Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Should all tithings be channelled through the local church? (3)

When Paul writes about the issue of tithing in 2 Corinthians 9:6-10, he says a number of important things. As I mentioned in my previous post, it seems to me that God took away the strict law about tithing and replaced it with a responsibility which each believer should have in order to give with a new attitude. But according to the Old Testament, when one gave, one gave in a way that it could be felt. Paul says it in the following words: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. This hasn’t got anything to do with a prosperity theology by which Paul wants to say that the more money you give to God the more money He will give to you. This becomes clear when he mentions that those who give generously will abound in good works and will have an increased harvest of righteousness. But the principle which comes out of this is that God wants us to give generously, not sparingly. Or to put this into Old Testament language: God wants us to give a bull and not a cow!
The second principle is that God wants us to give cheerfully and not reluctantly or under compulsion. I think all Christians need to realise this again – including church leaders who sometimes force their church members through psychological pressure to give more. What I mean is that church leaders do not have the right to compel their church members to give. Giving is something which every Christian has to learn about and then the Holy Spirit will have to convince us so that we can give cheerfully.
Within the context of this passage, it also becomes clear that it is not wrong in the eyes of God to give generously to those who are poor. Obviously, this would bring us back to the topic of dependency, but I am becoming increasingly convinced that we should not be tight-fisted when it comes to helping those in need.
To answer the question whether all tithings should be channelled through the local church, my answer would be twofold: If my congregation is seriously involved in financial and practical help outside the boundaries of the church (charity, missions etc), then I would definitely be convinced that the most of my tithe should be channelled through the congregation in order to enable them to continue with this work. If my congregation is reluctant to spend money outside, focussing mainly on salaries for pastors and administrative personnel and renovations to buildings, then I would probably start looking at other places where I could give a greater part of my tithe. Regardless, I would use a certain amount of my tithe to give to at least one specific cause (possibly a mission organisation or a specific missionary or an organisation involved with the alleviation of poverty or some other problem) – something which I have prayed about and which I feel comfortable with in supporting.

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Monday, January 7, 2008 - Posted by | Church, Dependency, Giving, Mission, Poverty, Prayer, Social issues, Theology, Tithing

1 Comment »

  1. […] someone made the remark that people like to give when they can sense a real need. I have said before that I am not convinced that one’s entire tithe should necessarily go to one congregation. For […]

    Pingback by Spending God’s money in church « Mission Issues | Thursday, February 28, 2008 | Reply


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