SBC TODAY BLOG, 1-12-2010
Tim Rogers: Your argument against Brother Tim's use of Abraham as an example of the tithe is that Abraham was forced by the King of Salem (Melchizedek) to give 10% of all the spoils of war.
Russ: I did not invent this theory. I discovered it in the SBC promoted and influenced Wycliffe Bible Commentary and did extensive research on the custom afterwards. Tithing from spoils of war was common in all nations surrounding Abraham and it would be careless to ignore that fact.
Tim: You openly stated that you were using for your basis the history of local Canaanite customs. ("The fact that Abraham tithed 10% of spoils indicates that he was obeying a common pagan and Canaanite custom to his local king-priest.") Brother you are using a Historical/Critical method of interpreting Scripture. That method takes you away from what the Word of God teaches.
Russ: I use whatever method makes the most common sense. Believe it or nor, EVERY major reference book on tithing (especially SBC) clearly agrees that every nation of Abraham's time practiced this kind of tithing. Chapter one of my book quotes the Encyclopedia Americana, the Encyclopedia of Religion, Westminster Dictionary of the Bible and the SBC Wycliffe Bible Commentary. This kind of research is expected of Ph. D. level theses. I seek the truth wherever it might lead.
Tim: Why? Because you are more dependent on the teaching of a man by placing that grid on scripture and making the Word of God apply to a Man's understanding.
Russ: This is almost funny. Your adherents actually ADD the word, "voluntarily" or "freely" to God's Word at Genesis 14:20. It is your own MEN who almost always state without any documentation that Abraham freely gave. Is the saying not true "when in Rome do as the Romans do"? Well, "when in Canaan do as the Canaanite tradition requires." Do you not obey the laws of the city, county, state and nation in which you live? Why do you think that Abraham was somehow exempt from obeying the law of the land where he lived? Please answer.
Tim: You also argue that Abraham was forced to give the tithe and it was not freely given on his part.
Russ: You have no text validating that Abraham freely gave anything. MAN who inserts "freely" has become your only proof and that follows no accepted hermentutic.
Tim: However, you negate your own argument by calling attention to the Law concerning the spoils of war. If Abraham was only required to give 1/100 or 1/500 then why did he give 1/10?
Russ: No. You miss the line of argument. The fact that Abraham gave 10% is proof that he was not obeying the statute of God concerning tithes from spoils of war as found in Numbers 31. Since his tithe was not according to Yahweh's statute, then it most likely was in obedience to the law of the land where he lived. Common sense.
Tim: Because he freely desired to give.
Russ: You can keep right on repeating "freely" but it does not add "freely" to God's Word.
Tim: One other item that you seem to miss is the Hebrews 7:1 passage. This is in the "New Covenant" as you seem to desire for us to remain in. It plainly says in that passage that Melchizedek came to Abraham to "bless" him. I do not believe you will find that the structure of the Greek there indicates any obligation on Abraham's part to give.
Russ: If you were a king-priest living in 2000 BC and a victorious warrior was about to pass through your territory who was expected to pay you ten per cent of spoils of war, you would go out and bless him too.