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The Tithe and Giving In The Body Of Christ Today

Essay Summary: “The Tithe and Giving in the Body of Christ” by Keith Radcliffe

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The motivation of this study was to examine the practice and teaching of the tithe, to discover from the scriptures exactly what (if anything) in our practice required correction. The initial premise was that the doctrine of the tithe was fundamentally sound and correct. I have personally practiced the tithe for years, and endorsed the teaching of the tithe.

The scripture commonly used to propound and promote the practice of the tithe is in Malachi 3:8 - 12

8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye hath robbed me. But ye say, Wherein hath we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring ye all the tithes in the storehouse , that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.

These are powerful words! For people who love God and are endeavoring to do God's will, these words have great influence. No one wants to rob the God who is the object of one's worship and love; no one wants to be under a curse. Here seems to be the road to great financial abundance and prosperity! This passage of scripture is taught in such a way so as to communicate the following message to individuals in a congregation:

Ten percent of the money that you earn belongs to God. This ten percent is the tithe, which is the minimum amount that you owe to God. You are obligated to give the tithe to this organization for God's Work. If you withhold your obligated tithe, you are robbing God, and you will be under a curse. However, if you do faithfully give your tithe, God will abundantly supply your physical needs, protect your job, your business, and your finances. You will be so blessed in the physical and financial categories of life that you will not be able to receive all the blessing that God will provide.

After many years, I observed that people who faithfully practiced the principle of tithing were just as poverty stricken as when they started giving ten percent of their income. In no case have I observed "blessings" which were too excessive to receive. I decided to quit ignoring these observations, and reexamine the scriptures regarding the doctrine and practice of tithing. In addition, I reexamined the scriptures regarding financial giving recorded in the Acts and the epistles which are addressed to the body of Christ.

The purpose of this work is to pull down the doctrinal components of the spiritual strongholds that imprison individuals in chronic financial bondage. From the scriptures, this study will define exactly what the tithe was, its true purpose, and how it was to be performed. Some of the questions answered are:

  • Are we obligated to practice tithing?
  • What is the standard of our giving?
  • What was the tithe that Abraham paid and what was its significance?

In regards to Malachi 3, the following questions will be explored and answered:

  • What does it mean to rob God?
  • What is the curse that is referred to?
  • What is the blessing that will be poured out?
  • Why do people who faithfully practice the tithe remain chronically poor?

In the first century Church, the believers knew that the political and religious leaders of the time planned and carried out the torture and execution of an innocent man, Jesus Christ. The believers could have responded with great bitterness, resentment and anger. However, this is not what they did. They busied themselves learning how to live a new life, walking in love. They turned away from the old practices and established new practices as recorded in the book of Acts and the Church epistles. Life is too short to engage in bitterness, resentment and anger. With God, it is available to cast off the weight of the errors of the past, and walk in newness of life with Him.

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