The problem for Prince here is this verse has absolutely nothing to do with tithing. It is from a portion of Scripture where the Apostle Paul is teaching on the gentiles being grafted into Israel. The firstfruits dough here representing Israel and the lump referring to the nations blessed through them thanks to the Abrahamic Covenant. To take this significant portion of Scripture and try to teach tithing is not only to miss the point but it cheapens it greatly. The sleight of hand however is that no sooner does Prince recite the verse than he refers to the reference of firstfruits as tithing. He needs to do this because then he can leverage this verse to prove his false point that the first fruit/tithe being holy means the remainder will be holy. Thus tithe and God will remove this alleged curse that exists on all of our cash. The problem again however, is that tithing and first fruits were two completely different things in the Old Testament and only false tithing teachers try to muddy the issue.
3) Sunday is a tithe - Apparently Pastor Prince needs a math lesson. Trying to back up his erroneous teaching that tithing is a principle throughout the Bible, he claims that when we set Sunday aside and come to church, we are in fact tithing and God will redeem/bless the rest of the week. Say what? First of all, the word tithe means "tenth"; so unless there are ten days in the week, Sunday cannot be a tithe. It simply does not add up. More importantly however is the lunacy of such a statement. That every single person who goes to church is completely blessed in the week that follows. Wow.
4) The ten percent of our brain argument - Prince dives off the reality cliff by claiming science believes we only use ten percent of our brain but if we would just give that ten percent to God then He will stir up the remaining 90%, which Prince believes are the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit. Where do we start? First of all, according to Scientific American, the ten percent claim is nothing more than a myth. We in fact use all of our brain and most of it is active at the same time. The science lesson aside however, where in the world does Joseph Prince come up with the idea that the remaining 90% represents the gifts of the Spirit and that God has to stir them up but only if we pay attention to Him with the tithe of our brain? He certainly does not get it from the Bible. He simply made it up, as he made up most of this sermon. I am amazed that when Pastors make such absurd comments that people do not simply stand up and walk out. There is a difference between not handling the Word correctly and being willfully deceptive.
5) God feels loved when we tithe - Prince tries to make this argument by comparing our relationship with God to our relationship with our spouse. That it is important that we understand how our wife feels loved and that we love her in that manner. If she feels loved by roses that we get her roses and not a washing machine even though the washing machine might cost more. Great illustration if you were doing a seminar on strengthening marriages but to cheapen God down to this level is breathtaking. That God is somehow a weeping lover, feeling spurned by us until we bring our tithe to Joseph Prince's church - then He feels loved! An obvious appeal to our overly romanticized flesh with no scriptural basis whatsoever.
6) We are no longer under the law but tithing was not under the law - So we come to the heaviest lift for Prince. How to enforce tithing yet pretend it has nothing to do with the law you abhor so much. Get ready for some serious Bible twisting beloved:
Garden of Eden - That's right. Joseph Prince teaches that tithing began in the garden. How so? According to Prince, God said to leave one tree alone. This is my tree according to God. To show me the you honor me and respect me, do not eat from my tree. This is your tithe to me. I honestly do not know how anyone can say this with a straight face. Here are the actual Bible verses:
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden,but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." - Genesis 2: 15-17 (ESV)
Hmm. Why does God command Adam to not eat of the tree? Is it because He wants respect and honor? Is it because it is His tree? Is there any hint of tithing involved? The answers are a resounding no. It is because God knew that eating of the tree would result in the fall of man. What Prince does here is a hermeneutical term we call "lying." OK, it's not exactly just a hermeneutical term. He is flat out lying to claim that the tree was a tithe. Even from a mathematical perspective that would mean there were only ten trees in the garden! On a much deeper level however, to pretend that this is the establishment of a tithing principle is reprehensible at best and sinful at worst.
Abram tithed! - According to Prince and tithing teachers everywhere, Abram tithed and therefore so should we. Prince correctly points out that there was 2000 years between the garden and Abram and another 400 years between Abraham and the law yet he fails to connect those dots. Why would God establish a universal principle yet leave so many years unaccounted for regarding this alleged principle? The answer? He wouldn't. Prince painfully twists this story. He claims that where Melchizedek says, "blessed be Abram"; we can just insert our own name. Why? Because the Bible says right after that Abram gave him a tithe. The correlation Prince is making is that if you want to be blessed, you must give your tithe as well!
And he blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!" And Abram gave him a tenth of everything. - Genesis 14: 19-20 (ESV)
Beloved, Abram is already blessed here. The tithe was after the fact. Even Melchizedek himself acknowledges that. Prince further claims that Abram refused to take anything from the King of Sodom because he knew he was going to be rich some day and he did not need his help. Problem? The Bible says that Abram was already rich.
Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. - Genesis 13: 2 (ESV)
Why does Prince tell this falsehood? Because he needs you to believe that the blessing and wealth came after the tithe. But it didn't. Abram was already rich. There are a couple of other facts Prince stayed away from because they destroy his "Abram tithed" rationale. First of all, Abram tithed only from the spoils of the war he had just fought. He gave nothing of his personal wealth. No kind of "first fruits" either. Secondly, if this is continuing the establishment of a universal principle that still applies to believers this day, why is this the only mention of Abram tithing? He lived 175 years and this is the only mention of the word tithe. No beloved. The fact remains that the word "tithe" means tenth. Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of the spoils of war (he actually ended up giving it all). Not a "tithe" the way Prince tries to teach it. He is never recorded as ever giving another tithe and in fact there is no biblical proof anyone else ever tithed until it was established in the Levitical law.
Therein lies Joseph's Prince's problem. He teaches the antinomian heresy of no law in the life of believers. His hyper-grace teachings simply do not mix with the notion of tithing. As much as circumcision was nailed to the cross in Galatians 5 because it was part of the law, so was tithing. He knows it but still wants the money flowing into the 44 million dollar a year church he pastors. So he invents his own theology out of mangled Bible verses. He cannot have tithing begin in the law or he stands no chance. So he pretends that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was actually a tithe. He pretends that we can tithe ten percent of our brain. That God doesn't feel loved when we don't tithe. That Sundays are days we tithe to God. Look! There's tithing everywhere! But there is not and he knows it. He is just lying.
Prince closes by saying that God does not need our tithe because He is poor. Not at all! He just knows that we need His blessings and that He can't lift that curse he had nothing to do with that hangs over your money. That God wants to bless His people beyond their wildest dreams but not until that pesky tithe is brought into the storehouse, which conveniently has morphed into the local church. That He wants to throw open the windows of heaven and rebuke the devourer that keeps making your kid sick. Yes, he actually said that towards the end of the sermon. He does not understand shame and he clearly has no fear of the Lord.
There is a pattern given to us by God in His Word for New Testament giving. We are to decide with God how much to give and to give it cheerfully; knowing that there is a universal principle of sowing and reaping. When you find a church truly preaching the uncompromised Gospel of Jesus Christ, I can think of no better investment. But do not fall for charlatans like Joseph Prince who clearly does not care what Scriptures he mangles and which ones he ignores: