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New Testiment Believers and Tithing

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  • profrobertsolis
    If a Christian does not tithe (i.e., give 10% of their) wage can a pastor rightly say that he/she is robbing God as stated in Malichi 3:9? Could an argument
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 2, 2006
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      If a Christian does not tithe (i.e., give 10% of their) wage can a pastor rightly say that he/she
      is robbing God as stated in Malichi 3:9?

      Could an argument for tithing also be established using Hebrews 7:1-2? In other words, it
      appears that Melchizedek is establishing a pattern of 10% for New Testament believers.

      Thank you for your feedback,

      Robert
    • Daniel Eaton
      wrote: If a Christian does not tithe (i.e., give 10% of their) wage can a pastor rightly say that he/she is robbing God as stated in
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 2, 2006
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        <profrobertsolis@...> wrote:
        If a Christian does not tithe (i.e., give 10% of their) wage can a
        pastor rightly say that he/she is robbing God as stated in Malichi 3:9?


        Here is one take on the subject that I found fairly insightful. I'd
        be interested in hearing other's reactions to it. It is taken from
        http://tinyurl.com/yedpgj

        Is Tithing For Christians?
        by Steve Gregg

        It is commonly taught in churches that Christians should tithe (a word
        meaning the giving of "a tenth" of their income) to their local
        church. Christians are sometimes told that they owe the first ten
        percent of their income to the church where they attend, and that any
        giving to other needy persons or ministries falls into a separate
        category called "offerings" and should be given only after the first
        tenth has been given to the church. Preachers sometimes speak as if
        the Bible actually teaches such a thing, although the Bible nowhere
        mentions what we today call a "local church," and the New Testament
        never applies any duty of tithing to Christians.

        Tithing was commanded to the children of Israel for the support of
        the Levites (Num.18:21). The Levites, who were consecrated to
        full-time ministry and could not be profitably employed, would enjoy a
        standard of living that approximated or was slightly higher than the
        national average. The Levites, in turn, contributed a tenth of their
        income to the priests for their support (Num.18:26-28). The system
        was designed to free-up a large number of men to minister in
        things of the tabernacle/temple and to teach the law to the people.
        The fraction "a tenth" was not arbitrary, but corresponded to the
        needs of the number of full-time ministers requiring support.

        Ever since God abolished the temple and the Levitical priesthood,
        there remains no obvious reason why the tithe should continue to
        define a Christian's measure of giving to God. The church generally
        does not release one full-time minister for every ten families (though
        this ratio would not be excessive), so there is no biblical or logical
        reason why the same percentage of the Christian's income should be
        devoted to the church's coffers as was required of the Israelites in
        their support of the temple clergy. This is, no doubt, why neither
        Jesus nor the apostles ever so much as suggested this duty to the
        disciples. The tithe was for the support of the ritual system of
        Israel. These ceremonial aspects of the Law were done away with in
        the coming of a better covenant.

        Sometimes it is argued that tithing did not "go out with the Law"
        for the simple reason that it was practiced prior to the giving of the
        Law, and has, therefore, a validity of its own independent of the Law.
        The total evidence that tithing was practiced before the time of
        Moses consists of two passages in Genesis. In Genesis 14:20, Abraham
        gave a tenth of the spoils of his recent conquest against Chedolaomer
        to the priest Melchisedek. Also, in Genesis 28:20-22, Jacob, awaking
        from his famous dream, vowed to give God a tenth of whatever
        prosperity God might give him in the time of his absence from Canaan.
        Do these passages teach or even hint that godly individuals regularly
        devoted ten percent of their wealth to God? Two isolated cases cannot
        establish such a pattern, since we never read of Abel, Enoch, Noah,
        Isaac, Judah or Joseph observing any such practice. Nor do we have
        record of Abraham or Jacob ever doing so on occasions other than these
        two recorded cases. We have no reason to believe that Abraham tithed
        regularly.Therefore, none can establish from Scripture that tithing
        was a recognized or mandated practice prior to the time of Moses.
        Furthermore, even if we did have a biblical basis for such a teaching,
        it does not follow that tithing continues as a duty into the New
        Covenant. Remember, circumcision and animal sacrifices (both
        commanded in the Law of Moses) were definitely regular practices prior
        to the giving of the Law, but this does not provide an argument for
        their continuance after the time of Christ.

        Tithing is mentioned in the New Testament in three connections.
        Hebrews 7 simply recounts the story of Abraham and Melchisedek,
        without reference to any duty in this matter accruing to others. The
        Gospels record the saying of Christ that the scribes and Pharisees
        meticulously paid their tithes, while neglecting "weightier maters of
        the law" (Matt.23:23/Luke 11:42). Jesus states that they should have
        done both (i.e. paid tithes and observed the weightier matters), but
        this only states what was required of the Pharisees as men living
        under the Old Testament law, and tells us nothing of any ongoing duty
        for Christian disciples. Finally, we have the self-congratulating
        "prayer" of a Pharisee in a parable (Luke 18:12), who boasts of paying
        tithes of all that he possesses, but the parable does not go on to
        make this man a model for Christians to emulate.

        It is not surprising that advocates of tithing do not make much
        use of these New Testament verses. The preaching usually centers upon
        the classic Old Testament rebuke of those who neglected to "bring all
        of the tithes into the storehouse" (Mal.3:10). The argument goes
        something like this:

        "The storehouse is where you go to get your food. Spiritually, you get
        your feeding from your local church. Therefore, God commands you to
        give ten percent of your income to the church of which you are a
        member. Anything over that amount that you give is not your tithe, but
        an offering."

        One can easily speculate as to the motivation churches might have
        for teaching along this line. The only thing wrong with the above
        argument is that there is not one legitimate scriptural point
        contained in it. First, the "storehouse" was not where the Jews went
        to get their food. The storehouse refers to the storage rooms in the
        Jerusalem temple (Neh.10:38) where food was stored for the priests.
        They ate it there, and any surplus was given to the poor (Deut.26:12),
        but the idea was not that of a private pantry from which the tithing
        worshipper provided for his own sustenance. Further, it is not a
        given that every Christian gets his primary spiritual feeding from his
        local church. It is the very negligence of such feeding by the
        churches that has led to the proliferation on non-ecclesiastical
        ministries (sometimes called parachurch ) to make up for this
        deficiency. Finally, nothing in the passage is addressed to New
        Testament believers. The Christian's standards for giving are defined
        in entirely different terms.

        Those terms are found in the teaching of Christ, that one who
        would follow Christ must forsake "all that he has" (Luke 14:33/ cf.
        Matt.13:44-46). The ceremonial law served as a foreshadowing of the
        Christian revelation. The latter teaches that all of God's people,
        having been "bought with a price," are not their own, but are owned
        lock, stock and barrel by Jesus Christ (1 Cor.6:19-20). All of the
        believer's time and all of his possessions belong to Godâ€"a fact
        foreshadowed in ceremonial law by the requirement of giving Him a
        representative token of each (one day of his week, and one tenth of
        his possessions).

        In place of "tithing" the New Testament teaches "stewardship"
        (Luke 12:42; 16:1ff; 19:12-13/ Matt.25:14/ Titus 1:7). The Christian
        is a "steward", or "manager," of somebody else's (God's) possessions.
        He is not in a partnership with God in which God holds 10 shares and
        he holds 90. In coming to Christ, the repentant sinner surrenders
        everything to God, and claims ownership of nothing (Acts 4:32). From
        the moment of his conversion, the believer becomes responsible to
        manage every asset (monetary or otherwise) in the interests of his
        Master's profit. Those seeking to reserve a share of their lives for
        themselves need not apply (Luke 9:23).

        What, then, is the steward's responsibility? He must discharge
        his trust in exactly the manner that his Master would do if He were in
        His steward's shoes. What would God spend His money on? Well, the
        Scriptures give us all the guidance we need on this matter. Throughout
        Scripture, God expresses His concern for the plight of the helpless
        poor and the support of those who minister the Word of God. A timely
        gift to the poor is a gift to God Himself (Prov.19:17/Matt.25:37-40),
        and is the prescribed method of depositing treasures in heaven (Mark
        10:21/Luke 12:33). Giving to the needy is merely an expression of the
        mandate to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Luke 10:27-37).

        The support of the Kingdom's ministers is similarly an expression
        of our duty to love God, to seek first the Kingdom of God (Matt.6:33).
        These ministers include those who teach the Word of God (as the
        Levites were to doâ€"Gal.6:6/1 Cor.9:11/1 Tim.5:17-18). This would
        include the pastor of one's church (if he teaches God's Word) as well
        as others from whom one receives spiritual direction and nourishment.
        It also would include traveling ministers and missionaries (Luke
        8:2-3/Phil.4:16-18/3 John 5-8). There is such a variety of
        ministryâ€"some more- and some less-needy, and some more-, some
        less-worthy of supportâ€"that a conscientious steward will do a bit of
        prayerful research before committing the Master's funds to a given
        appeal for assistance. In the end, the discharge of one's stewardship
        requires a great deal of prayer and leading of the Holy Spirit. It is
        nothing like such a simple matter as writing a check to the local
        assembly (which might be looking to replace the carpeting for the
        third time this decade) for a tenth of one's paycheck.

        We must also acknowledge that God would provide for the needs of
        His servants and their families. Therefore, a certain amount of our
        income must be devoted to the feeding, housing and clothing of our
        families (1 Tim.5:8). Nor is there any forbidding of a few things for
        enjoyment alone (1 Tim.6:17). How many such things? That is between
        the steward and his Master, and is not for another to judge
        (Rom.14:4). However, we must be on our guard against our own
        pervasive tendency to judge our own actions (and expenditures) more
        favorably than the facts would suggest. In eternity, our rejoicing
        will be proportionate to our self-denial in this life and our
        generosity to the poor and to the work of God.

        In the century following the apostolic age, the Christians
        understood that tithing had been replaced by full surrender to God. In
        Against Heresies, Irenaeus wrote, "[The Old Testament saints] offered
        their tithes; but those who have received liberty set apart everything
        they have for the Lord's use, cheerfully and freely giving them, not
        as small things in hope of greater, but like that poor widow, who put
        her whole livelihood into the treasury of God." The Didache (early
        second century) certainly has Scripture on its side when it counsels,
        "Do not hesitate to give, and do not give with a bad grace; for you
        will discover who He is that repays you. . .Do not turn your back on
        the needy, but share everything with your brother and call nothing
        your own."
        Amen
      • Robert Nusom
        WOW Daniel, You provide an incredibly well thought out answer to the issue. I am not entirely sure that I agree with you regarding the Hebrew concept of
        Message 3 of 3 , Dec 4, 2006
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          WOW Daniel,

          You provide an incredibly well thought out answer to
          the issue. I am not entirely sure that I agree with
          you regarding the Hebrew concept of tything.
          Honestly, my understanding was a little different, but
          honestly, the scripture is not real clear on a lot of
          points in either direction and I can say that many
          perceptions could be said to be scripturally sound.
          Yours is as good as any.

          I do not believe that either the Christian or Hebrew
          Scriptures make a crystal clear definition of tything.
          Certainly, neither are anywhere as plain as my old
          Pastor would have one believe. The concept, at least
          as currently practiced and expounded, is one of those
          things that evolved more from wishful thinking on the
          part of ministers and clergy than from the word of
          God.

          I have done a fair amount of reading and
          soul-searching on the issue, mostly from the Hebrew
          Scriptures (of course), and I must say that I am more
          confused on the issue than enlightened. I can only
          say that, from the reading I have done on the subject,
          I think your views are as good as any and probably
          better than most.

          Bob





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