Home > Brandenburg, money > The New Testament Teaches Tithing pt.1

The New Testament Teaches Tithing pt.1

April 9, 2008

Perhaps you have grown up being taught that you should tithe, that is, give the first ten percent of everything you earn to the church.  As much as I have ever heard, men say that we’ve been wrong, that the New Testament doesn’t advocate tithing.  One man who maintains an entire website against tithing, Russell Earl Kelly, endorsed his position in a comment here at Jackhammer.  He and I exchanged emails and he sent me a pdf of a book he wrote in opposition to the tithe.  With eagerness I read it to find out where I might have gone wrong all these years, hoping to have any of my misunderstandings of Scripture exposed.  I didn’t want to, as one man has accused, fraudulently fleece my flock.  Kelly’s book didn’t persuade me.  By reading it, as is sometimes the case, I became stronger in the position I already believed.

Some state or imply that a pastor might need to recuse himself from a conversation about tithing because of conflicting interests.  Russell Kelly advertises his work by saying, “[I’m] bringing you the other side of the story, the side a portion of Christian leaders would rather you did not hear.”  Sounds sinister, doesn’t it?  Like pastors have been orchestrating this tithing conspiracy all these years just so they will get a paycheck from the church?  They don’t want you (hush, hush) to know that Scripture doesn’t actually teach tithing.

If you compared the number of people who didn’t like tithing to those who did, which side would be the bigger group?  Barna researched people’s giving in 2004 and found that those who gave to churches averaged 3% of their income.  Only 4% who gave to churches actually tithed.  Out of those who claim to be “born again,” only 9% tithed.  Announcement:  the tithing conspiracy is failing!  If tithing is actually being preached by churches, it seems that the conspiracy actually is against tithing.  Is that because the New Testament doesn’t teach it?  Are people striving to regulate their lives by God’s Word so that they don’t tithe?  Scripture teaches tithing and I’m going to show you that at least 91% of those who claim to be born again, according to Barna’s research, are living in disobedience to God.

1.  THE NEW TESTAMENT DOES NOT DO AWAY WITH OLD TESTAMENT STANDARDS

Tithing is taught in the New Testament, but that doesn’t mean that if something is taught only in the Old Testament, we don’t practice it today.  Tithing was taught and practiced in the Old Testament.  It was the standard proportion for giving as an act of worship of God in the Old Testament.

We first see tithing with Abraham giving tithes to Melchizedek in Genesis 14:18-20.  Melchizedek is a clear type of Christ in Scripture (Hebrews 7:1-11).  Abraham’s grandson Jacob also paid tithes (Genesis 28:22).  Both of these examples were hundreds of years before the Mosaic Law.   Once God established worship of Him through the tabernacle, He expected the people to support the Levites, those who maintained the tabernacle worship, and the worship itself by giving a tithe of all their increase (Numbers 18:24; Leviticus 27:30).  The Levites themselves gave a tithe of their tithe to the Lord (Numbers 18:26).  Not tithing in this manner was considered to be robbing God, indicating that the tithe belonged to God (Malachi 3:8).  The place of worship in the Old Testament, the tabernacle or the temple, was the storehouse of the tithe (Malachi 3:10).  Besides being individual, worship was corporate and God designed corporate worship to be supported and maintained by means of the tithe.  Not tithing would essentially be a vote to discontinue corporate worship.

The tithe portion of the increase was rendered from the first harvest of the crop (Exodus 23:16, 19; Deuteronomy 26:10).  The principle of the first fruit was that everything belonged to God, but that God’s people would give a representative proportion of the increase to God to communicate to Him that they believed He owned all things.  At the root of tithe teaching is that everything comes from God.  We confess to Him that He is the Source by returning to Him at least ten percent of what He has provided.

When Israel entered Canaan, God gave them Jericho.  They marched round and round and God knocked the walls down.  They were not to spare anybody or anything in the city.  Nothing was to be taken.  Of course, Achan took some items from Jericho, so that when Israel went to Ai for battle, Israel lost.  God taught them that he must receive the first of all the increase.  Israel stoned Achan and his entire family per God’s instruction.  A few dozen men had died because a portion of the first fruit was taken.  Do you think God likes it when we don’t tithe?

The underlying principle begun in the Old Testament is proportional giving.  We don’t give an arbitrary amount to God but a proportion of our increase.  We might give to God out of impulse, but our giving is not merely impulsive.  Neither do we give Him what is left over.  By giving Him the first of what He has given us, we honor Him with our substance (Proverbs 3:9).

Jesus did not come to destroy the law (Matthew 5:17).  The greatest of His kingdom will keep the least of His commandments (Matthew 5:19).  The law is good if a man use it lawfully (1 Timothy 1:8).  Certain Old Testament practices ceased especially with the death of Christ—not all of them.   God didn’t institute the New Covenant as a means of doing away with law.  The New Covenant enables the law by giving a man a changed heart.  Now he can honor God because of that change and the forgiveness of sins.   The New Testament did not rescind tithing; it enabled it.

2.  JESUS TAUGHT TITHING

For purposes of pride and self-righteousness, the Pharisees kept the laws that they could keep and that would make a good impression to others.  In Matthew 23:23 (cf. Luke 11:42), Jesus declares:

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Granted, Jesus was scolding the hypocrisy of the religious leaders.  They should have been obedient to God in the matters of judgment, mercy, and faith.  However, at the end of the verse, Jesus says that they were not to leave tithing undone.   It looks clear to me.  “Ye ought not to leave tithing undone.”   Positively stated:  Do tithe.  Tithing was still something that He wanted them to do.

3.  JESUS TAUGHT PROPORTIONAL GIVING

In Mark 12:41-44 Jesus watches the giving in the temple.  He notices the rich people giving much.  However, He especially sees the giving of a certain widow.  She had two brass coins and she threw both of them into the treasury.  The widow gave less than the rich men.  However, Jesus says that she “cast more in,” because her proportion was higher.  She gave 100%.  That was more than what they gave.  In this narrative Jesus affirms the kind of giving that we already saw in the Old Testament, proportional giving.  A tithe was just a measurement.  It was the percentage or proportion that someone gave.  Jesus supports that.

The widow also gave money, not crops.  One of the arguments against tithing is that in the Old Testament, the tithers gave ten percent of their crop production—it wasn’t money.  Of course, they had a different kind of economy in that day.  In an agrarian society, their earnings were crops.  They would most often trade their crops for other things they needed.  Today our increase comes in the way of money, so we tithe in the way of money.

(to be continued)

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  1. April 9, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Sir
    Kelly: Thanks for the discussion about my book.
    ……….
    You wrote: Kelly’s book didn’t persuade me. By reading it, as is sometimes the case, I became stronger in the position I already believed.
    ……….
    Kelly: It may not have persuaded you but experience makes me confident that most who read it will agree with me.
    ……….
    You quoted me saying: “[I’m] bringing you the other side of the story, the side a portion of Christian leaders would rather you did not hear.”
    ……….
    Kelly: It is the “other side of the story” when 97% of the pulpits have pro-tithing sermons and discipline those who try to question them or ask for open discussions.
    ……….
    You wrote: Which side would be the bigger group? Announcement: the tithing conspiracy is failing! If tithing is actually being preached by churches, it seems that the conspiracy actually is against tithing.
    ……….
    Kelly: You are playing games with statistics. Preachers have been trying to push tithing onto their congregations only since the 1870s and only since 1895 in the Southern Baptist Convention and they have failed miserably! When are you going to learn, stop it, and go back to preaching grace-giving and evangelism which made the church grow in its early years before the 1870s. You are teaching by your actions that Law out-gives Grace and that grace is good enough for all of the church’s doctrines except for giving.
    ……….
    You wrote: I’m going to show you that at least 91% of those who claim to be born again, according to Barna’s research, are living in disobedience to God.
    ……….
    Kelly: Your arguments are all without solid contextual scripture foundation or even the history of the Christian Church. That is why church leaders will not enter into dialog with me or even with ordinary uneducated church members who ask them about tithing.
    ……….
    You wrote: THE NEW TESTAMENT DOES NOT DO AWAY WITH OLD TESTAMENT STANDARDS.
    ……….
    Kelly: Your first and greatest error is your definition of “tithing” as a universal OT “standard,” “beginning,” “training wheels” or “good place to start.” Even though money was required for many temple offerings it was NEVER included in any of the 16 texts which describe the CONTENTS of tithing. Why? Because legitimate holy biblical tithes were always (1) only food, (2) only from inside Israel, (3) only from OT Israelites, (4) only from what God miraculously increased, (5) only to support Levites and priests and (6) could not be received from non-Israelites.
    You err again when you call it a “standard” because it was only a “standard” “beginning point” for farmers and herdsmen who lived inside Israel. Those farmers and herdsmen living outside of Israel could not bring tithes. And those who lived in cities in trades and crafts were not included among those required to tithe. Why don’t you explain these points in your refutation?
    ……….
    You wrote about Abraham and Jacob: “Both of these examples were hundreds of years before the Mosaic Law – also Heb 7:1-11.”
    ……….
    Kelly: Be sure and ignore my many pages of reasons to refute this argument. You lack a consistent hermeneutic when deciding what part of Abraham and Jacob’s lives are examples for NT Christians and what part are not. Your principle allows YOU to be the judge of what applies and what does not. I contend that NOTHING in God’s Word about tithing from Abraham or Jacob is followed by your church or any other church today. And, like all tithe-teachers, you stop reading Hebrews 7 at verse 11 when the application to Christians is found in verses 12 to 19. Why do you do that?
    ……….
    You wrote: Once God established worship of Him through the tabernacle, He expected the people to support the Levites, those who maintained the tabernacle worship, and the worship itself by giving a tithe of all their increase (Numbers 18:24 ; Leviticus 27:30 ). The Levites themselves gave a tithe of their tithe to the Lord (Numbers 18:26 ).
    ………
    Kelly: (1) Do you give your tithe only from food as in the texts you used in Lev 27 and Num 18? (2) Do you give your whole tithe to Levites who are your ushers, deacons, choir, musicians, builders and politicians? (3) Do the pastors only receive a tenth of the tithe as required in Num 18:25-28 and Neh 10:38? (4) Do you limit tithe recipients to one family or do you preach the “priesthood of all believers”? Like I said, you practice NONE of the OT tithe principles!
    ……………
    You wrote: Not tithing in this manner was considered to be robbing God, indicating that the tithe belonged to God (Malachi 3:8 ).
    ……………….
    Kelly: Read all of Deuteronomy 28 and you will discover that the blessings and curses of tithing were linked to obedience of the whole law. You cannot receive the blessings from tithing unless you observe the whole law. That is the meaning of Galatians 3:10.
    ………………
    You wrote: The place of worship in the Old Testament, the tabernacle or the temple, was the storehouse of the tithe (Malachi 3:10 ).
    ……………….
    Kelly: (1) The OT people were commanded to bring the tithe –NOT TO THE TEMPLE—but to the Levitical cites where 98% of the Levites and priests stayed most of the time. Neh 10:37-38; 2 Chron 31:15-19; Josh 20-21; Num 35. It makes no sense to tell the people to bring 100% of the tithes to the Jerusalem Temple when 98% of those it was intended to feed were not there! (2) Both the OT Temple and priesthood have been replaced by the priesthood of every believer and that destroys the purpose of the OT tithe. (3) The NT church did not have buildings for over 200 years after Calvary and the church is not called a storehouse in the Bible. (4) Malachi 3:10 only makes sense if it is addressed only to the priests per Neh 10:37-38; Mal 1:6; 2:1 and 3:1-7.
    …………..
    You wrote: The tithe portion of the increase was rendered from the first harvest of the crop (Exodus 23:16, 19 ; Deuteronomy 26:10 ).
    ……………
    Kelly: This is as wrong as it can be. The “tithe” was the “tenth” – not the “first.” According to Lev 27:30 it was not even the “best.” Read you Bible.
    ………………
    You wrote: The principle of the first fruit was that everything belonged to God, but that God’s people would give a representative proportion of the increase to God to communicate to Him that they believed He owned all things.
    …………………
    Kelly: You mention Deu 26:10. Try reading 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-37. (1) The tithe was an extremely small portion, a handful, which could be carried in a small basket. It was not the tithe!!!!!! (2) The firstfruit was carried to the Temple and must only be eaten inside the Temple (Neh 10:35-37a). The tithe was carried to the Levitical cities and could be eaten anywhere (Num 18:20-31; Neh 10:37b).
    …………………..
    You wrote: At the root of tithe teaching is that everything comes from God. We confess to Him that He is the Source by returning to Him at least ten percent of what He has provided.
    ……………….
    Kelly: Wrong. The root of the “firstfruits” (not the tithe) is that everything INSIDE Israel belonged to God. The root of the “tithe” is that God removed the priesthood of the firstborn and gave it to the tribe of Levi.
    …………………..
    You wrote: They were not to spare anybody or anything in the city [Jericho]. Nothing was to be taken.
    ……………..
    Kelly: Why do you give this story? It has nothing to do with tithing. Do you want to kill everybody who disagrees with you? You imply that everybody who does not tithe is an Achan.
    ………………..
    You wrote: We don’t give an arbitrary amount to God but a proportion of our increase.
    ……………………
    Kelly: Read 2 Cor 8:12-16. Many should give more (than 10%) while many are giving sacrificially when they give less (than 10%). There is no percentage in the NT. It is called “equality giving.”
    ………………….
    You wrote: By giving Him the first of what He has given us, we honor Him with our substance (Proverbs 3:9 ).
    ………………..
    Kelly: Dave Ramsey says that Proverbs mentions tithing over 20 times when it is not mentioned even one time. Firstfruits are not the same as tithing.
    …………………
    You wrote: Jesus did not come to destroy the law (Matthew 5:17 ). The greatest of His kingdom will keep the least of His commandments (Matthew 5:19 ).
    ……………………
    Kelly: You misunderstand Matthew 5:17-19. The context is ALL of the Law of Moses. We either must keep ALL of it or none of it. Compare 5:20-48. You manipulate this text to mean “all of the moral law plus tithing, but none of the ceremonial statutes.” That is hypocritical. Tithing was at the heart of the ceremonial cultic statutes and ordinances and was clearly abolished in Eph 2, Col 2, Gal 4:10 and Heb 7:18 and 8:8-13. Jesus perfectly fulfilled the righteousness of the law and it remains as a reminder of where we have been. Believers are “dead to the law” and the law cannot tell a dead person what to do (Rom 7:4).
    ………………….
    You wrote: Certain Old Testament practices ceased especially with the death of Christ—not all of them.
    ……………….

    Kelly: This completely contradicts what you just quoted: “”The greatest of His kingdom will keep the least of His commandments (Matthew 5:19 ).””
    ………………….
    You wrote: God didn’t institute the New Covenant as a means of doing away with law. The New Covenant enables the law by giving a man a changed heart.
    …………………
    Kelly: Read Hebrews 8:8-13. We Gentiles were never under the Law of Moses anyway per Ex 19:5-6; 20:1-3; Lev 27:34. You use the word “law” as if it always refers to the Law of Moss when it does not. Read Romans 2:14-16. The underlying “moral law” is eternal and reflects the character of God. Tithing is not a moral commandment because 10% is not written in the heart of every man.
    …………………..
    You wrote: JESUS TAUGHT TITHING
    ……………………
    Kelly: Of course Jesus taught tithing. He also taught all of the other 600+ commandments of the Law of Moses because it was still in full effect per Gal 4:4. Announcement: Matthew 23:23 is before Calvary.
    …………………….
    You wrote:
    Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
    ……………………
    Kelly: Woe
    [one of many directed to the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy concerning the law].
    unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
    [the “you” are the “scribes and Pharisees.” He could not possibly be telling Gentile disciples to tithe because they had no place to tithe and their tithes would not have been accepted.
    “for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin”
    The scribes and Pharisees had changed the law into a burden by including garden herbs. Do you teach your church to tithe garden herbs? Why not?
    “and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith:
    The context is a discussion of matters OF THE LAW. The context is NOT for the Church.
    “these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
    They ought to have done them because the law was still in full effect. Unfortunately for Jesus’ Jewish disciples, they must also tithe garden herbs. Why? Read Mt 23:2 and 3: because the scribes and Pharisees “sit on Moses” seat as the interpreters of the law.”
    Now tell me please where I have erred in applying solid acceptable seminary-level hermeneutics!!!
    ……………………..
    You wrote: Jesus says that they were not to leave tithing undone. It looks clear to me. “Ye ought not to leave tithing undone.” Positively stated: Do tithe. Tithing was still something that He wanted them to do.
    ………………………
    Kelly: Jesus would not have told his Jewish disciples anything less before Calvary before the law ended. Otherwise he would have been a law-breaker and sinner Himself.
    ………………….
    You wrote: JESUS TAUGHT PROPORTIONAL GIVING
    …………………..
    Kelly: Yes, but that does not mean tithing.
    ………………….
    You wrote: The widow also gave money, not crops.
    ……………………
    Kelly: The widow was giving a freewill offering, not a tithe. There were 13 vessels in the Temple for giving and none of them was for tithes! See Alfred Edersheim. Since she was neither a herdsman nor farmer she was not qualified to be a tither – and neither was Jesus, Peter or Paul.
    ………………….
    You wrote: One of the arguments against tithing is that in the Old Testament, the tithers gave ten percent of their crop production—it wasn’t money.
    ……………………
    Kelly: You say you read my book but I seriously doubt it because I discuss this in great detail. There are 16 texts which describe the contents of the tithe from Lev 27 to Malachi 3 to Matthew 23 –over 1500 years while money was being used daily—yet none of them include money in their definition.
    …………………
    You wrote: Of course, they had a different kind of economy in that day. In an agrarian society, their earnings were crops. They would most often trade their crops for other things they needed. Today our increase comes in the way of money, so we tithe in the way of money.
    ………………
    Kelly: Not true. From my book, page 11, and essay, point #3.
    One argument to support non-food tithing is that money was not universally available and barter from food must have been used for most transactions. This argument is not biblical. Genesis alone contains “money” in 32 texts and the word occurs 44 times before the tithe is first mentioned in Leviticus 27. The word shekel also appears often from Genesis to Deuteronomy.

    In fact many centuries before Israel entered Canaan and began tithing food from God’s Holy Land money was an essential everyday item. For example money in the form of silver shekels paid for slaves (Gen 17:12+); land (Gen 23:9+); freedom (Ex 23:11); court fines (Ex 21 all; 22 all); sanctuary dues (Ex 30:12+); vows (Lev 27:3-7); poll taxes (Num 3:47+), alcoholic drinks (Deu 14:26) and marriage dowries (Deu 22:29).

    According to Genesis 47:15-17 food was used for barter only after money had been spent. Banking and usury laws exist in God’s Word in Leviticus even before tithing. Therefore the argument that money was not prevalent enough for everyday use is false. Yet the tithe contents never include money from non-food products and trades.
    In Christ’s love
    Russ Kelly
    Author of: Should the Church Teach Tithing?

  2. April 9, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Russ,

    What you write here and elsewhere is so wrought with problems that it is hard to deal with them all. First, my statistics. I quote Barna. Those aren’t my stats. He polled real people to use a scientific method to find his conclusion. Then you say 97% of the pulpits. I doubt this very much. Where do you get this stat? Did you do your own research or are you just guessing? Guessing doesn’t add to credibility on issues.

    Then you say this is a new teaching. The patristics mention tithing as the standard for giving in churches in four or five different places. That’s as old as you can get outside of Scripture. I don’t mention them because I’m dealing with Scripture.

    That’s all for now because I’m out for teen evangelism and then a meal and then Bible study, and then prayer.

  3. April 9, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    One more thing, Russ. You won’t find it hard to persuade people not to tithe. They don’t want to tithe. They want to keep the money for themselves as though it is theirs.

  4. Gary Johnson
    April 9, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    If we accepted the views of all that come on this site and contribute their point of view –

    We could stop tithing
    We could stop preaching repentance
    We could listen to rock music
    We could enjoy hollywood’s filthy trash
    We could call any number of modern versions scripture
    We could have fellowship with liberals, compromisers, and heretics

    Why, we could be like most of the lukewarm, professing Christianity that does nothing to increase the kingdom of God. Bro. Kent, where do they all come from?

  5. April 9, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Russ,

    I’m not going to point out everything, but so much rings false as I go through. I’m not going to use the scorched-earth method that I read in your long answer, where if I said green was green, you would disagree with me.

    You say I’m playing games with statistics. I quoted statistics. That is a false accusation on your part. You should be careful about that. It manifests a disrespect that I believe is the root problem for you.

    You ask why I don’t explain the 6 points in my “refutation.” This wasn’t a refutation. I just mentioned you and linked to your site, so anybody could check you out yourself. To refute your book, I’d have to write another book, and this is a blog, Russ, so I’d ask for you to calm down on this.

    You say that I believe that the “law outgives grace.” That is another false accusation. I’m not finished with this series of articles on tithing, so you can’t even judge that. Did anyone tell you that I put “pt. 1” in the title? Some of what you put into your comment will have answers in part 2. I didn’t write it to answer you. I wrote it to inform people briefly what Scripture says.

    In certain instances, you are correct that I don’t give as much context as could be given to the OT passages that I reference. Dispensationally, things were different for the post-exilic Malachi tithing and the Levitical tithing, but it is the same in that it is the maintenance of corporate worship.

    In Hebrews 7 it brings it down to a principle of tithing too. Abram paid tithes to Melchizedek because of his authority as it related to God and Israelites paid tithes to the Levities because of their authority as it related to God. All of this was to honor God, because He was the true authority for all this. Both groups, Abraham and the Israelites, were honoring God with tithes.

    Gill says that there were thirteen chests in the temple and only 6 of them were for voluntary offerings.

    I’m not done yet, because I’m about 40% of the way through. I’m at least doing one more article, if not two more. I’m convinced tithing is NT and for today.

  6. April 9, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    If tithing is so important, then why wasn’t it ever taught in any of my Seminary classes at Luther Rice Seminary (www.lru.edu)? I have a Masters in Ministry degree from there, and it NEVER came up– not even in theology classes.

  7. April 10, 2008 at 5:07 am

    Russ – My experience has been that those who argue against tithing in NT churches usually do so because they want to have more money to live worldly lifestyles. God loves a cheerful given, but I’d imagine He’s not too happy with tightwads who argue against tithing, so they can self-justify their buying the Plus package from their local cable company.

  8. April 10, 2008 at 7:41 am

    1. What did Jesus mean by saying justice, mercy, and faith were greater? In other words why is tithing inferior? Maybe its because tithing is not an eternal principle as everyone makes it out to be? I don’t know, what’s your reasons?

    2. Someone who gives 1% of their income is still giving proportionately, so i don’t understand where tithing must fit into that?

    But speaking of tithing and crops. . . the proportion of food that feeds 1 person back then is the same proportion that feeds 1 person today. So the amount of farms needed per person has not decreased in proportion over thousands of years. My point is that every society needs the same amount of agriculture/food per person as any other society did throughout history. Israel’s society did not need more food than we need today. Besides that, you act as if everyone had a farm in their backyard. You also act like there were no bankers, lawyers, tax collectors, doctors, law men, carpenters, blacksmiths, tent makers, basket weavers, clothing makers . . .etc. Not everyone devoted time away from their business to tend in a garden.

    3. Your whole section on “THE NEW TESTAMENT DOES NOT DO AWAY WITH OLD TESTAMENT STANDARDS” is very dangerous at best. It has errors and leaves doors wide open for people to be misguided about the law.

    Sure Abraham and Jacob tithed before the Mosaic law, but what about sacrifices, clean and unclean animals, and circumcision that were all established before the law as well?

    The Old Testament picture of the storehouse is not the church meeting place. The storehouse is revealed in the NT as heaven. “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not corrupt . . .”

    The tithe was not taken from first fruits. The first fruit offering was a small portion offered at the very start of harvest. The tithe was not given until all the harvest had been collected, and did not contain the best.

    Jesus didn’t destroy the law, he came to pay our obligation to fulfill it.

    – – – – –

    Here’s what i believe in place of tithing

    – I believe the Holy Spirit is in place to tutor us just as much as the law was the tutor for Israel under the law. (Gal 3:17, Gal 5:16-18)

    – I believe if the Spirit is truly guiding a ministry or a man, then the Spirit will guide others to support him.

    – I believe that Exodus 23 (before tithing was instituted for Israel) is a perfect example of how to support God’s local ministry by Spirit-led and grace giving.

    – I believe grace giving is a principle because of the example of God giving to us. Tithing is a standard that can be used as a tool, but is not a principle rule for all, or even most. (2 Tim 1:9, Eph 4:7)

    – I believe that 100% stewardship cannot be perfected by a one-size-fits-all command. (Luke 18:22)

    – I believe that we are all 100% stewards and no matter the weight of gold we place on an earthly balance, it is our godly heart that will be measured by the eternal balance.

    -I believe the OT feast on the day of Pentecost is pictorial of the birth of the Church and shows how NT giving should be done.

    “Deut 16:10 And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks[day of Pentecost] unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the LORD thy God, according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:” – compare with – 2 Cor. 16:2 “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”

    Interesting enough the OT feast of weeks(day of pentecost) was on the first day of the week(Sunday).

  9. Anvil
    April 10, 2008 at 7:48 am

    Come on Titus, you can do better than that. Your comment here demonstrates exactly why many don’t even want to interact with men in this branch of fundamentalism (or maybe I should say LCO, KJVO, Baptist-only Christianity, since some here do not claim fundamentalism) — if you want to discuss or have questions about a practice like tithing, instead of being asked for the scriptural grounds for your question, you get an accusation of being worldly, a tightwad, etc. for even bringing up the topic. It should be obvious that we don’t (or shouldn’t) argue for or against tithing based on the results, or what it allows/doesn’t allow in a believer’s life, but on whether or not it is scriptural.

    One of the reasons I read this site is the fact even though there still is a bit of that type of accusation in the posts (though more so in the various comments), the men who make up Jackhammer seem to work very hard to present a scriptural case for their views. You can come away from it agreeing or disagreeing with their presentation and/or arguments, but there is much more depth than the usual defense of calling into question the spirituality or commitment of those who don’t just swallow the party line without thought.

    If you don’t want to deal with Russ’ arguments from scripture (or don’t have time to do so on a blog, something I think we all understand), then I don’t think you should bother wasting time saying that most who argue against it are just displaying their own greed (even if it may be true, which I question), since you are going to motivation (which you probably don’t know in his case) instead of going to the substance of arguments. Such comments always get a lot of amens in a sermon or cheers in a political speech, but we should be seeking to go much deeper than that when we are dealing with scripture.

    P.S. I just noticed that you responded on the other thread. I’ll try to get to it as quickly as I can (and have time to think about what you wrote).

  10. April 10, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Anvil,

    I really do appreciate you coming on here. You happen to know that typically Titus goes totally Scripturally. IMO he was totally reacting to Russ’ incredible disrespect, which you didn’t mention.

    By the way everyone, it would take a lot of time to go one by one through Russ’ answers. He seems to have a lot of time on his hands to devout to one issue. If this is really a lesser issue as some of our commenters say, notice that I’ve written one article out of about 250 at Jackhammer, and Russ has written a book and dedicates a whole website to it. It goes both ways gentlemen and you really do expose yourself with just going one way with it.

    Jared,

    You are going over the top with your claiming that my “NT doesn’t do away with OT standards” is “dangerous.” I tire of those types of comments. Dangerous? Look how much the OT is quoted in the New. Look what Christ said in Mt. 5. Look what Paul said in 1 Cor. 10 as things being put for an example.

    You should do a study on barus, the Greek word translated “weighterior.” It isn’t saying that it is superior. There are words that could have been used for superior. Barus means that it was something that was more difficult. They did the easy things to be impressive because they were depending on works. However, you don’t even deal with the fact that Jesus said, don’t leave tithing undone. Not at all. That makes what you say ring hollow.

    I’m going to wait on some of the other things you said, because I already deal with them in future parts.

    I enjoy the comments, even the fire, but I do have part 2 and maybe part 3 in this month that is about what Pastor Mallinak’s Haiku was about.

  11. Gary Johnson
    April 10, 2008 at 8:49 am

    Grace always exceeds the law, see Matthew 5 if you are unfamiliar with what the Lord said on that. I agree with Titus. Having been in the ministry for 18 years, one runs across the “no tithing in the New Testament” crowd at times. Every one of them that I have met not only didn’t tithe (of course), they didn’t even get close to 10%. Now before you tell me they were doing the best they could and really loved the Lord, they always had money for new cars, hunting and fishing trips, going out to eat frequently and on the list goes. Of course if you don’t believe in tithing, I am not saying you are in that crowd, but you would be the exception that proves the rule. I do believe tithing is a great place to start, but then as you grow in the Lord your giving will increase immensely.
    II Cor. 8
    7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.

    Yes, I realize tithing isn’t mentioned in that chapter, but it is speaking about giving. As Bro. Kent wrote, the Lord Jesus taught tithing.
    Go argue with him on your knees awhile on this subject.

    This kind of reminds me of that one who told us we don’t need to repent, even though the Lord said so very clearly. As I asked before, where do they all keep coming from?

  12. April 10, 2008 at 11:16 am

    Gary,

    We live in perilous times. That’s my answer. 2 Tim. 3. I’m guessing you’d have a similar answer.

    Thanks.

  13. Anvil
    April 10, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Pastor Brandenburg,

    First, I try to never comment on apparent respect/disrespect/etc. from either side here. You guys made it clear when you started this site that “whining about tone,” would not be tolerated. As a result, although I still endeavor to use the same even tone I would use on “that other site you guys don’t like much” ™, here I’m going to do my best to ignore any “bad tone” I see. I certainly can’t say I always live up to my own standard, but I try to limit my comments to the substance of what is said by others, not by how it sounds.

    And yes, I agree that Titus’ comments usually have more weight to them. I have clicked on his name and checked out his blog — it’s clear he puts a lot of thought into various biblical issues. That’s why I was surprised he bothered to comment in that fashion.

    Gary,

    Whether you agree with someone’s comments or not is not finally the point. As I said, those types of comments will get lots of amens from the pulpit, and I would presume those amens do not represent disagreement. What I meant is that those comments do not add substantially to any attempt to disprove Russ’ arguments. In fact, that type of comment in response is called “poisoning the well,” and is a well-known logical fallacy. (I.e. “Russ must be greedy, since in my experience, everyone else who argues against tithing is, and all of them just want more money to spend on cable TV.”) All that does is attempt to discredit what he is saying without actually dealing with it. Sounds reasonable in conversation, but it’s still invalid, whether you agree with it or not.

    Regarding my own view on tithing, I’m not sure my mind is made up (which is why I’m interested in this month’s topic and in the arguments from both sides). I’m not convinced that there is an NT doctrine of tithing, but there is plenty said about giving, and I would consider the principle of tithing from the OT to be a “good place to start” for NT sacrificial giving. I’m definitely interested in seeing the case for tithing being laid out in further posts this month.

  14. Gary Johnson
    April 10, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Anvil writes

    “I’m not convinced that there is an NT doctrine of tithing,”

    Why not? I assume you have a Bible, and Bro. Kent in this first post on the matter gave ample evidence that it is right. I realize many that read here and comment are not coming at these matters with the same background that others have. But why all the confusion on the simple matters of the Christian life? Without opening up some new discussion, is it because we don’t have the same source of truth?

    As to your “poisoning the well argument”. Experience in life is what I call it. When wolves come around the sheep, they all tend to leave the same droppings. The shepherd takes note having seen it before and acts accordingly. It is often that “yea hath God said” attitude.
    Did the Lord really say that tithing is for the New Testament?

  15. April 10, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    Anvil,

    I’m not talking about whining. I’m talking about accusations Russ made. I really don’t need you to make a point about them, just that you did make a point about Titus and Gary’s content, so I thought Russ deserved equal time.

    Bernie,

    What is your point from your Luther Rice seminary non-coverage of tithing? In my post I said nothing about tithing being a major issue. I don’t really distinguish what I think is major and minor. We just hit it when we come to it. Come to think of it, I don’t remember anything being preached on it or said about it in either chapel or class when I was in college or graduate school either. I heard messages in church on many different occasions. I’m searching for your point though.

  16. Stephen Alexander
    April 10, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    For what it is worth, here is my understanding:

    Under the Old Covenant God made with the children of Israel, he commanded various ordinances pertaining to the institution of the temple with its attendant Priests and Levites. One of these ordinances was the tithe. The tithe consisted of 10% of what the land produced as crops of grain and fruit and what the Israelite herds produced as offspring.

    The nation of Israel was roughly 180 miles long and 60 miles wide and was divided between the tribes with the tribe of Levi being excluded from the land inheritance. In order to provide for the Levites, one tenth of what was produced on the other tribal homelands was given to them so that they would have food for themselves and their families in the Levitical cities where they lived. Likewise, each year one in ten of what was born to the Israelite herds was given to them. After the Levites received their annual share, they selected the best tenth of what they received and gave it to the descendents of Aaron who were the Priests. The tithe of food is the way God provided for the Priests and Levites who had no way to keep sustaining crops or producing herds.

    The tithe went into effect after the Children of Israel entered their promised inheritance, the land of Canaan. As they wandered in the desert wastes prior to their entry into the land God had promised them, the Priests and Levites ate manna like everyone else.

    When considering the Old Covenant tithe it is important to remember that only those people who owned producing land and herds paid the tithe of food. There was no such thing as a tithe of money. Poor people, even if they owned producing land and herds, did not tithe the increase the Lord gave them since everything they had was necessary for their survival. In fact, poor people were included along with the Priests and Levites as recipients of the tithe. Jesus was a carpenter, Peter was a fisherman and Paul was a tentmaker and though they paid the two drachma temple tax, they did not tithe. Jesus was not subject to the tithe ordinance for two reasons. He was a carpenter and he was poor.

    Tithing as God commanded it belongs exclusively within the Old Covenant context. The whole Old Covenant system is no longer in force today. Even if the Levites and the descendents of Aaron could be identified, there is no Temple in which they can perform the Old Covenant rituals. But this system of meeting with God is no longer necessary. Through the person and work of Jesus, a better Priesthood has been established in the New Covenant.

    Jesus is the New Covenant High Priest who, on the basis of his perfection and indestructible life, serves perpetually in the holy place, not just once a year. And while the children of Israel could not approach their temple without forfeiting their life, all believers in Jesus constitute a royal priesthood based on their union with him as brothers and sisters and can freely approach and meet with God. Indeed, believer’s bodies are the temple of God in which he dwells by his Spirit.

    Using the resources God has given us we have the blessing of helping those in need. We also have the blessing of furthering the spread of the Gospel through the shrewd use of money.

    Not every ministry is properly grounded or is using money effectively. Some ministries promote a questionable lifestyle with unsound doctrine. Some ministries have more invested in an earthly physical plant than the Heavenly Vine. Some ministries are more spiritually effective than others, producing a tremendous spiritual return for the resources spent. Jesus tells us to be shrewd with worldly wealth, using it wisely to win for ourselves friends for eternity. Financially supporting an obviously God initiated and empowered ministry is our joy. In this way we lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven.

    Just in Jesus,
    Steve

  17. Bobby
    April 10, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    Bernie,

    I earned almost 60 credits from Luther Rice myself. There were a lot of things I didn’t “hear about.” Does that make them unimportant. I hope I don’t sound harsh, but the reasoning that if they don’t deal with it at LRS then its not important is really not helping LRS’s testimony. C’mon, you must be able to do better than that.

    Here is my brief statement on the issue: There is not ONE SINGLE VERSE in all the NT that tells us that tithing was done away with. It was before the law, during the law, and Jesus said we ought to do it. I am happy to PAY my tithe because of the grace of God working in my life. Hallelujah! I get to tithe!

  18. Gary Johnson
    April 10, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    “There is not ONE SINGLE VERSE in all the NT that tells us that tithing was done away with. It was before the law, during the law, and Jesus said we ought to do it. I am happy to PAY my tithe because of the grace of God working in my life. Hallelujah! I get to tithe!”

    Amen Bro. Bobby !!!

    I like your attitude, look for a way to obey God and be thankful for the opportunity.

  19. reglerjoe
    April 11, 2008 at 6:46 am

    I’m not certain where exactly Charles Spurgeon landed on this issue, but I do like this quote he gave:

    ” Passion seldom gives so acceptably as principle.”

  20. April 11, 2008 at 8:03 am

    a penny for every dime…when in truth God deserves so much more. Great post!

  21. April 11, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Russ,

    Another one of your objections—crops versus money. We talk about context. When God made the tithe the proportion, He made it of all their increase. You use Genesis to show people used money. That’s true. I’ve never disagreed with that, but it isn’t very contextual to relate where Israel stood dispensationally in Genesis with where they stand in Exodus upon leaving Egypt. I don’t assume when they were in the desert, not having yet reached Israel, that they were already printing and coining their own currency. God gave them something that they could practice in the land to continue the worship of Him. This was the principle that Spurgeon talked about in regler joe’s comment.

    When you start splicing and dicing it down contextually as you do, like this is some intricate puzzle, this tithing issue, you are going to come out wrong.

    I’ll deal with this more in future posts.

  22. Alex Dubinin
    April 11, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    So, listen with your heart, when you give you will give
    from what you have.
    But, when you give, you shall do so because you can.
    No one has the right to put limits on your hearts abilities.
    The Lord knows before you are even aware.
    Man just desires what his heart seeks, only when you
    seek to please the Lord, and only then, will you be able
    to give as He provides for you to give.

  23. April 12, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Alex:

    Your comments are sadly lacking in scriptural basis. First, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9), says God. And secondly, according to 2 Corinthians 8, there are those who can give beyond their ability, because they give in God’s ability. Thirdly, putting limits on your heart’s abilities, the Bible does that all the time. The heart sins. God hates sin, and tells us to stop it. That is limiting the heart’s abilities. I am not sure where you are getting your information, but it is certainly not the Bible.

  24. April 12, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Kent:

    Thanks for the post. I look forward to the follow-ups. Tithing is biblical. Tithing is New Testament. And, tithing is just the beginning! It’s fun to give and see God work. My family and my church have taken the Malachai 3:10 challenge to prove God in tithing and giving, and He has proven that it is New Testament to us in these last days.

  25. Stephen Davis
    April 12, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    God’s perfectly taylored rebuke of the practice of collecting monetary tithes………”And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price (salary); and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price (salary) thirty pieces of silver.” Zech. 11:12

    If you look to the other side of Jordan in the wilderness you will find the pattern of the tithe is established with the manna. Just as they were to put tithes into the storehouse they were to put a tenth part of the manna into a pot. Tithe of land in storehouse, tithe of manna in pot. To replace the corn, oil, and wine you must ‘weigh’ in scales the equal to the corn, oil, and wine. As with the manna (bread of heaven) you are weighing silver for the bread in the form of the tithe of the land. The equal is Christ. You prefer the money. Guess you do think it ‘good’ to weigh silver for the bread. Read Isaiah 55:1-2 The Hebrew word for ‘weigh’ is there. God is asking “Why are you weighing for bread something that comes without money and without price.” The best choise is to ‘forbear’ or leave it alone.

  26. April 12, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Stephen,

    What on earth are you talking about? Why didn’t you just write your post in Hebrew. It might have been more understandable.

  27. Stephen Alexander
    April 12, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    Anvil,

    I have no idea who you are but based on the tone of you posts and your chosen name, I picture you as a 300 lb. anvil firmly resting on a massive oak stump on which the truth can be faithfully hammered out.

    The subject of New Covenant tithing is something that deserves serious study that goes way beyond a casual glance.

    I am just an uninvited guest and realizing that this blog does not belong to me I fully understand that I have no right to say how things are done here.

    However I would offer this suggestion: I think we should slow way down and take things one point at a time.

    I know, for me at least, it is easy to load up my apologetic ammunition and blaze away sending dozens of rounds down range toward the target in a single post.

    We need to test the spirit (Spirit) behind every understanding here and let the overarching concept LET GOD BE TRUE AND ALL OF US LIARS humble our responses.

    Just in Jesus,
    Steve

  28. Stephen Davis
    April 12, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Don,

    Here is a good starting point.
    “And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.”
    Joshua 5:12

    If you make two lists, one starting with manna and the other with the fruit of the land. Under manna write: tithe, flesh, pot, water, tempt, worms.
    Under fruit of the land write: tithe, flesh, storehouse, rain, prove, devourer.

    With the fruit of the land God says to eat ‘flesh’ just as with the manna they were to eat ‘flesh’ of the quail. Do you know what the flesh was that they were to eat with the manna replacement (fruit of the land)?

    All this is to show that when God says to put the tithe of the land into the storehouse, it is equal to His command to put the tenth part of the manna (Exodus 16) into the pot.

    If you put money into the storehouse you must be willing to put money into the pot as well. The law of the tithe in Deuteronomy says you can exchange the tithe for money. So then, the tithe cannot be money but you can exchange the tithe for money. This is the same as exchanging Jesus (bread of heaven, manna) for money, i. e. thirty pieces of silver.

    Is this plain enough yet? After they tithed the manna into the pot, they tempted/proved God for water. Sound familiar?

  29. April 12, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    I just want to clarify quick that I was referring to Stephen Davis in my previous post. But, as for Stephen Alexander, if you think things should be slowed down and that we should focus on the issues, then respond directly to Kent’s points (i.e. passages of the Bible) with direct confirmation or refutation, seeing he IS the guy that wrote the entry for comment. As for Anvil being an anvil, I guess that’s cool (huh?).

  30. April 12, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    No, Stephen, that is a ridiculous distortion of the Word of God. Nowhere are we encouraged to mix verses and principles from one part of Scripture with the other to make just to make up things that support our point of view. Try this one, Samson used the jawbone of a donkey to slay Philistines. Judas kissed Jesus on the jawbone and that lead to his death. So when Paul said that we should great one another with a holy kiss, he was really saying that we should forgive Judas and not kill so many Philistines.

  31. April 12, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    “The law of the tithe in Deuteronomy says you can exchange the tithe for money. So then, the tithe cannot be money but you can exchange the tithe for money.”

    Let’s slow down and think about this. God said that the tithe of goods or livestock could be turned into a tithe of money to be given to the Lord by giving it in charity and supply for God’s servants. Well, there you have it, straight from the Bible, from the Law, and from God; the tithe can be money until it is converted into practical items for the Levites, widows, strangers, fatherless, and so forth (i.e. ministry).

  32. Alex Dubinin
    April 12, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    Don,

    My comments about “tithing” were a reflection of how
    man imposses his rules on those he chooses to.
    You do remember when the old women gave all that she
    could? And how she was critisized? Thats where I am coming
    from, the Lord sees our hearts, knows our motives before
    we even think about them ourselves. Jesus let the it the facts come
    out when He spoke of the “Seven Woes”, white washed tombs!
    We give because the Lord has provided with us to give, I know you
    know this, and I only wanted to say that our hearts, when it is
    focused on the truth of The Lord Christ Jesus our giving. no matter
    how little, shall benefit the needy has The Lord sees fit.
    Man on his own, on our own is not able to sustain.

  33. April 13, 2008 at 3:45 am

    Alex,

    The purpose of the post by Kent was not to discuss WHY we give. It was to discuss whether or not the New Testament teaches tithing. Tithing or not tithing doesn’t depend on our motive. It is something we do out of obedience, even if we don’t like to. God desires obedience over sacrifice, though sacrifice is good. It would be much better if we DID like it, but we should do it all the same.

    Now, on the other hand, if you think the Kent and Co. are in favor of tithing because we are pharisees who are simply imposing rules on people that we make up but are not really scriptural, you’re going to have to use a lot more biblical proof. As a parent I do not ask my children if they feel like going to church. The Scripture says it’s good and we are going to do it. There are days that even I don’t feel like getting up early and reading my Bible. I would much rather stay in bed later and just go right to the breakfast table. But, I read my Bible anyway because it’s the right thing to do and the Scriptures teach it. I also do it because I love to hear my Lord’s voice. His laws are pleasant to me. Tithing is the same. So, do the Scriptures teach that I, as a NT Christian should tithe?

  34. Stephen Davis
    April 13, 2008 at 7:32 am

    Is your money that you give in the form of a tithe equal to the one time offering of Christ’s blood? Many have not thought through the absurdity of making Jesus a RECEIVER as Melchisedek when Hebrews clearly teaches that He is offering as a priest after the order of Melchisedek His body and blood. This is a good place to plug in God’s counsel to ‘forbear’ or ‘leave it alone’.

    Can we all agree that Jesus does not receive tithes in his ministry as priest.

  35. Mike
    April 13, 2008 at 7:33 am

    Wow, a lot of spritual gymnastics to “prove” tithing is a solid NT doctrine that SHOULD be followed. I’ve always wondered why, out of all the 600+ OT laws, why the one involving money is the one adopted by Pastors to hammer home on their flock? I’ve read this thread and I’ve read for the most part, the majority believe that those who don’t tithe are greedy, disobedient and any other perjorative term used on the beat down. I am Lutheran and to be honest, we don’t have a problem with giving in our Church or any of the other Lutheran churches in our area that I’m aware of. Tithing is never preached, never taught…..I suppose its the grace thing…who knows. Anyway, getting back to the greedy pew sitter: I suppose conversely, it could be said that people talk the most of whats closest to their hearts……..its seems that a lot of the time its money. It could be suggested that the obedience issues should be left between the Believer and God like most everything else is since the Believer only spends a fraction of their weekly time within the walls of the Church or in communication with their leadership. I know this is cynical to a degree but I also tire of *money* being the “big stick” used to drive the flock or being used as the ultimate measuring stick used to measure one’s “spirituality”. I mean, why not preach on wearing 100% cotton clothing ONLY? Not mixing two different kinds of fabrics and all is just as valid as teaching the tithe.

    Heres my take-home: From a counselors stand point of view, I really thing the issues boils down to mistrust and control. The average Believer does have the Holy Spirit indwelling in them and to indirectly say that if the layman doesn’t read the bible the same way as the leadership, the layman MUST be backslidden, disobedient, stone hearted, etc. is rather bold to say the least. The fact is, leadership and the laity have to trust God all the same in everyday real life and giving money is such a small, small portion of that life. IF the laity or membership has to be beaten with the “big stick” of tithing to pay the bills, the salary, mortgage payment on the new SUPER building (or not) thats due………then possibly, maybe, this work wasn’t the will of God to begin with. So, is tithing a NT obligation on behalf of the Believer? Nope. Nothing I’ve read is compeling to either make me want to tithe (according to the definitions given) or enough to make me take a guilt trip to the same destination. Paul does’nt bring it up once. He DOES speak about sacrificial giving but that only involves a bunch of perhaps, starving Believers in Jerusalem…ie. a SPECIFIC cause, not some general collection called “tithe”. No, this was sacrifical….in todays economy, “sacrificial” to someone making $75,000 per annum is a whole lot different than someone making $7,000 a year on disability. I mean look, the ONE passage mentioning the Scribes, Pharisees, mint and tithe is the ONLY passage spoken by Jesus mentioning the word tithe and that was not even directed towards anyone but those mentioned and people try to center a doctrine around it in the NT? That reminds me of those who want to develope the “doctrine” of men not having long hair around Paul’s ONE and ONLY passage dealing with the word(s) “men” and “hair” in 1Corinthians. In our area, we have churches that REQUIRE the membership sign a CONRTRACT upon admission into the church that the membership is required to tithe. It’s that way at some Vineyards, Harvest Christian Community and other non-Denoms. So, take it for what its worth. I realize I have NO Scripture to “support” what I am saying but this is just a chat and my opinion. (How many times did Paul quote the OT to support what would later become OUR Scriptures that we are so fond of quoting as “proof”?)

    Mike
    100% Confessional Lutheran

  36. April 13, 2008 at 11:31 am

    Anvil,

    I don’t apologise for a single thing I said to Russ. Do you know why? Because I believe it to be true, and it IS true, as I said, from my experience. From all I’ve seen, opposition to teaching about tithing in churches comes from a grasping, money-loving, “me-first” spirit that is totally, completely, absolutely inappropriate in light of God’s priorities both for His churches, and for our attitudes towards Him.

    See, I don’t think it’s at all difficult to see that the NT teaches tithing, indeed, sacrificial giving. Paul quotes Jesus that the labourer is worthy of his hire – in the context of providing for a faithful pastor’s financial needs (I Tim. 5:18). Paul often wrote about churches giving sacrificially for other churches’ needs – but surely we don’t think this is the only reason for taking up the weekly collection (I Cor. 16:2), do we? Where did the money for the support of the widows come from? Paul could have taken support from the Corinthians, but didn’t. The reason was because he didn’t want anyone using it as an occasion to gainsay his ministry (though note, he seems to indicate that he DID take support from other churches – II Cor. 11:8). So yes, giving by Christians IS taught in the Scripture, for the purpose of supporting the pastor and the work of a local church – in perfect accord with the institution of the tithe as seen in the OT for the support of the ministers at the house of God.

    What is God’s plan for our giving? First and foremost, it must be determined from the attitude presented in II Corinthians 9:7,

    “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

    That’s the issue right there – my experience is that people who grouse about tithing do so because they begrudge to give to God. They are not cheerful in giving back anything to the Lord, but especially their money. It is THOSE people – the ones who complain that “the preacher talks too much about money”, the ones who say that the preacher’s just “fleecing the flock” when he teaches tithing – who truly demonstrate a graceless spirit which is instead legalistic.

    “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” (Titus 2:11-12)

    See, grace brings about a desire to live righteously, to support the work of the local church, to support the pastor who labours faithfully in the Word so that he can devote his full time to it. Grace teaches us to be cheerful givers. Graceless people are the ones who feel that they HAVE to give the tithe, while grace-filled people are the ones who GET to give the tithe. It’s about attitude.

    There’s a preacher I know of, whose son (also a preacher, and this first preacher’s pastor) posts on here a lot, who uses an illustration of his own giving to make this point. As this preacher tells it, he gets excited when he gets to give a lot in tithe, or has a chance to give an offering to the Lord. He’ll call his wife in to tell her “Honey, look at what the Lord has allowed us to give back to Him!”. And from the look on his face when he tells it, you just KNOW that he’s utterly, completely sincere about this. His eyes just light up like a kid in a candy shop when he tells this illustration. This man WANTS to give to the Lord, and we’re talking above and beyond the 10% tithe he “has” to give. THAT is a cheerful giver. THAT’s what God wants. Not people who are going to grouse about the preacher passing a plate around.

    So yes, I fully meant what I said to Russ, and again, I don’t apologise. If Russ is going to invest so much effort into opposing the NT tithe that he’s willing to write a book about it and establish a website specifically on that issue, then I seriously have questions about that man’s spirituality.

  37. Stephen Davis
    April 13, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    “How to have grace to pay your tithes.” Wow!! I really should not be surprised. You have been given a steady diet of TITHE TITHE TITHE since your birth.

  38. April 14, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Something is wrong your method of interpretation, Davis. You cannot see the truth in what Titus says about grace to give, and yet you pervert other Scriptures to prop up you non-existent points of exchanging Christ for money in a pot. How does that work? 2 Corinthians 8:7,19 make it clear that giving is a matter of grace. It doesn’t matter whether we are giving our tithe or our missions offerings or special offerings. We should do it with and by grace. I don’t know any Independent Baptist Churches that make membership contingent on tithing. They definitely don’t make salvation contingent on the tithe. I am a missionary and I have visited hundreds of churches, and none of them made tithing an issue for membership. It is encouraged and taught, but it is left to the individual Christian to decide how much he will give through grace by faith.

  39. April 14, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Steven Davis – “How to have grace to pay your tithes.” Wow!! I really should not be surprised. You have been given a steady diet of TITHE TITHE TITHE since your birth.

    Assuming this comment was directed at myself, actually you’re quite wrong. I didn’t learn tithing when I was young. In fact, I didn’t learn tithing until I was in my early twenties, after I’d gotten saved while in graduate school, 1500 miles from where I grew up. Tithing was a grace I learned after I was saved by grace and began to grow in grace and the knowledge of my Lord and Saviour. More than anything else, grace taught me to give back to the Lord the open testimony of my obedience to Him known as the tithe.

  40. Stephen Alexander
    April 14, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    While the concept of grace giving is above reproach, the concept of the New Covenant Tithe, which rests on shaky ground, is very easily abused.

    There are thousands of cases where people have been threatened with a curse for not paying their tithes.

    By mixing grace with the law it is easy to get the following type of thing:

    God loves a cheerful giver and will curse you if you fail to give the minimum required.

    There is no justification for mixing the Law of Moses with the Grace of God in Christ Jesus.

    To tell a believer that In Christ he is saved from the curse of the law and then tell him his new found Lord and Savior will curse him by the law from which He has saved him is double-minded double-speak of the worst kind.

    Just in Jesus,
    Steve

  41. Stephen Davis
    April 14, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    Lachats, shod, aqah, osheq, otser, mispach, ashaq, yanah, ashuwq, nagas and………….ma’ashaqqah.
    Take two Excedrin, Don. This may be a lot more Hebrew than you can handle.

    The Hebrew for tithe is…..ma’aser. The little ‘ma’ is added to ‘asar’ which is Hebrew for ‘ten’, to make the word ‘tithe’. The ‘ma’ is sort of a little tithe maker. Of all the Hebrew words used for ‘oppress’ that I show above, the last word is used in this verse.

    “He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions (ma’ashaqqah), that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes,………He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.” Isaiah 33:15-16

    God just saying to despise gain of any kind is not something a prosperity teacher would share with you. The fact that God uses the ‘ma’, the tithe maker, cinches it for me. What better gain to despise than the money that is presumptuously offered alongside the blood of Christ.

    Again, the bread issue comes up with a money issue. The same as in Isaiah 55:1-2 Both have water mentioned also, as in ‘windows of heaven’, which is an abundance of rain. God is again clear in saying that money has no use for Him in the giving of the bread (manna, corn/oil/wine) and water.

    The NIV translates “oppression” in this verse as “extortion”.

  42. April 15, 2008 at 4:38 am

    Man, does anybody need more proof that Davis doesn’t know what he is talking about? This is the sad result of scholarolatry, someone can transliterate a few Hebrew words and play Balderdash with them to prove a point that doesn’t exist in order to disobey God.

  43. April 15, 2008 at 5:08 am

    Davis, take your Strong’s dictionary. Turn to number H3964. The “H” stands for “Hebrew”. Now say that with me… H-E-B-R-E-W. I know that was a little hard. Try it with me again. H-E-B-R-E-W. Good. Now let’s read what it says. Oh my, you mean it doesn’t always mean tenth. Ooops. Maybe you will have to rethink your etymology and maybe your doctrine.

  44. April 15, 2008 at 5:18 am

    So, “ma” is a tithe-maker.

    My ma made nice bread and wonderful biscuits, and you should have tasted the banana pudding….

    Silly, isn’t it?

  45. April 15, 2008 at 7:50 am

    Stephen and others,

    Thanks for coming over. When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras. You’re making this very difficult. The Bible isn’t a codebook that we have to spill lemon juice on and hold it up to the light. We don’t have to run the letters through a super computer in Brussels to get the interpretation. That is what rings false about the no-tithing position that I’m reading. It doesn’t smack of plain reading of the text that you’ll see as I continue this series.

  46. April 15, 2008 at 8:58 am

    Stephen Davis – I’ve seen pitiful attempts at eisegesis before, but that one really does take the cake. Since the ma in ma’ashaqqah and ma’aser appears to you to be so important for specifically being a “tithe-maker” and a “clue” that God has told us that the tithe is “extortion”, then what do you make of these other Hebrew words which use the exact same nominative construction?

    me’arah – H4361 – cave, den, hole

    meka̤̤eh РH4374 Рa covering, that which covers

    mekerah – H4380 – sword, weapon, device

    miktab – H4385 – writing, a thing written

    mekittah – H4386 – crushed or pulverised fragments

    malbush – H4403 – attire, raiment

    malown – H4411 – an inn or place of lodging

    These are just a few examples I could list. Do any of these have the slightest thing to do with either the tithe or with oppression, as they appear in the actual biblical text? I’ll go ahead and answer the question for you – no, they do not.

    This ma particle which you think is so clinching for your argument is nothing more than a common grammatical device in Hebrew (and other Semitic languages) which indicates that a noun is the recipient or user of the noun’s root form. A mekerah, a sword, is what is used to perform the sense of the root word for this noun, which has the meaning of digging or piercing something through. Likewise, a miktab, something written, is the end result of the application of the noun’s root form, which has the idea of writing or reading something.

    This grammatical form is the exact same form seen in Arabic in the name Muhammed, meaning “he is praised”, which comes from the hmd root, meaning “praise”.

    In short, your argument is meaningless, and what is more, is actually completely nonsensical from a grammatical point of view.

  47. David T
    April 15, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Re: Point 1 – Circumcision was before the law as well, but that doesn’t mean we should practice it.
    Re: Point 2 – Christ’s statement to the Pharisees was prior to Calvary.
    Re: Point 3 – Christ wasn’t teaching proportional giving, he was teaching sacrificial giving.

  48. April 15, 2008 at 9:35 am

    David T.

    Re: Point 1 – Circumcision was before the law as well, but that doesn’t mean we should practice it.

    Actually, we SHOULD still practice circumcision – circumcision of the heart. He is a Jew which is one inwardly, and the covenant we now enter is one between each believer and God, whereby the heart is circumcised through the act of God’s grace. Grace is not the elimination of the Law, it is the fruitful application of the Law by those who no longer feel bound to “have” to do it out of fear of punishment or while trying to be saved, but rather by those who “want” to do it, because they love God and want to conform to His revealed prerogatives.

    Re: Point 2 – Christ’s statement to the Pharisees was prior to Calvary.

    Doesn’t affect the arguments in favour of tithing, since the post-Gospel NT shows in several instances that collection was still taking place and in fact is called for – though now through the local church (the replacement for the Temple, the place where God’s presence now is when His people come together corporately), rather than the Temple.

    Re: Point 3 – Christ wasn’t teaching proportional giving, he was teaching sacrificial giving.

    This goes right along with Point 1 above – No longer now is giving to be a legally-mandated 10%. Rather, the Spirit-filled gracious believer ought to be willing to give of themselves, including their possessions, freely to the service of God. The Law, as schoolmaster, was designed to instill and teach that principle into the hearts of God’s people – the fact that we are under grace and not the Law means that we, of all people, ought to understand better the principle of grace giving. If Dr. Brandenburg will excuse this, I’d like to quote a passage from Clement of Alexandria’s Stromata,

    “Besides, the tithes of the fruits and of the flocks taught both piety towards the Deity, and not covetously to grasp everything, but to communicate gifts of kindness to one’s neighbours. For it was from these, I reckon, and from the first-fruits that the priests were maintained.” (Stromata, Bk. 2, Ch. 18)

    You say that Christ teaches sacrificial giving, and you are most correct. But my question is, if there are Christians out there who aren’t even willing to give a 10% tithe to their local church to support the work of the local church ministry (as Paul alludes should be done), then how can we really think that they’ll be willing to give sacrificially? If there are Christians out there who are so money-grubbing and grasping that they can’t even stand to part with 10%, why should we think they really understand or would be willing to accept that 100% belongs to God, and that if He wants them to give it sacrificially (as the widow did), then they ought to do so?

  49. David T
    April 15, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Why are we assuming that sacrificial giving means putting money in the offering plate?
    I have to first take care of my family. If I don’t do that, I am worse than an infidel.
    I have to pay my debtors. If I don’t do that, I am guilty of stealing and defrauding.
    I have to put money in savings. If I don’t do that, I am tempting God and presuming upon His continued blessings.
    Paul wanted the special offering for the Christians of Jerusalem taken before he came, so their would be no gatherings while he was there. What will you make of this?
    Have you seen a tithing Christian end up in bankruptcy and then have their creditors go after the church for the tithes? I have.

  50. David T
    April 15, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Deu 11:23 – The tithe was intended to be consumed, not given to the Levites, except every third year (vv. 28-29). Maybe those who tithe should tithe every third paycheck.

  51. David T
    April 15, 2008 at 11:26 am

    v. 26, I should spend the tithe for that which my soul “lusteth after”
    v. 27, and share with the Levites, because they don’t have anything. Obviously not a fixed percentage

  52. April 15, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Glad you asked. “And all the tithe of the land, [whether] of the seed of the land, [or] of the fruit of the tree, [is] the LORD’S: [it is] holy unto the LORD.” (Lev 27:30) The tithe is the Lord’s and is to be consumed in His house under His direction. Maybe we should tithe to the house of God, the church, and consume it in the ministry, even for a church fellowship once in a while.

  53. April 15, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Which brings up another point for the tithers. What does it mean to redeem the tithe and add the fifth part? Isn’t that money? “And if a man will at all redeem [ought] of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth [part] thereof.” (Lev 27:31)

  54. David T
    April 15, 2008 at 11:32 am

    The Levites were the only ones given the commandment to take tithes, Heb 7:5. No such commandment was given to anyone in the NT. The “here” in v.8 refers back to the Levitical order which was contrasted to Christ in v.6, Who is the “there”.
    The law was changed (v.12) and the commandment “disannulled” (v.18).

  55. April 15, 2008 at 11:32 am

    Sorry, I left out a word. The first line should have “grain” tithers.

  56. David T
    April 15, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    I think I’ll spend my tithe on alcohol. Deu 11:26

  57. David T
    April 15, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    Sorry that’s Deu 14:26.

  58. April 15, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    David T, are you 13 still? I doubt you are, so you really ought to keep juvenile comments like that to yourself. They don’t convince anybody. They just dig you a deeper hole.

  59. David T
    April 15, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    Just tongue-in-cheek, Don. 🙂

  60. Stephen Alexander
    April 16, 2008 at 5:42 am

    Pastor Kent,

    In the initial post and following you say: “Scripture teaches tithing and I’m going to show you that at least 91% of those who claim to be born again, according to Barna’s research, are living in disobedience to God.

    And relative to Russell Kelly’s response you write: “I’m not going to point out everything, but so much rings false as I go through. I’m not going to use the scorched-earth method that I read in your long answer, where if I said green was green, you would disagree with me.”

    You further state: “When you start splicing and dicing it down contextually as you do, like this is some intricate puzzle, this tithing issue, you are going to come out wrong.”

    These are serious accusations that must be completely proved or completely withdrawn.

    Brother Kent, the only reason Russell Kelly’s response is so long is because as many burning points were addressed in your original post.

    He simply went through it line by line; making his rebuttal point by point.

    The careful slicing and dicing Russell Kelly has faithfully done has been a service to the Body of Christ and is worthy of serious and earnest consideration.

    He is absolutely right in this regard: NO ONE who is an ardent advocate of tithing has yet proven honest enough to indicate they truly understand his position.

    He more than successfully points out the unsound nature of the presuppositions on which the New Covenant doctrine of tithing is based, not so that greedy people can keep their money but that poor people can give and receive freely and without compulsion.

    Just in Jesus,
    Steve

  61. JLS
  62. April 16, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Steve,

    I believe you are bit myopic in your respect for Russell. He makes many baseless accusations and it is tough dealing with all of them. You don’t seem to notice those, which is tell tale. This is also a three part series, so I don’t desire to reinvent the wheel. You can’t really understand what I believe about tithing until I am completely finished. I think we can have some discussion. I believe I have a very good handle on the New Covenant. He says that I couldn’t have read his book. I read his book. It wasn’t a tough read, and I don’t mean that disrespectfully. One of my arguments, 1 Cor. 9, he doesn’t interact with very much. He also makes a false historical argument, which gets popped by one quote from Matthew Henry. How hard could that have been to research?

    I would love to respect Russell Kelly’s position. It has some things in it that are pause to consider, but in the end he argues a strawman. He doesn’t argue against how I see tithing. Your statement that NO ONE is honest enough to understand his position is plain wrong. I understand his position. I’ve never mentioned greedy people, incidentally, so you are talking to the wrong guy.

    JLS, I’ll look at your stuff later, but thanks for the links.

  63. April 16, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    David T. – Why are we assuming that sacrificial giving means putting money in the offering plate?

    Because giving is to be done through the local church. The local church is the body of Christ. Christ said in Matthew 12:6,

    “But I say unto you, That in this place is [one] greater than the temple.”

    And in John 2:19 He said,

    “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

    In these passages, Jesus was essentially stating that in the dispensation to come (at that time), the Temple in Jerusalem would no longer be the site of true worship to God. Rather, He, as the perfect residence of the glory and presence of God (as He is God), and thereby symbolically through the local church (the body of Christ) would be the means of coming to God in worship (if N.T. Wright is to be believed, and I think in this case he is). This is why the Temple establishment sought so desperately to do away with Christ – He was a threat to their old order and old religion. This is why the Gospels polemicise against the Temple, with Christ’s prediction of the Jerusalem Temple’s destruction, and the fact of the veil that blocked access to God’s very presence was torn when Christ died. Worship and service to God would no longer be through the physical Temple in Jerusalem, but through Christ’s mediatorship, in the institution of the local church. Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well,

    “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.” (John 4:21)

    To worship God in Spirit and in truth would no longer be geographically limited. In Christ, true worship of God is done in Spirit and in truth wherever God’s people are gathered together in that local assembly which Scripture defines (I Corinthians 12:27) as the body of Christ.

    Hence, the giving of tithes and offerings, just as in the OT went through the tabernacle/temple, is now to be done through the local church. Just as the tithes were gathered for the upkeep of the ministers of God’s house, so also the NT upkeep of the ministry of the local church (and notice, Paul says that such upkeep IS to be given – I Timothy 5:17-18) is done through the collections taken up among God’s people who are united to the centre of God’s NT house – the local church.

    I have to first take care of my family. If I don’t do that, I am worse than an infidel. I have to pay my debtors. If I don’t do that, I am guilty of stealing and defrauding. I have to put money in savings. If I don’t do that, I am tempting God and presuming upon His continued blessings.

    II Corinthians 8:12 tells us that offerings to God are accepted according to what we have, not what we don’t have. God understands our particular capacities to give based on our incomes. But see, the tithe is not onerous, nor is it (if we’re being wise stewards of what God has given us) going to destroy us. Further, I do not believe that the 10% is going to hinder us from meeting our other financial responsibilities (again, if we’re being wise stewards – more on this below).

    My wife and I give significantly more than 10% of our gross income, between tithe, faith promise, special offerings, etc. This has never kept us from being able to meet any of our other financial responsibilities, such as the bills, the mortgage, and hospitality towards God’s people. The reason for this is two-fold.

    One, I think it is attitudinal. We don’t grudge to give to God. It sometimes is an exercise of faith, but we give willingly, and don’t grumble or grouse when we give to God. As a result, I believe God accepts our attitude in this as much as the giving itself. Remember, God loves a cheerful giver. The unspoken yet true converse is that God is not happy with an UNcheerful giver. People can give, and yet do so out of a gritting attitude of compulsion. I don’t believe God will bless that attitude, nor will He be as apt to meet their special needs on down the road.

    Two, my wife and I live within our means. We don’t rack up exorbitant credit card bills (in fact, I try to use my sole card as little as possible). We don’t buy hugely expensive “toys” that we don’t need and which would only distract us from serving God anywise. Our bills and mortgage are within our monthly budget – they are what we can afford on our monthly income. We meet our needs, and don’t tempt God by putting ourselves into debt slavery that causes us to owe some man that which should or could be given to God (Romans 13:8).

    Paul wanted the special offering for the Christians of Jerusalem taken before he came, so their would be no gatherings while he was there. What will you make of this?

    I make of it that Paul wanted the offering to be ready – he didn’t want to have to dilly-dally around while the promised offering was made ready. I perceive it to be in the interest of speed so as to relieve the suffering saints in Jerusalem that much sooner. The verse you quote is not saying that Paul didn’t want gatherings – it merely says that he didn’t want it to take place while he was there, since the gatherings should already have been performed by the time he got there.

    Have you seen a tithing Christian end up in bankruptcy and then have their creditors go after the church for the tithes? I have.

    I would answer this by asking two questions. This Christian – what was his/her attitude as they tithed? And further, what big, expensive toys that they probably didn’t need and which they had to make massive monthly payments on (you DID mention creditors, after all) did s/he purchase?

  64. April 16, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Steven Davis – I’m interested to see what your response to my #46 would be. Have you any dialogue on this subject?

  65. Stephen Alexander
    April 16, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Kent,

    Your responses are very much appreciated.

    Please name several baseless accusations Russell has made.

    I don’t question you read his book, but did you study it?

    I read it once, my wife read it to me a second time and then we both proof read it together to help correct some typos and places where some references were not recorded correctly.

    In order to truly understand and argument we must be able to state it convincingly.

    Please don’t belittle Russell’s work it represents a truly monumental effort on his part for which he is receiving precious little.

    You might not have mentioned greedy people specifically by you wrote: “You won’t find it hard to persuade people not to tithe. They don’t want to tithe. They want to keep the money for themselves as though it is theirs.”

    There can be no legitimate question that by this you indeed have mentioned greedy people, so you might want to take that back.

    Don’t be too hasty; who is arguing a strawman is yet to be revealed.

    Just because he does not argue against how you personally see tithing in no way, shape or form means Russell is creating strawmen.

    By the way and let me make this perfectly clear, I in no way suspect you of having any kind of sinister motive in any of this give and take.

    Just because I mention a common evil in no way means I am implicating you.

    I would like to think that as men of God in Christ Jesus we could be honest enough to confront each other openly without demeaning ourselves with cowardly innuendo.

    Just in Jesus,
    Steve

  66. Rick
    August 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Tithing is a law of a priesthood from which Jesus was not born unto. He is from the tribe of Judah, a tribe moses spoke nothing concerning laws. where theres a change of priests there must also be a change of laws according to necessity. We are of the priesthood of Christ. whom in the O.T. Malachi excommunicated Judah from the covenant because he took a bride outside of the family JUST LIKE JESUS. where do you stand? who is on the Lord side?!

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