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Must Church Leaders Always Obey the Law?

Published Oct 1, 2007

Hugh Grotius (1583-1645) “father of modern international law” wrote in The Law of War and Peace, Book 1: “Among all good men one principle at any rate is established beyond controversy, that if the authorities issue any order that is contrary to the law of nature or to the commandments of God, the order should not be carried out. For when the Apostles said the obedience should be rendered to God rather than to men they appealed to an infallible rule of action.”

Government is about control, and officials cannot abide ordinary citizens telling them, “No, I won’t obey that law.” According to Francis Schaffer, if you affirm that government must be obeyed under all circumstances then you have made government your god and you are a slave. It amounts to state worship.

There are “Neros” in every government who demand that personal beliefs cannot conflict with the state’s positions

The first temple erected to the emperor was built in Pergamum in 29 BC. Caesar worship had begun, and it accelerated in various parts of the Roman Empire after the resurrection of Christ. There are “Neros” in every government who demand that personal beliefs cannot conflict with the state’s positions. The government will try to get Christians to comply, even bribe them but in the end, it will be an order similar to Nebuchadnezzar’s: bow or burn. I may burn but I won’t bow!

Last week WorldNetDaily reported on a move in Canada to force Christian churches to conform to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as defined by the Supreme Court in Canada. The government “will seek to force the churches to accept gay rights, abortion and (in the case of the Catholic and Orthodox churches) female priests.” Their threat: obey national policy or lose all tax advantages. 

I wrote a few years ago that the Bob Jones University case would come back to haunt us and it’s near. Bob Jones said, if churches want to enjoy the benefits of tax deduction then they must comply with public policy, i.e., abortion, homosexuality, hate crime laws, etc. We will be told that we can believe what we want but if those beliefs are practiced, even advocated, there will be retribution: all tax advantages will be lost! If pastors capitulate to that law, they will be expected to surrender on other matters until the state has total control.

I expect Canada to continue down the road of oppressive government and I expect the U.S. to follow right behind them. Sorry, but I won’t capitulate to such an intrusive statute. In 1662, the Act of Uniformity was passed in England, and 2,000 Puritan preachers refused to sign, consequently losing their pulpits with many going to jail. Do you know many preachers who would be willing to lose their pulpits and go to jail for doing right? Many preach that truth, but few are willing to practice it.

WND reported this week that a Federal Judge ruled that “a permit granted by the city [Philadelphia] to the homosexuals allowed police to silence the Christian activists’ message on public streets.” However, all dedicated Christians who are more concerned about offending a sovereign God than offending pathetic pompous politicians should disobey that illogical, illegitimate, and illegal order.

Here is one citizen who, on the first day it becomes illegal to preach that homosexuality is an abomination or that Islam is politically protected religion, will preach on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court (or declare on a national television talk show) that the U.S. has overstepped its bounds and is a rogue government. Resistance may mean persecution, prosecution, and prison so I’ll have my toothbrush with me since I may be dragged off to jail. Maybe Christians should “fill the jails” in civil and Biblical disobedience.

Preachers and church leaders have been bowing before the golden calf of tax deduction for many years and the idolatry must stop. While no church should ever pay a tax to a government (since a sovereign never pays taxes to another sovereign), the tax deduction is not a biblical principle. Some churches have already repudiated their 501 c (3) status and are existing without problems. Many nations don’t permit citizens to deduct their church giving from taxes and that policy hasn’t harmed churches. In fact, it liberates church leaders from bowing before the golden calf.  Let’s stop all, and I mean all, tax deductions for all charitable giving!  No Christian should give because of a tax advantage anyway.

The Chinese philosopher Confucius (551-479 B.C.) and some of his disciples were expelled from one state and traveled to another, and came upon a woman weeping beside a newly dug grave. He asked her why she wept, and she told him that a tiger had killed her husband, father-in-law, and now her only son. Confucius asked why she lived in such a dangerous place, and she replied, “Because there is no oppressive government here.” Walking away, Confucius told his disciples, “My children, remember that oppressive government is worse than a tiger.” That is one time that what “Confucius say” is what I say. Governments in Canada and the U.S. are getting more and more oppressive.

I’m not surprised at the arrogance of Canadian and American politicians and judges, but I am surprised at their lack of shame. Proponents of such laws strut through government buildings wearing jackboots and Canada and America are only a goose step away from the formation of goon squads who will try to control all churches. Even those who reject 501 c (3) will not be safe for long. 

No, church leaders must not always obey intrusive laws and it is almost time to fill the jails in protest.

Tags: , , , state worship

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