More than half of American Protestant Christians report tithing their income. But all tithes don't necessarily go to the church, with some Christians believing they can tithe to charities, including secular ones, according to recently released findings by LifeWay Research.
In a report released last Thursday, LifeWay noted that 54 percent of surveyed Protestants give at least 10 percent of their income to the church. Among them, 37 percent say they tithe and 17 percent say they give more than 10 percent.
One in 5 say they give regularly but they give less than 10 percent of their income. Seventeen percent say they're not consistent with their tithing and 8 percent say it's difficult for them to tithe due to finances.
Those more likely to tithe are those who attend services regularly.
Based off of a 2017 survey of 1,010 Americans who attend Protestant or nondenominational services at least once a month and 1,000 Protestant senior pastors, the report also found that many believe donating money to non-church entities can count as a tithe.
While 98 percent say their tithey money is directed to a church, nearly half (48 percent) say tithes can be given to a Christian ministry, 35 percent say tithes can go to another church, and 34 percent say funds can go to an individual in need.
Notably, 18 percent say donations to a secular charity can count as part of their tithe. Those more likely to agree with this are Lutherans and Methodists.
Overall, 83 percent believe tithing is a biblical command that still applies today while only 8 percent disagree.
Recently, some, including Thomas Schreiner, professor at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, have argued that the practice of tithing is no longer necessary for Christians to perform.