The Denver Post
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.
less than 10 percent seems like an ungenerous response to God," said David Neff, editor-in-chief of the magazine "Christianity
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