Can One Become a “Sovereign Citizen?”

Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 8, 2019

The sovereign citizen movement grew out of a belief in government abuses of power. Can one really become a sovereign citizen? Yes and no. Does the Bible teach earthly sovereignty for the individual? Yes and no. This short article addresses these issues primarily in the American context.

Technically, everyone born in a nation is a legal or lawful entity subject to the laws of that nation no matter what steps he takes to divorce himself from the law and become “sovereign.” Practically, one may be able to live his entire life as sovereign and never get entangled with the laws of a nation.

Some, in their attempt to become sovereign, do not get a social security number, a driver’s license, or any other government document that ties them to man’s law. American civil government, before the social security number, the driver’s license, or any other kind of license or government contract or document, considered everyone born in America to be a legal entity and so it is today. Today those who have no social security or other government number or license are considered to be citizens and legal entities. Nonetheless, one may be able to live his life as a “sovereign citizen.”

One who takes steps to become a “sovereign citizen” may, for all practical purposes, remain so because American civil government may never interfere with his life in any way. No one in America is forced to get a driver’s license or a social security number or to enter into any agreement with the civil government or with any individual or company. As long as a person controls his life so as not to interfere with or harm the rights of life, liberty, and property of any other person or entity or does interfere with the rights of others and does not get caught, the effects of being a legal or lawful entity will be nonexistent unless he is falsely accused.

If one can remain unnoticed by and outside the jurisdiction of civil government, the effects of being a legal or lawful entity will be nonexistent. Moving to the middle of the Alaskan wilderness by oneself or with one’s family may be the best choice for the man who wishes to remain sovereign. Living in the middle of New York City might work if, in addition to finding and remaining outside any civil government contracts and licenses, one finds a way to provide for himself and those, if any, to whom he is responsible and he:

  • does not enter into any contract with civil government or get any government license or number;
  • does not enter into and/or violate any contracts or agreements with another;
  • does not harm another and get sued for so doing;
  • does not commit a crime and get cited or charged and apprehended;
  • does not get falsely accused of a crime and get cited or charged and apprehended;
  • does not harm or interfere with another’s life, liberty, or property (or without being found out if he does so); and
  • does not act legally in any way.

If anyone commits a crime, he will be charged (if police have facts which give probable cause to believe he did it). If he knowingly, intentionally, negligently (and sometimes recklessly) harms another and causes damages, the victim can file a civil suit for damages. Therefore, one is a legal entity who has, practically speaking, come under the technical definition of “legal entity.” One can choose, even though he may not do so, to enter into agreements or contracts with others. If he ever hires someone to do a job for him, he entered a contract with them to do the work. If he hired them, they did the job as agreed, and he does not pay them as agreed for their services completed, they can sue him whether he has a social security or other government number or not, whether he claims to be “sovereign” or not. One can choose to act legally or not. But one cannot choose to completely remove himself from the legal system such that he is not liable for his crimes or torts. Etc. Therefore, by definition, one is a “legal entity.”

God ordained civil government for certain purposes. He gave civil government jurisdiction over certain matters – the protection of life, liberty, and property. Without direct earthly control of man by man, as is proved by the period between the Fall and the Flood, mankind quickly becomes totally corrupted; violence fills the earth. Jesus did not fight civil government, nor did the apostles and Historic Christians (Historic Baptists by whatever name called).  They did not fight it even though they always chose to obey God rather than men when man’s law contradicted God’s law and forbid them to honor God. They did not fight it although it was tyrannical and was not under God as God ordained. They obeyed God in all things and man as to those matters which did not cause them to violate God’s commandments.

God’s Word teaches that God put earthly controls, civil governments, in place to control earthly fleshly people, those who are not born again of the Spirit (not spiritual beings), and those who say that they are but are not or who say they are but walk in the flesh. Just because civil governments are corrupt and guided, for the most part, by the god of this world and his principles does not mean that one should, according to the will of God, treat civil government as having no authority. Jesus, the apostles, and authentic Christians over the last two thousand years have followed Bible teaching and honored civil government as long as civil governments and combinations of religion and state such as the Catholic/Protestant establishments did not try to force them to dishonor God’s law. When that happened, they lay down their lives for the faith rather than betray our Lord.

Letter and reply to a born again believer who left a church that would not discuss the issue of church corporate 501(c)(3) status


Letter received January 8, 2019:

Bro Finney,

Do you think going to talk to Pastors would make a difference? (I could take them your book) or are they all not willing to listen because they have to report numbers to their denominations?

I had met a very old Pastor outside of San Marcos that had to close down his church under the pressure about 10 years ago. He was in his late 80’s and it was just too much for him.  He would not go 501c3.

I have to tell you, i stopped going to the little Hispanic church – after my conversation with the pastor and the two elders .. I kinda go the cold shoulder. It made me sad and I did have one more conversation with the pastor and he hem hogged and said that it wasn’t his decision alone .. excuses excuses.  To tell you the truth –  I lost respect for him.

That church was not New Testament.. It was like a Hebraic root church, they sang so pretty and they study Hebrew and they meet on Friday nights for 2 hours and Saturdays all day almost from 11am to about 6pm. it was very nice and the music was great but to me it seemed like they were saying two things at once.

  • they want to only celebrate Biblical Holidays …
  • they only use Yeshua or Hashem – they do not say Jesus …
  • they keep Sabbath day …

I know they love Him but at the same time they wanted to be a 501c3.. .. to me it seemed like double talk – they are not in obedience – they are just going through the motions.

Thank you for all the work you do for Him.


My Reply

Dear _____________________,

They are off on a lot of Bible doctrines. Let me first deal with the church corporate 501(c)(3) status, then briefly mention the other matters you spoke of.

There are false theologies which teach union of church and state. Some branches of the universal church doctrine have no problem with combination of church and state because they believe the “true church” is in heaven and that they can do what they want since God has given no commandments or principles for the organization, conduct, etc. of the local assemblies on earth. Certain Christian Revisionists have adopted theologies such as replacement theology, reconstructionism, dominionism, and theonomy  nd other “Christian” revisionists believe that the principles that applied to Israel (union of religion and state under the theocracy) are to be applied to church and state in Gentile nations. Impossible! God was over Israel – both the religion and the civil government – and both worked together under Him.

Such heresies adopt an unbiblical definition of “theocracy.” The Bible truth is that since God has not ordained theocracy for Gentile nations (and Israel rejected her theocracy), there can be no Bible theocracy today. So religion (Catholicism first, then Protestantism) invented a “theocracy” which combines church and state and which would put religion over state if implemented as they desire. They work toward that end in America on a gradual basis – first to combine church and state, then to establish one religion. This is a worldwide effort by false religions (an ecumenical movement) which will ultimately bring in the one world religion headed by the religious whore of whores, the Catholic Church.

So the church you left may be the product of one of those heresies, or they may never have really studied the matter out.. I suggest that you get and read The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus which explains this. Also, read the first three sections of God Betrayed (free online).

Be encouraged. The Bible tells us of the apostasy of the church. These things are to be expected. He will always have a remnant until His earthly kingdom is established. We, His remnant, will be rewarded as we stand for Him. We serve Him because we love Him. All we can do is give out God’s truths. Of course, God’s ideal is for His children to also be a member of a local church under Christ. As you know, churches (assemblies of people, ekklesias) are everywhere in America, but local churches of Christ are few and far between. See, The New Testament of Jesus Christ:  His Executor Named and Empowered.

As to the other matters you brought up:

  • They probably celebrate the Jewish “holidays” which are not for God’s New Testament Churches.
  • New Testament churches are to worship on Sunday, not on the Sabbath.
  • The Lord’s name in English is Jesus, not Yeshua or Hashem. On the day of Pentecost, God used his preacher to speak to them all in their language at the same time. He did not speak to them in Hebrew or Greek, but in their individual languages.
  • We have the Word of God in English—the King James Bible. So why learn a foreign language?

They are off base on a lot of matters. They do not rightly divide the Word of truth. 2 Corinthians 11:14: “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” John 15:10: “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”

God bless as you seek the Lord’s will.

Brother Jerald Finney