Concerning sacrificial giving

Meg Durano Dalagin
May 6, 2007

Dear Meg,

        Thank you for the Book. Here I will send it back to you. There are lessons from John Mac Arthur that blesses me but I respectfully disagree with him in some issues. He has not fully explained that in the Book of Acts the reason why the Holy Spirit allowed Christians who have properties to be sold and gave to the apostles, aside from the fact that they themselves have given to each who were in need, was because these people needed food to survive while they were being taught by the disciples the teaching of Christ. The new converts cannot just go back home in an instant. At that time there have been no cars to use for travel. To travel back to their respected places would take weeks or months by foot.

        Every year the Jews will attend the Passover celebration together with the feast of the Unleavened Bread, which is the most important of the three great annual festivals of Israel. So the apostles’ needed money to feed and support the new converts that needed to stay in Jerusalem while they were being taught with the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. This giving is not the norm. The Holy Spirit allowed it for that specific time.[simple_tooltip content=’New International Version (NIV)

The Believers Share Their Possessions

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrectionof the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.‘](Please read Acts 4:32-35)[/simple_tooltip]

It is true that “The silver and the gold are of God’s.” Haggai 2:8, but in Deuteronomy 8:18 when God said, “But thou shalt remember the Lord; for He giveth thee power to get wealth.” God here was talking to His people the Israelites.  Read the whole chapter. Why is it that there are a lot of people in this world that are millionaires even billionaires? There are pagans and cultic religious people, atheists, corrupt government officials who are rich in this world? So in [simple_tooltip content=’Deuteronomy 8:18 New International Version (NIV)

18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.

‘]Deuteronomy 8:18[/simple_tooltip]  God was talking only to His people not to the rest of the world.  John Mac Arthur here had a mistaken view of the situation.

In 1st Corinthians 4:7, “And what hast thou that didst not receive?” Paul here was talking about their spiritual possessions (not money) because the church at that time was bragging to whom they followed as their leaders or teachers. Go back to the last three verses of the previous chapter. (1st Corinthians 3:21-23) “So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belong to God.” If you continue to read 1st Corinthians 4:1 to 7, you will find out that Paul is not talking about possessing material things that John Mac Arthur is suggesting in page 9 of his book. Again John Mac Arthur here has been wrong.

John Mac Arthur doesn’t believe that tithing is for the New Testament church, here he is right. But he still quotes Malachi 3:8 “Will a man rob God?” (Page18) I have already explained this in my sermon, “Is Tithing Obligatory to the Church?” This verse from Malachi 3:8 will terrorize people in the church. It will condemn the believers and thus will grip their hearts with fear. The book of Malachi is for the nation of Israel alone, not for the New Testament church. Read again carefully my sermon concerning this topic.

John Mac Arthur’s Book page 20, “Giving should be sacrificial.” Whoever wrote the quotations in a hand written comments in this page is right. Zacchaeus only returned what he has stolen from the people. It has not been a sacrificial giving.

John Mac Arthur has been wrong when he quoted 2nd Samuel 24:24 where King David said, “Neither will I offer burnt offering unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing.” That means sacrificial. Again John Mac Arthur is wrong in quoting this verse to insinuate Christian to give sacrificially. If you will read the whole chapter you will find the whole truth of the story. Here God is angry with King David because of the census. It seems that David depended his success in battle because of the number of his warriors. The previous chapter is the recorded accounts of his valiant warriors and the number of his men. His dependency is no longer in God but to his war machine, his army. God is furious at David.

To make the long story short, God has given David three choices. Number one, years of famine in the land. Number two, 3 months of fleeing from his enemies. Number three, 3 days of severe plague throughout the land. He has depended upon the number of his people, now seventy thousand died throughout the nation. Finally the Lord relented and required David to offer a peace offering through the prophet named Gad and said to David, “Go and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” When Araunah decided to give it to David for free, that’s where David said, “Neither will I offer burnt offering unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing.” It is just logical! Why should David accept it for free from the Jebusite? Araunah was not the one whom God is angry at but to David. If he has accepted it from Araunah for free then it will seem that Araunah will be the one to offer a peace offering to God. Is it not logical? Remember that this offering is a peace offering to stop the plague. This offering was not out of love but to appease the Lord Almighty.

To quote this verse and tell people to give sacrificially is totally wrong. This doctrine is a fallacy. Jesus said “I don’t need your sacrifice, what I need is your love.”

I cannot blame John Mac Arthur. I know that it has not been his intention to teach a wrong doctrine, but because he has been following a traditional blunder which he have learned from whatever seminary he might have been without really considering to examine carefully the Bible what really happened. Those who cling to traditional blunders become brittle just like an old wine skin that cannot contain the new wine otherwise it will burst. (Matthew 9:17)

It is okay to quote verses from the Bible as long as it will not contradict the whole teaching of the Scripture. So to be safe, read the whole chapter or the whole context carefully to find out if a teacher of the Bible rightly quoted a certain verse. Most importantly ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and understanding.

Is it wrong to give sacrificially? Neither do I say it is wrong. If you decide to give everything you have like the poor widow in Mark 12:43-44, no one has the right to prevent you from doing so. Just be sure that you do it out of love. But never allow yourself to be bombarded with guilt from someone who preaches forcefully about sacrificial giving quoting verses from the Bible out of context. Love and common sense will always go together when it comes to giving. Remember though to give yourself first to God.

Yours truly in Christ,

Bobby Cabonce

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