Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tithing? Follow Up

New Testament Tithing, Follow Up

Q. If, as you say, tithing is a minimum standard, where in the NT does it say that the minimum standard is 10%?

The purpose of biblical tithing in the OT was to support the Levites, who were not allowed possess any property on which they could raise any stock or crops. Tithing, in essence, was food for the Levites. What is the purpose of NT tithing, since there is no temple and no Levitical priesthood to receive the tithe?

A. Your insistence that I provide a New Testament commandment to tithe seems to indicate you believe it was part of the Law, to which New Testament believers are not obligated. But in truth the concept of giving to the Lord 10% of our increase predates the giving of the Law by nearly 1000 years. Abraham paid a tithe to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20), and Jacob adopted the practice as well (Genesis 28:22). At the time there was no Temple, no priesthood, and no Law. They didn’t do this out of obedience to the Law but out of gratitude for the blessings they received. This is where the 10% standard originated, not at Mt. Sinai. The principle of tithing was was confirmed in the Law but did not originate there.

As you already know, there is no New Testament commandment to tithe, but this is beside the point as well. I try to demonstrate in my teaching that tithing out of a feeling of obligation to the Law is not Biblical and never has been. Unless we feel a genuine gratitude for what the Lord has done for us, our tithing is for naught. But when we tithe out of gratitude, we’re blessed beyond all measure, and according to Matt. 6:19-21 those blessings are not just for this world but follow us into the next one as well. It’s a way we store up treasure in Heaven.

As to where you tithe, pick a place. There are countless opportunities to pitch in and help with the work of the Kingdom. You don’t need to give to a church or even a para-church ministry. If you prefer, you can distribute your gifts directly to those in need. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you (Matt. 6:4)

What puzzles me most about all this is why you and others argue so passionately against something the Lord designed to be one of His greatest blessings, perhaps second only to our salvation.

To learn more about the Biblical basis for tithing and how the Church changed it, click here

Another Tithing Question

Q. I have read various articles regarding the Tithe and have found that the New Testament does not include tithing like it is in the Old Testament and especially the way it is explained in Malachi. Jesus has redeemed us from the curse of the law and tithing is in the law. Jesus taught to give as you purpose in your heart not grudgingly or of necessity.

This means that all that we have belongs to God and we are stewards of these things. The way we handle these things will determine our love towards God. The new covenant in Christ is “what is yours is mine and what is mine is yours”. Is it correct then to say that 10% should not be preached but rather that all is Gods and not only the 10%. By doing this, if God wants us to give all we have, then we need to do so because of the covenant we have with him.

A. Those are lofty thoughts and that’s the way things should work. But the sad truth is that in America over 40% of born again Christians never give anything. I think that’s because giving is always taught as an obligation rather than an expression of gratitude. This is why so many well intended folks do research to prove that tithing is not a New Testament requirement. We all resent being told that we have to give, and being “guilted” into doing it, so we try to get by with giving as little as possible. This makes us stingy givers, and not the cheerful ones the Lord loves.

If the Church had focused on all the blessings that come from giving that the Bible teaches about, there would be more than enough to go around. I don’t know of anyone who understands the Biblical basis for tithing (and the rewards that come from doing so) then decides to stop doing it. It would simply be too expensive.

Here’s what the New Testament says about giving. The Lord loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7), and will use our level of giving to determine our level of blessing (Luke 6:38). Where ever He finds generous givers He will will make them rich in every way so they can be even more generous (2 Cor. 9:11). But it’s not meant to be an obligation. It’s meant to be an expression of gratitude. 10% is simply the amount the Lord established as the standard. Under 10% is being stingy, over 10% is being generous.

Do I Have To Tithe On Gifts?

Q. I was told to tithe off of gifts too. Is this biblical? I tithe off of my gross & also give offerings. I thought tithing was off of your “income” (ex. paychecks, investment profits) but I’ve never heard it taught where you also tithe off of gifts. I do not want to be under a curse, please give me your views.

Also, if I get a scholarship award for schooling, am I to tithe off of that even if the total went to the school & I received no money personally? Thank you so much for your time!

A. You’re already doing better than most, but you’re missing the point. Tithing isn’t something you do because you have to do, it’s something you do out of gratitude for what God has done for you. And the more generous you are with Him the more generous He will be with you. (Luke 6:38)

If you get a scholarship, doesn’t that reduce your tuition, thereby saving you having to spend your own money? Therefore, don’t you wind up with more money than you would have had otherwise?

Try looking for opportunities to give and do it even if you don’t feel you need to. As long as your attitude is one of gratitude, and not obligation, God will more than reimburse you. This way you’ll see 2 Cor. 9:11 come true for you. “You’ll be made rich in every way so you can be generous on every occasion.”

Should I Tithe On My Gross Or Net Pay?

Q. With all the questions about tithing I’ve managed to come up with one of my own. When we tithe, should we tithe the 10% off of our gross or net pay? I’ve never really ever considered the money that the government takes from me as mine to begin with and never felt the compulsion to tithe off of it, but I just wanted to get your insight on the subject.

A. The sheep herder in Israel didn’t deduct the cost of feeding his sheep, or the value of the wool he didn’t get to harvest and sell on the sheep he contributed, or take a depletion allowance because wild animals ate a portion of his flock every year. When it came time to pay his tithe, he counted off every tenth lamb that had been born that year and gave it to the Lord.

Having spent most of my life in my own business, I know that there’s a big difference between what a person earns and what he gets to keep. But when I began tithing, I decided to tithe off my company’s gross receipts, before deducting any expenses at all. I know that I could have deducted a lot of my gross for expenses, like I did for tax purposes, because it wasn’t really my money. But Luke 6:38 says that with the measure you use it will be measured to you, and 2 Cor. 9:11 says that God would make us rich in every way so that we could be generous on every occasion, so I decided to be like the sheep herder and err on the side of generosity. I’ve always been glad I did because I’ve learned that you can’t out give the Lord.

Website: www.gracethrufaith.com

1 comment:

Russell Earl Kelly said...

Nothing, absolutely nothing, done by Abraham concerning tithing is an act of faith to be copied by the church. (1) only pagan spoils of war, (2) not from a holy land, (3) only given once, (4) not acceptable as a tithe under the Law, (5) nothing of his personal property, (6) he kept nothing, (7) gave the 90% to the king of Sodom and (8) not used by Moses or Jesus as a prime example of Jesus.

The Bible does not say that Abraham did it out of obedience. Pagan cities in Canaan and in most of the known world of Abraham required tithes of spoils of war to the local priest-king. In Jacob's case he made a freewill vow and he set the conditions which is not done by Christians.

Although money was very common even in Genesis and essential for sanctuary worship, money was never included in 16 texts which describe the contents of the tithe for over 1500 years from Leviticus to Luke. Why?

There never was a 10% standard under the Law except for food producers who lived inside Israel. Jesus, Peter and Paul did not qualify as tithe-payers and neither did the poor nor those who lived outside Israel. Your assumed standard is false and never existed for the great majority.

The pagans of Abraham's time originated tithing, idolatry, child sacrifice and temple prostitution. Being old and common does not make something eternal and moral. Your logic is very flawed.

You: As you already know, there is no New Testament commandment to tithe, but this is beside the point as well.

Russ: I suppose the Holy Spirit forgot to inspire tithing for the Church. The first whole Levitical tithe was never tithed out of gratitude. It was cold hard law. Read Numbers 18. Do you suggest that tithe-recipients forfeit property ownership as required in Numbers 18? Are only pastors allowed inside the sanctuary? Do they kill others who dare to worship God directly? It is the same chapter or statute.

It puzzles me why people like you keep on twisting God's Word to insert the Law back into the New Covenant. Paul warned against that in Galatians 1:8-9; 3:1-5 and 3:10-13.

While it is true that all that we have belongs to God, it is also true that God never used that as a basis for accepting tithes in the OT from outside Israel.

The whole law was a test, not merely tithing. Obey ALL to be blessed; break ONE to be cursed. You cannot claim blessings from tithing unless you obey all 600+ commands of the law.

Your approach to tithing is more diabolical than those who teach it outright. You take it out of the hand of Law and put it behind your back into the hand of grace. That is manipulation.

NT giving is: freewill, generous, sacrificial, joyful, not by commandment (or percentage) and motivated by love for God and lost souls. That means more than 10% for many and less for others. Trust God and obey His New Covenant post-Calvary principles.

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD