Lesson 22 – Systematic Benevolence

////Lesson 22 – Systematic Benevolence
Lesson 22 – Systematic Benevolence2016-11-27T17:37:03+00:00

Sabbath, June 2, 2007


1. What recommendations were made in 1859, before the church was organized?
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.

“In 1859 the leading brethren among the Sabbath-keeping Adventists came to see the necessity of a systematic plan of supporting the work of God, and from a conference at which this matter was studied, there came recommendations:

“1. Let each brother from eighteen to sixty years of age lay by him in store on the first day of each week from five to twenty-five cents.

“2. Each sister from eighteen to sixty years of age lay by her in store on the first day of each week from two to ten cents.

“3. Also, let each brother and sister lay by him or her in store on the first day of each week from one to five cents on each and every $100 of property they possess. –Review and Herald, Feb. 3, 1859, p. 84. Adopted by the General Conference, June 4, 1859.

“As further clarification of involvements of point 3, James White, in the Good Samaritan of January, 1861, explained:
“‘We propose that the friends give a tithe, or tenth of their income, estimating their income at 10 percent on what they possess.’” –Testimo¬nies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 522.

2. How were these donations collected?
2 Corinthians 8:12-14 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:

“But then what? Here was money with no one to receive it and no one especially to whom to give it. A brother writes in from Hillsdale, Michi¬gan, asking what to do with it. The editor replies that a collector, or treasurer, should be appointed and suggests that five dollars be kept on hand to help itinerant ministers, and that the remainder be sent to the tent company, to aid in its work.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol.

3. How was the tithing system introduced?
Deuteronomy 14:22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.

“Loughborough says, and later writers have followed him, that this was ‘on the tithing principle,’ but although it may have suggested tithing, and whereas it led to the adoption of the tithing system later, it was not in itself a tithe, nor did it result in a liberality as great. However, it was educative.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, p. 297.


4. What support was given by Sister White to the tithing plan?
Malachi 3:8, 9
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

“Mrs. White strongly advocated systematic benevolence, and naturally used Malachi’s special appeal to support it. The ‘tithes’ there called for led into a study of the system of financial support in patriarchal and Mosaic times. There was published in Battle Creek in 1861 a periodical called the Samaritan, no copy of which is now known to exist. References to it by J. N. Loughborough, in an article on ‘Systematic Benevolence,’ and earlier by A. S. Hutchins, indicate that the straight tithing plan was first proposed that year.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, p. 297.

5. What other steps were taken in support of this plan?
Malachi 3.10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

“Nevertheless, the tithing system did not take hold in great measure for seventeen years or more. At the General Conference of 1878, held in Battle Creek, a committee of five was appointed to ‘prepare a work on the Scriptural plan of Systematic Benevolence.’ This committee, consisting of James White, D. M. Canright, S. N. Haskell, J. N. Andrews, and Uriah Smith, prepared and issued a pamphlet in 1879 entitled Systematic Benevolence; or the Bible Plan of Supporting the Ministry, in which they strongly advocated the tithing plan. They said, ‘The subject of Systematic Benevolence has been under practical consideration by Seventh-day Adventists for a period of twenty years or more. And no material change from the system first adopted was seen necessary until two years since.

“The General Conference of 1883 requested George I. Butler to write a treatise on tithing, which he did in a pamphlet of 112 pages. In it he says that ‘previous to 1878 we tried to carry out a plan called ‘Systematic Benevolence,’ which ‘was far from being the same as a Bible tithe.’ He also advocated the tithing plan; and the practice became general.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, pp.

6. What other plan was also introduced?
Psalm 96:8 Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts.

“In addition to the tithe, freewill offerings, according to the mind and ability of members, were recommended.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, p. 299.

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