For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
What was the conflict that propelled Marion County to come with such a show of force against our tiny, unarmed Church? Marion County has taken the position that all churches must pay property taxes - unless they qualify for and are granted an exemption. Our position, however, is that no church pays property taxes. But in order for properties to be removed from the tax rolls, the church must secure the exemption by claiming it. Once the church notifies the assessor, it is the assessor's duty to remove the property from the tax rolls. The difference in positions is that the County wants us to apply for and receive a privilege. Our position is that God established this Church and if He said it, that settles it.
This battle is not so much a question of taxes as it is of Lordship. Who is going to be Lord of the Church? Is Marion County, State of Oregon, going to be lord over the Church, or is Jesus Christ going to be Lord over the Church? God does not share His glory with another. Neither can any man serve two masters, for he will love the one and hate the other. We know we have a very jealous God.
Jesus wants us to be in His bed, and it is a very private bed. If we become harlots and join the bed of others, then He can no longer sanction His bride.
Any church that incorporates or is recognized under the State or Federal government cannot possibly be the Church because they have separated themselves from Jesus Christ. In other words, if a church is recognized by the State, it is not the Church. It is the State. Therefore, if we want the protection of the Lord Jesus Christ, then let us remain with Him alone and let us stand until the end.
If the Church remains a Church under the Lord Jesus Christ, then their whole livelihood is Jesus Christ. They are not restricted from speaking out against abortion, homosexuality, and divorce and remarriage. But once the Church becomes a corporation of the State, then the State has an interest in what they preach. They can threaten to remove their tax exempt status for speaking in opposition to the State's policies.
The State church must use its property according to State dictates. They must apply for zoning and building permits. However, a Kingdom of Heaven Church is used exactly the way Jesus Christ desires the people to use that Church.
In a State corporation church, the States rules over them. They are blocked from truly being the Church. Jesus Christ becomes merely a figurehead. His true character is gutted out and His Kingdom ceases to be a present reality.
The State churches have fallen into a low position of having to jump through hoops for the State, just to claim what is already theirs. The County wants to do the same thing with us. They want to qualify us as a Church. But as soon as they start trying to qualify the Church, they enter into establishing religion. Now they are telling the Church what it can and cannot do.
The County has told us that we have not taken advantage of our statutory right to appeal the Assessor's denial. We believe we cannot appeal their decision. To appeal is to acknowledge that the County has the authority to qualify a Church and to grant or deny the Church an exemption. We continue to stand on the Lord Jesus Christ and are not subject to the State's procedures. A Christian follows truth wherever it takes him. The world, on the other hand, follows procedures, and not the truth.
We may have made a hundred errors, but we could not care less. We may have "missed appeal rights" and this and that, but it does not matter because we are seekers of Truth and that is what we want them to follow, too. Their forefathers used procedures to take Jesus off of the land. They had no accusations against Him. They crucified a perfect man. And their procedures crucified Him.
Now they have come against our Lord Jesus Christ by removing His Church from the land. And they are hoping to prevail, not because Truth is on their side, but because they have followed their procedures.
By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.