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In a report by Terry Horne of the Indianapolis Star, dated October 19, 2000 (http://www.starnews.com/news/articles/temple1019.html), we have the latest information concerning the battle between Pastor Greg Dixon of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple and the Internal Revenue System.
Contained within this announcement from pastor Dixon, is a report that fellow pastors and other vounteers have promised to stand with them in a united effort to prevent the IRS from taking possession of their physical plant and selling it for back taxes and penalties now amounting to 6 million dollars! In this defiant statement, Dixon made it clear that the authorities will have to arrest them all in order to remove them from the property.
In his release entitled: RE: IRS VS. IBT (http://www.indianapolisbaptisttemple.com [And I could not help but note that their web site is a "dot com"--a commercial site]), pastor Dixon stresses the same theme that others have echoed across the land for several decades, which is that government has no right to interfere with churches and church schools. Yet, at the same time, thousands of relatively large churches employ staffs of workers and pay them with U.S. currency--and that includes the preachers. But when the IRS began to demand that taxes be paid on those wages, many of the men adopted a pious attitude (not to mention a self-serving one) and claimed that this constituted governmental control of their churches. Now, I will be among the first to resist any actual intrustion of the government into the spiritual life of the church with attempts to dictate what must be preached and what constitutes worship, etc., but so far that has not happened. What is involved is filthy lucre (1 Tim.3:3, 8; Tit.1:7, 11; 1 Pet.5:2) and according to the laws of the land--as determined by the courts--taxes are due on it! Like it or lump it, churches deal with money and sooner or later taxes will always be required--'twas ever thus! What is the saying that is as old as dirt-- "as sure as death and taxes!"?
In a previous article (http://www.cuttingedge.org/articles/p151.htm, which we recommend that you read before continuing), we examined the Scriptural basis for their position and believe we made an airtight case that they have absolutely none. They, along with innumerable other professed believers, have obviously mistaken Constitutional rights as being a Biblical mandate. Then to make matters much worse, they say they are going to force the authorities to arrest them rather than yield to a court order demanding that they vacate the premises. Whether they realize it or not, their proposed tactic is exactly the same as the "civil disobedience" ploy devised years ago by Ghandi of India as he resisted the colonial rule of Great Britain. It was later honed to perfection in this country by the civil rights movement of the sixties and the latest version is being used to protest legalized abortion. For unbelievers to use this method of leverage to achieve political pressure is one thing, but for Christians to utilize it is wrong! What kind of testimony do you suppose this presents to unbelieving policement who have to handcuff Christians and then sweat and strain to remove them bodily? I think we can all imagine what they are probably muttering under their breath.
As the old saying goes: "Two wrongs do not make a right!" Pastor Dixon along with all other Christians who insist upon illegally--not to mention unscripturally--resisting governmental edicts because of perceived injustice, are causing more harm than good. Even if by some remote chance they were to succeed in bringing political pressure to bear upon legislators and the judiciary to the extent that the decision is somehow overturned, the ends do not justify the means. Has everyone forgotten that our God is Sovereign?
The Declaration of Independence contains a phrase that goes something like this: "And to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..." This statement speaks of a democratic form of government in which the people have a voice in making their own laws. But what is not generally recognized, or at least admitted by many Christians today, is that "the people" have the vested right to change the laws to suit the will of the majority. The religious freedoms we have treasured for so long are slowly in the process of being changed to reflect the beliefs of a constantly expanding non-Christian nation! And that which we prize so dearly can only be kept inviolate for as long as they allow it, because we are definitely in the minority. As I mentioned in the previous article, the only recourse open to us, that is Biblically sound, is to exhaust all legal means of redress and then abide by the will of the majority. "Caesar's picture" is on the coin of the realm and he definitely has the legal right to tax whatever and whomever he chooses--within the bounds of current law (or the judicial interpretation thereof). And for a Christian individual, or group of Christians, to show their displeasure by engaging in what amounts to a temper tantrum and holding their breath until they turn blue, is not only childish but unwise as well.
There is an obvious ground swell of public opinion against Fundamentalist Christians and the attempted political involvement of the ill-fated "Moral Majority" (and now the "Christian Coalition")--along with those involved in the abortion controversy and the pastors and churches fighting city hall--is ultimately going to result in persecution, the likes of which has not yet been seen in this nation. And the pity of it all is that most of it will come as a direct result of actions contrary to plain Bible teaching.
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