Philosophies Are Ingrained
From A Young Age
Much of what is said about tithing these days is usually in the negative. That is, people often say why they don’t tithe or why they think tithing is not for the New Testament. That, of course, is not enough. I have on many occasions asked those who don’t believe in tithing what they do believe and the answers are not always very clear.
The truth is, even if you think tithing is not for today you cannot deny the responsibility to give, and if we are to give, then we should be able to articulate well the principles and the practice of giving.
It isn’t enough to say you don’t believe in tithing. If you believe tithing is over then you must say what has taken its place. I do believe in tithing and this and other posts give the reasons why. Hopefully, the posts in this series will inform those who do not understand and answer those who would say otherwise.
More Than A Doctrine
We don’t teach just a doctrine we teach a philosophy. A “doctrine” gives form to your religious experience but it doesn’t give meaning or significance.
Many Christians and even many churches have ceremonies they follow in their religious expressions but these are nothing but empty traditions until someone sheds light on the purpose they serve and the context in which they started. Traditions aren’t bad because they are traditions but there must be sound philosophies motivating them. We do things for a reason and are driven by philosophies.
We practice the tradition best when we understand the philosophy. Sometimes, however, we challenge tradition because we don’t understand the philosophy. At other times traditions are changed because we do.
It is traditional, for example, for congregations to buy land and build buildings in which they conduct worship services, organize educational programs, offer counselling, arrange social events and so on. This tradition is being challenged today. The primacy of these activities is being questioned. This model is being decried because many useful purposes are not being served. People are becoming disenchanted with the church and leaving it behind.
One spin off to this trend is to question tithing. All the things people don’t like about church are funded by tithes. The thinking is, if the thing being funded is questionable then the funding method must also be dubious and what naturally follows is not very healthy. Everything is eventually questioned.
In this situation, with regard to tithing, many people simply humanize their giving. Whatever philosophies they have about giving for any humanitarian purpose bleeds through when they develop a plan for giving to God. That is, they give to God the same way they give to any other human cause. That may be acceptable on a human level but it may not represent biblical teaching.
And remember that everyone has a philosophy. No one approaches the Bible or God philosophically neutral. We are all philosophically driven even if we cannot explain clearly the philosophies we own. You cannot clearly substantiate any teaching of Scripture without giving philosophical dimensions to it and human philosophies will naturally take over unless reformatted by biblical influence.
Tithing, and the principles behind it, is more than just a doctrine we teach pragmatically or a new feature we add to conventional methods of financial management. It is driven by philosophies that are spiritually founded and is the primary evidence that your relationship to God is more than just casual. You could say that tithing represents the opposing opinion when it comes to human methods of managing finances. It makes a spiritual statement. It reflects an attitude of commitment toward God and His work.
Even if it was an outdated law, it is still a good idea.
What is the first thing I would say about tithing philosophically? It is a matter of trust! Not can God be trusted, but can we be trusted to tithe? Can we be trusted to give a set proportion of our income to God every time it comes our way? That is tithing and that is truly a test of one’s trustworthiness.
Tithing represents a spiritual principle that overrides all other approaches to managing our financial resources. If we understand the philosophy then we have no problem with the practice. Even if a person disagrees with the practice they are still responsible for the philosophy. If tithing is not evidence that a person can be trusted by God, what is? What is your philosophy?
So far, in preceding posts, I have explained why Jesus didn’t re-teach tithing and discussed the long history of this practice in Scripture. In future posts I will give reasons to show that tithing is practically and philosophically the rational thing to do.
Some of the things we will look at are:
In Tithing, Douglas Leblanc provides much more than a narrow discussion on a traditional issue. It isn’t the same old arguments presented the same boringly technical way.
Instead, because he admits he is “no theologian or exegetical writer,” Leblanc has found an intriguing way to cut to the real heart of the issue. He shares the experiences of eleven different couples and one lone Monsignor, all of whom endorse tithing for a very similar reason: selflessness.