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 Because the Aaronic priesthood had been replaced by the M priesthood, 7:12 says that it is “necessary to change the law” of tithing from 7:5.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