Church Dividers: Tithing, Speaking in Tongues, Calvinism plus more!

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I will be leaving the blogging world for another extended leave as I delve into some disturbing trends that I am witnessing before my very eyes. Things that are tearing apart churches or at least causing a lot of confusion and bringing about a ton of questions.

It’s quite disturbing to see the confusion that is brewing within our churches in this present age, but it’s confusion that has existed since the early church. With John MacArthur tackling many of these same topics in his “Strange Fire” conference, many of us are beginning to wonder if we are in the midst of strange fire within our own church walls.

This is not a complete endorsement of John MacArthur’s strange fire, but there are many points I agree with and points I disagree as evidence by my listing of Calvinism as a divider of the church and John MacArthur is a well known Calvinist.

But here are some of the questions being posed to many of our churches today:


  • Are today’s Christians required to tithe 10%? 10% of our gross income? Net income? Or is 10% even required?
  • Are we cursed if we don’t and receive blessings if we do?
  • The churches that do teach tithing, are they actually following the Old Testament way of tithing?


  • Is speaking in tongues still biblical for today’s Christians?
  • Is speaking in tongues a special prayer language as well as a known and understood language if it is practiced?
  • Is tongues meant for self-edification for edification only of the church body?

Baptism/Filling of the Holy Spirit

  • Is there a difference between baptism of the Holy Spirit and being filled with the Holy Spirit?
  • Which one is continuous and which is one time only? Or are they both continuous actions that take place in believers lives?
  • Does one need to tarry or ask to receive the Holy Spirit?
  • Is the evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit always speaking in tongues? Or something else?


  • Are believers expected to perform the same miracles as Christ did? Or even the Apostles did? Is there such a thing as temporary spiritual “sign” gifts?


  • Does God choose who becomes saved without man exercising his free will to believe in Him?
  • Does God predestine many to Hell?
  • Did Christ die for the sins of the whole world or only for the “elect?”
  • Are Calvinists truly secure in their salvation?

We all need to carefully examine the scriptures and do as those in Berea did back in Christ’s time who were commended for examining everything that was taught to them:

“Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” Acts 17:10-11

The question then becomes is there room for disagreement in your church? At what point does one decide it’s time to move on or is it possible to serve the Lord and remain in the same church if one finds themselves at odds with some of the teachings? Several points to ponder in my upcoming articles on these topics.


Updated 10/30/2014

© 2014, Carlotta Morrow. All rights reserved.


  1. I am a pastor of a Pentecostal church. This means I am a continuist, which means I fully support ALL of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit as being valid and needed in the Church Age. This includes the initial evidence of speaking in tongues at Spirit baptism. But I am not one who allows the Gifts of the Holy Spirit to become out of order or divisive. I am of the belief that the Fruits of the HS and the Gifts of the HS are to complement each other and build up the Body of Christ. Cessationism, such as we see from MacArthur and others of his ilk, is a false teaching and not supported by the whole of Scripture. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman and never imposes Himself onto any person or church where He is unwelcomed. This explains why we have so many abandoned churches in this nation and elsewhere. We have spiritually dead preachers preaching dead sermons to dead congregations. They have little or no fire in their belly because they continually quench the Spirit. This is the Spirit of the Pharisees and it is alive and well in many churches and even whole denominations today. The other side of the coin is the extremist brand of Pentecostalism that is out of order and purely emotion driven. That approach is also false teaching. Jesus shows us where the balance is between His writings and those of the Apostles …… particularly those of the Apostle Paul. There is no need to fear a legitimate moving of the Holy Spirit. That movement should be embraced!

    1. Pastor Craig, there isn’t too much I disagree with you on as your comments have been a welcomed blessing on my blog. I consider you a very wise man in the Lord indeed! But on the topic of spiritual gifts I do strongly disagree with you here. I am a cessationist along the lines of John MacArthur. Cessationists are misunderstood mostly because we do believe in miraculous works of the Holy Spirit such as healings, but we disagree that the gifts are exactly like the ones practiced by New Testament apostles. In the modern era of super technology like social media, cell phone cameras and etc, there should be a sea of evidence of any of the gifts practiced like the NT believers. But there are none and the ones that folks use as evidence is still unlike NT teaching of the gifts. Your belief in tongues is an example of what we consider false teaching. Tongues if used properly is ONE of the many gifts of the Spirit. Not everyone would have the same gift, but if what you teach is true, then those who don’t speak in tongues are not baptized into the Holy Spirit. The scriptures confirm that tongues is just ONE of many of the spiritual gifts:

      There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

      I also disagree with you about why churches are dead. The preaching must be made relevant according to the people. If you have mostly babes in Christ, you don’t want to preach “meat” but give “milk.” Sometimes the preaching may be way over someone’s head. Some churches are the opposite. Too much milk and not enough meat. John MacArthur I grew up on spiritually as I was attending a very weak church with my husband. I listened to his sermons on the radio and I begin to grow in the word of God. Other pastors I listened to also to get my spiritual feedings. MacArthur’s church grew into megachurch status so I would never classify his church as dead. You can have fire in your belly as pastor without ever exhibiting the showy sign gifts of the spirits.

  2. we each have to “work out our own sanctification” in the above. We need to read an search the word for our own answers. But alas many want a EASY WAY, with little effort and thinking. Plus many who “one to one tutor” a new believer want and expect them to follow things their way. That’s why a small group is best for a new believer to be in as they get to see more than one way God guides and find out how God is guiding them.
    There is not any excuse for those who have internet and want to learn more as radio programs, podcast of sermons and TV programs that are the meat of the word and focused upon male, female, single, gay/ lesbian, parent, addition, abuse and divorced and others are all present.

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