Comments on Tithing

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Pink misses the mark

I grew up with a respect for Pink, one of my father's favorite authors. We had numerous books by Pink in the house we could read. However, I believe Pink missed the mark with this treatise.

In the beginning comments, Pink addresses Gen. 18:19 to suggest with this comment:

"As we study carefully the book of Genesis we find clear traces of a primitive revelation, an indication of God's mind to His people long before the system of legislation that was given at Sinai (see Gen. 18:19); and that primal revelation seems to have centered about three things: 1. The offering of sacrifices to God. 2. The observance of the Sabbath. 3. The giving of tithes."

Here is what Gen. 18:17-21 (ASV) says:

17And Jehovah said, Shall I hide from Abraham that which I do; 18seeing that Abraham had surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of Jehovah, to do righteousness and justice; to the end that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. 20And Jehovah said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 21I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

This is about the sins of Sodom, and there is nothing in the writing about Sodom that addresses tithing.

Pink's next Scripture reference, which he believes proves his point is Gen. 26:5--5Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.

Once again, there is no mention of tithing, so it is pure theological speculation that tithing is addressed in this generality.

Pink next assumes his point is made in Heb. 11:4-- 4By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had witness borne to him that he was righteous, God bearing witness in respect of his gifts: and through it he being dead yet speaketh.

This is one of the hardest verses in Scripture to use to address tithing. If one assumes Abel gave one tenth of his newborn flock as a tithe, that was one huge pile of carcasses to put on the altar for sacrifice. There is nothing in the Genesis text to suggest anything so huge. When Paul uses the word "gifts" in this passage, we do a lot of assuming to turn "gifts" into "tithes." Here is the text of Gen. 4:3-7(ASV) --

3And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto Jehovah. 4And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And Jehovah had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. 6And Jehovah said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7If thou doest well, shall it not be lifted up? and if thou doest not well, sin coucheth at the door: and unto thee shall be its desire, but do thou rule over it.

Do you see the problems with this being a tithe offering? #1-It doesn't tell us how much of their fruit of flock was offered. #2-Cain's offering was rejected because it was not a blood offering. When was a blood offering ever required a tithe? NEVER. #3-Oh! Oh! This passage definitely doesn't work for a proof of perpetual requirement for tithing. It clearly states, "In process of time." In other words, it definitely wasn't an ongoing event.

When you read Pink's treatise on tithing, it is interesting how he treats Gen. 14. Pink says concerning the offering to Melchisadek: "In Genesis 14:20 it is written, 'And he gave him tithes of all.' Abraham gave tithes unto Melchizedek. We are not informed why he did so. We are not told in previous chapters that God had commanded him to do so, but the fact that he did so clearly denotes that he was acting in accordance with God's will and that he was carrying out His revealed mind."

Pink admits there was no recorded commandment, and he is at a loss to determine what moved Abraham to give a tenth of all. He also fails to address "ALL OF WHAT?" Fortunately, God answers that question with the writings of Paul. It was all of the takings in the defeating all previous kings on his route. However, interestingly it didn't include a tithe of the takings from the king of Sodom. When the king of Sodom offered Abraham the deal of a life-time (You take the wealth; but please let me keep the people), Abraham refused the plunder.

Pink addresses the "tithe of Jacob" in Gen. 28:19-22 (I've included verse 18 in the quotation) -- "18And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. 19And he called the name of that place Beth-el. But the name of the city was Luz at the first. 20And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, 21so that I come again to my father's house in peace, and Jehovah will be my God, 22then this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house. And of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

I could go on and show numerous misuses of Scripture, but it isn't worth the time. I just suggest that those reading the book actually look at the Scriptures Pink addresses and read them in context. If you read the book online here at CCEL, you can hover you pointer over the text and read the verses. However, I recommend that a better option is to study the verses in their context. To do this, actually click on the Scripture address given in the book. This will bring up the whole chapter of the Bible and you can go forward a chapter at a time to see what God says on the issue.

The simple fact is that Pink didn't adequately make his point in this book. Other books of his are far superior.

Submitted as a poster,

Dave S.
Senior Moderator, Volunteers for Proofreading
2 Tim. 3:16--All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.