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Tithe: Different strokes for different people

Tithe: Different strokes for different people

By Maria Famakinwa
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Tithing which according to the Bible is the 10 per cent of ones earning or produce has been generating great controversy inside and outside the church in recent time as some believe that tithing which is in the old testament is often stressed to enrich pastors. Another school of thought feel that since they do not know what the church management is doing with tithe, obeying it remains doubtful while few opined that tithing is God’s commandment that has nothing to do with any pastor.

Last year February, pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly during an interview with BBC Yoruba said that tithing is not compulsory.”No one should feel compelled to pay. No one is holding a gun to their heads. Churches where pastors are becoming fat and members are growing lean, God will judge them.”

The Hope spoke with some clerics in Akure, the Ondo State capital on their take about tithing. A Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Pastor in charge of Praise Sanctuary, Pastor Olushola Arinde explained that the church believes the whole Bible as the word of God including the old and the new testaments and since tithing is a commandment of God in Malachi chapter 3verse 8, RCCG obey it.

“The blessing that follow those who obey God’s injunction of tithing is that the window of heaven will be opened onto them and they will be an envy of all.”

On why some are attaching tithing to the old testament, he revealed that it is another way the enemy is attacking the church because tithing is to propagate the gospel. ” Those who claim that tithing is limited to the old testament are not being sincere because they claimed blessings of the old testament and reject tithing. For instance, the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, is a popular blessing in the old testament which is often claimed. Do they say it is in the old testament? It is left for individual to choose because no one can fight the truth.”

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 In the view of Administrative Assistant, Akure Anglican Dioceses,  Venerable Blessing Aregbesola also said that the church believes in tithing for people to be blessed according to the Bible. “We believe in three giving which are offerings, vow and tithe but tithe is the only one with strong commandment that failure to pay it  attracts curse.”

 On if that is the reason some clerics are alleged to be raining curses on their members who fail to bring tithe, the cleric said that he did not know as he cannot speak for them. He explained further that tithe is an integral aspect of church giving that attracts natural blessings. “Payment of tithe make pastors’ job easy because faithful tithers are already blessed by God.

Reacting to if the sources of most tithe brought to the church are clean said,” It is difficult for any man of God to know the source of money donated in churches but, when we have conviction that the source is questionable, we do not collect. Though, there are some churches that shower praises on rich members without knowing the sources of their income. All what they preach in such church is prosperity. A brother sold all what he had for first fruit of the year only for him to be begging to feed.”

“Today, everyone want to be rich any how. Even, watching home videos on how people become rich within few months is also not helping the situation as it has psychological effect on our thinking. Gone were the days when youths wanted to read and become like Wole Soyinka, today, yahoo yahoo is the in thing. That is why the church should preach the true gospel of Christ and desist from preaching prosperity.”

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In the submission of Communication Director, Catholic Dioceses of Ondo, Father Leo Aregbesola said that the church does not emphasise on tithe payment and that members who deemed it fit to pay tithe pay.”We do not force members to pay tithes because the contributions they make towards church development is more than the tithe most of them would have paid.”

On if members will miss God’s blessings without tithing said, “It is not only when you pay tithe that you will be blessed. What is the essence of paying tithe when my neighbour is dying of hunger? In the Catholic Church, we do not attach blessing to tithing, for your soul to be saved as far as Catholic Church  is  concerned is a blessing. What God really demand from us is helping members and non members who are in need from members donations. For instance, we have old people’s home in Ondo where the church care freely for old people who are neglected. We also have Legion of Mary who go to different hospitals praying for the sick and many others.”

 Aregbesola further revealed that the sources of most tithes are questionable and advised clerics to preach true religion instead of attaching money to blessing. “Let people see God in us, we should not use religion to put people in bondage. Clerics should stop presenting themselves as the solutions to people’s problems instead, they should be a guide that lead people to God. “

 A member of Deeper Life Bible Church, Mr Omolade Adeniran on the issue of tithe disclosed that though, they pay tithe but not compulsory, it is only announced during prayer time and those with tithe and offerings will raise it for prayers and drop it in the ushering bag. “We do not have any special envelope for offering or tithe, no record for tithe as well, and Deeper Life does not distribute any envelope for any special programme. We only depend on the money donated by church members.

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“Our priority is for people to make heaven. What is the essence of being a faithful tither and miss heaven?  We are not after people’s wealth but their souls. Tithe payment is not only the yardsticks to make heaven because sinners also pay offering and tithe.”

 In the opinion of another Jehovah Witness member, Mr David Olasehinde explained that they do not believe in tithing and they do not pay tithe. “Tithing in Malachi chapter 3verses 16 was meant for the natural Jews who paid tithe under the Mosaic law to support the Levite priests.”

 On how they take care of their pastors’ he said that the pastors must work according to the Bible that those who do not work must not eat. “We only have full time ministers who also have their personal work yet, still doing full time ministry which is preaching. Jehovah Witness organisation does not pay anybody salary at the end of the month for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

On how they raise money for the organizations needs, he stated that it is done through voluntary offering which is different from tithe. “If any of our member need financial assistance, we rally round the person from our personal purses not through offering. So according to the book of Numbers chapter 18 verses 23-26, we do not believe in tithing.”

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