Hennessey, Shawn, Tithing 2016 and 2018

Monday, October 03, 2016

Russell Kelly Rebuts Shawn Hennessey on Tithing, Oct 3e, 2016

Shawn Hennessey, Life Church, Green Bay, WI

Subject: Tithing;  2 Timothy 1:7 ESV For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Russell E Kelly: This is an odd text to begin a sermon on tithing. First, its context is not about giving. Second, in Acts 20:29-35 Paul boasted the he supported those with him (which included Timothy). Third, the epistle to Timothy does not teach tithing, In fact, except for Hebrews 7, Paul’s do not mention tithing.

Shawn: The only way to create a Foundation of Faith is to put First Things First. The principle of first.

Russ: Odd again. According to Leviticus 27:30-34, holy tithes of food from inside Israel were never given first. Food tithes could only be calculated after the full harvest was complete. And animal tithes were specifically every tenth animal, whether good or bad.

Shawn: Exodus 13:1-2, 12-13, firstborn.

Russ: A third oddity: firstborn were “first” and not the tenth. The biblical fact is that tithes and firstfruits are never the same thing. Both are only food from the holy land of Israel. I doubt that church members dedicate or pay redemption fees for their firstborn children, or dogs, or cats.

Shawn: Psalm 51:5 NLT For I was born a sinner – yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.

Russ: Psalm 51:5 is not about tithing. although pagan Gentiles are also born sinners, but God did not require tithes from them.

Shawn: Malachi 3:10-11

Russ: Texts to change God’s Word with.

(1) This was a command to O.T. Israel under the Law; it was not a command to the Church or Gentiles. Plus, God did not bless “tithers” who transgressed other laws (Gal 3:10-13).

(2) The church is never called a storehouse in Scripture (1 Cor 16:2); in fact church buildings were illegal in the Roman Empire for almost 300 years.

(3) The texts clearly call the HOLY tithe FOOD because its description never changed except by dishonest gospel pastors.

(4) If “tithers” were blessed so much that they could not contain the blessings, everybody would tithe.

Shawn: Exodus 23:19

Russ: Again, tithes and firstfruits are never the same in Scripture. Concerning the second half of the text, how do you make sure that you are not cooking offspring in its own mother’s milk?

Shawn: Genesis 4:3-5

Russ: Again, you are out of context which is deceitful. This is not about tithing.

Shawn: The Immutability of God = God Cannot Change

Russ: (1) You changed God’s description of holy tithes as food from inside His HOLY land.

(2) You changed God’s prohibition that Levitical tithe recipients cannot own property in His land or amass wealth (Num 18:20).

(3) You changed the recipients of tithes from O.T. Levitical servants to the priests (Num 18:21-24).

(4) God’s character does not change, but He did change from the Old to the New Covenant, from Sabbath to no holy days, from unclean to no unclean foods, from a temple building to temple of indwelling Spirit, from animal sacrifices to Christ and from tithing to sacrificial freewill giving.

Shawn: 3)The Tithe Must Be First,, Leviticus 27:30

Russ: This is so dishonest with God’s Word. The text quoted calls the tithe the tenth, not the first. And it is only a tenth of HOLY food from God’s HOLY land. Money was common but money was never tithed.

Shawn: Exodus 13:14-15

Russ: Many want to call tithes the first in order to receive the first of welfare checks and leave their recipients without money for food, shelter and medicine.


Russell Kelly Rebuts Shawn Hennessy Again, 2018

Shawn Hennessey: If you tithe for a year and you are not better off, he will give you your 10% back! No questions asked…..


Russell E Kelly: These kinds of propositions are highly unethical and unbiblical. They are unethical because they turn churches into houses of betting and gambling. They are unbiblical because they twist Holy Scripture and define the HOLY tithe incorrectly. Finally, Shawn Hennessey will  not defend his position in an open forum. The HOLY tithe (as the word is used by Moses, Nehemiah, Malachi and Jesus) was always only FOOD from inside HOLY Israel. Therefore, neither Hennessey,  nor I, nor his congregation could biblically tithe even if they wanted to do so.

Hennessey: Why Isn’t God Blessing Me? Psalm 37:4 ESV Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Kelly: Ps 37 is not about tithing. For King David, this meant obeying all 600+ commandments, judgments and statutes of the Law.

Hennessey: Tzedakah = Justice, Fairness, or Righteousness
Righteous = In Right Standing With God

Kelly: Tzedakah is the same word as justification and righteousness in Hebrew; di-kai-o-su-ne means both justification and righteousness in Greek. Our right standing before God is the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. It is not attained by tithing or works of the Law.

Hennessey: The Talmud = The Body of Civil Law

Kelly: O. T. Judgments were civil law.  O. T. statutes and ordinances were ceremonial worship laws with included tithing. Why not discuss the Bible instead of the Talmud?

Hennessey: 2 Corinthians 9:7 NLT You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.

Kelly: Yet you pressure others to tithe while you ignore Numbers 18:20, own property and amass wealth. This post-Calvary N. T. teaching survives while tithing ended (Heb 7:5, 12, 18) and now all believers are priests.

Hennessey: 2 Corinthians 8:7 NEV But as you excel in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, and in all eagerness and in the love from us that is in you–make sure that you excel in this act of kindness too.

Kelly: The context is freewill giving of food supplies for starving saints in Judea. It is not about tithing. Sacrificial freewill giving also survives tithes and does not include tithes.

Why do you quote 2 Cor 8:7 and 9:7? They counter tithing.

Hennessey: 1) Tithing Is A Test

Kelly: According to Deuteronomy 27-30, the whole Law was a test: obey all to be blessed; disobey one and be cursed. Tithing WAS only a test for O. T. Israelite food producers under the Old Covenant of Law. As a carpenter Jesus did not qualify.

Hennessey: Tithe = Tenth

Kelly: This is dishonest and Hennessey knows it.  That is NOT the biblical description of the HOLY tithe from the HOLY land of Israel. 16 texts from Lev 27 to Mt 23 define the holy tithe as only food. Be honest with God’s Word or stop preaching.

Hennessey: Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I do not change; therefore, you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.

Kelly: Does this mean that we should still offer animal sacrifices and observe all 600+ OT commands? The “you” are the dishonest priests from 1:6; 2:1, 17 and 3:1-5. Most “sons of Jacob” disappeared into exile in 722 BC.

Hennessey:  Mal 3:7 – Yet from the days of your fathers you have gone away from My ordinances and have not kept them.

Kelly: God is speaking only to the priests and is answering their challenge and question from 2:17. Only priests’ ordinances are found in Malachi in 2:1-10.

Hennessey: Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’

Kelly: This is still in the context of the priests’ question in 2:17.

Hennessey: 8 – “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.

Kelly: Priests had robbed God in Mal 2:13-14 and Neh 13:5-10. Strangely, nobody preaches tithing from those texts.

Hennessey: 9 – You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation.

Kelly: Why don’t your quote your modern versions here? Most read “this whole nation of you — meaning “of you priests” which is the context of 2:13-14, 17 and 3:1-5. The priests had been cursed 4 x already in 2:13-14 and 2:1-2 — every priest in the nation.

Hennessey: 10 – Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.

Kelly: (1) Tithes were still only FOOD over 1000 years after Lev 27. (2) Since, the Temple did not have room to store all the tithes from the nation, tis text only makes sense if it is only speaking to dishonest priests from 2:13-14 and Neh 13:5-10. (3) God would be cruel to expect priests and Levites to travel to the Temple for their daily food. See Neh 10:37-38.

Hennessey: 2) Tithing Is Biblical; Genesis 14:18-20

Kelly: It is dishonest to use Gen 14 to define holy tithes because they were war booty from Sodom and Gomorrah which were not holy tithes under the Law. History proves that Abram was only obeying the Semitic law of the land.

Hennessey: Genesis 28:22 Jacob tithed

Kelly: Again, it is dishonest to use this as an example of HOLY tithing. This was a freewill vow from the pagan land of Haran of Babylon. It was not commanded.

Hennessey: Leviticus 27:30-34 is first description of holy tithes.

Kelly: Yes, as only FOOD from inside HOLY Israel. Money was very common even in Genesis but was never included in the description of HOLY tithes.

Hennessey: Deuteronomy 26:1-2

Kelly: These texts prove that even First-fruits were always only FOOD from inside God’s HOLY land.

Hennessy: Deuteronomy 26:13-14

Kelly: Ministers of God were expected to remain among the poorest of the land which ate from the 2nd yearly festival tithe which was EATEN by all in the streets of Jerusalem. Why does not Hennessey practice what he reads here?

Hennessy: Hebrews 13:8 NIV He’s the same yesterday, today and forever

Kelly: That certainly does not mean that God wants us to stay under the Old Covenant system of sacrifices (and tithing). No tithe teacher obeys Numbers 18:20 and not own or inherit land and refuse to amass wealth? God’s character does not change but God does expecdt different things from man under different covenants and dispensations.

Hennessey: Matthew 23:23

Kelly: This is very easily explained. (1) Before Calvary Jesus taught complete obedience of the Law, including tithes to the Levitical system and not to Him or to His disciples. Otherwise He would have sinned. (2) Tithes were still only FOOD over 1400 years after Leviticus 27. Which church collects tithes from back-porch garden spices?

Hennessey: Hebrews 7:1-8 These texts do not teach tithing. They teach the non-Hebrew high priesthood of Jesus. 7:12 teaches a necessary change of the law (of the tithing laws from 7:5) and 7:18 says it was abolished.  Why do tithe teachers stop explaining Hebrews 7 before verse 12?

Hennessey: 3) Tithing Is A Benefit; 2 Chronicles 31 all.

Kelly: The only ones benefitting from Hezekiah’s mistake were the rats, birds and worms on the street. First, he had mistakenly ordered all tithes to be brought to Jerusalem. Second, there were no facilities in Solomon’s temple to store most of them. Read the whole chapter. Third, he had to build storerooms for some of the tithes. Fourth, most were re-shipped back to the cities of the Levites. Does anybody read the whole chapter?

Please stop abusing and twisting God’s Holy Word.

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD


October 7, 2018