Why I Quit Tithing (and you can too)

Spending a lifetime in the organized religion, I have always heard about “tithing 10%”.  It was a must.  If you want to be a really good Christian (whatever that means), and have God’s blessing on your life then tithing is a non-negotiable.

As the years went by and I began to grow in my faith, I began to see inconsistencies between the church of America and the church of the Bible.  I saw inconsistencies in the way the church was managed and run, inconsistencies in priorities, inconsistencies in leadership, and mostly inconsistencies in tithing philosophy.

Most people’s (especially unbelievers) biggest complaint against the church is that they are all about money.  I began to study this thing of tithing, to see what the truth really is.  What I found, and will endeavor to show you in the next few paragraphs, is that tithing, though biblical, is an unChristian activity.

Tithing in the Bible

The tithe was something which specifically belonged to ancient Israel, it was a sort of income tax.  The Israelites actually were commanded to tithe a total of 23.3%, not 10%.  The tithe instituted by the Lord consisted of three parts:

  • a tithe of produce of the land to support Levites who had no inheritance in the land
  • a tithe of the produce of the land to sponsor religious festivals in Jerusalem
  • a tithe of the produce of the land collected every third year for the orphans, strangers, and widows

These tithes all specifically consisted of products of the land – seed, fruit, and livestock –  not money.

The passage most used by pastors to pull money out of our wallets is Malachi 3:8-10:

“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse–the whole nation of you–because you are robbing me. 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.

A few points on this passage:

  1. This passage is directed to ancient Israel.  Holding back the tithe was akin to not paying taxes.  As we would be robbing America by not paying taxes, the Israelites were robbing God by not tithing.
  2. The storehouse is not figurative, it is an actual room in the temple.  This room was built to hold the tithes (produce, not money) for distribution to those in need.
  3. Those who owned nothing – the stranger, widows, fatherless, Levites – were the rightful recipients of the tithe.  It is in this that we see the heart of God.  He opposes oppression of the poor, and calls us to assist them in their plight.

When Christ died on the cross, ceremonial Jewish codes (the law) died as well.  It is for this reason that we do not see any of the churches or Christians of the New Testament participating in the activity of tithing. (see Colossians 2:13-14,16-17)

We see the first century church giving cheerfully as they were able (2 Corinthians 8:3-12, 9:5-13).  They did not give out of compulsion or coercion, the benefactors of these funds were not church leaders, or property purchases, but all the funds went directly to the poor, orphan, sick, widowed, and imprisoned.  These first century Christians gave to one another as they had need (which would have been more than 10%).

Origins of Todays Tithing Philosophy

So, if tithing is not mentioned in the New Testament, how has this practice become so embedded and perverted in the modern church?

Tithing was first instituted by Cyprian of Carthage.  He believed that since the Levites were supported by tithes,  Christian clergy should be as well.  Many preachers today hold to this same belief.  However, scripture would show something different.When Christ died on the cross the Levitical system was abolished.  Furthermore, 1 Peter 2 tells us that we, as believers, are all part of a royal priesthood.

Prior to the eighth century tithing was voluntary.  By the end of the tenth century it was legally required in order to fund the church.  Frank Viola in his book, Pagan Christianity, writes,

“In the seventh and eighth centuries, leasing land was a familiar characteristic of the European economy.  The use of the tithe, or the tenth, was commonly used to calculate payments to landlords.  As the church increased its ownership of land across Europe, the 10 percent rent charge shifted from secular landlords to the church.  Ecclesiastical leaders became the landlords.  And the tithe became the ecclesiastical tax.  This gave the 10 percent rent charge new meaning.  It was creatively applied to the Old Testament law and came to be identified with the Levitical tithe!  Consequently, the Christian tithe as an institution was based on a fusion of Old Testament practice and a common system of land-leasing in medieval Europe.”

Clergy salary was instituted by Constantine, who paid these salaries from church funds and municipal treasuries.  However, this practice has no root or ties to New Testament Christianity.

If a person wishes to tithe then that is fine.  Tithing becomes a problem when pastors misrepresent scripture by making the tithe a command of God, bar people from serving who do not tithe, and throw poor Christians into deeper poverty by pressuring them to give out of obligation.  Tithing becomes a problem when church leaders use these funds for purposes they were never intended for such as, salaries, support staff, operational costs, buildings/property, and programs.

In Acts 20 we see that the Apostle Paul, was not salaried and spoke against it.  Furthermore, 1 Timothy 3 shows us that elders (shepherds) in the first century church were not salaried, but were working men involved in the affairs of the community.

Perils of the Paid Pastorate

A salaried church staff has a huge potential for negative consequences to the faith community.   The paid pastorate tends to lead to the sin consequences of greed, power, and pride. Out of these heart conditions, come these practical pitfalls:

  1. Elevates the pastor above the rest of God’s people (creating a clerical caste system and business hierarchy). This results in a church of passive dependence.  Frank Viola writes,

    “If all Christians got in touch with the call that lies upon them to be functioning priests in the Lord’s house (and they were permitted to exercise that call), the question would immediately arise: “What on earth are we paying our pastor for!?”  But in the presence of a passive priesthood, such questions are never asked.  On the contrary, when the church functions as she should, a professional clergy becomes unnecessary.  Suddenly, the thought , That is the job of the pastor, looks heretical.  Put simply, a professional clergy fosters the pacifying illusion that the Word of God is classified (and dangerous) material that only card-carrying experts can handle.”

  2. Encourages the pastor to be a man pleaser; he becomes a slave to men.
  3. Produces clergy who feel “stuck” in the pastorate.  They lack employable skills.  It is    interesting to note that in ancient times Greeks spoke publicly for a fee,  while Jewish rabbis learned a skill and could not accept money for religious services.
  4. Breeds insincerity – becomes just a job, not a calling.
  5. Discourages the use of others gifts; prevents the body of Christ from functioning as it should.

Personal Experience

In our lives, often the greatest motivator of change is a personal experience.  Due to various personal experiences (within the church and outside of) I stepped away from tithing.  I share one experience here.

A dear personal friend that attends our local mega-church came down with a sickness, a cancer.  This sickness required intensive surgery at an out-of-town facility, and my friend would be unable to work.  Through this time, which no one is ever prepared for, he would still have bills, and normal needs to be met.  The church that he is part of, and has been attending for a long period of time knew of his situation, the local campus pastor had personally visited him.  Due to church policy he could not provide financial assistance.  If my friend had a need he had to drive several miles away (in the midst of out-of-town surgery, and sickness) and fill out a paperwork request for assistance, and someone would evaluate the validity of his need and determine to what extent the church would help.  My friend, needing what assistance he could get, complied with the churches rules (after going through surgery), drove to their facility, and filled out their request for assistance paperwork.  The assistance he received was almost enough to cover one-months rent.  If he needed any other financial assistance he would have to repeat the paperwork process for the next month.

This local mega-church, one of the top ten largest in America, is building a 50,000 square foot facility in his community. They have raised and paid multiple millions of dollars for property.  They employ nearly 200 people.  But when it comes to giving money to those in need it seems they are less giving than they would like for their parishioners to be.

But, I digress, my ill friend, is also a member of the same faith community that I am (a group of Christians, some attend other churches, some do not, that are doing life together).  This group is about 13 people, however, these have given more money than the local mega-church (who has millions available), some have taken my friend into their home while he recovers, personally knowing him, they have been able to bless his life and be blessed through this trial.

I quit tithing because I can, and will, use my money to help the body of Christ, and those in need, better than the organized church ever can. Since I stopped tithing, my life has not degraded, God has not left me, I am not in a shambles.  Just the opposite has happened, as I give freely to those in need, my life has been richly blessed in all aspects (spiritually, marriage, family, relationships, career, income, finances).

Solutions to the Tithing Debacle

Here are some practical steps to free you from the tithing bondage that organized religion has you in:

  • set aside 10% to give away (create a separate account or some other method) – this is to assist the selfish spender on keeping money available for others.
  • give freely to those in need
  • get involved in a faith community – needs are discovered only when a Christian is an active part of a body of believers

Conclusion

If the church, God’s people, did as it was called to do, stopped giving money to church buildings and programs, stopped paying healthy people to separate themselves from the real world and not work, and started giving Biblically, as each has need (Acts 2), the world would be changed.  The church in America would change if these large organizationally structured churches were taxed, and the position of pastor was unpaid. The face of Christianity would change, we would look more like Christ, more like the Bible, and less like a corporation.  Governments and insurance companies would not have to step in for healthcare – Christians would meet one another’s needs.  Funds would go to serve the poor rather than building structures that serve no real purpose, or add value to the community at large.  Only the truly called would pastor or teach, there would be no monetary, or power incentive.  Sincerity would rule the day.

From Pagan Christianity, Viola, ends his discussion on the tithe with this,

As we’ve seen, tithing, while biblical, is not Christian.  Jesus Christ did not teach it to His disciples.  The first-century Christians did not observe it. And for three hundred years, followers of Christ did not do it.  Tithing did not become a widely accepted practice among Christians until the eighth century, though they gave generously – often well above 10% of their resources – from the beginning.

Tithing is mentioned only four times in the New Testament.  But none of these instances apply to Christians.  Tithing belonged to the Old Testament era where a taxation system was needed to support the poor and a special priesthood that had been set apart to minister to the Lord.  With the coming of Jesus Christ, there has been a “change of law” – the old has been “set aside” and rendered obsolete by the new (Hebrews 7:12-18; 8:13).

We are all priests now – free to function in God’s house.  The Law, the old priesthood, and the tithe have all been crucified.  There is now no Temple curtain, to Temple tax, and no special priesthood that stands between God and man.  You have been set free from the bondage of tithing and from the obligation to support the unbiblical clergy system.  May you, like the first-century Macedonian Christians, give freely, out of a cheerful heart, without guilt, religious obligation, or manipulation…generously helping those in need (2 Corinthians 8:1-4; 9:6-7).

When I consider this tithing issue, it always begs the question, if our pastors have not been 100% forthcoming on the tithe (many of whom hold Doctorates, and are well-studied), how else might they be misdirecting their flock?

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44 Responses to Why I Quit Tithing (and you can too)

  1. I absolutely agree – Tithing was for Israel and was done away with in the New Testament. Where I worship , or practice has always been to emulate the first century church as closely as possible.. Part of this is “giving as we have been prospered (1 Corinthians 16:2)” and to” give as we have purposed in our heart(2 Corinthians 9:7). This collection is used and used only as directed by the New Testament -for benevolence and evangelism. Any other use of the collection is not authorized anywhere in the NT. As a consequence , we dont draw in the “mega church”numbers because we dont offer all of the “extra” not authorized by the bible…and thats ok , I would rather be pleasing to God thanpleasing to man.. I would rather do whats right , than whats right in the sight of men. We have no example for 40 hour a week staff , or lavish buildings ,15 pc. praise bands etc… What we do see is preaching ,teaching , singing praying and helping those in need – so thats what we do.. Great post!

  2. Loy M says:

    Hello! I came your page, drawn by the provocative title, via Facebook.

    Some of your critiques are worthwhile. The church in America really is “at risk” in many ways. Today’s mega-church, consumer Christianity fully needs critiqued — and its inherently anti-biblical components need to be confessed and forsaken, imo. However, that aside, one of your central claims is seriously flawed, and teaches the opposite of what Scripture teaches. In your zeal to correct one mistake, you unwittingly forward one just as great — or greater.

    As a NT theology of pastoral support [or non-support], you claim that the Apostle Paul teaches against pastors receiving support, referencing Paul’s farewell to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20. You further that claim that by referencing 1 Tim. 3. However, neither of these passages is about pastoral support, per se. In Acts 20, the Apostle Paul bids farewell to the Ephesian elders, telling them that he has “not coveted any of their gold or silver” and that he “worked hard with his hands,” so that the fledgling church could give more, themselves. He does not teach against pastors receiving support there, as you directly claim. In 1 Tim. 3, Paul lays out qualifications of elders. Here again, no where does this passage teach about pastoral support, etc.

    Further, in 1 Cor. 9, the Apostle Paul DOES write a theology of pastoral support for the NT Church… which directly contradicts a central part of your post. He says in the clearest terms possible, in 1 Cor. 9:1-14, that even though he did not receive payment for preaching the gospel, it was his full right to do so. And then, in verse 14 he lays down the principle for preachers of Christ, directly from the Hebrew custom: “Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.”

    The apostle is emphatic about this, and emphasizes it again in 1 Tim. 5:18: “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and ‘The worker deserves his wages.’

    Here Scripture teaches the exact opposite of what you claim that it teaches, in reference to payment of pastors, etc.

    I raise this awareness in reference to your implications, that pastors who teach tithe for the support of the church are always misleading their flock. Some are, no question. But to turn about that accusation: to treat Scripture as you have done, using oblique references to deny the clear teaching on the subject, is definitely misleading the flock.

    I challenge you to keep your critique, but center it on Scripture — to allow revelation to be your guide, and not the abuses of the church, nor your own emotions/intellect/desires. I would also ask you, for the sake of honesty, to rewrite your post, with a new understanding of the NT theology of pastoral support and fuller Scriptural understanding of use of tithes.

    • Mary says:

      Can I just say that you are so correct. And Thank you

    • Leroy Mincey says:

      Though you are correct in pointing out the fact that those who are appointed over the flock should receive pay, you yourself have not the greater picture in view. A pastor isn’t to demand a tithe from members that he and his family may eat. Nor is it a commandment or mandate. God’s says in Jeremiah 23:21, that these men went out with their messages, and they were not sent. I did not speak to them but yet they prophesied. If these professional pastors were truly “Born Again”, (John 3:3), and called by God, for the overwhelming number of western pastor are not, they would hold to what the Apostle Paul preaches on the matter. We are to give as we are able to do so. Today’s professional pastors only have faith in money. They are clueless to what it means to have faith in Christ Jesus, alone. These crooks have master degrees in theology, but can’t comprehend the basic biblical teaching of the tithe, really? Most pastors and christian gamble eternal life trusting heir interlect and carnal reasoning. Are you in that number, sir? The same evil spirit in the typical Christian building that teaches that tithing is a mandate from God, is the same evil spirit that teaches a very diluted doctrine of salvation.

    • Rich Tanner says:

      Correct! The pastor is due compensation for his work. IF he prepares for his presentation of God’s Word, he must study from ten to twenty hours (for each Bible Study). Also, he must pray for the souls under his care, visit or counsel, guide those taking up leadership in his flock, etc… Also, he must minister to his wife and his family. Plus, I might add, exercise so that he does not die of heart attack at 50. Generally, if he is studying his Bible, and teaching and the above, he will not have time to work full time. BUT the tithe is not for today…

  3. Angel says:

    Good points from Loy I can’t disagree with. – I believe in giving even to those spreading the gospel. If I am In a church and being fed by them, my children benefit from the youth pastors, and I enjoy AC and heat (because I have been in a warehouse church in Ga. With no AC in August – uuuughh!!) I should contribute to it and give my part. The problem I have witht the flat 10% is mulit-faceted. the first and foremost, The abuse of the word “Cursed” – Jesus set us free from the curse of sin, death, and the law.

    In Acts 15:26-29 the apostles were arguing whether or not Christians should have to follow the Jewish customs, which includes tithe right? the Apostles established only a few criteria – Abstaining from worship of false idols, and to keep sex and marriage relations holy and sacred. Jesus established 2 laws: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:27-30

    the second problem I have is the requirement that this 10% be “Brought into the storehouse” or “Give where you are fed” – that we are not blessed if we give the church 5% and a struggling single mom, or homeless man, or family about to lose their home 5 % or more. One pastor actually said once if I wasn’t giving my 10% TO the storehouse I may not think I am cursed, but I am cursed and don’t even know it. – It is a materialistic idea that I could have more if I would give more to “the church” it plays on the greedy nature in us. (I speak directly to the way this message is used in the “Prosperity message”)

    Jesus only mentions the tithe when he is chastising the Pharisees for yes tithing as they ought to but not doing the greater things, like mercy and kindness. (Remember the Pharisees still lived under the law as everyone did, Jesus had yet to set us free from the law.) He speaks A LOT on the “Love of money”, greediness, giving freely, but if “tithing” (and I mean 10% to the church) were so important to keep us from being cursed don’t you think he would have mentioned it more?

    1 Corinthians 9 is very clear that there is nothing wrong, no we SHOULD, be willing to support the men who teach and lead us…

    The model of the church back then was different, though, they met in homes (no more synagogues or buildings to maintain) so they offered support to the ministers who came to them and those who had need in their community. Paul would write and ask for support of other communities and they would send it. Paul wasn’t trying to upgrade his home, buy ANOTHER car, or expand his church building. He just wanted a decent place to sleep and some hot meals.

    The scriptures Loy references are dead on, but the point Paul makes is he doesn’t put anyone in condemnation for not giving. That is the problem with the ‘tithe – blessing and cursing’ model.

    I don’t have any clue how, or if, America would ever go back to that model but think about the money that would be poured into a community if we weren’t trying to pay for multi-million dollar facilities. Most churches give pennies on the dollar to missions, benevolence, and outreach compared to costs of operation, building and salaries. (not all. I know a few who have made decisions to be debt free for that very reason…. but most) I

    Churches all over the world still have this model of the early church. China is growing at alarming rates with pastors (from America and Europe) sneaking in and ministering in homes and then they are left to seek God for themselves until another comes to them. Meanwhile OUR churches and converts are actually decreasing as even people raised in the church no longer care to believe, and we have the biggest best programs, facilities, dynamic tv ministers to offer. Something is wrong with that picture.

  4. Loy M says:

    Good thoughts, Angel! In my critique of the blog post, I was not defending the “10 percent or else” brand of Christianity [which is very flawed and potentially abusive — more on that later], but rather pointing out that in the name of spiritual wisdom, the blog author began teaching something opposite of Scripture. He unequivocally implied that Scripture teaches that pastors should not be paid — which is 180 degrees from what Paul says that the Lord COMMANDS. Command is a strong word, but that’s the word Scripture uses on this issue: “Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:14).

    In one’s self-discovered wisdom, or reaction against church abuses, one should always be guarded by revelation of God’s Word. Otherwise one merely repeats the historical cycle of anti-biblical sects and “isms” opposed to God’s revealed will, for the Body of Christ. And here, claiming to be more accurate, and more biblical, all the while teaching something opposite of clear Scripture… well, that’s just wrong. Misleading and potentially dangerous.

    That said, there is much in the post that needs to be heard, imo. It is SO true that this exact area is one of huge abuse in the church-world today… the stuff that you talk about, Angel, is scary, that a pastor would say such things. And the stuff that the blog author talks about, how a mega-church refused to substantively help one of its members — terrible! But I’ve heard similar horror stories… and most often it drives a person out of the organized church… and really, who can blame them? It’s an abuse of a sacred trust.

    Regarding tithe, the early church practiced it as a benefit and a good, but NOT like it is often taught today [those who say, 10 percent or else! etc. are wrong]. The early church treated tithe as a privilege, not a responsibility, because they wholeheartedly saw the truth: God indeed was Lord of ALL their money, and they were merely stewards, to do the best with that money as they could, for the Kingdom — the Kingdom of God here, and now! and also, yet to come! This was their focus, and they gave a portion of all their income, joyfully. Some gave 10 percent; some gave much more. But each gave according to means, even the widow’s mite… And most of the money went for kingdom infrastructure [benevolence and human resources], not exostructure and bloated mega-church staff, as is often the case today. But the tithe was a biblical principle treated as beneficial, by the early church. Today it is treated as a responsibility, or potential for “cursing,” as you put it, Angel… very negative and not biblical, even though abusive teachers say it is. The spiritual abuse here is off the charts, imo…

    Now, re: the Jerusalem Council — It determined what was necessary for salvation, and no, tithe was not included, lol. Because tithe is not about salvation at all, but about living in relation to God AS LORD OF THE WHOLE. The tithe is merely a reflection of the Lordship of God, which we give intentionally to Him, in the manner He desires [not so much as we desire — that is an offering, not tithe].

    And, the benefits of tithe? Off the charts, IF we treat it in covenant relation with God. And it brings us unexplainable blessing, but it’s all due to relation and trusting God as our Father — NOT some fear of cursing! After many years of financial study and investment counsel, Sir John Templeton once said that the most practical investment any person can make is to tithe their money to God. In multiple decades of financial counseling, he had never seen consistent tithing fail to bring inexplicable return. Pretty amazing… I recently learned firsthand of a businessman who began to give 50 percent of his income to God… now he is giving 90 percent. Does that make him a better Christian? No. But obviously, he has discovered something unexplainable, in the biblical practice of tithing.

    My heart goes out to those who have experienced the plastic, self-serving mega-church model in America. Yes, many people learn of Christ there, but many more eat the cellophane-packaged gospel and never learn to separate the cellophane from the substance, either that or have the cellophane crammed down their mouth so hard that they choke, spiritually. These are the people that leave the church — in DROVES. So many, in fact, that in a moment of candor, mega-church guru Bill Hybels said honestly, “‘All of our efforts have not produced disciples…” And that if he had to do it over again, he’d just recommend that people read their Bibles and practice what they read! Amazing, that the guy who helped start the mega-church craze in America could be this honest about what that mega-church craze has produced. Oxford research now shows more people leaving the church in America than joining it… is it any surprise? The American mega-church model inherently appeals to much that is fallen in the human heart, and it most often directly undermines the biblical intent of the local church. But in our reaction against non-biblical components of the mega-church, it is not helpful at all to create new non-biblical teachings or groups… including what we teach on tithing! 🙂

    • Robert says:

      Great response………..

      • Guy says:

        Angel and Loy I agree with both of you concerning the tithe lie. Angel you made a statement, “Jesus set us free from the curse of sin, death, and the law.” I agree with us being set free from being cursed, but the law is still in effect. We must now obey the spirit of the law instead of the letter of the law. The difference between the two is this; the there is grace and mercy when we fall short or sin. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, we were given a grace period to turn away from our sins. But under the letter of law, judgment came immediately and there was no grace and mercy. In other words, if a person was caught in the commission of their sins they were either stoned to death (minor sins) or hung on a tree for capital sins. This is the reason why Jesus criticized the Pharisees in Matthew 23:23. They put more importance on tithing food than they did on showing love and mercy to others. So please understand that the law is not done away with at the cross. We are not under the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law which means we still must obey all the laws of God with the exception of the ordinances of the law which tithing fell under. We must do everything that Jesus and his Apostles did to include the observance of the 10 Commandments of God (Ex 20) Sabbath (Ex 20 & Lev 23), Biblical Holy Days (Lev 23), Dietary Laws (Lev 11), New Moon to determine God’s Calendar and not mans calendar (Num 10:10). Remember, Jesus said He did not come to abolish the law (Matt 5:17-19) but to fulfill what is written in the law, spoken of in the Psalm and of the Prophets. He came to be a sacrificial lamb for the entire world. So, we know the law was not done away with only the ordinances of the law such as burnt offerings, blood offerings, sacrificial offerings, sin offerings etc. All of these ordinances of the law were done away with because we no longer needed to use animal sacrifices to make atone for our sins. Also, the Levitical Priesthood was done away with which means the tithing ordinance from the grains of the land was also annulled (Heb 7). If we say the law was done away with at the cross then we are basically saying there is no more sin which we know is not true. 1 John 3:4 tells us that sin is the transgression of the law meaning we are disobeying God’s Commandments/Laws which is supposed to be written in our hearts (Jer 31:33) . Please understand I am not a Pastor, but a disciple of Jesus Christ trying my best to live a holy life acceptable unto the Most High through our Lord Jesus Christ. But, tithing should not be taught as a requirement in the church today because there is no way we could effectively live that lifestyle today unless the word of God is altered which is a deadly sin for pastors/preachers who breaketh this commandment of God (Rev 22:19, Deut 4:2). I hope this information is helpful to all who reads this post.

  5. john says:

    According to N.T church it is free will giving and it is not base on some force giving.Yes I agree that those who feed the church spiritualy should be supported by free-will giving. Tithes is of the O.T and only when it stays there the church would be able to give freely, cheerfully and without any curses and manipulations.

  6. Pingback: Why I Quit Tithing – A response to critics | Seasons of Refreshing

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  8. floridaphil says:

    Interesting article. Thank You. Oh how scripture is taken out of context…. Malachi was written to the priests in Israel. They were offering polluted offerings to God, thus profaning His name. His name is to be feared among the nations. The priest were to guard the knowledge of God. FYI Tithing was enforced in 585.
    Historians usually agree that, not until A.D. 567, five hundred and thirty seven (537) years after Calvary, did the Church’s first substantial attempt to enforce tithing under its own authority appear in history! The Council of Tours in 567 and the Council of Macon in 585 enacted regional church decrees for tithing and excommunication of non-tithers, but did not receive authority from the king to enforce collection through civil decrees. It is significant that tithing did not emerge historically until the church became powerful in the secular realm. Even at this late date tithes were still only food. Eventually the Roman Church even refused to administer last rites if it was not given wealth or land in wills.
    You can read the full article here. http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/id15.html

  9. JOEL says:

    Congratulation you quit tithing! Guess what only 7% of church goers actually tithe. So people have already decided not to tithe even without your reasoning. It is funny how many people complain about tithing but were not doing it anyway.

    I love tithing it sets a good baseline for systematic giving. Equal sacrifice.

  10. I love tithing too. My husband and I see it more of a matter of trust than of dollars. It seems to me that Jesus implies, in Matthew 23:23 that we should not neglect the more important conditions of love, justice and mercy but still be willing to tithe.

    • I fully understand and appreciate where you are coming from. However, in my experience (as stated in the post), many churches (especially large to megachurches) are behaving exactly like the Pharisees that are called out in Matthew 23. They place a high priority on ensuring that their people are tithing, yet they leave the matter of justice, mercy, and faith undone.

      I would also encourage you to read my post, Creating Pharisees.

      • Toeachhisown says:

        I agree. Recently in the news there was a church that decided not to bury someone because the member didn’t pay tithes.

  11. Jim T says:

    An excellent reference is “You Mean I Don’t Have to Tithe?: A Deconstruction of Tithing and a Reconstruction of Post-Tithe Giving” by David Croteau. The book is essentially his PhD dissertation at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

  12. Robert says:

    You can’t minister without money. You might want to mention the tithe does a lot more than pay a pastor, missions, light bill, phone bill, advertisement, help in feeding the poor, van payments, insurance on building and vans, up keep on the building, and church payment. In which would be impossible unless somebody pays tithes.

    And go ahead an mention most Pastors make very little, have no insurance, and no retirement. Like Joel said, only 7% of church goers tithe and a few years ago it was 10%.

    But you go ahead and be cursed. I am Blessed to be a tither and help our small church out..

    • “You can’t minister without money”…really? Ministry has nothing to do with money. It is every Christians responsibility to live a life of ministry. Paul ministered without taking money from the church, he worked. More than once, he states that it was not an easy task to work by day and preach at night, however, he did not want to be a burden to believers. Those pastors that complain about making little money, not having insurance, no retirement, should probably pursue a career and stop making a martyr of themselves. Being a pastor is a calling, not a career choice.

      As you imply that your small church could not survive without your tithe, perhaps your church should shut down the building and programs, meet in someones home, work together to feed the poor, utilize your personal vehicles (that everyone is already paying insurance on) to pick people up. The church is a body, not a business.

      Neither I nor scripture condemns those who do tithe, but it is not essential or a command in the New Testament. All blessings come from God, but they are not related to whether or not, or how much, one tithes. Speaking of being cursed, Galatians 3:10 says, “All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Since you seem to place such a high priority on tithing, and state that your blessings are based on your tithing, from this passage I assume that you still offer animal sacrifice, as well. Because if not, then according to Paul you are living under a curse.

      • MJacobs says:

        I completely agree with your response. I have felt this way for years and when I do attend church, most of the time I do not “tithe” I give as I feel led to – when a neighbors home burns down and they are left with nothing, a family with a cancer-stricken child who needs help with medical and other expenses, those on fixed incomes who can barely afford food. I have always felt strongly that I will not give to help pay for the overhead of a large, unnecessary, fancy building. I have struggled with whether or not I should even attend church. Don’t get me wrong, fellowship with other believers is very important but meeting in homes and avoiding the overhead of a massive building makes so much more sense. I have prayed for direction with this issue because many churches I’ve attended attempt to make the congregation feel guilty for not giving to them, or giving less than they think should be given. So, I thank you for your post and giving me a better understanding of the whole issue. God bless you 🙂

      • Toeachhisown says:

        Right!

      • Tim says:

        To: Seasons of Refreshing,
        It was a valiant attempt, but as you see, most people are stuck on MEN who lead instead of Being Led Biblically! You referenced almost every scripture that explained Tithing being Obsolete but they wont listen. True, someone has to help those that minister, but as Viola stated, they can help themselves! (PEOPLE, WE NO LONGER NEEEEEED TO TITHE) Jesus wants us to have FAITH in Him, NOT THE SYSTEM OF THINGS! MALACHI 3:10 WAS A REBUKE TO THE PRIEST! Tithing was Abolished for that reason! We Couldn’t Handle It! PRIEST COULDNT HANDLE 10% WITHOUT DEFILING THEMSELVES! So God made a way for us to come to Him ourselves, Through the Death, Burial & Resurrection of Christ! Go on and keep believing that Tithing is a NT requirement as their is nothing wrong with giving the Ministry Your First Fruit, but when You Talk to Jesus and He (may) ask “Why didn’t You study to show yourself approved” remember Seasons of Refreshing and this article!

    • boB says:

      See, that’s exactly what’s wrong. The whole “you go ahead and be cursed…..”
      It says that if you are under the law you are under the curse. Tithing is Law, therefore if you are keeping the Law (of the tithe) it is you who have place yourself under the curse of the law.
      Stop drinking the Koolaid

    • Authentic says:

      yea but I also don’t believe A Church Building is necessary to spread the word of God. TBH if it were me I’d preach from my home that I work on a job to upkeep or in an open field that’s free of charge or anywhere that is free for that matter but that’s just me. I have no problem supporting those in NEED and I quote “NEED”, that means not the lazy folk who refuse to work. But I hate the notion of (I work full-time to have a place to stay and then contribute to a Pastor having a place to live along with a building to Preach in and a nice shinny car to drive with an expensive wardrobe) . I’m a faithful tither by the way 😉 IJS

  13. floridaphil says:

    I find it rather funny that some people automatically assume if you say you don’t “tithe”, you don’t give more than 10%. I spent a lot of time in Africa and watched as believer’s gave their offerings. It was usually an egg. They would do without, in order to share with other believers. Should they have divided the egg into tenths?

  14. Pingback: You should leave your church… | Seasons of Refreshing

  15. JNAP says:

    Sounds like another soul has had a bad experience with the church, most likely a Pastor and has friends that have been burned by the friendly fire in the faith as well. I understand your pain, I am a Pastor and struggle with lots of ‘American Church Issues’ but lets not throw the baby out with the bath water. I agree that tithing is not the goal of our faith. It is an OT teaching but before you dismiss the OT completely lets remember that the OT was a shadow of the reality that was to come. The OT set the stage for what God was going to do. The NT completes the OT… And Jesus did say that the old is passed away, the new has come. Jesus is the reality and you are right, He doesn’t ask to give a tenth – He calls us to give it all 100% – “take up your cross and follow” total abandonment. so if we reduce our following Jesus to a mere 10% giving we have missed to point completely. 10% then becomes a starting point – not because we are commanded to but because we Americans are consumed with ourselves and need a launching point. As far as paid Pastors, you failed to mention a couple of passages: 1Tim.5:17-18 referring to Elders and workers, Paul uses an OT scripture and then clearly says, “the worker deserves his wages” He’s talking about those who serve the church body. In Acts 20 Paul did say, “his hands had supplied his own needs”. But that does not set a pattern for non-paid workers. The church was just getting started and leadership roles were being birthed in the new churches throughout the known world. And yet Paul says something enlightening at the end of Philippians 4 in his talk about being content, he thanks the church for being, “the only ones that shared with him in the matter of giving and receiving”. You used the example in the OT of how the tithes of the Israelites were used, to cover the expenses and wages of the Priests, they lived on those tithes so they could dedicate their entire lives to service in God’s work. It was their pay, does that not set any kind of pattern for God’s people, or do we completely throw away what we want in order to build our personal case? read Numbers 18:8-21, when God says this Offering and Giving is for the Priests and Levites because they have been set aside by God to focus their lives on taking care of God’s people and the specific needs that the Lord established, that says a lot about God’s way of doing things. Did you not read vs.19, “It is to be an everlasting covenant of salt before the Lord for both you and your offspring”. I don’t think we can take that as lightly as you have. I know we are under a new covenant in the blood of Jesus, believe me, He is all I need! I have walked away from the ‘Church in America Mess’ before, I have been splattered with the friendly fire of God’s people…. but if Jesus quoted from almost every OT book while he preached and taught, then that tells me we shouldn’t rip the OT out of our bibles and throw it away. I agree, we should give joyfully and without compulsion and we should also obey the word of God, have you not read 1Cor. 16:1,2, “Now about collection for God’s people; Do what I told the Galatians churches to do. On the first day of the every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made”. I don’t recall you mentioning this passage?? Not in the New Testament? Paul didn’t teach giving? 2Cor.9:6,7 sowing and reaping, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give…” does Paul say we should give a tenth? NO! but what is very clear is the expectation to give to God’s church. Is the church perfect? NOTTA…. are there money hungry preachers out there? YEP… BUT is God’s church still HIS church? Does the Lord know those who are HIS? YOU BET…Can we be better? SURE – How about we try to guide the ship in the direction that it should go based on God’s word and let the Lord work out the rest… 🙂 IN JESUS

  16. JNAP, you say you are a pastor. I will not question that.
    But I will question your defense of the tithe doctrine that is being taught in Churches today. Do I have a right to do so? Yes, by the authority of God’s Holy Word, I believe I do.
    Is Acts 15 torn out of your Bible? or do you just ignore that important historical event that occurred in A.D. 54? I am sure you are familiar with the account, how the religious leaders were demanding that Gentile Converts to faith in Jesus Christ were being told that they had to be circumcised AND to keep the Law of Moses.
    What was the results of that meeting? The Apostle Peter revealed that to teach one had to keep the Law of Moses was tempting God. (v.10 ) The Apostle James was the last man to speak at that Council. What was it he said? What was written in the letter he had delivered to the Gentile Converts at the hands of Barnabas and Paul? The same message that he instructed Judas and Silas to speak audibly to the hearing of the Gentiles? It was the following:

    Acts 15:28-29 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.

    Notice that it was not just the decision of the Apostles and religious leaders. It was also the decision of the Holy Ghost. The Gentiles were only required to observe “these necessary things.” Tithing is not one of those “necessary things.” If the Apostles and the Holy Ghost did not think it important that the Gentiles be required to tithe, then a pastor has no right… no authority, to teach their congregation that God requires a tithe of their money.

    Those pastors who teach that God requires a tithe are guilty of pitting God and the Holy Ghost in opposition to each other. What does Mark 3:25 say about a house divided? That it cannot stand. My Bible tells me that God, His Holy Ghost/Spirit, and His Son are in perfect agreement with one another.

    Sorry, but the argument that the Old Testament tithe is a type and foreshadow of the tithe we have today fails miserably in light of the decision of the Holy Ghost and the Apostles at the Jerusalem Council. Given the decision of the Holy Ghost, and the subsequent teaching of Paul that our giving should be as we choose in our hearts to give, it is clear God never meant the Old Testament tithe to be considered by Christians as “necessary.”

    The command found in Numbers 18 was for the Levites throughout their generations, not for pastors who cannot even prove they are of the line of Levi’s genealogy.

  17. Jeff Shelton says:

    I’ve heard all the theological batting regarding tithing. As a person who never tithed and learned it from a very generous leader by example, I would never give up tithing and certainly not attempt to rob others of the blessing of tithing. My wife and I have given away millions all of which came to us supernaturally. We didn’t have the time, the talents, or the sources to make all of what came to us happen out of our own strength or abilities. To things I can attribute this to, 1) for 33 years we have blessed the Jewish people in Israel (Gen.3:12) (and don’t try to rationalize this as OT law), and secondly, we tithed way above our means. . .i,e, tithes, offerings, alms, sacrificial gifts. What must motivate some dear soul to argue in a theological web of law & grace, some misguided Jewish history, or the idea the Pastor is milking the congregation id grievous. The foundation the tithing cuts to the heart of selfishness & create the joy of generosity & giving. This is one of the best things that ever happened to me. . . . . . .learning the joy of giving & the blessings that are enhanced in our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Call me deceived but I would declare back, it’s the the most wonderful deception I’ve ever experienced. A word of warning to the writer. “Your position on tithing is personal however I’d recommend you don’t pursue leading others down the path you have chosen.”

  18. Reblogged this on greenpaddock and commented:
    Yay! Seasons of refreshing indeed! 🙂

  19. Jen says:

    Agree. Amen!

  20. Pingback: Sacred Spaces | Seasons of Refreshing

  21. Orrin Jay says:

    Thank you for writing this. I invite you to also view Dr. Russell Kelly’s film documentary which proves tithing is not a Christian doctrine:

    Dr. Kelly is a Baptist scholar who did his Phd on the subject of tithing.
    He also wrote an expose on Rick Warren who promotes tithing:
    http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/id217.html

  22. jeromevankelly says:

    The essence of the matter is that,,if you tithe you automatically position yourself under the curse.For the purpose of tithing is to seek the removal of the curse that existed since garden of Eden .Also you are guilty of creating your own rightousness by expecting to be blessed by your tithing and not by pure faith in the finished work of Jesus.You start from a position of blessing with no shadow of the curse hence no purpose for tithing.You are now no longer in ignorance or darkness unless you are comfortable in hypocrisy.

  23. Faith says:

    Wish i could find a church that did not put so much stress on giving ten percent..Some even teach if you only tithing your not giving an offering to God , because the ten percent is expected…I believe some pastors mean well and just don’t know better.and because of Gods grace they will be forgiven..I would not let that stop me from going to a church that faithfully teach Gods word.How Jesus came and died for our sins and we are saved by his grace..And when we become saved there should be a strong desire for Gods word.Gods word will help us to learn how to live for him every day and to grow in his grace and love, being more and more perfected till the day God call us home where we will be a perfect people worshiping him before his throne of grace..

  24. Hilda says:

    Seasons of Refreshing,
    I agree when you say we are not under the law ,but with the coming of Jesus , the law would be written in our hearts.Meaning we would obey out of the love of christ and from a point of understanding rather than a blind follower-ship of the law. then you have not demystified the new testament approach to giving.
    Are you saying christian giving should be to only meet the needs of the poor,sick and such? How would church engage in missionary activities, evangelism,christian broadcasts and such?how different will be a church from a humanitarian organization if we were just to meet the needs of one another?

    • Hilary Osborne says:

      Hilda, the Church is the Body of Christ, a royal priesthood. This royal priesthood has been given the task of seeing to these things, not just write a check and leave it to the businessmen in a church building. WE are the missionaries, the evangelists, and whatnot. It is not given to a select few. Use the money God has given you to do the work He has created for you; for ALL believers.

  25. john clayton says:

    Amen
    Answer to Hilda is grace, not law.
    Gal_3:12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
    Rom_10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
    Heb_11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
    John

  26. Richard Buse says:

    I got a question for everybody. What about Hebrews 7:8 : “And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth “. This was New Testament instructions to the church. I know that tithing is considered Old Covenant, but Abraham did it BEFORE the law of Moses was given. But back to Hebrews 7:8. Sure sounds to me like it is still in effect. Anybody have any comments?

  27. Amanda says:

    I was not raise in church. But I can personally say that when we ask God to direct us through the Holy Spirit to find the true. He will. One day when I was younger around 34 years of age. I was working hard and many jobs, I ask God why was so much problems in my life, specially financial difficulties. I was folding laundry and I continue doing so, after asking my question. Then I herd and outside voice that said to me because you rob me. I look around because I never her voices before or have not since this time. It was as a person stand next to me and said it out loud. Well I did not understand what that mean, so I began looking into it. I found about tithing. I began doing it. Can I say I always been faithful, no. I am a selfish person and it has been one of the most hard things for me to give to God. I can say that in the times I was faithful, so how the rest of my money after giving last longer and I was able to take care of paying all my bills. Yes in those times, God has taken care of my needs, not always my wants. Right now I am going to hard financial struggles. I lost my job, but I know I have stop tithing since I read so much until what is out there: is belong to old testament believers, etc. Of course my human nature buy into it, to find an excuse for not to follow what one day I feel. I heard directly from God. Yes, I am learning my lesson, and I began tithing again from what ever money comes my way. I have not been able to pay my mortgage yet or my car payment. But I have faith in God since I am obedience in doing what I know to do that he teach me, that some how he will provide and I will come out of this situation to be able to have money to be able to continue to give and bless others. I will also say that from the little I have right now I still give to others, Meat, a glass of juice, etc. I am a single woman of 54 years of age. But Jesus has taking care of me since I raise my daughter by my self since I was 26 years of age when my ex-husband left me. I hope my testimony will help some one to know that when God want us to learn something he will show us. Yes he love us and he is the owner of every thing. Yes it is very to obey and we will establish good habits and become joyful givers. We can not out give God since he gave us his precious son Jesus to die for you and me. God Bless You All! I pray that the Holy Spirit help you to find the true about giving (ti
    thing), showing love and following Jesus!

    • Amanda says:

      Today is December 1, 2016 and it must be God some how who directed me to find this web again and se my post above from October 22, 2016. I am still doubting tithing. Let me clarify then when at 34 years of age I herd the voice because you rob me; I was doing study on eating pork, keeping Saturday worship. I was in the Seventh Day Adventist and very legalistic of course was never tithing in that church. I beliefs the voice I herd was not from God since tithing is not a biblical requirement for new testaments believers followers of Jesus. I was searching to find true. Yet I left worshiping on Saturday and wearing about eating pork. But unfortunate start going to an Assembly of God church that speak in tongues, which is not biblical since the apostle receive the gift of other languages by the Holy Spirit, but that as we study and read the Holy Bible ended. Now let me say in favor of both churches that I learn something from them. In the Seventh Day Adventist I learn of Jesus and about eating balance in the sense that I try vegetables and fruits that I never try before. In the Assembly of God church I learn that God Heals and he still do. It is a matter of faith, of course it is important to seek doctors and get second opinions, but when there is no hope, God still heals and come through. At the time I went to the Assembly of God the doctors have found a tumor in the Pituitary which I saw in the Rxtrays wich later on after praying and a lot of faith a second image show the tumor was no longer there with no medicine. I thank God for that. However going back to tithing, I became legalistic on it and fearful if I do not give I will not be bless. Even when God has always blessing me and provided for me. Even when I did not tithe in the pass when I was in the Seventh Day Adventist church. But I thank God that I find so many study and I will live now in faith and by Grace knowing that Jesus love me and God Blessings are new and free every day. I still do not have a Job. However he still takes care of me and I wake up every day and the sun is out and shinning. I am ready to go out and be free and live by grace. Is okay to give and not be selfish but remember take care of your bills and support your family. Yes learn to be happy content by what you have. We do not need the latest and greatest new gadget out in the market, etc. God always will provide for in many different ways. Jesus visit us in hospital through friend family, neighbors etc. Give as you purpose in your heart. Remember God does not take thinks away from us. Yes I know of Job in the old testament. Remember it was the Devil who touch him not God. Every perfect and good gift come from above. Who God set free is free indeed to love and gift as he purpose in his heart. God Bless You and remember Jesus grace in the cross is enough. Never forget Jesus never leave us or forsake us. He loves us. God Bless You and for more no more tithing just giving from my heart as I am able. Amen!!!!

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