Civil tithing debate

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Soulman, Nov 25, 2005.

  1. Soulman

    Soulman
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    It seems like it's time to clarify the issue of tithing vs. giving again. I beleive one of the biggest deceptions in fundamentalisim today is the issue of the tithe. It has been demonstrated on this board and careful study that the tithe as practised in the O.T. does not apply to the N.T. church. Proponents of the tithe have only thus far been able to give opinion and conjecture to support their opinion that the tithe is still relevant.

    Lets' respond after study. Not canned responses as in the past. The bible says we can know the truth! As christians we should be able to study the Word and at least come close to the same conclusions. Lets' give it a shot!

    Here is a tithing summary by Dave Combs. Lets keep it civil and scriptural.

    Tithing Summary

    Much of the material in this summary was gleaned from Dave Combs'
    excellent article on tithing found at his web site.

    1. There is no mandate anywhere in the New Testament for tithing. The word "tithe" or "tithes" appears eight times in the New Testament, and each time it is used is in reference to an Old Testament event or a concurrent Jewish practice.

    2. The epistles contain numerous admonitions, exhortations, and rebukes because of numerous sins and spiritual problems, but one is never mentioned for failure to tithe.

    3. Hebrews 7:5 states quite clearly that only the sons of Levi had a commandment to receive tithes, not pastors or other religious leaders:

    4. The Mosaic Law was given to Israel through Moses, not to the Church. If Christians are supposed to tithe, then what about circumcision, worshipping on Saturday, observing the holy convocations (Passover, Feast of Tabernacles, etc.), animal sacrifices, a tabernacle, and all the other components of the ceremonial law? Numbers 18:26-28 says that the Levitical priests are to offer up a heave offering to the Lord when they receive the tithes of the children of Israel. Shouldn't pastors conduct heave offerings when they receive tithes as well?

    5. The statements Jesus makes about tithing (Matt. 23:23; Luke 11:42, 18:12) are all indicative, not imperative. A plain interpretation of these passages doesn't reveal any command that tithing should be continued into the Church Age, which began at Pentecost.

    6. Christians who mandate tithing are making the same mistake as the Judaizers. They believed that faith in Jesus Christ is not enough, and certain aspects of the Mosaic Law needed to be retained for salvation and/or sanctification. In fact, the Apostle Paul stated in Galatians 5:3 that we are "a debtor to do the whole law" if we get circumcised or keep any other aspect of he law with the belief that this will add to what Christ already did on the cross. Today, circumcision is not an issue in the Church, but tithing certainly is. If the Apostle Paul were alive today, he might very well have written Galatians 5:2-3, substituting the word "tithe" for "circumcision, "Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye [tithe], Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that [tithes], that he is a debtor to do the whole law." This is a very sobering concept coming from the Apostle Paul. A person who is a "debtor to do the whole law" describes an unsaved person seeking justification by trying to keep the law.

    7. Undoubtedly, the Judaizers of Paul's time used God's command to Abraham that he be circumcised (Gen 17:11) as a proof text to illustrate that believers in the Church Age also need to circumcised. In much the same way, many of the modern Judaizers use Abraham's giving a tenth to Melchizedek after the defeat of Chedorlaomer (Genesis 14:17-20) as an example of how tithing should be performed by Christians. Since the cross, however, Abraham’s tithe has no more application to Christians than his circumcision.

    8. The Levitical priesthood has been replaced with the priesthood of believers (1 Pet 2:5, 2:9). So from this perspective, all that we have, money, possessions, spiritual gifts, belong to the Lord, not just a tenth of our income. Since NT giving is discretionary, and not based on a demand of a set percentage, this should dispel the common notion that one-tenth of our income is somehow "holy," as if God is some sort of a divine accountant.

    9. Those involved in full-time ministry should be supported by the people they serve (1 Cor. 9:7-14, 1 Tim 5:17-18). A careful review of New Testament giving reveals to us that our contributions should not only be to support our local ministries, but also meet the basic needs of poverty stricken fellow Christians (Acts 2:44-45, 4:32-37, 1 Cor. 16:1-3, 2 Cor. 8:1-13, 1 Tim. 6:17-19). There was organized giving within local congregations to care for believing widows and orphans who had no other family to rely on (Acts 6:1-4, 1 Tim. 5:1-16).

    10. 2 Corinthians chapters 8-9, and 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 state that a Christian is to evaluate the needs of others and to give as he is able to. NO PERCENTAGE GUIDELINES ARE EVER GIVEN. The Apostle Paul had ample opportunity to use the word "tithe" or at east mandate it as a standard to be preserved, but instead Paul gives us new rules for giving, which would supersede the Old Testament law for giving. If there is any single verse in the New Testament that nullifies the "tithing in the Church age" doctrine, it would be 2 Cor 9:7, which says, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give: not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."

    11. Love is to be our motivation, not compulsory legalism (Hosea 6:6, Micah 6:6-8, Mark 12:28-34, 1 Cor 13:1-7). How much consideration we have for the poor, for example, is an indication of our spiritual condition (1 John 3:17).

    12. Those who preach the "tithe" as doctrinally applying to Christians are wresting the Scriptures to conform to their belief at the expense of the truth. They either through ignorance, from fear of ridicule of those like-minded, or from not wanting to admit what they always taught was wrong, continue to apply Old Testament practices in the New Testament, in essence placing those who hear them under the bondage and curse of the Mosaic Law (Gal. Ch. 3).
     
  2. Watchman

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    Yes, we are not under the law it was used to support the tribe of Levi; that is the case that can be made on one side.
    Do we want to be less generous those under the Old Testament? That is a good point on the other side.
    All of us will stand at the Judgement Seat of Christ. It is written the Lord loveth a cheerful giver: perhaps that will be the most important thing, our attitude toward giving.
     
  3. Ps104_33

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    Very cogent arguement soulman. I agree. Those that agree with the Old testament tithe think that those of us who dont, do not give enough. But there are times when one will give more than a tithe, sometimes less. It is the Lord that leads, not the law.
    I have found that the biggest proponents for tithing are Baptists pastors who are afraid thast their flock wont give enough so they scare them into giving 10% in order to meet the budget.
    "If you dont tithe, God will get your money some other way blah blah....."
     
  4. HankD

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    Another point is that the tithe was agriculturally based upon the increase of crops and animals in the Land.

    If one planted 10 bushels of wheat and reaped 500 bushels then that one owed the Lord 50 (or 49 on the increase).

    Also under the law the wage earner was not expected to tithe even if he lived in the Land.

    The NT principle of giving is relatively simple.

    1. By faith: The just shall live by faith.
    2. a private matter between God and his child.
    3. The "blessing" based upon proportionate reaping and sowing, not tithing.

    2 Corinthians 9:6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
    7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
    8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

    So, if a man purposes in his heart to tithe (or any other scheduled giving) by faith and has peace and joy toward God for his giving then there is no problem.

    In this case concerning the law vs. grace, the tithe is one option of many (either more or less) according to the believer's free will and disgression.

    Out of faith and not grudgingly, or of necessity are the operative phrases.

    The pastoral exhortation to give IMO should NEVER be out of the OT "necessity" of the tithe but out of the New Covenant promise He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully .

    Or stronger:

    Galatians 6
    7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
    8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
    9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

    The things we acquire for the flesh which in and of themselves may not be wrong will eventually rust away and be lost. On the other hand, as the children of God we can "invest in heaven" which we will reap in heaven (and even here as well).

    HankD
     
  5. AresMan

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    HankD. Good post. To me, the biggest issue is for people to understand what exactly tithing was in the Old Testament. It was God's agricultural tax and welfare system for the theocratic government of the nation of Israel. It was also part of the ceremonial law. It cannot be equated to 10% of one's income.

    Notice that tithes were always of agricultural products. No, the Israelites were not only an agricultural people. I can assure you they had clothes, houses, and money too.

    In fact, money did play a part in the tithe law:
    Money was necessary to carry titheable commodities to the place of celebration. Money was never a titheable commodity. There is no where in Scripture where one can find anyone tithing money.
    Also, every first and second year, the tithe was a local collaborative celebration. Everyone ate their own tithes together and shared it. Every third year the tithe was laid outside the gates so that people who had need could be sustained. If tithing were required for the church, they certainly are not observing it correctly.

    [ November 25, 2005, 08:26 PM: Message edited by: AresMan ]
     
  6. exscentric

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  7. AresMan

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    Yes, good verse. Notice also that no "tithe" is mentioned. These were "gifts". The point being that you should give all that you can give and not limit yourself (whether upper or lower) to a phantom 10% mandate, which cannot accurately be correlated to the ceremonial agricultural tithe laws for Israel.
     
  8. fatbacker

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    I may not be that smart but maybe I can be corrected about those who say we are not under the law but under grace. I realize we are saved by God's grace and not works so don't read anything into it.

    I recall Jesus saying that He came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it. We know that He did not in anyway, shape or form mess that part up. So how is it that most of us say we are supposed to be Christ like and eliminate the parts of the law that we do not agree with, like for example oooohhh ummm....I dunno...lets say tithing? We are saved by grace but prove our devotion through obedience to Christ which as far as I can tell would be to honor the laws which were set in front of us as guidlines to living. The prophet Samuel told King Saul the God desires obedience before sacrifice. I am sure that has not changed from OT to the NT.

    The only laws I know of that changed were the sacrifice of animals and other grain offerings for the forgiveness of sins. I need to be corrected if wrong but I am pretty sure I am not wrong. I know all of that was to fortell the future coming of Crhist and was a temporary way until that to be forgivin of their sins. As far as I can tell from the OT they were forgivin by the blood of animals and cleansed of their sins which still ment they were not able to do anything on their own volition to forgive themselves but still had to obey the law required of them.

    Can I be Christ like and not attempt to fulfill the law like Jesus did? Jesus fulfilled the law out of obedience. Tithing will not get us to heaven but it is an act of obedience to the law.

    How many of the laws from the old testament are still supposed to be followed into the new testament? Other than sacrficial laws I would assume that all of them are still supposed to be followed out of obedience to Christ.

    If I am wrong I would like a list of all the laws that are still supposed to be adhered to and all the ones that are not valid anymore. Heck if the law of thou shalt not murder has no more meaning than their a few people I need to go revisit and there are a few goodies I would like to go pick up at the hardware store and not really have to pay for them and my neighbor has a great riding lawnmower that I think would be much better in my shed than his and his truck too.

    And I have yet to be in a denominational or non denominational church that says you do not need to tithe.

    If you really analyze why God chose 10% as the required amount it can be quit comforting to those who want to please God.
    1. You know how much to give with out feeling guilty for not giving enough.
    2. It challenges those who love God and yet are really cheap and miserly and keeps them accountable.
    3. It can keep you from compromising your giving when it isn't convienient and keeps us believers consitent in our giving. We humans can easily get out of good habits.
    4. It helps you to see what kind of priority money is over God in your life or if it is.
    5. Knowing your giving 10% every paycheck really helps you to see what are needs and what are wants. In other words is your 10% cutting into your wants.
    6. Again it helps you to be consitent on giving to God and giving in general.
    7. Last but not least, at least God does not require 90% of our earnings and let us only keep 10%. Hey we have a generous God.

    God does not need our money and it is for our benifit to tithe not His.
     
  9. Soulman

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    Fatbacker,
    If God wanted the church to tithe He would have told us to do so. He did not. He told us to give.

    Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

    Quote:"Can I be Christ like and not attempt to fulfill the law like Jesus did?"

    Acts 15:24
    Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:

    Romans 2:25
    For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.

    James 2:10
    For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.


    Jesus fulfilled the law because the law was not possible to be followed. If we are to follow the law, we better follow all of it. No one has EVER gone to heaven following the law.

    Tithing as practised in the O.T. is not even applicable to the church. Hebrews 7:5 states quite clearly that only the sons of Levi had a commandment to receive tithes, not pastors or other religious leaders.

    No man in the entire bible has EVER been given the authority to exact 10% of a mans wages.

    We should give to support our ministries. We should give as much as we can. But to say the O.T. system of tithing was carried over into the N.T. is a lie. Those in authority and power know it as well. They simply use it as a strong arm tactic because they aren't willing to trust God with their finances.

    Often pastors will tell you to give your 10% minimum or you are robbing God. Give no matter how many kids and bills you have. No matter what your circumstance is, God will bless.He will bless your finances if you will trust Him and give.

    UNBIBLICAL!! The bible doesn't say that anywhere.

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

    We are to provide for our families. We are to pay our bills. We are to give to God as the spirit leads. Like it or not, that is N.T. and the way it was set up by God. We can rationalize all we want. But it doesn't justify what just is not applicable in the N.T.
     
  10. AresMan

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    My whole issue with the church tithing thing is that 10% of one's monetary income was never ever what tithing meant all throughout the Bible. Tithing was always 10% of the yearly increase of one's harvest. The first and second year you ate your own tithe (kind of like the other observed yearly feasts). The third year is when you laid your tithe outside your gates for the Levite, the fatherless, the widows, and the foreigners: 10% of the increase of one's agriculture--not monetary income. There is a big difference.
    It was agriculture only, and this was not because they had a barter system. Deuteronomy 14 clearly said that if the way was too long to go to the place of celebration, they were to convert it into money, carry the money, then exchange the money for titheable commodities--food and sacrificial animals. Some of the tithe was to be eaten by the tithers "whatsoever thy soul lusteth after" and some was to be offered as burnt offerings. They were to eat and celebrate the tithe among themselves and rejoice.
    Every third year the tithe was publicly offered to outsiders.

    The tithe was part of the Hebrew ceremonial law. It was God's national tax and welfare system for the theocratic government of the nation of Israel for all the cities of tillage, just like they were to release debts every seven years and every fiftieth year--the year of Jubilee, also part of the ceremonial law. If we are supposed to observe the tithe laws (which paying 10% of one's paycheck to a church treasury is not the same thing, not even close!), WHY don't we observe the other laws that immediately surround the tithe laws, and observe the Jewish feasts, release debts every seven years, and eat only clean animals?

    My point is not so much that "tithing has been superceded by grace" but "so many people misunderstand what tithing actually was in the Bible." Read and study the tithing laws. No where in the Bible does anyone tithe money. No where! Income cannot be equated to yearly increase of agricultural harvest.

    I encourage you all to please read your Bibles for yourselves. Don't just cling tenaciously to man-made traditions loosely based on Scriptures just because you've been taught such all your lives. Believe me, I know where you are coming from, and reading Scripture itself and not just accepting everything people tell me is what finally convinced me.
     
  11. jarhed

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    God have mercy on my thankless, ungrateful, carnal soul, if after deserving hell and being bought with a price I COULD NOT PAY, I am unable to conjour up a mere 10% for the Lord. 10%, the tithe, was the mandate of the law...Grace demands much more than the law. In my church we have about 11 families (though we are growing)...it is a small town, with small town jobs and incomes, but we support 25 missionaries...I gaurantee that NO ONE in our congregation is middling about a piddling 10%!

    I owed a debt I could not pay.
    He paid a debt He did not owe.

    DON'T BE AN INGRATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Grace demands more!
     
  12. AresMan

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    I do pay more!
     
  13. AresMan

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    I am not discouraging anyone from giving. Please give all you can, much more than 10% whenever possible!

    What I am still trying to get at is that so many people misunderstand what tithing was in the Bible. It never was 10% of one's monetary income. How can you say we as the church are obligated to pay 10% of our paychecks to the church treasury when that is never what tithing was in the Bible in the first place.

    I am looking for someone, anyone, to please refute what I say without simply repeating a mantra. Please address the Scriptures I have consistently been posting and my comments. I would like to see honest proof that the totality of Scriptures referencing tithing would indicate that a Christian must 10% of his income to a local church.

    Now, concerning giving, I do practice cheerful giving, and I do give what amounts to well over 10%. But just because I do that doesn't mean everyone else must give the same amount.

    By the way, did I mention that 10% of one's paycheck is not the same thing as the tithe anywhere in the Bible. I think I mentioned that a few times. I think I also posted much of the Scripture containing the actual tithe laws. There are quite a few places in the Bible where tithing is mentioned indeed. Not one of them can be accurately compared to one-tenth of a paycheck. Not one has to do with money, except as an intermediary. So, grit your teeth and actually read the tithing passages in the Bible. I think you'll be surprised.

    But once again I want to point out I am all for generous and abundant giving. I think the confusion lies when many people ambiguously refer to all giving as "tithing" and they think that when someone says that we are not required to "tithe" that it is the same as saying we are not supposed to give. Nothing can be further from the truth. All I want to do is seek and and proclaim the truth. That's all.
     
  14. Soulman

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    The bottom line is t5hat tithing is not N.T.

    Jarhead, Come back with constructive arguments instead of opinions as to what you think should happen.
     
  15. Boanerges

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  16. Gregory Perry Sr.

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    Boanerges....THAT was quite possibly the BEST printed series on tithing that I have ever seen!!Anyone who will give it an HONEST,OBJECTIVE reading will have to question the practice of tithing in our age.....and I might add(I'm already convinced),reject it.The so-called "tithing" 99.9%of the "professing" "christian world does is totally unscriptural both in style AND substance.Anybody who preaches and teaches "tithing" in this age must do it at the expense of the clear teaching of the Word of God.This is CLEARLY demonstrated in the aforementioned website as well as repeatedly on the BB by many such as Soulman,AresMan and many others.Truth has a way of rising to the surface brothers.Thank God for His unfathomable Grace and the freedom he gives us in Christ from the bondage of the Law.God have mercy on any that would seek to bring anyone back under the bondage of the law.

    Greg Sr.
     
  17. AresMan

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    How can saying that a believer must pay 10% of his paycheck to a church organization be bringing people "back under the bondage of the law" when the 10%-paycheck idea never was part of the law in the firstplace? Yes, I believe that we are not in bondage to the Law and thence aren't required to tithe. However, my main point is firstly that the 10%-paycheck scheme is first and foremost not the tithe of the Bible. Once you figure that out, then the whole thing comes into perspective. Please understand what the Biblical tithe is first, before you argue whether or not it is required for the church, which it clearly is not.
     
  18. Soulman

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    Well stated Aresman. I think Brother Perry was referring to bondage under the law due to how tithing is being taught in churches today.

    Preachers are mixing O.T. law with false doctrine.I am being careful to choose my words here. I say false doctrine because they are twisting the scriptures to say what they do not.

    As Aresman said, "the 10%-paycheck scheme is first and foremost not the tithe of the Bible." So when a preacher tells you that the first 10% of your paycheck belongs to God, he has NO biblical basis for that statement.

    When the preacher states you are stealing from God if you don't give your 10%,he is totally taking Malachi 3:8 out of context. That verse was addressed to the levitical priests at the temple. They were the only ones that were to collect tithes.

    When the preacher tells you that if you pay your tithes faithfully no matter what your circumstancees you will be blessed financially, that is not in the bible either.

    I am not saying that there arent blessings associated with giving. God loves a cheerful giver. He does not want to see His people deciding on wether to give 10% or pay the electric bill. If you were to pay the tithe instead of the electric would it be of a cheerful heart when your family is sitting in the dark?

    There are those that say I give my tithe faithfully and God has never left me wanting. PRAISE GOD!! Give as much as you want and can. We need to support the ministry. Just don't call it something it is not.

    If a preacher wants his congregation to give, explain the N.T. concepts of giving and let them trust God. God wouldn't have set it up if it didn't work.

    Those preachers that have unknowingly been teaching tithing should study it out and accept what God's word says. Isn't that what they tell us to do?

    Those preachers that knowingly teach tithing and use strong arm tactics need to repent of their sin. They are the ones as brother Perry put it:" God have mercy on any that would seek to bring anyone back under the bondage of the law."

    I cannot understand why there are so many people in positions of christian leadership that will NOT trust God's way of giving. It is more effective than the man made system of tithing or God would not have instituted it.

    It's time to be doers of the Word. And that means rightly dividing the truth!
     
  19. Gregory Perry Sr.

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    Soulman...well said brother....and you are correct about the intent of my previous statements.I get really tired of hearing preachers stand up and beat their people into submission with unscriptural THREATS by mis-applying Malachi 3 to the New Testament church.They tell us to study our bibles and live clean and walk pure(and that's all well and good)and then they throw all the standard rules of biblical interpretation out the window when it comes to the subject of money....and try to say that tithing equals money.They are either dishonest OR have been badly taught.I prefer to think most of them have simply accepted without question what they were TAUGHT in school or from the pulpit without question or objectivity.God gave us brains to use and His Word as our guide....and His Holy Spirit to lead us.We will all give an account for how we handled that.

    Greg Sr.
     

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