Chapter 1: Analysis of the title to and first two paragraphs of Chapter 18 of “Approved by Man”

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Chapter 1: Analysis of the title to and first two paragraphs of Chapter 18 of “Approved by Man”

Thank you, ELC, for waking up our brain cells.
Thank you, ELC, for waking up our brain cells.

Jerald Finney
Copyright © November 6, 2014

The ELC article, Chapter 18 of Betrayed by Man, begins with two paragraphs. Thereafter, it is divided into titled sections. This chapter will analyze the title and then the first two paragraphs.

The reader should especially notice that this chapter reveals that the ELC method of church organization has, by published ELC admission and according to ELC criteria for what gets a church into trouble, gotten ELC churches into trouble. The ELC method gets churches into the legal system, whereas the BLC method they attack does not.

Approved by Man: A Case for Biblical Reasonableness” by John R. Wright and Benjamin E. Townsend, leaders of the Ecclesiastical Law Center (“ELC”)), was published in 2009. Concerning the ordinary trust and the DOT, only the teachings of the Biblical Law Center (“BLC”) and this Old Paths Baptist Church “Separation of Church and State Law” ministry or those of the ELC are correct – the teachings are mutually exclusive. The ELC has publicly made this an issue. The ELC has also publicly attacked people who promote the ordinary trust including pastors, churches, and the Biblical Law Center. This booklet corrects the false ELC teachings concerning the ordinary trust and Declaration of trust; and also exposes the ill advised recommendations for church organization by the ELC for what they are.

This chapter analyzes the title to and first two paragraphs of Chapter 18, “Should a Church Be Placed In a Declaration of Trust?” which is also on the home page of the ELC website (ELC website: http://lordshipchurches.info/). Chapter 18 is analyzed paragraph by paragraph and section by section.

Analysis of the title to the chapter

173FlashABManThe title to Chapter 18 – “Should a Church Be Placed In a Declaration of Trust?” – should alert anyone with any knowledge of the subject that the author of the chapter may not understand the ordinary trust and the Declaration of Trust. One cannot “place a church in a Declaration of Trust.” A Declaration of Trust (“DOT”) is merely a document which creates an ordinary trust, a relationship whereby a trustee is to hold property for the benefit of the true or equitable owner of the property. The DOT is one manner in which one may set up an ordinary trust which is not a legal entity (or some other type of trust such as a Business Trust or Charitable Trust, both of which are legal entities). One may establish an ordinary trust with or without a DOT. In fact, when a church – as does an ELC church – entrusts tithes, offerings, gifts and/or property to a pastor or other person(s) for the benefit of the true owner, the Lord Jesus Christ, that church has established a trust with the pastor as a trustee; for a church to so establish a trust relationship without a DOT is unwise. For example, when an ELC church holds property in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the church, by the pastor, acts as a legal entity by signing the deed; that pastor is the trustee of a trust. This will be explained in detail in this series of articles. The better practice is to declare an ordinary, non-legal entity trust through a properly executed DOT. See The Only Way a Church Can Organize to Remain a New Testament Church for more on the Bible principle of trust and reasons for the wisdom of adopting a properly drafted and executed DOT.

The ordinary trust is described in Volume 76 of the legal encyclopedia AMERICAN JURISPRUDENCE 2d. “Is the ordinary trust a legal entity?” explains why this ordinary trust is not a legal entity; this question is important because the ELC insisted for years that the ordinary trust utilized by BLC churches and the Old Paths Baptist Church Separation of Church and State Law Ministry (SCSLM) was a legal entity. Only after the first 8 chapters of this booklet were published online did Ben Townsend, against public revelation of solid fact which cannot be refuted, relent and admit that the ordinary trust is not a legal entity. Chapter 13 of this booklet addresses an article written by Ben Townsend after the first 8 chapters of this booklet were published in which he finally admitted that the “trust” is not a legal entity.” Read chapter 13 to find Townsend’s ridiculous slant after that admission and this author’s response: this author actually countered Townsend’s slant in 2008 as chapter 13 reveals.

Other articles in this series fully explain the ordinary trust which is also explained in Section VI, Chapter 7 of God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application which is available free in online and PDF form. See Order Information for Books by Jerald Finney should you desire to get a softback copy. One of the many flaws in the legal research and analyses of the ELC is that they indiscriminately grab out of context statements from court cases, legal encyclopedias, etc. and just make up fictitious and incorrect law to attack the ordinary trust and DOT. As will be seen as Chapter 18 of Townsend’s book is analyzed in this and subsequent chapters, the ELC, for example, uses the law of business trusts and incorrectly applies it to the ordinary trust.

Analysis of the first paragraph

Approved by God, p. 149
Approved by God, p. 149

The article begins by saying, “We believe it [the DOT] will get churches into trouble.” Ben Townsend, an ELC leader, has gone so far as to mount a dishonest online attack against a church which places tithes, offerings, gifts and property in a trust whereby the trustee of that trust has a fiduciary duty to use the monies and properties for the benefit of the true owner of the property. The DOT has never gotten any church into trouble, although Ben Townsend has lied and stated that it has. ELC churches have to, as Wright/Townsend state in Chapter 3, page 35 of Approved by Man, “handle legal church problems.” In that chapter, Townsend not only reveals that ELC churches must go to court but also falsely leads one to believe that he can represent churches in court. He is not an attorney and he cannot represent anyone or any entity in court because he is not a lawyer. Furthermore, he is not qualified to do so; nor is he qualified, as is obvious from the analysis of Chapter 18, to do legal research, especially, as he puts it, “intense legal research.”

In Chapter 3 of Approved by Man, Townsend speaks of lawsuits involving ELC churches, tax on property of an unincorporated church, and inspections of the “church’s building.” Using Townsend’s reasoning, the ELC method admitedly gets churches into trouble all the time. Unlike the ELC churches referred to in Chapter 8, a church which places tithes, offerings, and gifts into an ordinary trust as recommended by the BLC and the SCSLM is not a legal entity which cannot be taken into court or agency process; the DOT and the ordinary trusts thereby created have kept BLC churches out of legal problems and legal actions. Chapter 3 makes clear that an ELC churches own property, can and have been taken to court, and are therefore legal entities. Because churches in general enjoy favorable public sentiment and have protections which no other institution or entity has, there has not been an in depth and dedicated study of ELC methods by government lawyers and ELC churches have not been called for what they are – legal entities who have given up much of their biblical and First Amendment protections. One should note that governments still allow sales and property tax exemptions for all churches whether legal entities or not. When a local tax board challenges a “religious use” tax exemption on property on which a local church meets, the ELC church must go through the agency process (and appeal to court, if necessary); but in a property tax challenge against trust property utilized by a BLC or SCSLM church, the church cannot be brought into the process – rather, the pastor/trustee of the trust represents the trust in obtaining the property tax exemption. To this point, no property utilized by a BLC or SCSLM trust has been denied the exemption.

The third sentence to the paragraph then states: “Pastors, Deacons, and other Christians must realize the background of this document in law, and refuse to allow the church and church property to be placed into such a document.” This sentence is totally wrong. What is important for believers to know about the ordinary trust are the biblical principles regarding trust and what the ordinary trust and the document establishing it are. See Spurious rationale for incorporating: to hold property for a biblical and legal analysis of the ordinary trust.  Contrary to the ELC assertions, believers do not place any money or property in the document, the DOT. The DOT merely declares the trust. If a church is organized according to biblical principles, there is no church property. Rather, the members of the church (who are the church) give tithes, offerings, and gifts to God and those monies/properties make up the trust estate. The true owner, as declared in the DOT, is the Lord Jesus Christ. The person who is to administer the monies/properties is the trustee (the legal owner – the person who signs deeds, vehicle titles (if any), etc. as trustee. This is necessary since the Lord is not now physically present on earth and has therefore left believers with the fiduciary duty to handle His property and monies for His benefit (for the Glory of God). The trustee has a fiduciary duty to manage the monies/properties for the benefit of the true owner.

The last sentence of the first paragraph in Chapter 18 of Townsend’s article states: “More than that, a pastor must not allow himself to sign a document referring to himself as the ‘Trustee’ which represents the church.”

From page 149 of  ELC book
From page 149 of ELC book “Approved by God”

First, that sentence is ludicrous when delivered by Townsend because pastors of Townsend’s ELC churches are trustees who represent the church. On pages 149 and 150 of the ELC book Approved by God are the following statements: “The property [of an ELC church] should be held in trust for the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the true and beneficial owner” (p. 149); and “Actually, the church, by the Pastor, can execute a deed on behalf of the Lord Jesus Christ, so that isn’t a viable difficulty” (p. 150). These statements make clear that the church is set up to be a legal entity because the church is the legal owner of the property and the true and beneficial owner is the Lord Jesus Christ.

From page 150 of
From page 150 of “Approved by God”

On the other hand, the last sentence of the first paragraph of Townsend’s article above is wrong on two accounts as applied to the ordinary trust: (1) it is wise for a pastor/trustee of an ordinary trust to hold money and property for the benefit of the true owner, the Lord Jesus Christ; (2) the pastor/trustee is the legal owner of the property and the Lord Jesus Christ is the true and beneficial owner:

“The trustee of an ordinary trust is the person appointed to execute a trust, and the one in whom an estate, interest, or power is vested, under an express or implied agreement to administer or exercise it for the benefit of another. In other words, a trustee is a person who holds legal title to property under an express or implied agreement to apply it, and the income arising from it, to the benefit of another.” [Bold emphasis mine.]

In other words, the trustee of the ordinary trust has a fiduciary duty to administer or exercise the property for the benefit of the true or equitable owner of the property, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is something entirely different from “representing the church.” A pastor/trustee who holds tithes, offerings, gifts, and property in the name of (for the benefit of) the Lord Jesus Christ has this fiduciary duty in the trust relationship established by a Declaration of Trust.

On the other hand, as Townsend admits in his writings, the pastor of an ELC church acts as the trustee of “church property” even though such declaration is not in a DOT (See, e.g. pp. 149-150 of the ELC book Approved by God which are photographed and inserted above.). ELC publications demonstrate that the ELC methodology clearly establishes a type of trust which is a legal entity, relegates ELC churches to legal entity status, makes the pastor of the ELC church trustee of “church property” thereby representing the church. One could admonish Townsend as follows: “The results of the first microscopic examination of ELC methodology now published in this booklet clearly prove:

“Legally and biblically, the ELC, under your leadership, puts pastors in the position of trustees who represent ELC churches – the very thing you wrongly accuse the BLC of doing through the use of the DOT and the ordinary trust thereby created. Because of this and other flaws pointed out in this booklet, the ELC needs a Bible believing, born-again lawyer who has thoroughly studied the Bible and trust law and is motivated by the love of God, not money, to help you straighten out the mess established by the ELC.”

Both the BLC and the SCSLM utilize the impeccable method which was conceived by Attorney Al Cunningham who obviously put the system under a legal and biblical microscope before implementation. The BLC and now the ELC method have both been put under a legal microscope by another attorney, Jerald Finney. Finney published his conclusions concerning the BLC methodology a long time before taking on the task of microscopic examination of the ELC attacks against the BLC and the ordinary trust recommended by the BLC.  He found that the law and the Bible prove that Al Cunningham’s ordinary trust arrangement is on solid biblical grounds and keeps a church out of the legal system. To have lied about his conclusions and the law would have dishonored the Lord. Had Finney concluded that the BLC methods were flawed, he would have informed the BLC, just as he is now informing the ELC that they have created a mess.

Microscopic examination by two lawyers has proved the BLC method to be flawless. Microscopic examination by one lawyer has proven the ELC method to be flawed both biblically and legally. The biblical and legal reasoning supporting the conclusions concerning the problems with the ELC way of doing things are clearly stated in this booklet. ELC responses to the arguments in this booklet have been facetious at best.

Understanding that the ordinary trust is not the  church and the church is not the ordinary trust is important. The church does not own the money/property held in the trust (the trust estate). Church members give to God and what they give is held in the trust estate. Money/property has to be held somewhere, by someone. In this case the trust estate holds the money/property which is owned by the equitable owner, the beneficiary. The trustee has legal title to the money/property, but he is to use it for the benefit of the true and equitable owner, the Lord Jesus Christ. Again, this is in contrast to the unbiblical method used by the ELC by which tithes and offerings are given to the church, not to God, and “church property” is held by the church through a pastor/trustee.

Analysis of the second paragraph

The ELC then alleges that the attorney who “came up with this document” (the DOT) “could only think of a legal remedy for church problems, and not a Biblical remedy.” No one should  speculate as to the thought processes of that attorney who is now deceased. What is important is the applicability of the method from a biblical perspective. As has already been shown in this chapter, the remedy of the ELC is legal, not biblical and only the unqualified could have come up with such totally chaotic methodology. They have gotten away with their nonsense because no one, until this time, has examined some of their teachings with a “legal microscope.” One can imagine what examination of all their teachings by a qualified legal analyst would reveal.

A biblical and legal analyses of the issues can be found in God Betrayed (see the link above above). The facts, citations, and reasoning supporting the conclusion that the ordinary trust is ideal for an American church are in the writings and teachings on this “Separation of Church and State Law” website. Section VI, Chapter 7 of God Betrayed explains the ordinary trust and the DOT. The first three sections of God Betrayed lay out the biblical doctrines of government, church and separation of church and state; and Section VI, Chapter 7 looks at both biblical and legal precepts concerning the ordinary trust and compares the ordinary trust to incorporation (2 entirely different things) and shows why the ordinary trust is biblical.

The ELC then states, “We believe that this attorney used an existing legal document and applied it to unincorporated churches so that they could hold property without coming under the jurisdiction of the state.” Wrong. The attorney took the concepts of ordinary trust and drafted a Declaration of Trust which declared an ordinary trust. The church who places tithes, offerings, and gifts into the estate of such a trust does not hold property. The trust estate holds the property. The true, beneficial, and equitable owner of the property is the Lord Jesus Christ. Placing God’s money and property in an ordinary trust keeps a church under the Lord Jesus Christ only and out from under civil government jurisdiction if the church is careful not to place herself under state jurisdiction in some other way. One should keep in mind that a church who holds property, opens a bank account, takes out insurance, or does some other legal act forfeits her New Testament and First Amendment status.

The purpose of the ordinary trust is to assure that there is no church property and that all properties and monies in the trust estate are administered by the trustee for the benefit of the true owner of the property (the Lord Jesus Christ). A properly worded “Resolution to Adopt a DOT” and a properly worded DOT makes clear that the trust estate is owned by the Lord and that there is no church property.

A court/agency will assume jurisdiction over a controversy concerning money or property only if the dispute is properly brought to attention of the court/agency with jurisdiction over the matter. If a legitimate action is properly brought to the attention of an appropriate court or agency, the court or agency will assume jurisdiction no matter how the property/money is held and no matter who owns the property/money. In such an action, the court will seek out the legal owner and if none is found, the court or agency will take the necessary steps to get the property/money to a legal owner. Should a church hold/money property, that church is the legal owner and the church is a legal entity; this is the case of an ELC church, but not so with a BLC or SCSLM church. When money/property is put into the trust estate of an ordinary trust, the trustee is the legal owner and the Lord Jesus Christ is the equitable owner. A court cannot bring a church into such a legal controversy if that church places tithes, offerings, and gifts into a trust administered by a trustee where the beneficiary is the Lord Jesus Christ (as long as the church does nothing that makes that church a legal entity).

The elements of the ordinary trust and the DOT recommended by attorney Al Cunningham not only comply with Bible principles, but also incorporate the elements of a DOT and “trust” explained in American lawbooks such as 76 AM. JUR. 2D, Trusts and the DOT guidelines in the accompanying forms volume. “Declaration” means: “Publication, manifestation; as the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai. Esth. X.; A public annunciation; proclamation; as the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776” (MERRIAM WEBSTER’S AMERICAN DICTIONARY OR THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE (1828) definition of “DECLARATION.”). Declaration of Trust is defined as follows:

“The act by  which the person who holds the legal title to property or an estate acknowledges and declares that he holds the same in trust to the use of another person or for certain specified purposes. The name is also used to designate the deed or other writing embodying such a declaration” (BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY 408 (6th ed. 1990) under definition of “Declaration.” This definition is consistent with the definitions in more authoritative legal references such as AM. JUR. 2D and C.J.S.).

76 AM. JUR. 2D Trusts § 65
76 AM. JUR. 2D Trusts § 65

The words in the DOT which Cunningham used are unique and are not found in any lawbook. As to the use of express or particular words or phrases to create a trust:

  • “No particular words are necessary to create a trust if there exists reasonable certainty as to the intended property, object, and beneficiary. Further, the purpose and intention, rather than the use of any particular term, determines whether a valid trust has been established. An express trust may be created without the use of technical words. All that is necessary are words or circumstances which unequivocally show an intention that the legal estate is vested in one person, to be held in some manner or for some purpose on behalf of another.
  • “Any statement that shows the ownership or control of property is vested in one person for the benefit of another is sufficient to create a trust, and it is not necessary that the words ‘trust’ or ‘trustee’ be used. Furthermore, even where present, the mere use of the words ‘in trust’ by the parties is not sufficient alone to create a trust, nor does the mere designation of a party as ‘trustee’ create a trust. Absent indications to the contrary, a conveyance using the words ‘for the use of’ or ‘for the benefit of’ demonstrates the intent to create a trust.” (76 AM. JUR. 2DTrusts § 65 (2007)).

As will be shown below, the a church which utilizes the ELC method creates a trust which is a legal entity (perhaps a charitable trust or business trust). The trust which is recommended by the “Separation of Church and State Law” ministry is not a legal entity as explained in the article Is the ordinary trust a legal entity?

Thus, the holding of property by a person (trustee) “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,” creates a trust. This is a very important for ELC churches to understand since the ELC recommends that property be held by the church (pastor) in trust for the Lord Jesus Christ, the true and beneficial owner and that the church can hold property (e.g., execute a deed) by the pastor, in trust for the Lord Jesus Christ. (See their exact wording below.) The legal system requires a legal tie to real estate as expressed in a deed. If no such tie to real estate exists, and this fact is brought to the attention of the proper court, the court will make sure that a legal entity, such as a person, assumes ownership of the property. Should a controversy arise as to ownership of the real estate, the legal system when properly petitioned will take jurisdiction over the matter. When real property is put up for sale, the buyer is going to want legal assurances that he is getting valid, enforceable legal and equitable ownership.

The ELC states that property may be held in three ways “(1) as a corporation, (2) as an unincorporated association and:

“(3) as an individual. How can property be held to reflect the ownership of Christ over His church? It must be held as an individual, and that individual must be the Lord Jesus Christ! The property should be held by the church in trust for the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the true and beneficial owner. In spite of the skepticism of many, churches in 22 states have placed their property in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ without incident” (Approved by God: A Case for Modern Disetablishment, by Wright/Townsend, page 149). The book goes on to say that “the church, by the Pastor, can execute a deed on behalf of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Ibid., 150.

The ELC are confused since they first say that the property must be held by the Lord Jesus Christ and then they say that the property should be held by the church in trust for the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, property cannot be held by the Lord Jesus Christ since he left all earthly temporal property to be held in trust by man and has given civil government the ultimate jurisdiction over that land. If a nation honors God and His precepts, that nation will also honor God’s churches, and vice versa. If a believer or church is found out in North Korea (and many other nations), any properties which the believer owns will be confiscated and the believers will probably be executed. God allows individuals, families, churches, and nations free will to honor or dishonor him, for the time being.  The ELC, in the above statement, also says that the church, is to hold the property.

From ELC book
From ELC book “Approved by God,” p. 149

The ELC states the elements of a trust, and then make clear that the trust they recommend is a legal entity through which the church holds property thereby making the church the legal owner of the property. Some of the words of the ELC quoted above is taken straight out of legal books which define the ordinary trust, but other words compromise the trust and establish it as a legaL entity. They then say, “Held by the church in trust for the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Bold emphasis mine). For a church to hold property violates biblical principle. (See The Biblical Doctrine of the Church and The Biblical Doctrine of Separation of Church and State). Not only that, only a legal entity can hold property. There must be a legal owner of property, even if the legal and true and beneficial owner are not the same. They do not realize that they are in effect stating that the church is a legal entity.

The above illustrates that the ELC recommends compromising the position of a church who uses their method. They state that the church is to “hold the property in trust for the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the true and beneficial owner.” By so stating, they make clear that the church is the trustee of the property which is held in a legal entity type of trust; this argument is strengthened by the fact that, in their attacks against the ordinary trust they incorrectly rely on the law of business trusts as will be shown below. To repeat:

“The ELC teaches that the trust is a legal entity. They are partially correct in that some types of trusts are legal entities. However, the ELC does not quote from the law concerning ordinary trusts as to the legal entity status of the ordinary trust (see above). They do this to establish their incorrect position that the trust utilized by the BLC and this ministry are legal entities. They quote from the law concerning, for example, business trusts. See pages 175-177 of Approved by Man: A Case for Biblical Reasonableness by Wright/Townsend, for an example of where they quote from the law of business trusts and apply it to the ordinary trust. In American Jurisprudence, the law of business trusts is covered in volume 13 whereas the law concerning ordinary trusts is covered in volume 76. The two types of trusts are very distinct types of trusts.”

Thus, the ELC, in their zeal to discredit the ordinary trust, have in fact discredited their own methodology; they create a type of  trust which is a legal entity which can act legally, sue, be sued, go into debt if so desired , and enter into contracts (the ELC teaches against a church going into debt and entering into contracts.). Since they declare that the church is to hold the property for the true owner, they are declaring that the church is the trustee and, therefore the church has to be a legal entity. Only a legal entity can hold property; a spiritual entity cannot hold property. The trustee of a trust holds legal title and the beneficiary holds true or equitable title to property.

The ELC then states that “the church, by the pastor, can execute a deed on behalf of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Suffice it here to say that the ELC claims that the church can execute a deed. Only a legal entity can execute a deed. At the same time, they state that the church executes the deed by the pastor. Thus, the pastor effectively serves as trustee, but trustee of what kind of trust? Not a non-legal entity ordinary trust which is something they do not understand and therefore attack. He serves as trustee of a legal entity and that legal entity is the church he signs for.

Public sentiment and the lack of legal action against churches protects churches from legal scrutiny. For the foreseeable future, ELC churches do not have to worry about attacks. There are many situations, even outside the church-state context, where the legal system has not been alerted to some improprieties and therefore has not taken action. Consider the actual situation in which the owner of property has been dead for years and the man living on the property has paid the taxes for years. As long as he keeps up on the taxes and no one takes the issue to court, the man will be able to enjoy the property. Should an ELC church ever be in the legal sights of government lawyers, the ELC has subjected churches who use its methods to a compromised position and sharp government lawyers may pierce their armor. More importantly, the ELC, by not proceeding according to knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, has unknowingly dishonored the Lord.

As a sidenote, it is incorrect to say that property may be held as an individual, corporation, or unincorporated association. The correct way of putting it is that property may be held by or in the name of an individual, corporation, or association.

Finally, the last sentence in the paragraph says, “Since his passing, the Declaration of Trust has evolved into a magic talisman of mystic proportions, designed to fill all the needs of a local church.” That sentence is patently absurd. The author, the pastors, and the believers the author knows and who place tithes, offerings, and gifts into an ordinary trust established by a Declaration of Trust do not believe in magic. Those who put their tithes and offerings in an ordinary trust estate for the benefit of the true owner of all properties, the Lord Jesus Christ, know that the trust established by the DOT is only one piece of the puzzle. There are many ways in which a church can compromise the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ over a church. And even though they believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only one who can fulfill all their needs, their focus is not on themselves and their needs but on obedience to His statutes and precepts. More importantly, they believe that all they do should be for the Glory of God.

The Gospel (Fear God) or the Anti-Christ Gospel (God loves everyone)?

The word of God
The word of God

1Jesus
By Russell Hildebrandt
May 27, 2015

(Revelation 14:6-7) “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,  {7} Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”

The everlasting gospel is to Fear God for He is Holy.  The antichrist gospel is god loves everybody.  Because God is holy we need a perfect savior the Lord Jesus Christ.  Every time when you are preaching the true gospel of Jesus Christ and showing men that they are under condemnation of sin because of the holiness of God and they need a saviour and somebody comes and screams god is love they are antichrist.  Never forget this: they are of their father the devil.  If God sent an angel to proclaim to Fear God then it is good enough for me to preach the same thing “Fear God”.  Just a few scriptures to encourage you who love and fear God.

Who do you believe: Darwin or the word of God?
Who do you believe: Darwin or the word of God?

(Matthew 10:27-28) ” What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.  {28}  And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

(Psalms 66:16) “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.”

(Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) “¶ Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.  {14} For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”

3(Psalms 36:1-4) “The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.  {2} For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.  {3} The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good.  {4} He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.”

(Romans 3:11-18) “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  {12} They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.  {13} Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:  {14} Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:  {15} Their feet are swift to shed blood:  {16} Destruction and misery are in their ways:  {17} And the way of peace have they not known:  {18} There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

2(Psalms 111:6-10) “He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen.  {7} The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure.  {8} They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.  {9} He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.  {10} The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.”

(Proverbs 1:7-9) “¶ The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.  {8} My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:  {9} For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.”

Ecclesiastes 12.14
Ecclesiastes 12.14

(Isaiah 2:10-22) “¶ Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty.  {11} The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.  {12} For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:  {13} And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan,  {14} And upon all the high mountains,

Wrong. Your god is Satan and he hates you, a creation of God, and wants you to spend eternity in the lake of fire.
Wrong. Your god is Satan and he hates you, a creation of God, and wants you to spend eternity in the lake of fire.

and upon all the hills that are lifted up,  {15} And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall,  {16} And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.  {17} And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.  {18} And the idols he shall utterly abolish.  {19} And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.  {20} In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats;  {21} To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.  {22} Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?”

[Note by Jerald Finney: And there are many more such verses in the Bible. Some of those antichrists who reject Bible preaching because “God is love” make up their own religion or philosophy without reference to God’s word; others quote some Bible verse out of context. One example is John 3.16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The problem for them is the rest of John 3 and the whole of the Bible.]

Will Churches in America Have a Choice about Sodomite Marriage: A short critique of the article “Christian schools will have no choice about gay marriage: Column” as it relates to churches

Michael Farris
Michael Farris

Equality Act Creates LGBT Rights Everywhere! (102315)(Revealed: LGBT Nuclear Bomb Against Churches – Will apply to state churches, such as incorporated 501c3 churches, only. The article  below explains how this applies to state churches, but not to New Testament churches.)

Jerald Finney
Copyright © May 23, 2015

A new article was just posted:

The article, “Christian schools will have no choice about gay marriage: Column,” again puts the ignorance of “Christians” on display. The author of the article, Michael Farris, laments the fact that the United States Supreme Court is posed to deny 501(c)(3) status to Christian colleges and even to churches which oppose same-sex “marriage” (Actually, any union outside that of a male and a female is not marriage. See Jerald Finney’s letter on the webpage “The Sodomite Agenda, Religious Organizations, And Government Tyranny.”). I limit this reply to that article to churches only, even though I could say much about so-called “Christian” schools and institutions of higher learning.

6The author of the article, Michael Farris, is a good lawyer who has done much for the cause of homeschooling in America; but his article reveals that he, like most American “Christians,”  has no clue as to the important Bible doctrines of church, state, and separation of church and state and their application in America (See the first three sections of God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application which is available free in both online and PDF form. The first three sections of the online version are updated. One may study the website Separation of Church and State Law for articles, books and other resources concerning the issue of church organization.). Nor does he understand church incorporation law or Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) as applied to churches. He therefore does not understand that churches who incorporate, get 501(c)(3) status, or become legal entities in any way have grieved our Lord by combining church and state (See section VI of God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application). Believers should have realized this long ago and should have shunned any type combination with the state. When a church in America incorporates and/or claims either 501(c)(3) or 508 status, she has subjected herself to a head other than the Lord Jesus Christ. That is a gross violation of New Testament church doctrine. For more understanding of Internal Revenue Code Section 508 status see Church Internal Revenue Code § 508 Tax Exempt Status.

In the article, Farris states:

“Christian colleges and churches need to get prepared. We must decide which is more important to us — our tax exemption or our religious convictions. Keep in mind, it is not the idea that the college itself might have to pay taxes that is the threat. Schools like Patrick Henry College, which I started, never run much of a profit. But since PHC refuses all government aid, all of our donations for scholarships and buildings come from tax deductible gifts. Cutting off that stream of revenue is effectively the end of such colleges absent a team of donors who simply don’t care if gifts are deductible.”

Had the convictions of churches in America concerning the relationship of church and state been based upon Bible principles instead of misguided “convictions,” no church in America would have ever incorporated, applied for 501(c)(3) status or become a legal entity in any way; they would have all maintained their First Amendment status thereby remaining under God only. By the way, the First Amendment implements into the highest law of the land the principle of separation of church and state (See The History of the First Amendment or An Abridged History of the First Amendment; See also, The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus which explains not only the history of the First Amendment but also Christian and Secular revisonist history.)

Mr. Farris’ article points out something that I have pointed out for many years. He states:

“Keep in mind, it is not the idea that the college itself might have to pay taxes that is the threat. Schools like Patrick Henry College, which I started, never run much of a profit. But since PHC refuses all government aid, all of our donations for scholarships and buildings come from tax deductible gifts. Cutting off that stream of revenue is effectively the end of such colleges absent a team of donors who simply don’t care if gifts are deductible.”

5

One will find on the Partrick Henry College website the following statement:

Patrick Henry College is a not-for-profit corporation created and authorized to operate under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, the College is a qualified charitable institution and contributions to PHC are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

Patrick Henry College, like incorporated churches, is a creature of the state. The state of Virginia created the corporation and authorizes her to operate under the laws of Virginia, not under the laws of God. PHC is further controlled by the federal government by the rules that go along with 501(c)(3) status. More rules can be added as shown in Bob Jones University, 461 U.S. 574; 103 S. Ct. 2017; 76 L. Ed. 2d 157; 1983 U.S. LEXIS 36; 51 U.S.L.W. 4593; 83-1 U.S. Tax Cas. (CCH) P9366; 52 A.F.T.R.2d (RIA) 5001 (1983)(See pp. 386-388 of God Betrayed for an analysis of Bob Jones University). The college has turned to the state of Virginia and the federal government, specifically the Internal Revenue Service, for aid. The aid comes in the form of gifts given by donars who claim tax deductions for their gifts. People give for a tax deduction, not for the glory of God. In return for state aid, the non-profit 501(c)(3) organization agrees to abide by the rule (and future rules) set unilaterally by their benefactor. Therefore, the statement that Patrick Henry College refuses all government aid is patently false. Churches who become non-profit corporate religious organizations and/or claim 501(c)(3) status have turned to state and the federal government for financial aid.

Churches who are not non-profit 501(c)(3) religious organizations are not concerned about being taxed because they are non-taxable if they are correctly organized as spiritual entities only and had as their goal the glory of God. Furthermore, the First Amendment protects the non-legal status of New Testament  churches. The First Amendment states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Those churches and religious organizations who become legal entities place themselves under the Fourteenth Amendment for many purposes. The First Amendment guarantees that no church has to incorporate or place themselves under the rules of 501(c)(3). One big change for a church who takes 501(c)(3) or 508 status is that the church becomes “tax exempt” as opposed to non-taxable; they place themselves under Internal Revenue Code Sections 501(c)(3) or 508, laws made by Congress (notice that the First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting….”) and signed by the President. Before they do that, if they are not some type of legal entity such as a non-profit corporation, they are wholly protected by the First Amendment and are free to exercise their “religion” in conformity to New Testament principles.

Churches can make no profit if operated according to the principles of the New Testament. Without profit there are no taxes anyway. Even a business (something entirely different from a New Testament church but very like most American state churches) pays no taxes if it makes no profit. It is interesting that most American churches today are run like businesses, not like New Testament churches. That was another inevitable result of ordering a church according to the precepts of man, not those of God. Most are glorified social clubs or nightclubs. They are really businesses which pay no taxes because they call themselves churches and organize under state non-profit incorporation law.

What churches which become legal entities are really concerned about, since there is no need to worry about being taxed, is maximizing donations. They believed, after section 501(c)(3) was added to the Internal Revenue Code, that they would get more donations from people who were more concerned about getting a tax deduction than they were about glorifying God by honoring His precepts, from those whose motivation for giving was American “practicality” and not God’s pleasure. You see, God’s precepts often do not seem practical to most American believers. Churches cannot afford to operate the way they want without bringing in huge amounts of money and they cannot bring in that type of money through the tithes and offerings of born-again believers each of whom loves the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength because most of their members do not fit that description and would not tolerate teaching, preaching, and practice of all Bible doctrines. I explain all this and more in God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application and in other articles and teachings on the Separation of Church and State Law website-see Section VI of God Betrayed for a thorough study of the relevant law.

The inevitable results of  proceeding without biblical knowledge, understanding, and wisdom are now coming to fruition, and the vast majority of American “Christians” are in panic mode. They fear man more than they fear God. It is a good thing for them to be in panic mode. Maybe some of them will, as a last resort, wake up and study the word of God, repent, and reorder their churches.

The June 2010 article Preaching on Sodomy in a Hate Crime Atmosphere explained what a both state churches (a church organized as a legal entity) and New Testament churches must do when they take issue with the civil government.

Endnote

I must mention that I believe that God has preserved his word in English. Since all English versions differ, and since there can only be one word of God, which English version is God’s word? One must answer this question or he has no Bible and no authority.

See the Separation of Church and State Law website and the newly launched website abibletrust.com for help with New Testament church organization.

For more information on incorporation of church see:

  1. Church corporate 501(c)(3) status: Union of church and state
  2. Corporation: A human being without a soul

To learn more about the church 501(c)(3) education control scheme specifically see:

  1. Federal government control of churches through 501(c)(3) tax exemption (Section VI, Chapter 4 of God Betrayed; Chapter 4 of Separation of Church and State)
  2. The church incorporation-501(c)(3) control scheme (Section VI, Chapter 5 of God Betrayed; Chapter 5 of Separation of Church and State)

END

The Sodomite Agenda, Religious Organizations and Government Tyranny

I Pledge Allegiance to God and His Kingdom, Not to America

The Proper Response by believers and churches to Obergefell, the United States Supreme Court same sex marriage decision (063010)

The Republican Response to Obergefell – Wrong!!!!!! (070715)

The Hierarchy of Law as it relates to sodomy and sodomite marriage (060115)

Preaching on Sodomy in a Hate Crime Atmosphere (06_10)

More letters from pastors and others regarding this “Separation of Church and State Law” blog and other matters

Jerald Finney
May 15, 2015

The following is a complete list (with links) to prior publications of letters concerning this blog. Notice the article Letters from Pastors Regarding Hyles/Schaap and Other Articles which was published September 9, 2010, not long after the 2010 Hyles/Schaap articles were published:

050514 More letters from pastors and others regarding this “Separation of Church and State Law” blog
041813 More letters from pastors and others regarding issues raised on this “Separation of Church and State Law” blog
110511 More Letters from Pastors and Others
040511 More Letters from Pastors and Others
121110 More Letters from Pastors and Others concerning this “Separation of Church and State Law” Blog
090610 Letters from Pastors Regarding Hyles/Schaap and Other Articles
041810 More Letters from Pastors in Response to the “Separation of Church and State Law” blog ad My Replies
033010 Letters from Pastors in Response to the “Separation of Church and State Law” blog ad My Replies
102309 What Pastors are Saying in Response to this blog 

To download a document, right click the link, then left click “Download Linked File” or “Download Linked File As.”

9Contents:

Note. A “+” represents a supportive letter, a “-” a negative letter, and neither + nor minus a neutral letter

  1. Introduction
  2. () No. 1: Legal question asked on AVVO on May 12, 2015 from one wanting to know why drawing a cartoon of Mohammed was not the same legally as yelling “Fire” in a crowded theatre with my reply and the reply of some other lawyers with whom I agree.
  3. () No. 2: Letter received from [] wanting to know how a pastor reports his earnings/pay with my reply, his reply and my reply to his reply
  4. () No. 3: E-mail letter from [] received on December 1, 2014 concerning setting up a church as a corporation sole as recommended by churchfreedom.org and my reply.
  5. (+) No. 4: E-mail letter received October 7, 2014 concerning some complex church incorporation matters and my reply.
  6. (+)No. 5: E-mail letter of encouragement and prayer requet received from Pastor Kefhah in Kenya on February 3, 2014, my reply, and his reply to my reply.
  7. (+) No. 6: E-mail received from [] on September 26, 2013 complimenting the website and my reply.
  8. (+) E-mail received on August 27, 2013 from a great brother in Christ, Brother Rick Bagwell commenting on various matters including First Baptist of Hammond/Jack Hyles.
  9. (+) No. 8: Facebook comment from Brother Stanley Rogers.
  10. (+) No. 9 received on from Frank R. May 19, 2013 on Facebook.
  11. (+) No. 10: E-mail from “Bev” on January 22, 2013 concerning website layout and content and my reply.

1. Introduction

This article presents more comments, concerns, and questions from pastors and others concerning articles on this blog and other matters, and my replies. These e-mail letters not only raise important questions which need to be addressed, but also give insights into the thoughts of pastors and other believers and non-believers.

MohammedCartoon2. No. 1: Legal question asked on AVVO on May 12, 2015 from one wanting to know why drawing a cartoon of Mohammed was not the same legally as yelling “Fire” in a crowded theatre with my reply and the reply of some other lawyers with whom I agree.

Asked on AVVO on May 12, 2014 – Dallas, TX

Practice area: Constitutional

See an article on the incident referred to in the above question at: Garland, Texas, Shooting Suspect Linked Himself To ISIS In Tweets (Note. I commend the police for bravely doing their job according to the law. Two of the Muslims, according to the article, “wore body armor. They carried assault rifles. And one had declared loyalty to ISIS.”)

The following was the question:

“Why isn’t the contest to draw Mohammad in Garland Tx recently the same as yelling ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater and not protected a known hate group held a contest to draw a ‘cartoon’ of the Muslim prophet, Mohammad. In doing so, the group knew full well it would likely result in violence against those attending. In fact, only the Muslim protesting the drawing were killed as they approached the facility armed with weapons.”

My reply on May 12, 2014 (I did not address some of the issues raised in the question since I agreed with some other lawyer responses, some of which are below. Rather, I tried to offer some insights into the differences between certain Islamic beliefs and certain principles of freedom found in the United States Constitution.):

The religion of Islam has entirely different principles about some matters than does the religion which was responsible for giving the United States freedom of religion, speech, assembly, press, and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. These freedoms are denied in many Muslim countries where Christians and others are persecuted and/or killed. Prior to the adoption of the Constitution and the First Amendment, all these freedoms were denied in most of the American colonies (as they had been in the Old World where Catholicism or some form of Protestantism combined with the state).

These freedoms are secured by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution which says:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

The history of that amendment makes clear that those who were persecuted (tortured, beheaded, drowned, burnt at the stake, buried alive, imprisoned, property confiscated, banished, tortured, etc.) for their refusal to bow down to the state religion were responsible for the adoption of the First Amendment. You can read that history at: https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/contents/online-version-of-the-book-god-betrayed/the-history-of-the-first-amendment/

An abbreviated version is at: https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/contents/books/an-abridged-history-of-the-first-amendment/

Anytime religion and state unite, as proven by history, the result is the labeling of those who do not support and embrace the state/religion as “heretics” and their persecution and elimination by the state/religion or state/church combination. At least 50 million of such so-called “heretics” were murdered by the combination of church and state during the reign of Catholicism, and then by Protestant church state unions which adopted the church/state theology of the “mother” church (harlot). Millions of those “heretics,” based upon their biblical beliefs, stood for freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, and the other freedoms which were later guaranteed in America by the First Amendment. Their beliefs were based upon a literal interpretation of the Bible, not on the “spiritual” interpretations of the Catholic church which basically held that the Bible was open to interpretation by certain “spiritual” people (such as Origin, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas). Those interpreters paganized and spiritualized, according to their preferences, the great truths of the Bible. Protestant churches adopted that part of Catholic theology led by Luther, Zwingli, Knox, etc.

As to the speech issue you mention, the teachings of Islam are fundamentally different from those of those Christian “heretics” who stood against the union of church and state and for freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly and which resulted in the freedoms in the First Amendment. Many of the Moslems who live in America have brought with them their Muslim beliefs and wish those beliefs to be applied in America. In order for that to happen, American law would have to be fundamentally rewritten.

A cross in a jar of urine is protected speech in America. Other odious depictions of Christ in movies, paintings, signs, etc. are common in America. As a believer, I detest those things, but I also believe in everyone’s right to the freedoms in the First Amendment. I don’t believe in killing anyone for their religious beliefs (as long as those beliefs do not result in murder, stealing, or some other crimes against one’s fellow man). The law protects, and rightfully so, those who express and practice their religious beliefs – even those who criticize other religions, religious leaders, etc.

This answer is not intended as and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Professional legal advice requires…

A good article on Muslim immigration and its effects is: Concerns Of Muslim Immigration Surge Into Western World Come Into Focus (050715)

Reply of Cameron Huey Workers’ Compensation Lawyer – Sacramento, CA

Answered May 14, 2014. Contrary to popular belief, yelling “fire” in a theater is not the most recent case law on clear and present danger. Schenck v. United States has been superceded by Brandenburg v. Ohio. Hate speech has also been approved as protected by the First Amendment (Virginia v. Black upheld a cross-burning). Hate speech is now akin to viewpoint discrimination. If the “hate group” was prohibited from having a drawing contest of Muhammed, then THEY would sue for violation of free speech rights.

The Constitution doesn’t protect against people being upset. The Constitution protects the speaker’s rights. Yelling “fire” causes panic to a reasonable person. A reasonable person would not have some impulse to hurt or kill other people because their religion/beliefs/opinions are threatened. The fact that they approached the facility armed with weapons WITH THE INTENT of committing a crime against someone who was expressing free speech shows they were in the wrong.

If you want this liberal/progressive defense of free speech that Pamela Gellar and company were engaging in, I suggest you watch some of the debates between supporters of Islam and with progressive TV host Bill Maher.

This answer is not intended as and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Professional legal advice requires…

Reply of Richard Gould-Saltman Family Law Attorney – Los Angeles, CA

Answered 28 minutes ago. Because it’s not illegal to “yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater”; it’s “illegal to FALSELY yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater”, which results in innocent people doing perfectly legal and reasonable things, and getting injured as a result.

Mounting an armed attack against someone who makes fun of your religion is, in the United States, neither legal nor reasonable, and isn’t innocent; it’s a crime.

This answer is not intended as and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Professional legal advice requires…

Reply of Isabel Humphrey Appeals Lawyer – Phoenix, AZ

Answered a day ago. I think the big difference is that yelling “fire!” in a crowded theater will lead reasonable people to panic and potentially be injured, whereas drawing Mohammed will lead only criminals to react in a way that will cause injury.

This answer is not intended as and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Professional legal advice requires…

3. No. 2 :Letter received from [] wanting to know how a pastor reports his earnings/pay with my reply, his reply and my reply to his reply

[] To me; April 30, 2015 at 12:55 AM

Dear Mr. Finney:

There is something I am not seeing in your materials thus far.  How exactly does a pastor report his “earnings/pay?”

For example, let’s just say that a pastor receives $100,000 from the members in a year: If the IRS comes to him, how should he be reporting this?

Regards,

[]

My reply

My pastor reports all support as “other income” when filing his income tax. I am cc’ing this to him just to make sure I am correct.

JERALD C. FINNEY
Born Again Believer, Historic Baptist, Attorney at Law
Mail: P.O. Box 1346; Austin, Texas 78767
Office: 700 Lavaca; Ste. 1400
Phone: (512) 808-5529 (O); (512)385-0761 (H) ; 512-785-8445 (C)
Fax: (512)385-0761
E-mail: jerald.finney@sbcglobal.net

His Reply to my Reply

[] To me CC Pastor Jason Cooley; Today at 11:38 AM

Dear Mr. Finney:

Thank you for answering my first question. I hope you wouldn’t mind answering another.

Let’s say a church has the DOT establishing the ordinary trust. They go to a bank to open an account. The bank will require a TIN (tax id number). Will this be the Pastor’s TIN? Or will/can the trust have a TIN?

Regards,
[]

My Reply to his reply

Dear Mr. [],

I am just a sinner saved by grace. I am a nobody – just a lawyer trying to please God in a God-called ministry. I love God, and my fellow man, which obviously means I love you. I wish to speak to you honestly and straightforward. I do not wish to sound arrogant or rude. I wish to humbly help all those who come to me seeking advice in church-state matters. Even though the answers to your question (and the one before it) are simple, there are many others that must be answered in the process of ordering a church according to the principles of the New Testament. Therefore, certain groundwork must be laid before proceeding.

The purpose of this ministry is to glorify God. One must know a lot about the intricacies of Bible principles and law to make sure he glorifies God by doing nothing in the legal system which violates principles in the Bible. One can do the Bible and legal study himself or he can depend upon someone else.

If he does it himself, he can then apply what he has learned by ordering a church accordingly. He must be diligent to honor God in the process.

If he wants to depend upon someone else, he must trust that person. In this case, if you and I (or someone else who was well versed in these matters) were to agree that your spiritual beliefs and mine (or someone else with whom you consult) are consistent, and if you trusted me, you could choose to allow me to organize your church under the DOT. Of course, you would need to do enough study to satisfy yourself that the principles were both biblical and legal; that the legal was consistent with the biblical. Let me assure you that there are many so-called ministries out there who are depended upon by others in the matter of church organization who don’t know what they are doing; they are misleading many good men of God into various methods of church organization which dishonor God by violating Bible principles. Some of those ministries are led by men who purport to be legal scholars or authorities, but who have never been to law school and are also full time pastors, lobbyists, teachers, etc. No one can really master more than one or two difficult endeavors, and one should be willing to pay the price (thousands of hours of study and practice) before setting out to counsel others about a matter so preeminent as church organization. A person who is seeking help should trust no one until he has enough Bible and legal understanding to determine whether he is being misled.

Before proceeding, I need to know things such as, for example:

  • Who you are (name, address, phone number)?
  • Why are you asking these question?
  • What is your salvation testimony?
  • What church are you a member of?
  • What are your basic spiritual beliefs?
  • Why are you inquiring about these matters?
  • Do you agree with the earmarks of a New Testament (First Amendment) church?
  • What do you believe about church legal entity versus spiritual entity status?

First, if you wish to continue this dialogue, would you answer the above questions? Would you mind going to the following link and letting me know if you agree with the earmarks of a New Testament (First Amendment) church?:

https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/contents/books/pdf-of-quick-reference-guide-for-churches-seeking-to-organize-according-to-new-testament-principles/

The earmarks are on page 1.

When one goes to a lawyer for help, he should trust that lawyer. Once he decides to employ that lawyer, he will have to depend, to a great extent upon the competence of the lawyer. Of course the lawyer should discuss the basic law and facts with the new client, but to fully explain all the intricacies of the procedural and substantive law to every client would be an impossibility since the law is very complicated. It takes years of study and practice to become fully competent in any given area of law.

The lawyer will ask questions such as name, address phone number of prospective client and the facts of the matter for which the seeks advice or help. If the person hires the lawyer, the lawyer will rely upon knowledge which he has spent thousands of hours acquiring as well as further research and study if needed for specific factual situations.

These same principles apply to the subject of New Testament church organization, even more than to secular matters. The same principles apply in carrying out this ministry. I have spent untold thousands of hours studying the Bible principles and law of separation of church and state. I can answer what are to me simple questions from an unknown source but that is not a wise thing to do since a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. One must—in order to glorify God,  correctly fit together the entirety of the relevant Bible principles  and civil law—do diligent extensive study of the Bible, history, and man’s law.

I recently redrafted the Resolution Adopting the Declaration of Trust and the Declaration of Trust of Old Paths Baptist Church because the original Declaration has a flaw which left open the argument that the church was a legal entity. I did not do the original Declaration of Old Paths Baptist Church. I believe the new Resolution and Declaration are solid in every respect. I say that to let you know that you must have a lot of knowledge and experience in order to maximize the chances that you have made no mistakes when you organize a church. Just knowing the answer to a couple of simple questions does not mean that one is ready to correctly order a church.

JERALD C. FINNEY
BBB, Historic Baptist, BBA, JD
Mail: P.O. Box 1346; Austin, Texas 78767
Office: 700 Lavaca; Ste. 1400
Phone: (512) 808-5529 (O); (512)385-0761 (H) ; 512-785-8445 (C)
Fax: (512)385-0761
E-mail: jerald.finney@sbcglobal.net

P.S. Let me add that there are those Pastors who believe that they should not pay income tax, since they depend entirely upon gifts from others. The churches they pastor do not pay them a salary. The IRS Code section 102 says that gifts are not taxable. So those pastors are not breaking the law. However, my pastor’s conviction is that he wishes to report even gifts. Some pastors are in the tax-protest movement. That is not a fight I wish to get involved with. The Lord has not convicted me on that matter. I could say a lot more about that, but I will leave it at that for now. Section 102 says:

(a) General rule
Gross income does not include the value of property acquired by gift, bequest, devise, or inheritance.
(b) Income
Subsection (a) shall not exclude from gross income—
(1) the income from any property referred to in subsection (a); or
(2) where the gift, bequest, devise, or inheritance is of income from property, the amount of such income.
Where, under the terms of the gift, bequest, devise, or inheritance, the payment, crediting, or distribution thereof is to be made at intervals, then, to the extent that it is paid or credited or to be distributed out of income from property, it shall be treated for purposes of paragraph (2) as a gift, bequest, devise, or inheritance of income from property. Any amount included in the gross income of a beneficiary under subchapter J shall be treated for purposes of paragraph (2) as a gift, bequest, devise, or inheritance of income from property.

(c) Employee gifts
(1) In general
Subsection (a) shall not exclude from gross income any amount transferred by or for an employer to, or for the benefit of, an employee.
(2) Cross references
For provisions excluding certain employee achievement awards from gross income, see section 74 (c).
For provisions excluding certain de minimis fringes from gross income, see section 132 (e).

4. No. 3: E-mail letter from [] received on December 1, 2014 concerning setting up a church as a corporation sole as recommended by churchfreedom.org and my reply.

Greetings Mr. Finney,

My name is []. I want to thank you for setting up your website with all of the free information concerning 501c3 etc. I know in the near future God is going to have me start a church. My motive for starting one is for the truth of Gods word being preached and taught correctly. Right now I am doing research and I understand to stay away from 501c3.

However I came across a website called: churchfreedom.org and they seem to be a strong proponent of corporation sole. I wanted to know your perspective on this. Can I still be trapped by the govt. if I was to go the route of corporation sole? Or would I be better protected by establishing a church not tied to anything (just like having church in my house)? I am still ignorant in these matters and I just want to get a complete understanding before I begin. Thank you for your time. Peace and blessings in Jesus. Sent from my iPad

My reply: December 1, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Note. Since receiving this e-mail, I have done a comprehensive booklet explaining the problems with the corporation sole method of organization. The booklet is free at the following web address:

https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/introduction/

Dear Brother,

Thanks for your e-mail. Please feel free to contact me concerning this matter.  My cell phone is 512-785-8445. Call anytime & if you get a VM, leave a message & I’ll call you back asap.

I would be glad to talk with you over the phone (or in person were that possible), look at the website (1churchfreedom.org) and show you some of the problems with their suggested method. This subject is too vast to answer in a simple e-mail. I am totally against the use of corp. sole by churches; so against it that I turned down a lucrative offer from one of the companies which pushes church corp. sole to work for them as legal counsel.

After quickly browsing churchfreedom.org (about 5 minutes of less) I quickly spotted inaccurate statements as well as several flaws with their method. Please permit me to point out just one of their suggestions that is fatal to New Testament church status. They suggest an affidavit from the church which attests that ”  they are a bona fide Church that lives up to the IRS’s own 14 point test.” That one thing shows me that these people do not understand what they are talking about for several reasons. The following paragraph tells you what the 14 part IRS points are.

In attempting to define “church,” the IRS has “given certain characteristics [14 criteria] which are generally attributed to churches” ().IRS Publication 1828 (2007), p. 23.  The court has recognized that 14-part test in determining whether a religious organization was a church. The 14 criteria are:

“(1) a distinct legal existence;
“(2) a recognized creed and form of worship;
“(3) a definite and distinct ecclesiastical government;
“(4) a formal code of doctrine and discipline;
“(5) a distinct religious history;
“(6) a membership not associated with any other church or denomination;
“(7) an organization of ordained ministers;
“(8) ordained ministers selected after completing prescribed studies;
“(9) a literature of its own;
“(10) established places of worship;
“(11) regular congregations;
“(12) regular religious services;
“(13) Sunday schools for religious instruction of the young;
“(14) schools for the preparation of its ministers.” American Guidance Foundation, Inc. v. United States , 490 F. Supp. 304 (D.D.C. 1980).

Obviously, a church should never depend upon the IRS or any government agency for the definition of a church. Notice that the IRS uses their 14-part test in determining whether a religious organization is a church. A New Testament church cannot also be a religious organization. If you want further explanation, call me.

Of course, some of the IRS attributes are consistent with Bible church doctrine, some are not. For example, the first one (a distinct legal existence) is definitely against Bible principle. A church cannot have a “legal existence” and be a New Testament church. I deal with this matter extensively online in some of my writings (Some of which are also available in softback and Kindle. All the books are online in PDF form.). Another quick point is that a New Testament church cannot be tax exempt – she must be non-taxable. The churchfreedom.org method will not only displease God, but it will also leave a church vulnerable to the requirements of 501c3. See my online article “Church Internal Revenue Code § 508 Tax Exempt Status” which is at https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/church-internal-revenue-code-%C2%A7-508-tax-exempt-status/THESE CONSIDERATIONS ALONE COMPLETELY DISQUALIFY THE USE OF THE churchfreedom.org METHODOLOGY BY A CHURCH WHO WISHES TO PLEASE GOD AND ORGANIZE ACCORDING TO NEW TESTAMENT PRINCIPLES.

The above is sufficient to Scripturally disqualify the churchfreedom.org methodology but it is just the tip of the iceberg. On the other hand, the method recommended by this Old Paths Baptist Church “Separation of Church and State Law” ministry covers all the bases, meets all biblical requirements for a New Testament church, and keeps the church under God only so that the church remains a non-legal entity.

The last paragraph naturally raises other questions. Again, I do not have time to write a book on this, but let me assure you that I can direct you to free online writing and/or audio teachings which will give complete Bible based answers. I will give you short answers in discussions, and will direct you to resources which will give in-depth answers.

My cell phone is 512-785-8445. Call anytime & if you get a VM, leave a message & I’ll call you back asap.

I CHARGE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING FOR HELPING OTHER BELIEVERS AS THEY SEEK ANSWERS TO THESE VERY IMPORTANT MATTERS.

For His Glory,
Jerald Finney

5. No. 4: E-mail letter received October 7, 2014 concerning some complex church incorporation matters and my reply.

Good morning Mr. Finney.

My name is [] on and I pastor [] Church in [], Washington.  I found your name and addy online somewhere (don’t exactly remember the site) and decided you might be able to clear some things up for me, if it’s not too much trouble.

I am attaching a document that I found to be very interesting, especially in  light of our society and government today.  I was hoping you could shed some light on this matter of Church Incorporation for me.  Is it necessary to allow governing agencies access to the church, or even profitable to do so?

Here in Washington State, many churches seem to enroll themselves not only with the 503 stuff but with a governmental department called LAbor and Industries.  L & I for short.  This particular group has stated that the “Pastor/Staff” of the church are considered “employees” and must follow “business” practices such as submitting actual hours worked. I believe this is how they determine how much the Workers Compensation insurance will cast the church.  I am more concerned with allow them access to the church records.

The attachment seems to be legit and I for one agree with it.  But that and $5 here in Washington may get you a cup of coffee (Starbucks of course).

I would appreciate any light you might be willing to share with me on this matter.

I would also appreciate your acknowledgement of this email.  One never knows what gets lost in cyberspace.

Pastor []

My Reply

Dear Pastor Olson,

Thank you for your interest in these most important matters. I would be glad to answer your questions in a phone conversation. Please  call me at the number below should you wish to discuss your questions. I can only give short answers in such a conversation. I cannot fully explain the reasons for what I say in a short conversation. I humbly submit that to answer your questions would require a college course covering the biblical doctrines of church, government, separation of church and state, the history of the First Amendment (one must understand that history in order to understand the First Amendment and the Religion Clause of that amendment),  incorporation and 501c3 status, and how a church in the U.S. can operated under the First Amendment only and do things God’s way totally outside government control as long as the church members or a church member do(es) not commit a crime or illegally damage another person. The First Amendment protects churches who operate outside government control. Churches who incorporate or become legal entities in any way and/or get 501c3 status lose much of their First Amendment protections; and they also violate New Testament principles regarding church, state, and separation of church and state. That is the bad news.

The good news is that I have covered all these matters in great detail in my books, articles, and audio teachings. Those materials provide the basis for understanding it all. It still requires study, but a lot less study than doing from scratch the tremendous amount of research and study needed to understand these matters.

Everyone is welcome to study my materials and tell me if they believe I am wrong. I will listen. As to biblical matters, I will only listen to arguments based upon biblical teaching. If someone can show me where my legal or historical assertions are incorrect, I will repent and publicly correct my error. As to the application of legal issues to biblical principles, the same applies.

I suggest that a good place for one to start is the book Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities? It is a relatively short, concise book for the interested student.

To fully understand all the issues, I suggest God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application.

I also have a book on Romans 13 and related verses.

All the above and more is available free online, The books can also be ordered. The online editions have been updated as my teachings have been modified as to some matters. See the P.S. below for info.

As to the article you attached, I believe it is from the Ecclesiastical Law Center. Much of what they state in the article is correct. I quickly browsed the article, but do not have time to do an analysis. I have read one of their books and heard the lectures of their leader. They are right about some matters but wrong about others. I certainly would not recommend them because they are misleading and wrong about certain very important of their teachings.

Feel free to call me. If you get a voicemail, please leave a message and I will return your call ASAP. Please keep in mind that I still practice law as well as lead this “Separation of Church and State Law” ministry.

For His Glory,

Jerald Finney
Cell: 512-385-0761

P.S.   The following is from the “Contents” page of opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com. [I copied and pasted the “Contents” page here. That page is at the following web address: https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/contents/%5D

6. No. 5: E-mail letter of encouragement and prayer requet received from Pastor Kefhah in Kenya on February 3, 2014, my reply, and his reply to my reply.

Dear Servants of God,

If My people who are called by My name WILL HUMBLE THEMSELVES,AND PRAY AND SEEK MY FACE,AND TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS,THEN I WILL HEAR FROM HEAVEN,AND WILL FORGIVE THEIR SIN AND HEAL THEIR LAND.

Good servants and committed to the work of God.

Please we are happy to join you in your ministry as we love your teachings at your website.please we are a young Christian fellowship in Kenya as we pray that you may add as into your churches.

Micah 4:1-2 In the last days the mountain of the LORD’S temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

PRAYER,FATHER.Lead me day by day Even in Thine own sweet way;Teach me to be pure and true;Show me what I ought to do.When I am tempted to do wrong,Make me steadfast,Wise and strong And When all alone I stand,Shield me Thy mighty hand May I see the good and bright When they pass before my sight.May I hear the heavenly voice when the pure and Wise rejoice Amen.

Thank you in Christ and please make us to know God more.

God’s blessings be upon you, your family, church and ministry.  Thank you so very much for your kind words and your willingness that your teachings at your website.  God means for His people to be one body and it is so refreshing to see this going on with the of you.

WONDERFUL Indeed it is that all of you are working together to evangelize here and to start a new church here.

God bless all of you with His love, wisdom and enable me to do all He has called you to do.

Sincerely Pastor Kefhah.

My Reply

Dear Pastor Kefhah,

Your spirit inspired e-mail is a great encouragement! It is truly a blessing to see that this website is being followed all over the world except in closed countries such as China and North Korea where it is not available. The website provides a listing of views which includes the countries of origin of the views.

May the Lord richly bless you as you serve him and fight the spiritual battles he has called us to fight. You are in my prayers.

May I publish your letter below as a testimonial on the website? I can take out your identifying information if you desire.

I have prayed that the Lord will bless you and your work mightily. I will continue to pray for you.

Also, should the Lord lead you to write anything concerning the biblical doctrine of separation of church and state or any insights relating to that subject specifically as to the nation of Kenya and your ministry, please let me know. Perhaps I can publish it on the website, with your permission of course.

God bless you and yours!

Please forgive me for taking so long to answer-I have been very busy.

For His Glory,
|Brother Jerald Finney

Pastor Kefha’s Reply to My Reply:

Dearest Servant of the most High God Brother Jerald,

The Good News of Salvation!!!

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,ISAIAH 61:1-2.

I thank you most sincerely for the appreciation of my email and for the encouragement you have given me on the same.If I have set light and the light is for the truth of salvation,Let the light shine all places in the world.

I therefore permit you to put my testimony in the website so that it can be read anywhere in the world.

Kindly be praying for us in Kenya more so my church followers and the orphans as we also pray for you.

Be blessed,

yours servant of God Pastor Kefhah.

7. No. 6: E-mail received from [] on September 26, 2013 complimenting the website and my reply.

Hey! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Exceptional blog and wonderful design and style.

My Reply

Thank you so much for the very kind feedback. May the Lord richly bless you and yours.

Jerald

8. No. 7: E-mail received on August 27, 2013 from a great brother in Christ, Brother Rick Bagwell commenting on various matters including First Baptist of Hammond/Jack Hyles.

From: Rick Bagwell <firstladlemen@yahoo.com>
To: Greg Dixon <drgregdixon@earthlink.net>
Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 11:10 AM
Subject: Fw: The Trumpet Online

The Bible clearly speaks of children being taught in the home. Also if we use Ceasars money we must return unto his that which is his. How did Jesus teach? From the seaside in boats on the street corners, etc. He never had a building fund. The Bible says if TWO or MORE are gathered in MY NAME there I will be also. Then we have the stories of the old brush harbors. The Bible also says to go into the highways and byways and compel them to come in. If we depend on God to provide a meeting place it would be a TREMENDOUSLY BETTER one than what the god of money can provide. Is it buildings that we strive for or the souls of men? Let not the government convey to us how we should meet or where and let God provide and show the way. When I hear of public school closings I praise the Lord for we know what they teach and fail to teach. When they kicked God and reading of HIS word and prayer out of public schools that’s when the schools SHOULD have been closed to begin with. So why are we ruled by the god of money anyway? Are we Christian Soldiers? What weapons of warfare has God told us about in HIS word? We DO NOT need Satan’s money. We can teach without it. Paul was a tentmaker and a soul winner/teacher, teaching Gods word. God will provide a way. The Church is going underground as it did decades ago. Are Churches known by God and their titles such as Baptist or Methodist? Or are they known by the preachers who Lord over them? {First Baptist Church of Hammond/Jack Hyles} [ Hyles Anderson College] Just where is the GLORY given to God in such titles? See the problem??? Now you see God has the solution. He will use the enemy to close such Churches and Schools or they will teach the devils agenda. Why don’t Christians have their own money or means? Does God not own the cattle on a thousand hills the wealth in EVERY MINE? God will win the battle before we even enter the war.

Brother Rick Bagwell
Isaiah 40:31
The Beacon Light Baptist

9. No. 8: Facebook comment from Brother Stanley Rogers.

Tonight at Woodbridge Baptist we are continuing our study through the book of Romans. We will begin Chapter 13. This has been an exciting and encouraging study for me. I want to thank Brother Jason Cooley and Brother Jerald Finney for their tireless efforts of teaching the proper rolls of Church and State. Their messages on this subject have been an encouragement to me. Come on and join us in this study. You just might get your heart stirred to proclaim and stand for your Heavenly Citizenship!

10. No. 9 received on from Frank R. May 19, 2013 on Facebook.

It’s nearly impossible to find well-informed people on this subject, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about!
Thanks

11. No. 10: E-mail from “Bev” on January 22, 2013 concerning website layout and my reply.

I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the layout of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.

But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

My Reply to Letter No. (On January 28, 2013)

Thanks for the suggestions. I had been thinking about the very issues you raised. I just did some changes. If you have the time, maybe you can tell me whether the new template is better than the old one.

I do everything myself. This is a ministry with me. Therefore, no income is produced and I try to keep expenses to a minimum. The expenses are all born by me, and I really don’t have money to spend to get a professional to set up my website.

I just returned from a week of travel, visiting families, churches, etc., speaking on the issues of the ministry. I paid for all expenses and it was all done for free.

Again, thanks so much and may the Lord richly bless you and yours.

For His Glory!

Jerald Finney

P.S. Since getting this e-mail, I have continued to make changes. For example, I have gone back and added pictures to many of the articles/chapters. Eventually, I may update them all.