Background and Introduction
Presented here for your consideration is a Bible study and personal commentary on the lack of scriptural validity of a modern-day tithe. This is not a “the Law was done away with” type of approach as some Judeo-Christian anti-tithe positions are, but one pointing out that by the very terms of God’s own Law , the tithe is obsolete and has been since Christianity came into being.
In 2 Timothy 2:15 Paul instructs: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”.
The word “study” indicates more than just listening to preachers or following along with the scriptures that they have selected. Today, this word would indicate a personal effort to verify statements, cross-check meanings, and think about what the scripture that you are reading actually says . Some Bible translations make all of this easier than others. It is not just the preachers who need to rightly divide , but even more so the listeners ; the entire Body of Christ.
This scripture implies that there are scriptural teachers who are not
approved unto God, who should be ashamed because they don’t or can’t
rightly divide the Word. In short: incompetence, malfeasance, and outright deception by those in key positions of religious influence.
The scriptures contain some truth that is obvious and free for the taking, more truth that requires a little effort to see, and even more truth that comes with familiarity with the scriptures in general. “The sum of God’s worth is truth.”
Truth is what it says it is; what the accumulated evidence shows it to be. It was never meant to be determined by the personal desires and oratorical devices of preachers or by the official policy of corporate church boards. Creating a “truth” based on the decree of the revered preacher, and the consensus of experts on committees are two ways that we end up with untenable man-made doctrines such as “the law of the tithe”.
Proverbs 4:7 ” Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”
For those who cannot yet seem to achieve wisdom, I would suggest that for the moment, a good dose of informed cynicism will serve as a stepping stone to that end.
I have learned from repeated experience to believe absolutely nothing
from others that I have not verified critically from scripture. I would expect you the reader to treat this study “The Myth of the Tithe” in the same way: eyeing this book suspiciously, and verifying factual information through your own determined search of the scriptures. Apply the gifts of reasoning and discernment that God gave us to use. This is exactly as Paul describes in First Corinthians 14:26-40, and just as the “noble minded” Bereans (Acts 17:10-11) demonstrated through their scriptural investigations.
I do not claim to have the truth on all things scriptural, but I do claim to have the truth vis-a-vis the facts pertaining to this one particular subject known as the tithe doctrine . My use of the words “truth” and “facts” is not based on arrogant presumption. As you will soon see, the scriptures are so clear, so numerous and so one-sided on this issue that the word fact is quite accurate, as is the word truth , if we are to assume that truth consists of accurately presented facts.
The information is collected here and at your disposal; your only cost being the time it takes you to read it.
The habit of some people to automatically judge information as being false just because it conflicts with their currently held beliefs amounts to self-inflicted ignorance and hard-headed bigotry. It is a sure way to stop intellectual and spiritual growth dead in its tracks. Yet, that is the very nature of so many Christian denominations and individuals today. It is almost, by definition, a necessity if certain doctrines are to be perpetuated.
A belief system that claims to hold the truth should be willing to take on all comers, and defend itself with facts. Anyone who discourages or forbids their followers from seeking outside information for comparative purposes is throwing up a big red flag that should be investigated. It is only by challenging our beliefs from time to time, that we are able have a reasonable certainty of them, and to be able to competently defend and present them to others.
1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”
I would like to avoid the phrase “The truth will set you free” because of its extremely, extremely overused status (usually just before or after someone has presented false information). In this case however, I must say that the truth really will set you free . Free from an unjust bondage to a false doctrine, and free to enjoy the true blessings that result from legitimate, scripturally defined freewill giving.
Non-tithers: Read this Book
It will clarify for you with undeniable scriptural facts what that small voice inside of you meant when it said “Don’t do it! I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something definitely fishy about this whole tithe business.” Many non-tithers choose to silently blend in with the tithing members of a pro-tithe preacher’s congregation. This is because they know enough to not tithe, but not enough to competently defend their position, and they do not want to be ostracized for the falsely perceived “un-Godliness” of not tithing. This book will provide solid information to those people so they can now boldly state “No thanks, I don’t tithe, and here is exactly why.”
Tithers: Read this Book
It will show the error of the tithe doctrine and precisely how tithers have been grossly misinformed and taken for an expensive ride down the wide road of unrighteousness. It addresses and debunks every pro-tithe argument that I know of, with numerous scriptures and factual information that the tithe promoters just can not seem to be able to handle.
A Cautious Approach
Originally, I approached the tithe subject with an open mind and the assumption that I am wrong – acting as my own worst critic and assuming that I must be missing something here. I did not feel confident bucking an entrenched system that strongly advocated tithing to church organizations, so I treaded lightly as I gathered information on the subject.
After all, doesn’t everyone who knows God’s Law know that you are supposed to tithe? The preacher said it, we heard it, so it must be true; right?
As a dissenter, I was entering the darkened valley of a tithe industry that spanned the entire Western World. Who am I to step on the toes of a fraternity that, on a weekly basis and from a thousand voices, professionally presented its pro-tithe gospel? After all, the pro-tithe preaching that we hear today is based on a formula that is the result of hundreds of years’ worth of accumulated quasi-scriptural justifications and semi-coherent reasoning as to why Christians must tithe. I mean, we are dealing with the best rationalizations and psychologically manipulative techniques that the most educated church minds in the world could come up with.
The tradition of a tithing concept is in the very water supply of certain congregations and according to some, is the life’s blood of organized Christianity. It is only Satan himself that hopes you do not tithe, according to the tithe myth.
“If that is the case,” I asked myself, “then why are there so many scriptures that refute the tithe doctrine?”
So many in fact, that once the scriptures are examined and connected, one is struck by the overwhelming realization of just how altogether absent the objective and genuinely pro-tithe scriptures really are. I learned from experience how little the tithers, non-tithers, or supposedly even the title taking preachers actually know for a fact about this subject.
They seem to know just as much as they need to know: “You are obligated to tithe”, and/or “Giving to a church or the preacher equals ‘giving to God’”.
I discovered that this issue is not a case of balancing the two sides of an argument; the pro-tithe scriptures as opposed to anti-tithe scriptures, as is the practice with other subjects.
What I mean is that when actually taken for what they say, there are no scriptures whatsoever that in any definitive, or even convincing way indicate to an unbiased observer the validity of a modern day tithe. None at all. Not when we understand what the tithe was and what it was not ; not when the supposedly pro-tithe scriptures are read for what they actually say, and not what the preacher says they say.
The contradiction, the debate exists only when scripture is opposed by man-made doctrines, opinions, self-interested human reasoning, and yes there is that element of deception to consider.
That statement may come as a surprise to you, or even sound incredible because you know, just like I knew that there are lots of scriptures that support a modern tithe. You heard all kinds of sermons… yes, I know, so did I. Therein lies part of the problem; we heard it. The spoken word can be used much more effectively to convey false ideas than can the written word; although both can be abused.
They will present their pro-tithe case brilliantly, authoritatively, sometimes flamboyantly, and complete with the allegedly supportive scriptures quoted and sometimes even with some musical punctuation by the choir. Everything will have been so carefully prepared and well performed that your question will soon become not “if”, but “how much” to write out that check or swipe that card for.
Preaching is an effective art form which again, has been developed through centuries of experience. It employs tried and true techniques that get results; leaving the listener little to doubt about the validity, nay, the divine unimpeachability of a modern tithe doctrine or of the preacher who presents it.
That is until you start to ask questions. Particularly Bowie-sized, pointed, and knowledgeable questions.
This is when we see a slow-motion balloon burst; the moment when the smooth-talking experts start to fumble their words as they are forced to depart from their carefully scripted presentation. Their confident demeanor deflates, and their bluff goes the way of the Hindenberg, until suddenly they remember that they have something more important to do that requires them to be somewhere, anywhere other than the hot spot that they found themselves in after the questions were posed.
This book provides you with those questions. More importantly, it also provides honest answers.
The written word, as opposed to the spoken performance, is more effective in communicating factual information, because it can be read, reread, cross-checked, and digested slowly at the readers own pace. The written word does not rely on voice inflections and tones, the rising and lowering of volume and forcefulness, fake emotionalism or any other oratory and psychological devices used to “work the crowd”. Anyone who has mastered these speaking techniques often has half of the debate on any subject in their pocket before it is even begun; whether or not they have the truth on their side. It is not good, or right, or fair, it is just the way it is. That is why many lawyers are trained in these techniques more than they are in the law itself. That is also why television is so effective.
This theatrics-based success extends to politicians, carnival barkers, multi-level and a multitude of other sales positions which include, like it or not, preachers.
The two dimensions of the written word do not enjoy the advantages that a human performance creates. The only punch I can provide for you is that which is delivered by the facts themselves. They will, I assure you, be more than sufficient to overcome the spell of pro-tithe performances you may have seen or heard.
In this book, I am going to state the case for my position that the tithe ended where the New Covenant began. I am going to base that case on hard forensic scriptural evidence, not speaking techniques or preachercraft.
I was once a tither among tithers. I took the bait like everyone else, and even over-tithed just for good measure, because I thought it was the right thing to do. However, without verified truth as a foundation we have only an erroneous belief, which then supports a false doctrine, which in turn becomes part of a false religion. False is false, no matter how many preachers repeat it, how many people believe it, or how emotionally fulfilling it feels.
That idea of participating in a false religion did not appeal to me so I determined long ago that it is better to face facts and to deal with them than it is to search for excuses to support self-delusions. The first order of the day however, is to discover if they really are facts to begin with. This book is the result of that search. It deals with the conclusions and consequences of accepting those cold, hard facts that disprove what we once believed to be the truth. Not only on the subject of the tithe, but on the related issues of greed, deception, and corruption in the office of what we today commonly refer to as preachers, pastors, the clergy, et cetera.
Ultimately, all delusions are self-delusions. The right thing for me to do now after having learned the truth, is to tell others about what I have found, thus removing any excuse for anyone else’s self delusion on this subject. It would be irresponsible of me to do any less.
Without Truth, You have Nothing
John 14:16-17 “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
John 16:13 “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”
Matt12:31-32 (also Luke 12:10) “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost [the Spirit of Truth], it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
John 1:17 “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
Truth is as basic to spiritual health as oxygen is to the physical. It appears that the Holy Spirit and lies do not exist in the same place at the same time, and that to withhold essential pertinent truth is the same as lying. Take note of the information provided in this book, and ask yourself why your pro-tithe preacher never told you these things.
An Independent Study
I was a full-fledged tither who in the course of normal scripture reading became alerted that something was amiss in the modern tithe doctrine. This initial interest was kick-started into a full investigation once I became aware of the questionable statements and evasive answers of the pro-tithe preachers. I then deliberately sequestered myself by reading no anti-tithe articles, or participating in social media like Facebook, chat rooms, or anything of that sort; nor did I consult with anti-tithers in any other way to prepare this study.
The reason for this decision is that I did not want any of these sources to prejudice my mind against the tithe through any kind of slanted information, the way the pro-tithe preachers had previously skewed my thoughts in favor of it . I wanted scripture to speak for itself on the subject, free of any other influences.
My topics and informational points of contention with a few exceptions are from the pro-tithe sources themselves and their divergence from the plainly understood facts and text of the Holy Bible.
About the Author – Disclaimer
I will tell you right up front: I am not a theology professor, I am not even an enrolled theology student let alone a graduate of any accredited bible college. I am not academically recognized in any way whatsoever; nor do I wish to be.
I have no props; no beautiful, professionally designed church or soundstage to speak from to impart legitimacy or imply authority to what I say, nor do I have a fund raising organization to pay me to write any of this.
Eccl 9:16 “Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.”
Not that I am claiming to be all that wise, but rather it is the facts that comprise truth itself which is the substance of wisdom. I am simply the bag man delivering this factual information to the reader.
In addition to all this, I am not mystically gifted or some kind of spiritual guru – I did not have to go to a remote mountain, or fast in a cave to get this information. I do not have a fantastic origin story about “how God spoke to me, and how He told me to write this book”. No near-death experience or visits from angels; I have nothing that sets me apart from you, dear reader, if you are the type of person willing to seek and accept the truth no matter where it leads.
All I did was to read scripture and start taking notes. I read it, gathered the facts together, organized it as I was able to, and presented it to you for your consideration. I will put it up against any pro-tithe Bible professor, preacher, professional prophet or “seer”, no matter what his college diploma says, or how big a crowd he draws, because it is the facts that are doing the talking, not me.
I will let the information in this book speak for itself. It was all right there in plain sight – the low hanging fruit of scripture, clearly worded and easily identified and which comes solely from simply reading the Bible with open eyes; scriptures that you can verify for yourself without any need for professional interpretation.
For all I know the following pages may be repeating the same scriptures and arguments made by others on the anti-tithe subject, but that’s OK. Surely, I can not expect to be the only one who has made these findings. So if I am late to the party and am rediscovering the wheel here, you can just count me as an absolutely independent second witness to add to any others that may already have found and published similar conclusions.
My affidavit to you is that all arguments and observations presented here are original conclusions based solely on information gathered from scripture , not from the conclusions or opinions drawn from the research and writings of others. Whether or not my work duplicates anyone else’s findings is purely coincidental, and it should not at all be surprising if it may do so.
If plain scripture and an open mind provided the overwhelming evidence to convince a tither like me of my error, I think you should look at it too, because there is much, much more involved here than money.
I’ve stumbled on to a trade secret of many preachers. I know how they work and what they put in the sausage, so to speak, and I am about to let the cat out of the bag.
A Brief History
I presented questions as well as a written summary of the main points of this study to several pro-tithe preachers a few years ago. They were, for the most part, men who at that time I trusted as the honest truth-seekers that they always said they were.
I assumed the best of their intentions while I provided them with scriptural information and questions on the tithe.
They say that the price of truth is the animosity of the wicked. I found through experience the truth in that statement. After a very brief exchange of ideas, they refused to engage in any intelligent discussion or point-counterpoint debate. They preferred instead to use the Pharisee-like tactics of personal attacks, red-herring accusations and distractions, straw man arguments, threats of God’s curse upon me, and other deceptive practices. They tried behind my back to get other Christians to disfellowship me. In short, they tried any and every disreputable thing to neutralize and avoid answering my questions or addressing the real issue.
These strategies, I have discovered, are apparently the defense of first choice for pro-tithe preachers when it comes to defending the tithe doctrine, since all of them did variations of the same thing, which was to kill the messenger (figuratively speaking) rather than address the issues.
After studying the subject further, I can understand why this is so – The pro-tither preachers are wrong – dead wrong, and they apparently know it. Somewhat to my surprise, they had no realistic, convincing answers to support a modern tithe that could withstand examination; in most cases even minor examination.
Their behavior was not the beneficial discourse or ready defense of 1 Peter 3:15, or that Paul instructed us to be prepared with in Colossians 4:6. The type of intelligent, edifying discussion that I was expecting when I raised my questions.
One preacher did a very disappointing and bungled hit piece series of lectures on CD against me personally under the guise of a Bible study. He later was forced by numerous complaints from others to retract it as being unworthy of consideration, yet he still advocates a tithe without providing a valid defense of his position.
Another avid tithe promoter whom I had known for many years, mailed out the above mentioned series under his ministry name, even after I notified him beforehand of the excessively inaccurate and misleading content contained in it.
He later distributed his own 13 part CD series called Kingdom Tithing . While not nearly as personally vindictive in its approach as his cohort’s failed presentation, this series goes far beyond the limits of credibility, and the falsehood contained therein is to a degree that exceeds what I think most people would regard as being honest error. An edited version (by the speaker) of this series is available from www.missiontoisrael.org as a free download, and worth every penny of it.
I invite you to listen to his lengthy series for yourself, or check out any other pro-tithe material for that matter. In that way, if some of the protithe arguments that I address here seem incredible, bizarre, or unbelievable, you can verify for yourself that this is indeed the nature of their position and that I am not making them up or taking them out of context.
The tithe issue is a classic case of Proverbs 18:17 “He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbor cometh and searcheth him.”
They can make a superficially convincing spoken case to the unwary, but those preachers that I know personally have made it very clear that they have no desire to be “searched” (questioned) on this subject.
The bottom line is that, of the pro-tithe preachers that I sent my first tithe paper to, none of them wished to discuss or debate the facts of the matter and seek the truth once they knew that I had hard questions and lots of scriptural evidence that they could not answer. I guess that is why they have all run away from this discussion like Little Bo Peep’s sheep, and then cast their cd messages at me from afar.
Needless to say – these preachers still promote the tithe, perhaps even more fervently than before; even as Christians are waking up to the fraud of this false doctrine.
Did you ever happen to notice how some doctrines (water baptism, for example) can be verified and demonstrated from scripture in a plain, straightforward manner?
Other doctrines have scriptures that seemingly conflict with each other (like the issue of free will vs. predestination; pro-nomian vs. anti-nomian; etc) so the debate rages on and on about things like that.
Still other doctrines (I guess the tithe is the only issue of this kind that comes to mind at the moment. Maybe the doctrines of the “rapture” or salvation by “asking Jesus into your heart” might also fall into this category) require a series of assumptions, elaborate explanations, fallacies, and (particularly the tithe) even threats. We will find out why that is necessary and how it is done, in the coming pages.
I am asking you to read and consider the evidence presented. If and when you are convinced that my findings are correct, you may want to talk to your preacher about it. Keep in mind that I am not automatically accusing your preacher of deception or willful fraud in this study. They may be sincere and just as misinformed as I was at one time.
One pro tithe preacher asserted that it is ungodly to accuse a preacher of “being on the take” without substantial evidence. I totally agree, even though they have no problem with calling non-tithers thieves, sinners , parasites , etc. without holding to that same standard of proof.
So I will provide substantial evidence, I would not have it any other way. 1 Timothy 5:19-21 says “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.”
As you will soon see, instead of two or three witnesses, I have dozens of witnesses within the scriptures that testify to the fallaciousness of a tithe doctrine. Also presented will be proof that much of the alleged evidence used to support pro-tithe arguments is literally made up out of thin air ; i.e. outright lies. We will also see the self-contradictions and confessions of tithe promoters who admit that they should not be receiving tithe money, but do so anyway.
After years of impartial investigation, the overwhelming evidence ( unanimous evidence might be a better term) has led me to fulfill the duty outlined in the above mentioned verses. This book is a rebuke in the presence of all to those preachers who continue in sin by promoting an outright fraud known as the “law of the tithe”. It is also an educational tool for those who wish to know the facts about today’s tithe doctrine. You can decide for yourself if the evidence of their culpability (coming from their own teachings), is “substantial”.
My (admittedly negative) commentary is based solely on my first-hand experience with preachers that I know of, or have known personally, who clearly had access to the plain facts of scripture on this subject, but have done everything in their power to obscure and negate that truth with rationalization and misinformation. They have shown no interest in a Matthew 18 correction, and continue to promote the myth of the tithe.
When judging the integrity of these preachers, one point to remember is that the pro-tithe positions presented in this study were all made by them after I informed them of the facts of the matter. In other words they made their presentations knowing much of the information that I provide here, but choosing to disregard it.
1 Corinthians 6:1-6 “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? No, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
We want to avoid contention. That is the nature of most of us. But when we have what I will prove to you is not misinformation but disinformation ; and that being done by those in trusted positions… well, we have to pay attention and exercise our duty to judge right from wrong truth from lies and brothers from impostors.
This book is my humble attempt to get that ball rolling, and the website www.mythofthetithe.org will allow others to weigh in with evidence, experiences, and informed opinions on either side of the issue.
The easy part of this book was to conclusively prove that the tithe is obsolete; scriptures to that effect are abundant. The hard part was condensing and organizing the multitude of scriptures that indicate that fact into these few pages. Please remember that I am not a professional writer and my biggest challenge was to take a massive amount of information and organizing it into an orderly, progressive format.
I may diverge and digress from time to time on to various related subjects, but these rabbit trails do lead to information that rounds out the bigger picture of the tithe issue.
The result of this effort has been not only the “Myth of the Tithe” study that you are about to read, but also the follow-up studies – “Money and Christianity” and “Men of God?”, which contain related information that had to be edited out of the “Myth of the Tithe” in order to keep it more on point.
Several appendixes and a number of relevant outtakes for your information and enjoyment have also been provided.
The coming pages will address the fallacies that pro-tithers use to promote the tithe doctrine, no matter how bizarre or conspicuously false they may be, and I think you will find it all very interesting. You may or may not like my tone or slightly disorganized, informal approach, but you will not find me short on scriptural facts or documentation. I can pretty much promise that you will learn things your preacher never told you about.
In human nature there is a phenomenon called backfire which can happen when false beliefs are disproved with hard, inarguable facts. A psychological defense mechanism causes certain people to hold those false beliefs even more tightly than before. It sounds weird, counterintuitive, I know, but it is well documented to be the case in some instances.
However, we have our instructions:
John 2:24 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
John 3:18 “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”
John 4:23 “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”
If we are the Christian truth seekers that we have claimed to be for so many years, I do not think this backfire will be a problem with many of those reading this study, because knowing about this condition makes us more able to defend against it. For most people, realization and acceptance of the truth about the tithe is almost immediate. It is like they already knew it, but could not prove why they knew it, until now.
If you do feel the urge to have this backfire reaction, then ask yourself what is making you hang on to a doctrine that is indefensible, yet the belief is so strong that even hard-core in-your-face facts cannot change your mind. In other words: Who has brainwashed you?
Lamentations 3:40: “Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD.”
The pro-tithe preachers will not interrupt their beadledom to even discuss or debate the matter one-on-one, either in public or private. To “try (examine or challenge) their ways” seems to be the furthest thing from their minds, let alone accepting that new found knowledge and telling their congregation about it.
Therefore I have brought the issue before you, from one everyday Christian person to another just as scripture instructs; taking arguments and outrageous claims that they have made in unchallenged venues, and point by point refuting every single one of them. If I have missed any of them, be sure to let me know about it.
It is very important that you have your Bible handy, as we will cover a multitude of straightforward, unambiguous scriptures on the subject that you will need to see for yourself. I would expect you to hold me to the same standards as you would if you were a jury and I was a prosecutor presenting a case. When we are finished I do not want you to just believe what I am saying, my aim is for you to know for a fact that what I am presenting here is the truth – that the tithe has no scriptural legitimacy whatsoever in being promoted today.
Please take the time to read the following study, and as I have asked friends so many times before: tell me where I am wrong.
Happy reading, firstname.lastname@example.org