Coming after several controversies have been exhumed over the issue of tithing in churches, Pastor Abiara, the general evangelist of the Christ Apostolic church while speaking to Punch has revealed his take on the issue.
He said: “You don’t need to know what happens to the tithe you pay. Leave it to the servants of God who will use it for evangelism. It is not for you to investigate how the money is utilized.”
He however continued: “However, it is compulsory for the servants of God to give account of the tithe and other offerings paid by church members to avoid corruption. Proper accountability of incomes accruable to the church will enable the authorities to pay the salaries of pastors and other workers as and when due.”
Another cleric, Pastor Paul Adenuga, the founder of faith revival Apostolic Church added in response to the issue which has since garnered several reactions.
“The controversy over the issue of tithes is unnecessary. It is happening now because some of the big-time servants of God have betrayed the gospel and their calling. They now recruit antichrists to work in God’s vineyard.
“In their bid to make sure that they are known all over the world, many Nigerian servants of God now target influential people, particularly bank chiefs and top public servants to recruit as pastors. These are the people that are now introducing negative doctrines that are alien to the body of Christ.”
“They spend tithes to set up businesses and establish schools for the purpose of making money. Instead of using tithes to pay good salaries to their full-time pastors, they recruit part-time rich pastors who won’t bother them about salaries since they are already comfortable. People don’t have problems paying tithes in accordance with God’s directive in the Bible book of Malachi but they are annoyed that the present-day pastors are no longer using the money for evangelism. They are spending tithes to build universities that children of the payers won’t be able to attend because of high school fees.
“There will always be crises over tithing if pastors continue to use the money to acquire personal properties. To the glory of God, I have been in the ministry for over 28 years and I don’t have a personal property. You are free to investigate. I also have detailed accounts of how we spend all money being paid by members. The Bible says we should bring all the tithes to the storehouse, but the people are protesting today because pastors are no longer using the tithes for the purpose they are meant for. It is for the welfare of pastors and the needy, not for acquiring properties, exotic vehicles and private jets. Members should hold their pastors accountable on the issue of tithes.”
Rev. Fr Osu however maintained that tithing is compulsory in the Catholic churcg setting.
He said: “The first mention of a tithe in the Bible occurs in Genesis when Melchizedek, a king and a “priest of God Most High,” offered a sacrifice of bread and wine in thanksgiving for Abraham’s victory over several enemy kings.
As an offering to God, Abraham gave Melchizedek “a tenth of everything.” (See Genesis 14.) In the Old Testament, the tenth of one’s bounty was customarily given to the priests in their service to God. The Torah (the law of God as revealed to Moses) prescribe the giving of tithes.
A person offered to God, or ‘tithed,’ one-tenth of the harvest of the grain of the fields or the produce of fruit of the trees, one-tenth of new pressed wine and oil, and every firstborn animal of herd or flock (Leviticus 23 30-33. Deuteronomy 12:17. 14:22-29). The Bible book of Numbers also records how God prescribed that the Levites, the priestly class of the Jewish people, were entrusted with these tithes: (Number 18:21-24). Therefore, these tithes were contributions offered to the Lord and distributed to the Levites for their support.
Payment of tithe, like other donations made in the Catholic Church, is not obligatory. This means that members are not compelled to pay the tithe. It is purely voluntary. Also, Catholics are under no obligation to pay a certain percentage of their income to the church as a tithe.
In the early history of our church, the priests depended upon the generous support of congregations for their sustenance. This custom was based on the New Testament instruction: Jesus taught the apostles to depend upon charity when He sent them on a mission (see Matthew 10:10). St. Paul also instructed the early Church community to provide for the needs of their priests (I Corinthians 9:13).
As cited in the Catechism (No. 2043), the precepts of the church maintain that each person has the duty to support the material needs of the church. Of course, a person fulfils this obligation according to his abilities. The Christian faithful are obliged to assist with the needs of the Church so that the Church has what is necessary for divine worship, for apostolic works and works of charity, and for the decent sustenance of ministers. They are also obliged to promote social justice and, be mindful of the precept of the Lord, to assist the poor from their own resources”