Is there tithing under Grace?, or rather
As tithing has been done away with, is there still giving under Grace?
Finally, the sermon preached on 16th Nov has been released on CD titled “Is there tithing under Grace?” (see blog dd 16th Nov)
Since I was at the first services on the 4th Aug 2013 and 16th Nov 2014, I can remember clearly and observe how my church develop along in this matter. My reflections may not be a big deal to the majority who have been blessed and benefited much in the teaching ministry of JP – especially in the essence of our position in Christ by Grace.
Prior to 4th Aug 2013, terms like ‘our tithe’ and ‘tithing’ are not unknown before the collection bag is passed around. The audio message on the church website “The Benefits of Tithing” bears this out. Yet there are others who believe that the tithe has been done away, according to Hebrews 7. I felt it was not fair and discreet when the pulpit began to fault ‘grace pastors’ who do not believe in the tithe without defining and qualifying that ‘grace pastors’ referred to the Levitical system of tithing, and not to giving. Is there an apprehension that members could be influenced and stopped giving altogether?
Personally I don’t believe the ‘tithing’ is sound. Essential doctrines and teachings, seemingly ambiguous or vague in the OT are illuminated by our Lord Jesus and the apostles. So do we see Jesus or the apostles teaching on the tithe? (see again the entry for 4th Aug 2013). Our response of honouring the Lord with our substance has been restored to the examples of Abraham and Jacob before the law to tithe was given. It was willing, wholehearted and the quantum was a personal decision. In these cases, both chose to give ten percent. Would the Lord reject or object if the amount was less, or more? The bible is silent on this. The NT, when referring to our giving, clearly stated that it is to be according to our means. If the church were to be legalistic, then a ‘taxation system’ not unlike that of secular governments would be a good analogy. If we are well endowed, would it be possible to say that since we have given the ten-percent, we don’t have any more obligations to be generous (Mark 7:11). Thus I find the principles in 2 Cor 8 & 9 are indeed a step-up to the restrictive and legalistic quantum of the tithe. And if we are much challenged in our financial situation, the apostle Paul clearly said about giving “out of what you have. 12 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.” (2 Cor 8:11,12).
Since the sermon on the 4th Aug, I observed that the terms ‘tithe’ and ‘tithing’ were not uttered (at least in the services I attended.) Instead I often hear “you don’t have to give, you get to give”)
Based on the sermon of 16th Nov 2014, there was the submission to the tithe being done away with. But there seem to be a creative rationalisation to suggest that our offering is to be ten-percent – ie the tithe. Well you need to listen to the message “Is there a tithing under Grace?”. Wonder why the pre-occupation with the ten-percent? It might not be a big issue with believers in Singapore who are generally middle-class, and definintely not with our church with much trumpeting about material blessings as our legacy.
Anyway, why the pre-occupation on the ten-percent? What about worshipping God according to what one has, whether much or little, according to one’s station in life?
How does the emphasis on the act of giving ten-percent fit in with the Gospel of Grace which our church proclaim as having no demands or expectation on our performance and works?
And aren’t there other more pressing, solemn and serious issues to focus on? What about
Is there Discipleship under Grace?
Is there a devoted and dedicated life of prayer under Grace?
Is there disciplined personal and group Bible-study under Grace?
Is there practical outworkings of love and loyalty in the Community / Body Life under Grace?
Is there a life of personal witnessing under Grace?
Maybe we will hear more messages on our lives bearing fruit, our sanctification by Grace.