Change Worth Making, 2-7, 2010
Note from Russell Kelly: My replies are in the order of the original post.
(1) Lev 27:29-34 plus 15 other texts define the contents of the tithe as only food from inside Israel. Tithes could only come from God's unique HOLY land and only from that which He had miraculously INCREAED from that land. That cannot be contested or refuted from God's Word. While money was common and essential for santuary worship, money was never included in a tithe definition. That is a settle fact.
(2) The tenth of what? Answer: the tenth of what God's Word defines as the tithe -- food from inside Israel!!! An Israelite could not bring a tithe from outside Israel. It is GAIN from what God increased inside His HOLY land.
(3) There is no HOLY "timeless principle" "not bound by the law." While God also owned everything even in the OT He still only accepted tithes from inside Israel. Tithes, like idolatry, child sacrifice and temple proostitution, were found in pagan religions of Abraham's time but that does not make any of them an eternal moral timeless principle.
(4) Christ did not merely "encourage" tithing. He taught it. Why? According to Galatians 4:4-5 the Law was still in full effect and Mt 23:23 is in the context of "matters of the law." He would have been sinnng if he had not taught tithing to fellow Jews --and-- he would have also been sinning if he had commanded uncircumcized Gentile followers to tithe either to himsel or to the temple system. Is that true or not? And what church teaches tithing of garden herbs as Jesus commanded?
(5) You can call tithing a "stand alone" "fact" and "principle" 'tll the cows come home, but that don’t make it so. "Rest for worship" is a principle; "Saturday-Sabbath" is not. "Giving to support the gospel" is a principle; "giving a tenth" is not. One cannot find in the human soul enlightened by the Holy Spirit, conscience and nature that one must give ten per cent.
(6) In context, “a Tenth is Holy Unto the Lord” only applied to food from inside Isrel which had been given to support the Levitical priesthood. In exchange the Levites were not allowed to own property inside Israel. Yet today preachers receive the so-called "tithe" and also own vast amounts of property in flagrant violation of Numbers 18 and 11 other texts. This is abuse of God's Word.
(7) The is absolutely no Scriptural indication that the Church collected tithes. Acts 21:20-21 strongly suggests that Hebrew Christians were still tithing to the temple system over 35 years after Calvary. There was no evident principle to "know."
(8) Does not the SBC (erroneously) teach that tithes are the same as firstfruits? Does not the SBC teach that one's first ten per cent should be given to the church instead of beng used to buy medicine, food and essential shelter? Both ideas are refuted by Deu 26:1-4; Neh 10:35-38 and 1st Tim 5:8. This is abuse of the poorest who are also the greatest giving category by percentage. Tens of thousands remain in poverty after "tithing" for generatians.
(9) Levitical tithing in Numbers 18 is indeed "stone cold obedience to a rule."
(10) You said "I tithe not because I have to, but because I want to." This motivation much better be used of solid good New Covenant giving prnciples.
(11) You said "If there is anything wrong with people not tithing, it is not that they do not, it is that they do not want to." This is not true at all. Sacrificial giving according to 2 Cor 8:12-15 means that many should give more than ten per cent. Since the biblical use of the word "tithe" is ignored today, nobody can truly tithe today.
(12) You said: "Whether you want to make the case of His “requirements” now is not the issue. He has required it in the past, and in doing so has revealed to us His personal opinion." This is ridiculous logic to use when comparing what God required of OT Israel and what he requires for His New Covenant church.
(13) You said "The fact that anyone would “want” to do less than the principles that God has revealed indicates that they do not rightly understand what it means to give a tenth to the Lord." You are arguing from the false assumption that God expected everybody in the OT to begin their level of giving at ten percent. The assumption is wrong because it did not apply to city dwellers who earned a livelihood in trades and skills. And it did not apply to anybody living outside Israel.
Russell Earl Kelly