Where Are the Christians? – The Silent Church :: By Lea Sylvester

Today, many Christians are looking around at the gross immorality in our nation and are asking themselves, “Where are the Christians? Many are asking, “Where are the churches?” To understand how we got to where we are today, it is necessary to look back at what has happened and read God’s Word to see what it is that the body of Christ should be doing. Many confuse “the church” with the body of Christ – Ekklesia. To quote a beloved and discerning friend, the late Ron Graham:

The word church is a building, but it is also a word used to indicate a doctrine or belief system. The Presbyterian Church interprets God’s Word different than the Methodist Church, which is different than the Catholic Church and so on. All of these (and every denomination) pick and choose which part of God’s word they feel needs to be followed, or needs to be updated to agree with modern life.

We can be sitting in a pew every week and be fellowshipping with Belial if the doctrine of that “church” does not conform to God’s word. On the other hand, the word “Ekklesia” means to be called out, and this is the word used in the original language of the New Testament and mistranslated “church” in most Bibles. Why is Ekklesia important? Because God’s word emphasizes that Christians are called out from the world and are not to be a part of the world. Our lives need to reflect Christ, not Belial.

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:17-1). [1]

So, we see that God intends us, as believers, to be separate, not a part of this world. Our lives should reflect Christ, not the things of this world. This means we should never tolerate evil. How should we view evil?

“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength” (Proverbs 8:13-14).

As Christians, we must remember above all that God is holy. God cannot and will not nor will He ever tolerate sin. God will not tolerate evil. Nor will He tolerate evil men. Therefore, we are instructed to hate evil. We are told in the passage of Scripture above what God hates. We are also reminded that He is understanding and strength. As we mature in Christ, we should want to obey God’s commandments. All wisdom comes from God.

Christians should know that lying, deceitfulness, theft, jealousy, adultery, and other sins of the flesh are sin. They are also evil. But, what of adultery? What of homosexuality? What about “tolerating” other religions─such as Islam? Some self-professing Christians as well as their churches are teaching that we should be tolerant. They are saying that the Bible is outdated and that homosexuality is okay. Not only that, they are saying that Christians who do not tolerate these things are “haters,” or are intolerant. You betcha! When did God tell them that He had changed His words: His commandments, His teachings? Where did God say we should EVER tolerate that which is not of Him? That which is not of Him is – evil.

It is time for those who believe in Jesus Christ, who believe He is the Messiah, that He is the Son of God who died for our sins and who rose again, who is now sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for us, who will return again and who choose or have chosen to follow in His path – His teachings, abandoning the things of this world, living and serving Him; to stand up and do what we are told to do.

This is not an “interpretation” this is what Christians ARE to do. It doesn’t matter if a preacher or a church or a denomination teaches or says differently. To the contrary, there are those who are not teaching God’s Word. They will have to answer for that and Jesus Christ had much to say on that subject.

Individually, we are responsible for knowing right from wrong, for discerning truth from a lie, to know evil from good. Why is it that so many Christians are “pro-choice,” and believe we should tolerate sin? They are straddling the fence between Jesus Christ and the world. They are only fooling themselves and, it is those who stood/stand silent as attitudes, behavior, and laws are changed to cater to carnality that will shoulder the blame for why our society is decaying before our very eyes.

What is evil? Evil is the absence of God. Anything not of God is evil. The Bible doesn’t “define” evil. It describes it. Evil and good are absolutes. They are benchmarks or standards by which all things should be measured. It is a reference point for us, a “moral compass.” Good and evil can NEVER coexist. They divide, classify, label, profile and we must understand this. Why would we wonder why “the left” hates (God) Christians so badly? It is because of this very fact.

Our society has been fed numerous lies. One of them is that there are no moral absolutes. It is said now that what is right for you might not be right for me and what is wrong for you might not be wrong for me. Horse manure! This is called situational ethics. This is what humanism teaches. By the way, humanism IS a religion and it is being taught to our children is public schools all over America each and every day.

Yet, prayer to God Almighty, and in Jesus’ Name is not allowed. Public displays of Christianity are frowned upon, even detested more and more every day. But, we are to tolerate prayers of other religions, teachings of other religions and not say a word? No!

Yes, there are absolutes! Cold is the absence of heat; in the same way darkness is the absence of light. God is good. God is not evil. If God is good, evil is not good because God is good. We have multitudes of Scriptures, which tell us the goodness of God.

“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him” (Psalm 34:8).

“The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth” (Psalm 34:16).

“Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolute [held guilty, found guilty]” (Psalm 34:21).

Scripture is pretty plain, even a child can understand that God does not tolerate evil or those who do evil. Does seeing evil and taking no action; turning one’s head or sticking one’s head “in the sand” differentiate between those who do evil and those who do not? No, those who see evil and say nothing are complicit in that which is evil. They are guilty.

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkeness, not in chambering and wantoness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:11-14).

When we allow society to get away from moral absolutes, it opens the door for those who stand in darkness, workers of iniquity to change laws. This has happened in our nation. Natural Law (God-given law, not given by man and that which can never be taken away) was changed to “case law” which is now the standard by which things are judged in this nation.

In 1948, because of this departure from natural law (which our forefathers understood and acknowledged; it was “declared” that “separation of church and state” was the intention of our founding fathers. These “progressives” who propagated these lies, (who were/are away from God, the Bible), usurped God’s laws. The “church” did nothing to stop this. This began the downward spiral, which we see our nation in today.

Let us not forget that the founders of this nation were well aware of what an evil government could do. They wanted freedom TO worship─not from it. They sought to shape a society that was civil, that understood and respected God’s laws and that would never be allowed to act in tyranny again. They usurped King George and the persecution that they were subjected to (and it was extreme) to come to a new and uncharted land. They faced death. They put everything they had on the line, including their lives and the lives of their families, in order to make it possible that no one who followed would be subjected to what they had to live through.

Where is the spirit of those men today? We have grown so complacent that we can’t even speak up, much less put our lives on the line for the truth! Evil ultimately is the work of the devil. He is described in the Bible as the “wicked one,” poneros (Matthew 13:19). He is the one that tempted the first couple and continues to do so today. Satan’s goal is to bring hardship, pain, and sorrow on God’s creation, namely man.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we must understand that we cannot negotiate, moderate or tolerate evil. It must be eliminated. But, Christians are asleep or apathetic. We are children of the Most High God! We are separate, special and chosen. We must walk with an eternal mindset─keeping our eyes upon God at all times. Keeping our minds upon His will, walking in and aligning our selves with His will for our lives. These are not the days to compromise, to follow those who teach anything different than what God’s Word tells us.

Today’s “church” is an extension of the federal government. Why? Because they look to the government for favor: Instead of God. That is a provocative observation, some might think. It is true. Oh, but there is a price to pay for this favor. These churches are “tax-exempt” because they want to be able to get “tax breaks” as non-profit organizations and also give their members/donors a tax credit. Is this biblical? Since the Internal Revenue Service will become an integral part of our lives, (thanks to Obamacare), let us look at how the government controls churches today, shall we?

Most churches in America have organized as 501(c)(3) tax-exempt religious organizations. This is a fairly recent trend that has only been going on for about fifty years. Churches were only added to Section 501(c)(3) of the Tax Code in 1954.

We can thank Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson for that. Johnson was no ally of the church. As part of his political agenda, Johnson had it in mind to silence the church and eliminate the significant influence the church had always had on shaping “public policy.” And, this effort has been gloriously successful.

Although Johnson proffered this as a “favor” to churches, the favor also came with strings attached (more like shackles). One need not look far to see the devastating effects 501c3 acceptance has had to the church, and the consequent restrictions placed upon any 501c3 church. 501c3 churches are prohibited from addressing, in any tangible way, the vital issues of the day.

For a 501c3 church to openly speak out, or organize in opposition to anything that the government declares “legal,” even if it is immoral (e.g. abortion, homosexuality, etc.), that church will jeopardize its tax-exempt status. The 501c3 has had a ‘chilling effect” upon the free speech rights of the church. LBJ was a shrewd and cunning politician who seemed to well-appreciate how easily many of the clergy would sell out.

Did the church ever need to seek permission from the government to be exempt from taxes? Were churches prior to 1954 taxable? No, churches have never been taxable. To be taxable, a church would first need to be under the jurisdiction, and therefore under the taxing authority, of the government. The First Amendment clearly places the church outside the jurisdiction of the civil government: “Congress shall make NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Religion cannot be free if you have to pay the government, through taxation, to exercise it. Since churches aren’t taxable in the first place, why do so many of them go to the IRS and seek permission to be tax-exempt? It occurs out of:

· Ignorance (“We didn’t know any better.”)

· Bandwagon logic (“Everyone else is doing it.”)

· Professional advice (Many attorneys and CPAs recommend it.)

Does the law require or even encourage a church to organize as a 501c3? To answer that question let’s turn to what the IRS itself has to say.

Churches Need Not Apply

In order to be considered for tax-exempt status by the IRS, an organization must fill out and submit IRS Form 1023 and 1024. However, note what the IRS says regarding churches and church ministries, in Publication 557:

Some organizations are not required to file Form 1023. These include:

Churches, interchurch organizations of local units of a church, conventions or associations of churches, or integrated auxiliaries of a church, such as a men’s or women’s organization, religious school, mission society, or youth group. These organizations are exempt automatically if they meet the requirements of Section 501c3. Churches Are “Automatically Tax-Exempt.”

According to IRS Code § 508(c)(1)(A):

Special rules with respect to section 501(c)(3) organizations:

(a) New organizations must notify secretary that they are applying for recognition of section 501(c)(3) status.

(c) Exceptions.

(1) Mandatory exceptions. Subsections (a) and (b) shall not apply to—

(A) Churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches.

This is referred to as the “mandatory exception” rule. Thus, we see from the IRS’ own publications, and the tax code, that it is completely unnecessary for any church to apply for tax-exempt status. In the IRS’ own words a church “is automatically tax-exempt.” [2]

Churches Are “Automatically Tax-Deductible”

And what about tax-deductibility? Doesn’t a church still need to become a 501c3 so that contributions to it can be taken as a tax deduction? The answer is no! According to IRS Publication 526:

Organizations That Qualify To Receive Deductible Contributions

You can deduct your contributions only if you make them to a qualified organization. To become a qualified organization, most organizations other than churches and governments, as described below, must apply to the IRS.

In the IRS’ own words a church “is automatically tax-deductible.”

Churches Have a Mandatory Exception To Filing Tax Returns

Not only is it completely unnecessary for any church to seek 501(c)(3) status, to do so becomes a grant of jurisdiction to the IRS by any church that obtains that State favor. In the words of Steve Nestor, IRS Sr. Revenue Officer (ret.):

I am not the only IRS employee who’s wondered why churches go to the government and seek permission to be exempted from a tax they didn’t owe to begin with, and to seek a tax-deductible status that they’ve always had anyway. Many of us have marveled at how church leaders want to be regulated and controlled by an agency of government that most Americans have prayed would just get out of their lives. Churches are in an amazingly unique position, but they don’t seem to know or appreciate the implications of what it would mean to be free of government control. [3]

The apostasy abounds in so many ways. Choose this day whom: you will serve. We can’t have it the world’s way and God’s way. Pray that God opens eyes to see and ears to hear in these last days. The harvest is bountiful, but the workers are few. Let us go into the fields and gather for the time draws short.

“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

“Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6).

“The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him” (Lamentations 3:25).

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).

Endnotes [1] Ron Grarham,“Fellowshipping with Belial” [2] Peter Kershaw, In Ceasar’s Grip, Forward 1 [3] IRS Code § 508(c)(1)(A)

Comments or questions to: sylvester.lea@gmail.com