Comments on Stewardship Insights from George Hutchison (Crown Financial) on Tithing
George: The word tithe means 10%.
Russ: I think you are somewhat dishonest by not defining the word “tithes” as it is used in the biblical Law. The true biblical “HOLY” tithe was always only food from inside God’s holy land which He had miraculously increased. Although money was very common even in Genesis and essential for sanctuary worship, money was never a tithe-able item. Jesus could not tithe and neither could anybody who lived outside Israel.
George: The Israelites were instructed to tithe (Leviticus 27:30, Deuteronomy 14:22-23, Malachi 3:10).
Russ: True and ONLY the Israelites under the Old Covenant could bring an acceptable tithe. And the tithe from the above texts was always only food from inside the holy land of Israel.
George: Many will say that we are not under the Old Testament Law that we are under grace.
Russ: “We” Gentiles of the Church never were under any part of the Old Covenant. And tithing was never defined as an eternal moral law of the conscience and nature.
George: This is true (Praise God!) but we must remember that when we move from law to grace the standard is always raised. I believe that tithing is the starting point for giving in a Christian's life.
Russ: This argument is deceptive and is based on false assumptions. It falsely assumes that everybody in the Old Testament was required to tithe although it only applied to food producers who lived inside Israel. And it falsely assumes that everybody I the OT began his/her level of giving at ten per cent although non-food producers and the poor were never involved in tithe-giving.
George: The only place in the Bible where God invites us to test Him is in Malachi 3:10-11.
Russ: First, God did not instruct “us” (Gentiles) in Malachi. Nehemiah had just excluded non Israelites from such worship and intermarriage. Second, the whole law was a TEST –not merely tithing. Obey all to be blessed; break one to be cursed. (Gal 3:10). It is absurd and dishonest to think that God is obligated to bless a tither who lives in a sinful relationship. (Yet I know “Christians” who do both.)
George: Do you think God will pass His own test?
Russ: Since God does not farm or raise herds inside His holy land of Israel, He does not need to tithe. God sacrificially gave his cherished Son as a freewill offering for Hebrew and Gentile–not as a tithe.
George: (2 Corinthians 8:13-15).
Russ: Read 2 Cor 8:12-15. Equality giving means that many should give more than 10% but others are giving sacrificially even though at a lower level. For some reasons you are unable to admit that.
George: So in God's school of giving, grade one is the tithe and grade two is sharing from abundance,
Russ: You have no texts to prove that tithing is grace giving. Levitical tithing was cold hard law and was required whether one was cheerful or not. Those who received the Levitical tithe as an inheritance were not allowed to own or inherit land. Why is that ignored today?
George: … but what about grade three; sharing sacrificially? This is where we really start to grow in our relationship with Christ.
Russ: You think that a Christian cannot “start to grow in our relationship with Christ” until AFTER first tithing and giving freewill offerings. Those are cruel words to the poor who are trying to obey 1st Timothy 5:8 and first pay for medicine, food and shelter.
I urge you to enter an extended dialog with me on this subject.