Blog author: jballor
Thursday, April 20, 2006
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Here’s an article in the Washington Post recently that I want to pass along, “Tithing Rewards Both Spiritual and Financial,” by Avis Thomas-Lester.

Among the highlights are the Rev. Jonathan Weaver of Greater Mount Nebo African Methodist Episcopal Church, who says, “Some people have a sense that pastors are heavy-handed . . . in the use of the Scripture to insist that people tithe. But we are not encouraging people to give 10 percent. We want them to be effective managers of the other 90 percent. God wants us to be effective managers of what He has entrusted us with.”

The story also points out the critical function that churches serve in the relief of the poor: “Long before government programs were put in place to help the poor and the needy, black churches were responsible for assisting their congregations with everything from food and shelter during Reconstruction to legal help during the civil rights movement. Money dropped into the offering plate wasn’t just for the building fund. Black churches paid to help poor and disenfranchised citizens at a time when no other help was available, experts said.”

The article goes on to observe some of the potential pitfalls of tithing, namely giving only “under the belief that the members will prosper financially in return.” This is part of a larger “prosperity gospel” movement, and as this piece illustrates, is not restricted to churches in the US.

For more about how the principle of the tithe can function in helping the poor and those who need it the most, see my “The North American Church and Global Stewardship,” and “Building on the Tithe.”


  • http://www.overworm.com/NothingToSeeHere.htm Overworm

    I also took an interest in that Washington Post article and posted about it on my blog. My thoughts on tithing are not exactly congruous with yours, and it’s funny that we took different thoughts from the quotes of Reverend Weaver.

    One thing about him that caught my eye was that he has led his ministry to build a $4.6M church. Much of that money ostensibly came from tithing. I ask anyone to explain to me how that expenditure of money has help the poor of the world, of America, or even of the Washington D.C. area neighborhood of the church. It doesn’t make much sense to me.

  • http://blog.acton.org Jordan

    Overworm, if you read my other pieces, you’ll see that we might not be in such great disagreement. It is the respoinsibility of the church leadership to rightly order their interests and be good stewards of the tithe. It is primarily the respoinsibility of believers to provide the tithe which then still needs to be properly managed. Such a view makes no necessary judgments on way or the other about the propriety of building a $4.6 million facility.