NICHOLS: Yes, but if you go back to the Old Testament, you recognize that there are tithes and offerings. The tithe—that 10 percent—was just a given. In addition to the tithe, there were also offerings, and that involved meal offerings and financial offerings. So, we talk about the tithe as binding, but I would say that we shouldn’t stop there if we are going to be truly reflective of biblical principles. So, we need to think about our tithes and our offerings as we think about our giving unto the Lord.
BINGHAM: And how can Christians not be generous when we reflect on what the Lord has given to us?
NICHOLS: This is exactly what Paul says when he is encouraging the Corinthians to take up the collection for the saints in Jerusalem, who are suffering because they’re being ostracized and marginalized because of their Christian commitment. It’s not manipulation; it’s the fact that we should be marked as a people of generosity, knowing that this is all of God’s. There is this great expression: the firstfruits. The firstfruits of the harvest, firstfruits of our labor, and firstfruits of the livestock are to be given to God as a token of our gratitude.