There are a few things which separate Christians: tithing, the rapture, speaking in tongues and the sabbath from what I have seen so far… although I’m not sure whether any of these differences lead to falling away they do lead to walls being built up within the body, I think we call them ‘denominations’. As the time towards the end draws near God is touching my heart to speak on these sensitive issues, for my own benefit so that I can learn and solidify my understanding but also to help enlighten and challenge others in their thinking. It is of no benefit to accept something just because it’s what we have been taught, we need to learn to divide the Word of God rightly for ourselves.
So I will get the ball rolling here by bringing up the issue of the tithe.
Is it biblical for Christians to tithe?
Questions to think about:
- What is the tithe?
- What did it consist of?
- Who was it for?
- who were meant to tithe?
- How was it used?
- When was it used?
- Did the early church tithe?
My opinion: I don’t believe that Christians should ‘tithe’ but I do believe that Christians should give freely. I have thought about this a lot and have seen how different scriptures have been used to frighten Christians into giving (Malachi), as someone who has tithed before but is not currently working I have seen my ‘usefulness’ diminish in the eyes of some pastors, I have witnessed people separated into tithers and non-tithers to boost one group up and deflate others, I have seen people ‘start’ churches in order to get rich quickly through the tithe system. I also understand that some people argue this by saying that those pastors are not good or that it doesn’t matter what your pastor does with the money as long as you give it God will bless you, but does this actually make sense? I don’t think God wants to prosper us just so that we will give it to a pastor who only wants to use the money for their own gain or grow a multimillion pound/dollar church, I believe God wants us to be wise and good stewards over everything He gives to us, I think He would want us to use His money to be a blessing and not to be a curse to ourselves or others more susceptible.
I know that there are more people who support tithing over not (particularly in church leadership positions) but I would ask that you be respectful and polite towards me and others if responding.
Here are some good links that I have found on the matter which look into the above questions in a bit more depth:
Additional thoughts 29th March 2012
The outward work vs the inward heart
There are many reasons why people choose to tithe:
- out of love for example as a demonstration of love to others
- out of discipline in order to kill the flesh
- for greedy gain, for reward
- or to avoid the curse
All of these people exhibit the same outward work but do not have the same inward heart or nature when doing the work.
Yeshua taught us that simply keeping a rule/law ie. fulfilling the word of the law isn’t enough if our heart is dark and not right with God. God desires inward heart changes which results and manifests in outward works. If Christians feel compelled to tithe to avoid a curse or to receive a blessing then this is wrong, but if this is what Christians are being taught then this will result in ungodly feelings of fear or temptation which in essence places that person in a position of sin.
People who tithe out of compulsion place themselves under the law, as a)there is no condemnation in Christ and b) love is the fulfillment of the law. Those who tithe out of compulsion or necessity do so according to the Spirit of the Law and not to the Spirit of love and as such can only ever if at best reap according to the confines of the Law. As the tithe law has nothing to do with gentiles, Israelites outside of Israel or money then such people will not reap anything. Even Jewish people today do not tithe because they know that according to the word of God that the tithing law is very specific, these same people have Genesis, they know about Abraham giving a tenth and Jacob making a vow with God, yet they still do not tithe. Yet few people would say that the Jews are not one of if not the most blessed financially in all the world, they are not tithing yet the most inventors and wealthiest people come out of Israel, this seems pretty strange to me.
I believe that the old testament law of tithing has nothing to do with material blessing, I just want to look at a few verses to illustrate what I do believe the tithe relates to.
6And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks:
7And there ye shall eat before the LORD your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the LORD thy God hath blessed thee.
Deut 12: 6-7
6For the LORD thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee.
7If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:
8But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.
Deut 15: 6-8
This is what I see when I read these and such verse, a God who loves His people, wants to bless them and wants to fellowship with them. In Deuteronomy 12, we see God telling the Israelites to eat all of their offerings before Him and to rejoice in all that He has done for them. Wow, isn’t this amazing God actually wants us to come and dine with Him, He calls us in to eat in front of Him so that He can fellowship with us in His holy place. These offerings were a demonstration of how much God wants to bless and fellowship with us, to me I see a really excited and pleased Father who has given His child a present and can’t wait for the child to sit down with Him and open it in front of Him so that He can share in the joy of their happiness. We are not taught this in the church, instead we are taught that we are not to partake in the tithe at all, that it is for the church building, ministers and to bring new people in, most of the time members do not or rarely rejoice in what they bring to the church.
Deuteronomy 15 again shows the immense love of God, God wants to bless us so that we can bless others. We are supposed to give with a open-hand and not a closed-fist, if we tell someone to give a tithe (10 %) to the church we are doing several things: putting them in a situation where they may not want to give (out of compulsion) and placing a quota on their giving. I believe that God wants us to reach that stage where we can sell everything we have for the pearl of great price, that we can leave all we have and follow Him and not end up like that rich man who all he cared about was his material possessions. Yeshua looked into the heart of the woman who gave all she had, she didn’t tithe she gave more than the 10% that Christians are supposedly required to give, it wasn’t the fact that she tithed which moved Yeshua but the fact that she was able to let go of her physical needs and give to others, a soul that gives through and out of love is close to God’s heart and God will bless them because they are constantly before Him in comparison to someone who gives to gain something in return.
I do believe that we should give, give freely and sacrificially just like God through Yeshua gave to us. In order to do this we need to be led by the Spirit of God, Holy Spirit and not the law, that is why we have Holy Spirit, Christians do not live by the letter of the law but by God through His Spirit in us. When we give led by and through Holy Spirit that is when we will be doing God’s will and not man’s, for some they may feel like God wants them to give 10% some less and some more, but each one according to how it has been purposed in the heart through Holy Spirit. I repeat that everyone who makes tithing compulsory is not only placing the individual under the law but I would also add that they are possibly incurring a curse on themselves, if not from God (as only time will tell) but through those who unwillingly hand over their money. You may not realise or believe it but if they utter any words against you in their heart or out loud there will be a judgement against you:
9Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee.
10Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto.
Deut 15: 9-10
It is much better for you to teach free will sacrificial giving rather than condemn yourself in God’s eyes, the words of a righteous person are powerful let alone the words of man period.
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9: 7
The principles of giving
We can not ignore the fact that tithing existed neither can we ignore the fact that the Bible teaches in many places that the more we give the more we receive back; but what I want to focus on is our understanding of the word tithe for one. We really need to have an understanding of the tithe system because the tithe according to how it was understood in ancient Israel is not the same tithe taught in the church, if you wish to find out more about the tithing system of ancient Israel please check out the links before this update.
I don’t believe that tithing is relevant to the church for the reasons stated in these links, and to say that God wants us to extend the tithe to money and outside of the land of Israel would be making God a liar. If we believe God to be all powerful and all knowing, then God would have foreseen the issue faced by the church and clarified it in some way. I believe that as professing bible-believing Christians that we need to separate the tithe from giving, God still wants us to give but the tithe is not required of us.
The principles of the tithe can also be found in any form of giving done with the heart of God, and this should be the focus of any offering that we give to the church, to our fellow brethren and to the poor and needy.
- Honouring God – all giving honours God not just our tithe but also our offerings.
- developing and increasing responsibility to the brethren and our fellow man
- a form of praise, worship and thanksgiving to God, every time we give we magnify and glorify God.
- supporting those who have been called to feed and tend God’s sheep
I believe that this is the Spirit and the principle of the tithe which is also present in our giving and offerings. We give to bless and not to receive, we give to uplift and not to condemn, we give glorify our God and not for self-improvement. If we don’t give for these reasons we better not give at all.