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The Moral Argument for God’s Existence.

  An atheist might say you can be good without believing in God. However the question isn’t can you be good without believing in God but can you be good without God? Here’s the problem if there’s no God. What basis remains for objective good or bad, right or wrong? If God does not exist objective moral values do not exist. Here’s why. Without some objective reference point we    really have no way of saying something is up or down. Gods nature however provides an objective reference point for moral values. It’s the standard which all action and thoughts are measured. However, if there is no God then there is no objective reference point. All we are left with is one persons view point as opposed to some other persons view point. This makes morality subjective not objective.  It’s like a preference for vanilla ice cream. The preference is in the subject not the object. Therefore it doesn’t apply to other people. In the same way subjective morality applies only to the subject. It’s not va

Money in Christianity

What does the New Testament say about collecting money from individuals that are part of the body of Christ? When we survey the New Testament we see a few passages that refer to believers giving of their worldly assets and what value should be placed on these assets.

The first thing I want to do is examine what Jesus taught us in the Gospels about money. In the Sermon on the Mount in the gospel of Matthew chapter 6 Jesus addresses the subject of collecting treasures. Treasures can come in all kinds of different shapes and sizes. I specifically want to address money. Jesus tells his disciples, which would include all who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ, not to live for money.

Each and every one of us before we came into a relationship with Jesus Christ were part of the world. In this state most people lived for and put their faith in money as a means to an end. As the things that will provide security and happiness in life. The pursuit of money controlled the way we lived our lives. To the point where it reigned as the motivating factor of our hearts desire. This motivating factor of our hearts Jesus referred to as darkness. (Matthew 6:22-23) He also said that this darkness was a person’s master or lord. Therefore, if you want to be His follower money can no longer be our lord and master. When something is our lord and master it becomes our life. We worship and serve this master. We give our time and energy this master.

Jesus goes on to tell his disciples that though the world says we need money in order to survive he told us that was a lie. He told us not to worry about our life in regards to what we eat or what we wear because life is not those things. Life is more important than those things, including the money that gets those things.

Nothing has changed in the world since Jesus’ time. Our culture, in the United States of America, still reflects the same values that the world did during Jesus’ time, in regards to money. On Television some of the most popular shows are ones based on food and fashion and the pursuit of those things. The packaged food industry itself has science developing ways to create addictive tastes. In the raising of children the love of fashion starts in the elementary school years. I remember kids would get teased if they were wearing fake brands of Converse sneakers. Or if someone found out that your parents shop for your cloths at a Goodwill store or even a Kmart. Now in order to get the best foods, wear the most fashionable clothing you need money. Money was the means to live life according to the world. As followers of Jesus Christ the Bible teaches us that friendship with the world is hatred toward God. (James 4:4 NIV) Money has an assigned value to it. That value is what produces happiness and security. When we assign a value it begins to control our world. However, in the institutionalize churches today money has taken, if not the throne of Jesus, it has set up another thrown next to Jesus.

When we look at the New Testament in regards to believers giving their money it was specifically to meet the needs of other believers. It wasn’t to fund a Christmas lights display outside of our church buildings during the holiday season. It wasn’t to fund a building project. It wasn’t to fund a new sound system or flatscreen TVs. It wasn’t for the purpose of a group of believers to buy real estate in this world. Or to start a banking system to loan to fellow believers and then charge them interest. And it wasn’t to pay pastors a large salary to run a church but to meet their needs.

We see the first evidence of those who were followers of Jesus Christ selling their possessions and giving to the body of believers to meet the needs of those who are without. (Acts 2:45, 4:34-35)  You might ask without what? Jesus only addressed the meeting of the needs of food and clothing. We see the same thing mentioned when Paul was instructing Timothy about money. “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” (1 Timothy 6:8 NIV) We should notice the pronouns “we” in this verse. We see Paul speaking about himself and Timothy and I would suspect that this “we” would also include all of those within the body of Christ. Then I would like us to notice that the two items that Paul mentions that are the same things that Jesus spoke about in the Gospels when it comes to the needs of life on this earth which are food and clothing.

As the body of Christ is growing in the known world of the time of the church’s beginnings, we see Paul taking up another collection. He’s passing around the offering plate, so to speak, for the purpose of meeting the needs of those who are in the body of Christ. He says in 2 Corinthians about God’s people in one place were serving Gods people in another place, that “this service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:12 NIV) Here again we take notice of the word “needs”. And let me repeat what those needs are, according to the New Testament, are food and clothing.

The purpose of collecting money from believers was not so that one believer would have more than another believer. It is a sad thing when you see a pastor waiting in line to get the next iPhone and people in his flock are standing in line to get food stamps. Then this same pastor goes to the pulpit and tells God’s people they need to give when the collection plate comes around because it’s God’s will. That even if you are poor you still need to give something, preferably a tenth of whatever you are getting. You even hear the line of reasoning the tells people the goal is a tenth but start off at 1% and work your way up. Because a tenth is God's will under the New Covenant.

They tell the story of the widows and her small copper coins (Mark 12:41-44) to justify them asking even the poor within their congregation to give even if it hurts so that he can maintain his lifestyle all under the guise "It's Gods will". Why? So he can buy the next iPhone or flat screen TV that comes out.

John Bunyan in Pilgrims Progress stated, "How abominable is it to use Jesus as a stalking-horse to get and enjoy the world! This is were we find heathens, hypocrites, devils, and wizards, that do these things." A stalking-horse is what hunters use to hide behind to kill their unsuspecting prey. Jesus said something about people like this, "They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.” (Mark 12:40 NIV) Don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.  (James 4:4 NIV)

They really emphasize the tithe and being God’s will for the New Testament believers. Even though it’s not mentioned once in any of the epistles or Acts. Why? Because the tithe was part of the Old Covenant. Someone might say Jesus mentioned it in Matthew 23:23. Yes he did. However, we must remember the tithe was for the Levitical priesthood. Jesus was rebuking the Pharisees, not for the letter of the law but the more important parts on the law they neglected. If Jesus said the Pharisees, “you offer the right animal sacrifices but neglect justice” would we then say we still need to sacrifice animals. No. Because Jesus put an end to the Levitical requirements of the law and that included the dietary restrictions and the tithe.

Paul said that when it comes to the body of Christ, “Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.” (2 Corinthians 8:13-15 NIV)

It is because of the institutionalization of Christianity that we see this one head figure ruling over a group of others in the body of Christ. This is the way of the world. We are so steep and entrenched (what is a trench but a grave with two open ends) in this system that people would rebel against this kind of biblical thinking, because they no longer live by faith but by sight. The institutionalized religious system is all that they can see when it comes to having their needs and wants met. I get that this is just what's been handed down through the ages. However, traditions that diminish Jesus need to be exposed and done away with.

There is only one Lord and that is the person of Jesus Christ. However, the world and its system has crept into the body of Christ to where money is the driving influence of the churches today. Some churches refuse to preach the entire gospel message for fear of losing people that give to that particular church. We have set up people who are at the head who will vilify those who challenge their form of institutionalize religion so that the challenger may be silenced in order that the money that they receive will not be diminished.

Some may point out Scriptures such as, “In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 9:14 NIV) as a justification for receiving a salary with benefits from a local body of believers. Or they might even quote, “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.” (1 Timothy 5:17 NIV) as a justification for them to receive more than those who are under their care who have much less. So what does “living” and “double honor” really mean? When we look at these particular words they must be filtered through what the rest of the New Testament teaches about money. Not how the institutional religions of the day have adopted the systems of the world to govern that denomination or local churches of the day. One thing we must understand is that during the time of the writing of these letters and Gospels the majority of the population was illiterate. Those who could read and write Greek were few. These were the people who were most likely the teachers and preachers within the body of Christ. Therefore their time would be spent serving the body of believers by teaching them the word of God. So that their remuneration's should no longer come from necessarily their own business pursuits but from the body of believers they were serving. Now how much should they get? They should get enough to meet their needs so they wouldn't have to do secular work. And in some cases that would include rent not a mortgage. (Acts 28:30) However, they shouldn't get more than that.

Some quote the passage, “the worker is worthy of his support” (Matthew 10:7-10) but they fail to include what Jesus said in the sentence before where he says freely you have received freely give. Jesus wasn't talking about remuneration's for preaching the gospel message. If we read that passage in its context it was about their needs being met and nothing more.

If you seek to profit from the gospel of the Kingdom of God you might not hear "We'll done go and faithful servant."


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