All These Things, Tuesday, July 14, 2009
EDITED: See above for unedited text.
Mike: The purpose of tithes and offering is to support the church.
Russ: No texts because there are none. The OT purpose was to support the Levite servants to the priests who gave 1% to the Aaronic priests (Num 18:21-28; Neh 10:37-38). However both the Temple and the priesthood have been replaced by the individual believer and not by pastors.
Mike: All of the tithes and offerings are designated to go to particular ministries or “accounts”.
Russ: The Church is never commanded to tithe. OT tithes were never used for mission work to convert Gentiles.
Mike: 1. The pastor's salary2. The staff salary
Russ: The priests only received one percent of the total tithe. The staff (Levite ushers, deacons, choir, musicians, bakers, treasurers and politicians received the first ten per cent. Read 1 Chronicles 23 to 26.
Those who received OT Levitical tithes were not allowed to own or inherit property. They were commanded to kill anybody who dared to worship God as a priest.
Mike: We also have a Building fund account that goes towards the upkeep of the Church building and for maintaining the land around the church.
Russ: Good. In the OT pagan tithes from spoils of war were also used for this.
Mike: Then we have a Mission Offering Fund account that is designated money for our mission outreach programs. These programs include:
Russ: The OT did not use tithes for this purpose. Mike: 1. Providing food for families.2. Supporting a ministry church in Haiti3. Helping members to pay electricity bills, rent, or any emergency that they may need assistance with.
Russ: In the OT there was a second festival tithe and a third poor tithe which took care of these needs. Mike: A tithe is simply 10% of your income given to the church.
Russ: Biblical tithes were always only food from inside Israel. Although money was common even in Genesis and essential for sanctuary worship, money was never included in 16 texts which describe the contents of the tithe for over 1500 years from Leviticus to Luke. Jesus, Peter and Paul did not qualify as tithe-payers and neither did the poor nor those who lived outside Israel.
Mike: In the book of Genesis 14:20, Abram … It was a gesture of respect to the one in authority.
Russ: This is not in the Bible. Most likely Abram's tithe to his local priest king was in response to common Canaanite tradition.
Mike: The tithe given is the minimum that you are required to give.
Russ: It is myth to teach that the OT tithe was a minimum, standard, expectation, beginning point, training wheels for everybody. Actually this was only true of food producers who lived inside God's holy land of Israel. City dwellers who had trades and those who lived outside Israel did not qualify.
Mike: If you can afford to give more, certainly give more. But don’t worry about that at this point. An offering is simply anything else that you give in addition to your required 10%(tithe).
Russ: There is no NT division of tithes and offerings. The equality principle of 2 Cor 8:12-14 implies that many should give more than 10% while others cannot give that much. It is also wrong to equate tithes with firstfruits when they are not the same. Firstfruits were very small token offerings per Deu 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-38.
Paul's command in 1st Timothy 5:8 is that our first should buy essential medicine, food and shelter rather than be worse than the heathen.Mike: Why should I give? You should give because God has commanded us to give. In Malachi 3:10.
Russ: The "us" of Malachi was Old Covenant Israel and not the Church. The whole law was a test and not merely tithing. Obey ALL to be blessed; break ONE to be cursed. Galatians 3:10-13 clearly replaces Malachi 3:10-12 for Hebrews. Gentiles were never under the Law of Moses.
Mike: Malachi is saying that we should bring in our tithes and offering to the church (storehouse).
Russ: The OT Temple was replaced, not by the church building, but by the priesthood of the believers. The NT church did not even have buildings for over 200 years after Calvary. The NT church is not a storehouse. Even more, read Nehemiah 10:37b-38. The OT first whole Levitical tithe was taken to the Levitical cites --not to the Temple.
Mike: Just as the community provided for the church; we should provide for the church through our monetary donations(as well as our time and talent).
Russ: In the OT this was done through three separate tithes of 20-23%. Why is this not taught?Mike: But what if I can’t afford to tithe? God promises that He will provide for us as long as we do our part. 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
Russ: Good, but this is not a discussion of tithing. As a rabbi Paul had been taught that it was sin to be paid for teaching the Word.
I invite you to enter into an extended discussion of this subject with me on the Yahoo Tithing-Study Group.
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD