In the past I've mentioned that I want to do a series of posts on "the tithe." Well, here I am, finally doing it! Why am I doing this? It's been my observation that "the tithe," as it's taught in various Christian ("New Covenant") churches in various ways, has put people under a lot of unnecessary bondage in their walks with God. Various Old Covenant scriptures are used in the teaching of the tithe in Christian churches, with various assumptions being made as to how these scriptures apply to the New Covenant Church. But are these scriptures being used properly? Are the assumptions proper? I don't think so, and I'm going to show from the scriptures themselves how they are terribly misused in the teaching of "the tithe" in the church today.
First Things First
In almost all "tithe" teachings in the Christian church, one scripture in particular is used predominantly, and one assumption in particular about that scripture is predominantly made. You probably know the scripture well. Malachi 3:8-11. The words in this passage that most people are familiar with are "bring all the tithes into the storehouse." The assumption that is made is that "the local church" is the storehouse.
We'll get into that a little later, but we really need to put first things first. See, while many Christians start with Malachi 3 in their teaching of the tithe (or at least highlight it in their justification of teaching Christians to "tithe"), Malachi 3 was actually the last thing said in Old Covenant scripture about the tithe. Malachi was not giving instructions about tithing. Rather God, through this prophet, was reprimanding His people for not keeping the tithing laws He had already given them. If we start with Malachi 3, we're destined to get it all wrong right from the start.
If we want to see what tithing is really all about, then we need to look back to the scriptures that show the original tithing instructions. As we do this, my hope is that we'll begin to dispel some of the false assumptions that the New Covenant church has made in regards to tithing. Is the New Covenant church to be a people who give? Surely! I think we find that idea supported all throughout the New Covenant scriptures. But how about New Covenant people "tithing" ten percent of their income to a local church? Do we find that idea supported anywhere in the scriptures? I think the truth about all this will unfold as we start with first things first, and move on from there.
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