CHURCH OF GOD PERSPECITVE
My Response to Russell Earl Kelly
>> Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Russell Earl Kelly wrote:
Kelly: Can you picture a lawyer in the USA arguing a case using even the good points of English law? Why is that obviously wrong, yet it is OK to argue using Old Covenant law? Well, God does not and cannot bless a New Covenant Christian because of obedience to annulled Old Covenant commandments per Heb 7:5, 12, 18?
Per: Actually, for your information, the US has recently began to use EU law as precedents for certain types of cases. However, even ignoring that, the analogy is still flawed. The US broke away from England. They had a revolution. The government of God still has the same King in place, the same government in place. The revolution was led by the Adversary (or Accuser), and it was a failed rebellion at that.
Kelly: The US government has treaties with hundreds of countries. It treats each of those nations in accordance with the treaty it has with them. It does not treat them all the same.
God made a treaty-covenant with OT national Israel. He did not make that treaty-covenant with any other nation (Ex 19:5-6). In fact he commanded Israel not to make treaties with other nations.
God then made a completely "new" covenant with Israel with would include the other nations. This is called the New Covenant and everything changed in Matthew 20-:19-20. The new covenant was really new. It was not the old covenant reworked.
Per: OK, so you are saying that a Christian cannot be blessed by keeping the commandments? Does that mean that there is no blessing for not committing murder? No blessing for being faithful to one's wife? That's all part of the Old Covenant, you see.
Kelly: Your first mistake here is to limit what I said to the Ten Commandments when no Hebrew and the Bible does not do that. Again, God deals with New Covenant believers under the terms of the New Covenant because the Old Covenant has "vanished" per Heb 8:13. How can He deal with us according to a vanished covenant?
The New Covenant "law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" is the law of love per Romans 8:2. The New Covenant believer is blessed because he yields to the Holy Spirit within and obeys its guidance for the body of Christ. The old "Thou shalt nots" have been replaced by the new "I will not" because I am a new creation in Jesus Christ. There is a great difference between the old and the new covenant approaches.
Per: It's interesting that a lot of Protestants want to keep the portions of the Law that do not mean giving up time (the Sabbath) or money (tithing). When those subjects come up, they yell, "The Law was done away!"
Kelly: Your own church follows dispensational hermeneutics when discussing eschatology. That means it admits that OT promises to national Israel are not the same as those for the church. However, you ignore those same dispensational hermeneutics when it comes to the law. When you say "The Law was NOT done away," you really "do away" with 99% of the law and only keep that which is convenient. Shame on you.
Per: It is a flawed argument. Why would God go to the trouble of sending His Son to die for our sins, transgressions against God's Law, only to free us so we can commit more sins?
Kelly: This is a paper tiger --a straw horse. Nobody argues this way. Do you obey God's law and kill disobedient children, Sabbath breakers and adulterors? Do you eat pork and lobster? Do you wear mixed-fabric clothing? Jesus freed us because we DIED to law as a principle which guides our lives per Romans 7:4. Jesus freed us so that we can serve in newness of life as new creations indwelt by the Holy Spirit. According to John 16:8-9 Jesus is the new standard of judgment, not the law.
Per: That would be like the person hauled into court and forgiven of his crime running out to commit the same crime again, would it not?
Kelly: No. The OT person was not let out. The OT believer DIED in Christ and was RESURRECTED with a NEW NATURE. His/her desire has changed by that miracle. He/she no longer wants to disobey God.
Per: Have you not read the article "Have Christians As a Whole Left Behind the Teachings of Christ?"? Or, how about "The Ten Commandments"?
Kelly: Your error here is to use the word "law" to mean the Ten Commandments. Read Romans 3:1-20 and tell me how many of the Ten Commandments have been quoted.
Per: You reference a Scripture that says a law was anulled, but you don't quote it. Let's look at it, shall we?
For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
~ Heb 7:18
Now, you yourself state "The first rule of understanding the Bible is the context of the text being quoted." So, what is the context of Heb 7:18? What law was "disanulled" or "set aside" (NIV)? The "former law" he was talking about was:
For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.
~ vv 12-13
It was the law that the priesthood came from the line of Aaron. It was weak and profitless because it was a priesthood of men. God setup a more perfect priesthood throught the High Priest Jesus Christ, Who is immortal.
Kelly: Wrong. The FIRST USE of the words "law," "tithes" and "commandment" in Hebrews is found in 7:5 Heb 7:5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:KJV
The law which must be changed according to 7:12 was the law of tithing from the context of 7:5. The commandment which was annulled in 7:18 was the commandment of tithing from 7:5.
Per: You further wrote: Matthew 23:23 is a discussion of "matters of the law" and is addressed to the first century interpreters of the law who turned tithing into a burden by adding household garden herbs.From Leviticus to Luke (16 texts) the true biblical tithe only meant food from inside Israel. God defined it that way!"
I suggest you go back and reread part one. Not only did God make provisions to turn it into money, but Abraham and Jacob tithed on all.
Kelly: God made provisions to turn the tithe into money only because the tithe was only food. This was a very temporary provision because the money was turned back into food. And Abraham and Jacob's tithes were not the same has holy tithes from a holy God's land. Admit it. Their source was pagan and would not have been accepted as legitimate tithes into the Temple.
Kelly: "Pagan tithing was in place in all Abraham's known world alongside idolatry, child sacrifices and temple prostitution. Being very old and very common does not make something an eternal moral principle.
Read Numbers 31 which is a discussion of the statute of the law concerning tithes from spoils of war. It is only one per cent. Abraham and Jacob's tithes from pagan Haran of Syria were not considered to be holy tithes in the law. Nothing Abraham did concerning tithes is followed by any church today."
Per: Wait a minute! So, now tithing is pagan? Explain this one, please. In what manner are the examples of Abraham and Jacob not followed today and why?
Kelly: Do not take my word for it. Read article which follows my essay on page one. Also go to any public library and research the origins of tithing. Also look up the word "tithing" in the Encyclopedia Britannica and American and any other major encyclopedia. They all show that tithing originated as a pagan custom. Concerning Abraham, please tell me what he actually DID which is followed by you and the church today. (1) Only pagan spoils of war, (2) Only once recorded, (3) nothing of his own personal property, (4) kept nothing and (5) gave the 90% to the king of Sodom.
Per: I notice that Numbers 31 calls it a "tribute" and not a "tithe". It appears to be a special case, and it does not say that it was an ordinance to be carried out every time. Notice how the NASB calls it a "tax". It seems similar to the "ransom" (NASB) in Numbers 3 in that it appears to be a one-time deal. However, the tithe commands all say "when", which show they were laws and not one-time commands. Your citing of Numbers 31 is a weak argument, in my estimation.
Kelly: Num 31:21 And Eleazar the priest said unto the men of war which went to the battle, This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD commanded Moses;
Kelly: 1 Cor 9:12-19 shows that Paul refused to exercise his right to be paid (even partially) and preferred to work for free.
Per: Yet, by your own admission, it was his "right". That money would have come from the Church, and it would be paid from members' tithing.
Kelly: That does not prove that Paul was teaching tithing. He had a right because he was serving them and was poor. The soldier's wage (opsonion) Paul occasionally received was a daily supply.
Kelly: Most assume that everybody in the OT was required to begin his/her level of giving at ten per cent. That is a false assumption because only food producers who lived inside Israel qualified as tithe-payers. Jesus, Peter and Paul did not qualify.
Please stop teaching Old Covenant tithing to New Covenant believers. That which God wanted His Church to obey he repeated and restated to it after Calvary in terms of grace and faith. And tithes were not repeated. Neither do we have Levites and superior priests who must forfeit inheritance rights.
Per: You utilize an argument similar to the atheist who asks why God won't appear to him or her. They seem to have the expectation that God must appear in each and every generation to revalidate Himself. Why should God have to repeat the entire Law in order for you to follow it?
Kelly: You have no consistent hermeneutic. It is a "pick and choose" as you so desire. You discard the vast majority of the Old Covenant law and keep one or two parts of it you like. Please tell me what guideline you use to make these decisions.
Per: Furthermore, why should I stop teaching what is still shown to be valid in the NT?
Kelly: Where is tithing shown to the Church after Calvary?
Per: Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
~ Ro 7:12
Kelly: Rom 7:4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.KJV
Per:Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:~ Heb 8:9-10
In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
~ v 13
Kelly: Are you now agreeing with me? The Old Covenant has indeed VANISHED.
Per: What was the New Covenant based on? What was different other than writing the laws on the hearts and minds? Why would the Old Covenant vanish away? Again, Hebrews tells us the answer.
But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.~ Heb 8:6
Kelly: Amen. Hallelujah. You agree with me.
Per: The New Covenant has better, longer lasting promises. We are given God's Holy Spirit, something not generally available to ancient Israel. We have the promise of eternal life, while ancient Israel had promises of national greatness.
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
...For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:~ Ro 7:14, 22
Kelly: Does that mean all 600+ commandments, judgments and ordinances of the law? Explain yourself.
Per: Yes, the Old Covenant was done away with because it had physical promises. It could not forgive sins, and it could not grant eternal life. Yet, the Law, the core of the Covenant, was basically unchanged, except for the portions fulfilled through Christ's sacrifice and the granting of the Holy Spirit.
Kelly: The Law was not the "core of the covenant." The Law WAS the covenant.
Per: We have explicit Bible verses that spell those changes out, most of which have to do with the sacrificial system.
Kelly: You are telling me that the Church of God uses dispensational hermeneutics for prophecy and then uses covenantal theology hermeneutics for the Old Covenant law. I reject that. The entire Old Covenant vanished per Hebrews 8:13 --not just parts of it. Read the text again and again and again.
Per: For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
~ Mt 5:18
Last time I checked, heaven and earth are still standing. Last time I checked, all had not been fulfilled, as Christ's Kingdom has not been established on earth.
Kelly: Last time I checked the Church of God has still stopped obeying 99% of what is contained in the Old Covenant law. That makes you guilty of Matthew 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." In Matt5:20-48 Jesus quoted the commandments, statutes and judgemtns to illustrate his point. Yes, yes, yes, Jesus totally fulfilled all of the righteous requirements of the Law as pointed out in Matthew many times. I am sorry that you do not understand that.
Per:Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.~ Ro 3:31
Kelly: From Romans 1:1 to 3:31 he has quoted from Psalms and Isaiah and used the word "law" to mean "God's revelation of His righteous requirements." In acknowledging our sinfulness because the law has condemned us and driven us to salvation by grace through faith alone, the law has fulfilled its purpose.
Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: KJV
Per: What then? shall we sin [transgress the law, 1Jn 3:4], because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Kelly: Gal 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
Gal 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.