Should God given ministries
be registered as a charity?

"Would any believers seek state endowments for their Church, if they remembered that the Lord is dishonoured by their asking Caesar's aid' as if the Lord could not supply the needs of His own cause!" - Spurgeon

Jesus proclaimed  “I have come to brin
g fire on earth...'' Luke 12:49

He said, "The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force." Matthew 11:12


He gave us, His church, authority over sickness and the demonic. Matthew 10:1


John the beloved wrote 'For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8


The apostle Paul told the church that 'we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places' Ephesians 6:12


He also wrote, 'The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.' 2 Corinthians 10:4


Our enemy is 'the god of this age' 2 Corinthians 4:4


And that 'the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one' 1 John 5:19


We are co-workers with Jesus in bringing in the Kingdom of God. 2 Corinthians 6:1


We are soldiers in the King of Kings mighty army! 2 Timothy 2:3-4

And how have we proclaimed this counter-culture to a disbelieving culture.

In the main, we have registered His Kingdom activity as a charity .

For financial gain we have joined the charity register to be counted alongside thousands of secular groups ranging from gay and lesbian associations to the Rhyl Steam Preservation Trust.

As long as the donors pay sufficient income tax, the church or ministry can claim back substantial amounts of money on those donations from the income tax department. (e.g. 28p per £1, in the UK 2006 )

To receive this money the government must be satisfied that the church or ministry can meet their stringent conditions.

There are of course strings attached.

The charity commission has a declared duty to

  • Enable charities to work better within an effective legal, accounting and governance framework, keeping pace with developments in society*, the economy and the law;
  • Comply with all diversity and equalities legislation, and we will work to promote diversity and equality in all our dealings

In the secular world that is unlikely to provide any problems in the future.

However registered charities operating within the Kingdom of God will soon find themselves in troubled waters, because as society changes so the charities commission will bring in conditions that will reflect those changes. Sexual orientation or religious persuasion will not be allowed to be discriminated against.

We will have handed real power over to secular authorities who will not allow the registered charities under their control to slip too far behind what they regard as positive developments within society.

The early warning signs are already appearing in society. (2006)

Take Birmingham University's Christian Union in the United Kingdom for example.

They have been banned from using Student Union Guild rooms and facilities, and had their bank accounts frozen by Guild authorities because they refused to make politically-correct changes to their charitable constitution on religious grounds.

The Student's Union wanted to place one of their own (non Christian) leaders onto the Christian Union Executive, and open membership to people of all faiths and beliefs and instructed the Christian fellowship to change its constitution from "men and women" to "people" to make it more inclusive for transsexual/transgender persons to become members.

The Christian Union spokesman said,

"As a Christian Union, we restrict membership to only those people who profess faith in Jesus Christ, [and that leadership positions are also restricted to the same criteria and the beliefs outlined in the University and College's Christian Fellowship Doctrinal Basis]. It is a fundamental right of any organisation to be able to include in its membership only those who abide by the ethos and focus of the organisation. We believe this to be true for all organisations within the Student Union, not just religious or ethnic ones. We are not a special interest group there to attract people with similar interest but a Union of Christians. Whilst our meetings are open to all people, believers and unbelievers when it come to being a voting member or leader of the Christian Union we feel it is perfectly respectable to restrict access to people who call themselves Christians".

The University's Student Union Guild has now de-recognised the Christian Union and frozen its bank account, including money donated by the public and churches to be used for Christian work in the university.

As I write this portion of the paper in Spring 2006 the Christian Union is considering legal proceedings to have funds returned and a democratic way forward agreed upon.

In Portland Maine, USA, the Salvation Army lost $60,000 in annual local government funding for refusing to provide health care benefits to the domestic partners of its homosexual employees.  City Councillor James Cloutier said if the Salvation Army wants to receive funding from the City, "its going to come with strings attached"  (CNSNEWS.COM June 20,2002)

One United Kingdom ministry leader confidently told me several years ago that if and when ungodly conditions were forced upon them as a Christian Ministry they would immediately opt out of charitable status. What that leader did not understand was that it is not that easy. You can't opt out and retain the massive benefits accrued over years from charitable status.

One ministry leader who chose to withdraw his ministry from charitable status told my sister that he found to his surprise that it cost them a lot of money to do so, because the tax man levied large amounts upon them based on the assets they had accrued while in charitable status and not paying tax. In other words you cannot use the tax free money to acquire assets and then switch to another status and keep the benefits from life in a tax free zone.

It was interesting to see that in 2004 the influential magazine 'Prophecy Today' choose to come out of charitable status, distribute its assets to other ministries and then set up as a limited company in order to "to further the renewed vision of the magazine in a dynamic, spiritual, and effective way"  I believe others will follow their example in due season.                                           

Scripture leaps on to the subject very quickly.

Right back in Genesis chapter 14

Five kings united and went to war against an amalgam of four kings..

The king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zebolim, and the king of Zoar went out and joined together in battle in the Valley of Siddim against Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of nations, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar.

In the battle the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled and the victors took the spoils of their cities which included Lot and his family and all his possessions.

Verse 13 takes up the exciting narrative..

Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, for he dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner; and they were allies with Abram.

Now when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.

He divided his forces against them by night, and he and his servants attacked them and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus.

So he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the people.

Read carefully what happens next in scripture.

The mysterious Melchizedek High priest of God appears first to Abram and Abram gives Him a tithe of the spoils.

I say mysterious because this is his one and only appearance and Hebrews (7:1) has this to say about him.

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated "king of righteousness," and then also king of Salem, meaning "king of peace," without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils.

Many believe that this was a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ - a 'theophany'.
At the very least he is a 'type' of Christ.

The writer of Hebrews (6:20) says of Christ..

..where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having
become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

So either this was Jesus Himself or a man honoured with being a 'type' of Jesus. And so this momentous and mysterious meeting symbolises a meeting with Jesus.

Abram is blessed by Melchizedek.. and worships Him with a tenth of his spoils.
We read..

Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand." And he gave him a tithe of all.

Then in complete contrast comes the meeting with the king of Sodom.

Abram is of course the hero of the hour and naturally the king ..the government of the day..wants to thank him and reward him.

Now the king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself."

But Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, "that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, `I have made Abram rich' -- "except only what the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion."

Note that Abram is submissive and honouring in his attitude to the king, but note that he will not compromise his spiritual integrity for money.

I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, `I have made Abram rich'

Abram knew that any king likes his subjects to be wholly dependent on him for
sustenance, and he had already decided which King he would depend on.

I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, `I have made Abram rich'

The next verse in scripture shows God's good pleasure..

After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward."

God was revealing Himself as the All Sufficient One.

And yet Abram, or Abraham, was not fully convinced. He had more to learn from the Lord on this subject.

God promised him a son through whom all the nations of the world would be blessed. Let's call it 'his ministry to a needy and dying world'.

At first he was sure that what God had called him to do for Him, He would make provision for. But as time went by, and by, and by, (10 years in Canaan) he was not so sure.

And so he slipped from the great blessing into the lesser blessing.

He sought to establish the right thing through soulish means. We read in Genesis 17:1..

Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, "See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her."

And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai.

Then Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan. So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived.

My reference book on interpreting symbols and types tells me what I instinctively know. That in Scripture 'Egypt' is symbolic of 'worldliness, bondage and whoredoms' (Rev 11:8 Eze. 23:3,4,8,19)

And Abram sought to fulfil his destiny in God by going 'into' Egypt for help.

He got a result. Called Ishmael. And he genuinely thought that he had helped God to fulfil his ministry to the needy and dying world. 

         And Abraham said to God, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!"

God had to correct him.

Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.

When it was God's timing, God supernaturally provided Isaac, and it was through Isaac that Abram's ministry was, and still is, being outworked to a needy and dying world.

Note however, God's grace in the midst of this. First He blessed Abram.

No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. "I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.

Then He blessed Sarai..

Then God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. "And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her."

Then He blessed Ishmael because He loved Abram and Sarai..

And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.

"But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year."

Note that God blessed Abram's soulish endeavours, the fruit of his going into Egypt for help in fulfilling his calling. And many a servant of God can point to such immediate blessings - unaware of the bitter fruit that also comes eventually with such a blessing.

As we track history, we see that what Abram sowed into, he then had to reap from

Right at the start it brought division..

Then Sarai said to Abram, "My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes. The Lord judge between you and me."

Then it brought trouble upon the blessings that were coming through the promise.. Out of Ishmael came the Ishmaelites, and out of Esua came the Edomites, and we read in Psalm 83 where the two nations conspired with other enemies to oppose Israel.

"Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, That the name of Israel may be remembered no more. "For they have consulted together with one consent; They form a confederacy against You: The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites;

What is God's great history lesson in scripture meant to teach us in the spiritual'

Abram went into Egypt for help in fulfilling his ministry. That fruit appeared to be good fruit at first, but ended up not only bringing trouble into his camp, but it warred continually with the fruit from the real blessing.

Out of Ishmael came Mohammed, and Islam. Still today the major persecutor of the promise.

The fruit of God's man.

The fruit from going into Egypt for help to fulfil God's promise to him. The fruit from not waiting on God to supply what was needed to fulfil God's promise to him.

Moses and the Children of Israel had to learn this before they were let loose in the land flowing with milk and honey.

First they were locked in the wilderness where they had to rely on God.. and they found Him faithful to meet all their needs, exactly as and when they needed them.  Psalm 78..

He had commanded the clouds above, And opened the doors of heaven, had rained down manna on them to eat, And given them of the bread of heaven. Men ate angels' food; He sent them food to the full.

And yet the Children of Israel still thought in their hearts that God's provision was meagre fare, and they began to turn their hearts to the rich blessings to be had from Egypt.. Numbers 11:5

"We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic;

God determined to teach the children a lesson He hoped they would remember in the land of promise. He gave them their wish.. but again, as with Ishmael, there was a bitter reaping that came with the blessing..

`Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the Lord, saying, "Who will give us meat to eat' For [it was] well with us in Egypt." Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat. You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, `but for a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have despised the Lord who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, "Why did we ever come up out of Egypt'"'"

When we find in our church or in our ministry that the manna God sustains us with is (in our eyes) meagre fare, we can so easily go into 'Egypt' and there conceive 'Ishmael'.. and genuinely believe that we are helping God to fulfil our destiny in Him.

'Good and wise stewards' we call ourselves.

And so to obtain more money through one of Egypt's channels we have legally registered Church or ministry as 'a charity'.

Registered churches and ministries receive their official charity number from the government and display it at the bottom of their notepaper as a plus. 

I don't believe it is a plus.

Jesus declared that His Kingdom was not of this world.  In the world yes, but not 'of the world'

He informed Pilate that he only had authority because God had given it to him.

He told His listeners to render on to Caesar what He was entitled to. Matt.22:17

"Tell us, therefore, what do You think' Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not'" But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, "Why do you test Me, [you] hypocrites' "Show Me the tax money." So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, "Whose image and inscription is this'" They said to Him, "Caesar's." And He said to them, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

And to give no offence to those who collected the temple tax and to demonstrate that even that could be supernaturally supplied He got a fish to provide the money. Matt.17:24

When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, "Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax'" He said, "Yes." And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, "What do you think, Simon' From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers'" Peter said to Him, "From strangers." Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free. "Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you."

And so we see Jesus advocating obedience to paying taxes, and reverence to the governing authorities, because God has placed them there, yet at the same time being 'separate' from them, belonging in spirit and soul to another Kingdom, whose King owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

And the thousand hills. He alone must be the one that we His people look to for our needs.

Paul echoes this again and again in his teachings.. Romans 13:1 for instance,

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority' Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour.

If we break the law, God will use the government to discipline us. If we walk true we will have nothing to fear. We are in the world and these are God ordained orders within the world.

But we are not of the world. And Paul tells us where we get our supplies from.
Phil. 4:19

       And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

God has declared that He will take the wealth from the wicked and give it to us. I do not believe we are to acquire it ourselves by registering His Kingdom as one of society's charities. Even the pagan's can get money that way. Where is the Glory for God'

Jesus called satan the 'ruler of this earth'. Paul called him the 'god of this world'

Would He have told the Apostles to register the church and their ministry with Herod as a charity in order to get more money from the believer's giving'  Render him what he is due yes.  Live within the laws of the land. But submit any part of His Kingdom'

It has been suggested that the children of Israel getting riches from the Egyptians as they left for the promised land is scriptural proof that God is happy for his people to take support from the world system. Nothing could be further from the truth.  First of all it was to fulfil God's promise to Abraham made in Genesis 15:13

Then He said to Abram: "Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.

The Egyptians treated God's people cruelly but God judged them severely and in their newly broken state they gladly handed over whatever the conquering Israelites asked for.

However once the Israelites had gone their hearts hardened again and they sought to bring them back into slavery again.  

Moses and the children of Israel did not have to register with Pharaoh and submit to the governments watchful eye in order to get God's promised riches here. At Moses command they went and plundered the Egyptians. They got their promised 'treasures out of darkness'. Exodus 12:35

Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing. And the Lord had given the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians

Haven't we as God's people reaped what we sowed'

Isn't this exactly how society sees 'The Church' '
A charity. A harmless, non profit making organisation, full of well meaning people.

Why have churches and ministries felt pressurised to turn to Egypt for help.
Why have they rushed to register the Kingdom as a charity and get their official government number for the bottom of their notepaper'


Listen carefully to God's word.. Malachi chapter 3

"Will a man rob God' Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, `In what way have we robbed You'' In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house,

God has supplied His people with the means to build His Kingdom, yet they will not bring their tenth into His house.

Listen to the promise He makes to churches and to ministries..

And try Me now in this," Says the Lord of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. "And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field," Says the Lord of hosts;
"And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land," Says the Lord of hosts.

Blessings independent of any government.. 'lest you should say, `I have made Abram rich'.

What about the curse if we rob God'

You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. (Israel/Church)

Let's look at the church today from the world's point of view.

We have bring and buy sales. Antique sales. Bouncy castles. And the latest boot sales..where the church car park becomes a market place.

George Muller had strong feelings on this subject. While he remained in brotherly love with the various Christian societies who were happy to work with the unsaved in obtaining finances for their ministries he felt that he had to withdraw from them officially. In his autobiography he wrote..

"In temporal things the children of God must make use of the world but the work to be done requires that those who attend to it should have spiritual life. The children of God are bound by their loyalty to refrain form any association with the unregenerate. It is common to ask the unregenerate for money which even Abraham would not have done. (Genesis 14:21-24) How much less should we do it"

He went on to say..

"We can therefore obtain everything we can possibly need in His service without being obliged to go to the unconverted world. The first disciple did this in 3 John 7 'Because that fir His name's sake they went forth taking nothing from the gentiles'  (pages 57-58)

I remember with some pain an event that occurred some months after my conversion in 1989. The church I attended shared the building with another denomination. I was a Friday night youth club leader and when I showed up on the night I was surprised to find a team of people from the other denomination preparing the church for a second hand book sale planned for the following day. Surprised to see the church turned into a market place I wandered around the many tables, packed with books that the congregation had brought to the sale.

Among the books I found several Jehovah Witness Bible translations and other books from that organisation. I found several Mormon books such as the Pearl of Great Price. I found books on eastern religions. I found books which were totally unsavoury and which would have been forbidden in our home.

Horrified I went to see the minister, assuming he too would be shocked. But no.
His concern could be equated to me telling him that the toilet door need oiled but he agreed to let me remove the offending books.

As I left the hall with a bag containing the worst ones, some of the leaders told me to leave the bag with them and they would sell them to one of the book dealers who would come before the public came and then they would sell them instead down in the town's market.

When I tried to explain to them that this was wrong they thought I was getting bothered over nothing. This sale was after all to raise money for the church.

I left with the books and with a pain in my spirit.

At that moment I knew why Jesus had turned the tables over. So many moments
came and went when I had to refrain from easing the pain by doing just that.

I remember too the pain of seeing a minister in full 'regalia' standing at a table outside his church in the holiday resort of Portrush, with a notice asking passers by to donate money to help repair the church. More pain in my spirit.

I remember thinking what he was really saying to the unbelieving world.

It's what we are saying with all our schemes to raise money.

We are saying to the world.. 'we need your help. We cannot make it without you'.

'Please help us repair the roof of our lovely church'

'Please help us to build a church extension'

What he was saying and what we are saying is 'OUR GOD CANNOT OR WILL NOT HELP US - PLEASE HELP US OR WE DIE'

Registering the church as a charity has of course a bit more class to it .. but the message is the same.

'But its our money - and we're only getting more out of our money'


That tenth (if that's what it is) is not your money.

It belongs to God. Lev. 27:30

`And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's. It is holy to the Lord.

The government money returned when we agree to covenant costs us nothing. Perhaps there is even  another principle here.

Listen to David a man after God's own heart. 1st Chron. 21:24

Then King David said to Ornan, "No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing."

All the blessings of Isaac are there when we trust and obey and wait upon the Lord. We have not done this with all our heart and soul and mind and strength and so we have sought ways to not have to depend on God coming through.

We go into Egypt and we conceive Ishmael.

The sad thing is that as Ishmael multiplies we believe we are making progress. We believe we are building the Kingdom.

Did not Jesus say 'I will build My Church..'

Listen to Jesus. Could He be talking to us' Rev.3.

"I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. "So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. "Because you say, `I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' --and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-- "I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

For several years I covenanted my tithe to the church I attended. And was pleased to do so. Then the Lord moved us to another church. There, I asked for a covenant form but misplaced it. So I asked for another, and the same thing happened. Then I got one filled in, but week after week I forget to hand it in. Then I lost it also. The church then held a special Saturday morning clinic so that those who were not covenanting could meet with the treasurer and get help. I planned to go, but was unable. Since I am a fairly organised person, I began to wonder why month after month I was unable to carry out this one simple action. I came to believe that within the covenanted four year minimum period the Lord would be changing my circumstances or perhaps the church I attended, so I left it at that. However four years came and went and I was still there and my my tithe and church were unchanged. Now I was really puzzled. So I prayed about it. To my shock I sensed the Lord speak quietly into my heart.. 'Since when has My Kingdom been a charity'
At that moment salve was applied to my eyes, and I saw.

When a God given ministry asks for and is given charitable status it places that ministry under an additional and unnecessary level of secular control.  Secular control is becoming less and less favourably disposed to Christianity and the inevitable will surely happen.

In their book " Adventures in missing the point" co-authors Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren say,

"I am worried that many Christian ministries to the needy will eventually take federal dollars and gradually become dependent on government funding. Then if the courts eventually require it and many legal experts contend that they eventually will - these ministries will have to abandon the religious emphasis in order to continue their operations.  What the government giveth the government can take away and I am concerned these agencies which are expanding their operations with federal dollars, will have to give up their spiritual cutting edge just to keep getting the money they need to stay in business. 'connecting government with faith based programmes is allot like mixing ice cream with horse manure', one American mayor has observed ' it won't hurt the manure but it will really mess up the ice cream'. "

I have a charitable financial covenant with the National Trust, so that they can claim back 28% on my annual giving from the Inland Revenue. I have no problem rendering on to Caesar what is his. They are of this world, they are charities, they are doing excellent work, and I am blessing them through the means by which society has set up for them to be blessed.

As a Christian ministry however we are a registered trust, but not a charitable trust.

I will not now, not ever, declare to taxman, friend or foe, that my Father's House or the ministry He has honoured me with is a charity to be registered with the world. 

I agree with the writer of Psalm 127:1, (Solomon)

       Unless the Lord builds the house, They labour in vain who build it;

It's something to ponder.

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine
...At the end of ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.
Daniel 1: 8a & 15

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Note added November 11th 2006.

Following debate the new Charities Act became law on November 8th 2006. There was much debate as to what might or might not be included under the new laws. The Christian Institute said..

Until now the law has always held a presumption that religious charities are for the public benefit, but this is removed by the Bill. New and existing religious charities will have to justify their 'public benefit'. The Christian Institute is particularly concerned to protect cross-cultural missionary organisations or charities which hold to traditional Christian belief on abortion or human sexuality. It could be argued by secularists that such bodies are not in the public interest.

Miss Anne Widdecombe MP expressed her alarm at recent statements by the Charity Commission, which has said that in future the public benefit test will be assessed in the light of "modern society"   In reply a government minister assured her that the new act is not intended to lead to a narrowing down of the range of religious activities that are considered charitable. He also made clear that a religious charity would not be disqualified for its beliefs about sexual morality *.

My comment: Is this the end of the matter on this issue, or the beginning of the thin end of the wedge on this issue'

In light of recent developments in our increasingly secular society - much of which is documented in the editorial section - I would lean towards the latter.  Time will tell.