If you’ve been to church, chances are you’ve heard a request for money. For most people, even those who've been in church a while, questions about the hows and whys of giving money to the church come up. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding giving to a local church.
The church in the West is known for many different, amazing things: its use of technology, its cultural contextualization, its wealth, its innovation, and so on. But it is also known for its failings: pragmatism, focus on charisma over character, and the general apathy of its people, are a few. Like all failings and shortfalls, there is always hope for redemption – especially when we talk about the beloved bride of Christ, the very body that has the promise of full reconciliation and the joy of being on the frontlines of God making all things new.
"Wild" is not an adjective we would generally use to describe God, but I think we make a mistake if we miss some of the beauty in understanding God as "wild".
When I say, "wild", I don’t mean wild like barren or unknowable, but I do mean unbreakable, uncontrollable, powerful, and untamable (Ps 115:3).
God has revealed himself to us. He has always desired relationship with humanity, and as such, redemptive history is quite simply a story of God desiring to dwell with his people. But generally, we tend to find ourselves focusing so much on God's desire to be in relationship with us, we forget his wildness. He has in many ways become a safe, sterilized, and benign god and friends that is no god at all. If we could control, manage, and never be surprised by the thing we worship, we would be very sad indeed.
By nature of being saved by Jesus, you have been made a part of his body, the Church. I truly believe that in every local church, God provided the parts of the body for it to function for the purpose in which he called it to. We are blessed at Foundation Church to be full of amazing people that make up our part of the body. Every week of church life is a testament to that: the volunteer teams, the servants, the godly way in which people care for and serve one another warms my heart. But every now and again, we are faced with a call to go over and above. Sometimes God brings into the life of the church an opportunity to show off his love through his people within the body that is the church.
So often we think we know what is best for ourselves, we think we have an understanding of our needs. In reality, we often miss the mark entirely.
As with other topics in this series, Imago Dei comes front and center in response to perceived Old Testament injustices. The sexism argument must acknowledge how God created both men and women in His likeness (Gen. 1:26). God created all people in His likeness from the beginning of Scripture -- from kings and queens to male and female slaves. An argument that sees God as preserving inequality between men and women must also argue that God established the Imago Dei with inherent inequalities. Gail Wallace makes the case that, “woman is not a separate creation; she is made from the same material as the man. Both embody the fundamental qualities and capacities of being human while at the same time having the added dimensions of sex and gender.”
Another difficult question we face when digging deeper into the Old Testament is polygamy and its commonplace practice.
We look up to heroes of the faith like Jacob and David (Heb 11), yet each of these biblical giants had more than one wife. How can they be held up as godly examples while so blatantly violating God’s intentions for marriage? How can God both regulate Old Testament polygamy (Exodus 21:10) and yet require New Testament elders to be of one wife (1 Timothy 3:2)?
As someone who grew up in the Southern U.S., slavery in the Old Testament comes with images of the transatlantic slave trade and cotton plantations. How can the church justify a God who seems to endorse slavery by providing laws for the relationship between slave and slave owner? The cultural, historical, and theological context of God’s Word paints a picture of a caring God with a desire for all to become servants of Christ.