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Thread: Money and Debt

  1. #41
    Away with the fairies Array Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    There is a possible literal explanation for that as in there was an entrance to a city which was called "the eye of the needle" through which a camel which had no burden could pass but through which it couldnt if it was loaded up with things on its back.

    There's a fair bit to suggest that Jesus considered wealth a burden and distraction from the good spiritual life, most of his message is about creation could very easily be heaven for everyone but instead they cause it to become hell for themselves and their neighbours.

    So it isnt so much that wealth will make you evil but that it is a case of forging your own chains, this is illustrated by another story in which Jesus asks a rich young man to leave his possessions and follow him, the rich young man cant, now he doesnt say that the man in question is evil or wrong but that he did himself no favours.

    There's only two instances which I can think of when Jesus actually attacks wealthy people, one is the money changers who he drove from the temple because he more or less considered that a defilement, the other is the parable or story of the rich man and poor woman in the temple, one contributes a lot to the collection, one very little but its obvious to Jesus that the one which contributed little had less to give and so made the greater sacrifice in giving. Which is something for all those who resist progressive taxation to consider.

    Modern day examples of the Christian message about wealth could be someone telling you that you've won the lottery or you've won a holiday but you have to go to a collection point at a precise time that day and you choose not to because of a neurotic need to comply with an earlier routine or plan, like trimming the hedge or washing the car or not wishing to fall out with your boss. There's so many ways that people behave compulsively and cut themselves off from the good life which is their birthright.
    I certainly recognize there are other interpretations of the verse (one is that 'camel' is a mistranslation that should in fact be 'rope'). If anything it was a hyperbole meant to shock the rich of the time who saw wealth as a blessing from God and consequently behaved in a self-entitled manner. And a great deal of Jesus's veneration of the poor was to conteract the common belief that they were out of God's favour and wasn't necessarily a implicit slight on the wealthy. I certainly don't think Jesus hated rich people or anything.
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  2. #42
    nevermore Array lane777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    Actually, I've heard some pretty good arguments that it does have some relevance to followers of the New Testament. Normally, what we follow from the Old Testament as believers in Christ is the moral law while we aren't bound by ceremonial law. Malachi could be considered either and there are those that argue that since Abraham offered tithes to Melchizedek at a time before the Mosaic Law was given, that it could indeed apply to Christians.

    I'm sorry I didn't read your first sentence thoroughly. I didn't realize we were doing a serious debate. I thought we were exchanging ideas.
    I believe I know what you're referring to. You don't have to debate with me, but incase others are interested, I'll just throw this out there.

    Yes, many Christians think that Abraham practiced tithing hundreds of years before the Mosaic covenant. But the only two verses that actually mention giving ten percent prior to the Law is Hebrews 7:2 and Genesis 14:20. I'll post them from my favourite version of the Bible - the Amplied. Although, I don't wish to insinuate that I exclude all others, I actually use many different versions. But for study purposes, I find that the Amplified is more clear and extensive than others, so there are less misunderstandings. For example, notice the differences here between the ESV and AMP:

    Hebrews 7:2 and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. ESV

    Hebrews 7:2 And Abraham gave to him a tenth portion of all [the spoil]. He is primarily, as his name when translated indicates, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, which means king of peace. AMP

    Genesis 14:20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!" And Abram gave him a tenth of everything. ESV

    Genesis 14:20 And blessed, praised, and glorified be God Most High, Who has given your foes into your hand! And [Abram] gave him a tenth of all [he had taken]. AMP

    As you can see, the AMP (including the NASB and The Message) make it clear that Abraham did not give a legitimate tithe (which is to offer ten percent of everything you have to God.) He only gave a tenth of the spoil, to a man, so it's completely unrelated to tithing. Furthermore, God never instructed Abraham to give the ten percent that he did to Melchizedek. Even if He had, it would only be relevant to that particular situation. For if God wanted it to become an eternal principle, wouldn't He have stated so?

    Besides that all, if tithing were an eternal principle, it would not be consistent with God's instructions in Numbers 31:25-47; In short, that passage shows us what God took for Himself as a tribute, and it's not even close to 10 percent. This is evidence that Abraham gave to Melchizedek of his own accord, which would then make this scenario a perfect example of a free will offering.

    Paul talks of this freedom, here:

    Galatians Chapter 5
    1 In [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off].
    2 Notice, it is I, Paul, who tells you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no profit (advantage, avail) to you [for if you distrust Him, you can gain nothing from Him].
    3 I once more protest and testify to every man who receives circumcision that he is under obligation and bound to practice the whole of the Law and its ordinances.
    4 If you seek to be justified and declared righteous and to be given a right standing with God through the Law, you are brought to nothing and so separated (severed) from Christ. You have fallen away from grace (from God's gracious favor and unmerited blessing).
    5 For we, [not relying on the Law but] through the [Holy] Spirit's [help],
    by faith anticipate and wait for the blessing and good for which our righteousness and right standing with God [our conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action, causes us] to hope.
    6 For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love.
    7 You were running the race nobly. Who has interfered in (hindered and stopped you from) your heeding and following the Truth?
    8 This [evil] persuasion is not from Him Who called you [Who invited you to freedom in Christ].
    9 A little leaven (a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers) leavens the whole lump [it perverts the whole conception of faith or misleads the whole church].
    14 For the whole Law [concerning human relationships] is complied with in the one precept, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.
    16 But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).

    Back to the tithe. Contrary to popular belief, a tithe is not only in the form of money, but rather peoples livestock or harvest. Additionally, the tithe in Verses 22-24 are not solely for the Levite (those who work in the Church):

    Deuteronomy Chapter 4
    22 You shall surely tithe all the yield of your seed produced by your field each year.
    23 And you shall eat before the Lord your God in the place in which He will cause His Name [and Presence] to dwell the tithe (tenth) of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstlings of your herd and your flock, that you may learn [reverently] to fear the Lord your God always.

    Two out of every three years the tithe was not given away but was eaten by the tither and his household in the keeping of the Feast of Tabernacles/Feast of Intergathering (sometimes translated Feast of Booths) and was to be enjoyed in the presence of God in Jerusalem.

    24 And if the distance is too long for you to carry your tithe, or the place where the Lord your God chooses to set His Name [and Presence] is too far away for you, when the Lord your God has blessed you,
    25 Then you shall turn it into money, and bind up the money in your hand, and shall go to the place [of worship] which the Lord your God has chosen.
    26 And you may spend that money for whatever your appetite craves, for oxen, or sheep, or new wine or strong[er] drink, or whatever you desire; and you shall eat there before the Lord your God and you shall rejoice, you and your household.
    27 And you shall not forsake or neglect the Levite [God's minister] in your towns, for he has been given no share or inheritance with you.
    28 At the end of every three years you shall bring forth all the tithe of your increase the same year and lay it up within your towns.
    29 And the Levite [because he has no part or inheritance with you] and the stranger or temporary resident, and the fatherless and the widow who are in your towns shall come and eat and be satisfied, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do. AMP

    Now many Christians will bring up Matthew 23:23 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you give a tenth of your mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected and omitted the weightier (more important) matters of the Law--right and justice and mercy and fidelity. These you ought [particularly] to have done, without neglecting the others.

    But we must remember that Jesus is talking to followers that are still obligated to follow the Law - just as He is, until He dies on the cross. This teaching is not applicable today.

    Anywho, sorry that was so bloody long. I always try to keep my posts concise, but I failed here. Hopefully that wasn't too difficult to get through.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beefeater View Post
    That's fine. But, I still think for the point your trying to get across relevant is a very poor choice of words.

    You must understand that I'm picky about this because it ticks me off that for the last hundred years most of the protestant church has been studying the bible in a way that totally ignores the Old Testament. Thus most protestants in america think the OT is not relevant to them. Relevant means that something is closely related to or appropriate to the matter at hand.
    This thread is about the biblical use of money. The verse in Malachi speaks directly to how the israelites were to spend their money. Regardless of whether modern Christians are commanded to tithe or not there are still principles in Malachi that are relevant.
    No worries. You're not offending me. I believe there is good practical advice and principles for us within the OT, but as for the Law, as I explained to cafe, it's obsolete. I won't disagree that many Christians favor the NT, as many Christians including myself find it more applicable for every day living, but I agree with you here: the OT should be studied (2 Timothy 3:16-17). But I've never met a Christian that argued against this , I'm surprised to hear otherwise. Have Christians you met actually said they do not read the OT at all? This view of protestants actually sounds like a Catholic stigma. What's so jarring for them is that we don't practice any of the OT Laws - but that does not mean that we don't read them. On the other hand, if it's true that many protestant Church's ignore the OT, I probably would have worded things differently. Still, 'applicable' is a synonym for relevant. But anyway, we understand each other now, so

    Quote Originally Posted by Beefeater View Post
    You not only dismissed the practice of tithing, but the entire set of verses in Malachi from the conversation.
    I was dismissing the practice of those 2 Malachi verses. But I can see now where the misunderstanding came in.
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  3. #43
    Senior Member Array Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lane777 View Post
    Even if He had, it would only be relevant to that particular situation. For if God wanted it to become an eternal principle, wouldn't He have stated so?
    I'm not saying I disagree with you, but a lot of Christians don't interpret the Bible that way.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  4. #44
    Senior Member Array Lark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    I'm not saying I disagree with you, but a lot of Christians don't interpret the Bible that way.

    There's a lot of posts in this thread which dont reflect my beliefs, the whole chapter and verse thing, I think that's seriously mistaken.

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