Please do read the previous article before this, titled God, Tithe and the Church! (Part 1)
The intent here is not in anyway antagonizing to the instructions on offerings in the Bible. My sole responsibility is to frown at the compulsion with which the custodian of the knowledge of the gospel of Christ has persistently perpetrated the error of tithe and tithing.
It is equally reprehensible, the approach and tactics used in enforcing what is wrong. More disgusting and roguish is the fact that most of the people who do it on the pulpit knows what is right, but are captivated by the lust of their pockets and their wellbeing more than anything else. Must we continue in error?
I am for offerings, and believe that we should endeavor to give without any announcement. I believe in prompt and inspired giving. I believe people should be able to read and see with the eye of the spirit, various needs of their local Churches without being told or it being announced.
In the book of Numbers 7: 1-6, we see people giving generously to meet and exceed the need for the building of the tabernacle. Contributing to ministry work or Church maintenance is a necessity on members and we have to do it to the best of our abilities.
Your two pence and the other guy’s thousands are all important in this stead. What is called Generosity is not defined in quantity but quality of your heart. Every gift from the heart is equally expensive and useful as far as God is concerned, now, what your Pastor says or feels is not important in that case. God wants us to be generous people, supporting the works of the ministry, the gospel and our local Churches, as well as the work of God around the globe.
The biggest work we can do for God is to care physically and spiritually for people! Humanity is the center of His work. Wise people give while the fools withhold for self. Offering is good, but must be voluntary; the only compulsion in it is that it is an act of worship to God. What is evil and wrong in the trajectory as against Biblical teachings is to mandate tithe or tithing and claim it is divine instruction that must be fulfilled or else one will be robbing God. Those who preach that are wrong and they know it. Others just simply preach what they had believed as true without crosschecking. I will be ready to take on, one on one, any Pastor or Bishop on this issue from the Biblical point of reference.
It will be instructive and didactic to first start the ball rolling on the recent history of tithe or tithing’s introduction to the Church. First let us start from after the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus our Lord. The Bible becomes the only witness of all the events and the practices of the first Church. The first error is to make the reference of Jesus in Matthew 23: 23 as the format of a new Church order on tithe. They still had the temple sacrifices then, so does that mean we should continue it too? Until death and resurrection of Christ, which was what culminated and completed the covenant of grace and salvation, what is recorded in Matthew was Old Testament era.
You will never find a place in the books of the Bible, from the first Church in Jerusalem to the ones in Asia and uttermost part of the earth where any of the Apostles of the faith of Christ solicited or demanded tithe. Let anyone show me the contrary of what I just said now. Nowhere was it recorded that Peter or Paul or James ruled that tithes should be collected from any Church for the upkeep of the Church and the new members. They depended on donations and daily contributions of members and associates. I will get to this exhaustively later in the series.
A detailed study of Church history will show that no tithe was collected until sometime 600 years after the Church of the Acts of Apostles came to existence.
That was the first Church, as far as Christianity or Church of Christ is concerned. It was an assemblage of direct followers of Christ and the new converts after the Pentecost experience. Nobody talked or even raised tithe in the first Church. 600 years later, tithing came in as a new teaching to help generate and sustain the welfare of the workers of the Church.
However, unlike the absolute nonsense you have today, it was not with any compulsion then, and no money was involved. People were asked to bring in foods to feed the preachers within and abroad. Since it was voluntary, Church history recorded that the elders of the Church then expanded what could be given as tithes to include all animal from farms including Fish and Poultry (excluded from the Biblical teachings of Tithe). By the 13th century, all kinds of produce and animals were taken as tithes to help sustain the ministers. For as long as compulsion was not introduced, it was unnecessary for anyone in the Church to frown at it. By the middle of the 18th century, Churches in America began the adoption of tithing and tithes as a prerequisite teaching of the Church. Just 200-300 years ago!
Even at then, the teaching makes some exceptions to the rule. One, you have to be 18 years old to tithe, and you stop tithing once you clock the retirement age of 65 years. Men were required to tithe more than women, and if you do not own a property, then you can be excused. It was later in that century that incomes of people were used as the standard for tithing.
The idea by the Council of Elders in the American Church was that tithing income of people would bring in twice as much money than the former practice. That was the beginning of the end for the Church’s erroneous doctrine of tithe. Tithing of income started in America by the Church Council Members vote, and it then became a divine law without any scriptural backing or accent from the Bible.
I have heard, seen many preachers teach that money has taken the place of produce and goats because then there was no money. How such drivel gets into the head and mind of believers is still very much a puzzle to me, when evidence of money is all over the Bible (Genesis 42: 25). Human society has always had money as a means of trade and exchange. Why would anyone preach a lie that money was not available in the Old Testament and that is why tithe was taken in goats and bulls?
More insulting was the mention that the only human labor as at that time was farming, and that was the reason God mentioned crops and animals. The truth is, there were all kinds of artisans and all kinds of works so recorded. There were maidservants and menservants, and they earned wages too in money. God never asked Moses to ask them to pay tithes. It was all on the farmers who planted the field and raised animals on the earth. It was all about the produce of the ground to provide food for the workers of the temple, especially those who do 2-week rotational services in the temple. We will get to this later too.
Let us look at historical perspective from before the time of Abraham, since the first mention of the word tithe was made in reference to Abraham when he met Melchizedek, King of Salem in Genesis 14: 18-24 NKJV). Please do understand that between Genesis chapter one and Genesis chapter eleven, there are about 2,000 years of very briefly documented history. The men before Abraham never tithed, and so the eternal mandate of tithe is obviously missing.
Sacrifices and rituals were done quite well in those days, but just not a mention of tithe or tithing was recorded. Cain and Abel were instructed to sacrifice, and both had their vocation on the ground. Cain was into crop production while Abel was an Animal Husbandman, yet God never mentioned tithe on the produce of the land or the animals that graze on the land to them. May be God forgot, and allowed Cain and Abel to steal from him (since tithing and stealing from God are synonymous).
How about Seth that lived 912 twelve years on the earth and prospered greatly too? Did God forget to ask for tithe from him too? What about Enosh, Cainan, Mahalalel, Jared and Enoch? The case of Enoch will be very interesting since he was said to have lived so well for 365 years and never died a physical death but was removed from the earth by God.
“24 And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”
Even Methuselah that lived 969 years and raised a son Lamech, who raised Noah that started a fresh process of human population growth never once asked tithe by God.
It is pathetic to claim Tithe was from the beginning and so will be to the end of the days of men on earth. Such teachings are full of discernable lies and despicable untruths. In the next article we will look at exactly when tithe or tithing started and why. We will look at what was reported to be tithing by Abraham in more details and draw a premise on the abundance of palpated and calculated attempt to deceive and confuse the pew.
What is tithe? First, a look at any dictionary will confuse you as dictionaries simply define terms based on their contemporary usage. Dictionary published in 1914 will tell you what tithe was in that time, and the new ones now will define it based on what Churches call tithe.
They will depend on the contemporary Church to define it. For example, Merriam Webster Online Dictionary says tithe is the “tenth part of something paid as a voluntary contribution or as a tax especially for the support of a religious establishment”. American Heritage Dictionary defines tithe as a “tenth part of one’s annual income contributed voluntary or due as a tax, especially for the support of the Clergy OR church”.
MacMillan’s Modern Dictionary (1938 edition) says tithe is “tenth part, or any small part, of produce, profits, or the like paid as a tax or as a voluntary contribution, especially for religion or charitable use. I am also your denomination have a different definition for tithe. Why don’t we look at the Bible and trust that God knows what He said when he commanded tithe.
The original word translated tithe is mah-as-ayr (or mah-as-ar or mah-as-raw) and all that it means in English translation is a ‘tenth’ (part).
We will later see what the ‘tenth’ consist of at another time. The instruction around the ‘tenth’ will be a guide as to what was intended and how we come to understand tithe or tithing.
I will crave the indulgence of those that disagree with me, or even agree, to wait until this is all over before we get into the argument with scriptures. It is about getting things done in the right way. Any Church that teaches tithe as a personal denominational preference and agreement with her members is free of guilt here. If the members want to subscribe to it, then it is no sin, but if it is preached as a compulsion and a necessity of faith and greed, then it has no biblical precedence or support as far as the new Church of Christ is concerned.
Thank you and God bless us abundantly.
Olumide G. Adeyinka can be reached at email@example.com