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The tithe controversy Part 2



The arguments against tithing border on the following: that tithing belongs to the Old Testament and, therefore, is not scriptural; that tithes have been abused by pastors; that nowhere in the Bible is it mentioned that the disciples paid tithes to Jesus. We shall examine these points one after the other.

It is amazing that we accept many teachings about the characters in the Old Testament, but turn around to reject tithing because it involves money or that it makes the Church rich. We seem to forget that the New Testament rests on the Law and the Prophets (Ephesians 2:19-20). This means that what is written in the prophets is an instruction to the New Testament Church.

Critics of tithing say that we cherry pick from the Old Testament to support tithing. But do we not cherry pick, when we claim the promises and blessings from the Psalms or draw inspiration and examples from the stories about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Elijah and the other saints? We readily invoke the many blessings of the Old Testament upon our lives but turn around to reject the teaching on tithing. Very sad!

No defence can be given to justify the abuse of tithes by Pastors, who must be accountable at all times and show the highest level of integrity in the way they live and handle church funds. But, is the alleged abuse enough grounds to discontinue tithing, even at the expense of the work of the kingdom? Granted that no disciples paid tithe to Jesus, but that is not enough justification to discontinue tithing. The disciples did not need to pay any tithe to Jesus because He did not need it. When Peter needed money to pay tax, the Lord Jesus directed him to go and catch a fish and open its mouth for money.

The Past
Keil and Delitzsch write in their commentaries that in the past, the practice was for landowners to collect ten percent fees from those who used their land. It was also the practice that when a king assisted another king to go to war, after winning the war, he is entitled to a certain percentage of the spoils of war. It is, therefore, not difficult to connect this to Abraham giving a tenth of his spoils of war to Melchizedek, who assisted him to defeat five kings, and the Almighty God, Who demanded a tithe from the children of Israel, which was devoted to the Levites. Israel did not only pay tithes but gave freewill offerings to God, as the need arose.

The Heart Of The Matter
It is very unfortunate that the debate on tithing has been reduced to a pedestrian level. At the heart of the matter is not whether one pays tithe or not, but what sacrifice is the average Christian willing to make in appreciation of Christ’s death on the cross for him. No sacrifice is so great and can pay for the death of Jesus for us at the cross. Any Christian who appreciates this fact will be willing to give his all to God. After all, Christ commended the poor widow who gave two small copper coins for outgiving the other wealthy people in the temple who gave more (Mk.12: 41-44). So, whether we tithe or not, it is a matter of the heart, not compulsion.

Even if tithing is an inherited church tradition or pragmatic financial arrangement put in place to support ministers and the kingdom work, it is necessary. Those who believe otherwise are free to hold their own views. The brouhaha is uncalled for. Contact:

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