Christian Churches in America
Most people think a church is a church and that just about any church will meet the needs of the parishioners and will ultimately lead them to God and His blessings. Nothing could be further from the truth because there are two types of Christian churches in the United States. There are state controlled churches, and there are free churches. Their names are pretty much self-explanatory. Why, brother, we don’t have state controlled churches in America. Maybe in China, or some other communist country where government is god, but not in America. Well, let me tell you what constitutes a state controlled church, then maybe you will change your thinking. State controlled churches are those churches that have applied for and received a corporate charter. Churches with a corporate charter are a corporation just the same as Walmart is a corporation and both are subject to the same federal and state guidelines governing corporations, and those who have received a tax-exempt number are governed by the laws of the Internal Revenue Service, another arm of the federal government. Hence, the federal government can and does dictate how a corporate church (a corporation) and a tax-exempt church ( a non-tax paying entity) operate. The advantage to these types of churches, if you want to call them advantages is they can borrow money and own property in the name of the corporation, and they do not have to pay property taxes to the county or state in which they are located because they are tax-exempt entities. What this means is the government determines what can and cannot be preached in corporate and tax-exempt churches. Must I say, when a church must adhere to government regulations and its restrictions, that church is not free to teach Christ and the fulness of His gospel.
You may think your corporate church is preaching the full gospel, but I can tell you it isn’t. You may even have ‘full gospel’ pentecostal’ or some other name as part of your church name that tells the unknowing you are preaching the full gospel, but if you are a corporate church, you can’t preach the full gospel because the government won’t let you. Your church may approach a particular subject in a round about way, but it will not directly approach the subject and speak out against particular sins because the governing body of that corporate church will not allow it to do so. You may even think your corporate operated church has constitutional protected first amendment free speech rights, but you don’t. You only have what the government determines to be free speech, which is not the same as constitutional free speech. Bob Jones University, a tax-exempt corporation and Christian university learned this lesson the hard way. The university spoke out against interracial dating and marriages and lost their tax-exempt status based upon the Supreme Courts ruling that the IRS conclusion that the university was not a “beneficial and stabilizing influences in community life” was a correct conclusion. Now there is no such law on the books that says a corporation must be a “beneficial and stabilizing influences in community life,” but the Supreme Court ruled against Bob Jones University by an 8 – 1 margin and the IRS removed their tax-exempt status. http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1982/1982_81_3
Let’s look at another issue that is at hand preventing the full gospel from being preached in corporate and tax-exempt churches. As you know, in America today, as well as, around the world, there is a push by many civil rights groups to get recognition and obtain rights for their groups. For instance, gay rights advocates are pushing hard for equal rights for gay people, and our government is leaning in their direction. If a tax-exempt church speaks out against homosexual rights, or fails to hire a homosexual to fill a position in the corporate operated church based upon their sexual orientation, that is grounds to have their tax-exempt status pulled and a hefty fine levied against them because they would be breaking federal laws that forbid discrimination. The Supreme Court ruling that ruled in favor of the IRS in the Bob Jones University court case would also apply in this instance.
Now let’s look at the second type of Christian church; the ‘free church’. Jesus Christ is the head of the church. He calls the pastor and ordains that pastor to fulfill his calling and holds that pastor responsible for everything that goes on in that church body. He selects the elders and picks his board of advisors, not the other way around. The pastor of the free church is directly responsible to the Lord Jesus Christ who chose and appointed him pastor of that church. He is not responsible to a governing board of directors in a far off city who knows nothing about the problems the pastors face in their local churches. The free church is not a corporation, nor does it have tax-exempt status, therefore, it is not subject to government regulation and the Lord has freedom to move in His church in whatever manner He likes. A disadvantage from a world point of view is, the free church cannot borrow money in the name of the church. However, this is not a bad thing because the bible teaches us to, “Owe no man anything, but to love him.” A free church is by law a religious establishment, therefore, the money they take in from tithes and offerings are recognized by the IRS as tax-deductible charitable donations at the end of the year. The second thing the free church does not have to do is disclose its member list, or how much money the church receives through tithes and offerings throughout the year. However, just because the free church does not have to report its income to the IRS, does not mean it is not physically responsible to the Lord Jesus Christ concerning what the church does with the Lord’s money.
In conclusion, I have laid out for you the two types of Christian churches in America and you must now decide which one of the two best fits your spiritual needs. Have a wonderful day in the Lord.
* Comments are welcome. However, opposing viewpoints that lack scriptural support will not be approved for viewing. DThrash