Excerpt from RETURN TO BABYLON, CULTIC ELEMENTS, THE CHURCH Please take this in the context of the entire work.
“For the loue of money is the root of all euil…”(1 Timothy 6:10)
Having discussed the modern churches’ departure from biblical principles of the early church, and having identified their appetite for property, money and prestige, we need turn to the financial model they gradually adopted to ensure economic success. In the early fourth century, Constantine established the legal Roman Church to help unify his empire; thus, the institutional church was founded on principles that first served the state. Excerpts and repurposed material from my book, “The Leavening, Four Reasons Your Church Is Headed For Rome.” Heavy taxation financed Constantine’s government and, eventually, his universal church and its priests who were granted certain tax exemptions and supplied funds to erect church buildings.
By the sixth century, tithing was formalized and entered into cannon law. Before Constantine, there were no government-affiliated churches, or financial subsidies for them. Churches were non-institutional, non-building oriented and sustained through fee-will offerings by congregants. There was no tithing or compulsory giving. (Acts 4:32-37, 1 Corinthians 6:2 & 9:1- 14, 1 Timothy 5:17-18 & 6:17-19).
The Encyclopaedia Britannica says, “The Christian Church depended at first on voluntary gifts from its members.” And, Hastings Dictionary of the Apostolic Church states, “It is admitted universally that the payment of tithes or the tenths of possessions, for sacred purposes did not find a place within the Christian Church during the age covered by the apostles and their immediate successors.”
Despite no record of tithing in the early church, various revenue-generating schemes, like compulsory giving and church taxes, gradually became normative within the evolving church. The residue of Rome’s state-enforced church tax is tax is still evident in some European countries, where institutional churches and governments cooperate to collect taxes, or mandatory tithes of a sort; for example, church taxes are still paid by citizens of Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland. In a similar spirit, North American 501c3 corporate churches work closely with the government to provide congregations with tax-deductible receipts that encourage tithes and offerings, thereby stimulating cash flow to support church hierarchies, fund building projects, acquire assets and pay salaries and other expenses.
Introduction to the book from the author: