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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Christianity in the news

"The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching." 1 Timothy 5:17

Christianity appears under increasing attack in our culture from all directions. The latest news came last Friday when a Wisconsin judge, appropriately named Crabb, ruled the ministerial housing allowance is unconstitutional. We recently noted such fallout could occur as a side-effect of the controversies surrounding a relatively small number of ministers owning multimillion dollar mansions. Under a 1954 law meant to help the clergy who are typically poorly paid, the government established the right of churches and other religious groups to provide part of an ordained minister's compensation as a tax free housing allowance. Accordingly, some mansion owning, mega-church pastors like Stephen Furtick, Joel Osteen and Ed Young could be pulling down tax free housing allowances worth six figures annually. The sins of a few often cause pain for many innocent bystanders.
Benny Hinn's "Parish" is located among the kings of the earth behind a luxury guard gated entry way in southern California where few can afford to live.

 "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

If we are right about the potential for a future clash over churches tax free status, you will want to be prepared for the battle with good information regarding the economic benefits churches bring to their community. Fortunately, such a study has already been prepared and additional such research is expected to be completed soon. Richard Ostling at the Get Religion blog posted an article which you should familiarize yourself with. Ostling reviews the work of Ram Cnaan of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Policy and Practice on the subject of the value of a church in a community versus the cost of lost tax revenue due to its tax free status.

Read more about how churches benefit their communities at MinistryWatch.com

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