Police In Phoenix Raid A Church?... well almost
By: William Raymond: pastor & ambassador for the Christ of the church at Salem in exile.
As you may already know, another story has come forward about state sponsored religious persecution in America. This time it's about a group in Phoenix, Arizona called the Harvest Christian Fellowship. Similar to other stories of its kind, this one has caught the attention of an ever increasing number of people in this country who are just plain sick and tired of government overreach into the affairs of the church. However, as I read their story, something in particular stood out to me that might be missed by the vast majority of others who read it. Something from a painful, first hand experience that will forever influence the way I perceive all matters between the church and state. Something called the 501 (c) (3) church corporation.
On 03-24-05, after a protracted 6 year dispute with city and county officials in Salem, New Jersey, our church and parsonage along with all our family's personal belongings were seized by Salem County Sheriff, John B. Cooksey and the New Jersey State Police Counter Terrorism Division. Also at the time of the seizure my wife and I were arrested on criminal charges and subsequently released.
To obtain the order of seizure from the court the City lied, citing false and spurious charges of tax evasion while purposely concealing the fact that we were a church. In a tape recorded meeting with city officials just minutes before the seizure, the mayor told us that their only reason for attacking the church was because we refused to incorporate like the other churches in Salem; and so therefore, they did not consider us to be a real church. However, when asked to cite the particular law they were invoking which required churches to incorporate, their lawyer admitted that he could not produce such a law.
To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time in the history of America where, under color of law, the courts ordered a church to be seized simply for refusing to incorporate (become one) with the state! Our Open Letter to President Barack H. Obama - posted on our website at www.thechurchatSalem.info - summarizes the amazing story of what happened to us at Salem. To nobody's surprise, our letter dated 02-02-09 remains unacknowledged by the White House.
Incorporating a church under IRS Code 501 (c) (3) is a definitive death stroke to the body of Christ. Yet, when I went to the Harvest Christian Fellowship website I saw at the bottom of their main page that they were members in good standing of the vast and all powerful 501 (c) (3).
Around 306 A.D. the Roman emperor Flavius Constantine was reported to have converted to Christ. While merging certain religious beliefs with his pagan Roman government he created (incorporated under Roman law) that which subsequently set the stage many centuries later for the 501 (c) (3) defacto, State Church System here in America. Ever since then the church of Jesus Christ has been polluted with all manner of secular humanist laws, philosophies, idolatries, and every pagan practice you can shake a stick at!
However, more importantly for the government today, the 501 (c) (3) is the mechanism by which the state legally controls all consenting member churches who join it.
The 501 (c) (3) is a voluntary system which functions under secular, civil law and is the principle governing force over every church who joins it for commercial purposes (Revelation 13:16-18). Although it is officially and technically a 'voluntary system', churches who refuse to join are generally persecuted and discriminated against like the church at Salem, the Indianapolis Baptist Temple and a faithful handful of others have been.
While those who defend the process of church incorporation disagree with those of us who insist on keeping the church pure and unmingled, the fact remains that anytime those outside of Christ have power to control the church in any way, the Lordship of Christ has effectively been subverted.
Although there are many different denominations and religious groups in America that vary greatly in their beliefs - from Baptists to Buddhists - the one thing they all share in common is their coequal status under civil law as members of the 501 (c) (3) State Church System. It is, in effect, a giant religious blender where, for the purposes of the law, all member religions become one with the state or, as decreed by the judge in the case of Hollins v. Edmonds, subject to the lordship of Caesar.
"Once the church [State Street Baptist Church] determined to enter the realm of Caesar by forming a corporation, it was required to abide by the rules of Caesar, or in this case, the statutes of the Commonwealth of Kentucky". Hollins v. Edmonds, 616 S.W.2d 801,(1981)
More than likely, if you belong to a church anywhere in America today it is a 501 (c) (3) religious corporation like the State Street Baptist Church above.
Membership in the 501 (c) (3) legally converts a church under Christ into a corporation under Caesar where the laws become arbitrary and ambiguous. Hence, with cases involving church corporations a judge will almost always apply statutory law as to a corporation rather than constitutional standards as to an unmingled or unregistered church. Like all other corporations under the law, these church corporation's coven with the state agreeing only to engage in activities approved of by the state. In other words, they surrender the Lordship of Christ in matters where Caesar demands their allegiance.
For example: if a pastor of a church corporation feels compelled by his conscience to warn his congregation about a political candidate who promotes abortion or sodomy, he cannot do so because Caesar has labeled such speech coming from the pulpit as "political activity" and in some cases gone as far as to call it "hate speech". Another example: church corporations which operate so-called church schools are required by the state to teach curriculums approved by the state. The rule of thumb is, whatever Caesar creates, Caesar controls; and if you are a state created religious corporation.. guess what?
Once two men were sharing their stories about the injuries they'd suffered over the years. One of them proudly boasted, 'One time I broke my arm in three places'. The other man said. 'Wow!... if I were you, I'd stay out of those places.'
With regards to the Harvest Christian Fellowship, I would strenuously suggest that the pastor immediately divest himself of his corporate status if he no longer wishes Caesar to be his lord. The hard cold facts are, because this group chose to incorporate, their identity is no longer that of a church under Christ, but rather a corporation under Caesar. And that's the law, both God's and mans!
William Raymond: pastor & ambassador for the Christ