Thanks for keeping in contact. You and the rest in the church are a blessing. I have heard too many stories and sermons about Christians who drive a wedge in a church by going around, saying something the pastor disagrees with. I don’t want to be that. Only you, and bros. N. and E., have heard me say anything about this “foundational” issue. I don’t wish to hurt the assembly at all, though I know it hurts when someone is not present. I believe most of the people there are genuine in their service to the Lord. And this is not a judgment on them.
I love you all. I pray for you and think of your faces very often.
I want to obey the Bible. Our authority. You and brother N. may think I’m following a man or men about this. But church incorporation is the very picture of following men, and Proverbs 29 says that the fear of man bringeth a snare.
Jeremiah 17, Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
There are many other plain witnesses from scripture about this trusting and fearing in men, as you know.
As you said: The passage that justifies church yoking with the state, is Romans 13. God ordained government, we know that. Like when a policeman wants me to cooperate, I respect his role as commanded in Romans 13. I pay individual taxes and keep my driver license updated. Basics of obeying the way things are set up. Submit to the higher authority.
But I believe, have become convinced, it must be different for a local New Testament church. The 501c3 places the church on the same playing field as Planned Parenthood and Wiccans. (Ephesians 5:11) Christ’s body goes from spiritual to legal entity, and subject to the state in ways clearly laid out on the IRS website. Matthew chapter 6: Serving two masters.
We are called out of the world in 2 Corinthians. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord. Incorporation keeps us in.
I know that 98 percent of churches in America are yoked with the state and to most people, it’s normal. It was the same at the church I went to as a youth. That is what almost every pastor is taught and the people are content with writing off their tithes on taxes. It bothered me for a long time, and when I started asking questions, I found that people don’t want to even think about it. Or, they smile and say it is a small matter.
I remember that in the book of Esther, someone signed a contract without really looking at it himself. He nearly condemned a people. I would guess that he had some really smart men who said the papers were okay, and the king simply trusted them. Maybe they were his counselors, his lawyers. That shakes me, because that is a picture of this issue.
Over time and with study the 501c3 incorporation appears to me, as giving to Caesar what belongs to God. It’s a trap and a dethroning of the real King. I surely don’t expect anyone to change anything. I understand the church has big plans for the future. You are praying for me, God bless you for that, and I pray for you to please meditate on these difficult things.
You wrote that having government ‘help’ churches will protect us. What if the government is depraved? A functioning govt protects citizens and takes care of civil stuff without stealing everything and poisoning us. A Romans 13 govt knows taking care of its people will be to its good. Verse 3, For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. The good works we would do, our current leaders have a conflict with them. And they are clearly promoting evil works instead. We see that. Even lots of unsaved people can see that.
Was Hitler worthy of Romans 13? I’ve read his people used that passage, to deceive a lot of churchgoers into just complying with him.
Were Daniel and the Hebrew boys unrighteous in not following the ‘law of the land’? They obeyed the law and were upright, yet they drew the line at the state controlling their worship.
There is an agenda against bible believing churches and the state classification is part of it. You are right. It is about the love of money. And worse.
The IRS paperwork states that its churches are a ‘creature of the state’. No New Testament scripture applies any such to His church. If there is any scripture promoting this, I humbly ask you to point it out. I may have missed something.
Starting a few years ago, I have studied this out. Kept ignoring the truth because it is not pretty.
We the church give the state headship and ever increasing control, in exchange for a few benefits, and somehow believe that when the laws really start to squeeze the church and persecute us, that we will protest and break free. It will be too late to buy out at that point. And many churches will be destroyed on some level, if not physically. I believe there is a long term spiritual effect when we take His headship away. Forgive me my directness.
But even the amount of control the state has over its churches doesn’t matter, brother. That and tax subsidies (Matt. 6:3) are just extra worldly concerns. Exodus 20:3, Thou shalt have no other gods, is the base of the whole issue. Who is the head of the church?
We say, the Lord Jesus of course, but the contract willingly signed, says differently. It says, we don’t exist without the state.
And if we then say, well, those are just papers, we don’t honor that but we just honor the Lord… and try to write new church bylaws to get around what we agreed to… maybe that means, we signed the original papers with a dishonest heart. God sees us binding on earth and I’m told that means, it is bound in heaven. How is this a small matter?
Could God really wink at all these churches voluntarily signing over His sovereignty? (Genesis 25:31-34) Or is it the bride of Christ going to another lord? Would I like it if when I marry a wife, she says she has now formed an intimate business relationship with some wise guy? I may not be a Ph.D or lawyer, but I don’t need anyone else to come up with all these questions. Just the King James Bible and sleepless nights.
As for pastors stealing money, I believe a thief will be a thief no matter who counts the money. A righteous man, righteous. Are we to trust the government, to keep the church leaders honest? That doesn’t make sense to me. The church people are the salt to keep THEM honest.
The thief will pay an account, especially if he stole while hiding behind God. So I trust the Lord with that.
The research on all this is verifiable. Most of it comes from the government and the world. It is the world’s playing field. And the world’s own words. I love that church and the people there in Christ. Also I just like them. Except I cannot follow my heart because why trust that wicked thing? I wish I never knew about any of this. But I know I will be judged all the more if I ignore the truth, like Hosea 4:6 tells. I already have too much on account.
The Bible already told us that these times are perilous and filled with deception. And I believe this because it is right before our eyes. I pray much over this letter to you.
Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.