Tithing: Money back guarantee?

I wrote an article a while ago called Tithing in the New Testament and in light of the post I put up yesterday about tithing while in debt, I just had to share something I found. I am not sure how I haven’t heard of this until now, but apparently, “LifeChurch.tv, a multi-site, media-intensive church out of Oklahoma City, encourages testing God. They not only advocate such testing, they back it up with an unorthodox guarantee.” They have been running this program for 11 years!

Test me now in this…

The article I found was called The Tithing Challenge over at ChristianityToday.com. In it you find that this unconventional church puts their money where their mouth is – or more appropriately – God’s mouth ;) . They challenge the congregation to tithe for three months and if at the end of the 3 months the participants are not convinced of God’s faithfulness, they can get a full refund of every dollar they have given, no questions asked.

It is, of course, based off of the Malachi 3:10 verse that (as far as anyone has found) is the only Biblical encouragement to “test God.”

Malachi 3:10-12 (NIV)

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.  I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty.  “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.

The results

While I have seen God’s faithfulness as I have tithed, I would figure that some people would look at God’s provision as luck or coincidence. To my surprise the amount of people who requested a refund was surprisingly low… “From the recent big push, five participants out of the 550 who signed up requested their tithe be returned.”

Five people out of 550. That is less than 1% of people who took the challenge!

Tithing works?

I honestly think the tithing challenge idea is a pretty good one. Before I started tithing, the main reason that I didn’t was because I didn’t think I could give up 10% of my income and still meet all my needs. If I would have been offered something like this I probably would have jumped on it.

But as I think about it, the whole challenge is kind of a faith-transfer. The pastor is so convinced that what Malachi says is true that he is stepping out in faith for his congregation. While I admire him for doing it, I am not sure if that is ultimately a good thing for the congregation, since it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). But, on the other hand, if it gets people to see that God is faithful, that is good isn’t it?

I can see both sides of this one – what do you think?












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43 Comments
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  1. My church also offers this challenge and hasn’t had one person ask for their tithe back in several years.

    But, I still struggle with tithing because I use my business to minister to people. Tithing reducing my ministry while increase another ministry. My pastor tithes to his church, but how does that effect anything because he also decides how all the money is spent. But, how could he ask us to tithe if he isn’t.

    I’m not against tithing and believe that tithing has helped increase the faith of many people and helps fund many churches, but Jesus went beyond the tithe and gave everything and asks us to do the same.

    Offen times tithing becomes a barrior to Christians that either don’t understand it or use it against God to do nothing else for the kingdom of God.

  2. Wm Tanksley

    I don’t agree with this church. The verse they’re citing is important, but it’s not addressed to me; it’s addressed to the entire nation of Israel. Indeed, we the Church can apply it to ourselves; but I the Christian cannot apply it to myself.

    I’m also a little leery of the wording of that guarantee. It’s not easy to come up to a pastor and tell him you’ve decided that God isn’t faithful… If the church really wanted to put its money where its mouth was, it would simply offer your money back if you don’t get what you consider a fair return.

    And frankly, I think that’s silly. But again, the whole idea is based on a misreading of an important promise; as if God promised to give earthly wealth to everyone who gives money to Him.

  3. Our church did a similar challenge last October. We’ve been tithing ever since and its proven to be a blessing for us. It can be hard to convince yourself that its helping you, afterall, that 10 percent could go a long way, but when you take it out first you never miss it. Since we started tithing we’ve both increased our salary, been better about budgeting, and have just felt the blessings in our life and marriage. God has been faithful and we have not been in need. You can call it coincidence, but I look forward to the many more years of having the Lord provide for me and my family.

  4. I don’t think God is to be tested. God is to be obeyed. I tithe right now, but I’ve got 60K in debt that I am paying down. I should be out of debt by March of 2012 if everything goes according to the debt reduction plan that my wife and I are on. I don’t check my reliance on Christ at the door because I have debt.

    It seems to me that testing God on money creates a vibe of “If I give you money, I expect that I will be rewarded in some way…financially.” God isn’t a slot machine. Tithing is an act of sacrifice. It’s not something I do with the hope that some gift will present itself as a result of this. I’ve heard of this approach before. I believe it’s generally used for seekers – new people to church, non-Christians. It’s used so that a) the Church collects money for God, b) the person tithing has a “spiritual experience” when they tithe and get some kind of “reward” back. Their spiritual growth is predicated on some sort of money encounter as the result of tithing. We have to be careful here because it can be manipulative. Also, if the person is not rewarded for tithing with a large income tax return, etc., there is the danger that the person will fall away before conversion. And isn’t conversion the most important thing here? God is not a bank. The Church isn’t a stock exchange. It’s important for me to not cheapen his glory.

  5. I believe God wants us to tithe so we can develop a heart for giving. God desires us to have a spirit of a giver whether we receive a reward or not. However, He does promise us that “He will open up the windows of heaven and pour out blessings we don’t have room to receive.” So while our tithing should not be based on “okay God, I gave now gimmy, gimmy, gimmy,” I think it’s is perfectly fine to accept that promise and believe He will bless us.
    I don’t think that church is being manipulative, I think its an “out of the box” way to reach non-tithers. Less than 1% tells me it is working and if it’s a bible based church…they are teaching that when we tithe we go into covenant with Him. That we are telling him “Thank You” for ALL you have done!

  6. I can see how such a challenge would be successful, but I’m not sure it’s biblical. Deuteronomy 6:16 says, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” God says that He is faithful time and time again in the Bible, and His faithfulness is not dependent on whether or not I think that He is faithful.

    Also, how does one determine if God has been faithful? Maybe I haven’t seen many tangible blessings from tithing, but maybe the church has given to the poor and needy out of what I’ve given, and so others have been blessed by it. That is proving God’s faithfulness, but I’m not seeing the fruit of it necessarily.

  7. My dad is a pastor. One Sunday when preaching on tithing he said,

    “Would you be willing to tithe for 1 month if I promised to pay any bills that you were short for? (Most people nodded yes) Isn’t it funny that you would trust me, knowing exactly what my salary is, but not God?”

    I’ve never forgotten that.

  8. Great comments everyone – Nikki, you clarified one of the points I was trying to make – perfect – thanks…

    @Chelsea and David
    regarding your comments about not testing God, the Malachi verse does show God Himself saying to test Him in regards to this – right?

  9. Putting God to the test – Malachi 3:10 interestingly does say… “…test me in this,”

    I don’t think we are to jump off buildings to test God (Luke 4:12), but He encourages us to follow Him, in faith, not knowing what the results are going to be, and trust they will be good. The parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14 comes to mind of fear versus courage. I wonder if that is a two-way test?

  10. Hello Bob,

    Thank you so much for all the enlightenment!! Actually I’m really one of those who is still having a hard time giving what is due to GOD. I’ve attended a seminar in Financial stewardship and I really understand how important tithing is but then I really don’t know how to start. I think the tithing challenge would be a gateway for me. God bless

    Hazel

  11. Wm Tanksley

    I’m going to take back part of my criticism. I do think that this church is drastically misrepresenting God’s promise, with the result that some people will fall away; but at the same time, what I didn’t take the time to check is whether this Church is ministering to the people who ask for their money back, and how those people are doing.

    Actually, I think a better church program would be, “we will help you financially if you’re tithing in spite of your financial trouble.” This seems more in line with the Church’s calling to help the poor, and less in line with a marketing program. This help must, of course, include financial counseling (but must also include giving money).

  12. This is the first I have heard of a church doing this. I think this is a great idea. I think statistics show something like less than 10% of Christians actually tithe. It saddens me that Christians refuse to support the church monetarily. We’ll spend our money on lots of things that have no effect on the kingdom of Heaven, but when the church asks us to tithe we get offended.

    Malachi actually says that the whole nation was under a curse because of it. I wonder if that same curse exist in some way today. We’ve seen what’s been happening in the financial world just in our country over the past year.

  13. I think that many of you are kind of missing the point of what this church is offering. I think that what this church is really offering through this challenge is the ability for people to give to God what is God’s. Many people, in my opinion, don’t tithe because they are affraid of how it will affect their finances. If they have the option of being able to get back their money, they are more willing to part with it in the first place.

    I don’t neccessarily think that people avoid asking for money back just because they felt that they were blessed, but because they realize that they feel better about their spiritual walk when they are in accordance with God.

    My biggest caution in tithing has been my concern that we wouldn’t be able to cover all of our bills, but I have been convicted to step out in faith. I have to admit, as selfish as it sounds, an offer like this may have convinced me to tithe much sooner. I think people that take this challenge realize how much more faithful they really are by tithing and, hence, don’t ask for the money back.

    Just a thought :)

  14. My husband and I have been tithing over and above 10% for three years now, while also giving our time to the Lord by volunteering at local ministries. We attend church 2-3 times a week, read the bible daily and we wont even eat a snack without saying grace. Yet every time we tithe it feels like we are punished for it. We are not paid back, our bank account will go into the negative for it. We keep trying thinking its a test of our faith and after 3 years of trying we are starting to lose faith. Any suggestions? Why is this happening?

  15. Steph,
    As someone who counsels people at our church in our financial ministry, and am a planner as well, I can relate to your story on many levels. Tithing and wise personal financial managment work hand in hand. I suggest, if you havn’t already, organize your financial affairs, complete a financial fact-finder, and arrange to meet with someone who can look over your situation. Someone who is perhaps a trusted Christian experienced financial professional friend or advisor of yours (CPA, CFP) or a CROWN budget counselor, if you church has them.

    • Michael

      This response is not directed “at you” Kent, but I think it fits best right in this area of the comments section.

      I have experienced the same thing as Steph with regards to tithing. My experience with tithing is that finances become invariably worse when I tithe. Just like clockwork…and this has been a pattern I have observed over many years.

      Faithful with tithing = financial problems worse then when I didn’t, sometimes incredibly severe.

      It has happened every single time I have put tithing to the test. I keep putting it to the test because I still believe it in spite of my many failed attempts at obeying it and the total lack or results when I have obeyed it.

      It seems a little “convenient” when Christian’s attribute such circumstances as being the tither’s fault and their money managing is the reason for the problem. After all what else could it be, right?? It’s the same as Christians saying, “The Lord is blessing you” when things are going well, but then when things are not going so well “Oh…well it’s your fault and it’s something that you are doing.”

      It’s not very comforting nor is it encouraging and to me it is a coop out especially when leadership passes off this type of problem this way. I don’t say that to slam anyone here or imply that you (Kent) are that way or that is what you are saying. It’s just an opinion based on my many years of experience and what I have personally observed.

      My wife is non-tithe payer and ALWAYS seems to have money coming from somewhere. Does she work harder than me? NO. Is she financial savvy or a great money manager…umm…NO. Does she read her Bible, pray, fast or do any other external works, no.

      Malachi 3’s promised “blessing” of tithing isn’t conditional upon a person being “financially savvy”. It would seem to me that if God made the conditions then it would be on him to give the wisdom and understand to handle the “blessing” as he bestowed it OR at least give the saint enough sense to know that they need some coaching in the area of finance if that is what they need.

      To “pour out a blessing” (so much so that they won’t be able to handle it)” on someone who has followed the order that entitles them to that promise and NOT give them the necessary intelligence or direction to manage that blessing is ridiculous. That doesn’t even make sense and is in fact NOT a blessing.

      To date I don’t personally have a “complete” answer for the phenomena that Steph and I have experienced. I think individual circumstances can and do vary. I will say this though; It is easy for people to say that tithing is right and wear the “I Tithe” badge to church when they always have enough to pay it AND their bills. The question is, what do you do when there isn’t enough and you have to borrow to pay your bills after you have tithed? Will you still feel the same way about it then? Will you still give to the kingdom of God while you yourself struggle? Will you trust him then? The only way you are going to know is when you actually go through it. Then you really know where you stand.

      Our three Hebrew brothers stood in front of the fiery furnace and God did nothing all the way up until they were actually in the flames. They said “Our God is able to deliver us out of the fiery furnace but EVEN IF HE DOESN’T we’ll not bow to your idol!”

      God never said when “He would open the windows of heaven” in response to the obedient tithe payer. So I would appreciate you preachers out there taking the time to emphasize that when you are preaching tithing and offering. He never said when. So when we teach people that it works like a drive-thru, revolving cash door, (because it worked that way for you) or “90 day money back guarantee” people get the wrong expectation and wrong understanding regarding tithing.

      Sometimes no matter how faithful a person is God restricts an area of a person’s life where he plans to really bless and use them in the future.

      You can see this pattern in the Bible many times.

      Before giving birth to one of the greatest men in the Bible Rachel was barren and was distressed so much so that she would have preferred death than to be barren. She then she gave birth to Joseph.

      This ‘blessing’ did not come overnight or in 90 days.

      In spite of his integrity, for years Joseph was a slave and the a prisoner with very limited options before God made him prime minister of Egypt with unlimited options and the very key that would preserve the lives of countless people during one of the worst famines.

      This ‘blessing’ did not come overnight or in 90 days.

      Though faithful and true Hannah was afflicted and barren until her time came and God blessed her with a son. She then gave him over to the Lord and Samuel, was one of the greatest prophets of the Bible. God blessed Hannah with even more children

      This ‘blessings’ did not come overnight or in 90 days.

      These ‘blessings’ did not come over night even though these saints were faithful, but when the blessings came they REALLY came.

      Abraham waited 25 years for the “promised” son, not three months.

      While I am certainly pro-tithing I am not for teaching people to expect to get the same results in exactly the same way as their neighbor did because that is simply not the case. Every situation is different and no one really knows what God’s exact plan is for a person’s life or what kind of “training” he may put him or her through to serve his purpose.

      • Thanks Michael. Having thought a lot about this issue (and have written more about it on my blog since that 2009 post)…. I think the Lord blessed us in return, maybe financially, maybe other countless ways we are not aware of, maybe he has been blessing your wife’s income. Maybe not at all today- later?, but I believe he does bless those whose heart is inclined to his, and tithing is a strong indicator. I really like what you had to say

  16. Wm Tanksley

    Steph, I’m very sorry to hear that you’re having financial difficulties. The first thing I’d think of is that one of the most worked-out topics in the New Testament on the subject of the Church is how it’s supposed to help people who are having financial problems.

    If you’re having financial problems, your church should be 100% willing to help you, since you’ve obviously been a faithful member. If they do not help you, they should counsel you (in order to explain what they think you’re doing wrong). If they do neither, you need to help your church change so that it will become obedient to the Scriptures — possibly by switching churches.

    Kent Irwin above has some great specific suggestions. Who knows — perhaps in the process of finding help for yourself you’ll be a blessing to your church.

  17. Hi,
    I’ve been battling to find a Bible text where it says we have to write off debt in our third year of business. I read this text by accident a year ago and it has always stuck in my mind. As I have a business and would like to obey Him when He gives me an instruction, it would be wonderful if someone could perhaps point me in the right direction? I need to make sure I’m doing the right thing, and understanding the text correctly.
    Any advice?

  18. Wm Tanksley

    Maggie, that’ll be a tough one to find; I can’t think of any three-year business cycles in the Law, and the New Testament doesn’t cover any of that. It’s possible that you’re thinking of the 7-year Jubilee cycle, but that applies only to native Jews (born and converted) in the Land; it doesn’t apply outside of that, nor does it apply to gentiles sojourning in the Land, even worshipers of God.

    You can make this part of the Law apply to you by converting to Judaism; you may be able to find a messianic rabbi willing to discuss that (I wouldn’t know). I think Paul warned against this, though.

    • Mureithi, Nairobi-KENYA.

      Wm Tanksley, I dont know u are misleading people by telling them that what initially refered to Jews doesnt refer to them. Do u want to mean that the 10 commands doesnt apply to us today because they were given down to the ancient Israelites thousands of year ago? Or that the sermon on the mount is for Jews only?

  19. john baxter

    Who would ever ask for their tithe back? That sounds ludicrous.

  20. Lanaya

    Interesting…the Pastor Tithes to his church but does the church Tithe? Our Pastors’ tithe to our church and then Tithe to there church overseers.

  21. Joshua

    I have to tell you that the Word of God cant be picked and pulled from and taken out of context. The whole Word is Gods will, every single verse. I disagree with the fact that tithing was Just for Isreal in the old testament. Jesus himself says in the new testament to “give to cesar what is ceasars and to God what is Gods.” We all need to look at our finances, spouses, kids, and jobs as Gods and that we are just stewards over them. Getting that mindset allowed me to see that if God asks for 10% of 100% and its his anyway, give it back to him and he will bless you! I have been blessed with food when i had none in my fridge as well as gas in my tank and all i did was give God what was already His! Tithing works and in this economy you CANT AFFORD NOT TO TITHE!

  22. Steph

    Well, we have stopped tithing since march and things are getting better. Now we just “joyfully give” when we can. Before we would tithe when we couldn’t afford it and it always got us in trouble with our bank. I would get so upset when people said “tithe and God will bless you” because it seemed to be the opposite for us. The more we would tithe, the worse our month was. Now if we don’t have extra money to give God we give him our time instead and volunteer.

    • Lambie

      Good for you Steph! You’re doing just what believers are called to do; no more, no less.

  23. I read “David’s” response and I agree wholeheartedly with him. You don’t give, expecting something in return.
    Jesus put Judas in charge of the money… an indicator of what money meant to Jesus. “The poor should be proud of their high position.”

  24. …also… using the fact that a very small percentage asked for their money back borders on disingenuous at best. Few people would go to a pastor and ask for their money back.

    The New Testament says to give what you decide to give, WITHOUT COMPULSION, for God loves a cheerful giver.

    The church should have faith that God will provide for its needs, without coming up with gimmicks and other methods of compulsion to motivate the congregation to give.

    • antonia wilkerson

      I agree hold heartly brother. Churches are using Old Testament law to put the people in bondage with the tithing law. I did it for years always not having enough while the churches got richer and richer God is about to bless me financially but want to teach me this time to listen to his instructions on giving and not the preacher or some scheming church.” Not tithing curse with a curse” we need to read God’s word for ourselves. Mal. 3:10 had been taken totally out of context.

  25. I know I’m a little late on this conversation, but this is a topic I am very passionate about. I have tithed ever since I could remember, even waiting tables as a teenager, I put back 10% on tips, paycheck, everything. All glory to God that this has just always come naturally to me. However, I stumbled across this message forum researching Bible verses about finances. I just want to know more about what God says in His Word (which is still for us today, very relevant, and very real, every part of it). Because, like Steph, I have been confused from time to time about why my bank account would have a negative balance when I tithed. Now I feel like God is dealing with me about being a good steward of the finances. The Bible also says “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” Prov 22:7.” In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has”.Prov 21:20 So, it is actually Biblical to NOT be in debt, to have a savings, or financial margin. These thing would go so far in keeping the bank account out of the negative. That is where I am now, trying to live out ALL of the Biblical instruction as opposed to just that one part where I expect God to be a slot machine despite my stupidity in managing finances. So God gives us so many instructions that help us deal with these things, because He loves us and He doesn’t want us to hurt. The problem is us, not God!

    lifechurch.tv has a great sermon series entitled “Margin” the 3rd week talks about financial margin. You can watch it online. I highly recommend it!

    God does NOT need our money! This is a test of our heart. God wants us, fully. One way we can show that we are fully trusting in God is by not trusting in money, or a job, or things. Also, as already stated, the tithe is already God’s and technically we are stealing from God when we don’t “return” it to Him. Prov 3:9-10 says “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine”. The tithe is the “firstfruits”, not if you can “afford” it after the bills are payed.

    I don’t know about y’all, but even when my bank account was in the negative, I never went hungry, I never had to sleep outside, or not have clothes to wear. And further more, the money was there somehow to pay the overdraft fees at the bank. It didn’t feel good to be overdrawn or have a bill I couldn’t pay or whatever, but God always came through. And if it weren’t for those things, I wouldn’t have learned better management or that God was my source. God uses these things to stretch us and grow us and draw us to Himself. Remember, God wants our hearts.

  26. I don’t really know what to say but i understand a lot concerning God but sometime it just dom’t make since. Why would he put us through so much to test us when if he God…. he already knows us and our heart before we think or do anything. I personally don’t think it a test at all. i look around and those who could care less about God prosper in all they do. they dont tihte or go to church. they may have different beliefs all together however God blesses them and live the believers or christians wanting or just getting by. yes he may provide but its just enough to get by. My question is Why? I don’t care that the ungodly prosper i do care that those who truly love him don’t. i don’t see how that just or fair. It’s a joke. God created the entire universe. A God of more than enough yet those who love him he seems to just barely give them enogh to live on . Why? I read a comment earlier about someone tithing and it helps others and said that god provided. i’m sorry i beg the differ. your tithe made the differents god did not provide your money did. If God can create planets and stars and galaxies in the known universe surly he can solve a super small issue like world hunder and disease but he doesn’t he wants you suffer for something that you without your consent didn’t want in the first place but agin thats that how i see it.

  27. wm tanksley

    Amen, antonia. The churches that do this, whether out of greed, convenience, or ignorance, are all doing so completely out of context. The OT Law required the tribes to give tithes not to build the temple, but to fund the tribe of Levi, which was required to be landless and without other support. And they give “tithes”, not “a tithe” — two tithes a year plus a tithe every three years, all with distinct purposes; and of course there was also an additional flat census “tax”.
    The Bible not only doesn’t renew the context of the OT tithe, it even repudiates it by requiring voluntary giving — the antithesis of the mandatory tithe.
    -Wm

  28. Melvin Melgar

    I need help. What can I do to have my money back from the Mormon Church. I will be thankful. Thanks.

  29. wm tanksley

    Melvin, you might want to talk to your ward’s bishop or his counselors — personally, I doubt very much that you’ll get anything, but they’re the only ones with such authority. Bring documentation of your gifts and your current need.
    If you’re poor and still a Mormon your case may well be treated as charity; if you’re not a Mormon they’ll probably refuse to talk to you except for the purpose of reprimand and/or (removal of family and financial support is a common LDS punishment for apostasy from their teachings).
    -Wm

  30. wm tanksley

    Mureithi,

    I did not write that “everything written to Jews applies only to Jews.” What I wrote is that this particular passage applies to a specific audience for a specific purpose. The audience is the non-Levitical Israelites, and the purpose is to chastise them for their lack of proper support for the Levites serving YHWH, who did not receive an inheritance of land under the Law; and because they did not give to the Levites, the Levites were unable to give to the priests and the Temple. Because of this, the Temple’s coffers were empty for maintenance and charity.

    Please see the following text for a detailed analysis:
    http://www.truthforfree.com/files/PDF/GraemeCarle-EatingSacredCowsDownload.pdf

    Now, interestingly, the Levites received only 1/3 of a tithe (they were given a full tithe every 3 years). Of this 1/30th, they were to take the best 10% (1/300th) and give it to the priests (who were not supposed to receive the Levitical offering even though they are Levites). The rest was supposed to go to the Levites and the other landless Israelites (for example, widows who had to sell their husband’s land to survive). So the priests and the temple coffers only accepted 1/300th of the peoples’ increase (aside from the sacrifices and the per-capita temple tax, of course); the rest of the 1/3 tithe was given to the lawfully-landless and to the otherwise dispossessed. (The other 2 years of tithes were provision for the Feasts of Tabernacles, also to be shared with the poor but in the context of a festival centered around each family and its neighbors traveling to Jerusalem.)

    If you were to follow this as a guide for Christian life, you would be sponsoring a feast with a tithe of your yearly increase 2 out of every 3 years (to which you’d invite family, neighbors, and poor people), and on the third year you would give that year’s tithe to the deacons, who would give only 1/10th to the church (including the elders’ salaries) and the rest split between the church’s non-pastoral staff and the Christian poor. I see nothing WRONG with following that as a metaphor; but it’s not ever given as a command to us, so I would think twice before setting it up as mandatory for going to church.

    Compare this mild use of the tithe metaphor with the brutal sheep-beating practiced by American “pastors” against their congregation, where people are expected and demanded to consider 10% of the gross income to be the property of the church, and that income is used (for example) to buy lakeside houses and private jets for the head pastor, at the approval of a board of elders who can be fired by the head pastor (note that this is a specific and actual example). To make matters worse, some “pastors” demand not only a tithe, but also “seed offerings”, by which they mean HUGE “freewill” offerings given during high-pressure-sales sessions at which the “pastors” will threaten the curses of God on those who do not give, and promise miracles and healing for those who do give. This is the evil for which Peter cursed Simon the Sorceror, and for which the prophets predicted blindness on the false shepherds who eat the sheep of God. May God grant all of them, false pastors and their flock, repentance from this sin and the forgiveness found in the free grace of God.

    And once the freedom of forgiveness is found, people are free to obey the law not from fear of the curse of the law, but from love of God and neighbor. Individuals will give to their teachers out of gratitude; and societies will set up care programs like the ones mandated in the Law but appropriate for local conditions (for example, we have no landless Levites, nor would a gleaning law help our poor).

    -Wm

  31. wm tanksley

    “Kelvin I”, I just noticed your post, and it struck me how close your complaint came to Psalm 73. You’re making a good complaint if you’re quoting the Bible.

    From the ESV: “For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek.” In the KJV: “For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.”

    But look at the resolution to this complaint. After the speaker visits the temple, he realizes: “How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors! Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.” And then: “For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.” This punishment is not promised in this life (since the psalm mentions that some of the wicked do not suffer at all even in death), so this is a promise of future judgement.

    But this psalm is not all about fairness against the wicked; it’s also about the reward of the righteous. “Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.” And if you’re still worried about how some of the wicked have more wealth than most of the righteous: “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.” The LORD is the portion of the righteous; He makes them happy in Him, both now and forever.

    -Wm

  32. tammy

    hi, i read most of the responses on tithing, my experience with this is gods word he states test me in this, so why not??? never have i gone without enough to take care of me which god says he will,i enjoy giving, which god states moves him to have a cheerful giver not just someone whom feels thay have too give . god is a faithful god follw him follow his words he will do as he says… we need to stop trying to figure god out….. just follow him like jesus stated i will leave you my comforter the holy spirit, too guide you, teach you, comfort you… just give as god leads you to give then sit back and you will be blessed thats gods word —–

  33. Princess

    Thanks everyone for posting on this topic! All points are well takien and I respect all perspective on the matter. From my experience I can see from both window frames. I was a FAITHFUL tither for at least 13 years, a single parent, gave my time, honesty, and services. It was always encouraged from scriptural inspiration to tithe no matter what. I TELL YOU I agree with one poster here. Just because one may experience financial set backs does not mean you are irresponsible or mismanaging finances which that could be and would be the first possiblity I would explore. Aside from that how can one continue to tithe year in and year out and not see consistent benefits. During my time of Faithful Tithing from ONE INCOME and I do mean ONE income only feeding 2 children by myself I had my car repossessed 2 times I was evicted twice and THE WONDERFUL church body was not able to or either said they could not assist me. To the point, I think a faithful and cheerful giver and worshipper should receive support from their church body, WHICH can be social, emotional or financial. Yes, I can hear someone say well its nobodys fault for your situation, while true would it be my faulth that I have been pressed while faithfully tithing for years??? NO ONE HAS ever been able to clearly answer that question.

  34. wm tanksley

    Princess, my heart goes out to you… But I’m also a little confused by your message. You call the church body “wonderful”, but the rest of your message makes it look like you mean that as sarcasm, because in the rest of the message they clearly don’t live up to what you expected of them.

    First, some churches clearly don’t follow the Word of God. Second, many Christians don’t even know about it. You are a “widow”, whether by divorce or death, and you have instructions written to your situation as such (please read them). You do not owe the church support; but your willingness to give speaks well of you. I hope you don’t feel that you were giving “grudgingly or of necessity” — and if you were, repent and stop giving that way. If that means you have to stop giving, then so be it. You are not compelled to give, but if God calls you to be generous to anyone, do it.

    I’m not judging you or your church. I don’t know the real situation. I hope I don’t come across as though I were pretending so… This is only very general.

    If you still feel that you MUST tithe, please keep in mind first that your attitude of compulsion is actually hindering your relationship with God — you’re trying to obey a Law, rather than responding to Grace. Then, second, read carefully. Don’t listen to what people say when they’re asking you to give them money. Read the Bible carefully. Read the article I linked to about Eating Sacred Cows.

    In response to your question… Actually, I don’t really understand your question. It might be your fault that you were in financial trouble; I don’t know your situation so I can’t condemn you. Your “faithful tithing” doesn’t tell me anything about whether you did something to deserve it; the Pharisees were _perfectly_ faithful tithers, and look at what that got them.

    -Wm

  35. God can do more with 90% than we can with 100%

  36. Helen Keyes

    I have been giving/pay tithes for over 30 years before i paid any thing i put God 1st so why not the windows has not open for me yet

    • wm tanksley

      Because we can no longer tithe — we are not Israelites, we are not living in the land of Israel, we have no landless Levites to give tithes to, and they have no temple priests to give a tithe of our tithes to. I’ll also bet that your “increase” is measured neither in crops nor animals, which is what tithes are computed on according to the Law. Anyone who’s asking you for a tithe doesn’t understand what the Bible says a tithe is.

      Because none of these things apply anymore, we cannot and do not tithe.

      But we can and do give. If God has blessed you with increase and with a desire to share, so long as you do it with a cheerful heart, God delights in your giving. If you’re giving because you feel compelled, please don’t expect God to honor that — you may give if you insist, but it’s the same giving that Jesus shook His head at in front of the Temple; you have all the reward you’re going to get (so I hope you’re telling people how generous you are, so you can at least get the approval of men!). You’re not condemned for giving under compulsion, and in fact in some cases we ARE compelled (hey, I’m “compelled” to support my family!), but wherever it’s a compulsion it’s not a spiritual exercise.

      You’re free to give. And, the lesson you need to understand, you’re free to NOT give. The law of love brings freedom.

      • Lambie

        So well stated, and I am in total agreement. So glad to see this subject spoken truly from someone rightly dividing the scriptures. I pray those Christians who feel under the compulsion to “tithe” will come across your post and see the biblical truth of it, and begin to walk in the liberty that Christ died to give us. God loves a cheerful giver!

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