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Friday, August 30, 2002

Gross or Net Tithe-"Fred" took issue with my net tithe in the comments of today's Edifier. Tithing is largely an Old Testament concept. Jesus doesn't talk much about tithing in a positive sense. In Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42 and 18:12, tithing is something Pharisees did for show. Many people have made the case that tithing is a part of the old sacrificial system that was rendered moot at the cross. However, the concept of a 10% as a model for a proper amount of giving, while far from mandated in the New Testament, seems to be a fair concept. The tithe in the Old Testament was 10% of the farm production. In a non-wage economy, people were to give 10% of their crop of grain, fruit, oil and livestock. The closest think to wages that I can see was Deuteronomy 26:12, where "the tithe of your increase" is to be paid. If we never get the withheld part of our check, it really isn't our increase, it's the government's. I do tithe on the tax refund check as well. Grain that was eaten by rats or oil that leaked out of the vats would be hard to tithe on. In short, I think that my net pay is my increase, not my gross pay. God also likes a cheerful giver. If we do the 10% out of fear of falling prey to a rule, the verses in Matthew and Luke point out that Jesus likes earnest devotion to Him more than adherence to a set of rules. [Update 2/16/03-I've changed my mind on this and have moved into the gross tithe camp, although I don't look down my nose at the paycheck/10 crowd.]

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