I have already written more in the last 18 months about tithing than I have preached on it in in the last five years. However the subject has not yet disappeared from the agenda of those who stand in opposition to fundamental Biblical teaching.
Without addressing “tithing” itself, there are some particular points from regular blogging critics that must be met with firm rebuttal and straightforward refutation of the mischaracterization of sound, solid Bible preaching preachers who fully, and rightly understand the Biblical principle of the tithe.
Now before I begin, I must say to those who are critical of tithe teaching pastors, you can have Ed Young Jr. As a matter of fact, keep him. The whole bank account/routing # etc, is the most perverse commercialization of the spiritual act of giving that I have ever seen. Do not link me to him, or construe anything that I am going to say as a defense of his actions. As another matter of fact you can have Kenneth Copeland, T.D. Jakes, Paula White, and all of the other prosperity preachers as well. They have no business being called Christian ministers.
Scientists have already proven that if you take all of the prosperity preachers in the world, and stretch them end to end around the equater, we’d all be better off.
Now that being said, quite frankly it is patently absurd, and brazenly irresponsible, for anyone to imply that those who preach and teach the doctrine of the tithe are all greedy, money mongering, false prophets, that use the ministry to fleece the people of God. The truth is, that the same logic and mindset aimed at those preachers, can be applied to their critics.
Some say preachers who preach 10% are greedy. I could say that those who don’t like the tithing doctrine are greedy. Some say preachers who preach 10% are being legalistic. This preacher could say that those who use, the “farmers, herdsman, cattle, sheep, produce, Israel, only arguments” as reasons not to tithe are being legalistic.
(For the record, I have never used the “Law” to teach tithing, it is however the critics who use the “Law” to teach others not to tithe . . . friends, that is legalism.) Those who rightly teach the tithe do not use the law to explain it. It is from those who don’t want to tithe that use the Law to avoid it.
For someone to say that since the tithe was only for farmers, and herdsman, Christians have no responsibility to it; is like saying, since everyone in the Bible that gave were wearing tunics, and that’s not us, we shouldn’t be asked to give. Too often they cannot discern the difference between a principle and a command.
The primary problem that has brought about this article, is the continued accusation by the critics that pastors in general who teach their people the Biblical tithe are being disingenuous, dishonest, and almost criminal with their preaching.
Whatever ill motives someone may ascribe to me for preaching God’s example of 10% may be ascribed to those who refuse to follow God’s example of 10%.
When I preach that God gets the best and we live off the rest, and someone takes issue with that, why is it that no one examines their motives? Why doesn’t someone want to give God the best and live off the rest? Why doesn’t someone want to give God at least 10% of their income and form fit their life to live with the remainder? Why are the motives of the critics never put under the microscope?
I believe the Biblical example of giving is a minimum of 10% and some would say I’m greedy.
Some believe that Biblical example doesn’t apply to them. I could say, “They are just greedy.”
One accusation that the critics continue to make is that we are being mean to people of lesser means. Or somehow we are being brutal towards those “can’t afford it.” The whole time that they are doing so, are rejecting one of the lessons learned through tithing. I’ve read and heard some critics, who say, “I’ve only ever been able to give 3% sometimes 4% to my church.” Is it because their giving comes off the bottom rather than the top? Is it because they have structured their giving around their lifestyle, instead of their lifestyle around their giving? Just asking questions. (Of course someone is going to present some extenuating circumstance as empirical evidence that people shouldn’t be asked to tithe, I know.)
My issue here is not to take up a defense of tithing itself, because plainly some people are genuinely convinced, and sincerely believe that the example of the tithe has no bearing on the Christian life. As someone once said, “For the believer, no proof is needed, for the skeptic, no proof is possible.” For my part, as Paul said, let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. If someone does tithe because I say so, I would say they need to stop. Unless they see it from the Lord, their heart is not going to be in it, and there is no point in practicing what you do not really believe.
That being said, the entire circus of accusation, and distortion, is a detriment to the Christian ministry.
I am very thankful to pastor the church that I do. Maybe I should do it more, but as best I can recall, and looking through my notes, I’ve preached one series of messages on tithing and stewardship in the last five years. I have no idea who in this church practices tithing. I am not worried about it. We always have enough to do what the Lord leads us to do. I firmly believe that the Lord pays for what He orders.
That being said, it is an affront, and a stumbling block, for honest Bible believing, gospel preaching ministries to attempt to discredit them, and undermine their work, in the eyes of a lost and dying world, by labeling them for all the world to see, as money mongrols.
Not taking aim at those who preach tithing, because we don’t like that particular preacher, would be a wonderful change worth making.