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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tithing

Tithing
I continue to run across people today that say that ‘tithing’ is not to be practiced in our day and time.  They claim that tithing is not mentioned in the New Testament and that it has passed away with the old covenant.  Is this true?  These well meaning people emphasize that giving is a matter of the heart and that God blesses a cheerful giver.  They claim that when giving is done in the church it ought to be out of a love for the Lord and not simply a duty that must be obeyed.  They claim that to encourage tithing is to fall into legalism.  The people who claim tithing to be a form of legalism are usually the same people who do not think that the 4th commandment is still valid.  If we put both of these thoughts together we end up with a group of people who rebel against the Sabbath and rob the local church of the necessary funds to do the work that God has called the church to do. 
First, I would like to say that I agree with God blessing a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7).  In many ways the teaching of the NT should compel one to give far and above the 10 percent mark.  According to the NT it would be good to sell all one has and give it to the poor.  If all the saints would give with a full and joyful heart the things that could be done for missions would greatly increase overnight.  However, does the truth of a cheerful heart negate the reality that the saints ought to tithe 10 percent?  Second, if there is one thing I know about the people of the 21st century it is that most people are undisciplined.  In order for a person to tithe 10 percent each and every paycheck, they will need discipline, faith, and a resolve towards the things of God.  God gave us such a discipline to guard our hearts against materialism, selfishness, and forgetfulness.  When people do not tithe they readily spend money upon the material.  When people do not tithe they immediately begin to believe that all the money they possess belongs to them.  Thus, if they feel like it they will give a bit of it to the church.  When people do not tithe they forget to trust God and be dependent upon Him for all things.  
When Jesus is pronouncing judgment upon the Pharisees we find that He acknowledges the necessity ἀποδεκατόω (to tithe, collect a tithe).  In Matthew 23:23 Jesus once again calls the Pharisees ὑποκριτής (hypocrites, actors, pretenders).  They are acting one way and then doing another.  They are saying one thing and doing the opposite.  They get one side right and the other side wrong.  The side that they get right is that they ἀποδεκατόω (to tithe, collect a tithe).  The side that they get wrong is that they ἀφίημι (to leave, depart, neglect) matters that carry more weight than tithing.  They have neglected justice, mercy, and faithfulness.  They should have done these last three as well if not more so than the tithing that they were doing.  Notice what Jesus is saying in the last sentence of verse 23.  The English phrase from the ESV is “These you ought to have done.”  In Greek He uses δεῖ which means, “To be under necessity of happening, it is necessary, one must, one has to.”  Jesus is saying, “It is absolutely necessary for you to practice justice, mercy, and faithfulness.”  However, you should not ἀφίημι (to leave, depart, neglect) the tithing mint, dill, and cumin.  
In one verse Jesus has shown that tithing is valid and should be practiced and at the same time shown the importance of justice, mercy, and faithfulness.  Notice, Jesus did not say, “You do not need to tithe anymore since we are in a new covenant.”  He simply says that Christians must practice justice, mercy, and faithfulness without neglecting tithing. 

I am sure that there are those who will not be convinced about tithing by my very short article, but do not tell me tithing is not in the NT.  For those who have the audacity to say that it is only one verse, I would reply and say that one verse is certainly enough.  I would also let you know that this is not the only verse on tithing in the NT, but I will let you try to find the others.   

3 comments:

  1. Brother Easter
    I am one of those who do not believe tithing is required. I believe that our giving should be sacrificial, liberal, cheerful, free, and led by the Holy Spirit. I can thoroughly address all of your points above with plenty of scripture and reasoning. it would take much more time than i have to do so. I will try to be succinct.

    YOU: "They claim that tithing is not mentioned in the New Testament"
    ME: Of course it is mentioned in the New Testament - Matt 23 & Heb 7, Luke 11. Maybe you misunderstood them. They meant that tithing wasn't commanded after the cross.

    YOU: "The people who claim tithing to be a form of legalism are usually the same people who do not think that the 4th commandment is still valid"
    ME: That's a broad accusation. i'm not sure where you get your proof from but I personally know many people who do not believe in tithing, and i can be certain none of them believe that we shouldn't honor our father or mother.

    YOU: "God gave us such a discipline to guard our hearts against materialism, selfishness, and forgetfulness"
    ME: God didn't create laws just because it's a good discipline. He had principles to follow. If discipline was a goal of his, He would have commanded us to make our beds every morning, pick up our toys, and take a shower every day. Just because tithing makes sense and is a good idea and great discipline does not validate it any more than finding wisdom in circumcision and requiring that as well. I'm not against standards. I think they are great. I have some giving standards of my own.

    YOU: "When people do not tithe they forget to trust God and be dependent upon Him for all things."
    ME: I disagree. You have it backwards. When people forget to trust God, they do not give. Some can still give without trusting God, but you cannot trust God without giving.

    YOU: "When Jesus is pronouncing judgment upon the Pharisees we find that He acknowledges the necessity ἀποδεκατόω (to tithe, collect a tithe)"
    ME: If you read the beginning of that whole passage when Jesus First speaks you will get some context. Jesus states in v2, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you". There are two obvious points here. First is, Jesus words in Matt 23 is not for the Church to obey the Pharisees. Second is, that Jesus confirmed the Mosaic laws authority, and asks the listeners to continue obeying.

    There's more i could really point out but it would be too many words and too much time. I'm not trying to destroy giving. i'm trying to encourage the type of giving that most tithers do any way above the tithe. I didn't always believe what i do now. I tithed since my first paycheck at age 15 until many years later someone confronted me about the validity of tithing. I went on a mission to defend tithing but came out the other end of the debate.

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    1. Sorry just realized the 4th commandment is the Sabbath. I am sure many of the non-tithers don't believe in honoring the Sabbath. I know some who do though.

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  2. Kelly: For your information Matthew 23:23 and Luke 18:41 are pre-Calvary when Jesus taught the whole law to fellow Hebrews. And Hebrews 7 does not command the church to tithe to gospel workers. When comparing Hebrews 7:5, 12, 18 it is clear that the law-commandment to take tithes (v5) was changed (v12) to be annulled (v18).

    Concerning the Sabbatdh. I was an SDA-educated and ordained pastor. The Sabbath of the Law and as used by Jesus was the sign and seal of the Old Covenant with Israel (Ex 31:13-17). To worship on the 7th day is not in the heart and is not tautht by nature and conscience (Rom 2:14-16).

    You are hypocritical. If you drive on the Sabbath, use electricity, heating gas, water, etc –YOU are causing others to work on the Sabbath and are a Sabbath-breaker yourself.

    Easter: In many ways the teaching of the NT should compel one to give far and above the 10 percent mark.

    Kelly: While that is true, it is still not biblical justification to teach that everybody must begin their level of giving at 10%. In OT Law only Hebrews who produced food from inside Israel qualified as tithe-payers. Their tithes went first to the Levites and not the priests. Do you follow that rule? Today all believers are priests.

    Easter: According to the NT it would be good to sell all one has and give it to the poor.

    Kelly: Again, this teaches freewill sacrdificial giving -- not tithing.

    Easter: … the things that could be done for missions would greatly increase overnight.

    Kelly: Again, true, but not biblical. OT tithes were never used for missions to convert Gentiles.

    Easter: However, does the truth of a cheerful heart negate the reality that the saints ought to tithe 10 percent?

    Kelly: Where are post-Calvary saints commanded to tithe?

    Easter: Matthew 23:23

    Kelly: You manipulate God’s word and make it say only that which you want to say:
    (1) CONTEXT: “MATTERS OF THE LAW” – WHY DID YOU OMIT THIS PHRASE? Twisting God’s Word!!!
    (2) CONTEXT: Before Calvary. Of course Jesus taught tithing – He lived and died while the Law was still in full effect –the whole law. If Jesus had not taught tithing He would have been sinning!! Jesus also commanded those whom he healed to show themselves to the priest. Do you teach that? Jesus obeyed the Law and went to Jerusalem at Passover. Do you teach that? He taught the whole law.

    Easter: He simply says that Christians must practice justice, mercy, and faithfulness without neglecting tithing.

    Kelly: My Bible says He was addressing “scribes, Pharisees, teches of the Law” – not Christians. He commanded His disciples to obey the interpretation of the law given to them by the “scribes, Pharisees, techers of the law.” Do you?

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