___________________________ To:firstname.lastname@example.org Thu, Feb 20 at 12:15 AM
I have a ministry that I have done since 2010 actively. I have regular records of activities, but have lived by and on faith. About 4 years ago, a man I met on a nationwide prayer call set up a 508c1a foundation for me with a clear Christian statement but the Lord always said to operate only on faith though some donations have been given. The next phase of what the Lord has called me to requires unity of believers nationwide and will require a lot of funding – major donors. This is the first time He has even allowed me to proceed in anyway with obtaining funding. I have some donors interested but, of course, they want the 501c3 write off they are familiar with. I prayed about it and the Lord clearly said No to a 501. So I began to research and and came across your site.
Can you help point me in a direction where donors might have the documentation they could feel comfortable with? And/or would you recommend not using the 508c1a? I have read about the Sole Corporations. It’s very confusing and I understand peoples hesitancy. I also read on a site called start church – they warn against all of it and say the IRS code doesn’t release you from the regulations of the 501.
Of course, accountants and attorneys I have talked with have been of no assistance and basically help cement fear – which is also where late donors will go for advice. I do however have some that may be open and also some that may not care about the write off but those will not create enough revenue for what we need. I am open to keeping books and spending open for all to see and/or can document history of the work I’ve been doing. Can you point me to account or “authority” who can help validate?
Thank you for any assistance.
I humbly, in love, respond to your concerns. First, let me respond to your primary concerns:
- 501(c)(1)(A) puts an organization in the same position as 501(c)(3). For explanation, see Church Internal Revenue Code § 508(c)(1)(A) Tax Exempt Status.
- Although you are already against 501(c)(3) status, for full understanding of 501(c)(3) status, see, Federal government control of churches through 501(c)(3) tax exemptionand The church incorporation-501(c)(3) control scheme. For a thorough look at the issues of 501(c)(3), 501(c)(1)(A), and church legal entity status such as incorporation, see Separation of Church and State: God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities?
- As to the corporation sole, see Critique of “Church Freedom and the Corporation Sole” Website. The links to that website may no longer be good, but the principles for corporation sole have not changed.
- The site, Start Church, is a very deceiving website. The authors of that site are con artists who do not understand the Bible doctrine of the church, but take advantage of unknowledgeable, unwise “Christians.” However, what they told you about corporation sole is very true. The corporation sole is nothing more than another form of incorporation. See the article in 3 above for full explanation.
Your inquiry raises some important questions:
- Does one learn the mind of God on this matter directly by revelation of God and nothing else?
- Where does one learn what God teaches about the organization, if any, which God ordained to do His work?
- For example, was the “church” founded and preserved by tradition and revelation to individuals only, not by unchangeable written Word?
- To what authority can one appeal for verification that a revelation of an individual is from God?
- As to a related issue: “What if one’s prophesies, or even a single prophesy, are proven to be false? Is the prophet a prophet of God?”
- Cannot anyone claim to have the truth, received by direct revelation of God, about doing the work of God or some other matter?
- If God preserved His precepts concerning a matter or matters in a written Word, do we have that Word in English?
- If God, in His Word, ordained an institution to do His work, what is that institution?
- If He ordained such an institution, did He give precepts for the organization, goals, purpose, fate, headship, etc. of that organization?
This ministry is founded upon a belief that the Bible is the basis for all matters of faith and practice. Of course, the Holy Spirit of God indwells every believer, and, among other things, teaches individuals the truths that are proclaimed in God’s Word. However, such truths are learned with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, through diligent study of the Bible. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Of course, the truth is to be preserved by churches under Christ. See, EN [i].
The Bible, in the New Testament, teaches the doctrine of the church; and lays out, in the epistles of Paul, all that a believer needs to know concerning a local church under Christ. Christ declared that He would build His church (Matthew 16:18), speaking of the institution of the church which is, for the present time, made up of local, autonomous, spiritual bodies under Christ.
The Epistles of Paul develop the doctrine of the church. They explain how, when, and of what materials, that church should be built, and what should be its position, relationships, privileges, and duties. Through Paul alone, as inspired by the Holy Spirit, we know that a church is not an organization but an organism, the body of Christ; instinct with His life, and heavenly in calling, promise and destiny. Through him alone, we know the nature, purpose, and form of organization of local churches, and the right conduct of such gatherings.
The church was a mystery “hid in God,” a wholly new thing proclaimed and founded, but not explained, by Christ. The revelation of this mystery was committed to Paul (See Ephesians 3). The divine purpose of the present local church, and the future eternal church (assembly), was to make Jew and Gentile a wholly new thing—Christ’s body.
Nowhere in God’s Word can one find authority for any institution, other than the church, to do God’s work. Every ministry, according to the Word of God, should be under the authority of a local, autonomous, church under Christ, for good reason. See, EN .
Another issue raised by your inquiry is unification of believers nationwide. Again, nowhere in the Bible can one find any teaching which would support such a thing. First, the Bible predicts apostasy for the church. To understand this, see the essays on heresy and apostasy at The Biblical Doctrine of the Church. The Bible teaches that there will always be a remnant of churches under Christ and believers who follow His commandments and precepts as given in the Word of God, but the professing church will go into apostasy. The great majority of “Christian” churches in America are now apostate or on the path to apostasy.
Second, Christ did not call His children and His churches to unify all believers. Their commission is given in Matthew 28:19-20, 16:15-16, and Luke 24:47. Of course, a local church is to seek unity. Again, see EN .
Third, one cannot unify those who differ on essentials. Some essentials are:
- A common authority. Churches and believers refer to many so called “interpretations” of the “Bible” as their authority. All those “interpretations are significantly different. Since one cannot refer to a non-existent original of the Word of God, which of those interpretations should one use. Which would be used by a “unified” nationwide organization? This ministry believes that God has kept His promise to preserves His Word—the King James Bible, in English. See, The King James Bible.
- A common understanding of the doctrine of the church. This ministry bases what it believes concerning the God-ordained institution for doing His work upon the King James Bible. See, The Bible Doctrine of the Church. Mass confusion and disagreement on this and many other matters among “believers” is the order of the day in America.
- A common understanding of the Bible doctrine of government. See, The Bible Doctrine of Government.
- A common understanding of the Bible doctrine concerning the relationship of church and state. Catholicism, Protestantism, the Charimatic Movement, Pentecostalism, and others, believe in union of church and state. Historic Baptists, as does this ministry, believes that the Word of God supports separation of church and state. See, Bible Doctrine Concerning the Relationship of Church and State. For an explanation of the ongoing theological warfare between various beliefs, and a history of the persecutions of dissenters against Protestant/Catholic union of church and state, and other matters, see, The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus/A Case of Premeditated Murder: Christian Revisionists on Trial.
Our Lord knew that unity would be impossible in this present age. His Word makes this clear. Forgive me for not giving you more Bible authority to support this conclusion; I think I have given you enough information to consider as you move forward. I am sure that you understand, after reading this response, that this ministry helps New Testament Churches under Christ only; and not other extra-Biblical organizations.
Brother Jerald Finney
2 Corinthians 10:5 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
Colossians 2:6-8 “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
[i] Ephesians was written to the local church at Ephesus, and the principles therein are applicable for every local church under Christ.
Ephesians 4:11-16: “11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.