Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


What’s Your View?

posted by Scot McKnight

What’s your take on where contemporary Christians ought to tithe? 


Is the tithe necessarily for the local church, or could one make a good biblical argument that as long as we tithe to God’s kingdom purposes on earth, we are being obedient followers of Jesus?


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Lee Keele

posted January 13, 2010 at 9:45 am


In Acts, the church laid their tithes at the apostle’s feet. I wonder if that is designed to be a precedent for leadership handling decisions regarding fund disbursement? I can certainly see why this would be a wise decision – especially if a church is young or full of young Christians.
I also know that people seem to be less interested in plopping money into a general fund in which case they may or may not know what their specific dollars are paying for. I feel a bit of the same frustration.
As a pastor, my fear is that churches themselves are not prepared for people to begin spreading their tithes directly to other non-profs or parachurch organizations. Many churches have commitments that have to be met from general funds that come from people’s tithes. I think with some planning a good balance can be found.
My wife and I, for example, give a tithe to our church body and then have several ministries that we have supported above and beyond the tithe. WE do these on our own initiative without direction or oversigt from the church.
Anyway, that’s my two cents, for what it’s worth (about two cents).



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Brian McLaughlin

posted January 13, 2010 at 9:55 am


While as a pastor I highly value tithes to the local church (!!) I do believe one can make a very strong argument for tithing anywhere that contributes to God’s kingdom. It seems that NT tithes rarely (never?) went to professional staff or buildings (which is where the majority of local church tithes go) but always to people in need. Paul didn’t collect for “a church in Jerusalem” but “the church – the people of God in need.”
So yes, there is need and wisdom in tithing to a church (since many local churches do help those in need) and it can be biblically supported by the people of God giving to the Temple etc. But I think it fulfill’s God’s desire to simply help people and advance His kingdom.



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Joey

posted January 13, 2010 at 10:20 am


Love this topic.
I depend on tithing for my income, since I’m on staff at a church.
I actually get pretty upset at the attempts to justify tithing with scripture. The arguments just aren’t there and more often than not folks end up misusing passages about giving to the poor and needy and apply them to giving to our specific congregation. Obviously I’m interested people giving to their local congregations but not on any appeal from scripture. I appeal more on a practical basis.
Sure people were expected to give 10% or so to the temple, but now we are the temple so that argument is gone. Practically if people wish to be a part of an operating local church they should back up that desire with support, both monetary and time. I think 10% is a healthy number that doesn’t tend to bankrupt people of good financial standing but I would hope they would see it as more important to give generously to those who are in actual need.
If people give, may they do so only in joy. If people give may they be good stewards of the resources provided to them. If people give may their giving be guided by a focus on God’s Kingdom. And if people want a local church may they recognize the importance of supporting that endeavor.



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Steve S

posted January 13, 2010 at 10:21 am


That begs the question, are God’s Kingdom purposes in any way indistinguishable from the local church?



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Steve S

posted January 13, 2010 at 10:24 am


sorry…
distinguishable



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Brian H

posted January 13, 2010 at 10:25 am


A question — how does one reconcile the various descriptions of the tithe in the OT; in Numbers 18, for example – entirely used to support the Levites. In Deuteronomy 12:5-12,17-19 it seems to indicate a tithe primarily used for a celebration of God’s blessing that one gets to celebrate with one’s family *and* the Levites. This is re-emphasized and expanded in Deuteronomy 14:22-29, where the feast is to include the Levites, resident aliens, widows and orphans.
Aside from Jesus castigating the scribes and Pharisees for tithing herbs that they weren’t required to, while neglecting justice, mercy and faith – I don’t find a lot of support for the idea of the tithe (as a mandated percentage of giving) continuing in the NT time period, particularly among Gentile churches.
Perhaps it would be healthy for the church – I say this as a pastor – to adopt ways of supporting ministry that don’t depend on trying to lift up a set percentage, instead calling on people to plan their budgets in a way that honors God and cares for those in need. While tools for ministry cost money, I fear that far too much money gets spent on the tools (building, staff, related expenses) as opposed to actually helping people. …how did the phrase go? “we shape our tools and they shape us”



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Bob Cornwall

posted January 13, 2010 at 10:44 am


I think Paul get’s the principle right — give and give cheerfully. As for a set amount, I don’t think you can find that, especially not in the NT. If anything, Jesus calls for giving everything. And in Acts, they didn’t lay their tithes at the feet of the apostles, they laid everything, because they had everything in common.
Mark Allan Powell’s Giving to God is, I think, the best biblical conversation about this question. Recommend it highly.



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Your Name

posted January 13, 2010 at 10:53 am


The discussion seems misplaced to me. Where in the New Testament are we encouraged, much less directed, to tithe to the local assembly? The earliest disciples, at least in Jerusalem, contributed their entire assets to the local church. Later Paul urged Gentile churches to contribute as they were able, but generously, to what today we might call Kingdom purposes (helping the poor). But the poor to whom Paul referred were for the most part, it would seem, believers in Jesus, that is, members of the local churches in Palestine. So the whole matter appears quite contextual to me. Each Christian should give generously to Kingdom needs, as he/she is able, whether expressed in local church needs/outreach or broader Kingdom needs/outreach.



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Rusty

posted January 13, 2010 at 10:53 am


I don’t think you could make an argument from scripture on how we should give our money. Personally we give a certain set amount to the church (about 7%)and then we give other money to help with Compassion, people we know need help, and doing personal kingdom work.



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Your Name

posted January 13, 2010 at 10:54 am


Jesus’ standard of giving seems to be everything…or at least that what he mentions in the New Testament. ;)
Honestly, when I talk about giving I can make a very strong case for consistent and sacrificial giving as demonstrated in the New Testament through Jesus’ teaching and the other books. The difficulty of the Old Testament example of tithing is the struggle with the law of Israel versus the law of grace (old covenant vs. new covenant.) We live in this tension.
Usually I tell my people that your giving is expected by God. Tithing is a good standard to set. It is the standard of Israel. Beyond that it is a Spirit led thing.
Another issue is that so many of our people are barely living on 100% of their income much less 90%. We use one or two financial classes to assist with this. They are effective in helping people. Also, we encourage people to set a goal of 10% in giving and (particularly if they are a young family) work up into giving 10%. Setting a goal like that is important. We can’t expect people to go cold turkey into it though.
You are the Church!
Robert Angison



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indymavs

posted January 13, 2010 at 10:55 am


@Brian H… but i would challenge you that Jesus DID say to do BOTH (tithe and justice/mercy/faithfulness): Matt 23:23 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+23%3A23&version=NIV



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AHH

posted January 13, 2010 at 10:57 am


As Joey #3 hinted, one should question why the “tithe” is a given in this question. For Christians, it seems to me to be in about the same category as animal offerings in the temple.
Of course that does not let us off easy — the call for Christians is to give generously and sacrificially. I suspect that for many of us obedience to that call would come out to more than 10%.
But the apportionment of giving between local church and other parts of God’s work is a very good question, one my wife and I have wrestled with. As our resources have increased, we have ramped up “outside” giving and only slightly increased in-church giving. Part of that is problems that have left us feeling not so good about our local church (maybe not a good reason), but part is feeling that an investment in (for example) Opportunity International gives more kingdom impact per dollar (in terms of what we see as kingdom priorities) than adding to programs at what is already a program-heavy church. Maybe if our local church prioritized its budget differently (it does give some support to ministries that help the poor) we would allocate differently. Your mileage may vary.



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Bill

posted January 13, 2010 at 11:10 am


Tithing…can’t figure it out from the New Testament. This means I don’t know where it is taught by the apostles or Jesus. But Paul is really direct about giving in (I think) 2 Cor. We as Christ-followers are to be generous and cheerful giver.
I have rejected tithing based on what I said and what I have seen too many times practiced by some church leaders as a way to make sure the pastor and/or pastoral staff get their paychecks. Tithing is also to some what I would term a talisman or good luck charm and fear/guilt-based. I have heard some Christians say things like this (I kid you not):
“If you tithe, God will give you more in return.” (i.e., God will give you more money or things, give to get)
“If you tithe, God will protect you” (i.e., nothing bad will happen to you). I had someone tell me this after his wife hit a deer with her car. I asked what the connection was with tithing. He told me they hadn’t tithed for 2 weeks and this is why his wife hit the deer. This is just not good thought.
“If you tithe you won’t get sick” (i.e, a variant of above but as it relates to your health).
Ok. I will say ideas like this are just plain stupid. So I don’t think tithing is a New Covenant principle or something with which I should concern myself. It’s easy to tithe because if we do the ten percent thing, we don’t have to listen to God. The percentage is set and you keep the law. But if we have to listen to God, He may just be telling us how much to keep, not how much to give and we are using tithing as way to protect ourselves from the voice of God. Who knows? God may just tell some of us to keep nothing. I don’t think God is silenced by percentages. He is silenced by hard, joyless hearts; ones that need to be compelled to give instead of being generous like the heart of God.



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Brian H

posted January 13, 2010 at 11:15 am


@Indy (11) – rightly noted. And yet that is the only place the tithe is mentioned in the context of Jesus’ time. (and significantly, he said it to people who were not his followers) We could make a far better case (as others have previously mentioned) that to follow Jesus means to put *all* our resources at God’s disposal. I think AHH is on to something in saying that if part of stewardship is God-directed giving to things that make an impact for the Kingdom, perhaps the burden falls on the church to demonstrate it is making an impact for the Kingdom, not only in building itself up, but in helping transform and heal lives.



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derek leman

posted January 13, 2010 at 11:18 am


Scot:
It’s funny to me that the only Law from the Torah that gets preached as law is the tithe.
As a Torah-keeping Messianic, I do not believe the tithe law can be directly applied at all without a temple or priesthood. Furthermore, depending on your interpretation of the various passages, there are either 2 or 3 tithes. One was to be brought and eaten in the pilgrim feasts. One was given to the Levites. Every third year one was put up in local towns.
But if we talk about the tradition of a tithe and not the law, here is my thought: it has nothing to do with supporting the church or minister. Support of ministers is its own imperative. A congregation should support those who can bless the community with greater understanding and leadership to do and be for God as a community (as in Paul’s pastoral letters). But the idea of setting apart 10% as devotion to God, not as specific law, is not limited to giving to a congregation. Supporting those in need is equally vital.
Derek Leman



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Mike Mc

posted January 13, 2010 at 11:27 am


American Christians have been blessed with some much yet they give very little to the church. Evangelicals aren’t know to be a generous lot in general. Just ask in waiter or waitress about Sundays afternoons. I personally am not big on the 10% tithe as a rule. I believe there is a stronger argument for a “first fruits” concept in the OT. Then Paul suggests that we should be liberal givers. These 2 points are ones that I would make about “tithing” in general. I think giving to a local church allows accountability on how the money is spent. You can see what or how it is. The problem with giving to a not-for-profit like the American Red Cross is, they do not do it for Jesus to be glorified. The other problem with the so called not-for-profits (regardless of religious affiliation) are usually a significant percentage goes to Administration. Thus less to the need.
Could the great commission be used as a model prioritized giving?



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deetsjohn

posted January 13, 2010 at 11:32 am


This is an institutional question. Joey#3 said that the tithe went to the Temple, but now we are the Temple so is doesn’t go to the church. This isn’t quite right. It seems to me, we want the tithe to go to the church because we still treat it as a temple. It is a place I go to to have someone else lead (dare a say do) my worship for me.
In that case, it is obvious that we need the 10% to go to the church so our worship can be complete.
However, someone else (#8) pointed out that this question is misplaced. It is funny how this law is always argued to support one’s own institution. One one side, a pastor (and I too am a pastor) says you need to tithe to keep this church strong (and food on my table). On the other side, a person may argue, I don’t have to tithe to the church because I have my own project over here and Lord knows I can’t give anymore than 10% (or 5.5%). So I don’t need to tithe to the church.
Shouldn’t we look for more ways that we can give everything we have, support one another in doing so, maintain strong communities of faith, and help the needy?



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Nick

posted January 13, 2010 at 11:32 am


Well I take Bill Hybel’s approach that “the local church is the hope of the World” and that other organisations are there to support the local churches mission, so by that logic your local church should be first priority for giving.
I do (sort of) like the Church of England policy that ‘rich’ churches who have a generous congregation ‘tithe’ to less wealthy churches – although there needs to be a bit more analysis than just comparing incomes!



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Samuel

posted January 13, 2010 at 11:40 am


Derek, I know many espouse the idea that the principle of tithing transcends the Law as a result of its appearance in Abraham “tithing” to Melchizedek. While I agree with your assessment, how would you address this idea?



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Joey

posted January 13, 2010 at 11:54 am


@deetsjohn #17
Just because a person or group of people treat a local congregation or building like a temple doesn’t mean they are right. Paul teaches that we are the temple. We don’t worship in a temple – the temple was destroyed in AD 70 and the dwelling place of God (the purpose of the temple) has been transfered to His followers – within them, their hearts – by the Holy Spirit. “For the temple of God is Holy, and that is what you are” (1 Cor. 3).
Worship is not completed by a building but by the offering of our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God (Romans 12). Gatherings are merely places to prepare us for that life of sacrifice/worship. There is no explicit (or even implied) expectation of tithing 10% (or any number really) to a local church. Teaching so is misleading and, I would argue, poor stewardship considering most churches spend on average 90% of their budgets on inward operations that rarely serve “the least of these”.
Derek Leman #15 makes a good point about the nature of the Temple. We are post-temple followers of Jesus (not anti-temple for that would be self deprecating).
I’m all for people giving to a church. It’s how I get food and am able to pay my student loans. But please don’t use scripture to justify something it doesn’t actually justify. Give cheerfully, give generously, and exhaust your lot on the Kingdom.



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Dennis Prikkel

posted January 13, 2010 at 12:03 pm


What is tithing is a real dilemma for the modern tither. In the ?old days? the tithe was the first fruits to the local house of worship, but in a modern world, surrounded by requests from literally dozens of worthwhile charitable church-related causes, how and who a tither supports has become far more parochial question.
Recently, through a gift to a national charitable organization, my wife was deluged by requests from dozens of worthwhile causes as well. For us, supporting a middle class suburban Covenant church is our first priority for our tithe, but we also have strong emotional ties to the appeals of the national Covenant Church, North Park University (which we both attended and which one of our children has graduated from and one is attending now) and from the Christian camping ministry that we have attended as a family for over 25 years and I have attended for 50 years.
To whom and how much do we tithe? Answers and insights would be appreciated.



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michaeldanner

posted January 13, 2010 at 12:12 pm


Great discussion. I agree that it’s difficult (if not impossible) to find the tithe taught in the NT. What is taught about money is radical generosity that is driven by meeting basic needs. It seems more an extension of the manna ethic – he who has much doesn’t have too much and he who has little doesn’t have too little. The NT vision is of a community that transcends geographical boundaries through an economics of interdependence.
In that context, what is most important isn’t how much you give, but how much you keep and what kind of lifestyle you live. For Christian to live materially extravagant lifestyles while brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe suffer without their basic needs met is completely inconsistent with the NT economic vision. Just because one gives 10% doesn’t mean that what they do with the other 90% doesn’t matter. In the Mennonite Church people say, “Live simply so others may simply live.” It’s a catchy phrase that gets to the heart of a NT ethic of economic interdependence.
Instead of determining where our tithes should go, why don’t we talk about how the 10% tithe actually ends up limiting the radical generosity that Jesus modeled and taught. The very thing the tithe intends to do through legalism – increase giving – ends up limiting that very action. What kind of resources would be freed up if the church encouraged people to live modest, materially simple lives, and give away the rest? What if the church, as an institution, embodied a modest, materially simple ministry? I suspect there would be plenty of money to both support the faith community in it’s institutional form AND give to the needs of others.



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T

posted January 13, 2010 at 12:40 pm


Well, I tend to think that money gets overvalued both in terms of its ability to provide the “good life” and in terms of its necessity for the church’s gospelling work. The more churches spend on plush accomodations and high-end presentations (and present-ers), the harder it is to connect those budget allocations to our NT examples and prototypes, and the less money is available for “the very thing” Paul and the other apostles wanted to do with money raised from churches, making giving elsewhere necessary.
I don’t think the real issue is about whether the tithe to local church is a proper or required NT practice; the real issue seems to be whether and how much local American churches have been corrupted by the culture in their spending priorities. Our culture influences us it seems to put more faith in the power of appearances and natural and technological power, even for spreading the gospel, and simultaneously to be relatively “pneumatically challenged.” What we think we “need” for missionary work or church planting (compared to what the NT teaches on that subject) speaks strongly of this twin influence. Also, being more individualistic and sypathetic to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” thinking we are hesitant about (local) mercy ministries in any event.
The more churches would shoot for transparency and simplicity, fiscally prioritizing mercy ministries as much as possible and relying more on the power of the Spirit than on technology for our preaching and teaching, the more this issue would be non-existent, because church work would already be more obviously congruent with the “kingdom” work we see modeled and taught in the NT. Our corporate physical structures and budgets are increasingly less of a prophetic challenge to the idealized American lifestyle, they are more and more often examples of it, which is why there is increasingly such a difference (beyond mere geography) b/n giving to local churches and to compassion ministries. To the extent that gap exists and/or grows, I think we’re going to continue to have this conversation.



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Steve

posted January 13, 2010 at 12:41 pm


show me one gov’t run organization or even one private entity as efficient and with the history the church has of helping others and not only with a hot meal but with changing lives and then I’ll listen to other aurguements. Just becuase we live in the 21st century doesn’t mean the Bible should be interpreted any differently than it was 2000 years ago, 200 years ago or even 20 years ago. I believe you tithe to your local church and then if there are other charities you think are deserving of money – you should give above and beyond the 10%



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Rick

posted January 13, 2010 at 1:00 pm


T-
“The more churches would shoot for transparency and simplicity, fiscally prioritizing mercy ministries as much as possible and relying more on the power of the Spirit than on technology for our preaching and teaching, the more this issue would be non-existent…”
You assume the Holy Spirit is not endorsing and using that technology, and you seem to assume those churches are not doing great things for mercy ministries.
It brings to mind the Out of Ur post about churches needing to rely on “systems” (or as you might say, “corporate physical structures and budgets”).
http://www.outofur.com/archives/2010/01/andy_stanley_sy.html
Are we sure they are not using those tithes to make a big impact for the Kingdom, in both changed lives and in compassion ministries?
I am not saying there is not financial waste, but there may be more good going on than it appears.



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darrell a. harris

posted January 13, 2010 at 1:03 pm


I think directing the tithe towards the local assemble makes a lot of sense and seems to be an extension of the “storehouse” in ancient Israel. ALo it makes sense to give where one is nourished spiritually.
I really resonate both with the notion that it’s more about how much one keeps rather than how much one gives (witness the widow’s two small coins!) And the “live simply” slogan really has traction. I suspect there are many more positive and pro-active, attractive ways to stimulate giving than just persuading people to tithe. The Advent Conspiracy is one that comes to mind.
Of course tithing was law, but yes it also precedes law in Abraham. And that narrative seems to also allude to eucharist in the use of bread and wine. I was in an Episcopal church once where the tithes and offerings collected were brought to the altar along with the bread and cup also non-perishable food gifts for the hungry. Seeing it all on the table together was quite a powerful image, vivid pictures of the work of our hearts, hands and minds along with those things that call to mind the most important work ever done, the most significant offering ever given, Christ’s work and offering on his cross.
I also love the debate about whether to tithe on net income or gross income. I was heard someone say it all depends on whether one wants a net blessings or a gross blessing!



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Sarah Pulliam Bailey

posted January 13, 2010 at 1:31 pm


Great questions. I wrote about tithing recently, and while I did not argue whether or not it is biblical to tithe, I wrote about how it solidified my commitment to the church. http://blog.christianitytoday.com/women/2010/01/confession_i_stopped_giving_to_1.html



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T

posted January 13, 2010 at 1:32 pm


Rick,
My point is not that the Holy Spirit is never leading churches (or individuals) to buy and use technology or buildings. I am, of course, typing this comment on a computer with internet access as we speak. Nor am I saying buildings or budgets are bad. I assume that many/most churches do some form of mercy ministries and many churches’ use of technology and facility is at the Spirit’s leading. With all these assumptions I have the same concerns I mentioned in the first comment.



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deetsjohn

posted January 13, 2010 at 2:13 pm


@Joey #20. I didn’t say that treating the church as a temple was right. In fact, I was trying to say something quite different. The reality is that as I see the church, the believers treat it as a temple, so the pressure for tithes to go to the local institutional church is high. Perhaps, we should de-institutionalize the church more and use our pool of money (which in only 10% in a law-driven institution) for a broader range of purposes.
To be clear, by de-institutionalizing, I’m in not way arguing for a less community driven church either. In no way would I argue that we should all be able to use our “tithes” for whatever we want. The church as a community needs to find a common direction and put energy and money toward that end.



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Michael W. Kruse

posted January 13, 2010 at 3:14 pm


Tithing is fine. 10% is a good baseline to build from in thinking about giving. But there is a far more important question to ask: What will I do with the other 90% of God’s money? I think if we start there the tithing question gets answered in the process.



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Brian #2

posted January 13, 2010 at 3:42 pm


According to Richard Stearns in A Hole in Our Gospel, the percent of money coming into churches that goes toward something other than supporting the institution is very small. I have seen this in churches that I have attended. I have also seen the annual financial statements of a number of Christian ministries that sadly receive almost nothing from local churches. So I am inclined to think that Stearns is correct.
As a matter of conscience I am compelled to help people get food, shelter and medicine before buying bricks for church buildings. Yes, there is case to be made for supporting our local leaders, but we must also ask what they are leading us to do with our money.



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David

posted January 13, 2010 at 3:43 pm


My take is that your tithe (10%) should be your baseline for what you give to your church. Especially if you’re a member, you’ve made a commitment to supporting your church. Jesus talks very little about the tithe. He talks about sacrificial giving, about whole-life stewardship. We should be giving in more ways than just financially, but statistics show that most church-goers aren’t even coming hear tithing there.
Yes, you should give money to Haiti (if God has called you to), you should sponsor a child, you should support other organizations. But I don’t think we should take away from our local church to do so. Maybe we should look at giving up some luxury to give to Haiti, instead of asking our church to give up what we would normally be giving to them.
Bottom line: everything we have is God’s. Let’s let Him use it and stop trying to hoard it.



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James Townsend

posted January 13, 2010 at 3:48 pm


Giving to Haiti is as much a tithe as anything else. One is justified in substituting that for tithing to a church.



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BradK

posted January 13, 2010 at 4:13 pm


I believe in supporting the local church even though I don’t believe a tithe is mandated (or even implied) in the NT. We are to give liberally and cheerfully per the NT. However, I think it is fair to assume that if the pastor of one’s local church is paid a salary of $150K or more and drives a Mercedes that one’s local church is flush with funds and that one’s giving can (and should) be spent elsewhere. Honestly, more people would be more likely to tithe to their local church if not for some prominent abuses in the past.
And I’m not implying that this is the norm. The vast majority of Christian congregations are small and their pastors are not paid excessively. Or even paid decently. Many are bi-vocational to make ends meet.



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Jon Snyder

posted January 13, 2010 at 5:22 pm


I am an associate pastor, and my livelihood (at the moment) depends on giving from others. I suppose you could call my opinion biased, but I will do my best to set my personal stake in the conversation aside.
I believe that sacrificial giving is a biblical mandate.
I believe the tithe is an Old Testament mandate.
I believe that Jesus generally takes the OT and expands it to be more comprehensive.
i believe the local church is God’s primary means of completing his mission in the world.
I believe that God is the king of the world, that kings (biblically) deserve a tithe, and everything in the earth is God’s.
I believe God blesses those who give sacrificially and faithfully (though not necessarily material blessings).
All this data together leads me to suggest that every Christian should give sacrificially. For some, 10% is too big a sacrifice, for most 10% is not a major sacrifice. 10% is a good start, though (Consequently, I also believe pastors need to practice what they preach in this area). Since the local church is God’s primary means of accomplishing his mission, the church should be the primary place to which one gives money.
The church is responsible for using this money wisely, and will be held accountable for what they do with it.



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Jon Snyder

posted January 13, 2010 at 5:25 pm


In Ron Sider’s “Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience”, he gives a shocking statistic that if every American Christian tithed, the church could eradicate the global problems of food, water, shelter, and basic medication.



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Alberto Medrano

posted January 13, 2010 at 5:46 pm


- The Church throughout the years have been financially supported not because we have tithed, but because we are givers.
– There is no command or instruction or record of Christian tithing in the New Testament.
– And the tithe was not ordered before the law. The tithe Abraham gave was to a king, not God or a religious establishment. Tithing was a common practice in those days. He didn’t give because God said so. He tithed to pledge his allegiance to a king. That’s what people did in those days. Kind of like a tax.
– I believe people should continue to give abundantly and cheerfully, but the tithe should not be used as any kind of basis.



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Joey

posted January 13, 2010 at 6:10 pm


@ 29 deetsjohn
I misread your original comment. Sorry, brother. Thanks for clarifying.



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Emmanuel

posted January 13, 2010 at 7:43 pm


Being a pastor is and should always be a full time commitment because as a pastor your responsibility is to feed and care for Gods sheep. If a pastor is not payed by the church then he is forced to work a job that more than likely would take time away from his responsibilities to the people…
With that being said there are many other expenses that the local church cannot avoid. Granted some churches have gone overboard and begun to use money in an inwardly focused manner. However the truth is if we cease to give tithes to the local church there is a great chance they will not be able to continue serving Gods people as well as the lost.
I think ten percent to the local church is a minimum obedience, but there is much more for us to give outside the church. Scriptures speak of both tithes and offerings. I believe the tithe should be given to the individual’s church and out of the goodness of the individuals heart in accordance with Jesus commission the individual should give to other projects that are doing the work of the Kingdom.
The ultimate truth is that its much less about tithes as it is about living a lifestyle of giving in which you know that everything you have is a tool to worship God with. Giving is not only about money but we can also give of our resources talents and time. If you can save the local church money by providing them a service for free or much cheaper then you are in theory giving an offering
This is a matter of the Heart and if we would all act according to our call as disciples then money would never be an issue.



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Derek

posted January 13, 2010 at 8:55 pm


I think there can be a strong case made to understand tithing as not being biblical at all!
A study of the O.T. revels that the Israelite’s were commanded to do two separate tithes per year, and one every three years, amounting to a total of 33.3% tithe annually. Anyone want’s to be really biblical, this is a must (I don’t know anyone who actually tithes 33.3%, thus, no one is being “biblical” in this area).
The N.T. is silent on tithing, but not on giving. I think the point of the whole ordeal (the heart of God), is to express the heart of God by taking care of those who need help – by being the hands and feet of Christ! This is true religion says James, and this is the key to understanding Mal. 3.
Thanks.



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John Lunt

posted January 13, 2010 at 9:30 pm


I think the idea that the church needs 10 percent to function is ridiculous. I don’t have a problem with Pastors working. Guess what there are lots of church volunteers doing everything from counseling to teaching, to cleaning that get nothing for their time…
I believe giving is biblical and my giving is way beyond tithing. But I don’t give it all to the church. I say that taking care of hurting people who have just been devastated is a lot more important than what most churches are using it for.



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Doug

posted January 13, 2010 at 11:46 pm


Depends. In the OT the people actually had more than one tithe. Probably came out to about 30-40% after all was done. The NT believers usually gave when a need arose as Paul showed by taking up collections



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Angus Kelly

posted January 14, 2010 at 1:12 am


Didn’t get to read all the comments.
I teach that tithing is a social contract; the early church used to share 100%, that was abused (Ananias and Sapphira?) later communities agreed to pool 10%.
It should always be that 100% of our money belongs to God.
That’s what I think :)
Again – thanks for the blog.



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Chloe

posted January 14, 2010 at 4:06 am


I think tithing comes from a time of law. BUT grace not only fulfills the law but is more generous than the law. So, the way I see it is where the law requires 10%, grace requires much more – grace requires us to take responsibility for asking God how much He wants us to give in any situation, not just to the church but to any organisation or person in need. If we can afford 60%, then why not? If have to scrape together 2%, then why not that? The law is proscriptive, grace gives us the chance to be sacrificial.



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Paul Adams

posted January 14, 2010 at 5:40 pm

John

posted January 14, 2010 at 9:21 pm


I believe the OT tithe was grain and meat, not cash, for the priests. They had an actual storehouse I guess. Since we don’t have that system today, many believe that you just give 10% to the local church. Back then, there was one temple; today quite a few. My reading of scripture is to provide for the Lord’s work, either in your local church or somewhere else. My only problem is supporting either extravigant lifestyles or over-the-top edifaces.



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