Jesus Himself Didn't Demand Church Tithing
by Patricia Backora
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Jesus Himself Didn't Demand Church Tithing
Many find a loophole for monetary tithing in Matt.23:23: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
So they were not to leave the other undone. As Jesus scolds His religious enemies for gross hypocrisy and neglecting the love of God, He okays the Pharisees’ tithing of mint and anise and cumin, commonly used garden herbs of His day. But where does Jesus mention money in that verse? Even if today’s tithe only consisted of garden produce, we Gentiles are not instructed to keep the Tithing Law in this dispensation of Grace. Those Pharisees were under the Law of Moses when Christ told them they should not leave tithing undone. After Calvary Jesus ushered in a better Covenant founded on better promises (Heb.8:6). Tithing is not part of our covenant.
What does the Holy Spirit Himself have to say concerning what is required of Gentiles who have come to Christ?
In Acts Chapter 15 a hot dispute is going on. Circumcision was the heated controversy of their day just like tithing is to ours. Legalistic Jewish Christians insist that any Gentile who wants to follow Christ must first be circumcised and follow the Law of Moses. The apostles hold a conference and came to a different conclusion than would be expected from a modern fisher-for-funds:
VERSE 22: Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas: namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:
VERSE 23: And they wrote letters by them after this manner: The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia.
VERSE 24: Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from among us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, to whom we gave no such commandment:
VERSE 25: It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul.
VERSE 26: Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
VERSE 27: We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.
VERSE 28: For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things:
VERSE 29: That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
Where does tithing appear on that long list of burdens laid upon the early Church? Nowhere! If every believer was to have laid upon him the burden of paying religious leaders ten per cent of their salaries, surely the Holy Spirit would have mentioned that minor point from the very outset of the Church Age!
The hypocritical Pharisee is still alive and among us, that money-hungry religion peddler who devours widows’ houses via satellite TV and lades men with un-Biblical burdens
grievous to be borne (Matt.23:4, 14).
In Revelation Chapters 2 and 3 Jesus Christ Himself appears to the apostle John on the Isle of Patmos to deliver a message which John is to write to seven different churches. The seven churches are in different stages of spiritual maturity. Two of the churches (Smyrna and Philadelphia) receive no rebuke from Christ. In Revelation 2:9 Jesus comments on Smyrna's temporal poverty, but does not suggest that the destitute Christians of Smyrna "start tithing" to "prove God" to try and better their lot in this world, as so many prosperity preachers exhort the poor to do these days! Instead, Christ commends this church for being rich spiritually. How many modern-day churches would receive this particular endorsement from Jesus?
The proof positive is that Christ rebukes the other five churches for sins of varying magnitude, ranging from lack of vigilance to fornication and spiritual adultery. Even when we get to the final church on Christ's list, carnal, worldly Laodicea, there is no mention of failure to tithe. Non-tithers are accused BY MEN of being selfish and covetousness. Non-tithers are accused BY MEN of lacking zeal for the things of God. In Revelation 3:15-16 Jesus calls the Laodiceans lukewarm and exhorts them to repent. In verse 17 Christ rebukes the Laodiceans for being proud of and content with their earthly prosperity (sound familiar)? The Laodiceans might be materially rich but they lack something. In verse 18 Jesus exhorts these people to buy of Him gold tried in the fire, that they might be rich indeed. Jesus does not tell them that the way to cure themselves of selfishness and gain more zeal for spiritual things is to start tithing! Nor, incidentally, does Jesus ever mention failure to fast in His rebukes of the five erring churches (another sacred cow which preachers sometimes use to instill guilt in the people of God).
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