Skip to comments.Romney's tithing raises issue in other churches
Posted on 01/26/2012 9:34:45 PM PST by WilliamIII
Mitt Romney's tax returns reveal that the Republican presidential candidate does something fewer Americans do these days: He tithes.
Romney's 2009 and 2010 tax returns, released Tuesday, show that he and his wife, Ann, gave 10 percent of their income, about $4.1 million, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The couple reported income of about $43 million for the two years.
LDS church members must tithe to participate in temple rituals. Nearly 80 percent of Mormons tithe, a poll released this month by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life shows.
While tithing among Mormons is high, it is at an all-time low less than 3 percent among many faith groups, according to an October report by Empty Tomb, a Christian research organization. The theology behind tithing is also being questioned, with many saying the mandate to contribute 10 percent is not biblical.
Tithing has its roots in the Old Testament "Bring all the tithes to the storehouse," from the book of Malachi and means one-tenth of income.
"The New Testament says a Christian is saved under grace and it does not teach tithing," said Russell Kelly who argues against it on his website, www.shouldthechurchteachtithing. com. "A lot of people would rather stay home than go to church and hear about it. All it does is make them feel as if they're cursed for not giving 10 percent."
(Excerpt) Read more at sacbee.com ...
This follows on to the Old Testament practice, but isn’t something actually commanded in the New Testament. All New Testament giving is free will. Many churchgoers feel 10% is a fair amount to share with their church. Some give more, even a lot more. Some give less. It ought to be a private thing between you and God, and maybe the financial stewards at your church (who are sworn to silence) and the IRS (who are also sworn to silence). This privacy does become a pickle if one has been deducting from Caesar then becomes a political candidate.
Is tithing supposed to be 10 percent of what you have left after government has taken its share? Or is it 10 percent of your gross - before government lays into you?
A Christian feels compelled to serve Christ. A strict 10% tithe of income reminds me of the Pharisees. They were apparently very good at following the letter of the law without understanding its intent.
Without listing the relevant scripture (it is easy enough to research separately), the New Testament says the Church is made up of all sorts of different people. Some people are teachers, some pray, some give, etc. Whatever one feels led by Christ to do, they should be very generous in that regard.
I do not feel led to give 10% to maintain a beautiful building that’s rarely used outside of Sunday. I do feel compelled to serve Christ in other ways.
For what it’s worth, the conservative, sometimes lecturing Christian financial guru Dave Ramsey suggests after-tax tithing. I.e. on take home pay. That would be like tithing on profits.
Some churches have modest or even shabby buildings, and use the money to help out needy people by way of representing Jesus Christ, and/or for more direct evangelism outreaches. Not all flavors of Christian congregations agree that all approaches are proper and will spend hours arguing about it sometimes, but it’s not necessarily “to maintain a pretty building.” If you wonder what a particular church congregation is using their offerings for, ask it. Most will be tickled to show you.
Dave Ramsey says tithe 10% and he isn’t Mormon.
First harvest IE off the top.
According to another post on this thread, Ramsey says 10 percent of your after-tax income. ?
I agree with your thoughts.
Trying to remember from Financial Peace University but think it was left up to the individual but Dave pays tithing on “the bigger number just in case”.
PS I’m Mormon but could never get myself to tithe until going through Financial Peace University.
If you believe that God gives you everything, you show gratitude by giving something back. Give what is in your heart.
Dave isn’t a Bible scholar either.
Actually I don’t remember now whether it was Ramsey, or the sometimes controversial Christian psychiatrist Dr. Meier. Some might actually have legalistic rules about it. And some might follow on to Old Testament illustrations such as “first fruits” and want it to be done before taxes. But if giving based on personal profits is meant (i.e. as if you sold goods for which you paid $9 for $10 and kept $1, which is your profit), after tax is as good as any a reference point. Since deducting it will increase your after tax income, you might have to do some algebraic calculations if you really want it to be exactly 10% or X%. I say why not just donate a tithe on your resulting tax refund and call it a wash.
If giving what’s in your heart, maybe donate blood? (duck’n & runn’n)
Actually many Christians spread a tithe or X% giving around, and give some to their church, some to the Salvation Army, etc.
I didn’t mean to impugn all churches with my comment about church buildings. However, some spend nearly everything they take in on themselves. As I type, there are Christians who are being oppressed, even murdered, for Christ, and there are also billions of unbelievers at risk of eternal damnation. I’m not saying it’s wrong to worship in a comfortable building. One should do what Christ directs them to do, to the best of their ability. That includes even tithing 10% to build a nice church if that is how they are led. The challenge to do what Christ wants applies to me, too.
If everyone shared your view there would be no churches or pastors to lead them and help those in need. God loves a cheerful giver, so I don’t think he really wants your money anyway...at least not right now.
The need for evangelization is a matter that different congregations have different philosophies about. Some think along the lines that it is impossible to force God’s hand, so are very laid back about it. Some think along the lines that at least prayer if not further activities (like arguing with unbelievers) can increase God’s action to bring salvation, which makes them very impatient with the first set. Some take a mediating view that while they can’t force God to save anyone he has not planned to save, they can certainly choose to become part of the process and be blessed for sharing the gospel whether or not anything happens.
One should give with cheer (the word in Greek is actually hilaros, which root has been borrowed into English words like “hilarity” and “exhilaration”), and I think a lot of that is the hope that God will use it to do good things with, in which things you can then take joy along with God. You might not see them on earth, but you will certainly see them from heaven.
Where did I say one shouldn’t give to support churches or pastors? I thought my post was clear. I do not feel led to donate to build pretty buildings, but others may. Also, it’s clear that servants of Christ, i.e. pastors and missionaries, need support. That doesn’t mean that I’m under some legal, scriptural obligation to donate exactly 10% of my income to those specific causes. Pastors who obligate their flocks under Old Testament 10% tithe laws might as well compel them be circumcised, too.
I find most people who attack “tithing” as pharasitical, or claim it’s an old-testament teaching that has no place in Christianity, are almost always people who don’t give 10%, and often argue they do “other things”.
A church generally has a building. It has to be paid for. They have a pastor, he needs a salary, he has to buy food for his family. There’s heat, there’s musical instruments and probably a sound system. There’s supplies for sunday school.
There’s missionaries that need support, that need to be fed and clothed and given shelter while they share the gospel.
Now, if you want to go BE the missionary, I guess that’s a good reason not to tithe, since you won’t have any money. But how else but tithing do you expect your pastor to be paid, your church to be maintained?
There aren’t many people who use their freedom from the law of tithing to give more than 10% to their church, or to church-related things.
I do understand that it is probably easier to tithe when you’ve done it all your life, because you can’t miss what you never had.
Well this is a matter that is under local congregational control to various degrees. Ask the church treasurer what the offerings go for, if you are in the least concerned. Some keep the facilities up through sweat equity and specific donations (e.g. somebody gave my church a new door when the old one was just about worn out — and someone else donated their time to install it) as well as through offering moneys.
In re: the church building, in our culture, to have a presence in the community you need to have a physical presence.
Were we to have no church buildings the church would not be functioning very well. For example, we are to worship God together. Can’t do it in a house if you are overwhelming the neighbors with parking issues, not everyone can fit in the living room, etc. You could go out to a farm for worship but then there is a lot of traveling and few know you’re there if they want to join you, which is the point since it is through the preaching that most are saved -
so while I don’t want to pay for sold gold trim or diamond chandeliers, I think it is appropriate for a congregation to keep a clean and kept up building with parking and bathrooms and running water, reasonable heat and a/c, accessibility, garbage pickup and the like to facilitate worship and the plain old physical space needed for the declaration of the gospel and various legitimate ministries.
If you limit yourself to meeting in homes you keep yourselves small, and offend neighbors with parking issues, noise, trash etc. Not a good witness.
Of course if your church is small and a house works, there is nothing wrong with that. I am just saying, a building is not an extravagance in my book.
I'd bet you'd find a lot of Christian Freepers do this, on a free will basis. Give what they can when they are doing well, or when they are doing poorly.
I’m yet to meet one of the Pastors you’re referring to. These pastors that you speak of, the ones who obligate their flocks to give 10%, do they kick people out who don’t pony up? I’d love an anecdote.
“If everyone shared your view there would be no churches or pastors to lead them and help those in need. God loves a cheerful giver, so I dont think he really wants your money anyway...at least not right now.”
Well said, and I might add, God doesn’t NEED their money either. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and His kingdom will be advanced whether any given individual chooses to participate or not.
That said, as a Bible-believing Christian, it seems to me that tithing was practiced even before the Mosaic law. Look at Abraham, who gave 10% to the high priest Melchizidek. Although not commanded in the New Testament, the idea of giving generously verses sparingly is certainly supported.
In my experience, tithing is the best financial decision my wife and I ever made. When we finally decided to do it regularly about 12 years ago, our finances turned around dramatically. Our income today is actually less than it was 15 years ago, but somehow God has seen us through it and at the end of the day, we still have more than enough money to meet our needs.
I think tithing is an expression of faith and submission to God that God will reward. Many Christians don’t practice it cause they obviously don’t see it that way. They only look at the momentary monetary sacrifice, and not at the fact that God is in control of ALL circumstances and can works things out so that you have fewer expenses/more income in the future if you’re faithful in this practice.
Bottom line-I guess it really comes down to faith in God. Either a person has it or they don’t. Tithing is just one of the ways to show you truly do trust in Him.
I haven’t met a pastor who would kick someone out for not donating 10%, but I’ve met several who spend a great deal of time talking about money. On the other hand, I’ve never met a Christian who was oblivious to the fact that churches need donations to survive.
I’m making the point that legalism, a strict requirement to donate a percentage of income, is contrary to New Testament scripture. What do you think Christ would have said about it? He probably would have said ALL of our time and money is the Lord’s and should be treated as such. I can’t give you a precise rule for giving, because there isn’t one. We aren’t subject to the law, and I don’t like it when Christians try to burden their fellow believers with such rules and regulations.
lquist1: “Tithing is just one of the ways to show you truly do trust in Him.”
I’m not going to disagree with that. Again, my point isn’t that giving money to the church is wrong. You felt compelled to do so. Who am I to tell you otherwise? What I am saying is that people who tithe shouldn’t attempt to place that burden on others (not saying you did). Guilt tripping your brother or sister in Christ because they aren’t giving a certain percentage of income to the church, especially when they can give in so many different ways (per scripture), is wrong.
It sounds to me like Mormons practice legalism. That’s contrary to scripture (one of many ways they fall afoul of the Bible). Also, where does it say giving money to take care of family doesn’t count as using it for God’s purposes?
I keep writing on this thread, because some Christians seem intent to write “Rules and Regulations for Proper Giving.” Paul challenged Peter over this line of thought. We are not subject to circumcision, 10% tithes, food limits, etc.
The Cheerful Giver
6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully[a] will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Scripture sums it up well. Plus, nowhere in that does it say $ = giving. What we give, $ or otherwise, is between us and God. I think I’m properly interpreting scripture here, but if someone disagrees, I’d like to hear their point of view.
As in that famous movie about the 10 Suggestions? It says "commandments" in my copy. Check Malachi 3:8-10.
If you believe that God gives you everything, you show gratitude by giving something back. Give what is in your heart
I do tithe from a very limited income but the fact is, you cannot outgive the Lord. In addition to tithing I find other ways to give and somehow, blessings rain down on me and I lack for nothing.
Last Sunday I woke up and a particular need was on my mind. I wanted to provide testaments to a group that was in need of them. When I arrived for services I found a representitive from the Gideons was there to speak and I knew I could order the testaments from him. After services, I figured out how much the number of testaments would cost but as I wrote the check I was compelled to write it for a greater amount. On Monday I got a phone call telling me that some unexpected funds were coming my way. I do believe that God knew of the need, knew the Gideon was going to speak that day and that funds were coming to me to more than pay for what I ordered. He put the desire in my heart to carry out his will. I love and serve the Lord and am so grateful for all he has given me.
So why do Mormons tithe and (according to the article) only three percent of other churches do? Mormons give their Bishops an envelope with their money and they don’t pass around a plate where everyone can see you lift your arm high as you put money in.
I guess Mormons understand the principal: “givers gain”. I always get more from money I give. What I contribute always comes back to me. Maybe non Mormon churches should teach that principal.
If YOU were convinced that to make it to the HIGHEST level of Heaven, where GOD actually resides, a 'full' tithe is REQUIRED, by GOD! - you'd do it TOO!!!
Temple Recommend Questions
1 Do you have faith in and a testimony of God the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost?
2 Do you have a testimony of the Atonement of Christ and of His role as Savior and Redeemer?
3 Do you have a testimony of the restoration of the gospel in these the latter days?
4 Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?
5 Do you live the law of chastity?
6 Is there anything in your conduct relating to members of your family that is not in harmony with the teachings of the Church?
7 Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
8 Do you strive to keep the covenants you have made, to attend your sacrament and other meetings, and to keep your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?
9 Are you honest in your dealings with your fellowmen?
10 Are you a full-tithe payer?
11 Do you keep the Word of Wisdom?
12 Do you have financial or other obligations to a former spouse or children? If yes, are you current in meeting those obligations?
13 If you have previously received your temple endowment:
Do you keep the covenants that you made in the temple?
Do you wear the garment both night and day as instructed in the endowment and in accordance with the covenant you made in the temple?
14 Have there been any sins or misdeeds in your life that should have been resolved with priesthood authorities but have not been?
15 Do you consider yourself worthy to enter the Lord's house and participate in temple ordinances?
Before or after TAXES?
King James Version (KJV)
22Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
23And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.
24And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
25Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose:
26And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,
27And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.
28At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:
29And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.
Leviticus 27:30 "'A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.
Deuteronomy 14:22 Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.
Salvation by GRACE has it's roots in the OT, but is FULFILLED, in Christ, in the New; where THIS verse is found:
2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV)
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Why do CHRISTIANs seem to NOT know what is in ACTS, the 15th chapter???
5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.
6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.
12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 When they finished, James spoke up. Brothers, he said, listen to me. 14 Simon[a] has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:
16 After this I will return
and rebuild Davids fallen tent.
Its ruins I will rebuild,
and I will restore it,
17 that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
even all the Gentiles who bear my name,
says the Lord, who does these things[b]
18 things known from long ago.[c]
19 It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.
The apostles and elders, your brothers,
To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:
24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.
30 So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. 31 The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. 32 Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers. 33 After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them.  [d] 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.
Actually, tithing is addressed in part in the New Testament:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
The larger lesson is that the Pharisees were meticulous about tithing, even to the minutia of the spices they received, but failed in the matter of righteousness in character.
The smaller issue often overlooked here is that Jesus is also saying to them “do not neglect to continue in your tithes” even with the expectation of holy and righteous living.
There are legalists everywhere....
Jesus answered, The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.
“If everyone shared your view there would be no churches or pastors to lead them “
You are aware that Mormons don’t pay their pastors, right?
I'm quite familiar with the arguments: tithing is required for a Temple Recommend and to enter the Celestial Kingdom; the LDS Church doesn't disclose even semi-detailed public financials or to those who pay tithes; the LDS Church has massive income-producing holdings in cattle ranches, malls, radio stations, and the like; the LDS Church does very little humanitarian work other than for LDS members, and that's done primarily from fast offerings and other offerings and not from tithes; and so on.
But I'm not the person paying the tithe, Mitt is. If he and other LDS members want to tithe, or tithe because they've been taught that they must tithe to be exalted, enter the Celestial Kingdom, and be Families Forever, then that's essentially LDS business.
As for the comment: "I guess Mormons understand the principal: givers gain." That may be true, but they also realize that they can't attend their children's weddings in the Temple, or watch their grandchildren's baptisms in the Temple, or be married for eternity to their sealed spouses, without staying current on their tithing. And if they fall behind, they have to make it up in future years. Exaltation's a gain, and a lot to gain. But it's your choice.
As for the statement: "The correct LDS phrase is "10% of your increase".
First, the First Presidency has determined that means 10% of your gross. Second, there were two revelations on tithing. Doctrine & Covenants 120, which sets up the Council on the Disposition of Tithing is the one that's always cited.
However, Tithing for Mormons (and I say "Mormons," because the revelation came before the current LDS church was established - this was before the leadership crisis, and the hyphen in Latter-Day Saints), came from D&C 119, and had two parts, in pertinent part:
I require all their surplus property to be put into the hands of the bishop and this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people. (D&C 119: 1, 3)
And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people. And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever (D&C 119: 4)
Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you. (D&C 119: 5)
So with the initial revelation, Mormons paid their surplus to the bishop. And only those who paid a surplus paid 10% of their interest. The communal nature of paying your surplus was a common thread in early Mormon thought - the United Order involved common property.
As for the comment: "One of the questions you answer at your temple recommend interview is, "Do you pay a full and honest tithe?"."
I don't believe that's the current wording. I believe the current question is: "Are you a full-tithe payer?
These thoughts offered for historical perspective and to clear up what I believe may be some mistakes. Again, my view is that it's Mitt's money, Mitt's church, and LDS teachings. I support the right of Mitt, FR members, and others to their religious beliefs, although they may differ from mine. When I butt heads with "LDS", it's over the issue of faithful history versus academic history, not over whether LDS members should have a right to believe and practice their beliefs.
Did the tribe of LEVI tithe?