Friday, June 19, 2009

Rebuttal to Pastor Scott Burr

Remarks to Pastor Scott Burr

Scott: (Exodus 13:2) is a precedent we see surface again in Exodus 23 when the children of Israel were instructed to celebrate the Feast of Harvest by bringing in the “firstfruits” of the crops sown in their fields. The book of Leviticus refers to this first portion as the “tithe”: Quotes Lev 27:30 only.Russ: You have mixed together two different words. Tithes and firstfruits are never the same thing. Tithes were always only food from inside Israel. Tithes were the "tenth-fruit" after the full harvest or every tenth "animal". The context in Leviticus 27:31-34 clearly says that the tithe was not even the "best."

Firstfrutis were only small token offerings according to Numbers 18:1-20; Deuteronomy 26:1-10 and Nehemiah 10:35-37a.
Scott: The word tithe itself means “a tenth”.

Russ: In the context of God's Word it is always only a "tenth of food products only from inside Israel." Although money was common even in Genesis and essential for sanctuary worship, money was never included in 16 texts which describe the contents of the tithe for over 1500 years from Leviticus to Luke. Jesus, Peter and Paul did not qualify as tithe-payers and neither did the poor nor those who lived outside Israel.

Scott: … the giving of the “tithe” was demonstrated long before the giving of the law by two great patriarchs of the faith.

Russ: Just because something is very old and preceded the law does not make that act an eternal moral principle. For example, idolatry, child sacrifice and temple prostitution also preceded the law and were common.

Scott: In Genesis 14:20, Abraham is seen giving Melchizedek, who is a type of Christ, a tenth of the spoils …

Russ: Nothing done by Abraham concerning tithing is an example for Christians. (1) only pagan spoils of war which were not legitimate as tithes under the Law; (2) nothing of his own personal property; (3) only once recorded; (4) he kept nothing and (5) he gave the 90% to the king of Sodom.

Scott: Then, again, we see Jacob at a place called Bethel, after having an encounter with God, declare: “Of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”

Russ: You left out the context. Jacob the schemer set the conditions! Gen 28:28-22. (1) It was still pagan in origin and (2) we do not tell God what to do.

Scott: Still there are those who want New Testament affirmation for tithing! What about Jesus? Did Jesus ever talk about the tithing and whether it should be observed? There is no direct teaching by Jesus exclusively on the subject of tithing. However, there is a strong reference of support given by Him in regards to tithing found in Matthew 23:23:In this situation, the Pharisees were commended for their commitment to tithing, but were admonished for neglecting the weightier matters of the law like- justice, mercy and faithfulness. He instructed them to practice the weightier matters without neglecting their commitment to tithing. Join me next week as we continue to study the role tithing plays in our financial health.

Russ: It is amazing what you omit! Jesus was discussing "matters of the law" before Calvary when the Law still had full jurisdiction. He could not have commanded his Gentiles disciples to tithe because it was illegal. And tithes were still only food 1500 years after Leviticus! Churches who use this text disobey it by not commanding church members to tithe their garden herbs. The tithing statute of Numbers 18 commands Levitical tithe recipients to forfeit property ownership and to kill those who dared to worship God directly. Why is that part of the statute ignored but tithing still taught?

Please join us and repudiate this false teaching. New Covenant giving principles are far superior to tithing and have the blessing of the Holy Spirit. New Covenant giving is primarily sacrificial. That means more than 10% for many but less for others.

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

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