Rev. John R. Rice, author of “Storehouse Tithing...A New Heresy by Selfish Preachers” states...
“1) Not a single Scripture says the Church Treasury is the storehouse to which all the tithes should be brought. Not a single reliable commentary teaches it. All scholars agree.
2) It was never accepted as doctrine in any Statement of Faith, Baptist or otherwise.
3) This new doctrine, like the claimed authority of popes and of priests to forgive sins and control all Christian activities, grows out of selfish ambition of men.
It is not a heresy that men should tithe and more. It is a heresy that God requires all tithes to go through the local church treasury, controlled by the pastor or board.” Pg. 1-2.

Martin continues...“The tithe being discussed by Malachi is clearly the agricultural and firstlings tithe of ancient Judah. The prophet is actually talking about food, not money. Where were the storehouses located of which Malachi was talking? They were at the temple in Jerusalem. An order had been given by Hezekiah to bring the tithes of the agricultural produce into the sanctuary, and the people brought such abundance that the Levites had to lay it up in heaps. Hezekiah then had chambers made in the temple to hold the surplus produce. Those storehouses held grain, not money! This is what Malachi was interested in. He wanted the storehouses within the temple refilled. In the days of Nehemiah and Malachi there were food shortages and much poverty in Judah. See Nehemiah 5:2-6. It was in that particular environment that the prophet Malachi promised the Jewish people “more than sufficiency.” Insects had devoured much of the land. The animals were not reproducing properly. Judah was then under a curse. But, Malachi promised the Jews in Palestine a relief (Malachi 3:11).

The New Testament shows a different set of legal precepts for financing Christian activities. True enough, when Christ was on earth He told His disciples that tithing was a doctrine still in force (even on the meagerest of substances), but this was before the Christian church was established (Matt 23:23). Christ was not talking to members of the Christian church. He was speaking to the Pharisaical leaders of the Jews. And, why not? The Pharisees were still within the Old Covenant system when Christ made His remarks. Even the Pharisees felt they were obligated to accept the Levitical regulations, and Christ simply called their attention to those requirements. And, too, while Christ was alive, the temple was still standing. The Levites and Priests were still performing their ordained functions and were then the legal recipients of the tithe. The New Covenant had not yet been introduced. Being under the Old Covenant, it was only natural that Christ would tell the Pharisees to obey the law of tithing that Moses ordained. Indeed, before Jesus was crucified He even informed His disciples to offer animal sacrifices (Luke 5:14) to pay the annual half-shekel for the upkeep of the temple (Matt 17:24-27). Even to recognize the Scribes and Pharisees as sitting in Moses seat and to do as they commanded (Matt 23:2-3).

All these requirements had nothing to do with the way the Christian church was later to conduct its activities. Only while the Old Covenant was in operation was it necessary to sacrifice animals, be circumcised, pay temple tax, and (as Christ informed the Pharisees) to pay tithes! But, with Christ’s death and resurrection, the New Covenant Christian church came into existence. All the physical ordinances of the Old Covenant (including tithing) were done away (2 Cor 3:6-18). Jesus and His disciples were supported by private funds from those who believed in Christ’s mission. Jesus was not a Levitical Priest, and He could not legally receive tithes! Indeed, the matter of using freewill offerings was instituted by our Lord. When Christ sent out the seventy, he told them: (Luke 10:3-16). The disciples were informed to take only that which was set before them. They were also instructed not to worry about operating some kind of major organization that depended on great quantities of money in doing the work. Jesus said... (Matt 6:25-34). Christ followed His own advice precisely. While He was preaching, He admitted that He was so poor that “the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Matt 8:20). He was in poverty (2 Cor. 8:9). And, poor He was! He didn’t even have enough money to pay the half shekel for the upkeep of the temple (Matt 17:24-27). He never had an over-abundance of financial support. On one occasion Christ had about 5000 people following Him (John 6:10). But, our Lord took not a penny from anyone! He multiplied five barley loaves and two small fishes into enough food to feed the 5000! Both He and Peter were so broke that a fish had to fetch a shekel in order for them to meet their financial obligations to support the temple.

The fact is Christ was so poor from the materialistic point of view that the apostle Paul said that he had been in poverty (2 Cor 8:9). Three thousand people became Christians on Pentecost in 33 AD. A new Christian community then appeared on the scene. We read in the fourth chapter of Acts how the financing of that group came into existence (Acts 4:32-35). Clearly, this was no tithing system! Tithes were never mentioned as a means for financing these Christian activities. Yet, in many cases, what these people gave was far more than a tithe. Why did they do it? Simply because they saw that the work of God needed to be supported, and they felt motivated by the Spirit of God to help it. An overall attitude of giving within ones means was being shown in a real Christian way. With this, it should be no surprise why Hasting’s “Dictionary of the Apostolic” Church states, ‘It is admitted universally that the payment of tithes or the tenths of possessions, for sacred purposes did not find a place within the Christian Church during the age covered by the apostles and their immediate successors.’

Likewise, the Encyclopedia Britannica reveals: ‘The Christian Church depended at first on voluntary gifts from its members.’ And the Americana’ says: ‘It [tithing] was not practiced in the early Christian Church.’ Even the New Catholic Encyclopedia, published by a denomination that later called on its members to pay tithes, states: ‘The early Church had no tithing system. It was not that no need of supporting the Church existed or was recognized, but rather that other means appeared to suffice.’ {Articles ‘Tithe’ or ‘Tithing’ in each case.}

There is not the slightest evidence in the New Testament, or in early church history, to show that the Christian Church used the tithing system of the Old Covenant to finance its operations. After all, they were sensible enough to know it would have been illegal for them to have done so.” Martin, Pg. 19,20,23,28.

Rev. Rice states, “We remember that ‘The the Lord’s...’ Lev 27:30.

The tithe does not belong to the church, to the pastor, to the deacons, to the denominational belongs to the Lord. The Christian himself belongs to the Lord and does not need a priest or a pope or a denominational bishop or a grasping pastor to tell him where he must give. Pastors may teach people what is right and good, but no pastor has a right to command people to give all their tithes through a treasury under his control nor to teach or infer that all tithes belong to the church and are to go through the church treasury. That is a heresy not even mentioned or inferred in the Scriptures anywhere.

In 1 Cor. 16:1-2 Paul gave particular instructions about giving for the poor saints at Jerusalem. He was inspired to say, ‘Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.’ What does this Scripture teach? That every person ‘lay by him in store’ on the first day of the week whatever he sets apart for God to be turned in later. It is not scholarly nor honest to say that when a man is to ‘lay by him in store’ that is the same as bringing it into the church storehouse.

No commentary in the world gives that interpretation. G. Campbell Morgan says about this verse, ‘It is to be personal and alone, for laying by in store does not mean placing in a collection basket in a meeting, but privately apportioning and guarding.’ Matthew Henry says on this verse, ‘Every one was to lay by in store (v.2), have a treasury, or fund, with himself, for this purpose.’ Dr. A. T. Robertson, in ‘Word Pictures in the New Testament’ says, ‘Lay by him in store (par heautoi titheto thesaurizon). By himself, in his home. Treasuring it (cf.Matt 6:19f. for thesaurizo). Have the habit of doing it, titheto (present imperative).’ Jamieson, Fausset and Brown says on this verse, ‘Lay by him-though there not be a weekly public collection, each is privately to set apart a definite proportion of his weekly income for the Lord’s cause and charity.’ Barnes’ “Notes on the New Testament” says, ‘Lay by him in store. Let him lay up at home, treasuring up as he has been prospered. The Greek phrase, ‘by himself, means, probably, the same as at home. Let him set it apart; let him designate a certain portion; let him do this by himself, when he is at home, when he can calmly look at the evidence of his prosperity.’ Much more evidence is available but it is redundant and unnecessary.

There is simply no teaching in the Bible anywhere that Christians should bring all their tithes to the local church treasury to be distributed under the direction of the pastor or deacons or finance committee. ‘Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give.’ Some people try to bolster this false doctrine of storehouse tithing by implications. They say sometimes that ‘the local church is the only agency God has appointed to get out the Gospel.’ Of course, the Bible says nothing like that at all. Jesus gave the Great Commission five times; in Matt 28:19,20, Mark 16:15,16, Luke 24:46-49, John 20:19-21, and Acts 1:8. The local church is not mentioned a single time. Always it is given to the apostles, to the disciples, or to those present. And, the express teaching of the Great Commission is that everybody who is saved and baptized is then to be taught to carry out the same Great Commission, ‘Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.’

Every saved person gets the Great Commission. Churches do not call preachers to preach...God calls them. A church cannot tell a preacher what to preach...God must tell him. The church could not tell Paul whether he should go into Asia, Bithynia or over into Macedonia, in Acts 16...but God told him. A church could not tell Philip to go down to the road leading to Gaza and meet the Ethiopian eunuch...but God told him. It is wrong for men who have accepted a heresy for personal reasons, or personal gain or prestige or control of the membership, or raising more money, to try to infer that is taught in the Scriptures. It is not. No reputable scholar in the world thinks so. No commentary teaches it. No statement of faith in all history has ever affirmed it. It is heresy, a new heresy made by men to get more money and control the giving of the people. Thus, it is a heresy and wrong.

God puts the responsibility for soul winning on every Christian. Any sensible Christian, in considering it, must see that God wants every Christian to get out the Gospel, and it is not done simply by an official act of a local church. For example, Hudson Taylor started the China Mission, resulting in thousands saved. Was that a sin? D.L. Moody started Moody Bible Institute. Other noble men have started other Christian institutions to serve God. Was that wrong? Godly men start rescue missions. They result in the saving of thousands. Is it wrong for people to give their money to that purpose? Honest people will not say it is wrong, surely. I want everybody to pray about it and ask God where to give God’s money. But, I say that tithe belongs to the Lord, and a man ought to find where God wants him to put it and put it there or divide it severally as God leads him. ‘Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give.’” Rice, Pg. 3-6.

It is so very clear to me that all things belong
to God, and we are only His stewards.

The question is not ten percent, as I believe we are to give much more. The question is where the Holy Spirit wants you to give God’s money. 1 Cor 9:9-18, 1 Timothy 5:17, and Acts 28:10 teaches that it is lawful for a minister of the gospel to be fed by the people to whom he ministers. But when Paul uses the phrase “Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn” he is not justifying greed and selfishness. An ox is fed and its basic needs are met but that is it. The ox is there to serve. The ministry is not a business where a person should get an unqualified percentage; an unending percentage of what comes into the offering plate. The ministry is not a business where a CEO can justify becoming wealthy because he has made the business successful (church grow). The minister is serving the Lord Jesus Christ in being a servant to the bride of Christ.

Paul said he was worthy to live from money collected from Christians for his support but he refused to take monetary support from the Corinthians choosing instead to work with his own hands. Paul had no problems asking Christians to give their money to extend the gospel and do the will of God in serving fellow believers. In 2 Cor 11:8, Paul admitted taking financial support from other churches so he could freely serve them. It was intuitively clear that Paul supported the general bride of Christ and admonished others to do the same. Paul was not a local kingdom builder. Paul was a great example of challenging people to give money to extend the gospel and meet the needs of the church (people) without abusing the position in terms of taking money. (Acts 20:28-35)

If more pastors did this, there would not be the jealousy in the
local church against other servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I have been in countries where some pastors are like entrepreneurs making huge amounts of money on the tithes that are collected in the offering plate. I have seen their people who make up their congregations live in poverty and the church building in ruins or not even built, yet the pastor has a large estate.

I firmly believe that is one of the reasons some people become pastors in some countries and their zeal for their church to grow is so they can get more money from the people for their own usage. It is literally nothing more than a business to some pastors, both in third world countries, as well as in America.

Again, they need to read what Moses did to the Levites to ensure they never became rich above the rest of Israel, as I mentioned earlier. Yes, Jesus and the apostles had no problems encouraging people to give financially to spread the gospel (meetings, crusades, printing, radio, et cetera) and do the work of the ministry (feed the poor, widows and orphans, Matthew 25:31-40). But, Jesus would be and was the loudest voice of criticism and warning to pastors (Pharisees) about not abusing the saints and using them to get rich (Matthew 23:1-33). Jesus wanted His Bride (church) built but not the little empires of men (big beautiful buildings that feed the vanity of men). The heart of Jesus was revealed in Mark 12:41-44 and Matthew 23:23, where He condemned tithing in and by itself without coming from a heart of worship. It also reveals how Jesus expects us to give all to spreading the good news of salvation.

Yes, a person can be taught to give his tithes to the church, yet be a hypocrite and not even saved. No compassion or sensitivity to fellow believers or sinners; just believing he could buy his way into heaven through giving his tithes believing the deception taught to him that by this means he was serving God. Jesus instructed his servants (missionaries etc.) to live a lifestyle of simplicity and faith in Luke 10:3-16 and Matthew 6:25-34, yet few follow his advice. Thus much less is accomplished for the kingdom as faith is replaced many times with denominations.

Many times in local churches we train people to pay their tithes; yet, those same people lie, cheat, steal, hold bitterness, slander, et cetera. They can walk past a starving or dying man on the streets with no concern or compassion. Jesus condemned the religious leaders of His day: “...Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayer; therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation...Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone...Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness....Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city...” (Matt. 23:1-38).

At World Ministries International at the time of typing this article nobody takes anything financially from donations sent to us. It all goes back into spreading the gospel through articles, radio, shortwave, and crusades. Are people worthy to live off the proceeds? Certainly...if done in moderation. But, as long as God provides other ways, then we will continue to give all our time, energies and resources completely to getting the gospel out to the nations. Fellow believers, pray where God wants you to send your resources to support His kingdom. Wherever the Holy Spirit directs, then do so proportionately as He directs in your heart.

Is tithing for today?

Today it all belongs to God. We should give much more than ten percent!
The law was given to show us our selfishness and our sins.


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