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I heard in another question that some Protestants have to tithe. That is, they must give one-tenth of their salary, or more broadly, a specific amount or percentage. That seems a bit strange to me, since I've never had to tithe. I'm not saying it's a bad practice (after all, there was a time at which God ordained it). I just don't really have any proper conception of how it works among Protestants.

Are tithing Protestants supposed to submit proof of their salary? What happens if they don't meet the mark? Are they said to sin, and if so, how serious is the sin? Are they barred from entering their parish? Does the pastor frown at them or is some other form of social pressure applied? Are they asked to come in for a meeting to explain their financial circumstances? How does it work?

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The church may fall short of finance. But I don't know much about how it may affect the spiritual life of the person. –  Mawia Feb 22 '13 at 9:44
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There are more sermons about finances. –  San Jacinto Feb 22 '13 at 12:36
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Then someone kills a kitten –  Affable Geek Feb 22 '13 at 13:16

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

No Protestant churches that I know of ever require members to submit proof that they are tithing (though there certainly may be some). Tithing is generally considered to be something that the members ought to do, but is between them and God.

This may flow out of the doctrine of the Priesthood of All Believers. Each person is directly accountable to God for his life and actions.

In 2 Corinthians 9:7 (as David Morton mentioned in his answer), the Scriptures teach us how to give:

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver 2 Corinthians 9:7

A key part of this is the phrase not reluctantly or under compulsion. If someone is put under compulsion to give, but his heart is not in it, his giving is not considered to be a righteous act or a good deed in God's eyes.

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No, most protestants are not required to tithe. I am a protestant, and I have never had to submit proof of my salary. If I were, I'd probably leave whatever church that asked that of me. If I fail to meet a full 10%, then, well, nothing really happens. The sin, if it's even called that, is simply not giving, which most would say isn't even really a sin. I've never been turned away from a church on account of my failure to tithe, and again, if I ever hear of anybody turned away on account of their refusal to tithe, I'd probably leave that church, as they're completely missing the point of grace. I've never been asked to come into a meeting to discuss my financial circumstances, (I'd leave that church, etc. etc.)

That being said, there is sometimes some level of social pressure applied. In some churches, not giving can lead some people to think you're not "committed" enough to the cause of what's happening, which, in itself, is often an implied sin. Implying such a thing isn't really a Biblically correct way to handle things, as the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:7:

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

I don't believe this implication is necessarily conscious, as I think many people are so wrapped up in what they're doing, that they fail to see what it is that God has done for them, and wants to do in them. Of course, you're going to find this in any denomination, Protestant or Catholic.

The proper motivation for a Protestant (or any Christian for that matter) to give to his or her church is simply that they are excited about the message of the Gospel, and they wish to support those whose job it is to share the good news, in the hopes that more may come to know it. In the end, we know that God forgives even those who might have been called to give, but didn't, on account of Christ's sacrifice, so even our giving or failure to give is covered by the blood of Christ.

I will say, anecdotally, that when I do not give, my finances for that month tend to be more constrictive than months when I do tithe. An argument can be made over whether this is because God has blessed me and my family when we give, or whether my finances are in better order simply because I view them more as a stewardship of what God has given me, and so I'm more careful with my spending, but in either case, there seems to be a correlation between "financial peace" and my giving to the church.

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Mormons are, I believe, audited sometimes to verify their tithes - but yes most Protestants are doing it because it is right, not because they are forced to. –  Affable Geek Feb 22 '13 at 13:17
    
@AffableGeek: Do you have any sources for that? Mormons can have a voluntary meeting at the end of the year with their bishop to ensure that the records are accurate and all the numbers add up--it's known as "tithing settlement"--but I've never heard of someone being subjected to an audit to verify their tithing. –  Mason Wheeler Feb 22 '13 at 16:08
    
Thank you - that's why I added this as a comment rather than an answer. I'm always happy to be corrected when I'm wrong. –  Affable Geek Feb 22 '13 at 16:20
    
@AffableGeek: Yeah, what you heard about was most likely a confused account of tithing settlement. I would link you to the Encyclopedia of Mormonism article on it, but they don't seem to have one. :( Basically, members sign up to meet with the Bishop at the end of the year. The Bishop gives them a record of their tithes for that year, and the members can compare it against their records, and if they find that they came up short they give the Bishop a check to make up the difference. But if they tell the Bishop "this looks right to me," that's the end of it. It's all on the honor system. –  Mason Wheeler Feb 22 '13 at 19:54
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@MasonW This is similar to some churches I have been to. They send an annual report to you, usually by mail and for tax purposes. This way you describe seems more formal. –  fredsbend the Grinch Mar 13 '13 at 18:46

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