Definitions of “separation of church and state,” “established church,” and “religious freedom or soul liberty”


A course of instruction offered by Old Paths Baptist Church Bible Trust Ministries (Formerly known as Separation of Church and State Law Ministry)


If you miss one part of the puzzle that is being put together in these studies, you will never see and understand the whole picture.


Click here to go to the written lessons.
Click here to go to the 3 1/2 to 6 minute video lectures.


Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 22, 2018


Separation of church and state,” “established church” and “religious freedom or soul liberty,” are inherent in the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This lesson will define those phrases. The remaining studies and cited authorities, especially the studies on the history of the First Amendment will make perfectly clear that the definitions given here are accurate.

 1. Definition of Separation of Church and State

Click the above to go to the article, “Is Separation of Church and State Found in the Constitution?

The biblical principle of “separation of church and state” is that God desires both a church and the state to choose to be under God, but desires neither to be over or to work hand in hand with the other. A church has spiritual responsibilities. The state has earthly responsibilities. The Bible contains different principles for a church and the state. God desires the two to be totally separate entities, both ordained by God who desires both to submit to Him in love and to be guided by His principles as stated in His Word. A church under God remains an eternal spiritual entity only so long as she does not inadvertently or intentionally change her status to an earthly temporal entity by placing herself under the law of man, under civil government. By placing herself under the law of man, she combines church and state and makes herself, at least partially but perhaps wholly, a temporal, legal, earthly entity.

The main example in America is the incorporated 501(c)(3) church. The rules of civil government for the corporate 501(c)(3) church are secular and such a church agrees, when she applies for and executes the status, to the rules which come with state non-profit corporation law and the rules that come with 501(c)(3). She also agrees that any disputes over violation of the rules will be decided by the authority—the state of incorporation or, for 501(c)(3) purposes, the federal government. God and the Bible will have no part of disputes as to many matters. The authority is civil government.

In other words, the corporate 501(c)(3) church has not only put herself under man’s law, not God’s law, for many matters; she has also taken herself from under the First Amendment—a statement of the Bible principle of separation of church and state (not separation of God and State—and placed herself under the Fourteenth Amendment for many purposes.

 2. Definition of “Established Church”

An established church is a church who is an integral part of the state and receives state support. She does this trough becoming a legal entity. The established church and state reach an agreement or enter into a contract whereby either the state aids the church in attaining earthly and/or spiritual goals or vice-versa and, to one degree or another, the state runs the church or the established church runs the state. The church and state work hand in hand to enforce earthly and spiritual laws and principles. In modern America state-churches are influenced, perverted, and/or perhaps dominated by state enforced satanic principles. For more on this, see What is an established church?

Historically, the established church has either been over the state, or the state has been over the established church. When the state has been over the church, the state directs the affairs of the church to a greater or lesser degree and vice-versa. In either case, the spiritual affairs of the church are mixed with the earthly responsibilities of the state. In the past, in either a church-state or state-church, leaders of both church and state operated under a false theology based upon false biblical principles. The results were (1) corruption of the church, corruption of the state, corruption of the clergy and political leaders and the members of society and the church, and (2) torture, imprisonment, and/or the killing of those who refused to bow down to the theology of the church-state or state-church. We see the former results in the church-state activities in America today. The latter results are coming.

  3. Definition of Religious Freedom or Soul Liberty

“By religious freedom, or soul liberty, is meant the natural and inalienable right of every soul to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and to be unmolested in the exercise of that right, so long, at least, as he does not infringe upon the rights of others; that religion is, and must be a voluntary service; that only such service is acceptable to God; and, hence that no earthly power, whether civil or ecclesiastical, has any right to compel conformity to any creed or to any species of worship, or to tax a man for its support.

Religious freedom exists when every citizen has, by law, the choice, without persecution, of choosing God, false gods or a false god, or no god at all. Religious freedom, as shown in God’s Word, is what He desires in a Gentile nation. Even though He desires Gentile nations to provide for religious liberty, He also wants them to submit themselves to Him and His principles, and recognize that Jesus Christ is the Supreme Sovereign. Thus a nation modeled after biblical principles will provide for religious liberty while also operating under God and His principles.

Click the above to go to book.

“This principle gives to ‘Caesar’ ‘the things that are Caesar’s,’ but it denies to Caesar ‘the things that are God’s.’ It does not make it a matter of indifference what a man believes or how he acts, but it places all on the same footing before God, the only lord of the conscience, and makes us responsible to him alone for our faith and practice. [By 1900 this doctrine was] very generally accepted, not only in Virginia, but also throughout the United States. It [had] been incorporated into our National and State Constitutions, and it [was ] the basis for our civil liberties” (Charles F. James, Documentary History of the Struggle for Religious Liberty in Virginia (Harrisonburg, VA.: Sprinkle Publications, 2007; First Published Lynchburg, VA.: J. P. Bell Company, 1900), p. 9.).

 

Introduction

 


A course of instruction offered by Old Paths Baptist Church Bible Trust Ministries (Formerly known as Separation of Church and State Law Ministry)


If you miss one part of the puzzle that is being put together in these studies, you will never see and understand the whole picture.


Click here to go to the written lessons.
Click here to go to the 3 1/2 to 6 minute video lectures.


Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 20, 2018


As these studies have already shown, God, the Supreme Ruler, ordained civil government and the church at different times, for different purposes, and for peoples with different natures. God ordained the state, the civil government, to deal with earthly matters, and the church to deal with spiritual matters. When church and state combine, the earthly combines with the spiritual and trouble lies ahead, as history proves.

Click the above to go to the article, “Is Separation of Church and State Found in the Constitution?

God desires that both civil governments and churches choose to be under Him, to operate according to His principles. At the same time, God desires separation of church and state—that is, He desires that neither the church nor the Gentile state work with or be under the other. A church who does not understand this proper relationship will be easily influenced to take earthly benefits from the state in return for forsaking her purely spiritual status and calling under Christ. Most American churches have corporate 501(c)(3) legal status; both combine church and state for earthly temporal legal reasons. Such churches are established churches, legal creatures of the state.[i]

It is the responsibility of every church, not the state—regardless of all persecutions by the state, by the church-state alliance, and/or by the world in general—to be a light and stand for and proclaim truth. This is so because a church is the only institution made up of people privy to God’s spiritual insights, and is “the pillar and ground of the truth.”[ii]  Generally speaking, those who run civil government cannot know spiritual and ultimate truth since most leaders in civil government are unregenerate (or, in rare instances, Christians who are usually spiritual babies).

Catholicism was the original church to be united with the state through the law of civil government in the early fourth century. Catholicism, most notably Augustine and much later Aquinas, developed the theology which unifies church and state through the laws of a nation. This theology justifies the persecution, torture, and murder of heretics. Established Protestant churches continued to practice this heretical theology. Church state establishments have always viciously persecuted and murdered those whom the established church has labeled to be heretical.[iii]

Established churches in the American colonies—notably, the Puritans and Anglicans—continued to persecute heretics, although due to constraints by England, not as severely as in the Old World. As always, faithful Bible stood spiritually, not physically, against the establishments. Due to the circumstances in the colonies, those heroes of the faith ultimately prevailed when the First Amendment was ratified and added to the United States Constitution.[iii]

The Covenant Theology of the Puritans, a modified form of Calvinism, which is a modification of Catholic theology, spiritualizes and allegorizes much of the Bible. Calvinism teaches union of church and state and requires the persecution of heretics.

The main opponents of Covenant Theology, union of church and state, and persecution of “heretics” in the colonies were the Baptists. The writings and history, for the most part have survived. Unlike the Old World where Protestantism and Catholicism before that successfully destroyed the books, writings, and teachings of “heretics” new forces came together in the colonies which allowed the brilliant history and writings of men such as Roger Williams, Dr. John Clarke, Isaac Backus, and other to be preserved. Sadly, Christian Revisionism, not to mention secular revisionism, has tried to blot out or pervert and hide that history and those writings.

This section will examine:

  • Covenant Theology versus the theology of the dissenting Baptists in the colonies;
  • some distinct differences between the church and the state which render them mutually exclusive;
  • Christ’s statement concerning Caesar and God and the false interpretation of Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2.13 and some other verses which are often cited out of context to support unlimited submission to the state in all earthly matters, and in all spiritual matters, with the possible exception of preaching salvation;
  • the Bible doctrine concerning the relationship of church and state.

Click here to go to a more thorough and advanced Introduction.


Endnotes

[i] See What is an established church?

[ii] 1 Ti. 3.15. Many earthly relationships and behaviors involve the application of spiritual insights. For example, God teaches, in His Word, the responsibilities of husbands to wives, wives to husbands, parents to children, children to parents, civil government to marriages and the men and women joined in marriage, civil government to children, and so forth. Although these are spiritual teachings, they are to be applied in earthly relationships to which there is a spiritual parameter. In other words, God is involved in all relationships and has outlined the ultimate consequences for behaviors, and therefore, everything is spiritual even though it may have an earthly dimension. The trouble comes when man tries to exclude God and His principles, an impossible task.

Also, every sphere of ordained government has its own God-given jurisdiction. God desires the state to stay out of family affairs unless criminal acts are involved. He wants civil government to stay out of church affairs, and the church, as an institution to stay out of state affairs. At the same time, he wants Christians to be in authority since only Christians can apply His principles in the realm of government (of course this has almost never happened). Likewise, a church has no God-given jurisdiction over a family.

[iii] Some resources which cover history of the union of church and state under Catholic and Protestant legal establishments (established church/states) are: The History of the First Amendment, The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus, and Introduction to the biblical doctrine of “Separation of Church and State (Covers persecution from the crucifixion of Christ by Jews, Rome (the Catholic/Roman establishment), to the Reformation, to the American colonies).

 

Jerald Finney’s Testimony

I am 71 years old. I moved to Faribault, MN—as directed by my Lord Jesus Christ—in March 2016 when I was 69 years old. I moved here to join in membership with Old Paths Baptist Church of Northfield, MN.

I made this move for several reasons. I got to know Pastor Jason Cooley in 2011. Pastor Jason had been sent out of his home church to plant a Baptist church. He was ready to separate from his sending church and was doing intense studies about the doctrine of the church. He wanted to organize OPBC according to the principles of the New Testament.

We spent many many hours on the phone over a period of several months. He was also consulting with others about this matter. After reading some of the materials the Lord had led me, as a saved lawyer, to write concerning church organization, he decided to organize under the method used by the Biblical Law Center. I had been lead counsel for the BLC about 6 or 7 years.

Our discussions showed us that we were of one mind in the Lord. I saw his tremendous vision and dedication to the Lord in all matters. He preaches the whole counsel of God and is not afraid to follow the Lord wherever the Lord leads.

I hope to spend the rest of my days on earth serving the Lord as a member of OPBC. Nothing OPBC or any other member does is for our individual or collective glory or honor. We strive to do all things for the glory of God.

You may find my testimonies which cover my earlier Christian life at: https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/about-jerald-finney-since-salvation/

Testimony of Joshua Burnham and family

I was saved in February of 2014. The Lord put the desire in my heart to find his church and be a faithful member of it, but I was not very grounded in the faith. My doctrinal understanding was largely undeveloped. Consistent reading of the NIV did not help me in my lack of biblical understanding. I was persuaded by a friend to attend a church in Greenville, SC. It was a non-denominational satellite campus of a megachurch based out of Charleston. The church was very worldly, and did not understand the ordinance of the Lord’s table. Still, I thought the church was sound in my ignorance, but I didn’t think the thirty-minute commute was worth it if there was a similar church near my home.

I came across a very large non-denominational charismatic church in Spartanburg. I did not understand the charismatic issue at the time and believed that the strong relationship preaching was “fiery.” They also did not disclose that they were charismatic. The worship was largely driven by emotional outbursts. I thought this church was sound and pursued membership and eventually was “baptized.” Yet, all-the-while, I was spiritually starving from the lack of doctrinal preaching. This brought about a yearning in my spirit for more of God’s truth. The church put on small group programs. I began to faithfully attend a group geared towards young adults in the hope that I would be built up in my new faith. I began to be troubled with the conditional security false doctrine taught in the NIV. I was also listening to many reformed people from a variety of perspectives, but none of the preaching was very powerful. As I was being tossed to and fro, God mercifully brought a brother in Christ to the college. He was a KJV Independent Baptist. I spoke with him about the trouble I was having with conditional security. He very plainly told me the reason I was troubled was because I was reading a perverted Bible version. I got a KJV Bible and began reading it immediately. God revealed it through his Spirit that I was reading the words of God. I changed my reading to the KJV and after reading Romans 11:29 I had peace that God would never take away his gift from me.

Having the KJV changed everything. I noticed that the passages people were reading during the small group meetings did not match up with what my Bible said. This troubled me and caused me to become frustrated with the teaching I was being exposed to. I realized that I couldn’t listen to the reformed people online anymore, but I remained loyal to the leadership of my church. Desire for learning more led me to find internet teachers that held to the KJV only position. I came across an internet ministry that taught on a variety of topics. On the same day the Lord revealed the issues of marriage licensure and 501©3. It was obvious to me that this topic was of great importance to God, so I continued to study it out. I came across brother Finney’s materials on his website, which lead me to Pastor Cooley’s sermon “Covenant vs. Contract Marriage.” That was the first sermon I listened to from OPBC.

After studying the law in South Carolina concerning marriage licensure I realized that pastors of 501©3 churches were contractually obligated to marry people with licenses if they were going to officiate the ceremony. This left me with a decision to make. I knew that if I decided to go along with the current plan for my pastor to marry my then-fiancé and me that I would be in rebellion to God and his order. I wrote a letter rebuking the church for their idolatry and spiritual adultery and resending my membership, and brought it with me to a meeting with my pastor. I handed him the letter and informed him that I was not willing for him to marry us because the church was a 501©3. I told him that God was not pleased with how the church served mammon more than God, and that God’s desire in his word was for the church to repent and dissolve the corporation, citing the church of Laodicea. He did not receive the love of the truth, and informed me that I needed to stay away from brother Finney’s materials. The interesting thing is that I had never brought up brother Finney to anyone at the church, which means he knew about the issue previously and held the truth in unrighteousness.

I went unchurched for many months because I did not trust that any of the churches in my area were non-incorporated. I was solely listening to OPBC at the time. I always liked the idea of going to OPBC, but my plans for how I was going to practice chiropractic interfered with being obedient to God’s revealed will. The brother in Christ from my school informed me that he and his wife were attending an independent, KJV only, Baptist church in Cowpens, and that he enjoyed the preaching there and believed it to be biblical. My fiancé and I began to attend the services, and I thoroughly enjoyed the preaching of the gospel. The problem was that all they preached was the gospel. There was very little doctrinal teaching and almost no preaching on separation and God’s standards for Christian conduct. They went door knocking every weekend to ask people to come to church and hear the gospel. This vexed me because I knew that God’s way was for the church to bring the gospel out of the camp by preaching on the streets. I also knew that God’s churches were spiritual entities made up of born again Bible believing Christians. The church also owned a Christian school, and I was concerned that the church was incorporated. This was the main reason I did not pursue membership, although I did not have any evidence that the church was a creature of the state. I thought that it was certainly possible for God to have provided all of it to the church, but I thought it was still a doctrine worth bringing to the church’s attention.

I attempted to communicate these ideas to the deacons and pastor of the church by sending them sermons from Pastor Cooley. My communications went largely unnoticed. I spoke with the pastor on a one-to-one basis about simply taking God at his word, using geocentricity as an example. He told me that after reading the 200+ verses which explicitly teach egocentricity he could not find geocentricity anywhere in the Bible. This greatly troubled me, and I began to worry that the pastor did not believe the Bible. In bewilderment, he asked me if all the people who had ever taught him about creation were wrong, to which I replied “yes.”

Eventually, the brother in Christ and I asked the pastor to sit down with us and the Bible to look at the scriptures concerning these doctrines. Much to my dismay, we found ourselves in front of a panel of deacons, members, and the pastor. My intent was again to use geocentricity as an example for simple Bible faith, but there was no discussion about the word of God. Not one of the “supposed” KJV Bible believing Christians opened the Bible to prove either of us wrong about what we brought up. Instead, we were told by a member which lead songs that “you have your truth and we have our truth.” I was shocked to see that nobody had anything to say about his comment. The height of relativism had fully infiltrated the church and went totally unchecked by the leadership. My brother in Christ was beside himself in trying to plead that they would consider opening the Bible and discussing the scriptures. No ground was made and out of desperation I brought up street preaching and regenerate church membership. The pastor told me that he had never heard of somebody who believed that only saved people belong in the church. I quickly realized that these people were unwilling to let the Bible correct them, and I decided to give up on trying to win them to the truth. We mutually agreed to end the conversation, and I was told that I was not welcome back. I thanked the pastor for his time and left the church. The brother in Christ was so grieved by the entire experience that he broke down in tears and wept.

I knew that God wanted me to go to OPBC, but I was unwilling to submit my plans to God. God allowed me to slowly become more and more confused about chiropractic, and eventually I dropped out of school and gave up on the profession. Having nothing to keep my wife and I in South Carolina, we moved and began our new life in Minnesota. We were baptized in March of that year.

I recently found out that the church in Cowpens had obtained state-incorporated status in January of 2018, approximately two years after the meeting. The height of rejection of God’s word was finally realized. They were handed over to their own delusion and prostituted their congregation out to the state.

Heresy and Apostasy


A Publication of Old Paths Baptist Church Bible Trust Ministries (Formerly known as Separation of Church and State Law Ministry)


Click here to go to the written lessons.
Click here to go to the 5 minute video lectures.


Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 9, 2018


Prior to the return of the Lord, the visible churches, except for a remnant, will go into apostasy.[i]

“Apostasy, ‘falling away,’ is the act of professed Christians who deliberately reject revealed truth (1) as to the deity of Jesus Christ, and (2) redemption through His atoning and redeeming sacrifice.[ii] Apostasy differs therefore from error concerning truth, which may be the result of ignorance[iii] or heresy, which may be due to the snare of Satan[iv] both of which may consist with true faith. The apostate is perfectly described in 2 Timothy 4.3, 4.[v] Apostates depart from the faith, but not from the outward profession of Christianity.[vi] Apostate teachers are described in various verses in the New Testament.[vii] Apostasy in the church, as in Israel[viii] is irremediable, and awaits judgment.[ix]

Inevitably, there is no remedy for apostasy but judgment.[x] For example, Noah preached for 120 years, won no converts, and the judgment predicted by his great-grandfather fell.[xi]

“Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth” (Lu. 18.8b)?  The reference is not to personal faith, but to belief in the whole body of revealed truth.[xii] “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Ti. 4.1).

In the New Testament, the apostasy was treated as having already set in. In fact, the Asian churches had not disbanded, nor ceased to call themselves Christian; but they had turned away from the doctrines of grace distinctively revealed through the Apostle Paul. Thus, even in the beginning of the church, the apostle Paul and Jude were concerned with the tendency to depart from the faith due to the influence of false teachers.[xiii]

Many of our churches today, even many of our independent Bible believing churches, have perverted the gospel of Christ and turned the grace of our God into lasciviousness even though perhaps they have not verbally denied our Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Gentile world apostasy comes in seven stages.[xiv] As a result of this worldwide Gentile apostasy, mankind sinks to the depths of depravity.[xv] The apostasy is usually introduced by ungodly men who will “wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”[xvi]

Our Lord warned against false teachers.[xvii] The Lord is obviously warning that many of His children will be deceived by the many false prophets which shall arise. With heresy and apostasy, the God-given doctrines and goal for churches and for Christians are left in the dust.  As a result, God is not glorified at all. Everything in the ultimate modern American church is for self—the headship, the “Bibles,” the doctrines taught, the preaching, the music, the dress, the goal, everything.

Peter, Paul, and Jude traced the origin of apostasy to false teachers, explained their methods of operation, and warned the church to beware of the apostasy.[xviii]

Only a little leaven can completely change and pervert the truth of the Gospel.[xix]

False teachers deny redemption truth.[xx] Others deny the truth concerning Christ’s person as Son of God, God himself.[xxi]

In Jude all phases of apostasy are seen. Jude mentions those who “ran after the error of Balaam for reward.” Many pastors and other Christians today, like Balaam, revert to human reasoning and, among other unbiblical practices, put God’s church under the state for reward—that is, for money, for popularity, or power. They may not have gone completely into apostasy, but heresy is the first step toward apostasy.

The tone of the New Testament writers when dealing with heresy and apostasy is never one of dejection or pessimism. They remained sustained and joyful.[xxii] God & His promises are still the resource of the believer.

2 Timothy, 2 Peter, Jude, and 2 & 3 John deal the personal walk and testimony of a true servant of Christ in a day of apostasy and declension. For example, Paul gives instructions for the “good soldier” in the face of apostasy.[xxiii] Paul instructed Timothy, a preacher whom Paul called his “dearly beloved son (2 Ti. 1.2)” and his “own son in the faith” (1 Ti. 1.2) as to what to do in times of apostasy.[xxiv]

“The believer’s resources in a day of general declension and apostasy  are faith (2 Ti. 1.5), the spirit (2 Ti. 1.6-7), the Word of God (2 Ti. 1.13; 3.1-17; 4.3-4), the grace of Christ (2 Ti. 2.1), separation from vessels unto dishonor (2 Ti. 2.4, 20-21), the Lord’s sure reward (2 Ti. 4.7-8), and the Lord’s faithfulness and power (2 Ti. 2.13, 19).


For more thorough studies on heresy and apostasy, to chapters numbered 4-9 at the following webpage:
The Biblical Doctrine of the Church


Endnotes

[i] “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition: who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Th. 2.3-4).

[ii] 1 Jn. 4.1-3: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.’]; Phil. 3.18: “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ;” 2 Pe. 2.1: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

[iii] Ac. 19.1-6: “And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.”

[iv] 2 Ti. 2.25, 26 “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

[v] 2 Ti. 4.3-4: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables.”

[vi] 2 Ti. 3.5: “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, from such turn away.”

[vii] . 2 Ti. 4.3: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;: 2 Pe. 2.1-19 [quoted here in part]: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.  And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: … But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; …  Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; ….These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.  While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage;” Jude 4, 8, 11-13, 16: “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ…. Likewise also thesefilthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities…. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.”

[viii] Isa. 1.5, 6; 5.5-7.

[ix] 2 Thes. 2.10-12: “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness;” 2 Pet. 2.17, 21: “These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever…. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them;” Jude 11-15; Re. 3.14-16.

[x] Is. 1.2-7, 24, 25; He. 6.4-8; 10.26-31.

[xi]  Jude 14, 15; Ge. 7.11.

[xii] See, e.g., Ro. 1.5; 1 Co. 16.13; 2 Co. 13.5; Col. 1.23, 2.7; Tit. 1.13; Jude 3.

[xiii] “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you; and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Ga. 1.6-8). “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).

[xiv] “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Ro. 1.21-23).

[xv] “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents. Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them”  (Ro. 1.24-32).

[xvi]  2 Ti. 3.13.

[xvii] “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Mt. 7.15). “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Mt. 7.21-23). “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Mt. 24.4-5). “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (Mt. 24.11). “For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect” (Mk. 13.22). “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5.19). “But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mt. 15.9).

[xviii] “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing he flock: Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (Ac. 20.28-31).

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Ga. 1.8-9).

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you” (Ga. 3.1)?

“For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1 Co. 11.19).

“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him” (2 Co. 11.4).

“For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision; Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake” (Tit. 1.10-11).

“Now the spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Ti. 4.1-2).

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Ti. 4.3-5).

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not….  Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage” (2 Pe. 2.1-3, 15-19. All of 2 Pe. 2 deals with false teachers.).

“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 Jn. 9-11).

“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Pe. 3.3-4).

“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4. Jude predicts the apostasy of the professing church and describes the cause and course of the apostasy. As in 2 Timothy and 2 Peter, the apostasy is treated as having already set in.

[xix] “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?  This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Ga. 5.7-9).

[xx] “[False teachers] shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Pe. 2.1).

[xxi] “BELOVED, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them” (1 Jn. 4.1-5; see also, 1 Jn. 2.18-28).

[xxii] Although Paul as recorded in II Timothy and Peter as recorded in II Peter are aware that martyrdom is near (See 2 Ti. 4.6-8, 2 Pe. 1.14, and Jn. 21.18-19), both are apparently sustained and joyful: “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Ti. 4.7-8). The whole book of 2 Timothy reflects Paul’s joyful attitude as 2 Peter shows Peter to be likewise joyful and sustained.

[xxiii] “[B]e strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou has heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life: that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier….  Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: …  It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: If we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself….  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: …  Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Ti. 2.1-4, 8, 11-13, 15-17a, 22-25).

[xxiv] “Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of the evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (2 Ti. 4.2-5).

Conclusion to the Doctrine of the Church


A Publication of Old Paths Baptist Church Bible Trust Ministries (Formerly known as Separation of Church and State Law Ministry)


Click here to go to the written lessons.
Click here to go to the 5 minute video lectures.


Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 9, 2018


The Supreme Ruler ordained the church, as He ordained civil government. He gave churches—as He has given individual, family and civil governments—His Word wherein they can learn God’s guidelines which He them to follow. Most churches have followed Satan’s, not God’s, principles. He has used false teachers from the beginning. As a result, apostasy crept into the church shortly after its inception. That apostasy has accelerated in America as the  tribulation approaches.

Many American churches today are heretical or apostate. They say, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing. As to them, God says, you “knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Re. 3.17). They follow the principles of the god of this world, not God’s principles. They are of this world and follow the principles of the god of this world. Christ is not of this world, nor are his followers. [i]

Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression (1 Ti. 2.14, Ro. 5.14, Ge. 3.1-6).  Christ was not deceived, but His bride was. “As the first Adam had to give up a perfect existence in order to be with his wife, so the last Adam, Christ (1 Co. 15.22, 45), stepped down from heaven to save his bride. While the first Adam ‘blew it,’ the last Adam would make everything right! (Ro. 5:12-21) Charles Wesley set this doctrine to music with the words, ‘Second Adam from above, reinstate us with thy love.’ … “The all-important verse that connects this typology to the present Laodicean apostasy is Ec. 1:9a: ‘The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done….’ Thus, the history of mankind will undoubtedly end the same way it began—with a bride being deceived!” (William P. Grady, How Satan Turned America Against God (Knoxville, Tennessee: Grady Publications, Inc., 2005), p. vii.).

Regardless of this inevitable apostasy and the events that are to follow, things are looking good for you and me—that is, if you are a Christian! Christians have the ultimate hope: they will reign with the Lord. This should be a cause for great rejoicing as well as incentive to be responsible members of a local autonomous New Testament church and to make sure that every effort is made to glorify God and assure that a church remains totally under Christ in every way. The Holy Spirit is now calling out, not the subjects, but the co-heirs and co-rulers of the kingdom.[ii]

“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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (Jn. 3.16-19).

“[Jesus], being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Ph. 2.6-8).


Endnotes

[i] See Jn. 8.23-45.

[ii] “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Ti. 2.11-12).

“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Re. 1.6).

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne” (Re. 3.21).

“And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Re. 5.10).

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.’ The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Ro. 8.15-18).

“Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life” (1 Co. 6.2-3)?

 

How To Recognize a New Testament Church


A Publication of Old Paths Baptist Church Bible Trust Ministries (Formerly known as Separation of Church and State Law Ministry)


Click here to go to the written lessons.
Click here to go to the 5 minute video lectures.


Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 5, 2018


Matthew 22.21

How can one recognize a true church? J. M. Carroll, in describing the overall organization of the church, listed eleven “Marks of a New Testament Church:

  1. “Its Head and Founder—CHRIST. He is the lawgiver; the Church is only the executive. (Matt. 16:18; Col. 1:18.)
  2. “Its only rule of faith and practice—THE BIBLE. (II Tim. 3:15-17.)
  3. “Its name—‘CHURCH,’ ‘CHURCHES.’ (Matt. 16:18; Rev. 22:16.)
  4. “Its polity—CONGREGATIONAL—all members equal. (Matt. 20:24-28; Matt. 23:5- 12.)
  5. “Its members—only saved people. (Eph 2:21-22; I Peter 2:5.)
  6. “Its ordinances—BELIEVER’S BAPTISM, FOLLOWED BY THE LORD’S SUPPER. (Matt. 28:19-20.)
  7. “Its officers—PASTORS and DEACONS. (I Tim. 3:1-16.)
  8. “Its work—getting folks saved, baptizing them (with a baptism that meets all the requirements of God’s Word), teaching them (‘to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you’). (Matt. 28:16-20.)
  9. “Its financial plan—‘Even so (TITHES and OFFERINGS) hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.’ (I Cor. 9.14.)
  10. “Its weapons of warfare—spiritual, not carnal. (II Cor. 10:4; Eph. 6:10-20.)
  11. “Its independence—separation of Church and State. (Matt. 22:21.)” [i]

Certainly, a preacher on the street corner with a crowd around him as he preaches is not a church. Nor is a group of people meeting in a house and preaching the Word. However, if that house group chooses a properly ordained and baptized pastor, organizes and operates according to biblical principles, initiates a proper baptism for new believers, and begins to partake of the Lord’s Supper, an ordered New Testament church comes into existence. The Lord desires that those who are saved be baptized into a properly ordered New Testament church.

Thus, an eChurch is not a church, nor is a group who starts following someone on Facebook or other social network. As has been established in prior lessons, a church is a spiritual body or assembly ordered according to the principles of the New Testament.

Only the assembly where the true doctrine is preached is a church: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Ga. 1.8). Where only false doctrines are preached, no church can exist. For example, the Catholic Church, some Baptist churches, many Protestant churches, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Islam, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses are not churches. When the preaching of a church conceals the gospel message of salvation by grace through faith alone from its members, so that the gospel message is not clearly proclaimed, and has not been proclaimed for some time, the group meeting there is not a church.

A church can exist only where the Bible is believed to be the inerrant Word of God, where the Bible is the sole basis for faith and practice, and where that Bible is preached.

Local churches assemble in His name for the breaking of bread, worship, praise, prayer, testimony, the ministry of the word, discipline, and the furtherance of the Gospel (He. 10.25; Ac. 20.7; 1 Co. 14.26; 1 Co. 5.4, 5; Ph. 4.14-18; 1 Th. 1.8; Ac. 13.1-). Every such local church has Christ in the midst, is a temple of God, indwelt by the Holy Spirit (1 Co. 3.16, 17), and is “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Ti. 3.15). A church is the body of Christ of which He is the Head. Christ desires that a church remain solely under Him: “And [God] hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church” (Ep. 1.22-23). “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church” (Ep. 5.23).

New Testament church doctrine and example further define what a church is to be:

  1. Spiritual entity only. [ii] A church which is a legal entity such as a 501(c)(3) corporation is, at best, in God’s permissive will and out of God’s perfect will. Such a church has combined the earthly, temporal, and Satanic with the heavenly, eternal and spiritual.[iii]
  2. The body of Christ of which He is the Head. Christ desires that a church remain solely under Him: “And [God] hath put all thingsunder his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church” (Ep. 1.22-23). “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church” (Ep. 5.23). A church which is a legal entity has two heads, the Lord Jesus Christ and civil government. Such a church cannot be a New Testament church.[iv]
  3. Separate from the world. An incorporated 501(c)(3) church is not separated from the world.[v]
  4. A church is to assemble in His name for the breaking of bread, worship, praise, prayer, testimony, the ministry of the word, discipline, and the furtherance of the Gospel (He. 10.25; Ac. 20.7; 1 Co. 14.26; 1 Co. 5.4, 5; Ph. 4.14-18; 1 Th. 1.8; Ac. 13.1-).
  5. Every such local church has Christ in the midst, is a temple of God, indwelt by the Holy Spirit (1 Co. 3.16, 17), and is “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Ti. 3.15).
  6. A church has duties outside the meeting house. The teaching of doctrine inside, work outside.[vi] Outside, the members are to present the Gospel to the world through door to door and one on one evangelism and street ministry.
  7. Fight the spiritual warfare against powers, principalities and the rulers of darkness in this present world (Ep. 6.10-18). This fight is being waged by Satan on all fronts. Churches and believers should likewise be fighting on all fronts using God’s methods of warfare.

Click here to go to Bible Study of Ephesians. Ephesians reveals the institution of the church as God’s masterpiece. It is more wonderful that any temple made with hands, constructed of living stones, indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1 presents the church as a body. The book is both doctrinal and practical. The first three chapters are doctrinal and go into the heavenlies. The last three chapters are practical and cover the believers responsibilities on earth. A church and a believer are to remain connected to their heavenly head as they walk on this earth.

Bible Studies of various Books on the Doctrine of the Church.

The Biblical Doctrine of the Church.


Endnotes

[i] J. M. Carroll, The Trail of Blood, (Distributed by Ashland Avenue Baptist Church, 163 N. Ashland Avenue, Lexington KY 40502, 606-266-4341), pp. 4-5. J. M. Carroll was a leader among Baptists who studied history and the Bible in an attempt to “find the church which was the oldest and most like churches described in the New Testament.” In the course of his studies, he gathered “one of the greatest libraries on church history. This library was given at his death to the Southwestern Baptist Seminary, Ft. Worth, Texas.”

[ii] See What is a spiritual entity?; A Church Is a Mystery, an Assembly, a Spiritual Body; The Holy Spirit Forms a Church which Is a Temple, a Spiritual Body, the Body of Christ.

[iii] See What is a legal entity?; Links to Lessons on Satan.

[iv]  Christ Ordained the Church and Builds It upon the Rock; Christ, the Head/Bridegroom/Husband of the Local Church.

[v] What is an established church?; The Biblical Doctrine of Separation of Church and State.

[vi] Click here to go to Bible Study of Ephesians. Ephesians reveals the institution of the church as God’s masterpiece. It is more wonderful that any temple made with hands, constructed of living stones, indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The book is both doctrinal and practical. The first three chapters are doctrinal and go into the heavenlies. The last three chapters are practical and cover the believers responsibilities on earth. A church and a believer are to remain connected to their heavenly Head, the Lord Jesus Christ, and Him alone as they walk on this earth.