Sunday, January 31, 2010

G. Dewey Friedel, Shore Christian Center Prosperity Church Failure


Edited and greatly reduced by Russell Earl Kelly, PHD, January 31, 2010.

On January 30, 2010 writer Jason Method wrote a continuing article about G. Dewey Friedel, the 60-year-old, pastor of Shore Christian Center in Wall, NJ.

Friedel is a Prosperity Preacher who has built an overpriced and overbudgeted amphitheater-style church which has shrunk from 1200 to 300 members and is being taken over in bankruptcy on February 3, 2010. The church began in 1979.

He says that the devil and a "spirit of control" were attacking the church but that great things were coming.

Friedel has already lost his second home in Lee County, Miami, Florida.
He wanted to build his own worldwide network similar to the Trinity Broadcasting Network saying "If we offer what we have, he's going to do something with it."

The church was foreclosed on in July because Shore Christian Center could not make payments on its $4.7 million mortgage.

"It is unusual for any church to be foreclosed on, experts say, but there is special irony for a pastor who is an adherent to a strain of Christianity known as the prosperity gospel" says Method.

Friedel's consistent message over the years has been: God is going to bless believers' lives with bigger houses, better jobs and more money.

Friedel, who dresses in designer clothes like the leather sport coat he wore one recent Sunday, has seemed to personally enjoy that heavenly blessing for years. He lives in a spacious house, assessed at $747,600, with two driveways and a pool, writes books, appears regularly on national Christian television, and socializes with famous preachers and Major League Baseball players

Until this year, he owned two condos in Florida, before they were both lost to foreclosure.

Church finances fell apart after its adjustable rate mortgage changed from $23,000 to $47,000 a month. Friedel, who declined to be interviewed by communicated via e-mail, has been promising for years that a huge donation is coming through the United Nations, China and Saudi Arabia and that "all participants involved with the U.S. Treasury had to and did pass an FBI and CIA inspection." He and the church have declined to provide specific information about the deal.

A senior program officer for the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships said that neither that office nor the United Nations Foundation had any involvement with the church.

Friedel's wife, Ronda, 61, is co-pastor and son Isaac, 25, as assistant pastor.

Nancy Bensing, 59, and her husband have been very active supporters now
say the church has reaped what it has sown. "I'm mad at myself — for buying all that bull-crap all these years."

A graduate of Oral Roberts University and Princeton Theological Seminary, Friedel had served as a missionary in India and Methodist minister in Avon before taking off to start his own church.

In 1999, the church added a 36,000-square-foot multipurpose complex,
Evangelist Oral Roberts visited the church twice. Around 2005, the church appeared to reach its crest of 1200.
With membership high, the church borrowed $4.5 million, refinancing previous debt and spending some for needed renovations on the original building. "We are not too small to accomplish this forty million dollar project."

Friedel was willing to borrow money on his own properties as well.
The Friedels refinanced their Wall home for $720,000, with a notation that the maximum balance secured by the mortgage could be as high as $900,000, land records show. They had has purchased the home for $550,000 in 1998.

They also refinanced their condo in Lee County, Florida, for $548,000, land records show. Later, in 2007, they refinanced their Aventura, Florida, condo for $354,975.

"The best way to honor your pastor is cold hard cash in the palm of the pastor's hand.' " The Czerwinskis contend that Friedel was not joking.
Meanwhile, Stephen Czerwinski said, the church never reported to members or leaders what it was doing with the donations. "You never saw the budget," he said. "You never saw how much (Friedel) was paid. You were told to have faith. . . . You were told you could ask (about salaries) privately, but anyone who did was reprimanded for not having faith."

The church has long required that congregants who want to become members must pledge to give 10 percent of their income to the church, a practice known as tithing.

The current elders confirm that the church does not share financial data with the congregation, which has no say on the church budget.
Elder Joseph Raspanti of Brielle said any member was always free to raise questions, but he also believes that objecting to decisions would display a lack of faith. "When you give to the church, you give what you believe belongs to God. To give it, and then say, "I don't like the way it's being used.' That's not tithing," Raspanti said.

According to a 2005 financial statement obtained by the Asbury Park Press, the church spent $974,280 on salaries for its church and school staff of 39. The church also spent $106,178 in "casual labor," $182,834 for housing allowances, and $154,446 for travel, meal and lodging of guests [$3000 per week].

At the end of the year, after bringing in $2.6 million in revenue, the church finished $221,302 in the red.

Church officials have declined to discuss specific salaries.

Rick Davis tells the story of retrieving a dropped wallet and discovering that it had been dropped by the king of Saudi Arabia who is has been about to financially help the church with millions in donation since 2007.

Friedel passed out bonus checks to leaders in anticipation of the donation arriving. On January 1st, 2008 the youth leader received a bonus check for $12,000 but never cashed it and was asked to return it but refused.

Joseph Lane, an elder and church attorney, said he has seen the contract.

On Easter Sunday in 2009, Friedel promised the church a season of abundance. "Hear me now," Friedel said. "You are about to flourish and be on the receiving end of something that is happening as an undercurrent in this world. We've been meeting with government officials from all over the world."

On Nov. 8, more than three months since the congregation had lost ownership of its sanctuary and facilities, Friedel alluded to the pending donation again and promised the church would embark on the big building program.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Rebuttal of D A Carson on Tithing

By Russell Earl Kelly,

D. A. Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Kelly: I am placing these two articles under "Rebuttals" because Carson, as a leading Baptist theologian, does not take a position on tithing. Since there is no discussion of the biblical definition of the tithe, I must guess that he would probably take the "minimum expectation" position if forced to choose.

D A CARSON, 1-23-2010, BLOG, The Gospel Coalition
Carson: THE LANGUAGE IN Matthew 23 is frankly shocking. Jesus repeatedly pronounces his “woe” on the Pharisees and teachers of the law, labeling them “hypocrites,” calling them “blind guides” and “blind fools,” likening them to “whitewashed tombs” that “look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.” They are “sons of hell,” a “brood of vipers.”

Kelly: Agreed. But it must be remembered that Jesus is speaking to those who are still under the full jurisdiction of the law and is discussing "matters of the law" in Mt 23:2,3,23.

Carson: What calls forth such intemperate language from the Lord Jesus?
There are three primary characteristics in these people that arouse Jesus’ ire.
The first is the loss of perspective that, with respect to the revelation of God, focuses on the minors and sacrifices the majors. They are ever so punctilious about tithing, even putting aside a tenth of the herbs grown in the garden, while somehow remaining unconcerned about the massive issues of “justice, mercy and faithfulness” (22:23). Jesus carefully says that he is not dismissing the relatively minor matters: his interlocutors should not neglect them, for these prescriptions were, after all, mandated by God. But to focus on them to the exclusion of the weightier matters is akin to straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel. Similarly, carefully crafted rules about when it is important to tell the truth and when and how one can get away with a lie (23:16-22) not only overlook that truth-telling is of fundamental importance, but implicitly deny that this entire universe is God’s, and all our promises and pledges are before him.

Kelly: Carson calls tithing a "minor" part of the law but does not say that it only applied to national Israel. He fails to point out that the scribes and Pharisees had actually added garden herbs to the usual understanding of what was titheable. I wish he had said "mandated by God only for national Israel under the Old Covenant." Instead of taking a position, he himself is among those who "carefully" avoid taking a position.

Carson: The second is love for the outward forms of religion with very little experience of a transformed nature. To be greeted as a religious teacher, to be honored by the community, to be thought holy and religious, while inwardly seething with greed, self-indulgence, bitterness, rivalry, and hate is profoundly evil (23:5-12, 25:32).

Kelly: In my opinion the modern usage of tithing places far too much emphasis on the "outward form of religion" and urges even the poor and sick to give their first ten per cent to the church instead of buying medicine and food.

Carson: The third damning indictment is that because they have a major teaching role, these leaders spread their poison and contaminate others, whether by precept or example. Not only do they fail to enter the kingdom themselves, they effectively close it down to others (23:13-15).

Kelly: Almost every leader with "major teaching roles" promotes tithing today. That is why Carson needs to take a stand and state his position rather than avoiding the issue. He has a "major teaching role and should speak up.

Carson: How many evangelical leaders spend most of their energy on peripheral, incidental matters, and far too little on the massive issues of justice, mercy, and faithfulness — in our homes, our churches, the workplace, in all our relationships, in the nation?

Kelly: And how many evangelical leaders, like Carson, completely avoid taking a stand on an issue which is dividing the church more and more every day?

Carson: How many are more concerned to be thought wise and holy than to be wise and holy? How many therefore end up damning their hearers by their own bad example and by their drifting away from the Gospel and its entailments?

Kelly: Part of being "wise and holy" is to speak out like Jesus and Paul when error is being taught. In my opinion "drifting away from the gospel" means adding law back into grace. This is what Paul was correcting in Galatians 1:8-9 and 3:1.

Carson: Our only hope is in this Jesus who, though he denounces this appalling guilt with such fierceness, weeps over the city (Matt. 23:37-39; Luke 19:41-44).

Kelly: The seven woes of Matthew 23 were in the context of abuse of the law by the leaders of Jewish society. Many of us are weeping over our churches who have added law back into better New Covenant principles of grace and faith.
Is Tithing Biblical? Nov 15, 1999

Carson: The only passage in the New Testament that explicitly authorizes the tithe does so in a rather backhanded way … Matt. 23:23).

Kelly: Carson is hinting that this is not an explicit endorsement of tithing for New Covenant post-Calvary believers.

Carson: Jesus’ primary point, of course, is to criticize the scrupulous tithing of even a few herbs grown in the back garden if it is at the expense of fundamental issues of justice, integrity, and mercy.

Kelly: Correct. Garden herbs were not part of the OT tithing laws. They were added by the scribes and Pharisees and created a burden.

Carson: But one might have expected Jesus to say, “You should have practiced the latter, and let the herbs take care of themselves”–or some thing equally dismissive. Instead, he says, “You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

Kelly: I disagree with the motive Carson is implying for Jesus' comment. Jesus did not endorse tithing of herbs because the law taught such. Rather he endorsed it because "The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not" per 23:2-3. Jesus would have been sinning if he had ended tithing before Calvary while the Law was still in full force (Gal 4:4-5).

Carson: After the Cross and the Resurrection, the New Testament provides no passage with the same explicit conclusion. That raw fact leads to all the usual debates about the nature of the continuity and discontinuity between the old and new covenants.

Kelly: Carson cannot and does not attempt to refute this fact.

Carson: Does the tithe continue as a divine mandate because it has not been explicitly abrogated?

Kelly: The Covenant theology hermeneutic states that everything in the Old Covenant continues in the New Covenant except that which has been explicitly abrogated after Calvary to the Church. Carson does not answer his own question here and take a stand either way.

Carson: Or is it part of the “old order” that is passing away?

Kelly: The Dispensational hermeneutic states that nothing in the Old Covenant is found in the New Covenant except that which has been repeated in the New Covenant to the Church after Calvary.

Carson: However we resolve that broad question, all sides agree that some New Testament writers insist that Christians be a giving, generous people (1 Tim. 6:18).

Kelly: Carson does not take a position here.

Carson: So, at very least, we must insist that believers under both covenants are expected to give generously.

Kelly: Agreed. In my opinion the NT command to give sacrificially is superior to OT tithing. Carson does not say (as so many do) that Christians should "at very least" begin their giving level at ten per cent.

Carson: Some may wonder, Is the dispute about nothing more than the amount?

Kelly: Most certainly. It is about what the Bible teaches in its context. If tithing is to be taught as a valid NT post-Calvary doctrine, then so should all of the other parts of the tithing statute from Numbers 18. This would mean that tithing recipients not be allowed to own or inherit property.

Carson: Is there something about 10 percent that is entrenched in moral law?

Kelly: Again Carson does not clearly answer his own question. What is there about tithing which causes many to tech that it is an eternal moral principle? The fact that something is very old and very common does not make it eternal or moral because that is also true to idolatry, child sacrifice and temple prostitution.

Carson: The following two points will help focus the issue.

Kelly: "Focus," not solve or answer.

Carson: 1. Beware of pride. There is always a great spiritual danger in thinking that if in some area we have satisfied a specific, concrete demand we have done everything that God requires. Ten percent is a lot of money to some folks; to others it’s not very much. Isn’t that one of the lessons to be learned from Jesus’ comments about the widow’s mite? To suppose that God demands 10 percent–and nothing more–can itself foster a remarkably independent and idolatrous attitude: “This bit is for God, and the rest is mine by right.”

Kelly: Carson thinks that it is a "great spiritual danger" to set a "specific concrete demand" such as ten per cent because this can "foster a remarkably independent and idolatrous attitude." I say "Amen, amen and amen."

Carson: Likewise, if you choose to give more than 10 percent, you may become inebriated from the contemplation of your own generosity.

Kelly: Depends upon your motives.

Carson: 2. Remember why you’re giving. A strictly legal perspective on giving soon runs into a plethora of complicated debates. Is this 10 percent of gross income or of net? How does this play out in a country where a progressive income-tax system rises to 90 percent of in come? If we choose to tithe from our net income, are we talking “take-home pay” only, or does it include what is withheld for medical insurance and retirement benefits?

Kelly: These kinds of debates rage among tithe-teachers.

Carson: It would be easy to list such questions for a page or two without ever asking, “How can I manage my affairs so that I can give more?” That is surely a better question than “What’s the correct interpretation so that I can do whatever’s required and then get on with my life?”

Kelly: I agree. Again Carson does not take sides on tithing here.

Carson: Christians will want to acknowledge with gratitude that they are mere stewards of all that they “possess.” Moreover, New Testament ethics turn not so much on legal prescription as on lives joyfully submitted to God.

Kelly: Carson prefers to avoid OT legal prescription which says ten per cent.

Carson: This is why the most penetrating New Testament passage on giving is 2 Cor. 8–9. Under severe trial, the Corinthians’ “overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity” (8:2). Even so, they first gave themselves to the Lord (8:5).

Kelly: Agreed. This has the blessing of the Holy Spirit after Calvary to the Church.

Carson: So, why not aim for 20 percent in your giving? Or 30? Or more, depending on your circumstances (8:12)? “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that . . . for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (8:9).

Kelly: Agreed. There is not percentage either up or down.

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
Author of Should the Church Teach Tithing?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Southern Baptist Convention Position Paper on Stewardship

The Southern Baptist Position Paper
Rebuttal by Russell Earl Kelly

IN January 2010 a spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention commented to me that he was not aware of the existence of the official Position Paper on Stewardship and Tithing. If this is true (and I believe it is) then it is proof of how far this paper has been hidden from the people.

(1) This Paper was adopted in 1997:
"The Covenant for a New Century adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in June 1997 assigned stewardship education to the Sunday School Board as a new area for our ministry to the churches. With this new assignment, Lifeway Christian Resources, formerly the Sunday School Board,

(2) The purpose of the Position Paper was to make that document the "basis for our ministry in stewardship education."
"… wants to identify clearly the biblical stance related to stewardship and tithing that will form the basis for our ministry in stewardship education.

(3) The Position Paper TELLS SBC employees what they must write and teach.

"will guide those working in the area of stewardship education as well as employees who produce programs, materials, and other resources for the churches.
Lifeway Christian Resources ministries, programs and materials will affirm the following principles on stewardship and tithing:"

(4) The following paragraphs tell SBC employees what "we will" do. There is no option to exercise freewill. This is contrary to the original purpose of the Southern Baptist Convention which gives autonomy to the local church.

(5) What MUST be taught by SBC employees and evangelists:
a) Tithing is the biblical standard for the stewardship of possessions.
b) Giving the first and the best of possessions to God
c) [This] is a biblical model that must not be supplanted by any other standard.
d) Believers may fall short of biblical standards, but the standards themselves must not be compromised by implying that something short of the standards is acceptable and pleasing to God.
e) We will focus stewardship education on tithing as the standard and the beginning point that God has established for believers in their stewardship of possessions.
f) Tithing is an act of obedience to God. Like all of God’s commands in the Bible, it is meant for the believer’s good.
g) Tithing is not a legalistic standard that is pre-gospel, pre-Christian, or sub-Christian. Instead, it is a means by which God’s people acknowledge that everything ultimately belongs to God and that what we have, we receive from God’s gracious hand.
h) We will focus stewardship education on tithing as an expectation God has for obedient believers.
i) The tithe is not intended to limit the limit the believer’s giving. Voluntary giving over and beyond the tithe will often serve as an expression of the believer’s love and gratitude to God..............................
From pages 269, 270, Should the Church Teach Tithing, Russell E. Kelly
The Southern Baptist’s official statement of faith, The Baptist Faith and Message, is widely distributed for all to read. This document still does not contain the word, tithe! However, behind this outward statement is the controlling, yet almost unknown (to most parishioners) Stewardship Position Paper, adopted in June 1997. The Position Paper is the current leadership’s interpretation and application of the general stewardship statement. It is clearly an effort to usurp the local church’s authority to determine its own doctrinal stance in matters of giving principles.
It is the Position Paper, and not the Faith and Message statement, which MUST be followed for all stewardship-related teaching and publications such as Sunday School literature. Since partial quotations are forbidden, I shall summarize what it says. The first of seven paragraphs says that tithing is the clear biblical stance which must be used as the basis for all denominational employees who write denominational literature on stewardship. (You will have to go out of your way to read this for yourself.) In other words, hidden behind the officially distributed Faith and Message, the Position Paper compels employees who produce the unofficial literature to teach tithing. However, while tithing is "fair game," the Convention leadership would not dare issue position papers on other current divisive issues such as the inspiration of the Bible, prophetic interpretations, biblical hermeneutics, or hierarchy-controlled leadership.
Referring to tithing, the fifth paragraph of the Position Paper uses the word, standard, six times and the sixth paragraph uses the word, expectation, once. Denominational employees are thus ordered to teach tithing and they "must not" replace it with any other approach to giving. Therefore, unofficially, tithing is the only acceptable standard and expectation of giving.
Any person who has read the introductory pages of The Baptist Faith and Message will see in the Position Paper a forcing of the conscience contrary to the very nature of Baptist churches. Although there have been many Baptist statements of faith since the first one in 1644, it took over 300 years for merely the tithing texts like Genesis 14:20, Leviticus 27:30-32 and Malachi 3:9-10 to first appear in the 1963 The Baptist Faith and Message! Why? The previous Faith of 1923 did not include any tithing texts! Again, Why? Although brochures on tithing overwhelm the literature rack inside most Southern Baptist Churches, the word, tithe, still does not appear in the 1998 revision of the Faith and Message! Why? Yet an Internet search on the S.B.C. site produces articles about some of their churches which already require church members to "tithe."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Reply to Change Worth Making, 1-17-1-b

Change Worth Making, 1-17-2010b

CWM: Regardless of the people, regardless of the framework, within the time and conditions of His requiring, He chose 10% as being “holy unto Him.” – When I want to give, I want the Lord to show me how much, and I begin by looking at what He wanted, when He was “requiring, in whatever framework it was that He was doing the requiring in.” Now to not want to do at least what He required His people, (Israel) to do, in my understanding of the scripture is a sin.

Kelly: You have thrown out the context of the (1) people, (2) time, (3) conditions and (4) whatever else you need to throw out and CONCLUDE that failure to give ten per cent of WHATEVER you re-define tithes as SIN.

It does not seem to matter that our Lord Himself, as a carpenter, did not even qualify as a tithe-payer in his own framework time and covenant!

This is really a remarkable conclusion you have reached but you have to live with it. Who needs the Bible? All we really need is HUMANISM --MAN is the measure of all things.

CWM: You also spoke of people giving “to the best of their ability after first providing for medicine, food and essential shelter?”
In my understanding of Biblical stewardship I give the Lord the best, and then I live within the rest.

Kelly: I hope and pray that you never find yourself having to decide whether to spend your last dollar on pain-killers for your child or give it to the church. This is exactly the mind-set that Paul was referring to in First Timothy 5:8 when he said such attitude is "worst than an infidel."

CWM: My understanding is that the “first” goes to God, and the rest will be enough to provide my needs.

Kelly: I think that your understanding is terribly wrong. The Levites were commanded in Numbers 18:29 to give the "best" "tenth of the tithe" (one per cent) to the priests who then offered their best to God as a freewill vow offering (Mal 1:6-14). That's right --tithe-receiving priests were not required to tithe.

According to Leviticus the tithe was not even the "best" --it was the tenth Lev 27:30-34).

I think that it is wrong to define tithes as "firstfruits." Get your Strong's Concordance and look up "firstfruits." They are only very small token offerings (Deu 26:1-4; Neh 10:35-38).

CWM: The financial framework of my life is to live within the limits of what is leftover after my tithes and offerings.

Kelly: Fine if that works for you. But do not impose your value system on the poor sick widow in your church who cannot even afford to buy medicine and food.

CWM: We may never agree on this issue, but we do not have to. I am confident that you love the Lord enough to have a giving heart, and your conviction is not ruse to use as an excuse to keep from giving.
Isn’t it wonderful that we may enjoy being brothers in Christ, by faith alone, through grace alone. God bless.

Kelly: Yes, and amen. We have gone about as far as we can with this topic without losing our cool. I appreciate your brotherly attitude and God bless you also.

Reply to First Baptist 'Troy, Tn

Original Article: Vann Kissell, January 17, 2010
Comments by Russell Earl Kelly,

God’s Plan for Old Covenant national Israel, not the Church (Ex 19:4-6; Lev 27:34; Neh 10:29; Mal 4:4).

Malachi 3:8-9 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed you?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation!” NKJV

Kelly: Tithe = ten percent of only food from inside God's holy land of Israel and only from that which He had miraculously increased (See Lev. 27:30, 32; Num. 18:27-28; Deut. 12:17; 14:22-23; 26:12; 2 Chron. 31:5-6; Neh. 10:37; 13:5; Mal. 3:10-11; Matt. 23:23; Luke 11: 42).
3:10a “Bring all of the tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house.” NKJV
Malachi “. . . . . that there may be food in My house.” NKJV

Malachi 3:10 “Try Me now in this.” NKJV
The whole law of commandments, statutes and ordinances was a test. Obey ALL and live; break ONE and die.

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. (See Mt 5:19-48 for all 3)

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.

The only way for a Hebrew to be blessed by tithing was to observe all 600+ commands of the law.

God is now dealing with the church in terms of His New Covenant. He cannot and does not bless or curse New Covenant believers because of their obedience to the "vanished," "annulled" or "nailed to the cross" ordinance of the Old Covenant (Heb 8:12; 7:18; Col 2:14).

Malachi 3:10 “. . . . I will open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.” NKJV

"Windows of heaven" always refers to rain. The context is rain for farmers inside Israel.

Proverbs 3:9-10 “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” NKJV

Tithes and firstfruits are never the same thing in the Bible. Firstfruits are very small token offerings (Deu 26:1-4; Neh 10:35-38).

1 Tim 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

A Christian's first of income should got buy medicine, food and essentials for the family.

The Apostle Paul did not teach tithing to the Church. Neither Hebrews nor Gentiles outside Israel qualified as tithe-payers.

Paul boasted that he was self-supporting. First Cor 9:12-19; Acts 20:29-35.

Malachi 3:11 “‘I will rebuke the devourer for your sake so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,’ says the Lord of hosts.” NKJV

This was an Old Covenant promise only made to national Israel. God only gave Israel the law to elevate them above other nations.

1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” NKJV

Acts 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

Please read all of Numbers 18 which is the tithing ordinance-statute of the law.
(1) Tithes are always only food from inside Israel.
(2) Levitical tithes went to the servants who were ushers, deacons, choir, musicians and politicians (1 Chron 23 to 26).
(3) Ministers were to KILL anybody who dared enter the sanctuary and worship God directly.
(4) Tithe-receiving Levites and ministers were not allowed to own or inherit property.

Change Worth Making, 1-17-2010

Change Worth Making

CWM: When I give 10% because I want to, I have begun giving under grace.

Kelly: Isn't that also true of those who sacrificially give 5% or 40% to the best of their ability after first providing for medicine, food and essential shelter? There is nothing mystical about 10% except in Babylonian religion.

The 10% "minimum" was NOT a standard minimum for anybody except those who lived inside Israel. Nobody working trades or crafts inside the cities of Israel could tithe, and that includes carpenters and tentmakers.

Have you ever read First Chronicles 23 to 26? Solomon counted 38,000 Levites and put them to work as both temple AND GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES. They were his rulers, judges and treasurers in all Israel. Why, why, why does this part of tithing get no discussion in churches today?

1 Chron 26:30 And of the Hebronites, Hashabiah and his brethren, men of valour, a thousand and seven hundred, were officers among them of Israel on this side Jordan westward in all the business of the LORD, and in the service of the king.
32 And his brethren, men of valour, were two thousand and seven hundred chief fathers, whom king David made rulers over the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, for every matter pertaining to God, and affairs of the king.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Reply to SBC Today Blog, 1-15-2010

Tim Guthrie: First, our friend Russell Kelly is a man with a grudge against several that I will not allow to steal this series with his error and obvious contention.

Today, 1-15-2010 Mr. Tim Guthrie used the SBC Today blog to accuse me. I entreat anybody who really wants to know the truth to read over all of the posts on tithing and list the attacks he has made towards me. The truth is evident.

Do I have an agenda? Yes, like any Reformer I want to open up a dialog with all today's denominations about tithing.

Does Mr.Guthrie have an agenda? Please read the Southern Baptist Position Paper on tithing at His agenda is to defend the Position Paper. It is like Seventh-day Adventists not being able to disagree with Ellen G White. Just see his attitude behind his remarks.

Tim to Brumbelow: concerning Genesis 14:20 "Our friend Dr. Kelly has not nor do I think will deal with that verse or others like it."

Tim to Anon: You are correct. You are correct. The issue with New Covenant theology as being promoted by a few these days is that they approach the Bible for what they can get away with instead of saying "I love God and I want to honor Him..."!

Tim: If one takes his approach then one might as well tear out the Old Testament. The NC movement as he and a few others are claiming it to be sure do miss much from the precious Word of Lord.

Tim to Anon: You are correct. I find it odd that some desire to water down and change even scripture to justify not tithing which in turns cheapens GRACE.

Russ: Now, please show me where my disparaging remarks are found in the dialog? I encourage full extended dialog which does not delete questions and explanations which are difficult to accept.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Reply to SBC Today 1-14-10c

SBC Today, 1-14-2010

Tim: When one reads the laws that were given to Israel, one needs to understand that those laws were in fact, by living up to them, the only way from a human situation, that a person could be accepted by God.

Russ: In the OT justification by faith was pre-figured by the Passover even. Baptism was pre-figured by the crossing of the sea with Moses. And sanctification was pre-figured by the Law. Israel was redeemed by the blood of the Passover lamb which provided the relationship of justification. And Israel was daily sanctified by living in accordance to the Law which was their fellowship with God. One was for relationship and the other was for continued fellowship.

Tim: Jesus Himself said that He came to "fulfill the law..." in Matt 5:17 and NOT to destroy it.

Russ: All of the law. It was either all or none. Mt 5:19-48 is about all of the law and this poses a problem from many.
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.

Tim: The law was clearly a picture for us of God's standard.

Russ: The Old Covenant law was only given to national Israel in order to lift them higher than all other nations. It was not given to the Gentiles or church. Ex 19:5-6; Lev 27:34; Mal 4:4.

Tim: In the tithe, regardless of the crops issue that some so want to claim, the law only continued what was already seen in pre-law days.

Russ: If that were true (and it is not) then why were law-tithes only allowed to come from within God's holy land of Israel?

Tim: In the New Testament, no mention is required to know that the standard had not changed and the picture is still present with one very important fact - GRACE raised the mark.

Russ: (1) From Acts 2:46, chapter 15 and chapter 21 we must conclude that the Jewish Christians specifically exempted Gentiles from keeping any of the law. (2) From Acts 21:20-21 it is clear that the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem were still zealously supporting the Temple system with tithes over 20 years after Calvary. (3) The NT nowhere changes what God called holy tithes from food inside Israel. (4) Numbers 18 is ignored as preachers own and inherit property.

Tim: Clearly a person is free to NOT tithe.

Russ: I know of no church historian who says that the early church tithed.

Tim: Clearly the minimum from the beginning of scripture through the end is seen in the 10% example.

Russ: This was only true of food producers who lived inside Israel. It was clearly not a standard for city dwellers who worked trades or for those living outside Israel.

Tim: But in Christ's surrender to the Will of God for us, the issue is no longer "a tenth" or "what is the minimum" but rather my WHOLE life, finances and all are to be yielded to Him.

Russ: So you agree finally that tithing the issue of a surrendered heart is no longer a tenth. Thank you.

Tim: So would we do less than the law asked for?
Russ: Nobody who lives outside Israel and is not a food producer can possibly give a true honest literal biblical tithe today or 4000 years ago. Absolutely not.

Tim: And this gets us to the issue of the church. And the fun will continue!

Russ: Fun for you who gets to delete those who disagree with you. Please read my 20 point essay on page one of my web site and refute any of the 20.

Reply to Change Worth Making 1-14-10b

Change Worth Making Blog: 1-14-2010

CWM: Should believers in the Lord Jesus Christ practice the principle of Tithing?

Kelly: Your so-called "principle of tithing" has not been correctly defined. In my opinion, nothing, absolutely nothing about Old Covenant tithing is followed by the Church today. See Numbers 18.

CWM: Christians are not Under the Law. … It means that believers do not have to observe the rituals, succeed in getting every minute command right, or suffer the consequences of failing the Old Testament Covenant.

Kelly: The Old Covenant was only given to national Israel. In other words, Christians never were under that law as their covenant.

CWM: It is not that the law expired, but that rather it was fulfilled. It finished.

Kelly: If you define "law" to mean "commandments, statutes and judgments", then it did expire as a covenant when Jesus died and the veil in the Temple split, It ended for Hebrews because it was "until Christ" (Gal 3:19) and was "disannuled" (Heb 7:18).

CWM: It taught "us" the holiness and righteous standard of God, and brought us to the realization that we could not keep it, but Jesus did, and so we will stand in Him by faith, and have His righteousness and obedience imputed to us.

Kelly: The Law "taught" Israel (not us) and separated Israel from the other nations of the world. It was unique to Israel. Is that correct or not? See Exodus 19:5-6; Lev 27:34; Mal 4:4.

CWM: Christians are to Learn the Principles of the Old Testament - The issue or the question of the tithe is not a “law” issue, but rather an Old Testament issue.

Kelly: Yes, but why? As examples of where others failed (1 Cor 10:11-12). Tithing is an Old Covenant issue which is inegrally connected to tithing. Num 18.

CWM: There are many people today who do not believe that Christians ought to tithe …

Kelly: There is no text demonstrating that Jesus, Peter or Paul tithed or qualified as tithe-payers because of the biblical definition and use of the word "tithe."

CWM: It has been rightly pointed out that it existed before, during, and after the law.

Kelly: What is your principle? Does the fact that something existed prior to th law automatically make it an eternal moral principle? If that is true, then you must include idolatry, child sacrifice and temple prostitution.

CWM: It existed after the law in the sense of the oft quoted Matthew 23:23.

Kelly: Matthew 23:23 is NOT "after the law." It is before Calvary and is a discussin of "matters of the law." Jesus could not and did not command his Jewish disciples to tithe to hm. And Jesus could not and did not command his Gentile disciples to tithe at all.

CWM: “the law and the prophets were until John, and since that time the Kingdom of God has been preached.”

Kelly: The law ended when Jesus said "It is finished" and died. The era from John to Calvary was a transformational era.

CWM: Much of the Old Testament today is still stunningly current with our times.

Kelly: How much of English Law applied to the colonies after they signed the Declaration of Indepence? None. Not even the good parts of that Law applied. However, the US Constitution took that which was good from English law and included it in US LaW UNDER THE NEW BASIS. Similarly, the "Thou shalt nots" of Hebrew law are now "we will" obey as born-again Christians with new natures indwelt by the Holy Spiirit.

CWM: The prohecies of Daniel, and Zechariah, and Ezekiel, concerning the millennial reign, and the tribulation, have yet to come to pass, and so we still vigorously study them.

Kelly: I am also dispensational and think that you have forgotten the dispensational principles of Larkin, Chafer, Under, Elwell, Ryrie and Scofield. They all reject tithing because it was never commanded to the Church.

CWM: No Christian ought to get the idea that the Old Testament has nothing to do with us anymore.

Kelly: You need to define the diffeence between the Old and New Covenant. I am not under English or Hebrew law as a covenant --and never have been.

CWM: While we are not under the law, there is much more than law in the Old Testament. … Old Testament scriptures are still scriptures intended to be for our learning.

Kelly: There is a great difference between "for our learning" and "for our copying." That is why we study history.

CWM: even though there is not a specific command about tithing, there is much more.

Kelly: The coclusions reached in both Acts 15 and 21 were that the Gentiles would not be placed under any of the law. Acts 2:46 and 21:20-21 strongly suggests that the Jewish Christians in Judea were still paying tithes to the Temple system over 30 years after Calvary.

CWM: “The law is an expression of God’s righteousness and is intrinsically good.”

Kelly: Everything the law says about the character of God, the Gospel says about Jesus Christ. God now judges sin according to Jesus per John 16:8-9.

CWM: Why are we not to steal? – Because God does not want us to. Why are we not to kill? Because God does not want us to.

Kelly: You do not explain Scripture like a dispensationalist. According to Romans 8:2 "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." It is not correct to say that we do not kill or steal "because God does not want us to." Rather we do not kill or steal because we are new creations in Christ, are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and have new desires. God does not tell us "do not kill." He says "by beholding him we become changed" per 2 Cor 3:18.

CWM: Romans 7:22 – “I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” Paul was saying that “my desire” is to do what “God desired.”

Kelly: Here the "law of God" is not the "commandments, statutes and judgements." It is the "principle" of what God has revealied of Himself in and through Jesus Christ. See Romans 7:24-25. The answer was the WHO of Jeus.

CWM: We learn according to Hebrews 7:4-5 to learn of Abraham who gave a tenth of his spoils to Melchizedek.

Kelly: That only authorizes tithes from pagan spoils of war which were not holy. Hebrews 7:5 and 18 make it clear that the "necessary change of the law" was its "annulment" --not the transfer of tithes to Gospel workers.

CWM: We learn in Leviticus … that a “tenth” was the place that God began.

Kelly: The tenth could only come from food from inside His holy land of Israel which He had miraculously increased. It could not come from man's ability or from outside of Israel.

CWM: Most of the OT tithes dealt in food and seed, and animals which were means of support for the OT ministry.

Kelly: ALL of the OT tithes came from food from inside Israel. Although money is common and mentioned 44 times before tithing, and although money was essential for sanctaury support, money is never a titheable item. Why?

CWM: We also learn according to Hebrews 7:8 that at the time of the writing of that book the practice of tithing existed … indicating a current and repeated practice at the time of writing.

Kelly: Of course. It was written before AD70 when the temple was destroyed.

CWM: Now we no longer give in food, seed, or animals for the support of the ministry, or generally anything else for that matter, except for money.

Kelly: How do you explain that tithes could only come from inside Israel because that was God's holy land?

CWM: Now we can see a principle in the command to give the seed in Leviticus 27:30 and 32 that “a tenth is holy unto the Lord.” – Holiness doesn’t change.

Kelly: And God never changed His definition of tithes as ONLY holy food from inside His holy land of Israel. The defintion has been changed by man.

CWM: The law is an expression of the righteous heart of God.

Kelly: The whole indivisible law of commandments, statutes and judgments --47 texts.

CWM: “I delight in t he law of God after the inward man.”

Kelly: Surely you do not interpret "law" to mean the Old Covenant commandments, statutes and judgments. That law commanded killing disobedient childen in Exodus 21:15, 17. If you mean "God's revelatiion of His character," then we must look at what was commanded to the Church after Calvary.

CWM: Romans 8:3-4

Kelly: Why skip 8:2?

CWM: Tithing is not a matter of obeying rules, it is a matter of CORRECTLY using our freedom to willfully do what we know God did.

Kelly: Says who? Does declaring it so make it so? How do you explain the 11 texts which forbid tithe-recipients from owning and inheriting property? Why is that part of the tithing statute ignored? That same statute also commands ministers to KILL anybody who dares to enter the sanctuary and worship God direcly in Numbers 18.

CWM: There is only one right way to use our freedom and that is the way the the Lord has taught us.

Kelly: Did not the same Lord teach the Hebrews to kill disobedient children and Sabbath breakers? Again, what is your hermeneutic to decide what to bring from the OT into the NT? The common dispensational hermeneutic is this: That which applies to the Church has been repeated to the Church after Calvary in terms of grace and faith. And tithing was replaced by freewill, generous sacrificial giving motivated by love which is better than tithing.

CWM: I encourage you to want to practice the princple of tithing.

Kelly: It was only a principle for food producers who lived inside Israel. It never did apply to craftsmen and trademen inside Israel or anything outside of Israel.
2 Cor 8:12-15
12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.
13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:
14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:
15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.

The Old Black Church: Wesley 1-14-10b

The Old Black Church: To Tithe or Not to Tithe,1-13-10b

Wesley: Now for NT giving. It would certainly have to exceed OT giving to comply with the spirit of this passage.

Russ: Sounds good but your statement is not biblical. It is based on the false assumption that everybody in the Old Covenant was expected to begin giving at ten per sent. In reality tithes could only be given by food producers who only lived inside Israel.

Wesley: Do we find any examples of this. Sure we do in the book of Acts we see them giving all and their giving is done at the church in Jerusalem not according to their own discretion and then distribution was made from the church to those within the church who were in need.

Russ: This is an example of sacrificial freewill giving --not tithing. They still worshipped in the Temple daily (Acts 2:46) and were still "zealous of the law" over thirty years later in Acts 21:20-21. That means that they were still giving tithes to the temple system.

Wesley: How about 2 Corinthians 8 which displays a fabulous example of selfless giving even though the people were in deep poverty themselves. First Corinthians 16:1-2 has the following direction for us (1 Corinthians 16:1-2 Now concerning the collection for the saints…

Russ: Second Corinthians 8 and 9 and First Corinthians 16 are more contextual examples of freewill sacrificial giving. They are not about tithing to support gospel workers or pay for buildings.
Wesley: So what is the take home from all of this? 1. This church should be ashamed of itself. They should be caring for this 80 year old sister instead of troubling her.

Russ: 1 Tim 5:8 "But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." Yes. They should not be telling the poor, sick, elderly widow to (falsely) give tithes first as firstfruits before buying medicine and food. Tithes never were the same as firstfruits.

Wesley: 2. NT giving because it is grace led must exceed OT giving to comply with the spirit of the teaching of the Lord in the Sermon on the Mount.

Russ: There is no principle to exceed for those non-food producers who lived among Paul's Gentile converts outside of Israel. Such attempts to tithe were illegal.

Wesley: 3. Our giving should be systematic and orderly in proportion to God's blessing of us which will require the use of percentages as was demonstrated by Israel. Since we do not live in a barter society we will have to use money.

Russ: The word "money" occurs 44 times in the Bible before the word "tithe." And money was essential for sanctuary worship --yet money was never included in 16 texts which describe the contents of the tithe.

Wesley: 4. Christians should be more willing to give in excess of 10% regularly to the church that cares for their souls than to give additional tax dollars to the government to care for their bodies.

Russ: According to 2nd Corinthians 8:12-15, this is true of many Christians. However some are giving sacrificially even though giving LESS than ten per cent.

Wesley: My personal testimony is … God has always blessed richly because we are not paying a tithe but worshiping the Lord with a worthy offering.

Russ: Doctrine is not based on personal testimony. You are to be commended because of your generous freewill giving but that does not prove that you are being blessed because of tithing. God is now operating on New Covenant promises and conditions. You most like have been motivated to better yourself. However many sincere God-fearing "tithers" in the ghettos have been giving for generations and remain in deep poverty. Only testimonies of the financially blessed is ever heard from the pulpits.

The Old Black Church: To Tithe or Not to Tithe

Wesley: I also don't think the wholesale attack on tithing is warranted either.

Russ: Sound like what the Pharisees might have said to Jesus and what Dr Eck might have said to Dr Martin Luther. Why do you ignore the positive things we say that many Christians should give MORE than ten per cent?

Wesley: I do not believe it would be accurate to say that the Lord abolished the OT laws with His death on Calvary. Colossians 2:13-17 shows that the Lord removed ordinances that were contrary to us including those pertaining to meat, drink, holydays, sabbaths and the like. There is no mention in this of tithing.

Russ: Read Numbers 18. The ordinance-statute which funded the Levitical priests and allowed them to minister the sacrifices and holy days of Colossians 2:13-17 was tithing. When their priesthood and all of their duties ended at Calvary then tithing ended also. Common sense.

Wesley: Jesus declared that He had not come to destroy the law in Matthew 5:17-18.

Russ: You forgot to quote Matthew 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."

Your admission that Colossians 2:13-17 ended the ordinances contradicts your use of Matthew 5:17-18 because of 5:19 and the context of 5:19-48. You cannot have it both ways. Either Hebrews must keep ALL of the Law or NONE of it. Jesus quoted from all three sections of the law in 5:20-48.

Please tell me which consistent biblical principle you use to determine what part of the Old Covenant to bring over into the New Covenant.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Reply to Tim at SBC Today 1-12-2010

To Tim:

Gal 3:1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

It is you who have "watered down" Scripture by CHANGING its definition of what a holy tithe is. Your declarations do not change it to money from outside Israel. It was still only food in Mt 23:23.

And who "cheapens grace"? It is the person who adds
"annulled" "weak" and "unprofitable" teachings of the Law back into grace. Exactly what was Paul so angry about in Galatians 1:8-9? The Judaizers were telling his Gentiles converts that they must obey their own four major tenets --circumcision, Sabbath-keeping, unclean foods and tithing! It is clear from Acts 21:20-21 that the Jewish Christians were still tithing to the Temple system over 30 years after Calvary.

You keep saying that tithing was the "standard of the law" but you have not addressed my reply that it was only a "standard" for food producers who lived inside Israel. Why don't you add to the dialog and comment on my reply? Isn't that the way debates should proceed? Do you believe that Paul could tithe profits from tents make and sold inside a pagan land? Be honest.

Many Spirit-filled Christians stop at ten per cent. Perhaps preaching sacrificial giving according to 2 Cor 8:1-15 might encourage these to give more than ten per cent.
To Anon from Tim G.You are correct. I find it odd that some desire to water down and change even scripture to justify not tithing which in turns cheapens GRACE. How could I possibly give less than the law required when I see ALL that God has done for me. In the NT He has chosen to work through the churches. I then should out of love and devotion join Him. How? I see the standard of the law and I know that must be the minimum - but I ought of love desire to do so much more!

Tithes: New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia

[Notes by Russell Earl Kelly,

Generally defined as "the tenth part of the increase arising from the profits of land and stock, allotted to the clergy for their support or devoted to religious or charitable uses". A more radical definition is "the tenth part of all fruits and profits justly acquired, owed to God in recognition of his supreme dominion over man, and to be paid to the ministers of the church".

[Note: The general definition is only food from inside Israel. The "radical" definition is profits from all sources.]

The custom of giving tithes reaches back into unknown antiquity. It is mentioned in Genesis 14, without anything to indicate that it was something newly instituted. Just as Abraham is there represented as offering tithes of the spoils of the enemy to the royal priest, Melchisedech, so in Genesis 28, Jacob is recorded as giving a tithe of all his possessions to the Lord.

[Note: "Freewill" or "voluntary" is not mentioned.]

Under the Mosaic Law the payment of tithes was made obligatory. The Hebrews are commanded to offer to God the tenth part of the produce of the fields, of the fruits of the trees, and the firstborn of oxen and of sheep (Leviticus 27:30; Deuteronomy 14:22). In Deuteronomy there is a mention not only of an annual tithe, but also of a full tithe to be paid once every three years. While it was to God Himself that the tithes had to be paid, yet we read (Numbers 18:21) that He transfers them to His sacred ministers: "I have given to the sons of Levi all the tithes of Israel for a possession, for the ministry wherewith they serve me in the tabernacle of the covenant." In paying the tithe, the Hebrews divided the annual harvest into ten parts, one of which was given to the Levites after the first-fruits had been subtracted. This was partitioned by them among the priests. The remainder of the harvest was then divided into ten new parts, and a second tithe was carried by the head of the household to the sanctuary to serve as a sacred feast for his family and the Levites.

[Note: It should be pointed out that the Levites who received the first whole tithe were not the priests but were only servants in the Temple to the priests.]

If the journey to the temple was unusually long, money could be substituted for the offering in kind. At the triennial tithe, a third decimation was made and a tenth part was consumed at home by the householder with his family, the Levites, strangers, and the poor. This triennial year was called the year of tithes (Deuteronomy 26:12). As the tithes were the main support of the priests, it was later ordained that the offerings should be stored in the temple (2 Chronicles 31:11).

[Note: Because of the context of the Levitical cities in Numbers 35, Joshua 20-21 and 1st Chronicles 6 and because of the rotation of Levites and priests every 24th week to the temple --this is wrong. Nehemiah 10:37b and 2 Chron 31:11-15 point out that the vast majority of the tithes went to the Levitical cities.]

It is to be noted that the custom of paying sacred tithes was not peculiar to the Israelites, but common to all ancient peoples. In Lydia a tithe of cattle was offered to the gods; the Arabians paid a tithe of incense to the god Sabis; and the Carthaginians brought tithes to Melkarth, the god of Tyre. The explanation of why the tenth part should have been chosen among so many different peoples is said to be (apart from a common primitive revelation) that mystical signification of the number ten, viz., that it signifies totality, for it contains all the numbers that make up the numerical system, and indeed all imaginable series of numbers, and so it represents all kinds of property, which is a gift of God. All species of property were consequently reckoned in decades, and by consecrating one of these parts to God, the proprietor recognized the Source of his goods. However, the payment of tithes was also a civil custom. They were payable to the Hebrew kings and to the rulers of Babylon, and they are mentioned among the Persians, Greeks, Romans, and later the Mohammedans.

[Note: This history is crucial for understanding Genesis 14.]

In the Christian Church, as those who serve the altar should live by the altar (1 Corinthians 9:13), provision of some kind had necessarily to be made for the sacred ministers. In the beginning this was supplied by the spontaneous offerings of the faithful.

[Note: This is an admission that tithing was not taught in the early church.]

In the course of time, however, as the Church expanded and various institutions arose, it became necessary to make laws which would insure the proper and permanent support of the clergy. The payment of tithes was adopted from the Old Law, and early writers speak of it as a divine ordinance and an obligation of conscience.

[Note: The Church, not the Bible, made the law of tithing as used in it and patterned it after the Old Law.]

The earliest positive legislation on the subject seems to be contained in the letter of the bishops assembled at Tours in 567 and the canons of the Council of Ma├žon in 585.

[Note: This was limited to the local churches of those cities.]

In course of time, we find the payment of tithes made obligatory by ecclesiastical enactments in all the countries of christendom. The Church looked on this payment as "of divine law, since tithes were instituted not by man but by the Lord Himself" (C. 14, X de decim. III, 30). As regards the civil power, the Christian Roman emperors granted the right to churches of retaining a portion of the produce of certain lands, but the earliest instance of the enforcement of the payment of ecclesiastical tithes by civil law is to be found in the capitularies of Charlemagne, at the end of the eighth century.

[Note: Not enforced until just before AD 800.]

English law very early recognized the tithe, as in the reigns of Athelstan, Edgar, and Canute before the Norman Conquest. In English statute law proper, however, the first mention of tithes is to be found in the Statute of Westminister of 1285. Tithes are of three kinds: predial, or that derived from the annual crops; mixed, or what arises from things nourished by the land, as cattle, milk, cheese, wool; and personal or the result of industry or occupation. Predial tithes were generally called great tithes, and mixed and personal tithes, small tithes. Natural substances having no annual increase are not tithable, nor are wild animals. When property is inherited or donated, it is not subject to the law of tithes, but its natural increase is. There are many exempted from the paying of tithes: spiritual corporations, the owners of uncultivated lands, those who have acquired lawful prescription, or have obtained a legal renunciation, or received a privilege from the pope.

[Note: Notice how long it was before tithes were collected from non-food items.]

At first, the tithe was payable to the bishop, but later the right passed by common law to parish priests. Abuses soon crept in. The right to receive tithes was granted to princes and nobles, even hereditarily, by ecclesiastics in return for protection or eminent services, and this species of impropriation became so intolerable that the Third Council of Lateran (1179) decreed that no alienation of tithes to laymen was permissible without the consent of the pope. In the time of Gregory VIII, a so-called Saladin tithe was instituted, which was payable by all who did not take part personally in the crusade to recover the Holy Land. At the present time, in most countries where some species of tithes still exist, as in England (for the Established Church), in Austria, and Germany, the payment has been changed into a rent-charge.

[Note: Tithing brought corruption.]

In English-speaking countries generally, as far as Catholics are concerned, the clergy receive no tithes. As a consequence, other means have had to be adopted to support the clergy and maintain the ecclesiastical institutions (see CHURCH MAINTENANCE), and to substitute other equivalent payments in lieu of tithes. Soglia (Institut, Canon, II, 12) says "The law of tithes can never be abrogated by prescription or custom, if the ministers of the Church have no suitable and sufficient provision from other sources; because then the natural and divine law, which can neither be abrogated not antiquate, commands that the tithe be paid." In some parts of Canada, the tithe is still recognized by civil law, and the Fourth Council of Quebec (1868) declared that its payment is binding in conscience of the faithful.

Reply to SBC Today Blog 1-12-2010

SBC TODAY BLOG, 1-12-2010

Tim Rogers: Your argument against Brother Tim's use of Abraham as an example of the tithe is that Abraham was forced by the King of Salem (Melchizedek) to give 10% of all the spoils of war.

Russ: I did not invent this theory. I discovered it in the SBC promoted and influenced Wycliffe Bible Commentary and did extensive research on the custom afterwards. Tithing from spoils of war was common in all nations surrounding Abraham and it would be careless to ignore that fact.

Tim: You openly stated that you were using for your basis the history of local Canaanite customs. ("The fact that Abraham tithed 10% of spoils indicates that he was obeying a common pagan and Canaanite custom to his local king-priest.") Brother you are using a Historical/Critical method of interpreting Scripture. That method takes you away from what the Word of God teaches.

Russ: I use whatever method makes the most common sense. Believe it or nor, EVERY major reference book on tithing (especially SBC) clearly agrees that every nation of Abraham's time practiced this kind of tithing. Chapter one of my book quotes the Encyclopedia Americana, the Encyclopedia of Religion, Westminster Dictionary of the Bible and the SBC Wycliffe Bible Commentary. This kind of research is expected of Ph. D. level theses. I seek the truth wherever it might lead.

Tim: Why? Because you are more dependent on the teaching of a man by placing that grid on scripture and making the Word of God apply to a Man's understanding.

Russ: This is almost funny. Your adherents actually ADD the word, "voluntarily" or "freely" to God's Word at Genesis 14:20. It is your own MEN who almost always state without any documentation that Abraham freely gave. Is the saying not true "when in Rome do as the Romans do"? Well, "when in Canaan do as the Canaanite tradition requires." Do you not obey the laws of the city, county, state and nation in which you live? Why do you think that Abraham was somehow exempt from obeying the law of the land where he lived? Please answer.

Tim: You also argue that Abraham was forced to give the tithe and it was not freely given on his part.

Russ: You have no text validating that Abraham freely gave anything. MAN who inserts "freely" has become your only proof and that follows no accepted hermentutic.

Tim: However, you negate your own argument by calling attention to the Law concerning the spoils of war. If Abraham was only required to give 1/100 or 1/500 then why did he give 1/10?

Russ: No. You miss the line of argument. The fact that Abraham gave 10% is proof that he was not obeying the statute of God concerning tithes from spoils of war as found in Numbers 31. Since his tithe was not according to Yahweh's statute, then it most likely was in obedience to the law of the land where he lived. Common sense.

Tim: Because he freely desired to give.

Russ: You can keep right on repeating "freely" but it does not add "freely" to God's Word.

Tim: One other item that you seem to miss is the Hebrews 7:1 passage. This is in the "New Covenant" as you seem to desire for us to remain in. It plainly says in that passage that Melchizedek came to Abraham to "bless" him. I do not believe you will find that the structure of the Greek there indicates any obligation on Abraham's part to give.

Russ: If you were a king-priest living in 2000 BC and a victorious warrior was about to pass through your territory who was expected to pay you ten per cent of spoils of war, you would go out and bless him too.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Change Worth Making 1-11-2010

Change Worth Making

CWM: Sadly we have entered the day of Christian criticism.

Kelly: We entered that when Jesus began criticizing the religious leaders of his time It continued when the Bereans did their own study of what Paul taught. It continued when Luther and Calvin criticized the abuses of their own church. And it should and must continue today to keep the church theologically honest to the Word of God.

CWM: … for what it's worth in many cases rightly so. The late Dr. Rogers said it is better to be divided by truth than united in a lie.

Kelly: Amen.

CWM: … Tithing … for many it has become an issue of accusation, slander, and vitriolic exchange.

Kelly: If you read a few blogs on tithing you will soon discover that the overwhelming majority of name-calling comes from the pro-tithers who prefer to make personal attacks rather than defend their position on the Word of God.

CWM: That being said, why is there this much anger over the doctrine of the principle of tithing?

Kelly: Perhaps it is because the Church refuses to discuss the matter and its silence increases the frustration of those who are told to "sit down and shut up." Perhaps it is because so many of our questions are either ignored or blotted off the blogs. How would you respond to such treatment?

CWM: For some people the fact is that there are a lot of pastors and preachers that "over-preach" it.

Kelly: Have you ever read the SBC Position Paper on the subject? It REQUIRES you to teach it if you are employed by the SBC. That is dishonest since it is not part of the Faith and Message and only the texts were added in 1963 --300 years after the first Baptist confession.

CWM: I have been guilty of preaching past my point on several occasions, and that is often the case here. … sometimes they are just guilty of not being aware of the fact that they've made their point.

Kelly: Why not allow an open in-depth study of the subject for all to hear? You study Calvinism, Premillennialism and Mormonism without any problem. Why is tithing taboo?

CWM: What many in the pew need to realize is that pastors are not paid in proportion to the income of the church any more. Whether their people tithe or not has no bearing on the salary of the pastor.

Kelly: Are you saying that pastors in large churches with many "tithers" are not paid any more than those in small churches with less income?

CWM: The fact is that most church members in this land do not truly practice the principle of tithing, yet the pastors still get paid.

Kelly: Dr David Croteau of Liberty graduated from SEBTS and wrote his PHD on tithing with Andreas Kostenberger as teacher and Craig Blomberg as reader. None of the three agree with tithing. The thesis proved that tithing has never worked since its beginning in the SBC in 1895 and needs to be replaced.

CWM: I am not aware of a single legitimate viable church that pays the pastor according to the general offerings of the church.

Kelly: I could tell you some horror stories but you would not believe them.

CWM: My point on that is this, it is a futile argument to accuse the pastor of wanting more money for preaching on tithing.

Kelly: I have never made such accusation. We simply want the church to follow the context of God's Word.

CWM: The fact just may be that they understand that "the Word of God teaches the principle of tithing."

Kelly: Defending that "statement" is all that we are interested in. Luther wanted to cleanse the church of false doctrine in the same vein.

CWM: … I have pastored people that rejected the principle of tithing, (without hostility) but gave more than 10%. I have pastored people that rejected tithing, and wouldn't even put a "look" into the offering plate.

Kelly: Because the real problem is a lack of personal evangelism and good preaching on soul-winning. Second Corinthians 8:12-15 means that many should give more than ten per cent. However it is wrong to teach that everybody must begin giving not less than ten per cent as a (false) firstfruit contrary to 1st Timothy 5:8. Tithes were not firstfruits.

CWM: The fact is that when someone giving 2% hears that the Biblical principle is 10%...

Kelly: You have changed the biblical definition of the way it uses the word "tithe." And you base your false "principle" on the false assumption that the Bible required everybody to begin giving at ten per cent. One error built upon another error.

CWM: It is not only Pastors that hold the conviction of the principle of tithing.

Kelly: This does not make it right. I can name many top theologians who do not teach tithing, including Dr Marin Luther, Dr. Daniel Akin, Dr Andreas Kostenberger, Dr David Black, Dr John MacArthur, Dr Charles Ryrie, Dr Craig Blomberg, Dr Merrill Unger and Dr Walter Elwell. Should they shut up and be quiet?

CWM: … The church I pastor takes care of my family and our needs, regardless of whether or not people tithe. I do not remember the last time that I preached on tithing.

Kelly: That is because are a good preacher, an evangelist and your members are burdened for lost souls. They give, not by compulsion or percentage, but out of love. That is a New Covenant principle.

2 Cor 8:2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves.

This could not be said of Levitical tithing.

Russell Earl Kelly,

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Reply to SBC Tim Guthrie, 1-10-2010

To Tim G

Unable to refute my biblical arguments, you continue to attack me personally. Yet I have not read this hermeneutic in any SBC book on hermeneutics.

For somebody who represents the entire Southern Baptist Convention, you are making a laughing-stock out of its scholarship, theology, hermeneutics and ability to defend its doctrine. If this is the best you can do then you might as well stop trying to defend your position by attacking somebody else's persona.

Tim: The heart is one of two places:1. It desires to find a way out of things that God says are Holy:or2. It desires to love God more and more each day! Russ: YOU are the one trying "to find a way out of things that God says are Holy." On the other hand I literally believe that what God calls holy is holy in its context. For example the Sabbath Day was called "holy" for national Israel. Do you worship on Saturday or Sunday?

I provided 17 texts which prove that God defined the tithe as "food from inside His holy land" as "holy." Your definition of tithe as "income from outside Israel" is in DEFIANCE of what God called "holy."
Tim: The pattern of a few today is to say; "what can I get by with" instead of "what more can I do!"

Russ: This sounds like something Doctor Eck would have told Martin Luther and John Calvin. Shame on you. You are merely making wild stabs into the air and making yourself look silly. Do some serious theology sometimes.
Tim: Some who teach NO Tithe simply look to prove NO tithe and in so doing miss the picture that God clearly gives in His Word.

Russ: Stop acting childish and attach real biblical statements, texts and principles to your goofy comments. Show us where God "clearly" agrees with your conclusions. You do not want to get into the Word but you want to keep insulting others who disagree with you. This is simply arrogance.Tim: Here's a simple question:If God says something is HOLY does that not stay HOLY or can/does it change?

Russ: Here's a simply way to answer your own question:
(1) Use a Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(2) Look up the word "holy": it occurs 94 times
(3) Read each and every one of the 94 references
(4) Determine which of the 94 are still in use by the New Covenant church.

Simple Answer: Most of what God called "holy" in Leviticus under the Old Covenant is NOT "holy" for the church under the New Covenant.

Your Dilemma: Redefining tithes contrary to God's Word; keeping your definition of "tithes" as "holy" while not keeping everything else called "holy" in Leviticus.

Question for You: If tithing was so important, why does the word not appear an ANY SBC Faith and Message? Why were the tithing texts not inserted into the SBC Faith and Message until 1963? Why did the 1925 Message not contain any of them? Why did the SBC wait until 1895 to attempt to force the doctrine onto the Church? See your own website for these facts.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Teh Storehouse Deception

The Temple "storehouse" concept is a widely abused doctrine and most have it wrong.

(1) According to Numbers 35, Joshua 20-21 and many other texts (see my chapter on Nehemiah), the Levites and priests originally lived in 48 cites which later became 13 in Judea, including Hebron and Jericho.

(2) Since the Levites and priests rotated service in the Temple only once every 24th week (see my chapter on Nehemiah), that means that only about two per cent (2%) of their total were at the temple most of the time (after subtracting women and younger children).

(3) Therefore, if 98% of those who required tithes for food were not in Jerusalem, then it makes no sense to teach that ALL of the tithes MUST be kept in the Temple in Jerusalem. Thus the common interpretation of Malachi 3:10 must be in error.

(4) The key text is Nehemiah 10:37b-39 where the ordinary people were commanded to take their tithes, NOT TO THE TEMPLE, but to the Levitical cities where the priests and Levites together accepted them.

(5) In this context Malachi 3:10 only makes sense if it refers only to priests per Nehemiah 10:38-39.

(6) From Nehemiah 12:42-44 and 13:5-10 I deduce that the Levites and priests brought whatever tithes they required with them from their cites when they went to the temple to serve for one week at a time.

(7) Also from Nehemiah 13:5 I conclude that the temple only contained two very small storerooms for the tithe and other things used by the priests and Levites. Notice: it would have been impossible, improbable and illogical to insist that two small storerooms inside the temple could hold all the tithe of the entire nation.

(8) The "storehouse," rather "storerooms" or "chambers" text you are seeking is 2nd Chronicles 31:11. It was to hold tithes and other thing (see Neh 13:5) only for those Levites and priests currently ministering in the temple for a week.

(9) The "heaps" seen in 2nd Chronicles 31 were a mistake (see my chapter on 2nd Chron 31). The temple had been closed for a generation because of idol worship and the truth had been forgotten. In error, King Hezekiah had commanded the people to bring tithes to the Temple and it would not hold them. Confused by the rotting heaps, the king called his counselors of Levites and priests. The result: verses 15-19 reveal that the majority of the tithes were RE-SHIPPED back to the Levitical cities. This sequence is conveniently ignored by the tithe teachers who stumble at Malachi 3:10.

(10) The Temple of Hezekiah and 2nd Chronicles had been built by David and Solomon --and-- it had no huge storehouse for the tithes of the nation. Hezekiah did not build a storehouse; rather he "prepared" chambers to hold a small amount of the tithes as discussed.

(11) The church is never called a storehouse. In fact it had no buildings called churches for over 200 years after Calvary and they were not legal for over 300 years.

The truth makes sense, doesn't it?

Russ Kelly

Change Worth Making

Change Worth Making, 2-7, 2010

Note from Russell Kelly: My replies are in the order of the original post.

(1) Lev 27:29-34 plus 15 other texts define the contents of the tithe as only food from inside Israel. Tithes could only come from God's unique HOLY land and only from that which He had miraculously INCREAED from that land. That cannot be contested or refuted from God's Word. While money was common and essential for santuary worship, money was never included in a tithe definition. That is a settle fact.

(2) The tenth of what? Answer: the tenth of what God's Word defines as the tithe -- food from inside Israel!!! An Israelite could not bring a tithe from outside Israel. It is GAIN from what God increased inside His HOLY land.

(3) There is no HOLY "timeless principle" "not bound by the law." While God also owned everything even in the OT He still only accepted tithes from inside Israel. Tithes, like idolatry, child sacrifice and temple proostitution, were found in pagan religions of Abraham's time but that does not make any of them an eternal moral timeless principle.

(4) Christ did not merely "encourage" tithing. He taught it. Why? According to Galatians 4:4-5 the Law was still in full effect and Mt 23:23 is in the context of "matters of the law." He would have been sinnng if he had not taught tithing to fellow Jews --and-- he would have also been sinning if he had commanded uncircumcized Gentile followers to tithe either to himsel or to the temple system. Is that true or not? And what church teaches tithing of garden herbs as Jesus commanded?

(5) You can call tithing a "stand alone" "fact" and "principle" 'tll the cows come home, but that don’t make it so. "Rest for worship" is a principle; "Saturday-Sabbath" is not. "Giving to support the gospel" is a principle; "giving a tenth" is not. One cannot find in the human soul enlightened by the Holy Spirit, conscience and nature that one must give ten per cent.

(6) In context, “a Tenth is Holy Unto the Lord” only applied to food from inside Isrel which had been given to support the Levitical priesthood. In exchange the Levites were not allowed to own property inside Israel. Yet today preachers receive the so-called "tithe" and also own vast amounts of property in flagrant violation of Numbers 18 and 11 other texts. This is abuse of God's Word.

(7) The is absolutely no Scriptural indication that the Church collected tithes. Acts 21:20-21 strongly suggests that Hebrew Christians were still tithing to the temple system over 35 years after Calvary. There was no evident principle to "know."

(8) Does not the SBC (erroneously) teach that tithes are the same as firstfruits? Does not the SBC teach that one's first ten per cent should be given to the church instead of beng used to buy medicine, food and essential shelter? Both ideas are refuted by Deu 26:1-4; Neh 10:35-38 and 1st Tim 5:8. This is abuse of the poorest who are also the greatest giving category by percentage. Tens of thousands remain in poverty after "tithing" for generatians.

(9) Levitical tithing in Numbers 18 is indeed "stone cold obedience to a rule."

(10) You said "I tithe not because I have to, but because I want to." This motivation much better be used of solid good New Covenant giving prnciples.

(11) You said "If there is anything wrong with people not tithing, it is not that they do not, it is that they do not want to." This is not true at all. Sacrificial giving according to 2 Cor 8:12-15 means that many should give more than ten per cent. Since the biblical use of the word "tithe" is ignored today, nobody can truly tithe today.

(12) You said: "Whether you want to make the case of His “requirements” now is not the issue. He has required it in the past, and in doing so has revealed to us His personal opinion." This is ridiculous logic to use when comparing what God required of OT Israel and what he requires for His New Covenant church.

(13) You said "The fact that anyone would “want” to do less than the principles that God has revealed indicates that they do not rightly understand what it means to give a tenth to the Lord." You are arguing from the false assumption that God expected everybody in the OT to begin their level of giving at ten percent. The assumption is wrong because it did not apply to city dwellers who earned a livelihood in trades and skills. And it did not apply to anybody living outside Israel.

Russell Earl Kelly

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


AC: … in Genesis 14 He dealt with humanity’s selfishness.

Kelly: Context. Abraham gave 100% back. Are we to do that?

AC: Abraham’s worship of God with ten percent of his revenue showed that he acknowledged his financial responsibility before God and knew that God, in turn, would take care of his needs.

Kelly: You are making this up. It is not in the Bible. He could also have been forced to give because of Canaanite tradition which required tithes from spoils of war to one's king-priest.

AC: By refusing the king of Sodom’s reward (Genesis 14:21-23), Abraham rejected the world’s system.

Kelly: By Canaanite law Abraham could have kept the 90%. The king of Sodom was asking him to be gracious.

AC: Tithing was a sign of Abraham’s covenant with God.

Kelly: No. No. No. No. No. Circumcision was. You are making things up again. See Gen 17.

AC: God reciprocated and pledged all His assets to Abraham, even unto the fourth generation (Genesis 15:14-16).

Kelly: No. No. No. Genesis 15:6 says that God did that because of Abraham's faith, not because he tithed.

AC: Want to be blessed? Be a tither!

Kelly: Want to be blessed? Accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, be born again, be filled with the indwelling Holy Spirit and obey God to the best of your ability because you are now a new creation in Christ and want to obey.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Kely to Brumbelow 1-5-10; 5PM

David to Russell: Why do you “assume” Abraham’s tithe was not voluntary? Genesis says he “gave” a tithe.

Russ: The burden of proof is on those who insist that it can only refer to either a freewill response or a response to a known law. Since you have no text to validate your claim that it was voluntary, then you should ease up on your dogmatic use of the text.David: Genesis 28:22 is a as good a definition of the tithe as anyone could ever give.

Russ: Really? Does that mean that your Baptist Church in Highlands, Texas tells members to set the conditions and bargain with God. "God bless me first and then I will tithe."

David: Moses did use Abraham and Jacob as examples of the tithe. He used them as examples of the tithe when he wrote Genesis 14 and 28. If he does not point to them again in Numbers, that has absolutely no effect on the fact he used them as examples in Genesis.

Russ: Tell me what the tithe in Genesis 14 and Numbers 18 have in common other than ten per cent. (1) One is from a pagan land and the other is from God's holy land. (2) One is ten per cent while Numbers 31 is far less from spoils of war. (3) One is pagan spoils and the other is blessed holy food from inside God's blessed holy land.

David: Maybe Moses, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, felt he had already made his point about Abraham and Jacob tithing in Genesis and did not need to repeat it in Numbers.

Russ: "Maybe" and "maybe not." Maybe Moses did not use it to validate law-tithing because it was not a holy tithe.

David: Of course, if he had anticipated you, he may have repeated it in all five books.

Russ: You think you are cute. If you cannot defend you position, attack the person. Be serious with God's Word.

David: 1. As Tim has said, the tithe is freewill. 2. It is conditional on whether that person has an income. “All that You give me.” 3. It was a vow Jacob made, v. 20. Many since have made, and been blessed, by that vow to tithe. 4. Maybe Jacob was following the example of this grandfather Abraham.

Russ: Numbers 18:21-29 does not describe the tithe as freewill; it was demanded and expected by the law from food producers inside Israel. Jacob's tithe was conditional --his conditions! Maybe Abraham was following the example of his father and grandfather who learned it in Babylon.

David: …Hebrews 7:4 …Genesis 14:20 … (Illustration from 2010) That is a big assumption on your part.

Russ: Why would I want to make an assumption on something you made up as an illustration? We are discussing the "all" from Gen 14:20 and you are assuming that Abraham had always tithed before and continued to tithe afterwards. It seems that the worst assumption is made by you.David: I checked again. My Bible still says:“And he gave him a tithe of all.” Genesis 14:20“Of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.” -Genesis 28:22. Short, simple, to the point. That’s good enough for me.
Russ: I checked my Bible again. There are still 17 texts which limit the contents of the tithe to food from inside Israel. You have my permission to tithe all of the spoils of war you might stumble upon to your local king-priest.

David: Tim, I look forward to your future articles.

Russ: We might even turn this exchange into a book showing the arguments from both sides.

LIfe of Bryan, 1-5-2010

Bryan: Paul is communicating to us the idea of making our giving a percentage.

Russ: Paul was discussion how much to give to ease a famine in Judea. He was not discussing support for clergy or a church building. According to 2 Cor 8:12-15 he was NOT discussing a percentage. Many should give far more than ten per cent while others are giving sacrificially even though less than ten per cent.

Bryan: I think 10% is a good place to start. I'm not saying that 10% is a rule, but it's a good place to start. Here's why. God asked the Israelites to return to Him 10% (a tithe) of the money He gave to them.

Russ: This is based on the false assumption that God commanded everybody to begin at ten per cent. Since true biblical tithes were always only food from inside Israel (although money was essential for sanctuary worship and common even in Genesis), only food producers inside Israel qualified as tithe-payers. It was only a "good place to start" if one worked his vocation off the land. Jesus, Peter and Paul did not qualify.

Bryan: When Jesus came on the scene, He didn't abolish the tithe, but called for something more.

Russ: Of course not. Jesus lived under the full jurisdiction of the law according to Gal 4:4-5. It would have been a sin for him to teach otherwise. It would also have been sin to command his Gentile disciples to tithe either to him or to the Temple system.

Bryan: In Matthew 23, he gets on the Pharisees's case not for tithing, but for ONLY tithing (he actually commends them for tithing).

Russ: Not quite. He was discussing "matters of the law." The Pharisees had made law-tithing a burden by extending it to garden herbs. Which Christian church obeys Jesus and tithes garden herbs?

Bryan: It makes no sense that now that we are in the new covenant with greater revelation that somehow we should give less.

Russ: False assumption again.

Bryan: So 10% I think is a good place to start. But whatever the percentage, the NT guide is that it's generous and sacrificial (read 2 Cor 8:1-7).

Russ: Texts. See 2 Cor 8:1-15, not just 1-7.