March 28, 2017 | Thomas Schreiner
Thomas Schreiner is the James Buchanan Harrison professor of New Testament interpretation and associate dean for Scripture and interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
The following is a greatly reduced essay with Schreiner’s original focal points.
Comments by Russell Earl Kelly, PHD. Kelly’s PHD thesis was on the subject of tithing. See his website for books and many more articles: www.tithing-russkelly.com
Why Tithing Is Not Required Today
1. Believers are no longer under the Mosaic covenant (Rom. 6:14–15; 7:5–6; Gal. 3:15–4:7; 2 Cor. 3:4–18).
Kelly: Gentiles and the Church never were under the Old Covenant between God and national Israel.
Schreiner: And even if we use these distinctions, tithing is clearly not part of the moral law. It’s true the moral norms of the Old Testament are still in force today, and we discern them from the law of Christ in the New Testament, but tithing is not among these commands.
2. The examples of Abraham and Jacob are not normative patterns.
Schreiner: Abraham’s gift to Melchizedek was a one-time event; there is no evidence he regularly gave God a tenth.
Kelly: Abram’s tithe as a Gentile did not qualify to be a holy tithe under law.
3. Tithes were given to the Levites and priests, but there are no Levites and priests in the new covenant.
4. The tithe is tied to the land Israel received under the old covenant.
Schreiner: It related to the Jews as a nation—to Jews who lived in the land of promise.
Kelly: It was always only food from produce or clean animals inside holy Israel.
Schreiner: The earthly Jerusalem is no longer central in God’s purposes (Gal. 4:25).
Kelly: Eschatologically speaking, the unconditional promises of God to national Israel for a 1000-year literal Messianic reign of Christ on earth will again be central in God’s purposes.
5. If tithing is required today, how much should we give?
Schreiner: As noted above, the number was certainly more than 10 percent and closer to 20 percent. Those who advocate tithing should probably settle on 20 percent.
6. When Jesus affirmed the tithe, it was before the dawn of the new covenant.
7. Nowhere is tithing mentioned when commands to give generously are found in the New Testament.
Schreiner: Even though tithing isn’t required today, it does not follow that believers should hoard their possessions.
Since God is to be our treasure, believers are to give generously and freely. For many in the West, this will mean giving more than 10 percent.