What is Grace Giving?

August 11, 2009 by
Filed under: Giving, Philosophy 

The right hand doesn't need to know what the left is doing but at least one needs to know what is happening with the money.

“Grace” Is Not The Synonym
For Mindless Enthusiasm

 

I began a series of posts on Tithing in July 2009 that immediately attracted a lot of negative attention.  Every comment came from people who reject tithing, believe it was eliminated at the cross and feel quite free to abuse anyone who thinks otherwise.

  • They refer to those who teach tithing variously as false prophets, liars and thieves.
  • Those who practice tithing, they say, are duped.
  • Anyone who doesn’t see their point immediately or questions them with rational arguments are accused of being gripped with a cultic mindset.

In other words, anyone who disagrees is either a false prophet, a dupe or psychologically damaged.  That makes it easy for them.  Tithers need help not answers.

Well, ever the curious antagonist, I engaged the discussion looking for two specific bits of information.

Firstly, I wanted to know if these detractors could actually prove that tithing can be understood differently to the historical traditional sense.  Was it really never what we thought it was?  Did Abraham and Jacob really not tithe in the traditionally understood manner?  Was their tithing not the same as that incorporated in the law?  Did Jesus’ sparsity of comments on tithing mean it was mysteriously and without notice eliminated?

I dedicated several posts to these very questions.  The responses could be described as misdirecting, smoke screening and/or dismissive.  You can peruse the comments on the various posts to see what I mean.

Secondly, I wanted to know what we should do instead.  If not tithing then what?  That is a good question especially for people just starting out.

The answer, in most cases, was “Grace Giving” but it was never accompanied with a clear definition of what that is and how it works, so the questions remain. 

What is that?  What does it mean? How does it work? 

I’ve asked all these questions and gotten very little in response. Answers are vague, definitions are thin and asking for detailed clarification doesn’t help. I haven’t met one anti-tither yet that will tell you up front exactly what they give or how they calculate it. The Bible says the right hand shouldn’t know what the left hand is giving to charity – which is not exactly the same thing as a tithe – but one hand should definitely know what is going with the money.

But, in the course of interacting with these anti-tithers a glimmer of evidence came through. One lady, carrying unwanted debt, asked if she could use her tithe to pay off the debt and the anti-tithe spokesperson said absolutely.

The implication was, as long as she was paying off debt she didn’t need to pay God anything! In another post he says exactly that, “I don’t want you to give another dime until all of your unsecured credit is paid off.” I can’t imagine telling anyone to do that. It doesn’t make sense spiritually or practically but from this we glean the first rule of grace giving.

Rule # 1: Donations Must Be Used To Pay Off Debt

 

You must use any money you might otherwise offer to God, tithe or not, to pay off accumulated debt.

There was no discussion on how this woman accumulated debt. Apparently it didn’t matter. It was assumed that offerings are a primary cause of debt and, therefore, must be the primary line of correction.

But, it doesn’t stop there. Anti-tithe then proceeded to use his parents’ experience to illustrate his point. Here is the quote:

My parents paid tithing for 20 years, and i can tell you that in the end they were still in $30,000 in credit card debt. Their tithe over those years was equivalent to about $100,000. I believe a wise steward would pay 70,000 in tithes and offerings and used the other 30,000 to stay out of debt.

Here is the skinny on the illustration.

  • Thirty grand over twenty years represents over budget spending of $125 a month.
  • He recommends using the tithe to avoid the debt, i.e., wait till the end of the month to see what is left over before paying God anything. Don’t worry if what is left is less than a tithe.

So now we have the second rule of grace giving:

Rule # 2: Pay God Last

 

Make your contributions to God only after everyone and everything else has been paid, even if nothing is left. In this scenario God becomes your first line of defense against over spending.

Of course, no serious minded person could think this. Jesus said seek God FIRST and in context was discussing money. But, even if we took Anti-tithes advice seriously, it still leaves us with unanswered questions.

If I get to the end of the month and I have more than a tithe left over do I give a tithe, everything left over, less than a tithe or what?  What rule do I follow in calculating an amount? That is a reasonable question to which anti-tithers have no rational response.

By the way, when I suggested he was teaching people to live extravagantly before they give to God he felt compelled to share his parents’ experience. His words:

We had 8 children in our family. My parents sent us to a private Christian School. My dad had a blue collar job. That is how you spend so much money. We never had a fancy car. We didn’t have a nice house. I lived in the ghetto. We always had food. We never had any fancy clothes, or nice shoes. But my parents obviously struggled between the battle of providing the necessities to their children and giving 400/month in tithes.

My family didn’t have the luxury of paying ourselves fully first. That was never the case. My father always paid God first, and then did what he could for his family. I look back as a parent myself, and do not know how i am here today.

I could count with both my hands the number of times my family went out to eat.

My response:

I have a lot of respect for your parents. I hope you haven’t convinced them they were wrong and I think you and your siblings could help out with some of the debt.

I’m also curious about the school situation. We sent our kids to a private Christian school also and because we were tithing members we paid reduced school fees. In fact, what we paid in tithes was less than the amount by which the fees were reduced. That represents a return on the tithe before it is given.

If you are interested you can follow the whole conversation here.

Truth? Tithing never hurt anyone. It always helps and there aren’t enough arguments to make it go away. But, I am still open. Anyone who can provide a complete non-tithing concept for giving that includes faithfulness, consistency and commitment and can deal honestly with legitimate arguments for tithing will have my attention.

What do you THINK!AboutIt?


In Tithing, Douglas Leblanc provides much more than a narrow discussion on a traditional issue. It isn’t the same old arguments presented the same boringly technical way.

Instead, and probably because he admits to being “no theologian or exegetical writer,” Douglas has found an intriguing way to cut to the real heart of the issue – compassion and concern for others. He shares the experiences of twelve different homes, all couples with the exception of one lone Monsignor, all of whom endorse tithing for a very similar reason: selflessness.

Comments

12 Comments on What is Grace Giving?

  1. steward on Tue, 11th Aug 2009 2:01 pm
  2. Correct, i don’t want them to give. I want them to feel the full pressure of watching that plate go by without putting anything in. I don’t want them to feel any consolation for their foolish spending by giving to ease their guilty conscience. Giving is the easy way out. Our religious giving can hide mounds of overall poor stewardship. No one would ever know that we are selfish, greedy, and materialistic. As long as we put that money in each week, we convince ourselves and possibly others that we are responsible people.

    So, no i don’t want you to give a dime while you are in debt. So the next time that you see that plate go by, remember what it feels like to rob God not just by failing to give, but by your foolish debt.

    What makes you think that you are giving to God if you rob from one purse because of debt to give to another purse?

    You are sincerely mislead if you believe that i am directing people to pay God last. God is first – ALWAYS! Being wise with our finances and paying off debt is just as much putting God first as putting money in a plate. You cannot be in debt, and put money in the plate and convince yourself that you are at least doing half of what you are suppose to.

    Saying, ‘tithing never hurt anyone’ according to me is the same as saying ‘forcing clean meats’ upon people never hurt anyone, or ‘forcing the gentiles to circumcise’ never hurt anyone. Anyone can eat clean meats, and be circumcised and not be hurt. Anyone can give 10% and not be hurt, but these burdens are not requirements.

    - jared

  3. Mark on Tue, 11th Aug 2009 11:20 pm
  4. I had an extra moment and thought I’d drop by and see if you’d allowed Scripture to change your mind. Apparently not. Since I was a frequent commenter against you, I’ll assume that some/most of this refers to me.
    I don’t think I ever called you a liar or false prophet. I’m sure you honestly believe what you’re saying, even if it is untrue. Does that make you a liar? I did say you are very confused about the teachings of Scripture, especially the differences between the old and new covenants.

    “Firstly, I wanted to know if these detractors could actually prove that tithing can be understood differently to the historical traditional sense. Was it really never what we thought it was? Did Abraham and Jacob really not tithe in the traditionally understood manner? Was their tithing not the same as that incorporated in the law? Did Jesus’ sparsity of comments on tithing mean it was mysteriously and without notice eliminated?”

    What we answered with was that nobody ever actually gave in your traditionally understood manner. Nowhere in the Bible does it record anyone actually giving a tenth of their income/increase. The closest one is Jacob’s promise. And there is no command recorded in Scripture of God commanding saints in general, to give a tenth of their increase regularly. Not even one. I don’t see how that is misdirecting, smokescreening, or dismissive. You have an absolute vacuum of evidence for your position. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

    “The answer, of course, is “Grace Giving.” But the question remains. What is that? What does it mean? How does it work? I’ve asked all these questions and have gotten very little in response. Answers are vague, definitions are thin and asking for detailed clarification doesn’t help. I haven’t met one anti-tither yet that will tell you up front exactly what they do and how they calculate it. I’m not sure their left or right hand knows what’s going on.”

    What you got in response was a lengthy post detailing grace giving which you admitted you had no disagreement with. You just felt it wasn’t specific enough so you want to add to Scripture so you don’t feel in the dark about what to give. But Scripture doesn’t prescribe a percent. I don’t share how much I give because it is a private matter between me and God. I don’t want anyone to know how much I give, especially fellow church members, because I don’t want it to influence how they think of me. I’ve been in a church where tithing on record was mandatory for all church officers including deacons. When there was discussion on issues in the church, guess which deacons carried more weight. We have shown as much detail as the Bible provides when it comes to giving. You’re failure to recognize the sufficiency of Scripture is not our fault. And adding law to grace is something Paul took very seriously in the NT.

    Also, I am a strong advocate of grace giving, but I would not ascribe to your 2 so-called rules of grace giving. You are using terrible argumentation here. You are taking the comments of one person holding this position and pretending like they are representative. And even distorting them to make them sound worse. No wonder some of your detractors are accusing you of lying. At the very least, you are being dishonest with your portrayal of the grace-giving position.

    “Truth? Tithing never hurt anyone.”

    Really? No one? How do you know that? Do you really feel informed enough to make a universal statement of that magnitude? And is your position is not just that tithing is a good idea, or that it is beneficial or fiscally responsible. Your argument is that tithing is a command of God. I can say that hair cut over your ears never hurt anyone, but that doesn’t make it a Biblical command.

    “It always helps and there aren’t enough arguments to make it go away. But, I am still open.”

    There aren’t any arguments for it. No examples in the Bible and no commands from God. You act like we need to pull out some Scripture where God says, “Thou shalt not tithe” in order to defeat your position. But you are the one who wants to make a command binding on NT christians. YOU have to show that. You can’t pretend that your position is the default position and make everyone provide positive proofs against it. You have to provide the positive proofs. But not a single one of your arguments is a Biblical argument, so obviously your are not open, because you are obstinate in the face of a complete vacuum of evidence.

    “Anyone who can provide a complete non-tithing concept for giving that includes faithfulness, sacrifice, consistency and commitment and can deal honestly with legitimate arguments for tithing will have my attention.”

    Why do you get to set up the parameters of proof for the concept of giving? What if the Bible itself doesn’t deal with all of those areas in detail? You are setting the standard of proof so high that the Bible itself doesn’t even reach it. And, once again, let me reiterate that you have no arguments for tithing. No examples of anyone giving in your traditional, historical sense, and no commands from God for saints in general to give in that manner. How is that dishonest? We said the Bible teaches NT believers to give graciously, sacrificially, proportionately, regularly, and cheerfully. It just doesn’t tell them exactly. You don’t like that so you come up with what you refer to as the traditional, historical manner of giving which no one in Scripture ever did.

  5. EnnisP on Wed, 12th Aug 2009 8:27 am
  6. Hey Mark,
    Take a look around the net and you will find people referring to tithers in all the ways I mentioned. You never have used the terms (thank you) but it does happen quite frequently.

    And I do believe it would be great for people to know what formula could be used to determine what to give to God. You generally have been dismissive in response to that questions as if all people automatically know how to handle finances. If that were true there wouldn’t be so many people in trouble.

    For me the formula is ten percent. For you it is…I don’t know. There are a lot of questions that “Grace” people don’t but could answer:

    Do I commit to an amount?

    Do I give that amount even when things are tight?

    If not, do I stop all giving completely or give only a part of what I committed?

    If so, what part do I give and for how long?

    Is faith involved and if so what are the parameters for it (don’t want to be foolish).

    You have said twice that giving should be “sacrificial” (we agree) yet the individual I talked about in this post says don’t give anything to God if you have debt.

    Which is it? How is it defined? In fact, often “Grace” giving is presented as “no pressure, don’t have it, don’t give it.” That may not represent your personal views but the idea gets passed around.

    Lastly, there is more in the Bible for tithing than there is against it. To disregard that statement especially in view of arguments presented is to be dismissive. BTW, You still haven’t named the one verse of Scripture that commands a person to have only one marriage partner. Your response to that question was dismissive.

    To use questions about tithing which are not easy to answer to suggest it didn’t really exist is smoke screening. It was practiced and it is our job to figure it out not mystify it into non-existence.

    To refer to “pagans” as the reason people gave money to God is misdirection. Can we say for certain that pagans didn’t begin doing so after God’s people got it going in the first place? No! Can we say it was not God’s rule before the law? No!

    The ten commandments were written on the Stone of Hamurabi before Moses wrote them in the law (by about 500 years). Were these laws not true before Moses wrote them? Did Hamurabi inspire the decalogue or did God manage to impress these rules generally on hum society before Moses?

    By your description of society, pagans ruled before the law and God sat quietly in the corner having nothing to say.

    Be careful. I suspect your answer to this will be dismissive. Either give me an argument or say nothing.

    If you want to believe in “Grace” giving, define it. Everyone would appreciate it.

  7. steward on Wed, 12th Aug 2009 12:30 pm
  8. Grace giving is not antithetical to tithing. People can tithe and be under grace. But one cannot be a Spirit led giver without feeling the liberty to stray from their personal guidelines.

    There are many verses in the New Testament that show how the early Church made plans, but the Spirit was permitted to intervene without the interference of personal goals.

    Acts 16:7
    1 Cor. 6:5-7
    Romans 1:13
    2 Cor 1:15

    i would think that ‘you’ give offerings above the tithe, so i’m sure that you have made personal goals to give a certain percentage above the tithe. Have you ever strayed from your goal as an offering? Have you ever decided to give more or less to what you had predetermined to give? Since offerings are commanded, do you consider it foolish that many people do not follow a strict guideline for offerings? If you think it’s foolish for me to be Spirit led with my giving, then it has to be foolish for anyone to be Spirit led with their offerings above the tithe as well.

    When i use to separate my giving into tithes and offerings, many times my decision to give here or there would change. I would decide to take away here, and give to there. Or at times, i would keep the money for a need that came up. Sometimes there was no longer a need to where i was giving, or there was a greater need somewhere else.

    The Holy Spirit indwelling and guiding us is something that Abraham, Moses, nor Israel ever had. if Israel provided offerings without the gift of the Holy Spirit, why would we all of a sudden today define offerings above the tithe -’Spirit-led’?

  9. Mark on Wed, 12th Aug 2009 8:10 pm
  10. “And I do believe it would be great for people to know what formula could be used to determine what to give to God. You generally have been dismissive in response to that questions as if all people automatically know how to handle finances. If that were true there wouldn’t be so many people in trouble.”

    This isn’t an argument. Nobody really cares what you believe, just what you can show from Scripture. That is why we’ve been dismissive, because you are acting like there is some Biblical principle that requires God to spell out in minute detail exactly what we need to do. Of course, people will misuse and abuse finances. But that’s not a Biblical argument for tithing. At best, its an empirical argument that you’re profoundly misusing. In order for your argument to work, you would need to provide empirical evidence that people who are committed to Christ, don’t believe in tithing as a command, and regularly practice grace giving are in financial trouble. Good luck with that. So we’ll continue to dismiss your “God must give us minute details” principle since we don’t find it in Scripture.

    As far as your questions go, the answer to all of them is basically, “Give as you purpose in your heart to give in response to the grace God has abundantly given to you.” No, there’s no pressure there. That’s why Paul says that our giving should not be out of compulsion. I know that answer drives you nuts, so you want to add law to grace. But just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean you get to tell people God commands them to do something He doesn’t.

    “Lastly, there is more in the Bible for tithing than there is against it. To disregard that statement especially in view of arguments presented is to be dismissive. BTW, You still haven’t named the one verse of Scripture that commands a person to have only one marriage partner. Your response to that question was dismissive.”

    You keep saying this, but we keep repeating the fact that no one in the Bible ever tithed in your “traditional, historical” manner. There is no command of God anywhere that requires believers in general to give in your “traditional, historical” manner. As far as the rest of your arguments, they are not Biblical arguments. You say things like tithing encourages solidarity and tithing helps sloppy finances. But those aren’t arguments that are binding on believers as a command. There are a lot of things that would encourage solidarity or cure financial difficulties, but that doesn’t mean God commands them. So, yes, we are dismissive of the arguments that are not Scriptural arguments because what we are trying to ascertain is whether or not God, through Scripture, has commanded all people to tithe in your “traditional, historical” manner. And when we look at Scripture, we find that He doesn’t. And no one ever did it that way.

    “To use questions about tithing which are not easy to answer to suggest it didn’t really exist is smoke screening. It was practiced and it is our job to figure it out not mystify it into non-existence.”

    You are the one who is making assumptions that are not stated in Scripture, so we just presented challenges to your assumption. You say that it was Abraham’s practice to tithe in your “traditional, historical” manner even though the Bible doesn’t record it, so we asked questions like, who would he give it to? What was its purpose? What did he actually tithe on? Since you are making the assumption, you must show why we should accept your assumption. There are just too many obstacles to your assumption to really take it seriously.

    “To refer to “pagans” as the reason people gave money to God is misdirection. Can we say for certain that pagans didn’t begin doing so after God’s people got it going in the first place? No! Can we say it was not God’s rule before the law? No!”

    Its hard to take you seriously when you say things like this. Do you really not understand how Biblical characters in the Ancient Near East world would use some common practices of the ANE people even though God didn’t issue commands in those areas? If Abraham dressed like his ANE contemporaries does that mean that God commanded all those people to dress that way since Abraham did it? As far as your last two questions which you emphatically answer no, the Scripture is completely silent in that regard. For you to try to build an argument from silence leaves your position extremely vulnerable.

    “By your description of society, pagans ruled before the law and God sat quietly in the corner having nothing to say.”

    Wait, what? Because the ANE people had customs that weren’t commanded by God means God is sitting in a corner? Are you seriously proposing this as an argument? I’m just saying that not everything the ANE people did was as a direct result of a command from God. That’s not to say that God was not active, just that there was some liberty in people’s relationship to Him and to others, just like today.

    “If you want to believe in “Grace” giving, define it. Everyone would appreciate it.”

    I did define it, you just don’t like the definition because you’ve entered this discussion with an a priori commitment to a standard of proof that you require for a philosophy of giving. You think a philosophy of giving must answer questions in minute detail leaving no room for liberty. But that’s not a Biblical standard. So when we show you what the Bible actually says about giving, you respond with, that’s not enough, it needs to be more specific. You assume that it won’t work and that people will be left in the dark and the church will be a mass of confusion and financial disarray. Yet I have not yet found a church that held firmly to grace giving that had a confused membership or continual financial difficulties.

    You arguments carry no weight when compared to Scripture or reality. You are adding law to grace and removing the liberty that Galatians tells us to stand fast in. That is a dangerous thing to do.

  11. Mark on Wed, 12th Aug 2009 11:33 pm
  12. The other problem you have is some of the arguments you use against grace giving work against tithing too. If God’s goal is to provide clear instruction, then where is the clear instruction on the tithe?
    Do i tithe off of net or gross or gross plus benefits or is it off of assets like the Israelite ranchers?
    Do I tithe off of windfall? investments?
    Who do I give the tithe to?
    What is my tithe for?
    One of the tithes in Israel was to be consumed personally. Can I take a tithe and go and have a party for me and all my brothers in Christ just like the Israelites did?
    What do you mean when you say give/gave to God? I can’t physically impart wealth to God Himself. Does it mean giving to the church, the brethren, the least of these? And if all three, then how much of my tithe do I need to give to each? Or should I give 3 separate tithes like the Israelites did? Is that God’s command to me?
    Do I still need to tithe off of my vegetable and herb gardens since Christ commended the Pharisees for doing that?
    If I’m a farmer, can I give a tenth of my crops?
    If i live in a third world country that still uses a bartering system in addition to money, can I give something other than money and how do I calculate a tenth?

  13. EnnisP on Thu, 13th Aug 2009 8:56 am
  14. Hey Mark,
    Do you use toilet paper and if so what verse in the Bible says do so?

    Does your wife use birth control and if so what verse?

    Do you use banks…

    All of your questions about tithing are smoke screens. They don’t prove or disprove tithing which sets the basic parameter. They are moot sense the discussion here deals with whether or not tithing is a biblical principle. Once that is established some of them are legitimate and can be easily answered. Some of them are out of place.

    For example: “If I’m a farmer, can I give a tenth of my crops?”

    That has to be answered from two different view points. In a western economy crops are converted to cash, so no that wouldn’t be the reasonable way to make an offering. In poorer environments crops can most certainly become the actual offerings. They cannot readily convert crops to cash. In both cases tithing has been done.

    Grace giving provides no parameters.

    And, Mark, there is nothing a priori here. Traditional, yes, but if you wish to establish a priori you’ve got to go back to the first instance in which it was “thought” and prove a priori there. You can’t do that. No one can.

    You still haven’t given me your one verse commanding each person to have only one married partner. I’m sure you never will and I’m fairly certain any response will be dismissive.

  15. Mark on Thu, 13th Aug 2009 3:08 pm
  16. You really don’t get it, do you? You have asked all these specific questions about grace giving to show how the Bible doesn’t really give parameters. I ask questions about tithing to show that the Bible doesn’t really give specific parameters there either.
    By a priori, I meant that YOU have an a priori commitment to a level of specificity that the Bible doesn’t meet. You’ve entered the discussion saying that a philosophy of giving MUST answer these certain questions or you’re not going to accept it. But your level of specificity is not mandated by Scripture. Scripture doesn’t give us that level of specificity. What Scripture gives us is broad principles that essentially boil down to, “Give as you purpose in your heart, according to the abundant grace that God has given you.” You keep complaining that that has no parameters. But that is not a Biblical problem. I can, by the same token, reverse your argument back to you and require a level of specificity that the principle of tithing doesn’t meet. I can complain that I feel left in the dark by the tithing principle because I don’t know what to do in these certain situations. You say my questions are moot, I say your questions are moot.

    As far as your answer to the farming situation, the Israelites could easily convert crops to cash, the law even had conditions for it. If you converted your crops to cash, you had to give above their value. So, why can’t I just give a tenth of my crops? You say its unreasonable, but where does Scripture provide the parameters for the tithing principle?

    And I don’t know where you’re getting your idea of traditional. Traditional to you, maybe. Traditional to conservative Christianity possibly. But the Bible has no examples or commands regarding giving in your traditional manner.

    As far as your silly polygamy question, I’m not going to spend the time developing a philosophy of marriage for you. That’s just a red herring, which you are completely misusing. Let’s follow your reasoning for the tithing principle. Abraham did it before the law. People practiced it under the law. There is no clear Scripture that explicitly removes the tithing principle in the NT. Now, let’s apply that exact same logic to polygamy. Abraham practiced it before the law. People practiced it under the law. There is no clear Scripture that explicitly outlaws polygamy in the NT. By your own logic, you have proven the validity of polygamy. I’m sure your wife will be thrilled.

    When you ask us for explicit statements from Scripture for silly little things, we just look at you and think, “Wait, what?” Our whole argument is that we don’t need Scripture to spell things out in detail for us. We can give freely with liberty. You are the one saying God has commanded a clear, specific, precise method so we’re just asking you where God laid down that clear, specific, precise method and for some examples of anyone, ANYONE, giving according to that clear, specific, precise, traditional method. (crickets chirping)

  17. Suzie on Sat, 15th Aug 2009 6:26 am
  18. Maybe People are getting militant against forced tithing because they are tired of being manipulated lied to and scared half to death of the cursed with a curse quote that has become a favorite quote at Collection time!
    Using Abraham as tithing to Melchizedek to support tithing displays a great amount of ignorance of Hebrews because later in Hebrews it totally invalidates the law by saying in Christ we now have a new and better (way) Covenant.

    You can’t be cursed if you are in Christ, for Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law. If you want to feel justified by your works go right ahead I would rather rest in the finished work of Christ and believe him when he said it is finished.
    Sign me Happy that my debts are “paid in full” by Jesus I give under grace not to keep the law that Jesus fulfilled for me. Since the tithe promoters are teaching the tithe law where is the command to keep the other six hundred and twelve laws?

  19. Gary Arnold on Tue, 25th Aug 2009 7:22 am
  20. EnnisP – Let me start with tithing, and then I will go to giving.

    Abraham tithed war spoils, NOT from his income or wealth. That was a one-time event recorded in over 2,000 years of Biblical history. Jacob only vowed to tithe IF God met his conditions. There is no record whether Jacob in fact tithed or not, and if he did, who he gave it to.

    Hebrews 7 starts talking about Melchisedec and Abraham’s tithe. That’s the ONLY commandment, or law, being spoken of. Then in Hebrews7:12 we are told “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” Then in verse 18 we are told “For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment…” Verse 18 tells us tithing had been abolished.

    Ephesians 2:15 and Colossians 2:14 plus many other verses tell us the law ended at the cross. Tithing was part of the law. Abraham’s tithe was not commanded by God.

    In the Old Testament, you PAID a tithe to God by taking it to the Levites. You gave God offerings by BURNING them. That was the only way to give to God. In the New Testament, it is not possible to pay a tithe to God because the Levitical priesthood ended, and God NEVER authorized the Christian Church to receive his tithe. In the New Testament, it is not possible to give offerings to God. Giving to a church is NOT giving to God.

    In the New Testament we can give to the Lord by following what Jesus said in Matthew 25:42-45. Giving/helping the poor is giving to God.

    I have electronically published my latest book, THE PRINCIPLES OF NEW TESTAMENT GIVING, which is available, free of charge as a download, at my newest website, http://www.NewTestamentGiving.com. I cover God’s gifts to us, how God wants our giving to Him to begin with ourselves, what God wants us to do with our money, principles of giving, when and how to give, and more.

    I believe that God is more concerned with how much we keep for ourselves than He is with how much we give. Some will argue that our giving should be more like the “graduated income tax” in that the more money one makes, the higher percentage he or she should give. But there is NO percentage to start with. Many should be giving 20%, 30%, or more, while others may only have a dollar to give. Each must pray and be led by the Spirit.

    I consider it an honor and privilege to give to those in need. Giving need not be to a church or charity. Giving can be direct to those you know need help. However, those who attend a local church are morally obligated to “pay their share” as the bills must be paid. If you want a building to worship in, air conditioning, etc., those using it need to pay for it. Those who are able should even help pay the share of others less fortunate.

    My giving is led by the Spirit. When attending a church, I decide or a “regular donation” to pay my share since a church needs to have a budget. Then I pray and let the Spirit guide me for any amount above it. Sometimes I an led to give a large amount; sometimes nothing additional.

    My biggest blessings have come while being a cheerful GIVER, not while I was a tither. Paying a tithe is like paying your income taxes. There is nothing pleasurable about it. I find much pleasure and satisfaction in my giving where I know it is making a difference.

    We are able to give from our earnings. The Lord’s tithe was ALWAYS on the miraculous increase of God and NEVER on anything that man made or earned. It was NOT on man’s increase. My book on tithing can be downloaded free of charge at http://www.tithingbook.info.

    God has called me to teach the truth about His tithe as well as to teach stewardship and giving. This is now what I do. And since I am retired, I never charge or any of my services, and actually refuse to accept any donations to my ministry. God has already blessed me, and now I am giving back to Him.

  21. EnnisP on Tue, 25th Aug 2009 11:34 am
  22. Hello Gary. Thanks for your comments. Obviously, you and I have discussed tithing before and disagreed and my responses to your arguments are included in the post The Long History of Tithing. I won’t repeat them here.

    I do, however, acknowledge and appreciate your effort to give some guidelines to giving as you teach it and practice it. That is far better than being mysterious about it.

    [...] Giving should only be done by grace. Answered here and here. [...]

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