Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Personal conviction on Tithing

It has always been my personal conviction that tithing (or the giving of the 10% of one's income) is not a command that Christians in the New Testament are obliged to keep. Just as we are not under any moral obligation to keep the Sabbath day (we are not Seventh-day in the first place)--as far as the abolishing of the "law of commandments contained in ordinances"  through Christ's death is concerned (cf. Ephesians. 2:15)--I believe the same must be true with tithing. There are many reasons why I believe so, some of which are the following:
1) Firstly, tithing is an Old Testament ordinance that was intended only for the Israelites. The command was originally given by God for the purpose of sustaining the needs of the Levites who minister in the temple, who, by the way, were not allowed to own property like the other tribes of Israel (Numbers 18:21-32). The question now is this: do Christians today tithe for the same purpose? Do they tithe to support church pastors who don't have their own properties like the Levites in the Old Testament? Obviously not! So who's command are they obeying? We can only guess.

2) We often hear preachers (*with all due respect to them) quote Malachi 3:8-10 to support their view on obligatory giving of tithes in the New Testament. But upon a close examination on the background and mechanics of the ordinance in question, one will discover that the admonition found in Mal. 3:8-10 was actually directed to the Levites who are supposed to "bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house" (Neh.  10:38), and not to the lay-people of Israel. In a nutshell, this is how tithing works in the OT:
a. First, the Israelites must give their tithes to the Levites in support to their needs as temple ministers (Numbers 18:21-32),
b. Next, the Levites must get the tenths of those collections into the treasure storehouse for the temple's maintenance (Neh. 10:38, cf. Mal. 3:8-10). 
It was the second step which concerned God's rage in Malachi 3:8-10, the passage that so many use to prove Christians are to tithe. Clearly, it's not actually rebuking the people (the Israelites in particular), but rebuking the Levites for keeping the tithe that went to them.

3) As I said at the onset, it is completely hypocritical to say that the OT law on Sabbath-keeping does not bind Christians today and yet insist that we are still under moral obligation to observe at all cost the OT law on tithing. After Jesus was crucified the New Covenant began and the Old was finished (Heb. 8:7, 13). "Christ," Paul wrote, "is the end of the law" (Rom. 10:4; see also Eph. 2:14-15). If it's true that we are obliged to tithe, why aren't we obliged to keep the Sabbath day as well? The same goes with the dietary laws of the Old Testament.
4) In the first Council of the Church held in Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-31), the apostles addressed the question of whether Gentile believers should obey the Mosaic law in order for them to be admitted into the Christian fellowship. The Judaizers of their time insisted that it is "necessary to circumcise [the Gentiles] and to order them to keep the law of Moses" (v. 5), and thus be saved (v. 1). After much debate, the apostle James, who acted as the chairman of the meeting, resolved to "not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood" (v. 19-20). The question now is this: If the OT law on tithing is one of great moral importance that binds all Christians, Jews and Gentiles alike, how come it is not included in the Council's resolution?
5) Others maintain that regular tithing of church members is the most effective way a church can prosper and maintain its function in the community. This may be true in some cases, but we should not limit God's power. Nowhere in the Bible can we see any indication that God blesses His church according to how much money His children will drop in the collection plate.

6)  And lastly, there is no specific amount or portion of income Christians are required to give under the New Covenant of Grace. Instead we are told to "give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7). Notice there is no amount mentioned. If the amount is a fixed one, there will be no need to decide in one's heart anymore.
Conclusion: 

Now let me make some important clarifications. It's not the act of tithing itself that I abhor, but the compulsion or the idea that we are under moral obligation to pay our tithes to pastors, else we'd suffer the divine cursing. I believe love is to be our motivation for giving, not legalism or fear (Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:6-8; Mark 12:28-34; 1 Cor. 13:1-7). God loves a cheerful giver, and if someone has convinced you or forced you to give by making you feel guilty or promised you a greater return, then you are no longer a cheerful giver. Thus, if you are compelled to give, or give out of necessity and you have sorrow and annoyance in your heart, for honesty's sake, don't give! "For whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Rom. 14:23).

With that being said, I believe everybody is free to give whatever amount they are willing to give. It could be tenths of one's income, provided that they he/she is not compelled by fear and that he/she doesn't impose that personal conviction/devotion to others. Anyone can even give 20%, or 50%, or even more! (*after all, God owns everything we have, not only our tithes!). But the important thing, mind you, is not whether you tithe or not, nor it is the amount you give that counts. It is the heart that seeks to glorify God which matters most, and that's what makes a church blessed and fruitful.

"I may give away everything I have. . . But I gain nothing if I do not have love."
(1 Cor. 13:3, NCV)

-Jeph
 

25 comments:

  1. What can I say.......but AMEN!

    NHLarc

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you bro for dropping by. May God alone be glorified.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Tithing is a challenge. Tithe means 10%. Even if you say it was only in the Old Testament we need to follow it. Don't tell me you don't believe the Old Testament? I know it's your personal view and this is what you believe, but what does the Bible say? Old Testament is still written through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and not just by a personal opinion which includes tithing. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey bro anu ibig mo sabihin sa "Just as we are not under any moral obligation to keep the Sabbath day"? English kc eh. lol

    ReplyDelete
  5. Good afternoon bro/sis, thank you for your query. Let me give my response.

    I also believe that the Old Testament Scripture is divinely inspired by God. But it isn't true (as you seem to imply) that all commandments contained therein are intended for all men at all times to observe.

    For example in the Old Testament Noah was commanded by God to build an ark. So you mean to say we have to build gigantic arks as well?

    See, not all commandments in the OT are intended for us, and tithing is one of them. Let me repost here the 1st bullet point in my article:

    1) Tithing is an Old Testament law that was intended only for the Israelites. The command was originally given by God for the purpose of sustaining the needs of the Levites who minister in the temple, who, by the way, were not allowed to own property like the other tribes of Israel (Numbers 18:21-32).

    Now, do Christians today tithe for the same purpose? Do they tithe to support church pastors who don't have their own properties like the Levites in the Old Testament? Of course not! So who's command are they obeying? We can only guess.


    Can you answer the question above, please?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mr. Anonymous said:
    Hey bro anu ibig mo sabihin sa "Just as we are not under any moral obligation to keep the Sabbath day"? English kc eh. lol

    My response:
    Ibig pong sabihin, kung paanong hindi tayo obligadong mangilin ng Sabbath, hindi rin tayong obligadong magbayad ng ikapu.

    Ang pangingilin po ng Sabbath ay para po sa mga Israelita, hindi sa mga Gentil. Gayundin po ang utos sa pagbibigay ng ikapu, para din po yan sa mga Israelita, hindi para sa mga Kristyano.

    Malaki po ang pagkakaiba ng pag-iikapu ng mga Israelita na ipinagutos sa OT, kaysa sa pag-iikapu na pinaguutos ng mga pastor ngayon (with all due respect to them).

    Maraming salamat po.

    ReplyDelete
  7. But bro look... If you're a Christian you should encourage giving instead of telling them that we are not obliged to give. You just said that God loves a cheerful giver , so why discourage them to give? And regarding Noah's arc, it's very obvious that Noah built it for the flood. If you're a true Christian you yourself will give the 10% or MORE THAN 10% whole-heartedly. Encourage to give bro.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You miss the whole point bro.

    I thought I've made it plain already in the article that it is not the act of giving itself which I am against with, but THE COMPULSION. If you are compelled to give, you are no longer a cheerful giver, aren't you?

    "Everyone MUST GIVE what he has decided in his heart to give, NOT reluctantly OR UNDER COMPULSION, for God loves A CHEERFUL GIVER" (2 Cor. 9:7)

    You see, cheerful giving is directly opposed to giving under compulsion. And take note: it is the latter which I discourage Christians to do, not the former.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Concerning Noah, you said: "it's very obvious that Noah built it for the flood"

    That's exactly my point! Every commandment in the Old Testament have their rightful recipient and purpose. If you build an ark today for no reason, you are not obeying God's commandment but your own mere caprice.

    The same is true with the law on tithing. It was given to the Israelites to support the Levites. Why? Because the Levites don't have the right to own any property like the rest of the tribes of Israel, and because they are the ones who minister in the temple.

    Tell me, do you tithe for the same purpose? Do you? Do you have Levites in your church who don't have their own property that you will pay your tithes to them?

    Now if you are tithing for a purpose different than that of the original intention of God when He commanded the Israelites to tithe, I'm sorry to tell you, but you aren't really obeying God but your own mere caprice.

    ReplyDelete
  10. you are being literal in the Levite thing. It is about supporting the church. And until this present day, we have churches that needs to be supported. God used the Levites to be an example. You see it's not literal but rather a Spiritual situation. And if God commanded me right now to build an arc, I'll do it. And you also told that we are not obliged to keep the Sabbath day. No. In Ephesians 2:15 Christ abolished not the law but the system of the law. So that this law may be applicable not only for the Jew, but also for the Gentiles which means, for everyone.

    Matthew 5:17-20

    17 “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. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

    Tell me, are you afraid to give your 10% of your income to God? Are you afraid to keep Sabbath day for God? If not then encourage instead of pointing out that we are not obliged.

    The thing that distracts my mind about this blog is that what if a newly converted Christian read this? Have you ever thought that it will come to his mind that he/she is not obliged to give? That it is not a compulsion? How can you teach them faithful giving? How can you tell them how to be a cheerful giver if the first lines of your blog tells them that they are not obliged?

    ReplyDelete
  11. hey why delete my comment. Anyways...

    to write it again:

    Matthew 5:17-20

    The Fulfillment of the Law
    17 “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. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

    And regarding the Sabbath day...

    You're telling that we are not under any obligation to keep it. What???? it was not abolished.
    In Ephesians 2:15, it was the system of the law that was abolished so that it may be applicable not only for the Jew but also for the Gentile, which means for everyone.

    Don't be too literal about the Levites. The Lord used them to support the church and until this present day we have churches that needs support. God used the Levites to be an example. The Bible should be read not literally but rather Spiritually.

    Are you scared of giving the 10% of your income that's why you wrote this blog? The first lines and paragraphs contradicts your conclusion. You know better.

    How can you teach people to give faithfully if you're telling them they are not obliged? What will newly converted Christians think? How can they build a foundation of being a cheerful giver if you are telling them they are not obliged?
    How can you encourage them to go to church if you are telling them not to keep Sabbath day?

    ReplyDelete
  12. ahaha! ayos to ah nagEEnglish ka pala ng malufet ah?? Tithing daw ohh wushuu.... Nabasa ko pa nga sa peysbuk mo gusto mo magshopping sa Las Vegas! Lolz xD - your anonymous clasm8! :PPP

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi again Mr. Anonymous. Good evening in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

    To begin with, I honestly don't know which comment of yours you were referring to that you accuse me of deleting. I don't remember deleting any comments of yours, except mine (occasionally when I want to improve them).

    Anyway, you have quoted Matthew 5:17-20 for... for what? AHA, perhaps you are implying that when Christ said He came NOT to abolish the law, He must be saying we must still pay our tithes to the Lev... errr, no no no, perhaps to the pastors (right?) -- regardless of the original intent of the command and its rightful recipient. Is this the case? Please clarify this for me.

    Regarding your response on the Sabbath keeping, it appears that you believe we still have to keep it according to the OT Law. Am I reading you correctly? Are you a Sabbatarian, then? Please clarify this as well.

    Regarding Ephesians 2:15, you said it was only the system of the law that was abolished so that Jews and Gentiles alike may be under the same umbrella of being tied in the Law. Can you please tell me where did you get that idea?

    Paul was outright in Eph. 2:15 that which was abolished through Christ's death was actually the "LAW OF COMMANDMENTS CONTAINED IN ORDINANCES" - this refers to the ceremonial laws and ordinances in the Old Testament that was given for the Israelites to keep like circumcision, animal sacrifices, dietary laws, tithing, etc.

    Why did Christ have to abolish these ordinances? Because these are "the middle wall of partition between us" -- Jews and Gentiles (verse 14). Imagine how can the Jews enjoy fellowship together with the Gentiles if these legal ordinances still bind them. Chances are, Judaistic legalism will continue to creep into the church and threaten its unity like what happened in the first century church which was long ago resolved in the apostolic Council in Jerusalem. Read Acts 15, so you'll know.

    The Christian Jews back then insisted on the legal observance of the Mosaic ordinances in order for Gentile converts to be ofically admitted into the Christian fellowship. Because of this, Christian Jews and the Gentile converts were divided. But what did the apostles do to resolve the issue?

    "For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well." (Acts 15:28-29)

    Did they mention anything about the giving of tithes? Obviously not.

    Next, you advised me not to be too literal about the Levites. What exactly do you mean? That we should apply the law of tithing today in the Church in a way different from its original design and impose it to Christians, threatening them of 'divine cursing' if they disobey, merely according to the "spiritual" interpretation of your pastor (with all due respect to him)? Is that so?

    So I could also invent a spiritual interpretation of Noah's ark-building, and obligate my brothers in Christ to do the same in the present era as if it is actually God's command. It doesn't make any sense to me.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Part II

    You asked: "Are you scared of giving the 10% of your income that's why you wrote this blog?"

    No.

    "The first lines and paragraphs contradicts your conclusion. You know better."

    Yes, I know better, and I know I didn't contradict myself in my post. You simply failed to grasp my point - that's why you thought there was inconsistency, that's it.

    "How can you teach people to give faithfully if you're telling them they are not obliged?"

    I emphasize to them the goodness of God in their lives. As I've said over and over, Love is to be our motivation in giving, not compulsion. I don't tell people they must give or else something bad will happen to them while appealing to decontextualized verses in the Bible like Malachi 3:8-10.

    "How can you encourage them to go to church if you are telling them not to keep Sabbath day?"

    Going to church is not keeping the Sabbath day. The law on Sabbath-keeping is but "a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ" (Col. 2:16-17). So the Christian's Sabbath is Christ himself, not the seventh day of the Jews. If you're an evangelical Christian you should know this, unless you are a Seventh-day Adventist?

    God bless bro. Until next time.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hey folks! It's all about Spiritual obligations :) If you love Jesus then you will oblige yourself to give what is for God.

    Guys please, why preach compulsion when you can preach giving? :)

    And why preach the abolished laws when you can preach how to fulfill the commandments?

    God bless you guys :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Study the Bible not only in our mind but also in our spirit :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Romans 14:1-8 (New International Version):

    "Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

    One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. EACH ONE SHOULD BE FULLY CONVINCED IN HIS OWN MIND. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord."

    ________________

    With this, I rest my case.
    God bless brothers!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Definitely food for thought. My question would be this, the earliest followers of Christ, the disciples for instance, which testament did they follow? The Old or New...consider your answer carefully as they New Testament was not yet written. Therefore the earliest followers of Christ would have followed the Old Testament, including the admonition of Malachi chapter 3. God Bless and keep writing. This sparks great debate and conversation.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hello Bro! Good morning to you! Here's my response to your query:

    I am one with you in saying that the apostles, during the time of Christ's ministry on earth, were still under the Law of Moses. This was the case until Christ's death on the cross by which the legal ordinances in the OT for the Israelites were abolished so that Gentiles and Jews could enjoy fellowship together into One Body of Christ (Rom. 10:4; Eph. 2:14-15).

    The apostles did not right away understood all these, however. As we have seen in Acts 15, there were disputes in the early church regarding the question whether NT Christians are still bound to obey the Mosaic Law, but the controversy was soon resolved by the apostles themselves (with the guidance of the HS) in the first Council in Jerusalem.

    ReplyDelete
  20. God bless everyone.

    I give my tithes. Sa simula, as an obligation.

    But when I learned to read "New International Version (©1984)
    Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it."

    I learned that it's a channel of God's blessing to me as well.

    But more than that I have understood about tithing. God owns everything around me, anyway. Even my very own life. Giving a portion of what God has given me to support God's ministry will not make me poor. If I can give to beggars a portion, why not give to the pastors or priests or bishops or ministers of God's labor.

    Tithe is just the standard. The more you give over that, the more you receive.

    Kung anong panukat ang ginamit mo para sa Panginoon, naku! baka ganun ding panukat ang gamitin Nya sa iyo. Lagot! Napakaliit ng iyong pananalig.

    Subukin mo ang Diyos sa bagay na ito...

    ReplyDelete
  21. Leviticus 27:30 "'A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.

    Deuteronomy 14:22 Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.

    Numbers 18:21 "I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the Tent of Meeting.

    Wag lang sana matulad sa taong ito:

    2 Kings 7:2 The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, "Look, even if the LORD should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?" "You will see it with your own eyes," answered Elisha, "but you will not eat any of it!"

    Naku! God bless everyone!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Nakakatakot mabuhay sa mga kaalamang ibinase lamang sa sariling pagkakaunawa sa Salita ng Diyos... Lalo kung walang patnubay o pagkumpirma ng Banal na Espiritu ang mga salitang sinabi para sa iba.

    Ingat ka, bro. Baka walang kumpirmasyon ng Espiritu ng Diyos ang mga sinasabi mo rito sa blog.

    Ipasuri mo muna sa Banal na Diyos ang iyong diwa at mga kaisipan.

    Sundin mo ang maikling panalangin na ito. "Panginoong Hesus, ako po'y isang taong makasalanan. Patawarin nyo po ako sa aking mga kasalanang nagawa sa Iyo at sa aking kapwa. Suriin nyo po ang aking puso at isipan. Ipakita nyo po sa akin ang katotohanan ng Iyong bawat Salita. Nang sa ganun ay hindi na po ako magkasala pa ni maging dahilan ng di pagkakaunawaan sa tunay nyo pong kalooban. Amen."

    Ps 111:10 (NEB) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and they who live by it grow in understanding...

    Kapatid, di ko po alam kung sino sa inyo ang tunay na marunong sa Salita ng Diyos. Tanging ang Diyos lamang ang makapagpapahayag sa aming mga mambabasa kung sino sa inyo ang nagsasabi ng tunay na kalooban ng Diyos.

    Mga kapatid, mahal na mahal tayo ng Diyos. Purihin natin Siya, ngayon at magpakailanman!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Dakila Siya! Dakilain natin Sya at ipahayag ang kanyang kadakilaan sa lahat ng panig ng sanlibutan.

    Suportahan natin ang kanyang mga gawain. Sweldohan natin ang mga taong nagpapagod para sa mga gawain ng Diyos na hindi natin ginagawa. Padalhan natin sila ng mga kagamitan at mga pamasahe para magampanan nila ng may kaayusan ang kanilang mga gawain para sa Diyos.

    Kung hindi natin sila pakakainin. Sino ang magpapakain sa kanila? Huwag nating hayaang angkinin ng mga di naniniwala sa Diyos ang karangalan...at sabihin sa atin "Kami ang bumubuhay at nagpapakain sa mga workers ng tinatawag nilang Diyos!"

    Magising na tayo mga kapatid. "Ibigay kay Cesar ang para kay Cesar. Ibigay sa Diyos ang para sa Diyos." Mahal tayo ng Diyos na buhay.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Dear Mr. Anonymous,

    Greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

    Let me make myself clear once more. I'm not against giving; I am for it. I'm also not against the biblical admonition that we should support the church and those who minister to propagate God's Word. I do not abhor these godly virtues.

    What I am against with is the concept of OBLIGATORY TITHING FOR NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIANS. This is such an unbiblical teaching as I have proven already in the article above.

    True, God has commanded the Israelites to support their temple ministers (Levites) through their tithes. Why tithes? Because these ministers don't have their own properties. This is totally different from how pastors today live. Pastors today own cars and mansions, and yet they impose obligatory tithing on their members. My point is that pastors today who preach for tithing are not preaching the original command of tithing which God has given to Israel.

    It is like building an Ark today based on God's command TO NOAH to build an Ark. It is Noah who was commanded to build an ark for a specific purpose, not us. The same way that it is the Israelites to whom God has given the command to tithe TO SUPPORT the Levites who don't have their own cars and mansions, not us.

    In the New Testament we are exhorted to GIVE CHEERFULLY according what have we decided in our hearts to give for God loves a cheerful giver.

    God bless, and Merry Xmas!

    ReplyDelete
  25. OT

    what Xmas means?

    ReplyDelete

Commenting Rules:

1. No trolling or baiting; submit relevant responses to appropriate blog-posts.
2. No name calling, bashing, flaming or posting of any ad hominems or personal attacks or insults of any kind
3. No spamming, advertising or soliciting.
4. No littering in the comment-box (multi-posting or cross-posting).
5. No blasphemous post and no links to occultic and cultic materials and immoral sites.
6. No negative one-liners.
7. No impersonating
8. No heckling; harrassments
9. No posting in all caps; no posting in all bold letters
10. If you're posting Anonymously, please provide a name so you can be addressed properly.

*All mature, sensible, and honest comments are welcome and encouraged. Comments will be filtered by the blog-owner before granting them to be published.