Some Questions I Get About Tithing

Posted by Pastor J.D. on June 7, 2012
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Over the years I have gotten (and had myself) questions about whether or not the tithe (giving the first 10% of our income back to God as prescribed by the law) was biblical. Let me give you brief answer to some of those questions that demonstrate how I have learned to approach them.

1. Isn’t tithing Old Testament law? Aren’t we free of that? Yes and No.

A. Tithing is a part of the law, and Jesus has definitely fulfilled it all in our place so that we are free from it’s bondage. However, the purposes of the law were (generally speaking) 3-fold:

1. To show us what God was like;

2. To reveal how far short we fall of God’s character;

3. To show us how to thrive in the creation God has placed us in.

None of those 3 purposes faded with the death of Jesus. If anything, Jesus’ coming intensified them. We saw more of what God was like, what holiness was like, and what a man acting in perfect harmony with creation was like. As it relates to the tithe, the law reveals the unchanging character of God and how He expects us to view the money HE provided for us. A minimum of 10% that he has given to us, whether we are rich or poor, is to go back into His work. This is how He set up the world order. This is why the “tithe” principle (the first 10% of income going into God’s work) is taught pre-law (Abraham); law (Moses); post-exile (Malachi); and even affirmed under Jesus (Matthew 23:23). God’s purposes for creation haven’t changed. We are no longer under the theocratic nation state of Israel, but how God has set up his economy for His people has not changed. God doesn’t lay the financial weight of the entire world on any of our shoulders, but He has given His people a plan whereby they do their part. The law was given to help people live in the shalom of God. That’s what gives the law (principles like taking a Sabbath and the tithe) an enduring effect. Thus, the idea that 10% of all that God gives to you is given for you to give back to Him remains, I believe, as a good guide to our giving.

Now, let me be clear — Jesus left us under NO PART of the law, not the tithe or any thing else! But the law, in that it reflects God’s character and his ordering of creation, is still good, and still functions as a guide to how we are to live under God in this world. Men and women of God throughout the Bible, including Abraham and Jesus, seemed to recognize that. See John Piper for more on this.

B. If anything, the Gospel raises the level of our response to God’s laws. True obedience, Jesus says, goes much deeper than the behavior standards the law require. For example, the law said “Don’t murder;” yet, Jesus said the Gospel demanded we love our brother always and not hate him, not even our enemies. The law said “Don’t commit adultery;” yet, Jesus said that the Gospel demanded people not even “look on another woman with lust in our heart.” So, if the law says “Give 10%,” what kind of generosity does the Gospel call for? Would it not be GREATER generosity than 10%, just as the other commands were also intensified in Christ? In other words, if the people who saw God’s generosity in the Exodus responded with giving 10%, how much more should people who have seen the cross? This is why you see the early church giving FAR beyond 10%. So overwhelmed by the generosity of Christ, they wanted to pour out their possessions for those in need (2 Cor 8:9).

For Gospel-touched people, tithing should never be the ceiling of their giving, but it should be the floor.

Tithing, in and of itself, is not a iron-clad rule for Christians as it was for Israelites under the law. That said, “giving our firstfruits to God” most definitely IS a biblical principle, true of God’s people in all places and at all times. And 10% is a great place to start with that.

2. Should I give the tithe “pre-tax”, or post-tax? In the OT, God called the tithe a “firstfruit” (cf. 1 Cor 16:2). This meant their giving to God came first before anything else. That teaches pretty clearly that our giving to God comes before Uncle Sam takes his share. God gets the firstfruits, not the second ones.

3. When during the month should I give? The principle of “firstfruits” also show you, in my opinion, that the tithe check should be written first, and not at the end of the month when you see how much left over you have. If you do the latter, you will inevitably never have enough to give God 10%. You’re giving him your scraps. But if you do the former, you will inevitably adjust your lifestyle around what you have left. And, God also will find a way to multiply His blessings to you. I’ve seen that happen in my own life multiple times. It’s pretty exciting.

4. Should we give to the church, or other things? In the OT system, the tithe went to the work of God’s institution, the Temple. Caring for the poor beyond what the Temple did, or funding an itinerant rabbi, etc, all came out beyond the tithe. I believe the implication is that tithing should go to God’s new institution, the local church. Hopefully you have a church that you feel good about how they spend their money (not all on buildings, entitlement perks for members and pastors, etc) and you see them working in the streets and unreached parts of the world. Give some grace here, of course… it’s always easy to play armchair quarterback and talk about how you’d do it differently. I’d say if you trust your pastors, however, you honor God by giving to the institution He ordained. Then, give like a Gospel-touched fool beyond that to all the things God has put in your heart.

I hope this helps. I know some of you might think this is self-serving… as in when people tithe, my own means as a pastor are provided. I guess there’s no way around that for me, but I can tell you that my passion in this area has little to do with that. We have enough people who believe in our church that I’m not worried right now about where my next paycheck will come from. In other words, if this bothers you, we don’t need your money. Give it somewhere else, but I want you to experience the joy of obedience and faith in this area. I’d rather you obey the principle and give somewhere else (even if you come to our church) than I would miss out on this principle of trust and obedience because you think I’m being manipulative. God will take care of us. You focus on obeying Him, and if this feels manipulative, give to someone else besides the Summit Church.

5. How does this work out for your family, J.D.? When Veronica and I first got married, we had to stretch ourselves unbelievably thin to tithe. As God has increased our income over the years, we have yearly increased the percentage of what we give. We now give way above the tithe to our church, and then beyond that to ministries blessing the poor, carrying the Gospel to the world, and some to our church’s expansion project, Believe. We love it. Veronica last night said, “This is so fun… giving.” It really is more blessed to give than to receive. God really has multiplied what we have given to him and given it back to us “in every way,” –financially, in joy, in perspective, etc (2 Cor 8-9). We love it.

Here’s a recent message you might listen to, if it helps.It’s called “A Life Responding to the Gospel: 2 Chronicles 29:2-21″ preached on 2/21/11.

Here’s a tool for those of you who do want to give to our church.

Here’s info our church’e expansion project, Believe.

Always open to your comments! Do you have a great story about God’s faithfulness to you in the midst of your giving? I’d love to hear it. Post it below!

Pastor J.D.

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J.D. Greear is the lead pastor of The Summit Church, in Raleigh-Durham, NC and author of Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary (2011) and Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved (2013). More

46 responses to Some Questions I Get About Tithing

  1. you mention Matthew 23:23 here as you did in your sermon a few weeks ago as evidence for Jesus’ affirmation of the tithe for Christians but I just do not see how it is.

    Jesus here is ridiculing Pharisees for their tithing practices. He does say to to focus on the weightier matters of the law without neglecting the tithe, but to argue that this demonstrates Jesus’ affirmation of the tithe for Christians misses the point. Jesus is not talking to Christians. He is talking to Jewish Pharisees still under the Mosaic Law.

    No one, including you, would argue that we as Christians today are still under the Mosaic Law, so this verse is irrelevant to the issue. Jesus is addressing a very specific case and to universalize the verse and apply it to all Christians in all situations is questionable at best.

    There is absolutely no affirmation of the tithe in the New Testament. It is mentioned in passing three times. The previously discussed Matthew 23:23, Luke 18:12, and Hebrews 7:1-10, none of which come close to prescribing it for Christians.

    You would think that something so important, something “required” for Christians, would at least kind of be mentioned as such in the New Testament. Instead, Jesus mentions it once concerning the Pharisees, and Paul, Peter, and John never even hint at it. Strange for something so critical.

    Instead, they focus on the Gospel and the natural desire that it generates to give generously above and beyond 10%. We should attempt to follow the New Testament’s lead and motivate with the Gospel instead of the Law. Maybe the fact that less than 10% of Christians actually tithe is evidence that we’re teaching it incorrectly.

  2. JD, thank you for your messages on Tithing and on your example. This has been an issue in my life for years, particularly since my annual income decreased by $45K three years ago. Needless to say, it has been difficult to adjust and to give any tithes.

    Your last message on “In Search of a King” was powerful, and convicting. I say the following, not to elevate myself (hence I concealed my name), but rather to elevate the Grace of God. As a result of that message, my wife and I have resigned ourselves to paying the first fruits of our income to God, and then trusting Him to provide what we need to meet our obligations. We know that He is able and willing. Whether that results in being able to pay all of our bills or not, we can’t expect Him to do us good.

    It’s easy to rationalize and to keep that money for ourselves in order to meet our obligations. However, I’m reminded of what the Lord said to his people in Malachi 3:8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You? In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me. Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ Says the LORD of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”

    Thank you again for reminding us of what God requires, and what blessings we can expect from Him for doing His will.

    In His grip,
    mamix0ye

  3. In my last post I meant to say we “can expect Him to do us good.” My apologies.

  4. First, Jesus did not confirm tithing for Christians. He was speaking about “matters of the law” to those still under the Mosaic law.

    Next, let’s look closely at Abram’s tithe. First, the goods that Abram gave the tenth from didn’t even belong to Abram:

    Genesis 14:21 (KJV) – And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.

    Notice in verse 21 the king of Sodom didn’t ask Abram if he would give back to him the people, but rather said GIVE ME the people and keep the goods for yourself. The way that is worded indicates that the king of Sodom was claiming that the people and the goods belonged to him, but he offered the goods to Abram.

    It would normally have been the custom that the victor owns the spoils, but normally the spoils would have belonged to the enemy. In this case, Abram was RECOVERING goods belonging to the King of Sodom.

    NOTE: The king of Sodom had an original right both to the persons and to the goods, and it would bear a debate whether Abram’s acquired right by rescue would supersede his title and extinguish it; but, to prevent all quarrels, the king of Sodom makes this fair proposal (v. 21).
    –Should the Church Teach Tithing by Dr. Russell Earl Kelly, pages 24-25

    Genesis 14:22-24 (KJV)
    22And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,
    23That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:
    24Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.

    Notice in verses 23 and 24 Abram also acknowledges that the goods belonged to the king of Sodom. But notice that the king of Sodam offered that Abram could keep the goods for himself. Abram declined the offer. He didn’t want man to take credit for his wealth. By not accepting any of the goods for himself, Abram was putting all his faith in God to provide for him rather than man.

    Therefore, it is clear that both the king of Sodom and Abram acknowledged that the spoils of war did NOT belong to Abram, yet he gave a tenth of the spoils to King Melchizedek. This would seem that Abram did something wrong, if not even illegal, but Biblical historians agree that it was custom in Abram’s day to give the king a tenth of the war spoils. Had Abram not given the tenth, he would have gone against custom.

    Conclusion: Abram did NOT give a tenth of his income, or his wealth. Abram gave a tenth of the spoils of war that didn’t belong to him and declined to keep the goods offered to him. That is NOT an example of tithing for Christians to follow today. Furthermore, the law did NOT require a tenth of war spoils to be given, so to say that tithing was before the law and then in the law is not true. What Abram did was NOT even codified into the later law.

    The tithe was like a tax.

    Tithe – paid by those who inherited the promised land.
    Inheritance or Estate tax – paid from the estate or inheritance.

    Tithe – ONLY on property owners.
    Property tax – ONLY on property owners.

    Tithe – used to run the theocracy.
    Income tax – used to run the government.

    Tithe – doesn’t apply to the poor.
    Luxury tax – doesn’t apply to the poor.

    The ONLY people in the Old Testament that were commanded to tithe were those who INHERITED THE PROMISED LAND WITH EVERYTHING ON IT. They got the land, house, animals, crops, etc. ALL FREE AND CLEAR. No mortgage payment or rent to pay. And THEY were commanded to tithe on the crops and animals and take it to the Levites who INHERITED the tithe INSTEAD OF the promised land with everything on it. No one else tithed. Wage earners did not tithe. Jesus didn’t tithe. Paul didn’t tithe. Peter didn’t tithe.

    There is absolutely no teaching of tithing in the scriptures after Calvary.

  5. God bless you J.D! My husband and I were so thankful that you preached on this last month. The church needs to stop shying away from this. If the people choose to not listen that is their choice but at least they heard. For the 10 years we have been married more times than not we have not had the money to tithe but have been faithful to do so (praise be to God b/c our flesh many times was telling us no:) We too have seen God move in miraculous ways including multiple anonymous donors over the years give us money when no one but God knew we needed it. We could go on and on. We give not out of legalism but truly because God loves us and we love our God. This is so a heart issue, a trust issue and a relationship issue. To even argue OT, NT is so disappointing. Is it a salvation issue? Of course not but for those who are stuck debating whether or not God says to give are missing out on so much more than they can ever imagine. When I get to heaven I don’t think God will look at me and say, why did you give so much of what you had to those who had nothing? So thank you again J.D. for your openness and boldness. Preach on!

  6. MamixOye and Sue, thanks for the heartwarming response. I was blessed reading it!

    Matthew, thanks for the thoughtful response as well. I think you might miss my point in Jesus’ reference of it. As I noted, Jesus was leaving us under NO PART of the law, not the tithe or any thing else. But the law, in that it reflects God’s character and his ordering of creation, is still good, and still functions as a guide to how we are to live in the world. My point was that all people including the author of the Abraham account (Moses), and Jesus, recognized that. And, for what it is worth, the point I note is from John Piper.

    Gary, I wonder if you might be missing the forest for the trees on this one. The one who wrote the Abrahamic account, namely Moses, was establishing a principle, showing how God’s people have constantly related to God. Your dismissal of the tithe also overlooks the fact that when it was all said and done, the average Israelite gave about 23% of his income to God. The tithe was only part.

    I can acknowledge that tithing, in and of itself, is not a iron-clad rule for Christians as it was for Israelites. That said, “giving our firstfruits to God” most definitely IS a biblical principle, true of God’s people in all places and at all times. 10% is a great place to start with that.

  7. I only commented on tithing itself. As far as giving, I believe the New Testament teaches generous, sacrificial giving. Being Spirit led instead of OT law or guideline led, I find myself giving far, far more than a mere tenth of my income. But I have both family and friends who could not possibly give a tenth of their income and still support their families. Once we put laws or even guidelines into practice, less emphasis is put on the Spirit.

    That’s my take, anyway.

  8. I think a couple of folks are missing the point of JD’s sermon on tithing. The point is not that you give that standard 10% like the Hebrews were commanded to do, but that you DESIRE to give, give and give some more.

    As for the New Testament protocol on giving, the message is clear to anyone who has read the Gospels and the Pauline letters that you should be giving MORE than 10%. Jesus said to the rich man, “Go and sell EVERYTHING you have, give that money to the poor and come and follow me. Luke 18)” In the sermon on the mount he says that he has not come to cancel the laws of Moses.. [and] that every law in the Book of Moses will continue until all things be accomplished.” (Matthew 5) There goes your theory on tithing not being upheld by Christ. Then in Luke 21:1-3, Jesus mentions the poor widow who gave EVERYTHING she had and is praised above and beyond the rich Jews who tossed in their tithes ritualistically. Acts mentions how the early Christians sold their possessions, pooled their money and shared as a community of faith. This is not tithing, it is sacrificial giving.

    Paul praises the Corinthians, Philippians and the Macedonians for extravagant offerings mentioning that the Macedonians gave out of “their deep poverty.” [1 Tim 5 -6:10, Phil 4:10-14, 2 Corinthians chapters 8-9]. Giving a tithe was characteristic of Saul prior to Damascus – giving everything was characteristic of Paul post conversion. Paul’s life was sacrificial giving personified.

    I think J.D. is right when he talks of Jesus upping the ante of what is expected of a follower of Christ.
    Christ expects us to give everything – including our life and even cautions us to “count the cost” of following him. I really think it comes down to a matter of trust. Do I trust God to do what He says he will do in His Word? Do I really trust that that the Bible is the Word of God? I trust Jesus will do what he promised and that is to supply my basic needs. I was challenged by the sermon because I realize that I can give more. More money, more time and more of myself. Everything I have comes from the hand of God and I hate how selfishly I hoard things – especially my time and myself.

    I think the important thing to take away from the sermon was “Are you giving sacrificially to the work God is doing in the world?” Probably most of us are not. Even those of us who are tithing aren’t giving as sacrificially as the early church exemplified. And perhaps JD’s point was if we were to give as the early church gave so much more could be accomplished.

    So if you don’t like the OT concept of tithing, I’m hoping the anger I sense in your posting is because you are mad at JD for not admonishing us to give WAY MORE than the tithe of 10% since you are invoking the New Testament model.

  9. Michael Grienert March 7, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    Sure, in some cases the law established principles to live by. However, in some cases it didn’t. There are many things we disregard in the law today, for instance restrictions on wearing certain mixed fabrics. You say one principle to take from the law is that, “tithing should go to God’s new institution, the local church.” To be frank, I really don’t care if John Piper says it. We should let the Apostles tell us, through Scripture, how and what principles have carried over, not John Piper. No New Testament author ever mentions tithing. The Apostle Paul taught a lot about giving and instead said, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give…” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

    Paul also taught about pastoral salary a lot. In Acts 18:3 and in 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9 Paul said he worked normal jobs in the community for his profit, refusing to accept money for teaching and preaching. In 2 Thessalonians 3 Paul said the reason he did this was so that people would follow his example. Paul never took money from the churches he pastored. At the most, he sometimes took food and shelter from friends when he wasn’t able to meet his own needs where he was pastoring.

    You foresaw that some would view your tithe teaching as self-serving because “when people tithe, my own means as a pastor are provided.” You were right. You also said, “I guess there’s no way around that for me.” That is where you are wrong. There is a way around it. You could teach and live the Way of Christ and the Apostles. “I teach the gospel free of charge….. Follow my example as I follow Christ… Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.” 1 Corinthians 9:18…11:1…2 Corinthians 2:17.

    At the very least, you could stop teaching the tithe. You may be sincere in teaching it, as may be John Piper, but whoever started that tradition probably wasn’t. It is not from Christ an the Apostles. It is an a traditional invention of man that pastors profit from and so pass down from generation to generation.

  10. JD,
    In the 3+ years I’ve been at the Summit, I’ve often heard you speak about tithing/giving, but I can’t recall hearing you mention eternal rewards. Interested since I know you’ve used Randy Alcorn before and he often mentions those in conjunction with tithing/giving. Seems like it would be a great motivator in giving.

    Thank you for preaching on this. i’ve been blessed financially in numerous ways since committing to tithng.

  11. In J.D.’s defense, I think the last thing he is trying to do is profit in any way from the Gospel. Anyone who thinks that does not know him very well.

    He is pretty much saying the same thing we all are. We are not bound to the tithe. The Christian who has experienced the infinite generosity of God should naturally want to be generous towards God and others, and the principle of the tithe is a good place to start.

    In regards to the paying of pastors, you conveniently left out some key passages. I’ll let them speak for themselves:

    1 Corinthians 9:7-11 – Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk? Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?

    1 Timothy 5:17-18 – Let those elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”

    Galatians 6:6 – One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches.

    If I’m going to pay some guy to scrape junk off my teeth, I’m definitely going to pay the guy that teaches me God’s Word and is responsible for the shepherding of my soul.

  12. I would hate to face a crisis in my life knowing that I did not obey God when he instructed me to sow a seed.

    So what about Genesis 8? – “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Dude, the earth is still here.

    I heard a preacher say that if you want a pretax harvest, tithe pretax and if you want a post tax blessing sow post tax. It is ALL God’s money! If Jesus stood in front of you and asked you for 10% of your money, would you hand him the pretax 10%? I don’t make a lot of money, but God most definitely “supplies all my needs beyond what I can ask or think.” I give to get so I can get to give. No need to assume that people that sow seeds do so to keep all the money for themselves. I love it when God blesses me financially so that I can be a blessing to others. Most definitely, I reap what I sow and when I sow money, I reap money. God is not a man that he should lie. “Try me in this he says” I pay tithes and God rebukes the devourer for my sake EVERY DAY! I wouldn’t be caught outside without a tithe. That’s like going out without draws on.

  13. JD,

    Thanks for continuing to put the Word of God on clear display! You are such a blessing to my wife, Aubrey, and I and our Church. Since my wife and I started honoring God through tithing and going above the tithe with additional offerings it has been unimaginable how God has moved in our life. We have found a peace in how we view our finances beyond anything we could ever explain (Philippians 4:7). Once we understood that everything we have is the Lord’s (1 Corinthians 10:26) and that Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sin, we have been joyful to be generous with what God has given us.

    I think Sue hit the nail on the head when she said “but for those who are stuck debating whether or not God says to give are missing out on so much more than they can ever imagine”. This has definitely be true in my life. The blessing is more than I can ever have imagined.

    Thank you for being unashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16)and clearly presenting truth even when it leads to persecution. There is no question in my mind that God has ordained you as His mouthpiece to be a beacon of light in this dark place.

    God bless,

    Blair Graham
    Durham, NC

  14. Gary, thanks for the thoughts. They are challenging. But most of us, even those with more than we need, will almost always feel like we can’t “afford the 10%.” I never get to the end of my month with 10% of my income just laying around. That’s why I think the principle of firstfruits is so crucial to living under God. Firstfruits should go to God, 10% is a great place to start.

    Michael, we most certainly do follow the principle of mixed fabrics… we learn what it meant, namely that we are not to mix the holy with the unholy. The principle of the tithe is that the firstfruits go to God. I think godly people still follow that.

    NO part of the law do we totally disgregard, for ALL of it was fulfilled in Christ… and there is no part of Christ we should disregard or say is irrelevant. We should figure out what the law points to, namely the character and shalom of God, and obey those principles. Otherwise you set Christ Himself against the law, something he said very clearly he did not come to do.

  15. Rod D. Martin March 8, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    “Not the tithe or anything else”?

    Don’t misunderstand. I’m a fan of your preaching. I think you’re doing a wonderful job. And I even like your formulation that “the law, in that it reflects God’s character and his ordering of creation, is still good, and still functions as a guide to how we are to live under God in this world.” For most purposes, that sums things up quite nicely.

    But unless you think (and I know you don’t) that the atonement relieves us of “the burden” of not murdering people, not having sex with beasts, and not committing idolatry, don’t you think your statement leaves a little to be desired? Or at least, that you’re going to have to jump through some rather interesting exegetical hoops to claim that the entirety of the law is done away with, and then (correctly) claim that these obvious offenses to God are still sins?

    Aren’t you really trying to allay fears that your discussion of the law might indicate that you believe obedience to the Mosaic Code is in some way necessary for salvation? I realize that this leaves open all sorts of lengthy discussions about “general equity” and the ceremonial law and so forth, but wouldn’t it be better to admit that issue this is a bit complicated in certain respects than to (seemingly) embrace an antinomianism which cannot possibly stand scrutiny? And I do say “seemingly” because while I am certainly not accusing you of antinomianism, I do fear that some of this language could lead “little ones” unintentionally into sin.

    Again, I don’t mean this to be hostile, and I’m a big fan. I just find this phrasing problematic, particularly with regard to the issue at hand. The idea that God does not require us to tithe is just silly and offensive: God Himself says that we are “robbing” Him in our laxity with tithes and offerings, and it seems a bit disingenuous to say that the Almighty we proclaim to be “the same yesterday, today and forever” suddenly changed His opinion on this matter right about the time He also gave us the Great Commission.

    Baptists have struggled with this matter of being clear regarding the law’s relationship to New Covenant discipleship. Maybe it’s time to struggle onward to a clearer conclusion.

  16. Rod, the God who hated murder and expressed that in the OT is the same God today, and since he doesn’t change, he still hates murder. I don’t murder today NOT because of the 10 commandments, but because the God behind the 10 commandments doesn’t change. All of the laws find their fulfillment in Christ, and it is “His law” we now abide by (1 Cor 9). The OT law has nothing, officially, to do with me, other than that it points me to the God who never changes. Does that make sense?

  17. Rod D. Martin March 8, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Gary, if Abram did not give a tithe (at least) of his wealth — all of which is God’s — shame on him; and if you have friends and family who “could not possibly give 10% and still eat” (rough paraphrase) in your opinion, then oh how small your faith!

    The God who can resurrect the dead, part the seas and create the heavens and the earth can handle your budget.

    Perhaps your family’s poverty is God’s way of showing them that truth. I pray they will learn the lesson sooner rather than later. We have personally found that when we “figured this out” in our own strength we were poorer, but when we trusted Him Who saves for the result, we never lacked for anything.

    And truth be told, as I write this, I wonder why I should even care. He has done so much more for me than I could ever do for Him, it would be far preferable that I go without a meal or a house than that He should go without even a postage stamp for a Lottie Moon envelope.

  18. Matthew,

    There is a serious issue with using the three passages you reference to support paying clergy.

    First, Paul’s point in 1 Corinthians 9 is that he did NOT take money to preach. He concludes in verse 18 by writing:

    “What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.”

    It doesn’t sound like Paul is defending the right to get paid so much as he is pointing out that preaching free of charge is sufficient reward in and of itself. A greater issue here is trying to apply 1 Corinthians 9, referring to traveling evangelists and apostles, to local church pastors. Just because we see the words “preach” it doesn’t give us warrant to force this passage onto our clerical system.

    Second,

    Does 1 Timothy 5: 17-18 speak of paying a salary to pastors? Does “honor” equal a regular paycheck? We are supposed to honor lots of people in the NT, do they all draw a salary?

    Third,

    Galatians 6:6 has nothing to do with a salary or pastors.

    Michael has the right of it. Paul, who was an apostle, not an employee of a local church and as such would have even more right to be paid if that were proper, takes enormous pains to point out that he worked for a living and supported himself so as not to be a burden on the church.

    Pastoral teaching on tithing has several major problems. First, it doesn’t appear in the New Testament. Second, when the Bible does speak of giving, it never speaks of giving to a local church to support the operations of that local church. Rather the giving almost invariably goes to meeting the material needs of Christians and not into the operating budgets (see: http://thesidos.blogspot.com/2010/10/why-do-we-give.html ). Third, regardless of how well you spin it, it does come across as self-serving because in most traditional churches a large percentage of the offering pays the salaries of those exhorting people to give.

    The Bible has a lot to say in the NT about giving but virtually none of it bears any resemblance to our obsolete idea of bringing the tithe into the storehouse where the storehouse=the local church organization.

  19. Michael Grienert March 8, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Matthew,

    Arthur is right about 1 Corinthians 9. You stripped the verse you cited entirely out of its context. Read the entire chapter and it becomes more than obvious that Paul’s larger point is that even though he deserves to be paid he is instead going to follow Christ’s example and preach for free so that more people will be saved.

    I will say this: 1 Timothy 5 could be talking about compensation. However, it is not talking about a “paycheck” type of compensation. Like 1 Cor. 9, you must read the context. The “double honor” for pastors and teachers is in the context of “needs” (food, drink, shelter) and not “profit”. See that verse 16 is about the church taking care of those in “need” like widows (who had nothing to even eat back then). It seems that the Apostle Paul is saying pastors and teachers are especially worthy of help with their needs if they need it. To make this even more clear, Paul then cites Christ’s words from Luke 10:7 where Christ commanded that the “due wages” for Apostles were to be food, drink, and shelter. “Needs”

    And keep in mind that Paul even turned down help with his needs most of the time in order to see even more people saved. Paul’s point in 1 Tim 5 is that pastors are worthy of having their needs taken care of by church funds just like widows are. However, such people’s needs got taken care of out of the common church fund *if* that was necessary.

  20. Why are you mixing firstfruits with the tithe? The Biblical tithe was NEVER the first.

    Leviticus 27:30-33 – a tenth of the increase of the seed (crops), not the first tenth, and every TENTH animal in herds and flocks, the LAST ONE out of every ten, not the first.

    According to Nehemiah 10:37, the firstfruits were taken to the temple for the priests, and the tithes were taken to the Levites who lived in the Levitical cities. Therefore, we see that firstfruits have nothing to do with the tithe.

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

    The verse reads HONOUR the Lord with thy substance (wealth), not give to the Lord your wealth. The verse does not say honour the Lord with a tenth of your wealth, or give to the Lord a tenth of your wealth.

    How does one honor the Lord with their wealth? I believe the best way I can honor the Lord with my wealth is to be a good steward of that wealth and use it to glorify the Lord the best I can.

    The verse reads AND with the firstfruits of all thine increase. In other words, HONOUR the Lord with the firstfruits of all your produce, or crops (Hebrew word definition). Doesn’t say give to the Lord the firstfruits of your produce, or crops. That comes later in the Word.

    For those who say that all thine increase can also mean all your income, read the next verse:

    Proverbs 3:10 (KJV) “So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.”

    Verse 10 makes it clear that increase in verse 9 is referring to the crops and not income.

    Leviticus 23:10 (KJV) “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:”

    The above verse tells us that the Children of Israel were commanded to take the firstfruits of their harvest to the priests.

    Numbers 18:21 (KJV) “And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.”

    The above verse tells us that the Children of Israel were commanded to take the tithe to the Levites.

    The first tithe was never the first OR the best.

    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 or his gifts. God commanded His tithe be taken to the Levites, FOREVER, in Numbers 18.

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

  21. wow…
    some of you people need to take the blinders off.
    i am no Bible scholar, but i do love my perfect Lord and Savior. nobody has yet pointed out a scripture where we are commanded NOT to tithe directly. so what if we are taught to give 10% under OT?! if it helps you, think of it more of a systematic way of giving (since some don’t like the word tithe- granted, you should go above and beyond the 10%). there are SO many trust, kingdom, and Gospel issues on this forum it is unbelievable. we are arguing over what/when a Sovereign God commanded us to do something. He is sovereign because we are NOT!
    yes, even those families with little can afford to tithe…have we missed that God will bless those with little who give abundantly?
    maybe we should hold our tithe at the summit and see what happens when our staff isn’t getting paid…i guarantee you the anonymous donations to their families will SURPASS what they are paid on a regular basis.
    you can’t outsmart God.

  22. gary, when you find a way to write a check to God, let us know…we don’t have crops and cattle to give…and if we did, to what or whom?
    the pastor is not stealing from God. are we not stealing from God by not tithing?
    anyways, SOME of my money will go to the pastor’s salary, who leads a missional ministry and church.
    yes, i will support a pastor who is actively searching for a way to build God’s kingdom with the church he leads. who else would pay him? the government? yikes.
    i’ll get off my soapbox now. :)

  23. I am all for supporting the church through free-will offerings, from the heart. I have nothing against pastors being paid for services they perform. But giving to the church is not giving to God.

    The OT tithe came from GOD’S increase of the crops and animals, NOT man’s income. When God gave the promised land to the Israelites, he reserved a tenth of future crops and animals in herds and flocks. Those are ASSETS, not income.

    The Bible CLEARLY SHOWS that the tithe ENDED at the cross in the Book of Hebrews. 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.

    In Hebrews 7:5 we are told that Levi (the Levites) took the tithes under the law. In Hebrews 7:12 we are told that when the priesthood changes, the law will change. Hebrews 7:18 is telling us that Numbers 18 was disannulled. Numbers 18 established the Levitical priesthood, and part of that establishing included tithing. When the Levitical priesthood ended (at Calvary, or at least in the year 70AD when the temple was destroyed), all laws that established that priesthood were canceled. If Numbers 18 wasn’t canceled, we would still be under the Levitical priesthood.

    Those who argue they didn’t have money or income then really need to study the scriptures. They had money and wages, even in Genesis. The farmers had income from barter exchanges, and they had markets to buy and sell as proven in Deuteronomy 14:24-26.

    Those who argue Malachi 3:8, robbing God, need to start with verse 7. God is talking about His ordinances in Numbers 18 which we learned were disannulled according to Hebrews 7:18. Also, if you start with Malachi 1, you will see that God is speaking to the priests, not the people. The priests robbed God of the tithe (Nehemiah 13) and the priests robbed God of the offerings (Malachi 1).

    The gospel is FREE to everyone. There is no charge for the gospel.

    When you go to a seminar, you usually have to pay to attend. When you go to a concert, you usually have to pay to attend. When you go to social events, you usually have to pay to attend.

    Why does one “go to” church? Maybe for the following reasons:
    1. For instruction / education in God’s Word
    2. To worship The Lord
    3. For prayer and/or to pray
    4. For entertainment (the music, etc.)
    5. For fellowship / socializing

    WE go to church so that WE can get instruction and education in God’s Word, so that WE can worship The Lord, so that WE can participate in prayer, so that WE can be entertained and enjoy the music, and so that WE can fellowship or socialize.

    WE benefit from going to church services. When WE give our offerings, is it not to PAY for what WE have received from the service? Is that giving to God, or is that paying for a service WE have received?

    Who is getting the money? Is it God? Or does the money go to PAY for salaries, the building, utilities, etc., ALL of which WE benefit from?

    In the Old Testament, God commanded the tithe be paid to HIM, and HE directed the Israelites to take HIS tithe to the Levites. HE gave HIS tithe to the Levites. Offerings to God were heave offerings, or burnt offerings, or wave offerings.

    In the New Testament, God does not tell us HOW to give to HIM other than to give to the poor/needy. God did NOT direct HIS gifts be taken to any church.

  24. Gary, 3 quick rejoinders. 1. I don’t see why you don’t acknowledge that in the same way that the Levites partook of offerings given to the Lord, so pastors partake of offerings given to God through the church. It seems pretty obvious, and a hermeneutic Paul often used. 2. I don’t see how your exegesis of the word “honor” and “not muzzling the ox” and the fact that you don’t see how Paul’s “exception” to those things, in not taking a salary, proves the rule that pastors usually should seems to miss a rather easy and obvious point; and 3. i very much disagree that in the church service the focus on what we give to God. God doesn’t need our money or our worship or our commitment or anything else. The church service is entirely about what God has given to us in Christ and how we freely respond to that out of our worship and sacrifice and money. God doesn’t need anythign that is offered in worship. We are the needy ones. So, our giving is to God, but in response to what God has done, and used to propagate even more of what God is giving to us.

  25. The OT tithe was given to the NON-PRIEST Levites, the servants to the priests. In other words, the tithe went to the workers, the singers, the musicians, the ushers, etc. THEN the non-priest Levites were commanded to give a tenth of that tithe to the priests. Is that the way you do it in your church? Those receiving the tithe were not allowed to own property. Is that the way you do it in your church? Only MALE Levites were allowed to work at the Temple, and ONLY from age 25 to age of 50 at which time they were REQUIRED to retire. Is that the way you do it in your church?

    You want to bring the tithe forward but not the ordinances that go with it. You bring the ten percent but nothing else, and you change the tenth from God’s increase to man’s income.

    There is nothing wrong with a pastor being paid from the free-will offerings. My argument is that there is absolutely NO teaching of tithing in the scriptures after Calvary. None. Giving is taught, but nowhere does it use a tenth of one’s income.

    The Temple was built using free-will offerings. The upkeep of the Temple was paid for by the Temple Tax (or tribute in KJV).

    The non-priest Levites AND the priests had other jobs. 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.

    You follow none of this, but you still want to collect the ten percent.

    The New Testament RAISES THE STANDARD. However, in the Old Testament wage earners did NOT tithe. Giving did NOT begin a ten percent for everyone. The poor actually benefited from the tithe. They didn’t pay it. You ignore all this when you say you should tithe on income regardless of how much you make. I find nothing in the scriptures to support that teaching.

    The Biblical tithe had nothing to do with giving. God reserved a tenth of future crops and animals in herds and flocks RAISED ON THE HOLY LAND. Nothing else. There is no principle of giving here.

    Abram gave a tenth of war spoils that didn’t even belong to him. Jacob made a vow with conditions attached. NO OTHER EXAMPLES OF TITHING before Leviticus.

  26. Well…1) the NT church has no direct equivalent for the Levitical priest, other than Jesus Himself. NT pastors are not priests, Jesus is the One Priest who put away forever sin (Heb 10). Thus, if you want to press your own argument, pastors are much more like the “servants” to which you refer who were supported by the tithe, so, the fact that the tithe goes to supports the pastors stands by your own reasoning.

    2) even if you tried to make the case that pastors, not Jesus, are the new priests… and that only 1/10 of the tithe went to support them… well, i can assure you i take much, much less than 10% of the offering as my salary. So, yes, giving 1/10 of the offerings to support the pastor is the way we do it in our church. In fact, if I took 1/10 of the offering as my salary, it would be a significant raise.

  27. In the New Testament, ALL born-again believers are part of a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD. We are all priests. EQUAL. Jesus is the HIGH PRIEST.

    In the Old Testament, the priests did NOT tithe.

  28. Either way, pastors would be most like the servants of the priests. So you actually make the very point we’ve been trying to make, that servants of the Gospel can and should be supported by gifts to God.

  29. Servants of the Gospel can and should be supported by gifts. Period.

  30. Michael Grienert March 10, 2011 at 5:36 am

    Regarding your comment # 28, that servants of the Gospel can and should be supported by gifts from the church, that is not the point anyone here has taken issue with. The part Gary took issue with is that you said Christians should still give 10% back to God in order for them to “thrive”, that this 10% should go to the local church, and that it should be pre-tax. Yes, Gary said it is fine for the church to make gifts that support the pastors. However, his larger point (that you seem to be ignoring) is simply that a tithe is not supposed to have any part of that gift giving. And he is right!

    The tithe is an old testament concept that was left there by the Apostles. They never brought into the church. They never once mention it in any of their writings about giving. On the other hand, modern pastors bring it up to some extent almost every time they speak or write about giving. Do you see the problem? Do you see the difference between New Testament, Apostolic giving doctrine and modern pastoral giving doctrine?

    Also, my larger point is that if you take 1 Cor. 9 in its entirety instead of just taking it piecemeal, servants of the gospel should be supported by gifts to God BUT they should also do all they can to not have to be (including working regular jobs if they can). Modern pastors tend to ignore the part after the BUT. Nonetheless, that is how Paul explained his comments in that chapter. That is also how he lived out his example, telling us to follow him as he followed Christ’s example.

    There are *major* differences between what the Apostles taught and lived and what modern pastors teach and live when it comes to giving and church support.

  31. Michael, part of the problem here is that we seem to have a different hermeneutic as it relates to the Old Testament. I do not think it is wise to put such a stark line between Old and New Testament, as if Christ abolished the law. He fulfilled it… and that’s a big difference from abolishing. That means the law can and does still teach us much about how God has ordered the world and what He is like and what He expects from humanity. This was the hermeneutic that the Apostles used, and one that we, in their footsteps, can use as well, even if we apply it to places they never got to.

    For example, no Apostle ever mentions bestiality as being sinful. To use your words, “‘Bestiality’ is an old testament concept that was left there by the Apostles. They never brought into the church. They never once mention it in any of their writings about ‘sexuality’.” So, must we remain silent about that?

    Keep in mind, the only calculable examples we have are of New Testament believers giving 50% more more into the hands of the Apostles. So, it makes sense to me they may have never felt the need to apply the OT principle of the tithe. It was, in some ways, assumed.

  32. To comment #31…Amen J.D.!! Well said. The Bible does not equal New Testament only…it is the Old AND New Testaments. “ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” II Timothy 3:16-17

  33. “OT principle of the tithe” And just WHAT was the OT principle of the tithe?

    The ONLY people in the Old Testament that were commanded to tithe were those who INHERITED THE PROMISED LAND WITH EVERYTHING ON IT. They got the land, house, animals, crops, etc. ALL FREE AND CLEAR. No mortgage payment or rent to pay. And THEY were commanded to tithe on the crops and animals and take it to the Levites who INHERITED the tithe INSTEAD OF the promised land with everything on it. No one else tithed. Wage earners did not tithe. Jesus didn’t tithe. Paul didn’t tithe. Peter didn’t tithe.

    Now, what “principle” can you get out of that other than maybe a “principle” of taxation? There is no principle of giving.

    Church leaders have invented a Biblical principle that does not exist but in their minds.

  34. is it sinful to tithe?

  35. Wow! A lot of replies about money. Think about what that means.

  36. To David Soper,

    And what does that mean?

  37. Gary,

    The very first parable that Jesus teaches is the parable of the sower. He says that seeds sown on rocky ground may sprout, but will quickly wither because they have nothing in which they can take root.

    I’m a new Christian–I surrendered to Christ just two weeks ago–and as such, I am that seed, subject to doubt and confusion and weakness in my faith.

    Reading the quarrelsome comments in this post has caused me to have doubts–not only about what I’m expected to do as a Christian, but also about the teachings of my pastor who shares the word of God with our congregation.

    Does Paul not teach, “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions” (Romans 14:1)?

    And…

    “…Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14:5).

    In this context, Paul is referring to two specific OT traditions: the cleanliness of food (all of which Jesus declared clean in Mark 7:19) and observance of the Sabbath.

    Paul continues, “Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or a hindrance in the way of a brother” (Romans 14:13).

    Now, I’m no theologian, but can this not be applied to other matters of opinion? If it is your opinion that you should give generously, but tithing is not explicitly required, live by it. Give generously, and let others give as they will out of their love for Christ.

    For God’s desire for us as believers is clear:

    “For I desire steadfast love, not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6), and,

    “And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment’” (Matthew 22:37-38).

    But to quarrel over a matter of opinion is to create a stumbling block for your brothers who may be reading these comments. JD usually wears his big boy pants–he can take it–but as “one who is weak in faith,” I am still forming my Christian identity and I can be easily influenced.

    In JD’s sermon this morning, he shared that doubt is one of the tools in Satan’s essential toolkit for leading us to stray from God.

    Your words and analysis of scripture here have led me away from the love of God and the Holy Spirit and have caused me to doubt myself and whether I’m “doing Christianity right.”

    In my doubt, I am condemned to “do it wrong,” for as Paul says, “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).

    So I implore you, consider the gravity of your words before you share them in a public forum. Consider who could read them, and the effect that they may have.

    Teach and lead with humility, for “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12).

    Lift up your brothers in the Holy Spirit rather than tearing them down, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and mutual upbringing” (Romans 14:17-19).

  38. YES ROB! amen.

  39. @Rob,

    Being a Money & Finance Minister, I run across cases every week where God loving Christians are struggling to put food on the table for their family while given a tenth of their income to the church because the pastor told them they would be robbing God if they didn’t.

    I didn’t become a born-again believer until my late forties. I accepted everything I was told by the pastor as being truth. It wasn’t until 63 that my pastor asked me if I would teach a Sunday School Class in Finances. I agreed.

    When I started preparing for my class, I found that EVERY SINGLE THING I had been taught about tithing was contrary to the scriptures. This bothered me greatly. I prayed and begged that the Spirit would show me the truth. I went back to my pastor and told him what I had found in my studies. He told me he believed his teaching was correct, but agreed to do his own research. A few weeks later, my pastor STOPPED teaching tithing, robbing God, etc.

    God has called me to teach this topic and that is what I am doing. No one here is arguing the Word of God. We are debating the interpretation of God’s Word. When you feel as strong as I do about a topic, you want others to know the truth. If I were silent, I would not be God’s servant.

    I have spent thousands (not dozens or hundreds) of hours studying this topic. God didn’t reveal this truth to me to keep to myself. I have given the rest of my life to spread God’s truth, free of charge, to as many as I can.

  40. Rob, this is an excellent point. May God richly bless you with His grace and truth. Many of the points you made in your post are the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Be encouraged in the Lord, and be encouraged by your Pastors. God has given them as gifts for our edification. Our faith must be in God, and your current understanding of scripture is accurate.

    Be as the Berean’s, searching out the truths preached, in order to make certain they are true. JD is a special gift of Christ to the Church. And, in as much as he imitates the Lord, do like wise. But always place your faith in Christ, and Christ alone. It is apparent that many who have commented on this blog have issues with money, and with the authority of scripture.

    For the Christian, it is unequivocally true, that His heart is to give, and to give generously. Some of us have more of an opportunity to give because we haven’t over committed ourselves to the world. When we make purchases, we look at what we have left (after tithing)in order to determine whether or not we should make the purchase. Others of us make the purchase and then give what’s left over (if any) to God. At that point, we can rationalize not giving altogether [We have a mortgage, a car payment, credit card bills, unsecure loans, etc. that prevent us from tithing, regardless of the percentage].

    I would encourage you in this. You can believe God! You can trust God! He is faithful and rewards those who trust in Him. Earlier I commented on this blog regarding my conviction to honor God with my first fruits and trust Him to provide for our needs. This was an act of faith, which I believe He gave me, because giving any amount would have meant that some bills would definitely not be paid this month. As a matter of conscience, I gave 10% of my gross income for the month to God. And as a faithful God, I received word today that I was receiving an unexpected sum of money in the mail this week. A sum that was equal to approximately 100% of my monthly income.

    “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this, Says the LORD of hosts, If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.” Mal. 3:8ff

    Worship Him!
    Praise Him!
    Trust in Him!
    Believe on Him!

    He is our only hope in this world!

    God Bless.

  41. I see I’m a little late in making a post here and it may not be read, but I feel compelled to do so anyway.

    I am a man over 50 and a Christian for many of those years. I grew up in a church and am still in a church that teaches tithing for the NT believer. Up until a couple of years ago after my father died, I decided to study the subject, especially since my father so struggled with it (only in his ability to pay at the same time put food on the table for 7 kids).

    What I found as a result of my study was something more in line with Gary Arnold than with Pastor J.D. For so longed I believed in this practice and even criticized my poor father for his lack of faith in giving the tithe faithfully. And now, I hang my head in shame for pushing this horrible and heavy yoke upon my fellow Christians, as well as my family, who I knew were not able to bear it.

    I struggled with this because I was finding that what the Bible taught about tithing so contradicted the teachings of so many pastors across this great land. I struggled with it because if the tithe was not God’s plan for the church then what was? What I found has been so enlightening to me and reinvigorating to my soul that I chosen to study it further from God’s Word with great zeal and passion.

    My friends, what God has replaced it with is “Stewardship”. No, not the stewardship that you have been taught all of your Christian life, because pastors who talk the talk of “Stewardship” teach it adulterated with the teaching of the tithe. The tithe and stewardship are in essence contrary to each other the same as “Works” and “Faith”.

    You see God does not want your measly 10%, God wants your all. He wants your all because it all belongs to Him. Your money, your house, your children, your cars, your very lives. Do we not sing the song, “All to Jesus I surrender”? Have you truly surrendered all to Him? Or are you stuck on your petty 10%?

    Your money is not yours because it belongs to God. You are just a mere steward over it. A blessed responsibility that God has granted you. If God wants this money back, does He not have the power to take it? And does He not have the right? Your house is not your own, it also belongs to God as well as everything else.

    If everything belongs to God and we are mere stewards over it, then how does God want us to be a good steward over it? Does not God required that we do all to the Glory of God and to always bring glory to His name? Is your body own? Are you not to bring glory to God through the proper stewardship of that body? When we dishonor our bodies do we not bring destruction to the “Temple of God”? When we sin against God in our bodies, are we not being a bad steward over what He has so graciously given us?

    You teach and boast about how you have faith in God through the sacrificial giving it “sometimes” takes to pay your tithe but yet you are have no faith in God in other matters. How many of you practice birth control? Those of you who do, do you not have faith in God in His blessings and instead fear the financial burden that several children will bring? Do you not believe the Word of God, that children are blessing and a heritage of the Lord? (Psalm 127:3)

    Are you not a bad steward over your body if you deny our God what belongs to Him, which is the fruit of your womb? Do you deny Him because you fear the financial distress it may bring?

    Those of you who have committed adultery or even fornication, were you not bad stewards over your body? Did you deny the gift of your virginity given to you by God for the Spouse that He had for you? Those of you who did, were bad stewards over what God gave you to be a good steward over. Those of you who were previously married and now divorced, did you not squander a stewardship that was entrusted to you?

    I mention these simple little things that so many of us struggle with because we fail to see what our Lord has given us as Christians. Everything about are lives now as a Christian is to be viewed from the eyes of a faithful steward over the things of God.

    God’s plan for the Christian is not 10%, God’s plan is for you to bring honor to His name with the things that belong to Him, and that is everything. This is why we do not see tithing taught in the NT by the apostles because they themselves never practiced it. They practiced “Stewardship”. They gave all because they knew that nothing belonged to them but God.

    Be careful little children and do not hang onto the temporal but onto the everlasting. Remember that the church is not a building made of brick and mortar but the very people who gather together as one to bring praise and honor and glory to the God we serve. All that is in this world will soon be brought down by the very God who has created all and we are not to cling to it. We are not to love the things of this world but the things of God.

    May the Lord Bless and bring His light to your hearts on this most crucial topic.

  42. “You see God does not want your measly 10%, God wants your all.”
    ____

    I hear that cliche a lot – and quite frankly it has become an excuse. Where do we read anywhere that God wants our “ALL” – and what does that exactly mean? How many people opposing tithing for Christians actually give their “ALL” to God? HOW MANY?

    What I find particularly worrisome in this issue is that we all ‘talk’ more than we ‘do’. If a mere tenth is theologically difficult for those who are opposed to tithing, then is it “ALL” that is easier to give?

    I’m just thinking aloud: where is the FAITH of the anti-tither if you can’t afford to put God FIRST?

  43. amazing the difference in number of comments when you start talking about money. I heard another preacher this past weekend talk about money being a barometer of our heart. You really can’t fake it. It’s black or white. Words are cheap but your giving and perspective on money really shows your faith in God.

    These times are tough on so many of us. The neat part about that is, it gives us even more of an opportunity to trust in God and be a better testimony to the world who watches us from the outside.

    Thanks for all you do JD. You’re a very inspiring man of God.

  44. One thing I think people get wrong when tithing is the blessing order. People think to themselves, “Because I tithe, God will bless me.” I used to think in that same concept too. However, I believe the other order is more appropriate and more accurate, “Because God has blessed me I will tithe.” @Tymon, I hear what you are saying about the anti-tither, but I don’t think it is as black and white as that. Before I quit tithing and supported it I would be in agreement with the words of Pastor JD when he said, “You can’t afford not to tithe.” I would say to myself, “Ten percent of 0 is still 0 so if you’re not getting paid anything then it is impossible not to tithe.” I did something I didn’t normally do after I tithed. I tried counting up the blessings I had after the tithe and didn’t really feel blessed. So I did the research and tried to look at things from the tithing Christian’s point of view and the non-tithing Christian’s point of view. After researching it I simply agreed more with what the non-tithers had to say. One thing that I have learned is that if I agreed more with the tithers then I would need to stop believing that God would bless me for tithing because if tithing is right then the blessings will come from God first then the tithe will come next it doesn’t work the other way around. As far as the non-tithers some of them are quite generous and will give to charities. And some will go as high as twenty to thirty percent of their income in their giving. Also after doing some research I once heard that Orthodox Jews give ten percent to charity instead of giving it to the church. I understand that because certain non-tithers aren’t as open about their financial generosity as certain tithers are non-tithers seem greedy. However, a lot of non-tithers are simply following the teachings of Jesus when He said, “When you give don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” Think about how hard it is to follow that order when non-tithers are giving more than ten percent but don’t share that information with others so they seem greedy to people who don’t know what they really do with their money. Also if Jesus gave an order not to show off financial generosity the Summit probably shouldn’t encourage videos where people are basically bragging about their tithes. I’m not saying they shouldn’t encourage tithing. I’m just saying they shouldn’t boast about it. Also I think there are certain things in the Bible that often get taken way too literally. Paul, once said that he wanted to preach the Gospel for free, some could take this way too literally and say that it’s wrong for pastors to get paid anything. However, I’m not saying it’s wrong for Pastor JD to get paid in tithes or offerings. I say tithes or offering because to me a tithe is a church tax and an offering is what you give out of your own free will. I’m just saying when you take certain things from the Bible too literally then you risk taking the words out of context. As far as my opinion goes I think it is fine for Pastor JD to get paid in tithes. However, if he were to ever to become as famous and rich as the Reverend Billy Graham is then I think at that point he is making too much to get paid in tithes. One other reason that many people become non-tithers is because they come from backgrounds where their churches manipulated the truth about tithing and the followers’ hearts were in the right place, but the church leaders over there only wanted the cash because their hearts were not with God and many followers went in to debt and some have even had their houses forclosed, but the church leaders didn’t help out in any way when that happened. There are probably many people at the Summit that have had an experience like that, but they are too afraid to speak out because they are scared it is going to contradict the views of the Summit. After bad church experiences like that it is totally understandable why you wouldn’t tithe. Some non-tithers believe so strongly in Proverbs where it says, “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,” so many non-tithers aren’t greedy they just believe that giving back to the Lord means giving back to the poor not the church. However, there are some cases where God changes a person’s greedy heart who witholds from both the poor and church and then he changes and starts tithing. One thing Christians need to ask themselves (myself included) is this, “When I tithe or give to charity do I do it to give back to God for blessing me or do I only do it to get blessed?”

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Is Tithing an Iron-Clad Rule for Christians? | shelboese.org - June 14, 2012

    [...] of Israel, but how God has set up his economy for His people has not changed,” he wrote in a blog post. “The law was given to help people live in the shalom of God. That’s what gives the law [...]

  2. Questions About Tithing « A Modern Puritan - June 22, 2012

    [...] Greear, http://www.jdgreear.com/my_weblog/2012/06/questions-i-get-about-tithing.html Like this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

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