Chapter 2: Analysis of “The Propagation of the Declaration”


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Chapter 2: Analysis of “The Propagation of the Declaration”

Jerald Finney
Copyright © November 20, 2014

Note. This is a continuation of the examination of Chapter 18 of Approved by God written by Ben Townsend of the Ecclesiastical Law Center (“ELC”), a chapter which attacks the ordinary (Bible) trust recommended by the Biblical Law Center (“BLC”) and by this “Separation of Church and State Law” ministry. This article answers questions raised in the first section of that chapter “The Propagation of the Declaration.”

See Comparison of Bible Trust (ordinary (Bible) trust), Incorporation (includes corporation sole), and Ecclesiastical Law Center Trust for a concise chart of the differences each brings to church organization.

Bible sense is preeminent.
Bible sense is preeminent.

When this author became lead counsel for the Biblical Law Center (“BLC”), he began a period of intense study. His main goal was to satisfy himself that he was on solid biblical (first and foremost) grounds. Had he found that the Declaration of Trust (“DOT”) was not correct according to both Bible precept, he would not have continued his position as lead counsel. After 2½ years of intense studies, he concluded not only that the DOT created a trust relationship in line with Bible precept but also was recognized by American law. When he left the BLC in 2011, he and Dr. Greg Dixon were in agreement as to the fact that the DOT created a type of trust (which trust law calls an “ordinary” trust) which describes a relationship with property whereby a trustee (the legal owner) holds the property for the benefit of the true and equitable owner of the property, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The concept of the ordinary (Bible) trust was not invented in 1986, as the ELC points out in this section. The God-given precept of a trust relationship with money and property was implemented in the church context in 1986 by Attorney Al Cunningham who founded the BLC. This author explains the legal and biblical basis of trust (the ordinary (Bible) trust) in Section VI, Chapter 7 God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Click the link to go to the online version). This author, by necessity of countering long published and continuing ELC attacks against the DOT and the ordinary trust thereby created, is also explaining certain facets of the ordinary (Bible) trust in this series of articles.

Navigating a particular law in the legal system is not as easy as it might seem. Here is a rack with the volumes from AM. JUR. 2D AND AM. JUR. 2D forms. This is only a good starting place to understand the law of trusts.
Navigating a particular law in the legal system is not as easy as it might seem. Here is a rack with the volumes from AM. JUR. 2D AND AM. JUR. 2D forms. This is only a good starting place to understand the law of trusts.

The ELC asks in “The Propagation of the Declaration” section of Chapter 18 of Approved by Man, if the DOT has ever been used by churches, and what entities have used this “magic document.” The DOT used by the BLC has created many ordinary trusts and the trust estates of those trusts include the tithes, offerings, and gifts of many churches. After becoming lead counsel for the BLC, this author met and/or talked with many of the pastors of churches for whom the BLC had already helped establish an ordinary trust. After becoming lead counsel, he met others who came to the BLC for help and who adopted a DOT and put into operation the ordinary trust thereby created.

In 2011 this author stepped down as lead counsel for the BLC and became head of the “Separation of Church and State Law” ministry of Old Paths Baptist Church (SCSLM). Recently, he adopted the appropriate name for the ordinary trust when utilized by churches: the Bible trust. Many churches are now putting tithes, offerings, and gifts into the ordinary (Bible) trust which is recommended by this ministry and the trust recommended by the BLC.

1Contrary to the assertion of the ELC in this section, any law book cannot explain the DOT and the ordinary (Bible) trust thereby created. There are untold thousands of law books covering every area of the law. Most of those never mention trust law. Moreover, every book on trust law cannot explain the DOT which creates the DOT and the ordinary (Bible) trust thereby created. Some law books (or sections thereof) and court cases address various issues concerning charitable trusts, some business trusts, some ordinary trusts, and the use of the DOT to create the particular type of trust being examined. Any competent lawyer or paralegal knows that one must be able isolate the issue(s), court cases and law(s) relevant to the questions at hand. Should a lawyer present to the court irrelevant law, unreliable law, and/or incorrect law, his opponent would make him look like a fool and the judge would declare his arguments facetious. That is the case of common sense as applied to legal disputes. The same discernment cannot be expected of pastors and believers who have not studied trust law; many have relied upon the facetious teachings and aid of the ELC in ordering their affairs. They have done so because they themselves simply have not been called to know it all and many have become easy prey for the ELC.

4Common sense—and more importantly for the believer, biblical sense—should be a rule for all issues, legal or otherwise. The author humbly submits that the judge of the dispute between this ministry and the ELC must use not only common sense, but also biblical sense, in seeking out whom to believe as to these matters. This exchange between the ELC and this ministry is presenting two opposing arguments to those serious readers who will judge this exchange. The ELC challenge, along with personal attacks, pseudo-legal arguments, etc. have been published verbally, online, and in printed publications made available for public consumption for many years. This series of articles is the first public response to those attacks by this, or any other, ministry. For His Glory, this author humbly submits that one should be diligent in his search for truth concerning these most important matters.

After online publication of the first eight chapters of this booklet, Ben Townsend of the ELC partially explained Chapter 18 of Approved by Man – he admitted that he did not know much about trusts in Section 2 of an online response entitled Give and Take (See Chapter 9 and 10 for a response). He also admitted in an article entitled “A Law, Made by Man, Will be Changed” a very important truth which is in direct contradiction to what he has asserted in books and online articles—that the “ordinary trust” is not a legal entity (See Chapter 13). That admission is only partially true since, as explained in other chapters, some types of trusts are legal entities and only the ordinary trust is not. In other words, he admitted that he attacked the BLC, the DOT, and the ordinary trust without knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. He completely discredits all he has published on these matters by his admissions. A study of ELC teaching reveals that the ELC method of church organization is confused, unlearned, and ill-advised. The ELC system results in churches who are legal entities which are subject to and have been involved in the legal system.

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