Primitive Baptists have by majority believed that tithing was exclusively given to the children of Israel through the Mosaic law (Leviticus 27:30-32) and not binding on New Testament (NT) believers. Hebrews were commanded to give a tithe for the purpose of supporting the Levitical priesthood. Their tithe was higher than ten percent because it comprised of more than just monetary giving. With this tithe they were supporting the Levites with food, wine, animals, and other items. This command (as well as animal sacrifices, dietary laws, and such like) are not binding on NT Christians. To place this command on NT believers would be to place statute on them that the Bible does not prescribe.
This does not mean that Christians are not commanded to give. Primitive Baptists are often accused of not believing in giving. This is a false accusation. Christians are commanded to give to the general church collection for the support of the ministry, the needs of the poor, and other church expenses (1 Corinthians 16:1-2, 1 Corinthians 9:1-14, Galatians 2:10, Philippians 4:15). This type of giving is not based on a specific percent, but is commanded based on a joyful heart. We give as we have purposed in our heart (2 Corinthians 9:6).
Paul also commands for Christians to give in accordance with what they have (2 Corinthians 8:12). What that means is that the amount given is directly proportional to the availability of funds for that individual. For example, a person with a high income and no children could reasonable pay a higher percent than a person with a lower income and many children. A rigid tithe is almost impossible when we consider mortgage, children, food, gas, electricity, phones and every other expenditure in our American culture. So this principle of proportional giving takes a burden off the back of many that have not. This principles also challenges those that have much by taking away a minimum that they are commanded to provide.
Finally, ten percent isn’t an evil number. Abraham gave a tithe to Melchisedec (Hebrews 7:4). This is a good example and pattern to follow if a person can afford it. But it is not a NT command and is most likely impossible in our high inflation society. With that said, it is burdensome and wrong for anyone to place a rigid tithe on Christians. It is not commanded by Christ or his Apostle and should not be taught today. Yet, Christians are commanded to give out of their abundance from the joy of their heart (2 Corinthians 8:12, 9:7). Each believer should prayerfully inquire of God how much they are to individually give.
Article originally posted on PBPerspective.com, August 2017