Tithing: Should it be paid at one’s local church?
Payment of tithe is obligatory to Christian faithful. An Old Testament commandment, it is made popular by Malachi 3:10, where Christians are required to give 10 per cent of their income to God through the priest. If faithfully adhered to, the act is said to attract rich blessings from the Lord. Since the injunction is to regularly pay tithe, does it matter if a Christian pays in a church other than where he/she worships? CHRIS IREKAMBA reports.
‘God Can Instruct A Christian To Do Anything With His/Her Tithe’
(Rev. Sam Adeyemi, Senior Pastor, Daystar Christian Centre)
I always stick to an approach. I don’t want to sound as if the Bible says what it doesn’t say. There are many things that the Bible is outrightly clear about and there are some other things the Bible is not and we work with the principles. The main thing with tithe is that there is a principle. The 10 per cent principle predated the laws of Moses; it is a very powerful principle. As to where to pay your tithe, the major thing it was used for before in the Old Testament, though there are other small things, was the running of the temple and maintenance of the priests. However, things have now changed. We have churches that have been registered and incorporated with government, so they need to be run and maintained. So, the average person that is getting value from the church needs to support its existence. It is the fair deal so to speak.
God’s ordained church needs to take care of the people there. In the New Testament, especially in Acts chapter 2, we saw the apostles making sure that nobody goes to bed hungry, that is the rule we have in our church. So, nobody in this church, no matter their class or where they come from must go to bed hungry. It’s money and resources that we use to do that. Now, what I would add is that New Testament Christianity comes with a very powerful principle of freedom, especially when you read the book of Galatians. There Paul said: “Don’t let anybody bind you with rope; don’t let anybody bind you with rules that God has not written. Don’t let them import it from the Old Testament … you don’t need to do anything to qualify for God’s grace. You can’t pay for it, that is why I would say a Christian can be led by God and God in His sovereignty has the right to instruct a Christian to do anything with his or her tithe. I would say that a Christian should be responsible enough to support the running of the church, where he/she is blessed spiritually.
‘Pay Your Tithe At Local Church Where You Derive Spiritual Benefits’
(The Rt. Rev (Dr.) Isaac Ayo Olawuyi, Bishop, Diocese of Lagos Mainland, Methodist Church Nigeria.
The current trend of the theological validity of payment of tithe is something that has set some of us wondering if the initiators are of God or just playing the devil’s advocate. I wonder why the hullabaloo about payment of tithes. Is there any sin in any form of giving for the propagation of the Gospel? Whether tithes, offerings, pledges, vows, donation or alms, provided it is given by faith with a sincerity of purpose for God’s works and advancement of His Kingdom?
Has God really spoken or revealed to any Pastor or Prophet that payment of tithe is a sin or not acceptable to Him? Let such man of God come out boldly and speak and let him establish it in the scriptures. The argument of ‘under the law’ or ‘under the grace’ is of no use in this matter. Whatever we do in Christ is done under the grace; as done by Abraham, when he gave the tenth of everything to Melchizedek. Nothing is done or given in Christ and for His Kingdom that is outside the Grace. Everything that a Christian possesses is of Grace and by Grace. I have not yet seen in the Bible, where Jesus condemned tithes. He only rebuked the Pharisees on account of their hypocritical life. In no way did he condemn payment of tithes. I implore that all unwarranted theological treatises on tithes be shelved henceforth and let us discuss things tending towards spirituality and heavens.
Should a Christian pay his tithes to his local church or anywhere else? The next question should be what are tithes used for in the new dispensation? As has been established, tithe is a form of giving in the House of God. There are many ways to channel church money. Some thought tithes and offerings are meant for the Pastor alone. That is not true. Church money is used to take care of works of God in various ways.
Take, for instance, some local churches that have pastors, evangelists, workers, drivers, guards and many more. The church will maintain the choir, as well as the organists and the vocalists, among others. The local church will pay bills, buy diesel, maintain generators and give to widows, orphans, the needy and many more. The money that is made through payment of tithes is used to cater to all those needs and many more.
The right thing to do and the right place where tithe should be paid is no other place than the local church. The payment should be made at the local church because that is where the spiritual benefits are being derived. We enjoy good sermon, good music, air-conditioners, fans, and other benefits provided by the church both spiritual and physical. All these are made possible through payment of tithes and offering. And so, the primary place to pay tithes is the local church, where we worship and are blessed. There are other arguments against this position, but judging from the scriptural point of view, reason and logic, local church is the rightful place where tithes should be paid.
‘It Is A Matter Of One’s Conscience’
(Very Rev. Msgr. Gabriel Osu, Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos)
Speaking strictly as a Catholic Priest, we encourage people of God to support their parish and the Church, using their time, treasure and talents. See 2nd Corinthians 8 and 9. The faithful have the primary responsibility to support the local Catholic community to which the Lord has called them. Such donations (like tithes) are used to support the priests, pay workers’ salaries, construct relevant structures and embark on charity and missionary activities, within and outside their immediate dioceses.
However, that does not mean that a Catholic is forbidden from donating to other worthy courses outside of the Church, where expedient. It is a matter of one’s conscience and not a matter of compulsion. The Roman Catholic Church, being the Mother Church, does not discriminate. Her doors of mercy and compassion are open to all of God’s children. This is why she operates the highest number of charity based-endeavours across the world.
‘What Matters To Me Is What Tithe Is Used For, Not Where It Is Paid’
(Pastor Sunday Adelaja, Senior Pastor, The Embassy of God, Ukraine)
Maybe the Bible doesn’t specifically say where, but it does say who to give it to. From the Bible, tithe and offering belong to a certain group of people: the Levites, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widows. In Deut. 26: 12-13, we see this clearly written.
Now, there is also the concept of storehouse in the Bible. Unfortunately, many people think that the storehouse is talking about the church. But when talking about the storehouse, it is referring to a distribution centre, which could be in the church and that is why some storehouses were located close to the church (Mal 3:10). But aside that, storehouses were also located in individual houses (Deut 28:8 & 2. Chron 32:27-28), and in the city (Gen 41:56).
But in all this, what is important is what tithe and offering is supposed to be used for. In Mal 3:5, we see a confirmation that the Lord meant that Tithe and Offering should be used as a welfare care system for the oppressed and disenfranchised, especially the widows and fatherless. So when we read Mal 3, God is actually more concerned about disenfranchised people.
In Acts 4:34-37, this also confirms what it is meant for: they are distributed for the needy, so that there will be no poor in the church.
‘There Are Several Ways To Do It’
(The Rt. Revd. Dr. James Olusola Odedeji, Bishop of Lagos West, Anglican Communion)
If you are led to do so, because for some of us, there are several ways to do it. For example, this year alone, I have celebrated my family harvests in about six places: One, where I was born; two, in my wife’s parents’ church; three, some churches where I had served at one time or the other, as I cannot forget those places. And Lagos West, Anglican Communion is my Cathedral now. I will be coming here on December 3, 2017 for family harvest. So, it can be done.
For instance, when I was building a church in Oshodi, some people, who saw the gigantic work going on then, would come around and drop their offering. Whether it was tithe, offering or vows, I cannot say, but we ensured that the money given to us then was spent for the purpose it was meant. So, if you are led, for example, somebody is down critically ill in the hospital and he has nobody to attend to him and you felt giving him that tithe money would rescue this indigent patient, why not?
I remember on many occasions, when my wife would spend more than 10 per cent of her income in assisting patients because she works in the hospital. So, when she notices that some people are having difficulty in settling their hospital bills she would come home, and say ‘daddy, we need to assist some people’ and sometimes in the family, we pay more than 10 per cent. We just ensure that we touch lives, which is the real essence of man. That is what we live for. So, that is the angle from which I want to look at it. They should not say that your church should not benefit from your tithe because maintaining the church is not as easy as people think it is.
In this Cathedral, we have close to 200 workers, who are on our monthly payroll and they must be paid. Electricity must be paid for; we use diesel; we have so many commitments and we have mission fields. We also have so many churches waiting for us to settle their bills in one way or the other. And so, if people are not paying here, the church does not have a machine for printing money. And so, tithe is very important, which is why God said: ‘…so that there will be food in the storehouse.’
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