Podium I

So, who is Lord for real... Jesus or Caesar?

(Revised 12-19-07)

       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 is commonly known today as the Christian Religion.  Ever since then the church of Jesus Christ has been polluted with all manner of idolatry, paganism and secular humanist laws and philosophies.  

       In America, by far, the most pervasive example of how the spirit of Caesar still controls the church and religious activity is the 501(c)(3) religious corporation process.  It 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 for bucking the system.  While those who defend the process of church incorporation disagree with those of us who insist on keeping the church pure and un-mingled, 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 official State church system – the 501(c)(3).  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) church 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 a pure 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, what Caesar creates, Caesar controls. 

       No matter how convincingly those who love and serve the State may try to spin the facts to the contrary, the truth is, Caesar’s lordship reigns over church corporations... not Christ’s.  In fact, for any church corporation to proclaim the popular catch phrase “Jesus is Lord” is not only untrue and intellectually dishonest, it is deceptively misleading!  Therefore, anyone seeking a pure and uncontaminated expression of life and fellowship in the true body of Christ should avoid the State church at all costs.  

“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall  
shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they 
shall deceive the very elect.  Behold I have told you before.”  Matthew 24:24.  

     While it is true God has His faithful remnant of believers scattered throughout the earth (many of whom, no doubt, are still within the various religious corporations yet to come out), it is also clear from Scripture that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinner; not denominations, organization or political parties.  Consequently, the church corporations (human institutions) in which so many have misplaced their trust, have already been adjudged by Christ and their fate promulgated within the Perfect Law of Liberty.  

“And now also the ax is laid unto the root (foundation) of the trees 
(churches): therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn 
down, and cast into the fire.”  Matthew 3:10.  

       And so, with regards to the status of your particular church, the question posed by the title of this essay, “who is lord for real”, depends on whether or not the church is incorporated.  Although under law there may be other factors which come into play determining the issue of lordship, if the church is incorporated, all other so-called points of indicia that might otherwise be solely relied upon by a judge become merely the icing on the cake!  And, how you feel or what you personally believe about who is lord over your church makes no difference.  Many a well meaning pastor who firmly believed otherwise have found out the hard way that because his church was incorporated, a secular humanist judge was really his lord... not Christ.    

       On the other hand, churches who refuse to join - remember, it's voluntary - are free to “come out” (II Corinthians 6:17 & Revelation 18:4) and to bask in the liberating  joy  of  the  actual  and  literal  Lordship  of  Christ.  Yes, coming out is generally difficult, and in some cases may cost you everything you have, perhaps even your life!  Certainly, no one should have any illusions about what it means to be a bondservant and follower of Christ in the Twenty first Century.  Read your New Testament and the accounts of early church history (1st and 2nd Century).  You will quickly discover that a very different level of commitment and understanding of the lordship of Christ occupied the hearts and minds of those who first believed.  Selah.        
William Raymond: