Being in debt and Tithing
I can’t even count how many readers have emailed me asking me about whether or not they should tithe while getting out of debt.
Tithing is a fiercely debated topic (read comments on the post I wrote called Tithing in the New Testament for proof) as you would expect with anything that seems to not make sense.
I still wonder in amazement at how so many of God’s principles are absolute foolishness to non-christians… I mean who in their right mind would give expecting to have more?
That said, I will use this post as a summary of how I commonly answer the “tithing in times of challenge” questions.
I will lay out my thoughts about the subject and what I have found from the Bible about it.
The Bible says that we all know in part, so I don’t claim to know the answer for everyone, but this is what I have landed on. If this is a question you are asking for yourself, I suggest you pray and dig into your Bible!
My tithing story
I get a kick out of stepping out in faith. I absolutely love it. When I was 20 I packed up everything I owned an moved to Florida without a job lined up because I felt God calling me. I still remember the uncertainty of my ability to hear from God coupled with the thrill of the faith-walk. Turns out I was hearing from God and that season was a huge turning point in my life. I would have missed out on so much and I would be nowhere near where I am today spiritually had I not stepped out in faith and obeyed that leading.
The reason I bring this up is because we (Linda and I) have taken the same leaps of faith with tithing. As I detailed in a post called my tithing experience, I explained that due to an error on my part I found out that even though we thought we were tithing, we were actually about 1-2% short. With the same anticipation and feelings of uncertainty, we decided to fix the problem and increase our giving up to 10% – even though this would take our expenses higher than our income. Within a DAY we saw God kick our income up over our expenses. I am convinced he was trying to teach us a valuable lesson about His faithfulness – I never want to forget it.
While we have been working to pay off a huge chunk of debt over the last few years, we have been faithfully tithing. It would be nice if I could say that I started tithing and the next week a check came in the mail to pay off all of our debt, but God doesn’t seem to do it that way very often. He seems to be interested in changing us than just making the problem disappear. Honestly, what good would it do if He made all our debt disappear without us learning the discipline of handling our finances properly? If we created all the debt by over-spending, then we would just end up in the same place again.
While I haven’t received a $100,000 check in the mail yet, we have seen numerous large chunks of our debt paid off over the last few years – I thank God for them and am convinced that He was involved in bringing them to us.
So, should you tithe while getting out of debt?
I would be willing to bet that if we had spent the last 3 years paying our tithe money to our debts, we would not be near as far along as we are.
Check out this video for another way of thinking about this question…
I agree with you as well. My wife and I got married in the fall of 2006 and as we looked at our income decided to have over 10% of our total income automatically withdrawn from my wife’s paycheck and put into a separate account. When I became unemployed in 2007 we didn’t make any adjustments to that and never used the separate account for our own gains. We continued the model when we moved at the beginning of 2008.
Our problem is actually giving the money away! We believe that the tithe isn’t just for supporting the local church but also the wider Kingdom. So we support missionaries, charities, and our church out of the separate account we have setup.
We almost always have money to give away when asked.
I love this. I love the part where you always have money to give away when asked.
Same here. When God asked me to challege Him about tithing, I followed Him eventhough I know it’s very hard on my part. I’m in a huge debt, my salary is really short every month. So how can I survive with this? But trusting God that He will be in control, everything’s changed! My salary even though the same, I din’t know why I can manage to survive, I should say That I can manage now my money , I can buy what I want, I can now save at the same time, money keep coming in my pocket. That’s what the promise the Lord is telling us. Trusting Him that He’s in control that changedmy life. Before, I only think if I tithed, blessings coming every time. But now I changed, I tithed because I wanted to honor my God for His faithfulness! Have a blessed day!
I certainly believe you should continue tithing. It teaches us to trust in God with one of the most important things in our life, our money. And the thing is, our tithes are what runs the church. I have no problem giving to the local church because I know that money is going toward getting people saved, and isn’t that what this life is about.
This is something my boyfriend and I fight over almost every Sunday! I make less than $140/month and I have no savings, no emergency funds, and often I’m very close to not making my bills. He doesn’t think I should be tithing, and I’m pretty adamant about it now that I’ve started. Very timely post!
I would agree also. My wife and I have paid off a significant amount of debt the last couple of years while tithing. We believe tithing is right! And God blesses obedience.
Tre Lawrence says
I like the article. Your precepts are on point, and i agree with your conclusion.
It’s amazing how the money stretches when we tithe. I’ve experienced God’s provision time and time again, when we’ve tithed in hard times.
Nicki at Domestic Cents says
Like you and others above, we hit hard times when we felt God’s call for me to quit my job and stay home but we continued to tithe. Big shocker … God has provided for over a year now. Why are we so surprised when God provides? It’s like being surprised that water quenches your thirst. He is always faithful.
I am glad to see so many others who have had similar experiences. The post I mentioned at the beginning of the article seems to only get comments arguing 101 reasons why you shouldn’t tithe – I guess it is how people are finding it in the search engines… But for those of us who have seen firsthand the benefits of tithing, it is hard to do anything else!
Janet Harris says
Bob, I have been a faithful 10 % tither even before paying expenses of my rental properties and I have given above the tithe to missions. And I have been greatly blessed financially, paying cash for everything and with no credit card debt for the past 5 years. But I am beginning this month with 4 vacant apts at a loss of $4000. I have enough in savings to get me through this month, barring any repairs, and I was able to pay my tithe as well as offering to missions but if the apts don’t rent soon I will not be able to make it through next month. I don’t understand what is happening. And I am battling great fear.
Janet, how is God blessing you? Is everything okay?
I agree too. One year my husband’s division was eliminated and though he wasn’t fired, his salary was cut in half. When we were figuring out how to handle our budget he insisted that we continue tithing as much as we had been so we continued to tithe on what our salary was before the cut. Well, I became a believer in the tithe after that experience because some how we always had enough money at the end of each month. And within 2 years, my husband had a better job with better pay and benefits than he did before. I’m a tither for life.
Can a man serve two masters? Can he serve both debt and God with his money? How can God accept a gift from someone who still is a slave to something else? If there are no other options, I would say stop tithing and get out of debt.
– jared b.
Thank you. Well said. This is what God has revealed to me as well. Tithes were not income (money); it was agriculture from those who owned land. Also God wants us to care for our necessities first that does not mean we can’t give freely to those around us but when we seek God he reveals this to us. If you are in debt you are poor. You are a slave to debt. You are also poor in spirit. God wants to use us but because we lack truth we stay in captivity. Jesus came to set the captives free; free from debt (poverty), heart aches, depression, and whatever burdens that keep us from a life of peace & liberty. When he said I have paid the price he truly meant it. His love fulfilled the Mosaic Law where tithes fall under. He wants us to give cheerfully andwithout requirement. Our only obligation is to love one a
nother. Being debt free keeps us from serving two masters. We can’t serve God and money. To know the truth is to be truly free both spiritually and financially. Then when can really serve each other.
what if you have a house loan for 25 years!
Andrea @ MommySnacks.net says
Adamantly YES! God provides in amazing ways, as you have shared personally. And, we have too had the experience where a check has unexpectedly come in the mail when it was tight. We firmly believe it was God’s way of saying He would take care of us.
@Joshua We are to honor God first, family second, self third. Honor God first and the rest will fall into place. Give to God with what he has blessed you with and he will make sure your need are met.
Joshua: Why would you think its absurd that people would give to their local church over their family needs? Jesus told the Rich Young Ruler to sell all he had and give it to the poor. The early church put all their possessions together.
And as far as not being under the law anymore. In Luke Jesus did say that the Pharisees tithed but neglected loving God. But he tells them to do both.
42″Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.
Its obvious from your post that your looking to yourself to take care of your family needs, and I think God would want us to look to Him instead.
@Joshua No debate necessary: Why don’t you WANT to give? Law or no law, we should WANT to give.
@Joshua I agree with you on that argument and practice the same giving habit.
Only 90% of your money is yours. You can give 10% with a cheerful heart in the form of a tithe, or it will be taken from you in the form of an untimely expense, perhaps a home or car repair, or an unexpected medical bill. Do the math. That expense often adds up to 10% of your income.
90% of your money is not yours. 100% of your money is God’s. Everything that you have is God’s, and he has made you steward of it.
I’ve been struggling with the tithing question–realizing the truth that I am a steward of 100% of the money God gives me, that the spirit is in me, guiding me as long as I seek God, and that I’m not under law. But also that “tithing” 10% is an act of obedience, a demonstration of faith, that the spirit could well lead me to do.
I can’t serve money and God. In fact, I am to hate money, and love God. I suppose if the spirit were leading you to tithe 10%, but you rebelled, then God could discipline you in the form of some untimely expense–and that would be amazing, because you would be humbled, and you would draw nearer to God. But I don’t think we have that kind of bargaining relationship with him.
And I definitely don’t think it’s good for us to think of 90% of our income–or any other worldly possession–as “ours.” We are commanded to die to ourselves, not to store up riches on earth, not to love money or any other idol, and to serve God with our whole heart.
John Frainee says
Andrea, good thoughts. I think when Christians say that “90% of their money is theirs” they mean that “90% of their money is theirs to manage for God.” 🙂
Cliff Coward says
So true my friend….
I think the worry is say you earn 1000. 00, rentals are 400, debt takes off 400, electrical and water bills takes say 70 dollars, you are now at 870, meaning you have 130.00 on you, I have used a net which may mean you earn say 1400 meaning your 10% is 140, how do you go about it. The debt could have come from borrowing for your children’s education which you could not raise from your income.
Joshua: I don’t care to debate you on the tithing issue because I believe you’re right in saying that it was required under the old law and the only time its found in the New Testament is when referencing the old law. I give to my church not because I believe God is going to strike me down if I don’t, but because I believe in supporting my local church and their mission to reach the lost.
Do you attend a church? By what you’ve said it seems that you think giving to the church is almost a waste of money because they’re not used very much. And I can see where you’re coming from because a lot of churches build large buildings, fellowship halls, and gyms and rarely use them.
A church in my community built a huge gym a few years ago that probably cost them close to a million dollars and its never open to the public, you either have to be a member or come with a member to get in when it is open. I wouldn’t want to give to that church either. But why not find a church that shares your same mindset for giving to the needy and support them.
Great article. I am a single parent and am having a hard time financially. I have not been tithing and am having trouble going out on that limb, since I can’t make ends meet as it is. I do donate my time to my church, but not tithing financially. I know that I need to tithe, and am praying that God will strengthen my faith in this area. Please pray for me in this area. Thank you.
No one questions that God blesses you for choosing not to tithe – you’re not alone; for He blesses many others, INCLUDING those who actually tithe. What you should calmly consider is that Scripture does not advocate the idea of making your own anti-tithing experience the law for others who are tithing. Let God be God in responding to those who tithe.
Like you, I once vigorously argued against tithing for Christians, using the same retired argument as you did – “The tithe is law and we are not under the law.” For example, so many people go around such verses as Matt. 23:23 on tithing by arguing two things, that:
1. Jesus addressed the Jews, not Christians;
2. He spoke those words before Calvary:
. . . and then they conclude Jesus’ statement (“these ought ye to have done, and NOT TO LEAVE the other UNDONE”) in Matt. 23:23 is NOT for Christians! It was not until recently that God graciously humbled me to see that most of these anti-tithing arguments are mere excuses.
You said: ‘The tithe is law and we are not under the law. If we are obligated to tithe then we are obligated to follow all the laws in the book of Leviticus.’
If that idea stands, then perhaps no Christian should take anything from the Law into his/her Christian faith. What’s more, we could also make the excuse that ‘loving God’ is also Law, and we are not under the Law!! Please let me explain:
In Matthew 22, a Pharisee asked the Lord Jesus about “the great commandment in the LAW” (v. 36). Jesus responded by quoting a verse from the LAW (like Deut. 6:5) – “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (see Matt. 22:37).
The amazing thing is that these dear folks cannot use the same argument againt Matt. 22:36-37! WHY? Was He not also addressing the JEWS? Did He not quote the same LAW of Moses? Did He not speak these things BEFORE Calvary? So why makes excuses for Matthew 23:23 and shy away from using the same rule of arguments against Matthew 22:36-37?
Let’s come back to your assertion: “If we are obligated to tithe then we are obligated to follow ALL the laws in the book of Leviticus”.
Unfortunately, that misses the true spirit of God’s ways and Word. Should we also argue the same for Matt. 22:37 by saying: “If we are obligated to love God then we are obligated to follow ALL the laws in the book of Deuteronomy”?!?
God is not asking you to follow ALL the Laws of Leviticus or Deuteronomy in a legalistic manner. Indeed, we’re not under the Law, but God has laid some godly principles in the Law for the people of faith, ie. Christians. Arguing wholesale against the Law is the reason why many people fail to consider what the apostle Paul declares: “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, WE ESTABLISH THE LAW” (Romans 3:31).
God does not call us as Christians to make our lives and worship a matter of “obligated” or “required” – that is legalism. He simply invites our hearts to participate in the fellowship of His Son in joyfully giving to God what belongs to Him, in as much as we render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar (Matt. 22:21).
Slowly, I’m healing from these typical anti-tithing arguments that sadly mishandle the Law. I’ve closely watched a few people who were tithing while they were heavily in debt. God has quietly proven His power in their lives in such a way as to challenge me and my friends deeply. I hope that you would calmly consider this as well, while looking to God to demonstrate that He is more than our clever human arguments against His Word and ways.
Okay Josh, no worries. My deepest apologies where I might have wrongly read you. Before posting my comments, I’d taken some time to read through those preceding mine and had mistakenly concluded you had chosen to not tithe – from your comments earlier:
However, if you’re sharing with us just above that you DO tithe, good to know.
I’d like to thank you for the very helpful resources on your website. It’s amazing to read many people testifying of God’s response to their faith in tithing – that’s quite a challenge, and reinforces a confirmation of those other few that I’ve witnessed firsthand. It may not make sense to those of us who have once vigorously argued against it; but God has been merciful in bringing conviction to help me follow this example of faith.
May the Lord Jesus enlarge you and bless the fruit of your labours for His Name sake.
I appreciate your distinction. However, giving to the needy (Gal. 2:10) does not negate giving in church (2 Cor. 8:24). We should not confuse them in order to prefer one to the other, for doing so simply means we’re setting our own prejudices over God’s Word.
I you go to 2 Corinthians, there Paul said, Determine in you heart what you should give so if you come and tell me something other that what Paul told me you have according to Galatians put yourself under a curse. This curse is lost without hope. I think I will do what Paul said and not what these Churches put on you.
There’s actually a balance in Scripture on these matters, while not deviating from the core subject here (tithing while in debt).
First, the basic issue is about tithing – and I observed in your initial post that you ‘DO NOT’ tithe, although you tried to correct any wrong impressions that may have left me. Second, the point was made to not confuse giving ‘to the poor’ for giving ‘in church’.
However, how many people quoting Matthew 19:21 actually obey Jesus’ statement in that verse in all honesty? This was why I said that God is more than our clever human arguments on matters like this.
You said: “I wonder why Jesus didn’t say give the money to the temple or the priests because this would have been the perfect opportunity.”
Well, if we have to raise issues from Jesus’ direct statements in the Gospels on giving, perhaps Luke 21 answers your quest for giving ‘money to the temple’. There Jesus commended the poor widow for giving “ALL she had to live on” (vv. 1-3). Do we truly give “ALL we have to live on”? And oh, you won’t find that in the Law of Moses – yet, that is precisely what the Lord Jesus commended to challenge our hearts.
It’s not quite a healthy practice for us as Christians to cherry-pick verses to buttress our prejudices and preferences. We could give to the poor in whatever way we choose – and there are loads of verses in both the OT and NT to inspire and encourage that. However, there are also verses pointing us to the proof of our love in committed giving in Church.
The one is not confused for the other; nor does God’s Word make the sort of partisan choices we often try to force-read into the text. Apart from the convenient excuses we sometimes make to justify why we choose just one aspect over the other, we find at the end of the day that Scripture sets a sound balance before us.
Thanks for your reply. A discussion on the ‘institutional church’ is a different thing from what we’re discussing. If you “refuse” by choice to give anything in church, that’s your preference – and I can respect that. However, that argument simply falls flat on its face because it is the sort of unrelated illation that most people wave for their anti-tithing stance. I know – because I’ve been there. What you call ‘institutional churches’ does not mean Hebrews 10:25 is no longer applicable in our lives. That is another subject on its own, so let’s not deviate from the present one.
The second point in yours is also unrelated. I don’t see how Scripture bears testimony to your distinction between the old covenant (we were “engaged”) and the new covenant (we are “married”) to God. First, please be consistent – the OT never said that “we” (as Gentiles) were “engaged” to God. I may have missed it, so please share if you find it actually teaches so (we’re all learning). However, the apostles did not mix up Jews and Gentiles together in the privileges and blessings of the old covenant. In fact, Paul writes in Ephesians 2:11-12 that the Gentiles were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise” (KJV). Yet, indeed as Christians we’re constituted to be His bride (Rev. 21:9).
Second, in the OT it is God who called Himself the “husband” of His people ISRAEL (Isaiah 54:5 and Jeremiah 3:14), and also describes how Israel in a figure became His “wife” (Ezek. 16:8ff). In other instances, He prophetically declares that they would be bethrothed to Him (Hos. 2:19-20).
We cannot hold just a few verses to make unbalanced assertions, even though they are unrelated to the present subject being discussed.
One thing I’ve always encouraged is for people to check and re-check whatever is being said by anyone. So yes – the references are there for what we’ve shared both ways. It’s interesting how our previous views have changed to the present, but I’m still wondering what to make of your last line above. You used to be for tithing; then you DO NOT tithe; and yet again “just for the record” you DO tithe directly to the needy. Am I missing something here?
Google has been a great help in my checking the arguments on either side – and it was precisely that exercise that convicted me of one simple fact: most anti-tithing arguments often recycled are tenuous.
No reason for any debate here, but I happen to know that a lot of the old testmant fundamentals apply to my life and walk with Christ.
True we are NOT under the Law “which brings a curse now” and “no flesh shall be justified by the works of the Law”
Jesus Christ spilt His blood as the ultimate sacrafice for all mankind. Those of us under the New Covenant look to Jesus as our great High Priest now. With the Law, you could not go directly to God, but you would have to bring them to the High Priest, and the High Priest would represent in behalf of those. That is what 1/3 of Hebrews is talking about, “why would you want to back to the Law?”
However, the Old Testmant is still valid and still pertains to us, and also show us the heart of God.
Examples: Under the Law, man was forbidden to eat the blood of any animal, whatsoever. You had to drain the blood out first and then cut it up to eat.
But that Law is still valid today, as it says in Acts 15:19-20 “Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God,
but that we write to them to ABSTAIN from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, FROM THINGS STANGLED, AND FROM BLOOD.”
We are still told by God to keep abstaining from drinking blood, yet we are not under the law, but it still applies to us.
The #1 Commandment in the Old Testament is still the #1 Commandment in the New Testament, to this very day “To love thy God with all your heart, mind, and soul”
The 10 Commandments. Even though our salvation does not depend on living up to them, because Jesus has already done that. Most still apply to us today. At least me anyway…If I happen lie, or keep overgiven change, then of course I bow down and repent asking for forgiveness.
Everytime I see a rainbow, It reminds me of the covenent He gave to Noah and to all generations there after, and no one can take that away.
Bottom line, “ALL scripture is inspired by God” Old and New Testament. Jesus said His Word will never pass away, and He has spoken as the Great I AM in the Old and New testament. He tells us to “meditate on it” “learn from It”, and also says “His Word will never return back to Him void”
Either we believe the whole bilbe or don’t believe it all. If we did not have the Old testament, the New testament would make no sense to us, and just as we try to obey the 10 Commandments, we are also still held under a Old Testamant Law “Do not drink the blood of any animal”
My whole point here is, I have read this post from top to bottom, and I can see how Satin creeps into churches or believer’s to start arguing and debating, when we should be typing about winning souls over to Christ.
I love my walk with God, and would not replace it for nothing! I have gave to people in need, bible league, church and many other places.
I do not consider my offerings as a tithe to God anymore. That is like me telling God how He should spend His money.
I love to take 10% of my money first and tell God “here is your money, you know where this needs to go a lot more than I do” Then I thank Him for the rest that I have left over. There is just something so ausome that happens when we stand in faith, even during hard times because I know He will never break His promise to make sure I am feed. If you ever stop to think about it, there are only 2 things that Jesus ever marveled here on earth. It was a person’s “Faith” or “Unbelief”
God is just, and has never failed me in 5 years. I recently got layed of here in California, and I am on unemployment right now, and I can’t wait to give to God. Like it was said above “giving is better than recieving” and I give to God and those in need.
It reminds me of when Jesus and all the desciple where gathering up money together, and a woman came up and cheerfully and willingly gave what she had with all her heart, which was: with two mites. That is why Jesus said “this woman has given more than anyone here, for she gave her last..”
Jesus concludes “Give unto what Ceaser’s and give to God, what is God’s”
cut and dry.
Advise: Pray to your Best Friend (and Father) in Heaven, and listen to Him and His Word.
May God Bless You all and keep us all on the right track!
Todd, that was awesome – thank you for sharing your heart.
Wow! Debt Free? I am not debt free yet, but I am working on it. Yes, I certainly believe in tithing. When I was laid off from work I continued to tithe with harldy any income coming in. I really don’t think God gave us any conditions in which we are not to tithe. In one parable or story in the Bible in which Jesus told about a very poor lady that gave all that she had, compared with a rich man that had much, the poor lady gave above and beyond what she could afford. Nowhere in the Bible will you find that Jesus said that if you have no work, or are not being paid not to give. I was not expecting a raise this last year at all, but received a raise much more than I ever dreamed of. I do agree God is very faithful!
Irrespective of whose argument carries more weight, I appreciate your style and sense love and maturity in your arguments. To God be the glory!
Regarding the content, I think you make some very good points. I also respect the points Joshua makes about the institutional church and the dangers of legalism, obligation to the law, etc.
May I add one thing to this already rich discussion? I believe there is a conceptual misstep when people talk about the merits of a church receiving their money.
Conceptually, whether you think it’s required or not, giving “off-the-top” to God is a demonstration of faith, an act of worship, and a choosing of our master. (That’s what it was prior to the law, throughout the law, and after the law, regardless of your interpretation of the “tithe” proper.)
When we adjust that giving based on what we think the recipient might do with it, it’s possible we’re shortchanging the process. Returning a portion back to God, as the rightful owner, should not be tainted by us then claiming a right to determine how that money is spent. It’s God’s.
God has throughout history placed certain people (even people belonging to institutions) in the fearful position of responsibility for that spending. The leaders of many churches today will indeed have a lot to answer for. However, our job is to return back to GOD a portion in recognition that it is His. Giving to the poor is something different entirely. That is something we do from the portion we have left. That portion is “ours” and we determine (on biblical principles) how it is to be spent, and for many reasons, part of that spending should be to give to the poor. Let’s not intermingle the two concept though (giving to God vs. giving to the poor), or much will be missed, from either end of the spectrum.
BTW, I rarely write anything without providing scriptural support, but I perceive that you, Joshua and Gwaine, are capable of reflecting what I’ve written against the Word of God and allowing the Spirit to lead you as He sees fit.
As to the subject at hand: tithing while in debt. If you are making payments according to a schedule that the creditor has agreed to then you are not stealing from someone else in order to give to God. So, tithe (or not. but at least give to God “off-the-top”. Why not start with an arbitrary number, oh say 10%. I suspect that percentage was well-designed by Someone), and pay your bills (creditors included) with what’s left. If, after giving to God, you are not able to make the payments you have agreed to with your creditor, then the only way to survive would be to default or borrow more. In either case, you would be out of line with godly principles. You would then be using someone else’s money to pay God. Ok, so in that case, do what any good financial counselor would tell you. Negotiate new terms with your creditors based on what you have. Propose to them exactly how you intend on paying them back. Make your proposal based on prioritization and proportionality. When doing that, make giving to God your highest priority, for spiritual reasons, not legal (or anti-legal) ones, and I’m sure He will give you profound wisdom in handling those re-negotiations.
Thank you so very much for adding to my understanding. I certainly didn’t have all the answers; but you have helped to contextualize certain issues and also highlighted a few things that I might’ve missed (perhaps due to the ‘technical’ nature of the discussion between Josh and myself). May the Lord Jesus Christ enrich you even more. 🙂
I’ve read the author’s take on tithing. In fact, I grew up believing for years that tithing was mandatory or I’d be “cursed with a curse” as mentioned in Mal 3. I decided one day to study tithing from Gen 14 to Jesus’ mentioning of it in Matt23. I have to say I disagree with the author that tithing for the Church is relevant for many reasons. There’s too much to cover in this forum with one post so I’ll just hit my points quickly.
Abraham’s tithe to Melchizedek was not the example of tithing done by Israel in the OT. Abraham tithed to this king once and never from his personal possessions. It was from the spoils of war in which he waged to save his nephew Lot. He gave the king a tithe out of respect and gave the 90% back to Sodom.
Secondly, Tithing was never about money, it was about agriculture. Deut 14:24 – 26 shows exactly what principle of tithing was. Please read it.
Third, the argument that the 10 commandments still apply so why not tithes is too open ended. Why not practice circumcision or burnt offerings?
The practice of tithing today resembles little to tithing by Israel as they tithed in 7yr cycles. In the 7th yr they didn’t tithe at all. Tithes were never given to build the temple but it fed those that did not have like the Levites, Priests, widows, fatherless & poor (sojourners).
There’s a reason tithing isn’t mentioned much in the NT, just like the rest of the Mosaic Laws. Christ satisfied the law with his death and resurrection. This is why we are no longer under the law but grace (Gal 3:13).
There is a principle for giving fully supported in the NT but it’s not tithes (2 Cor 9:6). Clearly there are rewards for giving bountifully to the Church but to say that we’re “cursed with a curse” is not supported by Paul’s teaching in Gal 3:13 which states we’re free from the curse of the law. Tithing is not the exception.
I leave you with the words of 2 Cor 9:7. “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” There is no compulsion to give 10% or be cursed as it is in direct contradiction with NT teachings.
Thanks Josh. I just went back and read some of the posts since Jan of this year. What I see is typical of other discussions I’ve had about tithing. I used to be on the other side believing that it was mandatory and God would not bless me if I didn’t give at least 10%. In the back of my mind I always wondered, why do they always go to the OT to support tithing?
Tithing has been taught so vigorously in the church that if you tell people they’re wrong, they immediately shut you off. I found that tithing wasn’t even practiced by the Church until the Middle Ages, a full 5 centuries after the death and resurrection. If tithing is right, this means the NT Churches and all subsequent Churches between the resurrection and the Middle Ages were cursed for not tithing. One person told me she was hurt because I told her tithing was wrong. I provided scripture to support my position. She said she just believe it’s the right thing to do because she was taught to tithe.
I’ve heard what I believe are the best arguments supporting tithing. From Melchezidek, to Malachi to Jesus saying he fulfilled the law. The answer is in what Jesus himself said. He was there not to destroy it but fulfill it. So I checked Webster’s dictionary on the word “fulfill”. It means “to satisfy the requirement”, “to being an end to”, “to put into effect”. It’s not that Jesus nullified the law but he satisfied the requirements. The Law couldn’t make man righteous. It was just a covering until Jesus came and did that through his death. Once it was done, the purpose of the Law was fulfilled. Man was made righteous through the blood of the Lamb.
The reason why we no longer practice circumcision and burnt offerings is because it looks backwards. The Law was pointing to the cross. To practice the Law is pointing backwards. It’s like saying the cross never happened. The cross abolished the need to practice all of the Law without exceptions. In the words of Jesus on that sad but victorious day at Calvary..”It is finished”.
Here’s the second point from yours that I’d like to address:
[quote: “He gave the king a tithe out of respect and gave the 90% back to Sodom.” unquote]
Again, my answers from the WTFB website addresses this point.
Did Abraham give 90% back to the king of Sodom?
#4. That’s another often recycled fallacy, and it may shock these folks that Genesis 14:18-24 does not teach that Abraham gave the 90% of the spoils to the king of Sodom. It is merely assumed by many people that he did so; and this assumption is completely unsupported by the verses cited for it, nor by any other verses in the Bible, nor even by the external references cited for it (such as Hugo Grotius’ “De Jure Belli ac Pacis”). Here are reasons why the king of Sodom did not get a 90% from Abraham:
(a) What could possibly be meant by Abraham’s response to the king of Sodom in verses 22-24? It’s easy to see – the moment we ignore what Melchizedek said to Abraham (because people dubiously see “pagan tithes” there), then we miss everything else. It was the Most High God that gave everything to Abraham – that was what Melchizedek recognized when he blessed Abraham: “blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand” (Gen. 14:20).
(b) From the same inference given in Deut. 20:14 (”and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies“), we can understand WHY Abraham made the statement in Gen. 14:24 – “Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; LET THEM HAVE THEIR PORTION“. Abraham was not presiding or adjudicating over what did not belong to him; indeed, it would have been wrong of him to have taken what was not his in the victory of that war and then given them to other people (Melchizedek; and his confederates – Aner, Eschol and Mamre). Melchizedek’s pronouncements in Gen. 14:20 (”the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand”) should not be ignored when reading the verses following therefrom.
(c) Now if Abraham gave 90% to the king of Sodom, what “portion” was he referring to in verse 24 – “and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion“? The spoils belong to the conquerors (according to Deut. 20:12-14); therefore, Russell and his colleagues would have to intelligently explain where Abraham got the “portion” for his confederates if he gave 90% to the king of Sodom.
The inconsistencies and vacant assertions often made by many anti-tithers leaves one wondering if they have a good grasp of what they argue. Hopefully, as these are examined, they will become redundant and consequently retired.
The reason why we no longer practice circumcision and burnt offerings is because it looks backwards. The Law was pointing to the cross. To practice the Law is pointing backwards. It’s like saying the cross never happened. The cross abolished the need to practice all of the Law without exceptions. In the words of Jesus on that sad but victorious day at Calvary..”It is finished”.
Again, the above from yours is not helpful as it takes too many things for granted. It is true that Christians are not under the Mosaic Law, but that is not to say that the Law is completely thrown behind us so that nothing from it applies to the Christian.
If you want to make the argument that the Cross “abolished the need to practice ALL of the Law without exceptions“, then you are effectively saying that nothing from the Law should be found in the Christian faith. To take ANY past of that Law and apply it to the Christian faith quite simply collapses your argument. And indeed – there are quite a whole lot of points from that Law which we find as principles in the NT for the Christian. A few examples:
(a) Christian marriages – 1 Cor. 7:39 – “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.”
(b) Children & obedience – Eph. 6:2 – “Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise)” [ see Exo. 20:12].
But there is more, and if we take your assertion of abolishing ALL of the Law without exceptions, then most certainly those verses should not even appear in the NT for the Christian. Infact, the apostle Paul who declared that Christians are not under the law, is the very same apostle who declared again in Romans 3:31 that – “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. ‘Establishing the law’ is not a matter of legalism, but of principles. This is why even though the Christian is not under the Law, yet we understand that “whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” [Romans 15:4]. It is quite simply the spirit of legalism that drives many of our brethren to immature arguments of the sort that you outlined. May we learn to see the principles in God’s Word (both OT and NT) for our faith today – for I assure you that almost every single point about giving in the NT was directly derived from the OT, and many of them directly from the same Law that we often are in a hurry to treat with disregard.
“The inconsistencies and vacant assertions often made by many anti-tithers leaves one wondering if they have a good grasp of what they argue. Hopefully, as these are examined, they will become redundant and consequently retired.”
Greeting Gwaine. Glad to hear you’re take on this.
Is it your contention that because Abram gave these men their due (which made the rest less than 90%), this somehow negates all my position on tithes? I think that’s a pretty big stretch. I also think you‘re completely missing my point.
We’re taught that Abram tithed to Melchizedek therefore we must tithe to the church. And this is proof that we should tithe from our salaries. My point is this. Abram kept none of the spoils. He returned what was left after he gave Melchizedek a 10% and those men who helped him in war their share because it was honorable. The rest went back to the King of Sodom. Nothing in Gen 14 supports Abram tithing to Melchizedek from his personal possessions but of the spoils of a war he waged to rescue his nephew. In fact, there’s no other recording of Abram (or later Abraham) ever practicing tithing to anyone from his personal assets.
Again, the above from yours is not helpful as it takes too many things for granted. It is true that Christians are not under the Mosaic Law, but that is not to say that the Law is completely thrown behind us so that nothing from it applies to the Christian.
If you want to make the argument that the Cross “abolished the need to practice ALL of the Law without exceptions“, then you are effectively saying that nothing from the Law should be found in the Christian faith. To take ANY past of that Law and apply it to the Christian faith quite simply collapses your argument.
The Galatians were arguing that the Law still must be practiced. Don’t take my word for it.
“1. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
2. This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? ….
10. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
11. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.”
But there is more, and if we take your assertion of abolishing ALL of the Law without exceptions, then most certainly those verses should not even appear in the NT for the Christian…
… Romans 3:31 that – “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”
Have you taken time to read the rest of Romans 3? Let me post some things you’ve conveniently left out
3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
I think you and others making this assertion that the “Law is not done away with” are once again being selective. Especially when Paul says if we try to keep one part of it then we’re bound to all of it.
Gal 10 – 13
“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us:”
You fail to understand something. The Law was a covering until Jesus came and fulfilled its purpose. He established it. He satisfied the requirement. God always intended man to live righteous and Jesus made this possible.
“the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
As you have pointed out, the NT teaches the same righteous principles however what it DOESN’T teach is practice of the Mosaic Laws. What it DOES teach is that we are now saved by faith not the law. If your point is to say tithing is binding, then as Paul said, you are bound to all of it which means, the Sabbath, circumcision, burnt offerings, stoning those who commit adultery, etc.
I can accept your position if it wasn’t so selectively expedient in its form. To defend tithing while not practicing any other part of the law is hypocrisy at its finest.
We all know that God doesn’t change. His plan has always been to have a relationship with man. Clearly His instruction to Israel was a representation of His son Jesus and what he would do. Why tithing is the only part of the law that’s still necessary quite honestly is baffling.
My testimony on finances.
Tithing works wonders. Whan i got the revelation on tithing i wish i was doing it before. The moment i started to tithe i saw the floodgates of heaven open for me . I did not rec’d a huge amt at one given time but i experience Issiah 45 : 3 working madly for me. God gave me an instruction to move from one location to another this involve renting i did not have a job. I thought to .myself this is crazy. but stepping out in obedience i realise the word works.
I move into a house with out one penny to pay the next month rent, while living in the house the Holy Spirit spoke. He said check a particular area in the house & more than 2000.00usd was found stuck away in an old abandoned bag with bits of paper that had look like garbage. As i continue to walk in his obedience my debts written off , money was found on my bank a/c that i new nothing about & i can go on & on. The acts of the apostles is still writing. Be encourage continue to tithe & walk in God’s obedience. The wealth of the wicked is store up for the just. Ecclesiastes 2:26, 10:19 (read).
We have been asking ourselves this question for the past 6-months. Due to a large debt load the 10% tithe eliminates any spending for food or gasoline for the month. I don’t know how my wife has been pulling off paying the bills because of our debt but she has and the creditors are not calling. She is amazing. We have forced savings of about $120 a month and 2009 was the first year we did not use credit for Christmas! We are slooowwly making headway but we will be upside down for a while. We are praying for God’s help / direction and we are trusting Him. We started tithing almost 1 year ago.
Hey Josh. It’s good to see you again. As both a past tither and now a giver I’ve learned long ago this subject is a stronghold. Some will never believe otherwise, even when confronted with compelling truth.
First, there’s nothing wrong the giving of 10%. The bondage comes in when they believe that the Father demands payment from His children. The one consistent thing some simply refuse to read is that tithing given in the Mosaic Law was purposed for consumption. Let me share a revelation I found in studying the tithe.
We know that tithing is part of the Mosaic Law. We know that the law was a covering, pointing to the acts of Jesus who ultimately fulfilled the law . With tithing came instruction from God to consume it. It took care of those who did not have (the poor, fatherless, widows, etc). They even tithed to themselves twice during the tithing cycle.
Fast forward. When we look at the acts of Jesus in the NT, we see that it was those who were less fortunate that he commanded we take care of (Matt 25:40). He wanted their needs satisfied. During the last supper, Jesus gave them bread. He told the disciples to eat it; it was his body broken for them. He gave them wine and said to drink it. It was his blood he shed for them.
I believe there’s a direct correlation with the consumption of the tithe and the consumption of the last supper. Now I know this is deeper than some want to go but God is a God of purpose and in every instance we see God’s instruction to consume it. I believe it was symbolic to Christ satisfying the needs of all, especially the less fortunate and to accept his gift within to be everlastingly satisfied. It’s the covenant connector between man & God through Jesus our mediator.
Been quite a while, and I trust you’re doing well?
I wish my reply would be brief, but can’t help making quite a load of points – I’ll try.
1. Jeff: [Is it your contention that because Abram gave these men their due (which made the rest less than 90%), this somehow negates all my position on tithes?]
Gwaine: You should see that was not my point. If you want more information to see precisely what I pointed out, read it again – or better still, follow the link where I reposted my initial reply from and see I was not tending to literalism. I have always maintained that my take on these things are not dogmatic literalism, so it is inconsequential for us to be quibbling on who was getting 10% or 90% and so forth.
2. Jeff: [The rest went back to the King of Sodom. Nothing in Gen 14 supports Abram tithing to Melchizedek from his personal possessions but of the spoils of a war he waged to rescue his nephew.]
Gwaine: I don’t think it is necessary to keep pushing that fallacy – I have dealt with it, and shown that even the very source that Russell used to argue his misconceptions say the direct opposite! Do you want me to repost the same section yet again? If no, I would have hoped that you showed me how Abraham could take something that was not his and then given it to other people – that would be theft and nothing else. However, because that act was not a theft but showed that the spoils belonged to Abraham, I have demonstrated that same – taking care that I did not violate the principles of Biblical exegesis. Could you show me how I violated those principles?
3. Jeff: [In fact, there’s no other recording of Abram (or later Abraham) ever practicing tithing to anyone from his personal assets. ]
Gwaine: that in itself is a non-issue. The Bible clearly refers to that act of Abraham as ‘TITHES’ in both the OT and NT. I have often asked anti-tithers to please refute that and show us the Bible did not mean to have referred to them as “tithes”. How many times would we have to wait to see Abraham “repeatedly” give tithes before we are satisfied to qualify them as ‘tithes’? I think these unnecessary objections show only one thing: many Christians seem to have taken their eyes off God’s Word and are too busy complaining here and there on non-essentials.
4. Jeff: [The Galatians were arguing that the Law still must be practiced. Don’t take my word for it]
Gwaine: No, I didn’t take your word for it – but you jumped to conclusions without calmly seeing the huge implications of your literalism. Bro, may I once again repeat myself for the umpteenth time: I don’t argue ‘doctrinal literalism’ – that, I suppose, is the same thing that Galatians 3 cautions us against on “WORKS of the Law”, verse 2. It is not a mechanical adherence to what the Law says, but rather its principles.
This is why you will not find any of the apostles encouraging ‘works of the Law’ even though they predicated a whole lot of NT teachings on the declarations of the same OT Law. Please let me know if you want me to once again reproduce the many examples I already gave to show the difference between ‘literalism’ of “works” and the ‘principles’ of “faith” – I would be glad to do so yet again.
5. Jeff: [Have you taken time to read the rest of Romans 3? Let me post some things you’ve conveniently left out
3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. . .]
Gwaine: Indeed, I took time to study the whole of Romans and other books dealing with the Law, and my reply is the same thing as above in distinguishing between ‘literalism’ of “works” and the ‘principles’ of “faith”. Even the sections you posted (and thanks) are not saying anything different – else, did you miss the factual mention of “the DEEDS of the law “?? Have I been pushing for the dogmatic literalism of “DEEDS/WORKS” of the Law?
So, whatever happened to the gazillion repetitions in the other blogs I made of “PRINCIPLES”? Perhaps, I should just simply remind you of 2 Corinthians 3:6 – ‘not of the letter’ (ie., NOT AN APPEAL TO DOGMATIC LITERALISM!). When we tend to see only literalism in the reading of the OT, how shall ever, ever come to touch the spirit of God’s Word? You still haven’t shown me the real issue in your queries, which I would have hoped for more than anything else.
6. Jeff: [I think you and others making this assertion that the “Law is not done away with” are once again being selective. Especially when Paul says if we try to keep one part of it then we’re bound to all of it.
Gal 10 – 13]
Gwaine: That’s okay – I did not intend to be selective, nor was I basing my understanding on any form of dogmatic literalism (I keep emphasising this very point because that is the one thing that anti-tithers often miss when we get to talk). Look again at Galatians 3:10-13 which you cited – it makes clear that one who seeks to follow a rigid legalism of “WORKS of the Law” (emphasis on ‘WORKS’) has missed it all. BUT it does not teach therefore that we should absolutely ignore what the Law shows us in “principles”.
On the other hand, it is clear I am not one of those making selective reading about the Law. I had querried Russell Kelly on this legalism he’d been arguing in another link, and perhaps it might help you see the fact that Gwaine is not the one pushing for selective whatever:
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Russell: >> ‘“If one of them is untenable, all the other 612 must be treated in precisely the same way.” THAT IS MY POINT.’
Gwaine: >> ‘No sir, that was not your point. Not at all; for if that was your point and you truly believe that the remaining 612 must be treated the same way (that is, make them untenable), then you would not be trying to “determine what to bring over from the OT law into Christian faith”!! This is why I hinted about being extreme with Deut. 27:26 – Christians who argue to negate “ALL” 613 laws are the same folks who are appealing to “bring over” SOME of what they negate and carry them into the Christian faith! Do you see the inconsistency that worries some of us in your type of arguments?’
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
So, Jeff, you could see what I querried Russell on – his selective reading on issues about the Law. My point was that if he truly believed that such a legalism and extremism of “ALL” or “NONE” of the Law holds in his arguments, then he should not try to be selective by trying to “determine what to bring over from the OT law into Christian faith”. On what basis would an anti-tither be making such determinations of selective choices when he has rigidly argued HIS POINT was that “if one of them is untenable, all the other 612” are equally untenable??
Again, you won’t find me as a legalist in these matters – and my discussions have been consistent on the “principles” rather than on dogmatic literalism of the letter (2 Cor. 3:6).
Now, all the above are summarised below in point below:
7. Jeff: [As you have pointed out, the NT teaches the same righteous principles however what it DOESN’T teach is practice of the Mosaic Laws.]
Gwaine: There! Have I anywhere argued a ‘PRACTICE’ of the Mosaic Law(s)? I’m quite glad and satisfied that even you had to agree with me that the NT teaches the PRINCIPLES – the “same righteous principles” – as we find in the Law; but I don’t remember ever arguing for any legalism in these issues.
Thank you once again for calling my attention to your concerns. I trust that further queries would help me to not repeat myself, so I kindly request that you consider the thrust of my comments before anything else.
There’s something that I’d like to call you up on –
Joshua: “I even poked fun at them early on for tithing and some of them now see my point as they no longer tithe to their churches.”
I don’t think we should pride ourselves with poking fun at believers over spiritual matters – that does not help anyone. Yes, you may have achieved your aim of trying to stop a couple from tithing to their church, but has that in itself improved your own church life or their own spiritual lives?
Please think more carefully in future.
An interesting thread. After reading the entire page, I can honestly say that Gwaine comes across as the “tired argument” provocateur. Gwaine, when you have to resort to repeating yourself, writing entire sentences in capital characters, double punctuation marks, etc., a.) frustration is painfully evident, b.) you clearly are running out of objective steam, and worst of all, c.) your attitude is beginning to show.
I observe a “might makes right” approach to hammering your point home: if at first it fails, try again, but with a bigger hammer and a harder swing. This is hardly the spirit-filled Christianity that I live my life for. It may smack more of legalism than even you may want to admit.
If I had to summarize your single largest area of weakness, it would be your self-imposed inability to recognize the essential nature of the difference between the Old and New Covenants, and its practical reality for Christians today. Listening to you is like listening now to an Old Testament priest–captivating, seemingly relevant at first blush, but markedly out of step now that Jesus has come to create the New Covenant. Jesus Christ has come and paid for our sins by dying on the cross and rising from the dead. We are able to have a direct relationship with God. Much more has changed than just burnt offerings.
Joshua and Jeff, thank you for standing up for your convictions. I have no doubt that you and Gwaine have spent much time in prayer with God regarding the topic of tithing.
I have no need or interest in defending my opinion, so it shall stand on its own, as shall 2 Cor 9:7. “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”
Hello Barry, welcome to the discussion.
I must say Gwaine after reading your responses, it appears to me that you’re intrenched in your position and your responses sound somewhat condescending. In the interest of time, I’ll try to summarize my position without it looking like a monolog.
It seems your argument is that the spoils were Abrams and that he tithed to Melchizedek. I agree. I never said different. I did say that Abram was never commanded by God to tithe anything ever. Other than this gesture of respect, Abram never tithed prior nor subsequent. Although Abram and Israel both tithed, the purpose for their tithing are completely different.
You say I’m stuck on literalism. While I disagree with that statement I do say that’s exactly what the law was. The law was never intended to stay in place forever (Jer 31:31-33, Heb 8:10). It was a covering until Jesus satisfied the requirement.
You say all Gal 3 was talking about was the DEED or works of the law. In this you seem to think your position differs from theirs. It does not. The law was about deeds; works and this is supported throughout the NT.
How you can completely be dismissive of Gal 3:23-25 defies reason. Is it that you are so mired in your position that you cannot see the truth that is plainly before you? Heb 10 completely obliterates your position and if you cannot believe your eyes reading the Word of God, I’m sure I will do little to make you suffer any form of skepticism whatsoever.
These are facts you cannot ignore.
The “commanded tithe” of God was to give from the bounty of the land. In every instance of the tithe for Israel throughout the OT, it was consumable. Israel was never commanded to tithe gold, silver, shekels or any other currency or inconsumable items. Tithing was practiced in cycles, today it is not. There was a complete year in which they did not tithe. You cannot find any instance of a tithing church anywhere in the bible. We can find several references of a giving church in the NT. The NT patriarchs never taught the principle of tithe in any form. Tithing was part of the Mosaic Law. Several NT scripture like Heb 10 support faith not the law. And lastly, 2 Corinthians 9:7 is further proof that God does not demand the giving of a tenth from the church but that every man should give as he purposes in his heart. Funny but this is strikingly consistent with what God said to Israel in Exodus 25:1-3 where he first commanded the “offering”.
“1. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2. Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.
3. And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass,”
I have yet for anyone to show me sound support for the tithe as it’s practiced today or in its relevance to the NT church. Tithing was injected into the church 5 centuries after the death and resurrection of Jesus. If tithing is still mandatory as it’s being taught in the modern day church, this means that for 5 centuries the church was cursed with a curse for its sinful noncompliance.
I leave you with 2 Cor 9:7
“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”
Thank you for your observations, and I take your corrections onboard. The problem, however, is that anti-tithers like to pat themselves on the back on their sanctimony – and believe me or not, I am very used to all that fluff.
I repeat myself, not in the belief of your accusation of frustration or a lack of objectivity. What fresh point have anti-tithers ever brought to the table for discussions other than their perennial legalism? One could wait eons for something more interesting or fresh, and you can bet whatever it takes – you’ll still find them on and on about their legalistic arguments. This is just about the same thing that Jeff called out once again in his recent rejoinder, but what does it take to understand the simple word: ‘principle’??
However, do you have the same thing to say to your anti-tithing pals who repeat themselves ad infinitum in the same manner as you find objectionable in my posts? I guess not. But then, the one thing that amuses me is the pretences of typical anti-tithers. No offence, but I don’t think there was any need for all the cosmetic talk you put up. If you wanted to congratulate your anti-tithing pals, please do so as simply as you had wanted to without the usual boredom.
Thanks for your response. It’s obvious you have completely ignored the essential gist of my rejoinders and yet arguing the very same legalism you already have! May I say again: Gwaine is not a legalist in spiritual matters – and that is why some (like Barry) would think it painful that I’d have to repeat that point for your sake.
It should have been quite simple to see ‘principles’ rather than legalism and/or literalism in these matters. At the very least, I’m not the only person here who has noted that: Jesse has also noted the same thing earlier, no?
However, it really doesn’t matter the accusations of ‘intrenched’ and ‘condescending’ you put forth, so let’s just deal with the essential matters, shall we?
I’ve dealt with the concerns about Abraham’s tithes, and pardon my noting that you seem to be quickly shifting grounds in order to agree with me. If you agree that the spoils of war belonged to Abraham, what more are we arguing on that? Further, the idea that he gave 90% back to the king of Sodom is redundant, no? If you have anything fresh on this, please share and let’s have a look.
2. Literalism and legalism.
I’m quite amused to find you argued that the Law was meant to be legalistic or read with a sense of literalism – let me quote you on this point:
– – – – – – – – –
“You say I’m stuck on literalism. While I disagree with that statement I do say that’s exactly what the law was. The law was never intended to stay in place forever (Jer 31:31-33, Heb 8:10). It was a covering until Jesus satisfied the requirement.”
– – – – – – – – –
Sorry, Jeff – this is where you got it absolutely mixed up. Both Jer. 31:31-33 and Heb. 8:10 are speaking about ‘covenant’, and I would have expected you to have noted the difference and not use them to argue ‘the Law’. God was promising to make ‘a new covenant’ in those verses, so please don’t try to gull the public by using those verses to argue a legalism & literalism of the Law!
Second, the NT says that the law is spiritual (Rom. 7:14), and there are so many things wrong with the argument that it was mean to be exactly a matter of literalism and/or legalism.
Third, the apostle Paul refers directly to the Law in his exhortations in 1 Cor. 9:8-14 on the matter of giving – but he does not try to apply literalism or legalism of the Law to Christians. Let me help you here:
* (a) in 1 Cor. 9:9, the apostle quotes Deut. 25:4 – ‘Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn’ || but we know he did not apply that verse of ‘the Law of Moses’ in a legalistic manner when he went on in verse 10 to say that God was saying such things ‘for our sakes‘.
* (b) in 1 Cor. 9:13, the apostle refers to the Law (cf. Numbers 18) when he declares that ‘they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple’ and ‘they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?’ In the very next verse 14 he says, ‘EVEN SO hath the Lord ordained . . . ‘ Of course, the apostle was not meaning that Christians should look to apply these matters of the Law in a literal and legalistic manner! Rather, in saying that “Even so hath the Lord ordained . . “, it is clear he was setting forth a principle before us!
* (c) in 1 Tim. 5:18, he also uses the same verse of Deut. 25:4 as he did in 1 Cor. 9:9 – ‘For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn.’ Now, a legalistic and literal reading here would suppose Paul was talking about oxen in a literal sense in order to convey a legalistic meaning of the OT verse he cited. But we know he rather was again setting forth a principle and not a legalism of the Law!
I really don’t see how you should be so stuck on this problem of legalism and literalism and yet not for an instance see the plain fact of principles in them. This is why when you go on and on about the ‘works’ and ‘deeds’ of the Law, you often fail to see the simple principles that the Law sets forth before our very eyes!
(3) Plain Principles.
Following from the examples above, I hope you’d see the simplicity of the principles in these matters? It is evident that the apostle cites verses from the Law in those three examples (there are several more examples where he does so), and yet he was not on about legalism or literalism in them!
In citing the Law, he was not dragging Christians back to the old covenant (which both Jer 31:31-33 & Heb 8:10 say was to be put away); and anyone who understands this point would not spend their lives arguing a legalism which God never meant for any of His children in the first place!
The misfortune of anti-tithing arguments is the propensity of anti-tithers to see things only in legalistic terms! No matter how many times one makes plain the simplicity of ‘principles’ where apostolic teaching in the NT cites from the OT Law without any sense of legalism, anti-tithers would never get it! And this, Jeff, is again what you sadly have shown me. Just apply the same legalism and literalism to Jer 31:31-33 and Heb 8:10 which you cited, and see if there would be anything left of your Christianity! I don’t mean that in a cynical manner, but if you would like me to show you the bane of such legalism in reading those verses, let me know.
Again, if you have anything fresh to present beyond the usual legalism you have argued too many times, then share. Other than that, the anti-tithing arguments you reharshed are quite old argument and should be retired.
No I didn’t shift my position, I needed to clarify my position. Please listen carefully.
When referring to Abram’s “personal possessions” it’s obvious we’re speaking of his possessions other than these spoils. To you, we’re saying that the spoils weren’t Abram’s, hence the disconnect. Your earlier response to Abram never tithing prior or subsequent is that it’s a “non-issue”. While some see this as significant you’re dismissive of this fact.
Secondly, it’s already been clarified that Abram gave his men their share. The remaining (less than 90%) he returned. In the interest of resolution why go over ground already clarified?
I’ve already pointed out several spiritual references concerning the law in the OT and the NT. It is not legalism or literalism when I say the law represents the final act of Jesus on Calvary. It’s not literalism when I say that the practice of the law is no longer required since Jesus satisfied its requirements. It is not legalism when I say that the law was a covering until “Grace” came on the scene. In fact Gwaine, I’ve pointed out several spiritual meanings of the law but somehow you overlook them to favor your dogmatic point of view of “legalism & literalism”.
But even if tithing as identified in the OT is still relevant, you still have another major issue. Tithing was never about money. It was never used to build a temple and it was practiced in 7yr cycles. Tithing today resembles little of tithing commanded by God in the OT. And when we offer strange fire to God, it is rejected. This is why Aaron’s sons were consumed by fire because although they offered an offering, they did not follow the directions of God on how to do it (Lev 10:1-3).
I believe the OT & NT is quite clear on the difference between law & grace. The fact that you want to argue that the law is still in effect “in principle” actually reveals your complete lack of spiritual discernment in my opinion. It seems obvious that those like yourself who staunchly support tithing need to justify the law as still relevant because if it’s not, you have no foundation on which to support this position. What’s glaringly obvious is that none of you think that any other “principles” of the law are relevant but tithing. You say I’m an anti-tither when in fact I just seek to correct centuries of a misinformation campaign that keeps so many under bondage in the age of grace.
I bid you God’s speed.
If you want me to quote your shifting around every so often, I could – trust me. I’ve tried to be consistent all through, and there’s not a dot anywhere you have actually shown the essential point of departure in mine, so why come back again and again repeating yourself on non-essentials?
That’s true – and that was why I took time to show why indeed the spoils belonged to Abraham, otherwise you would have to show us how someone could take what was not his and then adjudicate over them! That would violate the principles of conscience and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit – and up until now, you have not been able to show otherwise how Abraham was dishing out what was not his!
As far back as my initial response to yours in this thread, I showed several points why your arguments were faulty; but other than the complaints you have repeated, I don’t see how you have said anything substantial to show otherwise in mine; however, I do acknowledge and appreciate the fact that you’d agree that what I showed there still stands.
It is a non-issue in as much as it does not help the anti-tithers’ legalism. I also noted that both the OT and NT affirm that what he gave were tithes (Gen. 14:20 and Heb. 7:6). If you have reasons to disqualify that and then show that Scripture was wrong to have called them ‘tithes’ even though he gave once, please show that very thing! Quibbling over non-issues such as the frequency of Abraham’s tithes makes for very hollow arguments. How many times did you expect Abraham to have given before you could be satisfied to call them tithes just as we find them called that very thing in Scripture?
Please stop shifting your goal post! Earlier in December 29, 2009 you said “He gave the king a tithe out of respect and gave the 90% back to Sodom“, and now you’re coming back to say it was “less than 90%” – and want me to nod on that as being consistent on your part?
I would not have mentioned anything about that other than having to point out that you were still hanging around that same issue, shifting your arguments several times that I am losing track of what exactly you’re saying. Like I said earlier, the idea that he gave 90% back to the king of Sodom is redundant and false, and so you should retire that argument where you have not been able to show your case for what you argue. Leave it and pass on – or if you have anything of substance that is not another shifting, then please do share.
Please, Jeff. . please. Just do me the favour of showing me where I ever argued that this whole affair was a matter of ‘the practice of the Law’ as if I ever made an argument asking Christians to “practise” the Law in a literal or legalistic manner. . . could you show me any place in my discourses where any such legalism was made? Please?
Before you posted anything here (and much earlier in your own blog), I have consistently maintained that it was not a matter of legalism or literalism, but of ‘principles’. Here again in my last reply, I took time to proffer three examples of what I meant, limiting my examples to the matter of giving. When I pointed out that you were stuck on literalism, you replied “that’s exactly what the law was”. Now if you believed it should’ve been a matter of legalism or literalism, would it not have made far much sense to have shown how those examples I gave earlier should have been literal? How, for example, was the apostle arguing literal oxen in both 1 Cor. 9:9 and 1 Tim. 5:18 in quoting a verse from the Law of Moses (Deut. 25:4)?? I gave you specific examples – clear as the day – that you could not miss. . . and for all that you discussed nothing about them and then turn round to repeat yet another weathered anti-tithing legalism??
How is it that you just keep evading this singular point about my persuasions not being legalistic or a literalism? Even more amusing is your going on and on arguing non-essentials at length and falling all over yourself about ‘centuries of misinformation’, etc., etc. Has it never occured to you – even once – that most of your own anti-tithing arguments are pure misinformation at best? Is that why you never notice anyone pointing to principles and categorically saying they do not tend to legalism?
What is ‘dogmatic’ about these things that you would have to accuse me about it simply because I don’t fawn over to the literalism you guys have forever been forcing upon others in your anti-tithing campaigns? I asked for fresh points to the table for discussion, but no – you came back almost confirming my observation earlier that anti-tithers would never see past legalism and literalism on these issues.
I’m not the one shifting any goalposts in my discourses right from my reposts at the WFTB website. That repost was addresing the very flawed anti-tithing arguments you posted here; and I haven’t seen where you showed anything of significant departure on my points there. If you have anything fresh to show in your concerns in those answers, please by all means do so.
If you want me to quote your shifting around every so often, I could – trust me.,,
…. Please stop shifting your goal post! Earlier in December 29, 2009 you said “He gave the king a tithe out of respect and gave the 90% back to Sodom“,
I have to ask Gwaine, why are you here? Is it for dialog and resolution? Other than saying that Abram gave the other 90% back to the King of Sodom, I challenge you to show me any shift in my position. My position has always been that Abram kept nothing. It is you whom is stubbornly stuck on 90%, a point in which I’ve already conceded.
that was why I took time to show why indeed the spoils belonged to Abraham, otherwise you would have to show us how someone could take what was not his and then adjudicate over them!
Again, I’ve mentioned several times that I was referring to Abram’s possessions prior and subsequent to those spoils. Do you care to address this point or are we going to stay on this merry-go-round?
I also noted that both the OT and NT affirm that what he gave were tithes (Gen. 14:20 and Heb. 7:6). If you have reasons to disqualify that and then show that Scripture was wrong to have called them ‘tithes’ even though he gave once, please show that very thing!
Show me one time where I said that Abram did not tithe to Melchizedek.
Quibbling over non-issues such as the frequency of Abraham’s tithes makes for very hollow arguments. How many times did you expect Abraham to have given before you could be satisfied to call them tithes
Since God gave the command to tithe to Israel we see several significant and repeated references to this act. Can you show me once where God commanded Abram to tithe anything?
…do me the favour of showing me where I ever argued that this whole affair was a matter of ‘the practice of the Law’ as if I ever made an argument asking Christians to “practise” the Law in a literal or legalistic manner
I don’t know maybe it’s me but it looks awful close to you arguing that the law is still relevant to the NT church thus qualifying the tithe as relevant practice. If you are saying it’s about the principle and not the “legalisms” then what is your argument concerning the tithe? That it’s relevant in principle only not literal?
… and for all that you discussed nothing about them and then turn round to repeat yet another weathered anti-tithing legalism??…. How is it that you just keep evading this singular point about my persuasions not being legalistic or a literalism?… Is that why you never notice anyone pointing to principles and categorically saying they do not tend to legalism?
Maybe because I view that “persuasion” as complete nonsense? Gwaine, you’ve consistently ignored scripture I posted here several times while repeating the same nonsense about “legalism” & “literalisms”. In the interest of time and space I decided to address other points. Besides in my last post I addressed this point but obviously you’re not reading them, hence this consistent merry-go-round we seem to be on.
I asked for fresh points to the table for discussion, but no – you came back almost confirming my observation earlier that anti-tithers would never see past legalism and literalism on these issues.
I gave you several points of which you have been completed unresponsive. So in the interest of time do this. In order that we have no misunderstanding, clearly state your position on tithing. Your repeated insinuation of my position being legal or liter has grown tired as I’ve addressed several issues with the tithe as we practice today which is in two part. One that tithing is no longer a requirement and tithing as practiced by the church today is incorrect.
No offence, but the only difference between us is that I’m not a legalist on these matters, but you seem rather stuck on such a mentality – which again confirms what I’d noted earlier as the bane of an anti-tithing argument. Let me once more help in addressing your queries – in 3 parts since you like drawing out repetitions.
It does not seem at all that you’re here for a resolution or discussion either, else you would not have been quibbling on your legalism and falling all over yourself on non-issues.
1. I’m not stuck on any 90%.
2. I never argued that Abraham retained anything to himself from the spoils – if I did, please show me and stop gulling the public on what I never asserted.
3. You made the typical anti-tithing fallacy that Abraham returned 90% to Sodom, and I addressed that point directly from Scripture – how does that show that I was stubbornly stuck on 90%?
4. The anti-tithing assertion that Abraham’s tithes were “not his own property” is a fallacy – I also addressed that point specifically and moved on.
5. You kept repeating the same issue, pretending to have conceded, and are now asking me why I’m here? If you have conceded zilch on that point, why does it keep featuring in your replies?
6. If you can’t point to any assertion in my posts showing that I argued to retain 90%, why not let the matter rest instead of letting it feature repeatedly in your replies and yet not articulating anything fresh?
If this is a new point, I would address it if it is relevant. Have you ever asked yourself why Abraham’s tithes were specifically to Melchizedek and not to just any other king he encountered in the various places he sojourned? The point was that he tithed specifically to Melchizedek, and not to any other king – and that from which he tithed was from what belonged to him. If it did not belong to him, please show me how – a point which I have dealt with much earlier. So, what essentially in this point actually disqualifies that as ‘tithes‘? I also asked you to please tell me why they could not be tithes, and you have craftily ducked that simple request, no?
Did I say any such things, Jeff? This was what I said: ‘If you have reasons to disqualify that and then show that Scripture was wrong to have called them ‘tithes’ even though he gave once, please show that very thing!’ What essentially was wrong in Abraham’s tithing once? Was it either that he did not do so from what belonged to him; or his doing it even once was sooooo wrong that Scripture should not have called it ‘tithes‘? What really is it on that point?
Did I assert that Abraham tithed as a matter of any commandment? You see, Jeff, you’re sounding so laughable and desperate now I could hardly imagine why you’re making these very immature objections. I addressed precisely what you had posted on December 29, 2009. You did not address those points, but spiralled into other issues – which again I’ve addressed. The recent one now is to come back making statements that have nothing to do with what I stated – am I missing something here?
But even so, Abraham’s tithes could not be predicated on the Law that did not exist at his time – and to show the strength of this, please read Deut. 5:2-3 [the Jewish covenant was not made with Abraham but with the nation of Israel – how then do you want to use the Jewish covenant to evaluate Abraham’s experiences?]. This is why the query about a ‘commandment’ to tithe in Abraham’s case is rather puerile. The simple point there was that he tithed – whether you’re too busy looking for a commandment or not, he tithed. That is what Scripture affirms in all simplicity, and that is what I stand on. If you have a genuine point to make as to why Scripture could have been wrong to qualify Abraham’s act as ‘tithes‘, please show me – I will indeed patiently look into it.
This is a good question, thanks.
Let me reassure you: I was not close to any argument or idea that asks Christians to apply a literal or legalistic reading of the Law of Moses in their lives. What I have maintained is that the apostle draws upon the declarations of the same Law of Moses in this matter of giving (as well on many other matters), but does not seek a legalistic application where he does so. Rather, he made clear that he was pointing to principles in those OT passages he cited for the NT subjects he taught.
For that reason, I pointed out 3 examples specific to this discussion – showing that while he cited verses from the Law of Moses, he did not mean that Christians should seek to make them literal in their lives in any legalistic manner.
That was why I mentioned the case of the ox and noted that he did not speak in literal terms when he cited Deut. 25:4. For this reason also, what he taught in 1 Cor. 9:13-14 reminds us immediately of Numbers 18 where tithes are taught! But when he declared in 1 Cor. 9:14 that “EVEN SO hath the Lord ordained. . .”, we know that Paul was not asking Christians to do the same things as Israel in Numbers 18 in a literal and legalistic manner! He rather drew from that OT passages of the Law of Moses for its principles in the NT, without seeking a literal application of what we read in Numbers 18 on tithes.
This is the point I’ve made repeatedly, and that is what I continue to share – so that again and again, you would have read me disavowing ‘legalism and literalism’ and rather pointing to the ‘principles’ in those texts.
Now Jeff –
(a) could you share with me what passages of the Old Testament the apostle might have been referring to in 1 Cor. 9:13 (‘Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?‘)??
(b) were those passages from the Law of Moses or they are not?
(c) could you also show me that he was not citing from the Law of Moses in 1 Cor. 9:9 and 1 Tim. 5:18 (‘Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn‘, cf. Deut. 25:4)? Was he speaking in literal terms about oxen in his teaching?
(d) if he was indeed citing those verses from the Law of Moses, was he asking Christians to apply them in a literal and legalistic manner? Or was he rather setting forth principles from those texts for Christians who should see them in their simplicity?
Hopefully, by the time you carefully consider the points above, it may dawn on you what exactly has been my position on these matters. I am not an anti-tither for the very simple reason that anti-tithing arguments are very legalistic and continually miss the simple principles we find in these things.
Recently, I started tithing – and for all that, I do not try to force people into tithing, for that would be an eqaully unspiritual exercise as the tendency to force people to stop tithing. I agree with the argument that making tithing compulsory and legalistic to Christians is clearly wrong; but that is no reason why anyone should go about campaigning to make other Christians completely stop tithing!
If people are led to tithe a certain portion of their income to the Lord wherever they fellowship in the various local churches, why is that a problem to anti-tithers who are not at rest until they seek to stop everyone from tithing?
Jeff, the principles in God’s Word are simple and straightforward – and that is what I’ve again shared on where I stand on these matters. I’m not a legalist who tries to campaign a compulsory tithing or an anti-tithing on anyone; but it would be wrong for anyone to try gulling the public with with the legalism of anti-tithing arguments.
No problem – we all have our various persuasions on these things, and while you may deem mine as complete nonsense, I have waited for you to simply bring genuine discussions to the table. This blog is not the first time you and I have discussed this subject, and it amazes me how you guys would see others’ views as nonsense and yet you cannot establish your own arguments on simple basic principles without an appeal to strenuous literalisms. If you consider principles to be complete nonsense, I see how far gone you are on this subject.
When I addressed every single objection you made, your adulator Barry complained about my repeating myself. That is why I refrained from that trend after observing your penchant to reharsh the same arguments all over again, dress them with all sorts of puerile cosmetics and present them anew like they are headline news. You may shout ‘nonsense’ twice over and pretend I ignored the verses you cited, whereas I addressed the main issues of those verses without the need to go over them again and again. That says nothing about your style of ducking the points I presented for your consideration, though.
Lol, Jeff. . . this is not the first time I stated my position on tithing, let truth be spoken for once. I’ve done so both at your blog, and then at the Google Group which you manage, as well here again I obliged. I don’t know what it is really with you chaps who like to duck your heads in the sand and pretend you never see where I have stated my position on tithes previously. Please scroll above to my recent post above (PART 2) and see again that I have addressed that very issue, so you can retire this shameless pretence of being oblivious of it – they’re below you!
If you don’t like my repeating for your sake that your arguments are most legalistic, then by all means stop recycling that drama of making the same legalistic arguments! You of all people should be willing to see what others are saying without trying to belabour us all with your anti-tithing arguments that say zilch.
I have not discussed tithes as a “requirement” with any anti-tither, and your point would have been relevant only if you found me saying that tithing is a requirement! Second, the only reason you would not let others tithe is because you assume they are ‘incorrect’ until you see them altogether stop tithing!
Look, it’s this simple: nobody I know of is taking crops from Israel’s field to church every Sunday to present as their tithes – if you don’t see anything else to argue, drop it. Also, if anyone has determined to tithe a certain portion of their income to the Lord voluntarily, what is wrong with that? Why are you too driven by anti-tithing legalism that you can’t see these simple issues until they schlepp on to your ‘incorrect’ literalism? Is that why you and your friend like Joshua would go so far as to poke fun at people who tithe?
Let other Christians do what they have determined in their hearts to do – that includes their determined privilege to tithe if they would do so, ‘according as they purpose in their hearts’ (2 Cor. 9:7). I hope that is simple enough to understand, but if you can’t let it be and must needs be determined to force your anti-tithing arguments on others, please entertain us further.
Gwaine, I’ve repeated consistently that Abram kept none of the spoils and the only reason he went to war was to rescue his nephew Lot. Abram was not interested in conquering nations and retaining their wealth even though he won the war and they were his. This is why he kept nothing. I never asserted that Abram did not give the king a tenth of those spoils. In studying history I discovered that the Babylonians asserted tithes on their people as a tax apparatus. Tenants tithed from their toils to their Landlords again as a gesture of respect. It was a practice of their culture to acknowledge authority in that way.
Today the church often cites this passage in Gen 14 to prop support for tithing. Unless you’ve been under a rock most of your life far too often we hear how we are cursed with a curse for not tithing, usually preceded by Mal 3 to qualify this assertion. They point to Israel’s tithe to declare that God’s portion of your income is a tithe and if you don’t give it you are “robbing God”. The very title of this forum is loaded with undertones that allude to this disputation.
Now I think you take too many liberties upon my argument of tithing. I never said that anything was wrong with tithing. I did say it is wrong in its practice today largely because the church base it off of Israel’s system. For the record you cannot tithe less or more than 10% because tithe means one tenth. There’s no spiritual significance to the word tithe. It wasn’t invented by the bible but was merely instruction on how to execute a practice.
I read your reference in 1 Cor 9 and my response is this. God doesn’t change. His method He uses is to bring forth purpose does. The OT shows one stage in that purpose. The NT shows the next stage. God’s purpose of the law was to be a covering for sin until Jesus removed them on Calvary. You make a reference to the ox and saying that Peter didn’t literally mean to muzzle the ox. However when it comes to tithing, it is the height of literalism in its practice today because indeed the church means not a principle but to actually give the tenth.
My aim is not to stop people from tithing. It’s to free them from bondage. For the record, you can’t tithe a certain portion of your income. You can only tithe from your income in giving a tenth. Anything more or less is not a tithe. But let me be perfectly clear on something. If anyone decides to tithe anything there’s nothing wrong in doing so. However to base this off the Israel tithe which was different in its application is wrong. Far too often people are giving tithes because they believe it is mandatory and if they don’t God will not “rebuke the devour”. To tithe or to give beyond the tithe is completely voluntary. You are not required to tithe while in debt in order to get out of debt. Many simply need to exercise better decisions within their finances. Those that are truly in situations beyond their control simply need to trust God.
What is emphasized in the NT is voluntary giving. Those that give shall reap accordingly. There is absolutely no record of the church ever tithing in the NT because they understood the tithe and its inference completely. Tithing came along much later as church leaders decided they needed a way to support the clergy as the church grew.
Lastly, with regards to the law I don’t think we’ll ever agree on this. Believe me when I say I understand what you’re saying about principle. However the practice of the law was never principle to those of whom it was mandatory. It wasn’t until the NT where “principle” could be applied with regards to the law but I believe Gal 3:23-25 says it all.
So I hope you’re a bit clearer on my position. With that I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree. However it won’t stop me from posting my position in these forums..lol
With that I bid you God’s speed.
I don’t remember where I ever made any statement that Abraham retained anything to himself; nor did I argue that he was interested in conquering nations for their wealth.
1. In Scripture, Abraham’s tithes to Melchizedek were not by compulsion or anything imposed upon him. Besides, Abraham was not a tenant under Melchizedek. This was why I asked that you carefully check why specifically to Melchizedek and not to any other king in all the places where he sojourned.
2. Tithes are not taxes (please consider 2 Kings 23:35 and Daniel 11:20) – and certainly not in the case of Abraham’s tithes to Melchizedek.
I have not alluded to curses on anyone who is not inclined to tithe; but I most certainly object to the anti-tithing campaign to stop everyone else from tithing altogether. Anyone citing any OT passage to help convey a message about giving is not a big issue to me – the apostle Paul cited Deut. 25:4 on oxen twice over (1 Cor. 9:9 and 1 Tim. 5:18 ) without trying to send anyone to ranches anywhere in the world. Simple principles are not hard to decipher in these matters.
Please show me how the ‘very title‘ of this forum is loaded with undertones of robbing God (or ‘this disputation’). Please. I don’t think it is fair to let our imagination run wild on simple statements, and I’m having such a hard time agreeing with you on that assertion.
So, in effect, the apostle Paul would have been patently wrong for citing verses from the same OT Law unto Israel for what he taught Christians in the NT?? What exactly did you make of his clear reference to israel’s system in 1 Cor. 9:13 – and then in v. 14 openly declaring that “Even so hath the Lord ordained. . .”? You’re not actually looking into your Bible when you complain on this subject.
Oh c’mon, Jeff! You can’t pretend to not remember that I have made this issue so plain several times in your own blog that ‘tithe’ is not an exactitude of always and only ‘10%’. Your study of history of ancient cultures would have attested this fact to you; and even anti-tithing theologians who argue tithes from Numbers 31 are not seeing ‘10%’ in that passage either (e.g., ask Russell Kelly). I also provided you with several examples of churches that tithe other rates (whether less or more than 10%); but again most people are inclined to set their tithes at 10% and increase over that as they increase in their earnings. Do you want me to repost the same things here again??
Tithing is never taught in Scripture as a salvific issue (nobody in OT and NT gets saved by tithing); so the question of a covering for sin and Calvary has absolutely nothing to do with the subject.
However, your answer says nothing about the points I proffered on 1 Corinthians 9:8-14.
I don’t remember where I ever made any statement that Abraham retained anything to himself; nor did I argue that he was interested in conquering nations for their wealth.
My point is that Abram wasn’t tithing from anything he considered his. His statement in Gen 14:22,23 completely supports this statement.
“And 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,
That 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:”
The reason I made this statement is because today we consider our salaries as our personal wealth & possession. Abram did not even though the rule was to the winner of the war go the spoils.
Abraham was not a tenant under Melchizedek. This was why I asked that you carefully check why specifically to Melchizedek and not to any other king in all the places where he sojourned.
Abram tithed to Melchizedek because he recognized his position and authority. Furthermore Abram never gave Melchizedek anything until that war which further solidifies my point. Since the war happened under Mechizedek’s authority, Abram responded. Also, I never said Abram was a tenant of anyone, I was merely pointing out the customs of that age.
Tithes are not taxes…..and certainly not in the case of Abraham’s tithes to Melchizedek.
Tithing was a practice of their customs. One can tithe anything because it only means one tenth. I never asserted that Abram’s tithe or Israel’s tithe was “taxes”.
I have not alluded to curses on anyone who is not inclined to tithe; but I most certainly object to the anti-tithing campaign to stop everyone else from tithing altogether.
I never said you did. I suggest you re-read my statement. Furthermore, I can’t speak for “anti-tithers”, I can speak for myself. I‘ve never been on any campaign to stop anyone from tithing. I have been telling people who believe that if they don’t, they are robbing God, that this is nonsense.
Please show me how the ‘very title‘ of this forum is loaded with undertones of robbing God… I don’t think it is fair to let our imagination run wild on simple statements..
I am of the opinion that you’re being a little pretentious here but I’ll address it. This very article has links to other articles that quote Mal 3 as examples of tithing. Let me post something from this very site.
“Can you be blessed without tithing?
Some say you won’t be blessed if you don’t tithe. I kinda think this completely depends on the person and their maturity level as a Christian. You expect more from a 13 year old than a 5 year old – right? I don’t think God is any different, He knows where were are on our walk and will meet us where we are.
I was a Christian for a while before I started tithing and I think I was doing okay. I know some Christians who don’t tithe and seem to be very blessed. But, there is no getting around the fact that you will be MORE blessed if you tithe, than if you don’t. The Bible says that there will ALWAYS be seedtime and harvest (Gen 8:22). What we sow, we will reap. If we give, it will be given back to us in good measure.”
Now if this doesn’t convey that message, I don’t know what does. What’s bothersome is that those who disagree with others such as you are considered “immature” because we simply don’t “understand God’s principles”. I’m of the belief that those whom are immature are easy prey for such nonsense because they simply do not study the Word of God for themselves to gain understanding.
So, in effect, the apostle Paul would have been patently wrong for citing verses from the same OT Law unto Israel for what he taught Christians in the NT??
As you’ve said before, he wasn’t compelling them to actually go muzzle an ox. However those citing Mal 3 are in fact saying that you will be cursed for robbing God thus compelling people to tithe.
Oh c’mon, Jeff! You can’t pretend to not remember that I have made this issue so plain several times in your own blog that ‘tithe’ is not an exactitude of always and only ‘10%’. Your study of history of ancient cultures would have attested this fact….. but again most people are inclined to set their tithes at 10%
I don’t think I’ve ever saw a more ridiculous statement. Translation, “most people set their tenth at 10% and increase over that as they increase in their earnings” All while still calling this a tithe I presume?
God directed them to give 10% for a reason hence the word tithe (tenth). Giving more or less is NOT a tithe and to refer to it as such even in principle is quite frankly lacking in understanding. I don’t know of anywhere in history that the tithe was referred to anything other than one tenth so I have no idea what you’re speaking of on that point but for you to say that the “tithe” is not exactitude sounds more like doctrinal twaddle.
Tithing is never taught in Scripture as a salvific issue (nobody in OT and NT gets saved by tithing); so the question of a covering for sin and Calvary has absolutely nothing to do with the subject
I completely disagree. God commanded Israel to do everything with purpose. The ultimate purpose is to redeem man back to Gen 1&2 where man would house His spirit within and rule and reign on earth. That’s why I believe to set one’s income as a tithe such as Israel’s is wrong. In every instance the tithe was for human consumption as commanded by God. I believe He had a good reason for commanding this. Even when Jesus addressed the Pharisees in Matt 23:23 it was human consumables.
Today, tithing is strictly from one’s income. Since God instructed tithes to be edible I find to do this as a representation of tithes even in “principle” is wrong. I believe this is expressly why we see no representation of the tithe within the church in the NT, especially with respect to currency.
I don’t think that the Church has been preaching a literal Jewish tithing of proceeds or harvests from farms for Christians…
The principle is to set aside a portion of one’s income or resources to meet certain needs among believers. Yet, even though many tend to abuse the Word of God for whatever purposes, that should not mean we set out campaigning against tithing itself.
So then you’re saying that the latter church age created the tithe from one’s income and in this they reference the Jewish tithe? For the reasons I mentioned earlier this is wrong. Why pick something with totally different meaning to represent something with a totally different purpose? So if the church decides to observe the practice of tithing to support their clergy, they need to clarify it as such and stop referencing the Israelites practice because it sends a mixed message. I guarantee you most people believe that tithing is mandatory not voluntary because they do this.
Free your mind from such constraints and understand that tithes are not an exactitude of 10% – we cannot argue one way or another to make such fastidious exactitudes:
Free my mind that a tenth is not an exactitude of 10%? I believe the reason you hold such views is directly because of doctrinal teachings. Why not simply teach the principle of giving? The NT is loaded with examples of reaping when giving yet we dive into the OT to use tithing as an example. The reason for such is quite transparent
In the true spirit of 2 Cor. 9:7 and 1 Cor. 16:2, let’s allow our Christian brethren the freedom to tithe howsoever they wish to do so, instead of making rules any-which-way.
These have nothing to do with tithing whatsoever but rather a direction on how to give when the apostles came to town. The Corinthians were in dispute on when and what to give and this was to alleviate the confusion. To equate this with tithing is a quite a reach at best.
And these others:
I’m glad to read from you that one could ‘tithe anything’ – and that is what many Spirit-led Christians are doing when they set aside a portion of their income as tithes in their various churches. If you could recognize that fact, I don’t see why it would be necessary for you to keep arguing against tithes all this time. Let Christians be who they want to be: for we know that many are led by the Spirit of God to set aside a tithe of their income as their offerings. To keep harping against tithes with all the sort of fanciful fallacies you generate and ferret from wherever, is . . just tending to hypocrisy, brother.
Now, as to the argument about ‘tax’ – please! The Bible is clear in distinguishing between tithes and tax – and when anti-tithers are arguing about tithes, they ought not to confuse these matters by appealing to such notions as “that the Babylonians asserted tithes on their people as a tax apparatus” – that is just utter nonsense to dribble in when dealing with Abraham’s tithe. Local customs of Babylonians or other civilizations should not act as authority over God’s Word – if we’re going to set our hearts and minds on what God says rather than appealing to extraneous ideas that have no bearing on the inspiration of Scripture. We have made plain that Abraham was not under any local custom, pagan rites, or political mandate that compelled or ‘required’ him to tithe to anyone. Nada. Nix. Zilch.
Anyone trying to infer ‘tax’ in the case of the Biblical narratives of Abraham’s tithes is dubious – it doesn’t matter whatever theological badge they wear or how popular they might be! The patriarch’s tithes were voluntray – we all know that by now – and a tax is not something you call ‘voluntary’ even in context of your arguments of the Babylonians “asserting” anything upon their subjects. Melchizedek did not “assert” anything upon Abraham either; nor did the former receive tithes from the latter as a “tax apparatus”. Biblical integrity would require that we avoid confusing issues where Scripture does not confuse them at all; and if this ‘tax’ appeal has no bearing on Abraham’s tithes to Melchizedek, why do anti-tithers keep waving that fallacy in reference to Abraham?
To say that I’m disappointed is an understatement. Even after the quote you had excerpted from wherever on this site, you still did not show where the author accused anyone of robbing God – nor did you show that same thing from the TITLE of the site! As a matter of fact, from what you quoted, the author indeed stated that “I know some Christians who don’t tithe and seem to be very blessed” – did he not say so? Does that amount to saying that he thought those who do not tithe were robbing God, or that was what the title of his article had stated? What exactly is wrong with you, Jeff?
My dear brother, that attitude borders on slanderous accusation – something which we should eschew at all costs as Christians who seek to follow Him Whose Name is ‘The Truth’. I’m not better or more righteous than you are; but I would appeal to you to avoid underhanded methods in the way you argue any subject, even as the apostle exhorted:
Perhaps there might be somewhere else the author made clear reference to non-tithers robbing God – I’m not aware about that; nor would that constitute any reason for arguing against tithes per se. As far as is evident from what you had quoted, he did not assert what you’re trying to hang upon him; and please put such misleading ideas away from you (and be man enough to, if you would, apologise to him).
Is Tithing a Salvific issue?
Now please kindly attend to the two queries I posted in my rejoinders – if you miss everything else, you can’t miss these two:
– – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – –
The reason why I repeated them here is to make sure you can’t pretend to have missed them! Trying to dodge them won’t help at all – or you may find a turn of events that would make you truly be sober.
With love for Christ’s sake.
Wow, Gwaine… Your arrogant and condescending responses only promote defensive reactions. Do you often talk to people this way? Or is this sort of rude banter reserved for the anonymous safety of text? Either way, if love is in your heart – if your goal is to honestly communicate something you think is an essential point – change your approach. This method you’re using now reads more like a pouting teenager rebelling against ideas other than his own.
I was just baptized Sunday March 7, 2010. Later that say i attended a class the church offered called Grow. (it gives you the fundamental basics on how to grow in your relationship with Christ) One thing that stood out to me was the Tithing section. I am a very faithful person, in all aspects BUT i’m sorry, you’re just not getting my cash!!! So last night i was praying and really decided to start tithing. I was confused on one thing though, should i only take the 10% out of my check, or should it come from all sources of income (child support, tips, etc). While i was at work, i had an incident with a customer and was almost in tears. When she left the store, a complete stranger asked if i was alright, obviously noting that i was upset. The gentleman left me over a $4 tip (which is so unlikely). This went on and on throughout the night. I felt like God was trying to show me that if i am faithful to him he will provide for me. =)
you need to lighten up and relax. Each person has his or her own belief regarding this, but ultimately tithing is not required by God. Through conviction by His grace, you may or may not feel the need to tithe. It’s up to you and God. God will certainly not punish you for not tithing.
I’ve been a tither for many years and have been truly blessed. I have been blessed to experience an Abundant life. I never gave second thought nor questioned the principle / scriptures on tithing. I’m a natural giver and really enjoy being able to do so.
Last year I began a new personal journey of proving God after reading several prosperity books. On this journey I tithed 6 months on and 6 months off. While tithing 6 month on thing were good. Although I was unemployed all of my bills were paid and I was able to complete several projects. As I monitored my checking account many large deposits were being made. When 6 month off began my life began to fall apart. During these six month I continuously wrote checks and made withdrawals. No deposits were made during this period.
At the end of the sixth month my life was spiraling out of control. This is when I remembered the tithing test, I had surpassed my time of tithing off.
On the 7th month I once again began tithing 15.5% of my fixed income.
At this point of my life this seems to be the only thing that brings me joy.
At the present time I have maxed out credit cards (in collection). Second mortgage is in collection. I lost part of my income and everything else is falling by the waste side.
As of June 01, 2010 I’m at risk of losing my home…Doctors have told my 18 year old son he is dying due to poor diabetes management. I have $16.48 between my savings and checking account.
Through it all I have peace, I know in a blink of an eye God can and will change it all.
I’m writing this because I truly BELIEVE faith will get us through it all.
When I think on Prosperity I feel SOLACE. What I learned about myself is that finances does not equate to peace of mind but giving will help someone else. If all else fails I’ll keep giving. God will help me when he chooses to do so. Until then I’ll kept giving and serving with a joyous heart.
One day I’ll write again to share my testimony, but for now in this season this is my testimony; this is my journey.
Peace and Joy
Thank you, VHarris. I am a tither and continue to be even after being laid off 8 months ago. It’s all about trusting God. All of my bills are not paid, but I have never had the kind of peace and joy I am experiencing today. God is taking care of me regardless and I trust that He is up to something when it seems like I’m down to nothing. I’m waiting patiently on Him and in His own way and own time, He will get the greatest glory, honor, and praise. He’s a good God and is always faithful. Many blessings.
A couple of things (not sure if they’ve been brought up already–this thread is fast turning novella):
Regardless of whether or not you “tithe”, 100% of our resources belong to God. It seems like a lot of people are wrapped up in proper percentages here. I won’t share my own giving philosophies (see below), however, I think the key is honoring God with ALL of our resources. How an individual chooses to do that should be according to his or her own convictions, but, in any case, is not something that should be taken lightly or done without due reverence.
Someone also mentioned the reward of seeing people’s faces when you give to them. I would just like to refer to Matthew 6:1-4 here.
any thing you do without faith is sin, rom14:23 if you are tithing out of fear and not faith,you are actually sinning,there is nothing wrong with tithing,but if you feel condemned when you fail to tithe,then your motive for tithing is based on the law.their is now no condemnation to them in christ jesus. evrything we receive from god is free .rom 8:32 ,IF YOU DO NOT GIVE,YOU SIN COZ THAT IS SELFISHNESS,dont allow any one to scare you to give. 2cor 9:7 the problem is many are not filled with the sprit of God coz God is a giver you will be agiver by choice but if you are canal,then the only way you can give is by paying, as in the law,after all you cannot be led by the spirit without the spirit dwelling in you.that is why many churches cannot tell you to give as you are led by the spirit of God ,few will give
^^^Bless you all the posters above.
@PH, thanks for that brotherly observation.
@Nicole, I’ll forever be grateful for this line in yours:
‘Regardless of whether or not you “tithe”, 100% of our resources belong to God.’ So very true.
@Jeff, if you ever get to see this, lighten up. We may hold differing views on a number of things, but I will never forget your brotherly love and friendship from our first engagement online. I value you above any arguments, and may God bless you much for His Name’s sake.
I am having doubts as to wether i should pay my terumah to the church. seems absolutely silly but i am seeing my immediate family suffering and i know that our pastor and his family have more than enough money. It just feels so wrong to give to people who have so much, although they will give to the needy, when my brother battles to pay his rent for his little bachelor flat each month. I guess i also want to feel the joy of giving to someone needy and just paying it into the churches bank account doesn’t really give me any joy. It sounds selfish and maybe it is, but I am being honest. Then there are my little children who we’d love to give more for example buy a few snacks to go to the beach and little things like that, but we also live on the breadline. I really want to get this resolved and i have prayed but maybe God led me to you to help.
I don’t believe you have to tithe, but you sure miss out on God’s blessings if you don’t. Tithing, for me, is an act of worship—especially when the money is not there. It is my way of letting God know that I trust Him to meet my needs. He is my source. God doesn’t need my money. If I can’t trust God with my money and to meet my needs, how can I trust Him with my salvation? God has blessed me in so many ways, not just with money and I have no doubt that trusting Him with tithing is the reason. When I have not had money to pay the bills and buy food too, I have tithed anyway, and somehow our needs are met, the bills are paid, and we have good on the table for every meal. I don’t understand how this happens—on paper the money just isn’t there, but it happens. I can’t imagine living any other way now. I want to trust God and I want His blessings.
It’s Jan. 1st, 2011. The beginning of the new year. My husband and I are in the process of foreclosure on our home, are now enrolled in a Consumer Counseling program to repay our debt. We had only been giving a “token” amount of $20.00 or so to our church, as we don’t have extra money. We are going to write a check for the full 10% of our income this week and we’ll drop it into the collection plate. I feel GREAT about this decision. My husband does too. We are going to do it and not look back. The Lord owns all we have anyway and I believe wholeheartedly this is going to enrich our Spiritual lives. I will post later to share how this has affected us, financially, Spiritually and in our relationship. Thank you for this blog. I needed to read it today.
Praise the Lord! Thank you for your testimony! May God bless you in your efforts to get out of debt. I’m a huge fan of Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University”. Maybe you can check his website for any sessions in your area. I recommend it over any other program I’ve seen. Looking forward to your updates!
One should absolutely tithe while paying off debt. Tithing according to Malachi 3, protects the source of income. Why would anyone want to make things worse by not tithing? Tithing shows a love and trust for God and an assurance that God is first in our finances. By tithing, the remaining 90% is protected and it is just able to stretch further than if the tithe wasn’t paid. What do I mean? The fridge that was due for changing 3 years ago, just keeps going and going. The washing machine that has been shaky for 10 years keeps on working. God gives favour to get a card at Costco to shop at wholesales prices and the list goes on.
I got into serious debt by helping out people from church family including a Pastor. The church people never made right on the money that I lent out which then severely affected my finances, because of the interest on top. I watched the debt escalate out of control, because I couldn’t meet the additional payments. The payment plan was never redeemed, neither was the money repaid. Eventually, I lost two investments in an attempt to make right on the debt, my credit was affected and the individuals simply disappeared from the scene, leaving me in a financial crisis. I was bitter, angry, disgusted that a Pastor could be a fraudster.
Thankfully, God used my Pastor, to save me from the continued torment of the enemy on my health and home, because of bitterness and anger over the situation.
My recipe for coming out of debt:
1) Genuine repentance
2) Tithing on the debt
3) Working on my love towards those who wronged me financially
4) Learning wisdom in giving
5) Meditating on financial scriptures day and night
To God be the glory, I am nearly debt free.
I have now had a total of £290,000 worth of debt cleared or cancelled in 3 years. The latest debts were cancelled in January 11 for £8,655.26 and £950.00. I now have letters for all debt cancelled or cleared.
I am so thankful to God for just accepting and carrying out the word in childlike faith, even when tithing on a debt didn’t make sense.
You may say, I am in debt, where will I get 10% of the debt as a tithe. I was there.
The bible says that God gives seed to the sower (2 Cor 9:10). He did it for me, he will do it for you.
It is all about the heart. Can God trust us to release seed into our hands?
NO DEBATES PLEASE! THIS IS MY JOURNEY. IT WORKED FOR ME; IT CAN WOR FOR YOU TOO! GOD BLESS EVERYONE WHO READS THIS.
Shane Johnson says
Muslims use a formulaic approach to heaven. Give 1/40th to the poor, trek to Mecca, pray 5x day, etc. Apologetically, one of the things that differentiates Christianity from the rest is we can’t “WORK” or “DO” our way into heaven. I’m not going to get into all the “this verse against that verse” arguments. Look at it broadly: God gave us laws in the OT. No one was able to fulfill except Christ. This set the stage for Christ. He came and brought grace and truth. No more circumcision, avoiding cloven hoof; Christ asks us to follow him with our hearts and to give with our hearts, not out of compulsion (10%) but out of love. So if we do not tithe–and I am a tither–have been for years in part because it is required while working at the church–is that not a compulsion? Christ brought us a wonderful, healing salve for our brokenness. There is a fly in the ointment and it is tithing–a relic of the past that is no longer a requirement yet why is it still here? Churches. Churches want to keep their pastors paid and buildings shiny. Silly reason. According to George Barna, large churches and traditional churches will be replaced in the next 20 years by small, home churches that download a sermon and actually work and live together in a community. Making a difference in their neighborhoods. I’ve been to many of these home church meetings. They’re real. They give FROM THE HEART and as they can.
One final example of what is wrong with tithing: While working at a church in CT, the pastor was very ambitious. He wanted a 2,000 seat church but had a membership of 450 average on a Sunday. MOST of these people were in debt and barely had enough to get by. He spent $200,000 to purchase a property, that the church ended up not buying. These kind of expenditures happen all the time in the church. If it was money given by people as they DESIRED to give instead of REQUIRED to give, it is one thing. But compulsion and guilt was a large part of the message so people gave. That is sad.
Shane Johnson says
If I make $100 per week and I give $10, I would have a difficult time paying my bills. If I make $1,000,000 and I give $100,000, I get to keep $900,000 and live on easy street because my tithe has been paid? This “flat tax” approach is silly. The Holy Spirit will guide you on how to proceed. If you are in debt, pay your debt FIRST, then begin your tithing. Give during this period IF the HOLY SPIRIT encourges you to. Do not be COMPELLED by MAN or the CHURCH. Read the Bible and pray about it. What WOULD Jesus do TODAY? The law is no more. If you’re talking to a tither, ask if they eat pork. If so, why? Ask them if they are circumcised. Ask them if they have burned a sacrifice lately of a live goat or quartered a dove in the past month. If not, why not? If you are going to live under the law, then live under it all.
Final thought: If tithing was so important, why is it not one of the 10 Commandments? If tithing was so important, why didn’t Jesus say it when he was asked, instead he said to love God and love your neighbor.
I believe tithing is good, but NO longer required. Yes, EVERYTHING is God’s so well then why not give everything to Him, how about that? WHAT? You’re only giving 10% and all is God’s — YOU are falling short. See, that’s the lie.
Shane Johnson says
Things have changed from the OT to the NT:
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” (Mal 3:10)
“Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” (Luke 4:12)
So should we be testing God? I’ve heard MANY preachers encourage their congregations to “test God on this.” I believe Jesus had the last word on this one.
my husband and i want to tithe consistently so badly. i was in a situation a couple of weeks ago where i did not have enough money for gas to take my son to see his psychiatrist and i took the tithe money out of the envelope and used it for gas. i didn’t know what to do, and i hate it? our son was suicidal years ago at the age of 7 and he needs those appts to continue to manage his meds. i just want to punch the wall when i am in these situations, in all honesty i get mad at God, what should I have done. we would have had no other money to get him up there. it is sickening. right now we have paid off a lot debt but my husband does not make a lot of money and we are barely able to pay monthly needs expenses. we have also decided after seeking wise counsel to let our house go into foreclosure. we have made a lot of mistakes but we are communicating now and really trying to be better stewards…i would love seem feedback, i know God says not to worry but i struggle with this so much when the fridge is bare and the cupboards too, i surrender and try to fight the guilt but it creeps in…
I have read comments since 2009, and I must say that Gwaine has been one of the most enlightening writers. In my opinion, he has thoroughly studied the bible on this issue. I am a tither and am really glad that I made that personal choice. For all those that argue against it, that is your personal choice, and I respect that.
Same here, Donna. Gwaine has been a total inspiration. I am a tither and continue to be even after being laid off 8 months ago. It’s all about trusting God. All of my bills are not paid, but I have never had the kind of peace and joy I am experiencing today. God is taking care of me regardless and I trust that He is up to something when it seems like I’m down to nothing. I’m waiting patiently on Him and in His own way and own time, He will get the greatest glory, honor, and praise. He’s a good God and is always faithful. Many blessings.
Nomvula Mlangeni-Dube says
From my very simple faith (no theological or doctrinal expertise)
I think our judge on any christian issue ought to be our conscience. If we are led by the Holy Spirit a voice(small or big) inside of us guides us, confirming the Word of God, at least that’s what I found with me.
Am currently in the debt situation. I have been unemployed for 9months now. Had to start selling off my home contents to pay my primary monthly expenses(food, shelter and medical insurance), the previous months I have been living off my now exhausted overdraft.
Interms of tithing going forward: My conscience(conviction) is clear as day light that I have to give a 10% of even the money I made from selling off my home contents.
Like Joshua Guild, the past 5years I shared the same sentiments. I gave to the poor directly for I felt our South African churches are worse than American’s interms of giving to the poor and the vulnerable as I believe our poverty levels are unacceptably higher.
The problem i encountered is the families and children I gave to, started DEPENDING on me and Holding ME in very High Esteem like thier God. They held thank giving services for ME. I wept because no matter how i told them, it was all for God’s glory they still focused on me. I was unable to Minister to them to the level of spiritual maturity of seeing God in me instead of me as thier god! I wonder if this ever happened to anyone?
The second conviction was that where I am spiritually fed, I ought to give my tithe. I still had this “resentment” of the fact that, I know that a church(including any of the members) didnot and still donot help me through my unemployment period, that this will continue to happen to others. In my case they can claim I was not tithing there before, however they do not have programs to cater for even those who have been tithing and find themselves in similar situation.
So I prayed to God about this resentment and I was convicted to initiate a comprehensive social responsibility program in our church. I would have to embark on a change management program as this seems not to be a culture in our churches that are often happy with holding a soup kitchen once a year for 20 homeless people! The focus mainly being on bigger premises and attracting the rich to take up membership. i am waiting for leadership to approve the plan.
For the life of me I can’t understand why christians and respective churches would think we are saved to “play church”/denominations and only focus on our own!
Even with my level of disgust on this practice, God made it clear to me that this is no excuse to disobeying His Word.
Rather this was turned into a vision to establish a “social responsibility” Ministry. If my current local church doesnot transform its focus within this year, I ought to branch out and start a Ministry that will focus on winning souls out there through ministering to thier needs (physically and spiritually).
I thus think people like Joshua should deal with the root cause of their discontentment! The bible is clear “…bring your tithes into My storehouse…” Maybe as christians we need to ensure that we keep our local churches true to God’s word instead of wanting to alter God’s word due to our experiences with instituitional flaws!
Sara, I don’t see that anyone answered your post from February, but I would like to extend my sympathy and prayers for you. I feel I am in a similar predicament, but not so dire. We are paying off a heavy debt load. I would really love to give 10% tithe but have not turned my will to do this yet. It doesn’t make sense to me that when I “owe” people that I should also feel free to tithe. It seems to me that God would want us to pay back what we owe. This is when I feel like being in debt is like being in bondage, for sure. But yet, I am very torn and edified when I read the posts of those who tithe while they’re in debt – and somehow have managed to come out with the sun shining. For now I do give about 2.5% and I’m gonna continue to do that for the time being until I pay off some more of my debts. I am not sure that this is the right thing to do though, and i’m going to continue to pray about it.
3 days after my previous post….
I just wanted to say that I decided that I would really like to tithe, now, in the present, and not wait until I’m out of debt. The question has been gnawing at me, and the posts of all those who’ve tithed in similar circumstances… well I’ve been really edified. Since I decided to do this, I’ve felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. I feel like I’m free to “give” again. I’ve readjusted my budget to taking 10% off my net to include my church as well as other charities. I’ve had to make a few cuts in other areas to do this, but it is forcing me live in the present, and I am already starting to feel better about that.
Needs and wants are different. I feel like if you pay your tithes which God wants us to do then he will take care of your needs and your debt. It is not up to you to decide how that is done, leave that to God.
rob earl says
and how does the church pay these single mothers without your contribution?
I came across this website because we’re really stuggling with this issue. We have given our church over $100,000 while we owe over $115,000 in debt. All i can do while tithing is make minimum payments. Sure, we can stay afloat and tithe but we’ll never get that $115,000 paid off while tithing and making minimums. We’ve been tithing for 10 years and strongly beleive God has blessed us. We’re afraid to stop because our pastor so strongly preaches that the tithe is God’s money and if you keep it, it’s cursed money. But, the math is startig to not make sense as we’ll never be able to retire or have any kind of life if we keep carrying this debt.
We read Deuteronomy 15:1 and I thought if we’re under Old Testament law, why can’t all my creditors forgive my debts every 7 years like they did in the OT! I guess we could file bankruptcy and then tithe, we’ve been thinking that’s and option. For now, we’re just keeping both up in a holding pattern.
I meant to reply to your comment Angie a while ago. I was struck by the difficulty that you find yourself in. Could it be that maybe there’s not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution? Maybe in your circumstance 10% would be too much? I see that It is easier for me to tithe-while-in-debt than you, because I’m definitely paying more than minimum payments on my debts. And I think it would be too easy for people who aren’t in your same predicament to give advice. So I do pray that you get some godly and kindly advice regarding your personal situation, and I’m sure you’ll do the right thing. May God give you peace.
Some encouragement on tithing:
We do not read of God ever giving Abram and Jacob (Gen 28:22) any command to pay tithes, but it seemed to be voluntary on their part, but in each case the giver received a blessing….when the law was given, the tithing system was instituted and placed in the law, as if it was something of importance….while the law was a schoolmaster to bring Israel to Christ (Gal 3:24), and that law was until John (Luke 16:16), and Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness (Rom 10:4) yet it is spoken of as “having a shadow of good things to come” (Heb 10:1) and is acknowledged to typify the gospel or grace dispensation…..The argument here is conclusive. The tithing system was inaugurated before the law came, and was conducted properly….the law was only the type, and “Was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made.” (Gal 3:19). Then when the seed came, the plan was to continue after the original order. Christ, our high priest, …”…forever after the order of Melchisedec,”….the tithing system is not to be adopted because of the commands of the law, but as we have now come to time for perfect order, it is to be practiced because of a connection, through Christ, with the perfect order….During the age of the types they were commanded to pay tithes, but in the beginning of tithe paying, history shows it was only voluntary, but recived the approval of him “of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.”…The law says “Thou shalt not kill”, but under grace we will not kill. Under the law they were commanded to pay tithes, but under grace we will pay tithes….for perfection is only brought about by glad, free, voluntary service as soon as the requirements are known. Nothing said about Abraham being compelled to pay tithes, but he did it and received the blessing. (these comments taken from The Last Great Conflict by A.J. Tomlinson. The reprinting of this manuscript was Copyrighted 1984 by White Wing Publishing House and Press, Cleveland, TN)
Be encouraged, God will bless those who are obedient to his call.
I’m so much in debt…no extra money left…only have credit card which isn’t my money…its the banks..should I tithe from the credit card?
I just found your post after searching for answers to the question, “Should I tithe first or pay my bills?”. I agree with your post 100 percent. We were doing pretty good ( I say that loosely) and after taking a class at church, my husband and I decided to start tithing. Since then, I have lost my job and my husband has been making less than half of his normal paycheck (he’s in sales). This week we are at crunch time. There is definitely not enough to pay tithes, get groceries, gas and even pay one of the bills that are due. We don’t have any debt. This is just our living expenses. We feel like we are doing the right thing and to be honest, neither my husband or I have even questioned whether or not to continue paying. But this week….. I am nervous. This comes down to our electricity being turned off. Yikes. If you have any input I would appreciate it. Thanks.
Hmmm, it`s not that rosy though is it. I know this is an old subject, but I was looking for info on it, because I suppose I felt guilty for not tithing while paying my debts.
If I was to pay the ten percent tithe every week. I wouldn`t have enough money to feed my family. I really wouldn`t. I couldn`t put petrol in the car to even go shopping, pay the gas, electric, phone, etc. I live in the UK. We`re being squeezed financially in such a way that it is impossible to live, or give to God. I would really love to, I really would, but 20 percent of my income goes to my debt.
I give my time as a steward of my church, is that enough???
John Frainee says
Clayton, sounds like you’re really going through a difficult time. I would recommend giving something to God and starting with a little bit. Stretch yourself. When we were going through a financial pinch, we gave to God and were blessed at the same time. Try it out.
Clayton,, tithing is all about trusting God and letting Him know that you have faith that He will take care of you and He will. He will not do more than you are believing Him for. He says without faith, it is impossible to please Him and He is the same yesterday, today and forever so have faith and take the challenge by bringing the whole tithe into the storehouse (church) and test Him and see if He will not open up the floodgates of heaven and pour you out such a blessing that you will not have enough room to receive it (Malachi 3:10). Many blessings.
I think you all need to repent and ask God for guidiance and forgiveness on this topic. The word of God should not be debated under any circumstances whatsoever!
Howbeit when he the spirit of TRUTH is come, he will guide you into ALL truth!
The Holyghost will guide you into ALL truth, even the TRUTH about tithing!
We are living in the last days and there is no time for debating God’s word and it shouldn’t even be named with the people of God. There are so many other issues to talk about without pointing fingers and debating God’s word on tithing. We should be all talking in agreement to save the lost and win souls for Christ.
2 Chronicles 7:14
If there ever was a time to fall on our knees and pray, NOW is the time!
Seems like you could use the spirit of truth yourself. Very self righteous. If prayer is what is needed please feel free to pray for us all. God bless.
Just an observation. People in this blog that testified how their paying tithe has brought them so much blessings usually have the approval of others. No one here cared to comment on Brenda’s testimony since october last year. Personally i don’t tithe. I tried it once and had similar experience. I don’t know what you people call blessings. My health is sound but my mum who has been faithful in her tithe has illneses that have defied every treatment. God provides my needs in advance and rebukes devourers too. My understanding about serving God is serving humanity since we cannot see God. My church is heavilly decorated and fully airconditioned, but these things are meant for our own comfort not God’s. Giving to God=giving to pastor. Pastor= God. Sigh!
John Frainee says
Victor, I do know that one blessing behind the tithe is it puts our focus on things that matter: like giving, being selfless, and providing for those who are spreading the gospel.
Please John, tell me what to do in this situation; in my church the pastor must be gainfully employed so he doesn’t have to work full time. Offerings are collected for the needy, members contribute for church buildings and fund other programs, workers in the church take care of their expenses for any conerence. The general overseer’s private jet is maintained with tithe because he is the only that can spread the gospel? I am from Nigeria and all our tele-evangelist pastors do is advertise their church and their fake miracles. Even if the miracles are real, must they sell stamped handkerchief and olive oil? The whole thing looks like business to me and I’ve lost faith in this generation of churches because they are basically the same. Some churches that own universities, majority of their members cannot afford the fees. I love to spread the gospel and my gospel is that of love. These people swindling their members like this don’t have any love in them so i have a hard time supporting their fake and selfish ministry. I congratulate those that pay their tithe willingly and they will surely be blessed but it seems those eating and misusing the tithe do not receive any punnishment in this life because they are super rich and very healthy due to quality food and proper health care others don’t have.
Victor, I am praying for you. It seems you are under serious spiritual attack. I do agree with you that there are some churches that utilize the tithe for their own selfish desires and gains, but God will judge them and give them their due reward. Pray sincerely that God will direct you to the right church or pray for your Pastor and church leaders. God can use you to bring about change, but don’t give up so easily. Satan is roaming around to see whom he may devour and discourage. Don’t let him! Have faith and trust in God like never and remember, He is not man that He should lie so He will do exactly what He promises. Find His promises in the Bible regarding your situation and meditate on them day and night (Joshua 1:8). We are in a constant battle with satan and our only weapon is the mighty Word of God. Also, as you tithe, believe with all your heart that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). In other words, expect to be blessed when you tithe and be patient and wait upon the Lord. Though it tarries, it will surely come (Habakkuk 2:3). Many blessings!
Sarah Shortlidge says
This is one of the best article’s I have found on the subject. I’m struggling financially having just moved out on my own and paying off quite a bit of debt. Every penny I make is accounted for. Does this make me “bad” (for lack of a better term)?
Sarah you are definitely not bad. Somehow how we have been given the impression that we are suppose to be broke as Christian when the opposite is true. God wants us to do well financially so that we can help others. Broke people can’t help broke people and it lessens the amount of stress we face in our daily lives which contributes to good health and financial peace; which is apart of the prosperous life God wants us to have. Keep this in mind if you & a friend is at sea, you both in two different boats. His has a whole in it and your does too can you save him?
Mrs. L says
A few ideas to lessen or eradicate debt and to keep tithing:
1. Sell the big house (pray first)
2. Sell the big church, or smaller church (pray) or make the big house into the church
3. Distribute to the needy in the faith (pray)
4. Make wise decisions on spending or not spending – pray and obey (eg.to renovate or not)
5. Use old things as long as possible, buy old things if possible
6. Have the mindset to suffer 2 Tim 2:12, 3:1.
Giving is personal: 2 Cor 9:7
Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly, and give according to what you have, not what you don’t have: 2 Cor 8:12.
Giving should not make life easy for some, hard for yourselves: 2 Cor 8:13
Giving was a weekly portion: 1 Cor 16:2
Giving 10 % is a principal in the OT which God still honours, but if a person is doing it just to receive for himself, disappointment may lay ahead.
Michelle S. says
I’ve been giving my tithe & offering faithfully, however since I’ve commited to it my finances have gotten worse! My spending habbits have not changed . Is this God testing me? I’m literally am in a desperation here. I can’t make ends meet, but I keep giving
I have tithed 10% on my gross income for over 15 years. I am still in debt and don’t see an end-time of debt relief too soon. In the past year unexpected things have come up causing $10,000.00 savings to drain to zero, I sold my cottage to reduce debt-it came at a loss. I sold my boat and rv and those funds I saved have been eaten away also. I feel at the end of my rope and I have stopped my tithe. God forgive me but if I don’t get ahead of this and pay some of my debt I’ll go crazy. I don’t think God wants despondant Christians. My goals is to start again in the New Year. Does any one feel this way?
Yes I feel that way. I used to pay 10% of net while I was in debt but I did not feel particularly blessed for it, even though I felt it was the right thing when I started. I soon had to stop. There are other ways of giving. My thought about finances is, (after going through the ringer with this): pay off your debts as quickly as you can, then once out of debt, do give a certain percentage. Don’t give money that’s not yours – i.e. money you owe to debts. When you’re debt-free give faithfully and regularly a predetermined amount is what’s important. Start smaller so as not to incur your own resentment and then if you feel you’re blessed and can do it, give more. Wether it’s 3% or 5% or 10% or 30%. At the very least if you do give financially while in debt, keep it small and manageable such as 3% (for example) so that the bulk of the money goes to debt repayment.
Don’t get mixed up between giving and tithing. We are now to give but not to tithe. Tithing is an obligation for the people of the OT and has become obsolete after the new covenant with Jesus Christ. We are still to give for in the NT Paul teaches those that sow much will reap much and those that sow little will reap little. And we are to give with a cheerful heart. If you are giving with a heavy heart or out of obligation to avoid the curse mentioned in Malachi chapter 3, you are doing it wrong. If you give (tithe) because you want a blessing, you are doing it wrong. We are to give out of love. We are not to give in expectation for anything (blessings) in return. Our motive for giving then is wrong.
So those of you that are blessed because you tithe, you are blessed because of the principle of giving not on the principle of tithing. If you are in debt and felt like the Holy Spirit is leading you to give, then give away, for He will have ways to meet your need. But if you are head over heels in debt and continue to tithe out of obligation or expecting God to get you out of debt because you tithe…be careful. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will move you to give more or less than 10%. There is not a set standard or minimum for giving. God actually wants our 100% and not just 10%. That is why Jesus told the rich young man to sell everything that he has and then to follow Him.
I receive a paycheck and tips do I tithe off both or just the paycheck?
Ann Hamilton-Clark says
The just shall live by FAITH. Only by faith can you give whatever %, at whatever time, to whatever church, ministry or individual in need. Without FAITH it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God. So, if you are giving to avoid a curse on you and your family and it’s not coming from your heart and motivated by love, you need to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. God does NOT need our money, He owns the whole world!!!! He just requires that we be obedient to Him. In other words, He doesn’t look at how much or often you give, but when you give He only sees your obenience, love, and faith!!!! Our ways are not His ways, our thoughts are not His thoughts. Seek the Lord’s face in fasting and prayer and ask God to reveal how, what, and when you are to give. You do not have to obey man and do everything he tells you, you only have to obey and follow God!!! Get your revelation from God by letting the holy spirt give you instruction on this topic. Amen?
Thanks Bob, I wholeheartly agree with you. This post encourages me to continue trusting God as we tithe and work towards paying off our debt.
I am going to start tithing in the New Year. However, I no longer go to any church. I will be following Jewish guidelines, which say to give to the poor. Those of you who say that you are still under the Law,I wonder , are you going to your Church on Sunday? Because according to the Law , the Sabbath day is Saturday.
Last month my wife went to the bank to get both my salary and hers. On her way home she lost all the money and the bank documents in a mysterious way. My tithe was 2getha with the lost money! The point i am driving home is that i took a piece of paper and wrote my tithe on it and dropped in the tithing basket. The following day,monday my father in law send me an equivalent of what we lost after being touched by our story. I fixed the tithe debt and life continued as before. Barely a month later we have been able to even pay my father in law. God provided in a mysterious way. Amen. YOU NEED TO TITHE EVEN WHEN IN DEBTS. The debts are your’s and not God’s!
They say what you focus on expands. So if we focus on the tithe let’s focus on the power represents and the privilege the tide represents.
The tithe isn’t just about what we get or what God protects us from the tithe isn’t just about obeying God—the tithe is about investing with God the tithe is about building the Kingdom with God the tithe is about every time you see a new baptism and a life transformed forever—the tithe is a privilege to be a part of that!
It’s been 2000+ years since Jesus temporarily left this Earth. And over the last two thousand years, generation after generation, He continues to use the power of the Tithe, only 10% of man’s income to build His Church of now millions of Christians in millions of churches in almost every province in the world that started with just 12 men wearing sandals with no internet. Think about it.
vanessa walters says
I am still learning to trust God more fully in this area. I am a divorced older woman, on SS and cleaning lady wages. I am giving somewhat more a week to a local church than I used to. I do notice that my bank balances stay more stable, than they did before. And I’m paying off long term debts, sooner and more payment than I used to. I still get very scared about money, but I HAVE to learn to trust Him more. Its tough, when you’re alone as I’ve been for many years now.
If you believe that tithing is for a new covenant believer you are cursed. Galatians 1