As we've seen, tithing, while biblical, is not Christian. Jesus Christ did not teach it to His disciples." The first-century Christians did not observe it. And for three hundred years, followers of Christ did not do it. Tithing did not become a widely accepted practice among Christians until the eighth century, though they gave generously—often well above 10 percent of their resources—from the beginning.

Tithing is mentioned only four times in the New Testament. But none of these instances apply to Christians." Tithing belonged to the Old Testament era where a taxation system was needed to support the poor and a special priesthood that had been set apart to minister to the Lord. With the coming of Jesus Christ, there has been a "change of the law"—the old has been "set aside" and rendered obsolete by the new (Hebrews 7:12-18; 8:13, NIV).

We are all priests now—free to function in God's house. The Law, the old priesthood, and the tithe have all been crucified. There is now no Temple curtain, no Temple tax, and no special priesthood that stands between God and man. You have been set free from the bondage of tithing and from the obligation to support the unbiblical clergy system. May you, like the first-century Macedonian Christians, give freely, out of a cheerful heart, without guilt, religious obligation, or manipulation . . . generously helping those in need (2 Corinthians 8:1-4; 9:6-7).

Professor John McGuckin, e-mail message to Frank Viola, September 23, 2002. The word ushercomes from Anglo-Saxon and refers to a person who guides people into court or church. Professor Eugene A. Teselle, e-mail message to Frank Viola, September 22, 2002. Cox and Harvey, English Church Furniture, 245.

In Matthew 2323, Jesus was challenging the inconsistency of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law. He was not prescribing guidelines for His disciples.

H' Murray handles all four instances in detail, proving that they are not proof texts for Christians tithing. He also shows that according to Jesus, tithing is linked to legalism and self-righteousness rather than a model to imitate (see Beyond Tithing, ch. 3).

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