of tithing is to teach you always to put God first [1x] in your lives.” (Deuteronomy 14:23b
[Not Quoted] Deut 14:22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field brings forth year
by year. 23 And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name
there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, andthe firstlings
of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou may learn to fear the LORD thy God always. KJV
Warren begins his sermon with six lies. Read the text its context: (1) It is about the yearly
festival tithe which would total 20%. (2) It is about the increase; no increase means no tithe;
this excludes welfare checks. (3) It is about only FOOD from inside God’s holy land of Israel;
HOLY tithes were never anything else from Leviticus 27:30-34 to Luke 11:42. (4) This tithe was eaten
in the streets of Jerusalem; it was not used for temple or church support. (5) It was neither the first nor the best (Lev
27:33); it was the tenth after the full harvest and every 10th animal. (6) The texts say tithes “and”
firstfruits; they are never the same thing in Scripture. Warren repeats this lie at every opportunity. He depends upon the
Bible ignorance of his audience.
WARREN: Whatever you want God to bless, you have to put him first [2x] in. So if you want God to bless
your finances, you have to put him first [3x] in your money. This is the principle of tithing: You give the first
10 percent [4x] of your income back to God.
[1 Tim 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own
house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. KJV]
Repeating the same lie does not make it true. Again, tithes were never firstfruits; they were never
given first. (2) Second Timothy5:8 make it clear that Christians are to give their own family their first priority: meet
family needs such as medicine, food and basic shelter; otherwise they are worse than the heathen.
(3) Warrant has invented his own “principle of tithing” and gives no validating text.
In fact, the only biblical O.T. persons who qualified as tithe-teachers were food producers who
only lived inside Israel. Not even Jesus and Paul qualified; there was no standard for non-food
producers, or for Jews living outside Israel or for Gentiles.
WARREN: There are four verses that explain the promise,
the purpose, the place, and the day for tithing. First, Proverbs 3:9-10 gives the promise about tithing:
“Honor the Lord by giving him the first [5x] part of all your income and he will fill your barns with wheat and
barley and overflow your wine vats with the finest wines” (TLB).
[Prov 3:9 Honor the LORD with thy substance,
and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. KJV]
an exhaustive Bible concordance such as Strong’s and look up “firstfruits, firstfruit,
firstborn, firstlings, etc. You will discover (1) Like tithes HOLY firstfruits were always only
FOOD from inside God’s holy land of Israel; it is the first of the land. (2) It is a lie
to make Proverbs 3:9-10 a discussion of tithes; the word “tithe” does not occur in Proverbs. (3) If
one corrects “money” to “food substance,” the text disproves Warren’s argument because the
promised blessing is not money –it is more food—wheat, barley, wine. Warren ignores
the literal interpretation. (4) According to Deuteronomy 26:1-4 firstfruits could fit into a small
basket; they were a very small token offering. Warren lies.
WARREN: God says that if you honor him with
the first [6x] part of your income, he will bless you financially.
KELLY: Warren has now repeated “first”
six times as if repeating a lie makes it true. God does not bless 10%-payers who do not worship Him, kill, steal and commit
sexual sins; yet he always omits this in his discussions. Sowing and reaping are sound giving principles but intimidating
poor believers into giving their first 10% of welfare and Social Security checks is stealing from God’s faithful poor.
I can repeat something also: 1 Tim 5:8 “:But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house,
he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
WARREN: ... If I make 10 bucks, the first [6x] dollar goes back to him. …
Rick Warren making his audience afraid of God’s Old Covenant curse? Isn’t the curse
of Malachi 3:8-10 the curse of the Law from Deuteronomy 27:26 (Gal 3:10), Nehemiah 10:29 and Mal
4:4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel,
with the statutes and judgments. KJV]
WARREN: Why does God tell us to tithe? Deuteronomy 14:23 says, “The purpose of tithing is to teach
you always to put God first [7x] in your lives.”
KELLY: Deuteronomy 14:23 does not say that! Warren has misquoted the text for the
second time in this article. Even his uninspired paraphrased TLB has it correct “that you
may learn to fear the LORD. Isn’t it a sin to keep on forcing the word “first”
into quotations of God’s Word?
WARREN: God doesn’t need your money, but he wants what it represents —
your heart. He wants you to trust him.
KELLY: The Bible calls that kind of giving sacrificial freewill giving. It is
neither tithing nor firstfruits. Call it what God calls it please.
WARREN: Where should you tithe? Do you tithe
to United Way? Or do you tithe to your brother who’s been out of work for three years? No. That’s charity.
don’t tithe; you give freewill sacrificial offerings. O.T. tithes supported Levites and
priests in exchange for inheritance rights and priests only received one per cent of one tithe.
Today the Levites are unpaid ushers, deacons, singers, musicians, cooks, etc. and the priests ae
all believers. Not a single post-Calvary text commands tithing; freewill sacrificial giving is the new doctrine.
should be, “Who needs financial help the most? --my church or my sick-out-of-work brother?
The O.T. had second and third “charity” tithes to help them, plus First Timothy 5:8
commands caring for essential needs first of all.
WARREN: Tithing is an act of worship. It goes to God.
tithing WAS a law to support Levites and priests under the Old Covenant system (Heb 7:4; Numb 18:21-28).
God commanded it whether the givers were in a worship attitude or not. That has all ended by the New Covenant.
3:10 says, “‘Bring to the storehouse a full tenth of what you earn .... Test me
in this,’ says the LORD All-Powerful. ‘I will open the windows of heaven for you and
pour out all the blessings you need’” (NCV).
[Mal 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse,
that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you
the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. KJV]
is all over the place searching for an uninspired paraphrase Bible version which
agrees with him. Some flippantly disregard the best original Hebrew and Greek scholarship.
(1) Malachi is in the context of Old Covenant Israel
(1:1; 4:4; Neh 10:28-29)). It is not addressed to the New Covenant Church.
(2) Malachiis addressed to dishonest priests (ministers at
the altar) who had disobeyed, dishonored, stolen from God and had been cursed (1:6-14: 2:1-10, 13-17;
3 all; 4 all: follow the pronoun “you” beginning at 1:6).
(3) The “tithe” of 3:10 was still only “food” from inside God’s HOLY land of Israel
over 1000 years since first being described in Leviticus 27:30-34.
(4) The Church is never called a “storehouse.” In historical fact, there were no legal church buildings
until after A.D. 313 when Christianity was legalized.
tithe-teachers must ignore a literal interpretation of Malachi 3:10-12. Any common sense literal translation teaches that
the description and blessings only refer to food.
WARREN: The storehouse is the temple or the place where you worship God.
blatantly ignores both the history and meaning of the word “church.” Warren is redefining
God’s words to agree with his own theology.
WARREN: When are you supposed to tithe? You
do it on the day you worship. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 16:2, “On every Lord’s
Day each of you should put aside something from what you have earned during the week, and use
it for this offering. The amount depends on how much the Lord has helped you earn”
[1 Cor 16:1:1 Now concerning the collection [logia: logistics] for the saints, as
I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
1 Cor 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in
store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
1 Cor 16:3 And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality
unto Jerusalem. KJV]
KELLY: Warren’s paraphrased versions of God’s Word are lies; they strip
it of its literal meaning and equate man’s words with God’s.
(1) 1 Cor 16:2 is in the context of a contribution of food to relieve those suffering
from a famine in Judea (16:1). It requires men from every church to keep it safe and dry upon
a ship (16:3+).
(2) 1 Cor 16:2
is not discussing tithing. It is a discussion of freewill sacrificial giving as is clear in Second Corinthians 8 and 9.
(3) 1 Cor 16:2 is not a discussion of local
church support of wages for gospel workers. It is food for famine relief.
(4) The TLB version has changed God’s Word from a “collection”
of food into money “from what you have earned.” When no food exists, money cannot buy
(5) “Lay by him in store” does not refer
to a church building called a “storehouse.” “Storehouse tithing” is a deceptive
play on words.
(6) The vast majority of
tithes in the O.T. went to the Levitical cities as seen in Nehemiah 10:37b. See my detailed discussion
at Malachi 3:10 online at www.tithing-russkelly.com
WARREN: When you give to God on the first day of the week,
the first part of your day, and the first part of your money, then you say to him, “You’re really
number one in my life.”
KELLY: Tithe-teachers want your 10% first before any bills are paid, before the medicine
is bought, before food is bought and before family essentials are met; this, they teach, pleases
God and is what God demands. Again, 1 Tim 5:8 “But if any provide not for his own, and
especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
WARREN: Notice that the verse [1 Cor 16:2]
says “put aside.” You’ve got to plan this! Tithing should not
be an impulsive thing. You’ve got to plan for it so that you are honoring God’s plan and purpose for
KELLY: Again, Warren’s text is not discussing tithing. It is discussing freewill sacrificial offerings for
famine relief (verse 1). Warren is not that stupid; he is deliberately changing a “freewill
sacrificial offering” text into a “tithing text. I call that SIN!!! I call that
WARREN: Then, you can watch how God blesses and uses you and honors his promise in your
[Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for
it is written, Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are
written in the book of the law to do them. KJV]
KELLY: Mr. Warren, please read Galatians
3:10. Do you only get your blessings formulas from the Old Covenant? God did not bless tithe-payers
who broke His Law in any other aspect; they must keep the whole Law in order to be blessed. Violation
of one point of the 600+ laws brought curses.
WARREN: What does it mean to you practically
to give God the first part of your income?
KELLY: Why should I do something God never told the Church or Gentiles to do?
What does it mean to Rick Warren to deliberately and premeditatedly teach that tithing was a
firstfruit? Does he want to live in luxury off welfare checks and Social Security checks while his poorest church members
cannot even buy medicine, food and shelter?
WARREN: Why do you think
God wants you to tithe to your church and not another cause?
KELLY: Where in God’s Word to the Church are you
getting these questions? Why do you think he can say anything you desire without being required to verify it with
God’s Word in context?
WARREN: How do you need to plan today so that you can be faithful in tithing?
does Rick Warren need to plan today so that he can be a totally post-Calvary New Covenant teacher?
Why does he need to teach stewardship using Old Covenant principles which never applied to New
Points 1-7 are not discussions of tithing. They are sound freewill giving principles. The “application”
from Matthew 6:19-20 also has no mention of tithing.
3.Giving (not tithing) is a way to lay up treasures in heaven (not on earth) (Mt 6:19-20)
4. “Giving” (not tithing) is an antidote for arrogance among the wealthy. 1 Tim 6:17-18.
5. “Giving” (not tithing) results in God giving (back)
to you in a greater measure (Lk 6:38). This return is not necessarily money.
Giving (not tithing) allows us to share in the lives of others. This is the prime example of post-Calvary New Covenant
giving; it is sacrificial and, at times, even above our means.
Giving (not tithing) results in rejoicing for the giver. Notice the context of O.T. First Chronicles 29:9. The people
rejoiced, not because they had been forced to tithe, but because they had participated in building the Temple so willingly
and with a whole heart.
If Warren had stopped
here, he would deserve praise.
Warren: HOW MUCH
SHOULD I GIVE?
Kelly: The following
discussion contradicts and is opposite to the previous seven points in which Warren taught that giving should be freewill
Warren: Old Testament
Mal 3:8 Will a
man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Mal 3:9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye
have robbed me, even this whole nation. Mal 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat [food] in mine house,
and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing,
that there shall not be room enough to receive it. Mal 3:11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground;
neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.
Kelly: Verse 8 is addressed to Old Covenant Israel (1:1-5) and
to dishonest priests (1:6; 2:1). It is not addressed to the Church. The formula was tithes (from food producers who lived
inside Israel) and freewill offerings (from everybody).
Verse 9, in consistent context, is also addressed to “this whole nation of you priests – every priest
in the nation). This cannot be a curse for Christians because Christ ended the curse per Galatians 3:10.. In order to avoid
the curse of the law, a Hebrew must obey all 600 plus commands of the law. God did not bless tither who broke other parts
of the law (Gal 3:10; Deut 27:26).
Verse 10, 1000 years after first defined in Leviticus 27, still limits tithes to only food. Unless the “you”
of 3:10 only refers to dishonest priests from 1:13-14 and Neh 13:5, the text makes no sense. The small storeroom in the temple
could not hold the tithe of the whole nation, plus 98% of the tithe was needed in the Levitical cities (compare 2 Chron 31:15-19;
Neh 10:37b-38; Neh 13:5; Mal 1:13-14).
Verse 11 also makes no reference to tithes of money being robbed because tithes were never money.
Warren: There are two primary terms used in the Old Testament that
relate to giving. Tithing—is giving 10% of my income to the Lord.
Wrong. Warren’s is NOT the biblical use of the word tithe; it comes only from man’s dictionaries and commentaries.
There are 16 texts which describe the contents of the “holy” tithe as only FOOD from inside God’s holy land
of Israel which He had miraculously increased. Tithes were never money. Although money was common in Genesis and essential
for sanctuary worship, money is a tithed item.
is not “my” income unless you are a Hebrew food producer living inside Israel under the Old Covenant. God never
commanded Gentiles or Christians to tithe because they never were under the Old Covenant law.
Warren: Offering – anything I give to the Lord in addition to my tithe.
Kelly: The “in addition
to my tithe” is wrong. Malachi 3 reads “tithe AND offerings”; it does not read “tithes PLUS offerings.”
Those whose income were from crafts and trades in the cities and outside Israel could only give freewill offerings.
Warren: There are about thirty references to tithing in the Old
Testament. God’s instructions to his people were very clear.
Warren quotes Leviticus 27:30 and Deuteronomy 13:22-23. He does NOT quote Leviticus 27:31-34.
Lev 27:30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD's:
it is holy unto the LORD. Lev
27:31 And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. Lev 27:32 And concerning the tithe of the herd,
or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD. Lev 27:33 He shall not search whether it be
good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it
shall not be redeemed. Lev
27:34 These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.
Kelly: Verse 30 proves that Warren’s usage of the biblical
tithe was only FOOD from inside God’s holy land of Israel. It was only holy if it came of God’s holy land and
God had miraculously increased it.
Verse 31 teaches that tithes could not be redeemed with money; they must be redeemed with similar food. (A farmer
might want to keep one plot of land for better seed.) Verse 32 teaches that the tithe was the tenth and not the first. Verse 33 teaches that the tithe is the tenth, and not the best. Verse 34 sums up all of Leviticus which are laws for Old Covenant Israel (the vast majority are not followed by the
Deut 14:22-23 –
Deut 14:22 Thou
shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. Deut 14:23 And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place
which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of
thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.
Kelly: Once again, Warren’s own texts disprove his own usage of the word “tithe.” It is still only
food from inside Israel which God has miraculously increased under the Old Covenant context.Verse 22 describes the second yearly festival tithe.
Verse 23: Unlike the
first Levitical tithe which went to the Levites and priests (Num 18:21-28; Neh 10:37b-38), this tithe did not go to the Levitical
cities or temple. Instead, it was shared and “eaten” in the streets of Jerusalem. Warren: These verses come from the Old Testament Law which was given to Moses.
Kelly: Yes, and they provide the definition and usage accepted and used by Malachi and Jesus. The definition never
changed from FOOD from inside God’s holy land.
But even before this time Abraham gave 10% to the Lord (Gen 14:20 and Hebrews 7:2-4) and so did Jacob (Gen 28:21).
Kelly: Abram’s (pre-circumcision tithe) is never used as
an example of faith for Christians to follow. The Bible does not tell us why he tithed; it does not say he was either commanded
to tithe or did so voluntarily. It is highly probable that Abram was obeying the law of the land which required tithes of
spoils of war to one’s local king priest. Abram a) only tithes pagan spoils of war from Sodom, b) kept nothing, and
c) gave the 90% back to the king of Sodom.
Jacob’s tithe (Warren omits Gen 28:22 was an example of his scheming; he set the rules; he told God what to do first.
It was a vow and there is no indication that he fulfilled his vow.New Testament
In the New Testament there are very few references to the tithe (Mt 23:23; Lk 18:12 and Hebrews 7:2-8):
Kelly: Since Jesus’ teaching is prior to Calvary and Pentecost, technically
Matthew and Luke belong to the Old Covenant until Calvary. Warren: Jesus never
told his disciples to tithe although he did commend the Pharisees for tithing (one of the few things he did right).
The key phrase ignored by Warren in Matthew 23:23 is “matters of the law.” Jesus was addressing “you scribes,
Pharisees, hypocrites” concerning their abuse of the law; he was not addressed the New Covenant church. Jesus used the
Law’s application of tithing as “only food from inside Israel” – mint and cumin. Money was still not
included.Since Jesus was born, lived and died under
the full jurisdiction of the law (Gel 4:4-5), He was obligated by the law to teach tithing for Hebrews. It would have been
sin for Jesus to teach either His Jewish or Gentile disciples to tithe – plus Gentile Christians would not have been
allowed to tithe.
Warren: There is
no reference to tithing in any of Paul’s letters or in any of the other New Testament books.
Kelly: Paul boasted about preaching the whole gospel. He was present at the first church council in Acts 15:7-21
which decreed that Gentile Christians would not be under the law. Yet if tithing were so important that it occupies mention
in almost every church service, reason would say that the Holy Spirit would have made it very clear for the Church.
Also, like almost every other tithe teacher, Warren ignores the
context of Hebrews 7:1-19. Verse 5 is the first use of “commandment,” “tithes,” and “law”
in Hebrews and must control those words in the chapter. Verse 12 states that there is “of necessity a change of the
law” (of tithing from verse 5) since Jesus was not from the tribe of Levi or house of Aaron. Verse 18 concludes that
the “necessary change” (of 7:12) was –not from Levites to gospel workers—but, instead, the “commandment
going before” (to tithe from 7:5) was “annulled” because the doctrine was “weak” and “unprofitable.”
That is the clear conclusion of the context.
at this point forward, Warren returns to freewill giving principles found in First Corinthians 16 and Second Corinthians 8
and 9. In other words, he is using freewill giving principles to include and teach tithing. This is contradictory to his earlier
statement that offerings are “anything I give to the Lord in addition to my tithe.” He is attempting to
soften his tithe demand (HOW MUCH SHOULD I GIVE) by combining tithes and offerings into the same principle. This is inherently
Warren: Instead of emphasizing
how much to give, New Testament teaching stresses reasons to give, that is proper attitudes the Lord wants us
Kelly: Why guessing at
the answers, the New Covenant after Calvary nowhere commands a specific percentage of giving – and it appears that Warren
agrees –at least here. Warren: Quotes
First Corinthians 16:2 from the NIV “On the first day of every week, let each one of you set aside a sum of money in
keeping with his income, saving it up …
The NIV is the only major translation which interprets logia (collection) from 16:1 as money. This is very deceptive. The
context for both First Corinthians 16 and Second Corinthians 8 and 9 is a need for FOOD in Judea because of a famine there.
Money is almost worthless in a famine; it has little or no value. Paul was collecting and not money. If he had wanted to say
“money,” he would have used the Greek word for money.
reality there is not a single text from Matthew to Revelation which tells the Church “how much” to give (and Warren
knows that very well because his pledge only asks for “sacrificial” giving). Even the Corinthian texts are not
discussing support for local churches and local gospel workers. The summary of Holy Spirit-approved giving principles does
not include tithing or any specific amount: freewill, generous, SACRIFICIAL, joyful, not grudgingly, not by commandment, and
motivated by love for God and others. At times Warren seems to agree.
GROWTH COVENANT (pdf pg. 49)
Warren: Give of
My Weekly Treasures to God. Commit to give sacrificially of my income to support my church’s ministry. Kelly: As stated, this does not teach tithing. Warren should
have stopped here. However, he went much further in his bully pulpit.
Critical Issues True and False Binding and Loosing, Bob DeWay
Warren (per DeWay): The second covenant Warren’s church members sign (from class 201) includes tithing [eventually]. He
has them sign a card they will carry: “The signed covenant cards are collected, I sign them as a witness, we laminate
them, and then they are returned so people can carry them in their wallets.” There is a picture of one of these in his
book. One side of the card includes: “My 1992 Growth Covenant,” “A weekly tithe to God,” and “Giving
the first 10% of my income.” (Purpose Driven Church, page 349).
Kelly: I agree with DeWay who commented “But tithing is not binding under the New Covenant. By requiring
people to enter into a binding covenant to tithe to the church, Rick Warren is practicing false binding and has made himself
a lawgiver. Furthermore, by requiring such oaths Warren is practicing false “loosing.” Jesus bound us to His teaching
not to make an oath and Warren has loosed the flock from Jesus’ teaching.”
SADDLEBACK CHURCH ON TITHING Giving OpportunitiesTithes and Offerings
a tithe and how is it different from an offering?
Warren: The word, "tithe" literally means tenth or
10%. A tithe is the first 10% of your income. An offering is anything you give above and beyond the 10%.
Kelly: Yes, the word “tithe” literally means
“tenth.” No, the tithe is not the “first 10%”; it is a contradiction of terms to call the tenth the
first. The holy tithe was the tenth of the whole crop or the tenth animal, not the even best (Lev 27:30-34). And, “No,”
offerings are not “anything you give above tithe. No text says that. The formula in Malachi 3:8 is not “tithes
PLUS offerings”; it is “tithes AND offerings” – tithes from food producers from God’s holy land
of Israel and offerings (Strong’s 8641) from everybody.
Warren: The Bible says, the purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives. (Deuteronomy
This is a wicked lie; the Bible does not say this anywhere. Tithes were tenth-fruits, not firstfruits. Since Jesus, Peter
and Paul did not get their increase from the land, they were not even tither. Read all of Deuteronomy 14. Verse 23 is in the
context of the 2nd yearly festival tithe which was eaten in the streets of Jerusalem. Though money was required
for sanctuary worship, money was never a tithed item.
Warren: Tithing is a reminder that God is the supplier of everything we have.
Kelly: Wrong again. Notice no texts. Tithing
reminded food-producers inside Israel that they were on His holy land and that He gave the increase (Lev 27:30-34). Although
God owns everything (Ps 24:1), He only accepted tithes from His holy land which He had personally increased.
Warren: It is also God's
personal invitation to an outpouring of his blessing in your life. Malachi 3:10a (NLT), God says this: "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food
in my house. … Kelly:
a) God only commanded this to Old Covenant Israel who agreed to be under those covenantal blessings and curses
(Ex 19:5-6; Lev 27:34; Mal 4:4; Neh 10:29). b) 98% of the tithe was needed for food in the Levitical cities since only
one of 24 courses served at a time (Neh 10:37a; 2 Chron 31:15-19). Since the temple storeroom was far too small to hold the
tithe of the nation, the text must be directed to the dishonest priests of 1:6-14; 2:1-10, 13-17). c) The tithe was
still only food 1000 years after being described in Leviticus 27; it never changed to money.Mal 3:10b "… Test me in this“ says
the LORD Almighty and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will
not be room enough to store it."
Warren: This is the only place in Scripture where God tells us to put him to the test. In other words, he's saying,
"Go ahead. I dare you. See if you can out-give me."
Kelly: The whole law was a test – not merely tithing. One must obey all in order to receive blessings; disobedience
to one brought the curse of the whole law (Gal 3:10; Deut 27:26). One could not be blessed for tithing while breaking any
of the other commands of the whole law (Neh 10:29). Warren’s use of this argument reveals his lack of understanding
of consistent hermeneutics (principles of interpretation) concerning the Law and Grace. And he uses bad Bible versions (Almighty
is not in the Hebrew).
Is God wise? Do you trust him?
Warren: These are two fundamental questions behind the act of giving. If God is wise, then you should listen to what
he says about financial stewardship.
Kelly: When Warren retreats to the Old Covenant to teach finances, he does not trust the Holy Spirit to give the
Church the truth it needs after Calvary in the New Covenant. 1
Cor 9:14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.Each vocation has its own principles (9:7-14). The
law required many kinds of support (9:13). “Even so” the gospel has its own principles. “Living of the gospel”
means “living by grace and faith” – not by law principles.Warren has no authority to pull tithing out of over 600 commands of the law.
There are over 44 texts
in the Law which forbid this, including Warren own pet text, Matthew 5:19 (which he uses out of context).
Ex 19:5; 23:22;
24:3, 7; Lev 19:37; 20:22; 26:14-15; Num 15:40; Deu5:1, 29, 31; 6:2, 24-25; 8:1; 11:8, 22, 32; 12:14, 28; 13:18; 15:5; 17:19; 19:9;
26:16-19; 27:1;28:1, 15, 45, 58;29:29; 30:2, 8; 31:12; 32:46; Josh 1:7-8; 22:5;
23:6; 1 Kg 2:3; 6:12; 8:58; 9:4; Jer 7:23; 1:4; 2 Chron 33:8; Matt 5:19; 22:40; Gal 5:3; James 2:10.
Warren: If you trust him, then you should trust him with all aspects of your life, including your finances.
Kelly: Instead of trusting
his church members to do what is right, Warren forces them to sign a pledge and threatens the pre-Calvary curse on violators
-– that is the opposite of trust. A handshake used to be sufficient; that kind of trust is gone.That part of Israel’s Old Covenant
law which applies to the Church has been clearly repeated by the Holy Spirit to the Church after Calvary. God did not leave
out anything as important as giving and Warren is not God’s new prophet to complete God’s Word. “Trusting
God” includes accepting His counsel to the New Covenant Church.
Warren: So go ahead. Accept God's invitation to put him to
Warren is out of order and out of covenantal context.
Neh 10:29 They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's
law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and
his judgments and his statutes.[The whole law; this is Malachi’s audience.]
Mal 4:4 Remember ye the law
of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. [The whole law –
commandments, statutes and judgments—must be obeyed to receive the blessings of tithing.]
Warren: Start tithing faithfully and watch
what he does in and through your life.
Kelly: Tithe-teaching churches only parade the success stories to the pulpit. The percentage of success stories is
probably the same for even atheists, agnostics, Buddhists and Muslims who apply secular success principles and salesmanship.
The largest percentage of faithful “tithers” has always lived in the ghettos of America – and still does!
Tithe preachers take advantage of their ignorance and suck their meager earnings like leeches. They deserve the condemnation
GIVE YOUR TITHE
Nobody can and nobody does give a true holy biblical tithe today. Abram’s pre-circumcision tithe is not an example of
faith; it was not holy, not commanded, and not used as an example of tithing in the law or by Jesus. True holy tithes were
always only food from holy Israel; that definition never changed from Leviticus 27:30-34 to Malachi 3:10 to Matthew 23:23.
Support the gospel financially, even sacrificially, but do not call it tithing
Rick Warren: The Bible talks about giving 10% of your income to charity -- to the Lord’s
Kelly: Be honest Mr. Warren. Your statement
was only true for Hebrews living inside God’s holy land under the Old Covenant and harvesting food off that holy land
which God had miraculously increased. The “you” is never the church because God never commanded Christians to
tithe. And the “Lord’s work” referred to Levites and priests who, in turn, were not allowed to own or inherit
property in Israel (Num 18:21-28). God gave better giving principles to the church based on the sacrificial example of Jesus
(2 Cor 8 and 9).Biblical tithing is never described or defined
as money. Money was common even in Genesis and was essential for sanctuary worship, but money was never included in 16 texts
which describe the contents of the holy tithe.
And so when Kay and I got married 32 years ago, we started giving 10% of everything we made to help other people.
Kelly: While this is praiseworthy, it is not commanded in God’s
Word for Gentiles and Christians who never were “under the law.” Even in the Old Covenant, while God owned everything
(Ps 24:1), He only accepted as holy tithes food from His holy land.
And at the end of the first year we raised it to 11%. At the end of our second year of marriage we raised it to 12%. In the
third year we raised it to 13%. Now why were we doing this?
Good for him. Notice the “why” is not “because God commanded it.”
Warren: We just wanted to learn to be generous. In fact, we didn’t tell anybody about it for over 30 years.
Sometimes when we’d have a very successful year, we’d raise our giving three, four, five percent. And so we’re
not at the point after 32 years of marriage, we give away 90% and we live on 10%. That has been a lot of fun.
Kelly: Is this boasting? Any writer would love to have aisle-end
displays of his/her books in every single major bookstore and grocery store in the country! That feat is extremely rare. Any
author would gladly agree to such bargain and live off the 10%.
Now honestly the impact of what to do with the money was the easy thing – just give it away. The hard thing is what
do I do with the fame? What did I do with the notoriety? Not the affluence, but the influence. …….
Kelly: What did you do with the “notoriety” and “influence”?
Do an Internet search and read the complaints of your bullying and “lording it over” others to have your own way.
You became a bully.
Solomon was saying there that the purpose of influence is to speak up for those who have no influence. That was a very strong
impact on my life, and I’ve committed my life to doing that very thing – using whatever affluence or whatever
influence I have to make a difference and speak up for those who have no influence.
Kelly: Does that include forcing your opinions upon others?
Morris at Warren’s Saddleback Church: "Just from a business point of view, that's a good deal for 10%, to have
God rebuking the devil for you. ...God is saying 'Listen, you're living in this cursed financial system; I would like
to redeem your finances, protect your finances, from this world's system. The only way I can do it, though, is if you
will recognize me first every time you get paid. If you will give me the tithe, I will redeem the rest of your finances
out from under the curse.'"
Kelly: We serve a God whose stewardship principles are found in the New Covenant after Calvary.Christians and Gentiles never were under the “curse” of Israel’s Old Covenant. Even if we had been,
Christ ended that curse at Calvary (Gal 3:10-13). The “curse” applied to obedience to the whole law and not merely
tithing (Gal 3:10; Deut 27:26; Deut chapters 28-30). It is severe twisting of God’s Word to imply that God owes a blessing
to an O.T. tither who broke any other part of the whole law.Salesmanship books like
Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People are successfully used by atheists, Muslims, and Buddhists. They prosper
without being Christians and without tithing. Tithing is not a universal principle found in the heart, but the law of sowing
and reaping is.
FIRSTFRUITS: Not only do Warren and most tithe-advocates falsely teach that Christians must give 10% of their
income to the church, they further distort God’s Word by teaching that such must be the “first” 10% before
any other bills are paid. The Bible teaches neither. The word “tithe” means “tenth,” – not “first.”
The true holy biblical tenth was always only food after the whole crop had been harvested, or else every tenth animal (whether
good or bad; Lev 27:30-34).
Like tithes, O. T. “firstfruits” were only “food” from inside God’s holy land
of Israel. “Firstfruits” were always only very small token offerings; do your own study of the word (Deut 26:1-4;
Neh 10:35-37a; Prov 3:10). These definitions and applications of “tithes” and “firstfruits” are nowhere
repeated to the church after Calvary in the New Covenant.
There simply is no consistent principle (hermeneutic)
for doing such.In the New Covenant, Paul clearly commanded Christians:
1st Tim 5:8 “But if any
provide not for his own and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
In other words, “Do not give your first income to the church! Buy your medicine first! Pay your essential utility
bills and food first! Take care of your family needs first! Otherwise, YOU (Warren, Morris and tithe-teachers who equate firstfruits
with tithes) are worse than an infidel, pagan, or unbeliever.” That definitely supersedes the false doctrine of New
Warren: The purpose of tithing is to teach you to always put
God first in your lives (Deut 14:23).
Deut 14:23 And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the
place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings
of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.
Kelly: First: Context: This is the second of three tithes plus firstfruits which were brought to Jerusalem by Hebrews
from God’s holy land during the three yearly festivals. Gentiles and non-Hebrews were not commanded (or even allowed)
to do this. Second, the tithe was still only “food” from inside God’s holy land; it was not money
or income from tradesmen and craftsmen who lived in the cities of Israel. Third,
it was “eaten” in the streets of Jerusalem during the three yearly feasts; it was NOT brought to the Temple or
Levitical cities. And it was not given exclusively to the Levites and priests as was the first tithe of Numbers 18:21-28.
Neh 10:35 And to bring the firstfruits of our ground, and the firstfruits of all fruit of all
trees, year by year, unto the house of the LORD: Neh 10:36 Also the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our
herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests that minister in the house of our God: Neh 10:37a And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough,
and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house
of our God …
Fourth, Deuteronomy 14:23 does not equate tithes of food with firstlings of animals. The firstfruits
of food and the firstlings (firstborn) of clean animals were clearly brought to the temple per Neh 10:35-37a.
Neh 10:37b … and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might
have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage. Neh 10:38 And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall
bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house. Neh 10:39 For the children of Israel and the children of Levi
shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary,
and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God.
Fifth, the first whole Levitical tithe was brought, not to the Temple, but to the Levitical cities
per Neh 10:37b. Only the Levites and priests where commanded to bring the tithe (as needed for the individual courses) to
the temple per Nehemiah 10:37ib-39. This is totally ignored by tithe teachers.Sixth,
the stated “purpose” was “that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.” Warren has added
to God’s Word by completely changing the text to say it teaches us to put God first – to “fear” –
not to “put God first.”
Warren: Tithing is the spiritual habit of giving back to God
the first 10 percent of all I make.
Kelly: Notice no Bible texts quoted to support this for New
Covenant Christians. It is strange that he avoids using either “law” or “principle” here. Perhaps
he knows that both are wrong. Spiritual “laws”, or “principles,” such as “giving” are
written in the heart and nature but O.T. tithing must be spelled out. And, of course, the Bible never calls tithing or firstfruits
… I give 10 percent back to him (God). Why do that? --- Because God says so and that’s reason enough.
Kelly: Please show us WHERE God commands His Body,
the Church to tithe. The flow from Hebrews 7:5 to 7:12 to 7:18 teaches otherwise. God does NOT “say so” –
unless you are an Old Covenant Hebrew living INSIDE God’s holy land and working as either a farmer or herdsman! Period!
Check it out. Stop the lie! Money was very common even in Genesis. It was even required for temple head taxes, fines and vows,
but money is never a tithed item. Warren: If you don’t do it, you’re disobeying
Kelly: Warren is disobeying God by teaching a false doctrine and Warren is playing God by demanding
it as an oath even above essential medicine and survival needs. Again, you should tithe only if you are an Old Covenant Hebrew
growing food inside God’s holy land (which includes nobody today). This idea reflects an erroneous concept of the Old
Covenant Law. One must obey ALL in order to be blessed; violation on one point brought blessings. It is wrong to separate
tithing from its context of the whole law (Neh 10:29; Mal 4:4; Ex 19:5-6; Lev 27:34).
But there’s another reason, Jesus says “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
Mt 6:21 NLT. Today’s verse explains that “purpose of tithing is to teach you to always put God first” in
Kelly: Another erroneous reference to Deuteronomy 14:23.Matthew 6:21 is not
a reference to tithing.
Warren: If I say “God, I want you to be number one in
my life,” but he’s last place in my budget, that’s a contradiction.
You contradict when you pretend to be a New Covenant believer who retreats to Old Covenant giving principles designed to support
a system which has been replaced. Your statement proves that you do not have a consistent working principle of interpretation
for the Law, plus you ignore First Timothy 5:8. The New Covenant post-Calvary giving principles are: freewill, generous, SACRIFICIALLY,
joyfully, not grudgingly, not by commandment, and motivated by love for God and others (2 Corinthians 8 and 9). Since
those are sufficient for the Holy Spirit, they should be sufficient for Warren.
Warren: The issue here is where you place God in your list of priorities. Your finances simply reflect what those
priorities are. What do your finances reveal about the priority of God in your life?
Kelly: What does God think of a person (and there are many) who “tithes” as “firstfruits”
and then has to do without pain medication, anti-cancer medication, and food and necessary shelter for his/her family? You
sound heartless and without compassion for the truly needy and truly suffering.
Earl Kelly, PHD, is the author of Should the Church Teach Tithing? A Theologian’s Conclusions about a Taboo Doctrine.
www.tithing-russkelly.com 770-974-4756 email: email@example.com
If Warren desires to enter and open extended dialog on this subject,
he will be welcomed on an open forum.
Rick Warren has a vision to be Protestant Pope and lead all Protestant
churches with a CEo iron fist. He must be stopped.