Friday, July 10, 2009

Tyranny of the Tithe: What??? The Bible never teaches Christians to tithe?!!?

That's right. Nowhere in the Scriptures are Christians ever taught to tithe.

Having established the Christian's relationship to the Old Testament Law, we'll use a previous post as a road map for a discussion on tithing, beginning with the assertion that Christians are never instructed to tithe. In fact, the practice is only mentioned one time in the New Testament after the Gospels where it is used as an historical Old Testament reference (which we'll get into in detail at a later time).

And it's not like New Testament writers never had the opportunity to broach the subject. In 2 Corinthians 8 & 9, Paul lays out the New Testament plan for giving to support ministry (yes, a plan does exist), but nowhere does he mention the tithe. It would've been so simple for him to say "You know the tithes you've been paying to support the Temple ministry and all the priests? Well, now they're going to be used to support pastors and churches and toothy televangelists."

Why no mention of the tithe? Because it wasn't required of New Testament Christians. In fact, regarding offerings, Paul said, "I am not commanding you . . ." and, "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion . . ."

And let's take a closer look at the Corinthians. Isn't it curious that the Corinthians, who were guilty of all kinds of unseemly acts (to put it mildly!), were never admonished for not tithing? Are we to believe that in spite of being drunken, gluttonous, hero-worshiping perverts they were remarkably consistent tithers?

Come to think of it, one would be welcome to serve on many church administrative boards with that kind of resume . . .

I remember talking with a church official several years ago about the tithing issue. He told me that the tithe doctrine was "precious" to him and that it was a primary foundational teaching in the Christian life. After looking into this I have to ask: if this is such a precious, primary teaching in Christianity, why is there scarcely any mention of it in any of the New Testament letters to the churches?

Simple. It's not required.

Next, we'll look at the tithe-teacher's bludgeon of choice - Malachi 3:8-9


John MacArthur, Commentary on Book of Romans 9-16
(p.233)
. . . Christians are not under obligation to give a specified amount to the work of their heavenly Father. In none of their forms do the tithe or other Old Testament levies apply to Christians.

John MacArthur – Thoughts On Tithing
(excerpt from sermon preached at Grace Community Church in Panorama City, CA)
. . . Tithing, basically, is never, ever advocated in the New Testament; it is never taught in the New Testament – never!

1 comment:

Spenx said...

Kip... you're killing me. I want to read about your take on Malachi. Quit slacking man, it's not like you have a wife, kids, and job to do or anything. Get to work on educating me!

PS I read an article on Zorn recently. I hope he does well this year. My Bucs are... well... 'rebuilding' is a strong term.