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Opinions of Monday, 29 July 2013

Columnist: Amartey, Edmund

Tithing Is Robbing And Stealing From God's People !

The following article is a full comment by one True Man of God on Ghanaweb, titled: TITHES- DUNCAN IS SINNING.

I wonder why the author did not reveal his name on such an important issue ? Or is he afraid or what ? We should not be afraid to speak the truth of God's Word, no matter whose ox is being gored. We're not to fear any man but the Lord God Almighty alone, and anyone who is troubled by the condition of the church today should be able to speak up boldly. God is looking for such men and women who are fearless and who would proclaim His Word without fear or favour.

I was considering writing an article on tithing, because many today think that establishing a church is an easy way to make money off poor people through tithing and it is time people know the truth about tithing. For generations, people have been robbed and fleeced by greedy preachers who twist the Word of God for their own gain, or who are ignorant about what the Bible says on tithing. Any preacher, church or denomination that is still demanding mandatory tithing from the Lord's people should understand that it is sin to rob people in the name of the Lord.

I must confess that I used to teach and preach tithing, but I did it out of ignorance, because that was what I was taught by my teachers, but now I know better and I don't do it anymore, and want to exhort others who are still collecting tithes out of ignorance or greed to stop forthwith. Duncan is not the only one sinning by collecting tithes, but everyone who is doing so has sinned and we all need to repent and do the right thing.

The issue of tithing and the emphasis on money makes it look like the church is all about money. No wonder some people won't go to church because they associate church with greedy pastors, prophets, apostles, bishops and archbishops who collect money from poor people while living extravagantly. Some are also in the ministry with the desire to make money and fleece the people, but the time is coming when all these armed robbers who use the Bible to rob poor people and give them false promises in the name of the Lord would be judged and even now are being judged.

People need to support the Lord's work but should do so out of love and according to their means or ability. People should not be forced, coerced, intimidated, threatened or cursed in the name of tithing. In the meantime, here is the comment which should feature as a full article and not hidden among comments:

No topic excites many pastors more than tithes and tithing. Waxing eloquent, pastors with fiery zeal, would teach about how if you pay tithes God would bless you. How your business would flourish, how you would find that rich husband and how all would go well in your life. Blessings would flow like the Jordan River and life would be a bed of hibiscus petals. Conversely, you are also threatened and psychologically terrorized for not paying tithes- there would be no breakthroughs in your life, God would take away from you. Nothing would go well for you. Worst of all, you would be cursed by God because you have stolen from Him. Like the mighty spear of Goliath, Malachi 3:10 is launched at your heart.

"Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse - the whole nation of you - because you are robbing me." (Malachi 3:8, 9)

This verse has been used to intimidate many Christians into shelling out 10% of their income as tithes. It is probably the only verse in the Bible that many pastors quote when preaching about tithes. Other verses in Leviticus and Deuteronomy that shed more light on the issue are almost never mentioned. Church members are kept in the dark by design.

Was God rebuking the nation of Israel or the nation of levitical priests in Malachi? Malachi 2:1, explains further,"And this commandment is for you, O priests." God was actually rebuking the Levites for abusing the trust of the people. God is a spirit and does not need food but He wanted the poor to be fed. The Levites were the ones under a curse. Christ broke the curse of the law, so Christians cannot be under a curse today for not obeying the law of tithes.

Who received tithes?

Tithe was God’s way of specifically taking care of the poor Levites, orphans, widows, strangers in Israel. This was the only reason God wanted food in his house. God does not need food. Deuteronomy 26:12, clearly states that when all the tithe is collected “then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger to the orphan, and to the widow, that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.” Deuteronomy 14:28-29 New International Version (NIV) "bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands." Did Jesus, Mathew and Paul receive tithes?

Jesus was from the line of Judah so could not receive tithes. Only Levites from the line of Levi could receive tithes. Though the twelve apostles were men of God, they could not receive tithes because of their tribal lineage. How then can pastors today ask for tithes? Are they Levites? If the apostle Paul is not a Levite so could not take tithes why are some pastors taking tithes? The fact that one is a man of God does not qualify one to receive tithes. Even prophets and other men of God in the Bible, not from the tribe of Levi, could not benefit from tithes.

Did Jesus and his apostles pay tithes?

Tithe was never taken in fish or silver or cash. Paul as a tent-maker was not required to pay tithes. Peter as a fisherman did not pay tithes on fish he caught. That was the law of God. None of the twelve apostles could pay tithes because they were not farmers or shepherds/ herders.

Did Abraham, Noah and Jacob pay tithes?

Abraham did not pay tithes. He gave ten percent of the spoils of war to Melchizedek, King of Salem. God did not command Abraham to give. It was from his free will. Abraham did not tithe from his personal property, and there is no record in the Bible that he did.

Jacob also gave a conditional 10% to God which was not a tithe. There is no record of Jacob paying any tithes after this. The traditional 10% in Middle Eastern societies is different from the legalistic mosaic tithe from God. The mosaic tithe was not optional, it was the law.

Without tithes, the message of the Gospel could not be preached

God in His infinite wisdom asked for tithes to be used for the poor and needy. God did not request tithes to be used for pastor's salary, cars, church organ or choir robes. God explicitly said use it to feed the poor Levites and the orphans, widows and strangers.

God does not need tithes to spread His word. The apostles gave their lives to spread the gospel of Christ without taking tithes from anyone. Many churches function perfectly today without tithes. We cannot disobey God with the excuse that we are spreading the gospel.

Even if you are poor, unemployed and struggling financially, now is the time to pay your tithes.

Nooooo!!! This is twisting and misquoting the Bible because we want to take money from the poor. The Bible says do not take tithes from the poor and needy. The poor are to benefit from the tithes. They are to be given tithes. Telling the poor to pay tithes, with promises that God would open the windows of heaven and pour blessings on them is a big con game.

The Bible says those with less than ten goats or sheep were exempted from paying tithes. God did not take tithes from the poor. Telling the poor and needy that if they don't pay tithes God has cursed them is the ultimate in greed and callousness. Some pastors tell poor church members to pay tithes before their rent or children’s school fees and expect miracles. Some tell the congregation not to worry about what the tithe is used for. They say to just pay the tithes and leave the rest to God.

Would paying tithes make you rich and prosperous?

The promise of breakthroughs and prosperity and material blessings is used as a bait to make many pour their hard-earned money into the bank accounts of some pastors. This is nothing but manipulation. If the gospel of Christ is about acquiring earthly possessions how come the apostle Paul was not rich? How come John the Baptist, Peter, John and the other apostles did not get financial breakthroughs? Many of Christ's apostles were persecuted and killed. Life was not rosy for them. Were they not blessed men of God? If you believe pastors who tell you that you would prosper financially if you pay tithes, then you need serious Bible study. People like Oprah Winfrey, Ted Turner, LeBron James etc. are very wealthy, but they do not pay tithes, they are not even Christians. If you believe paying tithes would open gates to riches for you, then you are in for great disappointment and cannot carry the cross of Christ.

Should I give to my church?

Yes, absolutely! Give to the church. Your offering helps the church a lot. Paul spoke about supporting the church. But give from your heart to God and expect nothing in return. Give because you love God. It is free-will, not a binding law like tithing. God had a special purpose for the tithes. It was to feed the poor and needy in society. It was to take care of the Levites who were poor, not wealthy pastors who have mansions, fancy cars and are far richer than most in the congregation

Should Christians pay tithes today?

Jesus and his apostles did not pay tithes, neither did they accept tithes. The Pharisees obeyed all the 613 mosaic laws, so they paid tithes. Today, Christians are not under the law, so we do not follow the Mosaic Law, as we are under grace and not the law. How come so much emphasis is laid on only tithes but not the other 613 laws? If we have to pay tithes then we have to follow all the laws, like the Pharisees. When a child disobeys the parent, he has to be stoned to death according to the old law. No Christian obeys that law today. However, some hold on to the law of tithing with the might of Samson. Why? Is it the money? The love of money...

Who is killing the church of Christ?

It is unlawful and unbiblical for anyone outside of the tribe of Levi to receive tithes, be they prophets, bishops, arch-bishops or reverend-doctors. Tithe has become the yoke around many Christians’ neck. When the clergy enslaves the masses and amass wealth at the expense of the poor it creates a history of resentment against the church. Many thinking people become suspicious of religion. When leaders of a faith insult the trust of their flock with misinformation and manipulation, the backlash can be unfavorable to all. The gospel of Christ suffers when boys are molested by clergy just as when money becomes their main focus. Many centuries ago, Martin Luther had to revolt again the leaders of the church who were taking the faithful for fools. You can fool some of the people some of the time but all the people cannot be fooled all the time. At some point Europe woke up.The shady history of the church in Europe has forced many out of Christianity. Today Christianity is dying in Europe. No wonder, a recent pope said, the future of the church is in Africa. Are our pastors robbing God, are they killing the church of Christ?

Edmund Amartey