates are still in the curse and he/she is AFRAID of God or maybe because his/her pastor INFUSED in his/her head that subject after so much preaching that matter. The worst is that the pastors here in Brazil use Malachi 3 (OLD TESTAMENT - LAW) to justify tithing. Great, then from now on we will have to use Genesis 17 (OLD TESTAMENT – LAW too) to preach circumcision for Christians.

What is lacking is for the people of God to READ the Bible and to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal it to them. My father, Gilberto Stevao, has an excellent Method of Literacy using the Bible to teach how to read and write in Portuguese (www.alfabetizacaopelabiblia.com.br). This method is even recommended by the Brazilian Ministry of Education and Culture. However, frigidly analyzing the “believers”, what does really is lacking is to Instruct the Bible. Fortunately the only One who reveals the Word of God is the Holy Ghost. It is a general confusion, the ones who don't know how to read and write, they live by what they hear, and the ones who know how to read and write, they don't want (don’t pray) to understand what they are reading and they prefer to live by what is told to them; maybe it is easier!

If the evangelical ones are forced to tithe and if the excuse is that God is the one who ordered to tithe, hold there my brother/sister: “Also, it was God who ordered to kill (exterminate) the ones who were not Israeli in the Old Testament”, “It was God who ordered to circumcise the Israeli people”, “It was God who ordered to keep the Saturday”, and the texts go out like that in the Law. Being so, should we preach all that? God forbid!

Sure it is right to say that was God who ordered His own people to be circumcised. Well, if it was God who ordered why we don't follow that Divine order also? Did God wander and He draw back now? If we have to obey God and to tithe, we also have to circumcise the evangelical ones, urgently, starting from today (maybe nobody would recognize us as God’s chosen people!). So what? Nothing else than coherence!

Just to write a few on the matter I have already written, and for not leaving some lost, without biblical orientation (biblical texts), it would like to expose the differences between the Old and New Testaments.

The Israelis, in the Old Testament, received several instructions on tithing. The Law spoke about the responsibility of decimating and that is written in Leviticus 27:30 and in Deuteronomy 14:22, also. God ordered that they had to take the tithes to the place He had chosen (please, look into Deuteronomy 12:6) and He gave them (the tithes) to the Levites (please look into Numbers 18:21,24). Why to the Levites? Because God said that they would not have any terrestrial possession, because He was their portion and inheritance. Please read Numbers 18:20, 26:62; Deuteronomy 10:9, 18:1,2; and Joshua 14:3.

At the end of the Old Testament God still collected the tithes of the people, as it is said in Malachi 3:10. While the Law continued to be applied, before His death, Jesus spoke that his patricians should continue to be faithful in tithing. It is recorded in Matthew 23:23. However, I am sure, my Jesus never preached for those that followed him or the ones who would accept Him later as their personal Savior after His death that they ought to decimate.

Now, in the New Alliance, that begun to be valid after the Testator's death (please look into Hebrew 9:15-16), the principle of giving is total and radically different, to the point of scaring. Christians should give with happiness and liberality, according to his/her prosperity (please read 1 Corinthian 16:1-2 and 2 Corinthian 9:6-7,12-13). But again, pastors distort the Word of God as it pleases them, saying as far as money is concerned in church, there is an obligation of tithing (God will rebuke the devourer) PLUS the offerings instructed by Paul (verses above) which compose a long list categories of offerings: offerings collected among people, offerings for missions, spontaneous offerings, donations, etc. Where it is this classification in the New Testament? It would like for any pastor to show me where it is written.

I live by the New Testament which teach us that there is only one maner of giving money for the expansion of God's kingdom, which is freely and generously.

The principle behind offering today is not the collection of a specific percentage (tithe means 10%), but the decision of giving yourself to Christ (please read 2 Corinthian 8:3-5) and for Him to give EVERYTHING. Today, in Grace, it is not 10% but 100%. And why then pastors do not preach this total giving of life, goods, or to live sacrificially for the love of Jesus Christ? Oh no brother, people will flee from church, if we preach the truth!

So Eber, have I to sell everything and give it all to the church? Yes and not. But first I want to instruct you saying that is not to the church, it is to give to the poor. Yes, if your heart is in the money. It was exactly what Jesus ordered to the rich young man to do. If you have curiosity, please read the dialogue between Jesus and that rich young man in Mark 10:17-30, because it deserves deep reflections. No, if you think about continuing living and taking care of your family worthily. Therefore, contribute so that the Gospel can be preached in all languages, nations and to all people (commandment of Jesus Christ), with the amount that the Holy Spirit smoothly tells you to give generously. Live in the Spirit and not in the Law.

The almost totality of the Brazilian Evangelical churches – not to say all of them - (and unhappily as the Catholic leaders lately have been copying the good and bad things of the evangelical ones, for the sake of not losing “adepts” – adepts to whom? -, they also instituted that absurdity for Catholics in general), they preach the obligation of tithing, but the New Testament clearly says that the collection of the tithe was a commandment of the Law: “And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham.” (Hebrew 7:5)

ATTENTION, A LOT OF ATTENTION EVANGELICAL, we don't have more the Levite priesthood and we don't live subordinates to the Law of the Old Testament. Therefore, we should not preach the obligation of tithing. We don't have the Levite priesthood because the house of David was restored with Jesus Christ's arrival, His life and death in the cross, to give us ETERNAL LIFE, FREEDOM AND LIBERATION.

I say one thing, those wanting to serve Christ they need to resist to the tendencies of returning to the Old Testament as the base of our service today. “But, having come the faith, no longer we stayed subordinates to the schoolmaster. Because all you are children of God by the faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:25-26) “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” (Galatians 5:4 – my emphasis)

Only to inform you: anyone who falls out of the grace is literally burst!

Who knows it is really better walking in the Spirit according to the revelation of the New Alliance, due to the terrible days that are coming ahead. Therefore, otherwise, we will not make it through to the end.

Are you willing to go to the Heavens by the Law or by the Grace alone? He who has ears to hear let him hear! Please, not even dare of thinking that I have drifted away from the God’s Way because what I am preaching here is GRACE ALONE, PURE GRACE of God for mankind, nothing else. Religiosity is “a banner from Hell” as it is preached by Pr. Glenio Paranagua in his book.

In case some pastors want to discuss “in his church” this subject, with all members present, I am available, as always. Unfortunately, I know that I won't be called, because they don't want to lose their safe-deposit box!

But no, they do not want letting the Holy Ghost to make have His ways in people’s hearts. They do not want to labor by faith (so much preached by them), they prefer a fixed and secure monthly accounting table.

The church is God’s church, He is the owner, it is He who commands, is He who plays in the hearts of anyone to give the amount which pleases Him so that God’s Kingdom, His Kingdom alone, be expanded until the boundaries of the earth, for all to hear about Jesus Christ and the end to come. Amen and amen.




Written and published here by Eber Stevao DDS, M.S., M.Ed., PhD

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