CHURCH AT THE GATEWAY, Staten Island, NYC
The Monkey on My Back
Rev Doctor Daniel Mercado
July 31, 2010
Reply by Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
MERCADO: In Phil. 4:10-19, Paul knocks the monkey off our backs …
KELLY: This is dishonest, if the monkey on your back is tithing, Phil 4:10 is not discussing tithing. He is discussing freewill, generous, sacrificial and joyful giving. Tithes could not come from pagan land or have pagan images on it.
MERCADO: The first key to generous giving is CARING. In verse 10, “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity.”
KELLY: Generous freewill giving –YES. Tithing – NO. You are twisting the Scriptures. True biblical HOLY tithes were always only FOOD from inside God’s HOLY land of Israel which God had miraculously increased. Tithes could not come from what man increased, from Gentiles or from outside Israel. Paul never said that the Philippians nor any other church tithed. Be honest.
MERCADO: The heart of tithing and giving is Godly CONCERN, a CARING:
KELLY: No. This is not in the Bible. Tithes were required from food producers who lived inside Israel whether they cared or not. It was stone cold hard Old Covenant LAW.
MERCADO: -Caring for Christ’s work and the Church in the world.
-Caring for Christ’s worker and those who serve Him.
-Caring for Christ’s commission to spread the Gospel to the lost.
KELLY: No. Tithes were never used in the OT to evangelize the Gentiles. In fact God commanded Israel NOT to share its covenant with the Gentiles.
MERCADO: Tithing is a biblical principle consistently taught in the Bible:
KELLY: The consistent things about biblical tithes from the Law are: (1) its definition of only food from inside Israel, (2) Numbers 18 teaching that the Levites and priests were to KILL anybody attempting to enter the sanctuary, (3) whole Levitical tithes going to the servants of the priests and (4) recipients of Levitical tithes NOT allowed to own property. None of these consistent principles are followed today.
MERCADO: -Abraham tithed before the Law was given – (Genesis 14:20)
KELLY: Abram also returned the 90% to a pagan ruler and the church does not follow that example. According to Gen 14:21 the 90% was controlled by pagan Arab law of the land. Abram tithed pagan spoils of war because he was expected to obey the law of the land.
MERCADO: -Moses taught tithing in the Law – Leviticus (27:26)
KELLY: This defines the HOLY biblical tithes as only food from inside Israel. The tithe was neither the first nor the best –it was the tenth from inside Israel.
MERCADO: -Nehemiah reestablished the tithe after the Babylonian captivity (13)
KELLY: Neh 10:37-38 proves that the whole tithe was to be brought to the Levitical cities and not to the Temple. Neh 13:5-10 proves that the priests had stolen the Levites’ portion of the tithe –the probable context of Mal 3:10.
MERCADO: -Malachi warned that it was robbing God not to give the tithe (3:6-12)
KELLY: Tithing in Malachi is in the context of the blessings and curses of the whole law –all 600+ commands. The priests were cursed for stealing in 1:6-14; 2:1 and were chastised in 3:1-10.
MERCADO: -Jesus supported tithing as something that “should be done.” (Matt. 23:23)
KELLY: Of course He did –because the Law was still in effect before Calvary. He could not teach either His Jewish or Gentile disciples to tithe to him because both were illegal. The key phrase is “matters of the law.”
MERCADO: -Paul reminded the Hebrews Christians about tithing to our great High Priest, Jesus Christ. (7:8)
KELLY: 7:8 merely reminds readers that the Temple system was still in operation at that time. 7:12 says that it is necessary to change the law and 7:18 says that the change was the “abolishment, or disannulling, of the commandment (of tithing) going before” from 7:5. That is the context.
MERCADO: For 45 years I have consistently taught Scriptural tithing and relied on the obedient response of our people to support Gateway’s ministry at home and abroad.
KELLY: You have taught error. OT tithes were never used for missionary work to convert OT Gentiles. Tithing did not become enforceable Law until AD 777 per the Encyclopedia Britannica.
MERCADO: And we have taught tithing as the beginning of our giving in addition to offerings …
KELLY: This is wrong also. The only persons in the Old Covenant who were required to begin their level of giving were food producers who lived inside Israel. Tithing was not a principle for anybody else and tithes could not come from defiled pagan dust outside Israel.
MERCADO: I say all this to remind our congregation, and those of you reading this article, that the work of God depends on the faithfulness of His people. We will someday return to him with our “talents” (Matthew 25) and give an account.
KELLY: This is true but it does not justify teaching the false doctrine of New Covenant tithing instead of better New Covenant giving principles.
MERCADO: -God is asking us to tithe, yes 10% of our income to our church each week as He supplies.
KELLY: No texts.
MERCADO: [From the Church’s statement on What We Believe]
All He asks is that we believe, we have faith, and we wait patiently doing His good work and living a godly life until Jesus Christ, who rose on the third day so many years ago, will one day return in all His power and glory.
KELLY: PLUS TITHING. You teach that salvation is by grace through faith plus tithing.
The monkey is still on you back because you cannot and will not defend your position on tithing using common sense principles of interpretation. You have changed the definition and purposes of tithing to fit your own purposes without God’s approval.
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD