Thursday, June 03, 2010

Of tithes and donations

Until the investigations are completed, I will not say anything about the allegations of money mismanagement in City Harvest. We will know the conclusions soon. Neither am I a member of the church.

I’m writing about the criticism of the church’s extravagances, such as the purchase of expensive audio/visual systems.

When an organization is classified as a charity, and is reported to receive donations, it is natural that people have certain expectations of the way it spends its money, even if all transactions are legitimate and above board. They examine the accounts of the church, and then ask, ‘why is this charity organization splurging?’ There are those who criticize pastors’ lifestyles because they collect ‘donations’ from their members, who might be even poorer than them. This is based on wrong understanding of what it means to give to the church.

I don’t see the tithe as donation, and hence to me, the Church isn’t an organization receiving my charity. It receives money from believers because we obey the injunction in the Bible to do so. Except for community services, I have never seen a church solicit donations from the public. While classified as a public organization, it is really also private group, with its own member list. We are free to worship where we choose, and give our tithes where we please. I dare say that those who stay in the church accept the way the church conducts its financial affairs, and if they do not, there are avenues within the church to raise their concerns.

Hence, the state-of-the-art sound system of City Harvest cannot be spoken of in the same way as the fabled gold tap in Durai’s office. It is a decision made by people who have agreed to move together as a group. They give money out of their free will, to maintain the functions of this group. If reflection is required on whether this is the best use of money, it could be done at the church’s AGM, which all members have the responsibility to attend. Basically, as long as there isn’t criminal breach of trust, no one else needs interfere.


Russell Earl Kelly said...

True biblical HOLY tithes are always only food from inside God’s HOLY land of Israel which God had miraculously increased. Tithes cannot come from what man increased or from outside Israel. Jesus, Peter and Paul did not qualify as tithers. Money was essential for sanctuary worship but was not tithed. NT giving for the Church after Calvary is primarily sacrificial.

Anonymous said...

that is your interpretation pal.

Russell Earl Kelly said...

There are 16 verses from 11 chapters and 8 books from Leviticus 27 to Luke 11 which describe the contents of the holy tithe. And those contents never included money, silver, gold or anything other than food from inside Israel! Yet the incorrect definition of tithe is the greatest error being preached about tithing today! Lev 27:30, 32; Num 18:27-28; Deu 12:17; 14:22-23; 26:12; 2 Chron 31:5-6; Neh 10:37; 13:5; Mal 3:10-11; Matt 23:23; Luke 11:42.

Now where are your verses defining the HOLY tithe otherwise?

Patrick said...

Well said. I have utmost respect for you, Dr. Kelly.

Russell Earl Kelly said...

Thank you Patrick. Would some tithe-supporter care to explain Nehemiah 10:37b to me please. I would like to discuss that text.

Anonymous said...

Churches that push the erroneous tithing doctrine will often try to enforce tithing via written agreements (called covenants), and also by monitoring what people give (so they can compel them to give more if they are not meeting the ten percent target). First, grasp that these "covenants" are illegitimate and not worth the paper they are printed on, because they contain false doctrine (like tithing) and set up the pastors as a false authority over you. God would not be party to a covenant that contains falsehoods, therefore God was not party to the covenant you were pressured to sign, therefore you are free from this burden. It is as if you never signed it. Second, recording what you give and using that information to pressure you to give more is wrong, the Bible implies that our giving is best done in secret so that only we and God know what we gave. Don't go to a church where they monitor what you give

Anonymous said...

You all take life way to seriously. Besides have you ever thought, how could there possibly be light without darkness?

I am a believer and I like Darkness. Handsum some more.

Peace out


Anonymous said...

George says:
Really, CHC keep a record of its members tithing and they accept whatever logic from the pastors?

How blatant can you get!

And I suppose the members would even come out to defend this? In what way?

Anonymous said...

A tithe of everything from the the present day context, the association to money is not wrong. so stop being so purist. we are not farmers anymore. As for Nehemiah 37,it should be read in the context of 38. Would they store rotten fruits in treasury? Common sense.

Russell Earl Kelly said...

First, Neh 10:37b proves that the ordinary people normally brought their tithes (FOOD) to the Levitical cities where 98% of those who needed it food lived most of the time.

Second, tithes did not go to the treasury because tithes were always only food from inside Israel.

Jason Lewis said...

Charles Spurgeon responded to the question of tithing much better than I ever could have; he said..."But you are not under a system similar to that by which the Jews were obliged to pay tithes to the priests. If there were any such rule laid down in the Gospel, it would destroy the beauty of spontaneous giving and take away all the bloom from the fruit of your liberality! There is no law to tell me what I should give my father on his birthday. There is no rule laid down in any law book to decide what present a husband should give to his wife, nor what token of affection we should bestow upon others whom we love. No, the gift must be a free one, or it has lost all its sweetness."

Russell Earl Kelly said...

Jason, Please tell me exactly where you found this Spurgeon statement so I can put it on my site. Thanks .