One of the problems that arise from time to time with churches is the threat of losing 501 3c status when it comes to what they say from the pulpit. The threat goes that if a pastor becomes too political, that the church will lose it non-exempt status and have to start paying taxes. This really is a threat by the Left to silence those of us on the right, when it comes to issues morality and politics. This should never be allowed to happen because what is said in the pulpit is between the pastor and God, not the pastor and the state. The state has no right to interfere with the message being preached, even if that message enters into the realm of politics.
I do admit that the primary responsibility of the pastor is to preach the gospel, or the full counsel of God, as the Apostle Paul put it. But we have to admit that there are times when the pastor must speak on issues of morality and politics. The church has the right and responsibility to criticize the state. By placing itself under the state, to receive this non-exempt status, is to subject itself to the state instead of God. It places the state as the final authority, not God.
By submitting itself to the state, the church now is the subordinate in culture and the state has control. This should never be the case. Pastors should be able to speak freely from the pulpit in matters of religion, conscious and politics. Christianity comes to bear on every aspect of our lives, including politics and matters of conscious.
For instance, just imagine what our country would be like if the pastors during the founding days of our country, remained silent on the political issues at hand. We would still be sending our taxes overseas to England and bowing to the Queen. Or imagine what the world would be like if pastors remained silent concerning the issues of slavery. We would still have slave owners and worse, slaves in our country (granted, there were pastors who were arguing for maintaining the institution of slavery, but there are always opposing views on every issue).
The point is that pastors have a responsibility to apply the gospel to culture as well as to our individual lives and that means that at times we must criticize the state and actions of the state. Remember, the state is not without error. Slavery was wrong. Had the church remained silent, the institution might still be with us today.
The Left does not want us thinking in such ways. We must resist every aspect of the state’s encroachment upon the pulpit and the pastor in the pulpit. The church is not to submit itself to the state on any level, otherwise, we become subjects and servants of the state, not servants of the living God.
Some might ask: “But what about Romans 13 and the command to submit to the government?”
As individuals, we are to submit to the government and obey the laws of the land as long as these laws are just. In other words, there are times for civil disobedience when the laws of the land requires that which God forbids, or forbids what God requires. During such times, we must accept that God has ordained periods of persecution for believers as we stand for righteousness sake. But we must not grow silent when we should speak and we must not be cowed into what we should and should not say from the pulpit over this threat to lose some tax-exempt status.