Author's Note: The book was greatly updated in December 2003 and March
2007 and many of the negative comments below no longer apply because of lack of clarity on my part. As of September 2006,
the book has an average four and one half-star rating from 19 reviews. As of November 19, 2007 ------
55 of 57 people found the following review helpful:
The most informative, intriguing book I've read on tithing!, March 31, 2001
Should the Church teach tithing? This is
a question that, it seems, more and more Christians are desiring an answer to today. Certainly there are many different opinions
that exist on the subject. But what does God's Word clearly teach on the matter? After reading more than 40 books, commentaries,
lexicons, Bible dictionaries and various study aids and position articles on this subject (from all different perspectives),
I came across Dr. Kelly's book. To be honest I wasn't expecting to be surprised much after all of my previous research on
the subject, but Dr. Kelly's book was a mind-blower!
Should The Church Teach Tithing, by theologian Russel Earl Kelly, Ph. D. is one of the most thorough and intriguing
investigations of the biblical tithe I have read to date. This book answers questions and challenges against many traditional
arguments and misconceptions that have been made concerning the subject of tithing and also traces the early development of
church support as found in the Church Fathers before Nicea. The writing is completely void of negative critical commentary,
yet presents the biblical truth in a fascinating, precise and clear cut manner. Kelly also offers his insight and perspective
concerning the mysterious biblical character known as Melchizedek and offers some surprising conclusions.
Russel Earl Kelly's work is accompanied by scores of quality references and a multitude of Scriptural support for
each point made. The reader is encouraged and given the resources to do their own biblical investigation into the subject
along with the author.
This is a book that will encourage Christians in the area of understanding the tithe and true, biblical, New Covenant
giving principles. It will help the reader to understand clearly when tithing originated, why it was implemented in the Law
and how it has been fulfilled completely through Christ. Wonderful emphasis is made upon the priesthood of the believer in
Jesus Christ, his New Covenant privilege of intimate relationship with God and the role this plays in blessing others. No
biblical stone is left unturned in this amazing presentation.
I believe this book has the potential to strengthen the understanding of many pastors and evangelists who have
commonly taught tithing to the Church. If a person is teachable and eager to embrace the simple Word of God, this book will
be an exciting, fresh look into the subject of Christian stewardship and right perspectives on biblical giving principles.
It is an absolute must read for anyone desiring to better understand and embrace biblical truth and right doctrine as it concerns
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful:
This is the Definitive Work on the subject of Tithing!, July 1, 2004 Colin Moore, New Zealand
I brought this book and did not regret it. I could not put it down until I finished it. Now I am reading it again.
It is a reference book that can stand alone on it's own scholarly merit. It is the definitive book on the subject of tithing
from a theological point of view. It deals with all the main proof texts used by pro-tithe preachers and digs deep and exposes
the shallow, dishonest use of these bible verses and how they are used out of the context of these passages as a whole. In
fact it shows how the rest of the surrounding text actually dismantles their argument! The whole of the bible is shown to
be in agreement and shows that the weight of the argument is truly against a legalistic mandatory requirement and that the
New Testament does not command or teach tithing at all. Your pastor may not want you to read this book! It takes a bit of
study and concentration to absorb but it is well worth the read if you seriously want to arm yourself with the truth. It is
one thing to know in your heart that you believe something, or suspect that something is not right with what you are currently
being taught, but it is another thing to fully understand both sides of the argument and be able to defend your position!
In fact having read Russell's book I now feel confident to be able to defend my beliefs now on any given verse or argument
that someone could try to put to me. Russell shows how God has a better way under the New Covenant and how we are really robbing
God and ourselves if we don't give with a proper heart attitude and as per the New Testament patterns and teaching of Jesus
and the apostles. It is very liberating to know that I can give from my heart without any compulsion, from a sense of gratitude.
We have a great responsibility as Christians but God is not pleased at our giving from any sense of guilt or the like! I enjoyed
the part about Melchizedek the most as this example is used often as a pre-Mosaic Law example, but Russell defuses this argument
also and leaves no stone unturned with his thorough biblical research which is accurate, logical, honest, consistent, and
referenced throughout. He includes early church history, the current biblical customs at the times in the bible, well known
historical Christian figure's views, other well known authors, theologians, seminaries and commentaries that also maintain
and support this position. It is time we stood against the tide of this current "tradition" that is holding sway over people
and "makes void the word of God". I believe many people are waking up to the abuses of what many pastors churches and denominations
are doing and we need more scholars like Russell who is unafraid to put his body on the line to reveal the truth about tithing
as the bible defines it, in contrast to giving in the New Testament.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful:
This book investigates many aspects of the Bible and provides informative analysis. Unlike most tithing books,
there is very little because-I-say-so going on. Unfortunately, many would rather follow tradition than discover what God's
Word truly says. This book helps ease the transition to the latter.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful: (as of 2-22-05)
Scholarly and enlightnening book on this subject, October 14, 2002
Dr. Kelly doesn't mince words.
Using historical research as well as an abundance of scripture, he very convincingly demonstrates that something is seriously
wrong with the tithing message as it is taught today.
Dr. Kelly goes into great detail and leaves no stone unturned. He delves into a lot of history and factual information;
therefore, don't expect this to be light, coffee table reading. Set aside a good deal of time as you will have to read and
reread portions of his book. But it is well worth it.
Although there are parts of the book that I may not agree with, it does a thorough job of raising the questions
that most do not have the courage to raise, let alone deal with.
Great documentation, but a little dry, April 6, 2002
I thought the book was well researched,
backed up every thought with scripture, and had great comments on some of the familiar verses that people use to support New
Testament tithing (Genesis 14:20, Malachi 3:8-10 and Matthew 23:23). I found the interpretation of Abraham tithing before
the law as following pagan customs interesting. I also thought the author did a good job of explaining the meaning of Malachi
3:8-10 that opening the floodgates of heaven was a promise by God to make it rain (the one thing an agricultural society needed
I read RT Kendall's book "Tithing" at the same time to get the counter viewpoint (one that supports NT tithing).
The balance on the cover of the book is a good way to sum up my conclusions: the balance weighs heavily in favor of not teaching
tithing as a way to give in the new covenant Church. Kelly does a good job of supporting every argument he makes with the
Word of God.
The book is a little dry for anyone not used to studying verses of Scripture in-depth. That is the only reason
for the 4 instead of 5 stars. As Andrew Murray says, "How different our standard is from Christ's. We ask how much a man gives,
Christ asks how much he keeps." I pray this book will help people understand the true meaning of stewardship and that God
owns it all, not just the 90%.
Ashley Hodge, CFP, Southlake, TX
Excellent Reference Book!, January 17, 2002
Reviewer: kr_sh from Winnemucca, Nevada United States
compared this book to another in favor of tithing, I found it based on fact rather than supposition. Each chapter of the book
was chaulked full of reference material and quotations from schalars and bible students who back each assertion made by the
author on the subject of tithes. Each verse commonly used in favor of tithing was challenged not only on a biblical basis,
but also historically and logically.
After reading this book, the reader will be able to understand fully the many aspects of tithing and will never
approach the subject of tithing with a "if you say so" attitude again.
I recomend this book to anyone with a biblical library who is serious about finding the truth in Gods Word. The
book is easy to read and answers the challenges made by the proponents of tithing in exact and precise steps. It is a must
for any library.
I have been a tither for my entire life and have taught and preached on tithing. I began to question those things
that I have believed and this lead me to this book. I will not tithe the 10% again.
The only negative I have about this book is that at times the author seems to be grinding an axe. [Author's
Note: Although this is partially true, it has been lessened in my revision.]
From Christianity Today, Reader Responses to a June 6, 2003 article. By S. Taylor.
Please read "Should the Church Teach Tithing?, A Theologian's Conclusions about a Taboo Doctrine." Next to
the Bible this book will change your life. It is that theologically sound and powerful. There are many good theological books
on this subject, but this book (theological, academic, not for the faint of heart) should be read by anyone wanting the "facts"
as related to scripture, time, and the history of Israel and the church. God bless."
38 of 44 people found the following review helpful:
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful:
This is a great book that really teaches the truth on what tithing was, and how it was practiced. It's unbelievable to
witness all the current lies and misinformation about tithing that are from almost every Christian pulpit. I suppose in the
vast majority of cases it is because of preachers that are naive about tithing, and just preaching what they've heard others
preach (in the hopes of raising money to pay their salaries and building bigger church buildings).
we have a much higher standard. It's called "stewardship." All that we have belongs to God (time, treasure, & talent),
not just 10% of our increase. Also, the church at large should be blessed through giving, not just local churches intent on
building a mega-church (because of false pride and ego). Also, it seems like such a sin to extract money from the poor, under
the guise of a modern tithe, when in actuality a portion of the tithe went to the poor.
This give-to-get mentality
that is preached in too many places will be blown apart by the truth found in this book. Please get it, read it, and help
be a part of the reformation, against these false "tithe-preachers" found almost everywhere. It must break God's heart to
see such emphasis on money nowadays.
We should give sacrificially to God. Not on the basis of a tithe, but out of
love and obedience. The Lord loves a cheerful giver, and if it isn't given cheerfully, God doesn't want it (read Malachi ch.
2 regarding the heart)! Please don't give because of false preaching and interpretations of Malachi Ch. 3.
The author has demonstrated through overwhelming biblical evidence that tithing is not for Christians today. I wish Christians
would study the scriptures he quotes and follow the Word of God instead of the words of some pastors who follow a tradition
instituted by the Catholic church hundreds of years after Christ. Jesus and all the apostles never taught tithing. They taught
the concept of free will giving. Apostle Paul even contradicts tithing in 2 Cor 9:7-10 "Each of you must give as you have
made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
Beside the numerous New Testament
biblical evidence stating that we are no longer under the old law, Dr. Kelly shows through his Old Testament biblical text
proofing that even if were still under the law, we are only allowed to tithe to the Levite priesthood which no longer exists.
This is the reason Jewish Rabbis who strictly follow the Old Testament today do not collect tithes, to do so would be a sin,
instead they tell the congregations to tithe to the poor or to a charity.
I recommend this book to any Christian who
wishes to explore the bible in great detail on this topic. Dr. Kelly takes you on an excellent study relying more on the Word
of God than personal opinions.
You should know what the scriptures show about this subject. 90% of those
who tithe can't answer the most basic questions about it. How can you be dead and hid in Christ, and under a curse at
the same time? Why is it that Jesus is the True fullfillment of **ALL** that is in the Old testament accept one thing.....
the tithe? Wisdom cries in the gates of this book. Prove all things. A good purchase :)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
The Standard for books concerning the tithing issue, August 6, 2007
This is easily the best book on the topic of tithing out there. It is professionally done
and well-written. Not only will the reader learn truths about tithing that are not revealed in church, there is a great deal
of quality teaching concerning priesthoods and the new covenant.
The only questions I might have are that the author
believes that in the old covenant there were three distinct and separate tithes taken. It is my opinion that there was only
one annual tithe, spent in three different ways according to the tithe cycle, with every 7th and 50th year having no tithe
requirements at all (sabbath rest for the land... the tithe, after all, was food and never money!)
This is a book
you can dive into and get something new in multiple readings of the same chapters. Kelly even discusses in-depth the secular
history of tithing, as well as how the practice crept into Christian circles well after the early church (Which, of course,
never mandated a 10-percent temple-tax to build churches, pay pastors, or influence politics.)
Your pastor will hate
it, but God loves it.
The truth will set you free; this book will help loosen the bonds of finacial voo-doo that the
mainstream church preaches today.