Saturday, July 25, 2009

Reply to Dr Paul Chappell

Reply to Dr Paul Chappell (edited)

Dr Chappell

The issue is not over the word "giving" but rather of the word "tithing." The biblical tithe was always only food miraculously increased only by God only from inside His holy land of Israel. Although money was common even in Genesis and even essential for sanctuary worship, money was never included in 16 texts which describe the contents of the tithe. Jesus, Peter and Paul did not qualify as tithe-payers and neither did the poor nor those who lived outside of Israel. And there is not a theologian in the world who can refute this from God's Word.

God's economic system for Old Covenant Israel is not the same for the New Covenant Church. God commanded Israel NOT to share its covenant with the Gentiles and no tithes were ever used to send out missionaries to them.

Your use of Malachi 3:8-10 as a proof text is out of New Covenant context. The whole law was a test, not merely tithing. Obey ALL to be blessed; break ONE to be cursed. Malachi's audience had called the curse of the law upon themselves in Neh 10:29. It is clear that Galatians 3:10-13 replaces Malachi 3:10-12 even for Hebrews who were under the law.

Chappell: it is my conviction that a Christian would not give less under grace than the Old Testament saint did under the law.

Kelly: We agree that the New Covenant has higher principles than the Old but you argue from a false assumption that everybody in the Old Covenant was required to begin their level of giving at ten per cent. That, sir, is wrong. Only food producers who lived inside Israel met those minimum beginning criteria. Because of the double-portion to the firstborn law, most were driven off the land as owners within four generations and worked as day-laborers for their relatives or moved to the cities and took up trades.

Chappell: Because God has prescribed a base proportion of ten percent, tithing is not truly giving; it is bringing God what already belongs to Him. Biblical giving begins when one gives above the tithe.

Kelly: For most in the OT biblical giving meant freewill, generous, sacrificial offerings like in the New Covenant. It was freewill giving that built the sanctuary and Temple. You also equate tithing with firstfruits when they are never the same thing per Deu 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-38. In 1st Timothy 5:8 Paul said that the first should go to meet the essential needs of the family such as medicine, food and shelter.

Chappell: Yet God desires that we would not give out of obedience only, but also from hearts of love. When we thus give, we find the joy of living on God’s economy.

Kelly: OT Levitical tithing of the first tithe was cold hard law and was required whether or not one was joyful. If you like tithing so much, then why not follow all of the tithing statute of Numbers 18? (1) the first whole tithe goes to the servants of the priests, (2) the priests only get one per cent, (3) the priests are the only ones allowed into the sanctuary, (4) the priests are to kill anybody who dares to worship God directly and (5) the Levites and priests are not allowed to own or inherit property. Obey the whole law or be cursed.

NT giving is primarily sacrificial. That means more than 10% for many and less for others.

Russell Earl Kelly. PHD

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