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Can We Tithe Our Children?

By R. J. Rushdoony
June 20, 2005

(Reprinted from The Roots of Reconstruction [Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1991], 9–10.)

Scripture requires us to tithe our income. God requires His tithe, a modest amount as compared to the modern state’s demands. But, in all things else, God requires the totality of our allegiance, our service, and our lives. We cannot tithe our children, nor ourselves. We cannot give our tenth child only to the Lord and to Christian schools, while sending all others to the state school. Neither can we give our children to the Lord one day in seven or in ten, and to the state the rest of the time.

We and all that we have are God’s possession. Children are described as a “gift” or “heritage” from the Lord, and also as a “reward,” “boon,” or “blessing” (Ps. 127:3). To misuse God’s gifts and blessings is to incur His wrath. It is only “every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways” who is “blessed” (Ps. 128:1).

The first and basic premise of paganism, socialism, and Molech worship is its claim that the state owns the child. The basic premise of the public schools is this claim of ownership, a fact some parents are encountering in the courts. It is the essence of paganism to claim first the lives of the children, then the properties of the people.

For too long most professing Christians have been practicing pagans who have honored God falsely: they “with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men” (Isa. 29:13). On all such, God’s judgment is assured, and God’s judgment on our age is in increasing evidence. Judgment is neither averted nor moderated by much crying or bemoaning but only by a renewed heart, by faith and obedience. How can we expect God to honor us, or bless us, when we give our children to the state schools and surrender their minds daily to the teachings of humanism? It is sin and madness to believe so, and those who try to justify their sin only increase it.

The true believer will, like Hannah (1 Sam. 1:27f.), see children as a gift from the Lord, to be given to the Lord as long as they live.


Topics: Biblical Law, Statism, Education, Family & Marriage, Philosophy, Culture , Government, Poetry & Wisdom Literature, Major Prophets, Old Testament History

R. J. Rushdoony

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965.  His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.”  He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

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