RUSSELL EARL KELLY'S BOOK and HISTORICAL CHANGES in the SBC
1644: First Baptist statement
of faith teaches a hireling ministry --pastors should be self-supported. See http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/id97.html.
1895: The SBC first attempted
to teach tithing and it is rejected by the people. See http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/id135.html.
1925: SBC Faith and Message does not contain any reference to tithing and does not contain any texts under Stewardship which
1937: Robert A. Baker, the leading SBC historian wrote in A Summary
of Christian History (Nashville:
Broadman, 1959 edition), 11, 43, 44. "The leaders [before A.D. 100] usually worked with their hands for their material needs.
There was no artificial distinction between clergy and laity." ... "The earliest bishops or presbyters engaged in secular
labor to make their living and performed the duties of their church office when not at work."
1963: For the first time
since Baptist statements of faith began in 1649 tithing texts are included in the SBC Faith and Message. The word "tithe"
still does not appear.
January 2001: Russell Earl
Kelly's book, Should the Church Teach Tithing? A Theologian's Conclusions about a Taboo
Doctrine, was published and his web site went up shortly thereafter. At that time his book was sent out to all SBC seminary
and he received "thank you" notes from all of them. Dr. Daniel Akin at SEBTS was especially interested and asked for two copies.
In less than two months after being listed on Amazon.com the book has remained in the top five slots and is usually in the
July 2003: Christianity Today published an extremely glowing
review of the book in a letter to the editor. “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 history and the church.” The Ancient Rise and Recent Fall of Tithing
was origianlly on June 5, 2003 and was republished on August 8, 2008.
2003 to 2004:
Three significant advances occurred. First, the Church of Scotland reaffirmed its opposition to tithing and listed Should the Church Teach Tithing? for recommended reading. http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/id152.html. Second,
The Worldwide Church of God (formerly Herbert W. Armstrong) reversed its doctrine, stopped teaching tithing and listed Kelly's
book for suggested reading. Third, New Jerusalem Ministries, a major home church web site, listed the book for suggested reading.
12-12-2004 Dr. David Alan Black at
SEBTS published an essay in tithing in agreement with Kelly. See http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/id113.html.
April 2005: Kelly was contacted
by Rob Fox and asked to join the Tithing-Study blog as Yahoo Groups. After posting a link to the blog on all of his emails,
the group has added hundreds of participants
August 2005: David Croteau
first contacted Dr. Kelly to assure him that his prayer for seminaries to research tithing had been met. Croteau had just
received approval from the SEBTS to produce a Ph. D. thesis in agreement with Kelly's position. His teacher was Andreas Kostenberger
and his reader was Craig Blomberg of Denver Seminary, an independent Baptist school. Croteau graduated with a Ph. D. later
in 2005 and was employed by Liberty University in 2006.
March-April 2006: Christianity Today secured agreement with Randy Alcorn
to debate Kelly in its pages. However, after reading Kelly's rebuttal of his views, Randy Alcorn refused to debate. The editorial
staff refuses to print only his viewpoint (although it often prints the pro-tithe viewpoint alone).
2006: The SBC Facts and Trends magazine published a survey on tithing. Twenty per
cent (20%) of both SBC pastors and SBC members do not agree that tithing is as mandate for the church.
November 6, 2006: Biblical Foundations published an article by Dr. Andreas Kostenberger and David Croteau of SEBTS, (SBC) Southeastern
Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake
Forest, NC opposing tithing.
now teaches at Liberty University, Lynchburg, Va.
November 27, 2006: Moody Broadcasting's Prime Time America, broadcast an interview
with Kelly and Howard Dayton of Crown Ministries. The book was mentioned. This interview has since been re-aired many times.
February 2007: Russell Kelly was included in the original Trevor Glass (New Zealand) video documentary,
Suffer the Children, about financial abuse in the church. Glass visited Kelly's
home in Georgia.
November 23, 2007: The Wall
Street Journal published an article by Suzanne Sataline, The Backlash Against Tithing,
in which Kelly had been a major contributor of material for almost a year. She was unaware that references to him had been
November 27, 2007: In response to the WSJ article, the BPNEWS,
Baptist Press, published an article, The Bible and Giving, by Dr. Daniel Akin,
President Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary on The Bible and Giving. Except
for his opening statement, the article is exactly what Kelly teaches in his book and on his web site. http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/id126.html
12-04-2007: A week after Dr. Akin's
article in BPNEWS, Dr. Andreas Kostenberger of SEBTS published his own article on his own website in opposition to tithing.
2007: WAVA-FM in Washington, D. C. mentions Russell Kelly, his book and web site. See http://www.wava.com/11567702/http://www.wava.com/11567702/
December 18, 2007: The Wall
Street Journal publishes a letter from Russell Kelly, Here With Another View on
Christian Tithing. http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/id132.html
March 2, 2008: As a result of the WSJ articles Kelly was
featured on the CBS Sunday Morning News cover story, To Tithe or Not to Tithe.
http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/id141.html. The video has remained very popular online.
March 7, 2008: BPNEWS, Baptist Press, published a long
rebuttal of Kelly's 2 minute CBS News comments by Dr. Kenneth Hemphill in which both his name and book were mentioned. Kelly
has since repeatedly attempted to persuade Dr. Hemphill to dialog with him and Hemphill has refused. Crosswalk.com also published the article. http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/id142.html
March 11, 2008: Charisma
Magazine mentioned Russell Kelly and the CBS article on the first page of its online edition. http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/id143.html
July 18, 2008: In a rare occasion the Texas Baptist Standard
(SBC) printed Kelly's comments in response to a tithing article. http://www.baptiststandard.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8275&Itemid=9&fontstyle=f-larger
September 14, 2008: The St.
Petersburg Times mentioned Russell Kelly and his book, Should the Church Teach
Tithing in a news article. http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/id151.html
January 6, 2010: Russell Kelly told
Timothy Guthrie in Guthrie's blog that Dr. Andreas Kostenberger at SEBTS and Dr. David Croteau at Liberty University agreed with him. Somehow this blog information was received by Les Puryear,
a 2008 nominee for President SBC.
February 2010: Les Puryear
contacted the presidents of SEBTS and Liberty University and suggested that these two professors be fired. Neither was disciplined.
Puryear should have done
his homework first. He could have saved himself a lot of embarrassment. Most certainly Dr. Akin at SEBTS was already aware of Black's essay of 12-12-04, Croteau's PH. D. approval of August
2005, Kostenberger and Croteau's 11-27-06 published article in Biblical Foundations, his own sympathetic article of 11-27-07
publlished in BP NEWS and Kostenberger's 12-4-07 essay.
And at LIberty it is inconceivable
that they would hire a theologian without first knowing what his Ph. D. concerned. Croteau had been openingly working
on a book about Four Views of Tithing for several years. Within the last month both that book and his own thesis have
been published. None of this was done in secret.
Both seminary presidents
had been fully aware of the published writings of their professors long before 2010. And the current Baptist Faith and Message still recognizes a plurality of opinions of this doctrine since it still does not even contain
the word "tithe."
February 2010: Dr. David
Croteau's book, You Mean I Don't Have to Tithe? Is published by Wipf and Stock. It is endorsed by Dr. Andreas Kostenberger, SEBTS; Dr. David Alan Black, SEBTS; Dr. Greg Habermas,
Liberty University; Dr. Craig Blomberg, Denver Seminary and Dr. Wayne Strickland, Multnoman College. See http://www.amazon.com/Mean-Dont-Have-Tithe-Deconstruction/dp/1606084054/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1266711181&sr=1-2
And the march forward goes
on. Pray for all of us in this struggle to remove the vestige of the Law from our New Covenant churches.