Are the tithes binding on Christians today? Or are they merely a shadow done away with by the full revelation of Christ? These are the questions Rushdoony seeks to answer in Chapter 3. He argues for the tithe by countering the position that the tithe is only an Old Testament reality (held by Verhoef*).

* The quotations in the outline below followed by (Verhoef, pp __) is Rushdoony citing the Theologian he is critiquing.

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“The Cross” as an objection to the requirement of the tithe

  • This view falls into some form of dispensationalism.
    • Sees Scripture as divided into different ages that are entirely different than one another.
      • Some proponents of this thinking will teach that there were different ways of salvation in those ages.
    • The primary thought as far as the tithe goes is, “We are under grace,” so the law of the tithe is invalid.

Law is not antithetical to grace

  • Throughout Scripture, salvation is by God’s grace.
    • Man was never saved by law at any point.
    • In the Old Testament, Christ’s “vicarious sacrifice” was presented in the animal sacrifices.
      • “Man was saved, not by works, but by the atoning blood of the Lamb, set forth before His coming in the unblemished animal sacrifice. The believer placed his hands on the animal to be sacrificed, confessed his sins, and thanked God that He provided for the vicarious sacrifice of the innocent one for his salvation.” (pp 11)
    • Law doesn’t create new life but defines righteousness, holiness, sanctification, and the life of faith and obedience in service to God for those found “new life” in Christ.
    • The way of salvation has never changed, and neither has the definition of obedience, God’s Law.

The “Higher Way of Life” argument against law and tithing

  • The law age and gospel age are different.
    • First, the argument goes, “the law declares one day out of seven to be holy unto the Lord—the Spirit sanctifies all seven of them.” (Verhoef, pp 12)
      • God says we should be holy in totality (Leviticus 19:2)
      • Peter repeats this command of holiness in all of life (1 Peter 1:15-16)
        • Every day and all of life should be holy.
        • ”One day in seven is to be set aside for rest, but all seven must be given over to holiness, all are sanctified unto the Lord and by His Spirit.” (pp 12)
          • This challenge confuses rest and holiness.
    • Second, “The law sets apart one tribe out of twelve to serve as priests—the Spirit declares the whole congregation to be priests (1 Peter 2:9)”. (Verhoef, pp 12)
      • This statement is dishonest, deceptive, and false.
        • Peter is quoting the Old Testament (Exodus 19:5-6; Deuteronomy 4:20; 7:6; 14:2; 26:18-19; 1 Peter 2:9)
          • A holy people are separated and dedicated to God as His priests.
          • As it was with Israel in the past, so it is with the Church now.
    • Third, “The law demands the tenth part of all possessions—the Spirit translates us to become God’s possessions with all that we have for one hundred percent. Everything belongs to Him. We are but stewards, who will have to give account of every dime we possess.” (Verhoef, pp 13)
      • This is creating a virtue out of disobedience.
        • By not giving our tithe to God, we are giving God everything.
      •  All of God’s people, and the whole of their lives, in every era of history are His possession and inheritance (Deuteronomy 4:20; 14:2).
        • This is true of both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
      • The tithe represents that all of our income is from God.
        • “The whole point of the giving of the first-fruits, the firstlings of the flock, and the tenth, not the left-over but the first portion to the Lord, means the dedication of all to the Lord.” (pp 13)
      • We give our tithes to God now because we recognize that God is the God of 100%.
        • “If we give Him priority in our lives, time, work, and income, then we have indeed manifested thereby that we are truly His possessions. If we deny Him His tithe, then our professions are indeed empty ones.” (pp 13)

Take Away

The final paragraph best summarizes the whole thought of this chapter,

Can we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior in principle, but not in practice? Can we believe in being faithful to our wives in principle but not in practice without being either liars or hypocrites? Can we declare that we are the Lord’s in principle, without the practice of tithing, and still be in His favor? I cannot believe it. (pp 14)

The next chapter will discuss the theological implications of the tithes in Scripture.