The Hypocrisy of Pastors Who Ask Their Highest Authority To Overturn LGBT Nondiscrimination Ordinance

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Jerald Finney
Copyright © October 13, 2018

According to an Austin American Statesman article, “Pastors group seeks to overturn Austin’s LGBT hiring protections,” the Houston-based U.S. Pastor Council has sued the city of Austin in federal court in hopes of persuading their highest authority to overturn a city nondiscrimination ordinance that offers employment protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity. They argue that the ordinance is unconstitutional and invalid because it does not include a religious exemption for 25 member churches in Austin that refuse to hire gay or transgender people as employees or clergy. According to the Statesman article:

“’These member churches rely on the Bible rather than modern-day cultural fads for religious and moral guidance,’ said the lawsuit, filed over the weekend in Austin federal court. They will not consider practicing homosexuals or transgendered people for any type of church employment (or position in the clergy).”

Obviously, these churches pick and choose from the Bible what they want to believe. This article will reveal several aspects of their hypocrisy.

First, they violated the Bible principle of separation of church and state, a principle which is reflected in America’s highest man made law, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and corresponding state constitutional provisions. Those laws guarantee that a church in America can, without persecution, operate totally outside government control. By incorporating, a church places herself under state law for many purposes. By applying for and receiving Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) status or claiming IRC § 508 tax exempt status from the federal government churches choose to place themselves under the rules that come with that status.

Second, they gave up much of their First Amendment and state constitutional protections by voluntarily entering into contracts with the state of incorporation and the federal government—in other words, by obtaining corporate 501(c)(3) or 508 status. Their new status as artificial persons places them under the Fourteenth Amendment for many purposes. Artificial persons such as corporate 501(c)(3) or 508 churches are under the jurisdiction of state and federal courts. 501(c)(3) and 508 churches have agreed to the rules that accompany the status, and any other rules that may be unilaterally added by the federal government. One of the present rules that comes with church tax exempt status is “shall not violate fundamental public policy.” That rule was added by the Internal Revenue Service and upheld by the United States Supreme Court. Same sex marriage, for example, is now fundamental public policy. Defining marriage to include members of the same sex has implications for the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Pastor Council.

They seek a court order on the basis that “churches affiliated with the U.S. Pastor Council have a right under the U.S. and Texas constitutions to exclude the hiring of gay and transgender people and, if required by church bylaws, bar women from serving in senior pastor positions.” What provisions give them such a right? Certainly not the First Amendment or any state constitutional provisions since they gave up those rights when they gave to Caesar the things that are God’s by voluntarily submitting themselves to Caesar

Third, they attack the city’s hiring ordinance. They submitted themselves to the ordinance when they, like businesses, hired people to work for their organization. A church which follows the guidelines of New Testament church doctrine will not hire anyone. It will not have employees. In accordance with Bible church doctrine, there is not a single instance recorded in the Bible of a church hiring anyone.

Fourth, they act like businesses but want to be called churches. Why? For temporal, material, and earthly reasons and goals. A New Testament church is an eternal, spiritual, and heavenly entity, a spiritual body, not a legal entity such as a corporate and or tax exempt religious organization. It is a body, but an eternal, spiritual, and heavenly body.

Fifth, they appeal to their authority, the federal court in this instance. They agreed, when they chose their status, that the court would be their authority. Now they go to their authority, not to the Bible, to resolve their issue. The only head of a New Testament church is the Lord Jesus Christ. This does not negate God-given civil government jurisdiction over church members who, for example, commit a crime or tort against another; but it does negate civil government jurisdiction over a church organized according to Bible principles.

Sixth, they commit the greatest hypocrisy of all by claiming constitutional protection under the First Amendment and state constitutional provisions, provisions which reflect Bible principle, when they have voluntarily left their first love, the Lord Jesus Christ, and taken on two other lovers. Instead of relying on their God-given Head, the Lord Jesus Christ, for all purposes, they now depend upon civil governments for many temporal, material, and earthly reasons.

In conclusion, they are not churches under Christ; they are not churches of Christ. “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16.18). “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:22). “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18). Instead, these churches have chosen, for earthly, not Bible, reasons to leave their first love. The Lord

Jesus Christ has warned such churches: “Except ye repent, and do the first works, … I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Revelation 2:5). These churches are not built by the principles of Christ as given in the Bible. They are built by the principles of men, by man’s laws and business models. Christ is not their authority in all things. They are hypocrites, pretenders, of the worst kind. Had they chosen to honor the Lord Jesus Christ and His principles for church organization, they would not be under the jurisdiction of any civil government as guaranteed by the First Amendment and corresponding state constitutional provisions.* They have already lost their spiritual standing with Christ, no matter how their highest authority rules. Their only hope as churches is to repent of their unholy contracts and return unto their first love. Then, they can go to their new authority, the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word, for church direction in all matters of faith and practice.

* For more on this, Click here to go to the answer to a question regarding a lawyer’s false statements concerning church corporate 501(c)(3) status as compared to church First Ameendment status. You may also study many of the other resources on this website which explain church First Amendment status. A First Amendment church (a New Testament church) may not sue or be sued.

II. A. RELIGIOUS LIBERTY IN AMERICA (CLICK HERE TO GO TO ALL LESSONS)

Links:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Light Begins to Shine
  3. The Pilgrims and Puritans in Massachusetts
  4. The Baptists in Rhode Island
  5. The Separates and Baptists in New England
  6. From New England to the South
  7. To Virginia
  8. Religious Freedom in America!
  9. Conclusion

Questions with Short Answers:

  1. What is the history of the First Amendment?
  2. What is the History and Meaning of “Establishment of Religion” in America?
  3. What is an established church?
  4. What is a First Amendment Church?

Other studies:


Click here to go links to the written lessons.
Click here to go to links to the 3 1/2 to 6 minute video lectures.

II. B. Union of Church and State in America

It will be some time before this portion of this study is started. The interested student may read a short, but not as short as these studies, booklet which covers these matters: Separation of Church and State: Spiritual or Legal Entities in online form, PDF, or downloadable audio. Click here to go to the order page for books by Jerald Finney.

  1. Introduction
  2. Legal Meaning of Incorporation of Churches
  3. Federal Government Control of Churches through 501(c)(3) or 508 Tax Exemption
  4. The Incorporation-501(c)(3) Control Scheme
  5. Spurious Rationale for Incorporating: Limited Liability
  6. Spurious Rationale for Incorporating: To Hold Property
  7. Spurious Rationale for Corporate 501(c)(3) Status: Tax Exemption and Tax Deduction for Contributions
  8. Spurious Rationale for Corporate 501(c)(3) Status: One’s Convictions
  9. Spurious Rationale for Corporate 501(c)(3) Status: 
  10. Spurious Rationale for Corporate 501(c)(3) Status:
  11. The Most Important Thing: Loving God or Winning Souls?
  12. The Results of Ignoring the Bible Principle of Separation of Church and State
  13. Conclusion

Click here to go links to the written lessons.
Click here to go to links to the 3 1/2 to 6 minute video lectures.

I. C. Bible Doctrine Concerning Relationship of Church and State

Links:

  1. Introduction
  2. Definitions of “Separation of Church and State,” “Established Church,” and “Religious Freedom or Soul Liberty”
  3. Dispensation Theology versus Covenant Theology and Their Importance to the Issue of Church and State Relationship in America
  4.  Distinct Differences between Church and State Which Render Them Mutually Exclusive
  5. Render Unto God the Things That Are His: A Study of Romans 13 and Other Verses Taken Out of Context to Support Union of Church and State
  6. Christ-church, Husband-Wife, Bridegroom-bride
  7. Conclusion

Click here to go links to the written lessons.
Click here to go to links to the 3 1/2 to 6 minute video lectures.

I. B. Bible Doctrine of Church

Links:

  1. Introduction 
  2. Christ Ordained the Church and Builds It upon the Rock
  3. A Church Is a Mystery, an Assembly, a Spiritual Body
  4. The Holy Spirit Forms a Church which Is a Temple, a Spiritual Body, the Body of Christ
  5. Christ, the Head/Bridegroom/Husband of the Local Church
  6. The Love between Christ and His Churches
  7. Other Bible Metaphors for a Church: Family, Etc.
  8. How To Recognize a New Testament Church
  9. Heresy and Apostasy
  10. Conclusion

    Click here to go links to the written lessons.
    Click here to go to links to the 3 1/2 to 6 minute video lectures.

 

Answer to e-mail request for sample of Declaration of Trust

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:  _______________________________________________________
To: ‘Jerald Finney’ <jerald.finney@sbcglobal.net>
Cc: ______________________________________
Sent: Saturday, October 6, 2018 7:25 AM
Subject: RE: Some short essays/articles on church corporate 501c3 status

Brother Finney,

Thank you so much for all the resources you forwarded to us.  We appreciate it very much. Is it possible that you could send us a sample of what a Declaration of Trust would look like? We found some samples online, however, we want to be to give people an idea of what it will actually look like. Thank you!

God Bless You!
______________________________________


After I sent my Answer to the above e-mail (which is copied below), I received back the following reply:

From:
To: ‘Jerald Finney’ <jerald.finney@sbcglobal.net>
Sent: Sunday, October 7, 2018 8:14 AM
Subject: RE: Some short essays/articles on church corporate 501c3 status

Thank you so much Brother Finney!  I thank you for all that you are doing to help our Churches serve our Lord, Jesus Christ and Him alone.  We always pass on your words of wisdom and discernment to help anyone that may have questions.  Thank you for all your hard work and dedication. 

God Bless You and keep you safe!
Sister __________________________
(we will contact you hopefully in the next day or two about our letter.  Just waiting for one more person to look at it.)


Answer

Dear _________________________________,

Again, I appreciate your love for the Lord and your desire to please Him. It has been my honor and privilege to send you links to resources that I hope have been of benefit. I am always humbled when a believer asks for my advice and help. I take these matters very seriously since our God given goal as believers is to glorify and please Him. With that introduction, and with that understanding, I now proceed to address your request.

I do not send out sample DOTs. If a church wants to do their own DOT, they can do so. The basic principles are available for anyone. Correct application for churches under Christ is another matter, which brings up another issue, “whether a given church is a church under Christ.” The DOT and accompanying documentation we have developed are meant only for churches which are ordered according to the principles of the New Testament in all areas of organization and operation.

That said, all the resources one needs to study out and draft their own DOT are online at jeraldfinney.com. We have done and continue to do everything we can to provide all the educational resources for the born again believer who wants to do his own work, to do a DOT, to make sure the church he is a member of is established by and for Christ in all things. All that information is available at no cost online. We can offer nothing more than the product of untold thousands of hours of research and writing to help those who want to do it themselves.

A DOT must be drafted in consideration of the highest laws of the nation, the First Amendment and corresponding provisions of the constitution and laws of state (as “Texas”) the church is in and some other matters. As to use of the samples of the DOTs you found online, one must have a lot of Bible, historical, and legal knowledge in order to evaluate whether they correctly accomplish the goal of keeping a church outside the jurisdiction of man’s legal systems. Keep in mind that there are a lot of pseudo experts out there who will in application of principles, contaminate them, not having knowledge, understanding and wisdom about what they are doing. All the DOTs (by whatever name identified) I have seen online are products of those who really do not have the Bible, historical, and legal  knowledge, understanding and wisdom to apply the principles in a way that glorifies our Lord. That is not to dogmatically say that there are not online examples of DOTs which do achieve the goal of the glory of God. Each must be evaluated on its own merits and I do not scour the internet in order to evaluate what others are doing. The examples I have seen were brought to my attention by others.

A properly drafted DOT keeps a church out of man’s legal jurisdiction unless the church ignorantly subjects itself to the legal system. A church who implements a Biblically correct DOT still needs help to make sure that it does not make any mistake(s) which effectively undo what the DOT was designed to do.

A correctly drafted DOT should cover all essential matters. A church can actually establish, without any documentation whatsoever, a trust relationship with money and property whereby the church holds or owns no money or property and all money and property in the trust estate belongs to the actual owner, the Lord Jesus Christ. However, it is wise to utilize a written declaration of trust by whatever name (I say this because there are those who use another name other than “declaration of trust” to identify their “declaration of trust.”) for several reasons some of which are explained in the article How a Church Can Organize to Remain a New Testament Church (Holding Property In Trust For God Is A Scriptural Principle Recognized by American Law. I say “a written declaration of trust by whatever name” because there are those who use another name other than “declaration of trust” to identify their “declaration of trust.”

To know whether a church is under Christ, one must first know Bible church doctrine. Just because a church established a trust relationship with money and/or property does not alone assure us that she church is a church under Christ. To know whether a church is a church of Christ, one must understand the doctrine of the church as explained in the Word of God.

Those who use Bible interpretations will not agree with us on the vital doctrine of what a church of Christ is, a doctrine which must be considered when drafting a God-honoring DOT. We can only honor our Lord by standing on His Word. God’s Words are pure words, every one of them:

  • Psalms 12:6  “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”
  • Proverbs 30:5  “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.”

God promised to preserve His words:

  • Psalms 12:7  “Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”
  • Matthew 24:35  “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”

One basic criteria for correct implementation and use of the documents is that the church must have a Word of God that is preserved by God. We use the Word of God in English for all  matters of faith and practice. Some churches and believers use an interpretation of the Word of God. We believe that the use of an interpretation of the Word of God, not a spirit inspired word by word translation, dishonors our Lord.

We take this position because we are not a profit making worldly enterprise, we are a ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our purpose is eternal and spiritual, not earthly and temporal. We charge nothing for what we do. We simply ask for up to a $500.00 gift as the Lord provides. If a church agrees with us on essentials so that we can go forward with helping her, we do so even if no gift is possible. Any gifts go toward supporting the expenses of the ministry. To this point, we have used much of our own money to sustain the ministry and will continue to do so even if we never receive another gift. Our hope is in the Lord, not man. God’s people will act honorably and God will provide even if they do not, so we are not worried about financing.

Again, thank you for all you do for our Lord. I pray that we will be able to continue to work together on these matters and that the resources we offer will continue to help you as you seek to glorify Him.

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney