Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

56. Why I Don't Believe Christians Should Tithe - Part 3

When I tell people that I don’t believe Christians should tithe, I’m often met with shocked and sometimes horrified expressions. Within the Evangelical world, it seems that tithing is equated with spiritual maturity. Not tithing is often presented as “robbing God”. Tithing is generally understood as returning 10% of one’s income back to God or God’s work, i.e. the local church. Many Christian leaders support tithing using the following verses: (For reference when I say the term “Believers” I mean Christians and use the terms interchangeably.)

Due to the length of some of these points as I studied this further I broke it down into different parts. Although I may add more later. This part 3 of 3.  Please read the first two part to this post series on tithing: 

Why I don’t Believe Christians Should Tithe – Part 1 and 
Why I don't Believe Christians Should Tithe - Part 2

5. We are not under the Law, but under Grace

Grace. It’s a beautiful concept. Here’s some thoughts. No man is justified by doing the works of the law. (Gal. 3:11) All the curses of the law were abolished and done away with by Christ who was made a curse for us. (Gal. 3:13). We are justified through faith in Jesus Christ. (Gal 3:24) Our hope is no longer in the law but in Christ who draws us near to God. (Heb. 7:18-19

According to Rom. 6:14 and Gal.5:18 we are led by God’s spirit as sin no longer has dominion over us. We are no longer under the law but under grace. 

"We are not under law but under grace." - Rom. 6:14 and Gal. 5:18.

From Col. 2:14 we are shown that Christ cancelled our debt that stood against at the cross. The debt in Mal. 3:7,14 that was owed was, amongst other things, the 10% that Israel was to tithe to avoid God’s wrath. Gal 3:13 and Col. 2:14 show us that the debt and curse of the law is no longer upon us as Believers. 

Salvation and eternal life through Jesus are both free to us without money or cost. We as Believers don’t give to be saved. Instead, we give BECAUSE we are saved and because we want others to be reached for the Gospel.

For the Jew, failure to tithe under the law brought God’s wrath to Israel. For the Believer, failure to give a tithe doesn't result in God's wrath or punishment.  

I’m convinced there are two things of eternal value on this earth – God’s Word (Psalm 119:89, 160; Is. 40:8; 1 Pet. 1:25and people (Matt. 25:46; John 3:16; Rom. 6:23; Heb. 10:39; 1 Cor. 15:54; 1 John 5:13-14).

6. 2 Cor. 9:7 and Matt. 6:3 Believers Give Joyfully and Secretly

That said I do believe Scripture points to the Believer giving joyfully.  There is no specific number for the Christian but instead whatever God lays on our heart. Typically, this can be significantly more than 10%. Some people give 50% or 40%. Others give 10 or 20%. Still others give 4 or 5%. People give as they are able. And God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Cor. 9:7)

I think when giving in accordance with Matt 6:3 there’s a strong case that we should give secretly. Particularly to those who are in need. 

What I’d like to see taught in and within the church is Biblical stewardship and a focus on generosity. Those who follow Christ should want to live generous lives toward God. We do this to be a reflection of His Divine, perfect, generous, and extravagant giving. This kind of standard goes way beyond the tithe. It doesn’t mean we are foolish in our giving but it does mean we don’t count our wealth as our security. We also don’t count on the amount we give. We attempt to see everything as being God’s and we are just caretakers of what He has entrusted to us for a time.

7. Eternal Rewards and Who to Give to?

From 1Tim. 6:19 we see that we are storing up treasures in eternity. Again, God’s Word is eternal and so are people.

Of note the worker is worthy of his wages. Whoever preaches the Gospel should earn their living by the Gospel. This means to me that those who are leaders in the local Church should be paid fair wages. (Matt 10:10; Luke 10:7; 1 Cor 9:14)

So gifts should go first to those who teach the Gospel (Gal 6:6). That is first and foremost to the local church in support of the local church staff. These are the people that teach and equip us. It also means secondly giving to secondary sources for example the radio station you listen to, missionaries locally or overseas, evangelists, churches you visit, etc. 

Acts 20:35 reminds us that Jesus said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.

I’d like to again say that I do believe there is a clear command in Scripture to give joyfully to God’s work (which is primarily the local Church) as people are led by God’s Holy Spirt and are able – whether that’s 1%, 10%, 15%, or more.

I’d like to re-emphasize I understand that there are differing viewpoints on this topic. In my extensive study of Scripture on this topic, these are my conclusions. I am open to feedback and know that I still have much to learn. I think we should be Bereans, searching the Scriptures for ourselves instead of blindly accepting what other people teach. That said, this is not a salvation issue, and I can agree to disagree if someone sees it differently.