What are the main views in Christianity regarding the issue of whether evangelized gentiles are expected to tithe? Which scriptures are commonly cited to support each position? Lastly, is this a controversial topic or does there appear to be consensus among the majority of denominations?

  • 1
    This matter was decided on in the early church by the apostles. As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing [circumsision], save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication. Acts 21:25. These four things are all that was (and is) required of converted Gentiles.No tithing. No sabbaths. No circumcision. No sacrifices. . . . . Just the four things, (one of them, blood, being an instruction by Noah to the whole of humanity after the Flood).
    – Nigel J
    Sep 26, 2020 at 14:33
  • @NigelJ what you say makes sense, but somehow, it doesn't appear to be so obvious in many congregations where tithing is still a widespread practice. Why is it so?
    – user50422
    Sep 26, 2020 at 20:59
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    Jesus made it very clear that giving alms is voluntary and a private matter and the right hand should not know what the left hand is doing. Prayer, fasting and alms-giving are all done in secret, as private service to the Father and to the Lord (see the Sermon on the Mount). That some people contravene all this and turn it into a pantomime is lamentable but does not change anything. Tithing is first seen when Abraham gave a tenth to Melchisedek who is representative of Christ, not Moses, by the way,
    – Nigel J
    Sep 26, 2020 at 21:06
  • I don't know of any Christian denomination which mandates tithing. Or even a strong expectation. Giving is a different matter.
    – curiousdannii
    Sep 27, 2020 at 2:15
  • 3
    @curiousdannii mormons are one example, SDA is another one.
    – user50422
    Sep 27, 2020 at 2:16

1 Answer 1


I fear this post might turn out to be one of those “Too Long/Didn’t Read” answers, but that’s the problem in asking for an overview. In light of the history of tithing (below) it would be remiss to ignore events from 567 to the Protestant Reformation so here is a brief historical overview:

In the early Christian Church the custom of consecrating to religious purposes a tenth of the income was voluntary, and it was not made obligatory until the Council of Tours in 567. The second Council of Macon, in 585, enjoined the payment of tithes under pain of excommunication; and Charlemagne, by his capitularies, formally established the practice within those portions of the ancient Roman Empire to which his legislation extended.

The introduction of tithes into England is ascribed to Offa, king of Mercia, at the close of the 8th century; and the usage passed into other divisions of Saxon England, and was finally made general by Ethelwolf. They were made obligatory in Scotland in the 9th century, and not long after in Ireland. At first the choice of the Church to whom a person paid tithes was optional; but by a decretal of Innocent III, addressed to the archbishop of Canterbury in 1200, all were directed to pay to the clergy of their respective parishes.

The Disestablishment Act of 1869 abolished tithes and created a common fund for the support of the Protestant Episcopal Church and clergy. In France tithes were abolished at the Revolution, and this example was followed by the other Continental countries. In the Canadian provinces of Quebec, tithes are still collected by virtue of the old French law, yet in force there. In the United States, tithes are exacted by the Mormon hierarchy. See Bingham, Christ. Antiq. bk. 5, ch. 5, § 1 sq.
[Copyright Statement: These files are public domain. Bibliography Information: McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Tithes'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature] Source: https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/mse/t/tithes.html

Views of churches that support tithing:

The following extract from a Catholic source refers to Genesis 14 and 28 and tithes paid by Abraham to Melchisedech and tithes paid by Jacob. It also mentions Leviticus 27:30, Deuteronomy 14:22 and Numbers 18:21 regarding the tithes that had to be given to the sons of Levi (the priests). There is also an interesting paragraph showing how tithes were common in the ancient world, for example the “Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, and later, the Mohammedans”.

Tithe - Generally defined as "the tenth part of the increase arising from the profits of land and stock, allotted to the clergy for their support or devoted to religious or charitable uses". A more radical definition is "the tenth part of all fruits and profits justly acquired, owed to God in recognition of his supreme dominion over man, and to be paid to the ministers of the church".

The payment of tithes was adopted from the Old Law, and early writers speak of it as a divine ordinance and an obligation of conscience. The earliest positive legislation on the subject seems to be contained in the letter of the bishops assembled at Tours in 567 and the canons of the Council of Maçon in 585. In course of time, we find the payment of tithes made obligatory by ecclesiastical enactments in all the countries of christendom. The Church looked on this payment as "of divine law, since tithes were instituted not by man but by the Lord Himself." (C. 14, X de decim. III, 30) https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14741b.htm

You have already provided links to show that tithing is compulsory within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tithing_in_Mormonism

and Seventh Day Adventists: https://www.adventist.org/articles/use-of-tithe/

Those articles are self-explanatory and I do not intend to extract information on why they hold that view or present the scriptures they use in support of tithing.

Although most Protestant churches do not insist on tithing, but encourage voluntary giving, there are exceptions. For example, the United Methodist Church:

Wesley says, “Render unto God, not a tenth, not a third, not half, but all that is God’s.” For some of us, after earning and saving all we can, while caring for our family’s basic needs, there may not be much left over. For others, there may be much, indeed. Whatever that is, we say, give it all!

The United Methodist Church, in its Book of Discipline, emphasizes tithing as a “minimum goal of giving” and encourages local churches to find creative ways to become “tithing congregations with an attitude of generosity.” The church asks all those being ordained to “teach and model generous Christian giving with a focus on tithing as God’s standard of giving.” Source: https://www.umc.org/en/content/ask-the-umc-what-does-the-united-methodist-church-teach-about-tithing

As for Baptists, I found an old question on Christianity Stack that gives a brief overview:

Baptists encourage tithing, but do not require it. More frequently, they equate "stewardship" with obedience, and their definition of stewardship includes cheerful and sacrificial giving, which "goes beyond the tithe" to also include acts of service. Not Tithing Is Stealing? (Baptist perspective)

I can vouch for the fact that Baptist churches in England and in Scotland do not view tithing as compulsory although they (rightly) point out that members of the church should contribute towards the upkeep of the church, which includes paying the minister an annual stipend.

Scriptures that are used by churches that do not support tithing: This is based on the Christian understanding that the Mosaic Law (which included regulations on all the various tithes expected from the Israelites) has been fulfilled in Christ Jesus and Christians are no longer under that Law:

Colossians 2:14: [God] having cancelled the written code with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.

2 Corinthians 9:7: Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, For God loves a cheerful giver.

Is this a controversial topic or does there appear to be consensus among the majority of denominations?

Tithing was not made obligatory until the Council of Tours in 567 and my understanding is that it is compulsory within the Catholic Church. By the time we get to the 19th century, most Protestant churches adopted a much more relaxed approach to financial giving (I think handing over one-tenth of your crops disappeared hundreds of years ago). Since our eternal salvation does not depend upon adhering to a legalistic approach to tithing, I think it would be safe to say that most Protestants do not find the subject controversial. Those who want to give a percentage of their income every month can do so, but nobody insists it has to be a minimum of 10%. People give what they can.

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