Money has always played an important role in the organized church. The pulpit has been the platform from which tithing has been kept alive from the giving of the Law through the establishing of the Church.
For generations there has been a distinction between Law and Grace. Depending on one’s Biblical understanding, you can either carry over selective Old Testament teachings and adopt them into the post resurrection period of Jesus known as Grace, or you can keep separate the teachings of Law and Grace.
When Jesus hung on the cross and said, “It is finished” (John 19:30), two things happened; Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, and Grace replaced the Law. In view of these facts there is still an attempt to adopt some Old Testament laws in the Grace vocabulary. One area that seems to inundate the Church is tithing. I have seen many Pastors preach and teach the law of Tithing. The Scriptural support they use qualifies as contextual robbery. If one would only open the Word and study it for oneself, one would see that there is no concept of tithing after Jesus resurrection. Those in ministerial positions would dare not entertain such a teaching, for financial principles have a direct bearing on their support as well as feeding their quest for building edifices that would glorify their ministry.
Many people are in bondage to Tithing. They have been taught that if they don’t give God His 10% they are in fact robbing God ( Malachi 3:8). That is true if you are under the Law. Many other Old Testament Scriptures are used to support financial obligations to God. Many people give their tithe to God as a requirement and feel condemned if they don’t. The prosperity teaching has kept the people motivated into accepting the law of tithing. People have even neglected paying their electric bill, just so they can give the 10%. As a result, the world receives the message that Christians don’t have to honor their societal obligations. It is interesting that a waitress at a restaurant gets the same as God, and in some cases gets more. Then there is the argument of whether we give 10% of our gross or net? Could it be that God is grossed out by our misunderstanding of what is His?
Under Grace there is no 10% rule. What the New Testament teaches is that ALL belongs to Him or the 100% rule. Grace shows that if we give God only 10% then we are truly “robbing“ God. The Bible teaches that “God loves a cheerful giver” (II Cor. 9: 7). Paul tells us that we are to give according to what is within our heart (II Cor. 9). We are to give, not because we have to, but because we want to. It is not a question of token giving (tithing), rather it is total giving. It is not hard and fast rules, but simplicity of giving (Rom 12: 8). It is giving to God as He has prospered us (I Cor. 16:2).
Is it wrong to tithe? Absolutely not. If one wants to keep 90% of God’s money and give Him the crumbs, He will accept that. If you can’t hear from God and you need a guideline for giving, He will accept that. What it comes down to is choosing to live in the Directive Will of God or His Permissive Will.