REBUTTAL OF RICK WARREN’S 2-18-15 TITHING SERMON BY RUSSELL KELLY, PHD
WARREN: “The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first [1x] in your lives.” (Deuteronomy 14:23b TLB)
[Not Quoted] Deut 14:22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field brings forth year by year. 23 And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou may learn to fear the LORD thy God always. KJV
KELLY: Rick Warren begins his sermon with six lies. Read the text its context: (1) It is about the yearly festival tithe which would total 20%. (2) It is about the increase; no increase means no tithe; this excludes welfare checks. (3) It is about only FOOD from inside God’s holy land of Israel; HOLY tithes were never anything else from Leviticus 27:30-34 to Luke 11:42. (4) This tithe was eaten in the streets of Jerusalem; it was not used for temple or church support. (5) It was neither the first nor the best (Lev 27:33); it was the tenth after the full harvest and every 10th animal. (6) The texts say tithes “and” firstfruits; they are never the same thing in Scripture. Warren repeats this lie at every opportunity. He depends upon the Bible ignorance of his audience.
WARREN: Whatever you want God to bless, you have to put him first [2x] in. So if you want God to bless your finances, you have to put him first [3x] in your money. This is the principle of tithing: You give the first 10 percent [4x] of your income back to God.
[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. KJV]
KELLY: (1) Repeating the same lie does not make it true. Again, tithes were never firstfruits; they were never given first. (2) Second Timothy5:8 make it clear that Christians are to give their own family their first priority: meet family needs such as medicine, food and basic shelter; otherwise they are worse than the heathen. (3) Warrant has invented his own “principle of tithing” and gives no validating text. In fact, the only biblical O.T. persons who qualified as tithe-teachers were food producers who only lived inside Israel. Not even Jesus and Paul qualified; there was no standard for non-food producers, or for Jews living outside Israel or for Gentiles.
WARREN: There are four verses that explain the promise, the purpose, the place, and the day for tithing. First, Proverbs 3:9-10 gives the promise about tithing: “Honor the Lord by giving him the first [5x] part of all your income and he will fill your barns with wheat and barley and overflow your wine vats with the finest wines” (TLB).
[Prov 3:9 Honor the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
Prov 3:10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. KJV]
KELLY: Obtain an exhaustive Bible concordance such as Strong’s and look up “firstfruits, firstfruit, firstborn, firstlings, etc. You will discover (1) Like tithes HOLY firstfruits were always only FOOD from inside God’s holy land of Israel; it is the first of the land. (2) It is a lie to make Proverbs 3:9-10 a discussion of tithes; the word “tithe” does not occur in Proverbs. (3) If one corrects “money” to “food substance,” the text disproves Warren’s argument because the promised blessing is not money –it is more food—wheat, barley, wine. Warren ignores the literal interpretation. (4) According to Deuteronomy 26:1-4 firstfruits could fit into a small basket; they were a very small token offering. Warren lies.
WARREN: God says that if you honor him with the first [6x] part of your income, he will bless you financially.
KELLY: Warren has now repeated “first” six times as if repeating a lie makes it true. God does not bless 10%-payers who do not worship Him, kill, steal and commit sexual sins; yet he always omits this in his discussions. Sowing and reaping are sound giving principles but intimidating poor believers into giving their first 10% of welfare and Social Security checks is stealing from God’s faithful poor. I can repeat something also: 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.”
WARREN: ... If I make 10 bucks, the first [6x] dollar goes back to him. …
KELLY: Is Rick Warren making his audience afraid of God’s Old Covenant curse? Isn’t the curse of Malachi 3:8-10 the curse of the Law from Deuteronomy 27:26 (Gal 3:10), Nehemiah 10:29 and Mal 4:4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. KJV]
WARREN: Why does God tell us to tithe? Deuteronomy 14:23 says, “The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first [7x] in your lives.”
KELLY: Deuteronomy 14:23 does not say that! Warren has misquoted the text for the second time in this article. Even his uninspired paraphrased TLB has it correct “that you may learn to fear the LORD. Isn’t it a sin to keep on forcing the word “first” into quotations of God’s Word?
WARREN: God doesn’t need your money, but he wants what it represents — your heart. He wants you to trust him.
KELLY: The Bible calls that kind of giving sacrificial freewill giving. It is neither tithing nor firstfruits. Call it what God calls it please.
WARREN: Where should you tithe? Do you tithe to United Way? Or do you tithe to your brother who’s been out of work for three years? No. That’s charity.
KELLY: You don’t tithe; you give freewill sacrificial offerings. O.T. tithes supported Levites and priests in exchange for inheritance rights and priests only received one per cent of one tithe. Today the Levites are unpaid ushers, deacons, singers, musicians, cooks, etc. and the priests ae all believers. Not a single post-Calvary text commands tithing; freewill sacrificial giving is the new doctrine.
The question should be, “Who needs financial help the most? --my church or my sick-out-of-work brother? The O.T. had second and third “charity” tithes to help them, plus First Timothy 5:8 commands caring for essential needs first of all.
WARREN: Tithing is an act of worship. It goes to God.
KELLY: Levitical tithing WAS a law to support Levites and priests under the Old Covenant system (Heb 7:4; Numb 18:21-28). God commanded it whether the givers were in a worship attitude or not. That has all ended by the New Covenant.
WARREN: Malachi 3:10 says, “‘Bring to the storehouse a full tenth of what you earn .... Test me in this,’ says the LORD All-Powerful. ‘I will open the windows of heaven for you and pour out all the blessings you need’” (NCV).
[Mal 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. KJV]
KELLY: Warren is all over the place searching for an uninspired paraphrase Bible version which agrees with him. Some flippantly disregard the best original Hebrew and Greek scholarship.
(1) Malachi is in the context of Old Covenant Israel (1:1; 4:4; Neh 10:28-29)). It is not addressed to the New Covenant Church.
(2) Malachi is addressed to dishonest priests (ministers at the altar) who had disobeyed, dishonored, stolen from God and had been cursed (1:6-14: 2:1-10, 13-17; 3 all; 4 all: follow the pronoun “you” beginning at 1:6).
(3) The “tithe” of 3:10 was still only “food” from inside God’s HOLY land of Israel over 1000 years since first being described in Leviticus 27:30-34.
(4) The Church is never called a “storehouse.” In historical fact, there were no legal church buildings until after A.D. 313 when Christianity was legalized.
(5) Modern tithe-teachers must ignore a literal interpretation of Malachi 3:10-12. Any common sense literal translation teaches that the description and blessings only refer to food.
WARREN: The storehouse is the temple or the place where you worship God.
KELLY: Warren blatantly ignores both the history and meaning of the word “church.” Warren is redefining God’s words to agree with his own theology.
WARREN: When are you supposed to tithe? You do it on the day you worship. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 16:2, “On every Lord’s Day each of you should put aside something from what you have earned during the week, and use it for this offering. The amount depends on how much the Lord has helped you earn” (TLB).
[1 Cor 16:1:1 Now concerning the collection [logia: logistics] for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
1 Cor 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
1 Cor 16:3 And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. KJV]
KELLY: Warren’s paraphrased versions of God’s Word are lies; they strip it of its literal meaning and equate man’s words with God’s.
(1) 1 Cor 16:2 is in the context of a contribution of food to relieve those suffering from a famine in Judea (16:1). It requires men from every church to keep it safe and dry upon a ship (16:3+).
(2) 1 Cor 16:2 is not discussing tithing. It is a discussion of freewill sacrificial giving as is clear in Second Corinthians 8 and 9.
(3) 1 Cor 16:2 is not a discussion of local church support of wages for gospel workers. It is food for famine relief.
(4) The TLB version has changed God’s Word from a “collection” of food into money “from what you have earned.” When no food exists, money cannot buy food.
(5) “Lay by him in store” does not refer to a church building called a “storehouse.” “Storehouse tithing” is a deceptive play on words.
(6) The vast majority of tithes in the O.T. went to the Levitical cities as seen in Nehemiah 10:37b. See my detailed discussion at Malachi 3:10 online at www.tithing-russkelly.com
WARREN: When you give to God on the first day of the week, the first part of your day, and the first part of your money, then you say to him, “You’re really number one in my life.”
KELLY: Tithe-teachers want your 10% first before any bills are paid, before the medicine is bought, before food is bought and before family essentials are met; this, they teach, pleases God and is what God demands. Again, 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. KJV”
WARREN: Notice that the verse [1 Cor 16:2] says “put aside.” You’ve got to plan this! Tithing should not be an impulsive thing. You’ve got to plan for it so that you are honoring God’s plan and purpose for tithing.
KELLY: Again, Warren’s text is not discussing tithing. It is discussing freewill sacrificial offerings for famine relief (verse 1). Warren is not that stupid; he is deliberately changing a “freewill sacrificial offering” text into a “tithing
text. I call that SIN!!! I call that WRONG!!!
text. I call that SIN!!! I call that WRONG!!!
WARREN: Then, you can watch how God blesses and uses you and honors his promise in your life.
[Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. KJV]
KELLY: Mr. Warren, please read Galatians 3:10. Do you only get your blessings formulas from the Old Covenant? God did not bless tithe-payers who broke His Law in any other aspect; they must keep the whole Law in order to be blessed. Violation of one point of the 600+ laws brought curses.
WARREN: What does it mean to you practically to give God the first part of your income?
KELLY: Why should I do something God never told the Church or Gentiles to do? What does it mean to Rick Warren to deliberately and premeditatedly teach that tithing was a firstfruit? Does he want to live in luxury off welfare checks and Social Security checks while his poorest church members cannot even buy medicine, food and shelter?
WARREN: Why do you think God wants you to tithe to your church and not another cause?
KELLY: Where in God’s Word to the Church are you getting these questions? Why do you think he can say anything you desire without being required to verify it with God’s Word in context?
WARREN: How do you need to plan today so that you can be faithful in tithing?
KELLY: How does Rick Warren need to plan today so that he can be a totally post-Calvary New Covenant teacher? Why does he need to teach stewardship using Old Covenant principles which never applied to New Covenant believers?
Russell Earl Kelly PHD