doulos said:
I don't think there's a biblical mandate, as such, . . .<cut>

That said, most churches call it a tithe. Does that mean that they are demanding ten percent of your income in the tradition of the OT Law?
Can you see the tension here? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/Ponder.gif" alt="" /> There is no biblical mandate which would require a N.T. believer to render a "tithe" offering, i.e., defined as "10% of one's gross income to the Church". So, if a church teaches that N.T. believers are to give a "tithe", then it is most definitely inextricably connected to the "tradition of the OT law", for there is nothing in the N.T. that would require it to be given.

This is the issue which some of us, especially CovenantInBlood, have been trying to discuss, i.e., is the O.T. teaching concerning the "tithe" continuitous; carried over into the N.T. church? If it is, then it is a mandate and obligatory upon all who profess Christ. It becomes a matter of obedience to the will of God no less than one reading the Scriptures, attending worship services, worshipping God aright, praying, etc., all which are evidences of ones spiritual state. (cf. Jam 2:26) So, while this matter is specifically one of sanctification (how one lives out their faith), if the "tithe" is accepted a a mandate, then it of necessity becomes a "test" of one's spirituality; "faith without works is dead". Thus the importance of establishing whether tithing is binding upon the conscious of a Christian or not. If it is a mandate, then it is not a matter of choice but of duty. And a failure to "tithe" would be therefore a sin and also a basis for discipline by the Church.

If one is convinced in their heart that the O.T. "tithe" is binding, then that person should do as they think is right. However, if the "tithe" is not binding, then one is free to give more or less than the "10% of the gross income to the Church" and give more or less and to whomsoever they choose. But in either case, the giving must be done from the heart, for the furtherance of the kingdom of God, the maintenance of God's servants, the aid of the poor and needy, etc. And so I think this matter belongs to the category of the "Adiaphora" (things indifferent, cf. Rom 14; 1Cor 10). The "weaker brother", i.e., those who believe he is bound by a mandate to tithe must do so for the sake of his own conscience. But it is not permitted that this weaker brother judge others who have come to live under the freedom merited for them in Christ. It is certainly permissible to urge all believers to be good stewards and to use what God has given to them wisely and for the glory of God. But it is decidedly a whole other matter to demand that one give "10% of one's gross income to the church" as a minimum. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/nono.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

In His Grace,

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simul iustus et peccator

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