X04.01............Not Tithes and Offerings--Distributions and Collections
In the New Testament church, they did no have "tithes and offerings" they had distributions and collections.
Is there a difference?
Yes there is, very definitely.
In the old covenant, Israel needed to take 1/10th of the increase of certain specific herd animals and crops, and offer them in the temple in Jerusalem, in payment (offering) for their sin. Quite obviously, Christians ought to realize that we do not need to make sin offerings.
"Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin." (Hebrews 10:18)
"Tithes and offerings" are the wrong thing to do.
But what is right?
In the new testament church they had distributions and collections.
What were they?
First of all, they were NOT LAW. These things were (like everything else in the NT church) SPIRIT-LEAD.
1 ¶ Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given
order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
3 And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. (1Corinthians 15:1-3)
Paul is writing to the church at Corinth, that they ought to collect up some goods, which will be given to the "saints" at Jerusalem. This was His Spirit-lead direction to this particular church that they should give to the poor in another locale. Notice that he does not specify it as an "offering" or a "tithe"--in fact it is clear that the exact amounts given are left to the giver--and their own leading of the Holy Spirit. This is a great ministry idea. When the Lord directs the church to give to the poor, it is perfectly right for a collection to be done. But it is not a ritual or an obligation or a law--it is a ministry. It serves the poor, which is one of the very important functions of the Gospel as Jesus demonstrated it to us.
Now let's look at "distribution"...
34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were
possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the
things that were sold,
35 And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. (Acts 4: 34-35)
44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. (Acts 2: 44-45)
These 2 examples are from the early church in Jerusalem. This is a very similar action as a collection. Notice that it is not a law or command. The exact amounts of what was to be sold for distribution is not specified (It is again--Spirit-lead!). It is also obvious that the giving is not directed to support the leadership of the church or the building of the church building--but rather is to "every man according as he had need". Now the need could be to help anyone within the church who had lack. But what few realize is that every man within the church was serving God--doing ministry--and equitable ministry (not a "ruling" ministry).
The lack that "any man" may have had, could well have been to accomplish what ministry that "any man" may have had to accomplish. That is to say, that if the Holy Ghost gave direction for a certain group of believers to travel to a specific place and spread the Gospel (which could include feeding the poor, or helping the homeless), they could receive provision for their ministry from this distribution.
Yes, ministry has the right to ask for money to operate, however, that ministry could come from any man.
God is in all--therefore ministry is in all.