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No "Should" in Tithing September 18, 2009

Posted by Henry in Tithing.
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In a discussion about tithing a young woman once said to me that I “should” pay my tithes. That basically was her final word on the matter. But is the tithe something that I or the church should observe? It is interesting however to see how close-minded some church people can be on the subject of tithing. They refuse to apply any rational thought to proper application of scripture but instead take it as a given that if one is a Christian and a churchgoer one should pay their tithes. For them the question doesn’t even merit discussion as the attitude generally is “this is what we believe in and this is what we do at our church”.

If however, we say that someone “should” pay their tithes then effectively what we are saying is that we are obliged by some law to pay a tithe. From a Biblical point of view however are we under a legal or other obligation to tithe? We should remember of course that we are no longer under the Law but under Grace because Jesus has redeemed us from the curse of the Law. This is not to say however that since we are under Grace we can do what we like. Of course not! But does scripture support the view that the New Testament church should pay a tithe and are obligated to do so. Under the Old Testament which we sometimes refer to as the Law Israel was obligated under the Law to pay tithes but surely this Law does not apply to us today, or does it or perhaps you don’t really know? The Law that governed the tithe was part and parcel of the very same Law that Jesus has redeemed us from. But you ask, “What about Malachi 3:9-11?”

Many a minister has wrongly used this passage to convict their members to pay the tithe, suggesting that they are “robbing God” if they don’t and that they are cursed as a result. But clearly a close look at the passage will tell us who this passage was speaking to and it was not the New Testament Christians but the nation of Israel. Only the Levite priests of the nation of Israel had a commandment to take a tithe of their brethren (see Heb 7:5). The curse mentioned in Malachi 3 referred to the curse of the Law and not specifically to the issue of not paying the tithe. Some will argue however that the tithe was before the Law since Abraham tithe to Melchisedec in Gen 14. But on close examination of what occurred we can clearly see that this is no basis for establishing a tithe teaching in the church. What then is the motivation of pastors and church leaders to demand a tithe? Again others will ask if we shouldn’t tithe then what should we do? We should bear in mind that tithing is not supported anywhere in the New Testament. Paul’s instructions on giving to the work of the ministry were thus:

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 2 Cor 9:7

Clearly we all have freedom in Christ to give according to how we feel led. Do you therefore still think that you are obligated to tithe, and on what Biblical basis do you make such a conclusion?

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