I apologize for that being the title of this post, but quite frankly, I couldn't really think of any other way to title this. I was reading my friend's blog this morning and he had the same title for his post....and his thoughts on the subject pretty much nailed what I have been thinking about the last few months.
I came across a blog post today (actually it was posted several days ago...I am just very slow at finding the most thought provoking ones) and it addressed the issue of tithing. Or more accurately, the idea of tracking tithing in the church. The author was questioned by a staff member regarding her and a friend's giving record and they indicated that they were giving in cash.
I have found that with many Christians, this very issue can cause one's blood to boil! I was reading through some of the comments and I noticed that there were some heated statements claiming that it is no one's business how much a member tithes and that a church should not track.
I completely agree that a member of any congregation should give from their heart what they are able back to God. Dan and I have made a committment to give every week (since Dan gets paid weekly and I bi-weekly it is just easier when it comes to writing that check! Math is not my strong suit). It should be a matter between he and God. I believe that a lack of giving can be a KEY indicator of that person's spiritual health.
That being said....I believe the those in leadership (pastors, staff etc), those who have immense influence within the flock should be held to a higher standard. Accountability. If a leader does not want to be held accountable to tithing...what else does he not want to be accountable for?
Our church does track pastoral staff. If ever we slack in giving, how can we expect those we minister to to give? Also, when folks don't give (10% is God's no matter what) because of the economy, like now, it does affect the church. It shows up in the ministry opportunities, events, building etc. As a member of a church you are required by God to give of your means and pray for His will to be done with and through your giving.
I may be going out on a limb here, but I am starting to feel as if many christians have a "don't judge me" mentality. What I mean by that is, if someone calls you out regarding a moral issue (sexual etc), social issue (clubbing, drinking etc), there is this statement: Don't judge me because I don't have the same convictions about certain things as you do." Perhaps. But if you are behaving in such a way that would cause a christian to stumble in their own walk with the Lord....or causing a non-believer to question whether you are really a Christ follower.....then you might want to think again about using that statement. Whatever happened to living above reproach? To sacrifice our own wants and desires and do for the good of others. To be not of this world but to be transormed with the renewing of our mind....linking ourselves with the Spirit! I feel as if many are opposed to accountability because they feel it isn't anyone's business about what they do or how much they give. I know for my husband, if you are a leader for Illuminate, he will require accountability from you. He will meet with you and check on if you are reading the Word, where you are giving of your time, money and talents/gifts. It is not because he wants to be nosy and all up in your business! But because he knows how much leaders can influence others within the flock. If he or any other pastor for that matter is going to place trust in you to help shape and lead the flock God has given him, then you need to show that you are capable of taking care of your own spiritual matters. If you can't read your own bible, or give regularly to your home church, then how can you expect to truly "lead"?
What do you think? If you are giving do you think of it as a non-issue? Or does this really cause you anger? I know that there are some who have come from churches where they were billed for their tithing (which is just wrong by the way. The church should not be a bill collector!)
I came across a post today by Margaret Feinberg addressing an article about a woman teaching in the pulpit at Irving Bible Church. In this article it addresses some of the controversy surrounding this church's decision.
Many are referring to the passage in 1 Timothy 2:12-"I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent."
I can understand how many, including women, would look at this verse as being unfriendly toward women and degrading towards them. Personally, I have never felt or experienced that from this passage...but I have encountered many of those whom I consider friends to look at this passage and reject the Lord all together.
I decided, after reading the article and the passage in question, to look at this verse in context and I resorted to Biblegateway.com (a great resource if you do not have a bible commentary or concordance handy) to see what it had to say regarding 1 Timothy 2.
If you look at the whole chapter of Timothy 2, it was basically an instruction of worship (how to behave within the congregation) for both men and women. They were both given certain behaviors and attitudes that were acceptable and not acceptable while worshipping. One of the main reasons God directed Paul to write these instructions was due to the lack of unity and disruptions certain behaviors were causing among the congregation. These disruptions included women inquiring about the meaning of prophesy and also teaching men. The anger and arguments of men was also causing disruption during worship, so the commentator states that this passage was mostly to create unity among believers.
According to Biblegateway.com, if you read on to verses 13-14; Paul goes on to refer to Genesis and the order of creation.
"For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. (1 Timothy 2:13-14)
This illustrates the consequences that result when the divinely willed structure is disturbed. (Biblegateway.com)
When you read throughout the scriptures regarding a women's role in ministry, or even a man's...it is often referenced that Christ is the head of the Church, and man is the head of women. It all goes back to creation. I wonder if perhaps women have such a problem with this passage because the idea of submission is a little hard to swallow. I will admit that I don't necessarily like the word.....but if I believe that the Bible is God breathed, inspired by Him, then the word submission will be lovingly accepted and obeyed.
Another thing I have noticed is that 1 Timothy 2 was mainly instruction to the men and women of God. How to behave in worship with each other. In times of today, we often see women trying to break through the glass ceiling in corporate businesses and in churches. When we do so in churches, meaning women teaching from the pulpit and becoming senior pastors of a church....there is such controversy and anger that it does not promote unity among the bretheren. When that happens because women so want to teach from the pulpit, don't we defeat the purpose of being one with our brothers and sisters and keeping unity between each other? Therefore causing pain within the body of believers? Doesn't that defeat the purpose? Have we missed the point?
Why does a woman need to be on the pulpit in order to teach the word of God? I can think of women such as Beth Moore and Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Women who are not pastors, but they know, study and love the Word. They teach to thousands of women everyday by radio, conferences and bible study. They are mostly directing their teachings to women, to promote a love of God's word....yet they do not lead a church.
And as women, aren't we instructed to teach the younger women in the ways of the Lord? To encourage them to honor their husbands, to love their children, to care for their household? God did not make us women so He could limit us and not use us. We have seen in God's word the many times he has used a woman for His good purpose. Jesus Christ anyone? The Apostle Paul did not give birth to Him. No, he used Mary, a young jewish girl to bring forth the Messiah into the world.
God encourages us to use our gifts and talents to further the kingdom of God. But when something like a woman teaching from the pulpit can cause so much unity, we need to really think if that your need to is to be like the senior pastor, we need to ask the question "Do I want to be a pastor to further the kingdom of God? Or because I want to show that woman can do a man's job." I think that women have very different roles then men...and I think it is important to embrace those differences instead of fighting them. I know for a fact that my husband, as wonderful as he is...would not be able to handle giving birth...or even be pregnant for nine months with an alien inside his body and all the disgusting things that go with it. Sorry my husband, but you know it is true.
But God gave us that because He disigned us specifically for a purpose. And one of them was to birth children. He has created our bodies to be used for what I consider a beautiful miracle. When I look at Madison, I see evidence of His goodness and His love.
I prayed to the Lord that this post would be loving and not at all a women bashing post. Being a woman, I would never want to hurt any of you with hateful or hurtful comments. I just feel that sometimes, with the feminist movement, we can lose sight of what our true goal is as Christian women....and that is to further the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Women teaching in the pulpit is not a salvation issue. Whether or not you accept Christ as Lord is. However; I think healthy discussions about what we read in God's word and how others interpret it is very important among believers. We must know what His word says, so that we can discern who speaks the truth and who does not.
I love you all my beautiful friends.
I recently learned about a bill that passed that is called SB 1441. Basically it states that nobody in California can discriminate against sexual orientation. Now, I do not discriminate, but I noticed that this included religions as well. Meaning that faith-based organizations that receive funding from the state (for example APU or Biola University) cannot discriminate against homosexuality. Now by discrimination, they mean that we have to disregard the faith clause that we have as part of our school by-laws. If this isn't followed a school could lose state funding...meaning a student could not use their financial aid towards our school. Hmmmmm I find this a little interesting...what do ya'll think? Why can't an organization have to conform to a certain belief by other individuals in order to protect their funding from the state? I am just a little confused.....