Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Selection of Post-Tithe Quotes: Reformation Period

Martin Luther (1483–1546)

“I would even be glad if [today’s] lords ruled according to the example of Moses. If I were emperor, I would take from Moses a model for [my] statutes; not that Moses should be binding on me, but that I should be free to follow him in ruling as he ruled. For example, tithing is a very fine rule, because with the giving of the tenth all other taxes would be eliminated. For the ordinary man it would also be easier to give a tenth than to pay rents and fees. Suppose I had ten cows; I would then give one. If I had only five, I would give nothing.”

Martin Luther, “How Christians Should Regard Moses,” In Luther’s Works, vol. 35,

edited and translated by E. Theodore Bachman (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1960), 165-66.

Separatists in Amsterdam (1602–1603)

“That the due maintenance of the Officers aforesaid, should be of the free and voluntarie contribution of the Church, that according to Christs ordinance, they which preach the Gospell may live of the Gospell: and not by Popish Lordships and Livings, of Iewish Tithes and Offerings.”

Henry Martyn Dexter, The Congregationalism of the Last Three Hundred Years,

as Seen in Its Literature (New York: Harper, 1880), 307.

“VII. That the due maintenance of the Officers aforeſsaid ſhould be of the free and voluntary contribution of the Church, that according to Chriſts ordinance they which preach the Goſpell, may live of the Goſpell, and not by Popiſh Lordſhips and livings or Iewiſh Tithes and offerings.”

Henry Ainsworth and Francis Johnson,An Apologie or Defence of Svch Trve

Christians as are commonly (but vniuſtly) called Brovvwinsts (n.p.: n.p., 1604), 58.

John Smyth (1609)

John Smyth (1609), a Separatist whom many credit with being the first Baptist, said that Christ abolished tithes.

John Smyth, Parallels, Censures, Observations [Amsterdam]: n.p., 1609, text-Fiche.

John Robinson (1610)

Robinson was the pastor of the “Pilgrim Fathers” before they left on the Mayflower. Robinson remained in Holland with the majority of the congregation. He wrote that he supported the views of Ainsworth and Smyth. In his argument, he claimed that the author of Hebrews taught that “the law is abolished by the gospel, in the sense we speak of: and the old testament by the new, in respect of ordinances,” and tithing was one of those ordinances that had been abolished. He argued that the maintenance of ministers should be through voluntary contributions.

John Robinson, The Works of John Robinson: Pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers,

3 vols., edited by Robert Ashton (London: John Snow, 1851), 2:185-86; 466-67.

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