Tithing – What the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination teaches about tithing and why it is wrong.
Before I get started I must premise this section by telling you that this is one of the most dangerous and destructive false teaching of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination. Teaching tithing is absolutely unbiblical and nothing more than mind control manipulation. There has been a lot of good information on the truth about tithing made available online and I will provide some links at the bottom of this page to web sites that I have read and agree with. The purpose of this page is not to go into a lot of detail about tithing. I would simply like to point out the false teachings of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination in this area and touch on some of the important points about tithing that show why it is wrong.
When I recently asked an Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination minister about tithing this was his reply was: “When men will not tithe, (1) God’s work on earth is hindered, (2) the non-tither is robbing God, (3) God will withhold His blessing, even chastening the non-tither. However, God has categorically promised to bless those who will so honor Him. Even other people would perceive God’s blessing upon them as they returned to tithing.”
- False Teaching #1: Tithes vs. OfferingsThe basis of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination teachings for tithe is a distinction between “Tithes” and “Offerings”. The Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination teaches that there is a difference between the two. Basically Tithes is 10% of your monetary Gross (before taxes) income and Offerings is anything over and above the tithe. They further teach that a person is commanded to tithe to the “Local” or “Home” church (the church with which they consider their permanent place of worship). They teach that if you wish to give over and above the tithe you can do so by giving more to the local church or to another ministry. They further teach that if you give your tithe to another ministry then it doesn’t count as tithe but offerings and you are still “robbing God” if you don’t give your tithe to your home church. The Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination used such verses as Deuteronomy 12:6,11; 2 Chronicles 31:12; Nehemiah 10:37; Nehemiah 12:44; Nehemiah 13:5; and Malachi 3:8 for the basis of their teachings. The offering isn’t required, however, the tithe is required.
- False Teaching #2: The “Devourer” – Curses for Not TithingThe Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination uses Malachi 3:10-11 to teach that if you don’t tithe, the “Devourer” (Satan) will come and destroy your property as a punishment so that you will incur more financial burden. They teach that if you tithe God will protect your property and your finances through Divine Intervention and not allow bad things to happen that take up your resources such as cars breaking down and leaky roofs.Here they spell out specifically that God promised that He would “rebuke the devourer.” The word so translated as (lka awkal) literally means “the eater.” The reference was to hoards of voracious insects which had destroyed their crops. Further, God promised that their vine would not prematurely “cast her fruit before the time in the field.” The word translated as cast her fruit (lkv shawlol) has the sense of a “miscarriage.” What had happened was that God had sent bad weather which caused the grape crop to be pre-maturely blown on the ground. It may have been by high winds, hail, or a combination of them. God had gotten His tithe. Israel, however, had missed God’s blessing and had in fact paid the penalty for not tithing.
- False Teaching #3: Blessings for those that TitheThe Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination wrongly teaches that tithing opens the door for God’s blessings and when we don’t tithe we are robbing from God and we will be cursed by God withholding His blessings from us. They sight Proverbs 3:9-10 and Malachi 3:7-11 for this belief.They teach that the degree of giving was based upon how “God hath prospered” which they will say clearly implied proportional giving. In other words, we ought to give in direct proportion as God has blessed us. And of course the universal proportion throughout the Scripture is ten percent as the tithe. They think that Paul clearly is not referring to the tithe regarding the offering for the impoverished Judaean churches, the principle lies just beneath the surface here.They will bring you back to the Israelites and tell you that as Israel began to tithe (even upon their greatly diminished crops) God promised that He would “open the windows of heaven.” They say the reference is likely to sorely needed rain. (The phrase “the windows of heaven” is found three times in the Bible. Notably in the time of Noah it clearly referred to God sending rain. See Genesis 7:11, 8:2. It also is alluded to in II Kings 7:2,19 in the time of Elisha and the siege of Jerusalem. There it also likely was a reference to needed rain.) God prompted them to “prove me now herewith.” In other words, “Put me to the test, and see if I will not bless you in return.” God promised that as they began to once again tithe, He would pour out blessings for them such they would not be able to receive it all.
- False Teaching #4: If you don’t tithe you are branded a ThiefIf you don’t pay tithes the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination considers you a thief. The Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination teaches that it is the members’ responsibility to support the church financially. They use Mal. 3:8-10 to support this and they call the withholder of the tithes and offerings a thief. They even extend this fallacy to the New Testament claiming that I Corinthians 9:1-14, especially verse 14, obligates believers to support the church in precisely the same way that the Tabernacle was supported – by tithes and offerings.
- False Teaching #5: Tithe Must come from the Gross IncomeThis is a huge deal for the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination. They teach that if you don’t tithe from your gross income then your tithe doesn’t count because in II Proverbs 3:9-10 the Lord tells us to “Honor the Lord with Firstfruits” which they interpret to mean that one should set aside the tithe FIRST and that it should come out of your gross income, before all other bills and expenses. They teach that if you leave the tithe until last, God usually misses out.
- False Teaching #6: Storehouse TithingThe Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination teaches that tithing is to be “storehouse” tithing. Storehouse tithing means the giving of the tithes into God’s appointed place. In Old Testament days, the storehouse was the Jewish temple.In the Old Testament, The storehouse mentioned was the treasury or warehouse adjacent to the Temple. The economy of the day was largely agriculture and trade was commonly done by barter. It was the practice of the Israelites to bring their tithe to the Temple in the form of the actual commodity (grain, figs, wine, etc.) These then were stored in a warehouse-type of building called the storehouse which was a part of the treasury of the Temple. (Interestingly, Paul used the equivalent Greek word translated as store in I Corinthians 16:2, referring to the local church.) As they did not tithe, the work of the Temple, specifically in the provision of the Levites food, was damaged.In New Testament days, the storehouse is the treasury of one’s local or home church. They use Acts 4:35, 37 5:2 to justify these teachings. According to Acts 4:35,37 and Acts 5:2, the Christians brought their tithes and offerings to the Apostles’ feet. They also point to both Malachi 3 and Paul’s mention of the “storehouse”. According to 1 Corinthians 16:1,2 the Christians at Corinth were to collect their tithes & offerings and bring them to their local church at Corinth, or ‘lay by him in store’ on the first day of the Week, Sunday. They believe that I Corinthians 16:3 indicates not only that the storehouse is the church treasury, but that the church body collectively has the responsibility to designate where God’s money is to be spent. The collective belief among the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination is that in this day and age the STOREHOUSE for your tithe is your LOCAL CHURCH. The Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination does not believe that it is not God’s plan for you to give your tithe wherever you decide.If you ask them WHY ARE WE TO PLACE OUR TITHE INTO OUR CHURCH? they will respond with what simply amounts to a guilt trip. They will tell you that your tithes and offerings are for the support, upkeep, and ministry of your Church. Tithes should never be designated by the giver. They are to be left for use as the Church body decides. As mentioned previously they teach that offerings over and above the tithe can go to other deserving ministries, but God says your tithe should go to your local church. They teach that if everyone gave their tithe to worthy ministries outside the local church, the local church would die and they take 1 Corinthians 9:13-14 out of context for this belief.The Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination is very good at telling the word translations from the Septuagint. They believe that the word translated as in store (yhsaurizw thesaurizo) is the same word used in the Septuagint for “storehouse” in Malachi 3:10. The greater point is that the local church of the New Testament has become the “storehouse” for the giving by God’s people even as the Temple was during the time of the Law.
- False Teaching #7: Tithes must be given on the First day of the Week – SundayThe Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination will present to you I Corinthians 16:2 where Paul directs how giving ought to be done. “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” They will say that this is a clear indication to the day of the week on which the gentile church assembled. It no longer was the Sabbath on Saturday. Because of our Lord’s resurrection on the first day, the early church began to assemble thereon. They will also point to Acts 20:7.They will convince you by stating that some claim Paul was admonishing them to personally and privately set aside funds to this end each Sunday until Paul arrived. However, that neither makes sense nor meshes with the context. But they argue that if that were the case, why not lay funds aside on payday which probably was Friday or some other day? The fact that Paul directed this be done on the Lord’s day, when the church assembled, lends direct credence to the position of giving in the church service (i.e., putting it in the offering plate or whatever device they used). Furthermore they will tell you that Paul made clear that he did not want to be involved with taking such an offering when he arrived. It therefore follows that each Sunday, they were to take a special offering to be duly set aside toward the day of Paul’s arrival.
So what’s wrong with the above? you ask… Well it would probably be easier to answer the question, What’s NOT wrong with the above? However, I would like to touch on some of the most important reasons why what the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination teaches about tithing is WRONG.
First of all it’s important to understand that Tithing is a Biblical principle, however, it no longer applies because tithing was commanded under the Old Covenant. Tithing is no longer a relevant principle. Tithing was a command under the Mosaic Law, a series of laws that we are no longer obliged to follow. The Mosaic Laws were specifically for the Israelites during that time period. The Old Covenant was only meant for the Israelites until the New Covenant began at the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.We can see by reading Numbers 18:20-21 in context what the tithes were for. Numbers 18 is cataloging the duties of the priests and the Levites and showcasing what was done to support them as they worked in the Tabernacle. The Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination makes that mistake of stopping at verse 21. If you continue reading in that chapter you will see that tithes were food products from the land of Israel which were to be used to compensate the Levites for serving God in the Tabernacle as a replacement for their lost land inheritance rights in Israel (see Numbers 18:31). Every mention of tithe there after, is a reference to that law.Since tithing was a part of the Law of Moses under the legal economy of Israel. It does not apply to the Church today, since we are under grace and not under the law (Romans 6:14; 10:4). The New Testament teaches proportional giving according to what we have, not what we don’t have (see 2 Cor. 8:12). The New Testament also teaches that we are to “make up your own mind as to how much you should give and don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure” (2 Corinthians 9:7). The Lord doesn’t want us to give under compulsion or under a belief that we have to. The Lord wants us to give because we want to. Nor does the Lord care how much you give. The Lord is more concerned with your heart attitude and your motivation for giving.
Second, I have never heard a tithe message where Malachi 3 wasn’t used. The problem is, however, that churches that use Malachi 3 to support tithing ignore five important Bible facts.
- Malachi in context is part of the Old Covenant and, to my knowledge, is not quoted in the New Covenant to validate tithing for us.
- Malachi is very clear in addressing what the curses were for. The curses were for dishonest priests because they had stolen the best offerings from God (see Malachi In 1:6; 2:1 and 3:1-5). The “curse” of Malachi 3:9 is the curse of the Nation of Israel’s breaking of the Old Covenant. Malachi’s audience had recently re-committed themselves to fall under the blessings or curses of that Old Covenant Law. Voluntarily placing yourself under any one part of the Law, such as tithing, obligated you to keep all the Law perfectly. (see Deuteronomy 27:26 and Nehemiah 10:29).
- In Malachi 3:10-11 the tithes mentioned are still referring to the food brought to the tabernacle NOT money (Lev. 27:30-33).
- The assumption is made that Malachi is addressing everyone. The truth is that only landowners and herdsmen inside Israel were required to pay tithes not everyone. Others only paid free-will offerings
- “Storehouse” does not mean “treasury”. In Malachi’s time, the government was involved in collecting and redistributing the church funds. Storehouses were considered the property of the theocratic state which received political aid to collect its tithes. Storehouses held food and sacrificial animals which were used to provide food for the poor, fatherless, and orphan in the land. It had nothing to do with bringing money to pay the salary of the Pastor or church leaders or for up keep and expansion of the Church building.
So as you can see, The truth of Malachi is completely different from what the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination teaches today about tithing. The Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination has taken Malachi out of context, twisted and manipulated it to fit their doctrine, and are using it in an abusive way that is very different from what it was intended to be used.
If Malachi 3:10 really worked for New Covenant Christians they way that the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination claims it works, then millions of poor tithing Christians would have been blessed with a blessing far above anything that anyone has ever imagined. There is no evidence that the majority of “tithe-payers”, whether poor or wealthy are ever blessed financially merely because they tithe (see Heb. 7:18, 19; 8:6-8, 13).
To confirm this, during my 25 years in the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination I give my “tithe” faithfully just as instructed by the leaders. I have never received the blessings that they claim that one will receive if one tithes. They will claim that I didn’t tithe with the proper motivation or that I gave begrudgingly and that is the reason I haven’t been blessed. No, that’s just another lie of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination to guilt a person into paying tithes and to cover themselves from the liability of their false teachings.
Third, as stated earlier, tithing is not Taught in the New Testament. The Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination uses Matthew 23:23 to support the idea that Jesus taught the New Testament Church to tithe. If you look at the context carefully, however, you see that the New Covenant began at the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus NOT his birth (see also Gal. 3:19,24,25). When Jesus discussed tithing in Matthew 23:23, he was only commanding Jewish obedience to the Old Covenant Law which he endorsed and supported until Calvary. In Matthew 23:23 Jesus told his followers to obey the scribes and Pharisees “because they sit in Moses’ seat.” Yet He did not command Gentiles whom He healed to present themselves to the priests and obey the Law of Moses. To my knowledge, there is not a single New Testament Bible text which teaches that New Testament Christians are supposed to continue tithing.The Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination will also try and convince you that tithing was taught by Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:14. Yes I agree, taken by itself verse 14 clearly indicates that those who preach the gospel should be supported by those who benefit from it. HOWEVER, the MESSAGE OF THE CHAPTER neither begins nor ends there. The entire chapter is the continuous thought of Paul. You can’t just take one verse, pull it out and draw your conclusions from one single verse. By looking only at verse 14 you are only seeing one part of Paul’s thoughts on the topic. You have to look at it in the context of the entire thought. I will talk about this passage more next.
Fourth, as stated earlier, tithing is not supposed to be for bringing money to pay the salary of the Pastor or church leaders or for up keep and expansion of the Church building. The FIBD uses the 1 Corinthians 9:13-14 passage to teach that church leaders should be supported with tithes “in the same way,” “following the same principles” that were used to support Old Testament priests and that is why 1 Corinthians 9:14 begins with “even so” – to connect it with 9:13.Again, I agree, taken by itself verse 14 clearly indicates that those who preach the gospel should be supported by those who benefit from it. As I indicated earlier, the MESSAGE OF THE CHAPTER neither begins nor ends there. The entire chapter is the continuous thought of Paul. You can’t just take one verse, pull it out and draw your conclusions from one single verse. By looking only at verse 14 you are only seeing one part of Paul’s thoughts on the topic. You have to look at it in the context of the entire thought.If you keep this passage in context, you will see that Paul’s message is not about tithing in the way that we know of it today at all. First of all, verse 14 has nothing to do with money. Verse 13 states: “those who work in the Temple get their MEALS from the FOODbrought to the Temple as OFFERINGS…” then in verse 14 he states “in the same way…” so Paul seems to only be referring to food provided as meals to the Temple workers it has nothing to do with money.Secondly, if you Read verse 12 If you support others who preach to you, shouldn’t we have an even greater right to be supported? But we have never used this right. We would rather put up with anything than be an obstacle to the Good News about Christ. and continue reading after verse 14 15 Yet I have never used any of these rights. And I am not writing this to suggest that I want to start now. In fact, I would rather die than lose my right to boast about preaching without charge. 16 Yet preaching the Good News is not something I can boast about. I am compelled by God to do it. How terrible for me if I didn’t preach the Good News! 17 If I were doing this on my own initiative, I would deserve payment. But I have no choice, for God has given me this sacred trust. 18 What then is my pay? It is the opportunity to preach the Good News without charging anyone. That’s why I never demand my rights when I preach the Good News. you can clearly see that it wasn’t Paul’s intention to communicate that the OT principles should be followed. In fact he was stating the exact opposite. If you maintain the context of that chapter, however, it’s clear that he is against church members paying to support his preaching. According to this passage, a preacher has a certain right to request money for payment but Paul is saying that he shouldn’t use that right. For Churches to guilt the congregation into paying tithes so that the pastor is supported is pure manipulation.Also, if you think about the relationship between the Pastor/Church Leaders and the congregation, common sense will tell you that a congregation paying the salary of the church leaders creates a very precarious ethical dilemma of a dual relationship. Paying the leader’s salaries opens the door for individuals, especially those who pay a lot to the church, to control and manipulate the church staff. It invariably changes the relationship between the leaders and the congregation from one of fellow believer meeting together for worship, to one of payment for services rendered, which creates all kinds of problems.
I’ve heard stories about the rich person in the church who gives so much money to the church that he threatens to stop giving if the church doesn’t do things his way. Of course the Pastor and staff are pressured into giving the individual what he/she wants so that the money keeps coming in.
Fifth, churches under the New Covenant were never meant to be a “storehouse” or even a building. The false teaching is that Christian buildings called “churches,” “tabernacles,” or “temples” replaced the OT Temple as God’s dwelling place. God’s Word never describes New Covenant churches as “tabernacles,” “temples” or “buildings” in which God dwells! God’s church, God’s dwelling place, is within the believers. Believers do not “go to church”! Believers “assemble to worship.” Also, since OT priests did not pay tithes, then tithing cannot logically continue. Therefore it is wrong to call a building “God’s storehouse” for tithes. (1 Cor. 3:16, 17; 6:19, 20; Eph. 1:22, 23; 2:21; 4:12-16; Rev. 3:12). For “storehouse” compare 1 Corinthians 16:2 with 2 Corinthians 12:14 and Acts 20:17, 32-35. For several centuries after Calvary Christians did not even have their own buildings (to call storehouses) because Christianity was an outlaw religion.
The following is an excerpt from “Should The Church Teach Tithing” – By Russell Earl Kelly which can be downloaded FREE by Clicking Here
Finally, we can see from history that tithing did not actually even become a part of the Church until A.D. 777. The false teaching is that the historical church has always taught tithing. The earliest Christian assemblies patterned themselves after the Jewish synagogues which were led by rabbis who, like Paul, refused to gain a profit from preaching and teaching God’s Word. There are many books on Jewish social life which explain this in great detail.From Christ’s death until Christianity became a legally recognized religion almost 300 years later, the great majority of church leaders took self-imposed vows of poverty. This can be historically documented! They took Jesus’ words to the rich young ruler in Luke 18:22 literally “sell all that you have, give it to the poor, and follow me.” Most church historians agree that these early church leaders for at least the first 200 years worked for a living and were self-supporting. How could a Christian leader tell a Roman census taker that he was a full-time preacher? That would almost guarantee his death!Clement of Rome (c95), Justin Martyr (c150), Irenaeus (c150-200) and Tertullian (150-220) all opposed tithing as a strictly Jewish tradition. The Didache (c150-200) actually condemns traveling apostles who stay longer than three days and ask for money. And travelers who decided to remain with them were required to lean a trade. These early opponents of tithing are not quoted by modern tithe teachers.Cyprian (200-258) tried to impose tithing in Carthage, North Africa around A.D. 250. At his conversion Cyprian gave away great personal wealth to the poor and lived under a vow of poverty. His idea of tithing included equal re-distribution to the poor. And we must remember that his ideas of tithing were not adopted. When tithe teachers quote Ambrose, Chrysostom and Augustine as so-called “church fathers” they conveniently leave out the first 200 years of church history. Even after Christianity became legal in the fourth century for over a thousand years the greatest spiritual leaders almost all took vows of deep poverty and preferred to live unmarried lives in monasteries. If these tithe teachers are quoted, then the church should also be told what kind of lives they usually led and how they redistributed the tithe to the poor.Tithing was not always in the church. While disagreeing with their own theologians, most church historians write that tithing did not become an accepted doctrine in the church for over 700 years after the death of Christ. According to the very best historians and encyclopedias, it took over 500 years before the local church Council of Macon in France, in the year 585, tried unsuccessfully to enforce tithing on its members. It was not until the year 777 that Emperor Charlemagne legally allowed the church to collect tithes. And even then it was to gain favor with the Pope. That, my friend, is the history of tithing found in the Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Americana and the Roman Catholic Encyclopedia for everybody to read.
For more information about tithing please visit the following links:
A curious reader writes:
You have overlooked a very important detail about tithing, the fact is it was before the law ever was. Way befroe [sic] God commanded the tithe under the law Abraham tithied [sic] a tenth of all he had to the high preist [sic] in his day, according to this then tithing was before the law and is required now according to Gods word.
I have over looked this detail, but only in the sense that I didn’t include it on this page. Since this person brings it to my attention allow me to add this to the page.
The verse this person is referring to is Genesis 14:20. The first observation is that we need to keep Genesis 14:20 in context so it would be better to refer to Genesis 14:16-24 for the complete story. When we do that we see that Abraham was NOT tithing as we know of it today and therefore can not be an example of the tithing that is preached in Christian churches in today’s church age.
Abraham’s tithe actually has nothing to do with religion or even God. It has no connection with tithing as we know it for several reasons. (1) He gave a tenth of the spoils of war, this wasn’t income that he was giving nor were they his possessions. The spoils of war belonged to the Pagan gods. Abraham was honoring the line of Levi by giving a tenth of the spoils of war to Malchizedek. (2) It wasn’t money it was loot. (3) It was a traditional part of the Pagan system to give a tenth of one’s spoils of war the the Canaanite King. (4) Even though this even took place before the Mosaic law it was still a requirement under the laws at the time.
Read Hebrews 7 for more information. Also refer to the sites mentioned above. Russell Kelly can explain this topic far better than I can.
“Abraham was honoring the line of Levi by giving a tenth of the spoils of war to Malchizedek.”
Abraham was not honoring the line of the Levitical Priesthood because Levi had not been born yet!
Thanks for your keen observations Jes. We actually don’t know if Levi had been born during this tithe offering that Abraham gave mentioned here, but he probably was. Abraham lived long enough (175 years) to see his great grand children (Levi was Abraham’s great grand son) so it’s certainly possible that Levi WAS alive during this time when Abraham gave his tithe as talked about in Hebrews and most scholars believe he was.
Even so, it’s important to understand that “the line of Levi” talk about here was his future line NOT his past line. The birth of Levi was anticipated and Hebrews 7 (see verse 10) indicates that Abraham’s one-time tithe was in anticipation of the Levitical priesthood – the future priesthood of Levi.