Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Reply to Tim Guthrie, SBC Today, 12-16-2009

Reply to Tim Guthrie, Welcome to SBC Today Blog
Guthrie: What many miss is the fact that no where was the tithe ever done away by Jesus himself …

Kelly: First, before Calvary Jesus taught his Jewish followers to tithe in obedience to the Law of Moses. If Jesus had one otherwise, he would have sinned. The Law was still in full effect. But Jesus could not and did not command his Gentile disciples to tithe.

Second, Jesus abolished everything about the tithe at Calvary: (1) the covenant ended, (2) the Levites and Levitical cities ended, (3) the priesthood changed, (4) the temple system ended and (5) modern preachers own and inherit property.

Guthrie: … nor is it fully understood as to how GRACE applies, thus fits within the total scriptural teaching of the tithe and stewardship.

Kelly: That is what you must demonstrate.

Guthrie: How was [Paul] supported by these churches if tithing/giving to the church was not taught and lived?

Kelly: (I) Unless Paul wrote Hebrews, the word "tithe" does not appear in his writings. (2) As a rabbi Paul considered it a sin to be paid to teach the Word (see many church historians). (3) As a Jew Paul knew that tithes could not come from defiled pagan dust. (4) As one who reported to the Jewish-Christians in Jerusalem, Paul would have been severely rebuked if he were guilty of accepting tithes which should have been given to the Temple system. (5) Paul worked a full-time job while being a missionary and boasted that he had supported even those who traveled with him in Acts 20:29-35 and 1 Cor 9:12-19. Please comment on these.

Guthrie: In the letters that Paul wrote, he commended the churches for their giving (2 Cor 9:2 and 1 Cor 16: 1-4). The conclusion is thus simple, they collectively gave and the church then gave. In fact the church in Jerusalem was one of the benefactors of many churches giving.

Kelly: None of your texts concern supporting churches or pastoral salaries. They relate to food (not tithes) gathered for famine relief.

Guthrie: It is clear in the New Testament that GRACE raised "the bar" when it came to giving as a whole.

Kelly: Grace did not "raise the bar"; rather grace "became the bar." There was not such minimum "bar" in existence in the Old Covenant except for food producers who only lived inside Israel. You are building on a false assumption. Non-food producers did not qualify as tithers and this included Jesus, Peter and Paul.

Guthrie: It stands to reason that a person who was a recipient of the GRACE of God would out of love, devotion, and thanksgiving give far more than the tithe required under the law.

Kelly: Many gave far more because they gave sacrificially. Others who were very poor gave sacrificially even though less than ten per cent.

Guthrie: It is here that the tithe is seen in the New Testament as a standard that acts as the starting point in our giving.

Kelly: Wrong. This is based on your false assumption. Nobody could bring tithes from outside Israel and from non-food items.

Guthrie: Giving to our churches is easily seen and cannot be ignored in the New Testament.

Kelly: True, but that does not legitimize tithing. Your implication that we do not believe in supporting our churches is a false ruse.

Guthrie: The giving today of God's people should be far above the requirements of the tithe.

Kelly: You repeat this like Randy Alcorn as if repeating it makes it true. Quote God's Word instead. Prove from God's Word that everybody in the OT was required to begin giving at ten per cent.

Guthrie: The Bible is also very clear that churches who were in poverty gave out of their poverty and the blessings of God were seen. And this giving should be done based on our first fruits.

Kelly: More deception. According to First Timothy 5:8 a Christian's "first" should be used to buy medicine, food and essential shelter. Tithes were never the same as firstfruits. Firstfruits were very small token offerings per Deut 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-38.And we will continue...

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