The WO Issue And Tithing (part 2)

 Over a week ago, we published an article on the current rebellion in the NAD and its potential impact on tithing for Church members in the Division. That article was one of three parts.

The Nuclear Option Article

  • Did NOT suggest that members quit paying tithe. It did suggest that it might be time to pay tithes directly to the world field, to faithful ministries, and possibly directly to the General Conference.

  • It should be noted that the NAD—in their vote to reduce the amount of tithe that they give to the world field (missions)—want to keep more of it for themselves. People who give their tithes directly to a supporting ministry, or to foreign mission fields, are not keeping it for themselves.

  • It should go without saying, Fulcrum7 has NO interest in receiving tithe. Our lone goal in publishing this series is to bring recent questions about tithing (including the NAD’s intention to reduce the tithe that they give to the world field) into an open discussion. It’s time to have that discussion, and seek honest answers. We want to do what is right, and what is best.

This part was written by Ed Reid, and contains his counsel on the matter:

“I share your concern about the apparent rebellion by some of the leaders in NAD.  It is sad that in spite of the fact that the General Conference has voted Women’s ordination down at three different GC business sessions that some still cling to the opposing view.  Ellen White commented on this rebellion as follows in 3T and Last Day Events:

"God has invested His church with special authority and power which no one can be justified in disregarding and despising, for in so doing he despises the voice of God."—Testimonies for the Church 3:417 (1875). { LDE 47.4}

 Read prayerfully and carefully the report of the “General Council” in Jerusalem in Acts of the Apostles, pp.196 to 200.  This is a very timely and relevant passage.

The question of how members should handle their tithe under these circumstances is of concern to many faithful members.  After studying stewardship for many years I have come to believe that our tithe should not be used as a bargaining chip.  The tithe is holy and belongs to God (Lev. 27:30).  He has told us what to do with it — to bring it to the storehouse (the place from which the pastors are paid) and those in charge of the storehouse must give an account to God for the use they make of the tithe.

 It is interesting to note that the only offering that Jesus ever commended is when a widow gave a sacrificial gift to the church that was so corrupt that it would soon kill Him (See Mark 12:41-44).

 Ellen White addressed the tithe issue in 9T 245-252.  Here are some excerpts:

 "God has given special direction as to the use of the tithe. He does not design that His work shall be crippled for want of means. That there may be no haphazard work and no error, He has made our duty on these points very plain. The portion that God has reserved for Himself is not to be diverted to any other purpose than that which He has specified. Let none feel at liberty to retain their tithe, to use according to their own judgment. They are not to use it for themselves in an emergency, nor to apply it as they see fit, even in what they may regard as the Lord’s work." { 9T 247.1}

 "Some have been dissatisfied and have said: “I will not longer pay my tithe; for I have no confidence in the way things are managed at the heart of the work.” But will you rob God because you think the management of the work is not right? Make your complaint, plainly and openly, in the right spirit, to the proper ones. Send in your petitions for things to be adjusted and set in order; but do not withdraw from the work of God, and prove unfaithful, because others are not doing right.”    { 9T 249.2}  

In Volume 2 of “Sermons and Talks” Ellen White stated: 

"You who have been withholding your means from the cause of God, read the book of Malachi and see what is spoken there in regard to tithes and offerings. Cannot you see that it is not best under any circumstances to withhold your tithes and offerings because you are not in harmony with everything that your brethren do? The tithes and offerings are not the property of any man, but are to be used in doing a certain work for God. Unworthy ministers may receive some of the means thus raised, but dare anyone, because of this, withhold from the treasury and brave the curse of God? I dare not. I pay my tithe gladly and freely, saying, as did David, “Of Thine own have we given Thee.” A selfish withholding  from God will tend to poverty in our own souls. Act your part, my brethren and sisters. God loves you, and He stands at the helm. If the conference business is not managed according to the order of the Lord, that is the sin of the erring one. The Lord will not hold you responsible for it if you do what you can to correct the evil. But do not commit sin yourselves by withholding from the Lord His own property." { 2SAT 74.4 } 

Another relevant statement is found in 2T:

"I was shown that the recording angel makes a faithful record of every offering dedicated to God, and put into the treasury, and also of the final result of the means thus bestowed. The eye of God takes cognizance of every farthing devoted to His cause, and of the willingness or reluctance of the giver. The motive in giving is also chronicled. Those self-sacrificing, consecrated ones who render back to God the things that are His, as He requires of them, will be rewarded according to their works. Even though the means thus consecrated be misapplied, so that it does not accomplish the object which the donor had in view,—the glory of God and the salvation of souls,—those who made the sacrifice in sincerity of soul, with an eye single to the glory of God, will not lose their reward."—Testimonies for the Church 2:518, 519. { ChS 221.2} 

 These statements primarily refer to the use of our tithe.  Offerings, on the other hand, are discretionary on our part and can be used to support whatever God’s Holy Spirit guides us to do.

 The bottom line on tithe is that is should not be withheld or diverted, or sent to individuals or independent ministries (See 9T 245-252).  The best plan is to return our tithe as part of our worship experience to a denominational storehouse from which the pastors are paid.”

Ed Reid

There will be a third part, that focuses predominantly on Ellen White’s writings. The author of part three is Floyd Sayler.