Definition of False Teacher: One who presumes to teach in the Name of the Lord when God has not sent him.

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False Teacher – Russell Earl Kelly

A Taboo Teacher of Tripe

Paulo writes us:

I’ve red the paper on Tithing. To tell you the truth, I was taken aback, I didn’t expect that you believed in Tithing in this 21st Century, but you’re a servant of God Almighty, so my opinion won’t hold here (i’ve also red the paper on Opinion on the website). I red a book sometime in the past, whose author was against Tithing, not that it is bad, but that it doesn’t apply today. If you go through it, there’re things there i find make sense. (Anyway, for the record, I don’t claim to be a teacher, especially, of Divinity). By the way, I keep asking myself: "Why Tithe? Why not giving one fifth? One third?"

Couldn’t that be a threshold level of giving that God intended us to do. Those were just my thoughts, but they don’t really count now, do they? "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are My ways your ways…" (Isaiah 55). …

Paulo then sent us a link to the tithing book he referred to. Paul’s reply:

Hi Paulo, I have a few things to say about tithing and the writing you sent us: “Should the Church Teach Tithing? A Theologian’s Conclusions about a Taboo Doctrine, by Russell Earl Kelly, Ph.D.

You say you find some things that make sense in this book. No doubt in such a long book an author can make several sensible points, at least from his perspective and worldview. But in looking over a sampling of his work, I find Kelly presenting preposterous and audacious suppositions regarding the Scriptures, making a travesty of God’s counsel and the truth.

If you proceed any distance at all on the path of truth, walking in the light with the Lord Jesus Christ, you’ll soon know for yourself that when one calls himself a theologian, proudly publicizing his Ph.D. on every page, that man has nothing at all from God. What Kelly presents is from man only – the corruption of his own mind and the thoughts, customs, and diabolical doctrines learned from like minds of others. It is trash, fit only for burning.

Let me give you an example from his book. In Section 4, chapter 24, Kelly talks about 1 Timothy 5:17 and the elders “worthy of double honor.” Here is the Scripture and important following verse:

“Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in Word and doctrine. For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle the ox treading out grain,’ and, ‘The laborer is worthy of his reward’” (1 Timothy 5:17-18 MKJV).

Isn’t that clear enough? Those who teach and guide the believer are worthy of his or her physical support. Other Scriptures say the same:

1 Corinthians 9:7-14 MKJV
(7) Who serves as a soldier at his own wages at any time? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who feeds a flock and does not partake of the milk of the flock?
(8) Do I say these things according to man? Or does not the Law say the same also?
(9) For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox threshing grain.” Does God take care for oxen?
(10) Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? It was written for us, so that he who plows should plow in hope, and so that he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope.
(11) If we have sown to you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?
(12) If others have a share of this authority over you, rather should not we? But we have not used this authority, but we endured all things lest we should hinder the Gospel of Christ.
(13) Do you not know that those who minister about holy things live of the things of the Temple? And those attending the altar are partakers with the altar.
(14) Even so, the Lord ordained those announcing the Gospel to live from the Gospel.

Could it be any plainer? Yet here comes Satan, posing as an angel of light, bringing subtlety of argument and confusion to withstand the work of God. Kelly flat out refuses the meaning of God’s words and examples given by the apostle Paul. He both adds to and takes away from the Scriptures in order to deny what is plainly said. Follow this, if you can:

The context of ‘double honor’ in 5:17 is that of rebuking wrongdoers in the church, and not ‘salary.’ Verses 1-16 and 19-20 are clearly discussions of discipline. Immediate context must be the primary determining factor.

5:1 Do not rebuke an elder [older man] [remember their honor].
5:3-16 Honor widows [honor is greater than rebuke].
5:17-18 Give double honor to elders who labor in the word.
5:19-20 Rebuke [ministering] elders openly that sin.
5:21 Do not be impartial [honor first; rebuke last resort].
5:22 Do not be hasty in discipline [remember their honor].
5:24 God will judge sins.

The disciplinary honor sequence begins with ‘Do not rebuke an elder’ (v. 1) and ends with ‘rebuke an elder who sins before all’ (v. 20). The ‘elder’ of verse one is probably an older church member who is due honor because of his age and experience. After discussing the cautious approach to rebuking fellow church members (vv. 1-2) and special rules for honoring widows (vv. 3-16), the writer next takes up the unpleasant, but necessary, rebuke of the church’s spiritual leaders (vv. 19-20). First, however, he reminds all of the double-honorable position of the person he is about to discuss (vv. 17-18). While an ordinary elder (older person) is due single ‘honor,’ an elder who leads in the Word of God is worthy of ‘double honor’—the first honor because of his age and the second, or double honor, because of his ministry in the Word.

To restate the previous conclusion, since all church members are ‘honorable’ (1 Cor. 12:23-24), they are all worthy of honorable and cautious rebuke. Older persons are to be rebuked with an honor which respects their age and experience. However, ruling and teaching elders are worthy of double ‘honor,’ that is, of a ‘double-cautious rebuke.‘… Because elders are worthy of double honor, those wishing to rebuke them must be ‘twice’ as careful and should not rebuke them on a one-to-one basis, but in front of two or three witnesses (v. 19)….

The real emphasis of 5:18 is on the ‘double worthiness’ of the ox. While it was normally unmuzzled while not working; it was double-worthy of not being muzzled while working. Thus the ox ‘plowed in hope’ that its needs would be met. If Paul had wanted to teach tithing at this point, he would have quoted Numbers 18:20- 26 and compared Christian workers to the Levitical system instead of referring to a grinding ox.

In the context of First Timothy 5:17-18, the ministering elder’s ‘reward’ is the ‘double-honor,’ or double-cautious discipline due him! The minister is first worthy of single honor while being disciplined because he is a elder Christian, and he is worthy of double honor while being disciplined because he is a laborer in the church.

How arrogant to write such a long book (274 pages) complicating what God has simply stated. Atop every page, Kelly should have affixed “Man of Sin” instead of “Ph.D.” to his name. Anyone following such devils with diplomas can kiss godly reason and simplicity in Christ goodbye.

So where to begin with this pretentious mess, wherein all is error?

“Double honor” has nothing to do with rebuking wrongdoers in the church. Paul directly states what it’s about in verse 18:

“For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle the ox treading out grain,’ and, ‘The laborer is worthy of his reward’” (1 Timothy 5:18 MKJV).

And Paul isn’t talking about two kinds of elders in this letter. He’s talking about those in positions of leadership, not by virtue of age, but according to God’s work and calling in that person’s life. Peter addresses such in his epistle:

1 Peter 5:1-3 ESV
(1) So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed:
(2) shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;
(3) not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.

Verse 20 in 1 Timothy 5, contrary to Kelly’s claim, says nothing about rebuking elders:

“Those who sin, rebuke before all, so that the rest also may fear” (1 Timothy 5:20 MKJV).

Paul was speaking to Timothy as a minister of Christ, regarding how to handle the flock. He wasn’t giving ordinary believers carte blanche permission to rebuke others, and certainly not to rebuke elders (see 5:1). In such cases, Paul gave Timothy (a leader of the assembly) the following counsel:

“Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses” (1 Timothy 5:19 KJV).

And bringing an accusation against an elder to a leader in the congregation isn’t the same as rebuking that elder. The elder isn’t even present, but it’s up to the leader being confided in (Timothy) to see whether there are two or three witnesses, confirming the matter in the Lord before proceeding to deal with it.

Kelly doesn’t have the faintest clue what he’s talking about. He doesn’t know the Lord or His ways. He is anti-Christ.

In a most blatant act of tampering with the Scriptures, Kelly says that verse 22 is exhorting not to be hasty in discipline. This verse has nothing to do with rebuking or disciplining. In it, Paul is warning Timothy to not commit himself hastily to another person’s cause (prayer for healing, for example), without first consulting the Lord, lest he bring that person’s judgment from God upon himself:

“Do not lay hands quickly on anyone, neither be partaker of the sins of others. Keep yourself pure” (1 Timothy 5:22 MKJV).

The general context of the verses Kelly cites relates to making provision, as with the directions given about the care of widows. The following verse precedes the exhortation to support those who labor in the Word:

“If any believing man or believing woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be charged, so that it may relieve those who are widows indeed” (1 Timothy 5:16 MKJV).

Even when he’s right, Kelly is so very wrong. It’s true that “double honor” has nothing to do with ministers collecting a salary. But that’s because no true man of God ever collected a salary from the flock, only hirelings do that in men’s corrupt religious arrangements and organizations. Men hire ministers like any organization in the world, with set agreements and pay, but true servants of God serve Him only and receive their provision from Him, whether He uses the flock to do so or not.

Much of the confusion and strife over the matter of tithes and offerings comes because the conversation centers on the illegitimate religious systems of men – Babylon (read Counterfeit Christianity and The True Marks of a Cult).

For those who come out of Babylon and are joined to the Body of Christ, tithes and offerings aren’t a formal law of 10% giving, even as you suggest (“Why not giving one fifth? One third?”). The Law of Life in Christ instructs us how to live and how to honor – whom, when, where, and why.

Paulo, you speak of your opinion not holding any value. That’s true, so immerse yourself in the truth that makes free rather than the pretentious and nonsensical “theological” error of the “wise and prudent” (Matthew 11:25-26). You need to read our paper again, the entire thing, very carefully (in fact, see our whole Tithes and Offerings section). The answers are there. After doing so, if you have other questions, let us know. The Lord provides; bless His Name!

“But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:16-17 KJV).


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