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.”
While reading through the book, “TIthing & Giving” by Larry Burkett I came across a section that asked, “Is Tithing Legalism”? In the beginning, Larry states, “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.”
What happened when Israel didn’t tithe?
I am not sure where Larry Burkett is getting his information about tithing in the bible, but you have to know that there certainly was a curse on 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 Israel not tithing. We can find 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.
What Happens When Your Don’t Tithe?
As counterintuitive as it may sound, when we don’t tithe the opposite of what happened to Israel happens to us as Christians. The answer is that when we don’t tithe, we are blessed. Here are five reasons we 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)
As Christians, we should have confidence in these new promises under grace and the blessings that come with them. There is a caveat that I want to mention. Even though there are no consequences of not paying tithes, and we receive some inherent benefits and blessings, our greatest blessing comes when we give freely without obligation instead of giving a tithe.
This is not an excuse to give nothing. We should be willing to give from the love of our hearts. God has given us so much that it should compel our hearts to give back as he sacrificially gave to us. This is not an external force compelling us to give. This is an internal force that aligns with our heart’s attitude.
Are We Cursed When We Don’t Tithe?
Even though we receive a blessing for not tithing, some may still be wondering about the curse for not tithing and did it go away. The answer is no, God does not curse us if we don’t tithe. We are no longer under the curse of the law. We are under grace. You are cursed if you do tithe and blessed if you don’t.
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 the desire to fill a more urgent need. When people pass up the opportunity to give from their hearts, they invite doubt or even guilt in their hearts, which robs them of their blessing.
The problem with Larry Burkett and others with the same mentality towards tithing are 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 disassociating 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 in grace’s clothing.
THE LAW + GRACE + LENIENCY = THE LAW
You Be the Judge
Now that the evidence has been given in this court of law, it is your turn to decide. You be the judge.