Q: Lately, I’ve been giving to Christian charities instead of tithing to my Church. Is that OK?
By Eddie Kaufholz, Relevant Magazine
Before we get into it, I want to affirm the fact that you’re not asking IF you should be generous, but to what end. You already want to leverage your resources for the sake of others, which is commendable. Well done!
Your question has been really challenging for me to answer. For the first draft of this response, I wrote an incredibly boring exposition on tithing. I’m sparing you the torture of reading it because I realized I had reinvented the wheel.
You can get a lot of wisdom from a lot of people who are smarter than me, who will brilliantly argue that the whole 10-percent-to-the-Church thing is either mandated, antiquated, or a bit of both. I particularly learned a lot from this, this, and Google. I would encourage you to do your own exploration and learn, pray about and consider the purpose and importance of tithing.
But what gets me about your question is the word “instead.” Maybe I’m splitting hairs, but I get a vibe that you don’t see the value in your church getting your money. You’re not asking about splitting 10 percent between your church and a charity. You said “instead.”
So for learning purposes, let’s shelve the whole tithing, biblical mandate thing and, for now, treat your particular church as another charity. Let’s think about some big-picture questions that people tend to ask when deciding if they’re going to lend support to a person or institution: