THE TITHE - Where Did Abraham Get It?
By W. B. Crumpton
It is said: "One out of every six verses of the Bible is a warning against some form of covetousness."
”Come now and let us reason together." Whatever your views, hold yourself still until you read through. Then prayerfully study the question.
Laymen's Missionary Movement of Southern Baptist Convention, 1212 Holston National Bank Building, Knoxville, Tennessee.
Endorsement of Dr. W. J. McGlothlin, late Professor of Church History in the Baptist Seminary at Louisville, now President of Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina
Dear Brother Crumpton:
I have gone over your tract carefully and I see no point where I would attempt any correction. That the tithe was practiced far beyond the boundaries of the Jewish people is, in my judgment, beyond dispute. It was evidently familiar to Abraham and to the patriarchs long before there was any law established on the question.
It could only have been established by religious custom of the people among whom they had lived. Whether it came from the Garden of Eden, it is of course impossible to say, but that it is the expression of the general religious life can be affirmed, I think, without question.
It is an impressive fact which was incorporated into the Jewish religion and among the Jewish people as many other of their customs were incorporated. I believe in the tithe, not as a rigid law, but as a standard which the Christian spirit will certainly endorse.
The tract is good and is bound to do good.
W. J. McGLOTHLIN.
Dr. Paul V. Bomar, President of Judson College, Marion, Ala., endorses "The Tithe - Where Did Abraham Get It?"
Dear Brother Crumpton:
I have just read your last tract on Tithing. It is a good one and I agree with you in every word you have written but I think you might go further and place the emphasis on God's Ownership.
There are just two positions which any man may take with reference to his possessions: he may say, "All that I have belongs to me, and therefore I own it," or he may say, "All that I have belongs to God, and therefore I owe it."
God's Ownership Involves Man's Stewardship
If a man is the owner he cannot be a steward. This is the position taken by early Christians, when it is said, "Neither said any of them that aught of the things that he possessed was his own."
As God is the owner, man should make some acknowledgement of God's ownership and of his own stewardship, and this is where the tithing comes in. All the evidence points to the institution of the tithe from the very beginning as an acknowledgment of God's ownership of whatever a man might have. It was God himself who set aside the appropriation of one-tenth of the income just as he set aside one-seventh of the time to be holy to him.
PAUL V. BOMAR.
"IN THE BEGINNING, GOD."
He made man in His own image. Man, falling into sin, did not entirely lose the Image of God. Implanted in him was the spirit of Worship. No nation has ever been found where this spirit did not exist.
All along the track of history, Altars, Offerings and Worship are found. With this Trinity of God-given gifts, goes the practice of Tithe-paying. The universal custom prevailing to build Altars, to make Offerings and to Worship, is admitted to be the strongest sort of evidence, that these customs came down from Eden. If we find that Tithing appears along with these other customs, why is it that any one should not recognize it too, of the most ancient origin? Is not the conclusion irresistible? If Altars, Offerings and Worship came with Abraham out of Babylonia, where did he get his idea of Tithing? From the same source, of course, and all came to the heathen, from the original pure fountain.
Genesis 14:21 is the first mention in the Bible; one hundred and fifty-three years later, we have Abraham's grandson, Jacob, making a vow at Bethel, recognizing the Tithe, Genesis 18 :22-23. Four hundred and twelve years after Abraham's
paying Tithes, when Moses organized the Jewish people into a nation, the Tithe, by Divine direction, was written into the law.
There is no need to discuss further, the Origin of the Tithe.
The Tithe In New Testament Times
In New Testament times, it was common among the Jews. The Pharisees were the most punctilious in observing the Jewish customs. They were the most bitter foes the Master met. He called them everything that was mean, but He commended them about one thing - the tithe (Luke 11:42): "Ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done."
Much quibbling is had over whether it was brought over from the Old into the New Testament times. Though the Master and His apostles talked much of Giving, cheerful, liberal and frequent, not once did one of them say a word against Tithing. The Tithe was so common they deemed it unnecessary to speak of it.
The Tithe In Modern Times
A skeptic said he would not believe a book whose author wasn't known. Asked if he believed the Multiplication Table, he readily replied in the affirmative. Asked if he knew the author, he replied in the negative. Then asked why, the answer was: "Because it works." "Exactly so," said his opponent, "the Bible works. Through all the ages, where it is believed, it makes bad men good. Even whole nations are influenced by its blessed teaching. Its advocates dare even to say, it will yet conquer the world."
The Tithe In Modern Times "Works,"
Just as it did in olden times, God's blessing attends it with all who practice it. Its advocates are the most cheerful and liberal givers. A State Secretary who was not a Tither, said: "I must confess it is a joy to meet a tither. He is always ready to· give and glad you called on him."
The Tithe, The Minimum.
All will admit, we ought to give at least a
tenth. All believe in proportionate giving. That's coming our way some.
Are you afraid to trust God? Hear Malachi, the last of the Old Testament Prophets, 1394 years after Abraham. God promises to the backslidden Jews, who had ceased to pay the Tithe: "Bring ye all the tithes into the store-house that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, said the Lord of hosts, 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." What a challenge! Are you afraid to prove Him?
What blessings did He refer to? Besides spiritual blessings coming from the open windows, the following temporal blessings: "And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground, neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts."
Can't Afford to Pay the Tithe!
How can you afford to give to God one-seventh of your time? Did you ever lose anything by that? Don't we do better with six-sevenths of our time spent in business and one-seventh in rest and worship? Why not give God a chance to show us that we can do better on nine-tenths of our income, than on the whole amount, minus a little that we can conveniently spare to His great cause?
"That there shall be meat in mine house." God was concerned about the support of "those that ministered about holy things." Is He not as much concerned about His ministers today? Think, too, of the great enterprises His people have on band for Him today: missions, education, etc., which the Jews were not expected to undertake.
NOW LISTEN! The greatest reason is, we need to become tithers to root out selfishness, kill covetousness and rid us of that grudging feeling we so often have when we are called upon to give.
One of the biggest tithers in Alabama said: "I have often heard people complaining about the preachers taking so many collections and I partly agreed. with them. After I became a tither, I quit finding fault with the collections. The preacher must take collections and I enjoy them."
"Prove" God by tithing one year. Then I know you will never abandon it. Send me your name for the tithers' roll. I do not wish it for publication; I only want to send you something occasionally. The Lord help you to honor Him with your substance in His own well tried way!
A Word To Tithers
We are becoming a great army. I offer a word of caution. Never boast of being a Tither nor boast of what you have done. Advocate tithing, induce others to join you, but be modest in speaking of yourself. You do not tell your private business to the public; why not be as prudent about speaking of your dealings with the Lord? It makes a bad impression on non-tithers. Speak of tithing, tell the advantages and the results, the joy it brings, the fulfilled promise as to the temporal and spiritual blessings, and modestly say you practice it and like it. That is enough.
To The Brother Under Temptation To Write Against Tithing.
If you feel like sharpening your pencil to argue against tithing as "a Jewish practice," "gone out of date," reflect thus: "The folks that are tithing are giving lots more money than those who do not practice it. They seem to get a great deal of pleasure out of it. If I write against it, all the close fisted, covetous Baptists will pat me on the back and shout for me and hold their money all the tighter.
After all, the Tithers are only advocating proportionate giving, with the tithe as the minimum. If one wants to give a fifth, or even more, the Tithers will be glad. The money will come into the Lord's treasury regularly, God, will be honored and all of us will be happy. "No, I won't write, unless I shall write in favor of proportionate giving. If all will do that, every one settling in his own mind the proper proportion, all will be well." I am sure the brother under temptation will be happy after thinking that speech over to himself.
A PERTINENT QUESTION ASKED.
"For Whose Benefit is the Law of Tithing? "For whose benefit? The emphasis of the answer is almost universally placed upon the needs of the Kingdom, the opportunities for doing good, etc. All excellent, but the emphasis ought to be ravened. God instituted tithing and giving for our benefit. The benefits to others are incidental and subordinate to the benefits we ourselves receive."
The Law of Tithing Consistent.
"There are limits to the financial results of tithing. All that is claimed is that those who adopt it as a rule of life, because they desire to honor God with their substance, will profit financially and be blessed spiritually, by tithing. But tithing will not affect conditions and circumstances with which it has no connection. It will not make rich land out of poor. It will not take the place of fertilizers or careful cultivation of crops. It will not produce rain. It will not make a successful merchant out of an untrained farmer. It is not a shield against bad debts. It will not help speculation. It will not take the place of special training in any calling. It will not produce sickness for the benefit of tithing doctors nor law suits for tithing lawyers. It is not a substitute for brains or tact. It is not many other things with which it has no relation, but it is a sensible, practical, easily followed and
financially profitable method of honoring and worshipping God with our substance. If practiced by all Christians, they would be both financially and spiritually richer. They would love their churches more, and would live happier and far more useful lives." Conditions in Alabama Among the Baptists: Out of 2057 churches, 178 have services every Sunday, 174 half or three-quarters services and hundreds without an under-shepherd.
"I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled, every one to his field. Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place. Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil unto the treasuries." - Nehemiah.
[From a Tract; via E-Text Collection, SBTS Archives, Adam Winters, Archivist. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]