Tuesday, 28 February 2012

How tithing made it through the net

The Christian emergence from second-temple Judaism managed to leave behind food laws, beard trimming laws and even circumcision. How the hell did tithing manage to stick around? Surely God loves a cheerful giver and not a legislated giver.
Acts 15:22-35
Then the apostles and the elders, with the consent of the whole church, decided to choose men from among their members and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leaders among the brothers, with the following letter:
‘The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the believers of Gentile origin in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. Since we have heard that certain persons who have gone out from us, though with no instructions from us, have said things to disturb you and have unsettled your minds, we have decided unanimously to choose representatives and send them to you, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to impose on you no further burden than these essentials: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.’
So they were sent off and went down to Antioch. When they gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. When its members read it, they rejoiced at the exhortation.

And so do I.

I don't have a problem giving to a church or to an individual. That's a good thing. I just wish we could leave behind the label of tithing. It's connected with too many of those lovely "promises" that Hallmark Christians love to claim.

And of course, the cynical explanation is probably correct.
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