- Chapter 1: Analysis of the title and first two paragraphs of Chapter 18 of “Approved by Man” by Wright/Townsend (ELC leaders)
- Chapter 2: Analysis of the first section of chapter 18 “The Propagation of the Declaration”
- Chapter 3: Analysis of the second section of Chapter 18, “Why such a strong stand against the DOT?
- Chapter 4: Analysis of the third section of Chapter 18, “Biblical Law Center Bulletins”
- Chapter 5: Analysis of the fourth section of Chapter 18, “More Exclusivity Statements”
- Chapter 6: Analysis of fifth section of Chapter 18, “We Can’t Give it to Other Churches!”
- Chapter 7: Analysis of the sixth section of Chatper 18, “Has it ever been tested in court?”
- Chapter 8: Analysis of the last section of Chapter 18, “The Questions will keep coming”
- Chapter 9: Ben Townsend Explains Chapter 18 of Approved by Man: He admits that he did not know what he was talking about
- Chapter 10: Reply to Ben Townsend’s Article, “Give and Take”
- Chapter 11: Answer to Ben Townsend’s Article, “It Really Isn’t Personal: “It’s Financial!”
- Chapter 12: Answer to Ben Townsend’s Article, “God is our Benefactor; He is NOT a Beneficiary”
- Analysis of Ben Townsend’s Article, “A Law, Made by Man, Will be Changed” and Conclusion (Below)
- The Only Way a Church Can Organize to Remain a New Testament Church (050616 article which explains that why trust is a Bible concept and why it is the only way a church can organize in accord with New Testament principles and the wisdom of using a properly worded and executed Declaration of Trust with supporting documents.)
- Expose And Reject The Teachings and Methods of Church Organization Con-Artists and Charlatans (050616)
- Why Understanding and Applying Church and State Law Is Important for Believers and Churches (June 3, 2012 article)
- Is the ordinary trust recommended by this “Separation of Church and State Law Ministry” and by the BLC a legal entity?
- See Comparison of Bible Trust (ordinary trust), Incorporation (includes corporation sole), and Ecclesiastical Law Center Trust for a concise chart of the differences each brings to church organization.
- See Spurious rationale for church incorporation: to hold property (Section VI, Chapter 7 of God Betrayed; Chapter 7 of Separation of Church and State) for an explanation of the ordinary trust. That chapter shows how the ordinary trust comports perfectly with Bible principle and why this author now co-labels the ordinary trust a Bible trust.
Analysis of Ben Townsends Article “A Law, Made by Man, Will be Changed” and Conclusion
Jerald Finney Copyright © December 27, 2014
This is both an analysis of Ben Townsend’s article A Law, Made by Man, Will be Changed and a conclusion to this booklet. As I wrote the analysis, I saw that it would go hand in hand with an appropriate conclusion to the booklet.
A Law, Made by Man, Will be Changed makes another unexpected admission, but then states that a law of man will be changed. What a revelation and insight which only Ben Townsend can provide. Townsend should have read my books and articles because the Lord guided me to first defeat Townsend’s December 26, 2014 argument in 2008 upon publication of my first book. In that book, I not only explained that man’s laws will be changed but also examined the very Restatement Observation which Townsend cites in his December 26, 2014 article. To God be the glory – God defeated Townsend and all other arguments against doing things God’s way in advance – the Lord had already used the BLC to lay the framework and to begin to help churches; He guided others who seek to glorify God, including me, so as to cover all the bases, in advance; no one could have ever anticipated what was to come, but the Lord saw the past, present, and future, showed it to others. He showed it to me as I studied God’s word first, then history and law, as the Lord put it all together. The Lord anticipated the rantings of all those who would stand against truth, including Townsend. That anticipation was passed on to me and is reflected in my writings, some of which will be cited below. God anticipated:
- possible changes not only in the law of ordinary trusts but also in the second highest law of the land—the United States Constitution and specifically the First Amendment thereto; and
- the correct Bible response, in the event of such changes, by a church who wishes to remain under the Lord Jesus Christ only. In making his point, as will be seen infra, Townsend uses an Observation from the Restatement of Trusts which Finney quoted and analyzed in God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State (Austin, Texas: Kerygma Publishing Company, 2008).
The God-given truths in this booklet are:
- pinning Ben Townsend against the wall where repentance is his only option if he is to not only save face but also help churches who have depended upon him and the ELC understand and apply truth as to church organization; and
- flushing out the real Ben Townsend—his character, his qualifications to lead an alleged law ministry, his qualifications to teach law (none, as far as can be ascertained from Townsend’s writings and especially his responses to this booklet), and his qualifications to take part in an honest dialogue concerning trust law.
Two of Townsend’s online admissions—that the ordinary trust is not a legal entity and that he does not know much about trusts—give hope that he is coming closer to repentance and acceptance of the fact that this booklet has totally exposed his long time published and taught false teachings as to all matters concerning the biblically valid ordinary trust of the BLC, the ordinary Bible trust of the Old Paths Baptist Church Separation of Church and State Law Ministry (SCSLM), and the flawed legal entity type trust which has been recommended by the Ecclesiastical Law Center (“ELC”) and applied by ELC churches.
Actually, the truth has been there for Townsend all along; but he did not discover it. Townsend has been active in church matters and organization since at least the 1980s. The Bible along with books on law and history have been there all the time. Townsend did not study it out. The Lord led others to do so. Since a wake-up call was needed for those ELC pastors and churches who have trusted the false teachings of the Ecclesiastical Law Center (“ELC”), the Lord is again, through this booklet and Townsend’s responses, providing the truth for those ELC pastors and believers and others who love the Lord enough to strive to purify their churches and organize them in a manner which will please God.
The first preeminent matter which Townsend admitted thereby explaining his irrationality concerning trust law as demonstrated in his published writings in which he proclaimed himself to know a lot about trusts was that he did not know much about trusts. Chapters 1-8 of this booklet examine Chapter 18 of Approved by Man, in which Townsend purports to know all about trusts. Townsend violated many of God’s precepts and commandments in his method of church organization and his attacks against others. For example:
- “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” (2 Timothy 2:15-16).
- “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; … Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Peter 1:3-5, 10)(Bold emphasis mine).
- “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. ” (Exodus 20:16).
- “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, …, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” (Proverbs 6:16-19 ).
- “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” (Ephesians 1:20-23).
Now, in the article being analyzed, Townsend also admits the truth proclaimed by the BLC and SCSLM that the ordinary trust is not a legal entity. His admission exposes another of his longstanding lies since it is directly contrary to his false teachings in the ELC book Approved by Man which are also published online. For example, Townsend wrote:
- “The Ecclesiasical Law Center advises churches to not use a Declaration of Trust, a corporation, and unincorporated association, or any legal entity to hold their church assets and property” (Approved by Man, p. 180. Townsend’s false teachings are also published online.).
- “And placing church property in a Trust is no different from placing it into a Corporation” (Ibid, p. 177).
Townsend is gradually having to admit that some of his published teachings are wrong. Likewise, he is admitting that some of the teachings of this booklet are true because to continue to deny them would clearly demonstrate a total lack of honesty and intellect. However, he continues name calling and dishonest argumentation in an obvious attempt to defend the indefensible – the ELC methodology – and to attack even someone who is trying to show him the truth. He refers to Bible solutions but refuses the obvious one for himself and the ELC – humble, contrite repentance.
Just as one should not entrust an important legal matter to a lawyer who pretends to be competent in many areas of the law, since it is impossible for a lawyer to keep up with more than one or two specialties, one should not trust a “paralegal” who also is a full-time pastor, a lobbyist, a teacher of paralegal courses, etc.; and who, on top of all that, admits that he does not know much about the law concerning a legal matter for which others turn to him for help. Townsend is pastor of Bible Believers Church in Michigan. At the same time, he is very active politically as a lobbyist who has a box at the Indiana State House with his name on it, legally as a self-proclaimed legal authority who spends much time doing “legal research,” and teaches “College” classes (which college?) on several law topics. For anyone to be competent at any one of those endeavors requires total dedication. Competently teaching a law course on one or two topics requires total dedication. For good reason, this author’s law professors at the University of Texas School of Law were assigned to teach on only one legal subject. Trying to do all that Townsend does, as is seen by his forays into the legal arena as analyzed in this booklet, can result in a mess, to say the least.
A church is made up of many equal members. Each member is to apply his calling as part of the church body. The pastor is just one of the members and has a God-ordained role–he is the leader, the steward, the trustee, the under shepherd, and must meet the highest of standards. He is to:
“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 unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (2 Timothy 4:2-5).
Understanding and effectively teaching and applying the doctrines of the Bible alone requires tremendous dedication and time. As shown below, Townsend has not even mastered at least two very important Bible doctrines. His teachings addressed in this booklet, his admissions resulting therefrom, and his continued devised arguments demonstrate that he certainly does not understand trust law and its implications to both the ELC trust application and the BLC and SCSLM ordinary trust application. God made clear in the Bible that a pastor cannot do everything. Every member of a church is to exercise his God-given gift(s) for the Glory of God. No one member, including the pastor can do it all. Townsend demonstrates that God knew what he was talking about.
As pointed out in Chapters 9 and 10, Townsend, in his article Give and Take, finally admitted (as he does again in the article being analyzed here) that he does not know much about trusts. He now further admits, for the first time in the article being analyzed in this chapter, that the ordinary trust is not a legal entity by referring to 76 Am. Jur. 2d (his first time to reference that volume as far as this author knows); but he tries to save some face by showing the obvious—that the law concerning the ordinary trust is not a legal entity may change.
Townsend still does not face the fact that the Ecclesiastical Law Center (“ELC”) method of church organization, as has been proven over and over in this booklet, uses a trust which is a legal entity under existing law for ELC church organization and sets the ELC church up as a legal entity. At the same time, he falsely proclaims himself to be some kind of legal authority; calls this attorney an “ordinary attorney” (name calling and lying are two of his chief tactics); suggests that this attorney teaches that laws will not change, that one should not trust that ordinary attorney because he is selling you something when he says that the law he is relying on for “their” legal remedy will always be the same; and that Townsend has taught several college courses on several law topics. His exact words are:
“For anyone to say a law will not change is naïve on their part. Laws do not stay the same. Anyone who tells you the law they are relying on for their legal remedy will always be the same is ‘selling you something.’ Do not trust them. I have taught college courses on several law topics.”
There he goes again. He lies when he says that this attorney says a law will not change. He lies when he states that this attorney has relied on a legal remedy and suggests that the ordinary trust is a purely legal remedy (not so) when in fact Townsend not only admits in this same article being analyzed that the ordinary trust is not a legal entity, but also relies, as shown throughout this booklet, on a legal remedy—a trust which is a legal entity. Townsend is like the liberal who refuses to listen and respond appropriately and reasonably, calls the believer names, and tells the believer all about what he believes, and why he believes what he believes. Townsend, as witnessed by his writings, is so confused that he doesn’t know whether he is coming or going. In his attempts to argue, he takes himself out of the frying pan and puts himself into the fire.
Townsend, in his article, then admits that he himself seeks legal remedies and gives another example that further destroys his credibility (if that is possible). He admits that he was “head” lobbyist for the Indiana Coalition for Religious Freedom for many years. He states, “The State House staff would place in my box every bill concerning churches, day cares, Christian schools, and various and sundry Church/State relationships.” He states, “The Marriage recodification bill in 1989 was basically rewritten by me so that it could include Church Covenant Weddings. This bill was presented by State Senators on the Senate committee in my behalf.” I will not investigate the truth of his statement, but I do consider the findings I have published in this booklet as requiring at least a substantial question mark on any of his self-proclaimed accomplishments.
Townsend’s admission as quoted in the last paragraph is unbelievable in light of Townsend’s false allegation that this attorney seeks a legal remedy by relying on the ordinary trust. The Bible gives absolutely no jurisdiction over marriage to the state. God ordained marriage long before He ordained civil government. After He ordained civil government, He did not then give civil government jurisdiction over marriage—marriage remained a covenant between a man, a woman, and God (See e.g., Genesis 1-3, Matthew 19.3-9; see also, e.g., Jerald Finney’s letter on the following webpage: The Sodomite Agenda, Religious Organizations, And Government Tyranny). By lobbying for a bill which recognized “Church Covenant Weddings” in the state legislature, Townsend admitted that the state has jurisdiction over marriage, thereby dishonoring the principles of marriage in the word of God. He sought a legal remedy for a matter which the Bible teaches is outside legal jurisdiction. Pastor Jason Cooley and Old Paths Baptist Church demonstrated the correct manner of answering questions concerning marriage and the marriage covenant—they went to the Bible to figure out what the Bible teaches about marriage, how a couple is to marry, and related issues. They apply what they learned to marriages of couples who are church members. They did not lobby the legislature. The Bible answers all questions on this matter and the answer is taught and practiced by Old Paths Baptist Church without regard to state law. God gave civil government jurisdiction over marriage. For government to even address the issue is anti-Bible. This is a position believers should have taken a long time ago. This author has dealt with this more extensively in his writings. Pastor Jason Cooley has covered the matter in his sermons and teachings.
Townsend further admits that he lobbied the legislature concerning “churches, day cares, Christian schools, and various and sundry Church/State relationships.” He seeks “legal” remedies for all kinds of “church” problems. What a hypocrite, what a false teacher he is.
This lawyer’s teachings which have been in publication for some time, show that he totally understands that man will change his laws and that even the First Amendment will be changed, ignored, watered down, and, at some time in the future, totally lost. This attorney anticipated the time when man’s laws in America will change, and the possible changes. That anticipation as to the First Amendment is reflected in his lecture, “Hierarchy of Law.” That lecture has been delivered on numerous occasions. (Click here for a sermonaudio.com recording of that lecture which can be downloaded.). By listening to that lecture, one will understand the truth about man’s law and God’s law, that believers are to obey man as long as man’s law (the lower law) is in line with God’s law, and that when man’s law conflicts with God’s law, man is to “obey God rather than man.” This author’s anticipation was presented in God Betrayed, in lectures, in his radio show, and in Render unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses (click to go to the online version). Other articles make Finney’s position very clear. See also, e.g., Church Internal Revenue Code § 508 Tax Exempt Status, Laws Protecting New Testament Churches in America: Read Them for Yourself, and other articles written by Jerald Finney.
Townsend then shows that, although the trust (referring to the ordinary Bible trust recommended by this author and not the business trust used by the ELC) is not now a legal entity, the law is headed in that direction. This attorney had read the caveats in 76 Am. Jur. 2d and 3d Trusts, and anticipated the possible changes in the law of the ordinary trust and the necessary responses depending on the change(s) in that law when examining trust law and writing God Betrayed. This anticipation is reflected in Spurious rationale for incorporation: to hold property (the online version of Section VI, Chapter 7 of God Betrayed) which not only distinguishes the ordinary trust from incorporation but also explains how the ordinary trust corresponds to New Testament principles.
Finney published God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Applicaton in 2008. In that book, on page 408, Finney referred to the very Restatement observation which Townsend quotes in the article being analyzed. Finney wrote:
- “There is a caveat which, if biblical guidelines are followed, is inconsequential to a trust relationship in which a pastor/trustee holds property for the benefit of the Lord Jesus Christ. Modern civil law is beginning to treat a trust somewhat like a legal entity, but only so far as the relationship between the trustee(s) and the beneficiary or beneficiaries is concerned. An outside party still cannot sue a trust.
- “’Observation: The Restatement states that increasingly modern common-law and statutory concepts and terminology tacitly recognize the trust as a legal ‘entity,’ consisting of the trust estate and the associated fiduciary relation between the trustee and the beneficiaries. This is increasingly and appropriately reflected both in language (referring, for example, to the duties or liability of a trustee to ‘the trust’) and in doctrine, especially in distinguishing between the trustee personally or as an individual and the trustee in a fiduciary or representative capacity.’”
Another fact must be pointed out which Finney understood when he wrote God Betrayed years ago, which he has taught pastors including his own pastor, and which he has pointed out in this booklet several times. As Finney wrote in Chapter 1 of this booklet:
“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.”
As the Restatement Observation above quoted by Finney in 2008 and then picked up by Townsend on December 26, 2014 (the date of his article) makes clear:
“the modern common-law and statutory concepts and terminology tacitly recognize the trust as a legal ‘entity,’ consisting of the trust estate and the associated fiduciary relation between the trustee and the beneficiaries.”
Notice that the trustor, settlor, or grantor (the church) is not mentioned. That is because the church is not a legal entity in the framework of the “ordinary trust.” Finney continued on pages 408-409 of God Betrayed:
- “This caveat should be of little or no consequence unless members of a church violate mandate of Scripture and run to civil government asserting that the pastor/trustee has violated his temporal fiduciary responsibilities.
- “’Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 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? If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren’ (1 Corinthians 6.1-8).
- “No matter the status of a church—New Testament church or corporate 501(c)(3)—state courts may possibly attempt to assume illegal jurisdiction initiated by a disgruntled member against a pastor or others in the church as regards temporal matters (just as almost all state courts will assume jurisdiction in a divorce petition initiated by a husband or wife married solely under God without state authority and without a state marriage license). This applies no matter how property utilized by a church is held. However, a court will find it impossible to achieve jurisdiction over a New Testament church, a spiritual entity.”
You see, even should the law treat the ordinary trust as a legal entity, the BLC and SCSLM application of that trust concept does not make a church a legal entity. The pastor is a legal entity as is every citizen in his right mind—he can sue and be sued, he can be charged with a crime, etc. This legal fact applies to the pastor/trustee of the ordinary trust (recommended by the BLC and by the SCSLM) and to the pastor/trustee or trustee of the legal entity trust recommended by the ELC; it applies to every American citizen in his right mind.
The church who places tithes, offerings, and gifts into an ordinary trust as recommended by the BLC and an ordinary Bible trust as recommended by the SCSLM remains an untouchable non-legal entity as long as the First Amendment to the United States Constitution is honored and not changed or discarded and as long as the church does not compromise her spiritual only status in some other way; whereas the ELC church, as has been shown in chapters 1, 6, 8, and 12 of this booklet, has compromised her New Testament church status. Those chapters all prove, from the published words of Ben Townsend and the ELC, that the ELC method not only utilizes a trust which is a legal entity, but also sets the church which uses the method up as a legal entity. The law does not have to be changed at all for an ELC church to be implicated as a legal entity. Townsend and the ELC have, on their own and because of their incompetence in legal matters, made the issue of the effect of a change in the First Amendment on the ordinary trust of no consequence to the ELC church.
The only way for the state to use ordinary trust law to implicate the trustor, grantor, settlor church as a legal entity is to totally ignore the First Amendment as well as the very structure and meaning of the law of ordinary trusts. By its very nature the law of ordinary trust consists of the trust estate and the associated fiduciary relation between the trustee and the beneficiaries. Again, as the Restatement Observation quoted above states:
“… increasingly modern common-law and statutory concepts and terminology tacitly recognize the trust as a legal ‘entity,’ consisting of the trust estate and the associated fiduciary relation between the trustee and the beneficiaries. This is increasingly and appropriately reflected both in language (referring, for example, to the duties or liability of a trustee to ‘the trust’) and in doctrine, especially in distinguishing between the trustee personally or as an individual and the trustee in a fiduciary or representative capacity.”
Of course, if the ordinary trust is shown to be a mere facade to harbor dishonest conduct such as money laundering, profit making activities, etc., those in the know would be subject to the judgment of God and, if pursued, civil action and/or criminal prosecution. This author stresses that the ordinary trust must be completely above board under God and under man. As long as Bible precepts concerning piety are honored, the trustee need not fear God or man and the church which puts tithes, offerings, and gifts into the estate of an ordinary trust or ordinary Bible trust created by a properly worded Resolution and Declaration of Trust will remain a non-legal spiritual entity only.
The day will come when the First Amendment will not be honored. Then, in America as in China, Korea, and many other nations including most Muslim nations, churches who wish to honor the Lord as their only head will have no option but to go underground.
Townsend continues to grasp at straws in order to maintain some credibility. He has reversed himself on some matters thereby destroying his own credibility and that of his books and other writings, but he still has a long way to go. This author never anticipated that Townsend would ever admit that he knew very little about trusts and that the ordinary trust is not a legal entity. He, to this point, refuses to acknowledge the obvious—that the recommendations of the ELC as to church organization violate Bible principles because implementation thereof results in a trust which is a legal entity and a church which is a legal entity. Instead of repenting, Townsend continues with frivolous, mean-spirited, contentions and strivings about the law which are unprofitable and vain.
I recently received a call from a man who stated that Townsend wrote a libelous article which severely defamed me. The caller stated that the attacks were very vicious. Most likely, Mr. Townsend also severely defames me by slander as well. The gentleman who informed me this said that if anyone had that much bad to say about someone, he felt he should call that the person being defamed. He checked out this “Separation of Church and State Law” website and gave me a call. His call has resulted in a new friendship with one who now advises people to read my writings and who understands the ordinary trust and wishes to utilize the method
I have not read the article referred to in the last paragraph. I have covered all that I need to cover in this matter. The important thing is not what someone who has never met me and knows nothing about me says. The important thing is truth. Anyone who loves the Lord, the Lord’s churches, and truth, can read and study what I have written in this booklet, what the ELC and Townsend teaches, and find the truth for themselves. The problem for those who, like the Pharisees, refuse to honestly seek truth, is that they are so convinced of their self-created views that they will not take the time to honestly study so as to rightly divide truth from lies.
Ben Townsend, as have many who those oppose truth and even including those who used every means to counteract the teaching of the Apostle Paul and destroy his influence, resorts to profane and vain babblings which increase unto more ungodliness. His words on the issues herein addressed eat as do a canker. Townsend speaks perverse things intentionally in order to draw away disciples unto himself. He perverts the truth and has to pervert the truth in order to accomplish his purposes. He who speaks the truth will draw disciples to Jesus and not to himself. A religious leader who holds a dishonest position must pervert the truth, and accommodate it to the wishes of those whom he hopes to make or keep as his disciples
This article concludes my examination of Chapter 18 of Approved by Man.