The Ramblings Of John Campea

Life Beyond The Movies

Christian History Corner: The Ancient

Christian History Corner: The Ancient Rise and Recent Fall of Tithing
Found this interesting article on Christianity today that points out that in 2001 only 14% of evangelical Christians “tithed”, and in 2002 that number dropped significantly to just 6%. Now, some may look at this and say “Good, tithing is just a legalism thing that has no place in New Covenant Christianity”. That may be true, but although the legalistic mandate of tithing may have past away, the call on Christian lives post-resurrection is to live and give with even more generosity. Not generosity measured and defined by pre-set numbers or percentages, but rather out of a sprit of generosity that joyfully flows out of us. Personally, I’m not so concerned that we aren’t “Tithing” as much anymore, but I am worried that we’ve become hoarders of our wealth instead of practitioners in the art of giving things (and money) away. Here’s and excerpt from the article:

During the first few years of the twenty-first century, Americans have already contended with a remarkable amount of political and economic tumult, ranging from the Sept. 11 attacks to the collapse of the 1990s economic boom to military conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Uneasiness and caution have ruled the financial decision-making of many American households. Now, recently released statistics from the Barna Research Group indicate that this pervasive apprehension may have contributed to a dramatic one-year decrease in the number of American homes that tithe to their churches.

Barna’s data shows that only 3 percent of adults contributed 10 percent of their 2002 income to churches, which marks a 62 percent decrease from 2001 when 8 percent of American adults tithed. Among born-again Christians, the decline was similarly steep, from 14 percent in 2001 to 6 percent in 2002. Barna attributes the sudden drop to a variety of factors, including the soft economy and ongoing terrorism threat. But he also pegs shifting church demographics-younger adults don’t share their parents’ and grandparents’ convictions about tithing.

This generation seems not so much put off as mystified by the concept. Their questions are honest enough: “Who came up with the figure of ten percent? Why should we take this figure as authoritative? Isn’t tithing legalism?” Here, as in most churchly matters, a bit of history can go a long way.

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June 6, 2003 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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