Hill addresses those who overly emphasize the blessings associated with tithing. “At what point does it become a cosmic slot machine? If we give the tithe, are we supposed to get something back? Some people expect an even greater bounty given back to us. I don’t think we should give from that motive.”

God can and often does choose to bless when we give, Hill adds, “but it certainly shouldn’t be a formula for us.” 

Ashley Clayton, associate vice president for stewardship for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), also spoke with Crosswalk.com about the tithing debate.When you take all of the Scripture, in its entirety, then you can contextualize your thoughts about it,” Clayton began. “All of the Bible is inspired by God. You need to take both Testaments together and seek what the Bible is saying.”

According to Clayton, the SBC believes that in the Old Testament, 10 percent was a benchmark for giving. “In the New Testament, we believe that while 10 percent is not necessarily the benchmark, we don’t see it as a movement to lesser giving. In the New Testament, there are people who gave everything. They are recorded in Scripture as an example of giving more not less.”

Clayton points out that tithing is more a Lordship issue than anything else. Tithing is a demonstration of our faith and our obedience. “I think that we miss the boat in our discussions of tithing when we are looking for a dollar amount,” Clayton says. “Tithing represents more than dollars to me. Tithing is a response to God’s grace; it’s not just another thing on a checklist.”

When we tithe, he adds, we join hearts and hands with other believers all across the world to do God’s work. “I become part of something much larger than myself. It separates me from the way of the world that says to get all you can and keep all you can,” Clayton concludes. “Jesus says in Luke 12 that a man is not defined by his possessions. Tithing is an indication I believe that and live that way.”

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