"And now, O priests, this command is for you. If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. -- Malachi 2: 1-2 (ESV)
It is the cog that keeps the church machine roaring. It is the granddaddy of false teaching in that it is so widely accepted and taught that it has literally become dogmatic tradition and very few challenge it. It is the third rail of Christianity -- tithing. I have had well intended, spirit filled pastors tell me that what I write on the subject while true, does not change that this was simply how they were brought up. My response would be then we are no better than Catholicism which is far more tradition based than Biblical based. We are supposed to do the work of Bereans beloved and scour the Scriptures to ensure we are being taught correctly not simply throw our hands up in the air and say, "Oh well, this is how we have always done it." Let me also state up front that this is not a message against giving to the church. I firmly believe if you are in a church that presents the uncompromised Gospel of Jesus Christ then you will find no better investment for your money. Giving is universal. There are binding principles of sowing and reaping. Not the heretical seed-sower theology that hucksters like Paula White and Mike Murdock use either. The New Testament clearly says that God loves a cheerful giver. This is not about giving. It is about beating the sheep of the Lord, lying to them, and ultimately robbing from them. I have written an entire book on this subject, debunking all of the tithing lies but every now and again an article will come out that needs rebuking and this week's example can be found at the link above. It is written by someone named Dr. Doug Weiss and to be honest I have never heard of him. He may very well be completely solid in every other biblical area but this article is horrifically bad, despite being relatively short. Let us reason together beloved and be freed from the yoke these teachers keep trying to string around our neck.
"There is a principle I embrace in my life and in my daily counseling sessions, and I call it "blessed money or cursed money." God takes tithing very seriously. In fact, we get to choose whether or not our money is blessed or cursed--and I hope after reading this article, you take the steps you need to have your finances blessed by God." -- Dr. Doug Weiss
Weiss opens with a teaching point made popular by snake oil salesman Robert Morris of Gateway Church in Texas. Morris has even written an entire book on this subject. That God will curse all of your money if you do not give Him the first ten percent and by Him, Morris of course means Robert Morris. The notion that God is some celestial mob boss looking for His tribute first is not supported anywhere in Scripture and only could have been birthed in the wickedly deceitful hearts of sinful man. Beloved, God does not take tithing serious anymore because it was abolished with the New Covenant. To establish this let us travel to the Church at Galatia where early on the Judaizers were infiltrating the church teaching that you still had to adhere to circumcision as well as faith in Christ for salvation. Yes the traditions of man die very hard.
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 by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. -- Galatians 5: 1-6 (ESV)
Beloved, simply insert "tithing" where you see "circumcision" in these verses. The point Paul is making is not about circumcision but rather it was about returning to the law for justification. You actually sever yourself from Christ when you do so! What teachers like Doug Weiss do is actually yoking believers back to the law. The Bible says tithing was nailed to the cross! There is no tithing principle. Tithing was part of the agricultural system and Civil Law of Israel. It was never monetary. One other point here. There was no tithing before the law. NONE. Yes it is true that Abram once gave ten percent to a local king after war and since the word tithe means 10 percent, people try to leverage this one instance as a universal principle. The fact is that Abram gave none of his own money but only the spoils of war and actually ended up giving the other 90% as well so that the king could not claim he made Abram rich. So if you want to lift Abram up as a founding universal principle then you must tithe one time, of other people's money and give 100%. Good luck preaching that.
"Malachi 3:6-12 is a good passage to study to determine if someone is blessed or cursed financially. Keep in mind, this was written to the people of God." -- Dr. Doug Weiss
Uhmm, no Dr. Weiss it is not. First of all, it was written in the Old Testament, so it was written to Israel. Not everything that was written to Israel is considered doctrine for Christians. That is sloppy hermeneutics. Furthermore, this was not even written to the people but rather to the priests. How do we know this? Read the key verses today from one chapter earlier. The entire letter of Malachi was not written to the people. How ironic that the people who were robbing God were the leaders, not the congregants! Moreover it is just lazy to look at verse snippets from Chapter Three and create doctrine out of them without trying to understand the references and context. Malachi was a prophet in support of Nehemiah, much the same way that Zechariah and Haggai supported the work of Zerubbabel and Ezra a 100 years prior. So to truly understand Malachi, it is important to understand Nehemiah. Malachi was probably written somewhere around Nehemiah's second return to Babylon and back to Jerusalem. If you want to see what Malachi 3 is referring to one needs to read Nehemiah 13. Here is a portion of Malachi 3 and Nehemiah 13
"For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, 'How shall we return?' Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, 'How have we robbed you?' In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts.Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts. -- Malachi 3: 6-12 (ESV)
Now before this, Eliashib the priest, who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, and who was related to Tobiah, prepared for Tobiah a large chamber where they had previously put the grain offering, the frankincense, the vessels, and the tithes of grain, wine, and oil, which were given by commandment to the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests.While this was taking place, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I went to the king. And after some time I asked leave of the kingand came to Jerusalem, and I then discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, preparing for him a chamber in the courts of the house of God. And I was very angry, and I threw all the household furniture of Tobiah out of the chamber. Then I gave orders, and they cleansed the chambers, and I brought back there the vessels of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense.I also found out that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them, so that the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had fled each to his field. So I confronted the officials and said, "Why is the house of God forsaken?" And I gathered them together and set them in their stations. Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain, wine, and oil into the storehouses. And I appointed as treasurers over the storehouses Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah of the Levites, and as their assistant Hanan the son of Zaccur, son of Mattaniah, for they were considered reliable, and their duty was to distribute to their brothers. Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for his service. -- Nehemiah 13: 4-14 (ESV)
So when Nehemiah was away, Eliashib the priest decided to allow someone who was forbidden into the temple. Additionally, the Levites were no longer receiving their share, the tithe, from the priests as they were supposed to. It is not that the people were not tithing, they were. The leadership was not giving it out appropriately to the Levites. Beloved, we know this evil eventually spread to the entire nation because Malachi says it but he is still addressing the leadership. You cannot take this handful of verses and pretend that they establish some universal principle when they were written for a very specific problem, which Nehemiah addressed when he returned to Jerusalem. What about the other Mosaic Laws? This is the point tithing teachers can never explain. Why are all of the Mosaic Ceremonial and Civil Laws nailed to the cross except tithing? We know from Galatians earlier that tithing too is nailed to the cross lest we sever ourselves from Christ. Dr. Weiss continues:
"I believe in tithing and believe everyone would be wise to tithe. My point is not about tithing, however, but about being under the authority of the word of God. In this passage, God is determining whether a person or nation of people are blessed or cursed depending on their obedience. Their obedience to God's commands to tithe eventually bless the individual and the nation with money beyond what they could imagine. Disobedience to God's command to tithe caused God to curse the money of those who didn't tithe." -- Dr. Doug Weiss
I have seen this phenomenon before. It is almost as if tithing teachers feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit and try to pretend it is about anything else but tithing. If Dr. Weiss was truly under the authority of the Word of God on this issue then he would not look at Malachi without looking at Nehemiah. He would more importantly read the New Covenant and see that Galatians 5 destroys the tithing argument. As does Corinthians when God says that giving should not be under compulsion yet tithing is by definition a compulsory system. If he were truly under the authority of Scripture he would know that there are no curses for those in Christ Jesus. The notion that their money is blessed or cursed is not born out in these verses at all. In fact, this was not about money as we see from the Nehemiah cross reference. This was about food in the storehouse so that the Levites could eat. Period. Now Dr. Weiss goes for the kill:
"As a side note - I meet with people who are in pain or in crisis with in their lives or marriages. Over 20 years, I have asked Christian couples about the structure of their marriage, such as dating, spirituality, sexuality, sharing feelings, social life and money. When it comes to significant financial trouble, every Christian couple who had had financials problems did not tithe. On the other hand, I also have seen the fruition of many of my multi-millionaire friends who tithe abundantly and regularly." -- Dr. Doug Weiss