Financing a Church Organization
It is a foregone conclusion that any religious organization that provides a good service to the people who are members ought to have adequate funds with which to operate. And though it is wrong to use the laws of tithing in the Bible to support any organization, there should be means to do the job. And how much should one pay for such services? Really, it is not a matter of whether one gives ten percent, twenty percent or any percent to the work of teaching the Gospel. To Christ, it was all a matter of attitude. The voluntary giving of free will contributions was to Christ the proper way to support his work. It is one that Christ approves.
The Bible provides a logical and very workable voluntary system for financing any Christian work. It is similar to that which supported the Old Covenant "Israel" before the introduction of tithing in the second year of the Exodus. Its principle is found in Matthew 10, Mark 6, Luke 9 and 10 and 1 Corinthians 9. The whole matter—from beginning to end—is that of free will offerings—not tithe. Paul also referred to it in his first letter to Timothy:
"Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine."
• 1 Timothy 5:17
Next to the word "honor" in verse 17 of the King James Version is found a marginal reference that refers to Acts 28:10. This shows where the same Greek word is used. The Revised Standard Version renders the word "honor" as "gifts." Does not the word "gift" mean something other than a debt? Such "honors" are perfectly proper to give Christian workers when they carry on their work in the teaching of the Christian Gospel.
The apostle Paul even said that Christian laborers in the word and doctrine could receive "double honors." But why "double gifts"? This should not be difficult to understand by any normal business or professional person today. There are always extra things that Christian teachers and ministers need in order to serve the people correctly and in a professional way. For example, they should have adequate funds to buy books, study aids, things for being hospitable to the brethren and many other ministerial needs. Today, such things are normally called "business expenses."
Paul certainly did not mean that workers in the Gospel should live on a "double income" (or to have "double financial blessings" to put them into a higher social or financial category than the other brethren). The "double gifts" were to help them serve the people better, not to make the teachers of the Gospel better off in an economic way. Those "honors," however, were reckoned by Paul as gifts, not tithe! This fact I hope I have made clear in this book.
This book is designed to show the simple biblical teachings concerning tithing. Its purpose is not to give details concerning methods for financing church organizations. The early New Testament ekklesia solved its own financial problems as they arose—and they did it with a sense of fairness to all. There are many ways that are scripturally proper to fund Christian activities, but the biblical tithe is not one of them and I believe I have shown that abundantly in this book.
It is clear that any organization that deserves support—either locally, nationally and internationally—should be furnished with the necessary funds to operate. We feel that A.S.K. (the Associates for Scriptural Knowledge) is an ekklesia of people dedicated to do the job of teaching the Gospel. Our principal reason for existence is to search out and to restore the complete and full Gospel of Christ back to this world at this crucial time in world history. We also feel that the Gospel should be presented primarily in an academic sense and not simply to present a social and fraternal message like most of the churches do today. There needs to be a real teaching of all phases of the Bible and not simply to give people a chance to fellowship and to worship as others do today. While it is perfectly proper to present a social Gospel, it must be graced with solid biblical teachings in doctrine, history, chronology, geography and linguistics. This is what A.S.K. specializes in and we feel this is very needful to do today.
We truly appreciate the free will contributions that all of you send to us (tax deductible in the USA). We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. As for other churches, they have a right to be supported if people are benefited from their activities. If Christians are edified by those who teach the Gospel, or administrate in its activities, then those workers should be compensated. If people have good fellowship with a group or a religious organization, then those institutions should be adequately supported. It is very much like people being members of fraternal organizations who provide a good service to their communities. No one would think it proper to be a member of such groups without paying one’s fair share of expenses. The same thing should be expected if people are members of religious groups.
As a matter of fact, a church board could even legislate that the payment of ten percent of one’s income is a criterion for membership in that church. Such a thing would be legal because it is not the biblical tithe being enacted. But the board or the minister could not claim that a member is "stealing from God" if the "dues" were not paid. Just like memberships in fraternal organizations, one can be dropped from the membership rolls if the required dues are not paid. (The Associates for Scriptural Knowledge operates with free will contributions from those interested in supporting our work. The board of A.S.K. makes no rules on the amount people should contribute. The amount of funds sent to A.S.K. is left entirely to the discretion of the contributor.)
Churches and the various denominational groups are actually nothing more than organizations of men that are designed to provide religious services to their members. They are very much like fraternal associations or fellowship clubs. They are recognized as places where their children (and also adults) can meet other Christians for the promotion of proper moral and ethical standards that all civilized (and decent) people admire and strive to emulate.
Ordinary churches in this world are not usually in the business of teaching the Word of God in an academic and educational manner. This is a sad thing, but this is even admitted by most church leaders and heads of denominations. People today usually believe that churches are primarily designed as places for fellowship and communal purposes. They do not consider themselves as agents for teaching their members all aspects of the Bible in an academic sense as we do at A.S.K.
But what is needed today are churches that will return to the real teachings of the Holy Scriptures and get rid of the false doctrines and idolatrous practices that now pervade the teachings of the majority of mainline churches. The ministers need the gumption to instruct their members in the real Word of God without the flippancy in biblical interpretation that is so prevalent at present. If this occurred, the abuse of misinterpreting the teachings of the Bible would begin to cease and ministers would get back to a proper use of the Holy Scriptures.
This is desperately needed. If ministers of the various churches could begin their change by showing that their use of the biblical tithe is wrong, it would be a good start to a further riddance of the false doctrines and idolatrous practices now in the churches. This could be the first step in their return to proper biblical teachings. They need to abandon their false tithing system of funding their activities. Doing so would certainly bring them into better standing with God and with the members of their churches. When ministers, preachers, priests and evangelists begin to abandon their use of the biblical tithe, they will then be on the way to getting error out of their teachings and they will finally resolve The Tithing Dilemma.
Click here to order the print version of: The Tithing Dilemma
© 1976-2023 Associates for Scriptural Knowledge - ASK is supported by freewill contributions