Question:

The web site is excellent. Someone worked very hard on the design. My question is your church a 501c3 church or free church? More and more I am finding many of the New Testament churches have signed up to be a corporation and be under the IRS rather then the Lord. Even the Gospel Advocate leadership seem to hide in the bunker and refuse to answer any questions about 501c3 churches. I would appreciate your thinking.


Answer:

See: Are you a 501C church?

I was shocked at your answer. Since the founding of our nation churches have had non-profit status and anything given is tax deductible. The IRS themselves can not figure out why churches are becoming corporations. You need to read the IRS rules. They state churches need not be 501c3. The first amendment does not allow congress to make any laws regarding religion. Once you become a corporation your first amendment rights are gone. I think you mean well but just never studied a corporation church vs. a free church. Churches only started becoming corporations about 50 years ago. Lawyers and CPAs have been the main reason they signed up. There is no law that requires any church to be 501c3. It was Jesus who said we can't serve two masters. Once a church becomes a corporation the IRS is the master. Most ministers know also of the translation problems in Romans 13. The bad translation have come down from tradition by old time protestant churches.

So you didn't appreciate my thoughts after all. And you are incorrect to conclude that I state or do things without studying issues.

I'm not here to defend the laws the United States have decided to pass, but I do believe that arguments need to be reasonable.

The first amendment states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." That is very different from your assertion that Congress cannot make any laws regarding religion. It is false to conclude that some segments of the population are not covered by the constitution. Nothing in the first amendment makes a religion organized through a corporation different from any other religion. It appears you are confusing commercial companies with corporations. Corporations can be commercial or non-profit. Only commercial companies have some limits on what they can say.

Your statement that churches incorporating only started in the last fifty years I personally know that to be false, but just for fun, I found this statement: "the oldest surviving corporation -- the Benedictine Order of the Catholic Church, founded circa 529 A.D." [Bruce Brown, The History of the Corporation].

Second, you have misread the IRS code. All churches are covered by Section 501 (c) (3), whether they apply for official recognition or not. This is the section that states the government will not tax charitable non-profit organizations and churches. So when a church claims exemption from taxes, it is this section of the code that they are applying.

"Churches that meet the requirements of IRC section 501(c)(3) are automatically considered tax exempt and are not required to apply for and obtain recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS." [Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations. p. 3].

Therefore, all churches fall under section 501(c)(3). In a real sense, all churches which do not pay taxes are 501(c)(3) organizations.

"Churches and religious organizations, like many other charitable organizations, qualify for exemption from federal income tax under IRC section 501(c)(3) and are generally eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. To qualify for tax-exempt status, such an organization must meet the following requirements (covered in greater detail throughout this publication):
■ the organization must be organized and operated exclusively for religious, educational, scientific, or other charitable purposes,
■ net earnings may not inure to the benefit of any private individual or shareholder,
■ no substantial part of its activity may be attempting to influence legislation,
■ the organization may not intervene in political campaigns, and
■ the organization's purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy." [Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations. p. 3].

It doesn't mean that the IRS is controlling any religion. It only means that to be eligible for an exception from taxes, the organization must have certain characteristics. For example a political action committee calling itself a religious organization is not tax exempt, even if it is advocating morally good positions. If you disagree with some of these restrictions, then the place to go is your congressman with a request that the requirements be changed.

There is nothing in IRC 501(c)(3) that gives the IRS control over a religious organization. As I pointed out, even if in the future the government decided that, say a church's stance that homosexuality is a sin, causes the IRS to remove the exemption from taxes, it would do nothing to the teachings of this or any other church that I know of.

If you wish to claim there is a bad translation in Romans 13, you must prove your point. An empty assertion proves nothing.

"Therefore, putting away lying, "Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one another" (Ephesians 4:25).