Reply to Debradoo:
On Church Stewardship and Tithing Blog, “6 Reasons to Debate Tithing”
Debra: Many (most actually) of those opposing the tithe use.. the 'fleecing of televangelists' to promote their stance and claim that tithing allows them to build their dreams and have others pay for such.
Russ: The primary reason is that the modern DEFINITION of tithing is a lie. True HOLY biblical tithes were always only food from inside God’s HOLY land of Israel which He had miraculously increased. It is WRONG to teach that tithes come from what man increased or from outside Israel. Nobody tithes today.
Debra: In a recent study conducted by the Barna Group, it was learned that only five percent of Americans gave away at least 10 percent of their income.
Russ: Tithing first entered non-state churches in the USA around 1895 and it has failed miserably. It is far past time to try another approach rather than the threat of an Old Covenant curse for national Israel.
Debra: (Rich televangelists) If this is the case .. then why give anything to a church? Why not use this 'scenario' for keeping any money at all from going out to churches?
Russ: All Christians should support the work of the gospel BUT by using better New Covenant post-Calvary principles. Second Corinthians 8:12-14 discusses EQUALITY giving: many should give more than 10% but others are already giving sacrificially at less than 10%.
Debra: Is there somewhere in the Bible that says having a well to do pastor or an elaborate church is a sin?
Russ: The Bible neither commands nor forbids churches from having full-time pastors. However, while agreeing that some amounts of support are legitimate, Paul boasted that his “wage” was to preach “for free” (1 Cor 9:12-19). Paul told the Ephesian elders to follow his example, get a job and support the needy in their churches –just the opposite of what we see today (Acts 20:29-35). Every penny wasted on lavish living and lavish churches is a penny not being used to further gospel work.
Debra: What about the ark of the Covenant? Check out Exodus 25-27 .. Now THAT is elaborate! And again, the temple that Solomon built .. WOW!
Russ: Both were built with materials received from freewill offerings and not tithes.
Debra: If a man makes 400.00 dollars a week and tithes 40 of that 400.00 .. you truly think this 40 dollars is going to save his home or his job or his car, etc.?
Russ: The rich man who earns $4000 per week has $3600 after a 10% tithe. Have you ever tried to survive with $360 per week? Where in the Bible does God command EVERYBODY including the poor to BEGIN their level of giving at 10%??? The only people required to tithe were farmers and herdsmen who lived inside Israel.
Russ: The vast majority of “tithers” are already in the lowest income brackets and have been “tithing” for generations without being “overwhelmingly blessed.” The rare ones who succeed are the only ones giving testimonies.
Debra: And here is another argument against the tithe ..
"It is not in the New Testament and we are under a New Covenant."
There are lots of things that we embrace today as Christians that were under the Old Covenant .. Observing the Sabbath. Taking Communion. Obeying the 10 commandments. Tithing is more than just an Old Covenant command .. It is a principle that works in this earth today!
Russ: Why do you pick out tithing and leave out hundreds of other OT commands which were equally important to Israel? Have you killed your disobedient children lately per Ex 21:15, 17? The new giving principle is: that which is eternal and moral from the Old Covenant has been REPEATED to the Church after Calvary in the New Covenant –and tithing was not repeated.
Debra: And here is another ..
"People must be freed from the command to give".
Let me first emphasize that the tithe is not giving. It is paying. (It is not yours to give!) God owns all. Everything. We own nada. Nothing. When we pay our 10 percent, then in exchange God gives us 90 percent.
Russ: False argument. The OT only commanded food producers who lived inside Israel to tithe. It also required Levitical tithe-recipients NOT to own or inherit property. Tithes could not come from what man increased or from outside Israel. God also owned everything then BUT only accepted legitimate tithes from inside Israel.
Debra: Out of this 90, we can give an offering or make a donation or support a charity, etc. (It cannot be an offering if it belongs to God.)
Russ: The formula is not “tithes plus offerings.” The formula is “tithes from food producers inside Israel AND/OR freewill offerings from everybody else.”
Debra: There is freedom in tithing.
Russ: Tithing was cold hard LAW and was required whether or not one desired to give.
Debra: There is no freedom in disobeying God.
Russ: Modern so-called “tithers” disobey God by redefining God’s definition of tithing, by setting parameters on giving to God and by threatening Christians with an Old Covenant curse which cannot apply to New Covenant believers per Gal 3:10-13.
Please read my essay and book and watch my 2 hour video at www.tithing-russkelly.com