Monday, August 17, 2009

Rebuttal of Dave Ramsey on Tithing

Rebuttal of Dave Ramsey by Russ Kelly

Dave's Advice on Tithing and Giving August 17, 2009 [edited]

Ramsey: Giving liberates the soul of the giver.

Kelly: Giving -- not tithing. I agree with this basic statement and practice it myself.

Ramsey: You never walk away feeling badly. Whether through a tithe, charitable contribution or gift to a friend in need, give away at least some of your money.

Kelly: I disagree. There are tens of thousands who have lived in the ghettos for generations who walk away after tithing with a relief that they have escaped God's curse one more time. They have faithfully tithed and played the lottery and remain in deep poverty, uneducated and unqualified to hold a job.

Ramsey: Not only does it generate good feelings, but it generates contentment.

Kelly: Tithing does not generate the ability to get and hold a job. Successful tithers are self motivated and would have become successful whether or not they tithed as many atheists and agnostics who do not tithe.

Ramsey: Remember, no one has ever become poor by giving.

Kelly: Go into ghetto neighborhoods and you will find the largest group of tithers in the world. They tithe to escape the curse and make their pastors much better off than themselves.

Ramsey: Is it acceptable to pause tithing in tough financial times?

Kelly: You, Dave Ramsey, do not biblically tithe and neither do your followers. True biblical tithes were always only food from inside Israel. Although money was common even in Genesis and essential for sanctuary worship, money was never included in the 16 texts which describe the contents of the tithe.

Ramsey: The Bible does not mention anything about "pausing" tithing.

Kelly: The Bible does not mention anything about tithing for the Church after Calvary under the New Covenant. The Bible does give more than ample reason to abolish (not pause) tithing. See

Ramsey: Neither does it say that we will go to Hell if we do not tithe.

Kelly: Christians are under the imputed righteousness of Christ. They stand before God as holy, perfect, sinless and just.

Ramsey: The tithe, which is a scriptural mandate …

Kelly: It was only a basic, minimum starting place for food producers who lived inside Israel. It never applied to the vast majority of the population who had been pushed off the farms as owners within three-four generations.

Ramsey: So why does He ask us to give 10% to Him?

Kelly: God has never asked any Christian to give 10%. Even Paul could not have tithed because his increase came from pagan lands like ours. NT giving principles after Calvary are: freewill, generous, sacrificial, joyful, not by commandment and motivated by love for God and lost souls. That means more than 10% for many and less for many others who must first buy medicine and essential food and shelter.

Ramsey: Tithing was created for our benefit.

Kelly: There were at least three different OT tithes. The Levitical tithe was cold hard law and was created for the benefit of the Levites and priests which have been replaced by the priesthood of all believers. Why do you not obey the entire tithing statute of Numbers 18 (1) Tithes to servants of the priests; (2) priests only get 1%; (3) only preachers inside the sanctuary; (4) tithe-recipients must forfeit ownership of land and property and (5) preachers must kill anybody who dares to worship God directly.

Ramsey: It is to teach us how to keep God first in our lives and how to be unselfish people.

Kelly: Wrong. Contrary to tithe-teachers, firstfruits and tithes were never the same thing per Deu 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-38. Firstfruits were very small token offerings while tithes were only counted after the full harvest of food or every tenth animal which were grown inside God's holy land of Israel.

Ramsey: Unselfish people make better husbands, wives, friends, relatives, employees, and employers.

Kelly: True, but that doesn't validate tithing.

Ramsey: God is trying to teach us how to prosper over time.

Kelly: Why does God prosper atheists, agnostics and Muslim Arab sheiks and not prosper most ghetto dwellers?

Ramsey: "Many" people have observed that after they stopped tithing, their finances seemed to get worse.

Kelly: How "many" who have faithfully tithed for years have not been blessed with overflowing blessings? How "many" who stopped did not suffer? Discuss both sides of the equation please.

Ramsey: In the Book of Malachi, God promises that if you do not rob Him of your tithing, He will rebuke your devourers and protect you.

Kelly: Malachi was only addressed to Old Covenant Israelites who had just renewed the covenant conditions in Nehemiah 10:29 and Malachi 4:4. The whole law was a test --not merely tithing. Obey ALL to be blessed; break ONE to be cursed. God cannot and does not bless New Covenant believers because of their obedience to one of over 600 commandments of the Old Covenant. That is very very poor hermeneutics (principles of interpretation). Galatians 3:10-13 clearly replaces Malachi 3:10-12 for Hebrews and us Gentiles were never under that law in any manner.

Ramsey: If you cannot live off 90% of your income, then you cannot live off 100%. It does not require a miracle for you to get through the month.

Kelly: Tell that to welfare recipients who are doing without pan pills in order to tithe their government checks to their much wealthier church leaders. I have witnessed this.

Ramsey: … if you tithe, do it out of love for God, not guilt.

Kelly: The first whole OT Levitical tithe was cold hard law and must be given whether out of joy or not. You want to keep the one command of tithing from the 600 OT laws and drop the penalty for disobedience. Again, that is poor hermeneutics.

Ramsey: I do not beat people up for not tithing because Jesus certainly did not, but let me encourage you to keep tithing.

Kelly: Why? There is no New Covenant blessings attached to tithing. The post Calvary blessings come from different NT principles. Jesus never addressed tithing outside of "matters of the law" per Mt 23:23. He could not have told his Gentiles disciples to tithe because it was illegal.

I encourage Dave Ramsey to dialog with me on a full scale detailed discussion of tithing.

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

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