Even if Paul were to get the kind of cash donations that modern preachers get, his writings indicate that he would have used it to help others, not to enrich himself. Acts 20:33-5 “The silver or gold or garments of no one did I covet; and ye yourselves know that to my necessities, and to those who were with me, minister did these hands. [physical work in self-support] I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, [no mention of paying hireling preachers] and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
This was the pattern set for preachers, as instructed by Jesus, and exemplified by Paul, Peter, and the rest: A non-materialistic lifestyle; accepting basic gifts like a meal or clothing if they were offered. If none were, then they would support themselves through labor to obtain basic necessities; giving any left over money to the needy.
This pattern, this scriptural standard that was set for those who claim to be men of God or God’s workers, was then ignored or abolished somewhere down the line by the Roman Catholic Church, which hijacked the original Christian way of living and turned it into a religion business for profit and control.
|“The game is simple: Rob people while maintaining an air of entitlement, and make them feel like the criminal for not being happy to fork over the money.”|
Sure, there were Catholic monks and others living under very modest conditions and who were probably good and very devout men, though misled, that correctly followed Paul’s example. However, the business model of the Church hierarchy was to rake in the cash using lies, and imposing scriptural ignorance on the people. Catholic peons of the middle ages slept in their houses/barns (often one and the same building) with the livestock, due to their poverty while the church leaders were decked with gold. The best job a man could get was to be in the religion business as a priest. The racket has changed very little since then.
It was the Roman Catholic Church that resurrected and reformatted this whole tithe concept from the Old Covenant, and it has been The Church’s New Clothes ever since. The tithe and the selling of indulgences were the perfect excuses to extort and scam the people out of their money. The game is simple: Rob people in the name of God while maintaining an air of entitlement, and make them feel like the criminal if they are not happy, even privileged, to fork over the money.
People do not seem to realize just how much of the Protestant doctrines today (including the Kingdom Israel, and other small independent groups) still have their roots in Roman Catholicism rather than in Biblical fact. To this very day tithe promoters and their writings quote fifth and sixth century Roman Catholic Church documents as being examples of “early Christian” tithing, and as “authority” for legitimizing a mandated tithe today.
A tithe promoter in my former circle of acquaintances, using author R.J.Rushdooney as an authoritative reference for validating a modern tithe, quotes Rushdooney’s book Tithing and Dominion as a basis for his position. Mr Rushdooney in turn, is quoted as justifying his position by attributing his information to “references here and there, and surviving documents apparently spoke of the tithe as an obligation”. He goes on to name his source as being the “Constitutions of the Holy Apostles”.
So in other words, in order to impress his listeners, one tithe promoter running short of material, has to quote another, more well known tithe promoter, who in turn is making wishy-washy assertions using meaningless terms about ancient writings which are irrelevant because this “early church” referred to as the source of the “here and there” alleged references, is the Roman Catholic Church. This is the organization put into practice the self-serving false dogma of deriving its tithe-taking authority from the Bible.
The document having the authoritative sounding title of: “Constitutions of the Holy Apostles” is dated no earlier than 300 AD and probably closer to 400 AD. It has no connection whatsoever with the real Apostles of Jesus that we are familiar with.
Remember – This document (or others like it) is foundational in regard to “early Christian examples” of tithing.
You can view this information on line if you wish to do a search, or the books of the past two hundred years that have translated and published these writings are readily available in a searchable digital format very inexpensively. Once you discover some of the other grossly un-Christian ideologies put forth in these writings, it will become apparent as to why the modern tithe promoters avoid naming this document or similar ones as being the source of their purported pro-tithe authority.
We in essence have a giant derivative bubble of pro-tithe propaganda. One pro-tither reverencing and applying a false sense of value to information that he derived from quoting second pro-tither; this second pro-tither is a man who simply pontificated his opinions of dubious value based on information that he derived from a spurious document; this document itself is derived from the self-serving personal interests of members representing a commercialized pro-tithe religious organization that had no truthful authority to begin with. This organization simply used Christianity as a cover story to brainwash, control, and exploit an ignorant populace, made possible by their tight control of scriptural information.
That organization, (which admittedly) is responsible for the murder and torture of millions of Christians, along with untold theft and destruction of advanced ancient knowledge around the world (ancient Greek mathematics, the libraries of Alexandria, Central America, etc) derives from itself its right to accept tithes via the arrogant assumption that they speak for God. Yet it cannot scripturally prove this right to take tithes any more than anyone else can, and most certainly has demonstrated that it does not speak for God.
If the dogmas and doctrines of this so-called Mother Church existed today in a group of say, ten thousand people it would be examined and ridiculed as an absurd and dangerous pagan cult, hate group, or terrorist organization. But since it had an early head start and has those millions of followers who apparently succumb to a hive mentality of some kind, and because it has many centuries of wealth accumulation to back itself up, it therefore has the materialistic clout to achieve a guise of legitimacy; no matter how unscriptural their practices are or how perverted their priests and other officials are.
Even with the unscriptural, arrogant mindset that went into creating the “Constitutions” document, it was only advisory in nature; an opinion based on the wishful thinking of materialistic men. As are any other pro-tithe statements from that era until now.
It was not until the Council of Tours in the year 567 that the tithe was declared by the pope to be obligatory. So it took many decades, if not centuries of church politics and finagling to get from the time that the tithe concept was reintroduced, to the time that it was officially church law, which was over five hundred years into the New Covenant Era.
If tithing was actually taught by Paul and the other Apostles, common sense tells you that it would have been instituted from day one.
And yet, Protestant and particularly pro-nomian preachers who might normally condemn the practices of what some of them refer to as “The Whore of Babylon”, will suddenly become bedfellows with, and embracing the writings of this very Church for solace and support of their bogus tithe doctrine. Tithe promoters then refer to these documents vaguely as the “writings of the Early Church”. I have even heard them define this term as “from the Apostle Paul and on up”, which is a total lie, and indicates the unreliability of these people whether through ignorance or intentional deceit.
We must appreciate the absurdity of it all, but let us remember that tithe promoters have very little choice; it is all they have to work with – it’s the best they’ve got. Keep that in mind, people. These pro-tithe arguments that I am examining are not their weakest points that I have selected to try to make myself look smart by easily debunking them. These really are the best arguments the tithe industry can come up with.
Birds of a Feather are Known by their Fruits
What is this document that pro-tithers attach themselves to, and use as their authority? What other dogmas, philosophies and tenets, besides tithing, does the “Constitutions of the Holy Apostles” contain?
It contains such doctrines as honoring and reverencing the clergy more than you do your own parents, with a penalty of death for failure to do so, because they are your intercessor to God.
This includes your total obedience to them because, to quote:
“For now the [local] deacon is to you [as if he were] Aaron, and the [Catholic] bishop [as if he were] Moses. If, therefore, Moses was called a God by the Lord, let the [Catholic] bishop be honored among you as a God, and the [local] deacon as his prophet.”
Contrary to New Covenant scripture, they promote the doctrine that does not allow the average Christian to communicate with God without the services of a priest.
“As, therefore, it was not lawful for one of another tribe, that was not a Levite, to offer anything, or to approach the altar without the priest, so also do you do nothing without the bishop; for if any one does anything without the bishop, he does it to no purpose. For it will not be esteemed as of any avail to him.”
“…so every lay person shall not be unpunished who despises God, and is so mad as to affront His priests, and unjustly to snatch that honor [of approaching the throne of God through prayer] to himself:”
“…how dare any man thrust himself into the priesthood who has not received that dignity from his superior, and do such things which it is lawful only for the priests to do?”
“You [Catholic priests, etc] are to the laity prophets, rulers, governors, and kings; the mediators between God and His faithful people, who receive and declare His word, well acquainted with the Scriptures.”
“As to a good shepherd [priests, etc], let the lay person honor him, love him, reverence him as his Lord, as his master, as the high priest of God, as a teacher of piety. For he that heareth him, heareth Christ; and he that rejecteth him, rejecteth Christ;”
These quotes give an idea of the mindset of the people who wrote that document, and you can also see where today’s pro-tithe preachers get some of their delusions about being rulers, Levites, and God’s anointed, etc.
The above-indicated mindset is where all of the Christian denominations who elevate their clergy to a higher status, get their ideas from. This goes in spades for the pro-nomian types who claim a rulership status or have the audacity to make bizarre claims such as that they want to present their congregation as a “chaste bride” to Jesus Christ (citing the Apostle Paul’s statement in 2Corinthians 11:2), or other condescending “Me pastor, you sheep” statements.
Romans 12:3 “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
I suggest that you locate and read “The Constitutions of the Holy Apostles” if you want to get a feel for how the elitist preachers think.
Prior to the organized hijacking of Christianity, Christian gatherings for brotherhood, communion, and worship were smaller, more personal, and consisted more of group discussions and participation rather than the stage show arrangement commonly held in commercial churches today.
This document is one of the earliest of its kind, and later Roman Catholic doctrines and writings build on it. This and similar documents are what the pro-tithers are quoting when they say “writings of the Early Christians”.
Having said all that, I would like to point out that like many things, this “Constitutions of the Holy Apostles” is not all bad. The irony is that even though it promotes a tithe, it is very conservative on how the lower level clergy are to partake of it:
“Let the bishop esteem such food and raiment sufficient as suits necessity and decency. Let him not make use of the Lord’s goods as another’s, but moderately;”
Even they understood the basic necessities (food and raiment) instruction of Jesus, though you do not hear this part quoted by pro-tithers.
While this writing endorsed a moderate-to-lowly lifestyle which allows only enough for basic necessities similar to what scripture directs, the real idea apparently was to funnel the bulk of the tithe money and indulgences to the upper levels of the church hierarchy, while presenting a façade of humble piousness to the people on the local level.
As with nearly every man-made religion today, they create a hybrid religion that includes enough truth to give the creation plausible validity, while the structure of the organization makes sure that the main benefit in the way of money, control, and power is funneled to the individuals at the top of the new entity.
So, true to form – even as the pro tithers pick and choose which scriptures they wish to present and which to ignore, so also do they practice their art of selective recognition and omission in their use of quotes from documents of corrupt origin that they rely upon to support their tithe doctrine.
What does a self-authorizing, totally homo-centric document like the “Constitutions” have to do with real, scriptural, truth-seeking Christianity? Not a thing. Nothing except to show that the pro-tithe camp is so desperate for support material that they will look absolutely anywhere for it, take what they can find, and then try to sell it as a legitimate source of Early Christian information.
It seems to me that if any legitimate documentation whatsoever existed from the first century, written by those who actually learned from Jesus or the Apostles first hand; and if those documents even remotely supported a New Covenant tithe, we would have heard of them many, many, many times over. We would not be hearing all these irrelevant quotes originating from a corrupt church circa 3-500 years after the last apostle died.