Rev Anthony R Locke
First Presbyterian Church, Tucker, Ga
You preached a sermon on Feb 6, 2011 on Malachi and tithing.
I disagree in the following areas and would appreciate a dialog with you on this subject.
1. The definiton of a holy biblical tithe from Malachi and Matthew 23 is “only food from inside God’s holy land of Israel which God has mirculously increased.” Tithes could not come from what man increased, from Gentiles or from outside Israel. I challenge you to disprove those facts.
2. Malachi is addressed only to Old Covenant Israel. 1:1; 4:4; Neh 10:29. It is not addressed to the church.
3. The Old Covenant which was delivered by Moses was only addressed to Israel. Ex 19:5-6. It was not addressed to Gentiles or to the Church. God told Israel NOT to share its covenant.
4. Both John Calvin and Martin Luther opposed the hermeneutic which allows the church to teach tithing. Only that part of the Law which is also in nature and conscience and is repeated in the New Covenant after Calvary applies to the church. Tithing was not. See my web sites for quotes from Luther and Calvin.
5. Calvin’s prayer which you quoted does not authorize New Covenant tithing. Read it carefully.
6. Your boldly say “I am preaching this morning against the sin of not worshipping with a monetary gift in hand.” Do you not realize that there are many who are so financially disabled that they cannot give anything without doing without medicine, food and/or shelter? Are you that callous? Do you not know that the poor ate from a second festival tithe and a third third-year tithe?
7. You proclaimed of Malachi 3 that “I picked this passage in Malachi because it is a classic. It‟s the only place in the Bible that God taunts us, better said, He challenges us to obey against our gut feelings and logic. Paul wrote in First Timothy 5:8 that doing what you suggest is “worse than the infidel.” Your first responsibility is to your family. Don’t let them go without medicine, food and essential shelter if at all possible.
8. You wrote “God wishes that we test His faithfulness in this matter.” The whole Law was a test: obey all to be blessed; break one to be cursed. Deu 27:26 quoted in Gal 3:10. God does not bless murderers and raptsts because they ttihe.
9. You said “Tithing isn‟t an Old Testament idea lost on New Testament saints.” The tithing statute-ordinance of the Law is Numbers 18. Read it. Those Levites and priests who received the tithe were not allowed to own or inherit property in Israel. Are you a Levite? Do you receive ttihe and own property? Do you obey the whole tithing law?
10. “Jesus very seldom handed out compliments and one of the few compliments Jesus evergave to the Pharisees was for their tithing. (Matthew 23).” Mt 23:23 is a dicussion of “matters of the law” and is not addressed to the church. Jesus could not and was not telling his disciples to tithe to Him and his apostles. Be honest with the context.
11. You said “The Apostle‟s referenced Abraham‟s tithing as a model of Christian commitment in Hebrews chapter seven.” No, they did not. Neither Genesis 14 nor Hebrews 7 tell us WHY Abram the uncircumcized Gentile tithed unholy spoils of war. The purpose of Hebrews 7 is not to teach tithing and there is no evidence that Abram’s motive for tithing was faith.
12. You said “Throughout the dispensations of the people of God, from Genesis to Revelation, tithing is a common denominator of all generations of the people of God.” I assume you do not want your church members to check this out for themselves because you know it is not true. The Jewish Christians in Judea never stopped being “zealous for the law” in Acts 21:20-21 and probably never stopped tithing to the Jewish system. That is the history of the Ebionites and Ekiasites. Acts 15 does not impose tithing on Gentile Christians. There is not a single post-Calvary text which even hits that the church collected tithes (which were impossible from defiled pagan land anyway).
13. You said “Tithing is one of our strongest testimonies of public faith that Jesus means more to us than thethings of this world.” This is made up and you know it.
14. You said “Tithing strongly testifies that this world is not our home, that our treasure is in heaven and not this earth, that we trust God to provide and that we are living for something bigger than ourselves.” This is also made up. Why not teach freewill sacrificial giving and unburden yourself from making things up as you go alaong?
15. You said “There is possibly no Christian discipline more authenticating to our faith than consistent financial giving to God during worship.” True, but this does not mean tithing.
16. You said “Tithing comforts our own soul that we are indeed apart of God‟s family.” No. Freewil sacrificial giving does.
17. You said “Tithing is a strong work of God‟s grace in our life that proves our faith is more than words.” There is no grace in tithing; it was cold hard law for food producers who lived inside Israel.
18. “Tithing is one of our top works of faith.” No validating texts. How about some Bible verses attached to your statements?
19. “Which is why God has this family chat with us in Malachi.” We are under the New Covenant and tithing does not appear there. God has not had this family chat with the Church.
20. “One cause of the barrenness of the Church is the tightfistedness of its members.” This would not hapapen if you preched evangelistic Bible-centered sermons.
21. “For it is more blessed to give than to receive.” This is from Acts 20:35 where Jesus was telling church elders to work and take care fo the needy in their congregations. Somehow it has been reversed today.
Please stop preaching tithing and enter the world of the New Covenant in stewardship.
In Christ’s love
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD