I have been in several discussions about this lately. Based on scripture to my knowledge, I hold a position that the tithe is not law in the modern day, and that the claim by churches that you must give 10% of your income is false. This is based on the following:
- The tithe had a specific purpose unique to the political arrangement of the nation of Israel, for the sake of feeding/supporting the Levite tribes, to be used upon celebration of God's goodness, and for the sake of the poor. The Israeli cultural indications are no longer existent.
- The tithe is law in the old testament. We no longer follow the dietary laws, stone people for various things, or send our wives outside the city during menstruation. Why do we choose to pluck this particular law out for favored treatment and ignore the others? Inconsistent.
- In the new testament, Paul's talks about giving generously to the poor according to what is placed on your heart. He does not reference the tithe, or any percentage. The cheerful giver is prized, no mention of any legitimacy coming from any 'amount' or portion given.
- The message of Christ in the New testament about almost any action, can summarized as "God knows your heart". If you heart is right, you are doing right. If its wrong, it doesn't matter what great thing you be doing, its wrong.
- If the tithe is 10%, then those that give more than 10% would be violation of that law. This would include the poor woman who gave two coins, all she had (100%), as well as all well-meaning believers who give over 10%. The OT says 1 / 10, not 'at least' 1 / 10.
One quick note: A lot of people will assume a priori that anybody who argues against the tithe as a fixed mandatory number must be doing so to justify not giving up their money. To dissuade this, let me share without any intention of sounding pious that we give a fair bit more than 10% to our church, and additionally to other Christ-based charities, friends and family in need etc. This is simply to put it out there that my motivation is not to hoard money, but to get an honest opinion from those who know scripture.
Please anyone share what you know. I'm looking at you specifically Mark.