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Tithing

Postby Colonel » Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:37 pm

Hey!

I’m personally a Christian myself, but this question is open to both believers and non-believers alike, whoever can give good feedback.

Today my church’s pastor told us that the New Testament commands us to give 10% of our earnings.

He clarified that it has to be a church tithe. It does not suffice to give to the needy or charities, although that is still encouraged. But it must be a home church.

He went as far to say that not giving a tithe to your home church is an outright sin. He said it’s just as bad as the sin of murder or adultery.
He said that human nature will come up with an excuse not to tithe. Like that we’d reason ourselves out of it.

Personally, I disagree. I know that Jesus in the New Testament commands giving, and I personally stand for that as well. But what he said doesn’t sit right, and I can’t find any direct Scripture to back that up.

Comments and feedback is appreciated!
Colonel
 

Re: Tithing

Postby jimwalton » Sat Mar 10, 2018 4:27 pm

OLD TESTAMENT: Tithing was an obligation in ancient Israel. It was like a tax, and it wasn't an option. Whether your crops, flocks, or your money, tithes were turned over to the Temple. Depending on what it was, the amount was anywhere from 10-40%. It was like combining your offerings, sales tax and income tax. In the Temple some of it was used to support the priests, the temple itself (wood, incense, bread, repairs to the building, etc.) and some was given to the poor. Sounds a lot like our modern day churches.

The mandate of the OT tithing system indicates that 10% is an appropriate level of giving to express gratitude to God for what he has done for us. In that sense it's like our tipping at a restaurant. If you got reasonable service, the reasonable tip is 15%. It's a way to say thank you, and to not do at least 10% is an insult.

NEW TESTAMENT: After the resurrection, there are no teachings about the tithe. In the NT church giving 10-40% was no longer an obligation. All the NT tells us is that we are to give generously and joyously from a grateful heart (2 Cor. 8-9). So does that mean the divine mandate to tithe continues, or is it something that passed away?

IMPLICATIONS:

1. The tithe is rightly identified as giving back to God what he has freely given to us. God is entitled to be acknowledged by our gifts to him, and we are obliged to be conscientious stewards of all that God has given us. It is expected that we give something. But you want to know how much.

2. The Church and its ministries are financed by tithes and offerings. It's all we have to work with to pay our utility bills, insurance, equipment, salaries, curriculum, etc. So it's the same as the OT: some is used to support the ministerial staff, some to maintain the building, some to pay for ministries, and some to give to the poor. So the first answer is that we have to give enough to keep all of the church's needs, ministries, and help for the poor going at a healthy pace. And everybody has to be part of that. We are all part of our local congregations.

3. So let's talk about the amount. Did Jesus demand more of less of us than the OT did? In his teachings, Jesus never asked for less than the OT asked for, in any area of life. Jesus always upped the ante. When the church was formed what were people giving to the ministry? We say we love God, we're grateful to him, we're being generous, and then we give 3%. Isn't that an insult?

4. Acts 11.29 talks about giving proportionate to one's ability. In America we enjoy a standard of living that is incomprehensible to most of the rest of the world.

5. Just like a tip, 10% should be regarded as a baseline—a starting point. In a restaurant, to give less than 15% is to say the service was lousy, to insult the server, and to express your discontent. Yet for some reason we think that in the OT they gave 10-40%, but our giving of 3% is "generous" and "shows gratitude." I believe in the same way that 10% is the starting point, and if you want to be generous, then you give an offering that’s above and beyond. That's what we mean by "tithes and offerings." The tithe is your way to say thank you (it's what is expected), and your offering is something more than that if you want to be generous.

6. How are we to show our gratitude to God other than by giving back a portion? If 10% is considered an acceptable way to say thank you in the OT (just like 15% is an acceptable way to say thank you to a server in a restaurant), then why would we view it any differently now? Now that Jesus has died and rose again, and the law is no longer making demands on me, I'm free to give…less?

The most common reasons people don’t give 10% are that they don’t understand what the Bible teaches, and/or they say they can’t afford it. Then we go back to Malachi 3.8-10. God's people are being commanded to provide for the needs of the ministry. Failure to do so is to defraud God. But what God promises is that if the people will just tithe, he will give them another chance. In Malachi there was threat that the nation would be taken away. But if the people will just honor God, his abundant grace will provide them with another chance to serve him. Also look at 2 Cor. 8.3, 8. I would also add that the uber-poor are not required to tithe. Some of the money should be GIVEN to them. Nothing should be taken FROM them. I also think we shouldn't use a calculator to come up with the amount. Let the amount you give be an expression of how much you love God. Just be aware that that's what you’re saying with your 3%, your 10%, or your 15%.

Here are some principles about tithing that I consider to be biblical:

1. Don’t give just out of joyless obligation to the law. God doesn’t want your money under those conditions.

2. Don’t give just to obey the NT law, because there is no NT law. There is no such thing.

3. Don't give just to get something from God. That's stupid.

4. Don't give if you are truly poor. The tithe is to help the poor, not to take from you and impoverish you even more.

5. Give out of your heart. The amount should be an expression of how much you love God, in proportion to your ability to give.

6. Give because the work of God has to go forward. It only works if we are all participating the way we should.

Feel free to respond.


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