I met a lady recently who told me she had stopped going to church, a Pentecostal church. The reason, she told me, was because the gospel in her church had become all about money. The issue of the tithe had reached a level where the church leadership demanded to see every worker’s salary slip in order to confirm their salary, and hence determine the tithe they were to bring to church.
Not only that, she told me, but the number of contributions that one was required to make in church far exceeded even one’s earnings. In other words, church had placed upon her an unbearable financial burden.
“The church has become a business enterprise”, she told me.
So this lady just got tired and stopped going to church.
Just imagine that – a church has made someone to stop going to church on account of money! No wonder scripture says that the love of money is one of the root causes of all sorts of evil!
This is not something I have made up. It is a fact. This lady is right here in Singida, as real flesh and blood as you and I.
Unfortunately, she is not alone. There are millions of Christians in the same position as she is. Many may not have left church, but they have died – through suffocation – with the weight of the law that has been put on them.
Let me state right here that with the gospel there is only one law: freedom.
I probably need to write that in capital letters so a man who runs may see it: THE LAW OF THE GOSPEL IS FREEDOM.
When it comes to giving, there is one rule for giving: give according to your heart. There is no other “law”, and there is no way we are going to revert from that.
A heart that has been born again has the ability to be led by the Holy Spirit and to give as God directs it.
And the tithe? The tithe is law and it has no place in the church. The tithe is not a part of the New Testament gospel that we have inherited.
The problem of tithe has become particularly endemic in church today. But nowhere in the New Testament do we read about the tithe. Even when Jesus spoke about the tithe, remember He was speaking before the crucifixion. A lot of things changed after the crucifixion.
Paul does not speak about tithing. Nor does James. Nor Peter, nor Jude, nor John. No apostle ever told the church to tithe.
How come then that the tithe is emphasized so much in church today? Is there not something amiss there? Indeed there is. The spirit of the law is there. And where the law is there is flesh, and sin.
And what is it with the law? The Bible says that the law “was added because of transgressions” (Gal. 3:19). In other words, the law was injected because of sin. It was brought in to put a lid on sin. But when grace came, the lid was removed, so we may serve God in freedom.
Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary dealt with sin once and for all. Therefore, as far as the believer is concerned, sin is no longer there. Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient to cover every believer’s sin.
We therefore do not need law to try and put a lid on sin (for that is all that law can do, it can do no more). The grace that Christ brought is more than sufficient to deliver us from the power of sin.
Ever since we at Zion Gospel Assembly heard the gospel of the revelation of the grace of God many years ago, we stopped tithing in our church. Not that we stopped people from tithing – if someone feels they need to continue tithing they are free to do so! But we as a church discovered that the tithe is meaningless under the New Covenant, and we stopped preaching on it. Let’s just say we set people free to be who they are and to give to God in freedom.
This may have reduced our church offerings, but we are comfortable with that. We have faith that one day, as the revelation of God continues to work in men and women’s hearts, people will continue to grow in God’s grace and one day they will find themselves giving infinitely more than they did under law.
The church today needs to wake up and stop serving God under the law. This will never do with God. God has proclaimed it is by grace, and by grace it will have to be! Grace means total freedom to be led by the Holy Spirit. That is the meaning of grace.