Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Reply to Pastor Vroegop

Reply to Pastor Mark Vroegop

College Park Church
Indianapolis, IN

Russ: While Mark jumps a lot of hoops trying to deny that he teaches tithing, his next-to-final statement places him solidly in the “yes” camp. “it would make sense that grace-loving, Jesus-centered, forgiveness-receiving people would give well beyond the Old Testament minimum.”

Mark makes the same mistakes and false assumptions of almost all tithe teachers: (1) he defines tithes as money increase, (2) he assumes that every Hebrew was requuired to tithe, and (3) he assumes that every Hebrew began a level of giving at ten per cent.

This is fundamentally wrong for several reasons: (1) The true biblical HOLY tithe was always only food from inside God’s holy land which He had miraculously increased, (2) although God owned everything, He did not accept holy tithes from what man increased, from Gentiles, or from outside Israel, (3) the only persons who could begin at a miimum of ten per cent were farmers and herdsmen inside Israel, (4) not even Jesus, Peter, and Paul qualified as tithe-payers, and (5) though money was common and required for sanctuary worship, money was never a tithed item in the Bible.

Mark: Numbers 18:25-30

Russ: If Mark would actually preach from the text he quoted, he would have to admit (1) that tithes were only food from inside Israel, (2) that the Levites who received the whole Levitical tithe were only servants to the priests, and (3) that priests only received one tenth of the tithe.

Mark: Acts 20:35

Russ: Here Paul instructed church elders to work hard to support the needy in their congregations. It has been reversed today.

Mark: 2 Corinthians 9:8, 11

Russ: He gives a lot of good freewill giving arguments but ends up teaching tithing.

Mark: Numbers 18

Russ: Numbers 18 is actually the exact wording of the tithing statute-ordinance.

Mark: As a part of the Old Testament sacrificial system, the Levites did not own property but lived off the contributions of the people.

Russ: They lived in 48 (later 13) Levitical cities and worked as farmers and herdsmen 23 of 24 weeks. They also worked and learned trades for use in the temple. (See Edersheim, etc.)

Mark: Embedded in this account is the issue of tithing since the Levites were instructed to give a “tithe of the tithe” (v 26).

Russ: Then the priests were not required to tithe. They gave freewill vow offerigns (Mal 1:13-14).

Mark: A tithe was the practice of giving a tenth of one’s income or increase as a financial offering to God. The idea was that a tenth portion of everything was given.

Russ: This is a LIE. The tithe was never the increase of what man produced. It was always only food from inside God’s HOLY land which God had miraculously increased by His own hand. See MacArthur and Croteau plus God’s Word.

Mark: Interestingly the concept of tithing was not unique to the nation of Israel. Many other religions and nations practiced tithing. A few examples are Babylonian culture, the temple of Athena in Athens, the Romans, Greeks, and Chinese.

Russ: Yes, but this does not make tithing an eternal moral principle because these other nations also worshipped idols, etc.

Mark: Genesis 14. This event, according to Hebrews 7, is loaded with symbolism since Abraham is the father of the Jewish nation, he is paying homage to someone who is both King and Priest, and the land from which Melchizedek comes (Salem) will be Jerusalem. However, Abraham didn’t invent the concept of tithing; he was reflecting something he had learned from his Babylonian culture since tithing had become a vital part of the religious-political culture of the day.

Russ: Since you do not go into detail, I won’t.

Mark: When Israel became a nation, tithing was a vital part of their formal identity. In Israel the tithe (10%) was both as an obligation and an act of worship.

Russ: The first and third tithes were obligations. The second tithe was also an act of worship.

Mark: In this way the tithe combines two words that do not seem to go together: taxes and worship. In Israel there was no distinction between spiritual and national life; they were intertwined. Therefore, the giving of tithes was a requirement since it was the means by which the nation was supported. So you could think of tithing as the spiritual taxation. It was money used to support the nation, and it was worship.

Russ: Yes per MacArthur and Croteau but not Alcorn. Kings used Levites as political workers, judges, rulers, etc. 1 Chron 23 to 26.

Mark: Leviticus 27:30-33

Russ: Interpret the text literally: (1) only food, (2) not the firstfruit, (3) not the best and (4) only for Israel (v34).

Mark: The tithe was based upon a few key principles:
• Everything belongs to the Lord

Russ: Only everything which God miraculously increased from inside His holy land. God did not accept holy tithes from anywhere else.

Mark: All that we have and hope to have is a gift from Him
• A tithe honors this relationship of Creator and Creature

Russ: Sounds good, but not exactly biblical.

Mark: … The average “tithe” was actually closer to 23%.

Russ: Am I to condlude that you mean 23% when you say “give well beyond the Old Testament minimum”? Is not this blatant hypocrisy?

Mark: Therefore, we can conclude the following about tithing in the Old Testament:
1. Tithing was a common practice in the Ancient Near East

Russ: Yes. Thanks for being honest. Most pastors will not admit this.

Mark: 2. Tithing was rooted in God’s ownership

Russ: Not necessarily unless limited to Israel.

Mark: 3. Tithing was both an obligation and an act of worship in Israel

Russ: Only for Israel. Not for Gentiles or the Church.

Mark: 4. Tithing went well beyond the traditional 10%

Russ: Yes, so what is the minimum? 23?

Mark: Tithing was the fundamental way that the people of Israel expressed their understanding of God’s role in their life, their gratitude, and the support of the nation.

Russ: NO, NO, NO. Only farmers and herdsmen inside Israel. It applied to nobody else. Others showed their gratitude with freewill offerings.

Mark: …. 1. Voluntary giving, not tithing, is the base or foundation of generosity
2. Voluntary giving was a response to the grace and goodness of God

Russ: Yes, so why not teach the “base or foundation of generosity”?

Mark: 3. Tithing, while valuable and important, was a cultural and national addition that never replaced voluntary, heart-based generosity

Russ: True. Freewill giving is always better.

Mark: So now you are wondering: Are we supposed to tithe or not? Good question. Is Tithing for Today? [Quotes Augustien and Randy Alcorn]

Russ: Why do you pretend to disagree with Alcorn and then make a final statement which is exactly what he concludes???? “Give well beyond the Old Testament minimum.”

Mark: However, I do not see how tithing as defined and practiced in the Old Testament is the model for giving today.

Russ: Yes, you most certainly do: “Give well beyond the Old Testament minimum.

Mark: Therefore, I think that a tithing model is the wrong way to approach New Testament giving.

Russ: No, you don’t. “Give well beyond the Old Testament minimum.”

Mark: Why do I say that?
3. The New Testament never suggests that tithing is the model of Jesus’s disciples.

Russ: Then do not teach that “it would make sense that grace-loving, Jesus-centered, forgiveness-receiving people would give well beyond the Old Testament minimum.” You hypocrite! Many Christaisns can barely make ends meet and are already giving sacrificially even though LESS than ten per cent. Our guide is First Timothy 5:8.

Mark: Some would argue and resist what I’m saying today suggesting that a lack of emphasis on tithing comes from a desire to give less, and it is often suggested that the effect on people will be that less will be given. However, that is a familiar charge and a common fear when grace is added to anything. The fear of what people will do or not do has led to lots of obedience “add-ons” over the centuries.
As well, limiting obedience to a particular standard (in this case, a percentage) makes those who are doing it feel righteous when they may be doing so out of rote habit and self-righteousness (“I’m gave my 10%, I’ve done my part. God is happy with me.”) It is my belief that a specific, required, and obligated percentage takes away the heart of what giving is supposed to be. It might be comparable to the husband who either feels obligated to buy his wife a gift for every special event. The required duty eclipses the joy.
Next week, I’ll dial into this issue even further, but let me give you some initial thoughts as to how we ought to think about giving:
1. Giving acknowledges God’s ownership of everything, so you should regularly give
I am in no way suggesting that you should not give. On the contrary, I firmly believe that a failure to give and a stingy heart reflect very clearly on your view of God. Those who love God’s rule of their lives will have generous hearts.

Russ: This is great rhetoric but it does not match your “minimum” statement.

Mark: 2. Engaging the heart in giving is more important than the size of the gift
God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7), and it is really important to see that central to the beauty of giving is the heart-wrestling that should accompany it.

Russ: Yes, yes, yes.

Mark: 3. There is commendable value in becoming a priority and percentage giver
Here is where tithing as a model is helpful. I would encourage you to consider making giving the first check that you write, and I would encourage you to set a percentage of what you believe God is leading you to give.

Russ: Great Alcorn theology but not found in God’s Word. The titeh was never a model for all Hebrew givers.

Mark: 4. Giving a tithe does not satisfy our giving obligations

Russ: For many the giving of ten per cent would be a huge sacrificle. They would have to do without essentials.

Mark: 5. We must see giving through the lens of the gospel

Russ: After Calvary and blessed by the Holy Spirit.

Mark: And it seems to me that while tithing is not required, it would make sense that ….

Russ: Take the OT Law out fo one hand, slip it around the back, and place it back into the NT hand. Neat trick. Do you also take all of Numbers 18 and do the same thing with that entire statute? Do you own and inherit property? Hmmmmm.

Mark: … grace-loving, Jesus-centered, forgiveness-receiving people would give well beyond the Old Testament minimum.

Russ: Our nation is full of of faithful “tithe-payers” in the ghettos who have been “tithing” for generations and remain poor. They are afraid to stop because their money tree is just around the corner.

Mark: But the motivation should not be obligation and habit; it should be love and gratitude.

Russ: YOU have made it a motdivation of MINIMUM.

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
Author of Should the Church Teach Tithing? and good friend or Dr. David Croteau. See his latest edited book, Perspectives on Tithing: Four Views, by Broadmen Press.

P.S. Alcorn backed out of Christianity Today’s debate challenge with me. See Revelation TV (London) Tithing Debate.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Wealthy Nigerians, Pastors Spend $225 million on Private Jets
May. 17 2011 - 12:32 pm | 0 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments
Nigerian pastor and private jet owner David Oyedepo. (Image via Wikipedia)
A few wealthy Nigerians spent at least $225 million acquiring private jets between March 2010 and March 2011, a Nigerian newspaper reported on Monday.
According to the report published by the Punch Newspaper, a couple of the acquisitions were made by billionaires Aliko Dangote and Mike Adenuga. Last year, Dangote acquired a US$45 million Bombardier jet as a gift to himself on his 53rd birthday, while Mike Adenuga purchased a Bombardier Global Express XRS. Both Dangote and Adenuga own at least two private planes each.
Apart from wealthy business tycoons, Nigerian clergymen and spiritual leaders are also joining the very elite league of jet owners.
In March this year, David Oyedepo, a Nigerian cleric generally believed to be Africa’s wealthiest gospel preacher, acquired a Gulfstream V jet for US$30 million. Oyedepo, who presides over the Winners Chapel, one of Africa’s largest churches, now owns a private collection of four aircraft. In addition to his latest acquisition, he previously owned two Gulfstream planes and a Bombardier Challenger Aircraft. He is also reportedly creating a private hanger to accommodate his flying toys.
Oyedepo is not the only Nigerian clergyman to own a jet. Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the revered overseer of Nigeria’s largest congregation, The Redeemed Christian Church of God, is also a proud jet owner. In March 2009, the great man of God spent $30 million on a Gulfstream jet amidst widespread criticism. Pastor Sam Adeyemi, another cleric and founder of the Daystar Christian center, a flourishing Pentecostal congregation which repeatedly preaches financial prosperity, is also a jet owner.
It’s not cheap to own a private jet. On average, it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to maintain a personal plane. The majority of Nigerians frown at such flagrant displays of opulence, particularly on the path of their clergymen, given that 60% of Nigerians still live below the poverty line.
Paradoxically, the same people who complain about the extravagant lifestyles of their spiritual leaders are the same ones who finance it. Every Sunday, swarms of worshipers rush to the church to give away their hard-earned money to the pastors’ coffers in the form of tithes, offerings and special gifts with the deluded hope of multiplied financial blessings in return. For many, this is but a pipe dream. Deep down, the pastors smile; they’ve got just the perfect suckers.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Reply to Pastor Aaron

Pastor Aaron

Russ: While I sense that you have a great love for God and a strong gospel heart, your logic to retain tithing is faulty. Please reconsider and join us. Your final point will not let go of this false doctrine: “My point here is that there is no longer Jew or Gentile and while we are free from trying to justify ourselves by the law, the heart of the law still applies to sin, good works, giving and tithing.”

Aaron: While a set amount of 10% was never set in the New Testament, the principal of giving to support the temple and the ministry was still valid under the new covenant.

Russ: Yes, but not tithing!

Aaron: Since this concept is quite clear throughout the New Testament, I am wondering if it's the continual and consistent giving that you have a problem with?

Russ: No. It is your dogged use of the term “tithing” which you have completely taken out of the OT definition and context. HOLY, I repeat, HOLY tithes could only come from inside the HOLY land of Israel and only from what God Himself had miraculously increased. Not even Jesus qualified as a tithe-payer. Why won’t you address those glaring errors in your theology?

Aaron: We also find that it was common in e New Testament to give much, much more than 10%, and often to give all you had.

Russ: There is no percentage given in the New Covenant for the church after Calvary. Period. The Holy Spirit-blessed giving was freewill and sacrificial. And, yes, that meant MORE than 10% for many but it also meant LESS dthan 10% for many others were were still giving sacrificially. Why is that concept so hard to understand for you?

Aaron: Let's look at a few scriptures we find in the NT with regards to continual giving. In the following passage we find that monies were collected for Jerusalem during a period of time outside and on top of their commitments to their church.
1 Corinthians 16:1-3

Russ: You are using a corrupt Not Inspired Version which changes the Greek word “logia” into “money” when the context is “food” for famine relief. Hint: money does not buy food in a famine unless you have wheelbarrows full of it. Second, this text is not discussing pastoral support or church building funds.

Aaron: In the next passage Paul let's the church know that whatever they have to give is fine, and let them judge for themselves what was appropriate to give based on what they had.
2 Corinthians 8:10-15

Russ: This is my argument and it proves your use of the word “tithing” completely unscriptural for the NT church after Calvary.
“Equality giving” means that the much-giving by some will make up for the less-giving of others who are applying First Timothy 5:8.

Aaron: Paul received financial help from various churches regularly, but never pressed people for money.
Philippians 4:10-20

Russ: Again, Paul did not preach or teach tithing because he knew very well that tithes could only come off the land of Israel and could only be used to support the Levites and priests. Paul was mostly self-supporting by his own choice.

Aaron: From the following passage it is clear that pastors, elders and teachers received money and support from their churches.

Russ: Yes, but it does not state that pastors MUST be full time and MUST accept a salary. The Bible is silent on that point. Otherwise Paul would be deliberately disobeying Jesus in 9:14.

Aaron: It is also clear that this was an "accepted right" and tradition carried from the Old Testament where God had made precedent that teachers would be provided for by the church.

Russ: The greatest preachers in the OT were the prophets and they exercised no “right” in this manner. They were supported by voluntary freewill offerings if at all. Gospel preachers more closely follow the pattern of OT prophets than OT priests who only received one per cent per Num 18:25-28 and Neh 10:38.

Aaron: Paul here is forgoing his rights to this, however keep in mind that he is not saying that those who partake of this right are wrong, since he is clearly OK with it. 1 Corinthians 9:1-19

Russ: This has absolutely nothing to do with tithing. In fact, if Paul had wanted to teach tithing, he missed this golden opportunity. OT tithe recipients were not allowed to own or inherit property. What do you do with that part of the tithing law?

Aaron: We read in Timothy that elders should be well paid for their hard work of teaching and preaching. 1 Timothy 5:17-18

Russ: This is a horrendous interpretation of the Greek and the KJV, NAS and RSV do not thus interpret it. Shame on you. First Timothy 5:1-16 and 19-20 deal with DISCIPLINE, not salaries. The word “timos” refers to the “worthiness” of a teaching elder to receive DOUBLE HONOR when being disciplined. “Timos” is never translated as “money” or “salary” in real translations.

Aaron: In Galatians Paul implores those who are taught the word to provide for their teachers who teach the word.
Galatians 6:6 Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them.

Russ: True, but the text is not discussing tithing or full-time salaries.

Aaron: Please remember, that while we are not under the law, we are not excluded from the heart of the law. In Jeremiah God says that the law would no loner be in stone, but in our hearts.
Jeremiah 31: 31, 33-34

Russ: This is also in Hebrews 8:8-13. First, the OT covenant of Law was never commanded to the Gentile or Church and especially its cultic worship statutes-ordinances which included tithing. Second, that part of the Law which is eternal and moral is also written in the heart and conscience—including giving but not tithing (Rom 2:14-16).Third, the post-Calvary NT Law of the Spirit is LOVE which is freewill sacrificial giving and not tithing.

Aaron: The point of grace is to free us from the law, meaning the law is not what justifies us, for justification is only through Christ. Galatians 3:24 So then, the Law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.

Russ: Gentiles never were under the OT Law of tithing and never needed to be FREED from it. What does “until” mean to you?
Why did you quote Gal 3:24 and leave out 3:25-26? You missed the point of that and 3:19. Gal 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Aaron: However this does not give us license to sin or to be free of good works.

Russ: This is a weak and silly argument used to support ttthing. The Christian is a “new creation in Christ” and has a new nature which wants to obey God spontaneously because God’s will is now written in his/her heart.

Aaron: Hebrews 10:24-29

Russ: The letter of Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians who were still attending AND SUPPORTING the Temple system over 30 years after Calvary. See also Acts 21:20-21. They were still paying tithes to the Temple system.

Aaron: Even you may not be a Jew, because of your faith you are given the promise of Abraham. This means that we are all now children of Abraham and heirs to God's promise.
Galatians 3:14
Galatians 3:23-29

Russ: And what does this mean concerning tithing? Do we follow Abram’s example and tithe pagan spoils of war to our local church? Does this mean that we follow his example and give the 90% to the equivalent of the King of Sodom? Does this mean that we can lie to Pharoah and loan him our wife in order to get wealth? Not everything Abram did is an example of faith.

Aaron: My point here is that there is no longer Jew or Gentile and while we are free from trying to justify ourselves by the law, the heart of the law still applies to sin, good works, giving and tithing.

Russ: You are cherry-picking only that part of the Law which YOU want to extend to the NT church. Your hermeneutic is inconsistent. What gives you the authority to add something to the Church which is not added to it in the pages of the NT after Calvary by the Holy Spirit?

Aaron: Recall my first response to the heart of giving. Remember, nobody at Christian World is beating your over the head for 10%, but you are encouraged to give, and to learn to give consistently as the bible teaches in both the New and Old Testaments, so that you can be a blessing.

Russ: If I gave as the Bible teaches in the OT, I would be giving tithes, offerings, vow offerings, temple shekels, poll taxes, etc, etc, etc. What you really mean is “give consistently as I have taught you what I think the Bible teaches.”

Aaron: Open your heart to Christ and ask Him what He wants from you with regards to how much and how often to give to Him.

Russ: This is freewill sacrificial giving at its best –not tithing.

Russell Earl Kelly

Saturday, May 07, 2011


Published with Permission, 5-5-2011
Dear Brother Kelly,
I’d like to thank you for your work helping believers escape the bondage of tithing and the Old Testament Law.
My wife and I suffered under that bondage for 15 years until I finally took the initiative to research the claims of tithe-teachers myself. I came to the Lord when I was 21, started attending an Assemblies of God Church, and faithfully gave 10% of my gross income to that church regardless of whether I could afford it or not. Unable to afford it because my wife and I were raising 4 young children on a meager income, we started to accumulate a lot of credit card debt. We approached our Pastor at the time who told us we had to tithe, but that the church couldn’t help us out financially. We continued like this for years eventually ending up with over $30,000 in credit card debt, mostly from buying groceries.
There were many times during those years that I questioned whether Christians needed to tithe, but would always run into opposition from my wife, friends, and pastors. Several of our closest friends were Word of Faith people who operated under the fear that if they didn’t tithe, they’d be cursed.
I used to work a job in a paper mill that required me to work 6 or usually 7 days a week, so I rarely felt I had time to study God’s Word. In the long run, it cost me dearly. Eventually though, I grew disgusted with what I saw as abuse in the church as I listened to pastors preach to poor people that, regardless of their circumstances, still needed to tithe. After all, they’d say, “who knows what kind of trouble you’re saving yourself by tithing. Quit now and your life will really get tough.”
After months of careful study, compiling my notes into a book and practicing what my arguments would be, I felt confident enough to share with my wife, friends, and pastors what I had learned regarding tithing. My wife eagerly listened and eventually saw the light. Most of my friends were so fearful of not tithing that they wouldn’t see the light unless their properly ordained pastor told them they didn’t have to tithe. Most disappointing of all was the response I received from almost every pastor I spoke with---5 of them absolutely refused to discuss the issue or even look at my copious notes. Over the years, only 1 pastor of a very small fellowship read what became my book and changed his mind about tithing.
This has been a very discouraging battle for me. Prior to becoming a Christian, I was a devout Roman Catholic. You can imagine the turmoil I endured as I explained to my parents that I was leaving the Catholic Church to attend a Protestant Church. They were heartbroken and even considered not attending my protestant wedding because their Priest told them it would be a sin for them to set foot in my church. I had to leave Catholicism though. I had always questioned authority and had I not I’d still be Catholic today. This is why I have a hard time with the people I know not wanting to question tithing. Many of these friends came out of Catholicism as I had, but it’s as though, once they became protestant, they quit questioning everything. They’ll believe anything their pastor tells them.

Your Fellow laborer in Christ,
Joel P. Parker
P.S. I love your book.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Rebuttal to Steven Britt on Tithing-2

Was Tithing Disannulled in Hebrews 7? Part 2 of Article Closed to Open Dialog

Steven Britt: Of course, they then pick and choose for themselves what they consider to be Old Covenant law!

Russell Kelly: This is a blatant lie and the very opposite is true. Mr. Britt is the one who “picks and chooses” that part of the Old Covenant which he personally thinks should be taught in the New Testament after Calvary without any use of consistent hermeneutics. Our hermeneutical foundation is consistent and literal: The Old Covenant was only given to Israel. (2) That part of the Old Covenant which also applies to the Church has been repeated to the Church in terms of the New Covenant after Calvary.” (3) “What,” we ask, “is your hermeneutic if not ‘pick and choose’?”

Steven: After a careful analysis of this chapter, I'll show in a broader sense that neither tithing nor any other part of the law of God has ever been "disannulled" in the sense that it is no longer in effect, as so many today want you to think.

Russ: You waste a lot of words. Just do it. Just say it. Stop beating around the bush.

Steven: For starters, let's review the anti-tithing argument in question. It goes as follows: Hebrews 7 is the only place in the bible after Christ's death that tithing appears, and it refers to tithe as a commandment and law in verse 5.

Russ: The argument is that Hebrews 7:5 is the first text in Hebrews where the words “commandment,” “tithes,” and “law” appear. Other than that, your statement is literally true in God’s Word.

Steven: Then Hebrews 7:12 says that the law has changed because the priesthood has changed,

Russ: The priesthood was literally changed from the Aaronic to the Melchozedek-Christ. Verses 12-18 point out very strongly that the Melchizedek priesthood was not based on Old Covenant law which established and sustained the Aaronic priesthood by tithes and other offerings.

Steven: and verse 18 says that the commandment is disannulled.

Russ: You are manipulating the text. It says that “There is a disannulling of the commandment going before.” And, in literal context, that “commandment going before” must at the very least include tithing from 7:5.

Steven: Therefore, the commandment and law that are "disannulled" in Hebrews 7 are the laws of tithing,

Russ: While the “commandment going before” in 7:5, 18 specifically included tithing, it must have included all statutes-ordinances which had been legislated for the Aaronic priesthood, including Numbers 18.

Steven: and Christians are no longer required to tithe like people did in the Old Covenant.

Russ: This is manipulation. (1) Christians never were required to tithe. (2) Only food producers who lived inside Israel were ever required to tithe. Even Jews who lived outside Israel and/or were not food producers could not tithe. (3) While the OT laws of tithing were very limited, NT post-Calvary giving principles are very widespread and make much more sense. Tithing limited giving to HOLY food from God’s HOLY land.

Steven: Hebrews 7:1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,
7:2 to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all...
7:3 … remains a priest continually.
7:4 Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils.
7:5 And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; 7:6 but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises.

The Old Covenant established the Levites as a tribe of priests and appointed them to receive the tithes from the rest of those under the covenant - the other 11 tribes of Israel.

Russ: Correct.

Steven: Is tithing the central issue here? No. Tithing is being used as a device to show that Melchizedek is greater than Abraham. Therefore, since Abraham is greater than Levi, Melchizedek is greater than Levi:

Russ: Correct.

Steven: Hebrews 7:7 Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better.
7:9 Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak,
7:10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.

The sole purpose of mentioning tithes is to demonstrate that Melchizedek is greater than Levi since tithes are given from the lesser to the greater.

Russ: Correct.

Steven: 7:11 Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron?

Now it should become clear: the author of Hebrews is showing the insufficiency of the Levitical priesthood and the need for a greater priesthood.

Russ: Correct.

Steven: Now that we are in the proper mindset, we have come to the infamous verse 12, the verse that anti-tithers say "changes" the law of tithing:
7:12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.
7:13 For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar.
7:14 For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.

We have now come to the heart of the matter: Christ is a priest, but He did not come from the tribe of Levi - He was from the tribe of Judah. The law only allowed Levites to be priests. Therefore, what change of the law is being discussed? The law which states that only Levites can be priests! There is absolutely NO indication from the context that a change in tithing is being discussed!

Russ: Wrong. You are jumping the gun. You still have verses 13-19 to go. [At the end of the article you argue that no part of the law has ever changed.]

7:15 And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest

It we stopped here, we could only conclude that the Old Covenant law of Israel did not allow for priests to come from the tribe of Judah. You are trying to “change” the OT law from “giving tithes to priests from Levi” to “giving tithes to a priests from Judah.

Steven: But we still have one more verse to go: the infamous "disanullment" in verse 18. Let's see what we make of that statement now that we understand the point that is being made:’’

Russ: No. You still have verses 16-17 before reaching verse 18.

7:16 who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life.

Verse 16 takes the discussion out of the possibility of law-tithes supporting a priesthood from Judah. In fact, it takes the discussion out of the Old Covenant law altogether. The new principle is not a new law of tithing, rather it is a law-principle of Christ’s priesthood being supported by eternal moral principles.

7:17 For He testifies: "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek."

Christ’s priesthood is not based on the historical qualifications of the historical Melchizedek to be a priest in Israel (which are none). Rather it is based on his “office” or “rank” or “title” of a KING-PRIEST; that is what “order” means.

Steven: 7:18 For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness,

'Notice that the "former commandment" was annulled "because of its weakness and unprofitableness," … The fleshly commandment is, again, the one that states that only the sons of Aaron could be priests.

Russ: No. Read 7:5 again. The “former commandment” was “They that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law.”

Steven: … because Christ came as a priest "according to the power of an endless life" rather than "according to the power of a fleshly commandment."

Russ: Rather than replacing one with another, your faulty logic interprets “according to the power of an endless life" IN THE CONTEXT OF "according to the power of a fleshly commandment." This is illogical. Your “power of an endless life” principle is now working within the context of a changed law of tithing; the “change” was from a “fleshly commandment” to being incorporated into an eternal life.

Steven: Now that we understand what Hebrews 7 is saying, let's answer the argument that I posed in the beginning.

Russ: You have manipulated the literal meaning of the text to agree with your point.

Steven: The only law or commandment that is specifically addressed for the purpose of being changed or annulled is the commandment that states that priests had to be from the tribe of Levi.

Russ: This is nowhere in Hebrews 7, yet it is your only argument.

Steven: It cannot in any way be construed as indictment of tithing in particular!

Russ: Again, the only commandment specifically mentioned “in particular” is that of tithing in 7:5.

7:19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

This refers to all of the Law, not just tithing. All of the Old Covenant ended at Calvary per Heb 8:13; Rom 10:4 and Gal 3:23-26.

Steven: Matthew 5:17 Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
5:18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

Heaven and earth have not passed away - and neither has one word of God's law.

Russ: You have a whole lot of explaining to do here. (1) I ask you again to define the way you use the word “law.” In Mt 5:18-48 Jesus used it to mean the “whole law” –all the commandments, all the ceremonial worship statutes-ordinances and all the judicial civil laws. (2) If you are attempting to limit Jesus’ words to the moral law, you are greatly mistaken. (3) If you are attempting to say that none of the statutes-ordinances and judgments have ended, you are even more mistaken. (4) From a literal understanding of 5:18-19 it was either all of the law or none of the law. (5) From verse 5:20 it is clear that Jesus meant the “righteous requirements of the law” which He personally met.

Steven: Any "changes" are, as I stated, changes that uphold the spiritual intent of the law. Christ gave examples of these types of "changes" in the Sermon on the Mount: it's not sufficient to abstain from murder; rather, you can't even hate your brother in your heart. It's not sufficient to abstain from adultery; rather, you can't even look at a woman with lust.

Russ: You are manipulating God’s Word to make it say only what you want it to say. Jesus gave 6 examples and you neglect to discuss the 2 examples from the statutes and the 2 examples from the judgments. Shame on you for distorting God’s Word for your own benefit.

Steven: As a matter of fact, prophecy indicates that EXALTING the law was one of the purposes of the Messiah!

Isaiah 41:21 The LORD is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will exalt the law and make it honorable.

In the King James, the word "exalt" is translated as "magnify." The Hebrew word, according to Strong's, means "to make great, to cause to grow, to magnify."

Russ: Of course Jesus exalted the law; He exalted all three parts of equally. While living under the full jurisdiction of the law, it would have been SIN for Jesus to suggest changing any of it.

Steven: Not only has God's law not been abolished, annulled, abrogated, or whatever fancy language you want to use to say that it is "done away" - the fact is, Christ came to reveal the true spirit of the law, which is even greater and more honorable than the letter of the law.

Russ: The “fancy language” which proves that the law has been changed comes from God Himself. (1) The covenant changed from Old to New. (2) The high priesthood changed from Aaron to Christ. (3) The priests changed from Aaron’s family to that of every believer. (4) The Temple changed from a building to the body of the believer. (5) The sacrifices changed from many to one. (6) God’s people changed (at least temporarily) from Israel to the church. (7) And you personally keep on arguing (in error) that the ONLY change (though still a change) was from Aaron to Christ. Do you listen to yourself?

Steven: 5:19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Russ: The entire Old Covenant law ended at Calvary per Heb 8:8-13. The “least of these commandments” includes all of the statutes which spiritually ended at Calvary and all of the civil judicial laws which clearly physically when Israel ceased to be a nation.

Steven: In conclusion, as I stated from the beginning: God's commandment to tithe is NOT specifically targeted in Hebrews 7.

Russ: And, for the fourth or fifth time, you arrive at this conclusion by ignoring the literal connection between 7:5 and 7:18.

Steven: Furthermore, NONE of God's requirements have been weakened; rather, they have been magnified and made better, so that we might receive a better reward than in the Old Covenant.

Russ: Have you ever read the Law beginning in Exodus 21? How do you magnify the law which commanded Israel to KILL children who cursed or hit their parents? How do you make the law better which commanded Israel to send their wives out of the house for that special one week a month? Do you pierce the ears of your slaves? Do you worship at sunset on Friday?

Steven: In view of this fact, regarding tithing in particular, it is easily seen that there is no way to get off the hook as far as tithing goes. God's law is magnified in the New Covenant, and that includes the laws of tithing!

Russ: Since you have concluded that all of the law is still in effect and affects you the Christian, then you must literally obey the tithing statute of Numbers 18 and (1) tithe only HOLY food from inside God’s HOLY land of Israel; (2) tithe only to Levites who are servants to the priests; (3) have Levites tithe only a tenth of the tenth they receive to the priests; (4) ignore the NT teaching that all believers are priests; and (5) KILL anybody who attempts to enter the sanctuary other than priests. Hey, you made the rule that the whole law is still in effect.

Steven: If you're still reading this, then you already know that I've said too much for one post.

Russ: Yes, you are becoming obnoxious.

Steven: My next post on debunking anti-tithing arguments will bring us to the next logical point, as I laid out in the Introduction: now that I've shown that tithing is still required by Christians, I will refute the notion that ministers in God's church are not qualified to receive tithes since they are not Levites.

Russ: I cannot wait. This is easier than taking candy from a baby. When are you going to do the right thing and open this up to a real discussion. What are you afraid of?

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Rebuttal to Steven Britt on Tithing-1

Steven Britt: Typically, if someone were trying to persuade you not to tithe, you would undergo a barrage of the following points all mixed together with no distinction between what argument the person is actually trying to make.

Russell Earl Kelly: Both my comments and those of Dr. David Croteau are very neatly laid out in our PHD dissertations. And many top theologians including Martin Luther agree.

Steven: It can seem overwhelming if you’ve not heard the arguments before – which is why they present it in that way: to confuse you so that you can’t stop and really scrutinize any one argument.

Russ: So you begin the discussion by being dishonest. Nice. I seriously doubt that you will continue this dialog very long.

Steven: 1. The practice of tithing for Christians is no longer valid because it is part of the Old Covenant law, which is no longer valid.

Russ: In fact the Old Covenant law was never commanded to Gentiles or to the Church. As a Gentile I never was under the Old Covenant law.

Steven: Some people make an even more specific assertion than this – they claim that Hebrews 7 is not invalidating the law, but specifically invalidating tithe.

Russ: There are many texts where the entire Old Covenant law has been replaced by better New Covenant principles such as Heb 8:8-13 and Romans 7:4 and 10:4.
I teach that Hebrews 7 very specifically invalidates all of the law which specifically deals with the establishment and sustenance of the Aaronic priesthood as in 7:5, 12 and 7:18.

Steven: As many of my readers know, I believe that NONE of the law of God has ever been “done away.”

Russ: You must be sitting on the moon. No major denomination teaches this, including the most ardent pro-tithers. Do you kill your children when they strike or curse you? Do you send your wife out of the house for one week a month? I doubt that you will give us your working consistent definition of what you mean by the word “law.” I will ask for this in every post.

Steven: 2. Ministers in any modern church are not qualified to receive any kind of tithe because only the Levites could receive the tithe in the Old Covenant.

Russ: The true biblical HOLY tithe was only HOLY if it came off God’s HOLY land and from that food which God had miraculously increased. And those who received the Levitical tithe were not allowed to own or inherit property. If you are going to teach that the whole law is valid for Christians, then you must obey all of it and not pick and choose. You must also teach 23%.

Steven: 3. Some actually take this argument a step further and claimed that tithe would only apply to a farmer in Israel –

Russ: Yes, and we have 16 texts to verify this while you have zero texts to define your holy tithe. It is done by literally interpreting the Bible by somebody on earth, and not on the moon.

Steven: therefore, no one in America (or anywhere other than Israel) would have any need to pay tithe at all, even if they were a farmer.

Russ: True. Again, it was only a HOLY tithe when God miraculously gave the increased from inside His holy land. Explain that.

Steven: As you can see, the anti-tithers have constructed attacks at every level of the practice.

Note: Steven Britt is "boldly" attacking those who disagree with him about tithing, but is blocking contrary comments.
He is afraid of something.

Russ: Anti-tithers literally interpret the Word of God.

Steven: 1. There is no scriptural evidence that Jesus, Peter, or Paul ever tithed, and there is no instruction to tithe given after Christ’s death. Some will even be so bold as to even say that “Jesus never tithed.”

Russ: I cannot wait to hear your silly answers. Please hurry.

Steven: 2. Feel free to comment with other categories of anti-tithing arguments that you may have heard, and stay tuned for the upcoming rebuttals of these issues!

Russ: My web site receives over 250 hits per day. It contains a 21 point essay on page one and my 288 page book on the left hand column, plus over 200 other articles. Feel free to attempt to rebut it. Better heads than you have failed.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Rebuttal of Pastor Kent, City Church

Pastor Kent, City Church

Kent: “Prov 3:9-10 is about firstfruits and not tithing. Firstfruits were extremely small token offerings per Deu 26:1-4; Neh 1-:35-37 and many other passages. Do not confuse the two. Tithes are tenth-fruits.”

Tithing is the practice of giving "10% of your increase" as an offering to the Lord.

Kelly: True biblical holy tithes were always only food from inside God’s holy land of Israel which God had miraculously increased. Tithes could not come from what man increased, from Gentiles or from outside Israel. Although money was common in Israel, money was never a tithed item. Jesus, Peter and Paul could not tithe. Nobody actually tithes today. Period.

Kent: “Tithing is a pledge of trust.”

Kelly: The first biblical Levitical tithe was cold hard law to support the Levites and priests.

Kent: “Malachi 3:10 "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this."

Kelly: (1) Malachi was addressed to Old Covenant Israel and not the church. (2)The tithe was still food 1000 years later. (3) The church was not the storehouse and did not legally have its own buildings for almost 300 years after Calvary. (4) The whole Law was a test per Gal 3:10. Obey all to be blessed; break one to be cursed. God does not bless murderers and adulterers because they tithe.

Kent: “What is the History of the Tithe? Although tithing (a.k.a., first-fruits) can be traced back to the Garden of Eden.”

Kelly: There is no mention of tithing in Eden. One tree out of many thousands does not constitute tithing.

Kent: “Levites and priests: Because of this task, the law forbade them from doing normal agricultural activity. In the Promised Land, they were designated to go to certain cities. … Originally, the tithe was a mechanism to keep a group of people in “full-time ministry” (Num. 18:21-32).”

Kelly: They only served one week out of 24 in the Temple. The remainder of the time was spent in the Levitical cities farming to raise tithed animals and learning essential trades for temple maintenance. They received the tithe because they were not allowed to inherit and own land. Today unscrupulous tithe-teachers receive tithes and own property.

Kent: “Deuteronomy 14:22 … Deuteronomy 14:28-29
Why would people resist the tithe now?

Kelly: Why do you not teach three tithes of 20-23% now?

Kent: “First of all, it’s important to note that tithing pre-existed the Mosaic Law.”

Kelly: These do not qualify as HOLY biblical tithes as taught in Malachi and by Jesus. They were unclean unholy pagan products given in response to the law of the land.

Kent: “Even if certain tithing practices ceased, the concept of "first-fruits" is still found all throughout the Old and New Testaments.”

Kelly: Again, tithes were never the same as firstfruits. See First Timothy 5:8 for Christian priorities.

Kent: “Secondly, Jesus did advocate tithing in Matthew 23:23. In this context, Jesus is rebuking the Pharisees for their hypocritical teachings on tithing. So he says: “You should practice the former [tithing] without neglecting the latter [justice].” Many scholars take this to be a clear affirmation of tithing, so long as it is stewarded in a holy and just manner.”

Kelly: You are a dishonest Bible manipulator! The text is a discussion of pre-Calvary Old Covenant “matters of the law.” It is addressed to “you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites” and not the church. It would have been illegal and SIN for Jesus to teach his disciples to tithe to himself.

Kent: “Even more, the context of Christ's sermon in Matthew 6 was clearly a "first-fruits" teaching.”

Kelly: Matthew 6:38 was about freewill sacrificial giving.

Kent: “But, for me, the most convincing evidence comes from the historical writings of the early church fathers.”

Kelly: You insult the intelligence of true Bible scholars. Dr. David Croteau (Liberty University) recently published his PHD thesis, You Mean I Don’t Have to Tithe? On pages 271-275 he lists Clement of Rome, The Didache, Justin Martyr, Origen, Epiphanius and Tertullian as negative or opposing tithing while Irenaeus, Cyprian and Constantine were ambiguous. Of all the early church fathers before the 4th century, only Clement of Alexandria supported tithing.

Kent: “The Apostles obviously discipled many people before they died.”

Kelly: There is absolutely no historical evidence of this. In fact Acts 15 militates very much in the opposite direction.

Kent: And thankfully, many of these disciples wrote about what they learned. Thus, some of the best commentaries on scripture can be found in the writings of the people who were virtual contemporaries of the Apostles themselves. Of course, their writings are not scripture; but, these people give us some profound context to what the Apostles actually taught.

Kelly: Give some references here or retract your statement.

Kent: For example, Irenaeus was a disciple of the Apostle John & Polycarp. He wrote that “systems of giving like tithing never ceased to be taught” ...but that the focus was not on "what's the minimum amount the Bible commands us to give."

Kelly: This is dishonest. It is NOT what Irenaeus wrote at all. It is a pro-tithing commentary on Irenaeus.

Kent: Rather, he writes: “Instead of being taught the tithe, we were taught to give all our possessions...” (See Acts 2:44-45; 4:32-36).

Kelly: See Croteau’s much more detailed quote on pages 12-13 or look it up yourself in Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, 4.13 and 4.13.3 (ANF 1.477) and 4.18.2 (ANF 1.485. He also wrote “but those who have received liberty set aside all their possessions for the Lord’s purposes.” Irenaeus’ focus was on Christians giving abundantly. Irenaeus also believed that Acts 2:44-45 was morally binding. It must not be forgotten that the chief thrust of the early church fathers was extreme asceticism as a way to be holy before God. Generally tithing was seen as a Jewish tradition to be replaced with sacrificial giving.

Kent: Other historical writings show that the Apostles taught tithing as a "starting point" for those whose faith was too weak to give more than 10%.

Kelly: Where? Which ones say this? Produce the documentation. Are you willing to follow these same authors into asceticism and later monasticism?

Kent: Finally, imagine if someone walked up to you and said, "Man, I wish my neighbor was dead!" And you said: "Well, can I help you kill him?" A bit surprised, they respond: "Aren't you a passionate Christian?" And you say, "Yea, but I'm a New Testament Christian! I'm not 'under the law' anymore.

Kelly: Your paper tiger reveals your ignorance of how “law” works in God’s Word. Believe it or not, Gentiles and Christians NEVER WERE UNDER THE LAW. The Old Covenant Law was only commanded to Old Covenant Israel who was commanded NOT to share it (Ex 19:5-6).

Kent: (Pretending to quote his paper tiger opponents) I can steal, kill and commit adultery now!"

Kelly: You fail miserably to understand that the “eternal moral law” as revealed by nature and conscience is written in the hearts and conscience of every man and underlies the Mosaic Law per Romans 1:18-20; 2:14-16. That law contains 9 of the 10 commandments and NOT tithing.

Kent: You see, just because something was taught in the Old Testament doesn't mean it's not applicable in the New.

Kelly: What is you consistent hermeneutic when deciding exactly what does apply in the New? Please state it clearly. Here is mine: That which God wants the Church to obey has been REPEATED in the New Covenant after Calvary in terms of grace and faith. The “thou shalt nots” of the Law are now commands that he new creation in Christ will naturally obey per Romans 8:2.

Kent: Not all of the Mosaic Covenant was "nullified," only the ceremonial parts of it.

Kelly: No. All of it was nullified for Israel as the Old Covenant. Just as ALL British Law ended in 1776 for the colonies, the GOOD parts of it were re-incorporated into the New Constitution. The New Covenant completely replaced all of the Old Covenant as a covenant of works. See Heb 7:5, 12, 18 concerning tithing. Heb 8:8-13.

Kent: Basically 3 aspects of the Mosaic Law exist: The Moral Law (good things to do all the time), Ceremonial Law (symbolic things, like animal sacrifice which applied until Christ came), and Civil Political parts of the Law (which existed as long as Israel was both a church and nation state.) Only the latter two were technically "nullified."

Kelly: No Jew would agree with this. If you read Deuteronomy you will find all three so closely intermingled that they cannot and must not be separated. It was ALL the Law or none of it per Mt 5:18-19 as illustrated by Mt 5:20-48.

The moral law is found very much in the Levitical worship commands and in the judicial commands. Unless you are a slave owner who worships on Saturday, you are not keeping the Sabbath command. And, unless you want your children to live long in the land of Israel, you are not following another. Jesus quoted Leviticus 19:10 and Deut 6:4 as moral laws.

Kent: And, in light of the above evidence, I think it takes quite a bit of ignorance to simply denounce the doctrine of first fruits with a simplistic "New Covenant" argument.

Kelly: It takes even more ignorance to keep referring to tithing as firstfruits. That is your way of manipulating and threatening the disabled in your church to give you the first ten per cent of their disability check and skip the medicine and food they need even more. This is what I call robbing God and extortion.

Kent: But, it still begs the question: What do I think about all of this? In light of the evidence, it's pretty hard to argue that tithing "has no place" in the New Testament.

Kelly: You have not produced any arguments from the New Testament after Calvary.

Kent: After all, there's a lot of historical evidence that shows first century New Testament churches continuing to teach tithing as a starting point for giving.

Kelly: Still waiting for some references.

Kent: The Bible couldn't be more clear that we are to "9) Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10) then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine" (Proverbs 3:9-10).

Kelly: Still not a tithing text.

Kent: In other words, God wants to be first in every area.

Kelly: Read First Timothy 5:8.

Kent: And Jesus repeated this theme during His famous financial message in Matthew chapter 6: Jesus taught we cannot serve both God and money. Thus, He finally says: "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you" (Mt. 6:33). God wants to be first in every area of our lives. Our time, our money, and our resources are technically His.

Kelly: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God” simply means “Seek Christ who is God’s righteousness. Get saved.” You make it all about money.

Kent: "First fruits" is merely an expression that means: "God reserves for Himself a portion of everything we have."

Kelly: You are wearing out that misapplied text. Consider this. In the Old Testament God also still owned everything. Right? However, He only accepted legitimate tithes from FOOD which He had miraculously increased from inside His own land. Now how do you explain that?

Kent: For example, the birthday boy gets the first piece of cake (first-fruits). He's the first to eat it. AND, he usually gets the "best piece" (usually the one with all the frosting on it :). In the same way, God demands that we give Him a "first-fruits" of everything we possess.

Kelly: If that were true, then why did not God tell the Gentiles in the Old Testament to bring tithes?

Kent: In fact, this theme of "first fruits" runs through the whole Bible. In the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam and Eve the ability to eat from any tree. Yet, He kept a particular tree for His own.

Kelly: You are proving my point. Firstfruits is a very small token offering and not tithes. One tree out of thousands is not tithing.

Kent: God wanted to produce fruit through our cultivation that He claims as His own (first-fruits).

Kelly: It was not holy because man cultivated it. It was only holy because God gave the increase only from inside His holy land. How do you explain that?

Kent: Again this theme shows up in Cain and Able. In some ways, even the Sabbath day is a first-fruits idea (as the Sabbath was the first day of the week). God wanted the first part of every week to be devoted toward Himself.

Kelly: This is really warped. The Sabbath was the SEVENTH day of creation and the SEVENTH day of the week for Israel to rest after working all week.

Kent: The big idea is this: Tithing is nothing more than an application of the "first fruits" principle. And this principle really asks: "Is God first in our finances?" And when we ask this question, it forces us to go far beyond the grotesquely simple question: "Is God calling me to give 10% or not?"

Kelly: Tithes and firstfruits are still not the same. Neh 10:35-38.

New Covenant post-Calvary Holy Spirit blessed giving is: freewill, generous, sacrificial, joyful, not by commandment or percentage and motivated by love for God and lost souls. Our God is a New Covenant God operating on New Covenant principles of giving.