Should the Church Teach Tithing?
A Theologian’s Conclusions about a Taboo Doctrine
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
There is a disturbing trend in which theologians from schools which have historically NOT taught tithing NOW teach tithingn while DENYING that they teach tithing. This is theological double-talk! It is taking something out of one hand and placing it behind the back into the other hand. See my rebuttal of Rod Rogers for a detailed example.
From Dr. Sam Storms, a Dallas graduate.
The last paragraph in his article says ” Is it permissible to tithe? Not only is it permissible, I would strongly recommend and urge you to do so. In choosing to give 10% of our income to the Lord, we are honoring a God-given, Old Testament principle. In the absence of a prescribed percentage for giving in the New Testament, why not adopt the Old Testament pattern? This does not mean you are sinning if you don’t. To give only 8% or to give 12% is equally permissible. Not to give at all, or to give disproportionately to your income (which is the case with most Christians today), or to give grudgingly, is indeed sin. Let us be joyful and generous in our giving. After all, everything we own belongs to God anyway!
His e-mail to me today reads as follows:
I’ll be brief. I don’t teach tithing. I don’t know how you can conclude otherwise from what I wrote. I used the word “tithe” simply because that’s the way most people understand it. I do not believe that a New Covenant Christian is required by Scripture to give any particular percentage of their income to the church. They are to give as the Lord has prospered them, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 8. And I’ll say it again, you will find that people will be more inclined to listen to your views if you tone down the language. Blessings.
Dr Sam Storms 2-2-2008
Forgive me again for replying to your note. Yes, I was inflammatory. It is rare that I lash out but your credentials and your alma mater infuriated me. Neither Dallas, Moody, Wheaton nor Masters teach tithing.
Recently Dallas graduates such as yourself and Rod Rogers have gone against the plain teaching of its founder Lewis Sperry Chafer and have redefined tithing in order to bring it into the church as a minimum standard. God has no “minimum standard” for either the rich or the poor and you know it.
Up until your conclusion your exposition and hermeneutics were excellent and you reached the same conclusion as myself and Dr. Chafer and company.
How, with all of your education and with all of your correct hermeneutics you could then conclude exactly the opposite from what you had just finished teaching is beyond any credibility for a scholar such as yourself. Am I angry at you? Yes. Your twisting of God’s Word is incredible and you rightly deserved my inflammatory words.
(1) Like Rod Rogers you have personally redefined “tithe” to suit your own needs. After you correctly defined tithe as food from inside God’s holy land which was the miraculous increase of God’s hand, you incorrectly redefine it as income increase from all Christians. Where is your biblical justification?
(2) How can you “strongly recommend” tithing? Do you collect it as only food from Israel? Do you only give it to Levite servants to the priests? Do you as a tithe-recipient excuse yourself from owning property? Do you refuse to use tithes for mission support? I dare say that you agree with NONE of the 25+ tithing principles or the Old Covenant.
You contradict yourself when you correctly state that 8% or 12% is acceptable if it is sacrificial, but you cannot legitimately call anything (including 10%) a true biblical tithe. Why? You know that Jews who lived outside Israel could not tithe. You know that craftsmen and those who did not work the land as farmers and herdsmen could not tithe.
So why use the word when you are forced to use erroneously? Tithing was neither a principle nor a minimum for the majority of those under the Old Covenant.
“To give only 8% or to give 12% is equally permissible. Not to give at all, or to give disproportionately to your income (which is the case with most Christians today), or to give grudgingly, is indeed sin. Let us be joyful and generous in our giving. After all, everything we own belongs to God anyway!”
Yes, yes, yes. God bless you. So please stop calling Spirit-induced godly freewill giving “tithing.” That is all I ask.
Is tithing an unimportant doctrine? Not if it places the church under bondage to a law principle which it does not understand.
Russell Earl Kelly, PH. D.