Friday, December 25, 2009

Reply to John D, 12-25-09

John: I made a comment about parts of the OT still applying today. Russell replied as follows…“NONE of them apply to Christians as "Thou Shalt NOts" and none of them were given as such to the Church. Born-again Christians are "new creations" in Christ and have the indwelling Holy Spirit; The "Thou Shalt Nots" have been replaced by "as a new creation you will not …"”This is simply squabbling over words. More specifically KJV words which are different in other translations. This is secondary to the principle that I was arguing which still holds true: murder is still a sin, coveting is still a sin, we are still expected to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and we are still expected to love our neighbor as our self. That does still apply. And what do you mean by “as a new creation you WILL not” ??………………………………….
Reply by Russ: Your first and last sentences in the last paragraph tell me that you do not understand the difference between the Old and New Covenant.
(1a) The Old was only commanded to national Israel.
(1b) The New is for believers in the Church after Calvary.
(1c) Those Gentiles in the Old who did not join Israel via circumcision were not under any part of the Old --including the Ten Commandments. Israel did not KILL Gentiles living in its land because they worshipped idols.
(2a) The Old was to God's unique exalted nation which was to be above and more blessed than other nations through obedience to all of God's laws.
(2b) The New is to all believers in the Church.
(3a) The Old did not involved the indwelling Holy Spirit. God simply told them what NOT to do such as "Thou shalt not kill."
(3b) The New involves born-again believers who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Their obedience is the result of a new nature. Because they are children of God with a new nature of obedience their obedience is to be spontaneous.
(4a) Sin is disobeying God by violating any part of his law, whether it be commandments, statutes or judgments.
(4b) Sin is not believing in Jesus Christ (Jn 16:8-9) and not learning and growing through knowledge of God in Christ (2 Cor 3:18).………………………………….
John: From this principle argued above I made a point that just because things like a commandment against murder still applies it does not mean EVERY part of the OT applies such as killing children.
Russ: Again I ask you to define the way you understand "law." You do not have a single text which proves that God will judge the OT Gentiles because the disobeyed the OT Law. They will be judged because they disobeyed the eternal moral character of God which is found in nature and conscience per Romans 1:18-20 and 2:14-16. Again, I ask for your hermeneutic (principle of interpretation) for deciding what part of the OT applies (Honor thy father and thy mother) and what part does not apply (Kill disobedient children per Ex 21:15, 17). You have not done so.
John: The reason I can biblically claim this to be true is that commandments exist in the NT against such things as murder and coveting (which means these concepts still apply) and commandments for the greatest commandment and the golden rule are in the NT as well (which means these concepts also still apply).
Russ: You are guilty of subdividing the law and discarding most of its statutes and judgments (except, of course, tithing). How do you explain Mt 5:19? Matt 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."
John: Just because there is not a “THOU SHALT NOT” in front of them has nothing to do with the principle I am arguing.
Russ: It has everything to do with whom the law applied to. According to Exodus 19:5-9 and almost every chapter in Deuteronomy 'THOU' only refers to national Israel. God did not command the Gentiles to join Israel and enter into its worship and judicial system. God never commanded Israel to use TITHES to evangelize the Gentiles. How can you reconcile that?
John: ******** I wonder if I explained these two paragraphs earlier we could have avoided much of this back-and-forth?? It’s very easy for arguments to arise when we communicate via text only because 2 people can speak using the same terms and mean 2 completely different things. Language itself is always somewhat subjective.
Russ: We are NOT using the same terms. You are attempting to teach tithing by defining "law" as "the Ten Commandments minus Sabbath plus tithing and whatever else I want to add." On the other hand I define "law" as "an indivisible whole covenant given only to Israel in order to separate them from all other nations."
John: I agree but not to the point you are arguing it. It is all or none in the sense of, if we break one commandment we are guilty of breaking it all (Gal. 3:10, James 2:10).
Russ: You cannot possibly extend this comparison to the entire law. "If we break one commandment" does not apply to (1) commandments to include statutes-ordinances of ceremonial worship ritual, (2) commandments to establish the sanctuary according to God's pattern for worship, (3) commandments to establish a Levitical and Aaronic hierarchy to be paid with tithes from the produce of God's holy land. Galatians 3:10 shows the futility of placing Gentiles under any part of the OT law. James 2:10 is about the "royal law" which refers to the underlying character of God and not the OT Law.
John: These verses refer not only to the Law of Moses but to any Law that anyone is under at the time they live – i.e. the Law written on the heart for those with general revelation only (Romans 2:14-15),
Russ: I disagree. If Galatians 3:10 refers to Christian Gentiles and their obedience to the laws of nature and conscience, then you have destroyed Paul's entire argument from 1:8-9; 3:1, 19, 24-26. It makes the 'paidagogee' comments gibberish.
John: Law of Moses for OT Israelites, New Covenant Law for us.
Russ: Law of Moses ONLY for OT Israelites. New Covenant law of love for all believers per Romans 8:2.
John: Therefore God demands PERFECTION (Matt. 5:48, Gal. 3:10, Rom. 3:20) and our only way to eternal life is by GRACE through faith in Christ (Rom. 3:28).
Russ: Matthew 5:48 is the culmination of 5:17-47 which is addressed to a Jewish audience and is a kingdom sermon before Calvary. The context of Mt 5:19-20 is obedience to all three parts of the OT Law --read the examples.
Romans 3:20 uses the word "law" from Rom 3:1-19 to include Isaiah and Psalms because the Ten Commandments are not quoted. Paul did not limit the use of the word "law".
John: ... We still have a law that we must abide by… namely the New Covenant commands. Some of these commands are the same as some of the OT commands. This is what I mean when I say parts of the OT law still apply. ..
Russ: Frankly, I think you are easing up on some of your earlier statements. Some of the commands in the US Constitution are similar to commands in the English Bill of Rights, but that does not mean that they simply continued to exist under the same authority and conditions. Do not forget the original argument is that you supported TITHING based on the OLD Covenant. My argument is that it is not supported by New Covenant principles.
John: … God’s demand of perfection is the reason Gal. 3:10 states that all who rely on observing the law are under a curse. This is simply a restatement of Romans 3:20 which says that no one will be declared righteous by observing the law. Paul is trying to contrast LAW as a way of salvation to GRACE as a way of salvation.
Russ: You just said "We still have a law that we must abide by… namely the New Covenant commands."
Paul is NOT "trying to contrast LAW as a way of salvation." Paul was trying to say that the OT LAW has no place whatsoever in the gospel.

Gal 3:3-5
3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
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 3:23-25 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Reply to John D, 12-25-09

Gal 3:23-25
23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.KJV

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Reply to John D on Blog "Tithing"

John D: It is true that tithing was an OT law established in the giving of first fruits to God.

Russ: Although money was very common even in Genesis and essential for sanctuary worship, tithes were always only food from inside Israel which God had miraculously increased. Not being food producers, Jesus, Peter and Paul did not tithe. Firstfruits were never the same as tithes per Deu 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-38. Firstfruits were very small token offerings taken to the Temple and eaten there by the priests. Most tithes were eaten by their Levite servants in the 48 Levitical cities.

John: It also true that we get our 10% number from Abraham's tithe to Melchizedek as Blake alluded to.

Russ: Abraham and Jacob's tithes were not HOLY tithes from inside God's HOLY land. Defiled pagan dust could not produce holy tithes. Abraham's tithe of spoils of war was common in all surrounding lands of his time. The spoils' tithe in Numbers 31 from the Law was much smaller.

John: The reason we still ascribe to this precedent is that Hebrews 7 shows that the priesthood of Jesus has replaced the OT Levitical priesthood.

Russ: When comparing Hebrews 7:5, 12, 18 the commandment to tithe to support OT priests was "annulled" in 7:18. It was not transferred to the Church.

John: Jesus was a priest in the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4, Hebrews 7). Therefore b/c Abraham gave a tenth tithe to that priesthood we do as well.

Russ: After the ORDER of Melchizedek which was that of a king-priest. The New Covenant priesthood consists of every believer who do not tithe to themselves.

Why do you not obey any of the tithing statute of Numbers 18:21-29? (1) tithes are only food from inside Israel, (2) Levitical tithes go to the servants of the priests such as guards, janitors, musicians, singers and politicians, (3) the priests only received a tenth of the tithe, (4) priests were to kill anybody trying to enter the sanctuary and worship God directly and (5) tithe-recipients were not allowed to own property.

John: Not all of the OT is out the window now in the New Covenant as it seems Russell is suggesting.

Russ: I doubt that you can correctly define the words "law" and "tithe" and consistently use them. (1) The Old Covenant was only commanded to national Israel and not to the Gentiles or the Church. Can you disprove this? (2) That part of the Old Covenant which is an eternal and moral reflection of the character of God has been re-stated in the New Covenant after Calvary to the Church in terms of grace and faith. Rom 8:2 "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

John: And Russell, Hebrews does not say that the Old Covenant Law has vanished but simply the Old Covenant.

Russ: The Old Covenant, the Law of Moses and the Law of God in the Old Testament are the same thing.

John: Some parts about the OT law still apply today (such as the 10 commandments, Ex. 20, the greatest commandment, Duet. 6:5, and the golden rule, Lev. 19:18)

Russ: NONE of them apply to Christians as "Thou Shalt NOts" and none of them were given as such to the Church. Born-again Christians are "new creations" in Christ and have the indwelling Holy Spirit; The "Thou Shalt Nots" have been replaced by "as a new creation you will not …"

John: Just b/c some of the OT law still applies does not mean all of it does (such as Ex. 21:15,17) and does not mean the Old Covenant is still in effect.

Russ: You show inconsistent hermeneutics. You take what you want and discard what you don't want. Please tell me what principle you use in doing this consistently. According to Mt 5:19-48 the Law is an indivisible whole consisting of commandments, statutes and judgments. It is either all or none.

John: To Russell... I believe you are missing the heart of tithing (mostly) in this discussion b/c you are focusing on rules and regulations of each covenant. Correct me if I'm wrong but it sounds like you're trying to come up with an excuse not to give $$ to God??

Russ: You are very wrong and judgmental. The equality principle of 2nd Cor 8:12-15 means that many should give more than ten per cent but others are giving sacrificially even though less than ten per cent. Would you equally dare to accuse Martin Luther, John MacArthur, Merrill Unger, Lewis Sperry Chafer, Craig Blomberg and their associated seminaries of the same thing? Shame on you.

John: Really the first and foremost concern is that we give every part of us to God, including money. Will hits it on the head when he mentioned Paul's exhortation to us to give what we have decided in our heart cheerfully (2 Cor. 9:7).

Russ: I agree, but that is not a discussion of tithing.John: … Gal. 3:10 … This verse does not mean, as you stated, "If we are still to observe the law, then we should observe all of it". It means that God demands PERFECTION from all of us and any who aren't perfect are condemned and can either suffer Hell by choosing law or enter heaven by choosing GRACE.

Russ: Why don't you let the verse speak for itself?
Gal 3:10 "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them."
In Galatians 1:8,9 Paul was clear that he did not permit the Jewish fanatics from Acts 15 and 21 to place his Gentile converts under any part of the Law. In Galatians 3:1 he compared it to being bewitched. Yet you want to place Gentiles under the law of tithing but not under the law of Sabbath, circumcision or unclean foods. They all stand or fall together. Faulty hermeneutics.

John: The heart behind this question is a legitimate and worthy one. The PRIMARY END-purpose of giving as highlighted in 2 Cor. 8 is so that those who have can share with those who do not so there will be equality. It is the church's authorities' responsibility to ensure this happens. There are many churches who do not.

Russ: Of course, but why are you trying to tie this to tithing?

John: Furthermore it is completely biblical that those in full-time ministry should receive their salaries from these tithes.

Russ: All what tithes? It is not biblical at all. Tithes were never acceptable from outside Israel. And gospel workers are not the replacement of Old Covenant Levites and priests. There is not legitimate church historian who will agree with you that tithing was taught or practiced in the early church for at least the first 200 years.

John: The precedent was first set in the OT Levitical priesthood who received all their food from the grain and bull/goat offerings of the Israelites from the other 11 tribes.

Russ: And they were not allowed to own or inherit property. What principle allows preachers to both receive tithes and own property?

John: This is much like a salary today because we don't barter with animals... we go to the store to buy our food.

Russ: See point #3 of my essay at Genesis alone contains “money” in 32 texts and the word occurs 44 times before the tithe is first mentioned in Leviticus 27. Gold is first mentioned in Genesis 2:12. The words "jewelry," "gold," "silver" and shekel also appear often from Genesis to Deuteronomy.

Many centuries before Israel entered Canaan and began tithing food from God’s Holy Land money was an essential everyday item. For example Abraham was very rich in silver and gold (Gen 13:2); money in the form of silver shekels paid for slaves (Gen 17:12+); Abimelech gave Abraham 1000 pieces of silver (Gen 20:16); Abraham paid 400 pieces of silver for land (Gen 23:9-16); Joseph was sold for silver pieces (Gen 37:28); slaves bought freedom (Ex 23:11). Court fines (Ex 21 all; 22 all), sanctuary dues (Ex 30:12+), vows (Lev 27:3-7), poll taxes (Num 3:47+), alcoholic drinks (Deu 14:26) and marriage dowries (Deu 22:29) included money.

John: A NT precedent for this is set by Paul in 1 Cor. 9:14 when he states that "those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel."

Russ: The principle found in 9:7-14 is that each occupation has its own rules. The gospel worker is controlled by gospel rules of grace and faith, not law. If 9:14 only referred to 9:13 instead of 9:7-13 then it is self defeating because 9:13 included dozens of forms of support in addition to tithes. You cannot pluck tithing out of 9:13 and ignore everything else.

John: Will, to answer your question, "When Christ died, did he not abolish the OT law?" No. He came to fulfill it as Schuette stated (see Matt. 5:17-18 and the whole Sermon on the Mount Matt. 5-7).

Russ: Again, look at 5:19-48 which uses the word "law" to include ALL of the commandments, statutes and judgments. You are violating 5:19 when you want to throw out most of it and keep tithing. It is either all or none. Compare 1776 when the entire English law ended --both god and bad. Then the USA re-stated the good in its own Constitution. God did that.

Monday, December 21, 2009

OK to fornicate as long as you pay tithes?

'Survivor: Samoa' winner Natalie White feeling 'disbelief, shock'
"She plans to use the money to take her boyfriend on a vacation, tithe 10% to her church and save the majority of the rest."

Wow! Tithing is more important than getting married before taking your boyfriend on a vacation! This is the logic tithing has brought us! Russ Kelly

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...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

An Absolute Must Read Article by Dr Frank Chase

How to Resign, by Dr. Frank Chase, Jr.
By BCNN1 on December 13, 2009 11:35 PM

Dear Pastor;
Grace, Mercy and Peace be unto you on this day of our Lord. Several weeks and months ago, you were informed of my theological shift from tithing to grace giving. After 30 years of tithing and pondering this matter in my heart and studying both camps who argue for and against tithing, I told you of my personal decision. Since that time, I have been buried in study about this topic and have concluded that the tithe teaching lacks scholarship and cannot be biblically proven in the New Covenant beyond a shadow of doubt. The tithe teachers in the body of Christ who force or mandate tithing would not withstand a cross-examination on a witness stand by a counsel of scholars, Elders and theologians who have studied to show themselves approved and rightly divided the Word of Truth.
Because of my position on this matter, I realize that it has created some conflict and probably more so to the bottom line of the church. Certainly, I am aware of that. But because of my conviction, study and the Holy Spirit, I can never return to tithing under the dispensation of Grace we now live in. Again, my thoughts and heart have changed because of revealed truth. The journey to find truth on this matter started 30 years ago. I must admit that I am overjoyed the Holy Spirit can and does teach you when you seek the truth from your heart. Because tithing is no longer my position, it is unethical for me to continue in ministry and leadership. Based on your teaching and position that leaders in your church must tithe, it is unethical for you to keep me in leadership. As I have told you in the past, if I become a hindrance to you or your church and the doctrines you set forth, I would withdraw myself from all functions and duties of leadership. As a result, I requested to be put on Sabbatical until we came to a conclusion of this matter. Over the ongoing weeks and months, I've come to the realization that an impenetrable impasse is blocking this matter from being solved.
Now after six months, I now realize through prayer and great trepidation that my time at XXX Church has come to an end because of forced tithing methods that are wanting. When I decided to change my theology on tithing, I did it with knowledge that I would be at odds with much of the Christian community who are simply ignorant of the biblical and secular history, the land, the language, and the literature of the Jewish Levites and Priests for whom tithing was established in the Old Testament financial system because they had no land inheritance in Canaan. When I disagreed with you, I did it in the spirit of the Berean Jews who, with great respect for Paul, did not accept Paul's message right away but choose to search the scriptures to see if what he said was true. Since I've been on sabbatical, I've searched the scriptures, read books, examined history on this tithing issue and have found that tithe teaching as propagandized in the Body of Christ today is categorically unscriptural and is tantamount to spiritual and financial extortion akin to mafia tactics. Since I do not agree with tithing, I cannot in good conscience continue to exist at XXX Church knowing that a major difference exists between you and I on this issue. After 30 thirty years of being deceived, here are my thoughts to the body of Christ.
My purpose for changing my mind goes to the core of a metateneo (The greek word for Repent) experience. In the spirit of the Jewish Rabbi/Student relationship, my shift also represents what most Jewish Rabbis taught their students and that is the practice of learning how to challenge, debate and argue well with their Rabbi on Torah issues. A student who never questions what their Rabbi says would not be considered an excellent student. In the spirit of my Jewish Savior Yeshua, I've entered this debate because this is how Jews studied and how teaching was done. By me offering my points and your offering your counter points over the bully pulpit, we will both learn more truth on this subject. As it stands today, you and I have come down on opposite sides of this argument. In my mind that is OK among theologians. As you continue to read, know that my thoughts on this issue are only directed at the doctrine of tithing and the lack of study by those who try to teach something they have never given serious study.
In all, this situation is not so strange. It reminds me of the incident in Acts 15: 36-41 when Barnabas and Paul came into sharp dispute over the reliability of John who is also called Mark. Because of the appearance of our sharp disagreement about grace giving in the New Covenant vs. mandatory tithing under the Law of Moses in the Old Covenant, it is proper etiquette that we part company like Paul and Banarbas for now in the interest of peace and as Hebrews 12:14-15 says: 14Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. I know people will say, tithing was before the law, but make sure the people also know that Abraham was not commanded to give it, and what he tithed came from the spoils of war. Plus he was already made rich based on a promise God made to him not because God commanded him to tithe. There is no biblical record that Abraham tithed any of his personal wealth and the nail in the coffin is that the Bible records that he only tithed once and no other text records he ever tithed again. Using Abraham as proof text is somewhat weak to build a foundation of tithing for the New Covenant. I know people will say that tithing is an expression of devotion by sincere people but the fact remains, it is still a ceremonial law and an ordinance that was nailed to the Cross. Therefore tithing is low-realm, obsolete and defunct and the pontificators of tithing ultimately introduce weakness and confusion in the minds of believers.
Let me make myself perfectly clear. If a person of their free will decides to give a percentage of their income then of course that is their decision based on Grace and not out of fear of a curse ripped from a text and given new meaning. But as soon as giving is called a tithe that's mandated, forced, or becomes a requirement based on Malachi chapter three or Matthew chapter 23 or some other dubious implied command from the Bible, it represents poor hermeneutics and sloppy exegesis. Tithe teachers who hold Malachi 3 to the heads of God's people like a 357 magnum and pull the trigger with a curse upon them have committed the greatest betrayal of GRACE and the work of Christ on the cross that almost rivals Judas' betrayal of Christ with a kiss. Of everything I've witnessed over thirty years, no one has ever been able to explain why there are ghettos and inner cities still full of generations of tithers who remain one paycheck away from the soup kitchen. Ok, I get it, the answer has always been, they did not put their seed in the right place. Saying we've been blessed by tithing does not make it true Biblically. We are blessed because of the New Covenant Principles of giving, not paying tithes. None of the epistles or letters written by the Apostles instructed or exhorted New Covenant believers to tithe, not as a law, a principle or even as a voluntary practice.
In the Old Testament tithing is compulsory and does not translate to grace giving under the New Covenant. The tithe teachers throughout history have taught tithing on a weak foundation of proof text or proof texting methodology. By definition and the verses, I've heard used to extract tithes from people using slick fund raising techniques over my 30 years do not understand that, "a proof text is a verse or short passage from the Bible used by someone as part of his/her proof for a doctrinal belief he wishes to substantiate to others. However, since verses and passages may rely extensively on the context in which they appear for correct interpretation, pulling these verses out their context and having them stand alone in "proof" can at times be very misleading. In addition, a set of such proof texts can completely ignore other passages which, if added to the mix, might well lead to an entire different conclusion. Someone who relies strongly only on a list of proof texts in order to make a doctrinal argument may have a very weak case for his argument. Noting that a religious teacher relies heavily on proof texting is viewed in theological circles as very negative in evaluation." For example, after my examination Malachi 3:10 and reading the whole book in its context, the infamous verse used by many to support their tithing position fail to realize this book is not talking to or suggesting any Gentile or New Covenant believer to tithe but it speaks only to certain Israelites in the promised land. Even if tithing was actually commanded in the New Covenant (Which it is not), how can anyone teach 10 percent and not teach the other 20 percent outlined under the law. I bet no leader in Today's church would demand 30 percent of people's income and then ask for a free will offering to boot. In fact, if we follow this logic, to obey any part of the law and not do all of it, you are guilty and accountable for all it. For tithe teachers to prove a doctrinal point, proof text methodology is essential because it allows them to ignore the context of the whole book or chapter.
According to the Jewish Mishnah and the Tulmad writers, tithes were always defined as everything eatable (food), and everything that was stored up or that grew out of the earth. In the Old Testament money was not a titheable commodity only crops, produce and cattle. For 1600 years after the tithe was established it remained a food item up to Mat 23:23 of Jesus' time. And upon careful examination, the Pharisees extended the tithe of the Mosaic Law in the Tulmad to include spices of anise, cumin, and mint, which was never a part of the original Law of Moses or the first five books of the Bible.
Biblical History and secular history on this subject is replete with examples of the tithing wars among Christian leaders that have raged over the centuries. In history, even Martin Luther Stood for salvation by grace and not confessing to a priest. We hail him for his stand, but we pass over, ignore and fail to declare the whole counsel about the man's tithing beliefs and that he preached against tithing way back in a sermon on August 27, 1525? The title was How Christians Should Regard Moses. Here's are some excerpts from Dr. Kelly's book on what Luther said about Law and Grace which can be found on the internet, "The law of Moses binds only the Jews not the Gentiles. Here the Law of Moses has it place. It is no longer binding on us because it was given only to the people of Israel. And Israel accepted this law for itself and its descendants, while the Gentiles were excluded. Moses has nothing to do with us. Well will not regard him as our lawgiver--unless he agrees with both the New Testament and the natural law. For not one little period in Moses pertains to us. But the other commandments of Moses which are by nature, the Gentiles do not hold. Nor do these pertain to Gentiles, such as the TITHE and others equally fine which I wish we had done."
You did agree that since the New Covenant standards are higher than the Old Covenant and if you ever accepted grace giving, the minimum standard would be ten percent at the start. In the final analysis, I would have to reject that as incorrect because after Calvary there is no biblical text to support any exact percentage as at starting point in the New Testament. The principle of interpreting New Covenant Giving starting at ten percent sounds good, but it is pure assumption. The New Covenant is filled with "free-will giving principles only. Because of that, giving could range from 0 to 100 percent based on what a person has, not what a person does not have; not under compulsion or reluctantly but by ability and by the Holy Spirit's prompting.
After thirty years of tithing, my heart aches at the carnage of mixed messages the tithe teaching Community has left behind and the many shattered lives and new converts who will be damaged by this grace less teaching in the future.
As I continue in search for truth, I submit this resignation with no malice because I know that tithe teachers need forgiveness too for they know not what they do. For we all are in need of the Grace of God when disputes arise.

Reply to Tim Guthrie, 12-12-09

Reply to Tim Guthrie, SBC Today, by Russell Kelly
Defining the TITHE , Tim Guthrie

The definition must be the first thing discussed because it is the foundation of the entire doctrine. You have been teasing us for over a week already and have not yet said anything about tithing accompanied with biblical textual support.

We who "specify that the Old Testament tithe was restricted to items grown and raised" [you conveniently omitted] INSIDE GOD'S HOLY LAND OF ISRAEL have 16 supporting texts. Where are your texts which teach otherwise?

The tithe is "out" because everything about the tithe is "out": the covenant, the Temple with its storerooms, the Levites and their cities and especially the Aaronic priesthood which was supported through tithes from inside Israel.

After the cross both the Temple and priesthood have been replaced by the doctrine of the priesthood of every believer. You have not yet offered a single text for open discussion.

You then say "Also out in this thought is giving to the church." This is ridiculous and absurd. In agreement with us are: John MacArthur, Martin Luther, Craig Blomberg, Wheaton College, Moody Bible Institute, Dallas Theological Seminary, Denver Seminary, Talbot Bible College, Masters Seminary and many more. Most of us fully support gospel giving principles given to the Church after Calvary in terms of the New Covenant. Such is often more than ten per cent.

Although we have plenty of grounds to object to tithing because of abuses, our focus it the plain inspired Word of God. The greatest and primary abuse is defining the tithe wrong and applying it to the New Covenant with no sound hermeneutic.

You added "Defining the tithe must start with the Bible and it must stay with the Bible." When are you going to do that?

You concluded with "The Biblical model is NEVER subject to change due to culture or abuse." The "Biblical model" was NEVER that tithes were the beginning point, training wheels, good place to start, expectation, ad nausea. Your model is flawed because it falsely assumes that the OT teaches that every Hebrew was commanded to being his/her giving at ten per cent.

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
December 12, 2009 (my birthday)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Reply to Tim Guthrie, Dec 9, 2009

Reply to Tim Guthrie, Eklund Stewardship Ministries, Dec 9, 2009

1. Was the tithe only for Israel?Kelly: God owned everything in the OT also but He never accepted tithes from outside of his holy land of Israel. Since the true biblical tithe was always only food from inside Israel and could only be given by an Israelite under the Old Covenant, then one must conclude that the tithe was only for Israel. Tithes could not be accepted from outside Israel off defiled pagan dust. And tithes could not be accepted from the products of man's hand such as carpentry or tentmaking. The increase was miraculously provided by God through crops and herds.

2. Though much is said in the New Testament about giving and even some mentions of tithing, is it true that after the cross the tithe was to cease?

Kelly: Everything about the tithe ended at Calvary. a) Its covenant ended, b) its temple ended, c) its priesthood ended, d) its Levitical cities ended and its purpose to support those who did not own land ended.

3. Does "grace giving" mean that NO standard of tithing exists?

Kelly: Levitical tithing was pure cold hard law and was expected whether one wanted to tithe or not. If you were a food producer inside Israel, you were expected to tithe. Freewill offerings were always examples of grace giving. According to 2nd Cor 8:12-14 many should give more than ten per cent and many are giving sacrificially even though less than ten per cent. Tithes were never the same as firstfruits according to Deu 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-38. Firstfruits were very small token offerings. According to First Timothy 5:8 the Christian's first should go to buy essential medicine, food and shelter --not to the church. Church which teach firstfruit tithing are stealing medicine and food from many poor church members who are intimidated and fearful to avoid being cursed.

4. How is it that there is so much confusion over the subject of tithing?

Kelly: Most churches confuse the application of the Old Covenant and the Law. God never commanded anybody other than national Israel to keep the whole law, including the statutes which included tithing. The New Covenant takes that which is eternal and moral from God's character and repeats it in the New Covenant in terms of grace and faith. And tithing was not repeated; neither was the prohibition for ministers not to own property.

5. Why do things like adultery get certain treatment in the OT that tithing does not get?

Kelly: Again, the eternal moral law which was found throughout the commandments, statutes and judgments was re-stated and repeated after Calvary to the Church in terms of grace and faith. The "Thou shalt nots" were replaced by "You will" because of the new creation and indwelling Holy Spirit.

6. Is there a Biblical Standard for those of us alive today in regards to tithing and giving?

Kelly: The entire Old Covenant (not the Old Testament) ended at Calvary according to Hebrews 8:13. New Covenant "tithing" is built on the false assumption that the Law required everybody to BEGIN their level of giving at ten per cent. That is wrong. There never was a minimum STANDARD to use as a guideline unless you were a food producer who lived inside Israel. Since there was no real OT standard, then it is wrong to teach that Christians should BEING at the OT standard. New Covenant giving principles in 2nd Cor 8 and 9 suggest that each should give according to their ability as the Spirit leads. Again, for many this means more than ten per cent while many are giving sacrificially even though less than ten per cent.

7. The danger with a subject like tithing is that often people approach it from a position that they hold or would like to hold and thus they set out to prove their case.

Kelly: You are doing that when you ignore the plain biblical definition of the tithe and use a secular definition. Although money was very common even in Genesis and essential for sanctuary worship, money is never included in 16 texts which describe the contents of the tithe. Your hermeneutic assumes that the Church is still bound to observe the Law which you incorrectly infer means the Ten Commandments (minus the Sabbath) plus tithing. You do not follow a consistent hermeneutic when determining what to bring over from the Old Covenant into the New.

8. Some may even suggest that I could be approaching the subject from a "I believe it" position and thus that I am setting out to do the same. Before anyone jumps to conclusions I simply ask that you follow along and watch and read and pray! You just might be surprised in the whole of the series.

Kelly: I cannot wait. I have already been waiting since January 2001 to enter an extended dialog with any SBC leader about tithing. The truth will set us free.

Russell Earl Kelly to Tim Guthrie

Friday, December 04, 2009

Reply to Bobby Eklund, SBC Stewardship Leader

Reply to Bobby Eklund, Stewards For Him - Eklund Stewardship Ministries by Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

Eklund: Good discussion and debate actually leads to learning and prayerfully conviction.

Kelly: Empty words because most tithe-teachers will not defend their position but chose to punish those who disagree with them.Eklund: Matthew 23:23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone." NKJV

Kelly: You totally ignore the most basic hermeneutic for biblical interpretation --the context. Jesus is clearly speaking BEFORE CALVARY to only Jewish disciples. He could not and did not command his Gentile disciples to tithe or obey any of the Law because it was not legal.Eklund: Clearly Jesus taught and one might say reinforced the tithe in this statement.

Kelly: Of course he did. This occurred while the Law was still in full force and Jesus perfectly obeyed the Law. It would have been sin if he had opposed the Law.

Eklund: The words here are spoken in a clear lesson being taught to the multitudes.

Kelly: Yes, clearly addressed to "scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites." It is not addressed to Gentiles or to the Church.

For the truth see

Eklund: The Pharisees are being called out for their lives which were not lived in surrender to Jesus as Lord. Interesting here is that as the "wrong approach" to life is being called out, the right disciplines are being taught.

Kelly: NONE of the tithing statute-ordinance of Numbers 18 is obeyed by you or any of the church today: (1) tithes are only food from inside Israel, (2) the first Levitical tithe goes to the servants of the priests (ushers, deacons, choir, etc), (3) priests only got one per cent, (4) only ministers can enter the sanctuary, (5) ministers are to KILL anybody attempting to worship God directly and (6) those who receive the Levitical tithe are not allowed to own or inherit property. Why, why, why don't you teach and obey any of these?

Eklund: So why do you think that with Jesus clearly teaching the tithe people today desire to belittle or do away with it?

Kelly: If the Church followed ANY of the tithing ordinance of Numbers 18, it would be laughed at.
Eklund: Just think of the changes that could occur when we return to this Biblical Doctrine.

Kelly: There would be no Christians if tithe-receiving ministers killed everybody else who attempted to worship God directly.

I used your boo, Partners with God, as the backdrop for my PHD dissertation, Should the Church Teach Tithing? You are wrong on every point about tithing and you will not enter into an extended in-depth dialog with me on the subject. Whatever happened to holy boldness?