Beliefnet
INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 20--Several hundred worshippers attended Sunday services at the fundamentalist Indianapolis Baptist Temple with no sign of federal marshals who were expected to seize the church last Tuesday.

"Well, they said we wouldn't be here today," the Rev. Greg A. Dixon told his congregation. "But we are."

The independent church owes $6 million in tax debt, and the IRS is expected to auction off the property to recoup the money. Members and supporters have staged an around-the-clock vigil at the church since the Tuesday deadline set by a federal judge for the congregation to vacate the property.

The church stopped withholding federal income and Social Security taxes from its employees' paychecks in 1984, saying its duty to obey God supersedes manmade laws.

Dixon praised church members for standing up to the government.

"This world is looking for somebody who will finally say no to the federal government, we've had enough, do what you want to do, we're going to do what God has told us to do," he said.

The church's attorney met with U.S. marshals last week. Both sides have said that when the church is seized, it will be handled in a peaceful manner, though Dixon's supporters insist they will have to be carried out.

Federal marshals haven't said when they will take the property. The case is believed to be the first of its kind in U.S. tax annals.

Indianapolis Baptist Temple was founded in 1950. The 1,000-member congregation owns 22 acres and has a half-dozen pastors on staff. The church website describes the congregation as "an Unregistered Baptist congregation whose head is not the state, but the Lord Jesus Christ. The Indianapolis Baptist Temple does not participate in government programs."

The website adds: "The Indianapolis Baptist Temple is a New Testament congregation made up of scripturally baptized believers. We exist to exalt Jesus Christ, edify the saints through the Word of God and evangelize our world. We must not veer from our God-given mandate.

"The Indianapolis Baptist Temple is congregational in practice which simply means the people under the leadership of the Pastor are responsible for all decisions, activity and service.

"A New Testament congregation should be militant, which simply means believers should aggressively 'contend for the faith' as they exalt Christ, edify saints and evangelize the world."

Right-wing militia groups have been among the church's most militant supporters.

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