Russ: Your views on tithing are the common run-of-the-mill same old lame unbiblical arguments which are totally unconvincing. There is nothing new in this letter we have not heard a thousand times.
We do not negate any Scripture. We call you to let Scripture defend itself. God gave his Word for a reason – to tech truth.
Robert: Tithe(s) were practices before Moses ever wrote them down.
Russ: Tithes, yes. Holy biblical tithes, no.
Robert: Even pagan religions of old had a tithing concept which indicates to me the very validity of the truth of the tithing concept
Russ: I am the first to point out the fact that all pagans around Abram practiced tithing, especially Babylon from whence Abram came and probably learned it.
Robert: (You don't counterfeit realities).
Russ: You totally miss our point. Along with tithes the pagan societies also worshipped idols, the heavens, practiced child sacrifice and temple prostitution. Just because something like idolatry, child sacrifice and tithing are very old and common does not make them eternal moral principles. Your argument fails on this point miserably.
Robert: The scriptures show gentile Abram paying tithe before a law was enacted.
Russ: Yes, but the Scripture does not tell us WHY Abram tithed. You and almost everybody else who teaches tithing claim that Abram did so either because he was obeying God or did so as a thank offering. I reject both ideas as unsubstantiated by God’s Word. I suggest that he was simply obeying the well-known law of the land which you just admitted was very common. He tithed because the law of the land required it to his local king-priest.
Robert: And while it is true that there is only one account of this action being taken by this Patriarch of faith it is totally assumptive of anyone to try to make the case that he never did it before or after. WE JUST DON'T KNOW.
Russ: If God had thought that Abram’s tithing was so important that many preachers must mention it on a regular basis, then God would have certainly included more on the subject. Abram moved around Canaan often and served as his own priest.
Robert: Your faith might say he didn't, my faith says he did. Only time and God will tell who is right. I for one am content to leave this issue then until such time.
Russ: Fine. Now tell us why Abram gave the 90% to the king of Sodom. Is that an example of his faith? Are we to keep nothing? Are we to give 90% to the modern equivalent of the king of Sodom – perhaps the local priests of a Satanic witch coven. After all, you are telling us to follow Abram’s example.
Robert: The law which was enacted after Abraham was comprised of various elements that made up two Categories of legal requirement: Moral and Ceremonial.
Russ: Wrong. There were three elements. The Law with Ten Commandments were a preamble only for national Israel. The moral law was found throughout the whole law. Minor offenses were handled by the ceremonial statutes of the worship ritual. Major willful offenses were handled by the judges as civil rulers.
Robert: In truth the ceremonial laws which comprised such things as Animal Sacrifice, Circumcision, ritual washings, feast days, Sabbath days, new moons, all were taken away with SPECIFICITY in the New Testament Covenant as they had been prophesied in the Old.
Russ: Wrong again. The entire Old Covenant Law ended at Calvary for Israel per Hebrews 8:13 and Galatians 3:19. Gentiles never were “under the law.”
Robert: Moral laws however were not.
Russ: That part of the Old Covenant Law for Israel which applies to all people and the church today is found written in nature and conscience per Romans 1:18-20 and 2:14-16. It has been written in the hearts as the New Covenant based on LOVE per Romans 8:2.
Robert: These included laws regarding murder, covetousness, sexual immorality, theft of property, slander of character, male and female roles within the home and society at large, requirements to work and provide for your own, AND the support and maintenance of God's House and Ministers.
Russ: Now you are writing your own Bible. Please provide some texts for this revelation. The civil judgments were enforced by the judges who handled presumptuous sins.
Robert: As we both acknowledge, the NT is relatively silent on the custom of tithing but this in NO WAY means that it is because tithe has been done away.
Russ: Wrong again. The post-Calvary NT is “totally silent” about any command to tithe to support the gospel ministry. It must be because OT Levitical tithe recipients could not own or inherit land and most gospel preachers do. The tithe supported the Temple system and its priesthood while the New Covenant moved both of those within every believer. Plus the OT tithe, as food from inside God’s holy land, could not come from outside Israel. Therefore, nobody can biblically tithe today.
Robert: Far from that! By stamping his approval on the custom Jesus set the tone for the whole of the New Testament experience.
Russ: This is goofy logic and extremely poor hermeneutics. Jesus taught complete obedience to the OT law for Jews and you do not teach that. In Mt 23:23 Jesus was only discussing “matters of the law” and somehow you dismiss that! It would have been SIN for Jesus to accept tithes and he could not have told Gentiles to tithe because it was illegal. Matthew 23:23 is super-simple to explain.
Robert: Unlike you, I believe the Tithe to be only a PART, with weightier matters like proper judgment, humanitarian mercy, and the presentation and preservation of TURHT to be of greater importance. But you don't throw out the baby with the bath water.
Russ: Quote it correctly – “weightier matters – OF THE LAW.” That changes everything . Jesus was teaching law-teachers that THEY were ignoring the law’s teaching of morals. That “beam” in their eye and in your eye in Matthew 23:24 is the tithe! Take it out and live in the whole New Covenant. And, “yes,” you must “throw out” the whole “baby” of the whole law and start over again with the New Covenant which re-instates the moral parts of the law in terms of grace and faith.
Robert: In your argument silence indicates removal. In my argument the silence indicates tithes continuation.
Russ: I do not use the “silence” argument. The post-Calvary New Covenant destroys everything about Old Covenant tithing:
1. WHO #1: The Levitical servants to the priests who received the first whole tithe have been abolished. See Numbers 18:21-24. Modern equivalents to the Levites are unpaid ushers, deacons, choir, musicians, etc.
2. WHO #2: OT priests who received a tenth of the tithe (only 1 per cent) have been abolished. See Num 18:25-28 and Neh 10:38.
3. WHAT: The definition of tithes as only food miraculously increased by God from inside His holy land of Israel has been abolished and replaced with the false unbiblical definition of income. See Leviticus 27:30-34 and 14 other texts which describe the contents of the tithe. Yet money was common in Genesis.
4. WHERE: The destination of the OT tithes first to the Levitical cities some to the Temple has been abolished. See Neh 10:37b and Mal 3:10.
5. WHEN: The time to tithe has been abolished. The Levitical tithe was paid yearly in the Levitical cities. The second festival tithe was eaten at the three festivals. The third poor tithe was kept in the home every third year. Tithes totaled 23 1/3 per cent.
6. WHY #1: The covenant which prescribed them was abolished per Heb 8:8-13; Gal 4:21-26' 2 Cor 3:6-10.
7. WHY #2: The "commandment" for Levites and priests to collect tithes was "annulled" per Hebrews 7:5, 12, 18.
8. WHY #3: The law which condemned believers has been rendered of no effect when the believer died in Christ per Romans 7:4. No law can tell a dead person what to do.
9. HOW #1: Jesus abolished the law of commandments contained in ordinances per Eph 2:13. Tithing was an ordinance per Num 18.
10. HOW $2: Jesus blotted out the handwriting of ordinances, per Col 2:14. Tithing was an ordinance per Num 18.
11. HOW #3: The Temple which tithes supported was abolished in AD 70. God's temple is now within each believer per 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19-20.
12. HOW #4: The priesthood which was supported by tithes was abolished in AD 70. God's priesthood is now within every believer per 1st Peter 2:9-10.
13. HOW #5: The blessings and curses of tithing as part of the whole law have been abolished per Galatians 3:10-13.
Would you continue to send money to a church after
1. The building is destroyed?
2. The preacher has been defrocked?
3. The workers have found other jobs?
4. The members have all left?
5. The land has been inhabited by non religious people?
6. The purpose for the church no longer exists?
7. You have died?
Robert: It seems obvious both in an intellectual sense, and a theological sense, the establishment of the tithe was without a doubt original with God and required of His people.
Russ: Big fancy words with no Bible texts mean absolutely nothing. In Leviticus 27:30-34 the tithes were “original” with God: (1) only food from inside Israel, (2) tenth, not first, (3) tenth, not best, (4) only holy under the Old Covenant and (5) part of the Old Covenant Law from Sinai.
“Required”? Yes, but only from food producers who lived inside Israel. Not required from those whose increase came from their own hands, from Gentiles or from outside Israel.
Robert: It seems equally obvious in both of this sense that a prudent people will not just throw something that God started away without proper scriptural authorization. Of which there is none.
Russ: I have just provided scores of scriptural authorization. You have proven nothing.
Robert: The point of my articles (all but the last one) were simply this, the scriptural arguments are well founded on both sides of the issue.
Russ: Then continue the dialog with Bible facts.
Robert: I can't add anything to them. BUT I CAN ADD MY PERSONAL REASONINGS FOR WHY I TITHE which is the whole premise of the articles as set forth in their titles. You folks seem to think I was setting out a list of scriptural reasons when in fact I never said I was.
Russ: The Tithing-Study Group does not exist to air out “feel good” personal reasons.
Robert: The scriptures speak for themselves. We on the other hand are required to rightly "Divide" the Words of "truth".
Russ: Amen, and so we do. Praise God.
Robert: Now, I must say I find it appalling that men such as yourselves would feel the need to go to a local church blog and try to engage in a debate and/or argument.
Russ: Since we can actually read those local church blogs, that means they have been posted on the worldwide Internet in order to influence others. Do you agree? Therefore we have every right to counter it with the truth. If they were not trying to influence others, it would be kept private.
Robert: To my own master I stand or fall and not to you. I stand before God and answer to him for myself, my teaching, and my congregational defense and I WILL NOT let some rag tag group of cyber bullies come on in and try to wrest innocent souls.
Russ: Cyber bullies? Have you ever noticed that we are outnumbered by about 10,000 to 1 when churches blog FOR tithing? Most churches, most Christian magazines and most Christian TV and radio stations “bully” people with endless messages promoting tithing. Many of their blogs allow no discussion at all – they simply teach tithing and curse those who disagree. Who are you kidding here?
Robert: If you want to debate with me invite me into a neutral arena. Write me a personal email. But don't try to subvert the minds of this congregation.
Russ: I am glad that Martin Luther and John Calvin did not take your advice. We would all still be bowing to the Pope. Since you emailed me personally along with the Group, consider this an invitation to dialog with me on my personal blog and I will post both sides without cutting anything. It is: http://russkellyphd.blogspot.com/. By the way, Tithing-Study Group can be read by anybody. If your arguments are better than ours, you can make all of us look stupid. It is an open forum.
Robert: Do what the Master said if you think we are wrong... and "Leave" us "alone" for we be "blind leaders of the blind". You’re not commanded to labor among the brethren but to labor FOR the LOST.. so get busy.
Russ: Wrong. We are also commanded to teach sound doctrine among believers – just like Jesus, Peter and Paul did among their brethren.
Robert: If you want a pulpit to preach your beliefs make one. Do the work necessary to gain a congregational following. Show us how a church should be run if you know so much. But until you've run one, or as in my case, five, you can't teach me anything about how it "should be done" because your like single people trying to tell a parent of twelve how children should be raised. You just don't know whereof you speak.
Russ: Tell that to D. L. Moody, L. S. Chafer, Merrill Unger, Charles Ryrie, J. V. McGee and John MacArthur. Believe it or not you can have a successful growing church without teaching tithing. You simply need to preach good lively Bible sermons and personal evangelism.
Russell Earl Kelly