Posted by: WoF Unveiled | May 21, 2010

Church Father Irenaeus On Tithing!

tithing
The teaching about tithing is one of the fundamental tenants of the Word of  Faith movement.  In their circles it is known as the “law of prosperity!”.   One of their lies about tithing is that the early Church practiced tithing and the Church Fathers were in favor of tithing. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Let us first examine the writing of Saint Irenaeus who was one of the early Church Fathers:

Who was Irenaeus?

Saint Irenaeus, was bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, which is now Lyons, France. His writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology. He was a notable early Christian apologist. He was also a disciple of Polycarp, who was said to be a disciple of John the Evangelist. His best-known book, Against Heresies (c 180) enumerated heresies and attacked them. Irenaeus wrote that the only way for Christians to retain unity was to humbly accept one doctrinal authority—episcopal councils.Irenaeus was the first to propose that all four gospels be accepted as canonical.

From Irenaenus’ Popular Book – Against Heresies

Chapter XIII.-Christ Did Not Abrogate the Natural Precepts of the Law, But Rather Fulfilled and Extended Them. He Removed the Yoke and Bondage of the Old Law, So that Mankind, Being Now Set Free, Might Serve God with that Trustful Piety Which Becometh Sons.

Section 3

“And for this reason did the Lord, instead of that [commandment], `You shall not commit adultery,’ forbid even concupiscence; and instead of that which runs thus, `You shall not kill,’ He prohibited anger; and instead of the law enjoining the giving of tithes, to share all our possessions with the poor; and not to love our neighbors only, but even our enemies; and not merely to be liberal givers and bestowers, but even that we should present a gratuitous gift to those who take away our goods”

Please pay attention that Irenaeus saying “…instead of the law enjoining the giving of tithes, to share all our possessions with the poor…”.

Here is another passage by  Irenaeus on the same book “Against Heresies”:

Chapter XVIII.-Concerning Sacrifices and Oblations, and Those Who Truly Offer Them.

Section 2:

“And the class of oblations in general has not been set aside; for there were both oblations there [among the Jews], and there are oblations here [among the Christians]. Sacrifices there were among the people; sacrifices there are, too, in the Church: but the species alone has been changed, inasmuch as the offering is now made, not by slaves, but by freemen. For the Lord is [ever] one and the same; but the character of a servile oblation is peculiar [to itself], as is also that of freemen, in order that, by the very oblations, the indication of liberty may be set forth. For with Him there is nothing purposeless, nor without signification, nor without design. And for this reason they (the Jews) had indeed the tithes of their goods consecrated to Him, but those who have received liberty set aside all their possessions for the Lord’s purposes, bestowing joyfully and freely not the less valuable portions of their property, since they have the hope of better things [hereafter]; as that poor widow acted who cast all her living into the treasury of God.

Please notice that Irenaeus saying ” …And for this reason they (the Jews) had indeed the tithes of their goods consecrated to Him, but those who have received liberty set aside all their possessions for the Lord’s purposes…”

Here he contrasts between the Jews living under the law and the New Testament Christians who were living in the liberty of Jesus Christ.

Conclusions:

* Irenaeus believed that tithing was part of the law of Moses.

* These statements by Irenaeus proves that the early Christians did not tithe.

* The early Christians believed that they were commanded to share all their possessions with the poor INSTEAD of tithing.

* Irenaeus recorded that the Jews had tithed but Christians set aside all their possessions. He actually contrasted between Old Testament Jews and New Testament Christians!

* Money is not mentioned by Irenaeus at all.

It is interesting to see that these writings appear in his book “Against Heresies“. Irenaenus probably would have labeled all modern day tithe teaches as heretics!

Therefore my friends, please realize that the early Church never practiced tithes and they did not even believe that they were commanded to tithe unlike what our modern day tithe teacher tell us.

May the Lord open the eyes of whoever reads this blog post about the dangers posed by the mammon loving Word of Faith preachers.

Sources:

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/irenaeus-book4.html

http://slaveoftheword.blogspot.com/2006/03/tithing-in-ante-nicene-period-second_05.html

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Responses

  1. If the writings of Irenaeus are what are being discussed here, then it should be considered that fulfillment of the spiritual laws he espoused would involved the laying down of all one’s possessions at the apostle’s feet. It would be contemptible to quote Iranaeus on the “heresy” of tithing and then hold back personal funds for Friday night pizza with the family. Herein is the problem of looking to the early church fathers as a proof text versus listening to what they actually were trying to say.
    Iranaeus first used examples of adultery and anger. Why? To demonstrate that the law of the spirit of grace ALWAYS supersedes a dogmatic law of compulsion. While teaching tithing as an extension of Old Testament law is, in itself, an indictment against grace, much worst is to even hint that a person filled continually with God’s Spirit would somehow be less inclined to give than a Jew still living under the law. Jesus’ point (and subsequently Irenaeus’) was that those living under God’s direct control would excel beyond the minimum standards set by a temporary law, one intended to preserve but with no ability to transform. When grace came, the law became a thermometer to show if grace were at work or not. When grace is present, the demands of the law are both being fulfilled and exceeded. Grace always produces a superior result.
    Consider these words of Christ, “Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” This is not only a testament to the gift of righteousness imputed to the believer by faith, it is a stark contrast between man’s best efforts and the working of God through Him by the Holy Spirit. While I agree that tithing should not be taught as a continuation of Old Testament obligation, it is the clear teaching of the New Testament that people who use an assault against tithing as a Christian standard and, by course, give less than a tithe with regularity, are operating neither by law nor by grace, but by greed and a much worse kind of heresy than a compulsory tithe.
    Let me give an example: There is absolutely nothing in the New Testament that specifically says that a man cannot have relations with an animal, not as specifically as the law does at least, “And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion.” (Lev. 18:23). Make no mistake–the law strictly forbid such practices, such actions as were sometimes enjoyed by those who worshiped and served other gods. You might say, “But the New Testament forbids perversion and lasciviousness,” to which I would say, “But it is God’s law that separates such acts from the rest of the world as perverse.” It is because of the morality that God’s law has already established that I can clearly say that sex with animals is just as perverse in the New Testament as it was in the Old, and to commit such acts without conscience of sinfulness could only be done by one who has no knowledge of God at all.
    Now, consider this: there are two distinct truths about the tithe we learn from the Old Testament. One is the command to tithe along with the blessings and cursings associated with the command. The other is a natural fact about tithing that may or may not accompany the command, that is that the tithe was the Lord’s and was holy unto Him. Can any New Testament believer say with clear conscience that since the coming of Christ, the tithe is no longer the Lord’s? Remember Paul’s apology concerning meeting the needs of those who minister the gospel, “Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also?” His appeal to the church was that the law served as a minimum standard of love, service and ministry. To cheapen the law cheapens the grace that overcomes it.
    It is my desire to walk each moment filled with God’s Spirit and power, live and walk by faith, and to invest in the world and life to come. I tithe out of love for God, not out of compulsion, and I give far beyond that tithe. If, however, I found myself giving less than a tithe and looking for better ways to finance my lifestyle choices instead of giving to the Lord Jesus and His bride, an honest examination would conclude that it was greed and not grace motivating me. Paul called the law ” tutor to bring us to Christ.” By the same token, wholesome guidelines of giving standards within the church, in a very tangible way, reveal our more carnal tendencies and expose those areas where grace is lacking.
    When a playing child who believes in Christ runs through a room of crowded elderly people, do we tell them to stop running or to pray and do what they believe is best? Both Old and New Testaments compel children to obedience toward their parents. They will learn what is right, and they will one day operate in the grace of self control. Until that time, the guidelines exist to help them toward that grace. Raising children without such guidelines is a formula for psychopathy.
    I’m not saying we should bring back the Old Testament. God forbid! Christ died and rose again to fulfill all of those temporary obligations. What I am saying is that, for the New Testament believer, the law is a guideline, a schoolmaster, a thermometer that shows whether or not the Holy Spirit is, in fact, in control. One can tithe and not be Spirit filled, but it is not likely that one can be Spirit filled and give less than a tithe.

    • Hi Don, you CANNOT tithe in the New Testament. Tithing was NEVER from money under the law, There were 3 separate tithes. The ancient Israelites paid about 23.3% on an average in 6 years and 7th year was the Sabbatical year. On years 3 and 6 – they tithed to widows, orphans and strangers. I wonder if you have ever tithed to widows, orphans and strangers? Also according to Malachi 13:5 you can see the Jews tithing to singers and gatekeepers.

    • Read Deuteronomy 14:22f, who ate the tithe? If you read the Pentateuch holistically….for me Old Testament was like a sign board, important as it is, it was not the destination. How i wish that believers would stop sitting under the sign post and imagine they have reached the destination.
      What i see in most denominations that teach tithing is a people who read the wrong sign post.

  2. Explain I Cor. 9:1-14 where the command of Jesus is to give to ministers in the same way as the priesthood who ministered the holy things? And, if the law (other than ceremonial and for righteousness, justification and the Holy Spirit – Gal. 3) is been made void (See and look up the words to Rom. 3:31) then why are so many New Testament doctrines Paul taught justified by him quoting the Old Testament? Why does I Jn say that ALL sin is to live as though there is no Law? I am an ex-Word of Faither too – a grad of Rhema Bible Training Center even, and I believe ultimately most of their doctrines turned faith into a work, but this conclusion you have arrived at is simply goofy and poor scholarship. You may want to read Irenaeus’ mentor’s letter to the Philippians concerning tithe. Even his mentor (who as you say was a direct disciple of John) taught New Testament tithing.
    Please do not reply on my facebook account since I do not use it and am about to close it out anyway.

    • Hi Mark, I’ll try to get the author of this post to respond. THANKS for you comment! Damon Whitsell

    • Mark, can you please give me the link / proof for the mentor of Irenaeus’ mentor’s letter to the Philippians?

      If New Testament tithe was taught how did all 5 fold ministers Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Evangelists and Pastors divide the tithe.

      Please see:

      http://www.wickedshepherds.com/ShouldPastorsBeCaredFor.html

    • Hello Mark,

      I found the letter written by Polycarp to Philippians and tithing is NOT mentioned at all.

      http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/polycarp.html

      Glad to know that you are ex-WoF.now.

      The law is written in our hearts now. If you fail to obey one law then you have failed to obey ALL laws.

      James 2:10

      For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

      The Bible talks about 3 different tithes (even later church fathers Jerome and Chrisostam agree). You obviously don’t follow all 3 tithes, hence you are not a tither to begin with.

      SOME Church fathers advocated tithing because tithing was not in effect and the giving by early Christians was not sufficient.

      Tithing never referred to earned income either. It was ONLY food and livestock.

      • No I can’t because I was wrong. You are absolutely right I got confused it was the Didache to which I was refering – I am SO sorry to send you on a goose chase. I had just listend to both on audio a few days before reading this post and just got confused.

        Before anyone says anything – NO I do not hold the Didache (nor Polycarp) on par with scripture, but seeing that it was written between 60-120AD and so far as I can tell had no Apostolic nor early Elder censures as did gnosticism, docetism, teachings of the Nicolatians…etc. it would seem that more than one very early church practiced tithing within the 1st century with no public rebuke.

        Your statement…

        “SOME Church fathers advocated tithing because tithing was not in effect and the giving by early Christians was not sufficient.”

        Is a possibility to which I am open, but I would like some form of proof, unless this is just a reasonable conjecture.

        Out of the three tithes mentioned above I am refering to the typical 10% written in Lev.-Deut. for the Israelites while there were a nomadic Agrarian society. As being agrarian, naturally most tithes would have been of produce and cattle but even this was exchangeable for gold according to the measure of the sanctuary. The Levites received of the best 10% fromt he other tribes and they in turn a tenth of their tenth (the best of the best)to the priestly family of Aaron (which by the way was an insane amount of provision for 8 people).

        I do agree that tithing is not specificially mentioned after the cross, but neither is incest or bestiality but I think we all agree it applies.

        I believe (as I am sure you do as well) that God does not change, therefore those outward actions which are conducive with right standing with God cannot change either. Paul called the law “the righteous requirement”. These laws have simply been removed as the method for obtaining righteousness, Justification and the Holy Spirit.

        As it was mentioned in a post above, God’s law is now written in our hearts. The Gentile Roman believers found themselves living the things contained in the law and therefore became a law unto themselves. They were no longer “under” the law as a slave, but the law was now within them.

        Now this makes me think that if God (the standard for all morality – the “torah” or “mark” which sin misses) calls not paying tithe robbery -then I am going to be insanely causious of saying it has passed away when the New Testament fails to tell us it has.

        Most conservative Christians would agree that abortion is wrong and that the U.S. approach to abortion is more than a little liberal.

        “Let’s kill them until we can prove it is murder. If it can be demonstrated at some point in the future that it is murder we will stop.”

        Wouldn’t it be better to say, “Let’s forgo abortions UNTIL it can be demonstrated that it is NOT killing a living being.”

        This is the same approach I use concerning anything in the law as pertaining to the New Covenant Christian. I believe it to be a conservative and practicle approach.

        Now, I would assume tithe had in fact been recended IF Paul had ever made a unconditional statement of being free from every tenant, doctrine and moral obligation of the law – but he didn’t! He went out of his way to demonstrate what parts we were free from which makes no sense if we are free from all of it!

        According to his writting we are free from ceremonial laws, types and shadows of Christ and from righteousnesss, justification and the Holy Spirit being given by the “works” of the law.

        Not many Christians (even liberal ones) would argue that the ten commandments are to be viewed as mere guideliness which are fungable under grace. In keeping with this, God places failing to tithe as “robbery” (one of the ten) because it was given BY Him to the Levites and the priests. Paul is the one who draws the cohesive line between the old and the new by calling the minister – “a minister of the holy things”. This doesn’t seem far fetched at all to me – it seems rather straight forward.

        In any case it seems clear that moneys are to be given for the total support of those called into full time ministry according to I Cor.9. Paul laid that “right” aside when ministering to non-converts and early converts, but later encourages the same to not only pay their elders but to partner with him in ministry. Nevertheless, Paul called it a “right” – a right cannot be so called if no one is REQUIRED to pay it – then it would be a privileged gratuity and nothing more! Paul calls it a “power over you” (I Cor. 9:12) the word power is the greek word exousía and means – authority, right, liberty, power to do something.

        I clearly do not have all the answers, and I am open to correction, but the early chruch (gentiles included) KNEW the law and saw it as the standard for right behaviour in Christ. I believe the conservative approach is best. If no early Apostle clearly told us

        “no longer tithe but just give what you want”

        then it seems liberal to jump to the other side of the fense.

        After reading through Paul’s approach to the Law (and I have spend quite some time with this) he seems to hold it in incredibly high regard and uses it as the REASON WHY his teachings are to be heeded. It was the basis for all his teaching. Faith – establishes the law not voids it.

        Admittedly, certain things have changed out of necessity. We have no more descendants of Aaron performing sacrifices, however, as I mentioned above Paul does not leave it up to immagination as to who should be seen as the recipents of the priestly provisions in I Cor. 9.

        To claim that only food and cattle were ever given as tithe is immediately deniable and the general rule God laid down was one of convenience. It could be converted to monetary units. I understand that the “LAW” said, “cattle and crops” but that was during the wanderings. In an agrarian society, food and cattle WERE money!

        Once Israel left the wilderness (as a free autonimous society or while in captivity) people worked other trades and monies were used as well as cattle and crops (except for firstfruits which were always cattle and crops). Because the Law was holy (as written) they did not go back and edit the Law later to include money, but this would seem self evident. It was not okay to let the priest and the Levite die just because they were now predominately a monetary based society. If I may be direct that seems like a silly argument.

        As to the question of who would receive what among the Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Elders/Pastors…etc. – I do not know. It seems likely that most of the Apostles would have received the tithe while there were presently establishing a church (using Paul as a model, that would have been between the 1st 6 months to 3yrs. of a city churches’ inception). In their sted the Apostles (or a delegate like Timothy or Titus) would appoint several elders within each church (though this was done subsequently by the people) and so as the “shepherds” of the flock they would “drink of the milk of the flock” as Paul said.

        Now, these same churches would continue to give to the support of the Apostles as they traveled (again using Paul as our model – II Cor. 11:8,9; Phil. 2:25; 4:10-19) but regular giving would hve been impossible and unnecessary. If Acts can be used as a guide for Prophets and Teachers, they seemed to travel as well (Acts 11:27; 15:32,33; 21:10) though acting from a home base so a “tithe” would have been difficult to maintain though not impossible. Also, with itinerant ministers – the same group would not be recipients of their “spiritual things” on a consistent basis which seems to be another governing factor – I Cor. 9:11.

        I know that at certain times everyone sold everything and laid the monies at the Apostles’ feet, but that all seemed to occur very early – long before the establishment of any churches.

        I will comment of the material in the suggested link – http://www.wickedshepherds.com/ShouldPastorsBeCaredFor.html in my next comment to this post so as to avoid confusion with this comment.

        I do not believe a person can be absolutely dogmatic about tithe/not-tithe, but I beliueve the bulk of the evidence points in the direction of 10% being a bare minimum for the support of those shepherd who minister tot he spiritual well-being of the flock – with those whose labor is more teaching intensive being paid more from what comes in.

        That alms and offerings were also accepted seems evident from I & II Cor. & Phil. The special collection for the Jewish believers during famine is the most prominent example, though James and 1Jn mentions giving tot he poor as well. Notably the concepts of giving to the poor as mentioned by Paul, James and John all use terminology lifted directly from the old testament law.

        I will check back in a week or so for more input or further information which may help me, because though I feel on very solid ground about this, it would only take one clear scripture to change that so I am open.

        • That was a very good comment Mark,, I hope you don’t mind me pointing out some fallacious thinking in it though. WoF Unveiled knows the ins and outs of tithing and he will give a response that can help you. But one of your major premises is just wrong,, that the OT was an agrarian society,, when there was common currency of that day found in both scripture and the archeological record. But still the tithe come only from Stock and Produce,, and it only came from they which God gave “increase” for. So of you food or cattle supply did not increase, no tithe was required. Also you conflate the issue of God’s unchanging character into a false dichotomy fallacy. Gods nature and attributes do not change,, but he repents (changes his mind), issues new decrees and covenants and dispensations in which he manifest himself in different ways and acts and requires of us differently. God is Spirit but became man, Was a giver of the law but became a teachers through the law,, ect. etc. While Gods ontological nature is indeed unchanging, his acts and and dictates differently at different times.

          I have much more to say,, but this might help you in preparing for WoF Unveiled’s response. I am sure he will take time with you since you seem still learning on the issue. I should have more time at some point in this conversation. THANKS so much for commenting here. THAT WAS A GREAT RESPONSE!!! _ Damon Whitsell

      • On this link (which if I may say so seems rather venomous and this poor man has an axe to grind which I suggest has a tendency to cloud clear thought and accurate exegesis of scripture). I had to take exception with many things he said but the following are the most pertinent ones I could get through before just getting almost sick from reading his angry words:

        He said, “Christians didn’t even have “church worship services” let alone “church buildings!” – this simply is not true. Though there was no hard and fast rule, there were some former Synagogues which were converted for use as a place to assemble. Others no doubt built buildings, others met in homes. This is a bold assertion which seems to be attempting to point a bad finger at churches held in buildings. While I agree that today the buildings are more venerated than the scriptures supposedly taught there is probably true in many, many churches. However, in truth – how many of those churches have you or I visited? Do we really know that just because they have a big fancy building that they are evil money hungry devils within? I can suppose…but I cannot know for a fact. I would rather seriously pray for them. Truth is – I’m probably doing something wrong too and I hope they are praying for me.

        He draws quotes from Acts 20:33-35 (Paul talking to the elders of Ephesus concerning his former ministry among them); I Sam. 12:3 which only says that Samuel did not rob or steal what was not his – it does not say anything about whether he was or was not supported & 1 Thess. 2:1-12.

        In this later set of verses he claims that Paul says that

        The Apostle Paul comes right out and says that if the church is paying someone to do the teaching and the preaching, that this is a burden to the church, not a help.

        That is simply not what Paul was saying at all. Read it again in context. Paul himself said that the other Apostles DID receive monies and that it was their right to do so, so why would he contradict himself here by claiming that it was a burden to the church to support those in full time ministry? Paul in fact lamented in II Cor. 11 that he did not charge the Corinthians suggesting that he wronged them by preaching the Gospel free of charge –

        “Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you. And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself. ” (2Co 11:7-9)

        To take what Paul said to the elders at Ephesus and apply it to every church he ever ministered to is inconceivably irresponsible at best. Common sense would tell us that Paul was dealing with unconverted or newly converted gentile. The other Apostles were called to the Jews. Jews KNEW to give to ministers – it was in their nature and taught tot hem from their youth. Many of the Gentiles on the other hand, would have seen this as a money making scheme and would have been turned off to the gospel message from the onset if Paul had been a recipient of pay. He says that this was his reasoning in I Cor. 9:12.

        This person quotes something rather nefarious in the following,

        “The pastor is not a necessity. He is a fungus growth upon the church, the body of Christians, dwarfing its growth…and until the church gets rid of him it will never prosper.”

        Paul would seem to disagree with him as would Jesus Himself. Sheep (according to the New Testament) need shepherds and they should not labor at their own expense as Paul also said, “Who goes to war at his own expense”.

        I am supposing this man has not read Eph. 4 or simply does not believe it. God said He gave Apostles, Prophets…Pastor-teachers (elders) for the equipping of the saints. I believe that scripture clearly states that they are in fact necessary and I would be careful about calling someone who God calls and commissions – a fungus growth.

        Paul himself received the reprimand of the former high priest when he unwittingly spoke against him in Acts 23:3-5 even though his “priesthood” had been taken from him by the death and resurrection of our eternal High Priest Jesus Christ. This was true of David as well after King Saul’s authority and kingdom had been stripped from him – David acted with respect towards Saul even still. How much more respect should we give to one whose authority (as given from God) is still in tact?

        I agree that so far as I can tell, “Pastors” are placed on too high a pedestal in many institutionalized churches, but having been in several of them myself, this is done more by the people than the Pastor. I had a very sincere and loving Baptist Pastor (whose doctrine I do not fully agree with nor in their understanding of the position of a “Pastor”) who was practically immortalized by the people, but he constantly served them and loved them. He regularly encouraged them to see him as a normal human being and that as their servant for Christ’s sake. This was not his fault it was theirs! I know that this is not always the case, but if a man is put on a pedestal it is not always the fault of the man.

        I believe that what Paul and Peter wrote, says volumes about this…

        “The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” ` 1Pet 5:1-4

        Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
        For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. ~ Acts 20:28-30

        Here these men see the elders as…

        1. Called and appointed by God
        2. Overseers or managers of God’s flock (the flock was entrusted to them)
        3. examples to the flock
        4. Feeders of the flock
        5. Protectors of the flock

        This comes with admonitions to…
        1. Not lord over them
        2. Serve willingly
        3. Not for dishonest gain but eagerly

        So I agree that Pastor/Elders should not do what they do for the money, however, even this statement says something. If a good wage was not being paid, who would ever be tempted to be an elder for the money?

        If Peter was saying that they should not be paid, his comment would not have been to the elders but to the church. He would have told them “don’t pay your pastors because they should work for free”. No, Peter wrote to the elders not to do their work FOR the money they obviously WERE receiving.

        Example:
        If you were working voluntarily at a soup kitchen I would not encourage you to check your heart and make sure you are not doing this for the awesome pay it offers – that would make no sense if you weren’t getting paid.

        This article also says,

        Now, contrast THAT behavior with the modern church today – with the “teaching elder” or “the pastor” with their nice hair cuts, and nice business suits. Even if he wanted to, there are some pastors that are not allowed to mow their own lawn! Too “degrading”. Too “blue-collar”. And too “humble”.

        I know that I am sheltered (honestly I am) but I know of no pastor who is commanded by his church or denomination to forgo mowing their own lawn and I am more than just a little suspicious that he doesn’t know any either or that IF he does, they are the exception NOT THE RULE.

        Concerning the cloths they wear I believe there is room for all. Jesus Himself said, that John came wearing camel hair and eating locust and the people said he had a demon, while Jesus came eating nice food and drinking wine and the religious folk claimed he was a glutton and a wino. To which Jesus simply replied “let true wisdom be recognized by her children” – not by what they wear or eat or who they eat with!

        Is there in “some churches” an excess in “fine clothing”? – I have no doubt there is.
        Is there in “some churches” an appeal for too worldly of clothing and the use of tattoos? – yes I believe there is.

        Is this really worth arguing and nit-picking about? I don’t think it is. It overreaches what New Testament was really addressing. If it is right, it will be justified by the fruit of the ministry.

        This article also says,

        One day, it would be so nice to see a dirty, sweaty, smelly, haggard Apostle Paul walk into the “Sunday worship service” and go up to one of these self-righteous, smug, over-paid, egotistical pulpit-pounders engaging the audience in their “public performance”, and “publicly” expose them for who they are.

        Listen, I think that there is a misuse of public influence, an air of smug, self-righteousness in churches today – no question, but the one who wrote this article seems (in my opinion) to be among them. He is misusing his public influence to persuade readers to discredit a God ordained position in the body by smug, self-righteous statements representing the whole by the few.

        This really concerns me. Are we not to love them to a place of repentance if they are wrong? I mean confront them in their sin – sure, but in love seeking their restoration – not their public humiliation. This is not a Christian article – it is vindictive, hostile and ungodly. Perhaps he has been mistreated by a church or been a victim of the sort of churches he is representing, but his advice is clouded and misguided by the anger he clearly expresses. We need to pray for him, that God will get the truth to him.

        This is the last excerpt I will address because I think it is important to this post, the article says,

        Well, the Apostle Paul would disagree. Paul says that this applies to EVERYBODY: “if anyone will not work, neither let him eat.” I think “anyone” would include “everyone” which includes your lazy, special, duly authorized church leader as well.

        In fact, Paul himself was a teacher and preacher – and PAUL WORKED- real jobs, at that.

        Again, This passage proves that Paul did NOT equate preaching with working. And since this applied to Paul, and Paul was a preacher, then it certainly applies to YOUR preacher as well – even more so. They are to work REAL jobs to support themselves, do their preaching for free, and not take even a nickel from the churches they preach at. As Paul says, “if anyone does not obey our instructions in this letter… do not associate with him.” (v. 14). That “anyone” includes “everyone” which includes the “pastor.”

        This really is an abuse of the Bible. The ironic thing is that Paul does in fact call teaching real work in I Timothy 5:17.

        “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.”

        The word labor here is the Greek word kopiáō and is the same word Luke used in regards to doing the work of a fisherman.

        “But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” Luke 5:5

        These men had been cast-netting all night long and that “toil” was the word kopiáō the exact same word Paul used for those who study and teach the word of God.

        Again I suggest we pray for this man.

        • Hi Mark,

          Sorry for the long delay in replying back. Here I am posting the e-mail reply given by Ken Cascio, the Webmaster of http://www.wickedshepherds.com himself in response to your comments regarding the article “Should Pastors be cared for?”.

          Many thanks to Ken for his prompt response to my e-mail:

          Here is Ken’s reply:

          ____

          Commenter,

          After reading just your first sentence, it is obvious that you did not heed the warning in big letters at the beginning of the article:

          WARNING: NOT FOR THE TIMID

          So, just in your first sentence, I am “rather venomous;” “a poor man with an axe to grind;” I have “a tendency to cloud clear thought and accurate exegesis of scripture;” and that you are “almost sick from reading my angry words.”

          Really?

          Commenter, I seriously doubt if you even read the WHOLE article. This is the case for many people. You glanced over and read a few snippets that stirred you and troubled you, not because it was an inaccurate exegesis of scripture or that I tried to cloud clear thought, etc., but because you could not contradict what was said with the Scriptures.

          It is clear to even a fool that there is quoted a plethora of Scriptures in that article, as well as comments from other respected writers.

          Scriptures back up what we speak.

          Every single one of your nonsensical rebuttals is refuted in the article. As I stated in the body of that article, “if you can read all of these verses of Scripture presented in this article and come away with any other conclusion, you are either:

          #1) a lazy Christian who refuses to think for themselves or

          #2) a “pastor/elder” with a vested interest to protect.

          Which one are you? Maybe a little bit of both perhaps?

          I know what I have done and I understand your mental anguish and emotional turmoil because what I have done in that article is smash the nose right off of one of your favorite idols of the heart. But really, your frustration is toward God and God’s TRUTHS, and God handles abuse better than I do.

          This is not a Christian article – it is vindictive, hostile and ungodly, and you suggest we pray for this man.

          Again…Really? You would probably act the same way and say the same words to Jesus if you were living back then. He condemned the religious leaders and scholars of His day with language that I didn’t even come close to. Have you ever read Matthew 23? Or how about the money changers?

          I am sure that those who loved their Pharisees and church leaders in Christ day would have made the same remarks toward Jesus as you are making toward me. Yes, you would be right there with them calling Jesus, hostile, vindictive, ungodly, venomous, and a poor man with an axe to grind. Wouldn’t you?

          Yes you would! Christians are offended that I would even point out these historical facts of Scripture. They really don’t want to believe Jesus spoke as He did, even though it’s all right there in their Bibles.

          You state, “Though there was no hard and fast rule, there were some former Synagogues which were converted for use as a place to assembe.”.

          Where? Show me!

          “Others no doubt built buildings…” Where? Show me!

          In reference to 1 Thess. 2:1-12, (which I go over extensively in the article) you say that Paul did not say that it is a burden to the church to pay someone for teaching…”

          WHAT!! That is exactly what Paul said.

          Then, you go on to say that “Paul in fact lamented in II Cor. 11 that he did not charge the Corinthians, suggesting that he wronged them by preaching the Gospel free of charge..”

          But the fact of the matter is that Paul LAMENTED NOTHING!!! You did not finish the context down to verses 11-15: For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.”

          Here, the Apostle Paul implies that it is mostly the “ministers of Satan” who are getting paid to preach the gospel.

          Paul also is explaining to the Corinthians the reason as to why he refused to accept any money from them for preaching. Remember, this was so disconcerting to the Corinthians that they thought the Apostle Paul was a phony! “Ministering the word for free?” Even they were scratching their heads. Some of the Corinthians were reasoning that the Apostle Paul must not be a real Apostle, or at least not on the same level as the other Apostles.

          Paul explains the reason he refused their money (not to be a burden to them), and also says he’ll continue to refuse their money, more or less daring their (false) Apostles (the “ministers of Satan”) to follow suit.

          He knows they won’t – just like the professional paid pastors today also won’t. They will all refuse to “put their money where their mouth is” and instead will continue to pocket money that doesn’t belong to them.

          You then say, “Common sense would tell us that Paul was dealing with unconverted or newly converted gentile…. Jews KNEW to give to ministers.”

          ??????????????????????

          And then, here is my rather nefarious quote that apparently struck a nerve:

          “The pastor is not a necessity. He is a fungus growth upon the church, the body of Christians, dwarfing its growth…and until the church gets rid of him it will never prosper.”

          You respond: “Paul would seem to disagree with him as would Jesus Himself.”

          Again, oh really? WHERE???

          You said, “Sheep (according to the New Testament) need shepherds…”

          YES!! SHEEP ALREADY HAVE A SHEPHERD!!!

          “…. and they should not labor at their own expense as Paul also said, “Who goes to war at his own expense”. (What Bible version is that from?) and that you “….believe that scripture clearly states that they (pastors) are in fact necessary and I would be careful about calling someone who God calls and commissions – a fungus growth.”

          The Apostle Paul is not talking about “paying your pastor” but of eternal life. Read the context!

          What can I say except to say that WHAT YOU BELIEVE DOESN’T MATTER.

          Instead, if I were you, I would be VERY CAREFUL when you speak of things you know very little about. This is who God commissions and calls:

          For behold your calling, brethren, that not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put to shame them that are wise; and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong; and the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, did God choose, yea and the things that are not, that he might bring to nought the things that are: that no flesh should glory before God.

          1 Corinthians 1:26-29

          The practice of religious leaders (aka “pastors”) ruling and conquering over God’s people is nothing new and Jesus’ response to that is clear. (Matthew 23 and elsewhere)

          Did He accept them? No. Did He respect them? No. Just the opposite. Did He leave them well alone so as not to cause offense? No. Jesus’ tactic was to go against these religious rulers, along with their teachings. He not only did NOT accept them, but He fought against them. He exposed them. He condemned them as evil. He provocatively declared war on them as publicly as He possibly could.

          And the Scriptures end with yet another condemnation from Jesus against them. This practice of ruling and exploiting God’s people is in regards to the sin of the Nicolaitans in Revelation 2:6, 15. The word comes from the Greek term “nikao” and “laos” and literally means to “conquer the laity.” There were a few people in Ephesus and Pergamos who did not obey Jesus’ teaching (“AND NOT SO SHALL IT BE AMONG YOU”) and created a clerical class of “Nicolaitans” who set themselves above the people.

          And Jesus rebuked them saying He “hates” (Rev. 2:6) the sin of the Nicolaitans and anyone who holds to that practice should “Repent therefore or else I am coming to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.” (Rev. 2:15-16).

          Does this mean that there isn’t leadership in the church? No, there is leadership, but not the kind like you have today. There are plenty articles about leadership on the site. Check them out. The point is that those who are practicing these abominations are sinning in direct violation of Jesus Christ’s commands.

          But getting back to that rather nefarious quote, (which I did not originate, by the way) I stand by it 100%. When there’s a bureaucrat (aka “the pastor”) available to do the work that everyday, normal believers used to do, guess what? The everyday, normal believers will stop doing (and learning) the work. Imagine which assembly of believers would be stronger: one in which members are expected to get up and present an intelligent and thoughtful message and participate regularly (like 1 Corinthians 12, 13, and 14) , or one in which all that’s “left to the paid pastor or teacher” and the members just sit back and get entertained.

          Imagine it this way: if you hire a maid to follow your kids around all day to pick up their messes, soon they’ll forget entirely how to do it themselves. Practice makes perfect, and lack of practice makes one mediocre. I’ve spent time in both kinds of assemblies and the ones with the full-time paid preachers are “fat and lazy” compared to the type that rather nefarious quote describes.

          Next, you say, “…This really is an abuse of the Bible. The ironic thing is that Paul does in fact call teaching real work in 1 Timothy 5:17.”

          DID YOU READ THE ARTICLE?? No. Paul didn’t say in 1 Timothy 5 that teaching is real work!

          The issue is NOT: to labor, or not to labor.

          The issue is GETTING PAID!!!!!!!

          I could continue but I will end for now. Yes, I try to back up my claims with things called SCRIPTURE and other quotes from respected authors. You should try it sometime, instead of just spouting off. The depth of your comment is what I would expect from a drunk Christian at a bar, just shooting from the hip.

          Please read the article again, this time with an open mind, praying for the Spirit’s help to see and hear the deep truths presented throughout. Then, perhaps, you will be more inclined to have two full ears rather than one empty mouth.

          And, my final advice to you, before you waste anyone’s time with your “rebuttals,” PLEASE take some time to read the article. If your goal is to rebut the article, “Should Pastors Be Cared For?,” which declares the biblical answer to that question, at least have some facts behind what you say. WE ALL DON’T CARE what your feelings are. We all don’t care “what you believe.” We really don’t. We all care what the facts are, and those facts had better be backed up by solid Scriptures.

          As you are right now, you’d be laughed out of a courtroom.

          Ken Cascio

          wickedshepherds.com


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