In the end, none of the pro-tithers in the book showed or proved if Jesus tithed. That is the question dealt with in Perspectives on Tithing: 4 Views. The fourth view is yes you absolutely positively have to tithe. This work, while beneficial in parts, falls victims to losing the main point of each chapter due to the rebuttals. Perspectives on Tithing presents in point-counterpoint format the most common views about how Christians are to give of their financial resources, addressing the myriad of questions that surround the complex issue.
Not to tithe is to rob God. According to Hebrews chapter 7, the Levites have the commandment to take a tithe. Though he opposes the view that tithes are a requirement for Christians, he does advocate generous giving, even going into great detail to explain the motives and guidelines for such giving. Croteau's critique of their chapter is excellent. Seeking to provide a variety of views, the book, Perspectives on Tithing, seeks to give readers the various interpretations that can arise from the scriptures. In other words, they refrain from reading into the passages their desired views. Can you imagine how much the offerings would increase next Sunday? How many buildings could be paid off more quickly? These are today's current views and they make it difficult for many churches to talk about tithing.
I especially appreciate the brief rebuttals after each argument is presented. Croteau's comments in response to the others' presentations were good too. For me, their arguments weren't that very persuasive, and they seem to presume an uncharitable view that those who don't think tithing is obligatory don't want to see it as obligatory because they simply don't want to tithe. Must a tithe go only to your local church, or can it be received by any Christian organization? It is powered by grace to enable us to give willingly and joyfully. Was the tithe just for Israel, or is it also applicable to Christians? Ken Hemphill and Bobby Eklund Southern Baptists combine to give the first perspective, that tithing is for today.
He also contributes one of the viewpoints. Please go back to study these scriptures without already having these preconceived notions -- get you a bible dictionary and lexicon -- then go back and study the meanings. The flaw in this book however is that the editor is one of the contributors and this bias shows in the introductory material and the appendix. His best argument against Hemphill and Eklund is that, if we use the biblical tithe as a minimum starting point, it should be between 20-23 per cent. A useful book in this viewing this important topic.
I'll keep the review concise. Croteau, Perspectives on Tithing, 57. If you love Jesus, pay your tithe. Croteau's presentation for the Post-Tithing view uses consistent literal biblical principles of interpretation p57-83. Most individuals prefer not to speak about their finances in public. However, despite such an overt aversion to speak on money matters, the Bible has much to say on the subject.
Many of these convictions are rooted more in pragmatic concerns and custom than in Scriptural exegesis. The book details on page 62 that money is mentioned 29 times in the Old Testament in Genesis alone but God never asked for a tithe of money in any of these texts or no where else in the bible. To do so would be stealing someone else's inheritance. Yet he does believe tithing is a good starting place. Do we tithe on the net or the gross amount? The third view is maybe you do maybe you don't. He also serves as distinguished professor of evangelism and church growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Being the author of the book You mean I Don't Have to Tithe? It was not their wages or salary to earn as pastors like to call the tithe.
Since all christians fulfill the priesthood by being kings and priests, there is no tithing. Regardless of one's position on the tithe, it's clear something has to change before the older generation of loyal tithers leave the church militant and join the church triumphant. Added to that in this volume is the writing and attitude of Gary North. Was the tithe just for Israel, or is it also applicable to Christians? However, knowing why is just as critical. As editor, David Croteau has brought together four different perspectives on this important yet devise issue. Many of the readers will find themselves somewhere between the first two viewpoints.
However, that being said, here is my analysis of the varying contributions for the four perspectives: Foundations of Giving Ken Hemphill and Bobby Eklund These two contributors argued for the view that tithing is obligatory for Christians. The theological framework was strained, the exegesis was odd, and the dogma was unconvincing. I found that the authors who said tithing is a principle, a command, or a custom never biblically define what God said an orthodox tithe is. His presentation was by far the weirdest. How he comes up with certain amounts for certain socio-economic tiers was puzzling to me. Also, Croteau's short history of tithing in the church was a very helpful read. While not drawing a conclusion, the reader is left to discover which view is most in line with the Bible's teaching.