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Old 08-15-2016, 01:25 PM   #1
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Default What It's Really All About

I really feel to share this video of a recent message with you. It makes vivid why the LCM, for all its claims about being in "central lane" of God's purpose, is so far off of God's purpose for the Church that it is sad, stunning, ironic and ridiculous all at the same time.

But it is also a wake up call for all of us, especially those of us who were infected with the LCM's upside down and backward view of this subject. We all need to hear it and we all need to respond to it.

So please take time to watch this. There is some preamble so if you pick it up at the 4:45 mark, that will be about right.

More comments, hopefully, later on. Thanks.

http://acfcommunity.org/media/messag...excel/what-if/
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Old 08-15-2016, 01:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: What It's Really All About

"God's plan for solving the problems of the world has never been government. It has always been the Church."

"If every church member tithed the Church would collect another $165 billion a year, which would solve the world problems of hunger, thirst, literacy, mission funding... with $100 billion left over."
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Old 08-15-2016, 02:02 PM   #3
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OK. Thanks for the second post, I see your point now.
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Old 08-15-2016, 02:57 PM   #4
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OK. Thanks for the second post, I see your point now.
The reason I didn't specify my point was that I wanted people to actually watch the video.

But here's my basic thought: The LCM's view of the Church as the testimony of Jesus is warped. To them, the Church just "shines" with "the glory of God," but has no effect on the world. That's pretty impotent shining! But we are to be salt and light to the world, and salt and light are supposed to have an effect of changing things.

This doesn't meant the satanic system changes. It won't. But it does mean the Church can have a positive impact on culture and conditions, and by doing so many hearts can be softened to God. Think about it, the Church has already had a major effect on history. Democracy as we know it likely would never have appeared without the Church.

Yet, in the LCM we were really taught, for all practical purpose, to hide our light under a bushel. The LCM is practically invisible--one reason being that the world cannot relate to anything it does. Its mission, service and approach are all abstract and impractical. It doesn't really do much. In fact, it actually discourages helping the poor and other acts of service which could further the gospel.

I myself had been greatly hindered from simply serving people with my time and money because I thought that was "natural," not spiritual. The exact opposite is true. Ironically, giving up our time and money for the kingdom, supporting ministries that actually impact lives practically, so that people can see the practical love of God, is the most spiritual thing we can do!

I used to think trying to help the world was a waste of time, because the age is going to end anyway. But the age is going to end after the Church is raptured, when those who refuse to see how God used the Church for good are left behind and judgment comes. But who knows what good the Church can and is supposed to do before that time? Certainly Christ is not coming back for a Bride who is just sitting in her boudoir brushing her hair and reflecting on her own beauty. Not Jesus. He's a man of action and he surely expects his Bride to be a woman of action.
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Old 08-15-2016, 03:55 PM   #5
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Certainly Christ is not coming back for a Bride who is just sitting in her boudoir brushing her hair and reflecting on her own beauty. Not Jesus. He's a man of action and he surely expects his Bride to be a woman of action.
Ha ha! The LCM is captivated by her own beauty! Her every curve and feature are lovely things she loves to behold. But, in the S of S the lover is dark from having labored in the fields under the sun; dark from the labor of righteous living full of good works. The LCM are the ugly stepsisters of Cinderella who continuously beat the real church.
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Old 08-15-2016, 05:36 PM   #6
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The LCM are the ugly stepsisters of Cinderella who continuously beat the real church.
Great metaphor!
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Old 08-15-2016, 06:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: What It's Really All About

They give away Bibles? Is that the entire Bible or just the New Testament?
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Old 08-19-2016, 08:33 AM   #8
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I was really hoping this would spark a better discussion.

He's what this comes down to guys: What is God's purpose for the Church on earth today?

Is it to be spiritual and get transformed and wait for the Lord to come back with little impact on culture?

Or does God want the Church to impact culture? How is this done?

I really think this is a fundamentally important question because it impacts how we see our mission on earth and what we are supposed to be doing and how we are to interact with the world.

Note, I don't believe that organized political strong-arming is much if any part of the plan. But I definitely believe now that God's expects us to use good works to soften the hearts of people, change lives and thus change and preserve cultures.

In short, I do not believe in the LCM view of being so isolated and separated from the world that impact on culture is actually disdained--as if cooperating in any way with, for example, local authorities in charity or mercy causes is bad. The fact is in crises like Hurricane Katrina, it is Christian organizations which do the bulk of the aid work.

Just think if everyone did tithe and the Church was able to collect $165 billion more per year than it does now, and that money was used to end hunger, thirst and illiteracy. How do you think that would affect the world's view of the Church? How would it affect the spreading of the Gospel?
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Old 08-19-2016, 11:57 AM   #9
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In short, I do not believe in the LCM view of being so isolated and separated from the world that impact on culture is actually disdained--as if cooperating in any way with, for example, local authorities in charity or mercy causes is bad. The fact is in crises like Hurricane Katrina, it is Christian organizations which do the bulk of the aid work.

Just think if everyone did tithe and the Church was able to collect $165 billion more per year than it does now, and that money was used to end hunger, thirst and illiteracy. How do you think that would affect the world's view of the Church? How would it affect the spreading of the Gospel?
I'm sure many had been like me; raised in the local churches and met with them as an adult. There's an indoctrination that goes on regarding charity. It's scoffed at with condescension. However, giving money to LSM is encouraged. Where is charity in that? Who in need have they helped?
The word may be "apply for welfare",
As a child with my parents separated, my mom did that. Any help came from my grandmother and not the Church in Anaheim or Living Stream Ministry.
Other hard times, help came from food banks and not "the ministry".
Suppose the Church was able to collect $165 billion each year, certainly it would rid the need of homeless having to sleep in tents that I see each weekday morning coming into Seattle.
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Old 08-19-2016, 12:05 PM   #10
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Tough topic.

And given our (broad collective, not any of us in particular) propensity to talk about everything in terms of our quiet time, or being "in spirit" (or in the spirit), or our "enjoyment of Christ," or me and my Bible, or even focusing on activities aimed at "preaching the gospel," I am not sure that our first thought is to move in that direction.

I will say that I have been talking about some of this for a while. But I must admit that at some level it is still theory. I may speak that way, but if someone looks at me like "yeah, poor ignorant plebe, its really about the right doctrines and practices" I still duck my head and think that maybe I am just full of it.

Especially when I am not the poster child for DOING what I am suggesting we should be doing. Just talking about it.

I would never say that trying to be doctrinally right is simply irrelevant. But I am becoming convinced that it is second place, not first. When people defend all the doctrinal teachings by saying you have to know what you believe, I cower because they are right.

At least sort of.

But are they right that we have to understand that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit are three separate but distinct "persons" who are joined as one through something called essence? (And am I relegated to the land of heretics for probably not saying it completely correctly?)

Or is what we need to know that Jesus is God and is the Lord of the Kingdom that we are more connected to than the physical Kingdom of the U.S. (or U.K., R.S.A., France, Germany, etc.) And not only know it, but believe it and prove our belief by obeying the one (Jesus) who came and showed the way. That was what he sent everyone except for the ones he trained for leading to do. The big sermons to the large crowds (on the mount, where he fed 5,000, etc.) were not about preaching the gospel, but about the life of the follower.
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Old 08-19-2016, 02:43 PM   #11
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I think that our knowledge that ultimately the world will end badly, with war, judgment and the Lord's return, works against our God-given instinct to invest in the good of the world's people. I see why someone would think like that. But the investment I'm arguing for is not one in the world system, not in politics or laws, but in the people themselves. It follows that good people make good societies. Even God does not begrudge this. This is what he intended.

The LCM taught us that nothing wrought outside its walls was worth a plugged nickel, no matter how much good it seemed to produce. But, really, where do you draw the line between spiritual good and seeming natural results? In my experience, spiritual good always results in some sort of outward change for the better in relationships, human life, outward happiness and so forth. I understand that God asks us to suffer in the natural for the sake of the spiritual. But that does not mean that happiness in the natural works against the spiritual. That is asceticism. And it's amazing how much the ascetic concept is worked in to our belief systems.

My point, I guess, is that attempting to draw a line between spiritual blessing and natural blessing is folly. God does not begrudge the natural. To quote C.S. Lewis, he made the physical, he likes it. The problem comes in when we attempt to have the natural without the spiritual. It can also come in when we become so spiritual that we neglect the natural. They are intended to blend together in a continuum.

One manifestation of this is the understandable expectation by the world that the Church, if we really means business about our "love "talk, would manifest love in ways broader and more down-to-earth than passing out free bibles and preaching about pie in the sky. Watchman Nee, when asked by those he preached to whether Jesus would fill their rice bowls famously responded, "He may break your rice bowls!" Well, that's quite nobly "spiritual." But Jesus himself never said or intimated anything like that. He fed the hungry, healed the sick and comforted the downtrodden. A spirituality that neglects these things is a sham. It's a fake. This is the spirituality the LCM taught. And it is a stronghold which ensures a life of ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' "He will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' Matthew 25
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Old 08-19-2016, 04:09 PM   #12
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Just think if everyone did tithe and the Church was able to collect $165 billion more per year than it does now, and that money was used to end hunger, thirst and illiteracy. How do you think that would affect the world's view of the Church? How would it affect the spreading of the Gospel?
Sorry bro, but I'm not so optimistic as you. I see most of that money not going to the poor, but to build some preacher's empire, supposedly "for the gospel of God."
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Old 08-19-2016, 04:58 PM   #13
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Sorry bro, but I'm not so optimistic as you. I see most of that money not going to the poor, but to build some preacher's empire, supposedly "for the gospel of God."
In other words, for God's Economy, GTCA, BFA, etc.
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Old 08-20-2016, 04:49 AM   #14
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Sorry bro, but I'm not so optimistic as you. I see most of that money not going to the poor, but to build some preacher's empire, supposedly "for the gospel of God."
There are plenty of trustworthy organizations. Statistics of where money goes are available. Besides, if we used that excuse no one would give. That's part of the problem and part of what Will Davis calls "the spirit of poverty." Did you watch the video?

Davis addresses the issue of not trusting a church enough to tithe to it. He said if you don't trust them then you probably should find another church. We ought to be able to find somebody to give to, and God commands us to give. So I don't think not trusting recipients as an excuse for not giving at all is going to wash with Him ultimately. "Cast your bread upon the waters." "God loves a cheerful giver."

Although I think we all ought to learn to give as the Bible commands, that isn't the main reason for this thread. The main reason is to discuss what is our legitimate involvement in and with the world. The LCM's involvement is so "spiritual" and theoretical that they've pretty much excused themselves from any grass roots good works, even though Jesus performed plenty. My question is, what is legitimate? Beyond that, what does the Lord actually expect?

Is the sheep and goats parable about just the end times and how those non-believers remaining on the earth treated believers, as Lee taught. Or is it a more general parable showing that true believers will have a heart to take care of their neighbors? It's worthy of discussion.
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Old 08-20-2016, 08:41 AM   #15
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There are plenty of trustworthy organizations. Statistics of where money goes are available. Besides, if we used that excuse no one would give. That's part of the problem and part of what Will Davis calls "the spirit of poverty." Did you watch the video?

Davis addresses the issue of not trusting a church enough to tithe to it. He said if you don't trust them then you probably should find another church. We ought to be able to find somebody to give to, and God commands us to give. So I don't think not trusting recipients as an excuse for not giving at all is going to wash with Him ultimately. "Cast your bread upon the waters." "God loves a cheerful giver."

Although I think we all ought to learn to give as the Bible commands, that isn't the main reason for this thread. The main reason is to discuss what is our legitimate involvement in and with the world. The LCM's involvement is so "spiritual" and theoretical that they've pretty much excused themselves from any grass roots good works, even though Jesus performed plenty. My question is, what is legitimate? Beyond that, what does the Lord actually expect?

Is the sheep and goats parable about just the end times and how those non-believers remaining on the earth treated believers, as Lee taught. Or is it a more general parable showing that true believers will have a heart to take care of their neighbors? It's worthy of discussion.
I did watch some of the video.

For 10 years in the LC (towards the end) I was church treasurer. Not at all my choice, but out of loyalty. We always had a category "needy saints," but almost never gave anything to "needy saints." What little we had to work with was always heavily taxed by Cleveland, basically taxation without representation. It was also required of us to send a monthly check to LSM's DCP for their legal expenses.

The next church we attended was worse about money. We were constantly hammered for tithes, gifts, offerings, missions, special needs, TV ministry, endless building funds, etc. I could no longer afford to be a Christian. We couldn't attend a prayer meeting without passing the basket. At one point they even passed out wristbands declaring, "There is no recession in the kingdom of God." It troubled me that Pastor's wife got a new Lexus, but who am I to criticize such a well-respected organization, that did so much good for the community.

I have known the tremendous joy in giving, yet it has been soured by corruption. Few Christian leaders "take forethought for things honorable."
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Old 08-20-2016, 10:12 AM   #16
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I did watch some of the video.

For 10 years in the LC (towards the end) I was church treasurer. Not at all my choice, but out of loyalty. We always had a category "needy saints," but almost never gave anything to "needy saints." What little we had to work with was always heavily taxed by Cleveland, basically taxation without representation. It was also required of us to send a monthly check to LSM's DCP for their legal expenses.

The next church we attended was worse about money. We were constantly hammered for tithes, gifts, offerings, missions, special needs, TV ministry, endless building funds, etc. I could no longer afford to be a Christian. We couldn't attend a prayer meeting without passing the basket. At one point they even passed out wristbands declaring, "There is no recession in the kingdom of God." It troubled me that Pastor's wife got a new Lexus, but who am I to criticize such a well-respected organization, that did so much good for the community.

I have known the tremendous joy in giving, yet it has been soured by corruption. Few Christian leaders "take forethought for things honorable."
I also watched some of the video. I think that, post-LC, I am very turned off by talk about "tithing," or anything I see as pressure to give financially. I understand the speaker's point and application, but it is hard for me to get past references like these. I consider modern evangelical teaching on tithing to be false doctrine--a form of legalism, and a total distortion of Old Testament practice. That's just my take on it.
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Old 08-20-2016, 12:00 PM   #17
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I also watched some of the video. I think that, post-LC, I am very turned off by talk about "tithing," or anything I see as pressure to give financially. I understand the speaker's point and application, but it is hard for me to get past references like these. I consider modern evangelical teaching on tithing to be false doctrine--a form of legalism, and a total distortion of Old Testament practice. That's just my take on it.
How is it a "total distortion?"

If we cannot find some church or ministry we can trust with money, what are we really saying?

I understand being traumatized by bad experiences. I don't understand trying to formulate a theology that exempts us from giving.
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Old 08-20-2016, 03:53 PM   #18
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How is it a "total distortion?"

If we cannot find some church or ministry we can trust with money, what are we really saying?

I understand being traumatized by bad experiences. I don't understand trying to formulate a theology that exempts us from giving.
"Tithing" and "giving" are not the same. Tithing is an Old Testament practice of the law in which the Children of Israel offered 1/10 of their produce (crops) to meet the needs of the poor. Christian leaders have warped this Old Testament practice into an ordinance on believers (who are not under the law) to give 10% of their cash to 501(c)(3) corporations. If others choose to do this, it is their prerogative, but I do have a problem with this distortion being presented as Bible teaching.
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Old 08-20-2016, 04:55 PM   #19
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"Tithing" and "giving" are not the same. Tithing is an Old Testament practice of the law in which the Children of Israel offered 1/10 of their produce (crops) to meet the needs of the poor. Christian leaders have warped this Old Testament practice into an ordinance on believers (who are not under the law) to give 10% of their cash to 501(c)(3) corporations. If others choose to do this, it is their prerogative, but I do have a problem with this distortion being presented as Bible teaching.
I have serious doubts along this line also. The apostles had ample opportunity to bring tithing from the old into the new covenant, but they did not. In I Cor 16.2, Paul decidedly took a modified direction.

In the last 10 years or so, I have seen way too many Christians preach the old covenant as if it applied directly to the church. The new covenant is to the church, whereas the old covenant is for the church, for her learning, as Paul says in I Cor 10.11.

If believers desire to use the principle of tithing for their practice, I have no problem with that, only when preachers teach it as a legal practice, often due to their own self-serving desires. They usually say it is "equal sacrifice" for rich and poor, but with our current form of taxation, I feel it penalizes the working class. I also feel it penalizes those, like myself, who always felt that the donation of my heart and time to the Lord and the church superseded a monthly tax-deductible check.

Now if they really want to be legally accurate according to the old covenant, then I am willing to bring 10% from our garden. It only produces a few months of the year, however.
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Old 08-21-2016, 06:50 AM   #20
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I see your point, Koinonia, except the part about it being a "total distortion." That's seems a bit of an overstatement. You are entitled to an opinion about New Testament tithing, but let's not overstate things.

But here's a question. If tithing is not a NT principle, then what should be the guidelines for giving? As it stands most Christians do not give anything to the churches they regularly attend nor to any ministries. Are you okay with this? There is no doubt that many churches and ministries cannot operate as well as they might because people do not give. How do you feel about this? Here's an interesting stat. American Christians gave more as a percentage of income during the Great Depression than they give now. Do we have less now? Are we poorer? No, we are the richest people in the history of the world. Yet we are giving less and less. See my point?

Let's leave out the argument that some churches/leaders are crooked. That's a dead-end argument that ties the Lord's hands if we use it as an excuse to not give. We are bound to be able to find some church/ministry we trust enough to give to, right? Why would you attend any church or follow any ministry you couldn't trust to give to?

The problem is some Christians never learn how to give. And it seems to me that arguing against tithing and arguing that Christian leaders are crooked just helps ensure that they never learn. These arguments certainly don't encourage Christians to give and they seem to encourage them not to.

You might say that it's up to each believer to decide how much to give. But that doesn't seem to be getting the job done. So where does the problem lie and how does it get addressed?
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Old 08-21-2016, 07:08 AM   #21
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But, again, for some reason no one is picking up the discussion of how much the Church should influence the world and how this is done. What does it mean to be the salt of the earth?

Let's face it. The LCM attitude toward non-involvement in charities and good works "got us off the hook" from being involved in those. Our dirty little secret was our flesh liked that, just like our flesh liked not having to cooperate with any Christians not in the LCM. We could just sit in our ivory tower, read our HWMRs and look down our noses at everything else.

But do we not do more good works as ex-LCM members because of that influence, because we don't have time or money, or just because we are being disobedient?
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Old 08-21-2016, 07:26 AM   #22
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I see your point, Koinonia, except the part about it being a "total distortion." That's seems a bit of an overstatement. You are entitled to an opinion about New Testament tithing, but let's not overstate things.
I believe I've already shown how it is a total distortion.

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But here's a question. If tithing is not a NT principle, then what should be the guidelines for giving?
New Testament giving: "Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7).

So, giving is a personal matter, a heart matter, between the believer and God.

Quote:
As it stands most Christians do not give anything to the churches they regularly attend nor to any ministries. Are you okay with this? There is no doubt that many churches and ministries cannot operate as well as they might because people do not give. How do you feel about this? Here's an interesting stat. American Christians gave more as a percentage of income during the Great Depression than they give now. Do we have less now? Are we poorer? No, we are the richest people in the history of the world. Yet we are giving less and less. See my point?
Yes, I am okay with this. Because I do not equate giving to God with giving to religious organizations for buildings, maintenance, administration, salaries, programs, etc. Today's version of tithing looks less to me like giving and more to me like taxation on participation in a religious club.
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Old 08-21-2016, 07:27 AM   #23
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"Tithing" and "giving" are not the same. Tithing is an Old Testament practice of the law in which the Children of Israel offered 1/10 of their produce (crops) to meet the needs of the poor. Christian leaders have warped this Old Testament practice into an ordinance on believers (who are not under the law) to give 10% of their cash to 501(c)(3) corporations. If others choose to do this, it is their prerogative, but I do have a problem with this distortion being presented as Bible teaching.
Oh how they love to quote Malachi 3. If there are any verses in the Bible which every congregant can quote it is these:
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8 Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me! But you say, 'How have we robbed you?' In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with the curse; for you rob me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and test me now in this," says Yahweh of Armies, "if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough for. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast its fruit before its time in the field," says Yahweh of Armies. 12 "All nations shall call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land," says Yahweh of Armies.
Today many preach that tithing is our covenant with God, and all our blessings result from it. So many Christians are now convinced that all spiritual blessing must ultimately be "bought and paid for" with their tithes and offerings. Hence, tithing, in the minds of far too many, supersedes faith, love, and hope, not to mention everything else in the new testament.
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Old 08-21-2016, 12:50 PM   #24
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Yes, I am okay with this. Because I do not equate giving to God with giving to religious organizations for buildings, maintenance, administration, salaries, programs, etc. Today's version of tithing looks less to me like giving and more to me like taxation on participation in a religious club.
What do you equate giving to God to, I mean financially? You won't give to any organizations that use buildings that might need maintenance? Or that pay anyone? What's left to give to? Homeless street preachers? Or does an angel come and pick your check up, and take it to heaven?
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Old 08-21-2016, 01:28 PM   #25
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What do you equate giving to God to, I mean financially?
"And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward" (Matthew 10:42).

"And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me'" (Matthew 25:40).

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You won't give to any organizations that use buildings that might need maintenance? Or that pay anyone?
I did not say that. But that should not be called "tithing."

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What's left to give to? Homeless street preachers? Or does an angel come and pick your check up, and take it to heaven?
Giving, like anything else in God's kingdom, should be a spiritual reality, not not an organizational practice, and not an obligation. If I choose to give a cash offering to someone in my community, or to a Christian worker in another area, or for a gospel campaign, etc., that is between me and God. But when pastors impose a false concept of "tithing" on members of their congregations, obligation to fork over 10% of their paychecks to them (their organization), that is a temple tax, and that has no New Testament basis.
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Old 08-21-2016, 01:42 PM   #26
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Giving, like anything else in God's kingdom, should be a spiritual reality, not not an organizational practice, and not an obligation. If I choose to give a cash offering to someone in my community, or to a Christian worker in another area, or for a gospel campaign, etc., that is between me and God. But when pastors impose a false concept of "tithing" on members of their congregations, obligation to fork over 10% of their paychecks to them (their organization), that is a temple tax, and that has no New Testament basis.
I hate to interrupt an on-going conversation, but I have an old ex-LC friend who took this very discussion to the Bible and looked up every verse on the subject. His conclusion: Every mention of money in the New Testament says to "give to the poor," and the NT never mentions giving for buildings or organizations.

I realize this is an extreme view, which I don't particularly adhere to, but I have always thought that the time will come when Uncle Sam will take away our tax deduction, and that will provide the Lord much opportunity to burn away the chaff of "institutional" church.
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Old 08-21-2016, 01:52 PM   #27
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I hate to interrupt an on-going conversation...
Ohio, your input (and anyone else's) is welcome.

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...but I have an old ex-LC friend who took this very discussion to the Bible and looked up every verse on the subject. His conclusion: Every mention of money in the New Testament says to "give to the poor," and the NT never mentions giving for buildings or organizations.
This is true.

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I realize this is an extreme view, which I don't particularly adhere to, but I have always thought that the time will come when Uncle Sam will take away our tax deduction, and that will provide the Lord much opportunity to burn away the chaff of "institutional" church.
I agree with this And I have a feeling that the current rankling over homosexual marriage in the USA will eventually result in government sanction to unsettle a lot of these institutional/financial arrangements of American churches, and that, I believe, will be a good thing.
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Old 08-21-2016, 03:39 PM   #28
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I don't think that tithing is a legal obligation in the New Testament, or that pastors have the right to demand that 10% go to the home church. But I do think the OT principle of tithing does tell us that God expects some portion of our income be given away. Giving is a good thing. How much? I would never insist someone give 10%. But I think the OT establishes that 10% is not an unreasonable amount. At the very least it does that.

My point, really, is that we all should try to give something. I agree the precise amount is between someone and God. But so is how much someone prays and reads the Bible. I can't decide for someone how much they should do those things. But I can confidently say they should do them some.

Tithing aside, I still think if everyone gave what God was really leading them to give that there would be more given than is given now. I can't prove that. But I know my own heart that giving is one of the hardest things to do. Why? Because I love money too much and don't trust God enough.

And frankly I believe that without a tithing principle, even less would be given than is given now. Because stats shows it's the tithers, not those who give less, who actually support churches. Less than 20% of church members support almost 100% of church budgets. This includes churches that are quite reasonable in their salaries and expenses.

The church I attend, ACF, has modest budget expenses. We are not in debt and the leaders have promised no elaborate building projects. About 6 years ago we began to work toward giving away 50% of what is collected to other ministries around Austin and the world. We are now operating at this goal. There is no indication that any member who gives is suffering under financial burden because they are giving to the church. I don't see how this is anything but God's blessing.

Just today our pastor reported our giving $100,000 to a ministry which provides shelter and care for those attempting to escape sexual trafficking. If you have a problem with that you ought to be ashamed of yourselves.
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Old 08-21-2016, 04:34 PM   #29
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If you have a problem with that you ought to be ashamed of yourselves.
This is uncalled for.

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I don't think that tithing is a legal obligation in the New Testament, or that pastors have the right to demand that 10% go to the home church. But I do think the OT principle of tithing does tell us that God expects some portion of our income be given away. Giving is a good thing. How much? I would never insist someone give 10%. But I think the OT establishes that 10% is not an unreasonable amount. At the very least it does that.

My point, really, is that we all should try to give something. I agree the precise amount is between someone and God. But so is how much someone prays and reads the Bible. I can't decide for someone how much they should do those things. But I can confidently say they should do them some.

Tithing aside, I still think if everyone gave what God was really leading them to give that there would be more given than is given now. I can't prove that. But I know my own heart that giving is one of the hardest things to do. Why? Because I love money too much and don't trust God enough.

And frankly I believe that without a tithing principle, even less would be given than is given now. Because stats shows it's the tithers, not those who give less, who actually support churches. Less than 20% of church members support almost 100% of church budgets. This includes churches that are quite reasonable in their salaries and expenses.

The church I attend, ACF, has modest budget expenses. We are not in debt and the leaders have promised no elaborate building projects. About 6 years ago we began to work toward giving away 50% of what is collected to other ministries around Austin and the world. We are now operating at this goal. There is no indication that any member who gives is suffering under financial burden because they are giving to the church. I don't see how this is anything but God's blessing.

Just today our pastor reported our giving $100,000 to a ministry which provides shelter and care for those attempting to escape sexual trafficking.
I agree with most everything else you wrote here--in principle. Again, this should not be taken (or imposed) as a legal matter.

When I was in the LC, I consistently gave more than 10% of my income each month to my local congregation, believing that this is what was expected of me. Our household income was/is quite modest (about half of the average household income for our area); so, this money made a big difference.

About six months before finally leaving the LC, I had already stopped this kind of "giving"--because I had begun to realize that this was not something that God expected of me. I was giving 10% of our income in order to finance all manner of religious programs determined at the discretion of the eldership--salaries of full-timers, building maintenance, mortgage payments, other construction projects, etc., etc.

In my view, we had made two fundamental errors-- 1) equating the Old Testament practice of bringing 10% of your crop harvest to the communal storehouse and funding the corporate affairs of modern-day religious institutions, and 2) equating "giving" to funding the corporate affairs of these same modern-day religious institutions.

I think that in considering all of this, we are also tiptoeing around a larger conversation of what "church" is.

Lastly, I am absolutely not opposed to charitable works and realize that I have lacked strongly in this area, especially having grown up in a group like the LC.
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Old 08-21-2016, 05:54 PM   #30
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Just today our pastor reported our giving $100,000 to a ministry which provides shelter and care for those attempting to escape sexual trafficking. If you have a problem with that you ought to be ashamed of yourselves.
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This is uncalled for.
Igzy ... what happened there ... it was like we were walking down the street (I just returned from my evening hike.) fellowshipping about ACF burdens and giving ... and then you turn and smack me in the head. yikes!

I hope you were not upset with our diverse viewpoints. Your church sounds unique. I've been in churches for decades, and not sure if I ever came across brothers like those at ACF.
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Old 08-21-2016, 06:19 PM   #31
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When I was in the LC, I consistently gave more than 10% of my income each month to my local congregation, believing that this is what was expected of me. Our household income was/is quite modest (about half of the average household income for our area); so, this money made a big difference.
Tithing for the Levites was in lieu of taxes. Today we pay local, state, federal income tax, soc. sec. tax, local, county, and school property tax, besides all the sales taxes, fees, registrations, etc. My dad had 9 kids and he used to complain that he had to work and pay double taxes for another family of 9 kids living off the government. That was over 50 years ago, long before gov't got "big" along with the debt. Those who preach that tithing must be on our gross income actually are demanding roughly 20% of our income.

Then add on that all of the expenses for me to serve. I used to drive hundreds of miles per week for the church. Once I fell asleep at the wheel after work going to care for the home meeting 25 miles away. I could go on and on here, but why do the tithing demands not include all of my other expenses for church service. To this day I have never been reimbursed except for purchases, and there were literally thousands of them.

I know what really builds up the church, and it's not the Sunday morning guy whose wife writes a weekly donation check. It's the endless hours praying, visiting, caring, fellowshipping, serving, before the meeting, after the meeting, on the weekends, during the weekday, every morning, every night. I'll take the brother who gives his heart and soul and time over the mere donation check every day of the year.

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About six months before finally leaving the LC, I had already stopped this kind of "giving"--because I had begun to realize that this was not something that God expected of me. I was giving 10% of our income in order to finance all manner of religious programs determined at the discretion of the eldership--salaries of full-timers, building maintenance, mortgage payments, other construction projects, etc., etc.
Koinonia, if it was the local eldership who prayed and followed the Lord and then decided how to steward the offerings, I would have no problem with that, but we never had that liberty. Cleveland and Anaheim constantly had their hands out.
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Old 08-21-2016, 08:15 PM   #32
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Tithing for the Levites was in lieu of taxes. Today we pay local, state, federal income tax, soc. sec. tax, local, county, and school property tax, besides all the sales taxes, fees, registrations, etc. My dad had 9 kids and he used to complain that he had to work and pay double taxes for another family of 9 kids living off the government. That was over 50 years ago, long before gov't got "big" along with the debt. Those who preach that tithing must be on our gross income actually are demanding roughly 20% of our income.

Then add on that all of the expenses for me to serve. I used to drive hundreds of miles per week for the church. Once I fell asleep at the wheel after work going to care for the home meeting 25 miles away. I could go on and on here, but why do the tithing demands not include all of my other expenses for church service. To this day I have never been reimbursed except for purchases, and there were literally thousands of them.
Ohio, I completely sympathize with you here. My entire adult life in the LC, my weekly "serving" hours would almost always tally up to the equivalent of a second full-time job.
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Old 08-21-2016, 08:58 PM   #33
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I was really hoping this would spark a better discussion.

He's what this comes down to guys: What is God's purpose for the Church on earth today?

Is it to be spiritual and get transformed and wait for the Lord to come back with little impact on culture?

Or does God want the Church to impact culture? How is this done?
Igzy, I have a question. When you ask, What is God's purpose for the Church on earth today?, do you imply that the purpose of the Church today should be "different" (or more wide) than the purpose of the Church at the beginning? Just asking.
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Old 08-21-2016, 09:37 PM   #34
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Igzy, I have a question. When you ask, What is God's purpose for the Church on earth today?, do you imply that the purpose of the Church today should be "different" (or more wide) than the purpose of the Church at the beginning? Just asking.
No, in principle it's the same. We may use different techniques, but the purpose has always been the same, to bring God's kingdom in. Since God's kingdom is experienced in hearts, we should to whatever we can to touch people's hearts. This include charitable acts.
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Old 08-21-2016, 09:52 PM   #35
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Igzy ... what happened there ... it was like we were walking down the street (I just returned from my evening hike.) fellowshipping about ACF burdens and giving ... and then you turn and smack me in the head. yikes!

I hope you were not upset with our diverse viewpoints. Your church sounds unique. I've been in churches for decades, and not sure if I ever came across brothers like those at ACF.
Well, it seemed you and Koinonia were trying to make this a referendum on tithing, which was never my point at all. Koinonia seemed to be saying that if money he gave was used for buildings or salaries then that was not giving to God.

I understand once burnt, twice shy. But I don't think, ultimately, God buys the argument that some churches/organizations waste money so therefore we are off the hook for giving. Yes, some entities are wasteful. So what? Find some that aren't. To me the "they waste money" argument is cynical. I don't think being cynical and being a cheerful giver mix well.

I wouldn't waste my time with a girlfriend who smoked. Does that mean because some women smoke I should swear off all women? No. I'd find one that didn't smoke. So find an honest church. If you can't find one, better start one.

But maybe I misunderstood you guys. I know Will Davis preached tithing. But I take that with a grain of salt. The point, to me, is to give, that most of us should give more than we do, and that giving can result in a lot of good works that impact people for God's kingdom. Ten percent is a safe number. But maybe five percent is too. The only unsafe number, unless you have a darn good excuse, is zero percent. Guess where most Christians are on that scale? See my point?

Again, the reason I brought this up is precisely what I'm seeing in you guys. A hesitancy to give because of your LCM history. I get the reason, and I'm not condemning. But this is an important subject that many may never get around to dealing with.

What? Should we have yet another discussion about how the LCM leaders are bums or how Daystar was a ripoff? Haven't we beaten those dogs to a pulp? This board should be about healing, and speaking for myself, my LCM-tainted attitude toward giving needed healing. Probably some others do, too.
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Old 08-21-2016, 10:06 PM   #36
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I hope you were not upset with our diverse viewpoints. Your church sounds unique. I've been in churches for decades, and not sure if I ever came across brothers like those at ACF.
Remember what I told DistantStar. No one should claim to be unique.

Which brings to mind a joke my kids liked when they were little:

How do you catch a unique bird? Unique up on it.

How do you catch a tame bird? Tame way. Unique up on it.
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Old 08-21-2016, 10:11 PM   #37
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No, in principle it's the same. We may use different techniques, but the purpose has always been the same, to bring God's kingdom in. Since God's kingdom is experienced in hearts, we should to whatever we can to touch people's hearts. This include charitable acts.

If I understand you correctly, do you wish the Church to build hospitals, orphanages, and do all kinds of charitable acts as a mean to touch people's hearts so that they might receive the Lord as their Savior, and so bringing in God's kingdom?
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Old 08-22-2016, 04:59 AM   #38
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I disagree with the "social gospel" and the suggestion that the church is for helping the world even though that is an important and noble thing to do.

Jesus never gave such instructions.

The purpose of the church is clear:

Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
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Old 08-22-2016, 06:07 AM   #39
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If I understand you correctly, do you wish the Church to build hospitals, orphanages, and do all kinds of charitable acts as a mean to touch people's hearts so that they might receive the Lord as their Savior, and so bringing in God's kingdom?
Yes, as the Lord leads.
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Old 08-22-2016, 06:22 AM   #40
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Yes, as the Lord leads.
How many hospitals do you need to build before a person gets saved.

Romans 10:14. Nothing about building things there.
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Old 08-22-2016, 07:59 AM   #41
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How many hospitals do you need to build before a person gets saved.

Romans 10:14. Nothing about building things there.
I don't believe that God is only interested in people's regeneration. He loves man and loves to see our God-given gifts and talents be beneficial to others. Isn't it "better to give than to receive?"

I have a book by James Kennedy, What if Jesus Had Never Been Born. The book itemizes the massive impact of Jesus Christ thru His people on every arena of life, from science to medicine to education to economics to civil liberties. It is just incredible!
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Old 08-22-2016, 08:11 AM   #42
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I disagree with the "social gospel" and the suggestion that the church is for helping the world even though that is an important and noble thing to do.

Jesus never gave such instructions.

The purpose of the church is clear:

Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Jesus' words didn't stop at verse 15. His words go on in verses 16-18:-
15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

In the early days, miracles were given to accompany the preaching of gospel so as to support the establishment of the gospel.


Jesus Himself, in his earthly ministry, also did not just preach in vacuum. He healed the sick, fed the hungry etc. His good deeds accompanied His teachings and gave it credibility. Similarly, today the Christian's good manner of life is the way they preach the gospel.

1 Peter 2 v 9-10 is well-known "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. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."


How to be a priest? How to declare the praises of Him?

Peter answers this in the verses that follow it (from 2 v 11 to 3 v 13), it is by the good manner of life.
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Old 08-22-2016, 09:28 AM   #43
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I disagree with the "social gospel" and the suggestion that the church is for helping the world even though that is an important and noble thing to do.

Jesus never gave such instructions.

The purpose of the church is clear:

Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Evangelical, you may disagree with a "social gospel," but doesn't LSM require you to agree with a "legal gospel?" How many ministries do you know have an on-board legal team named DCP, and require member churches to regularly donate to it? Before you deny my claims, please note that I was church treasurer and was intimately aware of what LSM did to Columbus and Mansfield, Ohio.

If I had to choose whether it is better that a "social gospel" or a "legal gospel" accompany the good news of God's love, I would definitely choose the "social gospel" because it corresponds with Paul's instruction to be "zealous of good works," (please read Titus 2.14) the very reason "He gave Himself for us, redeeming us from all lawlessness, and purifying us to Himself for His own possession."

I won't mention all the verses that warn us about suing others.
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Old 08-22-2016, 09:36 AM   #44
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How many hospitals do you need to build before a person gets saved.

Romans 10:14. Nothing about building things there.
Sorry, but that seems a disingenuous question.

How many times do you need to preach to someone or pray for him before he gets saved?

We are told to do "every good work" (Col 1:10) that's a broad description that can include charitable works. There is no compelling reason to think it doesn't, except if you are compelled to find an excuse to not do these things.

I would say that anything you can do to express the love of Christ with a view to people being touched by it is potentially a good work. This can include building hospitals, or mowing yards for busy single moms. If you feel to not do these things, that's your business. But it seems rather cynical and frankly un-Christ-like to scoff at others who do.

There are a multitude of stories about people who came to the Lord because they were touched by the practical love of Christians. What kind of heart has a problem with this? The LCM likes to talk about practical oneness. Well, what about practical love and a practical gospel? What's wrong with those?

You'd better hope Matt 25:31-46 means only what Lee said it meant. Because if its meaning is more general. If it means practical love is the bottom-line expression of Christ.... you've got a problem.
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Old 08-22-2016, 10:25 AM   #45
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Yeah. He says it well.

And I will add to it. Where is it stated that the things that are done require that there be an opportunity to preach the gospel (meaning speak about Christ) to be valid? Of you decide to serve meals at a homeless shelter and they do not want anyone making religious comments of any kind, should you refuse to serve?

Surely you should still serve. The act of refusing is to be exactly opposite of the one who was and still is our example — Christ.

And I will make an unpopular point on the quoting of Mark 16:15. Just like in Matthew, who was he talking to? To the eleven. Not even the 70, or the 500. Or to a huge assembly such as in the sermon on the mount.

But he was clear that the first commandment was to love God, and the second was like it — love your neighbor as yourself. And in one of the accounts he defined neighbor as unthinkably broad.

Can this be excluded from the mission of the church just because he did not include the word "church" when he commanded it?

So do you love yourself enough to want a hospital for your medical care? Then where is the restriction on how we love others, including giving to the building of hospitals that can care for them.

It is in the overt refusal to be part of that, or at least some such activities, that you prove your lack of love for your neighbor. I would agree that we cannot all do everything. And everyone does not have to give to this or that. Or help with every charity that we hear of. And not everyone is gifted enough financially to give to a lot of such things. So being selective is one thing. But refusing because you think it is not you job is to prove a lack of understanding of the scripture. And to prove a lack of love for neighbor.
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Old 08-22-2016, 11:41 AM   #46
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It is in the overt refusal to be part of that, or at least some such activities, that you prove your lack of love for your neighbor. I would agree that we cannot all do everything. And everyone does not have to give to this or that. Or help with every charity that we hear of. And not everyone is gifted enough financially to give to a lot of such things. So being selective is one thing. But refusing because you think it is not you job is to prove a lack of understanding of the scripture. And to prove a lack of love for neighbor.
Very well said.
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Old 08-22-2016, 11:49 AM   #47
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And I will add to it. Where is it stated that the things that are done require that there be an opportunity to preach the gospel (meaning speak about Christ) to be valid? Of you decide to serve meals at a homeless shelter and they do not want anyone making religious comments of any kind, should you refuse to serve?

Surely you should still serve.
Amen to that, too. Is the parable of the Good Samaritan even in the Recovery Version?
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Old 08-22-2016, 12:05 PM   #48
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I disagree with the "social gospel" and the suggestion that the church is for helping the world even though that is an important and noble thing to do.

Jesus never gave such instructions.

The purpose of the church is clear:

Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Evangelical, Have you ever heard the saying "Preach the gospel. And when necessary use words"?

The "social gospel" is a mischaracterization. As I said in an earlier post, the dichotomy between the spiritual and the natural in this case is an artificial one. Or, more precisely, only those who are falsely spiritual fret about the difference. The truly spiritual simply do whatever it takes, spiritual or natural--that is caring for other's spirits, or souls or bodies, and the things that keep all operating--and don't worry that much about differentiating. God will lead us into balance. But the Bible is clear that if you see someone in need you are supposed to have a heart to help them if you can, not excuse yourself because since you are spiritual helping people practically is beneath you.

The bottom line is the Church is supposed to express the nature of God. Is this not a central tenet of the LCM? Does God not care for the practical needs of people? Is this not in his nature? How can you express his nature and not express his practical care for people in some way?
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Old 08-22-2016, 01:53 PM   #49
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But the Bible is clear that if you see someone in need you are supposed to have a heart to help them if you can, not excuse yourself because since you are spiritual helping people practically is beneath you.

The bottom line is the Church is supposed to express the nature of God. Is this not a central tenet of the LCM? Does God not care for the practical needs of people? Is this not in his nature? How can you express his nature and not express his practical care for people in some way?
Here it is Witness Lee's false narrative concerning the "Good Samaritan" that misleads LC members. (please read Luke 10.30-37) Lee's message is that Jesus is the "Good Samaritan" and enumerates in footnote 1 of Luke 10.34 all the loving attributes of the "Man-Savior" Jesus Christ. I'm not saying that this is wrong, but Lee's commentary makes the whole story objective, and removes any kind of personal responsibility from the reader.

Thus Lee completely misses the punchline of the Lord's instructive story. The reader thinks he thus knows everything, including the depths of the riches of the hidden meanings overlooked by all others, but misses the most important thing. What does Jesus say? How does He conclude the story? Does He say that He is the real Good Samaritan? No!

"And Jesus said to him, You go and do likewise." Now remember Jesus told this to a certain lawyer who was testing Him, and doing poorly at it, he tried to justify himself. Here the Lord spent no time explaining that he or we should not act out of our natural man. Instead, He was exposing the Jewish leaders for using every excuse possible for not loving their neighbor.
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Old 08-22-2016, 01:57 PM   #50
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Or said another way, to those who are in Christ, everything is spiritual unless you are simply succumbing to the "old man."

And everything is "in Christ" except to the extent that you choose to act against what you know to be of Christ.

Everything about us reflects Christ to others. Even the mundane. It is unfortunate that when we do poorly, that is what others view as the representation of Christ. When we become raving lunatics screaming against the immorality of the unsaved, we are seen as representing Christ. (I hope that is not any of us.)

Very unlike our example that ate with sinners.

And when we declare that it is not our place to do good deeds for the unsaved, or only for the unsaved that might be able to become saved directly from our efforts, we show a limited understanding of "love your neighbor as yourself."

For many of us (me included) it is fortunate that most of us don't have those cutesy fish symbols on our cars because we should be ashamed of our behavior behind the wheel if the world thought that was what Christians behaved like. Fortunately (and unfortunately) for me, they are uninformed that the extent that my driving remains unreformed is hidden from discovery . . . but I should still do better.
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Old 08-22-2016, 05:25 PM   #51
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I think it's great that people are chiming in here. Even some lurkers can't resist stepping up and defending the LCM status quo. Please don't think I'm mocking or belittling, but this was exactly what I hoped would happen.

I've been one of the worst offenders when it comes to not giving. That's the beauty of the whole GIVING paradigm. It exposes us. It's where the rubber meets the road. Consider the following verses:

"It is more blessed to GIVE than to receive."

"God so loved the world that he GAVE..."

God gives. That's his nature. At its core love is giving.

"Greater love has no man than this: that he lay down (GIVES up) his life for his friends."

If you don't get giving you don't get God.
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Old 08-22-2016, 07:44 PM   #52
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Well, it seemed you and Koinonia were trying to make this a referendum on tithing, which was never my point at all. Koinonia seemed to be saying that if money he gave was used for buildings or salaries then that was not giving to God.

I understand once burnt, twice shy. But I don't think, ultimately, God buys the argument that some churches/organizations waste money so therefore we are off the hook for giving. Yes, some entities are wasteful. So what? Find some that aren't. To me the "they waste money" argument is cynical. I don't think being cynical and being a cheerful giver mix well.

I wouldn't waste my time with a girlfriend who smoked. Does that mean because some women smoke I should swear off all women? No. I'd find one that didn't smoke. So find an honest church. If you can't find one, better start one.

But maybe I misunderstood you guys. I know Will Davis preached tithing. But I take that with a grain of salt. The point, to me, is to give, that most of us should give more than we do, and that giving can result in a lot of good works that impact people for God's kingdom. Ten percent is a safe number. But maybe five percent is too. The only unsafe number, unless you have a darn good excuse, is zero percent. Guess where most Christians are on that scale? See my point?

Again, the reason I brought this up is precisely what I'm seeing in you guys. A hesitancy to give because of your LCM history. I get the reason, and I'm not condemning. But this is an important subject that many may never get around to dealing with.

What? Should we have yet another discussion about how the LCM leaders are bums or how Daystar was a ripoff? Haven't we beaten those dogs to a pulp? This board should be about healing, and speaking for myself, my LCM-tainted attitude toward giving needed healing. Probably some others do, too.
You have misinterpreted (or misunderstood) me. My point is that 1) it is unbiblical to equate tithing with the giving of money to religious organizations funding religious activity, and 2) tithing is not a New Testament practice to begin with. Your whole post here reads like law, and I did not leave the LC for that. Also, I am not opposed to giving money to religious organizations per se (because I do). But I am opposed to religious organizations incorrectly using a tithing teaching to obligate such giving.

Of course, I believe in giving generously. But that should be the issue of a heart happy in God, and not the result of religious pressure.
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Old 08-22-2016, 07:49 PM   #53
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Igzy,

it seems that there are two issues in your posts: giving and solving the problems of the world.

I believe you, and others, have correctly pointed that this is what God demands to all His children. It seems that no one (?) had a problem with this except in how much give. In the O.T. God said to give 10%. In the N. T. there is not such commandment. Some have argued (not those who have posted here) that the New Testament believers should offer more than those under the Law.

The second issue is the following:

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"God's plan for solving the problems of the world has never been government. It has always been the Church."

"If every church member tithed the Church would collect another $165 billion a year, which would solve the world problems of hunger, thirst, literacy, mission funding... with $100 billion left over."
While there is strong evidence from the Bible to support the first point (giving), I do not see that God's plan for the Church is to solve the problems of the world. If the Church cannot solve its own problems, and there are so many, how could her help others? One of the exception is the Roman Catholic Church which, by the way, is a State, too.

There are examples of individuals who have helped to solve some problems of the world (G. Mueller, H. Taylor), based on their absolute dependence on God (without advertising their needs). I believe works of faith of some Christians, who feels so under the clear direction of God should have all the support, from other like minded Christians, they “deserve”. But for the Church as such, I do not see, from the N.T., that this is God's plan.
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Old 08-22-2016, 07:54 PM   #54
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Evangelical, Have you ever heard the saying "Preach the gospel. And when necessary use words"?

The "social gospel" is a mischaracterization. As I said in an earlier post, the dichotomy between the spiritual and the natural in this case is an artificial one. Or, more precisely, only those who are falsely spiritual fret about the difference. The truly spiritual simply do whatever it takes, spiritual or natural--that is caring for other's spirits, or souls or bodies, and the things that keep all operating--and don't worry that much about differentiating. God will lead us into balance. But the Bible is clear that if you see someone in need you are supposed to have a heart to help them if you can, not excuse yourself because since you are spiritual helping people practically is beneath you.

The bottom line is the Church is supposed to express the nature of God. Is this not a central tenet of the LCM? Does God not care for the practical needs of people? Is this not in his nature? How can you express his nature and not express his practical care for people in some way?

"If every church member tithed the Church would collect another $165 billion a year, which would solve the world problems of hunger, thirst, literacy, mission funding... with $100 billion left over."

I don't believe that church members tithing is the problem, it is the church leadership who choose to spend the money on themselves and not these good deeds that you mentioned.

The Gospel is the core business of the church just like selling hamburgers is the core business of Macdonalds and selling fried chicken is the core business of KFC.

In my experience of the local churches I have only experienced care and concern of my whole being. This is a group who are always giving you food and invite you for meals and if you need help with your house painted or car fixed, there is someone willing to lend a hand. In fact I think it is a bit too helpful and too concerned. Unlike denominations where you can attend a service and leave without anyone speaking with you.

I don't believe Witness Lee have ever made such distinction between practical needs and spiritual needs and said we should disregard one for the other. In the teachings, often, both Christ's humanity and his divinity are stressed, in so-called shepherding and nourishing. Maybe some have, and this is what your negative experiences are based upon. But I find no evidence from this in the teachings or my experiences.
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Old 08-22-2016, 08:08 PM   #55
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Evangelical, you may disagree with a "social gospel," but doesn't LSM require you to agree with a "legal gospel?" How many ministries do you know have an on-board legal team named DCP, and require member churches to regularly donate to it? Before you deny my claims, please note that I was church treasurer and was intimately aware of what LSM did to Columbus and Mansfield, Ohio.

If I had to choose whether it is better that a "social gospel" or a "legal gospel" accompany the good news of God's love, I would definitely choose the "social gospel" because it corresponds with Paul's instruction to be "zealous of good works," (please read Titus 2.14) the very reason "He gave Himself for us, redeeming us from all lawlessness, and purifying us to Himself for His own possession."

I won't mention all the verses that warn us about suing others.
I don't see what the abusive behavior has to do with your view of the gospel. Don't you have a Bible? Fact of the matter is that biblically speaking, the gospel is primarily the preaching of the Gospel and not solving the world's problems.
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Old 08-22-2016, 09:27 PM   #56
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In John 12:7-8 a woman wasted a year's wages worth of expensive perfume on Jesus. Judas said they should have used it for the poor. Jesus said "You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me."

Indicating that
a) the world's problems of poverty etc will never be solved before Christ returns, and Jesus didn't seem to mind that a year's worth of wages was not spent on the most needy.
b) the "wasting" of one's resources upon Christ with seemingly little benefit to others is actually not a waste at all as indicated by Christ's response to this woman's act.
c) the purpose of the church's money is to assist the poor, as indicated by Judas's desire to help the poor.
d) those who desire to help the poor at the expense of the gospel invariably have ulterior motives, like Judas (he did not care about the poor, he was a thief). If you want to become rich, found a charity, only some of all money raised actually goes to the people it intends to help. The rest is for administration, transport, salaries etc. Some of the richest people I know of are founders of charities, with expensive cars, mansions etc.
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Old 08-23-2016, 07:14 AM   #57
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In John 12:7-8 a woman wasted a year's wages worth of expensive perfume on Jesus. Judas said they should have used it for the poor. Jesus said "You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me."

Indicating that
a) the world's problems of poverty etc will never be solved before Christ returns, and Jesus didn't seem to mind that a year's worth of wages was not spent on the most needy.
b) the "wasting" of one's resources upon Christ with seemingly little benefit to others is actually not a waste at all as indicated by Christ's response to this woman's act.
c) the purpose of the church's money is to assist the poor, as indicated by Judas's desire to help the poor.
d) those who desire to help the poor at the expense of the gospel invariably have ulterior motives, like Judas (he did not care about the poor, he was a thief). If you want to become rich, found a charity, only some of all money raised actually goes to the people it intends to help. The rest is for administration, transport, salaries etc. Some of the richest people I know of are founders of charities, with expensive cars, mansions etc.
I agree that the story provides a balance to the idea if just giving to the needy. And there is an aspect of "wasting" on Christ (from the worldly view) that cannot be supported to them but is very real and important.

But that one story was not the final nail in the coffin of giving to the poor and needy. It was not the end of love your neighbor as yourself.

It is not an either or, on or off situation. That is a false dichotomy. We are to have our eyes opened to what God would have us see. And sometimes he has us see only him and his worth.

But Jesus did not commend the event by declaring that this is what everyone should do with a year's wages. It was recognized as a heartfelt gift to the Master in anticipation of what was to come (whether she understood that or not). It was to be told with respect to his death that was to come.

It was not provided as the reason that we no longer are under the command to care for the needy. That we would always have the needy is a given. And Jesus did not say that to declare that it is hopeless to give to them. It was to recognize that there remained plenty of opportunity for such giving. That even if she had sold it for its value and given it to the poor, the need for the others would not be reduced.

Too many false dichotomies in LCM theology. It is grace so there can be no works. Declare that God must do it in us so since I don't feel like being righteous, God must not be going it in me and I am free to be unrighteous.

Some would declare "no! you are never free to be unrighteous." But if you then say "well then I should be righteous" the reply is "only if you are being righteous 'in Christ.'"

There is no such thing as a no-man's land between righteousness and unrighteousness. You either are or are not. You cannot just abstain from life until you think you are now "in Christ" and then go out to face the world.
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Old 08-23-2016, 08:27 AM   #58
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I don't see what the abusive behavior has to do with your view of the gospel. Don't you have a Bible? Fact of the matter is that biblically speaking, the gospel is primarily the preaching of the Gospel and not solving the world's problems.
Evangelical, you protested what you called a "social gospel," to which I responded that acc. to the Bible, a social gospel was far superior to a "legal gospel," which you are also subscribing to by your loyalty to LSM. It is entirely reasonable that what you call a "social gospel" is what Jesus and the apostles referred to as loving your neighbor and good works.

"The abusive behavior" you mentioned is the abusive behavior exhibited far too often by LSM and DCP. It is the reason why I left after 30 years. LSM had become no different than the Pharisees of old, claiming to be the sole caretakers of all the things of God, yet bringing under subjection all those connected with them.

Whether the church "solves the world's problems" is not the thrust of the Biblical commands to good works. Good works help people, those people that God loves. Your comment here is disingenuous by creating a straw man argument, and then refuting it.

The LC's emphasize loving one another within their churches, which is great, but misses much of the Biblical directive. Jesus said, "If you love those who love you, what thanks is it to you? For even sinners love those who love you. For if you also do good to those who do good to you, what thanks is it to you? Even sinners do the same. " (see Luke 6.32-35) This instruction strikes at the heart of LC "love." They only love those who love them, and love their ministry. They exhibit little love to outsiders, unless they are potential members.

According to these verses, Jesus would consider many LC members no different from sinners, when it comes to loving and doing good to others. The LC even has an unwritten policy to recruit only "good material" from the campuses. This directly contradicts Jesus words, "But love your enemies, do good and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great."
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Old 08-23-2016, 08:34 AM   #59
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Are some of you saying that if a OT principle is not echoed in the NT then it is therefore not a requirement? Really? Then what about Jesus' word about no jot or tittle of the law being overlooked? What does it mean that he is the fulfillment of the law?

The NT makes it clear that OT ceremonial law is abolished. But the numerous OT commandments about giving to help others are not ceremonial law. Neither is the commandment to tithe. Also, there are commandments in the OT about helping foreigners, which would seem to indicate that our kindnesses should extend to non-Christians.

Also, the point is not that the Church needs to "fix all the world's problems." That's a red herring. The point is that we are to do good works which glorify God and attract people to Christ. How big and elaborate these good works are is up to the faith and grace of those who carry them out. But please don't discount the faith and grace of others.

I agree that the Church will never fix the world system. Cancer may never be cured either. But that doesn't mean you don't comfort and treat those afflicted by it. You don't just say, "you are going to die anyway so to hell with you." People who are suffering are loved by God. He expects us to help if we can. What about the requirement to love your neighbor as yourself?

Categorically scoffing at such works seems to be the defense of guilty consciences.

Also, to whoever said that some of the richest people you know started charities... Some of the richest people are also Bible preachers. Witness Lee didn't do too bad for himself. So let's drop that argument, okay?
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Old 08-23-2016, 09:09 AM   #60
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Here's the basics, guys.

Jesus said the top two commandments were to love God and love people. He said all the law and prophets of the OT, in other words the whole thing God was trying to get us to understand and do, are summed up in those two commandments.

How do we love God? We put him first in everything and obey him.

How do we love our neighbor? That's what this thread is all about.

So let me ask you guys: How is love for your neighbor as yourself being realized in your lives?

Do you think if you are just being a spiritual Christian, reading your Bible, going to church and seeking God that you are fulfilling the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself?

How are you obeying the second commandment? Being "nice" to people? Well, that's better than nothing, but do you think that's really a fulfillment?

Do you think if you preach the gospel to someone, but don't offer them a drink of water if they need it that you are loving them?

I'm not condemning, I'm just asking questions that I've been asking myself. The theological outs you guys are throwing into the conversation don't do it for me anymore.
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Old 08-23-2016, 09:36 AM   #61
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c) the purpose of the church's money is to assist the poor, as indicated by Judas's desire to help the poor.

d) those who desire to help the poor at the expense of the gospel invariably have ulterior motives, like Judas (he did not care about the poor, he was a thief). If you want to become rich, found a charity, only some of all money raised actually goes to the people it intends to help. The rest is for administration, transport, salaries etc. Some of the richest people I know of are founders of charities, with expensive cars, mansions etc.
To claim that all church giving to the poor is in nature the same as Judas is pure recklessness, and so typical of Lee and his followers. In one fell swoop they can condemn 2 millennia of good works by the church, as if none of it benefited the gospel. The hypocritical problem that LC'ers face is that they are guilty of the same sins which they ascribe to the rest of Christendom. By rewriting history for all their members, LC leaders whitewash all of their own sordid history. How does Evangelical explain all the business deals, failed and otherwise, which Lee and LSM have pushed upon their members?"

In my mind it is far more noble and godly to build an orphanage in Haiti, than it is to build luxury motor homes at Daystar. How do we compare an inner city crisis pregnancy center with the Linko boondoggle outside Taipei. (Where did all that money go?) When Lee got busted by immigration officials for carrying gold, was that really for "the gospel?" Is that Taipei skyscraper of LSM really for "the gospel?" This list could go on for quite a while.

Isn't it just amazing how the LC faithful believe every "program" coming from Lee and the Blendeds to be "of the Lord, for the gospel, and fruitful, preparing the bride for His return, etc.", and every other program to be "poor, poor, fallen, natural, and now we learn Judas-like, mis-aimed inventions of fallen and degraded Christianity?"
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Old 08-23-2016, 09:40 AM   #62
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d) those who desire to help the poor at the expense of the gospel invariably have ulterior motives, like Judas (he did not care about the poor, he was a thief). If you want to become rich, found a charity, only some of all money raised actually goes to the people it intends to help. The rest is for administration, transport, salaries etc. Some of the richest people I know of are founders of charities, with expensive cars, mansions etc.
I'm glad you brought up charities. Do you know that your favorite charitable organization LSM is setting on over $10,000,000 cash. I guess none of the current needs of the world quality for their help? What organization that claims to care for the eternal souls of men and God's heart sits on $10,000,000 cash? If the Lord returns tomorrow and asks for an accounting of why the blinded brothers did not spend that money to reach the lost and care for the saints how do you think the Lord will respond to "Well Lord, we needed to keep that money very liquid to help intimidate publishers who might publish books that criticize us, to protect your economy, but here's your money we don't need it anymore."
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:04 AM   #63
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While there is strong evidence from the Bible to support the first point (giving), I do not see that God's plan for the Church is to solve the problems of the world. If the Church cannot solve its own problems, and there are so many, how could her help others?
Thanks for your thoughts. The point above seems to be similar to the idea that we should not help others until we've taken care of ourselves. This is the very reason some people never give. The poor widow gave out of her poverty, that's why the Lord praised her. So should we.

My church, ACF, was in debt when we began moving toward giving away 50% of money collected in offerings to other ministries and needs. We paid off our debts when we hit around 25% or so. Now we give away 50% and are not in need.*

This is God's REAL economy.

*Please note that ACF is in an upper middle class community. We have lots of members who can afford to give a lot. Still only about 18% give significantly.
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Old 08-23-2016, 12:00 PM   #64
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I'm glad you brought up charities. Do you know that your favorite charitable organization LSM is setting on over $10,000,000 cash. I guess none of the current needs of the world quality for their help? What organization that claims to care for the eternal souls of men and God's heart sits on $10,000,000 cash? If the Lord returns tomorrow and asks for an accounting of why the blinded brothers did not spend that money to reach the lost and care for the saints how do you think the Lord will respond to "Well Lord, we needed to keep that money very liquid to help fend off potential lawsuits, to protect your economy, but here's your money we don't need it anymore."
When it comes to LSM?DCP, etc, it is encouraged to give to these entities specifically. Yet it's a double standard when it comes to giving to other "charities". The default mindset is "works without faith".

Consider James 2:14-26 regarding faith and works.
"What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
"
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Old 08-23-2016, 03:00 PM   #65
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Are some of you saying that if a OT principle is not echoed in the NT then it is therefore not a requirement? Really? Then what about Jesus' word about no jot or tittle of the law being overlooked? What does it mean that he is the fulfillment of the law?

The NT makes it clear that OT ceremonial law is abolished. But the numerous OT commandments about giving to help others are not ceremonial law. Neither is the commandment to tithe. Also, there are commandments in the OT about helping foreigners, which would seem to indicate that our kindnesses should extend to non-Christians.
If you really believe that the commandment to tithe remains in effect, then you should, as Ohio earlier suggested, bring your garden crops to the house of God. Yes--tithing shows a principle of giving, but you redefine this principle as something else (tithing) and then seem to be want to enforce your redefinition of this principle as an obligation on NT believers.
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Old 08-23-2016, 03:11 PM   #66
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Here's the basics, guys.

Jesus said the top two commandments were to love God and love people. He said all the law and prophets of the OT, in other words the whole thing God was trying to get us to understand and do, are summed up in those two commandments.

How do we love God? We put him first in everything and obey him.

How do we love our neighbor? That's what this thread is all about.

So let me ask you guys: How is love for your neighbor as yourself being realized in your lives?

Do you think if you are just being a spiritual Christian, reading your Bible, going to church and seeking God that you are fulfilling the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself?

How are you obeying the second commandment? Being "nice" to people? Well, that's better than nothing, but do you think that's really a fulfillment?

Do you think if you preach the gospel to someone, but don't offer them a drink of water if they need it that you are loving them?

I'm not condemning, I'm just asking questions that I've been asking myself. The theological outs you guys are throwing into the conversation don't do it for me anymore.
Igzy, the problem is that you are conflating unrelated things. I live in a low-income area. My neighbors have genuine difficulties--mental problems, addictions, poverty, etc. My wife and I, after having left the LC, now go out of our way to help these people (spiritually, psychologically, physically). Which is very different for us given our LC background. Yet, the Lord has shown us that this is real, and He has put this desire in our hearts. We genuinely want to counsel people on the front stoop, or help take care of people's children, or intervene when there are arguments, or offer meals, etc.

However, I have no desire to acquiesce to the expectations of religious leaders who believe that God expects me to "tithe" a certain percentage of my income to a 501(c)(3) corporation that will spend (at least) half of that money maintaining its own existence.

Again, if people wish to do that, it's really fine with me. But it should not be called "tithing," and it should not be imposed on people as "giving."

There really is a difference. Can you understand that?
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Old 08-23-2016, 03:27 PM   #67
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Igzy, the problem is that you are conflating unrelated things. I live in a low-income area. My neighbors have genuine difficulties--mental problems, addictions, poverty, etc. My wife and I, after having left the LC, now go out of our way to help these people (spiritually, psychologically, physically). Which is very different for us given our LC background. Yet, the Lord has shown us that this is real, and He has put this desire in our hearts. We genuinely want to counsel people on the front stoop, or help take care of people's children, or intervene when there are arguments, or offer meals, etc.

However, I have no desire to acquiesce to the expectations of religious leaders who believe that God expects me to "tithe" a certain percentage of my income to a 501(c)(3) corporation that will spend (at least) half of that money maintaining its own existence.

Again, if people wish to do that, it's really fine with me. But it should not be called "tithing," and it should not be imposed on people as "giving."

There really is a difference. Can you understand that?

Absolutely I understand. That's why I felt to note that ACF is an affluent church. It's not how much you give, it's the heart to help with what the Lord gave you.

I don't necessarily agree with your broad dismissal of tithing. But that's not important. What's important is we all learn to give as best we can and that we break free of the LCM arrogance that says we have no obligation to help outsiders, i.e. our neighbors.
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Old 08-23-2016, 04:16 PM   #68
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Igzy, the problem is that you are conflating unrelated things. I live in a low-income area. My neighbors have genuine difficulties--mental problems, addictions, poverty, etc. My wife and I, after having left the LC, now go out of our way to help these people (spiritually, psychologically, physically). Which is very different for us given our LC background. Yet, the Lord has shown us that this is real, and He has put this desire in our hearts. We genuinely want to counsel people on the front stoop, or help take care of people's children, or intervene when there are arguments, or offer meals, etc.

However, I have no desire to acquiesce to the expectations of religious leaders who believe that God expects me to "tithe" a certain percentage of my income to a 501(c)(3) corporation that will spend (at least) half of that money maintaining its own existence.

Again, if people wish to do that, it's really fine with me. But it should not be called "tithing," and it should not be imposed on people as "giving."

There really is a difference. Can you understand that?
You and your wife are that hands and feet of Christ in that neighborhood. I would like to grow into that.
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Old 08-24-2016, 12:07 AM   #69
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I'm glad you brought up charities. Do you know that your favorite charitable organization LSM is setting on over $10,000,000 cash. I guess none of the current needs of the world quality for their help? What organization that claims to care for the eternal souls of men and God's heart sits on $10,000,000 cash? If the Lord returns tomorrow and asks for an accounting of why the blinded brothers did not spend that money to reach the lost and care for the saints how do you think the Lord will respond to "Well Lord, we needed to keep that money very liquid to help intimidate publishers who might publish books that criticize us, to protect your economy, but here's your money we don't need it anymore."
What aspect of publishing Christian material and Bibles is not "caring for the eternal souls of men" and "reaching the lost" ?
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Old 08-24-2016, 12:17 AM   #70
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To claim that all church giving to the poor is in nature the same as Judas is pure recklessness, and so typical of Lee and his followers. In one fell swoop they can condemn 2 millennia of good works by the church, as if none of it benefited the gospel. The hypocritical problem that LC'ers face is that they are guilty of the same sins which they ascribe to the rest of Christendom. By rewriting history for all their members, LC leaders whitewash all of their own sordid history. How does Evangelical explain all the business deals, failed and otherwise, which Lee and LSM have pushed upon their members?"

In my mind it is far more noble and godly to build an orphanage in Haiti, than it is to build luxury motor homes at Daystar. How do we compare an inner city crisis pregnancy center with the Linko boondoggle outside Taipei. (Where did all that money go?) When Lee got busted by immigration officials for carrying gold, was that really for "the gospel?" Is that Taipei skyscraper of LSM really for "the gospel?" This list could go on for quite a while.

Isn't it just amazing how the LC faithful believe every "program" coming from Lee and the Blendeds to be "of the Lord, for the gospel, and fruitful, preparing the bride for His return, etc.", and every other program to be "poor, poor, fallen, natural, and now we learn Judas-like, mis-aimed inventions of fallen and degraded Christianity?"
Yeah it's sad, I don't believe there is any church that is not building its little empire on earth.
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Old 08-24-2016, 01:23 AM   #71
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While there is strong evidence from the Bible to support the first point (giving), I do not see that God's plan for the Church is to solve the problems of the world. If the Church cannot solve its own problems, and there are so many, how could her help others?

Thanks for your thoughts. The point above seems to be similar to the idea that we should not help others until we've taken care of ourselves. This is the very reason some people never give. The poor widow gave out of her poverty, that's why the Lord praised her. So should we. My church, ACF, was in debt when we began moving toward giving away 50% of money collected in offerings to other ministries and needs. We paid off our debts when we hit around 25% or so. Now we give away 50% and are not in need.*

This is God's REAL economy.

No, the point above was pretty in line with what the pastor (Will Davis, Jr.) was trying to convey. The church does not give because has problems, like fears, mistrust in the ministries and so on. If we expect the church to give these problems must be solved (the church of course has many other problems). I watched the message once and listened to it a second time. The passage for his preaching was from 2 Cor 8.

verse 7 says, But as ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all earnestness, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. (ASV)

A church that abounds in everything, faith, utterance, earnestness and love, needs just to be reminded to excel (that's W. D. word for the message) in giving also.

I noticed that a year ago you started a similar thread under the title

What God's Economy Means to Me Now

“When all is said and done, and the dross is burned away, it's this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=632CHpeHYZE

Love your neighbor as yourself.

It is better to give than to receive.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. “

It is obvious that you have a burning desire to see that we all put into practice what our Lord taught us. To this I say Amen, Amen, and Amen!


I love what you said, “What? Should we have yet another discussion about how the LCM leaders are bums or how Daystar was a ripoff? Haven't we beaten those dogs to a pulp? This board should be about healing, and speaking for myself, my LCM-tainted attitude toward giving needed healing. Probably some others do, too.”

“I'm not condemning, I'm just asking questions that I've been asking myself. The theological outs you guys are throwing into the conversation don't do it for me anymore.”


I just disagree with this quotation from the message you posted at the beginning of this thread,

"God's plan for solving the problems of the world has never been government. It has always been the Church."

"If every church member tithed the Church would collect another $165 billion a year, which would solve the world problems of hunger, thirst, literacy, mission funding... with $100 billion left over."


In the message the pastor asks, What if....? and goes on in mentioning what impact the Church could have if....

I would like to add another one. Let's suppose that in the U.S. (for example) there were 50 million Christians. What if each one of them could bring to the Lord 1 soul a year? In less than 3 years the U.S. would be a Christian country from the president to most humble citizen. The Church would not have a “mere” 165 billion a year but trillions.

Peace





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Old 08-24-2016, 04:46 AM   #72
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Isa. 58:6 "No, the kind of fast I want is that you stop oppressing those who work for you and treat them fairly and give them what they earn.

Isa. 58:7 I want you to share your food with the hungry and bring right into your own homes those who are helpless, poor, and destitute. Clothe those who are cold, and don't hide from relatives who need your help.

Isa. 58:8 "If you do these things, God will shed his own glorious light upon you. He will heal you; your godliness will lead you forward, goodness will be a shield before you, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.

Isa. 58:9 Then, when you call, the Lord will answer. 'Yes, I am here,' he will quickly reply. All you need to do is to stop oppressing the weak and stop making false accusations and spreading vicious rumors!

Isa. 58:10 "Feed the hungry! Help those in trouble! Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you shall be as bright as day.

Isa. 58:11 And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy you with all good things, and keep you healthy too; and you will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.
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Old 08-24-2016, 05:22 AM   #73
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To claim that all church giving to the poor is in nature the same as Judas is pure recklessness, and so typical of Lee and his followers. In one fell swoop they can condemn 2 millennia of good works by the church, as if none of it benefited the gospel. The hypocritical problem that LC'ers face is that they are guilty of the same sins which they ascribe to the rest of Christendom. By rewriting history for all their members, LC leaders whitewash all of their own sordid history. How does Evangelical explain all the business deals, failed and otherwise, which Lee and LSM have pushed upon their members?"

In my mind it is far more noble and godly to build an orphanage in Haiti, than it is to build luxury motor homes at Daystar. How do we compare an inner city crisis pregnancy center with the Linko boondoggle outside Taipei. (Where did all that money go?) When Lee got busted by immigration officials for carrying gold, was that really for "the gospel?" Is that Taipei skyscraper of LSM really for "the gospel?" This list could go on for quite a while.

Isn't it just amazing how the LC faithful believe every "program" coming from Lee and the Blendeds to be "of the Lord, for the gospel, and fruitful, preparing the bride for His return, etc.", and every other program to be "poor, poor, fallen, natural, and now we learn Judas-like, mis-aimed inventions of fallen and degraded Christianity?"
The instructions Jesus gave at the end of the gospels is around preaching the gospel and the accompanying miraculous signs. He mentions nothing about giving to the poor. Anyway the disciples were too poor to give, "silver and gold have I none".

We are the church. When "we" each individually do our charitable deeds, that is the "church giving". "Church giving" does not mean everyone in the congregation giving their money to the leader or to some group (for them to pocket or put towards their business jet). It means each individual person giving as the Lord leads in secret, as per 'left hand not knowing what the right is doing'.

As an evangelical in my view the purpose of the church is not to fix the world's problems but to save as many as possible. The world is a sinking Titanic and addressing the world's problems is merely re-arranging the deck chairs (making the Titanic a better place), while it heads towards destruction.

I see it is the role of world government to address the world problems - after all a large portion of my tax dollar already goes to overseas and local welfare.

Modern tithing is a carry over from medieval times when the church was the source of welfare. It was introduced in the middle ages. I believe for some countries in Scandinavia a proportion of ones income still goes to a mandatory 'church tax' or tithe.
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Old 08-24-2016, 07:37 AM   #74
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The instructions Jesus gave at the end of the gospels is around preaching the gospel and the accompanying miraculous signs. He mentions nothing about giving to the poor. Anyway the disciples were too poor to give, "silver and gold have I none".

We are the church. When "we" each individually do our charitable deeds, that is the "church giving". "Church giving" does not mean everyone in the congregation giving their money to the leader or to some group (for them to pocket or put towards their business jet). It means each individual person giving as the Lord leads in secret, as per 'left hand not knowing what the right is doing'.

As an evangelical in my view the purpose of the church is not to fix the world's problems but to save as many as possible. The world is a sinking Titanic and addressing the world's problems is merely re-arranging the deck chairs (making the Titanic a better place), while it heads towards destruction.

I see it is the role of world government to address the world problems - after all a large portion of my tax dollar already goes to overseas and local welfare.

Modern tithing is a carry over from medieval times when the church was the source of welfare. It was introduced in the middle ages. I believe for some countries in Scandinavia a proportion of ones income still goes to a mandatory 'church tax' or tithe.
Funny how you are able to compartmentalize "the world's problems" from "your neighbor's problems." You know, the neighbor you are supposed to love as yourself?

I ask again, how is your love for your neighbor being expressed?
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Old 08-24-2016, 07:43 AM   #75
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“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

"Then they will say to him, 'Lord, we thought we weren't supposed to address the world's problems!'"
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Old 08-24-2016, 08:38 AM   #76
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Funny how you are able to compartmentalize "the world's problems" from "your neighbor's problems." You know, the neighbor you are supposed to love as yourself?

I ask again, how is your love for your neighbor being expressed?
Also, in the parable of the Good Samaritan (which was about loving your neighbor), the Samaritan only takes care of the victim's health. The Samaritan doesn't stop to ask about the victim's spiritual condition. He does not even leave a gospel tract (or whatever was the equivalent in those times) for the victim when he departs from the inn.
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Old 08-24-2016, 09:06 AM   #77
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The instructions Jesus gave at the end of the gospels is around preaching the gospel and the accompanying miraculous signs. He mentions nothing about giving to the poor. Anyway the disciples were too poor to give, "silver and gold have I none".

We are the church. When "we" each individually do our charitable deeds, that is the "church giving". "Church giving" does not mean everyone in the congregation giving their money to the leader or to some group (for them to pocket or put towards their business jet). It means each individual person giving as the Lord leads in secret, as per 'left hand not knowing what the right is doing'.

As an evangelical in my view the purpose of the church is not to fix the world's problems but to save as many as possible. The world is a sinking Titanic and addressing the world's problems is merely re-arranging the deck chairs (making the Titanic a better place), while it heads towards destruction.

I see it is the role of world government to address the world problems - after all a large portion of my tax dollar already goes to overseas and local welfare.
Hi Evangelical,

1 Peter 2 v 12 to 15 reads

12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.

In verses 12 and 15, Peter tells the Christians to do good. And in between these verses are verses 13 and 14 which are about human authorities. The authorities' role is to "punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right". My reading of these verses is that the responsibility for doing good still rests primarily on Christians. Let me know if you have a different view.

This is similar to Paul's views on authorities in Romans 13 v 3 to 4. (I set out below verses 1 to 7 to set the context).


Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.


As for the authorities' role in gospel furtherance, do see 1 Tim 2 v 1 to 4
"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Paul seems to be saying "Pray for your authorities. If authorities do their role well, we Christians can live peaceful lives and holy lives. This would make it conducive for salvation of men." It seems that it is the way we live that leads people to salvation.
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Old 08-24-2016, 09:08 AM   #78
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What aspect of publishing Christian material and Bibles is not "caring for the eternal souls of men" and "reaching the lost" ?
They can't be Christian materials because The Recovery is not part of Christianity.
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Old 08-24-2016, 09:30 AM   #79
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We are the church. When "we" each individually do our charitable deeds, that is the "church giving". "Church giving" does not mean everyone in the congregation giving their money to the leader or to some group (for them to pocket or put towards their business jet). It means each individual person giving as the Lord leads in secret, as per 'left hand not knowing what the right is doing'.

As an evangelical in my view the purpose of the church is not to fix the world's problems but to save as many as possible. The world is a sinking Titanic and addressing the world's problems is merely re-arranging the deck chairs (making the Titanic a better place), while it heads towards destruction.
I definitely agree with you about giving.

The Bible also speaks much about "good works." It may be worth our studying the topics in depth.
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Old 08-24-2016, 09:36 AM   #80
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Hi Evangelical,

1 Peter 2 v 12 to 15 reads

12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.

In verses 12 and 15, Peter tells the Christians to do good. And in between these verses are verses 13 and 14 which are about human authorities. The authorities' role is to "punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right". My reading of these verses is that the responsibility for doing good still rests primarily on Christians. Let me know if you have a different view.

....

As for the authorities' role in gospel furtherance, do see 1 Tim 2 v 1 to 4
"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Paul seems to be saying "Pray for your authorities. If authorities do their role well, we Christians can live peaceful lives and holy lives. This would make it conducive for salvation of men." It seems that it is the way we live that leads people to salvation.
Just a great post, micah. Yes, this is a crucial piece that has been missing in this discussion. Thank you!
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Old 08-24-2016, 11:25 AM   #81
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Evangelical Guest.

Please take a couple of minutes and register for the Forum. Forum membership has many advantages, not the least of which is your posts will appear directly on the forum without having to go through the delay of a moderation que. (This also frees up some of my time as well-) Additionally, you will have access to our Private Messaging system which will afford you confidential communication with other members.

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Old 08-25-2016, 07:21 AM   #82
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Default Re: What It's Really All About

I appreciate everyone's comments and hope the discussion is not over.

Let me summarize my thoughts and feelings because I would like to take this discussion even further.

In the LCM I was influenced to believe the Church's role on earth was simply to meet, grow and preach the Gospel. Our separation from the world was to the point that we were really invisible to the world. The world, if it noticed us, was to view us as a peculiar mystery that it completely discounted. We were not to be concerned with the world's issues, and that not only meant political issues, but even humanitarian issues such as natural disasters, hunger, and other needs of the local and global neighbors we were supposed to love.

The LCM would declare boldly that the Church is the expression of Christ. But we never really got around to totally understanding how it expressed Christ. If we expressed Christ so wonderfully, why did no one notice us and why did we have zero impact on the world around us? For me, I thought we were "shining" with the glory of God and that "shining" would somehow infuse the world around us and be attractive to them in some way. This never really happened.

I've come to be suspicious of the "shining" idea, not that there isn't some truth to it, but rather that I believe the real shining is seen in practical godly human behavior, particularly humble serving, that shows God's love for all people.

For the following reasons, more and more I'm questioning the LCM view (shared by other super-spiritual and reclusive Christians and groups) that the Church need have no impact on the world's condition:

Jesus was one man, but look at his impact. Look how he shook up the world he lived in. He was famous. People knew about him. He was the talk of the town. Seeking people flocked to him. He upset the religious order. He troubled the political order. He accomplished things neither could. He fed the hungry, healed the sick and comforted the downtrodden. He walked among the people of the world. He touched them, listened to them and loved them. He turned his world upside down. The world changed because of him. The Church continued this for a short time. Christianity ended the Roman Empire. That's impact!

Now, 2000 years later, we are the Church, but where is our impact? We are supposed to be Christ's body, which LCMers will even claim means we are Him. Jesus said we would do greater works than him (John 14:12). So that means we should be having even greater impact than he did.

So where is that impact? How is the world being turned upside down by us? Where are we having anything like the impact Jesus had?

The LCM and others like them have the attitude that we are supposed to hide out in our don't-get-us-dirty spirituality and think that we are "building the Church" and "expressing Christ" by being so “holy.” This is self-deceiving. If we were really expressing Christ then people would be reacting to us like they reacted to Jesus. They might love us or they might hate us, but they wouldn't be able to ignore us. Largely the Church gets ignored these days.

Our mission is not to fix the world system. Or is it? I'm not saying fix it through maneuverings of our flesh. I'm saying I'm not so sure God would not be pleased if we actually did express Christ and had the kind of impact on the world he did. He healed people for several reasons including because he loved people and because he wanted to show he was sent from God. How do we show we love people and are sent from God? By sitting around as a quirky group and "shining?" Or do we do it by demonstrating a supernatural love, care and ability to get things done at the grass roots level that the world, however they feel about our theology, cannot duplicate nor deny is something so unusual that it must be the real deal. How for that matter could the kingdom be truly brought in without some positive effect on the world, if only as a side effect?

How will this eventually work out? It might just be that God's plan is to change the world for the better via the Church, then when He's satisfied the Devil’s kingdom has been shamed completely, remove the Church from the world. What will be left will be those who, despite the undeniable testimony of God's glory through the Church, refuse to submit to him. The time of judgment will begin.

But I doubt that God is happy with the Church just muddling along, going to meetings, being "spiritual," and not having any impact in the world through godly service to whomever we are led to help. I doubt that more and more every day. I know the LCM mindset is so entrenched in some of us that we’ve never thought to question it. But after a couple of generations of waiting for the Lord to "build the Church" according to the LCM vision of reclusive spirituality and not seeing it happen, perhaps it’s time to consider that he has been waiting for something else.
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Old 08-26-2016, 07:15 AM   #83
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So where is that impact? How is the world being turned upside down by us? Where are we having anything like the impact Jesus had?
Two personal stories. First, was when I was down and out, essentially unemployable. Discouraged, confused, frustrated. I got a job mopping floors, minimum wage, no benefits, part time (12 hours/wk). Living in in a shelter. No where to go.

One day, this lady came in the place and I was mopping in front of the ladies room, with my little yellow triangle warning "wet floor" and "piso mojado" with the image of the guy slipping, and my cart with a trash bag and a mop bucket. You have to understand that once I was "somebody", an up-and-comer in the world (and yes, with an attitude).

So this little old lady walks up to the bathroom door, and I got out of her way, and for some reason I decided to be nice. I don't know why, but for some reason I decided to smile and say, "Good morning", like I was the doorman at the Ritz-Carlton. Complete with the little head-nod. She stopped, looked at me, smiled, slowly nodded her head and said gravely, "Good morning." Then she went into the bathroom and I kept mopping.

That moment changed my life. That moment I realized that I could be happy and smile, instead of frown. I could say, "Good morning" and give somebody courtesy. Didn't matter my situation.

And that moment began a complete transformation of my career. Instead of trying to be somebody, I try to help others. I live to serve. The Lord clearly showed me, "It is better to give than to receive.", and "What you do to others will be done to you." Instead of "Me, me, me" I began to think, "How can I help others?"

Now here is my point. Who was that little old lady? Did she travel around the world, smiling and saying, "Good morning" and transforming lives, one by one? Nobody knows or will know. It doesn't matter. . . the point is that God can do amazing things with the smallest gesture. Trust God. Be nice and love your neighbor. God can use that love, however ephemeral, to transform the world. And yes it may involve material giving. It may involve spending time, paying attention, weeping with those who weep.

God wants to transform the world, but He does it by saving people. So let Him deal with the first part, and take care of His command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Forgive, pray, care for, etc. And yes, give. Give to your wife, your children, your parents, your siblings, your neighbor, your church, your local non-profit. But more than money give yourself.

Second story: about 4 yrs ago I was in the ministry (not LsM, another), and they were going over a prophetic utterance that was quoted in the NT, and suddenly I felt a presence that made me get on the floor. I had tears pouring out of my eyes, I was sobbing. I was in the presence of holiness and love. I knew that the word was about Jesus, but suddenly I knew the 'presence', not of Jesus but of the Holy Spirit who was declaring the truth about Jesus through the prophetic word. It was, if you will, "the Spirit of Jesus". Slowly, I came to my senses and sat back down. Re-evaluated the word, and found myself on the floor, again, sobbing. This happened about 4 or 5 times.

I was simultaneously aware of my wretched sinfulness, and God's perfect holiness, and my utter separation - "depart from me, for I am a sinful man" - but at the same time I felt love coming through that holiness and reaching me in my sin, and keeping me in its power. It was right there in the word, all along, but I never felt it. Now I felt it. So I wept, like a child restored to his parent, both acknowledging his wrongness that separated him for a moment, and the Father's seeking and embracing love that overcame the wrongness.

The word became the framework, or the vehicle, of the Holy Spirit to declare the Son, not in a way of knowledge but in reality; and in the Son I could "see" or sense or experience, and re-connect the Father, lost for so long but now found again. . . It was the most amazing experience of my life.

Now I come to the point of the second story. Where is the issue? Who got touched by my experience? Has anyone else fallen on the floor, weeping at God's holy presence, as I shared this (or any other) prophetic word with them? If no, why not?

Has my living changed? Can anyone see the issue of this? Can I say, as Paul put it to Agrippa, that I have not been unfaithful to the heavenly vision?

I do know that my speaking, thinking, and message began to change dramatically after that (and there have been several other, similar events as well), but how much or in what manner the Lord will reveal at the end. My point is this: God can in an instant change everything. Saul, breathing threats and murder, gets knocked down, sees a bright light and hears a voice - it can happen to anyone. That is how God works. The question is, Does He work through me? I met the Lord; now has anyone else met the Lord through me? Or did the passage of the Holy Spirit stop with me? Let it not be so! Lord Jesus, let it not be so! Lord, make me an instrument of Your will!

God doesn't need our $165 Billion; He needs us to "infect" our neighbor with the divine fire. And yes, infection may involve monetary transfer; it may involve many things. But at its core it is God's presence making itself known in our lives so that, like those who got touched by Jesus in the gospels, we cannot contain our story, or His glory, and go around declaring to one and all that the kingdom is here. We have to pour ourselves out, we have no choice. The Spirit's presence is too strong.

All of this, of course, is just my opinion, today. (and yes, I did watch the video).
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Old 08-26-2016, 07:20 AM   #84
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Also, in the parable of the Good Samaritan (which was about loving your neighbor), the Samaritan only takes care of the victim's health. The Samaritan doesn't stop to ask about the victim's spiritual condition. He does not even leave a gospel tract (or whatever was the equivalent in those times) for the victim when he departs from the inn.
The Christian writer John Stott points out that different situations call for different responses:- in the parable of the Good Samaritan, we do not admonish the Samaritan for not enquiring into the spiritual state of the traveller; nor do we admonish Philip for sharing the gospel with the Ethiopian without enquiring into his social needs.
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Old 08-26-2016, 07:24 AM   #85
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I would like to share another portion from a book by John Stott (a Christian writer). He points to Jesus’ words and work:- Jesus’ words explained His works and His works dramatized his words…. “Each supported the other. For words remain abstract until they are made concrete in deeds of love, while works remain ambiguous until they are interpreted by the proclamation of the gospel. Words without works lack credibility; works without words lack clarity. So Jesus’ works made his words visible; his words made his works intelligible”.

He compares two parables found in Luke:- (1) Parable of the Prodigal Son (which is about conversion) and (2) Parable of the Good Samaritan (which is about social action). There are four points:-

(1) In both cases, there is a victim. The prodigal son was a victim of his own sin while the traveller was a victim of others’ sins (robbery/assault).

(2) In both cases, there is a rescue. The prodigal son repents and is forgiven while the traveller is saved by the Samaritan’s good works.

(3) In both cases, there is a display of love. The prodigal son is loved by the father (symbolising the heavenly Father) while the traveller is loved by his neighbour. The prodigal son is loved even though he does not deserve it while the traveller is loved even though the Samaritan was not obliged to help him).

(4) In both cases, there is an alternative to the love. The prodigal son’s brother was not happy about his brother being saved; while the Levite and priest passed by the way.

Stott then states:-Each of us resembles the prodigal son; and each of us should resemble the good Samaritan. First we face our sins, then we face the world’s sufferings. First we receive mercy, then we go and show it.
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Old 08-26-2016, 09:48 PM   #86
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Thank you aron for your testimony. It is very similar to what I experienced some years ago. I was walking into an apartment building when I saw a man mopping the stairs. I just said good morning to him. His reaction surprised me. He said, “Here is a real gentleman. Not like the people of these building who think so highly of themselves that never say hello.” I felt sorry for him and for the people of that building. What does it cost to say hello to someone?

The other experience was when reading about Daniel's prayer for his people and his country, confessing his sins and the sins of his people, I felt so touched that I began to do the same, with many tears, confessing my sins and the sin of my people.
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Old 08-27-2016, 04:55 AM   #87
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What does it cost to say hello to someone?
This is what I was getting at: we have transformative experiences, right? We confess the Lord, we're touched, we even weep before God, in gratitude, and shame. But, how does this percolate through our living, and more importantly, how does this percolate through others' living? Does our experience transfer to others? And if so, how? A question worth asking.

Jesus was intimately connected to the Father, and through Him, the disciples got home as well. And through the disciples many others touched Jesus. And so forth. We're part of the chain of experience. Does it stop with me? Or does it keep going? I (hopefully) got transformed by my experiences - who else got transformed? No one? Then I doubt my experiences.

And to answer the question of the speaker in the video, Yes, I do have issues with church leadership. But that doesn't mean going to a different church. It means not subsidizing the feckless stupidity of my church leaders.
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Old 08-27-2016, 05:00 AM   #88
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(3) In both cases, there is a display of love. The prodigal son is loved by the father (symbolising the heavenly Father) while the traveller is loved by his neighbour. The prodigal son is loved even though he does not deserve it while the traveller is loved even though the Samaritan was not obliged to help him.
This was an absolutely fantastic bit of writing. I think Jesus would say, "Now you are not far from the kingdom." What will transform this world is love.

Contrast this to the LCM, who won't show love unless there's a possibility of return. The FTTA trainers told us, "Don't waste your time". Quote, unquote. And no, they weren't going rogue. They were channeling WL.

If you look at the Samaritan, like Philip with the Ethiopian, there is no thought of return, of WL's "building up" idea. These are seemingly random acts of kindness, disconnected to some meta-narrative of tractoring God's heavenly kingdom into earthly reality, as we might imagine we should. Who'll shepherd the poor Ethiopian eunuch, and guide him into all the truth? An angel sent Philip to the south road, an the Holy Spirit said, Run up that chariot, and the Holy Spirit knew the next move as well, and the next. . . Philip didn't need to manipulate God's kingdom into being. Philip was already there. Just obey the voice from heaven, and love your neighbor. Yes, that one - the one right next to you.
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Old 08-27-2016, 07:59 AM   #89
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God doesn't need our $165 Billion; He needs us to "infect" our neighbor with the divine fire.

While I can agree with your second clause, I don't think you can make the first one so flatly.

Certainly $165 billion with no spiritual underpinnings would be useless. But we do live in a physical world which requires money to operate. I appreciate your stories of simple kindnesses working good. But they actually make the case that $165 billion worth of kindnesses could work a lot of good. It's not either/or. Both can have their place.

Regardless the real point of starting this thread was not to enforce tithing, nor to place the focus on some amount of dollars. It was to point out that (1) God expects us to give (2) the US Church based on income most likely does not give near enough and (3) works that will glorify God and help spread the gospel are not getting done precisely because there is not enough giving. Talk to any missions group. They always want to do more and usually a lack of funds is the reason they can't.

Does money get wasted? Of course. Money gets wasted in any endeavor, secular or religious. But that's not an excuse not to still undertake the endeavor nor to categorically refuse to support similar endeavors. Your kids waste money. Does that mean you stop supporting them? I understand passing on organizations with terrible financial records, but using the existence of some as an excuse to support none seems ignoble.

Another, possibly more crucial, point of this thread was to discuss our general tendency to hesitate to help others because we don't want to participate in some "social gospel." I understand this to some degree. But it can simply be a convenient excuse. The ultimate point of charity is to lead people to Christ. And showing someone you care for them to the point of being willing to sacrifice your time, energy and money on their behalf while expecting nothing in return is a hard-to-beat way to soften their heart toward what you believe. The point is not to fix the world, but if a better world comes because we were loving people in Christ's name, what is the problem with that? Look at some of the worst parts of the world socially and politically--places where war, oppression and injustice run rampant. You don't think the Lord hates that? Don't you think he would like to see things change there, if only to make it easier for the gospel to spread? Certainly change starts with hearts. But money helps. Does your knowledge that the world ends badly lead you to not show practical love for others when the result could be salvations? I don't think the Lord is going to buy that.

In my opinion, we discount the power of this kind of thing much too much. And we use spiritual excuses to excuse ourselves from getting involved when the real reason is we don't want to be bothered. This is another LCM legacy, stronghold really, that needs to be broken down.

Like I said, I'm as bad a violator as anyone. But the Lord has put this on my heart.


Isaiah 1:17 - Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.

Zechariah 7:9-10 - So says the LORD of hosts, Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassion every man to his brother.

Proverbs 31:9 - Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

Jeremiah 22:3 - So says the LORD; Execute judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place.

Psalms 82:3 - Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.

Isaiah 58:6-12 - Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?
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Old 08-27-2016, 08:25 AM   #90
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. . . we use spiritual excuses to excuse ourselves from getting involved when the real reason is we don't want to be bothered. This is another LCM legacy, stronghold really, that needs to be broken down..
Actually we refrain because we are afraid. The problem seems so big and our resources so small. We are afraid to address the problems because we'll be exposed as frauds. Thats why the Lee church never tried to do any good. It couldn't. So they pretend that they have better things to do.

And it's not limited to the Lee church. I read a story once about a man who worked for one of those "healer" charismatic ministries, and when they actually brought in a sick person the healer wouldn't acknowledge her. Because the carefully staged world would collapse when confronted with the real one.
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Old 08-27-2016, 08:51 AM   #91
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Actually we refrain because we are afraid. The problem seems so big and our resources so small. We are afraid to address the problems because we'll be exposed as frauds. Thats why the Lee church never tried to do any good. It couldn't. So they pretend that they have better things to do.

And it's not limited to the Lee church. I read a story once about a man who worked for one of those "healer" charismatic ministries, and when they actually brought in a sick person the healer wouldn't acknowledge her. Because the carefully staged world would collapse when confronted with the real one.
Matthew 25 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!


We tend to think of talents as gifts. But they include everything the Lord has given us, including... money. And note this servant was the one who had been given the least. Yikes!
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Old 08-27-2016, 12:35 PM   #92
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A different thought on the following:
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God doesn't need our $165 Billion; He needs us to "infect" our neighbor with the divine fire.
No. God doesn't need our $165 billion. But he will use it if it is there.

But the calling was not to infect our neighbor with any kind of fire. Just love them as we love ourselves.

It was not to be odd for odd's sake. It was not to say a lot of stuff to them about Jesus (not that there is anything wrong with that). It was not to help them with a tag attached to the help that says "this was provided by the _____ [Christian group or whatever]."

It was just to love them. To live righteously in everything we do. The infection comes when they take note, follow, and meet Jesus. When they ask and we reply "come and see." We don't even need the words. Just the love. If they want, they will seek and find.

I am not dismissing any kind of evangelistic efforts, events, activities, etc. But if we are not living that life, all the evangelistic things we do will be a problem. They will be hollow replacements for actual obedience.

And no matter how much we like the old-school view of grace, if you don't obey, there is a problem. Obedience seems to come ahead of so many of the "spiritual" things that the Bible talks about.
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Old 08-27-2016, 01:51 PM   #93
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But here's my basic thought: The LCM's view of the Church as the testimony of Jesus is warped. To them, the Church just "shines" with "the glory of God," but has no effect on the world. That's pretty impotent shining! But we are to be salt and light to the world, and salt and light are supposed to have an effect of changing things.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet."

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house."
Matthew 5:13-15

I think many of us have a tendency to remember the first part of the verses - "You are the salt of the earth" and "You are the light of the world" - and conveniently forget about a very important part - "no longer good for anything" and "put it under a basket".

"No longer good for anything" indicates loss of original or intended function. "Put it under a basket" is just flat out, purposefully ignoring the function. As Igzy has pointed out, Christian service to our neighbors and others is an essential element of the Christian life. Lots of practical applications have already been brought forth and I heartily agree with them all.

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Old 08-27-2016, 05:28 PM   #94
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Does money get wasted? Of course. Money gets wasted in any endeavor, secular or religious. But that's not an excuse not to still undertake the endeavor nor to categorically refuse to support similar endeavors. Your kids waste money. Does that mean you stop supporting them? I understand passing on organizations with terrible financial records, but using the existence of some as an excuse to support none seems ignoble.
Reminds me of Matthew 13

3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

In sowing, we would not want to waste our time and good seed if they were going to fall on rocky places/be dried up by the sun or choked by thorns. We all would like to be the one in verse 8 which yielded a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sowed. (Just like the boy who offered up five loaves and two fishes and God could feed five thousand with these).

Paul also noted that he planted and Apollos watered, but God caused the growth.

Even if we all planted and watered on good soil, we cannot expect fruitful results all the time. In farming, there could still be an unexpected flood which wipes away our fruit. Not everything goes to plan.

At the end of the day, given that divine sovereignty goes along with human responsibility, we all have to do our part to the best of our ability and if God is willing, the fruit will come.

I assume that doing our best means not deliberately sowing seeds on rocky places/where there are thorns. (But then again, perhaps it is not easy in real life to tell what are the rocky place/thorns.)
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Old 08-27-2016, 05:50 PM   #95
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Contrast this to the LCM, who won't show love unless there's a possibility of return. The FTTA trainers told us, "Don't waste your time". Quote, unquote. And no, they weren't going rogue. They were channeling WL.

If you look at the Samaritan, like Philip with the Ethiopian, there is no thought of return, of WL's "building up" idea. These are seemingly random acts of kindness, disconnected to some meta-narrative of tractoring God's heavenly kingdom into earthly reality, as we might imagine we should. Who'll shepherd the poor Ethiopian eunuch, and guide him into all the truth? An angel sent Philip to the south road, an the Holy Spirit said, Run up that chariot, and the Holy Spirit knew the next move as well, and the next. . . Philip didn't need to manipulate God's kingdom into being. Philip was already there. Just obey the voice from heaven, and love your neighbor. Yes, that one - the one right next to you.
Jesus chose to heal the ten lepers even though He would have known that only one out of the ten would come back and thank Him.

I guess the "don't waste time" mentality you mentioned above has similarities with what Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 10 when He sent them forth :-"If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet."

I suppose the point is that we should still preach the gospel and do good works to everyone, but if the recipient is still hostile, then we just move on? (Let me know if you have a different view).

As for the Philip-Ethiopian encounter, in today's context (with the world being more interconnected with internet, whatsapp), should we expect the modern-day Philip to do a bit more follow-through? (Give the Ethiopian his email address? But no particular need to follow-up unless he is led by the Spirit to do so?)
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Old 08-28-2016, 11:00 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by micah6v8 View Post
As for the Philip-Ethiopian encounter, in today's context (with the world being more interconnected with internet, whatsapp), should we expect the modern-day Philip to do a bit more follow-through? (Give the Ethiopian his email address? But no particular need to follow-up unless he is led by the Spirit to do so?)
I think the story is more about what can happen if we listen to the Spirit in our daily lives and that short encounters are worthwhile. I don't think that Philip no longer saw the Ethiopian need be taken in the absolute sense. The point is they were together for a short time but blessing still occurred.

If I see someone reading a Bible in Starbucks, I might ask them what they are reading or say something cute like, "That's a good book you're reading!" We might just chat for a moment or something more might come of it. But it's never a waste of time.

Large or small, just keeping sowing. That's the lesson.
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Old 09-05-2016, 07:54 PM   #97
testallthings
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Default Re: What It's Really All About

Among the things a church should do W. Nee also considered,

"(4) Distribution of relief to the unbelieving poor. (5) Sending relief to flood and fire victims.”


The Church and the Work
III
Church Affairs
WATCHMAN NEE
Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc.
New York , page 61
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Old 09-06-2016, 04:00 AM   #98
ZNPaaneah
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Default Re: What It's Really All About

Quote:
Originally Posted by micah6v8 View Post
Jesus chose to heal the ten lepers even though He would have known that only one out of the ten would come back and thank Him.

I guess the "don't waste time" mentality you mentioned above has similarities with what Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 10 when He sent them forth :-"If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet."

I suppose the point is that we should still preach the gospel and do good works to everyone, but if the recipient is still hostile, then we just move on? (Let me know if you have a different view).
12*And as ye enter into the house, salute it. 13*And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14*And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, as ye go forth out of that house or that city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15*Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.


Think about the Wright brothers. They invented the airplane in the US and wanted to sell it to the US but the US government wouldn’t even give them the time of day. They had no choice but to go to France. But once the whole world had seen what they did it became a testimony against those who had rejected even looking at their invention in the US. Why? Because those officials had spent $70,000 of taxpayer money on their own attempt and been publicly embarrassed. To have these two (no college degree) to do it was humiliating.

But this response is typical (pasteurization, the transistor, Earth revolves around the Sun, etc)
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