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

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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

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