|CHURCH v. STATE|
The Body of Christ Vs. The Body of the State looks at the Church established by Jesus Christ and churches established under the State with strict operational restrictions.
Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their uncleanness, when they defile my tabernacle that [is] among them. (Le 15:31)
In America there has been a separation of Church and State. Exactly what that separation means can be debated. What cannot be debated is what is written in the Constitution of the United States, also known as the Bill of Rights. Article one of that Constitution states that, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
So, all religions and churches should be exempt from government influence. As we look out into America can we say that this is still true or does it appear that government today both establishes religion and prohibits religion and churches? Are churches subject to strict operational restrictions by government authority?
And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth [his] sheep from the goats: (Mt. 25:32)
Who is supposed to establish a church and when is it established?
I have been told more times than I care to recall that all churches must file 1023 forms and become tax exempt as a 501(c)(3) church. People have quoted Paul's letter to the Romans over and over again. They declare that we are required to apply for tax exempt status as a 501(c)(3) church because it is the law.
Is it the law that a church must be established by the state? What is required to become exempt?
The Internal Revenue states that, "The following organizations will be considered tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) even if they do not file Form 1023: (a) churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches,..."320
"Some organizations are not required to file form 1023. These include: Churches, interchurch organizations of local units of a church, conventions or association of a church, such as a men's or women's organization, religious school, mission society, or youth group."
"These organizations are exempt automatically if they meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3). However, if the organization wants to establish its exemption with the Internal Revenue Service and receive a ruling or determination letter recognizing its exempt status, it should file Form 1023 with the key District Director."321
By this we can see that Churches are automatically exempt and are not required to file. The publication does go on to say that these organizations are exempt automatically if they meet the requirements. Two questions should be asked:
First, what are those requirements?
Second, what is included in the classification of organization? Note that the publication does not say that 'churches' are exempt if they meet the requirements but only that 'organizations are exempt.'
The same section of 557 states, "If Organizations that have a statutory requirement to apply for recognition do not comply with the requirements relating to exemption applications, deductions for charitable contributions will not be allowed for any gifts or bequests made to those organizations."
Again, note the use of the word organizations and statutory requirement to apply. None of this refers to churches which are not required to file nor does it refer to true Church organizations.
Are there any regulations, rules or statutes that determine approval if you do decide to apply to be religiously exempt?
Department of Revenue and the I.R.S. state:
"In order to determine whether recognition of exemption should appropriately be extended to an organization seeking to meet the religious purposes test of section 501(c)(3), the Internal Revenue Service maintains two basic guidelines: 1) That the particular religious beliefs of the organization are truly and sincerely held, and 2) That the practices and rituals associated with the organization's religious belief or creed are not illegal or contrary to clearly defined public policy."322
On the same page of that publication we see phrases like, "If you are organized to operate a home for the aged, the following information must be submitted:" Or if you are a scientific organization, "You must show..." etc. But for religious organization there are only 'two basic guidelines' which are merely maintained by the Internal Revenue Service. These mere guidelines are maintained only to determine whether recognition of exemption should appropriately be extended to an organization seeking to meet the religious purposes test.
Are there actual statutory regulations defining churches or their requirements to apply?
The I.R.S. rules and codes are not statutes and have no authority of law in themselves. They are based upon the USCS, but the I.R.S. makes no mention of statutory requirement for Churches. "The regulations do not define the term 'church' and Congress has given no guidance in this area. "323 Regulations do not exist for religions or churches because there is no power granted to government to regulate or establish religions.
What statutes do exist that allow the I.R.S. to even establish a 501(c)(3) church? If congress and the regulations do not define the term 'church' and Congress has given no guidance in this area.
26 USCS .508 Special rules with respect to 501(c)(3) organizations.
(a) New organizations must notify the secretary that they are applying for recognition of section 501(c)(3) status Except as provided in subsection (c).... (b) Presumption that organizations are private foundations. Except as provided in subsection (c). any organization... (c) Exceptions. (1) Mandatory exceptions, Subsections (a) and (b) shall not apply to --(A) churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches....
26 USCS . 508 - 1 Notices (a) New organizations must notify the Commissioner that they are applying for recognition of section 501(c)(3) status --- (1) In general. Except as provided in subparagraph (3) of this paragraph... (3) Exceptions from notice. (1) Paragraph (a) (1) and (2) of this section are inapplicable to the following organizations. (a) churches, interchurch organizations of local units of a church, conventions or associations of churches,....
26 USCS . 6033 Returns by exempt organizations. (a) Organizations required to file (1) In general. Except as provided in paragraph (2)... (2) Exceptions from filing. (A) Mandatory exceptions Paragraph (1) shall not apply to (i) churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches,....
26 CFR Ch. 1(4-1-96 Edition) Internal Revenue Service, Treasury . 1.508 -1 (7) Exceptions from notice. Subparagraphs (1) and (2) of this paragraph are inapplicable to the following organizations: (1) Churches, interchurch organizations of local units of a church, conventions or associations of churches, or integrated auxiliaries of a church, such as a men's or women's organization, religious school, mission society, or youth group...
The USCS . 508, . 6033 and the CFR's do not include Churches. All the statutes make Mandatory exceptions in the case of Churches.
Many have told me that if you are not a 501(c)(3) church you can not deduct your contributions. For those who believe that to be true you should know that, "Although a church, its integrated auxiliaries, or a convention or association of churches is not required to file Form 1023 to be exempt from federal income tax or to receive tax deductible contributions, such an organization may find it advantageous to obtain recognition of exemption."324
So, contributions are deductible if you do not file. Yet many churches do file. Why? What are the advantages that they may find under a 501(c)(3) status?
"Advantages and Disadvantages of
Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3)."
The use of the words 'generally326 spared' should make it clear that any 'organization' granted or permitted exemption under . 501(c)(3) is spared not because of its nature or right but because of its 'classification.' Probably the most important word to note is the word 'under.'
"Even if these organizations are not required to file form 1023 to be tax-exempt, they may wish to file form 1023 and receive a determination letter of IRS recognition of their section 501(c)(3) status to obtain certain incidental benefits such as public recognition of their tax exempt status; exemptions from certain state taxes; advance assurance to donors of deductibility of contributions; exemption from certain Federal excise taxes; nonprofit mailing privileges, etc."327
How is it an advantage to exchange a God given mandatory exemption as Christ's Holy Church for a classification as an organization which is only generally spared taxation?
So, what are the disadvantages?
"The disadvantages of exemption under .501(c)(3) stem from the strict operational restrictions."328
A church or a religion is exempt, in the sense that it is not taxed or regulated, because the government has no power, granted by the document that created it, to make rules to the contrary. Do you want to be merely spared a tax although your operations will be strictly restricted under the administrative rule of 501(c)(3) regulations and authority?
What is a church? Congress does not define what a Church is but the legal dictionary does consistently.
"Church. In its most general sense,
the religious society founded and established by Jesus Christ, to receive,
preserve, and propagate his doctrines and ordinances.".
"The Supreme court has held that tax exemptions are a matter of legislative grace."330 Is this true with all tax exemptions or just the ones granted by the legislative power over institution that fall under or go under their jurisdiction?
That being justified331 by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Tit 3:7 )
One exemption is by the grace of the government of men. The other exemption is by the grace of Jesus Christ.
Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (2Ti 1:9)
If by the grace of God you have been granted a mandatory exemption from the prohibitions and regulations by man's governments, why would you desire an exemption by the grace of the legislator who only generally spares taxation?
"The exemption from taxation of money or property devoted to charitable and other purposes is based upon the theory that the government is compensated for loss of revenue by its relief from financial burden which would otherwise have to be met by appropriations from public funds, and by benefits resulting from the promotion of the general welfare."332
Is your Church established by Jesus Christ and united under one government to receive, preserve, and propagate his doctrines and ordinances or is it doing the work of the state governments of men established by men for the personal benefit of men. If your church is actually a creation of the state then who is collecting and receiving the tithes you contribute? Who owns the church?
"The IRS, for many years has had the right to examine church records, because churches have been collecting taxes for many years for the government. The churches, therefore, hold in trust that which belongs to the government. We have a right to examine church records to see if the churches are handling government funds properly."333
Is your Church a church of Jesus Christ or is it an organization of the State created by men for their purposes and belonging to that State?
Have you been deceived into granting dominion over the Church and your congregation to a foreign authority that is an adversary to the doctrines of Christ?
Be sober, be vigilant; because your
adversary the devil334, as a roaring
lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in
the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your
brethren that are in the world.
Why would you put the strict operational restrictions imposed by the arbitrary and human rule of the legislators over the Church instead of the loving and benevolent and eternal restrictions of Jesus Christ?
Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another [man's] conscience? For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? (1 Corinthians 10:29 30)
If a church is a body or community of Christians, united under one form of government by the profession of one faith why does it want to go under another form of authority and government that it is already mandatorially exempt from? If a Church is a body or a community established by the authority of Jesus Christ then why would it want to become a body politic established under the authority of a democratic community of unbelievers with strict operational restrictions?
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (2Co 6:14)
Should the church want to be considered tax exempt under section 501(c)(3)? We have seen the advantages and disadvantages. To be considered under the statute is to be considered under the authority of the men who made it. Neither men nor their government, have by themselves any power to establish or prohibit the Church, founded and established by Jesus Christ.
The Church is mandatorially exempt. Should it go under the power and authority of man made statutes?
All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. (1Co 6:12)
Is the Church, that was founded and established by Jesus Christ autonomous?
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common [unclean, unholy]335 salvation [thing that keeps you safe and healthy]336, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. (Jude 1:3, 5)
Do not be a participant in the unclean salvation with its wantonness denying the Lord God but seek out the LORD and be a part of His body under the Lord Jesus Christ lest you be destroyed with those that believe not. Stand fast in the faith of the Lord Jesus, Yahshua, the Christ, our King whose kingdom was not of this world.337
Should a church be incorporated?
"Incorporate. To create a corporation; to confer a corporate franchise upon determinate persons."338
Isn't the Church already created by Jesus Christ according to the legal definition of a church? If Jesus was a king and he established his church under that one form of government with his doctrines and ordinances then his church is already incorporated as his corporate franchise upon the earth.
For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. (Ro 12:4, 5)
"Corporation (Latin corpus, a body). An artificial being created by law and composed of individuals who subsist as a body politic under a special denomination."339
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.. But now [are they] many members, yet but one body. (1 Co 2:12, 20)
"Corporation. An Artificial person or legal entity created by or under the authority of the laws of a state. An association of persons created by statute as a legal entity."340
A corporation is a legal entity created by a state.
"Legal... Created by law."341
A corporation is an entity of the state and its statutes.
"Establish ...To found, to create, to regulate."342
Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:7)
"Corporation. All corporation, of whatever kind, are molded and controlled, both as to what they may do and the manner in which they may do it, by their charters or acts of incorporation, which to them are the laws of their being, which they can neither dispense with nor alter."343
Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? (Romans 9:20, 21)
What is the act of incorporation of the Church established by Jesus Christ? Was it not the act of his sacrifice upon the cross and the shedding of his blood.
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. (Joh 19:30)
"Charter. An instrument emanating from the sovereign power, in the nature of a grant, either to the whole nation, or to a class or portion of the people, to a corporation, or to a colony or a dependency, assuring them of certain rights, liberties, or powers...is granted by the sovereign..."344
Is God not the sovereign power of his church? Was his son's sacrifice not enough? Is the Holy Bible not the charter of His Church? Can we add to it with a new charter? Should we?
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:18, 19)
What is the character of the church, of the body of Christ and from where is it derived? "The character of the corporation and the purpose for which it was organized must be ascertained by reference to the terms of the charter, and the right of the corporation to its exemption must be determined like wise given by the powers given in its charter."345
If the Holy Bible is the charter of Church, given to us by the power of God and the church is the body of Christ or his holy corporation then it is the character of Christ and his purpose that shall be ascertained from His word. Therefore, also it is His power, given in His charter, that determines His Church's exemption.
Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, (Ro 16:25)
Has the body stood fast in faith in Christ as we were warned?
Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. (1Co 16:13)
Have they worshipped and called upon the name of another?
Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? (Jas 2:7)
Have we been blinded by our own pride and vanity?
Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway. (Ro 11:10)
Do we continuously call upon the name of the Lord throughout the earth? But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to [the image of] Baal. (Ro 11:4)
Have we taken pride in our own creation and bowed down to it worshipping, trusting and putting our faith in the institutions of men?
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth; (Php 2:10)
Are we bowing our knee in the wrong direction?
For it is written, [As] I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. (Ro 14:11)
Have we given authority over what is God's to a man appointed Caesar?
Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? (Col. 2:18, 22)
If the state, created by man, establishes the corporation then the state is founder and creator of the corporate church.
Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, [is] God;... for by faith ye stand. (2 Corinthians 1:21, 24)
Upon incorporation the church by the priviledge of the State, once established by Jesus Christ, the King, is reestablished by a new state. The Church has been reconverted and changed. It has been reborn as a church organization under the authority of a new father.
"RECONVERSION, noun change, change over... readjustment, rebirth... re-establishment, ... return, reversal, reversion, shift, transformation..."
And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. (Re 21:9)
Jesus Christ is not the Father of the Church but the husband, for the Church is the bride of Christ. Incorporation with the state by a Church, established by Christ, is like fornicating with another groom. The churches are going under the authority of the state when they ask to be reestablished by the state.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. (Eph 5:23)
If the Church is the bride of Christ and his Holy Body, one with Him, then how can it let another authority rule over it. Is this relationship established, not because it is the Law, but because it grants gifts or payment? If the church enters into a relationship with the state by its own desire, which was reserved for its husband, has it committed fornication.
And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: (Rev. 17:4)
Those ministers and priests who continue to hide their eyes and put no difference between the holy and the profane and conspire to cause the faithful to stumble and go under the authority of those who are not of Christ must repent and turn about into His Holy way.
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, say unto her, Thou [art] the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation. [There is] a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed [difference] between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. (Ezekiel 22:23, 26)
Can there be any doubt that Christ's Church is exempt without application346?
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. (1Co 6:20)
Can you justify giving to Caesar what Christ has bought?
Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. (1Co 7:23)
Can there be any doubt that if you request an exemption that is already mandatory that you are going under a strict regulatory power that claims ownership of your church and your tithes?
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. (2Pe 2:1)
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2Ti 2:15)
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. (2 Thessalonians 3:6).
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|Last revision: May 21, 2006 09:04 AM|
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