Ask Doug: Pastors and the Tithe

Ask Doug: “Should pastor’s tithe? In other words, should I tithe back to the church that supports me? Paul seems to take some cue from the Law when talking about a minister’s compensation. What is the correlation between the Levitical priests and modern vocational pastors in terms of compensation?”



  1. Tony Isaac says:

    Hmmm… very unscriptural, today’s church has not been given the command to tithe. Scriptures also never says that pastors’ salaries should come from the tithes of his congregation. Paul’s Old Testament analogies never referenced a tithe in any way shape or form.

    Also, no portion of the bible ever equates today’s pastor to the Old Testament priests instead we are told from scripture that every single New Testament believer is a king and a priest. With that in mind, the simple answer to this pastor’s question is that he gives what he is able to give anywhere he feels led to give.

  2. JD Lollar says:

    Ummmm… No, you are wrong Tony. Scripture clearly teaches us to tithe. Paul does, but you don’t have to rely solely on him. And Paul’s instruction in 1 Tim 5 is very clearly telling us that leaders in the church (particularly those responsible for preaching and teaching) are to be well compensated, in the form of wages, for their labors. It is very obvious from the bible that Jesus is the fulfillment form of our final High Priest/mediator, and pastors are symbolically representative of him during the Lord’s Service. While it is true that all saints are now priests, analogously, this in no way diminishes what Paul was clearly talking about when claiming his due wages for his work as teaching/preaching elder (pastor).
    Consider that Paul, nor the Lord jesus himself ever specifies that bestiality is a sin. I’m sure you wouldn’t try and make a similar argument for that perversion…or can we choose to participate in that if “we are led”? Reductio ad absurdum. You are presupposing your position with narrow reasoning.

  3. Tony Isaac says:

    Pastors are symbolical representative of him? I beg your pardon?In which version of the bible did you source that? And Paul said to tithe? where? Scriptures never ever said pastoral compensation must come from tithes sir. The new testament teaches that everyone give as they are able, you are definitely twisting scriptures to support your view.

    Your comment on bestiality is a little childish and does not lend support to the false tithe doctrine being taught from many pulpits today. It bears no resemblance to the one taught in scripture. Tithing money does not exist anywhere in the bible and a command for the new testament church to carry on this practice as a means of supporting pastors is so untrue.

    Can you provide relevant scriptures in support of all that you’ve said?

  4. JD Lollar says:


    First let me say I’m not trying to engage in an online battle of wits…so I apologize if my comments were offensive. Please forgive me. However, I WAS hoping you would notice that my real point was to offer a challenge to you in the form of imitation, normally the greatest form of flattery. Notice that I started my reply similarly to yours…your “Hmmm….”vs. my “Ummmm….”. Also notice I began my response with a bald assertion, as you did your “very unscriptural”….vs. my “you are wrong”. Let us both be more careful, especially in cyberspace where it is so easy, to attack fellow believers so aggressively. Next, I follow with further assertions with ZERO scriptural support (well, I actually slip in a reference to 1 Tim 5), which you failed to do. “Nowhere in scripture” is no exegetical defense of your belief that we aren’t obligated to provide first fruits to God in our tithes, when it is the very clear pattern from scripture, most clearly shown in the Pentateuch. My guess is that you are not a paedo-baptist. Am I correct? It is a common argument that because there is no overt pronouncement in the NT that we are to baptize infants that it is unbiblical. Yet, the evidence for covenantal baptism is all over the bible, much like the doctrine of the trinity. Mature study requires both systematic and biblical theology. Not to mention, you don’t look for direction only in the last chapter (NT) of the book (bible). Finally, I’m not sure why you called my comment on bestiality “childish” exactly. My point was to, once again, show that the “argument from silence” is logically invalid, but I chose an example that is guaranteed to get your attention. There’s nothing childish about it. What makes bestiality sin today? Much like the question at hand, it is also clearly spoken of in the Pentateuch and yet we assume its present validity without question. The tithe is not, nor was it ever, a burden. It is a great blessing to give to our Lord what He requires.

    As far as the actual scriptural support, I’m not trying to shirk the debate, only it wasn’t the point I was trying to make, and it would take too much space here to argue it in any helpful way. I might remind you that Pastor Wilson was not making a full, exegetical defense, but a pastoral response. There’s a difference. Comments and challenges are welcome, but let’s not bring a gun to a tea party.

    BTW, I highly recommend the book “The Lord’s Service” by Jeffrey Meyers for a solid defense of my position.


    In Christ,

  5. Tony Isaac says:

    You’re right and I most certainly apologise.

    I wouldn’t think my argument is based on silence in the new testament with regards to tithing but rather it is plainly stated how we should give. We are told that anything we give will be accepted as long as it has been given willingly and cheerfully.

    And like you rightly pointed out, mature study requires both systematic and biblical theology. Applying this to the teaching of the tithe, we can see why it was never enforced in the New Testament. The bible always referred to the tithe as the tenth part of agricultural produce and livestock. And it was the taxation system of ancient Israel. It was used to feed the priests, Levites, widows, orphans and strangers. Even the tithers themselves were allowed to eat their tithes.

    God gave specific guidelines on how the tithes were supposed to be handled; they were to be given on grains, olive oil, new wine and livestock. They could be bought back and their monetary value plus 20% of this value was paid in lieu. This kind of trumps the popular notion that money was nonexistent during this time as you cannot buy back money with money. Also, the tithes could be converted into money in the event that one lived too far away from the place God had instructed that the children of Israel eat their tithes. And every single penny was supposed to be spent on anything the tither liked including wine and strong drink. Again this would have been pointless if one could tithe money.

    The priests and Levites were allowed the tithes because they were barred from owning property and working and were the only ones allowed to minister in the tabernacle. This system was abolished at Calvary as we have only one mediator between God and man in the person of Jesus. And every single believer has been granted unrestricted access to God’s presence without the need for an earthly intermediary. Also, scriptures never refer to today’s pastors as the New Testament priests because that system of a clergy laity distinction that existed in the Old Testament was abolished on the cross.

    My point is simple: the New Testament does not use the Old testament tithes as the giving standard instead it teaches that anything given is acceptable, no minimum or maximum is commanded.

    God bless.

  6. tj mccormick says:

    Tony and JD,

    While you both are arguing words, I have questions..
    1) Why do pastors often rely on their sermons to ask for money? Do they not have the SAME LORD who owns the cattle of a thousand hills? Do they WORRY about finances, budgets, rent payments, moving lights and new projectors?
    2) Won’t the LORD provide for everyone, pastors and churches included? Matt 6:24-33 says it all. If you worry, you’re just like the Gentiles, about these things, yes?)
    3) People who don’t work, don’t eat. The righteous do not beg for bread.

    I believe that churches have gotten this wrong. Why does a church collect offerings? To distribute to those in need, and provide for the needs of missionaries. Not to fund ongoing building projects, or new AV equipment, or any of the other things churches put before feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and visiting those in prison. And, don’t get me started on exorbitant salaries, perqs, and lavish lifestyles many claim is their calling.

Leave a Comment