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God’s Kingdom Podcast: God VS 501c3 Churches P.2

God’s Kingdom Podcast: God VS 501c3 churches P.2

Yesterday I provided a general overview of the corporation and 501c3 “churches” but time prohibited me from filling in some details.

Following is a brief summary of today’s program.

Corporations

A nonprofit corporation is simply a corporation that the civil government has indicated that it will not tax.

What is a corporation?
“Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary defines it as ‘an ingenious device for obtaining profit without individual responsibility’. It is a legal construct, a charter granted by the state to a group of investors to gather private funds for a specific purpose. Originally, charters were granted in the service of a public purpose, and could be revoked if this were not fulfilled. The relationship between state and corporation is a complex one. Over the past 400 years corporations have conquered territory and brought in resources for the state, breaking laws put in place to constrain them and gaining in power and privilege. History shows a repetitive cycle of corporations over-reaching, causing such social turmoil that the state is forced to reign them back in through regulation.”

Churches should not be corporations

James Madison is known as the “Father of the American Constitution” During his presidency, a bill came before him that was passed by the congress in 1811.  The house and senate were to incorporate an Episcopal church in Virginia.

Madison vetoed the bill. He wanted Congress to understand why what they had done was a violation of the constitution so he listed the following 3 reasons.

  1. The bill exceeds the rightful authority to which governments are limited by the essential distinction between civil and religious functions.
  2. The bill violates, in particular, the article of the constitution of the United States which declares that “Congress shall make no law respecting a religious establishment”  (1st amendment).
  3. The bill enacts into and establishes by law sundry rules and proceedings relative purely to the organization and polity of the church incorporated.  (the government is not allowed to get into the function of the church)

Most churches are incorporated

Today, an unincorporated church is an anomaly: It is unusual. The reason for this in order to be certified by the IRS to have all donations tax-deductible, the entity must first be a state-licensed corporation.

Churches incorporate for a variety of reasons but mostly to ensure financial donors that their donations are tax-deductible in hopes of receiving more donations.

However, those donations come at a high cost.

No Christian church should be incorporated

Not only does the nature of the corporation violate Biblical protocol, but even the U.S. Supreme Court has said that “the corporation is a creature of the state and the state is the sovereign of all corporations”.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the case of Patrick Henry in 1775. As Henry was riding into Culpepper, Virginia he saw a man being whipped unmercifully at a whipping post. His flesh was torn open even to the point of exposing his ribs.

Henry asked what the man had done and found out that his “crime” was preaching the Gospel without a license.

This is what prompted Patrick Henry’s famous “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech.

Following is the last part of that speech:

“There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

A “Free Church” is an autonomous church, void of civil encumbrances. “Free Churches” readily comply with certain laws of civil government but defer to the Government of God in matters of doctrine, church polity, morality, individual responsibility, family, and related matters.

Click here for part one

Blessings in Yeshua,
Parson Rayphe
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