A comprehensive refutation of the modern concept of tithing.
In this unique debut work, brothers Michael L. Webb and Mitchell T. Webb take on a sacred cow of Christian praxis—the tithe. Despite innumerable divisions in Christianity over theology, styles of worship, and almost every other aspect of religious life, virtually no one seems to have seriously (or, at least, openly) argued against the practice of tithing. The Webbs change that with this lengthy book, in which they leave no stone unturned in their refutation of the tithe as a practice for raising church money. The authors show a keen awareness of the fact that too many churches make the subject of tithing an uncomfortable and unwelcoming focus of their teachings. The idea that generosity only begins after an obligatory tithe has been paid, they say, serves only to discourage heartfelt giving. “Christians should be liberal and cheerful givers,” the authors note, but they assert that a system of tithes and offerings “does more harm than good.” The Webbs make a simple, straightforward argument in this thorough work, saying that, from a biblical perspective, the tithe has nothing to do with money. Old Testament tithing referred to crops and livestock, they say, and never to monetary wages. (Similarly, the idea of “firstfruits” is said to be agricultural in nature, not economical.) The Webbs also assert that Christians aren’t required to follow such Old Testament rules. Quite to the contrary, they say that tithing, as a budgeting structure for local churches, takes assistance away from the sick and needy. Overall, this work is strikingly well-researched and documented. However, the authors’ tendency to hint at major themes without revealing them outright can be frustrating. For instance, readers are forced to wait for more than 300 pages before they learn why the authors feel that tithing inhibits the overall giving of a church community.
A surprisingly relevant and thorough look at why tithing may not be a legitimate choice for churches and for Christians.