'It is more blessed to give than receive' (Acts 20:35; cf. 2 Cor 9:6-7).
Irenaeus (A.D. 120-202)
Against Heresies, Chapter XIII of Book IV:
And for this reason did the Lord, instead of that [commandment], Thou shalt not commit adultery, forbid even concupiscence; and instead of that which runs thus, Thou shalt not kill, He prohibited anger; and instead of the law enjoining the giving of tithes, [He told us] to share all our possessions with the poor.
Tertullian (c. 150-220)
Apology, XXXIX, 1-18:
Our presidents are elders of proved worth, men who have attained this honor not for a price, but by character. Every man brings some modest coin once a month or whenever he wishes, and only if he is willing and able; it is a freewill offering. You might call them the trust-funds of piety; they are spent . . . on the support and burial of the poor.
Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs (p. 9):
Though we have our treasure chest, it is not made up of purchase money, as of a religion that has its price. Rather, on the monthly day, if he likes, each puts in a small donation - but only if it is his pleasure and only if he is able. For there is no compulsion; all is voluntary.
John Owen wrote:
I shall take leave to say, that it is no safe plea for many to insist on, that tithes are due and divine, as they speak,- that is, by a binding law of God,- now under the gospel. . . . The precise law of tithing is not confirmed in the gospel . . . it is impossible any one certain rule should be prescribed unto all persons (Works, vol. 21, pp. 324, 325).
Charles Spurgeon wrote:
It is also noteworthy that, with regard to Christian liberality, there are no rules laid down in the Word of God. I remember hearing somebody say, I should like to know exactly what I ought to give. Yes, dear Friend, no doubt you would; but you are not under a system similar to that by which the Jews were obliged to pay tithes to the priests. If there were any such rule laid down in the gospel, it would destroy the beauty of spontaneous giving, and take away all the bloom from the fruit of your liberality!
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
. . . the question as to whether to tithe from one's net or gross income is not answered in Scripture, nor is the question of whether to give it all to the local church or to include other ministries. We feel that such decisions should be based on personal conviction . . . It (tithing) is not mentioned in the New Testament except where it is describing Old Testament practices or in the Gospels where Jesus is addressing people who were under the Old Testament law. Note Jesus comments to the Pharisees in Luke 11:42 . . .
A New Testament teaching on giving which may be helpful to you is found in 1 Corinthians 16:2: On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income. This passage brings out four points: we should give individually, regularly, methodically, and proportionately. The matter of your giving is between you and God, and He always takes into account our circumstances. He knows when they are beyond our power to direct and control. The important thing is that we see giving as a privilege and not as a burden. It should not be out of a sense of duty, but rather out of love for the Lord and a desire to see His kingdom advanced. Second Corinthians 9:6-7 says: Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. The deeper question, you see, is this: What has priority in our lives? Is Christ really first - or do we put ourselves and our own desires first? Make sure Christ is first in your life, and then ask Him to guide you.
Dr. Russell Earl Kelly
None of the three main hermeneutical approaches to theology today support tithing. First, the advocates of covenant theology divide the law into moral commandments, ceremonial statutes, and civil judgments. They, next, recognize, and dismiss, tithing as a ceremonial statute. Second, advocates of dispensational theology also divide the law into commandments, statutes, and judgments. However, they see it as an indivisible whole, dismiss the entire law, and start over again with God repeating his eternal moral principles in the New Covenant after Calvary. Advocates of a third approach to hermeneutics between covenant theology and dispensational theology also dismiss tithing because of its cultic non-moral usage.
R. C. H. Lenski
The Active Church Member:
God has given us His divine Law, and the spirit of Christ, which is the spirit of faith and love, freely uses God's Law as a regulator of the Christian life. As Christians, however, we are under the Gospel, and that means that with faith and love we voluntarily obey the Lord and seek to do His holy will. Legalism is the name for all spurious law in the church. It is both the setting up of man-made laws in the church, and any obedience to such laws. . . . No church has a right to make laws by which bind its members; and no member has a right to obey such laws, and to allow his conscience to be thus bound. Both the church and the church member are legalists when they operate their church activities this way. The state may legislate; not, however, the church.
. . . Just as the Gospel alone rules in our hearts, so Gospel methods, or evangelical methods, should alone be used in our church activities. These methods use the power of faith and love alone, and no outward force. Hence these methods have the mark of Gospel freedom about them. The church member does what he does, of free will, gladly, gratefully, as a privilege. That is the evangelical method? The evangelical Christian goes to church from love of Christ, His Word, and worship. Only where the Lord sees this in the heart is He pleased? No mere outward performance satisfies the Lord, least of all doing what the Lord has nowhere Himself commanded. And worst of all, to try to buy His favor is to insult His blessed grace, through which alone His savings gifts can be made ours.
Legalistic methods look especially promising when it comes to getting money for the church. Why not impose a tax on the members, say a flat tax of so much per head, or a tax according to the property of the members? Would not that insure the sum desired far beyond the evangelical method of voluntary Christian giving? The trouble is, that though the money itself might be secured in such a legalistic way, the Lord has no use for it. The only money He will accept must come as a true offering made unto Him by willing hearts in faith and love. Such offerings can be gathered only by using evangelical methods, never by working legalistic ones.
Wrong methods always tend to corrupt right principles, and thus hinder the blessings we ought to receive. Right methods support true principles, help to show how beneficial they are, and thus win the approval and blessing of the Lord.
John MacArthur, Jr.
Commentary on Book of Romans 9-16 (p. 233):
. . . Christians are not under obligation to give a specified amount to the work of their heavenly Father. In none of their forms do the tithe or other Old Testament levies apply to Christians.
Thoughts On Tithing (excerpt from sermon preached at Grace Community Church in Panorama City, CA):
Tithing, basically, is never, ever advocated in the New Testament; it is never taught in the New Testament - never!
Oxford Companion to the Bible (p. 223):
The New Testament nowhere explicitly requires tithing to maintain a ministry or a place of assembly.
Tithing Today: God's Plan or Designs of Man:
As far as the earliest early Church is concerned, neither the Apostles nor their disciples (the early Church Fathers) taught that tithing was a Christian obligation.
Prior to tithing gradually becoming a mainstay in some corners of the early Church, "there was no support of the clergy by a systematic giving of a tithe." In time (several centuries after the Cross), "the tithe came to be regarded generally after the pattern in the Jewish synagogue." Up to this time, tithing was simply a suggestion that apparently generated more and more support as the power of bishops and presbyters grew.
As the power and position of Church leaders grew to reflect Temple era priests and the provisions that supported them, the Church eventually prescribed a tithe that included "money, clothes, and all your possessions," (Didache, 13:7 as quoted in Walter A. Elwell, ed., The Concise Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1991),something generally not taught today and which is conspicuously absent in contemporary practice.
Tithing in the early Church (ca. 4th Century) was supported by an appeal to passages like Matthew 10:10 that says "the worker is worth his keep" (cf. Luke 10:7), and First Corinthians 9:11 that says "If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you?" Some early Church leaders, however, "(like Irenaeus and Epiphanus) showed the argument drawn from these texts was not valid. Rather, freedom in Christian giving was emphasized."
By the 6th century, the practice of tithing had adopted numerous man-made regulations which included certain portions to be designated for priests and parishes. This practice reflects common notions that Old Testament tithing directives regarding priest and temple maintenance have counterparts to church leaders - usually pastors - and church buildings. This belief in parallelism is shared by many Christians, and even has the support of numerous Christian leaders today.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary (p. 1585):
While not requiring a tithe of believers today, the New Testament does speak of God's blessing on those who give generously to the needs of the church and especially to those who labor in the Word.
The Encyclopedia Americana:
It was not practiced in the early Christian church but gradually became common (in the Roman Catholic Church in western Europe) by the 6th Century. The Council of Tours in 567 and the second Council of Macon in 585 advocated tithing. Made obligatory by civil law in the Carolingian empire in 765 and in England in the 10th Century. . . . The Reformation did not abolish tithing and the practice was continued in the Roman Catholic Church and in Protestant countries . . . (until it was) gradually replaced by other forms of taxation. The Roman Catholic Church still prescribes tithes in countries where they are sanctioned by law, and some Protestant bodies consider tithes obligatory.
Hastings Dictionary of the Apostolic Church:
It is admitted universally that the payment of tithes or the tenths of possessions, for sacred purposes did not find a place within the Christian Church during the age covered by the apostles and their immediate successors.
Nelson's Bible Dictionary (s.v. tithe):
In the New Testament the words tithe and tithing appear only eight times (Matt. 23:23, Luke 11:42, 18:12, Heb. 7:5-6, 8-9). All of these passages refer to Old Testament usage . . . Nowhere does the New Testament expressly command Christians to tithe. However, as believers we are to be generous in sharing our material possessions with the poor and for the support of Christian ministry. Christ Himself is our model in giving. Giving is to be voluntary, willing, cheerful, and given in the light of our accountability to God. Giving should be systematic and by no means limited to a tithe of our incomes. We recognize that all we have is from God. We are called to be faithful stewards of all our possessions (Rom. 14:12, 1 Cor. 9:3-14, 16:1-3, 2Cor. 8-9).
New Advent Encyclopedia Online:
In the Christian Church, as those who serve the altar should live by the altar (1 Cor., ix, 13), provision of some kind had necessarily to be made for the sacred ministers. In the beginning this was supplied by the spontaneous offerings of the faithful. In the course of time, however, as the Church expanded and various institutions arose, it became necessary to make laws which would insure the proper and permanent support of the clergy. The payment of tithes was adopted from the Old Law, and early writers speak of it as a divine ordinance and an obligation of conscience. The earliest positive legislation on the subject seems to be contained in the letter of the bishops assembled at Tours in 567 and the cannons of the Council of Macon in 585. In course of time, we find the payment of tithes made obligatory by ecclesiastical enactments in all the countries of Christendom.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge:
Tithing is not taught in the New Testament as an obligation for the Christian under grace . . . Because we are not under law, but under grace, Christian giving must not be made a matter of legalistic obligation, lest we fall into the error of Galatianism? See Galatians 3:24-25; Romans 10:4; Colossians 2:14, etc.