Monday, April 23, 2012



Scott: The tithe means “a tenth.” or first fruits (There is some distinction between first fruits and tithes, but they both speak of Christ

Russ: You use “tithe” and “firstfruits” wrongly. There is a great distinction between tithes and firstfruits. As used by Malachi and Jesus, HOLY ttthes were always only food from inside God’s HOLY land which He had miraculously increased. Tithes could not come from what man increased, from Gentiles, or from outside Israel. On the other hand, firstfruits were also only food from inside Israel. Firstfruits were very small token offerings which could be carried in a small basket (Deut 26:1-4; Neh 10:35-38).

Scott: In the Garden of Eden God reserved a tithe for Himself by giving man the right to enjoy all the trees except the one which belonged to Him.

Russ: There is no way you can honestly call one tree out of many hundreds or thousands a tithe. And you give no texts.

Scott: Some just say it is now all spiritual and has nothing to do with monetary things …

Russ: No text. That is a waste of time. Do some research. Money was common even in Genesis and was essential for sanctuary worship, but money was never a tithed item.

Scott: … yet that is not consistent with new testament teaching since it is clear when Paul instructed in 1st Corinthians about their giving to him he used old testament scripture such as not muzzling the ox that treads out the corn, and them giving to him of their carnal things.

Russ: As a highly trained rabbi Paul knew that it was wrong for anybody other than Levites and priests to accept tithes for teaching God’s Word. Paul taught strictly freewill offering principles linked to Christ’s sacrificial giving example.

Scott: Heb. 7:8 speaking of Jesus said he who live receives tithes as our High Priest.

Russ: When Hebrews 7:8 was written the temple was still functioning and Levites and priests were accepting tithes IN THE PLACE OF GOD AND JESUS. By focusing on 7:8 you completely miss the teaching from 7:5, 12, and 18. The “commandment going before” (7:18) which was “changed” (7:12) was “tithing” from 7:5. Rather than being transferred to gospel workers, it was “disannulled” in 7:18. Those who received OT Levitical tithes were not allowed to own or inherit property in Israel. You simply cannot justify receiving tithes: (1) the OT has ended, (2) the priesthood now belongs to every believer, and (3) most modern pastors own property contrary God’s instructions in Numbers 18 and elsewhere.

Scott: 7 Things about Tithing (1)The tithe must always flow out of grace and faith in order for it to be pleasing to the Lord it is never to come from manipulation such as guilt or your less than a believer if you don’t bringing condemnation or fear of a curse.

Russ: You listed no texts. Tithing was always at the very heart of the law. It was required regardless of motive or degree of spirituality. No grace was involved.

Scott: (2) The tithe is elementary it is to teach us about God’s ultimate in creation; a people who will become God’s tithe in the earth;

Russ: No texts. While God owns everything (Ps 24:1), HOLY tithes could only come off God’s HOLY land of Israel.

Scott: The first fruits unto God and the lamb. (Rev.14:4; James1:18) R

uss: Your texts are not discussing tithing.

Scott: (3) We paid tithes in Jesus a man of faith just as Levi paid tithes in Abraham even though he was not born yet, (Heb.7:9-10)

Russ: Your misinterpretation of 7:8 ignores the truth of chapter 7 in its flow of logic from 7:5 to 7:12 to 7:18.

Scott: He did that through the faith of another “This is what we did in the finished work of Christ”.

Russ: The word “faith” is nowhere found concerning Abram’s tithing experience. He was probably obeying the law of the land.

Scott: (4) The tithe was shown in the Old Testament by how he chose a tenth be it man or animal but the tenth would be as the whole “example”

Russ: No. And no texts. There are 16 texts which very strictly limit the tithe to food from inside Israel. It was not a beginning point for anybody but food producers living in Israel. There is no precedent to justify your statement.

Scott: Noah was the tenth from Adam and Abraham was the tenth from Noah; Jesus is both the fulfillment of the man and the sacrificial animal. “The Tithe” meaning the all

Russ: You wander in your own thoughts with no biblical cohesion.

Scott: (5) The tithe was first presented by a man of faith “Abraham”

Russ: God does not tell us why Abram the uncircumcised Gentile tithed spoils of war to his local king-priest. He may have simply been obeying the law of the land which required it.

Scott: and it was given to a king–priest ministry “uniting of man and God “by Melchizedek (Gen 14:20.Heb 7)

Russ: Hebrews 5-7 stresses his “order” as a king-priest and not his historical person.

Scott: it was given after the slaughter of the kings so in like manner there are kings in our life that must be slaughtered especially the ones between our ears by the faith of Christ in order that we may become the tithe or fullness of God in the earth.

Russ: No texts. Pure imagination.

Scott: (6) The tithe teaches us to be systematic in giving and becomes a point of contact as a minimal amount (to be given not paid)

Russ: “Minimum”? Where do you find this in God’s Word? It was never the minimum except for food producers who lived inside Israel. Calling tithes a minimum for all believers is a lie.

Scott: for the honoring of a covenant of grace among a people who have a common vision and purpose such as a local church or body of believers.

Russ: You keep on making things up. There is no command for new covenant believers to tithe just as there is no justification for you to accept “tithes” and own property.

Scott: (7) The tithe that God was looking for initially was Jesus the first fruits (1Cor.15:20)

Russ: You are comparing un-comparable items. Tithes were tenth-fruits and never first-fruits.

Scott: The covenant was cut between the father and the son

Russ: This is really weird theology.

Scott: we now enter into His obedience that we should become the first fruits of a brand new creation in the earth. (James1:18)

Russ: The new creation is under the new covenant.

Scott: It is said of George Washington Carver after hearing his pastor preach on tithing he asked him the question Pastor are you saying that if I have 10 pennies the one belongs to Jesus and he said that’s right he pondered for a minute and said I could never do my Lord that way I will give him the 9 and I will live off the 1 later he asked God what can you do with a peanut brain like mine and the Lord gave him the ideal for peanut butter needless to say he became a wealthy man and influenced society.

Russ: Did Carver tithe the 90% and live on the 10%?

Scott: Finally let no one put guilt on you because of not measuring up to this principle there are many people who are hurting and in financial bondage due to tragic situations in their life often times beyond their control, The families of those people should help bear the burdens and the church should be looking out for them also.

Russ: First, there is no such thing as a tithing “principle” which has ever applied to all believers. Second, there is no command for the church to tithe. Third, a believer’s firstfruits belong to his/her family. 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.”

Scott: In like manner we should not think it was because of our giving 10 percent that God delivered us yet there are untold testimonies of those who started tithing and their life was turned around

Russ: That is because they are asked to give their testimonies. The ones who “tithe” and are not blessed sit quietly in shame and embarrassment.

Scott: this is due to faith and a point of contact

Russ: No evidence. At least one in twenty will succeed and be blessed because of a good education and good work ethic, regardless of whether he/she tithes or attends church or is an atheist.

Scott: but there is one deliverer his name is Jesus and it is by (grace through faith) plus nothing we receive from Him.

Russ: “Plus nothing”? Don’t you mean “plus tithing”? Are you not teaching that salvation is by grace through faith but Christ wants His Body to be sustained by the abused definition of law? I invite you to an extended open public dialog on this subject.

In Christ’s love

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

Thursday, April 19, 2012


By Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
April 19, 2012

Have you every loaned somebody a large sum of money? Or have you ever borrowed a large sum of money? Was there not some kind of collateral guaranteed or exchanged to insure that the lender’s money is covered if the borrower defaults?

Exactly how much do we owe China, or is the answer hidden from us to keep us from being embarrassed and ashamed? The answers I find on the Internet range from almost a billion to two and one half TRILLION dollars. That is: $2,500,000,000,000.

My question for our leaders is: When the U.S. borrowed that money from China, what did the U.S. give China as collateral? As U.S. citizens, we deserve to be told the truth. Our president, congress, and other elected officials should tell us; after all it is our resources they are giving as collateral.

Is our collateral to China land? Or have we already brokered a promise that we must buy an equal amount of merchandise from China? Is this the real reason that most of the merchandise sold in our retail giants like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes, and others is “made in China”? Look around. Look for yourself. Read the labels. “Made in China!” “Made in China!” “Made in China!” It is driving me nuts and is driving all of us into being servants to China. Even Mexico is being sucked dry by China; have you seen the “paxrts made in China; assembled in Mexico” labels? And we wonder why there are no jobs here.

Attention: Mitt Romney, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Greta Van Susteren, Neil Cavuto, John Stossel, Lou Dobbs, Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz, Joe Pags, and everybody else who has a piece of the public’s ear --- help stop this madness. We are aiding those who desire to rule over us.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012



I was among the approximately 100 eyewitnesses. My watch read 11:38 A. M. Pastor Dan Guider was preaching on John 20:19 the Sunday following Easter. The text mentioned fear. Pastor Dan spoke the exact words “Some of you are afraid of the dark.”

What happened a split second later is something I have never witnessed in my 67 years. Our lights went out! The pastor and most of the congregation instinctively looked back to see who was playing with the switches. Pastor Dan said something like “all right now” before we all noticed that it was real – the emergency lights were on.

Miracle or very great coincidence? What are those odds? Personally I cannot accept that this was only a coincidence. I believe that God was sending a message, a sign, to somebody hearing the gospel that morning. Nobody came forward to be saved or rededicate their life. I hope and pray that next Sunday does not reveal that something bad happened to somebody in that congregation this week.

The lights came back on several hours later.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


By Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

Is Tithing New Testament?

Brown: Tithing began before the law was introduced.

Kelly: Yes – the pagan law of the land all around Canaan required tithes from spoils of war be paid to the local king-priest. Abram would have learned that in Babylon. However, the HOLY tithe from God’s HOLY did not exist before the Law which concered that HOLY land. The Law limited tithes to FOOD from inside God’s HOLY land which God had miraculously increased by His own hand. As used by Moses in Leviticus 27:30-34, Malachi in 3:10 and Jesus in Mathew 23:23, HOLY food-tithes could not come from what man increased, from Gentiles, or from outside Israel. Yes, pagan forms of tithing preceded the law, but that fact does not make tithing an eternal moral principle; so did idolatry, worship of the heavens, child sacrifice and temple prostitution. The argument for unholy tithes before law proves nothing but common tradition and the law of the land.

Brown: The Law simply regulated the tithe.

Kelly: Not true. The Law defined its tithe very different from the pagan pre-law tithe. It was only food from inside God’s holy land.

Brown: Abraham tithed to Melchizedek, 400 years before the time of Moses and the Law …

Kelly: Uncircumcised Abram’s (not Abraham yet) pre-law tithe was not holy. Since the Bible does not tell us WHY Abram tithed, it is wrong to teach that he gave freely or that God commanded him. He just as easily could have been obeying the law of the land.

Brown: … and according to Romans 4:12 we are to walk in the footsteps of the faith of Abraham.

Kelly: Yes, but we are not told that Abram’s tithe was faith-motivated and, again, it is simply dishonest to imply such. Not everything Abraham did was motivated by faith -- such as lying about his wife being his sister (Gen 12:16).

Brown: If tithing was good for him, it should be good for us, too.

Kelly: It benefited Abram to lie about his wife being his sister; he gained much wealth from it (Gen 12:16; 13:2). Without texts, this is a poor argument.

Brown: We give tithes like Abraham gave them—not by the Law but by faith.

Kelly: It is recorded that Abraham tithed only once, that he only tithed pagan spoils of war, that he kept nothing, and that he gave the 90% to the king of Sodom. I seriously doubt that we should follow that example. Brown’s declaration here is a very common, but totally fabricated lie. It is not biblical and, again, it is wrong to teach ignorant believers that this is Bible truth.

Brown: And beside that, if the people of God paid ten percent before the Law, and ten percent under the Law, shouldn't we, who live by grace, be doing any less when we have a better covenant (Heb 7:22).

Kelly: This common error is based on the false assumption that everybody under the Old Covenant was commanded to BEGIN his/her level of giving at ten per cent. In fact, only food producers who lived inside God’s HOLY land of Israel qualified as tithe-payers. There was no minimum starting point of giving for carpenters (Jesus), fishermen (Peter), and tentmakers (Paul), Gentiles, and anybody living outside Israel.

It is a great distortion of Scripture to use Hebrews 7:22 to teach tithing. First, since 7:5 is the first use of “commandment,” “tithes,” and “law,” it controls those words in chapter 7. Second, since Jesus’ priesthood follows the king-priest “order” of Melchizedek (a non-Hebrew), 7:12 says that it is necessary to change the law. Third, that “necessary change” was not to gospel workers. Instead that “necessary change” is 7:18’s “there is a dis-annulling of the commandment gong before” (for priests “to take tithes according to the law”) in 7:5.

Brown: There is a passage in Hebrews, which deals with this issue directly. It is Hebrews 7:8:
In the one case, the tenth is collected by men who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living.

Kelly: Notice the present tense verbs. 7:8 is merely reminding readers that the Temple system was still functioning around AD 65 and the current Temple ministry was a shadow of a living Christ. Brown totally ignores the surrounding evidence against tithing. The flow of logic from 7:5 and 7:12 to 7:18 is much stronger proving that tithing ended.

Brown: Melchizedek received Abraham’s tithe.

Kelly: Melchizedek received Abram’s tithe. We are not told WHY Abram tithed. The Arab law of the land required Abram to tithe spoils of war to any king-priest whose territory he might pass through.

Brown: The Hebrew writer shows that Melchizedek is a prefigure of Christ.

Kelly: Melchizedek’s “ORDER” and the “interpretation of his name” were a pre-figure of Christ – not his historical person. This is repeated 6 times in chapters 5 to 7. He was only a type “by interpretation” of his name and title (7:2) by “similitude” (7:15).

Brown: We can conclude that just as Abraham gave a tithe to Melchizedek we give a tithe to Christ who is declared to be living.

Kelly: No. Do we also conclude that those who receive Levitical tithes are not allowed to own or inherit property? Are we also to conclude that the doctrine of the priesthood of believers is wrong because gospel workers are the descendants of Levites and priests? Are we also to conclude that there are three tithes and the church should teach up to 23% instead of 10%? Are we to follow Abraham’s example and tithe only pagan spoils of war only once and give the 90% to the king of Sodom?

Brown: Some people think this is a new issue. It is as old as the second century when more and more Gentiles were being converted.

Kelly: Stop and read at least 4 different church historians on History of the Christian Church. Second century church fathers like Justin Martyr and Tertullian disagree. Brown is wrong and has not studied church history on this subject. Paul never taught Gentiles to tithe because he knew that HOLY tithes could not from Gentiles or Gentile land.

Brown: The early Jewish believers had no problem with tithing since they had done it under the Law and gave it to the priests.

Kelly: Read and consider Acts 15 and 21:20-21. The compromise wa that the church in Jerusalem would not place Gentiles under any part of the law (Acts 15 all). Over 30 years after Calvary Jewish-Christians were still “zealous of the law” and were very likely still paying tithes TO THE JEWISH SYSTEM. It would take several generations before Jewish Christians could fully understand that the law ended at Calvary.

Brown: They simply gave their tithe to the elders of the church and did by love.

Kelly: Here Brown simply took the liberty to play God, change His Word and made this up. Acts 15 and 21 strongly argue against it. It is wrong for Brown to state this as fact.

Brown: However, as the church became less Jewish this issue came up to the church fathers.

Kelly: Almost all of the earliest church fathers rejected tithing as a purely Jewish tradition. Should the Church Teach Tithing, A Secular Church History of Tithing, 246-262.

Brown: They answered the question of tithing with Matthew 23:23.

Kelly: Brown distorts the context of early church history. This only began to happen after Constantine legalized the church after A.D. 300. The church had become corrupted and had changed the doctrine of the priesthood of every believer into a false clergy-priesthood which then offered the sacrifice later called the mass. Yet even then, tithing was rejected. Regional attempts to restore tithing occurred in the 6th century and it did not have the force of law until late in the 8th century. Look this up in any reputable encyclopedia.

Brown: Mt 23:23: "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin.

(1) Before Calvary: therefore Old Covenant context.
(2) Addressed to “you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites” and not the Church.
(3) Holy tithes were still FOOD from inside Israel over 1400 years after first being defined. Tithes were still not an increase of income or money.

Brown: Mt 23:23 But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
Notice Jesus said, "You should have practiced the latter (justice, mercy and faithfulness), without neglecting the former (tithing)."

(1) Context: “matters of the law” for Old Covenant Israel, not the Church.
(2) “You”: you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites – interpreters of the law.
(3) “You” – not neglecting the latter (tithing): you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites – interpreters of the law
(4) Gal 4:4-5 living under the full jurisdiction of the law before Calvary, Jesus MUST teach tithing TO THE TEMPLE SYSTEM or be sinning.
(5) Gal 4:4-5 if Jesus had taught tithing to Himself of His disciples, he would have been sinning.
(6) Gal 4:4-5 if Jesus had taught Gentiles to tithe to Him or to His disciples, it would have been sin.
(7) Jesus’ literal words here are disobeyed by Brown and all tithe-teachers who do NOT teach their congregations to literally tithe “mint and cumin” in the offering plates.

Brown: The fathers argued, and rightful so, that Jesus’ word ends the discussion.

Kelly: Notice the lack of documentation. This kind of invented logic is typical for Word of Faith. “Rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15) means to consider (1) To whom was the text written, (2) which context, and (3) was this addressed to the church. Much of what Jesus taught was only for His Old Covenant Jewish audience (Mt 5:24; 8:4).

Brown: Since Jesus said not to neglect the former—being tithing—then no believer should neglect tithing.

Kelly: I eagerly wait to hear that Brown’s congregations are tithing mint and cumin into the offering plates. Jesus also commanded those whom he healed “See thou tell no man; but go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.” Again, tithing ended at Hebrews 7:18 when compared to 7:5 and 7:12.

Brown: Some argue that Jesus words are not applicable to us today, because Jesus was under the Law and spoke to those under the Law. Their theory goes something like this: Jesus was giving an instruction to the Jews so His words are not binding to us.
The problem with this interpretation is that these teachers are bringing Christ down to the level of a Jewish prophet or Teacher of the Law.

Kelly: No. This interpretation keeps Jesus holy, sinless, and beyond reproach; Jesus fully knew and spoke within the context of the Law which he Himself had given to Israel. It is absurd to argue that Jesus’ words about tithing apply to the church while, at the same time, arguing that Jesus words in Matthew 5:24 and 8:4 are to be ignored as relevant only to Old Covenant Jews.

Brown: Jesus is the Word of God made flesh, so this means every word that comes out of His mouth is eternal.

Kelly: Only Word of Faith would dare say this. Jesus honored the covenant under which He lived and walked and taught full compliance to it (Gal 4:4-5).

Brown: He cannot say anything without it being “spiritual law” and everlasting.

Kelly: Again, this is Word of Faith lack of logic. It treats Jesus’ words like some kind of magic Ouija board and ignores His context. There is no conceivable way that every recorded word from Jesus’ lips has a higher spiritual meaning. For example, “Cast your net on the right side” does not mean the “correct” side in John 21:6.

Brown: Jesus emphasizes this point by saying, “Heaven and earth may pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matt 24:35).

Kelly: Jesus’ words will be remembered and quoted throughout eternity.

Brown: These supposed Bible teachers are making the words of Jesus pass away—obsolete and out of date.

Kelly: If Matthew 5:17-18 are given Brown’s interpretation, then 5:19-48 means that the entire law of over 600 commandments, statutes, and judgments will never end because three examples from each are given in verses 21-48. Jesus inspired Hebrews and Hebrews 8:13 says that the Old Covenant has ended. Jesus taught tithing under the law but inspired the writer of Hebrews to teach that the Melchizedek priesthood would “of necessity change the law” of tithing in 7:5 by “disannulling the commandment going before” in 7:18 (compare 7:5, 12, 18).

Brown: Besides, these same teachers pick and choose which teachings of Christ in the gospels they believe is applicable to us.

Kelly: No. That is your own distorted warped un-biblical hermeneutic. You are the ones who lack a consistent hermeneutic. The consistent hermeneutic is: “That part of the Old Covenant which applies to the church has been REPEATED to the church after Calvary in terms of the New Covenant.” Just as even the good part of English law ended the moment the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, even so the U.S. Constitution started all over and wrote a new constitution incorporating the good parts of English law in a new context. The new covenant is “not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers” (Heb 8:9; Jer 31:32) – a real change. The “new” covenant is not a fine-tuning of the old covenant.

What is your “consistent” principle of interpretation? What allows you to change God’s Word and re-define tithes as income and money? What allows you to change God’s Word of three tithes of about 23% into one tithe of income? What allows you to ignore the commandment that Levitical tithe-recipients cannot own or inherit property into “now you can receive tithes and own much property”? You are the ones “picking and choosing” only that which suits your purposes.

Brown: I notice that even these teachers agree that most of Christ’ teachings are for us.

Kelly: Again, the consistent principle of interpretation is: “None of Christ’s teachings are for the church UNLESS they have been REPEATED by the Holy Spirit to the church after Calvary in terms of the new covenant.”

Brown: however, because they are predisposed against tithing, they have had to come up with an excuse for not obeying the clear word of Christ in Mathew 23:23.

Kelly: Unlike yourself, we literally interpret the words of Christ in Matthew 23:23 where He was discussing “matters of the law” to “you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites” and not to the church. We are “predisposed” to follow the literal clear and inspired instructions for giving found in the pages of the Bible for the church: freewill, generous, sacrificially, joyful, and not of necessity (2 Cor 9:7).

Brown: As a believer, you have to show who your Lord is! Is it the teachers who tell you tithing is not New Testament and who tell you that Jesus word on the subject is out of date …

Kelly: False teachers treat the church as if it were under the Old Covenant but manage to own and inherit much property in contrast to it.

Brown: … or is it Jesus who clearly told us not to neglect tithing?

Kelly: Jesus never told “us” the church, His body, to tithe under the new covenant. His remarks to hypocritical scribes and Pharisees was very clearly and very literally “matters of the law.” Let Jesus interpret Jesus; the text itself (Mt 23:23) contradicts your words.

Brown: No modern teacher has the right to tell you to disobey Jesus instruction on tithing. Period!

Kelly: No modern teacher has the right to tell you that you are still under the Old Covenant Law when the Gentles and Church never were under that law.

Brown: Even if the only passages in the New Testament was Jesus word, then that would be sufficient …

Kelly: Again, not if that word were clearly and literally in the context of “matters of the law” to “you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites.”

Brown: … however, I want to present other New Testament passages on the subject. Let’s look at Paul’s teaching on giving.
Paul also uses the pattern of tithing under the law in 1 Corinthians 9:13-14 and says,
Don't you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.
Paul argues that just as the priests got their food from the tithes of the people, so the preachers should live the same way. This passage clearly shows the mentality of the apostle and his understanding of carrying over the concept of tithing into the church.

Kelly: The first word in 9:14 refers back to all of verses 7 through 13. The principle, or hermeneutic, is “Each group (secular and sacred) has a ‘right’ to share from that activity in which it works.” All six of the examples demonstrate that one is sustained by the principles of the activity in which he labors. “In the same manner” gospel workers live by gospel principles from which they labor.” Verse 14 is a final conclusion to all of verses 7-13 which change from secular to Law to gospel. In verse 15 “these things” again refer to everything mentioned in verses 7-13 and not merely verse 13. All of the context of 9:7-13 is considered and almost all commentaries agree. Do the research.

Arguing only from 9:13 is self-defeating because it proves too much! This is because Numbers 18 is not an exclusive reference to tithing, but includes ALL forms of Levitical support which tithe-teachers definitely do not want to allow! When they insist that gospel workers are to be paid “in the same way” that Old Covenant priests were paid in Numbers 18, they have recklessly opened the door wide to everything included in Numbers 18. In reality it is very good that they literally follow NONE of those OT principles!

It is more wrong than correct to say “It was the tithe that supported God’s servants in the Old Testament dispensation” because the priests received most of their support from things other than the tithe –things such as freewill offerings, vow offerings and sacrifices (Numbers 18:1-19). Priests only received one tenth of the whole Levitical tithe (Num 18:25-28; Neh 10:37-38). As previously pointed out, modern “Levite” equivalents in Christian churches are not ministers and are often unpaid. It is also wrong to equate New Covenant preachers as the replacement for the Old Covenant priests.

Adopting Old Testament giving principles “in the same manner” would force the church to also copy every other Levitical and priestly support principle found in the Old Testament. This logic would forbid missionary support and would require churches to abolish the doctrine of the priesthood of believers and put to death those who tried to worship God directly.

Second Corinthians 9:14 is quoted more than any other text by gospel workers to prove that they deserve “full-time” support for their ministry. My complaint is with those who twist Scripture and teach that all ministers must be full-time because the Bible teaches it.

Brown: The passage often used to contradict this is 2 Corinthians 9:7. … Under the Law, giving to the poor was a freewill offering. The Law commanded freewill offerings as well as tithes. …
Quotes Deut 12:5-6.
It is quite inconsistent for people to appeal to freewill offerings yet claim that tithing has been abolished. Both tithing and freewill offerings were incorporated in the Law as the above passage shows, but they preceded the Law, thus they both should be practiced.

Kelly: Freewill giving preceded the law, was included in it, and was repeated after it. However HOLY tithing did not precede the law and was not repeated after it. The tithes were HOLY because they came off God’s HOLY land from that which He miraculously increased.

Brown: The burden of proof is placed on those who teach that tithing has been abolished. If so, where in the New Testament does it clearly say that tithing has been abolished?

Kelly: Here is your biblical proof:
Heb 7:5 “And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law …”

Without any doubt Hebrews 7:5 very clearly and very literally says that only the sons of Levi were commanded by the Law to receive tithes.

Heb 7:12 “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.”

In context, 7:12 must, at the very least, include tithes from 7:5. When the high priesthood was changed from Aaron to Melchizedek, it was necessary to change the law which included tithing. How was that law changed? Was it changed to gospel workers?

Heb 7:18 “For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.”

Since the only use of “commandment” thus far in Hebrews refers to tithing (7:5, 16), this text must be interpreted to mean that “the commandment going before” “to take tithes” has been disannulled.

Everything about tithing has ended. The covenant which included HOLY tithing ended, the Temple it partially supported ended, the priesthood it supported changed to every believer, and its high priest changed to a king-priest after the order of a non-Hebrew.

The burden is on the tithe teacher to explain: (1) how he can change God’s definition of a HOLY tithe, (2) how he can place the church under the old covenant law which has never applied to Gentiles and the church, (3) how he can ignore the priesthood of every believer and install himself as an old covenant priest mimicking a gospel worker and ask for tithes, (4) how he can identify himself as a Levite or son of Aaron to receive tithes, and (5) how he can legitimize both accepting tithes and also owning and inheriting property contrary to the Old Covenant tithing laws.

Brown: One last thing, notice the resemblance of the language Paul uses in the first passage in Galatians and compare it with the Old Testament passage about tithing: quotes Galatians 6:6 and Deut 26:11-12. Galatians 6 is dealing with giving to the teacher of the gospel and he uses the same language about the Levites receiving the tithe of the people and he calls it "all good things."

Kelly: In all his writings the Apostle Paul never says a word about any obligation for Christians to tithe. “Similar” vocabulary is just that – similar. As a highly trained Jewish rabbi and possible Sanhedrin member, Paul very well knew that HOLY tithes only for the support of Levites and priests could never come from defiled pagan land or from Gentiles. Again, read two or three church historians. Rabbis considered it sin to be paid for teaching God’s Word. They all had their own vocations and were self-supported. See Alfred Edersheim, Sketches of Jewish Social Life, Jewish Views on Trade, pages 1167-181.

Brown: This is pretty good internal evidence that the early church tithed to the ministers of the gospel; although, I admit it is not explicit evidence.

Kelly: Wrong. The evidence from reputable church historians is that tithing was shunned as a strictly Jewish practice for at least the first two hundred years after Calvary and did not become enforced church law until A.D. 777. See the Encyclopedia Britannica. A possible exception was the Ebionites, or Elkisites, of Jewish Christians who rejected Paul, stayed fanatical to the law, did not merge with other Christians, and lasted several centuries. Look it up for yourself if you really want to know the truth.

I encourage in-depth open dialog and a reply to my articles. Replies will be published.

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Rebuttal of John C Maxwell on Tithing

Amazing Finance, John C Maxwell

What Is Tithing And Why Is It Important?
by John C. Maxwell


Question: Isn’t Tithing Under the Old Testament Law?

Maxwell: Answer: No. While tithing one’s income was a lawful practice for God’s people, tithing was practiced by patriarchs 400 years before the law was even around (Gen. 14:20/ 28:22)!

Kelly: The Bible says nothing about Abram (not Abraham) tithing his “income.” The Bible does not tell us WHY Abram tithed; it does not say that he was commanded by God; neither does it say that his tithe of pagan spoils of war was a freewill decision. It is dishonest to twist God’s Word to make it say what you want it to say. The “tithing” which was practiced before the law did not qualify as “holy” tithes under the law as used by Malachi in 3:10 or by Jesus in Matthew 23:23. And Jacob’s tithe (not Israel) was an example of Jacob setting the terms and telling God what to do first. His tithe was also from pagan lands and his example is not for Christians to follow.

Maxwell: Abraham “tithed” to the Lord through the priest Melchizedek as a lifestyle principle, not a ritual.

Kelly: The only thing we know from the Bible is that Abram tithed spoils of war to a priest of El Elyon, God Most High. El Elyon was an extremely common name for god among the pagans of Canaan, Egypt and Babylon. It is as valid a question to ask why he did not include the name of Yahweh in his worship title as he should have per Genesis 4:26. Maxwell has no authority to add to God’s Word and call this a “lifestyle principle.” He should know better.

Maxwell: According to Deuteronomy 14:22-23, tithing was to be a practice of prioritizing God in life, and of recognizing that He is the source of our income.

Kelly: According to 16 texts, the contents of the HOLY (not pagan) tithe was always only FOOD from inside God’s HOLY land which God had miraculously increased. Tithes could not come from what man increased, from non-Israelites, or from outside Israel. The tithe is never the same as income. Although money was common in Genesis and essential for Sanctuary/temple worship, money is never a tithed item in the Bible. Only Hebrew food-producers who lived inside Israel could tithe. Lev 27:30, 32; Num 18:27-28; Deu 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.

Question: How Do We Know That “Tithe” Means 10%?

MAXWELL: Answer: Tithing is directly mentioned thirty-nine times in Scripture, and in each case it means “a tenth part.”

Kelly: This is deception by being half true. The “context” of a HOLY tithe is only FOOD from inside Israel.

Maxwell: Again, in Genesis 14 it states that Abraham “tithed to the Lord;” then, in the New Testament explanation of that event, Hebrews 7:2-4 says that it was 10%.

Kelly: Again deception by being a half-truth. Abram (not Abraham) “tithed to El Elyon” which does not necessarily refer either to Yahweh (LORD) or the Lord (Adonai) of Israel. Maxwell conveniently omits that Hebrews 7:4 says he tithed “spoils.”

Maxwell: Numbers 18:26 speaks of the Levites “tithing off of the tithe” by giving 10% to the Lord from their income.

Kelly: This is really a distortion of the contents of the text. Numbers 18:21-24 (Neh 10:37b) teachs that those Levites who received the first Levitical tithe were not the minister-priests, but were only their assistants. According to Numbers 18:25-28 (Neh 10:38) the Levites only gave one per cent (1%) of the tithe to the priests. Maxwell does not elaborate on this because those who received the tithe were not allowed to own or inherit land in Israel. Today gospel workers get the whole tithe and also own and inherit much property.

Question: What If I Go Broke Giving Up That Much Income?

Maxwell Answer: This is a natural objection, given that the person still operates off of this world’s rationale.

Kelly: This is an odd statement considering the fact that your definition of “tithe” reflects the world’s rationale and not the Bible’s usage.

Maxwell: In God’s economy, however, the more a person sows, the more he reaps (Galatians 6:7). Give and it shall be given unto you, (Luke 6:38).

Kelly: Irrelevant. These texts are not discussing tithing. They are eternal principles of giving.

Maxwell: Tithing is just one of the three ways to “invest” in God’s kingdom …

Kelly: There are no Bible texts given to validate this statement.

Maxwell: --- and in every case, God promises to repay in abundance. There is nothing unspiritual about this.

Kelly: In the context of the blessings and curses of the law (Deuteronomy 28 to 30), abundant blessings only came to those who obeyed all 600 plus commands. The curse of the law fell on those who violated any one command per Deu 27:26 and Gal 3:10. God does not promise blessings for tithing when other parts of the law are being violated (Neh 10:29; Mal 4:4; Gal 3:10).

Maxwell: The Apostle Paul discusses how to invest in the ministry through giving in Philippians, then concludes with verse 19: “And my God shall meet all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Doubtless, prosperity preachers today can distort this sowing/reaping principle --- but it remains a scriptural principle just the same.

Kelly: The context is freewill giving and not tithing. Because the Philippian church had assisted Paul financially, Paul said that God would bless it in return; this is the principle of sowing and reaping, not tithing. It is a conditional promise.

Maxwell: The classic test illustrating this is Malachi 3:8-12 where God instructs His people to bring their tithe to His storehouse in order to prove His generosity, as He blesses in return.

Kelly: Malachi 3:8-12 is the single most abused giving text in the Bible and Maxwell joins right in to abuse its context.
(1) In 1:1-5 it is only addressed to Old Covenant Israel (Ex 19:5-6) and not the New Covenant church.
(2) It is secondarily addressed to dishonest priests who were then cursed for giving God leftovers (1:6; 2:1 compared to 1:13-14) and for stealing the tithe from the Levites (Neh 13:5-10).
(3) Most important the tithe was still only food over 1000 years after its description in Leviticus 27:30-34.
(4) The literal storehouse was actually two large storerooms combined and only 10 ft. by 20 ft. (compare 1st Kings 6:6 with Neh 13:5). It could not possibly hold the tithe of the nation and did not need to since the people brought their Levitical tithes to the Levitical cities per Neh 10:37b.
(5) The curse is the curse of the Old Covenant (Neh 10:29; Mal 4:4).
(6) The church assembly is never compared to a storehouse building in the Bible. The early church building was not even legal until after A.D. 300.

Question: Does Jesus or The New Testament Teach Us To Tithe?

Maxwell Answer: People often mistake the New Testament truth that since “everything” belongs to the Lord, tithing is now obsolete. It is true that everything does belong to God, but far too often this becomes a cop-out for carnal people to hold on to money and material things.

Kelly: Although the sentiment is true, the implication is wrong. While “everything belonged to the Lord” even in the Old Testament (Ps 24:1), the HOLY tithe could still only come from FOOD from inside HOLY Israel. There is no precedent because only food-producers living inside Israel qualified as tithe payers. Jesus, Peter, and Paul did not qualify.

Maxwell: They prefer to spiritualize the issue just as the Pharisees did in Matthew 15:4-6.

Kelly: It is not a matter of spiritualizing the issue. It is a matter of “rightly dividing the Word.” Old Covenant tithing has not been brought over into the New Covenant after Calvary. Period. The covenant, priesthood, temple, and definition all ended. God did not command tithing and neither did he say that tithe-recipients could own or inherit property.

Maxwell: Jesus is concerned about both our understanding that God owns everything and that we ought to continue exhibiting our submission to God (tangibly) through the act of tithing.

Kelly: Without a Bible text to validate this, it is error and distortion.

Maxwell: Matthew 23:23. Luke 11:42 echoes the same truth, straight from Jesus’ lips.

Kelly: Read the text.
(1) Being before Calvary, it is Old Covenant context. Jesus would have been sinning if he had commanded His disciples to tithe to himself and it was illegal to command Gentile disciples to tithe at all.
(2) The audience is not the New Covenant church; it is “you scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites.”
(3) The context is not New Covenant; it is “matters of the law.”
(4) This is where proper hermeneutics must begin – in the text itself.

Maxwell: Tithing is brought up again in Hebrews 7:5-9 where the writer discusses Melchizedek receiving tithes as a “type of Christ.”

Kelly: Gross distortion. (1) 7:5 defines tithes as a commandment of the law to support the priesthood. (2) 7:12 says that it is necessary to change that law (of tithing) since the priesthood of Jesus is outside the law. And (3) in 7:18 the “change” was not “from Levi to gospel workers”; rather it was “from priests” to “an annulling of the commandment going before” “to collect tithes” from 7:5.

Maxwell: Clearly, this age of grace we live in was not to eliminate a biblical practice like tithing.

Kelly: It most certainly does. The covenant, temple, and priesthood supported by tithing was “abolished, annulled” per Hebrews 7:18-19.

Maxwell: if anything, we should be living an even greater, more supernatural life by giving more than our tithe!

Kelly: Again, tithing was only commanded to and received from food producers living inside Israel. It never was a standard minimum giving point for all Hebrews. Sacrificial equality giving for Christians does not look at a percentage. While some are not giving sacrificially at 10%, others are giving sacrificially at much less than 10% (2 Cor 8:1-16).

Question: Where Should My Tithe Go?

Maxwell Answer: This question has no dogmatic, scriptural answer, since the references to tithing aren’t specific as to where the tithe should be given. In the Old Testament, tithes were received at the place of worship …

Kelly: This shows a lack of deep study by Maxwell. The “tithe’ should go nowhere because there is no such thing as a tithe for the church. Jewish Christians in Judea kept paying tithes to the temple system per Acts 21:20-21. However “references to tithing were VERY SPECIFIC as to where the tithe was to be given”:
(1) Levitical tithes went to the Levitical cities for the Levite servants of the priests (Num 18:21-24; Neh 10:37b).
(2) Levites gave the best one tenth of their one tenth to the priests in the Levitical cities (Neh 10:38).
(3) Levites and priests brought what they needed a week at a time to the Temple storerooms (Neh 10:39; 12:44).
(4) The second festival tithe was brought to and eaten in the streets of Jerusalem during the festivals (Deut 12:1-19; 14:22-26).
(5) The third year poor tithe was kept in the towns (Deut 14:28-29; 26:12-13).

Maxwell: … which, today could be interpreted as the local church. This practice continued, even into the New Testament.

Kelly: The local church was not a building to store anything; it was an assembly of believers. Church buildings were not legal until after AD 300. There is no historical verification of Maxwell’s statement “This practice continued, even into the New Testament” – that is a fabricated statement.

Maxwell: Malachi 3:10 instructs us to “bring the tithe into the storehouse.”

Kelly: No, it does not. It instructed Old Covenant Israel – not the church (Neh 10:29; Mal 4:4; Lev 27:34; Ex 19:5-6).

Maxwell: This is where the term “storehouse tithing” comes from.

Kelly: It is not found in the New Testament as a description of the church.

Maxwell: The storehouse represents God’s designated place of (corporate) worship; the place where His people are spiritually fed and nurtured. Again, this seems to imply the local church.

Kelly: No, it does not. Surely something this important would have texts. “Temple” is not equivalent to “storehouse.” The “storerooms” were only a very small part of the Temple and corporate worship was not held inside storerooms for food! Compare Neh 13:5 with 1st Kings 6:6.

Maxwell: The Apostle Paul argues that financial giving to the local church enables the elders or bishops to be supported, again implying that we should tithe to the body of believers where we are taught.

Kelly: You are teaching your false implications as laws for the church.

Question: But What If I’m Not Able To Do This?

Maxwell Answer: Obviously, God calls us to give what we cannot what we can’t. Nothing more and nothing less. If someone is unemployed or in school, under the financial care of someone else -- then there may be no income to tithe. But the challenge God gives us in Scripture is to become a liberal giver; to practice the principle of giving our first and our best to Him.

Kelly: The error of this statement is in equating tithes with firstfruits. They are never the same in God’s Word. First-fruits were very small token food offerings given “first” (Deut 26:1-4; Neh 10:35-37a). First Timothy 5:8 overrides giving our first to the church. “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.”

Maxwell: Hence, tithing becomes less an issue of the wallet, and more an issue of trust. Am I trusting God to meet my needs, as I put Him first with my finances?

Kelly: All invented.

Maxwell: No doubt, we live in the age of grace.

Kelly: Grace, not law. Tithing was the heart of the law. Tithing supported the activators of the law.

Maxwell: God calls us to freedom, not bondage.

Kelly: Paul said that those who add the law back to grace have changed the pure gospel and have been bewitched (Gal 1:8-9; 3:1).

Maxwell: But formal membership in a local church calls us to live above our rights. It’s not an issue of being God’s child; it’s an issue of being God’s example for others.

Kelly: Irrelevant in a discussion of tithing.

Question: But What If I Can’t Give “Cheerfully?”

Maxwell Answer: It is true, 2 Corinthians 9:7 calls us to only give offerings that we have purposed to give; not grudgingly, but with a cheerful heart. However, note two truths. The context of this chapter refers to a special offering for an outside need, not to tithing.

Kelly: True. But you omitted “not by commandment.”

Maxwell: Tithing is the base (which God owns anyway: Malachi 3:8).

Kelly: No. This is distortion. Only food producers who lived inside God’s HOLY land of Israel were the base. Tithing never did apply to everybody or even to people like Jesus, Peter, or Paul.

Maxwell: Offerings are what we give (or “offer”) to God over and above the tithe.

Kelly: Distortion of God’s Word. The Bible does not teach “tithe PLUS offerings” – it teaches tithes AND offerings” – tithes from food-producers inside Israel and offerings from others. The New Covenant teaches freewill generous sacrificial giving – not tithing.

Maxwell: Offerings are one of the three ways we can invest in God’s kingdom, alongside tithing and giving to the poor (Proverbs 19:17).

Kelly: No. Only freewill offerings which include helping the poor (2 Cor 8 and 9 and 1 Cor 16). The word “tithe” does not occur in Proverbs.

Maxwell: The second truth we should note is that if we cannot tithe with a cheerful heart -- our goals ought to be to change our heart, not our tithing amount.

Kelly: This is another non-biblical invention. It should read “freewill giving amount.”

Maxwell: God enables the Spirit-filled believer to live above rights and the flesh. We should be living supernaturally, not naturally.

Kelly: Not legally according to a set percentage.

Question: Isn’t All This Just Legalism?

Maxwell Answer: Let’s talk for a moment about legalism, grace and commitment. In the Old Testament, a Jew was first required to give one tenth to God.

Kelly: Wrong. Not all Jews. Not Jews who lived outside Israel. Not Jews who earned their living through trades and crafts. Only Hebrews who earned their living from FOOD off God’s HOLY land.

Maxwell: Then at harvest time, the farmer must give the firstfruits to God, and that consisted of one sixth of his increase.

Kelly: Wrong. Edersheim said that the firstfruits were one SIXTIETH. The Bible does not tell us and Maxwell should not be stating “one sixth” as if it were a biblical fact.

Maxwell: Then every three years a second tenth was given for the poor -- social security tax.

Kelly: Wrong. This was not a “second tenth”; it was a “third tenth” per Deu 14:28-29 and 26:12-13. The first tithe is Lev 27:30-34 and Num 18:21-28. The second tithe is Deu 12:1-19; 14:22-26.

Maxwell: In addition were the special offerings of cleansing and consecration.

Kelly: Vows and fines could include money. Tithes never included money.

Maxwell: That means that his total contribution to religion would be nearer to a fifth of his income that a tenth-- and that does not include voluntary support to the local synagogue. It is not difficult to imagine the temptation in times of stringency to withhold the tithe. So there we have our answer as to how much of His income Jesus gave to God.

Kelly: Josephus agrees that there were 3 separate tithes. This would amount to over 20%. If you are going to teach biblical tithing, you should teach 20-23%. As a carpenter and not a food-producer, Jesus did not qualify as a tithe payer. Jesus gave freewill sacrificial offerings.

Maxwell: If we object that the Jews were under law and we Christians are under grace, and that for us the law of the tithe has been abrogated, another question arises. Will a Christian who is experiencing intimacy with his Lord wish to take advantage of grace so that he can give less to God’s work than the less privileged Jew who knew nothing of Calvary’s sacrifice and the inestimable blessings it has brought?

Kelly: This argument falsely assumes that everybody under the law was required to begin their level of giving at ten per cent. It also assumes a false modern definition of HOLY biblical tithes. It has no basis in God’s Word and it makes the poor feel guilty.

Maxwell: Was our Lord’s matchless generosity in becoming poor for us intended to beget parsimony in His children? Paul cited it rather as an incentive to sacrificial giving.

Kelly: Does our Lord want poor widows with sick children to give their first income as a tithe to the church and do without essentials contrary to First Timothy 5:8? Teaching tithes as firstfruits should be a criminal offense of stealing from the poor who are giving money from welfare checks to the church.

Maxwell: Tithing was practiced by the patriarchs four hundred years before the Law was given (Gen. 14:20; 28:22).

Kelly: And they probably learned it from Babylon and pagan tradition as the law of the land.

Maxwell: The usage of consecrated tithes prevailed among Romans, Greeks, and Arabians as well as with the Jews; so tithing seems to rest on the common law of God’s Kingdom rather than on special Hebrew legislation.

Kelly: This is a poor argument. It assumes that, if something is very old and very common, then it must reflect an eternal moral principle. Yet the same ancient civilizations which practiced tithing also practiced idolatry, worship of heavenly bodies, child sacrifices, and temple prostitution. Instead of arguing from common law, one should argue from the law of nature and the conscience (Rom 1:18-20; 2:14-16). Giving is written in the heart and conscience of every man but tithing is not.

Maxwell: Jesus gave tithes and offerings. Is the servant greater than his Lord?

Kelly: No, Jesus did not give tithes. He was a carpenter. HOLY tithes were only FOOD from God’s HOLY land. That which man crafted was not a tithe-able item.

Maxwell: It is a misconception of the meaning of “grace” to think that it leaves it open for a believer to do less than a devout Jew would have done.

Kelly: Maxwell keeps repeating this weak argument because it is the strongest tithers can devise. Again, it is based upon the false premise that everybody under the law was required to begin their level of giving at ten per cent. However tithes did not apply to Hebrew craftsmen, tradesmen, Gentiles, or anybody outside HOLY Israel.

Maxwell: If the true spirit of grace has gripped my heart, I will not be calculating the minimum I can get away with but the maximum I can give to my Lord. The New Testament standard is not lower than the Old.

Kelly: Repeat it enough and it becomes true! That is the tactic used so often by those who want to teach tithing. There was no such thing as a “minimum, maximum, or standard” in the Old Covenant except for food producers who lived in Israel. The repeated argument has no biblical foundation.

Maxwell: In speaking about tithing in Matthew 23:23 Jesus said, “You tithe mind and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.”

Kelly: By using proper hermeneutics, the text itself is addressed to “you scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites” and is in the pre-Calvary context of “provisions of the law.” It cannot be a commandment for the church. As a Jew under the full jurisdiction of the law, Jesus would have been sinning if He had not taught tithing TO THE TEMPLE SYSTEM.

Maxwell: Did that obligation cease a few days later when He died?

Kelly: Yes, it ceased when Jesus said “it is finished,” when the veil in the Temple ripped, when the Old Covenant ended, and when its priesthood ended. The Jews no longer had an obligation obey Jesus’ command to tithe to the temple system to support the Levites and priests per the context of Matthew 23:23. Instead of transferring tithing to gospel workers as might be expected from Hebrews 7:12, tithing from 7:5 was abolished per Hebrews 7:18.

Maxwell: Is the Christian not “under law to Christ,” with His higher law of love? “I am not free from God’s law,” said Paul, “but am under Christ’s law” (1 Cor. 9:21, NIV).

Kelly: The “law to Christ” and “higher law” are not a repetition of the Old Covenant law. See “not according to” in Hebrews 8:9, “ready to vanish” in 8:13 and “abolished” in 7:18. Our new law is freewill, generous, sacrificial, joyful, not by command, not grudgingly, and motivated by love for God and lost souls.

Maxwell: It would seem from an impartial weighing of the relevant Scriptures …

Kelly: What “impartial weighing”? I am almost certain that you think gospel workers should accept tithes and also own and inherit property. Nice. You have your cake and you eat it too.

Maxwell: … that though there is not legal obligation on a believer to give a tithe, or more, of his income …

Kelly: Amen. And neither is there a spiritual command for the church to teach tithing found in the pages of the New Covenant after Calvary.

Maxwell: … his experience of Christ’s matchless grace should provide a powerful incentive to emulate the example of his Master.

Kelly: Jesus did not give an example of tithing. He gave an example of extreme sacrificial giving to save lost souls.

Maxwell: As has been said, sacrifice is the ecstasy of giving the best we have to the One whom we love the most.

Kelly: Finally, something we agree on.

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

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Rebttal to Crown Ministries

Russell E Kelly’s Reply to Crown Ministry’s Unsigned Article, Apr 8, 2012
Tithing outside of the local church

Crown: Biblical principle of tithing: When we recognize that God owns everything and all blessings come from Him, our role as managers, or stewards, becomes evident.

Kelly: While this is a true statement based on Psalm 24:1, it is false when used to teach tithing. While God owned everything even in the Old Testament, He only accepted HOLY tithes from FOOD from inside His HOLY land of Israel. There are 16 texts which describe the CONTENTS of the HOLY tithe to validate this fact.

Crown: Part of being a good steward is giving back to God a portion of what He has entrusted to us. It is not that God needs our money. Rather, giving serves as an external, material testimony that God owns both the material and the spiritual things of our lives and that He is the source of all our supply.

Kelly: Agreed.

Crown: In the Old Testament the Hebrew people brought approximately 23 percent of their increase to the “Lord's storehouse.”

Kelly: The 23% is true but former Crown leader, Larry Burkett, did not admit to the three tithes. “The Hebrew people brought … to the Lord’s storehouse” is a false interpretation of Malachi 3:10. According to Nehemiah 10:37-38, Joshua 21, Numbers 35 and common sense, the Hebrew people brought the first whole Levitical tithe to the Levitical cities where 98% of those who needed it for food lived. Malachi is a rebuke to “you” priests from 1:6; 2:1 and Neh 13:5-10 for stealing the tithes from the Levites.

Crown: The keepers of the storehouse, the Levites, in turn used what was given to care for the widows, needy foreigners in the area, orphans, and the Levites.

Kelly: This is partially true of the second and third tithe only. They cared for the needy throughout Israel because the second tithe was eaten in the streets of Israel and the third tithe was kept in the cities, not the Jerusalem temple.

Crown: According to extra-biblical historical evidence, in New Testament times, no longer did the people bring their tithes and offerings to a physical storehouse. They instead gave of their increase in tithes, offerings, and alms to the fellowship of believers. In turn, the believers used the tithe for spreading the Gospel. The offerings were used for the general and administrative support of the church, and alms were used to care for the poor, widows, orphans, and needy.

Kelly: Nothing but lies. Where is your so-called “historical evidence” for “New Testament times”? According to Acts 15 and Acts 21:20-21, the Hebrew Christians in Judea never stopped being “zealous of the law.” The earliest church fathers rejected tithing as purely Jewish and of the Law.

Crown: Malachi 3:10 is the first place that really directs the tithe: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house.”

Kelly: Wrong. Read Nehemiah 10:37-38. The ordinary people were “directed” to bring their tithes to the Levitical cities scattered throughout the land where the Levites, priests, their wives, and their younger children needed tithes for food. Bringing the WHOLE tithe to the Jerusalem temple storehouse is illogical when Levites or priests were hungry far away.

Crown: In order to bring our tithes into the storehouse, it is necessary to determine what, exactly, the storehouse is. In the Old Testament, the storehouse was a physical place where the Jews would deliver their offerings of grain and animals.

Kelly: Compare First Kings 6:6 with Nehemiah 13:5. The “storehouse” of Malachi was actually two combined rooms equaling 10 ft. by 20 ft. That size could not possibly hold all the tithes of the land.

Crown: Tithing and today's church: Ideally, the church should serve as the storehouse in God's economy today.

Kelly: Wrong for several reasons. First, the “church” is never called a “storehouse”; it is an assembly of believers and is never a building. Second, there were no legal church buildings until after AD 300 when Christianity became legal.

Crown: Then people's tithes would simply be given to the church.

Kelly: In the Old Covenant those who received tithes in exchange for an inheritance were not allowed to own or inherit land. Yet modern gospel workers receive the “tithe” and also own and inherit property. The Old Covenant priesthood and its tithes were “annulled, abolished” in Hebrews 7:18 (compare 7:5 and 7:12). Today all believers are priests who do not tithe to themselves.

Crown: When we obey Him and pay our tithes to the church, God holds the leaders of the church responsible for the distribution of the tithes (see Nehemiah 12:44-45, 13:5, 13).

Kelly: Now you are twisting Nehemiah’s context to make its Levites and priests equivalent to Gospel workers. Again, since HOLY biblical tithes were always only FOOD from inside God’s HOLY land, it is logical to conclude that nobody tithes today. Not even Jesus, Peter, or Paul qualified as tithe payers.

Crown: In today's American society the Levites and priests (Numbers 18:24-26; 28-29) are equivalent to pastors and other church staff, evangelists, and missionaries.

Kelly: Lie. Lie. Lie. No texts. Modern gospel workers are more like O.T. prophets who were not among the Levites and priests.

Crown: The feeding of Hebrew widows and orphans (Deuteronomy 14:28-29) would be equivalent to widows and orphans being served in a local church. The Gentile poor (Deuteronomy 14:28-29) would be equivalent to the unsaved people in the community where the church is located.

Kelly: There are solid post-Calvary Holy Spirit inspired New Testament verses for this, especially in Second Corinthians 8 and 9.

Crown: However, in truth, the vast majority of local churches do not minister fully in all the areas of ministry that exemplified the Old Testament storehouse.

Kelly: Gentiles and Christians never were under the Old Covenant law. And gospel workers own and inherit property contrary to the tithing laws.

Crown: This ministry does not see the tithe as a “law” but, rather, as an indicator of obedience to God's laws.

Kelly: What are your biblical grounds for saying this?

Crown: The principle of tithing is just that—a principle and not a law—

Kelly: This sounds like an admission that tithing cannot be biblically supported. In reality it is a perversion. “Eternal moral principles” reflect the character of God and are written in nature, the heart, and conscience of every person (Rom 2:14-16). “Giving” is an eternal moral principle because all know to give. On the other hand, “tithing” is not written in the hearts of all men.

Crown: … and God is looking for the right attitude in a person's giving.

Kelly: The Holy Spirit has taught the church much better giving principles: freewill, generous, sacrificial, hilarious, joyful, not by commandment, and motivated by love for God and love for lost souls.

Crown: If there were not a willingness to give back to the Lord a portion of what He has entrusted unto us, then giving tithes upon tithes would not make a difference.

Kelly: You are drawing a conclusion based upon your false definition of biblical tithing.

Crown: So, since the tithe's purpose is to be a testimony of God's ownership, each believer should give bountifully and cheerfully.

Kelly: Your circle of error is completed by going back to the same error you began with. HOLY biblical tithes were always only FOOD from inside God’s HOLY and which He had miraculously increased. Over 1000 years after God defined tithes through Moses in Leviticus 27:30-34, tithes were still only food in Malachi 3:10. And 400 years after that tithes were still only food as described by Jesus himself in Matthew 23:23.

Crown: “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). The word translated “grudgingly” is the Greek word lupe. It means sorrow, grief, or annoyance. The word translated “cheerful” is the Greek word hilaros. It means joyful, happy, and exuberant. Therefore, according to the Word of God, believers are not to give with an attitude of provocation or annoyance or feel obligated to give, as if they have no other choice. Rather, believers should give because they choose to give and because they are happy to give and should feel that giving to the Lord is the highest of privileges.

Kelly: Most tithe-teachers say that this is not describing tithing at all; it is describing freewill offerings which are in addition to mandatory tithing. Therefore, by using this argument you are disagreeing with most tithe-teachers.

Crown: The church of today is the whole brotherhood of believers, not just the individual church on the street corner. When God speaks of His church, it is again the corporate body of Christ. When a believer gives to the church, it is to every part of the body, not just the denominational portions or a physical facility.

Kelly: The church today is under the New Covenant which began at Calvary. The church today never has been under the Old Covenant and its 600 plus mandated commands. It takes both poor hermeneutics and a poor understanding of the Law to teach tithing and defend it.

Crown: Therefore, to the extent that a church would lack in a specific area of ministry, a portion of the tithe could be given to an individual, a parachurch organization, or a missionary organization if they are “filling the gap.”

Kelly: Wow! You are telling Christians who are disappointed with the local church “storehouse” that it is permissible to give their tithe to you! It is fine to teach the whole gospel from the New Covenant --- except stewardship. That is hypocrisy. And that is the kind of mixing grace and law which Paul called “accursed” in Galatians 1:8-9 and “bewitched” in Galatians 3:1.

Crown: In essence, the ministries that serve in God's name, whether the local church or outside of the local church, who are fulfilling the standards set forth in God's Word and whose motives are compatible with those standards, should be recipients of a believer's giving.

Kelly: Tithing is not one of those standards. It never was a beginning minimum “standard” except for food-producers who lived inside Israel. You have no precedent.

Crown: The ministry does not feel that the matter of giving should be an obstacle to anyone. Furthermore, we have never suggested that believers should redirect their tithes from their local churches completely.

Kelly: Subtle.

Crown: (1) Since the tithe is recognition of a believer's obedience and submission to God and (2) is given in thanksgiving for His faithfulness in providing, there should not be any (3) legalism involved in how the (4) money is directed.

Kelly: The first and second statements have no Bible validity and are lies. The third is not true because tithing was at the very heart of the law to support its Old Covenant Levites and priests. The fourth statement is not true because tithes were never money. Although money was very common even in Genesis and was required in the worship ritual as vows and fines, money was never included in any biblical definition of HOLY tithes as accepted by Malachi or Jesus.

Crown: Therefore, if believers feel the need, and God's direction, to help others outside of their local churches and they have no other funds than the tithe, it would be hard to say that they are disobeying God's Word if they give outside of their local churches.

Kelly: YOU are disobeying God’s Word by adding a purely legal concept to grace. Even under the law, one could not be blessed for tithing if one broke any other part of the law. God did not bless dishonest “tithe payers” under the law.

Crown: Remember that God is concerned more with the attitude in giving than the actual gift or designation of it.

Kelly: I challenge anybody in your organization or any other organization or church to enter an extended open dialog with me on the subject of tithing. If you really believe and are convicted that you are correct, you should jump to this offer.

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
April 8, 2012

Monday, April 02, 2012

REPLY TO MITCHELL POWELL, Beastiality and Tithing, Part 3

1. If you ignore all common sense hermeneutics while trying to interpret the Bible, there is no hope for you. Matthew 23:23 is:
A. Old Testament context before Calvary.
B. Addressed to “scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites” and not to the Church
C. Clearly discussing “matters of the law” and not the New Covenant
D. The HOLY tithe is still only FOOD from inside God’s HOLY land of Israel. Tithes could not come from what man increased, from Gentiles, or from outside Israel.
E. If Jesus were commanding the church to bring tithes to Him, He would have been
sinning under the Law.

2. You do not understand what Jesus was teaching in Matthew 5:
A. He is teaching Jews before Calvary.
B. He is teaching that the whole law of over 600 commands is still in force. That is absolutely clear from 5:19-20. It is also clear from Jesus using 3 examples of each portion of the law in verses 21-48.
C. Jesus did fulfill the righteous requirements of the whole law. That theme is throughout Matthew.
D. Since you do not obey the whole law, your argument is illogical and cannot stand.

3. The four gospels are not the backbone of the New Testament.
A. That part of the four gospels which is before Calvary technically belongs to the Old Covenant.
B. As a Jew, Jesus would have been sinning if He had not taught strict obedience to the whole Old Covenant law.
C. In fact, Jesus DID teach strict obedience to the whole Old Covenant Law.
D. Gentiles and the Church never were under the Old Covenant law.

4. You asked for a filter to use to apply what Jesus said to the Church.
A. Where have you been? In a theological vacuum?
B. “That part of the Old Covenant which applies to the church today has been RESTATED in terms of the New Covenant AFTER CALVARY to the Church.” This is the standard Dispensational hermeneutic and it works consistently.

5. Your understanding of the Great Commission is faulty:
A. As a Jew living under the jurisdiction of the Law (Gal 4:4-5), Jesus would have been sinning had He taught to disregard ANY part of the Law.
B. Jesus taught Jews to obey the WHOLE law, all 600 plus commands, in Matthew 5:17-48.
C. In Acts 15 the first church council clearly taught that the Gentiles Christians were not to keep ANY of the Old Covenant law.
D. Whatever Jesus meant in the Great Commission, it cannot possibly include his commands for the healed to “go to the temple and show yourself to the priests” (Mt 8:4; also compare Mt 5:24).
E. Jesus’ words must mean “whatsoever I have commanded you – to teach to all nations.”

6. I expect your coming comments about tithing from Hebrews 7 will be equally out of context.