[anzac] LIE # 4 - TITHING

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From: "ANZAC Prophetic List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 16:19:34 -0500
"TITHING" is NOT for Christians
-by Andrew Strom.

The word "tithe" literally means 'a tenth'. Today it is used
as a Law in many churches to force Christians to give
one tenth of their income to the church. Many are told
that they are "robbing God" if they do not give at least
this much to the institution they attend each Sunday.

How ironic that most preachers today preach almost 
nothing but "grace, grace, grace" except when they 
preach on Giving - when suddenly they feel free to load 
people with condemnation and guilt. For some reason 
this seems to be the one subject where they "lay down 
the law". I wonder why? The fact is, in many places the 
church machinery relies on this law to force people to 
give and keep the whole 'machine' churning along. 

But is Tithing a New Testament practice at all? Is it
really for Christians, or is it part of the Old Covenant?
Is there really a law in force stating that all Christians
must give ten percent? Or are we supposed to be
"cheerful givers" - simply giving whatever God has 
placed on our hearts?

You may be surprised to learn how little the word 'Tithing'
is even mentioned in the New Testament. In fact, there is 
no actual Scripture telling CHRISTIANS to tithe at all. 
There is one NT Scripture telling PHARISEES to tithe. 
But in all the letters of the apostles to the church, they 
never say that this was for Christians. And in the entire 
book of  Acts (-a history of the first 30 years of the Early 
Church) there is NOT EVEN ONE mention of tithing. There 
are plenty of examples of people giving money "from the 
heart", but NO MENTION of tithing. Isn't that interesting?

Yet people will often quote the words of Jesus to the 
Pharisees as though this tells CHRISTIANS to keep 
tithing. But it doesn't. Here is what Jesus said: "Woe to 
you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! 
You give a tenth of your spices - mint, dill and cummin. 
But you have neglected the more important matters of 
the law - justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should 
have practiced the latter without neglecting the former." 
(Matt 23:23, NIV).

Notice that Jesus refers to these things as "matters of
the law". That is what they are. They are matters of the
Old Testament Law - not part of the New Covenant for
Christians. Jesus Himself referred to them that way.
And notice who he was talking to in the above passage.
He was talking to LAW-KEEPING JEWS who were still
under the OLD COVENANT. (-The New Covenant would
not begin until Jesus died and rose again). So what Jesus
was saying was right - FOR THEM. But not for us - and 
not for now.

Yet the Tithing proponents seize on the phrase: "You
should have practiced the latter without neglecting the
former." The reason they seize on this is because it 
is the ONLY Scripture they have in the whole New
Testament that even vaguely pushes Tithing! And yet
it is talking to Pharisees!

Let me be clear here. This is their BEST New Testament
Scripture on the subject. They have almost nothing else.
And it is talking to PHARISEES. And it clearly states
that Tithing is a "matter of the law".  How dare these
people apply this Scripture to today's Christians? We are
not under Law. The Bible tells us that. What a gall these 
people have - making people feel guilty about an Old
Testament Law, just so they can get more money out of 
us. How disgraceful. 

"You are not under law, but under grace" (Rom 6:14).
"But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under law."
(Gal 5:18).

In fact, the only other passage that really focuses on 
Tithing in the New Testament underlines this very point. 
At the start of Hebrews 7 there is a passage referring to 
tithing in the Old Testament. It clearly states that tithing 
is part of the Old Law (v 5). And then it goes on to say: 
"The former regulation is set aside because it is weak 
and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a 
better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to 
God." (Heb 7:18-19).

The point that is being made here is that the Old
Covenant was a covenant of "regulations" (like HAVING 
to give one tenth) but the New Covenant is a covenant 
of the HEART. And we are to give out of a heart 
overflowing with the love of God. -NOT because we are
"forced" to give one tenth! The Old Law is gone. We live
under a New Covenant today. 

Now another major argument that the Tithing people use is
that "Tithing came before the Law". They use the example
of Abraham and Melchizedek (Gen 14:18-20). Therefore, 
they say, it still applies to us today. 

Well, I have one simple question for these people: Isn't
it true that CIRCUMCISION came before the Law also?
(See Gen 17). And everyone knows that Circumcision is
treated as part of the Old Law that has been done away 
with. It is the same with Tithing. No difference at all. 

As we have seen, in every New Testament Scripture 
tithing is clearly spoken of as being part of the "OLD LAW". 
It is not part of the New Covenant at all. How shameful 
that it is being used today to manipulate Christians 
into giving ten percent to church institutions. How sad 
and totally unscriptural.

As former pastor Bruce Lengeman states in his article 
'The Raping of the Tithe':  "The title sounds harsh, but I 
believe it is fairly accurate due to the damage done by the 
erroneous teaching of the doctrine of tithing... Plain and 
simple, the doctrine of tithing as it is commonly taught in 
the contemporary evangelical, or Bible-believing church is 
twisted exegesis!"

So How Then SHOULD WE GIVE?

Today when it comes to 'Giving' we are often preached-to
out of Malachi 3 in the Old Testament, which tells the 
Jewish people to "bring the full tithes into the storehouse"
and says that they were "robbing God" and they were
"cursed" if they did not do so. (Mal 3:8-10).

Modern preachers love to equate the 'storehouse' with their
own church(!!), so that they can apply this Scripture to
themselves. But the reality is very different. As Bruce 
Lengeman states:  "The 'storehouse' of Malachi has no 
likeness to the church structure of today. The storehouse 
was neither a place of assembly, nor a place of worship. It 
was merely a storehouse for tithed goods to be distributed 
to Levites, who had no inheritance, and also to widows, 
strangers, and orphans."

How very different to the guilt-trip that we are hearing today!

And when we get to the Book of Acts we find that indeed
MOST OF THE MONEY that came in actually went to 
feed and clothe the poor and the widows. In fact, it was 
a common practice for the Christians to sell any spare 
possessions and lay the money at the apostles' feet, for
distribution to the poor. (See Acts 4:32-37). What love
these people demonstrated! And this was true giving 
"from the HEART", not from some "LAW" that told them 
how much to give.

There is also plenty of support in the New Testament for
giving to those who minister the gospel. (See 1 Cor 9:13-14,
1 Tim 5:17, etc.) But there is a far greater emphasis on
giving to the widows and orphans. 

What I believe God would have us do today is be led by 
the Holy Spirit in our giving. Find ways to give to the poor 
and the widows in an effective way. (-For instance, some 
Christian charities like 'Open Doors' support persecuted 
Christian widows in Islamic countries, etc). Also find 
effective Christian ministries to give to. 

In many ways the 'local church storehouse' concept is a 
deceptive fallacy. The fact is, there was no such thing 
as "church buildings" in the New Testament anyway, so 
how could that be the 'storehouse'?   We need to give 
where God leads us - with a truly cheerful heart.
 
As one of my readers wrote to me recently:
"You sent an email about 2 months ago that convicted me 
that giving was to be based on the New Testament model - 
giving cheerfully as we purpose - instead of being under the 
law.  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law.  I have 
found that since I give cheerfully whenever Father shows 
me to give that I have had my socks blessed off.  I was 
always giving 10% to my local church and never seeing any 
great results.  I became convicted that my worship leader 
needed the money so out of a strong conviction to give it to 
him I did so.  I found that suddenly at work my sales went 
through the roof.  Before I was doing so poorly I was close 
to losing my job.  I know the only difference is following the 
Holy Spirit and doing what He tells me with my money 
based on the New Testament example."

AMEN!! 

If you want to reply to this article or join this discussion
then please send emails to-  prophetic@...

May God bless you in your giving, my friends!

Kindest regards in Christ,

Andrew Strom.