Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Are Christians To Be Giving Tithes?

        Many pastors, one of which is Charles Stanley, believe that Christians are supposed to be giving weekly tithes to their churches. Some, including the aforementioned individual, go as far as to claim that believers ought to give ten percent of their income and that God will bless people who obey. However, there is rationale against Christians tithing, namely, that it was an aspect of the Mosaic Law which does not have pertinence under the New Covenant. It does not apply to us for the same reason that Sabbath observance does not apply to us. Such things have been rendered obsolete at the Cross and so will fade away (Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 8:13).

        Why did the Jewish people provide tithes? It was dedicated to the care of Levitical priests as they performed animal sacrifices in the presence of God (Numbers 18:21-26). They were used for feasts and also given to assist the poor. People made pilgrimages to Jerusalem every couple of years to honor those tithes. The Jews gave crops and livestock for tithes (Leviticus 27:30; 2 Chronicles 31:5). It is ironic that we do not really see pastors imposing these kinds of requirements on their audiences. If they are going to be consistent with their teaching, then they might as well throw away the New Testament and convert to Judaism.

        What are Christians supposed to give? The Apostle Paul answered that question in terms of "according to the desire of their hearts" and "not under compulsion" (2 Corinthians 9:7). He makes no mention of a fixed amount of a person's income. The rest of the New Testament epistles are silent concerning tithing. God loves a cheerful giver because he is giving from the heart. That kind of giving finds its root in love. 

         One must act in a manner that is financially responsible when it comes to making these kinds of sacrifices. For example, a man may have a family that he is obligated to provide for. 1 Timothy 5:8 says, "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." It would be arrogant of us to presume that God will "catch" us every time we make foolish choices. The tithe was something specifically tied in with the land of Israel.

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