An Examination of Tithing.

Recently I attended a Sunday meeting where several statements by the speaker stood out as condescending, judgmental, and condemning. These statements may not be taken in a negative sense by the people who are adhering to and participating in the doing of the things that the statements were meant to promote nor, I am sure, by the speaker himself, but what does it do to the people who are not manipulated into doing the required thing to be a part of their group.

The statement that was made that has prompted me to deal with the subject of tithing was, “If you are not a tither you have not had an experience with God” This statement is weighted to the belief that tithing is something that God has instituted and is supposed to be practiced today and if not participated in your relationship with God is questionable.

Does it follow that if you are not baptized in water, are not baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, are not attending the Sunday-go-meetings or adhering to “church” rituals that your relationship with God is questionable?

The question begs to be asked, Is tithing Biblical? Tithing is found in the Bible so the answer is a resounding yes. But was it a New Testament practice, is it a mandate of the “Church” that if not followed puts your relationship with God in question or puts a person under a curse?

Understand that I am not against giving particularly if the gifts are used to help the poor, as they were in the early Church. However, I am appalled that some preachers have distorted both the facts of Church history and the Scriptures, by saying that God commands all believers to tithe, and that Christians are under a curse if they do not tithe. Compassionate Christian leaders will appeal to Christians to give to worthy causes because of the constraint of the love of Christ, not by threats of curses and judgment. Some poor Christians, including old age pensioners, have gone without food, because they had been told that they were under a curse if they did not tithe. Such oppressive demands are intolerable, and the authority for them certainly does not come from the Scriptures.

God desires to bless, not burden people, His yoke is kind and His burden is light. Mt. 11: 28-30. It is an historical fact that giving in the early Church was on a voluntary basis, and that early Christians did not tithe, and that there was no tithing in the Church for several centuries.
I am concerned by the way that some preachers have fleeced Christians of their money, by a twisted exposition of the Scriptures. The truth has been corrupted by various evils, ignorance, party spirit, pride, a love of power and money, a false prosperity gospel, personal kingdom building, and maintaining denominational systems. I appeal for a return to biblical financial integrity; where being of one accord, having all things in common, and a caring love that ministers to the poor, these should be the most important priorities for Christ's Church from the intake of money..

The tithe belonged to ancient Israel of Old Testament times and was essentially a means of taxation. The question is, was tithing carried over and practiced by the Church of the NEW Testament?

First let’s look at the three kinds of tithes that the Lord instituted as a part of Israel's taxations system.

1. A tithe of the crops of the land to support the Levites who had no inheritance in Canaan. Lev. 27: 30-33. Num: 18: 21-31.

2. A tithe of the produce of the land to sponsor religious festivals in Jerusalem. If the produce was to heavy and burdensome so carry to Jerusalem the could convert it into money. Deut. 14: 22-27.

3. A tithe of the produce of the land collected every third year for the local Levites, orphans, strangers, and widows. Deut, 14: 28-29. 26, 12-13.

This tithe included the produce of the land, seed, fruit, vegetables and the animals they owned. It was produce from the land and not money. Tithing belonged to Israel under the law. When it comes to financial stewardship, we see the first century believers giving cheerfully according to their ability...not dutifully out if a command or being told that if they did not tithe they have not had an experience with God. Giving in the early church was voluntary and those who benefited from it were the poor, orphans, widow, sick, prisoners and strangers. may ask, what about Abraham, Jacob and their tithing?

Systematic tithing is certainly not authorized or justified by appealing to the tithe that Abraham gave to Melchizedek about 430 years before the Law. Gen.14: 18-20. Heb. 7: 4-11. This tithe was almost certainly given to Melchizedek to give him some financial security, however, it was a voluntary once only gift. We also need to remember that Abraham's tithe was not a tenth of his wealth, it was a single gift of "the tenth of the spoils" of victory in war. In Heb. 7: 4, "the spoils," is "akrothinion," the top of the heap of spoils. Melchizedek had the first choice of a tenth of the best of the spoils. Abraham obtained these spoils through a miraculous military defeat of the four kings who attacked Sodom and captured Lot. One king was Amraphel king of Shinar (Babylon), who has been identified as the great king and renowned law-maker Hammurabi, whose "Hammurabi Code" was a landmark in history, for it not only stated legal rights and responsibilities, it also fixed the rates of wages. There was also the great and famous Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Arioch king of Ellasar (Larsa), and Tidal king of Goiim, usually rendered as "nations." Abraham won a miraculous victory over the vastly superior forces of these four kings and successfully rescued Lot out of their hands. Gen. 14: 5-20. Those who use Abraham's tithe to Melchizedek to demand tithes, must realize that this would mean that we would only have to give tithes of the spoils of victory in war, and then only once! This is the only time that Abraham out of his 175 years of life on earth. We have no evidence that he ever did it again. Consequently, if you wish to use Abraham as a “proof text” to argue that Christians must tithe, the you are obligated to tithe one time.

Jacob promised to give God tithes of all that God had promised to give him in the wonderful vision of the ladder to Heaven at Bethel. Gen. 28: 11-22. This again was a voluntary gift, and not demanded by God. Jacob obviously used this tithe to minister to the poor and needy people that he came across in his travels, for there was no Levitical priesthood to support; Jacob himself was the spiritual head of his family. There is no record that Jacob gave tithes to the successors of Melchizedek, indeed, according to Heb. 7: 1-3. Melchizedek had no genealogy, and his priesthood was confined to himself.

The tithe was the means of supporting the Levites and priests.

 Levi was the third son of Jacob and Leah. Gen. 29: 34. 35: 23. Ex. 1: 2. 1 Chron. 2: 1. The three sons of Levi, Gershom, Kohath, and Merari, were born before Israel's exodus from Egypt. The family of Levi had some nasty skeletons in their cupboard. When Dinah, the sister of Levi, was assaulted and violated by Shechem the Hivite, Levi and Simeon pillaged the city of Shechem and killed all the males there. Jacob condemned this evil act at the time, and in his final prophetic blessing and estimation of his sons, he pronounces God's curse upon Levi and Simeon for this cruel and evil act.. Gen. 34: 1-31. 49: 5-9. The priests in the Temple settled into a state of formal worship and hypocrisy, and became the opponents of true spirituality; the martyr Stephen said that they had always resisted the Spirit of God. Acts. 7: 51-53.

We read in Deut. 14: 28, 29. and Num. 18: 21-24, 27, that the tithe was to be used to financially support the Levite, because the Levites had "no portion nor inheritance with you." In Num 18: 21., God states, "And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation." Heb.7: 5. The Levites service included caring for the poor in Israel's welfare state, and they had more than enough for this. The tithes were a tithe of the seed and crops of the land, the fruit of the trees, the oil and wine, and the herds and the flocks. Deut, 14: 22,23. As the herds and flocks passed under the rod, every tenth animal was taken. Lev. 27: 30-33. Jer. 33: 13. Ez. 20: 37. The animals could not be redeemed, but the fruit and seed of the land could be for an extra fifth on the tithe price. In Num. 18: 26-32., we read that the Levites were to take a "tithe of the tithe --- from all the best of them" and give it to the priests. Neh. 10: 39. Some have suggested that a second tithe of the remaining nine tenths of the tithe was given for the feast at Jerusalem, they feel that this would harmonize the accounts. But this is not necessary, it seems clear enough that the Levites shared the tithe with the people who gave it, and with the poor, fatherless, stranger and widow, and saved the rest for themselves and the needy. God's laws are very thoughtful and kind. 

Tithes were to be brought once a year, "to the place which the Lord your God shall choose." However the tithes could be eaten and distributed locally, "within thy gates," if the Temple was too far away. Deut. 14: 22. 12: 5, 11, 14, 18, 21. The tithes of corn, wine, oil and animals were to be eaten not only by the Levites, but also by the people who brought the tithe. Deut. 12: 17,18. Some think it better to distinguish between tithes and first-fruits; however, Deut. 26: 1-15, mentions them together, which implies that they are the same, or that the first-fruits could be part of the tithe, they were given to the priests. Deut. 18: 4. 

Every third year all who tithed were to give their tithes to the Levites and poor and needy from "within their gates." Deut. 14: 28, 29. However, they still had to go to worship at Jerusalem after distributing their tithes in their local community, and there proclaim that they had given their tithes to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless and the widow. Deut. 26: 12-19. 

We read in Deut. 12: 20,21., that if the distance to Jerusalem was too far to travel, the tithe was to be shared among the poor and the Levites and eaten "within the gates" of the person who tithed them, the tithe was to be used as a contingency fund for the poor. Have you ever heard any Bible teachers tell you that you are to invite the poor and needy to your home and consume some of your tithe in a religious party of thanksgiving and worship, and the rest of your tithe is to be used as a contingency fund to provide for the poor? How different from the modern teaching and demands on tithing! 

In Deut. 10: 16-19, God commanded the Levites to administer justice for the stranger, fatherless and widow and feed and clothe them. We read, "Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer. For the Lord your God is a God of gods, and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in Egypt." These are strong words, and emphasize God's loving concern for the poor and needy. This is why our Lord was so angry with the Jews in Mal. 3: 7-10, and said there would be a curse upon them, if they failed to bring the tithes into the storehouse. God said that they were robbing Him, when they robbed the Levite and the poor. The Levites and priests also came under a curse if they robbed the poor. 

In Deut. 14: 28,29., we read that our Lord gave the Law on tithing to Moses out of a concern for the poor, we read that the tithe was not only for the Levite, but also for "the stranger and the fatherless and the widow." Our Lord castigated the Jews for their arrogant pride and self-deception over their tithing, and pointed out that it availed them nothing when they omitted and neglected the weightier matters of the Law, judgment, mercy, faith, and love of God. The judgment and mercy mentioned here is undoubtedly the ministry to the poor mentioned in the Scriptures. Mt. 23: 23. Lk. 11: 39-44. Our Lord was very angry with Israel's religious leaders, because they devoured widow's houses, neglected the poor, and turned God's Temple into a "den of robbers," and He warned them that they were bound for Hell because of it. Mt. 21: 12,13. 23: 13-39. Lk. 20: 46, 47. 

God told Israel to use part of their tithe for a religious holiday at Jerusalem at His expense.

If we only had Num. 18: 21., to guide us on tithing, we would think that "all" of the tithes were to be consumed by the Levites, but other Scriptures show that this was not so, for we read that others, including those who tithed, partook of some of the tithes. In Deut. 14: 24-27, we read that if the distance was long, but could be traveled, the tithes were to be changed into money, and the person who tithed was to use part of their tithe to buy food and drink; "And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat them there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household, and the Levite that is within thy gates; for he hath no part or inheritance with thee." The tithe belonged to the Lord, but he gave a great deal of it back for a religious holiday at Jerusalem, not only for the household of the person who gave the tithe, but also for the local Levite, and the poor, fatherless, stranger and widow. Deut. 12: 6, 7, 18. In Deut. 16: 10-17, God said the poor, the widow, fatherless, and stranger, were to be taken to Jerusalem to the three feasts of Israel, for three weeks of joyful holidays whose aim was physical and spiritual refreshment, and God paid the expenses out of the tithes and offerings. This shows the beautiful giving goodness of God. The tithe was Israel's income tax, and God was the tax inspector; however, God is the only tax inspector I know, who says, "Use some of your tithes and offerings for a religious holiday at Jerusalem." No worldly tax inspectors do that!

God's simple and thoughtful laws on tithing were distorted, corrupted and changed by the kings and priests of Israel. They not only stopped the people using the tithe for a religious holiday; they greatly increased the burden of taxation upon the people of God. In Christ's time the greed of the High Priests even impoverished ordinary priests. Josephus tells us in his Antiquities, Book 4, chapter 8, paragraph 22, that in his time the people were paying two tithes each year, and a third tithe in the third year. Some modern theologians have incorrectly suggested that this was true in the time of Moses. The Talmudic rabbis laid down elaborate and burdensome rules, even for the smallest products of the soil. They said that great personal merit was obtained through following these man-made rules on tithing. The tithes of mint, anise and cumin was an enforcement of the Talmudic rabbis, they said that even the leaves and the stalks had to be tithed. This went far beyond the teaching of Scripture, and Christ condemned them for it. Mt. 23: 23. Lk. 11: 42. 18: 12.

When Israel demanded a king like the nations around them, Samuel forewarned them by prophecy, that the kings would take their tithes, and misappropriate them to themselves and their friends. 1 Sam. 8: 11, 15-22. After the monarchy was set up, the kings, as Samuel had warned, did appropriate the tithes for themselves. The burden upon the people was greatly increased by the greed of Israel's kings, and some of them badly neglected the priests and Levites and Temple worship. When Israel forsook God for idols, the Levites and priests suffered badly from neglect, Hezekiah rectified this and built rooms in the Temple for the tithes, and Nehemiah followed his good example. 2 Chron. 31: 4-21. Neh. 10: 37-39. 12, 44-47. 13: 5-14. 

God said that Israel had rejected His gentle rule, when they rejected Samuel's spiritual oversight, and chose to imitate the heathen's system of government by kings. 1 Sam. 8: 6,7. This ungodly choice made the corruption of God's Law inevitable, for as Jesus said, heathen rulers dominate and tyrannize their subjects, and their systems of government are based on greed and love of power, not service. Mt. 20: 25. The heathen structure they had embraced had permanently destroyed the divine beauty of the use of tithes under the Law. When churches accept heathen methods and standards the same thing happens. 

Christ's life of service and caring ministry demonstrated the gentle rule that Israel had rejected, and Jesus said His spirit of service must be exactly followed by the leaders of His Church. Mt. 20: 20-28. Jesus warned His apostles that the leaders of His Church must not follow the example of heathen kings, and dominate and tyrannize God's people, "It shall not be so among you." Mt. 20: 25, 26. It is a tragedy that Christians have often followed the example of Israel, and chosen to imitate the kingdoms and hierarchies of men in their structures; rather than Christ's New Testament pattern, and in doing so have rejected God's pattern and rule, and have inevitably brought great financial burdens upon God's people.

God would not allow David to build the Temple because he had killed so many people in war, and so God told David that his son Solomon would build it. 1 Sam 18: 7, 8. David was determined to ensure that the Temple would be "exceeding magnificent," and so he "prepared abundantly before his death" for the Temple. 1 Chron. 22: 1-22. This must have put a heavy burden upon God's people. We cannot help but question both David's extravagant preparations for the building of the Temple, and Solomon's extravagance in the building of the Temple, particularly when the divine pattern of the wilderness tabernacle was so simple and comparatively inexpensive. 

God certainly directed Solomon to build the Temple, 1 Chron. 22: 8, 9, but the Lord certainly did not inspire Solomon to put huge burdens upon the people of God by extravagance in building the Temple. One fears that Solomon built a magnificent Temple as a work of architectural showmanship, to demonstrate his abilities, and enhance his own reputation, rather than for the glory of God. Solomon spent seven years in building God's Temple, and thirteen years in building his own magnificent palace, twenty years in all; and then followed this with twenty years of other building plans. 2 Chron. 8: 1-5. 1 Kings. 6: 38. 7: 1. Solomon had many plans, and He used other people's resources to bring them to fruition, and a lot of Christian leaders have followed his bad example, and have grievously burdened God's people. 2 Chron. 8: 1-18. 1 Kings. 9: 10-28. 

Compare Solomon's heavy yoke on Israel through his extravagant building plans, with the financially undemanding organizational simplicity of Christ's ministry. Solomon made other people poor to make himself rich, Jesus voluntarily became poor to make us rich. 2 Chron. 9: 9-28. 2 Cor. 8: 9. Christ is our example, and he did not make one appeal for money.

Christ and his apostles did not start one building project, or make any appeals for finances for their ministries. The financial integrity and simplicity of Christ's wonderful ministry is seen in His instructions to His apostles, "Freely ye have received, freely give." Mt. 10: 8. This is in stark contrast to the heavy financial demands of many modern preachers. There has been a complete distortion of the New Testament teaching on giving in order to finance and upkeep financially demanding organizational structures and buildings. The Christians in the churches of Macedonia abounded in liberal giving, even in their poverty, in order to "minister to saints," who were in even greater need. 2 Cor. 8: 1-6. There is no such constraint of love upon Christians when great financial appeals are made for bricks and mortar.

When we compare the practice and teaching on giving in the early Church, with the practice and teaching on giving today, we see a great difference in both the amount of requests for money, and the purposes for which it is requested. This great divergence of practice comes from either a failure to realize, or a failure to obey, the New Testament principles of giving. Our Lord's apostolic band did not appeal for money for their mission, or for themselves, there were no collections from their congregations, indeed, they carried a bag of money which they gave to the needy poor. The vast majority of finances in the early Church were given in response to appeals for the poor, which is certainly not true in most churches today. 

b. The early Church leaders told Christians that they were not under the Law.

When the church at Jerusalem was dealing with the relationship of the Church to the Law, it totally omitted any reference to tithing. In Acts 15: 10. Peter said, "Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?" Is not tithing part of the yoke of the Law? The Gentile churches were delivered from the yoke of the Law, for we read in Acts 15: 28, 29., "For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; v 29. That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well."

These simple restrictions were made so as not cause offense among the Jews, as is made clear by v 21, "For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in their synagogues every Sabbath."

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law. Gal. 3: 13.

 This study has been written to defend Christians, particularly the poor, from the lie that they are under a curse if they do not tithe. It is those who try to deceive Christians by insisting that the Law on tithing still applies, who are under a curse, not those who do not tithe, for Paul states in Gal. 3: 10., "Those who take their stand on observance of the Law are all under a curse." Gal. 3: 1-5. Paul assures us in Gal. 3: 13., that "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law," so Christians cannot be under a curse for not tithing. Those who demand tithes on the basis of the Law are really Judaizers in disguise. Paul clearly states in Gal. 3: 6-9,13-18,25-29, that believing Gentiles receive the blessing of Abraham, and are under the covenant of promise like Abraham, and are Abraham's seed, and not under the Law. Paul again writes in Gal. 5: 4, "If you try to be justified by way of Law, your relationship with Christ is automatically completely severed: you have fallen away out of the domain of God's grace." Is it not a falling from grace to state that Christians who do not tithe are under a curse? 

In Col. 2: 14-16., Paul tells us that Christ has blotted out, annulled and nailed to His cross, the ordinances of the Law which were opposed to us. Paul states that we are not to allow anyone to sit in judgment on us over matters of the Law, in respect to eating or drinking, or over feast days, new moons or Sabbaths, which were a shadow of what was to come. In Rom. 14: 4-6, Paul again states that it is even a matter of conscience whether we keep the Sabbath or not, he says, "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." These Scriptures prove that Christians are no longer bound by the Law, and this includes the Law of tithing. 

 When we compare the New Testament practice of giving with today, it becomes obvious that the reason for this difference of practice is a result of a difference in motivation and priorities. The delightful spirit of "one accord," and "having all things in common" is, sadly, usually missing. Concern for kingdoms has taken the place of concern for people. The change in the practice of giving is not just due to the fact that the circumstances and patterns of life have changed, it is due more to the many competing church organizations. These often look and act like the kingdoms of the world, and often have a closed-shop attitude to Christians outside of their groups or denominations. Paul says that Christians who manifest a sectarian bigotry are dominated by the evil carnal nature and are spiritual babes. 1Cor. 1: 11-13. 3: 1-4. 2Pet. 1: 9. There are, thank God, many exceptions in all denominations to this blinkered and myopic sectarian outlook; large-hearted leaders recognize other Christians groups beyond their own, and work within the framework of the whole body of Christ. However, many others cannot see beyond their own denomination, and compete with an ungodly and worldly spirit for people to be members of their churches. David's sin of numbering is executed weekly by many Christian leaders. 2 Sam. 24: 1-25. 1 Chron. 21: 1-30. 

d. Most pastors and leaders in the early Church worked for a living.

The Apostolical Constitutions repeat with emphasis the apostolical injunction, 'If any man would not work, neither should he eat.' (2 Thes. 3: 10,12. 1 Thes. 4: 11.). There is no early trace of the later idea that buying and selling, handicraft and farming were in themselves inconsistent with the office of a Christian minister. The bishops and presbyters of those early days kept banks, practiced medicine, wrought as silver smiths, tended sheep., or sold their goods in the open market. They were like the second generation of non-jurying bishops a century and a half ago (about 1730), or like the early preachers of the Wesleyan Methodists. They were men of the world taking part in the ordinary business of life. The point about which the Christian communities were anxious was, not that their officers should cease to trade, but that in this as in other respects, they should be examples to the flock. The chief existing enactments of early councils on this point are that bishops are not to huckster their goods from market to market, nor are they to use their position to buy cheaper and sell dearer than other people."

Historians state that for several centuries there was no support or demand for systematic tithing. The following encyclopedias confirm that demands for people to tithe arose many centuries later in order to sustain the religious empires made by men. 

The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopaedia of the Bible.

States under "Tithe," that there was no support of the clergy by the systematic giving of tithes for several centuries, and that it was some time before the tithe was regarded as patterned upon the Jewish synagogue. The practice was justified by appealing to such Scriptures as Mt. 10: 10. Lk. 10: 7. 1 Cor. 9: 7, however, Church leaders, like Irenaeus and Epiphanius, proved the arguments from these texts were not valid. Instead, they emphasized freedom in Christian giving. 

When worldly people see money hungry churches, they say with feeling, and with good cause, "It is your money they are after." Large church power structures may well be admired by worldly kings and rulers, just as Solomon's kingdom was, however, seeking hearts ,who are looking for spiritual reality are not deceived by them. Greedy, "grab-all," man-made structures, do not manifest the "give-all" love of God, and, like Israel's religious robbers, they hinder people from knowing and following God. 2 Chron. 10: 4. Mt. 21: 12-14. Rom. 2: 23, 24.

 For centuries the Church was based around the homes of believers.

It is a fact of history that the emperors did not allow church buildings to be built until Constantine supposedly became a Christian in about 313-315 A.D., and it was at this time that he gave wealth and power to the church leaders. John Wesley, and many others, say that this was a disastrous day for the Church, when it lost as much purity, holiness and power, as it had gained in wealth and influence. Up to this time most of the fellowship and evangelism of the church, had been based around the homes of believers. This had resulted in wonderful fellowship between Christians, and a remarkable growth of the Church. Rom. 16: 5, 23. 1 Cor. 16: 15, 16, 19. Col. 4: 15, 16. Philemon. 2. 

Because early Christians met in homes, and did not build churches, financial demands for church buildings did not occur, and this meant that real financial aid could be given to the poor. Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 16: 1,2, that the homes of Christians are God's storehouses for the poor. Vincent writes on 1 Cor. 16: 2, "Lay by him in store," "par heauto titheto thesaurizon," Lit., 'put by himself treasuring.' Put by at home." A.T. Robertson writes on. "Lay by him in store," "By himself, in his home. Treasuring it (cf. Matt.6v19f. for 'thesaurizo)." 

Christian, God liberates you from putting your treasure in another person's storehouse. If God has prospered you, put some of it in your treasure chest for the poor, and dispense your treasure from your home, as God guides you.

With the death of Jesus, all ceremonial codes that belonged to the Jews were nailed to the cross with Christ and buried, never to be used again to condemn us. for this reason, we never see believers tithing in the New Testament, just as we don’t see them sacrificing goats and bulls or lambs to cover their sins.

Tithing belonged exclusively to Israel under the law. When it came to financial stewardship, we see the first-century Believers giving cheerfully according to their ability....not dutifully because of a command. giving in the early church was voluntary. And those who benefited from it were the poor of society.

Let’s look at the oft-quoted classic tithing text found in Malachi 3. What is God saying there?

First, this passage is directed to ancient Israel when they were under the Mosaic Law. God’s people were holding back their tithes and offerings. Consider what would happen if a large portion of Canadians refused t pay their taxes. this would be viewed as a form of stealing and they would have to face the consequences.

In the same way, when Israel held back her taxes (tithes), she was stealing from God-the one who instituted the tithing system. Notice the context of Malachi 3: 8-10. In verse 5, the lord says that He will judge those who oppress the widow, the fatherless and the stranger. He says, “So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against the sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud the laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me. (NIV)

The widows, fatherless and strangers were the rightful recipients of the tithe. Their needs were not being met because Israel was withholding her tithe. Herein is the heart of God in Malachi 3: 8-10. He opposes the oppression of the poor and needy.

How many sermons have you heard where that was explained? I have heard many a sermon on tithing, but that has never been explained by the pastor.

The New Testament urges believers to give according to their ability. Believers in the early church gave to help other believers as well as to support apostolic workers enabling the to travel grow the Church. There love for one another and their generous giving to help the poor and needy was the awesome winsome power of the early Church that prompted observers to say “Behold how they love one another”.

Today, the tithe is non longer a requirement for taxation gathering. Yet the obligatory practice of tithing is as much alive today as it was when it was legally binding. In manipulating ministries you are told or made to feel you are sinning if you don’t tithe, or even worse that you have not had an experience with God!

In some churches, if you are not a tither you are barred from holding a ministry position, and like a second class christian told to sit outside the voting bar during election time!

As far as clergy salaries go, ministers were nonsalaried for the first three centuries But when Constantine appeared, he instituted the practice of paying a fixed salary to the clergy from church funds and municipal and imperial treasuries. Thus was born the clergy salary, a system that has no root in the New Testament.

It is imperative for believers to support the Lord’s work financially and to give generously to the poor. Scripture enjoins both. The issue is the appropriateness of the tithe as a Christian “law” and how it is normally used: to fund clergy salaries, operational costs, and church building overhead. To say that it is commanded by God and binding upon ever believer is a gross misrepresentation of the tithe in the Bible.

As we have seen, tithing, while biblical, is not Christian. Jesus did not teach it to His disciples. The first century Christians did not observe it, and for 300 years the followers of Christ did not do it.

You are free from the bondage of mandatory tithe. You are free to give freely, out of a cheerful heart, without guilt, religious obligation, or manipulation...generously helping those in need.

This discourse is not intended to give people an excuse to escape from the responsibility of Christian giving. It is written to deliver Christians, out of the hands of people who have plundered, yes plundered, the finances of Christians to fulfill their desires or keep their religious organizations funded. The same can be said of these people as our Lord said, "You have made my Father's house a den of robbers." Mt. 21: 12, 13. Mk.11: 15-17. Lk. 19: 45, 46. Jn. 2: 13-17. I believe that the Jesus way of being as financially undemanding as it is possible to be, is the right
way, and that Solomon and Rehoboam style personal kingdom builders have no Scriptural grounds for their financial demands. 


  1. dad, This is FANTASTIC!!!!! BUt I do have some questions. How do we as ministers live? Do we tust blindly in the kindness of others....cause we can't count on that, do you not feel that christians NEED some sort of financial structure in order for them to understand that God owns everything anyways,all I have is His. My fear would be that people won't give at all and we ministers are poor and can't do the things we need to share our God given and God driven gifts to the body of Christ. How do we teach believers about giving in a day when no one hardley gives... only a few, you included would give of all their resources and go beyond the call of a giver to the call of the giving of our lives body ,soul and spirit, a person empty of ones self but full of the favor of God.

  2. Wow, it is about time that someone spoke out on the gross misuse of the tithe as taught by religious denominations.


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