Tithes and Tithing

 

Elder Hulan Bass


We all need more income, including Our Church. Have you ever noticed how your expenses rise to meet your income, no matter how much it is?

How do we finance the needs of Our New Testament Church? By Tax, Tithe or Voluntary Giving? What method will work? The only point to really consider is WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH?

In the Old Testament it was a Tax in Civil Governments, and a Tithe in Religion. The Old Testament Economy of Moses, under the Levitical Rule was a TITHE - One-Tenth of Gross Income - Laws of First-Fruits.

 

In the New Testament it is VOLUNTARY GIVING - ONLY! This "Voluntary System" has been successful since the days of The Apostles. Tithing in the Old Testament was REQUIRED by Law - Lev. 27:30-33; Num. 18:20-29; Deut. 12:5-29. Even such was practiced by Abraham before Moses' Laws.

 

In The New Testament Church, SUPPORT of The Church and Ministry is also REQUIRED, but Tithing is not the Scriptural Procedure. Giving from the heart and as God hath prospered you is the correct New Testament Procedure - 1st Cor. 16:2; 2nd Cor. 9:7.  Notice that GIVING is not assessing, taxing, stipulating, pre-agreeing, pre-arranging, paying dues, pledging or vowing, as the Old Testament Tithe required, which was mathematical, but not so in the New Testament Church. The Old Testament Levitical Law is no longer valid or in effect, but has expired - Luke 16:16; Heb. 7:5, 12, 19.


We find in the New Testament Church, "GIVING" - Luke 21:1-4 - she gave ALL SHE HAD which was 100%; Acts 11:29 - Every man according to his ability; 1st Cor. 16:2 - As God hath prospered him; 2nd Cor. 9:7 According as he purposeth in his heart, giving cheerfully. We observe not one word nor implication for an assessment of 10 % - Tithe Mathematical.

I quote from Cruden's Complete Concordance under "Tithe" "The practice of paying tithes is very ancient; for we find, Gen. 14:20, that Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek, king of Salem, at his return from his expedition against Chedorlaomer, and the four kings in confederacy with him. Abraham gave him the tithe of all the booty taken from the enemy. Jacob imitated this piety of his grandfather when he vowed to the Lord the tithe of all the substance he might acquire in Mesopotamia, Gen. 28:22. Under the law, Moses ordained, Lev. 27:30-32, All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's; it is holy unto the Lord, etc." A TITHE can only be 10% and NOT more than 10%. "There were all sorts of tithes to be paid from the people (besides those from the Levites to the priests), Num. 28:26-27, etc. (1). To the Levites, for their maintenance, Num. 18:21, 24. (2). For the Lord's feasts and sacrifices, to be eaten (in the place which the Lord should choose to put his name there; to wit, where the ark should be, the tabernacle or temple. This tenth part was either sent to Jerusalem in kind, or, if it was money, which was to be laid out for oxen, sheep, wine, or what else they pleased, Deut. 14:22-24 etc. (3). Besides these two, there was to be, every third year, a tithe for the poor, to be eaten in their own dwellings, Deut. 14:28-29." "In the New Testament, neither our Saviour, nor his apostles have commanded any thing in this affair of tithes." [End Quote]

Jesus Christ has MADE NO COMMANDMENT in The New Testament Church concerning tithing. His Apostles did not preach such either. I must observe that if this Tithing Issue was such a very important aspect of the Practice of the New Testament Church, then why is the Head of the Church and the initial members therein, being the Apostles, as silent as the tomb concerning such?


There are Seven (7) Scriptures in the New Testament that mentions "Tithing," but four (4) of these refer to the Old Testament Tithing pertaining to Abraham, then Moses' Levitical Laws. In the other three (3) they refer to Jesus saying "Woe unto Scribes, Pharisees and Hypocrites..."  Check them out - Matt. 23:23; Luke 11:42; 18:12; Heb. 7:5-6, 8-9...

Not a single one of these texts teach, suggest, or even imply that TITHING is to be done as the New Testament Procedure of Church Financing, and of the Ministry. I will elaborate on one of these verses.  Matt. 23:23 - "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone."

The word "these" is a neutral pronoun modifying the paying of tithes - "...these ought ye to HAVE DONE, and not to leave the other undone." What is the "other" that is left undone ? Answer: The weightier matters they are omitting...

Jesus said this to the Multitudes and His Disciples.: First, the things you are NOW doing, you should HAVE DONE, back under Moses' Laws, but NOT NOW - - Since I have come to set up the New Testament Church under the "Grace Dispensation" - John 1:17; Eph. 3:2. Second, the things you are NOT doing NOW, you are OMITTING and are FAILING TO DO. The LAW OF CHRIST and the LAW OF MOSES, should be put in their respective proper places.  Study: Acts 15:19-21; 18:13; Gal. 5:1-6; 6:2; Heb. 9:6-14.

Jesus' conclusion is they are NOW trying to live according to the Old Testament Laws of Moses in paying Tithes. You should (past-tense) HAVE ALREADY DONE THIS, but NOT NOW. You are omitting and failing NOW to do the things of the New Testament Church of Jesus Christ, which pertain to the LAW OF CHRIST, JUDGMENT OF CHRIST, MERCY OF CHRIST, FAITH OF CHRIST. These are much more valuable and WEIGHTIER than Moses' Laws.  Any pre-arrangments, stipulations, salaries, tithes, etc., are, in principle, "making merchandise of The Gospel..." The 10th Mark of Identity of The New Testament Church is "NO HIRELINGS" - Zech. 11:17; John 10:12-13; 1st Tim. 3:3. Historically, Tithing during The New Testament Church Age started in the 6th Century A.D. It was unknown in the Apostolic Church during these first centuries, and is still unknown and not practiced in The Old Line, Old School, Primitive Baptist Churches.

If any "church group" desires to tithe, then they have that civil right to do so, but not scripturally; therefore they should NOT wear the name of PRIMITIVE BAPTIST, because tithing violates one of the vital marks of identity of the New Testament Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

A final historical statement of fact is - The custom of tithing did not originate with the Mosaic Law (Gen. 14:17-20), nor was it peculiar to the Hebrews. it was practiced among other ancient peoples also.