Paul's Passing Thoughts

Is The “Tithe” a Spiritual Scam?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 26, 2013

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Between TANC and the Potter’s House, there is just a lot going on. In our study on Romans, we have come to Romans 12:11-13:

11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

The focus of our next message in Romans will be verse 13 which emphasizes giving according to need. Because I am in the middle of a TANC project, namely, the writing of TTANC volume 2, this is a shameless ploy to get some free research for the next Potter’s House message. Please note the comment section at the end of this post.

I have some observations to incite riot accordingly. In these verses, which include the hefty responsibility of being faithful in prayer, Paul passes on mentioning the tithe. Tithe means, 10%. I strongly suspect that the tithe was a sort of tax when the kingdom of God had an earthly substation: Israel. When Israel rebelled, the earthly manifestation of the kingdom was taken from them and will be reestablished in the millennial kingdom. The kingdom of God expressed on earth through Israel had an institutional aspect to it that benefited from a 10% tax.

Such is not the case in this age. The temple isn’t in Israel and attended formally by priests, the temple is each and every believer, and each and every believer is a priest (1COR 3:16,17,  1PET 2:9). That’s my suspicion—Christianity is decentralized and expressed in the gifts granted to each and every believer; believers fellowship in order to maximize their individual gifts. There is no authority among believers per se, but different rolls in a fellowship construct. To the degree that is followed, gifts can be maximized to the eternal benefit of the world around us. I believe the New Testament assembly model is non-institutional and does not require a sanctified tax.

I do not believe in Luther’s two kingdom theology which was a Platonist take on God’s kingdom; i.e., the pure form of God’s kingdom is in heaven, and His kingdom on earth is a shadowy kingdom of the pure form. Hence, the present kingdom has the same Old Testament institutional aspect, and consequently, the tithe. Not so. This is part and parcel with the insistence that there should be a central church government ruling over the earthly church. The Reformers sought to reform the Catholic Church because they agreed that there should be a central ruling institution. Be sure of this: this is the very heart of ecumenicalism; the kindred belief in a central institution that would enforce orthodoxy.

And to the degree that Christians gather under a big tent, civil governments have no choice but to play along. This has always been the big picture from the beginning of time—the consolidation of church and state. That motif in the book of Revelation is very predictable. It started that way, it will end that way.

Lastly, the word “tithe” only appears in the New Testament twice, and those two references pertain to one conversation. So, in reality, the word is used ONCE in the New Testament, and in that one instance, in a negative light. Christ used the word to criticize those who emphasize the tithe and diminish the need for justice in the church.

Well, that’s the contemporary church in a nutshell—long on institution and very short on victim justice.

paul

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