Most evangelical leaders believe tithing is not a biblical requirement
A survey of Evangelical leaders showed recently that most of the respondents don’t believe that the bible requires that Christians tithe.
The February Evangelical Leaders Survey, conducted by the National Association of Evangelicals, showed that 58 percent of evangelical leaders do not believe the tithe is required by the bible, CNN News said.
Some 42 percent of responding evangelical leaders said they believe tithing is a biblical requirement, Star Tribune said. The NAE, which is the U.S. biggest Evangelical umbrella group, included among respondents its 100 board of directors, CNN said.
However, it did not say how many members of its board answered the survey. Members include highly influential people such as the heads of the Assemblies of God, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and the Salvation Army, CNN reported.
Origin of tithe
Leith Anderson, president of the NAE said in a statement, “The Old Testament called for multiple tithes, sort of combining government taxes with religious stewardship. Many churches later adopted 10 percent as the standard,” Star Tribune reported.
Anderson added, “Since there is such a strong evangelical tradition of tithing I was a little surprised that a majority of our evangelical leaders say the tithe system of the Old Testament does not carry over to the New Testament or to us,”
according to Star Tribune.
NAE leaders said the survey findings do not mean that Christians need not tithe. Alan Robinson of the Brethren in Christ Church told Star Tribune, “While tithing is not ‘required’ today, it is my view that Christian generosity will, at a minimum, reflect the Old Testament requirements of the law and should, in fact, greatly exceed it.”
Dan Olson, a sociology professor of Purdue University told CNN, “Most Christians would say the laws of the Old Testament are not what save you – you’re supposed to be giving out of a spirit of freedom, not because you’re bound to laws.”
The study also showed that while most leaders don’t believe that Christians are required to tithe they themselves, at 95 percent,
give at least 10 percent of their income, Star Tribune said. Of those who do not tithe, one respondent said it depends on his situation and needs.
Anderson, head of NAE, told Star Tribune, “For many American Christians, sacrificial giving encouraged throughout the Bible would mean giving over 10 percent. Personally, I believe that the New Testament teaches ‘proportionate giving’ that may be more or less than 10 percent depending on income.”
Anderson told Star Tribune that he personally gives more than the biblical 10 percent. “My hope is that in coming years we will see more generous, proportionate, cheerful and sacrificial giving among American evangelicals.”
The Evangelical Leaders Survey is conducted every month. Respondents usually include the NAE board of directors, denominational CEOs, and representatives of various evangelical organizations including universities, churches, missions
and publishers, Star Tribune said.
Another study by Empty Tomb Inc. revealed a different tune where church followers are concerned. Findings showed that
evangelical church members on the average give four percent of their earnings to the church. Olson suspects the average may even be lower, at perhaps two percent or less, according to CNN.