Category: Christianity and Culture

Should Christian Non-profits Consider Giving up their Tax Exempt 501(c)3 Status?

It is true that this is very rare, but that is only because many churches try to abide by the law on this point. The Government helps by keeping the financial carrot close by; the stick is rarely necessary.

The main question we need to ask is whether or not, and to what degree, should the Christian Church ever adjust its message for anything, let alone the Government.

But surely it will be pointed out that Jesus said “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” Yes, there is no question that God has appointed the government to handle certain duties (Romans 13) and there is no warrant anywhere for the Church to take those on. Indeed, we Christians are to submit to these authorities. It does not follow, however, that the Church can ever subvert its mission and message, even if the authorities say you must. Moreover, Matthew 22 (the passage alluded to above) explicitly states that people of faith ought to pay taxes if Caesar so requires it.

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It is not about health care insurance coverage, it is about health care COSTS

But, besides all this, there is something which is not seen. The fifty millions expended by the State cannot be spent, as they otherwise would have been, by the tax-payers. It is necessary to deduct, from all the good attributed to the public expenditure which has been effected, all the harm caused by the prevention of private expense, unless we say that James B. would have done nothing with the crown that he had gained, and of which the tax had deprived him; an absurd assertion, for if he took the trouble to earn it, it was because he expected the satisfaction of using it, He would have repaired the palings in his garden, which he cannot now do, and this is that which is not seen. [... etc] He would have become a member of the Mutual Assistance Society, but now he cannot; this is what is not seen. (Frederic Bastiat, 1850)

Mr. Bastiat does a terrific job in showing how taxes put to the socialist’s ends only serves to diminish freedom but what I want the reader to note the connection he draws here between taxation and ‘mutual assistance.’ It is agreed by all that we should like to help our fellow man. Liberals and socialists believe they can do that better by collective administration of coerced funds than individuals can do through churches, charities, and the like.

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A Christian Reaction to ABC’s “V” Visitors

I am hoping that ABC’s “V” takes the place that Heroes formerly occupied before it jumped dozens of sharks. It is too soon to be sure, but there is certainly promise.

While “V” does not appear to break this kind of innovative ground, it was a breath of fresh air to have one of the main characters be a Christian priest who is… wait for it… skeptical. Christians are often portrayed as gullible or extremist whackos (see again, “Contact”) and your hard core evolutionary atheistic types are veritable bastions of cool headed logic and reason (see the TV show, “Bones.”) (Yes, it’s true that one Christian in “Contact” was more reasonable, but he wasn’t exactly definitive about his beliefs, either).

The Christian priest in “V” issues forth a sermon that makes quite a bit of sense: “Before you jump on the bandwagon, make sure it is sturdy enough to hold you.” There is no atheistic foil in “V.” Nonetheless, I am pretty sure that your hard core secular humanist would accept without question a message presented to them by aliens like those we see in “V.” I know this because they already have.

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Fall 2009 Online Academy Offerings

The Fall 2009 session of Athanatos Online Apologetics Academy is set to begin Nov. 2. This session includes several new courses and several new instructors. Two courses are available for free. All are listed below:

http://www.academyofapologetics.com/fall2009/

Nov 2nd – Basic New Testament Greek Part 1
Nov 2nd – Reliability of the New Testament Documents
Nov 2nd – Origins: A Survey [Creationism/Evolution/Intelligent Design]
Nov 4th – Jesus According to… [Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, etc…]
Nov 4th – Studies in Atheism
Nov 9th – The Death of Christianity [FREE!]
Nov.16th – Christ Promised in the Old Testament
Nov 23rd – Hitler and Christianity [FREE!]
Nov 30th – Study in Alleged Bible Contradictions
Nov 30th – Basic New Testament Greek Part 2

www.academyofapologetics.com

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Five Things Killing Christianity: Is the End of Christianity At Hand?

The number one thing killing Christianity in America today:

Lovelessness.

All the rest of the things on the list tie back to this. The Christian Church exhibits constant lovelessness in much of what it does. Many readers will jump to the idea that Christians are very loving, and to an extent, I agree. Many readers will find the assertion nauseous because they think of ‘love’ as some wishy washy sentiment. Both sets of readers misunderstand me. One of my contentions is that Love itself is misunderstood, because unlike other doctrines, this one has not been systematically explored from the Scriptures. We all act as though we intuitively know what ‘love’ is. In fact, we have culturally driven notions that are derived from hundreds of years of romanticism. The Bible- the New Testament in particular- portrays a love that is much different. It is earth shattering, and embodied in the activities of the early Christian Church.

None of this should be construed (though it will be, to my chagrin) as a repudiation of all the things we currently do to ‘show’ we love God. It isn’t. If we were doing those things AND loving our fellow Christians… to the death… there would be no problem.

But, I contend, we aren’t doing that. God tells us that if we love him, we’ll love the brothers. We have it stuck in our head that if we love him, we’ll love him.

But that’s not what he said, and that is why outsiders, ultimately, do not find Christianity credible. Indeed, it is why Christians themselves are dubious, and in fact, sometimes falling away altogether.

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Church Bulletin Inserts and Apologetics

A while back I began a church bulletin insert series. I have noted continued demand for these inserts so there is currently a plan to develop a whole series, in particular a 160 insert series reflecting the three year liturgical calendar, for churches to use.

Because of this demand and in order to better satisfy it, the bulletin inserts currently hosted on sntjohnny.com are being migrated to a church bulletin insert site specifically for it: www.churchbulletininserts.com.

Better organization is on the ‘to do’ list along with, naturally, adding more content.

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Second Column Published on WND.com on Malthus

Today Worldnetdaily.com published a second column of mine. Title: Christians Beware the Malthusian Mind!

Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Thomas Robert Malthus would have disagreed. The philosophical forerunner to Darwin, Malthus argued that there are limited resources, and competition for them is intense. When there are too many people competing for those resources, you have war, famine and a continual threat to civilization itself.

For Malthus, the pie is only so big: We must reduce the number of people who want a share of it.

Christianity embodies another solution: Make a bigger pie.

In Christianity, God takes a few loaves and feeds thousands with them. Entrance to heaven is not contingent on space available. Jesus came that we would have life, and life to the fullest. Not just for some, but all.

None of what follows is an argument for Christian indifference to the plight of other people. However, Christians should not advocate “solutions” that repress human liberty, dignity and freedom. For some reason, all of the Malthusian’s solutions do just that.

Read the whole column on Malthus and Malthusians.

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