The blog of Dr Glenn Andrew Peoples on Theology, Philosophy, and Social Issues

Tag: churches

In (qualified) Support of Mark Driscoll


I don’t know Mark Driscoll. Nor, for that matter, do those who make up the disturbingly enthusiastic crowd of stone-bearers who wait in the wings, apparently hoping for his downfall. They’re calling him a thug, alleging that he suffers from mental illness, calling him a slime ball, a heretic, an “ass,” a “jerk,” and worse, including utterly bizarre comparisons to cult leaders who literally told followers to kill themselves.

Genuinely committed evangelicals, as well as scores of “progressives” who in other contexts would actively condemn hatred and vilification (and would probably never think of themselves as taking part in the like) are lining up on social media websites and blogs to insult, ridicule, belittle and attack Mark Driscoll, and to basically give a pat on the back to their friends who do likewise.

Are churches charities?


Is there a neutral way of deciding whether or not to treat churches as charitable organisations and therefore tax exempt?

An interesting discussion broke out over at M and M recently about a guest post by bethyada on whether or not the tax exempt status of churches directly costs taxpayers. I’ll let his piece speak for itself and won’t really get into the actual subject of it, because in the comments section a different issue came up that I’d like to put out there for your consideration.

One of the correspondents was insistent that the tax exempt status of churches amounted to a “privilege” that nobody else gets, and that no organisation should have tax exempt status by virtue of of being a church – they had to actually be charitable.

As many readers will know, a lot of churches have food banks, they run programmes for children, they might provide counselling, among other things. But are churches already charitable, regardless of what else they do? According to New Zealand law, a charitable purpose (for tax exemption purposes) “includes every charitable purpose, whether it relates to the relief of poverty, the advancement of education or religion, or any other matter beneficial to the community” [Charities Act 2005, Section 5(1)].

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