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142 Responses

  1. Gary says:

    While I agree with Macarthur that there’s a lot of bad fruit on some branches, and some of the fruit is rotten, those branches are still abiding in the vine.

  2. Jim says:

    While I agree with most of Olsen’s final conclusion, his initial premise requires him to take Matt 5:39 out of context. Jesus was clearly talking about retribution or revenge, and not the defense of your life or that of others. I legally carry deadly weapons, and if confronted with a situation that allowed for the legal use of deadly force, I would run away if possible, or take my chances if four guys want to beat the crap out of me. If my back is against the wall with a weapon to my face, if I can’t run or talk or fight my way out of it, I’m not going to let someone kill me.

    If a guy is trying to rape a woman in my parking lot, he’d better respond to verbal commands.

    I think God is with me on this issue.

  3. Alan Hawkins says:

    All of my friends from western nations are shocked and appalled that we do not have national healthcare and that we have healthcare as a for profit industry. It is interesting to talk to them.

    In my opinion the for profit interests of providers is the biggest impediment to a single payer system. What we will end up with here is a system that keeps the special interests of big money in tact and burdens the taxpayer with much greater debt. The rich will get richer and the nation will get poorer

  4. Jim says:

    The author of the NT Wright article needs to study American history.

  5. Ricky Bobby says:

    Dread said, “What we will end up with here is a system that keeps the special interests of big money in tact and burdens the taxpayer with much greater debt. The rich will get richer and the nation will get poorer”

    This part of your statement is an accurate analysis and conclusion IMO.

  6. Xenia says:

    Regarding the link concerning Orthodox disunity, it’s very true that there is jurisdictional chaos in the United States. It doesn’t bother me very much; it bothers some people quite a lot. The disunity is of administration only, not theology. However, it is very true that Orthodoxy in America falls short of the Ignatian ideal that I was talking about in the other thread. There are many reasons why this is so but I won’t bore you all with the details other than to say that the problem is recognized and the various bishops are working to remedy the problem.

  7. Xenia says:

    The Eastern Orthodox don’t have a Pope we have national Patriarchs who are not infallible but are considered to be the first among equals of their brother bishops. Because the way America was settled- folks from all over- for years American Orthodoxy consisted of ethnic enclaves and never coalesced into an American Orthodoxy, worthy of its own Patriarch. Because of the recent influx of converts, this ethnic stuff has become very problematic and thus, the effort to set aside Russian-ness and Greek-ness and work towards an American Orthodoxy with English liturgy and cheeseburgers at coffee hour. Not everyone sees this as a good idea, for reasons I won’t bore you all with.

  8. Ricky Bobby says:

    Olson’s words on “ethics” are meaningless, knowing that he swallows whole the Old Testament and Revelation, etc and bible narrative that asserts God did many unloving and unethical things…that weren’t “necessary” and weren’t “good” and “right” in any context.

  9. Xenia says:

    I should also add that all these jurisdictions (Greek, Serbian, Russian, etc) are in communion with each other.

  10. Xenia says:

    Regarding herbal supplements being mostly sugar pills, that is sad to read about but it doesn’t surprise me. The only herb I take is feverfew, a migraine preventative (supposedly) and I grow it myself in the garden.

  11. Ricky Bobby says:

    Here is the one question that undoes the rather ignorant Roger Olson (Olson uses a lot of words and sounds smart, but he’s an idiot when closely examined):

    What is the “highest moral law”…if not your concept of God?

    Isn’t your concept of who God is, the “highest moral law”? Isn’t “God”…the “highest moral law”?

    If so, then what has your version of God done throughout history? What example has he set (if you hold an inerrant bible thesis)?

    I can demonstrate verse after verse, passage after passage, where the “highest moral law” or “God”…has been extremely unloving, unrighteous and unethical and not “good” by any universally accepted definition of the term.

  12. Olsen doesn’t believe in innerancy. I think you are fighting the wrong guy.

  13. Rob Murphy says:

    The pacifist argument as of late, in the limited expressions I have read, only give partial service to the idea of ‘necessary’ and all that I have read omit ‘Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for a friend’. Complete pacifism – if that was Jesus’ intent – would undermine Jesus’ own words that there is nobility to the point of resistance that would require laying down life. Jesus’ sacrifice was “necessary” and the Bible says His death was once for all, but He sure left the clear impression there would be more death as He told His followers they were ‘hated’ because of Jesus.

    I look askance at any ideology that diminishes Jesus’ words.

  14. Ricky Bobby says:

    Olson’s biography: “I am a Christian theologian of the evangelical Baptist persuasion. “

  15. Ricky Bobby says:

    Jesus is portrayed as both pacifist and blood-thirsty warrior.

    We find Jesus in Old Testament theophany telling the Hebrews to kill their enemy, even women, children and infants…heck, even the animals.

    We see Jesus in Revelation on a “white horse” with a sword conquering and killing until the “blood is bridle high”.

  16. Michael says:

    Josh is correct.
    Olson is not an inerrantist.

  17. Yes. He works at Baylor. You make many assumptions, my friend.

  18. Ricky Bobby says:

    Show me, I can’t find it. How is he an “evangelical baptist” and not an inerrantist?

  19. Michael says:

    I recommend Chaplain Mikes article on being a pastor highly.

  20. RB – I think you’d find much to agree with in Olsen. He is very smart, slightly liberal…I figured you’d like him.

  21. Ricky Bobby says:

    And, Red Herring, not the issue.

    You are an inerrantist, and you would appeal to “God” as the “highest moral law” and that is the critical issue, not whether Olson is an inerrantist or not.

  22. Rob Murphy says:

    Read this article last night thought it was interesting. Keller’s name comes up. I know the appearance of ‘Fox News’ in the link title will cause some to want a jihad, but, “Links”, man.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/november/fox-news-highly-reluctant-jesus-follower-kirsten-powers.html

  23. Michael says:

    Ask him.

  24. Michael says:

    Rob,

    I think that’s the same link as “dragged into the kingdom”…

  25. Ricky Bobby says:

    If so, then what has your version of God done throughout history? What example has he set (if you hold an inerrant bible thesis)?

    This statement above is directed to you, the reader, not necessarily Olson.

  26. Rob Murphy says:

    Oops! Sorry! I missed it. I right click and read the links and I did no right click that one. Ironic that my “right click” missed a Fox News related story…. ha! Get it? “Right Click”. Nope? Okay.
    sorry once again….

  27. Yeah, you could ask him. He is very responsive.

    The Christian world is much bigger and divers than you assume. You should study the SBC controversy of the 1980’s. IT was all about inerrancy. There are millions of Baptists who are not SBC, and not inerrantists. Olsen is one of those guys. Baylor is hardly the bastion for Fundamentalist thought.

  28. Michael says:

    RB,

    I’m not even a little interested in an endless debate with you here or on Facebook.
    My calling is to strengthen believers and discuss ideas within the faith, not argue till I drop with unbelievers and skeptics.
    We’ve gone over all this ground before…you’re not convinced.
    I am.
    It’s a free country.

  29. Ricky Bobby says:

    Is it moral and/or ethical to kill women, children, infants and animals in a war context? Ever? Under any circumstance?

    Your version of God, if you are an inerrantist and hold the OT to be equally God…is “Yes, it is moral and ethical, depending on context. If God tells you to kill women, children and infants and animals, then it is both good and righteous”.

  30. I find Nadia Bolz completely fascinating. She is everything that I am not, but I must admit she really does seem compelled by the love of Christ. I would love to talk to her.

  31. Ricky Bobby says:

    Michael, you stifle free discussion. That is hypocritical. You posted the link, you invited discussion publicly. That is dishonest. Make it a login password protected club, then, like SMP. If you keep it open to the public and I comment in line with a linked topic that you invited discussion on, then it is fair game…or you are not conducting yourself morally or ethically by stifling my input that is on topic.

  32. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I had a bunch of people send me that link about her.
    She fascinates a lot of folks.
    I’m not one of those folks, but it’s worth reading about.

  33. I don’t find the softie, hippy-dippy, say nothing liberals to be interesting. She is not that. She is completely liberal (theological sense, not political), for sure, but she is saying something and saying it with force and passion. I don’t suspect that she would ever sway me to her beliefs, but I do think I would learn a ton by talking to her.

  34. Michael says:

    RB,

    Your stuff was posted .
    People can choose to engage or not.

    If you want to argue about such things than why don’t you go engage with people who specialize in such apologetics?

  35. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I wonder what her appeal is….her boundaries are expanding.

  36. Jim says:

    I highly recommend Chaplain Mikes article on being a pastor. 🙂

    Very timely.

  37. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nadiabolzweber/2013/10/reformation-day-sermon-on-self-righteousness-and-humility/

    There’s a transcript of a recent sermon she gave. I can’t read that and not see that to some extent…she gets it.

    Remember – I AM SOUTHERN BAPTIST!

    She is a tattooed, woman, pastor with a filthy mouth, but she speaks the Gospel. I do find that fascinating. Kind of like Brennan Manning, I suppose. It is amazing to see that God doesn’t always conform to our preconceptions.

  38. Ricky Bobby says:

    Michael said, “If you want to argue about such things than why don’t you go engage with people who specialize in such apologetics?”

    You posted the link, you invited the public commentary, I commented. Why do you post links and then run from comments you don’t like?

    I gave my take and there really isn’t any room for much of an argument, it’s pretty air-tight.

  39. Michael says:

    Josh,

    That was a good sermon…

  40. Steve Wright says:

    I like the discussion of the titles in Mike’s article – but somehow he (or the book) skipped Bishop? Funny we were just discussing that one yesterday.

    Question. Martyr mentions bringing bread and wine and water.

    Does anyone know exactly what he was speaking of with the water? Is it water for baptism? Foot washing? Or to cut the wine?

    Thanks.

  41. Rick, I’ve engaged you in those questions before as well. If you want some reply to your thoughts, you said:

    “Your version of God, if you are an inerrantist and hold the OT to be equally God…is “Yes, it is moral and ethical, depending on context. If God tells you to kill women, children and infants and animals, then it is both good and righteous”.”

    I will say that you have captured my beliefs pretty well. Of course, there are a million qualifiers that go beyond your small paragraph, but as a quick, short, summary I do not shy away from what you’ve said.

  42. Ricky Bobby says:

    The cartoon “Funny but true” link is hilarious. Well done, bravo!

  43. Ricky Bobby says:

    Sorry Josh, not gonna waste the time with you, not only for the good of the thread, but b/c in my experience with you, it’s like Tyson vs. a fifth grader and not much gets accomplished.

  44. Michael says:

    Steve,

    Good question…I think we can leave out cutting the wine.
    My guess would be baptism…but it’s only a guess.

  45. Jim says:

    I just watched a portion of a Nadia sermon. I’m a little less impressed with her as he seems to be with herself. In the 70’s and 80’s, we hard rock/metalheads could smell a poser a mile away. Sort of what was said in between the lines in the country music article Michael posted.
    I’m not a hipster or whatever she’s trying to be, but I smell a poser. Sorry, not a very nice thing to say.

  46. According to Catholic sources, the water and wine were to be mixed.

  47. Thanks Rik B. Just trying to be nice to you, bud.

  48. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I may stand corrected… 🙂

  49. Ricky Bobby says:

    Josh, if you truly were trying to engage and not be a …., then I apologize. I thought you were poking at me. Regardless, since Michael has expressed his distaste for an ongoing “argument” on that Link, then I’ll move on to other issues that are linked.

  50. Ricky Bobby says:

    Uggggg. Reading the Johnny Mac response so illustrates the disconnect and “blame shift” of the Selective Fundamentalist. Strangely, Mac’s fire supports my thesis above. Wish I could flesh it out, but that would be looked down upon as well…so I’ll leave it at that.

  51. Ricky Bobby says:

    Furdick is a total ….. Tax the Churches. They are about as “non-prophet” as Amway. The guys at the top of the Pyramid get paid…and paid well…in much of Churchianity.

  52. Michael says:

    RB,

    I don’t have time to edit, so self edit.
    Most churches in this country are under a hundred people…no one gets rich in them.

  53. I’ll say this about Steven. He is a businessman, but he is not a con-man. He and I always disagreed on how church should be done, and I wish he would’ve listened to me more. But the truth is, he believes in what he is doing, and he will continue to do it in the biggest way imaginable.

  54. Steve Wright says:

    The IRS requires pastors to be taxed as self-employed, even though they are employees of that church. 15.30% off the top of all income.

  55. Michael says:

    Josh,

    When you put Furtick next to the description of a pastor in Chaplain Mikes article…you come out with a businessman, not a pastor.

  56. Muff Potter says:

    Jim wrote at # 2:

    I think God is with me on this issue.

    I’m with you on this one too Jim. I am also a gun owner – AND an old school FDR style socialist to boot!

  57. Jim says:

    Steve,

    I pay close to that in fica. ALL income, or AGI?

  58. Michael, I agree, and I hate that for him. However, he is a businessman, not a scoundrel. I feel weird standing up for him, but you wouldn’t believe the fallout in my area from all this. The truth is, if you go to a church with multi-site and a light show, expect a businessman behind the pulpit.

  59. RB,
    Taxing churches has nothing to do with being non profit. Read the constitution – does “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; ” mean anything to you? Taxing churches is making a law.

    As you know, tax policy is used to encourage or to inhibit actions. Want people to smoke less, raise taxes. Want people to build more homes, lower taxes. Want to curb church activities raise taxes.

  60. Alan Hawkins says:

    Do the bloggers on this forum ascribe to inerrancy as an adequate description of scripture and its authority? Not looking for a debate really, just curious and wonder what the consensus might be. Is an inerrant Bible the remedy for an errant church?

    I think no one here believes in an inerrant church unless it is perhaps Xenia, I would be curious about that too.

    I ascribe to authoritative and God breathed but I do not ascribe to inerrancy. I think the concept is too flawed and the long list of exemptions deny the premise.

  61. Ricky Bobby says:

    “Most churches in this country are under a hundred people…no one gets rich in them.”

    Same goes for “most businesses”…but that doesn’t stop the Tax Man. Equal Protection Under the Law. Tax the Churches like the rest of us schmucks.

    Steve Wright, you know as well as any of the insiders how to work the System with Housing Allowance/Parsonage, retirement account contributions, paying for everything out of the church monies and writing it off (YOU don’t make a lot of money off of Jesus, but you know the tricks that your fellow pastors in CC and Evangelicalism employ as you have professed knowledge of tax law etc)

    Many Churches turn big profits and they aren’t taxed at the Corporate Tax rate. The pastor’s may get hit with paying the other half of the 15% self-employment tax (you state 15% total that the pastor gets hit with, but that is false, the Church as employer picks up the first half of it) but they pastor gets a lot of Tax Shelters that others in Business do not…and the Church as a Corporation is sheltered from Corporate Taxes on profits…and you know that.

    Don’t try to spin this as something it isn’t. You profess knowledge in this area, don’t try to pick-and-choose and hide the truth about the situation.

  62. Michael says:

    Alan,

    Tough question.
    There are even many different flavors of inerrantists.
    However, if something is God breathed, by nature it will be inerrant…

  63. Babs,
    I think inerrancy is one of those add on words people use to make a point. It’s like Bible Believing Christians or Born Again Christians. Throw away terms.

  64. Jim says:

    RB,

    Neither the pastor or the church pays either side of Social Security/medicare.

  65. Ricky Bobby says:

    “However, if something is God breathed, by nature it will be inerrant…”

    And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.–the bible

    Man is “inerrant”?

  66. Jim says:

    Muff,

    At least FDR didn’t go after anyone’s guns. Oh, except the Japanese Americans.

  67. Alan Hawkins says:

    I am not so sure Michael, God breathes into us and then interacts in and through us but not inerrantly. I understand the logic of the statement but it doesn’t seem to work out in boots on the ground. Nor do I think God seems to mind.

    I am intrigued that God brought revival through Wesley and Whitefield despite their variant beliefs. But I know that is a different thing from the scripture question I do not mean to conflate the two.

  68. Ricky Bobby says:

    Jim, excellent point of correction.

    “Self-employed individuals generally must pay self-employment tax (SE tax) as well as income tax. SE tax is a Social Security and Medicare tax primarily for individuals who work for themselves. It is similar to the Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from the pay of most wage earners. In general, anytime the wording “self-employment tax” is used, it only refers to Social Security and Medicare taxes and not any other tax (like income tax).”

    Some, many actually, in Christian-tax-free land “opt out” of this and don’t pay in.

  69. I believe the Bible is inerrant, but I do not hold that term as a 1st Priority issue. I think “authoritative and God breathed” is fine.

  70. Michael says:

    BD,

    If the words (and that’s what we are dealing with) were spoken (breathed out) by God then they were inerrant or you have a God that makes the occasional miscue.

    The interpretation of those words and how those words are put into practice is in the environment of fallen men in a fallen creation.

    Conflating those two issues leads to nothing but confusion.

  71. Steve Wright says:

    (you state 15% total that the pastor gets hit with, but that is false, the Church as employer picks up the first half of it)
    ——————————————–
    No. If the church pays $1000 (even if all housing) the pastor has to chip in $153.

    I bet if Professor Newnham wanted to give us a pop quiz on how the taxing of housing allowance works, most would fail.

    And yes, there is a lot of shenanigans with finances possible, just as there are at Apple Inc.

    I guess when someone says “tax the churches” there needs to be more specificity.

  72. Steve Wright says:

    Of course, you guys could read the IRS regulations on all this and educate yourselves. 🙂

  73. Jim says:

    RB,

    I was church staff for 2 years. the intern made 35K and paid zero taxes, and the Sr’s finances were top secret. You’re correct about the housing allowance, which is why I asked Steve for a clarification. I’m told that all pastors don’t opt out of ss/medicare, but I’ve never met one who actually did.

    I don’t blame anyone for paying as little tax as legally possible.

  74. Jim says:

    Steve,

    Are you referring to self employment tax, meaning you didn’t opt out?

  75. Steve Wright says:

    Yes, Jim. This assumes no opting out. I have a big problem with opting out because I believe almost every pastor that does so is using a financial motivation and that is not what the law allows – ergo, they are violating the law.

  76. Ricky Bobby says:

    Jim said, “I don’t blame anyone for paying as little tax as legally possible.”

    Agreed, I’d just like the same loopholes as a business owner. Somehow my “profits” are more taxable than a Church Corporations’ prophets…and in my experience, my profit is much more straightforward and upfront then their prophets.

  77. “If the words (and that’s what we are dealing with) were spoken (breathed out) by God then they were inerrant or you have a God that makes the occasional miscue.”

    I guess the one caveat that you can make is that the original word is inerrant, but the transmission is not. That would be to say that God didn’t make any mistakes, but maybe Moses or Paul did. I don’t hold to that theory, but some do.

  78. Ricky Bobby says:

    Testing. Michael is taking a risk my untethering me (taking me off mod). I appreciate it and I’ll try to keep it real, but PG-13 and not taking over the blog. We’ll see how it goes. It’ll probably crash and burn in a glorious fire-ball like 0bamacare, but I appreciate his attempt.

  79. Steve Wright says:

    Josh, the thing is we are told the Scriptures are God-breathed (inspired) and not the writers. I don’t think that allows for an error in the original transmission.

    Copyist errors…most definitely.

  80. Totally agree, Steve. I am an inerrantist, I was just pointing out an exception to Michael’s comment, about how one could see the Scriptures as God-breatherd, but not hold our Bible as inerrant.

  81. Xenia says:

    RB opines that “Michael, you stifle free discussion.”

    Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact that he tolerates you here is evidence of that.

    Good grief.

  82. Xenia says:

    Does anyone know exactly what he was speaking of with the water? Is it water for baptism? Foot washing? Or to cut the wine?<<<

    The wine is traditionally diluted with hot water.

  83. Ricky Bobby says:

    X, that comment was made with several comments stuck in moderation. That’s the context. He has “Freed Willy”…so he’s not stifling discussion and it will be incumbent on me to play by his rules, which he has pretty clearly laid out and has pretty much meted out fairly most of the time.

  84. Xenia says:

    I think no one here believes in an inerrant church unless it is perhaps Xenia,<<<

    The Church is inerrant but the people in it are not, including the hierarchy.

  85. Ricky Bobby says:

    My goal will be to support Michael on here in his effort to get his book published and to generate some much needed income from this site. When I focus on that, rather than keeping it real (in the context of contrarian/critic) then I think I can tone it down for the Greater Good of Michael’s success.

    I can keep it more real on other sites and venues.

  86. Michael says:

    There is no doubt that there are scribal errors and interpretive challenges.
    However, we have so much manuscript evidence that those scribal errors become obvious.

  87. Steve Wright says:

    Xenia, is there any significance to diluting the wine right there on the spot (and not beforehand). Is it a reference to the water and blood that flowed from Jesus after struck with the spear once He died?

  88. Xenia says:

    Steve, yes, it’s a reference to the water that flowed from Jesus’ side. The action is called (in Greek) zeon. The hot water is added just before Communion is served.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeon_(liturgy)

  89. Xenia says:

    We receive the bread and wine (diluted slightly with hot water) on a spoon, by the way. “Servant of God Xenia receives the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ for the remissions of sins and the healing of soul and body.” The bread is read bread, too, not a wafer. Fr. G bakes it himself.

  90. Steve Wright says:

    I tell you, between me figuring that out and reading Ignatius last night talking about the bishop….if this CC thing doesn’t work out I may have to call you Xenia. 🙂

  91. Xenia says:

    *real* bread.

  92. Xenia says:

    Steve, reading those old fathers can make a person do some thinking, that’s for sure.

  93. Xenia says:

    I know it’s almost time for Communion when I hear the electric tea kettle behind the altar begin to hiss and steam.

  94. Steve Wright says:

    Xenia…Moses Model has nothing on Ignatius. 🙂

  95. Ricky Bobby says:

    BTW, Michael is a good man…no matter what his inner-calvinist tells him 🙂

  96. Michael says:

    RB,

    I try…

  97. Michael says:

    This is what I always want this place to look like…there has been much to learn, much one could follow up on if they chose to.
    Good job, peeps.

  98. For what is BJU being investigated? It didn’t say in the link.

  99. Xenia says:

    A lot of seemingly archaic practices that you read about in the fathers and in history books which seem really peculiar and out-dated to modern Protestants are still being regularly practiced by the Orthodox. When I was at the university a few years ago the history and literature profs would comment on some liturgical practice and say “They used to do this in the Middle Ages” and I would raise my hand and say “We did this very thing last Sunday.”

  100. I am also very interested in this Billy Graham event. I will be shocked if we actually see him speak. It doesn’t matter in the sense that God will still be glorified, but if we don’t actually see the man himself open his mouth and speak, you can discard all those articles and political statements from the last couple of years without another thought.

  101. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Sexual abuse at BJU.

  102. Steve Wright says:

    This is what I always want this place to look like…there has been much to learn
    ———————————————————-
    So are we done on the taxes issue? I was just warming up. 🙂

  103. Michael says:

    Steve,

    Proceed…I just love the fact that we get so many different views from so many traditions.
    The taxes discussion is valuable, so continue.

  104. Xenia says:

    You will all be relieved to know that I have no opinions about taxes!

  105. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    You add so much here..and I’m very grateful.

  106. Steve Wright says:

    Well..one interesting thing about housing allowance, to use that earlier example.

    $1000 housing from the church nets $847 after self-employment tax.

    But as all know, housing is not subject to income tax. So the IRS says you owe $153 even though you had no income.

    Which means the church, even though it wants to pay $1000 in housing to their pastor – actually pays $847 and pays him taxable income of $153 – in order to have the money to then send to the IRS for self-employment withholding.

  107. Jim says:

    I’m done on clergy taxes. My world just expanded. I’ve had this conversation with a lot of pastors, and they ALL opted out, although some regretted it. I respect Steve’s integrity on this issue.

  108. Jim says:

    I’ve seen housing allowance statements. That’s a loophole you could drive a Mack Truck through…

  109. Ricky Bobby says:

    Steve W, does a guy like Furtick or Warren get taxed on book sales or do they get some sort of loophole?

  110. Steve Wright says:

    Allowable housing is the LESSER of one of three numbers.

    1) Declared by the Board before the start of the tax year.

    2) Actual housing expenses during the course of that year.

    3) Fair rental value (plus utilities) of the house.

    I’m sure many housing allowances would not pass muster with the IRS, if they ever audited them.

  111. Churches get taxed on anything that is not directly “church” related. I was the chairman of the board for 5 years for the largest SBC church in the Inland Empire. We owned houses and apartments that we had bought for future expansion and paid all the income and property taxes.

    Also, like anyone else, if we made improvements to the property, we fell under all kinds of regulations and fees. One time we added some classrooms and the city / county made us move a power pole (that had nothing to do with the construction and replace about 500 feet of curbs to come up to city / county requirements.

    About the only thing not taxed was the “offerings”,

  112. fyi says:

    Jim, I am a CC pastor and most of the pastors I know (including me) did not opt out.

  113. Ricky Bobby says:

    Good article by the New York Times here that addresses this issue:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/11/business/11religious.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

  114. Ricky Bobby says:

    Churches don’t pay Property Taxes which is a huge revenue source for many State and Local govts. who are getting squeezed hard right now.

    All these Mega-churches, the very wealthy Roman Catholic Church etc…leaching off the US Taxpayer.

    It’s a form of Socialism IMO.

  115. Alan Hawkins says:

    Interesting article of John MacArthur I appreciate his candor and clarity.

    I think good answers should come forth from Charismatics. And will.

  116. Steve Wright says:

    Ministers of every faith are also exempt from income tax withholding.
    ———————————————————–
    I like how the NY Times phrased this. I guess they are counting on the stupidity of their audience, or that enough anger can blind them to what is reality.

    Being exempt from WITHHOLDING is not the same as being exempt from income TAX.

    You just have to file quarterly installments. There is absolutely nothing nefarious or unfair in saying someone is exempt from withholding.

    Personally, I wish the entire population of the USA had to file quarterly installments. Make people get paid their full gross and then write a personal check to the feds and state for the full amount each quarter. That would be the quickest way to a tax revolution possible.

    I’m amazed when I talk to someone and they say in effect they “make” what they take home. I remind them they MAKE what they are paid BEFORE taxes.

  117. “Churches don’t pay Property Taxes ”

    I just showed you where my former church paid a bunch in property taxes … just not on the church property – but we did for any other properties we owned.

    But you never replied to my constitutional grounds as to why the government cannot tax churches – 1st amendment.

  118. Dude says:

    I never shop at christian book stores as a practice…..I am not a christian junk food junkie.

    I semi agree with MacAurthur…..tons of false teaching in the charismatic movement.I spent my first 7 yrs as a believer as a charismatic .Never will I return to that stuff.

    Barton , Hovind and many others..
    We have the blind leading the blind.Truth is a mute point in the modern American church.

  119. Steve Wright says:

    Churches don’t pay Property Taxes which is a huge revenue source for many State and Local govts. who are getting squeezed hard right now.
    ————————————————-
    In addition to MLD’s caveat, it should be noted that all non-profits don’t pay property taxes, not just churches.

    By the way, even the church pays some assessed fees on a property tax invoice. Streetlights etc.

  120. Alan Hawkins says:

    JM says,
    “For example, God’s Word explicitly says that true prophets must adhere to a standard of 100% accuracy (Deut. 18:20–22) and nothing in the New Testament exempts them from that standard.”

    But I say unto you,

    Nathan told David II Sam 7 to do “all that is within your heart for the LORD is with you.” Now Nathan misspoke. He was not a false prophet but he spoke in the name of the LORD errantly. God did not kill Nathan, he corrected him and sent him to David to clean up his mess and prophesy correctly. There is a difference between a false prophet and a prophet who prophesies errantly. God is against one and not the other. I know how this will be parsed. You will say that Nathan was not prophesying when he spoke the first time. Ok that is debatable but he certainly spoke from the authority of the LORD and it fits strongly with the Deut. passage.

    There is a difference between deceit and error and I think God is more than generous enough to deal with the matter.

  121. Steve Wright says:

    I know that we collect and pay sales tax on book sales. I have never bought a book at retail to my knowledge that was exempt from sales tax because it was a religious book. And I know that income to the author/artist from sales of books or music is certainly taxable income.

  122. Alan Hawkins says:

    Further I don’t think JM takes all of Deut. as seriously as he wants to take that passage. Though I imagine that he would not mind the blood.

  123. covered says:

    Great point Alan H on your #121. I believe that JM was forthright in what he believes and is committed to that belief. For that I applaud him. He gave gracious responses to Challies.

    Steve when you and Jim are discussing “opting out”, are you referring to the IRS 4361 allowance to clergy or something different?

  124. James says:

    Steve, do pastors pay property taxes on their house?

  125. Alan Hawkins says:

    Yes James… we pay property taxes… I think we should work on that one …

  126. Steve Wright says:

    Yes covered, the 4361 is the “opting out” of which Jim and I speak.

    Yes, James, I pay a ton of property taxes on my house here in CA…and it ain’t that big a property 😉

  127. James says:

    My church just bought the building that they have been renting for years. So now the property will be taken off the tax rolls?

  128. Alan Hawkins says:

    Yes James … no more will your building be on the tax roles. So you guys treat the community well.

  129. James says:

    Alan, good advice. I need to talk to pastor about this. Thanks.

  130. Steve Wright says:

    My take on prophecy as a NT gift. They do not equate to the person being a Biblical prophet, any more than a healing equates to someone going through all the hospitals and healing everyone.

    The prophets in the Bible were supposed to be listened to as the equal of God. Thus saith the LORD…

    I believe the Thessalonian instruction to “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.” is helpful.

    I don’t despise someone sharing a prophecy about my life – but I am not going to drop everything and react as if for sure that is the word of the Lord. Or as I say (and was taught) the Lord has not lost my phone number. He has given me the Spirit to guide me, and a prophecy can be a great encouragement and confirmation for a believer. And again, these are not prophecies relevant to the entire Body of Christ throughout the ages, equal to the Scripture…but why would local churches and Christians no longer need such guidance and encouragement today, if they needed it in the early church?

    But to compare it with the instruction about false prophets under the Law of Moses is not at all relevant to today and a huge hermeneutical error in my opinion.

  131. pstrmike says:

    I didn’t opt out. I worked too many years in non church enterprises, and I do not hold the conviction that would enable me to do so. Every one (most pastors I know) who is self employed pay twice the amount of tax for SSI than what an employee pays through Schedule SE. My total taxation to the various income streams of federal, state and local government was about 33% of my income last year. I would think that is about normal for most people.

  132. Jim says:

    Personal predictive prophecy is scary and dangerous to me. I’ve stopped people in my sphere from giving what I call parking lot prophecies.

    On the other hand, I’ve been prophesied over more than once with scary acuracy. God knows my number, but I’m hard of hearing.

  133. Linnea says:

    Michael @71..is it possible God breathes out truth and inerrancy, but once it becomes resident in man, it is susceptible to corruption? Haven’t read the whole thread…maybe you’ve hashed this out already.

  134. Michael says:

    Linnea,

    That’s pretty much exactly how I look at it.

  135. Gary says:

    Late again. Has the bell rung? I’m up to Xenia @#82. RB said that? What a joke. I missed that comment (Just like I miss the broccoli at KFC).

  136. Gary says:

    Tre are o errr I he ible.

  137. Kevin H says:

    I know the original link didn’t generate much discussion, but…….. our country is in dire straits now. David Barton has decided not to run for Senate. How will we ever be saved from our moral decay now?!?!

    http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/david-barton-john-cornyn-99459.html?ml=la

  138. j2theperson says:

    Am I the only one who has to ask who is David Barton?

  139. Kevin H says:

    j2,

    David Barton is a self-proclaimed expert on the Constitution, American history, and the founding fathers. He leads an organization called Wallbuilders, which according to its website, “is an organization dedicated to presenting America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built – a foundation which, in recent years, has been seriously attacked and undermined.” Barton is very influential in some conservative circles, both politically and in the church.

    While some of Barton’s ideas and concerns are worthy of consideration and have some merit, the problem is that Barton takes things to too much of an extreme and is often deceptive and disingenuous in the material he presents. Many scholars, a good amount of whom are politically and/or theologically conservative themselves, have exposed and documented Barton’s many falsehoods. This, however, has not stopped many people from continuing to clamor over Barton because he can tell a good story, give a slick presentation, and aligns with their political ideals.

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