We do our best to remember that the fight in which we are engaging is a spiritual one. This holds true whether it is hashing out ideas with the pastor of the church in question or when sitting in front of government officials. When we are dealing with bureaucrats, we often see them as the enemy. Someone might be tempted to get angry with the person sitting in front of them telling them they can't do what they know the Lord wants them to do. The government employees, try as they might to roadblock a church, are not our primary enemy. Satan is. Our desire is that the bureaucrat, government official, politician or whoever else with whom we are conversing would see the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is our focus through all the interaction and letter writing that occurs.
Actually, this is our only perspective when coming to assisting with church and government interactions. That Jesus Christ might be praised and that the gospel might go forth. It might seem like too simplistic a goal, but I fail to see how Christ can be glorified through an angry and contentious meeting if there doesn't have to be one. We should not be the ones escalating the tension and anger. In fact, we have always found that a reasonable approach has been the best.
There are many steps of reasonableness that must be taken before a public outburst is required. Some want to skip directly to the end, but we do not believe this is wise or proper. Remember that our end goal is that of Jesus Christ being exalted.
The flesh and blood sitting in front of us in an Assessor's office or courtroom (if it so be that you find yourselves in front of one of these) is not that which we wrestle against. Our true enemy is the devil. We should never lose focus of that fact.
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
It is strange to me that there would be some that would insist the Word of God is not sufficient for a church to be a church. It is odd that we would need an early English Common Law document called a "Declaration of Trust" in order to be a church. Certainly, most churches throughout history would not understand the necessity to have a gateway to the kingdoms of this world to transact business, receive tax exemption, get insurance and apply for permission to the government for anything.
2 Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
How many churches with true bible doctrine were incorporated before the late 1790s?
How many churches with true bible doctrine were organized around a document called a Declaration of Trust prior to the 1980's.
None of which I am aware. Some claim the Episcopal church here, but they are not a true church of Jesus Christ.
How many churches with true bible doctrine had their buildings insured before 1900? Probably not many.
The question is this then. Who is the outlier? I would argue it is the church that is incorporated, has a 501c3 status, or has a Declaration of Trust as its founding document. Historically-speaking, these are the unusual ones. Christ is either Head of His church or a legal instrument is. Take your pick.
If you want more information on simply being a church in today's complex society, please contact us.
Best Regards in Christ,
Pastor Jason Burton
Cornerstone Historic Baptist Church
Union City, Indiana
Research Director of the Ecclesiastical Law Center - Pastors Helping Pastors