Religious Liberty Issues



Judge Sarah Evans Barker, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, entered judgment against Indianapolis Baptist Temple on November 10, 1999, ordering the Church to pay over $5 million for alleged employer taxes, which includes mostly penalties and interest, that the IRS had assessed against the Church. Judge Barker now seeks to enforce that judgment by the seizure and sale of Church properties and has ordered Indianapolis Baptist Temple to surrender the Church properties, including the sanctuary located at 2711 South East Street and the Church parsonage, in which Dr. and Mrs. Greg J. Dixon have lived for 32 years, to the United States Marshal at noon on November 14, 2000. Judge Barker denied Indianapolis Baptist Temple's request that she stay the enforcement of her judgment against Indianapolis Baptist Temple pending a review of a Petition For Certiorari that the church lawyer is filing with the United States Supreme Court.

The Judgment and the Order to surrender the property on November 14, 2000, has placed the Church in a dilemma. The Church must choose whom it will obey: God or Man. Thus the Church has no choice but to obey God.

Contrary to the claims of the government, the press and Judge Barker, the real issue in this case is not taxation. The issue is the right of a Church to exercise and practice its faith in the sovereignty of the Church under the Lord Jesus Christ in America today without government interference or control. This right was intended to be protected by the First and the Ninth Amendments of the United States Constitution by the framers of our Nation.

Identifying the problem: In obedience to the scriptures of the Holy Bible, Indianapolis Baptist Temple is an independent New Testament Baptist Church that adheres to historic Baptist doctrine. The central tenet of the faith of the Church is the absolute sovereignty of the Church under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This teaching requires the complete separation of the New Testament Church from the State. As a historic New Testament Baptist Church, Indianapolis Baptist Temple is a New Testament Church founded pursuant to the scriptures of the Holy Bible upon the sovereign rock of Jesus Christ as His body for which He is the head in all things. The Church is an organism, called lovingly in the scriptures, the "Bride of Christ". The Church founded by Jesus Christ belongs to Him. He purchased it with His blood on Calvary's cross. It is His, and we as members of His Church are admonished to keep it Holy, and to render the things of God only unto Him.

The government, on the other hand, is telling Indianapolis Baptist Temple that they can worship God but they must first recognize that the Church is subject to governmental control. The dilemma is thus stated. If Indianapolis Baptist Temple, which is a body of believers placed into the body by the Lord Jesus Christ, were to pay a tax or comply with the employer tax regulations of the federal government, or surrender the property of the Church to the Marshal on November 14, 2000, the Church would be recognizing a sovereign, i.e. government, over the Church which would be greater than the Lord Jesus Christ. The act of doing so would not only be an act in disobedience to the ordinances and instructions of the Lord Jesus Christ, but would also be a denial of and an attack on the Holiness of the Lord Jesus Christ as God.

This issue is not new. It is the same issue for which the Apostles, disciples and members of the first century churches died. Suffice it to say, the problem Indianapolis Baptist Temple is facing today is the identical problem that its predecessor New Testament Churches faced in Rome in the first Century A.D. immediately after the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the identical problem that its predecessor New Testament Churches faced thereafter throughout the world for centuries as they were hunted down, persecuted and martyred for not obeying the edicts, ordinances and laws of organized state established churches and of the nations. It is the identical problem that its predecessor New Testament Churches faced in the Colonies in America as they came seeking a refuge from worldwide persecution, only to be hunted down and persecuted by being jailed, beaten and martyred by state established churches chartered by the King of England in the Colonies. It is the identical problem that the First Congress intended to eliminate by the adoption of the Religious Liberty Clauses of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution on September 24, 1789.

Why is Indianapolis Baptist Temple and the other New Testament Churches of America faced with this identical problem today?

Because we have gone full circle: from persecution to liberty, now back from liberty to persecution. The concept of a "government controlled church" was untenable in America 200 years ago. As a direct consequence of the recent court decisions, the concept of a "government uncontrolled church" is untenable in America today.

The only church recognized as a lawful church in America is a state-established church that has been organized under the laws and traditions of Man. In 1982 the United States Supreme Court held that the tax exempt gift given to a public charity that is a tax exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code is a public subsidy. Thus, all the laws, rules and regulations, and the public policies are binding upon the public charity. The government now controls all churches in America by classifying them as public charities through tax laws which give benefits to "public charities", etc. But, a price has been paid. The churches in America have paid the price for these government benefits (tax exemption/ not-for-profit gifts) by giving up their right to religious freedom. The government now demands absolute loyalty and obedience of all churches to its laws and public policies. The government does not recognize the existence of a church in America that is not structured as a tax exempt public charity.

Under the laws today, Indianapolis Baptist Temple cannot exist because Indianapolis Baptist Temple is not formed or structured as a human organization called a public charity founded under the teachings and traditions of man.

Indianapolis Baptist Temple has rejected government subsidies and is standing in the gap. Indianapolis Baptist Temple is fighting for the freedom of all Americans to worship their God in accordance to the dictates of their conscience without fear of government intervention. Indianapolis Baptist Temple is not lawless but is standing in the Courts of America as a Mark 13:9 witness for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ as a testimony against them pursuant to the scriptures of the Holy Bible.

Indianapolis Baptist Temple will not bow to demands that they reject God!!!

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Biblical Law Center

Biblical Law Center - Helping Churches Since 1984 to organize or reorganize churches to leave the IRS 501 (c ) (3) tax exempt Scheme and become non-taxable New Testament Churches In the area of church polity.  For information go to http://biblicallawcenter.com/what-to-do