A REBUTTAL TO INDIANAPOLIS BAPTIST TEMPLE: RIGHT OR WRONG?
On April 5, 2001, I received a kind personal letter from Brother Mike Randall, editor of The Baptist Preacher, along with two copies of the publication. After reading the article, "Indianapolis Baptist Temple: Right or Wrong," I thoroughly disagreed with his conclusions. I also regretted that he had not personally called me which would have resolved some of the misunderstanding in regards to our stand for Christ. However, I did appreciate the Christian grace which was exhibited toward my father, Dr. Dixon, and myself while disagreeing with our position. In my remarks I will do my best to be as kind.
As most of us know, this debate over the incorporation of churches has been going on for nearly 18 years. It has polarized and separated friends of a lifetime, which saddens me greatly. I wrote Dr. Dowell many years ago and thanked him for the influence of Baptist Bible College in my life. I am still a proud graduate of the class of 1977. However, scriptural truth does separate us sometimes and unfortunately we must allow it.
To make sense out of what the Indianapolis Baptist Temple has done, there are five foundational truths that must be believed.
1. We must believe that the sacred scripture is the sole authority of faith and practice for the New Testament Church, not the I.R.S. code, public policy or man-made laws which are contrary to the Scripture and the United States Constitution. Primarly in this case, the First Amendment which was written to protect the Baptists and other non-conformist churches in the early years of our country.
2. We must believe in the autonomy of the New Testament Church which must be allowed in America, based on the First Amendment, to practice its faith even if those practices differ from someone else.
3. We must believe that the United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land and takes precedent over all man-made laws which are contrary to it.
4. We must believe in the principle of religious liberty for all. This does not mean separation of church and state, but separation of the church from the state.
5. We must believe that Jesus Christ is to be the Head and Lord and Pre-eminent one over and in His church. Church incorporation, or any other legal entity such as a trust or unincorporated association or religious society nullifies this because the church trustees must agree up front to uphold all public policy even if it is contrary to the Holy Bible.
Without these foundational beliefs, pastors and churches (public charities) under Sec. 501(c)3 of the I.R.S. code can and do rationalize and justify their unbiblical practices.
Now please allow me to clear up some misconceptions. The Indianapolis Baptist Temple:
1. Proceeded in this direction, not in order to win, but in order to do right.
2. Has never violated the Scriptures, the United States Constitution or the I.R.S. code, because the Indianapolis Baptist Temple is not organized as a public charity under the I.R.S. code.
3. It not a legal entity created by the state such as a corporation, denomination, organization or an association, i.e., religious society, but a New Testament Church.
4. Sees a difference between individuals paying taxes and God's Assembly paying taxes. The United States Constitution says, "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peacefully to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." Also, nowhere in the Bible does it command the Lord's Church to pay taxes. However let's be consistent. If it is right for the church to pay withholding and F.I.C.A. taxes, then why not sales tax, property tax and user fees. I would suggest there would be outrage over these other taxes.
5. Is NOT anti-government. We believe God instituted the church, family and government. We are anti-evil government.
6. Believes that the word "ordinance" in I Peter 2:13 means, according to the Greek, "the root principles of law," which would refer only to those laws in harmony with the United States Constitution based upon the Word of God and not every statutory law that comes down the pike.
7. Never sued the government, nor took them to court. The Federal Government attacked and sued the church and dragged it into court.
8. Sees even the material as spiritual and cannot separate them. Nothing that God has belongs to Caesar. As a result, the church told each minister that they would be responsible for their own tax liability after December 31, 1983, as self-employed ministers because it would be a sin for the church to directly dip into the church treasury, the Lord's tithe, to pay taxes. The tithe belongs to the Lord.
9. Is not an employer. Corporations have employees; New Testament churches have ministers. Nowhere in the Bible do New Testament churches have corporate officers.
10. Also, believes with this editor that civil government and the New Testament Church should be separate and independent. So, why do most churches act as collection agents for the State?
It is important to note that the government's case against the Indianapolis Baptist Temple rested basically on two statements. Federal Judge Sarah Evans Barker stated that a sound tax system is more important than one's first amendment guarantees. Also, the attorney for the Justice Department stated before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago that an uncontrolled church in America is untenable (unacceptable). I am of the opinion that every pastor should shudder at these statements and their future implications.
Today I am saddened, not because the congregation of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple lost six million dollars worth of property, but because of the coming apostasy and the spiritual blindness of pastors. At the same time, I am joyful because our ministry continues to function as I write. Our congregation of eight hundred persons oversees ninety different ministries. Over the past four months, our attendance has grown, six families have joined our church, forty-four persons have accepted Christ as Savior, twenty-four have been baptized and a mission team of eighteen persons built a church building in Haiti. In fact, last month our congregation committed nearly $100,000.00 to foreign missions.
By the grace of God, the Indianapolis Baptist Temple will be an example to other churches of obedience to Christ's headship, whatever the cost. We will have a meaningful voice in society and will continue to remind others that burdens are more important than buildings.
My prayer is that others who read this article will become enlightened. However, whether one does or not, I have no regrets or apologies to make. I will not hang my head in shame "for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ."
Greg A. Dixon
Indianapolis Baptist Temple
HOVIND PERSECUTION CONTINUES
Editor's note: The following article is republished from Dr. Kent Hovind's Blog exactly as it appeared as his son Eric posted it. Bro. Hovind has now spent eight years in various state jails and Federal Prisons all over America on trumped up charges called "structuring", which Congress passed to catch those involved in organized crime, not a pastor and his wife who were simply structuring their ministry affairs to avoid taxes, which is not a crime. The citizens of our country have been so dumbed down that a prosecutor can convince a grand jury and a jury of anything. However, in the end, Bro. Hovind and his wife Jo, who served for one year in a Federal Prison, were betrayed by one of their own Christian brothers and sister. You will read the sad story of betrayal on page 3 of this Trumpet.
Kent Hovind’s Blog, Aug.16, 2014
From Santa Rosa County Jail - More Criminal Charges
Dad, Kent Hovind, was moved from Atlanta, Georgia to the facility in Tallahassee, Florida in the middle of July. Then, on August 13, 2014, he was moved to the Santa Rosa County Jail in Milton, Florida. The reason for Move #22 in his nearly eight-year incarceration, is to take Dad back to court on September 8, 2014.
The prosecution obtained approval from Judge Rodgers to press more criminal charges. These allegations purport that the appeals, motions, and lawsuits filed by Kent Hovind are "frivolous" and that they have "encumbered" the government. In spite of the fact that in the county facility, he has no access to his legal files, he will be represented by a public defender at his September 8 trial.
Dad's new address is:
Kent Hovind #06452-017
Santa Rosa County Jail
PO Box 7129
Milton, FL 32572
We continue to pray that this long battle will end in order that Dad can fully devote his time to fighting on the battlefield for men's eternal souls. Thank you for praying with us to that end.
(Editor's note: At the hearing on Sept. 8, the trial was postponed until November 14 because the Public Defender who has been assigned to defend Bro. Hovind said that he did not have time to prepare. For regular updates please subscribe to the Trumpet Online at http://the-trumpet-online.com/)
Hovind Blog: http://www.kenthovindblog.com/
Why I have supported Dr. Kent Hovind
Greg J. Dixon
It has been questioned as to why I have supported Dr. Kent Hovind in his struggles with the IRS and the United States Justice Department. I have actually been severely criticized from some quarters, even by some that call themselves "Christians" for doing so. Because of this and the scriptural admonition, "… be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" I will try to quit myself for this task.
First let me enumerate the reasons that I do not support Bro. Hovind:
It is not because I am related to him in any way.
It is not because I am, or have ever been a part of his ministry in any way.
It is not because we are bosom pals, or long time close friends, although we are friends in the gospel of Christ and the cause of liberty.
Recounted from articles originally appearing the Trumpet in 2006
Pensacola News Journal, Oct. 20, 2006
A local Christian leader on Thursday [October 2006] testified against Pensacola evangelist Kent Hovind, explaining the Bible does not condone tax evasion.
Rebekah Horton, Pensacola Christian College's longtime senior vice president, took the stand during the second day of testimony at the federal trial.
But Horton said whether Hovind works for God is irrelevant and the Bible does not exempt anyone from paying taxes.
"We know the Scriptures do not promote (tax evasion)," she said. "It's against Scripture teaching."
Horton believed it was the college's duty to report the misleading doctrine. Administration called the Internal Revenue Service and gave the tape to officials, she said.
We only have room for a part of this court room drama. But it is obvious that Dr. Horton has little understanding of Baptist soul liberty. She is willing to use the sword of government to enforce her scriptural belief concerning taxation, but isn't willing to allow Bro. Hovind to practice what he believes God would have him to do in this area. This is the difference between the Catholic/ Protestant and Baptist position on church and state. She wants the freedom to practice her faith to pay taxes, but denies his freedom to not pay what he believes to be an immoral and unconstitutional tax. But it is the hypocrisy of Dr. Horton that is astounding. It is surely the sounding brass and tinkling silver that the Apostle Paul spoke to the Corinthians about.
On cross examination by Hovind's attorney, Alan Richey, Dr. Horton said that she doesn't want to judge Bro. Hovind and then makes two incredible statements. First she says that Scripture is against "tax evasion." Mrs. Horton doesn't have a clue as to the fact that the First Amendment was put in place to protect us from religious bigots like Horton. The Hovinds are charged with violating certain tax laws of the U.S., not the scriptures. Besides, what does Horton know about the tax laws that the IRS agents who testified against the Hovind's didn't know? When asked by Hovind's attorney, they pleaded ignorance and were upheld Judge Rodgers, who said that they didn't have to answer questions concerning the IRC because they were not experts on the tax laws, but that she would tell them what the law was.
And now Dr. Horton gives the court the zinger. She says, "The Bible doesn't exempt anyone from paying taxes." Then why is she the Senior Vice-President, and her husband the President, of a tax-exempt organization known as a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization that is exempt from federal income taxes? This also means that gifts to Pensacola Christian College are deductible from the donor's taxable income. The College is also exempt from county property taxes and from state sales taxes. In other words, Dr. Horton is out of jail for getting a license to operate their ministry by filing for every tax exemption that they can file for, which is exactly what an exemption is, but Bro. Hovind is in jail because he refused to file for an exemption, get a license to conduct his ministry, but demanded his God-ordained right to minister without taxation as guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Neither did the Hovinds receive tax deductible gifts for their ministry nor did they charge an admission fee for Dinosaur Land. However PCC charges tuition and for everything else that they can think of and a few things that they haven't. In fact, most are not aware that they are probably the first Mark of the Beast College in America in that some years ago they went totally cashless.
Eye Witness Account of David Gibbs, III Testimony at the Kent and Jo Hovind Trial
I listened to David Gibbs, III testify and I watched him when he arrived at the trial. He walked up to Asst. U.S. Attorney Michelle Heldmyer, out in the hall and said "Hey girl, how is it going" as if they had known each other for some time. They laughed and joked with each other for a minute or so. Mr. Gibbs testified about taxes and that not paying taxes was a sin. His testimony proved the case against Kent and Jo Hovind was not about taxes but about religion. How could it be about taxes when the Government could not show that what the Hovinds were doing violated any law or regulation let alone that they thought they were violating some law or regulation? This case was about sending a message to people of faith. Keep quiet or we will get ya.
David Gibbs was asked questions about Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) to which he replied that he was fully aware of this section and how it operated. He said that he gives free legal advice to over 10,000 churches nation wide. He was then asked about Internal Revenue Code section 102 which says that "gifts" are "excluded from the calculation of gross income" no matter what amount; to which he appeared as if he had seen the Holy Ghost. He was very combative with Hovind's Attorney Alan Richey during cross examination and at all times clearly was not testifying neutrally but only about the Government's case. He clearly was working to help Mrs. Heldmyer silence Kent Hovind.
Mr. Gibbs testified that he met with Kent Hovind at his home. They spoke about the problem in the attempt to have the U.S. Congress take over every day life of people in each State of the Union. At no time did Mr. Gibbs ever inform Kent Hovind of section 7202, 7212 or any other relevant issue in the case which were the chief sections presented by the Government.
After watching this battle for 16 years and viewing many criminal trials, when I heard Attorney David Gibbs say not paying taxes was a sin I thought to myself "let him who is without sin cast the first stone." David Gibbs, the protector of the church and over 10,000 he said, had hurled one large stone at the church.
I thought right then and there isn't the motive of all churches to receive as many tax free dollars as possible? What about giving tax deductible receipts? Is that not a sin? If Congress can make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion then why is the Internal Revenue Code being relied upon by purely local churches regarding their activity in receiving gifts from parishioners?
I have an audio tape on my web page from a Saturday Conference Call I did on November 11, 2006 where for 90 minutes or so I explain what happened to the Hovinds. You can download it at www.penaltyprotestor.org. and listen to it whenever you are led.
Lindsey Springer's poignant question must be faced by the preachers of America either here or at the Judgment Seat of Christ. No nation on earth ever guaranteed churches the liberty that our nation has, and what have we done with this liberty? We have squandered it away and traded the Holy Word of God for the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). We have said that the tithes and offerings aren't enough, but we must have support from the State through tax-exempt gifts, and we even have our own law associations like CLA and lawyers like Gibbs to help us to continue riding on the gravy train. And when someone like a Kent Hovind comes along and says that they're getting off of the train, they must be persecuted and treated like trash by the lawyers and preachers.
The Lord Jesus said, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous" (Matt. 23:29) He also said, "Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.". (Luke 11:52)
We extol men such as the Apostles Peter, John and Paul and then later the great Christian resisters like William Tyndale, John Bunyan, Isaac Bacchus and others and yet when a Kent Hovind comes along and refuses to take a license to preach in our generation, his contemporaries hold him up to ridicule and scorn, for his faith in what is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave.
By God's grace and His giving me breath, I will be in that court room. Every God fearing preacher in America should descend on Pensacola, Florida on January 19 and march in the streets to make America know that this is the last preacher that should ever go to jail. But we won't hold our breath to see any of the so called "pillars" of fundamentalism or leaders of "The Christian Right" anywhere near Western Florida on that day because they might just jeopardize their precious tax-exempt status.
One thing for sure, it is one thing to remain silent as most do, but to come out in a scathing denunciation of them even before their sentencing as Shelton Smith, Editor of the Sword of the Lord did in the December 1 issue is unconscionable. Every day that goes by we see more and more the reality of those words come to pass that the Lord Jesus said to that church long ago through His beloved Apostle of Love.
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." (Rev. 3:13-22)
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