doulos said:

I don't think there's a biblical mandate, as such, but I do think that Christians are frequently guilty of quenching the Spirit of God moving them to give--mostly in the interests of their own materialistic wants and desires. I don't know how many folks I've talked to who have said they've given instead of buying some thing for themselves only to discover that they were better off without the thing or found that it was provided later.

Yes, we can certainly agree on this point. I have found myself guilty of the same on numerous occassions. It's all too easy to deceive ourselves into treating our desires as necessities, forgetting that the real necessity is trust in God working though obedience to Him.

That said, most churches call it a tithe. Does that mean that they are demanding ten percent of your income in the tradition of the OT Law?

I think a lot of churches do make it a legalistic requirement, though certainly not all of them. The terminology of "tithe" certainly recalls the Mosaic law, as well as the tithes of Abram to Melchizedek and Jacob to God and so forth. To give a tithe is not wrong, but too often undue emphasis is put on the 10% figure of the tithe. The suggestion you made earlier to Pilgrim, that a poor family should move into worse living conditions than they are already in so as to meet the 10% mark is, I think, legalistic. We should give freely and in accordance with our means, with prayer and wise stewardship. A poor family may not have the means to give 10% of their income to the church without unwise stewardship. As I have said, I don't believe such a family should have to worry about meeting that mark of giving, but rather the whole church should be concerned about providing for the needs of that family.


I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.