Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Russell Kelly Rebuts Batchelor of Amazing Facts

Russell Kelly Rebuts Doug Batchelor of Amazing Facts concerning the Sabbath

From: "Bible Questions"
Date: Sun, Oct 23, 2016 8:05 PM

Amazing Facts: We don't generally find it fruitful to get into contentious debate or arguments over what we believe and teach.  Our main emphasis is to present the good news and the principles of truth with boldness, and let individuals choose to accept or reject what they hear.

Russell Kelly: One-way communications are not conversations at all. They are bully pulpits. If you really wanted the “truth” heard, you would eagerly engage in public dialog for all to hear both sides.

Batchelor: Interestingly, Dale Ratzlaff makes the point that “As long as Adventism teaches that the Sabbath is a salvation issue there will be a great similarity between those who were preaching ‘another gospel’ Galatia and Adventism.” 

Kelly: Try as you may, you cannot deny what Ellen G White very clearly states in The Great Controversy that those who are not keeping the Sabbath when Jesus returns will not be saved. I call that a salvation issue.

Batchelor: His article is built upon a myth that is not true.  Seventh-day Adventists do not believe that we are saved by Sabbath-keeping any more or less than other Christians believe that they are saved by keeping the other nine commandments. 

Kelly: You teach that only Sabbath-keepers will be saved when Jesus returns. Have you not read The Great Controversy’s final chapters? You teach that only Sabbath-keepers receive the seal of God. You teach that non-Sabbath-keepers will receive the mark of the beast. That means you lie.

Batchelor: There are very few Baptists, Presbyterians, charismatics, or Lutherans who believe that after conversion we can continue knowingly to steal, commit adultery, or kill and still be saved. 

Kelly: You are loose with the facts. Presbyterians believe in predestination which means God forces them to obey because they have no free will. Isn’t it strange that the Holy Spirit does not force them to keep the Sabbath? Baptists teach that believers cannot fall from grace because they have already been adopted, already sit with Christ in heavenly places and have already received the verdict of the final judgment. Sins committed after justification by faith are punished and cause a loss of fellowship, not relationship. Adventists, like Methodists and most charismatics teach that one can fall from grace.  

Batchelor: Adventists simply believe in consistency, that the 4th commandment, beginning with the word “remember” should get the same respect and attention as the other nine. The inconsistency is really with the other Christians.  

Kelly: No. You totally refuse to believe Exodus 31:13-17 where God commanded Old Covenant Israel to keep the Sabbath as a “sign” of His covenant with Him. God never commanded Gentiles or the Church to observe the Sabbath. The Sabbath cannot at the same time be a unique sign only for Israel and also be expected from everybody else. God killed Hebrews for breaking the Sabbath; He never killed Gentiles for doing the same thing. Do you want society to kill non-Sabbath-keepers? Do you want to kill fellow Adventists who break the Sabbath? Hypocrite.

Batchelor: Does keeping the Sabbath make us legalists? 

Kelly: It does if you teach that it is necessary in order to be saved.

Batchelor: On the contrary, from my perspective, the Sabbath is a day of rest from our own works, a weekly reminder that we are to worship and honor the One Who created us. We rest not only from physical labor, but also recognize that on a spiritual level, our salvation is based on God’s grace and not our own works.

Kelly: The Sabbath commandment commands Hebrews to rest. IT ALSO COMMANDS THEM NOT TO CAUSE OTHERWS TO WORK. YOU BREAK THIS PART OF IT EVERY SABBATH. In their zeal Adventists work more on the Sabbath and thus break it more than on other days of the week. When you drive long distances, use water, electricity, natural gas and sewage systems they cause others to work in direct violation of the Sabbath commandment. By traveling you cause policemen and safety officials to work; you cause maintenance personnel to work to control traffic lights. You ignore the explicit specific wording of the Sabbath commandment.

Batchelor: We believe that God was not arbitrary in giving us His commandments.  As our Creator, He knows what is best for us, and He expresses His will for us through His commands. 

Kelly: Adventists greatly ignore the fact that God gave Israel much more than the Ten Commandments; He gave those over 600 commands from Genesis to Malachi. Neither Jesus nor Paul limited the word “law” to the Ten Commandments and it is wrong to do so. Yet Adventists ignore the great majority of God’s Law for Israel and refer to themselves as Sabbath-keepers and Law-keepers in direct violation of Galatians 3:10.

Batchelor: Although the ceremonial laws were fulfilled at the Cross, and no longer need to be kept, the Ten Commandments are an expression of God’s character and will always stand. They explain the details of what “walking in love” means. 

Kelly: Hebrews (Jews) did not sub-divide God’s Law like that. It was either all or none per Galatians 3:10 and Deuteronomy 27:26. Scores of times God’s Word repeats that the Commandments, Judgments and Ordinances were an in-divisible package – all or none. Jesus explained Matthew 5:17-18 in 5:19-48 by quoting from all three parts of the indivisible Law: Commandments, Judgments and Ordinances.

Batchelor: Romans 6:14 says that we are not under the law, but under grace.  The next verse clarifies that statement, saying: “What then?  Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?  God forbid.” Being under grace means merely that we are no longer under the condemnation of the law, because Jesus paid the penalty for us.  

Kelly: Notice what you are doing now? You are now using the word “law” to ONLY mean “Ten Commandments” because you just said “the ceremonial laws were fulfilled at the cross.” Yet “law” to a Hebrew meant the whole revealed will of God from Genesis to Malachi. Are Adventist still “under the condemnation” of the judgments? Why don’t you kill your own Sabbath-breakers as the non-ceremonial law required?

Batchelor: The biggest difference between the old and new covenants is that when one is “born again” and becomes a “new creature”, the law is now written on the heart. 

Kelly: I am still confused. Are you using the word “law” to ONLY mean “Ten Commandments” or something else? Romans 7:4 says that one who is in Christ is DEAD to the Law –the whole Law – good and bad –Ten Commandments and everything else in it. Romans 8:1-3 teaches that we are now under the new “law of the spirit of life in Jesus Christ.” Only that part of the Old Covenant which has been repeated after Calvary by the Holy Spirit in terms of grace and faith applies to the Church.  And the Sabbath was the only one of the Ten Commandments which was never commanded to the Church.

Batchelor: Paul quotes the Prophet Jeremiah when he describes the new covenant, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” Hebrews 8:10. [quoting Jer 31:33]

Kelly: I urge the sincere Bible student to stop right here and read all of both Jeremiah 31:31-36 and Hebrews 8:8-13. (1) Both the Old and New Covenant are addressed to the two houses of Israel. (Jer 31:32; Heb 8:8) (2) Whereas the Old Covenant never applied to any non-Hebrew, (3) the “new” is “not according” to the “old” in every aspect (Jer 31:32; Heb 8:9). (4) The “new” covenant will include Gentiles (Mt 28:19-20; Rom 1:16). (5) The “new” will be imbedded in the heart of every believer (Jer 31:33-34; Heb 8:10-11). Thus, unlike tablets of stone and books of the law, truth will be in the heart through nature, conscience and the Holy Spirit (Rom 2:14-16; 8:1-3). (4) Again, only the Sabbath is not written in the heart and conscience by nature and the Holy Spirit. (5) Also, while it is clear that Jeremiah 31 refers to the entire Law, Adventists entangle themselves by attempting to limit “law” to the Ten Commandments. Also, Adventists completely ignore Jeremiah 31:37-38 which speaks of national Israel -- not the Church, and not SDAs.

Batchelor: When this happens, keeping the law springs from the heart and becomes a delight.  

Kelly: Keeping what part of the law? – only the Ten Commandments? The whole law? Only the commandments and judgments? Or the revealed will of God after Calvary? SDAs dig a hole by refusing to consistently define “law.”

Batchelor: I believe some of the confusion in the minds of some people like Dale Ratzlaff originates with a faulty view of salvation where justification and sanctification are not seen as a part of the whole picture of grace. 

Kelly: I urge the sincere Bible student to read several articles by Dale Ratzlaff. He has a very clear concept of salvation.

Batchelor: We usually use the terms justification and sanctification in defining two important aspects of the Gospel of Christ, imputed and imparted righteousness. 

Kelly: Wrong. Justification refers to imputed righteousness and is the result of accepting the gospel of Jesus Christ in His humanity and deity. Sanctification follows justification as the fruit of the gospel; it is not part of the righteousness of Christ except as a fruit.

Batchelor: The word “impute” basically means to give credit where credit is not due.  When we repent and ask forgiveness of our sins, Christ's righteousness is placed on our account, though we are totally undeserving. It is the righteousness of Christ that makes the penitent sinner acceptable to God and works his justification. However sinful has been his life, if he believes in Jesus as his personal Savior, he stands before God in the spotless robes of Christ's imputed righteousness.  {Ellen G. White, Faith and Works, p. 106.}

Kelly: Such an important statement as this requires an EGW verification rather than a biblical one. Wow! Bathelor’s final stateaments also come from EGW – in practice, their final word of truth.

The remainder of Batchelor’s remarks have no relevance to why Sabbath-keeping is important for salvation. They are more EGW material and are questionable.
Batchelor: [[I believe that the good news of the gospel offers far more than just forgiveness from sin, and our sinful account being covered by Christ's blood.  It also includes the power to have victory over the sin that makes our lives so miserable.  Is it really good news to the drunkard in the street if we tell him, "Christ forgives your sin", but then add, "Oh sorry, there isn't any hope for your alcoholism, you'll always be a drunkard"?  We do not teach that a person must become perfect in order to be saved, but we do teach that Christ offers us the wonderful gift of strength to overcome in addition to the grace that assures us of sins forgiven. Sanctification takes place when the grace of Christ is actually imparted to us to draw us to Christ and transform our lives. Without the grace of Christ, the sinner is in a hopeless condition; nothing can be done for him; but through divine grace, supernatural power is imparted to the man and works in mind and heart and character. It is through the impartation of the grace of Christ that sin is discerned in its hateful nature and finally driven from the soul temple.  {Ibid, p. 100}

We have a tendency to look at things in a linear way and sometimes this causes confusion.  People speak of justification happening first, and then sanctification following.

In reality the process of sanctification is beginning at the moment that a sinner begins to recognize the sinfulness of his sin.  It is Christ's imparted grace that is at work on his mind and heart to bring him to the point where he desires to repent and receive the imputed righteousness of Christ.  Then that imparted grace continues to work to help the believer to overcome sinful habits and have the victory over temptation.  Every moment of every day we are in need of both the imputed and imparted grace of Christ!

We have nothing to recommend us to God; but the plea that we may urge now and ever is our utterly helpless condition that makes His redeeming power a necessity. Renouncing all self-dependence, we may look to the cross of Calvary and say,-- "In my hand no price I bring; Simply to Thy cross I cling."  {Desire of Ages, p. 317.}

May the Lord bless you, James, as you seek to share His love and truth!

Warm Christian regards,
Doug Batchelor

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Anti-Christ, by Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

OCTOBER 17, 2016

A Christian View of Antichrist

The Bible predicts that the final end times will be preceded by a person who will claim to be Jesus Christ and come to earth as the Hebrew Messiah. He will be the “Anti-Christ” as one who takes the place of the real Messiah. Yet he will come with the power and authority of Satan and will perform the will of Satan.

Anti-Christ will appear after the fall of the Roman Empire. In chapter two of Daniel’s prophecy, a stone from heaven hits a great image of a man in its feet of iron and clay. Since the Bible names the first three kingdoms as Babylon, Persia and Greece, the fourth kingdom of iron must be Rome. Following the end of Rome a fifth weaker Rome-like empire will arise (iron and clay). “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44). This event is yet future because Jesus Christ, the Stone (Messiah) will not return to destroy Anti-Christ until after the emergence of the weaker kingdom of iron and clay (Rev 17:12).

The Anti-Christ will probably pretend to be the Hebrew Messiah. Daniel 11:37 teaches that he “will not regard the god of his fathers.” This is because he will eventually sit in the (rebuilt) temple of God in Jerusalem and demand to be worshipped as God (2 Thess 2:4-9). Yet in Daniel 9:27a he appears “confirming” a final prophetic seven-year covenant (of 490) with Israel ---something only a fellow Hebrew could accomplish (compare Dan 9:24 with 9:27).

During the first 3 ½ years of Anti-Christ’s presence he will (1) copy Christ’s coming on a white horse (Rev 6:2; compare Rev 19:4) and come as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). (2) He will take advantage of great turmoil in a weakly re-united Rome-lie empire (of Western Europe?) and replace three of 10 kingdoms (Dan 7:24). (3) He will confirm a 7 year covenant of peace with Israel (9:27a). (4) He will allow the temple in Jerusalem to be rebuilt (Rev 11:1-2).   

The kingdom of iron and clay and Anti-Christ’s reign will both be short (Rev 17:10-12). The entire planet is in convulsions. It is the time of God’s wrath mentioned 13 times in Revelation. Since God promised that believers have already been “delivered from the wrath to come” (1 Thes 1:10), many believe that the Church will be in heaven during Anti-Christ’s reign (1 Thes 4:14-17; Rev 4 and 5). The last 7 years is called the Tribulation and its final 3 ½ years is called The Great Tribulation (Rev 7:14).

The final 3 ½ years of Anti-Christ’s reign will include (1) great signs and miracles to deceive unbelievers (Revelation 13 all). (2) Noticeably, those that had previously heard and rejected the gospel will not be saved (2 Thess 2:7-12). (3) A great false prophet will perform great miracles and assist Anti-Christ (Rev 13:11-18). (4) Anti-Christ will make war with and prevail over Israel (Dan 7:21, 25). (5) He will “oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thess 2:4). (6) Israel will flee and hide in the mountains (Rev 12:6, 13-17). Note texts on the final 3 ½ years: Dan 7:25; 9:27b; 12:6-7; Rev 11:1-3; 12:14 and 13:5.

Anti-Christ will use false religion which rejects His Word until he is fully exposed as Satan’s tool. Deceived followers will eventually destroy his own false church system (Rev 17:16) because God has never lost control (Rev 17:17). Anti-Christ, his armies and his followers will be destroyed when Jesus Christ personally returns in glory in Revelation 19 (also 2 Thess2:8). The long-promised literal Messianic kingdom will spread to the entire earth for 1000 years (Jer 31:3-36; Dan 2:44; 7:27; Rev 20:1-5).

This article has been assembled from class notes by Russell Earl Kelly, PHD who teaches at the Victory Baptist Church Bible Institute in Washington, Georgia. This is a free school and all are welcome. Call for information.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Tithing Rebuttal of Von Robinson by Russell E Kelly

Von Robinson: Ten Reasons I Believe in Tithing
Rebuttal by Russell Earl Kelly, PHD, October 19, 2016

Von:  1. We tithe because the first and the best belong to the Lord. This is a clear principle and practice throughout scripture.  (1st use)

Russ: You begin by erroneously equating tithing with firstfruits with zero supporting text. In reality, firstfruits were the first and best of food from the HOLY land of Israel (Prov 3:9-10; Deut 12:7; 26:1-10)). You err again by saying that tithes were the best; tithes were the tenth (not the first) and, according to Leviticus 27:33, were NOT the best. Only the one percent of the Levitical tithe was the best (Num 18:25-28; Neh 10:38).

Von: For those who argue that tithing only belongs within the Mosaic Law, a. Abraham brought the tithe some 430 years before the law was written and set a precedent (Gal 3:28-29).

Russ: The pre-Law tithes of Abraham (Gen 14:18-20) and Jacob (Gen 28:20-22) were pagan in content and would not have been HOLY tithes under the Law or by Moses, Nehemiah, Malachi or Jesus. God’s Word does not tell us WHY Abram tithed; it was probably in obedience to the Semitic pagan law of the land. Abram made a lot of mistakes; only that which he did by faith is our example.

Von: Jacob made a covenant to tithe hundreds of years before the law was given to Moses, with no mandate from God. His act of worship was simply inspired by the Holy Spirit, and continued to establish a pattern and precedent of tithing.

Russ: You dishonestly do not quote verse 20 for Jacob because it proves you to be wrong. Jacob the schemer, not Israel the overcomer, bargained with God in Genesis 28:20 and he set the “if” conditions for God to meet. Not a good example. Also, “His act of worship was simply inspired by the Holy Spirit” is you opinion; God’s Word does not state WHY Jacob tithed.

Von: Those who oppose the practice of tithing will argue that Old Testament tithing was only required from the agricultural increase of the crops

Russ: The point is that the HOLY tithe ---as the word is used by Moses, Nehemiah, Malachi and Jesus--- was (1) always only FOOD (2) from inside HOLY Israel (3) which God had miraculously increased; it was not from man’s hand. The 16 texts used by Moses, Nehemiah, Malachi and Jesus are all from the Law; they did not use pre-Law examples of Semitic tithing in their descriptions. Lev 27:30, 32; Numb 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.  Common decency and honesty to the Word compel us to use the definition they used.

Von: …thus, giving money, or asking all believers to tithe their money, is a biblical standard.

Russ: The word “money” occurs in Genesis 32 times and 44 times before the HOLY tithe in Leviticus 27:30-34. Money was required for certain taxes and vows. Yet not once was money included in the 16 texts describing HOLY tithes as the word is used by Malachi and Jesus.

Von: … we're looking at the overarching principles in Scripture

Russ: You totally disobey God and ignore “other” tithing “principles” of the Levitical tithe: (1) Only to servants of the ministering priests (Num 18:21-28; Neh 10:37-38). (2) Only to those who cannot own or inherit land in Israel (Num 18:20 plus). (3) Only to those who Levites and priests who refuse to amass wealth (Num 18:20).

Von: Here is the logical conclusion and what we believe and teach: Tithing the first and best of all our increase is a faith response that applies to all who are in Abraham’s seed, through Christ. (2nd use)

Russ: You repeat the lie that biblical tithes are the same as firstfruits. There is no Scriptural validation for this. Also, there is no biblical proof that Abram’s tithe was a faith response; this is merely your manipulation of God’s Word to your own enrichment.

Von: 2. We tithe because wisdom cries out that we should. The book of Proverbs is the book of wisdom. It is not law and it clearly applies to every believer for all generations. The clearest verse in the Bible regarding this practice of bringing the first and best can be found in this book of timeless wisdom. Proverbs 3:9-10 (3rd use)

Russ: The words “tithe,” “tithes” and “tithing” do not occur in Proverbs!!! You keep magnifying your lie by repeating it for emphasis. “First” and “tenth” are not the same. “Best” and “he shall not search whether it be good or bad” in Leviticus 27:33 are different. The “best” was not part of the tithe the Levites received in Num 18:21-24; it was only the “best” of the 1% in verses 25-28.

Von: The bringing of the tithe or “first and best” is inseparable from the promise of God’s blessing on those who do. (4th use)

Russ: You use the repetition of “first” and “best” like voodoo. Repeating the same lie will never make it true.

Von: Malachi 3:10, “He will open the windows of heaven”.

Russ: Read the whole text! Over 1000 years after first being described in Leviticus 27:30-34 only for national Israel under the Old Covenant, the HOLY tithe is still only FOOD!!! “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat (food) in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith 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.

Von: 3. We tithe because New Testament believers gave a percentage of their income consistently and generously (1 Cor 16:2).

Russ: Read the text. “A percentage of their income” does not mean “10%.” First Corinthians 16:1-2 is about collecting FOOD for famine relief in Judea. It is not about tithing, pastoral salaries or church support. Also, money is worthless in a famine.

Von: This practice [of tithing] has been followed for thousands of years now.

Russ: Wrong. Read 3-4 reliable books on early Church History. The first attempt to make tithing a church law was after AD 500. It did not become Church Law in AD 777 and was abolished afterwards by Catholicism.

Von: Remember that tithing is not a New Testament law but a Biblical principle and pattern for giving.

Russ: Tithing is never taught by the Holy Spirit to the post-Calvary church in the New Testament. There is no “tithe principle” found in the Bible which applies to all persons universally. Those who were not food-producers inside Israel did not qualify as tithe-payers ---including Jesus and Paul.

Von: 4. We tithe because Jesus never negated or abolished the practice of tithing. Scholars present a very strong argument that Jesus grew up in a tithing home…

Russ: Wrong. As a carpenter Jesus never tithed; they were not food producers. The same is true of the Apostle Paul.

Von: … there was no real need to present it as some new expectation or requirement.

Russ: This argument from silence is very weak. Since God only commanded food-producers inside HOLY Israel to tithe, there never was an expectation or requirement from non-food-producers and, of course, never from anybody living outside HOLY Israel.

Von: Thus, when Jesus confronted the Pharisees about the issue of tithing He basically said, “Yes, you should tithe, now get busy loving people!” Matthew 23:23

Russ: Note “aspects of the law” in Mt 23:23. Since Jesus was born, lived and died while the Law was still in full force, He was required to teach Law-tithing OR ELSE BE A SINNER. Therefore, of course, Jesus taught tithing; He came to live a perfect sinless life and observe all of the Law at all times.

Von: This [Mt 23:23] was not just a rebuke for Pharisees.

Russ: That is a strange thing to say since it is addressed to “you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites” “who sit in Moses seat.” Mt 23:2. Jesus was clearly speaking only to Jewish leaders and His Jewish disciples under the Law. He was not addressing the Church. Galatians 4:4-5

Von: The New Testament believers, Jewish Christ followers composing the New Testament Church, naturally gave their tithes and freewill offerings to the local assembly. We see consistent evidence of the patterns of giving in the letters to the Church and the book of Acts, without detailed instruction on how or how much. Why? Because it was already an established part of their faith and worship gatherings.

Russ: This is extremely wrong. Acts 21:20-21 exposes the error. At the very end of Paul’s third missionary journey several decades after Calvary, the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem were still “zealous of the law” and, therefore, still paying their tithes to the Hebrew Temple system!!!

Von: Jesus never abolished or rescinded the practice of tithing.

Russ: (1) We learn in Hebrews 7:5 that tithes were commanded as part of the support for the Levitical priesthood. Since the priesthood was changed from Aaron to Melchizedek, it was “necessary to change” “the law” of tithing also. The “change” was its “annulment” in 7:18.
(2) After Calvary all believers became priests and priests did not tithe.
(3) Jeremiah 31:31-31 ended the Old Covenant Law and replaced it with the New Covenant.
(4) The entire Law (good and bad) ended at Calvary (Heb 8:8-13). The new “law of the Spirit of live in Christ Jesus” does not repeat tithing.
(5) When Jesus died the veil in the Temple was ripped, thus indicating that the entire Law ended.
(6) Romans 7:4 teaches that Christians are “dead to the law” ---the entire old law.

Von: 5. We tithe because it is a starting point for New Testament giving.

Russ: No texts. There is no eternal moral principle here because the tithe never applied to anybody except Hebrews who lived inside God’s HOLY land of Israel and were food-producers (Lev 27:30-34).

Von: We are in no way implying or preaching that tithing is New Testament law, and if you break that law you will stand in judgment for it!

Russ: You teach that tithing was taught and practiced after Calvary for thousands of years. If it was not New Testament law, then it was not an eternal moral principle for anybody (Rom 8:1-3).

Von: … it’s a real scriptural stretch to identify people as thieves if they do not tithe.

Russ: Your very first sentence in this article is: “We tithe because the first and the best belong to the Lord. This is a clear principle and practice throughout scripture.”

Von: Tithing as a starting point, not a goal to achieve.

Russ: Sounds good, but without texts you are merely stating your opinion.

Von: If we understand that grace always exceeds the law, and that the New Testament believers gave far above 10% of their own volition, we can begin to get an accurate perspective of New Testament tithing.

Russ: Yes, grace exceeds the Law. The Law only required Hebrew food-producers living inside Israel to tithe. Grace urges all believers everywhere to give freely, sacrificially, not by commandment and joyfully. There is no OT precedent to quote or grasp which proves everybody began their level of giving at 10%. You cannot quote a non-existent precedent.

Von: Tithing is intended to train people to trust God, to break greed and selfishness off our lives, and build healthy spiritual habits that will release God’s blessing over our lives.

Russ: Nice-sounding rhetoric, but it is not biblical. O.T. food-producers inside Israel were commanded to tithe by force of the Law ---not grace and not freewill.

Von: Some would argue that, “Well since we are under grace, why are you trying to impose an Old Testament standard of 10%?”

Russ: The correct dispensational hermeneutic for bringing teachings from the old to the new covenant is: If it applies to the Church after Calvary, it is repeated in grace and faith terms of the New Covenant. The entire Old Covenant ended at Calvary (good and bad). This is also how the new U.S. Constitution completely negated and replaced the old English Constitution after 1776.

Von: This is a valid question, as long as the person asking it is planning on giving above 10%...

Russ: You are still teaching as fact the erroneous assumption that everybody under the Law began his/her level of giving at 10%.

Von: Almost always, in my personal experience, people who hold a position that “we should just give what we feel led to give” never get close to the biblical standard of the tithe, much less the New Testament standards of sacrifice and radical generosity.

Russ: Tell that to Moody Bible Institute, Dallas Theological Seminary, John MacArthur and Merrill Unger.

Von: … just be honest with God and ourselves in this reality …

Russ: You are not honest with God’s Word. You have no right to own and inherit property and amass wealth contrary to the biblical expectations of tithe recipients in Numbers 18:20.

Von: [Consider the consequences of only doing what you “feel like doing.]

Russ: That logic does not give you permission to disobey God’s Word, redefine HOLY tithes, redefine the recipients of HOLY tithes and ignore God’s prohibition of tithe-recipients from owning property and amassing wealth.

Von: [Americans are giving less to churches than they have ever given by percentage]

Russ: Perhaps that is because the pure gospel is being preached less and less, hell is rarely preached, church members are not convicted that the world is going to hell without Christ and church members are not being taught how to become soul-winners.

Von: 6. We tithe because it releases the blessings of God. Malachi 3:10-11; Prov 3:9-10.

Russ: First you misquote Malachi 3:10 here. Second, you ignore the fact that tithes are still only food in Malachi 3:10-11. I have known people who expect God to bless them for tithing while they are living together unmarried with several illegitimate children. Galatians 3:10 teaches that tithe-payers cannot expect blessings unless they kept the whole law.

Von: 2 Corinthians 9:8; Philippians 4:19; Von: 2 Corinthians 9:6 and Proverbs 11:24-26

Russ: These are all texts about sacrificial giving --- not tithing.

Von: 7. We tithe because of grace, but we are not legalistic!

Russ: The Holy Spirit did not choose to include a single command for Christians to tithe after Calvary. “The commandment going before,” Aaronic tithing (Heb 7:5, 18) was “changed” (Heb 7:12) to being “disannulled” (Heb 7:18) because it was ultimately “weak and unprofitable” (Heb 7:18) and could not bring about perfection, or spiritual maturity (Heb 7:11).

Von: We tithe, we bring the first and the best (5th use)

Russ: Throw in one more repetition of the lie that tithes were the same things as firstfruits.

Von: 8. We tithe because it all belongs to God in the first place. Look, the highest heavens and the earth and everything in it all belong to the LORD your God. Deuteronomy 14:10; 1 Chronicles 29:11-12; Job 4:11; Ps 24:1-2; Haggai 2:8; Mal 3:7-9; Revelation 2:4-5

Russ: While it is true that God owns everything, it is significant that HOLY tithes could only come from inside God’s HOLY land and only from that which God personally increased by miracle growth. HOLY Tithes did not come from that which man increased.

Von: The very nature of God requires that He deserves and will only accept our first, not our leftovers! This is true of our time, our passion, our love, and our finances. This is why we teach that tithing is the first, not the leftovers. It belongs to Him and giving to Him first is our reasonable act of worship! (6th use)

Russ: Repeat the lie one more time that tithes are the same as firstfruits. Leviticus 27:32-33 exposes this lie:
Lev 27:32 And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.
Lev 27:33 He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it …
In First Timothy 5:8 Paul commanded the church to use its first-income to buy essential shelter, food and medicine. It is SIN to demand that the poor and needy in our churches give a tithe to the church first.

Von: 9. We tithe because it’s remained the established doctrine and practice of great leaders and churches throughout history.

Russ: Lie, lie, lie. Again I challenge anybody to seriously read reputable church historians. Dr. David Croteau also wrote his PHD dissertation on tithing and debunked the historical connection (You Mean I Don’t Have to Tithe?) There is a special chapter on the history of tithing in the church in my book, Should the Church Teach Tithing.

Von: Paul told Timothy to “follow my example as I follow the example of Christ”.

Russ: Paul most certainly did not teach Timothy to teach tithing. According to Acts 20:28-35, Paul warned about false preachers who would fleece the flock (20:29-30). Timothy was among those whom Paul supported while he was receiving absolutely no support from churches (20:31-34). And the “example” was to get jobs, work to be self-sufficient and give to the needy in the church (20:35). Yet many modern preachers use the lie that God demands the first tenth be given to church; instead of modern elders giving to the needy, they take from them first.

Von: 10. We tithe because one day we will give an account! Romans 14:12; Hebrews 13:17

Russ: This is only an argument for those who have changed God’s Word to make the O.T. tithe apply to gospel workers.

I challenge honest God-fearing men and women to enter into an open detailed public discussion of tithing. This doctrine is giving Christianity a bad reputation and binds it to the Old Covenant Law.

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD