The Johnson Amendment: I was ignorant….no more.

In my attempt to be educated in this year’s presidential election, I listened in to Mr. Trump’s speech last week in a nearby town.  One point that he made really caught my attention.  He said that he intends to overturn or alter the IRS code that prohibits 501c3 organizations from speaking publicly about or funding any candidate’s campaign (for or against) for a political office.

What initially hit me was – wow would that draw the attention of the Evangelical voters whom he is courting.  The second thought was – why did the church allow money to silence it?

“The tax code’s political campaign prohibition is sometimes referred to as the “Johnson Amendment,” after then-Senator Lyndon Johnson, who introduced the provision as an amendment to the Revenue Act of 1954.” ~Erika Lunder and L. Paige Whitaker

Even if/when an elected politician supported and passed this amendment, why would the churches abide by it?  God forgive us!  And may God in His providence remove it.  Many believe the amendment to be unconstitutional.  But let it no longer keep God’s word silent.

I understand that we are not talking about small sums here.  Yet God’s word is God’s word, and we, as His children, are to stand firm on His word not changing nor watering it down.  We are not to compromise with the world.  We are not to stand by silently because it might cost us something.

I had never thought about this topic before.  It was just the state of affairs.  Churches who step out of bounds on this governmental issue will have their non-profit status removed and then must pay taxes.  I’m fairly certain that Jesus said to give to Caesar what was Caesar’s and to give to God what is God’s.

Paying Taxes to Caesar

And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him. (Mark 12:13-17 ESV)

Our country needs to hear God’s truth.  The only truth.   The church needs to take back its voice and start proclaiming the word of God boldly.  We need to pray for our leaders.  Pray for Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton.  Pray that God will reveal truth and wisdom to them.  Pray that God will soften hearts, egos, change minds, and save souls.  Pray that God will glorify His name through them.  Pray for our citizens to come to a saving or a renewed faith in Jesus Christ alone and to stop looking to government for their hope and security.  Pray that you and I will be faithful servants of Jesus and speak God’s truth in the face of cost and persecution.

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. (Hebrews 10:35-39 ESV)

Beloved we must know and stand fixed on the Word of God.

Seek Him.  He reveals Himself in His Word.  He shows us the path to follow.  We must know what God’s word says – and what it doesn’t say.

Then we must do it.

We must walk in humility and love.  We must speak the truth boldly.  We must not shrink back.  Do not be deceived.  We have a gospel message of hope and salvation – the true hope and salvation for each individual.  We are called to share that hope, share that message.  Tell someone today how much Jesus loves them.  Tell them that the struggles that our country is facing can be set right if we would only humble ourselves, repent, seek God’s forgiveness – the He will heal our land.  This is the only true hope for America.

Come to Our Help

O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old: you with your own hand drove out the nations, but them you planted; you afflicted the peoples, but them you set free; for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them. You are my King, O God; ordain salvation for Jacob! Through you we push down our foes; through your name we tread down those who rise up against us. For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me. But you have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who hate us. In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah (Psalm 44:1-8 ESV)

God has given us a sword to use against our enemy – the evil one.  Beloved, this weapon is the Word of God.  It is to be used to defeat our enemy for God’s glory – not our own.  God isn’t about the business of building up America.  He is about the business of building His eternal kingdom.  We are either with Him or against Him.  There is no middle ground.  Do not let yourselves be unknowingly pulled into the pit by deception that looks and sounds good simply because you are biblically illiterate.  Do not let your voice be silenced by fear of the loss of temporary things.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. ~Jim Elliot

Do not be afraid to speak God’s word.  Our pastors may currently be tongue tied, but we as parishioners certainly are not!  Do not be afraid to stand firmly on your faith.  God is pleased and glorified with us when we do not shrink back.  Seek His truth.  Hide His word in your heart.  Share the gospel with others.  Be encouraged.  Press on!  To God be the glory!

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