From the CNN Belief blog:
Thou shalt not be required to financially support your church â€“Â but you should anyway.
Thatâ€™s the upshot of a new informal survey of evangelical leaders finding that less than half believe that the Bible requires church members to tithe, the practice of giving at least 10 percent of oneâ€™s income to the church.
The survey, conducted by the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) among its 100-member board of directors, found that 42% of evangelical leaders believe the Bible requires tithing, while 58% do not.
The National Association of Evangelicals, the nationâ€™s biggest evangelical umbrella organization, would not say how many of its 100 board members responded to the survey, which was conducted in February.
The board includes such influential figures as the heads of the Salvation Army, the Assemblies of God – a major Pentecostal denomination – and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
Dan Olson, a Purdue University sociology professor who has studied tithing, says the new survey doesnâ€™t mean Christian leaders think those in the pews shouldnâ€™t give.
â€œMost of those leaders would probably say, â€˜you really ought to tithe, but the term â€˜requiresâ€™ gets at a theological point,â€ he said.
â€œMost Christians would say the laws of the Old Testament are not what save you â€“ youâ€™re supposed to be giving out of a spirit of freedom, not because youâ€™re bound to laws,â€ he said.
The National Association of Evangelicalsâ€™ survey found that 95% of evangelical leaders say they give at least 10% of their salaries to church.
A recent study by group that tracks church giving, called Empty Tomb, Inc., found that evangelicals on a wholeÂ give an average of 4% of their income to their church, though Olson suspects the average is much lower, around 1% or 2%.
via CNN Belief Blog – CNN.com Blogs
What do you think? Â Does this study surprise you? Â Do you hold to the view that the New Testament demands a tithe, or is that strictly old testament? Â And… if you believe the tithe… do you subscribe, as some do, that the entire tithe needs to be given 100% to the local church?