Israel—the Only Theocracy Ordained by God

Jerald Finney
Copyright © August 12, 2011

Click here to go to “Self-exam Questions: Israel – The Only Theocracy Ordained by God”


This article is a continuation of Jerald Finney’s systematic development of the doctrines, application, history, and legalities of “separation of church and state.” See En1 for more on this matter; See En2 for information on books by Jerald Finney which thoroughly examine “separation of church and state law.” This article is an edited version of Section I, Chapter 7 of the book God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Link to preview of God Betrayed). (Link to Contents of “Separation of Church and State Law” Blog which has links so that the new follower can start his study at the beginning. “Line upon line, precept upon precept.”).

Israel—the only theocracy ordained by God

Take the GOSPEL to the Jews is an excellent online teaching on believers’ responsibilities to the Jews.

1Originally, all civil governments were under the same guidelines. Although Gentile nations proceeded under the original plan as ordained by God in the Noahic Covenant, God called out Israel, a nation for Himself. First, Abraham was called out and obtained a promise of God. “And so, after he [Abraham] had patiently endured, he obtained the promise” (He. 6.15). “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 of the same promise” (He. 11.9).

“Since man had failed to obey God on the basis of human conscience, the restraint by the Holy Spirit, and human government, God instituted what is called by some the Dispensation of Promise” (Renald E. Showers, There Really Is a Difference: A Comparison of Covenant and Dispensational Theology (Bellmawr, New Jersey: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1990), p. 40):

Abraham“Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.  Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe” (Ga. 3.15-22).

“For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise” (He. 6.13-15).

God promised Abraham that He would bless him, make his name great, give him many physical descendants, make him the father of many nations, give him the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession, and bless those who blessed him and curse those who cursed him:

“And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Ge. 12.2-3).
“And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee” (Ge. 13.14-17).

AbrahamIsaac“And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;  And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice” (Ge. 22.16-18. See also, Ge. 15 and 17.1-22).

The Jewish patriarchs failed in the responsibilities God gave them, and judgment followed. Their responsibility was only to believe and serve God who provided all material and spiritual resources requisite to inspire them to do this. God gave them the Promised Land, and blessings were guaranteed while they remained in the land. In spite of this, their future was predominated by failure. Jacob eventually led his children to Egypt where they were enslaved. God delivered them and crushed their taskmasters.

1After God delivered Israel from their Egyptian oppressors, He gave them the Mosaic law. This was, of course, before they entered the Promised Land. He dealt with them now on the basis of that law in addition to conscience, the restraint of the Holy Spirit, civil government, and promise. This new way of dealing with man is called by some the Dispensation of Law. Promise and law are sharply distinguished in Galatians 3 even though the law did not annul the promise (See Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995), pp. 54-55):

“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in Ep.2.8all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no Christman is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise” (Ga. 3.10-18).

2The Mosaic Law covered the period from Moses until the death and resurrection of Christ, or from Exodus 19.1 to Acts 1.26. Under the Mosaic Covenant, the Jews were to be responsible for keeping the whole law. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (Ja. 2.10). They did not succeed in their responsibility. “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Ro. 10.1-3). The result was the captivity of Judah by Babylon and the captivity of Israel by Assyria. After the Jews later rejected the Lord, they were scattered over the entire world. Jesus lamented, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Mt. 23.37-39).

“All during their many periods of declension and backsliding, God dealt with them graciously from the very first apostasy with the golden calf, when the law was being delivered to Moses, to the gracious promises of final regathering and restoration in the millennial age to come. These promises of a glorious future are guaranteed secure by the Abrahamic promises, which the law in no way abrogated (Gal. 3.3-25). We are also told clearly in the New Testament (Rom. 3.20 [“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”]) that the law was not a means of justification but of condemnation” (Ryrie, p. 55).

The law was written in stone and “was a totally external way of God’s administering His rule over Israel” (Showers, p. 42). It was an external moral restrainer. “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster” (Ga. 3.23-25).

Israelites crossing the Jordan River
Israelites crossing the Jordan River

When Israel went into the Promised Land, she operated under a covenant directed solely to the nation Israel. All other nations, the Gentile nations, continued under the Noahic Covenant. Israel entered the land given it by God under the Palestinian Covenant which was declared in Deuteronomy 30.1-10:

“The Palestinian Covenant gives the conditions under which Israel entered the land of promise. It is important to see that the nation has never as yet taken the land under the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant, nor has it ever possessed the whole land (cf. Ge. 15.18, with Nu. 34.1-12). Deuteronomy 30 gives seven parts to the Palestinian Covenant:

“(1) Dispersion for disobedience, v. 1 (De. 28.63-68. See Ge. 15.18, note).
“(2) The future repentance of Israel while in the dispersion, v.2.
“(3) The return of the Lord, v.3 (Am. 9.9-14; Ac. 15.14-17).
“(4) Restoration to the land, v. 5 (Isa. 11.11, 12; Jer. 23.3-8; Eze. 37.21-25).
“(5) National conversion, v.6 (Ro. 11.26, 27; Ho. 2.14-16).
“(6) The judgment of Israel’s oppressors, v. 7 (Is. 14.1,2; Jl. 3.1-8; Mt. 25.31-46).
“(7) National prosperity, v. 9 (Am. 9.11-14)” (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, n. 1 to De. 30.3, p. 250).

Israel was set up originally as a theocracy directly under God for God’s purposes. God spoke directly to Moses, Joshua, and then chosen judges in Israel. Israel is the only theocracy that has ever existed. Gentile nations make a choice of whether to operate under God’s principles as laid down in the Bible, but God does not speak directly to them. He speaks to them only through the conscience of the rulers and people and through His Word. The church, which God instructed to be directly under God and His principles only (See Sections II, III, and VI of God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application See En2), is not a state, and therefore not a theocracy. The word “theocracy” comes from two Greek words, theos meaning God and kratos meaning ruler. “Theocracy” means:

“Government of a state by the immediate direction of God; or the state thus governed. Of this species the Israelites furnish an illustrious example. The theocracy lasted till the time of Saul” (AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, NOAH WEBSTER (1828), definition of “THEOCRACY.”).

3God promised Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their seed everlasting possession of a physical land on the earth with prescribed boundaries. The Gentile nations could only look to Israel as God’s chosen nation. Although Gentile nations were not directly under the leadership of God, they still had a responsibility to glorify God and rule under God or suffer the consequences. Israel’s government, working in conjunction with the Jewish religious leaders, was given the responsibility to enforce all ten of the Ten Commandments, as well as all of God’s moral law. The Gentile nations proceeded under the original plan laid down by God and their highest function was the judicial taking of life, from which all other governmental powers may be implied (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, n. 1 to Ge. 8.21, p. 16).

Israel was called by God for specific purposes:

“Israel was called to be a witness to the unity of God in the midst of universal idolatry (Deut. 6.4; Isa. 43.10-12); to illustrate the blessedness of serving the true God (Deut. 33.26-29); to receive and preserve the divine revelations (Rom. 3.1,2; Deut. 4.5-8); and to produce the Messiah (Gen. 3.15; 21.3; 28.10, 14; 49.10; 2 Sam. 7.16, 17; Isa. 4.3, 4; Mt. 1.1.

“The reader of scripture should hold firmly in mind: (1) that from Gen. 12. to Mt. 12.45 the Scriptures have primarily in view Israel, the little rill, not the great Gentile river, though again and again the universality of the ultimate divine intent breaks into view (e.g. Gen. 12.3; Isa. 2.2, 4; 5.26, 9.1, 2; 11.10-12; 42.1-6; 49.6, 12; 52.15; 54.3; 55.5; 60.3, 5, 11-16; 61.6, 9; 62.2; 66.12, 18, 19; Jer. 16.19; Joel 3.9, 10; Mal. 1.11; Rom. 9., 10., 11.; Gal. 3.8-14); (2) that the human race, henceforth called Gentile in distinction from Israel, goes on under the Adamic and Noahic covenants; and that for the race (outside Israel) the dispensations of Conscience and Human Government continue. The moral history of the great Gentile world is told in Rom. 1.21-32, and its moral accountability in Rom. 2.1-16. Conscience never acquits: it either ‘accuses’ or ‘excuses.’  Where the law is known to the Gentiles it is to them, as to Israel, ‘a ministration of death,’ a ‘curse’ (Rom. 3.19, 20; 7.9, 10; 2 Cor. 3.7; Gal. 3.10). A wholly new responsibility arises when either Jew or Gentile knows the Gospel (John 3.18, 19, 36; 15.22-24; 16.9; 1 John 5.9-12) ” (Ibid., n. 1 to Ge. 11.10, p. 19; see also, n. 1, p. 1206).
God declared that Israel would lend to other nations, but would not borrow, that Israel would reign over many nations, but that no nation would reign over Israel (De. 15.6). Israel was called the wife of Jehovah (Is. 54.5; Je. 3.14, 20; Eze. 16.26-59; 24.15-27. In Ho., we see the picture given that illustrates to the Jews how God feels when His wife, Israel, commits adultery.).

Israel is the “rod for his inheritance,” and God will use Israel to “break into pieces the nations ” (See Je. 51.19-23).

Thus, Israel is the key to everything regarding the nations of this world.

Israel was ordained to be a theocracy under the direct rule of God, through His judges. God was directly over the state. This type civil government was unique to Israel. We see how this type of civil government was applied by Israel in the book of Judges. Over and over again, especially in Deuteronomy, the Jews were told to follow God’s law, to keep his commandments and statutes. “These are the statutes and judgments, which ye shall observe to do in the land, which the LORD God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it, all the days that ye live upon the earth” (De. 12.1)…. God’s laws covered everything, including idolatry. As mentioned above, the Ten Commandments exemplified the law, and the whole of the Ten Commandments, including the first four, were to be enforced in the nation Israel.

kings-crownGod gave Israel free will. Ultimately Israel rejected God’s plan under which God himself ruled over the nation of Israel and demanded a king like the Gentile nations: “Now make us a king to judge us like all nations” (1 S. 8.5). God told Samuel to hearken unto their demand: “And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them” (1 S. 8.9).

God also told Samuel to tell the people the ill consequences of being ruled by a king:

“And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his  chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even  the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day” (1 S. 8.11-18).

But they still demanded a king (1 S. 19).  They were looking at man, not God, when they made this demand: “And they said unto Samuel, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways” (1 S. 8.5).  They still did not realize that God fulfills His purposes. Had Israel walked in faith and kept His statutes and commandments, God had promised to bless them.

Before the Israelites rejected God, God’s law as transmitted through Moses, then through his successors, was the whole of civil and religious government. God’s chosen people, even in the theocracy, rebelled against God and His ways time and again, were judged by God for so doing, and returned to God.

King_Saul004When kings started to rule, kings dominated prophet and priest. Saul, the first king, disobeyed the command of God through Samuel (See 1 S. 15) and even sought to slay Samuel, the prophet of God (1 S. 16.2). David followed Saul as king of Israel. After the death of Solomon, David’s son who became king after the death of King David, the nation of Israel split in two. The northern Kingdom was called Israel, and the southern Judah. Before those two nations were eventually taken into captivity for their failure to proceed under God, all nineteen kings of Israel were evil and only eight of twenty kings of Judah were good (did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord).

During that time, God sent prophets to warn the kings of both Israel and Judah to cast down their idols and return to the ways of the Lord and to proclaim the consequences that would surely come if they did not do so. Rarely did the kings heed the warnings of those prophets.  The Jews broke the Mosaic Law repeatedly:

“Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD” (Je. 31.32).

“Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts” (Zec. 7.12).

The nation was judged many times during this dispensation. Israel and Judah were both ultimately conquered and the people taken into captivity because of their rebellion against God. Worldwide dispersion resulted from their rejection of Christ.

Israel miserably failed to obey God on the basis of conscience, the restraint of the Holy Spirit, human government, promise, and law. As a result, God instituted what some call the Dispensation of Grace which will be discussed elsewhere in these teachings. Under this dispensation, conscience, the restraint of the Holy Spirit, human government, promise, and grace are being used by God to govern people. The law is not a ruling factor for the believer during the dispensation of grace:

“Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator…. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster” (Ga. 3.19, 23-25).
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Ro. 6.14).
“And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law” (1 Co. 9.20).

Grace as a ruling factor for the believer consists of two things (See Showers, p. 45). First, a confirmed favorable disposition toward God, the law of God in the heart:

“For I delight in the law of God after the inward man” (Ro. 7.22).

Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.  But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious” (2 Co. 3.3-11).

5“For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:  And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (He. 8.8-12).

ROMANSThe second thing is the indwelling Holy Spirit. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Co. 6.19-20).

Sadly, the majority of Jews and Gentiles do not accept the gift of righteousness offered by God in the Dispensation of Grace. Organized Christendom does not fulfill its mission given it by God in the New Testament—it does not “fulfill the Great Commission, maintain a pure membership, discipline unruly members, prevent false teaching from existing within it, and contend earnestly for the true faith” (Showers, p. 46).  As foretold in God’s Word, man again will fail, and judgment will follow.


En1 Why should believers, and especially pastors, be concerned about the area of church and state law? Because only through knowledge can they avoid dishonoring the Husband/Bridegroom/Head of their local church body and thereby failing to achieve their God-given goal—glorifying God and pleasing Him.

These articles systematically examine the biblical doctrines of church, state, separation of church and state and the application of those doctrines in America. For believers and churches, the information presented is—according to God’s Word—of great importance to our Lord. By reading and studying each article using the Bible as the standard, a believer will discover that the biblical principles are correct as presented. By studying the historical and legal facts presented—without bias, prejudice, illicit motive, or an overriding opposing agenda which has a vested interest in maintaining a status quo due to loss of finances, support or something else—and examining those facts in light of biblical principle, a qualified believer (a believer who has the necessary biblical, historical, and legal qualifications and education) can understand that the conclusions are correct.

That said, understanding the biblical principles, relevant history, and legal principles and facts is, first, impossible for one who is not a born again believer who is walking in the Spirit, and, second, daunting for even the spirit filled follower of Christ. Years of honest, open minded study is required to achieve the correct knowledge and understanding of all facets of church and state law. First, one must interpret Scripture correctly (See 2 Ti. 2:15) as to the relevant topics. After mastering the biblical principles, one must then labor through the annals of history, and the intricacies of law. In order to be qualified to comment upon the law, one must have an extensive legal education. He must understand how to do legal research and how to reach correct legal conclusions. Legal commentary by a pseudo lawyer can sound good to the untrained, while he may be correctly understood as frivolous and unlearned and probably heretical by the educated believer.

This is not to say that a non-lawyer cannot understand the legal and historical aspects of spiritual matters. In fact, the author knows some pastors and other believers who, having already correctly divided the Word of Truth and determined to seek to please God in all matters, have open minds and who have eagerly sought truth in the historical and legal church and state law arena. He is working with such a young pastor at this very moment. He is a brilliant young man who had mastered the Scriptures and Baptist history before the author met him. He excels the author in those matters, as do some other pastors and believers known by the author. Unlike most pastors, he does not have the disadvantages of having gone to either a secular or ecclesiastical (Baptist or otherwise) institution of higher learning. Secular colleges and universities usually corrupt even the most devout child of God; and religious colleges, institutions, and seminaries generally (with few exceptions, one of which the author has personal knowledge of)—by either mixing an ample dose of humanism with whatever biblically correct teaching they dose out; or by having totally having abandoned truth—likewise usually corrupt their students to one degree or another.

On the other hand, I am vexed by what I read in some books and websites concerning church and state law; particularly by some vicious, unfounded attacks upon the Biblical Law Center Declaration of Trust by unqualified, biased assailants who are attempting to mislead believers and churches through incorrect biblical and legal analyses and personal attacks upon and outright lies about those with whom they disagree in such matters.

Being a believer alone, even a pastor, does not by itself qualify one to teach on church and state law. The author has been a believer and faithful member of independent Baptist churches since his salvation. He was called by God to go to law school for His glory and to please Him. As a result of that calling, he obtained a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from one of the best law schools in the country and has practiced law for seventeen years. He has no motive for dishonesty. By design, he has never made a dime above expenses in his work in the church and state law arena. In fact, he has spent tens of thousands of dollars with total income of at most three to four thousand dollars in all the years he has worked in this area of law. Because of this he is beholden to no one and nothing but the truth and his Lord and Savior. Since becoming a lawyer, he has devoted untold thousands of hours in biblical, historical, and legal study and analysis of church and state law.

As always, he declares that if anyone can show him where he is in error, he will recant. Honest, loving believers have taught him much and caused him to modify some of his positions. He has also, in his continued studies, modified some of his conclusions and positions. However, he maintains his primary positions because neither he, through his continued studies, or others have shown him to be wrong about his basic church and state law principles and conclusions.

En2 God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Link to preview of God Betrayed): may be ordered from Amazon by clicking the following link: God Betrayed on or from Barnes and Nobel by clicking the following link: God Betrayed on Barnes and Noble. All books by Jerald Finney as well as many of the books he has referenced and read may also be ordered by left clicking “Books” (on the “Church and State Law” website) or directly from Amazon by going to the following links: (1) Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses (Kindle only); (2) The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls (Kindle only); (3) Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities? (Link to preview of Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities?) which can also be ordered by clicking the following Barnes and Noble link: Separation of Church and State on Barnes and Noble.

Part I: THE Human Reasoning BEHIND a church organizing under the 501c3 corporation

Pastor Jason Cooley
Copyright © July 28, 2011
Left click the following links to go directly to the websites held
in trust by Jason Cooley, Pastor/Trustee of Old Paths Baptist church:
Pastor Cooley preaches the whole counsel of God, but the following will link
you to four great sermons he has preached relevant to church and state issues:
“Do We Believe in the All-sufficiency of Scripture?”
“Whose House Is It Anyway”
“Are You Heavenly Minded or Earthly”
“The Method Matters to God”
These sermons are also on the “Sermons” page at the top of this website

This will be part one of a series Entitled: Human reasoning in organizing a church under the 501c3 corporation model. As I have studied the 501 c3 corporate status of churches today I have come to the realization that the only reason that pastors organize that way is human reasoning. Paul warned us in scripture not to fashion ourselves after the rudiments of this world. Colossians 2:8: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” At the least one would have to say that incorporating a church is after the tradition of men, it is certainly not after the Christ model found in the Word of God. Let’s look at the human reasoning behind churches incorporating.

THE CORPORATION IS HUMANISTIC IN ITS VERY EXISTANCE. You may be thinking right now that this is the opinion of an overzealous Baptist preacher. But this is actually the opinion of the Supreme Court: “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 the limitations of its charter. Its powers are limited by law. 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 creation.”

Do you see the humanistic design? It is a creature or invention of the state. It is not the design of God Almighty for his Bride the Local New Testament Church. God is the creator of mankind. Therefore, God set down his order and we are to follow it and if we do not there are consequences for those actions. So it is with the church that is a 501c3. The state is the creator of the corporation. The state says what the corporation is allowed to do and the state lays down rules for the corporation to follow. If a corporation does not, it is subject to certain consequences.

This is human reasoning at its highest level. Remember, we are to follow the order that God laid down for his church in Scripture, not recognize some other authority in the local church. 1 Timothy 3:15: “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” Paul laid down the proper behavior, the order or proper church government  that was to be followed in the local church. But today humanistic reasoning has crept in and churches have looked at another head to another entity beside the Lord Jesus Christ over his church.  Many believers wrongly believe that INCORPORATION IS RIGHT TO DO BECAUSE IT PROTECTS THE ASSETS OF INDIVIDUAL CHURCH MEMBERS.

The number one humanistic argument is that incorporation protects the members from lawsuits and from their personal assets being taken from them. First of all, this statement implies that members that go to an unregistered church are in danger of losing everything they own, that automatically if a crime occurs in the local church or somewhere in the ministry that someone that has no knowledge of the crime will be sued and they will take everything you own. That is a deceitful approach and scare tactic of David Gibbs and the Christian Law Association and other “Christian” legal associations to push their agenda of bowing down to government at any cost.

The truth is actually the complete opposite of this fable. And Unregistered Baptist Church that is organized under the Declaration of trust is not a legal entity and cannot be sued as such. The church I pastor, Old Paths Baptist Church, is not a legal entity. When a church accepts 501c3 status, that church becomes a legal entity. Let’s look at the definition of a legal entity  from the dictionary:

“An association, corporation, partnership, proprietorship, trust, or individual that has legal standing in the eyes of law. A legal entity has legal capacity to enter into agreements or contracts, assume obligations, incur and pay debts, sue and be sued in its own right, and to be held responsible for its actions.”

So you see by the very definition of “legal entity” a church that establishes a well crafted, biblically honoring, law abiding declaration of trust is not a legal entity at all (As long as she is careful not to act as a legal entity in some other manner). Such a church cannot be recognized as a legal entity because it holds no property, does not buy or sell, and acts legally in no way whatsoever. Therefore it cannot be sued or sued.

The Declaration of Trust allows the Pastor/Trustee to hold property for the benefit of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Declaration of Trust is not the church. The Pastor is not the church in his capacity as Pastor/Trustee. On the other hand, churches which accept the invitation from the federal government to become a 501c3 corporation are legal entities and can sue and be sued.

Another misconception is that if you go to a 501c3 incorporated church you cannot be sued. This is false. Every human being alive is a legal entity. We buy and sell and we conduct business and we are held responsible for our actions. Being a member of a 501c3 corporate church does not give you the ability to sign away liability for torts and crimes you commit against someone else. If you commit a tort (“A private or civil wrong or injury, including action in bad faith breach of contract, for which the court will provide a remedy in the form of an action for damages…. A legal wrong committed upon the person or property independent of contract.” BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY) or harm someone you can be sued or if it can be proven that you were negligent. If you commit, participate in, or encourage a crime being committed you can be charged with a crime. Do not the Scriptures say so as well? Ecclesiastes 5:8: “If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for [he that is] higher than the highest regardeth; and [there be] higher than they.”  The Scriptures clearly say that if you and I see the oppression of someone and do nothing about it, God who is full of justice sees it from above and will rightly judge the matter.

Civil government does have the obligation and jurisdiction under God to protect one person from another if physical harm is done. That is why anyone, member of a corporate church or not, can still be charged if he knowingly participates in, encourages, or knows about and does nothing to prevent a crime or tort (harming another causing damages).

But many Christian Lawyers or falsely so called will go around to churches that have never been incorporated and they will tell them that Grandma that is down stairs cooking the chicken noodle soup for the church fellowship can be sued for something that takes place upstairs that she has no knowledge, or control over. This is a ridiculous scare tactic and needs to be exposed. In fact, try doing Google searches to determine what goes on in corporate 501(c)(3) churches.  You will be amazed at the extent of the graft and criminal and tortious activity that goes on in such churches.

In America we have the opportunity to purchase a liability insurance to protect those who are injured or hurt in some way while at the meeting house. If organized under the Declaration of Trust, the Pastor/trustee can purchase such a policy as God has entrusted the pastor with the care of the flock, to feed, them spiritually and to protect them from harm; the church does not purchase the insurance. Rather, the Pastor/Trustee purchases the policy.

The false protection that David Gibbs and the CLA sells people is actually enslaving them to the state. It is based on nothing more than human reasoning (and bad reasoning, at that). The Bible clearly says that Jesus is the Savior or Protector of the body:  Ephesians 5:23: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” They trade this false security of being protected for the protection of the Lord. This is humanism. This humanism leads to acceptance of the State’s rules and regulations for the local church.

The corporate church must elect unscriptural officers and file mandatory reporters with the Secretary of State. It does not have the right to deny the state access to church finances: In Hale vs. Henkel, 201 U.S. 74-75 (1906) the Court  stated regarding corporations:

“There is a clear distinction in this particular between and individual and a corporation and that the latter has no right to refuse to submit its books and papers for examination at the suit of the State. While an individual may lawfully refuse to answer incriminating questions unless protected by an immunity statute, it does not follow that a corporation vested with certain privileges and franchises may refuse to show its hand when charged with an abuse of such privileges.”

So you see the human reasoning has set the church up with another head and another set of rules to govern by. Remember the warning that the Apostle Paul gave us: Colossians 2:8: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Our churches must return to their Sovereign Head, the Lord Jesus Christ, and not be entangled with the state.