At first blush, some disturbing things are going on
in the world regarding government's attack on churches.
But in this article, I ask you to step back and view
things from a broader perspective than is presented
in the media.
Let me suggest that the abuses of secular religion
(denominations) are causing these problems, which could
adversely affect the Lord's church.
Church Owned Businesses
Denominations are abusing their nonprofit, tax exempt
status (in my opinion) by owning businesses.
For example, one church has gotten into the funeral
business recently. Some churches own insurance companies,
TV stations, radio stations, farms, and schools. One
church even owns a mall in Chicago.
Of course, there's no authority for a church to own
As a result of this sin, I personally expect the nonprofit
status of churches to change, and welcome changes that
would stop abuse.
But, the tax-exempt status we enjoy as a congregation
of the Lord's church may be taken away as a result.
Unfortunately, we may have to suffer because of the
sins of men, but I personally don't care. I'd rather
see such abuses stopped, and lose a tax deduction, than
see them continue.
Vatican, a Country
The Vatican is a country founded by the Roman Catholic
Church. It has its own army, a seat at the United Nations,
an embassy in Washington, D.C., and issues it's own
passports and stamps. Some people even argue it can't
be sued because of diplomatic immunity, as with sexual
abuse cases against its clergy.
Besides this, the United States has an Ambassador
to the Vatican who works in Rome. Of course, this person's
job is to maintain political ties between both countries
-- the United States and the Roman Catholic Church.
So, what ramifications could result from a church
being a country?
The church could go to war and attack people of other
nations, such as during the Crusades. Or, it could politically
and economically enforce its will against other nations,
which some people claim is being done today. Or, it
could be attacked by other nations who disagree with
its policies and behaviors.
At any rate, when a church is allowed to be a country,
and operate as a sovereign nation, while other churches
aren't granted the same power, there can be big problems.
If there is trouble, we as a congregation of the Lord's
church could be caught in the crossfire, and innocently
suffer as a result of the sins of others.
Home Bible Studies
Last week, there were a number of news stories about
a preacher and his wife who were ordered by San Diego
County to stop having Bible classes in their home until
obtaining a Major Use Permit costing thousands of dollars.
Details haven't been released as to why such an order
was issued, but let's think about a possible reason
-- small group ministries.
As far as I can tell, small group ministries developed
with large community churches having thousands of members,
who needed a way to get members involved with small
groups of people to keep them interested and involved.
As a result, a whole industry has sprung up to support
small group ministries in churches, selling everything
from prepackaged programs to software that tracks members
In essence, churches with small group ministries use
the homes of members rather than their colossal church
building, as part of their work. The ministry is organized
and sponsored by the church, as part of their work.
It's like churches are conducting their business in
the private residents of select members.
It's easy to imagine how this could cause problems
in neighborhoods where homes are used to host small
church groups, where attendance can easily get up to
the high 40's -- the size of a small congregation.
The infrastructure of many neighborhoods isn't built
to accommodate the influx of people with small group
ministries, especially on a weekly basis.
And neighbors can become irritated when community
property is used to bring in large numbers of people
for church, presenting a safety risk with higher traffic
and cars lining narrow streets.
Quite honestly, I don't want one of my neighbors hosting
a church group every week, with twenty or thirty cars
blocking the road, making it dangerous for kids to play
and residents to go about their normal business. And
what if three neighbors on the same street all hosted
a small group the same evening, what would happen then?
As a result of men preaching false doctrines to tickle
people's ears and create megachurches, using members'
homes to accomplish part of their work, we may have
more civil regulation limiting such practices. And those
regulations could negatively impact members of the Lord's
But don't fear, God is in control!
To be continued.