Tithing #3

In my continuing inquiry into the supposedly authorized practice of tithing in this era, I’m wondering about a few chunks of funds.  Should 10% of any of the following sums be skimmed off the top for the clergy’s coffers?

  • A quarter you find on the street?
  • Cash received for returning bottles and cans for which you paid a deposit?  IRS tax refunds?  (This would amount to double taxation, wouldn’t it?)
  • Proceeds from loans?  From grants
  • Gifts received?  Even casual, in-kind ones, such as the gift of a meal from a college meal plan? (The notion of offering steamed broccoli and hummus points up the disparity between Levitical/Jewish tithing and the reality of 20c life.)
  • If Christians are really supposed to be giving 10%, are Christian institutions supposed to be giving 10% to something else?  I mean, just because they’re on the receiving end of gifts, does that mean they’re not supposed to turn around and re-gift?  You know, like orphan homes and Christian colleges and (gulp) churches?

For prior posts on this topic, see Tithing by Choice, and Tithing by Choice #2, at the end of which there are more links.

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2 thoughts on “Tithing #3

  1. Gary Arnold 11/20/2011 / 4:00 pm

    I have read all 3 parts of your tithing series.

    The problem I see is whether you are talking about the tithes commanded by God, OR the tithe that is so often taught in churches today.

    According to the scriptures, God commanded tithes from His increase of food from crops and animals and not on man’s income. The Biblical tithe always came from God’s miraculous increase of food. Wage earners did not tithe. Furthermore, the ONLY people in the Old Testament that were commanded to tithe were those who INHERITED THE PROMISED LAND WITH EVERYTHING ON IT. They got the land, house, animals, crops, etc. ALL FREE AND CLEAR. No mortgage payment or rent to pay. And THEY were commanded to tithe on the crops and animals and take it to the Levites who INHERITED the tithe INSTEAD OF the promised land with everything on it. No one else tithed. Wage earners did not tithe. Jesus did not tithe as a carpenter. Paul did not tithe as a tent maker. Peter did not tithe as a fisherman.

    When God gave the Israelites the promised land, he RESERVED, for Himself, a tenth of the crops and every tenth animal. They NEVER did belong to the Israelites. In other words, the tithe was from God’s increase of FOOD, not from man’s income. It was a way to distribute FOOD to the Levites and priests who did NOT inherit any land.

    No one, not even the farmers, tithed on their income.

    The farmers made their income by SELLING and/or barter-exchanging their crops and animals but did NOT tithe on that income.

    Today, ALL born-again believers are priests. ALL of us are called to be deciples of the Lord. No one of us is higher than another. Our bodies are the Temple where the Spirit dwells. According to the scriptures, priests do not tithe.

    So when you say IF tithing was required today, would we be required to tithe on this or that, my answer is, IF tithing was required today, the scriptures would tell us exactly what to tithe on as it did for the Israelites. Since tithing is not required, no rules are needed.

    No one can pay the Biblical tithe today. What we can do is give a tenth (or any amount we wish) of our income. Calling that a tithe infers that it has something to do with God’s tithing commands and it doesn’t. We should really just call it giving.

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    • Brian Casey 11/21/2011 / 9:38 am

      Thank you for the helpful, eminently informative excursion into the depths of the tithing concept. As you rightly, graciously hinted, I had not taken enough care regarding the definition and parameters of biblical tithing. The main point for today is, as you say, “Since tithing is not required, no rules are needed.” The tithe that is nearly ubiquitously enjoined in churches today has nothing directly to do with Christian giving. -bc

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