Yesterday, Sunday we had a day in Hillsong London with Jeffrey, who was advocating tithing. He is a Jewish Christian born and raised in Chicago, US but now lives in Europe. Many things he said was great, encouraged us to turn and seek God on finances. He must know a lot about money or how to deal with it, especially coming from Jewish background. Looking at his teaching more closely, however, I don’t believe he was right in everything. I think he overemphasized the tithing. The focus was more on how to gain wealth , saying “90% is more than 100%” and if we don’t pay tithes, we do not have God’s protection over our finances. Let me say clearly that this is wrong. We, as Christians, followers of Christ should first serve God and obey His commands as Jesus taught us and our primary aim should be to please God and walk as Jesus walked but not to aim for gaining wealth in the first place. Secondly, if we look at more closely, tithing is never taught in the New Testament or emphasized as something important except for one indirect reference, when Jesus talks to the Pharisees, saying they are taking tithes which is good, but they should not neglect other more important things.
“23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.” (Matthew 23:23 NKJV)
I believe that only having the above Scripture is not enough to stand on. Besides this, Jesus never mentioned and taught about tithing. I believe Jesus was under the Law and encouraged Jews to follow it as a requirement. Jesus was following the Law, which was the Jewish Torah at the time as it was required by God. But Saviour came to redeem those under the Law! He came and give us a new Law: the Law of the Spirit or law of faith.
“This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” (Gal 3:2 NKJV)
“But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.” (Romans 7:6 NKJV)
Above, we clearly see that in the New Testament we have a new law by which we fulfill the requirements of God: by walking in the newness of the Spirit. Jesus, on the other hand, teaches many places about giving. He emphasized giving and said that we will be blessed and given with the measure we give towards others.
“38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38 NKJV)
Later on the epistles we see many references to giving, but none to tithing. Paul teaches that giving should be balanced by the goal of equality between churches. As followers of Jesus, we should use our entire life including our finances to serve completely to use it for and towards God’s requirements. That means 100% and not only 10%! We can conclude that tithing as such is not proved according to the New Testament – as it would be following the law by the letter – but instead giving. Emphasizing and placing high focus on tithing as Christians is a false teaching.
Yours in Christ