Government Controlled Churches

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  revtom 8 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #84

    revtom
    Keymaster

    If you share any of the concerns or views this forum is hoping to discuss then share the link and lets get the conversations going. For now is the time nearer than when we first believed …and the church is undergoing massive changes from outside influences and undercurrents from within. Many people are asking what is going on and where the church is headed. I pray we can find out more together and bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the royal law. The Lord reigns let the earth rejoice.

  • #118

    watch-pray
    Keymaster

    RevTom, in your post you mentioned “the local church government becoming centralized in elder councils who legally own the church.” Can you explain how elder boards legally own the church? What gives them that legal ground and how does this work? I had no idea!

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by  watch-pray.
  • #152

    revtom
    Keymaster

    Watch Pray
    My wife and I lived this first hand. I give the story below for anyone who may want to read it. These elders are “The only legal members of the church” according to two very good attorneys and the IFCA local representative we asked in to moderate our situation.

    Three times we had this confirmed. In the elder led model when churches revise or re-incorporate with new bylaws – a careful reading reveals that membership is exclusively comprised of the elders, and “church membership” through their covenants and agreement to authority and powers does not constitute membership in the corporation that comprises the church but is something less. “Legally (we were informed) those 11 men own your church they can do whatever they want to do. The only recourse you would have is to mount enough opposition to oust them and for the members to take the church back from their control.” Again the IFCA representative locally confirmed this.

    Our experience

    The church she grew up in is an independent church that was one of the most evangelistic in the city. It grew from small bible study to over 2000 mostly newly saved people. After the evangelistic pastor retired a new guy came in associated with a big West Coast preacher and his Bible school. The church split several times and began to decline. It had more of an executive staff model governance with deacons. In 2011 the move was made to become “more biblical” by becoming an elder led church – the pastor being the teaching elder. With this came new bylaws and a church membership covenant. The body elected 9 and the 11 elders total.

    The abuses began almost immediately. People began to be called in if they were doing anything considered divisive and a tattle tale culture soon spread among deacons, staff and members. If you emailed someone asking a question they deemed accusatory then suddenly an elder or elders would be brought into the conversation (or email stream). You would be warned, the questions left unanswered and told you were being divisive.

    Our own issues arose after having watched two people “Disciplined” in very odd and open cases. We had questions about a small but horribly overpriced building addition about which we were told was none of our business though we were being expected to pay for it. We also discovered a bigger plan was in play. The addition was to house government funded social programs inside the church. Other mega church pastors have been pushing this model called Multi-Sector Collaborations for several years. (More on that in my articles if you like to know). The change in church government was actually rooted in a change of church vision. We then investigated ministries in the church and found tax money/ government grants and partnerships were already in play and a “United Appeal Fund” had been set up, but unaccounted for in the annual report, capable of writing grants for social services/educational and healthcare services in the church. Our questions and concerns were denied – half answered and then ultimately led to exposing dishonesty among two elders.

    Once we began to press these issues for the protection of people in the body, we were brought again and again before the elders. We were threatened with “exposure of our emails” and causing disunity if we were not quiet. Threats to contact other ministries my wife and I had worked with for years which were not even part of the church followed. We were passed from this group to another group to yet another of the elders to intimidate us. They did even follow even their own rules but were simply out to hide the facts from the congregation and dismiss our concerns without the church knowing the facts. A meeting in late November 2015 was agreed upon by the elders and us – for a two hour presenting of our concerns/documentation and Q& A. a week before the meeting we received a cut and pasted email – in very legal jargon – telling us the meeting was now a tribunal for two elders we have “accused of lying.”

    Our information sharing and Q&A and Mathew 18 approach was hijacked into the elders twisted interpretation of 1st Timothy 5:19 and a 4 1/2 hour mid week meeting where we were judged and fast tracked into some type of church discipline – even though the elders in question – one admitted to failing to make disclosure of the United Appeal Fund and its capacities – even to some of the elders. And the elder whose ministry was taking federal money but who had denied it and said he would not do so again – flip flopped once the evidence was presented and said he had “no problem taking government money (something the congregation had no idea of or the dangers associated with it) and would do so again.” This was a total contradiction of the position he asserted for over a year prior. In the end, after only 8 minutes of consultation, the elders were cleared of any wrong doing and a four page letter written a week in advance of the meeting was read condemning my wife and I to their disciplinary powers. My wife’s family had been one of the founding families of this church. Now “the elders OWN it”. We refused to submit to the powers of this abusive group of men. They have stood before the congregation on at least 2 occasions and declared that my wife and I are in sin and should be shunned. No resolution was ever sought by these men or pathway to redemption based on honesty. We were told the only resolve is to “repent and recant” of the facts we proved true. When believers are walking in obedience they do not have to behave in this fashion …only when there is something to hide.

  • #170

    watch-pray
    Keymaster

    I have always wondered why churches had constitutions and bylaws when they should be governed solely by the Word of God. Now I think I understand. For years the churches have been misled by a specious argument that they needed to incorporate to be exempt from taxation. However, churches do not need to file for tax exempt status, for the IRS Code actually exempts churches from paying taxes. However, once a church becomes incorporated as a 501c3 religious organization, it comes under the jurisdiction of the federal and state governments which may then regulate the church. Subordination of the church to the government becomes an article in the church bylaws and the Board of Elders functions as the Board of Directors of a corporation, which the church has become.

    See “501c3 Facts” which cites the IRS Code exempting churches from paying taxes:

    According to IRS Code § 508(c)(1)(A):

    Special rules with respect to section 501(c)(3) organizations.

    (a) New organizations must notify secretary that they are applying for recognition of section 501(c)(3) status.
    (c) Exceptions.
    (1) Mandatory exceptions. Subsections (a) and (b) shall not apply to—
    (A) churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches.

    This is referred to as the “mandatory exception” rule. Thus, we see from the IRS’ own publications, and the tax code, that it is completely unnecessary for any church to apply for tax-exempt status. In the IRS’ own words a church “is automatically tax-exempt.”

    Churches Are “Automatically Tax-Deductible”

    And what about tax-deductibility? Doesn’t a church still need to become a 501c3 so that contributions to it can be taken as a tax deduction? The answer is no! According to IRS Publication 526:

    Organizations That Qualify To Receive Deductible Contributions
    You can deduct your contributions only if you make them to a qualified organization. To become a qualified organization, most organizations other than churches and governments, as described below, must apply to the IRS.

    In the IRS’ own words a church “is automatically tax-deductible.”

    Churches Have a Mandatory Exception To Filing Tax Returns

    Not only is it completely unnecessary for any church to seek 501c3 status, to do so becomes a grant of jurisdiction to the IRS by any church that obtains that State favor. In the words of Steve Nestor, IRS Sr. Revenue Officer (ret.):

    “I am not the only IRS employee who’s wondered why churches go to the government and seek permission to be exempted from a tax they didn’t owe to begin with, and to seek a tax deductible status that they’ve always had anyway. Many of us have marveled at how church leaders want to be regulated and controlled by an agency of government that most Americans have prayed would just get out of their lives. Churches are in an amazingly unique position, but they don’t seem to know or appreciate the implications of what it would mean to be free of government control.” –from the Forward of In Caesar’s Grip, by Peter Kershaw

  • #178

    watch-pray
    Keymaster

    This was posted by Linda in the “Contact” section and I am copying it to the Forum:

    While what is happening in evangelical circles is grievously sad, deception and leadership by wolves is always grievous to those who see it for what it is; it doesn’t surprise me as the ‘church’ chose to be part of the system of this world with its non-profit corporation status. Rather than see itself as set apart unto God alone, a kingdom not of this world, the leadership long ago joined the system of this world for the sake of mammon. Pure and simple, a bunch of hirelings lead the so called church. So to be overly grieved is foolish, it was an obvious fruit to be had from a mis-planted tree in what was clearly really bad soil. Evangelicals never did leave ‘mystery Babylon’ but have always remained a daughter solely to enjoy the fruit of a forbidden tree and find their relevance in the culture rather than in the Lord. I enjoy the thought provoking articles, but am not sure if this will only end up being an exercise of the mind, or a true call out of the harlot system for those who see it for what it is. The good news is, that regardless of the so called churches place in the society, and the darkness of the hour, the light is still bright and the Physician is still on the throne to be called upon in repentance for TRUE healing, regeneration, and the indwelling of the Hold Spirit, by faith and new life, in His kingdom.

  • #180

    watch-pray
    Keymaster

    Linda,
    You are right that the Lord Jesus is still calling the lost to repentance and salvation. We believe our gracious Lord is also calling His saints to come out of the Harlot Church, according to Revelation 18:4:

    “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”

    It is therefore our earnest prayer that Blue Collar Saints will be used to inform these multitudes of true Christians, including many pastors, who have no idea that their churches have been programmed by “unknown superiors” to be assimilated into the Harlot Church. In fact, the New Age plan has always been for the Evangelical churches to lead the way into the New World Order.

    “Evangelical churches will be the chief instrument to bring the New World Order to birth.” (Jeremy Rifkin, The Emerging Order, 1979, pp.x-xi)

  • #208

    revtom
    Keymaster

    Thanks Linda and Watch pray . You are right the church is exempt from even filing for exemption – but once contracts are signed for grants even more obligations and restrictions apply. LGBTQ hiring and non discrimination policies which are rapidly developing are part of that and prohibitions to ministry as well . “No religious activity ” like passing out Bibles or literature , or prayer or worship, singing songs, ect. are allowed in grant funded programs. Why then would we get in them? How can we call it ministry? How can two walk together unless they be agreed? So bylaws and church government if not based on and rooted in God’s word only serve to cloak what is happening if the leaders are not open and willing to be accountable- and if- as in our case- have something to hide- can abuse the sheep and be accountable to no one .As we were told ” Legally they own the church!

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