Another Victory for a Church under Christ!

Jerald Finney, BBA, JD
Born Again Believer in the Lord Jesus Christ
Licensed Attorney-University of Texas Law School Graduate

This article is also published at: The Trumpet Newspaper, October – December 2019. Click links in article below and in the Trumpet Article when viewed online to go to the links.

Any church who remains under Christ alone has already been victorious in the eyes of Lord, no matter what any earthly power does to it. We praise the Lord for eternal spiritual victory! We also praise the Lord for victory for an eternal church under Christ in this temporal battleground.

Praise the Lord for such a victory for the Lord’s churches (as opposed to churches which combine with to the state and federal government through incorporation (sole and aggregate), unincorporated association status, Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) or § 508 status, legal status by holding bank accounts or insurance in the name of the church, running incorporated and/or 501(c)(3) or 508 ministries, etc.) in Minnesota!

The local property tax board denied the property tax exemption on the property owned by the Lord Jesus Christ and held in trust by the Pastor/Trustee who had a fiduciary duty to manage the Trust Estate which included the meetinghouse and the land it was on for the benefit of the Lord Jesus Christ, the true owner of the property. Other property in the Trust Estate includes a bank account, liability insurance, and personal property.

The victory was won after the Trustee of the Trust established by the church filed a petition in Minnesota District Court after the local property tax board in Minnesota denied the property tax exemption on the property. The local board took the position that the church had to “establish” to qualify for the property tax exemption. A church becomes established when it, for example, is granted corporate and/or 501(c)(3) status after application to the state government (incorporation) and/or the federal government ((501(c)(3) status). No church in America is required by man’s law to establish. The state and federal governments invite churches to seek and obtain such status and churches eagerly, against New Testament principle, accept the invitation.[i]

In America, property tax boards in many states have granted property tax exemption on property held in trust for the Lord and used exclusively for church purposes. Sometimes the local tax board balks but relents after reasoning with them. In Indiana, a state which has an agency hearing process (followed by appeal to court if necessary), numerous such properties have been almost routinely been granted the exemption. However, a Trustee in Indiana successfully contested a denial of the property tax exemption through the agency process. See [ii] for a link the complete story in that case.

In Minnesota, there is no agency hearing when a local property tax board denies the exemption. The contest has to be filed in district court which then transfers the case to tax court. Before filing a petition in district court, the Trustee in Minnesota, with Jerald Finney’s[iii] help, talked with the county attorney and provided memorandums explaining why the exemption should be honored. The county attorney and assessor maintained their position that the church had to establish under Minnesota non-profit corporation law and also obtain 501(c)(3) status.

After the case was finally called by the court, motions were filed, and a hearing was held the case was settled in favor of the tax exemption for the Lord’s property. The tax exemption was granted!

The Pastor/Trustee and all the members of the church are to be applauded. They took the position that they were going to continue as church under Christ and Him alone no matter the outcome of the case.

This article is also published at: The Trumpet Newspaper, October – December 2019.

Note. For a link to the written argument filed in court, without identifiers, see [iv] below.

Note. Property tax exemption on property used exclusively by churches is honored by all 50 states. Unlike 501(c)(3) or 508 federal tax exemption, the property tax exemption comes with no strings attached and is to be given all such properties. The property tax exemption actually strengthens the First Amendment religious freedom unlike 501(c)(3) or 508 federal tax exemption which destroy such freedom. The legal Response filed in Minnesota Court explains more about this. See [iv] below.

Note. By establishing the trust relationship, the church—like many churches that the Churches Under Christ and the Biblical Law Center ministries have helped with the matter of church organization under Christ and Christ alone since the 1980’s—continued under the authority of Christ and Christ alone. In other words, the church remained a spiritual entity under Him and not an earthly organization under the state and/or the federal government.

Endnotes

[i] What is an established church?; Who Is the head of an incorporated church?; Separation of Church and State: God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities? Does God Care if our Church is Incorporated?;  The church incorporation-501(c)(3) control scheme; Federal government control of churches through 501(c)(3) tax exemption; Short Answers to Some Important Questions.

[ii] The Indiana Board of Tax Review Determines that Property Held in Trust for the Lord Jesus Christ Must Be Granted Property Tax Exemption (012319).

[iii] Finney Moved to Minnesota in March 2016. After completing a grueling reciprocity process, he was licensed to practice law in Minnesota in February, 2017. However, when the Lord called him to move back to Texas in May, 2019 the Minnesota Tax Court had not gotten to the case. The MTC has around 6,000 new property tax cases on its docket each year. Trustee filed the petition in 2016, but the Court did not call the case until after Finney moved back to Texas. At that point, Finney worked with and advised a Minnesota law firm who took over the case. He also drafted the substance of the written motion for the plaintiff/trustee which was used by the firm.

[iv] PETITIONER’S RESPONSE TO RESPONDENT’S MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF SUMMARY JUDGEMENT AND MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF PETITIONER’S CROSS-MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Question and Answer: “Do you have a template for a ‘common law’ or ‘Bible’ trust…?”

E-mail Inquiry:

On Sunday, September 15, 2019, 07:40:37 PM PDT,  ________________ wrote:

Jerald,
Do you have a template for a “common law” or “Bible” trust that includes the necessary elements of a valid trust including the trustor, trustee, beneficiary, and trust estate?

______________________
___________________, Texas
[Phone Number was here]
{E-mail address was here]

My Reply:

Jerald Finney jerald.finney@sbcglobal.net To: _____________.net,Jerald Finney Sep 2019 at 4:01 PM

Dear Mr. ________________,

Would a person with valuable assets and with intent of minimizing losses to income taxes, estate taxes, etc. e-mail an attorney and ask him to send him a “trust” template with the intent of forming a trust? Of course not. In order to properly implement a plan or intention one must not only understand the particular facts involved, but also the controlling principles.

Would an attorney who received such a request send the template? Of course not. To be clear, a law firm charges for its services. This ministry does not. A secular law firm, for monetary remuneration (as well as so-called “Christian” law firms which help churches organize as temporal earthly entities (e.g., 501(c)(3) corporations under both the state government of incorporation and the federal government), deal in secular matters. This ministry does not. This ministry, without charge, helps local churches organize as eternal heavenly entities under Christ and Christ alone.

I do not send out “templates” or forms. To do so would be doing a grave disservice not only the Lord Jesus Christ, but also those to whom I sent a template. One must understand relevant Bible principles such as the New Testament doctrine of the church, the Bible doctrine of government, the Bible doctrine of separation of church and state, the concepts and facts in the articles linked to below, the history and meaning of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the history and meaning of the corresponding state constitutional provisions, etc.; and, in the factual situation of some churches, federal religious tax exemption law, state non-profit corporation law and more before he attempts to utilize templates or forms. For a church or an individual to attempt to help churches remain true to our Lord by establishing a trust relationship with property, he must do his homework and understand what he is doing. Either that, or he must get the help of someone who has done the years of study necessary to understand what he is doing.

These matters are not secret, but they are precious as related to the local New Testament churches which Christ loved and gave Himself for. He tells his people to proceed with knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. See, for more on this:

https://jeraldfinney.com/salvation-and-after/after-salvation/

I offer you the following resources to help get you started in your studies should you wish to gain the wisdom needed pursue your goal. The King James Bible states the principles for the Bible (common law) trust. The following resources will be very helpful:

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

Answer to the question: Can a church corporation be changed to a trust?

Question received:

From: _____________________________ Date: Sun, Sep 8, 2019 at 9:22 PM Subject: Weblog title Subject: Trust

Message Body:
Can a church corporation be changed to a trust?

My Reply:

Jerald Finney jerald.finney@sbcglobal.net To:_________________ Sep 10 at 2:09 PM

Dear _______________,

No, a church corporation cannot be changed to a trust. A church corporation can be dissolved. A trust relationship can be established by a church.

A corporation is created by man’s law at the request of a church to the secretary of state in the state the church applies for incorporation.

The common law trust relationship has come down through time immemorial and was not the creation of man’s law. A church who establishes such a relationship actually organizes the church according to Bible principle. I explain more about this relationship in the following articles:

The Church Bible Trust Relationship Explained and How a Church Can Nulli…

Jerald Finney Copyright © January 11, 2019 More and more churches are seeking to exercise their Bible freedom an…

For a good overall study of church incorporation, church 501(c)(3) and 508 status, see

Separation of Church and State: God’s Churches – Spiritual or Legal Entities?

Feel free to give me a call should you wish to discuss your particular situation.

God bless you and yours.

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney
512-785-8445

Church Members are approaching their pastors about church corporate 501c3 status, some are leaving churches who refuse to repent of that status, and some are seeking to communicate with their pastors about the matter!

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
LETTERS AND QUESTIONS FROM PASTORS AND OTHERS ANSWERED

Note. Many believers who have contacted me have left churches because the churches and pastors refuse to consider the issue of legal status for churches. Some have moved hundreds of miles in order to join churches who are under Christ and Christ alone. As God’s Word makes clear, there will always be a remnant of churches and believers who remain true to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Part I of this post gives the recent e-mails exchanged between such a church member.

Part II recounts a recent call from a church member who has already left such a church.

Part III chronicles the discussions with a Michigan couple who have an appointment with their pastor. There, they will be talking to him about church corporate 501(c)(3) status.

Part IV Christian frustrated and left church because pastor and church would not discuss or consider the truth about church corporate 501(c)(3) status

Part V Letter drafted and sent by two church members to their pastors. The letter was to inform their pastors of the evil of corporate 501(c)(3) or 508 status.


Part I

His initial question about 501c3:

On Sunday, September 1, 2019, 05:21:56 AM PDT, ______________ <_____________.com> wrote:

We have a church that was under 501c3, but due to some issues that church folded, it was started up again under new Pastors, New board and new name. Does the new church fall under 501c3 because the Pastors etc used to be a part of the old church, or does the new name have to file for 501c3? The new church does not automatically get 501c3 status because they changed names and use the same building do they? How do I find out if this new church is 501c3?

Thank you
______________


My reply to his initial question:

On September 5, 2019, at 9:23 PM, Jerald Finney <jerald.finney@sbcglobal.net> wrote:

Dear _______________,

I help churches under Christ (churches that are not legal entities) or churches not under Christ and Christ alone who want to be under Christ (churches that are legal entities such as corporations, 501c3 or 508 religious organizations, etc. and want to get out from under government authority). Does your church fit into one of those categories? If so, I can help without any charges. If not, I cannot help.

It appears the church may be a legal entity since it has a board. New Testament churches under Christ do not have “boards,” generally speaking.

Thanks.
Jerald Finney


His follow-up e-mail:

On Friday, September 6, 2019, 08:43:57 AM EDT, ______________ <_____________.com> wrote:

Thank you for the response, I am going to ask one of the Pastors today, if they are 501c3, if they are i am going to minister to him about 501c3. If he tells me he is not interested in changing them that will end our emails! If he does want to change I will inform you of that, and tell him who he can contact. If he wants to stay 501c3 then that ends our going to that church! I appreciate you and what you are doing! God Bless you all, Praise His Mighty Name

_____________________


My reply:

Jerald Finney jerald.finney@sbcglobal.net ; Sep 6 at 2:56 PM

Amen. It is not just 501c3 (and 508) that is of concern. If the church is incorporated, it may as well be 501c3. I do not have time to explain that in an e-mail. Keep up the good work! Below is a link that gives a little information on incorporation and also a link with links to various other relevant matters:

WHAT DOES CHURCH INC. MEAN?: https://jeraldfinney.com/2017/12/22/what-is-a-church-non-profit-corporation/

Short course: important questions answered

Short course: important questions answered

The New Testament of Jesus Christ: His Executor Named and Empowered1. What is a Spiritual entity?2. What is a le…

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney


His last e-mail as of 9/6/19:

______________ <_____________.com> To:Jerald Finney Sep 6 at 4:12 PM

Thank you sir, it is a pleasure talking to you, I am happy that someone like you is out there fighting with us to change this country and our churches! You take care and stay safe! God Bless you!


Part II

I received a call from a man in South Carolina on September 10, 2019 who had left a church and joined another church. He left the church because he tried to talk with the pastor who refused to discuss the matter of church 501(c)(3) status. He also stated that the church had quit preaching important Bible issues such as hell, salvation, etc. The church had become a sort of social club meant to keep the members happy so that they would continue to give.

He and I discussed church incorporation, 501(c)(3) and other matters. I e-mailed him links to materials concerning the trust relationship, incorporation, 501(c)(3) and other matters.


Part III

On September 14, 2019 I talked with a Michigan couple who want to join a non-501(c)(3) non-incorporated church. They have searched for a non-incorporated non-501(c)(3) church near where thy live and they have found none. They are in their 60s and their daughter and grandchildren attend the church.

They like the pastor and want to approach him about getting out of 501(c)(3) status. We talked 2 1/2 hours +.

We discussed many related matters. As to how to approach their pastor, I suggested that they ask him to explain the principles from the Bible which he believes support 501(c)(3) and incorporation of churches. They will be discussing this with him at 2 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday September 16. They said they will let me know what happens.

They said that they have talked to their daughter about this and she relied on Romans 13. I explained that pastors, some of whom know better, simply tell their members that Romans 13 requires them to obey every ordinance of man. Of course, the highest law of the land (both state and federal) guarantee the right of churches to organize according to their religious beliefs–to incorporate or not to incorporate, to get 501(c)(3) status or not. See Render Unto God the Things that Are His/A Sytematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses. I explained some of the false reasons given for church corporate 501(c)(3) status. See, Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities.


Part IV

Click here to go to “Christian frustrated and left church because pastor and church would not discuss or consider the truth about church corporate 501(c)(3) status.” (010819)


Part V

Letter drafted and sent by two church members to their pastors. The letter was to inform their pastors of the evil of corporate 501(c)(3) or 508 status.