State Favors Result in State Control of the Church

© 2001 by: Peter Kershaw

Persecution of Christians around the world is at an historic and all-time high. While there is great cause for concern for their plight, one thing we can be quite confident of is that the Christian religion will live on. Christianity has outlived every tyrannical regime, stretching from the Roman Empire, to the Soviet Union. It will also outlive the murderous Islamic regime of Sudan, and the totalitarian Communist tyranny of China.

History has repeatedly shown that brutally attacking the Christian, whether through imprisonment, torture, or execution, has never served to undermine faith. Persecution only serves to strengthen the Christian faith.

Every time in history, and in every culture, when Christianity has been assailed, the faith of its victims is bolstered, and the gospel then spreads like a wild fire. A contemporary example of this is China, where perhaps the greatest expansion of the gospel in history is taking place, under the constant harassment of a brutal Communist regime.

Modern enemies of the church are not altogether ignorant of this phenomena, and at least some have recognized that much more effective means are available for curtailing the expansion of Christ's kingdom.

In his seminal treatise on the political doctrine of the separation of government powers, The Spirit Of the Laws (1748), Montesquieu notes:

"Therefore, one does not succeed in detaching the soul from religion by filling it with this great object, by bringing it closer to the moment when it should find religion of greater importance. A more certain way to attack religion is by favor, by the comforts of life, by the hope of wealth; not by what reminds one of it, but by what makes one forget it; not by what makes one indignant, but by what makes men lukewarm, when other passions act on our souls, and those which religion inspires are silent. In the matter of changing religion, State favors are stronger than penalties."

This is precisely the formula that has been followed by our own government, in recent years, as it grows ever more hostile toward Christian values. Rather than attack Christianity through various "penalties", the modern method is to render the church "lukewarm" by doling out "State favors." The most prominent of "favors" today is the tax-exempt license. But in reality, the granting of a tax exemption to the church is a monumental con job.

Churches are not merely "exempt" from taxation because they make application to the IRS for that legal "privilege", they are non-taxable because of the First Amendment. It's a matter of jurisdiction. The government may only tax that which it has jurisdiction over.

Interestingly enough, even the IRS acknowledges that churches are tax-exempt and tax-deductible without ever applying for that status. In their words, it's "automatic" (Pub. 557 and IRC Sec. 508). Furthermore, contributions to churches are also "automatically" tax deductible (Pub. 526). Why then do churches subordinate themselves to the IRS, and thereby waive many important constitutionally guaranteed rights? Why do they agree to the numerous restrictions imposed on them by the 501c3 status? Certainly not because they were well informed. It only happens out of ignorance.

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." (Hosea 4:6)

Many a preacher is getting fed up with having their tax-exempt status held over their head, and used as a mechanism for restricting their speech. The 501c3 is a huge liability to all but the most politically correct of churches.

Churches generally organize as 501c3 at the advice of their attorney; but those who did so only got one side of the story. Just wait until you hear "the rest of the story."


For more information on how to organize and operate as a free-church, contact:
Heal Our Land Ministries
PO Box 220
Bristol, Virginia 24203
417-337-7533, ext. 1 (voice mail)

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