Popular pastors have spoken out on the now controversial debate of whether or not church members should pay tithes to their churches.
Abiara and Nakinde
It is wrong to pay tithes to the needy — Abiara
We are going to do exactly what the Bible commands us to do regarding the issue of tithe. There is nothing that any human being will say about it that we will listen to, particularly if such views run contrary to the arrangement of God concerning the issue. There is no logic that can erase what is in the Bible. We are under obligation to bring 10 per cent of the profit that we make from our business transactions or from the salary we earn. This is contained in the Bible book of Malachi 3:10. The Bible also warns that whoever fails to act accordingly is under a terrible curse. God even challenged us to put him to test and see if he would not open wide the windows of heaven to bring us blessings.
Salary earners should first deduct the tithe before spending anything from their income. It is the only command with a promise for those who obey and a curse for those who disobey. Tithes must be paid directly to the church where one worships. It is wrong of anybody to share his or her tithe to the needy directly. The Bible says it must be brought to the storehouse which is the church.
You don’t need to know what happens to the tithe you pay. Leave it to the servants of God who will use it for evangelism. It is not for you to investigate how the money is utilised. Many people bring problems upon themselves when they feel that they know more than God. However, it is compulsory for the servants of God to give account of the tithe and other offerings paid by church members to avoid corruption. Proper accountability of incomes accruable to the church will enable the authorities to pay the salaries of pastors and other workers as and when due.— Prophet Samuel Abiara, outgoing General Evangelist of the Christ Apostolic Church (worldwide)
Pastors should give account of how they spend tithes — Adenuga
The controversy over the issue of tithes is unnecessary. It is happening now because some of the big-time servants of God have betrayed the gospel and their calling. They now recruit antichrists to work in God’s vineyard. In their bid to make sure that they are known all over the world, many Nigerian servants of God now target influential people, particularly bank chiefs and top public servants to recruit as pastors. These are the people that are now introducing negative doctrines that are alien to the body of Christ.
They spend tithes to set up businesses and establish schools for the purpose of making money. Instead of using tithes to pay good salaries to their full-time pastors, they recruit part-time rich pastors who won’t bother them about salaries since they are already comfortable. People don’t have problems paying tithes in accordance with God’s directive in the Bible book of Malachi but they are annoyed that the present-day pastors are no longer using the money for evangelism. They are spending tithes to build universities that children of the payers won’t be able to attend because of high school fees.
There will always be crises over tithing if pastors continue to use the money to acquire personal properties. To the glory of God, I have been in the ministry for over 28 years and I don’t have a personal property. You are free to investigate. I also have detailed accounts of how we spend all money being paid by members. The Bible says we should bring all the tithes to the storehouse, but the people are protesting today because pastors are no longer using the tithes for the purpose they are meant for. It is for the welfare of pastors and the needy, not for acquiring properties, exotic vehicles and private jets. Members should hold their pastors accountable on the issue of tithes.— Pastor Paul Adenuga, founder, Faith Revival Apostolic Church, Lagos
Tithe doesn’t have to be cash — Gbonigi
There is nothing wrong with Christians paying tithes to the church because it is biblical. It must be paid cheerfully to God. Tithe is the minimum fraction of a Christian’s total income that must be given to God in support of His work. It is the minimum percentage of a person’s income that God commands him or her to give.
Genesis 14:20, 28:22, Leviticus 27: 30-34, Deuteronomy 14: 22-29, 2Chronicle 31: 5-10, Malachi 3: 8-12 and Luke 11: 42 are some of the Bible verses that support payment of tithes to the church.
God tells us in Leviticus 27: 30-34 that one-tenth of all the produce of the land, whether grain or fruit, belong to Him. One out of every 10 domestic animals belongs to the Lord. These are the commands that the Lord gave to Moses on Mount Sinai for the people of Israel.
The appropriate time to pay tithe is weekly, monthly or quarterly. Those times would enable the church to have adequate financial resources to carry on its missionary activities. Tithes might not be cash. Christians could also offer professional services or expert advice to the church and this could come in form of tithing. Many Christians have been giving to God in form of professional services and expert advice to the church than they would have given in cash.— Bolanle Gbonigi, retired Anglican Bishop of Akure Diocese
If you rob God, you will pay for it — Makinde
The evidence is numerous in the Old Testament. In the New Testament although Jesus did not say, ‘Pay tithes,’ when he met somebody, he said, ‘Go and give the priests what they require.’ I have spent 45 unbroken years in the ministry and I rose to the pinnacle of my career as the Prelate and head of Methodist Church Nigeria. If people say they will not pay it, they are punishing themselves. I learnt how to tithe through my wife and I have never regretted it and I won’t regret it now. You cannot rob God.
This academic exercise – I call it theological and academic exercise – is a futile exercise. It is a waste (of time). I cannot cheat God. What God has done for me is more than that (tithe). I give the tenth of everything I have monetarily to the church and I have never regretted it because givers never lack.
If you ask to know the biblical reference, is it because of what you want to give to God? Has God not given more to us? Our welfare, the food, the planet, the water we drink, the air we breathe: are they small? Now, we want to give one-tenth to God and they are grumbling and saying they want to know the biblical basis. I am the biblical base for it and I am giving my testimony now; that the more I give to God, the more God gives to me. I am not going into that debate. Until I die and see my God, I will not go into that debate.
The Bible says, ‘Give your tithe to God.’ For me, that is if you have it. If you don’t have it, give your heart to God. Remember the (biblical) widow; she put down all she had, not even one-tenth. And Jesus said that woman gave more than even big-pocketed people who came to give a part of their money. I cannot debate what I want to do for God and nobody can water it down in my heart. I am in my 76th year.
Christianity is a growing religion; it is a dynamic religion and we must be dynamic with it. In those (biblical) days, they gave agricultural materials; now we have monetised it. As far as I am concerned, I will never go back on it because the more I give to God, the more he gives to me. Can I pay for the air I breathe? Can I pay for the water I drink? Can I pay for favour? Can I pay for good health? I can’t. Therefore, I cannot cheat God. If you rob God, you will pay for it one way or the other.— Retired Archbishop Sunday Ola Makinde, former Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria
Tithing not a must in Catholic Church — Osu
The first mention of a tithe in the Bible occurs in Genesis when Melchizedek, a king and a “priest of God Most High,” offered a sacrifice of bread and wine in thanksgiving for Abraham’s victory over several enemy kings. As an offering to God, Abraham gave Melchizedek “a tenth of everything.” (See Genesis 14.) In the Old Testament, the tenth of one’s bounty was customarily given to the priests in their service to God. The Torah (the law of God as revealed to Moses) prescribe the giving of tithes.
A person offered to God, or ‘tithed,’ one-tenth of the harvest of the grain of the fields or the produce of fruit of the trees, one-tenth of new pressed wine and oil, and every firstborn animal of herd or flock (Leviticus 23 30-33. Deuteronomy 12:17. 14:22-29). The Bibe book of Numbers also records how God prescribed that the Levites, the priestly class of the Jewish people, were entrusted with these tithes: (Number 18:21-24). Therefore, these tithes were contributions offered to the Lord and distributed to the Levites for their support.
Payment of tithe, like other donations made in the Catholic Church, is not obligatory. This means that members are not compelled to pay the tithe. It is purely voluntary. Also, Catholics are under no obligation to pay a certain percentage of their income to the church as a tithe. In the early history of our church, the priests depended upon the generous support of congregations for their sustenance. This custom was based on the New Testament instruction: Jesus taught the apostles to depend upon charity when He sent them on a mission (see Matthew 10:10). St. Paul also instructed the early Church community to provide for the needs of their priests (I Corinthians 9:13).
As cited in the Catechism (No. 2043), the precepts of the church maintain that each person has the duty to support the material needs of the church. Of course, a person fulfils this obligation according to his abilities. The Christian faithful are obliged to assist with the needs of the Church so that the Church has what is necessary for divine worship, for apostolic works and works of charity, and for the decent sustenance of ministers. They are also obliged to promote social justice and, be mindful of the precept of the Lord, to assist the poor from their own resources (CIC 222).— Rev.Fr Osu, Director of Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos
Tithes should not be used for business — Kaigama
Tithing is accepted in the church and it didn’t start today. From the first pages of the Bible, we know that tithing was practised. The scripture is very clear about that and a percentage of what you earn is supposed to be given to those who are poor and in need or to promote certain activities that are favourable to the poor. So, that is not in question; but the question is whether the people concerned use the tithes for the purpose intended.
The tithe, including church collections in the bazaars they do, are meant to promote the work of God, promote evangelism, and take care of needy people in the society. But it doesn’t exclude taking care of the priests or the pastors whose duty it is to preach the word of God because they have no salaries, and no income elsewhere.
A good pastor should not be running a business. In the Catholic Church, for instance, the priests are prevented from engaging in any business or spending time looking for money in order to support themselves. So, they have a right to take a part of what is donated to support themselves and work for the church in many ways. If, for instance, the Catholic Church has a school, and the school is attended by children, the proceeds from tithes or bazaars or harvest thanksgiving or collections are used to help in improving the children and giving them a good education. That is a commendable cause.
Now, this is where we get it wrong: Everything we say, we refer to chapters or verses of the Bible. It’s an abuse of the Bible. That is not how the Bible should be used. The Bible is not a code of conduct or constitution. It is a shallow and fanatical way of interpreting things. There are some practices that preceded the writing of the Bible. There were already functional Christian communities that existed for years before the Bible was written. That is why in the Catholic Church we insist on not only the Bible as the word of God, we also talk about traditions. What was being practised before the word of God was communicated to us?
I want to assure you that tithing is scriptural. But you don’t use tithes to run your personal businesses or improve your family’s welfare by sending your children to the best schools. For God’s sake, it is meant to serve the church and the poor. Tithes are not for personal prosperity. There should be an account for not only tithes but money collected in the name of the church. There should be no monopoly of money collected, neither should the accounts be hidden.— Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, President of Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigerian and Catholic Archbishop of Jos