When Did Christians Start Tithing?

In our book, Pagan Christianity, George Barna and I wrote an entire chapter on the history of tithing from the Old Testament era, through the New Testament, and onward into church history.

What we establish will shock most Christians.

Namely, Christians didn’t begin the practice of tithing until hundreds of years after the death of the apostles.

They certainly gave money to various needs. But they didn’t tithe as they do today.

On another subject, have you ever asked yourself where the modern “worship service” comes from that’s observed in virtually every Protestant and evangelical church with minor adjustment to date?

* Worship/praise music led by a worship team, music director, or choir.

* Offering

* Sermon

* Often more singing

* Benediction

In Pagan Christianity, Barna and I trace exactly where this order of worship came from. And it’s not the Bible.

You can read the Introduction and First Chapter for free here




  1. Angela says

    Reading George Fox’s autobiography. He protested tithing and quotes other ‘dissenters’ of his day that preached against it also.

  2. says

    My husband and I never believed in tithing. Why? Because there are too many individuals that are in great need that we could help personally that would never otherwise be reached by any church we’d tithe to. We’ve proven it over and over again. Yes, there are certain ministries we give to, but not on a tithing basis. Besides, we never felt it scriptural, and that was confirmed when I read (even the footnotes) your book Pagan Christianity. Being a Jew, but raised Catholic I never was one to adhere to church rule (call me rebellious, many do) so tithing was not a hard issue for us to turn from. If we open our eyes, listen to the Holy Spirit we will be directed to whom we are to give to. It is a much bigger blessing this way. We don’t give to get other than the love and satisfaction from giving this way. Try it, everyone, you’ll love it. It frees you up from the bondage of knowing your money isn’t paying for huge church mortgages, light bills and unnecessary programs just to keep you bust in the church.

    • Dustin May says

      Mary, I think you are misunderstanding the article. Tithing is a tenth. God does not want 10 percent – He wants all of it! Paul say to “purpose” in our own hearts to decided what to give. Being lead by the Holy Spirit, He would convict our hearts and minds on what to give. We undercut God by give a base line of 10 percent. We should follow Paul’s instruction.

      The Holy Spirit will then lead us in what amount to give, which will be more then 10 percent!

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