CV: Is your claim that Abraham paid tithes out of what he learned in Babylon a true statement or is it calculative? (Scheming)
Russell Kelly: What is your claim based on? You stated that Abraham’s tithe was not an ordinance but conviction. Yet you give no biblical or historical argument to validate you own claim. Therefore you argue with no substance behind it; I call that scheming to prove a point without evidence.
If you were born and raised in Babylon, I would be within common sense to think that you learned tithing there. Why is it scheming to use the same logic concerning Abraham?
You miss the fact that I have quoted 6 commentaries in my book which all agree that a Canaanite law of the land was likely at work in Genesis 14:21. At least I have done my homework. How many commentaries have you researched to try to honestly understand Genesis 14:20-21?
CV: Before I accuse you of being a hypocrite ...please answer the question. You told me to use facts ...please use facts. Don't draw up your own conclusion.
RK: I used facts from Babylonian history, from many commentaries and from common sense. You made a conclusion (not an ordinance – from conviction) with no facts at all.
CV: “Facts never constitute truth because they change when the evidence changes. You can never conclude truth based on facts.
RK: You are waaaaaay off base here. Truth and facts do not change. Only the interpretation of the facts changes. Something that is not a fact is called a “working theory” o an “hypothesis.”
CV: Judgment is accurate when facts and motivation are present …not facts alone. Motivation is a result of conviction …not the presentation of facts. It’s motive that gives clarity to facts …converting it to truth. Facts are calculated through the use of logic.
RK: In the middle of a sentence you have just changed the subject from “facts” to “judgment.” Again I say “Facts do not change – only the interpretation of facts changes.” When somebody is dead, it is a fact that they are dead!! – motive and judgment cannot change the fact that they are dead!
When are you going to actually discuss a real Bible verse in this dialog? When? When? When?
CV: Being spiritually minded is not using logic …but being led by the conviction of God. Would you say that the walk that Abraham had with God was based on knowledge or motivation through conviction?”
RK: You are avoiding the reason for this dialog. Only that part of Abram’s walk which was by faith is our example; that part of his walk where he failed is usually forgotten. The question at hand is “Why did Abram tithe?” You say because he had conviction. I say the Bible does not answer the question but the laws of Babylon and Canaan suggests that he was obeying the law of the land.
CV: “You are using logic to conclude a fact …that can be misleading (or should I say deceptive). Facts are concluded having evidence present to confirm them.
RK: Logical and revelational evidence.
CV: It is a fact that he was born and raised in Babylon …but is can never be conclusive that the tithe paid was a result of that fact.
RK: Your argument that “it was not an ordinance but conviction” is so weak that you have ignored it to attack my argument. While it is true that “it can never be conclusive that the tithe paid was a result of that fact,” I did not say that it was conclusive. At least you admit I presented a “fact.” You presented none.
CV: If offering tithes to the god’s of Babylon was a religious practice …do you think that God will accept the same order of religious worship given to idols that was done Babylon?
RK: At one time our forefathers worshipped nature, stars and animals while searching for true God. When they found the true God they switched their gifts accordingly. Your are arguing from your unproven conclusion as if your unproven conclusion were a concluded fact. While in Babylon Abram obeyed its laws and customs; while in Canaan Abram obeyed its laws and customs. After all, Abram was passing through Melchizedek’s land with spoils of war. If you were a Canaanite king-priest and had a law, would you allow Abram to break that law?
CV: Sir …extra biblical documentation can have various sources and motives (fact). It’s safer to work with what we have within the context of scripture. Unless you believe that it’s not enough to come to the knowledge of the truth in Jesus Christ.”
RK: Then it is safer for you NOT to say that Abram tithed “not by an ordinance but by conviction” because Scripture does not agree with you.
CV: “Who has added to scripture? You accuse me of adding to scripture but you look for evidence outside of scripture to prove what you believe is true.
RK: Every reputable seminary on Earth teaches Biblical Archaeology for that very reason. Over and over archaeology backs up Scripture by agreeing with it. I do not teach extra-biblical evidence as if it were fact.
CV: If there is no documented proof within the context of scripture that Abraham learned what you concluded he did …is it wrong to say he was convicted based on the type of walk he had with God.
RK: Yes it is wrong to word it as you do because you state it as if it were fact.
CV: Even if what you claim is true …he would have to still undergo conviction before he offered a tithe to God.
RK: If he was obeying the Law of the land, then he had no choice in the matter. Tithes are mentioned nowhere else in Genesis or Exodus because they were not yet in the holy land and the substance of Abram’s tithe was unholy. You cannot quote Malachi 3 or Matthew 23 because their definition comes from the law.
CV: I don’t believe for once that the decision he made was made to give a tithe was made outside the bounds of the will of God …unless you bid to differ. If He was in the will of God …he was led by the conviction of God. How did Melchizedek know that Abraham was coming if it wasn’t planned.“
RK: Opinion. Opinion. Opinion. No Bible evidence whatsoever. I suppose that Melchizedek either had sentries or could look out his palace window and see a large cloud of dust approaching.
CV: Truth remains a fact until motivation comes through conviction. It’s the Father who reveals who Jesus is through the leading of the Holy Ghost by conviction …not collective facts.”
RK: Wow! You are saying that “truth is not truth without conviction.” You are saying that truth is all subjective and not objective. I hate to tell you this but “God is God whether or not one is convicted that God is God.”
CV: We do agree however …that the order of Melchizedek’s priesthood was instituted by God in the time of Abraham …
RK: No, we do not agree that God put in place the order of Melchizedek in Abram’s time. If you expand your mind and do some basic research you would discover that almost every large city in those days had its own king-priest: Sodom, Ashedod, Tyre, Babylon, etc, etc, etc. the rulers most likely designated themselves such.
CV: … and was instituted by Christ as a New Testament priesthood order.
RK: Hebrews merely says 8 times that Christ was a priest “after the order of Melchizedek.” He was quoting Psalm 110:4. Inspired by God, David was forced to go outside the realm of Israel to find an example because Israel had no king-priests.
CV: Firstly …was there tithes received according to the priesthood of Melchizedek?
RK: Not holy tithes as defined by God under His holy law. They were pagan spoils of war which could not have been used to support for Levites and priests living inside God’s holy land. My equally-un-provable guess is that, as a Canaanite king-priest, Melchizedek required tithes from spoils of war as a tax.
CV: Secondly …what was the purpose of the tithe according to Hebrews ch.7?
RK: Like Genesis 14, Hebrews 7:1-4 does tell us WHY Abram tithed spoils of war to Melchizedek. Any reason you might give is purely opinion not based on biblical truth.
CV: Thirdly …what is an order?
RK: It is a rank – like a sergeant of captain. Nothing more and nothing less.
CV: The point in question is not whether Melchizedek was Jesus …but the order of priesthood.
RK: The point is that God inspired David with the truth that the Messiah would be both a king and a priest. David then compared him to the only king-priest specifically mentioned in Scripture. That is called logic, not deception.
CV: I could ask why Jesus didn’t come before Abraham instead of after Moses. Why did God not continue in the order of Melchizedek instead of reintroducing it in Christ? That I can answer …but it’s not relevant to the topic in question.”
RK: God did not begin in the order of Melchizedek until after Calvary. But I digress also.
CV: [RK: If (as you say) Abram tithed 10% of unholy pagan spoils of war from Sodom, then why are not tithes of spoils of war in Numbers 31 10% instead of 1%?] -- “You’re right …but it was introduced after the order of Melchizedek’s priesthood in the acceptance of the tithe given by Abraham.
RK: It was only introduced here in the Bible. It was already well-known in all surrounding pagan culture before Abram was born. “Tithe spoils of war to your local king-priest.”
CV: The question is …was it out of the knowledge of worship of some Babylonian idol (which God would never have accepted), out of a decision founded on human effort that we relate to as the flesh (no flesh would have been glorified in presence) or out of conviction of God?
RK: Like a used car salesman, you give me a choice between “A” and “B” when the correct answer is “None of the above.” (1) First God’s Word does not tell us WHY Abram tithed. (2) Second, God will gladly accept money which formerly went to pagan gods. (3) Third, my preferred guess of the correct answer is: “the law of the land required it.”
CV: Please reason within the context of scripture and not the law. The law never existed in the days of Abraham."
RK: Again, sit down and read what other scholars say about the 90% in Genesis 14. MOST say that an Arab custom was in play. Second, THE Law of Moses did not yet exist but ARAB Law did exist. You act like they lived in a vacuum and had no laws governing how they were to act.
Christopher, this is good back and forth. Please keep it up. Can I share our entire dialog on my web site for all to see? I have noting to hide. You have my permission to share the entire dialog on your web site.