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FIRST-PERSON: Gleanings on giving
by Chuck Lawless, posted Jan 18, 2017, Wake Forest, N.C.

Lawless: Many churches struggle with finances. Some struggle because they simply don’t challenge and equip their members to give sacrificially.

Kelly: We agree that post-Calvary Spirit-inspired giving is sacrificial. While for some that means much more than 10%, others are giving sacrificially at far less than 10%. They obey First Timothy 5:8 and provide necessities for their family first.

Lawless: 1. We believe the Bible assumes at least a tithe given to God’s work.

Kelly: Wrong. How can the Dean of Graduate Studies be so ignorant as to not know the biblical description of HOLY tithes? They are never money or income or profit resulting from man’s labor. HOLY tithes were always only FOOD from inside God’s HOLY land which He miraculously increased. HOLY tithes could not come from non-food producers or from outside HOLY Israel. Although money is often mentioned even in Genesis, tithes never include money in God’s Word (Lev 27:30-34).

Lawless: I understand the arguments that the tithe is only an Old Testament obligation …

Kelly: You will not use God’s Word to defend His description of the HOLY tithe. They were never an obligation from non-food producers or from anybody outside Israel.

Lawless: … but I see New Testament obligations as even higher …

Kelly: There is no percentage or commandment to give a tithe. Post-Calvary N.T. giving is superior because it includes everybody in sacrificially giving – not merely food producers inside Israel.

Lawless: For us, the tithe is the starting point.

Kelly: Sounds good, but it is not scriptural and our doctrine should come from God’s Word in context.

Lawless: 2. We genuinely believe that nothing we have is ours.

Kelly: Correct and Psalm 24:1 agrees. However, even with Psalm 24:1, God only accepted as HOLY tithes food which He had increased inside Israel. You must reconcile that dor else stop teaching error.

Lawless: 3. We’ve learned that God never lets us down.

Kelly: True, but that does not make tithing a legitimate doctrine for the Church.

Lawless: 4. We budget well and spend wisely.

Kelly: Good, but your point is invalid. Thousands of atheists, agnostics and Muslims are financially enriched because they use good business practices. On the other hand, millions of the poorest “tithe” and never escape poverty because they do not use good financial practices.

Lawless: Some folks struggle giving to God’s work because they misspend the rest of their income.

Kelly: Your own argument proves that “tithers” are not automatically blessed.

Lawaless: 5. Our local church is the primary recipient of our giving.

Kelly: True, but that does not validate tithing. Numbers 18 taught that the first whole Levitical tithe went to only the servants of the priests and tithe-recipients were not allowed to own property in Israel or amass wealth. You sin when you do not teach the whole doctrine.

Lawless: 6. … our giving goes to missionaries around the world.

Kelly: Good, but not for O.T. tithing validation. Not one tithe was ever given to support missions in the Bible.

Lawless: 7. If we struggle with trusting God financially, we actually increase our giving to God’s work.

Kelly: If you are faithfully “tithing,” why isn’t God keeping His promises and giving you overflowing blessings? Your statement proves that the blessing was only O.T. to support a priesthood which ended. Grace giving is superior to Law-giving.

Lawless: 8. We do not claim our charitable giving on our income tax. … We seriously love giving. Early in our marriage, giving sacrificially was harder simply because we had less to give.

Kelly: I seriously love giving also. Listen to yourself. If sacrificial giving (tithing) was ”harder,” then the promises of Malachi are not working.

Lawless: Today, giving to support God’s work is one of our greatest joys.

Kelly: Not a single Bible text for validation. You must know that all of them are easily refuted using God’s Word in context. I invite you to a open dialog on tithing for all to compare.

Lawless ( is a vice president, dean of graduate studies and missions and evangelism professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.

SWBTS has two professors which disagree with you online: Adreas Kostenberger and David Black. In my opinion, even the President of SWBTS, Daniel Akin, disagrees with you concerning tithing.