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

IF WE DON'T PAY TITHING, HOW DO WE PAY THE CHURCH BILLS?

 

russell-kelly@att.net

 

(1) If we do not pay tithing, we pay the church bills the same way that the early church paid them --sacrificial freewill offerings.  There is no biblical or historical evidence that the early church used tithing to pay its bills until it was legalized in the late 8th century. This can be documented by almost every notable church historian from any major denomination. Cyprian's attempt in the middle of the third century was not adopted by the Church. Neither was Chrysostom's nor Augustine's attempts in the 5th century. Two local church attempts in the 6th century also failed. Study "tithe" in any major reference work for validation of this history.

 

(2) The early church in the first two hundred years consisted mainly of women, children, slaves and soldiers. It flourished through radical sacrificial freewill offerings.

 

(3) Except for state-run churches such as the Anglican Church of England, the Lutheran Church of Germany and the Catholic Church of Spain and Germany, tithing did not appear in other churches in the U. S. A. until the late 1890s. It was not even introduced until the 1870.

 

(4) There are many great schools and churches which have flourished without teaching tithing. Examples are: Moody Bible Institute, Dallas Theological Seminary, Wheaton College, Talbot Bible School and John MacArthur's Master's Seminary. The key to successful churches is not the teaching of tithing. Rather it is the successful teaching of soul-winning and personal evangelism.

 

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If We Don't Peach Tithing, How Do WE Pay the Church Bills?

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

russell-kelly@att.net

 

If every church in America stopped teaching Saturday-Sabbath, multiple wives, animal sacrifices, unclean food laws, Temple worship, a Levitical priesthood and circumcision, what would happen?

 

"Oh, but those are only Old Covenant and none of those have been repeated for the Church after Calvary" is the answer.

 

The same thing is true of tithing. If the New Covenant church can survive without teaching those Old Covenant laws, then it can survive without teaching tithing!

 

History proves that the early post-100 AD church survived until AD 777 without a law requiring renters on church-owned property to tithe food. How in the world did it survive that long if tithing were so crucial?

 

Has it ever occurred to the Church that God is able to sustain what He created as the Body of Christ with better Christian principles?  These are found primarily in Second Corinthians, chapters eight and nine.

 

Moody Bible Institute, Wheaton College, Dallas Theological Seminary, Talbot Bible College, John MacArthur's Master's Seminary and many others thrive WITHOUT TEACHING TITHING.  The secret to a church's success does not depend on whether or not it teaches tithing. Rather the secret to a church's success depends on whether or not it has a strong program pf personal evangelism and shows its members that the world is lost and on its way to hell without the gospel. That is what has been lost in most of our faltering so-called tithe-teaching churches today.

 

Tithing is the last major shackle of the Law surviving today. It is an embarrassment to sound theological principles that its adherents will not defend it in an open dialog with persons like me. Tithing reflects a lack of faith in better New Covenant principles of giving.

 

Christians are commanded to give freely, sacrificially, generously, regularly, joyfully and with the motivation of love for God and man. The following New Covenant free-will principles are found in Second Corinthians, chapters 8 and 9: (1) Giving is a "grace.” These chapters use the Greek word for "grace" eight times in reference to helping poor saints. (2) Give yourself to God first (8:5). (3) Give yourself to knowing God’s will (8:5). (4) Give in response to Christ’s gift (8:9; 9:15). (5) Give out of a sincere desire (8:8, 10, 12; 9:7). (6) Do not give because of any commandment (8:8, 10; 9:7). (7) Give beyond your ability (8:3, 11-12). (8) Give to produce equality. This means that those who have more should give more in order to make up for the inability of those who cannot afford to give as much (8:12-14). (9) Give joyfully (8:2). (10) Give because you are growing spiritually (8:3-4, 7). (11) Give because you want to continue growing spiritually (9:8, 10-11). (12) Give because you are hearing the gospel preached (9:13).