Berean Call’s Answer to Important Bible Question

Question: I read with empathy and agreement your excellent article “Jews, Gentiles, and the Church.” However, one thing you said puzzled me. It was this: “Essential also is an understanding that the church was created through offering to both Jews and Gentiles a ‘new covenant’ relationship with God.” My understanding of the “new covenant” is Jeremiah 31:31-40. This covenant is identified clearly as the New Covenant. It is a covenant addressed solely to the Nation of Israel. The church has no part in it—indeed it will not be instituted until after the close of the church age (the catching up of the church). Your statement, quoted above, seems to imply that the new covenant was offered to the church. Is that what you meant, or have I misunderstood you?
Response: As you note, the Scriptures speak of “covenants.” When Israel came to Sinai, and before the giving of the Law, the Lord said, “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, andkeep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel” (Exodus 19:5-6, our emphasis).
The only “covenant” in view is the one that God made with Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3), which would be a blessing to all nations. We know this because the Law that was given, beginning in chapter 20, limits the priesthood to the tribe of Levi alone. Yet, in Exodus 19, the Lord states to all Israel “If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” Israel refused, and the Law was instituted.
That offer would be repeated centuries later by the promised Seed: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24). It was the fullness of time. “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).
In his first epistle, Peter echoes the words spoken by God in Exodus 19 (1 Peter 1:1): “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ…. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:5, 9).
The New Covenant is not “instituted?” It is “solely for Israel”? The longest quotation of any Old Testament passage by any writer in the New Testament is said to be in Hebrews 8:8-12. There, the unidentified writer quotes Jeremiah 31:31-34 in full. It is the core of the inspired writer’s argument that Jesus is “the mediator of a better covenant” and that the old covenant (the Law) was insufficient. The inspired writer proclaims, “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second” (Hebrews 8:7). The covenant of Jeremiah 31 must be in operation. The language will not allow a differing opinion. 
Between Hebrews 4:14 and 10:18, the writer argues that the sacrifices performed by the priesthood of the old covenant could not bring about the forgiveness of sins. Therefore (he concludes), a new sacrifice and a new priesthood were necessary. They came as a result of Christ’s once-for-all death on the Cross. In light of the “operational” New Covenant, the Old Covenant has ceased to have a role in the lives of New Testament believers, for, “…he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away” (Hebrews 8:13). In Hebrews 10:16-17 he clinches the argument by repeating Jeremiah 31:31-34 in Hebrews 10:16-17 to show that Jesus’ sacrifice of himself as the “Great High Priest” is the one truly effectual sacrifice for sins. Consequently, the New Covenant has no need of bloody sacrifices or Levitical priests to offer the sacrifices. As Jesus declared, “it is finished!” (John 19:30).

On church corporate, 501c3 status and other matters

Published online on July 6, 2018:
Questions:
From: ______________________________
To: jerald.finney@sbcglobal.net
Sent: Friday, July 6, 2018 2:07 PM
Subject: _________________________ inquiries regarding 501c3….
Greetings Mr. Jerald.
Grace and peace to you in Jesus name.
1. How should a new church operate and open up legally,  if they are not incorporated and or 501c3, 508??
2. Is habeas corpus null and or obliterated because of executive order Obama ndaa act 2012? Does ndaa give military to detain citizens without warrants and up to execution?
3. Why do most churches take 501c3, or the incorporated route? Especially if its unbiblical? What verses should i study to prove that its unbiblical?
4. If a church is incorporated or 501c3, or 508, can they be sued if they refuse to marry homosexual or lesbian couples legally,  because they are created by the government state?
Same question about abortion,  can they preach against abortion if they are a mega church or could they be sued?
5. I am looking seeking for a church that is not 501 c3, incorporated ect, how do i find them?
 –
Thank you
These are the main ones for now.
God bless in Jesus name.

In Christ,


MY ANSWER:

Dear Brother _______________:

Thank you for your interest in organizing a church in a way that pleases our Lord. I have spent thousands upon thousands of hours over the last 15 years (not to mention my less intense but sincere studies before that time) seeking the Bible answers to some of your questions and the application of those answers in church organization. I had to study relevant Bible principles, law, and history in the process. I have discussed the issues with pastors and other believers who were interested in the issues and sought their insights. Sadly, those who do not like what I say have been unwilling to have a studied discourse; instead, they, like liberals in the political realm, refuse to have a studied and logical, much less spiritual discourse about the issues. They call me names, insult me, warn people against my teachings (without explanation other than, perhaps, “he is a heretic; stay away from him and what he has to say,” etc.).

I can only give you resources that will help you in your search for the truth about the spiritual matters you inquire about.

As to questions 1 and 3, the one that covers them more succinctly than others on the website is:

https://jeraldfinney.com/god-betrayed/books/separation-of-church-and-state-gods-churches-spiritual-or-legal-entities/

Some essays and articles that address question no. 4 are linked to at:

Essays, Articles, and Other Resources Related to the Doctrine of the Church, Incorporation, 501c3, Etc.

For studies on the relevant Bible teachings, see the following pages for links to teachings:

Online version of God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application

For a short course, see:

As to question 2, I would have to do a lot of legal study and research to answer that question. I do not have time to keep up with every matter, so I choose to limit my work to eternal matters.

As to question 5, my advice is that you not only earnestly pray but also seek. However, keep in mind that many churches and pastors teach and practice various heresies which are detrimental to the believers and also to the cause of Christ. There are many heresies; examples include those taught and practiced by Charismatics, Catholics, most Protestants, Calvinists, etc.

Let me give you one specific example of a damnable heresy which is proliferating, I believe, in many American churches: the heresy of “pastoral authority.” Many who practice that heresy are cults, according to what I believe to be the definition of “cult.” Some adhere to some Bible principles and even preach and teach a lot of truth, according to the Bible. But, no matter what truth they may preach, teach, and practice, the “pastoral authority” heresy leads to some very bad consequences for the members and for the glory of God, even leading many lost people to blaspheme the name of Christ for the wrong reasons.

Now of course, there are degrees of this heresy, and some churches are still basically sound even though they, to a lesser extent, have fallen for this heresy. What was once one of the largest churches (maybe the largest) in America practiced this heresy of pastoral authority; the chickens came home to roost, a pastor of the church (and the church) was disgraced before the entire nation, membership of the church, the attached College, and other ministries have declined tremendously, and the elite now actively use the testimonies of former members and proven immoralities and “cultic” and other practices of pastors, present and past, of the church and other pastors and churches who have followed the teachings of the church to cause millions to blaspheme the name of the Lord.

Of course, the church mentioned in the last paragraph was one of the largest (or the largest) church corporate, 501c3 religious organizations in America; and the pastors and many members bragged about it. When a church takes corporate 501c3 status, that church, by practicing heresy as to the matter of church organization, has compromised her love for the Lord Jesus Christ and started down a slippery road toward more heresy and apostasy. Yet the church continues on to this day without ever having repented of her sins, a major one of which is corporate 501c3 legal status.

What does “pastoral authority” mean?  It simply means that the pastor of each local church is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice (no matter what the Bible says), so he has the authority to control the thinking and actions of all his  [emphasis on “his”] members down to with whom they can have fellowship, to whom and about what they can and cannot talk, where they can spend their money, where they can go to school and how to finance it (making sure, for one example that I was informed of, that they give a considerable amount of their student loans to the them), whether or not they could sell their homes or cars, and whom they can or cannot not marry, etc.  Versions of this heresy teach that the Holy Spirit speaks to the Pastor about every matter involving every member of the church, that if the Holy Spirit did not speak to the Pastor about a matter, the Holy Spirit did not speak to a particular member about that matter, or that only the pastor has the “vision” to lead the ministries of a church. The members of the church become agents of the pastor who fits them into his agenda, which is supposedly from God.

A church can be properly organized according to the Bible and still be heretical (or even apostate) about other important matters. Some churches are properly organized but teach and practice, for example, the gross heresy of “pastoral authority.”

One other comment. God does not want legal churches (churches organized according to man’s law). He wants spiritual churches (churches organized according to God’s Bible precepts). Due to the First Amendment of the US Const. and corresponding state constitutional provisions, one can organize a church in the United States according to Bible principles without persecution.

May the Lord richly bless you as you seek to know and understand His truths regarding these important matters you inquire about.  The believer must study (not just read) the Bible to avoid becoming the victim of religious charlatans.  “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15; read the verse in context to make the application).

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney
____________________

Questions Answered by the Berean Call

From Berean Call, July 27, 2018:
What a Sovereign God Cannot Do. This includes teaching on the Calvinist heresy concerning the sovereignty of God, love, and some other matters.
From Berean Call, Psychology and Psychotherapy (part 1), January 6, 2018:
 –
Question: You emphasize that salvation is based on the fact that Christ “paid the penalty for our sins.”  Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance has no entry for “penalty,” nor did Jesus or the apostles ever mention that a penalty for our sins was paid. If I ask fellow Christians where to find this view in the Bible, either they don’t know the answer or they imply that I’m not saved. I pose that question to you.
 
Response: Nor is the word “trinity” found in either the Bible or Strong’s, yet it’s a basic teaching of Scripture. Was not the casting of Adam and Eve out of the Garden a penalty for their sin? Isn’t the death that came upon Adam and Eve and all of their descendants to this day also a penalty for sin that would continue in eternal separation from God without His pardon? In declaring, “the soul that sinneth, it shall die (Eze 18:13, 20); sin bringeth forth death (Jas 1:15); the strength of sin is the law” (1 Cor 15:56), isn’t Scripture saying that death is the penalty for sin? Does not a penalty have to be paid? Granted, the Bible nowhere uses that exact terminology about Christ paying the penalty for sin. But isn’t that what’s implied when it says, “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Is 53:5), or “Christ died for our sins” (1 Cor 15:3), or “that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Heb 2:9), as well as in many similar verses? If death is the penalty for sin and Christ died for all, then surely He paid the penalty in full for all of us, or we would have to pay [it] ourselves. Our salvation is a matter of God’s justice, “that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Heb 2:9), et al. Our salvation is a matter of God’s justice, “that he [God] might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom 3:26).
I don’t understand your objection to saying that the penalty was paid. Wasn’t the force of Christ’s triumphant cry from the cross, “It is finished [tetelestai]” (Jn 19:30), meaning “paid in full”? I am grateful that Christ paid the full penalty for my sins so that God can be just in pardoning me, the sinner! There is no other means of salvation.
 
Question: We’re told that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pt 3:8); and that “a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night” (Ps 90:4). Is there any special prophetic significance that might tell us how close we are to the Lord’s return?
 
Response: There is no prophetic significance. The phrases “with the Lord” and “in thy sight” are the keys to understanding this rather simple and straightforward declaration: God is outside of time and therefore, in relation to Him, time is meaningless. Thus Paul can say that we are already seated “together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6). God, being independent of time, sees not only what to us is past but also our present and future as having already happened. Thus His foreknowledge of what in our experience hasn’t yet occurred would have no effect upon its happening and would leave us free to make genuine choices.
Here is what John Wesley said in a sermon more than 200 years ago: “There is no such thing as either foreknowledge or afterknowledge in God. All time, or rather all eternity (for time is only that small fragment of eternity which is allotted to the children of men), being present to God at once, He does not know one thing from another, or one thing after another; but sees all things in one point of view, from everlasting to everlasting. As all time, with everything that exists therein, is preset with Him at once, so he sees at once whatever was, is, or will be to the end of time” (John Wesley, Sermons on Several Occasions, 1833, p. 39).
 
Question: What did Paul mean when he said that he and the other Apostles were “the last appointed unto death”? Did that mean that no one else after them would ever be martyred for their faith? If so, he was wrong.
 
Response: Paul wasn’t wrong when he wrote these words: “For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men” (1 Cor 4:9). Some argue that Paul and the other Apostles thought that the Rapture would occur in their day. Not so. Although he taught believers to expect the Rapture at any moment (Php 3:20-21; 1 Thess 1:9-10; Titus 2:13, etc.), Paul knew that he would be martyred before it occurred: “For I know…that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in…” (Acts 20:29); “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand” (2 Tm 4:6). Likewise, Peter wrote, “Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle…I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance” (2 Pt 1:14-15). The Apostles didn’t expect to be raptured but knew they must each die for their Lord.
Christ declared that His disciples in all ages would be hated by the world and would suffer the same as He had at its hands (Jn 15:18-21); Paul implied that Christians would continue to suffer martyrdom (Rom 8:35-37) and warned that “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tm 3:12). We know that has been the case throughout history, and even greater numbers of believers will be killed by Antichrist (Rv 6:9-11; 13:7, 15; 20:4). Obviously Paul did not mean that the Apostles were the last who would be martyred for Christ. They were the last who were “appointed unto death;” i.e., who must die for Christ. Their lives would have been spared had they denied Christ. No one is fool enough to die for what he knows is a lie. The fact that not one of the disciples retracted anything to save his life is powerful evidence of the validity of the Gospels and the Book of Acts. It was thus essential that they die as martyrs, and they were the last upon whom that necessity was imposed.
 
Question: The Apostles’ Creed says that Jesus “descended into hell.” I’ve read your rejection of the Hagan/Copeland teaching that Jesus was tortured in hell by Satan. Did Jesus descend into hell or not? I searched the Scriptures and have no answer.
 

Response: The word sheol, “place of the dead,” is translated “hell” or sometimes as “grave.” In telling the fate of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus taught that before the Cross, there were two compartments in sheol: one for the lost, and one for the saved, called “Abraham’s bosom” (Lk 16:22). To the latter Christ went in death, as did the thief crucified with Him to whom He said, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Lk 23:43). There He proclaimed to the redeemed the good news of His death having paid for their sins. Those in sheol could hear what Jesus said (see Lk 16:23-31); and He may even have addressed a few words to them. Thus Peter writes, “He preached to the spirits in prison [sheol]; which sometime were disobedient…” (1 Pt 3:19-20). After His resurrection, Jesus took the souls and spirits of the redeemed to heaven (“he led captivity captive” [Eph 4:8]). Now the souls and spirits of the redeemed upon death go immediately to be with Christ (“absent from the body, present with the Lord” [2 Cor 5:6-8]), when He will bring them to rejoin their resurrected bodies at the Rapture (1 Thess 4:13-18).


Questions answered in From Berean Call, Psychology and Psychotherapy (part 2), Feb. 1, 2018:

Question: The Bible says, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Then why do I so often fail to do His will and to please Him? I more often please myself by doing my own will. Why?
 
Question: You justify God for sending people to hell because He has provided salvation for them in Christ. That won’t do, for millions and probably billions will spend eternity in hell. God knew that! How could a good God create anyone whom He knew would suffer eternally?
 
Question: “Broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat” (Mt 7:13). How has God “won” if there are more souls in hell than in heaven?
Question: Is it really biblical for you or anyone else to point out others’ faults? Isn’t this judging when we are not to judge? Doesn’t the Scripture say that the servant is to be left to the correction of his master, who is Christ?