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Debunking the Quid Pro Quo Transactional Tithing Arguments

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"But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. -- Luke 11:42 (ESV)

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. -- Matthew 23:23 (ESV)

The first easy thing to catch is that Jesus is not speaking to us is He? No, He is speaking to the Pharisees who were of course -- Jewish! That brings us to sunny point number two. Jesus is still alive at this point! He has not yet gone to the cross. No one is arguing that tithing did not exist prior to the cross! So Jesus is not telling us to tithe beloved. He is telling the Jewish teachers of law in His day that because they are bound to the law they must tithe! Now what about those verses from Galatians?

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified[a] by the law; you have fallen away from grace. -- Galatians 5: 1-4 (ESV)

The problem in Galatia was a group known as the Judaizers who insisted that salvation still required circumcision, which was Old Testament law. The point is not the circumcision but rather that any part of the law was being used to justify oneself. You can insert any part of the law in the place of circumcision here and the text would not change -- including tithing. If you insist on tithing then you sever yourself from Christ and have fallen away from grace. Pastors are routinely enslaving their sheep back to the law by demanding tithing.

"In 45 years as a Christian I have always tithed and not once has God let me down. I have never seen a bill go unpaid." -- Bill Wiese

Now we come to one of the more insidious tithing lies. That is making giving unto the work of the Lord transactional. Beloved we give because once we were dead but now are alive in Christ! We give because once we walked in utter darkness and now can see! We are the diseased leper finally healed and made whole! We are blind Bartimaeus, finally equipped with correct sight again! We are the demoniac set free from the shackles of this world. We give because we want others to receive the same gift! We give because of what Christ has already done -- not what some snake oil salesman promises us He will do for us in the future. Several churches, like Steven Furtick's Elevation Church, practice a "tithing challenge" where they sucker new givers by saying they should "try Jesus out." What is He a used car?

The truly sad thing is that Bill Wiese is setting people up to lose faith in God. When you say tithe because I tithe and have never had a bill go unpaid -- what expectation have you now set within the hearts of man? What happens when that man cannot pay his bills? I remember last year on Joel Osteen's Facebook page a man posted that he was upset and confused because he always followed Joel's teachings, including tithing, and was still facing a foreclosure in two weeks. What was more horrifying though was the responses from the Osteen followers. It was a resounding chorus of word faith heresy. You just have to have faith. God will bring it to pass. Just speak the money into existence and rebuke the devourer posing as the foreclosure. Can God supernaturally stave off the foreclosure? Sure but the assumption made by the man and the Osteen followers was that He had to. In all likelihood that man had his house foreclosed on and what was left of his faith then? If God gives me nothing else in this lifetime He has already given me everything.

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