Religious Orders

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Religious Orders

Religious Orders are considered to be a special type of entity. Most are Roman Catholic but there are some well established Protestant order and eastern, Buddhist and even Jewish orders. Many of these Orders are made up of people who have devoted their entire lives to communal worship and service. The members of the order express their commitment by such things as vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

  1. Religious orders are "personal" in the sense that their ecclesiastical jurisdiction does not depend upon geographical nor territorial boundaries.
  2. Religious orders carry on a variety of activities, all of which are, for one reason or another, characterized as "religious".
  3. Religious orders often operate various institutions, such as schools and religious "retreat" centers, and may have a specific religious "mission" or "purpose" apart from the individuals who are called out of the world, into the order.
  4. A church is regarded as the body of believers separate and apart from the people who attend.
  5. A religious order should also be apart from the people or individuals served by the order. Many religious orders are not entrenched in the mission of Jesus Christ which is to serve the people who attend to it and it to them and therefore this is a critical distinction.

Orders are like families which is why members are often called brothers or sisters.

Families are meant to be autonomous and Orders are autonomous as well but the Orders of the Church established by Jesus Christ and the Church in the wilderness who were the Levites established by Moses were also joint heirs[1] holding all things in common.[2].

Though they are autonomous they are connected as heirs and of course they are connected by Christ with His common purpose. Like the stones of the Altars of Abraham and Moses they must fit together without hewing them or exercising authority. Overseers, also called bishops have an oversight position but not like the governments of the gentiles because they do not eercise authority one over the other.

The Church established is a different form of government than the governments of the world and also different from many modern Churches and there may be many questions and answers.



The Internal Revenue Service issued Rev. Proc. 91-20 in 1991 to provide guidelines for determining who may be considered to be a religious order. As stated therein, the defining characteristics are:

  1. The organization is described in section 501(c)(3) of the Code.
  2. The members of the organization vow to live under a strict set of rules requiring moral and spiritual self-sacrifice and dedication to the goals of the organization at the expense of their material well-being.
  3. The members of the organization, after successful completion of the organization's training program and probationary period, make a long-term commitment to the organization (normally more than two years).
  4. The organization is, directly or indirectly, under the control and supervision of a church or convention or association of churches, or is significantly funded by a church or convention or association of churches.
  5. The members of the organization normally live together as part of a community and are held to a significantly stricter level of moral and religious discipline than that required of lay church members.
  6. The members of the organization work or serve full-time on behalf of the religious, educational, or charitable goals of the organization.
  7. The members of the organization participate regularly in activities such as public or private prayer, religious study, teaching, care of the aging, missionary work, or church reform or renewal.

As with the fourteen points concerning a church, the absence of one or more of these items (with the exception of the first item) is not necessarily determinative.

The legislative history of IRC Section 170 pertaining to the deductibility of contributions, clearly indicates that the term "church" was intended to include religious orders.[3]

Religious orders or religious houses have existed for centuries. Can we look at the 'Monasticism' of the past and the Modern_Monastic_life and learn from their mistakes?

The Communion of the righteous

Orders and Religion

Colossians 2:5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.

Religious Orders are of an ancient tradition. The Essenes communities formed religious orders extensively at the time of Christ. But a congregation of ten Levites also did the same. The tens, hundreds and thousands was based on ten Elders, heads of families, choosing a Levite minister. Together they formed a core group.

Their freely chosen and tithed to Ministers who met the requirements for a Levite also gathered in groups of tens to form a congregation of Ministers of a nation. Their purpose was to unite the people through charitable service rather than like those men who call themselves Benefactors of other nations but exercise authority one over the other.

Because Religion was how you performed your duty to God and your fellow man these groups of Ministers may called Religious Orders. Those congregations of Ministers picked a Minister who also gathered together with other ministers to form a living Network of titular ministers of a nation.

That network of ministers serve the nation by providing an orderly and efficient system of welfare provided through their Daily ministration to the tents of the congregations in faith, hope and charity which might be called allegiance, through the Perfect law of liberty by Freewill offerings of the people, for the people, and by the people.

There are distinctive elements to their common brotherhood that made them the antithesis of communism. They structured their community in cell groups called twelve ‘men of holiness’, which included a titular leader or mebaqqerim. “In the council of the community there shall be twelve men and three priests.”[4]

Leaders served their constituency rather than exercise authority one over the other. These groups like the apostles consisted of about ten families or family groups.

There leaders were accepted to their office by unanimous agreement of those they served as the best servant of servants. The order used this same principle in serving the congregations of the people. Together they formed a national network of charity and thanksgiving or Eucharist.

“The communities are wont, of their own accord and man by man, to bestow upon their Princes a certain number of beasts, or a certain portion of grain; a contribution which passes indeed for a mark of reverence and honour, but serves also to supply their necessities.”[5]

The words 'of their own accord' is from the Latin 'ultro' meaning 'voluntarily'. “[O]ur modern reliance on government to make law and establish order is not the historical norm.”[6]

Voluntary societies dependent upon natural charity bear the greatest fruit when liberty and virtue are faithfully and religiously practiced.

When the people look to entitlements from men who only call themselves benefactors they gradually go from freedom to tyranny and the governments are corrupted by a little power and then a lot.

Instead of pure religion which was the care of the needy of society unspotted by such worldly systems a religion of superstition is needed to tickle the ears of the people and justify their slothful conscience. If any one dares suggest a return to the ancient paths they are met with envy and contempt.

“Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways [from] the ancient paths, to walk in paths, [in] a way not cast up;” Jeremiah 18:15

Tacitus' description of Christians as “a class hated for their abominations" and who were convicted not for setting Nero's Rome on fire but for "hatred against mankind.”[7]

The early Christians Church were accused by Rome of atheism. “Justin, when refuting the charge of atheism writes, “We reverence and worship the Father, and the Son, and the host of other good messengers (or angels), and the Prophetic Spirit,” And, “You call us atheistis: the charge is not true, for we not only believe in one God, who was sent by God.”” [8]

We may take another look at the Christian conflict with Rome and other nations that persecuted them.

Justin had written an Apology of Christian worship in 150 AD where he pointed out that Christians supported each other in a system of social welfare dependent on free will offerings through the Church ministers established by God and recognized by a body of believers. Their regeneration at Baptism made them eligible for the benefits of that holy system of Christ through His ministers, and at the same time got them cast out of the unrighteous system of Corban offered by the Pharisees. The Romans had their altars and temples but they had changed like those of the Pharisees. They were supported by imposed contributions called taxes to provide individual welfare.

The ancient altars were instruments of sacrifice and part of a system of on going community trust or the establishment of social bonds of love through the exercise liberty and daily charity.

What is a Religious Order? Q and A

An order is a congregation or assembly of ordained ministers who come together in one accord. It usually is not much larger than 10 ordained ministers in ancient times, and their Family members. Like a congregation an order is to serves the needs of the ministers and their Families in the performance o their duty to God and their fellow man and is a part of an over all network of the kingdom binding the people in faith, hope, and charity in practical ways.

“A church or religious society may exist for all the purposes for which it was organized independently of any incorporation of the body . . . and, it is a matter of common knowledge that many do exist and are never incorporated.”[9]


The Ancient Orders of Overseers

We see more than one word "paqad" translated [10] overseer in the Old Testament. It appears more than three hundred times in the Bible but only translated overseer a few times. Most of the time it is translated number. If you added the letter Hey to paqad you got the word pequddah[11] which included ideas like "oversight, care, custody, mustering, visitation, store".

All these words together described the role of an overseer in the national network of the tens, hundreds, and thousands. They supplied oversight to prevent corruption; They were part of a charitable network providing care and welfare for the people; They would take custody of the property of the ministers they served in the case of death or loss of capacity to make sure it got to the next minister chosen by the people. In time of war or attack they would muster those who would come to the aid of society; In the time of disease or famine they would not just visit but bring aid to to those communities that needed more help which is what the practice of Pure Religion was all about; Because they were connected in the network, gathering with other overseers of congregations they could call on a huge storehouse of aid without putting all their supplies in one place.

Before the Church and the Church in the wilderness there was Abraham and Melchisedec who was tithed to and provided a righteous mammon through a network of living Altars.

Israel, the early Church and many nations throughout history gathered in a numerical pattern of tens, hundreds, and thousands. An overseer is a joint heir in a national network and one of the main purposes of an overseer was to account for those he served by keeping everyone connected in a system of service. He would gather with other overseers like himself in his own congregation called an Order. Those who chose him as overseer did so in hope that he would connect them with the rest of the people seeking the kingdom of God in other congregations.


Separation

There is a separation of Church and the State not only by the State, but by God and Christ. The merging of the Church and the governments of men would be diminishing if not destroying the status of the Church as an autonomous body of Christ. It would be making the Church a part of another government, and void it as the holy body of Christ. Many might object to this line of thinking, but even the state bears witness to the truth of this in many of their own statutes.[12]

How does one form a large body of individuals as one assembly, without the incorporation of some of the rights of the individual? In one sense the church is the whole body of the congregation and those who minister to it. In another sense there is a separation between the Church, specifically the ministers, and the status or state of the people. Can a portion of the corpus of the people be bound in the body of the Church without diminishing the rights of either?

Note that any congregation, church or society who incorporates under the provisions of the state statutes becomes a ‘new corporation’ and will be considered as if it had ‘not previously been incorporated’ by Christ. Everything that once belonged to that previous ‘congregation, church or society’ and the preexisting authority that created that body would now belong under the authority of the State. The State becomes the originating authority of the new incorporation. It is no longer established by Jesus Christ and therefore no longer the Church by the legal definition.

This precept appears to be voiced by the judge in State v. Corpus Christi People’s Baptist Church, Inc.,[13] when he said, “As the trial judge phrased it-- once the church determined to enter the realm of Caesar by forming a corporation it was required to abide by the rules of Caesar, or in this case, the statutes of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.” The antitheses of this is that if the Church does not enter the realm of Caesar then it is not subject to the ruling of Caesar or “of the world”. This case was concerned in part with the incorporation of the Church by some of the leaders of the Church.

Although incorporation was not done in the formal solemnization common among business even informal acceptance of the supposition of incorporation was enough to subjugate the body of that church. It is irrevocable. We also see this term in the social security regulations for ministers as “an irrevocable election of coverage for all its members.”[14]

The state creates the corporations of the body of the state and Christ created the corpus or the body of the Church.

The muster roll of Christ's Church should belong to Him alone. [15]This is the way God established the Church in the wilderness.[16]

Corporations of the state depend upon the state for its power, character, and therefore their right to act as a body. Everything that belongs to the corporations of the state falls under the authority of Caesar by his grace. The Church is not a body of the state nor can its ordained members enter the body of the state. Its member ministers must also be separate, with full faith and credit in Christ.

The Body of Christ is a creation or creature of Christ:

“Upon the other hand, the corporation is a creature of the State. It is presumed to be incorporated for the benefit of the public. It receives certain special privileges and franchises, and holds them subject to the laws of the State and certain limitations of its charter. Its powers are limited by its charter. It can make no contract not authorized by its charter. Its rights to act as a corporation are only preserved to it so long as it obeys the laws of its charter.” [17]


The Poor Princes of the kingdom

The princes of Israel were to serve only and be chosen as servants of servants to keep the people free souls under God. This is the essence of a good Church. This has been the nature of the Kingdom and government of God from the beginning. Other forms of government seen throughout the Bible, in opposition to God, give power to men to rule with authority. Both governments require support.

In the first, the people must choose to support those who fall upon need, finance the ministration of government, and provide the protection of the country locally and nationally by free contributions.

In the latter, the people are required by those in power to provide for the needs of the state by forced contributions that take both substance and choice from their neighbor.

The former depends on reciprocating charity, service, and freewill offerings.

The other has reciprocating entitlements where the people are under the exercising authority of the political benefactor. It does not matter if that benefactor is a despot or a democracy. In all cases men rule over men, choice is diminished, and God is rejected. The kingdom of heaven is within and if the choice is not made in the hearts and minds of men then the kingdom is abandoned.

This latter system of men is not instituted by God. It is a violation of God’s way which Christ spoke against.[18] Such systems often speak of faith in God, have their rituals and gatherings where they claim to pray to God but in fact their prayers and kings are not to Christ or the Father but to the Caesars of the world. Their ordinances and laws make the word of God to none effect, but what of the Church?

God’s congregation in the wilderness and in the first century Church were gathered together in free will fellowships. Since, the congregation are composed of free men and women, they must establish a titular body to represent them without giving it an exercising authority over their liberty. The called out ministers of the Church represent that servant body politic to the world.

Christians would not bind themselves to the Nicolaitan altars of power by oath, application or participation. Those offered entitlements were funded by agents with exercising authority over neighbors or by oppressing the stranger. Christians could not pray at such covetous altars, but put their faith in another king who preached a different kind of way and government with gregarious altars of charity.

They formed living altars of faithful men who received the freewill offerings of the people called sacrifice. They would redistribute those gifts through the living network of congregations and churches. There was no central store house, but a constant weekly and daily flow of that which made the body whole and healthy. The people retained their rights and responsibilities. Such volunteer system of living altars allowed the people to survive in hard times and could be called sacred purpose ministries. Such trust needs some form of protector or overseer or an authoritarian state will eventually assume that office.

The ordained ministers of the Church supplied both the representation and that position of servant overseer. They did not usurp or exercise authority over the people, but stood in appointed authority between the corpus of the people and the interlopers and usurpers of the other governments of the world.

The critical difference between a God inspired government and governments of the other nations is that no authority over the people is vested in that public office. Those who seek that office of service are subject to the job description given by Christ and by Moses. They could be in but not of the world.

Christ restricted them from owning property in their own name. This is a very controversial subject but it was key to the standing of the Church in the wilderness,[19] at the time of Christ and in the free Church today. The autonomy of the Church is not only dependent upon the Church rejecting benefits of the world, but the ordained ministers must also reject all benefits of the world that might ensnare them.

In those early days of Israel when there was no king the ministers of the government of liberty and charity had no inheritance in the land but holding all things in common they belonged to God.[20] They were foreign to the world and to the people.[21]

The apostles were appointed a kingdom, but told to not be like the the princes, rulers, or the kings of the Gentiles.[22] These men were princes of the kingdom, but unlike most every government today they did not exercise authority one over the other. In the early Church those ordained disciples of Christ had no inheritance in land because Christ ordered that they sell their property or they could not be His disciple, student ministers.[23] Those like Barnabas obeyed this command, but Ananias did not. Understanding Barnabas, who was Joses a Levite who owned property in Cyprus[24] was not allowed to by God according to Moses. In order to obey Jesus he had to sell it and give the money away. “But” Ananias failed to do so and died.

If the ministers of Christ are a part of the estate of Christ they can have no personal estate of their own. This is essential to the foreign nature of the Church to maintain true autonomy. This unique status of a ordained minister with no personal estate is important to mention, but we will have to deal with the detailed examination and explanation in another place.

Appendix 4. Position Statement for Ministers under a Vow of Poverty

A member of a religious order who has taken a vow of poverty is not covered as a self-employed individual.[25] They are occupied in the propagation of the doctrines and ordinances of Jesus Christ, Ruler of the Kingdom of God on earth and in Heaven. His Holy Church or His Church, as orders and altars of Jesus Christ, cannot apply to any other government, paternal office, king, prince or potentate by any election or act of profanation.[26]

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Oaths and Vows

Oath of the Horatii.jpg

Vows and Oaths

Someone objected to our reference to religious vows in a discussion about abjuration and asked:

"Christ's words are plain, and easy of understanding to those who wish to comprehend, at least in this instance. Otherwise, why would He follow up a statement such as "swear not at all" in direct connection vows and vowing with "Let your yes be yes and your no be no; all else comes from sin"?"

Jesus does not connect swearing with vows and vowing. Translators do.

We have expanded the information on this page.Read more...


  • 1 Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.


Brotherhood

If when God breathed into man life and gave him choice and then gave man dominion and told him to dress it and keep it He formed with man the first trusts. Had He simply given man the life upon the earth there could have been no conditions.

The Union of man and women was the first contract with God in which terms were imposed by God through nature upon fallen man. All government is based on the Law of the Father through contract.

Men contract with men who seek to rule over men and are soon brought into debt from which there is no escape by declaration without a proclamation from those who hold the key to our bondage. Pharaoh's and Fathers of the earth do not let their children go easily.

Christ opened a door and appointed His Church to maintain an entrance. If men will return to the ways of Christ and the Father He will hear their voice and set them free.

Those called out may become his servants and then His brothers in Christ if they will meet His conditions. They can become the part of a new family and most to be set free.

Our Fathers have made contract with the Fathers of the earth but if we will return to our Father in Heaven seeking to be His servants then we may serve as His Holy Church.We may need to separate from our natural families because they are bound to the Fathers of the earth.[27]

Christ told His followers they would not only have to leave their wealth behind but they would have to choose to serve Him and leave their own families to be his disciples.[28]

An Order formed for the purposes of Christ are a band of brothers who owe all faith and allegiance to Christ and are naturalized to Him. They are bound to God in His service alone within a body of men who do not exercise authority on over the other but serve Him by feeding His Sheep, promoting his doctrines and ordinances of loving God, keeping His commandments and loving one another as His Holy Church.

The mission of this brotherhood of servants of God is to be the Benefactors of the people who do not exercise authority one over the other but teach the people to sacrifice and serve like Christ through example only.

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Footnotes

  1. Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs <sugkleronomos 4789> with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Ephesians 3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs <4789>, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Hebrews 11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him <4789> of the same promise: 1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together <4789> of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
  2. Acts 4:32 ¶ And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any [of them] that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
  3. S. Rep. No. 1622, 83d Congress, 2nd Session at p. 30 (1954).
  4. Dead Sea Scrolls, Essene Community Rule (1QS) 8.1-4
  5. Tacitus says of the ancient Germans, in Germania 15,
  6. The Enterprise of Law: Justice without the State. Bruce L. Benson Publisher: Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy (San Francisco), 1991 ’
  7. Tacitus, The Annals. Book 15: A.D. 62-65,
  8. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia By James Orr
  9. Murphy v. Taylor, 289 So.2d 584, 586 (Ala. 1974), quoting Hundley v. Collins, 32 So. 575 (Ala. 1901). See Going Home
  10. 06485 ^דקפ^ paqad \@paw-kad’\@ a primitive root; v; AV-number 119, visit 59, punish 31, appoint 14, commit 6, miss 6, set 6, charge 5, governor 5, lack 4, oversight 4, officers 4, counted 3, empty 3, ruler 3, overseer 3, judgment 2, misc 28; 305 v
    1) to attend to, muster, number, reckon, visit, punish, appoint, look after, care for
    1a) (Qal)
    1a1) to pay attention to, observe
    1a2) to attend to
    1a3) to seek, look about for
    1a4) to seek in vain, need, miss, lack
    1a5) to visit
    1a6) to visit upon, punish
    1a7) to pass in review, muster, number
    1a8) to appoint, assign, lay upon as a charge, deposit
    1b) (Niphal)
    1b1) to be sought, be needed, be missed, be lacking
    1b2) to be visited
    1b3) to be visited upon
    1b4) to be appointed
    1b5) to be watched over
    1c) (Piel) to muster, call up
    1d) (Pual) to be passed in review, be caused to miss, be called, be called to account
    1e) (Hiphil)
    1e1) to set over, make overseer, appoint an overseer
    1e2) to commit, entrust, commit for care, deposit
    1f) (Hophal)
    1f1) to be visited
    1f2) to be deposited
    1f3) to be made overseer, be entrusted
    1g) (Hithpael) numbered
    1h) (Hothpael) numbered
    n m pl abstr
    2) musterings, expenses
  11. 06486 ^הדקפ^ pᵉquddah \@pek-ood-daw’\@ pass part of 06485; n f; AV-visitation 13, office 5, charge 2, oversight 2, officers 2, orderings 1, account 1, custody 1, numbers 1, misc 4; 32
    1) oversight, care, custody, mustering, visitation, store
    1a) visitation, punishment
    1b) oversight, charge, office, overseer, class of officers
    1c) mustering
    1d) store
  12. Not as a source of authority but only as an example we quote the state of Illinois:
    “Any congregation, church or society, heretofore incorporated under the provisions of any law for the incorporation of religious societies, may become incorporated under the provisions of this act, relative to religious societies, in the same manner as if it had not previously been incorporated, in which case the new corporation shall be entitled [to] and invested with all the real and personal estate of the old corporation, in like manner and to the same extent as the old corporation, subject to all the debts, contracts and liabilities. The word trustees, wherever used in this act, shall be construed to include wardens and vestrymen, or such other officers as perform the duties of trustees.” (805 ILCS 110/44) Sec. 44. (Source: Laws 1871-72, p. 296.)
  13. 1683 S.W.2d 692 (Tex. 1984);
  14. SSR 81-38: TITLE II:Coverage of Service of members of Religious orders who work for third parties. Http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/rulings/oasi/45/SSR81-38-oasi-45.html
  15. 2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. John 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
  16. Numbers 8:14 Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine.
  17. Hale v. Henkel, 201 U.S. 43, 89 (1906); Pinkerton v. Verberg, 78 Mich. 573, 584.
  18. Matthew 23:13 “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in [yourselves], neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.”
  19. This status of an ordained minister is covered under the title of “Vow of Poverty”. It is often misunderstood but well documented in the biblical text and the law today. It may require some detailed study to overcome our misconceptions.
  20. Numbers 3:45 “... the Levites shall be mine: I [am] the LORD.”
  21. Numbers 8:14 Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine.”
  22. Matthew 20:25 “...princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them..., Mark 10:42... accounted to rule...” Luke 22:25 “...kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.”
  23. Luke 14:33 “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”
  24. Individual Levites owning property was forbidden by Moses but allowed by the Hasmonean dynasty.
  25. SSAH 1122.2 The term “trade or business” does not include services by a member of a religious order who has taken a vow of poverty when these services are performed in the exercise of the duties required by the order.
  26. Revelation 2:6 “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”
    Revelation 2:15 “So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.”
  27. "Quod ipsis, qui cotraxerunt, abstat; et successoribus eorum obstabit"
    "That which bars those who have contracted will bar their successors also."
  28. Luke 14:26 If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
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