Category Archives: Religion Is Political

Thoughts on Jonathan Mayhew’s A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission

I truly feel that preaching is one of the most poorly executed vocations of our day. It is so lacking in basic logic, consistency, and nobleness of attitude.

What is amazing is that I can find a sermon by a “liberal” preacher of early America, and he is excellent. If anything, he seems a bit prudish (!). He is someone I would LOVE to spend a Sunday hour listening to! Why? Because he had his game together! He doesn’t bind people with unintelligent nonsense. And even after he concocts a well-thought sermon that I can agree with, he presents it in a free fashion, telling his listeners that they can take it or leave it according to their own conscience. WOW. What a concept.

SOOO… this sermon was SO good I had to stop and write an article on it!

I’ll give you a little background and then share some of the best gems.

The guy was preaching a couple decades before the American Revolution. He takes up the question of whether we should show unlimited submission to rulers, and comes to the conclusion that we should not.

But he doesn’t leave you hanging. He brings up all the Scriptures that opponents bring up and thoroughly dissects them, so that you can actually appreciate where the opponents are misusing the Scriptures.

Amazingly, the entire sermon is available here (A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission by Jonathan Mayhew)! I highly recommend you read it – it will probably be one of the best sermons you’ve ever encountered.

The intro alone is amazing:

It is hoped that but few will think the subject of it an improper one to be discoursed on in the pulpit, under a notion that this is preaching politics, instead of CHRIST . However, to remove all prejudices of this sort, I beg it may be remembred, that “all scripture— —is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for CORRECTION , for instruction in righteousness” (2 Pet. iii. 16). Why, then, should not those parts of scripture which relate to civil government, be examined and explained from the desk, as well as others ? Obedience to the civil magistrate is a christian duty : and if so, why should not the nature, grounds and extent of it be considered in a christian assembly ? Besides, if it be said, that it is out of character for a christian minister to meddle with such a subject, this censure will at last fall upon the holy apostles…Tyranny brings ignorance and brutality along with it. It degrades men from their just rank, into the class of brutes. It damps their spirits. It suppresses arts. It extinguishes every spark of noble ardor and generosity in the breasts of those who are enslaved by it. It makes naturally-strong and great minds, feeble and little; and triumphs over the ruins of virtue and humanity. This is true of tyranny in every shape. There can be nothing great and good, where its influence reaches. For which reason it becomes every friend to truth and human kind ; every lover of God and the christian religion, to bear a part in opposing this hateful monster. It was a desire to contribute a mite towards carrying on a war against this common enemy, that produced the following discourse…Civil tyranny is usually small in its beginning, like “the drop of a bucket”(Isai. xl. 15), till at length, like a mighty torrent, or the raging waves of the sea, it bears down all before it, and deluges whole countries and empires. Thus it is as to ecclesiastical tyranny also,——the most cruel, intolerable and impious, of any. From small beginnings, “it exalts itself above all that is called GOD and that is worshipped” (2 Thes. ii. 4). People have no security against being unmercifully priest-ridden, but by keeping all imperious BISHOPS, and other CLERGYMEN who love to “lord it over God’s heritage,” from getting their foot into the stirrup at all. Let them be once fairly mounted, and their “beasts, the laiety,” may prance and flounce about to no purpose : And they will, at length, be so jaded and hack’d by these reverend jockies, that they will not even have spirits enough to complain, that their backs are galled ; or, like Balaam’s ass, to “rebuke the madness of the prophet.”

First up, he talks Romans 8 (“…the powers that be are ordained of God…”). There are a number of views on Romans 8, but the most popular one seems to be that ALL authority is divine in origin, and that everything your leaders command must be honored. But if this is so, there are tons of other Scriptures saying essentially the same thing which we allow don’t apply in such a way. When the Bible tells wives to obey their husbands “in all things,” everyone readily confesses it doesn’t really mean “absolutely all things, no matter how unjust or ridiculous.” So why do we get so funny about Romans 8? A better view is that of Mayhew, who sees Paul as correcting a sort of libertarian attitude of flaunting law for the sake of Jewish pride or for the sake of “freedom in Christ.” The Jews had a long history of hating Gentile lordship, and no doubt many converts retained this attitude. Other non-Jews may have thought “freedom in Christ” meant libertinism. Paul is simply stating that generally rulers are trying to curb evil and maintain civic peace and harmony, and as such, are in-line with God. When they’re not in-line with God, it would be stupid to worship them as if they were.

Rulers have no authority from God to do mischief…It is blasphemy to call tyrants and oppressors, God’s ministers…When once magistrates act contrary to their office, and the end of their institution ; when they rob and ruin the public, instead of being guardians of its peace and welfare ; they immediately cease to be the ordinance and ministers of God ; and no more deserve that glorious character than common pirates and highwaymen.

I must say, that toward the end of my days in a “holiness” church, as they preached more and more on “submission” to the government (read Obama), I had to stop and think. If I am to be entirely subject to the US government, we are set up as a constitutional republic. The Constitution was thus given this “godlike” power (so the holiness church would be forced to view it, as they viewed all “authority”), yet it was in distinct contrast to Obama (and the “holiness” church wanted you to “respect” and “submit to” Obama – they inwardly hated the Constitution). So, I’m supposed to be in submission to the government, which on the one hand of the Constitution is telling me to speak out against Obama’s tyranny, and on the other hand of the Presidency is telling me to go against the Constitution and to give up Christianity entirely. So which is it? When government is pitted against itself, how do you obey Romans 8? Do you just pick which  of sets of contrary laws to obey? Well of course it makes no sense to interpret Romans 8 in such a ridiculous way. There is no [good] authority, but of God. The basic goodness of the authority is assumed, but removing it results in all kinds of bondage. Find the good and respect it. Find the bad and oppose it. And that is what I did.

The “holiness” church I had gone to had become so corrupted by their wrong interpretation of Scriptures like Romans 8 that they told me I had to leave if I didn’t agree to their terms: “Don’t say anything good about conservatives, and don’t say anything bad about the Democrat party”! Why? Because “the President is a Democrat, and we have to respect his party.” And just like that a “holiness” church becomes a veritable seat of Satan, worshipping all that is evil, and hating what is good.

If we calmly consider the nature of the thing itself, nothing can well be imagined more directly contrary to common sense, than to suppose that millions of people should be subjected to the arbitrary, precarious pleasure of one single man ; (who has naturally no superiority over them in point of authority) so that their estates, and every thing that is valuable in life, and even their lives also, shall be absolutely at his disposal, if he happens to be wanton and capricious enough to demand them. What unprejudiced man can think, that God made ALL to be thus subservient to the lawless pleasure and phrenzy of ONE, so that it shall always be a sin to resist him ! Nothing but the most plain and express revelation from heaven could make a sober impartial man believe such a monstrous, unaccountable doctrine, and indeed, the thing itself, appears so shocking——so out of all proportion, that it may be questioned, whether all the miracles that ever were wrought, could make it credible, that this doctrine really came from God. At present, there is not the least syllable in scripture which gives any countenance to it. The hereditary, indefeasible, divine right of kings., and the doctrine of non-resistance, which is built upon the supposition of such a right, are altogether as fabulous and chimerical, as transubstantiation ; or any of the most absurd reveries of ancient or modern visionaries. These notions are fetched neither from divine revelation, nor human reason ; and if they are derived from neither of those sources, it is not much matter from whence they come, or whither they go. Only it is a pity that such doctrines should be propagated in society…

And since those who judge kings by character rather than office are often accused of being “factious,” Mayhew continues:

It is unquestionably the duty of children to submit to their parents ; and of servants, to their masters. But no one asserts, that it is their duty to obey, and submit to them, in all supposeable cases ; or universally a sin to resist them. Now does this tend to subvert the just authority of parents and masters ? Or to introduce confusion and anarchy into private families ? No.

Another thing that may be asserted with equal truth and safety, is, That no government is to be submitted to, at the expence of that which is the sole end of all government,——the common good and safety of society. Because, to submit in this case, if it should ever happen, would evidently be to set up the means as more valuable, and above, the end : than which there cannot be a greater solecism and contradiction. The only reason of the institution of civil government ; and the only rational ground of submission to it, is the common safety and utility. If therefore, in any case, the common safety and utility would not be promoted by submission to government, but the contrary, there is no ground or motive for obedience and submission, but, for the contrary.

And while I am speaking of loyalty to our earthly Prince, suffer me just to put you in mind to be loyal also to the supreme RULER of the universe, by whom kings reign, and princes decree justice. To which king eternal immortal, invisible, even to the ONLY WISE GOD, be all honor and praise, DOMINION and thanksgiving, through JESUS CHRIST our LORD. AMEN.

The Black Robed Regiment

It’s easy to opine about being apolitical when the overwhelming scourge of its consequences are far away; it seems convenient even to shape religion into a beta-dog acquiescence of the pillars of piety – autonomy, liberty, freedom of conscience, respect, and brotherhood.

Barna Poll
Barna Poll

The Great Awakening of Jon Edwards and George Whitefield, however, led to a strong and healthy sort of worldview – one which was not merely brainy, but which was evidenced by resolve and purpose.

It was against such an awakened populace that one King George chose to fight. With a jackboot attitude, acts of terror were committed against Americans on the seas; their livelihoods were sapped by ever-increasing taxes; and their desire to be independent was disallowed by force.

When soldiers are about to kill you and your family out of petty greed, suddenly nose-bleed “spirituality” loses its appeal. Or was such stuff ever spiritual in the first place? Who isn’t for peace? The early Americans wanted peace as much as anyone; but when they “spoke,” the British crown was for war.

It seems nice to go along to get along, but eventually such an attitude results in atrocities like the Holocaust. When the church in Germany stayed silent about truth for too long, they couldn’t stop the worst nightmare reign known to man!

Charles G Finney
Charles G Finney

The church is to be the conscience of the nation, not an optional caboose. Charles Finney, for example, spoke extensively on how the church should get in politics and speak up for the enslaved Negro’s liberation.

In early America, most of the preachers spoke of standing up to tyranny. Tyranny unchecked is a cancer to the world. These pastors’ preachments on liberty and respect may have been what led the Americans to victory. Known as the “black robed regiment,” these ministers heroically stood side by side with parishioners in defending their fellow man from unjust violence. Today though, it’s considered “unacceptable” to “preach on politics.” What a contrast!

Henry Beecher Ward
Henry Beecher Ward

It is not Christians’ involvement in politics that is dirty; it is reclusion from it that makes it so.

John Wingate Thornton
John Wingate Thornton

Wherever injustice is found; wherever human dignity and autonomy are mocked and disregarded; pastors have an obligation to speak to it.

I appreciate Dan Fisher’s presentation on this subject, entitled “Bringing Back the Black Robed Regiment.” If you would like to watch one version, it is linked below. Hope you enjoy!

Ted Cruz at RedState Atlanta

The following are pictures that I personally took with my phone while in attendance at RedState in Atlanta, GA last year (August 2015). It was an indescribably awesome event, and I can’t explain how awesome it was to see and hear Ted Cruz in person for the very first time. I know people always hate me to say stuff like this, but it’s what I really think – Cruz is an awesome fighter for the things that God cares about, and I think all the opposition Cruz has seen from religious circles is either because very few people know God, or at the very least, very few people have seen a deep revelation of what God cares about. It’s time the church rises up and blesses this godly servant for fighting against the elephant that has been sitting in the room that no preacher had to guts to say anything about. Hope you enjoy these pics of Ted Cruz at RedState Atlanta!!

UPDATE: I added 6 short videos of Cruz interacting with the crowd!

Ted Cruz at RedState Atlanta (August 2015)

The Glory of Self Government

The glory of self government is seen fore-mostly because it is a fruit of the Spirit. But it also brings with it industry, participation, ambition, and a host of other practical benefits in a society.

But the fruit of the Spirit is…self-control: against such there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Some argue that this final of the seven fruits of the Spirit should be translated as “Holy-Spirit-control” rather than “self-control,” for they say that doing anything in the power of “self” is antithetical to Christianity, which is a religion of God’s enabling grace. I agree with that concept, as all good has its source in God; nevertheless, there is a world of possibilities in this concept of self-control as a fruit of the Spirit’s creation.

The Glory of Self Government - A Fruit of the Spirit
The Glory of Self Government – A Fruit of the Spirit

Related to the idea of self-control are the ideas of autonomy, self-respect, drive, optimism, vision, charityhealthy ambition, and self-government. To get a picture of what is meant by self-government, go back to the small, fledgling country of Israel in the 1950s and 60s. Imagine how the Jews had moved there with vision, making “aliyah.” Consider how they had skin in the game when Arab nations immediately began to attack them. Think of how Captain Uziel Gal of the IDF had invented the now-famous Uzi machine gun as a contribution to the safety of his nation, following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, and the horrors of the Holocaust. Think of the enterprise and endeavor of the business owners in that new desert region. This is a fairly good picture of “self-government,” and it’s a wonderful thing. There is productivity, charity, benevolence, law, and a great degree of order in a most unstable and unsettled region of the world.

Captain Uziel Gal
Captain Uziel Gal

This has been a picture of America, as well. The founders had a vision that life was bigger than allowing bullies to terrorize and kill people at sea. The God-given opportunities for greatness and freedom in a new land were too special to be squandered living under the petulant demands of a foreign king. In the early days of America, government was simply the exercise of people’s will. They had a government because it could serve a purpose.

These days, the government is wholly outside of our hands, too big and complex for us to even influence, and has become a bloated destroyer of the economy (e.g., EPA, red tape on nuclear power, etc.), and a means to enabling our overthrow by enemies via funding them (e.g., the Iran Deal).

That is a sad picture; but there’s no excuse for it when 70% of Americans profess the Christian religion (as of 2014).

Can you imagine Israel, having entered their land; and, instead of crowning King David, they stick their tail between their legs like a beta-dog and crown one of the few Canaanites remaining among them as their King? And then picture them holding five synagogue meetings a week to preach to each other about the necessity of increased persecution from the Canaanite government, and you have a perfect portrait of the church in America today.

Christianity Is Not a Beta-Dog Religion
Christianity Is Not a Beta-Dog Religion

That is where the church is. She is a beta-dog, and happy to be so. You will not find any of the leaders in the Bible (Abraham, David, Solomon, Jeremiah, Jesus, Paul, Peter) acting like a beta-dog. No. They had confidence and boldness. They had self-respect. And they believed that what they preached was the truth.

The closest you come to a Christian leader acting like a beta-dog in the Bible is when the Apostle Peter became legalistic and inconsistent and would not eat with Gentiles, and Paul had to rebuke him.

But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. – Paul, Galatians 2:11

Where there is self-government, people care about each other. People care, period. The opposite of self-government is abdication of leadership, and it leads to sloth, pettiness, disregard for life, disinterest in earning an honest living and thereby helping others, and so on.

Self-government is precisely why many small businesses flourish and become benefactors to society – somebody had an idea, and had the insanity to imagine that they could do it themselves!

I don’t know what the best answer is for our country going forward, but I do know we as spiritual Ahabs should again assume a measure of leadership. Where there’s a will, there’s a way to self-government. Paul was tortured for awhile, but he found a way for the Romans to treat him and his fellow believers with respect, even when they were only a tiny minority.

Innocent people are losing their heads in Syria. Our economy is suffering. Immorality is being promoted. It’s time for the 70% to earnestly reach for the glory of self government.

Those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them. – Pressfield paraphrasing Socrates

The Opposition to the Coronation of King David

King David began his rule according to most scholars in the early 11th century B.C., say 1010 B.C. But the fight for his coronation seems to have drawn much of the life, energy, and gentleness out of David, for it was arguably the hardest fight of any king in Israel’s history. After having endured the ridicule of his own brothers when he wanted to fight Goliath (and they were too scared to do so!), and having engaged and killed Goliath, he later earned the unasked for hatred of King Saul, who had become quite antichrist in his reign. While David was then extremely popular with the people for a time (remember the refrain, “Saul hath killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!” [1 Samuel 18:7]?), David’s righteous character in not wanting to take the killing of Saul into his own hands eventually eroded his favor with a people that didn’t share nearly his level of integrity. Although David could have killed Saul numerous times and claimed “self-defense” as a justifiable reason, David was one who walked with God, and didn’t feel like it was God’s will for him to kill his leader. David wanted to wait for God’s judgment to bring Saul’s demise. And so, by the time David was finally made king over Judah (2 tribes of Israel), the rest of Israel (10 tribes) wanted Ish-Bosheth (Saul’s son) to be king instead. It’s a sad case when someone has gone far above and beyond anything that could be asked in striving to win people’s favor and do good to a nation, and yet a person who just happens to be someone’s son is more liked. It shows a shallowness too common among citizens. But King David would become King over all Israel, for he was anointed by God to do so.

David Playing the Harp Before King Saul
David Playing the Harp Before King Saul

Exhibit A in the Opposition to the Coronation of King David: an Antichrist Ruler

In many cases in 1 Samuel, apostate King Saul sought to find and kill King David. The way David surmounted this obstacle was by his faithfulness to God. David had a “crazy” sort of faith in God, that led him to near-certain-death scenario time after time, but God supernaturally kept Saul from killing him. Saul even used weird rhetoric, implying that David was wicked, and that “God” was going to give David into his hand (1 Samuel 23:7). This, no doubt, was a chance for David to prove to God that he sincerely believed in Him, and was going to take the hard road of obedience to God’s will. This is a closeness to God that is rare even among true believers.

Exhibit B of the Opposition to the Coronation of King David: a Disaffected People

As has been previously mentioned, the thing that made David insanely popular for a time (his courage of convictions and faith in God) as the slayer of Goliath; also made him unpopular over time, as the people lusted for a leader with less “scruples” than David was exhibiting towards Saul. David knew that Saul was wicked, but that wasn’t enough for the people – they wanted someone to kill Saul whether they felt right about it or not. And when David displayed that he wasn’t going to do that, they began to like King Saul, and his son Ish-Bosheth. Kind of funny – the same people that no longer liked David because he wasn’t “anti-Saul” enough, then turn to embrace Saul. But inconsistencies like these are not uncommon.

Exhibit C of the Opposition to the Coronation of King David: Political Opponents

“Therefore, be strong and courageous, for though Saul your lord is dead, the house of Judah has anointed me (David) king over them.” 8 Abner son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army,  took Saul’s son Ish-bosheth and moved him to Mahanaim. 9 He made him king over Gilead, Asher, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin—over all Israel. – 2 Samuel 2:7-9, HCSB

When we get to the crowning of David as king over Judah, a “political opponent” by the name of Abner rises up all of the sudden and feels it is his bounden duty to make Ish-Bosheth king over the ten tribes of Israel! I see a principle here – when there is no one with a vision, the political field is clear; but when someone gets a vision of doing good and being a righteous ruler, suddenly all of the chaff put themselves forward! And it’s similar in religion. Is there someone that would do things for God? Is there someone that wants to advance the kingdom of God? So often, every unregenerate legalist in town becomes downright religious, and will needs become a preacher!

But after this “night” of suffering, a “morning” is coming, both for David and for the nation. In a kind of foreshadowing of things to come, David gets the wife that Saul had originally promised him for getting 100 foreskins of the Philistines:

Then David sent messengers to Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, demanding, “Give me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to myself for the price of a hundred Philistine foreskins.” 15 So Ish-Bosheth gave orders and had her taken away from her husband Paltiel son of Laish. 16 Her husband, however, went with her, weeping behind her all the way to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go back home!” So he went back. – 2 Samuel 3:14-16

Those that had loved the rewards of going along with a state of unreality found their illegitimate joys snatched from their hands at last, as if by a kind of divine karma, and given to the hated ones who had stood for truth! There is a lesson here – you may choose the pleasures of lawlessness for a time, and get rewarded for it, but don’t be surprised if God rips it out of your hands at the last, and gives it to your friend, who is better than you!

Samuel said to him, “The LORD has torn the kingship of Israel away from you today and has given it to your neighbor who is better than you. – 1 Samuel 15:28, HCSB

But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee. – 1 Samuel 13:14, KJV

The Coronation of King David

In 2 Samuel 2:1-7, David is made king over Judah; in chapter 5:1-5 he is made king over all Israel. Hallelujah! And with this coronation, Israel experiences their “Golden Age” – the most blessed time of their existence – as a man after God’s heart has the rule over the nation, and uses his influence as a means of immense good!

As I think upon these verses, I cannot help but to make a modern day application. I see probably two Republican candidates that appear to be men of integrity (Ted Cruz and Ben Carson), but one stands out to me as fighting this same fight that King David once did – that is Ted Cruz.

He has endured all the same kinds of things as King David. He has a heart for conservatism and God’s honor. He has stood up to an antichristian Obama. He has been hated and mocked by Obama. He has seen his favor with the people wane because of his integrity, as people embrace the “tough man” rhetoric of Donald Trump over the proven record of Cruz. And he has seen political opponents pop out of the woodwork and jump in the race like it’s going out of fashion! At one point, there were some 16 other candidates who felt the need to try to steal the coronation from Ted Cruz. In election cycles where no one is standing for anything (’08, ’12), no one cares. But as soon as a very principled leader arises with the support of “We the people,” suddenly everybody feels constrained to jump in the race. The thing is, we’re already seeing signs of good things to come. Ted Cruz has the most money in the bank of any Republican candidate, and he is increasing in the polls. He has the best ground game of any of the candidates, and the primary schedule is definitely in his favor, with Texas, the “SEC” states (Alabama, Georgia, others), and others as early voters this time. I don’t know who will win, but I know that Ted Cruz has God’s presence with him in a supernatural way. I know that Ted Cruz ABSOLUTELY DESERVES to win! And I trust that, with God, all things are possible! If Carter gave us Ronald Reagan, perhaps it took Obama to give us the greatest president America has ever had – a President Ted Cruz. I hope you will join me in praying for, and spreading the name of, a man that has done so much to try to help our nation. God bless.

Getting Ready to Pray
Getting Ready to Pray

Can 501c3 Churches Preach on Politics

Written by Brad Caldwell on Sept. 20, 2015

Have you ever heard someone say, “We can’t preach on politics because of our 501c3 status”? Well, I’m unsettled to hear that a preacher “cannot” preach on something that, to me, is one of the most important things of our day. So I decided to do a bit of study on the subject, because if preachers can’t preach the truth, what’s the point of being a preacher?

If Preachers Cant Preach the Truth Whats the Point
If Preachers Can’t Preach the Truth, What’s the Point?

Most people have probably heard the weird term, “501c3.” In short, it’s a part of the IRS tax code that specifies that tax-exempt organizations cannot support or oppose any political candidate, and cannot surpass a “lobbying ceiling amount” which is basically 20% of their expenditures.

So the question arises:

“Can 501c3 Churches Preach on Politics?”

To my reading of the tax code, it appears that indeed they can preach on politics, but they have to stop shy of supporting or opposing any individual candidate. In other words, they can preach against how it is evil for the Democrat party to support abortion, but they can’t say it’s evil to vote for Barack Obama.

Well, I think a more fundamental question arises: “Is it possible for a preacher to be faithful to God without preaching a full-orbed, unfettered message that shuns from touching neither politics nor politicians?” And of course the answer to that is a resounding, “No!”

John the Baptist Not a Man Pleaser
John the Baptist – Not a “Man-Pleaser”!

Could John the Baptist be John the Baptist if he agreed (for a substantially greater amount of locusts and wild honey per annum!) not to point his bony finger at King Herod and reprove him for his incestuous adultery? I think not (Luke 3:7-9). Could Jesus have been Jesus if He agreed to keep the four-drachma coin from the fish’s mouth if the temple tax collectors had offered Him exemption for not speaking against the Pharisees? Never (Matthew 17:24-27)!

Many Preachers Are Denying Jesus Over the Four-Drachma Coin of 501c3 Status
Many Preachers Are Denying Jesus Over the “Four-Drachma Coin” of 501c3 Status

So how comes it that preachers are afraid, not just of commending good politicians (a near oxymoron), but of speaking in broad generalities against the evils of abortion, gay marriage, living together, or socialized medicine?

I think God has had enough. If a preacher is not willing to preach all the truth, and as Martin Luther would point out, especially that particular portion of truth which is most unpopular and most attacked at that moment, then they’re not worthy of the name, “pastor.”

“Where Did This Limitation of Free Speech Come From?”

According to Pew Research Center,

The prohibition on political campaign intervention did not become part of the Internal Revenue Code until 1954, when an amendment to section 501(c)(3) was introduced by then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson during a Senate floor debate on the 1954 Internal Revenue Code. The prohibition was added to the code without hearings, testimony or comment by any tax-exempt organizations. Although there is no legislative history to indicate definitively why Johnson sought enactment of the political campaign intervention prohibition, neither is there any evidence that the prohibition was targeted at political campaign intervention by religious organizations.

I have a question. Why isn’t anyone talking about repealing this awful amendment to 501c3 so that preachers may have freedom of speech in their pulpits, while still maintaining tax-exempt status? Shouldn’t our government encourage morality by offering preachers of the Gospel tax-exempt status without twisting their arm and asking them to not prophesy at Bethel, for “it is the king’s chapel, and it is the king’s court” (Amos 7:12-14)? Any preacher worth his salt will reply just as Amos did to this governmental attempt at manipulation of his or her message:

Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but Iwas an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel. Now therefore hear thou the word of the LORD: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac. Therefore thus saith the LORD; Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.

Amos Couldn't Be Bought Off by King Amaziah
Amos Couldn’t Be Bought Off by King Amaziah

What did Amos do when the government pressure threatened to squeeze him outside of God’s will? He doubled down and increased the heat of his message by delivering a terrifying prophesy to the king for his antichrist actions!

If you as a preacher think it’s too “political” to hope to change a Democrat’s amendment to an IRS rule, you’d better at least be prepared to do whatever it takes, including paying lots of taxes, in order to speak the truth. But if you compromise, and agree to dilute your message, I’m not impressed, and I don’t think the younger generation is, either. And I know that God is not impressed.

The Boring Legal Stuff – “What Is the Exact Language of 501c3?”

If you’re interested enough to actually read the tax code, it’s fairly short – at least 501c3 is extremely short, but it references 501h, which is longer and harder to understand. Here’s 501c3, from Cornell University Law School:

Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.

The reference to 501h is rather confusing, but it basically means that tax-exempt churches cannot spend more than 20% of their budget on “lobbying or grassroots expenditures.” If they spend astronomical amounts above $500,000, there’s a sort of bracketed decrease in the percentage of expenditures that can be political, and it caps at some $1 million, if I understood it aright. So here’s 501h:

Expenditures by public charities to influence legislation

(1) General rule

In the case of an organization to which this subsection applies, exemption from taxation under subsection (a) shall be denied because a substantial part of the activities of such organization consists of carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation, but only if such organization normally—
(A)makes lobbying expenditures in excess of the lobbying ceiling amount for such organization for each taxable year, or
(B)makes grass roots expenditures in excess of the grass roots ceiling amount for such organization for each taxable year.

(2) Definitions

For purposes of this subsection—

(A) Lobbying expenditures

The term “lobbying expenditures” means expenditures for the purpose of influencing legislation (as defined in section 4911(d)).

(B) Lobbying ceiling amount

The lobbying ceiling amount for any organization for any taxable year is 150 percent of the lobbying nontaxable amount for such organization for such taxable year, determined under section 4911.

(C) Grass roots expenditures

The term “grass roots expenditures” means expenditures for the purpose of influencing legislation (as defined in section 4911(d) without regard to paragraph (1)(B) thereof).

(D) Grass roots ceiling amount

The grass roots ceiling amount for any organization for any taxable year is 150 percent of the grass roots nontaxable amount for such organization for such taxable year, determined under section 4911.

(3) Organizations to which this subsection applies

This subsection shall apply to any organization which has elected (in such manner and at such time as the Secretary may prescribe) to have the provisions of this subsection apply to such organization and which, for the taxable year which includes the date the election is made, is described in subsection (c)(3) and—
(A)is described in paragraph (4), and
(B)is not a disqualified organization under paragraph (5).

(4) Organizations permitted to elect to have this subsection apply

An organization is described in this paragraph if it is described in—
(A)section 170(b)(1)(A)(ii) (relating to educational institutions),
(B)section 170(b)(1)(A)(iii) (relating to hospitals and medical research organizations),
(C)section 170(b)(1)(A)(iv) (relating to organizations supporting government schools),
(D)section 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) (relating to organizations publicly supported by charitable contributions),
(E)section 509(a)(2) (relating to organizations publicly supported by admissions, sales, etc.), or
(F)section 509(a)(3) (relating to organizations supporting certain types of public charities) except that for purposes of this subparagraph, section 509(a)(3) shall be applied without regard to the last sentence of section 509(a).

(5) Disqualified organizations

For purposes of paragraph (3) an organization is a disqualified organization if it is—
(A)described in section 170(b)(1)(A)(i) (relating to churches),
(B)an integrated auxiliary of a church or of a convention or association of churches, or
(C)a member of an affiliated group of organizations (within the meaning of section 4911(f)(2)) if one or more members of such group is described in subparagraph (A) or (B).

(6) Years for which election is effective

An election by an organization under this subsection shall be effective for all taxable years of such organization which—
(A)end after the date the election is made, and
(B)begin before the date the election is revoked by such organization (under regulations prescribed by the Secretary).

(7) No effect on certain organizations

With respect to any organization for a taxable year for which—
(A)such organization is a disqualified organization (within the meaning of paragraph (5)), or
(B)an election under this subsection is not in effect for such organization,
nothing in this subsection or in section 4911 shall be construed to affect the interpretation of the phrase, “no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation,” under subsection (c)(3).

(8) Affiliated organizations

For rules regarding affiliated organizations, see section 4911(f).

Disclaimer: This is my understanding of what the tax code appears to be saying, but you are liable for your own conclusions. I disclaim liability.

How to Make a Difference in the World

Written by Brad Caldwell on 9/6/15.

So I was visiting a Baptist church this Sunday morning, and they had a guest speaker talking upon the subject of “How to Make a Difference in the World,” or something close to that. I thought it was going to be good, but I was disappointed. Because again as so often in churches these days, the underlying premise was, “Shut up and admit the liberals are right.” The message was, “Be sinless! And be so ashamed of yourself if there’s anything in your past that’s slightly inconsistent that liberals or a fellow church member could point to, that you don’t dare call black, ‘black;’ and white, ‘white’!” The message was, “Be discouraged, because they’re probably going to throw you into a prison, and you probably deserve it, too!”

Gas Ovens at Auschwitz Where Jews Were Cremated
Gas Ovens at Auschwitz Where Jews Were Cremated

You know, that’s the nonsense that the Jewish leaders were spouting off to their Jewish congregations at the time of the Holocaust. And what did it do? It just played right into Hitler’s playbook.

Well, you know what? I’m not accepting the garbage.

Hitler’s loss of popularity in Germany began when people got the courage finally to pass around tracts discussing reality – that what was going on was horrific and wrong. That the Satanic, diabolical treatment of the Jews was NOT justified for any sick reason set forth, including whether the Jews were “righteous enough” to be treated with human decency!

Although, from a young age, and by the grace of God, I chose Jesus and purity, yet even if I had had a past that people would like to criticize – even if I knew there was “dirt” that somebody could “dig up” on me, I just wouldn’t care – because the Gospel says you’re forgiven (like, really forgiven) if you believe in Jesus Christ.

To really believe the Gospel means you no longer care if someone is able to “dig up dirt” on you.

One Baptist preacher I heard put it well: “God casts your sin into the depths of the sea, and puts up a sign that says, ‘No Fishing.'” Inevitably, though, people will “fish,” and you’ve got to keep believing the Gospel even when they “catch something on you.”

no fishing allowed
As Far As God Is Concerned, Your Sin in Buried in the Lake, and While “Fishing” May Happen, It Is Not Allowed to Affect Your State

The Bible I read tells me it’s not a sin to be happy about Jesus. The Bible I read tells me that real Christians man up and do something about evil in the world! The Bible I read tells me that if Josh Duggar has experienced repentance through faith in the blood of Jesus, he should go right on doing the work of God however he feels called, and we Christians shouldn’t blink an eye over it. When you make salvation about works, people are going to get more and more entrenched in sin.

Do you really expect, in Obama’s America, when sex has been pushed down everyone’s throat every day for 6 1/2 years, that everyone has been perfectly circumspect? I’d say, if people are still wanting to hold on to Jesus after all the antichrist pressures of extreme Democrats in our country, then God bless them! Jesus started with where people were – He forgave even adulterers, remember? – and we should keep that in mind. The Gospel isn’t about sin and misery, it’s about a God who so loved us in our sin that He made a way for us to be forgiven. In that love that God shows, we naturally find ourselves hating sin, but the focus is on the remedy, not on reinforcing a problem.

The Gospel has a benevolent, gentle attitude towards people that begin with truth, not a “persecutorial” attitude. The Gospel is most fiery, not in crushing weak people who embrace truth, but in opposing religious bullies who perpetrate unreality as being reality.

I think if the church needs anything in these days, it needs encouragement. It needs a free Gospel. Church leaders today are often legalists – adding to the Gospel – by requiring Christians to deny the joy and blessing in their hearts and to “just shut up” about standing up for righteousness, in order to be a “good, true Christian.”

If You Don’t Forbid Excitement About Football, Then Don’t Forbid Excitement About Jesus!

In churches I have visited, I see so little joy and enthusiasm, that for me to sing along a little heartily to the songs makes me stick out like a sore thumb. What in the world!? That’s not a way to make strangers feel comfortable, and it’s definitely not a way to attract new people to Jesus. It’s a good thing God clearly revealed Himself to me at my conversion, because otherwise I’d feel as embarrassed as a nervous toddler at most church services, just to do the things they expect of you, and I’d certainly never want to return to such places! No wonder the churches are emptying out!

So how do we as Christians make a difference in the world? By STANDING FOR TRUTH. By holding fast and saying, “Yes, as insane, as hated, as ridiculed as it may seem under the circumstances, I still believe in everything that is true.” And the thing that is most vilified today, true conservatism, is EXACTLY where we need to stand and fight. And we are HAPPY to fight for it with a smile, because when you stand for TRUTH, you get the supernatural joy that Jesus spoke of!

You are blessed when people hate you, when they exclude you, insult you, and slander your name as evil because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! Take note–your reward is great in heaven, for this is the way their ancestors used to treat the prophets. – Luke 6:22, HCSB

Martin Luther Here I Stand I Can Do No Other
Martin Luther – “Here I Stand, I Can Do No Other!”

The text of this image is so true, and so applicable to the fight for truth in our day:

“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God EXCEPT precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where the battle rages THERE the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle front besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.” – Martin Luther

How do we make a difference? By demanding that the insanity in our churches stop. I mentioned that I was visiting churches. The reason is because a few months ago, an issue came up in the church I had been going to for years. I was asked by somewhat new leadership in the church not to give any public commendation of Ted Cruz. I was told I could commend him “in my heart,” but could not make it public. They literally said:

Just don’t say anything good about conservatives, and don’t say anything bad about the Democrat party.

They refined that ultimatum somewhat, but I was still required to not show any commendation for conservatives online. I could not agree to that in good conscience, so I was shocked to be booted from the church I had gone to for 14 years. Well, I am happy to die on that hill, defending the right to commend politicians if I see some good thing in them. And I did that only by the grace of God, but I do want to mention it, because I really believe it is a time for truth in our churches as well as in our nation. If we don’t stand up to insanity inside the church, if we just go along with it, we will never make a difference. Standing for truth is the answer for how to make a difference in the world.

Ted Cruz Tee-Shirt
Ted Cruz Tee-Shirt!

Those church leaders that forbade speaking good of Ted Cruz also told me, “There’s no chance he can win.” Well, I certainly can’t predict the future, so I don’t know who will win, but I know if we don’t try, even if it is just to get in our prayer closets and pray for Cruz, then we certainly won’t win.

With God, All Things Are Possible
With God, All Things Are Possible

So, lighten up, play some games, enjoy life, laugh at the insanity, and don’t let it overcome you. We’re on the winning side at least in the grand scheme of things, and if the liberals kill you for your faith, let them kill you with a smile on your face, knowing you are heaven-bound, and knowing you fought their lies, and were happy in Jesus, to the bloody death.

All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart has a continual feast. – Proverbs 15:15, CKJV

Ray Comfort has an interesting note on this passage:

Laughter is the enemy of legalism. Liberty and joy go hand in hand.

Go proclaim liberty and joy in Jesus Christ, and God bless!