DR. RUSSELL KELLY REBUTS DR. TONY EANS CONCERNING TITHING, February 1, 2015
References are to page numbers of Evans’ outline, Financial Victory.
Evans (1): God has a purpose when it comes to our finances … Deut 8:18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he swore unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
Kelly: While it is good to remember that God gives us power to get wealth, this text is addressed to Old Covenant Israel. The Church never was under that covenant. It is in the context of 8:1-16 which commands Israel to keep all (600+) commandments, judgments and statutes of that covenant. Since Evans claims to be a post-Calvary New Covenant preacher, he should reach his conclusions from purely Spirit-blessed teachings for the Church.
Evans (1): “In the preceding verse [8:17] wealth is defined as ‘having enough.’”
Kelly: Read on to see how consistent this will be. What happened to the “overflowing blessings” of Malachi 3:10?
Evans (2): “God’s covenant refers to His kingdom … God’s rule over every area of life.”
Kelly: Yes, but Evans is out of context when he speaks of God’s covenant in Deuteronomy 8:18. The post-Calvary covenant is new; it is not the same as the old covenant of Law. It is “not according to” the old covenant (Heb 8:8-13). A post-Calvary New Covenant preacher should get his marching orders from the post-Calvary New Covenant.
Evans (2): “The kingdom includes …; we have rules to follow.”
Kelly: Yes, but those rules, those principles of interpretation, must come from the post-Calvary New Covenant where the Holy Spirit gives the Church, the Body of Christ, His stewardship principles for them.
Evans (2): “God’s covenant is always intended to bless the person in the covenant.” Gen 12:2.
Kelly: Evans is badly mixing covenants. He quotes the old in Deuteronomy 8:18 and the Abrahamic in Genesis 12:2. This confuses the Bible student. They are different covenants.
Evans (2): [First 1 Cor 10:16 is referenced next.]
Kelly: First Corinthians 10:16 correctly states that our [post-Calvary New Covenant] blessings come from “communion of the blood and body of Christ.” They do not come from obedience to the Old Covenant given by Moses.
Evans (2): “Christians … have covenantal rights; God’s covenant; His covenant; His covenantal purposes …”
Kelly: How many covenants is Evans referring to? If only one, then it must be the New Covenant. If it is the New, then he needs to quote it and not the old one which has disappeared (Heb 8:13; 1 Cor 3:10).
Evans (3): “The Bible says: Whatever you have been given, make sure you give God His portion first.”
Kelly: No, the Bible nowhere states that! It is a lie. If “you” refers to an Old Covenant farmer or herdsman inside Israel, God asked for the first as a very small token offering: e.g. an apple, a handful of grapes or olives (Deut. 26:1-10). However, if “you” refers to Christians, First Timothy 5:8 commands us to care for our immediate family’s needs first: medicine, food, shelter.
Evans (3): “Be sure to honor Jesus Christ first that he might have “first place in everything.” Col 1:18.
Kelly: Colossians 1:18 is not a discussion of stewardship. Read the chapter. If we neglect the essential needs of our families in order to put something into the offering plate, we are acting “worse than unbelievers” (1 Tim 5:8). Christ is not honored when we cut or eliminate medicine or food and shelter from his children. This should be common sense.
Evans: (3) “When you put him first you will reap the rewards of His favor. I Cor 3:10-15”
Kelly: Again the texts given by Evans say nothing about “first.” Why does he keep referencing texts which do not agree with his statements? Is it not strange that Evans cannot find a proper post-Calvary text with the word “first” in it to prove his point?
Evans (3): “U. S. citizens live under a covenantal document called The Constitution … for citizens living under its realm of influence.”
Kelly: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. And Christians are only under the realm and influence of the post-Calvary New Covenant! Christians are no more under the Old Covenant than U. S. citizens are under German or Russian law --- and they never have been!!!
Evans (3): “What biblical principles of stewardship are trying to get you to do …”
Kelly: Evans has not given any principles which command Christians to give the first ten per cent of their income to the church. The freewill and sacrificial principles found in 2nd Corinthians 8 and 9 require more than 10% from some and far less than 10% from others “that there may be an equality” (8:12-14).
Evans (6): God responded to Cornelius because his prayers were mixed with giving.”
Kelly: No. The Bible does not say that about Cornelius. Does God only save those who are able to give? If Cornelius were a poor beggar who sincerely worshipped God, would God have ignored him?
Evans (9): Your tithe reflects and demonstrates a fear of God. Deut 14:22-23; Prov 9:10; Eccl 12:13).
Kelly: Since Proverbs and Ecclesiastes do not contain the words tithe, tithes or tithing, Evans should not reference them here. He is correct when he says that the purpose of the (2nd festival-feast] tithe of Deuteronomy 14 is that [Old Covenant Israel] “might learn to fear the LORD always.” However this correct purpose of the tithe demonstrates that Evans errs when he says so often that the purpose of the tithe was to “acknowledge that God owns everything” (Ps 24:1). If God’s ownership of tithing proved that tithes come from anything, then the O.T. tithe would not have been severely limited to God’s holy land in 16 sets of texts.
Evans (9): As a descendant of Abraham you are to follow in the spiritual principle of tithing (Gen 14:18-20; Gen 3:29).
Kelly: No. This is nowhere stated in God’s Word. Real spiritual principles are known by nature and conscience (Rom 1:18-20; 2:14-16). Giving is a spiritual principle; how much to give requires special revelation. (1) Abram was uncircumcised when he ”tithed”; uncircumcised Gentiles were never commanded to tithe and never allowed to give holy tithes. (2) Abram is only recorded as “tithing” once; is that our example? (3) Abram only tithed spoils of war from pagan Sodom; are we to follow that example? (4) Abram kept nothing; are we to give away all increase. (5) Abram gave the 90% to the king of Sodom; are we to give the 90% to his equivalent today? (6) Abram lied about his wife and gave her to Pharaoh; are we to follow that example? In truth we are only to follow Abraham’s example of believing God unto righteousness (Gen 15:5).
Evans (9): Tithing started with Abraham and continues into the priesthood of Jesus.
Kelly: No honest biblical historian would agree that tithing began with Abraham. Tithing existed in all pagan cultures of the Mesopotamian Fertile Crescent before
Abraham’s time. Tithing to king-priests existed in Babylon of Abraham’s forefathers.
Abraham’s time. Tithing to king-priests existed in Babylon of Abraham’s forefathers.
The Melchizedek-type-priesthood of Jesus end tithing. According to Hebrews 7:18 “the commandment going before” to “collect tithes” (7:5) was “of necessity changed” (7:12) and that “change” was the “annulment” of tithing.
Evans (9): The spiritual principle of tithing as a means of fearing God carries into the church age. 1 Peter 2:17 Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
Kelly: No. Does anybody hold Evans for the way he twists Scripture out of context? His validating texts do not validate.
Evans (9): Withholding your tithe robs God of what is rightly his (Mal 3:8).
Kelly: (1) The holy Old Covenant tithe was always only food from inside God’s holy land. When Evans receives money which he calls tithes, he is robbing God. (2) O.T. Levites received the whole 10% (Numb 18:20-24) and gave the ministers at the altar a tenth of their tenth (1%) (Numb 18:25-29. When Evans receives more than 1% of the “tithe,” he robs God. (3) O.T. tithe recipients were forbidden from receiving inheritances of property or other things in God’s land (Numb 18:20). When Evans receives the “tithe” and also owns land and receives other inheritances, according to his own definition he robs God. O.T. tithe recipients were forbidden from accumulating wealth (“no part with them” (Numb 18:20); they were expected be first in line among the poor to receive the 3rd year poor tithe (Deut. 14:29). When Evans is not among the poorest of the land, he robs God by having wealth which did not belong to Old Covenant tithe recipients.
Evans (10): When you take God’s money and use it for reasons other than what he has demanded, God will allow your resources to dwindle (Mal 3:9-11).
Kelly: Evans completely ignores the fact that Malachi is only addressed to Old Covenant Israel and also that the Law was an indivisible whole (Mal 4:4). In order to be blessed by tithing, one was to perfectly obey all 600+ commandments of the Law; breaking one commandment brought curses (Deut 27:26 quoted in Galatians 3:10). God did not bless tithers who sinned against Him in other ways.
Evans (in You Tube sermons): “If you are not tithing you are wearing stolen clothing, driving stolen cars and living in stolen houses.”
Kelly: The curse of Malachi 3:9 is the curse of the Old Covenant Law which Israel had called down upon themselves in Nehemiah 10:28-29. It is the same curse found in Deuteronomy 28 to 30. It is the curse which Jesus ended at Calvary in Galatians 3:13. And Evans errs greatly when he places New Covenant believers under the Old Covenant curse. He also brings his own curse upon himself when he robs God as previously discussed.
Evans (10): God encourages you to test Him in your tithing so you can see him test you. (Mal 3:10).
Kelly: The test is a much distorted idea. The whole law was a test –not just tithing –and Evans knows that! Stop and read Deuteronomy 28 to 30. Read the context of Malachi in Nehemiah 10:28-29. See the similarities – same tests, same curses, same blessings and same covenant.
Evans (10): The first portion of your financial plan should be directed toward your needs (e.g. living expenses, clothes, food).
Kelly: This is exactly what I pointed out previously from First Timothy 5:8. Evans attempts to go in two different directions. Believers cannot, at the same time, give their first to God through the Church and also give their first for family necessities. Why does Evans not refer to First Timothy 5:8 here? Why is he not attempting to equate tithes with firstfruits here? He has done so elsewhere often.
Evans (11): God said “Give to me, then I will protect, provide for and promote what you do.”
Kelly: Evans means “Give to God first, then …” He is obsessed with equating firstfruits and tithes in other sermons. Notice the lack of a verifying Bible text. The concept of firstfruits storehouse giving is not biblical and is contrary to First Timothy 5:8.
Evans (13): Validate your faith by giving 10 per cent as a minimum of what God requires as a tithe.
Kelly: Notice no text; there is no text which says that God commands every believer to begin his/her level of giving at ten per cent. It is a common lie of tithe-teachers. Actually, in the Old Covenant economy, only food producers who lived inside God’s holy land of Israel qualified as tithe-payers. Those Hebrews who earned a livelihood in other vocations did not qualify (e.g. carpenters and tentmakers). Those Hebrews who lived outside the holy land of Israel did not qualify. And Gentiles could not tithe from defiled pagan lands.