Tuesday, April 05, 2016

2013 SBC Tithing Resolution Rebuttal

Houston, Tx

Reply by: Russell Earl Kelly, PHD, April 5, 2016



I.        On Tithing, Stewardship, And The Cooperative Program
Houston, TX - 2013


Kelly: Does anybody out there know what brought the necessity of this resolution to the Convention floor in 2013? Exactly to what was it a response or reaction? Matters like this are not simply brought to the floor for vote. Was there any discussion on the contrary? Where is it? Who gave it? Has this  been secreted away like the Position Paper on tithing?


II.  WHEREAS, Biblical stewardship is a generous response of loving obedience that constitutes an essential part of our worship of God (2 Corinthians 9:6–7);

Kelly: This is not being questioned. This is freewill sacrificial freewill giving as the texts clearly state.

III.  WHEREAS, Tithing predates the Law of Moses (Genesis 14:20; 28:22; Hebrews 7:2) and is affirmed in the Old Testament (Numbers 18: 21–24) as well as in the New Testament (Luke 11:42);

Kelly: Wrong. “HOLY tithing,” as the word is used by Moses, Nehemiah, Malachi and Jesus:
1.  Was not practiced by Abraham before the Law.
2.  The Bible does not tell us “why” pre-circumcised Abram tithed; it does not describe such as a commandment from God or a freewill decision.
3.       Abram and Jacob’s tithes would not have been accepted under the Law as HOLY tithes to Levites and priests for the service.
4.       Even though money (gold and silver) were common and required for some sanctuary payments, HOLY tithes were always only food grown/raised by Hebrews from inside God’s HOLY land of Israel which He miraculously increased. There are 16 texts which validate thin and none which describe HOLY tithes as income or anything else than food.
5.       Honest persons with integrity should limit their definition and use of HOLY tithes to that used in God’s Word by Moses, Nehemiah, Malachi and Jesus.

IV.      WHEREAS, The Scripture equates failure to tithe with robbing God (
Malachi 3:8);

Kelly: Malachi 3:8-10:
1.       Is in the context of keeping all 600-plus commandments, statutes and judgments of the Old Covenant (Malachi 4:4; Nehemiah 10:28-29).
2.       Is only addressed to Old Covenant Israel (Mal 1:1).
3.       Is then narrowly only addressed to “you” dishonest priests of Old Covenant Israel (Mal 1:6-14; 2:1-10; 2:13 to remainder).
4.       In context of “you” from 1:6; 2:1, 13 and 3:8-10, Malachi 3:10 refers to “every priest in the nation” who were cursed in 1:14 and 2:2.
5.       In context of Neh 10:28, 29 “prove me” from 3:10 includes all 600-plus points of the whole law per Deut 28 to 30 and Malachi 4:4. God did not obligate Himself to bless tithe-payers who transgressed other parts of His whole law.
6.       The church is never called a “storehouse” in the Bible:
A.  “Churches” are never buildings in the Bible.
B.       Church buildings were not legal for almost 300 years after Calvary.
7.       If Malachi 3:8-10 for the church, then so also should be 4:4 “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.”
8.       Malachi 3:10 must be included in Galatians 3:10 “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.”

V.       WHEREAS, Christ affirmed the tithe (Matthew 23:23);

Kelly: Of course Christ affirmed the tithe:
1.       He did so while the Law was still in full jurisdiction (Gal 4:4, 5).
2.       He did so before He abolished the Old Covenant at Calvary.
3.       Christ would have SINNED if He had taught contrary to any of the Law, including tithing.
4.       Jesus commanded the people to obey the scribes and Pharisees because they “sit in Moses’ seat” as allowed by the people themselves.
5.       If Jesus had taught His disciples to accept tithes, He would have been sinning.
6.       If Jesus had taught Gentiles to tithe to the temple system, He would have sinned.
7.       Jesus commanded all Hebrews to observe all of the Law, not merely tithing. This is not done today.
8.  The SBC errs in teaching that Matthew 23:23 is in New Covenant post-Calvary context. They know better than to twist God’s Word in such blatant manner.

VI.      WHEREAS, Proportional giving of at least a tithe is expected by God throughout Scripture (Numbers 18:21–24; 1 Corinthians 16:1–2; Hebrews 7:2);

Kelly: Absolutely not!!!
1.       Since only Hebrew food-producers living inside God’s HOLY land were the only qualified tithe-payers, then there is no biblical precedent of a beginning level of giving at ten per cent. It is contextually and hermeneutically dishonest to say that “at least a tithe is expected by God throughout Scripture.”
2.       Jesus, Peter and Paul did not qualify as tithe-payers; the SBC and other tithe-advocates have no response to this Bible fact.
3.       There is no biblical precedent for tithes from outside HOLY Israel either from Hebrews or Gentiles.
4.       Therefore there is no biblical precedent for Gentile tithing – period.
5.       There is no biblical precedent for equating “firstfruits” with “tithes”:
A.       “First” does not mean “tenth.” Yet this is an extremely common misapplied Bible fact.
B.       Like HOLY tithes, “firstfruits” were also “fruit” or “food” or “firstborn” only from Hebrews living inside the HOLY land of Israel. C.          The SBC and powerful radio speakers ignore 1st Timothy 5:8 and demand that tithes be paid before essential bills are paid. “But if any provide not for his own and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” This thievery is made possible by calling tithes “firstfruits.”
6. Numbers 18:21-24 told Hebrews to give tithes to the Levites;
A.       Levites were not the ministering priests.
B.       Levites were servants to priests.
C.       Since the SBC does not give tithes to the Levite equivalents: greeters, deacons, singers, musicians, janitors, builders, cooks, repairmen – it is dishonest to quote Numbers 18:21-24.
D.       Since the SBC does not limit gospel workers’ salary to 1% of the tithe (a tenth of a tenth) – it is also dishonest to quote Numb 18:21-24 and omit 18:25-28 (also Neh 10:38) which states that priests only received one tenth of the tithe.
E.       I Corinthians 16:1-2 is not used by the SBC to teach tithing and it is flagrantly dishonest to do so. The vast majority of tithe-advocates consign these verses to post-mandatory-tithe freewill giving.
F.       The post-Calvary teaching of the priesthood of every believer removes the purpose of tithes to support O.T. Levites and priests because O.T. priests were not commanded to tithe.

VII.     WHEREAS, Tithing is essential for Kingdom work through the local church and ministries around the world (
1 Corinthians 9:13–14); and

Kelly: Wrong again.
1.       First Corinthians 9:7-14 is a list of occupations and how each was supported.
A.       9:7 soldiers receive spoils of war
B.       9:7 vine workers eat grapes
C.       9:7 herdsmen drink milk from the herd
D.       9:8-9 threshing animals eat what they are threshing
E.       9:10-11 gospel workers deserve fruit from the gospel
F.       9:12 Paul refused his right of sustenance
G.       9:13 Law workers received from Law requirements
H.       9:14 gospels workers should be sustained from gospel principles of grace and faith --- not law.
2.       First Cor 9:13 is a poor verse to use to support tithing because it opens the door for all other kinds of Law-support included in the same text. It is a poor hermeneutic to withdraw only tithing from 9:13.
3.       First Cor 9:14 is culmination. The “even so” refers back to 9:7 and not just back to 9:13.

VIII.    WHEREAS, According to the Great Commission Task Force Report, Southern Baptists give just 2.5 percent of their annual income to the local church, demonstrating the need for Southern Baptists to teach and faithfully obey the biblical command to tithe;

Kelly: Neither a SBC Task Force nor any voting constituency has the authority to change God’s Word. In order to “teach and faithfully obey the biblical command to tithe”:
1.       HOLY tithes (as the term is used by Moses, Nehemiah, Malachi and Jesus) must only be food from inside God’s HOLY land of Israel.
2.       Recipients of the first Levitical 10% must only be church workers who are NOT ministers such as greeters, deacons, janitors, builders, repairmen, cooks, musicians, singers and treasurers as they were in God’s Word (Num 18:21-24; Neh 10:37a).
3.       Ministers of the Word would only receive one per cent (1%) of the Levitical tithe plus various other freewill offerings as they did in God’s Word (Num 18:25-28; Neh 10:38).
4.       Tithe recipients could  not own or inherit property or amass wealth as in God’s Word (Num 18:20+++).
5.       Ministers of the Word must learn trades and skills as they did in both O.T. and early church eras.

IX.      WHEREAS, The current economic climate and other factors have resulted in financial challenges for many of our churches and mission entities; WHEREAS, Faithful stewardship is a privilege and an honor for all Christians;

Kelly: The solution is not to teach error from God’s Word. The solution is to encourage church members to be burdened for the lost on the road to hell without Christ. Increased offerings will come when the church is evangelizing.

X.       WHEREAS, The Cooperative Program is funded solely by tithes, offerings, and gifts through the churches; and
WHEREAS, Cooperative Program giving from the churches has declined significantly from $548 million in 2007–2008 to $488 million in 2010–2011, reducing our support of missions and ministries by $60 million;

Kelly: This statement lacks a biblical precedent because not a single biblical tithe was ever used to proselytize non Hebrews – build mission stations and send out missionaries to non-Hebrews.

XI.      WHEREAS, Frank S. Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee, has challenged Southern Baptist churches to increase their Cooperative Program giving by at least 1 percent; now, therefore, be it

Kelly: This is acceptable as long as it does oppose biblical hermeneutics. The problem is, “If one is stealing by giving less than 10%, then is not Page endorsing stealing?”

XII. RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas, June 11–12, 2013, exhort all Southern Baptists to tithe cheerfully and give sacrificially as good stewards of God’s blessings to their local churches; and be it further

Kelly: This is a willful misuse of God’s Word. It uses terminology from freewill giving in 2nd Corinthians 9:7 such as “cheerfully” and “sacrificially” to refer to O.T. tithing which was neither. HOLY tithing was a commandment of the Law regardless of whether or not one was cheerful or wanted to give at all.  The commandment was very selective; it only applied to food producers living inside HOLY Israel. Tradesmen, artists, builders and non-food industry did not quality to tithe. Not even Jesus, Peter or Paul qualified at tithe-payers. It is no surprise why the SBC does not want to dialog on this subject.

RESOLVED, That Southern Baptists and Southern Baptist churches evaluate the faithfulness of their stewardship to financially support missionaries and ministries at home and abroad through the Cooperative Program and Great Commission Giving; and be it finally

Kelly: Nothing about “why” to financially support missionaries.

XIII.    RESOLVED, That we commend those who tithe faithfully in loving obedience to God.

Kelly: Baptist have come a long way since their beginnings in the mid-1600s in England. They have evolved from self-supporting pastors who severely criticized “hireling ministries” into
1.       Full time is preferable against Paul’s example
2.       Tithing of income increase is the standard even though it is not in God’s Word.
3.       SBC leaders are so afraid of the truth that they will not dialog with those who disagree.
4.       There are highly esteemed SBC theologians who disagree with tithing such as Andreas Kostenberger and David Black at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.  S. E. President David Akin at that same institution is probably also in disagreement.
5.       The SBC’s Broadman Press published Tithing: Four Views which encouraged study of tithing at a higher level in SBC institutions. Why of no dialog is allowed?
6.       I challenge any and all SBC leaders to avail themselves to open dialog on the subject of tithing. The doctrine is really the result of faulty hermeneutics of biblical law.

Russell Earl Kelly

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