THE ISSUE OF TITHE
This little booklet will be dealing with the subject of God's sacred tithe, not so much from the necessity of tithing, but from a more practical standpoint. There is much confusion in regards to God's directions. As a result, many have been ignorantly robbing God of His sacred money. Because of this, many manifold blessings have been lost, both personally and in the saving of other souls, and satan is happy to have it continue in this way.
Review and Herald, vol 3, p. 418 col 2, Dec 1, 1896 (Counsels on Stewardship (CS), p. 106): "God says that there should be meat in His house, and if the money in the treasury is tampered with, if it is regarded as right for individuals to make what use they please of the tithe, the Lord cannot bless. He cannot sustain those who think that they can do as they please with that which is His."
We all want to see the work of God advance quickly and effectively without the want of means. When we see others ignorantly or otherwise misusing God's tithe, it then becomes our duty to show them exactly what God has specified in regards to His sacred money whether they will hear or forbear. Especially is this the duty of the ministers whom God has chosen to do His work. If they neglect this duty, they are in peril, and they will become a partaker in this sin of robbery because of their silence.
Review and Herald, vol 3, p. 418 col 2, Dec 1, 1896 (CS 106): "If the pastors show that they are not fitted for their charge, if they fail to set before the church the importance of returning to God His own...and that the tithe is brought in, they are in peril. They are neglecting a matter which involves a blessing or a curse to the church. They should be relieved of their responsibility, and other men should be tested and tried."
Review and Herald, vol 1, p. 411 col 3, April 8, 1884 (CS 87): "Some fail to educate the people to do their whole duty....they do not declare the whole truth. The people enjoy their preaching; but there is a lack of spirituality, because the claims of God are not met. His people do not give Him in tithes and offerings that which is His own. This robbery of God, which is practiced by both rich and poor, brings darkness into churches; and the minister who labors with them, and who does not show them the plainly revealed will of God, is brought under condemnation with the people, because he neglects his duty."
With this in mind, let us see what directions God has laid down in regards to His sacred tithe, that many are not following today and are thus robbing God.
--WHO IS TITHE TO BE GIVEN TO?--
Anciently, it was given to Melchizedek for his use and support in his ministry for God.
Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 525: "From the earliest times, the Lord claimed a tithe as His; and this claim was recognized and honored. Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, the priest of the most high God."
In the time of ancient Israel, "The tithe was to be exclusively devoted to the use of the Levites..." (PP 526) who were the priests or ministers of God. They used it for their support and also for their ministry in the work of God.
In the time of the apostles, Paul states how God's tithe was to be used.
1 Corinthians 9:3, 7-8, 11, 13, 14: "Mine answer to them that examine me is this...Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?...If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?...Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple?...Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel."
Acts of the Apostles, p. 336: "It was to this plan for the support of the ministry that Paul referred when he said, 'Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.' And later, in writing to Timothy, the apostle said, 'The laborer is worthy of his reward' 1 Timothy 5:18."
Today, how is God's tithe to be used?
Review and Herald, vol 3, p. 418 col 2, Dec 1, 1896 (Welfare Ministry (WM), p. 277): "The tithe is set apart for a special use....It is to be especially devoted to the support of those who are bearing God's message to the world, and it should not be diverted from this purpose."
Pamphlets, vol 1, p. 40: "God's ministers are His shepherds, appointed by Him to feed His flock. The tithe is His provision for their maintenance, and He designs that it shall be held sacred for this purpose."
Testimonies, vol 9, p. 248: "...a great mistake is made when the tithe is drawn from the object for which it is to be used,--the support of the ministers."
Are only the ministers of the Gospel to be supported by the tithe, or are there other areas that God has specified His sacred reserve could be used for?
Manuscript 58, July 7, 1901 (Manuscript Release (MR) #1116, p. 1-3, also partly quoted in Medical Ministry, p. 245-46): "A gospel minister will be twice as successful in his work if he understands how to treat disease. Continually increasing light has been given me on this subject. Some, who do not see the advantage of educating the youth to be physicians both of mind and body, say that the tithe should not be used to support medical missionaries, who devote their time to treating the sick. In response to such statements as these, I am instructed to say that the mind must not become so narrowed down that it cannot take in the truth of the situation. A minister of the gospel who is also a medical missionary, who can cure physical ailments, is a much more efficient worker than one who cannot do this. His work as a minister of the gospel is much more complete....
"Doors that have been closed to him who merely preaches the gospel, will be opened to the intelligent medical missionary. God reaches hearts through the relief of physical suffering....
"Nothing will open doors for the truth like evangelistic medical missionary work. This will find access to hearts and minds, and will be a means of converting many to the truth....The evangelist who is prepared to minister to a diseased body is given the grandest opportunity of ministering to the sin-sick soul....
"God works today to reach hearts in the same way that He worked when Christ was upon this earth. In reading the word of God, we see that Christ brought medical missionary work into His ministry. Cannot we understand the commission He gave to His disciples and to us?"
MINISTERS AS SCHOOL TEACHERS
Manuscript 139, Oct 21, 1898 (MR vol 1, p. 189): "The best ministerial talent should be brought into (our) schools, and the salaries of these teachers should be paid from the tithe."
Testimonies, vol 6, p. 134-35: "The best ministerial talent should be employed in teaching the Bible in our schools. Those selected for this work need to be thorough Bible students and to have a deep Christian experience, and their salary should be paid from the tithe."
Testimonies, vol 6, p. 215: "Light has been plainly given that those who minister in our schools, teaching the word of God, explaining the Scriptures, educating the students in the things of God, should be supported by the tithe money. This instruction was given long ago, and more recently it has been repeated again and again."
MINISTERS AS MISSIONARIES
Testimonies, vol 9, p. 52: "Instruction has been given me that there is a withholding of the tithe that should be faithfully brought into the Lord's treasury for the support of the ministers and missionaries who are opening the Scriptures to the people and working from house to house."
MINISTER'S WIVES AND OTHER WOMEN THAT MINISTER
Manuscript 43a, March 22, 1898 (MR #267, p. 1-2): "The ministers are paid for their work, and this is well. And if the Lord gives the wife as well as the husband the burden of labor, and if she devotes her time and her strength to visiting from family to family, opening the Scriptures to them, although the hands of ordination have not been laid upon her, she is accomplishing a work that is in the line of ministry....The method of paying men-laborers and not their wives, is a plan not after the Lord's order. Injustice is thus done. A mistake is made. The Lord does not favor this plan."
Letter 137, April 21, 1898 (Spalding-Magan (SpM) Collection, p. 117): "There are ministers' wives...who have been devoted, earnest, whole-souled workers, giving Bible readings and praying with families, helping along by personal efforts just as successfully as their husbands. These women give their whole time, and are told they receive nothing for their labors because their husbands receive their wages. I tell them to go forward and all such decisions will be reversed. The Word says, 'The laborer is worthy of his hire.' When any such decision as this is made, I will in the name of the Lord, protest. I will feel it my duty to create a fund from my tithe money, to pay these women who are accomplishing just as essential work as the ministers are doing, and this tithe I will reserve for work in the same line as that of the ministers, hunting for souls, fishing for souls....All these things must be adjusted and set in order, and justice be done to all."
Letter 48, Feb 1, 1907 (MR vol 1, p. 263): "Some have felt troubled because Brother and Sister _____ have each been drawing wages from the conference. But it is in harmony with the instruction that has often been given to me, that women who labor with their husbands in gospel work, should be paid for their services."
Manuscript 149, Oct 24, 1899 (MR vol 1, p. 263, also partly quoted in Ev 492): "Women, as well as men, are needed in the work that must be done. Those women who give themselves to the service of the Lord, who labor for the salvation of others by doing house-to-house work, which is as taxing as, and more taxing than standing before a congregation, should receive payment for their labor. If a man is worthy of his hire, so also is a woman....
"The tithe should go to those who labor in word and doctrine, be they men or women."
MINISTER'S WIDOWS IF NECESSARY
Manuscript 82, 1904 (MR #451, p. 3): "The widows of these ministers are never to be forgotten, but should if necessary be paid from the tithe."
GOD'S INSTITUTIONS: (CHURCHES, SCHOOLS, PUBLISHING HOUSES, MISSIONS)
Testimonies, vol 4, p. 464: Institutions that are God's instruments to carry forward His work on the earth must be sustained. Churches must be erected, schools established, and publishing houses furnished with facilities for doing a great work in the publication of the truth to be sent to all parts of the world. These institutions are ordained of God and should be sustained by tithes and liberal offerings."
Manuscript 139, Oct 21, 1898 (MR vol 1, p. 183-84): "In some of the larger conferences the tithe may be more than sufficient to sustain the laborers now in the field. But this does not sanction its use for any other purpose....There are missions to be sustained in fields where there are no churches and no tithes, and also where the believers are new and the tithe limited. If you have means that is not needed after settling with your ministers in a liberal manner, send the Lord's money to these destitute places. Special light on this point has been given."
Letter 81, May 27, 1897 (MR vol 1, p. 190): "Let the Lord's money be donated to support the ministers in foreign countries where they are working to lift the standard in new fields. This is God's money, and He designs that it shall be used in sustaining the ministry, in educating a people to prepare to meet thy God....
"If you have more means than you need to settle [with] your ministers in a fair, liberal, Christian manner, there are other places where you can help, where there are but few people and poor, and the tithe is limited. Send the Lord's money to them. This I have been repeatedly shown is the way to do."
As we can clearly see, God's sacred tithe is to be used mainly for the support of His ministers be they men or women. As only the ministers of the gospel, in their various lines of labor (medical missionaries, school teachers, and etc), and also God's institutions (publishing houses, schools, and missions)--or in other words those agencies who are active in getting God's precious present truths out to others--are the only ones to be supported with God's sacred tithe, then it becomes easy to discern all the other areas that are not to be supported with God's tithe.
ARE CHURCHES OR MEETING HOUSES AND THEIR NECESSITIES TO BE PAID WITH TITHE?
Manuscript 17, March 14, 1897 (Series A #10, p. 16, 18-19): "Letters have come to me...making inquiries as to the disposition of the tithe. The writers supposed that they were authorized to use the tithe money in meeting the expenses of the church, as these expenses were quite heavy. From that which has been shown me, the tithe is not to be withdrawn from the treasury....the means in the treasury for the support of the ministers in the different fields is not to be used for any other purpose....
"The minister who labors should be sustained. But notwithstanding this, those who are officiating in this work see that there is not money in the treasury to pay the minister. They are withdrawing the tithe for other expenses,--to keep up the meeting-house necessities...God is not glorified in any such work. We have to raise our voice against this kind of management."
Manuscript 24, March 15, 1897 (MR vol 1, p. 191): "There are exceptional cases, where poverty is so deep that in order to secure the humblest place of worship, it may be necessary to appropriate the tithes. But that place is not Battle Creek or Oakland. Let those who assemble to worship God consider the self-denial and self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Let those brethren who profess to be the children of God study how they can deny themselves, how they can part with some of their idols, and carefully economize in every line."
ARE CHURCH EXPENSES TO BE PAID WITH TITHE?
Manuscript 82, 1904 (partly quoted in 9T 248): "Those who have charge of our church buildings are to be supplied with the means that is necessary to keep these buildings in good repair. But this money is not to come from the tithe....
"His people today are to remember that the house of worship is the Lord's property, and that it is to be scrupulously cared for. But the funds for this work are not to come from the tithe."
Manuscript 24, March 15, 1897 (MR vol 1, p. 191): "Let not those to whom are entrusted responsibilities, allow the treasury that God has appointed to sustain the ministers in the field, to be robbed to supply the expenses incurred in keeping in order and making comfortable the house of God. Thousands upon thousands of dollars have been taken from the tithes and used for these purposes. This is not as it should be....A separate fund for the purpose of defraying the expenses which every church member should share according to his ability should be instituted in every place where there is a church."
Counsels on Stewardship, p. 103 (Aug, 1896): "I was shown that it is wrong to use the tithe for defraying the incidental expenses of the church. In this there has been a departure from correct methods....But you are robbing God every time that you put your hands into the treasury for funds to meet the running expenses of the church."
ARE NECESSARY CHURCH CONVENIENCES TO BE PAID WITH TITHE?
Manuscript 17, March 14, 1897 (Series A #10, p. 21-22): "Those who have used the tithe money to supply the common necessities of the house of God, have taken the money that should go to sustain ministers in doing His work, in preparing the way for Christ's second appearing. Just as surely as you do this work, you misapply the resources which God has told you to retain in His treasure-house, that it may be full, to be used in His service. This work is something of which all who have taken a part in should be ashamed. They have used their influence to withdraw from God's treasury a fund that is consecrated to a sacred purpose. From those who do this, the blessing of the Lord will be removed."
Letter 40, March 16, 1897 (MR #1045, p. 2): "...it is an easy matter, in the place of practicing the self-denial that we should...(to use tithe) in the temporal matters, as providing conveniences for the church, which is necessary, to dip into the Lord's consecrated portion which should be used only to sustain the ministers..."
ARE UNFAITHFUL MINISTERS (OR CHURCHES FOR THAT MATTER)
TO BE SUPPORTED WITH TITHE?
Testimonies, vol 1, p. 261-62: "There are fearful woes for those who preach the truth, but are not sanctified by it, and also for those who consent to receive and maintain the unsanctified to minister to them in word and doctrine."
Testimonies, vol 3, p. 553: "It would be poor policy to support from the treasury of God those who really mar and injure His work, and who are constantly lowering the standard of Christianity."
Testimonies, vol 4, p. 469: "As long as the truth is progressive, the claims of God rest upon men to give of that which He has entrusted to them for this very purpose."
ARE THOSE WHO DISREGARD HEALTH REFORM TO BE SUPPORTED WITH TITHE?
Testimonies, vol 6, p. 378: "...no man should be set apart as a teacher of the people while his own teaching or example contradicts the testimony God has given His servants to bear in regard to diet, for this will bring confusion. His disregard of health reform unfits him to stand as the Lord's messenger." (see also 9T 159-60)
SHOULD THOSE WHO PREACH ONLY TO RECEIVE SUPPORT BE GIVEN TITHE?
Gospel Workers, p. 237: "...there is danger that some of limited experience may be spoiled by flattery, and by unwise encouragement to expect full support independent of any serious effort on their part. The means dedicated to the extension of the work of God should not be consumed by men who desire to preach only that they may receive support, and thus gratify a selfish ambition for an easy life."
ARE PART-TIME WORKERS TO BE SUPPORTED WITH TITHE?
Testimonies, vol 2, 649: "There are thorough workmen in the cause of God, who have an experience in the work and who devote their time and strength to the service of God. These should be liberally sustained. But those who are merely starting out to visit the churches occasionally--especially those who have no families to provide for and who have a competency themselves--should not draw upon the treasury of the Lord."
ARE THOSE WHO ARE INVOLVED IN POLITICS TO BE SUPPORTED WITH TITHE?
Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 477 (June 16, 1899): "Those teachers in the church or in the school who distinguish themselves by their zeal in politics, should be relieved of their work and responsibilities without delay; for the Lord will not co-operate with them. The tithe should not be used to pay any one for speechifying on political questions. Every teacher, minister, or leader in our ranks who is stirred with a desire to ventilate his opinions on political questions, should be converted by a belief in the truth, or give up his work. His influence must tell as a laborer together with God in winning souls to Christ, or his credentials must be taken from him..."
ARE CANVASSERS AND COLPORTEURS TO BE SUPPORTED WITH TITHE?
Manuscript 82, 1904 (MR #451, p. 2, see also 9T 248-49): "Still others would reason that canvassers and colporteurs should be supported from the tithe. But a great mistake is made..."
ARE UNNECESSARY BUILDINGS TO BE BUILT WITH TITHE?
Letter 60, June 28, 1901 (SpM Collection, p. 174-75): "In the past one set of men have tried to keep in their own hands the control of all the means coming from the churches, and have used this means in a most disproportionate manner, erecting expensive buildings where such large buildings were unnecessary and uncalled for, and leaving needy places without help or encouragement. They have taken upon themselves the grave responsibility of retarding the work where the work should have been advanced....in a few places, five times as much money as was necessary has been invested in buildings. The same amount of money used in establishing plants in places where the truth has never been introduced would have brought many souls to a saving knowledge of Christ."
Letter 23c, July 20, 1894: "America, and especially Battle Creek (GC headquarters), where the greatest light from heaven has been shining upon the people, can become the place of greatest peril and darkness...The imagination will be intensely awakened in human minds to absorb money in buildings for convenience, or to expend it unnecessarily through some excuse or invention of satan, so that there will be less money to support laborers in the field, and less money for the opening of new fields; and money will be unwisely appropriated, to do things that are really good works, but by doing [of] which the larger and more essential work is cramped, and many things cannot be undertaken at all in the lifting of the banner of truth in new fields with the proper dignity that should characterize the proclamation of warning to be given to our world. If at the great heart of the work the pulse beats are violent and erratic, the peril to spiritual life affect the whole body."
CAN INVESTING IN REAL ESTATE, STOCKS, BONDS, SHARES, AND OTHER
SPECULATION SCHEMES BE PURCHASED WITH TITHE?
Manuscript 2, Sept 7, 1888 (1888 Materials, p. 50-51, 60-62): "Many of our brethren in _____ had been engrossed in business, purchasing and selling real estate, and investing in, and selling shares in mines. This had been a snare to the church, both laymen and minister, and was eating out of their hearts the interest in and love for the truth. Speculation swept in a large number of our brethren while the excitement lasted and was becoming a common thing. The practices and customs of worldlings, the feverish ambition, the exciting, absorbing, interest in speculation, was mixed and mingled with the sacred work of the minister. Men carrying credentials from the conference were engaged in such enterprises. God could not bless any such worldly ambition....
"They permit themselves to be drawn into the current which is sweeping man downward, and when satan sees his plans work so well, he invents scheme after scheme, that the Lord's money may be diverted into channels where the cause of God will get none of it. Satan tells the speculator that if he will engage in this land scheme, he can make means to help the cause of God, and he presents illusions that fascinate the senses and thousands of dollars are bound away from the cause of God...
"Those who engage in speculation cannot keep the commandments of God in sincerity and in truth."
ARE PERSONAL DEBTS TO BE PAID FOR WITH TITHE?
Counsels on Stewardship, p. 92-93 (Aug, 1896): "...the question was asked me, 'Sister White, do you think my father should pay tithes? He has met with great loss recently, and he says that as soon as he cancels his debt, he will pay tithes.' I asked, 'How do you regard our obligations to God, who gives us life and breath, and all the blessings we enjoy? Would you have our indebtedness to God continually increasing? Would you rob Him of the portion which He has never given us to use for any other purpose than to advance His work, to sustain His servants in the ministry? For the answer to your question the prophet Malachi asks, "Will a man rob God?...But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee?"--as though there was a willingness to misunderstand this subject. The answer comes: "In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation." After such a statement, would I dare say to you, You need not pay tithes as long as you are in debt? Shall I tell you to be sure to pay all you owe to any man, although you rob God to do so?'
"If all would take the Scripture just as it reads, and open their hearts to understand the word of the Lord, they would not say, 'I cannot see the tithing question. I cannot see that in my circumstances I should pay tithes.' 'Will a man rob God?' The consequence of doing so is plainly stated, and I would not risk the consequence. All who will take a wholehearted, decided position to obey God; who will not take the Lord's reserved funds--His own money--to settle their debts; who will render to the Lord the portion that He claims as His own, will receive the blessing of God which is promised to all who obey Him."
Testimonies, vol 6, p. 391: "The man who has been unfortunate, and finds himself in debt, should not take the Lord's portion to cancel his debts to his fellow men. He should consider that in these transactions he is being tested, and that in reserving the Lord's portion for his own use he is robbing the Giver."
Testimonies, vol 9, p. 247: "They are not to use it for themselves in an emergency..."
IS SCHOOL TUITION OR STUDENT AID TO BE PAID WITH TITHE?
Manuscript 82, 1904 (MR #451, p. 2): "One reasons that the tithe may be appropriated to school purposes....But a great mistake is made..."
Letter 40, March 16, 1897 (MR #1045, p. 2-3): "The Lord regards the tithe as His own, to be used for a certain purpose, and it is an easy matter, in the place of practicing the self-denial that we should, (to use tithe) to help in educating students...which should be used only to sustain the ministers...
"When you see a young man or a young woman who is a promising subject, advance or loan the sum needed, with the idea that it is a loan, not a gift. It would be better to have it thus. Then when it is returned, it can be used to educate others. But this money is not to be taken from the tithe, but from a separate fund secured for that purpose....
"Now in regard to educating students in our schools. It is a good idea; it will have to be done; but God forbid that in the place of practicing self-denial and self-sacrifice (of) our individual selves, to do this work, we should subtract from the Lord's portion, specially reserved to sustain the ministers in active labor in the field, and...to (keep) at work those who are already ordained for the work."
ARE WORTHY CHARITIES TO BE SUPPORTED WITH TITHE?
Manuscript 17, March 14, 1897 (Series A #10, p. 19): "...those who are officiating in this work see that there is not money in the treasury to pay the minister. They are withdrawing the tithe for other expenses,--to...some charity. God is not glorified in any such work. We have to raise our voice against this kind of management."
ARE THE FEEBLE AND AGED TO BE CARED FOR WITH TITHE?
Manuscript 43, Aug 2, 1900 (MR #177, p. 1): "Let each church feel her responsibility to have a special interest in the feeble and aged. One or two among them can certainly be taken care of. The tithe should not be appropriated for this work. The word of God has specified how the tithe should be used."
ARE THE POOR TO BE SUPPORTED BY TITHE?
Testimonies, vol 4, p. 511: "Brethren, do not leave the burden of your poor upon the people and institutions at Battle Creek, but come up nobly to the work and do your duty. Deny yourselves of some things in your houses or in your dress, and lay by in some safe place a sum for the needy poor. Let not your tithes and thank offerings to God be less, but let this be in addition."
Review and Herald, vol 3, p. 418 col 2, Dec 1, 1896 (WM 277): "The tithe is set apart for a special use. It is not to be regarded as a poor fund. It is to be especially devoted to the support of those who are bearing God's message to the world, and it should not be diverted from this purpose."
ARE THE FATHERLESS AND WIDOWS (WHO WERE NOT MINISTER'S WIVES)
TO BE SUPPORTED WITH TITHE?
Letter 9, Jan 24, 1899 (MR vol 1, p. 192): "The widows and fatherless were to be supported by contributions from the church. Their wants were not to be relieved by the church, but by special donations. The tithe was to be consecrated to the Lord, and was always to be used for the support of the ministry."
As we can clearly see, any use of the tithe other than what God has clearly specified it to be used for (mainly for the support of His ministers and their ministry), is robbing God and is hindering the gospel from going forward more fully.
But some reason away God's specific directions, declaring that they do not need to give God's tithe to His living ministers or His institutions, because they can use this sacred money to buy Bibles, Spirit of Prophecy books, tracts, or other present truth materials to hand or mail out; and this misappropriation of God's tithe is done "all in the name of the Lord!" Still others reason that they can pool their tithe money, and then buy copy machines, tape duplicators and cassette tapes, video recorders, travel vans or motor homes, and the list goes on and on--all justified by the human reasoning that "all this is to be used in the Lord's work." But even though these other items are good and beneficial in spreading God's truth, by using God's sacred tithe to purchase these, God considers it to be robbery! This is not only robbery from God, but is also robbery from His ministers, and robbery of the light and truth from those who sit in darkness and gross darkness. All because the tithe was not used as God has clearly directed!
Testimonies, vol 6, p. 387: "The tithe you have withheld I reserve for the support of My servants in their work of opening the Scriptures to those who are in the regions of darkness, who do not understand My law. In using My reserve fund to gratify your own desires you have robbed souls of the light which I made provision for them to receive. You have had opportunity to show loyalty to Me, but you have not done this. You have robbed Me; you have stolen My reserve fund..."
If the tithe was faithfully given where God has clearly specified it should go, then there would be many ministers of the gospel spreading God's present truth far and wide, and the work could speedily close. But this is not the case. As a result, there are but few ministers doing God's work when there should be hundreds. Those who are already in God's work become discouraged, or are forced to stop their God-given ministry, because of the lack of money. Hence they have to find other employment with which to support their families and to keep from starving. Some even work themselves to their graves in order to continue their God-given ministry and also to support their family at the same time.
Manuscript 82, 1904 (MR #451, p. 1-4): "The tithe is to be used for one purpose,--to sustain the ministers whom the Lord has appointed to do His work. It is to be used to support those who speak the words of life to the people, and carry the burden of the flock of God.
"But there are ministers who have been robbed of their wages. God's provision for them has not been respected....
"A very plain, definite message has been given to me to give to our people. I am bidden to tell them that they are making a mistake in applying the tithe to various objects which, though good in themselves, are not the object to which the Lord has said that the tithe is to be applied. Those who make this use of the tithe are departing from the Lord's arrangement.
"God will judge for these things. One reasons that the tithe may be appropriated to school purposes. Still others would reason that canvassers and colporteurs should be supported from the tithe. But a great mistake is made when the tithe is drawn from the object for which it is to be used,--the support of the ministers...
"The use of the tithe must be looked upon as a sacred matter by our people. We must guard strictly against all that is contrary to the message now given....
"When a man enters the ministry, he is to be paid from the tithe enough to sustain his family. He is not to feel that he is a beggar.
The impression is becoming quite common that the sacred disposition of the tithe no longer exists. Many have lost their sense of the Lord's requirements.
"The tithe is sacred, reserved by God for Himself. It is to be brought into His treasury to be used to sustain the gospel laborers in their work. For a long time the Lord has been robbed, because there are those who do not realize that the tithe is God's reserved portion.
"Many ministers are lying in their graves, brought there by sorrow and disappointment, and by the hardship brought upon them because they did not receive sufficient for their labors...
"There should be an abundant supply in the Lord's treasury, and there would be if selfish hearts and hands had not made use of the tithe to support other lines of work.
"God's reserved resources are to be used in no such haphazard way. The tithe is the Lord's and those who meddle with it will be punished with the loss of their heavenly treasure, unless they repent. Let the work no longer be hedged up because the tithe has been diverted into various channels other than the one to which the Lord has said it should go. Provision is to be made for these other lines of work. They are to be sustained but not from the tithe. God has not changed; the tithe is [still] to be used for the support of the ministry..."
Manuscript 17, March 14, 1897 (Series A #10, p. 17-18): "The tithe is required of the minister. He does his share according to his ability, and should receive his due....Many have families at home to support....It is a great self-denial on the part of these men to thus separate from their families."
Letter 40, March 16, 1897 (MR #1045, p. 1-5): "I send you this morning a letter written for America...which will show you how I regard the tithe money being used for other purposes. This is the Lord's special fund, for a special purpose. I have never so fully understood this matter as I now understand it. Having had questions directed here to me to answer, I have had special instruction from the Lord that the tithe is for a special purpose, consecrated to God to sustain those who minister in the sacred work as the Lord's chosen, to do His work not only in sermonizing but in ministering. They should understand all that this comprehends. There is to be meat in the house of God, a treasury well supplied, and it is not to be diverted to other purposes. There is to be special labor given to awaken the people of God who believe the truth, to give a faithful tithe to the Lord, and ministers should be encouraged and sustained by that tithe.
"There will always be a temptation to divert the tithe money to other channels, we know; but the Lord has guarded this, His own portion, to be sacredly used for the support of the gospel ministers....There may be a great dearth of means if there is a departing from the Lord's plan.
"The Lord regards the tithe as His own, to be used for a certain purpose, and it is an easy matter, in the place of practicing the self-denial that we should...to dip into the Lord's consecrated portion which should be used only to sustain the ministers in new fields as well as in other places. And this should not be done in a...[mean or stingy] way....
"We shall become very narrow, conceited, and selfish if we are not guarded and do not watch against the foe we have to meet and contend with....Let there be no meager, stingy plans in using the consecrated portion for the sustaining of the ministry...
"Now in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I charge you not to devote the means that should be used in sustaining the gospel to any other purpose."
Acts of the Apostles, p. 340-41: "God's chosen messengers, who are engaged in aggressive labor, should never be compelled to go a warfare at their own charges, unaided by the sympathetic and hearty support of their brethren. It is the part of church-members to deal liberally with those who lay aside their secular employment that they may give themselves to the ministry. When God's ministers are encouraged, His cause is greatly advanced. But when, through the selfishness of men, their rightful support is withheld, their hands are weakened, and often their usefulness is seriously crippled.
"The displeasure of God is kindled against those who claim to be His followers, yet allow consecrated workers to suffer for the necessities of life while engaged in active ministry. These selfish ones will be called to render an account, not only for the misuse of their Lord's money, but for the depression and heartache which their course has brought upon His faithful servants. Those who are called...in God's service, should receive for their self-sacrificing efforts wages sufficient to support themselves and their families....
"Is not the work of disseminating truth, and leading souls to Christ, of more importance than any ordinary business? And are not those who faithfully engage in this work justly entitled to ample remuneration...?"
Letter 81, May 17, 1897 (MR vol 1, p. 184-85): "...it is a mistake for our churches to appropriate the tithe for any other purpose than to sustain the ministry. The Lord will not work in your favor if you do this....When this matter is seen and realized in all its bearings, there will be no questions on this subject....
"Every soul who is honored in being a steward of God is to carefully guard the tithe money. This is sacred means. The Lord will not sanction your borrowing this money for any other work. It will create evils you cannot now discern. It is not to be meddled with...Keep your hands off the Lord's reserve fund. That means is to do a great work before probation shall close."
Since the tithe is God's sacred portion to be used mainly for the support of His ministers in the gospel work, but also for God's other institutions spreading His present truths, what can be used to purchase or support all these other necessary areas; such as Bibles, Spirit of Prophecy books and materials, tracts, or the postage to mail out these items, tape duplicators, copy machines, meeting house expenses or other necessities, caring for the poor and needy, or any other areas that might come up--what can be used to pay for these other necessary areas in the Lord's work? A second tithe (see Ed 44, PP 530, PK 646-47), and/or offerings (see CS 82, 299), and/or freewill gifts (3T 510-11) as God has blessed.
So tithe is only to be used to support God's ministers and their ministry for Him, but offerings can be used to spread the printed truth.
Testimonies, vol 4, p. 472: "...Christ assigned to men the work of spreading the gospel. But while some go forth to preach, He calls upon others to answer His claims upon them for tithes and offerings with which to support the ministry and to spread the printed truth all over the land."
Many misread and twist this testimony to say that tithes can also be retained by them to be used according to their own judgment, and for their own purposes in purchasing and spreading the printed truth far and wide. But this is not according to the weight of the evidence which the other testimonies have stated regarding tithe. God's tithe is solely devoted to the support of the ministers and their ministry for Him. And no one, who wants to be one of God's faithful stewards, has the right to use this sacred money according to their own judgment, and for their own purposes, independent of God's will, even if it is in the Lord's work!
Testimonies, vol 9, p. 246-47: "A steward identifies himself with his master. He accepts the responsibilities of a steward, and he must act in his master's stead, doing as his master would do were he presiding. His master's interests become his. The position of a steward is one of dignity because his master trusts him. If in any wise he acts selfishly and turns the advantages gained by trading with his lord's goods to his own advantage, he has perverted the trust reposed in him...
"God has given special direction as to the use of the tithe. He does not design that His work shall be crippled for want of means. That there may be no haphazard work and no error, He has made our duty on these points very plain. The portion that God has reserved for Himself is not to be diverted to any other purpose than that which He has specified. Let none feel at liberty to retain their tithe, to use according to their own judgment. They are not to use it for themselves in an emergency, nor to apply it as they see fit, even in what they may regard as the Lord's work."
The tithe is only to be used, not according to the judgment of the one paying the tithe, but according to the judgment and direction of God. Tithes are to be used only in supporting God's ministers and their ministry, but offerings can be used to purchase and spread the printed truth--which is exactly what Sister White stated in the testimony of vol 4 quoted above. "Tithes...to support the ministry" "and offerings...to spread the printed truth all over the land."
So, those who have not been giving God's sacred tithe according to the Lord's directions, whether through ignorance or not, but who have been withholding it and placing it into other areas, are unfaithful stewards. They are also guilty of robbery by defrauding God and misusing, misappropriating, and diverting this sacred fund for their own usage!
Review and Herald, vol 2, p. 451 col 2, Dec 23, 1890 (CS 86): "Will you withhold from God His own? Will you divert from the treasury the portion of means which the Lord claims as His? If so, you are robbing God, and every dollar is charged against you in the books of heaven."
Review and Herald, vol 3, p. 401 col 2, Oct 13, 1896 (CS 86): "To defraud God is the greatest crime of which man can be guilty; and yet this sin is deep and widespread."
As these people are made aware of their guilt before God of the crime of robbery, and that every dollar of His tithe, which they have diverted for their own use is charged against them in the books of heaven, what are they to do?
Review and Herald, vol 4, p. 475 col 1, Dec 23, 1902 (CS 98): "...if you have robbed the Lord, make restitution. As far as possible, make the past right, and then ask the Saviour to pardon you."
Testimonies, vol 9, p. 249-50: "The tithe is the Lord's, and those who meddle with it will be punished with the loss of their heavenly treasure unless they repent. Let the work no longer be hedged up because the tithe has been diverted into various channels other than the one to which the Lord has said it should go."
To refuse to do this work--refusing to make restitution, as far as possible, of any withheld or misused tithe; refusing to repent for misapplying it; and then refusing to comply fully with God's directions in who we are to pay His tithe money to--may be the secret of not having our prayers answered!
Christ's Object Lessons, p. 144-45: "As the Giver of every blessing, God claims a certain portion of all we possess. This is His provision to sustain the preaching of the gospel. And by making this return to God, we are to show our appreciation of His gifts. But if we withhold from Him that which is His own, how can we claim His blessing? If we are unfaithful stewards of earthly things, how can we expect Him to entrust us with the things of heaven? It may be that here is the secret of unanswered prayer.
"But the Lord in His great mercy is ready to forgive, and He says, 'Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse,...and prove Me now herewith,...if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy...'
"So it is with every other one of God's requirements. All His gifts are promised on condition of obedience."
As this is true--that tithe is solely to be devoted to the support of the ministers and their ministry for God, and that offerings and gifts are to be used for the other necessary areas of the Lord's work--some will complain that they only have enough money for tithe and no extra money for offerings and gifts to God. Hence they reason that they need to use the tithe for these other things--such as books, tracts, meeting house expenses, and etc--and if they cannot do so, then others will suffer for want of the truth. Or others believe that they do not need to give offerings and gifts to God in addition to their tithe. Are these true positions to take? Does necessity override following the express and clearly revealed will of God? No!
Review and Herald, vol 3, p. 418 col 1-2, Dec 1, 1896 (CS 82): "The reproof and warning and promise of the Lord are given in definite language in Malachi 3:8: 'Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee?' The Lord answers, 'In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me...'...
"This message has lost none of its force. It is just as fresh in its importance as God's gifts are fresh and continual. There is no difficulty in understanding our duty in the light of this message, given through God's holy prophet. We are not left to stumble along in darkness and disobedience. The truth is plainly stated, and it can be clearly understood by all who wish to be honest in the sight of God. A tithe of all our income is the Lord's. He lays His hand upon that portion which He has specified that we shall return to Him, and says, I allow you to use My bounties after you have laid aside the tenth, and have come before Me with gifts and offerings.
"The Lord calls for His tithe...Besides this, He calls for your gifts and offerings. No one is compelled to present his tithe or his gifts and offerings to the Lord. But just as surely as God's word is given to us, just as surely will He require His own with usury at the hand of every human being. If men are unfaithful in rendering to God His own, if they disregard God's charge to His stewards, they will not long have the blessing of that which the Lord has entrusted to them....
"If they choose, men may refuse to connect themselves with their Maker; they may refuse to give themselves to His service, and trade upon His entrusted goods; they may fail to exercise frugality and self-denial, and may forget that the Lord requires a return of what He has given them. All such are unfaithful stewards."
"A faithful steward will do all he possibly can in the service of God; the one object before him will be the great need of the world. He will realize that the message of truth is to be given, not only in his own neighborhood, but in the regions beyond. When men cherish this spirit, the love of the truth and the sanctification they will receive through the truth, will banish avarice, overreaching, and every species of dishonesty."
Yes, it will require self-denial in order to use the tithe only for what God has specified it to be used for. It will also require self-denial and sacrifice in order to give offerings and gifts to God above and beyond the tithe. But what a blessing will be realized by our unselfish giving. In addition to this, we will also be able to see the truth spreading far and wide, and knowing that we have a part in furthering God's work in the earth.
Anciently, God's people devoted 1/4 (PP 527) to 1/3 (3T 395, 4T 467-68) of all their income to support God's ministers and His cause, and they were greatly blessed by doing so. God's people today would also experience a greater love for, rejoicing in, and sanctification through the truth if they would also do the same--placing God's will and His cause first above their own will and cause.
That is why Paul, after the church had enjoyed the blessings of the seventh-day Sabbath, required them to set aside God's money on sunday--the first day, or the beginning of the week. By doing this, God and His cause was placed first, before any other expenditures could take place for that new week (see 1 Cor 16:1-2, CS 80, CSW 130). If God's people today would also realize that "their first duty is to God" (CS 94), and would always make it their first priority to give God His own money in tithes, offerings, and gifts before dividing the rest of their money for other needs, then they would also realize the same blessings as did God's people in the past, and would also be able to give more to God and His work!
Testimonies, vol 3, p. 398: "There are but few who consider the binding claims that God has upon them to make it their first business to meet the necessities of His cause and let their own desires be served last."
Manuscript 13, 1896 (Our High Calling (OHC), p. 194): "We must ever bear in mind that we are in co-partnership with God. His work and His cause demand the first consideration."
Review and Herald, vol 2, p. 248 col 1, Sept 18, 1888 (OHC 194): "Treasures are those things which engross the mind, and absorb the attention, to the exclusion of God and the truth....Those who are ready and willing to invest in the cause of God, will be blessed in their efforts to acquire money."
Testimonies to Ministers, p. 147 (Aug 20, 1890): "All our influence belongs to God. All that we acquire is to be used to His glory. All the property that the Lord has entrusted to us is to be held on the altar of God, to be returned to Him again. We are working out our own destiny. May God help us all to be wise for eternity."
Letter 8, 1873 (OHC 196): "When we devote ourselves to the affairs of the kingdom of God, He will mind our affairs."
Review and Herald, vol 4, p. 360 col 2, Dec 10, 1901 (CS 50): "Give what you can now and as you cooperate with Christ, your hand will open to impart still more. And God will refill your hand, that the treasure of truth may be taken to many souls. He will give to you that you may give to others."
As we have clearly presented the directions which God Himself has given in regards to where and who His sacred tithe money is to be devoted to support and sustain, and exactly where and who His tithe is not to be devoted to support and sustain, what exactly does God consider to be His treasury or storehouse on this earth today for His tithes and offerings?
The church leadership states that "There is only one place for the Lord's tithes to be deposited: the storehouse of the church. For Adventists, no other use of the tithe is admissible" (Adventist Review, March 3, 1988, p. 11). The ministers also tell their members that even though a large sum of God's money has been misappropriated and lost by the church in the Davenport affair (see back page of Adventist Review of April 8, 1982); and even though the church has invested God's money in stocks and bonds (anywhere from companies making war equipment and chemicals to stores dealing in liquor--see 1983 GC investment portfolio), and has lost a large sum of God's money in the stock market crash (see Adventist Review, April 28, 1988, p. 7); and even though the church has been using this sacred money to support the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches since 1959 (write for documents) which in turn uses this money to further terrorism and the killing of Christian missionaries (write for documents); yet they state that God still expects the people to bring all their tithes and offerings to the church!
In fact they teach the people not to worry in the least, because God will divinely watch every penny and protect it from going to support apostasy and corruption, or from being lost in other investment schemes.
But whose pennies, that God was suppose to divinely watch, were lost in the church's involvement in the Davenport affair? More than $878,000. was reported lost (see Adventist Review, April 8, 1982, back page), and a great deal more (one printed source estimated between $21-42 million) went unreported by the church. Whose pennies, that God was suppose to divinely watch, were loss by the church's involvement in the stock market in 1968 when the church reported losses of $44,006.73; or in 1969--losses of $966,130.96; or in 1970--losses of $1,769,105.36; or in 1971--losses of $1,282,611.94; or in 1972--losses of $1,034,022.49; or in 1973--losses of $2,053,298.42 (see the minutes of "REPORT OF THE SUB-COMMITTEE ON CONFERENCE ORGANIZATION AND FINANCE" Note--this is the reported losses of only one of the conferences under the General Conference! How much more was loss by the other conferences has not yet been openly revealed). Or whose pennies, that God was suppose to divinely watch, were loss in the 1987 stock market crash of black monday? $47,000,000. was reported lost by the church (see Adventist Review, April 28, 1988, p. 7). So, were the pennies of those who gave the Lord's money of tithes and offerings into the church, divinely protected from being lost? No! Neither was this sacred money divinely protected way back in 1870!
Testimonies, vol 2, p. 518: "Means that had been consecrated to God to advance His cause has been squandered. Families in poverty, who had experienced the sanctifying influences of the truth and who therefore prized it and felt grateful to God for it, have thought that they could and should deprive themselves of even the necessaries of life in order to bring in their offerings to the treasury of the Lord. Some have deprived themselves of articles of clothing which they really needed to make them comfortable. Others have sold their only cow and have dedicated to God the means thus received. In the sincerity of their souls, with many tears of gratitude because it was their privilege to do this for the cause of God, they have bowed before the Lord with their offering and have invoked His blessing upon it as they sent it forth, praying that it might be the means of bringing the knowledge of the truth to souls in darkness. The means thus dedicated has not always been appropriated as the self-sacrificing donors designed. Covetous, selfish men, having no spirit of self-denial or self-sacrifice themselves, have handled unfaithfully means thus brought into the treasury...Their unconsecrated, reckless management has squandered and scattered means that had been consecrated to God with prayers and tears."
So to teach or believe that God will divinely protect every penny from being lost, when that sacred money is given to a church that has a proven record of reckless management and loss of this money, and of diverting it under satan's directions into wrong channels (TM 397), is but presumption and naivety!
The ministers also teach that even if God does not divinely watch this money, the church is still the only treasury of God; and if this sacred money was used in a wrong way, yet the membership are not held responsible because their responsibility ended when they gave their money into the church.
But is this what God really expects of His people? Is this actually what God teaches? Is the church the only treasury or storehouse of God? To find this out, we must first discover what the real purpose and function is of God's treasury or storehouse.
Review and Herald, vol 3, p. 419 col 2, Dec 8, 1896 (CS 71): "The great missionary work for the salvation of souls is to be carried forward. In the tithe, with gifts and offerings, God has made ample provision for this work. He intends that the ministry of the gospel shall be fully sustained. He claims the tithe as His own, and it should ever be regarded as a sacred reserve, to be placed in His treasury for the benefit of His cause, for the advancement of His work, for sending His messengers into 'regions beyond,' even to the uttermost parts of the earth."
Manuscript 24, March 15, 1897 (MR vol 1, p. 191): "...the treasury that God has appointed to sustain the ministers in the field..."
Testimonies, vol 9, p. 52: "...the Lord's treasury for the support of ministers and missionaries who are opening the Scriptures to the people and working from house to house."
Testimonies, vol 9, p. 59: "So, God's work in our world is to be carried forward. Faithful stewards are to place the Lord's money in His treasury, that workers may be sent to all parts of the world."
Gospel Workers, p. 455: "The money in His treasury is to be used in building up the work all over the world."
Youth Instructor, p. 292 col 2, Aug 26, 1897 (Messages to Young People, p. 306): "Will you, as you have never done before, learn the precious lessons of making gifts to the Lord by putting into the treasury of that which He has freely given you to enjoy? Whatever you have received, let a portion be returned to the Giver as a gratitude offering. A part should also be put into the treasury for the missionary work to be done both at home and abroad."
Christ's Object Lessons, p. 300: "...to be placed in His treasury for the benefit of His cause."
Testimonies, vol 6, p. 386: "He (God) reserves this portion, that means may ever be flowing into His treasure house and that the light of truth may be carried to those who are nigh and those who are afar off."
So God's treasury or storehouse is to supply means to be used to carry forward, to advance, and to build up God's work; to benefit His cause; to sustain and to send out His messengers and missionaries far and near; and to carry and spread the light of truth to all the world. So, this treasury or storehouse of God is the place where God's tithes and offerings can be found and obtained with which to supply God's money to those people or institutions who are doing God's will.
Many have been led to believe that only the headquarters of the church is where God's treasury or storehouse is found. Hence all the money must be given to the church in order to build up and advance God's cause and finish His work; even though that church headquarters is misusing this money for their own purposes, or losing it in other scheming areas, instead of using it to build up God's cause and finish His work in the earth. But from looking at the purpose and function of God's treasury or storehouse, it is seen that God's people individually can be the place where God's treasury or storehouse can be found--the place where God's tithes and offerings can be obtained with which to supply God's money to those people or institutions who are doing God's will.
Is this true? Can God's people individually be the place where God's treasury or storehouse is found, and thus can give their tithes and offerings directly to God's ministers and/or other areas of His work--completely bypassing the church headquarters who is misusing this sacred money--and yet not be guilty of withholding this money from God's treasury or storehouse? YES!
Testimonies, vol 3, p. 388-89: "All may feel that they can act a part in carrying forward the precious work of salvation. Every man, woman, and youth may become a treasurer for the Lord and may be an agent to meet the demands upon the treasury. Says the apostle: 'Let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.'"
Letter 267, Jan 22, 1905 (SpM Collection, p. 215-16): "It had been presented to me for years that my tithe was to be appropriated by myself to aid the white and colored ministers who were neglected, and did not receive sufficient funds to properly support their families....and I have done this in a number of cases....If there have been cases where our sisters have appropriated their tithe to the support of the ministers working for the colored people in the South, let every man, if he is wise, hold his peace.
"I have myself appropriated my tithe to the most needy cases brought to my notice. I have been instructed to do this; and as the money is not withheld from the Lord's treasury, it is not a matter that should be commented upon...
"Some cases have been kept before me for years, and I have supplied their needs from the tithe, as God has instructed me to do. And if any person shall say to me, Sister White, will you appropriate my tithe where you know it is most needed, I shall say, Yes, I will; and I have done so. I commend those sisters who have placed their tithe where it is most needed to help to do a work that is being left undone...
"I sent this matter to you (Elder Watson) so that you shall not make a mistake. Circumstances alter cases. I would not advise that any should make a practice of gathering up tithe money. But for years there have now and then been persons who have lost confidence in the appropriation of the tithe (by the General Conference) who have placed their tithe in my hands, and said that if I did not take it they would themselves appropriate it to the families of the most needy minister they could find. I have taken the money, given a receipt for it, and told them how it was appropriated."
Letter 60, June 28, 1901 (SpM Collection, p. 177): "The people to whom God has given His means are amenable to Him alone. It is their privilege to give direct aid and assistance to missions."
So, there is no regular channel, line, or way in which the Lord's sacred tithe and His offerings must pass through! All the tithes and offerings are not to be handled by the church headquarters or organization, like the leaders and ministers have been teaching the people for years, thus effectively stopping the work of the Lord elsewhere. But each person has an individual responsibility to invest this money themselves, and they are responsible for who receives this money! If they support and sustain apostate, unsanctified, and/or corrupt people or churches, they "are doing satan's drudgery" (5T 103), and are held responsible for maintaining and spreading apostasy, sin, and corruption!
NO REGULAR CHANNEL FOR PAYING TITHE AND OFFERINGS INTO !
Spalding-Magan Collection, p. 498 (Aug 15, 1898): "The Lord has not specified any regular channel through which means should pass."
Manuscript 43, April, 1901 (SpM Collection, p. 163, 168): "...in reference to our conference, it is repeated o'er and o'er and o'er again, that it is the voice of God, and therefore everything must be referred to the Conference...
"Here the outlets are blocked. And the work all over the field demands an entirely different course of action than we have had. We have heard enough, abundance, about that 'everything must go around in the regular way.' When we see the regular lines are altered and purified and refined, and the God of the heavens mold is upon the regular lines, then it is our business to establish the regular lines....
"There is to be no man that has the right to put his hand out and say, No, you can not go there; we won't support you if you go there. Why, what have you to do with supporting? Did they (conference leaders) create the means? The means come from the people, and those who are destitute fields. The voice of God has told me to instruct them (laborers building up God's cause) to go to the people and to tell them their necessities, and to draw all the people to work just where they can find a place to work, to build up the work in every place they can."
ALL THE TITHE AND OFFERINGS ARE NOT TO BE HANDLED BY THE CHURCH !
Letter 32a, Jan 6, 1908 "To Those Bearing Responsibilities in Washington and Other Centers" (SpM Collection, p. 419, 421-22, see also MR #1445 where this testimony has been greatly changed and altered);
"God has given me a message for the men who are carrying large responsibilities in Washington and other centers of the work....The Lord works through various agencies....All the means is not to be handled by one agency or organization. There is much business to be done conscientiously for the cause of God....
"To those in our conferences who felt that they had authority to forbid the gathering of means in certain territory I now say: This matter has been presented to me again and again. I now bear my testimony in the name of the Lord to those whom it concerns. Wherever you are withhold your forbiddings. The work of the Lord is not to be thus trammeled....This wonderful burden of responsibility which some suppose God has placed upon them with their official position, has never been laid upon them. If men were standing free on the high platform of truth, they would never accept the responsibility to frame rules and regulations that hinder and cramp God's chosen laborers in their work..."
Letter 60, June 28, 1901 (SpM Collection, p. 176-77): "God grant that the voices which have been so quickly raised to say that all the money invested in the work must go through the appointed channel at Battle Creek (GC headquarters), shall not be heard."
EACH ONE IS INDIVIDUALLY RESPONSIBLE TO GIVE GOD'S MONEY
WHERE MOST NEEDED IN ORDER TO BUILD UP GOD'S WORK !
Letter 60, June 28, 1901 (SpM Collection, p. 175): "For years the same routine, the same 'regular way' of working has been followed, and God's work has been greatly hindered....
"God calls for a revival and a reformation. The 'regular lines' have not done the work which God desires to see accomplished. Let revival [and] reformation make constant changes. Something has been done in this line, but let not the work stop here. No! Let every yoke be broken. Let men awaken to the realization that they have an individual responsibility.
"The present showing is sufficient to prove to all who have the true missionary spirit that the 'regular lines' may prove a failure and a snare. God helping His people, the circle of kings (General Conference) who dared to take such great responsibilities shall never again exercise their unsanctified power in the so-called 'regular lines.'"
Testimonies, vol 9, p. 51: "The Lord has made us His stewards. He has placed His means in our hands for faithful distribution. He asks us to render to Him His own."
Special Testimonies to Battle Creek, p. 41-42: "The Lord has made us individually His stewards. We each hold a solemn responsibility to invest this means ourselves....God does not lay upon you the burden of asking the conference, or any council of men, whether you shall use your means as you see fit to advance the work of God."
WE ARE INDIVIDUALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR WHOM WE SUPPORT !
Testimonies, vol 6, p. 448: "There are only two places in the world where we can deposit our treasures--in God's storehouse or in satan's, and all that is not devoted to Christ's service is counted on satan's side and goes to strengthen his cause."
The Kress Collection, p. 120 (June 26, 1900): "The churches must arouse. The members must awake out of sleep and begin to inquire, How is the money which we put into the treasury being used? The Lord desires that a close search be made. Are all satisfied with the history of the work for the past fifteen years? Where is the evidence of the co-working with God? Where has been heard throughout the churches the prayer for the help of the Holy Spirit? Dissatisfied and disheartened, we turn away from the scene."
Testimonies, vol 1, p. 261-62: "There are fearful woes for those who preach the truth, but are not sanctified by it, and also for those who consent to receive and maintain the unsanctified to minister to them in word and doctrine."
Testimonies, vol 2, p. 552: "...if God pronounces a woe upon those who are called to preach the truth and refuse to obey, a heavier woe rests upon those who take upon them this sacred work without clean hands and pure hearts. As there are woes for those who preach the truth while they are unsanctified in heart and life, so there are woes for those who receive and maintain the unsanctified in the position which they cannot fill..."
So, God has made us individually His stewards over His tithes and offerings, and we are not to bargain away or to pass off our stewardship on to anyone else or to any church (see TM 361-62). We are individually responsible to God Himself to invest this means ourselves, and we are held responsible as to whom receives this money! If we give money to churches in apostasy and corruption, or to those who are teaching error, or to those who are involved in fanaticism, or to other areas of satan, then we are held guilty before God of furthering and advancing apostasy, corruption, erroneous teachings, fanaticism, and any other areas of satan's cause.
God has made each one of us His trusted stewards. Hence we are held individually responsible for where we give God's sacred money and to whom it goes to support. And no one--not even the church--has the authority to tell us differently. The money belongs to the Lord, and not to the church or its leadership!
The Jewish leaders were masters at getting their church membership to believe that it was not their individual duty to carry out their own convictions regarding God's money. But, as a rule, they were to pay their tithes, offerings, and gifts into the church system, and then let their leaders control where this money should go.
Desire of Ages, p. 617: "The Jewish rulers recognized the obligation of tithing, and this was right; but they did not leave the people to carry out their own convictions of duty. Arbitrary rules were laid down..."
Are not the same arbitrary rules and deceptive schemes being practiced today by the church leadership; in teaching that no church member has the right to send their tithes and offerings directly to anyone other than the church or those approved by the conference committee? YES! While just the opposite is true.
God has clearly revealed that no one is to hand to the church their own individual responsibility of stewardship over God's money. If they did, even if they would clearly state to the leaders exactly where they wanted this money sent to and used for, it could still be misused and misapplied.
Letter 41, May 6, 1894 (1888 Materials, vol 3, p. 1234-38): "When I received Brother Haskell's letter explaining that you had detained the money we so much needed, I wanted to ask you, my brother, what right had you to do this?...that one thousand (dollars) was not permitted to come to the object for which it was pledged, but must be stopped at the Pacific Press. Who has been your counsellor in this movement? Are not the individuals who pledged the money responsible to God? Is not a man to be left free, when moved upon by the Spirit of God, to place his means where he sees fit?...
"The Lord has not given orders to any man to divert money from the channel in which it should go. Who owns the men, the General Conference, the Pacific Press? Who has heard the voice of God directing that this means should be diverted into other channels?...Let the money that comes from those whom God has made His stewards be received and treated as a sacred offering, and be applied where it was designed....Why should men want to interpose their own ways and ideas to defeat the purposes of God?
"I have been made sick at heart at this management....I am now able to understand more perfectly that light given me when my husband was so feeble in Greenville, Michigan. That was the beginning of divine directions concerning means. I was shown that the Lord would have my husband and myself independent of all our institutions, in financial matters....God would teach us how to dispose of the means He would bring into our possession to be used to His own glory....I was warned not to shift the responsibility of my stewardship upon any institution or organization; when I should see the needs of the cause in its various branches, then I must act, even though my brethren did not discern the necessity as I saw it. If I called upon men in responsible positions, even for the means which God had intrusted to me...these brethren would give counsel to divert that means into other channels....I was made to feel keenly how little safety there would be in leaving my brethren to bear my responsibility....
"But thank God for the light He has given me; I will take heed to it, and will endeavor to be a faithful steward."
Neither are we to allow any one, including the minister or even the conference president, to tell us that we can not send God's money where He has shown us that it should go. If we do this, and allow another to step inbetween us and the duty that God has specified we should follow, then we step off God's true platform and step onto satan's!
Testimonies, vol 9, p. 279-80 (Oct 3, 1907): "Again and again I have been instructed to say to our people: Let your faith and trust be in God. Do not depend on any erring man to define your duty....God is the one to whom to look for an understanding of individual duty....But when one man allows another to step in between him and the duty that God has pointed out to him, giving to man his confidence and accepting him as guide, then he steps from the true platform to a false and dangerous one. Such a man, instead of growing and developing, will lose his spirituality."
Spirit of Prophecy, vol 4, p. 339: "'We (satan and his angels) must do our utmost to prevent those who labor in God's cause from obtaining means to use against us. Keep the money in our own ranks. The more means they obtain, the more they will injure our kingdom by taking from us our subjects.'"
Some of the tactics used by the devil and his agents, to keep God's money from going to injure his evil kingdom, have already been discussed; such as getting the tithe to be placed in other areas instead of where God designed it to go; in the belief that no one has the individual responsibility to invest this sacred means themselves independent from the church; and in misleading others to believe that they were to continue supporting the church in its apostasy and corruption against God, and in its misappropriation and misuse of God's sacred money in the stock market and in other areas.
There are as many more tactics used, as the devil has lies. But some of the ones noticed are as follows; having others refusing to give God's money where the need was clearly seen, because no tax write-off could be obtained; having others refusing to give God's money to His ministers because these did not have an extra outside job with which to support their families; having others spreading falsehoods and lies about God's true ministers, to try and cut off all support to them when others believe the falsehoods and lies without checking things out for themselves; having others borrowing our extra money who can not, or do not, intend to pay it back, and thus it is not available when needed for God's cause (see 2T 675-76); in causing others to stall and delay in selling their property or removing savings from the bank, and then satan causes both to be tied up, absorbed, or lost before it ever reaches God's work (see 5T 154-55, EW 57, Kress Collection, p. 147, 4T 83, 7T 56); etc.
But praise God that He has given His people such plain light and clear directions in answering our questions regarding tithes, offerings, and gifts. Also for showing us our own individual responsibility to invest this means ourselves, in order that we can advance God's work and His cause immediately as the need arises.
No longer need God's people to remain under the yoke and bondage of man or to man's commandments! They can exert their individual freedom in Christ Jesus, following only His directions regarding tithes and offerings, thereby completely bypassing the apostate and corrupt church, and being totally oblivious to any and all objections raised by this wicked church! Their only desire is to do all they can to supply God's true ministers and God's cause with all the finances necessary to quickly finish His work in the earth.
All that we have--houses, property, money in the banks, and etc--are now to be placed upon God's altar, so that it can be used immediately when God has need for it in spreading His truth. Our possessions will be of no use to God or any of His messengers when the time of trouble soon begins. But would be a great cause of sorrow and remorse to us when we would try to use these to further God's cause, and found our possessions to be useless because we waited too long!
Early Writings, p. 56-57: "Houses and lands will be of no use to the saints in the time of trouble, for they will then have to flee before infuriated mobs, and at that time their possessions cannot be disposed of to advance the cause of present truth. I was shown that it is the will of God that the saints should cut loose from every encumbrance before the time of trouble comes, and make a covenant with God through sacrifice. If they have their property on the altar and earnestly inquire of God for duty, He will teach them when to dispose of these things. Then they will be free in the time of trouble and have no clogs to weigh them down.
"I saw that if any held on to their property and did not inquire of the Lord as to their duty, He would not make duty known, and they would be permitted to keep their property, and in the time of trouble it would come up before them like a mountain to crush them, and they would try to dispose of it, but would not be able. I heard some mourn like this: 'The cause was languishing, God's people were starving for the truth, and we made no effort to supply the lack; now our property is useless. Oh, that we had let it go, and laid up treasure in heaven!'....
"Now is the time to lay up treasure in heaven and to set our hearts in order, ready for the time of trouble. Those only who have clean hands and pure hearts will stand in that trying time. Now is the time for the law of God to be in our minds, foreheads, and written in our hearts."
Since God's people want to do all that they can to further God's cause with the money that He has lent them for this very purpose, and since we are held individually responsible for whom we give God's money to, how can we clearly know whom we can safely support?
Our first work, as God's faithful and wise stewards, is to test (by Isaiah 8:20) the messages and stated positions of the different "so-called" ministers and institutions of God, to see if they are really standing for and preaching the complete present truth for today, or just partial truth, or truth mixed with error. This means that we individually must study for ourselves so that we can know with certainty if a particular minister or institution is really standing for and teaching truth or error, instead of having to rely upon the testimony of someone else. We ourselves must know the truth before we can intelligently support those who are preaching the truth!
After this homework is done, and we believe that we have found a particular minister or institution that can be safely supported, are we to then go ahead and give them God's money? NO! Before we give anyone God's money, we must first seek God in prayer, asking Him to show us if we have chosen correctly. God knows better than ourselves who really needs His money at any given time; and just because we have supported someone in the past, does not mean that we can continue to support them in the future without first asking God for His approval.
Many times those who were once standing faithful and preaching the truth have, seemingly overnight, changed their positions into that of standing for and preaching truth mixed with error. We would probably have continued on supporting them for several more months, not realizing that they had changed leaders. But God would have known the instant they changed; and if we had looked to Him first, we would have been impressed not to support them as we had in the past. The whole key is to always seek God first for His wisdom and guidance, before we take any action--especially in regards to the giving of His money to others. If we always seek God's guidance before we move, we shall never be ashamed or disappointed with whom we gave His money to, because we would not be following our own wisdom, but the wisdom and guidance of One who never errs!
Gospel Workers, p. 455: "When those who are to appropriate to the needs of the Lord's work the means in His treasury, have unselfishly tried to gain a right understanding of the situation, they should come to the mercy-seat, asking for clear intuition and heavenly wisdom, that they may see the necessities of the far-off countries, as well as of those nearer by. Never will they seek the Lord in vain. As they ask Him to help them to advance the work in regions beyond, they will receive grace from on high."
Now, whom does God consider to be His true ministers or messengers of today, and what message will they be heard giving?
Early Writings, p. 50: "I saw that the quick work that God was doing on the earth would soon be cut short in righteousness and that the messengers must speed swiftly on their way to search out the scattered flock. An angel said, 'Are all messengers?' Another answered, 'No, no; God's messengers have a message.'
"I saw that the cause of God had been hindered and dishonored by some traveling who had no message from God. Such will have to give an account to God for every dollar they have used in traveling where it was not their duty to go, because that money might have helped on the cause of God; and for the lack of the spiritual food that might have been given them by God's called and chosen messengers, had they had the means, souls have starved and died."
Early Writings, p. 62-63: "I also saw that God had messengers that He would use in His cause, but they were not ready. They were too light and trifling to exert a good influence over the flock and did not feel the weight of the cause and the worth of souls as God's messengers must feel in order to effect good. Said the angel, 'Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.' They can accomplish but little good unless they are wholly given up to God and feel the importance and solemnity of the last message of mercy that is now being given to the scattered flock. Some who are not called of God are very willing to go with the message. But if they felt the weight of the cause and the responsibilities of such a station, they would feel to shrink back and say with the apostle, 'Who is sufficient for these things?' One reason why they are so willing to go is that God has not laid upon them the weight of the cause....
"I saw the necessity of the messengers, especially, watching and checking all fanaticism wherever they might see it rise. Satan is pressing in on every side, and unless we watch for him, and have our eyes open to his devices and snares, and have on the whole armor of God, the fiery darts of the wicked will hit us. There are many precious truths contained in the Word of God, but it is 'present truth' that the flock needs now. I have seen the danger of the messengers running off from the important points of present truth, to dwell upon subjects that are not calculated to unite the flock and sanctify the soul. Satan will here take every possible advantage to injure the cause."
Early Writings, p. 98-102: "Those men who are not called of God are generally the very ones that are the most confident that they are so called and that their labors are very important....And even if self-sent men put themselves where God does not put them and profess to be teachers, and souls receive the truth by hearing them talk it, this is no evidence that they are called of God. The souls who receive the truth from them receive it to be brought into trial and bondage, as they afterward find that these men were not standing in the counsel of God....Wicked men are wicked men still, and according to the deception they practiced upon those who were beloved of God, and according to the confusion brought into the church, so will be their punishment; their sins will not remain covered...
"Those who receive the truth and are brought into such trials would have had the truth the same if these men had stayed away and filled the humble place the Lord designed for them. God's eye was upon His jewels, and He would have directed to them His called and chosen messengers--men who would have moved understandingly....
"God will not entrust the care of His precious flock to men whose mind and judgment have been weakened by former errors that they have cherished, such as so-called perfectionism and Spiritualism, and who, by their course while in these errors, have disgraced themselves and brought reproach upon the cause of truth. Although they may now feel free from error and competent to go forth and to teach this last message, God will not accept them. He will not entrust precious souls to their care; for their judgment was perverted while in error, and is now weakened....
"The servants of God who teach the truth should be men of judgment. They should be men who can bear opposition and not get excited; for those who oppose the truth will pick at those who teach it, and every objection that can be produced will be brought in its worst form to bear against the truth. The servants of God who bear the message must be prepared to remove these objections, with calmness and meekness, by the light of truth....
"Those who profess to be servants of the living God must be willing to be servants of all, instead of being exalted above the brethren, and they must possess a kind, courteous spirit. If they err, they should be ready to confess thoroughly. Honesty of intention cannot stand as an excuse for not confessing errors. Confession would not lessen the confidence of the church in the messenger, and he would set a good example; a spirit of confession would be encouraged in the church, and sweet union would be the result. Those who profess to be teachers should be patterns of piety, meekness, and humility, possessing a kind spirit, to win souls to Jesus and the truth of the Bible. A minister of Christ should be pure in conversation and in actions. He should ever bear in mind that he is handling words of inspiration, words of a holy God. He must also bear in mind that the flock is entrusted to his care, and that he is to bear their cases to Jesus, and plead for them as Jesus pleads for us with the Father. I was pointed back to the children of Israel anciently and saw how pure and holy the ministers of the sanctuary had to be, because they were brought by their work into a close connection with God. They that minister must be holy, pure, and without blemish, or God will destroy them. God has not changed. He is just as holy and pure, just as particular, as He ever was."
Prophets and Kings, p. 141-42: "Those ministers who are men pleasers, who cry, Peace, peace, when God has not spoken peace, might well humble their hearts before God, asking pardon for their insincerity and their lack of moral courage. It is not from love for their neighbor that they smooth down the message entrusted to them, but because they are self-indulgent and ease-loving. True love seeks first the honor of God and the salvation of souls. Those who have this love will not evade the truth to save themselves from the unpleasant results of plain speaking. When souls are in peril, God's ministers will not consider self, but will speak the word given them to speak, refusing to excuse or palliate evil....
"God cannot use men who, in time of peril, when the strength, courage, and influence of all are needed, are afraid to take a firm stand for the right. He calls for men who will do faithful battle against wrong, warring against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places..."
Testimonies to Ministers, p. 107: "He (God) has said, 'I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.' Even if all our leading men should refuse light and truth, that door will still remain open. The Lord will raise up men who will give the people the message for this time.
"Truth is eternal, and conflict with error will only make manifest its strength."
Testimonies to Ministers, p. 300 (Oct 1, 1885): "...let me tell you that the Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning. There well be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness. Those who are accounted good workers will need to draw nigh to God, they will need the divine touch. They will need to drink more deeply and continuously at the fountain of living water, in order that they may discern God's work at every point..."
Series B #2, p. 51: "The Lord will put new, vital force into His work as human agencies obey the command to go forth and proclaim the truth. He who declared that His truth would shine forever will proclaim this truth through faithful messengers, who will give the trumpet a certain sound. The truth will be criticized, scorned, and derided; but the closer it is examined and tested, the brighter it will shine."
Testimonies, vol 9, p. 137-38 (Nov 3, 1901): "Most startling messages will be borne by men of God's appointment, messages of a character to warn the people, to arouse them. And while some will be provoked by the warning and led to resist light and evidence, we are to see from this that we are giving the testing message for this time....
"The work outlined in these scriptures [Isaiah 43:8-13, 42:16-21] is the work before us. The terms 'My servant,' 'Israel,' 'the Lord's servant,' means anyone that the Lord may select and appoint to do a certain work. He makes them ministers of His will, though some who are selected may be as ignorant of His will as was Nebuchadnezzar."
Letter 210, Sept 21, 1903 (Last Day Events, p. 80, see also 9T 170): "...the Lord Himself will call men, as of old He called the humble fishermen, and will Himself give them instruction regarding their field of labor and the methods they should follow. He will call men from the plow and from other occupations to give the last note of warning to perishing souls..."
Spirit of Prophecy, vol 4, p. 423-24, 427-28: "In every generation God has sent His servants to rebuke sin, both in the world and in the church. But the people desire smooth things spoken to them, and the pure, unvarnished truth is not acceptable....
"As the time comes for the loud cry to be given, the Lord will work through humble instruments, leading the minds of those who consecrate themselves to His service. The laborers will be qualified rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the training of literary institutions. Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them. The sins of Babylon will be laid open. The fearful results of a union of Church and State, the inroads of Spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power,--all will be unmasked. By these solemn warnings the people will be stirred. Thousands upon thousands have never listened to words like these. In amazement they hear the testimony that Babylon is the church, fallen because of her errors and sins, because of her rejection of the truth sent to her from Heaven....
"Different periods in the history of the church have each been marked by the development of some special truth, adapted to the necessities of the people of God at that time. Every new truth has made its way against hatred and opposition; those who were blessed with its light were tempted and tried. The Lord gives a special truth for the people in an emergency. Who dare refuse to publish it? He commands His servants to present the last invitation of mercy to the world. They cannot remain silent, except at the peril of their souls. Christ's ambassadors have nothing to do with consequences. They must perform their duty, and leave results with God."
May God help each one of us to become faithful and wise unselfish and self-sacrificing stewards, so that His cause in the earth can rapidly grow and increase with consecrated workers and agencies. If we follow the directions of the Lord and not man, soon all the earth will be warned with the last saving message of truth, the great controversy can end, and those faithful to the very end can go home to be ever with our blessed Lord God.
Manuscript 13, March 25, 1908 (MR #454, p. 29): "The message of present truth must be carried to those who have never heard it. We pray that the Lord will give you wisdom to place your means where it will build up the cause of God in the earth."
Other Testimonies of Importance
Testimonies, vol 3, p. 395: "God gives man nine tenths, while He claims one tenth for sacred purposes, as He has given man six days for his own work and has reserved and set apart the seventh day to Himself. For like the Sabbath, a tenth of the increase is sacred; God has reserved it for Himself. He will carry forward His work upon the earth with the increase of the means that He has entrusted to man."
Testimonies, vol 3, p. 389: Some rich men feel like murmuring because the work of God is extending and there is a demand for money. They say that there is no end to the calls for means. One object after another is continually arising, demanding help. To such we would say that we hope the cause of God will so extend that there will be greater occasion, and more frequent and urgent calls, for supplies from the treasury to prosecute the work."
Manuscript 13, 1896 (MR #969, p. 3): "The neglect to confess Christ in your account books cuts you off from the great privilege of having your name registered in the Lamb's book of life."
Testimonies, vol 4, p. 469: "The woe which will fall upon the minister if he preach not the gospel, will just as surely fall upon the business man, if he, with his different talents, will not be a coworker with Christ in accomplishing the same results. When this is brought home to the individual, some will say, 'This is an hard saying;' nevertheless it is true..."
Testimonies, vol 3, p. 413: "God designs that the exercise of benevolence shall be purely voluntary, not having recourse even to eloquent appeals to excite sympathy. 'God loveth a cheerful giver.' He is not pleased to have His treasury replenished with forced supplies. The loyal hearts of His people, rejoicing in the saving truth for this time, will, through love and gratitude to Him for this precious light, be earnest and anxious to aid with their means in sending the truth to others. The very best manner in which to give expression to our love for our Redeemer is to make offerings to bring souls to the knowledge of the truth. The plan of redemption was entirely voluntary on the part of our Redeemer, and it is the purpose of Christ that all our benevolence should be freewill offerings."
Testimonies, vol 1, p. 237: "This tithing system, I saw, would develop character, and manifest the true state of the heart."
Testimonies, vol 3, p. 404-05: "The special system of tithing was founded upon a principle which is as enduring as the law of God. This system of tithing was a blessing to the Jews, else God would not have given it them. So also will it be a blessing to those who carry it out to the end of time..."