Who Says We Should Give 10% to the Local Church?
Fundamentalist preachers twist what the Bible says and misapply it for their own benefit
I was taught to give 10 percent of my money to church. I’ve heard many evangelical preachers assert that their followers had to give 10 percent to the local church. It was a tithe, an obligation. You could, of course, give more. That was a voluntary offering, but the 10 percent baseline was a requirement. If you failed to do so, it was a sin.
It turns out the preachers who proclaim the 10-percent-to-the-local-church rule made it up. They want to fund their operation and ensure their paycheck.
Seriously, it’s not in the Bible.
The Bible never says to give 10 percent of our money to the local church. It’s not a command or even a guideline. Any place the New Testament mentions a tithe it’s in reference to the Old Testament Law, which Jesus fulfilled.
And don’t forget that the Old Testament tithe was from the harvest, not a paycheck. It was to the national temple, not a local assembly. Plus, how many of the 613 Old Testament Laws do you follow? Not many, I suspect.
So if you want to re-interpret the Old Testament and forget that Jesus fulfilled it, go ahead and tithe as a legalistic requirement. Just don’t act like it is an obligation or command others to do so.The New Testament never says to give 10 percent to the local church. Click To Tweet
Here’s what the New Testament has to say:
- Help people in hardship (1 John 3:17, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2)
- Support missionaries (1 Corinthians 9:3-6)
- Be generous (2 Corinthians 9:6)
In the New Testament we see a principle of stewardship, of carefully using what God blesses us with to help those around us. If you feel God calling you to give 10 percent to your local church, than go ahead and do it. But know that the Bible doesn’t command it. (It doesn’t prohibit it either.) What I see in the Bible is a clear principle to help the poor and assist those who go outside the church to tell others about Jesus.
May our focus be on advancing the kingdom of God more so than on perpetuating the manmade institution of what many today call church.
[Read more about this in Peter’s upcoming book, Jesus’s Broken Church.]
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.