LONDON DEBATE DETAILS PLUS
LONDON DEBATE TRANSCRIPT
LONDON TITHING DEBATE: POINT BY POINT COMMENTS
[BRACKETS] ARE ADDED COMMENTS BY RUSSELL E KELY
1. Mike 0350-1315: Gal 3:7 “God preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand.” Therefore the tithe is not part of the Old Testament like it has been argued. The tithe is part of the gospel because the gospel was preached in advance to Abraham.
[Russ: Galatians 3:6 “Even as Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” The “gospel” which was “preached unto Abraham” was “faith” that God would keep His promises. Abraham would be justified by faith as opposed to “works of the law” (3:10). Paul said this to prove “that God would justify the heathen through faith” also.
Galatians 3 is far from being an extension of tithing to the Gentiles (heathen). (1) The Gentiles could not and did not tithe in the Old Covenant. (2) The Gentiles were accounted as law-keepers while obeying nature and conscience which did not teach tithing (Rom 2:14-16) and (3) the early church refused to place the Gentiles under the burden of the law which included tithing (Acts 15:9-20).]
2. Jesus never condemned tithing. Matthew 23:23
[Russ: (1) Jesus was born, lived and died while the Law was still in full force (Gal 4:4-5). (2) The text itself says that it is discussing “matters of the law.” (3) As a Jew under the Law, Jesus was required to teach and obey all of it –including tithing. (4) If Jesus had condemned tithing or any of the Law before the Law ended, he would have been SINING and would have to die for his own sin.]
3. Mike: Paul, though he didn’t take tithes, didn’t stop the support he received.
[Russ: Later Mike will quote 1 Corinthians 9:14 to say that Jesus “ordained” that gospel workers would be supported by tithes and that tithing is “inferred” many times in the New Testament. (1) If Jesus had “ordained” a tithing law for the church, Paul would be deliberately disobeying Jesus. (2) If Paul had taught tithing for gospel workers, this would have been the perfect place to teach such. (3) If Paul had taught tithing for others, he would have insisted on being supported by tithes. And (4) Paul knew that holy tithes could not come from unholy lands or Gentiles. ]
4. Mike: Jesus Himself said the laborer is worthy of his wages. [From later in first ten minutes] So the laborer is worthy of his wages. So those who labor by the gospel should expect to be supported by the gospel. That is scriptural. That is New Testament.
1 Cor 9:14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
[Russ: The gospel is not of law; it’s principles are love, grace and faith. The Bible is silent on how much gospel support should be received. It is a matter of freewill choice from both directions. There is no statement that gospel workers must be full time.
Matt 10:10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.
Luke 10:7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.
The references to Matthew 10:10 and Luke 10:7 are to temporary evangelistic workers who were to return with no gain. Jesus did not even suggest that workers be paid other than minimum upkeep — much less by tithing (which would have been sin at that time).
Jesus was not authorizing his disciples to accept tithes while the law was in force! In fact, he told them to live as the poorest of the land while on evangelistic canvassing for him. “Take no script” means “no money bag or money belt.”
God’s Word never states whether or not gospel workers should be full time. Old Covenant Levites and priests normally only served in the temple one week out of 24 as their family courses rotated. The remainder of the time was spent in the 48/13 Levitical cities farming to feed tithed animals and learning essential trades for temple maintenance. See Num 34:2; Josh 21; 1 Chron 23 to 26.]
5. Mike: “When it comes to the principle of giving, you cannot take that from the New Testament.”
[Russ: “Giving: is an eternal moral principle written in the being of every man’s conscience. “Tithing” (giving ten per cent) is not.]
6. Mike: Jesus preached what the New Testament demanded.
[Russ: Jesus preached everything which the law demanded but not the New Covenant. (1) As a Jew living under the Law, Jesus must preach what the Law demanded or he would have been a sinner. (2) Jesus emphasized that the shadow nature of the law meant much more when it met the reality of righteousness (Mt 5:20). (3) Since the New Covenant was not officially in place until Calvary and not visibly introduced until Pentecost, Jesus could only show how the eternal moral parts of it would be magnified after Pentecost.]
7. Mike: “That’s why he agreed with certain things in the Old Testament like to prohibition of adultery. He said I will go further than what the law says. … [Mt 5:20-48]
[Russ: As a Jew living under the jurisdiction of the whole law, Jesus must “agree” with “the whole law” – not “certain things (Mt 5:17-48). (1) He stayed within the boundaries of the spirit of the Law. (2) He dared to declare His interpretation of it to be the true interpretation (“but I say”). (3) The point from Matthew 5:18-19 is that the whole law must either be in force or must end when its righteousness has been met. Verses 20-48 illustrate Jesus’ point by quoting from the commandment, the statute-ordinances and the civil judgments.]
8. Mike: “So he had every freedom to condemn tithing if he felt strongly that it was completely out of sync with what the New Testament would be.”
[Russ: No. No. No. Under no circumstances could Jesus condemn tithing while the law was still in full force without sinning. (1) He could not and did not oppose ANY of the Law because to do so would be SIN. (2) In fact He commanded those whom He healed to show themselves to the priests (Mt 8:4) and He commanded reconciliation before offering gifts at the Temple (Mt 5:23-24). (3) The Law of tithing was so completely out of sync with the New Covenant that: a) the Covenant ended, b) the priesthood ended, c) the temple ended and d) a priesthood not controlled by the law or any of its principles replaced it as prophesied in Psalm 110 (Heb 7:5, 12-18).]
9. Mike: Tithing to the Melchizedek priesthood was established by three witnesses: Genesis 14, Psalm 110 Hebrews 7.
[Russ: These texts only validate the replacement of Aaron with Christ.]
10. Mike: Abraham tithed out of faith and honor. So everyone who is in faith today tithes to meet Abraham’s level of faith and honor.
[Russ: As good as this may sound, it has no Scripture support. There is not a single text which even implies that Abram tithed out of faith and honor. On the other hand, there is strong evidence to conclude that he tithed in response to a well-known pagan Arab law of the land and had no choice in the matter. This is seen in many commentaries’ discussion of the 90% in Genesis 14:21.]
11. Mike: “And what did Abraham do when he was blessed? He responded with the tithe.”
[Russ: This text does not say WHY Abram tithed. His response could have been in obedience to the law of the land which required tithes from spoils be given to one’s local king-priest.]
12. Mike: For me the tithe represents more than what the Old Testament law says. It represents my heart of honor to God. It represents my faith in God being my source.
[Russ: Again, no texts but purely opinion which does not constitute truth.]
13. Mike: It represents me recognizing that, if I can put God first, and give him my first part, my tithe first, I can count on God to supply my needs.
[Russ: The tithe was never the same as “firstfruits” which were only very small token offerings. Compare Leviticus 27:30-34; Deu 26:1-4; Neh 10:35-39. The reason tithe-teachers call “tithes” “firstfruits” is to coerce ignorant Christians that they must give their first ten per cent of their income to the church before anything else. Later in the debate Mike will concede that this is not true when he says “by all means buy the insulin first.”]
14: Mike: (Give tithes first.) So we give our tithes to the house of God and we believe him for the ninety per cent that’s remaining and we trust God.
[Russ: Any pastor who has over ten faithful tithers automatically becomes the wealthiest person in his church.]
15. Mike: Thousands of believers have testimonies that tithing has helped them in their finances.
[Russ: This proves nothing and the moderator, Doug, later agrees. Gambling casinos use the same tactics as churches and present success stories while the great majority never sees blessings even after decades of tithing. Success comes to those who have a good work ethic, good preparation and work long hours –whether they are tithers, grace givers or even atheists.]
16: Mike: Tithing is a spiritual discipline and should be preached, but not as a law from the Old Testament, but as a spiritual discipline that honors God and puts our faith in God’s ability to meet our needs.
[Russ: Mike has switched from calling “tithing” a “principle” to a “discipline.” The two words are far from being synonymous. “Principle” is a basic unchangeable “law.” “Discipline” is “training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.” American Heritage Dictionary.
What Mike calls “principle” is really what theologians call “an eternal moral principle or law” which is the most foundational of all laws.
Mike tries to divorce himself from the O.T. Law but uses that same law to argue that “Jesus never condemned tithing.”]
17. Mike: So we give our tithes to the house of God and we believe him for the ninety per cent that’s remaining and we trust God.
[Russ: This implies giving tithes FIRST and believing God to use the remaining 90% for all other expenses.]
18. Mike: Now, I don’t know anybody who has become a giver of all like they say. Grace giving is so true, but I don’t know anyone who can give everything to God as far as finances are concerned who has not been trained with the ten per cent.
All givers must first be trained with the ten per cent. So I see the ten per cent at the beginning, the training ground, upon which now you can give twenty per cent or thirty per cent. But if you’ve never had that training and if you’ve never allowed the law to school you, you will not come to the place where you can give your all.
[Russ: Mike cannot bring himself to say that some cannot begin their level of giving at ten per cent. His argument is based on the false assumption that everybody in the O.T. began giving at ten per when, in reality, ten per cent only applied to food producers inside Israel. I will argue later that the training which prospers a church is in personal evangelism and soul winning sermons. Tithing is not the secret to growing churches. Many tithe-teaching churches never grow and prosper.
While Mike says here that you should “allow the law to school you,” he will soon say “I have taken the law concept out of the Old Testament completely.”]
19. Mike: Jesus never condemned tithing.
[Russ: This is repeated throughout the debate as a subliminal seed. It is dealt with in my closing argument with 14 reasons after he says it one last time.]
20. Mike: Give to the church. Let the church give to the poor.
[Russ: The second festival tithe and the third third-year tithe were shared with the poor and did not go through the Levites and priests first; they went direct to the poor. Doug will ask about giving to the poor later. Mike wants the church to be in control of most money for the poor.]
21. Mike: Paul had money.
[Russ: (Mike is mingling his view of the prosperity gospel into the tithe debate.) Paul told Philippi that it was the only church to help him in the beginning (Phil 4:15). He later told Corinth that he had received wages from other “churches” but the word used for “money” was “opsonion” which is meager soldier’s daily wages (2 Cor 11:8). Much later he boasted to the Ephesians that he had not received any support from them in three years (Acts 20:31-34).There is no implication that Paul consistently received monetary help throughout his missionary travels. This is very far from tithing. See my discussion about Paul’s work ethic at the end of my chapter on First Corinthians 9.
The early church considered it holy to be poor and martyred before AD 312 and poor in a monastery afterwards. They literally applied Jesus words in Luke 18:22 “Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.” That is why monasticism developed and survived so strong for over 1000 years.]
22. Mike’s point 19: Believers should tithe.
[Russ: This includes tithes from disability and welfare checks. Mike really allows no moral choice regardless of what he says elsewhere. God expects the tithe first.
If believers followed Abram’s example of tithing it must come from spoils of war, the believer should keep nothing and give the 90% to the equivalent of the king of Sodom. And, if the believer follows Numbers 18, he should tithe only to Levites and they should forfeit all land and property ownership and inheritance.]
23. Mike: Those who believe that they shouldn’t give the tithe should check in their hearts.
[Russ: Read this twice. Mike is criticizing everybody who disagrees with him as being out of God’s will. This not only includes myself, but also all of those great men of faith I list in my opening remarks such as John Wycliffe, John Owen, Charles Spurgeon, G. Campbell Morgan, Martin Luther and John Calvin.
He shows his true heart in the matter. He really has no sympathy with those who disagree with him.]
24. Mike: I’ve seen that the tithe was never condemned in the New Testament …
[Russ: Repetition with a subliminal purpose.]
25. Mike: … the tithe was an Old Testament practice. And we’re not supposed to practice the tithe in the New Testament with the spirit of the Old Testament. (1315)
Russ: No. While the Old Testament only allowed tithes of food from inside God’s holy land, tithe-teachers greatly re-define the tithe to include all increase from anywhere in the world.
Russ: Opening ten minutes.
26. Russ: Many famous English theologians have opposed tithing for the Church: John Wycliffe, John Smythe, John Milton, Oliver Cromwell, John Bunyan, the Quakers, John Gill, Adam Clarke, Charles Spurgeon and G. Campbell Morgan. The biggest two names are not Englishmen: Martin Luther and John Calvin.
27. Russ: My viewpoint is not new. It is not something that I should be accused of being a heretic for saying.
28. Russ: My first point is that I’m not against church support. A lot of people confuse tithes and offerings. I am fully for supporting the gospel. But I am for it because the New Testament giving principles given to us by the Holy Spirit and blessed by the Holy Spirit are, first of all, freewill, generous, and they’re especially sacrificial. They are joyful. They are not by commandment (2 Cor 9:7). They are motivated by love for God and love for man.
29. Russ: If the church were to get back to these New Testament giving principles blessed by the Holy Spirit, we would see a revival. There are too many people across the UK and the US and everywhere else that are afraid to come to church. They are embarrassed to come to church. They think if they come to church, they are going to go home being cursed because they have not to tithe. They go home because they feel inadequate that they feel unwelcome because they cannot put so much in the offering plate.
30. Russ: I am for giving. But I think the word “tithe” should be replaced by the word “sacrificial” giving.
31. Russ: Not one single thing taught by the church today concerning tithing is biblical.
32. Russ: The definition of tithing has been replaced by the church. There are 16 texts in the word of God that define the contents of the word “tithe” and in each text the tithes is always “only food, from God’s holy land of Israel, which God has miraculously increased by His own hand. Biblical tithes could not come from what man produced; they could not come from what man increased. They could not come from Gentiles. And, especially, they could not come from outside the holy land of Israel. I believe that the definition everybody uses for tithing is wrong.
33. Russ: Tithes were never money. The argument comes up, well they didn’t have money in those days; therefore the tithe was barter – you traded food for items. The book of Genesis alone contains the word “money” 32 times; the word “money” occurs 44 times before the word “tithe” occurs in Leviticus 27. So money was very common in the Old Testament. As a matter of fact, money was required for sanctuary service. If you were to bring a vow, if you were to pay a fine, if you were to pay the shekel (the head tax) – even slaves bought their freedom with money. If money was required in the sanctuary service, then I ask “Why was money never included in any definition of tithing in the Old Testament?”
34. Russ: Genesis 14 about Abraham has been interpreted wrong. I contend that, in the first place, it was not Abraham; it was Abram. He was still an uncircumcised Gentile in Genesis 14. He was not circumcised until chapter 17.
35. Russ: I point out that what Abram tithed was not a holy tithe. It was from pagan spoils of war which he had gathered from those who had sacked Sodom and Gomorrah.
36. Russ: The main thing I point out about Abram, or Abraham, is that nowhere does the Bible say WHY Abram tithed. I offer that, since Abram was born and raised in Babylon that he probably learned tithing from the Babylonians and that tithes in Abram’s time were the law of the land. This is new to a lot of people. The law of the land required that tithes of spoils of war be brought to your local king priest. And, therefore, Abraham was not obeying a command of God. I suggest he was obeying the common law of the land and that can be proven by many many sources.
37. Russ: Not everything Abraham did was motivated by faith. What do we do with this – Abraham gave the 90 per cent to the king of Sodom? So how far do we go with Abraham’s example as a father of faith?
38. Russ: In the Bible ten per cent was only a minimum standard beginning place of giving for food producers who lived inside Israel. Period. If you were a Jew living outside Israel, you could not tithe at all. If you were a Gentile you could not tithe at all. If you were a carpenter like Jesus, or a tentmaker like Paul, or a fisherman like Peter, you could not tithe at all because what you produce is not the increase that God has miraculously increased from his holy land.
39. Russ: In the Bible the tithe went, not the priests, but to the Levites. And the Levites were the servants to the priests. They did all the work of the temple except minister the sacrifices and the blood which is the important thing. They were the janitors; they were the skinners; they were the singers; they were the guards; they were the trumpeters; they made the bread. They did everything except minister the blood. They were the Levites. They received the tithe. And they, in turn, gave the best one per cent (a tenth of a tenth) to the priests. That’s the only time that the tithe is the “best.” It’s not even the “first.” It’s the “tenth.” And the priests got one per cent of the tithe.
40. Russ: The tithing statute is not Malachi 3; it is Numbers 18.
41. Russ: In Numbers 18, if you receive the tithe, you are not allowed to own land or property.
42. Russ: If you’re gonna teach tithing, teach all of it. If you’re gonna teach tithing, don’t teach ten per cent; teach 23% because in the Old Testament the tithe was 23%.
43. Doug: How did the tithe change from the produce of the land to money?
Mike 2415: When Abraham offered his own tithe, it wasn’t the produce of the land. It was the spoil.
[Russ: Mike sees no essential difference between Abram’s tithe and that of the Law. Abram’s tithe was not a holy tithe which God had defined and commanded. It was the law of the land and would hot have been accepted as a holy tithe to sustain God’s holy Levites and priests.]
44. Mike: There are principle, for example the principle of sacrifice. Abraham offered animal sacrifice; we don’t. But we still have the principle of sacrifice. So we can’t say that because we are not offering animal sacrifices then the principle is gone.
[Russ: Again, by “principles” Mike means “eternal moral principles” which are fundamental to man’s moral being and are revealed through nature and conscience (Rom 1:18-20; 2:14-16). Mike has trouble defining his own terms.
As C. s. Lewis explained in Mere Christianity, all men innately know the difference between right and wrong when it comes to eternal moral laws. Sacrifice seems to be an eternal drive because all tribes tend to sacrifice in an effort to worship a superior being. However that does not justify human sacrifice as many primitive cultures practice. Sacrifice only becomes a “moral” act after God has “spiritually revealed” what kind of sacrifice is acceptable to Him through “special revelation.” Therefore Mike’s use of “sacrifice” is too vague and too general to prove anything.]
45. Mike: So there is the principle of tithing. There is the principle of sacrifices. And any other principle you find in the Old Testament before the law that God sanctioned. The principle can still be maintained without the actual thing. So when the law came in, the principle of tithing was now being expressed through the produce of the land.
[Russ: Mike’s argument is that “tithing” is an eternal moral principle and the principle itself cannot be changed. Therefore Abram’s tithes of pagan spoils of war, the Law’s tithes of holy produce from God’s holy land and modern tithes of the increase of money are consistent. Yet it is ludicrous to say that these two are “maintaining the same principle.”
Just as his explanation of “sacrifice” faltered, so does this one. One cannot argue that the sacrifice of children on the altar to Baal compares to the sacrifice of Christ because the underlying principle does not change.
Again, just as God had to “spiritually reveal” through “special revelation” what kind of “sacrifice” He accepted, even so God had to “spiritually reveal” through “special revelation” what kind of “tithe” He would accept under the Law. The pagan “principle” of tithing was not God’s “holy” principle. Through the direct intervention of “special revelation” God told Israel that the “holy” tithe could only come what He miraculously increased from within His holy land. The pagan’s tithe “principle” was not the same thing as God’s “holy” tithe “principle.”
Mike received great applause from his church members who comprised most of the audience when he misquoted me and insisted that God does not change. Note: God’s “character” does not change, BUT God changes the way He deals with mankind. We call these changes “dispensations” or “stewardships.” (1) God changed the way he approached man after the fall in Genesis 3 and the flood in Genesis 6-8. (2) God changed the way he favored nations when Israel was established. (3) God changed the way he approached Israel and all mankind when he introduced the New Covenant. And (4) God changed the way He deals with sin at Calvary.
Like it or not, Mike himself points out that “the principle of tithing was now being expressed through the produce of the land.” That, friends, is a serious drastic “change” of the way God defined “tithing.” It was now a “holy tithe from a holy land” (Lev 27:30-34). And it was extremely limited and extremely exclusive.]
46. Mike: Now, if you take the produce of the land as the absolute definition of tithing, then you will lose the principles …
[Russ: “Giving” is the principle which even applies to giving of child sacrifices to idols. “Giving ten per cent from God’s holy land” is special revelation only for Israel.]
47. Mike: … because there are many other laws in the Old Testament that we do not practice the way they did it. For instance the principle of the sacrifice of animals. We say Jesus is the sacrificial lamb, but we still have the principle that Jesus bore my sins.
[Russ: He wanders. “Jesus bore my sins” is not a principle of sacrifice; it is the principle behind God forgiveness.]
48. Mike: So we don’t go back and do exactly what they did but we take the principle. So even in the New Testament we still offer sacrifices of praise. We still offer our bodies as a living sacrifice because of the principles.
[Russ: God’s Word defines the holy tithe (Abram’s was not a holy tithe) in 16 texts as “food from the holy land of Israel which God has increased.” The “principle” behind the tithe of the Law is that it was “holy” because (1) it came from God’s holy land and (2) it came from what God miraculously increased.” It could not be a “holy” tithe if it did not meet those two qualifications in Leviticus 27:30-34.
Another principle behind tithing is that the Levites receive the tithe as ministers in the sanctuary instead of land inheritance because God said “I am your inheritance” in Numbers 18:20-21. Using Mike’s “principle” allows one to ignore the 16 texts in God’s Word and “tithe” from pagan spoils, from pagan lands and from what man produced. His “principle” negates God’s literal Word.]
49. Mike: So, if you are looking at tithing purely as the produce of the land in the Old Testament, you are right.
[Russ: This is a concession that, if we literally interpret God’s Word, our definition of a holy tithe is correct. However, Word of Faith pastors rarely literally interpret God’s Word.]
50. Mike: But if you look at the principle of honoring God –
[Russ: Does the “tithe principle” mean “honor God with ten per cent” or does he mean “the principle of honoring God” produces the “tithe of ten per cent”? His use of “principle” is very inconsistent.]
51. Mike: –the principle of, even Paul wrote about that when he was talking about himself, defending himself, for not taking money, he said, “Is it not written, does the law not say, does the Lord not say, that they who live by it shall feed out of it” and he referred to Numbers 18 where tithing was the subject. (2629)
[Russ: Yes, 1 Cor 9:13 does loosely say “they who live by it (minister the law) shall feed out of it.” However 9:13 opens the door to everything used to support the Temple system and not only tithing. The Levites and priests were sustained by holy things such as tithes and offerings which the law said must only come from within God’s holy land. That was not a “principle of honoring God”: it was the principle that the food they ate must only come from what God’s holy land increased.
He is stumbling and wandering here. If the Lord commanded “that they who live by it shall feed out of it” referred to tithing, then Paul was actually DISOBEYING Christ while “defending himself, for not taking money.”]
Russ (2633): The trouble is the Word of God never calls it a principle. You are assuming that Abraham tithed because he loved God or was doing it in response or thanks to God and I am saying that the Word of God does not say WHY Abraham tithed.
You say that the principle is changed from spoils of war (well that’s an odd principle) to the produce of the land. … But how do you change a principle FROM spoils of war (that came out of Sodom and Gomorrah of all places) TO the produce from God’s holy land? … (2753)
52. Mike (2754): What about the sacrifice, or promise of tithe, that Jacob offered? Jacob said, “If you will bring me back to this place.” What he was saying basically is “You will be my God if you provide for me and protect me.” He wasn’t talking about the spoils or the fruit of any land. He was talking about his own labor and protection. So that’s why I use the word “principle.”
[Russ: This was before God introduced the “holy” tithe by special revelation through Moses.]
Russ 2928: You mentioned Jacob. Notice it is Jacob and not Israel at this time. His name is still Jacob. He is still the Supplanter. He is still the schemer. Jacob sets the bargain, the conditions. Jacob is telling God what to do. I hope we don’t do that in our churches today. “God, IF you bring me back safely and all this stuff, THEN I will give. That’s telling God what to do. That’s a little bit audacious and I think that story is a reflection, not of Jacob’s love and response, but his scheming with God. “I’m gonna make sure I get my share, God. I’m gonna tell you what to do. I think Jacob is a negative and, on top of that, Jacob’s gift was a vow. And by being a vow it was a freewill offering. It does not fit the description of tithing under the law.
53. Mike 3031: That is exactly my point. The tithing I am talking about is not under the law. That’s my point.
[Russ: Really? How can Jacob’s freewill vow match your statements that Christians should tithe to the church first and that those who do not believe in tithing should search their hearts?]
54. Mike: The principle I’m talking about here is not about the actual thing I offered as a tithe.
[Russ: Does this mean that modern tithing is not about our monetary increase?]
55. Mike: The principle is an acknowledgement that God is my source and God has given me the victory and I respond to him in that. From Genesis 14 when Abraham did that to Genesis 28 where Jacob promised that, I see a principle.
The point is that I see what deep in the Old Testament and I learn how God’s heart responds to it and I embrace God’s heart in the light of the New Testament.
[Russ: Mike is wandering here. First he says “So we don’t go back and do exactly what they did but we take the principle.” Second he says it’s the “principle of honoring God.” Third he says “The principle I’m talking about here is not about the actual thing I offered as a tithe.” And, fourth he says “The principle is an acknowledgement that God is my source and God has given me the victory and I respond to him in that.”
It would make much more sense of Mike had used the word “reason” for “principle.” According to Mike, Abram tithed because “God has given me the victory.” Jacob tithed as an “acknowledgement that God is my source.” Hebrews tithed because the food came off God’s holy land.” And, fourth, tithing is a way of “honoring God.” Yet none of the reasons are given in the Bible and they do not support his argument for an underlying principle.
If Jacob was operating under any “principle,” it was “greed” and “selfishness” which motivated him.]
56. Mike: It’s like saying, who taught Adam and Eve that killing an animal would cover their nakedness. God taught them that. So God taught them the principle of sacrifice of animals for sin was established. That’s what I mean by principle.
[Russ: If something has to be taught by special revelation, then it is not an eternal moral principle recognized by man because it has been written in the heart, nature and the conscience. Man looks at creation and realized that there is a Creator (Rom 1:18-20). Man knows instinctively that it is wrong to murder, steal and commit adultery. And man knows instinctively that he should give but he does not know instinctively that he must give ten per cent.]
57. Doug: Malachi 3:8-10. That is used to teach that we must bring ten per cent into the local church, the storehouse. It’s got to go to the local and nowhere else. And, secondly, if we do that, God is gonna bless us abundantly. So we better do it; otherwise we’re in trouble. Mike, is that what you are saying? Is that what you are teaching?
Mike: (3140): Once again I go back to my principle. When I look at any pattern in the Bible, I look at three sides of it. I look at the human side; I look at God’s side; I look at the enemy’s side; that’s the part that folks don’t look at.
When I looked at the Malachi account, it occurred to me that there must be something in the heart of God because Malachi don’t just take on the third chapter. Malachi had a string of corrections that he was bringing to the nation of Israel. How did they dishonor God; how did they get involved with divorce; and all of that stuff. When you look at each of those things there is a way it means something to God that they should not dishonor him, not to encourage adultery or divorce. So if Malachi was correct in this string of things that was going on and he now mentions the tithe. That tells me that God thinks so much about the tithe that he would mention it. Now before we get into the legality of whether or not they should do it. That tells about the heart of God that he is not pleased with these people because they are not offering their tithes and offerings. That tells me straightaway that I need to seek what that means to God’s heart rather than .. This whole debate is because some people are abusing it; some are using it wrongly and I – nobody should thrown the baby and the bath water away. We can correct it without doing that. We can correct the abuse of certain things. We can correct the excesses that are going on in the body, but don’t for heaven’s sake throw the baby and the bath water away.
The principle is that God did not like — if you take the same principle that you cannot commit adultery in the Old Testament, would it make it any less important? (3321)
Doug: But Mike, I want an answer to my question. Please, please answer my question.
Mike: (3333) I am a foundation specialist. If I say anything without building the foundation to it, you wouldn’t get the message clearly. The answer is this, Yes, I do not agree with those who take that scripture and slam it on the New Testament church and say you are cursed. Why? Because Paul already told us we are redeemed from the curse of the law. That’s number one. Number two, I do believe and I stand to be corrected, that the tithe should go to the storehouse. Storehouse in this context can be and should be the local church. And I know that I’ll be crucified for that.
Doug: So you are correlating the storehouse in Malachi with the local church.
58. Mike (3415): And, three, I believe that any act of obedience attracts a blessing. Abraham proved it when he offered Isaac. So I believe that obedience attracts a blessing. However I believe that our true motivation for any giving should be our love for God and our love for humanity.
[Russ: Now the “true motivations” for “giving” are “love for God” and “love for humanity” – not the tithing “principle.” This is exactly what I said in my opening statement.]
59. Doug: Could I just pin you down one little bit more? If you are giving ten per cent money, is the blessing that God’s gonna pour out that you’re not gonna be able to contain more money back to you?
Mike: That’s a good one.
Doug: It is a good one.
Mike: (3500) You see, the blessings of God are of multiple facets. And so many times when we talk about God giving back to us in terms of money, the answer is “yes” but not the way that everybody talks about it like “God’s gonna pour out so much money that they will not be room to contain.” Now that is not what I teach. What I teach is that God is gonna give you as much as your character can handle the blessing of God. God will bless you and wants to enlighten your coasts.
Doug: He’ll bless you with money because you have given money.
Mike: If you give money, God will bless you with money.
Doug: Forgive me for pinning you down. I’ll do the same to Russell.
[Russ: As a Word of Faith preacher, Mike uses God’s Word for his own purposes. He totally ignores the literal application of Malachi 3:10 and takes the liberty to re-interpret it as “God is gonna give you as much as your character can handle.”]
60. Russ: (3545) In the first place, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Owen and people like that very often say “The first hermeneutic, that’s called a principle of interpretation.” The first principle of interpretation when you look at the Bible is “To whom was it written? Was it written to me?” The book of Malachi was written to Israel. And in chapter 1:6 and 2:1 it was narrowed down to the priests.
In Malachi the priests were stealing from God. And they were cursed four times in Malachi 1:13-14 and 2:1-2. And I think the parallel passage in Nehemiah 13:5-10 shows that the priests had stolen the tithe out of the storerooms in the temple and the Levites had nothing to eat and the Bible says they went back home to their Levitical cities and they closed the temple down. So there’s another instance where the priests had stolen the tithe and I think this filters over into Malachi.
I think when Malachi says “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, it is not addressed to the people but to the priests who had removed the tithe from the storehouse in Nehemiah 13:5. I know that nobody has ever heard that, but let me narrow it down.
The storehouse in the temple was at most 3 meters by 6 meters or 10 by 20 feet and you cannot put all the tithe of the nation into a little room 10 feet by 20 feet [I Kings 6:6]. And it’s absurd. Hezekiah found that out in 2 Chronicles 31. They had to pile it up on the street so it would rot and the bugs could eat it.
The people in the Old Testament were commanded to bring the tithes, not to the Temple, but to the Levitical cites. Now where did you come up with that? Nehemiah 10:37 says that the people shall being the tithes to the Levitical cities. That’s because 98% of the Levites and priests lived in the Levitical cities.
I would hate to be a priest living 200 miles from London and I had to go to London every time I wanted something to eat. I think the whole text has been misconstrued.
61. Doug: So you are saying that the tithe there was not money. It was food that was given to the Levites and the storehouse was the literal storehouse.
Russ: (3825) May I add the text says “that there may be ‘what?’ FOOD. This is 1000 years after Moses. It is still only food. And Matthew 23, 500 years later, “Woe unto you scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites, you tithe ‘what?’ mint and (cumin) which are ‘what?’ FOOD. No mention of money. Tithe never changes from food from inside God’s holy land. That was the principle. The principle is that what you are tithing is what God has miraculously increased and not what you have increased by your skills and craft.
62. Man in audience: So if everybody is a kingdom priest, who do we pay tithe to?
Email: My parents are sick and dying. Do I give my tithe to help them or give it to the church?
Email: Unscrupulous pastors use intimidation and dishonor God.
Email: Guide only. Jasmine
Email: Blessed greatly after tithing.
Dale [Revelation TV employee]: Pro tithe testimony.
63. Doug to Russ: Taking some of those issues of people who have been blessed for tithing. We’ve had this whole comment that “yes” we should tithe to the church so they can minister to other people. Don’t you think we should tithe?
Russ (4641-4800): You take any 100 people and there is going to be 4-10 of those who are going to be blessed whether they are tithing, whether they are giving freewill offerings, whether they’ve gone to Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People and are good salesmen, or whether they are atheists and follow those same principles. You’re still gonna have a certain percentage.
We don’t hear from –the churches march these people up who have success stories on tithing, but what about the other 9 out of 10 who have been tithing for years and their family is still in the ghettos and the slums and they are not motivated, they can’t get a job, they’re not qualified, yet they’ve been tithing and tithing and yet they are afraid that, if they quite tithing, if I stop today, my money tree is gonna come in next week?
I see these people everywhere I go and they’re crying out. I see these people and say –my own wife says “I asked whether to pay my tithe or buy insulin for my husband, and the preacher told me that if I didn’t pay my tithe I would be cursed. Well, that’s multiplied over and over and over to our audience right now. There are people who are relating to that story.
I want him to answer that question. Do we tithe first and then worry about how to buy medicine, pain medicine for our dying mother or what?
64. Doug: I’m gonna bring that one to him. So what you’re saying is that success stories don’t bring about a principle of what we should do.
Russ 4813-4844: We serve a New Covenant God, not an Old Covenant God. God promised to end the Old Covenant and to bring in the New Covenant under better promises. And you cannot say God has blessed me because I have obeyed an Old Covenant conditional promise that if I tithe He will bless me. God is not there. God is not operating today in 2011 under the Old Covenant. He blesses us according to New Covenant giving principles.
65. Doug to Mike: When Dale was sharing (his success story) I heard a big Amen. In other words you feel that such stories like that prove your point. I can see it all over your face. But there are many many stories of people that actually have tithed and are in debt today because they have tithed. Therefore, surely, number one, those stories don’t prove a doctrine at all. And, secondly, there is this issue that “Here I am; I’ve so much money. Do I go and buy the medicine or do I give it to the local church?” Again, very emotive, but very real principle.
Mike 4940-5028: That’s why I like to go back to foundational understanding. You see, because if you don’t have the right foundational understanding and orientation, you are bound to run into these problems and you don’t have answers to them.
The foundation is Jesus Christ. Now, did he die just to make sure we went to heaven, or he had other things in mind? That’s one big question. Because the Bible says, “By his stripes we are healed.” And there are people who have been sick and died and went to heaven though Jesus made provision for their healing.
[Russ: Everybody eventually dies. Even those whom Jesus healed eventually died.]
66. Mike: The Bible also says he was made poor. Paul said that we through his poverty might be made rich. There is provision in Christ for us to come out of poverty. 5028
[Russ: Most of the uneducated unmotivated people in the ghettos who have been tithing for generations do not become rich no matter how much they tithed.]
67. Doug: Again, you would take that poverty totally as a financial thing. Is that right?
Mike (5035): It’s a whole all-compassing thing. You see, I came from Africa, so we understand poverty. Now you guys don’t have a clue what poverty sounds like.
Doug: There’ll be some British people that would absolutely disagree.
Mike 5054: The point I’m making is that, if Jesus Christ is all-encompassing, then it stands to reason, why is it that some people don’t get healed? Why is it that some people don’t get blessed?, the reasons can be multiple. However, as far as the provision is concerned, let’s get established the fact that it is so.
[Russ: Most people who stay in poverty do so because they are not motivated to work hard and get training for a better life.]
68. Mike: I heard him say that the God of the New Testament doesn’t bless you like that. I stand to disagree. The same God of Abraham is the same God of the Old Testament and is the same God in the New Testament. He hasn’t changed. [big applause] What has changed has been the method of our approach unto him. It’s not that God changed. The Bible says that I am the Lord, He changes not. So why would you tell me that the God who blessed somebody for obedience does not bless now when you obey?
[Russ: Like I said, the method of approach to God now is through New Covenant principles. God is not now operating under Old Covenant principles which have not been repeated in the New.]
60. Doug: Again, I know that I could let you go and you could preach for an hour. But I really want to bring you — because there is something here that is a real problem. There are people listening to us tonight that have tithed and have been blessed. And they’re doing O.K.
Mike: And he said they are a small percentage. (5212)
70. Doug: But there are people listening tonight who are in deep trouble because they tithe. And maybe they feel what you’ve just said does bring them condemnation (a word that was used) because you are saying that God didn’t want you to do that. Now how do you answer that one?
Mike 5233: I am not saying God does not want to bless. I am saying that as far as the provision is concerned, because, you see, I had a situation before when somebody prayed for somebody and nothing happened as if God did not want to heal that person. But I remember in the Bible when the disciples prayed for somebody, they said, ”Master, why couldn’t we cast out that devil?” and He taught them how to do it better.
Now that means there is room for us to grow and develop so, if there is somebody listening to me right now who has enough to buy their insulin and they are thinking whether to give it to the church and tithe, Please buy your insulin and stay alive.
71. Mike (5340): Because there is no law. Because I have taken the law concept out of the Old Testament completely, because the spirit of the Old Testament is the spirit of judgment. It is the spirit of do it or else. Now that is the difference. If you are not healed and not blessed, you can go back to God in humility of heart and God can show you what to do to get out of whatever quagmire you are in.
[Russ: What do you mean when you say “I have taken the law concept out of the Old Testament completely”? The Old Testament from Exodus 12 forward cannot possibly be understood correctly unless it is interpreted in the context of the law. The principles of tithing from Leviticus 27, Numbers 18, Malachi 3 and Matthew 23 can only be understood in context of the law. You quote Matthew 23 where Jesus mentioned tithing and use that as evidence for tithing but ignore its context of “matters of the law.” That is a poor hermeneutic.]
72. Doug to Mike: But you are saying yes, give ten per cent to your local church.
Mike: I am saying that, yes.
Russ 5347: That’s not what I heard him say. He said “Give the insulin and don’t tithe.” He conceded the point. And he misquoted me. I did not say that God doesn’t bless under the – I said that God does not bless today under the Old Covenant principles. He is a New Covenant God.
Russ: You misquoted me then.
Mike: I’m sorry then.
73. Russ: Are you from Nigeria?
Mike: Very much.
Russ 5413: I read stories every day on the Internet. And there are churches all over Nigeria where the people are living on dirt floors in shacks and their preachers are rich. And the government is getting upset about it. The government is about to change the law and put a stop to all that stuff. And don’t tell me that’s not true. I read it every single day in the African newspapers.
[Russ: Why isn’t Nigeria blessed? Where is the promised blessing of tithing if the Old Covenant principle still works in the New Covenant? Why are the preachers getting wealthy while church members are mostly not blessed for tithing?]
74. Doug to Russ: I’m not absolutely clear what you’re saying we do. In other words you’re clearly saying that tithing is not to be taught in the church. In practical terms, what are you saying that people should do?
Russ 5508: The first paragraph on my web site says I support church finances. I also say that a lot of people are really living above their means and therefore they can’t tithe because they are living above their means.
Second Corinthians, chapter 8, verses 12-14 gives the equality principle. I look at that equality principle as saying there are many in the church that could and should give more than ten per cent. A lot of rich people stop at ten per cent. “O.K. I’ve met what God requires.” A lot of people in the church should give more than ten per cent. But there are some people who are giving sacrificially even though only one or two per cent. Even that hurts them because they’ve still got to come home and worry about medicine and food and shelter. It averages out. Those who give more than ten per cent and those who give less –it averages out. And equality doesn’t mean everybody gives the same percentage. It means the principle that everybody gives to the best of your ability. Don’t set a percentage and don’t start at ten per cent.
75. Doug to Russ: So the principle is giving sacrificially.
Russ (5624): Sacrificially, as Christ gave sacrificially. Do not look at percentages. Look at what point –some people have never given to the point they might go home and miss it. Some people never reach that point. They have not given sacrificially. They may give a tithe but they have never given to the point that it actually amounted to something that they actually noticed it out of their checkbook.
76. Doug to Russ: And what you’re saying also is to be free as to where you give this, not necessarily to the local church.
Russ (5706): I think the local church should be foremost. At the same time I point out in the Old Testament, not one tithe in the Old Testament ever went to support a mission station where the Jews and the Levites and the priests took that tithe and went out and built a mission station to convert the Gentiles. There is no precedent there. [good audience response and view]. Neither in the Old Testament is there any time when the tithe was ever used to build the temple or church buildings. There is no precedent there.
If there is no precedent in the Old Testament, how can you say that today we use tithes to pay for missionaries? I’m all for supporting missionaries but don’t call it tithing. Call it freewill sacrificial giving.
77. Doug to Mike: Don’t you think, Mike, there is a problem here, that if you say ten per cent and if you say tithing, many people are gonna say that’s all I’m gonna give . … Don’t you think there is a problem even saying that tithing is a principle and not taking it completely out onto sacrificial giving?
Mike 5625: I see tithing as a discipline that you can be challenged to start. Because anybody who has the privilege to teach has gone from tithing to beyond the tithe. So when giving, that’s why I wanted to establish the principle of giving, that’s why I wanted to say that.
[Russ: The statement “Anybody who has the privilege to teach has gone from tithing to beyond the tithe” is not true because those who do not teach tithing teach freewill sacrificial giving. He switches back and forth from calling it “tithing” to “giving.” Again, “giving” is a principle but “tithing” is not.]
78. Doug: Is a principle a doctrine?
Mike : It is similar in many respects. I like what somebody said that “Don’t you think the tithe is obsolete now and not of God.” In a sense, yes because of the Old Testament way of practicing the tithe.
[Russ: First, he does not realize that by “principle” he means an “eternal moral principle.” Second, he conceded that “the Old Testament way of practicing the tithe is “obsolete now and not of God — in a sense.” This leaves him only to his own definition.]
79. Mike: I think I like what Russell has said as well about sacrificial giving.
[Russ: Sacrificial giving and tithing are not the same thing. While sacrificial giving is freewill, tithing was cold hard law.]
80. Mike: My question is, “How do you get people to the point of sacrificial giving if there’s no structured training that brings them to sacrificial giving?” … There’s got to be a teaching process that brings people to the place of sacrificial giving.” 5914
81. Doug: Can you come back to that, Russell?
Russ (5921): There are churches out there that have been teaching tithing for generations and they still have twenty or thirty members. The secret to a growing church is not that you teach tithing. I’ll guarantee you don’t teach tithing that often. I can tell. I’ll bet when you stand up before your church you teach soul winning and evangelism and salvation sermons.
Mike: I do. I do.
83. Russ (5943): And your members run out that door saying “Oh, I tithed today.” No, they say “People got saved today and I want more people saved and I want to give more to see more people saved.”
Mike: [hand gestures cheering]
84. Russ (5950): it ain’t got anything to do with tithing. It’s evangelism; it’s about teaching people how to lead others to Christ – [that’s your “structured training.”]
John MacArthur in the United States has a 20,000 member church. They don’t teach tithing. Everybody says “How in the word is our church gonna survive if we don’t teach tithing?” Preach soul-winning and personal evangelism. It’ll thrive and you ain’t gotta mention tithing. People are gonna run out that church wanting to give money.
85. Doug to Mike: You said, let’s start with the tithe and move up. It seems to me that so many churches I hear that teach tithing never get beyond that. Every week it’s tithing, tithing. You are saying “Let’s start with tithing.” I don’t hear that happening.
Mike 6046: Yeah, because you haven’t listened to me. … The point I’m making is this. You see, the whole concept of discipleship is process. And if we take the letter of the law and not the spirit of it, a lot of times we do more damage than good.
[Russ: “Structured training” and “process” sound more like the letter of the law than the spirit of it to me.]
Mike: In the sense that, for instance, when I hear, Should the Church Teach Tithing, my mind goes to Should the Church Teach Giving? rather than say “tithing.”
[Russ: Is this not an admission that the word “giving” is more appropriate in the New Covenant than the word “tithing”?]
86. Mike: Now if the word “tithing” connotes Old Testament alone, then you know you could argue a point, but if the word “tithing” means “tenth,” then I could say, “You know what, Abraham did it.
[Russ: This accomplishes nothing. It is merely swapping equal words.]
87. Mike: So, if I disciple anybody, for instance, I wouldn’t teach them once you’ve paid your tithe you don’t owe. I want to let them understand that, as a believer your whole life belongs to God.
[Russ: While everything belonged to God in the Old Testament (Ps 24:1), God only accepted holy tithes from inside His holy land.]
Doug: (tries to interrupt)
Mike 6155: So your respect for God’s role in your finances starts by you honoring God (very low voice) with your tithe.
[Russ: In other words you expect everybody to begin their level of giving at ten per cent.]
88. Doug: I’m not convinced that that happens with the word “tithing.” Don’t you think that many people take that word “tithing” and actually just look upon it as like the Old Testament and the ten per cent?
Mike 6221: Well, if they do that, that’s because they are either not living out the reality of the New Testament in themselves or they’re just limited in their understanding.
[Russ: The “reality of the New Testament” does not teach tithing for the church.]
89. Doug to Russ: How much of tithing is actually taught in the New Testament?
Russ 6240: Before Calvary Jesus mentioned it three times and, in each case he was actually condemning the tithe teachers. Jesus taught under the law. He was teaching matters of the law. And if Jesus had not taught tithing, he could have been a sinner. He could not have saved me. So Jesus had to teach tithing because it was under the law still. He also couldn’t have taught the Gentiles to tithe because they wouldn’t have accepted that. So he couldn’t teach the Gentiles to tithe.
Outside of Jesus, the only time tithing is mentioned is Hebrews, chapter 7. We believe the “first use law” that the first time a text is used it means more. Well, Hebrews 7:5 says “for the priests have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law.” So you’ve got the first time in Hebrews the word “tithe,” the word “commandment” and the word “law” appear. Therefore I say verse 5 is a key verse. [audience shown]
Well, you look at verse 12 and it says “for the priesthood being changed, there is of necessity a change also of the law.” It has to be referring at least to the law of tithing in verse 5 because it is the only other time in Hebrews 7 he’s mentioned the word “law.” Well, what was the priesthood changed to? It was changed from Aaron to Melchizedek. But was it changed from paying the tithes to Levi and Aaron –from them to the gospel workers? No. Because in verse 18 he said “Therefore there is a disannulling of the commandment going before.” Well, the “commandment going before” is “the priests have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law.” Therefore, than change was from the “commandment to take tithes” to it being “disannulled.” It’s been abolished. It no longer exists. I don’t know how you can explain that any clearer.
90. Doug to Mike: Can you explain that any clearer?
Mike 6447: Yes, I’ll try. Now what I read here is that he was saying that Melchizedek was a type of Christ. Now, once again, why would he be emphasizing that even the Levites gave tithe in the bosom of Abraham? What is the significance about that if he was trying to teach only the change of the Levitical priesthood? Why was he making it clear that the one who came in the person and type of the son of God to take tithes from Abraham and even the Levites who take tithes under the law gave tithes under the bosom of the loins of Abraham?
That must mean that God must think something about the tithe.
That must mean that God must think something about the tithe. That’s the way I read that.
[Russ: Hebrews 7 is not a discussion of tithing per se. It used tithing as a vehicle to prove that the priesthood has changed from Aaron to Melchizedek.]
91. Mike: So when I read the change of the Levitical priesthood, I also read the change of tithing from Aaron to Christ. (538)
Russ: What text?
Mike: What text?
Russ: What text says it was changed from Aaron to Christ?
Mike: The same one you just read
Russ 6545: Verse 18 says “Therefore there is a disannulling of the commandment going before.“
Russ: It didn’t change it from Aaron to Christ. It disannulled it.
Mike: Who’s the new high priest?
Doug: He said he’s using the word “abolished” which it said —
Russ: I’m asking for a text. He didn’t give me one.
Mike: Yeah, but —
92. Doug: He said he’s using the word “abolished” which it said —
Doug to Mike: Don’t you feel that the lack of teaching of tithing in the New Testament is significant?
Mike 6620: Yes, there is some significance there. Like I said when I was preparing for this I realized how much the opposite view has to say has some points. But what it just did to me was to adjust my emphasis rather than take it out completely.
[Russ: What is the significance of the lack of teaching of tithing in the New Testament? How did you adjust your emphasis? Why did you not provide me any material you had written on the subject until after the debate?]
93. Mike: In the sense that, if the New Testament saints do not teach it directly as tithe, but inferred it many times, cuz we read in First Corinthians 9 when Paul was speaking He said “Didn’t the Lord ordain that those who preach the gospel should live of the gospel?”
[Russ: Is First Corinthians 9 the “many times” tithing was inferred in the New Testament? How does “live of the gospel” mean “live of tithing”?]
94. Mike: And he also referred to “If we have sown spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap carnal things?” [1 Cor 9:11] and “Do you know that those who minister of the holy things of the temple and they which wait at the altar are partakers of the altar?” [1 Cor 9:13] and all of this was taken from Numbers 18 where the tithe was talked about.
[Russ: Again he is arguing from the law in Numbers 18 after saying “I have taken the law concept out of the Old Testament completely.” Notice he has no comment about Numbers 18 forbidding tithe recipients from owning and inheriting property.]
95. Mike : I’ll say. (long pause) O.K. So I’ll say that the lack of clear teaching on the tithe in the New Testament just helps me to see how I will adjust a bit but not completely take it out because of my understanding that it’s a principle that can develop somebody to the point where they can give their all to God.
[Russ: This statement appears forced on the video. Why is there a lack of clear teaching on the tithe in the New Testament? How did you adjust a bit?]
96. Russ 6738: First Corinthians 9 –he says that it infers tithing. Actually the text is self-destructive because–. First Corinthians 9:13 mentions about those who work in the temple were supported by things of the temple –but that opens the door to far more than tithing. It opens the door to all the offerings, the vows, the sacrifices, the firstfruits –everything, everything. So First Corinthians 9 is talking about everything in the temple sanctuary. Then you can’t say verse 14 says “therefore, even so we live by Christian principles.” Because that would force us to teach everything verse 13 teaches. The principle is in First Corinthians, chapter 9, verses 7 through 14 is that each vocation, occupation, provides principles for its own support. He mentions the herdsman, he mentions the soldier, he mentions the vine dresser, he mentions the ox grinding grain, he mentions the temple and he finally gets to [the church]. The principle for church support is principles of grace. We live by the principles of faith and grace in the New Covenant. That’s the New Covenant. He is setting a new principle that we live by it. (856)
97. Mike: Any comments from the audience?
Lady: I do tithe but we need to remember there is no condemnation for those who don’t tithe. [shortened]
Man: I firmly believe in tithing and there’s been a lot of talk tonight about condemnation of the church. That doesn’t mean we should stop tithing. [Gives good pro tithing testimony.]
Doug: Once again, there’ll be a lot of people who have a different view of that.
Michael Mantock: I come back to the question, is tithing a principle or a doctrine? The Bible is very very plain.
Doug to MM: You answer that question for us then.
98. Michael Mantock: He was blessed because he gave freewill from his heart. It has nothing to do with tithing. As Russell basically indicated, tithing has to do with Israel and basically with the fruit of the land. Nothing to do with Christians today. An example of Christians today –many Christians are under the bondage of false ministers who are stealing from them and they must be exposed.
Email: Pro tithing testimony
99. Email: “Peter, an Apostle had no money. Why didn’t he just start tithing to get more money? Why didn’t he teach poor people to tithe so the curse of being poor could be broken? [Russ is laughing] … Let’s root out the false teaching and give because there is reward in heaven.” Tony
Email: Pro tithing comment. People are in debt because they do not learn to live on the 90%.
Email: Do your guests believe that every word in the Bible is inspired? … So either we do what the Bible says or we don’t, but don’t make excuses. Tithing is a biblical principle. Ruth [edited]
100. Doug to Mike: It is an interesting point there that they are making. She says that we are to tithe 10% of our increase. Now, how do you work out what your increase is? What is increase? [edited]
Mike 7433: Anything that comes to you is increase. If it is beyond what you had just before you received it, it’s an increase.
101. Doug: The wages I get in are already committed. Surely all of that isn’t increase. How practical do you see this? [edited]
Mike 7501: That’s always the problem because, in the New Testament the focus is the heart and not the acts. If you don’t major on the heart in the New Testament you will always be faulty in the acts. So I cannot legislate to somebody and say “In spite of your mortgage, in spite of your bills, you must go and tithe because that is an issue of the heart for that person.
[Russ: Even welfare and disability checks? They are designed to meet your minimum needs. If you tithe from them, you are leaving some essential needs out.]
102. Mike : And that is an issue of the heart and the relationship of the New Testament with God in that person’s heart. Now that’s the reason why we don’t teach tithing from the angle of the law. We preach it as a discipline.
[Russ: “Discipline” is a learning process; it is not a principle.]
103. Doug: Tell us what the difference it. You’re saying that it’s not the law, but you’re preaching it to your people as a discipline which they are putting themselves under because you are preaching it.
[Russ: Good point. You call it a discipline or principle and not a law but your church members put themselves under it as a law because you are preaching it.]
104. Mike 7552: You see, in the New Testament, when you’re born again your heart has been affected. You already have a loving heart because your spirit has been recreated. You want to give; you want to love; you want to serve; it’s all established there. But you have a soul. Your soul has been trained in selfishness. You soul has been trained in all kinds of things before you came to God. So what we try to do is help people understand you have a relationship with God now. Now your soul needs to be retrained so that you can understand how to overcome the fears and the limitations that your soul imposes.
[Russ: This is really confusing. “Being born again affects your spirit but not your soul.” “Being born again” makes you a new creation and allows the Holy Spirit to indwell the believer so that his/her desires have been changed. Mike seems to be caught up in his own world of semantics.]
105. Mike: That’s the principle that the tithe comes in. If you cannot trust God, like somebody else said, it’s because of freewill; it’s not because of tithe. It is out of freewill because the New Testament tithing is freewill giving. It’s not a legalistic giving. Do you understand?
Doug: I’m, I’m, I’m trying to.
[Russ: Now he is quoting ME! How can anybody understand his constantly changing words? What is “the principle that the tithe comes in”? Does the soul “need to be retrained as a “discipline”” to learn how to tithe? I thought you have been saying that the tithe was a principle –an eternal moral principle—which is already within man. What do you mean “New Testament tithing is freewill giving?” When did the principle change? It was not freewill giving under the law.]
106. Mike: If you know that you’re born again and you know God owns you by creation and by redemption and everything you have you owe it to him, then you can bring your issues to God in prayer and God can stir faith in you. What is missing in most of what we talk about is the faith element. … The just shall live by faith and faith is of the heart.
[Russ: He has gone from calling tithing a “principle” to a “discipline” to “faith” of the heart. In other words, he is ended up with my argument that New Covenant giving is freewill. Tithing cannot be both a minimum starting place and be a freewill decision at the same time. Giving is an eternal moral principle; tithing is not and it is not of the heart. It was cold hard law and was required whether one was desirous and joyful or not.]
107. Doug to Russ: Would you agree with that, that everything we do is a faith thing … surely, to use that dreaded word, that principle is there in the New Testament of our increase we should be tithing?
Russ 7752: Mike has just spoken for about five minutes nonstop without mentioning a single Bible text. It’s oratory. He’s not basing his arguments on a single Bible text. How do you deal with that?
If Abraham gave his tithe out of faith, then what did he give his 90% to the king of Sodom out of?
Russ: He did that out of faith too?! Maybe we ought to take our 90% and go down and give it to the local alcoholic.
108. Mike: God Almighty made Abraham rich.
Russ 7848: When Abraham in Genesis 12 lied about his wife, he came out of that deal smelling like a rose. When Abraham does what he should do to earn something, he keeps nothing because God’s gonna bless him no matter what he did.
109. Mike: Why?
Russ: Because he’s His chosen vessel. He’s His chosen vessel. And we never read anywhere in the Word of God where Abraham ever tithed again other than the spoils of war.
Romans 8:2 says “for the law of the spirit of life in Christ has made us free from the law of sin and death.” That’s the New Testament law of love. It’s not the Old Covenant Mosaic law. It’s the law of love.
The Holy Spirit is indwelling us, God’s Temple. Therefore, as we yield to it we become sanctified and grow more and more like Jesus Christ and, as we do that, we want to give. … We want to give because our nature has been changed. (7955)
[Russ: If you are going to “amen” this, then you are agreeing that tithing was not already a pre-existing eternal moral principle within every believer.]
110. Doug: Deuteronomy 26:12 indicates that the poor would receive the tithe, not give them. … (and we’ve talked about the Levites that didn’t have anything else) but the poor were to receive their tithe. Shouldn’t we be making sure that our tithes don’t go to make people rich but rather the poor to have what they need?
Mike 8058: That’s one aspect of our giving. Giving has many aspects. We can give to the poor or we can give to the house of God, to the house of the Lord. Now, if you are asking “Can’t we give our tithes to the poor directly?”, my answer is that I don’t see that as the way to go. The way to go is to encourage the church like Paul told Timothy that the church should take care of their widows. So part of the giving that has been going into the church can be used to take care of widows in First Timothy, chapter 5. And tithe can be used to take care of the poor. So that’s the way it should go if the church is run correctly and you can have enough resources to take care of this and take care of that.
[Russ: Since the New Testament church was an assembly of believers and never had its own buildings, it was never called “the house of God” or “the house of the Lord.”]
111. Doug: You would say that the money that goes into the storehouse –those that are apt to give that money need to be very much aware that much of it goes, not to line the pockets of those that are rich and the nice gold suit (which I’m so glad you weren’t wearing tonight), but (seriously) to go to those in need.
Mike: To help the purpose of advancing the kingdom.
112. Doug to Russ: Don’t you think that’s good?
Russ 8215: Everything he said can be accomplished by sacrificial freewill giving. Proverbs 14:31 says “He that oppresses the poor reproaches his maker.”
If you’re gonna teach tithing, let’s teach everything because, in the Old Testament there were three tithes. … Let’s teach 23%. There was a second tithe that you brought three times a year to Jerusalem and the poor ate of it. And, believe it or not, the Levites and priests were always included among the poor in the Old Testament. Then there a third third-year tithe, which makes it another 3%, that was to be kept at home and in the villages that was strictly for the poor. So two of the three tithes were to feed the poor.
I think it is a crime to oppress the poor. I think it is a crime to make people who are on disability and welfare and government subsistence feel guilty that they have to give ten per cent of their government check (which I don’t see as a biblical increase at all) and then go home and worry about how to pay bills.
Doug: 2 minutes each to sum up.
113. Mike 8336: I think my case is pretty much made because #1 God, the Bible never spoke against the tithe in the New Testament. Not Jesus, not Paul. Now when you talk about tithing, it is all about honor and faith. If faith is absent, then you’re not living in the New Testament. He calls it sacrificial giving. I say, discipline yourself with the tithe until you get to the point when you can give your all and you’re not moved. But without the principle of faith, or the practice of faith as a lifestyle, you would not even know how to go about it because the element of tithing and walking with God has to do with your faith.
Now, if people are mad about what the word tithe just because of the way it was used it in the Old Testament, I will use the word “tenth.”
Doug: You don’t teach the 23%.
Mike: No, no, no, no. No, no, we don’t go that far. So the point I’m making is, let us understand the principle of faith in the background. … When I get saved, what has happened to me? Something has changed in my heart? What activated that in my heart? My belief. When I want to do anything in the New Testament, my belief must be in line with that. And so when I believe in what I am doing and I honor God with my substance and I honor God with my finances… And the law is not of faith. That’s why we don’t teach it as a law. Abraham and the likes of him operated in faith before the law. X
114. Russ 8546: My original statement was “Not one single thing taught in the churches today about tithing is biblical.”
He says there is not one word in the New Testament that says tithing is ended. Well, I’ve got 14 reasons for that: the tithe that went to the Levitical servants is gone. The tithe went to the Old Covenant priests; that is gone. The definition of tithe was food from God’s holy land of Israel; that’s gone. The tithe went to the Levitical cities; that’s gone. The tithe was Old Covenant; that’s gone. Hebrews 7 says the tithe was disannulled; that’s gone. The Hebrews at least are dead to the law; that’s gone. I as a Gentile never was under the law; wow, that’s gone. At Calvary the Bible says that Jesus nailed the ordinances to the cross. He did away with the handwriting of ordinances that was against us. Tithing was an ordinance, believe it or not, in Numbers 18. That’s gone. The temple is gone. The priesthood is gone. The Old Covenant temple and priesthood that caused the Levitical priesthood to be supported by tithes is now both indwelling me. I am the Temple of God. I am a priest before God and I do not tithe to myself. It’s gone.
There are 14 things about tithing that are gone. And, therefore, I conclude that tithing is also gone.