Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Should Christians tithe?

Its stewardship season at church, and perhaps no season creates more tension and confusion than the Bible's teaching on giving. Jesus taught so much on giving because no element of life is more looked to for security and significance than money and possessions. I believe that tithing is not only appropriate, but commanded for the Christian. I believe there is way too much discontinuity in many Chrstians' minds between the Old and New Testament. The early church's Bible was still the Old Testament...the New was still being written. In addition, most of the New Testament is simply Old Testament allusion or direct quotation. In addition, tithing, or giving the tenth part, was established before the law was even given to Israel. Abraham paid the tenth to Melchizekek in Genesis. We learn in Hebrews that Melchizedek was a type or foreshadow of Christ and we also know that Abraham was the father of all those who believe, so that in Abraham the Church was paying tithes to Christ. In addition, Jacob promised a tenth to God as God provided for him, again, before the law was even given. Finally, Christ Himself affirms the tithe when He rebuked the Pharisees for tithing on everything but neglecting mercy, justice and love. He went on to say they should indeed have done the former (tithing) without neglecting the latter. So, it seems clear to me that the tenth is the minimum generosity called for by the Lord to His Church...certainly we should pray about giving beyond the tenth. It seems clear that the tithe is on gross, not net...One more item that might be helpful...I believe that there is great continuity between the Old and New Testaments, AND between Israel and the Church...the believers in OT Israel were the Church and the believers in the New Testament Church are the Israel of God (Eph 2, Rom 9, 11, Gal 6:16, etc). since that is the case, when it comes to the Bible, everything from the Old Testament applies across the board to New Testament believers unless it is specifically changed by NT data. When it comes to bringing the tenth, it is not only not changed by the NT but actually affirmed, and even increased, as is all the Law by Christ. Christ continuously took the law known by Israel and expanded it! You have heard it was said, do not commit adultery, but I say if you even lust after a woman, you are guilty of adultery...same with murder and anger...so it follows that tithing is the minimum when it comes to giving. I think that part of the confusion by many in the church today is seeing such a radical break between the Testaments and between Israel and the Church that I feel is not accurate.


John Edwards said...

Well maybe Penn State wont blow it over the next three games! blue Royster cult and Jo Pa!

Ricky Garcia said...

check out: "thegiftrevolution.com"

25 days to inspire the world!

the martins said...

This may be a silly question, but one that I have pondered a lot about the tithe. Should we be taking our tithe from what we earn prior to tax or based upon what we receive after tax?