Dear Elder Alvin and friends,
Your Comment / Question(s):We agree that New Covenant teaching does not support tithing. So, what should believers be taught concerning church finance? Jesus said, "Give... Luke 6:38". Do you make a differentiation between Tithes/Offerings and Giving? We are a newly formed church and are looking for others who have these beliefs about this subject. You speak a lot on NOT Tithing/Offering, but you say very little about what TO DO. Please help! Yours in Christ,
My Answer(s): Thank you for visiting my web site on tithes and offerings, and submitting your comments and questions. I pray that our God and Father in heaven blesses you in ministering to those who seek His counsel, and give you wisdom and understanding in His Word. First, let me point out that I do not speak against offerings, for the very word "offering," means to give freely. Now, you ask for help in teaching your members what to do about giving. And whether or not tithing and making offerings (giving) are different, making an offering and giving freely is the same. Yes, tithing and giving (making offerings) are different; giving is a freewill offering made without demanding or extortion. And tithing is made under duress and extortion, which is what I preach and teach against saying, stop tithing and only give (make offerings) for the upkeep of your meeting place and other expenses, if known. I do NOT preach against making a freewill offering to your congregation. In fact, this is what the New Covenant teaching command of us.
You also mention, Luke 6:38:
Here in Luke 6:38 the question is who are we to give to some self-appointed minister or those in need on this evil and adulterous planet? I preach we should be giving to those in need and NOT some man-made organization demanding ten percent of your hard earn money. For it is written, "Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality" (Romans 12:13 NIV). And again, "a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich manís table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores" (Luke 16:19-21 NIV). What do you think does God make a distinction between a rich man that is a Christian and a rich man thatís an unbeliever? Read the rest of the story yourself, for a person heart is measure by what they do with their money. God expects us to give to those in need, and help those who need help whether physically or spiritually. Also, giving freely means expecting nothing in return. Therefore, you as a follower of Christ Jesus should not give expecting a blessing, but give because you are moved by the Spirit of Christ to have love and compassion for one another (1 Corinthians 13).
As you correctly say, tithing is NOT a New Covenant teaching, nor do the Holy Scriptures no where speaks of giving money to any preacher with no need for money. The Holy Scriptures only speaks of Christians giving to the poor and those in need. Those ministers who preach going city to city must be worthy of receiving any offering from the people preached to, and have a need for this money. Only a freewill offering should be asked for the upkeep of your congregation, the expenses should be known first, and any amount given should never be an obituary tenth of anyone salary.
I say to you, preach that money should be collected from your congregation to pay the gas and electric bill, water bill, other expenses of the congregation, and the needs of the needy in your congregation and others. Yes, you should preach and teach freewill giving for the upkeep of your meeting place and utilities, which you should make known to the whole congregation, these funds should be raised to pay these expenses. And if you as the minister do not receive enough freewill offerings from the members to support these basic meeting expenses of the congregation, then you as a minister should pay them and if you do not have a job then get one. Your freewill offerings (giving) should be used to support the upkeep of your meeting place, and other expenses of your congregation as a whole, and any excess funds should be used to help the poor in your congregation and your community. As Christ Jesus and His disciples did, you should do, for it is written, "Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions" (Matthew 19:21-22 NKJV). Teach your congregation not to be as such evil person who was not willing to give to those in need of help. Yes, Jesus and His disciples regularly gave their excess money to those in need they preached to. As it is written, "a woman came to" Jesus with a "very costly fragrant oil" and poured it on His head. And when the disciples saw this, they said, "To what purpose is this waste? For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor" (Matthew 26:7-9 NKJV).
Yes, ministers should never demand money from anyone they preach to, nor using up whole sermons on giving money to their congregation, begging for more of the people income to pursue ventures of their human organizations. Yes, asking for freewill offerings for the expenses of the congregation or the needy in your organization is okay, but be careful not to go over board in asking. For the Holy and Righteous Father in heaven will moved the hearts of those with the means to give, if indeed they have the Spirit of Christ in them. And you should never count the money during the worship service, and coming back to ask for more to round it off or bring the amount collected to some arbitrary amount you believe it should be.
Again, preachers who constantly demand money from those they preach to are abusing their authority in the faith of Christ. For if indeed they have Godís Spirit, then as the apostle Paul said being moved by the Holy Spirit. "That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel" (I Corinthians 9:18 NKJV). This verse tells us that ministers should be willing to preach the gospel free of charge without pleads for money. Being content with what they have, working with their own hands if need be. This verse give us further proof that all giving under the New Covenant are voluntary, and not commanded as tithes were for the wealthy men of Israel under the Old Covenant. Above all things one should never abuse their authority as a minister by demanding an offering from those preached to. This is wrong and sinful. May God stop anyone doing such things, soon I pray. Amen.
Now, I am fully persuaded that God our Holy Father in heaven and His Christ Jesus want us to care for His poor and distressed on this planet. I thank our Father in heaven for giving you understanding in His holy word. Yes, and concerning giving to the different ministries and churches in this evil and adulterous world, I say if the true expenses of those organizations are known then supporting these needs are fine. But supporting ministries that have leaders "living it up" on the word of God. I say is not only spiritually wrong, its stealing from those whom God say He lives among, and represent Him on this evil and adulterous world (Proverbs 14:30-31, 19:17, 22:22-23, and 31:8-9, see also Matthew 25).
I suggest you preach that your congregation help the poor with their excess money, starting from within their own family, and then working outward from their Christian community to their neighborhood and beyond. For it is written, that Christ said of those on His right, "Then the righteous will answer Him, ĎLord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' íThe King will reply, ĎI tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me" (Matthew 25:37-40 NIV). This means your treatment and attitude towards those in need will determine your relationship with God the Father in heaven and His Son, our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus. This you should preach to those God has given to you to feed with spiritual food.
As for the rules and regulations concerning tithing, dues, fees, and the like are all man-made teachings having no root in the teachings of the Holy Bible nor did Christ command these greedy ministers any such thing. It is sinful for these ministers to burden the members with such outrageous financial burdens. Something they themselves do not carry and refuses to carry, yet they will burden the unknowing and innocence babes in Christ with such burdensome tithing system. For God the Father in heaven is not a respecter of person, and He do not give commands to just members of a congregation, but God gives commandments to those who teach also, as it is said we are all brothers and sisters. And those who teach will receive a stricter judgment than others will. All followers of Christ should use any excess monies after taking care of their family to help the needs of their congregation, the poor, and the oppressed and needy. Never giving to any minister or congregation without considering the needs of their own family first, next their congregation, and then the poor in their community.
For the Holy Spirit clearly says:
You may ask, at this point what are we to do? I exhort you to do the will of God. For Christ Jesus says, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV). And again the Spirit says, "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality" (Romans 12:11-13 NIV).
Concerning a minister materially needs, I want you to know that if a preacher does not work or refuses to work for a living then it is not the congregation responsibility to support a person who refuses to work. Because he has this notion that he should get 10% of his congregation money or other offerings from you, to do what he "claims" God called him to do, that is to preach. In Matthew 10:7-8 it says, "As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give" (NIV). Jesus commands preachers to "freely give" what they have received, that is the understanding of Godís word, doing this without demanding those preached to give you offerings or 10% of their earnings. You as a minister of Christ Jesus should be content with whatever freewill offerings you receive from those preached to. Maintaining the meeting place and other expenses with these freely given offerings, and getting a JOB if you do not receive enough freewill giving for a salary to survive with your family.
For the Holy Scriptures clearly says, "if a man will not work, he shall not eat" (1 Thessalonians 3:10). Do you think these verses in 1 Thessalonians 3:6-15 only applies to Christianís members only? Well, Paul and Barnabas believed these verses applied to them as well, if the offerings were not sufficient to support them. Please, read my articles on 1 Corinthians 8, 2 Corinthians 9 and 1 Timothy 5:17-22 at my web site on Tithes and Offerings. All true Christians have the responsibility to work for a living, and not depending or compelling other followers of Christ to support them with their money.
Now, concerning congregation expenses these should be made known to the whole congregation and posted as funds are raised to meet them. If those whom you serve decide to help you with your household expenses or give you a salary then the whole congregation should decide this amount. If anyone request such information concerning this salary or amount paid to you then it should be made known upon request. The minister salary should never be more than the median or average income of those whom he serves. This amount must be decided from the hearts of those willing to give to the congregation without compulsion. I am not one who believes in paying a salary to ministers, nor would this be my first choice. But, I know there are times when this is the best means of caring for his living expenses, if the congregation decide to pay a salary. For the minister working another job is not always compatible with the needs of the ministry when caring for the spiritual needs of the whole congregation. Yet, I also know there are some ministers who abuse this need, and the whole congregation should come together that this thing maybe found out, if you have a minister as such. Then the whole congregation with prayer should resolve this matter. For nothing in this world is permanent, except faith, hope and love. Yes, it is our spiritual duty to judge such matters of the congregation of the saints (1 Corinthians 6).
I exhort you to remain faithful to those whom God has called you to serve, continue to fear God and keep His commandments. Remain alert and serious in your prayers for one another, loving those in the world and those waiting for a new home from above. Teach your congregation to love each other as they love themselves, for this is a faithful saying, no one can say they love God and hate their fellow human brother or sister (1 John 1 4:20-21). Again, I pray that God the Holy Father in heaven bless you and your community of believers with spiritual blessings. Amen. Praise God.
In Christ love,
Ron Davis, humble servant of all who believe