The Old Black Church: To Tithe or Not to Tithe,1-13-10b
Wesley: Now for NT giving. It would certainly have to exceed OT giving to comply with the spirit of this passage.
Russ: Sounds good but your statement is not biblical. It is based on the false assumption that everybody in the Old Covenant was expected to begin giving at ten per sent. In reality tithes could only be given by food producers who only lived inside Israel.
Wesley: Do we find any examples of this. Sure we do in the book of Acts we see them giving all and their giving is done at the church in Jerusalem not according to their own discretion and then distribution was made from the church to those within the church who were in need.
Russ: This is an example of sacrificial freewill giving --not tithing. They still worshipped in the Temple daily (Acts 2:46) and were still "zealous of the law" over thirty years later in Acts 21:20-21. That means that they were still giving tithes to the temple system.
Wesley: How about 2 Corinthians 8 which displays a fabulous example of selfless giving even though the people were in deep poverty themselves. First Corinthians 16:1-2 has the following direction for us (1 Corinthians 16:1-2 Now concerning the collection for the saints…
Russ: Second Corinthians 8 and 9 and First Corinthians 16 are more contextual examples of freewill sacrificial giving. They are not about tithing to support gospel workers or pay for buildings.
Wesley: So what is the take home from all of this? 1. This church should be ashamed of itself. They should be caring for this 80 year old sister instead of troubling her.
Russ: 1 Tim 5:8 "But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." Yes. They should not be telling the poor, sick, elderly widow to (falsely) give tithes first as firstfruits before buying medicine and food. Tithes never were the same as firstfruits.
Wesley: 2. NT giving because it is grace led must exceed OT giving to comply with the spirit of the teaching of the Lord in the Sermon on the Mount.
Russ: There is no principle to exceed for those non-food producers who lived among Paul's Gentile converts outside of Israel. Such attempts to tithe were illegal.
Wesley: 3. Our giving should be systematic and orderly in proportion to God's blessing of us which will require the use of percentages as was demonstrated by Israel. Since we do not live in a barter society we will have to use money.
Russ: The word "money" occurs 44 times in the Bible before the word "tithe." And money was essential for sanctuary worship --yet money was never included in 16 texts which describe the contents of the tithe.
Wesley: 4. Christians should be more willing to give in excess of 10% regularly to the church that cares for their souls than to give additional tax dollars to the government to care for their bodies.
Russ: According to 2nd Corinthians 8:12-15, this is true of many Christians. However some are giving sacrificially even though giving LESS than ten per cent.
Wesley: My personal testimony is … God has always blessed richly because we are not paying a tithe but worshiping the Lord with a worthy offering.
Russ: Doctrine is not based on personal testimony. You are to be commended because of your generous freewill giving but that does not prove that you are being blessed because of tithing. God is now operating on New Covenant promises and conditions. You most like have been motivated to better yourself. However many sincere God-fearing "tithers" in the ghettos have been giving for generations and remain in deep poverty. Only testimonies of the financially blessed is ever heard from the pulpits.