For many Christians in a New Testament church it might come as a surprise that a 10% tithe, or a tithe at all, is not required.
Lon Hetrick at Average Us wrote a blog entry titled Why Pastors Should't Teach Tithing and it begins this way--
Were you taught the tithing system? I was. I believed it, practiced it, and even preached it myself. But no more. ... The system goes like this:
- Tithing is commanded by God.
- Therefore, Christians should give 10% of their income to their “storehouse” (i.e. the church you attend).
- God promises to bless people who tithe.
- Failing to tithe is disobedient to God, robs Him of His due, and shows that you don’t trust Him to provide for your needs with the remaining 90% of your income.
- God withholds His blessing from non-tithers, and they forfeit the peace of mind and security which tithers alone enjoy.
As much as I love church life, there is one thing that I have a peeve about. It is when a church decides to carry debt, the tithes and offerings start to decline, the powers-that-be get nervous, and the pastor decides to
Here is Dr MacArthur at Grace to You on tithing:
Does God require me to give a tithe of all I earn?
Leviticus 27:30-33; Deuteronomy 14:22-29; Exodus 25:2; 1 Chronicles 29:9
Two kinds of giving are taught consistently throughout Scripture: giving to the government (always compulsory), and giving to God (always voluntary).
The issue has been greatly confused, however, by some who misunderstand the nature of the Old Testament tithes. Tithes were not primarily gifts to God, but taxes for funding the national budget in Israel.
Because Israel was a theocracy, the Levitical priests acted as the civil government. So the Levite's tithe (Leviticus 27:30-33) was a precursor to today's income tax, as was a second annual tithe required by God to fund a national festival (Deuteronomy 14:22-29). Smaller taxes were also imposed on the people by the law (Leviticus 19:9-10; Exodus 23:10-11). So the total giving required of the Israelites was not 10 percent, but well over 20 percent. All that money was used to operate the nation.
All giving apart from that required to run the government was purely voluntary (cf. Exodus 25:2; 1 Chronicles 29:9). Each person gave whatever was in his heart to give; no percentage or amount was specified.
New Testament believers are never commanded to tithe. Matthew 22:15-22 and Romans 13:1-7 tell us about the only required giving in the church age, which is the paying of taxes to the government. Interestingly enough, we in America presently pay between 20 and 30 percent of our income to the government--a figure very similar to the requirement under the theocracy of Israel.
The guideline for our giving to God and His work is found in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7: "Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver."
“This article originally appeared here at Grace to You” in accordance with their general copyright policies.
Personally I believe the bible is clear on giving. We are to meet each other's needs, to give generously, and sacrificially. We are to support our pastor and staff at the church. I believe firmly the bible teaches this.
But I don't like it when pastors who don't preach verse by verse feel free to pick and choose topics to preach on depending on their personal preference, fears, wants, vengeances, or perceived needs of the church members or the church in general. In this way, when money is tight, their go-to passage is Malachi and we're off and running with the pressure to give. ('Oh, nooo, the balloon payment is coming up!) This often means that people are targeted, or passages get left unpreached, and sometimes the meaning gets twisted, as so often the Malachi verse does. Worse, the giving that is done after these sermons tends to be emotional rather than cheerfully biblical.
If a pastor preaches verse-by-verse, money sermons will only come up when the text demands it. Everyone will be clear that the sermon isn't a personal point he's making to drive home, targeted at a church need, a controversy only a few know about, or personal likes or dislikes of the pastor, but simply a providential organization of sermons ordained by God as His under-shepherd preaches through the text.
Giving sacrificially doesn't mean giving wantonly or recklessly. So often the Malachi verse on tithing is not only incorrectly applied to New Testament churches but is taken a step further by telling people to sow a seed, and you will reap a harvest, meaning, give money you don't have and it will come back to you ten fold just because God will be so impressed with you. We are to shepherd our finances, not throw money away on a great adventure of testing God. You notice the Christians in the book of Acts sold property to give to the church, but they didn't take a loan, give the loan money, and expect God to subsidize the debt until the property was sold off. They sacrificed, had the money in hand first, and laid it at the Apostles feet. (Acts 4:34).
Here is an essay called Their Greed, Your Seed: Apostasy in the Church Part 3, addressing the 'sow a seed' issue.
I urge you to search out the New Testament biblical stance on tithing, and giving- because the two are not the same. Be sure to give generously as your finances allow, biblically and cheerfully!
Does the teaching on tithing in Malachi 3:9-10 apply to us today?
What does the bible say about sowing and reaping?
Are we obligated to tithe?
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