Churches don’t need permission to be autonomous. Autonomy means that each Baptist church selects its pastoral leadership, determines its worship form, decides financial matters, and directs other church-related affairs without outside control or supervision. Being autonomous we recognize no governmental control over faith and religious practices. We are commanded by the Word of God to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God which is God’s. Matt. 22:21.”……. Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” (KJV)
Our history has set us apart; We are not Protestants! Protestant means that there was protesting against the Mother Church – the Catholic Church. Baptists never were part of the Catholics. We were before them. As a matter of fact, no church existed before Baptists.
However, as I have thought about autonomy and the priority of no interference from an outside source whether, another church, business, person, or government entity, the following points of thought need consideration.
- When a Pastor performs a wedding with a state marriage license has he become an agent of the state? His signature is on the document approving that the marriage is legal.
- Should churches do covenant marriages to create a disconnect from state interference into the marriage ceremony?
- Why does it take a Pastor to unite two in Holy Matrimony? For legal access to State benefits, not Godly benefits.
- Is the couple submitting to the “authority” of a Pastor, the State? At what point does the Owner and Head of the Church, Jesus, become more important than the government?
- Is a state marriage license required to do and complete a Biblical marriage?
- Does a church need the state (outside authority) interfering with autonomy by requiring a state marriage license?
- Why allow the state to have jurisdiction over a Biblical marriage?
- Church, Pastor! “I do not know why an increasing number of couples in our society are choosing not to legally marry, but we are doing them no good by rejecting them.” https://anabaptistworld.org/marriage-ceremonies-bible/
“In 1993, parents were upset here in Wisconsin because a test was being administered to their children in the government schools which was very invasive of the family’s privacy. When parents complained, they were shocked by the school bureaucrats who informed them that their children were required to take the test by law and that they would have to take the test because they (the government school) had jurisdiction over their children. When parents asked the bureaucrats what gave them jurisdiction, the bureaucrats answered, “your marriage license and their birth certificates.” Judicially, and in increasing fashion, practically, your state marriage license has far-reaching implications.” http://hushmoney.org/MarriageLicense-5.htm
6. How about tax exemption? Is this control by both the state and the feds? It seems the local church must toe the line to make sure the tax exemption remains active. Sounds like outside interference to me.
7. Seems to me that tax exemption places a muzzle on the Pastor in regards to preaching against the government and heated social issues. However, churches do this willingly!
“Most churches in America today are organized as “501c3 tax-exempt religious organizations.” However, the churches never needed to seek permission from the government to be exempt from taxes. To be taxable a church would first need to be under the jurisdiction, and therefore under the taxing authority, of the government. The First Amendment clearly states that the church is separate and apart from the government. But the Church has been tricked. Churches were placed under 501c3 as a “special privilege.” Such churches are prohibited from addressing, in any tangible way, the vital issues of the day. For a 501c3 church to openly speak out, or organize in opposition to, anything that the government declares “legal,” even if it is immoral (e.g. abortion, homosexuality, etc.), that church will jeopardize its tax-exempt status.
It is time for the Church to get out from under this contract made with the Devil. Our nation is in the state that it is today because the Church has not spoken out. Now is the time to speak before it is too late.” https://preachingthenewlectionary.com/church-state/
“Just because we’ve always done it this way” isn’t always the best reason