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The Backlash Against Tithing
The Wall Street Journal ^ | November 23, 2007 | Suzanne Sataline

Posted on 11/23/2007 4:54:21 PM PST by Cecily

Can you put a price on faith? That is the question churchgoers are asking as the tradition of tithing -- giving 10% of your income to the church -- is increasingly challenged. Opponents of tithing say it is a misreading of the Bible, a practice created by man, not God. They say they should be free to donate whatever amount they choose, and they are arguing with pastors, writing letters and quitting congregations in protest. In response, some pastors have changed their teaching and rejected what has been a favored form of fund raising for decades.

The backlash comes as some churches step up their efforts to encourage tithing. Some are setting up "giving kiosks" that allow congregants to donate using their debit cards when they attend services. Others are offering financial seminars that teach people in debt how they can continue tithing even while paying off their loans. Media-savvy pastors, such as Ed Young in Grapevine, Texas, sell sermons online about tithing. And in a shift, more Catholic parishes are asking churchgoers to tithe, says Paul Forbes, administrator of McKenna Stewardship Ministry, a nonprofit that says it has encouraged more than 500 parishes to tithe in the last decade. Popes haven't requested tithes in recent decades.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Evangelical Christian; General Discusssion; Theology
KEYWORDS: giving; tithing
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To: LiteKeeper

It’s in Matthew — I’ll look.

21 posted on 11/23/2007 9:51:38 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: ichabod1

You need to check out the website. Fellowship Church’s home campus is in Irving, with satellite locations around the metroplex and as far away as Miami.

Each location has a rock band, and they pipe in Young’s sermon from Irving on a big screen.

But, in any event, the article is correct.

22 posted on 11/23/2007 10:00:43 PM PST by PAR35
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To: LiteKeeper
They are questioning Jesus about the temple tax and it is in the last part that Jesus has Peter pay it for himself and for Jesus!! (See the explanation in the corresponding footnote.)

Matthew 17:24-27
20 When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax 21 approached Peter and said, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?"
"Yes," he said. 22 When he came into the house, before he had time to speak, Jesus asked him, "What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax? From their subjects or from foreigners?"
23 When he said, "From foreigners," Jesus said to him, "Then the subjects are exempt.
But that we may not offend them, 24 go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you."
And the footnotes that explain this:

20 [24-27] Like Matthew 14:28-31 and Matthew 16:16b-19, this episode comes from Matthew's special material on Peter. Although the question of the collectors concerns Jesus' payment of the temple tax, it is put to Peter. It is he who receives instruction from Jesus about freedom from the obligation of payment and yet why it should be made. The means of doing so is provided miraculously. The pericope deals with a problem of Matthew's church, whether its members should pay the temple tax, and the answer is given through a word of Jesus conveyed to Peter. Some scholars see here an example of the teaching authority of Peter exercised in the name of Jesus (see Matthew 16:19). The specific problem was a Jewish Christian one and may have arisen when the Matthean church was composed largely of that group.

21 [24] The temple tax: before the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in A.D. 70 every male Jew above nineteen years of age was obliged to make an annual contribution to its upkeep (cf Exodus 30:11-16; Nehemiah 10:33). After the destruction the Romans imposed upon Jews the obligation of paying that tax for the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus. There is disagreement about which period the story deals with.

22 [25] From their subjects or from foreigners?: the Greek word here translated subjects literally means "sons."

23 [26] Then the subjects are exempt: just as subjects are not bound by laws applying to foreigners, neither are Jesus and his disciples, who belong to the kingdom of heaven, bound by the duty of paying the temple tax imposed on those who are not of the kingdom. If the Greek is translated "sons," the freedom of Jesus, the Son of God, and of his disciples, children ("sons") of the kingdom (cf Matthew 13:38), is even more clear.

24 [27] That we may not offend them: though they are exempt (Matthew 17:26), Jesus and his disciples are to avoid giving offense; therefore the tax is to be paid. A coin worth twice the temple tax: literally, "a stater," a Greek coin worth two double drachmas. Two double drachmas were equal to the Jewish shekel and the tax was a half-shekel. For me and for you: not only Jesus but Peter pays the tax, and this example serves as a standard for the conduct of all the disciples.

23 posted on 11/23/2007 10:05:46 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation; LiteKeeper

Is Mat. 23:23 the verse you are looking for?

Christ makes it clear there that while tithing alone isn’t enough, it shouldn’t be left undone.

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. “ (KJV) (See parallel at Luke 11:24. Here it is in Douay Rheims: “ But woe to you, Pharisees, because you tithe mint and rue and every herb and pass over judgment and the charity of God. Now these things you ought to have done, and not to leave the other undone. “

24 posted on 11/23/2007 10:11:17 PM PST by PAR35
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To: PAR35
That's another one that Matthew has. Do you think that because he was a tax collector that all these references are in his Gospel?

As I understand this passage from the seven woes, the mint, dill and cummin were not the official tithes but just little things for show?

Here's the footnote from the NAB:

12 [23] The Mosaic law ordered tithing of the produce of the land (Lev 27:30; Deut 14:22-23), and the scribal tradition is said here to have extended this law to even the smallest herbs. The practice is criticized not in itself but because it shows the Pharisees' preoccupation with matters of less importance while they neglect the weightier things of the law.

25 posted on 11/23/2007 10:26:31 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

A preacher told me one time that it was the folks who came to our church from a Bible Church (dispensationalist) background that were most resistant to the idea of tithing. The reformed view is that the tithe is the minimum. We bring God’s tithes and our offerings.

26 posted on 11/23/2007 11:02:21 PM PST by PAR35
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To: Salvation
Jesus is not advocating tithing here, and He certainly is not saying that we should tithe. He is critical of the Pharisees who maintain the OT practice of tithing, and yet miss the more important things. BTW - the footnotes are not inspired. Be cautious how much weight you give to them.

PLEASE, read the article linked at #14.

27 posted on 11/23/2007 11:51:22 PM PST by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America; the Islamization of Eurabia)
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To: PAR35
Tithing in those days was the equivalent of income tax today. It was used to support the government. It is your free will offerings that you give to the church...freely, without obligation.

PLEASE read the article linked at #14

28 posted on 11/23/2007 11:54:12 PM PST by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America; the Islamization of Eurabia)
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To: Salvation

The New Testament command for giving- “Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).

29 posted on 11/23/2007 11:56:20 PM PST by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America; the Islamization of Eurabia)
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To: LiteKeeper; Salvation

First, I will say that I am not surprised that your source is dispensationalist in theology. See my comment at post 26.

Second, he is quite correct in denouncing the prosperity gospel ‘name it and claim it’ crowd.

Third, he doesn’t appear to deal with the verses from Matthew and Luke discussed by Salvation and by me up thread. (And, for the record, Salvation and I generally deep differences on key theological issues, and come from quite different faith backgrounds.) This may be in part because McArthur is not dealing with tithing, but with the prosperity gospel in this excerpt, despite the title of the article.

30 posted on 11/24/2007 12:29:25 AM PST by PAR35
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To: tiki; Salvation

The Catholic Church does not require its members to tithe or to donate the equivalent of tithing in time or talent. Thank heaven.

31 posted on 11/24/2007 4:48:01 AM PST by steadfastconservative
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To: Cecily
38 And the priest, the descendant of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes; and the Levites shall bring up a tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the rooms of the storehouse. (Nehemiah 10:38)

10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this," Says the Lord of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3:10)

Tithing is one of God's commandments and is not an option for Christians who faithfully obey God, and God promises blessings to those who choose to obey this particular commandment.

The "backlash", I believe, is just more evidence of the "falling away" spoken of by Christ that will occur just before His return.

The target that must be eliminated from all walks of life is Jesus Christ, the hunt is well underway, and bit by bit, everything Christ ever said, or commanded, is being discarded.

Just one more sign of the times.

32 posted on 11/24/2007 5:11:41 AM PST by GiovannaNicoletta
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To: LiteKeeper

Matt. 22: 21
21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.
Neither, biblically, your tithe is your income tax. The tithe went to the priests, who at the time of implementation, were the God-ordained government of Israel.

Tithing is not a New Testament principle.


Mark 12: 17
17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.

Luke 20: 25
25 And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.



The Lord’s messenger shall prepare the way for the Second Coming—Christ shall sit in judgment—Israel commanded to pay tithes and offerings—They keep a book of remembrance.

1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:

3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.

5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.

6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

7 ¶ Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?

8 ¶ Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.

12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.

13 ¶ Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?

14 Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?

15 And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.

16 ¶ Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

33 posted on 11/24/2007 5:53:39 AM PST by restornu (Improve The Shining Moment! Don't let them pass you by... PRESS FORWARD MITT)
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To: Lokibob

“Does God want 10% of my gross pay or 10% of my net?”

Do you want net blessings or gross blessings?

34 posted on 11/24/2007 9:00:36 AM PST by Grig
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To: Dog Gone

“God doesn’t need our money. Why would he?”

God wants you to love him more than your money. Everything you have he gave you, if giving back a tithe is too much then it kinda says where your heart is.

35 posted on 11/24/2007 9:03:10 AM PST by Grig
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To: Cecily

How sad that so many display so much ingratitude towards God right after Thanksgiving.

36 posted on 11/24/2007 9:05:45 AM PST by Grig
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To: Grig

Give it all back, then.

Except, you’re not giving it back to God. You’re forking it over to men who may or may not use it wisely.

If it makes you feel righteous, go ahead. But if your pastor is flying first class to Hawaii with his trophy wife on your dime, it kinda tells me where your head is.

37 posted on 11/24/2007 9:16:50 AM PST by Dog Gone
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To: restornu

You cannot quote an OT prophet for a New Testament principle. Neither Jesus, nor Paul, advocated tithing to the church. You pay a tithe (23%, incidently was the OT standard), to the God-ordained will offerings are the only thing that we give to the Church.

38 posted on 11/24/2007 9:57:35 AM PST by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America; the Islamization of Eurabia)
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To: restornu

If you study the tithe, you will see that it was never money. It was foodstuffs and livestock, and on certain feast days the Israelites were commanded to eat the tithes they were presenting to the Lord. As for what was placed in the storehouse, those tithes of foodstuffs and livestock were for the support of the Levitical priests who had no land of their own, and the priests were supposed to distribute food to the widows and orphans of Israel. Furthermore, the likes of Osteen, Dollar, Long, Copeland, et al., are not a modern-day Levitical priesthood.

39 posted on 11/24/2007 10:10:07 AM PST by Cecily
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To: Grig

Why do you assume we are ungrateful to God? Many of us may give more in freewill offerings to our church or parachurch ministries than the standard 10% tithe, which I also agree was a part of the economic system established by God for the children of Israel, but is not operative for the Body of Christ (the church).

If you study the tithe, you will also find out that it was never money, and the Israelites did have money.

40 posted on 11/24/2007 10:15:14 AM PST by Cecily
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