Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tithes and Offerings in the New Testament Church

The issue of tithes and offerings is another issue of concern faced by members of the church today. Quite sadly we have congregation members being manipulated into tithing using the following verses from the Old Testament:

Malachi 3:8-9 - "Will a man rob God? yet ye rob me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with the curse; for ye rob me, even this whole nation." (ASV)

I personally found myself in a church where this exact verse was used to scare the congregation members into giving their full tithes or they “will be cursed”. No one spoke out against this teaching and everyone just accepted this statement as fact. Why?... Because it was taken out of the bible, so it had to be truth.

Now as one teacher once told me, I now say unto you; challenge everything you see happening in the church today against what is written in the New Testament. The verses above (Malachi 3:8-9) were obviously taken from the Old Testament... needless to say; we live in the New Testament.

So what does the New Testament say?

2Corinthians 9:7 - "Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, "prompt to do it") giver [whose heart is in his giving]." (AMP)

So according to the New Testament we do not have to fear being cursed for not giving tithes. We are given the freedom in Christ to give as our hearts desire and not out of necessity as those living under the Law. So it should be taught in churches then that if you feel like giving a full tithe then good for! And if you don’t feel like giving it then... Good for you also! Keep in mind though:

2Corinthians 9:6 - "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully." (KJV)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with giving tithes, but when it becomes a necessity as part of your “membership” to a certain congregation, then you might want to start evaluating your position. Also if you start seeing tithing as a part of what is necessary for your salvation, then you are in serious spiritual trouble. For then you will be trying to work (or pay) your way into heaven and scripture is very clear that we are not saved by works, but by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8).

4 comments:

  1. Good post!

    People really need to be liberated from those who insist on payment for entry to the Kingdom of heaven.

    I think the Christian 'tithe' is a community agreement; 100% belongs to God, but we each agree to give an equal portion into the church's 'account' so that we can enjoy it together.

    I think - the early church held 'all things in common.'

    In 2 Corinthians Paul is speaking about a separate offering to that held in trust in the early church - an offering to be sent to Jerusalem (the Christians there were having a hard time)... perhaps he is speaking of something in addition to people's regular contributions to the life of the church community?

    Thoughtful post; thanks.

    (Commenting 'cos I had this very discussion with some of my leaders last night.)

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  2. Glad you find it of interest Gus.

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  3. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law; justice, mercy, and faith. These things you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Matthew 23:23

    Jesus is speaking to religious people about the weightier matter but He stated you should still tithe.

    Most churches today are barely surviving with the adverage church in America around 75 people and according to research only about 4% tithe anyway and about 50% don't give at all.

    So if you don't want to give don't but don't use scripture to justify your position because there are plenty of scriptures to prove otherwise.

    The New Testament believers sold all of their possesions and gave it to the church, are you willing to move to that level of giving?

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  4. Dear Anon...

    I am in no way using scripture to justify any position of my own. I am merely stating exactly what scripture says. If u are one of those who give out of necessity and not sincerety then your heart is in the wrong place for GOD seeks sincerety. I have in no way spoken against the act of tithing. I spoke against it being used as a part of salvation and the manipulation hapening in churches today.

    Feel free give me other verses that prove me wrong BUT make sure they're from the New Testament.

    Also I am already more than willing to give all my possesions to the church IF the church will take care of my family as what happened in ACTS. Scripture is very clear that he who does not provide for his family is worse than an infidel.

    If you are offended by what I wrote then perhaps you are as a Pharisee who refuse to accept and embrace the liberty and freedom offered by Christ.

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