A recent survey conducted by the research group, Barna, discovered that the majority of American pastors do not believe that the Bible requires Christians to tithe, Christian Today reports.
The study, entitled, Revisiting the Tithe & Offering, found that only 33% of church leaders surveyed believed that Christians should give 10% of their income to the church.
Of the 67%, who did not believe that Christians are required to tithe, 21% believed the amount given should be sacrificial and 20% believed that whatever believers donate, it should be an amount that they are willing to give
As well, 70% believed that a tithe doesn’t have to be strictly financial.
This was the same position that the ancient Jewish Rabbis took on the tithe that Jacob pledged to the House of God in Genesis 28:22.
During the night, Jacob had a dream of angels ascending and descending on a ladder to heaven. He took the stone that he used as a pillow, declared it to be the House of God and pledged a tithe to it.
At that point, neither the tabernacle nor the temple had been created. Ancient rabbis believed Jacob’s tithe was paid when one of his sons, Levi, and his descendants, did not receive a land inheritance in Israel and instead were dedicated to work in the tabernacle and later the temple (Numbers 18:21-24).
The Barna survey also revealed that there was some confusion on what a tithe entailed with only 40% of American stating they had heard of the concept of tithing and understood it meant giving 10% of their income.
Another 22% stated they had heard of the concept, but did not know what percentage of their income this involved. Among practicing Christians, 60% fully understood what tithing involved.
Under the Old Testament law, the Levites did not receive a land inheritance in Israel, as the tribe was set aside to teach the law and work in the tabernacle and temple.
Because of this, the remaining tribes were required to set aside 10% of the increase in their crops and flocks as a tithe to the Levites.
However, when we move into the New Testament, a massive transformation took place in the Kingdom of God. The Temple was replaced by the believers and the church who are now considered the temple of God because the Holy Spirit resided inside them (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; Ephesians 2:20-22). As well, Christians were now considered part of the priesthood (1 Peter 2:9).
With the physical temple no longer relevant, finalized by its destruction in 70 AD, this ended the need for the tribe of Levi and the Levitical tithe.
But Christians should still give as an act of worship, and without mentioning the requirement to tithe, the Apostle Paul laid several principles on giving.
The two keys are:
- We are not to give under compulsion, and
- Whatever you donate, it should be an amount you can give with a cheerful heart:
6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)