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Jubilee Tithe

God sometimes guides by enabling us to see how scripture speaks with fresh power in new contexts. The emergence of the Jubilee 2000 movement provided a noteworthy instance. Somebody saw that the jubilee vision in Leviticus 25 pointed to the canceling of punitive Third World debts to Western banks and governments, and this caught the imagination of millions of believers and others. The Word of God demonstrated its power, in bringing to conception a new political and economic reality to mark the beginning of the third millennium.

The battle for the cancellation of these debts is not over, but nevertheless the question arises where we go beyond that. The cancellation reduces a thirty-year-old slope in the economic playing-field, but it does not take us back to the position at the beginning of the 1970s, still less does it remove the slope that was already there back then. We in the West continue to use a hugely disproportionate amount of the resources available for nourishment, education, and health care in the world, and thus deprive ourselves of the joy that often characterizes parts of the world that are not overwhelmed by their wealth. In due course that has to change, either through God's discipline, or through our initiative. I suggest that tithing may provide believers with a way of beginning that process.


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