Ask The Chaplain

Ask The Chaplain

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Is Tithing for Today?

Your local church and full-time ministers may need your financial support [1 Corinthians 9:14]. However, there is nothing in the New Testament that obligates Christians to give a tenth of their income, and there is nothing in the New Testament that entitles church leaders, or anyone else, to receive that tithe. Tithing, meaning giving 10%, is a concept taken from the Law of Moses. Christians are not under the Law [Romans 6:14; Galatians 2:16].

1 Corinthians 9:14
In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.
Romans 6:14
... you are not under Law, but under grace.

Galatians 2:16
... a man is not justified by observing the Law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the Law, because by observing the Law no one will be justified.
In the New Testament:

Christians are encouraged to be generous [1 Timothy 6:17-19]. Move
1 Timothy 6:17-19
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
Those who have more are encouraged to give more [2 Corinthians 8:7-15]. Move
2 Corinthians 8:7-15
But just as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us – see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.

And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.

Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.”
There is a blessing for generosity [2 Corinthians 9:6-11]. Move
2 Corinthians 9:6-11
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:

“He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”

Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
As with everything to do with the New Covenant, it is not a legal requirement, but a matter of the heart, of the Spirit – faith expressing itself through love [Galatians 5:6].

Galatians 5:6
For in Christ Jesus ... the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Christians should pray for discernment in their giving and they should be wise enough to weigh up whether particular churches, ministries and ministers are worthy of financial support and accountable for what they receive.