Tuesday, November 6, 2007

"Should the Church Teach Tithing?"

Take a look at an interesting view on whether the church should teach tithing here.

More specifically, he puts together an argument about why he is "opposed to supporting churches using the false doctrine of NT tithing instead of better New Covenant freewill offering principles."

I'll sum up his main points, but go read it if you have the time.

  1. N. T. Giving Principles in Second Corinthians 8 and 9 are Superior to Tithing.
  2. In God’s Word the Tithe is Always Only Food!
  3. Money Was an Essential Non-Tithed Item
  4. Abraham’s Tithe to Melchizedek Reflected Pagan Tradition.
  5. Tithing Was Not a Minimum Required from All Old Covenant Israelites
  6. First-Tithes were Received by Servants to the Priests.
  7. "It is Holy to the LORD" Does Not Make Tithing an Eternal Moral Principle.
  8. First-fruits are Not the Same as Tithes
  9. There are Four Different Tithes Described in the Bible.
  10. Jesus, Peter, Paul and the Poor Did Not Tithe
  11. Tithes were Often Used as Political Taxes.
  12. Levitical Tithes Were Usually Taken to the Levitical Cities.
  13. Malachi 3 is the Most Abused Tithing Text in the Bible.
  14. The New Testament Does Not Teach Tithing.
  15. Limited Old Covenant Priests Were Replaced by All Believer-Priests.
  16. The New Covenant Church is Neither a Building nor a Storehouse.
  17. The Church Grows by Using Better New Covenant Principles.
  18. The Apostle Paul Preferred That Church Leaders Be Self-Supporting.
  19. Tithing Did Not Become a Law in the Church until A. D. 777.
His conclusions:

    In God’s Word, “tithe” does not stand alone. It is the “tithe of FOOD.” The biblical tithe was very narrowly defined and limited by God Himself. True biblical tithes were always: (1) only food, (2) only from the farms and herds, (3) of only Israelites, (4) who only lived inside God’s Holy Land, the national boundary of Israel, (5) only under Old Covenant terms and (6) the increase could only be gathered from what God produced.

    Therefore, (1) non-food items could not be tithed; (2) clean wild game animals and fish could not be tithed; (3) non-Israelites could not tithe; (4) food from outside God’s holy land of Israel could not be tithed; (5) legitimate tithing did not occur when there was no Levitical priesthood; and (6) tithes did not come from what man’s hands created, produced or caught by hunting and fishing.
There is much more detail and scripture in his argument, but I've just copied the main points for those too lazy to go read the whole thing. Thoughts? Anyone?

47 comments:

Joe B said...

Wow. I get his point and agree with it in essence. But there was a whole lot of stretching and bludgeoning going on in there.

It is true that from very early times the Jews began to extend the tithe teachings to fit their decreasingly agrarian society. And so until today. So what? It's baloney to say that God will not accept anything you did not grow yourself. Hogwash.


His comments on malachi 3 are just silly. It is not addressed only to priests, as he says. (3:9 says explicitly "You are under a curse--the whole nation of you--because you are robbing me." This is NOT a passage about God being legalistic, it is precisely the opposite! The principles taught in malachi are NO different from those in the NT. Give willingly. Give not just to check an obligation off the list, but "so that there will be food in the storehouse." Give and it will be given to you. It's a teaching about faith, not about cold formaily.

The choice Malachi thrusts in the faces of the 5th century BC Jews is the same as what Jesus thrust at the 1st c. Jews. Live by faith or live under the curse. It has nothing to do with pre-or-post Calvary. God is the same and he changeth not.

Look, giving is a privilege. Tithing is a beautiful model for giving, and God's fingerprints are on it.

I think the guy wildly exaggerates the nature & extent of titheing-teaching. I'm curious what has inspired him to such vehement axe-grinding.

scott said...

Well maybe I'll just have to email him and invite him to come over here for the discussion. Whattya think?

Joe B said...

Now you suggest it. After I call him silly!

Yeah, that would be fun. I'll bet he'd do it. He seems to be very engrossed in the subject, ay?

soebeck said...

Hey, i want to be a contributor.

Robotface Shumway (Big Doofus) said...

Let me start out by quoting myself:

Robotface Shumway (Big Doofus) said...

I don't think there is a "tithe" in the New Testament, fellers. What do you think about that?

September 12, 2007 9:12 AM


Note the date. I win a prize.

The NT teaches grace giving. 2 Corinthians 9:6-8...

(6)Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

(7)Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

(8)And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;


It's a purposeful thing.

We are to be cheerful givers. The Greek root word for cheerful is where we get the word, "hilarious." So, we are to be "hilarious" givers. I think that's an interesting notion.

We look at everything that God has given us (i.e. everything we have) and we give.

russkellyphd said...

Russ: Hi folks. Thanks for inviting me to join in your discussion. Unlike most tithe-teachers I will stick it out until all of them have run away.
.............................................
Joe wrote: ... there was a whole lot of stretching and bludgeoning going on in there.
...........................................
Russ: I wish you would read the book before jumping to your conclusion. The scholars have treated tithing with proof-text hermeneutics for too long and I am challenging them to read the context.
...........................................
Joe: It is true that from very early times the Jews began to extend the tithe teachings to fit their decreasingly agrarian society.
............................................
Russ: Malachi was written almost 1000 years after Leviticus and Numbers, yet the tithe is still only food from inside Israel. Matthew was written another 400 years later and the tithe is still only food. It was many centuries after Calvary before some of the Jewish Rabbis changed the definition to include things other than food. Today Jews do not even collect tithes because they have no Temple and no priesthood.
....................................
Joe: And so until today. So what? It's baloney to say that God will not accept anything you did not grow yourself. Hogwash.
....................................
Russ: Speaking of hogwash, God was so angry with the thieving priests in Malachi 1:6 to 2:2 that he cursed them and threatened to throw dung in their faces. Although money was very essential even in Genesis, tithes were only from food of agriculture and clean animals grown inside Holy Israel because God Himself gave the increase through his miracle hand. It was not from what man made in the form of crafts and ingenuity.
.............................................
Joe: His comments on Malachi 3 are just silly. It is not addressed only to priests, as he says. (3:9 says explicitly "You are under a curse--the whole nation of you--because you are robbing me."
...............................................
Russ: I do not proof-text Malachi. I go back and pick up the context from 2 Chronicles 31, Nehemiah and especially Malachi 1:6 and 2:1 where God specifically addressed the priests. The priests are again prominent in 2:11 to 3:7 and are cursed four times. in 1:14 and 2:2.
In context “this whole nation of you” means “of you priests” because the pronoun “you” in Malachi always refers to the priests since 1:6! God does not suddenly stop cursing the priests and start feeling sorrow for them. That is inconsistent with his threats of 3:1-3.
....................................
Joe: This is NOT a passage about God being legalistic, it is precisely the opposite!
....................................
Russ: I greatly disagree. Read Malachi 4:4, Nehemiah 10:29 and Deuteronomy 27 and 28 all. The blessings and curses of Malachi 3 are only part of the whole blessings and curses of the Mosaic Law and cannot possibly be separated from it. The “windows of heaven” is common in Deuteronomy 27 and 28 for all of the Law. Galatians 3:10 is quoting Deuteronomy 26.
.................................................
Joe: The principles taught in Malachi are NO different from those in the NT.
...................................
Russ: Malachi reveals principles of statutes/ordinances of the Mosaic Law which was only given to national Israel.
Giving principles found in the NT after Calvary are for the mostly Gentile Church and reflect free-will giving principles which supersede the Law. There is no command to tithe given to the Church after Calvary. Period.
.........................................
Joe: Give willingly. Give not just to check an obligation off the list, but "so that there will be food in the storehouse."
..........................................
Russ: The “storehouse” principle is a colossal mistake. (1) The vast majority of the tithe in the OT did NOT go to the Temple storehouse. Rather it went to the Levitical cities where 98% of the Levites and priests lived most of the time (Neh 10:37; 2 Chron 31:15-19. (2) There is no such thing as the “storehouse” of the church. The NT Temple is inside the believer and the NT word for “church” is never a building. There were no church buildings for over 220 years after Calvary.
............................
Joe: Give and it will be given to you. It's a teaching about faith, not about cold formality.
...............................
Russ: This principle is repeated to the Church after Calvary in the NT.
...............................
Joe: The choice Malachi thrusts in the faces of the 5th century BC Jews is the same as what Jesus thrust at the 1st c. Jews. Live by faith or live under the curse. It has nothing to do with pre-or-post Calvary. God is the same and he changes not.
....................................
Russ: I disagree. This logic equates the Old and New Covenants. I can give a long list changes between the two covenants. The context of “God changes not” in Malachi 3 means that he will keep his covenant blessings/curses to OT national Israel.
........................................
Joe: Look, giving is a privilege.
........................................
Russ: Free-will giving always has been.
........................................
Joe: Tithing is a beautiful model for giving, and God's fingerprints are on it.
........................................
Russ: Tithing was given to God’s unique people living inside His special holy land as an agrarian nation. The dust from other nations was unclean and even Israelites could not tithe if they grew the food from pagan land.
...........................................
Joe: I think the guy wildly exaggerates the nature & extent of tithing-teaching.
......................................
Russ: Read the book.
..................................
Joe: I'm curious what has inspired him to such vehement axe-grinding.
...................................
Russ: The truth. And the “thank you” letters from oppressed Christians all around the world. What have I done to make you use such nasty words?
See http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/id84.html

In Christ’s love
Russ Kelly

scott said...

I should point out that even when Joe calls people silly, he's actually a very nice, very smart, very loving guy.

Although he can be silly as well from time to time.

I nominate Joe to buy the book, speed read it, and give us a more complete review. :-)

russkellyphd said...

My book can be read on my web site or downloaded for FREE from my web site. I also have a FREE 2 hour video of my essay. I do not charge to preach or sing gospel; that is my choice and lifestyle although I live in a small double-wide.

I can be quite "silly" too. I dress up and sing Elvis mostly for senior citzens who love it. www.russrocksingeorgia.com.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. And God bless.

darin said...

wow....this is interesting....it is cool that mr. kelly would comment for us...i want to second scott's motion though that Joe is a very nice, very smart, very loving guy...
i really think this is worth the read - mr. kelly is bringing up some really interesting points as it plays into overall context of OT covenant. I think the reason I am so open to these views is because I am suspicious of the seeming lack of exegesis that is done in preparation for many sermons across America. We are so America-centric that we have a hard time believing that maybe there were other audiences other than ourselves. I think it is worth the time to look at the audience in the case of malachi 3. I'm sure not providing any answers because it would stem from ignorance but I definitely would not be surprised if the American church for years has glossed over this to promote what we think is best for ourselves. I have always thought that one who gives graciously is not one who only gives money - I know we probably all agree with that but what it insinuates to me is that the Holy Spirit leads in these matters and I just have an uneasiness with the idea that he leads us with a legalistic intent to support local churches in the modern era with the arguments written toward the community of Israel commanding to support the Levites. I don' t know if I am communicating well but this is a great discussion! Thanks guys!

Joe B said...

Thanks for joining us, and thanks for your splendid response.

I wish you had numbered your points or something, because the length of your comment would make it an all-day project to respond. I'll just make an observation about my perspective, and yours, then leave the discussion open for the other sages (who are mostly eager to agree with you.)

First, I commend you for your abhorrence of proof-texting. Second, remember what I said: we are in essential agreement about the tithe, not in opposition. It is on your approach to the scriptural questions that I differ. I say "widen that lens a little further still."

Your approach to this topic is oppositional -- you are working to cure an abuse of churches by controverting the interpretation of scripture they use to perpetrate it. By demonstrating that something is "Old Covenant" you seek to debunk the basis of authority they have employed. I think you’d agree that far.

Your approach to these scriptures, therefore, emphasizes contrasting the old and new covenants. I take a very different approach to scripture. That is to harmonize OT & NT and see in them the full picture of God’s mercy and justice. Why? The vast majority of OT teaching is NOT clearly reiterated in the NT, but it is still God's word and thus it stands forever. Its principles stand intact in the NT (incl Mal 3:9).

Jesus embraced the OT scrips fully, even teaching that "they speak of me." He was both Old and New, all in all, alpha and omega. He is “the law of God on the hoof.” He came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill/complete the law. I WISH he had written reams of hermeneutic texts, but to our dismay he willfully did not. Jesus did not use words like they were so many nuts and bolts and springs and hammers. In the Gospels Jesus is totally non-technical with the Word, and utterly unsystematic. The “Testament” is not in the ink, it is in the action, it is in the blood.

The tithe is about Jesus, because we work in faith. The Sabbath is about Jesus, because we rest by faith. The tabernacle is about Jesus, because we journey on in faith. The sacrifice is about Jesus because we live by faith until we die in faith. The temple is about Jesus because life is worship, rising together by faith into God’s holy temple. The seder is about Jesus. The ark, the flood, bastard sons of Judah in Tamar’s womb, the Red Sea, the other ark, the Torah, the Tanakh, the captivity, all of it. All these things illustrate the character and intention of God in Christ, and they all demand a conformity in us.

Now, shall we reject them in spirit just because someone else abuses them in truth? Would we not reject Jesus too, of whom they speak? "There remains a sabbath rest...", you know. And there remains a “tithe” too, and it still co$ts a bundle. Now, how that is realized in life and practice is the life's work of the disciple of Jesus. Fortunately Jesus was pretty clear about all that.

Obviously we do not observe each of those things in technical detail, we observe them in spirit, in essence, in maner of life (“my words are spirit and they are life.”) That makes it the more strange to make clubs out of these details and carry them off to battle (Where was the storehouse? where did they actually bring the tithe versus the firstfruits versus the wave offering versus freewill offerings?) These things are significant as they relate to the LIFE OF FAITH IN CHRIST, not as they instruct us in the observance of OT ritual decrees (or supposed NT ones.)

The compulsive contrasting of OT/NT, OC/NC (typical of Dispensationalists and all whom they've influenced) results in a fragmented and distorted view of Christ, his Call, his Church, and his Triumph. It constantly turns the focus to what we must do and how we must do it. It constantly begs the questions: Why did God Change? Why would he require us to be people of faith for a millennium, then cold legalists for a couple of millennia, and then people of love thenceforth? Do we have a better covenant because we got a better God? Did the Son overthrow the Father? Did Paul overthrow Jesus?

The answer? There is no question! God has never changed, nor has his expectation of Man, nor his definition of righteousness. Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. This is exemplified in the “hall of faith” of Hebrews 11, which is populated by OT saints. Some are unnamed, some are unlikely, some seem plain undeserving. The holy people of God!

A man could pay “mandatory tithes”, of food OR cash, his whole life and yet be free as a bird. And I could “liberate them from tithing” and yet they’ll live in bondage. People are not in bondage to the tithe, they are in bondage to Bad Religion. Those in Bad Religion will pay their Bad Tithes. Those in the triumphal procession of Christ are not bound by fear.

In Jesus Captivity is taken captive. We have not received again the spirit of fear-slavery, rather a spirit of sonship by whom we cry “abba”, “Father”. We are his heirs, not his tenant farmers. We don’t pay rent in cash OR grapes, we invest our lives in our inheritance, God’s vineyard.

There is a whole fallen religion insinuated thru Christendom. It has little to do with the Old Covenant. It has everything to do with not knowing Jesus Christ. Thanks for fighting against it! But freedom is found in the pneuma, not in the gramma.

Robotface Shumway (Big Doofus) said...

Joe, it would behoove you to refrain from labeling people and using words like "baloney" and "hogwash" to describe the positions of the people that you are debating.

Go ahead and make your argument, but do it in a way that is respectful. You may have your tongue in your cheek when you use such words, but many of us don't know you from Adam and it's best to err on the safe side.

Plus, I would argue that a Dispensationalist would speak more of dispensations than Old and New Covenants (those words are typically used by Reformed Covenantalists).

Regardless, there's still a great deal of truth to what you have to say and what Russ has to say.

Joe B said...

CAN YOU BELIEVE I DID THIS??? Line by line by line. I'm nuts. Gonna get fired.
Sorry for using so much oxygen, it's Russ' fault!
…………………………………………………….
Joe: It is true that from very early times the Jews began to extend the tithe teachings to fit their decreasingly agrarian society.
...................................
Russ: Malachi was written almost 1000 years after Leviticus and Numbers, yet the tithe is still only food from inside Israel. Matthew was written another 400 years later and the tithe is still only food.
...................................
Joe B 2: I am not making the sharp distinction between tithes and other gifts. Neither do the tithe teachers. Obviously since the tithe-teachers do not adhere to the OT jots and tiddles, I would not either.
……………………………………………….
Joe: And so until today. So what? It's baloney to say that God will not accept anything you did not grow yourself. Hogwash.
....................................
Russ: Speaking of hogwash, God was so angry with the thieving priests in Malachi 1:6 to 2:2 that he cursed them and threatened to throw dung in their faces. Although money was very essential even in Genesis, tithes were only from food of agriculture and clean animals grown inside Holy Israel because God Himself gave the increase through his miracle hand. It was not from what man made in the form of crafts and ingenuity.
……………………………………………….
Joe B 2: Money is essential among people who use money. Peasants, day-laborers do not use money except occasionally, even today. All who produce food that is their own would tithe, it seems. But LABORERS (i.e., the poor, the majority) would NOT have paid tithes. I think we agree on that.

You keep saying the priests were stealing offerings, but the text simply does not say that. It’s not as if they had no word for “steal.” If it uses the word rob in 3:8 when it’s NOT talking about stealing offerings—surely it WOULD say "steal" in Ch 1 if it WERE talking about "stealing." Stretch, stretch, saw, saw, hammer, hammer…
...................................
Joe: His comments on Malachi 3 are just silly. It is not addressed only to priests, as he says. (3:9 says explicitly "You are under a curse--the whole nation of you--because you are robbing me."
.................................
Russ: I do not proof-text Malachi. I go back and pick up the context from 2 Chronicles 31, Nehemiah and especially Malachi 1:6 and 2:1 where God specifically addressed the priests. The priests are again prominent in 2:11 to 3:7 and are cursed four times. in 1:14 and 2:2.
In context “this whole nation of you” means “of you priests” because the pronoun “you” in Malachi always refers to the priests since 1:6! God does not suddenly stop cursing the priests and start feeling sorrow for them. That is inconsistent with his threats of 3:1-3.
....................................
Joe B 2:
Proof-text?? First, you cannot go back to 100 years to 2 Chr to determine who is being addressed in Mal 3. Sheesh! The Mal 3 text SAYS who he is talking to! Priests are prominent, yes, and addressed exclusively in Ch 2:1-10. But stop and think about what you’re saying! Chapter 3 speaks to the whole people and refers to the Levites as “them”, not “you.” Then the pronoun “you” is used for: those who desire the coming of the messenger of the covenant” (v3), those to whom he comes for judgement (v5), the descendants of Jacob (v6, 7), those who are admonished to return to the Lord but who rob God in tithes and offerings (v8), those who are under a curse, “the whole nation of you” (v9), those who will have insufficient capacity to receive the blessing God will pour out (v10), those whose crops will thenceforth not be devoured and whose vines will not cast their fruit (v11), and those whose delightful land makes them the envy of the nations (v13). I could do exactly the same with Ch 1. Clearly it is not the landless priests to whom he is speaking about their crops! And clearly “O Jacob” does not refer to a narrow subset of the Jews, as Jacob was not even priest. Only 10 verses of this book are addressed exclusively to the priests. And in Ch 1, The “one who brings an offering” is not limited to the priest, but includes the supplicant: “Cursed is the man who has an acceptable male in his flock…then sacrifices a blemished animal.” (v1:14) Come on, Russ.

Joe: This is NOT a passage about God being legalistic, it is precisely the opposite!
...................................
Russ: I greatly disagree. Read Malachi 4:4, Nehemiah 10:29 and Deuteronomy 27 and 28 all. The blessings and curses of Malachi 3 are only part of the whole blessings and curses of the Mosaic Law and cannot possibly be separated from it. The “windows of heaven” is common in Deuteronomy 27 and 28 for all of the Law. Galatians 3:10 is quoting Deuteronomy 26.
………………………………………………………………
Joe B 2: Joe: So God was disturbed that the people of Malachi were not legalistically righteous enough? I repeat, “The choice Malachi thrusts in the faces of the 5th century BC Jews is the same as what Jesus thrust at the 1st c. Jews. Live by faith or live under the curse. It is about grace thru faith.” Always was, always will be. Otherwise, you’ll have to explain Mal 3:16-17: “The those who feared the Lord talked together, and He listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance of them was prepared in his presence. ‘They shall be mine’ says the Lord, ‘in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him.’” This is about grace, Russ. This is the culmination of the prophecy, the thrust of its lesson. You need to shake off those Dispensational blinders – they’re blocking out entire verses! The question is not whether the Malachi curses can be separated from the Mosaic curses, but whether they can be separated from the Adamic curses and the ministry of Jesus Christ, the Last Adam. And no, they cannot be separated from either. The "Mosaic" curse was not "new". These passages are a reiteration of the Adamic curse BUT with a promise of blessing for those who would live by faith.
..................................
Joe: The principles taught in Malachi are NO different from those in the NT.
...................................
Russ: Malachi reveals principles of statutes/ordinances of the Mosaic Law which was only given to national Israel.
Giving principles found in the NT after Calvary are for the mostly Gentile Church and reflect free-will giving principles which supersede the Law. There is no command to tithe given to the Church after Calvary. Period.
……………………………………………
Joe B 2: That is 100% circular. What principle (not rite or practice) of giving written in Malachi differs from any principle of giving in the NT, and how does it differ? By the way, the NT principles were given to a Church where there is no Jew or Greek. Have you not noticed the gentiles in the lineage of Jesus? Isn’t this telling you something? Jesus was born in 1c AD, but his from everlasting to everlasting. God didn’t just repent in 1 AD, these are GOD’S principles. His law reveals his will. His Law was not given to exclude gentiles. It was given, among other things, so one could “see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” (Mal 3:18.) It never MADE people righteous “for it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Heb 10:4). No, God has not changed. He has just given more grace. Whether there is a post Calvary command or not totally misses the point. Gods call to live by faith remains from Adam to Jesus to Russ. One God.
...................................
Joe: Give willingly. Give not just to check an obligation off the list, but "so that there will be food in the storehouse."
...................................
Russ: The “storehouse” principle is a colossal mistake. (1) The vast majority of the tithe in the OT did NOT go to the Temple storehouse. Rather it went to the Levitical cities where 98% of the Levites and priests lived most of the time (Neh 10:37; 2 Chron 31:15-19. (2) There is no such thing as the “storehouse” of the church. The NT Temple is inside the believer and the NT word for “church” is never a building. There were no church buildings for over 220 years after Calvary.
…………………………………………………….
Joe B 2: Nothing you said there even begins to say why the storehouse PRINCIPLE is mistaken. So a church is not a building. The church USES buildings, and the church need not even HAVE a building to fulfill the storehouse function. (Just to reveal my ignorance, I though I had coined that phrase “storehouse principle.” by it I refer to the fact that peoples’ gifting is for the sustenance of God’s “landless people.”) This is evident not only in the tithe, but also in the firstfruit offering which was likewise divided to the landless: the Levite, widow, orphan, alien, etc. in Deut. 26:1-19. THESE ARE OLD COVENANT PRACTICES BUT THOROUGHLY LADEN WITH NEW TESTAMENT PRINCIPLES. The storehouse principle is that “they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.”(v12). This is also a strong admonition that those “Levites” who would eat at the Lord’s $$ trough had better identify with the poor, though they may not be poor themselves. Churches that do not serve the storehouse function, feeding the poor along with the priest, have no business collecting $$ at all.
............................
Joe: Give and it will be given to you. It's a teaching about faith, not about cold formality.
...............................
Russ: This principle is repeated to the Church after Calvary in the NT.
...............................
Joe B 2: Doesn’t matter if it weren’t. It is God’s word, and it is totally in sync with the whole revelation of God in the Law, in te Prophets, and in Jesus our Lord, in whom the fullness of God is revealed.
…………………………………………………….
Joe: The choice Malachi thrusts in the faces of the 5th century BC Jews is the same as what Jesus thrust at the 1st c. Jews. Live by faith or live under the curse. It has nothing to do with pre-or-post Calvary. God is the same and he changes not.
....................................
Russ: I disagree. This logic equates the Old and New Covenants. I can give a long list changes between the two covenants. The context of “God changes not” in Malachi 3 means that he will keep his covenant blessings/curses to OT national Israel.
........................................
Joe B 2: No, it equates god with God. Are saying that God does change with regard to anything except his blessings/curses toward national Israel? Well, I guess we do disagree. There is only one God, the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning (Ja 1:17). No, it did not take the Babe in a Manger to give God his distinctive character. “The fullness of time” does not refer to God emerging from adolescence! "He changeth not, so you, oh descendants of Jacob are not destroyed." Even in context it says just what it says. No more or less. A bigger hammer will not change it.
…………………………………………………………
Joe: Look, giving is a privilege.
...................................
Russ: Free-will giving always has been.
...................................
Joe B 2 : So what is your point? Tithe, freewill offering, or just leaving an extra big tip for the waitress with dark circles under her eyes: GIVING is about LOVE. If it’s about anything else, just build yourself a bigger barn and keep it all for retirement.
…………………………………………………………………………
Joe: Tithing is a beautiful model for giving, and God's fingerprints are on it.
...................................
Russ: Tithing was given to God’s unique people living inside His special holy land as an agrarian nation. The dust from other nations was unclean and even Israelites could not tithe if they grew the food from pagan land.
...................................
Joe B 2: We all live in the holy land, our land, God’s land. Our king has come, and we are no more in exile. We have crossed over Jordan (Heb 4). So “Do not call anything unclean that the Lord has made clean.” (Ac 10:14)
……………………………………………………………….
Joe: I think the guy wildly exaggerates the nature & extent of tithing-teaching.
...................................
Russ: Read the book.
..................................
Joe B 2: I already agree with your premise and your conclusion, and I think you are a swell guy. I can’t promise I’ll read the book, but it sounds nice. I’ve been around quite a bit, but I have never been afflicted with a church that teaches falsely about tithing. Of course I tend to avoid rotten churches with the smell of death in them! Clearly you and thousands of others around the world have been afflicted. I think it is part of a larger syndrome. Thanks for calling them out.
…………………………………………………………………………………
Joe: I'm curious what has inspired him to such vehement axe-grinding.
...................................
Russ: The truth. And the “thank you” letters from oppressed Christians all around the world. What have I done to make you use such nasty words?
……………………………………………………………………………
Oh, those are not nasty words, Russ. Vehement? Axe-grinding? You are vehement, no? You are right up in the face of these false teachers and I would not for a minute suggest you should not be. Axe-grinding is preparation for war. You’ve prepared, so you can't deny that part either!

Remember, you were just a concept when I wrote that, and I never even saw your name. Just a blog-o-speck.

So…what HAS led you to such exertion on this topic? I’m fascinated and impressed!

See http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/id84.html

In Christ’s love
Russ Kelly
…………………………………………………………………….
Joe B 2: I make everyone mad. I do not waste tact on my blog-o-buddies. But I do learn a great deal from them! Love x 10

Joe B said...

Well said, Robo. Of course you would resurface here at Java J just to catch me in the very act.

I'll try to refrain from any further use of Hogwash and Baloney, using instead the less pejorative "bologna". I'll also cut back on Vapid, Nigglish, Brainless, Dumb, Silly, Stupid, Moronic, Sheep-dip, and Projectile-Guacamole. All as a gesture of my goodwill.

After all, you never know when Scott might invite some PhD over to bust my chops!

We need some Smiley-cons on this blog so I cover over the horrible things I say. ;-)

Joe B said...

Come on and tag in SoeBek, they've got me on the ropes!

Joe B said...

Okay, my first point there will get chewed up. Yes, the Tithe-teachers DO make a distinction between tithes & other gifts, but they are not BIBLICAL distinctions, and they are not based on actual OT practices or commands.

russkellyphd said...

russkellyphd@earthlink.netJoe: Thanks for joining us, and thanks for your splendid response.
......................................
(1) Russ: You are welcome. I hope we can keep this friendly since tithing does not affect our salvation and standing in Christ.
.......................................
Joe: Your approach to this topic is oppositional -- you are working to cure an abuse of churches by controverting the interpretation of scripture they use to perpetrate it.
.............................................
(2) Russ: I look at the text, its chapter, its book and its context within the Old Covenant as a whole, I do not consider that to be “oppositional” except where the current interpretation ignores that methodology.
..........................................
Joe: Your approach to these scriptures, therefore, emphasizes contrasting the old and new covenants. I take a very different approach to scripture. That is to harmonize OT & NT.
..........................................
(3) Russ: Reformed Theology (which is only slightly older than Dispensational Theology) downplays the differences between the Old and New Covenants by spiritualizing much more than I do.
.........................................
Joe: The vast majority of OT teaching is NOT clearly reiterated in the NT, but it is still God's word and thus it stands forever. Its principles stand intact in the NT (incl Mal 3:9).
............................................
(4) Russ: We operate on opposite hermeneutics and can never agree on tithing because of this wall. You say that everything in the OT still applies in the NT except that which has been specifically repealed. I say that nothing in the OT applies to the Christian except that which has been specifically repeated after Calvary in terms of grace and grace. We both allow for common sense in grey areas.
..................................
Joe: Jesus embraced the OT script fully, even teaching that "they speak of me."
..................................
(5) Russ: Of course He did. He was a Jew born during the jurisdiction of the Law and came to perfectly obey the Law in order to redeem those Israelites who were condemned by the Law. (Gal 4:4). It would make no sense for him to teach contrary to the Law.
..................................
Joe: He came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill/complete the law.
..................................
(6) Russ: Example #1: When our founders signed the Declaration of Independence they did not abolish British law but they did sign their death to it –both good and bad laws (cf Rom 7:4). They then took the best parts of it and re-incorporated them into the US Constitution which applies to all US citizens. That is the same difference. Example #2: When you graduated from high school you did not abolish the bus system which took you back and forth to school for 12 years but you still no longer needed it. By fulfilling the Law, Jesus “set it aside” per Hebrews 7:18 as the Old Covenant which was obsolete and fading away per Hebrews 8:13.
......................................
Joe: The tithe is about Jesus, because we work in faith.
......................................
(7) Russ: The tithe was NEVER about faith. It was a commandment a ceremonial statute/ordinance of the Mosaic Law designed to reimburse Levites and priests for their forfeiture of land inheritance rights inside Israel (which condition is ignored today).
................................
Joe: ...Sabbath ...tabernacle ... sacrifice ... temple ... seder ... ark ... flood ... Red Sea ... all of it. All these things illustrate the character and intention of God in Christ, and they all demand a conformity in us.
....................................
(8) Russ: Yes. Where the NT specifically mentions a spiritual application of these things, I agree. But there is not NT spiritual application of tithing to support a priesthood which killed anybody else who attempted to worship God directly. But the NT only authorizes you to spiritualize things which it spiritualizes and does not permit you to reinterpret literal unconditional promises made to national Israel.
......................................
Joe: “There remains a sabbath rest...", you know. And there remains a “tithe” too.
............................
(9) Russ: Hebrews 4:4 justifies your first statement. You have no text to justify your second statement.
.......................................
Joe: Obviously we do not observe each of those things in technical detail, we observe them in spirit, in essence, in manner of life (“my words are spirit and they are life”).
.........................................
(10) Russ: In other words you CHANGE ALL of them into a spiritual meaning whether the Bible does nor not. Then you declare that God does not change.
..........................................
Joe: That makes it the more strange to make clubs out of these details and carry them off to battle (... storehouse ... firstfruits...)
..........................................
(11) This hermeneutic is convenient. It allows you to spiritualize all of the facts and still keep the LITERAL tithe and completely ignore every rule attached to that tithe in Numbers 18. It re-writes God’s Word as it suits man.
.....................................
Joe: The compulsive contrasting of OT/NT, OC/NC (typical of Dispensationalists and all whom they've influenced) results in a fragmented and distorted view of Christ, his Call, his Church, and his Triumph.
.........................................
(12) Russ: The compulsive ignoring of the plain DIFFERENCES between the Old and New Covenants results in disregarding what the Bible says should be LITERALLY interpreted and spiritualizes almost every detail of the Old Covenant while pretending that the differences are only cosmetic. Note: God never gave the Old Covenant to any Gentile or Christian. In fact He commanded them NOT to share it with anybody else and they made it a WALL between Him and others. That is Bible fact. Read Romans 2:14-16.
..................................
Joe: [Long confusing diatribe] The answer? There is no question! God has never changed ...
...........................................
(13) Russ: The eternal moral character of God cannot change and has never changed. However that fact does not mean that there is no essential difference between the Old and New Covenants. The Bible specifically states that it is “not according to the covenant I made with their fathers” in Heb 8:8-13. a) In the OT God’s covenant was only with national Israel –that has changed; b) the priests were only from Aaron –that has changed; c) the Temple was a building – that has changed; d) blood sacrifices were offered daily –that has changed. Do you want about 50 more examples?
............................................
Joe: ... freedom is found in the pneuma, not in the gramma.
............................................
(14) Russ: The truth shall make you free.

In His love, Russ

Joe B said...

I won't bother explaining my hermeneutics. I'll just stay on your turf which is familiar to both of us.

(2) You say you "look at the text, its chapter, its book and its context within the Old Covenant as a whole"? Is that how you determined that Ch 3 addresses only priests? Or that "I the Lord do not change" somehow means nothing more than "I keep my promises and threats to national Israel?" Or that Malachi 1 is about priests who steal peoples' offerings? NONE of that is taken from the text. ALL of it is inferred, and against the plain sense of the text itself. So, we certainly do employ a different hermeneutic, don't we?

(4) "we can never agree on tithing becuse of this (hermeneutical) wall." Uhhhhhh...we DO agree on tithing, remember?

(7) "The tithe was NEVER about faith." Wow. I'll just let that one buzz around the room a while.

(3, 8, 10, 11, 12) You keep using that word "spiritualize". I do not think it means what you think it means. Identifying a principle that is consistent between OT & NT is not spiritualizing, it is harmonizing.

(12) Are you sure you cited the right passage here? I keep looking for a Bible Fact saying that God commanded somebody not to share the covenant with gentiles in Rom 2:14-16. Or something related?

(12, 13) It's odd, but it appears that you equate "Old Covenant" precisely with the scriptures between Gen 1:1 and Mal 4:6. Am I correct? Perhaps that's how you arrive at the conclusion that no OT scripture is valid unless it is reiterated to your satisfaction in the NT? Like the Old has passed away, the New has come?

Robotface Shumway (Big Doofus) said...

Russ made the following comment:

I say that nothing in the OT applies to the Christian except that which has been specifically repeated after Calvary in terms of grace and grace. We both allow for common sense in grey areas.

This is the problem I have with complete dependence to a systematic theology. While I'm sure that God IS very organized, structured and consistent, I don't think we have the ability to always understand it (Him). In my opinion, statements like this do away with the mystery of God. Like it or not, He's still very mysterious to our finite minds. We can wrap our brains around some ideas and concepts, but in many areas we fall short.

I think this is the "wall" that separates Joe from Russ. That's right, Joe, I'm standing up for YOU this time.

I just don't see the basis for saying "nothing in the OT applies to the Christian except that which has been specifically repeated after Calvary in terms of grace and grace." Of course, if you live by that rule, then everything that is unexplainable can be explained.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not throwing out systematic theology altogether. But we have to admit that there are times when we just cannot fit everything neatly into a box. There are more gray areas than we'd like to admit.

russkellyphd said...

Robotface
At least I have a workining hermenutic. On the other hand you have none except humanism to pick and choose what you think should be brought over from the OT Law into the NT for the Church. Your hermeneutic makes you a god and puts you in charge. Mine leaves it up to divine inspiration. I beiieve that everything we need to know in order to be saved and sanctified can be found in the pages of the New Testament after Calvary. I still preach from the OT but am vigilant not to misuse it.

Please comment on my comparison to British Law before and after the Declaration of Independence. How would you like to be brught before a judge in the USA and told that you are going to be judged according to Chinese or Russian law? You would object that their laws have no jurisdictin over you and you would be correct. Likewise, the Old Covenant laws were ONLY given to national Israel and have no jurisdiction over you.

I mentioned the common ground of common sense, or natural law written in the conscience. That covers a lot fo ground and minimizes your attack of my principles.

Tell me one thing --- What is your working hermeneutic (principle of interpretation) that guides you in decidiing what part of the OT applies to Christians and Gentiles?? Please do not tell me that I am wrong, if you do not know what is correct.

russkellyphd said...

Joe
It is nice to see that you adn robotface do not want to explain your hermeneutic but want to keep questioning mine.

By "Old Covenant" I refer to the Mosaic Law with its commandments, statutes and judicial decrees. Much of the "Old Testament" like Psalms, Proverbs and prophecy are not part ofthe Mosaic Law and they often contain timeless truths for all mankind. Occasionally the word "law" refers to the entire Old Testament.

Who is the "you" of Malachi?

To everybody else reading this blog, I say "Stop and read all of Malachi." It will take about five minutes.
(1) in 1:1 it is addressed to all of Israel, not to the Church.
(2) In 4:4 it is Israel under the Mosaic Law.
(3) In 1:6 it is narrowlly and expressly addressed to the priests.
(4) In 1:13-14 the priests are guilty of robbing God of tithes and offerings they had vowed to God and God cursed them.
(5) In 2:1 it is again addressed only to the priests who are cursed 3 more times in 2:2.
(6) From 2:1-10 the priests are guilty of violating their covenant with Levi.
(7) In 2:11-12 all of Judah is addressed briefly but in the third person.
(8) From 2:13-17 the priests are again the "you" and ask God a question in 2:17.
(9) In 3:1-7 God answers the priests' question from 2:17.
(10) The priests are expressly punished in 3:2-4.
(11) The priests are also sons of Jacob who have violated their ordinacnes in 3:6,7.
(12) The "you" from 3:8-10 is still the priests from 1:1-14; 2:1-17 and 3:1-5. It has never changed.
(13) God has cursed the priests 4 times in 1:14 and 2:2. He does not suddenly feel sorrow for the priests and curse the people in 3:9.
(14) The two-way conversation between God and the priests has not changed in 3:8.
(15) Since has "you" always refers to the priests since 1:6, common sense means that it still refers to the priests in 3:8-10 and means "this whole nation of you --priests."
(16) This is verified by Nehemiah 13:5-10 where the priests had STOLEN the TITHE from the Levites. You cannot deny that! (17) The "you" of Malachi 3:10 cannot refer to the people because the people were commanded to bring their first tithee to the Levitical cities and not to the Temple per Neh 10:37b.
(18) The "you" of Malachi cannot refer to the people because th Levites adn priests were the ones responsible for bining the tithes from their Levitical cities to the temple as they served one week at a time.

The truth is in the God-inspired details which Joe says I am making too much ado about.

Robotface Shumway (Big Doofus) said...

ruskellyphd wrote...

At least I have a working hermeneutic.

Congratulations.

On the other hand you have none except humanism to pick and choose what you think should be brought over from the OT Law into the NT for the Church.

I take a literal approach to hermeneutics.

Your hermeneutic makes you a god and puts you in charge.

No, it doesn't. It's amazing how much you've been able to figure out about me based on a few paragraphs (and I was giving Joe a hard time). EVERYONE--LOOSEN UP A BIT AND STOP MAKING ASSUMPTIONS.

Mine leaves it up to divine inspiration. I believe that everything we need to know in order to be saved and sanctified can be found in the pages of the New Testament after Calvary. I still preach from the OT but am vigilant not to misuse it.

I also believe in and rely upon divine inspiration. Furthermore, I believe that everything we need to know in order to be saved and sanctified can be found in the scriptures. I'm not comfortable separating them (i.e. OT and NT) completely, but I DO believe in a progressive revelation (I'm somewhere in between a Covenantalist and a Dispensationalist, I guess--but I cannot say that I've studied it enough).

Likewise, the Old Covenant laws were ONLY given to national Israel and have no jurisdiction over you.

The Old Covenant Laws applied to everyone--not just Israel. Everyone was accountable to these laws and yet no one could fulfill them. Christ fulfilled them and fulfills them for me today.

russkellyphd said...

Roboface said
The Old Covenant Laws applied to everyone--not just Israel. Everyone was accountable to these laws ...."
....................
Texts please. I could spend all night proving this statement to b in error.

Do you really think that OT Gentiles were required to worship on the Sabbath, worhship only Yahweh, and observe the Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles in Jerusalem? Do you think that Gentiles were alloweed to bring sacrificial offerings to the temple and confess their sins?

Joe B said...

The only "truth" you are presenting from those God-inspired details is (a) that the God-inspired details are irrelevant because they are Old Covenant, and (b) that Russ Kelly PhD is terribly, terribly smart.

You seem unable to separate the actual text from your own conclusions about the text. You infer what is not written. And yet, be it noted, I have resisted using the word "balogna". Yea, and I shall resist!

Malachi 1 does NOT speak of priests stealing offerings. My non-hermeneutic humanism leaps to this convenient conclusion: It doesn't say it...because it doesn't mean it! Heck, even Neh 13:5-10 doesn't speak of priests stealing offerings! Where it says neglect, you infer larceny. Well, too bad God didn't consult with you before he inspired these details. But Russ, even if it DID say "steal" in Neh 13:5 there still is no warrant to insist that Mal 1:6 (which does not mention theft) is speaking of Nehemiah's Ch 13 incident (which also does not speak about theft.)

As to whether Mal 3 speaks only to priests, you fail to make the case. The question the priests ask in 2:17 is adequately answered in 2:17. The soliloquy that follows (v3:1-7a, and resumed in 3:17-4:6) is related, of course. But it is a glowing messianic prophecy, and as such it can hardly be considered a statement made narrowly to the priests. If it WERE a narrow threat to them, then clearly it never came to pass in their liftimes, eh? (An idle threat? Hmmmmmmmmmm...) In any case, the audience IS identified in 3:6 as the "descendants of Jacob." Not that you would care, since you are also unconcerned that THE WHOLE BOOK IS ADDRESSED TO "ISRAEL" IN CHAPTER ONE, VERSE ONE!

You claim that all one needs is contained with the NT. Fine. But your vehemence about these no-longer-valid-but-still-God-inspired-but-oh-yeah-it-doesn't-matter-because-its-Old-Covenant teachings says a lot about your motivation. When I talk about God in his glorious love and justice, you dismiss it as arrogant humanism. But when you strain gnats out of OT laws and swallow hermeneutic camels, you consider that humble vigilance in the Word.

You know, I think I will not read your book after all. I'd rather be refreshed by Robo-god's "humanism" than be parched by your empty recitations of "Bible Facts" that, by your own math, have nothing to do with Christ and his Kingdom.

Be it noted that I have NOT used the word hogwash. Nor shall I.

Joe B said...

Maybe we could return to the topic of tithing, before the week passes us by.

Tithing is NOT taught in the NT, and the teaching of it in the OT has little bearing on the NT saint.

Nevertheless I think it is a good practice, and a fitting practice for the church. It acknowledges God as our provider and it builds faith.

Robotface Shumway (Big Doofus) said...

I think you should give hilariously as the NT teaches. If that's 10% for you, great. The 10% guideline is ok, but it's not gospel.

Joe B said...

Fully agreed, Robicus.

I tend to think of "giving cheerfully" is sort of like "counting it all joy when you face various trials" a la Jas 1:2. It's not that you give because, or only when, you feel cheerful about giving. Rather we rejoice in giving in the way that we "rejoice in our sufferings" (Rom 5:3, NIV). Giving away what you've earned can sting!

Was it you Russ who pointed out that it's a biblical principle to give beyond our means? (at least it is commendable, 2 Cor 8:3).

If a hypothetically average man of ordinary means (and demands) can part with only, say 2% of his $50k/yr, he is not living by faith. I will tell them so as a service to him.

And if my buddy (a real person) makes $150k, "tithes" $15k to the church, gives another $5k to missions, stuffs $50k a year in his IRA, and has his car and house paid off...but he can't tip his waitress 15%? Or he feels like a winner when he talks the window washer down $20 on his price? Yes, I talk to him about it -- he is in sin and he needs to beg God for mercy.

I am not the judge of all these things, but I think it is all pretty simple. Giving 10% to your church does not give you the right to say "I gave at the office."

russkellyphd said...

Joe adn Robotface:

Why in the world are we brothers in Christ even arguing about this when we all three agree and have the same conclusion? My argument is not even with you; it is with those who teach that NT tithing is mandatory for evn eth very poorest in society.

I use Malachi 1:6 and 2:1 and the curses of 1:14 and 2:2 to argue that the priests have been cursed four times in Malachi prior to 3:8-10. Yes, it it irrelevant to al three fo us because it does not matter to us! But it is very important to those who insist taht the poor should give their first 10% to them as Christian pastors.

Joe, you keep inferrking that my conclusion that the priess had stolen tiths is hogwash.

I merely ask anybody with reasonable intellignece to stop and read Nehemiah 13:5-10 for themselves and come to their own conclusion. (1) Teh two storerooms in the Temple where the tithe had been kpet was emptied out by the high priest, Eliashib. (2) The Levites (not the priests) went home. (3) The priests did not go home because they still had that food to eat. (4) How can you possibly explain it any other way than to say that the priests had stolen the Levites' portion of the tithe????

Concerning Malachi 1:13-14, this is from my book: (1:13) This is a very interesting text. The KJV says “that which was torn”; the NIV “injured”; the NAS, NKJV and TLB prefer “by robbery” or “stolen”; and the RSV says “taken by violence.” If stolen, then this means that the priests had somehow taken “more” than their legal share. Since the firstfruits, firstborn, and offerings went directly to them, the priests could not have stolen these items (Neh. 10:35-37b). However, the priests had taken the Levites’ portion of the tithe from the storehouse (Neh. 13:10-11)."
...............................
First the people brought their tithes to the Levites where they lived in the Levitical cities (Neh 10:37). Second the priests collected the best 10% of the 10% from the Levites at the Levitical cities. (Neh 10:38). Third, the priess were not commanded to tithe. Instead they gave God freewill vow offerings FROM THE TITHES. This is seen in Mal 1:13.

Again I ask everybody to read the text and come to their own conclusion. Mine is that the priests had stolen the vow-tithe from God.

From my web site: Free-will giving existed before tithing. The following New Covenant free-will principles are found in Second Corinthians, chapters 8 and 9: (1) Giving is a "grace.” These chapters use the Greek word for "grace" eight times in reference to helping poor saints. (2) Give yourself to God first (8:5). (3) Give yourself to knowing God’s will (8:5). (4) Give in response to Christ’s gift (8:9; 9:15). (5) Give out of a sincere desire (8:8, 10, 12; 9:7). (6) Do not give because of any commandment (8:8, 10; 9:7). (7) Give beyond your ability (8:3, 11, 12). (8) Give to produce equality. This means that those who have more should give more in order to make up for the inability of those who cannot afford to give as much (8:12-14). (9) Give joyfully (8:2). (10) Give because you are growing spiritually (8:3, 4, 7). (11) Give because you want to continue growing spiritually (9:8, 10, 11). (12) Give because you are hearing the gospel preached (9:13).

Unless somebody has some other aspect of tihting to discuss, I am finished with this rather unproductive conversation and argument with two brothers who agree that NT tithing is not biblical. May God bless all of you.

russkellyphd said...

Sorry for all of the typos. I am legally blind and forgot to recheck what I wrote.

May God bless all of you. And give from the heart according to your ability even until it hurts your pocketbook or billfold.

Joe B said...

Now for my general confession.

I used disparaging words about the ideas of a brother whom God loves. He was just a conceptual brother at the time, but in fact he is a real, flesh and blood, heart and soul follower of Jesus.

Behold how great a fire is set by a careless tongue. I apologize to you, Russ Kelly.

And also to the patrons at Java Jesus. The Word, rightly divided, brings faithful hearts together. Here we debate in order to learn from one another, not to ensnare.

I hereby banish myself from this discussion. Be blessed!

Joe B said...

HEY! Dr Russ posted that while I was still writing my general confession. NO FAIR!

Just kidding, of course.

Let us all remember to let the Word speak first, and let the Word speak last. Let us never use it to inflate ourselves or to denigrate those God loves.

Anonymous said...

if the animal brout as a sacrifice was stolen then it was stolen by the guy who gave it not by the preist who kills it or else it never gets sacrificed right? if all the reist want to do is sacrifice it then why steal it cause it wont cost him any either way

i guess its illegal to sacrifice something thats stolen. But how does the preist kno its stolen. what does the thief tell the preist dude like i stole this cow for God?

russkellyphd said...

Anonymous

You have built a straw-man and killed him. Poor dude never had a prayer of winning that one.

All I can say is "read the verses carefully." 1:13, 14

(1) The Levits lived on loaned land around 48 cities hwere they farmed adn raised the animlas which had been given to them as tithes and offerings. See Joshua 20, 21 and Numbers 35.

(2) The people brought every tenth clean animal to the Levies. According to Lev 27:32-33 this was not necessarily the healthiest so they had unhealthy animals from the tithe. Also Num 18:21-24 and Neh 10:37b.

(3) The Levites, in turn, gave the BEST and healthiest of what they received as tithe to the priests. Num 18:25-28; Neh 10:38. The priests then farmed and herded these animals and their offspring included those which were sick and maimed.

(4) The priests vowed to give God the best from their herds. Mal 1:14

(5) Teh priests lied. The kept the best for themsleves and gave God the sick. Therefore they were guilty of STEALING that which they had vowed to give to God.

Thank you for asking for clarification.


(3) The Levites

Anonymous said...

does malachi 13 say that the preist steals animals or he sacrifices a stolen animals?
you said they stole the sacrifices inn the other bibles but mine is just a NIV. if he stole the animals i dont now why he sacrifices it if he wants it. or if he sacrifices the animal that somebiody els stole then did he know he stole it? my bible jst says he God wont accept bad animals because its just NIV thanks

Joe B said...

Anyone out there interested in "tithing", or in Christians' practice of giving material support to the church?

Russ, you wrote a book on it--any thoughts?

russkellyphd said...

Anonymous
This is the NIV with my underlining and CAPITALIZATION.
Mal 1:13-14
13 And you say, 'What a burden!' and you sniff at it contemptuously," says the LORD Almighty. "When you bring injured, crippled or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?" says the LORD.
14 "Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, BUT THEN sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king," says the LORD Almighty, "and my name is to be feared among the nations. NIV

(1) The priests HAD “acceptable” sacrifices (received through tithes and offerings).
(2) The priests VOWED to give God the acceptable sacrifices.
(3) The priests CHEATED God by bringing the crippled and diseased.

russkellyphd said...

Joe:
From teh first page of my web site:
The following New Covenant free-will principles are found in Second Corinthians, chapters 8 and 9: (1) Giving is a "grace.” These chapters use the Greek word for "grace" eight times in reference to helping poor saints. (2) Give yourself to God first (8:5). (3) Give yourself to knowing God’s will (8:5). (4) Give in response to Christ’s gift (8:9; 9:15). (5) Give out of a sincere desire (8:8, 10, 12; 9:7). (6) Do not give because of any commandment (8:8, 10; 9:7). (7) Give beyond your ability (8:3, 11, 12). (8) Give to produce equality. This means that those who have more should give more in order to make up for the inability of those who cannot afford to give as much (8:12-14). (9) Give joyfully (8:2). (10) Give because you are growing spiritually (8:3, 4, 7). (11) Give because you want to continue growing spiritually (9:8, 10, 11). (12) Give because you are hearing the gospel preached (9:13).
.........................
From what I have read thus far I think that you and Robotface both agree.

The NT does not teach any sort of percentage tithing to the Church after Calvary.

NT giving works on a better principle of grace rather than Law.
As a new creation in Christ the NT believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. He/she gives spontaneously to the extent that he/she (1) loves the Lord and (2) wants to see souls won to the kingdom of God.

According to 2 Cor 8:14-16 "equalilty giving" means that most should give more than 10% BUT others cannot give that much. The equality is a balance. There is not room for any dwelling on percentages. Thus tithing is out fo the picture altogether.

Anonymous said...

"This is a very interesting text. The KJV says “that which was torn”; the NIV “injured”; the NAS, NKJV and TLB prefer “by robbery” or “stolen”; and the RSV says “taken by violence.” If stolen, then this means that the priests had somehow taken “more” than their legal share. Since the firstfruits, firstborn, and offerings went directly to them, the priests could not have stolen these items (Neh. 10:35-37b). However, the priests had taken the Levites’ portion of the tithe from the storehouse (Neh. 13:10-11)."

Well it really doesnt have anything to to with preists stealing then because even if the preist took more than hes suupsed to this verse isnt talking aboit what the preist took its talking about what kind of animal gets sacrificed. The only one hw kwows the animal is stole is the theif not the preist. So even if the word is stolen not torn God is mad at the theif who gave it to the Levits not the preists who got it from the levits. cause if the preist sacrifices it then he did not take it, he did right. he stole it only if he kept it insted of kiiling it
I think it is about all the people who give bad offering instead of good ones. Poeple still do tha at church.

Joe B said...

That's a great job parsing out that passage. And that passage expands the principle of the cross-- in the Cross Christ both accomplishes victory over sin's curse AND demonstrates how WE shall triumph over it. We sacrifice our own well-being for the benefit of others.

I find it fascinating how Paul provokes the Corinthians to give in v8-9! "I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your faith by comparing it with the earnestness of (the Macedonians.)"

So much for "it's just between you and God"! Doesn't this confirm that "the right anount" is actually based somewhat on objective reality, not just some vague secret notion between you and God?

scott said...

As the person that lit the fuse on this entire dialogue, I want to just say it's been educational. It's been difficult to keep up on, though... The comments have been coming fast and furious.

While I do agree that many churches overemphasize the "tithe" concept in giving, I do still think it's a good ideal. As Joe mentioned above, the "vague secret notion" between you and God becomes problematic -- which is obvious when we see how the average giving in many churches is at, what, maybe 3%? You have a lot of nominal Christians whose "freewill offering" is five bucks in the offering plate, and I think the tithe-teaching can be beneficial -- keeping it in CONTEXT, of course.

The OT/NT (old covenant vs new covenant) argument here is fodder for another blog post, by the way...

Robotface Shumway (Big Doofus) said...

Plus, I think I was wrong about the Old Covenant thing. I believe it DID apply only to the nation of Israel.

I was only trying to say that God's laws for mankind have always been about perfection and we have never possessed the ability to fulfill them. This perfection points to the perfection of God and points to the fulfillment made by Christ.

My guess is that we all agree on that.

void77 said...

So what should a poor layman do? Budget in 10% and simply do without even more in my family? Or does all the time and extra $$ my wife and I spend involved in church/body "functions" count for anything? Can I discount myself because I'm performing "services" and "ministry" work...Do I count as a Levite? Or am I just whining because I have no faith and should shut up and write a check?

Confusing... What Russ has to say sounds very good to me, and I want to believe it. Interestingly, the "church background" I come from rarely taught on tithing and giving. Truth was, nobody had anything to give!!

russkellyphd said...

Anonymous
We have beaten those two texts into powder and there is nothing more for me to add. We wil just have to disagree and go on. I still love you as a brother.
Russ

Joe, Robotface and Scott
My view is shared by Tony Evans, Chuck Swindoll and John MacArthur. It may be wrong, but I am not alone.

There are many great churches and seminaaries out there which do not teach tithing and yet flourish. Dallas, Moody and Masters Seminaries are good examples.

Whille it may be true that average church members only give between 3-5%, that does not justify teaching mandatory tithing to all beleivers. 2 Cor 8 and 9 are general principles for giving to the poor and do not even address salaries or money to support non-existent church buildings.

Our ghettos are full of sincere Christians who have been "tithing" for generations but are stil bogged down in poverty. Evangelism, not tithing, is the key to church growth.

Joe B said...

Roboticus, I thought I saw your point the first time around. God's law is about perfection in that it is a revelation of himself to Man. All mankind is obligated to God and subject to his judgement. The particular levitical "laws", no, of course not.

It is often said that it is impossible to keep the Law of Moses, as if keeping it would please God adequately, but alas it is impossible. I think the Bible says otherwise.

First, the apostle Paul certainly believed he had kept it fully(Phil 3:5-6), but clearly he did not believe one could be "saved" that way. Second, not breaking laws does not mean you are perfect. Jesus elaborated this in Mat 5 & 6.
Third, Hebrews tells us flatly that "the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a BETTER HOPE did; by the which we draw nigh unto God."(Heb 7:19)

God's OT promise was blessing to those who were faithful to him, not eternal life to those who could walk a legal tightrope stretched over the fire of hell. I think we are mistaken if we look at it that way or if we assume that they did.

Joe B said...

Sorry, do NOT comment on that. It was so off topic. Maybe next week.

darin said...

did someone say that stealing cows was a sin? uh-oh

Robotface Shumway (Big Doofus) said...

As long as you don't muzzle the cow and give ten percent of it to the...man, I'm really mixing things up now. Sorry.

Joe B said...

Stealing a cow was a grave sin under the Old Covenant, but that prohibition is not repeated in the New Testament because of grace. It's impossible NOT to steal a cow, after all. So Jesus doesn't steal the cow in my place.

Some liberal scholars have suggested the admonition to "steal no longer" (Eph 4:28)actually INCLUDES the theft of cows, despite the clear evidence that the word "cow" appears twice in the DaVinci Code.

That is pure Postmodernism at work. If you cannot be certain about the cows, then how can you be certain about absolutely everything else?