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.
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?
My reply to his initial question:
On September 5, 2019, at 9:23 PM, Jerald Finney <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
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.
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
Jerald Finney email@example.com ; 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/
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!
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.
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.