We Must Tithe To God
by Jon Hanna
I would like to respond to Editor Jon Hanna's letter in the May issue of Connection. The article was titled Pastors Stop Robbing My People, Church Membership Is Not For Sale. There are many points in that letter that I feel are not in line with the teaching of scripture. First of all the idea of tithing pre-dated the law by more than 500 years. In Genesis 14:18-20 Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek a priest of God. Also, Jacob gave a 10th of his income to God, Genesis 28:22. Even if we were to base tithing on principles found in the law, Jesus himself always taught beyond the law. For example the law said do not murder, Jesus said do not become improperly angry. The law said do not commit adultery, Jesus said do not look lustfully. When Jesus was approached about tithing, He put it in perspective in Matt. 23:23 saying "You should tithe, yes, but you should not leave undone the more important things" N.L.T.
While I agree with Hanna about the importance of prayer in the Christian's life, I wonder if he realized there are 523 references to prayer in the Bible and 1,523 references to giving (which would include tithing). The use of "manipulating God's people" is not acceptable in any area of Christian teaching, but God does require obedience from us in all areas of our life and that includes our financial stewardship. As far as the poor among us and our family members, I feel we should use the other 90% of the money God sends our way to help meet those needs. In reality God owns all 100% of what we have anyway, He allows us to manage 90% of it. To conclude this let me share some facts about Christian giving. The Christian Stewardship Association (CSA) says, "Giving percentages among evangelical Christians have been declining for 26 years." It's reported that the average senior adult contributes seven times more than the average baby boomer or buster. The (CSA) reports that no more than 2 out of 10 Christians actually give 10% to the Lord's work. I am sure there are pastors and churches that are out of line in there approach to raising funds for ministry. But Malachi 3:6-10 talks about "robbing God", by not bringing tithes to the storehouse (local church*) it also talks about the blessing that awaits those who do.
David Sachs, Stow, Oh
I agree with you, we must learn to give. I also tithe to Jesus, as I have since the early 90's, when the Holy Spirit taught me how to give to God what and how He wants me to. I was living in government housing and on welfare when the Holy Spirit taught me how to give to God by faith, and He brought me to where I am today. When I learned how to give to God, I gave joyfully. I gave with great expectation. I gave out of a spirit of liberty, not some binding legal requirement to become a member.
I was a member of God's family long before I learned to tithe. I became a member of God's kingdom when I accepted Jesus as my Lord. Learning how to tithe did not make me a member, it just gave me opportunity to be more faithful, obedient and pleasing to God by His Spirit, and to be more of a blessing to the world. Unfortunately, some pastors demand the tithe for a person to be qualified as a member of God's church. 'No tithe, no membership in God's church', and this kind of yoke is what displeases God. (Read Acts 15:1-29)
The good news is that now we have a High Priest in the heavens, Jesus Christ. He is our perfect sacrifice of which the law was only a shadow. Subsequently, now we tithe to Him, our High Priest as the Holy Spirit teaches and instructs, but not all are led by God's Spirit. God often feeds me more in my prayer time than He does at church for only one or two hours each week. Now, Jesus is my storehouse. He leads me to give to the church as well as to the poor and needy, and also to Christian evangelists. I don't tithe to be a member, I give to God because I am a member.
According to the doctrine of 'giving where your fed', a family that gives most of their tithe to the church or ministry where their children attend Christian school and a smaller amount where they attend Sunday service would be fulfilling the law. Unfortunately, the average giving among Christians is only 3% annually. The unchurched also only give 3% annually to their charities and causes. American Christianity is hurting and it doesn't help that some pastors resort to demanding the tithe strictly for their ministry and then wrongly use church membership to secure it.
All of the giving done out of compulsion and/or fear is not pleasing to God, even though you think you're fulfilling the law. All giving done in faith and obedience is pleasing to God, because without faith you can't please Him anyway. Isn't that the reason we tithe, to be pleasing to God? Or is it just to qualify for membership?
Yes, your right, Jesus taught beyond the law.
(Read Galatians 5:1-18)
In Christ's Mercy and Truth,