Russell Kelly

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Russell Earl Kelly
Born Jacksonville, Florida, USA
Occupation Theologian, author, speaker and blogger
Notable works "Should The Church Teach Tithing?: A Theologian's Conclusions about a Taboo Doctrine"[1]

"Exposing Seventh-day Adventism"[2]

"From Gethsemane To Ascension: An Ultimate Harmony of the Gospels"[3]
Website
www.tithing-russkelly.com

Russell Earl Kelly is an American Christian theologian, apologist, author, speaker and blogger. He writes nonfictional theological books.[4][5][6] Russell is best known for evangelizing and debating why tithing 10% to one's church is not a Christian obligation. His conclusion places him in company with Christian leaders including John F. MacArthur,[7] J. Vernon McGee[8] and C. I. Scofield. Kelly has been the subject to media coverage including participating in a live 90 minute tithing debate in London on Revelation TV.[9] On November 23, 2007, the Wall Street Journal published an article by Suzanne Sataline, The Backlash Against Tithing, for which Kelly was a major contributor.[10][11] On March 2, 2008 Russell was featured on the CBS Sunday Morning news cover story, To Tithe or Not to Tithe.[12] He was subsequently mentioned in Charisma Magazine online.[13]

Biography[edit]

Raised in a Baptist home being one of six children, Russell grew up in Jacksonville, Florida before the family moved to Marietta, Georgia while he was in the tenth grade in 1960. From June 1962 until June 1966 he was in the U. S. A. F., learned Chinese Mandarin at Yale University and was soon promoted to the Transcription Department while serving in Taiwan. In 1964 Russell married.[14] He presently resides in Washington, Georgia.

Education[edit]

Th. M.: Covington Theological Seminary, Ft Oglethorpe, Ga; cum laude Ph. D.: Covington Theological Seminary, Ft Oglethorpe, Ga; 2000; cum laude[15]

Russell graduated Cum Laude from Sprayberry High in 1962. From June 1962 until June 1966 he was in the U. S. A. F., received 22 semester hours in Chinese Mandarin at Yale University and was soon promoted to the Transcription Department while serving in Taiwan. Russell graduated Cum Laude from Southern Missionary College in Tennessee in 1976, now called Southern University Of Seventh Day Adventist, and served two churches in Georgia, four in North Dakota and one in South Carolina.

Although legally blind since 1989, Russell subsequently completed a Th. M.. and a Ph. D. at independent Baptist-oriented Covington Theological Seminary in Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia in August 2000. His dissertation was on the subject of tithing. From that dissertation came his first book, Should the Church Teach Tithing? A Theologian’s Conclusions about a Taboo Doctrine. His second book is Exposing Seventh-day Adventism, published in 2005. His third book, From Gethsemane to Ascension, An Ultimate Harmony of the Gospel, Easter and Resurrection Plays, February 2008, is in conversational style.

Criticism and countercriticism[edit]

Critics say that because his education is from unaccredited schools his Ph.D. is fraudulent.[16] Others will challenge Russell's sincerely and his motives. In response, Russell provides a webpage regarding his education and abilities, including having graduated "cum laude" from the Yale University Institutes of Far Eastern languages while in the U.S. Air Force, earning 22 semester hours and received a B.A. from Southern University Of Seventh Day Adventist, which is fully accredited. He notes that there are hundreds of religious schools that do not want the government telling them how or what to teach. Having been legally blind since 1989 and not able to drive, his choices of education were severely limited.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Theologically, Russell is a conservative evangelical dispensational Baptist. He spends much of his time writing and is available for travel. His favorite hobby is singing gospel, Elvis (Tribute Artist), Marty Robbins and Frank Sinatra.

Reception[edit]

After "Should the Church Teach Tithing" was published in January 2001, multiple sources addressed the book. A July 2003 Christianity Today letter to the editor stated, "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."[17] In 2003, New Jerusalem Ministries listed the book for suggested reading.[18] In 2004, Dr. David Alan Black at SEBTS published an essay in tithing in agreement with Kelly.[19]

November 6, 2006: Andreas J. Köstenberger and David A. Croteau, “Will a Man Rob God? (Malachi 3:8): A Study of Tithing in the Old and New Testaments.” In Bulletin of Biblical Research 26.1 (2006).[clarification needed][20]

November 23, 2007: The Wall Street Journal published an article by Suzanne Sataline, The Backlash Against Tithing.[clarification needed][10]

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.[21][22]

2007: WAVA-FM in Washington, D. C. mentions Russell Kelly, his book and web site.[23]

March 2, 2008: As a result of the WSJ articles Kelly was interviewed in his home and featured on the CBS Sunday Morning News cover story, To Tithe or Not to Tithe.[24] The video has remained very popular online. Transcripts are available.[25]

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.[26] Kelly has since repeatedly attempted to persuade Dr. Hemphill to dialog with him, accessible from Kelly's blog.[27]

March 11, 2008: Charisma Magazine mentioned Russell Kelly and the CBS article on the first page of its online edition.[28]

July 18, 2008: In a rare occasion the Texas Baptist Standard (SBC) printed Kelly's comments in response to a tithing article.[29]

September 14, 2008: The St. Petersburg Times mentioned Russell Kelly and his book, Should the Church Teach Tithing in a news article.[30]

On March 30, 2011 he participated in a live 90 minute tithing debate in London on Revelation TV. The trip was paid for by a friend.[9]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Kelly, Russell. Should the Church Teach Tithing, A Theologian’s Conclusions about a Taboo Doctrine. ISBN 0595159788. 
  2. ^ Kelly, Russell. Exposing Seventh-day Adventism. ISBN 0595363423. 
  3. ^ Kelly, Russell. From Gethsemane To Ascension: An Ultimate Harmony of the Gospels. ISBN 0595482643. 
  4. ^ Kelly, Russell. Should the Church Teach Tithing?: A Theologian’s Conclusions about a Taboo Doctrine'. ISBN 0595159788. 
  5. ^ Exposing Seventh-day Adventism, and From Gethsemane to Ascension
  6. ^ An Ultimate Harmony of the Gospel, Easter and Resurrection Plays
  7. ^ MacArthur, John. Whose Money Is It, Anyway?. p. 180. ISBN 0849955548. 
  8. ^ ,McGee, J Vernon. Thru the Bible Vol. 33: The Prophets (Malachi). p. 104. ASIN B000SJZTWW. 
  9. ^ a b "Should the Church Teach Tithing?". Revelation TV. 
  10. ^ a b Sataline, Suzanne (November 23, 2007). "Backlash Against Tithing". The Wall Street Journal. 
  11. ^ Kelly, Russell. "http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/id123.html".  External link in |title= (help);
  12. ^ CBS News (2009). "To Tithe Or Not To Tithe?, Martha Teichner". CBS News. Retrieved February 11, 2009. 
  13. ^ "Tithing a Hot-Button Issue on Internet". Charisma. March 10, 2008. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  14. ^ Kelly, Russell. "Russell Earl Kelly PHD". 
  15. ^ a b Kelly, Russell. "Concerning Accreditation". Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  16. ^ Davis, Randy. "Re: [TL] Re: Theologian Dr. Russell Kelly's views". Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  17. ^ Hansen, Collen. "Christian History Corner: The Ancient Rise and Recent Fall of Tithing". Christianity_Today. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  18. ^ "Recommended Reading, New Jerusalem Ministries". 
  19. ^ Black, Dave (12 December 2004). "Should Christians Tithe?". Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  20. ^ Kostenberger, Andreas; Croteau (2006). ""Will a Man Rob God?" (Malach 3:8): A Study of Tithing in the Old and New Testaments" (PDF). Institute for Biblical Research. 1. 16. 
  21. ^ Kelly, Russell. "Akin, Daniel, President SEBTS". Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  22. ^ Akin, Daniel (November 27, 2007). "President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.". Baptist Press. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  23. ^ Chismar, Janet. "Passing on the Plate: Why Your Congregation May not be Tithing". WAVE-FM. 
  24. ^ Martha, Teichner (February 11, 2009). "To Tithe Or Not To Tithe?". CBS News. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  25. ^ Kelly, Russell. "CBS Transcripts and Comments". 
  26. ^ Kenneth, Hemphill (March 7, 2008). "SBC's National Strategist for Empowering Kingdom Growth". Baptist Press. 
  27. ^ Kelly, Russell. "Hemphill, Kenneth, Tithing; SBC Spokesman". Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  28. ^ "Tithing a Hot-Button Issue on Internet". Charisma Magazine. March 10, 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  29. ^ Everett, Randel (July 18, 2008). "In Focus: Is your congregation tithing?". Baptist Standard. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  30. ^ Day, Sherri (September 14, 2008). "Tithe has adherents, detractors on both sides of collection plate". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 29 April 2012.