Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Review - Tithing

Tithing: Test Me in This is a book by Douglas LeBlanc in the 'Ancient Practices Series' from Thomas Nelson Publishers. (Other titles in the series include Fasting, Sabbath, The Sacred Meal, and others).

Tithing takes a very different approach from other books on stewardship or giving in the church. Rather than teach about the practice of tithing, the authors shares the stories of about a dozen tithers. These people come from extremely diverse backgrounds, from pastor to best-selling author, social activists, liberals and conservatives. Those telling their stories find joy in generous giving in the face of tremendous need and from a desire to glorify God and know Him better. My favorite quote from the book refers to tithing and fasting and other practices as "training wheels towards learning how to fully live in the Kingdom." The quote comes from Randy Alcorn, author of The Treasure Principle. His story was one of the more interesting I found within the book.

While I thought the book was interesting reading, I found three issues that were problems for me in enjoying the book more. The first is that all the book talks about are stories of people who tithe. Distancing the practice of tithing so fully from the principles of tithing and the teaching of Scripture weakened the book. The second issue (a bigger one for me but which other readers may not be concerned about) was that the great variety in the backgrounds of the story-tellers was at times very distracting. In several cases, the rationale for tithing or the beliefs of the tithers was so different from an evangelical perspective that it hurt the credibility of the story. Right practices for the wrong reasons, or with an understanding of God that doesn't match the Bible, fails to be convincing as a source of truth. The third challenge was that the individual stories often touched on tithing only tangentially, as we learned more about the backgrounds and ministries of the people than about their experiences with tithing. Note that the author was clear that these were his goals: stories, not doctrine; diversity, not one voice.

Overall, not bad but not a favorite. Your mileage may vary. Tithing is available at Amazon and other retailers.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers for this review as part of their Book Sneeze Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising".

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