What is the view on tithing?

Tithing is not a practice that binds the believer today. Having said this, as in all times, we must recognize that 1) all we have comes from the Father, 2) God is generous and that character can be reflected in his people through their generosity, and 3) we are still to give joyfully as needs arise and as God leads.

Under the Old Covenant, the tithe was intended to support the priestly tribe – the Levites – and their work in the temple. When Jesus Christ was crucified, the veil in the temple was torn in half, exposing the Holy of Holies, the place where the presence of God dwelled. (Until then, only the High Priest could go there – and only once each year.) With that event, those priests were suddenly (and probably happily) out of a very grueling job. The significance of this is that, with Christ’s final sacrifice, we no longer have that system; we don’t need priests to make sacrifices on our behalf. Jesus is our sacrifice – and all believers are priests. Further, since we now have direct access to God apart from the Levitical priesthood, the tithe is no longer needed to support that model. Indeed some of the tithe also served as the equivalent of our social programs today, but that is already far outpaced by modern society’s provision in those areas.

We can also bear in mind Paul’s instruction to Timothy: “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain”: Believers today should make an effort to supply the needs of itinerant (traveling) apostolic workers, like the Apostle Paul. But even Paul had an occupation (a tent maker) and was merely subsidized by the support he received. On occasion he would not accept support if it would compromise the delivery of the Gospel. Further, as priests within the context of the city church, we are all collectively responsible for the work of spreading the Gospel: our primary work is to love God and love our neighbor, and to use our spiritual gifts for the building up of the church and the extending of the Kingdom. Our secular work is merely a support to those ends.

“You were bought with a price…” 1 Corinthians 6:20