For two thousand years, Christians have struggled with a simple “yes or no” question that has sometimes sparked controversy within the Church. Are believers required to tithe? The question may be simple but the answer most certainly is not. On this MoneyWise, financial planner and teacher Rob West gives both sides of the argument so you can decide for yourself.
- Whichever way you decide, you have to do it for the right reason. If you believe tithing isn’t required but you’re basing that decision on greed then you jeopardize that relationship. On the other hand, if you believe tithing is required but you go about it legalistically, that’s the wrong reason as well. God loves a cheerful giver.
- Tithing is simply one-tenth of your income. In the Old Testament, Jews were required to give a tenth of their income or “increase” to support the temple and its priests. But it didn’t end there. There were also requirements for additional giving.
- Those who support tithing will often cite Malachi 3:10—“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing.” Those who believe that tithing is no longer required will cite Romans 6:14, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”
- Paul specifically says we’re no longer under the law but under the new covenant of grace. You’d think that’d settle the argument. But those who believe we’re still required to tithe will also cite Genesis 14:20 where Abram gives a tenth of his victory spoils to Melchizedek, who is described as a “priest of God most high.”
- I wonder if maybe God left it undecided on purpose so that each of us would have to make our own decision about tithing. That exercise could reveal our hearts. To be fair, I think most people on both sides of the tithing question know that they should support the church
On this program we also answer your questions:
- As I approach retirement, what should I do with my 401(k) and Roth IRA? Can you recommend a good investment strategy for me now?
- What do you think of online banks?
- Should I take from my 401(k) to pay off debt?
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