The Good News of the Judgment

Tithing of 10%???
William Diehl

Tithe paying was never imposed upon the Christian church by the apostles. Paul and the other apostles never appealed for the believers to pay them a tithe to support the ministry. Only under the Levitical system of the Old Testament did God require the Israelites to bring to the Levites the tithes to support the priesthood and the temple system.

The Levites were in charge of enforcing the civil and criminal laws within the community of Israel and the tithe was to pay for the support of the priests who had no inheritance as a tribe of Israel when the promised land was taken from the Canaanites.

If we read Acts and the epistles of Paul and the other apostles, there is no mention of paying the ministry from a "tithe" imposed upon the believing community. The apostle Paul was supported by the Philippian believers from their freewill offerings to support his missionary journeys. Paul himself worked as a tent maker to support himself. It would not be a bad idea if ministers were to find a supplementary way to make ends meet other than by continually urging the parishioners to dig deeper and even pay a "tithe" towards supporting the ministers of the church. This would also foster a humble spirit in them and not become puffed up with a false "holier than thou" spirit of a "priesthood class". There are so many lazy pastors who think that the church members owe them a living.

It was the Judaising Gnostics who wanted to put the Jewish and Gentile Christian believers under the obligations of the Levitical temple laws. The Old Testament references to "robbing God" in Malachi, when the Jews were not paying tithe, were so severe because the Jews had forsaken the worship of God and the temple had fallen into disuse. The Jews were worshipping Baal and building temples to his name throughout Israel while the tithe which was to support the Temple and the priests of God was withheld from the treasury of God.

In the Christian era all believers are "priests" of God who offer up spiritual sacrifices through our great High Priest, Jesus Christ. The principle of the "priesthood of all believers" declares that all believers are all equal and that the ministers and activities of the church of Christ are to be supported from the liberality of the cheerful giver, not from an imposed system of law which declares that those who do not pay at least ten percent are "robbing God". The mandatory tithing system which some groups are trying to impose upon Christians is a return to the temple system which has been swept away in Christ.

Someone may ask, "by what mechanism other than tithing would those who able to live from? The answer is simple: from the free-will offerings of those who are members of the congregation just as the majority of Protestant denominations pay their pastors. To use Malachi 3 to endorse compulsory tithing from the congregants is a misuse of the old testament Levitical injunctions to support the priests in the theocracy of Israel. "Did God change?" they ask. The answer is an emphatic "Yes!!" the whole gospel economy changed when the sanctuary service and the Levitical system was swept away. Will they also enforce all the rules and regulations of the Torah upon the Christian community? Should we also circumcise all the male children 8 days after birth? Should the men not cut the corners of their beards? Call the pastor if mold is found in the house? Not touch a dead body and so become unclean? Do you want me to go on about all the other prohibitions? Should we declare a Jubilee every 50 years? Should we observe the Passover, Pentecost, Yom Kippur, and the feast of Tabernacles?

To try to teach that a Christian who does not tithe is "robbing God" is to put up a hedge and a needless stumbling block before the Christian church which none of the apostle advocated. I personally have given many more times a "tithe" to the work of the gospel. I sold my first home and used all of the funds to gospel causes. But this in no way puts me above those Christians who have never given a single dime to support the work of the gospel. . Of course God "changed" when He took the gospel to all the world and not just the Jewish community!! This was the main issue at the council of Jerusalem, i. e. what should the Gentiles be mandated to do as Christians.

However, in the final analysis if a Christian believer wishes to voluntarily covenant with our Lord to give a tithe of his wealth to the work of the Lord, this pledge is a matter between the believer and the Lord; and the Lord will certainly bless those who do so. The Lord loves a cheerful giver no matter what the amount may be. Those who sow generously will reap a great reward in blessings from the hand of the Lord. But all should give intelligently, knowing where their gifts are being used to good effect----not lining the pockets of false hearted preachers or sham charities or universities which teach Darwinism and have high paid faculty and board members.

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