Is Tithing Not Required?
According to the February Evangelical Leaders Survey, most evangelical leaders do not believe the Bible requires Christians to tithe. The survey showed that 58 percent do not believe the Bible requires a tithe, while 42 percent do.
Said another way, 58% of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals say that tithing is not a requirement of the Bible. The Board of Directors, according to their website, has a membership of 107 people. Let’s say that survey is more than likely not a good representation of the Christian faith.
The big debate comes down to the Old Testament Law versus the teachings of the New Testament. Did it only apply to Old Testament teachings? Does the new covenant superceede what was written in the old testament?
There are some pretty major arguments for why tithing is important. It is about worship, being fully surrendered, obeying, and living a Matthew 6:24 life. It goes without saying it has nothing to do with prosperity or what you get in return financially. It is also not a biblical lotto card.
Are we seriously to believe that we just disregard the Old Testament and its teachings?
I like what Robert Morris said in his book The Blessed Life (paraphrased in part):
Imagine what you would think if I pulled out a gun and shot someone in the congregation? The Bible says that you should not kill. “Well, though shalt not kill was part of the law. I’m not under the Law. I’m under Grace.”
“If something was wrong under the Law, can it be right under Grace? Since murder was wrong under the Law, is it now right under Grace?”
“If something was right under the Law, is it now wrong under Grace? Specifically, tithing was clearly the right thing to do under the Law. The Old Testament makes that clear. But is it now the wrong thing to do under Grace? Certainly not.”
“We can’t afford to throw out any vital principles in the Word of God – and tithing is a principle that runs all through Scripture.”
It seems to me that the arguments and all of the debate about tithing comes down to semantics in many cases and maybe a little bit of justification in other cases. I would encourage every Christian to pray and study everything that they can about giving and tithing. I truly don’t think that it is until then that Christians really understand the importance and critical discipline of tithing.
Remember that Christ could have pointed out just about any subject or a general category of subjects when he spoke about priorities and what occupies the throne of our life. In Matthew 6:24, He specifically warned that money would be that thing in our lives that we will be tempted to worship and place on the throne. The Old Testament teachings are very important when it comes to the relationship of God and money.
The most important aspect of tithing is the declaration you make to God that money is not the priority. To me, the beauty of tithing comes down to this simple truth. Tithing is all about the declaration of detachment from money and priority to a relationship with Christ. It is the discipline that creates a starting point to live the Matthew 6:24 life.