I sent following responses to a tithing teacher who tried to convert me to his way of thinking.
NO verse in either testament commands tithing to be done on the wages of workers. If you'll look more closely
at the book of Malachi, you'll see it is addressed to the sons of Jacob and the priesthood. In Malachi 3:5, just a couple
of verses before tithe-teachers' favorite passage, the LORD rebukes the subject of His rebuke for "oppressing the hireling
in his wages". Why would the LORD suddenly change the focus of His rebuke from the oppressor of the hireling to the
hireling himself in verses 8-10?
God clearly spells out just WHAT is to be tithed on in Lev.27:30-34, who it is to benefit, etc. Why don't tithers use
part of their tithe to eat and rejoice before the Lord as it commands in Deut.14:24-27? ONLY if the tither couldn't
haul his farm produce a long distance to the place of worship was he to convert it into money, and that money was ONLY to
be used to buy a substitute edible tithe, which he helped to eat himself! Tithes were NEVER used to finance buildings,
buy a new car for the preacher, etc.
Every three years the tithe was to be laid up within the towns and used to feed the Levite and the fatherless and the
widow. Is this being done today? I doubt it!
Every seven years the land was to rest (Lev.25:1-7). No tithes could be paid from the land during that year, as no
sowing or reaping was to be done. How many preachers give their people a break from tithing every seventh year?
If Jacob HAD to tithe, then why does he put conditions on it before he promises to do it? Jacob's tithe was voluntary,
not mandatory. The source of the very first tithe was wicked Sodom. Abraham fought a war to liberate the citizens
of Sodom who had been captured in battle. Abraham gave Melchisedik the tithe (tenth) of all the spoils that were taken
from Sodom. Nowhere does it say Abraham pays tithes out of his personal wealth, or ever tithes again. Isaac is
not recorded to have tithed at any time.
Priests (not congregational worshippers) in the Book of Malachi were rebuked for offering polluted bread upon God’s
altar, along with lame, sick and blind sacrifices. How could you apply that to filthy lucre?
I guess you could pollute money (hippie bread) by dropping it in a mud puddle on the way to church. You can deface
a dollar bill by giving George Washington a moustache. But I just can’t imagine a dollar bill on an IV drip or needing
laser eye surgery! Get real!
When Jesus mentioned tithing, it was in a negative context where He rebuked Pharisees for their self-righteousness.
He did not tell them to tithe their money or to take tithes from the poor. Jesus was born under the Law (Gal.4:4). He
preached to JEWS living under the Law, when tithing was still in effect. Jesus did not tell the Roman centurion to start tithing
after He healed His servant. Jesus also told a healed leper to offer up a burnt offering, or "gift that Moses commanded" (Matt.8:4).
Does that mean we have to offer burnt offerings today?
The New Covenant did not start until after the "death of our Testator", Christ Jesus (Heb.9:16). Tithing was not mandated
by the institutional church until two Catholic Church councils ordered it to be done in the sixth century A.D. Until then,
there was freewill giving ONLY, and only to meet legitimate needs, such as feeding the poor. Until the supposed conversion
of Constantine, there were no church buildings to maintain. People met in each other's homes.
The Book of Hebrews was written to discourage Jewish converts to Christ from returning to Judaism. It was not written
to pressure Gentile converts to start tithing. Jesus, in the person of Melchisedik, accepted Abraham's tithe OF THE
SPOILS OF WAR (not of Abraham's personal wealth or the wages of his hired servants). Abraham refused to take any of the spoils
for himself, lest the King of Sodom should say he made Abraham rich (Gen.14:21-24). The Book of Hebrews pointed back to the
time of Melchisedik's appearance to Abraham. Melchisedik did not ask Abraham for anything, the tithe was a voluntary
gift. This passage is not ordering modern Christians to bring tithes of their wages to any human representative
of Christ. Anyone who takes tithes today is playing Levitical priest, and putting himself or herself between our One Mediator
between God and Man, the Man Christ Jesus (I Tim.2:5)
The fact remains that Paul nowhere commanded tithing to be done, though he taught liberal GIVING. Paul was a
Benjamite, not a Levite. He was not qualified to take tithes, according to the Law. If Paul (or Jesus, a member of the
tribe of Judah), took tithes during their ministries, why did they often suffer need?
The worst damage done by the tithing tradition is spiritual: People deny their own priesthood when they tithe.
ALL believers are members of Christ's Royal priesthood, not just a few privileged ones at the top (I Pet.2:5,9). The
Priesthood of Israel did not tithe. Those who take tithes are not authorized by God to do so. The Temple (and
the Levitical priesthood which took tithes under the Law) was abolished in 70 A.D., when the legions of Titus destroyed the
Jesus Himself warned His apostles not to exalt themselves above the rest of the believers. He said
we have just ONE Lord, and we are all to relate to each other as brothers (Matt.23:8-9). Jesus made no provision
for a hierarchical power structure which impoverished the many while enriching the few.
All I know is, the more money I gave to rich preachers, the poorer I got, and the more problems I had.
Prov.22:16: He that oppresseth the poor to increase his wealth, and he that giveth to the rich shall surely come to
It is a vile sin to pressure handicapped people or poor widows on Social Security to do without decent food and heat
in winter to pay tithes of money to the church! The early church GAVE to these people, it didn't rob them. Even
the Jewish Talmud states that no one is obligated to give as alms that which he needs to sustain himself.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
You appealed to Abraham’s ONE-TIME act of tithing as an example for us to follow.
That’s a bad idea. Why?
1. The first tithe mentioned in Scripture consisted of goods stolen from the wicked city of Sodom. To tithe like Abraham, your tithe must consist of stolen goods you’ve recaptured from a thief, not
monetary wages you’ve earned (Heb.7:4).
2. Abraham paid Melchisedek tithes of OTHER PEOPLE’S STOLEN STUFF. His tithe was not taken out of his personal estate!
To tithe like Abraham, you must contribute other people’s belongings, not your own property.
3. Abraham refused to keep the other ninety per cent of the spoils. He let his confederates keep their share of the loot for helping him (Gen.15:24).
To tithe like Abraham, you must refuse to keep the ninety percent and give it to those who helped you win a battle.
4. Abraham said God ALREADY possessed everything in heaven and earth (verse
22). We can’t give anything to God to place Him in our debt to get Him
to bless us (Job 41:11).
Another example you used is Jacob’s ONE-TIME, CONDITIONAL tithe.
Gen.28:20: And Jacob VOWED A VOW, saying, IF God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will
give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,
Verse 21: So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; THEN shall the LORD be my God:
Verse 22: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou SHALT (future
tense) give me, I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
To tithe like Jacob, you must:
1. Make a vow to God. Making
vows is discouraged by Jesus in Matt.5:34, when he instructs His disciples not to swear (vow) at all.
2. Vow to tithe to God ONLY if He FIRST gives to you and fulfills certain
conditions made by YOU. How different, from the way preachers pressure people to “step out in faith” and give
out of their poverty!
Jacob’s vow was not payable UNTIL he first returned to Canaan in peace twenty years after running away from his
angry brother Esau and fleeing to Mesopotamia. Scripture doesn’t say whether
Jacob ever kept his end of the bargain.
How could Jacob use tithing as a bargaining chip anyway, if he ALREADY felt obligated to give to God, even out of his
poverty? That makes as much sense as promising the landlord you’ll pay
the rent if he does a few favors for you first.
Preachers continually appeal to Abraham and his covenant to support tithing.
But there is NO mention of tithing in Genesis chapter 15 when God ratifies the Abrahamic covenant. In fact, Abraham
fell asleep after preparing the sacrifice (verse 12). After that, God did all the speaking. God said NOTHING about Abraham having
to pay tithes to receive His blessings. In Genesis 22:15-18 God confirms His
covenant with Abraham and promises to bless him for his obedience. But again,
nothing is said about Abraham being required to tithe on his vast personal wealth.
The true Biblical tithe was used to provide food ONLY, not money, to support the Levites and the poor, also to hold
a communal meal of thanksgiving before God at Festival time (Deut.14:26). The
ancient Israelite who could not haul his tithe to his place of worship used money from the sale of tithed produce to buy “whatsoever
HIS (not the preacher’s) soul lusted after. This might include wine and
strong drink. How many preachers teach THIS crucial provision of the ancient tithing law?
Instead, they appeal to sentimental religious traditions of men or read things into the Bible which aren’t written
A special tithe was collected every third year to feed the poor (verses 28-29).This tithe was used to feed the hungry,
not to buy a Cadillac for the preacher. Today’s merciless version of the
tithing law robs the poor instead of giving to them. The poor don’t get the third year tithe and they don’t get
a break from tithing TO MEN every seven years like the ancient Israelites did. Unscriptural New Covenant tithing, far from
being part of a better covenant, is much more merciless version than Old Covenant tithing .
Unless they came under tribute to a king, Israelite farmers and herdsmen (not midwives or sandal-makers) paid no other
large tax except the tithe of their crops, herds and flocks. Today’s tithers
pay upwards of 30-40& of their income in state and federal taxes AFTER paying tithes on the GROSS of their paycheck! Even a minimum waged worker has a big cut taken out for SSI, etc. Ten per cent of an after-taxes paycheck might not mean much to privileged preachers, but it could be the
thin margin people survive on, after paying hefty bills for rent, utilities, car payment, gas, etc. Freedom from mandatory tithing can mean the difference between eating a halfway decent diet and subsisting
on beans and rice.
When people come under the power of this false monetary tithing doctrine, they feel pressured to take an extra job
or two so they can afford to tithe on the first paycheck. Some kids hardly ever
get to see their mom and dad because they’re at McDonald’s flipping burgers, or at the factory. Tithing worsens money worries, drives mothers out of the home to work longer hours and plunges kids into
When a poor person is unable to work a second job and pays tithe money on the one job he has, it creates stress from
inability to pay bills on time. Have YOU ever had your lights or water turned
off? That’s no fun. Have YOU ever had to swallow your self-respect and
“use a neighbor’s phone” because you couldn’t afford your own?
When was the last time YOU ever had to put something back at the checkout counter because you were a nickel short?
Have YOU ever had to share your home with a crowd of housemates because rent is so high?
Parents who tithe instead of properly feeding their children are doing what Jesus warned the Pharisees against: making
a “corban” (ritual gift) out of money which should go to take care of your own household (Mark 7:10-13). Those
who pay $30 as “tithes” which their hungry family needs to eat on are failing to “provide for their own
houses” (I Tim.5:8). Tithing turns poor people into infidels who have denied
the faith! “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn”
is used as a crow bar by preachers to pry tithe money out of the poor. But it
can also be used as proof that wage slaves who toil hard for their wages deserve to at least eat before the preacher gets
Jesus did not ordain the clergy-laity system in the institutional church, whereby “pulpit ministers” have
the right to ask “pew Christians for part of their wages. That began in
the early Middle Ages. Paul taught an EQUALITY of well-being in the Body of Christ (2.Cor.8:13-14). He did not preach that
lower-ranking believers should be burdened while more privileged Christians were
Preachers are not to reign as kings over God’s people to take tribute (2 Pet.5:2-3). I Pet.2:5,9 teaches the
priesthood of ALL believers, but that got phased out a couple of hundred years after the death of the first apostles. There
was no such thing as “pew Christians” and “pulpit ministers” in the days of Peter and Paul. If preachers have the right to ask a minimum-wage believer for tithes to buy a new steeple, then according
to scriptural teaching about our equal status as brethren, the minimum waged Christian has the right to ask the preacher for
tithes so his kid can go to the dentist.
New Testament believers enjoy a higher status than Abraham or Jacob did (Luke 7:28).
Why? Because of the priesthood of all believers under the New Covenant. We sit with Christ in Heavenly places (Eph.2:6).
Abraham was the friend of God, but he did not have the same spiritual blessings in his lifetime that we do. Satan had not
yet been defeated on Calvary. Abraham looked forward to the Cross, we look back to it. We have been spiritually regenerated
and made one spirit with Christ (I Cor.6:17). We are all members of His body,
of His flesh, and of His bones (I Cor.12:12; Eph.5:30). Whenever some preacher threatens members of the Body of Christ with
divine retribution for failure to tithe, they’re actually threatening Christ Himself! The very idea, the church putting
a tax on Jesus Christ!
Jesus paid it all. He fulfilled all the old types of the Old Covenant, including the tithe. Jesus most likely did not pay tithes while He lived on earth, as I doubt He had time to tend a vegetable
garden or raise a flock of goats. Christ was a Carpenter, not a farmer. When He took the Temple tax out of the mouth of a fish, Jesus didn’t even use
funds out of Judas’ money bag. He took an UNEARNED coin out of the mouth
of a fish (Matt.17:27). This speaks of grace, not works. Jesus only paid that tax so as not to offend the collectors. But He did it in a way where He didn’t come under servitude to them. In verse
26 Jesus tells Peter that the children are free (from having to pay tribute). Under the Old Covenant, God had servants. Under the New Covenant, God has born-again children. God does not tax His own children.
Our standing is not that of slaves, but sons (Gal.4:7).
We are to owe no man anything but to love one another (Rom.13:8). Scripture
does not say we owe an ongoing debt of ten per cent of our salaries and wages to the man in the pulpit. Preachers say love and prayers aren’t enough tribute to pay a preacher. But if a “pew Christian” was to go up and tell the preacher he was about to be thrown out on
the street because he couldn’t pay his rent he’d be promised the preacher’s prayers and nothing more. If the poor guy had the nerve to ask for more practical help, he’d be told to
go get non-existent help from the social services, or go find an extra job.
Matt.23:23 (Jesus addressing Pharisees UNDER THE LAW): Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay
tithe of mint, and anise and cumin (not money), and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith,
etc. * * *In this verse Jesus classifies tithing as a MATTER OF THE LAW. Of course
tithing on agricultural produce was still binding before the Cross nullified the Old Covenant (Col.2:14) , and had to be kept
In the beginning of the Church Age there was a big debate on whether converted Gentiles had to be circumcised and keep
the Law which included tithing (Lev.27:30-34). Here is the conclusion they reached:
Acts 15:24: Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting
your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law; to whom we gave no such commandment:
Verse 25: It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas
Verse 26: Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 27: We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.
Verse 28: FOR IT SEEMED GOOD TO THE HOLY GHOST, AND TO US, TO LAY UPON YOU NO GREATER BURDEN THAN THESE NECESSARY THINGS;
Verse 29: That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication:
from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare thee well.
Oops! Did the apostles and the Holy Spirit overlook something? Where does tithing appear on that list? Paying ten per cent
of your before-taxes income to the church, regardless of the needs of your family, IS a greater burden than those four necessary
* * * * *
Would you believe it? The tithing teacher refused to disprove or even
discuss these strong proofs against tithing. Instead, he kept on insisting the
Holy Spirit had shown him the blessedness of tithing. Finally, he asked me if
I’d formed my beliefs in isolation, and which church did I belong to?
The Holy Spirit doesn't contradict Himself. His Word must take priority over good feelings, or even outward evidence
that people SOMETIMES have good things happen to them after tithing. No tithing teacher EVER likes to talk
about poverty and misery familes suffer on a continuing basis by being in bondage to a genetically modified Old Covenant law.
The preacher did what politicians do when they're unwilling to answer a question with a simple yes or no: He stonewalled
away my solid Biblical points by ignoring them as if God really had inserted the false monetary tithing doctrine in His Word.
He didn't even bother to give me ONE verse saying: Thou shalt tithe on thy salaries and wages. Some preachers prefer GUARANTEED
wealth and spiritual blindness to accepting the written Word of God. They are rich materially, but blind and poor
and naked spiritually (Rev.3:17-18).
Whether I formed my beliefs in the privacy of my
bedroom or in a “church building” doesn’t matter. I don’t
need the institutional church to interpret the Word of God for me. I won’t give some preacher the keys to my brain.
I will not go back under the influence of any religion factory to benefit preachers
who want money. The Holy Spirit has shown me through the Word of God that unscrupulous ministers of greed have been pulling
wool over the eyes of God’s sheep.
Speaking of “Belonging to a Church”
“Becoming a church member” was a straightforward process in the denomination I went to as a teenager. You went forward to take the preacher’s hand and declare your dedication to
Christ. Then The congregation “voted you in”. Then you got dunked
in the baptistery. If you wanted to “move your letter” to another
church you needed to let them know so you would remain a member of that church. That
kind of church membership is an unscriptural teaching of men. It is GOD, not
men, Who places us as members in Christ’s Body (I Cor.12:28). I haven’t
found any religious institution around here that even remotely resembles the Church in Acts.
When we went through hard times, it was “people outside the camp” God used to befriend us, not members
of local evangelical churches. Just about every place I’ve visited is into the prosperity doctrine and all its money-exacting
soft soap. I will not lend credence to any man-ruled religious organization or its manmade tradtions with my presence.
Some think a bad “church” is better than no church at all. But
being in the wilderness is better than coming under the influence of tithe teachers
who appeal to your love of Jesus and pile on perfumed guilt to dig into your wallet.
Better to stay in the wilderness where God can speak to you directly without having to clean up a lot of religious
hang-ups put there by preachers who lie to you to turn you into “twice the son of hell as themselves” (Matt.23:15).
If you yourself have found a group of believers knit together in the love of the Spirit and exalting Jesus as Lord, you are
very blessed indeed.
Church isn’t a building you go to, or a social function, like a dance.
Church is who we ARE, not what we GO TO. You can have a big crowd of ten
thousand total strangers in one building, singing songs, saying prayers and donating money.
But if those people have no care toward or relationship with each other the other six days of the week, they are NOT
functioning as a church in the Biblical sense. Two or three can “have church”
together (Matt.18:20). It could be just as simple as praying or discussing the
word over a cup of coffee. True Christians know how to build one another up in the faith over the Internet, or in our homes,
or wherever we encounter one another.