Must Tithes Be Given Only To Church?

September 14, 2010 by
Filed under: Charity, Church, Giving 

Money given to individuals is not tax deductible

Good Question
Deserves Thoughtful Answer

 

Recently on Yahoo Answers a person (we’ll call him Jerry) submitted a question about tithing:

“Does money I tithe have to be given to the church to be considered tithing?”

The reason for the question had nothing to do with selfishness, materialism or bad financial management. His question was motivated by generosity.

The church Jerry attends was preparing to send kids to camp and there were a couple of kids who couldn’t afford to go. Diverting Jerry’s tithe to this need for three months would cover the expense and he wondered if that was legit. Would that still qualify as “tithing?”

He also made it clear that he wasn’t questioning the rationale behind tithing (devoting ten percent of your income to God). In fact, he specified that only people who believed in tithing should respond and he further qualified by requesting only “respectful” answers. I almost laughed at the request. Having been scorched a few times by anti-tithers I wanted to put on a flack jacket before reading some of the responses. He had obviously faced a few also.

And sure enough one anti-tithing respondent spewed the venom we have come to expect: calling names, restating old arguments and generally abusing those who disagree. I wont’ waste time responding.

The truth is, this is a good question. It speaks to one particular issue about tithing, “where are tithes to be offered” and it deserves a thoughtful answer.

To be clear the question here is not, should I give tithes to my church but rather must I give all my tithes only to my church. That is an important clarification. Even anti-tithing folks give money to the church they attend.

Some tithers, however, do argue that every cent of the tithe belongs to the church and they usually refer to this practice as “storehouse tithing.” The argument is based mostly on one passage, Malachi 3:10 which literally says…

“Bring all the tithe into the storehouse…”

Storehouse Tithing

Tithers equate the storehouse in the Old Testament, the Temple, with the church in the New Testament. Anti-tithers debate this, suggesting that the entire Old Testament is obliterated by the New.

That idea, of course, can’t be logically sustained. Christ’s death did render ceremonial law nonessential but principles of truth and spiritual practices embedded in the law – and established before the law – are still relevant today. Churches still teach the truth, make judgments among believers and evangelize the world – all things done in the Old Testament – and should be funded in the same way, tithing.

So my answer to Jerry was the following:

  • Suggest to the leadership of the church that some of the offerings, a percentage maybe, be placed aside for charitable purposes. We do that in our church and have provided financial assistance, with no strings attached, for people in and out of the church. Obviously subsidizing camp expenses for kids could be covered out of this fund. Do keep in mind that a suggestion like this may take time for implementation. You might even have to motivate it with sound explanations from a biblical perspective.
     
    In the Old Testament a third of the tithe was given to the needy so there is precedent for the practice. That constitutes biblical justification for keeping a portion of your tithe aside, no more than a third, which could be used for charitable purposes.
     
    In the Jewish communities they still practice this today.
     
    Keeping some of the tithe to one side requires more bookkeeping but that develops skills that are useful.
  • Another option is for the church to provide opportunities for the needy kids, or any others, to earn the money for camp. That might be better than giving it away. They will learn from the experience and probably get more out of camp. It is better to help them with “life issues” than just give them money.

You can, of course, give your tithe directly to individuals but in that case the money can’t be claimed against your tax return. Tax deductible donations must be channeled through registered organizations such as churches or other nonprofits. So, if Jerry’s church is not agreeable to his plan or he can’t find another charity that is, he will have to weigh his decision against the loss of a tax deduction.

As a side note, this doesn’t apply in every country. Some countries exempt offerings and some don’t. For example, a few that allow exemptions are: USA, Canada, UK and New Zealand and a couple that don’t are Australia and South Africa. Of those that do allow exemptions, the tax code is structured differently from one to the next.

The bottom line is this. “Storehouse Tithing” – Giving all your tithe only to your church – does not represent an absolute. It isn’t like adultery. It is more an operational principle than a moral restriction. God is concerned about the poor and needy so allocating a portion of your tithe for such causes is very acceptable.

But, it is fair to say that a portion of your tithe should be given to your church. If you benefit from your church and the church maintains biblical ministries it is only reasonable to support it financially. Membership is synonymous with partnership and tithing is one way to express solidarity.

Obviously, if you are not happy with your church, you should find another one.

 
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 is “no theologian or exegetical writer,” Douglas has found an intriguing way to cut to the real heart of the issue. He shares the experiences of eleven different couples and one lone Monsignor, all of whom endorse tithing for a very similar reason: selflessness.

Comments

34 Comments on Must Tithes Be Given Only To Church?

  1. Mark Gomez on Wed, 15th Sep 2010 6:41 pm
  2. As someone who’s interacted with you extensively on tithing in the past, I’m surprised at your characterization of anti-tithers. I thought our discussions were fairly cordial. I tried to point out where you were wrong, but not necessarily attack you personally. It’s a bit of an ad hominem to paint anti-tithers like that.
    I just wanted to quickly interact with your complete misstatement of the grace giving position. You said,

    that the entire Old Testament is obliterated by the New.

    I’d challenge you to find where I or any other “anti-tither” ever claimed this. Here is what we would claim.
    1. Christ fulfilled the law, not obliterated the law. This includes the ceremonial law and the sacrificial law.
    2. In fulfilling the law, he did away with the “wall of separation” between Jew and Gentile, meaning that the gentile now has access to God and does not need to go through the Jewish nation to access God.
    3. Since a person does not need to go through the Jewish nation, the laws related to Israelites as a nation are no longer binding on believers.

    You do a disservice to your argument when you misstate our argument so egregiously.

  3. EnnisP on Thu, 16th Sep 2010 6:21 am
  4. Hey Mark. Nice to hear from you. It has been a while.

    I admit that I get a little playful with some of those who disagree with tithing and am trying to shy away from it. Even this post originally included sarcastic remarks that I afterward felt were unnecessary and removed.

    But, for sure these remarks are not aimed at you or those who approach giving the way you do. It was more for those who refer to people like me as liar, wolf in sheep’s clothing and insinuate ulterior motives, suggesting tithers either intentionally twist Scripture or are duped. Not very kind. Some of the ones quoted the most and considered “representative” are the ones who most guilty.

    All grace givers, like all tithers, aren’t the same, so please know that you are not the target.

  5. midlands choice insurance on Mon, 27th Sep 2010 12:14 am
  6. Great post! I want you to follow up on this topic :)

    -Yours truly
    Eugene

  7. Les Riker on Mon, 27th Sep 2010 7:46 pm
  8. It seems obvious that Jerry was being led by the Spirit to take care of these kids. It was weighing on his heart. And your advice (it seems) was no don’t listen to your heart or the Holy Spirit, give it to the church and let them decide what to do or single the poor kids out and make them work for it. When the Spirit leads its usually not just about the obvious, he might have influenced the whole family by his gift. Hopefully he did.

    I give regularly to the church.
    Commanded tithing of course though, cannot be logically sustained. In Hebrews chapter 7, Paul is describing the path of change from the OT ceremonial law to the new law. In that chapter the term “tithe” is used 7 times and “law” is used 7 times. Is that a coincidence? I don’t think so. Why else would Paul be preaching to the Jews about change if they were to keep tithing like they always did? In other words if there was no need to change tithing then why was he preaching the change? It is totally illogical to teach that Hebrews 7:18 abolished every ordinance pertaining to the Levitical priesthood except tithing! Do you still keep the Sabbath? Is circumcision commanded? Sacrifice, grace, love, justice, and mercy are eternal principles. A tithe is not eternal.

    Being led by the Spirit relinquishes the idea of tithing by the law as is said in Galatians 5:18. Either we are led by the Holy Spirit or not. If not, then we need a law telling us what to give. If we are, then we are lead by the Holy Spirit and he will bring us to a whole new dimension of giving that cannot be bound by earthly traditions or a temporary tithe. I have always heard preachers say give at least 10%. If people were instead taught to be open to the Spirit’s leading, I believe they would all be giving more than 10%. Are we afraid the church won’t be funded if left only to the Spirit’s guidance. Do we have to command the first 10% and then count on the Spirit for extra.

    Have a blessed Day
    Les

  9. EnnisP on Tue, 28th Sep 2010 4:36 pm
  10. Thanks Les for the visit and the comment. A few questions/responses:

    What about Jerry’s situation makes the Spirit’s leading obvious?

    Could Jerry make a plan for the kids to earn the money without drawing attention to them?

    Would it be good if the church leadership organized a “earn your way to camp” program for anyone who wanted to participate, enabling them to learn what it means to be productive and responsible, to work for the things they want?

    Two concepts labored in the Tithe issue are Law/Command giving and Spirit/Grace giving. The law folks are accused of being at least inflexible and hard nosed (sometimes false prophets, wolves) and the grace folks are accused of being so open minded their brains fall out. I don’t say that to accuse you. I don’t know how you determine what the Spirit is leading you to do and you may very well have some solid principles which govern that. But making the observation about the two extremes is fair.

    For me, there is something in between those two polarized positions.

    I do think tithing is a principle that transcends the law. Even your reference to Hebrews would support that idea. Heb. 7 could easily be used to make an argument for the continuation of tithing as an operational principle, although I won’t go into that now.

    The question is, after considering all the Scriptures and factoring in some life experience, could God’s Spirit lead a person to be a consistent tithing member of a church? I would say yes. I don’t want to presume but I am guessing you would say no. One thing for sure, if the a person said they Spirit led them to tithe to a specific church we would both have to respect that.

    Thanks for participating. Hope you’ll come by again.

  11. Mark Gomez on Tue, 28th Sep 2010 5:24 pm
  12. EnnisP, I don’t understand why you feel your position is in between Law/Command and Grace giving. Please answer these questions to clarify your position:
    Do you think the tithe is commanded for NT believers or not?
    If a NT believer does not tithe, do you believe he is robbing God?
    Should new believers be told that they have a duty to give 10% of their regular income to their local church?

  13. Les Riker on Tue, 28th Sep 2010 8:02 pm
  14. I believe God will make you aware of needs of others that you are able to fulfill and they will weigh on your heart. I believed he was putting considerable thought into it, since he questioned whether or not he could use his “tithe” for that purpose. Maybe obvious wasn’t the correct choice.
    Do you believe he wasn’t led?
    Do you believe God guides our thoughts like Jerry was having or did the twins just get lucky someone noticed their situation?
    Jerry or his church, could do anything. But were they willing to do that at that particular time. Jerry was willing to give the money.
    Nothing wrong with a church having a program for kids to earn camp money. My kids did it for several years. Great idea.
    I really didn’t know there was a big debate about tithing until the last few days. Wasn’t aware of the 2 extremes until you pointed them out. Thank you. Even though you tried to clarify it you went straight to brainless didn’t you.
    Answer to your question. YES

    What are your guide lines for knowing when God leads you?

    I don’t understand in between the 2. Is it?
    Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver as long as it’s at least 10%.

    Les

  15. EnnisP on Wed, 29th Sep 2010 4:07 pm
  16. Mark
    Yes, I believe tithing is a command but wouldn’t deal with it differently to any other command in the NT. I don’t think we have a duty to focus on any particular command at the expense of others.

    Tithing isn’t the first thing I mention to new believers and, in fact, I have found that many people will enquire about guidelines for giving if allowed enough time to digest what is going on in the church.

    We just had a person approach a board member specifically asking what they should give and qualified the question with “I don’t want a wish washy answer.” No lie. That really happened.

    Obviously, I don’t have a problem suggesting a 10% target amount and, yes, I think any time we manage our lives differently to established principles, God, and we, will suffer losses (are robbed).

    What I don’t do is make demands. It’s kind of like “husbands love your wives.”

    Is that a command? Yes. Will losses occur if it isn’t obeyed? Yes. Should we encourage husbands to follow this command and give instructions on how to do it intelligently, giving as much philosophical motivation as we can? Yes.

    But, I doubt any husband or potential tither will be helped if we pound them from the pulpit each Sunday with regard to any command.

    I will say this. The ministries of many tithing proponents have been heavily weighted toward the demanding / hounding approach to tithing and that is distasteful. That is not my style. We might possibly agree on that.

    Where we disagree, I think, is I won’t throw out the concept because it is abused by some.

  17. EnnisP on Wed, 29th Sep 2010 4:31 pm
  18. Les,
    Do I believe Jerry was led of the Spirit? To be honest, I don’t know. I think he was being sensitive in a good way and I appreciate that but I wouldn’t say you need the Spirit to recognize those kinds of needs. At least, I hope we can see these things without requiring the Spirit’s prompting.

    But, that wasn’t his question. Spirit led or not we should never respond convulsively. He was wisely asking how to meet this need, not assuming anything he did was OK.

    Being prompted by the Spirit to do some particular thing doesn’t necessarily mean we know exactly how to do it without consultation, learning and maybe a little experimenting.

    If a fifteen year old says God is leading him or her to be a medical doctor we would expect that declaration to be followed with the pursuit of a specific learning path.

    What I suggested to Jerry were ideas on how to meet the need wisely and carefully. And for me the best choice is always organized church efforts and I think he should at least try to convey his feelings to church leadership.

    It was because the church didn’t have this kind of policy in place that I said using a person’s tithe on the odd occasion to help someone out is not an act of disloyalty.

    But, even then it might not be the best plan for the kids.

  19. Mark Gomez on Wed, 29th Sep 2010 4:40 pm
  20. Fair enough. I think your defense of tithing as a command is incredibly lacking since it doesn’t appear as a general command anywhere in Scripture. And I don’t think any of us throw it out because its been abused, but rather because we find no warrant for it in Scripture.
    As far as someone in your church not wanting a “wishy-washy” answer, I don’t much care what they want but rather what the Bible teaches. I tell those in my congregation to give as they feel led, according to the grace that God has given them and to do it regularly and sacrificially. If someone insists I be more specific and give them an actual amount, I tell them the Scripture doesn’t dictate an amount. I don’t care if they think that is wishy-washy. I care what the Bible teaches.
    A lot of your arguments seem to be about the benefits of tithing. Those are not arguments that can establish something as a Biblical command binding on Christians. That’s where the focus of the discussion should be.

  21. EnnisP on Thu, 30th Sep 2010 6:06 pm
  22. Hey Mark. You seem to be a bit agitated.

  23. Mark Gomez on Thu, 30th Sep 2010 6:24 pm
  24. Not agitated. I just feel like you’ve failed to mount any kind of Scriptural argument for tithing. You throw out things like “there’s more about tithing than there is about the trinity” or “people don’t want wishy-washy answers” or “I’m not going to throw it out because its been abused”, but you’ve still failed to show us where God commands people generally to tithe. If you’re trying to establish that God is commanding NT believers to tithe then you need to show where the Bible says it. Not your ideas about solidarity or specificity or general avoidance of wishy-washyness. Those aren’t Biblical arguments.

  25. EnnisP on Thu, 30th Sep 2010 6:39 pm
  26. Most of those questions I’ve answered in previous posts but since you brought it up, there are more statements about tithing than there is about the trinity. We both believe in the Trinity don’t we?

  27. Mark Gomez on Thu, 30th Sep 2010 6:43 pm
  28. But that’s not a Biblical argument. The word tithe appears more often than the word Trinity, but so does sacrifice and circumcise and temple and altar, etc. That doesn’t mean that a NT believer is commanded to sacrifice and circumcise and use a temple. This is a perfect example of your misuse of Scripture.

  29. EnnisP on Thu, 30th Sep 2010 6:53 pm
  30. I don’t mind your arguments Mark and you gave some in that last comment but accusing me or anyone else of misusing Scripture is presumptuous.

    I’m sure there are many very sincere people who disagree with both of us but not because they misuse Scripture. That isn’t the only reason people come to a different conclusion than you or I and there are probably other issues we don’t agree on.

    Regarding the “command” issue, I believe and have said in previous posts that if anything Jesus should have specifically repealed the practice if it was to be discontinued. He do that.

    Since ceremonial law didn’t initiate the principle then the annulling of the law doesn’t rescind.

    If you disagree I respect that and will gladly consider your arguments but would rather you left off claims of misuse.

    I’m headed for small group. Talk later.

  31. Mark Gomez on Thu, 30th Sep 2010 7:17 pm
  32. My assertion that you are misusing Scripture is based on the fact that you are telling people that Scripture commands them to do something that is does not. You still haven’t shown any Scripture where God gives a general command to tithe. You can’t say that it is in place because Christ didn’t repeal it, because you haven’t established it in the first place. There’s nothing for Christ to repeal. And even if there was, then the Jerusalem council repealed it when they met about what parts of the law the NT believers should be asked to keep. After their meeting, the tithe was not on the list of things they were asking people to do.
    And its not part of the ceremonial law. I never said it was. I said it was part of the national law specific to Israel. And since I am not a member of national Israel, I don’t have to pay tithes for the purposes of supporting the Levites, the poor and widows, and general feasting. And since the national law in Israel is the only place we see God telling specific (not general) people to tithe, I don’t infer that people outside of national Israel are commanded to tithe. Rather they are asked to give according to certain principles laid out in the NT. But you don’t think those are specific enough, so you fall back on a word that is found in the Bible that means tenth, and you misconstrue Scripture to support you unfounded demands of specificity.

  33. EnnisP on Thu, 30th Sep 2010 9:01 pm
  34. Can we agree to disagree then?

  35. Mark Gomez on Thu, 30th Sep 2010 9:22 pm
  36. Well, I guess we’ll have to. I’d be interested in having a discussion regarding tithing using the Bible as primary source, but until then, yeah, we agree to disagree because our methodology for deriving the commands of God is fundamentally different.

  37. Les Riker on Mon, 11th Oct 2010 6:11 pm
  38. Score
    Mark 10 Ennis 1

  39. Dale Dyer on Fri, 29th Oct 2010 9:17 am
  40. I can see both points of view. My girlfriend is a Seventh-day Adventist and I’m not, and I’ve had some strong discussions with her over the Tithe. She was raised to believe in it because her parents and her Church pushed it as a sacred obligation to please God. And I was raised a Baptist, but later on in my 20s joined the SDA Church. And I went initially went along with the Tithe. But then the “tithe abuse” started happening to me. The Church treasurer was a gossip and told the other church members the amount I tithed. And then at the beginning of the new year I got a letter from the Church conference itemizing my tithe and a little memo that read “THIS INFORMATION HAS BEEN PROVIDED TO THE IRS.” All because I stupidly wrote my name and address on the tithe envelope and my tithe check had my name/address on it. And I remembered that Jesus said to do your alms in secret and not to be like the Pharisees who announce with a trumpet the amount they drop into the Temple coin box. And so I got mad at some busybody in Church telling everyone of the embarrassing 10 percent I tithed (I’m a poor churchmouse). I kept paying tithe but put different pseuodnyms on the tithe envelope: Superman, Batman, Mickey Mouse, Buggs Bunny. And legally, the church treasurer has to keep a record of the name of the “tither” per requirements for non-profit donations. I’m sure they did not. After dealing with this issue of “tithe abuse” and the Church finding out about and ridiculing my “two mites”, I gave it up.

    For me, informing the goverment about a private, sacred trust was like breaking down the separation of Church and State. Isn’t there an option that I can choose, such as checking a box, “NO, I DO NOT WISH TO SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH THE GOVERNMENT.” They don’t give you the right to choose to be a silent partner. I need for the Tithe to be private. But the local Church blabbed it, the regional conference and the national conference counted it and put me on their mailing list for “more giving beyond your Tithe”, and now the government was involved, and everyone in Church just assumed it is their business. It just makes me think of how the money changers were counting a “tenth” of this and a “tenth” of that, and if someone like Jesus overturned the Church treasurer’s table and made her lose count, the Church would be out for blood. I know, because one time I opened the wrong door in Church and saw the treasurer counting the tithe and offerings – during Church service – and I wonder, if I had overturned her table, would the minister or head deacon have called the police? Surely.

    So many people in the U.S. pay tithe and then claim the Tithe as a deduction on their income tax return. And so I asked my SDA Church friends, “So, do you pay tithe on that tax return check the govenment sends you?” And they say “No! I already paid tithe on it!” But I never did claim the deduction. Never. It made me feel like I was profitting on something that the Lord meant us to give as a sacrifice.

    And so, I have a different reason for objecting to the Tithe. It’s the one Jesus gave. Do your giving to the Lord in secret. It’s between you and God. You cannot even claim it on your tax return because some IRS agent will be looking at it. Third party involvement is forbidden, according to Christ. And that’s the Lord’s command. Matthew 6.

  41. EnnisP on Fri, 29th Oct 2010 11:41 am
  42. Thanks for sharing Dale. Sorry for the troubles you’ve had. It does sound like there are several abuses occurring in your church situation: gossip, abuse of privacy, judgment, financial manipulation, etc. none of which anyone could agree with, tither or not.

    I know the SDA’s do take a very legalistic approach to Christian living. No criticism intended, everyone must decide for themselves but given your background, why don’t you move church?

    I’m curious though. Is it a law that churches must provide offering information to the government for each member?

    I am a US citizen but have lived in South Africa for many years so I’m not up to date on every IRS issue (the person who prepares my returns tells me what to do, I do it). But, as I recall each member made the decision to report their offerings and only if they wanted to take the deduction. Otherwise they could keep the information to themselves. Is that not how things work now?

    Thanks again for the comment. I do appreciate you sharing and your point of view.

  43. Branwen on Sat, 6th Nov 2010 10:16 pm
  44. we think that the whole OT was destroyed? how absurd. that would eliminate the 10 commandments, the ideas of the 10 commandments is found all through the New test. do a little bible research tithes was never money. oh they did not have money those days? not true at all. in Malachi who was robbing from God? read the full context of the first 4 chapters, it was the PRIESTS who were being accused by God. the tithes was always livestock and food to help the priests but mostly for imigrants, widows and orphans. tithes was part of the Mosaic law for Israel. no where in the NT is there a teaching or commandment for gentile Christians to tithe. the system in the modern church today is no where near that of the bible. the teaching of GIVING is very clear in the NT. 2 Cor 9:7(NIV). the widows of Heaven mentioned in Malachi refer to RAIN. closely read full context. examples of this is found in Gen 7:12 & Gen 8:2. biblical tithing was once a year and another was once every 3 years that the Levites were in charge of. are there Levite priests in the Gentile Christian church today? of course not.

  45. EnnisP on Mon, 8th Nov 2010 8:09 am
  46. All of your arguments have been stated by many already without substantiation. What would be helpful is telling us what you do believe, being careful to give enough detail to answer the following questions:

    Should giving be consistent and regular and, if not, why not?
    Exactly how does one determine how much to give?
    Where should these offerings be given?
    Under what conditions should a person not give?

  47. Chris on Wed, 24th Nov 2010 1:06 pm
  48. Hi Ennis

    Jesus says tithing IS a ‘matter of the Law’…as does Heb 7:5

    Jesus says that if we change one ‘jot or tittle of the Law we will be ‘least in the kingdom of Heaven’ Mat 5:18-19. Deut 4:1-2 warns those who would change God’s Law…as does Rev 22

    By teaching ‘storehouse money tithing today’ you change GOD’s Law:-

    1) Tithes were only ever FOOD (Lev 27:30 and 32, Mal 3:10, Mat 23:23)
    2) Tithes were only ever to be received by Levites (under a covenant Numbers 18:21-23)
    3) Tithes were only to be given to people who had NO INHERITANCE in the land (9 refs..incl Numbers 18:21-24)
    4) Tithes only applied to Israel (Lev 27:1 and 34)
    5) Tithes were brought by the LEVITES to the temple storehouse (NOT the people (Number 18:25-29 and Mal 2:1 and 9)
    6) Tithes were also to be EATEN by the giver Deut 14:22-27

    With these severe warnings anyone who teaches tithing today is making their lifes ministry of NIL value

    Tithing as taught by most churches is at best deception …but probably closer to extortion

    Chris

  49. EnnisP on Wed, 24th Nov 2010 2:34 pm
  50. Makes you wonder how they managed to tithe before the law.

  51. Mark Gomez on Wed, 24th Nov 2010 4:34 pm
  52. Once again, there was no mandatory tithing before the law. Only voluntary giving. Which is what we teach.

  53. EnnisP on Wed, 24th Nov 2010 5:48 pm
  54. Very little was mandatory before the law but people in-the-know did customarily, consistently and regularly the right thing. That included tithing.

    “Voluntary” sounds like “sloppy” or “inconsistent” or “irregular” or “impulsive” or “emotional” or “according to circumstance” or how many other ways can I say it.

    A life of faith, and that would include giving, will at least be reliable and uniform.

    But once you put dimensions on giving (like answering the questions I posed in comment 23), or any other area of the Christian life, it becomes a discipline and that looks and feels too much like “law” to be thought of as evidence of faith.

  55. Mark Gomez on Wed, 24th Nov 2010 6:16 pm
  56. Once again you’re inserting things into Scripture that aren’t there. Abraham gave a tenth of his spoils of a battle to Melchizedek. That is not tithing as you teach it, despite the fact that the KJV regrettably uses the word tithe.

    I checked the thesaurus on “voluntary” and sloppy, inconsistent, irregular, impulsive, emotional, and according to circumstance weren’t in there. It seems like you’re realizing your argument is weak so now you’re just making stuff up. Voluntary did have the synonyms autonomous, deliberate, free, gratuitous, unconstrained, unforced, etc. I like these a lot better than yours. But when you don’t have an argument I guess it would be hard to not just paint your opponent any way you want without evidence.

    Why will a life of faith be reliable and uniform? I think I can agree with reliable, but uniform? What do you mean by that? It seems that once again you’re just making things up based on your own opinions in order to bolster your position, which is incredibly weak to begin with.

    I think spiritual disciplines are a good thing, but they don’t need to be defined down to the exact amount for me to engage in them. I should read my Bible as a spiritual discipline, but how long, how often, which parts? Bible reading is a spiritual discipline in my life, but I don’t have it codified as a specific amount and I definitely don’t teach my congregation to follow a specific amount.

    As far as your questions go, we’ve already answered most of them. We said giving should be regular, sacrificial, cheerful, and designed to meet a need. I should give in support of the local church because a pastor has the right to live off of His labor in the Word. The exact amount isn’t specified. You have such a big problem with this as if people won’t know how to give and the churches budget will be in disarray. Yet, we’ve emphasized that this is not the case in any church that we have been a part of or know of that practices grace giving. The last church we were at never talked about giving and viewed the tithe as an OT command that was not binding on NT believers. Halfway through the year, they already had a $30,000 budget SURPLUS! Every other church that I’ve known that practices the same kind of giving has reported similar results.

  57. EnnisP on Wed, 24th Nov 2010 8:26 pm
  58. Ten percent is a consistent amount not an exact amount and you really didn’t answer the questions. Your kind never do.

    A Thesaurus!?!?

    If you want to argue budgets go comment on a different blog. The only people who mention it here are people like you. It is not the issue and I have never said it was.

  59. Mark Gomez on Wed, 24th Nov 2010 10:24 pm
  60. Wait, how is ten percent not an exact amount? Isn’t that your whole argument, that people won’t know how much to give, would “be thrown in the dark”, would be “sloppy” and “inconsistent”, etc.? So they must be given an exact amount which you define as a tenth of increase. And we did answer the questions, you just don’t like the answer. The answer is that there must be wisdom involved where specifics are not spelled out, but that is not good enough for you.

    You were the one who said that “voluntary” sounds like a lot of things that voluntary is not actually synonymous with. You are importing ideas into our view that are not really there. I don’t know why you think encouraging voluntary, regular, sacrificial, cheerful giving would be sloppy, inconsistent, etc. That is just your opinion, but we’ve provided examples from our own ministry experience that show that it is not the case, but you keep trotting it out nonetheless. Please stop making that argument.

    And a while ago you made the comment, “Any person could decide to give ten percent of their income regularly to meet the ongoing needs of their church and any church could do all the things you mentioned better if the members were committed to giving in that fashion.” You’ve never retracted it despite the fact that we’ve provided examples to disprove your statement. I’ll stop talking about budgets, both church and personal, when you retract statements like this and stop using adjectives like sloppy, inconsistent, and irregular to describe our position.

  61. EnnisP on Thu, 25th Nov 2010 2:54 pm
  62. You didn’t do well in mathematical word problems, hey? I give a different “exact” amount every month but it is always 10%.

    If you still have your thesaurus handy look up the word contrary.

  63. Mark Gomez on Thu, 25th Nov 2010 3:35 pm
  64. It’s funny you should say that as I happen to be a math teacher. If I take 10% of something, I get an exact number (with some rounding for monetary word problems). Try to follow the argument. I’ll try to use another word that is fairly synonymous in this discussion. You are arguing that God commands a specified amount. Or to be even more precise, a specified proportion. We are saying that He doesn’t.

    As far as contrary goes, I apologize if I’ve been obstinate, stubborn, or contumacious, but you are painting my position of giving dishonestly by describing it as sloppy, inconsistent, irregular, impulsive, etc. It’s hard to have an actual argument with you because you lose track of the argument so easily. You make a statement and when we argue against your statement, you respond with nonsense like “A Thesaurus?!?!” without even attempting to understand the point we’re trying to make. I am just baffled at why you would hold so tightly to a doctrine that has no basis in Scripture.

  65. Jay on Sat, 17th Dec 2011 5:48 pm
  66. Hello all,
    I’ve been reading your posts and I have learnt a lot from all of you, thank you all, I have something to say and may God lead me as I write, cuz I consider myself less than you all, but the little I understand, I understand this way:

    The bible says that the old testament is a shadow of things to come, God gave the law to the Jewish nation because, then, Christ had not yet come and man was a sinner by nature, so some form of guidiance was needed to show the man how to leave in relationship to his society and God. However, after the coming of Christ, Man is now a new creature through Christ and should do what is right naturally, living by the Spirit.
    My point is this, if the law said “do not kill”, the new creature in Christ should not strive to keep that because he is a new creature, created to be like God, living to love God and his neighbor, thereby fulfilling the law and not doing away with it. He does not strive to follow the law, rather he lives to please God. In thesame way, the old testament commanded the jew to give a tenth, (although Abraham did this before the law was given), now the new creature should know that it is His/Her responsibilty to give a good amount of His/Her income for the work of God, and the poor. And should do this consistently as God blesses Him/Her.
    And I do believe that God will always bless the consistent giver. If a Church calls this giving tithe and reminds its members to pay the minimum amount, I really do not judge that there is anything wrong with that, in much thesame way, a person can still decide to give above this ten percent, the most important thing is that we do not always give too little, but rather we are cheerful givers, and generous too.
    As David said that He would not give to God what would cost him nothing. This is an issue of giving to God, it should not be argued over, rather we should seek to give more for the work of God, may God help us all.

  67. EnnisP on Sat, 7th Apr 2012 5:48 pm
  68. Good point Benny but I have a couple of comments.

    One, I am assuming you believe in tithing – giving ten percent of your adjusted income to God. I say “adjusted” because some of the tithe given in the OT covered expenses that our taxes go to today and because of that it is only fair to reduce the tithe by that amount. I wrote about that here. Since many people use the word “tithe” to refer to any offering of any amount, given regularly or not, it almost needs to be qualified.

    Two, if you aren’t happy with the church you attend then maybe you should find a new one. Many churches are very effective at both evangelism and helping the needy.

    And really, withholding the tithe means the church is doing the giving anyway and probably suffering for it.

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