Reply to Covenant Theology on Tithing
Element Of Reformed Worship #5
Tuesday, September 29, 2009 by Puritan Lad ·
Tithes and Offerings EDITED
Lad: Quotes Malachi 3:10. A proper view of the tithe consists of acknowledging the Lordship of God over all things. God owns everything (Psalm 50:10-11), and thus our giving is not for His benefit, but for ours (Psalm 50:12-15).
Kelly: While it was also true in the Old Covenant that God owns everything, that was never used as a reason to accept tithes from outside his holy land of 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 as only food from inside Israel. Jesus, Peter and Paul did not qualify as tithe-payers and neither did the poor not anybody who lived outside Israel.
Lad: The tithe is to be brought (not sent) into the local church, "that there may be food in my house" (Malachi 3:10). God has designed his church to function financially off of the tithe, in both the Old and New Testaments.
Kelly: There is no post-Calvary New Covenant text which teaches this. God's house in within every believer and his priesthood is now every believer.
Lad: A common argument from those who rejecting tithing is that the practice was part of the ceremonial law, and thus should not be observed today. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Kelly: I thought Covenant Theology agreed that the ceremonial worship statutes-ordinances and civil judicial judgments of the Law do not apply to the New Covenant dispensation. Tithing was clearly a part of the worship statutes which was never commanded to the Church.
Lad: David Chilton responds,
"It is commonly held that we are no longer under any obligation to tithe in this "dispensation." There is not a shred of evidence to support such a position: the law of the tithe has never been revoked.
Kelly: "Not a shred of evidence!!!" There is a book full of evidence.
1. WHO #1: The Levitical servants to the priests who received the first whole tithe have been abolished. See Numbers 18:21-24. Modern equivalents to the Levites are unpaid ushers, deacons, choir, musicians, etc.
2. WHO #2: OT priests who received a tenth of the tithe (only 1 per cent) have been abolished. See Num 18:25-28 and Neh 10:38.
3. WHAT: The definition of tithes as only food miraculously increased by God from inside His holy land of Israel has been abolished and replaced with the false unbiblical definition of income. See Leviticus 27:30-34 and 14 other texts which describe the contents of the tithe. Yet money was common in Genesis.
4. WHERE: The destination of the OT tithes first to the Levitical cities some to the Temple has been abolished. See Neh 10:37b and Mal 3:10.
5. WHEN: The time to tithe has been abolished. The Levitical tithe was paid yearly in the Levitical cities. The second festival tithe was eaten at the three festivals. The third poor tithe was kept in the home every third year. Tithes totaled 23 1/3 per cent.
6. WHY #1: The covenant which prescribed them was abolished per Heb 8:8-13; Gal 4:21-26' 2 Cor 3:6-10.
7. WHY #2: The "commandment" for Levites and priests to collect tithes was "annulled" per Hebrews 7:5, 12, 18.
8. WHY #3: The law which condemned believers has been rendered of no effect when the believer died in Christ per Romans 7:4. No law can tell a dead person what to do.
9. HOW #1: Jesus abolished the law of commandments contained in ordinances per Eph 2:13. Tithing was an ordinance per Num 18.
10. HOW $2: Jesus blotted out the handwriting of ordinances, per Col 2:14. Tithing was an ordinance per Num 18.
11. HOW #3: The Temple which tithes supported was abolished in AD 70. God's temple is now within each believer per 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19-20.
12. HOW #4: The priesthood which was supported by tithes was abolished in AD 70. God's priesthood is now within every believer per 1st Peter 2:9-10.
13. HOW #5: The blessings and curses of tithing as part of the whole law have been abolished per Galatians 3:10-13.
Would you continue to send money to a church after
1. The building is destroyed?
2. The preacher has been defrocked?
3. The workers have found other jobs?
4. The members have all left?
5. The land has been inhabited by non religious people?
6. The purpose for the church no longer exists?
7. You have died?
Lad: And, it should be noted, while the modern abandonment of tithing has a superficial appearance of freedom, it has actually been replaced with a tyrannical legalism. Listen to any radio or television preacher-or perhaps your own pastor-appealing for funds.
Kelly: The pot is calling the kettle black. The one who clings to the law is calling the one who is dead to the law a legalist. The vast majority of preachers still teach tithing.
Lad: If he rejects the tithe, what is the basis for his plea? LOVE. He does not, of course, define love as the Bible defines it- keeping God's commandments (Romans 13:10; 1 John 5:3) - but rather according to the perceived "needs" of his own ministry.
Kelly: The basis of the grace-giving preachers' plea for money is GRACE --not law. You put yourself into the corner or deciding which of the 600+ "commandments" of the law are still valid for the church. What gives you the authority to keep tithing and reject the other 600 commandments of that same law? Do your preachers own property
Lad: God's simple requirement is that we give ten percent of our income; once we have paid His tax, we know that no more is demanded.
Kelly: The tithe was never equal to income. And none of the tithe requirements from Numbers 18 are obeyed by your church or any other church today: (1) tithes only to servants of ministers, (2) one per cent to ministers, (3) tithe only food, (4) only ministers can enter the sanctuary, and (5) ministers KILL anybody who dares to enter the sanctuary and worship God directly.
Lad: Those who honor the law of tithing are free from the manipulation techniques of money hungry charlatans posing as gospel ministers.
Kelly: The true honest biblical law of tithing was always only food from inside God's holy land of Israel. Please try to disprove that.
Lad: The tithe is NOT part of the ceremonial law (as some "red-letter Christians" would suggest) …
Kelly: I suppose Leviticus 27,Numbers 18, Deuteronomy 12, 14, and 26 are not part of the law. According to Hebrews 7:5 tithing was the essential part of the law to pay its workers who were not allowed to own property (as modern "tithe" recipients do).
Lad: Abram paid tithe before there ever was a ceremonial law. (Genesis 14:20). The writer of Hebrews sanctioned the tithe collected by Melchizedek as being superior to the tithe collected by the Levites (Hebrews 7:8), all without the slightest hint that such practice was to be stopped.
Kelly: Nothing Abram did concerning tithing is an example followed by any church: (1) only pagan spoils of war, (2) only once, (3) not a holy tithe from a holy land, (4) he kept nothing and (5) he gave the 90% to the king of Sodom. Hebrews 7:12 says that the law of tithing must of necessity be changed and that "change" was its "disannulment" in Hebrews 7:18.
Lad: Jesus commanded the Pharisees not to neglect tithing in addition to obeying the weightier matters of the law (Matthew 23:23).
Kelly: According to Galatians 4:4-5 Jesus came under the jurisdiction of the whole law in order to redeem those under the law. Mt 23:23 is a discussion of "matters of the law." Jesus could hot have told his Gentile disciples to pay tithes to him.
Lad: Finally, Paul clearly tells us that the New Covenant Church was to operate financially in the same way as the Old Covenant Church.
"Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel." (1 Corinthians 9:13-14). The New Covenant church is designed to function financially "in the same way" that the Old Covenant church functioned, via the tithe.
Kelly: Your argument is self-defeating. It requires the New Covenant church to exactly copy every single part of the Temple support system --not merely tithing. Verse 14 is includes all of verses 7-13. The principle is that each occupation has its own support system. Gospel workers are sustained by gospel (not law) principles. Verses 12 and 15-19 counter your argument. So also does Acts 20:29-35.
Lad: Throughout the Scriptures, the giving of tithes and offerings is an integral part of the saints' worship. The tithe belongs to God (Leviticus 27:30), and therefore we have the duty to render it to Him (Matthew 22:21).
Kelly: Tithes were always only food from inside God's holy land of Israel.
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD