Saturday, December 20, 2008

Is Tithes to the Church still Relevant?

I feel like a sinner for asking this question but I do want to hear your opinions. I did a Google search for tithing and got mixed results. Mostly a lot of Bible scriptures stating that we should tithe. Of course the origins go back to taxes, but is tithing relevant in 2008? The Bible commands that we pay 10% of any income we receive to the church. The words of Malachi, reaffirmed by Jesus, promise those who bring their tithes into the storehouse that the Lord will open "the windows of heaven, and pour [them] out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." The promised blessings are temporal and spiritual. The Lord promises to 'rebuke the devourer,' and he also promises tithe payers that 'all nations shall call you blessed, for ye shall be a delightsome land' (3 Ne. 24:10-12; Mal. 3:10-12)."

I am always curious to see and hear how one is blessed. I know I am although I may want more and in time hopefully I will. Surely it is a blessing just to be in good health and have a sound mind but in times of trouble does our faith pull us out or our tithes? Is tithing an old thing like not eating shell fish?


thegayte-keeper said...

I say NO it isn't...I rather give my money to the man on the street because it has a better chance of helping someone in need...Too many times we have pastors/churches that say God will bless us for giving making them rich while we suffer and I cannot see the logic in that...

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD said...

There is not a single text In God's Word where the church is commanded to tithe.

OT tithes were a) always only food, b) always only from inside Israel, c) never given by craftsmen such as carpenters, fishermen or tentmakers and d) those who received the Levitical tithes were not allowed to own or inherit property.

NT giving is: freewill, SACRIFICIAL, generous, joyful, not by commandment or percentage and motivated by love for God and others. May God bless your search for His truth is my prayer. Merry Christmas.

Losojosnuevos said...

How misguided we can be. Biblically, tithing has very little -if anything- to do with currency. Rather, it was giving God your best: animals, foods, etc. The goal of tithing is to give of yourself, which MAY include part of your income. Tithing may take the form of volunteering, helping an elderly person cross the street, diffusing a hostile situation, or feeding the homeless. While I understand that churches have bills to pay, money is emphasized too much. I've seen ministers have 3-4 offerings/service. Where is the money going? Ask that question and your faith is likely to be scrutinized. Overall, spend your money as you see fit. Give 100 percent of your earnings if you choose.

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD said...

Do you actually have any "Bible texts" to back up your nice-sounding platitudes, or is all merely your opinion?

True, "Biblically, tithing has very little -if anything- to do with currency."

Actually it had absolutely nothing to do with money. The tithed food could only come off the deity's land and could only come from what God miraculously increased by His hand --not man's hand. That is what the Bible teaches.

No, it was NOT "giving God your best: animals, foods, etc.:

Biblical tithing was pure, hard and cold LAW. If you had an increase of food from inside God's holy land of Israel, then you MUST tithe. God did not excuse you if you did not have the right attitude! Be honest!

Tithes were not even the best! Read Leviticus 27:30-34. Tithes were the tenth --whether good or bad. That is what God's Word says. Even firstfruits were not the "best" --they were the FIRST of the harvest and were only a very small token offering per Deu 267:1-4 and Neh 10:35-37a. The only thing called "best" is the tenth-of-the-tithe one per cent given by the Levites to the priests in Num 18:25-29.

Unscriptural platitude: "The goal of tithing is to give of yourself, which MAY include part of your income." The NT replaces this with sacrificial giving and love for God.

Unscriptural platitude: "Tithing may take the form of volunteering, helping an elderly person cross the street, diffusing a hostile situation, or feeding the homeless." In the NT this is called service of love and commitment, not tithing.

There is enough good solid encouraging material to preach from the Bible without resorting to unscriptural platitudes.

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

Losojosnuevos said...

Dear Mr. Kelly:

While I understand your position, you did not answer the young man's question. My goal was to illustrate what my personal view of tithing is. As he wanted to know whether tithing was an antiquated practice, I believe I answered his query adequately, whether biblically sound or not. After all, scriptural interpretation is subjective at best. Further, as I was not attempting to "preach," personal beliefs and opinions are permissable. Be blessed.

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD said...

Is Tithing to the Church Still Relevant?

Answer: Tithing to the Church was never relevant. OT tithes were only collected from food producers who lived inside national Israel. Most Christians live outside of the boundary of Israel.

Tithes were never money and tithing was never commanded to the Church in terms of grace and faith after Calvary. Period.

NT giving principles are far superior to OT tithing. God asks us to use Jesus as our standard and example of giving --not the law. Therefore Christians should give (1) freely-freewill, (2) sacrificially, (3) generously, (4) joyfully, (5) not by commandment or percentage and (6) motivated by love for the Father and lost souls. 2 Cor 8 and 9.

Compared to NT giving, OT principles have ZERO glory per 2 Cor 3:10. The answer to NT sanctification is not OT law-keeping. Rather it is looking towards Jesus and following his example per 2 Cor 3:18.

Looking to Jesus means that many Christians should give far more than 10% but it does not curse those who give sacrificially even though they give less than 10% per 2 Cor 8:12-15. We need to live at a lower standard and give more to God's work. Again, how many spend more on their cell phones than they give to God's work?

In Christ's love
Russ Kelly

Losojosnuevos said...

Mr. Kelly:

My principal issue with tithing is that no one really knows where the money goes. Aside from paying bills (i.e. mortgage, maintenance, etc), the bulk of the money should not pad the preacher's pockets or afford his/her family luxuries they have not earned. Jesus never collected a fee for his services.

Be blessed and have a wonderful Christmas