Premodern Wisdom for Postmodern Times

The Truth About Tithes and Offerings

Hand_carved_offering_plate_Wikimedia Commons 300

This article consists of a series of related “tweets” that I posted on my Twitter account (@RTGbook). I hope you will enjoy these one-liners.

As a Christian, I’ve always felt both obligated and privileged to give to the Lord’s work. That being said, now that I’ve learned more about the Bible’s teachings, I cannot agree with how ministers solicited the supposedly mandatory “tithe” from the congregation. Here are my recent tweets on the topic:

I will never again give generously to a minister who says that giving to him and his ministry is giving to God.

Putting God in the middle may sound pious, but it’s presumptuous to tell donors their money is going to God.

It’s also a subtle evasion of responsibility. More layers between the donor and recipient means less accountability.

Ministers should receive offerings as from the Lord, but not tell us we are giving them to the Lord.

If I want to give to a minister as unto God, that’s between me and the Lord, not for the minister to tell me.

Next time a minister says people are giving to the Lord, I will ask, “Where’s the fire?” | “What fire?”…

“You know. You put the offerings on the fire, and the smoke goes up to the Lord. So, shall I bring a round of beef to go with it?”

A preacher may not only say that giving to them is giving to the Lord, but also that we owe him a tithe on our gross income.

Of course, no church can enforce a tithe, but terms like “recommended minimum” of 10% impose a legalistic burden.

Ask exactly how tithing worked in the Old Testament, and most pastors won’t have a clue.

Yes, they tell us to obey a Bible command that they themselves may know little about.

Tithes allowed families to celebrate feast days; went to the poor; paid for government functions; and went up in smoke.

We don’t have to burn offerings to the Lord; we pay taxes for government services; and many of us are poor and in need of a vacation.

A certain amount, hard to determine, did go to Levites. Levites had also received towns & lands, giving them the ability to earn income.

The Apostle Paul gave no commandment concerning a tithe, but only accepted voluntary offerings (2 Cor. 9:7).

Paul would surely have condemned mandatory tithing as an attempt to be justified by the Law.

Here’s the truth about giving in two simple tweets…

True discipleship means recognizing that everything we own belongs to God.

We should give generously & joyfully as the Holy Spirit directs, not as men command. God will bless us as we do so.

I have a couple of links on tithing…\

Ministers have universally taught that we should be willing to give even our last coin, just as the poor widow in the temple gave her last mite (Lk. 21:1-4). However, that wasn’t Jesus’ point at all, as you can see in The Myth of the Widow’s Mite. You can find John MacArthur’s sermon on this topic at Grace to You.

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