Is it part of “Old Testament” religion? No longer binding on Christians?
Is it a pretty good idea… as long as you can afford it?
Does it really have to be ten percent? (Or is setting a percentage for giving “legalism?”)
I’ll tell you this much. If you want to get Christians arguing about money and especially about tithing, talk about whether or not the practice of giving ten percent (minimum) of their net income or net profits to the local church where they worship is a mandatory part of their religious faith which Christ did not annul or discontinue or eradicate with his coming and his death, resurrection and ascension ushering in the New Covenant, or whether “tithing” is simply a handy term we use in New Testament times to describe our giving at church, regardless of the amount.
Such a discussion will separate the theological men from the epistemological boys.
“We’re not under law but under grace!” “No law but love!”
Well, Jesus said, if you love me, keep my commandments…
So, is tithing still commanded?
That is the question addressed head on by Dr. Gary North in his 1994 book, Tithing and the Church.
Note: this is not a new book. It was published more than 20 years ago. Yet its message is just as vital and as relevant as ever — written on a topic that North believed was so urgent and fundamental and critical not only for the long-term success of the church, but also for the long-term survival of it, that he wrote this at the beginning:
Because of the importance I place on the question of tithing to the local church, I hereby place the entire contents of Tithing and the Church into the public domain. Anyone may reproduce all or any part of this book without permission from the author or the original publisher.
That’s how seriously he takes this!
He has not changed his views. In fact, he expanded on this subject later on when he wrote and published a followup title, The Covenantal Tithe.
Financing the Kingdom of God
Giving to support the institutional church is only a part of God’s overall plan for funding his kingdom. The other primary institutions involved are also included: state and family. Yet, as Gary argues, the preeminent authority for collecting and expending funds for the preaching of the gospel, the administration of the sacraments, the worship of the saints, and cradle-to-grave ministering to the spiritual and (in the case of qualifying widows) certain of the material needs of Christ’s body and that of the local community and society at large, and for fostering the overall “healing of the nations,” has been delegated to the church.
To do all of this requires money. A steady, reliable, predictable supply of it.
The main question asked by Christians is, “How much should I give” to support all this?
The answer is best found by the inquiring mind through a thoughtful reading of Tithing and the Church.
(Then later, The Covenantal Tithe.)
Since Gary explicitly states that his former book is essentially FREE for anyone to read and share due to the crucial importance of the subject, I’ve decided to oblige not only by posting a link to the book below, but also by posting portions of it here in a series of articles upcoming.
So let’s get started!
Step one: download and read the book by clicking here: Tithing and The Church
Step two: do what it says.
Think of the possibilities for expansion of the kingdom of God when his people decide to withhold no more than ninety percent of what they earn as their commission for being his agents of change in the world!