- MAY ONE TITHE OUT OF CHOICE?
- IS TITHING BUILDING ON THE ROCK OF GOD’S WORD?
- IS IT WISDOM TO HAVE OTHERS DECIDE HOW TO SPEND ONE’S OWN MONEY?
THE INFALLIBLE WORD
2 Tim. 3:16: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Some people profess to tithe out of choice and not obligation. There are churches encouraging ten percent as a guideline or a minimum, but do not impose tithing as a requirement. Is this permissible?
Scripture [and Scripture alone] “is profitable for doctrine…for instruction in righteousness.” Scripture is God’s Word to redeemed man. Scripture is God’s standard. There is no other standard. God has given no person liberty to offer an alternative. The only alternative to obedience is disobedience.
It must be realized only teachings proceeding from the Word should be accepted by the student of the Word. It is not sufficient to retain a teaching or a custom until someone proves that teaching or custom to be false. Such should never have been embraced in the first place.
One cannot adopt a traditional practice [a practice that does not conform to the Word] out of choice; a person surrendered that right when he first called Him, “Lord, Lord.” Accepting the lordship of Jesus is a decision to do things His way. His ways are Scriptural. Jesus is His Word.
Gal. 3:15: Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulls, or adds thereto.
It is not legal to change a ratified agreement between two people. Who would be so presumptuous to add to the covenant between God and man of which Jesus Christ Himself is the mediator?
Psalm 12:6: The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
God’s Word is beyond refinement. It is pure. God’s Word does not encourage tithing as a guideline, as a minimum, or as a choice.
Gal. 1:8: though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
It is a very serious matter to “preach any other gospel.” “Any other gospel” is any gospel that Paul had not preached to the Galatians. Paul never preached tithing as a guideline, a minimum, or a choice.
2 Thes. 2:15: Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the tradition which you have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
The epistles [letters] of the New Testament do not teaching tithing. The “traditions which you have been taught…by word” are the same traditions taught by letter. The exhortation is to “stand fast, and hold” to these teachings and none other.
Rom. 11:34: who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has been his counsellor?
Who can say to the Lord, “I have a better idea”? Who can add to God’s Word? Who would dare?
OBEDIENCE TO THE WORD
Mat. 7:24: whosoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock:
The”rock” is the sayings of Christ, the Word of God. The ”house” in this case is one’s financial affairs. A wise man is one who builds his financial affairs upon the rock of Christ’s Word.
Mat. 7:26: And every one that hears these sayings of mine, and does them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand.
A “foolish man” builds his “house” upon the sand. What is sand? Sand is anything and everything that is not the Word of God. Sand is traditional thoughts and patterns contrary to the thoughts and patterns of the Bible.
The one who uses anything other than the Word as a guideline for one’s finances is a “foolish man.”
Luke 6:46: why call me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord’ and do not do the things I tell you. I find your lip-service insulting. Do not call Me by that title until you are prepared to be obedient to My Word. Only then will you have the right to call Me, ‘Lord, Lord.’”
Gal. 5:2-4: Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if you be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace.
That which applies to circumcision also applies to tithing [and every other regulation of the Law]. It is certainly not the act of circumcision that would cause one to be “fallen from grace [God’s unmerited favor],” but rather reliance upon circumcision for salvation or sanctification.
Paul would have been very suspicious if a Galatian would have told him, “I want to be circumcised. No, not because it is a requirement, I just choose to be circumcised.” Paul might have asked such a person, “Why do you choose to be circumcised?” The same question should be asked of those who tithe out of choice, “Why do you choose to tithe?”
Is it possible people who tithe ‘out of choice’ really tithe ‘just in case’? Just in case God requires it. Just in case it will keep them in man’s favor. Just in case it will help keep their salvation. Just in case it will make them a better Christian. Just in case the blood of the Lamb itself is not sufficient to save. Christians who tithe ‘just in case’ have a real problem; all that Paul wrote to the Galatians could well apply to such people:
“Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if you (tithe), Christ shall profit you nothing.
For I testify again to every man that (tithes) that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace.”
Mat. 15:3: Why do you also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
Jesus was scolding the scribes and Pharisees for teaching that people were free from the responsibility of spending money for the care of their parents if they gave that money to God, a traditional teaching contrary to God’s command, “Honour your father and mother.”
Many Christians are guilty of the same sin. They have accepted the traditions of men [The System] over the Word of God. They feel dropping their tenth into the collection plate dissolves themselves of the responsibility of being obedient to God’s Word. They are no longer obligated to feed the poor. Or help their neighbor. Or support the evangelist. Or give to the widow. [I challenge the student of the Word to give this assertion serious reflection, to determine for yourself if it be so. In your circle of acquaintances, do you notice, generally speaking, a hesitation to respond in a tangible way to one another’s needs…yes, even a callousness to the plight of fellow Christians? And yet do not these same people contribute regularly to their church every Sunday?]
The Word of God must have preeminence in one’s life. The otherwise is disobedience.
Every believer must give an account to God for the way he handled finances entrusted to him. It is essential that the student of the Word spend wisely. You are to decide for yourself how much goes where. It is foolishness to surrender this privilege and responsibility to others, to allow others to decide where to direct your funds. “Trust us”, they say. “We have discernment. Let us decide how to spend your money.” And yet they won’t be standing with you when you give your account to the Lord. It matters more to you than anyone else how your money is spent. Therefore you should direct your own givings.
It is wrong to tithe. Tithing is not building on the [rightly divided] Word. Tithing is choosing another way. It must be obvious, therefore, it is also wrong to collect tithes [knowingly]. As a matter of fact, it is the responsibility of leadership to denounce the practice [if and when leadership comes to the awareness that tithing is not a New Covenant principle], and to instruct the people to decide for themselves the amount to give and where to direct their contributions.
A person who has tithed all his Christian life may be at a loss as to how to handle this area of his finances for himself. Such a one may be wise to open a bank account for the sole purpose of managing the finances to be directed toward the word of God. [Indeed every Christian might better administer his contributions by utilizing a bank account.] Such a venture could prove to be exciting.
Every entry into this account becomes God’s property. It cannot be taken back even for emergency purposes. This money is holy unto the Lord. All funds given for the extension of God’s work goes through this account. Checks are written on everything spent, helping the individual record exactly how much of his income has gone into the Lord’s work and also how these funds were spent on financing the Great Commission, supporting the pastor, helping the poor, etc.
Now that the believer has something to give, the Lord can direct. One must learn to be led by the Spirit, to differentiate between a ‘good idea’ and a prompting of the Holy Spirit. This walk in the Spirit will improve with time, experience and prayer. If money entered into the account is spent as the Holy Spirit so directs, there will be much fruit forthcoming.
If there is more money coming into the account than going out, it could be that God wants the account to build up for a special purpose, for example, to finance an evangelist’s trip to India, to cover the cost of a printing press for a Third World church, or whatever.
This account could also be used to underwrite one’s own work for the Lord. If the Lord has led you into a ministry of witnessing on the streets or door-to-door, you may be wise to invest in tracts and/or Bibles. If there is a needy family in the neighborhood, a hamper of food might be an effective witness to the love of Christ.
A bank account could help every Christian be a better steward.