May Day! May Day! Don’t let the swindlers lead you astray!

The Tithe

It is arguably the most pervasive doctrine of the Church, so well-received that even those who ardently decry any other form of abusive ministry will just as fervently defend this doctrine.

“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed Thee?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it may not destroy the fruits of the ground, nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes, says the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 3:8-11).

This one passage, very familiar to anyone who has attended church faithfully for a period of time, has done much to burden the Christian with something that doesn’t even apply to him.

Without going into a great amount of detail, the comparisons between the Old Testament law of tithes and offerings and the New Testament principles of giving contrast so sharply that it is virtually impossible to ignore the differences.

For one thing, the O.T. tithes were directed toward the nation of Israel. The above verse indicates that quite clearly. It was a physical demonstration of the Jewish people in covenant relationship with the LORD. It was both the individual Jew’s and the entire nation of Israel’s duty to tithe on order to fulfill the Law. If he/they didn’t tithe, they were cursed.

There is no such thing as a nation of Christians. Our covenant is one of the heart. Christ has already fulfilled the Law in us (Romans 8:3-4). The mandated, outward observance of religious statutes (such as circumcision and tithes) have been done away. When Paul heard that Judaizers were attempting to bring circumcision into the Christian community, he placed anathema on them for subverting the law of grace (Galatians 1:6-9). The whole point of the book of Galatians was to show that we are no longer under the Law, nor could the Law make us righteous (Galatians 3:10-11). Since it says in verse 10 that everyone who practices the Law must abide by every point, or he is cursed, it is clear that circumcision is also implied, as were the temple practices, the priesthood, etc. Since these things are no longer in practice for the Christian, tithing falls right into the same area. Also, since Malachi curses those who do not tithe, and we are told in Galatians 3:13 that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law, it is evident that both cannot apply.

Also, it is obvious that the Old Testament tithe was a requirement–no exceptions. But we are told in 2 Corinthians 9:7 that we are not to give under compulsion (or requirement), but to give as we ourselves purpose to give from our heart.

The tithes were used to support the Levitical priesthood for service at the Temple (Numbers 18:21-30). In the New Testament, all believers make up the priesthood (Revelation 1:6), and believers themselves are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), the only temple where God dwells.

One more critical point should bring the argument in favor of a tithe to a screeching halt. The tithes were assessed only the increase of the crops and cattle of the Jews, and was paid in crops and cattle (Deuteronomy 14:22-23). Only if a person lived too far from the temple to make the yearly trip with a caravan of goods could he convert the tithe into money, and add one-fifth to the price (Leviticus 27:30-33, Deuteronomy 14: 24-25).

Now, it is a great leap to say that the local church building now represents the Temple where the tithes were stored, and since it is too far to bring our cattle, produce, new wine, etc., then we are permitted to bring our money instead. But then, remember that we must add one-fifth to the price, thereby giving more than the traditional 10% tithe. And all this to support the Levitical priesthood, which, symbolically is now the local pastor…

You can see where this is all going. The argument falls apart when taken in context. Now, certainly we should give, and that generously, for we own nothing. We are only stewards of what belongs to God anyway. But twisting the financial arm of the average church-goer or laying a heavy burden of guilt on him for failure to fulfill an unwarranted expectation is Pharisaical.

“And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the multitude were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. And calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty put in all she owned, all she had to live on'” (Mark 12:41-44). (The above is by author unknown, found by me years ago.)

We see here, at the last, a revelation from the Lord that giving is a matter of the soul. Read the sermon on the mount and see the comparison between sheep and goats – each group did the same things, but the sheep did so unto the brothers of Christ, knowing only that they loves the redeemed brotherhood; and the goats gave without knowledge of love, thinking they were honoring the Lord. This reminds us that the righteousness of deeds done in our flesh is rubbish, while the small things we do in the Spirit of God are pure gold.

Not everyone who teaches tithing is a swindler. A.W. Pink is an example of such a man. Yet the teaching of tithing is, in my opinion, the result of not seeing the theology of the Kingdom of God rightly, being too concerned with earthly things and the continuation of Israel as seen with eyes of flesh.

For more reading, including a couple of free ebooks, check out http://www.tithingdebate.com/

The battle cry of The Reformation was – and still must be – Soli Deo Gloria! Let nothing we do be less.

36 thoughts on “May Day! May Day! Don’t let the swindlers lead you astray!

  1. todd3588 says:

    Very interesting piece Manfred.
    I, too, have struggled with this subject from the time to time in the past, but came to my current conviction several years ago. I used to give out of compulsion – tithing 10% on my gross AND adding an offering to it. I used to watch very closely and keep track of my paycheck stubs vs. my checkbook register to see if I was “on pace” for the year.

    I guess I’ve come to a different perspective now however, and you addressed it from II Cor. 9 in this posting. That being, we are to give as we purpose in our own hearts, and we’re to do that cheerfully. It was quite a liberating change of station for my wife and I. We’re now more specific and generous in our giving.

    Thank you for this timely reminder.

    Todd
    Texas

  2. A wonderful reminder, Manfred. Thank you for this :).
    I do have a question though…as Christians, we are to behave in certain (God-honoring) ways. Giving is one of those ways. When we aren’t acting accordingly, isn’t it appropriate for the elders or others to admonish/discipline accordingly? I see how this could be abused with the monetary involvement. But is it right for other Christians or the elders of a church to expect our giving to be a necessary fruit of our faith? I am not asking with a pre-conceived opinion on this…I am asking with true wonder. We always give a tenth to our church (not out of feeling that we *must* but rather out of *want*)…and then give in other areas as we feel led. But is it not a matter for the church to teach or just for us to feel convicted over?
    Thank-you for helping me understand!! :)

  3. Katy – yes, we who are blood-bought children of the most high God will give – as did the widow with her mite. It’s not wrong for elders to remind folk to be thankful to God for all things and to examine ourselves to see if that is so. One way we see if we are thankful is to examine the way we spend our lives – time, money, etc. Our local church ought be a place where we know our gifts will be used to proclaim God’s Truth for His glory, and not be used for the self-indulgent desires of wolves standing behind pulpits. In order for the elders to rightly oversee the local church, they should be free to remind to give as the Lord leads to ongoing work of the ministry in that church. Such giving should never be measured by men – which always leads to pride in having given more than 10% or guilt in having given less than 10%. Thanksgiving to God will be reflected in our giving – but also in how we live with our mate and children and how we fellowship with other saints of our Lord.

  4. Also…in addition to my question above, should we not be giving a tenth to the church? More, maybe? I know it would be a matter of conviction…but how do you do that but also balance paying bills and then is it *okay* to have money left over to use on other things or should we give (willingly) all leftover funds too?

    Ahhhh …okay. Thank you for your answer. It’s hard though, as we try to give of our first fruits…and we do a set amount so we can then balance appropriately. But you are right…giving is only one way our thanks to God is reflected…there are many other ways as well. :) Thank you for helping me!

  5. Katy – nothing in the Scriptures tells us what percentage to give to the church. All giving is from the willing heart and we are to plan for our future while not putting our hopes therein. No one can tell another how much to give nor how much to save. Yet no Christian should live “high on the hog” compared to the culture in which he lives. We should be content with frugal living throughout our time as pilgrims. Abuses common in the prosperity gospel are warning on one side while the pauper gospel of certain sects within the cult of Rome are warning on the other side.

  6. Mickey Merrie says:

    Thank you, Manfred for taking on a Tradition of the Elders which makes His Word of no effect!
    As a slave of my Lord, all I have is His. This means ALL!

  7. Linda says:

    Amen Manfred we own absolutely nothing. God doesn’t NEED our money anyways. We should give to him or anyone in need freely out of our hearts of thankfulness and gratefulness to the LORD.

    I’ll never forget when Jesus saved me, I was soooo thankful and grateful for the first time in my life being set free from the love of things and money. They actually subrogated me. But I could not WAIT to GIVE to the Lord because I was so effusive to him setting me free from my prison of sin. I owe him my whole life my all and yet there’s nothing I can give to him since Jesus did it all. We are FREE, FREE to give, to love the Lord to be honest and sincere and how we don’t always measure up—but Jesus does and he’s the sweet smelling aroma pleasing to the father….

    To “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well is the most freeing and most abundant way of living the Christian life. Rather than worrying about money and how our needs will be met, I’m so thoroughly convinced that the Lord wants us so freed up from what pagans run around for —to so depend upon HIM to satisfy our every need and desire that we are freed up and live our lives for what truly matters.

    Just like a little child 2,3,4,5, 6 who doesn’t even THINK of money but goes and plays outside knowing his parents are taking care of him so are we to be with our heavenly Father. He wants us to be his Children ~~

  8. doreen says:

    Acts 4 tells us of those who were possessors of lands or houses, sold them, and laid the money at the apostles feet.

    Fast forward to today. Basically, if you have two cars, and sold one, you would give the money to the Church, through your love for Christ and His Church.

    ‘So let each one give as he purposes in his heart…’ That is quite and inditment on the state of our heart, when it is, we would withhold giving. What does that say about us?

    The grace of God was bestowed upon the Macedonians because of the liberality of their giving, despite their deep poverty. Yet again, we need to question if our giving pleases God enough for Him to bestow His grace on us. Or is that not enough? Or do we give to please our own eyes, rather than God’s?

    Just food for thought.

  9. Mickey Merrie says:

    Doreen, could you please define church in light of your scriptural example, and in light of the American church today? Specifically please, looking at what is the same and what is different, regarding your understanding of this word church as seen in your anchient and modern examples?
    Thank you;
    ——————-
    After removing the h from ancient. LOL How’d that get there? I must have had a lazy digit as I crossed the board from c to I. LOL

  10. doreen, we must be careful in how we apply narratives. They are recorded truth, but not necessarily instructions applicable to us. At the time of Acts 4, the foundation of the church was being laid by the Apostles. Those people gave – but we are not told any details about how much anyone gave in relation to how much he had. It is a matter of the heart (rightly understanding the biblical definition of that term) – and not a matter of trying to apply and obey the law or appropriate history where it is does not apply.

  11. Charisse says:

    Dear Manfred,

    Since it has never ocurred to me to even question tithing in the traditional sense (one tenth) this debate is interesting. What was always compelling enough to me was the Genesis 14:17-20 were Abram gave one tenth of his possessions to Melchizedek (which I think is a Christophany). Then this verse is cross-referenced to Hebrews 7 and I always thought (not that we are held under the Old Covent law) but since the recognized standard was always ten percent as a general tithe Hebrews 7:5 that it seemed like a God started kind of beginning point. It seems to me that Jesus never per se mentions an amount specifically because he did not want people to feel obligated by a law (which Jesus had of course abolished) but I always thought of 10 percent as helpful guide that was used by God through out the Old Testament. But as you rightly say, in all these things it is ALWAYS a matter of the heart! We always have to live before the face of God.

    Thanks for stretching my brain muscles. I will study this more in the Bible and in prayer.

    Blessing to your ministry, charisse
    ——————–
    Dear Manfred,

    Sorry, did not mean to say Jesus came to abolish the law… Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” It’s late and I had a mind glitch:) Hopefully you can decipher my weary thoughts.

  12. abidingthroughgrace says:

    There are swindlers and rotten false teachers manipulating their congregation for money everyday. It is a sad, sad, sad situation. The are in it for personal greed and 2 Peter 2 tells us how God will judge them accordingly. If you are in a church that preaches giving like this guy above, the get out immediately and find a Bible believing, expository preaching church.

    I think regarding this issue of Tithing there is a piece that is missing in the discussion (unless I have missed it). We all talk a lot about how much of our income and excess we should give to the church and to ministries beyond. These are good questions…however our perspective is wrong. I challenge each of us to meditate on this question:

    “How much of God’s money am I going to keep?”

    All we have comes from God. Are we people of the world? Or children of God? Do we truly understand that the money we have is actually God’s money that we are to be stewards over…He gives it to us like all things for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).

    If we were truly less of the world and more of God, we would see 10% as a bare minimum output of giving to the church and ministry beyond. I’ve even heard it said that 10% giving to the church is the “training wheels of giving”…i.e. a measly starting point.

    “How much of God’s money are we going to keep?” – let’s meditate on this question and pray together that God would break the chains of our stingy-self-righteous-self sufficient-sinful black hearts and replace it with a loose hold on what God has given us.

    in the immeasurable riches of Christ,
    -atg
    _____________________________________________________________

    This video is a great example of the problems we see in big churches today. This is a sad, sad, sad situation and 2 Peter 2 tells us how God will deal with these swindlers and their false gospel and pursuit of selfish gain.

    One thing that hasn’t been stated yet (unless I missed it), but must be said, is this…We always talk about how much of our money we are going to give or should give. We talk about how we will be cheerful givers and not obligated and pouty givers. These are all good thoughts to ponder and work though. Cheerful giving is great. However, I think we are missing the massive main point. We need to mediate on this question, which I believe is life changing:

    “How much of God’s money are we going to keep?”

    We are not giving 10% of our money, we are keeping 90% of God’s money. Our (my) perspective is wrong. One teacher stated it like this: “Giving 10% to your church is just the training wheels of giving.” His point was that we should be giving abundantly…way beyond 10%…10% is a measly starting point to give to the church. There are many other places we will be compelled to give if our hearts are right…if my heart is right. Will we give 15%, 20%, 30%? How bold are we for the gospel? How sufficient is Christ in our eyes?

    So, let’s sit back together and ask this question to gauge the temperature of our hearts…”how much of God’s money are we comfortable keeping for ourselves?” And…let’s pray together that God will break the chains of our sinful, self-sufficient, self-reliant, stingy, worldly, view on this gift of money that God has given us.

    In the immeasurable riches of Christ,
    -atg

  13. ATG said: “How much of God’s money are we going to keep?”

    A great (and correct) way to look at it ATG! Thank you for that perspective!!!

  14. Linda says:

    ATG has a great point in saying “How much of God’s money are we going to keep?”

    Isn’t that to be more of the attitude of our hearts though? Not necessarily that we literally GIVE more and more unless the opportunity arises where God wants us to give more than normal for a particular need.

  15. abidingthroughgrace says:

    Sorry my comment posted twice. I typed it and crashed and couldn’t find that it posted and then typed it again and voila! double comment. :)

    Linda,
    My response would be this…a heart focused on Christ rather than self or the world will give naturally and have no shortage of places to give. I know In my life and my various ministry tentacles, I have more places to give than I can give too. For example, I have a wonderful church that we give to for the purpose of providing for the Pastor’s wages, power bill, mortgage, expenses, etc. Then we currently have 3 long term missionaries (two in Africa, 1 in Thailand) our church supports who all could use a little extra financial support. There is also a seminary for our doctrinal leanings that could use support, there is a great radio station in our town that plays sermons in line with our doctrinal leanings who could use support, and then there is our homeless ministry, and then there are widows in our church, those hurting without jobs and medical expense problems and then orphans in our town and throughout the world and good families who are trying to adopt who can’t afford to because it costs about $30k to adopt in most cases, and then there…

    So, there is no shortage of giving opportunities is we are on the front lines proclaiming the gospel. If we are comfortably sitting in a large well to-do church as customers rather than ambassadors, then things might look ok…it might look as if things are covered. The closer we are to the front lines the more opportunities to give there will be…and God says give joyfully.

    My men’s Bible study was just studying Proverbs 11 this morning:
    Proverbs 11:[24] One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.

    Do we give freely?
    Proverbs 11:[28] Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.

    Where do we put our trust? In our money? Or in Christ alone?

    These are brutal questions I am working through for myself and I can confess very simply that my heart isn’t in this place…but I am convicted mightily by the work of the Holy Spirit.

    My prayer for myself and my family and my church is that we would reach a place in our hearts for Christ that we would be like these guys…in their “severe test of affliction, abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity…”

    2 Corinthians 8:1-7
    [8:1] We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, [2] for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. [3] For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, [4] begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—[5] and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. [6] Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. [7] But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.

    In Christ alone,
    -atg

  16. Linda says:

    Wonderful comments full of richness and truth abidingthroughgrace

    “My men’s Bible study was just studying Proverbs 11 this morning:
    Proverbs 11:[24] One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.”

    I can testify to you that this really does work. When we truly have a heart to Give freely never expecting ANYTHING in return, the Lord really does bless us. I’ve lived this principle many times before I even knew this verse and when I discovered it learning the Proverbs, I was full of JOY and GLEE. I was like WOW, it IS true because God’s word even says so.

    There’s no greater JOY than to give freely because we truly care and not out of getting anything back.

    Praise the Lord

  17. Interesting post and thoroughly enjoyed it and agree with it. I find it interesting that many use Abraham to try and prove that “tithing” came before the law. A few problems with this notion – 1) Abraham did not give to the church or to a priest of Israel. Melchizedek was a priest of a pagan nation. 2) He did NOT give tithes of all he owned. He only gave a “tithe” of the spoils taken in war! 3) We are never told that he gave again to Melchizedek or any other priest through the rest of his life.

    Thanks again, Manfred for this post.

  18. tjm – good to hear from you! Trust all is well in the jungle. We are arim-inarm, pressing on the Truth of God’s Word!

  19. Charisse says:

    Dear Manfred,

    Respectfully, I do not want to derail your post, but I would be so curious as to your position on Melchizedek. The Matthew Henry Commentary narrows it to three basic opinions: 1) The rabbis, and most of the Jewish writers, think he was Shem the son of Noah. 2) Many Christian writers have thought him to be Jesus Christ himself [Christophany] 3) The most general opinion is that he was a Canaanite king, who reigned in Salem. The New Geneva Study Bible would lean towards position (2).

    As the Lord leads, and if you do not have the time or desire or find it more appropriate under a different post to respond, no worries! Understand completely:)
    Grace an peace in Christ Jesus, charisse

  20. God commanded three different tithes in the Old Testament:

    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.

    All three tithes came from GOD’S miraculous increase of food from crops and animals; never money, and never from anyone’s income. While the Temple Tax had to be paid with money, the tithe was never money.

    Abram gave a tenth of war spoils to Melchizedek and KEPT NOTHING FOR HIMSELF. This was a one-time recorded event. There is NO scripture where anyone ever tithed from their wages/earnings.

    Interesting to note that Abram’s tithe came from the NET spoils, not the gross, and all three tithes commanded by God came from the NET crops and NET new born animals, NOT the gross.

    Hebrews 7:7 (KJV) “And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.”

    Abram, the lesser, was blessed by the King-Priest Melchisedek, the better.

    Abram gave the tenth to the better.

    1 Peter 2:5 (KJV) “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”

    1 Peter 2:9 (KJV) “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”

    1 – According to the scriptures, priests do not tithe.
    2 – As priests, all born-again believers are equal. There is no better or lesser among us. God has not designated any born-again believers to collect His tithe.
    3 – To try and “tithe” today is denying that you are a part of a Royal Priesthood.

  21. Linda says:

    Excellent wisdom Gary Arnold. I pray someone will read all this and God grants them the fear of the LORD to see and catch onto the swindlers out there just wanting their money

    Titus 1:11 “They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach–and that for the sake of dishonest gain.”

    May people allow GOD who knows our hearts let him examine their hearts and show them their true motives for why they are tithing.

    1Ti 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

    1Ti 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

    Pro 13:11 “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.”

    Pro 11:1 The LORD abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.

  22. abidingthroughgrace says:

    Gary Arnold,

    You state: “3 – To try and “tithe” today is denying that you are a part of a Royal Priesthood.”

    What is your conclusion then based on this suggestion? That Christians are not supposed to give? What is your point in connecting OT tithing to Christians as priests?

    In the love of Christ,
    -atg

  23. @abidingthroughgrace,

    I am all for giving. 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.

    In the Old Testament, you don’t find priests tithing. Priests gave offerings, but did not tithe. The priests RECEIVED a portion of the tithe. Today, all born-again believers are priests. It would make no sense to try and tithe today.

    The Biblical tithe was a payment, had nothing to do with the heart, and had nothing to do with free-will giving.

  24. abidingthroughgrace says:

    Gary Arnold,
    Thanks for the clarification on your position. My only concern is that New Testament giving is often represented by Christians giving all they have with serious sacrifice and with joy and not splitting hairs…they just gave abundantly. When we today discuss whether or not we, as Christians, HAVE to or SHOULD give as much as 10% to the church, it is a clear sign that our focus isn’t on Christ and His glory, but on our own comfort – of which I am the foremost.

    In the abundant mercy of Christ,
    -atg

  25. 072591 says:

    ATG: The ultimate issue is people adding to God’s commands. Mark Driscoll (I know, I know, he’s got his issues, but on this, he’s right) did a sermon on this, covering Ecclesiates chapter 6. “How to Be a Jerk for Jesus” included this line: “Some people look at the holiness of Christ as a starting point. ‘Sure, He was good, but we should be more holy, more righteous.'”

  26. abidingthroughgrace says:

    072591,
    I’m not sure I see your point or Driscoll’s point for that matter. You’ll have to explain your comment in more detail for my slow mind.

    -atg

  27. Another Scripture that the flesh-peddlers try to use in order to get people to send them everything they have is the story of the widow who put in her last two copper coins (Luke 21:1-4). This is always held aloft as an example of “sacrificial giving.” Should we give sacrificially? Yes. Should we encourage people to give the last penny they have so they have nothing left? No. If that is how someone feels led by the Spirit, then so be it. But to try and shame people into giving everything they have so they can build a bigger building is thievery.

    John MacArthur explains it here.

  28. 072591 says:

    ATG: No problem. The issue this post seems to be addressing, ultimately, is the idea of declaring a mandate that goes beyond the Word of God.

    A good example is the Prohibition. For you non-Americans, it was a time when the United States Government passed a constitutional amendment banning sale and production of alcohol. The idea was popular … until people realized it meant “I can’t drink beer either.” Many used the Bible to justify it, but the Biblical prohibition was against drunkenness, not merely drinking alcohol. They attempted to go beyond the Bible’s standard of holiness (“If nobody drinks alcohol, nobody gets drunk.”), and it created quite a mess, as well as a boon for organized crime. But on the other hand, root beer was invented because those brewing plants had to do something with their equipment. So it was a wash.

    So it is with the tithing mandates that many churches promote. They declare that God has ordered the members to give 10% of their income to the church; I have even heard of churches that require its members to turn over their tax statements to verify that they are giving that 10%. This goes beyond the mandate given to the Christian to give freely.

  29. Charisse – I was off the grid for a week, camping with my in the hill country of SE Oklahoma. I do not have an opinion as the identity of Melchizedek. I am in a training program that has mucho reading and studying on essentials. The Melchizedek question is interesting but not essential. Maybe one of these days I will study that :-)

  30. Charisse says:

    Dear Manfred,

    As the Lord leads… In many ways I wish I could have been off in the hills this past week!

    Still evaluating.

    This topic is so difficult because I always think I could be giving more to Christ (and I maybe I should), ie: fast at lunch and give saved money to ____. Sell stuff at events that benefit Gospel outreach etc.

    On the otherside of the coin, sometimes my thankfulness, joy and appreciation for God’s blessings in my life is overshadowed by a sense of guilt because I fully realize how many wonderful things I have been given relative to others. So, it seems that this aspect of our Christian walk is always something that we need to work on and be sensitive to allow our precious Savior to lead us in generosity towards the brethren and to the spreading of His Word.

    Grace and peace in Christ, charisse

  31. For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” Note: Paul never told the members of the Christian Church to give their tithes or tithe on their wages or Social Security to pay the gospel ministers. Tithe paying was a law given only to Israel under the old covenant.

  32. Chris says:

    An interesting thought about Melchizedek was that he was the priest of God because he was the ‘reigning patriarch’ of the day. He was the oldest remaining decendant of Noah according to the biblical genealogies.

    If Melchizedek was Shem, (and it is confirmed historically as Shem was still alive at the time Abraham ‘tithed’)…..then perhaps it could be interpreted that when we receive a ‘patriarcal blessing’ we are also free to respond by giving a tithe of any spoils of war we have on us at the time?

    Abraham did not (according to the bible) EVER tithe of his own wealth …. nor was anyone in the Old or New Testament ever told to do this!

    Chris

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