In Embezzlement, the sin of contemporary Christianity, Ray Mayhew takes an in-depth look and examination of how local congregations in the early church spent their money and the implications for us today. Ray examines the interaction of theology and practice to help us understand the role of the tithe in the early church. We are able to join this examination and walk away hopeful as we navigate forward.
Here is a snippet of what you can expect
While reading some patristic documents recently I was startled to discover that the Church Fathers are univocal in their insistence that the bulk of the revenue collected by a local church belonged by right to the poor. There was no expectation among them that a large percentage of what was collected by a local congregation would be used for its own maintenance and ministry. In fact, to do so would have been viewed by them as a misappropriation of funds.
In the plethora of books and articles I have read over the years that champion the poor and urge believers to adjust their lifestyles accordingly, I have come across almost nothing that examines the fiscal priorities of congregations in the light of this patristic legacy. Articles abound on the responsibility of individual believers to conscientiously steward their financial resources but silence prevails on what is the appropriate use of this sacred revenue by the church once it has been collected. I am not saying that we are obligated to follow the example of the early church. But most of us do believe that they have bequeathed us an important legacy. We take this with great seriousness in the area of doctrine, and I am simply advocating that we listen to them with equal seriousness in the area of stewardship. The fact is that the twenty-first century church is very rich—not necessarily my church or your church, but the global Church—and, as we are all painfully aware, we live in a day when 2 billion people somehow manage to live, or die, on less than $2 per day. Most of us are saturated with statistics and they can become both tiresome and depressing (and I, for one, have no desire to use them for guilt manipulation), but it is necessary to use some to set the context of any contemporary conversation on the appropriate use of church finances.
Publisher: Relational Tithe
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 11 in
Shipping Wight: Digital Download
Author: Ray Mayhew