Tithing can be a controversial topic within the Christian Church these days, but I have no idea why. There's no debate to be had. Tithing isn't Christian.
It’s taught and demanded by many churches, and assumed to be a valid requirement of Christians all across the globe, but mostly in the first world, where asking for money is even a worthwhile endeavor, but is tithing really required of Christians today?
Are the claims to Biblical authority made by so many Christian churches valid, or is the Body being duped? Let’s list the reasons why tithing isn’t Christian, starting with what I think the most important one is.
1. Jesus Paid Your Tithing on the Cross
The first and possibly most important reason why tithing isn’t required of Christians today, nor is it even Christian at all, is because Jesus fulfilled the law on the cross.
Most people when they think of the cross and Jesus’ sacrifice for the world by the shedding of His blood, they think of their salvation, their reconciliation to God, and Christ’s payment of their sins. What many of us fail to remember is that part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is also His fulfillment of the law.
Not only did Jesus pay for our sins and reconcile us to God by His sacrifice, but He fulfilled the old law, making the old covenant obsolete to Christians, and brought the New Covenant.
As Christians, we are free from the law and we have liberty in Christ. Tithing is a part of the Mosaic Law, which is not applicable to Christians, and was fulfilled by Jesus on the cross. He literally paid our tithing on the cross.
(Galatians 5:18; Romans 10:4; Luke 24:44; Colossians 2:14; Galatians 3:23-25; 3:13)
2. Tithing Isn’t Taught in the New Testament
The mental gymnastics that some churches and their pastors are willing to execute in order to justify mandatory giving is unconscionable, but nonetheless, they do it. The fact is, however, that the New Testament simply does not teach tithing as a commandment or requirement of Christians. Period.
Jesus never taught the law of tithing to the apostles, and the apostles never taught it to the Christian churches established under the new covenant. The few times the law of tithing is mentioned in the New Testament are mere references toward Scribes and Pharisees, but not to Christians or Christ’s disciples.
1 Corinthians 9:13-14 is commonly used by money serving churches to try and establish mandatory giving, but when read contextually and in its entirety, 1 Corinthians 9 actually makes greedy pastors seeking to make money on the gospel look really bad.
Verses 13-14 say:
“Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.”
When read by itself, this does in fact appear to teach that we must give to those who preach the gospel, namely, our churches, but when read in context, that message disappears.
Continue reading after verse 14 (emphasis mine):
“But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me, for I would rather die than allow anyone to deprive me of this boast. For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me.What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.
Additionally, in verse 12, Paul says (emphasis mine):
“If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more? (speaking of earning a living from his work)
But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.”
So, on the contrary to what we are told by so many Christian churches, according to the Apostle Paul, while it is perfectly logical and reasonable for a Christian pastor and church to receive financial support for the preaching of the gospel, this is not a commandment for Christians to pay tithing. And Paul makes it clear that his reward is to preach the gospel free of charge. Any pastor worth his salt should feel the same way.
3. Giving is Between You and God
The Mosaic Law of Tithing is antithetical to the gracious and loving nature of our relationship with God under the New Covenant of Grace. It returns us to slavery and laws, rather than the freedom we have in Christ through the Gospel.
In Christ, we are led by the Holy Spirit, not priests, churches, or the traditions and laws of men. While the Bible is clear that Christians should be cheerful givers, this is not something to be regulated or tracked by your church, or anyone else.
It’s between you and God, not you and your church or your pastor. Jesus is our mediator, and no one else.
(2 Cor. 9:7; 8:3-5; Rom. 8:14; Galatians 5:18; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:6)
4. We Should Give to the Poor & the Gospel
Generous and cheerful giving is strongly encouraged all throughout Scripture, and for good reason. Those who are filled with the Spirit and saved by the grace of God through Jesus Christ naturally are generous and cheerful givers through their love for others and for God.
Money serving churches take advantage of Christians by using the Bibles’ many references to giving in order to manipulate them into giving to them. It’s important, however, for us to remember the context and the circumstances under which we are told to give in the Bible.
We should give to the poor, not the wealthy and greedy money serving religious institutions that take money in God’s name for dishonest gain. This in turn actually does harm to the poor, who are hurt by such institutions and devoured by the legalistic demands of tithing. (1 John 3:17; Proverbs 14:31; Luke 12:33-34; Mark 12:40)
We should give to those that preach the gospel, yes. This does not mean that any church that claims to preach the gospel actually preaches the gospel, however, or even that gospel preaching churches always use God's money for good.
This is why you need to check your church. Make sure that your church is actually worthy of your support and in genuine need of it before you blindly give money to something that has little or nothing to do with the Gospel or working for God at all. (1 Peter 5:2; Matthew 21:13)
5. The Early Church Fathers Didn't Preach Tithing
Prior to Constantine, the early church did not practice tithing at all. In the early days of Christianity, the preachers of the gospel were lucky to live their lives without constant persecution, torture, and imprisonment. The idea that financial support was even a priority, or an issue at all, considering the kind of conditions they were preaching in, is just a joke.
Quite frankly, it also belittles the conditions through which many Christians in the world still operate today: preaching the gospel despite great physical risk. Tithing is not only never spoken of in Christian communities that face real persecution for their faith today, but it wasn’t taught or spoken of in any Christian community until Constantine. (http://www.ukapologetics.net/tithe.htm)
What Christian Giving Really Looks Like
Christian giving is much more simple than people want to make it. Churches put out dozens to hundreds of pages of justifications, arguments, position papers, ebooks, and excuses to require that Christians pay some form of tithing, but the fact is that tithing, or any kind of mandatory giving, is not Christian.
Jesus didn’t teach it, the apostles didn’t teach it, the early church fathers didn’t teach it, and it contradicts Christianity by its very nature. Jesus fulfilled the law. The only thing Christians are required to do under the commandment of God is to love God, love others, and believe in Jesus Christ our savior and Lord.
The natural result of receiving God’s grace and being filled with the Holy Spirit is obedience to the commandments of God, which are to love, and when we love, we give.
That’s it. That’s all there is to it, people. Love God, love others, and with that, when you are so led by the Spirit and able according to what you’ve been given, you should give.
The word tithing should not even be used in a Christian church today, unless it’s in order to expose its enforcement upon the Christian Church as a legalistic and anti-Christian doctrine to manipulate and enslave them to a law.
So, churchgoers, if your pastor or church preaches tithing, or some form of mandatory giving, placing themselves between you and God, doing the job of the Holy Spirit, and enforcing the Old Covenant on you, a free Christian...don’t tolerate it. It contradicts the Gospel of Christ, the Word of God, and the very nature of God Himself.
Don’t fall for it, my Christian brothers and sisters. It’s used for dishonest gain, for profiting off the name of God and Christ’s Church, for manipulating you, the giving and loving Christian, into giving more to a business vision and a materialistic goal, but it’s not Christian and it never was.