Taxes and Ministers

Dr Veith asks about the implications of a court case that seeks to revoke the housing exemption for ministers.

While the money part of my brain says, “They can’t do that!”, the theological part of my brain says “Bring it On!”.  The good theological effects of this would be :

1. Teachers would be absolutely scrambling to be de-listed as “Called church workers”, and be re-listed as “employees”.  This could have the extraordinarily salutary effect of helping to fix our doctrine of the ministry.  Churches, of course, would fight this because they would then have to pay the employer share of social security tax for the teachers.

2. Our Categories of church workers could be names biblically, rather than governmentally.

3. Congregations could no longer justify low wages with the pablum “But they don’t have to pay taxes on their housing.”   That doesn’t create money out of thin air, it never has.  I have heard it from congregations regarding teachers, pastors, DCE’s, and all manner of other workers.  It would be nice to never hear it again.

4. If the end result of this is that churches are taxed, it would make it very easy to see who was donating for the right reason.  As our Lord says, “Do not let your right hand know what your left is doing, but make sure you get a receipt to show the IRS so that your donation is deducted to the full amount allowed by law.”  (Hezekiah 6:15)


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