The Jerusalem Council and TithingWednesday, May 9th, 2007
Why didn’t the Jerusalem Council in their response to the gentile churches mention tithing since this is such a old church tradition? (From Keith in Dothan, Alabama)
I don’t go into this in the section that covers the Jerusalem Council because my answer brings up issues that are not basic, that is, not 101 level. Luke is giving us a sanitized version of the events. Many scholars believe (as I do) that Paul is describing in Galatians 2 the same events that Luke describes in Acts 15.
You can see that Paul does refer to the same issue (the mission to the Gentiles) that came up in Jerusalem:
You might remember that in almost every Pauline ecclesial letter, he mentions the offering for the church in Jerusalem. This was an important thing for Paul as is indicated by the fact that it appears in several of his letters. There is not complete agreement among scholars on this issue, but the prevailing opinion is that the Jerusalem leadership (led by James) wanted the Gentiles to contribute the "Temple Tax," a tax paid by all Jews for the upkeep of the Temple (at least that is my understanding). Most believe that this offering from the Gentiles to the Jerusalem church was important to Paul for the following reasons:
1. It gave some validation of the outreach to the Gentiles - their financial support helping to support the struggling Jerusalem church.
What is interesting, as your question states, the Jerusalem Council did not include the tithe in their "essentials" for the Gentiles. In all of Paul's references to this offering for the Jerusalem church, he only mentions "tithing" one time (1 Cor 16:2) when he says to "set aside" your gift (whatever you can afford). But this is not tithe as in "tenth," but [Greek, titheme], "to put, or to place," and wrongly used at times because of the linguistic similarities for the classical concept of "tithe."
The tithe is an OT concept. The NT ethic is that 100% belongs to God, not just 10%, and He can ask/tell you to give it away whenever He so chooses.
If you will permit me to make another questionable request that has been unsatisfactory to me for some years back now. The issues of tithing has been a topic that i do not understand the way i should. How important is it to my life and what exactly is the book of Malachi referring to by saying we have robbed God in our tithe and offering. is there any way you can help me to have a full message on tithe.
- Adewale Oladunjoye (from Nigeria, I think)
This is my OPINION and I am sure many will disagree with me.
| - CH101
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