Tag Archive: Christian Colleges

21 Things You Might Not Know About Evangelical Churches and Pastors

did you know

Most Americans are quite ignorant about the nature of Evangelical churches and their pastors (I use the word “pastor” as a general term that encompasses pastors, elders, missionaries, evangelists, et al.). Here are 21 things you might not know:

  1.  Churches, by default, are tax exempt. Churches do not have to apply for 501(c)(3) status in order to be exempt.
  2. In many states, churches are exempt from paying sales and real estate taxes.
  3. Anyone can start a church. (See How to Start an Independent Baptist Church) A church is a church if it says it is.
  4. In many states, churches can operate Christian schools, day cares, teen group homes, and boarding schools without ANY government licensure or oversight.
  5. In many states, Christian schools are exempt from all laws governing schools. (See How to Start a Non-Charted Christian School in Ohio and The Anatomy of an Unaccredited Christian School)
  6. In many states, churches can start colleges and grant degrees without ANY government licensure or oversight.
  7. Anyone can be a pastor. There are no educational or licensure requirements for becoming a pastor. A man is a pastor because he says he is.
  8. In many states, pastors can counsel people without having any training. In most states, pastors are not required to be licensed to counsel people.
  9. Pastors are permitted to opt out of paying social security tax. This means pastors don’t pay social security tax on their income and housing allowance.
  10. Pastors receive a housing allowance that is income tax-free.
  11. Pastors, in most instances, are treated as employees for income tax purposes and self-employed for social security purposes.
  12. Pastors can drive church-owned vehicles, thereby reducing their taxable income by thousands of dollars.
  13. The more expenditures churches pay on behalf of their pastors, the less income tax the pastors have to pay.
  14. For many pastors, their effective tax rate is quite low. Many pastors pay NO income tax, especially if they have a number of children.
  15. Pastors can incorporate, shielding themselves from liability and lawsuits.
  16. Churches can incorporate, shielding themselves from liability and lawsuits.
  17. Donations of money, personal goods, and property to churches are considered charitable, tax-deductible donations.
  18. Churches are exempt from filing non-profit tax returns.
  19. Churches are not required to do background checks on people who work with children and teenagers.
  20. There is no national database for pastors accused or found guilty of sexual abuse or other criminal behaviors.
  21. Many of the pastors who call themselves Dr. have honorary doctorates or doctorates from diploma mills. (See IFB Doctorates: Doctor, Doctor, Doctor, Everyone’s a Doctor)

Godly Gertrude and the Harding University Dress Code

Godly Gertrude

This graphic perfectly illustrates the puritanical culture found in many Evangelical churches. Women are considered lust magnets, sure to attract weak, pathetic Christian men who have little control over their sexual desires. Starting with primary school age, females are taught to never, ever expose any of the sexual parts of their bodies–breasts, cleavage, bare shoulders, legs, and ass. In other words, girls and women are expected to dress similar to burka-wearing Muslims. The only difference is the head covering.

This kind of thinking robs Evangelical girls and women of any sense of self-worth. Like pornographers, modesty Nazis reduce females to commodities that must be protected and hidden until it is time to put them on the (marriage) market.

The most astounding fact about this picture is that it comes from Harding University — a Churches of Christ-affiliated institution. It is hard to imagine — in the twenty-first century — grown women willingly submitting themselves to this kind of male-driven body control. Yet countless young women attend Evangelical colleges and universities that have rules which govern virtually every aspect of their lives. Such control would be impossible without women being indoctrinated as young children and teenagers by pastors, Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, and parents.

Just remember girls. Regardless of what you think, IT’S THE RULES.

Notes

Harding University Dress Code 2015-2016

harding university dress code 2003-2004

Harding University Dress Code 2003-2004

Uplift Camp Dress Code — Summer Youth Camp held (and sponsored) at Harding University (Note that the majority of the rules apply only to women.)

Youth ministers and sponsors are responsible for their group (adults included) complying with the dress code for Uplift.  You should have a meeting with all participants and make sure they understand the dress code BEFORE they pack for Uplift. The dress code will be enforced. If you have students or adults who are out of dress code, we will come to you or a sponsor to address the issue. If there are offenses while at Uplift, it will be your responsibility to see that all in your group meet dress code. You may need to take your campers to Walmart, Goodwill, etc. to find suitable clothing.

  • All clothing must have sleeves (guys and girls). Sleeveless clothing is not allowed under any circumstances, even recreation time. This includes sundresses, tank tops, sleeveless blouses, athletic shirts, and cut-off T-shirts.
  • No visible midriffs. Clothing that exposes any part of the mid-section when standing, sitting or bending over is not allowed. All tops should be long enough to be tucked in.
  • Shorts must be fingertip length at least when standing straight, arms to the side. This is measured from the shortest part of the shorts. Nike-style running shorts are not allowed, even if they are long enough.
  • Skirts and dresses must come down to the top of the knee.
  • Skin-tight or otherwise revealing clothing is not allowed. Low-cut shirts, spandex, tight jeans, halter tops, etc. are not acceptable. Leggings do not count as pants. If your outfit is against dress code without leggings, it is against dress code with them.

Shocker!! Harding University has students who are gay. Students operate a site called  HU Queer Press: The State of the Gay — “a self-published zine that aims to give voice to the experiences of gay and lesbian students at Harding.”

 

The Evangelical Replacement Doctrine

christian sex stores

Evangelical Christianity teaches that the true followers of Jesus® are to be IN the world but not OF the world. The writer of the book of 1 John wrote:

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1 John 2:15-17)

Notice what is being taught here:

  • Christians are not to love the world
  • Christians are not to love the things of the world
  • If any professing Christian loves the world the love of God the Father is not in them (they are not a Christian)
  • All that is in world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, does not come from God the Father but is from the world
  • The world and its lusts will someday pass away, but those (Christians) who do the will of God (not loving the world or the things of the world)  will abide (live with God) for ever.

Many Evangelical Christians I know live in constant turmoil concerning the world. They know the Bible commands them to not love the world or the things that are in the world, but dammit they just so happen to LIVE in the world they are not to love.

jesus ween

Jesus Ween is a Popular Evangelical Replacement for Halloween

What’s an Evangelical to do? They don’t want to be Amish or withdraw into a cult like Jonestown or Waco so they try to make peace with the world by practicing what I call the replacement doctrine.

The Christian church has practiced the replacement doctrine for at least 1,700 years. The Roman Catholic Church appropriated heathen holidays and replaced them with a Christian version; Christmas and Easter, both pagan in origin, were replaced by a Christian version of Christmas and Easter.  Throughout history, Christians have been quite willing to take what the world has to offer, repackage it, and call it their own.

left behind the movie

Left Behind, the movie

In the 21st century, Evangelicals are quite adept at practicing the replacement doctrine. There is a Christian version of everything;

christian mingle

Anything the world has Christians have a replacement for it. The only problem is this, most of the Christian replacements suck. Anyone want to argue that Christian music, TV, radio, or movies are of better quality than what the world puts out? I know I sure don’t. Is Fireproof better quality than A Thief in the Night? Sure, but both movies are little more than evangelistic tools meant to win the lost and encourage the faithful. As their Redbox account or Netflix queue delightfully shows, Evangelicals love the world’s movies. They may watch Courageous, God’s Not Dead, or Facing the Giants, but they secretly and guiltily love Game of Thrones, Orange is the New Black, and Nurse Jackie.

Instead of being counter-cultural and realizing that being NOT of the world means NOT indulging in the things of the world, Christians are heaven-bent on having their cake and eating it too. If a person is going to be a Bible-believing, Jesus-worshiping Evangelical Christian, then it means doing without what the world has to offer. If they are unwilling to practice what the Bible preaches, then perhaps it is time for them to stop saying “I am a Christian.”  Remember, the Christian road is a straight and narrow way and few be there that find it.

zsuzsanna anderson christian bathing suit

Zsuzsanna Anderson designed christian bathing suit

Let’s face it, the world is fun. The things the world has to offer are far beyond anything the Christian church can offer and Evangelicals need to realize their attempt to replace the world with Christianized versions is embarrassing and silly. Nothing worse than watching Christians try to act hip and cool all the while saying they love Jesus. Get in or get out…

As a card-carrying atheist, I love the world and the things that are in the world. Yes, the world is dangerous and its allurements can hurt and destroy. World-walkers must be vigilant and tread carefully. That said, I have no desire to go back to the cheap illusions of Evangelical Christianity. Why would I ever want to go back to the cheap imitations that Christians use to replace the things of the world? No thanks.

I realize this puts me at odds with Jesus, and whoever the person is who wrote the gospel of John and the Epistle of 1 John Jesus was wrong about the world. The world in and of itself is not the problem. Yes, the world is a wild, wooly  place. I get it, play with fire and you might get burnt. However, avoidance and replacement is not the answer.

Discernment and maturity are well suited and necessary for the world-walker. Instead of a book that plots out the way a person must walk, giving them a long list of thou shalt not’s, the world-walker must investigate and judge every thing and experience encountered while on the path of life. Rational, careful, reasoned thinking is required every step of the way.

It is far easier to be an Evangelical Christian; the Bible is clear, do this and thou shalt live. No need for judgment and discernment, the Bible covers everything and everyone in the world. Isn’t that great? No need to think, just do what Jesus the pastor/evangelist/elder/bishop/more mature Christian than you says and all will be well.

Many Evangelicals, because of the teaching of the Bible, attempt to avoid the common bond they have with every other human. We are ALL world-walkers, people of the dust. Instead of trying to avoid the world or replace the world with cheap imitations, the Evangelical church would be better served if they truly and completely embraced the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man. Instead of a US vs.THEM way of thinking, how much better would the world be if we were all one, a oneness that would make a universalist shout?

Come on in Christian friend. The worldly end of the pool is warm and the company is grand. (though you might be bothered a bit by the skimpy bathing suits) Once you try the deep of the pool you will never want to go back to the kiddie end of the pool. Really, who wants to listen to Christian rock when you can listen to the real thing?  What would Jesus Do? How about what YOU want to do?

Note

I am aware some “Christian” companies are actually owned by secular corporations who are savvy marketers targeting Evangelicals, an easy mark for anything labeled Christian.