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I’m speaking as the wife of a CPA who deals with nonprofits such as churches, private schools, and some medical institutions, and also as a person who has worked in/managed nonprofits. What you ask is a serious question and comes up more than many people realize. If allowed to go on, financial mismanagement can create a scandal in the eyes of the world and destroy people’s lives and faith. 1. While Christians differ on this, we personally do not believe that Christians literally pay “tithes” to the local church. We believe that tithes are an Old Testament concept, and that they were NEVER simply 10%, nor were they usually in currency/money. Our current idea of tithing in Protestant churches came about really in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as churches began to move away from pew rents and began to search for a way to fund churches. That’s when the concept of Storehouse Tithing and similar movements came about, and pastors were coached on how to use sermons and campaigns to spread an out-of-context message out of Malachi to shame their congregations into giving. Rather than giving a certain amount, Christians are to give as the Spirit moves them, directly to those in need and to local charities as well as to the local church. Churches have to have enough money to run, but a church/pastor who’s too interested in cold hard cash or demands proof of tithes has its/his spiritual priorities way out of line and is worshiping Mammon rather than God. Do not be deceived. 2. Certainly the pastor does not receive all of the monetary gifts as his personal salary. Beware of any pastor who lives at a level far above that of his congregation or who demands luxury goods: yachts, cars, vacation homes. In most churches (even our very small one), the gifts go into different accounts or at least are designated for certain uses. Gifts designated for use in the church building program usually should not be used for paying the electric bill, for instance. 3. Nor should the pastor be overly involved in the direct handling of the tithes. Most responsible pastors do not want to be overly involved in the financial issues of the church or know how much an individual member gives. According to Scripture, Christians are NOT to show favoritism based on a person's financial status. While this may not seem very “spiritual”, the church must be above reproach in the eyes of the world, practice good stewardship, and maintain proper internal controls in order to maintain the appearance of propriety in a world all too eager to destroy the church’s witness. Churches should follow certain accounting and money-handling rules, such as usually requiring two signatures on checks, to ensure that money is being used properly and for the purposes it was intended. 4. My husband says we should also look at this from another side: why put a good man in the way of temptation? Many churches handle huge sums of money, and pastors are only human. Some yield to the temptation to skim off the top. One of the worst things that can happen to a church’s witness, to new Christians, to a pastor, or even to the CPA conducting the audit is to determine that a pastor is misusing church finances for his personal good. There are even pastors who try to find loopholes so that they can use church finances for their own luxuries. Often these indiscretions are covered up so that only the financial committee knows the truth, or the pastor is quietly dismissed, but it does happen with enough frequency to make it a real issue. And I suppose there could be cases of mismanagement serious enough to put a church's tax-exempt charitable status in question.
Tithing has nothing to do with Christian Pastor's or ministers to-day. Tithing was established as a part of the Old Covenant and as such has nothing to do with Christian ministry to-day. We are under the New Covenant and as such we are to give as we are able or enabled to do so by the power of the holy spirit. Christians are not limited to the tithe or 10 percent that was required under the Old Covenant to maintain the Temple and provide for the Levitical priesthood. New Covenant pastors have nothing to do with the tribe of Levi and therefore aught not to be involved in receiving tithes, they can certainly receive free-will offerings to support their efforts to minister to the Assembly.. Paul says that we are to support those that minister to the Assembly; but nowhere does he state that in is only to be a tithe or 10 percent. In fact, there is no place in the New Testament - New Covenant that we are required to tithe. It is not a requirement for Christians now. We are to give generously from the heart as we are able to do, not out of any obligation; but from a willing heart. God loves a cheerful giver. Again, tithing is not a requirement or obligation placed on the ekklesia - the called-out Assembly of God by the lord Jesus. For any pastor to suggest that his congregation is required to tithe to support his ministry is not supported by the head of the ekklesia - Assembly, the lord Jesus. He has given us instructions that we are to provide for those who minister to us, but no amount is stated and tithing not mentioned as a way to support the minister of the Assembly. There is no limit put upon Christians as to how much they "have" to give, none. Some can only afford to give a little and some a lot, but all aught to give as they are able to do so from the heart and not out of any tithing obligation put on them which the lord Jesus does not require of his followers.
No! Everything goes into the Church's kitty for the Church board to distribute, either by supporting missionary work, donating to the poor, etc.
The 10% tithe comes out of Jewish Law. Jesus himself affirms this as He chastises the Pharisees, saying 'woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give tenth of your spices. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law, hat is justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former (Matt. 23:23). Here Jesus refers to tithing as a matter of the law that is compared with other more important matters of the law. According to the law, Israel was supposed to support their priests with 10%of their income in addition to give various other tithes. But, those Priests were not allowed to own property or have any belongings of their own and not allowed to work outside their priestly duties. Today we find pastors, priests and church leaders who are demanding that same 10% from churchgoers, and meanwhile they own homes and properties and even hold down other jobs too. New Testament Epistles contain any single verse of instruction to tithe. Let us have freedom in our giving. There are no mention din the four Gospels for New Testament churches to tithe at all. God does not need anything at all from us (Acts17:25). He is God and He already owns everything. Give cheerfully whenever you see a need(2:Cor.8:12).
The question implies that a this Church is being run by a single pastor. I would like to clarify this issue first. To make it clear once again, none of the Churches of the apostles' time had a single pastor/elder. This system was prevalent in order to prevent one man show, i.e., one man claiming and executing all authority. One can see that they were all plural. Because Jesus Christ strictly empahsized equality among the brethren. With this clarity in mind, let us to move to the tithing part. No where does the NT command us to give tithe. Because Jesus has delivered us from the law (Ephesians 2:14-15). But as soon as the first Church was formed, belivers had everything in common. They all shared their possessions (Acts 2:44 & Acts 4:32). In the early Church, MONEY WAS COLLECTED TO MEET THE NEEDS OF POOR BRETHREN IN THE CHURCH (Acts 4:35). Tithe had nothing to do with it. "Tithe" is a misnomer of the act of charity. The Church in Antioch, deciced to offer money for the bretheren in Jerusalem during the days of famine, as it was prophesied by the prophet Agabus (Acts 11:29). This offering was not limited to the Church in Antioch but the Churches in Macedonia and Achaia were also pleaded to offer to the poor brethren in Jerusalem (Romans 15:25-26 & 2 Corinthians 8 & 9). Paul advised Timothy to help widows who are really in need in the Church in Ephesus (1 Timothy 5:3, CEV). Church leaders should be honoured twice as much (1 Timothy 5:17). At the same time, Paul urged the leaders of the Church at Ephesus to work hard to help the poor brethren among them. 'REMEMBER THAT OUR LORD JESUS SAID "MORE BLESSINGS COME FROM GIVING THAN FROM RECEIVING"' - Acts 20:35. Paul set himself as an example by working with his own hands and made a living for himself. Acts 20:25a says "By everything I did, I showed how you should work to help everyone who is weak. This means that Paul was concerned of people who were really in need and no unnecessary burden should be laid on the Church (1 Timothy 5:16). So, the essence of charity in Paul's letters and in Acts is that the money was offered to poor brethren, poor widows and to everyone who were really in need. There were no difference like clergy and laity in all aspects and especially in terms of charity. It were not the pastors alone who enjoyed the money themselves. But the pastors were urged to work and take care of the poor! How sad it is today, to see that the hard earned money of believers are directed only towards massive evangelistic organizations while poor brethren & widows being neglected. In almost every independant Church, the pastor is the one which enjoys all the offering collected, no matter how poor are some believers and widows in his Church are. In the early Church, "No one went in need of anything" Acts 4:34. But today, the poor in Church are always poor, and pastors always are always rich. Most advocates of the "Tithe" system intimidate their believers that if they dont pay their tithe, they would earn the wrath of God. How sad it is! Let the eyes of the Church be opened!
All the tithe money goes to the pastor only if the pastor is a thief. Unfortunately, due to rather poor biblical scholarship or perhaps greed there are many denominations or congregations which make their pastors thieves. The law is very specific about where the tithes are to go, and also rather specific about what is to be paid as the tithe, although in the latter there is a bit more room for conflicting interpretations. The tithes of the people were to go to the Levites and to the widows, orphans and foreigners living in Israel (Numbers 18:21, 24, 26 and Deuteronomy 14:29) These did not have a land inheritance in Israel (or in the case of widows and underage orphans unable to work the land) and were thus not able to raise their own food. God claimed all these people as his inheritance, thus his children and workers, and they were to be fed from his table (the tithes of the produce of the land). These people were to pay a tithe to the priests, and this is the only tithes the priests are entitled to. Any denomination that gives their pastors anything beyond this makes their pastors thieves. That is a rather harsh statement but this law really cannot be interpreted any other way. The Levites were the auxiliary staff of the temple, the local judges and attorneys, teachers, healers, musicians and government officials. Until the people were given a human king the tithe was the only legal tax in the nation, and the evidence given in God's statement as to what a king would do if Israel were granted one would seem to indicate that the tithe was still the only legal tax, but that their king would follow the example of the nations around them, not limit himself according to God's law (1 Sam 8). The produce of the land and of the flocks is the only thing scripture mentions as being tithed. There is no mention of tithing on wages for labor or the sales of any goods produced by a craftsman. In his earlier writings on the subject Stephen E. Jones stated that this means a tax on wages is not biblical because God only required tithe on those things He produced for us on the land that he gave us. By doing this we acknowledge that it was God's labor, not ours that gave us this produce. Yet at the same time he was telling people that they only needed to tithe the produce of the land (and flocks and herds since they were made of the land) Dr. Jones was pointing out that we are the land because we were formed from the dust of the earth. Dr. Jones now teaches the tithe as a value added tax applying to our labor as well because we are the dust of the earth and the tithe is required on all the produce of the earth. This makes more sense to me. Still, if the law were to be applied literally to this "value added tax" what I would have to tithe would be the actual production of my labor, not the monetary value of that labor. If I make 10 chairs one goes to God. The law requires that if I do not give the actual produce I must give 120% of the value of that produce. How do you tithe the work of a CPA or CEO? What is he actually producing? Unless he provides that service to the work of God for 1/10th of his time he must pay a tithe of 12%, not 10% (Leviticus 27:31). This is something I have never seen anyone else teach. Considering the obvious greed motive of many pastors who lament that not all of their members are paying their tithes you would think that more of them would be teaching this text as well. We have looked at this law from the Old Covenant perspective. Under the New Covenant the law still applies but takes on a different form. As we mature and are able to produce the fruit of the kingdom we are required to work for these fruits and present them to God, but those who are still unable to produce any fruit (simplistically read converts but it is so much more than that) should still be paying a monetary or produce tithe until they are able to begin doing their Father's work.
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