What the New Testament Teaches (Series, Part 3, Finale)

In my discussions with preachers and individuals who believe in tithing, at this point in such conversations, some would say something like, “But I know tithing works; I have seen God’s blessings in my life as a tither!” As harmless as this statement is, it is no good for doctrine. It is a rather emotional response to the issue. First, how does one know a priori that God’s providence in one’s life is tied to one’s tithes if one is not already committed to such a view of God? The fact that something works or is perceived to work does not make it true. The main issue is whether a robust defence can be made for tithing—whether our beliefs are founded on truth. We want to faithfully understand what is expected of us.

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Critiquing the Argument for Tithing (Series Part 2)

Parsing the Argument

For years, I truly believed the defence of tithing in all its potent forms that I was aware of. I was prepared to follow God’s directives. Helping the matter was the fact that all the preachers that I served under all faithfully gave their tithes as well. Recently, I had reasons to doubt this defence; I believe that it falls quite short in explaining why Christians ought to tithe. One of the strengths of the argument is its grounding of tithing’s provenance in Abraham as opposed to Moses or Aaron. However, it should be noted that Israel did not tithe because Abraham did; instead, the descendants of Israel gave tithes specifically because God commanded them to do so. They were so commanded because one of their brothers, Levi, had been set apart by God to only focus on ministering. Whereas other tribes of Israel had material possessions upon entering the promised land, Levites did not. God himself was their possession, and God provided for their daily needs by giving to Levites the tithes—of grains, animals, spices, flour, olive oil, among other things—that the other tribes bring to God:

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A Traditional Defence of Tithing (Series Part 1)


I was a faithful tither. Why would anyone not be? I was taught that nobody can out-give God, a teaching that I found rather easy to understand: if the God of the universe, who gives liberally without faults-finding, invites me into a covenant of giving and receiving, I think I would rather oblige. I took it so seriously that on the 22nd day of February 2009, I increased my “tithe” to 20 percent of my income besides offering and other needs the church might have. For me, it was a simple matter of following through with truth wherever it led. Tithing, I was convinced, was an obligation every Christian must despatch. It was obvious that the church needs financial support to thrive and do all the good works. Besides, the Bible was quite clear on this subject; at least, so I thought. I was a member of a great church—one that is a very good ground for training young believers, I should add—which taught based on Luke 6:38 that if one does not give, one would not receive. (Never mind that the context of that verse makes it doubtful that Jesus was talking about giving money or anything material.) The church often would even remind members that it was impossible to love without giving for even God demonstrated his love for humanity by giving Jesus (John 3:16). All of this appeared to be sound doctrine, and I believed it wholeheartedly.

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