Geoff Woodward’s Tithing Hermeneutics
Rebuttal by Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
Geoff Woodward, Senior Pastor, Metrochurch, Perth, Western Australia, recently preached a sermon entitled “Ten Reasons Why the Tithe is Terrific.”
Woodward: “One of the staff actually said I have been coming to this church for nearly twelve months and I didn’t know what the tithe even was or anything about it.”
Comment: Odd. Mega-churches which teach tithing are extremely careful to insure that their staff members tithe to portray an example of obedience to the doctrines of the church.
Woodward goes into great detail and repetition to impose his personal principle of interpretation. He says “The Old Testament begins with all the laws of God internal. … All of the laws of God are not written down. They’re not even spoken. They’re just a part of God’s creation. They’re what God made, they’re unwritten laws that He put in the DNA of humanity.”
Comment: “All of God’s laws” is never defined. Different denominations use this term to refer to (1) only the Ten Commandments, (2) the 613 laws of the Pentateuch found in the Law of Moses, (3) everything God revealed to national Israel from Genesis to Malachi or (4) the moral laws written into the heart and conscience of mankind and revealed in God’s creation.
Rom 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shown it unto them.
Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.
Rom 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
Rom 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
Rom 2:13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
Rom 214 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
Rom 2:15 Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
Rom 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world.
The principles of “nature” and “conscience” are not defined by Christendom as the 6l3 commandments of the Law of Moses. They are the inner moral laws or the revelation of God’s character to mankind which are not given through special revelation. The inner light reveals only the moral aspects of the Ten Commandments plus much more: (1) there is one God, (2) idolatry is wrong, (4) children should respect parents, (4) set aside time to worship God, (6) human life is sacred, (7) one should not take another’s possessions, (8) honesty honors God and (9-10) covetousness is unprofitable. Those are the things that Gentiles who never heard the literal Law were acknowledging as standards of righteousness in their conscience. However, things like which day to worship, how much to give and to whom it should be given are not found in nature nor in the conscience of mankind without specific special revelation.
Woodward has invented his own definition of natural DNA revelation and has included exact ten per cent tithing to a storehouse church as eternal moral law written in the heart. His definition is absurd to say the least. His definition of “law” implies that it includes only that part of the Law of Moses which he personally thinks should be kept – tithing—and discards most of the other 613 commandments.
Woodward: “Then at the time of Moses’ law, He writes them all down in incredible detail.”
Comment: This statement confirms that Woodward’s usage of “law” refers to the entire Law of Moses –all of 613 commandments. To Woodward it is the same law which had formerly only been known through nature and our DNA. It would be unwise for Woodward to include the laws which allowed Israel to own slaves and kill children who cursed or struck parents, etc.
Covenant Theology which discards national Israel in prophecy and replaces it with the Church uses this hermeneutic: ‘Everything in the Old Covenant applies to the New Covenant except that which has been specifically abolished such as the statutes and judgments of the Law.’
Dispensational Theology which includes national Israel in prophecy uses the opposite hermeneutic: “Nothing in the Old Covenant applies to the New Covenant after Calvary except that which has been specifically repeated in terms of grace and Calvary.’
Compromise Theology (my term): At least these two schools of thought have a consistent hermeneutic! All other schools of theology blend the two and leave it up to the individual pastor to decide (without a consistent hermeneutic) what part of the Law to carry over into the New Covenant.
In practical application neither of these two hermeneutics teach law-tithing because it was included in the abolished worship statutes. In order to retain tithing many from both schools stand solely on the pre-law tithing of Abraham and Jacob. Woodward’s hermeneutic goes beyond Abraham to make it an eternal moral law of nature.
Woodward: “Then Jesus comes, and He declares the promise of Isaiah. He says, “and that day I will write my laws inside them again.” So they become internal all over again.”
Comment: This is really a reference to Hebrews 8:8-13 which is quoting from Jeremiah 31. 31-34. However Woodward’s statement says far too much because he forces all 613 commandments of the Law of Moses to be placed within the hearts of New Covenant Christians. Yet there is no instance from either Jesus or Paul encouraging putting to death adulterers, fornicators, Sabbath-breakers or disobedient children. In fact Jesus and Paul seem to have displayed great leniency in these areas of the law.
Woodward: “But then in the law of Moses in Exodus 21 verse 12, He says if you take another’s life you’ve gotta forfeit your own.”
Comment: Sit down and read all of Exodus 21. The first 11 verses command you to take care of your slaves. This is also the chapter that commands you to kill your disobedient children. If this same identical law has been written in the heart of every believer then Christians should be bringing their children to the state to be put to death.
Woodward: “Let’s have a quick look at Matthew 5:21, 22. Some people say if it’s a part of the Law, Jesus did away with all that. No he didn’t. He actually internalized it and in one sense made it even more imprinted deeply than it had been before.”
Matt 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Comment: Woodward’s hermeneutic has great difficulty explaining Matthew 5:19. It is either ALL of the Law or NONE of the Law! Woodward’s own hermeneutic does not permit him to delete any of the whole law from 5:20-48.
When Jesus said “But I say unto you” he was speaking to his Jewish audience which was still completely under the jurisdiction of the law. A consistent workable hermeneutic is essential to properly understand what Jesus meant in its context of the Law. What part did Jesus “do away with”? – all?, none?, or only what you decide?
Woodward: “When Cain killed Abel, God never said, “Oh heck I forgot to make a law about that. Oh darn, slipped my mind completely. Oh well I guess I can’t do anything cause after all there was no law. There was no law of humanity.”
Comment: This kind of humor is arrogance. Jesus did not insert humor into his sermons. And God doesn’t say “heck” (hell) and “darn” (damn). In fact God did not have Cain killed for murder because the full punishment part of the law was still distant.
Woodward: “And so you’ve gotta understand that when you come to principles like the tithe that they are not, they don’t begin with the Mosaic… If they began with the Mosaic Law, and Jesus does away with them, then you don’t need to live by them. But if they were a part of humanity before, if they were internal then God made them external then Jesus makes them internal again, then they are a part of
our life today. Just like not murdering is a part of the Christian life!”
Comment: All of this lead-up was merely to make a point that tithing was a eternal moral part of mankind since the very beginning and a part of the DNA of humanity!!! However, while freewill giving is clearly written in the heart of most men and women, the special revelation of ten per cent is neither found in nature nor conscience. It is extremely unlikely that the Gentiles from Romans 1:19-20 and 2:11-16 were tithing to Yahweh.
DEFINING THE TITHE
Woodward: “Tithe is ten percent of your increase. That’s how the Bible defines it.”
Comment: Although money was an essential everyday secular and worship item, in 16 of 16 Bible texts the tithe is always only food from farmers and herdsmen inside of national Israel. A word search of “money” in the Pentateuch, including Genesis, shows how very common it was. And tithes could not come from pagan hands or pagan lands. The “increase” was a miracle only from God’s hands and did not include what man increased from his own skill and hands.
Woodward: Gen 14:20: “Abram gave him a tithe of all. That was all his increase.”
Comment: Heb 7:4 “… Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.” Abraham (1) only gave a tenth of the spoils of war which were not holy tithes but were from the land of Sodom and Gomorrah; (2) gave nothing of his personal property; (3) gave only once in record; (4) gave the 90% to the king of Sodom and (5) probably also gave tithes to the Philistine Abimelech when he was living in his territory. None of these are examples for Christians.
Woodward: “So here we see long before the law of Moses. Why did Abram give him a tenth? There was no law about it. There was nothing written down which said you’ve gotta do it.”
Comment: The Bible is the only inspired inerrant Word but that does not mean that we should not research and consider the many other commentaries and historical books which discuss this. It can be easily concluded that Abraham was acting in obedience to well-known widespread pagan tradition which reached from Babylon to Canaan to Egypt. The proven tradition demanded that spoils of war be paid to one’s local priest-king. It is dishonest to make bold statements which are not found in the Word of God (Abraham freely gave) when there are scores of extra-biblical books which say otherwise.
Woodward: “When Cain killed Abel, there wasn’t a law about it, but there still was an eternal principle that ran through the human DNA. And it’s exactly the same here.”
Comment: Therefore, without a single biblical text, Woodward concludes that tithing is an eternal principle. Yes, other nations practiced spoils of war tithes. However, the fact that a tradition is old and widespread does not make it an eternal moral principle! Those same pagan nations who originated the spoils of war tithe also practiced idolatry, child sacrifice and temple prostitution —definitely not equally moral principles. In addition, spoils of war were not accepted as holy tithes under the Law and only that which would survive passing through the fire could be used for Temple maintenance (not salaries).
Woodward: “Deuteronomy 14 verse 22 … “You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain.”
I’ve picked out one verse, by the way, out of about 25 that we could have used. But it talks
about the increase of your grain. They were an agrarian economy. In our day it would be the tenth of the increase of your business, or whatever else.”
Comment: Actually there are 16 sets of texts which describe the contents of the tithe as only food from inside Israel. And the many “increase” texts only refer to food miraculously increased by God. That is what God’s Word teaches. Research. Money was very common even in Genesis. There is absolutely no justification for saying that money was a tithe-able commodity when God’s Word says nothing about tithes from non-food sources in over 1500 years from Leviticus to Malachi to Matthew.
Woodward: “You can look at it, you can read
- It’s written down. There it is, “do that!”
Comment: Where? In your sermon? Yes, yes, “look at it for yourself,” “read it for yourself.” Do your own research! God’s Word does not agree with Woodward.
Woodward: “Mt 23:23 (quoted). See what Jesus does. He comes to the Scribes and the Pharisees.”
Comment: Why? See verses 2 and 3. The scribes and Pharisees “sit in Moses’ seat.” Jesus was not addressing Gentile converts. They could not have tithed even if they had attempted to do so and the Jewish Christian church in Jerusalem refused to place Gentile converts under the yoke of the law in Acts 15 and 21. This definitely included circumcision, Sabbath-days and unclean food. And it also almost certainly included paying tithes to the Temple in Jerusalem which they continued to observe. See Acts 21:20.
Woodward: “Jesus didn’t come to
establish a religious system, he came to establish spiritual life for people.”
Comment: This is confusing double-talk. Jesus came to fulfill the Law, to end the Aaronic priesthood, to establish the New Covenant, to end the repetition of sacrifices and to promise that “there sins and iniquities I will remember no more.” Jesus came to usher in the Church age, to establish His mysterious living body called the Church which finally allowed Gentiles to worship Israel’s God by breaking down the wall of the Law (Eph 2:14-16; Heb 7:18). Jesus came to replace both the Temple and the priesthood with the priesthood of individual believers.
Woodward: Mt 23:23: “ … weightier matters of the Law … Jesus didn’t say you shouldn’t tithe. Look at this. He said, “these you ought to have done.” He said, “you have tithed” and he said, “it’s good that you did. You ought to do that, without leaving the others undone.” Jesus didn’t say, “yeah well it’s okay if you‘re a good person. You don’t have to tithe if you’re a nice person. … He says, “do the whole package everybody.”
Matt 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Comment: This is horrible abuse of the context of God’s Word. Woodward makes the word “you” refer to Christians. However Jesus very clearly used the word “you” to refer to “you scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites.” The context is also “matters of the law” which is completely ignored. Jesus was born, lived and died under the jurisdiction of the law to redeem those under the law (Gal 4:4). Of course he commanded his Jewish disciples to tithe. The Law was still in full effect. It would have been sin for Him to have done otherwise. However, again, He did not command His Gentile disciples to observe the Law or tithe.
“Do the whole package everybody” is Babylon theology if it includes Christians. The “whole package” means all 613 commandments of the law including killing disobedient children and Sabbath-breakers (Ex 21:15, 17). Again, it is amazing to see the extent tithe-teachers will go in order to maintain only tithing as a Christian doctrine. I have identified 25 tithing principles and the Church literally observes NONE of them. I doubt that Woodward or any of his close pastor-associates have repudiated ownership of property as required of tithe-recipients (Num 18:20, 23).
TEN FANTASTIC REASONS WHY THE TITHE IS TERRIFIC
Woodward: “Number one. Jesus promoted it. … I kind of think that anything that Jesus says is a good thing. … He said that you ought to have done this.”
Comment: This was just discussed in detail. The “you” who “ought to have tithed” refers to “you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites” of Matthew 23:23 and to Jesus Jewish disciples who were still all under the jurisdiction of the law (23:2-3). Much of what Jesus taught must be interpreted in the context of those still under the law. A lot of what Jesus taught his Jewish disciples cannot possibly be literally obeyed today because the Temple system does not exist and that is why modern Jews do not teach tithing. If Woodward’s church teaches dispensational eschatology it should also follow dispensational hermeneutics regarding tithing.
Woodward: “Second reason. Tithing builds consistency. … It’s whenever I get increase, I bring the first tenth to God.”
Comment: In order to be consistent with what the Bible teaches you must only tithe God’s miraculous increase of only food only from inside the holy land of Old Covenant Israel. To be consistent Israel would not have allowed persons like Paul to “tithe” profits from the sale of tents in pagan lands.
Woodward: “Number three. Tithing first-fruits puts God in his rightful place. The tithe is the first tenth, not the last. The bible is very clear about that. Proverbs 3:9 … That means I give God first, not last.”
Comment: Tithe-teachers all make the same mistake when it comes to equating the first-fruits with the tenth-fruits. They are called “first” and “tenth” because they are not the same thing! The Bible is very clear about that. Read Numbers 18:12-20; Deuteronomy 26:1-10 and Nehemiah 10:35-38. The first-fruits were extremely small token offerings which were taken to the Temple to be eaten inside by the priests then on duty. The tithes were huge food stores which were taken to the nearest (of 48 or 13) Levitical cities for the Levites who were servants to the priests. The Levites gave the best tenth of what they received to the priests which went to the Temple as needed. It is aggravating to see these facts distorted by all tithe-teachers and Proverb 3:9 misapplied to tithes.
Woodward: “Number Four. It promises material blessing. Malachi 3:11. Now of course they were living in an agricultural economy…. This verse means that, obviously, if it only refers to farmers, only farmers should tithe.”
Comment: He finally got something right but quickly changed his mind. Read the many “increase” texts. God did not want man to take credit for increase from his own hands.
Woodward: “But that would make most of the Bible only relevant to people who lived in the day in which it was written. And we know that’s just not true. … When I tithe, it brings increase … It says, “If you are a tither, it will bring to your life material blessing.”
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.
Comment: ‘What did the text mean to those who originally heard it?’ is a valid hermeneutic. Malachi’s audience had just repeated their vows to observe all of the Law or bring its curses upon themselves. It is wrong to disconnect the blessings and curses of tithing from the blessings and curses of the entire law as seen in Deuteronomy 28 and 29.
Deut 27:26 Cursed be he that confirms not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Gal 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
In order to receive the blessing of tithing one must observe ALL of the Law or else fall under ALL of its curses.
Woodward: “Number five. Mal 3:10: It promises spiritual blessing. … “food in my house” is “revelation of the word of God”. .. “presence of God.” Comment: The two thoughts of “tithing” and receiving “spiritual blessings” in church are not necessarily the same. And all of Woodward’s long stories and cute humor do not make them the same. (1) “That there may be food in my house” refers to the Levites and priests eating –not the people. (2) It refers to food for the poor –literal food. (3) Many people only tithed several times a year at harvest but they received spiritual instruction every time they went to the Temple. (4) Many Christians give their offerings only once a month when they get paid but they receive spiritual blessings every week. And (5) Churches which do not teach tithing still reed their people who support the church through freewill offering principles. There is proof that tithing does not work for the vast majority of “tithers.” If this simple act of law-obedience worked today, everybody would be tithing rather than playing the lottery. And the ghettos with their generations of faithful tithers would be empty. There would be a thousand stories of tithing success for every story of tithing failure. But the churches do not showcase the failure stories and deceive the congregation.
Woodward: “Number six. Integrity. Mal 3:8. … the first one’s His, and if you take it, you stole.”
Mal 1:6 …and if I be a master, where is my fear? says the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. …Mal 1:13 “and you bring what was taken by robbery and what is lame or sick; so you bring the offering!Mal 1:14 “But cursed be the swindler who has a male in his flock and vows it, but sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord, for I am a great King,” says the LORD of hosts, “and My name is feared among the nations.”Mal 2:1 And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you.
Comment: To be less subtle, Woodward means “to keep from being a thief.” This is a guilt trip to those sincere believers who can barely medicate, feed and shelter their families and cannot tithe.
The real thieves in Malachi were the priests, but when is the last time you heard a sermon on the rest of the book?
Mal 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse …
Neh 10:37 …and the tithes of our ground [bring] 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.
Even the command in Malachi 3:10 is addressed to “you” the priests and not the people. Why? According to Neh 10:37-38 the people were commanded to bring their tithe to the Levitical cities and the only the Levites and priests were commanded to bring their tithes to the temple.
1 Tim 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
There is not a single text in God’s Word which even implies that the poor, Jesus and His disciples ever tithed or were even required to tithe. In fact much of the second seasonal tithe and all of the third-year tithe was for the poor. And the Levites and priests were usually included in the lists of the poor because God expected them to stay poor and humble.
Woodward: “Number seven. Obedience. To obey is better than sacrifice. … God made the tithe a percentage and not an amount. … ‘Cause to obey is better than to sacrifice.”
Comment: The context is “obedience to all 613 commandments of the Law or else receive all of the curses of the law.” Let us be honest with the text and context.
2 Cor 8:12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.
2 Cor 8:13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:
2 Cor 8:14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:
2 Cor 8:15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
There is no percentage given to the church after Calvary. Many give more than 10% and many cannot. It evens out where nobody is drained and nothing is left over. Same-percentage giving oppresses the poor and helps the rich.
Woodward: “Number eight. It opens the door to greater promotion. Luke 16:10-12. … “He who is faithful in that which is least.” The tithe is the least. That’s where you start. … He says your promotion hangs on three tests. What you do with the little things. What you do with money, and what you do with that which belongs to someone else. Did you get that? And the tithe fits all three.”
Comment: This is manipulation of the texts. God “promotes” or blesses Christians according to how we use what we have been giving with no regards to percentages. While many wealthy will not even miss ten per cent, it would mean the difference between eating or not eating for some. The idea that God only promotes tithers is contrary to the instructions in James, chapter two. God is not a respecter of persons. Church leadership should have gifted persons in it regardless of whether or not those gifted persons have been blessed enough financially to give ten per cent. Medical bills, nursing home bills and many other things affect our ability to pay without affecting our ability to use spiritual gifts.
Woodward: “Number nine. It’s an act of worship. … one of the great principles … what’s the secret your church gives so generously? … “What’s the gimmick? What’s the secret? What’s your trick?” … And I look at them and I say, “We have no gimmicks. We have no tricks.” … always give deliberately and always give consistently.” … deliberately as
an act of honoring God.”
Comment: You have displayed a lot of gimmicks and tricks in this one “sermon.” (1) Make people feel at ease with lots of stories and humor. (2) Do not define the basic word you are working with such as “law.” (3) Define “tithe” from a secular dictionary instead of
God’s Word. (4) Define “natural law” to include the 613 commandments of the Law of Moses. (5) Throw out most of the 613 commandments but keep tithing. (6) Ignore the “of the law” context of Matthew 23:23 and (7) do not apply parts of the Law which you do not like to yourself such as the prohibition against tithe-recipients owning property (Num 18:20, 23).
- Deut 26:1 And it shall be, when you have come in unto the land which the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance, and possess it, and dwell therein;
- Deut 26:2 That you shall take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which you shall bring of thy land that the LORD thy God gives you, and shall put it in a basket, and shall go unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose to place his name there.
- Deut 26:4 And the priest shall take the basket out of your hand, and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God.
- Deut 26:5 And you shall speak and say before the LORD your God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous:
- Deut 26:9 And he has brought us into this place, and has given us this land, even a land that flows with milk and honey.
- Deut 26:10 And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which you, O LORD, have given me. And you shall set it before the LORD thy God, and worship before the LORD your God.
Deuteronomy 26:1-10 has been massacred by worse than a butcher shop and its parts have been scattered outside of their context by Woodward. (1) Verses 1 and 10 prove that the first-fruits (and also tithes) were only holy if they came from the holy land of Israel. (2) Verses 2 and 4 prove that the first-fruits were not the same as tithes and could be placed in a small hand basket. English scholar Alfrred Edersheim wrote that an entire village’s first-fruits could be carried by one pack animal. Deuteronomy 26:1-10 is NOT a discussion of tithes and good scholar know that! And (3) tithes have no monopoly on worship in the Old Covenant. In fact, since tithes were mandatory and offerings were freewill, one must conclude that freewill offerings were more in the spirit of true worship than obedience to the law which threatened a curse for the disobedient.
Woodward: “Number ten. It builds the focus of God’s purpose which is the local church. Mal 3:10 storehouse. … He didn’t say, “Send the tithe to your favorite missionary.”
Neh 13:5 And he had prepared for him a great chamber, where aforetime they laid the meat offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites, and the singers, and the porters; and the offerings of the priests.
Neh 13:10 And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field.
Comment: There is a myth about the “storehouse” inside the Temple which says that it held all of the tithes from the entire country of Israel even in Solomon’s time. In reality the large storehouses were in the (48 or 13) Levitical cites where the Levites and priests lived with their families and ate the tithes per Nehemiah 10:37b. The so-called Temple “storehouse” as actually two large “rooms” where only a small amount of food was stored to feed the weekly rotation of Levites and priests. The priests had stolen from God in Malachi 1:13 and they had stolen the Levites’ share in Nehemiah 13:5-10. Malachi 3:10 is a rebuke to the dishonest priests who were told to “bring all of that portion of the tithe” which properly belonged in the Temple. This would allow the Levites to return per Nehemiah 13.
The storehouse in Malachi 3:10 does not equate to the church “building.” This is poor theology.
- 1 Cor 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
I would ask Woodward, “What? Don’t you know that the Old Covenant temple and believer has been replaced by the New Covenant believer?” Early church history proves that there were no church buildings for over 200 years after Calvary and the “storehouse” concept is a false doctrine. Preachers do not replace the Old Covenant priests and are not due the tithe of the Old Covenant priests and Levites. The office of pastor-teacher is more like that of the Old Covenant prophet who was not supported by tithes. And Woodward needs to be reminded that tithes were never used to send out missionaries and evangelize the Gentiles.
Woodward: “Tithing is the only thing that God ever says to do where he says I want you
to put me to the test on it.”
Comment: This is using semantics to foster error. In fact the entire Law was a “test”
–obey ALL and be blessed; disobey one point and be cursed. It is impossible NOT to see the exact likeness between Deuteronomy 28 and Malachi 3. And it is poor hermeneutics to ignore this connection merely to foster tithing out of context.
Deut 28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
Deut 28:2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.
Deut 28:12 The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.
Deut 28:15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
Deut 28:24 The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.
Woodward’s closing prayer: “… Bless everyone that decides to obey and follow you in integrity in Jesus’ name.”
Comment: By “integrity” Woodward means “by not stealing from God and being cursed.” See point #6.
Woodward: Number eleven. “Ten Fantastic Reasons why the Tithe is Terrific” (Reading his mind.) “Teaching-tithing makes a lot of us preachers filthy rich.”
1 Cor 9:18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.
Acts 20:33 I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.
Acts 20:34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.
Acts 20:35 I have shown you all things, how that so laboring you ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Gal 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
Comments: Paul preached the whole gospel and he did not preach nor accept tithes. The curse of Malachi is gone, but a curse may fall on those who distort the pure gospel message.
My Concluding Remarks:
In his discussion of Matthew 23:23 Woodward put words into Jesus’ mouth saying “do the whole package everybody.” I ask him to eat some of the law he feeds to his congregation.
That “whole package” means that
Woodward MUST also teach his church (1) to bring tithes to the Levites who are only servants to the priests (Num 18:21-24; Neh 10:37), (2) to bring their tithes to the Levitical cities (Neh 10:37b), (3) to let the priests (?preachers?) only have 1% of the tithe (Num 18:24-28; Neh 10:38), (4) to keep him poor and allow him to eat from the second and third tithes for the poor (Deu 14:27-29; 26:10-13), (5) to limit tithes to food from inside Israel (Lev 27:30-34), (6) to forbid tithes from defiled pagans and pagan land and (7) to forbid him from owning and inheriting property (Num 18:20,23). If he wants to teach the “whole package” and if he wants to define “law” as the
entire package of 613 commandments, then he must obey his own teaching (Mt 5:19).
Note: This article may be reproduced without permission. I encourage Geoff Woodward or his staff to reply and enter dialog on tithing. We should not fear the truth.
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD