Q. My pastor said if you don’t tithe, then you’re not a Christian and aren’t saved. Why does the Old Testament speak of tithing and New Testament speaks only of giving?
A. In the Old Testament there were a lot of “have-to’s” that people were required to do out of obedience. One of them was tithing. God’s purpose in requiring these things was to show that no one could live up to His standards (Romans 3:20).
In the New Testament many of those “have-to’s” were converted to “want-to’s” that people now do out of gratitude for the gift of salvation. One of them is giving generously.
Tithing is not required of Christians, and it certainly doesn’t determine whether or not we’re saved. But generous giving is urged because it sets the standard by which God blesses us in return (Luke 6:38, 2 Cor. 9:6) and because our generosity toward others pleases the Lord (2 Cor. 9:7). I personally believe tithing is the minimum level by which generosity is determined. If you only left a 10% tip after receiving good service in a restaurant, you certainly wouldn’t be thought of as a generous giver.