Why do church guidelines on tithe not mention the fatherless, the stranger, and the widow?

Questions & Answers August 7, 2016

Q: My question concerns the use of the tithe, based on Deuteronomy 26:12-13. Church guidelines on the use of tithe don’t mention the fatherless, the stranger, and the widow. They seem to only talk about those involved in ministry, including conference workers. What about the poor? — Wallace, Britain

A: The tithe mentioned in Deuteronomy 26:12-13 has been known as a “second tithe.” It was specifically used for the poor. We do not practice this concept today. Rather we encourage offerings for the poor. Some use the term “second tithe” today when encouraging members to give 10 percent as offerings in addition to the 10 percent tithe returned. This is a misnomer, and it is not what we teach. Regarding offerings, people are to give what they have decided in their hearts to give, as the Scriptures tell us.

Mario Nino, a recently retired associate director of the Stewardship Department at the General Conference, wrote an excellent article addressing this topic. It was published in a special issue on tithe, in the magazine Dynamic Steward (on page 24), published by the General Conference Stewardship Department. You may read the article (and other articles on tithe) at this link.