(is it commanded to give 10% under the New Covenant)
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver 2Cor9:6-7
The establishment Church exists on the concept of the 'Tithe, members giving at least ten percent of their income to support the Pastors and the daily operations of the church building / property. But is it a biblical directive under the New Covenant in Christ? The simple answer is 'NO, the principle of paying tithes was an Old Testament ceremonial instruction to support the Royal Priesthood who ministered in the Temple (and elsewhere) 25/7, the standard established by Abraham who was under the order of Melchizedek, (King of Salem-Peace) a 'type-figure of Christ, to whom he gave a tenth part of all as homage. (Heb7:1-4, Gen14:18) But as Christ has 'taken away the first to establish the second, Heb10:10, this ordnance has been made obsolete, Heb8:13, because there are no more Temples, Priests or worship centers to house the presence of God or minister the ordinances. He now dwells in His people, they are His Temple and wherever they gather, in homes or elsewhere, He is there among them. (1Cor3:16, 2Cor6:16, Matt18:20) The Church is not a building or specific place of worship, it is the 'ekklesia, 'call out ones who are not part of any denomination, establishment institution or creed. They are entirely independent of any man-made organization religious, social or political and owe their allegiance only to Christ. YES, they assemble together, Heb10:25, but not in the manner legitimized by 'church-state mind-set. It is the traditions and teaching of men that created the Priesthoods and ecclesiastical structure (chain of command) of Pastors, Bishops, Presbyters and elders, the clergy over the laity, a ruling class funded by persuading the members they must pay their tithes or risk being cut-off from the blessings of God. Although it clearly was never meant to be so, as Christ said: But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave, Matt20:25-27
But aren't they our 'Servants' who teach, preach and minister
full time as our Pastors, elders etc … yes, BUT Who benefits .. it’s the
top down structure that's antithetical to what Christ said. Is a 'servant /
slave' in this sense to be richly rewarded for their service, as in wages,
housing, personal expenses, I see nothing of this sort in the meaning. And given
the structure of the early assemblies under the Apostles, I think its more than
clear that they fully understood that ministry of the gospel was not to be a top
down system through which they could acquire a livelihood. That's the reason you
can't find anywhere in Acts or mentioned in the Epistles, that they ran around
passing the plate, building churches or taking payment for their services. We
DO see them taking up a collection from one assembly to relieve another, as
'ministering to the saints', 2Cor9:1-5, each giving according to what they had
to help others who had not, 2Cor8:12, but this was strictly done as a gift to
other assemblies who badly needed the assistance. NOT a 'love offering'
from which these who administered it could take their cut. It was purely done
out of the generosity of their hearts from funds they had 'set aside' for these
types of collections, 1Cor16:2, due to the distress that was common among the
assemblies in certain regions, helping the widows, orphans and poor. Surely
NONE of these types of collections could be considered a 'tithe' in the
Church sense, where the plate is passed at every whim when the need for funds
comes up. Certainly the Apostles had traveling expenses and deserved some
support, as the 'muzzling of the ox', labor worthy of his wages, illustrations
Paul gives in 1Cor9:9, 1Tim5:18, but to void offense in all things he 'worked
with his hands' to provide his own funds and ministered the gospel to them free
of charge, 1Cor9:18. And the concept of being industrious instead of living off
the gospel was proved to be the best method among the assemblies to avoid
offense and set the standard for those who would inevitably come in and abuse
the charity of the Saints. (1Tim5:8, 1Thes4:11, 2Thes4:10, Acts18:3) One of the
earliest documents we have that sheds some light on the daily function of the
assemblies is the Didache, on this subject it states the following:
But concerning the apostles and prophets, so do ye according to the ordinance of the Gospel. Let every apostle, when he cometh to you, be received as the Lord; but he shall not abide more than a single day, or if there be need, but if he abide three days, he is a false prophet. And when he departeth let the apostle receive nothing save bread, until he findeth shelter; but if he asks money he is a false prophet. And whosoever shall say in the Spirit, Give me silver or anything else, ye shall not listen to him; but if he tell you to give on behalf of others that are in want, let no man judge him. If the comer is a traveler, assist him, so far as ye are able; but he shall not stay with you more than two or three days, if it be necessary. But if he wishes to settle with you, being a craftsman, let him work for and eat his bread. If he will not do this, he is trafficking upon Christ. Beware of such men.
As you can see, they were not opposed to supporting those who ministered to them, with food and shelter, but beyond that they were cautious lest they become like 'other religions with a paid clergy ruling over them.
I’m sure that a return to the 'assembly method would immediately shatter the present structure of any church or religious organization today and in the distant past. Vatican City in particular, is numbered as the smallest and richest sovereign country on earth and continues to extort billions in the Name of Christ around the world. But they are not alone, the Protestant denominations, numbering in the thousands, command hundreds of millions in wealth, untold riches they have taken in by the fraud of tithing in the name of charitable giving. And in compliance with the Government, in most countries (especially the USA) they operate under tax-exempt 501 codes, plus are given a pass on property taxes, sales tax and even occupancy tax for traveling in all fifty US states! Is it any wonder why we have so many big name preachers running around in private Jets living like Kings constantly begging for more money to reach the world for Christ? And amazingly people keep giving it to them seemingly without end. The good they do cannot possibly justify the methods involved; otherwise we must give the same credence to the evil billionaires of the planet who fund thousands of humanitarian projects with their charitable foundations while at the same time are involved in extortion, fraud and all manner of wrong doing. It’s the love of money that is the root of all kinds of evil, can the ‘Church say they don’t ‘love’ it when they spend most of their time trying to raise more and use the fallacy of tithing to get it. And the fact that it buys them lavish life-styles, notoriety and every comfort the world has to offer makes it even more offensive to God. The Apostles and early Saints suffered deprivation and persecution beyond our imagination and never attempted to use their position over the people for personal gain. I suppose we could say that the gospel they preached wasn’t worth much from a momentary stand point; its only selling point was self-denial, death to sin and separating from the world, not much to gain in a material sense. It wasn’t until the establishment Church changed the message with a promise of liberty in sin that the money started rolling in and the opportunists jumped at the chance to gain position within its structure. (Bishops, Priests, Popes, Presbyters)
Naturally it was the origin of the Catholic Church from Constantine around 313AD when the matter of tithing became an issue to support the Temples and ministering clergy as they began moving the assemblies out of homes into the designated places of worship. Although it wasn’t an order to give ten percent at the time, the people were obligated by the System to give. It wasn’t until a few hundred years later that it became obligatory as Catholic Christianity spread across Europe… there was money to be made and they were going to make it! By the time of Charlemagne, under what was then called the Holy Roman Empire, around 786AD, tithing became the law and remained so up through the Reformation in which the Protestant reformers broke away from the Catholic tyranny, but kept the ceremonial ordinance of tithing in place because they also had a 'Church System to support. Many pay unnecessary tithes to the illegitimate churches today in total ignorance they are supporting an apostate system based on lies. And doing mighty works of charity in His name, Matt7:21-23, will not suffice against the 'works of iniquity they rejoice in. Religious or secular or a combination of both, the true Saint must be extremely careful who they support and how they use their subsistence. The sojourn is a stewardship, as many of the parables reveal, and the proper use of time, talent and material goods spells the difference between a joyous reception into the Kingdom or ultimate loss of everything we thought was being done for Him. So manage what you have been entrusted with well and be certain you are not sharing in the sins of others by 'giving generously to a cause that is squandering away the Lord's possessions.
The Church System is much like a white washed tomb, that outwardly appears as clean and bright, but inside are full of dead men's bones, Mat23:28, they use the scriptures to their own demise, telling the people they are 'robbing God' by withholding their tithes and offerings, Malachi3:8 and that He in like manner will withhold His blessings until they pony up. They love to use passages such as Lk6:38 ' Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. The planting of a 'Seed concept, in a seed offering, that will supposedly double or triple the return to the giver as though God is celestial slot machine programmed in your favor; the incentive always being a material reward equal to or greater than what is given, making those who sow 'sparingly feel the burn for holding back. Its never a 'spiritual reward based on faithfulness, fidelity and love, like the widows mite or the 'reward of disdain and persecution for preaching the truth, Mat5:11-12, Lk6:22-23. No, 'they have their reward', as the Lord said, the reward of material riches, worldly recognition and all men speaking well of them! The real Christians were often times repaid with disdain and hatred for their generosity. They took up 'collections of the saints', 2Cor9, to sustain them, they didn't rob widows houses by shaming them into willing their goods to the church in estate planning seminars. Living off the gospel has become the biggest racket known to man, every preacher begging for donations to promote their ministry, all done in the name of God for a higher cause while they merchandise the sheep playing the role of a hireling to the hilt. Nothing compromises the preaching of the truth faster than dependence of financial support. The main reason the Apostles turned the world upside-down with their message is they were beholding to NO ONE expect Christ! Paul said in Acts20:33-35, 'I have coveted no man's silver or gold or apparel, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. Paul understood the importance of being blameless in his conduct toward others, especially concerning the use or raising of funds.
Even succumbing to the simple trapping of life can taint the message as he admonished young Timothy: 'Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1Tim6:6-10
I've known many a young firebrand evangelists who started out in all sincerity contending hard for the faith against the lies and false teachers, but when they began taking donations and then 'living off the ministry the message lost its fervor and became more pleasing to wider range of doctrinal acceptance. Raising enough money to sustain your ministry may appear as the most expedient thing to do in dedicating yourself full time to the preaching of the gospel, but when weighed in the balance of declaring the whole counsel of God without compromise, remaining independent and self-sustaining is the ONLY way to keep yourself uncontaminated from the affairs of life. People do love to give, especially Americans, believing they are doing something good for their fellow man. That's why they are so easily ripped off by the charlatan fat cats who crawl out from under every rock, like circus barkers whipping them up in euphoric frenzies hauling in buckets of cash in an atmosphere of legalized robbery. (tax free robbery!) But as many 'Church types who faithfully tithe, cringe at such shenanigans and wonder how people can be so gullible, sit under a System designed to 'rob them of subsistence and soul thinking nothing of it. Its all a farce, but it 'feels good to give and it serves to sooth the conscience every time the plate goes around for another 'just cause, love offering, to put in a little extra for 'God. These are organizations underpinned by mammon with slime for mortar who have hi-jacked the gospel and operate as 'religious corporations under a church-state unholy union corrupted from top to bottom. The dollars you them give out of the 'sincerity of your heart with the 'best of intentions will come back to haunt you at the Judgment, when a final accounting of all things comes to pass. You squandered your talents and wasted His goods and your portion will be with the hypocrites you loved. Repent and Come out from among them now before its too late.
'Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you. 'I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty. 2Cor6:17-18
by Mike D