Frequently Asked Questions

What is the basis for the tithe? (You mean there is a scriptural tax on my money?)

In the Old Testament, believers were required to give a 10th of their income to the support of the ministry and the needs of the poor. Although the New Testament does not specifically mention the tithe, it does teach that we should give as we are “able and even beyond (our) ability”. (II Cor. 8:3). Jesus himself teaches that our relationship to wealth should be far more radical and generous than that of the Old Testament when he reminds his followers that God was “pleased” to give us the kingdom (something God’s followers in the Old Testament longed for) which, Jesus says, should liberate us to “sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:33-34). Therefore, the tithe (10 percent) is seen as a kind of minimum guideline for giving for those of us who “have been given the kingdom.” Of course, there are seasons to economic life that sometimes strain our ability to give. In many cases, good planning over time will be necessary to move our giving into biblical proportions without reneging on legal and personal financial obligations.

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Do I give 10 percent of my gross or net income? (You mean on my base salary AND my bonus?)

Scripture teaches that we are to give back to God our “first fruits” (Exodus 23:16, 19). Proverbs 3:9 encourages us to “honor the Lord with (our) wealth, with the first fruits of (our) crops.” This is consistent with our understanding that we are first and foremost citizens of God’s kingdom, seeking to invest our resources (time, talents, money) in ways that are consistent with God’s values and priorities. This is what Jesus meant when he asked us to think first of investing our wealth “where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” Therefore, it is Biblical to calculate your tithe and offering on your annual gross income.

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Should I give all of my tithe/offering to Shandon Presbyterian Church? (You mean my giving is restricted?)

The answer to this is a qualified “no.” Your gift is an act of personal worship to God in response to his grace in your life. However, if you consider Shandon Presbyterian your “home church,” then you might consider allocating a significant portion of your tithe and offering to the community where you invest most of your time and talent, and where others are investing in you. Also, the Church is that community established by God through which ALL aspects of his kingdom values are to be lived out. At Shandon Presbyterian this means our budget goes to:

  • the financially and socially marginalized
  • teaching and worship
  • the deepening of community through fellowship groups, counseling, cultural renewal and many other areas

Having said that, your tithe and offering should be a byproduct of prayer and consideration as God works on your conscience.

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