If you can register it with government, it may be good, it’s probably legal, and I might even give money to it… but it is NOT Christianity.
The Kingdom of God is above the earth and Christians believe that Christianity is the Kingdom of God come down to earth. Actions on the earth register with God—God doesn’t need to register with the earth.
I’m not suggesting any kind of rebellion against the earthly governments on the earth God created, mostly because Jesus didn’t either. In fact, quite the opposite: You don’t rebel against something lower than yourself… that wouldn’t make sense. If governments attack Christians, Christians get martyred because Jesus will bring us back to life—martyrdom verdicts from anti-god governments are rejected by the Courts of the Kingdom of Heaven, thus, we’re resurrected. Beat that. Why rebel against a lower court than yourself? America says it’s UNDER God, so, Christians don’t plan military revolt… well, unless they are in bed with the State. We called those “Crusades” before Luther’s day and I won’t be a part of that.
Your local Christian fellowship, as an informal fellowship, obeying local and domestic laws, is good as it is. That’s Christianity. But, 501(c)(3) can’t be “Christianity” by definition. It may be wonderful, it may be terrible, but God’s CHURCH is invisible and its address is the sky. 501(c)(3) status may be useful for Christians, but whatever is registered as a “non-profit” or “ecclesiastical entity” is NOT, by definition, real Christianity.
Once we start thinking that the Kingdom of Heaven can register with things below the heavens in order to obtain their legitimacy, we open Pandora’s box, start getting ugly with our enemies (Bible thumping), make enemies out of each other (denominationalism), risk military conflict in the name of God (against Jesus’ teaching), and start all sorts of other friction. But there’s another problem… the State doesn’t know the difference between real and fake religions.
In Sweden, a religion was created, Kopimism, which is dedicated to the belief that copyrighted material can be pirated legally—or something like that. Because those are their “religious beliefs” any action against them could be deemed “religious discrimination”.
Think the Swedish Kopimism sounds absurd? Well, this new religion based on piracy didn’t surprise me in the least. Christians have been absurd for years—registering their worship of the Eternal Most High with governments that have trouble standing for more than a handful of centuries. Maybe this anti-copyright religion (or whatever it is) would have been avoided if Christians hadn’t sent the “wrong message” to the State—the idea that “God” whom America is “under” needs to register with what’s under Him.
Why do we need to “register” with ink and papers and build a bureaucracy? Why can’t we just peacefully assemble and worship Jesus? “One nation under God.” That means America has registered with God and that should have been the end of it. But, that wasn’t enough. It just wasn’t enough.