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Friday: Further Thought – Impact of Tithing — 7 Comments

  1. Ellen White states in the quote reproduced in the 3rd paragraph that tithe is to be used (exclusively) for "for the support of those who carry the message of salvation to all parts of the world". In reflecting upon what might constitute the "message of salvation" that is to be carried to all parts of the world, the following seems to be of combined relevance:

    1) Jesus 'mission statement' that he announced at the commencement of his ministry (see Luke 4:18,19).
    2) Jesus response to John's disciples when they inquired as to whether He was the Messiah or whether they should expect someone else. (see Luke 7:20-22).
    3) The distinguishing 'criteria/characteristics' between those that will be saved and those that are not (see Matt 25:31-46).

    In these 3 key passages, Jesus 'ministry' (as per points 1 & 2 above) and the lives of his followers (as per point 3 above) appear to conceptualise the presentation of the 'gospel' more broadly than merely verbal presentation. Rather, it appears to consist of the gospel in action via alleviation of disease, poverty, affliction, neglect, etc - of which a part is verbal presentation.

    Then too we have the enlargement under the New Testament/New Covenant from the Levitical priesthood to the priesthood of all believers.

    If I join the dots, could it be possible that perhaps the use of tithe (a mechanism of "systematic beneficence" as per Monday's Ellen White quote in Testimonies vol 3 pg 404,405) may be more broad under the New Testament covenant - in keeping with: (a) the expansion of the NT covenant from the OT one; (b) Jesus self-proclaimed life ministry/gospel delivery scope; (c) Jesus stated final 'judgement' criteria; and (d) the emergence/development of the priesthood of all believers?

    If I am wrong in my conclusions, how would the above key passages reconcile with the more traditional view regarding the interpretation of the 'storehouse' collection point and scope of usage being only for ministers presenting the gospel - of tithe?

  2. God teaches a way of saving us from ourselves! From our ego! We fight, our corrupted genetics do that! This is a lost fight when we disconnect from His principles! Based on His love we can live at peace, with neighbors, with ourselves, with family, with Him!
    The recipe is at the Bible, we just must follow it!

  3. Correct me if I'm wrong, While I do believe that the Tithing system is sacred, I also believe that the " Tithing ladder" as used in the SDA church as a whole is flawed. According to the Levitical system, it is supposed to be 90/10 across the board, 90% out of 100 remains local and 10% moves up. In the system, as we know it, we do 90% ( stewards ) 10% to the Church, 100% of the collected 10% of the congregation goes to the local Conference, from then on we switch back to the proper Tithing system. Hence the reason that on the Local level Churches are struggling to muster the funds to put Evangelistic efforts or other gospel spreading programs. Maybe, just maybe we should revisit this issue on Tithing instead of the Gimme, gimme attitude that is being displayed by/at the Conferences level.

    • Essentially that is the basis of how the tithing system does work with one of two provisos. Ninety percent remains with the local conferences to support the work in the local churches, but there is some redistribution with the bigger churches supporting the smaller churches, anad where there are union and division academies and colleges, they too are supported (after all they are there to provide services for the local constituency as well. Unfortunately in some locations the transparency appears to less clear than it should be, and it is our responsibility to attend conference business meetings and ensure that we understand clearly the financial management reports. It is easy to make criticisms but unless we understand the financial reports such criticisms are assertions only.

      I cannot speak for all conferences but where the constituents are calling for more ministers and the tithe income is not there to support those ministers, then perhaps you can understand the dilemma that the conferences face. I personally know of conferences that struggle to support their ministers, and one can hardly blame them for mentioning the need for tithe in those cases.

    • Is it possible that local churches struggle because members see tithe as an "obligation" but do not see offerings as an obligation and thus do not give offerings?

      Not sure I understand your analysis of the "Levitical system." Our circumstances are different today, and thus we do things a bit differently, but the tithe is still an acknowledgement of God's gifts to us - not just salvation but also all of our material blessings. We need a continual reminder that we are only stewards of what we manage, and the tithe serves that purpose. Beyond the tithe, we have the privilege of giving generously to support the work of Jesus on this earth.

    • Hi Carlos

      I really resonate with your suggestion regarding revisiting issues where there are problems with the current situation.

      As Maurice has noted elsewhere, tithing rates returned to the Adventist church tithing system are relatively low. It would appear that the main method used so far to attempt to redress this situation is to remind church members of their 'obligations' to return tithe to 'the storehouse' (eg, as per the suggestions in Friday's discussion questions).

      Why not take a different approach when this one has been tried many times with little apparent effect? Why not revisit the issue of tithing and as part of that process that starts with gaining a picture of church members views regarding tithing and tithe distribution? That would give an indication of where the details of the issues lie and would then inform what might be needed if those issues are to be resolved in a sufficiently satisfactory manner.

      Something is clearly not working as it needs to/is supposed to. Is it time to revisit this matter using a different approach that involves church member's input? I'm with Carlos in suggesting there is indeed need for an inclusive revisitation process with respect to tithing (and probably other key issues as well - but that is a matter for another time).

  4. I must truly confess that I returned tithe for all of my life in church for the wrong reason and I had to asked God for His forgiveness. You see I returned the tithe and expected God to bless me with money in return. God and I had many battles (loosing on my part) when I never got the answers to the struggles that I had with this special issue I've adopted the 10% plus 5% Principle. And so I wondered Do, I have the right approach? When do I take out Gods portion? Am I doing this for a show? How is it that I return my tithes and offering and I am not been blessed as echoed in Malachi 3. Is it that I complained too much? Strangely One Kind pastor explained something to me that God set us on earth as witnesses, guinea pigs, (strong words). We are here to let other worlds see that some of us can trust God even when things are not going right! Trust Him Anyhow! This he the pastor encourages gives the wicked devil nightmares when he sends roadblocks, cant pay the rent or the car notes and insurance yet you can still praise God from whom all blessings flows! Be encourage family as we press on!


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