Why Pentecostals and Adventists tithe and the mainline don't

Istock 000001176262Small-2Australian church-goers give about twice as much to charity as non-believers, with people aged 25 to 44 the most generous, according to research on donations in Australia.

But they are more likely to support specific programs such as aid projects than simply to put money in a collection, which is why many individual churches are struggling financially, according to researcher Philip Hughes of the Christian Research Association.

See: Church-goers lead way when it comes to charity

Individuals gave $7.7 billion to charity in 2004, not counting money given following the Asian tsunami, with 87 per cent making donations averaging $424. Among people who profess any religion, 89 per cent made donations, averaging $460 in the year, while 84 per cent of non-church goers made donations, averaging $223.

About 35 per cent of Christians “tithe” (donate 10 per cent of their income), and another 25 per cent give 5 to 9 per cent. Seventh Day Adventists and Pentecostals tithed most (more than 60 per cent), while Anglicans, Lutherans and Uniting Church members tithed least.

Why do Adventists and Pentecostals give more? If you’re attending a mainline church, you’ll say, “They’re more legalistic. We live under grace.”

Ok, so grace means you give less?

Money is one of those indicators of just how far you’ve drifted from being a movement. I’ll make a prediction: those “fundamentalist” Sydney Anglicans will be giving more than their fellow Anglicans in other dioceses. Why?

Two possibilities: (A) They are closer to being a movement rather than an institution. Or if you don’t like answer (A) just go with; (B) They’re legalistic like those Pentecostals and Adventists.

Now that feels better doesn’t it?