Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 15, 1956

According To Ability

Joe R. Hunter, Kermit, Texas

The subject of giving (in the Christian way) is altogether too little taught upon to the informing of all concerned. This topic has been passed over by some, and by others it has been scorned, by some it has been ridiculed: yet by some who seem to be somewhat of authority in the church, have in many ways abused the subject, teaching things they ought not, and forbidding others to teach or even question them, yet in the required teaching of the baptized penitent believer the subject of giving is a must.

In The Patriarchal Age, We Find In Deuteronomy 16:17,

Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee." Hereby we know that man is obligated only according to his ability, but we do know that somewhere the idea of the tenth got a foothold, for we find Abraham returning from the bathe of the kings, and his giving the tenth of the spoils to Melchidezek. However with these facts before us we have only the example of Abraham. We herewith will content ourselves. We are aware that some will say the tenth was always enacted; even so it is still their ability of Deuteronomy 16:17. The one basic fact of the patriarchal age is (or was) that the people who were on speaking terms with God were commanded to give. Is the law of the first age the one we now live under? Giving has always been a part of the covenant relationship with God.

Now for the days when the "Law of Moses" became of effect, we have a few things to note. Giving again comes into the limelight, when 'God commands in Numbers 18:24 the children of Israel to give a tithe to the tribe of Levi "for she hath no inheritance with the children of Israel." Then the Levites were also commanded to give tithes of the tithes they had received. Lest we forget, the children of Israel had many other things that they were to support aside from the tithe. It has been said by some that the end of Israel's giving amounted to more than THIRTY-FIVE percent. We also know that Israel was blessed in her giving, and was oppressed when she did not the commands of God. (Mal. 3:7-10.) Shall we be bound by the law of Moses? in view of Colossians 2:14.

As we come to the Christian dispensation we take note in passing, as to the tithing proposition, that there is absolute silence in regard to same. Yet we are in the midst of an area where giving is a fundamental teaching. The fountainhead of truth (the New Testament) has furnished us all information that has to do with giving. This basic word GIVE, with all of its associate words gives to us a most revealing picture. A study of all the passages that use this word is marvelous within itself. In all of the depth of God's love this word speaks (gave His only begotten) wonders. Let us think for a moment on tithing as there are those (in the church) who would foist upon the body of Christ and bind them with the principle of tithing. Our friends or enemies as the case may be, who teach that tithing is binding on Christians today are missing the point. Every other item of Jewish worship or economy they cast aside. These brethren make a poor argument for tithing at best, when they come face to face with Matthew 5:20 they can't stop with the tithe, it must be more, to comport with, (unless your righteousness exceed). How much more? Some of our brethren to the far west have caused a rift,) (to their shame) and to the disenfranchising of some members of the body of Christ, who have dared to ask for BOOK, CHAPTER, and VERSE that teaches tithing today. The point these well meaning brethren have missed is found in 2 Corinthians 8:5, "that they of Macedonia first gave themselves to the Lord." (Have these brethren done likewise, in the furnishing of information to prove their point?) Here is the beginning of giving without a Judaistic twist, giving ones self to the Lord. Let us not be coy about this thing, but do a little study along this line. We are commanded to give, all know that; of time and means. Joel 2:17, "give not thine heritage to reproach . . ." Matthew 7:6, Jesus says, "give not that which is holy to the dogs." Ephesians 4:7, "neither give place to the devil." Looks like the devil got into this church of the far west. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 9:7, "every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." Again Paul says in 1 Corinthians .16:2, "upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store as God hath prospered." Again hear Brother Paul, 2 Corinthians 8:12, "for if there first be a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not." Brethren, if you have BOOK, CHAPTER, and VERSE to establish tithing please forward same to above address.

This I know, we do have: COMMAND and EXAMPLE for New Testament giving, to wit: as we are prospered, as we purpose, willingly, cheerfully, not grudgingly or of necessity, and may I say prayerfully. Perhaps Brother Clint Lovelady of Merced, California, needs to revoke some excommunications and study this subject of giving with prayer. Now a little rejoinder by Brother John, in 3 John 9, "I wrote to the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the pre-eminence among them, receiveth us not." This subject of tithing in the Christian dispensation is not a debatable subject much less is it a point of sufficient weight or strength to permit the preacher Brother Lovelady ( also an elder?) and a few other members to disfellowship those of Merced, California, congregation who differ with him that tithing is binding upon Christians today.