Hi there my friend, good mornin to you. My hope is that this little article can help someone get free of religious bondage.
Hey, if you feel bound by the tithe, you’re not alone. Because me and my wife (and countless other people) have been there too. I can remember what it was like to have the preacher use Malachi chapter 3 as a carrot and a stick to influence how much money that people gave to him. I remember us trying to make financial ends meet while making sure that we didn’t rob God of the tithe. I recall questioning whether our tithing should be based on our gross income, or our net income? And of course guilt-led advice pointed us to use our gross income as the basis of our tithing. And I also remember preachers using more subtil psychological coercion at times to affect how much money people gave to them. I remember hearing messages to the effect of, “we’re not in the old covenant, but 10% is a good baseline for your giving, and you can grow from there if you feel led to give more.” Or how about that special time in a church service when the whole church pauses so that everyone can give their “tithes” and offerings? (If you’ve ever been to a church service, you’re already familiar with this routine). Your giving is on full display of others, while church representatives stand near the seated givers. (But your giving is coming from your heart, and it isn’t being influenced by any psychological pressure, right)? And of course there are even more examples of psychologically-pressured giving that I could reference. But I’ll stop here so that I can get on to the biblical answers that I want to share with you, so that you can make informed-decisions where your giving is concerned.
So for starters, let’s consider the following type of thinking please:
“Hey, the preacher & the church have bills too… So doesn’t God allow the preacher to bend scripture (just a little) to make sure that people give him enough money to cover the church’s financial obligations?“
No, He doesn’t.
In fact, it’s sinful for preachers to give Christians the impression (at all) that they’re under the tithe. (That’s because lying is sinful, misleading people is sinful, misrepresenting scripture is sinful). The tithe should never even be mentioned in association with a Christian’s giving, because Christians aren’t under the tithe. (Even a novice preacher should understand what the tithe was, and who it applied to).
So then that begs the question, what was the tithe?
The tithe was a tenth of an agricultural yield, given as the support apparatus of the now-obsolete Levitical priesthood who couldn’t provide for themselves, (it was a component of old covenant law). So if a preacher thinks it would be good idea for you to be under the tithe, then he should logically think that it would be a good idea for him to live as a Levite too shouldn’t he? (Because after all, tithes were paid to Levites).
Additionally, “money” wasn’t the substance of the tithe anyway, (even when money existed). And money is mentioned in the bible as far back as Genesis 17.12.
And consider please God’s warning about lawkeeping in the economy of the new covenant. (Tithing is works of the law):
“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:“
So when a shrewd pusher of the tithe is presented with the type of information that you just now read, they will then sometimes reference Abram’s tithe to Melchizedek in Genesis 14.18-24 as a last-ditch way to try to put a Christian under the tithe. Making the case that Abram’s tithe predated old covenant law, (taking it outside of the parameters of old covenant law).
But what you should know about that singular event was, there was a unique reason for that particular tithe.
That tithe’s purpose was to show Jews (in the then-future) that Abraham wasn’t to be the object of their faith. Demonstrating Abraham’s subordination to One higher than he, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who was to be the object of their faith, (reference Hebrews chapter 7).
And here’s some additional information for you about Abram’s tithe to Melchizedek:
• Consider please that Abram was tithing of his spoils of war that he collected from the battle of rescuing his nephew Lot. (Abram wasn’t tithing from his own personal property).
• Consider please that Abram was the leader of his war party, and he was the only one of his group that tithed to Melchizedek.
(Therefore if Abram’s tithe is to be followed today, then only the leader of the group will tithe, while the others of the group will not tithe).
• And consider please that Abram’s tithe was a one-time event, (as opposed to a recurring tithe).
Moreover, it’s absolutely vital that you understand that the dividing line between the old covenant of law and the new covenant of grace is the cross of Jesus Christ.
(This distinction is among the most important factors in understanding biblical directives).
The new covenant did not go into effect at Jesus’ birth, (or at anytime during His earthly life).
The new covenant wasn’t actuated, (replacing the old covenant of law), until Jesus died on the cross, (see Hebrews 9.16,17).
(The rules-of-operation are distinctly different from one side of the cross than the other).
And there is no biblical directive whatsoever for anyone to tithe after the cross. Nor does scripture give anyone permission to receive tithes after the cross.
So having now considered all of that information, the question that needs to be answered is: “If we’re not under the tithe, then what are our guidelines for giving in the new covenant of grace?”
The answer is: Give to whoever, and however, the Spirit of God moves on your heart.
There is no “percentage” as a baseline for your giving in the new covenant.
Here’s the post cross, biblical directive for the Christian’s giving in the new covenant:
“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
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.“
And I know that there will be some people who will read this post and disregard what I’ve shared here, because they’re comfortable with what religion has taught them about tithing. But I don’t want to argue with anyone, I only want to help someone who desires freedom from religious bondage.
So God bless you my friend in your pursuit of the truth.
All glory to the risen Lord Jesus Christ.