Tithing – We’re Not Required To Tithe In The Age of Grace

tithe-basket

I’ve suffered a lot of guilt in my life over tithes until a couple of years when I learned why it’s not necessary to feel guilt or fear.

I was raised in a religion that demanded 10% of one’s gross income, or God’s punishment would rain on any who dared disobey. I spent years literally wracked with guilt and fear, because I truly had no extra money to give to any church.

Let me tell you of an experience I can recall as if it were yesterday; it happened over four decades ago when I was five years old. My mother was scared half to death when our pastor proclaimed that God would take tithing money from her one way or another, and it seemed to actually happen. It was a lesson my mother learned very early on, one she wouldn’t forget or let go of for nearly two decades. We were very poor when I was five, my father had abandoned his pregnant wife and two young daughters. We did not hear from my father for several years as he had gone into hiding to avoid paying child support. In the beginning the church helped us out. My new baby sister was born, my mom found a home to rent and a job that barely covered the expenses. One Sunday morning a particularly wrathful sermon on tithing was cast down, compelling my mother to give away the last $15 in her wallet.

A few hours later, reality set in as it occurred to my mother without that money her three young children would go hungry for the next few days. Drawing strength from her mothering instincts, she went back and asked for the money. The pastor warned that God would take the money from her, one way or another. My mom went to the grocery store, came out of the store, placed the bags of groceries on the roof of the car, got her three little girls settled in the car and drove home. Arriving home, the groceries seemed to have vanished. My mother then remembered she’d left the groceries on the roof of the car. She hurriedly drove back to the store. We found a few items scattered on the road, most had been run over once the bags tumbled from the top of the car. My mother was terrified, convinced she had been punished by God himself. From then on, she lived with a heightened sense of fear. The Bible instructs us we are not to have the spirit of fear (II Timothy 1:7 KJV) so that should have been a warning sign right there. She had three little girls to take care of, but she also had to give 10% of her hard earned money to the church, and putting food and clothes on her children was not to stand in the way.

I no longer believe that God is in the business of punishing people like that today. I don’t believe we are the Israelites, nor are we being cursed or blessed like the Israelites. Many of the scripture verses which are brought up to manipulate today’s believers were spoken directly to the Israelites in the Bible.

I have learned we are to give what we can cheerfully. It is such a burden lifted from me to know doing the best I can is okay with the Lord. I no longer have to feel uneasy when the televangelist says I should use my credit card to “sow a thousand dollar seed”. And I no longer have to feel my heavenly Father has forsaken me when I don’t reap ten times what I put into the offering plate.

As a Mid-Acts Dispensationalist, studying the King James Version of the Holy Bible, I now understand we are living in the Age of Grace and are supposed to do as Paul, our apostle appointed by Jesus Christ from heaven (Galations 1:1 KJV) instructs us:

II Corinthians 9:7 KJV Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

We are to “purpose” in our hearts; Strong’s Greek Concordance tells us that purpose means to choose for oneself before another thing. We are not to give grudgingly [sadness, grief, grievous, heaviness, sorrow]. God loves it when we are cheerful [prompt, willing] in our giving. Don’t pretend you are happy when you give, find the amount that you can truly be cheerful in giving, and give that amount. If it’s 5%, great. If it’s 10%, great. If it’s 25%, great.

You will find that 10% is mentioned in Leviticus 27:32 KJV, and Numbers 18:26 KJV, but those verses also mention tithing a percentage of oxen, wine, corn and other items. Why don’t we latch onto those verses and feel responsible to tithe those items?

A lot of churches, ministers and televangelists try to persuade their members that one’s salvation is dependent on paying tithes. There is only one way to be sure of your salvation, and that is to believe that Jesus was crucified at Calvary, buried and rose from the dead to pay for your sins (Acts 16:31 KJV). Everything else people think they must do in order to be saved – works – from saying prayers, asking forgiveness for every little sin, all the way up to giving 10% of your gross income is in fact disrespecting the work our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ did at the cross.

Do you really think you can earn or pay your way to heaven (Ephesians 2:8 KJV)? God gave his son, his only son to be crucified to save us from our sins, but we think we can do better by following some rules? It doesn’t make sense when you really think about it. Salvation is a gift, a free gift. You don’t have to work for it, and when you do try to throw works in, Grace goes home (Romans 11:6 KJV).

I was relieved to learn this, because all of my life in addition to the fear and guilt, I felt like giving to the church was in a sense like gambling. We’re led to believe we’ll get 10 times what we gave back, or at the very least we’ll be blessed. No longer do I have to feel like I’m trying to score brownie points to get into heaven. Now that I know better, I can give freely and truly give that money to God, without secretly wondering when and how I’ll be blessed, and when it doesn’t happen, wondering why.

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23 comments to Tithing – We’re Not Required To Tithe In The Age of Grace

  • FB

    I loved this article. I can’t get over that kind of shock that the pastor would be well.. so mercenary. My apologies to those who are religious but that is really despicable, to literally take food from the mouth of babes.

    The only money that you should give to charity is as you said: with an open heart, a smile and to feel GOOD when you do it.

    Not to be pressured into it or shamed.

    Wonderfully written!

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com, Thank you for stopping by and reading my post and also thank you for tweeting about it! Eventually we realized that the church we were involved in was quite cultish. It is too bad that my mom was involved with it for such a long time. Thank you again!

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  • I found this post thanks to FabulouslyBroke. She was so right. So wonderfully written.

    I am southern baptist by birth and have only – in my adult years – found a relationship with Christ that transcends card-carrying membership of this church or that. My wife and I are less than 14 months from being debt free which is a HUGE accomplishment for us. We have not missed a tithe yet. Let me elaborate. We are both Christians and believe in the scriptures. But we both are disgusted by the amount of overhead churches have and debt they accrue and guilt they pass on to their parishoners. We give with an open mind and a prayerful heart. We give directly to missionaries, missions, non-profits, etc. as we feel God leads us to. It is typically between 10 and 15% as that is what we seem to always feel comfortable with. We have yet to go broke nor feel ourselves slip out of His grace. We have not gone without food and in a lot of cases feel blessing heaped on us. We tithe before we pay anything. We take care of our brothers and our world and what keeps us all spinning in the sky before we help out AMEX or the 401k or whatever. We give because we can and because we want to. If we didn’t give and didn’t feel blessed to be able to help others, well, I would just see a job as even more pointless than it sometimes already is!

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @anotherkindofdrew, congratulations on being so close to being debt free! That is a wonderful accomplishment! It is just sad the state of our churches today. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, love your input!

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  • laura

    very well written

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @laura, thanks. And thank you for visiting my blog! Hope to see you this way again sometime. 🙂

    [Reply]

  • Very good read!

    I’ve been very thankful that the pastor at the church I attended in college (when I was living paycheck to paycheck) always emphasized the giving cheerfully part, and made sure not to imply that we should be happy to be giving, but that we should be giving what makes us happy-whether that was 10%, more,less, or just our time or skills.

    It took me at least a full year to feel okay about not giving 10% of my income (because that was how I was raised), but I really couldn’t afford it (I guess if I had asked my parents for food money, I could, but that doesn’t seem to be the point). I was happy to volunteer my time, though, and I’m glad everyone seemed happy with that.

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Insomniac Lab Rat, you’re right about the part where you could have asked for money from your parents (meaning that’s not the point!). In fact that is what my mother had to do for many of those years! Astonishingly, the pastor told my mother that since my grandparents did not pay regular tithes that by my mom giving money that she did not have, then asking my grandparents for money it would be as if they were tithing. Does that make sense? I’m not sure how to write it so that it makes sense. It was a mess though. I’m glad you found a good pastor that helped you to know the truth. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

    [Reply]

  • I appreciate your article. I was actually just thinking about this topic recently. I personally tithe according to Malachi 3:10, but know of pastors who teaching NT giving principals. I’ve had my own experience with giving that wasn’t a matter of salvation or punishment, but a matter of learning to obey God’s word vs making it up as I go along…or following someone’s well-intentioned, but misguided suggestions.

    While I’ve yet to encounter someone who teaches tithing as a salvation issue (in person, TV, or radio), I imagine there are snake oil salesmen out there. Makes reading for yourself all that more important.

    Cheers~

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Debt Free Divas, thanks for adding to the conversation and sharing your thoughts on tithing. I find it is difficult to obey God’s word when we are told to eat meat in one place, but avoid it in others, take our children to the edge of the city and stone them to death if they are disobedient, put wives away, etc. We end up having to do a lot of picking and choosing. This is why I find dispensationalism to be of such comfort, because I can feel confident that these conflicting verses are for a different time and people. After all we are told to rightly divide the Word of Truth. I’m glad you haven’t run into any wayward pastors who teach if you don’t give you are in danger of losing your salvation, unfortunately I have heard it many times, and doubted my own salvation for years until coming to know the truth with right division. Thanks for sharing in the conversation!

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  • God help your poor mother. What a terrible thing, for that man to make her feel God was somehow punishing her…for what? Trying to feed her babies?

    {sigh} Here’s what an old deist thinks: There’s God and us, and only God and us. Not God and some minister and us, not God and a church and us, but just God and us. Like anotherkindofDrew, we have to do (and that includes to give) what we know to be right. That’s way different from what someone else tells us is right. If we want to be part of a church, good. But there’s still only God and us. The person who can feel God within her knows what to give, who to give it to, and when. All she has to do is look around.

    Amazing that this would be controversial, eh? 😉

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Funny about Money, sadly, our pastor was a woman. So kind of doubly worse, imo, since the woman had children of her own and should have known better. I don’t think God ever meant for us to have a middle man or woman. Too bad things like this happen to vulnerable people, but it does. Thanks for your comments!

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  • That is the problem of having 40,000 Christian denominations. Every one sings his own song and people are actually pushed away instead of encouraged to develop their relationship with Christ.

    God is not to be blamed, our human nature has its temptations and it should not come as a surprise when a pastor does more bad than good on any level.

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @BeatingTheIndex, how very true. I believe that “religion” gets in the way with our relationship with Christ. It is kind of a mess out in churches today. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

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  • just me

    This was beautiful, as were the comments that followed it. Seeing people so freely express their beliefs in God was truly a welcomed blessing. I think God still affects our lives, though we must keep our eyes open, and see through the lenses of our Faith to notice it. 🙂 “Where two or more people gather, so shall I be.” If God smiles, I’m sure he did so as you all shared your thoughts.

    Keep believing.

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  • Unexpected lessons on the power of obedience—and how grace can fuel it. – HOW TO BE PERFECT, Daniel M. Harrell – One Church’s Audacious Experiment in Living the Old Testament Book of Leviticus. As a longtime minister and preacher who had successfully skirted Leviticus for most of his life, author Daniel Harrell wanted to come to grips with all that Leviticus teaches–not just loving neighbors, but the parts about animal sacrifice, Sabbath-keeping, skin diseases, homosexuality, and stoning sinners, too. Yet rather than approaching Leviticus with a view toward mitigating its commands, he decided to simply obey them. http://www.DanielHarrell.com

    [Reply]

  • Stephen

    The man who fell amongst thieves and was wounded was you. Jesus is pouring in His tithe, that is, His oil and wine. This is the New Testament fulfillment of the Old shadow.

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  • You make some good points. I tithed for 30 years in fear and and sometime neglecting my family needs. But now I have been set free to give. I went on a year journey to study tithing and found so much truth it was literally shocking and amazing what pastors don’t want people to know concerning the tithe. My study turned out to be 116 power point slides just on tithing. It is posted online for all believer to study and show themselves approved. Don’t take my word for it, just break open your bible and study it from the jewish perspective and know the truth on how to give as the lord leads you.
    The web site is: http://www.holytithe.com/TithingPresent.pdf.

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Dr. Frank Chase Jr, thanks for your input on this topic.

    [Reply]

  • Chris

    Is tithing biblical? Read this post to find out http://systematicbiblestudy.com/?p=35

    [Reply]

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