Re: Anyone who is not paying his tithe regularly cannot be married in the church…. Cannot be ordained…Cannot build in the Redemption Camp
Pastor John AMODA
IN Nehemiah we read of the Revival of the Law and of Its Institutions. The entire book focused on the Re-building of the Temple and its Dedication shows forth the revival of commitments to God and His Law. Chapter 10 is a record of the covenant decisions made by Israel to honor the Lord of host. “…We made ordinances for us to charge ourselves yearly with the third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our God.
For the showbread, and for the continual meat offering, and for the continual burnt offering, of the Sabbaths, of the new moons, for the set feasts, and for the holy things, and for the sin offerings to make an atonement for Israel, and for all the works of the house of God. And we cast the lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people, for the wood offering, to bring it into the houses of our fathers, at times appointed year by year, to burn upon the altar of the Lord our God, as it is written in the law. And to bring the fruits of our ground and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year unto the house of the Lord.
Also the first-born of our sons and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests that minister in the house of our God. And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the first of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chamber of the house of our God, and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, and the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage. And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chamber, into the treasure house. For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine and the oil unto the chambers where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers, and we will not forsake the house of our God.” (Nehemiah 10:32-39)
We see above that the Levites collect tithes in all cities. The priest, the son of Aaron, he that occupies the office of the High Priest shall be with the Levites when they take tithes. When the Levites have taken the tithes, they bring up the tithe of the tithes into the house of God, to the chambers, into the treasure house. It is of this tithe of the tithes that God commanded the Levites to bring into His house. The Levites must first take tithes of their brethren. Thus, if the Levites take tithes of their brethren, then the Levites can bring the tithe of the tithes “unto the house of our God, the chambers, the treasure house”.
Concerning the offerings spoken of in Malachi 3:8 this is the record of the inauguration of the practice in the Book of Leviticus. “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, command Aaron and his sons, saying, this is the law of the burnt offering. It is the burnt offering because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it.
And the priest shall put on his linen garments, and his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes when the fire hath consumed with the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar. And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place. And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it. It shall not be put out; and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offering. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar, it shall never go out. And this is the law of the meat offering: the sons of Aaron shall offer it before the Lord, before the altar.
And he shall take of it his handful, of the flour of the meat offering, and of the oil thereof, and all the frankin-cense which is upon the meat offering and shall burn it upon the altar, for a sweet savour even the memorial of it, unto the Lord. And the remainder these shall Aaron and his sons eat: with unleavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation they shall eat it. It shall not be baked with leaven: I have given it unto them for their portion of my offerings made by fire it is most holy, as is the sin offering and as the trespass offering. All the males among the children of Aaron shall eat of it. It shall be a statute forever in your generations concerning the offerings of the Lord made by fire every one that toucheth them shall be holy” (Leviticus 6:8-18).
The offerings we see from the verses quoted are made by the High Priest and the priests his sons. God had given them portions of His offerings. They eat this offering called holy by God, in His holy place. The offerings could not be abstracted from the sacrifice made at the Tabernacle of the Congregation; they could not be made in any other place than the place God has appointed among the Tithes of Israel.
Offerings could not be made therefore outside of Israel and only at the Tabernacle of the Congregation or at the Temple that replaced it could they be made by Aaron and his sons. We see from the preceding that the Tithes that were withheld are the tithes of the Tithes; if Israel withholds the Tithes given by God to the Levites, how can the Levites tithe of their tithes? If Israel forsook the House of God they would also by implication stop making the reconciliational thanksgiving, and peace offerings; and that which God has given to the priests would also be denied them.
The Israel of Malachi could therefore be justly called a Nation of Robbers of God. It is, however, this Nation that rejected the mercy of God and the grace from that mercifulness that our Lord came to redeem. On the cross where he redeemed this Nation of Robbers of God, God redeemed the Gentiles as well. This is the Christian Story of salvation and Redemption.
It has no place for righteousness wrought by the keeping of any law of God. The Christian Gospel states that right-eousness is a free gift by faith and not of works lest men boast. There is no Judaic or Christian warrant for right standing with God based on of what we do. For forgiveness of our sins, we plead the Blood of Jesus. For our deliverance from sin we stand by faith in our death in Christ. For our justification, right standing in the sight of God, our ground is on the resurrection of the Lord. For our adoption as sons of God we stand on the ground of redemption. For our sonship we believe God who “by one spirit baptized us into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one spirit.” (I Corinthians 12:13).
The position of the G.O. is that righteousness cometh by the law. He is reported by Vanguard thus: “The second issue he dwelt on was on tithe, saying that based on the Word of God anyone who is not paying his tithe is a God robber and from now on let it be clear; anyone who is not a regular tither cannot be married in the church. Anyone who is not a regular tither cannot be ordained in the church. We will not ordain robb-ers, nor will the church accept a non-regular tither to build in the sprawling redemption camp because we do not want to dwell with robbers of God”.
But it is precise-ly to Israel, a Nation that has robbed God of His tithes and offerings that God offered the salvation of mercy and grace—it is a Nation of God Robbers God made the promise of Open Heavens, it is to such Israel that God sent his Son to die on Calvary and through that death to reconcile both Jews and Gentiles in His Body to God. To excommunicate the Non-regular tither is not Nehemiah’s Judaism, nor Malachi’s Judaism; it is not Calvary Redemption Christianity. The Tithe Policy of Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye is a frustration of the grace of God, “for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Galatians 2:21). “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19).
This is the exposition of the Christian Gospel Theology of Grace. It is a theology of personal and collective redemptive salvation. “And you” declares the Holy Spirit “hath (1) quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins. Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.
But God who is rich in mercy for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved). And hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God. Not of work lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:1-9).
Mercy, not merit is the Christian God’s measuring rod; grace has replaced works; the Holy Spirit has put self-effort out of work. RCCG may not ordain non-tithers as pastors. But in Christ Jesus God has ordained His redeemed Kings and Priests. In the RCCG Sprawling Camp, the Non-Tither may be denied a plot to build but Glory be to God that in Christ Jesus we are blessed with all spiritual blessing in Heavenly places. Where He is, is where God has seated us. And the prayer of our Lord for His Church is that we may be one in Him, that where He is, the Church may be also.
“As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word. That they all may be one; as thou, Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.
That the world may believe that thou hath sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one, and that the world may know that thou has sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me; for thou lovest me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:18-24).
In the light of our Lord’s solitude for the oneness of the Body of Christ, the RCCG Policy on membership made effica-cious by faith in tithing is a glorification of division. For this intra-RCCG division between regular and irregular tithers of necessity translates into denominational divisive-ness based on the hard-line adheren-ce to the practice of tithing. This is not the mind of Christ as revealed by the Gospel. This RCCG tithing is a giving without love, a giving that inspires fear; a type of giving condemned by the gospel. “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be bunt, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing” (I Corinthians 13:3)
What God treasures is not what is given and how much is given but who gives. Is the source of the giving the spirit or is it the flesh? These are God’s concern. God is the source of all acceptable and He is no task master or tax gatherer. “(Our) God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things may abound to every good work.” (II Corinthians 9:8).
God’s desire for the Church is; “that there should be no schism (division) in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one suffers, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.” (I Corinthians 12:25-26).
The Lord Jesus has given us a new commandment that will define us as his followers. What he has given us is not a Christian tithing command. “A new command-ment I give unto you, that ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if you have love one to another.” (John 13:34-35).
*Pastor John Amoda is the Senior Pastor of Gospel Intercession Mission, Anthony Village and a Professor Emeritus of Polit-ical Science, City College of New York.