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I knew it would happen. Mention tithing, and someone will fire off an email reminding me that we are not under the law, and tithing is Old Testament law, and why don’t I read my Bible, and why don’t I teach on grace-giving, etc.

Let’s clear the air…

I do not teach tithing as a law. I believe tithing is a principle, a starting place. NT Christians are under grace, not the law. Tithing is not a legalistic standard to use to beat people over the head with guilt. I believe in grace-giving and teach it and practice it.

However – My experience is that “grace giving” seems to become a convenient way to salve the conscience and give less.

Consider –

*Human need is so great,

*The gospel can advance so rapidly if the funds are available,

*We live in the most affluent society in human history

*Average giving of evangelical Christians is 2.6% of their income.

How can this be explained? Either we haven’t experienced grace, or we’ve grown accustomed to grace and take it for granted.

I agree with Randy Alcorn

To me, giving less than a tithe is simply not an option. Someday I’m going to stand before God and give an account of my life (Romans 14:12). On that day I do not want to have to explain why, being indwelt with the Holy Spirit and having lived in the most affluent nation in human history, I failed to give at the very minimal level of those who did not have the indwelling Spirit and owned far less than I.

Maybe you believe the tithe was an Old Testament standard, and we’re no longer under the law but under grace, so tithing isn’t a requirement for us. Okay. Let’s say you’re right. Now, do you really think God doesn’t have a will for New Testament Christians when it comes to giving, or that he has lowered the bar of what he expects of us? Since studies show the average Christian givers just over 2% of his income to the Lord, does that mean that grace is only a fifth as effective as the law? Or is something fundamentally wrong with our approach to giving? Are we failing to learn what real grace giving means because we children of grace are failing to start at the minimum level God started his children under the Old Covenant?

The concepts behind the firstfruits—the ownership and worthiness of God and the servanthood and indebtedness of man—are as true today as they were in the Old Testament. And surely the gratitude of God’s people should be far greater on this side of Calvary than the other!

I view the tithe of 10% as I view a child’s first steps. His first steps are not his last, neither are they his best, but they are a fine beginning. So is the tithe. Tithing is for many the first toddler’s step of stewardship. It is the training wheels on the bicycle of true giving. It may not be a home run, but it gets you on base—which is a lot further than the majority of church members ever get….

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7 Comments

  1. My response was too long for a reply. I’ll send you an email. Reader’s Digest version: Amen.

  2. My response was too long for a reply. I’ll send you an email. Reader’s Digest version: Amen.

  3. God never raised or lowered the bar for stewardship. It was always at 100%. However, God can change the lessons on how we are taught stewardship. I don’t see tithing anywhere under the new covenant. Although, I do see Spirit led giving. Which begs the question: Who/what is our tutor now? Is it tithing? or is it God’s Spirit?

    Tithing in the old testament was a static law towards a God that Israel could not directly communicate with. God was not alive in them. Today, we give to God as if he is dead. Tithing is how pagans give to their gods. It is barely an interactive way of giving. Their statue is wooden or metal and cannot speak to them. They have no relationship with their gods as we do with ours and yet, we give to him as if he can’t speak to us! No wonder pagans don’t believe us when we say our God is alive in us! They see how we give!

    I am not against personal standards in giving. I am for them, if they are given to you by the Spirit of God.

    If Alcorn wants to compare tithing with a child learning to walk then he is using the wrong comparison. Children learning to walk and then run are still using their legs and their own strength, they just move faster. In the end we need to learn how to fly and have the spirit carry us and guide our wings as eagles. You don’t teach an eagle to fly by teaching him to use his legs. We are birds of the limitless sky, so why do we begin on the ground with tithing? You need to teach people to be guided by the Spirit. Tithing is teaching the children to first rely on their legs, not the wind of the Holy Spirit.

    -jared

  4. Ok…I have to respond to Jared and others that think that tithing is not for today because it is “Old Testament” and have the audacity to compare the privilege to paganism.

    So if Christians are “Under Grace” that must mean it is OK to:
    1. Murder,
    2. Steal
    3. Lie
    4. Covet
    5. Have other gods
    6. Fornicate
    7. Commit Adultery

    etc, etc.
    Nonsense.

    To quote the Apostle Paul when discussing sin in Hebrews
    6: 15
    “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.”
    Get it Jared? “GOD FORBID”

    God is not mocked

    I see so many claimed “Christians” that break all the 10 commandments and justify their mocking of God by saying they are under “grace”. They are sorely deceived.

    Time for holiness instead of “tolerance”.

    The “Spirit” is guiding and has clearly laid out what to do and has even written it down for us simple minded people to understand…..God even challenges us to PROVE him has out in tithing…like a dare….I dare ya to trust me with your money (Mal 3)

    If you don’t tithe, you are missing the best that God has to offer in this life. It has been our personal experience that tithing ALWAYS results in our needs being met.

    Also, given my experience with being a church treasurer and seeing first hand how many give nothing or very little while being pious at church showed me the claim of spirit led giving is a crock. Jared, do you really think the Spirit to going to lead you to buy a nicer car instead of giving at least 10 percent of your income to advance the Kingdom of God? Mal 3 calls that stealing. ‘nuf said?

  5. We now have the Holy Spirit in our lives. Shouldn’t we be required more? More of everything, to whom much is given, much is expected. Now is not a time to find out what is the least we are required do to. It’s not about that, it is time to love extravagantly! That includes the laying down of so many things, money, time, etc… That which you hold on to so tightly, that which you defend for, that is what you love. Let’s do MORE and ALLOW the Spirit to work in us.

  6. Also, I don’t know you or where your church is located or anything about you. I just thought I’d say, Keep preaching the way that it is, don’t water down anything for fear of man. We all need to hear the truth. Great blog(and sounds like a great sermon) keep with the race, the finish line is coming soon!

  7. Randy,
    Wow! All i’m saying is that tithing is not a command under the new covenant and you act as if i want to throw out the bible. I’m sure you don’t act this way if someone said circumcision, sacrifices, and clean meats are not commanded. All i’m saying is that the Holy Spirit is our tutor now, not some static standard. Especially since the tithe was a standard that was established for a people under a completely different covenant.

    Spirit led givers don’t have any more of issue with Greed as opposed to tithers. As a reminder, it was Israel, while under the tithing law, that God rebuked. If someone’s example proves that Spirit led giving is a crock, then i’m sure you believe that Christianity is a crock as well, since so many people horribly represent Christ. Your experiences only exposes your closed mind, not the truth.


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