As stated in the previous posts, I believe that Christians are under no obligation to tithe. That is to say, a Christian is not required to give ten percent of their financial income to their local church institution in a recurring fashion, such as monthly or weekly.
However, this does not mean that Christians should not be giving some of their income away, or that the New Testament does not provide principles for giving. Let us examine some of the passages in the New Testament that offer guidance for giving.
We will begin with 1 Corinthians 16:1-2:
This passage teaches at least two important principles. First, our giving should not be a once-off act but it should occur regularly, such as weekly or monthly. Second, the phrase "as he may prosper" implies that we should give according to our wealth and ability; we should not give to the point of personal affliction. The NIV states verse 2 as follows: "...each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income...".
The next passage is 2 Corinthians 9:6-7:
Here Paul makes three points. First, generous giving results in blessing. Second, we should give out of a loving, cheerful attitude and not out of a grudging attitude or because we feel guilty. Finally, the amount to give is a personal decision made in our hearts.
In 2 Corinthians 9:10-12, Paul says that we should give to help meet the needs of those in ministry:
He makes a similar point in 1 Corinthians 9:13-14:
We may summarise these principles as follows:
The implication of this is that most Christians, or at least most middle to upper class Christians, should probably be giving more than 10% of their income to those in need, including those in ministry. Unlike tithing, however, we should be giving out of love and our giving should be rooted in our relationship with God. Indeed, tithing may be a hindrance to one's giving, since tithing gives the impression that, by simply giving 10% of one's income, one's responsibility to give is satisfied. As Andreas J. Kostenberger and David A. Croteau write ("Reconstructing a Biblical Model of Giving", 2006:260):
In conclusion, as I see it, there is nothing inherently wrong with a Christian giving 3% or 10% or 30% of their income. There is nothing wrong with dividing your offering amongst various people or organisations, such as giving a portion directly to a family member in need, a portion to a ministry you believe in, and a portion to your local church. There is, however, something wrong when a Christian gives out of guilt, or gives grudgingly, or has been mislead into thinking that they are robbing God if they do not tithe.<< Previous