Torah vs. Talmud or “Doctrine vs. Tradition”
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO SERMON
Torah vs. Talmud or “Doctrine vs. Tradition”
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO SERMON
Alright brothers and sisters. This is the promised post from yesterday. This subject has been weighing on my heart for some time, and I feel compelled to open up my heart and share my position on the issue of tithing and giving in the church. Please hear my words knowing they come in brokenness and sincerity. I know some will disagree, but my heart is confident in the peace of the Spirit and a proving conscience that both agree that this has been the moving of the LORD on my heart.
My personal position on tithing and the disclosure of personal tithing records in the church for the members and the leadership:
I am well aware that many believers are in the practice of using tithing envelopes with the amounts being recorded by the church treasurer or finance committee for the purpose of tax deductions and or accountability to the church and or leadership. I am also aware that some feel each member’s tithing records should be accessible by the finance committee, and or the treasurer, and or the pastor. This is apparently a big issue and one that many have opinions and positions on. I write this publically, not to attack, defend or change anyone’s mind, but to explain why I take the position I do and why I live it out in the manner I do.
I will address this issue in two parts.
Is The Tithe Mandated For New Testament Believers?
Should tithing records be disclosed to anyone in the church?
Is Tithing Mandatory For The New Testament Believer?
The strongest argument for tithing comes from the examples of Abraham and Jacob when they tithed a tenth. Abraham tithed a tenth to Melchizedek (or a pre-incarnate Christophany), and Jacob gave to God. The problem with this argument is that neither example shows a continual pattern of monetary tithing and neither establishes a mandate for anyone else to do so. They were tithing food, possessions, etc. No matter how hard anyone tries to make that doctrine fit in these examples, both are one time incidents and do not establish a required practice. Tithing seen in these examples was good and reflected a grateful heart toward God, but nowhere can I establish these incidents as mandates for anyone to repeat them systematically.
The second strongest argument is that of tithing being a requirement under the Mosaic Law. Yet the requirement of tithing in the Torah (Law of Moses, Pentateuch, Law, etc.) is specifically for national Israel. Believers are not under the Mosaic covenant, but are under the blood of Christ and operating under the New Covenant (Rom. 6:14–15; 7:5–6; Gal. 3:15–4:7; 2 Cor. 3:4–18). Tithes under the Mosaic covenant were given to the Levites and priests, because they had no land or inheritance. Yet in the New Covenant, there are no Levites or levitical priests. We are all priests in God’s eyes now, under our Great High Priest, Yeshua (Jesus) (1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6; Heb. 7).
The third argument is that Jesus taught the tithe. Yes He did, but He did so under the Mosaic covenant and He taught obedience to the Mosaic covenant. But after His death and the beginning of the New Covenant, we never again will hear Him or any Scripture commanding it. Jesus also commanded offering sacrifices in the temple (Matthew 5:23-25), yet we clearly know He did not intend for us to continue that after the New Covenant was in place. He was using these good things as illustrations for godly living, and was only commanding them to be done under the current covenant–which was the Mosaic covenant. Never under the New Covenant will anyone find Jesus, Paul or anyone commanding to offer sacrifices or tithe. What you will find is constant mention of Christians being commanded and encouraged to give generously to the poor, the needy and to the work of God in the Church and Missions (Acts 2:43–47; 4:32–37; 11:27–30; Gal. 2:10; 1 Cor. 16:1–4; 2 Cor. 8:1–9:15; Matt. 10:10; Luke 10:7; 1 Cor. 9:6–14; 1 Tim. 5:17–18; 1 Tim. 6:17–19; 2 Cor. 8–9).
I believe that the Christian who believes they are obligated to give God ten percent of their income is severely limiting their Christian life by viewing themselves bound to give God His 10% “cut” and living by a traditional teaching that has no Scriptural basis under the New Covenant. They should view giving as an opportunity to worship the LORD from a cheerful and grateful heart that is not grudgingly relinquishing a mandatory ten percent tax. I realize the potential backlash I may receive for posting this position, but I humbly and heavy-heartedly beseech my brethren to realize that we have made this tradition of men a stumbling block that prevents a cheerful giver–which the LORD loves, and we have tread the path of the Scribes and Pharisees–who transgressed the perfect law of love by their tradition. There should be no limit set on how much a loving and grateful giver gives. It is a matter of the heart and not one of duty to fulfil a requirement under the Mosaic Law. Give hilariously unto the LORD out of love for Him with a grateful and worshipful heart! If you are worrying about “do I have to tithe?”, you have entirely missed the point. And why would God even want such an offering? He doesn’t need your money. He wants your heart.
Should Tithing or Giving Records Be Disclosed To Anyone In The Church?
I understand many desire to write off their donations to the church from their taxes. I see no issue in this, if someone wants to do so. And on this point, there will have to be a written, kept record. And that is entirely up to the giver.
But should people in the Church, or even the pastor know how much individuals give for “tithes” and offerings? Nowhere in Scripture will you find this man made teaching of modern Christianity. We are to not let our right hand let our left hand know what we give, let alone others, or even more concerning, a committee or the pastor? I deliberately stay away from the money at church. I know what we have in the bank and how we spend it, but I refuse to know who gives what. That is none of my business and is purely between God and the heart of a worshipful giver who is honoring God in secret, and who will be blessed and rewarded by God in the open. Jesus railed against men who gave for others to see what amount they contributed. It leads to preferential treatment, respecting of persons, gossip and pride. There is nowhere in Scripture where you will find anything teaching where your pastor or your fellow believers should know what you are sacrificially giving to God. That is a very sacred and precious issue of the heart between you and your Creator. Pastors should be accountable for how they handle the church’s money, yes. But no one should know what they are tithing or giving unto the LORD.
My giving record is kept in Heaven and it is not for the admiration of men. It is my personal, sacred privilege to give freely from my heart in love and worship to my God. And so it is with you. While some mean well when they preach on tithing, all too many times, men who harp on tithing and faith promise giving, are seeking bigger salaries, vacations, bigger churches, more entertainments and seeking to control their congregations. God help us if that is what we believe a church is for. We need to repent of our sin of worshipping the building funds and remember why we should give after all.
First, we give to worship and give thanks to our God. After all, does He not deserve 100 percent of everything we have? Why stop at 10? The Old Testament tithe was closer to 20.
Second, to support the work of real missionaries who are dedicated to reaching the lost and spending their lives on the field, reaching the unsaved and waging war for Jesus Christ—not touring the world under the guise of evangelism on the church peoples’ dollars.
Third, to help those who are unable to provide for themselves, such as widows, orphans, the infirmed and the handicapped.
Fourth, to support their pastor. He is giving up more than they know and cannot be an effective undershepherd if every moment he has is dedicated to earning a living to feed his family and keep his home.
Fifth, spread the Gospel in their community, to print Bibles, tracts, and spread literature to the lost to bring them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
I realize this may sound radical and shock even the closest of friends I have. I am not angry or attacking anyone because I know good people can disagree and I know I am not infallible and may be wrong, yet I am convinced by my understanding of the Scriptures and the peace in my heart of the Holy Spirit that we must carefully examine ourselves and see whether we are making our own tradition a stumbling block to others, and one that keeps them from experiencing the freedom in the New Covenant where we are not bound to a mandatory tax, but are free in Christian liberty to give freely and infinitely from a worshipful and grateful heart.
May God open our hearts to His Word and keep us from repeating the same mistake of the self-righteous Pharisees. Amen and God bless,