Chapter 8 takes on the explosive duo of tithing and clergy salaries.
“The issue under scrutiny in this chapter is the appropriateness of the tithe as a Christian law and how it is normally used: to fund clergy salaries, operational costs, and church building overhead.”
This was a fairly short chapter and the history, particularly on tithing, was very brief. One of the statements follows:
Giving in the early church was voluntary. And those who benefited from it were the poor, orphans, widows, sick, prisoners, and strangers.
It will come as no surprise that in the book, clergy salaries are viewed as reinforcing the clergy/laity divide and the professionalization of ministry.
Here are a few references for further reading about these issues:
The topic of tithing was discussed here previously in my post, Don’t Preach to Me About Tithing! I asked, “Has the church been a trustworthy steward of our giving and resources?”
For a comprehensive study on the topic of tithing, I recommend this free online book by Russell Kelly, Should the Church Teach Tithing.
Alan Knox did an extensive scriptural study concerning clergy salaries in his series, Should Elders/Pastors Be Paid A Salary? In this series, Alan covers many of the questions that have come up in the comments during this series concerning this issue. Whether or not you agree with his conclusions, I believe that you will appreciate the thorough research of his study.