An author whose writings have blessed me and challenged me over the years is Arthur Pink (1886-1952). Many (if not all) of his works can be read for free online here. One of those works concerns the issue of tithing. (I recently wrote a post on my French-language blog about managing finances Biblically adding some of my thoughts on tithing. Having consulted Pink’s work on tithing recently and finding some quote-worthy paragraphs I thought : “why not post them here?”) I wanted to share here some paragraphs taken from his two-part work on tithing:
There are few subjects on which the Lord’s own people are more astray than on the subject of giving. They profess to take the Bible as their own rule of faith and practice, and yet in the matter of Christian finance, the vast majority have utterly ignored its plain teachings and have tried every substitute the carnal mind could devise; therefore it is no wonder that the majority of Christian enterprises in the world today are handicapped and crippled through the lack of funds. Is our giving to be regulated by sentiment and impulse, or by principle and conscience? That is only another way of asking, Does God leave us to the spirit of gratitude and generosity, or has He definitely specified His own mind and particularized what portion of His gifts to us are due to Him in return? Surely God has not left this important matter without fully making known His will! The Bible is given to be a lamp unto our feet and therefore He cannot have left us in darkness regarding any obligation or privilege in our dealings with Him or His with us.
One evil ever leads to another. God’s appointed method for the financing of the work which He has been pleased to place in our hands, is that of tithing—the strict setting aside one-tenth of all we receive, to be devoted to His cause. Where the Lord’s people faithfully do this, there is never any shortage or going into debt. Where tithing is ignored there is almost always a deficit, and then the ungodly are asked to help or worldly methods are employed to raise money. If we sow the wind, we must not be surprised if we reap the whirlwind.
Down deep in the heart of every Christian there is undoubtedly the conviction that he ought to tithe. There is an uneasy feeling that this is a duty which has been neglected, or, if you prefer it, a privilege that has not been appropriated. Both are correct. Possibly there are some who soothe themselves by saying, Well, other Christians do not tithe. And maybe there are others who say, But if tithing be obligatory in this present dispensation why are the preachers silent upon the subject? My friends, they are silent on a good many subjects today: that does not prove anything.
Again. I believe that God has appointed tithing as the solution of every financial problem that can arise in connection with His work. While the children of Israel practiced tithing there was no difficulty in maintaining the system of worship that God had appointed. And if God’s people today practiced tithing, there would be an end of all financial straits that are crippling so many Christian enterprises. No church could possibly be embarrassed financially where its members tithed. And I believe that that is the solution of rural church work in thinly populated districts. Wherever you have ten male Christians you have sufficient to support a permanent worker in their midst, for no worker should desire any greater remuneration than the average income of those supporting him. Therefore, if you have ten male Christians giving one-tenth of their income, no matter what it may be, you have sufficient to maintain and sustain a regular worker in their midst. That is God’s solution to the missionary problem. Wherever you have ten average male Chinese you have a situation where they ought to be independent and no longer leaning upon the help of God’s people at home. It is a scandal and a shame to see churches in India and in China today that have been in existence fifty years still looking to God’s people in Australia and England and America for their financial support. And why is it? Because the teachings of the Word of God have been neglected. It is because they have never been taught the foundation of Christian finance. No wonder the missionary world is calling out today that they are crippled for lack of funds! They need to be taught scriptural finance. That is why God appointed tithing. It is the solution of all financial problems in connection with His work. Where tithing is practiced there will never be any going into debt.
There is one other passage to be looked at, namely Hebrews 7:5 and 6: “And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: But he, whose descent is not counted from them, received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.” (Notice the order: “received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises”). And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.” In the seventh chapter of Hebrews the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul is showing the superiority of Christ’s priesthood over the order of the priesthood of the Levites, and one of the proofs of which He establishes the transcendency of the Melehizedek order of the priesthood of Christ was that Abraham, the father of the chosen people, acknowledged the greatness of Melehizedek by rendering tithes to him. The reference in Hebrews 7 is to what is recorded in Genesis 14, where we have two typical characters brought before us—Melchizedek, a type of Christ in three ways: first, in his person, combining the kingly and the priestly offices; second, a type of Christ in his names, combining righteousness and peace, for “Melchizedek” itself means “peace”; and third, a type of Christ in that he pronounced blessing on Abraham and brought forth bread and wine, the memorials of his death. But not only was Melchizedek there a type of Christ, but Abraham was also a typical character, a representative character, seen there as the father of the faithful; and we find he acknowledged the priesthood of Melchizedek by giving him a tenth of the spoils which the Lord had enabled him to secure in vanquishing those kings, and as that is referred to in Hebrews, where the priesthood of Christ and our blessings from our relations to it and our obligation to it are set forth, the fact that Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek as mentioned there, indicates that as Abraham is the father of the faithful, so he left an example for us, his children, to follow—in rendering tithes unto Him of whom Melchizedek was the type. And the beautiful thing in connection with the Scripture is that the last time the tithe is mentioned in the Bible (here in Heb. 7) it links the tithe directly with Christ Himself. All intermediaries are removed. In the Old Testament the tithes were brought to the priests, then carried into the storehouse, but in the final reference in Scripture, the tithe is linked directly with Christ, showing us that our obligations in the matter are concerned directly with the great Head of the Church.
Another document I would recommend on tithing is “Should Christians Tithe?” (www.LetGodBeTrue.com) which can be read here. I also put up months ago some links pointing to videos dealing with managing personal finances biblically.