Is tithing mandatory?


Tithe

This is a controversial topic. Some Christians say yes. Most say no. Those who say “No” charge those who say “Yes” with legalism. They quote Paul: “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV) But are they right?

I would argue that Paul, in this passage, is discussing charitable giving. Charitable giving is optional; Gary North has argued convincingly that tithing is mandatory[1]. Charitable giving is what we give above and beyond our mandatory tithe (which should go to the local congregation that we are a member of).

Most pastors today do not preach this. It’s a controversial thing to advocate. They may not have an opinion on it one way or another; they may be uneducated on the issue; or, often, I suppose, they poison the debate by labeling it that most dreaded of all labels: legalism.

That’s just wrong-headed.

THE BIBLICAL EVIDENCE

Since it’s controversial, let’s look at the Biblical argument for asserting that the tithe is mandatory.

The Biblical tithe was established by the high priest Melchizedek, priest of God Most High, in Genesis 14:20; Abram gave him a tenth of all of his spoils of victory because he acknowledged that God delivered him in victory. (Heb. 7:1-2) He was showing his subordination to God’s rule by making a token payment (10%) to God’s high priest; he gave God his share of the victory spoils.

Melchizedek served Abram a meal of bread and wine. This certainly bears a marked resemblance to the Lord’s Supper set forth by Jesus. Afterward, Melchizedek blessed Abram, and Abram willingly and voluntarily handed over his tithe.

It was after that act of covenantal subordination when the Lord entered a covenantal relationship with Abram, at which point he changed his name to Abraham. (Gen. 15, 17:1-7) Abraham is the father of Israel, the entirety of God’s people.

HIERARCHY IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD

There is a hierarchy in God’s kingdom: the lower priest pays a tithe to the higher priest. Abraham was a priest who paid a tithe to Melchizedek, a higher priest. In the Old Testament, the priestly tribe of Levi collected mandatory tithes from his brothers. Hebrews 7:9-10 discusses how Levi essentially paid tithes through Abraham to Melchizedek.

Our savior, Jesus Christ, is a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. (Heb. 7:17) In Him, by his grace and through adoption, we are now a nation of priests. (1 Peter 2:9)

He mediates between God and his people in the heavenly tent (Heb. 8:1), just as the high priests of Israel entered the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle (tent) and Soloman’s Temple to perform their priestly duties (Lev. 10:8-10). He became a high priest to appease God’s wrath and reconcile us to him (Heb. 2:17). He was exalted to this position by being made perfect in his obedience to his Father. (Heb. 5:8-10)

Abraham, father of the nation of Israel, tithed to Melchizedek, priest of God Most High; by covenantal representation, therefore,  the entire nation of Israel tithed to Melchizedek. (Heb. 7:9-10)

Jesus Christ is a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. We, having been in-grafted into the nation of Israel by adoption, are now a kingdom of priests (Rom. 11:17-20). We should give our tithes to Jesus Christ, who deserves them.

His representatives (our pastors) shouldn’t have to beg for our tithes because Jesus is not a beggar. He is an exalted King ruling over all of creation.

Jesus was exalted by his obedience; we, too, should demonstrate our obedience to our heavenly father just as Christ did. The tithe is the symbol that God has established to demonstrate our covenantal subordination to Him and his rule over our lives (as opposed to someone else’s rule: Satan’s rule; or our arrogant autonomous rule in which we decide good and evil for ourselves outside of God’s revelation to us).

PERSONAL BENEFITS OF PAYING THE TITHE

So, what are the immediate benefits of a mandatory tithe beyond the spiritual ones?

How about in helping answer the question “Are you a slave to money?” Do you serve God or Mammon (Matt. 6:24)? Consider a hypothetical family who joins a church. They are told they should tithe: 10%.

But they protest: after rent, car payments, food, utilities, retirement, credit card payments, and everything else, there just isn’t enough money left over to give God his share.

Consider a second family who joins the church. They agree to tithe. Though their budget currently doesn’t support it, they start cutting their expenses so that they can afford it. They pay off their credit cards and don’t charge more to them. They cut back on monthly entertainment. They go out to eat less and start preparing more meals at home. They learn to live below their means, to spend less than they take in. They start saving for the future as they realize they don’t need all of the excesses that they once thought they did.

Which family is a slave to money? Which family is serving mammon, and which is serving God?

CIVIL AND POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS

Consider the broader implications. God requires his people to tithe; that’s what he requires to build his kingdom. Compare this with our modern government, which demands a tax on upwards of 30-40% of our productivity. The Bible puts the label of tyranny on requirements above 10% (1 Sam. 8:10-18). As a nation, do you think it’s coincidence that as we’ve substituted a humanist, messianic State in place of our real savior, Jesus Christ, and grown increasingly dependent on it to save and deliver us that its “minimum payments” have increased beyond God’s?

The massive bureaucratic, centralized State is a Satanic imitation of God’s kingdom. It can never attain the glory of God’s kingdom, but it certainly tries. This requires spending more and more money on diminished results.

Furthermore, modern politics is based on the politics of guilt. People guilt us into giving: in private life, public life, and church life. The question then becomes “How much is enough?”

God defines for us the minimum: 10%. He provides us an escape hatch from the burden of excessive guilt. The amount that families give in excess of 10% will be determined by the circumstances they are facing and the matters that weigh on their heart. But they don’t have to suffer an excessive burden out of some misplaced sense of guilt that they haven’t given enough to the Lord.

We don’t have to be bullied by those who try to force us into giving to causes we don’t feel comfortable giving to by pricking us with the needles of guilt. We can make more informed and responsible decisions about where our money will go instead of succumbing to emotional manipulation that generates charity on impulse with the mere squeeze of the guilt-trigger.

CHURCH AUTHORITY AND HIERARCHY – ARE YOU A THIEF?

If you aren’t tithing (that’s 10%) then you are stealing from God:

Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. (Malachi 3:8-9 ESV)

Is our nation under a curse in this modern day and age? Well, let’s look at the evidence. But first, we should discuss the issue of church discipline and voting rights.

The tithe should be used to establish voting rights in the church. In most churches today, anyone in the congregation can vote — no matter how much they give, how much they participate, how knowledgeable they are of the Bible, no matter whether they hold orthodox or heretical views, etc.

Tithing should not be used to determine who can and cannot participate in Communion. The requirement for taking Communion is to have taken the self-maledictory oath of God’s covenant: Baptism. But whereas all covenant members in good standing (those who haven’t been excommunicated) can partake of the Lord’s Supper, only those members who tithe should be allowed to vote.

Tithing identifies leaders who have faith in God’s sanctions in their lives in response to their obedience or disobedience to Him. It identifies those who subordinate themselves to Him. Church discipline is generally suffering today: excommunication is a dirty word that no one likes, even though Jesus required it and gave us the proper procedure for carrying out disciplinary sanctions (Matt. 18:15-20). The Spirit revealed at several places in Scripture what behaviors are worthy of discipline (Gal. 5:19-21).

The Church is the guardian of the Lord’s Supper. It alone has earthly authority to determine who can and cannot participate in it. Jesus delegated a very specific power to the church:

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19 ESV)

This means the church has legal authority to withhold the sacraments from unlawful participants. These decisions are to be made by mature Christians. This is one of the purposes of the tithe: to distinguish mature Christians from immature Christians within a congregation.

Otherwise, consider the implications. This means that those who do not tithe their 10% have authority over the resources supplied by those members who DO tithe. Does this sound like modern civil government, in which welfare participants have enough representative voting power in the legislature to determine how the tax dollars of the responsible citizens are going to be spent?

Do you think it is fair that those who take God’s requirements seriously and pay their 10% have to compete with those slackers who steal from God’s storehouse over how that money is to be spent?

That’s not a trick question.

THE PULPIT PROBLEM

Consider another problem that arises.

What if your pastor announced from the pulpit next Sunday that the rules were changing: tithing is now mandatory. How much of the congregation would stay? How much would leave?

Churches tend to expand their facilities and build large gymnasiums and other such additions. This is usually accomplished through debt financing. What if the people who voted to build the gym don’t like to tithe? Furthermore, what if the preacher starts preaching about topics they do not want to hear about — such as that tithing is mandatory, and if you aren’t tithing you are stealing from God?

Those members can threaten to leave — and take their offerings with them. This may serve as an arm of control to the preacher and the church leadership: “We want to hear what we want to hear, and if we start hearing anything else then we’re going to pull the financial plug and let you pay off that mortgage on your own.”

The problem is that the church has become subordinate to the congregation when God calls us to be subordinate to our church. The pastor’s job is to preach the Word of God — even those topics the congregation doesn’t often like to hear about. If the preacher has to conform his message to the desires of the congregation then he is failing in his task to bring God’s message — all of it, the whole thing — to God’s people.

This is a bad situation. How common do you think it is today?

WHY CHURCH AUTHORITY MATTERS

So, does that mean we need to submit our income statements to the church and have them verify that our monthly contributions are truly 10% of our income? Yes. Church deacons should constantly monitor our monthly income statements and compare that to our contributions, just like the IRS agents do.[2]

As a representative of the humanist state, the IRS takes its fiscal requirements seriously; as representatives of the Kingdom of God, shouldn’t its members take God’s requirements just as, if not more, seriously?

The health of the church is reflected in the status of the rest of the world outside of the church. If the church is confused, so will be the rest of the world. The church has access to all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom hidden in Jesus Christ (Col. 2:3). It should be the moral center of society, defending right from wrong and controlling access to the sacraments: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. If the church is not taking possession of the world and assuming its ordained responsibility of dominion (Gen. 1:28), then someone else (Satan) will.

In our day, the church has retreated from culture. It doesn’t know what to believe: is abortion really murder? Is homosexuality really a sin? More problematic: what are the penalties for those convicted?

We have compromised our position of authority in society by yielding to the influence of modern paganism (secular humanism) that’s all around us.

This is our own fault. Our bad behavior inside the sanctuary led to the growth in pagan culture around us. We then assimilate that culture into our churches. The cycle spirals downward.

Our churches have lost influence in culture because we’ve lost control over our own congregations. Without discipline, there is chaos. And our God is a god of order and peace, not discord and confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). Why should we expect to be granted the authority to lead our government if we can’t even lead our own selves?

Consequently, the church is relegated to the inferior position of the town fool who no one takes seriously. Christians are laughed at. They don’t take hard stands on tough cultural problems. When they do, when faced with the immediate backlash of angry humanistic pagans, they retreat from the vitriol and cower in the corner. The Biblical definition of “tyranny” begins when the civil government begins extracting more wealth from its citizens than does God to fund his kingdom: 10%. Today we pay tributes of 40% to the hungry, reaching, growing State.

It transfers wealth from the productive members of society to the unprincipled and godless. It kidnaps our children for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for over 15 years to indoctrinate them into the myth of pagan creation: evolution. It attempts to regulate every area of our private lives, down to the number of gallons our toilets are allowed to flush: 1.6. It restricts business development and favors the lazy Fortune 500 companies with legislated monopolies to hinder innovation and competition from smaller, more resourceful firms. The result is that the consumers pay higher prices. Everyone’s wealth and capital is slowly eroded through endless inflation and transferred to the banking cartel.

This sounds like evidence of a curse to me.

HOW CAN WE LIFT THIS CURSE?

How, then, are we to pursue having this curse lifted? God gives us the answer through Malachi:

Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’…Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. (Malachi 3:7-10 ESV)

To return to the Lord means to regain order over ourselves and enforce the tithe. It means that we must return to enforcing church discipline. Discipline reigns in chaos and disorderly conduct. It enforces proper doctrine and squashes out heretical doctrine.

But who will carry out the disciplinary process? Any member of the general assembly who may not really believe that adultery is wrong in this modern day and age? How can a church hold people responsible for infidelity if none of the congregation believes it is worthy of punishment?

Do we really want to entrust the process of enforcing sanctions to church members who don’t believe there’s an ethical link between cause and effect in this life (Deut. 28, Matthew 6:31-33)?

Or, rather, do we entrust those responsibilities to church members who believe in those things and take the Word seriously, in its entirety and fullness?

How, then, should our churches identify such responsible members of its congregations? How else other than to entrust those who truly humble themselves before God and submit themselves willingly to his authority by providing the visible means of subordination which God requires?

Paying the tithe is the least we can do for the great gift of grace God’s given us. Anything above and beyond is called an “offering,” and they are not obligatory. But it’s not a matter of “tithe” or “no tithe.” It’s a matter of “Whose tithe?” If we don’t tithe to our High Priest, Jesus Christ, we are stealing from God and giving what is lawfully his to some other god of our choosing.

By not returning to the Lord his 10% of the resources that he has entrusted to us, we are saying “My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth” (Deut. 8:11-17). We get puffed up and tend to forget that we depend on him for everything, not just some things.

CONCLUSION

Tithing is an issue of obedience: who do you swear your loyalty to? Do you visibly submit, willingly, to the church, with Christ as its head, and accept its authority over your life? Or are you a rebellious thief, pilfering the Lord’s storehouses to your own ends?

You can read more about this subject by downloading either of the two books referenced in the footnotes below.

Do you agree or disagree with anything that’s been said here? Please feel free to sound off in the comment section and encourage further discussion.

________________
1. Gary North, The Covenantal Tithe (Powder Springs, Georgia: American Vision Press, 2011). You can download this book for free in PDF format by clicking here, or you can purchase it from American Vision for $13.

2. Gary North, Tithing and the Church (Tyler, Texas: Institute For Christian Economics, 1994). p.48. You can download this book for free in PDF format by clicking here.

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13 responses to “Is tithing mandatory?

  1. Hey Jon, it’s Eric.

    Abraham brought his offering spontaneously and willingly. It’s not correct to say that this was established by Melchizedek, as he neither asked for nor required an offering. Your paragraph makes it seem like it happened the other way around.

    In the next chapter God makes a covenant with Abraham. But this is a strange covenant, all the promises are on one side! You seem to imply that Abraham’s tithe was the other side of this covenant. But God’s promises were not dependent on Abram’s behavior (in the very next chapter, Abram fails to trust God’s promises and tries to take things into his own hands, yet they come true anyways)

    In Hebrews 7, Jesus is said to be a priest in the order of Melchizedek. The emphasis is that he is a new kind of priest; a priest who does not die, but lives forever; a priest not because of his ancestry, but because of his power. Similarly in 1 Peter 2, we are declared to be priest of a new kind, being built into a spiritual temple, making spiritual offerings. The connection to the Old Testament laws is strong, but even stronger is the message that this is a new kind of priesthood. Jesus’s priesthood is perfect in that his single sacrifice replaces all of the daily sacrifices made by priests of Aaron.

    I do agree that the state of giving in our churches is poor, and that it often reflects a deeper spiritual problem. Not giving our first fruits is stealing from God. But I don’t see any evidence that the 10% mandate still prevails under the new covenant.

    • Thanks for commenting.

      You’re right, he did bring it spontaneously and willingly. But why? The key is covenantal hierarchy of authority. Abram was subordinate to Melchizedek. We know this from Scripture:

      “See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils!…It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. (Heb. 7:4-7)

      Abram was a stranger in the land; he and his band of 318 men met the combined armies of the invading kings in battle, and Abram’s small, foreign force won against those who had crushed the forces of the king of Sodom. Abram was acting as God’s agent in this strange land. As such, God protected him. God demonstrated his sovereignty over all things by intervening in history and giving Abram the victory.

      Melchizedek approached them afterwards and initiated the serving of the bread and wine and the blessings; in response Abram gave him the tithe because he was acknowledging the hierarchy of the covenant, thereby visibly placing himself under subordination to God’s high priest. “I have lifted my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’” (Gen. 14:22-23 ESV)

      Melchizedek did not reject the tithe. Would we say that Abram established the tithe? To say that, we would be saying that Abram forced the tithe onto Melchizedek. But that would have been admitting that Melchizedek was subordinate to Abram. That’s not the case. Melchizedek could have rejected the tithe.

      Melchizedek was God’s priest — a mediator between God and man. In addition, Abram left the remainder of the loot and gave it over to Sodom’s king. Why? He was acknowledging that this loot was legally his, won because of God’s intervention in the battlefield. Lot had been kidnapped; Lot was represented by Abram while Abram was trying to recover him. Above all, God was represented by Abram. But he did not take the loot from its rightful owners, the king of Sodom, from whom it had been stolen by the invading armies. He had demonstrated his power as the force to be reckoned with. He had proven that his god, not theirs, was the true God.

      By tithing, he demonstrated that he was the legal owner of those victory spoils — spoils which had been delivered into his stewardship by the Lord. What did he do with the remaining 90%? He gave it to the king. The king, therefore, became visibly subordinate to Abram.

      Certainly, in one sense Melchizedek didn’t establish the tithe. God did:

      “Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord.” (Lev.27:30)

      But in another sense he did when he accepted what was the first Biblical account of the tithe. We say today that George Washington established the policy of the two-term presidency. How? By accepting a second term but not a third term.

      You said “I don’t see any evidence that the 10% mandate still prevails under the new covenant.” I agree that the priestly animal sacrifices are no longer required because they have been fulfilled by Jesus’ sacrifice — which they foreshadowed. But we see that in Leviticus God announces that all the tithes are his. In Malachi God says “For I the LORD do not change” (Malachi 3:6 ESV). Additionally, Jesus said:

      “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-19 ESV)

      Can you show me evidence that the tithe has been abolished? I agree with Dr. Bahnsen: “The methodological point, then, is that we presume our obligation to obey any Old Testament commandment unless the New Testament indicates otherwise. We must assume continuity with the Old Testament rather than discontinuity.” (From his book “By This Standard”, p. 2. Link: http://www.garynorth.com/freebooks/docs/2c6a_47e.htm)

      I see no convincing evidence that the tithe has been abrogated. Do you have any to offer?

  2. I read your piece with rapt attention and I am inclined to disagree with you.

    Abraham’s tithe to Melchizedek was never cited as the biblical establishment of the tithe as no verse of the bible ever commands anyone including those of the Old Testament to follow Abraham’s tithing example. If this was actually the case then all instances of tithing in scripture would have followed Abraham’s example of a tithe of plunder and not a tithe of one’s personal belongings.

    When the tithe was established in the Old Testament, it was done so as part of the law and God gave very strict guidelines on items to be tithed and what to do with them after they had been collected. The items to be tithed consisted only of crops – grains, wine & oil and livestock only. No verse of the bible ever commands a tithe of money even though money was widely used even before this time. God commanded that the tithes should be taken to a place he’d chosen and eaten there. Those who lived too far from this location were commanded to convert their tithes into money and spend every single penny on anything they liked. Now this would be ridiculous if one could tithe money as it will make no sense converting money into money.

    Furthermore, the tithe was to be collected by the Levites alone because they were exempt from doing any form of secular work while the remaining tribes were barred from temple duties but permitted to work. Malachi 3 clearly alludes to fact that crops and livestock were the only items to be tithed as God expressly mentions there that the tithes should be brought so that there would be food (physical food) in his house to feed the Levites, orphans, widows, strangers and the tithers themselves. How do you suggest we replicate this in today’s church?

    The Old Testament tithe was a form of taxation for the nation of Israel alone hence it was mandatory. It was quite like the taxes we pay to our respective governments today. Nowhere in the New Testament is any form of mandatory giving taught instead we are all encouraged to give anything we can afford which will be accepted as long as it has been given willingly and cheerfully.

    Those who promote the tithe in the New Testament have clearly abandoned the clear trail mapped out in scripture from the Old to the New Testament and have gone on a tangent mapping their own trail outside of the bible.

    God bless.

    • I appreciate the criticism.

      We need to be careful about the term “personal belongings.” We must remember something: As sovereign creator, God owns everything in the universe. Anything we have has been given to us. It is he “who gives you the power to get wealth” (Deut. 8:18) We are to be good stewards of his gifts and resources. (Matt. 25:14-30).

      This is the case for Abram. God gave him victory, and to the victor go the spoils. Those battle spoils were legally Abram’s property which had been entrusted to him by God. He gave 10% to God to acknowledge God’s sovereign authority and that God is the ultimate owner of all things, and he walked away from the remaining 90%.

      Can you point out where the Bible states that the tithe is no longer mandatory in the New Covenant?

      Is it okay for me to give nothing as long as I give it willingly and cheerfully?

      Jesus said that the tithe was the minimum. He condemned the pharisees for tithing on the tiniest increases, but neglecting the “weightier” matters of justice, mercy, and faithfulness. He said they should have done both. (Matthew 23:23-24)

      Going to church to worship God and enjoying a communion meal shows us one day a week that we are under God’s authority. The tithe reminds us on the remaining six days that we are under his authority then, too, lest we forget and say “My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.” (Deut. 8:17)

      The tithe was not established as part of “the law” in the Old Testament; I assume you are speaking of the requirements set forth in Leviticus. We have already seen that the principle of the tithe was established when Abram tithed to Melchizedek, which was sooner than, and therefore preceeded, the giving of the Mosaic law at Sinai.

      Furthermore, Jacob was aware of the tithe, which he probably learned from Isaac, and Isaac would have learned of it from Abraham. For it is written:

      “Then Jacob made 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 clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.'” (Genesis 28:20-22 ESV)

      In this instance, Jacob doesn’t specifically mention crops or livestock. He simply says “all.” Therefore, he’ll return 10% of whatever God gives him — be it wine, livestock, crops, victory spoils, or money (which existed during those days, as you have already pointed out).

      At that point, the priesthood of Levi had not been established. But the principal of the tithe had been established by the high priest of God Most High, Melchizedek.

      The tithing laws are no longer strictly agricultural because the line of priests was transferred from Levi to Melchizedek (Jesus). With such a change in the priesthood comes a change in the laws:

      “For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well.” (Hebrews 7:12 ESV)

      In the Mosaic priesthood, the Levites collected the tithes of the people. Then the Levites contributed a tenth of their collections to the high priest (Aaron) at the Tabernacle/Temple. (Num. 18:26, Neh. 10:38) So there was a hiearchy: lower priests tithed to the higher priests.

      Prior to Moses, this hierarchy was still enforced: the lower priests tithed to the higher priest (Abram to Melchizedek, Jacob to Isaac).

      In the New Covenant, Christ is our High Priest, and we have been adopted by him as a nation of priests of the order of Melchizedek. As lower priests, we should tithe to our high priest.

      God’s storehouse in the New Covenant is his church. The church is no longer limited to a single temple or tabernacle in the Middle East; it is worldwide. Your local church serves as Jesus’ point of collection. The church then disburses the collections as it sees fit to serve the Kingdom.

      The tithe of the Old Testament was a judicial symbol of obedience and submission to God’s covenantal authority. Abraham received God’s grace, and his response in faith was counted towards him as righteousness, as Paul said (Rom. 4:3). Because he loved the Lord, he glady tithed his net increase.

      Because we have also been saved by grace through faith, just as Abraham was, why should we be any less willing to submit ourselves to God’s authority than Abraham was? If anything, we should be more willing because we are partakers in a better covenant enacted on better promises. (Heb. 8:6)

      I would argue that any Christian who wants to give less than the minimum tenth is trying to assert economic autonomy, the right to spend *all* of the money he earned for himself any way he sees fit, which is an expression of rebellion against God that grows from our general desire to be autonomous as Adam and Eve demonstrated by their rebellion in the garden. Paying our tithe reminds us that we are under someone else’s authority: a sovereign God who loves His people and provides for all of their needs. (Mat. 6:31-33)

  3. The quoted text indicates the paragraphs I’m responding to.

    “Melchizedek did not reject the tithe…”

    We can say that Abram established the tithe without saying he forced it on Melchizedek. If you save my life, and I bring you a gift out of gratitude, are you showing subordination by accepting it? Surely you are still in the position of power! You are deserving of a gift but you did not command what it should be. My point is that the critical part of Abram’s offering was not that it was 10%, but that it was given to God by way of his priest, in a display of thankfulness and obedience. Similarly Jacob’s tithe is a willing response to God’s promises. Neither Abram nor Jacob were mandated to give 10%, as far as we know they chose the number on their own, having been moved by the Holy Spirit.

    “The tithe was not established as part of “the law” in the Old Testament; I assume you are speaking of the requirements set forth in Leviticus. We have already seen that the principle of the tithe was established when Abram tithed to Melchizedek… ”

    Excellent. The principle was established here, but the amount was given in the Levitical law.

    “For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well.”

    What makes you think this verse refers only to the agricultural nature of the offering, and not to the 10% mandate?

    “Is it okay for me to give nothing as long as I give it willingly and cheerfully?”

    Is it okay for me to be reluctant and angry about giving to the Lord as long as I still bring the tithe? What is more important, the amount or the attitude? Read the account of Cain and Abel, or Ananias and Sapphira. In the latter case, Peter even told Ananias that the money was at his disposal. He could have given whatever he wanted, the sin was that he lied. A person may sin no matter how large the offering they bring. And their offering may be accepted no matter how small, as in the widow’s offering in Mark 12:41. If you’re looking for more New Testament support, scroll up to the beginning of the post! I read 2 Corinthians 9 to include all kinds of giving.

    … I just found the tiny pixel smiley face at the bottom left corner of the page. 🙂 Getting back to business…

    Why are you misusing the passages about God’s unchanging nature and Jesus’ fulfillment of the law? You acknowledge that we are no longer required to bring daily sacrifices. We both know that our timeless God has revealed himself to us in a stateful way, according to his will. He gave ceremonial and civil laws to his chosen nation to prepare them for the coming of the Savior, then fulfilled them and invited the Gentiles, who were never under these laws, to join in his gift of salvation.

    I am in full agreement with your points about how our offerings show our submission to God’s will, and about the hierarchy of the priesthood. My argument is that the law of 10% was given to the Israelites, in connection with the ceremonial laws of the Levite priesthood, and that these laws do not apply to us.

  4. It seems to me that you are trying to fit scriptures to suit your already preconceived idea of the tithe. So in terms of personal belongings, can I tithe on your pay check and call it mine since God owns all things in the entire universe?

    Ok, let’s say I agree with you that the recovered plunder was Abraham’s, that hardly builds a case for us to tithe today as nowhere in scripture are we commanded to follow Abraham’s tithing example. Romans 10: 4 (For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.) is clear proof the New Testament church is not required to tithe. Unless you are of the school of thought that tithing existed before the law. Then the question now is where does that leave circumcision as that too was practised by Abraham before the law and God required it as a sign of His covenant.

    Is it okay for me to give nothing as long as I give it willingly and cheerfully? Am sure you are just being cynical.

    Jesus condemned the Pharisees for opting to concentrate on the minor aspects OF THE LAW at the expense of the more important aspects. Again, there are 2 things here that show clearly that this was not directed at the church; one, Jesus’ audience was the Pharisees and two, Jesus again showed that tithing was part of the law as He called it the least important aspect of it.

    I don’t know where you are getting all of these from as I cannot find it anywhere in the bible. You are making stuff up; no verse of scripture ever tells us Isaac tithed, Jacob’s cannot even be called a tithe but a vow which the bible never tells us he paid or not. Frankly, the concept of the tenth was not peculiar to Abraham and his descents as it was actively practised by the heathen nations around Abraham and his descents.

    So since we are the lower priests with Christ as our high priest, how do you suggest we get our tithes to Him? Abraham paid his directly to Melchizedek, Jacob paid his directly to Isaac (I have never seen that in the bible though) then how do we pay ours directly to Jesus? It cannot be through an intermediary as you have shown that there is no single precedent for that.

    The change in the law never referred to the items to be the tithed, the change in the law refers the choice of the new High Priest. Here is the verse of scripture in context
    8 The priests who collect tithes are men who die, so Melchizedek is greater than they are, because we are told that he lives on. 9 In addition, we might even say that these Levites—the ones who collect the tithe—paid a tithe to Melchizedek when their ancestor Abraham paid a tithe to him. 10 For although Levi wasn’t born yet, the seed from which he came was in Abraham’s body when Melchizedek collected the tithe from him. 11 So if the priesthood of Levi, on which the law was based, could have achieved the perfection God intended, why did God need to establish a different priesthood, with a priest in the order of Melchizedek instead of the order of Levi and Aaron? 12 And if the priesthood is changed, the law must also be changed to permit it. 13 For the priest we are talking about belongs to a different tribe, whose members have never served at the altar as priests. 14 What I mean is, our Lord came from the tribe of Judah, and Moses never mentioned priests coming from that tribe. 15 This change has been made very clear since a different priest, who is like Melchizedek, has appeared. 16 Jesus became a priest, not by meeting the physical requirement of belonging to the tribe of Levi, but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed. Hebrew 7.

    The tithes were clearly not the subject of discussion here but the nature of the priesthood. The storehouse was never and can never refer to the church. The storehouse was exactly what it was; a storehouse, granary or armoury. It wasn’t even the temple! And if you can show me where the scope of the tithe extended beyond agricultural produce, that would be great.

    In my own honest opinion, this feels like a completely new gospel! This was not taught by the apostles neither was it practised by the early church. Giving in the New Testament is always voluntary and never ever took the shape of a 10% minimum.

  5. Hello eliteinchrist. Looks like we are on the same side of this discussion, but there are a few things that bothered me about your latest response.

    “So in terms of personal belongings, can I tithe on your pay check and call it mine since God owns all things in the entire universe?”

    As a matter of fact, the early Christians shared everything they owned, see Acts 4:32. We are merely stewards of God’s possessions. Besides, this argument doesn’t free you from having to pay your own tithe.

    What you said about Jesus’s point to the Pharisees is correct, but Jesus did advise the Pharisees to pay the tithe. They were Jews. Surely Jesus, a Jew who followed all the laws, tithed as well.

    “It cannot be through an intermediary as you have shown that there is no single precedent for that.”

    What? Read the Hebrews passage you pasted! The account of Abraham and Melchizedek is the precedent!

    Now for your question Jon. You seem to be straining for an argument here, as if we would give up and say that we can’t prove bestiality a sin without the Levitical law. The sixth commandment condemns adultery, and plenty of the epistles make it clear that this condemns all kinds of sexual immorality as well. We know that heterogeneous monogamy is the only acceptable use of sexuality; we don’t need all the improper uses listed to figure out what they are. This is an example of continuity from the Old Testament.

    • I would like for you to justify that we can simply sweep bestiality into “all kinds of sexual immorality.” At best, from the condemnation of adultery, you can simply say that no married person can commit beastiality.

      Specifically, what is your method of interpretation for interpreting continuity with the Old Testament? There were whole sets of very specific laws concerning sexual immorality enumerated in the Old Testament. The same ones aren’t enumerated in the New Testament. There certainly isn’t any mention of men lying with beasts. Jesus didn’t say it, Paul didn’t say it; why should I believe you when you say it’s still prohibited?

    • @Erin, I presume you understand cynicism. Why should I tithe on someone else’s paycheck? It was a cynical response to Jon’s answer that God owns all things and thus the plunder Abraham recovered was his. Even though we never see him tithe a single “cent” from things he was blessed with in Egypt.

      Abraham’s tithe to Melchizedek is definitely no precedent for tithing through an intermediary. Abraham was the giver, Melchizedek was the receiver; who was the go between? The Israelites gave their tithes directly to the Levites and not through an intermediary. Unless am missing something, who was the intermediary inboth instances?

      @Jon,
      Is bestiality a sin? Either way, how does it prove that tithing is still valid today?

  6. Pingback: Reasons Christians reject the mandatory tithe | Rebuild America's Biblical Worldview

  7. Pingback: Tithe – But didn’t Abraham give his tithe freely, without being commanded to do so? | Rebuild America's Biblical Worldview

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