These past days I have been having a wonderful conversation with my blogging friend Mike about giving and whether Christians are commanded to tithe. Here is my latest comment:
My issue with the tithe is really much more than the percentage. In the Old Testament it was established as a way to feed the priests and Levites enabling them to minister at the temple. The tithe was never monetary but given in the form of grain and animals. When it is taught this baggage comes with it:
- The clergy are now the NT priests and Levites;
- Money is substituted for food;
- The storehouse is now a church instead of the temple.
Why not simply teach people to be generous and then trust the Lord to meet the needs of the clergy? Why revert to Old Testament methodology to feed them?
The other aspect is how clergy is often very poor stewards of the tithe. Pastors ask people to give sacrificially to support their own salaries then treat this giving as if there was no sacrifice involved at all.
Instead, why not tell people to support the poor? As we are all priests, why not call pastors to be bi-vocational and reduce the need for tithes that support Levitical/Clerical salaries. Why embrace an Old Testament style of worship when there is a New Testament model (of fishermen and tentmakers) that we can follow? Why follow the traditions of Judaism or Catholicism when we do not have to?