Some of us could live to see the rise of a State Church in the United States. The previous sentence could sound alarmist to those who have not studied Church history under repressive regimes. Only Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. All else is subject to change.
Repression is not always immediate. It comes over time, but there are junctures when it appears more blatant. In our lifetime it could happen when churches who have enjoyed the benefits of a state sanction through approved corporate structures face a dilemma of integrity when the state requires compliance with approved language and theology to maintain their tax-exempt status. Maintaining that status would require a compromised and approved public message void of spiritual warning, the definition of sin, and any message that opposes the ruling authority.
The real dilemma will come when churches and denominations are told to hold the government line or face the dilemma of losing their tax-exempt status and ability to receive approved donations. As the saying goes, “Follow the money.” Paul instructed Timothy (and the churches under his care) about such a dilemma of faith, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows” (I Timothy 6:10). The end result for those who choose compromise will be the arrival of many sorrows, some unknown until the compromise has taken place.
If such a demand for conformity should ever take place the freedom that comes from holding the line on truth and maintaining our spiritual integrity will outweigh any restrictions. We will experience a new level of simplicity and purity much like the underground churches living today in repressed cultures. We will come to realize our faith did not need all the trappings we were told we needed.
With every tightened screw of oppression, a new level of anointing would come upon the Church. We would begin to resemble the Church found in China, Iran, and other oppressive nations where their faith is flourishing under restriction. Nothing on Earth no matter how controlling it becomes can hinder the message of Jesus Christ.
If such a scenario should ever come, fear will be our greatest adversary. The mission of the Church has never been inhibited by government repression. In fact, it has flourished in matters of the Spirit in such times. The flourishing happens because we come to realize true faith rests only in the person of Jesus Christ, not our preferred circumstance. The Lord knows how to make Himself known to us no matter what comes. He only asks us to trust Him.