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