Friday, September 17, 2010

Reply to Max Brunson, FBC Jacksonville, FL

Review of Sermon by Max Brunson, FBC Jacksonville, Fl, 9-12-2010, by Russell Earl Kelly

1. The mention of tithing causes an immediate guilt trip.

Reply: That is what you and Baptists want it to do so you do not have to preach on personal evangelism. You want to “guilt” New Covenant Christians for not giving according to you own definition of Old Covenant tithing.

2. Only 3% churchwide tithe.

Reply: Actually NOBODY gives a true HOLY biblical tithe today. True HOLY tithes were always only FOOD from inside God’s HOLY land of Israel which He had miraculously increased. Tithes could not come from what man increased, from Gentiles or from outside Israel.

3. Breaking God’s law places Christians on a guilt trip.

Reply: This is your fundamental error which extends to tithing. Gentiles never were under the Old Covenant Law! See Rom 1:18-20; 2:14-16. They were under the eternal moral law as revealed by nature and conscience but that did not include tithing.

4. I have to answer for preaching God’s Word to God.

Reply: Yes, you do. And I am glad that I am not in your shoes for manipulating God’s Word.

5. Gen 14 Abram and Melchizedek

Reply: Brunson, in typical fashion of tithe-teachers, only presents what supports his argument. He omitted the following facts: a) Bread and wine were staples offered to all guest, b)El Elyon was the common name of any god of the high places throughout pagan societies, c) it is very important to realize that Melchizedek did NOT know God as YAHWEH, d) that which Abram (the yet uncircumcised Gentile) tithed was only spoils of war stolen from Sodom which were not HOLY tithes under the law, e) according to MOST commentaries which explain 14:21, the Arab law of the land was involved, f) if the 90% were controlled by the law of the land, then so should have been the 10%, g) the Bible does not say that Abram tithed because he wanted to or had to tithe, h) Moses did not use Abram’s tithe as a prime example for tithing in the law and i) Abram gave the 90% to the King of Sodom –not an example for us to follow by faith.

6. There is a lot we are not told about Abraham.

Reply: Yes, but if tithing were important enough to earn mention almost every week, you would think it would have been prominent.

7. Heb 7:1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9

Reply: True to form, almost every tithe teacher ignores the continuity between 7:5, 12 and 18. Hebrews 7:5 is the first mention in the book of “commandment, tithes, and law.” Because the Aaronic priesthood had been replaced by the M priesthood, 7:12 says that it is “necessary to change the law” of tithing from 7:5. And 7:18 says that the “change” was the “disannulling of the commandment going before” of tithing from 7:5.

8. Abraham is the father of faithful.

Reply: Then should we give the 90% to the equivalent of the King of Sodom?

9. Gen 28:22: Jacob

Reply: This kind of manipulation of God’s Word is horrendous. Brunson MISQUOTES the text to OMIT the “if” clause. In reality Jacob was telling God what to do! Not a very good example of tithing.

10. All pagans tithed to their gods! “If pagans tithed …” [Thus tithing must be an eternal moral principle.]

Reply: Yes, all pagans around Abram’s world in 2000 BC did tithe! What does that prove? They also worshipped idols and the heavens. They also sacrificed children to idols and sent their children to temple prostitutes. If this is proof that tithing is an eternal moral principle, then so should the other acts of pagans related to their tithing.

11. How the tithe came to the Law.

Reply: The pagan tithe of spoils of war did not become the HOLY tithe of the law. In Numbers 31 the law had a similar tithe of spoils but it was only .001 and .01 rather than .1.

12. Lev 27:30, 32; tenth of everything they produced is HOLY to the LORD.

Reply: Brunson twists and manipulates God’s Word. He defines the HOLY biblical tithes as “a tenth of everything they produced” to make it include money and income. The text itself limits the tithe to a tenth of food from inside God’s HOLY land which God increased.

13. Lev 27:32 tenth is HOLY

Reply: In context, almost everything in Leviticus is either “holy” or “most holy.” They were such because of their use in the Old Covenant. Even Brunson’s Baptists have discarded most “holy” and “most holy” things from Leviticus but have conveniently kept the tithe –as they define it.

14. 2nd tithe; 3rd tithe; be glad you are in the NT.

Reply: Brunson makes no effort to say why the first tithe which went to the servants of the priests survives but the other two have been discarded (Num 18:21-24). All three were part of the ceremonial worship laws.

15. The tithe is not a tax. This is plain error. Taxes supported government, king and army.

Reply: Read 1st Chronicles, chapters 23 to 26. The king used Levites as government employees. They worked for the king as rulers, judges and ordinary politicians and were paid with tithes.

16. Solomon did not tithe the people.

Reply: In fact, he did. See 1st Samuel 8:14-17.

17. Why does God require a tithe?

Reply: God only required tithes from food producers who lived inside Israel. He did not require tithes for non-food producing trades such as carpenters and tentmakers.

18. Deu 14:22-23 tithe all the produce of what you sow, out of the field. EAT the tithe. Learn to fear the Lord.

Reply: Again, the very texts Brunson quotes describe the contents of the tithes as only food from inside Israel. Brunson just indicated that the 2nd festival tithes does not apply but quotes it here to make a point out of context. He ignores the next three texts (14:24-26) which describe turning tithes into fermented beer and wine to drink at the feasts.

19. “Given to us in the law.”

Reply: No. The Old Covenant Law was never commanded to US Gentiles. Our Temple and priesthood are within every believer.

20. I have no debt.

Reply: You have an ample salary and are careful with finances. Those principles also work for atheists, agnostics, Buddhsts and Muslims who apply themselves and have a good work ethic.

21. PROPHETS: Isa 43:22-25

Reply: This is not a discussion of tithing. And, even if it were, only food producers who lived inside Israel qualified as tithers.

22. 10% everybody could do that; it is fair to all.

Reply: The poverty level for two persons is $14,000. Try living on that while tithing! Do you want Christians to ignore 1st Timothy 5:8 and tithe rather than buy essential medicine, food and shelter?

23. NEW TESTAMENT: A very popular writer who makes millions selling books says “No tithing, church or church staff. Tithing is Jewish and not Christian.”

Reply: He is referring to George Barna. Why doesn’t he refute Barna? It is strange that the SBC has absolutely nobody who will debate the issue with me. I await a call.

24. Mt 5:17 I came not to destroy the law but to fulfill it.

Reply: Since the SBC teaches that Christians are still obligated to obey (at least part of) the law, they love this text. They have no consistent principle of interpretation to decide exactly what part of the law survives and what part has been discarded as purely Old Testament. The only thing they know for sure is that tithing survives. The many “fulfilled” texts in Matthew, plus Hebrews 8:12-13 and 10:7-9 lead many to conclude that all of the law was fulfilled. However, the SBC argument that the law still stands leads to two obvious contradictions. a) Gentiles never were under any part of the Old Covenant law and b) it is the Law itself which defines “tithes” as only food from inside God’s HOLY land of Israel. Numbers 18, the actual tithing ordinance, is not obeyed by any church and it commands tithe-recipients (pastors) NOT to own or inherit property.

25. Widow’s mite

Reply: This is a favorite argument for tithe-teachers. However, the Bible does not say that the widow was tithing. She was giving a sacrificial freewill offering. Many Baptist pastors would not want her as a member and especially not as an officer or leader after discovering her poverty.

26. Mt 23:23 tithe on orange seeds.

Reply: Mr. Brunson, This is your argument and you say we should obey Jesus. Do you tithe orange seeds? Do you teach your congregation to tithe orange seeds or garden herbs? Or are you your own best hypocrite here?

27. Mt 23:23 is New Testament

Reply: Since Mt 23:23 is prior to Calvary or Pentecost, it is technically still Old Testament! Jesus was still commanding (only) Jews He healed to show themselves to the priests.

28. Weightier provisions of the law

Reply: The context of the verse says that he was addressing “you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites” about “matters of the law.”

29. Jesus put his stamp on tithing right there.

Reply: Yes – for Old Covenant Jews. He was not telling His Jewish disciples or His Gentile disciples to tithe to Him. Such was sin and illegal. Read Gal 4:4-5. Do you ever actually study the Bible?

30. How many times does Jesus have to say something?

Reply: This is arrogance and ignorance modified. If you obeyed your own rule while teaching Matthew through John, you would still be observing ALL of the Law. Whatever happened to context?

31. If Jews tithed under the law, what does it say to us who live under grace?

Reply: If Jesus was circumcised under the law, or kept the Saturday Sabbath, or observed Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles under the law, what does that say to us who live under grace? Your argument is ridiculous.

32. Give less?

Reply: Since the Law only required food producers who lived inside Israel to tithe, your question is based on a false assumption. NT giving principles are: freewill, generous, sacrificial, joyful, not by compulsion and motivated by love for God and lost souls. That should be sufficient for any church which emphasizes soul winning.

33. Did Jesus die so I could give less?

Reply: Jesus did not tithe. Jesus gave sacrificially. We should follow that example.

34. VINES: Inconceivable to give less.

Reply: Based on false assumptions. We should give as the Spirit leads to the best of our ability but we should first take care of our family’s essential medical, food and shelter per 1st Tim 5:8.

35. VINES: Just give 100% as did NT church.

Reply: If you do not give 100% of your paycheck, you have no right to use this example. The NT church only gave 100% briefly until everything was depleted. According to Acts 2:46; 15 and 21:20-21 Jewish Christians never stopped tithing to the Temple system.

36. VINES: You got me stirred up.

Reply: Then study your Bible and boldly refute our arguments in open debates to shut us up.

37. God gave all in Christ.

Reply: God’s gift was a sacrificial generous freewill offering –not a tithe.

38. The issue is your heart.

Reply: The issue is the truth of God’s Word verses gross manipulation of its context.

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD


By littelworm

Russ: True biblical HOLY tithes were always only FOOD from inside Israel which God had miraculously increased. Money was essential for sanctuary worship, but tithes could not come from money, from what man increased, from Gentiles or from outside Israel. HOLY tithes could only come from Hebrew food producers living inside Israel. See your own text of Lev 27:30-34.

Russ: Yes, every pagan nation in Abram’s time tithed, worshipped idols, sacrificed children and practiced temple prostitution. That does not make them eternal or moral principles.

Russ: In the Bible it is always the tithe OF FOOD from inside God’s HOLY land of Israel. Never money and never from outside Israel. Jesus, Peter and Paul did not tithe.

Worm: … why tithe you may ask? well, for the Israelites, tithing:
1. reminded them that all they had was by the grace of God. they could not even say that the tithe was given since nothing belonged to them which was not from God.

Russ: While God owns everything He only accepted tithes from inside His HOLY land of Israel.

Worm: without this reminder, it is easy for man to fall into the trap of thinking that success was due to his own efforts.

Russ: That is why the increase could only come from God’s miracle hand from food.

Worm: 2. is an act of worship. the law was meant to tutor the Israelites on how to live by grace.

Russ: This is INSANE logic. Levitical tithing was cold hard LAW whether one desired to tithe or not.

Worm: tithing was a response of obedience to the grace of God.

Russ: INSANE LOGIC. It was commanded and demanded as cold hard law.

Worm: … the attitude behind the act was also important.

Russ: No!

Worm: hence the emphasis on 'firstfruits' in the OT tithing. you give God your best or cream, not the dregs.

Russ: Read Lev 27:30-34. The tithe was the TENTH and not necessarily the best! Firstfruits were NOT tithes; they were very small token offerings from inside Israel per Deu 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-38.

Worm: you may ask, 'but that only applied to the is OT.' well, that may be true.

Russ: That is true – no maybe. God never commanded Gentiles to tithe. Gentiles never were under that Old Covenant law.

Worm: in fact, in the NT, there is also no express command to believers to tithe. the early disciples and Jesus did tithe because of their Jewish background.

Russ: Only if they were food producers who lived inside Israel. As a carpenter Jesus did not tithe. As a tentmaker living outside Israel, Paul did not tithe for two reasons.

Worm: accounts of the early church fathers also indicate that tithing was expected.

Russ: How early? Not the first 200 years! Cyprian’s, Chrysostum’s and Augustine’s did not become church law. Tithing did NOT become an enforced law for almost 800 years after Calvary. Even the Encyclopedia Britannica agrees.

Worm: … but applying biblical hermeneutics … still applies to us

Russ: Whose hermeneutics? Only that part of the law which was repeated to the Church after Calvary in terms of the New Covenant applies to us. NONE of the tithing law of Numbers 18 is obeyed by any church today. Otherwise tithe-recipients would not be allowed to own or inherit land and would be forced to KILL anybody else attempting to enter the sanctuary.

Worm: and if so, we should tithe.

Russ: Not if you define the tithe the way God’s Word uses it.

Worm: … the blessings that come with tithing are incidental, not a prerequisite.

Russ: Your theology is straddling the fence. Paul calls it “witchcraft” in Galatians 3:1. You are adding Law to Grace.

Worm: for a more detailed discussion on the subject, you may review the book by Randy Alcorn 'Money, Possessions and Eternity'.

Russ: Randy Alcorn has been thoroughly rebutted by me and refused to debate me in Christianity Today. See

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Questions about Dispensationalism

Anthony: My answer to most of that would be, That in him (Christ) all the promises of God are yes and amen.

Russ: That means that every single UNCONDITIONAL promise God ever made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and the prophets about the eventual restoration of national Israel MUST be fulfilled literally as God intended to those who first heard the prophecies uttered.

Anthony: Ezekiel 36 is Definitely talking about the New Covenant relationship. Couldn't it be that this promise to true Israel is fulfilled in the New Earth?

Russ: God promised a literal kingdom reign of Messiah on this earth and that will be fulfilled during the Millennium. It is wrong to call the Church “true Israel.” “True Israel” is the real believers within Israel. The fact that Christians are Abraham’s faith-seed merely makes us heirs of the promises made to Abraham long before Jacob (Israel) was born.

Anthony: And now Israel includes Gentile believers.

Russ: Not true. Abraham’s seed includes Gentile believers. Abraham was actually still Abram the uncircumcised Gentile when the promises were first made.

Anthony: Wasn't the promise that every place that your foot steps that land shall be yours. Don't believers walk the whole earth?

Russ: Yes, and then God very specifically outlined the borders of Israel and Abraham did not leave those borders. If the specific promise referred to the whole earth, then the description of the borders makes no sense and was a waste of time.

Anthony: The Meek shall inherit the earth, right? Even if this is not the case the fulfillment of Ezek 36 could be in the New Earth. It is already partially fulfilled in the church.

Russ: Jesus was preaching only to Jews in Matthew 5. The word “earth” is known by all Hebrews as “eretz” and refers to the holy land of Israel. I think you are really stretching here.

Anthony: 2Peter chp 3 says the Day of the Lord shall come as a thief in the night and the heavens and earth shall Pass away, but we look for the new heavens and earth. Clearly, Peter is expecting this to happen in this current age.

Russ: The Day of the Lord is a common phrase throughout the Old Testament. It was ALWAYS followed by God’s Messianic kingdom on earth. The phrase “new heavens and new earth” also occurs in Isaiah 65:17 and 66:22. If you read those two chapters you will discover that the two texts are followed by descriptions of life on this earth during the millennium. From the context I must conclude that the phrase “new heavens and new earth” in Isaiah refers to the literal millennium on earth while the same phrase in Revelation 21 refers to eternity –that it the context.

Anthony: Because he says our knowing this should cause us to live righteously. The Lord is reining now at the right hand of the Father 1Cor. 15,Acts 7:55, Rev.1:5 Matt 28:18.

Russ: Jesus is not now sitting on the throne of David and reigning over restored national Israel. Therefore his SCORES of unconditional prophecies must still be in the future.

Anthony: There is no gap he comes and Judges the nations.

Russ: There are many differences between Christ coming FIRST for his bride, the Church, to take it to heaven and SECOND his coming in glory to destroy Israel’s enemies and to set up a literal millennial kingdom on earth. Unless you can reconcile all of those differences, I cannot hear you.

Anthony: The Church is caught up to meet him and the earth and all the unbelieving world is burned up.

Russ: First, the Church is seen in heaven in Revelation 4 and 5 BEFORE the Great Tribulation of chapters 6-18. Second, the second coming of Christ in glory in Revelation 19 is followed by 1000 years of kingdom reign. The sequence if clear in Revelation.

Anthony: Revelation 20 takes place with disembodied saints in Heaven, for they are beheaded for his name (their spirits are under the altar in the temple of Heaven).

Russ: Wrong. The martyred tribulation saints have been raised in the second phase of the first resurrection per Revelation 20:4. They are reigning with Christ on earth along with the other saints and disciples. All saints will reign with Christ on earth during the millennium.

Anthony: Which I would conclude is also the case of Matt 19:28 Bible interprets Bible.

Russ: I disagree.

Anthony: If how you appear to be taking Jer 31: 35-40 is the way it seems, then God has already failed. Seeing that natural Israel wasn't a nation for how many years?

Russ: In the mind of God national Israel never ceased to be a nation. Your interpretation makes God a liar and makes his promises to David a pack of lies. I seriously doubt that Jeremiah’s readers understood him to be referring to Gentile Christians. You have a serious problem with Jeremiah 31:35-37 and only attack my literal understanding rather than offer your own explanation.

Anthony: The true nation of Israel is in the church.

Russ: This is a false doctrine.

Anthony: There are remnants of Jewish believers, But according to Eph. 2 and Gal 2 there is no longer any distinction between Jew and Gentile as far as God is concerned.

Russ: Both Hebrew and Gentile believers are part of the one body of Christ. The Law which set Israel above all others has been broken down. Now all stand on the same ground as far as salvation is concerned. --- Yet black and white are still literally different races AND male and female are still literally different sexes AND Jews and Gentiles are still literally different nationalities. It is horribly WRONG to disannul ALL the scores of unconditional promises made to national Israel with a few verses out of context and act like the entire Old Testament now means absolutely nothing were national Israel is concerned.

Gal 6:16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them (Gentile believers), and mercy, and upon the Israel of God (Hebrew believers).

Anthony: There is the body of Christ and then there is the unbelieving world.

Russ: The unbelieving HEBREWS returned to their land in unbelief in 1948. The unbelieving Hebrews will eventually rebuild the Temple while still in unbelief and suffer the Great Tribulation of Revelation. At that time 144,000 Hebrews will accept Christ and evangelize many more Hebrews and a great multitude of Gentiles. This could begin any day.

Anthony: Galatians and Hebrews are both very clear, Christ fulfilled the old covenant which was only a shadow of what was promised in Christ.

Russ: That is true but it does not apply to those atheistic and agnostic Hebrews who have returned to the land and do not know that truth.

Anthony: Now I don't like the term replacement theology. I think that is a real misrepresentation of this position. The Church didn't replace Israel.

Russ: You teach that the Church is now spiritual Israel. That means that the Church has REPLACED Israel in God’s eyes. How can you deny that?

Anthony: God fulfilled his purpose for Israel as being that shining city on the hill that would shine forth righteousness to the nations(gentiles) by grafting in gentiles. Making Jews and Gentiles one new body of people. In other words gentiles grafted into true Israel equals the church. A city built without hands. It is God's earthly temple too.

Russ: That is NOT what God told the Old Testament prophets. You have completely disregarded the final chapters of almost every Old Covenant prophet! The same God who inspired the New Testament also inspired the Old Testament and God does not contradict Himself.

Anthony: According to 1Cor. 15: 23-24 When Christ comes the end comes also and he will deliver the Kingdom to God the Father. Doesn't say anything about a thousand years here. It also says he must reign (present tense) until all enemies are put under his feet. This obviously is quoting Psalm 110 the Lord said to my Lord sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool. So if at the end Christ delivers the Kingdom then the Kingdom is the Church. And if the end is at his coming, and he is reigning right now, where do you fit in the earthly Kingdom?

Russ: Would you like for me to stop here and post quotations from almost every Old Testament prophet? I have them handy. “When he shall have put down all rule and authority and power” comes after the kingdom rule on earth. The text you quote does not say that this happens at the second coming – it merely gives a general sequence of events.

Anthony: I'm not sure if I have an answer for every promise to national Israel. I do know that we are fellow heirs with Christ to all things.

Russ: No and you dare not try. The final chapters of Amos, Joel, Micah, Isaiah and Ezekiel defy your conclusions. The promise of an earthly kingdom which rules the earth in Daniel 2 and 7 contradicts your theory. And you dare not explain the final chapter of Zechariah which is unconditional.

Anthony: And I believe a proper hermeneutic is interpreting the Old Testament (the shadow) by the New Covenant which is the Revelation of Jesus Christ(The Light).

Russ: The entire Old Testament was not a “shadow of things to come.” Where did you get that from? Only the ritual ceremonial symbols of the Old Covenant Law were shadows. There is absolutely no way you can include the scores of clear plain UNCONDITIONAL promises made about an earthly messianic kingdom as shadows. Such hermeneutic CONTRADICTS scores of God’s promises which were intended to be understood LITERALLY by those who heard them.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Glenn Beck: tithing, conservative, mainstream?

Tithes, conservative and mainstream:

Today, September 2, 2010, Glenn Beck said that he was “conservative.”

To a Protestant theologian the word “conservative” means that you accept the Bible as the final word of authority. Mormons are not conservatives. They accept the Book of Mormon, other Mormon writings and current Mormon leaders as greater revelations and prophets of God than the Bible.

Today Glenn Beck criticized Obama for not being “mainstream” because the “liberation theology” of Jeremiah Wright is not mainstream.

Neither “liberation theology” nor “Mormon theology” is “mainstream” – especially Mormon theology. Mormons teach that God the Father used to be a man and that Mormon men will become gods with their own worlds to be God in. Mormons teach that God’s wife spawned everybody on earth and that Glenn Beck’s Mormon wife will eventually be eternally pregnant spawning mankind on another planet.

Mainstream anybody?

And, o yes, Mormon tithing is more accurate than regular tithing because they correctly perpetuate the Aaronic priesthood and biblically deserve the tithe.

I love Glenn Beck and listen to him and watch him daily. But my caution flag is always up. Last week he introduced the first of his advanced Indian civilizations which are taught in the Book of Mormon.