HEMPHILL REBUTTED BY CBS COMMENTS AND I REBUTTED HIS REPLY IN LENGTH FOLLOWING THE BOOK REVIEW.
Making Change, Ken Hemphill, Broadman and Holman Publishers,
2006, paperback, 19 pages.
Kenneth Hemphill; SBC National
Strategist for Empowering Kingdom Growth; Ph. D. Cambridge University; former President Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Book Review by Russell Earl
Kelly, Ph. D., February 7, 2009
This book represents the very
best that the Southern Baptist Convention has to offer regarding stewardship, tithes and offerings. It is also one of the
worst examples of how to manipulate Scripture to teach tithing I have ever read.
P39: [1 Tim 5:8] "Providing
for one's own family is an indisputable Christian duty. To forsake this would be a tacit denial of the faith … So anyone
who thinks stewardship overrides this responsibility has failed to heed the heartbeat of God." ----- Almost 38 pages will
pass before Hemphill begins to repudiate his statement here by teaching that Christians must give the first 10% of income
to the church before any other bills are paid. See page 77.
P43-44: "The Israelites were
prohibited by law from exploiting the poor …" "Solomon made a clear connection between serving the poor and honoring
God. 'The one who oppresses the poor insults their maker.'" ------ In my opinion expecting the poor to give the first 10%
of income even before medicine, food and shelter is equivalent to exploiting the poor.
P48-56: While discussing how
the OT ministry and Temple were financed, Hemphill carefully replaces the word, "tithe," with "specified portions" on page 42 but uses "tithe"
for the first time on page 43. He fails to point out that the OT sanctuary and Temple were not financed from tithes.
P53: "The fact that the Levites
were told to give a tenth of the tenth they received (Num ) [Neh -38]." ----- The OT Levites who received the first Levitical tithe were only servants to the priests
and did not minister. The priests only received 1% of the total tithe. Hemphill makes no effort to reconcile this principle
to the Church.
P53: "The Levites were not given
a tribal inheritance in the Promised Land but were placed instead in forty-eight Levitical cities (Num 35:1-8). [Also Joshua
20-21; 1 Chronicles 23 to 26]. ----- Hemphill ignores what they did in those cities. They raised (tithed) animals; they farmed
to feed those animals; they learned and worked at trades to use in the Temple. And kings used them as politicians, judges, rulers
P53: "Therefore the generous
support of the people of God enabled those in ministry to dedicate themselves fully rather than being concerned about
earning a living. That is the Old Testament pattern." ----- This is a myth. They rotated in 24 week cycles to work
at the Temple a minimum of 2 weeks per year. The Bible does not teach that Levites and priests only performed spiritual work
in the sanctuary. Over ten times it states that, in exchange for receiving tithes, they were not allowed to own or inherit
property. Yet Christian pastors both expect tithes and also own and inherit property.
P54-55: "In 1 Thessalonians
Paul did NOT speak about providing financial resources for those in ministry." … [1 Cor ] "On certain occasions Paul waived his
right to receive support from the church and chose instead to work as a tentmaker. ----- This is wrong. The reverse is true.
As a rabbi Paul considered it a sin to be paid for teaching the Word of God. Paul boasted that his "wages" were working for
"free" in 1 Cor 9:12-18. In fact, Paul worked to support both himself and those with him and only occasionally received limited
support. This is still true at the very end of his ministry as seen in Acts 20:29-35. The word "tithe" never appears in Paul's
epistles (with a possible exception of Hebrews 7 where it is abolished in and ).
P55: Quoting the SBC Bible version,
Hemphill argues that 1 Timothy teaches that pastors are due a "double honorarium." "The context leaves little doubt
that Paul had in mind generous financial remuneration." ----- This is wrong. The context from 5:1-20 is that of being
due "double honor" when being disciplined. Paul would not refuse a salary himself and then tell his favorite disciple that
he deserved a double salary. In 1 Timothy 6:5-10 Paul told Timothy to be content with the bare necessities of life.
P64: [Ps 24:1] "God is the Creator
and Owner of all that exists." ---- This text is used by every tithe teacher. However this fact is never used as a reason
to collect or receive tithes from defiled pagan dust in the Bible.
it comes to money, God is not simply concerned about the tithe - the 10 per cent we are required to return to him."
----- "Tithe" occurs once in this chapter. Hemphill is very slowly introducing his major thrust of tithing. Notice that, while
it is "required," the requirement that tithe-recipients not own property is not "required." There are at least 25 tithing
principles in the OT and none are followed by churches today.
P77: In a chapter discussing
budget planning, the word "tithe" occurs twice. "Start with large categories such as "tithing, food, housing,
clothing." … "Larry Burkett suggests that you look at five major divisions - the tithe, taxes, family needs,
paying off debts, and developing surplus to respond to others." ----- First, it takes twisting Scripture to make tithes equal
firstfruits when they are never the same. Second, notice that he places tithes in front of "family needs." This means church
support in front of medicine, food and shelter which totally contradicts what he wrote on page 39. Third, Burkett put family
needs third which is cruel theology for the sick and poor.
P83: "After your tithe repay
your debt first." … "Never rob God to pay off debts." ----- First, this contradicts the list on page 77l Second, again
it is based on the false assumption that tithes are firstfruits which is easily proven to be false by texts such as Deuteronomy
26:1-4 and Nehemiah 10:35-37.
P83: "God challenges us to put
him to the test and see if he will not open the windows and pour out a blessings (Mal ). ----- This very common comment is wrong. a)
The 600+ OT laws which included tithing were never commanded to the Church. b) The only way a Hebrew could claim blessings
from tithing is to obey all 600+ commands of the law per Galatians 3:10. c) The entire law was the same test -(test me by)
obeying and be blessed; (test me by) disobeying and be cursed. e) There is no legitimate principle which allows Christians
to remove tithing from the entire law and disregard most of the remainder.
giving -out of our surplus- enables us to go beyond the foundational level of tithes and offerings." ----- This is
deceptive. First, "generous giving" is a Spirit-blessed NT principle which springs from Christian love which is the "enabler."
Second, the tithe was never the "foundation," "expectation," "standard," "beginning place," "good place to start" or "training
wheels" which tithe teachers argue because tithes only applied to food producers who lived inside Israel. This is the first of
many repetitions of this straw man in the book. Third, tradesmen such as Jesus, Peter and Paul did not qualify as tithe-payers
and neither did those who lived outside of Israel.
P93: "God is not asking you
to dedicate your money, time, talents, influence, creativity or anything else to him. He only desires you." ----- This is
incredible when Hemphill also tells us that the tithe is the foundational law of giving and that Christians will be cursed
who do not tithe. See page 112.
P97-98: [Gen -21] "In sheer
gratitude Abram offered him (Melchizedek) a tenth of everything he had." … "Then the king of Sodom offered Abram all the spoils of
war …" ----- The Bible nowhere says that Abram freely chose to give a tithe from spoils of war. Most commentaries suggest
that pagan Canaanite tradition influenced the 90% in verse 21.
P98: "The gift of a tithe to
Melchizedek was based on the recognition that God was owner and provider." ----- Although "El Elyon" was worshipped by both
Canaanites and Hebrews, the Bible does not say that Abram tithed spoils of war in recognition of El Elyon. Many commentaries
suggest it was expected by Canaanite priest-kings from spoils of war.
P98: [Gen 28:22] "This stone
that I have set up as a marker will be God's house and I will give to you a tenth of all that you give me." ----- This is
dishonest distortion of God's Word. Hemphill conveniently changed the context by omitting the two preceding texts - 20-21
"And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread
to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God."
Jacob's scheming vow is not an example for Christians to follow. He set the conditions and only promised to tithe from pagan
sources after God met his conditions.
P98: "Moses further instructed
them that when they took possession of the land of promise, they were to offer the firstborn males of all their livestock
as a sacrifice." ----- Hemphill misses the point that none of the tithes or offerings was considered holy unless they came
off God's holy land. Those given by Abram and Jacob did not qualify as holy tithes under the Law.
P99: "Choice examples of the
crop were to be brought to the house of the LORD (Ex ) to be used for the support of the priests (Num 18). According to Deuteronomy 26:1-11 these offerings
were to be brought in a basket for presentation in the sanctuary." --- At least this once Hemphill admits that firstfruits
were not tithes yet insists on teaching that they are the same in the remainder of the book. The firstfruits were extremely
small token offerings which would fit in a basket. Often one person could carry an entire village's firstfruits on one pack
animal. Only the course of priests (1 of 24) which was ministering its one week rotation would eat the firstfruits and firstborn
inside the sanctuary. This is unrelated to tithing.
P100: "The tithe was equivalent
to a tenth part of all the produce that God graciously provided for Israel (Lev 27:30, 32)." ----- Distortion.
The tithe was not "equivalent" to all the produce. It "was" all the produce! That is what the text says! However, after (almost)
correctly defining the OT tithe as only food from inside Israel, Hemphill then proceeds to totally ignore what he has just admitted in the remainder of the book.
Contrary to popular opinion, food was not used as barter to replace money. Although money is extremely common even in Genesis
and essential for sanctuary worship (check it out), the tithe is never money in 16 verses which describe its contents over
a 1500 year span from Leviticus 27 to Luke 12. Hemphill and other tithe teachers have no biblical support for defining the
tithe as 10% of income. Even the increase of the tithe was (as Hemphill says) miraculously and "graciously provided"
from God's hand -not from man's hand. That is why skilled craftsmen such as carpenters and tentmakers could not tithe from
what they produced and sold.
P100: "Numbers -32 indicates that
the tithe was received by the Levites and was to be used for their support and ministry since they had no inheritance
in the land." ----- It would be better worded "in exchange for" their loss of inheritance in the land. First, the Levites
who received the whole Levitical tithe were not the priests (18:21-24); they were servants to the priest who functioned as
our own ushers, choir, musicians, builders, maintenance, treasurers, judges, rulers and politicians (Num 3; 1 Chron 23 to
26). This principle is ignored by the Church. Second the priests only received 1% of the total - or a tenth of the tithe (Num
18:25-29; Neh 10:38-39). Third, although they did not inherit land, they lived on land provided by the other tribes and worked
it as farmers and herdsmen. They also worked at trades necessary for temple building an maintenance (Num 35; Josh 20-21).
It is wrong to imply that they were all full-time temple workers when only 2% of the total were at the temple most of the
time (per 24 courses of male priests age 30 and up).
P100: [Deu 12 and 14] "The place
where God's name dwelt would have been the tabernacle or the temple." ----- Partially true. The context of Deuteronomy 12
and 14 is the second festival, or feast tithe. The "place" referred to the streets of Jerusalem where the second tithe was consumed.
There is no text which says that the second tithe was brought to, or stored in, the temple. In fact, Nehemiah 10:37-39 commands
the people to bring their tithes to the Levitical cities -not to the temple.
P101: "An additional tithe is
mentioned in Deuteronomy -29. … I find it fascinating that the Deuteronomic code required that the tithe of
agriculture be used in a family feast celebrating God's provision and presence." ----- Once again Hemphill admits that
the tithe was "of agriculture." If (as he later argues) it also included "all income" then why is income not included in the
commands to tithe? Also, while finding it "fascinating," there is not discussion of why the Church ignores this OT tithing
principle of a third-year tithe only for the poor. And neither does the church teach that no tithes should be received from
farmers every seventh year as implied in the OT principles of tithing (Lev 25).
3:8] "The result was that they [Malachi's audience] were suffering under a curse [for not tithing]. In other words they had
forfeited God's presence, provision and protection. … [Concerning thieves robbing churches] "I responded that
I was not at all surprised since many of the people who sat before me in the pews stole from God every Sunday when they kept
back his tithes and offerings." ----- First, this is a dishonest use of Malachi 3:8 a) because God never commanded the church
to tithe, b) because the church has a priesthood of every believer, c) because it is impossible for born-again children of
God to be under the OT curse and d) because NT giving principles have replaced OT giving principles. Second, does Hemphill
the Baptist believe that one can fall from grace by not tithing? That is the necessary conclusion of one who "forfeits God's
presence, provision and protection."
P101: "It is hard to believe that someone who claims
to be a follower of Jesus Christ, who has experienced the grace of God in redemption and daily provision, would ever consider
coming into God's presence with empty hands." ----- In other words, 'Don't dare show up in church without your tithes and
offerings!" Do you need to buy medicine? Forget it. This attitude is a major reason why many churches are dwindling today!The poor, widows, orphans and sick are not welcome in Hemphill's churches today!
P101: "Why would we forfeit
the pleasure of worshipping the King with tithes and offerings? Clearly this is the standard and legacy of OT worship."
----- No, it is not! The straw man is lifted up again. First, OT worship only required food producers living inside Israel to begin their level
of giving at 10%. Second, the second and third tithe was for (not brought by) the poor, widows, orphans and strangers. Third,
Hemphill may as well remove page 42-47 from his book where he discussed oppressing the poor because he is guilty of it. Fourth,
there are no biblical texts which make tithing the "standard" for OT giving. Fifth, NT giving is primarily sacrificial which
means more than 10% for many but less for others.
P102: [Mt 23:23] "I have always
been surprised that people who claim to be followers of Christ attempt to use scripture taken out of context to avoid
the obvious implication of the teaching of biblical principles." ----- This is the pot calling the kettle black! I would dearly
love to be locked in a room with Dr. Hemphill and make him retract this statement.This
entire review is filled with how he has taken texts out of context.And I would
like for him to clearly set down in writing his set of biblical principles (hermeneutics). The SBC has thus far been unable
to provide a good book on hermeneutics which has consistent principles for the use of the law and tithing.
P102: "Over the years I have
encountered people who wanted to argue that tithing was a matter of legalism and thus inappropriate for a person now under
grace. But this argument is flawed from the beginning since the first two instances of tithing occur before the
giving of the law (Gen 14, 28)." ----- First, with one statement Hemphill thinks he has defeated everybody who disagrees
with him. His unstated principle is "If something is before the law, very old and very common, then it must be an eternal
moral principle." The same kind of logic could be used to support idolatry, child sacrifices, temple prostitution, Saturday
Sabbath, unclean food laws, circumcision and multiple wives. Second, at least the first Levitical tithe was purely cold hard
law; giving was not a matter of one's disposition or grace. Third, Abram and Jacob's tithes did not qualify as holy tithes
off a holy land to a holy priesthood. They were pagan spoils of war which were only 1% in Numbers 31. Fourth, nothing Abraham
and Jacob did in Genesis 14 and 28 is an example of tithing for Christians to follow today: a) only pagan spoils of war, b)
not his own personal property, c) recorded only once, d) the 90% went to the king of Sodom, and e) Jacob's were probably given to the poor.
P102: "Furthermore one would
be hard pressed to find support for the idea that someone who has experienced the amazing grace of our Lord … would
desire to do less than someone under the law. Such a person would be a disgrace to grace." ----- First, the argument
is a straw man because it is based on the false and un-provable assumption that everybody in the OT was required to begin
his/her level of giving at 10%. Second, grace-giving begins with a Spirit-filled response of love which produces sacrificial
giving. Hemphill would be hard pressed to connect grace giving to law giving. The real disgrace is adding law back to grace
which is contrary to Paul's instruction in Galatians 1:8-9 and 3:1-5.
P102-103: "Others retreat to
the argument of silence. They surmise that since tithing is mentioned infrequently by Jesus it can't be that important.
But how many times must something be taught in God's Word before it becomes important to the committed followers of Christ?
It is likely that tithing was seldom mentioned by Jesus because he anticipated that those basic matters were clearly
understood by all." ----- First, it is Hemphill who is arguing from silence in this very sentence when he says "it is likely
that." The problem is Hemphill's lack of a consistent hermeneutic. That which has been brought over from the OT into the
new is clearly repeated after Calvary to the church in terms of grace and faith. That is why the
Sabbath, food laws, circumcision and multiple wives are clearly discussed yet tithing is not. Second, the only time Jesus
mentioned tithing was to criticize tithe-payers in the context of the law. It would have been impossible to Jesus to command
his Gentile disciples to tithe.
P103: [Mt ] "Let's look at what the New
Testament says about tithing." ----- This is where the flawed lack of consistent hermeneutics of Hemphill is most evident.
Matthew is before Calvary
and is, therefore, in Old Testament context. In fact, Jesus clearly states that he is discussing "matters of the law"
- that is the context - not matters of grace. Jesus also commanded obedience to all of the law during his lifetime. If tithing
is for the church simply because Jesus taught it, then so should be the whole law. I doubt that the SBC favors killing disobedient
children as taught in Exodus 21:15, 17.
P103: "The context of Matthew
is a denunciation of the scribes (experts in the law) and of the Pharisees. … The fourth woe in particular relates to
their practice of tithing as taught in Old Testament law." ----- Yes. So true. Then do not change the context to refer to
P103: "Can you see one of these
Pharisees down on his knees counting out his mint, dill and cumin?" ----- This is one of my own arguments. Yet Jesus and Hemphill
say "This you ought to have done." I ask "Why don't you teach this? Why don't you obey Jesus and command your church members
to count out their herbs and place them into the offering plate as tithes? This is inconsistent pick-and-choose from the law
what you want to keep and reject the remainder.
P103: [Mt ] "Notice, however, that Jesus
was not condemning their act of tithing. … We can't miss this obvious implication. … Thus for someone to use this
passage to argue against the principle of tithing puts that person in the same category with the blind guides of Jesus' day."
----- This is nasty and cruel rhetoric. Jesus came to perfectly fulfill the righteous requirements of the law in order to
redeem those under the law. It is absurd to think that he would have taught against obedience to any part of the law - including
tithing. The only "obvious implication" is that the law was still in full effect before Calvary.
P104: [Mt ] "While debate exists among
Bible scholars as to the actual meaning of this statement [I did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill], it seems best
to translate it in terms of 'bringing to completion' … the final revelation of God's will (as found in the entire Old
Testament)." ----- First, does Hemphill's opinion now end the "debate existing among Bible scholars"? From Matthew 5:20-48
Jesus gave six illustrations: two from the commandments, two from the statutes and two from the judgments. Therefore he was
at least discussing the whole law of Moses. Second, what is Hemphill's point here? Is he arguing that Christians are under
the whole law in order to justify retaining tithing? What consistent hermeneutic is he using here to retain tithing and reject
the hundreds of law-commands which are not accepted by churches?
P104: "Just a few verses later
in his Sermon on the Mount (Mt -20), Jesus set a new standard for kingdom citizens that far exceeded the righteousness
of scribes and Pharisees. The kingdom citizen, he said, should go far beyond lip service and legalistic observance
of the law. Rather, he should internalize the law so that his life and teaching are molded by God's Word." ----- First, once
again Hemphill is setting up the false assumption straw man that the OT had a standard which commanded everyone in the OT
to begin their level of giving at 10% (although it only narrowly applied to food producers who lived inside Israel). I will repeat this
every time he repeats his false assumption. Second, it is wrong to teach that the Christian is to look at the law and go far
beyond it. In reality the Christian is "dead to law" (Rom 7:4) and has been quickened and risen as a new creation to serve
"the law of the Spirit of life in Christ" (Rom 8:2). Christ, not the law, is the standard to which the Christian looks for
guidance (John 16:8-9; 2 Cor ). Third, how does Hemphill "internalize" the many commands to kill those who break the first commandments?
I suspect that his hermeneutics of law are faulty. The obvious conclusion from Matthew 5:19 (which Hemphill ignores) is that
the church is either under all of the law or none of it.
P105: "In each case [Mt -48] Jesus' ethical
teaching was more demanding than the law." ----- Is that what Jesus was teaching? Or was Jesus re-interpreting the law? If
being angry with your brother without a cause is equivalent to murder, then should the angry person be put to death as the
law required (-22)? If the law is now even more "demanding" than before, how can we escape this conclusion?
P106: "To interact with verses
like these from Jesus' teaching and still conclude that tithes and offerings are artificial requirements, that minimum
giving should be acceptable under the circumstances - as if living under grace gives us permission not to take our
kingdom responsibilities too seriously- is to give our human nature far too much credit. Grace should free us not to
do less but to do more, not to earn God's favor but to let it continue transforming us." ----- First, he sets up the false
assumption straw man again. The OT did not require everybody to begin giving at 10%. Second, OT tithing was never an "artificial"
requirement for non-food producers. Third, "living under grace" does not mean "for every church doctrine except stewardship."
Nor does it mean that grace allows law to be added back which is contrary to Galatians 1:8-9 and 3:1-5. Third, unlike the
OT believer in which the Holy Spirit did not permanently dwell, Christians have a "new nature" which will out-give the old
nature if properly motivated by sermons on soul-winning. Churches do not fail because they do not preaching law-stewardship.
Churches fail which do not preach soul-winning.
P106: "Grace liberates us to
go beyond the tithe to give proportionately, generously and joyously." ----- Straw man again. Grace motivates Christians
who are dead to law-principles to give sacrificially and to the best of their ability without any view to a set percentage.
P108: [Malachi 1:9] "People
were bringing blind, lame and sick animals for their sacrifices." ----- This is dishonest to the context. On page 111 Hemphill
has it correct: "Notice that the sons of Levi, the very people against whom the indictments in 1:6 to 2:9 had been
levied, had been singled out to be purified and refined like god and silver (3:3)." Malachi 1:6, the context of 1:8 above,
is addressed to the priests -not to the people. The priests had vowed to offer the best from the tithed animals they had received
and had stolen from God by exchanging them for inferior animals. And God cursed the priests in -14.
P108-110: Hemphill continues to ignore the fact that God was only addressing the priests from 1:6 and 2:1
and induces his readers to think that the people of Israel are being addressed. In fact, with the
exception of the third-person address of -12, the "you" in Malachi never changes from the priests to the people of Israel. Even "this whole nation"
in 3:9 makes more sense as "this whole nation of you priests." God addresses the priests from 1:6 to ; from 2:1 to 2:9 and from to the end of Malachi.
Follow the pronoun "you." The priests are seen in covering the altar; they are seen in asking God a question and they are seen in his answer which follows
in chapter 3.
P111: "God's desire is to use
this experience to purify, cleanse and restore to productive living." ----- This is dishonest because the context is the priests.
"Notice that the sons of Levi, the very people against whom the indictments in 1:6 to 2:9 had been levied, had been
singled out to be purified and refined like god and silver (3:3)."
P:111: "Once again, however,
Israel responded to God's grace with a whine of innocence -'How can we return?'" ----- It is the priests
of Israel asking the questions since 1:6 and not the people. Priests are the "sons of Jacob" in 1:6 and the
ordinances and covenant previously discussed in 2:9 were those with the priests.
P111: "We have already looked
at the tithe in some detail.It was generally considered to be a tenth of
what one earned and was intended to be brought to the storehouse." ----- First, as pointed out from page 100, Hemphill
corrected defined tithe as food from inside Israel only once and thereafter defines it as a tenth of income without any explanation of the drastic
change of definition. Second, Nehemiah 10:37 commands the people to bring the whole Levitical tithe to the Levitical cities
and not toe the storehouse. It makes no sense to tell the people to bring all the tithe to the Temple when 98% of those who needed it
were in the Levitical cities. Leviticus says "And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and
the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house." It
was the responsibility of the Levites to bring the tithe into the Temple -not the people. Third, the two small rooms in the Temple could not possibly contain the entire tithe from
the nation (Neh 13:5-10). There is a serious mis-interpretation of Malachi 3:10.
P111-112: "Stephen Oxford wrote
'From the time of Hezekiah, there was in the sanctuary a storehouse built for depositing the tithes and offerings of the people.
This was also trueof the second temple in the days of Nehemiah.'" ----- First,
why does Hemphill quote Oxford? Why does he not simply declare the same thing? Is he doubtful of Oxford's conclusion? Second, Oxford is wrong if he thinks that the
storehouse could hold all the tithes from the (then much smaller) country. A careful reading of 2nd Chronicles 31:1-19 and
Nehemiah 13:1-10 reveals only two small rooms. Third, Hezekiah erred when he commanded the people to bring the tithes to the
There was no storage facility for al of it and it spoiled in the streets until it was re-shipped back to the Levitical
cities (2 Chron 31:1-19). Fourth, if David and Solomon wanted the people (of the much larger nation) to bring their tithes
to the Temple, then why did not the first Temple have storage space for them? Surely it is evident from Nehemiah 10:37-38 that the vast majority of
the tithes were never stored at the Tempe storehouse. Therefore the NT comparison of the church as the equivalent to the OT temple storehouse
P112: "When we rob God we are
actually cheating ourselves because it places us under a curse (3:9) that closes the floodgates of God's blessing.
This is language we don't often use. We love to talk about 'blessing.' The idea of 'cursing' seems foreign to our ears." -----
First, this comes from Hemphill who has been lecturing us about how tithing is not about legalism. Yet it reeks of cold hard
OT law with its accompanying blessings and curses. Second, the word "curse" has been used against the priests four times in
and 2:2. It would be consistent to interpret the priests as still being the recipients of God's OT curse. Third, Hemphill's
faulty hermeneutics of law are showing again. He teaches that the OT law applies to Christians except that which he has decided
no longer applies. Tithing has survived his cut. Fourth, I would like to hear how Hemphill explains Galatians "Christ hath redeemed
us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." It
is impossible for God to curse a born-again Christian. No adopted child of God can sit with him in heavenly places while being
cursed. Therefore Hemphill must think that tithing is essential for salvation. Fifth, I would like to hear him explain Galatians
"For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not
in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." The only way OT Hebrews could claim the blessings from
tithing was to observe all 600+ commands of the law. Sixth, I would like to hear Hemphill explain Galatians 1:8-9 "But though
we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be
accursed." It seems like adding law back to the gospel falls under Paul's curse.
P112: [Mal ] "Thus God issued
a challenge -'Bring the full 10 per cent into the storehouse … Test me in this way." ----- This was explained
already. First, the whole tithe would not fit into the Temple storehouse. Second, only the Levites and priests were normally responsible for bringing tithes into
the Temple. Third, the NT Temple is within the believer. Fourth, The early church did not have its own buildings for over 200
years after Calvary and it
does not correspond to the storehouse. Fifth, the Protestant reference to the church building as the "house of God" is an
OT, pagan or Roman Catholic concept where God dwells. Sixth, again, the only way an OT Hebrew could claim the blessings from
tithing was to observe all 600+ commands of the law.
P112: "The opening of the floodgates
of heaven was an indication of an abundance of rain (Deut 28:12)." ----- This comparison to Malachi proves that Hemphill knows
the context is that of the entire law. There is no consistent hermeneutic which allows him to separate the blessings
and curses of tithing from the blessings and curses of the whole law. The commandments, statutes and judgments of the Law
either stand together or fall together.
P121-126: Even though discussing
freewill offerings from 1st Corinthians 16 Hemphill still refers to tithing five times.
P123: [1 Cor 16] "The issue
in our present passage is the collection for the saints." ----- For the SBC everything above the expected tithe is grace giving
of freewill offerings. Nothing said or written about offerings is intended to remove the obligation to tithe. The context
of 1 Corinthians 16 is not a discussion of how to build churches or how to pay gospel workers. However the grace-only principles
are the same when the law is removed.
giving should be a matter of theological conviction that leads to practical and consistent expression. Consistency
requires thought, planning and preparation that in turn allows us to have a greater sense of worship as we give." ----- "Theological
conviction" is the result of in-depth honest study of God's Word. When it involves tithing, this is not being done in SBC
churches and seminaries. It is a taboo subject. And the lack of a "consistent"
hermeneutic of law is at the root of the problem.
P124: "What can you do to develop
consistency? First, I would suggest that you follow Paul's direction about laying aside your tithe and offering first."
----- This is a blatant lie. First, the chapter is not about tithing. Second, Paul and the rest of the Bible never
equates tithes with firstfruits. Third, Paul never "directed" anybody to "lay aside tithes and offerings first." In fact he
taught believers to pay for their medicine, food and shelter first. Even the fundamental tithing text of Leviticus 27:30-34
describes the tithe as the "tenth" and not even the "best." 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."
P125: "God has no favorites
in his purpose of blessing, and since he wants to bless everyone, he expects everyone to give. No one should ever be excluded
from worshipping God through tithes and offerings and no one should do so without theological reflection that leads to thoughtfulness
and consistency." ----- First, this is a rather goofy statement. Is there a church anywhere that forbids people from giving?
Second, I have met many discouraged Christians who stay home because they have too many medical bills and are too poor to
contribute as much as their pastor expects. Third, if Hemphill wants members to give only after "theological reflection" then
he should encourage open discussion of tithing like any other doctrinal subject. Fourth, churches which add to God's Word
by requiring officers to tithe are committing the sin of respecting persons, or showing favoritism. Spiritual gifts are also
given to the poor and to disqualify them from use of those spiritual gifts because of their financial situation is a sin.
P125: "Paul would have practiced
tithing according to Old Testament prescriptions." ----- Nonsense. First, after 14 years of re-education Paul taught that
the believer was dead to law (Rom 7:4). Second, as a rabbi Paul considered it heresy to accept a wage for teaching the Word
of God. (Read Schaff and most other church historians.) Third, as one who knew the OT definition of "tithe" Paul knew that
craftsmen had nothing tithe-able and that even food products from pagan lands did not qualify as tithes. Paul wrote in Galatians
that adding law back into grace is witchcraft. Gal 3:1 "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should
not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 3:2 This only would
I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3:3 Are ye so foolish? having
begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? … 3:5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit,
and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?"
P127-133: In his discussion
of freewill grace giving principles from 2nd Corinthians 8, Hemphill uses the word "tithe" three times.
P132: "Jesus, of course -as
we saw earlier- had approached tithing from the approach of an assumed truth, as something that God's people
should have mastered without neglecting the weightier things [of the law] as love, mercy and justice. In other words, Jesus
was saying 'I shouldn't have to go back and cover elementary school matters with you.'" ----- This is wrong. First, Jesus
was discussing "matters of the law" to Jews still under the law in Matthew 23:23. Second, even though the scribes and Pharisees
were the recognized interpreters of the law and had expanded it beyond its original scope, Jesus still supported their excess
(Mt 23:2-3). Third, of course it was an "assumed truth" -to Jews. However it was NOT an assumed truth for Gentiles who were
not allowed or commanded to tithe by Jesus. In fact the early church in Acts 15:10 refused to place its Gentile converts under
the yoke of the law.
P132: "Paul, too, was clear
in saying that the tithe was only the beginning of Christian stewardship." ----- This is a blatant lie. Paul
said no such thing! First, Hemphill sets up his straw man again. Second, although the SBC did not begin teaching tithing until
1895, nothing less than the tithe is acceptable in SBC theology today. Anything less is robbing God. Imagine how that makes
poor sick church members feel who cannot even afford their medicine.
P132: "What may have been a
moral duty for Old Testament man had now become a joyous privilege produced in the believer by the Holy Spirit." -----
First, "may have been" suggests that Hemphill is unsure about declaring that tithing was an OT moral principle. Second, he
sets up the straw man again by implying that everyone in the OT was expected to begin their level of giving at 10% when it
only applied to food producers who lived inside Israel. Third, the Holy Spirit nowhere endorses tithing by the Church after Calvary. In fact, any doctrine which is not repeated to the Church
in terms of grace and faith after Calvary is said to have "zero" glory in comparison to NT revelation per 2 Corinthians 3:10.
The heart-nature-conscience of believers teaches giving without any reference to a set percentage either up or down.
P132: "Paul concluded with an
appeal both to proportionate and generous giving ()." ----- This is not what the text teaches. The text teaches "equality" giving, not "proportionate"
giving. Those who have much more should give much more while those who have much less can only give less. The text is NOT
discussing giving by the same percentage. That which comes "first" is not the tithe; rather it is the "willing mind."
2 Cor For if there be first a willing
mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.
2 Cor For I mean not that other men
be eased, and ye burdened:
2 Cor But by an equality, that now
at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that
there may be equality:
P163: "A decisive kingdom
moment occurred on May 8, 1845. ----- irst, the establishment of the SBC had nothing to do with tithing because it did not attempt
to adopt tithing until 1895. Second, the tithing texts were not added to the SBC Faith and Message until 1963. Third, the
word "tithe" still does not appear in the SBC Faith and Message. It is, however, mandatory for those who receive a paycheck
from the SBC to teach tithing per their Position Paper on tithing. Fourth, one reason for the establishment of the SBC in
1845 was their pro-slavery position. At least they changed their position on that doctrine. Does tithing have the same chance
of being changed?
NOTE: This article is not intended
to be a rebuttal of any other doctrine taught by Kenneth Hemphill and I wish him God's blessings to the extent he preaches the gospel according to God's Word in other areas of doctrine.
Dr Kenneth Hemphill; khemphill@SBC.net
On March 7, 2008 you wrote an article for the Baptist
Press which was intended to be a rebuttal of our arguments from the CBS Sunday Morning news segment “To Tithe or Not
I have read you biography and see that you are eminently qualified to write such an article. You have enough degrees
to fill most walls and have the experience and authorship to match almost any scholar. Therefore you should not be reluctant
to enter into a prolonged dialog with myself and my Tithing Study group at Yahoo. We have been waiting many years for somebody
of your stature to engage us in such a dialog and cannot understand why nobody has come forward yet to prove us wrong on what
you imply is such an easily defensible doctrine as tithing.
There are many top theologians who agree with my viewpoint. Beyond the first three hundred years of church history
and the first 200-300 years of our own Baptist history the theologians date back to Martin Luther and are seen today in such
schools as Dallas Theological Seminary, Moody Bible Institute, Wheaton College, Talbot Bible College and Master’s Seminary.
They include such scholars as John MacArthur, Lewis Sperry Chafer, John Walvoord, Charles Ryrie, Merrill Unger, Craig Blomberg
and Walter Elwell. In your own denominational leadership they include Daniel Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological
Seminary in WakeForest (from which you personally have a Magna
Cum Laude degree). It also includes top theologians on its staff including Andreas Kostenberger, David Black and several others.
In other words there are enough top theologians who disagree with you that dialog should be warranted.
You wrote: “It is worth the time to look at these general objections.” I certainly hope so and I pray
that you will give them more than a cursory look. At the very least read my book, Should the Church Teach Tithing? A Theologian’s
Conclusions about a Taboo Doctrine.I will send a copy for free if you so indicate.
MATTHEW 23:23/LUKE 11:42
Like most Southern Baptist preachers you think that Jesus’ words in Matthew and Luke easily refute grace-giving arguments
and support pro-tithing arguments. I said that “Everything you teach about tithing is wrong” and I am willing
to defend that statement using sound seminary-level hermeneutics taught in your own seminaries. In fact I argue that there
are at least 25 OT tithing principles and none of them are followed by any church today.
I also said that the verses used to teach tithing are “out of context.” You made an effort to show
that the context of Matthew favored tithing. You said “The context is the denunciation of the scribes (experts in the law) and the
Pharisees (legalists).” “The fourth woe involves tithing as taught in the Old Testament.” “As
might be expected the first century legalists had been meticulous in observing the law.” “Jesus charged
that they had neglected the weightier matters.” Here, like most tithe-teachers who quote this verse, you omitted
the words “of the law.” You also omitted the context of the chapter itself where in verses 2 and 3 Jesus tells
his Jewish disciples to obey the scribes and Pharisees because “they sit in Moses’ seat.”
You wrote “The passage is not that difficult to understand in its present context.” I fully agree.
But, sir, it is you who have taken Jesus’ words out of context. The context is very clearly a discussion of “matters
of the law.” The tithe is compared to a “gnat” in verse 24 whereas “justice, mercy and faith”
are compared to the “camel.” And everything in between the “gnat-tithing” and “camel-justice”
were to be obeyed also because the law was still in full effect. Why don’t you teach that the whole law is still in
effect? Why do you only choose tithing?
The text itself (the primary focus of seminary hermeneutics) is addressed to “you,” that is, “scribes
and Pharisees.”And the text itself says that it is a discussion of “matters
of the law.”Yes, you are correct: “This passage is not that difficult
to explain in its present context.” Then you take it out of its “present context” by saying “The mastery
of elementary matters [omitting “of the law”] such as tithing is no excuse [for those under the law] to ignore
weightier issues [of the law].Think about this: If Jesus were indeed speaking
to the Church and telling Gentile Christians to pay tithes in Matthew , then tell us where they would have taken those tithes before Calvary.Both they
and their tithes would have been rejected.
You concluded your comments about Matthew by saying “Nonetheless it is obvious that Jesus believed and taught that tithing
was a fundamental aspect of faith.” Sir, that is not what the context says! The context is a discussion of “law”
and the hypocrisy of the abusers of the law. Of course Jesus would teach tithing; Galatians 4:4 reminds us that he was “born
under the law to redeem those under the law.” The context is “under the law”. The context is not “this
is for the church after Calvary.”
Before Calvary Jesus obeyed and taught obedience to
all of the law. You have no legitimate biblical hermeneutic which permits you to reject most of that law as fulfilled or irrelevant
and retain tithing.
MANIPULATIVE USE OF TITHING
The next line of rebuttal from you said “We must confess that some pastors on occasions have used
biblical texts related to tithing in a manipulative manner to raise the budget or to build a building.” Is it “some”
or is it “most pastors”? (1) The OT tithe was never used to pay for buildings; the OT sanctuary and Temple were paid for using freewill-offerings.
(2) Though “money” and “shekel” are essential worship items in the OT they are never included in any
of the 16 texts which describe the contents of the tithe covering 1500 years in God’s Word. In other words the definition
of “tithe” has been “manipulated” by all of you. (3) The OT recipients of the tithe were the Levites
who were the tentmakers, carpenters, artisans, ushers, deacons, choir, musicians, treasurers, bakers and politicians (Num
3; 1 Chron 23 to 26). You “manipulate” God’s Word and totally ignore those facts and use the tithes in completely
different ways than that found in God’s Word. (4) Those Levites and priests who received the OT tithe were not allowed
to own or inherit property. You “manipulate” God’s Word and allow pastors to amass much property and say
nothing.The “basic biblical teaching” has indeed been “altered”
because absolutely nothing taught about OT tithing is found in churches today.
You wrote: “Tithing should not be connected to subscribing a budget nor should it be presented as a means
of receiving financial favor from God.” Incredible! You have just contradicted almost every pro-tithe teacher I have
ever read, including those in your own denomination. If you really believe this then I suggest you recall a lot of tracts
about tithing which are found in SBC churches. And you need to remind almost every SBC pastor not to mention tithing when
they determine their budget.
THE HISTORY OF TITHING
Dr. James Hudnut-Beumler, Dean of the VanderbiltDivinitySchool and a history professor pointed out that
no Protestant church in the U. S. A. taught tithing prior to the 1870s. With information provided by your own SBC web site and SBC books I
point out on my web site that it took from 1649 until 1963 for your own denomination to even insert the texts for tithing
into your own Faith and Message. The statement of 1925 had none. And your own Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists proves that
early Baptists strongly opposed tithing and strongly advocated self-supporting pastors like the founders of Rhode Island. You agree “that the church should
never have been funded by the government” only because you think that it should have always been funded by tithing but
Baptist history disagrees with you.
You wrote: “A better historical marker would be the early church, not relatively recent history.”
Robert Baker, the current and long-time top church historian for Southern Baptists wrote in his Baptist seminary textbook,
A Summary of Christian History, Nashville: Broadman, "The leaders [before A.D. 100] usually worked with their hands for their material needs.
There was no artificial distinction between clergy and laity." ... "The earliest bishops or presbyters engaged in secular
labor to make their living and performed the duties of their church office when not at work."
Another Southern Baptist church historian, H. E. Dana wrote in yet another Baptist seminary textbook, The New Testament World,Nashville: Broadman, "Among the Jews professional
life was limited. The one widely extensive profession was that of rabbi, if profession it might be called, for most rabbis
followed some trade or secular pursuit for a livelihood, while devoting all the time possible to the study and teaching of
the law. . . . Every Jewish boy was expected to learn some trade. Rabbinic tradition declared that ‘whoever does not
teach his son a trade is as if he brought him up to be a robber.' The prevalent use of tents [by travelers] made the tent-making
trade a lucrative occupation. ... This was the prevailing manner in which the first Christian missionaries were provided for,
though likely the entertainment was tendered them without cost (cf. 2 John 10-11; 3 John 5-8)."
Dr. Hemphill, please be honest here.I have a shelf full of books
written by church historians of many different denominations and every single one of them teaches that the early church leaders
were self-supporting.I can name many more and quote them but it would be fruitless
if you are not inclined to honestly study the matter.
For the first 200 years of early church history its leaders boasted of being poor and self-supporting. They did
not teach tithing because it was a Jewish matter. Read Justin Martyr, Irenaeus and Tertullian. They usually quoted Jesus’
advice to the rich young ruler to “go, sell all that you have, come follow me and you shall have treasure in heaven.”
There were no church buildings for you to even call “storehouses” (another false tithe-teaching) until around
AD250 and Christians in Rome met in the catacombs and graveyards. Even from AD250 to AD305 the churches which had been built were burned
down every time a catastrophe or military defeat occurred.
Yes, Cyprian, Chrysostom and Augustine advocated forms of tithing but their advice did not become church law.Two regional councils tried to make it church law in the 6th century and failed.Tithing did not become a legitimate church law until the end of the 8th century. You
can find all of this in your own denominations’ research and in any large encyclopedia.Therefore it is wrong to teach that “a better historical marker would be the early church” to prove tithing
when you have not researched it properly.
ABRAHAM AND GENESIS 14:18-20
Next you discuss Abraham’s tithe. You used Genesis 14:18-20 to prove that tithing preceded the law. You
pretend to give the whole context in order to avoid the charge of proof-texting.You
say “This is a biblical truth that goes back to the beginning chapters of Genesis.”
Yes, but what does the story actually tell us? The event does not end with tithing in verse 20. Verse 21 and the
remainder of the chapter need exegesis. It was a SBC commentator from Baylor (Wycliffe Bible Commentary) who first alerted
me to study verse 21 instead of stopping at verse 20. (1) The Bible does not say that “Abram’s spontaneous gift
of the tithe was based on his renewed understanding that God Most High is possessor of heaven and earth.” You said that;
not God’s Word!Do some deep research here. It is entirely possibly that
Abram was instead “compelled” to tithe to the local priest king because of a long-standing pagan Arab tradition.
He was passing through the king’s territory with spoils of war and had no choice in the matter. (2) The fact that tithes
were common in pagan history even before Abraham’s time does not prove that it was an eternal moral principle any more
than it proves that equally common child sacrifices, idol worship and temple prostitution were eternal moral principles for
the same reason. What is your working hermeneutic here? You say something is true and nobody dares to question it. (3) Abraham’s
tithe has no relationship to the tithes of the law which came from God’s holy land by holy people. (4) Abraham gave
the 90% to the king of Sodom. Is that an example of faith for Christians to follow? What gives you the right to say the 10% is an example
for Christians but the 90% is not? Either both are examples or else neither are examples.
You wrote: “The spontaneous act of tithing was later codified into the law.” I say that you are very
wrong here. Again, you cannot prove that Abraham’s act of tithing was “spontaneous” and his tithe has absolutely
noting in common with the holy tithe which was later codified into the law. Please read Numbers 31. Yes, “spoils of
war” tithes did become a “statute” of the law, but they were not holy and they were 1% and not 10%.
WHO WAS EL ELYON IN THE CANAANITE WORLD?
You also play word-games by translating El Elyon into “God Most High” and assume that it could only
refer to Yahweh, the covenant God of Abraham. (1) God never used that term to identify Himself during Abraham’s lifetime,
(2) In Abraham’s day it was the common name for the Most High God of the Canaanite pantheon (and you cannot possibly
deny that). (3) Although everybody took pride in knowing the names of the gods they worshipped, there is no indication that
Melchizedek himself even knew Yahweh by his covenant name. Abraham recognized that El Elyon was actually Yahweh but he only
revealed that to the king of Sodom. Israel did not begin calling Yahweh “El Elyon” until 1000 years later after David conquered Jebusi
and adopted their god’s-name and their hill, Zion. See the Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Jerusalem.
HERMENEUTICS (PRINCIPLES) OF LAW AND GRACE
Grace and the Law is your next target. You wrote: “Grace does not negate the law but rather fills it full
of meaning.” What exactly does that statement mean?I can ask 100 Baptist
preachers and get 100 different answers. It is pure gibberish. Please tell me what your consistent hermeneutic, your consistent
principle of interpretation is when you bring something from the Law of Moss over into the New Covenant? Most Southern Baptists,
Methodists and Charismatics appear to have no consistent hermeneutic at all!
I call show you a sermon from 1525 where Martin Luther said “Nothing” from the Law of Moses applies
to Christians except that part of it which is eternal and moral. And Martin Luther was not a dispensationalist! Covenant Theology
has one consistent hermeneutic and dispensationalists have another consistent hermeneutic.Baptists have none.Your methodology is to “pick and choose”
whatever each seminarian or pastor thinks applied to the New Covenant. The reason that you do not understand tithing is really
because you do not understanding the Law itself. Like Martin Luther
I believe that the Law of Moses was only given to the nation of Israel and was a unique sign of separation between them and the
Gentile nations.There are many texts to support this view. In other words, it
was not given to the Gentiles (Christians). I believe that only that eternal moral part of the Law of Moses which reflected
the eternal moral character of God applies to the Church after Calvary and it was repeated to the Church after Calvary. That is my consistent hermeneutic. Now please tell me your consistent hermeneutic if you have one.
Matthew 5:17-19 does not confuse me because I read it in the context of the whole chapter.Jesus is clearly speaking of the entire Law of Moses and gives examples from all three sections of it.It is an indivisible and inseparable whole. You must either observe all of it or none
of it. That is the meaning of “the least of these my commandments.” Jesus is also clearly speaking of the “righteousness”
of the Law and not necessarily the prophecies of the Law. I am convinced from the many “fulfilled” texts in Matthew
that Jesus did fulfill the “righteousness” of the Law throughout his holy sinless life, death and resurrection.
The Jew who believes in Christ is literally “dead to the law” (Rom 7:4) and the law, including tithing,
cannot tell him what to do.The standards of holiness which were reflected in
the law are now totally and completely seen in Christ (Rom -26; Heb 1:1-3). Christians are judged, not by obedience to the law,
but according to what we do with Christ and how we respond to the Gospel (John -19). Your re-introduction of tithing from the Law of Moses
is totally inconsistent with your rejection of most of that law as not relevant to the church.
MINIMUM STANDARD, EXPECTATION
Now comes your final and strongest argument (so you think). I hear it at every turn and every Southern Baptist
puppets automatically -- “It’s a good place to start.” You say “It would be a disgrace to grace to
indicate that the person who has received grace would do less than one under the law.” That is true but you assign a
false beginning standard of giving which makes your conclusion false.
I have a copy of your Position Paper on tithing. It states that, if you receive a paycheck from the Southern Baptist
Convention, then you MUST teach tithing in everything you write or preach. That, my friend, is extremely dishonest.That, my friend, forces you to teach something which is not a part of the Faith and Message and which has
not been agreed upon by the convention delegates as sound doctrine.
You assume (1) that tithes included income from all sources. Again I have 16 texts which prove that assumption
to be false. The word “money” occurs 32 times in Genesis alone and 44 times before the word “tithe”
occurs. You cannot prove that food was the same as money. (2) You assume that everybody in the OT was required to tithe. That
assumption is also wrong. Only farmers and herdsmen inside Israel were required to tithe. It did not apply to others.It did not apply to those who lived outside of Israel. And it did not apply to the poor. (3)You assume that the tithe and the firstfruits are the same thing. In so doing you
ignore 1st Timothy 5:8 and demand tithes be paid before medicine and food and shelter. Don’t try to deny it either.
This is sin and abuse of the poor.
Therefore, since all of your definitions and assumptions about tithing are wrong, then your statement that the
tithe was a universal minimum beginning place for the vast majority in the Old Covenant is wrong. Therefore it cannot legitimately
be used to argue that NT believers must begin their giving levels at 10%.You
have seriously manipulated the Word of God.
SECOND CORINTHIANS 8:11-15; THE EQUALITY PRINCIPLE
You refer to 2nd Corinthians 8:16-24. Have you ever read the verses in front of these – verses 11-15?Those who have more should give more than 10% while those who have less are giving
sacrificially when they give less than 10%. There is no percentage in the New Covenant.It is the New Covenant principle of “equality giving.”
Since tithing is not commanded to the church under the New Covenant terms then it is part of the “no glory”
of the Law mentioned in 2nd Corinthians 3:10. When you teach tithing without the endorsement of the Holy Spirit you are teaching
the Law of Moses with a veil of ignorance over your face. You are not being changed “from glory to glory” by the
better New Covenant principles of giving (2 Cor -18).
ACTS -21 AND ACTS -35
I will close with this: Acts 21:20-21 describes the church in Jerusalem over 30 years after Calvary and it is still “zealous of the law.” Hebrews shows
us that it is still worshipping in the Temple and still honoring the earthly high priests.I must conclude
that they were still tithing also – to the Temple system and not to the church leaders. Don’t you agree? As a rabbi Paul thought
it was wrong to accept money for teaching the Word and he never changed from that position. This is clear in Acts 20:29-35.It is highly doubtful that he taught Timothy or anybody else otherwise.
You are wrong about tithing. We desire serious dialog. If you think I am wrong then you can use your education
and experience to influence about 100 of us at our Tithing-Study group at Yahoo. Please join us and please encourage the SBC
to have open discussion on this subject.
Do this if you dare. Find a young seminary student who is looking for a subject for his/her M. Div., Th. D, or
PH. D. and ask him/her to study tithing.Just once I would like to see a pro-tithing
PH.D. thesis. Somehow I doubt that you would suggest it because the student would agree with me. Truth can only benefit Christ’s
In Christ’s love
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD, 6610 Skyview Dr SE, Acworth, Ga30101
Kenneth S. Hemphill is the SBC's national strategist for EmpoweringKingdom Growth.