It is not often that someones makes a claim that my adherence to online giving is unbiblical but that is basically what the quote below from an email accused me of. I hear comments like this from time to time and I thought it might be instructive to see the email that I got and how I replied.
So we throw out the Biblical mandate to bring our tithe? Giving to the church is an act of worship that is a great way to show our trust in God. When we set up an online monthly payment we miss the whole point of bringing our gift to the Lord. Why do we have to be culturally obedient? I would rather stay Biblically relevant.
Here was my reply…
First, I totally am a tithing proponent. Also, I stress the importance of making giving an act of worship which in fact most of the time in our churches is the most boring moment of worship. I have written extensively on this. So in this we would agree.
Where I think we disagree is in how that tithe should be brought. I contend that we have little Biblical advice on the how of our giving. We are simply told to bring our gift. To argue that the Bible is teaching that all gifts must be actually brought physically to the church and cannot be given online is to stretch the passages point. It is a weak argument to say otherwise though you no doubt will object to your argument being weak. None the less I think you would have to admit that there is little in the way of the how a gift must be given.
Frankly if I follow your view I must give in cash not checks. In fact since paper money was not around in biblical times should we not use coins instead of paper? Would not checks a 19th century adaptation be a culturally relevant way to give instead of the coin? Paper money is also simply a culturally more convenient way to do commerce allowing us to be lighter in the pocket. At what point do we simply embrace what is the mode of giving for our times?
Finally, let me say that as one who believes in the Inerrancy of Scripture, I don’t do anything simply to be culturally obedient. What I am looking for is what works. Nothing about online giving, even setting up the gift as a recurring gift, which we do at our home, violates Scripture. I still have the option when the bucket is passed by me to give and I do just that. As one who believes that we worship not just in a church my gift whenever and however it is given is an act of worship.
By the way is a bucket instead of a plate a violation of Scripture? How did the 1st century church give? How has giving been carried out historically by the church? If you study this you will find that the church has always sought to make giving as easy as possible.
If I follow your argument however and simply say that giving must take place AT the church, would it be OK to give with my smartphone during the offering? Could I use a giving kiosk that many of my clients have? After all that is bringing my gift with me when I come.
The reality is this, commerce in our country is changing. People are using checks and cash less. Banks are now charging to process checks much like they are charging fees for credit cards. We might not like it but soon we might be totally cashless and checkless.
So what do you think? Was I too hard on this brother? Or do you agree with my position? Leave a comment about your thoughts.
Mark Brooks- The Stewardship Coach
Founder and President, The Charis Group and Charis Giving Solutions
If you want to find out more about how your church can offer online giving simply go to my company, Charis Giving Solutions, website at http://charisgivingsolutions.com/