Questions About Christian Tithing

Up until this year, I always thought it was proper to give a minimum of 10% of what you make to the church.  I thought that was what we were commanded to do from the Bible.  But, the New Testament doesn’t talk much about the tithe, and it certainly doesn’t say anything about 10%.  The only specifics to tithing are found in the Old Testament Law, which, most Christians today would say we are not bound by any longer.

The New Testament does make a few references here and there.  Perhaps the most prominent that I have found on the giving to the church is 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 which mentions “as he may prosper” as the guideline and not a percentage.  2 Corinthians 9:7 throws in that “God loves a cheerful giver”, so there is also an element of the heart in giving that is important.  Other than that, the New Testament seems to leave it open.

This has got me thinking quite a bit about this, and I have come up with some questions:

  • Churches depend on their congregation giving money.  Salaries, bills, sometimes missionary support, mortgages, etc. rely on it.  How much of the X amount that one might give in a year should go to the church?  I have already felt for a long time that many churches spend way too much money on themselves with massive and expensive buildings, impressive sound and lighting systems, etc.  Just like Jesus says that it is difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God, should we be careful how “rich” we are making our churches?
  • Is it just me, or do a lot of churches spend way to much money on themselves?  Really nice looking church buildings, extravagant youth and child facilities, nice lighting and sound systems, loads of full-time paid staff members, etc.  If we are called to sell all of our possessions and give it to the poor, how then does it make sense to have a really “impressive” church?
  • What if I want to give on my own accord, to people I find who are in need, and to the poor?  Can I do that instead of give the money to the church?
  • What if I want to give, but I have debts that I want to get paid off, and know if I stick to plan, I can have paid off in 6-9 months?  The Bible suggests to not be in debt (Proverbs 22:7) and says we should give.  So what should one do in this situation?  Is there a right/wrong way to go?

Let me know what you think on these questions.  I’m very eager to hear some opinions.

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3 thoughts on “Questions About Christian Tithing

  1. Your line of thinking is correct. Tithing is certainly not for today, yet there are few pastors who have the honesty to tell this truth. Some will simply overlook it, some will go along with the “ride”, and say “it’s time to take up tithes and offerings”, knowing that tithing is not for us today. (in fact, it was for very few people even in the OT) Often, Malachi is used as a guilt text for tithing. First off, they were tithing produce, not money! If we tithe today, let us drop a few bananas or bags of grain into the plate….along with our monetary offering, which I am fine with. Give when you can, but nobody should feel obliged to tithe. It’s interesting that many of the same preachers who agree that we are not under law, are the same who try to put us in the bondage of a 10% tithe! I also agree that many churches spend way too much money building themselves up. Where is their heart at? Anyway, I could go on, but I will refrain. Good topic.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It really is disheartening to have grown up in the church and to not have discovered this until recently, and after a number of years as an agnostic. As I begin to search the scriptures, I’m finding more and more things, traditions, and so on that Christians and the Church do that are not necessarily Biblical, and some things that are actually not right. It is disheartening, but I will continue to press on and keep learning from the Bible. I think Christianity today really lacks those who question things and test them against the Bible.

  2. These are hard questions. I believe that American Christianity has been corrupted by excess and wealth. Of course we need fancy buildings and expensive equipment, etc! It’s all about the show, it’s all about money, it’s all about numbers. I will tell you that the best churches I’ve been in are the small ones, the ones with no building, the ones that do try and give as much money as they can away. I go to one of those now….and it’s very encouraging.
    You are right to question these things. It takes guts to do so. Keep pressing on!

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