In Russia and China, believers meet secretly in homes. When government officials find out about these unregistered Churches, Christ's followers are tortured, pastors go to prison, and property is confiscated. In America, churches meet openly and there seems to be no persecution. Why is America different?
The reason there is no persecution in America is because the Churches have "sold out" to the State regime. They have registered or incorporated under the State. Once they have become part of the State, the State loves its own and there is no persecution (John 15:19).
Almost 100 percent of the churches in America have become State corporations. They did it voluntarily to save a buck, to obtain tax exempt status, and to have limited liability if the church is sued.
According to Black's Law Dictionary, a "corporation" is an "artificial person" or "legal entity" created by or under the authority of the laws of a state or nation.
To incorporate means to join with something already formed, to become part of another body. When a church incorporates under the laws of the State, it becomes part of the State's body. A maxim of law says, "What one creates, one controls." State incorporated churches are under the control of their creator, the State. They have taken the body of Christ and joined it to a harlot (1 Corinthians 6:15).
A State incorporated church has the State attorney general as its head. The attorney general has the final rule over his corporation. When the pastor conducts his responsibilities, he does them as an agent of the State. During the wedding ceremony, for instance, the pastor says, "Under the authority vested in me by the State of Oregon." He is conducting State business.
The State incorporated church is no different from any other State agency. In fact, it is the State. What the church has done is surrender most of the functions of the church to the State. For example, in the old days, births were recorded in the family Bible. Today the church records them with a State agency such as Vital Statistics. Marriage records are also turned over to the State. Charitable work such as helping the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the orphaned, the homeless and widows is done with State funding and under State control.
The pastor for the State incorporated church promotes compliance with all State requirements. He preaches that Romans 13 means to "obey the law of the land." And he makes sure everyone in the congregation renders unto Caesar. After all, the church does not want to offend its master and lose its tax exempt status.
If we look in the New Testament, Jesus Christ is the head of the Church. The word "incorporate" is not used in the King James Bible. But Jesus did speak about being incorporated, or becoming part of Him. Jesus said, "I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).
Jesus is speaking of being incorporated in Him. The branches get their life from the vine. He is saying that He is the life. Here is another: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:53-54).
Here is Jesus talking about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. If we weren't spiritually minded, that sounds like a pretty sick thing to do. But Jesus was talking figuratively. In other words, we have to "eat His flesh" or be "incorporated in Him." We derive our life from Christ.
Jesus is intent that we be made up of Him. Our spirit and our life must come from Him and we are not to join with others.
Another word similar to "incorporate" is the word "birth." To be born is to become part of a larger body. Parents give birth to a child and the child becomes part of a larger body called the family.
The State also gives "birth" by creating corporations. The corporations that the State "births" derive their life from the State, their creator. State corporations, including State incorporated churches, eat the flesh and drink the blood of the State. They abide in the State and the State abides in them.
Jesus calls us to be born, "not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:13).
Jesus also says, "except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" and "except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I say unto thee, Ye must be born again." (John 3:3,5,6,7).
To enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we must be born again. We must be born of Christ, and this is a spiritual thing. It is not of the flesh. Birth also means a new creature with a new master. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Under the true Church, our allegiance is to the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ. There is no one else who takes that position. By definition, Christ is the head of His body, which is the Church (Ephesians 1:22,23).
As Christ's body and His Church, we do not hand over our responsibilities to other bodies, such as the State. Jesus commands us to feed the hungry, take in the stranger, clothe the naked and visit the sick and imprisoned (Matthew 25:35,36). The true Church also takes care of her own and keeps her own records.
The Church must remain in Christ. If the Church registers and becomes incorporated under anything other than Christ, it ceases to be the Church. If Jesus Christ is not the Head, then by definition, it cannot be the Church.
Why is there no persecution of the Church in America today? It is because the true Church is nearly extinct. The false church has made a covenant with the State, hoping that when the overflowing scourge passes through, it shall not come upon them (Isaiah 28:15). Their watchmen are blind. They are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs. They cannot bark, sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yes, they are greedy dogs which never have enough. And they are shepherds who cannot understand. They all look to their own way, every one for his own gain, from his own territory. (Isaiah 56:10-11)
The false church cannot bark any more. They have made the State their master and are unable to warn the sheep when the wolves are coming.
A pastor friend in Southern Oregon studied the issue of State incorporation of the church and became convinced that it was wrong. He said to the board of elders, "I have been studying the issue of State incorporation and I recommend that this church move toward dissolving the corporation."
The elders' response was quick, "If you want to pastor an unincorporated church, you'll have to go elsewhere. We will not support you."
This pastor was left with a difficult decision. Remain in the false security of an incorporated State church, or strike out into the unknown territory of living by faith. He chose to depend on God to show him the way. The Pastor moved out of state and found a new flock to shepherd.
If you awaken and find yourself involved in a State incorporated church, how do you get it on a proper foundation? The first step is to convince the pastor and Board of Trustees or Elders that the church should be incorporated solely in Jesus Christ. This is a difficult task because the church has a log in its eye. It will not want to lose the financial benefits of being a State corporation.
Once the elders are convinced, steps must be taken to dissolve the corporation. Since the State created the corporation, the State must dissolve it. The old organization must die. Let it go, count it all dung.
Start over again with a new creation. This time the Church is to have Jesus Christ as Head and the body of believers are incorporated in Him. Take nothing from the Gentiles (3 John 7). Don't seek nonprofit status or tax exempt privileges. The new creation will be incorporated in the Kingdom of Heaven, instead of the State. The two corporations look almost identical, except for one essential difference. They have different heads.
"For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and ye are complete in him which is the head of all rule and power."
Colossians 2:9,10 Tyndale Bible.
Listen online to the audio program, Church Incorporation.
IRONY: In State incorporated churches, the pastor is paid a guaranteed salary to teach people how to live by faith.