John Hagee’s Tithing Errors
Tithing and Financial Prosperity
Rebuttal by Russell Earl Kelly, Ph. D.
NOTE: This article is not intended to be a rebuttal of any other doctrine taught by John Hagee and I wish him God’s blessings to the extent he preaches the gospel according to God’s Word in other areas of doctrine.
Q. I thought tithing was an Old Testament principle. Is it something Christians are supposed to practice? Will it guarantee me financial prosperity?
A. Giving to the Lord is an important principle in both the Old and New Testaments, and obedience in tithing-which is giving one-tenth of your income-is a good place to start.
Kelly: When writing books on eschatology (last day events) John Hagee is a ultra dispensational conservative Assembly of God-type preacher. His arguments for tithing have already been greatly discussed in my essay, Tithing is Not a Christian Doctrine, and in my rebuttals to Randy Alcorn, Larry Burkett, Paul DeJong, Brian Houston, R T Kendall, Allan Meyer and others.
Hagee: Jesus did not do away with tithing. On one occasion He lambasted the Pharisees and teachers of the law for their legalistic methods of giving. They scrupulously tithed 10 percent of even tiny spices like mint and dill while neglecting “the more important matters of the law-justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter,” Jesus told them, “without neglecting the former” (Matt. 23:23 NIV).
Kelly: I have an entire chapter devoted to this in my book, Should the Church Teach Tithing, at http://www.home.earthlink.net/~russkellyphd/id17.html
Hagee: Money was an important part of Jesus’ teaching. Of the 38 parables recorded in Scripture, 16 of them deal with money or possessions and how to manage them. The Lord advised us to invest our “treasures” in God’s work, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21).
Kelly: My different complaint against Hagee which differs from the others mentioned is that his own hermeneutics of ultra-dispensationalism contradict his teaching of tithing. He destroys himself with his own dispensational rules!
(1) Dispensationalists like Darby, Scofield, MacArthur, Ryrie, Unger and Walvoord have interpreted the “parables of the kingdom” as typical of everyday life in restored Israel during the Millennial Kingdom on earth.
(2) Dispensationalists also (correctly) teach, as does the Church of Christ, that the New Covenant does not begin until its blood was shed at Calvary and it was officially inaugurated at Pentecost. Therefore their hermeneutic is that “only those things in the Mosaic Law which are either moral law or are repeated after Calvary in terms of grace apply to the Christian church.”
(3) Dispensationalists teach that the Mosaic Law never was given to the Gentiles. Gentiles never were under the jurisdiction of the Mosaic Law. Only the eternal (natural) moral law which is revealed in the heart of believers applies to Christians –the law of love. Tithing was part of the ceremonial statutes/ordinances per Num 18.
(4) All believers die in Christ, but as far as Jewish Christians are concerned, they especially have died to the law and the law cannot tell a dead person what to do (Rom 7:4). Jesus completely fulfilled all of the righteous requirements of the law and all of the prophecies in the Mosaic Law which pertained to Himself. Luke 24:22; Romans 3:24-25.
THESE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE THE ULTRA DISPENSATIONALIST HERMENEUTICS WHICH GUIDE EVERYTHING HAGEE TEACHES!
BUT HE IGNORES THEM WHEN IT COMES TO TITHING AND APPLIES THEM TO ALMOST EVERY OTHER DOCTRINE!!
Hagee: Investing in God’s kingdom pays great dividends! If we give sparingly, we will reap sparingly, the Bible says; but if we sow generously, we will reap God’s abundance (2 Cor. 9:6).
Kelly: I agree with the above statement.
Hagee: God’s word promises that if we’re faithful to “bring all the tithes into the storehouse” [the church], He will pour out a blessing we can scarcely contain. On the other hand, if we don’t tithe, we are robbing God. (Mal. 3:8-10). [[And if we do not, are we cursed by the Mosaic Law?]]
Kelly: This statement is a complete contradiction of dispensational theology. Hagee has written scores of books about national Israel because he (dispenationally) separates the promises made to Israel in the Mosaic Law from the promises made to the Church by grace through faith. Yet here he merges them!!! That is total inconsistency with himself!!!
He knows very well that the blessings and curses of tithing are the same as the blessings and curses of the Mosaic Law. That is abundantly clear from comparing Nehemiah 10:29 with Deuteronomy 26 to 28. The Church never vowed to the oath in those three chapters and the church was never connected to either the blessings or the curses of the Mosaic Law.
Hagee: While God wants to prosper us, true prosperity is not measured solely in dollars and cents. God has promised to meet all our needs (Phil. 4:19); He has not promised to fund all our greeds. Your giving is a reflection of your priorities. When the things of God become your priority, your checkbook will prove it. “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:6-7).
Kelly: Here he slides back into the typical and correct New Covenant aspect of giving. Although Hagee is fabulously rich he does not appear to teach the prosperity “gospel” of many of his companion preachers on TBN.