Copyright © December 10, 2012
Note. This is a modified version of Chapter 9 of Separation of Church and State: God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities.
Pastors and Christians need to seriously look at the issues presented in this book. Incorporation subjects churches to an earthly head, the state, and requires churches to comply with earthly principles and procedures in many matters rather than God’s biblical principles and procedures in all matters. An incorporated church has formed, in addition to the biblical covenant or marriage between the church and the Lord Jesus Christ, earthly contracts to which the state is the sovereign party. A New Testament church is under God only.
An incorporated church is under both God and the civil government. Corporate trustees of incorporated churches conduct church matters according to contract principles; and, therefore, to one degree or another, they walk in the flesh and not in the spirit. Factually, the corporation, according to state law, owns the property utilized by the church. Incorporation also creates several contracts: between the contracting entities (the members of the incorporated church), between each contracting entity and the state (each church member and the state), between the entity thereby created and the state, and between the members inter se. In addition, the members own the corporation. The members/owners of the church, not the pastor, are the overseers, rulers, and trustees of the church, and the members/owners many times exercise their contractual powers given them by their sovereign state to control the pastor, even hiring or firing pastors at will.
Unnecessary submission by churches to IRC provisions has further entangled churches with civil government. Civil government has enticed almost all incorporated churches to become religious organizations under federal law, the IRC. The IRC presents an exemption-education-control scheme which most churches have not been able to resist. State help and state methods are designed to keep the gospel within the four walls of a building, and then to allow the civil government to enter those four walls. A corporate 501(c)(3) church grieves our Lord by placing herself under an additional head.
Churches must be careful to maintain their New Testament church status. They must also make sure that they do not inadvertently become legal entities through any means including incorporation and 501(c)(3).
Every born again believer should attempt to make sure that he and the church he attends honors the Lord Jesus in all things. God takes His relationships with His children individually and with His churches very seriously and He wants them to do likewise. Deviation from God’s principles has caused dire consequences to American individuals, families, churches, and to the nation as a whole.