You Do Not Have to Give Ten Percent!

My friend (who shall remain nameless) told me a story about a church he went to. The pastor explained rather matter-of-factly to anybody within hearing distance that people are required to give ten percent. The reason is because the Bible says to. Huh?

I’ve already beaten this horse to death, but I’ve thought of a few more arguments why the tithe (or 10%) is an irrelevant amount to give.

An Analogy About Christian Giving

Phil was dating a girl named Alice. Phil was very a great gentleman to Alice and opened the door for her, let her order first, and drove her around. One day Phil stopped opening the doors, ordered first at restaurants, and didn’t really feel like driving. Alice was appalled. How dare Phil not perform the gentlemanly acts. He’s a man. He should open doors for women. He should let women order first. And the man should drive.

Now can Phil resume his gentlemanly acts without compulsion? If Alice keeps nagging him to open the door, the answer is no. Can Phil resume his gentlemanly acts cheerfully? Once again, the answer is likely no.

Now imagine a different man going to church and this man gives cheerfully and without compulsion. Nobody is telling the man to give. Suddenly the pastor tells the man, “You’re not giving enough. You’re robbing God.” Is this man now able to give to the church cheerfully and without compulsion?

The reason I keep bringing up that giving should be done cheerfully and without compulsion is because it’s in the Bible. Check out this verse from 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV):

Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Giving should not be done reluctantly, or under compulsion. If you can’t give without reluctance or compulsion, God doesn’t want your money. But keep in mind that man does. Which is why we still have pastors giving people guilt trips over giving.

You Are Not Commanded to Give

Back when tithes were actually commanded, there was no church. I will say this again: the Christian church as we know it did not exist yet when the tithes were commanded. Even with Jesus talked with the Pharisees over tithing, the church had yet to be formed.

Christian giving under the new covenant is designed to assist the church and other Christians. There’s no commandment to give. Paul makes this very clear:

2 Corinthians 8:8-9 (NIV) – 8I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

Why the Tithe was Commanded

The reason I think that the tithes were commanded and modern giving is not is due to one key factor: the Holy Spirit. Every person who becomes a believer in Jesus Christ receives the Holy Spirit as a gift. The Holy Spirit is what guides Christians towards sanctification and holiness. Back when the tithes were commanded, the Holy Spirit had not yet been cast among the masses. There was nothing to guide people to give.

Paul said that each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give. What Paul should have said was, “You’re a Christian now. You’re being led by the Holy Spirit. Make up your mind what you want to give and give it. If it’s above ten percent, great. If it’s below ten percent, great. Just be happy about what you’re giving and don’t let anybody pressure you into giving anything. This includes pastors.”

But Why Not Give Ten Percent?

You can give ten percent if you want if you can do it without reluctance or compulsion. I’ve written about several reasons for Christians to give and not all of them have to do with money.

If a pastor demands ten percent, the church might as well get each person’s salary and start charging admission on Sunday. Church should be about worshiping God. Why would someone tolerate a church environment where you have someone snooping over your shoulder each time you pull out your checkbook to make sure you’ve written the proper amount?

Conclusion

As I stated earlier, this topic is a beaten horse on this blog, but my friend reminded me of the feelings I have towards guilt-trip pastors. If you really want to know how much to give, please read my article on how much to give.

Thanks for reading.

2 Comments

  1. In Malachi chapter 3-7,12- Will a man rob GOD? Yet ye have robbed me. Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse for you have robbed me, This is to keep GODS work going, Someone has to love GOD and keep his work going,if no one gives his work would die.

  2. You left out an important part of the verse “… so that there may be FOOD in my house”. The tithe is of food items, it was brought by farmers (who raised food) to the temple storehouse (in Jerusalem), for the priests of Levi and Aaron. Pray tell how the tithe became money, brought to the local church building, for the clergy, when Paul wrote “DO NOT go beyond what is written” and Revelation 22 commands us NOT to add to or subtract from the scriptures? Any believer who will stand for a teacher to twist scripture SO MUCH to invoke an obsolete OT law, deserves to be under the law, until they wise up, seize their full identity and inheritance in Christ, and run for the door.

    YES, under the NT there is a new temple and a new priesthood, but it is NOT the church building nor just the clergy. ALL believers are the temple of the Holy Spirit now and ALL believers are the priesthood. So if the tithe is to be invoked under the new covenant, at least have the good sense to properly identify the new priesthood and temple: ALL BELIEVERS. That is why, I most firmly believe, we see the new Church, at the end of Acts 2 & 4, SHARING EVERYTHING such that they could claim “every need was met / there were no needy people among them”.

    Ronald has done a wonderful job explaining his position. I hope and pray that you, Ron Cooper, will take the time to read up on the subject and fight yourself free from that bad doctrine! The article linked under my name will help.

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