Ask Your Preacher
What does tithing really mean?
Money In The Bank
Dear Money In The Bank,
The New Testament and Old Testament teachings on giving are similar… but not the same. The Old Testament was very specific that giving should be a minimum of ten percent (Deu 14:22). The word ‘tithe’ means ‘one-tenth’.
However, the New Testament teaching is more generic. Though ten percent is a good rule of thumb (after all, the Old Testament is given to us as an example – 1 Cor 10:11), christians are simply told to “give as they have prospered” (1 Cor 16:1-2). God tells us to be cheerful givers (2 Cor 9:7), but He never specifically says how much christians should give. That is an issue of wisdom and is left for each individual heart to work out for itself (Php 2:12). The specific rule of giving one-tenth of our income no longer applies; instead, we are told to examine our hearts and give thankfully.
I give offerings every time I have money during worship, and I set aside funds for it beforehand. But there are some who become disappointed in me and crucify me for not putting in the amount they often believe to be sufficient. How can I deal with those of the brethren who bring this kind of condemnation?
Condemned For Finance
Dear Condemned For Finances,
When people question the amount of money you put into the offering, show them 2 Cor 9:7 which says that each should give as “he has purposed in his heart”. You must stand before God and answer to Him for what you gave and what you didn’t. You are responsible for what your heart purposes, and they are responsible for theirs. Show them 2 Cor 9:7 and then kindly walk away.
I’m trying to learn to communicate with God. I know we speak to Him through prayer... so does He speak back to us through the Bible? When I ask for God’s perfect will on a subject, and I ask Him for confirmation in the Bible, and I open it and read on what He says, is the word that I read a promise? Thank you for explaining, and God bless!
Looking For Direction
Dear Looking For Direction,
God speaks to us through His Word. If we want to know God’s desire for our life, we must use the Bible to get our instructions. Faith comes from the Word (Rom 10:17), and the Bible contains all the information we need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3). If we want to understand what God wants for us, we can find the truth in the sum of His Word (Ps 119:160). It isn’t as simple as just opening the Bible and putting your finger on a page and looking for a sign; the Bible takes study and effort.
God doesn’t answer our prayers by directly speaking to us, but His Word says that we should pray without doubting (1 Tim 2:8) and that we should ask in faith (Jas 1:6). God says there are very few things that will cause Him to ignore our prayers. Read “Whose Prayers Count?” for the list of things that will make God turn His back on your prayers. God never gets tired of hearing from His children. Christians are to constantly seek Him in prayer. The most direct example of this is Christ’s parable of the unjust judge in Lk 18:1-5. Christ taught that parable, so “men ought always to pray and not to grow weary”. God wants to hear from His people. So don’t stop asking for help; He is listening.
Can I pray for the devil’s death?
We should pray for things until God gives us a clear and definitive answer. Before we stop to pray for something, we must always stop to read what God has to say first (Eccl 5:1). After all, no matter what we want, God’s will should come first (Matt 6:10).
In the case of the devil, God says that He has already reserved a place for him and his angels (2 Pet 2:4). God has already decided that the devil will be cast forever into the lake of fire (Rev 20:10). However, God has also decided that He will be patient and wait for just the right time to judge the devil, his angels, and all mankind (2 Pet 3:9-10).
I am a minister that has been called to minister for about six years. Though I have been called, I have not always followed; I have recently accepted the position of youth pastor. I am expected to teach on purity and abstinence before marriage; how can I teach something that I myself did not preserve?
Dear Feeling Hypocritical,
If it is impossible to teach on something unless you have done it right yourself, nobody could say anything about morality because all have sinned (Rom 3:23). Paul preached on peace after killing Christians (Rom 12:18), and Peter preached on boldness after denying Christ (1 Pet 5:15-16). The truth is the truth regardless of how well we have personally followed it.
On a separate, but related note: a minister is different from a pastor – which one are you? If someone is going to be a pastor, he must meet the qualifications found in 1 Tim 3:1-7 and Tit 1:5-9. Another thing to consider is that the Bible never talks about ‘youth pastors’ and ‘senior pastors’. We would encourage you to read “Senior Citizen Pastor” because it sounds like you are caught up in a religious movement that doesn’t take God’s pattern for the church seriously, and if we don’t take God seriously, it doesn’t matter how much we clean up our lives.