Sunday, March 11, 2007

Should Christians Tithe?

A growing fad among some Christians is to deny tithing under the New Testament. Since there are no specific directions for tithing in the New Testament, they rejoice that they can avoid this duty. So they leap on the no-tithing bandwagon and roll out their rabid rhetoric. It is time to take off their wheels and let the water cover them.
What is a tithe? It is 10% of income or assets returned to God for His faithfulness and mercy.
Did Old Testament saints tithe? Yes, the Law of Moses required tithing. Israelites gave 10% annually to the Levites, 10% annually on feasts for worship, and 10% every third year for the Levites and poor. They gave about 23 1/3% annually (Numbers 18:20-32; Deut 14:22-29)!
Were tithes the same as offerings? No, tithes were required giving. Israel owed the Lord tithes by obligation of His commandments. The soul offering, freewill offerings, sacrifices, and vows were all above and beyond tithes (Ex 30:15; Deut 12:6,17; I Chr 22:5,14; 29:2-5; Mal 3:8).
Did the tithe originate with Moses? No, Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils of his victory to Melchisedec, and Jacob promised God a tenth for His blessings, and these men lived 300-400 years before Moses and the Law (Gen 14:18-20; 28:22; Gal 3:17). Capital punishment, like tithing, originated long before the Law, but the Law systematized its practice (Gen 9:6).
Does the New Testament require a tithe? No, it does not mention tithing by name, except for Jesus correcting the Jews abuse of tithing (Matt 23:23; Luke 11:42) and Paul’s historical description of Abraham giving Melchisedec a tithe (Heb 7:1-4). But there are many useful and godly principles of the Old Testament that are not repeated specifically in the New Testament.
Does the New Testament require giving? Yes, it requires giving by doctrine and precept for the very same things as the Old Testament – the ministry and the poor (Acts 20:35; I Cor 9:1-18; 16:1-3; II Cor 8:1-24; 9:1-15; Gal 6:6; I Tim 5:3,17; 6:17-19; I John 3:17-18).
Did New Testament saints give? Yes, they gave with cheerful liberality and obvious personal sacrifice both in public and private, for their position or assets in this world meant little to them (Acts 2:44-47; 4:32-37; 6:1; Phil 4:10-18; Philemon 1:4-7; Heb 10:34; III John 1:5-8).
What do New Testament saints give for? They give to ministers who labor full time in the ministry and to poor saints, including widows indeed, in their own church and in other churches (Acts 6:1; 11:28-30; Rom 15:25-27; I Cor 9:7-14; 16:1-3; Gal 2:10; 6:6; I Tim 5:17-18; II Tim 2:4). In order to study this issue of the proper objects of giving, see “What About Tsunami Relief?
Should Christians tithe? No, they should give more! Israel under the weak and beggarly Old Testament gave more than 10% in tithes and offerings, so we under the blessings of the New should give more than they, and the Spirit-filled examples agree (Gal 4:9; Heb 7:19,22; 8:6; Acts 2:44-47; 4:32-37). Remember, the Lord requires based on what He has given you (Luke 12:48).
Should a church require a tithe? No, a church cannot require a tithe without New Testament authority. But a church should preach hard about giving, teach members the origin and nature of the tithe, and exhort members about exceeding the tithe. And a church might use the tithe as a guideline for warning or disciplining members for covetousness (I Cor 5:11; II Thess 3:6).
How much should be given? Saints should give (1) proportionate to income, (2) systematically, (3) liberally, (4) as they purpose in their heart, and (5) cheerfully (Acts 11:29; I Cor 16:1-3; II Cor 8:12; 9:7). God loves cheerful givers. If saints give liberally, they will be blessed liberally (II Cor 9:6). A tithe should be the minimum, since it was the minimum before and during the Law.
Should they give by gross or net income? The question indicates a selfish and stingy heart. In any other situation, this person will always state his income by the highest number; but when it comes to God, he lowers it to give Him less. Gross income is what you were paid; you received many benefits for the taxes deducted. You should give proportionately of your gross income.
What is firstfruits giving? Taken from the first produce of a field or vineyard, it is honoring the Lord off the top, rather than from what remains (Pr 3:9). Therefore, firstfruits giving is more than just a few bucks, is the first use of income, is given from a blessing not for a blessing, and is given from gross income. And the Lord is very pleased with such an approach (Pr 3:10).
What about taking a tax deduction? God raises up governments to provide for His people, and taking a deduction fulfils God’s word. The Bible has many examples of God using pagan governments to provide for His church. See the Bible study, “God Bless the IRS.” But when taking the tax deduction, remember that a 30% tax bracket shrinks a tithe to only 7% of your income!
But the New Testament does not require a tithe? And the New Testament does not mention corporal punishment, but you use the O.T. principle to train your children (Pr 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:15). It does not mention saving money, but you do so from Solomon (Pr 6:8; 30:25). It does not mention many godly rules or principles, which may be assumed from the O.T.
But the New Testament does not require a tithe? But the tithe was not abolished, as was the Sabbath. The Sabbath was not pre-Moses, was for Israel only, and was clearly abolished according to Paul. Tithing was pre-Moses and not rejected by Paul, thus remaining as a guide.
But the New Testament does not require a tithe? That is right, but Paul did appeal to the Law of Moses for principles of financial giving, which shows the remaining validity of the principles pertaining to giving (I Cor 9:8-9; II Cor 9:9; I Tim 5:18).
But anything like a tithe becomes a mere ritual? Worship becoming a dead ritual depends on your heart, for systematic giving can be done cheerfully, as Moses required of the Jews, and Paul required of the Gentiles (I Cor 16:1-3). Does attending assemblies every Lord’s Day or daily reading of the Bible become a dead ritual merely by its discipline or habit? No!
What if I do not give? You rob God, and you will suffer (Hag 1:1-11; Mal 3:8-12; II Cor 9:6; Gal 6:7). Everything you have is from the Lord, and you should willingly give some back. It is often the love of money that causes some to oppose tithing and/or giving, but disciples of Jesus Christ give liberally, for they reject covetousness and the love of money (I Tim 6:6-10,17-19).
What if I cannot afford to give? You must be in financial trouble, so you cannot afford not to give! Joseph and Mary, though poor, brought two turtledoves for our Lord’s dedication (Luke 2:22-24; Lev 12:8). Jesus took note of a widow giving two mites over rich men giving much (Lev 12:1-4). Moses required a soul offering of every citizen without regard for ability to give (Ex 30:5). The Philippians gave generously, though they were comparatively poor (II Cor 8:1-5).
What about money-grubbing televangelists? They should be rejected as false prophets, for they are not sent by God, do not preach God’s words, steal widows’ houses through fake prayers, promise lies about getting rich, and sell trinkets without shame (Matt 23:14). But their heresies, lies, and scams do not negate the need to generously support God’s ministers (I Tim 5:17-18).
What about giving to get? Our blessed and merciful heavenly Father has repeatedly promised His reward upon those who give liberally, and these promises encourage our obedience, as long life encourages parental honor (Eph 6:1-3). But great men with great hearts, like David, give out of delight and love for God rather than what they might receive as a result of their giving!
What if I give hypocritically? That is your wicked choice, but it has nothing to do with a proper understanding of tithing and giving. Financial giving will not sanctify your life or make up for wickedness in other areas (Is 58:3-7; Hag 2:10-19; Jas 1:27). Jesus Christ taught you to do both – to live a righteous life of mercy, judgment, and faith and to give financially (Matt 23:23).
What is the bottom line? The Lord is a great king, and He deserves your best (Mal 1:14; Heb 12:28-29). If you want the heart of David, you better give more than a tithe (I Chron 22:5,14-16; 29:2-5). Let the lovers of filthy lucre argue about tithing. Since the world began, God has blessed liberal givers (Gen 13:2; 26:12; 32:10; Pr 3:9-10; 11:24-26; Mal 3:8-12; Luke 6:38; II Cor 9:6). The most exciting use of your money should be generous giving to the Lord, off the top, often!
www.letgodbetrue.com

19 comments:

Happymama said...

I'm glad you posted this. I was recently in a discussion with someone who will not tithe. They base their stand on the fact that it is not mentioned in the NT. Now, they give offerings willingly. But tithing is not something they will do. I'll be printing this off for them to read. Great post, boys!

~Kristi

Sista Cala said...

Excellent post, a necessary message for today's church. I appreciate this post as a resource in refuting those who refuse to give. You have anticipated the questions I have encountered before. Next time I am confronted w/non-givers tooting their horns, I'll just give them this link. Thanks.

P.S. My sister at suggested this site.

Cindy said...

Great post. I feel that tithing is very important and I also feel that it is an act of obiedence to our Fahter.

Travis said...

Hey guys, I found this post because I was scanning Technorati after writing my own tithe-related blog entry.

Could you tackle these questions for me? Because you're dealing with somewhat of a straw-man...

-- What was the tithe? (That is, what did it consist of?)
-- Who received the tithe?
-- With the giving of the OT Law, did God primarily establish a church or a theocratic government?
-- Are you really searching the Scriptures, or just parroting Randy Alcorn? Because this looks like study notes from Money, Possessions and Eternity. :)

The Good Reporters said...

Happymama, Cala, and Cindy,

I'm glad you enjoyed the post... I pray that it can be a help to those who will read it carefully plus study the word of God.

Travis,

I clearly marked where this post was taken... I too was searching for a good article about this subject, and I felt that the question and answer format from this site was a good summary. Maybe you should ask your questions there...

The Good Reporters said...

Happymama, Cala, and Cindy,

I'm glad you enjoyed the post... I pray that it can be a help to those who will read it carefully plus study the word of God.

Travis,

I clearly marked where this post was taken... I too was searching for a good article about this subject, and I felt that the question and answer format from this site was a good summary. Maybe you should ask your questions there...

Travis said...

I'm sorry, actually that wasn't very clear at all. You didn't say anywhere that you pulled the article from someplace else, and the URL at the bottom of the post didn't look like it was a reference. I would have expected a source byline to look more like this:

(Found at Let God Be True: Should Christians Tithe?)

I'm not saying you have to reference pulled content like that! I'm only saying it wasn't clear. ;) Thanks -- I'll go check with them. (But I still think if you agree with it, you'd be able to answer the questions.) =p

tithe said...

I am informing you that not believing in tithing in the NT is not a fad. I do not rejoice that i can avoid this duty, because if the Holy Spirit guides me in my giving, i cannot avoid anything. There are some that wrongfully turn away from giving 10% of their money cause they are tired of God, but that doesn't excuse the legitimate doctrine that Spirit-led givers depend on. There are no specific directions to change the tithe from what it was used for in the Old Testament either. There are no specific directions to change it to money either, but i don't see you applying this reasoning with your own tithing argument. http://churchtithesandofferings.com

The Good Reporters said...

Travis,

I apologize for the confusion, and I appreciate your spirit in your response to my explanation.

Tithe,

Thanks for stopping by... I have not looked at your site, but allowed your post to appear. You appear to be sincere, but let me caution my other blog readers; you should be aware to always use proper discernment with all posted sites and resources.

Sis. Julie said...

Okay...that one went through...so here goes....again!!

I want to thank you for posting this post. There are so many Christians that are not obeying in this area of their Christian life. And they are missing out on God's blessings that come from obeying in this area. I have a post that I will be putting up on this subject soon. I'm a firm believer of tithing and have seen God's blessings in our home and our family as a result of obeying in this area. I pray that others that read this that may not be tithing will becoming convinced that this is a command in God's Word and that they will put God to the test so-to-speak in this area in their life. Good job guys!!

As usual you have touched on a subject that has brought opposition. But then subjects of obedience will do that sometimes. I'm thankful to see that you haven't let it keep you from doing as God leads with your posts.

Maranatha said...

The tithe was before the law, given to Melchizedek - Christ is our Priest after the order of Melchizedek.

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. (Gen 14:18)

The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
(Psa 110:4)


I found it interesting that the word Melchizedek only appears twice in the KJV. Christ is the Second person in the Trinity. Melchizedek was the king of Salem, Christ will be King of Jerusalem. Melchizedek brought forth bread and wine; Christ brought forth bread and wine at the Last Supper. He told us to do this in memory of Him. Isn't studying the Word fun? You get golden nuggets like this one.

Why wouldn't the tithe continue then? Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Heb 13:8)

Jerry Bouey said...

Several things I found interesting on this theme in the Scriptures:

1) Proverbs 3:9-10 deals with tithing - all other passages in Proverbs apply directly to the NT Bible believer, so it would be strange to find this one command doesn't apply.

2) Paul's references to tithing in the book of Hebrews are in the present tense, indicating tithing was still going on - even just prior to the destruction of the temple. YET if this was just an Old Testament command, then that would have been done away with in the New Covenant.

Hebrews 7:8-9 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.

3) 1 Corinthians 9 directly refers to the OT tithing laws to show how we are to support the NT pastor - just as the tithes in the OT took care of the priests and levites (those who ministered at the altar), so too do the tithes in the NT take care of the pastor and his needs, family, etc.

Jerry Bouey said...

Joshua and Caleb, is Bro. Jim your Dad? If so, I found his blog last year through Courtney's blog (was doing a search for blogs, hers came up and I checked out some of the links). I have his bookmarked and am going to now add yours. Looks like it is full of "Good Report(s)"! God bless.

Travis said...

@ Jerry: Those are good passages, but is it okay if I share a few observations of my own?

1) You may be right in saying that applies to us today; but (a) does it apply to people without crops [produce], barns or vats? and (b) doesn't Jesus say that as far as the final judgment is concerned, giving to Him is a matter of giving "to the least of these my brothers" [the hungry, thirsty, sick, stranger, naked and imprisoned]?

2) Is the writer of Hebrews speaking of tithing as a Christian practice, or is he merely pointing to something that's still going on in their contemporary Jewish (Hebrew) community? The writer's audience is Hebrew believers, after all... and he does say that Levi collects (present-tense) the tithe. So if Levi's still the one collecting it, doesn't that imply this is a reference to a then-current Jewish practice?

3) I agree that "those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel," but I also agree with Paul that it is not a binding law upon believers (or else he would be encouraging trespass by forgoing his rights).

I hope that my remarks are received in the spirit they're written -- my heart is not for my wallet to be left alone, but for the poor to receive what God has called His stewards to provide them... but which often is spent on things that we say are "for God" (like our buildings, stained glass, nice seating, sound equipment, etc.) but in actuality are just as much "for us" as anything in our own homes. You know what I mean? I've seen people who (Biblically speaking) ought to be receiving from the tithe, but who have been told to give it instead. I'm not trying to attack... I'm trying to defend people I love from something that I'm convinced is a misinterpretation of a (valid) Biblical practice. I'm sorry if I came across otherwise.

The Good Reporters said...

Jerry,

Yes, "Bro. Jim" is our dad...

Travis,

I think the local church should be our primary conduit with our giving... through it the "poor" can be ministered to both physically and spiritually. The first deacons took care of the widows of the church. Do you think they were forced to use their own funds only, or a portion of the resources given to the church in order to take care of the ministries of the church in total??? We read where collections were given to other churches by local churches.... giving was through the individuals of the local church. I also believe the individual Christian took care of the physical needs as required of their neighbors and the man of God, providing shelter, food, and clothes as needed. I believe they did both with a merry spirit.. a spirit of giving out of love!!! We should willingly give to the ministries of the local church plus those in need that the Lord places in our circle of influence.

The OT temple practices pictured what was to come in the future; the sacrifices pictured the supreme sacrifice of God's Son, Jesus Christ. The temple was magnificently constructed by the giving of the people (not sure about stained glass windows, but plenty of gold!!!). The priests were also provided for by the people. Yes, churches can go overboard with building projects..if they focus more on the building instead of getting the Gospel to people, get out of that local church and find one that uses the resources that the congregation gives cheerfully to the church to reach that goal of reaching others for Christ. Would God set up the church for ministry here in the NT age, but have no plan for the financial needs of the ministry to take place? This should be a no-brainer. God's people takes care of God's ministries!!! Some give 10% only, some give 50%, some only 1%.... God knows the hearts of the giver. He is interested in the individual's spirit of giving... He knows when the Christian has the desire to hold on to that money given to the church, or the critical spirit that arises when the pastor announces a special need to start another ministry to reach out to a certain group of people with the Gospel.

Many who begrudge giving are the ones who has many "wants" in their possession or in their dreams. God said He would take care of our needs.... the wants many times are a reward of our own spiritual attitudes.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this topic... if Uncle Sam didn't take his 20-30% right off the top some people might not worry so much about God's 10%....

If you must have the last word, I'll allow you one more post... or maybe you want to move this discussion elsewhere for those who are interested. People have strong opinions about money... especially when it is theirs!!!

Jerry Bouey said...

Travis,

1) You may be right in saying that applies to us today; but (a) does it apply to people without crops [produce], barns or vats?

Proverbs 3:9-10 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

Firstfruits isn't limited to the first of the harvest - it certainly also includes any increase we get - whether agriculturally or financially.

(b) doesn't Jesus say that as far as the final judgment is concerned, giving to Him is a matter of giving "to the least of these my brothers" [the hungry, thirsty, sick, stranger, naked and imprisoned]?

Context is important. That passage is dealing specifically with our treatment of the Jews (Jesus' physical brethren) during the Tribulation period (ie. when He comes back to judge the nations left on earth, before His millenial reign). Nowhere does the Bible teach that it is okay to skip giving our tithes and offerings to the church, and instead give it straight to the poor, etc. Certainly we can make the application that we should minister to those type of people mentioned in Matthew 25 - but the context is dealing with those Tribulation believers and unbelievers still alive when Jesus comes back to reign, and the Christian's judgment is not found in Matthew 25 but in other passages dealing with the judgment Seat of Christ.

2) Is the writer of Hebrews speaking of tithing as a Christian practice, or is he merely pointing to something that's still going on in their contemporary Jewish (Hebrew) community? The writer's audience is Hebrew believers, after all... and he does say that Levi collects (present-tense) the tithe. So if Levi's still the one collecting it, doesn't that imply this is a reference to a then-current Jewish practice?

I realize Paul is referring to what is going on in the Jewish temple - my point is, this is almost forty years AFTER Jesus ascended into Heaven, and there are no statements that those involved in the Temple were doing wrong (specifically in this regard), that they were following something that was done away with, etc. - and Paul would have made some kind of clarification if that was the case (as other NT passages do teach us what is done away with, what is fulfilled, what is done falsely, etc. He referred to the current practice to build on what he was teaching them.

Ethel said...

That's a good post boys. Our pastor spoke on tithing not to long ago. It is obedience. Keep up the good work.

Vikram Madan said...

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The Good Reporters said...

Vikram Madan,

Thanks for stopping by and for the kind comments about our site.