Rebellion Against Tithing: Lashing Out at Legalism?

I just read a news article written by Ken Walker on ChurchCentral.com. The title of the article is Rebellion Against Tithing: Lashing Out at Legalism? This article comes in response to the news article on Wall Street Journal – Backlash Against Tithing.

Here’s a quote from the article on Church Central:

“While there may be criticism of tithing, I have a feeling that it stems from a desire to throw the legalistic baby out with the generous bathwater.

In other words, those who teach tithing as an ironclad law reap the fruits of rebellion against something that wasn’t meant to be a barometer of our spirituality or salvation. Generous giving is a spiritual principle, not a Pharasitical law intent on binding people’s hearts.

After all, points out financial author and pastor Brian Kluth—whose materials are distributed in more than 100 nations—the idea of tithing to God’s work is accepted historically, across denominations, and around the world.”

moses angry ten commandmentsMy response is, “you bet were throwing the legalistic baby out with the bath water.” Their baby is tithing, and i’m sorry it is not adorable and not cute. Also, if my rebellion is in response to wrong, then that means i am doing what’s right. There is no rebellion my friend. If rebellion is part of proclaiming the truth then i’ll be the first claim myself guilty.

It’s so obvious how people are blinded by tithing. For instance Walker goes on to say that “generous giving is a spiritual principle not a Pharisaical law”. I say they are blinded by tithing because they can’t see that the backlash against tithing is not a backlash against generous giving. Generous giving is not about tithing. How much more plain can i say it? Just because i don’t believe in the tithing mandate does not mean that i am throwing out the generous giving baby out with the tithing bathwater. I just want to throw the tithing bath water out. I don’t want to throw the generous giving baby out.

Is tithing the bath water or is it the baby? This is another misconception in Walker’s analogy. He thinks that tithing is the baby! Is tithing the part that you are suppose to keep, while you throw out generosity with the bath water No! you are suppose to keep the baby, which analogously is the generosity, and throw out the water, which is tithing.

Why can’t people like Walker see the this picture clearly? It’s because they think my response to the tithing mandate is in rebellion against generosity. But his vision fails when he doesn’t see that my response to the tithing mandate is actually in response to what’s wrong. I am an advocate for sacrifice and generosity.

Jared Bartholomew is the author of www.tithing.com. There are over 300 articles written on research and reviews about tithing information.

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5 comments on “Rebellion Against Tithing: Lashing Out at Legalism?
  1. charles m crabtree says:

    I believe the bible teaches us generous giving and not legalism and tithing. I will debate on this web page,
    any teachers of tithing using the new covenant or old covenant chapter, verse, and precept.

  2. Robert Yocom says:

    After seeing the scandals of our great televangelists and watching them with their magic annointed prayer cloths or annoinetd oil, how can anyone donate to a church? The televangelists spread the gospel, feed and cloth and dig wells as well as sell you CDs about “how to” do everything according to the Bible as long as they are making from 200K on up to 3 mil a year. Quite frankly, they do not deserve it. Period. They are fraud. Period.

  3. Randy Starkey says:

    To Robert Yocum – your logic is flawed. Of course there are crooked televangelists. Are there crooked policemen? lawyers? So are you going to refuse help from the police or a lawyer? Are you never going to call on them? To say “how can anyone donate to a church” because there are crooked televangelists (many of which are not churches anyway), is not logical, and in all honesty is often an excuse people use to keep from finding themselves a good church and living right with God. You might be able to get by in life without a policeman or lawyer, but you do need God and He comes with His family! (it’s called the church) Just find a good expression of His family. Stay away from the dysfunctional ones.

  4. Rich says:

    Hello. I was browsing around..I have a quick question..should I keep tithing if I’m falling behind in my mortgage. ..and bills..where is the line drawn..

  5. Curtis says:

    Tithing is 10% of surplus. If not, it is a regressive tax that burdens the poor. If you are in debt you are not in a situation of surplus.

    Tithing is not 10% of gross income. That’s just silly. Low income people cannot tithe 10% of gross and survive – it’s mathetmatically impossible and not good stewardship. God commands us to be self-reliant and giving. If not a giver then you are a taker. It is ok to be in periods of dire straights and be a taker. But you will always be in dire straights if you tithe on gross and make low income money. There will always be people making low income due to how the economy works.

    Don’t pay tithing unless your house is in order. Don’t count high end cell phone or data plan as a basic need. Don’t count mansion as a basic need. Don’t count sports car as a basic need. Be fair and honest with your basic needs when calculating your surplus. Cable TV and netflix are not a basic need. food/water/shelter/medical/insurance/transportation/education/retirement funding are basic needs. Surplus method allows you to have things you want that can improve your life. It also allows you to give generously AFTER tithing.

    Generally speaking you can use http://livingwage.mit.edu/ as cost of living calculator. Below examples demonstrate how gross tithing is a regressive tax (hurts poor most).

    Let’s pretend cost of living (CoL) is $27k. Let’s use 2 examples of tithing.

    Let’s pretend a poor person makes $30k. Tithing = $3k. After CoL and tithing this person has nothing left.

    Let’s pretend a rich person makes $200k. Tithing = $20k. After CoL and tithing this rich person has $153k left.

    Usually once a poor person or low income person/family pays out their cost of living they have nothing little or nothing left. It is a regressive tax.

    But if tithing was based on surplus it would be different:

    Poor makes 30k. Cost of living 27k leaves 3k surplus. Tithing on 3k is $300. This leaves the poor person with $2,700 discretionary for righteous wants or further giving.

    Rich makes 200k. Cost of living 27k leaves leaves 173k surplus. Tithing on surplus is 17.3k. Discretionary is $155.7k. PLENTY for righteous wants or further giving.

    Notice the difference in discretionary money for the RICH from surplus method is $155.7k and $153k for 10% gross method. This is essentially no difference to the rich person.

    But notice the difference to the POOR person. $2700 vs $0. Ability to save for something (6 month emergency fund, etc) whereas before they just live by the seat of their pants, paycheck to paycheck. Stewardship…

    In the above example:
    Poor person tithing as a % of gross = 1%
    Rich person tithing as a % of gross = 8.65%.
    Both leave room for further charitable giving and a bit to enjoy life.

    The tithing requirement ultimately goes to 10% as gross income/surplus go to $ infiniti. The tithing requirement for poor goes to 0% as the gross income/surplus go to $0.

    And to further the thought, as the poor is extremely destitute and income is 0 they actually recieve benefits while not paying tithing. that could be thought of as a -negative- tithe. God commands us to give to the poor to provide for their basic needs.

    As it should be.

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