REBUTTAL OF ED YOUNG ON TITHING
The following sermon was delivered Oct 10, 2010 by Ed Young, SBC Pastor.
Young: Are you eating the tithe like Adam and Eve did? Are you spending the tithe on a boat or hunting lease? Are you wasting the tithe?
Kelly: Except for his arrogance and audacity, Young’s single greatest error is his failure to establish the Biblical definition of the tithe. Sixteen texts from Leviticus 27 to Luke 18 describe the contents of the HOLY tithe as only FOOD from inside God’s HOLY land of Israel which He had miraculously increased.
How many trees were in the Garden of Eden? If only ten, then one might conclude that Adam and Eve ate a very small portion of the tithe. If one hundred, then the one tree would have only been one per cent. If a thousand, then the one tree would have only been one tenth of one per cent. In other words, there was no tithing doctrine in the Garden of Eden.
Young: The Bible says if you touch the devoted stuff, you are under a curse.
Kelly: Ed Young ignores the context of devoted things and never bothers telling his audience where his main point comes from in the Bible. Two serious errors are found here. First, the “devoted thing” is a reference to Leviticus 27:1-29 and not to tithing in verses 30-34. In 27:1-2 “devoted things are “freewill vows” from Israelite men under the Old Covenant. In 3-7 the person making the freewill vow was asessed what he could afford and not a tithe. In verse 8, if the person making the vow were poor, the priest would determine the value of his vow according to his ability — again no tithe is involved. In 9-13 even unclean animals could be given as vows. In 14-15 houses were given as vows. In verses 16-22 fields were given as vows. In 25 the vowed items were valued according to the sanctuary shekel’s worth. In 26-27 firstborn animals could NOT be vowed [tithes are not firstfruits] [Deut 26:1-4; Neh 10:35-37a]. In 28-29 no devoted thing could be redeemed, or reclaimed –including persons; this includes animals, houses, lands, and persons vowed for holy use. This list does NOT include tithes which were NOT freewill devoted items; they were commanded only from food producers who lived inside Israel. The tithes of 30-34 are already God’s and, unlike devoted items, can be redeemed.
Second, the blessings and curses associated with the tithe were the blessings and curses of the whole law (Deut 28-30; Neh 10:29; Mal 4:4; Gal 3:10). Young’s theology is seriously distorted when he repeatedly attempts to place the Body of Christ under the curse of the Law (Gal 3:10; Heb 7:5, 12, 18; 8:13).
Young: You either bring the 10% to the house and the other 90% is blessed, or you play God and say “I’m going to do with the money what I want to do and live under a curse.
Kelly: Four errors here: First, he repeats the claim that tithes are money. Although money was very common in Genesis and essential for sanctuary worship, money is never a tithed item in the Bible. Second, the text he is alluding to, Malachi 3:10, says “that there may be food in my house”; the HOLY tithe was still only food in Malachi which was 1000 years after first described in Leviticus 27:30-34 and it remained only food as Jesus used the term in Matthew 23:23. Third, the “you” of Malachi 3:10 is Old Covenant Israel (1:1-5) and, especially, its dishonest minister/priests (1:6; 2:1) who were guilty of stealing the good healthy animals which they had vowed to God from the tithe they had received in 1:13-14. Fourth, again Young repeats the threat of the curse. As a Baptist he should teach that it is impossible to curse a child of God who already spiritually sites in heavenly places (Eph 2:6; Col 3:1-4).
It is Ed Young who is “playing God” when he removes the tithe out of its Old Covenant Law context, discards scores of other equally “holy” and “most holy” things from Leviticus, and threatens God’s children with a curse which ended for Hebrews at Calvary (Gal 3:13; Heb 8:13).
Young: And you wonder why your marriage is stoned. You wonder why your kid’s future is stoned. You wonder why your career is stoned. You wonder why you can’t get your head above water. You wonder why you don’t have joy. You wonder why you deal with grief. You wonder. – It’s all about the money!
Kelly: These arguments are nothing but deceitful. Young blames all failures in life on not tithing. Yet our planet is full of very wealthy and very happy agnostics, atheists, Muslims, Buddhists, business leaders, and salesmen who have learned how to worked hard, got an education, and applied good leadership techniques apart from tithing. The pagan nations which ruled Israel were wealthy without tithing: Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, the queen of Sheba.
Young: You don’t get it. Please hear me. God’s the one that said that.
Kelly: God did not say that — to His post-Calvary Church! Please listen to the Word of God in its context of grace superseding principles of law (Gal 3:1-5). The greater principles of gospel-giving rest on grace, faith and sacrificial giving (1 Cor 9:14 compared to 7-13 and 2 Cor 8 and 9).
Young: Second greatest theme in the Bible – money.
Kelly: Jesus talked a lot about those who make money their god. He had very little to say about the wealthy and He certainly never implied that gospel workers should expect to be wealthy. If post-Calvary tithing were so important, one would expect it to be found often after Calvary to the Church.
Young: What if I discovered that 80% of you were pathological liars and every time you talk you lie. Well, I would talk a lot about truth-telling.
Kelly: Young makes no effort whatsoever to tell his audience that his main point of “giving that which is devoted” to God comes from Leviticus 27:1-29 and has no reference to tithing. That makes him a pathological liar.
Young: What if I discovered that 80% of you were smoking crack. I would talk about the dangers of drug addiction.
Kelly: Drugs alter the mind and replace truth with a false sense of reality. Ed Young manipulates the Word and uses mind control on his audience.
Young: What if I discovered that 80% of you were burglars. I would talk about money. I would talk about the law of devoted things. I would talk about the tithe.
Kelly: God commanded Old Covenant Israel to tithe to support the Levites and priests who ministered in the temple. In exchange for receiving the tithe, they were not allowed to own or inherit property in Israel (Num 18:21-28). Yet Young and his fellow tithe-advocates both demand the tithe and also own and inherit much property contrary to the ordinance which includes tithing from Numbers 18 (which he will not teach from). He is stealing from God.
Young: 80% of you are robbing God.
Kelly: And so is Young himself. The Old Covenant priesthood which received the tithe has been replaced with the priesthood of every believer. And the O.T. temple is now within every believer. There is not a single post-Calvary text which supports tithing. It’s only post-Calvary mention is Hebrews 7. The “necessary change of the law” from 7:12 must include tithes from verse 5. The “change” was not “to gospel workers”; instead, it was “annulled” in verse 18.
Young: 20% of Fellowship Church pays for everything.
Kelly: That proves nothing. Perhaps the 20% should increase their giving. There is a high probability that some of the 20% are giving 10% to avoid being cursed and go home without enough money to buy medicine and essentials.
Paul taught in First Timothy 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.” And Second Corinthians 8:12-14 reads: “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. For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: 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.”
Young: Only 20% are living in the land of more than enough. And this is true all over the world.
Kelly: The largest group of faithful “tithers” is found in the ghettos of the United States and Africa. They make their pastors wealthy while their money tree never arrives. Preachers like Ed Young, Kenneth Copeland and John Avanzini are the real criminals preying on the poor and ignorant.
Young: I’ve got to ask you (ha ha ha ha ha) seriously (ha ha ha), why are you even coming to church if you’re not bringing the tithe? What are you expecting? Just hang out at home, man, play golf. Go somewhere else. You don’t need to be here. What are you expecting man? Are you crazy? You ain’t gonna get anything. It’ll never happen. You’re spitting in the wind.
Kelly: Ed Young needs to immediately stop deserving God’s wrath to fall upon himself and find another occupation in which to scam suckers. Even if he is not happy that every one of his church members is not tithing, whatever happened to the gospel? Doesn’t he want lost people there to hear the gospel? Is he chasing away lost people and depriving them from hearing the plan of salvation because they are not tithing? Is this Christ-like? Are his silly laughing and his goofy staggering all around the stage Christ-like?
Young: The law of devoted things.
Kelly: The food producers of Old Covenant Israel were commanded to tithe (plus 600 other laws) to Levites who were only servants to the priests (Num 18:21-24; Neh 10:37b). The Levites gave the best one tenth of what they received to the priests – yes, only one per cent (Num 18:25-28; Neh 10:38-39). The priests did not tithe; they vowed to give God from the one per cent tithe they received (Mal 1:6-14. Vows (devoted things) were freewill offerings and not tithes (Lev 27:1-29).
Young: What if I brought every man up here and had you give an account of your wealth? What if I did what Joshua did?
Kelly: Joshua did not have Aachen and his family killed for not tithing. They were killed for stealing items from Jericho which God had forbidden to be taken. HOLY tithes were always only food from God’s holy land.
Young: Anyone want to do that? Anybody here want to talk about your devoted stuff? I want to help you get blessed.
Kelly: Then why doesn’t he honestly tell the truth about “devoted stuff” from Leviticus 27:1-29? Why does he not preach the New Covenant gospel such as Ephesians, chapter one? The name of Jesus and His gospel does not appear in this video even once! It is not even a gospel sermon; it is a “get-rich” seminar.
Young: Now hopefully you do not understand that I mean when you bring the divine portion to the storehouse, you become a multi-billionaire. Some of you will.
Kelly: The “storehouse” was actually two 10’ by 10’ rooms combined into one 10’ by 20’ room inside the Temple (compare First Kings 6:6 with Nehemiah 13:5). Since those rooms could not possibly hold the tithe of the whole nation, the “you” of Malachi 3:0 must only refer to the dishonest priest of Malachi 1:13-14 and Nehemiah 13:5-10 who had stolen the tithe.
The bulk of the tithe was stored in the Levitical cities (Neh 10:37-39; 2 Chron 31:15-19) where it was needed for food.
The church is never called a “storehouse.” In fact it did not legally have its own buildings for almost 300 years after Calvary until Constantine.
Young: Jesus said “I will build my church.” Jesus is gonna make a lot of us a lot of money because He knows “if he can get it through us He can get it to us” (quotes Jim Bakker).
Kelly: The “church” is an assembly of called-out believers; it is not a building. Many of those believers met in catacombs, graveyards, and remote hidden places for over 300 years.
Young: The problem is God wants to bless a lot of you but you’re in the Jordan River in your floaties splashing around thinking ‘a mission trip will do it,’ thinking ‘another Bible study will do it,’ thinking ‘serving the church will do it,’ thinking ‘prayer will do it’ – It’s all about the money.
Kelly: Young sees his own audience as people who come to hear him tell them how to become wealthy.
Young: It’s all about the money. Show me the money. God said that thousands of years ago.
Kelly: Yes, God said that — only to His special unique peculiar people of Israel and He commanded them NOT to share their covenant with other nations (Ex 19:5-6; Lev 27:34; Neh 10:29; Mal 4:4). And he only said it about food which He had provided from His holy land. HOLY tithes could not come from money, from Gentiles, or from outside Israel.
Young: Malachi 3:8-10, “Will a man rob God?” If you are a tither sitting next to a non-tither, if this dude is robbing God, this dude will also rob you, so watch your wallet. Cuz if he’ll rob God, he’ll rob you.”
Kelly: Will a minister of God rob God? Has Ed Young ever read the entire book of Malachi?
Mal 1:6 [to ministers/priests] … Where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. …
Mal 1:7 [ministers/priests made the offerings on the altars] Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar…
Mal 1:8 [ministers/priests were evil] And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? …
Mal 1:9 [God had no pleasure in the ministers/priests of Malachi’s time] … ye kindle fire on mine altar for naught. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand. ….
Mal 1:12 [context of 3:10] But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the LORD is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible.
Mal 1:13 … [ministers/priests kept the best for themselves] ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand?
Mal 1:14 [God cursed the ministers/priests for stealing] But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the LORD a corrupt thing …
Mal 2:1 [still speaking And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you.
Mal 2:2 If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.
Mal 2:3 [God promised to spread dung on the faces of dishonest ministers/priests] Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.
Mal 2:4 [the covenant is that only with the priests] And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.
Young: [Mal 3:10] “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse.” God’s not gonna give it to you if you don’t have a storehouse. You cannot church-hop and bee-bop and expect God to bless you. Again, it’s not gonna happen. You’re wasting your time and my time and you’re taking up space here.
Kelly: If you do not tithe, Young does not want you in his church. The poor widow and prodigal son would not have been welcome to hear the plan of salvation (if Young even knows that). And there is no requirement in Timothy and Titus for church officers to be able to tithe. God did not want His Church to be run by only the wealthy; James seems to frown upon that (James 2).
Young: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house.”
Kelly: Again, over 1000 years after the food tithe was first described in Leviticus 27:30-34, it is still only food in Malachi 3:10 and not money. At Jesus kept the description of food in Matthew 23:23. Who changed it to money? Not God.
Young: [Runs back and forth on the platform.] Oh, I’m gonna chase blessings. I’m gonna go to this person. …. I wanna get blessed.
Kelly: Young looks goofy doing this. Perhaps he should join a comedy tour and stop slandering God’s name.
Young: I don’t do that. Blessings are chasing me. Blessings are chasing me down. I don’t run somewhere to get blessed. Don’t take a snapshot of my life today and build a theology on me. You look back at me 29 years ago when I was making $25,000 a year . With a broken down house and car, we were bringing the tithe. … Today you are seeing the results of 29 years of faithfulness [audience cheers].
Kelly: So it took God 29 years to give Young the “overflowing blessings you shall not have room enough to receive” from Malachi 3:10. Why didn’t this happen 29 years ago? Do we credit God or do we credit Young’s 29 years of learning how to manipulate and deceive people into making him wealthy? How many agnostics, atheists, Muslim sheiks, and businessmen became wealthy after 29 years of good education and good work ethics?
Young: I’m telling you man, this stuff works.
Kelly: What “stuff” works? – keeping the entire Old Covenant Law in order to claim God’s blessings? No. That is what Paul said in Galatians 3:10 when he quoted Deuteronomy 27:26.
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 continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
Malachi’s audience entered an oath to keep the whole law or be cursed.
Nehemiah 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.
Those Levites and priests who received the tithe were not allowed to own or inherit property and they were the only ones allowed into the sanctuary. They were to kill anybody else who attempted to enter the sanctuary. Why doesn’t that “stuff” work also? It is part of the same tithing law. Read Numbers 18:20-29.
Num. 18:20 And the LORD spoke to Aaron, You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any part among them; I am your part and your inheritance among the children of Israel.
Num. 18:21 And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And, just in case you missed it, the restriction agains owning land was repeated in eight chapters. (Num 18:20-26; Deu 12:12; 14:27, 29; 18:1, 2; Josh 13:14, 33; 14:3; 18:7; Eze 44:28). Why do you ignore that, Mr. Young?
Young: Most guys are not man enough to step up and fight the war on wealth.
Kelly: Only in your distorted warped way. What happened to hard work long hours, and a good education? Tithing is not the secret potion which replaces hard work and an education.
Young: You’ll waste your energy watching some game; you’ll waste your energy on some hunting trip. … It’s time to lead. Your woman wants you to lead. Stand up and be a man and bring the tithe and see how God blesses you.
Kelly: Guess what, Mr. Young, the tithe is still only food in Malachi 3:11:
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.
And Jesus limited it to food as “matters of the law”:
Matt 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
And God still wanted Old Covenant Israel to keep the whole law in Malachi:
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.
Why are those texts ignored, Mr. Young?
Young: You won’t believe it. You have no clue. You have no idea.
Kelly: It is you, Ed Young, who has “no clue” about what God’s Word really says in proper context.
Young: And, you know what, if you don’t like this just don’t come back. Because I’m preaching to you what the Bible says about money and if you don’t dig it, leave.
Kelly: He knows they will not leave. What they are hearing is not new from Young. Instead of reading their own Bibles as believer-priests, they have made Young their inspired interpreter. They deserve him.
Young: And here’s what’s so sick about it: you’ll go to a Cowboys game in a billion dollar stadium [describes a typical football game]. I wonder who’s paying for that. You. Some of you are saying ‘I’m never coming back here. O.K.
Kelly: They are willfully ignorant of God’s Word and do not attempt to “rightly divide it” into what God told Israel under the Old Covenant and what He told the Church under the New. The very first hermeneutic (principle of interpretation) is “To whom was it written?”
Young: What would happen though if we broke through Jericho because you can’t get around it, you can’t fly over it, and you gotta go through it. Cash. I don’t care if you make $10,000 a year or a hundred million, you bring the devoted things to God and He’ll bless the rest. If you don’t, you are under a curse. It is as simple as that.
Kelly: it is evident that Young has not dealt with Leviticus 27:28-31 because it clearly separates things devoted (which cannot be redeemed, 28-29) from tithes (which CAN be redeemed, 30-31).
Lev 27:28 Notwithstanding no devoted thing, that a man shall devote unto the LORD of all that he hath, both of man and beast, and of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy unto the LORD.
Lev 27:29 None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; but shall surely be put to death.
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.
Young: I could tell you some bad stories of people who have cycled through here and not brought the tithe. They ate the tithe.
Kelly: And I could tell you of very poor faithful believers in the ghettos who have tithed for years and remain very poor. Tithing is not a magic potion which replaces hard work and education.
Young: Don’t jack with the devoted stuff.
Open public debate is welcome.
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
Author of Should the Church Teach Tithing? A Theologian’s Conclusions about a Taboo Doctrine.
GIVE US YOUR BANK ROUTING NUMBER AND ACCOUNT NUMBER
Ed Young, Jr. Fellowship Church, Dallas, TX (Southern Baptist).
Watch the video for yourself.Will the Southern Baptist Convention please stop this nonsense? It gives Christianity a bad name and chases seekers out of your churches.
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
(Summary) “Pay your tithe with automatic withdrawal from your bank account. Give me (this church) your bank routing number and account number. See it on the screen.”