No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

2011 Challenge


Another new year is here.  And like every New Year I began thinking about goals for the upcoming year.  Most call this New Year’s resolutions.  Some would balk at the idea of using that phrase because of the lackadaisical approach that it might apply.  I however look at it as simply goals for next year.  2010 will be the year of incredible spiritual growth for me.   I want this process to continue. This challenge will be a stretch for Christian’s of all ages and growth levels.  Without furtherer due…

1.       Read a non-fiction Christian book(s)

It can only help to get another view.  When I read books like this, I immediately think of the movie Dead Poet’s Society – Specifically the scene where Robin Williams tells his students to stand on their desks to get a different perspective on things.  The room just looks different when you see it from a different angle.  Another person’s perspective may help change yours.  A quick word of caution, be careful of the book you choose.  For obvious reasons, we would not recommend books written by certain pastors that may have been mentioned previously in the “Are you a God” series.  We would, however, recommend any of the following books:

  1. Servant Leadership
  2. More than a Carpenter
  3. Victory over the Darkness
  4. Families Where Grace is in Place
  5. The Unexpected Journey
  6. Dare2Share

We’d be happy to recommend other books/authors… just drop us a line!

2.       Deeply study three books of the Bible.

Have you ever read something in the Bible, looked over at someone and said…”HAVE YOU READ THIS!  IT IS INCREADIBLE!”, only to have them say “I have read the whole Bible”.  There is a huge difference between reading, and digesting the Word of God.  I would suggest that of the group of people that have read the Bible, that probably only 25% – 50% of the Bible was actually digested.  By digested I mean, knowing the context of the books, why they were written, historicity behind them, spiritual impact of certain passages, etc…  The point here is to understand and internalize these books. 

3.       Have a 90% attendance rate at church.

This should be probably number 1.  If you are of the thought that you can have an effective relationship with God without attending a church you are wrong.  The truth of the matter is that the church is critical for your personal development.  Imagine learning how to become a computer programmer without going to school or doing programming work.  The exact same thing applies here.  You limit your growth potential in the body of Christ, by not attending church.

4.       Volunteer for an event/function/job at church.

Now that you are attending church on a regular basis, it is time to volunteer.  Serving is critical to our spiritual growth as well.  Remember James 2:14-26.  Faith without works is dead.  This is the works part of the challenge. 

5.       Invite at least 12 people to your church.

Inviting people to church can open the door to being able to share your testimony.  Your invite can include other functions such as church picnic’s, or small group.  See number 3.

6.       Have spiritual conversations that lead to you sharing your testimony and/or the Gospel with at least 6 people

Evangelism is a central part to being a Christian.  There are a number of biblical passages that demonstrate that evangelism is asked but is required of all Christians…REQUIRED.  That doesn’t mean maybe, or I’ll get to it later or it’s not my temperament.  REQUIRED.

7.       Sacrificially give to your local church.

We know that the economy is tough – it has been for your church too!  Needless to say there is a biblical foundation for tithing (giving at least 10% of your gross income).  God’s got a plan for your church that takes money to implement, and you should be a part of it.  If you’ve never tithed before start small and grow throughout the year – Dave Ramsey calls it a giving snowball.

8.       Pray for at least 2 minutes a day.

What do you do when you have problems?  Pray.  Anxiety? Pray. Need Help? Pray.  Need guidance, wisdom, truth, or WHATEVER?  PRAY!  2 minutes a day seems small in the amount of time you should devote to speaking with the Lord.  I make it a point to talk to him as I would my father or wife.  While he is God, he is still my Father.  If you think that you shouldn’t talk to him in a normal way…read Psalms.  That was the point of that book.

This is a yearlong challenge.  And it should be just that…a challenge.  No Apologizing will have your back though with posts about various biblical books, commentary on the books we have read, commentary on the spiritual conversations we’ve had, etc.  If you have feedback that you want to share regarding the challenge you will be able to.  A new page will be created on the blog specifically for this challenge.  In the mean time, get those books ready.  Have a great year.  Be focused.  Make no excuses!  Remember only one person is in charge of their relationship with God…YOU!  No one else can do it for you.

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14 responses to “2011 Challenge

  1. Gary Arnold January 1, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    There is no Biblical foundation for tithing.

    The ONLY people in the Old Testament that were commanded to tithe were those who INHERITED THE PROMISED LAND WITH EVERYTHING ON IT. They got the land, house, animals, crops, etc. ALL FREE AND CLEAR. No mortgage payment or rent to pay. And THEY were commanded to tithe on the crops and animals and take it to the Levites who INHERITED the tithe INSTEAD OF the promised land with everything on it. No one else tithed. Wage earners did not tithe. Jesus didn’t tithe. Paul didn’t tithe. Peter didn’t tithe.

    HOW CAN YOU COMPARE THAT WITH CHRISTIANS WHO HAVE TO PAY THEIR MORTGAGE PAYMENT OR RENT, INCOME TAXES, PROPERTY TAXES, SALES TAXES, ETC?

    There is no way to justify making some “principle” out of the Biblical facts and then apply it to Christians today. It is just flat out wrong and makes no sense at all.

    As far as Abram is concerned, he gave a tenth of war spoils that didn’t even belong to him, and kept nothing for himself. Not exactly what tithers do today, is it? Furthermore, since tithing on war spoils was NOT codiefied into the Mosaic law, you can’t say tithing began before the law and then was in the law. Under the law, God only required 1.1% of war spoils, not a tenth.

    Furthermore, NO ONE, absolutely NO ONE pays the Biblical tithe today.

    Leviticus 27:30-33, Numbers 18: The First Tithe – a tenth of crops and animals and commanded to take the tithe to the Levites.

    Deuteronomy 14:22-27: The Second Tithe aka The Festival Tithe – a tenth of crops, plus add to that the firstborn animals, and take for the yearly feast.

    Deuteronomy 14:28-29: The Third Tithe aka The Three-Year Tithe aka The Poor Tithe – a tenth of crops, kept at home, and invite the Levites, widows, orphans, stranger to eat.

    Now, tell me. Which of the above three tithes commanded by God do you follow?

    • kcbob January 1, 2011 at 1:26 pm

      Hey Gary…thanks for stopping by. Our call is for sacrificial giving. You could this a tithe is you like. The truth is that Kevin and I discussed the word to use here…sacrificial or tithe. Sacrificial won out. I took a look at your page and saw your credentials. I also noticed that you wrote a book basically condemning the practice of tithing. I am not sure what you hope to gain by slamming the concept of giving to a local church. I doubt that I can provide any argument that you haven’t already heard that would support tithing. I do notice that you leave out Malachi 3 in your comment. Not sure if it was a time thing or just something you forgot.

      While the actual act of tithing by Jesus, Peter, et. al is not mentioned specifically. Tithing is talked about in the NT (Luke 11:42 among others).

      Given that you are so adamantly against tithing, how do you suppose a church could support itself? That is the foundation of the tithe and the call of the tithe isn’t it…to support the church? I saw your book covers this topic, perhaps you could give us a bit of that information? That being said I am not sure I understand your logic. Because Christians today have a mortgage, rent taxes, etc… that means we don’t have to pay tithe? That the Israelites of the Abrahamic covenant had no other expenses other than to tithe, and because we do we don’t? That somehow because society makes it harder to tithe we are not obligated to? That logic doesn’t hold up. Sorry.

      Guess I just live by this:

      Abraham commenced it, Moses continued it, Jesus commended it….who am I to condemn it?

      • Gary Arnold January 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm

        kcbob said, “Abraham commenced it, Moses continued it, Jesus commended it….who am I to condemn it?”

        That is not correct. Abram gave a tenth of war spoils that didn’t even belong to him and kept nothing for himself. A one-time recorded event. Not on his regular income or wealth.

        To say that Moses “continued it” is incorrect. Under Moses, God required only 1.1% of war spoils, NOT a tenth. See Numbers 31 and do the math.

        I am all for giving and include a whole section on giving in my book. I also dedicate an entire website to giving (www.NewTestamentGiving.com).

        The New Testament teaches generous, sacrificial giving, from the heart, according to our means. For some, $1 might be a sacrifice, while for others, even giving 50% of their income might not induce a sacrifice. In the Old Testament, ONLY the farmers tithed, and it was equal percentage (a tenth). The New Testament teaches the principle of equal sacrifice instead of equal percentage. Equal sacrifice is much harder to achieve, if not impossible, than giving ten percent.

        I honestly believe that if pastors taught good financial stewardship, including the important of generous, sacrificial giving, from the heart, the church would bring in more funds. John MacArthur’s mega church in Los Angeles is obviously doing well and he teachings there is no tithing in the Christian Church.

        I believe using 10% as any type of guideline diminishes the Holy Spirit given to us TO USE. I believe if Christians USED the Holy Spirit as their guidance BEFORE making any major purchase as well as for their giving they would give much more than they do now.

        Being Spirit led, I find myself giving far, far more than a mere tenth of my income. Yet, I have family and friends that can no way give anywhere near a tenth of their income and put food on the table.

      • kcbob January 1, 2011 at 3:50 pm

        I understand your point and agree with some of the things you mention. When you say sacrificial giving is what is taught in the NT…well that is why we went with sacrificial rather than tithe. I also agree with the use of the Holy Spirit to determine what you give by more.

        But your standards are rather subjective aren’t they? If I am a wasteful spender, and can barely put food on the table because of it, does that negate my obligations to giving to God or would the words of Malachi hold true here? Think about that.

        Why would you advocate or even entertain the possibility for people to rob God, even out of negligence?

  2. kcbob January 1, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Another book we would recommend would be The Christian Atheist.

  3. Gary Arnold January 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    A problem with calling giving a tenth of one’s income to the church “tithing” is that it INFERS the Biblical tithe, and it is not. It is not The Lord’s Tithe (Leviticus 27:30-33, Numbers 18) to begin with. The Biblical tithe could NEVER be money or income. It had to come from God’s miraculous increase of crops and animals, not man’s increase.

    When someone believes a tenth of their income belongs to God, why are they taking it to the church when God commands that His tithe be taken to the Levites?

    This problem leads people to believe it is okay to change God’s Word to fit the times. As Christians, we can’t change The Word. We are to change our lives to conform to His Word. IF we can change His Word to fit the times, we could make many changes so that whatever society is doing, we could make it Biblical.

    The false doctrine of tithing also leads people to believe they didn’t have money in Biblical times which is totally incorrect. Even in Genesis, wages are mentioned more than once.

    No one is following Abraham’s example today. And no one is following the commands to tithe. So why call one’s giving, tithing? Why not just call it what it is – giving.

  4. Gary Arnold January 1, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    The Israelite farmers did NOT take their tithe to the Temple or storehouse. They took it to the Levitical cities. Malachi is addressed to the priests, not the people.

    Let’s look at Malachi 3. First, who is God speaking to – the priests or the people?
    We need to study the entire Book of Malachi rather than take a few verses out of context.

    By the time we get to verse 6 in chapter 1, we see it is the priests that are being addressed at that point.

    In both chapters 1 and 2 of Malachi there is a conversation going on between God and the priests. Every time the word “you” is used, it is referring to the priests. Chapter 3 continues with this conversation. In verse 5 God says “And I will come near to you to judgment…..” In the Old Testament, during this period of time and generally speaking, only the priests could get near to God. It is only in the New Testament that born again believers, you and I, can get close to God. So up to chapter 3 verse 5, God is speaking to the priests. The word “you” is still referring to the priests. There is nothing in the scripture to indicate this changes when you get to verse 8. But that’s not all.

    Read Numbers 18:29-30 and then read Malachi 1:14. Those verses explain robbing God of the offerings. The PRIESTS, not the people, robbed God of the offering by giving to God the worst instead of the best.

    In Nehemiah 13 we are told that the priests stole the Levites portion of the tithe; therefore, they had no food to eat at the temple, and they went back to their own fields.

    Therefore, taking the Levites portion of the tithe is the robbing God of the tithe. Or to put it another way, THE LEVITES WERE ROBBED. God said He was robbed because the tithe was not taken where God directed.

    Next, in Malachi 3:10 God says to bring all the tithes to the storehouse. The people took the tithes to the Levites who lived in the Levitical cities, not to the temple. The Levites took the required tithe of the tithe to the temple. (See Nehemiah 10:37-38) Only those tithes ever made it to the temple. The priests then took those tithes to the storehouse. It only makes sense if God is speaking to the priests in this verse.

    Since in Numbers 18 God makes it perfectly clear that the tithe belongs to Him, and He gave it to the Levites, anyone who takes God’s tithe to their local church must also be robbing God since the Levites are not the ones getting it.

    I see no way around this. Either the tithe ended per Hebrews 7:18, OR those who take God’s tithe to their local church must be robbing God since God gave clear instructions where to take His tithe. There is nothing in God’s Word to show that God ever changed those instructions. Therefore, the only conclusion I can reach is that taking a tithe to your local church is NOT paying the tithe to God. It is giving it to man. Nowhere in God’s Word does He give permission for the Christian Church to receive His tithe.

    • kcbob January 1, 2011 at 6:57 pm

      Gary we are going to have to agree to disagree. I fall back on the subjective nature of your argument against tithing. I am happy to give to my church…even when money isn’t flowing all that well for my family. I guess that is where faith steps in, and has to play a role. I would think that rather than preaching no tithe to those who are tight on money to preach faith in God’s promise to us. After all God feeds the birds, and how much more does he love us.

      Either way I am certain we can agree that the tithing doctrine in not an issue of fellowship.

      Will you be taking the challenge?

      • Gary Arnold January 1, 2011 at 8:07 pm

        kcbob,

        I believe the teaching of tithing shows lack of faith on the part of the pastor. By teaching an Old Testament law to the congregation, the pastor is putting his faith in man – that man will be threatened by Malachi to bring a tenth of his income to the church – INSTEAD of the pastor putting his faith in God to provided for His Church.

        I see no faith involved in tithing or teaching tithing. I see the exact opposite.

        One pastor that I used to think was about the honest man I’ve ever known admitted to me, in private, that he knows tithing is not Biblical today. But he said people just don’t want to give, so he feels forced to tell his congregation that they are robbing God if they don’t tithe. He said he must do it in order to bring in enough money to keep the church doors open. NO FAITH AT ALL THAT GOD WILL PROVIDE, but rather putting his faith in man by threatening the Malachi curse! I have heard many others say their pastors have also admitted the same thing in private.

        There can’t be any blessings from tithing unless there is a curse if you don’t tithe. It’s either both or neither. Galatians 3:13 “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us…” Therefore, there can’t be any blessings from tithing. HOWEVER, there are blessing from giving from the heart, and many are confused and call their giving, tithing, and thus may be blessed by the gifts.

        Yes, we can agree to disagree. However, there is a revolution on the way that will be hitting all church leaders that teach tithing today. I know of many who have quit going to church because of this issue. Every day I read on the internet of more who have left the church for this reason. The pastors in my area know that IF I go to a service and tithing is mentioned during offering time, I will get up and walk out. I will not be a part of this false teaching.

        A study of the history of tithing in the Christian Church reveals that NO CHRISTIAN CHURCH taught tithing on income until around 1870, and then the motive was to bring in more money.

        What about the fact that the tithe went to the Levites – the ushers, musicians, singers, etc., the SERVANTS TO THE PRIESTS, and the Levites then gave a tenth of the tithe to the priests. Is that how you do it?

        What about the fact there there was no tithe every seventh year – the year of the land Sabbath. Does your church say no tithing every seven years?

        Why don’t you follow ALL THREE TITHES that God commanded?

        How do you justify CHANGING God’s definition from His increase of the crops and animals to your income?

        How do you justify CHANGING God’s command to take the tithe to the Levites to take the tithe to the church?

        What about Malachi 3:5 – God warned the priests of defrauding a worker of his wages. Exactly what tithing teachers are doing.

        Many pastors say that “tithing” predates the OT law. Then it’s in the OT law. And then they say that Jesus didn’t denounce it and use Matt 23:23 to support this theory. So they call it an “eternal moral code or law.”

        There is another law found in the Bible called the levirate law: If a man dies without children his brother marries his wife. It has the same traits as tithing. It predates the OT law. It’s in the OT law. And in Matt 22:24-30, Jesus doesn’t denounce it. Why don’t you also follow this law?

        Numbers 18:27 proves that neither wages nor income could be tithed on for The Lord’s Tithe. Without this interpretation, Numbers 18:27 has no meaning and is only taking up space.

        Matthew 5:18 tells you that if you change even one dot or one tittle and teach it to man, you will be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven.

        You are playing with God’s Word when you change definitions and ordinances. I believe you are playing with something worse than dynamite.

      • kbthejesusfreak January 1, 2011 at 9:12 pm

        Dr. Arnold,

        I know one can make a fairly solid biblical case for the “tithe” being an OT law that should not be carried over in a strictly legal sense in our current dispensation. I hate legalism as much as anyone and from that standpoint, I see your point. However, giving to the church is certainly modeled and expected in NT times – not in a legalistic sense, as in holding to a particular amount or percentage, but actually to the point of the giving being sacrificial (Think of the widow and her two small coins and the Macedonians in Acts). A tithe is just a good starting point… Indeed, the expectations of Christians, though freed from the letter of the law, are most often ratcheted up in the NT (Murder vs. Hate in your Heart, Adultery vs. Lust, etc.). This is the difference between the motivation of fear in legalism instead of motivation by love in graceful relationships. Again, our point here isn’t to be asking folks to adhere to a specific number, but rather to begin the practice of giving (in fact, if you’ll notice in our post that we suggested starting below a tithe if someone hasn’t ever been in the practice of giving before).

        All members of the church should be giving to support the church in proportion to what God has given them… and I know no way to put a number on my salvation… 10% seems paltry by comparison, don’t you think?

  5. Gary Arnold January 1, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Malachi 3:7 – God is referring to His ORDINANCES, which were nailed to the cross. Also, in Hebrews 7:5,12,18 we learn that Numbers 18, which established the Levitical priesthood along with tithing, was disannulled.

    You can’t rob God anymore. Giving to the church is NOT giving to God to begin with. It is giving to support the ministry, not God.

    The ONLY way we can give to God in the New Testament is to give to the poor/needy.

  6. kcbob January 5, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Recently had the question about books we would not recommend. This would include any books written by the following author’s:
    – Kenneth Copeland
    – Gloria Copeland
    – Bill Winston
    – Joyce Meyers
    – Kenneth Hagin
    – Benny Hinn
    – Creflo Dollar
    – Joel Olsteen
    For the reasons we would not recommend these (and other authors) CLICK HERE

  7. kcbob January 5, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    The author of the Victory over the Darkness is Neil Anderson. Here is a link to Amazon

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