a minister lives here

…and the Senate wants to know why.  Read to the very end of this piece in the LA Times.

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52 responses to this post.

  1. Funny. I said to myself, “Creflo Dollar” before I clicked on the link.

    Do I win anything?

    Reply

  2. Posted by Steve on November 13, 2007 at 9:18 am

    B – A new car! (queue the Price is Right music…)

    Miller – exactly.

    Reply

  3. Posted by ConcernedEngineer on November 13, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    It is easy (and perhaps quite appropriate) to criticize those who are rich.

    But I advise a bit of caution.

    Firstly, it is not necessarily a sin to be rich.

    Secondly, many people who are poor are guilty of all kinds of sin (like envy, covetousness, greed, laziness, gluttony, half-hearted work, etc).

    When someone is in sin – particularly one who claims to be a minister of the gospel – then when there is hard evidence, it is appropriate to confront that sin – albeit in love.

    When we speculate that someone is in sin, we should hesitate before throwing stones. We should also evaluate ourselves. How have y’all been doing on stewardship? You been coveting at all lately? How’s that envy habit going? Have you been maintaining an attitude of worship in all your work lately?

    Also, isn’t it great to be forgiven?

    Sin is sin is sin is sin. The prosperity gospel is a gross and sinful distortion of the gospel. But so is being glib.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Steve on November 13, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    Thanks for your comment, CE! Always a pleasure.

    Glibly yours,
    Steve

    Reply

  5. Posted by Steve on November 13, 2007 at 9:31 pm

    I’m sorry, CE — that last comment was out of line. I apologize.

    But I will say that I never gave even one inkling of my opinion on this story, certainly nothing that resembles “throwing stones.”

    Reply

  6. CE,

    But so is being glib.

    how long did you hesitate before throwing that one?

    Reply

  7. Posted by ConcernedEngineer on November 14, 2007 at 8:10 am

    Steve,

    As a writer, you know just as well as I do that you don’t need to give your opinion to give your opinion. Also, I didn’t attack you here, but cautioned everyone to evaluate themselves. If Creflo Dollar was participating in this discussion, I would challenge him. He’s not, so I’m not. My purpose is to help everyone have a balanced Scriptural view. So… when I deal with right wing Christians, I talk about important things like the environment and the need to care for the poor. When I talk to those who seem to be leaning left, I talk about the atrocity of abortion. When I talk to those who are preaching “health and wealth,” I stress the need to serve other people sacrificially in love. When I talk to those who criticize those who preach and live “health and wealth,” I encourage them to guard against being glib.

    When I talk to myself, I tell myself that God sent His Son to die on the cross for me – the worst of sinners – and that God hates pride and arrogance.

    Seeking balance.

    With malice toward none.

    Reply

  8. Posted by Steve on November 14, 2007 at 9:05 am

    So, which of these definitions of “glib” do you feel like I am being with this post? Please explain so I can change.

    – marked by lack of intellectual depth; “glib generalizations”; “a glib response to a complex question”
    – having only superficial plausibility; “glib promises”; “a slick commercial”
    – artfully persuasive in speech; “a glib tongue”; “a smooth-tongued hypocrite”

    (http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=glib)

    Reply

  9. Posted by Steve on November 14, 2007 at 9:19 am

    And also, assuming I was throwing my opinion out here in this post (which I still maintain I am not, at least completely), what is the difference between “criticizing” and “speaking prophetically.” By the latter, think Amos when he’s, in no uncertain language, calling out the religious leaders for “trampling the heads of the poor,” “lie on beds inlaid with ivory and lounge on … couches” — while telling them he despises their assemblies.

    When is it OK to speak prophetically, and when is it just petty criticism, CE?

    Here’s my observation on the matter, given a year or so of “knowing” you, CE:

    – Speaking Prophetically = When CE does it in the way CE approves. (which discounts pretty much anyone else besides the Credenda guy)
    – Sinful Criticism = everyone else.

    Am I off-base? Can I hear from others on this?

    Reply

  10. Posted by ConcernedEngineer on November 14, 2007 at 9:38 am

    As I use the word “glib,” I am basically saying that to be glib is to be smug and to be arrogant and to take perverse pleasure in “being right” and proving his opponent wrong. A glib person who has some knowledge thinks he knows more than what he actually does. Glib people are quick to mock those they find ridiculous, and here lies the catch. Mocking those who are ridiculous is not necessarily wrong. In fact, those who know the psalms and pray the psalms mock those who are ridiculous, and pray for the destruction of God’s enemies (either by enemies converting or by God bringing down his holy and just wrath – whichever God chooses to do). God mocks proud mockers, and Elijah mocked the prophets of Baal – and this without being glib. Job mocked his friends saying, “Surely wisdom will die with you.” And this again – without being glib – I think. Maybe Job was a little glib. It seems to me Job argued a good case poorly, while his friends argued a bad case well.

    One of my big objections to those who call themselves Christians and who seem to lean left on politics (whether they are or are not Christians – I don’t necessarily know), is that they are incredibly glib towards Christians on the right – and they are blind to their own “glibness.” (Not sure if that is a word). Of course, in some cases, the same can be said the other way around. All of us need to guard against this.

    People need to realize that God mocks proud mockers. If anyone proud, and he actually thinks that God takes him seriously all the time, then he has to realize that his whole view of God is twisted, because the truth is that God mocks proud mockers. When a proud person finally gets it that God is mocking him, he either will be indignant at God, or he will repent. When we see God for who He is, if we repent of our arrogance at that time, then we will be cured of this carnal attitude of taking perverse pleasure in “being right” (if we were even right to begin with). We will also learn to be gracious with those that we find incredibly glib – knowing all too well what it is like to be glib ourselves.

    Again, I’m not defending the health and wealth perverted gospel; rather, I am seeking to serve y’all by encouraging you to guard against being glib – lest you discover that God is ridiculing you.

    Let’s remember that those that disagree with us are created in the image of God. Let’s remember the cross of Jesus Christ. That seems like a good starting point.

    Peace and blessings.

    Reply

  11. Posted by ConcernedEngineer on November 14, 2007 at 9:44 am

    The Credenda guys (plural) are pretty wise – although I take issue with them on Limited Atonement. Still, you and your fans could learn a thing or two from them. But you need to humbles yourselves and acknowledge that fact first.

    There are others I know who speak with wisdom – including people who I don’t always agree with and people who have rebuked me to my face.

    Reply

  12. Sounds like the defensive rantings of wealth.

    Reply

  13. Posted by ConcernedEngineer on November 14, 2007 at 11:01 am

    Agent B,
    Yep. You hit the nail on the head. You just completely summed up my life story. You have fully and accurately evaluated my theology and my heart motivations. You have figured out what drives me. I am nothing more than an idolater who loves Mammon rather than Christ. Thanks for speaking the Word of God to me.
    And even more conveniently, now you don’t have to deal with any of my arguments. Nice going.

    Reply

  14. So much fault to be found, that would make anyone concerned….

    I read a blog post yesterday from an aquaintance of mine. He talked about the ribbon cutting and open house for their brand new $1 million + church building.

    The last paragraph of the post states that he, the preacher, will begin a sermon series on “simple church.”

    I don’t think it matters if you lean to the right or the left, that is irony. At least anyone who knows the complications and frustration of building a new building and the stress of making payments on a bulding that large would see the irony there, I think.

    Reply

  15. Sometimes, if one must explain and defend their point on such a touchy issue (like money) in wordy verbose rhetoric, then they are really just trying to convince themselves of their belief. Like bumper stickers, or t-shirt sayings…

    I’m sure many prophets were scolded and accused of being glib.

    Reply

  16. Posted by ConcernedEngineer on November 14, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    Let me make it clear that I am neither defending nor accusing Creflo Dollar.

    Reply

  17. steve,

    no, you are not off base. i would long ago have banned CE from the blog…

    but that’s just me.

    peace

    Reply

  18. Posted by ConcernedEngineer on November 14, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    miller,
    Tell me one thing that I have said that is anti-Scriptural, and I will publicly confess and repent. If you can’t find anything, then why would you ban me?
    Don’t be proud. Humble yourself and learn.
    Peace.

    Reply

  19. No, you be humble! ;p

    Reply

  20. Sorry to lower the level of discourse, I just couldn’t resist…

    Reply

  21. Posted by ConcernedEngineer on November 14, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    I hear that I’m being banned from this blog, and I have one chance to write some final words. I’m not sure these thoughts will make it to the blog itself, or if they will be filtered by Steve-O, but anyhow, here goes.

    It is clear to me that Steve and others like him (miller, etc) are opposed to the Word of God. Other people have clearly been in sin on this blog – Steve included. Steve openly admitted to at least one of these sins and apologized. Cody has admitted to lowering the level of discourse on this blog, but claimed that he couldn’t resist – which is clearly anti-Scriptural.

    I have asserted Scripture and principles that are based foundationally on Scripture. Have I been perfect? Far from it. But I have proclaimed the Word of God. Also, while in the past, I have been somewhat of a “blog addict,” in these recent posts, you have seen nothing but a civil, albeit robust, argument from me – one that many of you really need to hear.

    What is my fundamental confession/proclamation?

    1. Man is created in God’s image – with great dignity and value. Understanding and appreciating the full implications of this is vital to living a life that is glorifying to God.

    2. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are broken. We are broken relationally. We are broken theologically. As sinners, we are totally depraved. Without Christ, we are both unwilling and unable to repent.

    3. This depravity has various manifestations. And we express it in many different ways. Politically, our depravity is manifested by those on the left, those on the right, those in the middle, and by those who decry everyone who is politically involved. Those on the right really should care more for the environment, for the poor, for the invisible children, and for ethical treatment of those suspected of terrorism. Those on the left should really care about the rights of the unborn, and they should recognize that homosexuality is a horrible sin. They should also repent for being so self-righteous and glib and sinfully indignant to those who preach the Word of God. Those who decry political activism should take a course in logic, and they should realize that Christ is the Logos.

    4. The penalty for sin is death, wrath, judgment, and hell. We all deserve this.

    5. The good news is that Christ came to die on the cross for us, so that by faith in Christ, we who believe and repent of our sins can be forgiven, redeemed, justified, and sanctified by grace through faith – not by works.

    6. And just as Christ rose from the dead, so, when we die with Christ (spiritually), we can be raised with him to the newness of life.

    7. As we are continually sancitified in Christ, he teaches us the new way to be human. We put off our old selves and we put on our new selves. In this process we are to be patient with one another, and we are to love one another.

    8. The church’s mission is to glorify God and to proclaim the full gospel of Christ to the whole world – in word and in deed. As we love and forgive one another, and as we heed the word of God in authentic humility, God will use us to save the humble and to bring down the proud and rebellious. In all of this, God is glorified.

    9. The true church will always be testifying faithfully to the surrounding culture the Word of God – both in word and in deed. By doing so, the true church will at times be iconoclastic. Surely, the message of the church to the world is not merely a reflection of the world’s values back to the world.

    10. Thus, the world (in various manifestations) will suppress the message of the true church. Everyone who wants strives to please God will be persecuted in one way or another. When this happens, those who are persecuted ought to rejoice.

    11. The Psalms are given to us in order to provide instruction to us on how to worship and how to pray. This includes the psalms of imprecation. By listening to many modern worship songs, one might think that true Christians have no enemies. But the psalms are filled with believers praying for their enemies – God’s enemies. Friendship with the world is hatred towards God (James 4). We ought to pray for God’s enemies that either God will destroy them by converting them (in which case they become God’s friends) or by bringing down holy and just judgment upon them (in which case God’s justice is established). We should pray like this in reverent fear and in humility remembering Christ’s commands and admonition to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us.

    12. Lastly, I plead with all of you to compare everything you hear from anyone and everyone with what the Bible says. Reject all foolishness and depravity that masquerades as wisdom, reason, and tolerance. Remember above all the cross of Jesus Christ. God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son so that whoever believes – really believes – in Him, then they shall not perish but have everlasting life. Let that stir you. Contend for the faith. Contend for the Word of God. Fear God alone.

    Though I am upset to be banned from this blog, I will have malice towards none. Blessings to all. May God lead us all and guide us all into all truth. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord, for He is worthy of all our praise.

    Grace to all.

    Reply

  22. Humble yourself and learn.

    I swear, I’m crying…

    Reply

  23. Posted by Daniel Gray on November 14, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    Steve, I didn’t find anything wrong with your post… other than it being old news. (I read about the issue two days prior). 🙂

    Your reference to this issue is not strictly a religious concern, as CE is trying to make it. It’s a serious political issue. Churches are afforded a highly-lucrative tax status, much in the way that charitable nonprofits are. Nonprofits have very strict reporting rules since they enjoy tax-exempt status, and churches should have the same. This needs to be done so that public scrutiny can ensure that these endeavors don’t promote personal gain.

    Trent Stamps, CEO of Charity Navigator had a good piece on his blog the other day.

    http://www.trentstampstake.org/2007/11/separation-of-truth-and-state.html

    Specifically, this quote:
    Why should these particular non-profits, which pay no income or property taxes because they are serving the public as a whole, be allowed to pay their leaders salaries which are not “reasonable” and furnish them with “opulent seaside homes,” while maintaining total secrecy over their finances, just because they’re religious in mission and nature, while at the same time, we demand that every other non-religious group in this nation open their books to anyone who asks?

    Reply

  24. Posted by Daniel Gray on November 14, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    Also, CE, I hate to claim the “R” word here, but your comments that pin Steve’s post as a completely religious issue really make me wonder if you “R”ead the article, because I think you would at least understand that many people see a political issue here.

    Reply

  25. Daniel,

    you raise some good points here. the thing that troubles me about your quote from trent stamps is his statement about unreasonable salaries… who gets to decide what is reasonable? the thing is that non-profit groups get to set the salaries of the people who work for them. the only real problem i see is ethics.

    but if we’re going to get upset about ethics, there isn’t a politician in the world who could stand up to any kind of serious scrutiny. i know stamps isn’t really a politician so my point is not directed at him. i’m just saying if we’re going to take people to task over ethics violations…

    we may need to start with a few other folks and work our way down to the churches.

    peace

    Reply

  26. Posted by Daniel Gray on November 15, 2007 at 12:48 am

    Miller, I definitely agree there are problems in defining “reasonable”ness. I used one of Stamp’s more critical comments to address the issue. But I think the point he makes (which is also made in the LA Times article) is that since churches and nonprofits are afforded the same tax-exempt status, because of their publicly motivated interest, that churches should be held to the same filing standards for financial documentation.
    While nonprofits are not held to specific dollar amounts that they can pay staff, I can pull up financial data on a 990 and find out the salaries of the 5 highest paid employees at that agency. All this process does is create transparency for the public. It simply creates the ability for public scrutiny. If I, average Joe-American with money to donate, see those financial documents and think an organization is spending money in the wrong places, I know that and can choose to donate my hard-earned money somewhere else. That’s all this process does is create the ability for the public to know what these organizations are doing, since they don’t pay taxes. The public at-large can let these nonprofits/churches know when they feel the organization is spending money unreasonably.

    Reply

  27. It is clear to me that Steve and others like him (miller, etc) are opposed to the Word of God

    No one is opposed to god’s word.

    We’re opposed to self righteousness.

    This is a blog comment section. Not a doctoral dissertation bulletin board.

    Reply

  28. Daniel,

    respect!

    i don’t necessarily agree with your point here, the church knows how much the pastor is making… or at the very least, what kind of car he drives. they can drive by his house and see where he lives. i’m not thinking that a guy who preaches the prosperity gospel is hiding his wealth from the congregation. i don’t believe there is any “wool pulling” going on here. its a little different with non-church non-profs. they are frequently institutions with very little visibility and surviving off of contributors who may be a very long way off. not so with churches… their contributors are very close indeed.

    now the obvious exceptions are the big televised churches. however, it isn’t the paycheck that needs to be disclosed in this case… its the under-the-table stuff that goes on. its the jerks who claim to be supporting an orphanage in el salvador and buying jets with it instead that need to be strung up.

    but even then, i’m not sure that i want the government involved! if they have declared this institution or that institution to be tax exempt… they should keep their nose out of it. i’m much more in favor of people like the reporter who did this story doing what they do best… exposing the scum buckets for what they are! then let the people handle it. i promise you there will be less in the coffers of these churches if they continue to be exposed. and then if there is legal stuff that needs to happen, let the people do it in the civil courts.

    but that’s just my opinion. i’m pretty much in favor of keeping the government out of anything we can.

    peace

    Reply

  29. Posted by Steve on November 15, 2007 at 11:37 am

    Brother Maynard over at Subversive Influence blog has a great post about the “rags to riches” story of the Christian church. He includes a nice list of some great posts about the church and wealth. Check it out here.

    Reply

  30. Posted by Danel Gray on November 15, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    I think we’re mainly in agreement here, Miller. I don’t think its undue government intervention to simply require transparency laws — that churches have to present their financing structure on request to any citizen.
    The fact is, (and Steve’s article points this out) Many of your average church members do not know how much their pastors make. In some cases, the article says that pastors of these churches have even abolished their elderships/finance committees. So many church members do not know, while they may have a general idea. But it’s definitely a problem that needs to be made public. Many of these churches are running “businesses” all for the personal gain of certain people — and these, like any other corporation, should be subjected to the normal tax statuses of any other private corporation.

    Reply

  31. I still haven’t figured out how the prosperity preachers say, “God wants you to have more money and be blessed” and not contradict Jesus who said “you cannot serve both God and money”.

    Reply

  32. Posted by Danel Gray on November 15, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    Mike… I think it’s definitely a product of our Puritan work ethic. Since success and prosperity are directly related to God’s blessing of good work, it becomes a status symbol that God approves of our lives and what we do.
    “What then shall we say brothers? Shall we go one working and earning exorbitant amounts of money so that God’s approval may further increase? By all means!”
    I agree… I still don’t get it.

    Reply

  33. daniel,

    that i can agree with!

    big mike,

    me too, i don’t get it either. what i really don’t get is how they manage to build up such a huge following. do these people read the scriptures???

    apparently not…

    peace

    Reply

  34. It sounds bad, but I honestly don’t think they really are Christians. I think their “ministries” are their job that they earn lots and lots of money from while they live the rest of their lives as part of “the pattern of this world”.

    Reply

  35. Miller, I just can’t imagine a church where nobody reads any scripture. They probably leave certain things out. But it just goes to show us that scripture can be used for some pretty fishy purposes.

    That is the problem with letting people interpret the Bible for themselves, you can pretty much make it say whatever you want. That’s one reason why the Church had such a problem with Luther. Just look at all the horrible things the Bible has been used to justify…

    Reply

  36. cody,

    yeah, scripture has been used to justify some pretty awful things. however, i think one of the great things about it is that you don’t necessarily need to be a scholar to get Jesus.

    you just have to read him.

    Jesus is probably more accessible now than ever before with so many really easy to read translations out there.

    i’m personally glad i don’t have to get my interpretations from some clergyman…

    in fact, i don’t think the problem is caused by letting the ordinary schmo interpret scripture. i think its from the ordinary schmoes letting it be interpreted for them. if we could get more of the Spirit filled brothers and sisters into the word we’d probably be much better off. i think it may be the clergy/laity divide that is more to blame than the other way around.

    of course clergy will have difficulty with my perspective…

    hope you’re not clergy.

    respect.

    Reply

  37. further, it occurs to me that it was most often the clergy that perpetrated crimes against society using the scriptures for justification. not the common man.

    peace

    Reply

  38. Not clergy anymore… Thank God

    Most of what I said was intended to be read tongue-in-cheek. I don’t really think that letting ‘the people’ have the Bible for themselves is a bad idea, though I do think it would be best if we could all read the original language and understand it. But, the easy English translations are very good and getting better. I agree that Jesus is accessible, one of the best teachers the world has ever seen (opinion on divinity aside). Most of the difficulty has come from theologians and clergy (you’re right).

    However, even if everyone was spirit-filled and reading the Bible for themselves we would still have a lot of different opinions about what scripture says. Luther was wrong. And I don’t think that is a bad thing. Diversity can be a good thing. There can be two different views that are both good. I think that is a blessing of scripture. It can be read on many levels and into many situations.

    Reply

  39. I do want to chime in here on the religious question of non-profit scrutiny … as someone who just filed an application for my organization’s non-profit status. Most other non-profits are not only held to reasoanble compensation standards, but also restrictions on the kinds of ancillary income they can be making from businesses not directly related to their stated purpose without being taxed. As far as what defines “reasoanble”, the common standard is a compensation survey or other comparison of salaries for people in similar roles at similar size and type organizations.

    Looking into this isn’t a violation of church-state separation; as it is, religious organization receive an automatic preferential status that if anything could be seen as the state’s active promotion of religion. (BTW, I don’t have an issue with the automatic exemption.) But if religious organizations are willing to receive a special benefit because they are considered to be good for society, they need to also accept the additional scrutiny that being such a special beneficiary requires, to make sure that public money (in the form of uncollected taxes) is truly being spent on the public good. This is simple accountability – not only a political value (and yes, miller, we need to lay some accountability on our politicians and ourselves as well), but also a value for the Christian community.

    Reply

  40. Brandy,

    absolutely!

    i’m just not sure i want the politicians scrutinizing the christians…

    peace

    Reply

  41. Posted by Daniel Gray on November 24, 2007 at 6:49 pm

    miller — it’s the public at large, not the “politicians”… i know you have a beef with politics, but you’re quip comes off as a bit reductionist and annoys me

    Reply

  42. please excuse me, i almost never annoy anyone…

    whats the correct thing, an apology? a retraction?

    🙂

    Reply

  43. Posted by Daniel Gray on November 26, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    Say 13 hail mary’s, and build a materialistic church in the name of the Lord.

    I’m definitely a lot more pro-government than most people around here. But I see the tendency of a lot of people to pretty much think the government serves no purpose at all, and while I understand that view from a Christian perspective, it unsettles me from a societal perspective. Some of “beef” comment I made was a little frustration from not feeling like you were fully understanding my point last week.

    Besides, as Christians, I think we should offer ourselves up to the scrutiny of just about anybody.

    But no, you don’t really have to apologize for anything… just making you aware of the way it came across. And I shouldn’t have played the “beef” card. 🙂

    Reply

  44. OK, i just finished number 13

    whew!

    no worries on playing the “beef” card. i shouldn’t of played the sarcasm card…

    as to our comments last week, i may not have heard where you are coming from… and it sounds like you may not have heard where i was coming from.

    i’m not strictly anti-government… i just think the government has a smaller role than it currently fills. i do occasionally overstate my point… but for me, its like asking for more than you’ll get so that you have a chance at getting what you want… haggling as it were.

    i think your point is that the preacher-men need to be watched. i agree, provisionally. my understanding is that you feel the government should perform this service. i completely and totally disagree. my understanding is that you think the government should do it because it is the will of the people. i think that if it is the will of the people they should do it themselves… i’m tired of the whole entitlement mentality! (maybe you’re sick of it too???)

    sorry, sometimes i get rolling and can’t stop…

    is that it?

    more or less?

    peace

    Reply

  45. Posted by Daniel Gray on November 27, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    No problem… My point is that government can aide this process, not control it. I don’t know how familiar you are with nonprofits/taxes/open reporting policies. But nonprofits are simply required by federal law to provide certain detailed financial reports (Form 990) about their organization on request to any average joe. Since churches enjoy the same status as nonprofits in not paying any taxes, I was simply saying the government should require the same of churches as they do of nonprofits. (Which was the point Steve’s article was making.)

    We can push churches all we want to tell us what they’re doing, but many of them won’t. It’s not about a member of congress or IRS sifting through every financial detail of a church. It’s providing the public the right and ability to freely scrutinize these agencies, just like nonprofits.

    Hope that makes more sense.

    Reply

  46. Daniel,

    i’ll go this far with you. if a church has applied for and is operating under a 501-3c. you are absolutely right. they should be held to the same rigorous standards as any other 501-3c. in this case, the church has given up its 1st amendment rights in my opinion.

    but churches are not required to have a 501-3c in order to operate as a non-prof… if they are not operating as a 501-3c then they should not be held to the same standards. i believe that the first amendment prohibits the very thing you suggest… if a church doesn’t want to tell us its business it shouldn’t have to.

    i guess we just aren’t going to agree on this but that doesn’t give me any heart-burn… hope it doesn’t give you any either.

    peace

    Reply

  47. Posted by Daniel Gray on November 27, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    but as long as churches are exempt from paying taxes, they should have meet the same requirements of every other organization that is exempt from paying taxes — as long as we have a taxation system, groups who the government exempts should be required to report.

    It’s really not about the separation of church and state… it’s about taxes.

    Reply

  48. well, that certainly is one opinion… and i suppose its as valid as any even if i don’t agree.

    peace bro 🙂

    Reply

  49. Daniel,

    You have to realize, that even though your intent is good in trying to make sure these things don’t happen, when you let the government put their foot in the door in this sort of way, it opens the door fully to the government controlling the church. And in my opinion, the church’s goals are drastically different from those of the state, and sometimes we need the freedom to say that. If the government starts to regulate churches in any way, even to try and do good, I feel like it makes it that much easier for the church to become a subsidiary of the state.

    Reply

  50. which would force the church underground…

    which is probably where it should be…

    if we really want it to grow…

    just thinking…

    maybe i can agree with Daniel after all

    in a backdoor kind of way

    peace

    Reply

  51. Posted by Daniel Gray on November 28, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    Haha… thanks miller… I agree… church is way too established and comfortable these days…
    Like I said Justin, it’s about tax status that some churches have manipulated for business/personal gain which should be taxed like everything else, not a church/state argument. And I think you’re government run church worries are pretty absurd — not gonna happen. But I’m gonna let this one die now. peace out, guys!

    Reply

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