Is the New Testament Local Church The Equivalent Of Old Testament Storehouse?
The sentence “the local Church is the New Testament storehouse” has been repeated over and over again by multitude of Pastors all over the world.
Okay, for heck sake let us make the following assumptions:
1. The New Testament local Church is indeed the storehouse and Christians must bring the whole tithe to the local Church.
2. Money was a tithable item in the Old Testament
3. Jews actually tithed ONLY 10% and not 23.3% in the span of 6 years
4. The early Church practiced tithing and the early Church fathers taught tithing.
Let us see how the early Church functioned:
Ephesians 4:11 – And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers.
Ephesians 4:12 – for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
Ephesians 4:13 – until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:28 – And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.
Ephesians 4:11 – 13 clearly states that there are supposed to be 5 fold ministries in order equip the saints.
According to 1 Corinthians 12:28 in the Church 1st apostles, 2nd prophets, 3rd teachers and the Holy Spirit skips evangelists and pastors.
Therefore would it not be logical to conclude that apostles collected the money and distributed to the rest of the ministers.
Even the following verses do not mention about pastors and evangelists.
1 Corinthians 12:29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they?
1 Corinthians 12:30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?
What we see around us are two man-made systems of church government:
(a) The pyramid system a.k.a . hierarchical pattern. This is a centrally-controlled system headed by a General Superintendent like what we see in the Assemblies of God, Church of God and other similar Pentecostal denominations. Senior pastors in these kind of pyramidal systems consider themselves matured and treat the immatured junior pastors badly.
(b) The independent system. In this system, each church is totally independent, called non-denominational and answerable to no one. One Charismatic religious leader builds an empire collecting all tithes and offerings. He has the ultimate control over all decision making processes. Or a Senior Pastor with many associate pastors under him running a huge religious enterprise. Many Churches that practice the Word-of-Faith theology belong to this category.
Neither of the 2 models conform to the New Testament standards but call themselves as New Testament storehouses.
The pastoral calling is a gift given to the church and not the title of the leader of a church. The leaders of the New Testament church were called elders – not pastors – and there was always more than one elder in every church. There New Testament leadership was always in plural. Now those who think that New Testament Christians need to tithe to their local Church need to answer the following questions:
1. Can the pro-tithers show one Church or denomination that has all 5 fold ministries in it? All we see is a single pastor controlled religious enterprise.
2. How can a single pastor attempt to equip the saints without the help of apostles, prophets, teachers and evangelists contrary to Ephesians 4:11-13?
2. If a Pastor gets the whole 10% what about the rest of the 4 ministerial offices?
3. If the early Church had practiced tithing how did they “divide” the tithes amongst all 5 fold ministers?
4. How did the early Church support miracle workers, ministers who operated in the gifts of healings, helpers, administrators and interpreters of tongues?
4. Since 1 Cor. 12:28 says “first apostles”, did Apostles collect 10% and distributed to other type of ministers. Apostles appointed PastorS (actually elderS). So is it safe to conclude that ONLY Apostles got the tithes and gave a small percentage to Pastors and other ministers?
5. 1 Cor. 12:28 also says “second prophets, third teachers” and it does not even mention Pastors and think about how Pastors could have collected tithes.
6. Also in the early Church pastorS were in plural and no where the Apostles appointed a single pastor to shepherd a Church. So how can it be right for a single pastor to collect the whole tithe?
7. All of us may not agree that the offices of Apostles and Prophets exist today but most of us agree that the other 3 offices do. So should the “teachers” get the tithe first and distribute it to the evangelists and pastors ?
8. Also according to Acts 13:1 same people were holding 2 ministerial offices. In the Church of Anitoch there were 5 individuals holding dual offices.
Acts 13:1 Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
Did they get more money for operating in 2 ministerial offices simultaneously?
Later in Acts 13:2, Paul and Barnabas were promoted to hold the office of the apostles!
Acts 13:2 While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
No where in the New Testament we can find any pastor collecting money neither in the form of tithes nor in the form of offerings.
Malachi 3:10 says “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.
In our modern day Churches there is not food for Apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists, helpers, administrators, faith healers, interpreters of tongues and miracle workers do not get their share. They are at the mercy of the senior pastors. Many fellow ministers are asked to “live by faith” by the senior pastors.
Therefore even if we assume that the New Testament Church is the modern day storehouse, it does not function like a storehouse.
In the New Testament, the Lord’s workers were supported financially in two ways: Some were supported by the gifts of believers, while others like Paul supported themselves.
What a glaring discrepancy from what we see today!
Christians wake up!