RUSSELL EARL KELLY REBUTS RICK WARREN ON TITHING
June 17, 2012Special thanks to James Sundquist for supplying this information.
Note: Since there are numerous articles discussed here, some material is repeated.
DISCOVERING SPIRITUAL MATURITY
Second Base of the Life-Development Process
(beginning page 38 on the pdf copy)
Points 1-7 are not discussions of tithing. They are sound freewill giving principles. The “application” from Matthew 6:19-20 also has no mention of tithing.
3. Giving (not tithing) is a way to lay up treasures in heaven (not on earth) (Mt 6:19-20)
4. “Giving” (not tithing) is an antidote for arrogance among the wealthy. 1 Tim 6:17-18.
5. “Giving” (not tithing) results in God giving (back) to you in a greater measure (Lk 6:38). This return is not necessarily money.
6. Giving (not tithing) allows us to share in the lives of others. This is the prime example of post-Calvary New Covenant giving; it is sacrificial and, at times, even above our means.
7. Giving (not tithing) results in rejoicing for the giver. Notice the context of O.T. First Chronicles 29:9. The people rejoiced, not because they had been forced to tithe, but because they had participated in building the Temple so willingly and with a whole heart.
If Warren had stopped here, he would deserve praise.
Warren: HOW MUCH SHOULD I GIVE?
Kelly: The following discussion contradicts and is opposite to the previous seven points in which Warren taught that giving should be freewill and sacrificial.
Warren: Old Testament Guidelines:
Mal 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
Mal 3:9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
Mal 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat [food] in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
Mal 3:11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.
Kelly: Verse 8 is addressed to Old Covenant Israel (1:1-5) and to dishonest priests (1:6; 2:1). It is not addressed to the Church. The formula was tithes (from food producers who lived inside Israel) and freewill offerings (from everybody).
Verse 9, in consistent context, is also addressed to “this whole nation of you priests – every priest in the nation). This cannot be a curse for Christians because Christ ended the curse per Galatians 3:10.. In order to avoid the curse of the law, a Hebrew must obey all 600 plus commands of the law. God did not bless tither who broke other parts of the law (Gal 3:10; Deut 27:26).
Verse 10, 1000 years after first defined in Leviticus 27, still limits tithes to only food. Unless the “you” of 3:10 only refers to dishonest priests from 1:13-14 and Neh 13:5, the text makes no sense. The small storeroom in the temple could not hold the tithe of the whole nation, plus 98% of the tithe was needed in the Levitical cities (compare 2 Chron 31:15-19; Neh 10:37b-38; Neh 13:5; Mal 1:13-14).
Verse 11 also makes no reference to tithes of money being robbed because tithes were never money.
Warren: There are two primary terms used in the Old Testament that relate to giving. Tithing—is giving 10% of my income to the Lord.
Kelly: Wrong. Warren’s is NOT the biblical use of the word tithe; it comes only from man’s dictionaries and commentaries. There are 16 texts which describe the contents of the “holy” tithe as only FOOD from inside God’s holy land of Israel which He had miraculously increased. Tithes were never money. Although money was common in Genesis and essential for sanctuary worship, money is a tithed item.
Tithing is not “my” income unless you are a Hebrew food producer living inside Israel under the Old Covenant. God never commanded Gentiles or Christians to tithe because they never were under the Old Covenant law.
Warren: Offering – anything I give to the Lord in addition to my tithe.
Kelly: The “in addition to my tithe” is wrong. Malachi 3 reads “tithe AND offerings”; it does not read “tithes PLUS offerings.” Those whose income were from crafts and trades in the cities and outside Israel could only give freewill offerings.
Warren: There are about thirty references to tithing in the Old Testament. God’s instructions to his people were very clear.
Kelly: Warren quotes Leviticus 27:30 and Deuteronomy 13:22-23. He does NOT quote Leviticus 27:31-34.
Lev 27:30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’s: it is holy unto the LORD.
Lev 27:31 And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof.
Lev 27:32 And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.
Lev 27:33 He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.
Lev 27:34 These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.
Kelly: Verse 30 proves that Warren’s usage of the biblical tithe was only FOOD from inside God’s holy land of Israel. It was only holy if it came of God’s holy land and God had miraculously increased it.
Verse 31 teaches that tithes could not be redeemed with money; they must be redeemed with similar food. (A farmer might want to keep one plot of land for better seed.)
Verse 32 teaches that the tithe was the tenth and not the first.
Verse 33 teaches that the tithe is the tenth, and not the best.
Verse 34 sums up all of Leviticus which are laws for Old Covenant Israel (the vast majority are not followed by the church today).
Warren: Quotes Deut 14:22-23 –
Deut 14:22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
Deut 14:23 And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.
Kelly: Once again, Warren’s own texts disprove his own usage of the word “tithe.” It is still only food from inside Israel which God has miraculously increased under the Old Covenant context.Verse 22 describes the second yearly festival tithe.
Verse 23: Unlike the first Levitical tithe which went to the Levites and priests (Num 18:21-28; Neh 10:37b-38), this tithe did not go to the Levitical cities or temple. Instead, it was shared and “eaten” in the streets of Jerusalem.
Warren: These verses come from the Old Testament Law which was given to Moses.
Kelly: Yes, and they provide the definition and usage accepted and used by Malachi and Jesus. The definition never changed from FOOD from inside God’s holy land.
Warren: But even before this time Abraham gave 10% to the Lord (Gen 14:20 and Hebrews 7:2-4) and so did Jacob (Gen 28:21).
Kelly: Abram’s (pre-circumcision tithe) is never used as an example of faith for Christians to follow. The Bible does not tell us why he tithed; it does not say he was either commanded to tithe or did so voluntarily. It is highly probable that Abram was obeying the law of the land which required tithes of spoils of war to one’s local king priest. Abram a) only tithes pagan spoils of war from Sodom, b) kept nothing, and c) gave the 90% back to the king of Sodom.
Likewise, Jacob’s tithe (Warren omits Gen 28:22 was an example of his scheming; he set the rules; he told God what to do first. It was a vow and there is no indication that he fulfilled his vow. New Testament Guidelines:
Warren: In the New Testament there are very few references to the tithe (Mt 23:23; Lk 18:12 and Hebrews 7:2-8):
Kelly: Since Jesus’ teaching is prior to Calvary and Pentecost, technically Matthew and Luke belong to the Old Covenant until Calvary.
Warren: Jesus never told his disciples to tithe although he did commend the Pharisees for tithing (one of the few things he did right).
Kelly: The key phrase ignored by Warren in Matthew 23:23 is “matters of the law.” Jesus was addressing “you scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites” concerning their abuse of the law; he was not addressed the New Covenant church. Jesus used the Law’s application of tithing as “only food from inside Israel” – mint and cumin. Money was still not included. Since Jesus was born, lived and died under the full jurisdiction of the law (Gel 4:4-5), He was obligated by the law to teach tithing for Hebrews. It would have been sin for Jesus to teach either His Jewish or Gentile disciples to tithe – plus Gentile Christians would not have been allowed to tithe.
Warren: There is no reference to tithing in any of Paul’s letters or in any of the other New Testament books.
Kelly: Paul boasted about preaching the whole gospel. He was present at the first church council in Acts 15:7-21 which decreed that Gentile Christians would not be under the law. Yet if tithing were so important that it occupies mention in almost every church service, reason would say that the Holy Spirit would have made it very clear for the Church.
Also, like almost every other tithe teacher, Warren ignores the context of Hebrews 7:1-19. Verse 5 is the first use of “commandment,” “tithes,” and “law” in Hebrews and must control those words in the chapter. Verse 12 states that there is “of necessity a change of the law” (of tithing from verse 5) since Jesus was not from the tribe of Levi or house of Aaron. Verse 18 concludes that the “necessary change” (of 7:12) was –not from Levites to gospel workers—but, instead, the “commandment going before” (to tithe from 7:5) was “annulled” because the doctrine was “weak” and “unprofitable.” That is the clear conclusion of the context.
Beginning at this point forward, Warren returns to freewill giving principles found in First Corinthians 16 and Second Corinthians 8 and 9. In other words, he is using freewill giving principles to include and teach tithing. This is contradictory to his earlier statement that offerings are “anything I give to the Lord in addition to my tithe.” He is attempting to soften his tithe demand (HOW MUCH SHOULD I GIVE) by combining tithes and offerings into the same principle. This is inherently dishonest.
Warren: Instead of emphasizing how much to give, New Testament teaching stresses reasons to give, that is proper attitudes the Lord wants us to have.
Kelly: Why guessing at the answers, the New Covenant after Calvary nowhere commands a specific percentage of giving – and it appears that Warren agrees –at least here.
Warren: Quotes First Corinthians 16:2 from the NIV “On the first day of every week, let each one of you set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up …
Kelly: The NIV is the only major translation which interprets logia (collection) from 16:1 as money. This is very deceptive. The context for both First Corinthians 16 and Second Corinthians 8 and 9 is a need for FOOD in Judea because of a famine there. Money is almost worthless in a famine; it has little or no value. Paul was collecting and not money. If he had wanted to say “money,” he would have used the Greek word for money.
In reality there is not a single text from Matthew to Revelation which tells the Church “how much” to give (and Warren knows that very well because his pledge only asks for “sacrificial” giving). Even the Corinthian texts are not discussing support for local churches and local gospel workers. The summary of Holy Spirit-approved giving principles does not include tithing or any specific amount: freewill, generous, SACRIFICIAL, joyful, not grudgingly, not by commandment, and motivated by love for God and others. At times Warren seems to agree.
MY GROWTH COVENANT (pdf pg. 49)
Warren: Give of My Weekly Treasures to God. Commit to give sacrificially of my income to support my church’s ministry.
Kelly: As stated, this does not teach tithing. Warren should have stopped here. However, he went much further in his bully pulpit.
True and False Binding and Loosing,
Warren (per DeWay): The second covenant Warren’s church members sign (from class 201) includes tithing [eventually]. He has them sign a card they will carry: “The signed covenant cards are collected, I sign them as a witness, we laminate them, and then they are returned so people can carry them in their wallets.” There is a picture of one of these in his book. One side of the card includes: “My 1992 Growth Covenant,” “A weekly tithe to God,” and “Giving the first 10% of my income.” (Purpose Driven Church, page 349).
Kelly: I agree with DeWay who commented “But tithing is not binding under the New Covenant. By requiring people to enter into a binding covenant to tithe to the church, Rick Warren is practicing false binding and has made himself a lawgiver. Furthermore, by requiring such oaths Warren is practicing false “loosing.” Jesus bound us to His teaching not to make an oath and Warren has loosed the flock from Jesus’ teaching.”
SADDLEBACK CHURCH ON TITHING
Giving OpportunitiesTithes and Offerings
What is a tithe and how is it different from an offering?
Warren: The word, “tithe” literally means tenth or 10%. A tithe is the first 10% of your income. An offering is anything you give above and beyond the 10%.
Kelly: Yes, the word “tithe” literally means “tenth.” No, the tithe is not the “first 10%”; it is a contradiction of terms to call the tenth the first. The holy tithe was the tenth of the whole crop or the tenth animal, not the even best (Lev 27:30-34). And, “No,” offerings are not “anything you give above tithe. No text says that. The formula in Malachi 3:8 is not “tithes PLUS offerings”; it is “tithes AND offerings” – tithes from food producers from God’s holy land of Israel and offerings (Strong’s 8641) from everybody.
Why do we tithe?
Warren: The Bible says, the purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives. (Deuteronomy 14:23 TLB)
Kelly: This is a wicked lie; the Bible does not say this anywhere. Tithes were tenth-fruits, not firstfruits. Since Jesus, Peter and Paul did not get their increase from the land, they were not even tither. Read all of Deuteronomy 14. Verse 23 is in the context of the 2nd yearly festival tithe which was eaten in the streets of Jerusalem. Though money was required for sanctuary worship, money was never a tithed item.
Warren: Tithing is a reminder that God is the supplier of everything we have.
Kelly: Wrong again. Notice no texts. Tithing reminded food-producers inside Israel that they were on His holy land and that He gave the increase (Lev 27:30-34). Although God owns everything (Ps 24:1), He only accepted tithes from His holy land which He had personally increased.
Warren: It is also God’s personal invitation to an outpouring of his blessing in your life. Malachi 3:10a (NLT), God says this: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. …
a) God only commanded this to Old Covenant Israel who agreed to be under
those covenantal blessings and curses (Ex 19:5-6; Lev 27:34; Mal 4:4; Neh 10:29).
b) 98% of the tithe was needed for food in the Levitical cities since only one of 24 courses served at a time (Neh 10:37a; 2 Chron 31:15-19). Since the temple storeroom was far too small to hold the tithe of the nation, the text must be directed to the dishonest priests of 1:6-14; 2:1-10, 13-17).
c) The tithe was still only food 1000 years after being described in Leviticus 27; it never changed to money. Mal 3:10b “… Test me in this“ says the LORD Almighty and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
Warren: This is the only place in Scripture where God tells us to put him to the test. In other words, he’s saying, “Go ahead. I dare you. See if you can out-give me.”
Kelly: The whole law was a test – not merely tithing. One must obey all in order to receive blessings; disobedience to one brought the curse of the whole law (Gal 3:10; Deut 27:26). One could not be blessed for tithing while breaking any of the other commands of the whole law (Neh 10:29). Warren’s use of this argument reveals his lack of understanding of consistent hermeneutics (principles of interpretation) concerning the Law and Grace. And he uses bad Bible versions (Almighty is not in the Hebrew).
Is God wise? Do you trust him?
Warren: These are two fundamental questions behind the act of giving. If God is wise, then you should listen to what he says about financial stewardship.
Kelly: When Warren retreats to the Old Covenant to teach finances, he does not trust the Holy Spirit to give the Church the truth it needs after Calvary in the New Covenant. 1 Cor 9:14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. Each vocation has its own principles (9:7-14). The law required many kinds of support (9:13). “Even so” the gospel has its own principles. “Living of the gospel” means “living by grace and faith” – not by law principles. Warren has no authority to pull tithing out of over 600 commands of the law.
There are over 44 texts in the Law which forbid this, including Warren own pet text, Matthew 5:19 (which he uses out of context).
Ex 19:5; 23:22; 24:3, 7; Lev 19:37; 20:22; 26:14-15; Num 15:40; Deu 5:1, 29, 31; 6:2, 24-25; 8:1; 11:8, 22, 32; 12:14, 28; 13:18; 15:5; 17:19; 19:9; 26:16-19; 27:1; 28:1, 15, 45, 58; 29:29; 30:2, 8; 31:12; 32:46; Josh 1:7-8; 22:5; 23:6; 1 Kg 2:3; 6:12; 8:58; 9:4; Jer 7:23; 1:4; 2 Chron 33:8; Matt 5:19; 22:40; Gal 5:3; James 2:10.
The “wisdom of God” also forbade recipients of Levitical tithes from owning and inheriting property. Why not apply that one? (Num 18:20-26; Deu 12:12; 14:27, 29; 18:1, 2; Josh 13:14, 33; 14:3; 18:7; Eze 44:28). Only Aaronic priests were allowed to enter the sanctuary? Why not apply that one? Anybody else attempting to enter the sanctuary was to be killed. Why not apply that one? (Num 18:21-28).
Warren: If you trust him, then you should trust him with all aspects of your life, including your finances.
Kelly: Instead of trusting his church members to do what is right, Warren forces them to sign a pledge and threatens the pre-Calvary curse on violators -– that is the opposite of trust. A handshake used to be sufficient; that kind of trust is gone. That part of Israel’s Old Covenant law which applies to the Church has been clearly repeated by the Holy Spirit to the Church after Calvary. God did not leave out anything as important as giving and Warren is not God’s new prophet to complete God’s Word. “Trusting God” includes accepting His counsel to the New Covenant Church.
Warren: So go ahead. Accept God’s invitation to put him to the test.
Kelly: Warren is out of order and out of covenantal context.
Neh 10:29 They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God’s law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes. [The whole law; this is Malachi’s audience.]
Mal 4:4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. [The whole law – commandments, statutes and judgments—must be obeyed to receive the blessings of tithing.]
Warren: Start tithing faithfully and watch what he does in and through your life.
Kelly: Tithe-teaching churches only parade the success stories to the pulpit. The percentage of success stories is probably the same for even atheists, agnostics, Buddhists and Muslims who apply secular success principles and salesmanship. The largest percentage of faithful “tithers” has always lived in the ghettos of America – and still does! Tithe preachers take advantage of their ignorance and suck their meager earnings like leeches. They deserve the condemnation of God.
Warren: GIVE YOUR TITHE
Kelly: Nobody can and nobody does give a true holy biblical tithe today. Abram’s pre-circumcision tithe is not an example of faith; it was not holy, not commanded, and not used as an example of tithing in the law or by Jesus. True holy tithes were always only food from holy Israel; that definition never changed from Leviticus 27:30-34 to Malachi 3:10 to Matthew 23:23. Support the gospel financially, even sacrificially, but do not call it tithing
BIG THINK.COM VIDEO
Warren Answers Questions
Question: What is a “reverse tithe”?
Rick Warren: The Bible talks about giving 10% of your income to charity — to the Lord’s work.
Kelly: Be honest Mr. Warren. Your statement was only true for Hebrews living inside God’s holy land under the Old Covenant and harvesting food off that holy land which God had miraculously increased. The “you” is never the church because God never commanded Christians to tithe. And the “Lord’s work” referred to Levites and priests who, in turn, were not allowed to own or inherit property in Israel (Num 18:21-28). God gave better giving principles to the church based on the sacrificial example of Jesus (2 Cor 8 and 9). Biblical tithing is never described or defined as money. Money was common even in Genesis and was essential for sanctuary worship, but money was never included in 16 texts which describe the contents of the holy tithe.
Warren: And so when Kay and I got married 32 years ago, we started giving 10% of everything we made to help other people.
Kelly: While this is praiseworthy, it is not commanded in God’s Word for Gentiles and Christians who never were “under the law.” Even in the Old Covenant, while God owned everything (Ps 24:1), He only accepted as holy tithes food from His holy land.
Warren: And at the end of the first year we raised it to 11%. At the end of our second year of marriage we raised it to 12%. In the third year we raised it to 13%. Now why were we doing this?
Kelly: Good for him. Notice the “why” is not “because God commanded it.”
Warren: We just wanted to learn to be generous. In fact, we didn’t tell anybody about it for over 30 years. Sometimes when we’d have a very successful year, we’d raise our giving three, four, five percent. And so we’re not at the point after 32 years of marriage, we give away 90% and we live on 10%. That has been a lot of fun.
Kelly: Is this boasting? Any writer would love to have aisle-end displays of his/her books in every single major bookstore and grocery store in the country! That feat is extremely rare. Any author would gladly agree to such bargain and live off the 10%.
Warren: Now honestly the impact of what to do with the money was the easy thing – just give it away. The hard thing is what do I do with the fame? What did I do with the notoriety? Not the affluence, but the influence. …….
Kelly: What did you do with the “notoriety” and “influence”? Do an Internet search and read the complaints of your bullying and “lording it over” others to have your own way. You became a bully.
Warren: … Solomon was saying there that the purpose of influence is to speak up for those who have no influence. That was a very strong impact on my life, and I’ve committed my life to doing that very thing – using whatever affluence or whatever influence I have to make a difference and speak up for those who have no influence.
Kelly: Does that include forcing your opinions upon others?
From FBC Jax Blog, 09-2011
Robert Morris at Warren’s Saddleback Church: “Just from a business point of view, that’s a good deal for 10%, to have God rebuking the devil for you. …God is saying ‘Listen, you’re living in this cursed financial system; I would like to redeem your finances, protect your finances, from this world’s system. The only way I can do it, though, is if you will recognize me first every time you get paid. If you will give me the tithe, I will redeem the rest of your finances out from under the curse.'”
Kelly: We serve a God whose stewardship principles are found in the New Covenant after Calvary. Christians and Gentiles never were under the “curse” of Israel’s Old Covenant. Even if we had been, Christ ended that curse at Calvary (Gal 3:10-13). The “curse” applied to obedience to the whole law and not merely tithing (Gal 3:10; Deut 27:26; Deut chapters 28-30). It is severe twisting of God’s Word to imply that God owes a blessing to an O.T. tither who broke any other part of the whole law. Salesmanship books like Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People are successfully used by atheists, Muslims, and Buddhists. They prosper without being Christians and without tithing. Tithing is not a universal principle found in the heart, but the law of sowing and reaping is.
FIRSTFRUITS: Not only do Warren and most tithe-advocates falsely teach that Christians must give 10% of their income to the church, they further distort God’s Word by teaching that such must be the “first” 10% before any other bills are paid. The Bible teaches neither. The word “tithe” means “tenth,” – not “first.” The true holy biblical tenth was always only food after the whole crop had been harvested, or else every tenth animal (whether good or bad; Lev 27:30-34).
Like tithes, O. T. “firstfruits” were only “food” from inside God’s holy land of Israel. “Firstfruits” were always only very small token offerings; do your own study of the word (Deut 26:1-4; Neh 10:35-37a; Prov 3:10). These definitions and applications of “tithes” and “firstfruits” are nowhere repeated to the church after Calvary in the New Covenant.
There simply is no consistent principle (hermeneutic) for doing such. In the New Covenant, Paul clearly commanded Christians:
1st Tim 5:8 “But if any provide not for his own and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
In other words, “Do not give your first income to the church! Buy your medicine first! Pay your essential utility bills and food first! Take care of your family needs first! Otherwise, YOU (Warren, Morris and tithe-teachers who equate firstfruits with tithes) are worse than an infidel, pagan, or unbeliever.” That definitely supersedes the false doctrine of New Covenant firstfruits.
Warren: The purpose of tithing is to teach you to always put God first in your lives (Deut 14:23).
Deut 14:23 And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.
First: Context: This is the second of three tithes plus firstfruits which were brought to Jerusalem by Hebrews from God’s holy land during the three yearly festivals. Gentiles and non-Hebrews were not commanded (or even allowed) to do this.
Second, the tithe was still only “food” from inside God’s holy land; it was not money or income from tradesmen and craftsmen who lived in the cities of Israel.
Third, it was “eaten” in the streets of Jerusalem during the three yearly feasts; it was NOT brought to the Temple or Levitical cities. And it was not given exclusively to the Levites and priests as was the first tithe of Numbers 18:21-28.
Neh 10:35 And to bring the firstfruits of our ground, and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, unto the house of the LORD:
Neh 10:36 Also the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests that minister in the house of our God:
Neh 10:37a And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God …
Fourth, Deuteronomy 14:23 does not equate tithes of food with firstlings of animals. The firstfruits of food and the firstlings (firstborn) of clean animals were clearly brought to the temple per Neh 10:35-37a.
Neh 10:37b … and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
Neh 10:38 And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.
Neh 10:39 For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God.
Fifth, the first whole Levitical tithe was brought, not to the Temple, but to the Levitical cities per Neh 10:37b. Only the Levites and priests where commanded to bring the tithe (as needed for the individual courses) to the temple per Nehemiah 10:37ib-39. This is totally ignored by tithe teachers. Sixth, the stated “purpose” was “that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.” Warren has added to God’s Word by completely changing the text to say it teaches us to put God first – to “fear” – not to “put God first.”
Warren: Tithing is the spiritual habit of giving back to God the first 10 percent of all I make.
Kelly: Notice no Bible texts quoted to support this for New Covenant Christians. It is strange that he avoids using either “law” or “principle” here. Perhaps he knows that both are wrong. Spiritual “laws”, or “principles,” such as “giving” are written in the heart and nature but O.T. tithing must be spelled out. And, of course, the Bible never calls tithing or firstfruits a “habit.”
Warren: … I give 10 percent back to him (God). Why do that? — Because God says so and that’s reason enough.
Kelly: Please show us WHERE God commands His Body, the Church to tithe. The flow from Hebrews 7:5 to 7:12 to 7:18 teaches otherwise. God does NOT “say so” – unless you are an Old Covenant Hebrew living INSIDE God’s holy land and working as either a farmer or herdsman! Period! Check it out. Stop the lie! Money was very common even in Genesis. It was even required for temple head taxes, fines and vows, but money is never a tithed item.
Warren: If you don’t do it, you’re disobeying God.
Kelly: Warren is disobeying God by teaching a false doctrine and Warren is playing God by demanding it as an oath even above essential medicine and survival needs. Again, you should tithe only if you are an Old Covenant Hebrew growing food inside God’s holy land (which includes nobody today). This idea reflects an erroneous concept of the Old Covenant Law. One must obey ALL in order to be blessed; violation on one point brought blessings. It is wrong to separate tithing from its context of the whole law (Neh 10:29; Mal 4:4; Ex 19:5-6; Lev 27:34).
Warren: But there’s another reason, Jesus says “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Mt 6:21 NLT. Today’s verse explains that “purpose of tithing is to teach you to always put God first” in your life.”
Kelly: Another erroneous reference to Deuteronomy 14:23. Matthew 6:21 is not a reference to tithing.
Warren: If I say “God, I want you to be number one in my life,” but he’s last place in my budget, that’s a contradiction.
Kelly: You contradict when you pretend to be a New Covenant believer who retreats to Old Covenant giving principles designed to support a system which has been replaced. Your statement proves that you do not have a consistent working principle of interpretation for the Law, plus you ignore First Timothy 5:8. The New Covenant post-Calvary giving principles are: freewill, generous, SACRIFICIALLY, joyfully, not grudgingly, not by commandment, and motivated by love for God and others (2 Corinthians 8 and 9). Since those are sufficient for the Holy Spirit, they should be sufficient for Warren.
Warren: The issue here is where you place God in your list of priorities. Your finances simply reflect what those priorities are. What do your finances reveal about the priority of God in your life?
Kelly: What does God think of a person (and there are many) who “tithes” as “firstfruits” and then has to do without pain medication, anti-cancer medication, and food and necessary shelter for his/her family? You sound heartless and without compassion for the truly needy and truly suffering.
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD, is the author of Should the Church Teach Tithing? A Theologian’s Conclusions about a Taboo Doctrine.
If Warren desires to enter and open extended dialog on this subject, he will be welcomed on an open forum.