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Sunday, October 31, 2004

Should Christians "tithe" today? No! Give? Yes!


In today's Evangelical Christian Church, we are (sometimes) told that we should tithe, at a minimum. This means give 10% of our income to the Church. Should we do this as Evangelical Christians? I say no. Should we give money to the Church and other needy ministries? Yes, and please be generous! What do you think?

What do I recommend for giving?:

1. Realize that you are a STEWARD of your money, possessions, etc. (it all belongs to God, and is a gift from God, and you will be held accountable).

2. Don't focus on percentage. In the Old Testament, it wasn't a straight 10% anyway, there were multiple tithes, per the Faussett Bible Dictionary. Sometimes there were up to 3 tithes (approaching 30%). However, only agriculture and livestock owners were tithed, not other workers, such as artisans.

3. Pray to God for guidance in how much to give. It's only between God and you. The tithe is part of the OT law, like circumcision and the sabbath, which are no longer requirements for Christians. But do push yourself to be generous, from the love of Christ for the poor and other needy.

4. The money should support your local church (what you feel is reasonable), and also to help others who need it (whether it is tax-deductable or not). I don't recommend giving it all to the local church... there are many needy ministries doing great work! Just give the local church their share, what you feel is appropriate.

Reason why we should not tithe:

1. If you can't or don't give 10%, you'll feel guilty. If you do give it because of demands, you may be resentful. The Scriptural rule is to be generous, and to be a cheerful giver.

2. If you give 10%, you may feel satisfied. Give 20%, and you may feel that you are twice as good as others. However, maybe you make a lot of money and should give away 90%? It's much easier for a millionaire to give 90% than it is for a poor man to give 10%. Watch out for false pride and religiousity coming from a dedicated tithe-- after all, God wants your heart, and doesn't really need your money!

3. Make sure you take care of yourself, so you are self-sufficient and not a drag on society (needing government help, etc.). God wants your devotion, not your money, although where you spend your money is a sign of where your devotion lies.

More on tithing, from scholars:
Article by Steven Gregg (click on "articles," then "tithing")
Article by TruthOrTradition