TITHE CONTROVERSY: CHRISTIANS ARE NOT ASKED TO PAY TITHE
have just read the recent counseling of Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, where he enjoyed Christians to be paying tithe. If he had restricted the call to his church members alone, I wouldn't have concerned myself about his church doctrine. But being a Christian nonbeliever in tithing, I feel I should speak for myself and other non-tithers, who are children of God and remained blessed. With due respect to Baba Adeboye, I don't agree with his insinuation that God can curse Christians not paying tithes.
"I know who is talking and I did not want to worry myself about such person. But please do not let anybody get you into trouble by attracting God's curse to yourself, please pay your tithe."
In my candid opinion, the idea that God can curse people not paying tithe is unbiblical or unscriptural. I don't know where in the Bible where such God's wrath against nontithers is written. Our heavenly Father is too good, kind and gracious enough, to do that to his children. Because through the completed work of Christ on the Cross, we have become his own. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Roman 8:1). And as many as received him (Jesus Christ), to them gave he, the power, to become the sons of God even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12). This is what closed the gap with the Jews, and gave Gentiles unhindered relationships with God.
I agree with Daddy Freeze who said no Nigerian Prophet, Pastor or General Overseer is qualified to receive tithes from their members. It is not just Nigerian church leaders, but church leaders all over the world. I am sure God did not ordain tithes for Christians. But also, I very much disagree with the views of Freeze that tithes are to be used for eating and drinking in the church. This assertion, is a contradiction of his view that tithe should not be collected in the church. If it is not to be collected, then, how do you use it for any defined purpose?
The words of the Bible are not written for everybody and God always clarify to whom he meant his words, instructions, commandments and rituals for. For example, the Bible in Duet. 14:23-29 clearly explain the fundamentals of tithes to the Jews. Eat before the LORD your God in a place chosen by God; the tithe of your corn, wine, oil, first born of your herds and flocks. To emphasize that God doesn't want money, he told them that if where they were going to tithe was long and the tithing items were heavy, he encouraged them to sell the items, take the money with them and buy whatever they want like oxen, sheep, wine, strong drink or whatever their soul desire to eat and rejoice before the LORD and their household. This, clearly show that there was money then, but God never required money for tithes. This is exactly the opposite of what the church is doing today. Again, at the end of the third year, they brought a tithe of their increase to their gates for the Levites who had no inheritance in the Promised Land. So also to the strangers, the fatherless and widows who came and ate and be satisfied. And the LORD blessed them and the work of their hands.
This time, God was not talking to the gentiles but the Jews who were the beneficiaries of the Promised Land. And the Christian Era was still thousands of years ahead. In fact, the gentiles were part of those who enjoyed the tithes of the Jews as strangers that time. Specifically, God required tithing items as proceeds of the Promised Land including fruits, seeds, crops and animals grazing on the land. This is where Daddy Freeze mixed up the use of tithes by the Jews in the Old Testament. God was addressing the Jews and not the Christians in the Church today.
If you read Duet. 14 from verse 2, God said to the Jews: You are holy people of the LORD your God, chosen to be a peculiar people, to himself above all nations that are on earth. Then, God went on to decree abominable things the Jews must not eat, and also those they could eat. But quickly follow me to verse 21, where God concluded by saying: the Jews can give those abominable things to the strangers among them to eat or sell them to the alien because they are holy people to the LORD their God. It was after these, God gave them the instructions on tithes from verse 22.
I don't like running commentary. Otherwise, I would have said that from the above passage, we can see clearly that God had no relationship with the gentiles then. And therefore, all the laws, commandments and rituals rolled out for the Jews had nothing to do with the gentiles. The Jews were the only one that God recognized as his own special holy and godly people.
Let me use another example with the Ten Commandments. A quick look at the introduction to the commandments clearly defined to whom God was talking to. Exod. 20: 1-2: And God spoke all these words saying, "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." That was the preamble to the Ten Commandments. It is clear from here that God was addressing the children of Israel, the Jews and not the Yoruba, Nigerian or any other nation of the world. And God had his reasons for giving them those commandments. Even Jesus came and compressed the Ten into two. The first five commandments is about loving God and the last five is about loving man. Hence, love God and love your neighbor, and you'll be ok.
Now let me take the last example out of many that God always talk to specific people in most cases. This is necessary as it is the most set aside Bible passage by Christian leaders and should have been the most applicable to them. Let's go to the introduction to the book of Malachi. Like we see the introduction to the Ten Commandments. The entire book of Malachi, was a message to the children of Israel after returning from exile and not worshiping God the way they used to, before being capture and taken to Babylon. They still remained godless back in Canaan as they were in Babylon. They were surfing the exilic hangover.
In Babylon, there was no Temple and therefore, they couldn't serve God. But before God released them, Nehemiah had come to rebuild the Temple. So, they had no excuse, yet, they did not worship God. That was why God sent Malachi to remind them of their relationship with God. Hence, the introduction in Malachi 1from verse 1-14. But verse 1 in particular, reveal to whom the entire message was sent to: "The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi." The Bible did not say to Nigeria, America or any other nation or people other than Israel. The rest of the chapter and the entire book detailed God's relationship with the children of Israel, and the corrupt priests. Unfortunately, the only place read in the churches today, is Malachi 3:10.This is a clear indication that it is not all the passages of the Bible that are meant for everybody.
I sincerely don't know where the church imbibes their teaching on 'payment' of tithes. It is true it is an Old Testament ritual. But of all the rituals including tens of sacrifices, why is it tithing that the church has taken so hard; line, hook and sinker. Where did Jesus teach tithing throughout his life ministry? Some quote Matt 23:23, where Jesus was heaping woes on the scribes and Pharisees tithing herbs and neglecting the greater things of "law, judgment, mercy, and faith". Concluding, he said; these you ought to have done without leaving others undone. Some ignorant teachers and preachers often say "but Jesus didn't condemn tithing here." But ask them, was Jesus talking to his disciples here? No, he was talking to the core Jews, scribes and Pharisees who are the keepers of the law. And even at that he started with woes not praises! Why are tithers still under the law? Then, does it not mean that Jesus died in vain for them (Gal.2:21)?
When it comes to teaching his disciples Jesus said in Luke 6: 38, give and it shall be given to you, even more than you ever gave will men give back to you. Apostle Paul came to expand this Christ's teaching when in 2 Cor. 9:7. He enjoined Christians to give as they purpose in their hearts without any grudge or of necessity because God loves a cheerful giver. Tithe is ritualistic, it is not giving. If it is, it is compulsory giving, it is not cheerful giving, so God doesn't love tithers. I have seen churches (even mega churches) punishing and denying members who doesn't tithe, services like marriage, promotion and child's dedication. Because they keep records and accounts of payments. They know when you're promoted and would ask for increased tithes. Some churches now take tithes by auto-deduction from bank accounts. Lord have mercy. You know yourselves even if I don't name your names. Show me where you find all these in the Bible.
The most unfortunate part of tithing is that the Jews to whom God gave the ordinance or ritual have long abandoned tithing since the destruction of the Second Temple. There is nowhere in any Jewish Synagogue anywhere in the world, including the State of Israel, where tithe is collected today. I lived there for two years. They cannot even identify the Levites to whom God said they could give tithes. They can no longer demarcate the Promised Land from which God asked them to give tithe. So why are Christians who were never told to bring tithe, keep on cheating and deceiving themselves about tithe. Merely crying more than the bereaved.
From the above, we can see that God can never curse anybody for not bring tithe to the church as counseled by Baba Adeboye. This is because God never, in the first instance, asked Christians to bring tithe to the church. It is an old and archaic ritual of the Old Testament, which the Jews have abandoned for centuries. Jesus did not teach or asked his disciples to bring tithe. The only thing concerning money that Jesus obeyed was tax, which he paid by taking the money from the mouth of a fish. He added, give to Caesar what's is Caesars' and to God what's Gods' (Matt 22:21).
Tithing is an old tradition of man in the church, which Jesus warned against in Mark 7:7-9. It is not for spiritual or biblical purpose. They introduced tithe because of the perceived need of the church and the leaders for money. This did not start until almost 800 years after the first church. I perfectly agree, every organization including the church need money to survive but let's call it what it is. If you need money for building, collect and raise building funds, if it is to pay pastors salary, so be it. If it is for private jets, please let your members know.
Many pastors are doing business in the name of the church without the profits accruing to the church. It's unfair, since they don't pay taxes. What of the schools, colleges and universities the churches are running? What of the books the pastors are printing and selling. It is the height of deceit to say that people are giving money to God. God doesn't spend money or have a bank account; God doesn't need your money for God's sake. Those in dare needs abound in the churches, neighborhoods and on the streets, without attention. Tithing is the root of deceits that abounds in our churches today.
Tithing is stealing in the name of God. In deed and in truth, it is robbing God. Remove tithes in the church today, about ninety-five per cent (95%) of churches will close shops.
Dr. Bayo Arowolaju Sr. was the Special Adviser on Due Process, Ekiti State and later the Director General, Ekiti State Bureau of Public Procurement (DG BPP) under Governor Segun Oni. Now he is the President/CEO and Lead Consultant ProcureConsult Limited.