Tithing email and replies

HI RAY

THANK YOU FOR YOUR INFO.  I WONDERED IF I ONLY BELIEVED THAT TITHING IS NOT FOR US NOW, AND [IF TITHING IS] NOT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. 

IN GALATIANS, IT SAYS WE ARE NOT UNDER THE "OLD LAW." IS THE "OLD LAW" [REFERRING TO] ANY LAWS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT? AND DOES [THIS] NOT [ALSO] REFER TO TITHING IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?  

I WONDERED WHY CHURCH AND PASTORS DAWN SO MUCH ON MONEY, YOU KNOW JESUS NEVER MENTIONED TITHES WHILE HE WAS ON EARTH AS FAR AS WE KNOW FROM THE BIBLE AND ALSO THE PROPHETS DIDN'T ALSO.

MY MOM IS DISABLED AND LIVES OFF DISABILITY. I TELL HER NOT TO WORRY IF SHE DOESN'T HAVE HER FULL TITHE.  BUT SHE STILL DOES [TITHE] AND WILL GO WITHOUT FOR HER AND MY BROTHER. 

SHE IS VERY DISTURBED NOW AFTER READING ALL YOUR INFO.  WHERE SHE IS ATTENDING CHURCH NOW YOU MUST TITHE IF YOU [WANT TO] DO ANYTHING IN THE CHURCH. 

SHE IS SCARED THAT SHE WILL BE CURSED IF SHE DOESN'T TITHE OR RECEIVE BLESSINGS.  WHEREAS THAT IS WHAT SHE HAS BEEN TAUGHT.  PLEASE SEND ME FEEDBACK ON THAT SITUATION. 

ALSO SHE WOULD LIKE TO KNOW HOW DO YOU GIVE TO GET A BLESSING, AND HOW MUCH.

THANK YOU SO MUCH,

ELIZABETH

[Ray Replies]

Dear Elizabeth:

Thank you for your email and comments.

Let me tell you something straight out, as God as my Judge and source of knowledge and inspiration. If Jesus Christ were to enter a convening of pastors who teach that people on DISABILITY are to TITHE (10%) of their disability checks to these pastors, you wouldn't want to be in the same room with them! If you think Jesus berated the hypocritical Pharisees in Matthew 23, I don't think you would have seen anything yet!

Listen to Jesus' own words: 

"WOE UNTO YOU, SCRIBES AND PHARISEES, HYPOCRITES!   For you tithe of mint and anise and cummin [little herbs of the garden], and have OMITTED the weightier matters of the law, JUDGMENT, MERCY, AND FAITH..." (Mat. 23:23).

WOW! There it is, Elizabeth. Tithing was NOTHING to Jesus compared to properly judging [taking care of], MERCY [where is the mercy in taking WIDOW'S MITES?], and FAITH [these hypocrites don't HAVE ANY FAITH, or they would trust God for their ministries and NOT WIDOWS WHO ARE DISABLED]..."

Read Verse 14: 

"WOE UNTO YOU, SCRIBES AND PHARISEES, HYPOCRITES!  For you DEVOUR WIDOWS' HOUSES..."!!!

It is UNSCRIPTURAL EVIL to place these burdens on the shoulders of fragile widows!! Verse 4:

"For they bind HEAVY BURDENS and GRIEVOUS to be born, and lay them on men's [AND WIDOW'S] shoulders; but THEY themselves will NOT move them with one of their fingers."

Have you mother ask her pastor if God demands ten percent of her welfare check?  As him if she will LOOSE HER BLESSINGS FROM GOD if she does not give ten percent of her disability checks to him?  It is because of people just like you and your mother, Elizabeth, that I write these papers on God's truths, condemning these evil practices of many charlatans in the church today.

There is a minister on TBN that I have seen off and on over the weeks, months and years (I seldom ever listen an entire plea-for-money sermon), but I have NEVER ONCE heard this man speak on ANYTHING except becoming blessed and prospering by sending HIM your money. He has a huge ministry that goes around the world. I can't tell you how ill it makes me to watch him pronounce his blessings and cursings on his listeners for either giving or not giving him their money. And yet, I have NEVER heard him or any other prosperity preacher say that if one is in poverty or debt, to not feel obligated to send them money. In fact, they will tell you that if you are in debt, can't pay all your bills, don't have enough to buy food and live on, that THIS IS THE TIME TO SEND THEM YOUR MONEY FOR SURE!!!  God have mercy on their wretched souls. They need to repent and start obeying and trusting GOD!

In the book of Acts when there were widows who's needs were not being met, ALL TWELVE APOSTLES called for the elders of the church to appoint those who were filled with the spirit and wisdom to TAKE CARE OF THESE WIDOWS IMMEDIATELY!

Paul told Timothy to HONOR the widows who were widows indeed. 

Elizabeth, even in ancient Israel if a man had but NINE cows or sheep (many poverty-stricken people around the world would have been thankful for but ONE milking cow to feed their children), God did not consider such a one prosperous enough to TITHE AT ALL!!  A man with only nine cows did NOT tithe his cattle to God. God IS merciful.

Here's what you mother can do to receiving BLESSINGS from God:  Be kind! Show love to everyone! Be thankful! Pray for others!  She can do all theses things from a wheelchair or bed and GOD WILL BLESS HER, I GUARANTEE IT!

May God give your mother the courage to trust God directly for all her needs and not to worry about the needs of greedy pastors. They don't NEED your mother's disability checks! Trust me, THEY DON'T NEED IT! Let them trust God for a change and not the mammon extracted and extorted from the welfare checks, disability checks, and Social Security checks of WIDOWS!!

God bless you and your mother, Elizabeth!  If your mother has needs that aren't being met by her meager income, take her needs to the church. If they turn you away--CALL ME.

Grace and peace to you and your family.

Sincerely in the service of our Lord,

Ray


Hello,

My name is Sam, I am a deacon and adult Sunday school teacher in the Assemblies of God. Although probably not for long after the 40 plus page article on '' tithing'' that I gave to my pastor.

I found your other web-site, or more accurately your ''main site''. First, I read your article on the tithe, told my wife that I wished I had found it earlier.

I believe one should never be afraid to ask the question ''why'' ? The faith God has instilled in me over the years can take the test. My beliefs are strong enough to be tested and if not then they change.

After years of listening to so many confusing teaches, I prayed this simple prayer, God I don't know what I should believe, this man teaches this and that man teaches that (something different) WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO BELIEVE? Not what I wanted to believe but what God wants me to believe. Ever since my life has changed.

For years I've been studying the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, the word-of-faith heresy and many other areas. I've started to read some of your other articles. The only thing I've told my wife so far is, ''If what this man is teaching is true the implications are staggering.''

All I can honestly say for now is you got my intention and my interest. Plus I enjoy your humor. 

Well my son wants me to play with him {10} so I gotta go.

Your brother in Christ,

Sam


When I was 12, my father had left us ....our house had been destroyed in a horrible storm, he paid no child support.

My mother worked 3 jobs and me and my brother picked up grocery bags of pine cones out of peoples' yards. We got paid a dime for each grocery bag we filled. I guess people didn't want them there when they mowed the grass. Long story short (maybe), we gave our dimes to our mother to help out.

We attended a lovely little church with many nice people. There seems to be 1 or 2 who attempt to spoil the bunch! Momma gave me and my brother 5 cents each to put in the offering and she would give a quarter.

One morning when she put her quarter in, the person taking up the offering just stopped. In front of everybody he started making fun and criticizing my mother's faith in God because she only gave a quarter and my brother and I only gave our ten cents. My mother left crying. I wonder sometimes if that man ever thinks of that. But I KNOW that God knew our hearts and circumstances and used that little bit for something great. Thanks for indulging me! Tara


Just read your paper. It makes sense. One question, how is a church to pay the bills (elec. water,gas, rent,teaching books etc.) I have a bible study group in one of my rentals. And there are bills to be met. We are not a church so to speak, with a tax exempt status and all, but we do study the Word of God every Sunday morning and Wednesday night.

There are 23 of us. We did not like the way things were going in the church we were attending, so we started our own church so to speak. We have been tithing, and holding on to the money, but don't really know what to do with it. We pay the utilities and buy teaching books etc. No one gets a salary. I'm not a preacher, but do lead the study group. Looking forward to hearing from you.

I just got a computer, so I'm learning how to use it. 

Sincerely Chas

[Ray replies]

Dear Mr. [omitted]:

Thank you for your e-mail.  You are brave souls!

You can all contribute money for meeting expenses of your group, that is no problem. Just DON'T TEACH TITHING AS A BINDING LAW. Everyone is free to give according as God has prospered him.  Keep your expenses low and there show be no problems with people wondering where the money is going.  Besides, tithing had to do with agricultural products, and it is hard to run a modern organization on radishes and tomatoes.  Keep a budget, let the expenses be known to all, let everyone contribute. God bless your study group!

Sincerely,

Ray

[Another email from Chas]

L. Ray, 

Hello, I am writing again to ask you about 1 Corinth. 16:2. What is Paul saying here? You have got me thinking!!!

I talked to some of the men in our Bible Study group, and this is one of the questions that came up. Is he not talking about tithing?

Thanks for your time.

Chas

[Ray replies]

Dear Chas:

Thank you for your question.

NO! - I Cor. 16 is not speaking about tithing!

There was a famine in Judea and so Paul out of loving concern for the saints in Jerusalem took up a collection of food and necessities to be taken up to Jerusalem when He came to them.

"Now concerning the  COLLECTION..."

Tithing was never called a "collection" it was called a "tithe."

"...for the SAINTS..."

God did not institute a law of tithing for "the saints." Levites received the tithe, not "the saints."

"...even as I prescribe..."

This is PAUL'S prescription, NOT THE LAW OF MOSES!

"...to the churches of GALATIA..."

This was not a law of tithing that would have been in force on ALL THE CHURCHES EVERYWHERE, but only Galatia and the Corinthians.

"On ONE of the sabbaths..."

This was not a regular collection of tithes, but a SPECIAL collection for the destitute saints in Jerusalem. They didn't do this every week, but rather on "ONE of the sabbaths..."

"...let each of you lay aside by himself in store that in which he should be prospered..."

Notice that it was NOT a tithe, it was not fulfilling a law, and only those who were prospered were to give.

"...that NO COLLECTIONS MAY BE OCCURRING THEN, WHENEVER I MAY COME."

Paul didn't want to wait around when he came for people to start gathering things up for the saints in Jerusalem. He wanted everything collected and ready to go as soon as Paul got there. This obviously was not a collection of MONEY!!!

It is just amazing to me how people will grasp at straws to try and sustain their heretical teaching. I have already received a half-dozen e-mails quoting Paul saying not the muzzle the threshing floor ox, etc., as supposed proofs of tithing. TOTAL NONSENSE! These poor people are fighting the word of God. They do not have a LOVE OF THE TRUTH. It is so sad. The Scriptures are just not that complicated.  Paul never taught tithing to the Gentiles. Paul never collected tithes from the Gentiles.

See if this answer will help your group understand.

Sincerely in Christ's service,

Ray


My wife and I just read your fine article.  After doing some research ourselves we were concerned about tithing.  I've recently lost my job and money has been tight, yet we were still tithing.  I was a bit angry to see our preacher and his wife living very, very, well when the church, according to him and others, is hurting financially.

Your article is one of the most well thought out and documented I have ever read.  It has opened our eyes. We thank you.  I would enjoy reading any other articles you have written.

Jason


Dear Minister Smith,

First of all I want to thank you for standing for the truth about tithing.

I use to be a titheaholic. I gave up my home thinking I was going to be blessed. I ended up tithing my way to a shelter, and The church I was in dropped me off At Salvation Army. After that I quit tithing and now I give to the poor.

Months ago I downloaded your article and I was impressed that some one knows the truth and is honest.

Tithing is food not money but certain ministers twist scriptures out of context. The wealthiest men give out of their hearts so they can get a tax relief, however, Proverbs 22 verse 22 says rob not the poor for he is poor. Tithing ministers usually target poor people like welfare moms etc.

Thank you again for telling the truth.

Dr. Ed


Ray,

I will e-mail you thoroughly later if you want to respond to me.what did the people do in Acts when they sold their money and laid it at the apostles feet?

How did the people tithe to God when they gave money to the Levitical priests after all they are priests? not God.

Why did Abraham tithe to Melchisedek ( Hebrews 7) when it says clearly that he is not a Levite but yet in doing so Abraham gave to God?

Why does the Word say ministers should live of the gospel?

Why do you think Jesus taught on giving so much?

The person who was poor and didn't give was held accountable in one parable and another person a rich young ruler did not give and was held accountable?

Do you think the example of Jacob means that we are not called to tithe or do you think it means we are called to tithe of our increase which is what Jacob did?  Most of us have paychecks every week or every two weeks?  That is increase.

I am not coming down hard on you but I think you need to read the scriptures again and asks the Lord to open your heart to the truth.  You may have been burnt by ministers giving false teaching but that does not meaning tithing is unbiblical.

Jesus also tells us that if we refuse to give unto his servants than we have done it unto him. There is a concept in the Bible that everything we do for each other or against each other that we have done it unto the Lord.  I understand your anger with false teaching but you should really think about examining the Word again. Be honest with yourself about the attitude of your heart. Remember, Jesus died on the cross for you and he loves you very much. God says if you seek the truth you will find it but you must seek it without hating others. Everyone will be judged.

Perhaps tithing is not just about money but about all things we possess including our money. They laid money at the apostles feet. Look again at all things before you jump at a few scriptures. It is okay to be wrong and it is okay to be right. But if God wants us to tithe and I believe he wants more than that, he will hold us accountable for that.  If he does not than we will still be blessed by giving. We cannot lose when we give to the Lord. This is a spiritual truth.

N

[Ray replies]

Dear Nameless:

Thank you for you e-mail and comments. I have prayerfully considered what you have suggested for THOUSANDS OF HOURS and still conclude that that it is UNSCRIPTURAL TO TITHE UNDER THE NEW COVENANT!

First of all you TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY are in error when you lump "tithing" with "giving." They are NOT one and the same! They do no LUMP!   "Tithing" was a mandatory LAW of the Old Covenant. There was nothing voluntary about it. Paul plainly tells us that "giving" should be voluntary, from the heart, according as God has prospered us. There is NO TITHING IN PAUL's TEACHINGS TO THE NATIONS! That's for sure.

You suggest that I should not just "jump on a few verses." Excuse me, but I gave EVERY SCRIPTURE ON TITHING IN THE ENTIRETY OF THE BIBLE!

Absolutely nothing you have said in your email has anything to do with New Testament believers being under a legal obligation to tithe ten percent of their salaries in the form of money! Money is a non-tithable commodity! Anyone who gave money to support any effort of the New Testament ministry, was NOT tithing!!! And furthermore, I believe you know that. If you had even ONE scripture in the New Testament to support tithing today, I believe you would have given it to me.

Say did you ever notice that when Paul justified his ministry and anyone else's ministry under the New Covenant, he did NOT use the an example of TITHING, but rather  the "MUZZLING OF THRESHING FLOOR OX?" Did you notice that?  Ox's get FOOD AND SHELTER, not MONEY AND YACHTS! (Sorry, that was an exaggeration [only slightly] and certainly should not be applied to most modern tithe collectors). FOOD AND SHELTER--NOT $$$$$$MONEY!

Don't get me wrong, I believe that Ministers of the Gospel SHOULD GET MONEY. But not in the form of "tithing." Tithing is NOT a New Covenant command, nor was money tithable in the Old Covenant. I think giving money to meet the needs of the church is a fine thing to do. However, I don't see that anyone needs to LIMIT his contributions to only 10%!

You state, "Perhaps tithing is not just about money..." No, it's NOT ABOUT MONEY AT A-L-L!! Tithing is about produce and farm products. Fisherman were not obligated to tithe FISH. Basket weavers were not obligated to tithe BASKETS. Miners were not obligated to tithe GOLD.

You suggest that I need to examine myself and my attitude, etc. That I am ANGRY. That I should seek God's truth and stop HATING others, etc. You assume quite a lot to yourself, Nameless!  You do quite a lot of judging about things you are totally ignorant of! You assumed that I have NOT SCRIPTURALLY STUDIED TITHING whereas those who ILLEGALLY AND FRAUDULENTLY EXTORT TITHES FROM THE PEOPLE APPARENTLY HAVE STUDIED THE SCRIPTURES ON TITHING?  I am NOT angry about the subject of tithing. It is of very little interest to me. I only wrote the article because so many had requested it.

What really does make me angry, Nameless, is when men like Dr. Kennedy and John Hagee get on international television and tell MILLIONS of people that our Loving Heavenly Father is going to TORTURE BY FIRE, LITTLE BOYS AND LITTLE GIRLS AND PREGNANT WOMEN AND MOST OF THE HUMAN RACE THAT HAS EVER LIVED, IN A HELLHOLE OF DEMONIC INSANITY, WITHOUT WATER AND WITHOUT HOPE, FOR ALL ETERNITY! And Mr. Hagee says, "It's justice." And Dr. Kennedy says, "Hell is FAIR."  THAT makes me angry, but not tithing. Just one person being tortured by fire for all eternity is a greater sin than ALL THE EVILS AND   SATANIC, VILE, DEMENTED, PERVERTED SINS OF THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD COMBINED!  That makes me angry.

Again, thanks for your comments. Without hundreds of emails such as yours, I would consider my web site less than successful.  The truths of God really "get to" people who are hostile to His plan of Salvation for all mankind.  I hope that you will reconsider your attitude toward me and God's truths.

Sincerely, in Christ's service,

Ray


Hello Mr. Smith,

I enjoyed your article on tithing and have often wondered and gone back and forth about this subject. I really want this settled once and for all. Please pray for me.

There was one scripture in the old testament that you left out and was wondering if you could comment on it.

It is Proverbs 3:9 -10

I know it deals again with "increase" but does state "firstfruits." What exactly is firstfruits and can you give a practical, contemporary example of increase?

Thank you.

Grace and peace,

Dan

[Ray replies]

Dear Dan:

Thank you for your e-mail and questions.

I don't think anyone could give you an exact answer as to what constituted an "increase." I do know it is wrong to teach as TBN does, for example, that poor people who can hardly afford food and utilities, must pay TBN ten percent of their welfare or social security checks. Social security checks and welfare checks are NOT 'INCREASES.'

One scripture that gives me a clue to this "increase" business is the way God taught tithing on cattle. If a farmer had but nine sheep, let's say, he did NOT tithe on his sheep. He had to have at least TEN before he would be expected to give ONE to the Levites. I believe the same principle applied to ALL FARM PRODUCE, however, the Scriptures do not delineate each commodity.

The "firstfruits" were the Spring harvest. The very very first of the firstfruits was the "waveshief offering." Jesus Christ is represented by the symbol of the wavesheif -- He was the FIRST to be resurrected to immortality. Then the Spring "firstfruits" was representative of Pentecost where a larger number are represented, name the CHURCH. And the last festival in the Holy Calendar was The Feast of Tabernacles which represented the Fall Harvest followed by the Last Great Day of the Feast, showing that ALL MANKIND WILL BE BOUGHT INTO THE FOLD.

Paul teaches us (Gentile Christians) that "as you are prospered" is the guide to giving. Not tithing, not percentages, but from the heart, according to how much God has prospered us.

Hope that helps a little.

Sincerely,

Ray


Dear Ray:

I am friends with Elizabeth who wrote you about her disabled mother. I applaud your answer to her. We have another question though because we also have been taught sow your seed (money) and expect the 30, 60, 100 fold return on your harvest and to name your seed.   How do you see this teaching that is spreading across America? (Example: We can give a vacuum cleaner to someone and call it a new car.)

As we were discussing this afternoon I thought the only way I can justify that teaching is like this:

  1. We get a 30 fold return on money we sow when we are forced under compulsion or demand by a pastor that is forcing us to give HIM money.  We gave it as if we were giving it God not man in our own mind so God gave us a return in spite of ourselves.
     
  2. We get a 60 fold return when we are doing it out of obligation because it is what we have been taught and think it is what the law (OT law) requires. God honors our ignorance and gives us a return because he likes to bless us and he feels sorry for us because of our stupidity.
     
  3. We get a 100 fold return when we give exactly what God tells us to give, to the person that God tells us to give it to at the time God tells us to give it. With a cheerful heart.

Needless to say that is stretching it a great deal to make it fit. But ... I wondered what your thoughts were on that teaching because I have been a Christian 22 years and never heard this theory of naming seed and getting 100 fold return until about 3 years ago.

Plus I have never met a farmer in my life that did not believe when he planted the crop that he would have a good harvest if he took care of his crop.  But, sometimes he does sometimes he does not depends on a lot of other factors besides his belief system.  

I think it is just as easy to believe that if I have something that someone else needs   and I give it to them then when I need something God will see that my need is met by someone else or see that I have the money to buy what I need for myself.

Thank you for your teaching on tithing I have always believed that the only way to give anything is when you see a need and are moved with compassion to meet that need and do.   But I am not a scholar just a wife and mom.

Be blessed,

Cindy

[Ray replies]

Dear Cindy:

Thank you for your questions and comments.

ALL of the hocus pocus of modern religion designed to trick what they consider to be,the dumb sheep into believing they will get rich if only they give all their money to some charlatan preacher are a spirit of ANTICHRIST!

Nowhere in the Bible is there a formula specifically designed for poor people to become wealthy people -- materialistically speaking. It is all nonsense! Don't be fooled.

Notice Matt. 13:3-9 where 30, 60 , and 100 fold is mentioned. First, it is a PARABLE. This is NOT literal. It has NOTHING to do with actual planting of seed or farming. It is an analogy showing a SPIRITUAL truth based on a physical analogy of sewing literal seed. We have absolute Scriptural proof of this beginning in Verse 18 where Jesus explains the meaning of this "sowing of seed."

"At everyone hearing the word of the kingdom and not understanding, coming is the wicked one and snatching what has been SOWN IN HIS HEART [not in a field of dirt]."

He then speaks of God's Word reaching people with different levels of understanding and acceptance of God's Word. Hence, "beside the road," "the rocky places," "in the thorns," etc. Verse 23,

"Now he who is being sown on the IDEAL EARTH [a humble and open HEART] this is he who is hearing the WORD and UNDERSTANDING, who by all means is bearing fruit [SPIRITUAL FRUIT, not money, cars, or sugar cane], and is producing; these indeed, a hundred, yet these sixty, yet these thirtyfold."

There it is. It's all about SPIRITUAL growth and understanding, not PHYSICAL wealth and materialism!

Hope that helps you. When you give, give from  the heart with NO THOUGHT of gaining back a huge reward or fortune. You said pretty much the same thing in you concluding remark. It's ALL SPIRIT. It's ALL ABOUT THE HEART--not money.

God be with you.

Sincerely,

Ray


Glad I found your website, these are some of the same things I've been studying for quite sometimes, but you have made it a lot easy for me to   understand. This is really deep for some people to accept, even my wife. I been telling her this for awhile, but she sometimes she can't seem to grasp it all, in which I understand, because it took a lot of studying for myself.

I wish we had  teachers like you on television, to debunk some of the junk that's on these so-call Christian television. Why, are those who speak the truth are seldom heard? 

Well God bless you brother and keep this site, because I'm still studying.

Thank You.

[Ray replies]

Thank you for your comments.

Why isn't there anyone on TV teaching the truth? MONEY!

Those who know and teach the truth have no money. And they will NOT FRAUDULENTLY extort it from the public.

Those who learn that tithing is not a required law under the New Covenant, usually stop giving as well as tithing. They will tithe (ten percent) of their salaries to a charlatan, but when they learn the truth, they usually give nothing in support of those teaching the truth.

However, the REAL reason is that God does not want His truths published worldwide on TV. At least, not yet.

May God continue to guide you into His perfect will for your life.

Sincerely,

Ray


I do not know who you are but I do know that those that teach against God's word will be judged accordingly.

I am a minister and yes tithing is scriptural. You sir are in grave error and are trying to circumvent the work of God through His church.

New Testament tithing is superior to Old Testament tithing, because now that man has been set free of sin he gives through his heart and gives more as witnessed here in the book of Acts.

ACT 4:32  All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.

33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.

34 There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales

35 and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

36  Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement),

37  sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet.

People were so filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit that they sold lands and property and brought it all and gave it all to the New Testament church.

Jesus taught about the human heart and what causes it to respond to giving to God in: MAR 12:41  Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.

42  But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.

43  Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.

44  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything - all she had to live on."

It is a standard church practice to give offerings, as was recorded here as Jesus was sitting right down by the place where the offerings were being taken.

He taught about the fact that some people give freely out of the wealth and others have learned to give freely out of the sacrifice of their last few pennies.

Tithing is from your gross income as it is the first fruits, EXO 23:19  The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God.

In the old Testament man was required to bring in the whole first harvest quit frankly that was one third of the yearly harvest, it was beyond 10%.

In the book of EXO 22:29  God said: "Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats. "You must give me the firstborn of your sons.

God was teaching man to be willing to give everything to Him and that even included the most valuable possession of all a mans own son.

GEN 14:18  Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High,
19  and he blessed Abram, saying, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.
20  And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

From this point on in biblical history it was established for God's people to give 10% as Abram who became Abraham gave.

You seem to work very hard at trying to undo what God has established, in His Holy Word. I feel very sorry for you, because you will stand before the God of the universe and He will judge you for you sin.

Repent of this grave error in your life and find your salvation in a grace that is still there for you if you will take off the blinders that the devil has put over your heart.

Sincerely  Pastor Mike S.

[Ray replies]

Pastor Mike S:

Maybe you need to repent of your "grave error" Pastor S!

If you did not actually READ my paper on tithing, how are you qualified to ridicule it?   If you did read it how is it that you totally MISSED the whole section of "GIVING FROM THE HEART?"  Did you not read where I said that "God LOVES A CHEERFUL GIVER?"

In the early church when then sold possessions to give to the poor and share among other members, this was NOT TITHING!  How pray tell do you get "tithing" out of "free will OFFERINGS?"  It is YOU, Pastor S, who are in error. And no, you are wrong, ancient Israel was NOT commanded to give ONE THIRD of their yearly harvest!

You say that New Testament believers are "free to give from their hearts."   THAT'S not tithing, Pastor S, tithing was a MANDATORY LAW! There was NO 'free will' about it.

Do you have any possessions that you claim to be your own, Pastor S?  A house? A Car? A watch? Furniture? A checking account? Clothing? Do you? Because if you ever slip up and claim anything to belong to YOU, then you are a hypocrite as you stated they had NO POSSESSIONS that they claimed to be their own!

People email me daily asking how the local congregations should be financed. And I tell them. If there is a salary to be paid, a utility bill to be paid, or any other legitimate expense -- PAY IT! Contribute money to PAY IT! One doesn't need to "tithe" to "pay a bill."

Me thinks that you, Pastor S, are too quick to condemn others [namely me] over matters that you know virtually nothing about.

May God grant you a spirit of humility and discernment over matters that are at present too high for you.

Sincerely,

Ray


Dear Sir:

My husband and I have given thousands of dollars to our local church. They teach that the tithe should be given to the local church and ONLY the local church. We have given offerings above and beyond the tithe to missionaries from our church and others, and to various ministries World-Wide on a regular basis. We are generous people and give lovingly -- but lately it has been bothering me to give so much to the church. 

I have felt so guilty about it. My husband doesn't agree with me. He thinks that because I am the main income source in our family, that I am becoming selfish with my salary.

We survived many years on less than $25,000.00 (his salary as a skilled tradesman in the South) when our oldest son was critically ill. I did not work. God has always blessed us with joy and contentment. He gave our son back to us healthy and whole after a long and serious illness. We have been married 10 years and I went back to work last year full time. I make much more than what my husband can make here. I am well educated and skilled in technology--also gifts from God over the years.

My point is that we are just now buying our first home. It is over 30 years old and in need of much repair. We are doing everything ourselves to try to save, while continuing to give the tithe plus to our local home church. Once we thought that God wanted us to give $4,000.00 to help missionaries build a church in Romania. We approached our pastor to seek counsel about it, and he assured us that we were wrong, that God wanted us to give that amount to our local church to help with the new ($1.7 million building). We did it because we trusted our pastor, we were afraid to NOT give after we had asked him about it and received his counsel. We were OK with cheerfully giving that money, but I always thought that we were supposed to give it to the missionaries in Romania.

Almost all of our pastors have large families, and they all homeschool all of their children with the latest greatest home curriculums on the market. (The senior pastor has eight children and his wife has never had to work outside the home). We send our children to the public school and are looked down on because of it -- but we can't afford a private school, even with the dual income. If I stay home to homeschool, we'll be back to $26,500.00 salary for a family of four with a mortgage. ;-(

The pastors all have large new homes, a couple of them have built-in swimming pools in their yards, they have nice cars and minivans, their children dress in the best of clothes and have music and dance lessons galore. 

It has been bothering me for a while now, that we couldn't even afford cable TV until this year (2002).  We only have two children, and have been accustomed to buying our clothes in thrift shops over the years. Our kids have never had the opportunity for music or dance or even extracurricular sports. There was just never any extra money for those things.

There are many families in our local church that hardly have enough to even get by on monthly. I don't know if they tithe or not -- if they don't, then they are swallowing a whole lot of guilt every week! Again, God is ever faithful. He has blessed us with this home of our own and me with a good paying job etc...

I am terrified that my resentment will lead to bitterness and cause problems in my own household/marriage.  I don't want to "buck the system" but this is an issue I can no longer conform to accepting peacefully. I am troubled by the seeming unfairness/unequal standards of living for God's children here. My husband has been in this church over 20 years. This is where he grew up in the Lord and has been taught that the Lord wants us to "test" Him in the tithe, so He can pour out His blessings on us. We have always tithed, so it appears that we are indeed blessed because of the tithe. A result of our "testing God."

Please clarify the tithe issue, when it comes to the local "home" church.  We do not give to televangelists and rarely to direct mail ministry campaigns. This is the teaching of the modern Protestant, evangelical church as far as I can tell. It has been the same teaching in most of the churches I have visited around here.  Please write to me about this.

Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom.

Sincerely,

K.

[Ray replies]

Dear K.:

I can certainly appreciate your situation. There is no doubt but that God has blessed you for desiring to give so that others will hear of God. That is a noble gesture.

However, there is NOTHING Scriptural that demands you pay TEN PER CENT of you  salaries to a local church or any other church. Tithing is part of the Old Covenant dispensation of CONDEMNATION and DEATH! (II Cor. 3:7-8).

Modern ministers love this old law of the flesh even if they hate God's spiritual laws of the New Covenant. The "Love of Money" is a hall mark in identifying the pastors of Babylon the Great. God says "Come out of her my people and be not partkers of her sins, that you be not partakers of her plagues." I have found that when a minister will teach one false doctrine, he is apt to teach more false doctrines. 

But it's up to you, I can't decide for you or your husband. It appears to me, however, that you tithe partly because you fear God if you don't. You should "GIVE" and not "TITHE."  If you your giving equals ten percent or not is not the issue.  Paul taught to give as God has prospered you.  Ten percent of $25K when one has a large family, brings one pretty close to the poverty level.  Be sure you take care of your children and family first. It appears that your pastor is doing okay. He probably won't go hungry anytime soon.

What ever you do, GET RID OF THE GUILT!  I prefer to give money to the homeless and hungry on the streets.

Sincerely,

Ray


I just wanted to thank you for enlightening me on the topic of tithing.

We recently moved from Texas to Georgia.  Our preacher in Texas preached that tithing was unscriptural and giving should be from the heart.  However, when we moved to Georgia, the preacher at the church we attend preached a sermon on how you must tithe in order to be blessed by God.

I have thought about this all week and prayed that God would somehow show me the truth about tithing.  When I went to my computer and put in the word tithe and clicked on "search", yours was the first website that popped up.   I read every word and now feel that I know the Truth.

Again, thank you, and may God bless your ministry. 

Carrie


Hi,

I just read your article on tithes and offerings.  I don't have a question but want to encourage you in your work.  What you said is true and I have had some first hand experiences with some of these 'preachers'.  I thought you may like to add this to your section of these 'preacher's tactics'.

About seven or so years ago my dad was diagnosed with two terminal bone diseases.  Our entire family was devastated.  One late night I was watching television and a 'preacher' came on (Peter Popoff).  He gave a phone # and said that if anyone had a prayer request for healing to call.  Well, I called and a prayer operator prayed with me etc.  Then, a few days later I received something in the mail from them.  It was an 'anointed cloth' with instructions.  I don't remember how much money they were asking for but they said if I sent money by a certain date, lit a candle at midnight, and put the prayer cloth under my dad's pillow he would be healed as this 'preacher' prayed for healing. 

When I got this in the mail I was completely astonished.  I couldn't believe my eyes when they said I had to follow these instructions and send a certain sum of money.  It made me quite sick.  

I didn't do it but instead wrote a letter to this man telling him what I thought about his charging people for prayer and/or healing.  I didn't get a response back....LOL  As you can imagine it was very disheartening to see a supposed man of God insist on being paid for his prayer.  This also happened to my mom with another popular female minister.  

I just wanted to let you know about this other tactic so you could warn other's who are feeling desperate.  

God Bless You!

Anne


I absolutely loved your article on tithing.  I had been swayed by those hucksters for so many years and was even encouraged to write my tithes off on my tax returns. 

Recently I came across a man named Zola Levitt and read his opinion of how unbiblical tithing is.  I grudgingly stopped bringing my tithe "to the storehouse" and started giving it to those in need. 

I finally received the "cheer" Paul spoke of until this [happened]:

I paid my tithe with as much cheer as if I were paying the phone bill.  Things had been nice until the devil instilled in me a fear of a curse (that I had heard about from so many "men of God")

I started to wonder if this new practice of giving to poor and needy was right!  I nearly became consumed with this fear of doing the wrong thing until this evening. 

I prayed to the Almighty and asked for clarification on tithing.   Once up from my knees I went to the internet and poked in the search term "tithing".  Yours was the first I saw.  Once into your article, I felt that same since of joy I had months ago after reading Zola Levitt's writings on the topic.  

Thank you so much for taking the time to write down the truth and being used by God to help me and many others like me. 

I hope God blesses you as you've blessed me,

Larry


Hello.

I have a dumb question.  I was raised a Catholic.  At offering time, they passed out envelopes, and passed the baskets.  It was no big deal.  I never even heard of a TITHE until I started going to a Pentecostal church. 

I am having a very hard time even thinking about giving 10% of my GROSS earnings. I am struggling with this.  Does God really require 10%, and if you don't give it, are you really "cursed with a curse"?  Does that mean that no Catholic will go to heaven??  Why is tithing such a big deal in minority churches?  

I simply can't afford to go to church.  That is the truth.   We have the Building Fund, the Preacher's offering,  and the Speaker's offering. And then the choir needs robes, and there is a banquet, and because you sit at the ORANGE table, you must wear ORANGE, so you must purchase an ORANGE dress with all the ORANGE accessories.  And the ladies auxiliary is selling tickets.  And we need money to do this and that. And it goes on and on....

Is begging godly???

I can't take it anymore.  Part of me says I am going to give what I can and that is it.  Another part of me is ready to make a mad dash for the Catholic church.  Part of me is sad because I can't believe that the church has come to this. I am very confused.  All I know is that I believe that Jesus Christ is the only begotten son of God, and that Jesus died on the cross for my sins.  That is all I am sure of.

What can I do??

Please help...

[Ray Replies]

Dear Confused:

(This is beginning to sound like a "Dear Abby" column). Sorry, but I don't know your name.

Don't let the charlatan preachers of prosperity give you an inferiority complex over your spiritual standing with God based on how much money you give to these men with insatiable appetites for worldly possessions and all that filthy lucre can lavish on their carnal flesh.

That's not to say that there are not legitimate expenses in operating a church congregation. However, these expenses need to be met with FREE WILL OFFERINGS. That is how ALL the expenses of the early New Testament Church were met. Tithing was NEVER taught by the Apostle Paul to the nations.

I have a whole paper on my site entitled: "Tithing is Unscriptural Under the New Covenant." Subtitled: "The Fraudulent Fleecing of the Flock"

I personally do not belong to or attend any institutionalized church. I am, however, a member of the Body of Christ which is The Church of The Living GOD. There are no monetary obligations to belong to God's Family of Believers, however, one must be willing to sacrifice his all in service and obedience to his Lord.

Your true fellowship and communion is with God the Father and your Lord Jesus Christ. If anyone wants to put a monetary price tag on that fellowship, RUN! You do not have to buy an orange dress to feast at God's Table.

Sincerely,

Ray


Mr. Smith,

I am sorry that you are still not clear on what the New Testament says about tithing.   Everything written in the Old and New Testament was given as an example for us to live by.  Tithing in the Old Testament was the beginning of a mindset.  As I previously stated, Jesus came to this world not abolish the Old Testament Law, but to carry it even further.

A tithe and giving are the same.  When Jesus came he reinforced the fact that it all begins in the heart and the mind.  Jesus took the law a step further by saying if a man thinks about lusting or murder he has already committed the sin even though he did not carry out the action.  In the same way giving is the New Testament tithe.  It starts in the heart, hence the scripture that states God Loves a Cheerful Giver.  There is no set amount to be given, but just as Jesus did, we should try to go above and beyond what the Old Testament examples showed us.  There were many times where the New Testament disciples collected a tithe or gift from the people in the church.  The scriptures I previously quoted below from Acts show that the church sold many of their belongings to give back to the church.  That is a tithe-they had a blessing from God and chose to return what they could to His work.  They distributed those funds to the people in need.  And just as they did in the first century church, we should do today.

As for the comment about money.  Yes, certain SMALL groups of people had money.  For the other 95% of the population in the first century church, they used what they had to trade and to tithe.  If a basket maker had baskets, he traded those to someone for a titheable item.  He did not pull money out of his pocket to buy those titheable items. 

Lastly, I did read your last few paragraphs concerning giving.   And yes God wants us, but one way that we show that faith and dedication is by giving things that we have here on earth-time, money, love, and many other intangibles.   As the scripture states, what good is your faith without deeds and what good are your deeds without faith. 

I believe in giving/tithing/offering my money to anyone who is TRUSTWORTHY and in pursuit of God's work.  I do not personally give to any televangelists, but would not stereo type all televangelists.  Just as I previously stated in my email below, God calls on us to be good stewards and being a good steward means researching and understanding who or what you are giving your gifts to. 

The most important item hear is not what you or I feel, but what Jesus said and did-Matthew 5:17 - "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."  

Trevor

[Ray Replies]

Dear Trevor:

It is most ironic that you should state: "I am sorry that you [that's me] are still not clear on what the New Testament says about tithing." Don't be sorry. If you understanding is "clear" then I prefer "muddy."

Trevor, listen a second. When one devises UNscriptural terminology to describe and explain perfectly good Scriptural terms, one will ALWAYS stray from the truth. You do this constantly. And the result is confusion. I will now quote your statements using caps to emphasize certain key words:

QUOTE:  "EVERYTHING written in the Old and New Testament was given as an example for us TO LIVE BY."

Comment:  Not true.  There are several purposes for the written Scriptures. That "everything" was given as an "example" for us to "live by," however, is not one of them. 

"ALL SCRIPTURES is INSPIRED by God, and is beneficial for TEACHING , for EXPOSURE [make the facts known], for CORRECTION, for DISCIPLINE IN RIGHTEOUSNESS..." (II Tim. 3:16-17). 

There are HUNDREDS of things written in Scripture that are NOT examples for us to live by. God instructed Noah to build an ark, He is not instructing US to build a ark.  Israel sacrificed animals by the hundreds of thousands, yet these are NOT examples for us to live by.

QUOTE:  "Tithing in the Old Testament was the beginning of a MINDSET."

Comment: Not true. Abraham tithed ONCE, and then not on his own personal possessions. Jacob tithed ONCE, but only AFTER God would make him wealthy. Moses made it a LAW (not a mindset) that tithing on certain products was to be done in Israel.

QUOTE:  "...Jesus came to this world not to abolish the Old Testament Law, but to CARRY IT EVEN FURTHER."

Comment:  Not true.  Jesus Christ came to "FULFILL" the law, not to "CARRY IT EVEN FURTHER" (Mat. 5:17).  The NEW covenant is not an extension or a modification or a "furtherance" of the OLD covenant!  The Old Covenant WAS the ten commandments (Deut. 4:13). The New Covenant is not even "patterned" after the Old Covenant Ten Commandments. Who are you going to believe, Trevor? or Jesus Christ? 

"Lo! the days are coming, the Lord is saying, And I shall be concluding with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah A NEW COVENANT [with NEW commandments], NOT IN ACCORD WITH THE COVENANT [of ten commandments, Deut. 4:13] which I make with their fathers."

God's NEW LAWS (Ver 10) are SPIRITUAL. The Law of Christ, The Law of Faith, The Law of Righteousness, The Law of the SPIRIT, The Law of Liberty, The Law of  LIFE, THESE ARE THE NEW LAWS OF THE NEW COVENANT!!!

QUOTE:  "A tithe and giving ARE THE SAME."

Comment: Not true.  A "tithe" means a "tenth." Giving DOES NOT MEAN A TENTH! This is elementary, Trevor. The law demanded a TENTH, not a gift of ANY amount.

QUOTE:  "Jesus took THE LAW a step further..."

Comment:  Not true. He gave us a NEW LAW!!! Have you not read ALL what Jesus taught regarding the laws of the Old Covenant in Matt. 5?  Is "turning the other cheek" a "furtherance" of "an eye for an eye"? IT IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT!

"You hear that it was declared [IN THE OLD COVENANT], 'You shall be loving your associate and you SHALL BE HATING YOUR ENEMY.' Yet, I am saying to you, 'LOVE YOUR ENEMIES..." (Matt. 5:38-44). 

Is "LOVING YOUR ENEMIES" a "furtherance" or "extension" or "modification" of "HATING YOUR ENEMIES?"  Give me break!

QUOTE:  "In the same way [but Trevor, YOUR ways as presented in this email are not GOD'S WAYS] GIVING is the New Testament tithe."

Comment: Not true. This hardly needs comment. Trevor, "giving" is VOLUNTARY, "tithing" is a LAW THAT DEMANDS TEN PERCENT! In what way are these two opposed terms the same?

QUOTE:  "It starts in the heart, hence the scripture that states God loves a Cheerful giver."

Comment: Not true. Tithing does NOT "start in the heart." One did NOT have to be a "cheerful giver" in the Old Testament in order to fulfill his obligation to tithe. One could HATE God and not get stoned, as long as he paid his tithe. Moses did NOT judge the heart of man by two or more witnesses and then stone them to death for not being motivated "from the heart." This is the very reason the New Covenant Laws ARE SPIRITUAL LAWS!!!

QUOTE:  "There is NO SET AMOUNT to be given, but just as Jesus did, we should try to go above and beyond what the Old Testament examples showed us."

Comment:  Trevor, you throw together one unscriptural phrase after the other and conclude that you know the truths of God.  You say that "a tithe and giving ARE THE SAME." You then say that "there is NO SET AMOUNT to be given." If "giving" IS THE SAME as "tithing," then there most definitely is a "set amount"--TEN  PERSENT! That my friend is the LAW OF TITHING! Ten percent was not an "example" of what to give as you suggest, IT WAS A "LAW!"

QUOTE:  "There were MANY TIMES where the New Testament disciples collected A TITHE or gift from the people in the church."

Comment:  Not true. Trevor, show me ONE TIME that the disciples collected a "TITHE" from the people in the church. Show me ONE! You say "many"--I say, "show me ONE."  Do you really think that by adding "or gift" to your statement that you are at liberty to pervert the Word of God?

QUOTE:  "...the church sold many of their belongings to give back to the church.   THAT IS A TITHE..."

Comment:  Not true.  Trevor that is NOT A TITHE!  If selling a possession with the intent to give TEN PERCENT OF THE REDEEMED value back to the church, then God Almighty would NOT have struck Ananias and Sapphira DEAD IN THEIR TRACKS for "keeping back PART of the price." According to you, Trevor, they could have sold their possession, kept NINETY PERCENT of the sale for THEMSELVES, given A TITHE to the church and all would be well and God would be well-pleased with their TITHE! Let's read it together, Trevor: 

"But a certain man name Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back PART OF THE PRICE [as much as NINETY PERCENT, what is left after a tithe], his wife also being privy to it, and brought A CERTAIN PART [at least ten percent, for that is what a tithe is], and laid it at the apostles feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to KEEP BACK PART OF THE PRICE of the land? While it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thne heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words FELL DOWN, AND GAVE UP THE GHOST..." (Acts 5:1-5).

It doesn't say, Trevor, but quote possibly Ananias and Sapphira gave NINETY percent of the sale to the church and only kept back TEN percent. Was God happy with Ananias' TITHE? It was not a "tithe" at all. They did NOT practice tithing!

QUOTE:  "Yes, certain SMALL [emphasis YOURS] groups of people had money. For the OTHER 95% OF THE POPULATION...." 

Comment:  Not true.  Where are you getting these statistics that 95% of the people in Jerusalem in the first century HAD NO MONEY?  Do you have a Scripture on that?  Do you have an historical statement to that effect?  Even the POOREST people in Jerusalem had money. "And one woman, A POOR WIDOW,  coming, casts in two mites, which is a quadrans." (Mark 12:42).

QUOTE:  "If a basket maker had baskets, he TRADED those to someone FOR A TITHABLE ITEM."

Comment:  Not true. Do you have a Scriptural example of what you purpose? Just how far will you go to push your unscriptural teaching of tithing under the New Covenant?   Your statements are not only unscriptural, but they are silly. You are stretching, you are grasping for straws, but there are none. You start with the false premise that the New Covenant church  MUST HAVE TITHED. But since that premise is not true and you cannot find a single Scripture to substantiate your absurd claims and statements, you just MAKE THINGS UP. Basket weavers traded baskets for corn and then TITHED the corn? Oh really?

QUOTE:  "I believe in giving/TITHING/offering MY money to ANYONE who is TRUTHWORTHY..." 

Comment: I am sure that you do. However, if it is truly a "tithe" you are talking about, then it is NOT "MY [YOUR] MONEY." The tithe belonged to GOD, not the person giving it! And just where did God authorize that people should give a tithe to only "TRUSTWORTHY" people?  Where do you find that?  Read Malachi! The book of Malachi is a statement against the wicked priests of Levi. These priests were CORRUPT!  They certainly were NOT "trustworthy." And yet...and YET, God Almighty accused the WHOLE NATION of Israel of "ROBBING GOD" because they did NOT bring the tithe of wheat, corn, oil, etc., into the storehouse to these UNTRUSTWORTHY PRIESTS OF LEVI (Malachi 3:8-9)!

Your final statement:

QUOTE:  "The most important item hear is not what you or I FEEL, but what Jesus said and did."

Comment:  Now that IS an admiral statement, however, what seems to be important TO YOU at least is a plethora of statements to me that are totally unscriptural and have nothing to do with what Jesus Christ actually "said or did."

I am not trying to be hard on YOU, Trevor, but on you unscriptural statements at are deceptive and divisive.  I will post this email and my reply with the hopes that thousands of others who read my paper on tithing and have similar views such as you, will see the folly of such thinking and turn to God in faith and truth. Faith must be according to the Scriptures. "If they speak not according to THIS WORD, it is because there is NO TRUTH in them." "Whatsoever is not of faith, IS SIN."

I trust that I believe in "cheerful giving" as much as the next person. And we are certainly to limited to ten percent. However, teaching that tithing is a LAW OF THE NEW COVENANT is unscriptural. All too many use this law for their own personal power and gain.  I heard one minister on TBN from Georgia at least ten times or more [just for fleeting moments--I could stand to listen to a whole sermon], before he had a topic other than giving, planting seed, tithing, and a host of other topics dealing with getting rich. What a total SHAM!

May God be with you, Trevor, and grant you a spirit of wisdom and understanding.

Sincerely,

Ray


Ray,

In regards to tithing:

I fully understand your objections to tithing on the basis of the OT verses you quote.

Just a few comments -

Jesus said He came not to destroy the law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17-20), and that in all things our righteousness must surpass that of the Pharisees & teachers of the law.   Do you interpret that to mean that Christians are free to provide less support for their preachers and teachers than the law provided for the Levites?

I understand and concur with your assessment of televangelists who are not true ministers of the Gospel, but charlatans who cheat thousands of people.

However, I have been an active member of small congregations of believers all my life & have seen the results of anti-tithing, freewill offering theology such as yours.  Tens of thousands of churches call "bi-vocational" pastors (such as you note Paul was) in order to avoid putting any burden on the lifestyles of their members.  Threadbare pastors working seventy and eighty hours a week, working themselves into the ground, sometimes ruining their health in the process, cope with expectations that not only they, but their spouses and children will present themselves every time the door of the church is opened, and provide full-time pastoral ministry at usually less than the pastor would make at McDonalds. 

I recently had an outraged church member say to me that if we were going to meet our budget, every adult would have to pay $16.50 a week!!  He is a retiree on fixed income, but I somehow doubt he & his wife live in their suburban home, support their large Great Lakes fishing boat, etc. on $330 a week!  What he fails to realize is that people like me who do tithe - not out of guilt, but, as you point out Jacob did, out of understanding that God has blessed me mightily - enable him to live in his self-serving delusion that he has a $16.50 a week obligation to the ministry of his church.  I guess my Spiritual gift must just be giving - and doing so liberally?

You say in your article that Paul never took money from the people he served.  I must point out that in his letter to the Philippians 4:14-19 he thanks and praises that church for their financial support of his ministry. Further, in 1 Corinthians 9:14 he states plainly, "In the same way the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.'  This would almost seem to prohibit the bi-vocational pastor practice.

The conclusion of my comments on your article is not that it is without merit.  I do understand the point you make about keeping OT laws, although as mentioned above, I believe we are called by Christ Jesus, and enabled by the Holy Spirit to surpass the letter of the law.  However, as Paul points out in Romans 14 & 15, those who are strong in the faith and knowledge of the Word are not to put stumbling blocks before those who are immature.  You responded to someone who asked about how churches are to be supported very sarcastically - "with MONEY".  Then you went on to claim you never intended for people not to give.  Sir, had you concluded your article by telling people they should support their church, I would have no objection.  But your article, rather will lead the weak, and those with itching ears to feel justified in their selfishness and greed - a stumbling block, indeed.

Pam

[Ray Replies]

Dear Pam:

Thank you for your email and comments. You misunderstand a number of things in my paper on tithing:

1. You ask if Christ fulfilling the law puts less or more obligation on Christians to support their pastors.

Answer:  Christ fulfilling the law does not specifically deal with the support of Christian ministers.  Jesus told His disciples on one occasion to take NOTHING in the form of money on their evangelistic journey. Certainly the ones being benefited were expected to contribute to their needs. And the same was true under Paul's teachings. He explained that one does not muzzle an ox which treads the grain. Notice that he did not bring up the law of "tithing" in instructing how the ministry should be supported, but rather that of muzzling oxen. Of course oxen are given food, water, and shelter, not
a monthly salary.

Paul said that he had authority to live BY THE GOSPEL, as you mentioned, but he did not use that privilege, and admonished that others FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE.

It is clear that Paul worked to support himself and his companions. I have absolutely NOTHING against ministers receiving a wage for their profession, and I SAID SO IN MY PAPER.

2. You state that "tens of thousands" of churches try to employ bi-vocational pastors to avoid paying someone a full working salary.

Answer: I seriously doubt that you could find "tens of thousands" of such churches. Or even a thousand, or a hundred, that do what you are suggesting. I know that there are a few--very few. I know of no "threadbare pastors working seventy and eighty hours a week." I am sure their are a few--very few. And I am also sure that a good, honest pastor willing to work SEVENTY-EIGHT hours a week, could find a church that would be dying for his services and would give him a full working wage.

3. You say I said in my paper that Paul never took money from the people he served, and then point to Phil. 4:14-19 suggesting that Paul praised them for "their financial support."

Answer:  I NEVER said that Paul never took money from the people he served. Where? I said Paul never took "a dime of TITHE MONEY." Paul did not teach tithing to the Gentile converts, neither did he accept "TITHE" money from them. Also, Paul never praised the Philippians for their "FINANCIAL support" as you state. Paul tanked them for "the THINGS" which were sent to Him. Money would hardly be called: "the THINGS" (Phil. 4:18). Small point, however. It would make no difference if they had sent money, or money AND other necessities. It still wasn't "tithing," but voluntary GIVING.

It is certainly true that those who preach the gospel have a right to live from the gospel. But teaching the gospel does not involve teaching Old Testament TITHING as a means of support. The ministry today is NOT the Levetic Priesthood, and the law of Moses clearly states that none other than a Levite could accept tithes.  There is NO temple today, there is NO Levitic Priesthood, there is NO animal sacrifice, etc. Today's ministry is NOT the tabernacle service of the Levites.

The churches today teach that one MUST TITHE MONEY. Money was NEVER, EVER a tithable commodity under the law of Moses. And one was to tithe "on his INCREASE" not "on his POVERTY." No one should be expected to TITHE TEN PERCENT MONEY ON THE GROSS OF THEIR WELFARE OR SS CHECK! Yet it is is taught! I have MANY emails attesting to this fact! IT IS A SIN!

My statement that churches ought to pay utility bills with "MONEY" was not a sarcastic comment, but rather a SIMPLE comment that even children should understand. One would look pretty silly taking a baskets of corn and wheat to the utility office in payment of a church utility bill! Yet that is what was tithed under the tithing law--grains, wine, oil, etc., not MONEY! This point alone ought to show the absurdity of teaching "tithing" to support ministers today.

Here is the answer, Pam: Pay bills with MONEY, pay your pastor with MONEY, give him all the MONEY you desire, but don't make it a LAW and use the Old Covenant as Scriptural support for the practice.

You suggest that I should have concluded my paper by telling people to "support their church." I would NEVER do that. I have no idea whether their church deserves to be supported or not.  I personally don't financially support any institutionalized church of men, yet I devote my whole life to the gospel. If one's church really DOES teach the gospel, then they should be supported.

I do not tithe to anyone, yet I am not selfish and greedy. Not tithing does not define "selfish" or "greedy."

Read the last pages of my tithing paper again, and explain to me where I cast a stumbling block and lead the weak to feel justified in their selfishness and greed? I don't think so. GIVE all you want to, Pam, but don't "TITHE." It is completely UNSCRIPTURAL under the New Covenant.

God be with you,

Ray


If the New Testament did away with tithing, why did I start being blessed beyond measure when I stepped out in faith and began tithing?

Jerry

[Ray Replies]

Dear Jerry:

Thank you for your comment.

I don't believe most people realize just how much they sometimes reveal about themselves in just one sentence or a few words.

I am glad that your are "blessed beyond measure." Perhaps that is because you have a loving, giving heart.

However, I find your statement, "...I stepped out IN FAITH and began tithing," to be quite revealing.

When God gave Israel the "LAW of tithing," did the people obey it by "stepping out IN FAITH?" Do we pay our property taxes to our community by "stepping out IN FAITH?" Hardly. It is a LAW. We have no choice but to PAY OUR TAXES. And likewise, the Children of Israel had not choice but to PAY THEIR TITHES!   A MANDATORY LAW does not require "faith" to obey!

And so, aren't even you, possibly, admitting that you are doing something "in FAITH" that is NOT "required BY LAW?" Paul never told the Gentiles ONCE to "step out in faith and start paying tithes." Paul never taught tithing to the Gentiles, neither did he ever take a penny of tithe money from Gentiles. Besides, "money" was never a tithable commodity. Neither were fish, baskets, sailing ships, wagons, shoes, tents, jewelry, etc.

I have no problem with people who wish to tithe. I have a real problem with people who teach widows that they will be CURSED WITH A CURSE if they do not tithe their welfare or SS checks!!! And I have on file letters and emails to that back up this damnable practice.

Tithing as it is taught in most churches is an unscriptural sham. And made no mistake about it: It is because the pastors have NO FAITH to trust God for their needs, that they enact a law that does not pertain to New Testament Christians "God LOVES A CHEERFUL GIVER."  THAT is the Scriptural admonition that we should all be living by.

God be with you,

Ray


I appreciate your expository piece on tithing in the new church. 

My husband got caught up in a "fundamentalist" Baptist church that had him so "guilty" all of the time that he was giving them money hand over fist until it nearly bankrupted us.  I was so tired of seeing 10% of our paycheck "before taxes" being collected by this church.  I kept telling my husband that something may happen in the future and we needed to be putting money aside for a rainy day.  Well the rainy day has occurred.  We now have a son ready to go to college and we don't know how we are going to pay for it.  I keep thinking and doing the math in my head.  All those years we kept putting about $5000 a year x ten or more years in the church plate was enough to put him through college. 

Another thing that bothers me is seeing these ministers take trips to the Holy Lands or Hawaii even, when we can't afford to go to the state fair or Carowinds once a summer.  We even knew one preacher that two boats, and was trading cars more than I trade in my underwear!!  One evangelist came to our church and set up a money jar in the vestibule for his daughter's education fund-begged people to put money in that jar when we don't even know how we are going to send our own son to school.

At one church, the congregation was paying for the health care insurance for the preacher's grown daughter who was old enough to be working and carrying her own insurance.

There will be a reckoning day some day for these acts.

[Ray Replies]

Dear Teresa:

Thank you for sharing your story with us. We hear similar tales all the time. Yet I am criticized and threatened continually for warning people of these unscriptural evils in the church.

God be with you,

Ray


Hi Ray,

I have read your comments and your emails from others. I would never have thought that I would even consider what you have said. I too -- have been taught about the tithes thing. I feel so guilty about it. My husband and I were very sick -- had to file bankruptcy because of medical bills. We do not have the money to pay tithes at this time. The hospitals tell us what we are going to pay.

We do not feel welcome in churches. You know how it is -- when you don't give. The hard part is missing the fellowship of others. It is hard just sitting alone. It is hard not having others to just have fun and relate to in the body of Christ. We want to be able to pay our tithes -- to get back in church.

Don't you miss the church part? That is the hardest for us.

We got real hurt when we were so sick. No church came and helped us and we had been faithful givers for over 20 years. I understand parts of what you are saying. At the same time -- cannot the scriptures that you have quoted -- be understood both ways. Your view point and the churches.

I listen in your comments and etc. I understand where you are coming from. Like I said -- we feel like outcasts. It is taking having an effect on us. We feel so guilty that it is effecting our home. You feel like you have backslider.   We miss the body of Christ so much. How can the leg say that it has no need of the arm, etc.?

I will continue to ponder in my heart what you have said. The only thing that I am concerned about is that you do seem angry. I understand being angry about what is going on - I see that. At the same time -- it does make me concerned about the fruit that comes with you because of your anger.

Take care and I will continue to ponder what you have said. My heart just cries out to the truth. I just wish that God would come down and sit down and speak straight to me. It is so confusing in so many ways. To be a part of the church -- you have to do this. We have giving hearts and are willing. It is just hard when you have to have medicine and etc. If we do it right now -- we will lose our home and car. ( unless God gives us a miracle) We had to buy a car for traveling back and forth to doctors. Our other car was over 20 years old. We tried to tithe and were not able to buy groceries. We even wrote checks for tithes and ask the pastor to hold them till we got paid. Like I said - I hear you. At the same time -- it grieves us not to be part of a local assembly.

I would pay anything to have that back.  Take care, Linda

[Ray Replies]

Dear Linda:

I understand your situation. But can't you see the damnable damage this doctrine of the church is having on you and your husband? Listen to me very carefully, Linda: Even in ancient Israel, farmers and herdsmen tithed ONLY ON THEIR INCREASE! And ONLY farmers and herdsmen tithed in the first place. MONEY was never a tithable commodity. The very people who earned WAGES by working in the fields and tending the cattle, DID NOT TITHE ON THOSE WAGES OR MONEY! Now that is an absolute Biblical fact.

The church has abandoned you in your need! Does that sound "Christian-like?"

Did Jesus expect us to PAY for fellowship in the congregation?

The Church that Jesus Christ built is not a social club where the members are expected to pay DUES in order to belong. 

Listen, as God as my Judge, I cannot even begin to fathom the evil of a pastor who would have the unmitigated gall to "hold your check" until you could jeopardize enough of your other needs such as food and medicine, to cover your tithing check! Does your pastor drive a 20-year old car??

Certainly I do miss regular fellowship with like minded believers in a congregational setting. However, I have a computer and I have a telephone. I have unlimited long-distance calling, and I make good use of it. I probably counsel and fellowship over the telephone, nearly 100 hours a month!  And let me assure you, that it is far more profitable and enjoyable than fellowshipping in a church of carnal-minded people with a carnal-minded pastor.

I have been spending 5 to 10 hours daily, just answering emails like yours. This also is rewarding to me and is, in fact, a form of fellowshipping, even though I may never hear your voice or see your face.

Our TRUE FELLOWSHIP is with God the Father and His Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. And this is INSTANT fellowship--day and night. Trust me when I say that spiritual fellowship is far more profitable that physical fellowship. It is, in fact, HOW WE WORSHIP GOD!

I can't and won't tell you to stop tithing. Everyone must make his one decisions regarding these unscriptural doctrines enforced by the Church today. But should you decide to follow the example of New Covenant obedience, and give CHEERFULLY according to how much God has prospered you, I do believe that God will provide fellowship to fulfill that yearning inside of all of us.

We do hold informal Bible Conferences down here in the South a few times a year. Numerous people travel 500 or a 1000 miles to attend. Ask any of them if they would prefer to go back and fellowship weekly with those who persecute them for being faithful to God's Truths.

Jesus said that when we would follow HIM, that our enemies would become those of our own household, but most find it almost impossible to believe that there could be even greater enemies in our own CHURCH! I can speak with some authority on this subject, as those who know me can attest.

As for my anger. If you were to be around me very long, Linda, you would see how much I LAUGH! I love to laugh, and I do it daily. I do not walk around with a serious look of spiritual indignation on my face. In answering emails and writing my papers, I follow the admonition of Proverbs which tells us to "Answer a fool according to a fool" and "Answer NOT a fool according to a fool." This sometimes involves humor. I don't apologize for it.

For the people who think that I am way out of line for getting angry over the sins and evils of the Church and this world, I would only ask them to read very carefully, the 23rd Chapter of Matthew. Then ask yourself how YOU feel about the "harsh and angry language" that Jesus used on those pious religious leaders who were loved dearly by their followers. I personally believe that many who heard Jesus berate these religious hypocrites, thought that Jesus was WAY OUT OF LINE with His language. You might also take careful not of this one denunciation of our Lord:

"WOE unto you, scribes and Pharisees, HYPOCRITES! for your DEVOUR WINDOW'S HOUSES..." (Matt. 23:14).

"Devour"--from Greek: "katesthio, to squander , to waste, Luke 15:30, to devour by forcible appropriation, as of widows' property, Mat. 23:14" (Strong's #2719, Greek Dictionary, P. 135.

Paul speaks of these false apostles who demand high compensation to fulfill their worldly lusts:  "I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little...Seeing that many glory after the flesh. I will glory also. For you suffer fools GLADLY seeing you yourselves are wise. For you suffer, if a man bring you into BONDAGE, if a man DEVOUR YOU, if a man TAKE OF YOU, if a man EXALT himself, if a man [metaphorically] SMITE you on the face" (II Cor. 11:16, 18-19). And hard as it may seem to believe, the Scriptures tell us that not only do the people put up with such unscriptural abuse, but they do in fact, "...love to have so."

Listen to the TV religious auctioneers hawk their wares every day. They berate and abuse the people to give more and more and more and more....  One of the most abusive of all has his very name stamped with the almighty "dollar." They make me physically ill just listening to them. Have they no shame at all? You be the judge....

Might I suggest that you read: "None Dare Call It Sarcasm" and "Why This Site Exists" on this bible-truths site. God's command is to:  "Cry ALOUD, spare not, lift up your voice LIKE A TRUMPET, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob THEIR SINS" (Isa. 58:1).

You think these guys won't come after me one day for Scripturally proving that their unlawful schemes for raising money to to fulfill their insatiable lust for worldly materialism is a sin that is reaching into heaven itself?

The best advice that I could give to you, Linda, is the same advice that I personally took years ago:  "COME OUT OF HER, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Rev. 18:4). Obedience always brings blessings!

God be with you,

Ray


Mr. L Ray Smith

I'm not here to put you down or your ministry, but Let me tell you what giving has done for me... because I'm a tither and give offering the Lord continues to bless me and give me favor with man.

The bible tells us to give...and I think God is require more of us then that of the old covenant. Please look at these new testament scriptures .... Acts 20:35, Acts 2:45, Acts 4:34-37, Phil. 4:15-19, IICorth 9:6-13, Matt. 6:38 (Jesus said this, its in red).

I have more, but if you just look at this with a humble heart. I'm not here to debt..receive it or reject it?

Thank you

Preston

[Ray Replies]

Dear Preston:

I am glad that you are blessed.  I am sure that I have been blessed for my giving as well, but I don't TITHE!  And furthermore, neither do you. You can SAY that you "tithe," but you don't:

     1.  Tithing was a LAW of Moses under the Old Covenant. We are under the New.

     2.  Tithing was for ISRAEL ONLY.   Gentiles were not commanded to tithe.

     3.  Tithing was on FARM PRODUCTS ONLY.   Money was NEVER tithed.

     4.  Tithes were given to:  The Levites--we know of no Levites today.

     5.  Tithes where brought to the tabernacle or temple--this IS NO tabernacle or temple today.

     6.  Tithes were also given to individual poor people, not to individual ministers.

     7.   Tithing was on done on THE INCREASE.  The Church today demands tithes of the poor.

     8.   Tithing was an obligation of the law, not a free and voluntary gift from the heart.

     9.   Tithes were eaten and/or turned into money and spent on the tithe-payer HIMSELF.

   10.   There is no example of Jesus tithing. Jesus was a carpenter. Carpenters DID NOT tithe.

   11.   There is no example of the Apostles tithing.

   12.   Paul never taught the Gentiles to tithe.

   13.   The Church in the first few centuries NEVER tithed money to the church.

   14.   There is no ONE example of "Christian tithing" in the entirety of the Bible.

   15.   The Priests and Levites ATE the tithe, they did not buy million dollar homes with it!

Etc., etc., etc.

So you may give money to the church, Preston, but YOU DON'T TITHE!   "Tithing is Unscriptural Under the New Covenant."

Hope this helps your understanding a little better.

God be with you,

Ray


 

Ray has received hundreds of other emails regarding tithing not included here

 

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