The Offering Plate

Did you know that "passing the offering plate” was unheard of in American worship services before the late 19th century? Since American colonial churches were expected to serve the common good, they were funded by public taxes and fees. But in the years following the American Revolution, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, along with many pastors and church leaders, began to speak out against the religious establishment benefiting from poll taxes.

When Massachusetts put an end to its religious tax in 1833, it forever changed the landscape of the way American churches funded themselves. Local congregations also looked to the Bible for principles of voluntary giving, calling attention to passages like Malachi 3:10 in “bringing tithes and offerings into the storehouse” as an act of worship.

Share

More Book Minute Features

March 16, 2020

Miserere mei Deus - Psalm 51

Miserere mei Deus (“Have mercy on me, O God”) by Gregorio Allegri, using the words from Psalm 51, is one of the most beautiful compositions ever writt...
March 09, 2020

Walt Whitman and the Bible in Poetry

Walt Whitman is regarded as one of America’s most significant 19th-century poets. Whitman references the Bible in several of his works. Evident in an...
March 02, 2020

The Merneptah Stele

Merneptah was a Pharaoh who ruled over Egypt in the late 13th century B.C. In 1896, renowned British archaeologist Flinders Petrie discovered a stone...