CNN: Is Tithing Optional?
NAE survey shows majority of leaders think so.

Results of a survey given by the National Association of Evangelicals to its 100-member board of directors show a minority–42 percent–believe the Bible requires tithing, while the rest do not. Leith Anderson, pastor of Wooddale Church and president of the NAE, said in a prepared statement he was "a little surprised" by the results. In the same statement, David Neff, editor-in-chief of Christianity Today (our sister publication), added, "Anything less [than 10 percent] seems like an ungenerous response to God."

Not surprisingly, secular media outlets have picked up on the story, ranging from metropolitan newspapers, such as The Denver Post and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, to national news networks, such as CNN.

Dan Gilgoff, CNN's religion editor, wrote a short piece detailing the background of tithing and interviewed Dan Olson, who studies tithing as a sociology professor at Purdue University:

[Olson] says the new survey doesn't mean Christian leaders think those in the pews shouldn't give.
"Most of those leaders would probably say, ‘you really ought to tithe, but the term ‘requires' gets at a theological point," he said.
"Most Christians would say the laws of the Old Testament are not what save you – you're supposed to be giving out of a spirit of freedom, not because you're bound to laws," he said.

On Sunday, CNN hosted Anderson and Pastor Brian Kluth (whose Maximum Generosity founded the annual "State of the Plate" giving survey, which Christianity Today International co-sponsors with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) on "Faces of Faith." The segment was built around this question: Is tithing optional for churches?

How is this question answered at your church? (Based on the comments from "When Tithe Doesn't Mean Tenth," we expect a variety of responses.) With 43 percent of churches reporting increased giving in 2010 (and 39 percent reporting decreased giving), is it a question worthy of discussion between church leaders and congregants?

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Displaying 1–10 of 12 comments


May 13, 2011  12:25pm

Matthew 19 1And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan; 2And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there. 3The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 7They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. 10His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. 11But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. 12For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. 13Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. 14But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. 15And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence. 16And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 18He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 20The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. 23Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 25When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? 26But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. 27Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? 28And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. 30But many that are first shall be last

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May 10, 2011  12:02pm

We must remember that OT tithes all were taxes to the theocracy at about 23%. Our average taxes to our federal government are about that same amount. And then what is the "storehouse" of Malachi anyway. To church leaders, it is often the local church. To parachurch leaders, it is often any Christian ministry. Assume your personal conviction.

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May 06, 2011  7:48pm

Good exchanges here. I just want to add that when we cite 2 Corinthins 9:7 and other passages in chapter 9 that relate to giving from the heart, let's not leave out that the root context of these chapter 9 verses must be seen along side with the chapter 8. where people are admonished or encouraged to give as the Macedonians gave....freely/from the heart yet "sacrificially". "1Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 2 how that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; 4 praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints." (1 Cor.8)

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May 03, 2011  3:51pm

Thanks for an idea, you sparked at thought from a angle I hadn't given thoguht to yet. Now lets see if I can do something with it.

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April 29, 2011  10:23am

Scripture says that God loves a cheerful giver. We really shouldn't be arguing over giving a tenth. We just celebrated Easter wherein we celebrated the fact that Jesus gave His ALL. Certainly when one joins with Christ, he/she will want to do his/her very best to give with a cheerful heart. I don't see it said anywhere that Jesus said He would not let someone into heaven because they only gave 9%. have a great day.

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Pastor Robert Ahrens

April 29, 2011  10:10am

I preach tithing as well giving additional offerings. I feel this is well supported by scripture. The tithe belongs to God. Some may ask whether to tithe on the net income or the gross income. I respond by asking the question how much do you want to be blessed of the Lord? Robert Morris addresses giving quite well in his book "The Blessed Life". You cannot out give God!

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Peter Moon

April 27, 2011  8:19am

Tithe is definitely an Old Testament regulation; I am aware that Abraham tithed to Melchizedek before the laws and rules were given officially. So the question about the tithe, or tenth is not one of should I but how much. 2 Cor 9:7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. NIV God loves a cheerful giver because God is not bound by the need for cash in the wallet or assets in the bank. Christians are to understand that God is their provider and they prove it in their giving. Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." NIV Pastor's are no different than the congregant; they are to give in faith and continue in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. I personally tithe to those above me; the NRP Network of Related Pastors. and there fulfill another biblical model of tithing up. Offerings are another story; they go above the giving of the tithe. Should I preach on tithing? Well, I can only tell you that if I remain silent on the benefits me and my family have received I would do the hearer a dis-service. Rather I'd say, try it, in faith and you'll see like me that you cannot out-give God! Blessings, Pastor Peter J. Moon

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April 22, 2011  6:30pm

Of course, we have to focus on the tithe BECAUSE there are those who use it to declare that New Testament saints are cursed for not tithing - despite the fact that Christ came to fulfil 'the Law and the Prophets' and despite the fact that 'Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law' and despite the fact that God 'nailed every handwriting that were against us, to the cross'. Let us settle this issue and then we can talk about how and how much New Testament saints should give. How can one ignore these truths and then say they are representing the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ?

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Dave N.

April 22, 2011  12:40pm

I'm guessing David Neff hasn't gotten to Galatians yet in his bible reading program.

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Carlos Huey

April 21, 2011  10:18pm

I have to say I agree with Joe when he says, "giving 10% is still far short of the Old Testament requirement, regardless whether one believes tithing applies today." I've always wondered why we are so infatuated with this subject in our society. Here we serve such a merciful and giving God, yet we continue to focus on only a "tithe?" Considering the fact that God gave/gives us his all, instead of focusing on what percentage to offer God and what percentage we keep, why not make everything we have available to him and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us on how much to give, when to give it, and who or what cause to give it to?

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