Are Christians actually required to tithe? And if so, then where do you tithe if you don’t “go to church” anymore? Or, if I quit believing in tithing, is it wrong for me to keep going to an institutional church, without financially supporting them?
no. Tithing is a sin.
I personally wouldn’t call it a sin. It’s definitely legalism. It’s also misapplied to those of us on this side of the cross, however, I don’t think God would judge as sin regular giving. It’s mostly a case of doing what you don’t have to do. If you exalt yourself for doing it, I’d call that a sin. Also, if you condemn those who don’t that can be sinful. IMHO.
During my unchurching I came to the belief that tithing, while biblical is not Christian. I remember the first week when I didn’t tithe. Ironically, it was a major act of faith. I had been brought up in a home that practiced tithing to the extreme. Oddly, it was a sermon on tithing that really sealed the deal. The teaching pastor said, “God wants to bless you, but if you don’t tithe he can’t. And he will get his money from you one way or the other.” I went to the lead (sr.) Pastor and expressed my concerns. His response was, “I don’t really believe in tithing, but if we don’t teach something no one will give.” This lead me to seriously ask, “what are we doing here?”
Great points. I was a pastor and just knew tithing was how God paid for the church. (Dumb) I even developed an idea that it was a kingdom tax - just like any other government has taxes. But we got blessed for paying this one. (Wow)
I love being free from that “obligation” now and freely give to support needs and not churches.
I know at one church I was involved with one of the members convinced the “senior pastor” that tithing was Old Testament. He shared it with the whole church and suddenly there was not enough money to pay bills…especially salaries. Well he backtracked on that real quick.
A few years later I was serving in a bigger church and the pastor personally guaranteed that if “you don’t get financially blessed from tithing I’ll give your money back.” Well wouldn’t ya know, somebody asked for their refund. He had to do it from his own pocket because the church didn’t have the funds to pay it back.
I left shortly after that. He still teaches tithing passionately but I wonder if he still offers the money back guarantee?
This doctrine has produced a lot of dumb ideas.
I should also add that since giving up tithing we have become extremely generous and not just with . (excuse my blatant use of an emoji to gain a badge)
Freedom from tithing was freedom to do more and a responsibility to actually be led of the lord where to give.
Brilliant. You get a Brilliant Badge.
@andrewmcgowan, that badge grab is a worthy one, and after I am sure years of tithing, which I am guessing God honored whenever you exercised it in faith and love towards Him, I am personally convinced part of your reward eternally is that extra badge earned! Well played!
My wife and I still attend an IC. She is not interested in unchurching. I’ve been emotionally unchurched for probably 10 years, but still attend with her. She still gives to the IC. We essentially split a tithe. She gives her half to the IC. I give mine to other ministries I want to support, some of which change over time.
I’d be curious to know why you call it a sin. At first I thought, “well, that’s harsh” but after I thought about it I realized that I don’t do it because I do not believe I should support a corruption of God’s purposes. Does that make it sin? I’m not sure.
I believe tithing falls into the same category as all the OT rules, regulations, and traditions. We do not have (and SHOULD not have) a priesthood because Christ is our Priest, and the title was something intended to support the Priesthood. On the other hand, we are all members of the priesthood so my obligation is not just to help support a few select members of the Body of Christ but ALL of them who are in need. For me it goes like this:
- Who does God want me to help? The poor among us. Not the poor everywhere, but the poor God puts into my life. 2. What money should I use to help the poor? Since God says to owe no man anything except the debt of love I pay my bills first. And whatever is leftover is money I can share with the poor. 3. Who are the poor? Anybody with less than me.
Having said that I believe it’s good to find creative ways to be generous. For example, I like to pay a person’s bill directly, electric, phone, etc. I have thrown parties/picnics for needy people. I have babysat for and paid for “date night” for poor people. I’ve taken people our for a meal or gone grocery shopping with them and paid for it. I’ve cleaned house for needy people when I had no money to share. I’ve invited people to live in my home until they can get on their feet and then helped them job hunt or write a resume. These are some examples of creative giving.
Extreme sarcasm to make a point. You can tithe if you want. All things are lawful. but not all things are profitable. Tithing would be profitable. But only for the religious systems of this world. LOL. More Sarcasm. Maybe sarcasm is a sin?
Tithing is an issue that is often used to criticize the church. There’s no doubt the tithe has been taught in ways that lead to people feeling guilt or abused, but to be honest, anytime you speak about letting go of money, people will frequently feel guilty and abused.
Let me start with a confession. I was the Director of Stewardship for a very large denomination for a decade. During that time, I wrote and produced a great deal of stewardship material, a good portion of which focused on tithing. If you read the books I have published during my life you can trace the progression of my thoughts on this subject. The first book was called, “Partners with God: Bible Truths about Giving” which sold 300,000 copies and was used in thousands of churches. One chapter was devoted to tithing. About 10 years later I wrote a book called “Authentic Stewardship” which lessens the emphasis on tithing and deals with the attitude behind giving. My latest book suggests that even giving to the church is not necessary. I have probably preached the Malachi passage more than any living preacher, but even at the beginning I worked hard to avoid legalism.
I’m like many who were raised in church. I was simply passing along what I have always been taught. However, as I have developed my own thinking (you have to live awhile before that happens), my thoughts on tithing and giving have radically changed.
If you’re are going to take the position that the church requires money to operate, then teaching tithing makes good sense. For every person who says tithing did nothing for them, I can find 100 who swear that according to their personal experience it is blessed by God.
My current position on giving/stewardship is that we should live with an open hand. In fact, the front cover of my “Authentic Stewardship” book is a photo of open hands. Although tithing might not be the best approach, it can be a tool to help people release their grip on money. The real problem is not that giving a tenth is unreasonable, but the real problem is the people who could/should give far more than a tenth, use the concept of the tithe to make themselves feel like they have done their duty.
I agree with Andrew about being able to bless other people since giving up tithing. In one case we got in touch with some friends we hadn’t seen for a while to give them a gift, which completely surprised them and met an immediate need.
What I found was that OT tithing is much more complex than the typical IC presentation. The tithe was based on the increase of what was grown in the land of Israel. There were three tithes, one for the levites one for the poor and one to celebrate with. (Apologies I don’t have all the scriptures to hand.). Deuteronomy 14 talks about setting aside a tenth of the increase to party with. I didn’t hear too much teaching on this in IC.
Roger Sapp has written a series of books, which for me seem to be the clearest teaching on the subject.
There is a thithing test Yuit can take too. It can be found here: http://www.allnationsmin.org/Download/documents/Take_the_Tithing_Test.pdf
Would not tithing put us under the law, and cause us to fall from Grace? And why would you want to do that, fall from Grace that is.
YES! I really like this.
Richard, I read your question with much interest and all the comments thus far. I haven’t seen where anyone really addressed the last part of your question that is if we no longer believe in tithing is it wrong to keep going to an IC without financially supporting them. I, personally cannot in good conscience attend an IC without "paying my membership dues ", which is how I now describe “tithing”. I see IC as an organization to belong to as a member where as in any club or organization you join you are required to pay your membership dues to take part. That’s the basis upon which the IC operates and without faithful tithers they would most likely have to close their doors, or at least many of them. However, I’m sure there are many “attendees” or even “members” who don’t give a 10th of their income. They just donate enough to salve their conscience that they have “given”.
And there’s the rub, right? On the one hand, it’s very liberating to realize we don’t have to tithe. But if we then continue to benefit from church programs and services which cost real money to operate, how are we not exercising our liberty at the expense of the other saints who are left with the financial burden to “pay for our seat”, as it were?
I think Brad is just being “snarky”, no?
Yes, maybe it wasn’t addressed because there aren’t many it applies to (continuing to go to IC). I am … and have had to deal with this in my heart. In fact, am in “leadership” of an IC. I addressed my understanding of “tithes” once at a leadership meeting and asked that we move past that. It was quiet, but no opposition and I thought maybe I had broken through … but alas it drifted right back. But they all know how I understand it now (old testament law never practiced in the new testament). I continue to give to the IC that I am part of because it does have expenses (although ours is limited with renting a Public school cafetarium).
I was going to suggest at one point, and maybe I will, that we can leave tithing behind in the Old Testament, and I would be ok if we ask everyone for 10% as the necessary and fair contribution/fee to give this type of structure going … but not justify it with Old Testament LAW with curses and blessings anymore than teaching indulgences. Thanks for the topic.