Summary: What is the Christian view of the tithe, the Sabbath, and all the eating we do in church?
In Scarlet Threads, I traced the origins of the world's religious system from the ancient days of Babel through the Roman Empire that still is with us today in the form of the religio political system that operates out of Vatican City. At least 20% of mankind is controlled directly by this force, much more indirectly.
It should be obvious to seekers of truth that one cannot stop at Rome when decrying Babylonian ways in today's church and world. Though the Reformation gave birth to a mammoth pull away from Rome, it is obvious that a unity with her was reclaimed through the years and is expressed in many ways through "Protestant" groups today.
I will touch on only a few of the similarities, and, as is my custom, encourage readers to continue the search on their own. I am becoming especially sensitive to the church government issue, and the similarities between Rome and her daughters in this area. Most of the booklet is devoted to this subject.
Other things I touch on are merely reminders that, like it or not, regardless of the nametag we wear, we are subjected to the traditions of men, and need to keep returning to God's pattern.
The tithing tradition is an excellent example of that of which I speak. Neither Jesus or the apostles gave a clear command to first century Christians, Jew or Gentile, about the ten per cent payment exacted by God of Jews under the Old Covenant. Yet today, Christian leaders teach tithing to their people as though the New Testament abounded with this concept.
The argument goes something like this: Tithing was in effect long before the law of Moses (valid). Tithing is an "eternal" principle(possibly). So, we too must pay our tithes into the storehouse (using Malachi's terminology). Now, the storehouse is the local church to which you belong. ( sorry, no longer valid, totally indefensible by Scripture)
Monies thus collected then go to pay for an assorted variety of expenses, most of which have to do with local concerns of that fellowship, and most of those concerns center around the building in which the group meets. Justification for this is found in the great amount of material wealth spent on the temple etc.
Oh, we've drifted a long way from the path trod for us by the original church.
1) Cash collected in the early church was given to (a) the man of God who was
unable to gain regular employment because of his itinerant ways (although Paul
often refused it anyway!), (b) elders worthy of "double honor" because of their
extra labors in the church, (c) the needy in their fellowship and other fellowships.
The collections were given to apostles to carry to other places. Churches did not
consider money their own, and individuals were taught to have this attitude also.
2)No mention of a percentage is given in the New Testament because people in
love with Jesus give everything. The concept of tithing is an insult to one whose
entire fortune has been given to God's use. The early Christians sold what they
absolutely did not need, gave the entire proceeds to the church, and allowed the
church to distribute to the needy.
No one was or should be forced into this way of life. Forced sharing is communism. But voluntary sharing, Christianity at its best, there was. And the storehouse? Simply the People of God, whatever their location, whenever a need existed. And the needs had nothing to do with those money draining edifices called "church buildings", since they were not introduced until the days of Constantine.
So why is tithing practically the universal way among us? Slowly the church drifted back to Judaism, encouraged later by a priesthood which also resembled the Jewish way. The first love left, and rules remained. What better rule, thought the church, than God's rule to His Old Covenant people? Oh, it's logical enough. But it is a tradition, nonetheless, with not one ounce of support by apostolic writings!
This is not, in any way, to condemn tithing or tither. Some need to grow enough to give even that much. My point is that Jesus wants it all from His true love slaves, and that, even though the tithe is of Jewish origin, its implementation by the church makes it a Babylonian device. Whenever ritual, rite, or habit, replace the moving of the Holy Ghost, there is religion.Whenever a man feels good because he performed a religious act "for God," he misses out on the greater "feeling" of the acts of grace that his God wishes to put in him. Whenever one ignores the New Testament picture of joyful giving and substitutes joyless paying, he has entered Babylonian ground, has become religious, and is in grave danger.