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June 17, 2012


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serious question here. If someone is below the poverty line, and has trouble paying for necessities, would you still think it is required to give 10% if that giving would cause someone to rely on community assistance to survive, rather then not giving and being able to just pay his/her own bills?

I don't attend a church and I donate randomly to charities as issues come to my attention. Over the course of the year, I probably average 7-9% (quick estimate of the previous two years based on what I remember) of my income in chartitable donations, although some month I give nothing and other months I give a lot.

When I did attend church services, I disliked the tithing concept, at least at my churches. I would prefer that churches list their operating budgets explicitly, and then once that is covered, state that other contributions would go to the church's charitable work. That way, it would be possible to keep the church open, but if I had charities outside of the church that you preferred, I could feel more comfortable giving the money directly because I knew the church could keep the lights on and the water flowing.

Still, as I got older, and began to disagree with organized religion in general, I stopped attending a church and now just directly donate my money to various causes. I am also able to donate to more secular causes without conflict, because money I give to a church would not be distributed to causes with which I disagree.

I'm with you FMF -- we'll probably be more generous over time, but right now we're at about 11% of gross.

@ pen - IMO, the law of tithing applies to all income levels and is an outward demonstration of inward faith and devotion. Where I worship, those who are going through hard times are encouraged to still tithe, but to also seek for ways to improve our circumstances. When we still fall short, the church has the capacity to give financial or other assistance, but still encourages tithing.

Personally, this is something we have always done, even when our income was 80% less than current levels and it required more faith.

I agree that 10% should be a starting point. God owns it all though and we should give above that as He leads.

I like this verse in Luke 6:38 "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

I agree with FMF. My thoughts:
I would only expect followers of Jesus or Law-abiding Jews to hold to that standard as expressed in Scripture. Since no exception for income is given in Scripture, I agree with CH that it applies to all people. Everything we have comes from God, and we are merely stewards. I believe the 10% minimum belongs to the local church. Giving to other organizations (Christian or secular) would be above that base. Tithing is the only thing in the Bible God calls us to test Him on to prove His faithfulness. Tithing doesn't mean we get a financial 'return' on our giving but we get the blessing of a better understanding of Him through that act of obedience.

I agree with your thoughts and use of the Bible. Thanks for speaking on this issue.

It's easier said than done as some have noted. It takes faith that He's watching over us to supply the daily bread - Proverbs 30:8 and Matthew 6:9-13. It's also hard to preach and carry out honestly in front of an entire church as James warns, but the connection to the Bible is crucial. Paul provides a good perspective in his epistles to help us! Philippians 4:10-20

pen --

I agree with what CH said.

I'd also refer you to Mark 12:41-44.

Here is where you error in your reasoning:

In the Old Testament, giving began at 0%, not 10%. The Lord's tithe was a payment (see Matthew 23:23), and paid ONLY by farmers, and ONLY on the increase of crops and animals. Wage earners did not tithe. Jesus did not tithe. Peter did not tithe. Paul did not tithe.

There were actually three tithes commanded by God, and over a 7-year period it averages to 20% a year. How do you reconcile your thought on tithing to the 20% average?

Leviticus 27:30-33 defines this tithe as a tenth of crops and animals in herds and flocks.
Numbers 18 gives the ordinances, or instructions, for this tithe, and commands this tithe be taken to the Levites.
Purpose of this tithe: to support the Levitical Priesthood.

Deuteronomy 14:22-27: aka The Festival Tithe - a tenth of crops, plus add to that the firstborn animals, and take to the yearly feasts.
Purpose of this tithe: “that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always”

Deuteronomy 14:28-29: aka The Three-Year Tithe aka The Poor Tithe - a tenth of crops, kept at home, and invite the Levites, widows, orphans, stranger to eat.
Purpose of this tithe: to feed the poor.

In Matthew 23:23 Jesus spoke to the Scribes and Pharisees and said they tithed on their HERBS (small crops) as they ought. But Jesus did not tell them they should be tithing from their income as lawyers and teachers. The Scribes and Pharisees were still under the law, so of course Jesus said they should be obedient to the law.

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.

@Gary You seem very specific and focused against the word 'tithe' (no great shock seeing as you always complain about this). Can we perhaps just state that you disagree with the concept and leave it at that?
Especially since your comment doesn't actually help this conversation at all -- despite the suggestion to call it 'generous giving', you focus on the word tithing. While it's great that you have a strong opinion, that's not really the question being asked. If you think Christians should not provide financial support to others at all, or think that a different baseline should be suggested, etc, let's hear that rather than another predictable complaint about the practice of tithing.

Stephen --

Well said! You can probably hear me applauding from wherever you are. :)

The "baseline" in the New Testament is not an amount or percentage. It relates to the amount of sacrifice.

The New Testament teaches generous, sacrificial giving, from the heart, according to our means. For some, $1 might be a sacrifice, while for others, even giving 50% of their income might not induce a sacrifice. In the Old Testament, ONLY the farmers tithed, and it was a tenth. The New Testament teaches the principle of equal sacrifice instead of a tenth. Equal sacrifice is much harder to achieve, if not impossible, than giving a tenth.

I don't believe I am pleasing God if all I give is from my abundance. I believe it pleases God when I give up something I want, and give the money to someone or organization in need.

Where should seek the Spirit as to where we give and how much we give. If we attend local church services, we have a moral obligation to help pay the bills. However, I don't believe in giving in order to have bigger and fancier buildings, etc. I'd rather give directly to those in need.


I feel strongly that in your case, you do NOT need to tithe because that is not what God wants from you. Your biggest important financial responsibility is to take care of yourself and your family.

I believe that one should tithe using Haig-Simons definition of income (just google search it), and take out the most essential survival expenses from the income equation.

How can one say that he has tithed properly when he draws no income by not realizing the gain on his stocks, and yet his net worth increases by millions? On the other hand, how can one say that a person needs to tithe when his income cannot even feed his own children properly?

We must adapt the spirit of tithing properly to the modern economy. Quoting literally and directly from Bible would be mis-leading. Adapting to the essence of sharing is much more important than abiding literally to every single word in Bible. However, you would need God's guidance to draw the invisible gray line between serving others and God, and serving yourself.

The above is just my humble personal opinion.

1stMillionAt33 --

Do you have Scripture references/verses that have led you to this point of view?

I believe Gary like many Christians or believer today compromise on a lot of specific instructions like tithing and try to justify our actions. How can a Christian who has clearly read the bible say tithing is not 10% or it was only practiced in the old testament (Malachi 3:8-12). It’s easy to pay for and expect a service in return in the secular world, but when it comes to “paying” for a service in Gods kingdom, such as rewarding a local Pastor for the weekly spiritual food or encouragement or helping the needy in the community, people find it difficult. How do you expect these churches to pay their bills, or pay for the water you use or the tissue paper when you visit the restroom? While it is good to know which church you are giving your money to and what the churches do with your money because of false teachers, pastors and prophets, it is commanded in the bible to find a local church and hence support that church. There is no perfect church because every church has their fault. But we will all stand before the Judge one day giving account of all we did.

You said, "How can a Christian who has clearly read the bible say tithing is not 10% or it was only practiced in the old testament (Malachi 3:8-12)."

It's easy, since the tithe was a tenth, not 10%, and there is no example of born-again believers tithing in the scriptures after Calvary.

If a farmer had 19 new born animals during the year, only ONE was the tithe. That works out to be 5.3%, not 10%. It was the tenth one, not 10%.

You say I am hung up on the word tithe. But you are hung up on the 10%, and your logic is faulty. Since wage earners did not tithe, why do you bring the tithe forward to wage earners? Since there is NO scripture to support priests tithing, why do you want to apply the tithe to all born-again believers who are now priests?

Here is a verse that supports this view indirectly (1 Timothy 3:5):
(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)

I'm taking the verse a bit out of context here, but the bottom line is still the same. The family affairs that need to be managed first would include financial matters as well. One must take care of one's family, before one can take care of other things.

Frankly, the truth has already been placed in everyone's heart, and it's undeniable. The Truth in the heart comes from God, and doesn't require thousands of Bible verses to validate. Which of the following people is better?

1. A person cannot put the food on table for his family, and tries to steal food to feed them, or
2. A person who runs up more credit card debt, tithes 10% of the gross income, lives beyond his means, and declaring bankruptcy at the end.

I think one of the questions that needs to be asked is that is this 10% coming out of the credit card debt from other people's pocket, or is it a 10% that is proportional to one's own spending/consumption, which in a way, is more consistent with the spirit of sharing?

We spend so much as a society, idolizing Steve Job's creation with $500 a piece for iPad/etc. and had so much emotional outpouring when he passed away, but very few pause for a moment to contemplate that $500 is enough to feed a person in a third-world country for 500 days, and nobody winks when so many hungry people die, as if their souls aren't as important as Steve Job's.

"On the other hand, how can one say that a person needs to tithe when his income cannot even feed his own children properly?" - 1stMillionAt33

1stMillionAt33 hit the nail on the head.
I've noticed that only rich Christians seem to say that *all* Christians should tithe 10% regardless of whether they're living in abject poverty or not.

So...what do you suggest, FMF? We go into debt to do so? We live out on the street? We not pay our most basic bills, and default on basic things we cannot afford (ie, rent)? We use a credit card to run up a debt in order to tithe? We beg for tithe money?

I give when I can out of a cheerful heart, but I can't afford a strict 10% all of the time. In fact, for the last few years, I've needed to live on the charity of others. Do I give away 10% of the money I've been given to live on, then ask the people who are helping me for some more money to make up for the 10% I've give away?

1stMillion and BD --

A few thoughts:

1. There's no disconnect between giving 10% and providing for your family. Millions of people do both.

2. I believe that 10% is the minimum and all Christians should be striving for it. Just like we should all be striving for loving our neighbor, reading the scriptures, and so on? Do we all hit the mark every time? No, we don't. But should we be planning and working towards it? Yes, I believe we should.

3. Many people will say they don't have money to tithe and yet have a full cable TV package, smart phone, ipad, ipod, ieverything, three dogs, an annual vacation, and on and on. I'm not saying that every person who claims they "can't" tithe is like this, but more are than are not.

4. "Poor" is relative. If I offered to take a poor person from India and put them into the shoes of the poorest American with the only condition being that they had to give 10% of their income away, I'm fairly sure they would take the deal and be able to pull it off with room to spare.

I understand that there are truly poor people out there. I spend much of my volunteer time and giving to help them get a hand up. But this doesn't negate the fact that I believe 10% is a minimum goal that we should all strive for (even if we're not hitting it right now) nor does it excuse the excuses that many use for why they can not give.

On the other hand, I believe those who are better off also have a responsibility to help the poor -- help them take steps to leading a better life (assuming they want to help themselves -- many people don't want to, they want a hand-out, not a hand-up). Many of these wealthy are too busy spending on themselves rather than giving to/serving the poor, thus extending the time and numbers of those who truly need financial support.

To clarify point 4 about "poorest American", do you mean someone who has a job making minimum wage, or poorest as in an American who is jobless and homeless? If the latter, then I do not believe you can extract someone from elsewhere and have them pull it off. Although I challenge this point I truly understand the part about calling people out who complain when in fact they are guilty of an extravagant spending habit here or there.

Setting a minimum goal to strive for is a fine standard and let that individual person determine for himself when he is ready to give. It is generous giving after all and the person will eventually open his heart when called by the Holy Spirit.

What I really would like to discuss is what are people's convictions regarding the practice of sacrificial giving. To focus on the rich for once, how should one feel about tithing 10% when that amount is not a true sacrifice.

Luis --

My point is that "poor" is relative. Most people who say they are poor and live in the US are actually among the richest people in the world.

Your last question is a VERY interesting one -- one that I've spent a significant amount of time wrestling with. I don't have a good answer yet, but perhaps others do. I think I may make a post of it.

In the original article, FMF said, “I believe that 10% of gross income is the minimum a person or family should give to their local church."

That is your belief. Fine. Everyone is entitled to believe what that wish.

I believe more in the equality formula. Why should a poor person give a tenth of their income to a church where the pastor is living higher than they are? Why isn't the pastor, who has more than the poor, giving to those poor families instead to meet the equality that Paul taught? Why should one lower their standard of living in order that the church can have guest speakers from out of town, loads of fancy decorations and flowers, etc., build bigger and fancier buildings, etc. etc. etc.?

You shoot LOW when you say one should shoot for 10% minimum. That is not only poor policy, but not Biblical. My suggestion is to always shoot HIGHER than you are now giving. No minimum. No maximum. I also suggest and teach to give WHERE THE NEED IS. Not all local churches NEED more and more money to throw away on useless programs. I'd rather give directly to a family I know is in need.

Your 10% to the church totally ignores the equality that Paul teaches.

Gary --

You said:

"My suggestion is to always shoot HIGHER than you are now giving."

I agree with that 100%.

My only difference with you is where to start. I say begin at 10% (or at least with that goal in mind.) Once you reach it, start going beyond it.


I would like to interject your argument with FMF for just this one time. It seems you have a problem with what FMF believes to be true. Is it not logical to leave his beliefs on appropriate amounts of giving to his own personal opinion and yours to your own? And do you not agree that interpretation of the bible by us humans will never be perfect? A tenth and 10% is different but it is also the same. Just one example to illustrate...there weren't percentages in biblical past, so what harm is done by extrapolating biblical intentions and applying them to today's standards?...or take away any meaning as you wish?

I hope that we all once and for all agree to leave these types of disagreements alone and focus on what really




Although the word percentage doesn't appear in the KJV, percentages still existed. A tenth of the crops would be 10%. The same as the word income does not appear in the KJV, they still had income.

This is where most Bible students miss an important fact. God never commanded a tithe on what we would call income, today. The tithe was always on what we call assets. Yet they had income, and they had assets during Biblical times whether those words appears in the KJV or not.

We also have income and assets today. Why does anyone want to use what applied to specific assets during Biblical times and use as a guideline to apply to income today? That's like mixing apples with oranges. It makes no sense at all.

Why does this error occur? Because most Bible students are not educated in accounting terms. Many think the crops and animals was their income even though the Bible proves them wrong in Deut. 14:22-27, where we are told they had money and markets to buy and sell their crops and animals.

This gross error leads to a total misunderstanding as to what the Biblical tithe was, and leads to false conclusions.

I agree mostly with your comments after BD's post.
#1. Agreed mostly, but I must say that there are definitely some people who cannot do both.
#2. Agreed totally.
#3. Agreed totally.
#4. Agreed.

Personally like Gary, I also have a problem with giving to Church, when Church is already quite wealthy. My charity dollar mostly goes to the organizations that help the needies, instead of Church, and I know by my faith, that God would be okay with that. If you look at where the Church dollars go, some part of it actually feeds back to Church goers in terms of all sort of subsidized activities, etc. It's obvious that it's important to save more souls, but I would rather see the hungry mouths fed first.

I would like to share a verse here:
Mat. 25:34 "Then I, the King, shall say to those at my right, 'Come, blessed of my Father, into the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world. Mat. 25:35 For I was hungry and you fed me; I was thirsty and you gave me water; I was a stranger and you invited me into your homes; Mat. 25:36 naked and you clothed me; sick and in prison, and you visited me.'

Based on the above verse, it is obvious that giving to the needies is the same as giving to God, and the verse doesn't say that if you reach 10% of giving, it would be sufficient either.

I know in this life, I probably will never be spiritual enough to reach the level of charity described in Mark 12:42 by the poor widow who gave it all. Giving & sharing is not easy because we cannot recognize the same God-created images in other less fortunate souls. And to answer Luis' question, I must say that you will have so much better chance to go to heaven than I have, since
based on Mark 10:25,
"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
Frankly, any amount of my charity giving cannot be considered as sacrifices by any means. On the other hand, I try to tithe based on my personal consumption level. I'm extremely conscious of every dollar that I spend which could easily feed a person in the third-world country for a day, and therefore I just cannot make myself to own an iPhone, or many "nice" things in life that most ordinary people would consider as essential, such as cable or satellite TV. I think a sensible tithing should be based on Haig-Simons definition of income minus the essential expenses. When you defined the income as consumption plus change in net worth, it would capture sharing spirit on your personal expenses, and also capital gain (or loss for that matter).

Regardless, I still want to say that before tithing, one must take care of oneself and the family "properly", although "properly" is subjected to personal definition. This is not to give any Christians excuses not to give. But when you cannot pay for the basic food & shelter, it is simply wrong to tithe using your credit cards, or tithe first before feeding your family. One's duty starts with oneself and his family. If you don't feed your family, should somebody else feed your family out of charity?

Just my personal humble opinions. You & God be the judge.

To Luis,

Just realize a grave error in my above comment. Please forgive my arrogance when I quoted Mark 10:25. You may be 100X richer than I'm, and in that case, maybe your chance to heaven wouldn't be too high either. In any case, I do know my chance is not terribly high.

Best regards.

1stMillion --

Very nice response. I'll add this (one of my favorites) to your list of verses:

"Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done." Proverbs 19:17

This is one reason we have shifted much of our offerings and our volunteer/service efforts to causes that help the poor. That said, our tithe goes to our church.

FMF: I've never really liked the "poor is relative" argument, to be honest. Yes, it is relative, but it's comparing apples to oranges. Some tribes in New Guinea base "wealth" on pigs, wives, and yams. To have only 20 pigs, 6 wives and a yam 10 feet long is to be very wealthy for some tribes in New Guinea. In America, if you have only 20 pigs, 6 wives, and a yam 10 feet long, you're an impoverished farmer who is guilty of bigamy.

Last year, my GROSS income was $6,778. For the whole entire year. Could YOU live on $6,778 for a year? I bet you make that in a *month*. My adjusted gross income was actually a negative number. And I still ended up having to pay over $200 worth of taxes because the money I made was made solely on my employer to help me with those employment taxes.

Like I've said before... I try to give as much as I can. But I'm tired of being "guilted" into feeling as though my offerings aren't good enough because it isn't always 10%. And for the record, no, I don't have an iPhone, or an iPad, or a Blackberry or a TV, or even a car (which most people do have). No bike either. The only "luxuries" I allow myself are things that make me money: Computer, internet, etc. Things that I can actively use to make money with. That's the only reason I'm even online in the first place. Otherwise, I wouldn't have internet either.

Most all the money I make right now is going towards college tuition, so I CAN get a better job. But until then, please open up your mind to realize there really are people who are very hard-hit, and making next to nothing (as in, netting less than $3,000 or so a YEAR), right here in America.


Today in the NPR radio, I heard a female janitor who is a single mother, earning about $18K a year, to clean 90 bathrooms everyday for JP Morgan Bank. She is below the poverty line, and couldn't get a $1.50 raise per hour, pro-rated for the next three years.

I don't know any good solutions to these social problems. But truly I believe that as a Christian, you don't need to feel guilty of not giving anything before you can take care of yourself on the most basic expenses. But obviously this is just my personal opinion. Your body is the temple of God. Taking care of the your physical body is part of your worldly and spiritual duty.

I wish you more prosperous years to come.

1stMillionAt33: Thank you for the kind words. I do appreciate them, and it was good hearing your thoughts on the situation. Not to sound 'trite', but, I do pray that God blesses you! :)

BD --

Here are my thoughts on your comments:

1. The thoughts above are my opinion. You can choose to act on them or ignore them. But you're not going to convince me to change my mind on this subject.

2. I'm not trying to "guilt" you into anything. Whether you give or don't give (and how much) is between you and God. I am not vested in that decision in any way.

3. Here's my comment from above:

"I believe that 10% is the minimum and all Christians should be striving for it. Just like we should all be striving for loving our neighbor, reading the scriptures, and so on? Do we all hit the mark every time? No, we don't. But should we be planning and working towards it? Yes, I believe we should."

In other words, I believe 10% is the standard. Do we all hit it? No. Should we all be trying? Yes.

To look at another standard, I think we can all agree that "loving your neighbor" is a standard set out in the Bible. Do we all hit the standard every time? No. Should we be trying to and making strides to get better? Yes.

So, in you particular case, as you work to get your income on track, you may follow some thinking like this:

A. I want to give 10% but my current income doesn't allow me to.

B. Right now, I am giving what I can.

C. As my income increases, I have a plan to give more.

D. Ultimately, I plan to give 10% and work to go beyond even that.

Of course, people who make $75,000 a year can take the above as well and use it to justify why they don't give anything. But if the above is used by someone with a sincere heart and financial discipline, I think it's a viable way of working towards hitting the standard. Ultimately, God knows everyone's heart and can discern true motives -- whether a person is really trying or not.

4. It's true that I am not in your situation -- and haven't been for a long time. When I was (as a student) I did not give 10%. I was not even a Christian at that point and never gave giving a second thought. Would I have done it differently if I had been one at that time? I don't know. I lived on a very small amount (less than you make), but I always seemed to work it so I had margin in my life no matter how much I made, so it's hard to tell.

5. I know at least once someone has suggested you post a Reader Profile so others could comment and give suggestions on how you can grow your income/work through your current situation. It might be wise to take advantage of that offer as you work to improve your financial life. After all, what could it hurt (and it may just help)?

BD -

The church has let you down. All this talk about 10% is a minimum to shoot for - nothing but a bunch of talk from those who have it to give.

The truth is, the Old Testament tithe was NOT paid by the poor, but rather the poor ate from the tithe.

Where is the church in all this talk? Why isn't the church stepping up and helping the poor? No one here seems to be talking about a minimum amount the church should be giving to the poor. It's all one sided.

Read Deut. 14:28-29 - every three years the tithe went to feed the poor.

I am really tired of people making up minimum amounts others should be giving or strive to be giving. That is not Christian at all. That's not showing any love or compassion to those struggling to make it in this world today.

The church has failed the people.

If you are going to be talking about the tithe FMF, why do you ignore that the poor didn't tithe, but rather RECEIVED a portion of the tithe?

Gary --

Can you define "the poor" for me? I'd be interested in hearing your definition.

Also, I'd be interested in your personal giving history. I've shared mine quite freely here several times and would like to know the same about you.

BTW, I'm not saying the church shouldn't be helping BD. In fact, that's what tithes are for -- they go into the church and are then distributed, as needed, to all sorts of causes and people with a variety of needs. Perhaps BD needs some of that support now. But her condition should not be a long-term situation and she should be striving to improve her own life financially (which she is doing.) Then, when she's better off, she can give/tithe and her money can go to help those in need -- and the cycle continues.

FMF - your question to define poor just proves even more why tithing is not appropriate today.

Under the OT law, ONLY those who inherited the promised land tithe. No one else tithed. Eleven tribes inherited the land, and THEY were commanded to give God's tithe to the one tribe that did not inherited the land - the tribe of Levi. Non-land owners were considered poor.

By trying to bring forward an OT tithe that applied only to the twelve tribe of Israel is impossible without making up man-made rules. Please tell me - who today would be equivalent to those who inherited the promised land with everything on it? Who today would be equivalent to those who did not inherited the promised land? There are two groups of people here - one group inherited the land, they and only they give the tithe to the other group.

In today's world, you don't find these two groups of people. Today you find the pastor is all too many times the wealthiest of the congregation.

You are missing the whole concept of what Paul taught about giving. You are missing EQUALITY in our giving. Using 10% misses the whole concept taught in the NT.

The 10% tithe was given to the Levites - the ushers, musicians, singers, etc., NOT the priests. The priests got a tenth of the tithe. You don't seem to want to carry that forward.

EQUALITY. EQUALITY. EQUALITY. Equality has nothing to do with 10%. I have yet to attend any church service where any pastor seems to understand this concept. If they do, they don't know how to teach it.

I know of many who teaching the 10% minimum or guideline BECAUSE they don't know how to teach giving properly.

Gary --

1. You ignored my other questions. I'd appreciate an answer to them.

2. "Who today would be equivalent to those who inherited the promised land with everything on it?" Let me ask you, who are the promises in the New Testament for?

3. "Today you find the pastor is all too many times the wealthiest of the congregation." Really? Really? Are you serious?

4. "EQUALITY in our giving." Isn't a percentage an equal measure for everyone?

5. "I have yet to attend any church service where any pastor seems to understand this concept." I guess 1) you are going to a lot of bad churches and 2) you know more about this topic than every single pastor where you've gone to church. Maybe if #1 is true than #2 has a shot at being correct, but I doubt if you know more on the subject than all (or even most -- or even many) pastors in the US.

First to my giving history. For years, I have consistently given 30% plus every month.

Now to your other questions:
who are the promises in the New Testament for - all born-again believers. That includes all of us. ONE group.

I didn't say that the pastor was the wealthiest in all congregations. I said there are too many times this happens. IF the pastor has more than the poorest in the congregation, he should be giving to the poorest instead of asking the poorest to give to the church.

Percentages have nothing to do with equality. Compare a person with an income of $10,000 a year to one with an income of $100,000 a year. If they each give 10%, where is the equality? One is left with $9,000 and the other with $90,000. A perfect equality would be to take the total of the two incomes ($110,000) and divide it by 2, and each would have $55,000 to give from. That is perfect equality of income. But we don't have equality in jobs, etc. nor are we born with financial equality. Thus, we will never attain the perfect equality. But equality is what we should strive towards, not 10%.

Fact is, I do know more about the topic of tithing and giving than most pastors in the US. Many of them plus Bible Study insturctors in the US, Canada, Australia, and East Africa actually teach from the material I have written.

Gary --


I think you answered your own question with your first response (who the promises are for).

The rest of your comments stand on their own. I'll let readers judge for themselves the value of your thoughts.

I must be missing something here.

If all of us are beneficiaries of the promise, where is the group to take the tithe to?

Gary --

You said:

"Who today would be equivalent to those who inherited the promised land with everything on it?"

You answered the question yourself:

"All born-again believers. That includes all of us. ONE group."

So by your own definition, you would allocate tithes to poor non-Christians, evangelistic efforts, and the like. Not exactly how I would say it should go, but...

No, your analogy is not correct.

Only two groups in the OT were affected by the tithe.
Group 1: The 11 tribes who inherited the promised land.
Group 2: The tribe of Levi.

Group 3: The Gentiles - weren't affected. They neither paid nor received the tithe.

Non-christians are not involved with tithes. However, as a Christian, we should still give to those in need, whether a believer or not.

Organizations or efforts were never involved with the Biblical tithe.

Now, leaving the tithe OUT of the NT, we are free to give wherever the Spirit leads. We are not told that a tenth goes here or there, and we can give beyond that wherever we want.

Gary --

I think you are taking things too literally. We are not supposed to EXACTLY replicate the tithe in the OT. But just as the NT is a fulfillment of the OT, principles of the OT are expanded upon in the NT.

So while the OT "tithe" is not exactly replicated in the NT, it does serve as a MINIMUM guideline for our giving. And as for who the money goes to, that audience has been expanded as well (as believers' mission has been expanded in the NT.)

Is the Bible NOT to be taken literally?

Since wage earners did not tithe in the OT, what principle comes forward to say that a tenth is a minimum guideline for giving? The Biblical tithe NEVER came from anyone's income.

Starting with a flawed premise, you wind up with a flawed principle.

Gary --

Are we sacrificing cows these days?

Of course we are not sacrificing cows these days. Jesus was the sacrifice.

We are not under the Old Testament. None of it. It ended.

So there are parts of the Bible that aren't to be taken literally?

Where did I say there are parts of the Bible that aren't to be taken literally?

Matthew 5:17-18 states Christ came to fulfill the law and not abolish it.

This is where some education in law is useful. What does fulfill mean? What does abolish mean?

Let me give an example. A legal contract is enforceable under the law. Let’s say you hire a contractor to build a swimming pool in your back yard. Once the contractor has completed the job, and everything in that contract has been completed, the contract has been fulfilled. The contractor’s job is to fulfill the contract, not abolish it. He fulfills it by completing the terms, bringing it to an end.


Hebrews 8:13 (KJV) - In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Colossians 2:14 (KJV) - Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

Galatians 5:18 (KJV) - But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Galatians 3:19 (KJV) - Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

Until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. In other words, until Jesus came and fulfilled the law.

Galatians 3:23-25 (KJV)
23But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Galatians 3:10-14 (KJV)
10For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
11But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
12And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
14That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

The Old Testament is a history that brings us into an understanding of the New Testament.

Weren't there animal sacrifices in the OT? How can those verses not be taken literally and yet you say tithing verses (as well as the entire Bible) must be taken literally (or at least you imply that)?

I didn't say the OT animal sacrifices were not to be taken literally. I said we are no longer under the OT. Animal sacrifices don't apply to the Christian Church.

I thought you said:

"Is the Bible NOT to be taken literally?"


"Where did I say there are parts of the Bible that aren't to be taken literally?"

These were in response to me saying:

"I think you are taking things too literally."

I notice you come up with principles from the OT tithe, so why don't you also come up with principles from the OT animal sacrifices?

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