A massive factor in reversing the church’s decline all around the world, will come with the restoration of the tithe. Faithful tithing on the part of God’s people will enrich the church, and will simply give it the opportunity not only to employ ministers who can be furthering the gospel, but to engage in all manner of well-funded activities within the community.
It is certainly possible that Stephen and his six early church diaconate colleagues (Acts 6:1-6) were supported by the churches’ tithes. This solid funding gives the church the platform to engage in welfare (which can be a form of evangelism in its own right, as it was with Stephen), and other forms of social influence and responsibility.
The fact is, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Everything has a price attached, and as the membership of the church understand the Biblical teaching on the tithe, and its utter necessity for the church’s success and community influence, this will inevitably lead to the church’s social power being restored in the community.
Tithing began in scripture with Abraham, when he gave a tenth of his spoils in battle to Melchizedek, who the Bible calls “priest of the most high God” (Heb.7:1). Abraham certainly never believed the modern, heretical notion of a sacred/secular dichotomy. And instruction regarding tithing continued throughout the law of God. It was thus the normal practice for the people of God to pay a tenth of their income to the priesthood. The priesthood thus became an institution of great social influence and power.
God considered the matter of the tithe to be so important, that He told the children of Israel that when they stopped tithing, they were robbing God (Mal.3:8-9). He said then that the restoration of the tithe would lead to not only material blessing, but to something of even greater significance. He said that “all the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land” (Mal.3:12).
The tithe is no small thing for an individual, for it is a tenth of their income given to God. But the steady removal of the tithe from the church’s normal practice, has been an aspect of the massive growth in taxation in the West. It’s not simplistic to say, “Less tithing means more taxes.”
How is this? God deals in His judgment with a people that robs Him of the tithe, by removing monies from them in another way. Their money is taken from them to fund atheistic, bureaucratic institutions, like the Departments of Social Security and Health, costing us ever so much more.
God doesn’t have to send in the Philistines to conquer any more. He just lets parasitic bureaucracies grow in power the land. So, when we refuse to tithe anymore, that’s no problem to Him. We then pay 30-40 percent of our income in taxation. The church forfeits its power in the nations to godless bureaucracies, and then wonders why no one seems to take any notice of it anymore.
It’s God’s way of saying to His people: “If you ignore what I have commanded you with the tithe, I’ll let others turn the heat up on you and make life difficult, as a way of bringing you to repentance and obedience to My Word.” He did this with Israel right throughout the Old Testament when they turned away from Him (see I Samuel 8), and the Bible says that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb.13:8).
Now what is the promise of God, when His people tithed properly to their local church?
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes, says the Lord of hosts. All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land, says the Lord of hosts (Mal.3:10-12).
All this can and will change, because “power flows to those that take responsibility.” Tithing is an aspect of Christian liberty, but liberty cannot be present in a community where there’s an absence of Biblically based personal and social responsibility. And the biggest aspect of this for the community, is Christians waking up to the facts of life as God sees them, including tithing.