More lies of “Christian” law firms and lawyers concerning church organization

Jerald Finney
Copyright © February 11, 2020

See, for analysis of more lies:
False Reasons of “Christian” Lawyers and Pastors for Corporate,
501(c)(3) Status, or Legal Status of Any Kind

“This article [in the Constitution of Massachusetts] was drawn by [a] great lawyer; and men of that profession are interested in supporting religious teachers by force as really as any men in the world; for a great part of their gains come by controversies about religion; and when teachers and lawyers are in confederacy together, they will make words to mean any thing which they please.” Isaac Backus, A History of New England With Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians called Baptists, Volume 2 (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, Previously published by Backus Historical Society, 1871), pp. 328-329. Backus was a Baptist leader who fought against religious establishments (church incorporation) during the colonial period and the years following the adoption of the United States Constitution.

“Christian” lawyers are still lying about facts, law, and history to support unholy union of church and state.

Here are some statements of “Christian” lawyers asked by pastors about establishing a “trust” relationship with property (includes money) so as to keep a church under Christ alone according to New Testament Church doctrine. The conclusions of those lawyers are first quoted in red. Then, each conclusion is requoted followed by a correct legal analysis of their conclusion:

  1. “A church may organize as a trust.”
  2. “No legal or religious reason mandates that legal form of governance [charitable trust].”
  3. “The church is a co-equal sovereign to the government. This position responded to the state-sponsored churches frequently seen in Europe. The early settlers did not want government involved in religion. Churches could not incorporate without becoming subordinate to the government or an instrument of the state. So churches were organized as charitable trusts. In the 1800s, various states began allowing churches to incorporate. Virginia did not allow churches to incorporate until 2006.”
  4. “When the income tax arrived, Congress mandated that churches become tax exempt simply because they are churches. Qualifying charitable trusts are treated as tax-exempt just as a nonprofit corporation under income tax laws. So a church organized as a trust is automatically tax exempt under Section 508 and described in Section 501(c)(3). Organizing as a charitable trust does not avoid classification as a Section 501(c)(3) organization.”
  5. “If the goal is to operate outside of Section 501(c)(3) requirements, nothing prevents a church from organizing as a for-profit entity.” Christian lawyers have assisted pastors in creating such churches. They claim that this is the only other option for a church.”
  6. “Organizing as a trust creates more problems than it solves. For example, trusts are governed by a state statute, just as nonprofit corporations are governed by state statute. In both cases, they are subordinate to the state statutes. In most states, charitable trusts can only amend the trust instrument with state AG and court permission. If charitable immunity exists in a state, the question exists whether it applies to charitable trusts. The fiduciary duty that a trustee owes is higher and more stringent than the fiduciary duty owned by a corporate director. In other words, a charitable trust is not the ideal entity.”
  7. “Corporation sole is an entity recognized in 7 states. It is commonly used by the Mormon and Catholic faiths for their Office of Bishop. The remaining 43 states treat the Office of Bishop as a charitable trust. Corporation sole is frequently listed among the top 5 fraudulent tax schemes. Currently, about 20 Catholic Dioceses have converted to nonprofit corporations in light of sexual misconduct judgments. The Catholics have exposed the weakness of organizing as charitable trusts.”
  8. “I do not think a church subordinates itself to the state by forming a nonprofit Corporation. I do not think Section 501(c)(3) is unbiblical.”

The legal conclusions above are repeated below in red. The correct legal analyses of those conclusions follow in black.

  1. “A church may organize as a trust.”

Correct legal analysis:

Yes, a church may organize as a trust, but a church should not organize as any kind of legal entity, including as a charitable or business trust. By organizing as a trust, a church submits herself to the law of the state of organization since charitable and business trusts and some other types of trusts are creatures of state law. Like an incorporated church, that church has given up much of her First Amendment protection in favor of Fourteenth Amendment status; that church has placed an authority other than the Lord Jesus Christ over the church for many matters.

However, a church can establish a common law trust, which is a relationship with money and property, whereby an appointed trustee holds the trust estate for the benefit of the beneficiary who is the true owner of all money and other property in the trust estate. The beneficiary is the Lord Jesus Christ. When this is done, the church is not organizing as a trust, and the church remains a spiritual entity, under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ only, as long as she does not make mistakes which compromise her status under Christ only. The church retains all her First Amendment protections. She is under God only, not under God and man. Unlike the established church who has submitted herself to an authority or authorities other than the Lord Jesus Christ, she is a law keeper not a law breaker. She honors both God and man. Many American churches are doing this very thing right now; contact this ministry for proof.

See, The Church Bible Trust Relationship Explained and How a Church Can Nullify Her Efforts to Remain Under Christ Only, 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) What God Has Committed to Man’s Trust: “Ye Cannot Serve God and Mammon”: Steward or Trustee?, and the other articles linked to at The Bible Trust Relationship: Essays and Other Resources, which explain the common law trust relationship.

  1. “No legal or religious reason mandates that legal form of governance.”

Correct legal analysis:

True, but incomplete. To be correct, the statement should include:

  • No legal or religious reason mandates any legal form of governance for a church. Legal forms of governance include charitable trust, business trust, incorporation, unincorporated association, and Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) or § 508 status.
  • According to Bible doctrine, a church does not remain under Christ alone should that church organize under man’s law; that is, should she submit to a legal form of governance; “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21; Mark 22:17; Luke 22:25).
  • Churches under Christ are under His authority alone. Churches under man are, at best, partially under man and partially under Christ. “Come out from among them and be ye separate” (2 Corinthians 6:14-17). “You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13).” See, e.g., Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities; Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study or Romans 13 and Related Verses
  • The First Amendment to the United States Constitution and corresponding state constitutional provisions, protect churches who wish to remain outside of both federal and state laws such as Internal Revenue Code tax exemption law, state non-profit corporation law, charitable trust law, etc. The First Amendment religion clause separates church and state. The First Amendment separates church and state, not God and state. For explanation see, Is Separation of Church and State Found in the Constitution?
  • One way for a church to remain separate from civil law is by establishing an irrevocable common law trust, which is nothing more than a relationship with money and property whereby a trustee manages the trust estate owned by the beneficiary, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the true owner of the trust estate.
  • This type of trust is not the church, and the church is not the trust. A church who establishes this type of trust relationship is not a legal entity, as long as she does not do something which nullifies the status of the church as a non-legal entity. See, The Church Bible Trust Relationship Explained and How a Church Can Nullify Her Efforts to Remain Under Christ Only.
  • Banks, which open accounts for these type of trusts, usually send the trust documents to their legal departments for examination prior to opening the trust account. All trusts established by churches with the help of this Churches under Christ Ministry, have opened trust bank accounts. All real estate properties, held in trust for the Lord Jesus Christ, have been and are granted property tax exemption, usually without much trouble from the local property tax board. In two instances, there was trouble, but the trusts prevailed, one in court and one in the agency process, and the real estate got property tax exemption. Property tax exemption is a courtesy given churches, without rules or regulations, by all states since the beginning of this nation, and strengthens rather than diminishes religious freedom. See, Walz v. Tax Comm’n, 397 U.S. 664,, 676-680, 90 S.Ct. 1409, 1415, 25 L.Ed.2d 697 (1970).

See, The Indiana Board of Tax Review Determines that Property Held in Trust for the Lord Jesus Christ Must Be Granted Property Tax Exemption. The trustee, on behalf of the trust, prevailed in the agency process provided for by Indiana law. Links to video of the agency hearing and the FINAL DETERMINATION OF THE INDIANA BOARD OF TAX REVIEW.

See also, Another Victory for a Church under Christ. A 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. In Minnesota, the only recourse is court action. The trust prevailed and the property tax exemption was granted, without trial, after a court petition was filed, motions were entered, and oral argument was made by the parties. The redacted written motion for the petitioner (trustee on behalf of the trust) can be viewed at, PETITIONER’S RESPONSE TO RESPONDENT’S MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF PETITIONER’S CROSS-MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT” (This response was drafted by Jerald Finney).

For much more information on the common law trust used, see, https://jeraldfinney.com/; The Bible Trust Relationship: Essays and Other Resources.

  1. “The church is a co-equal sovereign to the government. This position responded to the state-sponsored churches frequently seen in Europe. The early settlers did not want government involved in religion. Churches could not incorporate without becoming subordinate to the government or an instrument of the state. So churches were organized as charitable trusts. In the 1800s, various states began allowing churches to incorporate. Virginia did not allow churches to incorporate until 2006.”

Correct legal analysis:

The only correct statement in this legal position is the last sentence, “Virginia did not allow churches to incorporate until 2006.” All before that statement is so ridiculous that only a functional illiterate on the subject would either state it or give it any merit. It is totally antithetical to history, to American law, and to what the Bible teaches concerning church and civil government. It is fraught with lies.

In the church state establishments, in Europe prior to and for some time after the colonization of America, the established (incorporated) churches worked hand in hand with the government for the same spiritual and political goals. The church/state establishments enforced all ten of the commandments. Usually dissenters were severely persecuted or killed. Most of the colonies had established churches. These church/state establishments continued to persecute dissenters.

During the American colonial period, a great theological battle, between established (incorporated) churches and dissenters, took place during the period between the arrival of the Anglicans in Jamestown in 1607 and the Puritans in Massachusetts in 1629, and the adoption of the First Amendment to the Constitution in 1791. These establishments enforced all ten commandments and persecuted dissenters. Puritans, for example, wanted freedom of religion for themselves only and relentlessly persecuted dissenters. The result of that spiritual warfare between the establishments and the dissenters led to the adoption of the First Amendment.

The established churches (incorporated churches) in the colonies controlled the state to one degree or another. On the other hand, contemporary established churches (incorporated, charitable trust, 501(c)(3) or 508 churches, etc.) in America have no control over the state whatsoever, but are subject to the law of incorporation under which they became established; the state is the creator and sovereign of the incorporated church for many purposes; 501(c)(3) and 508 churches have no authority over the federal government, but rather they agree to the government rules and regulations that come with the status they voluntarily apply for. The IRS has authority over churches who choose to ask for 501(c)(3) or claim 508 status as to those rules. The IRS can call a church in for violation of those rules, subject to agency hearing and appeal to federal court.

For documented history, see, The History of the First Amendment; see also, Course on History of Religious Freedom (History of the First Amendment).

For more on incorporation see, Is it illegal for a church in America not to incorporate? Does a church have to be a 501c3?; What does church, inc. mean?; Who Is the head of an incorporated church?; Does God Care if our Church is Incorporated? What is an established church?;  What is a First Amendment Church? For more on 501(c)(3) and 508, see What is 501c3?; What is 508?; Should a Church Be a 508 Church?; For answers to other relevant questions, see, Short Answers to Important Questions.

God ordained civil government as well as the institution of the church and church government. He gave civil government jurisdiction over temporal, worldly matters. He gave church government over eternal, spiritual matters. The two are so distinct that they are mutually exclusive. See, The Biblical Doctrine of Government, The Biblical Doctrine of the Church, and The Biblical Doctrine of Separation of Church and State; for shorter, more concise studies, go to Bible Doctrine of Government, Bible Doctrine of the Church, Bible Doctrine Concerning the Relationship of Church and State.

  1. “When the income tax arrived, Congress mandated that churches become tax exempt simply because they are churches. Qualifying charitable trusts are treated as tax-exempt just as a nonprofit corporation under income tax laws. So a church organized as a trust is automatically tax exempt under Section 508 and described in Section 501(c)(3). Organizing as a charitable trust does not avoid classification as a Section 501(c)(3) organization.”

Correct legal analysis:

A church is not tax-exempt just because it is a church. A church can, if she chooses to do so, apply for 501(c)(3) or claim 508(c)(1)(A) status. A church which does not apply for 501(c)(3) or claim 508(c)(1)(A) status is non-taxable under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The acceptance of the federal governments offer for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status is accepted by filling out and filing IRS Form 1023 and by thereafter (after tax exempt status is granted by the Internal Revenue Service) giving out Internal Revenue Service Acknowledgements for gifts to the religious organization. The federal government’s offer of 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt status is accepted by giving out Internal Revenue Acknowledgements to donors, and by complying with the rules and regulations that come with 501(c(3).

The income tax “arrived” in 1913. Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) “arrived” (became law) in 1954. Before 1954, there was no tax exempt status for churches and therefore no rules that go with such status. The federal government offered tax exempt status for churches; and in return, churches who accepted the offer, for such status, agreed to go by the rules and regulations that come with the status.

Unlike the unincorporated non-tax exempt church who retains all her First Amendment protections, an incorporated and/or 501(c)(3) or 508 church (or church organized legally in some other way) has given up much or her First Amendment protections. The former is nontaxable, the latter is tax exempt.

The church under Christ, who rejects any kind of legal organization, retains all her First Amendment protections including her nontaxable status. There is a great difference between tax exempt status and nontaxable status. Only legal entities are tax exempt. First Amendment churches (churches under the authority of the First Amendment only) are nontaxable. The Internal Revenue Code applies to legal entities. The First Amendment and corresponding state constitutional provisions are the only laws which apply to a church who has chosen not to become a legal entity. Without a law taxing any church, or even a particular legal entity, no tax can be exacted by civil government.

The religion clause of the First amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” All taxation is created and controlled by a law made by civil government. Should a church remain under the First Amendment only, she has not submitted to any man made law. The First Amendment guarantees that government cannot force a church to submit to any man made law. Internal Revenue Code Sections 501(c)(3) and 508 are man-made laws.

Churches who choose to become legal entities such as non-profit corporations, charitable trusts, business trusts, unincorporated associations, and/or 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(1) religious organizations render unto Caesar the things that are God’s.

The Internal Revenue Code invites churches to apply for 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A) status. See, e.g.:

501(c)(3) status comes with four rules which those who voluntarily apply for, and are granted the status, agree to abide by:

  • Internal Revenue Code Publication 1828, 2019, page 2. (This portion of Pub. 1828 simply repeats the rules that are stated in IRC § 501(c)(3)) “Churches and religious organizations, like many other charitable organizations, qualify for exemption from federal income tax under IRC Section 501(c)(3) and are generally eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. To qualify for tax-exempt status, the organization must meet the following requirements (covered in greater detail throughout this publication): the organization must be organized and operated exclusively for religious, educational, scientific or other charitable purposes; net earnings may not inure to the benefit of any private individual or shareholder; no substantial part of its activity may be attempting to influence legislation; the organization may not intervene in political campaigns; and the organization’s purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy.”

Churches that claim Internal Revenue Code § 508(c) status are subject to the rules and regulations that come with 501(c)(3) status. The correct position which is held by the Internal Revenue Service is that a church has submitted herself to IRC § 501(c)(3) regulation and ignored her First Amendment status by relying on 508 (a law passed by Congress) instead of the First Amendment. The IRS makes this position clear:

  • Page 2 of IRS Publication 1828states that “churches that meet the requirements of § 501(c)(3) [508 churches] are automatically considered tax exempt and are not required to apply for and obtain recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS” [Bold emphasis added].
  • The IRS repeats this on page 24 of IRS Publication 557, “Tax –Exempt Status for Your Organization.” Under Organizations Not Required To File Form 1023 churches are listed. The following sentence is included: “These organizations are exempt automatically if they meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3).” [Bold, red emphasis added.]
  • See, Church Internal Revenue Code § 508 Tax Exempt Status for thorough explanation.

No law mandates that a church apply for 501(c)(3) status or claim 508 status. Such status, as shown above, is a choice a church freely chooses to make, not a requirement. A church may choose to accept the government offer for tax exempt status or remain non-taxable under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Congress did not mandate that churches become tax exempt, under either Section 501(c)(3) or 508, for any reason, including “simply because they are churches”: the Internal Revenue Service understands this and states in IRS Publication 1828, page 2:

  • “Although there is no requirement to do so, many churches seek recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS because this recognition assures church leaders, members and contributors that the church is recognized as exempt and qualifies for related tax benefits. For example, contributors to a church that has been recognized as tax exempt would know that their contributions generally are tax-deductible.”

501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt status not only come with five government imposed rules, such status also invokes a myriad of regulations. See, e.g., Publication 557 (01/2019), Tax-Exempt Status for Your OrganizationApplication for Recognition of ExemptionExempt Organizations Treasury RegulationsCharities and Nonprofits A-Z Site Index (F-J)Exempt Organization Revenue RulingsPub. 1828, Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations (PDF)Common Tax Law Restrictions on Activities of Exempt OrganizationsExempt Organizations – Ruling and Determinations LettersrExempt Organizations – Private Letter Rulings and Determination LettersExempt Organizations AnnouncementsAnnual Filing Requirements for Supporting OrganizationsExempt Organizations NoticesPublic Disclosure and Availability of Exempt Organizations Returns: Copies of Exempt Organizations Tax DocumentsExempt Organization Revenue ProceduresExempt Organizations UpdateExempt Organizations – Employment TaxesThe Truth About Frivolous Tax Arguments – Section IITermination of Exempt Organization(“… Internal Revenue Code Section 6043(b) and Treasury Regulations Section 1.6043-3 establish rules for when a tax-exempt organization must notify the IRS that it has undergone a liquidation, dissolution, termination, or substantial contraction. Generally, most organizations must notify the IRS when they terminate. Among other things, notice to the IRS of a termination will close the organization’s account in IRS records. …);

  1. “If the goal is to operate outside of Section 501(c)(3) requirements, nothing prevents a church from organizing as a for-profit entity. Christian lawyers have assisted pastors in creating such churches. They claim that this is the only other option for a church.”

Correct legal analysis:

This statement should cause great distress to the knowledgeable believer who loves the Lord. See, A Call to Anguish: Churches Reject God’s Authority (November 21, 2017)(The real meaning of church 501(c)(3) application and status emphasized in analysis of new article: “A New Religion Forms That Will Worship A ‘Godhead’ Based on AI”).

The statement is utterly ridiculous. It defies reason that one who is depended upon for learned counsel, a “Christian” lawyer, would claim that a church can organize as a for-profit entity as the only alternative to seeking 501(c)(3) status. Anyone who would recommend that a church, who names the name of Christ, should organize in such a manner is completely devoid of any understanding of Bible teaching on the New Testament Church.

Becoming a for-profit entity is not the only other option. A church can organize according to New Testament Church doctrine while, at the same time, honoring the Bible principle of separation of church and state and the highest law of the land, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, as well as corresponding state constitutional provisions.

Of course, a church can organize as a for-profit entity. However:

  • Such churches are not New Testament Churches. They are not churches under Christ. They are churches only in the sense that they are assemblies of people coming together for some purpose or purposes. Christ stated that He would build His churches (ekklesias, assemblies)(Mt. 16.18). He knew that there were already “churches,” assemblies of people, “ekklesias.” He knew that some counterfeit assemblies would give lip service to His name and to His Word. Therefore, He said He would build His church. Assemblies, not built by our Lord, are not His.

The Epistles of Paul lay out the doctrine of the church, to include organization, purpose, headship, and all other matters concerning churches under Christ. Churches built by Christ are under the authority of Christ alone (See the New Testament, Ephesians 1.22; Colossians 1:18, etc.).

Fake churches displease our Lord. They are, at best, in God’s permissive will as opposed to His perfect will. They grieve our Lord when they honor Him with their lips, but their heart is far from Him (Ephesians 5:25-27; The Love Relationship between Christ and His Churches as Depicted in Song of Solomon; Christ and His Churches: A Love Story). ). A church organized as a for-profit entity is not in God’s perfect or permissive will. They “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power [authority] thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:5). “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” They abandon truth (1 Timothy 3:15). “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). “For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel” (Colossians 1:5). “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

See, The Question that Changed My Life by David Ryser (This article states, in part: “Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise.’

“Some of the students were only 18 or 19 years old–barely out of diapers–and I wanted them to understand and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by adding, ‘An enterprise. That’s a business.’ After a few moments Martha, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly. Nevertheless, I acknowledged Martha’s raised hand, ‘Yes, Martha.’ She asked such a simple question, ‘A business? But isn’t it supposed to be a body?’ I could not envision where this line of questioning was going, and the only response I could think of was, ‘Yes.’ She continued, ‘But when a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?’ …”).

  1. “Organizing as a trust creates more problems than it solves. For example, trusts are governed by a state statute, just as nonprofit corporations are governed by state statute. In both cases, they are subordinate to the state statutes. In most states, charitable trusts can only amend the trust instrument with state AG and court permission. If charitable immunity exists in a state, the question exists whether it applies to charitable trusts. The fiduciary duty that a trustee owes is higher and more stringent than the fiduciary duty owned by a corporate director. In other words, a charitable trust is not the ideal entity.”

Correct legal analysis:

When a church establishes a common law trust, she has not organized as a trust. A common law trust is not created, governed by, or subordinate to state statute. See “1.” above.

All 50 states have adopted the Uniform Trust Code. The UTC governs charitable trusts and business trusts, among other types of trusts. However, the UTC recognizes the common law trust which is not a creation of state law, but which is recognized by state law. See, for explanation, 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).

The organizational documents, which many churches in America have adopted, establishes a trust relationship with property and spell out many matters in much detail. The documents make clear that the relationship being created is that of a common law trust, not a charitable or business trust; that charitable and business trusts are legal entities and that a church who organizes as any kind of legal entity has violated Bible principle by choosing to become a legal entity, etc. See, Documents which Establish a Church under Christ. For more essays on the common law trust relationship see, The Bible Trust Relationship: Essays and Other Resources.

  1. “‘Corporation sole’ is an entity recognized in 7 states. It is commonly used by the Mormon and Catholic faiths for their Office of Bishop. The remaining 43 states treat the Office of Bishop as a charitable trust. ‘Corporate sole’ is frequently listed among the top 5 fraudulent tax schemes. Currently, about 20 Catholic Dioceses have converted to nonprofit corporations in light of sexual misconduct judgments. The Catholics have exposed the weakness of organizing as charitable trusts.”

Correct legal analysis:

I am familiar with the corporation sole scheme and have exposed it in the online booklet Critique of “Church Freedom and the Corporation Sole” website. Some of the links to online webpages and webposts in that booklet may no longer be good, but the facts have not changed.

  1. “I do not think a church subordinates itself to the state by forming a nonprofit Corporation. I do not think Section 501(c)(3) is unbiblical.”

Correct legal analysis:

God is not interested in what a lawyer thinks. He is interested in what His Word says. This lawyer’s thinking is human thinking with no knowledge, understanding, and wisdom of the Word of God, law, and history. It is the product of postmodernism. Postmodernism starts with an answer and seeks confirmation of that answer rather than truth. Postmodern truth is created by rhetoric which no one has a right to challenge since all “truths” are to be tolerated; all truths, that is, except the intolerable, that which says there is only one truth. Of course, postmodernism is not new. It was instituted in the Garden of Eden by Satan where Satan first deceived man. Satan’s techniques have not changed.

“Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.  For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:1-3).

The reference to Eve, in the above passage, is not accidental, for Eve was a type of the church. As God wanted Eve to remain pure, so He wants His churches to remain chaste virgins. Eve was deceived by lies from Satan—lies which were directly contrary to God’s Word. She was deceived about a simple truth. At the time, she needed no salvation. She was destined for a life in paradise on earth and for eternity. She gave up that earthly paradise and polluted herself because she followed the deception. Just as her deviation from God’s Word had far reaching consequences for her, for Adam, and for every person who has ever lived, the deception of God’s churches has and will lead to dire consequences not only for those churches, but also for millions of people who hear God’s truth, but are like “stony ground,” where the Word of God will not take root and grow.

The tempter would always have us claim God’s promises without regarding His precepts, “which is the practice the tempter would have drawn our Saviour into.” (Isaac Backus, A History of New England …, Volume 2, p. 254 ). The first Adam failed when Satan approached and deceived Eve by misquoting the Word of God. The second Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ, showed us how to face the deceptions of the devil. Satan approached Him in the wilderness where Christ had gone “to be tempted of the devil” (See Matthew 4.1-11; Mark 1.12, 13; Luke 4.1-13). After Christ had fasted forty days and nights, Satan came to him with a threefold temptation. (Ibid.). First, Satan said to Christ, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread” (Matthew 4.3). This was a physical temptation. The Bible calls this type of temptation the “lust of the flesh:”

  • “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (I John 2.15-17; see also, J. Vernon McGee, Matthew, Volume I (Pasadena, California: Thru the Bible Books, revised printing 1980), p. 49).

Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy 8.3: “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4.4).

Then, Satan tested the Lord by taking him into the holy city, setting him on the pinnacle of the temple and inaccurately quoting Psalm 91.11 and 12: “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” (Matthew 4.5, 6; see also, J. Vernon McGee, Matthew, Volume I, (Pasadena, California: Thru the Bible Books, 1980), p. 49). This was the “spiritual temptation.” For Eve it was that she saw the fruit was “to be desired to make one wise.” For the Christian, it is the “pride of life.” (McGee, Matthew, Volume 1, p. 49). Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy 6.16: “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” (Matthew 4.7).

Finally, Satan tested the Lord by taking Him “up into an exceeding high mountain, and [showing] him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, [and saying] unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” (Matthew 4.8, 9). “This, you see, was the psychological temptation. Man lusts for power. Eve was subjected to the same temptation: ‘ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.’ (Genesis 3.5). Many of us succumb to this test.” (McGee, Matthew, Volume 1, p. 50). Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy 6.13 and 10.20: “… Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Matthew 4.10).

Thus, Jesus demonstrated to Christians how to confront the devil: quote the Word of God accurately. This author, contrary to the route taken by most “Christian” lawyers, will attempt to point out the scriptural, not the legal, principles governing the issues and doctrines discussed. He will discuss laws and/or caselaw insofar as they are applicable to and/or comply with or deviate from those principles. The Bible, not the laws, statutes, regulations, executive orders, and cases handed down by the civil government, is the supreme authority which sets the standards which a church is to follow.


The 501(c)(3) Song


See the links to information on church incorporation and 501(c)(3) above. See also, e.g.:

Links to informative articles concerning the common law trust:

How does my church get out of the Southern Baptist Convention?

February 6, 2020

Question Presented

On Wednesday, February 5, 2020, 11:35:38 AM CST, __________________________.com> wrote:

Hi Mr. Finney,

Do you know if my church needs to do anything other than writing a letter to the Southern Baptist to get out of their organization?


NOTE. After a couple more back and forth e-mails (in which the inquirer also said he did not know if his church was 501c3, I sent the following reply:

My Reply

Jerald Finney jerald.finney@sbcglobal.net To:____________________________ Feb 6 at 4:36 PM

Dear ___________________________,

First, would you like to be put on the ministry mailing list? If so, please reply to this e-mail.

Before we talk, please answer the following questions:

  • Does your church wish to organize according to the principles of New Testament church doctrine?
  • Do you want the help of this ministry in doing so?
  • If you want the help of this ministry in doing so, please carefully read the following and the webpages referred to thereon: Need Help?

There are no charges for the services of this Churches under Christ Ministry. See, Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines.

After carefully considering the above questions and if you wish the help of this ministry, we can go on to the issue of withdrawing from the SBC as well as  the church 501(c)(3) tax exempt status and other related matters. To address those matters, I will need to see your church organizational papers and also any documents related to your SBC membership. Can you please do that research and send me any such documents? Also, you will need to determine if your church is incorporated and/or 501(c)(3)? Does the church give IRS acknowledgements for gifts (tithes, offerings, etc.)?

Before having some basic facts, I cannot do more than speculate – a waste or your time and my time.

God bless.

Brother Jerald Finney