Q&A2002Q4B

Tithing

Even though I know we live in the dispensation of God’s grace, tithing still seems to make sense to me. After all the ministries of a church should be supported.

 You are correct in stating that the ministries of a church should be supported, at least one that is functioning as a genuine “pillar and ground of the truth.” However tithing is not how God has designed for this to be done in this present dispensation of His grace.

We need to recognize and understand first off that tithing is not the issue of free will giving or a free will offering at all. In fact it is pretty much the exact opposite of that. Tithing is actually an imposed tax in God’s program and dealings with Israel. It is a tax of one-tenth that God placed upon the citizenry of Israel for the primary purpose of funding Israel’s national theocracy and services, and especially the priesthood, as God’s nation.

The tithing regulations and commandments of the law make this plain, wherein 3 specific “tithes” are set forth by which the people of Israel fund their nation, its services, and the priesthood within it. Simply put, these 3 specific “tithes” provide for the Levites’ livelihood; for making and having all of the provisions for the feast days; and for the poor of the land. For this reason God speaks to Israel about “all the tithes,” for there was more than one. And since tithing was imposed and functioned as a tax upon the citizenry of Israel, God also speaks of them as ones that “pay tithe” and the Levites who collected it as the ones who “take tithes of the people.”

In addition to the issue of tithing there was also the issue of, and provision for, free will giving in God’s program with Israel. But it is distinctly spoken of as such and it is dealt with separately in the Law. Therefore free will giving is clearly not what “tithing” is all about.

So then because of what “tithing” is, and because of its specific function in God’s program with Israel, God through the apostle Paul to us in this present dispensation of His grace makes no mention of, or even reference to, tithing when it comes to us. For not only is God’s program and dealings with Israel temporarily set aside and in abeyance while this dispensation is in effect, but God’s “new creature,” (the “one new man,” the church the body of Christ that He is now forming), is not a nation in God’s plan and purpose. It is not a theocracy and/or priesthood like Israel is in God’s plan and purpose with them.

Tithing, therefore, has nothing to do with us in this present dispensation of grace. No form of taxation-style giving, or obligatory giving, is part of God’s program with us today. Nor is any such giving the kind of giving that God wants to see from His “sons.” Instead God through the apostle Paul teaches us (for example in II Corinthians 8-9) the issue of completely free will giving. We are taught the issue of cheerfully responding to a pure and simple grace that is given to us, with giving that is to be motivated by, and done solely on the basis of, our gratitude, thanksgiving, and appreciation for God’s marvelous grace unto us. As such our giving is to be done cheerfully, without compulsion, necessity, or obligation, being solely the product of Godly love and charity within us, which has been generated in us by the effectual working of God’s word within us.

– K.R. Blades