Earlier this month I discussed Christians, money and greed with Revelation TV's Doug Harris in a programme which was broadcast live on 7 August. During our discussion we touched upon various issues, including giving, tithing, debt, the prosperity gospel, banks and the economic crisis. The video of the programme is now available in full below.
This is an interesting topic. It inspired me to write a post where I have asked myself some very personal questions.
Just to get the ball rolling...
On a personal note, I had a few things come to my mind about giving and greed. The first thing for me is this… my hubby and I give financial help to our children. One child in particular we give a lot more help because she is a single mother to my adorable grandson and she doesn’t have a job at the moment. We help where we can, we do this because we love her and we do this because I think that the Lord would want us to do this with a grateful heart. I am reminded of the verse: If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8).
Second thing was this… I have met people who are struggling with money for reasons of unemployment or other circumstances beyond their control (this may be us come tax time) and my question is this: Can people who are struggling actually have a love of money because they think that money will solve everything? Can poor people actually be guilty of coveting and actually fall into the category of “The love of money is the root of all evil”?
I do know that God can provide us ‘for a time’, and then He can take it away when He wants. Have you ever thought about how your reaction would be if God decided to take your financial stability away? Would you fall into a covetous situation, or would you be drawn to the provision that God, in His wisdom, may give you no matter how little that was? Would you be able to accept your daily manna without storing for the future? This is a MASSIVE question isn’t it?
There is more on my post, but these are the two questions I have.
Calvin - speaking as a church treasurer there are a couple of questions that ought to be considered. I agree that Christians should tithe, but it is easier for some than others, for instance professional single people. Families with only one income might be struggling more, and there is nothing stopping wealthy Christians going beyond 10%. Secondly, I hear a lot that Christians should tithe to the local church from both Pentecostal and even FEIC Reformed churches. But I don't see this in Scripture. Abraham tithed to Melchizedek the King of Righteousness, one symbolic of Christ. So we tithe to God first. Evangelical churches generally rely upon a model of church where mission and relief work is often put through semi-independent charities. I would argue that at least part of our tithe should go to these groups and away from the local church. Or else we only worship in posh buildings while others are in need. A 50-50 split between giving to the local church and outside charities might be a good balance for the distribution of the tithe. What are your thoughts on this?
But weren't tithes brought to the Levites for temple service and their distribution? I don't see anything in the OT which speaks of or alludes to a "50-50 split". Can you point this out for me?
There is of course nothing in the OT about splitting a tithe 50-50 between local church and charities, although it is Anglican guidance as a practical teaching. Surely though we are not under the Levitical priesthood, but under the Melchizedok model with Christ as the high priest-king - and Christians too have priestly roles. So if we are to give to those who perform priestly service, those who serve God in ministering word and aid, who should we give the tithe too? I would suggest the local church and Christian missionary organisations/charities etc.
Tithing is set out in the Mosaic law, so any church deciding to continue the practise should follow it as originally administered. The concept of giving to the Levites is also closely associated with a central place of worship, which carries through into the NT. A 50-50 split goes against this.
Calvin - I think Hebrews 7-8 has some relevance on this topic - our approach to the Law has changed, but the case for tithing finds its basis in Abraham and Melchizedek.
The practical question though is how do we tithe given an imperfect model of Church we have as evangelicals, one that is split into denominations and has given a lot of ministry over to para-church charity-type groups?
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