PANAMA CITY BEACH — A local church that has been hosting naked paint parties and slumber-party Sundays with the “sexiest ladies on the beach” will now have to pay taxes on the property as officers investigate the church’s practices, authorities said Tuesday.
The Life Center: A Spiritual Community, 9721 Thomas Drive, has been up and running its seven-days-a-week party schedule as Amnesia: The Tabernacle since Feb. 28.
Patrons are charged a “donation” of $20 at the door. On the walls inside are T-shirts emblazoned with obscene gestures and signs that say “I hate being sober.”
Since ATMs and a banner promoting “iDrink” appeared out front of The Life Center, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and Panama City Beach Police Department investigators have began taking a closer look at the church.
This led Property Appraiser Dan Sowell to change the tax exempt status.
Owned by Markus Q. Bishop, former pastor of Faith Christian Family Church, officials said the club has been engaging in activities unbefitting of a church. Bishop could not be reached Tuesday for a comment on this story.
But The Tabernacle, which caters to college students on vacation, has caught the attention of more than just party-seeking spring breakers.
A sign on the door says events are alcohol and drug free, but Sheriff Frank McKeithen calls the party atmosphere a “blatant slap in the face” to taxpayers.
He says church officials are “trying to get around the laws.”
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Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils – 1 Timothy 4:1 (KJV).
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect -Matthew 24:24 (KJV).
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away theirears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry – 2 Timothy 4:3-5 (KJV).
“In the last days men shall be lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” 2 Timothy 3:1-4.
“Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed”- Luke 17:28-30 (KJV).