CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Should Christians Tithe?

Jan 28, 2017

I get asked this question every so often, so it may be time to do an article on this. I have hesitated up until now for the simple reason that this is another one of those issues which, unfortunately, some Christians can go ballistic about, hurling anathemas at anyone who dares to differ with them.

titheBut let me here try to offer just a very brief, introductory look at this topic. Before I go any further let me offer some preliminary remarks:

-At the risk of being overly simplistic, one could mention three main positions on this:
A. The Christian must tithe.
B. The Christian does not have to tithe.
C. The Old Testament provides helpful principles on this, but we have no clear law on this in the New.

-This is not a salvation issue. It is an important issue, but it is not one that will keep a person out of heaven if they happen to believe the “wrong” thing about this. It is a secondary issue, not a primary issue. The latter would include things like the deity of Christ, the triune nature of the Godhead, and the authority of Scripture.

-Bigger issues of how we understand the relationship between the two Testaments in general, and the relationship of the Mosaic Law to Christians in particular, would really have to be covered first before we weigh into the tithing debate.

-While tithing is mentioned in various places in the Old Testament, there is no clear or direct command to tithe found in the New Testament. Instead we find much there on generous giving.

Let me look a bit more closely at these last two points. As to the first of these, most believers follow the helpful and long-standing (although not perfect) three-fold division of the OT law into the moral, ceremonial and civil. The moral law would certainly include the Ten Commandments, the ceremonial would have to do with the sacrificial system and so on, while the civil would deal with laws given to the nation of Israel.

Most Christians hold that the moral law continues into New Testament times, but not the other two. This of course is a big debate and a very complex one, and it cannot here be properly entered into. Suffice it to say that I basically agree with this way of approaching the OT laws.

The other issue, of NT commands about tithing, deserve a closer look. One thing to note is how infrequently the New Testament even mentions the tithe. There are actually only four references to the term. The first two are parallel passages:

Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”
Luke 11:42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”

Here Jesus seems to regard tithing as being set against the weightier matters of the law, such as justice. That does not necessarily mean he believes that tithing is of no importance, but that it seems to be of relative importance compared to some other matters.

The third reference involves the words of a Pharisee as found in Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector:

Luke 18:12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.

There is nothing here of course about a command to Christians to tithe.

The fourth reference is found in the book of Hebrews, a decidedly very Jewish-orientated book. Hebrews 7:1-10 discusses the rather mysterious character Melchizedek (who we first read about in Genesis 14). Here are verses 4-10:

See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils! And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham. But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.

Because the book itself is subject to a wide range of interpretations, as is our understanding of who Melchizedek is and what he represents, this is not the best passage to appeal to if you want to make the case that Christians must tithe. Sure, it is a passage we must wrestle with, but even when combined with the other three texts, we have no clear command for NT believers regarding tithing.

Thus that is all we find in the NT in terms of a direct defence to the tithe. None are a clear command for Christians to tithe. Of course the pro-tithe camp will try to claim these passages nonetheless for their purposes. Fair enough, but the truth is, while the tithe is mentioned so rarely in the NT, the subject of giving is mentioned quite a lot.

Some large portions of Paul’s writings for example are devoted to the issue of giving, most notably 2 Corinthians 8-9. And the principles offered there are rather clear: God wants us to be generous givers. Let me just share one portion of this here (2 Cor. 9:6-8):

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

The grace of giving is emphasised here, not a legalistic requirement. Of course other NT principles about giving could be discussed. One is the fact that giving seems to be enjoined based on our ability to give. Two passages on this can be mentioned:

1 Corinthians 16:2 On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.
2 Corinthians 8:12 For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.

Image of Perspectives on Tithing: Four Views
Perspectives on Tithing: Four Views by Amazon logo

Obviously so much more needs to be said on this topic, and I have left out various aspects to this debate. For example, one could explore things like the phrase “tithes and offerings” and what that means; one could look more closely at the two passages on tithing that appear before the Mosaic law (Gen. 14 – Abram – and Gen. 28 – Jacob); one can ask where or to whom exactly the tithe should go; and so on.

What I offered here are just a few considerations, and I fully realise that there are indeed differences of opinion on all this. However, I can already imagine those with passionately held views might wish to come out swinging here. Let me advise otherwise. The last thing I need is another major all-out fight on a secondary matter!

So if people ask me what I think of the tithe for believers, the above is the sort of thing I would say in response. While we are not commanded to tithe, we are told to give, to give freely, and to give out of a thankful heart, based on God’s generous giving to us.

I know of many wealthy Christians who give the majority of their money away to the Lord’s work. And I know some believers who are struggling to find their next meal. I will not impose a ten per cent giving law on either of them. I am sure there are those who think I should be tarred and feathered for my views, but my advice would be to go to war over this elsewhere!

For further reading

Not surprisingly, there are many books penned on this topic, and even more articles. Let me suggest just one book, which is helpful because it brings together in one volume several of the main views on this issue in a debate format. It is:
David Croteau, ed., Perspectives on Tithing: 4 Views. B&H, 2011.

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23 Responses to Should Christians Tithe?

  • Hi Bill, it is with great interest that I “devoured” this latest post. You obviously were not just sitting back on your birthday just “vegging” out! Good on you for making it clear at the start of your article, that tithing is not tied to salvation. My own observation on this topic relates to the promise that God gives in Malachi. That He (God) will pour out a blessing that we can’t contain if we tithe. (Depending on which translation that you read). Then as you so rightly discuss, in the N.T. There are no hard and fast rules for tithing. It comes down to being a personal Grace/Gratitude issue. Bill, in this article, you touched on Melchizedek the King of Salem (ancient Jerusalem). I looked on your search engine for more info on him, and couldn’t find anything. Have you done any detailed studies in the past on Melchizedek? My limited understanding is that He was a real person and could have been a Pre-Incarnate appearance of Christ. Once again Bill, a thoroughly interesting and well researched article. My only warning, is that you have touched on a few “juicy side issues” that I and many of your other readers will be clamouring for you to do articles on. KEEP THEM COMING BILL, blessings & kind regards, Kelvin.

  • Thanks Kelvin. No I have not yet written a piece on him. Yes a theophany is one of the options, or a type of Christ, etc.

  • I think the key here is

    1 Corinthians 16:2 On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.

    “Put Money aside for when the need comes” – Just dumping it on a church every week is a disaster – I did that for years – Then one day after the church had built up a hefty account, it was decided to invest thousands on new comfy seats for the congregation – Guess What! – The crisis hit about six months later and quite a few members lost their jobs – There wasn’t that much left in the pot to help these people out – Donations to the church should cover the basic expenses – If a need is detected (By the elders) then a call should go out to the members to donate to this need – Each member can then decide for themselves if it is “Just” and donate accordingly.

  • Hi Bill, I’m surprised you didn’t mention the story related in Matthew 22:15-22. I’ve heard a convincing sermon that claimed that Jesus was actually saying that all our finances actually belong to the Lord, and we should therefore give or tithe to the Lord’s work accordingly. The reference to Caesars head on the coin was a smokescreen to Jesus’s real point.

  • Thanks Anthony. As I stated in the article, this was only a very brief introduction to the issue, and I did not include all sorts of things in it, including all sorts of passages. As to this particular pericope, it really has nothing to do with tithing, so I of course did not run with it. The imperial poll tax mentioned here was a special tax which Roman citizens did not have to pay, but was levied on subject peoples. It was not ten per cent of one’s income, but simply one denarius to be paid by each adult annually.

    That our finances – and indeed everything we possess – actually belong to the Lord is of course a given, found throughout the whole Bible. We are simply stewards of what God has blessed us with.

  • Touchy, emotional topic Bill, but one that needs bringing up now and then because of that.

    For those not scared of a challenge they could read “Tithing and Dominion” by Powell/Rushdooney (1979) (https://www.amazon.com/Tithing-Dominion-Edward-Powell/dp/B0006F3YSE ). I say challenge because the description on Amazon says “The tithe is God’s tax for the use of the earth : it is not a gift to God. Only when the giving exceeds ten percent is it called a gift and a “freewill offering””

  • Hello Bill,

    This article certainly addresses some serious matters of our day which divide the church in certain ways, one being the meeting of believers on the Lord’s day and I do believe the Corinthians verse settles the matter of when we ought to gather as a body of Christ although it leaves Pastors out in particular whose work culminates on the Lord’s day. So it is my understanding that we may meet and enter God’s rest any day of the week as long as we do so to give glory, honour and worship to Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour for all he has done for us undeserving souls on the cross for our salvation!

    As Christians we are blessed to be a blessing and what better way to bless others than to use the money God has entrusted to us, to give back to the Church’s Christian Ministry and Mission in this world. Hill and Walton record that we cannot expect God to treat the nations today any differently than he has in the past and as I understand, this also goes for tithing as well, just because it is not specifically recorded that the New Testament church is to tithe as you have written about in this great article Bill, giving is clearly mentioned and that we ought to do it with all our hearts. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” Luke 12:34, what better way to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your soul and with all your strength” Mark 12:30, than to love Christ’s church with our giving/tithing and loving our neighbors as ourselves?

    This, not so young lady is very grateful to be a member of Christ’s church and so blessed to be able to give generously now after many trials and temptations, glad to now be able to enjoy the fullness of Christ by his grace, mercy and love. Tithing is another duty we are called to faithfully commit ourselves to in God’s Kingdom, to carry out Jesus’ Great Commission, a command, imperative and prerogative for Christians when we can do it on the Lord’s day in my eyes, there are also new ways to make our deposit into the church’s coffers like using electronic funds transfer points of ‘service’, we’re certainly blessed this way to be able to be a blessing, praise the Lord for his goodness and thank you very muchly for this wonderful piece Bill!

    PS The Holy Spirit was already moving me to project Luke 12:34 onto our big screen this Sunday 🙂

    PPS God loves a cheerful giver!

  • PPS From the Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary recorded under the title TITHE John D. Freeman writes in the last paragraph: By the time of Christ, Roman rule had greatly affected the economic life of Judea, hence it was difficult for people to tithe. But that the laws regarding the tenth were still observed is shown by the fact that the Pharisees tithed even the herbs that were used in seasoning food (Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42).

    Blessings
    Shalom

  • First a comment on Malcolm’s response: Paul is referring specifically to a collection for the church in Jerusalem undergoing famine – he organized this among the Macedonian churches and this was his suggestion as to how they could collect money for that purpose: set it aside weekly so that when he visited them it was ready to give him to pass on to the Jerusalem church. So that was an offering specifically designated to help struggling brothers and sisters in Jerusalem, not a weekly offering for the local church.

    Paul spent a lot of time and energy on this project. And he used it to teach a lot about giving. I also get many questions about tithing when I teach missionaries about raising support. Like you Bill, I don’t see it as a law in the N.T., but rather a matter of the heart. More than anything else, God is concerned with our heart. I can recommend another book on the larger subject of money and possessions, “Money, Possessions and Eternity” by Randy Alcorn. I find much truth in this statement he makes: “There is a powerful relationship between our true spiritual condition and our attitude and actions concerning money and possessions.”

    This question has helped me sort out my attitude at times: “We shouldn’t ask ‘How much should I give to God?’ but rather, ‘How much of what He’s given me should I keep, since it all belongs to Him?'”

  • A very good overview of the topic. We will all give account for what we have done with what God has given us and so, if a church is spending its money unwisely, there may be very good reason to spend your offering elsewhere and then be prepared to justify it.

    People who push a legalistic view of tithing often speak of Abraham’s tithe to Melchizedek but this was only a one time thing from the spoils from a battle. There is no scripture that, before the nation of Israel was set up, that there was a legal requirement for a tenth part offering. There simply was no one to around, normally, to give it to. Also we see in scriptures such as Deut 14:29 that the tithe was not only for the Levites (who looked after the Temple, did sacrifices, were judges and scribes etc.) but was also for widows, the fatherless and presumably any other poor. I think it is also worth mentioning that the tithe was a produce tax (not an income tax) that was meant to cover those people who were required to work but could not create physical “increase” themselves. It was based around food and making sure everyone was fed, not monetary transactions, which, in fact, were not taxed. The first mention of an on going tithe was by Jacob (who was, of course, renamed Israel: Gen 32:28) when he said:-

    Gen 28:20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,
    Gen 28:21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:
    Gen 28:22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee. (MKJV)

  • Hi Bill. Thanks for this blog on Tithing. I have been a Christian for 50 years, and have been in fellowship in a number of churches, having lived in three states of Australia, and in NZ for nine years of that fifty years. For the most part of my Christian life, I have attended Pentecostal churches, and most of those churches have taught that tithing for Christians is a Biblical principle prescribed in the O.T. – the Malachi 3 passage being widely quoted, and expected of Christians as an act of obedience to the Lord, in order to receive financial and other blessing. The oft quoted line “If you say you cannot afford to tithe, you cannot afford not to” comes to mind. Then there is always the question of whether we should tithe on the gross or net income? I must admit that at times, my wife and I have felt a sense of guilt when we have realized we have not been tithing at least ten percent of our income. Also we have been concerned when we have committed to supporting other ministries financially, apart from our local church, and had to battle with the question of whether that giving comes under the category of “bringing the tithes and offerings to the storehouse” as it says in Malachi 3.
    The local church obviously should be well supported financially by those who call it their spiritual home, but, reading your article, I have found it personally liberating to think that tithing, according to the OT model should not be a legalistic requirement in the NT church. I guess the bottom line is that everything we have is from the Lord, and we should be cheerful givers, and be led by the Holy Spirit in our giving – which may, in obedience to the Lord’s direction result in us giving beyond ten percent, even substantially more at times, knowing that if we give as the Lord prompts us, He will supply and replenish our needs, as you quoted Paul in 2 Cor 9:6-8. Thanks again, Bill for this word.

  • Re the OT and the classification of “moral, ceremonial and civil”;
    Which category is tithing meant to be in?

    Tithing seems a bit similar to the Lord’s day – is it relevant for today or not?
    Trouble with giving though, is that there is a human element to it. If you tell people to “be generous” they will probably think they are doing well if they approach 1% of their annual income. But if there is any remote possibility that 10% is a good yardstick, then why not go with that?
    In other words, if in doubt, err on the safe side.
    (How many die-hard anti-tithers give more than 10%? But OTOH, making people feel guilty for not tithing to a particular church system is a recipe for abuse)
    So I’d treat 10% as an independent check on my own judgement of “giving generously”, and I’d be cautious of places that demand sole access to my full tithe payment, else be cursed.

  • There were 3 tithes in Israel – 2 x 10% yearly and 1 x 10% 3 yearly = 23 1/3 % per year. But theses tithes were never money, but only that which was produced from Israeli soil – crops and flocks……

  • If one is to do a thorough exposition of this, as with any doctrine, one needs to start with what God’s intention is. From Genesis right through we see the constant theme of first fruits throughout the entire bible – even possibly in the designation by Paul to meet together (acts 20:17;1 Cor 16:1,2) celebrate Christ’s resurrection and take up a collection for Him as he travelled on mission, on the first day of the week.

    But ultimately this is a grace vs law issue. God doesn’t change, his intention remains the same, however the methodology has changed. Even though Ex. 31:16,17 tells us that the Sabbath day will never pass away and, and circumcision was forever going to be a sign of consecration to God (Gen 17), practically, we no longer follow these commands. These things were far more important to God, so where have they gone? The OT commands have been replaced by equivalent NT commands (all 10 of them are restated in the NT) but Mark 12:28-31 sums it all up. God’s law has not passed away (Matt 5:17-18) but we live under a New Covenant based entirely upon faith. Just as Jesus did with all of the law, He completed it on the cross, changed it, and gave it new meaning, and as Bill has pointed out , the key points of first fruits is that everything that we have is from God and is ultimately God’s to do with as He pleases, and that all our giving is to be done with willingness and out of a cheerful heart. God’s intention in all of these things (sabbath, circumcision, tithing etc.) is consecration of all we are, have, and do for Him and His glory, through faith.

    Even the concept of “tithing” has been misrepresented. I’ve heard much misrepresentation of scriptures in both OT and NT – the most notorious in this case being Malachi chap 3, and the second being Heb 7:1-10 of which the context is our priestly standing before God, not finances… so logically if anything it’s actually against the legal concept of tithing because of our new standing before God through the cross.

    If we are to surrender our whole lives to Christ, how do we then begin segmenting our mental, financial, physical lives into separate parts that we will then choose which part we give to God? This is precisely against what Jesus dies for and He and Paul, at length, preached. And the warning in Galatians from Paul was that any person who mixes legality with grace is putting people in bondage.

    It seems to me that these churches believe in not just 2 new commandments of the new covenant (Mark 12:28-31)… but have 3 instead:
    1. Love God with all that you are,
    2. Love Your Neighbour as yourself
    3. Tithe to this church or you are robbing God.
    And therein lies the guilt that many feel – that in itself is an indicator of the bondage to the law that you have allowed yourself to be placed under.

    So, how each of us works this out is accordingly, in fear and trembling, (Phil 2:12) between us and God, in faith, like everything else in the NT.

  • Malachi’s message to me is more about the destination of the tithe than the act. Possibly distinct from offerings, the tithe was meant to go to the storehouse i.e. to the ‘mission’ of the temple. The principle could be carried forward to the present time.

  • The main reason tithing is so contentious is because it has to do with money which, unfortunately, is something we are prone to love. If we didn’t love it so much, there would be a lot less discussion about it.

  • Hmm. I just reread what some people have said about first fruits. This idea is often put forward by preachers who greedily want the best of everything. What they don’t realize is that the first fruits were giving God the priority, not men and also they were not the best fruits of the crop which usually come around the middle of the harvest and which God allowed His people to have. The tithes were also used to support a twelfth part of the nation of Israel who were in the tribe of Levi so unless one in twelve families is in the ministry in a church, that view really does not stack up either. Even Jesus never asked for tithes because He was not born into the tribe of Levi.

    Also I am horrified that some people try to write off things like the Sabbath that was written twice by God, by His own hand and in stone and say that is not important and yet claim tithing is important when it is very obviously to do with the administration of Israel and was not mentioned until exodus and in places like:-

    Exo 34:26 The first of the first-fruits of your land you shall bring to the house of Jehovah your God. You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk. (MKJV)

    Sorry to harp on this but I believe it is important. Jesus did not mention anything about whether the widow’s offering of two mites was a tithe (Mar 42:12), just that it was a bigger than the large amount the rich person gave. As Jesus said the big issues are justice and mercy but Jesus also did not go up the the widow and say you should not give because that would actually be denying her access to treasures in heaven.

  • Thanks for another good subject Bill. I think we ask why did Abraham give a tithe to Melchisedek? We are not told. We know that Abram was an idolater (one deserving death Romans 1: 16 to 32) when God came to him and revealed to the man his glory (Acts 7:2/Exodus 34:6) and changed Abram so that he would become Abraham the father (king) of a multitude of nations – and he is. By tithing then, king Abraham (being a prophet) revealed the likeness of that glory he had received from the God of glory. That is that a persons’ life which was represented by a nominated amount of our temporal riches is given to the King of Righteousness who is King of Peace (Salem/Jerusalem – the latter means ‘the possession of peace’). This reveals the joy! of tithing in Israel and the declension from grace castigated in Malachi. But it is a revelation to the Christian believer in Jesus Christ that “all things are yours” out of which grace we “should no longer live for ourselves but for Him who both died for us and rose again”. WE are not our own. We are to be good stewards of Gods’ grace in every circumstance. Total grace assures the humble we shall so be accounted. Abraham tithed “before the Law” because he “saw My day and was glad”. I think Christians are expected to understand that Melchisedek represents the inscrutable (but revealed – the gospel of God) Person and purpose of GOD, not the (local or universal) church. Christian works built on tithing will stand if it has been faith giving. There are wrecks that have happened and others are in the processes of judgment because of other motives in the giving of money, time and energy.

  • Hi Bill,

    This is what I’m saying, in agreement with Malcolm, that the Word of God says giving and tithing for the Kingdom is the same thing, as struggling brothers and sisters are amongst us in the local church. Many are struggling spiritually in particular as we are not spiritually connected with each other, devoid of a meaningful relationship with Jesus. The fact that pharisees in the early church tithed even their herbs and spices is a good indication that the New Testament church paid tithes as we can all be likened to Pharisees! Becoming like Christ and our relationship with Jesus ought to be a foundational matter of the ‘building and maintenance’ of a growing, wholesome church community. The way we spend/use all that God entrusts to his faithful saints ought to be a priority of our worship to bring glory and honour to our LORD and Creator especially when we like to see others sharing in the Kingdom of God.

    The Collection for the Saints

    16 Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. 3 And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. 4 If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me.

    Plans for Travel

    5 I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia, 6 and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me on my journey, wherever I go. 7 For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

    10 When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am. 11 So let no one despise him. Help him on his way in peace, that he may return to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers.

    Final Instructions

    12 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to visit you with the other brothers, but it was not at all his will to come now. He will come when he has opportunity.

    13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.

    15 Now I urge you, brothers—you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints— 16 be subject to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer. 17 I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence, 18 for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Give recognition to such people.

    Greetings

    19 The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord. 20 All the brothers send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

    21 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. 22 If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen. 1 Corinthians 16 (ESV)

    Praying the Holy Spirit guards all our hearts and minds in these troubled times!! Yesterday I projected an empty cross on a hill, under blue skies onto the screen as it occurred to me that there’s no longer a cross, front and center of our church where one used to be along with the Bible maybe that’s why our numbers have been in decline over the past decade or so?!

    Blessings Bill

  • I agree with what is said here. It is surely better to give 5% cheerfully than 10% legalistically; if you can manage 10% (or more!) cheerfully, so much the better. God looks on the heart and I am sure appreciates willingness most of all. I myself regard 10% as a good yardstick and start there.

    As regards Jesus’ statements to the Pharisees in Matt 23 and Luke 11, the reason I do not think that they are binding on Christians is the context: the Mosaic covenant was still in force because Jesus had not yet died and inaugurated the new covenant. Not everything in the New Testament is new covenant! Same with the Sabbath – Jesus clearly kept it as a faithful Jew under the Mosaic covenant, but it is not binding on new covenant believers.

  • I do wish this was all sort-out-able Trevor.

    But remember that most of our earthly bills are non-negotiable and we “legalistically” pay 100% of our earthly bills all the time. When we do negotiate it’s before the bill is decided, not after it is issued, and we can only negotiate if we, the buyer, are in the position of power.

    So (as a decades long thither) I don’t quiet get the idea of telling the most powerful person in the universe that His “bill” is too high and that I’m only going to pay Him what I’m happy paying.

    (Now if we don’t *have* to tithe the above comment us mute which is why I said “I do wish this was all sort-out-able”)

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