Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer Reading: Four Views on Tithing

Perspectives on Tithing: Four Views

Was the tithe just for  Old Testament Israel or is it also applicable to Christians under the New Covenant? Must a tithe go only to your local church or can it be received by any Christian organization? Do we tithe on the net or the gross amount?

Perspectives on Tithing presents, in point-counterpoint fashion, four common views about how Christians are to give of their financial resources, addressing the questions that surround this issue.
  • Ken Hemphill (Empowering Kingdom Growth) and Bobby Eklund (Eklund Stewardship Ministries) contribute “The Foundations of Giving.”
  • David A. Croteau (Liberty University), who is the editor for the project and wrote the introduction, presents his view: “The Post-Tithing View: Giving in the New Covenant.” In addition, he also wrote the appendix on “A Short History of Tithing in the Christian Church.”
  • Reggie Kidd (Reformed Theological Seminary) offers “Tithing in the New Covenant? ‘Yes’ as Principle, ‘No’ as Casuistry.”
  • Gary North (Institute for Christian Economics) looks at “The Covenantal Tithe.”
  • Scott Preissler (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) writes an excursus on “What’s Happened to Giving?”
The view I have the most affinity with is that of Reggie Kidd. His style was very irenic and measured, which is quite an accomplishment for a discussion of this controversial topic that can quickly turn vicious. His approach stands in contrast to the heavy-handed manner of Hemphill and Eklund, or the bombastic style of North. In a response to Kidd, North warns that if you reject his (North’s) exegesis of Hebrew 7 concerning the tithe, then there will be no peace for you. And if you disagree with North’s view, he makes it known in his own presentation that, well, you’ve been warned.

My own view on and experience with tithing can be found here, Learning to Tithe. As I said, it is most like that of Reggie Kidd, and contrary to Gary North, I have wonderful peace.

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