Money/Contentment Part II – Is the New Testament Christian required to Tithe? Can tithers be robbing God?

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Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Cor 9:7 (NASB)

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On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper

1 Cor 16:2 (NASB)

In these days of $4 gas and rising costs in just about everything you use, buy or need, budgeting is essential yet one of the most neglected items in the family.  The economy is in terrible shape, and things seem to be getting worse before they get any better.  So we in the Christian community need to make this a priority in our lives.

Before we proceed, we need to cover something that seems to be coming from the prosperity gospel community and even filtering into mainstream churches, and it is false.  The Old Testament  tithe is not a requirement for the New Testament Christian, and God does not bless and punish those who do not tithe.  This is a false doctrine and needs to be exposed for what it is; it does not matter how well meaning the ill-informed preacher or Pastor/Teacher is who teaches you that you must tithe – they are wrong.  Are the New Testament Christians then free not to give to the work of God?  Absolutely not!

Dr.William E. Bell, one of the most conservative and knowledgeable theologians I know, writes:

But is this tithe required of Christians today? That is the crux of our discussion, and to that subject we now turn our attention. Since the references to the tithe as an obligation on God’s people [i.e., the Nation of Israel] arise from the requirements of the Mosaic law, the question really turns upon the whole area of the Christian’s relationship to the Mosaic law. Is the Christian still under the Mosaic law today? Some of it? All of it? None of it? The answer from Scripture must be that the Christian is under none of it.

He continues:

Paul goes on to say, however, that the removal of the saved Israelite form the authority of the Mosaic pedagogue resulted in his being placed as an adult son in the family of God, together with his saved gentile brethren. Their obligation to God is not lessened; it is heightened…To contend that tithing is still obligatory today because of its occasional practice before Moses is to lose sight of its totally voluntary nature at that time and the fact that circumcision also was practiced before Moses, but no Christian would argue for its necessity today.

It is amazing how many preachers teach the requirement of the tithe and try and connect ones failure or success in meeting it with some sort of blessing or curse.  “If you tithe to God (10%) then God will bless you…“  Exactly where is this taught in Scripture? The New Testament Christian is under no obligation to tithe…we  are under the New Testament Principle of Giving as God has prospered us, as outlined in the verses at the top of this blog.  The suggestion that if one wants to be blessed they need to tithe is ridiculous.  Neither of the passages in 1 or 2 Corinthians even make a hint at such a false teaching; otherwise the giver would not be doing it as required, “not grudgingly or under compulsion.” It is a compulsion if one is required to do this in order to be blessed.  This was understood even under the Old Testament economy before through Progressive Revelation God made it so clear in the New Testament:

Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

Prov 3:9-10 (KJV)

How many times have you heard this  Proverbs passage preached incorrectly, wit the idea inserted that this has to do with giving the tithe?

Another of the standard ploys in this teaching is that you will hear that the tithe is the primary factor in determining if you are being obedient to God.  Never mind if you are committing adultery, divorced (against God’s commandment), a thief, liar, or disrespectful/disobedient to your parents, etc.  As long as you are tithing you are fine and will be blessed?

Bell states,

God, in His infinite wisdom, altered the situation after the cross, making each believer responsible for responding gladly (literally, “a hilarious giver”) and proportionately as God has prospered him. Christian giving is not a matter of how much I must pay to meet God’s legal requirements, but how much I dare keep and spend on myself in view of what God has done for me in Christ and in view of the urgent need to make that good news available throughout the earth.

Many, many Christians today are giving faithfully 10% of their income to their church and in the process robbing God.  They take comfort that they have been faithful in this tithe, while at the same time praying for friends and brothers and sisters in need.  As they do this, they are driving expensive cars, living in elaborate houses, and buying their boats and recreational vehicles.  In this process, they are holding these things out as an illustration of how God is blessing them because of their obedience.  They are not being obedient, they are being idolaters.

If God has blessed you financially, are you living on 90% of the income instead of the other way around?  In the New Testament, God no longer requires a tithe (which, by the way, was seldom 10%; it was more like 20%), he requires all of it and all of you.  I have watched Christians drive up to church in their luxury automobiles then listen to a brother asking for prayer because their old worn out car is in the shop again.  They respond they will pray for them.  In such a case the hilarious giver would not buy the luxury car in the first place, they would instead by a $25,000 car and surprise a needy family or individual with a gift of a similar car handing them cheerfully the keys with nothing expected in return.  Now this financially blessed family would be driving a new car and blessing  someone else in need.  They then have the opportunity to perform this blessing twice again!  Another example of how some tithers dishonor God are the wealthy Dentists and other medical professionals who decide they likewise are immune from helping the less fortunate.  A person can suffer with a bad tooth while the Dentist in their church merely prays for them in a Sunday School or small group;  then this Dentist will go on a mission trip and do dental work for free overseas.  Is this a tax-deductible vacation or are they truly interested in doing ministry?

If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ” Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?

James 2:15-16 (NASB)

Well to-do and wealthy tithers often enter the realm of idolatry and materialism robbing God in the process.  They think themselves immune from the requirements of Phil 2:4, “…do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Phil 2:4 (NASB))  Under the New Testament principle of giving, the obedient Christian is to give to God as God has prospered them.  Isn’t this interesting how close this sounds like the teaching of Proverbs 3:9-10.  If God has chosen to increase you, then you are under this principle and should cheerfully give.  If God has not given you increase, you should within your heart determine an amount you will set aside for God’s work.  And this might not be a financial amount at all; it may also be of your other resources like time.  Either way, that is between you and God and ANYONE who tries and question you on this is treading where only the Holy Spirit deserves to tread!

Thus, no Christian is under the Law of Moses, any of it.  In the area of offerings, they are under the New Testament Principle of Giving as God has prospered them.   They are expected to devote their resources, all of them, to God.  They are also the instruments God uses in meeting the needs of their fellow Christian brothers and sisters.  If they are not doing this, tither or not, they are being disobedient to God.

 

 

This post was written by

kc5lei – who has written 50 posts on One Flesh Ministries.

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