Why is 10% tithing being pushed by the OCA and some other church leaders?
The reason I ask this is that although 10% is required in Old Testament times, so is stoning for adultery and other rules we don’t follow now. How do we tell what is valid today and what is not?
Tithing, as you correctly observe, is the Old Testament injunction to set aside 10% of all one possesses for the work of the Lord. Many Christians, Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike, strive to achieve this level of giving, even though its origin is in the Old Testament and there are those who would say that the New Testament maxim would be to recognize that all we possess is in fact the Lord’s and that we should return to Him all that we have, or at least the first portion of our treasures.
Two observations on your comments:
While there are numerous parishes and dioceses which encourage individuals to tithe, the OCA has never issued an official decree in this regard. There have been a number of stewardship education materials that have been published which mention the tithe as a method of giving, but these materials primarily encourage people to set aside the “first portion” of their resources for the work of the Lord.
Even though tithing is from the Old Testament, it should not be seen as something that should not be practiced, such as stoning. Would one also recommend that Christians ignore the 10 Commandments because they are found in the Old rather than New Testament? Jesus Christ came to fulfill the law, not to abolish it. That which was worth saving from the Old Covenant was incorporated into the New.
In looking at the reality of some of our parishes—especially those with 50 members or less—tithing might be a reasonable means of keeping the parishes properly funded and, in some cases, alive. The “I’ll give a buck a week” attitude in a small parish will ensure that there are not enough funds to keep the doors open, much less support a priest.
The thing that is critical is not the percentage—or the origin of the maxim—but, rather, that one is giving the first and the best of one’s resources to the work of the Church—in honesty and out of a sense of thanksgiving to God for His many blessings. Remember—the widow who only gave two coins was blessed because she gave everything she had to God. She overshot the tithe by 90%!