Can I not tithe if I don’t agree with its use?

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By BibleAsk Team


To tithe which is the practice of giving a tenth of one’s income to the church, is a deeply rooted biblical principle that many Christians adhere to as an act of worship and obedience to God. However, concerns about the misuse of funds by church leaders have led some believers to question whether they should or should not tithe to the church. This essay will explore the biblical basis for tithing, the issue of church misuse, and how Christians can approach this matter, providing references from the Bible to support the discussion.

The Biblical Basis for Tithing

  1. Old Testament Foundation

The concept of tithing originates in the Old Testament, where it was instituted as a way for God’s people to honor Him and support the Levitical priesthood, the temple, and those in need. Tithing was ordained even before the Israelite nation. Abraham tithed (Genesis 14:20; Hebrews 7:4) and Jacob tithed (Genesis 28:22).

Leviticus 27:30 (NKJV): “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is holy to the Lord.”

Malachi 3:10 (NKJV): “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”

These passages highlight that the tithe is considered holy and set apart for God, serving both as a means of worship and a practical provision for the needs of the community.

  1. New Testament Continuation

Tithing was again practiced during the New Testament era. Jesus said, “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).

Jesus didn’t abolish the plan of tithing. He endorsed it. And He said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill (Matthew 5:17). Jesus makes it clear that He was not against tithing as such, but against the hypocritical spirit of the scribes and Pharisees, whose religion was made up of keeping the forms of the law. He then plainly told the religious leaders that they should continue tithing, but should also be merciful and just.

Neither Jesus nor any New Testament writer in the least releases the obligation of tithing. About tithing, Paul wrote, “Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:13, 14, NKJV).

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (NKJV): “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

To Not Tithe due to Church Misuse

  1. Historical and Contemporary Examples

Throughout history, there have been instances of church leaders misusing funds, leading to scandals and distrust among congregants. Contemporary examples include lavish lifestyles of some pastors, mismanagement of church resources, and lack of transparency in financial dealings.

1 Timothy 6:10 (NKJV): “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

This verse reminds us that the misuse of money within the church is not a new issue and is rooted in the human tendency towards greed.

  1. The Responsibility of Church Leaders

Church leaders are entrusted with the stewardship of tithes and offerings, and they are accountable to God and the congregation for their management of these funds.

1 Peter 5:2-3 (NKJV): “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”

This passage underscores the responsibility of church leaders to manage resources with integrity and serve as examples to their congregants.

The Christian Response to Misuse of Funds

  1. Seek Transparency and Accountability

Before deciding to withhold tithes, Christians should seek transparency and accountability within their church. This can involve asking questions about how funds are used and requesting financial reports.

Proverbs 27:23 (NKJV): “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds.”

Diligence in understanding how church funds are managed is a practical step towards ensuring responsible stewardship.

  1. Addressing Concerns with Church Leadership

If there are concerns about misuse, it is important to address these issues directly with church leadership. This should be done respectfully and with a desire for resolution and improvement.

Matthew 18:15 (NKJV): “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.”

Applying this principle to financial concerns involves communicating with leaders privately before taking further action.

  1. Praying for Wisdom and Discernment

Christians should pray for wisdom and discernment in how to handle their tithes and offerings, especially when faced with concerns about misuse.

James 1:5 (NKJV): “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

God promises to provide wisdom to those who seek it, helping believers make informed and righteous decisions.

  1. Considering Alternative Giving

If a church’s misuse of funds is confirmed and unresolved, Christians might consider alternative ways to fulfill their giving obligations. This can include supporting other ministries, Christian charities, or individuals in need.

Galatians 6:10 (NKJV): “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Doing good and supporting the broader body of Christ can be a way to ensure that one’s giving is still contributing to God’s work.

The Heart of Giving

  1. Giving as Worship

The primary motivation for giving should be an act of worship and gratitude towards God. It is a recognition that all we have comes from Him and a response to His generosity.

2 Corinthians 8:12 (NKJV): “For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.”

A willing and generous heart is what God values most in our giving.

  1. Trusting God’s Provision

Giving, even in the face of potential misuse, requires trust in God’s provision and sovereignty. God sees and honors the heart behind our giving.

Philippians 4:19 (NKJV): “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Trusting God to provide for our needs allows us to give freely without fear.

  1. Faithfulness in Little Things

Faithfulness in giving, even when resources are limited or when misuse is a concern, is a reflection of our faithfulness to God in all areas of life.

Luke 16:10 (NKJV): “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.”

Being faithful in small acts of giving demonstrates a trustworthy character and devotion to God’s principles.

Conclusion

The issue of tithing in the face of potential church misuse is a complex and sensitive one. The Bible provides a strong foundation for the practice of tithing and generous giving, emphasizing it as an act of worship, obedience, and support for God’s work. However, concerns about misuse of funds are legitimate and require careful consideration and action.

Christians are encouraged to seek transparency and accountability within their churches, address concerns directly with church leadership, and pray for wisdom and discernment. If misuse of funds is confirmed and unresolved, alternative giving options that still honor God and support His work can be considered.

Ultimately, the heart of giving is what matters most to God. A willing, generous, and faithful heart that trusts in God’s provision and sovereignty will be blessed and honored by Him. By approaching the issue of tithing with prayerful consideration and a desire to glorify God, Christians can navigate this challenge in a way that upholds biblical principles and strengthens their faith.

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