Friday, December 25, 2009

Reply to John D, 12-25-09

John: I made a comment about parts of the OT still applying today. Russell replied as follows…“NONE of them apply to Christians as "Thou Shalt NOts" and none of them were given as such to the Church. Born-again Christians are "new creations" in Christ and have the indwelling Holy Spirit; The "Thou Shalt Nots" have been replaced by "as a new creation you will not …"”This is simply squabbling over words. More specifically KJV words which are different in other translations. This is secondary to the principle that I was arguing which still holds true: murder is still a sin, coveting is still a sin, we are still expected to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and we are still expected to love our neighbor as our self. That does still apply. And what do you mean by “as a new creation you WILL not” ??………………………………….
Reply by Russ: Your first and last sentences in the last paragraph tell me that you do not understand the difference between the Old and New Covenant.
(1a) The Old was only commanded to national Israel.
(1b) The New is for believers in the Church after Calvary.
(1c) Those Gentiles in the Old who did not join Israel via circumcision were not under any part of the Old --including the Ten Commandments. Israel did not KILL Gentiles living in its land because they worshipped idols.
(2a) The Old was to God's unique exalted nation which was to be above and more blessed than other nations through obedience to all of God's laws.
(2b) The New is to all believers in the Church.
(3a) The Old did not involved the indwelling Holy Spirit. God simply told them what NOT to do such as "Thou shalt not kill."
(3b) The New involves born-again believers who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Their obedience is the result of a new nature. Because they are children of God with a new nature of obedience their obedience is to be spontaneous.
(4a) Sin is disobeying God by violating any part of his law, whether it be commandments, statutes or judgments.
(4b) Sin is not believing in Jesus Christ (Jn 16:8-9) and not learning and growing through knowledge of God in Christ (2 Cor 3:18).………………………………….
John: From this principle argued above I made a point that just because things like a commandment against murder still applies it does not mean EVERY part of the OT applies such as killing children.
Russ: Again I ask you to define the way you understand "law." You do not have a single text which proves that God will judge the OT Gentiles because the disobeyed the OT Law. They will be judged because they disobeyed the eternal moral character of God which is found in nature and conscience per Romans 1:18-20 and 2:14-16. Again, I ask for your hermeneutic (principle of interpretation) for deciding what part of the OT applies (Honor thy father and thy mother) and what part does not apply (Kill disobedient children per Ex 21:15, 17). You have not done so.
John: The reason I can biblically claim this to be true is that commandments exist in the NT against such things as murder and coveting (which means these concepts still apply) and commandments for the greatest commandment and the golden rule are in the NT as well (which means these concepts also still apply).
Russ: You are guilty of subdividing the law and discarding most of its statutes and judgments (except, of course, tithing). How do you explain Mt 5:19? Matt 5:19 "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
John: Just because there is not a “THOU SHALT NOT” in front of them has nothing to do with the principle I am arguing.
Russ: It has everything to do with whom the law applied to. According to Exodus 19:5-9 and almost every chapter in Deuteronomy 'THOU' only refers to national Israel. God did not command the Gentiles to join Israel and enter into its worship and judicial system. God never commanded Israel to use TITHES to evangelize the Gentiles. How can you reconcile that?
John: ******** I wonder if I explained these two paragraphs earlier we could have avoided much of this back-and-forth?? It’s very easy for arguments to arise when we communicate via text only because 2 people can speak using the same terms and mean 2 completely different things. Language itself is always somewhat subjective.
Russ: We are NOT using the same terms. You are attempting to teach tithing by defining "law" as "the Ten Commandments minus Sabbath plus tithing and whatever else I want to add." On the other hand I define "law" as "an indivisible whole covenant given only to Israel in order to separate them from all other nations."
John: I agree but not to the point you are arguing it. It is all or none in the sense of, if we break one commandment we are guilty of breaking it all (Gal. 3:10, James 2:10).
Russ: You cannot possibly extend this comparison to the entire law. "If we break one commandment" does not apply to (1) commandments to include statutes-ordinances of ceremonial worship ritual, (2) commandments to establish the sanctuary according to God's pattern for worship, (3) commandments to establish a Levitical and Aaronic hierarchy to be paid with tithes from the produce of God's holy land. Galatians 3:10 shows the futility of placing Gentiles under any part of the OT law. James 2:10 is about the "royal law" which refers to the underlying character of God and not the OT Law.
John: These verses refer not only to the Law of Moses but to any Law that anyone is under at the time they live – i.e. the Law written on the heart for those with general revelation only (Romans 2:14-15),
Russ: I disagree. If Galatians 3:10 refers to Christian Gentiles and their obedience to the laws of nature and conscience, then you have destroyed Paul's entire argument from 1:8-9; 3:1, 19, 24-26. It makes the 'paidagogee' comments gibberish.
John: Law of Moses for OT Israelites, New Covenant Law for us.
Russ: Law of Moses ONLY for OT Israelites. New Covenant law of love for all believers per Romans 8:2.
John: Therefore God demands PERFECTION (Matt. 5:48, Gal. 3:10, Rom. 3:20) and our only way to eternal life is by GRACE through faith in Christ (Rom. 3:28).
Russ: Matthew 5:48 is the culmination of 5:17-47 which is addressed to a Jewish audience and is a kingdom sermon before Calvary. The context of Mt 5:19-20 is obedience to all three parts of the OT Law --read the examples.
Romans 3:20 uses the word "law" from Rom 3:1-19 to include Isaiah and Psalms because the Ten Commandments are not quoted. Paul did not limit the use of the word "law".
John: ... We still have a law that we must abide by… namely the New Covenant commands. Some of these commands are the same as some of the OT commands. This is what I mean when I say parts of the OT law still apply. ..
Russ: Frankly, I think you are easing up on some of your earlier statements. Some of the commands in the US Constitution are similar to commands in the English Bill of Rights, but that does not mean that they simply continued to exist under the same authority and conditions. Do not forget the original argument is that you supported TITHING based on the OLD Covenant. My argument is that it is not supported by New Covenant principles.
John: … God’s demand of perfection is the reason Gal. 3:10 states that all who rely on observing the law are under a curse. This is simply a restatement of Romans 3:20 which says that no one will be declared righteous by observing the law. Paul is trying to contrast LAW as a way of salvation to GRACE as a way of salvation.
Russ: You just said "We still have a law that we must abide by… namely the New Covenant commands."
Paul is NOT "trying to contrast LAW as a way of salvation." Paul was trying to say that the OT LAW has no place whatsoever in the gospel.

Gal 3:3-5
3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Gal 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
Gal 3:23-25 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Reply to John D, 12-25-09

Gal 3:23-25
23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.KJV

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Reply to John D on Blog "Tithing"

John D: It is true that tithing was an OT law established in the giving of first fruits to God.

Russ: Although money was very common even in Genesis and essential for sanctuary worship, tithes were always only food from inside Israel which God had miraculously increased. Not being food producers, Jesus, Peter and Paul did not tithe. Firstfruits were never the same as tithes per Deu 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-38. Firstfruits were very small token offerings taken to the Temple and eaten there by the priests. Most tithes were eaten by their Levite servants in the 48 Levitical cities.

John: It also true that we get our 10% number from Abraham's tithe to Melchizedek as Blake alluded to.

Russ: Abraham and Jacob's tithes were not HOLY tithes from inside God's HOLY land. Defiled pagan dust could not produce holy tithes. Abraham's tithe of spoils of war was common in all surrounding lands of his time. The spoils' tithe in Numbers 31 from the Law was much smaller.

John: The reason we still ascribe to this precedent is that Hebrews 7 shows that the priesthood of Jesus has replaced the OT Levitical priesthood.

Russ: When comparing Hebrews 7:5, 12, 18 the commandment to tithe to support OT priests was "annulled" in 7:18. It was not transferred to the Church.

John: Jesus was a priest in the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4, Hebrews 7). Therefore b/c Abraham gave a tenth tithe to that priesthood we do as well.

Russ: After the ORDER of Melchizedek which was that of a king-priest. The New Covenant priesthood consists of every believer who do not tithe to themselves.

Why do you not obey any of the tithing statute of Numbers 18:21-29? (1) tithes are only food from inside Israel, (2) Levitical tithes go to the servants of the priests such as guards, janitors, musicians, singers and politicians, (3) the priests only received a tenth of the tithe, (4) priests were to kill anybody trying to enter the sanctuary and worship God directly and (5) tithe-recipients were not allowed to own property.

John: Not all of the OT is out the window now in the New Covenant as it seems Russell is suggesting.

Russ: I doubt that you can correctly define the words "law" and "tithe" and consistently use them. (1) The Old Covenant was only commanded to national Israel and not to the Gentiles or the Church. Can you disprove this? (2) That part of the Old Covenant which is an eternal and moral reflection of the character of God has been re-stated in the New Covenant after Calvary to the Church in terms of grace and faith. Rom 8:2 "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

John: And Russell, Hebrews does not say that the Old Covenant Law has vanished but simply the Old Covenant.

Russ: The Old Covenant, the Law of Moses and the Law of God in the Old Testament are the same thing.

John: Some parts about the OT law still apply today (such as the 10 commandments, Ex. 20, the greatest commandment, Duet. 6:5, and the golden rule, Lev. 19:18)

Russ: NONE of them apply to Christians as "Thou Shalt NOts" and none of them were given as such to the Church. Born-again Christians are "new creations" in Christ and have the indwelling Holy Spirit; The "Thou Shalt Nots" have been replaced by "as a new creation you will not …"

John: Just b/c some of the OT law still applies does not mean all of it does (such as Ex. 21:15,17) and does not mean the Old Covenant is still in effect.

Russ: You show inconsistent hermeneutics. You take what you want and discard what you don't want. Please tell me what principle you use in doing this consistently. According to Mt 5:19-48 the Law is an indivisible whole consisting of commandments, statutes and judgments. It is either all or none.

John: To Russell... I believe you are missing the heart of tithing (mostly) in this discussion b/c you are focusing on rules and regulations of each covenant. Correct me if I'm wrong but it sounds like you're trying to come up with an excuse not to give $$ to God??

Russ: You are very wrong and judgmental. The equality principle of 2nd Cor 8:12-15 means that many should give more than ten per cent but others are giving sacrificially even though less than ten per cent. Would you equally dare to accuse Martin Luther, John MacArthur, Merrill Unger, Lewis Sperry Chafer, Craig Blomberg and their associated seminaries of the same thing? Shame on you.

John: Really the first and foremost concern is that we give every part of us to God, including money. Will hits it on the head when he mentioned Paul's exhortation to us to give what we have decided in our heart cheerfully (2 Cor. 9:7).

Russ: I agree, but that is not a discussion of tithing.John: … Gal. 3:10 … This verse does not mean, as you stated, "If we are still to observe the law, then we should observe all of it". It means that God demands PERFECTION from all of us and any who aren't perfect are condemned and can either suffer Hell by choosing law or enter heaven by choosing GRACE.

Russ: Why don't you let the verse speak for itself?
Gal 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."
In Galatians 1:8,9 Paul was clear that he did not permit the Jewish fanatics from Acts 15 and 21 to place his Gentile converts under any part of the Law. In Galatians 3:1 he compared it to being bewitched. Yet you want to place Gentiles under the law of tithing but not under the law of Sabbath, circumcision or unclean foods. They all stand or fall together. Faulty hermeneutics.

John: The heart behind this question is a legitimate and worthy one. The PRIMARY END-purpose of giving as highlighted in 2 Cor. 8 is so that those who have can share with those who do not so there will be equality. It is the church's authorities' responsibility to ensure this happens. There are many churches who do not.

Russ: Of course, but why are you trying to tie this to tithing?

John: Furthermore it is completely biblical that those in full-time ministry should receive their salaries from these tithes.

Russ: All what tithes? It is not biblical at all. Tithes were never acceptable from outside Israel. And gospel workers are not the replacement of Old Covenant Levites and priests. There is not legitimate church historian who will agree with you that tithing was taught or practiced in the early church for at least the first 200 years.

John: The precedent was first set in the OT Levitical priesthood who received all their food from the grain and bull/goat offerings of the Israelites from the other 11 tribes.

Russ: And they were not allowed to own or inherit property. What principle allows preachers to both receive tithes and own property?

John: This is much like a salary today because we don't barter with animals... we go to the store to buy our food.

Russ: See point #3 of my essay at Genesis alone contains “money” in 32 texts and the word occurs 44 times before the tithe is first mentioned in Leviticus 27. Gold is first mentioned in Genesis 2:12. The words "jewelry," "gold," "silver" and shekel also appear often from Genesis to Deuteronomy.

Many centuries before Israel entered Canaan and began tithing food from God’s Holy Land money was an essential everyday item. For example Abraham was very rich in silver and gold (Gen 13:2); money in the form of silver shekels paid for slaves (Gen 17:12+); Abimelech gave Abraham 1000 pieces of silver (Gen 20:16); Abraham paid 400 pieces of silver for land (Gen 23:9-16); Joseph was sold for silver pieces (Gen 37:28); slaves bought freedom (Ex 23:11). Court fines (Ex 21 all; 22 all), sanctuary dues (Ex 30:12+), vows (Lev 27:3-7), poll taxes (Num 3:47+), alcoholic drinks (Deu 14:26) and marriage dowries (Deu 22:29) included money.

John: A NT precedent for this is set by Paul in 1 Cor. 9:14 when he states that "those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel."

Russ: The principle found in 9:7-14 is that each occupation has its own rules. The gospel worker is controlled by gospel rules of grace and faith, not law. If 9:14 only referred to 9:13 instead of 9:7-13 then it is self defeating because 9:13 included dozens of forms of support in addition to tithes. You cannot pluck tithing out of 9:13 and ignore everything else.

John: Will, to answer your question, "When Christ died, did he not abolish the OT law?" No. He came to fulfill it as Schuette stated (see Matt. 5:17-18 and the whole Sermon on the Mount Matt. 5-7).

Russ: Again, look at 5:19-48 which uses the word "law" to include ALL of the commandments, statutes and judgments. You are violating 5:19 when you want to throw out most of it and keep tithing. It is either all or none. Compare 1776 when the entire English law ended --both god and bad. Then the USA re-stated the good in its own Constitution. God did that.

Monday, December 21, 2009

OK to fornicate as long as you pay tithes?

'Survivor: Samoa' winner Natalie White feeling 'disbelief, shock'
"She plans to use the money to take her boyfriend on a vacation, tithe 10% to her church and save the majority of the rest."

Wow! Tithing is more important than getting married before taking your boyfriend on a vacation! This is the logic tithing has brought us! Russ Kelly

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Reply to Tim Guthrie, SBC Today, 12-16-2009

Reply to Tim Guthrie, Welcome to SBC Today Blog
Guthrie: What many miss is the fact that no where was the tithe ever done away by Jesus himself …

Kelly: First, before Calvary Jesus taught his Jewish followers to tithe in obedience to the Law of Moses. If Jesus had one otherwise, he would have sinned. The Law was still in full effect. But Jesus could not and did not command his Gentile disciples to tithe.

Second, Jesus abolished everything about the tithe at Calvary: (1) the covenant ended, (2) the Levites and Levitical cities ended, (3) the priesthood changed, (4) the temple system ended and (5) modern preachers own and inherit property.

Guthrie: … nor is it fully understood as to how GRACE applies, thus fits within the total scriptural teaching of the tithe and stewardship.

Kelly: That is what you must demonstrate.

Guthrie: How was [Paul] supported by these churches if tithing/giving to the church was not taught and lived?

Kelly: (I) Unless Paul wrote Hebrews, the word "tithe" does not appear in his writings. (2) As a rabbi Paul considered it a sin to be paid to teach the Word (see many church historians). (3) As a Jew Paul knew that tithes could not come from defiled pagan dust. (4) As one who reported to the Jewish-Christians in Jerusalem, Paul would have been severely rebuked if he were guilty of accepting tithes which should have been given to the Temple system. (5) Paul worked a full-time job while being a missionary and boasted that he had supported even those who traveled with him in Acts 20:29-35 and 1 Cor 9:12-19. Please comment on these.

Guthrie: In the letters that Paul wrote, he commended the churches for their giving (2 Cor 9:2 and 1 Cor 16: 1-4). The conclusion is thus simple, they collectively gave and the church then gave. In fact the church in Jerusalem was one of the benefactors of many churches giving.

Kelly: None of your texts concern supporting churches or pastoral salaries. They relate to food (not tithes) gathered for famine relief.

Guthrie: It is clear in the New Testament that GRACE raised "the bar" when it came to giving as a whole.

Kelly: Grace did not "raise the bar"; rather grace "became the bar." There was not such minimum "bar" in existence in the Old Covenant except for food producers who only lived inside Israel. You are building on a false assumption. Non-food producers did not qualify as tithers and this included Jesus, Peter and Paul.

Guthrie: It stands to reason that a person who was a recipient of the GRACE of God would out of love, devotion, and thanksgiving give far more than the tithe required under the law.

Kelly: Many gave far more because they gave sacrificially. Others who were very poor gave sacrificially even though less than ten per cent.

Guthrie: It is here that the tithe is seen in the New Testament as a standard that acts as the starting point in our giving.

Kelly: Wrong. This is based on your false assumption. Nobody could bring tithes from outside Israel and from non-food items.

Guthrie: Giving to our churches is easily seen and cannot be ignored in the New Testament.

Kelly: True, but that does not legitimize tithing. Your implication that we do not believe in supporting our churches is a false ruse.

Guthrie: The giving today of God's people should be far above the requirements of the tithe.

Kelly: You repeat this like Randy Alcorn as if repeating it makes it true. Quote God's Word instead. Prove from God's Word that everybody in the OT was required to begin giving at ten per cent.

Guthrie: The Bible is also very clear that churches who were in poverty gave out of their poverty and the blessings of God were seen. And this giving should be done based on our first fruits.

Kelly: More deception. According to First Timothy 5:8 a Christian's "first" should be used to buy medicine, food and essential shelter. Tithes were never the same as firstfruits. Firstfruits were very small token offerings per Deut 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-38.And we will continue...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

An Absolute Must Read Article by Dr Frank Chase

How to Resign, by Dr. Frank Chase, Jr.
By BCNN1 on December 13, 2009 11:35 PM

Dear Pastor;
Grace, Mercy and Peace be unto you on this day of our Lord. Several weeks and months ago, you were informed of my theological shift from tithing to grace giving. After 30 years of tithing and pondering this matter in my heart and studying both camps who argue for and against tithing, I told you of my personal decision. Since that time, I have been buried in study about this topic and have concluded that the tithe teaching lacks scholarship and cannot be biblically proven in the New Covenant beyond a shadow of doubt. The tithe teachers in the body of Christ who force or mandate tithing would not withstand a cross-examination on a witness stand by a counsel of scholars, Elders and theologians who have studied to show themselves approved and rightly divided the Word of Truth.
Because of my position on this matter, I realize that it has created some conflict and probably more so to the bottom line of the church. Certainly, I am aware of that. But because of my conviction, study and the Holy Spirit, I can never return to tithing under the dispensation of Grace we now live in. Again, my thoughts and heart have changed because of revealed truth. The journey to find truth on this matter started 30 years ago. I must admit that I am overjoyed the Holy Spirit can and does teach you when you seek the truth from your heart. Because tithing is no longer my position, it is unethical for me to continue in ministry and leadership. Based on your teaching and position that leaders in your church must tithe, it is unethical for you to keep me in leadership. As I have told you in the past, if I become a hindrance to you or your church and the doctrines you set forth, I would withdraw myself from all functions and duties of leadership. As a result, I requested to be put on Sabbatical until we came to a conclusion of this matter. Over the ongoing weeks and months, I've come to the realization that an impenetrable impasse is blocking this matter from being solved.
Now after six months, I now realize through prayer and great trepidation that my time at XXX Church has come to an end because of forced tithing methods that are wanting. When I decided to change my theology on tithing, I did it with knowledge that I would be at odds with much of the Christian community who are simply ignorant of the biblical and secular history, the land, the language, and the literature of the Jewish Levites and Priests for whom tithing was established in the Old Testament financial system because they had no land inheritance in Canaan. When I disagreed with you, I did it in the spirit of the Berean Jews who, with great respect for Paul, did not accept Paul's message right away but choose to search the scriptures to see if what he said was true. Since I've been on sabbatical, I've searched the scriptures, read books, examined history on this tithing issue and have found that tithe teaching as propagandized in the Body of Christ today is categorically unscriptural and is tantamount to spiritual and financial extortion akin to mafia tactics. Since I do not agree with tithing, I cannot in good conscience continue to exist at XXX Church knowing that a major difference exists between you and I on this issue. After 30 thirty years of being deceived, here are my thoughts to the body of Christ.
My purpose for changing my mind goes to the core of a metateneo (The greek word for Repent) experience. In the spirit of the Jewish Rabbi/Student relationship, my shift also represents what most Jewish Rabbis taught their students and that is the practice of learning how to challenge, debate and argue well with their Rabbi on Torah issues. A student who never questions what their Rabbi says would not be considered an excellent student. In the spirit of my Jewish Savior Yeshua, I've entered this debate because this is how Jews studied and how teaching was done. By me offering my points and your offering your counter points over the bully pulpit, we will both learn more truth on this subject. As it stands today, you and I have come down on opposite sides of this argument. In my mind that is OK among theologians. As you continue to read, know that my thoughts on this issue are only directed at the doctrine of tithing and the lack of study by those who try to teach something they have never given serious study.
In all, this situation is not so strange. It reminds me of the incident in Acts 15: 36-41 when Barnabas and Paul came into sharp dispute over the reliability of John who is also called Mark. Because of the appearance of our sharp disagreement about grace giving in the New Covenant vs. mandatory tithing under the Law of Moses in the Old Covenant, it is proper etiquette that we part company like Paul and Banarbas for now in the interest of peace and as Hebrews 12:14-15 says: 14Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. I know people will say, tithing was before the law, but make sure the people also know that Abraham was not commanded to give it, and what he tithed came from the spoils of war. Plus he was already made rich based on a promise God made to him not because God commanded him to tithe. There is no biblical record that Abraham tithed any of his personal wealth and the nail in the coffin is that the Bible records that he only tithed once and no other text records he ever tithed again. Using Abraham as proof text is somewhat weak to build a foundation of tithing for the New Covenant. I know people will say that tithing is an expression of devotion by sincere people but the fact remains, it is still a ceremonial law and an ordinance that was nailed to the Cross. Therefore tithing is low-realm, obsolete and defunct and the pontificators of tithing ultimately introduce weakness and confusion in the minds of believers.
Let me make myself perfectly clear. If a person of their free will decides to give a percentage of their income then of course that is their decision based on Grace and not out of fear of a curse ripped from a text and given new meaning. But as soon as giving is called a tithe that's mandated, forced, or becomes a requirement based on Malachi chapter three or Matthew chapter 23 or some other dubious implied command from the Bible, it represents poor hermeneutics and sloppy exegesis. Tithe teachers who hold Malachi 3 to the heads of God's people like a 357 magnum and pull the trigger with a curse upon them have committed the greatest betrayal of GRACE and the work of Christ on the cross that almost rivals Judas' betrayal of Christ with a kiss. Of everything I've witnessed over thirty years, no one has ever been able to explain why there are ghettos and inner cities still full of generations of tithers who remain one paycheck away from the soup kitchen. Ok, I get it, the answer has always been, they did not put their seed in the right place. Saying we've been blessed by tithing does not make it true Biblically. We are blessed because of the New Covenant Principles of giving, not paying tithes. None of the epistles or letters written by the Apostles instructed or exhorted New Covenant believers to tithe, not as a law, a principle or even as a voluntary practice.
In the Old Testament tithing is compulsory and does not translate to grace giving under the New Covenant. The tithe teachers throughout history have taught tithing on a weak foundation of proof text or proof texting methodology. By definition and the verses, I've heard used to extract tithes from people using slick fund raising techniques over my 30 years do not understand that, "a proof text is a verse or short passage from the Bible used by someone as part of his/her proof for a doctrinal belief he wishes to substantiate to others. However, since verses and passages may rely extensively on the context in which they appear for correct interpretation, pulling these verses out their context and having them stand alone in "proof" can at times be very misleading. In addition, a set of such proof texts can completely ignore other passages which, if added to the mix, might well lead to an entire different conclusion. Someone who relies strongly only on a list of proof texts in order to make a doctrinal argument may have a very weak case for his argument. Noting that a religious teacher relies heavily on proof texting is viewed in theological circles as very negative in evaluation." For example, after my examination Malachi 3:10 and reading the whole book in its context, the infamous verse used by many to support their tithing position fail to realize this book is not talking to or suggesting any Gentile or New Covenant believer to tithe but it speaks only to certain Israelites in the promised land. Even if tithing was actually commanded in the New Covenant (Which it is not), how can anyone teach 10 percent and not teach the other 20 percent outlined under the law. I bet no leader in Today's church would demand 30 percent of people's income and then ask for a free will offering to boot. In fact, if we follow this logic, to obey any part of the law and not do all of it, you are guilty and accountable for all it. For tithe teachers to prove a doctrinal point, proof text methodology is essential because it allows them to ignore the context of the whole book or chapter.
According to the Jewish Mishnah and the Tulmad writers, tithes were always defined as everything eatable (food), and everything that was stored up or that grew out of the earth. In the Old Testament money was not a titheable commodity only crops, produce and cattle. For 1600 years after the tithe was established it remained a food item up to Mat 23:23 of Jesus' time. And upon careful examination, the Pharisees extended the tithe of the Mosaic Law in the Tulmad to include spices of anise, cumin, and mint, which was never a part of the original Law of Moses or the first five books of the Bible.
Biblical History and secular history on this subject is replete with examples of the tithing wars among Christian leaders that have raged over the centuries. In history, even Martin Luther Stood for salvation by grace and not confessing to a priest. We hail him for his stand, but we pass over, ignore and fail to declare the whole counsel about the man's tithing beliefs and that he preached against tithing way back in a sermon on August 27, 1525? The title was How Christians Should Regard Moses. Here's are some excerpts from Dr. Kelly's book on what Luther said about Law and Grace which can be found on the internet, "The law of Moses binds only the Jews not the Gentiles. Here the Law of Moses has it place. It is no longer binding on us because it was given only to the people of Israel. And Israel accepted this law for itself and its descendants, while the Gentiles were excluded. Moses has nothing to do with us. Well will not regard him as our lawgiver--unless he agrees with both the New Testament and the natural law. For not one little period in Moses pertains to us. But the other commandments of Moses which are by nature, the Gentiles do not hold. Nor do these pertain to Gentiles, such as the TITHE and others equally fine which I wish we had done."
You did agree that since the New Covenant standards are higher than the Old Covenant and if you ever accepted grace giving, the minimum standard would be ten percent at the start. In the final analysis, I would have to reject that as incorrect because after Calvary there is no biblical text to support any exact percentage as at starting point in the New Testament. The principle of interpreting New Covenant Giving starting at ten percent sounds good, but it is pure assumption. The New Covenant is filled with "free-will giving principles only. Because of that, giving could range from 0 to 100 percent based on what a person has, not what a person does not have; not under compulsion or reluctantly but by ability and by the Holy Spirit's prompting.
After thirty years of tithing, my heart aches at the carnage of mixed messages the tithe teaching Community has left behind and the many shattered lives and new converts who will be damaged by this grace less teaching in the future.
As I continue in search for truth, I submit this resignation with no malice because I know that tithe teachers need forgiveness too for they know not what they do. For we all are in need of the Grace of God when disputes arise.

Reply to Tim Guthrie, 12-12-09

Reply to Tim Guthrie, SBC Today, by Russell Kelly
Defining the TITHE , Tim Guthrie

The definition must be the first thing discussed because it is the foundation of the entire doctrine. You have been teasing us for over a week already and have not yet said anything about tithing accompanied with biblical textual support.

We who "specify that the Old Testament tithe was restricted to items grown and raised" [you conveniently omitted] INSIDE GOD'S HOLY LAND OF ISRAEL have 16 supporting texts. Where are your texts which teach otherwise?

The tithe is "out" because everything about the tithe is "out": the covenant, the Temple with its storerooms, the Levites and their cities and especially the Aaronic priesthood which was supported through tithes from inside Israel.

After the cross both the Temple and priesthood have been replaced by the doctrine of the priesthood of every believer. You have not yet offered a single text for open discussion.

You then say "Also out in this thought is giving to the church." This is ridiculous and absurd. In agreement with us are: John MacArthur, Martin Luther, Craig Blomberg, Wheaton College, Moody Bible Institute, Dallas Theological Seminary, Denver Seminary, Talbot Bible College, Masters Seminary and many more. Most of us fully support gospel giving principles given to the Church after Calvary in terms of the New Covenant. Such is often more than ten per cent.

Although we have plenty of grounds to object to tithing because of abuses, our focus it the plain inspired Word of God. The greatest and primary abuse is defining the tithe wrong and applying it to the New Covenant with no sound hermeneutic.

You added "Defining the tithe must start with the Bible and it must stay with the Bible." When are you going to do that?

You concluded with "The Biblical model is NEVER subject to change due to culture or abuse." The "Biblical model" was NEVER that tithes were the beginning point, training wheels, good place to start, expectation, ad nausea. Your model is flawed because it falsely assumes that the OT teaches that every Hebrew was commanded to being his/her giving at ten per cent.

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
December 12, 2009 (my birthday)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Reply to Tim Guthrie, Dec 9, 2009

Reply to Tim Guthrie, Eklund Stewardship Ministries, Dec 9, 2009

1. Was the tithe only for Israel?Kelly: God owned everything in the OT also but He never accepted tithes from outside of his holy land of Israel. Since the true biblical tithe was always only food from inside Israel and could only be given by an Israelite under the Old Covenant, then one must conclude that the tithe was only for Israel. Tithes could not be accepted from outside Israel off defiled pagan dust. And tithes could not be accepted from the products of man's hand such as carpentry or tentmaking. The increase was miraculously provided by God through crops and herds.

2. Though much is said in the New Testament about giving and even some mentions of tithing, is it true that after the cross the tithe was to cease?

Kelly: Everything about the tithe ended at Calvary. a) Its covenant ended, b) its temple ended, c) its priesthood ended, d) its Levitical cities ended and its purpose to support those who did not own land ended.

3. Does "grace giving" mean that NO standard of tithing exists?

Kelly: Levitical tithing was pure cold hard law and was expected whether one wanted to tithe or not. If you were a food producer inside Israel, you were expected to tithe. Freewill offerings were always examples of grace giving. According to 2nd Cor 8:12-14 many should give more than ten per cent and many are giving sacrificially even though less than ten per cent. Tithes were never the same as firstfruits according to Deu 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-38. Firstfruits were very small token offerings. According to First Timothy 5:8 the Christian's first should go to buy essential medicine, food and shelter --not to the church. Church which teach firstfruit tithing are stealing medicine and food from many poor church members who are intimidated and fearful to avoid being cursed.

4. How is it that there is so much confusion over the subject of tithing?

Kelly: Most churches confuse the application of the Old Covenant and the Law. God never commanded anybody other than national Israel to keep the whole law, including the statutes which included tithing. The New Covenant takes that which is eternal and moral from God's character and repeats it in the New Covenant in terms of grace and faith. And tithing was not repeated; neither was the prohibition for ministers not to own property.

5. Why do things like adultery get certain treatment in the OT that tithing does not get?

Kelly: Again, the eternal moral law which was found throughout the commandments, statutes and judgments was re-stated and repeated after Calvary to the Church in terms of grace and faith. The "Thou shalt nots" were replaced by "You will" because of the new creation and indwelling Holy Spirit.

6. Is there a Biblical Standard for those of us alive today in regards to tithing and giving?

Kelly: The entire Old Covenant (not the Old Testament) ended at Calvary according to Hebrews 8:13. New Covenant "tithing" is built on the false assumption that the Law required everybody to BEGIN their level of giving at ten per cent. That is wrong. There never was a minimum STANDARD to use as a guideline unless you were a food producer who lived inside Israel. Since there was no real OT standard, then it is wrong to teach that Christians should BEING at the OT standard. New Covenant giving principles in 2nd Cor 8 and 9 suggest that each should give according to their ability as the Spirit leads. Again, for many this means more than ten per cent while many are giving sacrificially even though less than ten per cent.

7. The danger with a subject like tithing is that often people approach it from a position that they hold or would like to hold and thus they set out to prove their case.

Kelly: You are doing that when you ignore the plain biblical definition of the tithe and use a secular definition. Although money was very common even in Genesis and essential for sanctuary worship, money is never included in 16 texts which describe the contents of the tithe. Your hermeneutic assumes that the Church is still bound to observe the Law which you incorrectly infer means the Ten Commandments (minus the Sabbath) plus tithing. You do not follow a consistent hermeneutic when determining what to bring over from the Old Covenant into the New.

8. Some may even suggest that I could be approaching the subject from a "I believe it" position and thus that I am setting out to do the same. Before anyone jumps to conclusions I simply ask that you follow along and watch and read and pray! You just might be surprised in the whole of the series.

Kelly: I cannot wait. I have already been waiting since January 2001 to enter an extended dialog with any SBC leader about tithing. The truth will set us free.

Russell Earl Kelly to Tim Guthrie

Friday, December 04, 2009

Reply to Bobby Eklund, SBC Stewardship Leader

Reply to Bobby Eklund, Stewards For Him - Eklund Stewardship Ministries by Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

Eklund: Good discussion and debate actually leads to learning and prayerfully conviction.

Kelly: Empty words because most tithe-teachers will not defend their position but chose to punish those who disagree with them.Eklund: Matthew 23:23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone." NKJV

Kelly: You totally ignore the most basic hermeneutic for biblical interpretation --the context. Jesus is clearly speaking BEFORE CALVARY to only Jewish disciples. He could not and did not command his Gentile disciples to tithe or obey any of the Law because it was not legal.Eklund: Clearly Jesus taught and one might say reinforced the tithe in this statement.

Kelly: Of course he did. This occurred while the Law was still in full force and Jesus perfectly obeyed the Law. It would have been sin if he had opposed the Law.

Eklund: The words here are spoken in a clear lesson being taught to the multitudes.

Kelly: Yes, clearly addressed to "scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites." It is not addressed to Gentiles or to the Church.

For the truth see

Eklund: The Pharisees are being called out for their lives which were not lived in surrender to Jesus as Lord. Interesting here is that as the "wrong approach" to life is being called out, the right disciplines are being taught.

Kelly: NONE of the tithing statute-ordinance of Numbers 18 is obeyed by you or any of the church today: (1) tithes are only food from inside Israel, (2) the first Levitical tithe goes to the servants of the priests (ushers, deacons, choir, etc), (3) priests only got one per cent, (4) only ministers can enter the sanctuary, (5) ministers are to KILL anybody attempting to worship God directly and (6) those who receive the Levitical tithe are not allowed to own or inherit property. Why, why, why don't you teach and obey any of these?

Eklund: So why do you think that with Jesus clearly teaching the tithe people today desire to belittle or do away with it?

Kelly: If the Church followed ANY of the tithing ordinance of Numbers 18, it would be laughed at.
Eklund: Just think of the changes that could occur when we return to this Biblical Doctrine.

Kelly: There would be no Christians if tithe-receiving ministers killed everybody else who attempted to worship God directly.

I used your boo, Partners with God, as the backdrop for my PHD dissertation, Should the Church Teach Tithing? You are wrong on every point about tithing and you will not enter into an extended in-depth dialog with me on the subject. Whatever happened to holy boldness?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

US EPISCOPAL Church Defeated Tithing Resolution

The U. S. Episcopal Church has just DEFEATED a resolution which would have required its convention delegates to TITHE. Nov 25, 2009

The article states that tithing was first required of delegates in 1982.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Reply to Paul King

Paul King

Paul: Can you explain why you don't acknowledge what is written in verses 22-23.

Russ: It cover it in my 288 page book, not in my 10 page short essay summary. It is free online as a pdf file and free on my web site.

Paul: It is recorded that Abram made some kind of vow or agreement with God about the allotment of the spoil. This theory is stronger than your pagan culture theory.

Russ: My pagan culture theory is based on what happened in Genesis 14:21 which YOU skipped over. I found it in the Southern Baptist dominated Wycliffe Bible Commentary and several other sources. I did not originate it. If the 90% of 14:21 were controlled by pagan custom, then the 10% of verse 20 should be also. I quote several other commentaries in my book to show this contradiction.

Paul: Even though there is no recorded demand for a tenth, we can conclude some type of pledge was made by Abram.

Russ: The pledge was Abram's way of confirming that God could and would bless him by faith and not by his own works. In the last half of Genesis 12 Abraham became even more wealthy when he actually lied about his sister to Pharaoh.

Paul: On that basis, how did you come up with this eis-egetical interpretation of a pagan tradition?

Russ: Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Nelson's Bible Dictionary and International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Also see the extensive research by another person which follows my Essay on page one of my web site. It is not new.

Paul: Why do you exclude the "God" element when you are reaching your conclusion?

Russ: In Numbers God gave Moses a statute/ordinance which limited tithes from spoils of war to one per cent and one tenth of one per cent. That is the God element. It is described in my book which you have not read. They were never equated with the holy tithes from inside Israel. Why do you ignore that fact?

Paul: Circumstantial evidence is a collection of facts that, when considered together, can be used to infer a conclusion about something unknown. That may work in a court room, but not when it comes to exegeting God's word.

Russ: I am confident that my arguments will stand up in any court --civil or religious.

Paul: Since you are an exegete, why is that you don't follow the principle of exegesis. Exegesis - The act of establishing meaning of a text from the text itself.

Russ: I do. The text itself does not say WHY Abram gave a tithe of pagan spoils of war to a priest-king. The text itself does not say WHO El-Elyon was in Canaan. The text itself does not reveal that Zedek was the name of Jupiter in Canaan. Why do you ignore the proven theology of Canaan which has been found by many researchers? Abraham was living in a pagan land and had to obey some pagan customs. He could not pass through a priest-king's territory and ignore his rules.

Paul: Secondly, why is so hard for you to except what the bible says in Heb 7. that Paul, the author of the book of Hebrews, in recounting Gen. 14: 17-20 considered the Levitical priest who descended from Abraham and who appeared centuries later as having paid tithes to Melchizedek through Abraham.

Russ: Again read my book. The tithing command of Hebrews 7:5 was "of necessity changed" in 7:12 and that "change" was its "annulment" in 7:18. To me that is extremely clear!

Paul: Why would Paul connect the two dispensations? If Abram did something paganistic why would Paul mention him as an example to the Hebrews?

Russ: Paul is contrasting the "historical" Melchizedek of Genesis 14 with the "Messianic" Melchizedek of Psalm 110 and the "typical" Melchizedek of Hebrews 7. It was the OFFICE of the historical Melchizedek which was typical --his office was that of king-priest. He was only the king of righteous "by interpretation of his name."

Paul: You attribute Abram actions as following Pagan practices.

Russ: God can and does change pagan types to refer to holy things.
(1) To the Canaanite El-Elyon was a well known god around the world of Abraham's time. Abraham recognized that the real El-Elyon was actually Yahweh.
(2) In the OT God revealed himself to Israel primarily as Yahweh. In the NT God reveals himself as El Elyon, God most high TO ALL NATIONS.
(3) The brass serpent became a symbol of salvation in Moses' time. Acknowledge your sins.
(4) Cyrus of Persia is called "my servant."
(5) The Babylonian army in Habakkuk is God's army to punish Israel.
(6) The CROSS of shame is now a symbol of victory.
You, my friend, do not understand how the Bible uses TYPOLOGY.

Russ Kelly

Friday, November 20, 2009

Reply to Brother Dave's spiritual Reflections

Reply to Brother Dave's Spiritual Reflections EDITED

Dave: Firstly we need to understand that the tithe belongs to God. It is not ours, and must be returned to God.

Russ: Although money was common in Genesis the true biblical tithe was always only food from inside Israel which had been miraculously increased by God off His holy land. It belonged to God because it came off his land. God did not accept tithes which did not come from His holy land.

Dave: The tithe is an expression of gratitude to God by His people.

Russ: No. The tithe was cold hard law which must be given by food producers who lived inside Israel whether they were grateful or not.

Dave: Tithing is our acknowledgement of God’s ownership of everything in the earth.

Russ: Even though God owned everything, He did not accept tithes from outside the holy land of Israel.

Dave: The tithe is 10 percent of our total financial income. This includes all of our income before taxes, family support income, child benefits, inheritances or bonuses, and tax returns, monetary gifts, such as Christmas and birthday money, in fact any financial increase which comes into your life.

Russ: This is an incorrect definition of the true biblical tithe. Churches do not obey any of the tithing ordinance found in Numbers 18. It commands tithe-recipients NOT to own or inherit property and it gives the first whole tithe to the servants who functioned as ushers, deacons, choir, musicians and other helpers.

Dave: The tithe is not and offering, it is God’s money and must be returned to Him in full. This must be done weekly or monthly.

Russ: The tithe was never the same as a freewill offering.Dave: If we are not able to return to God His tithe of 10%, how then can we really expect God to return to us the wealth of the sinner? Proverbs 13:22 says: “the sinners wealth is laid up for the righteous.”

Russ: The word "tithe" is not found in Proverbs.

Dave: I want to look briefly at Genesis 4:3-5 Already, early in Genesis we see the foundation for tithing—the FIRST fruits of your labour.

Russ: Tithes are never the same as firstfruits. Firstfruits were very small token offerings per Deu 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-37.

Dave: The very first person to tithe was Abram. The first act of tithing took place 430 year before the mosaic law was even written. It was then written in the law.

Russ: Abram's tithe was from pagan spoils of war. Abram was required to tithe spoils in obedience to well-documented Arab custom of his time. Abram's tithe would not have been accepted as a holy tithe in the Law. They were very different.

Dave: The law was put into place to hold the church together until Jesus came. When Jesus returned to the God, He left the Holy Spirit with us to guide us. The requirement to tithe is still operational, but now we return the tithe under grace, rather than forcibly under the law.

Russ: Tithing was not taught to the Church under grace after Calvary. Period. The necessary change of the law in Hebrews 7:12 (from 7:5) was the annulment of tithing in 7:18. Both the OT Temple and priesthood have been replaced by the priesthood of every believer. There is no such thing as a New Covenant storehouse.

Dave: Therefore tithing is not only part of the mosaic law it is a timeless covenant of blessings, which makes it not a begrudged legal requirement, but a joyous exercise in faith.

Russ: Then why don't modern tithe-teachers obey any of the tithing law found in Numbers 18?

Dave: Genesis 14:18-20
Russ: Nothing Abraham did concerning tithing is copied by any church today. (1) only pagan spoils of war, (2) none of his pre-existing property, (3) only once, (4) he kept nothing and (5) gave the 90% to the king of Sodom.Dave: This covenant was established 430 years before the law was even written. It is unchanging, it always was, and it always will be.

Russ: Tithing is not part of the Abrahamic covenant. It was legislated to support the Law's priesthood.

Dave: Jesus himself endorsed tithing. Matthew 23:23
Russ: Jesus lived under the full jurisdiction of the law and was teaching "matters of the law." He must teach tithing to his Jewish disciples but he could not teach tithing to his Gentile disciples. Dave: “do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. Matt. 5:17

Russ: Read and obey Matthew 5:19-48 which includes the whole law of commandments, statutes and judgments. Either all of the law still applies as such or none of it applies as written.

Dave: So we can clearly see that the early New Testament church tithed after the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Russ: Acts 21:20 suggests that the Jewish Christians in Judea were still paying tithes to the Temple system over 30 years after Calvary. Recorded church history does not verify that the early church attempted to teach or practice tithing until it became a state church of pagan Rome. It was not a law in the church until AD777.

Dave: The act of tithing crosses the bridge from the Old Testament to the New Testament. The only thing that was “left behind” was the requirement of the law.

Russ: You just quoted Matthew 5:17 to prove that we must still keep all the law. Tithing, along with the Old Covenant, priesthood, the Temple and the system it was designed to support all ended at Calvary.

Dave: Tithing then and now comes under grace, as being our very minimum level of honoring God with our finance. It is very simple — we return the tithe to God because it is His, not ours!

Russ: This is a common error. It assumes that everybody in the Old Covenant was expected to BEGIN their level of giving at a minimum of ten per cent. In reality the tithe only applied to food producers who lived inside Israel.

Dave: Numbers 18:25-26Russ: How can you list Numbers 18:25-26 and completely ignore what is taught in Numbers 18? If you own a house you are breaking the tithing law. If you do not KILL anybody who dares to enter the sanctuary, you are breaking the tithing law.

Dave: I work fulltime outside the church—have a good income, but I still struggle some weeks to meet my tithe.

Russ: You are to be commended for working full-time outside the church as the Apostle Paul did. However, tithing is not working for you because you are not receiving overflowing blessings. God is not operating from Old Covenant principles now.

Dave: Malachi 3:10-11

Russ: The whole law was a test --not merely tithing. Obey all to be blessed; break ONE to be cursed. In order to be blessed from tithing you must obey all 600+ commands of the law. That is why Paul wrote Galatians 3, especially verse 10.

Russell Earl Kelly

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Reply to Keith Troop, Reformed Pastor Blog

Reply to Pastor Keith Troop, Reformed Pastor Blog, by Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

Keith: As a pastor I have often been asked over the years whether or not I think Christians should tithe, and my response is usually, “I think it is a good place to start.”

Russ: At the start you betray a fundamental misunderstanding of the biblical tithe. Though money was common, the biblical tithe was always only food from inside Israel and it only applied to food producers who lived inside Israel. It never applied to craftsmen such as carpenters, fishermen or tentmakers. There was no minimum standard starting point for giving in either testament.

Keith: For example, many Christians today rightly observe that we are no longer under the Mosaic law (Rom. 6:14-15; Gal. 3:10-23) and that, since tithing was a part of this Mosaic Law (Lev. 27:30-34; Num. 18:20-21; Deut. 14:22-29), we are therefore no longer required to continue the practice.

Russ: "We" the Church, mostly Gentiles, were never under the Old Covenant law at all. "We" the Church, mostly Gentiles never had a Levitical priesthood or Temple system to support.

Keith: In addition, it is observed (argued) that since tithing is not explicitly taught as a requirement in the New Testament, we have another reason that it is not a necessary practice for Christians.

Russ: Acts 21:20 strongly implies that the Jewish Christians in Judea never did stop paying tithes to the Temple system. Both the OT priesthood and Temple now reside within the individual believer who does not tithe to himself.
Keith: I agree that there is no clear New Testament teaching commanding Christians to tithe, and this is why the elders at Immanuel Baptist Church (among whom I serve) do not demand that anyone tithe. But that doesn't mean that we would not encourage tithing as a good and godly practice or, as I stated earlier, as a good place to start with one's giving.

Russ: Church history records that the early leaders for several centuries boasted about their extreme asceticism. Tithing was seen as a purely Jewish custom for over 200 years after Calvary and did not become a legal law for the church until AD777. Keith: First, tithing was the example of godly men before the giving of the Mosaic law. For example: Genesis 14:18-20 and Genesis 28:20-22. What they describe is a good response to God that has been recorded for our benefit. … In fact, I think it may be best to assume that Abraham and Jacob got the idea from God in the first place. But wherever they got the idea, the fact is that the practice was around and found to be good in God's sight …

Russ: Both Abraham and Jacob got the idea of tithing from Babylon, Canaanite tradition and practices all around the known world of their time. There is absolutely no biblical support for the claim that God either commanded them to tithe or even approved it. In Jacob's case, his was a freewill vow wrapped around a condition made by the great manipulator and supplanter.

Nothing done by Abraham is followed by any church today. (1) only pagan spoils of war which were disqualified by the law, (2) only once recorded, (3) not his own pre-existing property, (4) he kept nothing, gave it all back and (5) he gave the 90% to the king of Sodom.

Keith: And we know that God approved of their tithing, for He later incorporated tithing into the Mosaic law as we have already seen. … before its incorporation into the Mosaic law, which should at least give us some pause about being so quick to dismiss it as simply a part of the Mosaic law that has passed away.

Russ: The only part of Abraham's tithe which was incorporated into the Law of Moses is found in Numbers 31 where the tithe of spoils was only one percent. None of Jacob's tithe from the pagan defiled land of Haran would qualify under the law.

Keith: Second, tithing was affirmed by Jesus as a good thing. For example:
NKJ Matthew 23:23
Jesus clearly says that tithing is something they “ought to have done,” even if He sees the kind of tithing spoken of here as not being among the “weightier matters” of the law. But we must also remember that Jesus warned against the legalistic practice of tithing that does not come from the heart:

Russ: Matthew 23:23 is before Calvary and the law was still in full force. Therefore, Jesus MUST teach tithing as a "matter of the law." He could not have commanded his Gentiles disciples to tithe.

Keith: Luke 18:10-14
It is this kind of legalism that so many Christians fear today with respect to the practice of tithing, and they are right to seek to avoid such legalism.

Russ: No. Tithing ended at Calvary when the system it was legislated to support ended. Its covenant, Levites, Levitical cities, priesthood, sacrificial system and ritual all ended. Today no church obeys any of the tithing statute found in Numbers 18 which required tithe-recipients to forfeit property ownership and KILL anybody who dared to enter the sanctuary to worship God directly.

Keith: I would hasten to add that just because something may be done in a legalistic way does not mean that it cannot be practiced in a proper way that recognizes that all that we have is by the grace of God.

Russ: All that we had also belonged to God in the Old Covenant but that was never used as grounds to accept tithes from outside of God's holy land of Israel.

Keith: I would also warn against using the charge of legalism as an excuse to be stingy with what God has given us.

Russ: The "equality principle" of 2nd Corinthians 8:12-15 teaches Christians to give sacrificially. For many that means MORE than 10% but others are giving sacrificially even though giving less.Keith: Now, as for Matthew 23:23, Jesus is dealing with those who were still under the law, and thus we cannot say that He intended here to enjoin the practice of tithing upon the New Covenant Church.

Russ: You understand this correctly.

Keith: But we can say that He approved of and encouraged tithing as a godly practice if done with the right motives.

Russ: Only for those who were still obligated by the law to support the Temple system.Keith: Third, the means of supporting the Levites under the Old Covenant is affirmed by Paul as a good example for Christians to follow in support of their ministers under the New Covenant.

Russ: No. Verse 13 opens the door for EVERY means of supporting the Levites and priests found in Numbers 18 --not merely tithing. Your argument is self-defeating because you want to only keep tithing and discard the rest.

Keith: 1 Corinthians 9:1-14 Paul does not explicitly mention the tithes that were given to the Lord for the sustaining of the Levitical priesthood, but the tithe was definitely a primary means of their support.

Russ: Actually the tenth of the tithe for the priests was one of the smallest means of support. The full tithe went to the Levites who were paid to perform duties as ushers, deacons, choir, musicians, politicians, etc, etc. The church does not follow that pattern.

Keith: And Paul clearly does see the concept of their sharing in what is given by the people as a model for the support of pastors today.

Russ: You miss the point. Verse 14 is a summary of 7-13, not just 13. The principle is that each vocation has its own rules for support. The gospel worker's rule if "to live of the gospel" under gospel principles of grace and faith. Do not forget what Paul wrote in 9:12, 15-19 and Acts 20:29-35. He was not violating his own code of conduct.

Keith: Thus we certainly could say that tithing is a good idea, even if not something that can be demanded (for to demand it when Scripture does not would be the very kind of legalism Jesus despised).

Russ: No. If it were a good idea, the Holy Spirit would have clearly repeated it in terms of Calvary. NT giving principles are: freewill, generous, SACRIFICIAL, joyful, not by commandment (or percentage) and motivated by love for God and lost souls. The problem with most churches is a failure to teach personal evangelism.

Keith: 1 Corinthians 16:2

Russ: This text has absolutely nothing to say about church supports or pastoral salaries. It is not about tithing.

Keith: Fourth, tithing is a good way to honor Christ as our High Priest and King. Hebrews 7:1-8

Russ: Those who teach tithing from Hebrews 7 always stop before verse 12. The chapter is about the necessary change of the priesthood from Aaron to Christ. The change necessitated a change of the law which funded that priesthood from 7:5 and 7:12. The change was not "from Aaron to the Gospel worker." Rater the change was from Aaron to the "annulment" of the law from 7:5 which included tithing.

Keith: John Piper

Russ: I have refuted Piper's arguments on my web site under rebuttals.

Keith: Tithing is like a constant offering of the first fruits of the whole thing. The tenth is yours, O, Lord, in a special way, because all of it is yours in an ordinary way. I believe the tithe should be the first check we write after the income deposit is made in the bank.

Russ: This is selfish and greedy. It robs many of the money needed to buy medicine and essential food and shelter. It violates Paul's principle found in 1st Timothy 5:8. Most of all, it is unbiblical because tithes and firstfruits are NEVER the same thing in Scripture. See Deu 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-37 for examples.

Keith: I do think that I can encourage tithing as a godly practice for Christians to follow in their giving, at least as a good place to start, which leads me to my next question.

Russ: Again you ignore the definition and purpose of the biblical tithe. If it was not the "good place to start" for OT Hebrews, then it cannot be so for Christians.
Keith: Although Christians are not commanded to tithe in the New Testament, we are certainly encouraged to give in proportion to what we have, to give self-sacrificially so long as we can do so with a cheerful heart, and to be encouraged to give by remembering that we cannot out-give God, who will always provide for us.

Russ: Agreed.

Keith: I think God took the focus off giving a tithe in the early church because he wants his people to ask themselves a new question. The question that Jesus drives us to ask again and again is not, "How much should I give?" but rather, "How much dare I keep?"

Russ: In early church history, this attitude led to extreme asceticism and, later, monasticism. They took Jesus' words to the rich young ruler literally.

Keith: By and large the Old Testament people of God were not a missionary people.

Russ: No tithes were ever used to send out missionaries to convert the Gentiles around them.

Keith: The task he gave us is so immense and requires such a stupendous investment of commitment and money that the thought of settling the issue of what we give by a fixed percentage (like a tenth) is simply out of the question.

Russ: Then what is the purpose of this article? You can teach NT giving without mentioning tithing.

Keith: My own conviction is that most middle and upper class Americans who merely tithe are robbing God.

Russ: You echo J. Vernon McGee but he opposed using the word "tithe."

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Reply to Rina: Who Do You Think You Are

Who Do You Think You Are?

Rina: The Bible says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house and try Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’” (Malachi 3:10).

Russ: The LITERAL context of the above verses is only addressed to national Israel under the Old Covenant as only one of over 600 commands --breaking ANY brought a curse per Galatians 3:10. In the texts the tithe is still only food from inside Israel and, sicne the definition never changed, then noen of us can really tithe today (and neither did Jesus, Peter or Paul).

Rina: God is not just talking about financial blessings but also spiritual ones.

Russ: Sounds nice, but it is not biblical.

Rina: In essence, when we tithe, God will open heaven into our lives.

Russ: The context is the curses and blessings repeated by Malachi's audience in Nehemiah 10:29 wich repeats Deuteronomy 28:11, 12 and 23 which are totally ignored.

Rina: Hence, whatever is free to operate in heaven is free to operate in our lives because of our obedience to tithing.

Russ: God never commanded the Gentiles or the Church to tithe in the New Covenant after Calvary. The entire Old Covenant, including tithing, VANISHED in Hebrews 8:13.

Rina: When we step out in faith and give away money we put confidence in God’s promise.

Russ: We do not put confidence in any part of the law. Believers are dead to the law per Romans 7:4.

Rina: When the promise is fulfilled in our lives, it breeds a greater desire to believe what God has promised.

Russ: Only post-Calvary promises are in operation today. God does not operate today using Old Covenant promises.

Rina: Faith leads to faith, or an increase in faith. Anytime we limit our ability for a greater belief in His ability, we will grow in our identity and receive spiritual blessing.

Russ: True, but Law-keeping does not lead to faith. Much better Grace principles of giving are found in 2nd Cor 8 and 9.

Rina: In the Bible, Jacob provides a great example of an individual who had great confidence in his own ability. He has a tremendous encounter with God that radically changes his life. The first change that he makes in his lifestyle is in the area of his finances. (Genesis 28:22)
Jacob was secure enough in God’s revelation of His character to put himself in a position of financial dependence on God.

Russ: No. He told God what to do. He set the conditions and parameters. This is not an example for Christians to follow. "God, if you bless me FIRST, then I will give to you."
Rina: The Apostle Paul understood this principle and he taught it to the Philippians. Paul writes, “Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.” (Philippians 4:17) Paul is saying, “Look, I don’t want your money, I want you to receive the spiritual and physical benefits of a radically generous lifestyle.” This principle was honored by God in the life of Cornelius.

Russ: Tithing is totally OUT of the picture with Paul. Nothing from defiled pagan dust could be offered as a holy tithe. Paul gave sacrificial freewill offerings. WE cannot tithe a biblical tithe.
Rina: Cornelius is in prayer and God fulfills His promise and “opens heaven” over Cornelius. An angel appears to him and says, “Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms are remembered in the sight of God.” (Acts 10:31) It was because of his radical generosity in making financial offerings (alms) that God chose him to be the first of the Gentiles to receive salvation and subsequent, baptism in the Spirit.

Russ: Again, tithing is NOT in the picture at all. Gentiles were not allowed to tithe. They were alllowed to give pagan money which would be cleansed by buring and exchanged in the Temple.

Rina: It’s one thing for us to seek God for an increase in anointing and it is quite another thing when God seeks after us because of our radical generosity.

Russ: This is a New Covenant giving principles which replaces tithing.

Rina: The Shunamite woman of the Old Testament, demonstrates this principle in her dealings with Elisha. She radically and generously used her resources to provide for the prophet and his servant. Because of her giving, the prophet seeks to impart something into her life. (2 Kings 4:14) Again, it is one thing to seek an impartation from a man of God but quite another when the man of God seeks you out because of your generosity.

Russ: There is not hint that the Shulamite woman tithes. Your examples do not support your premise.

Rina: Generosity, tithes, and offerings can ensure that we grow in our identity. It puts us in a position of faith to receive impartation from both God and His ministers. This transference will cause us to grow up in God. Subsequently, leaving behind our old identity.

Russ: Read the tithing statute/ordinance of Numbers 18 and tell me which of the tithing commands is followed by any Church today. NONE of them are. Does your pastor own or inherit property? If so, he/she is a tithe-breaker. 2 Cor 8:12-15 is good enough for all of us.

Russ Kelly

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Reply to Frances; SDA Sabbath Questions


Kelly: Have you really read all of the book? Many of my comments are found in the book.

Your Question:
17. Is there any evidence that the seven-day weekly cycle was universally known through general revelation before Exodus 16?

Answer. Origin of the week:
Gen. 1 and 2, Also Gen. 7:4, 8:10,12. 29:27, 28, In the kinds of question that you have, it looks like you are not a Christian guided by the holy spirit Bro. Russel.

- Universally known means to all the people who exist during that time Mr Russell? Is that what you mean? So do you expect that the Pagan worshiper during that time will follow this cycle without knowing the God of the bible and the Creation? “Definitely not”, but to the people of God in the Bible, Yes. It is universally Known as what the above verses of the Bible is telling us.

Kelly Reply: Your very first comment is pompous, arrogant, derogatory and ridicules those who disagree with you. If I am not a Christian guided by the Spirit, then why do you call me 'Brother'?

Kelly: The God of creation has placed within every soul a knowledge of his moral law. Although very clouded, most non-Hebrew and non-Christian cultures know by creation, nature and conscience that is wrong to violate the moral parts of the Law which reflect God's character. All creation knows that time should be set aside to worship God. However, however, however, creation and nature do not teach that the specific 7th day of the week is a moral imperative. Why? The cultic 7th day Sabbath day was only given to national Israel who was commanded NOT to share it with other nations.

Your Question:
18. Did the ancient Sumerians and Babylonians have a seven-day (7) week because they worshipped 7 heavenly bodies such as the Sun, Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus and Saturn?

Answer: Yes if you have notice the name of the Days that we have today from Monday to Saturn day!! That’s were this names came from.
This is a logic question and maybe needs a logic answer also, which is not all the time is applicable in the words of God in the scripture; “It is very simple logic that this People you have mention, the ancient Sumerians and Babylonians who worship other “gods” like what have you’ve mention above are none believers of the God of the Bible,. That’s also the reason why they are not the believer of Seventh day cycle in some other ways and of the creation that have mention by the God of the Bible.. Maybe your one of them Mr. Russel Earl Kelly?

Take note. That Israel is the only chosen people who believes in the God of the Bible during there time. So don’t compare them to this unGodly people that you have mentions above.

Kelly: Again you chose to insult me. Do you get some kind of sadistic pleasure in insulting others? If it makes you feel superior, then go right ahead.

Kelly: Again you miss the point that the 7th day Saturday Sabbath is unique to national Israel and is not part of God's eternal moral law. Do you think that God had a holy Sabbath day every 7th day in heaven in eternity past?

Your Question:
19. Did the frequency of market days determine the length of the week in many nations?

Answer: every body can explain the rotation of our planet to the Sun: 1 year = 12 months = 48 weeks = 360/365days = 8640/8760hrs etc., but you cannot explain the weekly cycle that only God has appointed to have that cycle on us as His People. There are many scientific evidence that science cannot explain about the Seventh day Mr. Kelly. Like the slowing of the heart bit of the Ox, cow, etc. during the seventh day. Nature it self recognize the seven day cycle. Except you Mr. Russel.and why you are not be able to know that even you are a former SDA.

Kelly: Please explain Exodus 31:13-17. God did not give the Sabbath to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. God only gave the Sabbath to national Israel as part of its unique Old Covenant which vanished at Calvary per Heb 8:12. You are not Old Covenant national Israel. You have appropriated something which does not belong to you and that is called stealing. You have stolen the Sabbath which solely belonged to the Hebrews under the Old Covenant.

Kelly: There are tens of thousands of FORMER SDAs who have left that false denomination. Many of them are long-time former members and many of them are long-time former teachers who have had access to the deepest guarded SDA secrets. Tell me how many theologians have gone the other direction from other denominations.

Your Question:
22. Ex. 16:26 Six days you shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none.

Is it evident than even Israel had not been observing any Sabbath day and that the day had been lost in history?

Answer: Because of 438years of captivity in Egypt as a slave it doesn’t mean that they have not remember the weekly cycle Mr. Russell
From Eden to Abraham:
Adam to Methusselah – Lives overlap 243years
Methusselah to shem – 100yrs
Shem to Abraham - 150yrs
No chance to forget the facts of creation and institution of Sabbath in Gen. 1&2.
Ex16:4, 5, 21-30, 35 – People knew People knew when the Sabbath came before the law was given to Sinai.

Kelly: If it were so very critically important, one would expect it to be mentioned at least once between Genesis 2 and Exodus 16. Without any Biblical evidence I have every reason to conclude that it must not have been important. It Israel had not forgotten it, then why did God need to re-introduce it in Exodus 16 as merely a day of rest and not a day of worship?

Your Question:
23. Ex. 16:28 And the LORD said unto Moses, How long do you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws?
Ex. 16:29 See, for that the LORD has given you the Sabbath, therefore he gives you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.
Ex. 16:30 So the people rested on the seventh day.

Is it not evident that the Sabbath was a law designed for only the Hebrews to observe? Does not the "you" only refer to the Hebrews?

Answer: Isaiah 66:22:23 – 22 For as the new heaven and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me. Saith the Lord, so your seed and you name remain.
23 for it shall come to pass, from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall “all FLESH” come to worship before me, saith the Lord.

- Take note that in other Bible translation written as “ALL MEN” or “all MANKIND”. Maybe you are not a flesh Mr. Russell? That’s why you have say that in your writings.

- Not After the Council of the Jew approved the stoning of Stephen in the time of the apostol in 33AD in Acts 7:59. this is the time when God open the Gospel to the Gentiles and none Israelites people. Because the Jew harden there Hearts and reject the salvation of the Cross through Jesus Christ. That’s Why we are here also as a Bible believers, but not a Literal Israel, but Spiritual Israel who believes the God of the Bible. If you believe in the God of the Bible and the scripture, that should be including the Sabbath rest for the people of Hebrew 4:9

You know Mr. Russel, even all of you that are against the Sabbath of the Lord will unite, and wiping out all of us who keep the Sabbath, the Sabbath will still remain and never be wiped out, even all we who keep the Sabbath are Gone,.. But it will never happen as history shows that the Sabbath keeping survive until this time, after so many attempt to change it. And forget it in the face of the earth. This is the only issue that will remain in the Christian world until the second coming of Christ.. So thanks for the challenge of this Questions. Hope that you can Answer this also before God, if you have make people doubt because of the Books that you have written. It is not between us (as a Sabbath keeper)and you. Its always between God and you in the end.

KELLY: How much of Isa 66 do you apply to now and how do you apply it to either the millennial kingdom on earth or eternity? You ignore its context completely.

66:l says that heaven is God's throne and earth is his footstool. SDAs say that God lives in a HP and MHP smaller than most houses.
66:10-12 says Rejoice ye with Jerusalem. SDAs say that God has rejected Israel and ignored the hundreds of unconditional promises made to Israel. SDAs do not rejoice with Jerusalem and bring the curse of Gen 12:3 upon themselves.
66:13-14 says ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. Yet SDAs have rejected God's unconditional promises to Israel and have usurped them upon themselves. SDAs will not be comforted in Jerusalem.
66:15-18 says that God will come with fire and destroy those who oppose Jerusalem. SDAs will be included if they do not correctly apply biblical prophecy to national Israel instead of themselves.
66:19-20 says that God will restore his children "to my holy mountain Jerusalem." SDAs deny this and say it will not be fulfilled by national Israel in the last days.
66:21 says "And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD." This is the fulfillment of Exodus 19:5-6 to national Israel and not to the church.
66:22-23 is a prophecy of the millennial kingdom on earth when God will fulfill his many unconditional promises made to national Israel. It is not the same as the new heavens and new earth in Revelation 21-22 because it still contains the dead rotting corpses of those (like SDAs) who oppose Israel in the last days in verse 24.

Kelly: Why do you ignore the context of the entire chapter and throw 66:21-22 out of context? Why? You only use the two texts which refer to the Sabbath out of context. Why don't you explain the entire chapter in its context, especially 66:24????

Revelation 12:17 – And the Dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandment of God…

Take not that the Woman is represented by the Church..

Kelly: Says who? My Bible says that Christ was born of the seed of David and of the virgin Mary, a Hebrew woman. Israel, not the Church, brought forth the Christ child.

Kelly: Even if it were the Church, that was over 1800 years before the Seventh-day Adventist Church. That "church" is the same "church" which you tag as Babylon or the daughters of Babylon. Make up your mind. Did the FALSE church bring forth the Christ child?

Frances: Are your church is a Commandments keeping church like the Seventh Day Adventist Mr. Russell?

Kelly: Yes, my church keeps the commandments given to it in the New Covenant after Calvary. On the other hand your church, the SDA Church, breaks the Sabbath a hundred ways every 7th day and its children do not live long in the land of Israel (eretz).

Kelly: The Sabbath commandment is broken when:
(1) You do not own slaves.
(2) You cause others to work on the Sabbath:
A. Policemen on your very busy roads.
B. Electric power company to provide electricity.
C. Water company to provide water.
D. Telephone company to provide service.
E. Sewage workers when you flush.
F. Auto mechanics to help Sabbath breakdowns.

Kelly: By attempting to follow the vanished Old Covenant law, you have brought the curses of the whole law down upon yourselves in ignorance per Gal 3:10. On the other hand, by attempting to live a New Covenant life, I rest in the Edenic Sabbath rest in Christ's imputed righteousness 7 days a week 24 hours per day.

Frances: God bless you Brother Russell.
Bro. Frances .

Kelly: How can you justify saying that after you have called me a non-Christian without the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Kelly: Believe it or nor, I believe that you are a saved born-again Christian if you have at some point accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. On the other hand, you will not grant me the same status. Before you do anything else, I ask you to explain Exodus 31:13-17.

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Reading My Tithing Book

This was pointed out recently. Pastor Dave Goodgame of MIlls Road Baptist Church, Houston, Texas is preaching a series using my book. He is reading almost every word of the book. Thus far he has preached 7 sermons beginning on 8-16-09. This will save me the trouble of reading the book online but I am still considering it for a huge project.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Franklin Graham's Salary

Graham: Take away BGEA pay
'Calling was never based on compensation,' says evangelist, who draws salaries from 2 ministries.
By Tim Funk and Ames
Posted: Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009

In 2008, Franklin Graham's compensation from the two ministries totaled $1.2 million, including $669,000 from BGEA.
Graham's 2 CEO posts boost pay, draw critics
2 days ago
Graham's CEO pay draws experts' criticism
Evangelist Franklin Graham told his staff on Friday he wants to give up his pay as head of the Charlotte-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, saying his calling to the ministry "was never based on compensation."

Comment: Why did he take so long to make this decision? Why did it take negative publicity to force this decision?

Graham's decision to ask the BGEA board of directors to stop paying him came a day after an Observer report raised questions about the size of his compensation from the BGEA and Samaritan's Purse, the Boone-based international relief agency that Graham has led since 1979.
In 2008, his two salaries, two retirement packages and other payments from the ministries totaled $1.2 million. That included $669,000 from BGEA, where, in February, 55 employees were laid off - more than 10 percent of the staff. Revenue at BGEA dropped 18 percent last year; at Samaritan's Purse, it climbed 11 percent.

Graham, 57, will continue to draw his salary and benefits from Samaritan's Purse, which totaled $535,000 in 2008.

Comment: This Samaritan could buy a luxury hotel to house the man in the Bible.

After the Observer began asking questions about his compensation, he asked the boards of the two ministries on Tuesday to suspend contributions to his retirement plans until the economy bounced back.

Comment: No remorse. The decision is only temporary.

In a memo to BGEA employees Friday, sent just before the end of the workday, he announced that he had asked the BGEA board of directors "to consider that I work for no compensation. I feel that God has called me to this ministry and that calling was never based on compensation."
The memo, which covered several other subjects, made no mention of the concerns raised in the Observer. The newspaper reported criticisms from charity watchdogs, who said they doubted anyone could do two full-time jobs leading organizations that, together, employ almost 1,000 people with budgets of more than $200 million.

Comment: Does he work 80 hours per week?

Graham spokesman Mark DeMoss said the evangelist called him Friday, before he sent the memo and a letter to BGEA board members. "He said, 'It's not worth it. I'll just do without.

Comment: It's not worth answering to the public. He will keep the $535,000 and drop the $669,000.

The board can do what it wants,'" DeMoss reported.
BGEA board member Denton Lotz said it's up to Graham - and not the board - to make such decisions. "I think that's great if he feels he can do it," said Lotz, the pastor of an inner-city church in Boston. Lotz's brother is married to Graham's sister, Anne Graham Lotz. She's an evangelist based in Raleigh and one of five Graham family members on the 20-member BGEA board.

Comment: Many family members have their hands in the pie.

Graham, who leaves today for a Samaritan's Purse trip to Asia, was not available for an interview Friday.
'Here's what I'm going to do'
Non-profit watchdog Pablo Eisenberg, a senior fellow at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, said he was delighted by Graham's decision. "He's still getting more than most non-profit executives get," Eisenberg said. "He should be satisfied."
As head of Samaritan's Purse, Graham earned more last year than any other leader of an international relief agency based in the United States. That includes eight with larger budgets, according to data compiled by Guidestar, a group that monitors nonprofits.

1 Cor 9:18What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.
Acts 20:33-35
33 I have coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. 34 Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"

Samaritan's Purse, which sends planeloads of aid to victims in disaster areas and shoeboxes filled with Christmas gifts to poor children around the world, "is where (Graham) started his ministry life," said DeMoss. "It's where he spends most of his time. And it's the bigger of the two (ministries)."

Comment: But he gets $134,000 more a year from BGEA.

Graham lives in Boone and travels to Charlotte, site of the BGEA headquarters, five or six times a month, DeMoss said.

Comment: How can this be considered a full-time job?

DeMoss didn't know when the BGEA board will meet to take up Graham's request to work for free. The full board meets twice a year, DeMoss said, and its executive committee meets separately three times annually. "The executive committee can meet at any time," DeMoss said. "And the full board can meet by phone." DeMoss said some BGEA board members tried to talk Graham out of requesting a suspension of his retirement and an end to his pay.

Comment: Afraid of a trickle-down affect on their own salaries.

"They said to him that the CEO ought to be compensated," DeMoss said. "But he's at the point where 'Here's what I'm going to do. I make a comfortable salary at Samaritan's Purse.'"
Moving ahead

Comment: CEOs possibly. But there should be some moral constraints on gospel workers.

Whether he's paid or not, Graham plans to go ahead with a full schedule of BGEA crusades - Graham calls them festivals - in 2010, DeMoss said.
Today, he flies to North Korea, where he'll present $190,000 in equipment and supplies for a dental center being built in Pyongyang. Samaritan's Purse has been working there since 1997, providing more than $10 million in medical and dental aid.
Graham will also visit China, where last year Samaritan's Purse sent a Boeing 747 filled with supplies for those devastated by a 7.9-magnitude earthquake.
Staff researcher Maria David contributed.

Comments by: Russell Earl Kelly

Friday, October 09, 2009

Thanks to Pastor Dave Goodgame

He is almost reading my entire book beginning on 8-16-09

Reply to Pastor Bill Johnson, Bethel Church, Redding, CA on Tithing

Reply to Bill Johnson, Bethel Church, Redding, Ca. on Tithing by Russell Earl Kelly

From the book "The Treasury", by Anne Kalvestrand. The question's were asked of, and answered by, Pastor Bill Johnson, Senior Pastor, Bethel Church, Redding, California. USA.

Johnson: Question: Is the tithe a principle only for those who live under the Law of Moses? Answer: No.
Abraham practices the tithe 400 years before the Law was given - "Melchizedek, king of Salem ... to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all..." Hebrews 7:1-4

Kelly: Nothing Abraham did concerning tithes is followed by any church today. (1) only pagan spoils of war from defiled pagan dust, (2) not holy tithes from God's holy land which had been miraculously increased by God's hand, (3) other than spoils, nothing of his own personal property, (4) only once recorded, (5) he kept nothing and (6) gave the 90% to the king of Sodom. Just because something is very old and very common, that does not mean it is eternal and moral.

Johnson: Jacob also tithed. "... of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You." Genesis 28:22
The Law ratified the wisdom of tithing. "And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's; so it is holy to the Lord." Leviticus 27:30

Kelly: Jacob set the conditions and told God what to do. His tithe was a freewill vow and was not given to support a Levitical priesthood. Neither Abraham nor Jacob's tithe are used in the Law as examples for Israel.

Leviticus 27:30 and 15 other texts all describe the tithe as only food from inside Israel. Although money was common even in Genesis and essential for sanctuary worship, money was never included in the definition of biblical tithes. Jesus, Peter and Paul did not qualify as tithe-payers and neither did the poor nor anybody who lived outside Israel.

Johnson: Jesus confirmed the principle of the tithe. "... you pay tithe of the mint and anise and cummin ... these you ought to have done..." Matthew 23:23

Kelly: The actual quote from Mt 23:23 includes "matters of the law." Jesus was rebuking hypocritical scribes and Pharisees for abusing the law. Jesus did not command the Gentiles whom he healed to obey the law and could not have commanded them to tithe.

Johnson: Question: Did the early church fathers practice tithing? Answer: YesJusitin Martyr, Renaeus, Tertullian, Cyprian, Irenaius, Ambrose, Augustine, and many more."Our ancestors used to abound in wealth of ever kind for this reason that they used to give tithes and pay the tax to Caesar... we have been unwilling to share the tithe with God, now the whole is taken away." - Augustine

Kelly: It is not true that any early church father of the first 200 years after Calvary taught tithing. Johnson is wrong to include Justin Martyr, Irenaeus and Tertullian. Cyprian's middle of the third century concept included equally sharing the tithe with all in the church and even it was rejected.
Then came the state-supported Roman Catholic Church. Augustine's concept was not adopted by the Church. Attempts in 567 and 585 failed to spread beyond local churches. Tithing did not become church law until AD 777. Study this.

Johnson: Question: Can I choose where the tithe is to go? Answer: No.The tithe is a payment, already designated by God to go into the storehouse for the ministry of the local church. "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house." - Malachi 3:10
Kelly: The OT Temple and priesthood have been replaced with the priesthood of every believer who do not tithe to themselves. The covenant, Levitical cities, Levites, priests and temple all ended. There is no such thing as the storehouse of the church. Early church buildings did not exist for over 200 years after Calvary.

Johnson: "But the firstborn among animals, which should be the Lord's firstborn, no man shall dedicate... it is the Lord's". - Leviticus 26:27

Kelly: The firstborn and firstfruits were never the same as tithes in the Bible. Firstfruits were very small token offerings per Deut 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-38. It is wrong to teach that the first tenth of income must go to the local church. According to 1st Timothy 5:8, the first should go to buy medicine and essential food and shelter.

Johnson: Question: What is the purpose of the tithe? Answer: To provide for the priests. They are the ones in ministry that work to equip the saints for service."For the tithe of the children of Israel, which they offer as a heave offering to the Lord, I have given to the Levites as an inheritance..." - Numbers 18:24
Kelly: Numbers 18 is the tithing statute-ordinance of the Law. Nothing in it is followed by any church today. (1) tithes are only food from inside Israel, (2) only ministers can enter the sanctuary, (3) the first Levitical tithe goes to the servants of the ministers, (4) the ministers only get one per cent of the total tithe, (5) ministers are to kill anybody who dares to worship God directly and (6) Levites and ministers who receive the tithe cannot own or inherit property.

Johnson: Question: Can we borrow the tithe? Answer: Yes, at 20 percent interest."If a man wants at all to redeem any of his tithes, he shall add one-fifth to it." - Leviticus 27:31Kelly: According to Leviticus 27:30-34 the tithe is (1) only food from inside Israel, (2) is only agricultural crops or clean animals, (3) the tenth and not the first, (4) the tenth and not the best and (5) part of the Law given only to national Israel at Mt Sinai.

Johnson: Question: What happens if I keep my title? Answer: You can withhold tithe, but you never get to keep it. It belongs to the devourer."He gave them all into his hand ... to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths... to fulfill seventy years." - 2 Chronicles 36:17-221
Kelly: According to Galatians 3:10-13 the curse of the law (including tithing) ended at Calvary. And verse 10 says that the only way to be blessed by law-keeping is to keep all 600+ commands of the law. The Law (and tithing) was never given to Gentiles and/or the Church after Calvary in the New Covenant.

Johnson: Withholding the tithe is idolatry."... all Israel... broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden images, and threw down the high places and the alters... As soon as the commandment was circulated, the children of Israel brought the abundance the first fruits of all the produce of the field; and they brought in abundantly the tithe of all." - 2 Chronicles 31:1-5Kelly: According to 1st Chronicles, chapters 23 to 26 the tithe was used by the king to pay Levites who also worked for him in secular areas. Why is this ignored? It was a tax. It is also stealing to accept the tithe and own property.

Johnson: Question: Will tithing remove all financial difficulties? Answer: No. But it is the beginning place of those wanting God's blessing. Some problems are related to other areas needing obedience.

Kelly: The ghettos are full of honest believers who have been faithfully "tithing" for generations and remain in poverty while many of their pastors are much better off.

Johnson: Question: Do I tithe on the net or the gross? Answer: Our taxes are our payment for living in America from our income. The tithe should be based on the gross income.

Kelly: Neither. Tithes are only food from inside Israel. The definition never changed for over 1500 years from Leviticus to Luke. And it is absurd to expect modern farmers and self-employed businessmen to tithe gross when they must first spend exorbitant sums to produce any profit.Johnson: Another way to look at it would be, which measure would you like for God to use to bless you with? A tithe of the gross, or a tithe of the net?

Kelly: This is a con job.

Johnson: Question: What should a wife do if her unbelieving husband does not want to tithe? Answer: …. Testing God in this way is a practical way for people to see God's faithfulness.

Kelly: The whole law was a test --not merely tithing. Obey all to be blessed; break one to be cursed. God never gave the law to Gentiles or the Church. Deu 28-30.

Johnson: Question: What is the difference between a tithe and an offering? Answer: The tithe is a payment, while the offering is a gift. Both are required that we do not rob God."... but you say, ‘In what way have we robbed you?' In tithes and offerings." - Malachi 3:8

Kelly: Tithes were always only food from inside Israel. Offerings were either above the tithe for food producers inside Israel --or-- from non-food items which could be cleansed in the fire from outside Israel. See Numbers 31. There are no post-Calvary NT tithes.

Johnson: Question: Where should we give our offerings? Answer: That is your choice.Give according to your burden. Just remember to put the work of the Kingdom of God first.

Kelly: Earlier in this article you wrote " The tithe is a payment, already designated by God to go into the storehouse for the ministry of the local church."