Tithe Systematic Benevolence

 

Proof that the Seventh-day Adventist Church should still be adopting God’s Systematic Benevolence plan and should NOT have adopted a 10% Tithe for ALL it’s members.
Firstly, what is Systematic Benevolence?
Systematic
Adjective
Done or acting according to a fixed plan or system; methodical.
Synonyms
systematical – methodical – regular – orderly
Benevolence
Noun
An inclination to perform kind, charitable acts.
A kindly act.
A gift given out of generosity.
From the above definitions Systematic Benevolence means ‘acts of generosity performed according to a fixed plan or system’.
Definition of a Tithe
http://www.answers.com/topic/tithe
Noun
3a. A tenth part.
3b. A very small part.
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/tithe
Noun
3.a tenth or very small part of anything
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/tithe
Noun
2 any tax, levy, or the like, especially of one-tenth.
3 a tenth part or any indefinitely small part of anything.
http://www.nairaland.com/viaro/posts/1
MacMillan’s Modern Dictionary – 1938 edition: Tithe – tenth part, or any small part, of produce, profits, or the like paid as a tax or as a voluntary contribution, esp. for religion or charitable use.
http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/tithing
Noun
2. any levy, esp of one tenth
3. a tenth or very small part of anything.
From the above definitions: Tithe is a tenth [10%] BUT it can mean less than a tenth via it’s “indefinitely / very small part” meaning.
So now let us look at the early churches:
Volume 6 Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary: pages 17-95.
By reading the above pages, which cover ‘The Early Christian Church’ and ‘Roman History in New Testament Times’, there is no mention of a requirement to tithe.
Extract from page 24:
The Common Purse. – While in fellowship with their Lord before the ascension the disciples had subsisted from a common purse, maintained by contributions (Luke 8:2, 3) and drawn upon for food and alms (John 4:8; 6:5-7), with Judas as the treasurer (ch. 13:29).
The same economy was used in the infant church. There was a common treasury, contributed to by all who wished, in any amount they desired. Fellowship among these early Christians was spiritual, theological, fraternal, and economic. It was effective throughout all the relationships of the believers with one another.
This ability of the church to find, under God, its own means of supporting itself, put Christ’s followers in the position of being no longer dependant upon the Jewish economy. The church became self-sufficient.
The above underlined text confirms how the early church functioned.
Now consider the 1840’s and onwards:
What happened in the early Seventh-day Adventist Church?
1859 “Systematic Benevolence” plan of giving adopted.
1860 Name “Seventh-day Adventist” adopted.
In the extracts that follow, the salient areas of the research have been underlined; also text has been put in bold.
Extracts from Chapter 25 [Financial Support for The Cause of God] of Ellen G. White: The Early Years Volume 1 (1827-1862):
NB: ‘The Early Years’ was written after October 1966 by Arthur L. White – a grandson of Ellen G. White and a secretary of the Ellen G. White Estate.
The Support of the Ministers
The church was growing; as it spread to the West, families of means accepted the message. For some it was difficult to grasp their responsibility in giving financial support to the cause they loved. During the years 1857 and 1858, the situation became desperate. There was no church organization; there was no church treasury. Those who felt called to enter the ministry faced great sacrifices, for they were dependent upon the gifts placed in their hands as they moved from place to place heralding the message. Dedication and sacrifice were called for.
[text omitted as irrelevant to this tithing study]
The Promise of a Way Out
Things had reached a state where a permanent plan had to be found to provide financial resources for the growing church. It was in these circumstances (according to J. N. Loughborough, who was to become known somewhat as a historian among the pioneers, and at the time was very closely associated with James and Ellen White) that “Sister White stated to her husband, ‘The Lord has shown me that, if you will call the ministers together, and have J. N. Andrews come down from Waukon, and hold a Bible class, you will find that in the Scriptures there is a complete plan to sustaining the work of the ministry.‘”–PUR, Oct. 6, 1910. [Pacific Union Recorder]
James White did call for Andrews to come to Battle Creek for such a study, which took place in mid-January, 1859.[* DEPENDING ON HIS MEMORY FOR THE DATES OF THIS CIRCUMSTANCE, LOUGHBOROUGH FIXED IT EARLY IN 1858. CONTEMPORARY RECORDS PLACE IT EARLY IN 1859.] White, who had planned to spend most of January on a trip north, stayed by in Battle Creek. Loughborough wrote concerning the conclusions of the study:
The Bible class was held in Battle Creek for two days, and at the end of it our brethren said, “The tithing system is just as binding as it ever was.” They said, however, in first introducing it, “Let us call it Systematic Benevolence on the tithing principle.”–Ibid.
The Address
The address carried a heading giving the proper setting of the matter: “From the Church of God at Battle Creek, to the Churches and Brethren and Sisters in Michigan.” It opened with the words:
Dear Brethren and Sisters: We wish to call your attention to a plan of Systematic Benevolence to support the proclamation of the third angel’s message, which may be in harmony with the plain declarations of Holy Scripture.–Ibid.
With the citing of New Testament support, a scriptural framework was assembled for the projected procedures, and it was suggested that “we gather from these facts some instruction relative to our own duty.” The pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church could have gone more easily to the Old Testament and brought in the obligation of the tithe, but at this juncture, regardless of the attractiveness of the tithe, they were not sure that it was not one of those ceremonial obligations that ceased at the cross. In the occasional mention of organization they were looking to the New Testament with its seven deacons, not to the Old Testament with the appointment by Moses of the seventy. In finance they were looking to the New Testament and Paul’s counsel in 1 Corinthians 16:2 that “upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, “rather than to Malachi’s direction to “bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house” (Mal. 3:10). They conceded that the tithing system was a good plan, and it did have a strong bearing on the conclusions reached and set before the church. Here is the argument set forth in the address:
If Paul found it essential to complete success that method should be observed in raising means for benevolent purposes, it is certainly not unreasonable to conclude that we should find the same thing beneficial in promoting a similar object. As Paul wrote by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we may rest assured that his suggestions were not only safe to follow, and calculated to ensure success, but also that they were in exact accordance with the will of God. We shall not therefore displease Him by adopting the suggestions of His servant Paul.–Ibid.
The next paragraph delineated the points supported by Scripture, which it was thought should form the basis for the plan Sabbathkeeping Adventists ought to follow:
“Upon the first day of the week let everyone of you lay by him in store as God hath prospered him.” This implies: 1. A stated time for the business, viz., the first day of the week. 2. The concurrent action of each individual, for he adds, “Let every one of you” lay by him in store. 3. This is not a public collection, but a private act of setting apart for the Lord a portion of what one possesses. 4. The amount to be given is brought home to the conscience of each individual by the language, “as God hath prospered him.”–Ibid.
The next point made was “How may we reduce to practice these excellent suggestions?” It was thought that with few exceptions the following plan could be adopted:
1. Let each brother from 18 to 60 years of age lay by him in store on the first day of each week from 5 to 25 cents.
2. Each sister from 18 to 60 years of age lay by her in store on the first day of each week from 2 to 10 cents.
3. Also, let each brother and sister lay by him or her in store on the first day of each week from 1 to 5 cents on each and every $100 of property they possess. . . .
The lowest sums stated are so very small that those in the poorest circumstances (with very few exceptions of some widows, infirm, and aged) can act upon this plan; while those in better circumstances are left to act in the fear of God in the performance of their stewardship, to give all the way up to the highest sums stated, or even more, as they see it their duty to do.–Ibid.
Extracts from Chapter 25 [The Call for a School] of Ellen G. White: Volume 2 The Progressive Years (1862-1876):
NB: ‘The Progressive Years’ was written after October 1966 by Arthur L. White – a grandson of Ellen G. White and a secretary of the Ellen G. White Estate.
Our system of supporting the cause by means of Systematic Benevolence appears to be the best that could be devised. It bears very lightly upon the poor man, drawing only about 1 percent annually of the little which he possesses. And when this system is applied to the wealthy–when we consider that they profess to believe that the end of all things is at hand; and that they have but a little time to use their means, and when we consider that the system calls for only about one tenth of their increase–they should be the very last to complain of the system.
The last merciful message is intrusted to God’s humble, faithful servants of this time. God has led along those who would not shun responsibility, and has laid burdens upon them, and has through them presented to his people a plan of systematic benevolence in which all can engage, and work in harmony. This system has been carried out, and has worked like magic. It liberally sustains the preachers and the cause. As soon as the preachers ceased their opposition, and stood out of the way, the people heartily responded to the call, and prized the system. Everything is made convenient and easy for the preachers, that they may work, free from embarrassment. Our people have taken hold with a will and an interest which is not to be found among any other class. And God is displeased with preachers who now complain, and fail to throw their whole energies into this all-important work. They are without excuse, yet some are deceived, and think that they are sacrificing much, and are having a hard time, when they really know nothing about suffering, self-denial, or want. They may often be weary, so would they be if they were dependent on manual labor for a support. [Gospel Workers 92 61.3 (1892)]
The Biblical basis of Systematic Benevolence:
1 Corinthians 16:2: 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.
Upon the first day of the week – Frequency & timing
let every one of you – Participates
lay by him in store – Payment of tithe and offerings criteria
as God hath prospered him – Proportion to be paid.
Why God originated Systematic Benevolence [Tithe] for mankind:
The special system of tithing was founded upon a principle which was as enduring as the law of God. This system of tithing was a blessing to the Jews, else God would not have given it them. So also will it be a blessing to those who carry it out to the end of time. Our Heavenly Father did not originate the plan of systematic benevolence to enrich himself, but to be a great blessing to man. He saw that this system of beneficence was just what man needed. [Review & Herald, December 15, 1874 par. 25]
Systematic benevolence looks to you as needless; you overlook the fact that it originated with God, whose wisdom is unerring. This plan He ordained to save confusion, to correct covetousness, avarice, selfishness, and idolatry. This system was to cause the burden to rest lightly, yet with due weight, upon all. The salvation of man cost a dear price, even the life of the Lord of glory, which He freely gave to lift man from degradation and to exalt him to become heir of the world. God has so ordained that man shall aid his fellow man in the great work of redemption. He who excuses himself from this, who is unwilling to deny himself that others may become partakers with him of the heavenly benefit, proves himself unworthy of the life to come, unworthy of the heavenly treasure which cost so great a sacrifice. God wants no unwilling offering, no pressed sacrifice. Those who are thoroughly converted and who appreciate the work of God will give cheerfully the little required of them, considering it a privilege to bestow. [1T 545.3 (1855-1868)]
NB: Avarice means extreme greed for wealth or material gain.
The system of benevolence was arranged to prevent that great evil, covetousness. Christ saw that in the prosecution of business the love of riches would be the greatest cause of rooting true godliness out of the heart. He saw that the love of money would freeze deep and hard into men’s souls, stopping the flow of generous impulses and closing their senses to the wants of the suffering and the afflicted. “Take heed,” was His oft-repeated warning, “and beware of covetousness.” “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” The oft-repeated and striking warnings of our Redeemer are in marked contrast with the actions of His professed followers who evidence in their lives so great eagerness to be rich and who show that the words of Christ are lost upon them. Covetousness is one of the most common and popular sins of the last days, and has a paralyzing influence upon the soul. [Testimonies for the Church Volume 3 page 547.2 (1872-1875)]
Constant, self-denying benevolence is God’s remedy for the cankering sins of selfishness and covetousness. God has arranged systematic benevolence to sustain His cause and relieve the necessities of the suffering and needy. He has ordained that giving should become a habit, that it may counteract the dangerous and deceitful sin of covetousness. Continual giving starves covetousness to death. Systematic benevolence is designed in the order of God to tear away treasures from the covetous as fast as they are gained and to consecrate them to the Lord, to whom they belong. [3T 548.1]
This system is so arranged that men may give something from their wages every day and lay by for their Lord a portion of the profits of every investment. The constant practice of God’s plan of systematic benevolence weakens covetousness and strengthens benevolence. If riches increase, men, even those professing godliness, set their hearts upon them; and the more they have, the less they give to the treasury of the Lord. Thus riches make men selfish, and hoarding feeds covetousness; and these evils strengthen by active exercise. God knows our danger and has hedged us about with means to prevent our own ruin. He requires the constant exercise of benevolence, that the force of habit in good works may break the force of habit in an opposite direction. [3T 548.2]
The offerings of little children may be acceptable and pleasing to God. In accordance with the spirit that prompts the gifts will be the value of the offering. The poor, by following the rule of the apostle and laying by a small sum every week, help to swell the treasury, and their gifts are wholly acceptable to God; for they make just as great, and even greater, sacrifices than their more wealthy brethren. The plan of systematic benevolence will prove a safeguard to every family against temptations to spend means for needless things, and especially will it prove a blessing to the rich by guarding them from indulging in extravagances. [3T 412.1]
Have you confessed Christ by faithfully tithing the mint, the anise, and the rue? When we give the Lord the tithe, we are only giving Him that which is His own, to withhold which is theft and robbery. When we withhold the tithe we keep back that which God designs shall sustain His work on the earth. For this work of redemption God gave the richest gift of heaven; can we not give one tenth of what we have? Many have forgotten God, and have kept back the tithe. Does your account book reveal that you have dealt faithfully with your Lord? Are you poor? Then give your little. Have you been blessed with abundance? Then be sure to lay aside that which the Lord registers as His own. [Manuscript Releases Volume 12 page 228.2 (1990)]
Collating the above bold text statements:
The special system of tithing was founded upon a principle which was as enduring as the law of God. This system of tithing was a blessing to the Jews, else God would not have given it them. So also will it be a blessing to those who carry it out to the end of time. Our Heavenly Father did not originate the plan of systematic benevolence to enrich himself, but to be a great blessing to man. He saw that this system of beneficence was just what man needed. [Review & Herald, December 15, 1874 par. 25]
Selfishness is the strongest and most general of human impulses, the struggle of the soul between sympathy and covetousness is an unequal contest; for while selfishness is the strongest passion, love and benevolence are too often the weakest, and as a rule the evil gains the victory.
Systematic benevolence … originated with God … . This plan He ordained to save confusion, to correct covetousness, avarice, selfishness, and idolatry. This system was to cause the burden to rest lightly, yet with due weight, upon all. …
Constant, self-denying benevolence is God’s remedy for the cankering sins of selfishness and covetousness. God has arranged systematic benevolence to sustain His cause and relieve the necessities of the suffering and needy. … Continual giving starves covetousness to death. Systematic benevolence is designed in the order of God to tear away treasures from the covetous as fast as they are gained …
The plan of systematic benevolence will prove a safeguard to every family against temptations to spend means for needless things, and especially will it prove a blessing to the rich by guarding them from indulging in extravagances.
… If riches increase, men, even those professing godliness, set their hearts upon them; and the more they have, the less they give to the treasury of the Lord. Thus riches make men selfish, and hoarding feeds covetousness; and these evils strengthen by active exercise. God knows our danger and has hedged us about with means to prevent our own ruin. …
… Are you poor? Then give your little. Have you been blessed with abundance? Then be sure to lay aside that which the Lord registers as His own.
Summary of above:
The special system of tithing / the plan of systematic benevolence is enduring as the law of God and will be a blessing to those who carry it out to the end of time.
God ordained systematic benevolence to save confusion, to correct covetousness, avarice, selfishness, and idolatry.
Selfishness is the strongest and most general of human impulses.
Systematic benevolence will prove a safeguard to every family against temptations to spend means for needless things.
Systematic benevolence blesses the rich by guarding them from indulging in extravagances.
Riches make men selfish, and hoarding feeds covetousness; and these evils strengthen by active exercise.
God has arranged systematic benevolence to sustain His cause and relieve the necessities of the suffering and needy.
Are you poor? Then give your little. Have you been blessed with abundance? Then be sure to lay aside that which the Lord registers as His own.
Comment: The way the last statement is worded proves that God wants a 10% tithe from those who He has financially blessed but accepts that the poor are unable to return this amount to Him.
What happened to Systematic Benevolence in the Seventh-day Adventist Church?
Testimonies for The Church Volume 4 and Chapter 41 [Sacredness of Vows] page 469 (1876-1881)
God provided bread for His people in the wilderness by a miracle of mercy, and He could have provided everything necessary for religious service; but He did not, because in His infinite wisdom He saw that the moral discipline of His people depended upon their co-operating with Him, every one of them doing something. As long as the truth is progressive, the claims of God rest upon men to give of that which He has entrusted to them for this very purpose. God, the Creator of man, by instituting the plan of systematic benevolence, has made the work bear equally upon all according to their several abilities. Everyone is to be his own assessor and is left to give as he purposes in his heart.
Extracts from Second Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, January 1,1875:
If systematic benevolence was universally adopted, according to God’s plan, and the tithing system carried out as faithfully by the wealthy as it is by the poorer classes, there would be no need of repeated and urgent calls for means at our large religious gatherings. There has been a neglect, in the several churches, of keeping up the plan of systematic benevolence, and the result has been an impoverished treasury and a backslidden church.
[text omitted as irrelevant to this tithing study]
Systematic action in giving in accordance with the plan keeps open the channel of the heart in liberal gifts. We place ourselves in connection with God, that he may use us as channels that his gifts may flow through us to others. The poor will not complain of systematic benevolence; for it touches them lightly. They are not neglected and passed by, but are favored with acting a part in being co-workers with Christ, and will receive the blessing of God as well as the wealthy. In the very process of laying aside the littles as they can spare them, they are denying self and cultivating liberality of heart. They are educating themselves to good works, and are meeting the design of God in the plan of systematic benevolence as effectually as the more wealthy who give of their abundance.
Comment: For the poor to be touched lightly, the tithe payment cannot be 10%; this would be like a 100% [gross] tithe for the rich – an impossible amount to pay for anyone!
In the days of the apostles, men went everywhere preaching the word. New churches were raised up. Their love and zeal for Christ led them to acts of great denial and sacrifice. Many of these Gentile churches were very poor; yet the apostle declares that their deep poverty abounded to the riches of their liberality. Their gifts were extended beyond their power. Men periled their lives and suffered the loss of all things for the truth’s sake.
Ellen G. White: Volume 3 The Lonely Years 1876-1891 Chapter 7 [The Tide Turns] page 92
The Tithe
Another matter receiving consideration at the time was the basis for calculating the tithe. In 1858, a plan known as “Systematic Benevolence” had been recommended as a means of providing support for the work of the ministry. It called for regular contributions and the tithe. The tithe was to be figured on the basis of the church member’s property holdings. It was thought that property should yield 10 percent income per year, and this amount should be regarded as the amount to be tithed. But more and more, church members were working for pay rather than farming their own land, and Canright and White saw that to ascertain the tithe on the basis of property holdings, namely 1 percent of property values per year, excused those who had incomes other than from property.
[Text continues:]
Through 1877 and 1878, articles in the Review canvassed the subject. Four extended editorials signed J. W. appeared in the Review during August and September, 1878 (August 29 to September 19). In these articles James White cited several cases of attitudes toward personal possessions and the support of the cause of God, representing both liberality and stinginess, giving only initials as identification of persons concerned.
Internet searches, etc. have been made to find each of these 4 documents but without success.
Testimonies for The Church Volume 4 and Chapter 41 [Sacredness of Vows] page 475 (1876-1881):
The plan of systematic benevolence was of God’s own arrangement, but the faithful payment of God’s claims is often refused or postponed as though solemn promises were of no significance. It is because church members neglect to pay their tithes and meet their pledges that our institutions are not free from embarrassment. If all, both rich and poor, would bring their tithes into the storehouse, there would be a sufficient supply of means to release the cause from financial embarrassment and to nobly carry forward the missionary work in its various departments. God calls upon those who believe the truth to render to Him the things that are His. Those who have thought that to withhold from God is gain will eventually experience His curse as the result of their robbery of the Lord. Nothing but utter inability to pay can excuse one in neglecting to meet promptly his obligations to the Lord.
Extract from Second Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, January 1, 1875:
The offerings of little children may be acceptable and pleasing to God. In accordance with the spirit that prompts the gifts will be the value of the offering. The poor, by following the rule of the apostle in laying by every week a small sum, help to swell the treasury, and the gifts are wholly acceptable with God; for they are making just as great sacrifices as their more wealthy brethren, and even greater. The plan of systematic benevolence will prove a safeguard to every family against temptations to spend means for needless things, and especially will it prove a blessing to the rich in guarding them from indulging in extravagances.
1863 General Conference organized and first session held; first steps in health reform taken.
1878 The 10% tithing system replaced the systematic benevolence plan.
Is there a statement / inspired instruction by Ellen G. White that God approved of the change from the Systematic Benevolence method of tithing?
None found; nearest appears to be:
Ellen G. White: The Early Years Volume 1 1827-1862 Chapter 25 [Financial Support for The Cause of God] page 393
NB: ‘The Early Years’ was written after October 1966 by Arthur L. White – a grandson of Ellen G. White and a secretary of the Ellen G. White Estate.
Systematic Benevolence was early endorsed by Ellen White, and she linked it with the tithe. First she assured the church in June, 1859, “The plan of systematic benevolence is pleasing to God” (1T, p. 190), and then in January, 1861, in a Testimony article entitled Systematic Benevolence, she wrote: “Rob not God by withholding from Him your tithes and offerings.” The article closed with Malachi 3:8-11 quoted in full (Ibid., pp. 221, 222). At the outset there was no separation of tithes from offerings. The demand for funds was mainly for the support of the ministers and the evangelistic outreach.
Note:
Extract from Second Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, December 15, 1874:
The special system of tithing was founded upon a principle which is as enduring as the law of God. This system of tithing was a blessing to the Jews, else God would not have given it them. So also will it be a blessing to those who carry it out to the end of time. Our heavenly Father did not originate the plan of systematic benevolence to enrich Himself, but to be a great blessing to man. He saw that this system of beneficence was just what man needed.
Those churches who are the most systematic and liberal in sustaining the cause of God are the most prosperous spiritually. True liberality in the follower of Christ identifies his interest with that of his Master. In God’s dealing with the Jews and His people to the end of time, He requires systematic benevolence proportionate to their income. The plan of salvation was laid by the infinite sacrifice of the Son of God. The light of the gospel shining from the cross of Christ rebukes selfishness and encourages liberality and benevolence. It is not to be a lamented fact that there are increasing calls to give. God in His providence is calling His people out from their limited sphere of action to enter upon greater enterprises. Unlimited effort is demanded at this time when moral darkness is covering the world. Worldliness and covetousness are eating out the vitals of God’s people. They should understand that it is His mercy which multiplies the demands for their means. The angel of God places benevolent acts close beside prayer. He said to Cornelius: “Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.”
Conclusion after detailed searches: No statement / inspired instruction given by Ellen G. White exists to show that God has approved any change from the Systematic Benevolence method of tithing. The above statement “In God’s dealing with the Jews and His people to the end of time, He requires systematic benevolence proportionate to their income.” was found in Second Advent Review and Sabbath Herald 15.12.1874 / Testimonies for The Church Volume 3 – this implies that there will beNO change’.
Extracts from page 190 & 191 of Testimonies for the Church Volume One (1855-1868):
The plan of systematic benevolence [* SEE APPENDIX.] is pleasing to God. I was pointed back to the days of the apostles, and saw that God laid the plan by the descent of His Holy Spirit, and that by the gift of prophecy He counseled His people in regard to a system of benevolence.
[text omitted as irrelevant to this tithing study]
There is order in heaven, and God is well pleased with the efforts of His people in trying to move with system and order in His work on earth. I saw that there should be order in the church of God, and that system is needed in carrying forward successfully the last great message of mercy to the world. God is leading His people in the plan of systematic benevolence, and this is one of the very points to which God is bringing up His people which will cut the closest with some. With them this cuts off the right arm, and plucks out the right eye, while to others it is a great relief. To noble, generous souls the demands upon them seem very small, and they cannot be content to do so little. Some have large possessions, and if they lay by them in store for charitable purposes as God has prospered them, the offering seems to them like a large sum. The selfish heart clings as closely to a small offering as to a larger one, and makes a small sum look very large.
http://www.christiandiscussionforums.org/v/showthread.php?p4427083#post4427083
“Gradually during the 1870s. . .Dudley M. Canright published a series of Review articles. . .
he argued “that a tithe, or one-tenth, of all income of his people shall be given to support his servants in their labors” (Review & Herald, Feb.17, 1876).
Canright shared his arguments at the General Conference session. . .As a result of his presentations, the session resolved that it was the duty of all members “under ordinary circumstances, to devote one-tenth of all their income…to the cause of God” (Review & Herald, Apr. 6, 1876).
http://www.whiteestate.org/issues/Tithe-H&U.html
Extract from the Highlights of the Beginning of the Tithing System by Arthur L. White – a grandson of Ellen G. White and a secretary of the Ellen G. White Estate:
There were many references to systematic benevolence and the tithe through the late 1860s and the 1870s. Ellen White, in Testimony No. 24, written in 1874 and published in January 1875, devotes 28 pages to “Tithes and Offerings,” followed by five pages under the title of “Systematic Benevolence.” (3T 381-413.) [3T extracts are given near the end of this document.]
In 1876 the conviction came to leading brethren that there were defects in the plan, especially in the basis on which the tithe was reckoned. The following comes from a special session of the General Conference held early that year:
Comment: So God’s plan of Systematic Benevolence, which was just what man needed, and upon which He had voiced His pleasure regarding His church accepting, and also stated that it would last until the end of time, and cited as being founded upon a principle which was as enduring as the law of God, suddenly became obsolete through the conviction of a few men that the plan was defective! Come off it! – and the worst thing is, that Ellen G. White Estate and the Seventh-day Adventist Church are still trying to hood-wink all of its members by not coming clean with the mistakes that have occurred [See “Now back to the following report:” below which now confirms one of those mistakes].
Remarks were then made by Brother Canright on the subject of systematic benevolence. Taking certain well-ascertained facts as a basis, he showed that if all would come up to the Bible plan of S.B., the amount within our ranks would reach the sum of $150,000 yearly, instead of about $40,000 as it now is. The Lord says, ‘Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse,’ and until this is done, the Lord will not be ‘proved,’ to see whether He will not pour out a blessing so that there shall not be room enough to receive it. Brother White followed with lengthy and stirring remarks on the same subject.
Comment: Using Rocket Science Technology, Dudley Canright [acting as Church Treasurer] was able to convince James White [acting as Church President] and then the majority of the members at the General Conference, that if everyone paid a 10% tithe [$150,000], then this would bring in more money than the current average of 2.667% [$40,000]. This is an obvious statement to any educated person, but it needed the lengthy and stirring remarks of the Church President [James White] to wear down the minds of those in attendance before they would submit to the proposals being recommended by the alpha males – Nos. 1 & 2 within the church organisation. With God at the helm, all things just happen like clockwork!
Comment: From pages 230-231 of Volume 10 Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, you will read that CANRIGHT, DUDLEY MARVIN (1840-1919) left the church in February, 1887 following a vision of greater achievement in the service of a cause more popular than that of SDA’s. He then became one of the church’s severest critics – do you see the parallels with Lucifer [No. 2] who wanted to be No. 1? Now back to the article:
“Brother Canright offered the following resolutions on the subject of systematic benevolence, which were unanimously adopted by the conference and congregation:
“Resolved, That we believe it to be the duty of all our brethren and sisters, whether connected with churches or living alone, under ordinary circumstances, to devote one-tenth of all their income from whatever source, to the cause of God. And further
“Resolved, That we call the attention of all our ministers to their duty in this important matter to set it plainly and faithfully before all their brethren and urge them to come up to the requirements of the Lord in this thing.
“Moved and carried that the chairman appoint a committee of three, himself to be one of that committee, to prepare a tract upon the subject of systematic benevolence. The Chair appointed D. M. Canright and U. Smith to act with him as that committee.”–Minutes of the Special Session of the General Conference, published in Review & Herald, April 6, 1876, p. 108.
It is difficult to see how “The plan of systematic benevolence is pleasing to God and then accept that He will guide His church into a different tithing system without giving any clear instruction:
Malachi 3:6: For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
James 1:17: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Testimonies for The Church Volume 2 [1868-1871] Chapter 16 – Look to Jesus page 120
Systematic benevolence is dragging. It is one part of the minister’s labor to keep up this branch of the work; but, because this is not agreeable, some neglect their duty. They talk the truth from the word of God, but do not impress the people with the necessity of obedience. Therefore many are hearers, but not doers. The people feel the deficiency. Things are not set in order among them, and they look to Brother and Sister White to make up the deficiency.
The wealthy chose not to pay their tithe and the Seventh-day Adventist Church chose to change the rules rather than convict the wealthy that they needed God’s blessings.
There are many Seventh-day Adventist Church members who cannot afford a 10% [gross] tithe but, if aware, would accept and pay a tithe based upon God’s method of Systematic Benevolence which relates to their financial circumstances.
Rather than being in a position of never being able to pay a 10% tithe, many of the members in such areas as Africa, India, and most parts of South America and the Far East, would appreciate being given an understanding of Systematic Benevolence and to hear that God only requires from them their 1% [or more] payment would yield a lot of “cheerful giver”s.
2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, [so let him give]; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
 
Instead, those in authority within the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and especially those in the affluent areas of the world, sit tight, say nothing and keep their head down for fear of speaking out with God’s Truth. Even the retired pastors, who already have their pensions, remain silent. Many church members must know – but all that you hear is the clock ticking!
Malachi 3:10 is pumped out by the churches to obtain more tithes from each individual, and all those less blessed than the average church member, are continually being told that their action in not paying a 10% [gross] tithe is robbery against God.
SHAME on you Seventh-day Adventist Church – you have been given God’s message and truth but for over 140 years you have NOT acted in accordance with God’s will. One day you will be held accountable to God for such actions.
Now back to the following report:
http://www.aiias.edu/gti/files/gti_2010.pdf
The 2010 Global Tithe Index (GTI) analysis showed that the average tithe percentage paid by church members in each country ranged from 5.86% to 0.09% [or 0.16% as certain figures from India were qualified within the report]; the average being 1.68%.
Dividing the total tithes of $1,939,046,360 by the total potential tithes of $14,151,440,340 gives a percentage figure of 1.37%.
Hence tithing is well below the 10% figure that the church organisation is trying to get from each member and very near to the Systematic Benevolence figure of 1% for a world full of Seventh-day Adventist Church members where ALL are classified as poor.
SDA members in affluent countries are more able to pay and do pay a higher percentage in their tithe than those living in countries where poverty is higher – this is common sense and is Systematic Benevolence in practice. By collecting a small percentage tithe from a very large number of Seventh-day Adventist Church members who currently don’t pay a tithe because they cannot afford to pay the church’s “10% for ALL members” figure, the church treasury would obtain a very large sum of tithe money. Given that a tithe payment would range from 1% through to 10% or more, the average tithe payment should easily exceed 2%. 1.37% from 2% gives 0.63% more tithe money i.e. $890 million USD more; and more than a 2% world average should easily be possible. What a price the Seventh-day Adventist Church is now paying for disobedience to God.
There is big tithing revenue at stake – no wonder God was well pleased with His church when it adopted Systematic Benevolence.  When we go against God we loose out.
However, more revenue must NOT remain with those that have most – tithe money must also boost the work in foreign lands – especially those countries where poverty is high; see the GW 455.2 statement below. In such countries, this redirected tithe money is able to do so much more.
Still convinced that a flat rate tithe of 10% is what God wants everybody to pay? If so, then let God tell you how He directed Moses regarding His law by accepting the principles of Systematic Benevolence:
Leviticus
5:6 And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin.
5:7 And if he be not able to bring a lamb, then he shall bring for his trespass, which he hath committed, two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, unto the LORD; one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering.
5:11 But if he be not able to bring two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, then he that sinned shall bring for his offering the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering; he shall put no oil upon it, neither shall he put [any] frankincense thereon: for it [is] a sin offering.
12:8 And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.
Deuteronomy
16:10 And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give [unto the LORD thy God], according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
16:16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:
16:17 Every man [shall give] as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.
Luke
2:24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
How is the tithe used?
While the distribution percentages vary somewhat in different conferences, the largest portion of the tithe is used to support the ministry of local churches through pastoral salaries, as well as evangelism and additional services provided to the local church.
An unselfish equality is to be shown in dealing with the working forces in home and foreign lands. More and more we must realize that the means which is brought to the Lord’s treasury in the tithes and gifts of our people, should be used for the support of the work, not only at home, but in foreign fields. Those living in places where the work has long been established, should bind about their supposed wants, so that the work in new fields may go forward. In the institutions that have been long established there is sometimes a desire to grasp more and still more advantages. But the Lord declares that this should not be. The money in His treasury is to be used in building up the work all over the world. [GW 455.2 (1915)]
Tithe, when not given to the local church, could beneficially be sent to almost all of the African / Asian countries.
God’s plan in the tithing system is beautiful in its simplicity and equality. All may take hold of it in faith and courage, for it is divine in its origin. In it are combined simplicity and utility, and it does not require depth of learning to understand and execute it. All may feel that they can act a part in carrying forward the precious work of salvation. Every man, woman, and youth may become a treasurer for the Lord, and may be an agent to meet the demands upon the treasury. . . . [GW 223.2]
Testimonies for the Church Volume Three (1872-1875) Chapter 33 Tithes and Offerings
Extracts:
Whenever God’s people, in any period of the world, have cheerfully and willingly carried out His plan in systematic benevolence AND in gifts and offerings, they have realized the standing promise that prosperity should attend all their labors just in proportion as they obeyed His requirements. When they acknowledged the claims of God and complied with His requirements, honoring Him with their substance, their barns were filled with plenty. But when they robbed God in tithes and in offerings they were made to realize that they were not only robbing Him but themselves, for He limited His blessings to them just in proportion as they limited their offerings to Him. {3T 395.4}
Comment: The AND confirms that Systematic Benevolence relates to Tithe and is NOT related to all other monies.
If the plan of systematic benevolence were adopted by every individual and fully carried out, there would be a constant supply in the treasury. The income would flow in like a steady stream constantly supplied by overflowing springs of benevolence. Almsgiving is a part of gospel religion. Does not the consideration of the infinite price paid for our redemption leave upon us solemn obligations pecuniarily, as well as lay claim upon all our powers to be devoted to the work of the Master? {3T 389.4}
Comment: Hence Systematic Benevolence, relating to the Tithe, which if a function of the income of all church members, would therefore provide a constant supply into the treasury flowing like a steady stream.
Testimonies for the Church Volume Three (1872-1875) Chapter 34 Systematic Benevolence
Extracts:
Should all whom God has prospered with earth’s riches carry out His plan by faithfully giving a tenth of all their increase, and should they not withhold their trespass offerings and their thank offerings, the treasury would be constantly replenished. The simplicity of the plan of systematic benevolence does not detract from its merits, but extols the wisdom of God in its arrangement. Everything bearing the divine stamp unites simplicity with utility. If systematic benevolence were universally adopted according to God’s plan, and the tithing system carried out as faithfully by the wealthy as it is by the poorer classes, there would be no need of repeated and urgent calls for means at our large religious gatherings. There has been a neglect in the churches of keeping up the plan of systematic benevolence, and the result has been an impoverished treasury and a backslidden church. {3T 408.4}
Comment: This neglect was caused by ministers not telling new members about the need to make tithe and offering payments. They assumed that others would do this work, and as a result, this action produced insufficient funds to keep the church financially healthy. When new members, especially those with money, were told there was then a reluctance to pay.
A Neglected Work.–We are to give the message of warning to the world, and how are we doing our work? Are you, brethren, preaching that part of the truth that pleases the people, while other parts of the work are left incomplete? Will it be necessary for someone to follow after you, and urge upon the people the duty of faithfully bringing all the tithes and offerings into the Lord’s treasury? This is the work of the minister, but it has been sadly neglected. The people have robbed God, and the wrong has been suffered because the minister did not want to displease his brethren. God calls these men unfaithful stewards. –Review and Herald, July 8, 1884. [Evangelism 252.2 (1946)]
God has devised a plan by which all may give as He has prospered them, and which will make giving a habit without waiting for special calls. Those who can do this, but will not because of their selfishness, are robbing their Creator, who has bestowed upon them means to invest in His cause to advance its interests. Until all shall carry out the plan of systematic benevolence, there will be a failure in coming up to the apostolic rule. Those who minister in word and doctrine should be men of discrimination. They should, while they make general appeals, become acquainted with the ability of those who respond to their appeals, and should not allow the poor to pay large pledges. After a man has once consecrated a certain sum to the Lord, he feels that it is sacred, consecrated to a holy use. This is true, and therefore our preaching brethren should be well informed of whom they accept pledges. {3T 411.2}
Comment: The wording “as He has prospered them” would NOT be needed for a 10% tithe plan for all church members.
It is not possible to lay down rules for every case; for in many instances such a course would distress the giver. The circumstances in which some are placed, and which are of God’s appointment, are to be considered. The Lord expects a man to impart of what he has and not of what he has not. With some a tenth of the income would not properly represent the proportion they should give to the Lord, while to others it is a fair return. [TDG 97.3]
Comment: The above clearly shows that God recognises that the poor cannot pay a 10% tithe and accepts less from them while those who have been financially blessed could give more than 10%. This agrees with the Systematic Benevolence method of tithing which God gave to the early Seventh-day Adventist Church. This also agrees with the ‘Tithe’ definition.
Extracts taken from the Appendix of Testimonies for the Church Volume 1:
AS AN AID TO AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH LED TO THE GIVING OF CERTAIN TESTIMONIES, THE FOLLOWING NOTES HAVE BEEN PREPARED BY THE TRUSTEES OF THE ELLEN G. WHITE PUBLICATIONS.
[text omitted as irrelevant to this tithing study]
SYSTEMATIC BENEVOLENCE WAS NOT PRESENTED AS A PERFECTED PLAN, FOR IT WAS ALSO STATED THAT “GOD IS LEADING HIS PEOPLE” IN THE MATTER, AND “IS BRINGING” THEM UP. (PAGE 191.) AS PLANS FOR SUPPORT OF THE WORK AND THE MINISTRY BROADENED, THE SPIRIT OF LIBERALITY WAS ENCOURAGED MORE AND MORE UNTIL AT LENGTH LIGHT FROM THE SCRIPTURES REVEALED THE SYSTEM OF TITHES AND OFFERINGS AS THEY ARE KNOWN IN THE CHURCH TODAY.
Reviewing the underlined text on page 191 of 1T, it is by NO means definite that the interpretation cited by ‘THE ELLEN G. WHITE PUBLICATIONS’ is correct. Also the ‘TITHES AND OFFERINGS AS THEY ARE KNOWN IN THE CHURCH TODAY’ has not been upheld by the Scriptures. In fact, having obtained a clear understanding of God’s tithing requirements for the rich and poor, the message behind the whole paragraph on page 191 is obvious and does not imply that there will be an “all change” tithing system in (what was then) the future.
FINAL COMMENT: Bearing in mind what we have established since the beginning of this documentation, and such statements as:
Comment: So God’s plan of Systematic Benevolence, which was just what man needed, and upon which He had voiced His pleasure regarding His church accepting, and also stated that it would last until the end of time, and cited as being founded upon a principle which was as enduring as the law of God, suddenly became obsolete through the conviction of a few men that the plan was defective! Come off it! – and the worst thing is, that Ellen G. White Estate and the Seventh-day Adventist Church are still trying to hood-wink all of its members by not coming clean with the mistakes that have occurred.
I believe that, by studying this document, you have now been given sufficient evidence to confirm to yourself that there has been a 140 year plus cover-up by those high ranking and knowledgeable Seventh-day Adventist Church personnel.
Such action has given, and still is giving, rise to much unnecessary suffering to many of it’s members living in less affluent / poverty stricken areas of the world; likewise to those members in affluent countries who find themselves living in hardship.
As has been already stated:
Comment: For the poor to be touched lightly, the tithe payment cannot be 10%; this would be like a 100% [gross] tithe for the rich – an impossible amount for anyone to pay!
God is aware of that     –     now you are.     So what will be your action?