We're Stealing The Tithe Again

by JT

If you study the intention of the original tithe, it was never intended that church leaders could beat members over the head from the pulpit, demanding 10% of everyone's salary to go to support the salaries of the staff and expenses of the church.

Ancient Israel was a theocracy. The church WAS the government. This meant the church had both theological roles and governmental roles.

Originally, the "tithe" was required only of those who grew crops or raised livestock. It was not required of those who earned wages! One was to bring a tenth of their produce/spices/livestock to a "distribution center" so that the Levites, who had no inheritance in the promised land, the widows and the orphans would have food to eat. Obviously, this was a governmental role that the church was taking on. The tithe was essentially intended to be a government food stamps program!

The tithe was never intended for the church in the first place. In Malachi, when God accused the church leaders of robbing God, it had to do with a loophole in the law that allowed those who lived too far from the storehouse to sell their tithe and either send in or bring in the money plus a 20% stipend. The purpose was so that the church could repurchase food to be stored. But they were accepting the money and not purchasing food. So, when God said they were stealing the tithes and offerings, he wanted them to bring the "whole tithe" into the storehouse, so that there may be FOOD in his house. The tithe belonged to the Levites, widows and orphans, NOT to the church!

Here's the problem with why the church can't carry out that function today: We're not a theocracy. Church is not also the government. In America, the church doesn't have the authority to enforce the "proper" tithe. Only government has that authority. Religious freedom and the separation of church and state have splintered the church into such small pieces that individual churches can barely pay their light bill. You can't drive very far without encountering a number of churches, a large percentage of which will have no more than 25 regular attenders, many of them who will be of very low income themselves. How do we expect them to feed the poor?

Yet, here we are today sitting in our church pews endorsing the message of the preacher when he tells us that we are all required to "tithe" 10% of our paychecks to the church, and he uses Old Testament scripture to support it. We're stealing the tithe again. If we're giving that tithe money to go to staff salaries and light bills, the "whole tithe" is not going to feed those who have no inheritance in the promised land, widows and orphans.

Of course, I reiterate, the tithe was never supposed to be "money" in the first place. And it was never required of the wage earner. From the beginning, responsibility for providing for the poor was placed on the landowners - the wealthiest Israelites.

Since our government is restrained from establishment of religion, I am convicted that for church to restrain our government from the Biblical and moral responsibility to provide for the poor, as outlined in the Old Testament, is STEALING THE TITHE.

Comments for We're Stealing The Tithe Again:

Wow, great comment clarifying what is meant by a biblical tithe - by Mojo

Wow, thanks JT! Fantastic overview of what the bible really says about the tithe. It's sort of pathetic how much churches (and therefore Christians) actually contribute to the poor and needy. Less than 1% of Christian "tithes" and "offerings" actually go to a needy person.

There's more about this at what should a christian church be like and the "we don't want your money" church.

Also, on this site at people who say the church can do it are clueless and Libs vs Cons and Charity.

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