The decpetion of tithing and other stuffOn the legislated Tithe by Steve Meikle
There are detailed biblical studies out there as to why the legislated tithe is actually an abomination. I do not think that they are really very necessary, for the case against tithing is simpler than that.
At its most simple a legislated gift given under compulsion is bribery. We who tithe under compulsion would bribe God. The sin of this should be self evident,
God's gifts are free. If they are not free they are not gifts, and indeed to attempt to buy them is to insult the Holy Spirit. This is the sin of simony as mentioned in the book of Acts where Simon Magus sought to buy the power of the Holy Spirit. [ reference] Although in medieval church history this term changed its meaning to the purchase of church offices with money, something no protestant Christian would dream of doing let alone have the opportunity to do, yet the original meaning is sufficiently broad as to convict us of the very same sin of Simony.
But it is also said that God loves a cheerful giver [ref]. This is true but context must be supplied. God also loves the whole world, John 3:16 and He commended his love for sinners by dying for them. [ref] So clearly He does not love any the less those who decline to give, lest one thing He does indeed show is favouritism or as the KJV puts it, is a respecter of persons. Moreover to force oneself to give because God loves a cheerful giver is to pretend to cheerfulness, a self defeating exercise.
As with everything pertaining to the things of God the validity of the deed comes down to motive. I Corinthians 13 makes it utterly clear that good deeds without love do not in fact count for anything.
I submit that if one forces oneself to anything this is not obedience at all, given that God commands total obedience from a completely willing and joyful heart and that anything less, as James says, being guilty of one point in the law is a breach of the entire law. [ref]
Why do we force ourselves to tithe? Because it is commanded? Even if it is we do it not out of joyful gratitude against which latter I have not the slightest objection. I am not against anyone who cheerfully and joyfully gives, only against coercion. So we do it under compulsion in the name of "obedience" to get something. But this is purchase not the receipt of grace. And as such it is the very way of the world. Or it is done to attempt to buy off His wrath. Again this is an utter insult to the Father Who we claim to believe loves us, and I submit the legalism shows we do not believe this. Is the gospel a protection racket? Then we play into the hands of the likes of the now late Chris Hitchens, militant God haters who say as much and rail against God for it
What does it say to a new convert that he may have experienced the grace of God but is then told he has to pay one tenth of his gross income into the Church coffers without fail or else he is robbing God? [ ref] It says that his salvation is not free and requires maintenance by the payment of money. But the Old Covenant ordinances are gone. There is now no priesthood to maintain as the separate priesthood ordained for the making of sacrifice was abolished at Calvary for its function was fulfilled. And as for maintaining the pastorate, although a man is worthy to receive a just and modest payment enough to support him, St Paul the Apostle refused to take such and supported himself by his own trade as a tent maker. He was not going to open himself up to accusations of being in the business for money or as the KJV Bible so eloquently describes it, for filthy lucre.
Your church does not need your money and if they demand it by force of Divine Law they are extortionists as well as heretics.
Naturally the notion preached by the Word of Faith preachers that gifts are seeds is an outright abomination; and they are rich in money not because of any just means but by extortion and theft.
It is said that God is no man's debtor, by which they mean that God will never let himself be in our debt as He will pay such debts immediately. But who is in debt to who? This is outright blasphemy for the Bible says that it is us who are in debt to God [ref] to such an extent that we cannot possibly pay, hence the Cross of Christ.
I might say that God is no man's debtor but for the entirely different reason that it is impossible to put God in our debt and it is blasphemous extortion to try.
His gifts are free. He gives only gifts to His children. Indeed the only thing He gives as payment is damnation for the wages of sin is death. [ ref]
There is another tragic outcome of legalism concerning the tithe.
People have neglected their family's welfare. This churches think is a good thing for they love to say "give until it hurts" but why does it hurt? Because it moves beyond one's peace as if "be led by the peace in your heart" [ref] is a scripture not applicable to this matter.
But there is also harm to the children, not to mention oneself or other dependants through neglect in providing the necessities of life. But scripture is most clear "He who neglects his family has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" [ref]. A family close to the breadline in terms of income is not able to afford the tithe and it can lead them to destruction to demand it of them.
A church that demands money by force of Divine Law in fact covets money and of course covetousness is idolatry. When people give to get they are giving out of the same covetousness, and it can cause suffering. For indeed the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil [ref]
On a personal note, the Lord the Spirit said to me over thirty years ago, "I do not want so much as a penny piece from you, child, lest you think you bought your healing." So I stopped trying to bribe Him. He is not so stupid as to be taken in by a bribe for He knows all things, including the motive behind such bribery and He will absolutely not accept such a filthy offering
Now I know I am miserly, but forcing myself to give is no solution to this. My being unwilling it is in fact an expression of miserliness not its remedy, just as all legalism is an expression of the sin it fights, is even the very sin it fights, and no remedy to it. Some have accused me of copping out but again this is boasting in their own works if they condemn me for not doing them also. It is still the case as scripture says that it is not of works that any man should boast [ref]
But his Grace continues to me now that I keep my money, and indeed he has prospered me well, not as in the dreams of avarice of the prosperity teachers but according to my needs.
And this is so as He will not have his favour bought