Should Christians Seek To Have A Tax Free Status?

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Hi M____,

Thank you for the picture. It looks like it was a great day with your family. Sandi and I had our last son one month before her 41st birthday. His name is Austin and he is the last of five; three boys and two girls. We caught a lot of flack back then for having a child so late in life. The truth, of course, was that Austin was right on time.
It is good to hear that Rom 12 was what the holy spirit gave to you. When we are in Christ we really do have “the same mind.” We are not all at the same place, but we are all striving to be like Him and think as He thinks. I am especially encouraged with how you took the opportunity to place the blessing of this child on how God works through parents. If indeed God is dragging your sister and her husband to Himself at this time, then that little boy really is a blessed child.
In another e- mail you asked:

I suppose that is the legal term for acquiring a tax free status? I really do not know anything about that, but it seems to me to be placing one’s ministry under Caesar. I certainly believe that we are to render tribute to whom tribute is due. Those who accused Christ of not paying tribute were lying:

Luk 23:2 And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this [ fellow] perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.

Here is how we know that they were lying:

Rom 13:6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
Rom 13:7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

That does not seem to me to be an admonition to seek to not pay taxes. When we place ourselves under Caesar’s jurisdiction, we are subject to his dictates, and while we are specifically told to “pay ye tribute”, this is not the sum of God’s Word on our relationship with the governments of this world. Whenever our governments ask us to place their laws above the laws of our Lord, God’s elect cannot give an inch. When the powers that be ordered Peter and John to refrain from preaching Christ, they defied that order and went right back to preaching. The deaths of Stephen and James were both lawless murders of God’s elect perpetrated by “the powers that be”. Those murders demonstrate that we are to count ourselves as dead if we hope to find life. Peter’s miraculous delivery from prison, on the other hand, demonstrates how God does intervene on behalf of His children to accomplish His Work. But whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

Mat 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
Rom 14:8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.
Rom 14:9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

I hope you are confronted with the concerns you spoke of in your e- mail. I refer specifically of having more people than your house can accommodate and being asked to go full- time in the ministry. I have been holding weekly Bible studies for going on ten years. The first year was once a month, in Anderson, S. C. A year or so later we went to twice a month at my brother’s home in Monroe, Georgia. For the past seven or eight years we have been holding weekly Bible studies, and we have yet to outgrow our home – though at times it’s a little crowded. People come, and people go. Very few are willing to be separated from their brothers in Christ, who really are such good people. To most people, Rom 14 is a command to remain united at all cost. Nothing could be further from the Truth. Rom 14 is indeed an exhortation to be patient and “bear the infirmities of the weak.” But both chapters 14 and 15 call our attention to how Christ conducted Himself.

Rom 14:18 For he that in these things serveth Christ [ not his weak brother] is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
Rom 15:5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus [ not ‘according to’ the weak brother]:
Rom 15:6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom 15:7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

“Receive one another… as Christ received us… but not to doubtful disputations.” If there is anything we should learn from Christ’s example it is that He put fidelity to the Truth of His Father’s Word ahead of oneness with the chief priests and elders and leaders of the synagogues. He “bore the infirmities of the weak” by saying “Get thee behind me, Satan, you savor the things of men and not the things of God.”

Mar 8:33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

Christ truly taught us by His example, that it is better to be divided by the Truth than to be united in a lie:

Mat 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
Mat 10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
Mat 10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

If you are faithful to God’s Word, you will soon learn that your greatest trials will come from your own spiritual household, where the adversary will constantly be trying to ‘Judaize’ those in your charge with the doctrines of Babylon, the modern spiritual counterpart of the Judaism of Christ’s day. Here now are some of the absolutely most despised words in the New Testament:

1Jn 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

And what are we to do when we find that a doctrine is not of God?

2Jn 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
2Jn 1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
2Jn 1:11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

Obviously the “weak brothers” of whom we are admonished in Rom 14 to “bear his infirmities,” are not to be allowed to pass his infirmities on to his stronger brothers who may indeed tend to “despise” their weak brother and to forget that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” It was Paul himself who admonished the church at Corinth to “turn him over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh that the spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord.”

1Co 5:2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
1Co 5:3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, [ concerning] him that hath so done this deed,
1Co 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
1Co 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
1Co 5:6 Your glorying [ is] not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

This man’s “fornication” typifies spiritual fornication, which is never to be tolerated by the priests of God whose responsibility it is to make sure that the Levites are never permitted to defile the holy vessels of the temple of God. “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” And yet the mantra in Babylon is “unity in the essentials and tolerance in the non- essentials.” It is politically correct. It is not scripturally correct! God’s priests are not politicians. Their only concern is to please their Lord.
Here is another way of saying “turn him over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord”:

Tit 3:9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
Tit 3:10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
Tit 3:11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

Those who are “weak in the faith” are not contentious. They just need time to mature and adjust to the meat of God’s Word. But a heretic is contentious and wants to engage in “doubtful disputations.” It is incumbent upon those who can “eat all things” to see to it that heresies are not introduced into ‘the holy place.’ That ‘holy place’ is the temple which we are, but it is also “the flock over which God had made you overseers.” Future “kings and priests” are being tried and proven now for what will one day be done in God’s “kingdom of this world” known as “the thousand years.”
To accomplish the goal of pleasing Christ above all else, God’s priests are patient with anyone who is new to the truths of God’s Word. Here is the verse of God’s Word which allows for the different levels of growth in Christ. This is how we are to understand the difference between a babe in Christ and a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Until we are able to see what say the scriptures on any subject, we are still in the process of coming out of Egypt, and we cannot expect a person on the west side of the Red Sea to be as mature as a person on the west side of the Jordan. So we are told:

Rom 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because [ he eateth] not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

As a ‘meat eater’ we must never fail to remember that just yesterday we, too, were “sojouners and strangers in Egypt,” still unbaptised and still on the west side of the Red Sea.

Exo 22:21 Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Egypt is but an early stage of Babylon and though we may be God’s very elect, we are still “strangers in the land of Egypt:

Rev 11:8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

That is where you and I were just yesterday, preaching and teaching the lies of Babylon. We are all guilty of “rejoicing over their dead bodies” before our “dead bodies lie in the streets of that great city [ where we have all been guilty of] crucifying our Lord.”
How un- Christlike it would have been for others to try to force even the milk of the doctrine of universal salvation down our throats before we were able to receive it. I myself resisted and regurgitated that doctrine for over two years before I even began to be able to receive its nourishment.

Rom 14:20 For meat [ the Truth] destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
Rom 14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
Rom 14:22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.Rom 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat,

“Meat” is spiritual food that is hard to receive and digest. Who today can receive “love thine enemies” while we are being threatened with the spectre of terrorism? And that is just the beginning of the “doctrine of Christ.” There are so many doctrines of Christ which ” indeed are pure but it is evil for that man who eats with offense.”
But “receiving a weak brother [ and] bearing his infirmities” is never to be taken to mean that we are ever expected to deny Christ and His doctrines:

Mat 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
Mat 10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
Mat 10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

“Denying Christ” has much less to do with having a gun to your head as you are told to deny Christ, than it refers to those who are willing to put a gun to the heads of their fellow man and claim to be doing so in Christ’s name. That is truly denying Christ:

Joh 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
Mat 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies , bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

‘Deny’ and ‘reject’ are two different Greek words, but when we “deny” Christ, we are also “rejecting His words.” And when we “reject His Words” we “deny Him,” and we will still be “judged by those words” which we have rejected.
Christ was aloof from the affairs of both the Jews and the Romans. It was this unwillingness to get involved in the affairs of this world that cost Christ His physical life and found for Him His spiritual life and body.
Getting back to your question about needing to rent a hall to hold the crowds who eventually come to us, the only ‘rented hall’ that I see mentioned in the New Testament is Paul’s house in Rome. How Paul paid that rent as a prisoner I would suppose was through offerings.

1Co 9:14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

The fact that Paul also worked to supplement his expenses, shows to us that “live of the gospel” is never to be understood as ‘luxuriate of the gospel.’ The apostle Paul and all of God’s true ministers, would rather have died than to allow themselves to be seen as so many of today’s ministers are seen to be, “making merchandise” of those in their charge. Paul never denied that he “took wages of other churches”, but he set us a Christlike example of never doing anything that could be construed as “making merchandise” of God’s flock.

2Pe 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2Pe 2:2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
2Pe 2:3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

And what do we see today? We see “many following their pernicious ways and speaking evil of the way of Truth.” Paul tells us the exact same thing when speaking to the elders of Ephesus:

Act 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers , to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Act 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Act 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Act 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
Act 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
Act 20:33 I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.
Act 20:34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me./

This is also the same message Paul had for those of Corinth who were seeking to discredit his ministry. Paul acknowledges that he “received wages of other churches:”

2Co 11:8 I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.

But Paul went to great lengths to assure that no one would ever be able to accuse him of abusing his position as a minister of Christ. Paul said that he would rather die than to be found guilty of abusing his power in the gospel:

1Co 9:7 Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?
1Co 9:8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?
1Co 9:9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?
1Co 9:10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.
1Co 9:11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?
1Co 9:12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
1Co 9:13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
1Co 9:14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
1Co 9:15 But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.
1Co 9:16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
1Co 9:17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.
1Co 9:18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.
1Co 9:19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

It was our Lord who told us all “freely ye have received, freely give.” So “when I preach the gospel, I [ want to] make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.”
Paul concludes all of this by saying “though I be free from all men, yet I have made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.” The only way to be a “servant to all,” is to “be free of all men.” I would think that that would be especially true of ‘Caesar.’
I know that I have probably not answered this question to your satisfaction, but the best I can ever do for anyone is to point to what I see said and done by Christ and His apostles. I personally do not want to go to those who hate my message and ask any favors of them. I definitely don’t want to be in any way under their jurisdiction any more than is absolutely necessary to be in accord with God’s Word to pay tribute to whom tribute is due. I think that our Lord best answered this question:

Mar 12:17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.

I apologize for the length of this e- mail, but I hope I have said something you find edifying. Let me hear from you, and if our Lord opens you eyes to His Word on this subject in some way I have not yet been shown, please let me know.
I too, am aware that all is of God, but that includes me thanking you for your faithfulness to the Words of our Lord.

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