Question and answer concerning a 501c3 ministry (not a church)

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Question

From: ___________________________-
Date: Thu, Sep 27, 2018 at 5:37 PM
Subject: Weblog title “501c3 for non church ministry question”
To: Law Center Biblical


Subject: 501c3 for non church ministry question

Message Body:
Hello,  I recently watched a you tube video of Mark Taylor prophesing the judgment on 501c3 churches, which greatly concerns me with I am doing in regards to starting a ministry. I was in the process of creating a 501c3 for a ministry–not a church–with Legal Zoom. The ministry is called _____________________. I got to the part of completing more info for the paperwork regarding a 3 yr budget and other things and got stalled in completing any of the info. My application stands in limbo with Legal Zoom right now. My question is it biblical or non-biblical for the ministry I have started to have a 501c3? I want to do things right according to God’s plan and order!  
Thank you for your help! 

Answer, September 28, 2018

Dear ________________________________,
RE: In answer to your e-mail question copied and pasted below

In love, I humbly submit the following for your consideration.

An adequate answer to your questions would require a lot of time and effort. However, I will give you a succinct Bible answer to some of your questions and give you links to some information on 501c3.

I thank the Lord for every born again believer like you who wishes, as you state in your inquiry, to “to do things right according to God’s plan and order!”

The Bible teaches that every born again believer should, if possible, be water baptized into a a local, visible, New Testament ordered church. There are many churches. Only a small remnant are under Christ; to say it another way, only a small remnant of churches are churches of Christ. The vast majority of churches (assemblies of people who come together for some reason) are not churches of Christ. A church of Christ must be built by Christ alone, and subject to him in all things. See, e.g., Mt. 16.18, Ep. 1.22; Ep. 5.25-32; Co. 1.18. Note that Ephesians, for example, was written to the local visible church at Ephesus and that “the church” refers to the institution of the church which consists entirely of local visible assemblies.

Every believer is a member of the family of God and is eternally secure. To be in line with Bible principle (KJB) every born again believer, if possible, should be water baptized into a local visible New Testament church where he should exercise his spiritual gift(s). See Ep. 4, 1 Co. 12, Ro. 12.3-8. Every ministry  of Christ should be under the authority of a local, visible New Testament assembly (church). In this age of grace, God commissioned His children and His churches to do his work. Again, if possible, every child of God should be a member of one of His churches,. I understand that it is hard to find a true church of Christ anymore. But every believer should make every attempt to do so and to become a member of such a church.

A thorough study of the Bible, history, and law proves that corporate 501c3 or 508 churches and churches who choose to become legal entities of any kind are not churches of Christ. That is, they are not built by Christ and Him alone, nor are they subject to Him and Him alone in all things. Ephesians 1:22-23: “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.” (Paul writing to the church at Rome,a visible local church).

Two articles on 501c3. These articles give only a brief overview of the 501c3 issue and do not explain the extreme extent of IRS authority and red tape that comes with 501c3.

The incorporation-501(c)(3) control scheme

The incorporation-501(c)(3) control scheme

Jerald Finney Copyright © December 10, 2012 Note. This is a modified version of Section VI, Chapter 5 of God Bet…

See also,

https://jeraldfinney.com/2012/12/15/federal-government-control-of-churches-through-501c3-tax-exemption/

For a comparatively short analysis of the issues as regards churches, see

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

Again, I submit the above answer in love in hopes that it will be helpful to you as you seek His will for your life.

For His Glory
Jerald Finney

JERALD C. FINNEY
BAB, HB, BBA, JD
801 Elgin St.
Amarillo, TX 79118
Phone : (512) 785-8445
E-MAIL: jerald.finney@sbcglobal.net

 

Click here to go to the web page for the “Questions and Answers on Various Topics” webpage which links to this and other question and answer pages.


Question:

From: _______________________
Subject: question about nonprofits

Message Body:
Dear Sir,
I have started to learn of the 501c3.  I am still unsure if the congregation I go to is or not. I asked  the pastor and he said this: ____________________________ is what is called a domestic nonprofit corporation. A 501c3 is required to file a 990 tax return to the irs each year. A domestic nonprofit organization is not. When setting up a nonprofit, if you are a church, it is preferable to go the domestic nonprofit organization route.
So, my question is this: what is a domestic nonprofit corporation? Is it the same as the 501c3?
Please help me understand this. It seems the same to me  but I am not versed at law.
Thank you so much for your time,
Blessing of Yeshua to you


September 26, 2018 Answer:

Dear _________________________________:

Please feel free to call me about any questions you have.

I suggest the following resource for getting your feet on the ground about the Bible doctrine of the church:

https://jeraldfinney.com/courses-testmonies/questions-answers/text-course/

The above webpage is being developed, but the resources already there should be helpful.

To understand church non-profit corporation and 501c3 status, I suggest the following short book:

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

The following links to a fairly short article on church non-profit corporation status:

What does church, inc. mean?

What does church, inc. mean?

A Publication of Separation of Church and State Law Ministry. Click here to go to All Written Course Segments. C…

The following are links to 2 articles on 501c3 status:

Federal government control of churches through IRS Code Sections 501(c)(3) and 508 tax exemption

Federal government control of churches through IRS Code Sections 501(c)(3) …

Jerald Finney Copyright © December 10, 2012 Revised April 26, 2014 Note. This is a modified version of Section V…

The incorporation-501(c)(3) control scheme

The incorporation-501(c)(3) control scheme

Jerald Finney Copyright © December 10, 2012 Note. This is a modified version of Section VI, Chapter 5 of God Bet…

I doubt that your pastor understands these matters. Most do not and do not wish to learn the truth. Hopefully, I am wrong about your pastor. Most pastors rely on tradition and their religious system for their guidelines. They have also been deceived by “Christian” lawyers who make a lot of money by getting churches into the legal system, helping them write their constitutions and by-laws, educating them about what they can and cannot do as non-profit corporations and 501c3 religious organizations, handling legal matters for the churches they deceive once they are in the legal system, etc.

In America, no law requires a church to get into the legal system by becoming a non-profit corporation, a 501c3 or 508 tax exempt organization, an unincorporated association or some other type of legal entity. The 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and corresponding state constitutional provisions not only make clear that a church can remain under Jesus Christ only, but also protect churches who choose to do so. Churches who choose to incorporate and get 501c3 status betray our Lord and are not, according to the Bible, churches nunder and of Christ. See The Bible Answer to the Question, “Is an Incorporated 501(c)(3) or 508 Church a Church of Christ?” at  https://opbcbibletrust.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/091318_iscorp501c3churchachurchofchrist7.pdf.

Another book you may be interested in is: PDF of Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses

PDF of Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Roman…

Left click here to go to the PDF of the book Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Roma…

I hope these resources help.

Please feel free to call me at any time.

JERALD C. FINNEY
BAB, HB, BBA, JD
801 Elgin St.
Amarillo, TX 79118
Phone : (512) 785-8445
E-MAIL: jerald.finney@sbcglobal.net

Lawyer answers question regarding another lawyer’s false statements concerning church corporate 501(c)(3) status

Jerald Finney, September 22, 2018

Click here to go to the web page for the “Questions and Answers on Various Topics” webpage which links to this and other question and answer pages.


Question

From: … .com>
To: Jerald Finney <jerald.finney@sbcglobal.net>
Sent: Saturday, September 22, 2018 7:41 PM
Subject: Re: Law Professors Explain THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE § 501(C)(3) EXEMPTION-DEFINITION-CONTROL SCHEME

Amen brother, nice meeting you folks also.  I enjoyed hearing what you had to say.  I have always been against registering anything with the government concerning the church and ministry.

Just curious.  I posted a question about to incorporate or not to on a preacher forum that I belong to and one of the guys is one of those Christian lawyers a Jim Robideau, and this was his response.  Just curious what you think about his comments.

“We don’t take a position on incorporation one way or another; we explain the pros and cons under the applicable state law and love you whichever decision you make.

A couple of things. Some states have addressed issues faced by unincorporated churches by adopting some version of the Uniform Unincorporated Non Profit Association Act (UUNPAA). (Ohio and Pennsylvania have versions of this law.) This gives unincorporated churches many of the benefits incorporated churches enjoy, such as limited liability. It does not make it easier to borrow money in the unincorporated church’s name, nor does it force banks NOT to seek the personal guarantee of church debts by those who sign loan papers on behalf of the unincorporated church.

Not incorporating will not prevent the IRS from auditing or local authorities from enforcing laws against the unincorporated church. Incorporated and unincorporated churches are treated by the government in exactly the same way. The act of incorporation does mean the church will file paperwork with the state Secretary of State. An incorporated church, when filing incorporation papers, must name an agent who can receive court paperwork on behalf of the church. If they desire to conduct certain transactions, like borrow money, lending agencies will want to see an incorporated church’s Statement of Good Standing (sometimes called Statement of Continuing Existence) to show the lender that the incorporated church’s paperwork is on file with the Secretary of State. Incorporated churches may also have to file a five year report (the time period varies from state to state) verifying or updating the corporate officers on file.

Last, incorporation is done at the state level. It has nothing to do with the IRS or tax exempt status. There is no dark connection between the two that prevents you from exercising your religious freedom and building a church. We have seen good churches organized both ways.”  -Jim

Thanks!
Bro. ________________


September 22, 2018 Answer:

Dear Brother ________________,

Thanks for taking a stand for our Lord’s churches. To summarize, Mr. Jim Robideau knows not of what he speaks, either legally or biblically. I will elaborate a little on that with links to further resources to which you can refer believers who love the Lord, His churches, and His truth.

In his closing statement, Mr. Robideau reveals how totally bankrupt his reasoning is. He states, “Last, incorporation is done at the state level. It has nothing to do with the IRS or tax exempt status. There is no dark connection between the two that prevents you from exercising your religious freedom and building a church. We have seen good churches organized both ways.” That statement demonstrates his total lack of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. Of course, believers know that even Satan includes some truth in his lies. Yes, incorporation is under state law and 501(c)(3) tax exempt status is under federal law. However,  church corporate and 501(c)(3) status are both anti-biblical and place heads other than the Lord Jesus Christ over a church. A corporate 501(c)(3) church has given up her religious freedom protected by the First Amendment and corresponding state constitutional provision. A church of Christ is built by Christ under His authority and according to His New Testament church doctrine. A corporate and/or 501(c)(3) church is partly or wholly built by man and partly or wholly under man and man’s laws.

Mr. Robideau says he does not take a position on church incorporation one way or the other. Then he states his position on church incorporation. He states that all churches are in the same boat no matter how they organize—absolutely false if they do not submit themselves to civil law by becoming a legal entity. His reasoning is that of a lawyer who either makes money getting churches into the legal system, has been brainwashed by the legal system, or both.

He understands neither the relevant Bible principles nor the law. His authority is his misunderstanding of the law. He appears to be what the world would call a postmodernist; that is, he attempts to create a reality with his rhetoric which is not based upon knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. Postmodernism is convincing only to the uninformed who lack knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. He misrepresents the law and never mentions one Bible verse or principle. Of course, he has a little truth in what he says: that incorporation is at the state level and 501(c)(3) is under federal law, 26 United States Code Section 501(c)(3). That is a simple truth. Too bad that he is not truthful about the other more important things he says.

He says that in America, incorporated and unincorporated churches are treated the same way. A total lie whether he realizes it or not—that is if a church has not made herself a legal entity in a way other than incorporation. Another way a church can become a legal entity is by becoming an Unincorporated Non Profit Association; and there are other ways as well that a church can become a legal entity as opposed to a spiritual entity under Christ only. Any church who chooses to become, or who through ignorance becomes, a legal entity has submitted herself for many matters to an authority or authorities other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

A church in America can keep herself out of the legal system without persecution and under the protections of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and corresponding state constitutional provisions. If a church is not a legal entity, if she is a First Amendment church, she cannot sue, be sued, be charged with a crime, or act legally in any way. As you know, the church we met at in Albuquerque was organized as a non-legal entity under Jesus Christ, as is the church I am a member of, and scores of other churches in America which I am personally aware of. At the meeting we just attended we heard the story of a pastor who verified this. The state tried to assert jurisdiction over the Lord’s church he was a member of. The judge threw the case out because the pastor pointed out to the judge that the state had no jurisdiction and the opposing attorney could find no way to establish jurisdiction because the church was not a legal entity such as an incorporated 501(c)(3) organization. The judge threw the case out for want of jurisdiction.

The IRS has absolutely no authority over a church which is careful not to incorporate (aggregate or sole), become a charitable or business trust, have employees, adopt a constitution, adopt by-laws, get 501(c)(3) or 508 status or become a legal entity by  acting in certain other ways. The IRS has no authority to audit a First Amendment church which is a church under God only, a non-legal entity. Corresponding state constitutional provisions protect First Amendment churches on the state level from any actions against them by the state or local governments. I would note that civil government does have jurisdiction over buildings (building codes) and can enforce those codes, but not against a First Amendment church since such a church does not own any property. There are ways that a First Amendment church can utilize property (such as a meeting house) without owning it. I discuss this in Chapter 7 the book Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entites. In that book, I also examine some of the other lies of “Christian” lawyers who promote church legal entity status such as incorporation and 501(c)(3).

I have three other books that expose some of the other false reasons given to support church incorporation, 501(c)(3) or 508, or other legal status. The following links are to the online downloadable PDFs:

The Most Important Thing: Loving God or Winning Souls

Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses

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

I cannot possibly expose all this lawyer’s false reasoning in a few words, but I have online resources which do so.

For more information on books by Jerald Finney, go to (click the following)  ORDER INFORMATION, FREE PDF, AND FREE ONLINE VERSION PAGE FOR BOOKS BY JERALD FINNEY webpage.

For links to relevant essays and articles which deal with these matters, go Essays.

Suffice it to say that some speakers at the conference we just attended made very clear that a church can operate under God only in America, without persecution and with the protection of the First Amendment and corresponding state constitutional provision.

The real issue is one of authority. Is a church which has any other authority other than the Lord Jesus Christ a church of Christ? I believe you have read the article The Bible Answer to the Question, “Is an Incorporated 501(c)(3) or 508 Church a Church of Christ?” (From a talk given at the September 16-19 Liberty Baptist Church of Albuquerque, NM, Southwest Baptist Heritage Camp Meeting). That article gets to the controlling principles for a church or believer who loves the Lord.

See the following article for links to some learned answers by lawyers and legal scholars: THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE § 501(C)(3) EXEMPTION-DEFINITION-CONTROL SCHEME.

Thanks again, dear brother,

For His Glory,
Jerald Finney
BAB (Born Again Believer), HB (Historic Baptist), BBA, JD

Question and answer on whether gifts to a First Amendment Church are tax deductible

Click here to go to the web page for the “Questions and Answers on Various Topics” webpage which links to this and other question and answer pages.


September 22, 2018 Question

Bro Finney,
Te question I have is, are the tithes and offerings tax deductible to the giver?
 
Bro _____________


September 22, 2018 Answer
Dear Bro. _________________,
Please read and study the following and then give me a call at 512-785-8445. These resources will answer your questions, but let me know after you go through them what questions, if any, are not answered. The last article below deals with Section 170 of the IRS code and IRS Regs. which address tax deductions for contributions. I have not updated the article for 2018 changes (probably none or insignificant, but you can check that code at the last link below. Also, Publication 1828 will also be of help-it is linked directly to below.
https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p526.pdf (Publication 526 Charitable Contributions)
For His Glory,
Brother Finney