The Tithing Debate

The Tithing Debate

July 7, 2022
With teary eyes a member of my first pastorate approached me after service saying, “The Lord told me his people are not cursed”. It can’t be the Lord, I replied him because it is clear in His Word that the Jews were cursed for not tithing according to Malachi 3:8-9. They had robbed God to whom belonged 10% of their income according to the Law.
The unfortunate brother became a “marked man” and could not enjoy the same depth of fellowship he had with us before. Sadly, he subsequently left the church he loved so much.
The controversy about the validity of tithing in the New Testament or otherwise is age long. I have had to review my position on the matter again and again and I must confess my fears at assuming absolute authority on the subject nor can I condemn people on either side of the debate.
That the New Testament is silent on the subject is incontrovertible. Only three mentions of it were made and two were within the context of its practice under the Law of Moses, while the third was a reference to the superiority of the receiver of tithes over the giver.
In the first one, the Lord Jesus addressed the faithfulness of the Pharisees to Tithing while neglecting the weightier matters of the Law(of Moses). He endorsed Tithing under the Law but berated their neglect of principles that were more important (Justice, Mercy and Faith)(Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42).
Notice at this time, Jesus had not yet died nor enacted the New covenant with his blood. He spoke within the context of the operation of the Old Testament which has passed away in Christ Jesus(Romans 6:4, 7:4, Ephesians 2:14-15). The second mention was that of a Pharisee who was boasting to God about his spiritual piety in contrast with sinners.


Let me start by thanking all those who responded to my first article on this all important but controversial subject last week...
The third reference is found in Hebrews 7:7-9 where the subject matter was the supremacy of the priesthood of Christ over the defunct Levitical priesthood. Being after the order of Melchizedek to whom Levi the patriarch of the Old Testament priests tithed, the priesthood of Christ is an everlasting one and the one in effect today. Tithing was neither commanded here nor taught as a New Testament practice.

We must learn to be true to ourselves as we study the Word and be open minded. I have concluded that Tithing as a form of giving practiced before the law of Moses cannot be limited to the Law of Moses.
Abraham did not Tithe like they did under the Law. He did so in the acknowledgment of God as the source of his victory in battle and of the blessing of God through Melchizedek. It was an act of worship that gave God the glory for what He had done and will yet do to fulfill His covenant with him.
Grace giving is taught in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 in the context of the taking of offerings to support the poor saints at Jerusalem by Gentile churches at a time Jerusalem was faced with famine. Chief among the principles is that it is done Willingly, sacrificially, joyfully, liberally, consistently, proportionately, and expectantly. The consistency and proportionate nature of Grace giving require planning(1 Corinthians 16.2).
All we own belongs to God, they realized in the early church. We may give differently today but it must not be lost on us that God owns us and our substances. We are to handle our finances like faithful stewards.
Giving in the Spirit of grace is done with total liberty without coercion, joy without pressure, generosity without distress. The contention is absolutely unnecessary. We must stop teaching Tithing as a matter of compulsion and at the same time stop castigating a FREEWILL tither for his CHOICE. The truth is, it remains the most convenient way for many Christian’s to plan their generosity towards God and to worship Him with their substance. To however, take a posture of making it mandatory, is to go beyond the teachings of the New Testament. Neither the Lord Jesus nor his Apostles mandated it at anytime. I now agree with my old church member that God’s people are not cursed for not Tithing. We are no longer under the Law of Moses.

I welcome biblical explanations in response to this article and will write a sequel next week including whatever I learn from you or respond with better explanation that you may learn from me after reading your responses. But, I condemn insults and attacks on me or other people in advance. Let us simply discuss the Bible and not attack one another.

5 Responses

  1. Bless your heart for this article sir. I’m so sure that people don’t have problem with tithing just the same way they don’t have issues with the church, the problem most people have is trust in the handlers of the 10% of these hard earned money… People have gradually lost trust in men of God for the luxurious and riotous living while the tithers rot in penury. Even if their extravagant living is not from the tithes and church funds in general, people perceive that they have syphoned the church treasury… Please note, I’m not saying Pastors or church handlers shouldn’t look good but not at the expense of the members who you lead… My contribution might not be well articulated but I believe this is part of the problems of the tithers and not the instructions laid down in the scriptures. We don’t need to quote scriptures because people know all these tithing parts already. We have scriptural back for tithe paying but no scriptural back for Pastor mishandling the funds or what the Pastors should follow in the handling of such delicate funds.

  2. In order to manipulate believers, many leaders still try to play the “Abraham Card” (that tithing was before the law, hence it must be practiced; we must do what Abraham the father of faith did)!

    ✓ Even Abraham tithed according to the tenets of Grace through Faith 2 Cor 9:7 (voluntarily without compulsion).
    ✓ Melchizedek didn’t make a request from Abraham, the Patriarch gave it freely.
    ✓ Moreso, Abraham didn’t take any part of the spoils home. He tithed (to Melchizedek) & returned the rest of the spoils to the king of Sodom.
    ✓ A believer must not be compelled to tithe what Abraham tithed.
    ✓ If some church leaders argue that people walking by faith must do what the rock from which they are cut did, it’s no longer the believer’s free will (it isn’t his/her personal expression). A believer in Christ Jesus is then been compelled.
    ✓ If the tithing doctrine would be according to what & how Abraham gave it’s no longer the believer’s free will (it isn’t his/her personal expression).

    I said Abraham gave according to tenets of Grace through faith which Apostle Paul made clear … … “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”. 2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV

    • • • ¶ That up there (2 Cor 9:7) is what the Patriarch did!

    Furthermore, walking by faith like Abraham is not to be interpreted that believers should do what Abraham did literally. That would be erroneous.

    “So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe”.
    Romans 4:16 NLT

    Having Faith like Abraham is to believe God when He instructs us/speaks. It’s not repeating the activities of people (e.g. Abraham) who walked by faith action for/by action!

    ✓ Jacobs tithing is actually an expression of fear and unbelief. Because as Jacob was running away from his home to avoid his brothers revenge, the Lord appeared to Jacob (the stone pillow encounter) and revealed His plans to Jacob.

    ✓ The Lord promised Jacob an established, settled, and strengthened destiny. Gen 28:10-15.
    ✓ What would Jacob do, instead he woke and started making vows that if God would do what God had promised, he Jacob would bring a tenth. He expressed unbelief and this shouldn’t be used to motivate any believer to tithe. A believer should receive God’s word with faith and believe that God would do what He promised he would do.

    ✓ Jacobs actions after the dream reminds me of what the writer of Hebrews said … ” For we have heard the good news of deliverance just as they did, yet they didn’t join their faith with the Word. *Instead, what they heard didn’t affect them deeply, for they doubted. For those of us who believe, faith activates the promise and we experience the realm of confident rest!* For he has said, “ ….
    Hebrews 4:2‭-‬3 TPT

    Lastly, it’s quite surprising that tithing which was never a covenant between God and Abraham is been mandated and upheld. Whereas, circumcision which was, a covenant (even before the law), is no longer been upheld as New Testament practice (“abolished” as New Testament covenant: Galatians 5:6; only practiced voluntarily for medical aesthetics reasons).

    ✓ Clearly there’s a deliberate attempt to feign invisibility of these verses in the scripture.

    Thank you for the opportunity to contribute.

  3. Sir, “The tithing debate” is indeed self explanatory and very useful. Around the year 2000, I have been having a different position on this subject and currently am writing a book (still on elementary stage) about tithing in the new testament.

    But, let me just comment briefly on some of the things you wrote.

    “Tithing was neither commanded here nor taught as a new testament practice”. Now, sir, if what was neither commanded nor taught as a new testament practice is now not only being taught, practice but also commanded by church leaders, can such teachings be allowed to continue to be taught? I strongly believe that one should stand against such teachings. Just as one can (should) preach against strange new testament practices, for example, using animal’s blood for sanctification, redemption or any kind of spiritual rebirth/cleansing, shouldn’t one also preach against such unuseful/strange/unprofitable/unjustifiable teachings and practices?

    Again sir, you said “The contention is absolutely unnecessary”. However, on the contrary, the contention is indeed necessary. Why? Sir, if our church leaders are teaching and practicing what Christ and His Apostles did not do or established, then such teachings and practices should be frowns at and discouraged and should not be permitted on the redeemed souls Christ died for.

    Yet again, you said “we must stop teaching tithes’ as a matter of compulsion and at the same time stop castigating a FREEWILL tither for his CHOICE”. Whilst I want to agree with teachings of tithes as compulsion, it is my believe that such a ‘freewill tither’ should also not be castigated (in so much so that most of them only follow their Church leaders wholeheartedly without doing any form of back-checking) but needed to be encouraged to study the Bible themselves.

    Some few years ago, I took the subject of tithe with a woman pastor (?)* when bishop Mike Okonkwo of TREM declared that he had been wrong in the teaching and collection of tithes and that christians should not be paying. She responded that although the highly reverred bishop is one of her leaders she looks up to but that it is God that calls her she will obey rather than man and that tithing is commanded. I simply smiled.

    Sir, as aforementioned, I am currently writing a book on it (after studying the Bible and reading other christian books) and I want to request for your email where I can send you a copy for your views/comments/observations on it before I finally send it to the prints.

    If you notice sir, I put (?)* after the female pastor. This is deliberate. There are other subject matter am also writing that I am led in the spirit to write about. I sincerely will need your divine thoughts on them also. They include, but not limited to:
    1. Under the dispensation of grace (new testament), is it lawful/justified that a woman be a pastor, reverend, bishop, Mommy GO, etc of the church of God and stand on the pulpit teaching, preaching and laying hands on the congregation?
    2. Whilst in church (public service), should a female believer cover her head or not?
    3. Is Trinity a right doctrine in new testament?
    4. Jesus: who is he? God Almighty or Son of God Almighty?
    5. Speaking in tongues: a criteria a christian MUST possesses?
    6. Abraham’s blessing: Materials or Spiritual?
    7. Culture and Religion

    Once again sir, thank you for your writing. I also have learnt from it. Kindly forward your email to me sir.

    May the Lord continue to give you more grace in the discharge of the works He has puts in your hands in Jesus 🙏 name.


    Yinka Lawal.

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