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Holy Smoke!: Whatever Happened to Tithing? [Paperback]

By J. Clif Christopher (Author) & Herbert Mather (Author)
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Item Number 129385  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   112
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6.02" Height: 0.34"
Weight:   0.41 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2003
Publisher   Discipleship Resources
ISBN  0881772844  
EAN  9780881772845  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Christopher and Mather offer a renewed look at a subject discussed very little in congregations today: tithing. They propose the discipline of tithing as a way for Christians to symbolize and renew their relationship with God. The key to achieving this is to present the tithe, not as a legal obligation, but as a benchmark in a spiritual relationship that is generous and giving. In six provocative chapters, the authors present: (1) a comprehensive survey of the current literature on tithing and giving, followed by a close look at the practice of tithing in Scripture and church history; (2) Questions and answers related to tithing; (3) A step-by-step process to help congregations develop a long-term plan for nurturing individuals in the spiritual discipline of tithing. Key issues addressed in the appendices: the relationship between tithing and planned giving and between tithing and the capital campaign.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Holy Smoke! What ever happened to the Word of God?  Jun 13, 2000
A previous reviewer of this book wrote that Holy Smoke "is useful in helping we clergy get over the guilt around encouraging people to give." Unfortunately, it appears this person was ignorant of the fact that "guilt", according to the Word of God, is actually defined as being sin? (Ezra 9:6; 10:10; Psalms 69:5, etc. - just a few examples). I would dare say that if a pastor is experiencing guilt in "encouraging" their flock to tithe, this should be an indicator that perhaps there is a valid reason for the existence of that guilt. Selah! (that means "think about it")

Regardless of the reviews concerning this book, I purchased it anyway to sincerely examine it for myself, also in an attempt to further achieve a balanced perspective on tithing in my studies. What I encountered in this book was, unfortunately, a poorly presented case for tithing, at least from the perspective of a student of the Bible who is not interested in mere indoctrination by methods of human reason and intellect. There were (in fairness) some fun stories and a few interesting thoughts on the subject, but in all honesty they seemed to be more of a distraction than a help in understanding the biblical application of tithing or proving any convincing contrasting point. I guess for me Scripture carries far more weight than just a few nice stories and suggestions based on tradition and the authors' opinion. It would have been nice to see a more indepth examination of the Word.

The book quotes several historical examples of tithing, some personal stories and accounts and a lot of reason again without strong support of Scripture. The book failed to convince this student of the Word that the author had any detailed understanding of the biblical tithe and its application at all, but rather a lot of ideology based on tradition and verses removed from their proper context (perhaps in ignorance) used to "proof text" the authors' plug for tithing.

The book also contains an outline study intended to be used in a group setting for the purpose of teaching on the tithe and engaging in discussion. The problem is that rather than encouraging discussion pertaining specifically to the Word, the reader is instructed to discuss points made in the book by the authors. And, quite frankly, some of the questions are (in my personal opinion) borderline ridiculous to say the least. For example, this one from page 92: "Read this familiar passage as if you were in a spacecraft circling the earth. You look down at the blue planet. What new insights does this new perspective provide?" This book certainly seems like appropriate reading for space travel (grin).

I have read several other books from a pro-tithing perspective that were interesting and made some thought provoking points (Larry Burkett's book "Giving and Tithing" was especially good), but this book, unfortunately, only makes the bottom of my list for recommended reading. I really was hoping it would have been better. I would really like to challenge these authors to get a book like Theologian Dr. Russell Kelly's "Should The Church Teach Tithing" or Mitchell's "Beyond Tithes And Offerings" and answer some of the hard questions presented that tithe teachers seem to often skirt around dealing clearly with according to Scripture. I give it one star.

On a positive note, the cover is cool looking. :)

Good Advice  Apr 1, 2000
I'm a pastor and I found this book to be an extremely practical, useful guide for many of my colleagues as we try to encourage the people in our congregations to see their tithing as a call into a deeper relationship with God and the world. The authors use of scripture and historical documents adds depth to this skinny guide. It also is useful in helping we clergy get over the guilt around encouraging people to give. Thanks!

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