Kent Hovind, Independent Baptist minister and proponent of Young Earth Creationism, has been on trial in the federal district court in Pensacola. The charges relate to actions taken in response to government seizure of property. The seizure was a result of his conviction in 2006 for structuring, the systematic withdrawal of amounts somewhat less than $10,000 to avoid currency reporting requirements. His codefendant Paul John Hansen was the trustee of Creation Science Evangelism which held title to the seized property.
The indictment charged them with fraud and contempt of court for the filing of a lis pendens, a notice of pending litigation, to warn buyers of Hovind and CSE’s continuing claim on the seized property. Hovind was pursuing a lawsuit against prison official who he claimed had interfered with his appeal of the original conviction. Hovind hoped, probably still hopes, to have the original conviction reversed and the property returned to him….
I just heard from Jonathan Schwartz of Interlock Media and freelance journalist Ben Sheffler that the jury has reached a verdict. On the six count indictment, Hovind was found guilty on count three, which only applied to him – violating a court order in 2007 to not interfere with title to the property. Hansen was found guilty on counts five and six, which only related to him – violating a court order to Creation Science Evangelism to refrain from further filings in relation the property and resisting a grand jury subpoena. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the more serious fraud charges against Hovind and violating the court order against CSE. Hansen was found not guilty on one of the fraud charges (count two) with the jury splitting on the other fraud charge (count 1) and violating the order to CSE (count 4).
Ten years ago, Annie Lobert founded “Hookers for Jesus,” an organization dedicated to helping women leave the abusive, demeaning prostitution industry.
In that time, she has been praised by press across the spectrum for her work, and even more for having the strength to leave the industry — despite financial, physical, and psychological threats and beatings.
Now, in her new book “Fallen,” Lobert talks in great detail about the childhood abuse and neglect that led her to become a prostitute — first by choice, then by force. Leaving little out, she explains how she became one of the most profitable prostitutes in Las Vegas over her 16 years in the industry, only to find herself bereft of money, friends, and family when things got hard.
After years of assaults by an ex-boyfriend and former pimp, Lobert went on to another abusive relationship, and watched her sister die of a genetic disorder. After nearly dying from cancer herself, Lobert became addicted to cocaine to help deal with the stress of helping her boyfriend launch a corporation. Even going back to prostitution couldn’t help that failing business.
Out of options, Lobert turned to Christ for the first time in more than a decade. Over several years, He opened her eyes to love, and care, and compassion – and eventually, to a new life that included a husband who encouraged her to marry as a virgin in Christ.
In a recent interview, Lobert discussed this and more with LifeSiteNews:
LifeSiteNews: What is Hookers for Jesus, and how does your ministry help sex-trafficked women?
Annie Lobert: Hookers For Jesus is an outreach on the Las Vegas strip to sex trafficking victims and sex industry ladies that I started in 2005. The main point of the outreach was to let ladies know that they are loved by God and if they needed any resources to help them in their lives, we were available to connect.
In 2007, we established our non-profit and later developed Destiny House, a home for women to heal emotionally, mentally, and spiritually from their pasts but to also help them establish their new lives outside of the sex industry….
….John had come to a long-considered, thoughtful decision. He said, “I’m just done. I’m done with church.”
John is one in a growing multitude of ex-members. They’re sometimes called the de-churched. They have not abandoned their faith. They have not joined the also-growing legion of those with no religious affiliation–often called the Nones. Rather, John has joined the Dones.
At Group’s recent Future of the Church conference, sociologist Josh Packard shared some of his groundbreaking research on the Dones. He explained these de-churched were among the most dedicated and active people in their congregations. To an increasing degree, the church is losing its best.
For the church, this phenomenon sets up a growing danger. The very people on whom a church relies for lay leadership, service and financial support, are going away. And the problem is compounded by the fact that younger people in the next generation, the Millennials, are not lining up to refill the emptying pews.
Why are the Dones done? Packard describes several factors in his upcoming book, Church Refugees (Group). Among the reasons: After sitting through countless sermons and Bible studies, they feel they’ve heard it all. One of Packard’s interviewees said, “I’m tired of being lectured to. I’m just done with having some guy tell me what to do.”
The Dones are fatigued with the Sunday routine of plop, pray and pay. They want to play. They want to participate. But they feel spurned at every turn.
Will the Dones return? Not likely, according to the research. They’re done. Packard says it would be more fruitful if churches would focus on not losing these people in the first place. Preventing an exodus is far easier than attempting to convince refugees to return.
Pastors and other ministry leaders would benefit from asking and listening to these long-time members, before they flee. This will require a change of habit. When it comes to listening, church leaders are too often in the habit of fawning over celebrity pastors for answers. It would be far more fruitful to take that time and spend it with real people nearby–existing members. Ask them some good questions, such as:
•Why are you a part of this church?
•What keeps you here?
•Have you ever contemplated stepping away from church? Why or why not?
•How would you describe your relationship with God right now?
•How has your relationship with God changed over the past few years?
•What effect, if any, has our church had on your relationship with God?
•What would need to change here to help you grow more toward Jesus’ call to love God and love others?
….The exodus of the Dones, the rise of the Nones, and the disappearance of the Millennials do not look good for a church afraid to listen.
Our goal here at ChurchFreedom.org is to help set America’s Churches FREE from 501(c)(3) and to raise up the next generation of leaders for the Body of Christ.To raise up Christian Leaders that will boldly preach 100% Biblical Truth. No wavering. No fear of backlash, IRS codes, or threats from the government. Just Pure Unfiltered Holy Spirit Empowered God-given fortitude.
We accomplish this by freely helping Christian leaders properly establish or financially reorganize their ministries with both a Church Establishment Affidavit and a Corporation Sole. With these two resources, a Church becomes lawfully immune to both 501(c)(3) political restrictions and current gender identity laws.
ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES: Take a look at the recent political effects of what happens when Christian Churches are barred from influencing public policy because of restrictive 501(c)(3) laws:
◾Gov’t tells Christian ministers: Perform same-sex weddings or face jail, fines.
◾The City of Houston Texas has demanded that local Churches turn over sermons for examination by the state to see if the Pastors discriminated against LGBTQ individuals.
◾Throughout America, the Internal Revenue Service is intimidating churches and pastors into silence on what Scripture says about candidates and elections.
◾A politically appointed activist Federal Judge has ruled that ALL Christian Pastor’s mandatory housing allowances have been ruled ‘un-constitutional’.
◾Elected Officials in New York have barred Christians from organizing in public schools.
◾In Montana, Canyon Ferry Road Baptist Church faced election law charges after a volunteer passed out petitions to place a marriage amendment on the Montana ballot.
◾In Arizona, Pastor Michael Salman of Harvest Christian Fellowship has been jailed for having Church services in his home.
◾In Arizona, Gilbert city officials ordered Oasis of Truth Church to stop meeting or holding Bible studies in its pastor’s private home.
◾Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1064, ‘Religious Freedom Act’ meant to protect Christian corporations from restrictive, ‘Gender Identity Laws’.
◾Over 32 States have adopted anti-discriminatory, “Gender Identity Laws” that restrict incorporations from discriminating against LGBTQ individuals in any form (this includes most 501c3 Churches).
◾California Democratic State Senator, Ricardo Lara introduced SB 323 in an attempt to legally force 501c3 Churches into accepting homosexuals as full members….
The benefits of the Corporation Sole are near limitless compared to every other form of a Church legally organizing itself. Let us explain each one of the benefits in great detail so you have a better understanding for how the Corporation Sole can bring legal deliverance to your ministry as a whole.
Benefit #1 – IT BRINGS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM OF SPEECH BACK TO THE CHURCH!: A Church/Ministry that has been properly established with a Statutory Declaration of Church Establishment Affidavit and has organized it’s finances with a Corporation Sole CAN participate and intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements) any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office (so long as the office of the Corporation Sole does not). It allows the Church itself (not the Corporation Sole) to influence politics, influence its members who to vote for or against any political candidate running for office and lobby congress.
Now, we’re not suggesting that your Church directly influences politics with a specific message, we want you to be Holy Spirit led in every message that is delivered out of your Church. However, we want your Church to reserve the RIGHT and PRIVILEGE that if the Lord DOES LEAD YOU to speak about public policy that you DO NOT FEAR the IRS attempting to revoke your Churches tax exemption status and that you speak the 100% uncompromising Word of God that the Holy Spirit leads you to say in regards to public policy….
Benefit #2 – Local Cities and Governments Can No Longer Impose Permits, Fines and Penalties to Churches for Helping Feed the Homeless….
Benefit #3 – A Corporation Sole Requires NO BOARD OF TRUSTEES….
Benefit #4 – The Church Is Now MANDATORILY EXEMPTED From Both Taxation and Being Required to File Annual Information Returns to the IRS….
Benefit #5 – NO BY-LAWS OR CHURCH CORPORATE CHARTER….
Benefit #6 – A CORPORATION SOLE CAN ISSUE PROMISSORY NOTES….
Benefit #7 – STATE TAX EXEMPTIONS….
Benefit #8 – TAX DEDUCTIBLE CONTRIBUTIONS….
Benefit #9 – TITLE TO REAL PROPERTY….
Benefit #10 – CLEAR LINE OF SUCCESSION….
Benefit #11 – DOES NOT REQUIRE AN ATTORNEY….
Benefit #12 – THE CORPORATION SOLE ACTS AS A NATURAL PERSON….
There is a possible legal argument to be made that even though a Corporation Sole is registered with a Secretary of State as a corporation, that it in fact has the same rights as individual rights, which supersede corporate law. It is the only known corporation in American law to do this. It is also important to note that this argument has not been used in Federal Court as a defense (because they have not thought to do so).
Learn Everything About the Corporation Sole and How to FREE Christians and the Church from Restrictive 501(c)(3) Laws….
An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted can hardly fail to notice it during the past few years. It has developed at an abnormal rate, even for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them.
From speaking out as the Puritans did, the church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses.
My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the church. If it is a Christian work, why did not Christ speak of it? “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). That is clear enough. So it would have been if He had added, “and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel.” No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to him.
Then again, “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers .., for the work of the ministry” (Eph. 4:11-12). Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people or because they refused? The concert has no martyr roll.
Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all his apostles. What was the attitude of the church to the world? Ye are the salt” (Matt. 5:13), not the sugar candy—something the world will spit out not swallow. Short and sharp was the utterance, “Let the dead bury their dead” (Matt. 8:22) He was in awful earnestness.
Had Christ introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into his mission, he would have been more popular when they went back, because of the searching nature of His teaching. I do not hear him say, “Run after these people Peter and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow, something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it. Be quick Peter, we must get the people somehow.” Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them.
In vain will the Epistles be searched to find any trace of this gospel of amusement! Their message is, “Come out, keep out, keep clean out!” Anything approaching fooling is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.
After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the church had a prayer meeting but they did not pray, “Lord grant unto thy servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are.” If they ceased not from preaching Christ, they had not time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution, they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6). That is the only difference! Lord, clear the church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her, and bring us back to apostolic methods.
Lastly, the mission of amusement fails to affect the end desired. It works havoc among young converts. Let the careless and scoffers, who thank God because the church met them halfway, speak and testify. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment has been God’s link in the chain of the conversion, stand up! There are none to answer. The mission of amusement produces no converts. The need of the hour for today’s ministry is believing scholarship joined with earnest spirituality, the one springing from the other as fruit from the root. The need is biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.
Last year, I launched the Liberty Church Project. For several years, patriot Christians around the country had corresponded with me about their frustration with not being able to find a patriot pastor or liberty church in their area. Like me, these folks have grown weary with establishment 501(c)(3) churches that refuse to take a stand–and they are desperate to find a patriot church and pastor.
The two biggest reasons why pastors and churches have become either silent and submissive serfs or, in some cases, shills for government propaganda are the egregious misinterpretation of Romans 13 and the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization status under which most churches operate. The result is an American church that, for all intents and purposes, is completely incapable of being the “salt” and “light” for our country. These squeamish and compliant churches have left our nation virtually void of moral and spiritual leadership.
As I recently noted in this column: True Christianity has never been associated with, supported by, or underneath Caesar’s (civil government’s) auspices or benevolence. For most of the 2,000+ years of Church history, true believers met in non-state-sanctioned or even underground churches and fellowships. In fact, the Early Church was birthed in a baptism of persecution from both the civil government (Rome) and established religion (Judaism) at the time. Not until the unholy union of the Church and State under Theodosius I (almost 400 years after Christ) did Christians accept official sanction from government. And for many centuries to follow, the official merger of Church and State led to the persecutions and deaths of untold thousands of believers deemed heretics and outlaws because their religious beliefs contradicted those of the official state-sanctioned church.
Even in early America, state-approved denominations and churches were guilty of horrific persecutions against independent-minded Christians who refused to submit to the doctrines and liturgies of state-sanctioned churches. These state-church persecutions ultimately led Roger Williams to found the colony of Rhode Island and John Leland to convince James Madison that religious liberty must be the first in our Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
After the acceptance of our Bill of Rights, America’s churches enjoyed complete independent status, being answerable only to their Creator and their own conscience. All of that changed in 1954 when then-Senator Lyndon Johnson (D-Texas) successfully introduced the Johnson Amendment to the code of the Internal Revenue Service: the now-infamous 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization status for churches. This designation made churches a creature of the state–answerable to the direct dictates of government–even regarding speech and activity.
By accepting 501(c)(3) status, America’s churches have effectively become state-licensed or state-sanctioned organizations. In much the same way that churches in Communist China risk vindictive state sanctions for not complying with state control, so, too, churches in the United States risk vindictive IRS sanctions for not complying with state control.
What is more than interesting is the comparison between the churches in China and the churches in America. In China, Christianity is growing exponentially. In fact, there are now more Christians in China than there are communists. Please carefully read this report:
“Though the Chinese Communist Party is the largest explicitly atheist organization in the world, with 85 million official members, it is now overshadowed by an estimated 100 million Christians in China. It is no wonder Beijing is nervous and authorities are cracking down on Christian groups.
“Christianity is growing so fast in China that some predict that it will be the most Christian nation in the world in only another 15 years. By far, the greatest growth is coming outside the official state-sanctioned churches, which are rightly considered subservient to the Communist Party. Numbers are increasing, rather, in unofficial Protestant ‘house churches’ and in the underground Catholic church.”
Did you get that? Let me repeat it: “By far, the greatest growth is coming OUTSIDE [emphasis added] the official state-sanctioned churches, which are rightly considered subservient to the Communist Party [state]. Numbers are increasing, rather, in UNOFFICIAL [emphasis added] Protestant ‘house churches’ and in the UNDERGROUND [emphasis added] Catholic church.”
But what do we see happening in the United States? Christianity is waning BIG TIME. On the whole, churches are in steep decline. For the most part, only the entertainment-oriented, circus variety churches are growing. The numbers of Americans professing Christianity in general and expressing loyalty to a specific church or denomination are at historic lows. And the trend for 2015 and beyond is more of the same.
So, what is the difference? Why is Christianity proliferating in China and declining in America? China has an openly atheistic government. For all intents and purposes, the government in Washington, D.C., is equally atheistic. The federal government in D.C. is responsible for virtually every single attack against the expression of the Christian faith at every level of society. It is the federal government that attacks Christian expression in our local public schools. It is the federal government that attacks Christian expression in local governing bodies. It is the federal government that has all but permanently dismantled the expression of Christianity throughout our country’s public institutions. But so does the government in Beijing. Yet, in China, the Church is mushrooming, while in America, the Church is dying. What’s the difference?
The difference is, in China, Christians understand that to be loyal to Christ, they MUST NOT SUBMIT to state-sanction or license. And they are willing to defy Beijing authorities in order to be faithful to that conviction. However, in America, pastors and churches insist that they MUST SUBMIT to state control–even using Romans 13 to justify this preposterous position. Bottom line: state-sanctioned churches in America are withering, while non-state-sanctioned churches in China are mushrooming. There is no doubt that the trend in both countries will continue into and beyond 2015.
Until America’s pastors and churches “see the light” and consciously withdraw themselves from Caesar’s grasp (at whatever cost), Christianity in this country will continue to evaporate.
The Liberty Church Project was born out of the pleas of thousands of believers nationwide who desire to break free from the establishment
501(c)(3)-controlled and misapplied Romans 13-brainwashed churches….
Atrocities by the Islamic State (ISIS) are softening the hearts of Muslims to Christianity, and evangelistic techniques and technologies are proving effective, but locally-based missionaries say the main reason for the spike in conversions in the Middle East is simply that former Muslims are finding God is real.
In war-torn areas of Syria and Iraq where ISIS is fighting to establish a caliphate, Muslim refugees to neighboring countries, Internally Displaced People and people remaining at home are learning about Christ from native aid workers, podcasts and broadcasts.
Tent churches among refugees are sprouting like mushrooms. For people who have suffered such deep loss, seeing that they can pray to a personal God whom they can call Father has been the critical factor.
“You can see the tears in their eyes when we pray – that God would care,” said the director of one ministry working in the region. “It’s the connection that makes a huge difference.”
Muslims who were previously taught to pray by rote to Allah, who by Koranic definition was unknowable, can feel the difference of having a relationship with God through Christ.
“They see that God can give you strength, can heal you,” said the director. “They say that things have changed, that they have a peaceful attitude towards those ‘who have done this to my kids, wife, or husband – I can pray about it and give it to God.’”
Former Muslims, who once prayed five times a day as a duty, say they don’t quite know how to describe the difference.
“They say, ‘Now with our relationship with God, we see a huge difference; something has changed in our life,’” he said. “You can see it on their faces. They say, ‘Every time we pray, there’s a difference.’”
The soul-crushing loss of loved ones, home and country that people have suffered at the hands of ISIS has helped open Muslims to the gospel. Another ministry director said Syrian and Iraqi refugees are more open to the gospel than at any time in history because of atrocities by ISIS.
“Absolutely,” he said, “because ISIS is saying that the things they are doing come from the Koran.”
Tailoring evangelism to the Muslim worldview has also played a part, and one way of contextualizing the gospel for Muslims, ironically, involves the Hebrew Scripture. Middle Eastern Muslims are familiar with the blood sacrifice and prophets of the Old Testament, and Christian workers build bridges with those references.
They talk about why Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son, animal sacrifice, and the meaning of blood in ancient times, Moses and the saving blood smeared on doorposts in Egypt, and then Jesus’ shed blood.
“So we go from the Old Testament to the blood of Jesus that saves us; 99 percent of the people I know will use this method,” the ministry director said.