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(OPINION) While many Christian churches encourage tithing — giving 10% of one’s income to the church — as a biblical commandment, only a minority of pastors subscribe to that traditional view, data from a new Barna study show.
The data in Revisiting the Tithe & Offering, the latest release in Barna’s The State of
Generosity series published in partnership with Generis and Gloo, found that only a minority of Americans who identify as Christian give 10% of their income to the church in practice too.
Researchers surveyed 2,016 U.S. adults from Nov. 12-19, 2021, to arrive at the most recent conclusion showing no consensus among pastors on the practice that has been renounced by high-profile pastors such as televangelist Creflo Dollar in recent months.
While most pastors in the study don’t see giving outside the church as tithing, 70% said tithing doesn’t have to be strictly financial. And when it comes to how much financial giving would be an acceptable tithe, only 33% are in favor of the traditional 10%.
Another 21% of pastors didn’t recommend any particular share of income that Christians should give, but suggested it should be “enough to be considered sacrificial.” A nearly similar share of pastors, 20%, said Christians should give as much as they are willing. The study also revealed that the concept of tithing was also not well understood by U.S. adults or even Christians in particular.
Only about two in five U.S. adults in the study said they were familiar with the term “tithe” and could provide a definition. A similar share said they were familiar with the term, while 22% said although they were familiar with the concept they couldn’t provide a definition.
Among Christians, in general, less than half could say definitely what the tithe is. More than half of practicing Christians, 59%, had a […]
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