“We ought to obey God rather than men.” – Acts 5:29b
The man of God that stands at the sacred desk each week to declare the Word of God, must be able to speak the truth without the fear of governmental repercussions. This previous statement has a two-fold purpose and that is to recognize that the country we live in has a First Amendment in its constitution that states that: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In other words, government is to stay out of the affairs of the church (religion).
The other purpose of the statement is that God-called preachers, pastors and evangelists are not mandated by man what they can and should say from the sacred desk. It is God that makes the rules for what is to be said by His messenger. This understood, why are many preachers today afraid to speak truth from the platform for which they are called?
One of the reasons for this stifling of the message might be what has been labeled the Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) law of 1954. The then Senator Johnson did not feel it appropriate or fair that a preacher from a pulpit could persuade their congregants to vote for or against (Senator Johnson) a particular candidate, thus a law was written into the tax code that would cause a non-profit organization (known as an IRC 501(c)(3) entity) to lose their tax exempt status if they were to speak out for or against a political candidate, or against a legalized governmental issue such as alcohol, or more recently abortion or same sex marriage. This law became an effective way to gag a very powerful platform (the church) from being able to influence the affairs of man.
First of all, it should be noted prior to 1954, churches did not seek tax exempt status from the government simply because the First Amendment guarantees that status. Many churches under false assumptions decided it was necessary to go to the IRS to file for tax exempt status, when it never has been required by a church to file for such a status (See IRS Publication 557 and IRS Code § 508(c)(1)(A)). This alone shows why a church should not go to the government to apply for a 501(c)(3) status, because this status is not only not necessary for a church, but it will lead to pastors and churches being gagged in their message.
Steve Nestor, Retired IRS Senior Revenue Officer says this, “I am not the only IRS employee who’s wondered why churches go to the government and seek permission to be exempted from a tax they didn’t owe to begin with, and to seek a tax deductible status that they’ve always had anyway. Many of us have marveled at how church leaders want to be regulated and controlled by an agency of government that most Americans have prayed would just get out of their lives.
Secondly, it should be reaffirmed that the man of God must always be faithful to deliver the message God has given him. In Acts 5, we read of Peter and the Apostles preaching Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem. By the way, their country had no First Amendment. The religious leaders and government officials had them thrown into prison for their message of truth. We read of the intervention of the angel of the Lord who set them free and instructed them to go back out and preach the truth of the gospel. As a result, we later find these preacher’s getting a beating for preaching about Jesus and then rejoicing for getting the privilege of taking such a beating. These men of God recognized it was more important to obey God than men.
Preacher, don’t allow yourself to be gagged. Speak up now while you still have a platform to do so! Many of us may be thrown into prison, or threatened by left wing special interest groups, but you have the power of God on your side. Reader, pray for your pastor and spiritual leaders that they will be willing to stand no matter what the cost. NOW IS THE TIME TO SPEAK UP or watch this nation be turned into hell (Psalm 9:17)!
 Peter Kershaw, In Caesar’s Grip, Heal Our Land Ministries, Forward
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