Does the New Testament Command Us Not to Tithe?
It’s been a while since our last post but i want to continue our ‘Tithing on Trial’ series, we will evaluate the most common tithing arguments used to defend its practice.
Argument # 9 – The New Testament Does Not Command Us to Stop Tithing
The logic here is that because the New Testament does not tell us to stop tithing, this means that God wants us to continue tithing. This is one of the most immature excuses used to require tithing. Have you ever done something stupid when you were a child and then make the excuse to your parents, “You didn’t tell me not to do it”? How did that work for an excuse to get you out of trouble? Well this excuse doesn’t work for tithing either. Just because there is no verse that states, “Thou shalt stop tithing” does not issue a license to continue it’s practice. The New Testament (NT) wasn’t written because God needed to explain how to reverse all the Old Testament (OT) laws one by one.
The NT Wasn’t Written to Reverse the OT
There are 613 laws and commandments listed in the Torah. Do you think the New Testament should go through each of these and pick and choose which ones are applicable?
Let’s use circumcision as an example. Most of us commonly agree that circumcision is no longer required in the New Testament and we agree so easily because circumcision was clearly repealed in the New Testament. The bible is pretty cut and dry and plain as day on the issue; but what about addressing all the other laws? It’s unnecessary to address the other laws and in reality it was unnecessary to address circumcision either. You have to ask yourself, “What is the real reason why we don’t require circumcision?” If there was no verse that clearly repealed circumcision as a requirement would you still practice it? The answer would be, “No”, many of us would still not require circumcision. And the reason is that we don’t really base our doctrine on what Paul/Peter/Jesus didn’t say, we base it on what Jesus did.
Jesus’ act on the cross and the fulfillment of the laws is why we don’t practice circumcision. Even if there wasn’t a single word uttered about circumcision in the New Testament, we should be able to deduct that circumcision is not a New Testament practice. I think most of us can make that logical connection with circumcision, but why can’t we do the same with a mechanical, calculated practice called tithing? All of a sudden the actions of Christ on the cross is voided because we don’t have solid concrete proof slapping us in the face telling us to “QUIT TITHING!”
I’m not trying to throw out scripture, but the truth of the matter is that there were 613 Old Testament laws listed in the Old Testament while many of them were not addressed again in the New Testament. So you can whine about my effort to discount the lack of scripture; but it’s just hypocrisy unless you actually obey many of the 613 laws that were not addressed in the NT.
My argument here is based on the fact that the law is clearly repealed and that tithing is part of the law. Why should i find a verse that specifically ends tithing, when i can find plenty of proof that tithing is in fact part of the law? There are Old Testament laws that are specifically mentioned and ended in the New Testament, so it is through these examples we can determine the principles we should apply to all the laws in scripture.
Other Old Testament Laws that Were Not Repealed in the New Testament
- Deuteronomy 23:2 – Don’t let illegitimate children in the Assembly of God
- Deuteronomy 25:5-10 – If your brother dies, you have to marry his wife so she can have a son.
- Deuteronomy 25:11-12 – If a woman hurts a man’s testicles, you should cut off her hand
- Deuteronomy 21: 20-21 – You can beat your slave within an inch of his life.
- Leviticus 15:19 – A woman must be quarantined for 7 days if she’s on her period.
- Leviticus 19:19 – Don’t mix cotton with polyester in your clothes.
- Leviticus 21:5 – Ministers can’t shave their head or their beard
- Leviticus 21:16-23 – No one with a defect can approach the altar of God.
- Numbers 8:24 – Ministers can only serve if they are older than 25, and the can’t serve more than 25 years.
- Leviticus 20:9 – Rebellious children are to be put to death.
I’m sure you’ve heard many of those laws mentioned before and you don’t even blink twice at them. I’m sure you pass them off as part of the Mosaic law and if need be you recite some of these statement below in your defense.
- “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom”
- “If you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law”
- “Follow the Spirit of the law, not the letter”
- “We are not under the law, we are under grace”
- “We are delivered from the law, Christ has made us free”
- “Christ nailed the ordinances against us on the tree”. . . etc
These statements are great to use to exempt yourself from circumcision, shaving ministers beards, beating slaves, mixing clothing, or eating unclean meats. But for some reason, these exemptions are powerless to stand up against the 10% benchmark. Strange, don’t you think?
Why Shouldn’t We Require Offerings?
Offerings began even sooner than the practice of tithing did, but no one seems to be preaching about them as a requirement. There were five main offerings required in the Old Testament
- Burnt Offering – Voluntary act of worship; atonement for unintentional sin in general
- Meal Offering – Voluntary act of worship; recognition of God’s goodness and provisions
- Peace Offering – Voluntary act of worship; thanksgiving and fellowship
- Sin Offering – Mandatory atonement for specific unintentional sin
- Tresspass Offering – Mandatory atonement for unintentional sin requiring restitution
Besides these five main offerings in the Old Testament, there were also additional offerings given during these events
- New moon
- Feast of Unleavened Bread – 7 Offerings, 7 days Total
- Feast of Weeks
- Feast of Trumpets
- The Day of Atonement
- Feast of Tabernacles – 7 Offerings, 7 days Total
- The Last Great Day
Even though the Peace offering is not obligation to us anymore, it was never stopped in the New Testament. If we are basing church practices on Old Testament exemptions, can someone explain why why we are required to offer a tithe and not required to offer anything else? Of all the focus on stewardship in the bible, does our selective make sense?
How Does the New Testament Teach us to Give?
The New Testament doesn’t tell us to stop tithing, but it does give guidelines and example on how we should give. Here are a list of bible verses that talk about giving
- 2 Corinthians 9:7 – Decide in your heart what to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion. Give cheerfully.
- Acts 20:35 – Work in order to help the weak, and It is more blessed to give than receive
- Acts 2:44-47 – Giving to those who had need and sharing with others as if all things were common with one another
- 2 Corinthians 8:1-24 – The joy of the Macedonians allowed their giving to go beyond their means
- Acts 4:32 – There was no feeling that their possessions were their own as owners sold land and gave to those in need
- Hebrews 13:16 – Do good and share with others
- 1 Timothy 6:17-19 – Be willing to share & rich in good deeds
- 2 Corinthians 9:6-12 – If you sow sparingly you’ll reap sparingly
- 1 John 3:17 – If you don’t give to someone in need, God’s love does not abide in you.
- Galatians 6:2 – Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
- Romans 12:13 – Distribute to the needs of the saints and be hospitable
- Philippians 4:15-17 – Provide for ministers of God.
- Romans 12:8 – Giving is a Spiritual gift that should be used liberally
- 1 Peter 4:8-10 – Be hospitable. Use our abilities to share with one another.
- John 3:16 – Of course the greatest example of giving made by God for giving his only son (his everything)
There are so many verses and example about how we should give. In all honesty, the list of verses above outline a daunting task for us. I look at those verses and can’t help but think that these early Church believers were super-Christians. How they felt about their possessions and having all things common blows my mind. Not that i’m all for throwing our money in a pot and redistributing, but i just want to have the mentality that what’s mine is not really mine; but is yours also.
The New Testament clearly shows that our giving should be sacrificial, cheerful, liberal, and consistent. This doesn’t exclude 10% minimum, but neither does it include it. One thing i know for sure is that Jesus example of giving and the example of his love should inspire me to give beyond my ability; and i struggle with that.
You Be the Judge
Now that the evidence has been given in this court of law, it is your turn to decide