Is Tithing Scriptural?greenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
This is not a rhetorical question. I have been taught that the proper form of Christian stewardhsip is reflected in "tithing" his/her finanacial resources to the church. Now although I'm not a member of the clergy I have taken theology courses in seminaries. My study of this topic concludes that tithing is essentially an O.T. concept and it's theological value is much like circumcision. I find no evidence in the N.T. where either Jesus or St. Paul use this concept as currently practiced. We should give ungrudgingly but the 10% floor is unsupportive of N.T. theology. In his letter to the church at Corinth Paul admonished believers to give in proportion to God's rich blessing. This suggests a giving strategy far in excess of 10%. If there is not a scintilla of N.T. evidence to support tithing doesn't this suggest that the practice is now more dogma than divine revelation?
-- Anonymous, February 21, 2000
I have been taught that the tenth is a minimum that you should give back to God and that your offering really starts at what you give over the tenth. In any case I don't think that we should dicount the tithe because it is in the OT. We should follow the whole bible. However we should not think that obeying it will save us by itself or make us better than anyone else (Lk 18:11-14)
-- Anonymous, February 21, 2000
I believe Jesus taught that how much you have left is more indicative of your level of stewardship. Remember the woman who emptied her purse in the offering. At the same time, it is clear that one has the choice of being a good steward and reaping the benefits of the same or being a foolish steward and also reaping the results. Seems like a no-brainer for me; give until you can't give any more!
-- Anonymous, February 21, 2000
Gentlemen Thank You for your responses. The greater call of stewardship is defined as Alton points out in the N.T. story about the widow's mite. She indeed emptied her entire earnings which was proportionately more than the amount given by wealthier people. Now what I find interesting about tithing is the emergence of a theology of giving which links spiritual blessings with tithing. The passage in Malachi chapter 3 appears to imply that anticipated blessings will accrue to those who tithe. Is this the correct exegesis? I see tithing being used by some members of the clergy to convince parishoners that enjoying God's favor requires a tithing committment. Again, I find little to no support in N.T. theology which supports such a view.
-- Anonymous, February 21, 2000
This is a tough one for all of us who strive to give back to God in a way that's proper and fitting. I think the answer is found throughout the NT, and not so much in a specific passage. Throughout the NT, GIVING is taught. The Gospel of John is the most notable example. Note how many times you see "giving" used to describe "love." John 3:16 is a good starting point. Of course we love the Lord and we show that love by giving. There's no emphasis placed on minimum or maximum amounts. One reason, is that we are to give more than money. Remember, in the OT, the tithe was a portion of the harvest. Not many of us can give that literally. However, when we realize that what was given back was a portion of the BLESSING that was received, then it's a little easier to comply with. We are blessed with more that money, and as such we are to give back more than money. We should give of our time and our talents (gifts) too. Giving should be based on the blessings that we receive, including money. The reference to the Parable of the Widow's Mite made by one of the other "Answerers" is an excellent example.
By the way your comment: "If there is not a scintilla of N.T. evidence to support tithing doesn't this suggest that the practice is now more dogma than divine revelation?" is not 100% correct. Please read Matthew 23:23. It's an ironic verse because on the surface it appears that the only reference that Jesus made to tithing actually condemns the practice. However, the last part of the verse ("...these ought ye to have done [taught the weightier matters of the law...], and not to leave the other undone." [refering to paying tithe] actually says that we should tithe. If you give with your heart and forget doctrine, you'll always give thae "right" amount.
-- Anonymous, March 24, 2000
Many of you were right on the money (no pun intended). It appears that tithing has become a source of financial security for any church or parachurch organization. The tithe is significant in that it represents both stewardship and discipleship. It is Stewardship when we give (and I emphasize GIVE) to God portion of our income to the support of ministry. It displays discipleship because we give to the ministry and thus allow the continual display of response to Jesus' Great Commission in Matt 28:19-20. We should never PAY TITHES because it then becomes obligation for us when it should be our act of devotion and love for God. Mal 3:10-11 is what just about everyone uses to establish tithing as a church duty and although there is no NT scripture explicitly saying the words tithe, there are some clear examples of the matter in the NT (consider Acts 4:32-35, and II Cor 8-9. We as believers should tithe not because we owe God, but because we love God and we want to support ministry. The tithe does not belong to the local church alone. It belongs to the work of the ministry wherever that may be. As the gospel goes forth, the tithe allows God's work through us to be powerful and complete.
When I learned that, I tithe differently now. I am obedient to the Holy Spirit in my stewardship. Most of my tithe however goes to my loca church because I am supporting certain projects our church is undertaking, but I also give because I love God. I may never be blessed financially because I tithe, but I will be a blessing to so many lost souls because I contributed to God's kingdom work.
-- Anonymous, March 28, 2000
Two things ought to be noted here. One is the fact that tithing is an OT. principle, not found in the NT. When close study is given to the whys and hows of tithing in the OT. it has nothing to do with reglious worship, but rather common sense survival needs of his people. The Levites were not given an inheritance upon enter the promised land as were the rest of the children of Israel.It was for this cause that Yahweh gave his portion to the priest(tithe or tenth). But the priest was not the only ones who were to eat from the tithe(by the way the tithe was food not money see Deut.14:25). So when you have a clearer vision on what Yahweh was attempting to do with the hebrew people, which was to make them an example in the earth as to what a righteous nation sould be like, then we have a clearer vision on what role does tithing play in presenting a better image of that righteous nation. Now we know that the Isrealites did not keep is judgements, statues or commandments, so they never began a Kingdom of priests, a Holy nation(Ex. 19:6).The story picks up in the NT. in Rev 1:6, 5:10 where we see Yahweh finally has a people of priests. Now let's get back to tithing, in Mal.3 which is so often quoted, look at the language being used, words like bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse(place where food is stored), open the windows of heaven (the sky) and pour you out a blessing(rain) that their shall not be room to recieve(food),was he talking about farming by chance. Of course he was, the hebrews were a farming community, and tithing was a system of self supportive workfare not welfare. If you had a bad year as a farmer(drought, flood,locust ect.)you could go to the storehouse and feed your family, or if you didn't have a husband for whatever reason (war, death, etc.) you go to the storehouse, if you were a stranger(foreigner) but you wanted to embrace the culture of the hebrew people but had no money or land you could go to the storehouse(De. 14)This is the wisdom of Yahweh as brought forth from the torah(books of the law).Sould NT. christians tithe, I don't see why they sould if they don't embrace the rest of the culture that tithing is meant to support. Whew! Point number two, one of his ten commandments is not to steal, but a hungry man is capable of doing alot more than just stealing. Tithing was set in place to help stop the need for stealing due to a lack of not having. After having said all this I have a question, where is the storehouse of Yahweh at on the earth today(the banks). when you give your money to the chruch why at the end of the year your chruch gives you a tax rebursement sheet, so you can get your money you gave to the chruch back from the government? When the Banks get your money do they consider it holy and only use it for the service of furthering Yah's kingdom, or do that loan it out to open more gambling houses, liquor stores, and strip joints. You'd better wake up to whose servant you really. are!For to whom you obey to him is who you serve.Shalom (peace)
-- Anonymous, April 07, 2000
Gregory, Your analysis of tithing is extremely enlightening. The economic dimensions about tithing you cite are rarely if ever developed in traditional sermons/lectures. Thanks for providing additional perspective which is exegetically sound and consistent with the original intent of the Scriptures.
-- Anonymous, April 12, 2000