Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Do you tithe?

Welcome back to my blog. I am glad you are here.

The topic of tithing to the church can be a difficult question. To investigate young believers’ beliefs’ over this fascinating issue we recently surveyed visitors to the Instagram account, DailyBibleVerses. In total, 548 persons completed the survey of whom 80% were female, 82% evangelical, and 85% were <40 years of age and 40% <18. How the participants tithed is described in Table 1.

Further, 82% said that missions or parachurch organizations could receive part of their tithe while 60% indicated material possessions or time could be part of their tithe. Table 2 addresses the participant’s biblical basis of their tithing.

Tithing is a concept introduced in the Old Testament law and refers to 10% of gains in crops and herds be given to the use of God (Numbers 18:24-28 and Deuteronomy 12:6-12, 14:22-28). One prior mention of tithing stretches back to Abraham's tithe to King Melchizedek after his great victory over the Mesopotamians (Genesis 14:20).

Tithing is not mentioned in the New Testament epistles for the church. Importantly, Christ said He is the end of the Old Testament law (Romans 10:4). Therefore, the law has been discontinued and does not govern the church; Christians do not have to follow it (Hebrews 7:12-22).

The New Testament does state (2 Corinthians 9:7); however, everyone should choose to give to God’s work, without sorrow, because God loves those who give joyfully!  The Apostle Paul (Philippians 3:8) provides us an example when he states that he counts all things loss for Christ. Importantly, everything we do as Christians is done by faith, including the extent and manner of giving (Romans 14:23).

Many who adhere to Reformed Theology believe the church was mysteriously present in the Old Testament and so we must obey the law, including tithing. However, no one obeys all the law, so its practical application is selective and inconsistent. If the church was present in the Old Testament it is not mentioned specifically, it existed spiritually and here was certainly not a church structure that required a tithe.

In summary, tithing is based in the Old Testament law which New Testament believers are not required to obey because they follow Christ. In contrast, we have the opportunity to serve Christ with all our mental and physical possessions, in faith, as guided by the New Testament and prayer (1 Timothy 4:4-5).

Thanks for visiting and see you again next week.

WC Stewart

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