As we continue our ‘Tithing on Trial’ series, we will evaluate the most common tithing arguments used to defend its practice. So let’s evaluate another argument used to promote tithing. This argument comes directly from a well-known author on finances from Crown Financial Ministries – Larry Burkett. He has now passed, but we are going to evaluate his argument below taken from his book, “Giving & Tithing”
Argument: “Tithing was voluntary. There was no punishment mentioned for not tithing” – Larry Burkett
While reading through the book, “TIthing & Giving” by Larry Burkett I came across a section that asked, “Is Tithing Legalism”? At the beginning, Larry states this, “Although the tithe is mentioned in the law, no punishment was indicated for not tithing. There is a consequence (the loss of blessings), but there is no punishment from God for not tithing.“
If Larry knew anything about tithing in the bible, you have to know that there certainly was a curse to Israel for not tithing. Malachi 3:9 states, “You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,“. Malachi 3:11 goes on, “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,“
I don’t think there is any question about the curse for not tithing. We can find even further proof in the book of Deuteronomy when God is laying out the laws for Israel. In chapter 26 he outlines the rules for tithing and by chapter 28 beginning in verse 15, God outlines in the next 50 verses the curses and punishments that would come upon them for not obeying his commands that were just laid out.
The problem with Larry Burkett and others with the same mentality towards tithing is that they know that tithing looks out of place when we attempt to fit it into a Church that is not supposed to be governed by the law. So they modify its appearance a little bit and make tithing more user-friendly than what it was in the Old Testament. The deception is that if we can mix in a little grace by disconnecting the absolute requirement and separating it from the curse, then the tithe will appear as if it fits right in there with the other principles we practice today. This reformulation of the tithe is nothing but the law dressed up grace’s clothing.
THE LAW + GRACE + LENIENCY = THE LAW
Five Reasons Why You are Cursed for Tithing
- Obeying the law has a curse upon it (Galatians 3:10)
- You are fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4-6)
- God doesn’t say anything about loving a dedicated giver (2 Corinthians 9:7)
- Tithing makes you a slave (Galatians 5:1)
- Tithing makes you weak (Romans 8:3)
Ok. you get it, Israel was punished and cursed for disobeying the law, but doesn’t the bible say that we are free from the curse of the law? Yes, it does. Galatians 3:14 states, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us”. Of course, this sounds like great news, and it is, but this actually comes with bad news for some out there.
If you read four verses earlier in Galatians 3:10 it states, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.“
For those of you who are continuing to practice the works of the law, including tithing, you are actually placing yourself back under the curse. Ouch! So, you practice tithing to protect yourself from the curse, but in actuality, you actually are bringing it upon yourself.
There are so many people out there wondering why tithing isn’t working for them. Well, maybe the five reasons above are why.
Five Reasons Why You Are Blessed for NOT Tithing
- You are under grace (Romans 6:14)
- God said He would supply all our needs without mentioning the tithe (Philippians 4:19)
- Our gifts are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God (Philippians 4:18)
- God Loves a Cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
- The Spirit gives life (Romans 8:5-10)
If you don’t practice tithing, you are free from the curse, free from the law, and free from tithing. So many feel led to give to someone outside their church but are terrified to do so because of the fear of the curse. It’s not that they don’t like their church or disagree, but in their heart, they have a desire to fill a more urgent need. When people pass up the opportunity to give from their heart, they invite doubt or event guilt in their heart, which robs them of their blessing
You can take away the punishment for not tithing and you can make it appear as graceful as possible; but underneath the sheep costume, tithing is still the Big. Bad. Law.
You Be the Judge
Now that the evidence has been given in this court of law, it is your turn to decide