This an extended a theological essay that was written for my church last year. It is actually a substantially abridged version of an original (4k vs. 11k words) that was used as a conversation partner among LPC’s elders. The longer version had more exegetical and historical work, as well as engagement with the EPC’s Book of Worship (which I’ll probably post separately at a later date) and deeper analysis of the missional dimension of tithes and offertories.
How should the church think about money, especially when it comes to acts of giving in worship and honoring God with our resources? These are two inter-related questions: How should the church collect money? and What is God’s expectation for giving? What follows is a sketch of the biblical summary on these topics along with historical considerations. It concludes with principles for Langhorne Presbyterian Church’s practice.
Tithes and Offerings in the Old Testament
In the Mosaic law there were broadly three categories of tithes: the tithes to support the Levitical priesthood (Numbers 18:21, Deuteronomy 14:22-29, 2 Chronicles 31:3-5); the tithes for the celebrations at Israel’s festivals (Deuteronomy 12:6ff, 16:13-17; and tithes for the poor (Deuteronomy 14:28-29, 26:12-13). Each of these kinds of tithes had a variation in the frequency in their collection. Notably the tithe to the Levites was explicitly premised on Israel living in the promised land (Deuteronomy 12:19, 26:1-4).
A common misconception is that tithing equated to 10% of an Israelite’s income. However, “Some [scholars] think the Israelites gave 14 tithes over seven years; others believe they gave 12. Regardless, when we add the required tithes together, the amount certainly exceeded 10 percent. In fact, the number was probably somewhere around 20 percent per year….
This post is based on two essays that I originally wrote six years ago, edited to fit your screen.
This summer I read everything that Ayn Rand wrote, fictional and nonfictional. I had read all of her nonfiction before, so that was mostly review, but I had never touched her fiction. Her four prominent fictional works are We The Living, Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged, which are the ones I’ll be addressing here.
Rand was born in St. Petersburg, Russia in the early 20th century and lived through the Soviet revolution as a young adult. By the late 1920s she had escaped to the United States and started writing a decade later. Her work was clearly directed against Karl Marx, Soviet Stalinists, and their guiding philosophical principles.
Historical context is important because Rand was not writing in a vacuum, but addressing a particular philosophical movement. Like many thinkers, what Rand opposed shaped the things she supported. Her works make sense when read with people like Marx, Harold Laski (the basis for the character Ellsworth Toohey in The Fountainhead), or Plato in mind. Rand intended her philosophy, Objectivism, to be a grand unifying theory, but it only addresses her immediate world…
How pathetic is it that the battleground for the future of Christian civilization is perceived to be retail-store interactions? Christians have a millennia-long heritage of civilization building, and it has come to this: The farthest our imaginations can take us…
Part of the problem of social media is how all the information posted through it (or the metadata) becomes the property of the platform. But a 21st reorientation of property rights in regard to the Internet could change that: Still,…