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Unpublished article initially prepared in April 2011

Tithing Is Not A Christian Requirement

It is a fact of New Testament revelation that “tithing” (the giving of ten percent of one’s income to the church) was never instituted as a principle or practice for new covenant believers in Christ.

God never told anyone to pay a tithe in the Old Testament before the giving of Moses’ Law that constituted the old covenant nation of Israel. Abraham paid tithes, and Jacob promised to do so, but this was never directly commanded by God. The impetus for it no doubt came out of their awareness of their need to acknowledged God’s ownership and goodness over their lives at a particular point in time, but, as far as we know, tithing was never carried forward in any on-going practical basis by either Abraham or Jacob. If so, who or what did they consistently pay tithes to? Fact is, friends, nobody knows that they did!

Tithing under the old covenant of types and shadows was for the support of the levitical priesthood. Under the new covenant, which has replaced the old one, however, the levitical priesthood no longer exists. Now every believer is part of the universal priesthood of the people of God, the church.

Jesus never asked anyone to pay to Himself or His disciples a tithe. Neither did He instruct His disciples to collect tithes from anyone. If tithing was a required practice of the early Gentile church, then surely it should have been mentioned among the essentials that were stipulated for Gentile converts at the Jerusalem counsel in Acts chapter 15. No mention of it is made.

Nowhere in the epistles of the New Testament is tithing mentioned. The only place where Jesus dealt with it at all was in the case of the Pharisees mentioned in Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42. These Pharisees were not Christians, mind you, they were Jews still under the old covenant. As such, Jesus pointedly condemned these Pharisees for not living by all the old covenant’s rules and regulations.

The rule of Christ for giving is not ten percent, but rather ONE-HUNDRED percent! Tithing in the Old Testament times was tokenism, and tokenism is forever done away with under the dynamic fullness of the new covenant. Modern dispensational premillennialism, which is a return to Judaism as far as historical biblical Christianity is concerned, does not comprehend the dynamic fullness of the new covenant. It is not surprising then, that these are among those most committed to making the old covenant institution of tithing mandatory.

Many claim the promise of Malachi 3:10 without regard for the context in which it has been placed. Experience does not bear out that tithing is the gateway to material prosperity. In fact, the opposite is more often true-- tithing actually HINDERS the financial prosperity of the work of the Lord, because its sets the bar of giving at far to low of a standard, and thereby breeds complacency.

The new covenant concept is one of complete freedom and liberality in giving. Christians give ALL, without the stifling concern for percentages that bespeak of a mentality in one’s religion of bondage to mere tokenism.

Personal, Spirit-led, responsible freedom in stewardship is the issue. Certainly it is not wrong to tithe. Clearly, however, it is wrong to bind the consciousness of folks to what cannot be proven from the Bible. When folks really understand the dynamic fullness of the new covenant and sell out to mind God, tithing become irrelevant.

God loves a cheerful, liberal, spontaneous giver. When that happens His work prospers.

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