Internal Revenue Service: PASTORS MUST BE ORDAINED BY THE IRS
An alert reader named Robert was getting heat about the information he found in this article. He did some research and found out the information for which I’ll quote him: “I’ve already been trying to Contact Dr. Dixon and so far wherever I find this same article, the link to contact him leads to a site Incredifind.com or something like that. I’ll keep looking though. Surely someone has his e-mail link. I’ll keep your e-mail address and let you know of new information.” Later Robert wrote: “I was able to track down Indianopolis Baptist Temples’ site. I researched this IRS Thing. They have links to past articles over this. I was also able to find out what was behind the Claims Dr. Dixon Makes. After reading court rulings, his claims are not credible about the IRS. This Church for 16 years avoided paying taxes claiming it violated the Constitution and the first amendment. In its attempts to avoid paying taxes, this Baptist church changed its name a few times. Court ruling after court ruling is against this church. The latest information in 2001, Dr. Dixon was ordered to pay up. I recommend that you remove this article about the pastors being ordained by IRS from your site ASAP. I don’t think it holds water. Some elements are believable however, the whole story isn’t being told on the matter. I think elements have been cooked up or severely stretched. It’s up to you whether to keep it.” Robert
Bob’s Note: Thanks to Robert’s diligence you now have an opportunity to view what a fraudulent article looks like. Rather than delete the article I feel it’s much more valuable to let people read it after the above information clarifies its’ bogus nature.
THE TRUMPETvol. IX – Issue 6 NOV/DEC 2001
by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
The most prominent and successful certified public accountant firm in the nation today, that specializes in keeping churches out of trouble with the Internal Revenue Service, is now boldly saying to the pastors of America that they not only have to be “ordained by God, but also the IRS.“
They also say that the IRS is dictating terms to the churches by declaring in clear and no uncertain terms that, “The government doesn’t want your Bible, they want your checkbook!” In seminars all over the US, Chitwood and Chitwood of Chattanooga, Tennessee, is repeating this startling announcement to pastors and church leaders. Without so much as a blush, Michael Chitwood, the main speaker, says, besides the above quotes, “Pastor, if you don’t get your house in order, get ready, you are going to have a jail ministry” as he practically screams out to those present as to what pastors and church leaders must do to avoid jail time and the confiscation of church property by the federal government.
Besides giving the pastor his job description, which is based on the Roman Catholic model of worship and polity, the IRS is demanding many other things that are clearly designed to make the IRS Commissioner the new head of the churches in America Some of these demands are as follows: The church must collect a Federal ID (Social Security) number from visiting evangelists, missionaries, preachers and singers before they invite them to the pulpit. They must give a Form 1099 to any minister who receives up to $600 in a years time, which includes missionary support. If the ID is not received, the church leaders must withhold a jeopardy assessment of 39% on the spot and send it to the IRS. They must agree to the IRS definition of benevolence. They cannot deal in cash at any level, but must deposit all offerings into a checking account and write checks for every purpose. This means, of course, that the church, in order to conduct its ministry, has to have an Employer Identification Number which must be provided by the IRS by filing Form SS-4 which a true New Testament church could never do and remain obedient to her Lord. In fact, church leaders would have to misrepresent the church as a religious organization rather than a N.T. Church to do so. Other things that pastors and church leaders are required to do are to be an informer against their members and also to preach only IRS prescribed sermons. Also, all fund raising material must be submitted to the IRS for their approval.
The job description for pastors is a list of nine specific sacerdotal duties which again is a Roman Catholic definition meaning sacred. The Catholic church teaches that these sacraments, when administered by a priest, are essential to ones salvation. This is totally opposite to the Bible definition which states that baptism and communion are memorials of the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that they follow salvation. The nine duties are: baptisms, weddings, serving the Eucharist (the Catholic sacrament of communion), teaching , spiritual counseling, christenings or baby dedications, administration of church affairs and the regular conducting of worship services. If the pastor does a substantial number of these things, he will receive very lucrative tax breaks. This is in clear violation of the scriptures concerning the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes which the Lord Jesus said that He hates (Rev. 2:6, 2:15). It is the setting up of a privileged class of clergy with benefits from the state that lay members do not receive. Others who minister to the church in the area of music, youth, children, education and other areas of responsibility don’t qualify.
This is consistent with what officials of the IRS told Attorney David Gibbs of the Christian Law Association (CLA) in 1984 when they said that their definition of church is “once per week adult worship.” They said that they did not consider such ministries as Sunday school, Christian school, busses, youth camp, vacation Bible school, nursing home, etc., to fall within their definition of the word “church”. This Gibbs/IRS meeting took place in Washington, DC at the time that the so called champion of Christian liberty was hammering out a compromise with the Dole Committee (Sen. Bob Dole-R-kansas) in the US Senate to bring the churches into compliance with the FICA tax (social security) laws. This was the deal that would eventually cause the raid and seizure of the Baptist Temple 17 years later. It’s too bad that Gibbs didn’t sound the alarm at that time and call the Bible believing pastors together for a summit meeting to map out a strategy that could have possibly saved our churches and ministries. The unregistered church pastors tried, but unfortunately our words fell on deaf ears. The so called “big” preachers were too busy receiving their tax deductible gifts and building their empires to be concerned over the future of God’s work. Now the enemies of Christ have sprung the trap and it is too late.
These requirements should be intolerable enough by just the fact that the IRS would even dare to suggest duties for pastors, but to impose under the penalty of imprisonment and confiscation of property the same responsibilities of Roman Catholic priests is nothing short of naked tyranny. Obviously, the inquisition has returned and the pastors and churches of America are not even aware that it has arrived. The raid and seizure of the property of the Baptist Temple is the direct result of the pastors and church refusing to bow down to this new wave of Catholic terror that has come upon our land. The issue in the Baptist Temple case isn’t taxes as the IRS, with the help of the media, has led the people of Indianapolis and nation to believe. The issue is very simple. Will the churches of America bow down to the IRS in violation of the first commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” or will they bow down to the Lord Jesus Christ? Our Lord said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). The purge is now on as we hear of churches and ministries being closed on a regular basis. But there is still no evidence that the pastors have awakened from their stupor.
The benevolent requirements for churches are beyond atrocious. They are five in number: food, clothing, housing, medical emergencies and utilities. The church cannot help with transportation or auto repairs and a myriad of other things that churches have historically done on a regular basis. The church cannot make loans to the pastor, members, or others which churches have always done. Obviously, they want to make sure that the money lenders get their profits even from the poor. Can you imagine the government of the US limiting a church as to its duties in regarding charitable activity? There is no subject in the Bible that is nearer to the heart of God than charity. According to the apostle James, it is the test of pure religion (James 1:27). Paul the Apostle declares that charity is of higher value even than preaching and sacrifice (I Cor. 13:1-3). For the churches to debase such a high and noble service to Christ by submitting its administration to the wicked IRS is beyond belief. How will the preachers of America give an account of caving into this coercion by an abusive Bush administration who is continuing with the policies of those before him? How will church leaders face the Lord Jesus at the Judgment Seat of Christ when He asks them why they violated His clear commands concerning alms giving? He said, “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men, Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” But now the churches are required to get the permission of the IRS before helping someone other than in the manner and purpose that they approve. Then records will have to be kept for the IRS so that the publicans can make sure that the church is in fact following their guidelines. And, of course, they expect church leaders to report this alms giving to the IRS so that they can even gouge the poor for more tribute. And all of this so the churches can keep their tax exemption and the people can get their precious tax deductions for their tithes and gifts. As James Dobson’s organization said when challenged, “It’s just good stewardship.” Thievery, good stewardship? How sad.
t may be that the churches have now gone too far. When they begin building their dynasties on the backs of the poor our Lord, no doubt, will be swift in His removal of their candlestick. He said to the church at Ephesus, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works: or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Rev. 2:5).
All Churches Now Required to Join IRS Super Church
Two other developments concerning IRS control of churches has risen recently that should literally send shock waves through the religious community. First, while the churches are arguing doctrinal positions among themselves, and won’t even spit on each other for the most part, the IRS has now developed its own super church. Independent Baptists in particular pride themselves in their anti-ecumenism. No fundamentalist preacher worth his salt would be caught dead at the local church federation meeting where he has to rub shoulders with a charismatic or liberal preacher. However, they don’t think twice about paying a large fee to go to a Chitwood or CLA seminar and sit next to one of these religious outcasts to learn how to be a good IRS approved church and pastor.
It is now a fact that in order to get and keep the tax-exempt status a church must agree that all religions are equal. The new Application for Recognition of Exemption Form 1023 Schedule A for Churches (Rev. September 1998) demands a declaration to this effect with the following words at point #3: “Does the organization require prospective members to renounce other religious beliefs or their membership in other churches or religious orders to become members? Yes__
No__. If “Yes,” describe.”
It doesn’t take much intelligence to figure out where they are going with this. In order to be considered a legal church (tax exempt) in America, the church or religious organization will have to declare that all religions are equal. They will also have to declare that they do not believe that their doctrinal position only results in converts to their faith having eternal life. They must renounce this narrow inclusivist position. Maybe we now know why Billy Graham, Robert Schuller, Pat Robertson, and other TV preachers have been making such fuzzy remarks about adherents of other religions, though sincere, going to heaven without receiving Christ. In that tax exemption is government subsidy, according to the Supreme Court in the Bob Jones University case, it is now clear that the US government will not support any religion that clings to the narrow minded belief that salvation is in Jesus Christ alone. Remember? “Come Shekels, Come Shackles.” The world church isn’t coming; it is already here, and the preachers don’t have a clue as they go merrily along hand in hand with the Great Harlot to the wedding with the anti-Christ. (Rev. 17).
US Government Through the IRS Outlaws Preaching on Second Coming of Christ
One of the reasons the IRS gave to Texe Marr’s Living Truth Ministries for removing their tax exempt status is as follows: “Much of the material you disseminate promises to address possible conspiracies or threats, either from individuals, groups or various agencies, against Christianity, freedom or other rights. This is evident from a review of your newsletters and order forms. The titles and promotional materials are designed to sensationalize and grab the readers attention. They usually imply that the works will expose certain prominent groups, individuals, politicians or government agencies as being part of or linked to some threat or conspiracy.” One of the titles that the IRS gave as an example included “Bible Prophecy and The Conspiracy.”
Any grade school child in Sunday School knows that you can’t teach or write on Bible prophecy without dealing with the second coming of Jesus Christ. But just as the Russian pastors under communism were forbidden to speak on this subject, we are now coming to the same place in our beloved land. It is obvious that if one believes in the literal return of the Lord Jesus Christ that they will be considered a domestic terrorist. In that the Lord Jesus will destroy wicked government upon His return in great glory and break the back of Gentile world rule, this message isn’t popular with the in-for-hells and the high-heeled-belles that run our country today. Of course, they don’t believe that He is coming, but they believe that we who do will be involved in what they call self-fulfilled prophecies and try to hasten His coming by blowing up everything in sight. Further evidence of this type of anti-Christ thinking surfaced recently when a brochure put out by the FBI in Phoenix, Arizona, named “potential domestic terrorists” that law enforcement should be aware of. One of those groups is “Doomsday/Cult-Type.” Obviously, this would include all Bible believing preachers and churches in America. We not only believe that there will be a literal doomsday, we believe that the Lord Jesus Christ will bring the doom when He comes (Rev. 6:12-17). It won’t do any good to claim that your church is not a “cult”. The IRS definition fits the average Bible believing church to a tee.
Many have asked if we can actually show them this in the law. Our answer is no, we can’t because you won’t find a specific law that says that you can’t preach on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in America today. That’s because they don’t have to write a law to gain the same effect. All Congress has to do is to give an outlaw agency like the IRS a carte blanche privilege of making up their own so-called laws as they go along. The churches agreed to this when they signed their tax-exempt contract. They said that they would obey all laws, federal, state and local, presently and in the future. But they apparently didn’t read the fine print. The new churches filing for tax exemption must agree to the following: “The Corporation or organization shall have no power to take any action that would be required for a tax exemption under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) and related regulations, rulings, and procedures.” It is now the “procedure” of the IRS to refuse tax exempt status to those churches that will not agree that all religions are equal and who refuse to join through tax exemption, the world church. Also, preaching on Christ’s coming is taboo.
For those churches which are foolish enough to believe that Sec. 508 of the IRS code allows an automatic exemption for churches, need to read it again. It doesn’t say “exemption,” it says, “…churches have a mandatory exception.” The exception is from filing a Form 1023 to make application for not for profit status. Here is the kicker. Churches have to abide by the same rules that those that do file for this privilege. And if they do not, the IRS can, and most assuredly will, remove their tax exemption. The only thing missing is the annual Form 990 that other religious organizations have to file. When this is required, the churches will be under total control of the IRS with no wiggle room.
In the Baptist Temple court case, the church learned that a New Testament Church does not legally exist in the US today because there are no longer any First Amendment protections left. The genius of the First Amendment and various religious freedom clauses of the fifty states is that, for the first time in history, a N. T. Church could exist legally without having in the words of the IRS a “distinct legal existence.” Now even a N.T. Church will be assigned by force the legal status of an association and will be expected to meet the same standards that the not for profits have to meet. But, they still won’t have their God given right of a non-taxable status. This status is in contrast to an exempt status which is a privilege not a right.
IRS Agent Says That Churches are Trapped
For more information on how to pastor a N.T. Church contactThe
Put in place by church members, a black shroud representing the death of religious liberty is draped over a sign in front of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple. (Staff photo / John Severson)
For 16 years the leaders of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple refused to withhold federal taxes from their employees’ paychecks or to pay federal taxes as an employer. The protestcame to an end Feb. 13, 2001, when federal marshals seized the church building to pay taxes and fines totalling $6 million.
The church was ordered to be sold at auction by U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker in a Sept. 28, 2000, ruling, in which she gave the conservative evangelical congregation until Nov. 14 to vacate.
(See the full text of the opinion)
When that date arrived hundreds of church members and their supporters waited in the church for the marshals to come. But the U.S. Marshals Office took a cautious approach, seeking to ensure a peaceful end to the standoff that had been building for 16 years. And the church did have one last hope – an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. But on Jan. 16, 2001, the Court refused to hear the case. Even after that ruling it would be nearly a month before the marshals came.
The eviction came after the church lost a series of court rulings over its refusal to withhold taxes or to pay any tax itself.
Although churches generally are tax exempt, if they have employees they are required by federal law to withhold federal income taxes from payroll checks, and to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for each employee.
The Rev. Greg J. Dixon (right), became pastor of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple in 1955. His son, Greg A. Dixon (left) succeeded him. (Staff photo / Frank Espich)
But the Baptist Temple stopped doing that in 1983 when the church’s pastor, the Rev. Gregory J. Dixon, decided the church would break all ties with the government and no longer act as its agent in withholding taxes from its employees.
Dixon, along with his son and co-pastor, the Rev. Gregory A. Dixon, maintained that church workers are ministers, not employees, and that they paid their taxes as individuals. The Dixons based their legal defense on the First Amendment guarantee of free exercise of religion, arguing that Jesus Christ is the only authority over the church and that withholding taxes would impose a secular authority over the church, thereby violating its core belief.
Indianapolis Baptist Temple also argued that the tax laws imposed on churches violate the First Amendment’s “Establishment Clause” which is the basis for separation of church and state.
But the courts did not agree. A three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the church August 14, 2000. Writing the opinion, Judge Ann Claire Williams said that tax laws are “neutral laws” that don’t run afoul of First Amendment protections of the free exercise of religion.
Williams also wrote that the Establishment Clause does not mean the government cannot impose any laws affecting churches. According to the opinion:”If a statute has a secular purpose, and it has a primary effect of neither advancing nor inhibiting religion, it will be upheld.”
Origin of the case:
Supporters gathered around the federal courthouse March 4, 2000. (Staff photo/Laura DeCapua)
The Indianapolis Baptist Temple was founded in March 1950, and later that year it incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation – as most churches do.
In 1955, Rev. Gregory J. Dixon, then only 23, became pastor. During the next 20 years, the church grew by about 300 members a year, according to the Polis Research Center at IUPUI. The congregation was at its peak during the 1970s, when Baptist Temple had as many as 8,000 members. By the late 1990s, active membership was estimated at 2,500 to 3,000.
1983: Indianapolis Baptist Temple unincorporates and ceases to be operated as a nonprofit religious organization, relinquishing its tax exempt status but claiming it is nontaxable.
1994:Internal Revenue Service files liens totaling $3.6 million, including penalties and interest, alleging the temple failed to pay payroll and Social Security taxes for more than a decade for its staff members. Church leaders say staff members are self-employed ministers paid love gifts, not wages. IRS maintains they are employees under federal tax code.
1995:State revenue officials follow IRS lead in revoking tax-exempt status of the Southside Fundamentalist Christian church.1996: IRS seizes and auctions 20 acres near Geist Reservoir that had
been church property to pay part of the $3.6 million tax bill.
1998:Federal government sues the temple to collect millions of dollars in unpaid withholding taxes for its staff members.
1999:U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker rules the temple owes the federal government $5.3 million in back taxes, including $2 million in accrued interest. Leaders of the temple decide to appeal.
March 4, 2000:About 600 marchers rally Downtown in support of the temple shortly after Barker threatens to begin foreclosure proceedings on church property, including the church, school and parsonage, unless church officials begin filing monthly financial reports and putting staff withholding taxes in escrow.
May 11, 2000:A three-judge panel of U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago hears oral arguments in the temple’s appeal of Barker’s ruling.
Aug. 14, 2000:The three-judge panel dismisses the church’s claim that, under the Constitution, it shouldn’t be forced to collect taxes on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service. The court rules that tax laws are “neutral laws” that don’t run afoul of First Amendment protections of the free exercise of religion.
Sept. 28, 2000:Barker orders the church to vacate its buildings by Nov. 14 so that the properties can be sold at auction.
Nov. 7, 2000:U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens turns down a request by the Baptist Temple to delay enforcement of Barker’s order.
Nov. 14, 2000:Hundreds of members and supporters gather in the church waiting for the marshals to arrive.
Jan. 16, 2001:The U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear the Baptist Temple case, ending the church’s legal options.
Feb. 13, 2001:Federal marshals arrive at the church at 8:40 a.m. and seize the property. Protesting church members are moved out of the building on stretchers. No one is injured or arrested.
Mar. 23, 2001:Property belonging to the church is auctioned.
July 24, 2001:The U.S. Justice Department announced a settlement with the Rev. Gregory J. Dixon in which he was fined $136,610.04 for his personal tax liability.
Text of court rulings:
Jan. 19, 1999
June 29, 1999
Aug. 14, 2000
Sept. 28, 2000
In 1983, after Dixon decided the church should break all ties with the government, the church dissolved its legal corporate status and began operating as an unincorporated church. From that point forward, the church paid no taxes and filed no tax forms with the Internal Revenue Service.
There are three federal employment taxes – the Social Security tax, the Medicare tax, and the normal income tax. According to federal law, employers must pay half of the applicable Social Security and Medicare taxes and must withhold from employees’ wages the other half of the applicable Social Security and Medicare taxes, as well as all of the applicable normal income tax. Employers – even if they are not-for-profit religious organizations – are liable for both the taxes imposed directly on them and the taxes they are required to withhold from employees.
For several years after the Baptist Temple stopped paying taxes nothing happened, but eventually the IRS contacted the church about its failure to file returns. Early in 1994 the IRS prepared tax returns for the church for the years 1987 to 1993 and sent them to the church for approval. When there was no response the IRS filed liens against the church totaling $3.6 million in April 1994. The IRS also filed liens totaling $31,052 against Rev. Greg J. Dixon for unpaid federal income taxes.
On May 8, 1995, the IRS revoked the church’s tax-exempt status. The Indiana Department of Revenue followed suit on July 7 of that year.
In 1996, the government seized 20 acres of church-owned land near Geist Reservoir which was then sold at auction to Traverse Inc. for $172,000. Proceeds from the sale paid part of the delinquent tax bill.
On April 13, 1998, the United States sued the Baptist Temple, Greg J. Dixon, and the church’s bank. The suit sought payment of what was then a $5.1 million tax debt, or foreclosure on the church’s property. Judge Barker heard the case and ruled against the church on June 29, 1999.
(See the full text of the opinion)
The church appealed and the case went to a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. It ruled against the church on Aug. 14, 2000.
On Sept. 6, Barker gave the church ten days to show cause why foreclosure should not begin. That deadline passed without action, but on Sept. 28, Barker issued the order to vacate.
(See the full text of the opinion)
On the night of Nov. 14, more than 600 members and supporterswaited in the church for the marshals to arrive. But the night passed without incident and several more days went by as supporters continued their vigil and the marshals stayed their hand.
Both sides wanted the standoff to end peacefully and had even talked about how that could be done.
On Jan. 16, 2001 the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the church’s appeal. There were no more
legal options remaining.
On Feb. 13, the marshals finally came at 8:40 a.m. The confiscation went peacefully. U.S. marshals kept their pistols holstered and carried five church members who didn’t want to leave the building out on stretchers. U.S. Marshal Frank Anderson was commended for his handling the standoff, and the peaceful way in which it was brought to an end. There were no arrests or injuries and no guns were drawn.
Property belonging to the church, including furniture and books, was auctioned off to the highest bidder March 23, at Baxter Auction Gallery in Indianapolis.
In addition to the church’s tax debt, the elder Rev. Dixon faced a separate debt for income taxes the government claims he failed to pay from 1983 to 1986. On July 24, 2001, Judge Barker issued an order imposing a tax judgment of $136,610.04 against Dixon.
Copyright 2003 IndyStar.com. All rights reserved