Monday, March 29, 2010

Reply to a Friend's Questions on Tithing

Thanks for the nice comments and for the questions.

1. Jesus could not have tithed at all. He was a carpenter. True HOLY biblical tithes were only from food-producers who lived inside Israel. Tithes were from the miraculous increase of food from God’s hands, not man’s hands such as carpenters.

2. Money was essential for sanctuary worship, vows and other essentials, but money was never a tithe-able item. Craftsmen inside Israel and everybody outside Israel were disqualified as tithe-payers.

3. Not all laws applied to everybody. Many applied only to the priests and many applied only to women, etc. All of them applied only to national Israel under the Old Covenant and NONE of them applied to the Church (as worded-Thou Shalt Not) under the New Covenant. Just as Jesus could not obey any of the laws for priests and women, neither could he obey the law of tithing which only applied to farmers and herdsmen.

4. Yes, He gave of himself totally. But that giving was a freewill, generous, joyful and SACRIFICAL gift. Like in 2 Cor 8:1-15 these freewill gifts are often far more than 10%.

5. Yes, he received money from people around him and spent it on their food and looked after his disciples. There is no instance where he “tithed” money because money was not tithe-able. I am sure that he gave freewill offerings from what He received after their basic needs were met. Jesus perfectly obeyed the law.

6. Fish were not tithe-able items either. First, they may have eaten unclean food. Second, they may have grown up in Gentile waters. Third, they are not listed as tithe-able items in the Law. And (4) they could not be stored in a storehouse as a tithe.

7. Acts 2:44-45 is good but 2:46 teaches that the early Jewish Christians continued to worship daily in the Temple. In fact 30 years later in Acts 21:20-21 they were still zealous of the law which meant that they were still giving whatever tithes they had, not to the Church, but to the Temple system. God never commanded the Church to tithe in the New Covenant after Calvary.

8. “Doing what we read” is incorrect. We must first learn to “rightly divide the Word” and discern what part of it is for Christians today. Tithing for Old Covenant Israel vanished at Calvary along with the rest of the Old Covenant per Heb 8:12. The OT Temple and priesthood now resides within every believer. NT priests are not commanded to KILL others attempting to enter the sanctuary and worship and they are not commanded NOT to inherit land or buildings as taught in Num 18:21-28. The tithe was the INHERTANCE of Levites and priests –not NT gospel workers.

9. Live modestly. Care for your family first per 1 Tim 5:8. Then give sacrificially to the gospel cause. That could mean 30% or only 3% according to your ability as God has prospered you.

Russell Earl Kelly

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Reply to Truth Works, Part 1, Tithing

Reply to Truth Works, Part One.

Malachi 3:10 is addressed only to the dishonest priests of Israel (1:6; 2:1; 3:1) because they were the only ones commanded to bring tithes to the Temple per Neh 10:37-38. Most tithes were kept in the Levitical cities where the great majority of Levites and priests needed them for food. Common sense teaches that also.

The big question is “Can Christians tithe?” and the answer is an emphatic resounding “No” because true HOLY biblical tithes were always only FOOD from inside Israel. Money was essential for sanctuary worship but money was not tithed. Tithes could not come from what one’s hands increased or from outside Israel.

“Gross or net” is ridiculous because farmers (and businesses) spend huge sums on equipment, labor and advertising before they make a profit.

Yes –sacrificial love. For many that means MORE than ten per cent. However many are giving sacrificially even though less than ten per cent. “All belonged to Jesus” in the OT also but tithes could only come from inside Israel. The illustration is weak.

Why quote 2 Cor 8:9 and not 8:12-15. Equality giving means that some give more than ten per cent and others give less. It equals out.

?? “And the first way He addresses this touchy subject is by calling for the Tithe.”

God never called for the Church to tithe and Jesus never commanded gospel workers to obey the tithing statute in Numbers 18 which commanded priests to KILL anybody attempting to enter the sanctuary to worship and He never commanded gospel workers NOT to inherit property.

Consider this: “The tithe is holy unto the Lord”(Leviticus 27:30)” only applied to FOOD from inside Israel which God had miraculously increased. According to Lev 27:34 it was part of the Old Covenant Law which called many things “holy” and “most holy” which are ignored by the Church today.

Abram’s tithe was in obedience to very well-known laws of the land. Check it out. Canaanites and most countries around them all expected tithes from spoils of war to the king-priests. Check it out.

If Christians followed Abram’s example (before he was circumcised) they would (1) only tithe pagan spoils of war, (2) lie to Pharaoh to get wealth, (3) only tithe once, (4) not tithe what he previously owned and (5) give the 90% to the modern equivalent of the King of Sodom. Perhaps that is why the Law does not use Abram as an example to follow.

Tithes are not (and never were) the same as firstfruits. Check it out. Firstfruits were very small token offerings per Deut 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-37.
The “deal of the ages” you call tithing was only one of over 600 commands Hebrews were to obey in order to be blessed. Obey all to be blessed; break one to be cursed (Gal 3:10). Not much of a deal. You would be signing up for a curse.

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

Friday, March 26, 2010

Reply to Scott Luper's Review of My Book on Amazon

To Scott Luper

So you are a CPA. I have letters from CPAs who agree with me and one of them even works for Crown Ministries. Therefore that in and of itself does not mean that you correctly interpret the Word of God.

From your comments in this review, I conclude that you read (1) The tithe of my book, (2) the page count of my book and (3) two pages from chapter two from my book. Other than that I think you are dishonest in proclaiming that you have read the book.

I also believe that God’s Word is true but it must be interpreted according to whom and when it was addressed. God only commanded OT national Israel to obey His Old Covenant law which included tithing, Sabbath-keeping, circumcision, unclean foods and killing disobedient children. This is “rightly dividing the Word.”

God’s promises to tithers in Mal 3:10 was (at 3:10 says) only concerning “FOOD.” It was only addressed to national Israel (1:1-5) and then only to the priests of Israel (1:6; 2:1). The Law was an indivisible whole. One either obeyed all 600+ commands or none of them in the Old Covenant context. That is what Paul was discussing in Galatians 3:10-13. It is simply WRONG to expect God to bless you under the Old Covenant context when He is now dealing with His Church under the New Covenant context.

You like Malachi 3:10. Questions to you: Where did they literally store all of tithes from Israel in such a small area? What did the Levites and priests eat when they lived many many miles from Jerusalem? Have you ever read Nehemiah 10:37-38? In the context of Nehemiah 10, Malachi 3:10 only makes sense if it only referred to the priests who had STOLEN the Levites share of the tithes in Nehemiah 13:5-10.

At this point I do not think that you really read all my book. I do not think that you even read the discussion of Malachi 3. Did you really? If so, then why no comment on my explanation. You act as if I had never even discovered Malachi 3:10.

You wrote “Scripture does not say that this promise has ever been revoked.”

Oh really! (1) I says that the Old Covenant vanished in Heb 8:12. (2) The Temple was replaced by the indwelling Temple of the Holy Spirit. (3) The OT priesthood was replaced by the doctrine of the priesthood of every believer. (4) The sacrificial system which was enabled by tithes ended. (5) The Temple “storerooms” ended and the church-assembly did not even legally have its own buildings to store anything for over 300 years after Calvary. And (6) Hebrews 7:5, 12, 18 clearly say that the “commandment going before” of “tithing” from 7:5 was “disannulled.” And (7) both Ephesians 2:13-17 and Colossians 2:13-17 teach that worship “ordinances” ended at Calvary and tithing was a ceremonial worship ordinance in Numbers 18.

When 1st Corinthians 10 “states that the Old Testament was written for our benefit as Christians” is very clearly was not commanding Christians to obey all 600+ laws of the Old Covenant which God only commanded to national Israel. You want to discard most of them and illegitimately keep tithing.

You wrote “From what's written in this book, "Should the Church Teach Tithing", it's evident that the author, much like the Israelites to whom Mal 3:10 was originally addressed, does not believe that God will honor His words and he has gone to enormous lengths to explain why (288 pages). He has taken great liberties in his interpretations of scripture, which have lead him to very seriously questionable conclusions.”

Wow! You have read (1) the title of my book and (2) how many pages are in it. Have you read my comments on Malachi 3?

If we are to copy what Abraham did because he is the “father of our faith,”
Does that mean that Christians should do as Abraham did? -- (1) lie about our wife to Pharaoh, (2) only tithe pagan spoils of war, (3) only tithe once in our lifetime and (4) give the 90% to the modern equivalent of the King of Sodom.

You wrote: He states: "Melchizedek was a pagan Canaanite priest-king" (page 17).
All this, of course, is absurd theological reasoning.
Note: Most commentaries agree with me. You have no proof otherwise.

You quoted my book: "Melchizedek worshiped the Canaanite gods Zedek and Salem, (so) logically; El Elyon must have also been a Canaanite god" (18);
All this, of course, is absurd theological reasoning.
Note: This is a quotation from the Baptist Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

You quoted me: "Melchizedek could not have been the pre-incarnate Christ" (18).
All this, of course, is absurd theological reasoning.
Note: This is by far the majority conclusion of most church theologians.

You quoted me: "It is very important to understand the difference between the Melchizedek of Genesis 14 and the prophetic and typical Melchizedek of Psalm 110 and Hebrews 7" (18).
All this, of course, is absurd theological reasoning.
Note: Again this is by far the majority hermeneutic of most church theologians.

You quoted me: "'Most High God' was also a common pagan title for both `El' and `Baal' (20); "It is extremely important for a correct understanding of Genesis 14 to realize that `Most High God,' or `God the Most High' (Hebrew: `El Elyon') was a common pagan designation for Baal, and even his father, `El'" (20); "Melchizedek probably worshiped Baal as Most High God and possessor of heaven and earth".
All this, of course, is absurd theological reasoning.
Note: This information came from the Baptist International Standard Bible Encyclopedia and numerous books found in most public libraries. Are you aware that the pagan kings in Daniel called God “God Most High”?

You wrote: Churches depend upon tithes from their members to help the poor, to support missions, to provide for those who dedicate their lives to the wellbeing of others (full-time ministers) and to carry out God's Kingdom purposes in their communities. Without such tithes, churches are unable to carry out these purposes.

My reply: (1) You totally ignore the biblical definition of tithes as discussed in chapter one of my book. (2) Tithes were never used to send out missionaries in the Bible. (3) The early church prospered without teaching tithing; it taught sacrificial freewill giving.

I urge Mr. Scott Luper to step up and openly engage me in an extended contextual discussion of tithing.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Reply to Change Worth Making, 3-24; 11AM

CWM: I will however leave you with this “cut and paste” from the minds of the leading scholars who edited and contributed to the KJV Study Bible. [Many names follow]

Russ: I will leave you with a similar list from the minds of leading scholars across the spectrum of conservative churches. In other words, a list of persons does not change the argument or God’s Word.

Craig Blomberg, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, F. F. Bruce, Lewis Sperry Chafer; James Darby, Alfred Edersheim, Walter Elwell, Everett F. Harrison, Carl F. Henry, C. H. Lenski, Zola Levitt, John MacArthur, J. Vernon McGee, Bruce Metzger, Moody Bible Institute, Mike Oppenheimer, Dwight Pentecost, Charles Ryrie, C. I. Scofield, Ray Steadman, Charles Swindoll, Merrill Unger, John Wesley, Spiros Zodhiates. Note: Dr. James Kennedy is more in agreement with our position than he is against it.

CWM: “Tithing is the practice of giving 10 percent of one’s income to the Lord. It is called “storehouse tithing” by some who require that the tithe be given the Lord through the local church.

Russ: We are more than eager to engage any of these scholars in an extended dialog. Yet they are the ones who evade open discussion. You are a wonderful exception to the rule and I highly commend you for staying with us this long. Thank you.

The definition from my book: The fourth definition of “tithe” is the precise and narrow Scriptural definition as given in the Mosaic Law in the Old Covenant. The biblical tithe was an ordinance of the Mosaic Law for the use and benefit of national Israel under the Old Covenant. The full tithe was given to the tribe of Levi, first, in exchange for his loss of land inheritance in Israel and, second, because of his servant service to his brothers in the Levitical house of Aaron who alone served as priests. A tenth of the first tithe was, in turn, given by the Levites to the priests who ministered at the altar.

The basic tithe was not to be used for building houses of worship. Since pagan dust defiled, the original tithe consisted solely of the increase of land produce from God’s sanctified land of Israel and from the increase of animals herded on the land of Israel. Although the tithe could be exchanged for its monetary value, the tithe itself never consisted of money! A second (and third) tithe was also given to provide food for festival occasions, and to provide welfare food for widows, fatherless, orphans and needy strangers in Israel.

CWM: While some Christians disagree, the principle of “God’s place” for worship is the basis for storehouse tithing (Deut. 12).

Russ: Deut 12:1 begins a discussion of “statutes and judgments” which national Israel shall obey “in the land.” They only applied to Old Covenant Israel and only inside the land. Read 12:1.
Deut 12:6-7 is a discussion of the second festival tithe which was to be eaten in the streets of Jerusalem. It was not taken to the Temple.

CWM: The temple in the Old Testament (1) was the central place characterized by God’s presence; (2) possessed the symbols of redemption; and

Russ: The “place” of Deuteronomy 12 was the “streets” of Jerusalem, not the Temple. Nehemiah 10:37b-38 is totally ignored when discussing Malachi 3:10. The two small storerooms inside the Temple could not possibly hold the tithe of the nation which was required in the Levitical cities where 98% of those who needed it for food lived.

CWM: (3) was where the man of God served.

Russ: They served in 24 courses and each course normally served one week out of 24 (twice a year). According to 1 Chronicles 23 to 26 they were not full-time temple workers; they were also political government employees working for the king. That is ignored today.

CWM: In the New Testament, these three attributes characterize the local church.

Russ: The word “church” is an assembly of believers. The church “building” did not exist for over 200 years after Calvary and was not legal for over 300 years. Comparing the OT Temple to the NT “Church” is not biblical.

CWM: Hence, the principle of storehouse tithing continues into the church age.

Russ: If that is true, then why did it take Southern Baptists over 300 years (649-1963) to even include the texts for tithing in its statement of faith? Why did the 1925 Faith and Message not include any tithing texts? Why was tithing only first presented to the Convention in 1895 (to be rejected)?

CWM: Liberty University.

Russ: The head of the Religion Dept at Liberty and other SBC theologians recently endorsed Dr. David Croteau’s book (also from Liberty) You Mean I Don’t Have to Tithe?

CWM: It is apparent that this particular group of scholars, side with the “principle” of giving 10% thru the local church. I would dare say these men are ill-motivated, or uneducated, or unable to rightly divide the truth.

Russ: And they run away from dialog. If they thought their doctrine were so strong they would eagerly defend it.

CWM: We’ll pick up this issue again, later on . . . God Bless

Russ: I certainly hope so. You can bring some friends with you also. God bless.

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Reply to CWM; 3-21 9AM

CWM: I do appreciate debate, but your responses are degenerating into sarcasm that is unbecoming of you.

Kelly: Have you noticed how I debate? I take your own words and use them against your argument. That is how best debate works. If I sound sarcastic, it is because you have first opened the door. I was taught debate in college.

CWM: I have said and maintain in every article that I have written that there is no New Testament Command to practice law Tithing, (GIVING A TENTH OF INCOME).

Kelly: Then I cannot understand why you appear to support all who teach tithing and want to argue with those who do not teach it.

CWM: What I have said and will say is that when the Christian wants to give, the first right thing He can do, is look to the scripture to find out where to begin His giving, and the first amount, and overriding amount of free will giving, and Mandatory giving, that he finds is the example of 10%.

Kelly: Correct me if I am wrong. “You believe that Christians ought to “begin” their level of giving at ten per cent because you think that is where everybody in the OT “began” their level of giving.”

Let us go back to Numbers 18. Those who received the Levitical tithe were not allowed to own or inherit property in the land. That was a very clear principle. How do you explain that today most full-time pastors also own and inherit property?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Reply to CWM, 3-20; 8 PM

Russ: We cannot always do both. [i.e. give first to your and also give first to meet family essentials] You have gone far beyond a defense of tithing and have made yourself sound “worse than the infidels.”

CWM: You can always do both. (I’m speaking from a standpoint of lifestyle practice, and not a momentary event) You’re attempt to circumstantially place someone in the permanent position of choosing one or the other is a straw man argument.

Russ: Are you arguing about freewill giving or mandatory tithing? Earlier you wrote that you neither agreed with me nor disagreed with me. I am still waiting for your to commit on one position or the other.

CWM: That is exactly the opposite of the Pharisees saying, “It is a gift” as an excuse to not care for their aging parents.

Russ: Now that you mention it, I have an article which states exactly that – The Pharisees said “Corbin", “It is a gift” as an excuse to not care for their aging parents.” Yes, those who teach tithe-paying as a firstfruit are very guilty of that sin.

CWM: You are saying, “I have aging parents” as an excuse to not be a giver.

Russ: “Having aging parents” is not an “excuse” not to give to the church first – it is an OBLIGATION –otherwise you are worse than the heathen. That is what Paul wrote.

CWM: We are to Honor the Lord with the first of our increase, AND Honor our Father and Mother in care of them at the same time. – They are not mutually exclusive to one another.

Russ: You can only spend the same dollar in one place! Again, Mt 25:45 says “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” Caring for your desperate parents IS honoring God. That is part of the Ten Commandments brought over into the New Covenant.

CWM: Again, I say, you do not have to survive. The only thing that you and I have to do is die. We do not have to live.

Russ: So you would rather die first than take care of your destitute mother first. Just be a good little tithe-paying firstfruit-giving Christian and let somebody else take care of your mother. You sound more foolish with every breath.

CWM: The fact is that the “tenth is holy unto the Lord.” and Holiness does not change.

Russ: Finally, a test to discuss. Do this: (1) Obtain an exhaustive concordance such as Strong's. (2) Look up everything in Leviticus which is called either “holy” or “most holy.” (3) Determine how many of those “holy” and “most holy” things which have not changed in your worship ritual. (4) Then make the above statement again – “The fact is that the “tenth is holy unto the Lord.” and Holiness does not change.”

Did God’s covenant change? Did God’s sacrifice change? Did God’s priesthood change? Did God’s temple change? Did God’s focal people change? Did the unclean food laws change? Did the multiple-marriage laws change? Did the seventh-day-holy Sabbath change?

Oh, but, excuse all of us –only the TITHE did not change!!! Hypocrisy!
If the tithe did not change then you should still obey the UN-changing tithe statute of Numbers 18. (1) Why is the tithe not still only food from inside Israel? Who “changed” the definition? (2) Why don’t tithe-recipients still live without owning property or inheriting property? Who “changed” that to allow you to own property? (3) Why don’t gospel workers KILL anybody who dares enter the sanctuary and worship God directly? Who “changed” that statute?

Do you see what happens when you actually introduce a text into the discussion? It bounces back at you because your use is out of context.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Reply to Pastor Tom Steinen

Reply to Pastor Tom Steinen

Edited for key remarks.

Tom: I believe tithing is simply God's principle of proof of ownership! … God asks His children to worship Him with a tithe (tenth) of their increase. If I can joyfully take the first 10 % of my increase (pay check, government check, etc.) and give that back to God,

Russ: Tithing was only a minimum beginning point “standard” for food producers who lived inside Israel. Tithes could not come from what man’s skills produced or from outside Israel. Not even Jesus could give a biblical HOLY tithe.

Believing the teachings of God’s Word requires one to ask “To whom is God speaking and in which Covenant?” The entire Old Covenant vanished in Heb 8:12 –commandments, ordinances and judgments –all of the Mosaic Law. That which was eternal and moral was restated after Calvary to the Church in terms of grace and faith. And tithing was not repeated.

God instituted the tithe to replace land inheritance for the Levites and priests who would serve in the temple. Yet today most pastors who want the tithe also want to own and inherit property contrary to the tithing statute of Numbers 18.

The Levitical tithe was not a matter of the heart. It was a matter of cold hard law for food producers inside Israel.

It is not a proof of ownership except for the Levites and priests who could not own land because God was their inheritance. God owned the world even then but did not accept tithes from outside Israel.

Tom: We are stewards who have been entrusted with some of what belongs to God. And the way He asks us to acknowledge this is through worshiping Him and giving Him the first 10% back - joyfully.
If I can joyfully take the first 10 % of my increase (pay check, government check, etc.) and give that back to God,

Russ: Tithes were never the same as firstfruits per Deut 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-37a. Firstfruits were very small token offering. Paul wrote to Timothy to give the first to care for the medical, food and shelter needs of his/her family per 1 Tim 5:8.

Tom: Abraham tithed to God over 400 years before the law was given, so tithing appears before the law. Tithing also appears in the age of the law.

Russ: Abraham’s tithe was not the same as a holy biblical tithe. It was in obedience to the law of the land and the Bible does not say it was freewill. If Abraham were the Christian’s example then 90% should go to the equivalent to the King of Sodom.

Tom: And tithing is mentioned in the New Testament by Jesus in Luke 11:42.

Russ: Luke 11:42 (Mt 23:23) is not New Covenant because it is before Calvary and is in the context of matters of the law. Jesus could not have commanded his Gentiles disciples to tithe because it was illegal.

Tom: God asks His children to worship Him with a tithe (tenth) of their increase.

Russ: Not true. Tithing was only commanded to OT national Israel. It was never commanded to the Church after Calvary.

Tom: 2 Cor 9:6-7

Russ: This is a discussion of freewill sacrificial giving to help famine relief in Judea. It is not a discussion of tithing or church support.

Tom: 1 Tim 5:17-18

Russ: This is in the context of discipline, not salary. The elder is worthy of double caution while being disciplined. See from verse l.

NT giving is: freewill, generous, sacrificial, joyful, not by commandment (or percentage) and motivated by love for God and lost souls. For many that is more than 10% but others are giving sacrificially even though less than 10%.
hing is simply God's principle of proof of ownership! The big question is – Whose

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Reply to Change Worth Making, 3-18-10; 5 PM

First Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own [widowed mother after her husband has died], and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Russ: If your father dies and leaves your mother a widow, you should FIRST take care of her medical, food and shelter needs. If you decide instead to give your first tenth to the church and then cannot afford to buy your widowed mother medicine, food and shelter –that is OK. That is what I am hearing you say.

CWM: We are not put in positions to choose between the two. We are instructed to do BOTH, give AND provide.

Russ: We cannot always do both. You have gone far beyond a defense of tithing and have made yourself sound “worse than the infidels.” Paul said that not even the infidels (who have no faith in Christ) do not treat their own widowed mothers that way.

CWM: Brother, I am sorry but the fact is that the Lord comes first in all things, and you and anyone else is plainly, clearly wrong for not giving Him first place.

Russ: And what about Matthew 25: 45? “Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” We put Christ FIRST by putting those he loves FIRST. Let me say that again in case you are a speed reader and missed it the first time. According to Mt 25 “we put Christ FIRST by putting those he loves FIRST.” You are the one who is “plainly, clearly wrong for not giving Him first place” by taking medicine and food out of the mouth of your own mother!!!

CWM: And for you to demand that all OT instructions on tithing are confined expressly to those limited contexts is an attempt to nullify the “eternal principles” found within those contexts.

Russ: If you cannot literally interpret God’s Word, then you are using liberal symbolic figurative hermeneutics and have joined the crowd of Augustine. You want to discover tithing (not giving) under every rock. I am not opposed to freewill generous sacrificial giving. I am opposed to calling such “tithing.”

CWM: Another thing that I will say, is that giving is to come even before surviving. I don’t have to survive. You don’t have to survive.

Russ: Sorry mom. I know that dad is dead and you have no source of income. I know you need medicine, food and shelter but I cannot help you because my church comes first. If I give to the church, maybe they can help you. Forget about Mt 25:45. That is only for people who interpret the Bible literally.

CWM: There is no such thing as the doctrine of self preservation. No one has to survive,

Russ: Sheer ignorance.

CWM: but the LORD must be given His rightful place of absolute first, in all things. Time, Talents, Tithes, and any other teaching is abject heresy.

Russ: What do you mean by that last statement?

CWM: It matters not what scriptures of evidence are presented, you refuse to acknowledge the fullness of their application.

Russ: You refuse to acknowledge the CONTEXT of their application.

CWM: I believe that the fundamental difference between you and me, and others of our own persuasion, falls to exactly what role the principles, teachings, and examples of the OT play in the lives of those of us free under the NT. We do not disagree as to what the scriptures say, but we obviously disagree as to what they mean, and how they are applied.

Russ: Correct. I understand Heb 8:12 to literally mean that ALL the Old Covenant law vanished at Calvary –good and bad—moral, ceremonial and judicial. And only that which was REPEATED after Calvary to the Church in terms of grace and faith applies to Christians. That is a consistent hermeneutic. What is your consistent hermeneutic for bringing Old Covenant laws into the New Covenant? I would like to hear it.

CWM: Proverbs 3:9-10 is plain, and means more than you acknowledge it means. You can attempt to minimize it all you want,

Russ: I do not minimize Prov 3:9-10. Neither do I exaggerate it to make it mean far more than it literally says. You totally ignore the definition of firstfruits as seen in Deut 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-37a. I see it restated in 2 Cor 9:6-7. It has absolutely nothing so say about tithing and you abuse it by forcing it to say something different. You insist on calling the OT concept of firstfruits a universal moral principle but you will not accept the OT definition of your word.

CWM: but nonetheless the principles within it are eternal principles. Until you come to the place that you can see the “eternal principles” within the “temporary law” then there is nothing left for us to discuss concerning this issue.

Russ: What rule or hermeneutic do you use to determine what is an “eternal moral principle”? I really want to know. The Ten Commandments say to honor your parents. Exodus 21:15, 17 says to kill children who curse or strike their parents. First Timothy 5:8 says to care for your widowed mother. Tell me, is Exodus 21:15, 17 and eternal moral principle and First Timothy 5:8 is not???

CWM: I do hope that you preach Salvation correctly.

Russ: Acts 15:10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

At least I do not dare test God by placing the Church back under the law.

Reply to Change Worth Making, 3-18-10; 10AM

CWM: Aside from the 10% issue, I am surprised that you do not believe that God gets the best and we live off the rest.

Russ: Once again your conclusion does not come from the Bible. The OT firstfruit was also only food from inside Israel. And it was an extremely small token offering. Read Deu 26:1-4. It could fit in a small hand basket. Edersheim wrote tat one pack animal could carry the firstfruits of an entire village. You reply lets your OT concept of firstfruits override Paul’s NT statement of First Timothy 5:8. I am surprised that you use that hermeneutic.

CWM: God gets the first, and we’ll take the worst. Where does this idea come from that we are to take care of ourselves first and foremost, and then give offerings to God out of the leftovers? I do not understand that self centered thinking at all.

Russ: I have already quoted First Timothy 5:8. It is called the principle of self-preservation and is built into the conscience of all God’s creatures. Have you ever paid your last dime as a tithe and told your own children to eat dirt?

CWM: I am beginning to think that this is not even a “10%” issue as much as it is, who gets the first, top, and best?

Russ: You are very correct. You and tithe-teachers have demanded that your unbiblical definition of the tithe be given first, not me.

CWM: The scriptures are emphatic that God gets our first and Best, and we are to live within the Worst and Rest! Prov 3:9-10

Russ: First, Prov 3:9-10 is not discussing tithes. Second, Lev 27:30-34 “emphatically” says that the tithe was the “tenth” and NOT the “best.” From Num 18:25-28 only the “tenth of the tenth” was the “best.”

CWM: 1 Corinthians 16:2 Which Underscores the fact that all prosperity, and all increase are from the Lord, and not from man’s hands.

Russ: You are adding to God’s Word and changing the context. 1 Cor 16:1-2 is not about tithing, OT firstfruits, church support or pastors’ salaries. It is about freewill giving. Corinth was in pagan land and it was illegal to accept tithes from pagan land.

CWM: Matthew 6:33 – “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Russ: Are you implying that “first” here means the same as OT “firstfruits”? That would be impossible to prove. It is a discussion of where one’s heart is. It is not a command to neglect the poor at the expense of tithing or church support. Jesus did not tell either the rich young ruler or Zaccheus to give their wealth as tithes to the Temple system. Rather he told them to give it to the poor. Was Jesus wrong NOT to tell them to tithe first?

CWM: Haggai 1:4-7

Russ: Haggai 1:4-7 is not discussing tithing either. It is discussing building the Temple and only freewill offerings could be used for that purpose –not tithes.

CWM: Surely, you do not believe in living before giving.

Russ: I and common sense believe in SURVIVING before giving. That is what 1st Tim 5:8 is about. You are the one Paul is calling “worse than an infidel.” Even the infidels took care of their families first.

CWM: As much as I hear and have been hearing about “sacrifice” one cannot proclaim sacrifice on one side, and then hold to a living before giving mentality.

Russ: Again, there is a difference between SURVIVING and living.

CWM: … I cannot see what you are trying to say, and you obviously have not seen what I’ve been trying to say. One of these days we will sit down together with the Lord, and He will help us see things the way that He intends for them to be seen.

Russ: Just stay with me long enough to look at every single tithing text and you can see the truth this side of eternity.

CWM: … Because it’s grace does not mean that there is not a moral, Biblical, spiritual, right and wrong.

Russ: I simply ask that you show me from God’s Word that OT tithing is “moral, biblical, spiritual and right” for the New Covenant after the entire Old Covenant “vanished” per Heb 8:12.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Reply to Change Worth Making, 3-17-10; 11AM

1st Corinthians 8 and 9 both discuss Christian freedom. If Paul ever wanted to discuss tithing, he missed his great opportunity.

Did Paul have the “right” to be supported? Yes. Does this mean that he taught tithing? No. Did the soldier, vineyard worker, herdsman, grinding ox or temple worker have a “right” to support? Yes. But, like you keep saying, one’s personal freedom can override his right.

1 Cor 9:12 If others be partakers of this right over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
1 Cor 9:18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

It is sheer lunacy to imply that Paul taught tithing when he actually boasted about working for free. As a rabbi he had been taught that it was sin to be paid to teach the Word of God. And we should not forget that tithes could not come from defiled pagan soil.

CWM: Secondly, you speak of the “cruelty of modern tithing” by making people choose between tithing, and medicine and food. Which 1 is a straw man argument, as though there is a circumstance that excuses someone from following the Biblical example.

Russ: Your bias is showing again. My example is NOT a straw man because your “Biblical example” is the straw man which only existed on an extremely small scale. It only included food producers inside Israel. That was nothing compared to the whole wide world.

CWM: But 2, the best way that I can say this, or illustrate this point, – Adrian Rogers said one time when someone said to him, “but a man’s got to live.” – Rogers said, “no you don’t, all you’ve got to do is die, no one HAS to live.”

Russ: Was Rogers saying that a poor widow should first pay her tithe and do without medicine and food for her family? If so, then he was addng law back into grace.

CWM: It is better to follow the Bible and suffer than it is to do it your own way and enjoy comfort.

Russ: I am following the Bible and defining “tithe” the way that God defined it. You are not. Why don’t you do the “better” thing and “follow the Bible”?

CWM: The cruelty lies in the teaching that you can do as you please, and not as the Bible pictures.

Russ: 1 Tim 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Paul did not say “except for the tithe.” I am not the one “doing as he pleases.” You are the one who has taken the unauthorized liberty to REDEFINE the holy biblical tithe.

CWM: (I’m speaking beyond the issue of the tithe now) There is no cruelty in giving, because you know that you cannot outgive God.

Russ: I did NOT say that it is cruel to give. I said that it is cruel to teach that one should “tithe” as a “firstfruit” and be forced to forgo buying medicine, food and essential shelter. Whom is Paul calling an “infidel”? He is calling those who put legalistic tithing before family needs.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tithing: Change Worth Making, 3-16-10; 11 PM est

CWM: What I am saying is that nothing that you have pointed out nullifies what I am trying to say.

Russ: Does that mean that you agree with me or are you trying to avoid discussing God’s Word?

CWM: You are presenting the tithe from a “law” point,

Russ: I am presenting the tithe from a “biblical” context. It just so happens that the only correct biblical context of a true holy tithe is from the “law” point. On the other hand, you are trying to drag it out of its biblical law context and redefine it in the grace context.

Gal 3:3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

Having been saved by grace through faith alone, are we then made perfect through works of the law –like tithing, unclean food, Sabbath keeping and unclean foods?

CWM: I am talking about giving from a point of free will. I am not trying to make a “legal” case for the tithe.

Russ: How can you call it “freewill” when you insist on saying that Christians should BEGIN their level of giving at ten per cent? That is a contradiction. What if I told you “Give freely whatever you desire, but you must start at no less than ten per cent”?

CWM: I am presenting it as the compelling example of God’s desire within scripture. You guys are the ones who are trying to “legally” avoid the example.

Russ: Your example re-inserts a legal beginning place for even the very poorest who cannot even afford medicine and food. That is the cruelty of the modern tithing approach.

Tithing: Change Wortk Making, 3-16-10; 4 PM

Tithing: Change Worth Making, 3-16-2010; 4 PM
Change Worth Making, 3-16-2010; 4 P:M EST

CWM: I do not challenge, or disagree with any interpretation that you’ve made concerning the OT Tithe.

Russ: That simply does not make sense because your writing strongly supports the doctrine I oppose. Why will you not take a position and defend it?

CWM: We are to always use our free will to do as God pleases, in every thing.

Russ: In order to “do as God pleases,” we need to take a firm hand on what we believe and be willing to defend it. Isn’t that what Jesus, Peter and Paul did? I seriously doubt that any of them would say “I do not challenge, or disagree with any interpretation that you’ve made concerning the OT Tithe” if they really did.

CWM: Where then does the tithe come in? Let’s use one of your scenarios. Two men. 1 farmer inside of Israel, under the law. 1 carpenter outside of Israel under grace. The Lord instructs the farmer to “tithe the increase of his grain.” Simple to understand.

Russ: Are you agreeing with me that true HOLY biblical tithes are always only food from inside Israel? If so, why don’t you clearly say so?

CWM: The Lord instructs the carpenter outside of Israel under grace, “to Freely give.” – Simple to understand.

Russ: I would say that the carpenter could either be inside or outside of Israel and could still be under the law. However the law did not define his gift as a tithe whether inside or outside Israel.

CWM: Now the Carpenter outside of Israel in his free will, has a choice.

Russ: Why not place him inside Israel as was Jesus? It makes no difference because the tithing law still did not apply to him.

CWM: He can make up his number, and choose his own amount, which he obviously has the freedom to do. OR, He can rightly say, “How much of what I have would God want me to give? or, where do I begin?”

Russ: In the OT God asked for freewill offerings to build both the tent-sanctuary and the Temple. In one occasion they gave so much SACRIFICIALLY that God had to command them to STOP giving. This is called freewill SACRIFICIAL giving. This is “giving beyond one’s ability.” This is “giving until it hurts.” I do this. I have no savings account for the future or emergencies. Yet I give more than ten per cent because I love my church and lost souls.

CWM: And then He says to himself, “Let’s look at the scripture. And he finds, I see here, that when God did have a requirement on giving, he [only] required his farmers to give 10% of their grain increase.”

Russ: Why don’t you pretend that the carpenter asked himself “Why didn’t God require me, a carpenter, to tithe? Could it be because I could boast about what my own hands have made to please God? Could it be that God only wanted a tithe from what HE miraculously increased?”

CWM: “Now what I do know from that? I know that if I were a farmer [or herdsman] under the law, and my giving was to be in grain [and other food] and it was to be 10%” Well then, “I don’t give in grain, but I do give in money? – How much?

Russ: I would conclude that, since God did not tell ME, a carpenter, how much to give, then He has left it up to me to decide. Simple enough.

CWM: I can’t see giving less than a tithe, because I know in that circumstance that was what God required.”

Russ: Illogical. If God had wanted OT craftsmen, tradesman, teachers and the poor to BEGIN their level of giving at ten per cent – then He would have certainly made that clear!!!

CWM: “He says to himself that is “according that a man hath” and it is by an “equality” and I certainly have a willing mind. I’ll begin right there.”

Russ: “According to what a man hath” could mean 30% for me and only 4% for you. It “equals out” means that the rich is not suffering and the poor can still buy essential medicine, food and shelter. Otherwise the church is oppressing the poor.

CWM: That is the proper use of our free will. Because we are free to do something doesn’t mean that it’s right to do it.

Russ: No. You have taken the “free will” out of the equation and replaced it with a commandment that everybody is required to begin his/her giving level at ten per cent.

CWM: Now I say to “knoweth to do good and doeth it not to him it is sin.”

Russ: A poor widow who must choose to buy medicine and food for her family or give it away should never be made to feel unwelcome in any assembly of Christ’s body. Yet that very thing happens every time it assembles to worship. You should read the horror stories I get in the mail.

CWM: I am not under the context of the law. I am free to give as I see fit.

Russ: As long as you only see fit to begin your level of giving at ten per cent. After freely giving her last income the poor widow in the Bible would have been rejected from many tithe-teaching churches because she had no income left at all.

CWM: I would be wrong if I saw fit to give any other way than through the principles that I see in the law.

Russ: Would you also say “I would be wrong if I saw fit to DISCIPLINE MY CHILDREN any other way than through the principles that I see in the law”? Exodus 21:15, 17 commanded OT Hebrews to KILL disobedient children.

CWM: I doubt that you will see it that way, but nonetheless, I do.

Russ: Let us be civil and continue this conversation without deletions. I will also post it on my blog.

In Christ’s love
Russ Kelly

Monday, March 15, 2010

Reply to Change Worth Making: War on Bible Doctrine

Reply to Change Worth Making
War on Bible Doctrine, Mar 1, 2010


We have covered this ground before and you still seem to ignore every single point I have made.
You call tithing a “rock solid Bible truth.”
Russ: If it is that “rock solid” then why will you and church leaders not defend it using sound heremeneutics from God's Word?
Again I boldly declare with the authority of 16 texts that HOLY biblical tithes were always only food from inside Israel. This was true even though money was very common in Genesis and essential for sanctuay worship. This definition remained the same 1000 years later in Malachi and 1500 years later in Matthew. Where is your proof that the basic definition ever changed?
You describe those who disagree with you as “re-writers” and ”redefiners.”
Russ: I contend that it is you who has “re-defined” the fundamental clear definition of th holy biblical tithe. There is probably not a church historian alive who will agree with you that biblical tithes could be the products of one’s hands or from outside God’s holy land of Israel. It is the modern preacher who has “re-written” what the Bible says about tithes in Numbers 18 to suit modern man. I state categorically that “absolutely nothing taught in the Bible before Calvary about tithing is followed by any church today –including your own.
You state that it is a “Bible truth that Christians ought to be in the practice of voluntary tithing.”
Russ: I reply “Defend your statementd with all of the vigor and Bible texts you can. I disagree and challenge you to an honest open in-depth discussion of the whole doctrine.
You wrote: “The fact is that most preachers and pastors who preach and teach the tithe in conservative Bible believing churches do so out of Biblical conviction.”
Russ: I agree. However I believe that they have never stopped to perform any detailed study of the subject and should not treat it as a taboo doctrien. These same preachers eagerly engage those who disagree with them on almost any other doctrine –except tithing. Why? Are they insecure?
Tim: They do not legalistically twist the Scriptures in order to avoid the overriding principle of the tithe.
Russ: Your use of “overriding principle” shows prejudice because not everybody agrees.
Tim: In the Old Testament, the Lord showed and demonstrated for us the desire of His heart when He chastised the people of Israel for not “tithing” and “giving offerings.” We know that the desire of God’s heart is for His people to be a tithing people.
Russ: This statement is based on the false assumption that God commanded everybody in Israel to tithe. However it only applied to food producers inside Israel. As a carpenter inside Israel, Jesus did not qualify as a tither. As a tentmaker on defiled pagan soil, Paul did not qualify either. If I am wrong, please present the proof.
Tim: I’d be ashamed if I didn’t want to tithe.”
Russ: You and I cannot possibly tithe unless we were giving food from inside Israel under Old Covenant conditions and were Hebrews.
Tim: Thinking for a minute about 2 Corinthians 8:12-14 Paul made it clear that there are three things required in Biblical giving. 1.) A Willing Mind. 2.) According to that a man hath. 3.) An Equal amount.
Russ: Your discussin of 2 Cor 8:12-14 is totally out of context. Even most tithe-teachers would say you are wrong here because (they say) it is not a discussion of tithing but freewill giving which is dIthey say) in addition to tithing.
Tim: Tithing or not tithing if your mind is not willing, it is not accepted.
Russ: Agreed.
Tim: According to that a man hath. – Much or little. No one ever argues with that.
Russ: You argue with yourself in the next statement by forcing this into a discussion of tithing.
Tim: If I have ten dollars or ten thousand dollars worth of income a month, I am still to be a giver. I am still to give God the first and best of my ten dollars, as much as I am the the first and best of my ten thousand dollars.
Russ: This is simply not true. The key is “sacrificial” giving. The rich person with $100,000 does not feel the stress by giving $10,000 whereas the poor person with $100 is giving sacrificially even when giving only $5.00. Why is this so difficult to comprehend?

The “best” of the OT tithe was only the one per cent which went to the priests per Num 18:25-28. Why do you ignore that? The first whole Levitical tithe went to the guards, ushers, musicians, singers, animal skinners, janitors, treasurers and (later) political workers for the king per Num 3, Num 18:21-24 and 1 Chron 23 to 26. Why do you ignore that?

The tithe was never the same as the firstfruits. Firstfruits were very small token offerings per Deu 26:1-4; Neh 10:35-37 and many other texts. Why do you ignore that? The Bible commands Christians to give our FIRST to buy essential medicine, food and shelter in 1 Tim 5:8. Why do you ignore that?
Tim: By an Equality. – “not that other men be eased ye be burdened.”
Russ: Again, the poor person is very much indeed BURDENED by giving 5% while the rich person is not burdened by giving 20%. Why is this so hard to comprehend?
Tim: When it comes to giving according to that a man hath, AND by an equality, the principle of the tithe fits wonderfully and perfectly into the practice of giving. When a $10/ man, and a $10,000/ man tithe, they both have “given according to their ability” AND given by “an equality.”
Russ: Your logic is beyond my comprehension. You are forcing a wonderful grace giving principle into a legalistic giving principle.
Tim: The bottom line is that the Tithe of the Old Testament is Principle that New Testament Christians ought to WANT to practice because it fits New Testament guidelines, and has been pictured for us as the desire of God’s heart.
Russ: You conclusion ignores the context of 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. Tithing is not discussed in these two chapters which are addressed to a church deep inside pagan terriroty and far outside God’s HOLY land of Israel. This is a New Covenant chapter about grace-giving and is not in the context of Old Covnenat tithing in any way whatsoever.
Tim: Now that being said, the “tithe” controversies that are continually being stirred, have lead to accusations against the office of pastor.
Russ: Stop and study Numbers 18. The OT Levitical tithe recipients (1) were not allowed to own property, (2) were to accept tithes as food from inside Israel, (3) were to prohibit anybody else from entering the sanctaury and (4) were to KILL anybody who attempted to worship God directly. Why don’t you teach any of that? Is Numbers 18 not in the Bibles of conserative preachers?

Monday, March 01, 2010

1633-1833: No tithing Taught

"During the nearly two centuries (1633-1833) while religion was understood by early Euro-Americans as a public good deserving public support a variety of means to finance religion evolved, much as a hodgepodge of user fees, licenses and taxes is used to this day to pay for public goods. ... In the case of religion there were poll and property taxes which could be quite high. As late as 1838 Connecticut congregations were taxing their members nearly 0.26 property value each year ... Massachusetts taxed pew holders. Annual poll and head taxes were used ... Some churches used pledges." In Pursuit of the Almighty’s Dollar, James Hudnut-Beumler, 2007, Vanderbilt University, page 9.