Copyright © May 21, 2020
Believe it or not, another false reason by some unlearned believers for church establishment (corporate, 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt status, charitable trust status, or any church status created, defined, and controlled by man’s law) is: “The Bible does not say that a church should not incorporate, get tax exempt status, or organize under man’s law.” Another pastor stated the same argument in a different way: “We are Bible believers. If the Bible says not to do something, we do not do it.” The problem with the argument is that New Testament Principles for a Church under Christ teach the Holy Spirit led believer who studies the matter that a church should not submit herself to any authority other than the Lord Jesus Christ (See, e.g., Matthew 16:18; Ep. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18, etc.).
“Legal power, or a right to command or to act; as [the authority of God over all the lower powers or authorities which God ordained – individual government, family government, civil government, and church government, (see Romans 13 in context with the Old and New Testaments)], the authority of a prince [civil government] over subjects, and of parents over children. [Power of a civil government over a church is illegitimate, according to the Word of God]. Power; rule; sway. Legal power, or a right to command or to act; as the authority of a prince over subjects, … of parents over children, [or the authority of a civil government over a church]. Power; rule; sway. Government; the persons or the body exercising power or command; as the local authorities of the states.” (1828 WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY, definition of “authority.”). For a thorough Bible explanation of the authorities that God ordained, see Part One of: God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application.
Status as a legal entity of any kind is a product of man-made law (civil government law) and gives the civil government authority over a church in many matters. Civil government, man’s law, creates and is sovereign, for many purposes, over a church corporation, a church Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) or § 508(c)(1)(A) federal tax exempt organization, a church charitable trust, etc.
- For an understanding of church incorporation, see What does church, inc. mean? and the resources linked to thereon.
- A corporation sole is a legal entity, just as is a non-profit corporation; and just like a church which chooses the corporation aggregate status, the corporation sole has chose to place another authority other then the Lord Jesus Christ over the church as to many matters. The only difference is that the corporation sole has only one officer. For an examination of the church corporation sole scheme which is peddled to churches, see Critique of the “Church Freedom and Corporation Sole” Website.
- To understand Internal Code § 501(c)(3) or § 508(c)(1)(A), see What is 501c3?, What is 508? and the resources cited in those short essays.
The following verses are instructive concerning God’s feelings toward the chastity and faithfulness of His churches:
- Ephesians 5:23-27: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
- 2 Corinthians 11:1-3: “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 Timothy 3:5: “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power [authority] thereof: from such turn away.”
Clearly, a church, like a wife, who submits herself to an authority other than her God ordained authority grieves our Lord. Consider the feelings of a husband at home one day when his wife comes in the door with her arms around another man with a big smile on her face. The wife says,
“Dear, I want you to meet Joe. I met him a couple of months ago. Since that time, we have spent a lot of time together, eating out, talking. I have found Joe to be a very wise man. His thoughts and ways differ from yours and are, in many respects, better than yours. You could learn a lot from him. He is willing, with your approval, to work with you and me to make our lives better. If you choose to work with Joe, he will also help us financially. Will you welcome Joe as an authority in our marriage?”
See the following resources for an help in understanding God’s desired church/state relationship:
- For answers to other relevant questions in short essay form see: Short Answers to Some Important Questions.
- For a thorough explanation of all related matters concerning God’s desired relationship between church and state, see: God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application. For a shorter study, see Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities?