Are You Thinking about Tithing?
Hopefully this set of web pages will assist you in understanding the
topic of tithing. Help you realize it is not necessary to tithe upon
ones income to please God.
For readers not familiar with the term 'tithing', as it is used in
Christian teaching, it means:
The practice of giving one tenth (a tithe) of ones income
(net or gross) to a church organisation based upon the
understanding that this is a biblical teaching applicable
A number of churches today require or encourage their members to
tithe on their financial increase. Depending on the church the
tithing practice may be to calculate the tithe based on either
pre-tax or after-tax income.
Whatever method of derivation is actually decreed the resulting
value of peoples tithe is usually significant. So it is easy to
perceive the monetary benefits a church may receive from the
continued support of this practice. Tithing enables buildings to
be financed, vehicles to be provided, ministers salaries to be
paid and other special projects to be funded.
This Old Covenant law can carry many benefits for a Christian church
and can be very effective in loosening the pockets of patrons.
Those members of churches, which are persuaded to provide a regular
payment of a tenth of their financial increase, are often kept under
this teaching through the mechanism of guilt. Such church citizens
are told that this portion of their increase is "holy" or that it
is the "Lord's" (referring to Leviticus 27:30). That one is stealing
from God (quoting Malachi 3:8) if one fails to forward it to their
church hierarchy - so that it may be used for the purposes of church
support and growth.
These days is has become common for literal Old Covenant teaching
to be quoted over the pulpit without any form of alteration. The
essential nature of the difference between the Old and New Covenants
is often not adequately emphasized and highlighted. Therefore these
denominations seem to act as if it is perfectly acceptable for them
to dip into the Old Covenant Law and select, unaltered, what aspects
they may desire to apply.
A further concern is that often the full complexity and workings of
the Old Covenant Levitical and priesthood financial support systems
are not fully explained to the congregations. The detailed mechanisms
underlying this ancient Israelite system are often poorly understood
even by the ministry.
The current reality is that tithing in the
short and long term can place considerable
strain on the lives of church goers. The
Minister's promises of monetary blessings
do not always materialise and great
difficulty can be encountered in financing
the family home and meeting family needs.
For new Christians initial blessings may often seem to confirm for
them the need to regularly pay tithes. However, God does frequently
encourage and support new Christians, so while these may initially
feel assured of the need to contribute a tenth, they should also
consider that many older Christians have stories of years of tight
finances and missed opportunities under the yoke of this teaching.
A further detrimental effect of this teaching is that it can have a
significant deterrent effect on potential new members. It also gives
credibility to claims by non-believers that Christian churches are
really just after people's money.
Appearances and financial issues aside, churches are required by God
to justly discern the spirit of the New Testament and teach his
With this approach in mind we will explore an understanding which
will enable many to perceive a more balanced God. A God which is not
pleased with sacrifice, but rather desires us to value wisdom and act
with concern toward one another.