David Croteau Dissertation Titles

For the Northern Irish footballer, see Russell Kelly (footballer).

Russell Earl Kelly
BornJacksonville, Florida, USA
OccupationTheologian, 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]

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]


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.


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.


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]


  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. ^ ab"Should the Church Teach Tithing?". Revelation TV. 
  10. ^ abSataline, Suzanne (November 23, 2007). "Backlash Against Tithing". The Wall Street Journal. 
  11. ^Kelly, Russell. "http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/id123.html". 
  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. ^ abKelly, 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. 


Biblical Studies | Comparative Methodologies and Theories | Epistemology | Esthetics | Ethics in Religion | History of Philosophy | History of Religions of Eastern Origins | History of Religions of Western Origin | Other Philosophy | Other Religion | Philosophy | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


The thesis explores the meaning of the concept of believing in the Gospel of John. Chapter 1 provides a discussion of the relevance of the subject and the methodology employed in the research. The methodology is primarily a semantic field approach emphasizing the importance context adds to the interpretation process. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 follow the same basic outline. The goal is to provide an analysis of [Special characters omitted.] within its syntactical relationships and verbal forms. Any relevant conclusions are then integrated into an exegetical discussion. The Gospel of John is divided into three sections, one for each of these chapters: John 1-4, 5-12, 13-21. In Chapter 2 (John 1-4) the evidence for interchangeableness of the [Special characters omitted.] and [Special characters omitted.] + dative constructions is presented. [Special characters omitted] constructions do not refer to a superior belief. Typically, verbal forms of [Special characters omitted.] are not used formulaically. The crowd in 2:23-25 is portrayed negatively. The disciples, the Samaritans, and the royal official progressed in their belief.

In Chapter 3 (John 5-12) the [Special characters omitted.] construction was determined to contain a different meaning than the [Special characters omitted.] and [Special characters omitted.] + dative constructions. John 5:12 can be characterized as, largely, many people rejecting Jesus. While four signs were performed by Jesus, there were seven negative reactions to them; the three signs performed in John 1-4 had mixed reactions. Three inadequate professions were made in John 5-12 (6:14; 7:31; 10:21) and four groups demonstrated deficient belief through poor actions (6:22-66; 8:21-47; 10:22-39; 12:42-43). Positive portrayals were placed in contrast to negative portrayals. The antecedent to “they” (in 12:37) are the negative portrayals of those believing in John’s Gospel, not one specific group.

In Chapter 4 (John 13-21) the [Special characters omitted.] absolute construction was in a synonymous relationship to a [Special characters omitted.] construction, demonstrating the flexibility of this construction in the Gospel. Eternal life, understood in both its qualitative and quantitiative aspects, was discussed in its relationship to believing. The relationship of knowing and believing should be understood as being reciprocal. John 13-21 begins with two pericopae in which Jesus calls his disciples into a deeper faith; later in the narrative they progress. All portrayals of believing were positive in this section. It appears that the beginning of the Gospel was more concerned with a question of whom belief should be placed in, while the latter part was more concerned with the content of this belief.

Chapter 5 summarizes the conclusions while integrating them. Implications are drawn for Lordship Salvation and the doctrine of assurance

Recommended Citation

Croteau, David A., "An Analysis of the Concept of Believing in the Narrative Contexts of John's Gospel" (2002). Faculty Publications and Presentations. 161.

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