Tithes and Offerings

VS.

BOUNTIFUL GIVING



This presentation is made from a concern that the doctrine of tithing as a duty or even a standard for support in the church is indicative of our resignation to a “quasi-Spirit-existance.” The writer feels, that as long as the church resorts to mandating tithing as a “benchmark” for giving, it tacitly announces its own condition - “The Spirit is dim.”

Bountiful Giving vs. Tithing

Before launching into the discussion of whether the order of tithing is a mandatory requirement for NT saints, the writer would like to make plain that his purpose is not to undermine the admonition to bountifully give. He is deeply aware, that bountiful giving is the hallmark of the church. However, he does ask the question, is it right for the church to prompt giving -- even bountiful giving -- by predicating it on the 10% tithe prevalent in Old Testament writings. He asks the question, is there a rule that sets the tithe as a baseline for bountiful giving for New Testament saints. And, though fully willing to acknowledge that individual believers may have the freedom (Rom 14:5,6,12,13) to chose to use the tithe as their very own personal benchmark, he asks, are they free to hold all believers to this standard.

Is the question “have you paid your tithes to your local church?” suggesting the tithe as a minimum, implicitly or tacitly present in NT writings?

In praise of bountiful giving Paul writes:

Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, that the same may be ready as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness. (2 Cor 9.5) Every man as he has purposed in his own heart, so let him give. Not grudgingly.... for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Cor 9.7). But this I say, he which soweth sparingly hall reap also sparingly; and he who soweth bountifully will reap also bountifully. (2 Cor 9.6).

Thus, a tither, who also happens to be an advocate for bountiful giving may say: “if OT saints gave 10% under the law how much more we now that we have the Great Enabler the Holy Spirit to help us. The writer is impressed by this line of thinking, and as a norm (all things being equal) would like to ratify it, save for the restraint he feels from his observation that the NT's focus is life expression as a whole with no formal measure assigned to any specific area. Paul’s admonition is to: "present your bodies as a living sacrifice" (Rom 12.1,2), and calls upon us to have the mind of Christ (Phil 2.5). We do not have any evidence of NT saints being admonished to tithe, or being commended for their godly walk because they incorporated a "tithing" mind set. Not even the bishops and deacons of the pastoral epistles were explicitly upheld by this standard. However, we do know that the “gestalt” (the net effect) of their lives was to be of a very high standard. They "present[ed] their bodies as a living sacrifice," while the Pharisee rested on specific works: -- "I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I possess" (Luke 18.12).

Paul looks at the “gestalt” (the net effect) of a person's life as the test. He argues: "let no man trouble me because I bear on my body the marks of Christ." (Gal 6.17); or, “receive Epharoditus because for the work of Christ He was near unto death" (Phil 2.30). Whether an individual paid tithes or not doesn’t seem to be his concern (Phil 3.5-9). The writer has serious doubts about Paul observing the law of tithing, however entertains no doubts that (whether he tithed or not), the money that ran through his hands was all consumed in good stewardship in the service of God. The NT admonishment is to be good stewards of all things that God has given us not good tithers per se (1 Pet 4.10).

It is the specific 10% legalistic standard that the writer debates. The writer is of the belief that the dispensation of the Holy Spirit and the indwelling Christ, does not allow for any form of mechanical legalism whatsoever (Gal 5.1, 2 Cor 3.17), lest Legalism at any one moment be at odds with the spontaneity of the leading of His Spirit. (Rom 7.4, 2 Cor 11.2). Paul as an advocate for liberty, says: “Stand fast in the liberty in which you were brought.” The law binds and by nature makes no exceptions -- Not even for the Spirit (John 10.4). Thus the writer believes to obligate a believer to 10% now “that you are not under law but under grace" (Rom 6.15) is “to play the Holy Spirit,” and is therefore fallacious.

It is the legal format that Paul terms the "oldness of letter." In contrast, the “Newness of Spirit” puts the NT believer at liberty to be lead by the “life” of the Spirit from moment to moment (Rom 7.6, 2 Cor 3.6, Rom 8.14). The New Testament characterizes the Christian’s “walk,” as one led by the Spirit, and those who are led by the Spirit are the Sons of God (Rom 8.14, Gal 4.5,6). Paul sees us as able ministers of the New Testament serving in newness of Spirit, and not oldness of letter (Rom 7.6, 2 Cor 3.6). “Bountiful giving” embraces the arbitrary scenario that allows for a wealthy American to give as much as 30%, while at the same time rejoicing in a famine stricken Jerusalem saint giving just 5% (Rom 14.4). Did not Jesus say: “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt 11.29). Furthermore, the risk of setting the tithe as a standard may actually encourage NT saints to restrict themselves to the tithe, and in consequence not give bountifully as lead by the Spirit.

That the church does not experience bountiful giving raises a far more fundamental and broader question than disobedience to the law of tithing. It points to it’s quasi-spirit-state of existence. It is the belief of this writer, that once the church is restored to its proper spiritual state bountiful giving will follow automatically without the promptings of legalism. Bountiful giving is fundamentally a work of the Spirit, and is assured in the scripture “I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me” (Phil 4.13).

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death (Rom 8.1,2)

That the righteous demands of the law might be fulfilled in us. who walk .... after the Spirit. (Rom 8.3)

A Distinct Approach

This writer is of the opinion that the doctrine of tithing as a duty ends with Pentecost and the birth of the church age. The Old Testament has its own distinct operations in the realm of giving while the New Testament its own. The former "letter driven" while the latter "Spirit driven." (2 Cor 3.6, Rom 8.14). The former Moses driven, the latter Christ driven (Rom 10.4, Col 1.27, Rom 3.21,22). The former "lesser" the latter "better" (Heb 7.22). The former dead, the latter Living (Rom 7.4), The former deals with a percent, the latter with amount one can afford (2 Cor 9.7). The former a heavy yoke, the latter a light burden (Matt 11.29,30). The former given to spiritual adultery (Rom 7.1-7), the latter to spiritual purity (2 Cor 11.2). The former "etched in stone," (2 Cor 3.7) the latter etched on the hearts by the Spirit (Heb 8.10). The former rigidly structured (2 Cor 3.6) the latter free in construction (2 Cor 3.17). The former legal (2 Cor 3.6), the latter free from legality (2 Cor 3.17). The former a school master to bring us to Christ (Gal 3.24), the latter of the Spirit of Christ (Rom 8.2).

To the writer, the only commonality between the Mosaic Old Testament and the New Testament admonition to give to ministers who in the course of their ministry are unable to "work with their hands," (1Thes 4.11) is that they both mandate giving (1 Cor 9.13,14). And according to this student, here is where the similarity begins and ends. In an era of "the priesthood of all believers" (1 Pet 2.5, Rev. 5,10), where all are called to minister and all must rejoice in being ministered to (1 Cor 12.7, Eph 4.16); in an era where a clergy-laity distinction as structured in the Levitical tribal priesthood order (and in the context of whom the law of tithing was initially instituted, (Heb 7.5)) is dispensed with, "of necessity" there is a change in the order of giving as well (Heb 7.12,18).

Although the discourse on giving in the NT spans the length of approximately a 4 chapter epistle, the term tithe(s) suggesting mandatory 10% of one's income as a criteria for giving is virtually absent in post Pentecost NT scriptures (Acts through Revelation). We only come across the term in chapter seven of Hebrews (Heb 7.5,6,8,9). And, even here, in contrast to recommending tithing as law it suggests a change in the law of tithing (Heb 7.5,12,18) in keeping with the annulling of the Levitical priesthood and the inauguration of the High Priesthood of Christ.

There is one allusion to the OT with respect to giving made in the context of Paul defending his apostle ship. Without using the term tithe, in 1 Corinthians 9.13 Paul makes references to the OT testament as a means of suggesting that God has ordained that "full time" ministers of the gospel be supported. However he goes on to mention that he refused this support "that I make the gospel of Christ without charge.” (1 Cor 9.15,18). The implications of this refusal on Paul's part is paramount in determining how beholden are Church age saints to the strict law of tithing. This is discussed under the sub section Does 1 Corinthians 9. 13 Mandate Tithing. Tithers, in the opinion of this writer unduly stretched this solitary scripture to mandate saints of the church age to be bound to the OT law of tithing.

With respect to the gospels the term occurs three times. In Luke 18.12 in the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, where Jesus repudiates the Pharisees tithe; In Luke 11.42 where Jesus pronounces woe on the Pharisees who tithe, but supports the law of tithing (because they were still under the law for the church age had to await Pentecost (Rom 6,.14b,15b)); and Matt 23.23 which is a repeat of Luke 11.42.

In contrast to the pervasive mention of tithes and offerings as structured ordinances in the OT the term tithe, or the phrase "tithes and offerings," so as to suggest a dichotomy between a tithe and an offering as a doctrine for giving, is virtually absent in NT writings. Although the cumulative sum of NT scripture on giving spans the length of a 4 chapter epistle, taken together no such theme exists. For want of (“stretching” in the writer’s opinion) the solitary verse 1 Corinthians 9.13, persons who teach "tithes and offerings" are solely beholden to the OT to substantiate their case.

As a matter of fact it may be successfully argued that not only does the New Testament NOT teach a distinction between Tithes and Offerings in the area of monetary--money giving, it does not even teach money or mammon as "an offering" per se--where the word "offering" is meant to connote a meaning similar to its usage in the Old Testament. New Testament doctrine does away with all offerings of man to God in terms of particulars. The only offering from man to God our Father in the New Testament is along the lines of us offering OURSELVES "as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reseasonable service" (Romans 12:1). No ritualistic offering is called for in the New Testament as connoted by the word offering in the Old Testament. None whatsoever. It appears to this writer that to even talk about MONEY, MAMMON, CURRENCY as an offering to the Father in the New Testament is to imply that a doctrine of this sort is embedded in the New Testament. And, for the church to ritualistically talk of "tithes and offerings" is a misunderstanding in the relationship God our Father desires to have with His children through the Holy Spirit he has dwelt us with--which simply put begins and ends in LOVE, apart from any and all rituals.perpetuated by love. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-3, we see Paul saying:
Now concerning the COLLECTION for the saints...Upon the first day of the week let everyone of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gathering when I come. And when I come whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality to Jerusalem."
The Greek word used for "collection" is "logeia", and it literally means per Strong's concordance "a collection of money collected for relief of the poor." And here the poor were the famine stricken Jerusalem saints. This is the closest reference we see in the New Testament with respect to a regular weekly collection being taken. But this collection has a completely different meaning than the way it has often been leveraged by the main stream church as connoting a prescribed monetary regular ritualistic "offering unto God." Abba our Father and Jesus our Brother and the Holy Spirit our Comforter demand no ritualistic or otherwise offering from us in monetary form in the New Testament. There is only service that we render unto God from a heart of total devotion as suggested in Romans 12:1,2. All else flows from this love based connection we have with the Trinity. Needs at hand are met as we respond from this love based connection alone. No ritualistic Tithes or Offerings exist as a doctrine in the New Testament after the commencement of the Church Age at Pentecost.

It is the conviction of this writer that in preaching strict tithing or even "proportionate giving" as law for the NT saint, we return to those "beggarly means" (Gal 4.9) that Paul repudiated.-- "Are you so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh (Gal 3.3). His exhortation is that we stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and that we not entangle ourselves in a yoke of bondage (Gal 5.1). For where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty (2 Cor 3.17)

A new perspective dawns with Pentecost with respect to giving - Grace Giving (Acts 4.33-37, Gal 5.22,23)

....and the grace of the Lord was upon them all. Neither was there any amongst them that lacked; for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, ...and brought the money and laid it at the apostles feet. (Acts 4.33-37).

Neither guilt, or law, profits us any in giving, but love from a cheerful heart (1 Cor 13.3, 2 Cor 9.7). And to ensure that we give in a Christ like manner and not grudgingly God sent His Son into our hearts (Gal 4.6). It is not a mere coincidence therefore that for want of interpreting 1 Corinthians 9.13 to mean the law of tithes and offerings, the last doctrinal discourse on tithing ends with the last book of the OT - Malachi (Mal 3.8) - for now “we are not under the law but under grace (Rom 6.14.15, Gal 5.18).

Double Standards:

It appears to the writer, that the distinction between being under the law and being absolved from it is upheld by the evangelical church by a double standard.

Suppose for a moment a reformed liberal Jewish believer who has never been circumcised said to you: "I feel I must be circumcised and so also my children, and their children’s children, for this is an eternal covenant given to father Abraham." The "reformed" evangelical is quick to point to such a one, that circumcision is part of the old testament law and "profits nothing" (Gal 5.2, Heb 7.18). Furthermore, he warns:

...I testify to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to the whole law (Gal 5.3).

Why then are we reluctant to say,

... I testify to every man that pays a tithe (as duty), is a debtor to the whole law (corollary from Gal 5.3).

I hear Paul saying: "O foolish Christians, who hath betwitched you, ... are you so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are you made perfect by "tithing" according to the law?" (Gal 3.1) (emphasis mine)

It appears to the writer that while in every other area the evangelical church takes pride in New Testament, fundamental apostolic teachings for church doctrine, with respect to mammon we have literally forsaken these teachings, for the law of the prophets. Thus we freely acknowledge: circumcision has ended; the feasts have ended; the sacrificial system has ended; the Saturday Sabbath whose roots are in creation has ended; the levitical priesthood has ended; “Everything has ended, save the law of tithing!”

"The Argument from Tithes Predating Law"

When the suggestion is made that the requirement for tithing is annulled by virtue of the law being annulled (Heb 7.12,18, ), tithers respond: Abraham gave tithes before the framing of the Mosaic law, and so did Jacob after he was awed by God’s presence (Gen 14.18-20, Gen 28.22). "Tithing predates law" they say and therefore stands apart from the law. However the same argument may be applied to Circumcision as well - circumcision predates the giving of the Mosaic law. And the Saturday Sabbath too -- since God rested on the 7th day of creation (Exod 20.11)!. Should our Jewish brethren who come to the Lord circumcise their children? and should we all repent for not having rested on the Sabbath!

The argument of tithe or circumcision or Sabbath predating Mosaic law does not hold good for Paul or the writer of Hebrews. To Paul Abraham’s circumcision is incorporated in the Mosaic law (Rom 4.9-16, Gal 5.1-4) , and to the writer of Hebrews tithing is incorporated in it as well (Heb 7.5), but with the changing of the Priesthood there is a changing of the law (Heb 7.12), and with respect to the Sabbath there is freedom (Rom 14.5, Col 2.16). Furthermore, from the position of the priesthood of all believers (1 Pet 2.5) an argument can be made that we have all paid our tithes in Abraham, just as the Levitical priests had paid their tithes in Abraham (Heb 7.9) (the writer admits this may be a stretch, but none the less why not consider it?).

And as I may so, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, paid tithes in Abraham (Heb 7.9).

The fact that Abraham or Jacob gave a tithe, does not oblige everyone else to follow identical suit. The Lord may oblige one to give a fixed amount that works out to be a variable percent, another a fixed percent that works out to a variable amount. From one, at a given moment He may ask everything (Acts 7.34,35) and at another moment less (2 Cor 8.12). One may will to give all (Mark 12.42) another may will to give what he thinks he can afford (2 Cor 8.12). And of others He may ask nothing (2 Cor 8.12). This is the Lord’s prerogative, and no more the prerogative of the Mosaic law (Gal 5.1).

The Argument of Proportionate Giving

Often when the doctrine of tithing is challenged, a response made by tithers is the argument for proportionate giving which they glean from 1 Corinthians 16.1-4:

Upon the first day of the week let everyone of you lay by him a store, as God has prospered him that there be no gathering when I come.

Those of us who use this scripture to support regular "proportionate percentage based" giving, have not given due consideration to the setting. Firstly, the weekly “setting aside” was to fund a particular humanitarian cause involving the saints at large -- a famine in Jerusalem; secondly with respect to addressing famine conditions the wealthy brethren at Corinth may have interpreted the phrase "as God has prospered him." to mean as someone has said "how much must I withhold to live simply, that others may simply live." To use this "stand alone," scripture to make a case for mandatory proportionate percentage giving, in the writers opinion is presumption. In any event it is certainly not suggesting tithing.

The Argument of Guiding Principle

The argument states that:

"...we are only using it as a guiding principle, if the old testament brethren gave tithes (10%), how much more we. "

The writer asks why have we standardized the principle of “tithes and offering” and not standardized others which may be even more luminous. There are some glorious guiding principles in the NT.

Consider: The Widow who gave her all.

....But she of her penury cast in all the living that she had (Luke 21.4)

Or: The Example of the prototype church:

One brother, who is an ardent proponent of tithing in alluding to Jacob's spontaneous gesture on seeing God: "I will surely give a tenth to thee" has suggested, "maybe we need to be awed before we will consent to tithe."

As he would have it, we do have an instant when the church was awed by the presence of God through His Holy Spirit. And they gave as God commanded them to give bountifully for “great grace was upon them:" But it was not a tithe.

Neither was there any among them that lacked; for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of things that were sold to the apostles and laid them down at the apostles feet; and distribution was made to every man according as he had need (Acts 5.32-37).

Earlier in this discussion the writer has tried to point out that in the vast body of scripture we have on the life of the prototype church, the word tithe as used in the OT law as a standard or even a principle for mandatory proportionate percentage based giving does not even occur once. At best the solitary scripture of 1 Corinthians 9.13 is presumed to mean tithes and offerings. In light of Luke 21.4 and Acts 5.32-37, by making tithing our standard may the writer submit to you that we might be settling for the imperfect in lieu of the perfect as our guiding principle. (Matt 6.48)

“But Did not Jesus Support Tithing”

Yet another appeal made by those who teach the "doctrine of tithing" is to allude to Jesus's statement to the Scribes and Pharisees, in which he condemns the manner in which they gave their gifts but supports the tithe. He says:

Woe to you scribes and Pharisees ... for ye pay tithe, and mint and .... and omitted the weightier matters of the law ... these also you ought to have done, and not leave the other undone (Matt 23.23).

The reason this scripture as a case for supporting tithing as law for the church, is not valid is because at the time, the church in its unique Spirit life expression had not yet begun. This had to await Pentecost, when Jesus would send the Spirit to rule the hearts of men in place of the Mosaic law (Act 2.33, Gal 5.18).

Does 1 Corinthians 9.13 Mandate Tithing

Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?

(1 Cor 9.13)

Does this verse then teach mandatory 10 % tithing as a duty as the Old Testament saints practiced ?

The context of the whole chapter is Paul defending his apostle ship. In the very next verse following 1 Cor 9.13,14, Paul says: "But I have used none of these things, neither have I written these things; that it be done to me; that it were better for me to die than make my glorying void." (1 Cor 9.15). He then goes on to say: "What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge." that I abuse not my power in the gospel. (1 Cor 9.18).

By the strict legal construction of the law of tithing in the OT, the 11 non-priestly tribes were mandated to give 10 %, and the Levitical priesthood were mandated to receive 10%. Neither party could change this order. It was binding on both parties to maintain the order and not disrupt it. And the penalties of disobedience were specific (Lev 26.14-46). If Paul was prescribing the Old Testament order of tithing in 1 Cor 9.13,14 he would have no authority whatsoever to refuse the 10% offered him as he did for the gospel's sake lest he be found culpable of undermining a rigidly structured Divine order.

The intent of 1 Corinthians 9.13 as in 1 Corinthians 9:7-10 merely makes one fundamental point: "The Lord has ordained that they which preach the gospel should live by the gospel." (1 Cor 9.14) Those ministered to must support those who minister well. It does not mandate 10%.

It is not the intent of the writer to discourage responsible joyful and generous support of the men and women of God whose service for the Lord genuinely results in a loss of income by "work done with hands" (1Thes 4.11). On the contrary Paul tells Timothy: "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine....for thou shalt not muzzle an ox ...and the laborer is worthy of his reward." (1 Tim 5.17,18) And, if ever there was one worthy of double honor it was Paul -- 20% was due to him by the standards of tithing.

Those ministered to our not absolved from supporting such a minister, in fact we are commanded to. However not by a direct carry over of the law of tithing, for if that were so Paul would be arbitrarily modifying the old law of 10%. We now support by the law of need and love.

The Levitical priesthood being changed the letter of the law has changed, we now follow the spirit of the law even in the area of tithing -- need based giving (Heb 7.12, 2 Cor 3.6)

Yet another consideration. Consider 1 Corinthians 9.7-12, the verses preceding our verse in question:

From Common Law

Who goes to war ...own expense (1 Cor 9.7) - suggests a right to be supported

Who plants a vineyard ... not eat (1 Cor 9.7) -- suggests a right to be supported

Who feeds a flock ... drink the milk (1 Cor 9.7) -- suggests a right to be supported

From Mosaic Law

Thou shalt not muxxle an ox ... (1 Cor 9.10) -- suggests a right to be supported

When all these analogies preceding 1 Cor 9.13 suggest that a laborer has the “right to be supported,” is it not dogmatic to assume that Paul is cheering for the strict doctrine of “tithes and offerings,” for the upkeep of New Testament ministers, especially when we function in a context in which the Levitical priesthood for whom the ordinance of “tithes and offerings” was instituted has ended (Heb 7.5,12.18)? (long sentence).

Consider the Seventy

Did not Jesus Himself propose a new order for “the laborer is worthy of his hire.”? We see the breakdown of the Levitical system of “tithes and offerings” in the commissioning of the 70 evangelists who go ministering two by two. And Jesus said:

The harvest is truly great but the laborers are few ....Go....and in the same house remain ... eating and drinking such things as they give (Luke 10.7)

These were our prototype ministers of the gospel. Did He ask them to ask for a tithe? or did he expect them to be supported by a tithe? The letter of the law was already being annulled even in the house of Israel. These ministers of the gospel were proactively putting into practice the spirit of the law with respect to “tithes and offerings” even before Pentecost when the Mosaic law as a legal system was totally annulled.

Led by the Person of the Spirit, Led by Conscience, Led by Law

In Romans Paul's hope and desire for believers is that we be "led by the Spirit (a Person) of God," (Rom 8.14) for they are the sons of God. If we "walk after the Spirit," (Rom 8.1) there is no condemnation he says: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, sets us free from the sin (of covetousness) and the death that follows (Rom 8.2). He sees the righteous demands of the law (Rom 8.4) is fulfilled in those who "walk ...after (i.e. follow) the Spirit." In Galatians he says, "But if ye are led by the Spirit (a Person), ye are not under the law" (Gal 5.18), for he says if you "walk after the Spirit" you do not fulfill the "lust of the flesh." - but the fruit of the Spirit is: "... goodness, faith..." against this there is no law (Gal 5.22,23). Paul, is saying to us, if you "stay," in the Spirit, everything else will fall into place. This is the paradigm that ensures grace giving.

We have the experience of the earliest Christians to demonstrate for us how grace giving works:

And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul, neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things in common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any, among them that lacked; for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold; and laid them down at the apostles' feet; and distribution was made unto every man according to as he had need.... And having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet. (Acts 5.32-37)

While the above example is a paradigm only possible under conditions of great revival, this level of grace is not always present in the church of the 1st century. In such a situation Paul is seen appealing to the law of conscience (Rom 2.14,15, 1 Cor 9.7) common to Jew and Gentile alike, and the Mosaic Law (1 Cor 9.10,13). However it is the conviction of this writer that when Paul refers to the latter, he always intends to appeal to the spirit of the law and not the letter (2 Cor 3.6, Luke 5.37).

In point of fact, it appears to this writer that Paul does not want believers to be bound either to the leading of conscience or to the leading of the Mosaic Law, but rather bound to the leading of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus which accomplishes the righteous demands of the law (Rom 8.1-4). The writer believes, the problem with adopting a Mosaic Law as law is that it cannot be set a side at any moment. It holds you in bondage to the letter and by definition holds you accountable to itself at all times. Thus if the leading of the Spirit should lead you to give 15% of your income, then by the binding nature of the Mosaic law you are bound to interpret this dispensing as the Spirits leading to give a tithe of 10% and an offering of 5%. Hence the teaching of "tithes and offerings." In other words the Spirit is understood to work with due respect to the Mosaic law and not independent of it and at no particular time can the Spirit lead you not to give less than 10% of your income (2 Cor 8.12). But for Paul it is not this way, the leading of the Spirit can lead us as He will. God is Sovereign: He is Lord of the Sabbath (Col 2.16, Luke 6.5, Rom 14.5), He is our circumcision (Col 2.11), and He is Lord of the law of tithing as well. You are either Under the Mosaic law, or under the law of the Spirit. (Gal 5.18, Rom 6.14,15). We are "espoused to one husband," (Rom 7.4, 2 Cor 11.2).

But what with the Law of conscience and the spirit of the law? Should not conscience itself inspire us to give at least or more than the tithe for the "Lord's work." This writer's response is merely this: the whole theme of the New Testament with respect to conscience and spirit led giving is that we be "pricked" by the need at hand -- need based bountiful (2 Cor 9.6) giving. The expansion of the Lord's work does not follow "the tithe," but we attempt to meet the demands of the Lord’s work as needs present themselves bountifully.

The teachers of tithing do not give due credence to the fact that tithe as a law was a kind of a religious taxation given in the context of a specific form of religious life to Israel -- the Levitical religious system. This form neither replicates itself, nor is meant to replicate itself in the New Testament.

Law of Love and Service

For brethren, you have been called to liberty: only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. (Gal 4.14,15)

Final Comments

This paper is a product of the burden on the writers heart, for what he feels are questionable quasi-spiritual practices being embraced by the church “as a holy thing.” These practices he believes serve to perpetuate what he feels is a quasi-spiritual-existance which impedes revival. Although the arguments presented may appear at times haughty and caustic, the article is accompanied by a great honor for blessed ministers of God who will shine like the stars, having led many to Christ (Dan 12.3) . Notwithstanding the writer strongly believes the church is in error in teaching the doctrine of “tithes and offerings.”

The writer hopes that the church will steer away from what he feels is an erroneous doctrine and preach a far more nobler basis for giving -- Spirit led, grace and need based, full of cheer and full of bounty (2 Cor 9.5-7, Luke 7.38 .

If This is of the Lord, then it is of HIS Glory.



To the reader: Thank You



_____________________________________

Please Note: This is one persons research. Allbeit, it is witnessed to by a number of likeminded believing friends and disciples around the world. The writer sincerely acknowledges that he may well be seeing dimly and narrowly, and there may be something that he has written that may well be wrong and plain erroneous. Readers of this site therefore are strongly advised to search the scriptures and validate, negate, else modify for themselves the statements made by this blogger. Beloved brothers and sisters, please examine the scriptures as the Bereans of Acts 17.11 did and thereby stand fast on the foundation of GOD's Holy Word.

HOME PAGE

_____________________________________

Google