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September 19, 2018
Debunking the Quid Pro Quo Transactional Tithing Arguments
By Anthony Wade
Another day another false article about tithing...
"And now, O priests, this command is for you. -- Malachi 2:1 (ESV)
For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of hosts, - Malachi 2:7-8 (ESV)
The purpose driven, seeker-friendly industrial complex a cash making machine in the name of Jesus wink wink, to spread the "gospel" nod nod. While the mega churches of the day hold court through television ministries and book sales, the local church still relies on one of the oldest deceptions within the church, tithing. The big names like Robert Morris have written books on the subject to threaten and guilt the sheep of the Lord into emptying their wallets right into the bank accounts of these charlatans. To counter that I wrote a book debunking every single pro-tithing argument only using the bible, which is all we ever need.
Two words aside here. First of all there are many well intended pastors who were simply raised to teach tithing and may not know any better. They are afraid their church would close if they did not promote tithing so they do. They are not however, abusive about it and make no quid pro quo promises of blessing from God for regular tithing. I take less issue with this because the sheep are not beaten with it. The second aside point is that giving should be a part of a Christian lifestyle. If you find a church preaching the uncompromised Gospel of Jesus Christ then you will find no better place to invest your money. There is still a universal principle of sowing and reaping beloved. I am not against giving. I am against false teaching the binds people back to the Old Testament law of tithing which according to Galatians renders Christ useless to us. So every now and again the complex sends out a preacher to make the same old tired arguments for tithing and every time I am compelled to hold the bible up to them to show you they are false arguments. The above link is to a four minute pro tithing video that requires this response.
"'Is tithing for today? I believe it is. Jesus told us in Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42 that we should tithe." -- Bill Wiese
Nothing like starting your unbiblical argument with the easiest lie to debunk. Notice the declarative statement. Bill Wiese says Jesus said we should tithe. What do the scriptures in question say however?
"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.
At this point Wiese tells two stories about how God supernaturally provided for him. One was when he needed a large sum of money and was approached by someone in church who handed him $2000 because he had helped her save money when she bought her home. Now again, could God have orchestrated that? Sure but the assumption made and being sold here was it must have been God and that brings us to another popular scheme used by pro-tithers. That everything positive must be because of tithing and everything negative is brushed off as an attack of the enemy. In my old church I remember a huckster preached one Friday evening and when he took his offering he claimed God told him ten people were going to sow $300 into his ministry. Translation? He wanted three thousand dollars for his work there that evening. He said God promised that everyone who did would receive some kind of breakthrough miracle within three months. What a scam. Now anything remotely positive in their lives over the next three months would be attributed to this "seed." It doesn't work like that beloved. God is not a whore. He is not withholding blessings from you until you pay Him.
"Malachi 3:10 says to prove Him and see if I will not throw open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing there is not room enough to receive." -- Bill Wiese
No false tithing argument is complete without a reference to poor Malachi. Perhaps no scripture is more distorted and mangled than Malachi 3:10. Now, it does indeed say what Bill Wiese said. The point is in understanding the context. Who is God speaking to through Malachi? For that answer we have to go back two chapters where we find the key verses for today. Verse one reveals that this entire letter is written to the priests! It was not written to the congregation at all! They were the ones robbing God! In verses 7 and 8 we see that God accuses them directly of corrupting the covenant of Levi. This is where the tithe comes into play because the tithe was part of that covenant. If you want to see the corruption in action, we must travel to the book of Nehemiah, who was also active at the time of Malachi. Nehemiah had gone back to King Artaxerxes and while he was gone, the priest Eliashib was committing many offenses within the temple. Nehemiah would come back and clean house:
And after some time I asked leave of the king and 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. -- Nehemiah 13: 6-10 (ESV)
It is the actions of Eliashib that Malachi is referencing in Malachi 3:10. It has nothing to do with the people and is not prescriptive for tithing thousands of years later. Bill Wiese and other tithing pimps would have you believe God is holding closed some magic window of blessings that He will only open up over your life if you pay Him. What utter blasphemous nonsense. We give cheerfully because of all Christ has done not because of greedy dreams of blessing avarice.
"It goes on to say that He will rebuke the devourer for your sake. The devourer is the thief, the devil. He wants to steal your finances. The devourer is also after your health and tithing is a protection against these things." -- Bill Wiese
Just when you think it cannot get anymore repulsive, Bill Wiese just starts beating the sheep unmercifully. It is bad enough that he has tied financial misfortune to God acting like a shylock from the mafia but now the inference is that if you do not pay Him, He will strike you with some form of illness. How repugnant. Beloved sickness entered creation because of the fall of man. God does not spend His day checking the books and seeing who He needs to lay waste to because they have not paid Him. Bill Wiese presents an angry, unmerciful, wicked god to follow. Do not follow him.
"Tithing was also before the law. Cain and Abel tithed. Abraham tithed to Melchizedek." -- Bill Wiese
The complex realized a few years ago that people were starting to easily rebuff the argument of tithing simply by making the law argument I made earlier. They had to come up with new schemes to enforce tithing. That was when you started hearing the tortured twisting of scriptures prior to the law to pretend that tithing has been around forever and is not only part of the law but a universal principle. I have seen teachings so stupid they claim that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was the first tithe, please. Cain and Abel did indeed make an offering to the Lord but to claim that as a tithe is ludicrous. There is zero reference to the amount of the offering or the word tithe. Now, the word tithe does appear in the story of Abraham and Melchizedek. Abraham was victorious in war and tithed from the spoils to this king. There is no indication Abraham ever tithed before or after. He actually ended up giving him all of the spoils because he didn't want people to think he prospered because of anyone but God. So as a picture of tithing, we would only tithe once in our lifetime, never from our personal wealth -- only from the spoils of war, and give 100% not 10. You see how quickly such sham arguments fall apart when simple logic and the actual text is applied. The video concludes:
"So if you tithe He will prove it to you. He will never let you down. Your bills will always be paid." -- Bill Wiese
Really? This is what is so vile about tithing pimps. They make promises for God that He never said. Nowhere in scripture does God promise to make sure all of your bills are paid of you tithe. I know faithful tithers who have lost their homes, filed for bankruptcies, and struggled just like everyone else does. Look, a church needs money to run just like anything else in this country. There is nothing wrong with making that argument. As I have said, if the true Gospel is being preached you will find no better place to invest your money. Just do it cheerfully beloved. Do it because of what Christ has already done for you. Giving to the work of the Lord should not be a transactional quid pro quo. He has already given you eternal life, the hope of glory. Shouldn't that be enough?
Reverend Anthony Wade -- September 19, 2018