Is It Important to Debate Tithing?

Is It Important to Debate Tithing?

two people pulling on rope

I guess this question can be reworded to ask if it is important to debate any doctrine. Many people steer away from any debate, and i’m trying to find out if it is healthy to have this position in one’s life. The reason why i brought up this topic is because i recently confronted someone about a specific teaching he had about the tithing issue. Not to be arrogant, but my accusation torched his teaching.  Basically, he responded by saying, “I’d rather watch paint dry then ever debate anything”.

I guess this kind of bothers me that i just nailed that guy, and he won’t even concede just a little. I don’t know if i took it personal, or am just angered at his ignorance. One of my biggest flaws is that i have no patience for people, so being upset is not the right response on my end; but i still want to hear opinions about what others feel about debating. You are probably thinking in your head that i’m a little late on this question considering i’ve been debating tithing on this blog for three-and-a-half years. Well, maybe i’ve been doing it wrong? Maybe i need another approach? I’m gonna throw out some verses in the bible that talk about debating(NKJV). I highlighted a few key words in each verse. I want to hear what your comments are about this.

2 Corinthians 12:20
For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults;

Romans 1:29
being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,

1 Peter 3:15-16
15But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.

Acts 17:16,17
Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. 17Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there.

1 Timothy 6:3-5
If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, 4he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, 5useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. £From such withdraw yourself.

Acts 15:7
Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. 7And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.

2 Timothy 2:14-17
Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. 17And their message will spread like cancer.

2 Timothy 2:23-26
23But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

Proverbs 25:9
Debate your case with your neighbor,And do not disclose the secret to another;

What say ye? Is there a Godly approach to debating?

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

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24 comments on “Is It Important to Debate Tithing?
  1. Marty says:

    I believe that “debate” is the incorrect term that is being used here. As Christians we should “rebuke,” not debate. What’s the difference? Why?

    To “debate” is worldly. Strong’s Lexicon says that “debate” is “strife, debate, contention:
    1) contention, strife, wrangling. To “debate” is listed among the things of a reprobate mind (Romans 1:29). To “debate” comes from the Latin word “battere”, which means “to fight.“ It would wrong to “fight” and argue over a topic for a prolonged period of time for the sake of argument.

    To “rebuke” is biblically correct.

    Strong’s Lexicon says that to “rebuke” means to “convict, refute, confute:
    1a) generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted
    1b) by conviction to bring to the light, to expose
    2) to find fault with, correct
    2a) by word
    2a1) to reprehend severely, chide, admonish, reprove
    2a2) to call to account, show one his fault, demand an explanation
    2b) by deed
    2b1) to chasten, to punish

    1. The bible says that a rebuke (or reproof) is “better than secret love (Proverbs 27:5).”
    2. It is said to be “better than the praise of fools (Ecclesiastes 7:5).”
    3. It is more profitable to saints, than stripes to a fool (Proverbs 17:10).
    4. We know that when a rebuke is from God is because it is for correction (Psalm 39:11) and should be accompanied by exhortation to repentance (1 Sam 12:20-25).

    Examples of biblical rebuke.
    1. Paul rebuked Peter at Antioch (Gal. 2:11).
    2. Paul rebuked the Corinthians in 1 Cor. 1:10-13; 5:1-5; 6:1-8; 11:17-22.
    3. Peter rebuked Simon in Acts 8:20.
    4. Stephen rebuked the council (Acts 7:51).
    5. John the Baptists rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees in Matthew 3:7 and Luke 3:19.

    Therefore, I do believe that it is important to rebuke and reprove of others who are in error about what the bible teaches. This must be done with the proper perspective, discernment and context. It is important that when rebuking others, it must be done in Christian love; not because you hate them, but because you love them and want them to see the truths of Scripture.

    Marty’s last blog post..Apostles Commissioned by Jesus

  2. Dan Davis says:

    While I would agree with Marty on issues that we can all agree are black and white in the Bible (assuming that we all accept the Bible as God’s Word), I believe that there is still room for debate in the sense that there are some points upon which we all do not agree on the “black and white” of an issue, or where our understanding of the fullness of God’s Word may be incomplete in ourselves and made more complete by further revelation that comes through “iron sharpening iron.” I think our recent discourse together in the “Can my tithe go toward a mission trip” string has had the opportunity for that kind of element. As far as a Godly approach to debating, I think that would lie in clearly addressing issues raised with one another, not deflecting or misdirecting to blur a point, but squaring off to question and explain in an effort to fully understand one another and allow God to speak through our minds and hearts, giving the enemy no foothold shadow or lack of clarity. Talking and debating about how to best accomplish God’s work can be a good thing as long as it doesn’t replace actually doing God’s work.

  3. Kevin Mitchell says:

    I was a tither for 13years until 11/08.In a discussion with a close friend over the subject.The Holy Spirit illuminated my spirt & mind.#1 tithers have lost jobs,homes etc.had unfortunate financial experiences & Mal.3:10 didn’t save them.#2 It is never mentioned in Acts or the epistles.See Acts 15:29.#3 Tithing breeds pride.Many tithers look down on non-tithers as not being fully committed to God.I know i did.Because that’s what i was taught.3 years ago a brother in the Lord told me that tithing was UN-scriptural & i completely blew him off as a stingy christian.3 years later the Holy Spirit brought that time to my remembrance as if it happened yesterday.Since then he has led me to go to the church of that brother.Calvary Chapel in Phila.Pa.What i am saying is i was brain-washed & extorted for 13years & many christians likewise.Thank God he loves us that much to free us from the doctrine of devil’s & men.Tithing is adding to HIS WORD which HE is opposed to.See Rev.22:18,Prov.30:6 Grace be unto you in Jesus Name.Thankyou

  4. Jared Brian says:

    Kevin,
    Thanks for your testimony.

    – jared

  5. Dan Davis says:

    Kevin, You and I would disagree whether this principle is extra-biblical or not, obviously. I will not debate the testimony of the Holy Spirit to your spirit. If God is truly leading you in this, you should follow. Obedience to Christ is the fulfillment of the law. as for the folks who lost homes, etc. I’m don’t see anywhere in any scripture where God promises us we will not face adversity. I have never professed that God delivers us from facing any adversity. I just believe that if we are obedient to the testimony of His Spirit to ours (as you are seeking to do), that He will bless us in spite of adversity, in the midst of the adversity, and sometimes through the adversity, always keeping in mind that He knows the end game while we just see the immediate. I have been able many times to look back many years and FINALLY see the seeds of blessing that God planted through what I had considered m”bad” things that I would rather not have gone through. So stick with the testimony of your spirit; the evidence of the other people’s lives (or mine for that matter) is unfinished as of yet. God bless you as you follow in obedience to His leading.

  6. Kevin Mitchell says:

    Dan,Tithing is xtra New Testament.The Pauline revelation & the other epistles were written to us.The Body of Christ.No word about tithing is given in them.Tithing was the law and just like the law it was done away.”Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law” Gal.3:13.Preachers & their organizations who support tithing do so because,either they are ignorant of what the WORD says.Or unwillingness to live as the 1st church in Acts did.Which had a stedfast reliance on a supernatural God providing for them supernaturally.Tithing is a LIE! That God The Holy Spirit is exposing.

  7. Aadel says:

    I think the main issue with debate and/or rebuke is motive. It is clear from the scriptures you quote that arguing just for the pure sake of it, or out of malicious and prideful intent is indeed wrong and should not be allowed. However, if you truly care about the people being affected by a certain teaching, a healthy discussion with the intent to rightly divide the word of truth is appropriate.

    There is a huge difference, and I know people who love to argue just to be right. I also know people who are deeply concerned with living in Christ and encouraging others in their walk. They are usually few and far between. It is usually pretty clear their intentions by the words they use, and the humility they express.

    We must also be willing to look at our own heart, and discern our motives and desires. Sometimes we find that we have been holding on to feelings of pride, that we have all the answers, and that we are more spiritual than whom we wish to debate. We must remember that while we may have the truth, it is only by the Holy Spirit that we can see it, and only the Holy Spirit can enlighten our fellow believer.

  8. Dan Davis says:

    Kevin, Thanks for taking to time to “correct” me. I do not feel compelled of the same opinion of scripture, however. I believe ALL of the bible written to the body of Christ and for the Body of Christ, not just the parts that back up my position on any particular issue. I also believe that the Old Testament has to be seen and interpreted through the lens of what Jesus accomplished on the cross. You do well to quote Galatians 3:13 – Christ did redeem us from the CURSE of the law. The curse of the law is the punishment and separation from God that comes as the wages of sin under the law. We are forgiven and redeemed from that by His blood. But Jesus’ own words about the Law were this, found in Matthew 5:17-20: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. [18] I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. [19] Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [20] For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
    While our redemption was accomplished on the cross, and that may be what you are pointing to, I am of the conviction that “everything” is not accomplished until the Second Coming and the establishment of the new heaven and new earth. Thank you for pointing out my ignorance of the Word by your standards (I am a “preacher), an ignorance probably pointed out more clearly by my complete lack of any idea what you mean by your repeated use (or misuse, for all I know) of the abbreviation “amp.” Just in that I can tell you are much smarter and more spiritual than me (sarcastic humor intended.) I must say, I have never thought of how effective speaking the truth “in love” could be if I would just add in a little insult to the person’s intelligence, discernment, or commitment to Christ. I agree that the New Testament standard is HIGHER than a tithe – it is a life of total surrender and commitment to Christ. But before you decide that God cannot and will not call anyone to tithing as an entry level stage of that kind of surrendered life of faith and trust and condemn those who do as living under a lie, you must be able to answer who gave you the authority to pronounce Law for others. The conviction of the Holy Spirit on your heart as to how you honor God with your finances in areas that the law does not clearly determine for us in light of redemption, does not make it law for anyone else. You do what you accuse proponents of tithing of doing, just in the opposite direction. As I have stated in other blog lines on this site, I did not start in tithing because I was compelled to serve a dead law, but because I was convicted by the living Holy Spirit. And I have moved forward and upward from that point with much, much more distance to go until I am made complete in the life to come. But that is the key: it is an upward journey, and always should be from whatever point of surrender God starts you on the road. “My” money has never been extorted from me – it has been a willing love gift. Many who cry loudest that the New Testament standard replaces the Old, use it as an excuse to do neither. I trust you are not one of that number. But you are in danger of treading the path of the Pharisees as much as those who pronounce the strict adherence to tithing as proof of spirituality or righteousness. Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. I believe the same principle holds for tithing – it was made for man, not the reverse. God instituted it to teach us submission and show us our inner struggle with it – how can we surrender 100% if we can’t surrender 10%? So whatever the Holy Spirit is calling you and convicting you to surrender, do it. I am guessing it is 100%. Whatever He has gifted you to give toward that 100%, be faithful to give it. Listen to His direction, obey it and don’t renege. And continue upward and onward in the journey, whatever that means and however it manifests in your life. And for heaven’s sake don’t spend all your time debating how to fund the work of the Body of Christ and get out there and DO some of it. If you already are, Amen!

  9. Rose says:

    There have been some great comments here. I have to agree that the condition of your heart determines whether or not your speech is in the best interests of others or for the glory of oneself. Personally I avoid rebuking people I am angry with, carrying resentments against or simply dislike, however; I have rebuked a niece of who I was greatly annoyed with and was amazed she took my advice. I know God gave her an blessing for that becuase I am sure I wasn’t easy to listen to. And there is Pride. I think Pride is more common place than dust. Speaking in true humility really can only be done be the complete surrender to the Holy Spirit.

    PS. I don’t believe the law was done away with however with careful study I have learnt the the system God established for tithing is not in place today and therefore we are not bound to tithe. A careful study will reveal that the tithe was NEVER money. Only that which God gave the increase to…like food and animals. The window was giving an offering not a tithe…there is a difference.

  10. Dan Davis says:

    I would not contest your assertion that the tithe was not money and that it was based on that which God gave increase to like food and animals. I also believe tithes are still based on the increase. but whereas in a culture that is primarily agragian and barter based the increase would be primarily tangible GOODS, it changes when the culture and economy is primarily currency based. One of the things that the roamn Empire excelled in was spreading a economic culture of trade that was based on a common currency. This was evidenced in Jesus’ day by His teaching on taxes and by the mere fact that there were money changers in the temple. While His objection of them was based on their cheating of people and selling of blemished animals for sacrifice, the reason they were there in the first place was to make transactions of trade between the currency that people traded with and the animals and/or food that they needed to present for sacrifices and offerings in the temple. The practices of the Temple had already changed in Jesus’ day to accommodate the shift in the cultural shift in how “increase” was made manifest, so I would debate the relevance of the argument that a tithe was never money, but in items that are evidence of increase. In Jesus’ day and especially today for the majority of western culture increase IS increase in monetary resources. Also, I repeat taht many of us who practice tithing are not worshipping a “dead law” and are not “bound” to anything but a personal conviction that the Holy Spirit has laid it on OUR hearts to follow in that practice of giving as the FOUNDATION of our giving, though not, for many of us, the extent of our giving. Again it is about total life surrender and this 10% percent only represents a small part of that life of surrender and giving for many of us. Why is it that we cannot be allowed a personal word from the Holy Spirit that we personally should follow in this practice as a part of our life of surrender? And have I just been that careless in my study of scripture for the whole time I’ve been a Christian and the last 16 and 1/2 years as a pastor that I am blind to a blatant direction of God that He now forbids people to tithe? If people are convicted by the holy spirit to tithe or not to tithe, why must we seek to make what we feel personally convicted of must be LAW for everyone else? Is it not enough for us to be obedient without having the arrogance to say what God tells us to do for the good of our own growth and faith without having to validate that by telling others God may not lead them otherwise in areas where, again, the Word leaves us room to hear a revelation from the Holy Spirit that allows us to follow in obedience?

    • jjordan says:

      There are always those that state that the Old Covenant was setup during a time of “bartering”, and that’s why the tithe was agricultural products.

      I have to disagree with this. The book of Genesis contains the word “Money” 32 times, and the word “Money” is used 44 times before tithing is even mentioned in Leviticus 27. Money was used before tithes were even introduced.

      The Israelites had money, and they had an economic system outside of bartereing with goods, a study of history and archeology reveal these truths. You will also find it interesting that the Pharisees added many aspects to the law; they even added to what should be tithed, but even these additions were always food and not money.

      As a matter of fact there is scripture that alludes to the fact that God specifically did not want our money:

      “But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the LORD your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the LORD your God has blessed you, then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the LORD your God chooses. And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires;” (Deut. 14: 24-26, NKJV)

      Take note that God was very specific: If the journey to pay your tithe was too long for you to carry the tithe, you were to “exchange it for money”, “Go to the place the Lord your God Chooses” , and then “Spend the money” for tithing materials. If God intended tithes to be money He would have accepted money in these instances, instead He specifically had the thither spend the money on eligible tithing materials: food.

      The “bartering” idea came about as a way to explain away why God would only care about food products and not money.

  11. Charlie says:

    A Church’s Footprint in the Community

    (An article about a church tithing to its community and making a “footprint” in its community.)

    http://groups.google.com/group/aardvarks-library/web/a-churchs-footprint-in-the-community?hl=en

  12. Dan Davis says:

    Great wisdom in the concepts here, although I don’t necessarily see any overt relationship to tithing here. This is the basic premise behind the way our community churches work together without all the formal by-law structure. We all contribute what we have been blessed by God to add to the mix, maximizing each others’ gifts and resources, so we can do more as a whole than the sum of the parts. We are diverse inn background ie: Wesleyan, Southern Baptist, Mennonite Brethren, Charismatic independent, Methodist, Presbyterian, but we all believe the Gospel, and probably to our detriment in many’s eyes, we all pretty much believe the whole tithe thing. Which may have something to do with the resources we have to work with. I still don’t think this is an either-or, but a both-and.

  13. Linda Marquis says:

    I do not debate nor do I rebuke. The reson there is hundreds of thousands of protestant beliefs, doctrines and churches is because noone can agree on everything…otherwise..someone is not thinking. Because I believe that Christ’s work at the cross was a full and complete redemption, and also because I believe that doctrine doesn’t save you (or condemn you) only Christ Himself saves, the idea of taking my liberty and making it a stumblingblock to someone is not something I care to do. Paul also said that if you (because of your faith) need to esteem one day higher than another, or not eat meat sacrificed to idols, let every man be fully pursuaded in HIS OWN mind. Otherwise, it’s not of faith. I feel sorry for those dear brothers and sisters that they are in bondage…but some saints find security in their bondage and could not or would not be free regardless of any revelation. I think it’s counter productive and the unbelievers look on us and are disgusted at our “holy” way of consuming each other. If one wants to tithe it is between them and their God…my job is to love them as Christ does..unconditionally.

  14. Danny Davis says:

    AMEN! Now if we could all just understand our own inability to completely fathom God in all His fullness and come out from under the tyranny and bondage of having to be “right” and impose our “right on other Christians as law, hopefully we can achieve that God ordained, Christ fed, and Spirit enabled unconditional love! Let it be so, Jesus!!!

  15. Linda Marquis says:

    Thank God I’m free not to have to be right in anything. The only “right” I have is His RIGHTeousness :) When we have to argue, berate, belittle or hurt another person to “persuade” them, we have spiritually assaulted a brother or sister that Christ died for. I seriously doubt that any doctrine would make this wrong a right. Let those debate that think it’s necessary..in the end the shed blood of Christ is what matters (and saves). Be wise as serpents and gentle as doves:)

  16. Jared Brian says:

    Linda,
    Do you think that there is anything in the bible that is worth debating for?

    – Jared

  17. Danny Davis says:

    Jared, Not how Linda would answer that question, but as much as debate can be a waste of time, I do believe there are some things that are non-negotiables in our faith that need to be talked through in an effort to help a brother or sister walk a path our from under the cover of God’s protection and/or salvation. Paul wrote in scripture than anyone preaching a different Christ was wrong. so I believe that there are some black and whites that must be embraced and they have to do with Christ as the Bible describes Him. He IS the Son of God. He is the Savior of mankind and died to pay the price for our sins. He died and rose on the third day. we receive that salvation and forgiveness through Him and Him alone. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the only true path to God. He is God. He has always been and will always be and only BECAME flesh and blood. He ascended to heaven and is at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. He commissioned His followers to carry on the work of the Gospel. He departed physically to open the way for the holy spirit to come and dwell in the hearts of believers to counsel, comfort, and equip. He is returning to judge the quick and the dead. where many things may be worthy of spiritual discourse or debate, these for me are essentials that we must stand on and topics on which we cannot simply agree to disagree without questioning whether our fellowship is truly Christ grounded. These are the truths that bind together Charismatics, Calvinists, Wesleyan Arminians, etc, and allow us to work in unity and send our children to each others’ Vacation Bible schools. That probably doesn’t answer the intent of your inquiry, but I think these are issues that demand debate if they are not accepted as divine truth.

  18. Danny Davis says:

    I must apologize. What I meant to say at the front of my last comment is “This may not be how Linda would answer . . . ” Sometimes I think faster than I can type. And I apparently don’t proof read extremely well, either.

  19. Jared Brian says:

    Danny,
    Whether or not they are the non-negotiable, my belief is that ALL truths in the bible reflect on the character of God. The fact that we can debate, in and of itself testifies of the complexities and mysteries of God.

  20. Linda Marquis says:

    Please know that I’m not asserting myself as anything or anybody. I am simply sharing my opinion because I was asked to do so. It’s really irrelevant to me whether one would would “answer this the way Linda would” or not. I don’t and never will claim to be right on my talking points. I thought I was right about tithing too…and how many other things have you changed your mind about since conversion? And how many more? The thing that stood out to me in this arena of Q&A is that anyone who writes in that may be truly searching but makes comments that would require a different outlook is usually jumped on and the return comments are not given in a generous spirit. Not everyone learns the same way and the fact that a person would even write in, yes, even in opposition, means they are searching. Noone is above another regardless of where you are in your walk and I will not take an approach that will make a brother or sister feel that they are “less than”. If the Salvation Jesus has given us depends on us having the right doctrine (from cover to cover) there will be precious few that make it. In essence then, the enemy won and the Cross of Christ of little effect. So with a sense of humor and a grin, debating the debate issue is a backwards argument. Grace and peace to all.

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