Change Worth Making
CWM: Sadly we have entered the day of Christian criticism.
Kelly: We entered that when Jesus began criticizing the religious leaders of his time It continued when the Bereans did their own study of what Paul taught. It continued when Luther and Calvin criticized the abuses of their own church. And it should and must continue today to keep the church theologically honest to the Word of God.
CWM: … for what it's worth in many cases rightly so. The late Dr. Rogers said it is better to be divided by truth than united in a lie.
CWM: … Tithing … for many it has become an issue of accusation, slander, and vitriolic exchange.
Kelly: If you read a few blogs on tithing you will soon discover that the overwhelming majority of name-calling comes from the pro-tithers who prefer to make personal attacks rather than defend their position on the Word of God.
CWM: That being said, why is there this much anger over the doctrine of the principle of tithing?
Kelly: Perhaps it is because the Church refuses to discuss the matter and its silence increases the frustration of those who are told to "sit down and shut up." Perhaps it is because so many of our questions are either ignored or blotted off the blogs. How would you respond to such treatment?
CWM: For some people the fact is that there are a lot of pastors and preachers that "over-preach" it.
Kelly: Have you ever read the SBC Position Paper on the subject? It REQUIRES you to teach it if you are employed by the SBC. That is dishonest since it is not part of the Faith and Message and only the texts were added in 1963 --300 years after the first Baptist confession.
CWM: I have been guilty of preaching past my point on several occasions, and that is often the case here. … sometimes they are just guilty of not being aware of the fact that they've made their point.
Kelly: Why not allow an open in-depth study of the subject for all to hear? You study Calvinism, Premillennialism and Mormonism without any problem. Why is tithing taboo?
CWM: What many in the pew need to realize is that pastors are not paid in proportion to the income of the church any more. Whether their people tithe or not has no bearing on the salary of the pastor.
Kelly: Are you saying that pastors in large churches with many "tithers" are not paid any more than those in small churches with less income?
CWM: The fact is that most church members in this land do not truly practice the principle of tithing, yet the pastors still get paid.
Kelly: Dr David Croteau of Liberty graduated from SEBTS and wrote his PHD on tithing with Andreas Kostenberger as teacher and Craig Blomberg as reader. None of the three agree with tithing. The thesis proved that tithing has never worked since its beginning in the SBC in 1895 and needs to be replaced.
CWM: I am not aware of a single legitimate viable church that pays the pastor according to the general offerings of the church.
Kelly: I could tell you some horror stories but you would not believe them.
CWM: My point on that is this, it is a futile argument to accuse the pastor of wanting more money for preaching on tithing.
Kelly: I have never made such accusation. We simply want the church to follow the context of God's Word.
CWM: The fact just may be that they understand that "the Word of God teaches the principle of tithing."
Kelly: Defending that "statement" is all that we are interested in. Luther wanted to cleanse the church of false doctrine in the same vein.
CWM: … I have pastored people that rejected the principle of tithing, (without hostility) but gave more than 10%. I have pastored people that rejected tithing, and wouldn't even put a "look" into the offering plate.
Kelly: Because the real problem is a lack of personal evangelism and good preaching on soul-winning. Second Corinthians 8:12-15 means that many should give more than ten per cent. However it is wrong to teach that everybody must begin giving not less than ten per cent as a (false) firstfruit contrary to 1st Timothy 5:8. Tithes were not firstfruits.
CWM: The fact is that when someone giving 2% hears that the Biblical principle is 10%...
Kelly: You have changed the biblical definition of the way it uses the word "tithe." And you base your false "principle" on the false assumption that the Bible required everybody to begin giving at ten per cent. One error built upon another error.
CWM: It is not only Pastors that hold the conviction of the principle of tithing.
Kelly: This does not make it right. I can name many top theologians who do not teach tithing, including Dr Marin Luther, Dr. Daniel Akin, Dr Andreas Kostenberger, Dr David Black, Dr John MacArthur, Dr Charles Ryrie, Dr Craig Blomberg, Dr Merrill Unger and Dr Walter Elwell. Should they shut up and be quiet?
CWM: … The church I pastor takes care of my family and our needs, regardless of whether or not people tithe. I do not remember the last time that I preached on tithing.
Kelly: That is because are a good preacher, an evangelist and your members are burdened for lost souls. They give, not by compulsion or percentage, but out of love. That is a New Covenant principle.
2 Cor 8:2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves.
This could not be said of Levitical tithing.
Russell Earl Kelly, www.tithing-russkelly.com