A Question I Was Asked:



Isn't Tithing Simply God's Way of Doing Things??







The Question:

I admire much of what you have written, but I can't understand your opposition to tithing. Isn't tithing God's way of doing things? Isn't it bound to lead to blessings?


UK Apologetics Reply:

Is it? On what basis? The trouble is: too many undoubtedly sincere people have read things into Scripture which are simply not there.

Many seem to believe that tithing was unknown until it appears in some of the terms of the old covenant (Exodus through Deuteronomy). In fact, tithing was widely practiced in the ancient world. The Lord simply showed the Israelites how it could be used to their benefit. Through tithing, the Lord showed the Israelites how many things could be financed, but there is no inspired Old Testament claim that the principle was otherwise unknown and/or unique. It was not. In fact, much earlier than the mosaic covenant, Abraham and Jacob knew of it. To quote from my article on tithing,

If we consider Abraham's tithe to the mysterious Melchisedec related in Genesis 14:17-20, this was not strictly speaking a tithe at all since it does not appear to refer to normal earned income!
Then in looking at Jacob's promise to tithe in Genesis 28:18-22, we may note further problems since we really do not know if Jacob actually fulfilled his promise. But - in both of these cases - these were not 'tithes' in the way that word is now used, they were freewill offerings which were of a tenth.

We should also note what many experts on ancient society have pointed out:

'The institution of offering tithes of the fruits of the field and of the flocks is one which dates back to a period greatly anterior to Israelite history. A tenth of the flocks, fruits, and possessions of all kinds, as well as of the spoils of war, was given to their gods [referring to pagan tithing] by many peoples.' (James Hastings, ed., Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible, New York: Hendrickson, 1994, s.v. "Tithe," by W. O. E. Oesterley, 940).

But some might ask, why a tenth? Well, how about the fact that a tenth part of anything is exceedingly easy to count on one's fingers by peoples of all backgrounds and all levels of intelligence?

So we start to see that to make the (oft-repeated, even though fallacious) claim that 'tithing is God's own ordained system to sustain the church' is, with respect, a nonsensical claim. It is also an interesting fact that the New Testament writers obviously refuse to support any such scheme. Under the New Covenant we are simply encouraged to give as we are able, and advised that 'God loves a cheerful giver' (2 Corinthians 9:7). So tithing is very clearly not taught in the New Testament, even though major New Testament writer, the Apostle Paul, often writes a lot about giving. Neither, one might add - did the 'church fathers' teach it (although living very close to the time of the New Testament writings). It was only several hundred years later, when a means of financing huge 'church' and cathedral buildings was sought, that tithing began to be seen as a possible way to finance these projects.

The blind (and sometimes outrageously avaricious) support for tithing by many strange, extremist and self-proclaimed modern-day "evangelists" - especially of the 'health, wealth and prosperity' hue - is, in my opinion, sufficient reason for all honourable and reputable Christian ministries to now reject this so frequently abused financial system. We should now be prepared to 'name and blame' this anachronism as no longer having any place among true Christian believers in the modern world.

I will say no more on tithing here since my article covers this entire topic at great depth. Please find the link to that article below.

Robin A. Brace. September 21st, 2013.

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