Tuesday, September 06, 2011


When Preaching Gets Personal

Dan Gilgoff:
Thou shalt not be required to financially support your church – but you should anyway.

That’s the upshot of a new informal survey of evangelical leaders finding that less than half believe that the Bible requires church members to tithe, the practice of giving at least 10 percent of one’s income to the church.

The survey, conducted by the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) among its 100-member board of directors, found that 42% of evangelical leaders believe the Bible requires tithing, while 58% do not.
First the theology, then the practicality.

I think one should give away 10%. Not necessarily to your local congregation, and taxes don't count. In the end tithing is not about supporting something - it's about sacrificing to God. You're allowed to support a lot of God's work in a lot of different places, put it needs to total up to something seriously sacrificial, like 10% of gross.

Now to the practical - if these survey results are to be believed, the amount of preaching I hear about tithing is way out of proportion to the convictions of the preachers. Wonder why that is?

The reason should be obvious, and I think a preacher that preaches on tithing when his/her convictions may be slightly different needs to do a bit of self-examination. Consider the words of the Apostle Paul:
1 Cor 9:11-19 - If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we should reap material things from you? If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things, that we may cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ.

Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the {food} of the temple, {and} those who attend regularly to the altar have their share with the altar? So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel. But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things that it may be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one.

For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel. For though I am free from all {men,} I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more.
I think we could get by with a lot less preaching about tithing. If we teach selfless, sacrificial living, I think the money thing will take care of itself. Not to mention it's really hard to teach selfless, sacrificial living when you are begging for your own paycheck!

God provides. My financial life is testament to that fact. I certainly have not earned what I have been rewarded with. I'd like to see more churches rely on God and less on begging. I think the results might be interesting.

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