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4 Stars Out Of 5
November 8, 2013
Those who don't believe tithing is for today don't even come close to giving 10% of their income back to God and/or God's work. The average in North America is 2% among Bible-believing Christians, according to Barna Research and others. R.T. Kendall's book offers a solid Scriptural and altogether reasonable approach to the subject. If those living under the Old Covenant gave 10%, not simply out of covenant obligation but because they followed the pre-covenant example of their father Abraham "the man of faith," why would those living under the New Covenant (who claim to be spiritual offspring of Abraham) start with anything less? It's because we act like greedy, half-hearted Pharisees, looking for legal loopholes biblically and theologically to justify our selfish behavior. Even today, faithful Jews tithe to their local synagogues, even though there is no Scriptural requirement to do so (i.e., because there is no temple, no "storehouse," and no sacrificial system presently in place). Yet NT believers, who practically brag about their being under "grace giving" in the NT, are content to toss a few dollars here and there whenever they jolly-well feel like it. Such individuals may feel justified using the letter of the law, but what about the Spirit of the law under which Abraham operated? One simply can't ignore the fruit of obedience that tithing brings, part of which is seeing church families with more than enough to do the work of the ministry with excellence, as opposed to having to scramble and beg and plead for finances from tight-fisted, worldly-minded saints who couldn't entertain the thought that God would have them to give joyfully and systematically at the same time. Tithing is a spiritual discipline, and if one remains uncertain perhaps this little gem of a book by R.T. Kendall will help. One can actually test God to see if it is true (Malachi 3:10), or simply put "grace giving" into practice by giving regularly beyond the 10% tithe to their local church family, and teaching others to do the same.
R.T. Kendall (I believe) is a sincere man of faith and his heart and desire to honor the Lord are evident in this book. Kendall's approach to tithing is (what I would consider) strictly traditional, in that his support of tithing as being a principle and mandate that applies to Christians is the common view among many "mainline" denominational churches today. While I appreciated the attitude of love presented in this book, I felt it was lacking in Word (Scripture) detail. The book predominantly presents the author's opinions about tithing rather than clear evidence of Scripture. In fact, there are some points that the author states as being biblical fact but then proves his claim by offering mere speculation. Often the Scripture references that are used are used more as traditional "proof texts" rather than presented in complete context (siting whole passages of Scripture to illustrate the complete point). The Bible certainly teaches principles of grace giving for Christians; that all gifts bestowed should be wrought of love and faith and obedience to the Spirit of God and in recognition of the ultimate gift He freely gave in sending Christ to die for mankind (Romans 1:3-5; 7:6; Galatians 5:1; 2 Corinthians 8:8, 9:7; 1 Peter 4:10; etc.). New Testament Scripture is not silent about the fact that the legal ordinances of the Mosaic Law have been nailed to the cross of Jesus and are not to govern Christian practice (e.g. Hebrews 9:8-10; Ephesians 2:13-16; Colossians 2:14; Galatians 3:23-26; Hebrews 7:18; 8:8-13; etc). I respect this brother as a man of God with a sincere heart for the church of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, this book seems (in my opinion) to be more of a product of traditional opinion rather than clear Scriptural truth. Personally a more indepth study of tithing may be found in a book like "Beyond Tithes and Offerings" by Michael and Mitchell Webb or "Should The Church Teach Tithing" by Dr. Russell Earl Kelly, Ph.D.