Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Strange Teachings from Hagee’s Cornerstone

In a recent post I made mention of John Hagee and his seriously misguided obsession with Israeli politics. The characterization of "misguided" stems not from the fact that he supports Israel, but that he does so (and insists his parishioners follow suite) based on faulty biblical exegesis.

There is more about Hagee's teaching to dislike. In this Wall Street Journal article on the practice of tithing, we read this:

Steve Sorensen, director of pastoral ministries at Cornerstone [Hagee's church], says the church requires its paid and volunteer leaders to tithe, and teaches new members to do so, although it doesn't make them show proof of income. "When you tithe, God makes promises to us, that he ... is not going to let anything bad or destructive come about," says Mr. Sorensen. For those who don't tithe, he says the Lord "is not obligated to do those things for you."

(Emphasis added.) It is an interesting teaching we have here, that by my own volition I can place God in position where he is obligated to do something nice for me. Why then I would even be in a position to exhibit mercy to God by relieving him of his obligations! This is heady stuff!

I am definitely of the camp that a legal requirement for tithing has gone the way of the prohibition against touching the furniture that a menstruating woman sat upon (Leviticus 15:19-30). But if you want to pick and choose which OT laws have been abrogated and which (the ones you happen to like) are still in effect you'll be in good company, I suppose.

Having said that, I will add that I am also in the camp that thinks tithing is a perfectly sensible guideline. The bottom line, however, is what we read in Paul's instruction to the Corinthians:

Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Cor. 9:7)

We are, churches like Hagee's Cornerstone should note, commanded against giving under compulsion. Now if you, as an individual believer, have a problem about giving freely, I would suggest (a) that you don't give reluctantly and (b) you get into the Word and pray that God would help you become a cheerful giver.

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