Pastor: 1,500 years after Moses received the Law, Jesus REAFFIRMED in His day the validity of tithing:
Kelly: Of course he did. Jesus was a Jew living under the full jurisdiction of the Law. Jesus would have been sinning if he had not fully supported and obeyed the law! Read Galatians 4:4-5. At the same time (1) Jesus could not have commanded his Jewish disciples to tithe to him and (2) Jesus could not have commanded his Gentile disciples to tithe –both were illegal according to the Law.
Pastor: Matthew 23:23 Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! YOU GIVE A TENTH of your spices — mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, WITHOUT NEGLECTING THE FORMER.
Kelly: If he is a Ph. D. then he has studied biblical hermeneutics (principles of interpretation) at some time in his life.
(1) The VERY FIRST principle is “What is the CONTEXT of the text itself?”
Answer: The text itself says it is in the context of “matters of the law.” In verses 2-3 Jesus said that his Jewish disciples should obey the scribes and Pharisees because “they sit in Moses’ seat.”
(2) To whom is the text addressed?
Answered: “YOU” refers only to “Scribes (of the Law), Pharisees, hypocrites.” It is not addressed to the Church. YOU is not the Church.
(3) How does the text define tithes?
Answer: 1500 years after Moses received the law, the HOLY tithe was still only FOOD from inside God’s holy land of Israel –mint and cumin. Nobody outside Israel could tithe.
Pastor: Later in the New Testament, in 1 Corinthians, ch. 9, the apostle Paul teaches on the financial support of the work of God and uses commands from Moses’ Law as guidelines — 1 Corinthians 9:8 "Doesn’t the Law say the SAME thing?" (referring to how the priests lived on the tithes and offerings).
Kelly: This text is not “referring to how the priests lived on tithes and offerings. That will come 5 verses later in 9:13. This text is illustrating the principle beginning at 9:7 that “every vocation provides support for those working in it” –soldiers, vineyard workers, herdsmen (9:7) and the grinding ox (9:9). The “law” from 9:8 is the “law” which stipulated that a grinding ox must be allowed to eat that which it is grinding.
Pastor: Paul brought the principle of the Levitical tithe — "the SAME thing" — over to the support of New Testament ministry.
Kelly: Paul brought the principle that “each vocation should provide for its workers” over to the New Covenant workers. He did not bring tithing over. (1) If tithing were commanded by Jesus, then Paul was clearly violating such command when carefully reading 9:12, 16-19.
(2) If the “even so” of 9:14 refers to 9:7-13” then it is only a general statement that gospel workers should be supported.
(3) If the “even so” of 9:14 only refers to 9:13, then the argument is self destructive because it must be interpreted that ALL forms of Levitical and priestly support from 9:13 should be copied –not merely tithing.
(4) 9:14 states the principle that gospel workers should be supported by gospel principles of grace and faith and not law principles of tithes, offerings, vows, temple poll taxes, etc, etc, etc.
(5) If you are going to teach that the church must copy ALL types of Temple support from 9:13, then you must also teach that ministerial tithe-recipients cannot own or inherit property and that they should obey all the tithing statute of Numbers 18.