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A common spirit of those against the tithe

  • A frequent response to the requirement of the tithe is usually leveling charges of legalism, Phariseeism, Romanism, works-righteousness, and a host of other things.
    • A corrective for this mindless response is reminding them of Luke 16:17, “But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.”
    • Our righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 5:20).
      • How can our righteousness be “greater” than the Pharisees?
        • Rushdoony writes, “First, by taking the law seriously, and not evasively, not striving for formal obedience which made a mockery of the law, and, second, by seeing the full meaning of the law for the heart, mind, and actions of men.” (pp 29)

Where, or to whom does the tithe go?

  • All tithes ultimately go to the Lord (Leviticus 27:32).
    • The tithes were given according to His law and for the furthering of His kingdom.
      • The tithes are given to faithful churches, tithing agencies, or individuals, but it does not belong to them. It doesn’t matter who you give it to. It is God’s.
  • There is often the confusion that our tithes must go to the institutional church. This is usually due to thinking of the Levites in a strictly institutional sense.
    • “…In a time of apostasy, a man from Baal-shalisha brought his firstfruits directly to Elisha and his followers (II Kings 4:42-44). The Levites were not an institution, they were men set apart for the Lord’s service.” (pp 30)

The tithe and the duty of private-judgment

  • If the tithe is something holy and set apart by God, then we must judge those who would receive our tithes.
    • If the tithe is given to the ungodly, then it has not been given to the Lord.
    • The giver and the recipient of the tithe are both accountable to God.
      • “This means we have a duty to give wisely…Is it effective in our lives and in the lives of others? Does it use its money wisely?” (pp 30)

The loss of the tithe produces poverty-gospel, extravagances, and bitterness

  • Many mission boards and ministries believe you should always work for free, and that poverty puts you in a closer relationship to God.
    • This leads to giving tiny amounts to more overseas workers, rather than substantially and effectively giving to a few or even one.
      • Rushdoony tells of an agency that paid its workers so little, workers from another agency had to feed a young woman to keep her from starving.
  • Other mission boards overpaid ineffectual members to the point that they were wealthy in the country they were “serving” in.
  • Some churches will work to keep their pastor on the lowest possible salary. Members may even battle the idea of raising the salary of someone who faithfully serves them.
  • Christian schools are notorious for paying their teachers very low amounts.
  • People with Christian businesses will often deliver payments late or skip payments altogether, all because, they say, “it’s the work of the Lord.”

The transparency of tithe recipients

  • Just as the giver must give according to God’s standard, so the recipient must steward it in obedience to God.
  • Those who receive the tithe should be transparent.
    • “Thus, the church or agency should be one which obeys God. Does it avoid debt? Does it lend to or borrow from believers at interest or with usury? Does it proclaim the whole counsel of God? Are financial reports issued annually? Are they understandable? How much of its activity is promotion, and how much action?” (pp 31)
  • Those who receive the tithe should be effective.
    • They should boast in actual results, and not numbers or massive events that can hide ineffectual works.
      • “Is it effective…It is good public relations to speak and work with large and impressive groups, but the Lord’s work is not public relations, “but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17).” (pp 31)

The Cheerful Giver

  • “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
    • This text is not about giving tithes. Tithes are commanded even if you don’t want to give. This verse is about providing extra support (alms) to Christians experiencing a famine.
    • What we translate as “cheerful” literally means hilarious.
      • We are filled with rejoicing when we pay God’s tax because He wastes nothing (1 Corinthians 15:58).
        • This is because God accomplishes whatever He pleases through His ordained means (Isaiah 55:11).
        • “…When we give to the Lord, we give effectually. Our every tithe and offering is powerful to the tearing down of the things which are, and to the establishment of that which alone can remain, that which is of the Lord (Heb. 12:27). We are helping finance God’s victory through His servants.” (pp 31)

Take away

First, taking God’s Law seriously is not pharisaical, and neither is tithing. The denial of the tithe is antinomian. Besides the imputed righteousness of Christ, we can be more righteous than the Pharisees in our actual righteousness (how we act). Second, there is guilt for the giver and receiver of misused tithes. The tither is guilty of foolish judgments, and the receiver is guilty of evil stewardship.

Next chapter here.