March 3, 2001

In all areas of our lives, we should put Jesus first and that includes our finances. If we give to God, He will bless us, if we give to the poor, the Lord will repay. Our giving has been unacceptable to God because it has not been given to God. The money is prayed over, asked of the Lord to bless it and then it is used for unrighteous purposes and the offerings are not accepted. Instead of truth and knowledge, God's people have fallen for seed-faith giving and the prosperity message bringing a curse upon the Christian church. In the last days, this curse will be reversed when we finally offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness and the stored up riches are finally given over to the poor.

The problem in tithing is not the tithe but to whom you tithe, for what purpose and with what motive. If there is a certain fundamental principle that we are to learn in the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants, it is that the new covenant fulfillments are spiritual. You fulfill the law by walking in the spirit but that does not nullify the law. Love is the fulfillment of the law so that means that giving is what you purpose in your heart to give out of liberal generosity and not out of a legalistic requirement. Giving of your time is also important.

Tithing is not a New Testament mandate but the whole book of Malachi is as much for the church today as it is for the Jews. Polluted bread has come to the altar in the form of misguided giving. The curse of Malachi is more spiritual than financial. The spirit of altruism should be the driving force of our giving, not as a device to expect a return. Tithing has been the subject of abuse for this very reason and it is not the lack of tithing that brings the curse but the misuse of the tithe itself. We need to do what brings spiritual blessings regardless of financial ones. The Christian freedom that comes with grace requires a pure heart in return, not a hard and fast rule. This means there is nothing wrong with tithing and there is nothing wrong with not tithing if love is the driving force of your giving. Jesus taught that we should give 100%, not 10%. Part of that is in taking care of our family and even ourselves and our responsibilities include having the money to pay for them but when it comes to the point of giving for the sake of getting, something has gone wrong.

Where you give is very important. A ministry in the name of the Lord that does not contain the spiritual Rhema of God is a house of sorcerers and will be thrown down. A workman in the kingdom is worthy of wages but money and time given to a ministry that has built its own kingdom apart from the leading of the Holy Spirit is profaned. Paying the salaries of hireling pastors that teach a distorted gospel is giving to the prostitutes that will be cut off from the Bride.

The early church had daily ministrations to those in need, the poor, the hungry, the naked and thirsty, widows and orphans. They did not give to hireling pastors and church staff, God took care of them in other ways. A prophet that asked for money was considered a false prophet. Jesus sent His disciples out without a purse, God took care of them, all their provisions were met. Now it is gimee gimee, take take, and the sheep get fleeced.

We know from the teaching of Jesus about the widow and her mite that sacrificial giving is more beneficial than giving from our abundance. And we know that the measure of a person's wealth is not a measure of spirituality, time and time again we learn from the Bible that the poor have the greater blessing. So what of the prosperity doctrine of gain is godliness and the luke-warm church who are rich and have need of nothing? What of seed-faith giving used as an enticement to bribe God for a return? What of the evangelists who report publicly of seeing visions of people giving thousand dollar checks to them? Well, apparently they have their reward in corrupt seed.

The table of the Lord is in providing for the needy. Jesus is seen in the eyes of the poor, He is the hungry and the homeless and the fatherless child. How does your church operate, it is giving to Jesus first or is the money given over to building programs, salaries, extravagant furnishings, amenities, utilities, evangelism and missionary programs and when all is said and done, Jesus gets the crumbs left over or nothing except an empty word. Many will not give to the poor until they can afford it, if you are waiting for the money to come in abundance, you will never help the poor because your faith is weak. Pay your light bill and help the poor last and you will never have enough for them, take care of the poor first and you will have the means necessary to keep the light shining like never before for the whole world to see.


Giving must come from an unselfish heart, not just because we think we are commanded to give. God wants His people to be generous with what they have. All we possess has been given by Him anyway, and we should share it with joy.

It is admitted universally that the payment of tithes, or the tenths of possessions, for sacred purposes did not find a place within the Christian Church during the age covered by the apostles and their immediate successors. In the Hebrew religious community tithes possessed a two-fold character. They were either a charitable and regularly recurring contribution placed at the disposal of the humbler Levites and other poor or a yearly impost designed for the upkeep of the central house of worship and of the ministering priests.

'The perfect law, the law of liberty' [James 1:25], reigns as it does elsewhere [Gal.5:1,13, 1Pet.2:16, John 8:32, etc.], and the Christian's joyous liberality, like his other graces, may be characterized from the teaching of the NT as the expression of the individual's consciousness of his love of, and moral obligation to, his brethren. The social and economic conditions of the early Church in Jerusalem demanded extraordinary efforts on the part of its wealthier members. Whatever be the source of the narrative embodying the history of the attempt to establish the life of that body on a communistic basis, there can be no doubt that it is in harmony with what we understand from other sources to be the state of extreme poverty in which the humbler Christians of Jerusalem were sunk. The attempt to relieve this prevailing distress was essentially voluntary, as the questions addressed by St. Peter to Ananias testify: 'While it remained, did it not remain thy own? And after it was sold, was it not in thy power?' [Acts5:4].

Nor is it otherwise with the Antiochian Church, which organized a relief fund for the Jewish Christians some years later; 'every man according to his ability' [Acts 11:29] contributed, and we have no reason to believe that their giving was not free and spontaneous. In reminding the Ephesians elders, gathered at Miletus, of his own example, St. Paul emphasizes the duty of the follower of 'the Lord Jesus' by quotation, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive' [Acts 20:35].

His exhortation 'to help the weak' [1 Thess. 5:14] includes in its scope that charitable disposition of our wealth, whether it be 'silver, or gold, or apparel' [Acts 20:33], which will meet the needs of poverty or misfortune. In formulating his scheme for the collection of funds for the poor 'saints' of Jerusalem, he laid down the rule for the guidance of the Corinthian Christians: 'upon the first day of the week let each one of you lay by him in store, as he may prosper' [1 Cor.16:2]; and his enthusiastic praise of the Macedonian Churches for their earnest and liberal response to his appeal he justified by the circumstances in which their single-minded generosity [2 Cor. 8:2] displayed itself. These attached supporters of the Apostle gave joyously [1 Thess. 1:6, 2:14], and from their own deep poverty.

We are reminded of Jesus' words in praise of the widow's giving 'all the living that she had' [Luke 21:4]. Not only did the Christians of Macedonia give of their own accord, but they were even clamorous to be permitted to share in the work which lay so near to the Apostle's heart. His profound joy is intensified by the fact that he is able to recognize in their generosity the outcome of their previous complete self-surrender to the cause and Person of the Lord [2 Cor. 8:5]. Even in writing to the church in Rome, which he had not at that time visited, he is careful to remind his readers that the duty of giving to their poorer brethren is fundamental to the outward expression of a true Christian faith [Rom. 12:13 ; 15:27]; and, if we accept the Epistle to the Ephesians as St. Paul's, he makes this duty a grace to be anxiously sought and laboured for. This teaching was indeed, not peculiar to the Apostle of the Gentiles. Liberality to the needy is the infallible test of the genuineness of Christian love [1John 3:17] and of a living faith [James 2:15]. James also said in 1:27; 'Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this; to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. 1 John is a commentary of [John 15:14].

In all the cases referred to, the essential freedom of Christian action is implied. There is no legal code formulated for the guidance of those whose love of the brethren is thus tested [2 Cor. 8:8]. On the contrary, each one has the choice and determination as to his attitude [2 Cor.9:7]. There is no external compulsion to detract from the joy, of the Christian's giving to the poor. So we can recognize the truth of Irenaeus' words: 'While they [the Jews] used to hold the tithes of their property as consecrated, they, on the other hand, who have grasped freedom, dedicate to the use of the Lord all things which they possess, giving joyfully and freely in greater abundance, because they have a greater hope'.

The relation between tithes and Christian giving may be apprehended as that between the law and the gospel as incentives and forces in life. It is the relation between a legal enactment which enforces by objective sanctions and a spiritual ideal which draws out all that is best and highest from those who recognize the significance of the blessedness of self-sacrifice for the sake of others.

In Christ,

Hi Jay

I'm a firm believer in tithing - just a bit of difference with me may be who I tithe to. As I do not belong to a particular church (except the church of Christ) I tithe to organizations which use the money to help others who are in need. I believe that Jesus wants us to help those in need - not bigger church buildings and richer pastors. God bless you, and keep up the good work!!

Bill Caraway

Here's what I think. I think tithing as a principle is still in place and always will be. Tithing as a specific command became obsolete along with the rest of the written law when Christ fulfilled it. My basis for this belief is that in the New Testament, every reference to tithing is not a specific command, but only a reference to current Jewish practice or to something that happened before Christ.

I know there are some very strong words written in the book of Malachi in reference to tithing, but I think the majority of this group are in agreement that the Church is distinct from Israel, and Malachi was sent SPECIFICALLY to Israel. Malachi 1:1 "The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi." Now, there are some things that are written for Israel and the Church both, such as the prophecies about the Messiah... in fact, the whole Law was written for both Jew and Gentile, because ALL who aren't under grace are under the schoolmaster - the Law. However, in light of the lack of Scripture support in the New Testament for tithing as a specific universal command for the whole Church, I believe this scripture is to be applied to Israel only.

Malachi 3:7-12

7 ""From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,'' says the LORD of hosts. ""But you say, "How shall we return?'
8 ""Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, "How have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings.
9 ""You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!
10 "" Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,'' says the LORD of hosts, ""if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.
11 ""Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,'' says the LORD of hosts.
12 "" All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,'' says the LORD of hosts.

The principle of tithing still applies, but not the specific command...therefore, it is entirely up to a person's personal convictions. I can count the number of scriptures on one hand that relate to tithing in the New Testament and none of them are commands to the Church. In fact, they all refer to current Jewish practice with the exception of Hebrews 7 which describes the encounter of Abraham with Melchisidek....which, to take it as a command to tithe is to take it out of context. It is an example of how Christ's priesthood relates to the priesthood of Melchisidek. Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42, Luke 18:12, Hebrews 7:4-10.

That's just my opinion and I could be wrong....and this is not an issue that should divide the Church, although unfortunately in some individual cases, it has.

Ray McLain

Jay (or any others that might be interested),

try this site:

George Potkonyak

It is my experience that God nudges me pretty forcefully when he wants me to give. I am much more comfortable giving to those I know are in need rather than to a denomination or church. I have given a lot over the years only to see abuse of the money. So now my husband and I give when God tells us to - and I want to emphasize that when God/Holy Spirit starts putting it on our hearts to help someone, He is very persistent and won't let us be until we follow through.

In Christ, Nan & Steve

According to the Abrahamic covenant, you need to tithe, to fulfill your part of the Abrahamic covenant. You should do a page on Abrahamic covenant, and then see the responses. God is pretty clear that he wants you to give a tenth, but he says that if you aren't giving out of the abundance of the heart, as the Pharisees, then you will still receive blessing, but not like if you give out of the abundance of the heart.

It is clear in saying in Hebrews that we are under the same covenant as Abraham, so I ask that you do a page on this covenant. Emphasize for me please.

Thanks and God Bless,
Andrew Paul Simpson

Maybe this will change opinions.

I am waiting to hear an anointed offering of wisdom on this. I've heard what seems like a blessing of offering 10% of ones first fruits for the Kingdom. and then it is a legalistic requirement preached sometimes from the pulpit as a means to garner great sums of money connected to a curse for those who do not give. To give 10% before taxes or 10% after taxes such as SSI, then there are so many who give little or nothing when they have very much and those who give 10% when the have very little. I must admit I've never known exactly what is right and have felt the best when I've just given 10% of what I have, when I get it. I know God doesn't need any one persons money or money at all, but when churches ask and ask, and ask, then ask again, compared to just having an offering box that is placed in a convenient portion of the Church and depending on God to ask from the heart. Bills have to be paid missions needs support, pastors have to be paid a wage that keeps them studying and minding the flock and not having to think of "Mammon," much less serve it.

I went to a conference this past summer where it cost a good sum to get in, then two or three times additional offerings were taken with reasons and each time more and more money was given people were getting healed and blessed and slain in the spirit and more and more money was taken. I and to trust God that He was in control and put away the thoughts that immediately came to mind. Tithing as a matter of course in a congregation is dependent entirely on those who do and I seem to remember hearing the statistics on those who actually do and it is pretty miserably low. so churches can become very dependent upon those who actually tithe. So Pastors that preach about the curse (is it in Malichai?) and lay that on reasonably often have bigger Churches, and are referred to as "pastors who know how to raise money," I'm sure this is all very much done in the right spirit--at times. But the potential of this being abused is so great and when one is caught and publicized it is as if all were feeding on the sheep. I raised sheep years ago. and you could only shear sheep once a year and feed upon the flock in a thoughtful manner, or the flock would never grow, and if it didn't you wouldn't have enough wool to pay for the upkeep feed and vetinary supplies. if you couldn't do that some should eventually die.

Many in the Church die spiritually, by falling away from teaching that asks too much or gives little thought to the care of those who give personal care from staff or elders or the pastor, every one needs a little personal care and loving form our brothers and teachers and so I don't think it can happen in the big mega churches, they are feeding stations only, I would like scriptural direction that would exegetically get right to the heart of the matter and to be able to once and for all dispense with the tyranny real or imagined.

The "Didache" or the teaching of the Twelve had a hard line on the asking for money by apostles,

11:3 But concerning the apostles and prophets, thus do ye according to the doctrine of the Gospel.
11:4 Let every apostle who cometh unto you be received as the Lord.
11:5 He will remain one day, and if it be necessary, a second; but if he remain three days, he is a false prophet.
11:6 And let the apostle when departing take nothing but bread until he arrive at his resting-place; but if he ask for money, he is a false prophet.
11:7 And ye shall not tempt or dispute with any prophet who speaketh in the spirit; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven.
11:8 But not every one who speaketh in the spirit is a prophet, but he is so who hath the disposition of the Lord; by their dispositions they therefore shall be known, the false prophet and the prophet.
11:9 And every prophet who ordereth in the spirit that a table shall be laid, shall not eat of it himself, but if he do otherwise, he is a false prophet;
11:10 and every prophet who teacheth the truth, if he do not what he teacheth is a false prophet;
11:11 and every prophet who is approved and true, and ministering in the visible mystery of the Church, but who teacheth not others to do the things that he doth himself, shall not be judged of you, for with God lieth his judgment, for in this manner also did the ancient prophets.
11:12 But whoever shall say in the spirit, Give me money, or things of that kind, listen not to him; but if he tell you concerning others that are in need that ye should give unto them, let no one judge him.

In Himjk

I have kind of held off responding to posts, because most on this list seem to be very mature in the faith (I have, however, asked about topics on here), but this is a topic that is important to me because it has affected my own life. Let me begin this by saying up front that I believe that the tithe is still Biblical for the New Testament Believers (US!). I want to clarify, though, that I do not hold to this for legalistic reasons. Believe me, I know legalism. I grew up in a legalistic church, and it almost destroyed my faith and almost caused me to ignore God's calling on my life (thank God He is not so easy to "shake" off!).

We know from Scripture that the tithes was included in the law, but was birthed (by faith--like NT Believers) by Abraham before the law. In the New Testament, we see that Jesus commends the Pharisees for giving the tithe even in the midst of a rebuke for not doing other things ("you pay the tithes" Matt. 23:23).

Hebrew 7:1-10 is another must read for NT tithe. I will not type it all out here. We are all people of the Word, and can consult the Scriptures, but it addresses Abraham paying tithes to Melchchizedek, and goes into comparing Christ to this priest. Check out verse eight. Jesus receives our tithes. It seems to me that nowhere does Jesus say to quit giving tithes (He even give Pharisees credit in midst of rebuke). He is our High Priest (Heb 7), and as such He still expects us to give Him our first fruits (research Cain and Able, Proverbs, and, of course, Malachi 3). Malachi 3:8 seems to make it clear (and is consistent, I believe, with NT teachings). We are to give a tithe (a clear ten percent before and during the law.) AND an offering. It is great that some love to give as the Spirit leads, but that is the offering. There is still, in my opinion (derived from personal Bible study) the responsibility for the initial ten percent that is God's anyway.

Often, as Spirit-filled believers, we (myself included) want to say that "God told me" or the "Spirit moved me," and that is often true, but not at the expense of the Word. We must remember that the Word is Spirit-breathed and it says tithes and offering from Genesis onward. Tithes are basic. Offerings are as the Spirit-leads.

The new Testament doesn't have to say a lot about tithes. The OT says plenty, and the few times it is mentioned in the NT leans towards a support of the tithe. Where that tithe is given is another issue (it is received by our High Priest-Heb. 7). It was just accepted and practiced as far as I can see.

I would appreciate feedback on this. It is all stuff I see in Scripture and I have lived by it. I am by no means rich, but I have seen the blessings of Malachi in my own life and in my families.
In HIS grasp,

The Power and Necessity of Obedience:

Those that know me and are familiar with the ministry that the Lord has entrusted to me, know that I am not a "prosperity" teacher/preacher. By that I mean, the "prosperity message" has never been, is not presently, and as far as I can discern at this time, it never will be focus or emphasis of my messages. However, having said that, I must stress that I fully embrace the principle that God's people ought to live above the "just getting by" level. God's elect ought to live in the realm where they receive according to the measure of "Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us" (Ephesians 3:20). I said all that to set the stage for what is on my heart to communicate via this email.

We must correct a wrong that has been perpetrated upon the church for far too long! It is unbiblical for ministers, I am talking about those holding ministry offices, to communicate to the church that in order for a believer to get blessed financially, all that believer has to do is to faithfully sow financially. The spiritual premise being, you got to sow if you want to reap (Genesis 8:22, 2 Corinthians 9:6-7). Unquestionably, the sowing and reaping dynamic is sound biblically. However, that is also where we go wrong!

A farmer that is sowing in order to reap a harvest, cannot ignore, violate, or side step certain fundamental principles related to planting his seed and yet genuinely expect to reap a harvest--solely because he "sowed that seed." For example, in order to harvest a specific crop, you must sow the right seed, during the right season, and in the right soil. And that must be followed by proper irrigation and other essentials. Just because you "sowed the seed" in the ground, does not in and of itself mean you shall reap the anticipated harvest!

If you what a specific crop and you sow the wrong seed, you will not reap what you expected. If you sow in the wrong season, you will not get the expected harvest. If you sow in the wrong type of soil, you will not get the desired harvest. If you fail to care for the field after sowing, you probably will not get the crop you wanted. In other words, "just sowing" in and of itself does not assure one of anything. To successfully reap a yield, to get a harvest, there must be obedience to certain fundamental principles and if those fundamental principles are violated, the outcome will not be according to what was sought.

Therein lies the burden that is in my heart. I hear so many ministers exhorting the people of God to sow and then assuring them they shall reap their desired harvest, when in fact, far too many hearing that message are violating many other fundamental spiritual principles in their lives.

We all know that in Deuteronomy, God promise that when the redeemed obey the Lord, they shall be set high above all nations of the earth. Such obedience would shower the people of God with blessings in the city, and in the country. They would see reap fruit of their body, the produce of their ground and the increase of their herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of their flocks. The saints would be blessed when they came in, and blessed when they went out.

Furthermore, the Lord promised His people that their enemies who rose against them would be defeated before their face. God said, "they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways." Moreover, the Lord command the blessing on His people in their storehouses and in all to which they set their hand, and He promised to bless them in the land which the Lord gave them. Also, the Lord established them as a holy people to Himself.

God promises that if we keep the commandments of the Lord and walk in His ways, then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. And the Lord will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them. So you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right or the left, to go after other gods to serve them" (Deuteronomy 28:1-14).

In other words, if God's people wanted to reap such abundance in their lives, they had to obey God! If they failed to obey God, then they would be cursed above measure and meet with all manner of calamity. They would suffer insufficiency, deficit, and lack. Regardless of what the people sowed, if they failed to obey and honor God, they would suffer from unimaginable hardship and grief (Deuteronomy 28:15-68).

Therefore, while God promises limitless provision, protection, and success to His people (Lev 26:1-13), He also sets a condition for such a harvest. In order to reap the Levitical harvest, the people had to walk in God's statutes, keep His commandments and dutifully perform them (Leviticus 26:3). If the people failed in that regard, the outcome was not going to be pretty (Leviticus 26:14-38).

What is interesting is that in Leviticus 26, God plainly says, "...you shall sow your seed in vain..." (26:16). In other words, God is warning us that we should not think that we can live in total disregard to His spiritual laws and principles and then, just because we have sown seed, expect to still reap a harvest! That is nonsense, it will not work.

Admittedly, the above comments are all based on the Old Covenant. Some would say that the Old Covenant was law-based, legalistic. Therefore, God's demand for obedience therein does not apply to the New Covenant of grace. Such a conclusion could not be more inaccurate.

Does the New Covenant of grace grant believers license to us to walk in disobedience to God? I believe the apostle Paul address that absurd concept when he wrote, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!" (Romans 6:1).

Jesus Himself said, "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me" (John 14:21). That clearly means we cannot earnestly lay claim to loving Christ while at the same time walking contrary to Him! That don't wash folks. Moreover, Jesus said, "He who does not love Me does not keep My words" (John 14:24).

In a powerful and illustrative parable of the above principle, Jesus said the following. "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say? "Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: "He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. "But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great" (Luke 6:46-49).

Millions of unsaved people are exposed to Christian teachings on prosperity. And multitudes of them who are looking for financial stability, security, and/or temporary relief from financial hardship will try anything that may help them. And many of these people don't care if what they heard in way of a potential remedy is Christian or not. So when they hear some minister say, "just sow your best financial seed right now and God will bless you in return," they jump at it. They have no intention of seeking salvation; they are not seeking God and His righteousness. They have no interest in turning their lives around and living for the Lord. They just want a quick fix to their financial woes.

Likewise, multitudes of Christians are living ungodly lives. In many areas of their lives they are willfully walking in disobedience to the Lord and they know it! Yet, like everyone else they want God to bless them. So, when they hear that all they need to do is "sow a seed" they pull out the ole check book and get to writing. The heart of such people is not first of all concerned with seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). The first priority of these people is that all these things [whatever they want] be added unto them (Matthew 6:33).

I know many will say, well Pastor John, you don't understand. When God blesses people financially, then they will seek the Lord and get saved. That is not the message that the cross of Christ communicates! That is not the gospel of Christ. The notion that God needs to or does use temporal blessings as some sort of bait in order to make coming to Christ more appealing is an affront to the power of the gospel, it is a stench in the nostrils of God.

How is it that the church now believes that the promise of a new car, a new house, a promotion on the job, more money, or some form of temporal blessing is a more powerful draw upon the heart than the Holy Spirit anointed message of the sacrificial, substitutionary death of Christ for our sin? Woe to those that so belittle the redemptive work of Calvary!

Perhaps we would do well to revisit the mentality of the Apostle Paul. He said, "it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (1 Corinthians 1:21). Regarding that I ask, what preaching does God use to save them that believe? Paul tells us. "...we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God" (1 Corinthians 1:23-24).

Speaking of himself, the Apostle Paul also stated, "for I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2). The redemptive work of Christ on Calvary so transformed Paul that he stated, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).

Therefore, Paul goes on to challenge the church by reminding us, "they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:24-25).

Accordingly, the church of today would do well to refocus on the words of the Apostle John. John wrote, "love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever" (1 John 2:15-17).

In conclusion, some would ask me if I believe that God prospers His people. My answer is yes. I believe that supernatural provision and blessings belong to the saints of God (Psalm 103:1-5, Ephesians 1:3). However, such things are not my first love (Revelation 2:4) and they are not the core message of the gospel.

Finally let me briefly tell you what motivated me to write all this.

I was pondering why it is that I am not personally reaping everything that God says rightfully belongs to me as a child of God. As I went deep into mediation regarding the areas in my life where I am experiencing a spiritual and temporary short-fall, I realized that the problem was not with God or His word. Suddenly, I began to examine my life and in short order began to ponder all the areas where I am not walking uprightly before the Lord. I had to acknowledge that there are areas in my life where I am walking in disobedience and slothfulness. There are other areas where I lack discipline, and sadly, I have to admit there are even areas in my life where sin still prevails over me.

As I mediated on these things, my heart filled with understanding that no matter how much I "sowed financially," until I yielded to the Holy Spirit's redemptive work in my life and allowed Him to empower me to walk in obedience to the Lord my God, I would not reap the harvest I desired or needed in my life.

Therefore, I wrote so that perhaps the Holy Spirit might challenge you to examine yourself to see whether you be in the faith (1 Corinthians 11:28). You must understand that until you fully submit to God, walking in obedience as the Holy Spirit endows you, "...you shall sow your seed in vain..."

(26:16). In love,

Pastor John Kempf

What Are Alms?

"Alms" are not some kind of tree, but something you should know about -- and do.

The Greek word translated alms in the New Testament originally meant mercy or kindness, then came to represent the kind deeds caused by mercy and kindness. So it came to mean charitable giving to the poor -- or giving motivated by love.

Many times this word is translated as "charitable deed."

LUKE 12:33 NKJ
33 "Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys.

Jesus often spoke of giving alms. But He made it clear that our motives are important.

2 "So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.
3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4 so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

The Bible tells of Cornelius, "a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always" (Acts 10:2), who had an angel deliver this message:

4 . . . he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.

God was impressed with this Roman soldier's giving to meet the needs of the poor.

Alms are not offerings to God, or His ministers. Alms are charitable deeds -- gifts to the poor and needy. Helping people who are in trouble.

Alms impress God.

SAY THIS: Alms are gifts of love to help people in trouble.

Forwarded by Nan Stanton

As to tithing; There is a season when a believer needs certain external guidelines in his walk with the Lord. But the direction that the Lord is taking all of us is away from external rule and to internal rule; "The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus". When that law operates in us maturely, then we live by they life of Christ, and we do not look to any outward standards of conduct. Christ is our life and He is the fulfillment of the law. That is, the law pointed to Christ, brought us up to Christ and now the law says like John the Baptist, "He must increase and I must decrease". When we live by the law of His life, then all that we are and all that we have belongs to Him and is at His disposal. I have heard the argument that the tithe existed before the law even going back to Melchisedek but that is not a well thought out proposition, because animal sacrifices were in existence before the law and before even Abraham. And we forget that Abraham gave the spoils of war as a tithe.

The whole economy of tithing was very complex and was the taxing method of financing a theocratic government. If a person really wanted to return to the law of tithing he would find himself in a dimension of the law, like all the law, that led to bondage. Having said that, I believe that there are brethren who in some substantial way are experiencing the life of Christ within even in their giving who need at a certain stage some external guide as a temporary crutch and are blessed of God while in that passage of their spiritual life. To be presented with the challenge to live totally by the impulses of Christ's nature within, without any outward guidelines would be to them an intolerable standard for they would try to "make it happen" to their own detriment and paradoxically it would be, to them, legalism. While we are at various levels of maturity, the principle of "let each be persuaded in his own heart" should rule church life. A truly mature member of the family of God should take delight in seeing God's "rug-rats" crawling on the family room floor doing silly things and dirtying their diapers.

As to the "prosperity" teaching. I have mixed feelings. Sometimes I feel like screaming at their shallowness. Other times I am glad that there is their emphasis on the goodness of God in spite of its simplistic and carnal approach and the fact that they have, in effect, broke free from the idea that poverty equates with godliness. But it is a very real danger to spiritual maturation and it represents a definite enculturation of the gospel so that in a materialistic society like ours the scriptures are bent to prove that which will validate the pathetic values of a spiritually bereft culture. One of the more subtle errors is their emphasis on "stuffing" yourself with enough messages on tape so that you can live a victorious Christian life. Walking with Christ doesn't work that way. That kind of teaching leads to spiritual parrots, not spiritual sons.

In His grace,
John G.

God gives His best, that is all He is and has. Nothing inferior. He looks for a spotless offering. He asks for first fruits, not those of Cain. Since we could not give our best, He wrapped us up in Jesus His only Son. He gave us His spirit to help us accomplish His will. We now have the ability to do what Jesus did and greater. He deserves at least the minimum from us, a tenth of ALL we have. With such a love indescribable can we dare discuss whether we give back to Him and how much?

Larry Sloma

Jay, I was going to just say Amen because to me, you have said exactly what is in my heart. I am grateful that your faith is bold and you are there for us. Know that it is just as comforting to us to read expressions of what we are feeling and experiencing.

Tithing: We help support my developmentally disabled adult brother. When my Mother died we moved him to our state to look after him. He is trying to live on $500.00 a month and often says without our financial and emotional support he would be a street person. And, there were times in the past when he was sleeping out there.

Over the years my sister has needed financial help and while we praying for her spiritually, we also tried to help her out financially. Now she is a beautiful strong, Catholic, spirit-filled Christian. She completed a four year course in Bible college and despite terrible physical afflictions, she loves and works for the Lord with passion.

Now we have recently been nudged by God to help support my mother-in-law. God makes Himself very clear as to who needs His help through us.

We would much rather give back to God this way, than to give to a church only to see abuse. We recently left a church where all of us worked so hard raising money for a specific purpose and the pastor arbitrarily spent it elsewhere. It is a long sad story and I won't go into details here but he is no longer pastor at that church and as far as I know, is not pastoring another church.

Another horrible abuse of power we experienced was in a church where the Wednesday night attendance was poor so the pastor and his wife again, manipulatively took the Lord's supper out of the Sunday morning service and moved it to Wednesday night - without consulting the congregation!!

After a massive exodus of church members - I have heard that he moved it back to Sundays. But it was enough for us to leave and we had been giving generously to that church. We were appalled that a pastor would use The Lord's Supper as a weapon to accomplish the numbers he wanted at a service. How can a believer even begin to sit under the teachings of a pastor with a heart like that? I confronted him about it and he said I was to trust his leadership.

God may one day change our minds but for now we will be guided by God and He alone.


i know that 10% of a person's paycheck is supposed to be paid in church, which i do my best to pay out of the money that i receive from where i work or the child support i get sometimes. My husband receives a check, i cannot give the amount i want in tithes, the check is for his needs, i am the payee, will i be held accountable to god because i do not pay the 10% out of his check? i want to ask you if believe in falling out in the holy spirit? it happened to my husband twice at the church we attend, and what do you think concerning binny hinn, do you think that he is real or a fake? someone i correspond with says he is a fake, that he pays people to come up and fall and to say god healed them, what do you believe? and will be allowed in heaven by deeds & good works if we are a christian?

sincerely yours, joyful joyce


Regarding tithing. I have read some really good arguments on this [forum] in support and in opposition to tithing. The only comment I wanted to make was that we need to be careful in judging others. If we get our point across but in the process have allowed critical thinking into our minds then what have we gained? This would probably apply to all the topics you discuss. I am not saying it is going on over this site but I have seen how it has affected churches, and the arguments and breaking up of fellowship when discussions are not approached with the attitude of love towards another. I personally like how you bring up topics for discussion. It is so good to submit scripture to support our thinking as we discuss in love and with a clear conscious toward God and each other why we believe what we believe.



Throughout the entire age of the Church, numerous individuals have attempted to incorporate elements of the Mosaic Law into the Christian faith, such as circumcision, which the Judaizers attempted to impose in the time of the Apostle Paul. Today, there are some who believe that tithing is a requirement under the New Covenant, and seek to mandate it in the Churches that they serve. There is also some confusion on the definition of tithing, it's history and origination, and whether it truly is obligatory under the New Covenant. It is the position of this author that tithing is no longer necessary and should be avoided, and Christians should give of their time, money, and spiritual gifts as they determine in their own heart, and not be coerced into giving a set percentage of their income. In this document we will review the definition, history, purpose, arguments for, and arguments against tithing. Also, we will sift through much of the false doctrine on this subject and determine what the New Testament actually teaches about giving.


Biblical definition: Simply a tax or assessment of one-tenth of one's produce, (Lev 27:30-32). Lev 27:30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD.
Lev 27:31 And if a man will at all redeem aught of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof.
Lev 27:32 And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord.

Under the Mosaic Law, tithing is a command, not something which is voluntary (Lev 27:30, Lev 27:32, Deu 14.22-23, Deu 14.28). HISTORY AND PURPOSE

Tithing was well established in ancient times in the Middle East, where the tithe was basically income for the king and the nobility, so it was not unique to Old Testament Israel, where tithing was instituted by God to support the theocratic state. This indicates that tithing was basically Old Testament taxation. To those who insist that tithing was never abrogated as a Scriptural legal requirement, it should be noted that under the Mosaic Covenant, 3 tithes were required, not just one.

1st TITHE: Annual tithe for the maintenance of the Levitical Priesthood (Num 18:21-24). The tribe of Levi received no inheritance (Num18:20, Deu 12:12, Deu 14:27). This tribe was segregated from the rest of Israel (Num 3:39-45, Num 3:5-10, Num 8:14-19) in order to serve the Lord in the Temple, and in the Tabernacle in the wilderness. So the first tithe was necessary for their support, since they had no other means of subsistence.
2nd TITHE: A second tithe was brought to Jerusalem for festival purposes (Deu 14:22-27).
3rd TITHE: A third tithe was required every third year to assist the poor (Deu 14:28-29).
Every third year was known as "the year of tithing," (Deu 26:12-14). When the Israelites had completed tithing of the increase of the land, they were to give this 3rd tithe to the Levites, the strangers, the orphans, and the widows. When this was completed, they were to declare unto the Lord that they had performed to the best of their ability in obeying the divine commandments. All the tithes mutually would consist of 23.3% of one's assets.

Tithing was an annual event, not weekly. Tithing also consisted of giving a portion of one's crops and herds, not money. 20% is added to the appropriation if converted to cash (Lev 27:31).

At this point it should be clearly evident that what transpires for "tithing" in the modern Church is not consistent with the Biblical definition.


Arguments in favor of tithing in the Church age can usually be summarized by the following:

1. Tithing is a biblical standard enforced in the Old Testament, so therefore it is also a standard that should be enforced in the New Testament. For example, an exhortation to tithe is found in Malachi 3:8-10 (written circa 400 B.C.), and tithing was still practiced when Jesus walked the Earth (Mat 23:23, Luke 11:42).

2. Abraham tithed to Melchisedec (Genesis 14:18-20, Hebrews 7:1-4), and Jacob pledged to give a tenth if God would prosper and protect him (Genesis 28:11-22). Both of these events occurred long before the Mosaic Covenant was given. Therefore, by this reasoning, there is an unwritten standard that existed before Moses, was codified by the Mosaic Law, and was never annulled.


1. There is no mandate anywhere in the New Testament for tithing. The word tithe or tithes appears eight times in the New Testament, and each time it is used is in reference to an Old Testament event or a concurrent Jewish practice. This in of itself is not conclusive of course, since many theological definitions and concepts do not occur in creedal form in the Scriptures. For example, some individuals do not believe in the Trinity because the word "Trinity" does not exist in the Bible. The doctrine of the Trinity is a product of systematizing different portions of Scripture that deal with the nature of God, the deity of Christ, the person of the Holy Spirit, etc. But commands and mandates in Scripture, both Old Covenant and New Covenant, are plain and evident, and never require decoding, spiritualization, or complex harmonization in order to be comprehended. The mandates of the Lord's Supper and Baptism, for example, are plain and simple. This certainly cannot be said of tithing under the New Covenant. When considered grammatically or conceptually, The New Testament is totally silent about tithing being a necessity.

2. The epistles contain numerous admonitions, exhortations, and rebukes because of numerous sins and spiritual problems, but one is never mentioned for failure to tithe.

3. Hebrews 7:5 states quite clearly that only the sons of Levi had a commandment to receive tithes, not pastors or other religious leaders:
Heb 7:5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham.

4. A survey of all the writings of the Early Church up to A.D. 600 (easy to do with computers) is silent about tithing in the Church being a necessity. In fact, it was the position of the great Church Father Irenaeus (A.D. 120-202) that tithing as a legal obligation is no longer binding. He explains this in chapter XIII of book IV in "Irenaeus Against Heresies,":

And for this reason did the Lord, instead of that [commandment], "Thou shalt not commit adultery," forbid even concupiscence; and instead of that which runs thus, "Thou shalt not kill," He prohibited anger; and instead of the law enjoining the giving of tithes, [He told us] to share all our possessions with the poor;

And again in chapter XVIII of book IV he again states:

And for this reason they (the Jews) had indeed the tithes of their goods consecrated to Him, but those who have received liberty set aside all their possessions for the Lord's purposes, bestowing joyfully and freely not the less valuable portions of their property, since they have the hope of better things [hereafter]; as that poor widow acted who cast all her living into the treasury of God.

This provides us with ample evidence that Church-age tithing (versus NT giving) is simply a pharisaic type tradition.

5. The Mosaic Law was given to Israel through Moses, not to the Church. If Christians are supposed to tithe, then what about circumcision, worshipping on Saturday, observing the holy convocations (Passover, Feast of Tabernacles, etc.), animal sacrifices, a tabernacle, and all the other components of the ceremonial law? Numbers 18:26-28 says that the Levitical priests are to offer up a heave offering to the Lord when they receive the tithes of the children of Israel. Shouldn't pastors conduct heave offerings when they receive tithes as well?

The entire book of Hebrews, a book written to Hebrew Christians who were in danger of falling back into Judaism, attests to the fact that the Mosaic Covenant with all of it's sacrifices, regulations, feast days, sabbaths, tithes, etc., have been fulfilled in the life, death , and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ (Mat 5:17, Rom 10:4).

The Mosaic Law was a shadow of things to come, as stated in Hebrews 10:1, "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect."

Concerning the inferiority of the Mosaic Covenant and it's subsequent replacement with the New Covenant, the following Scripture quotations should be self-explanatory. But first, it should be understood that in the King James Version, the words testament and covenant are translated from the same Greek word, diatheke (Strong's 1242). The only exceptions are Heb 8:7, 8:13, and 9:18 where these particular words appear in italics. Words in italics in the King James Version are not translated from any Greek word but are implied by the text. The words testament and covenant are used interchangeably but indicate the same concept.

2 Cor 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

Heb 7:11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
Heb 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

Heb 7:17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Heb 7:18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
Heb 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

Heb 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
Heb 8:8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.

Heb 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Heb 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

A repeated theme throughout the Book of Hebrews is that the New Covenant is superior, better, and a replacement for the Mosaic Covenant. In Heb 7:12, it explains that if the priesthood is changed, then there is also a change of the law. In Hebrews 7:18, it says that there is a disannulling of the commandment (again, the Mosaic Covenant), because it was ineffective. This includes tithing, since it has been revealed that it is an integral part of the Mosaic Covenant and not the New Covenant. In Heb 7:19, it says we draw near to God on the basis of a better hope, that being the shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Law could do nothing to bring us closer to God or enable us to attain a righteousness of our own. We draw closer to God on the basis of faith (Hab 2:4, John 3:36, Rom 1:17, Rom 10:4, Gal 2:16, Gal 3:11-12, Heb 10:38, 1 John 5:10-12), not on our adherence to Mosaic regulations. The Law was intended to be our schoolmaster (Gal 3:24), and could never bring us to salvation (Gal 2:16), and Rom 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Rom 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Salvation in all ages has always been by God's grace through faith (Gen 15:6, Hab 2:4, Gal 3:6).

At this point, some may ask, "what about the Ten Commandments?" Christians are not bound to the ceremonies, rituals, sacrifices, etc., of the Mosaic Law, but the moral law is still in effect. Of the Ten Commandments, nine of them are repeated in the New Testament, with the commandment dealing with the sabbath no longer in effect, since we don't worship on Saturday, but on Sunday. Christians have always assembled and worshiped on Sunday because this is the day our Lord Jesus Christ was resurrected. The Apostle Paul says in Colossians 2:16, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:"

Our obedience as Christians is not to the Jewish ceremonial law, but to the Law of Christ (Acts 5:29, Acts 5:32, Romans 6:16, 1 Pet 1:22, 1 Pet 4:17, Gal 6:2). The Galatians who were paying heed to the Judaizers were not obeying the truth, "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you" (Gal 3:1). Our Lord Jesus asks a question to those who claim to know Him but didn't really know Him in Luke 6:46, "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"

6. Matthew 23:23 (and it's parallel passage, Luke 11:42) cannot be used to argue for tithing in the Church. This passage says, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone." Mint, anise, and cummin were plants that were grown in homes and in gardens. The seeds of these plants were used as kitchen spices, and the seeds of the cummin plant were also used in medicine and were crushed for use in perfumes. The Mosaic Law required a tithe of the produce of the land (Lev 27:30), but the legalistic scribes and Pharisees extended this definition to include leaves and seeds of these household plants. They would count out all the leaves and seeds of these plants and reserve one out of ten for a tithe. In other words, in this discourse in which Jesus is condemning the legalistic self-righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, He simply states that they tithe leaves and seeds of these household plants, He neither affirms or disaffirms the tithing doctrine.

The statements Jesus makes about tithing (Mat 23:23, Luke 11:42, Luke 18:12) are all indicative, not imperative. A plain interpretation of these passages doesn't reveal any command that tithing should be continued into the Church Age, which began at Pentecost.

During the life and ministry of Jesus, until His crucifixion, the Mosaic Covenant was still operational (Mat 11:13, Mat 12:5, Luke 2:22-24, Luke 2:27, John 7:19, John 7:23, John 8:5, John 8:17). Heb 9:8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: Heb 9:9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Heb 9:10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances (this includes tithing), imposed on them until the time of reformation. Our Lord Jesus Christ inaugurated the New Covenant at the Last Supper, one day before His crucifixion. The following verses illustrate this (NKJV). Matt 26:28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins". Mark 14:24 And He said to them, "This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many." Luke 22:20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you." The actual work of atonement was accomplished on the cross, and it is upon this divine work on which the New Covenant stands. Heb 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Heb 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen.

7. Malachi 3:8-10 also cannot be used to argue for tithing in the Church, because in this passage God was rebuking Israel for not tithing properly to support the Levitical priesthood. The Mosaic Covenant-New Covenant distinction must be maintained or otherwise we make serious errors in our interpretation of Scripture.

Whenever a discussion of tithing takes place, it seems that Malachi 3:8-10 is always quoted. Unable to draw any requirement from the New Testament for tithing, the Old Testament is then quoted, usually out of context. Old Testament passages have often been quoted as a sort of proof text for various aberrant theologies, and tithing is certainly no different. A particular passage will be quoted without any exegesis, and because it is "in the Bible" it is supposed to be self-evident that a particular ritual or formality should be observed. As demonstrated earlier in this document, tithing as it is practiced today in the Church is not of the Biblical (Old Testament) model. There were three tithes, not just one. Tithes consisted of marketable farm produce, such as animals, grain, olive oil, etc. Tithing did not customarily consist of money, but on those occasions when it did 20% was to be added to the financial disbursement. Numbers 18:26-28 says that the Levites are to offer up a heave offering when they take the tithes from the children of Israel. This is in the Mosaic Law and was a part of proper worship in Israel, so shouldn't pastors offer up a heave offering (which was a tenth of the tithe) when they receive tithes? Malachi 3:10 says that the tithes are to be brought into the storehouse. Since this verse is also "in the Bible," shouldn't Christians bring their tithes into a storehouse instead of dropping them into an offering plate? The storehouse was a set of rooms in the temple that was used to store the tithes (2 Chr 31:11, Neh 13:4-5). Since all of this is "in the Bible," shouldn't Christians have temples with a complete Levitical sacrificial system. The absurdity is apparent. That is why good and proper exegesis is so important.

The Bible is a unified whole, but if we don't make legitimate distinctions, we can end up in an abyss of doctrinal error. This is a void where anything goes, a place where Scripture can be twisted to mean anything you want it to.
The Apostle Peter, in 2 Peter 3:16, speaking in reference to the epistles of the Apostle Paul, gives us a very serious reminder about interpreting Scripture properly, "As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."

8. Christians who mandate tithing are making the same mistake as the Judaizers. The Judaizers claimed to be Christians, and certainly much of their belief system could be labeled as orthodox. They affirmed that the Lord Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah and the value of His sacrificial death on the cross. But the one prevalent distinctive among them was their doctrine that faith in Jesus Christ is not enough, that certain aspects of the Mosaic Law needed to be retained for salvation and/or sanctification. Make no mistake, this is an extremely important issue, since we are in no way justified by the works of the law (Gal 2:16, 2:19-21). In fact, the Apostle Paul stated in Galatians 5:3 that we are "a debtor to do the whole law" if we get circumcised with the belief that this will add to what Christ already did on the cross. Could the same also be said for the practice of tithing? If we interpret Scripture plainly and do not impose an external theological system on our interpretation, the answer is an emphatic yes! Today, circumcision is not an issue in the Church, but tithing certainly is. In fact, many churches have been split over this issue. If the Apostle Paul were alive today, he might very well have written Galatians 5:2-3, substituting the word "tithe" for "circumcision, "Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye [tithe], Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that [tithes], that he is a debtor to do the whole law." This is a very sobering concept coming from the Apostle Paul. A person who is a "debtor to do the whole law" describes an unsaved person!

Galatians 2:16 also says, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." And again in Galatians 2:21, "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."

Just from these select verses, we can ascertain that those who advocate tithing or any other part of the Mosaic Law as works to be accomplished within the Church are frustrating the grace of God, are fallen from grace (Gal 5:4), and are seeking to attain a righteousness of their own, apart from Christ.

The Apostle Paul wrote an entire epistle to deal with this issue of the Judaizers. The epistle to the Galatians is the only one of Paul's letters where there are no words of commendation to the readers. Even with all the chaos, immorality, and carnality in the Corinthian congregation, he did not hesitate to give the Corinthians praise and commendation (1 Cor 1:4-7). In Galatians, after a brief salutation, he immediately launches on the issue that prompted him to write the letter (Gal 1:6), "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:" The word marvel in the Greek text is the word thaumazo. It is a strong word, denoting astonishment and bewilderment. The Apostle Paul was astonished and bewildered that the Galatians were so soon departing from the grace of God unto another Gospel. In Corinth, the problem was not so much right doctrine (the notable exception being the doctrine of the resurrection, 1 Cor 15) but right living and conduct. In Galatia, the very heart of the Gospel was subverted by false teachers. With all of this in perspective, the mandate of tithing in the Church is nothing more than a false gospel.

Galatians 3:10 says, where the Apostle Paul is quoting Deuteronomy 27:26, "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." The Apostle Paul considered the addition of legal elements from the Mosaic Law a perversion of the Gospel (Gal 1:6-7), questioned whether the Galatians were really saved (Gal 3:4, Gal 4:11), and declared accursed (accursed is taken from the Greek word anathema, which is a reference to that which is devoted to destruction) anyone who preaches a Gospel that is different from the one that was taught by Jesus and the Apostles (Gal 1:8-9).

All true believers are no longer debtors to do the whole law. Colossians 2:14 says, in reference to what our Lord Jesus Christ did on the cross, "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross." But the Apostle Paul was apprehensive about the possibility that the Galatians were not saved after all. He expresses this apprehension in Gal 4:9-11, But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

The words "in vain" are translated from a single Greek word, eike. The KJV translators translated it well, for it carries the ideal of having worked on something only to see it end in failure.

9. Undoubtedly, the Judaizers of Paul's time used God's command to Abraham that he be circumcised (Gen 17:11) as a proof text to illustrate that believers in the Church Age also need to circumcised. In much the same way, many of the modern Judaizers use Abraham's giving a tenth to Melchisedec after the defeat of Chedorlaomer (Genesis 14:17-20) as an example of how tithing should be performed by Christians.

It is recorded in Genesis 14:20 and Hebrews 7:2, 7:4 that Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils to Melchisedec, and this certainly occurred before the administration of the Mosaic Law. Does this indicate that tithing is an "unwritten law" or "eternal principle" to be followed in all ages?

In Genesis 14:20, in the KJV, the word "tithes" is used, but in the synopsis of the same event in Hebrews chapter 7 the word "tenth" is used instead. In fact, both the NIV and the NASB use the word "tenth" instead of "tithes" in Genesis 14:20. The Hebrew word ma`aser is used here, and could easily be translated "tenth" or "tithe." In the KJV, this same Hebrew word is usually translated "tithe" throughout the Pentateuch, but it is also translated "tenth" in Num 18:21, Num 18:26, Ezek 45:11, and Ezek 45:14. The point is, the KJV translators used "tithes" in Gen 14:20 simply as a synonym for giving a tenth, since the word "tithe," apart from the Biblical definition and usage of the term in the Mosaic Law, basically means "tenth." Therefore, this does not indicate some mystical "law of tithing" was in operation before the Mosaic Covenant was given.

As stated earlier, tithing (as defined in the Mosaic Law) is basically Old Testament taxation. It is important to realize that Abraham gave a tenth to Melchisedec because he wanted to as a form of veneration, not because he was compelled to do so. In Genesis 14:17-20, Melchisedec came with bread and wine and blessed Abraham, at which point Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. In Hebrews 7:1-3, we see statements such as "priest of the most high God," "King of righteousness," "King of peace," etc., in reference to Melchisedec. It would seem that Abraham recognized this and consequently honored Melchisedec with a tenth of the spoils. From this account we see that Abraham gave cheerfully, not because he was under obligation to a mystical "law of tithing."

In Gen 28:12-15, God confirms the promise (the Abrahamic Covenant) that He made with Abraham (Gen 12:1-3, 13:14-17, 15:1-14, 17:1-8). Jacob vowed to give a tenth of his produce if God would support and protect him. Again, like Abraham, Jacob was willing to give cheerfully because he wanted to, not because he was compelled by some obscure unwritten law (remember, this is before the Mosaic Covenant in Exodus 20:1-31:18).

The fact that Abraham and Jacob gave 10% is simply a historical fact, and does not in any way illustrate some mystical "law of tithing" or "eternal principle" that Christians must comply with, particularly since the 10% was not commanded by God in either situation (in contrast to circumcision, which was commanded).

10. The Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:1-29, circa A.D. 49), was convened to deal with the teaching of the Judaizers.
Acts 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.
Acts 15:2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. and
Acts 15:5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

The Jerusalem Council issued a decree (Acts 15:23-29) that states that Jewish legalism and ritualism are not compatible with the Christian faith.
Acts 15:23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:
Acts 15:24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
Acts 15:25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
Acts 15:26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts 15:27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.
Acts 15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
Acts 15:29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

Our sufficiency is in Christ, and in Christ alone. We should allow no one to beguile us into legalistic observances taken from the Mosaic Law or from any man-made religious system.

Colossians 2:20-23 goes on to say:
Col 2:20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations-
Col 2:21 "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," Col 2:22 which all concern things which perish with the using, according to the commandments and doctrines of men?
Col 2:23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. (NKJV)

11. The Levitical priesthood has been replaced with the priesthood of believers (1 Pet 2:5, 2:9). So from this perspective, all that we have, money, possessions, spiritual gifts, belong to the Lord, not just a tenth of our income. Since NT giving is discretionary, and not based on a demand of a set percentage, this should dispel the common notion that one-tenth of our income is somehow "holy," as if God is some sort of a divine accountant.

12. Those involved in full-time ministry should be supported by the people they serve (1 Cor 9:7-14, 1 Tim 5:17-18). A careful review of New Testament giving reveals to us that our contributions should not only be to support our local ministries, but also meet the basic needs of poverty stricken fellow Christians (Acts 2:44-45, 4:32-37, 1 Cor 16:1-3, 2 Cor 8:1-13, 1 Tim 6:17-19). There was organized giving within local congregations to care for believing widows and orphans who had no other family to rely on (Acts 6:1-4, 1 Tim 5:1-16).

Nowhere in the historical narrative of the very early Church (Acts) do we see Christians "tithing." In Acts 4:32-37, there were many Christians who were selling large proportions of their assets and laying the proceeds at the Apostles' feet. In Acts 5:1-11, we find that Ananias and Sapphira were condemned for deceitfully holding back part of the proceeds from the sale of some land, which had absolutely nothing to do with "tithing."

13. 2 Corinthians chapters 8-9, and 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 state that a Christian is to evaluate the needs of others and to give as he is able to. NO PERCENTAGE GUIDELINES ARE EVER GIVEN. The Apostle Paul had ample opportunity to use the word "tithe" or at east mandate it as a standard to be preserved, but instead Paul gives us new rules for giving, which would supersede the Old Testament law for giving. If there is any single verse in the New Testament that nullifies the "tithing in the Church age" doctrine, it would be 2 Cor 9:7, which says, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give: not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."

The Greek word behind necessity is anagke, which is very correctly translated "necessity." It means a constraint, law, or duty imposed by external circumstances, which is precisely what tithing is. A duty to give 10% of your income whether you like it or not. The Greek word behind cheerful is hilaros, from where we get the English word "hilarious." Hilaros means joyful, happy, and exuberant. In other words, when we give, in whatever we give, we are commanded to do so in a happy and exuberant manner. We should be happy and joyful to give for His Kingdom. We are told not to give grudgingly. The Greek word behind grudgingly is lupe. This particular Greek word conveys the concepts of sorrow, grief, and annoyance. Being compelled to give out of necessity which involves sorrow and annoyance has more in common with the IRS than with the true Church of God. The great nineteenth century preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, said this about tithing: "In the religion of Christ there is no taxation. Everything is of love." (Volume 32, page 213).

There are some who teach that tithing has an unconditional priority in the Christian's life. For example, if I should run into financial difficulties and am unable to feed my family or pay the mortgage, I must still pay 10% regardless. Those who mandate tithing even under such financial adversity should heed the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Tim 5:8, "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." Those who mandate and practice tithing despite these extreme circumstances are tampering with the doctrine of salvation!

There are still others who claim that if we tithe when financial difficulties (or other problems) arise, the Lord will reward us (as in some sort of temporal relief). Such a concept is totally foreign to the New Testament. This results in giving for the wrong reasons, which could result in wood, hay, and stubble when our works are revealed, as to what sort they are (1 Cor 3:8-15). This is a judgment of the believer's works (2 Cor 5:10), which results in a gain or loss of eternal rewards, but does not affect salvation. This should not be confused with the Great White Throne Judgment, which is the judgment of the unsaved dead after the Millennium (Rev 20:11-15).

The epistle of 1 Peter, which was written to suffering and persecuted believers and instructed them on how to deal with affliction, not once mentions tithing as a way to deal with tribulation and suffering. However, the New Testament does tell us that giving to His Kingdom in this life will result in eternal rewards for us.

Matt 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

Luke 12:33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. Luke 12:34 For where your treasure, there will your heart be also.

2 Cor 9:6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

The following Scripture quotations tell us that trials and tribulations will be an integral part of the Christian life.

John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. John 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. John 15:21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.

Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

Rom 8:38 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

1 Thess 3:4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.

2 Tim 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

1 Pet 5:9 Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

When it comes to financial disbursements to a ministry, we are commanded to give cheerfully (joyfully) as we purpose in our heart (whatever amount we want), and not grudgingly (annoyance), regardless of the amount or percentage of our income. The issue is primarily between God and the Christian.

Tithing is compulsory, because it is a form of taxation, and quite often it is performed grudgingly. The Apostle Paul also says in 1 Cor 16:2, On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come." (NKJV). Again, nothing mentioned about "tithing," only giving as one has purposed in his heart and as one has prospered.

14. Love is to be our motivation, not compulsory legalism (Hosea 6:6, Micah 6:6-8, Mark 12:28-34, 1 Cor 13:1-7). How much consideration we have for the poor, for example, is an indication of our spiritual condition (1 John 3:17).

15. Much of the finest scholarship in the Church affirms that tithing has no place in the Church Age. This includes: Unger's Bible Dictionary, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, all of which detail the purpose and function of tithing in the Old Testament but say nothing of tithing being a necessity in the Church. The outstanding John MacArthur New Testament Commentary series affirms that tithing has no place in the Church. The Nelson's Bible Dictionary has this to say about tithing:

In the Old Testament the purpose of the giving of a tenth was to meet the material need of the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless (the orphan), and the widow . The tithe was an expression of gratitude to God by His people. Basic to tithing was the acknowledgment of God's ownership of everything in the earth.

In the New Testament the words tithe and tithing appear only eight times . (Emphasis added)


Christians should not be coerced or compelled to give a set percentage of their income, but should give willingly of whatever they possess. Christians who don't give anything to the Church should examine themselves to determine if they really are in the faith. Tithing in the Church is not a minor issue or theological hair-splitting, but is actually a distortion of Scriptural truth. It is the Galatian error revisited, and this time it is facing very little resistance from an increasingly apostate Church.

How tithing as a legalistic standard crept into the Church is not entirely certain, but it is definitely not a standard that is commanded anywhere in the New Testament, but is in fact replaced by new rules for giving under the New Covenant as I have documented.

Frequently, Church leaders mandate tithing because they believe that most Christians, if left to their own motivation, would give very little. So to maximize the Church's revenue (from their perspective) they decree tithing as the standard for giving. Other Church leaders teach tithing because it's a tradition they learned by rote. Jesus says this about rote tradition in Mat 15:8-9, "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." There are still others who hold to the belief that if you don't tithe (as opposed to giving cheerfully) then you are somehow ignorant, a low-wattage Christian, or not really saved at all.

As this issue is dealt with, we should remember the words of the Apostle Paul in Galatians 3:3, Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? and again in Galatians 5:1, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."

Dave Combs

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