Survey: Majority of evangelical leaders say tithing not required
By Electa Draper
The Denver Post
Posted: 04/06/2011 11:40:06 AM MDTUpdated: 04/06/2011 11:48:30 AM MDT
Most evangelical leaders encourage their church members to tithe, yet most don't believe the Bible requires it of Christians, according to survey results released today.
Tithing, giving at least 10 percent of one's income to church, was the subject of the monthly poll of directors of the National Association of Evangelicals, which includes leaders of churches, denominations, missions, universities and publishing houses.
The Evangelical Leaders Survey found 58 percent believe the Bible doesn't require tithing, which means giving at least 10 percent of one's income to their church. And 42 percent do think tithing is required.
However, 95 percent of those included in the February poll indicated they give at least 10 percent.
"The Old Testament called for multiple tithes, sort of combining government taxes with religious stewardship. Many churches later adopted 10 percent as the standard," said NAE President Leith Anderson.
"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."
It could be that the people in the pews agree. Empty Tomb Inc. recently reported that evangelicals give churches about 4 percent of their income and Christians overall donate only 2.43 percent.
The NAE leaders stressed that their views on the Bible don't release Christians from giving.
"Anything less than 10 percent seems like an ungenerous response to God," said David Neff, editor-in-chief of the magazine "Christianity Today."
While tithing isn't required, said Alan Robinson of the Brethren in Christ Church, the Old Testament model should lead New Testament Christians to "live lives of sacrificial generosity."
Electa Draper: 303-954-1276 or firstname.lastname@example.org