There is only one meaning and one purpose of obedience in this world as explained in the Bible. That is, obedience is submission to God’s law or giving back to God what belongs to God or the ears.
That’s the reason why God put ears on the body. Ears are God’s creations. Scientists did not create ears.
The Prime Minister and Members of Parliament did not create ears. God create ears and He creates them for his own purposes. God also create the ears of the Prime Minister and Members of Parliament but because of disobedience, those ears are now belonging to somewhere else.
There are foundations, structures and systems of God’s creation. For example, in the beginning, God created heavens and earth. There was light and there was darkness. Light is day and darkness is night. There was morning and evening.
Morning and evening is the first day and so on and on. God applied the same principle to the human being as well as His own work or the Work of God that is responsible for the spreading of God’s words around the world.
Different parts of the body such as legs, hands, head, eyes, mouth, ears and other parts are all connected with a skeleton. Each part has its own specific function according to its purpose. There are many parts but one body. They work together to support each other. They are operating on systems that are inside the body. You cannot put off and reattach parts of your body because it was not created or intended to functioning like that.
Similarly, God Himself in the Old Testament, He laid out the foundation of his Work, the structure of His Work and systems of His Work. He chose the Levites as priests / ministers, the Levites must not have any inheritances in Israel such as land but the only inheritances for priests are things set apart by God for God such as tithe and offerings.
That system is law of God. During the times of Christ, God changed the priesthood according to His own will. And that is the truth of the law of God about priests, tithe and offerings and that is also the truth about the foundation, the structure and the systems of the Work of God.
The Work of God in the New Testament is known as Church. It was established by Christ and operated upon the same foundation. Christ did not destroy the law and Prophets but fulfilled. Despite of the fact that the Official Religion of Samoa is Christianity, it does not mean that the national government of Samoa is the Church or the foundation and the structure and systems that God laid to operate His work upon. The Bible is very clear about that side.
Therefore, our national government is not Church. The Members of Parliament are not priests or pastors or Church Ministers. They are not parts of the foundation, the structure and systems of the Work of God or Church. They don’t conduct services at Church and they don’t receive tithes and offerings that God set apart for priests.
Did any one of them get purify before to become a pastor and serve full time as pastor in different missions of a Church? Did any one of them devote his or her life to go to Malua or to Piula or to any theological college and then became a pastor and a scholar of the Bible and serve different missions of the Church for both in Samoa and around the world?
So for the Prime Minister and the Parliament to avoid the E.F.K.S. Church’s complaints and for them to overrule the foundation, the structure and systems that God laid with their own laws is so stupid. That is disobedience. Also, the separation of individual Church Ministers from the main Church according to the Prime Minister’s desire is also very stupid. That too is disobedience.
If that’s what the Prime Minister has been trying to do with the structure and systems of the Church then why not try it out first with the structure and systems of his own body that God created? If he can change God’s creation by putting off his mouth and his nose from his body at home and then off for work with out those parts of his body then surely without any doubt, the E.F.K.S. Church will do the same thing with the Church’s foundation, structure and systems that God founded.
Furthermore, the official religion of our country which is Christianity is a truth based religion. It is based on God because God is the truth. God’s law is the truth and therefore the word obedience is a truth based word or term. The messages and words that we learn from the Bible are all based on truth but not untruth. So when ever we use the words from the Bible such as law, judgment, righteousness, obedience, disobedience and other words, we have to be very careful. We have to make sure that we are using them correctly according to the truth.
For example, the labeling of the E.F.K.S. and Church Ministers as disobedience is unnecessary. The E.F.K.S. and Church Ministers, they are obeying the truth, the foundation, the structure and the systems lay out by God to operate His work upon. They are special parts of the foundation, the structure and systems. In other words, they are the law and obedience. They are specialist of obedience and services. That’s who they are and that’s where they are coming from.
Considering our identity of Christianity, where do Christians get obedience from? What is obedience to us as Christians? What should we obey, God’s law or traditions of man like the new tax law to tax Church Ministers? Therefore the right parties that should label with disobedience are the Prime Minister and the Parliament.
When we judge each other or when we as Christians have debates on issues such as the new tax law to tax Church Ministers, we have to look at the whole picture as explained above. Remember our ears, remember the foundations, structures and systems that God created and remember the true meanings of the words and messages that we learn from the Bible. Otherwise, reliance upon assumptions, conjecture, suppositions, personal concerns, political correctness, emotions, anger and traditions of man to prove our arguments is absolutely wrong and evil. Those types of arguments are all rubbish.
The following are some of the Prime Ministers assumptions and suppositions about the issue of taxing Church Ministers and some of my explorations about those assumptions and suppositions.
1) ““Have you ever heard of other churches elaborating about this issue in their conferences? All the other churches, aside from this denomination (C.C.C.S.), once they were informed, they agreed noting this is a must because even the Bible says to pay taxes.””
For the Prime Minister’s information, the Methodist Church is one of the government’s critics about the issue of taxing Church Ministers. It was reported as news several times in the past by the Samoa Observer. So that is not the meaning of “they agreed noting this is a must because even the Bible says to pay taxes.”
Because he referenced other denominations about this issue, so it is a must for the Prime Minister to provide proof from those denominations to prove what he said that those denominations have agreed that the Bible says to pay taxes.
It is so unnecessary for him to use other denominations to insult E.F.K.S. Apart from that, it is also unnecessary for him as the Prime Minister trying to turn other denominations against E.F.K.S. because there is nothing wrong between the E.F.K.S. and other denominations.
2) “There is nowhere in the world the government passes a law and then waits to see whether the Church agrees. The law pertaining to taxes is quite unique and with the authority that comes with it, it does not solicit rather it enforces.”
For the Prime Minister’s information, Samoa is not the world, Samoa is not China and Samoa is not Japan. Samoa is Samoa. In Samoa we have our “Faavae” the “Constitution of the Independent State of Samoa” It is not a “Faavae” of the world or China or Japan or any other country of the world.
The “Faavae” is the faavae of Samoa and also, the “Faavae” is the ‘Supreme law’ of Samoa as in (section 2) of the Constitution. In other words, it is the Supreme law of the land.
When it comes to the enforcement of the Supreme law, the Parliament is also under enforcement. They are not exempted. We own our “Faavae” altogether. If the Prime Minister and Parliament violates the “Faavae” which is actually the real thing that was happening and it is still happening right now, the people of Samoa have the right to stand up against it and correct it because we own our government but not the other way round.
The new tax law to tax Church Ministers according to the E.F.K.S. is un-Constitutional and it is also un-Biblical. That is the truth and that is the argument from the E.F.K.S. and other Churches. The Parliament was well informed about that issue when the Cabinet was still working on its plan about the new Bill for taxing Church Ministers but the Parliament denied it.
The Parliament did not follow the right process of initiating and inquiry to investigate the Bill according to the arguments from E.F.K.S. in order to find out the truth. Instead of the Parliament following the right process, the Parliament followed the wrong way. They denied the E.F.K.S.’s claim and passed the Bill into law. That is so unnecessary and unacceptable. That is not services.
Speaking of unnecessary and unacceptable, the “Supreme law” is not the only law affected under unnecessary and unacceptable actions of the Prime Minister and the Parliament in relation to the issue about the new tax law to tax Church Ministers. Other laws involved under that same situation are “Cabinet Handbook 2011” and “Standing Orders for Parliament.” Those two are sub-laws or sub sections of the Constitution (Supreme law).
The “Cabinet Handbook 2011” was created by the Prime Minister and his Cabinet of 2011 in 2011 as it is a Constitutional condition. However, the main Cabinet procedures in the “Cabinet Handbook 2011” are against the Constitution. The main goal of those procedures is just about prioritizing first of political agendas of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. There is no specific protection for the Constitution.
Under the same sub-law (Cabinet Handbook 2011), there are procedures for making of policies for the Bills. It requires factual informations or informations based on facts and truth for making of those policies.
But, when the Cabinet collects informations to make policies, they ignored the Constitution, the Bible, the Churches and complaints from the E.F.K.S. and others. That is the power of Cabinet procedures as explained above. So I believe, they knew about what they have been doing is un-Constitutional but that is not their main goal, their main goal is prioritizing first of the Prime Minister’s and the Cabinet’s agenda.
The other sub-law which is the “Standing Orders for Parliament” is different from the “Cabinet Handbook 2011” in terms of protection for the Constitution. The “Standing Orders for Parliament” is very clear and very specific about the protection of the Constitution under the “Code of Parliamentary Ethics.” Details of some specific protections for the Constitution are quoted below.
“It is the personal responsibility of every Member of Parliament to maintain the highest standards of ethical behaviour to protect and maintain integrity of Parliament and to make every endeavour to uphold the principles of the Constitution.”
“Every member shall uphold the laws of Samoa and safeguard the principles contained in the Constitution.”
Despite of those very clear specific orders for protection of the Constitution, it did not matter with the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and the Parliament when they create the new tax law to tax Church Ministers.
They did the same thing with our customary lands. So what was the point that the Prime Minister was trying to prove to us according to what he said that there is nowhere in the world the government passes a law and then waits to see whether the Church agrees? There are so many reasons as explained above that are right under the Prime Minister’s nose why it is 100% necessary for him to wait.
His referencing of the world and other countries as his supporters to prove his points contradicts what he said about the people of Samoa in the S.S.I.G. who are living around the world. He slammed those people about complaining against customary lands but they are living overseas.
They know little about what is happening in villages in Samoa and the Faa-matai because they are not living in Samoa. So, if he was praising other countries around the world then why not do the same thing with the people of Samoa who are living around the world by valuing their Samoan identities and their voices.
Also, the Prime Minister and Members of Parliament, they are not exceptional because they are not gods but just public servants. They were appointed as servants to serve the country with honor and with great respect.
That also is another reason why it is 100% necessary for the Prime Minister and for the Parliament to wait and listen to the complaints from the country against them when they go to a wrong direction. The obedience and the submission of the “Founding Fathers” to God was the main reason why the “Founding Fathers” had Samoa founded on God. That’s the theme and the corner stone of our Constitution.
This is not about our religions or denominations. This is not about E.F.K.S. or Methodist or S.D.A. Church or LDS Church or Assemblies of God or other different Churches. This is about the Bible the book that are share in common by all those denominations, this is about the foundation, the structures and systems of the Church, this is about the Constitution of the Independent State of Samoa that is own altogether by all those churches and finally, this also about the Parliament’s mistake or the Parliament’s stupidity that violates the Constitution and the law of God.
Finally, the Prime Minister needs to stop beating around the bush but focus mainly on the truth and facts to support his arguments about the issue. That is the same challenge for other Christians that are still in darkness who are now calling out on Judges and the Court to lock up Church Ministers.
Remember, justice is God’s righteousness. The origin of justice is God. Where there is God’s law, there is obedience as well as justice. As said before, Christianity is a truth based religion or a faith based religion.
So don’t use words from the Bible and messages from the Bible in the wrong way. Don’t take the Scriptures out of context in order to support and to strengthen their assumptions, conjectures and suppositions. And don’t enforce this country to follow those rubbish.
Nanai Malonuu Lealaiauloto Nofoaiga