Tag Archives: 501c3

The “C – Word”…

churchfish

So far I have more or less stayed away from this topic. I used to write about it all the time actually, back before I started learning about the various globalist machinations at work in my country and around the globe. Maybe I just got a little “burned out” on it, or maybe I just figured it was for the most part somewhat of a lost cause, especially once I started appreciating the true magnitude of difficulty inherent to coming to a place where one is finally open to the agendas going on around us which are so very evil. It’s still a fairly challenging issue for me to try and break down to someone, be they a Christian or not, as to why there is so much to be reticent about when it comes to institutional religion. But, since this topic has for whatever reason been coming up lately in several discussions I’ve been having with both devout Christians and devout atheists, I suppose it’s as good a time as any to dive into it with a post of my own…

Instead of beating around the bush I’ll just get right to the point. The vast majority of what is referred to as “church” today, is really a very significant departure from what it meant to the first followers of Jesus in the days of Acts.

Of course, not many people would argue with this in itself, but where the complexities begin to arise is in the question of whether or not all (or even much) that has arisen in the name of “doing church” over the centuries since Jesus walked the earth has been according to a Biblically-defensible guideline, or rather veered quite foolishly from it.

There are a good many rabbit-trails I could go down when considering the whole topic of “ecclesiology”, such as debating matters of hierarchical leadership, or the ways which institutional religious entities become reliant upon the regular financial support of it’s congregants (thus often blurring the lines between “ministry” and business), and I would no doubt have plenty of admittedly controversial opinions about them, but lately I have been finding myself focused on another issue above all these others, when it comes to the question of “church attendance” and being someone who has now spent a good many years living outside the “institutional box” as a Christian.

Imagine for a moment, a group of Christians living in the First Century AD, gathering together in their homes to pray and teach one another, in some city of the Roman Empire. Now, try and imagine that this little congregation, living in the heart of the Roman world, has virtually no comprehension that they are living in a pagan culture, with a pagan, “god-king” for an emperor…(!) Imagine that these people turned to Christ, and then somehow, suddenly believed that everything around them, all the pagan temples and Roman legions and coliseums where the gladiators fought, was all “redeemed” into having some sort of “Judeo-Christian value”.

So far this is the best analogy I’ve been able to come up with to describe how I feel so much of the time, living in a modern-day “Christian nation”, as it alleged by so many to be.

Oddly enough, my hypothetical example of the oblivious first-century “ekklesia” goes from being a bizarre analogy to being an echo of what would eventually transpire, when we step back a little farther and consider how the Roman empire became the “Holy” Roman Empire under Constantine. I’m not going to bother tracing the entire history of the papacy, or the nexus between the church and nations of Europe, or the uncomfortable relationship between European colonialism and Catholic expansion. etc. We all pretty much know how the flow of religious history trickled down to today.

But for me, the question is now just one of measuring the ability by which I might be able to walk into any given institutional Christian church, and just, well, start talking about any of the topics/questions I typically bring up right here on this blog. Right now, I find this to be a very significant measure indeed. Forget all the “typical” questions of whether churches are too “corporate” or not, too “liberal” or not, too “traditional” or not. Can I walk into a church and start talking about false flag terrorism? Would I not be regarded as some kind of quack, as people started wondering who the new guy is who is talking about the globalist agenda of the wars being fought in the Middle East? Could I dare even speculate on things such as George W. and his daddy not actually being Christians at all, but in fact something quite the inverse…? What if I asked people why there is an American Flag standing at the front of the “worship center”, does this mean we are to worship the Flag too?

Perhaps there are some church institutions where such a thing would be tolerated, but not many. Maybe in the context of a “small group”, where it wasn’t being heard in any larger setting, and the appointed leader could try to appropriately “moderate” the conversation, (I always found myself being “moderated” in such a way, even back from BEFORE I learned about all these crazy “conspiratorial” things!)

“But those aren’t appropriate things to discuss in church!” (I imagine a typical response to what I just said might be…) “We come together to worship God, and learn about His Word, not let anyone come in and rant about their hair-brained theories!”

Again, I would refer back to the analogy of the first-century church. Can you imagine these folks getting together and deciding that it was inappropriate to talk about the historical context they were living in? Could they have ignored the magicians and fortune-tellers who filled the marketplaces, or the Roman military campaigns which constantly brought in slaves from newly-acquired sections of the empire? Could they have pretended that there were no demon-possessed people, tormented and talking to themselves in alleyways or the outskirts of town?

Could they have ignored the “spirit of anti-Christ” which was at work in the world around them, driving the bloodlust of martyr-burning emperors such as Nero, or the infiltration of Gnostic false-teaching into the Gospel itself?

I know a good many churches, and pastors, and congregations today, are aware that we are seeing the Signs of the Times, and rapidly approaching the Last Days as prophesied in the Bible. I know a good many of them do believe that the anti-Christ is possibly alive and walking the earth right this minute even. But what I don’t see or hear many of them openly saying, is that our own, “Christian nation”, is very much at the center of bringing this unholy kingdom upon the earth, and has been for some time now. It’s common enough to hear pastors or prophecy teachers talk about the ever-encroaching Muslims, or the “cup of trembling” coming upon Israel, or Ezekiel this and Isaiah that, or decry the woes of Obama socialism, etc. But will they stop and look at what their own “New Atlantis” has all truly contributed towards the construction and propagation of a one-world system? Are they willing to examine the true nature of this economic/military juggernaut with which they have indeed incorporated themselves with by filing as a 501c3 organization?

As such, it is really not all that surprising that within these government-affiliated (and tax-exempt) organizations there isn’t a very open climate to criticizing whatever nefarious aspects of the State, or the global “Super-State” being erected as the sovereignty of our own nation is increasingly left to die like a terminal patient pulled off of life-support. Though these developments might certainly be inevitable, what should not be inevitable is the decision to continue along the path of accepting the carrot-on-a-stick scenario that is the ubiquitous practice of 501c3 affiliation. While it might be true that foregoing this corporate status could make things like buying church buildings or paying pastor’s salaries a lot more difficult, I remain fully convinced by the example of Scripture itself that these things are indeed not nearly as requisite for the Body to gather together and edify each other as we have long been led to believe.

We are not yet in the New Jerusalem. We are in Rome. We are in Babylon. And the time to wake up, and come out, is descending upon us.

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“Domestic Terrorists Of The Paper Kind”…

image201364024159Back in November, I wrote a post about the unfolding legal situation of Kent Hovind, as the news of the new set of charges he is facing was first coming into my purview. I haven’t written anything else on it since, aside from a random comment thread here or there. I just didn’t feel the time was yet right. I had to let it sit. Percolate I suppose. During this period I have been able to observe a fairly wide cross-section of the various reactions and attitudes towards Kent’s case held by both fellow Christians and people with quite opposing world views. Then suddynly, this last week it would seem that I have suddenly found my convictions reignited as to the urgency of this whole matter, and the broader application it truly has to the Body of Christ as a whole…

The most stirring new piece of discussion I found was in a recent blog post by Peter J. Reilly, a tax pundit of sorts who has been following Kent’s case for several years. The interesting bits weren’t so much in the post itself, which is fixated on some new “revelation” of letters which basically are being used in an attempt to (once again) make Kent out to be guilty of either perjury, stupidity or both, but instead manifested in the comments. I believe the sentiments expressed in these comments really do go a long way in illuminating so much of what is truly at the heart of this issue on the whole.

Firstly, we read:

Making examples of scofflaws is part of the legitimate ends of law enforcement. And if the regular media ever pick up on the story, this is an ideal time to give the tax cheatin’ sovereign citizen movement some “noise and light”; with emphasis on those domestic terrorists like Kent and his people who insist on using God to cover for their criminal antics. In case you haven’t heard, Kent’s crimes are pretty serious, despite your efforts to diminish them. They don’t all get caught and the Government hasn’t the resources to prosecute them all and has to pick and choose their cases carefully. One of the legitimate goals as to the use of such cases as are chosen is to discourage others from acting out like Kent has.

The current charges are not because Kent and Paul conspired to file lis pendens. The current charges are because Kent and Paul conspired in a scheme that would be a violation of a court order and such criminal contempt for a court order is a most serious matter and it doesn’t really matter if you want to opine that it is not so.” (emphasis mine)

And then further down:

Sovereign citizens are domestic terrorists of the paper kind and on up to the murderous kind; it’s a spectrum disorder and we might get a very good display of the spectrum depending on who shows up in Pensacola for Kent’s trial if it goes forward.

Fascinating.

The reason I would suggest that these kinds of statements are even worth noting is because they aren’t just coming from any random Joe on the internet. These are the words of a person who is without much question Kent’s most vociferous online detractor, and if you spend any time at all reading Peter J. Reilly’s material you are bound to be familiar with this fellow. It would be hard to overstate the significance of such diatribes, especially when compared to other instances where Kent is described as a “common tax cheat”. So which is it then? If Kent is in fact nothing more than a “common tax cheat”, then that would hardly be anything new, or unique, or by necessity tied to the so-called “sovereign citizen movement”, and it certainly wouldn’t rank up into the sphere of “domestic terrorism”! Yet there it is, and I really don’t believe this is just an application of hyperbole here, no, he truly means it. If that doesn’t raise an eyebrow or two, then hmmm, how so?

Ok. So those are some of the views expressed by an individual who vehemently dislikes Kent Hovind, prides himself on being a tax expert who fights the Constitutionality of tax benefits for pastors (something I’d actually agree with him on…) and as a staunch online apologist for Evolution holds a most visceral animosity towards Biblical Creationism. (Gee, no conflict of interest at all in his objectivity towards a man such as Kent, is there?) 😉

But what about other Christians? There are definitely a sort of “remnant” who are not afraid to voice their support, there is a large percentage who are largely agnostic or simply don’t quite know what to make of the whole affair (which is quite understandable really, as the convolutions are plentiful), and there are still yet a good many others who essentially come down on the side of completely throwing Kent under the “Romans 13 bus”. Another comment I read recently really summed this type of reaction up quite well:

I think scripture is quite clear in numerous locations regarding living under the authority of the government in which you are subject to – “render unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar’s” also probably covers that angle, not just tithing. The Soveriegn Citizen movement is a bit of a sad, misguided lot and riddled with bad information and incredibly poor, naive interpretations of law. The fact that Kent has been even somewhat associated with their ideology is going to wreak havoc on his credibility if/when he decides to get back into the faith-debate realm – being associated with such a naive ideology takes him out of consideration [to many non-believers looking for legit answers] from the moment it is mentioned. Having a Social Security Number doesn’t mean you’ve taken “the mark”, nor does it mean you’re not subject to the laws of the land b/c of some back-woods, legal mumbo-jumbo you’ve heard that you thought sounded good. The Mark will be obvious, there will be a clear claim of allegiance required that is clearly anti-Christ. Is there the imprint of the beast-system being implaced throughout many parts of the world? Sure, the ground work is being laid, but there are many other countries that currently have it much worse than America now, particularly 8 years ago (unsure of conviction) or even farther back when he gave up his SSN (was it the 1970’s?). So not paying the proposer amount of taxes or reporting incomes and/or moving money around for the purpose of hiding/confusing does not make one a martyr in this current system. To get 8 years for a financial-related crime the evidence had to be substantial, recurrent and irrefutable.

So here again, we see Kent being tossed in with this “Sovereign Citizen movement”, and thus maligned for being rebellious, ignorant, paranoid, stubborn, disobedient to scripture, etc, while all kinds of blind (and in my opinion, very naïve) assumptions are being made, both about the evidence that “had to be substantial” in order to indict and convict Kent, and about matters of the “Beast system” as a whole and the eventual arrival of the Mark itself as well. (Ah, if only such faith was applied to God himself rather than fallen human systems…)

When you boil it all down, these are essentially the two basic criticisms of Kent Hovind as it applies to both his legal standing with courts, or his reputation amongst those who would call him their Brother in Christ. But is this really a true characterization of what it is truly at stake here? It is worthy of note that even Kent’s harshest opponents never go so far as to try and claim that he was trying to evade paying taxes for personal monetary gain (which is the typically assumed motive in most tax fraud cases, for obvious reasons!), and that is when and why allusions begin being made to the whole “sovereign citizen” movement, because in much the same way that the label “conspiracy theorist” has been gradually painted into being a very loaded and politically-charged term, “sovereign citizen” is now too a pejorative buzz word that conjures up all sorts of negative response. This is if course the intended reaction. You’re a “scofflaw”. A dangerous subversive, poisoning the minds of others with your insidious notions about the government just maybe not having the right to bureaucratize every aspect of your existence.

“Domestic terrorists of the paper kind”… Think about the significance of a concept like that being thrown around in the context of our modern “war on terror” cultural dialogue. This is not rare, inflammatory grandiloquence anymore. This is something people have been conditioned to actually buy into now…

But is Kent, and by extension his “Hovindicators” (as Reilly has now branded us), really a “sovereign citizen type”…?

I can’t speak for Kent, and Kent can’t very easily speak for himself, because Kent is still in prison. What I will say, is that as far as myself, I instead would have to call myself as being a part of the “Citizens of the Sovereign” movement. You might know it by a variety of other names. The Church. The followers of Jesus. The Bride of Christ. The true Israel…

In Christian circles and churches and pulpits, you will very often hear these familiar references to, and expansions upon, the “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” quotation. What has occurred to me of late, in a most profound way, is that what you don’t hear much expounding on is the other half of that line, the “and give to God what is God’s” part.

And so, after much meandering (I apologize), I would simply offer that this is the crux of it all. This is the point at which we have to stop and rethink a lot of our long-held assumptions, in believing that we’ve always had it all figured out in terms of what it means to live out our faith in the environment of a secular world and ruling government (and honestly, that’s fine, that’s how it should be…)

It is one thing to acknowledge that yes “Caesar’s face is on the coin” (or in the case of our American currency, perhaps another ‘deity’ altogether, but that’s a whole other tangent!) and accept that yes, if we are called to pay taxes, then ok, we pay those taxes. We obey the laws. We submit to the governing authorities. (Romans 13, right?) But what about if the governing authorities are mandating something which goes against that which God Himself has decreed? Didn’t Peter say something about “we must obey God rather than men”? Didn’t a bunch of guys get wind up being the “guests of honor” at a barbeque many centuries ago, because they wouldn’t bow their knee to something, or someone, who was in fact not God…?

So I leave you with this, and perhaps we can all continue to hammer this out and discuss it further as the conversation continues to unfold.

What if the real question at the root of all this is the honest and legitimate question of “What is Caesar doesn’t just want that which belongs to Caesar, but in fact really wants what is supposed to belong to God as well”…?

In other words, is the tax-collection infrastructure limited to simply being a benign mechanism which collects funds to pay for services that we all use (as in the simplistic model that we all agree with and consent to in theory), or can it also possibly be used as highly-persuasive means by which to leverage control and influence over the affairs of people, groups, etc., far beyond the matters of mere financial transactions and percentages owed to the State?

Is Kent’s “crime” that he simply didn’t want to pay taxes, or was it perhaps that he was audacious enough to first seek out, and then attempt to act upon, tangible means through which to limit the degree to which the government itself has political sway and financial muscle over one’s endeavors in the name of the Gospel…? For the vast majority of folks out there still operating under the tranquil reassurances of their 501(c)3 statuses, this is the kind of practical question that never materializes in their minds in the first place. Why would it? If you’re “following the rules”, and filling out the right forms, and filing the correct paperwork, then you’re “obeying God”, right? Does it really matter if the net result of all these financial regulations and corporate-structuring requirements that have slowly been eased upon the backs of churches over this past century is that at the end of the day, your church is corporation, an entity whose legal existence is wholly dependent upon the dictates of the government? In China and other places, we call those “State Churches”. The true Body of Christ in China, however, doesn’t darken their doors. They went “underground”. They don’t file paperwork, or report the amounts of their offerings to the State, or share all the information they have about their congregants with the government officials..(!) And yet, we don’t hear too many Christians in America scolding them, and preaching “Romans 13” across the Pacific, now do we…?

“Well that Communist China, Strange!” you say. And yes, I know. Communist China, where for decades Christians found to be part of the “non-sanctioned” underground church were usually simply jailed and beaten, but nowadays face more “sophisticated and multi-dimensional types of persecution than in the past“. Remember, according to Chinese authorities, there is no “persecution” of Christians in China, and all such talk is nonsense and the stuff of laughable conspiracy theory…. 😉

But what you? Brother, or Sister, who claims to believe and adhere to the Word which tells us “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me”…? What are YOU prepared to face, to endure, if you found yourself in the position of realizing that “Caesar” really wasn’t just content to stay over on his ordained side of the aisle, collecting what God has stated is rightfully his, but has in has crept across a very sacred line, in a most subtle and beguiling way, and is in fact maneuvering to take “sovereignty” over that which is ONLY called to be subject to God alone…? How exactly does one go about re-delineating those arenas, whereby you strive to be obedient in terms of paying taxes on the one hand, but not inadvertently subjecting oneself to totalitarian control by the State in the process…? Many Christians are all too ready to completely disassociate themselves from Kent, because they’ve now seen the kind of concrete casualties that can result from trying to redraw that ever-blurring line, or even seeking to navigate backwards through a dizzying minefield of corporatocratic stanchions, while they themselves refuse to recognize that the minefield even exists in the first place, let alone venture a single toe into such uncharted and treacherous waters.
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So what about you, would you risk being deemed a “terrorist of the paper kind”, because you ultimately gave more authority to the words printed on the paper pages of God’s Word than things printed on paper by man…?