Tag Archives: Tithing

The Abuse of Tithing

The following are reasons that I have a problem with teaching tithing as a requirement for followers of Jesus.

  • It can reinforce the idea that the ‘pastor’ or ‘leaders’ are the only ones capable of hearing the Spirit and knowing where our money should be used.[1] Can we not all gain wisdom in this area by starting to read the words of Jesus?
  • A negative consequence or assessment is often attached to failing to tithe. E.g. living under a “curse”, preventing GOD from giving you his “full blessing” or “true riches”, being willfully disobedient, not putting GOD first in ones life, serving “Mammon”, the “devourer” will take the 10% anyway.
  • The requirement to tithe is often accompanied by the idea that GOD will grant financial prosperity in return (if tithing is carried out with the right heart/attitude).[2] While gaining more money isn’t inherently wrong, any promise of financial prosperity in this life is lacking in the NT and it encourages self-centered rather than GOD-centered living, cutting right across this fundamental change that GOD wishes to bring about in us.
  • Those at the lower end of the economic spectrum and those who are struggling financially and only just able to pay their bills can be pushed into debt or condemned with guilt when required to tithe. This simply makes no sense when it is clear that we are to help those in material need.[3]
  • It can lead to a public perception of the faith as a money making scheme where charismatic leaders take advantage of peoples hopes and desires. This prevents many from even considering the truth of the gospel.

These reasons mean that some of the current trends in “tithing” cannot be something we can agree to disagree on. It can be damaging to GOD’s people (psychologically and materially)  and damaging to our testimony to the gospel of GOD’s transforming love and promise.

[1] This elevates the leadership and creates a two-way dependency where leader is reliant upon the followers (for a salary) and followers reliant upon the leader (for direction). Unhelpful at best.

[2] Some teach that prospering financially will not result from tithing but only from “offerings” given over and above the 10% “tithed” to ones church.

[3] We need only recall Acts 2.44-46 where the believers used their money and material goods to meet each others needs. While this is not laid down as a model to be adopted, it certainly embodies Jesus’ teaching and example (Mattew 25.31-46; Luke 9.10-17).

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