The Tithe

Here is my issue with the modern tithe (Biblically speaking). It was originally instituted for Israel in the old covenant. It’s purpose was to help support the priesthood, to care for the poor, the widows, orphans, and the foreigners (oops, there’s an immigration policy you won’t hear too many Christians getting behind). One of the things altered in the new covenant was the elimination of the levitical priesthood. This view is so clearly explained in Hebrews that it is hard to ignore.

So I have a question. What are we doing giving tithes to pay for church buildings and pastors? Where do we get the right to charge such a steep cost for pastoral service? The priesthood has been done away with. We, the people of God, have become the temple. So if the tithe is still binding, then what should it be given towards? Not the church building and not the church leadership. It should be given exclusively to the poor, orphans, widows, and foreigners.

Read 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. You will see that Paul is taking up money to help “relieve the saints” in their need. And even then he is not strict about a 10% figure. It is giving according to what is in the heart. Not under compulsion.

What about those who preach the gospel? Well if you pay attention to Paul’s ministry he would make agreements with fellow believers in giving funds to help support his service to the church. He didn’t always do this. Sometimes he would work. But it wasn’t the incredible amount of 10% of all believers’ income. There is not one verse to support that notion. It is a living wage.

I truly believe that if our giving was directed towards this Biblical service of supporting the orphan, widow, needy, and foreigner, then we would see a transformation in neighborhoods and cities. People would stop going to the government for help and instead turn to the church. Our fellow believers would lack for nothing, but find their needs met. Unbelievers would be exposed to the gospel in a greater capacity. And we would truly put hands and feet to our message.

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