Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tithe Debate

This post is simply a place marker for anyone who wishes to comment on their views of tithing in the New Covenant era. Mike's blog post was getting overrun by a tithing debate. I offer a free place here for anyone to air their views on tithing. I don't personally care which side you take. By now everyone who is familiar with me should know my position, and I don't demand anyone agree with me.
I would like to see if there is any Weinland follower or Armstrongist who can come up with a convincing stance on tithing that I (and many other people besides) haven't already thoroughly covered.

This is an Bible-based, open discussion if anyone wishes to participate - but keep it civil. I will moderate out any comment that I personally feel crosses the line. I need to give no explanation for my moderation. But I will be fair.
Who's interested?


It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.

Acts 17:11



xHWA said...

There are a series of posts on another blog that deal with tithing and answers many questions such as:

"So what if Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek."
[Actually, Abraham paid A tithe, one time, and it was a tenth of the best of war spoils, not a tenth of all the field, flock, and orchard.]

"Tithing is for God's church."
[Oh, is it?]

"Tithing was in place before a Levitical and sacrificial system was instituted."
[Actually, a sacrificial system was from Cane and Abel's time, circumcision was from Abraham's time, and neither of these are required now. But I digress.]

I suggest everyone who believes in Christian tithing read these articles since you may possibly be missing the larger boat of Christian giving.

RKPDRMR said...

Thanks xHWA, for inviting the tithing discussion to come here.

To Observer and Weinland Observer, and those who agree with their view, because you posted most of the comments that I disagree with.

I want to say first, I know you are serious about being obedient to God, and that you sincerely believe that your interpretation of tithing is correct according to the Bible. And I can appreciate that, and I respect that.

I just want to try and show you, though, that other people have good reason for believing differently, and that you should at least consider it.

I'll lay it out in three simple steps, and ask a question, which I hope you will answer.

1. We all know that there is no command to tithe anywhere in the New Covenant. If you disagree, show me where that command is.
And please don't point to Matt.23:23. We all know that the Old Covenant was in full force at that time, and didn't end until Christ's death on the cross.

2. It is a fundamental, biblical truth, that when God makes a covenant, He is the one who dictates what the terms are. And nobody else (no man) can add to it or take away from it. Paul explains this in Gal.3:15-17.

3. We also know, that since the Bible is a progressive revelation, we can't take commands and/or statements from the Old Testament and freeze-frame them (so to speak) and say that is the end-all, be-all of the matter. We can't do that, because Paul or the other apostles, may have something different to say. For instance, if Paul says something different than what Moses said, we know that what Paul says would over-ride what Moses had to say.

So here's my question, that I would appreciate your thoughts on, (or answer to).
If nobody can add anything to a covenant from God that isn't already written in there, and we don't see tithing anywhere in the New Covenant, how could anyone say that tithing is part of the New Covenant?

Questeruk said...


There seems to be logic problems with your ‘three steps’.

First a ‘minor’ point. Your mention of Matt 23:23 is interesting.

OK the Old Covenant may have been in force, but looking at the time setting of the chapter, it looks like this was just two or three DAYS prior to the crucifixion of Jesus.

Christ saying ‘these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone’, you would think that at that point Christ might have added an ‘override’ of ‘well, until next week anyway’.

My main point:-

I take it that you agree the things that Christ said in the Sermon on the Mount does apply to the New Covenant?

So when Christ says ‘You have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.’

He is in effect saying, this is what the case was; this is what is now the case.

When He says ‘Again, you have heard that it has been said by them of old time, You shall not forswear thyself, but shall perform unto the Lord your oaths:
But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne…….But let your communication be, Yes, yes; No, no:

He is saying, things have changed, while you could swear before, now you don’t need to, a simple yes or no is sufficient.

The whole tenure of this, to me, is that these are things that have changed. It’s being mentioned because it has changed.

You say that tithing isn’t mentioned at all. I would contend that it is completely logical to say that if tithing isn’t mentioned at all, then it continues to be in force.

The Church organisation of the early Church would seem to have needed some financing. Paul certainly implied he was worthy of hire. Does it make any sense to say tithing has been done away because there is no mention of it?

This is the logic of it:-

1. Tithing was in operation in the OC.

2. Finance was still needed to some degree in the NC.

3. There is no mention of tithing either way in the NT.

Therefore (and you tell me which makes logical sense),

Therefore a) Tithing is still in force.
or b) Tithing is done away.

Seeker Of Truth said...


since covenants (contracts) cannot be changed, it means there is a new one. So what has changed is the covenant, not the contents of the old one.

Gal. 3:15 Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case.

Old... New. Not changed. Not altered.

God didn't pull a fast one on them and change the covenant.. He fulfilled it and gave them a new one.

Questeruk said...

Seeker Of Truth said...

”God didn't pull a fast one on them and change the covenant.. He fulfilled it and gave them a new one.”

I will just throw this into ‘the mix’.

Sticking with logic about the above view, when looking at scripture for guidance, you seem to be saying:-

1. Old Testament – everything there is OC – does not apply in NC.

2. New Testament – gospels and example of Jesus. The OC still applied at that point, so cannot use the example of Jesus’ life, or any incidents prior to Christ’s resurrection (perhaps 95% of the gospels).

3. Later writings, such as Acts. NC period, but cannot rely on peoples examples, as they were not fully aware of NC. E.g. they met on the first day of Pentecost after the resurrection, not realising the annual days were ‘done away’. Peter had never eaten anything unclean, not realising he could, and this was several years into the NC.

My point is, that with that frame of mind, almost any scripture can be ‘explained away’, if it doesn’t suit your theology.

xHWA said...

"almost any scripture can be ‘explained away’, if it doesn’t suit your theology."

That door can and does often swing both ways, as we are all well aware.

I think the key to understanding how the Old Covenant is relevant is to know that first and foremost it was a way of showing us a shadow of another, larger reality. The word-for-word precepts of the Old Covenant were never intended to last into the New Covenant period.

So, when Christ fulfilled the law and the prophets, what does that mean? How do we view the Old Covenant? Is it just useless and good for tales of heroes? I don't think so.
I'll give my usual examples. Circumcision = of the heart; sacrifice = spiritual and of the self; murder, adultery, etc = of the heart; temple = the church; etc, etc. The list goes on. Now, taking that into account, does it make sense to say the Sabbath, meats, and tithes are brought forward unchanged? Impossible.

The trick is to find in the New Covenant the spiritual reality of the Old Covenant shadow. What is the Sabbath in the New Covenant? What are tithes for the New Covenant? I believe in the New Covenant rest is given by Jesus, not a weekday. Giving isn't 10%, it's 100%; we are living sacrifices.

When we read the Old Covenant law, tithes were never of cash. They were of these three items alone: field, orchard, flock. That is it. That is the law! They could be redeemed for cash, but at a price. Tithes were to go for very, very specific things. That's the law! To do anything else with them is a sin. I've heard "the ministry decides how to spend God's tithes." Not according to the Bible.

Yet we see the Levitical priesthood, under whom the law was given and to whom the tithe was given as an inheritance, is clearly gone. Christ took no tithes. His ministry was by grace alone. For all the people who believe Old Covenant items were "brought forward" and who claim we must do as Christ did in the Gospels, this is never mentioned. Christ paid the temple tax, yet that is never demanded. All the Holy Day offerings were burnt offerings, not cash, and this is never mentioned. There were three pilgrimage Holy Days, not 1, not 7, and this is never mentioned. We are ALL priests not just the ministry (so the tithes would go to all of us) and this is never mentioned. There is no office of "Minister" laid out in the Bible anyhow, only Elder and Deacon, and this is never mentioned. "Minister" and "deacon" are from the same word.
So many things have to be explained away in order to make the Old Covenant fit into the New.

What is mentioned? "The law was changed." But in what context is that mentioned? ONLY to claim the tithe was given to the ministry. A claim which is utterly and irredeemably a twisting of the clear meaning of Hebrews. If the law wasn't fundamentally altered, then Christ isn't our High Priest. THAT is what it is saying. Other than that, what I have always heard about the Old Covenant law in the areas of Sabbath, tithes, and meats is, "The Lord changes not."

How can it be that in certain areas He changes not, but in other areas the law was "changed" or "magnified"? Given this, almost any scripture can be ‘explained away’, or better yet 'brought forward', if it doesn’t suit your theology.

As a personal note, I find this debate extremely interesting.

RKPDRMR said...


You make some good points. But you might not be seeing what I am trying to get at.

And so I'll answer your question.

You prefaced your question with:
1. Tithing was in operation in the OC.
2.Finance was still needed to some degree in the NC.
3.There is no mention of tithing either way in the NC.

And your question is "Therefore (and you tell me what makes logical sense)Therefore a. Tithing is still in force. or b. Tithing is done away."

Now I understand that, and I would agree, it does seem logical.

But here's the problem: This logic, as sensible as it may seem, is not the Biblical criteria. And the Biblical criteria is what we have to go by.

The Biblical criteria is Gal.3:15-17. Paul explains there EXPRESSLY, that a covenant from God cannot be added to or taken away from. You can't take a command like tithing and say that it's part of the NC if that command is not in there. That would be adding to it. Just like you can't take things that ARE in there, and remove them, and say "They're not part of the covenant". That would be taking away from it.

Scripture doesn't allow that.

Nobody can take a covenant that God has institued, and add rules or other commands to it, nor take away the rules or commands that are written in there.

Deut.4:2,12:32 God says don't add or take away from His words. That principle runs all through the Bible to Rev.22:18-19.

And Paul says the same thing goes for the covenants.

We know for a fact that we don't have to keep every single thing that was commanded of the Israelites. Acts chapter 15 says so.

So how do we determine what we DO have to keep? How do we sort the two out? That is, what we keep versus what we don't keep.

People come up with all kinds of different ways to determine that.

But the Biblical criteria is God's rule on the covenants as explained by the apostle Paul, that no one adds or takes away from them.
You see, God sorts out what we keep versus what we don't keep with this rule.

And the rule for giving in the NC
is not tithing, but to "Give as one purposes in his heart, not out of NECESSITY, for God loves a cheerful giver".

If you want to tithe, fine, there's nothing wrong with that.
But to say that it's part of the NC, when it's not written in there, is adding to the covenant, and that is forbidden by God.

xHWA said...

A little something for those of us in the "Jesus did it, so we should too" camp. [I imply nothing negative by that.]

It is plain that tithes were of field, flock, and orchard. Ergo, a quote from Russell Earl Kelly, Ph D.:

"Jesus did not tithe, nor did he sin by failing to tithe because he was poor and did not own land or herd animals for his sustenance. The poor were only expected to give free-will offerings to the best of their ability."

Interesting, no?

Jesus and Peter were so poor they couldn't pay the annual temple tax either (MATT. 17: 24-27).
Note how in verse 26, Jesus says, "Then the sons are free."

Seeker Of Truth said...

1. A signed written agreement between two or more parties (nations) to perform some action
2. (Bible) an agreement between God and his people in which God makes certain promises and requires certain behavior from them in return

A covenant is a contract. The first one, written in letters on stone, had a fading glory.
The second one's glory far surpassed that of the 1ST.

2 Cor. 3
7 Now if the ministry [1ST contract = OC] that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was,
8 will not the ministry [2ND contract = NC] of the Spirit be even more glorious?
9 If the ministry [1ST contract] that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry [2ND contract] that brings righteousness!
10 For what was glorious [1ST] has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory [2ND].
11 And if what was fading away [1ST] came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! [2ND]

12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.
13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.
14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.
15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Paul tells us that contracts cannot be changed.

coninuing in the next comment...>>>>

Seeker Of Truth said...

>>>> continuing from the last comment...

I'll repeat what I said over at Mikes site DDTFA:

It continues to amaze me when 'Law' automatically means Old Covenant.

In a small town I lived near once, there was an old law that said one could not ride their horse on main street while playing guitar.
They decided to remove that law since it was outdated. Is that confusing to people to go and change a perfectly good law?
I know. That's a man made law and we're talking about God's laws.

Why are people so very attached to the Old Covenant? Is it so terrible if we are no longer under the Old Covenant? Is it so terrible if we are under the New Covenant?

What exactly was meant by 'a veil covers their eyes when Moses is read?'

How is it one could actually believe that if the Old Covenant is no longer in effect that it would mean people are free to sin?

How does being under the New Covenant mean one can sin?

Are we the children who are only happy if we have a stern faced adult standing over us with a ruler, telling us to be good or else, as opposed to the adult who says 'go outside and play nicely with the other children'.

What is the obsession over the Old Covenant? I know... God said it would be a problem... but still... I just don't get it.

If you choose to be under the Old Covenant, you choose to be on your own, because Christ is of no value to you. He died to pay our debt. A free gift. But your debt cannot be paid if you choose the OC, because then it's up to YOU to be perfect (which is impossible) in order to gain salvation... rather than a perfect Christ paying your debt and gifting you salvation.

It baffles and saddens me. Truly.
Men like Ronald Weinland rob people of Christ's gift.

The lie I hate most, of Ron Weinland's false teachings, is that Christ Jesus was created! The Bible says that no God was created... so what gives? That teaching alone discredits RW as belonging to God. It makes him an antichrist.

Why is it so difficult to understand that when Jesus died, the New Covenant came into effect?
I think it's because people still think they have to 'earn' it. They cannot fathom that faith grants you the gift. It's too easy! Right? So, then that leaves 'earning', 'works'.

"Not because of who I am, but because of what You've done. Not because of what I've done, but because of who You are"

~ Casting Crowns - Who Am I

That says it all...

RKPDRMR said...

In the June 27th blog at DDTFA, entitled "Weinland Explains" a poster named Weinland Observer said "Tithing is commanded in the Bible, not just by Armstrong, and if you don't agree, then you don't agree with the Bible".

So I issued a challenge to prove where tithing was commanded for us today (Christians), in our time.
Some good exchanges ensued, with other posters named Believer, and Observer, two that I remember, expressing their agreement with Herbert Armstrong's teaching on tithing.

Finally, xHWA said, in more or less words, that this was turning into a tithing debate, and graciously provided this place to continue, as Mike's DDTFA isn't really about tithing debates.

So far, it looks like Believer, Weinland Observer, Observer, and some others who share their view, have declined the invitation.

For myself, I'm not much of a debater. I would rather watch, than participate. But for me, tithing is an important topic, that I will debate.

And here's why: There are those who are in the ministry, who seem to be using God's Word for their own financial gain, and are "teaching what they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake".

Well, for these ministers, tithing is their achilles heel, so to speak. Because if it can be shown that tithing is not required of us, today, in our time, then a big part of their con-game is over with. And it seems that is mostly what they really care about.

That's why I will debate tithing.

And so to you who have declined xHWA's invitation; just in case you do happen to come over here to take a look, I would like to pose a couple of questions, as they relate to tithing. And maybe your curiosity will be raised enough to take a look at xHWA and Seeker of Truth's articles on tithing.

We know there are things in the Old Testament that we are to obey. But not ALL of them. So how do we tell the difference? How does the Bible tell us to come to that determination?

How did Herbert Armstrong come to his conclusions? Answer: we know how, because he put it all in print, in the form of literature booklets. All of his reasonings for why we should keep this or that, are in those literature booklets. And a criteria that he used, maybe his main one, was this: He would point to a certain OT command and say "This says forever!!" and "Nowhere in the New Testament does it say this command is done away with!!"

Now at first, this looks like it makes a lot of sense. That is pretty much UCG's approach as well . I know, because I attended there, and in their literature booklets, they point to verses in the New Testament and ask "Do these verses really show that 'Gods Law' is done away with?"

But is that how the Bible tells us to determine these things?
And that's the problem. Because there are specific places in the Bible that tell us, EXPRESSLY, how to come to the right conclusions.

And the way the Bible says to do it, and the way Herbert Armstrong did it, are two completely different methods, that will lead one to two completely different conclusions. That's the problem.

And so that is where I will leave it. But if anyone cares to respond and show why Herbert Armstrong's method was correct, then we can compare that with how the Bible says to do it.

xHWA said...

Looks like they're not interested, RKPDRMR

RKPDRMR said...

To xHWA,

Yeah, I think you're right.

Either that, or they know they have a case that doesn't hold up. :)

Half kidding. I only say that because it brings one more point to mind, if I could mention it.

On your other blog, under "Goodnight Gracie", you said that you have "Seen the many things that HWA hid from us".

I've gotta tell you, when I first read that, I had a hard time believing it. Until I read your article on tithing. I saw that you approached the tithing argument with the understanding of the Covenants.

And what always baffled me was why HWA never mentioned that aspect of it. He would bring up a lot of scriptures for examination, in making his case for tithing, but never (that I remember) the scriptures that provide the understanding of, and describe the nature of, the Covenants (that they are unalterable).

And now, looking back, I have a hard time believing, that as knowledgeable as he was of the scriptures (he was very knowledgeable) that he wasn't aware of what these scriptures were saying.

It inclines one to conclude, that he knew, to bring up the scriptures regarding the Covenants, it would expose him as being on the wrong side of the argument. A biblical slam-dunk.

This scenario also applies to the ministry in the COG splinters.

The other conclusion is that HWA was truly blind to the biblical understanding of the Covenants, and so are the COG splinters.
But that's a hard one to swallow.

xHWA said...


I have the darndest time figuring out what HWA knew and what he didn't. I have that same trouble with Ron Weinland, too. There are so many variables.
Did HWA believe what he taught? Was he completely aware of his errors, but lied about them? (From the tsunami of failed prophecies and cover-ups of those failures, I tend to agree with this explanation.) Was it some combination?
You're right - it's hard to swallow that he was blind.

It was obvious that he was supremely confident in his opinion. So long as we stayed in agreement, and paying tithes (2 full tithes, excess tithe, tithe-of-a-tithe, 7 offerings, freewill offerings, and "widow's mites", etc.) that was all that really mattered.

Thank you for reading those posts. It appears you even read them with an open mind. Kudos! I hope God blessed you with something valuable that you can take with you.

I had some friends back in the COG and we eventually talked about my tithe study. They wouldn't agree with me until their minds were set at ease that they really weren't robbing from God by accepting that tithes were no longer demanded. That statement from Malachi, as HWA interpreted it, is a very powerful guilt motivator. My friend lost 2 houses and almost a third from tithing-guilt. People who are tithing just want to do what they feel God commands, and they don't want to feel selfish or guilty. I had to deal with strong emotions on this subject myself until I came to understand the difference in the Covenants. Problem is, a person can prove 100% that God demanded tithes in the Old Covenant, but sadly they've missed the boat on the New Covenant.

Seeker Of Truth said...

RK, (& all readers),

RK said to xHWA:

"I've gotta tell you, when I first read that, I had a hard time believing it. Until I read your article on tithing. I saw that you approached the tithing argument with the understanding of the Covenants.

And what always baffled me was why HWA never mentioned that aspect of it. He would bring up a lot of scriptures for examination, in making his case for tithing, but never (that I remember) the scriptures that provide the understanding of, and describe the nature of, the Covenants (that they are unalterable).

And now, looking back, I have a hard time believing, that as knowledgeable as he was of the scriptures (he was very knowledgeable) that he wasn't aware of what these scriptures were saying.

It inclines one to conclude, that he knew, to bring up the scriptures regarding the Covenants, it would expose him as being on the wrong side of the argument. A biblical slam-dunk."

This, RK & readers, is exactly why I tell you that you must look for more scriptures beyond those given by the person trying to make a case for their argument.

It's pretty easy to hand out scriptures that seem to prove their argument, which can be misleading &/or cause confusion. This is why it is so important to look for other scriptures on the subject.

The intent of this blog (As Bereans Did) is to get people to prove for themselves, just as the Bereans did, and to not trust others to provide it for them, as you cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.

Ron Weinland, in one of his sermons, tried to make that scripture (Acts 17:11), sound like the Bereans were in total agreement with Paul and were not checking to see if what he taught was true or false, to make sure what he taught was true, but that they were in total agreement with Paul and in their joy, were just going over what he taught, (like a refresher, I suppose).

That's what he, and other like him, would have us all believe, so that we don't question their teachings... you know: 'Don't question me, I have it straight from God... If you doubt me, you doubt God... we don't need to look it up in the Bible, we know the truth when we hear it... that's not what Acts 17:11 means, they trusted Paul, they were just going over the Truth that he taught.'

But that is exactly what it means. It means that you are to make sure that a persons argument is sound, by scouring scriptures yourself, to prove it... because you can't ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom... and this examination of scripture is why the Bereans were described as being of noble character, that, and their eagerness to receive the message.

xHWA said...

Here's a great quote from an anonymous "recovering WCG legalist" that I found on the Testimony page of Recovering
I think it highlights why certain people will not be convinced about the Covenants or grace.

"Legalism allows us to deceive ourselves into thinking everything is and will be 'OK' because we are doing all we believe we need to do to keep life controlled and understandable. I believe that many can't leave legalist beliefs because they can't fathom losing control over their lives or trusting a Sovereign God when life doesn't make sense ... having to be vulnerable, respond to the world in unconditional love rather than personal opinion and judgement, and to trust something that is totally conceptual and not tangible (the spirit of God and Jesus) requires submission to God that many choose not to accept. For many it is far easier, more understandable, and safer to trust their known ability to follow a set of beliefs, rules, and practices (that make us feel good about ourselves and in alignment with what a church teaching about what is necessary to "be a good Christian") ... than it is to follow a gospel of non-judgmental truth, love, grace, and trust in an unseen God."

Losing that sense of control is certainly one of the many aspects that bind people in the chains of legalism. There are other reasons, of course. I hope and pray that all of God's precious children that are trapped in Armstronism will one day come to conquer their personal demons that prevent them from stepping fully into the New Covenant. God bless and speed you into that wonderful day!

My thanks go out to RedFox from LivingArmstrongism for the link. He has some more great links for you as well.

xHWA said...

OK. It has been a week since this debate opened. Plainly there is a gaping absence of representation for the tithe-believers. I will have no other choice than to declare the debate concluded and also declare the winner of the debate to be RKPDRMR.

This victory is unofficial, of course. But congratulations to RKPDRMR for successfully fending off all opposition - or scaring them off, I don't know.

Tithinig FAIL!!