Another installment in the Ancient Practices Series (of which Phyllis Tickle is the General Editor), Tithing: Test Me in This by Douglas LeBlanc looks at the ancient practice of tithing. Tithing is a collection of 11 testimonies of God’s faithfulness in light of tithing. (There are actually 12 testimonies if you count the very short epilogue.) Tithing includes a study guide for individuals and groups with two to three questions for each chapter.
Tithing is par for the course for this series – a lot of experience but little scriptural or historical engagement. This series introduces its readers to several ancient practices but does not help them understand the biblical foundation of those practices. (The Liturgical Year by Joan Chittister is the exception.) Tithing is no different. There is no explanation of the concept of tithing as presented in the Hebrew Scriptures and absolutely no attempt is made to explain tithing in light of the New Testament. If one is looking for a more exegetical discussion on tithing this is not the book to find it.
However, the strengths of this book are not to be ignored. As I read the stories, which come from a variety of ecclesial backgrounds, I was encouraged by God’s faithfulness and challenged to ponder my own habits of giving. LeBlanc’s style of writing and investigative journaling is fun to read and accessible to both veterans and beginners in the arena of tithing.
In the end, I would describe this book as encouraging, but not informative. If nothing else, it provides examples of men, women and communities who have taken seriously God’s call to giving and the faithfulness of God to care for these.
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