Tithing in the NT? (split thread)

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by Scott Bushey, May 3, 2006.

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  1. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Before there were Jews, before there were theocracies, before there were any tablets, before there were priests, before their were Levitical institutions, before there were....(well you get the point)...Abraham willingly gave a tithe to the representative of God Most High. He even partook of a type of communion with him.

    Abraham is the father of our faith, which, everywhere, even for a Dispensationalist, is all over the NT.

    Be like Abraham, have faith like Abraham - tithe to the representatives of God Most High.

    That about settles it In my humble opinion.
  2. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Matt Said It
    I Believe It
    That Settles It!
  3. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

  4. gwine

    gwine Puritan Board Sophomore

    Right. Dare to be an Abraham. :)
  5. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Was the Macarthur post supposed to be a response to my questions? Please interact with the propositions:

    Is not the tithe mentioned in the statement to the pharisees? Why does he mention the Law in the same breath? Now it seems to me that Jesus was chastising the Pharisees for neglecting the poor (justice and mercy), tithing and other things but notice also that Jesus plainly states that they ought to have done *both*.

    Please comment on the passage from Hebrews Pink mentions.

    Heb 7:5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:
    Heb 7:6 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.

    Melchezidek is to Abraham as Christ is to the NT saint; both are priests, both deserve and require tithes according to the law.

    Question for you: Please show me where God, Christ or Paul said tithing is abrogated.]

    If you are arguing from NT silence, I assume your wife does not partake of the table. You must remain consistant if you are going to rely on this type of hermeneutic.
  6. fivepointcalvinist

    fivepointcalvinist Puritan Board Sophomore

    scott, for the sake of brevity, i will post an excerpt from an article which can be found here:

    Studies in Reformed Theology

    "Hebrews Chapters 7-8"”Explanation of the Law of God and the
    Priesthood, Comparing the Old Covenant with the New Covenant

    Let us clarify what is meant when we speak of God´s law. By This Standard by Greg L. Bahnsen states, "The most fundamental distinction to be drawn between Old Testament laws is between moral laws and ceremonial laws. "¦ Moral laws reflect the absolute righteousness and judgment of God, guiding man´s life into the paths of righteousness; such laws define holiness and sin, restrain evil through punishment of infractions, and drive the sinner to Christ for salvation." (Emphasis his.) Obviously, God´s moral laws describing man´s attitude toward God and fellow man remain intact, e.g., the Ten Commandments.

    Ceremonial laws have two divisions according to Bahnsen: "(1) laws directing the redemptive process and therefore typifying Christ"”for instance, regulations for sacrifice, the temple, the priesthood, etc., and (2) laws which taught the redemptive community its separation from the unbelieving nations"”for instance, prohibitions on unclean meats"¦." (Emphases his.) He adds that none of these laws are valid today for the church. The ceremonial portion that was simply a shadow of the Messiah to come has now been fulfilled through the reality of the life of Christ, while the ceremonial laws that separated the Hebrews from the Gentiles are abolished because all who will of any lineage may now be redeemed.

    While the specific laws have been abolished, the principles of the ceremonial laws remain. For example, under the new covenant there still is a blood sacrifice for sin, namely, Jesus´ shedding His blood on the cross. In addition, the High Priest of the Levitical order has been replaced by Jesus who has taken his rightful place as our High Priest. Likewise, we are to be separated from the world, not by what we eat, but by our holy lives.

    In Hebrews, the author is teaching Hebrew readers the revolutionary change in the priesthood. Hebrews 7:11-12 says, "Now if perfection [that is, a perfect fellowship between God and the worshipper,] had been attainable by the Levitical priesthood, for under it the people were given the Law, why was it further necessary that there should arise another and different kind of Priest, one after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one appointed after the order and rank of Aaron? For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is of necessity an alteration of the law [concerning the priesthood] as well." (Amplified Bible) Furthermore, the ceremonial laws were "imposed until a time of reformation." (Heb. 9:10) It follows that if there is a change in the priesthood and the laws concerning it, then the tithe, being one such law, is also changed. However, the principle of the tithe remains"”the principle of giving to the work of God and to the poor.

    Hebrews 7 explains that the new priesthood is after the order of Melchizedek, who was not a Levite. Unlike the Levites, there is no record of his lineage. Psalm 110:4 says that Jesus would be after the order of the spiritual lineage of Melchizedek. Further contrasting Jesus with the Levites, Christ, our High Priest, sprang from tribe of Judah, not Levi, thus showing that Jesus´s claim to the priesthood is not external of bloodline, but of spirit.

    By giving the free-will tithe, Abraham was acknowledging Melchizedek as being higher spiritual order. The higher (Melchizedek, a type of Christ) blesses the lower, Levi. Priesthood under the law was not able to bring the worshipper to perfection. Why? Because Adam and his seed are dead spiritually. Perfection must be spiritual (Jesus); it cannot be flesh (Levites). The law was canceled because of weakness.

    Hebrews 8 continues the explanation. Jesus is the better hope. Therefore, we have a better covenant than ever before and it behooves us as modern Christians to find out what it is, and what our participation and obedience are. Trying to go back and recapture one point of the Levitical law is an affront to the sacrifice Jesus made.

    Hebrews 8:10 quotes Jeremiah who was anticipating the fulfillment of the shadow of the old covenant through the coming reality of Jesus. "I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." The way of redemption is written on the hearts of believers. He is speaking of those born again, not of flesh and blood, but of the spirit. He clinches it in verse 13: "In that He says, "˜A new covenant,´ He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.""”and with it the priesthood and the need to support the priest. This brings us to examine a common belief held among Christians today.

    Is the Pastor/Preacher/Evangelist/ Televangelist/Christian Musician
    Equivalent to the Levitical Priest?

    To examine those in ministry, let´s use the example of the role of pastor. Nowhere in the New Testament are pastors equated with Levitical priests. Unlike priests, pastors were not forbidden to have land, businesses, or to labor in the marketplace. Paul the evangelist worked as a tent-maker where he could as he traveled spreading the gospel. The pastor in the New Testament is just like everybody else except for his calling as shepherd.

    Restoring the Early Church by Mike and Sue Dowgiewicz explains how the early church conducted itself. When the authors visited a kehilat or congregation in Jerusalem based on the early church type, at first they were at a loss to understand who the pastor was. Because so many from the body were participating in testimonies, songs, readings, no one person appeared to be the pastor in the sense that we understand from our American tradition. In fact, they note that of the thousands of documents from the early church period, there are no mentions of clergy, pastor, priest, or minister.

    "No heirarchical positions of authority had been established in their synagogues, and none were needed in the infant Church," the Dowgiewiczes write. Jesus pointed out that in the Gentile system, rulers lord over others, "Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave." (Matt. 20:26-27)

    Acts 20:28 and 1 Peter 5:1-4 show that elders, men who were already known as mature, nurturing, proven, reliable, were to pastor or shepherd local congregations. Participants were no longer separated by lineage.

    Restoring the Early Church explains that the "Gentile church writers of the third century had begun to interpret the Bible in light of the prevailing Roman Empire government system that they were in the process of adopting"¦. The gift of pastor developed into "˜clergy,´ vested with ecclesiastical and regulatory power that totally contradicted the servant leadership system of the New Testament. If today´s Christians are honest, the biblical gift of pastor is no longer viewed as a spiritual gift but as a paid professional occupation like the vocations of the world."

    The church adopted the Roman Empire form of government reflected in the Roman Catholic Church whose edifices and influences we see even now. It also adopted the impersonal oratory style of the Greeks, a model we still have today when the pastor stands before the congregation to deliver his oration to a passive audience"”all foreign to the disciples and early Christians who were accustomed to small intimate interactive groups led informally by elders in private homes.

    The five divisions of leadership in the church as given by God were apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers to equip and perfect the saints (Eph. 4:11). They were chosen from among the body of believers to function in their calling from God according to their ability, not their lineage. Can you see any priesthood in the early church to whom a tithe should be given? There is none.

    To sum up,

    We have seen that the purpose of the Levitical tithe was to meet a need, that of the old covenant Levitical priesthood and to help the poor.

    We have seen the canceling of the old covenant and the institution of the new when Jesus, the Son of God, came in the flesh, died, was buried, and resurrected. The Levitical priesthood and all laws pertaining to it were done away with, including the tithe. The temple, where Levitical ceremonies took place, was destroyed in 70 AD, not to be rebuilt.

    We have seen that the New Testament does not teach tithing as part of the new covenant.

    We have seen that the New Testament offices or callings of pastor, etc., are not the same as the Levitical priesthood, which was based on lineage and the Mosaic ceremonial laws, and that the church building is not the same as the Temple.
    We have seen that there are detriments to teaching the tithe to the church.

    We have seen that while the Old Testament law of the tithe, or tenth, does not bind the Christian church, nevertheless, the principle of this law remains: we are to give. Motivated by love for God and man and purposing in our hearts, we are free to know the true joy of giving to spread the gospel and to help those in need.
    Believers are responsible to measure church teachings in the light of the truth of the Bible. It is our duty to recognize error.

    If you don´t agree with that this teaching is scriptural, then start with your Strong´s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible and look up all references to "tithe" and "tithing" and see for yourself how paltry a case can be built for modern tithing. Then the question is this: Do we choose to follow scripture or doctrines of men?"

    [Edited on 5-4-2006 by fivepointcalvinist]
  7. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    Sorry...gotta bust you on this...for the sake of brevity? :lol:

    Back to the scheduled programming...
  8. fivepointcalvinist

    fivepointcalvinist Puritan Board Sophomore


    yeah, my short post ended up being much longer than i anticipated!!
  9. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    I am trying to understand whay you have not answered the questions I posed?

    Previously posted:
    Does your wife take the supper?


    [Edited on 5-4-2006 by Scott Bushey]
  10. fivepointcalvinist

    fivepointcalvinist Puritan Board Sophomore

    scott did you read the article or my previous response? also i never asserted nt silence as argumentation. yes she does take the supper to answer your question. as far as the law is concerned, it has been fulfilled with the death of Christ. that is why Jesus says:

    "œDo not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them"

    Jesus did not destroy the law, He became the law. The law is now set forth as the royal law and men are now bound to the law of Christ and not Moses. even you covenant theologians can agree with me that Christ fulfilled the demands of the ceremonial and judicial law!

    refering to hebrews 7; did you read the rest or did you stop at 7:6?

    Heb 7:11 ¶ Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need {was there} for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron?
    Heb 7:12 For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also.

    Heb 7:15 And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek,
    Heb 7:16 who has become {such} not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life.

    Heb 7:18 For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness
    Heb 7:19 (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

    Heb 7:27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the {sins} of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
    Heb 7:28 For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, {appoints} a Son, made perfect forever.
    Heb 8:1 Now the main point in what has been said {is this:} we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,
    Heb 8:2 a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.
    Heb 8:3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; so it is necessary that this {high priest} also have something to offer.
    Heb 8:4 Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law;
    Heb 8:5 who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned {by God} when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, "SEE," He says, "THAT YOU MAKE all things ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN WHICH WAS SHOWN YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN."
    Heb 8:6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.
    Heb 8:7 For if that first {covenant} had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.
    Heb 8:13 When He said, "A new {covenant,}" He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.
  11. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Reading further than 7:6 is irrelevent to what is being stated in the passages preceding in regards to Mel and Christs position as priest. Essentially the passage is saying, Melchezidek is to Abraham as Christ is to the NT saint, and as priests, both deserve that which is owed to priests, i.e. the tithe!

    In response to your passages about the new covenant; everyone knows that the NC began in genesis 3........

    So, if you are not arguing from silence, then please show me where God, Christ or Paul said that the tithe is abrogated?

    [Edited on 5-4-2006 by Scott Bushey]
  12. fivepointcalvinist

    fivepointcalvinist Puritan Board Sophomore

    scott, i have tried to show you.


    your understanding differs from mine. may God continue to bless you...
  13. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member


    The problem that some of us (I at least) have with your approach to the tithe is the sharp dichotomy you make between an Old Covenant command and how it relates to the New Covenant. I'll try to articulate it briefly but if I don't succeed then please bear with me.

    There is an overarching dispensational flavor to treating something like tithing as "...well it supported the priests and OT folks had to give 10% because that was the Law. Now the Law is fulfilled and we don't have the tithe but just the principle of giving...."

    Fundamentally, it paints the Law as something that said to OT saints: "Give 10% and you've fulfilled the Law. Well done!" That is pharisaism. One of the articles you cite seems to imply that's just a problem that Christians would look on this issue as some sort of legalistic: "I did it! I gave God 10%! Look at me, I obeyed!" That is not just a New Covenant concern. Such an attitude would be condemnable even in an OT saint. Laws were never given for some sort of rote letter-obedience formula. Laws were given both to train and to point the user to Christ.

    Paul, in Galatians, gives a great analogy to this. He calls the Law a schoolmaster. The Law led the people of God and "bound them up" or preserved them during a period of immaturity until they could reach maturity in Christ. Tithing, in effect, is akin to a rule given to God's "spiritual kids" until Christ would come and they could "grow up." Again, to look at tithing=support the Levites as its penultimate meaning in the OT is to miss this important use of the Law.

    Your profile indicates that you have children. You know well how small children initially need "rules of thumb" that are gracious for them when they're kids but would be inappropriate or "legalistic" if they never grew out of them as adults. For instance, every time my kids ask for something, we insist they say "Please". Repeated violations of this "rule" might even result in discipline. The goal in maturity is that they be well-mannered and respectful of others in their hearts. "Please" and "Thank you" then come glady from their trained hearts.

    The problem with the discussion of tithing is that it misses this "training" aspect. I would agree with some sentiment expressed by one of your articles that some Christians approach tithing with a "OK, I did my duty". The Scriptures would condemn that not because the principle of the tithe was ever "fleshly" but because that is an immature view on what you're doing.

    I reposted some blurbs that Bruce Buchanan and I posted on the last big thread on tithing a while back. The point of that was to demonstrate the progression from training yourself to give to being able to give willingly and cheerfully. The tithe is "please" and "thank you" that immature believers should be trained with.

    Just as there is a "fleshly" and "immature" way that a believer can try to self-justify through "I gave the tithe", so there are some who are never disciplined and use "This is the Law" as an excuse to NOT be generous or never train themselves to be willing to give at a level that shows they trust that God controls their finances. "God loves a cheerful giver..." they say, "so I'll give $5 because that's what makes me happy...." They're like kids that were never trained to say please and thank you and so they don't have a heart that's trained to maturity.

    New believers are babes in Christ. It is my estimation that tithing is a spiritual discipline and always has been during OT and NT times. The tithe, like any other Law, was never meant to be a "do the 10% and you get an A". That's the way kids treat Godly things initialy, which is good because they want to pleae Mom and Dad with the obeying of rules. When they get more mature, they'll treat the Law like the Grace it is and not lean on it but give from a heart that never treated resources as if they wholly belonged to themselves.
  14. gwine

    gwine Puritan Board Sophomore

    Maybe I miss the whole point, Rich, but aren't you saying that the 10% is not a number that we should use but that we should give more in terms of "all that I have belongs to God and because I am so thankful for what he has done for me in Christ that I will abound in my generosity? You mention the tithe in it's penultimate meaning - what would be it's ultimate meaning in the O.T?

    Not that I am settled on the issue - I am still :chained: to the idea of giving 10% because that's all I ever knew, even during my days of unbelief. Our pastor always say "his tithes and our offerings" which is a nice way of recognizing both parts - the law and grace.

    But I like your comments on it being a discipline. For a while I was writing a check on payday just for that reason. It seemed a good idea at the time, and your posts encourage me to do it again.

    Words always get in the way of what I want to say so I hope I am making sense.
  15. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I wish I could talk this out because typing it is so lengthy. I think you have the idea.

    I think both in the OT and the NT, the tithe is a minimum standard. It's a training standard. Ultimately, the OT saint should have looked beyond the 10%. It wasn't like a tax completely (Oh man! I have to give 10%? What kind of deductions do I qualify for...) but it was commanded because, left without commands, the ministry would be unprovided for.

    I think most things that are good have to be habitual. I set up Quicken so that my giving level is consistent and it reminds me not to spend the money I need to remember to give to the Church. I don't think "Ah yes. I'm so good" but it is a good spiritual habit. Most people have this aversion to developing any kind of rituals or habits because they think as soon as they do that they have just become a Pharisee. We practice at every thing else to become good at it. Why do we think spiritual fruit is going to be developed in a less mundane way? Even masterful musicians still practice scales.

    I just see the standard as that. Give 10% always as a way to train. You're then spiritually fit with a high giving level. Giving above that is easy. It's like running. It hurts if all you do is sporadic training but if you run every day then an extra 2 miles when you need to do so is a piece of cake.

    Folks will come up with excuses but those who think they can just jump in and out of giving generously are deceiving themselves. I think the excuse that the tithe of 10% is legalistic is usually a veiled excuse that people don't want to have to give that much of their resources and so they wrap themselves in the "spiritual" language that the tithe is "...the Law...." They need to grow up.

    [Edited on 5-5-2006 by SemperFideles]
  16. gwine

    gwine Puritan Board Sophomore

    :up: Thanks.
  17. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    I do agree with what you have written, but only to a degree; we submit to the law of God because of obedience; 'training' is different. God commands, so it is done! Granted, the law is a tutor, but I see training and obedience as polar opposites. One says we should, the other says 'we must'.
  18. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    If Christ is a 'priest forever' according to Mel, why would you believe the tithe would cease?

    Heb 7:23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
    Heb 7:24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

    Heb 8:1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
    Heb 8:2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

    Christ acts as high priest in the true tabernacle, erected by God, not men. The priesthood has been perfected, yet it continues

    Heb 8:3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices:

    All priests offer gifts and sacrifices. Christ continues. The blood spills! The tithes have nothing to do with this principle.

    wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.
    Heb 8:4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:

    The law is not abrogated, but fulfilled.

    Heb 8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.
    Heb 8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
    Heb 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

    Here is where we disagree: The NC began in Genesis. The first covenant was the Adamic.

    Heb 8:8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
    Heb 8:9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
    Heb 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
    Heb 8:11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

    Does everyone KNOW the Lord? Do we not need teachers? Was this premise not present in the lives of the OT saint?

    Heb 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

    Has not Christ been merciful to Abraham prior to His cricifixion?

    Heb 8:13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

    Heb 8:13 In that he saith,3004 A new2537 covenant, he hath made the first old.3822, 3588, 4413 Now1161 that which decayeth3822 and2532 waxeth old1095 is ready to vanish away.1451, 854

    The new covenant is now and not yet. It is fulfilled but not fully. It, the first one is obsolete, decaying. Glorification will bring about the 'no need for teachers'. All will know the Lord. But not yet; it is still decaying. Decay is a process, much like rust; rust never sleeps; neither does decay.

    I thank you for the exchange; you have been gracious. I commend you on that. One las t question; you mention NCT. Have you abandoned the sabbath as well as I know that NCT believes that the sabbath has been abrogated as well?

    [Edited on 5-5-2006 by Scott Bushey]
  19. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Training and obedience are not opposing concepts. Paul uses athletic analogies to compare training the body to training and disciplining oneself. Time was short and I was trying to contrast a "I'll give 10% because it's a Law and I'm good because I obeyed the Law" type of spirit to a spirit that says "I'll give at least 10% and more when needed because I love to...." It's not a question of whether or not God has commanded it. I don't dispute that. I disputed first that the tithe was ever some sort of naked "I did my duty and I've fulfilled the Law" rule. I was then trying to use analogies of how the Law serves as a tutor to train in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16-17) which leads us into Christian majority. Those who never submit to the Law as a trainer cannot expect to reap the joy that spiritual discipline produces: maturity.

    [Edited on 5-5-2006 by SemperFideles]
  20. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Ok Rich; agreed. My fault I should have looked closer at what you were trying to convey. It's early here! What is it there, dinner time?

  21. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    2030 (8:30 pm). The kids are in bed. Yay!!! We're GMT+9:00 here so during DST we are 13 hours ahead of you guys on the East Coast.
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