Skip to comments.Most Evangelical Leaders Say the Tithe is Not Required by Bible
Posted on 04/09/2011 9:02:51 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
A majority of evangelical leaders believe that the Bible does not require Christians to tithe, according to a survey released by the National Association of Evangelicals on Wednesday.
Fifty-eight percent of respondents (members of the NAE board of directors) said they do not think giving 10 percent of one's income to the church is mandated by the Bible, while 42 percent do.
Likely the wording of the survey explains why most of the respondents said offering tithe, a strong tradition among evangelical churches, is not a duty of believers.
Dr. John Walton, professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., said he was not surprised by the survey finding after he looked at the wording of the question. He said the word "required" is the operative term.
"People who might have felt very strongly about tithing still would have said, 'Well no, but I'm not sure I would call it required,'" Walton explained to The Christian Post. "Back to the old [argument], are we under law or under grace."
Many of the NAE leaders noted in their response that although tithing is an Old Testament legal model, New Testament Christians should give out of generosity. The overwhelming majority, 95 percent, of respondents said they give at least 10 percent.
Order Online: Tithing: Test Me in This
"Anything less seems like an ungenerous response to God," wrote David Neff, editor-in-chief of Christianity Today, in his response.
Dr. Kurt Fredrickson, director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., said the language he is increasingly hearing among pastors is whole life stewardship.
"It is about how do we give our whole selves to God, which includes money of course, but also our time and gifts," said Frederickson, who was a pastor for 24 years. "I like David Neff's comment ... there is certainly the sense that the way we spend our money says an awful lot about who we are as a person."
The Fuller professor pointed to John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, who gave away more of his income as he earned more and kept his living standard the same. He ended up giving away about 90 percent of his money and living on 10 percent.
Instead of thinking about strict obligation, Old Testament professor Walton also called on Christians to think about tithe in different terms.
"A stewardship worldview would include a sense of gratitude toward God as the source of our goods. If we are trying to express our gratitude toward God, I don't think our words are enough," said Walton.
Still, the 10 percent standard in the Old Testament can serve as a "benchmark," he added.
"My gratitude to God is unlimited so does that mean I need to give everything?" he posed. "What would be an appropriate expression of gratitude? And that is where the Old Testament information comes in. That God considered an appropriate expression to be a tithe."
He added, "Sort of like the benchmark for tips in a restaurant. It sets what the expectations are."
In contrast to nearly all the NAE leaders who said they tithed at least 10 percent, Empty Tomb, Inc., reported that evangelicals give churches only about four percent of their income. Among all Christians, the percentage is even lower only 2.43 percent.
Douglas LeBlanc, author of Tithing: Test Me in This, commented, "What is maddening to me is if there were a more explicit command to tithe, I think there would still be folks who would say, 'We are not in bondage to the law after all.'
"American Christians in particular, I think, will never fail to find a way out of tithing if they are not interested."
NAE President Leith Anderson commented at the end of the survey that he hopes to see more "generous, proportionate, cheerful and sacrificial giving among American evangelicals" in the years to come as churches increasingly offer financial courses and teach on stewardship.
The NAE conducts a monthly Evangelical Leaders Survey among its board of directors, which include the CEOs of denominations, missions organizations, universities, publishers and churches.
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
LOOK, WHAT DOES THIS VERSE MEAN?
No, it is not REQUIRED. Not a bad start point, tho...
the requirement is only for Jews
Excellent point. A tithe can be an unnecessary limit to one's response to God's love.
LOOK, to whom was it addressed as the ones doing tithes and offerings at that time, and what did Jesus do to address the sham going on around the Temple?
I give because I want to, not because it’s required.
2 Cor 9:7
“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”.
It is under OT, specifically Mosaic covenant which has passed away.
There were actually three tithes in the OT....one for temple, one for Levites, one every third year for poor...23.3%. It supported their theocratic structure...to subsidize the Levites who had no inheritance.
BTW, the Levites were way more than what a Sunday preacher is. They were the judges, the teachers, the government officials, and the spiritual leaders.
Modern pastors don’t provide that function.
Our “tithe” today is the taxation frmo the Government or powers that be to keep the peace according to Romans 13. It is roughly what the Israelites paid...actually higher than 23.3%
In NT, it is always free will giving....each should give as he has purposed in his heart to give...not reluctantly (attitude) nor under compulsion (must be a tithe) for God loves a cheerful giver.
God would rather have 1% of a person’s income cheerfully given rather than 10% grudgingly given. It defeats the purpose of what we are supposed to be learning by giving if we are angry and unhappy at ‘having’ to give a certain amount they are not willing to give.
Should it be a goal for people? Sure, for those not yet giving at least 10%. The other thing to consider is that we can offer God our time and talents as well as part of our giving. Especially if money is in real short supply.
“Tithe not required....”
But VISA and MasterCard gladly accepted.
The Early Church did not teach tithing is for New Covenant believers... until they wanted to build buildings. Then it became money-money-money and it has been that way ever since.
Tithing is as applicable to New Covenant believers as the Levitical blood sacrifices.
In the New Covenant we are to be led by the Holy Spirit in what to give, as He wishes.
I tithe. The Lord has put it on my heart to tithe. That is the only authority that is important to me.
Spot on. And as the bishops of several dioceses have sided with the public sector union thugs in Ohio and Wisconsin, I've stopped giving.
First, let’s understand what the TITHE means as it applies to the Israelites in the Old Testament.
After the laws of God were introduced through Moses to the Israelites, regular tithes were given. But what was actually given, who were they given too and when was it given?
Who were tithes given to?
1. A tithe to the children of Levi
2. A tithe (the best of) from the Levites tithe above, to be given to Aaron.
The Israelites gathered together with those who belonged to their household ate/drank of the tithe. The Israelites had 3 festivals each year for which they travelled to Jerusalem, for which scholars believe this tithe was used/consumed. (See Exodus 23:14-17)
4. At the end of each 3rd year, gather a tithe of the third years produce given to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, the widow who are within your gates.
Note that the Levites didnt completely live off the tithe, they were given land around cities which they could farm.
Num 35:4 The common-land of the cities which you will give the Levites shall extend from the wall of the city outward a thousand cubits all around.
There is some conjecture as to how to interpret when tithes were given. Im not talking about what time of year, but which years, and hence how much on average it equates to. When adding up the amounts tithed on a 3 year average, it may either be 3.33% or 10.33% or 23.33%, with the later figure (23.33%) being the most common I found doing a search on the internet.
Ok so where do we get these figures
3.33%: 10% given every third year (of only the third years produce) to the Levites and to the poor.
10.33%: 10% annually for feasts of worship, and 10% every 3rd year (of only the third years produce) for the Levites and the poor.
23.33%: 10% given annually to the Levites, 10% annually for feasts of worship, and 10% every 3rd year (of only the third years produce) for the Levites and the poor.
Note the above figures are worked on a 3 year average, but every 7th year there was no tithing as that was a Sabbath year of rest in which there was no sowing nor reaping (see Lev 25:1-7). This means the figures should really be 2.89%, 11.43% and 20%.
Next question -— What do Jews do today?
Well Jews dont actually tithe anymore. They know that the Levites were the only ones that could receive the tithe. There are no official Levitical priests ministering at the temple in Jerusalem, which makes it totally non scriptural to pay a tithe.
In fact they consider it a sin to give or receive a tithe in any other manner other that what is defined in scripture. As those requirements cannot be done Jews do not tithe today. I also read that the proper genealogical records of the Levites were destroyed in the temple in 70 AD, and the true Levites cannot be determined. So even if the temple in Jerusalem was rebuilt for the Jews, do hold your breath that they would recommence tithing any time soon!
So, going back to your post, How many endless times have we heard Malachi 3:8-10 quoted during a collection of a tithe. Being told we are robbing God if we do not give 10% of our finances. Being told you will be under a financial curse for not tithing, and being told God will financially blessed if you do.
Is it the saints rob God by not tithing or is the preacher robbing God, and the saints, by compelling people to give 10% of their money as though it were biblical tithing? As we have discovered, the tithing discussed in the bible bears not parallel to what is taught from many pulpits. Why do they give as doctrines the teaching of men? Why do they continue to put heavy yokes on the necks of people? Why do they make the word of God of no effect by their traditions?
If you believe you still need to follow the old covenant, then you still cannot biblically tithe (ask a Jew how you could do this). If you believe that you are under the new covenant, through the blood of Jesus, then there is no premise in the bible for tithing. If you elect to give 10% to support Christian workers, then thats wonderful, but dont allude to the fact that giving 10% of your money is somehow based on the tithing of the bible, it just isnt!
What does the New Testament then teach about tithing ?
The short answer is it does not. It does teach us about the Principle of GIVING.
2 Cor 9:6,7 Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver
(In fact you should read all of 2 Cor 9)
Acts 20:35 help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus himself said: It is more blessed to give that to receive
Matt 5:42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you
Matt 6:3 When you give to the needy, your giving may be in secret
Rom 15:26 were pleased to make contributions for the poor among the saints
Luke 6:38 Give and it will be given to you
1 Tim 5:8 If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Rom 12 v6 We have different gifts.., v8 if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously
In summary of the above, God wants us be happy to give, not doing it because we feel we have to. He wants us to support our families, other believers and the poor. Do not hold onto the possessions God has given to you so tightly and greedily, and do not love the world or the things of the world (1 John 2:15), but use what you have wisely and generously. Enjoy giving and blessing others.
Great post, thanks for bringing this to attention -
it’s an always timely topic. Tithing is Old Testament,
but giving out God’s Blessing is always current.
Brings to mind faith without acts. I think you cannot
be saved and not be moved to give away whatever you can.
My husband and I do give at least 10% and we call
it a tithe, but really, it’s our response to the
Goodness and Blessings God has shown us over the
10 years since were married and came to Christ
with new understanding.
We try every month to not look at it as “if we give
this God will bless us more” (Malechi) , but rather,
God has blessed us with this much, and we want to
thank Him by being generous with our bounty.
Frankly, our goal IS to give more than we recieve.
It is the biggest kick to write a check or give cash
and know that God is the provider of it all.
And over this time, giving our measly 10%, we have
learned that God DOES do more with the remaining 90%
than we’d do with the 100.
“Tithing” may no longer be required, but giving is
a blessing unto itself. I highly recommend it.
a tithe was expected when the “church” took care of all the “widows and children”since the government does that now, I consider part of my tithe to be included in the taxes that I pay....While my church certainly contributes a lot to the poor, they in no way, give more than the government does
Fascinating to read this. I gave a stewardship sermon at my church March 20. I am not one of the ordained ministers but rather am an elder in the Disciples of Christ tradition and elders fill in at the pulpit once each month. I used the Luke 10 Good Samaritan scripture as my starting point and hit a few others as well. I did not preach a tithe, instead I noted that our current giving of 4 percent (based on estimated incomes)doesn’t answer our needs (as I perceive them) and pledged to give more in the next fiscal as I asked others who are not already tithing to do likewise.
There is a prevalent theology - particularly in Charismatic circles - that people can tithe their way to wealth. That becomes the congregants’ motivation for giving as opposed to generosity.
I recently had a conversation with a co-worker who insisted that God would bless her financially for giving to her church, even if her pastor was using the money for his own personal gain.
“It is under OT, specifically Mosaic covenant which has passed away.”
What about Abraham’s tithe? Is his tithe to Melchizedek not at least a pattern for those who are subject to the new High Priest of the order of Melchizedek?
Now there are some preachers on tv with a suit and a tie and a vest
they want you to send your money to the lord but they give you their address
Cause all of your donations are completely tax free
God bless you all but most of all send your money
Hank Williams Jr. American Dream
The Tithe IS a good guideline but it is not required of the NT believer.
A Christian should seek God to determine how much they should give....
It is interesting that the preachers who preach that the Tithe is required and quote Malachi’ NEVER mention the sabbatical years when the Jews
WERE NOT SUPPOSED TO TITHE AT ALL!!!!
The church building mentioned above was NOT the Christians... it was the RCC... sadly, they are not even a close to following the teachings of Christianity. All they have is a little Jesus Jargon.
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spicesmint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the lawjustice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.”
Does God need our money? Of course not! If we give to God we ought to give out of more than a misguided sense of legalism. Give to please God. Give to take care of your family, your neighbors and the poor. If you feel led to give, give by all means! We have more resources available to us than just what we keep in our bank accounts. Whatever became of giving of your time to God.
Being a Christian is more than showing up on Sunday for a couple of hours, and it’s more than throwing a few bucks in a plate. Christianity is what you do with your life! A Christian - or little Christ - ought to live in such a way that introduces others to Christ on a daily basis. If that means being financially faithful to God, then do that, but what I find to be likely is that more is required of us than writing a check to the counting committee on Sundays after payday.
This isn’t meaning to step on the toes of faithful tithers, but as noble and appreciated as tithes are, we need to watch out for those who come to church, get saved, and there only change is that now they tithe. Christ changes people from the inside out, and it may be that he changes how we behave with our currency, but if that’s the only evidence of faith, I think we would have reason to be concerned for them.
Love your screen name!
Our family started tithing when my wife first started getting heavily involved with the church and I protested. However, it has proven to be a blessing for us as we have received many blessings for it. Now I insist upon it.
I’m glad to hear that. I liked that episode and A Cry in the Dark is one of my favorite movies.
Yes, and in turn the govt gives tax-free status to the church.
Lots of preachers will tell you to give 10% of the gross. Yet to me it should be 10% of the net PLUS 10% of any tax refund you get. I believe that’s what Jesus meant when He said “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and unto God that which is God’s.’
Every scripture you find “tithing” will be in the Old Testament. Think about it. You are free now.
I agree with that but “giving” and “tithing” are not the same thing. Giving is a free choice, tithing is an Old Testament command.
I would not go to a church that preaches “tithing”. They are either greedy or they don’t understand “grace” or new testament scripture.
the answer is no.
I give my time. I figure I give around 8 hours a week. That would be the equivalent of close to 20 percent of the hours that I work.
I don’t make very much so the time I can give them is more valuable than a percentage of my pay.
Yes, as the state waxes, the church wanes.
Giving is giving and the Christian thing to do. Besides, it not only helps others but makes one feel good inside too. I believe the happiest moments in my life was not on receiving something from someone but when I helped a needy or hurting person.
“the requirement is only for Jews”
Tell that to God when you go before the White Throne of Judgment and have to answer what you did to glorify God with your time, treasure and talents.
A little note to that effect - dropped in the collection plate - might be nice...
Not a “requirement” to tithe... we won’t be at the white throne judgement.....That’s for unbelievers. Jesus already answered for us.....”There is now therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”.
God loves a cheerful giver. Not one who somehow thinks they owe Him a debt. Rather a sense of love and gratitude so that the work to arm the believers and bring others to Him might continue. Besides there are so many ways peopel give to the Lord that are of more value than monetary....especially to those who do not have funds to give. They give none the less and it is more than enough.
“Tithing is as applicable to New Covenant believers as the Levitical blood sacrifices.”
In Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42 Jesus referred to tithing as something that should not be neglected. Stealing from God is not a good idea.
“Not a requirement to tithe... we wont be at the white throne judgement.....Thats for unbelievers.”
While believers are saved and go to heaven their rewards in heaven are decided by what they did to glorify God with their time, treasure and talents.
“In Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42 Jesus referred to tithing as something that should not be neglected. Stealing from God is not a good idea.”
Let’s take a look...
Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.”
Luke 11:42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the love of God; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.
This was before Jesus’ resurrection, and does not describe the New Covenant era. This was Old Covenant, and even under the Old Covenant of Law Jesus is making the point that it was even then also a thing of the heart. Until Jesus rose again, the Old Covenant was in effect. After He rose, we were freed from the Law — including tithing.
The LAW of tithing is dead to the New Covenant believer, but we are alive to another Law, the Law of the Spirit.
There are a number of good books rejecting the doctrine of tithing that are being published now, written by conservative, Bible-believing scholars.
I completely believe in GIVING, freely, prompted by the Spirit. There is great power in giving, and it is God’s method for meeting the needs of His servants in the field.
I find that the most adamant proponents of tithing are preachers, whose incomes come directly from the churches... a real conflict of interest.
But that will not be at the Great White Throne Judgement...that is for unbelievers.
Any rewards Christ may have for us were done in Him, for Him and by Him thru His Spirit...and that not of ourselves. Our obediance to that may indeed bring rewards but our true reward is Christ.