Why Understanding and Applying Church and State Law Is Important for Believers and Churches

Jerald Finney
Copyright © June 3, 2012

Short course on The Biblical Doctrine of the Church

Why should churches of Christ be concerned about the Bible principles of church, state, and separation of church and state? Because only through knowledge can they avoid dishonoring the Husband/Bridegroom/Head of the local church body which they are members of. The God-given goal of churches built by and under Christ is to glorify God and please Him.

These articles systematically examine the biblical doctrines of church, state, separation of church and state and the application of those doctrines in America. The information presented is—according to God’s Word—of great importance to our Lord. By reading and studying each page and post, using the Bible as the standard, a believer will discover that the biblical principles are correct as presented. By studying the historical and legal facts presented—without bias, prejudice, illicit motive, or an overriding opposing agenda which has a vested interest in maintaining a status quo due to loss of finances, support or something else—and examining those facts in light of biblical principle, a a believer who has the necessary biblical, historical, and legal unsderstanding can understand the God-given goal for believers and churches and how to achieve that goal and please our Lord. For example,  such a believer can, for one thing, understand New Testament guidelines for church organization.

That said, understanding the biblical principles, relevant history, and legal principles and facts is, first, impossible for one who is not a born again believer who is walking in the Spirit, and, second, daunting for even the spirit filled follower of Christ. Years of honest, open minded study is required to achieve the correct and thorough knowledge and understanding of all facets of church and state law. First, one must interpret Scripture correctly (See 2 Ti. 2:15). After mastering the biblical principles, one must then labor through the annals of history, and the intricacies of relevant civil law. In order to be qualified to comment upon the law, one must have an extensive legal education. He must understand how to do legal research and how to reach correct legal conclusions. Legal commentary by a pseudo lawyer or a lawyer with improper Biblical understanding of germane matters concerning church and state law can sound good to the untrained; but the believer who has the necessary knowledge, understanding, and wisdom will quickly spot his frivolous and unlearned teachings and practices.

This is not to say that a non-lawyer cannot understand the legal and historical aspects of spiritual matters. In fact, the author knows some pastors and other believers who, having already correctly divided the Word of Truth and determined to seek to please God in all matters, have open minds and who have eagerly sought truth in the biblical, historical, and legal church and state law arena. The author of this website has worked with numerous churches and pastors who know the Bible and quickly grasp the concepts for correct organization of a New Testament church.

Most believers educated in Bible colleges and seminaries have been brainwashed by man’s tradition when it comes to church doctrine and organization. Secular colleges and universities usually corrupt even the most devout child of God; and religious colleges, institutions, and seminaries generally (with few exceptions)—by either mixing an ample dose of humanism with whatever biblically correct teaching they dose out; or by having totally having abandoned truth—likewise usually corrupt their students to one degree or another.

Being a believer alone, even a pastor, does not by itself qualify one to teach on church and state law. The author has been a believer and faithful member of independent Baptist churches since his salvation. He was called by God to go to law school for His glory and to please Him. As a result of that calling, he obtained a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from one of the best law schools in the country and has practiced law for seventeen years. He has no motive for dishonesty. By design, he has never made a dime above expenses in his work in the church and state law arena. In fact, in his church and state law practice, he has spent many thousands of dollars with total income of at most three to four thousand dollars in all the years he has worked in this area of law. Because of this he is beholden to no one and nothing but the truth and his Lord and Savior. Since becoming a lawyer and particularly since 2005, he has devoted untold thousands of hours in biblical, historical, and legal study and analysis of church and state law.

As always, he declares that if anyone can show him where he is in error, he will recant. Honest, loving believers have taught him much and caused him to modify some of his positions. He has also, in his continued studies, modified some of his conclusions and positions. However, he maintains his primary positions because neither he, through his continued studies, or others have shown him to be wrong about his basic church and state law principles and conclusions. It seems that relatively few have any desire to seek truth in these matters or to examine the truth of their own beliefs and/or practices.

Without a doubt, the purpose of every church of Christ is to glorify God and to please Him in all matters. Erroneous practice in any matter, especially church organization, grieves our Lord. Jesus Christ, who loved the Church and gave Himself for it, deserves the reward of His suffering. Of course, there are many churches (assemblies of people who come together for some reason) who are not churches of Christ, built by Him and under Him in all things.

Short course on The Biblical Doctrine of the Church

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