Church Membership

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Kathy, Mar 5, 2004.

  1. Kathy

    Kathy
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    I really love the church I'm attending now...I intend to go continually and faithfully...I also intend to involve myself in some of the ministries available whether to edify myself or help out. What would be the reason for my joining the church? What all does that mean anyway?

    I attended the "First Steps" class at my church and I learned alot and I also learned that my beliefs line up with the church with the exception of one issue...so there is my dilemma...in order to be a member, I must tithe. No one checks or anything like that, but it's an honor system whereby I state that I will faithfully tithe my 10% per month.

    Without getting into the tithe or no tithe debate, is this a solid reason not to join the church? Should I remain within my beliefs and join anyway? I mean, what church am I really going to find that I am 100% in agreement with?

    And just for the record, I don't "tithe"...I follow the NT direction of a "cheerful giver".

    Thanks for any responses!! [​IMG]

    Kathy
    <><
     
  2. amen_corner

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    First, I believe that you should join a church, rather than just be a continual visitor. I believe that is a commitment that God would have us make.

    Second, if a church that I enjoyed had an expectation that I eat chicken every Sunday, and I joined even though I have no intention of doing so, then I have a conflict.

    On the other hand, I may feel that eating chicken is a small price to pay to be a part of a wonderful church that I feel God leading me to.

    So, without getting into the tithing/no tithing debate, you must ask yourself if you can, in good faith, make a commitment to the direction and vision of this church as they follow God and set aside your beliefs in this area of giving, or do you go in under the radar and keep doing your own thing in the area of giving.

    In my church, a lot of people come from other backgrounds than Baptist, and a requirement for membership is baptism by immersion, among other things. Many say, "That's not a big enough reason to keep me from joining." Others just keep visiting, because this issue is so close to their hearts, that they would rather come and enjoy all the things about the church without having to make that type of commitment.
     
  3. Watchman

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    Tithing is an absolute requirement of the Mormons.
    "We strongly suggest", or, "We feel 10% is a good guideline", fine. Not this.
    I get a, "Red Alert" here (for a better term to call it.)God did not appoint me, or anyone else, to tell you what to do; but, myself, I would run, not walk, from there!
     
  4. vaspers

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    I don't get it. Why would a Christian give the work of the Lord less than the Jews gave to the ministry of the temple?

    Christians don't have to tithe to be saved...but why would you give less than 10%...if God has given us eternal life and promises us eternal rewards in heaven?

    What a weird belief, this anti-tithe doctrine. Is it really a "complex" issue?

    :(
     
  5. Jim Ward

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    Vaspers,

    I'll admit, I'm not fully sure I agree with the tithe doctrine, but am such a sponge right now that all the teaching I can get I soak right up.


    Jim
     
  6. vaspers

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    Jim Ward: Soak up? Just judge all teaching by all preachers or writers or film makers by the standard of God's Word, and you'll be alright.

    Don't just passively soak it up without searching the scriptures to verify accuracy. Recall the Bereans who were more noble because they search the scriptures to see if Apostle Paul's doctrines were true.

    Back to topic: why should we "join" any church? Is this a man-made fallacy, a silly formality meaning nothing? By one Spirit we are all baptized into the One Body of Christ. What's with this "joining a church's membership roles" nonsense anyway? Doesn't seem biblical to me.

    Anyone correct me if I'm in error here, but right now, I don't see the biblical justification for it. I try to go by the book of Acts strictly.

    Kathy: my wife was the Financial Secretary of our church, and yes indeed all churches "check up on tithers" because they have to enter records of giving for IRS and tax purposes.

    It's easy for a church treasurer to guess how much you make by the job and company you work for, then decide if your "cheerful giving" (whatever that means, cheerfully less than OT tithe?) is 10% or less or more. Not hard at all. Don't let anybody kid you about this.

    As long as you write your name and amount on the envelope, it gets recorded. If you don't do this, they cannot know, but you also have no record for tax deduction, if that matters to you.

    Peace.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Excellent question Kathy,

    I am one who really believes in the importance of church membership. It gives you an "identity" in your local church and allows you to help make decisions for that local assembly.
    Saying that, I would have a huge problem with a requirement to tithe. Giving is between you and the Lord. To me it gives an impression of legalism to require you to sign something of a "contract" to give.

    Just my humble opinion for what it is worth.

    Roger
     
  8. Watchman

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    Very early in the Chuch age the question arose as to how much of the old law was the Church obligated to abide by. The apostles and elders gathered together to determine this in Acts 15.
    They could have put anything into that statement that they were felt led to do, but this is what they determined, verse 29:

    "that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well."

    That's it. Not how much to give, not what they should read, days to observe, nothing.
    By adding to it, you are doing what the apostles did not do. The tithe was to support the tribe of Levi.
    Now, as I said, is it a good guideline? The point can be made for that. But don't put on the church this yoke.
     
  9. David Mark

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    This to me, is mature advice. I've learned it in the most difficult of ways. Nevertheless, I did learn it.

    Dave. [​IMG]
     
  10. Lorelei

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    Kathy,

    I have the same problem at my church, but I joined anyway. Finding a church that teaches the Word unapologetically is hard, finding one that agrees with it 100% is almost impossible.

    There are two doctrines that my church teaches that I disagree with and tithing is one of them. However...while they do "teach" tithing they do NOT put pressure on those who disagree and they do NOT keep track of "tithers" unless you want them to. I don't use an envelope.

    I have personally decided to tolerate some error as long as the pastors do not seem to think that those who oppose those doctrines are somehow less "christian" than anyone else. My church has never made me feel that way. It is also a word and topic that isn't mentioned each and ever Sunday. If it was constantly thrown in my face, I think it would bother me more.

    I guess to me, it would matter how much emphasis they put on the doctrine and what their attitude was to those who respectfully disagree. Of course there are many issues that would keep me from ever attending a church and to some people, this is one of them.

    ~Lorelei
     
  11. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    I agree Lorelei, but in Karen's situation she cannot just disagree When she joins she makes a promise to give her tithe. We will not agree with any church 100%, but when they make you promise to tithe that borders on legalism.
     
  12. Jim Ward

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    I agree Roger.
     
  13. Artimaeus

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    None. No church, no small group, no spouse, no friend, not even yourself (we change our minds sometimes). That being said, certain things are deal breakers. My church, for instance, has a church constitution. It is just a document to clarify how we do things and what we believe that may be different than other churches. In it we have a Doctrinal Statement and then organizational by-laws. It is a requirement that every member acknowledge the doctrinal statement as true and agree to it. The by-laws are merely majority agreements about how we do things and can be disagreed with without being deal breakers. If tithing, or any other belief is a deal breaker with them then don't join but if it is more of a "This is how we do things" then join with a clear conscience.
     
  14. Karen

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    Dear Kathy,

    If it is a membership requirement, then you should not join, in my opinion, unless you intend to do it. To me, such a requirement would indicate a church that is too legalistic.
    In my SBC church, it is encouraged, not required or enforced. Yes, the two or three who handle financial records know what each one gives, because of handling tax receipts and processing checks. But no one else including the pastor knows individually. The two or three who do know are expected to not divulge confidential information and would not keep their posts if they did so.

    Karen
     
  15. vaspers

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    I knew a Youth Pastor who was at a Mennonite Church for many years. Then he joined an SBC church as Associate/Youth Pastor. When the staff, including myself, asked him questions prior to accepting him, someone asked what he thought about the Pacifist Doctrine of the Mennonite church.

    He said he was always uncomfortable with it, disagreed, never taught or spoke of it, and did not have a problem joining an SBC church which is not Pacifist. I was appalled, though I really do like this man and consider him deeply sincere and spiritual.

    But he was a Pastor at a Mennonite church, and rejected and refused to teach one of their central, historic, defining doctrines. Bizarre, yet I must repeat, I honor this brother with all my heart and don't mean to cast aspersions on him.

    Not to start a new thread, but to me, saying "tithing" or committing to share a given percentage of income is "legalistic" sounds similar to saying vowing to witness is "legalistic."

    Isn't legalism strictly adhering to and enforcing an act as a condition of salvation? Vows and commitments are not alien to the New Testament at all. Paul took certain vows in Acts.

    If Hebrews helped the temple service with tithes, should we "cheerfully" do less with the house of God in the age of grace? People like to use grace as an excuse to be wishy washy. No offense meant. Just--I don't get it.
    :( [​IMG]
     
  16. Jim1999

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    It borders on more than legalism. If one does not tithe and that is a promised requirement, it forces one to lie knowlingly.

    Sorry, I could not accept that.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  17. pinoybaptist

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    When you join a church, in principle, you are agreeing to the church covenant, and the church covenant may include the obligation and duty to tithe. However, it is weird to put it in writing and to bind you to that obligation, because that is between you and the Lord.

    The idea behind tithing is that if you faithfully tithe, then the Lord will faithfully also see to it that you get back more than you gave. Also, in some churches, the tithes is where they get their fixed expenses like building rent, lot rent, pastor's support, utilities, etc.

    However, tithing is an Old Testament requirement for an Old Testament people whose economy is basically agricultural. In some churches, as a matter of fact, they practice "first fruits" giving. Suppose a member hadn't had a job for a while, then finally lands one, he/she commits her first salary to the Lord.

    These are extreme teachings in my opinion, and belong to the category of "women should not wear slacks or jeans". I mean, if you tithe, then you must of necessity also give of your first fruits, and if you do, then you ought to offer burnt offerings, and blood offerings, and animal sacrifices, and observe new moons, and feast days.

    Stick to your convictions. Tithing is not a New Testament requirement. Actually, in the New Testament, we are required to give more, not only of our financial substance, but of ourselves.

    In Primitive Baptis churches we don't tithe. We have our offering box at the back, or wherever the congregation decided it should be, and if you have anything to give to the Lord, then give it.
     
  18. Kathy

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    I'm not getting the impression that I'm "required" to tithe, honestly, and trust me when I tell you that I have LIVED leagalism. I think it was just a core belief that was expressed in the First Steps class and of course, when you join a church, you are basically stating that you agree with the core beliefs...this is the only one I don't agree.

    As for what Vaspers said, "cheerfully giving" could be 20%...I believe that a cheerful giver is one who gives from the heart...today could be 5%, next Sunday could be 25% and so forth...I would think that if I know I'm supposed to give 10%, and I give it, I feel relieved of my obligation...I might not be obliged to give beyond that because I will have met my requirement...a "cheerful giver" has the freedom to allow God to direct them in how much to give that week.

    Anyway, I'm very sorry if I gave the wrong impression of this church I've been attending. I LOVE it!! I just want to make sure that if I join I agree...but like many of you have said, it's impossible...and no, they cannot always check up on tithers if you give anonymously, which is how I believe I should give...not to hide but to not do my works before men, only God.

    Thanks for all the replys!! [​IMG]

    Kathy
    &lt;&gt;&lt;
     
  19. vaspers

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    Good reply, Kathy. I think we are basically on the same wavelength here.

    Any good deed could be "legalistic" if it is carefully monitored and enforced by a church leadership or its members. Could be "cultish."

    All good actions must come from our hearts, including witnessing, sharing our income to support the pastor and the church expenses, healing the sick, singing hymns, helping the poor and the widows, etc.

    The statistics I've heard is that only about 10% of any church's membership contribute money to the church. The rest selfishly cling to their pitiful piles of money and let the tithing or cheerfully giving members carry the financial burden.

    I signed a covenant stating I would not touch a single drop of alcohol. Seems legalistic in a sense, since Jesus turned water into wine and Timothy was told to drink a little wine by Paul.
     
  20. gb93433

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    Tithing is not NT doctrine.Giving is. So to tithe is to go against what the scripture teaches. Some people when they give, give much more than the equivalent of a tithe and some less.

    Read the gospels and see how Jesus spoke against the extraction of the tithe from those who had little to give. It was the idea give or we will ostracize you. The tithe was mandatory among the Jews and Jesus spoke against that kind of practice.
     

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