Rebuttal of eChristian Finance by Russell Kelly, PHD
Remembering the Tithes [EDITED]
EFINANCE: The first tithe was the Levitical tithe, which is what we most commonly think of when we discuss tithing. This was to be a 10% tithe of all your increase during the year.
Kelly: The Levites who received the first whole tithe were NOT priests. They were the carpenters, weavers, sculptors (Num 3). They were the guards, builders, bakers, treasurers and political leaders (1 Chron 23 to 26). Why don't you point this out? What are you hiding?
EFINANCE: “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s; it is holy unto the Lord.” (Lev. 27:30)
“Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.” (Deut. 14:22)
Kelly: How can you possibly quote these texts and then call the tithe "income" and/or money? Although money was very common even in Genesis and essential for sanctuary worship, money was never included in 16 texts which describe the contents of the tithe.
EFINANCE: “And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.” (Num. 18:21) [Servants to the priests were not allowed inside the sanctuary tent.]
Kelly: How can you possibly quote this text and not see that biblical tithes could only come from INSIDE ISREAL. Therefore, if Paul were a food producer in Gentile territory, he could not legally tithe. And neither can anybody else outside Israel.
EFINANCE: This tithe was designed to support the work of the local ministry/church.
Kelly: You cannot legitimately include the word "church" because tithing was never commanded to the church after Calvary during the New Covenant.
EFINANCE: The priests and Levites did not receive a portion of the inheritance, instead God ordained this Levitical tithe to provide for the needs of the priests and for the daily operations of the tabernacle/temple.
Kelly: Please tell me why so-called "tithe-recipients" in the church are allowed to receive tithes and still own and inherit property. It seems like you pick and choose what is convenient and most profitable.
EFINANCE: In this current age, the Levitical tithe is used for the day-to-day operations of the church and salaries of the church staff, etc.
Kelly: This current age has no Temple, no Levites and no Aaronic priests to give tithes of food from inside Israel. Every believer is a priest with direct access to God.
EFINANCE: Now some radical proponents of tithing take only the scriptures related to the rejoicing tithe and use it to justify paying tithes to themselves. That’s not what the scripture says and these people conveniently overlook the scriptures regarding the other two tithes.
Kelly: There is only one in thousands who teaches such. He is not part of the larger pro-grace-giving community. (Rick Johnson) Even then he is far more correct than you are.
EFINANCE: God didn’t give the children of Israel three tithing options and just let them pick whichever one best fitted their situation. None of the tithes were optional! God’s law required all of them to be followed.
Kelly: Almost all of your pro-tithing community ignores the 2nd festival tithe and the 3rd poor tithe. Preach to them. Add the 10% tithe to the king (Rome) and at lest 10% to Herod (local ruler) and you are up to 43% plus taxes on roads, bridges, etc from Jesus' day.
EFINANCE: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse” (Mal. 3:10)
Kelly: Have you ever read Nehemiah 10:37b? The ordinary people were commanded to bring their tithes, not to the Temple, but to the Levitical cities where 98% of those who needed them for food stayed most of the time. Malachi 3:10 makes no sense unless it only refers to the Levites and priests who had been commanded to bring tithes to the temple per Neh 10:38.
EFINANCE: So the Law of Moses identified three separate tithes that we are to be following.
Kelly: "WE" are NOT Old Covenant Israel. "WE" did not ask God to curse us for not tithing like Old Covenant Israel did in Neh 10:29. "WE" are not commanded to keep the whole law of Moses as in Malachi 4:4. "WE" do not kill our disobedient children per Ex 21:15, 17.
EFINANCE: However, this principle of tithing was established by God long before the Law of Moses (Gen. 14:20).
Kelly: "THIS" principle of tithing in Malachi and the Law is NOT the same as the principle followed by Abraham. Abraham's tithe was not a holy tithe from a holy land by a holy people under a holy covenant. Nothing Abraham did concerning tithes was commanded under the Law nor is obeyed by any Christian church today. (1) only pagan spoils of war, (2) only once, (3) not holy tithes, (4) he kept nothing and (5) gave the 90% to the king of Sodom.
EFINANCE: When Jesus came to this earth, not only did he not do away with it, but he commended its practice (Matt. 23:23).
Kelly: Jesus could not have abolished tithing without sinning because the Law was still in full force before Calvary. He came under the law in order to redeem those under the law and lived a sinless law-abiding life. He was rebuking tithe-paying hypocrites to adding garden spices to the law and making it a burden. He was discussing "matters of the law."
EFINANCE: Paying tithes (plural) is a practice that we all need to be following. This involves giving more than just 10% each year. An individual who is bringing “all the tithes into the storehouse” should be giving over 13% each year for the Levitical and poor tithes. In addition, they should also be setting aside 10% for the rejoicing tithe to attend fellowship meetings. Only then are you truly following the principle of tithing.
Kelly: O. K. (1) The first tithe of food from inside Israel should be brought to the non-existent Levitical cities to feed the non-existent Levites and priests under the non-existent Old Covenant per Neh 10:37b. The non-existent Levites and priests will bring what they need to the non-existent temple so non-existent animal sacrifices can be performed. (2) The second tithe of food from inside Israel can be brought to the streets of Jerusalem as commanded and eaten in a giant potluck three times a year to celebrate the non-existent Old Covenant festivals. (3) The third tithe of food from inside Israel can be kept in the towns and homes of individual believers for the poor so the government can lower our taxes and stop caring for the poor.
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD