www.chalcedon.edu September/October 2008 |
Faith for All of Life
Faith or All o Lie
ship. With Hegel, the state was plainly dened as god walking on earth. Thepresent and working god o society hadbecome the state; the God o Scripture was exiled to heaven.The government, said the modernstate, is upon our shoulders; sovereignty is the prerogative o the state. The statealone is lord, and hence the taxing, gov-erning, and lawmaking power.In terms o this lordship, the statesaid, the earth is the state’s, and theullness thereo, the world and they thatdwell therein. Earlier, the papacy had,in Christ’s name, rightly or wrongly,divided the newly discovered continentsamong the nations. Now the nationsclaimed the earth or themselves. Previ-ously, it had been church lands that were tax-exempt; now, those lands weresteadily limited, and state lands gainedthe privileges o lordship.There was a very grave dierence,however. Church lands paid no taxes,but they provided a vast variety o socialservices. The lands were productive, andthey were usually productively used.These, together with tithes and oer-ings, provided a growing and importantgovernment or Christ’s people. True,there were abuses, but these were palecompared to current statist abuses. When Henry VIII seized church proper-ties, he justied it by indicting relics,and by charges o immorality leveledagainst the monks, more than a little o it invented. Not even Henry VIII coulddeny the validity o their charitable works and ministries.The states, having seized the churchlands, and the whole earth, ostensi-bly or the general welare, made nosuch use o these properties, exceptas national or state parks. Instead, itturned on the people, to tax them withever-increasing taxes, to take care o theneeds once provided or by the tithe andby church lands. Today, taxation hasbecome expropriation, and the greedy power state, owning most o the earth,hurls charges o special privilege againstthe meager church properties, almostexclusively limited now to churches andschools.To add insult to injury, the claim isnow openly and loudly made that taxexemption is a subsidy rom the state!Nothing could be a more fagrant andblasphemous lie. The confict withRome by the early church was over thisissue: who is the lord, Christ or Caesar?I Christ is the Lord, He cannot pay taxes to, or be controlled by, Caesar.The church ought or and gainedexemption rom taxation as a
,a oreign power, an embassy o the Kingo kings. Christians are ambassadors o Christ (2 Cor. 5:20; Eph. 6:20). OurEnglish words
. The church is anembassy whose duty it is to conquer the whole world, and to make all nations,peoples, tribes, tongues, vocations, andareas o lie aspects o Christ’s parish.The embassy is under God’s sover-eignty, law, and taxation. The early church, as part o its mission, took inthe abandoned babies o the pagans.(I a woman could not, in those days,abort her baby successully, she had itabandoned at birth. In Rome, the babies were abandoned under the bridges, where wild dogs could speedily dis-pose o them. The Christians collectedthese abandoned babies, passed themaround among church members, andreared them in the aith, as a step in theChristian conquest.) Another aspect o the early church’s mission was the careo the sick, aged, and needy in its ownmidst, and, as ar as possible, amongtheir pagan neighbors. These ministries were resented by Rome, which regardedthem rightly as a orm o government.Rome saw the early church as arevolutionary and tax-dodging organiza-tion. Tax-dodging is, in the eyes o thestate, a most serious oense; money is the lieblood o the state, and, tothreaten the state’s source o taxes is tothreaten its lie. Everything was done todeame these “tax-dodgers”: they werecalled cannibals and sacricers o humanbeings. (The communion service, theslander held, involved eating the fesho the babies the Christians rescued,and drinking their blood.) They wereaccused o the sexual crimes which actu-ally marked the Romans. (The Chris-tians obviously loved one another, andthe Romans could not dissociate loverom lust, and they hence concludedthat sexual rites marked the lie o thechurch.) On and on the deamation went, seeking to discredit the churchand its work.Today we have the same process at work. The churches, we are told, arerich, and the pastors rolling in money.The act is that, in 1980, the averagepay o church pastors in the UnitedStates was $10,348 a year. (In 1976, ed-eral authorities called everything below $15,000 poverty.) Fourteen percent o all pastors earned less than $6,000 andhad to support themselves through oth-er jobs; only ve percent earned morethan $15,000. In the same year, truck drivers averaged $18,300, electricians$18,000, lawyers $25,000, and dentistsover $40,000. The “rich” clergy is not sorich! (Because many are provident andthrity, they are mistaken or rich be-cause they make a little go a long way.)But what o the rich television and radiopreachers?
, and likepublications have been outspoken intheir attacks on all this “wealth.” Little issaid, however, o the high costs o suchcommunications, and the normally very careul use o all unds received. Theabusers are ew, and, as compared withmisuse o public unds by statist ocersand agencies, a comparative rarity.