Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores (Luke 16:19-21; cf. 19-31).
In much of the world the poor are beyond the gates, or live in walled camps. In the developed world, zoning ordinances keep the poor in their place. We’ve made it possible to live in comfort and easily ignore the suffering of the poor.
Is tithing a biblical practice? Is tithing a practice of the apostolic church? Should we practice tithing today? Some teachers suggest that tithing is a practice that was limited to the Old Testament and was not a practice of the New Testament church. Others insist that the tithe is required.
You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two . . . Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you (Matthew 5:38-42).
Recently, there have been suggestions that the Pentecostal Movement needs to be rebranded. This assumes that the Pentecostal movement of the twentieth century has lost its appeal for a 21st century audience. As I have written before, there is a distinction between Pentecostal culture and Pentecostal theology. As any Pentecostal will testify, the Spirit moves; so as the Spirit moves into the 21st century the Pentecostal culture will be transformed by a revisioned Pentecostal theology. Theology informs practice; and practice reflects theology. Theology that is not practiced is a dead faith. Practice that does not reflect biblical theology is “form without power.”