to tithe or not to tithe?

i’m almost hesitant to post this video, mainly because i’m not sure how everyone’s going to respond to it. but heck… i seem to thrive on controversy, so… here goes.

having grown up in a Baptist church, tithing is a main doctrine of our denomination. it’s preached on, promoted, talked about, etc.

the main verses i’ve heard in support of tithing are found in the O.T. book of Malachi, verses 9-12:

[8] Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
[9] Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
[10] Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
[11] And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.
[12] And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.

even though the below is in video format, there’s nothing to watch. so click play and listen. btw, it’s Francis Chan.

…thoughts?
is tithing a requirement of God?
or was tithing something that was old testament law?

if you’re a pastor of a church, i’d especially love to hear your take on this.

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Posted on November 8, 2011, in YouTube & Videos and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. Tithing to keep God happy and be allowed to keep the rest of your stuff? Wrong.

    Giving any amount that shows a cheerful heart, especially an amount that testifies to where your treasure is? Right.

  2. Chan draws a false dichotomy: you believe (a)the tithe is a requirement, and in doing so, God will bless you with more wealth or (b)we aren’t required to tithe because we aren’t under the Mosaic Law.

    That leaves out other possibilities, including the one I have concluded is the correct one: we are to tithe, but there is no guarantee of wealth (at least at Americans define wealth) attached.

    I am the first to point out that we are not under the Law of Moses. (Side point: I hate when people call it the Old Testament Law, since most of the years in the OT were pre-Law).

    While the tithe is included in the Law, so are prohibitions against murder, lying, and adultery. Those things are part of a bigger law, one which was around since it was a sin for Cain to kill Abel. I say this because we know that the priest Melchizdek received the tithe from Abraham.

    I say all that to say that while we are under no Mosaic Law requirement to tithe, there is a principle which goes much farther back than that. Anyone who says we don’t need to tithe because we aren’t under the Law, but who believes it’s still sin to murder, is being illogical.

  3. To be clear: I agree with much of what Chan has said, particularly his stance that God blesses us with more so we can give more. If I had more time, I could bring up several NT verses which back this up. I mention this because many who are anti-tithe and anti-prosperity Gospel (I’m not a prosperity gospel proponent myself), sometimes end up being anti-wealth, as if God is somehow against wealth.

  4. Requirement? …eh… I don’t know. I mean, what does “requirement” mean here? You need it to get into heaven? No. You need to do it to be in a right relationship with God? …no. You will do it if you follow God? …yes.

    Why?

    Because we should tithe. Yes, it’s a morally good thing. Does the percentage, net/gross, frequency matter? Not as such. …but, yes.

    Tithing, like the Sabbath (which, oh my, that one God is super serious about), is about putting our trust in God and reminding ourselves of His provision and goodness. It’s about faith. It’s about gratitude. …which is why tithing in ways that are neither about faith or gratitude are so pointless. That’s why Jesus praises the widow and not the wealthy. It’s not about the amount, but about the heart. And, I’m pretty sure, if we were responding to the vastness of God’s love and provision, we’d give more.

    So, I believe that 10% is a good stating point. I agree with my pastor who says, “This is such a huge issue, if the conflict of interest of a church asking you to give makes you uncomfortable, give somewhere else! I’m more concerned with you following God and learning to trust Him than I am about making sure we have money coming into our church.” …probably because provision–even for churches–is always a faith thing.

    Will tithing make your rich? No… not if that’s why you’re doing it, especially. But God has a history of doing funny things with people of faith, so I wouldn’t put it past Him from time to time. And tithing and looking for provision is the one thing I can think of that God asks us to test Him in, so that’s something.

    My two cents.

    ~Luke

  5. I admit that I have never done an in-depth study, but I know conviction when I feel it. I believe that anyone who has a close relationship with God will WANT to tithe!! What we have is God’s anyway, it is NOT ours. God blesses when we tithe. I won’t judge and say if you only give 8% instead of 10% you are a heathen – that is between you and the Lord. But if a Christian does not want to tithe at all, I believe they must check their hearts and their relationship with Christ.

    I think what we need to do is pray over it. Ask God what we shall give, and give what he directs. Sometimes, He will ask for more than we THINK we can afford. However, when He does that, He will bless you for it.

    When they talk about blessings being bountiful, it isn’t about wealth. He will always provide for our needs though. He will never leave us high and dry. I have been blessed greatly whenever I adhere to His direction to give. Maybe I struggle at times financially, but I have never gone hungry, or been without a roof over my head, or anything at all of that nature.

    I love the story of when my pastor was a new Christian. The Lord directed Him to give everything he had in his pocket. The next day he received a rebate check from somewhere (maybe electric company or something, can’t remember) for that exact amount!

    I look at it this way, if we do not tithe and give God what is His already, our churches and ministries will die – missionaries will not be taken care of. We will not have the means to keep the work of God going! That is a terrible thing to even think about!

    Just my thoughts. 🙂

    • Then the issue isn’t an amount to give, but the fact that we should give, right? So why does everyone try to put a percentage on it if it is “between them and the Lord”? Emphatically, no, the bible does not say or infer that every member of the the body of Christ is to give 10% of their income. Therefore, I will not place a yoke on someone’s neck that is not God’s.

  6. Tithing is not for the Church. Not 1 verse in the NT teals anyone they need to show up to church every week w/ 10% or they have robbed God. Part of the reason it’s taught is most Christians cannot rightly divide their Bible and they have a budget they need to meet for their church so they MUST have that money. Paul tells us to give not of necessity, cheerfully, and tells the law of reaping and sowing: BUT never says to bring a certain percentage, rather as God as prospered you. The Jew’s tithe was tied to specific temporal promises that God would give them if they kept the law: hence the passage in Malachi. Christians are blessed w/ ALL Spiritual Blessings as the scriptures says. If you give, God may give back to you temporally, but he may not.

    Occasionally, people will try to use Abraham as a pic of needing to tithe since he tithed before the law. But here’s what the scripture says about that tithe: He was not commanded to tithe, a tithe was not asked for by God or Melchizedek, Abraham gave AFTER God had already blessed him in battle, this is the only time scripture records Abraham tithing in 175 years of life, and according to the cross-references concerning when Abraham was imputed righteous this tithe happened before he was saved.

    Here are two things you won’t hear from any church that commands a tithe: 1) under the law if you brought tithes of money and not goods, you had to give more than 10% 2) under the law, you were allowed to redeem a portion of your tithe including at the 3 Jewish feasts that all males had to appear in Jerusalem. I dare anyone that tithes, to tithe on Sunday, then show up to church on Monday and ask for half of it back.

    If you want to know what OT law is dogmatically binding on a Christian, read Acts 15 and meeting at Jerusalem.

    • Tony, while you bring up some good points that most churches aren’t bringing up, you are incorrect in saying that none of the pro-tithe churches bring this up. Mine does. My pastors are also not money-hungry. I’ve been around them for long enough to know.
      As I said above, some of us believe that the tithe is a principle set before the Law of Moses. It’s not a command; it’s a principle. A guideline. While I respect the viewpoints of others who see it differently, I draw the line at your bringing false accusations into it.

      • If your pastor/church does not COMMAND a tithe, but believes 10% is a principle, then the statement isn’t aimed at your church.

  7. NO ONE, absolutely NO ONE pays the Biblical tithe today.

    THE FIRST TITHE
    Leviticus 27:30-33 defines this tithe as a tenth of crops and animals in herds and flocks.
    Numbers 18 gives the ordinances, or instructions, for this tithe, and commands this tithe be taken to the Levites.
    Purpose of this tithe: to support the Levitical Priesthood.

    SECOND TITHE
    Deuteronomy 14:22-27: aka The Festival Tithe – a tenth of crops, plus add to that the firstborn animals, and take for the yearly feast.
    Purpose of this tithe: “that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always”

    THIRD TITHE
    Deuteronomy 14:28-29: aka The Three-Year Tithe aka The Poor Tithe – a tenth of crops, kept at home, and invite the Levites, widows, orphans, stranger to eat.
    Purpose of this tithe: to feed the poor.

    When God gave the Israelites the promised land, he RESERVED, for Himself, a tenth of the crops and every tenth animal. They NEVER did belong to the Israelites. In other words, the tithe was from God’s increase of FOOD, not from man’s income. It was a way to distribute FOOD to the Levites and priests who did NOT inherit any land.

    No one, not even the farmers, tithed on their income.

    The farmers made their income by SELLING and/or barter-exchanging their crops and animals but did NOT tithe on that income.

    Today, ALL born-again believers are priests. ALL of us are called to be deciples of the Lord. No one of us is higher than another. Our bodies are the Temple where the Spirit dwells. According to the scriptures, priests do not tithe.

    When you understand the Biblical tithe, it makes sense, and it is plain to see that it makes NO sense to try to tithe today.

  8. Yes, I believe we should tithe. Several reasons. Not just because it was in the Mosaic Law – tithing existed long before the law was given. Abraham is the best known example, but when Jacob had his vision of the ladder reaching to heaven at Bethel, he told God “I will give you back a tenth of whatever you give me.” And, though that was also an isolated incident, it’s written in a way that seems to tell me that WAS a principle for every godly person, even then.

    Heather, you’ll also find references to tithing in at least two other places – Deuteronomy 14 and Deuteronomy 26. (I think there are more, but don’t have my text in front of me right now; sorry.) One version translates Deuteronomy 14:23 in an especially powerful way: “The purpose of tithing is to teach you to put God first in your life.” That is timeless. And since learning to put God first is tithing’s purpose, I have to think it’s just as valid now as it ever was. And that it always will be.

    Those two passages also teach us to give a third of our long-term tithe to the poor – and includes immigrants, orphans, widows, and even church workers (Levites) among those poor. Does that still apply today? Since Jesus taught us to “love our neighbors as ourselves,” and James taught that that means to “love and help” those neighbors, I personally believe – very strongly – that the Deuteronomy principle of allocating that money DOES still apply. (My personal choice is to do it as a third of EVERY tithe I pay, not all my tithe every third year. But I think everyone can make their own decision on this. I do it that way because it seems to me that, in today’s world, that’s better for both the church and for the poor.)

    Does the Bible teach we’ll be wealthy if we tithe? Eventually, certainly, but for many of us not till we reach heaven. A few New Testament Christians were wealthy, but most were described as very poor, but with a glorious heritage waiting for them.

    Chapter 16 of the text of my book that’s temporarily on the internet (at http://www.sparkleofnature.com) has several true stories about tithing that happened to my own family. You’re welcome to read them – look on the chapter’s first page for one, and then in the section titled “Is tithing easy?” for another.

  9. @PeteA,

    Misquotes, misquotes, and misunderstandings.

    Abram gave a tenth of WAR SPOILS that didn’t even belong to him, and he kept NOTHING for himself. This was BEFORE Abraham was saved, and AFTER Abraham was rich. What Abraham did wasn’t even codified into the later law as God did NOT want a tenth of the war spoils under the law.

    Jacob was a schemer. Neither nor both of the two examples tells us anything other than what happened. According to Biblical historians, during the days of Abraham is was CUSTOM to give a tenth of war spoils to the king.

    NO example of Abraham ever tithing on his own income. NONE.

    Your mention of Deut. 14:23, putting God first in your life, had NOTHING to do with giving a tenth of your income. The tithe in Deut. 14:22-27 was to be EATEN BY THE TITHER and his household, and the Levites, etc. IN FRONT OF THE LORD. That tithe had NOTHING to do with the tithe taken to the Levites, which purpose was to SUPPORT THE LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD, not put God first in your life.

    Fact is, the tithe was the LAST ONE out of every ten. See Leviticus 27:32.

    NO Christian Church ever taught anyone to tithe on their income before 1870. Do the research.

    There is no mention of the tenth after Calvary except in Hebrews 7 when it refers to the Old Testament tithing commands. In the first nine verses of Hebrews 7 the words tenth or tithes appears SEVEN TIMES. The ONLY place in the Bible, after Calvary, that tithing appears is in Hebrews 7.

    Hebrews 7:5 (KJV) “And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:”

    Verse 5 is the first occurrence of the words TITHES, COMMANDMENT and LAW.

    Hebrews 7:12 (KJV) “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.”

    Hebrews 7:18 (KJV) “For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.”

    The word COMMANDMENT in verse 18 must be referring to the word COMMANDMENT in verse 5 which is referring to the tithe.

    Therefore, the COMMANDMENT to TITHE was disannulled.

    If you think tithing brings blessings today, you have missed the whole New Testament teaching of grace.

    OLD TESTAMENT
    Proverbs 3:9 (KJV) “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:”

    NEW TESTAMENT
    2 Timothy 2:6 (KJV) “The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.”

    1 Timothy 5:8 (KJV) “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

    The New Testament makes it clear that we are to use the FIRST of our income to take care of ourselves and our family. We are talking about needs, here, not just anything we want. Then we should give generously from what is left.

  10. Gary I agree with you. Heather, the Malachi passage that you quoted has to be one of the misquoted and misunderstood passages within the church today.

    The tithe that Malachi is talking about is the 3rd yearly tithe that was to be given to feed the refugee, orphan, widow, lame, poor. Within the greater framework of Malachi, its a rebuke to the priesthood to ensure that Israel practised God’s commands for social justice. If all are cared for within the nation – Gods blessing will be on the nation. (If you read the book carefully you can see that God rebuked the priesthood for their lack of leadership)

    The prophet Micah 6:8 tells the Israelites that they failed to show social justice and they God was going to rebuke them for it and that was the main reason they were sent into exile. Interestingly Jesus also highlights this when he asked what the greatest commandment was…love God with all your heart… He added…also love your neighbour as yourself.

    I have no problems about giving to the church to support the churches ministry, building etc – BUT within the framework of Christian generosity – I think we need to ensure that we don’t call it the biblical tithe and that we are maintaining a ministry of social justice / support – for oneanother and the refugee, widow, orphan, sick and hungry.

  11. Actually, the tithe referred to in Malachi 3 has to be the first tithe – the tithe that was taken to the Levites. Leviticus 27:30-33, Numbers 18, Nehemiah 10:37-38.

    That is the ONLY tithe where any part of the tithe went to the Storehouse. And the ONLY tithe that went to the Storehouse was the tenth of the tithe the Levites were required to give to the priests.

    The 3-year tithe was to remain within thy gates so it didn’t go to the Storehouse. The second tithe was eaten at the festival, so it didn’t go to the Storehouse.

    Church leaders like to start with Malachi 3:8 but should be starting with verse 7 instead:

    Malachi 3:7 (KJV) “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ORDINANCES, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?”

    Now before you can go any farther, you need to know exactly where those ORDINANCES are in the scriptures. Those ORDINANCES are in Numbers 18 where God gave the tithe to the Levites, commanded the Levites to give a tenth of the tithe to the priests, and commanded the priests to use the best part for a heave offering to the Lord.

    Robbing God of the offerings: In Malachi 1 we learn that the worst was being used for the heave offering instead of the best. That is the robbing God of the offerings.

    Robbing God of the tithe: In Nehemiah 13 we learn the priests STOLE the Levites portion of the tithe that the Levites had at the Temple for their food while working at the Temple. That is the robbing God of the tithe.

    In other words, God was robbed because they didn’t FOLLOW HIS ORDINANCES, not because they didn’t tithe. And those ORDINANCES were nailed to the cross: Colossians 2:14 (KJV) “Blotting out the handwriting of ORDINANCES that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;”

    Side note: Are you aware that the priests and Levites only worked at the Temple about two weeks per year, on a rotational basis? NOT FULL TIME. The priests and Levites were divided into 24 “courses”. See First Chronicles 24 for the priests and chapters 25 and 26 for the Levites. Each course only ministered in the Temple one week out of twenty four (1 in 24), and, depending on how many families were in each course, each family only ministered in the Temple two or three days during its courses’ week of ministry.

    Those using Malachi today as a reason to tithe are putting themselves under the Old Testament law. You are also denying that you are a part of a Royal Priesthood. Furthermore, you fall short of tithing because you aren’t tithing from crops and animals raised on the Holy land, nor are you taking God’s tithe to the Levites.

  12. Honestly, I think some people hate to tithe because they want to justify keeping their money. Whether principle or command, why does it matter? For those who think we should NOT tithe, how do you expect God to keep the ministries going? Why do you want to keep what isn’t yours to begin with? Everything we have belongs to God anyway! Think of it as a blessing to get to keep some of it!

    “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:” – Colossians 1:16

    “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.” – Haggai 2:8

    I don’t care whether it is a principle or law because I know in my heart that God wants me to give. His Will is the only thing I seek. I have a pastor who doesn’t pressure and make people feel bad for not giving; he is FAR from money hungry!! He uses it to expand the outreach programs we have so that we can win souls for Christ and help those in need!

    If you prefer not to call it tithe, fine. So be it. But the fact of the matter is that it is not right for a Christian to deny the fact that we need to give. And if you can’t give in a cheerful manner, it is a heart problem that needs to get right with the Lord. That has nothing to do with what’s right.

    You can try to deny the need for church members to give, but I plan to stay obedient to God’s Will! He places it upon my heart what he wants me to give, and it is a PRIVILEGE to give it!!

    Have a blessed night! I am not in anger against anyway. I just feel strongly on the issue.

  13. @Ellen,

    What makes you think that those against tithing want to keep their money?

    In the first place, the Biblical tithe was a PAYMENT. It had nothing to do with giving.

    Let’s not confuse giving with what God called tithing. To call our giving, “tithing,” we are insulting God. God’s tithe always came from HIS increase of food from crops and animals and NEVER from man’s income.

    The New Testament teaches generous, sacrificial giving, from the heart, according to our means. For some, $1 might be a sacrifice, while for others, even giving 50% of their income might not induce a sacrifice. In the Old Testament, ONLY the farmers tithed, and it was equal percentage (a tenth). The New Testament teaches the principle of equal sacrifice instead of equal percentage. Equal sacrifice is much harder to achieve, if not impossible, than giving ten percent.

    Isn’t it odd that even though Abram gave a tenth directly to Melchizedek, the king/priest, that some Christians think they can give directly to God by giving it to their pastor?

    I find it quite offensive that pastors have appointed themselves to be the receiver of what belongs to God. After all, the pastor says the tithe belongs to God. Then he appoints himself to receive the tithe!!!

    God never gave any pastor or church permission to receive his tithe. God commanded His tithe be taken to the Levites, FOREVER, in Numbers 18.

    Since the tithe belongs to God, if a pastor accepts it isn’t he stealing it from God?

    Isaiah 8:20 (KJV) To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

    Isaiah 56:10-11 (KJV)
    10His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
    11Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.

    YOU decide. You can let an Old Testament law guide you in your giving, OR you can let your pastor recommend what you should be giving, OR you can let GOD recommend through His Spirit how much you should give and to where you should give. I prefer to listen to God rather than man.

    Pastors should be teaching God’s Word, not a bunch of doctrine made up my man.

  14. Ellen, I think the NT teaches generosity and not tithing. Tithing equates to 10%. If you are living on $100 a week $10 tithe is a lot of money. However if you are earning $2000 a week, in comparison $200 is not that generous.

  15. Gary, As a personally committed Christian, I don’t know the source of your beliefs about three tithes (and none of it on money earned). But, for whatever it’s worth, and I say all this in love, Jewish scholars, as well as many Christian ones, disagree with you. (For instance, see http://judaism.about.com/library/3_askrabbi_o/bl_simmons_tithe.htm.)

    At that site, Rabbi Shraga Simmons responds to a question about whether there are 3 tithes, totaling 30%. He says “no.” He points out that the Hebrew word for “tithe” is Ma’aser, literally “one tenth.” Another Hebrew word for this is “tzedakah,” which means both “charity” and “Justice.” His position is that tithes do include money. “Ten percent of a person’s wages after taxes should be set aside for tzedakah.” He elaborates a little, and lists other references readers can look at.

    I still believe that tithes’ purpose is to teach us to put God first (or, in the King James, to “fear God.”) That tells me that if I claim to love God (and my neighbors), this is something I must do.

    I also think that we, as Christians under grace, ought to be sure we’re doing at least as much as the Jewish nation was supposed to to under law – and as much as they, today, still teach.

    God bless you.

    • The article you referenced is full of errors. First, the scriptures quoted have nothing to do with tithing.

      Here’s an article for you to look at titled JEWS DO NOT TITHE TODAY:
      http://www.askelm.com/tithing/thi003.htm

      You may also want to read my material at http://www.Tithing101.com.

      Most theologians agree to the following:

      First Tithe:
      Leviticus 27:30-33 gives the definition of this tithe.
      Numbers 18 gives the ordinances for this tithe.
      The first tithe was used to support the Levitical priesthood. The tithe was taken to the Levites, and the Levites were commanded to give a tenth of this tithe to the priests. The priests were commanded to use the best of their tenth as a heave offering to the Lord.

      Second Tithe:
      Deut. 14:22-27 – this tithe was taken to the yearly Festival and eaten by the tither and his household, Levites, etc.

      Third Tithe:
      Deut. 14:28-29 – this tithe was kept within thy gates and used to feed the orphans, widows, Levites, stranger. This tithe was every third year.

      Since the first tithe was to be collected by the Levites, and the second tithe was to be taken to the festival, and the third tithe was to be kept within thy gates, that tells me there had to be three separate tithes.

      Some theologians say that the third tithe took the place of the second tithe every third year; thus, there were never more than two tithes a year.

      I am using the scriptures for my interpretations. Nowhere in the scriptures was income ever tithed on, and nowhere in the scriptures was money used for the tithe. Yet the Temple Tax (tribute in the KJV) had to be paid with money. The tithe always came from God’s increase of food from crops and animals raised on the Holy land. Nothing else is mentioned. In ALL cases, all three tithes commanded by God was food.

      Can you give me any scripture showing the tithe to be money, or on anyone’s income?

      A study of the history of tithing in the Christian Church shows that no Christian Church ever taught anyone to tithe on their income before 1870.

      Being a Money & Finance Minister, I have spent thousands of hours studying this topic.

    • You said, “I also think that we, as Christians under grace, ought to be sure we’re doing at least as much as the Jewish nation was supposed to to under law…”

      Wage earners did not tithe under the Mosaic law.

      The New Testament teaches generous, sacrificial giving, from the heart, according to our means. For some, $1 might be a sacrifice, while for others, even giving 50% of their income might not induce a sacrifice. In the Old Testament, ONLY the farmers tithed, and it was equal percentage (a tenth). The New Testament teaches the principle of equal sacrifice instead of equal percentage. Equal sacrifice is much harder to achieve, if not impossible, than giving ten percent.

  16. Hi Gary,

    Well, ONE of those articles – the ones we each quoted – is certainly wrong. But since the one I cited is an “official” Jewish site, I have to think it’s correct, or at least gives Jewish official belief (as we both know, belief and practice are not always the same). Or, perhaps, that beliefs differ among the various groups of Jews, such as Orthodox, Conservative, and Reformed. (I think I will have to look into that; it intrigues me.)

    It especially intrigues me because we ourselves have Jewish friends, and I have read a number of Jewish writers on the subject of tithing. None of them (at all) have taken the position your source does. All say they do believe in tithing today, and that it always has been based on income, including both agricultural produce and cash. I’m puzzled by why the sources each of us have used should vary so much.

    I did look at your blog too, and your background (which is certainly impressive). I commend you on that.

    Yet, for now, I think we’ll have to end by respectfully disagreeing. I do believe that since Deuteronomy says tithing’s purpose is to teach us to put God first in our lives, it WILL always be the right thing to do here on earth.

    And I hope we can remain friends.

  17. Hey Pete,

    You said, “Yet, for now, I think we’ll have to end by respectfully disagreeing. I do believe that since Deuteronomy says tithing’s purpose is to teach us to put God first in our lives, it WILL always be the right thing to do here on earth. ”

    Then FOLLOW the tithe in Deut. 14:22-27. THAT is the tithe the scripture says is the purpose to teach us to put God first in our lives. No other tithe had that purpose.

    The closest we come here in the US to following Deut. 14:22-27 is when we celebrate Thanksgiving.

    Deuteronomy 14:22-27 (RSV)
    22“You shall tithe all the yield of your seed, which comes forth from the field year by year.
    23And before the LORD your God, in the place which he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstlings of your herd and flock; that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.
    24And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to bring the tithe, when the LORD your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the LORD your God chooses, to set his name there,
    25then you shall turn it into money, and bind up the money in your hand, and go to the place which the LORD your God chooses,
    26and spend the money for whatever you desire, oxen, or sheep, or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves; and you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household.
    27And you shall not forsake the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you.

    Similarities between the tithe commanded by God in Deuteronomy 14:22-27 and how we celebrate Thanksgiving today:

    1. The Israelites were commanded to take the tithe to the Temple where the Spirit of God lived so they could eat before the Lord. We, out of love and thanks, gather with our family and friends to eat before the Lord as the Spirit now dwells in our bodies.
    2. The purpose of the commandment was to rever the Lord and rejoice. The purpose of our gathering is to give thanks to the Lord and rejoice.

    Taking a tenth of your income to the church is great but does NOT resemble, in any way, any tithing scriptures commanded by God. You can’t take God’s words and CHANGE THEM to suit yourself.

    I have Jewish neighbors that tell me the Jewish do NOT tithe.

  18. Gary, you are very knowledgeable, and your background is very impressive. But I must say I agree more with Ellen and with A.C. Baker/ For a number of reasons, including these (all said in the spirit of loving discussion.) And, also in the spirit of love, I think we’ve beat this to death, and them some, and have gotten to where, as Paul says, it isn’t profitable. So just let me finish my part with a few comments:

    1. No one gave money? Look at Jacob (whatever his morals.) He said he’d give God a tenth of everything God gave him. Livestock, yes, Produce, yes. But money too – it’s also part of “everything.”

    2. No one gave money in the OT? Neither the Old or New testaments tell everything. But there were many people in both Testaments who worked in non-agricultural jobs: metal workers, craftsmen, tentmakers, the laborers in Jesus’ parable. I have to believe that they, too, gave money – whether or not a tenth. Jesus told us that even the widow gave her “mite.” (By the way, have you ever seen one of those coins? Fascinating little things. The Lord blessed me with one a few years ago on a trip to Salt Lake.) Seeing one made the Bible come more alive to me.

    3. My comments stressed what the Bible, and Judaism and Christianity, TEACH. Many of your reply comments stressed what people DO. Huge difference.

    4. Many of the quotes and comments you use simply don’t make sense. The rabbi who was a descendent of Judah, but whose synagogue didn’t contain a Levite, so he said he couldn’t collect tithes or offerings? How, then, is the synagogue going to exist? (Frankly, I was surprised that after 2000 years of intermixing, any Jews knew they were descended from just one tribe. But if that rabbi knewhe was of Judah, I’d expect many of his congregation knew which tribe they were from, and that he could finda Levite without much trouble if he tried.) At any rate, his group must have a treasurer so as to pay bills – and that same person would be legally entitled to receive money as well as spend it.

    5. Harper’s Bible Dictionary has a very nice section on tithing explaining many of the complexities you refer to. (a) the Hebrew word for tithing just means a tenth – and can be a tenth of anything, for any purpose. Kings used it as a tax, as well as priests using it to support the Temple or synagogues. It does say “tithing was understood and practiced differently at different times and localities throughout the Biblical period.” It suggest that instead of trying to put all that together in one account, it’s better to focus on the purpose and spirit of tithing, and what it accomplishes. (I confess I started out trying to do it the other way, found it didn’t work, and changed.) For one example, Harper’s says at one point the Mishnah did recognize two tithes as a result of the differences in accounts – but never three.

    Is tithing hard to do? Yes. Are lots of things God asks us to do hard? Yes. Do I judge people who feel they can’t tithe? No. I’ve been there. I’ve made my own decision, but I still love people who feel they have to make a different one, and I understand them. (One personal story about that on the first page of chapter 16 of the present text of my book-in-progress – just click on my name, and use the table of contents.)

    God bless you and love you.

  19. Pete A,

    No one, according to what we know from the scriptures, tithed money. No one, according to what we know from the scriptures, were ever commanded to tithe on their income. Yet money was REQUIRED to pay the Temple Tax (tribute in KJV). Those who did not have crops or animals gave offerings, not tithes. You can believe what you want, but you won’t find ANY scripture to show that anyone, ever, in either the Old Testament or the New Testament, tithed money or tithed on their income. Not even one example.

    Whether there be one, two, or three different tithes commanded by God, the tithe was to be EATEN. Keep in mind that God’s commands to tithe were just that – commands. Tithing was not giving but rather payments.

    I don’t know why anyone would believe that it takes tithes to pay the bills at the local church. Not all denominations teach tithing. Not all Baptist pastors, just for an example, teach tithing. Most probably do, but some don’t. John MacArthur, pastor of a mega church in Los Angeles, teaches there is NO tithing in the Christian Church. J. Vernon McGee taught NO tithing in the Christian Church. Chuck Swindoll teaches NO tithing in the Christian Church. Students (future pastors) attending Liberty University (Baptist) are now being taught there is NO tithing in the Christian Church.

    To teach tithing shows lack of faith that GOD will provide for His church. The pastor should be preaching the gospel and leave the finances to God. And the scriptures teach that priests give offerings but NOT tithes, and all born-again believers are part of a Royal Priesthood.

    Since God never authorized any born-again believer to take His tithes, what right do you or anyone else have to designate a pastor or anyone else? Where are you getting any authority from God to take His tithe to your church? There is plenty of scripture giving you authority to take free-will offerings to wherever you wish.

    Like I said, you can believe whatever you want. I prefer to question my own beliefs. That is why I no longer believe in tithing. Once I really studied the topic, and discussed it with several pastors, I could see the lies being taught in so many churches today.

    My very favorite pastor (that is, USED to be my favorite pastor) admitted to me that tithing ended at the cross, but said he has to teach that tithing is still required by God, and that you are robbing God if you don’t tithe, in order to bring in enough money to keep the church doors open. FLAT AT LIAR to his own congregation. I know of others whose pastors have admitted the same thing to them. That is so very sad.

    By the way – there is NO scripture telling us that Jacob ever gave a tenth of anything to anyone. And notice that Jacob made his vow for the future ONLY. He didn’t even vow to give God a tenth of what God had already given him.

    The scriptures tell me that tithing was disannulled (Hebrews 7:5,12,18). The scriptures tell me that priests don’t tithe but give offerings. The scriptures tell me that God commanded only tithes from HIS increase of food from crops and animals. God was specific. He didn’t say those were examples.

    It’s so very unfortunate that in 1870 church leaders decided to re-write the scriptures in order to bring in more money. It’s very sad and upsetting to me to see so many Christians being lied to by their own pastor.

    All of my teaching is done with love in my heart. But I sincerely have come to the conclusion, due to my own experiences, that I can trust a pastor to tell the truth as much as I can trust a used-car salesman to tell the truth. I trust neither, and that is sad.

    I thank The Lord for using me to teach others. There are now preachers and Bible Study instructors in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and East Africa, that I am aware of, teaching from my material. THANK YOU JESUS!

    I am only the messenger, not the author. God, through His Holy Spirit has told me what to tell others.

  20. I think the argument of whether or not you are required to tithe is irrelevant. Personally, I feel if you are truly living a Christian lifestyle then you should want to give back a portion of what God had given you. Does this mean one should always give 10% of their money back to the church? Maybe for some people this is how they give back, but the man who gives food to the hungry, or clothes to the unsheltered isn’t any less of a giver per say. As long as you continue to give with a cheerful heart and for the right reasons then that will be much more beneficial to you than giving your 10% and loathing that you have to give up hard earned money. And not beneficial in the sense that you will automatically receive more money because you gave, but by cheerfully giving, trusting in God to continuously to bless you.

  21. I too was once so adamant about the tithe because like most new believers, I just fell in love with God and just wanted to please him. I immediately joined a local church where the tithe was preached heavily and was told constantly that I would be cursed if I did not pay my tithes FIRST before I paid anything, as well as making sure that if I missed, then I needed to pay double the next time I got paid. I, like so many other American Christians never studied Jewish traditions or customs, if the pastor said it then it must be true. I think about all of the new believers who hear about being cursed with a curse and immediately forget about Gods’ mercy and salvation because the message in Malachi is preached with such finality that it seems like all is lost because I decided not to use part of my rent money to pay my tithes for that Sunday. I cannot tell you how many people have left the church and the body of Christ because they were evicted, or had their home’s foreclosed on because of poor stewardship in taking care of their homes first. The bible says that you are not ready to serve if your home is not in order and there are so many new babes in the body of Christ who are ignorant about the true meaning of the tithe. I have a very close friend who went to the same church that I did and served in several different ministries there and was laid off after 9-11, he continued to give tithes (based on his previous job) from his savings, then his unemployment, then his rent money, and then from his utilities until he was eventually put out on the street. He went for benevelence from the same church and was told that the most he would receive would be 175.00 and our congregation at that time was about 15,000 members, he was also asked if he had been putting enough “seed” in the ground as to maybe that was the reason he was evicted since the tithe only covers you from the curse and that the seed is what gives the increase”, imagine how my friend felt. I don’t have a problem if a family decides to make 10%,15% or 20% a standard for their household, but the church should teach that it should be an OPTION!! not whats being preached today as a mandate or else the curse will come upon you, so many Pastors say “I didnt write that scripture read it for yourself I’m just a messenger” yet there are so many of them who are teaching it so incorrectly. This friend that I’m speaking of had no hidden sin in his life (for all of you religious folks) and had a strict budget, he was, like so many other new believers, just someone who fell in love with Jesus and believed whatever the pastor said and never studied for himself, there is a HUGE difference between faith and foolishness and what makes my blood boil is that there are so many messages being taught that God cannot lie and that he will “get it to you” (your money) “pressed down shaken together and running over” only to have other believers finding themselves in the same predicament as my friend which has caused seeds of anger and bitterness against the church but even more tragic, against God, many are left confused because they truly believed that their increase was tied TOTALLY into the tithe and gave out of their daily household responsibilities which is already being a poor witness for Christ by not being a good steward over the home, apartment, or whatever GOD gave us. When someone is being told that it is impossible for God to lie and then they find themselves literally out on the street, my heart is then not only heavy for those indiviuals, but for those Pastors who gave that message in such a way as to cause fear, doubt, and unbelief about that same exact statement. I understand what both sides of this debate are saying and I know why because for so long I too believed that the tithe was my “financial” spiritual” “covering” beacuse I had gotten raises on my job and good deals on material things, good health, etc, etc. so there was no way you could tell me that the tithe didnt “work” and for years I didnt want to study the origins of it, but thank God that I eventually did. Gary I have seen what you have seen and this happened after I asked God to speak clearly to me and to confirm this well beyond a reasonable doubt and no it was not the devil. I too have spoken with a Pastor who said the exact same thing about knowing the true meaning of the tithe but “fearful” about stepping out on faith and preaching what he had studied because he and his fellow pastor associates know of no other way to “keep the church running”, how sad and ironic is that,but the bible is very clear when it says that God did not give us a “spirit” of fear which really blows my mind that the message of free will giving based on “Every man giving as he so purposes in his heart” which is far more of a challenge then the 10% message that’s being drilled into some of the young and tender hearts and minds of Gods sons and daughters today. I read a comment earlier about one believer being faced with having to pay tithes or insulin, how many pastors would give their congregation this scenario and tell them to of course buy the insulin for your child, or would they say “step out on faith” pay your tithes, lay hands on your baby and see if the tithe will keep him/her from insulin shock. Jesus dealt with nothing but quality of life issues, health, relationships, food, clothing, shelter, etc and I think to throw caution to the wind and forget the natural side of what needs to be taken care of first is a big mistake just thinking that I’ll let God handle the daily responsibilities because I’m going to make sure he gets his “tenth” even if it means consistantly taking from my rent, mortage, utilities etc. In short my issue is not that the tithe is being preached, it’s how it’s being preached by so many (not all) pastors that’s causing so many believers to tithe out of ignorance……Thanks and I look forward to reading more from you Gary…Jay

  22. I agree with everyone that is against the tithe. I did a big study and I found the same thing. Even churches wanted to use the tithe as a base principal for giving then they better follow the every 3rd year tithe and the every 7th year non tithe… yeah right!! Butnwe.shouldngive generously. I used tontithe but now no way and look now I am getting out of debt! Truth!!!

  1. Pingback: Tithing: is it still relevant today? « Grow Up!

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