Podcast Episode 23

February 17, 2010

This week’s podcast is our longest yet, at just over forty-four minutes, but hopefully the discussion will prove worth the time. We didn’t even cover all the topics we intended to address. In times past, such long-windedness would have been laid squarely at the feet of Bart Barber, but since he’s not around to blame, we’ll have to come up with another excuse. We began by addressing the response by Dr. David Allen to a review by Dr. Tom Nettles of a book by Dr. William Dembski. If you think you’re confused now, wait until you hear our discussion. We finished the podcast discussing tithing, antinomianism, and Les Puryear.

Listen to the podcast by using the player below, or subscribe in iTunes by clicking the image in this post or the link in the sidebar. We’d love to hear your ideas on how we can improve the podcast, and we’d also appreciate a review or a rating on our iTunes page. Thanks for listening.

Links to some of the items discussed:

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Les Puryear

Wes,

In the podcast you get it right. Kostenberger’s argument is that the OT cannot be used to support tithing or any other aspect of Christian living. With this point of view, the ten commandments are no longer valid. The commands against homosexuality in the OT are not valid. Hopefully this helps.

Les

Bart Barber

My being entirely innocent never stopped you from blaming me before. Why let it stop you now?

cb scott

Nothing to lose sleep over here relating to the age of the earth; Dembski is wrong. The Bible teaches the earth is young. End of story.

What does present itself as something that will cause a fellow to toss and turn many sleepless nights is this: Is or is not Reincarnation a reality.

For it becomes evident to the listeners of this Podcast that the spirits of the Three Stooges and Andy Kaufman have returned.

David Worley

CB,

:)

David

PS. Yuk yuk yuk

Mark

To be fair, I’m not sure Kostenberger and Croteau’s argument is that the OT cannot be used to support any aspect of Christian living. Below are a few quotes which seem to say the opposite.

The first quotes are from part one of Kostenberger and Croteau’s papers on tithing.

page 1

The question of whether or not believers today are to give at least ten percent of their income involves issues such as the continuity or discontinuity between the Testaments; the extent to which the Mosaic Law is still applicable to believers in the new covenant period; the relationship between the Old and New Testaments at large; and the nature of progressive revelation and salvation history.

While it is commonly agreed that the Old Testament food laws and the Old Testament practice of circumcision do not carry over into the New Testament era, there is less consensus on other Old Testament practices such as tithing. In an attempt to adjudicate the question of whether or not all New Testament believers are required to give ten percent or more of their income today, we will study all the relevant references to tithing2 in the Old and New Testament and
assess the applicability of this practice to New Testament believers in light of some of the larger issues mentioned above.

Page 6

While narratives in the Old Testament can serve as examples of faith for all believers (see Heb 11), this is not one of those examples.

Page 9

The primary key to identifying how many separate tithes existed within the Mosaic Law (i.e., if there was more than one tithe) is the
description of their nature and purpose in the respective passage.52

Footnote 52 clarifies further.

52 We should note now that when investigating the laws in the Mosaic system, one should pay close attention to the underlying reasons for the Law, as this may be a clue to how the Law applies in the new covenant period.

Page 19

First, while Jesus considered tithing to be a less central aspect of the Law, he did not view tithing as separate from it.118 The fact that tithing was a less central aspect of the Law does not nullify the fact that it was part of the Law.119 Hence it would be unwarranted to conclude on this basis alone that the tithing requirement is not important in the new covenant era and that Christians may safely ignore it.

Part two of this series Reconstructing a Biblical Model for Giving addresses the continuity of the Old and New Covenants. Page 4 shows an example of Kostenberger and Croteau claiming that the OT is to be used by Christians.

The way in which one comes to a conclusion on how a
Mosaic Law applies to a Christian is extremely important. If one held to abrogation for all Mosaic laws, one would, in practice, be correct as far as the sacrificial system is concerned. Yet one would be wrong with regard to laws prohibiting murdering or coveting.

All of the Old Testament is binding on Christians in some sense.24 This needs to be balanced with the fact that “the Old Testament’s real and abiding authority must be understood through the person and teaching of him to whom it points and who so richly fulfills it.”25
Therefore, Banks is correct when he says that “it is in the Law’s transformation and ‘fulfillment’in the teaching of Jesus that its validity continues.”26 How does Jesus fulfill the Law? Jesus is the
eschatological goal or end of the Law (Rom 10:4); he is the fulfillment toward which the Law had been pointing.

Hope that helps!

Bill MacKinnon

As an old-earther myself, I find it encouraging that on this issue at least, a diversity of viewpoints is acceptable. I would hope the tithing issue would find the same treatment. More and more, I am coming to admire and appreciate the wisdom and restraint shown by the architects of the BFM in articulating (the few) hills on which to die.

volfan007

Mark,

I have read commentaries where it’s said that the Jews in OT Israel were required to pay 3 tithes. 10% to the Govt. 10% to the Priests. And, 10% to the Temple. So, that would be 30% of your income. And, of course, others suggest that there were more tithes than that.

Of course, our govt. takes more than 30% of our income away from us today. Studies show that 50% of our income goes to taxes; when you factor in sales taxes, gas taxes, license plates, drivers license, wheel taxes, income tax, etc.

But, I most certainly do believe that tithing predated the OT law, Abraham and Melchizedek. It was most certainly a part of the law to OT Israel. And, Tim Rogers, the NT teaches going beyond ten percent. The NT teaches giving. :) Tim, dont eat any pork anymore, Brother. I will be mailing you the Kosher diet plan soon. :)

David

Mark

David,

I’m not arguing for a specific position. I’m only asking for others to be fair in representing Kostenberger and Croteau. They do say in their second article –

Kaiser states that “if a tenth was the minimal amount under the Law, how can Christians do any less? Perhaps we should consider not how little but how much we can give, seeing how richly blessed we are in Christ.”126

Funny is your comment about pork. Even though you’re joking it shows that we must understand that parts of the OT Law are not required of us. :)

Now how about some pork chops?

Mark

Chris Johnson

Brother cb,

Of course you are right again :)

It seems we are increasingly infatuated with these…please make the earth be something more than the bible says it is….type discussions. I am surprised David took the time to rebuttal Nettles. The review of the review was more of a review of rescue techniques.

Timothy must have had some of these folks at Ephesus as the Apostle Paul helps put some great truth on the table.

1 Timothy 1:2-4 To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (3) As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, (4) nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.

Blessings,
Chris

Scott Gordon

CB,

I have this hanging on the wall of my office…maybe it’s an attachment to my former life.

Sola Gratia!

David Worley

Scott,

You look a lot like Mo.

David

Tim Rogers

Brother Mark,

I think you will agree, Dr. Kostenberger ends up to a conclusion that the Bible does not teach “storehouse tithing”. That is the disagreement because the Old Testament plainly teaches “Storehouse tithing”. Dr. Kostenberger’s argument is that a consistent systematic giving plan that we know as tithing is not taught by the scriptures. His conclusion is that if the law taught the various types of tithes and we are no longer under the law but grace then we should, out of our gratefulness, be giving more than a tithe. This is not scriptural teaching but logic of personal wisdom. I agree with Dr. Kostenberger that we should begin with the tithe and we should give out of our gratefulness. I disagree with him that the Bible does not teach “storehouse tithing”.

Brother David,

Allow me once again to try and be specific about what I was saying before you throw out the entire Old Testament. :) We interpret the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament.

Brother Wes & Scott,

While I too am a young earth proponent, I am not going to go so far as to say that people who believe in a old earth are not inerrantist. One of the issues we young earth proponents have to deal with is if the genealogies are complete. All we can say is that is all of the genealogies the Bible lists. But, does that mean that is all there is? We as young earth proponents find ourselves using the Calvinist escape hatch for the answer–we trust in God’s mysterious wisdom concerning that answer. :)

Blessings,
Tim

David Worley

Go here to see a pic of Tim Rogers at a Church fellowship meal:

http://www.cultnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/05/hasidic%20jews.jpeg

David :)

cb scott

Tim “Andy Kaufman” Rogers,

In Orlando, do you plan to take us all out for “Milk and Cookies” like the first Andy Kaufman did when he played Carnegie Hall?

cb scott

Vol,

You are a genius. That is Tim in the middle at his thirteenth birthday.

peter

Tim,

You write: “I am not going to go so far as to say that people who believe in a old earth are not inerrantist.”

Surely no one here is playing that fiddle. The very first book on Inerrancy I ever read was edited by Norm Geisler, entitled “Inerrancy”. The very first lecture I ever heard specifically on Inerrancy was at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, again by Norm Geisler (guest speaker of course).

Norm Geisler was then and remains a staunch old-earth creationist. So was the famed and late Old Testament scholar and champion of Inerrancy, Gleason Archer, Jr.

I’m afraid if that fiddle is being played, somebody needs a new fiddle.

With that, I am…
Peter

Mark

Hi Tim,

I wasn’t actually addressing the issue of the Bible teaching “storehouse” tithing. Rather, my original comment was – To be fair, I’m not sure Kostenberger and Croteau’s argument is that the OT cannot be used to support any aspect of Christian living.

I think you will agree that Kostenberger and Croteau (K&C) did not take the position that none of the OT, including the 10 Commandments, is useful for Christian living.

You did bring up something else though that interests me. It is my understanding that K&C are advocating that OT tithing does not carry over into the New Covenant. Can you show differently from their work?

Or maybe you are saying that K&C conclude that “storehouse” tithing was never taught in any sense in the Bible? If so, can you show this from their work?

K&C have done a careful exegetical study in their two papers. Until someone addresses their actual exegesis and shows them incorrect, minimalist blog posts and comments will not do their work justice. :)

Mark

Chris Poe

Les and others in agreement with him on tithing:

Do you observe the Sabbath as expressed in almost every historic Baptist confession prior to the BF&M 2000?

The argument for Sabbath observance is that it was not ceremonial law but that it is a creation ordinance, basically the same argument you are using to say that the tithe is obligatory today. If this is not your position, why not?

Here is the New Hampshire Confession on the Christian Sabbath:

We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord’s Day, or Christian Sabbath (78); and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes (79), by abstaining from all secular labor and sinful recreations (80); by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private (81) and public (82); and by preparation for that rest that remaineth for the people of God (83).

78. Acts 20:7; Gen. 2:3; Col. 2:16-17; Mark 2:27; John 20:19; 1 Cor. 16:1- 2

79. Exod. 20:8; Rev. 1:10; Psa. 118:24

80. Isa. 58:13-14; 56:2-8

81. Psa. 119:15

82. Heb. 10:24-25; Acts 11:26; 13:44; Lev. 19:30; Exod. 46:3; Luke 4:16; Acts 17:2, 3; Psa. 26:8; 87:3

83. Heb. 4:3-11

This language was left essentially unchanged in the 1925 and 1963 BF&M but was changed in 2000.

Tim Rogers

Brother David & CB,

Conan O’Brien is out of a job and you two are trying to be funny. :)

Brother Mark,

To begin, I do not claim to even hold a candle to Dr.’s K&C. However, if you go to this article I believe you will get a better understanding of a argument that refutes their conclusions. Also, I currently do not have both of their articles in front of me. However, I will go back and look to see if I can find the points I am trying to make as you have pointed out.

One other thing. The question that should be answered by Dr.’s K&C, and I am not sure if they addressed it (I am going from memory). Is the tithe part of the ceremonial law or the moral law?

Brother Chris,

I believe if you look at the NT you will find that Jesus was raised on a Sunday morning. Thus, the law of the sabbath is fulfilled in Jesus’ resurrection. Of course many churches hold worship on Saturday so they seem to meet your concern. :)

Blessings,
Tim

cb scott

In all seriousness, we who have been called to preach the Word of God must know what we are talking about when we speak
of the relationship of the OT to the NT and the applications of both to our lives.

Is Antinomianism or a subtle form of Gnosticism creeping into the thinking of some within the SBC who do not really understand the relationship between Law and Grace?

I found the following comment in a comment thread from another blogger’s post who, in my opinion, sometimes flirts with theological weaknesses
relating to the dangerous errors mentioned above:

“An example of the change in the law came about when Jesus was presented with the woman who committed adultery in John 8.

In verse 5 the people holding the woman refer to Deuteronomy 22:24 as the legal basis for stoning her.

There is no doubt that the woman was guilty. After the crowd dispersed, Jesus commanded her to “sin no more”.

So adultery is a sin – but didn’t Jesus break the OT law by not allowing the legal process to continue?

These verses are a precedent in how we view sin under the New Covenant. Sin is still sin, but the way we deal with it is different.

In the Old Covenant, adulterers were stoned. In the New Covenant, stoning was no longer needed.

This is why Paul in 1 Corinthians 5 doesn’t call on the Corinthians to stone the immoral brother. The worst he orders is to expel the man from the church.

So then, what should we do with homosexuals? Homosexual practice is most definitely a sin, but should that mean Christians support its criminalization?”

Does the comment above represent where the thinking of some going to lead in the future?

We need to take Paul’s admonition from Ephesians 5:15 and “walk circumspectly.”

cb

Steve

Hebrews 8:10 “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” says the Lord: “I will put My laws into their minds, and I will write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.
11 And each person will not teach his fellow citizen,and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know Me, from the least to the greatest of them.
12 For I will be merciful to their wrongdoing, and I will never again remember their sins.”
13 By saying, a new [covenant], He has declared that the first is old. And what is old and aging is about to disappear.

The New Covenant has the Old Laws written on our hearts

cb scott

Steve,

A-Men.

If it is written upon our hearts it is part of the essence of our being.

cb

Steve

WOW CB.. amazing thought .. absolutely true…
Once written there as part of our being in the Image of God(as per Murray Principles of Conduct). now rewritten there as being recreated in the image of God (Col 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his practices 10 and have put on the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of his Creator. )

cb scott

Most humorous and convoluted comment of the week:

“Thanks for pointing out the audio podcast. I never listen or read those guys. However, someone should remind brother Tim to READ THE GREAT COMMISSION of our Lord.

Jesus said “Go ye . . . and teach them to obey ALL THINGS I HAVE COMMANDED YOU.” (Matthew 28:20).”

Chris Poe

Tim,

Thank you for your response. Unfortunately your response doesn’t address my concern, which is to note that charges of antinomianism are often imprecise and inconsistent. But I probably should have been more direct with my previous post. :)

I raised the issue of the Sabbath because, right or wrong, until about 50 years ago and especially in the 19th Century and prior, Baptists would typically have regarded the idea that a Christian had fulfilled the 4th Commandment by merely attending church on Saturday (as you noted) or any other day to be rank antinomianism.

Moreover, the idea that a Christian would have fulfilled the duties required in the 4th commandment by simply going to church on the Lord’s Day and then spending the rest of the day as he pleased (going out to eat, watching sports, etc) would have been considered antinomian as well.

The historic Baptist as well as Reformed interpretation of the 4th Commandment is that after Christ’s resurrection the Sabbath was changed from Saturday to Sunday but that the duties required in it remained–to devote the entire day to worship with the exception of duties of mercy and necessity.

You may recall that until recent decades, in many parts of our country nearly all commercial establishments were closed on Sunday. The exceptions tended to be things like drug stores and perhaps convenience stores.

Those who hold the view that Sunday is the Christian Sabbath believe that the Sabbath is a creation ordinance and is a moral law, not civil or ceremonial law that was limited to National Israel.

The BF&M statement on the Lord’s Day was changed in 2000 to reflect the change in Southern Baptist views on this issue. Compare it to the 1925 or 1963 version, the Abstract of Principles or most any other historic confession and you’ll see the difference. (By the way, I’m not arguing for any view of Sabbath observance in particular with these comments.)

This change regarding the Lord’s Day was largely if not entirely due to the influence that dispensational teaching had in the 20th century. The dispensational teaching that Christians are not under law but under grace is also largely the reason for the rejection of the idea that tithing is obligatory today.

Of course by no means have all dispensationalists agreed with that, but John MacArthur, the late J. Vernon McGee and a whole host of others take the same position as Dr. Kostenberger on this issue. Usually they will say that the NT standard is sacrificial giving and that 10% is a good guide but is not a legal obligation today.

New Covenant Theology (NCT) has been mentioned several times during the course of this debate. NCT is basically an attempt by certain non-pretribulationists to carve out a middle ground between dispensationalism and the older covenant theology view that most Baptists held prior to dispensational views being popularized by the Scofield Reference Bible.

Tim G

Chris,
Thank you for making this statement:

“NCT is basically an attempt by certain non-pretribulationists to carve out a middle ground between dispensationalism and the older covenant theology view that most Baptists held prior to dispensational views being popularized by the Scofield Reference Bible.”

You are correct – it is a man made approach that is often promoted as totally scriptural.

Thank you!

Bill

“You are correct – it is a man made approach that is often promoted as totally scriptural.”

Dispensationalism? ;)

Chris Poe

Well, my comment about NCT was cherry picked and the material that I have essentially posted twice has not been responded to. Of course, that’s the prerogative of the blogger.

With regard to dispensationalism, generally speaking it seems to be about as despised by younger Baptist bloggers as so called Landmarkism is, although few of them appear to be able to distinguish between historic Baptist ecclesiology and Landmarkism. If you suggest that close communion may be closer to the NT teaching than open communion, it usually doesn’t take long for the Landmark accusations to start flying.

Taking this into account, it’s somewhat ironic that dispensational teaching, with its very strong emphasis on the universal church and what was at times an almost total disregard for ecclesiology, probably did more to undermine Landmarkism among Bible believing Baptists than anything else.

Chris Poe

My apologies. I see now that it was another commenter and not the author of this post who responded to my last comment.

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