I'll offer a few thoughts on Tithing. I will not take the time to offer all of the theological or hermeneutical reasons why I don't believe the New Testament teaches Tithing, and in tomorrow's blog I'll show what God wants in place of the tithe----I'll give you a hint, they grow on trees?
Tithing is usually promoted by most Evangelical Bible Believing Churches. The favorite "proof-text" that is offered by pro-tithing Churches is Malachi 3:8-11. One common defense for tithing is that the Christian ministry (which is the pastor and his local church) has taken the PLACE OF the Old Testament Levitical Priesthood.
One problem with that thought is the Tribe of Levi was not given land as an inheritance like the other 12 tribes. Genesis 15:8 is the promise that God would give Abraham's seed the inheritance of land. However, the tribe of Levi received the tithe instead of or in substitution for, the land "But the tithes...I have given to the Levites to INHERIT, therefore, I have said...Among the children of Israel they shall have NO INHERITANCE (Num, 18:24, KJV).
One other thought on tithing: In addition to the tithe, (as part of the inheritance package) the Levitical priesthood also received forty-eight cities and a strip of two thousand cubits of pastureland c.f. (Numbers 35:1-8). So the whole of the inheritance that the tribe of Levi received (in lieu of the land) was (1) tithes and offerings, (2) 3000 feet of pastureland and, (3) forty-eight cities.
The New Testament Church has NO RIGHT to remove just one piece of the inheritance while leaving the other two behind. There is so much more that can be offered to show that the tithe never transferred over to the New Testament Church, but that will have to be for another time.
Just one quick note on how the Christian Ministry should be supported, first remember that the Christian Ministry has NO RIGHT to collect the tithe, so you are probably asking HOW the ministry should be supported?
Here are a few New Testament passages that give us a clue on how we are to give (support the Ministry):
"But rather give alms of such things as YOU HAVE" (Luke 11:41).
"For they gave ACCORDING TO THEIR MEANS... "(11Cor. 8:3).
"...Now perform the doing of it...out of THAT WHICH YOU HAVE...For if there first be a willing mind, it is accepted ACCORDING TO WHAT A MAN HAS, and not according to that which he has not" (11 Cor. 8:11-12).
These are just a FEW of the New Testament passages that give us direction on HOW we as believers are to give, if you have been paying attention there is not one mention of a tithe. The reason the tithe is not mentioned in any of the giving passages in the New Testament is simple---the tithe was abolished along with the Old Testament Levitical priesthood (Hebrews 7: 12-14).
The next blog will deal with WHAT God wants from us---in lieu of the tithe---and it is not money or possessions. I've been so captivated and blessed by this next thought that I can't wait to share it with you tomorrow.