Should the Church Teach Tithing?
A Theologian's Conclusions about a Taboo Doctrine
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

CORBAN AND FIRSTFRUIT-TITHING

by Russell Earl Kelly

russell-kelly@att.net

 

Calling “tithing” “firstfruits” is very similar to the Pharisees’ abuse of the “corban” law.

 

In the time of Jesus the ultra-conservative Pharisees abused their parents by pledging much of that which rightfully belonged to their aging parents to God instead. Remember that social security’ in those days meant the children caring for their aging parents.

 

Unger’s Bible Dictionary, corban, reads “an offering, a name given to any sacred gift. All things or persons consecrated or vowed for religious purposes became ‘corban’ and fell to the sanctuary. The Pharisees taught that, as soon as a person had said to his father or mother ‘Be it corban’ whatever of mine shall profit thee (Mark 7:11) he therefore consecrated all to God and was relieved from using it for his parents. This Jesus denounced to be contradictory of the command to honor their parents.” In other words, it violated the MORAL law of God!

 

Paul wrote in 1st Timothy 5:8 “If any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

 

Tithe-teachers say that the tithe is the same thing as the firstfruits which it very definitely is not (see Num 18; Deu 26:1-4; Neh 10:35-37). They teach that the tithe must be paid to the local church before any necessities are met. This is contrary to 1st Timothy 5:8. It denies sick, elderly and poor family members the essentials they need first.

 

Therefore there is very little, if any, difference between the first-century practice of ‘corban’ which Jesus condemned as immoral and the present teaching of tithes being ‘firstfruits.’ Both are immoral and Jesus would equally condemn both practices today.

 

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