If someone were to ask me to place a monetary value on the equipping I have received in my life it would be impossible to come up with a number. What value does one place on being grounded in Him? Coming up with a monetary value is impossible because the things of the Spirit are worth far more than those of the temporal. Yet the scriptures are clear these gifts I have received have economic value. This blog is the second of a four part series by Loren Rosser and is posted by permission.
There was a Body before there was a Christian “Bible.” This is a threatening fact for many. It is none-the-less, an indisputable historical fact. The implications can, and have been, argued for centuries, but the fact cannot be.
Many are moving away from mandatory financial obligation within religious systems. They are pursuing genuine relational connections within the body of Christ. However, the issue of financial compensation of those who function within the body of Christ in a full-time capacity of Ephesian 4 equippers is a controversial and reactionary topic. There’s currently a standoff of sorts taking place within in the body of Christ. This blog is the first in a four-part series by Loren Rosser and is posted by permission.
How should we fund ministry efforts (local and trans-local) in the kingdom of Jesus Christ, in a new covenant, grace-based, non-coercive way in community? On the one hand there’s the way we’ve been doing it for centuries, that I hope to have convinced you in this book is at least lacking if not utterly broken: tithe to an impersonal institution to support a professional class of full-time clergy who are the real “ministers.” On the other hand, there are the more reactionary elements who believe that no individual, under any circumstance, should be compensated in preference over an another, as we are all equal as “ministers”–the gift of hospitality is as worthy of compensation as preaching and teaching.
It’s obvious that the long-term future belongs to the youngest current generations of adults, The Millennials. The beliefs, values, and giving habits of this generation must be understood if we are going to effectively speak their language, in incarnational love, on the topic of finances and giving.
Recently I have been blessed with the expansion of relationship with brothers and sisters outside my direct church family. Like the gospel will do, and like Jesus will do, those lines become blurred and the family just becomes, well, more family: still the church–still the body–just more connected. However, it didn’t take long for me to realize that doctrine can be a relational stumbling block in the “extended” family.
Emmanuel is God with us. And with is not with like in the same astral region, it’s with like face to face, intimately connected. People tell me inclusion leaves Jesus out of the equation, I say it makes full light of who he truly is, our Emmanuel. He is God, with us.
The significance of the genealogical lists in the scripture is often lost on modern readers. No more so than in the story of Christ’s birth. The inclusion of women in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus would have been a shocking attention grabber to contemporary audiences. It would have riveted his hearers, and have had them hanging in suspense, wondering what could the story possibly be talking about? Matthew knew what he was doing with an opener like this genealogy!
The following is a true story that clearly demonstrates the essence of the gospel in nonviolence. I wept in thankfulness the first time I read this. It is an incident cited by Kenneth Bailey[i] involving King Hussein of Jordan, and confirmed through high-ranking American intelligence officers stationed in Jordan at the time this event took place:
Is there a better way to express a culture of giving and receiving than blindly throwing ten percent into the mouth of a voracious, impersonal, non-relational, religious machine that consumes resources like the Borg assimilating the universe?[i] I think there is.
But there as many opinions on this topic as there are believers!