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Lessons on the Bible (Common Law) Trust
Copyright © by Jerald Finney
August 18, 2021
A Bible (common law) Trust is not a legal entity; it is not a legal organization; it is recognized by man’s law, but it is not created by man’s law; man’s courts cannot assume jurisdiction over a church Bible Trust or a church who maintains her non-legal status. When a church applies and practices the concept of the Bible Trust, she is not organizing as a trust and she is not becoming a legal entity under man’s law. When a church is organized and operates according to New Testament church doctrine, she is applying the Bible concept of trust. See, TRUST IS A BIBLE CONCEPT. As explained in the lessons which follow, a Bible Trust is nothing more than a relationship with property. See BASICS OF THE BIBLE TRUST RELATIONSHIP AND HOW A CHURCH CAN NULLIFY THE TRUST RELATIONSHIP. A church can practice this concept of trust with the Bible as their sole authority and guide; no other documents are necessary. She will not have agreed to abide with state incorporation law, charitable trust law, Federal Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) or Section 508(c)(1)(A) law or any other law of man. She can do everything God’s way. However, should that church wish God’s money to be held in a bank account or should she want the title to God’s real estate for a meetinghouse to effectively be held in His name, she will need to execute proper trust documents. Many churches in America have done and are doing just that.
A church who organizes under man’s law, under a law of civil government, is an established church (a “state church”). Such a church is under the authority of the civil government under whose law she organized, to one degree or another. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution and corresponding state constitutional provisions guarantee religious freedom and soul liberty. In America, a church can choose to remain under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and him alone, without persecution; or she can choose to become a state church.
Like non-profit corporations, some types of trusts are legal organizations which are created by state law. For example, charitable and business trusts are formed by contracting with state government. A church can contract with the state under state law to become a charitable or business trust. When the state grants the application, the church becomes a charitable or business trust, a legal entity, subject to the authority of state government for many purposes.
Many churches who have established a Bible Trust will say, “Our church is organized as a trust.” Not so. These lessons make clear that a church who executes a Bible Trust is not organizing as a trust; rather, she is establishing a relationship with property consistent with New Testament Church Doctrine. By so doing, she can operate according to all New Testament Church Doctrine, something which a state organized church cannot do even should she dishonor her contract with the state and disregard all the rules and regulations she agreed to. A church who does not honor her worldly agreements is dishonoring God; she is dishonest. Churches who choose to organize under civil government authority include those who have chosen to become non-profit corporations, charitable trusts, business trusts, unincorporated associations, and/or religious organizations subject to the rules and regulations that come with federal tax exemption law (Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) or Section 501(c)(1)(A)).
A church who does not draft and execute Bible Trust documents, and who is organized and managed according to New Testament Church Doctrine has established a Bible Trust relationship with property. However, drafting Bible Trust documents is wise. Without documentation, money held in trust for the owner of that money, the Lord Jesus Christ, cannot be placed in a bank checking account. Other advantages of executing documents include:
- Well-drafted documents leave no room for argument among church members or anyone else about essential Bible Doctrines and other relevant matters (which most pastors and other church members, “Christian” lawyers, Bible Colleges, seminaries, etc. have never studied, taught, and applied).
- Well-drafted documents educate present and future church members as to: New Testament Doctrine and American law concerning religious freedom and soul liberty; the Bible Doctrines of church, government, and God’s desired relationship between church and state; the nature of the Bible trust, the elements of the Bible Trust; appointment of successor trustees, powers of the trustee, limitations on the powers of the trustee (For example, the proceeds from sale or conveyance of any trust property cannot inure to his or anyone else’s benefit. All property held in trust must be held, managed, and conveyed solely according to the will of the Lord Jesus Christ as expressed in his Holy Word.); and other important matters.
- As to the world, bankers and their lawyers will be educated in all these matters because the trustee presents the documents to the bank when opening a trust (not a church) bank account. Likewise, county assessors, county attorneys, and other local (and possibly city, county, state officials) will be educated should the trustee apply for a property tax exemption (which comes with no strings attached) on trust real estate used for “religious” purposes only.
- Well drafted documents make it possible for real estate for a meetinghouse to be owned or leased in the name of the trust, not in the name of the church. All property held in the trust estate is owned by the Lord Jesus Christ. See TRUST IS A BIBLE CONCEPT. A church who holds or leases property in the name of the church is acting legally and is a legal entity and is under the authority of the state for many purposes. See, BASICS OF THE BIBLE TRUST RELATIONSHIP AND HOW A CHURCH CAN NULLIFY THE TRUST RELATIONSHIP
- Should a church who establishes a Bible Trust remain true to Bible Church Doctrine openly shine the light of truth as to her organization, members of the community, other churches, and members of other churches will have an example of how churches can do things God’s way. Some may then act on what they have learned. Blessings follow when churches do things God’s way; curses (as we are witnessing by observing the state of individuals, families, churches, and the nation).
Many churches, a small remnant, are doing things God’s way as to church organization. Some of those, as they should, let their light shine. They let everyone know that they are honoring their Bridegroom, their Head, their Espoused in church organization and operation. Sadly, some keep what they have done as undercover as possible since they do not wish to offend anyone. Is this following in the footsteps of Jesus? After all, Christ purchased the churches with his own blood; he loved the church and gave himself for it (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:25).