Lesson 5: Which term, “STEWARD” OR “TRUSTEE,” is more appropriate in declaring a church bible trust relationship?

Copyright © by Jerald Finney
December 15, 2021

Go to the following webpage for links to additional lessons:
Lessons on the Bible (Common Law) Trust.

Over the years, several have suggested that “steward” is more appropriate. “Why not use the term ‘steward’ instead of ‘trustee’?” For example, a gentleman at an Unregistered Baptist Fellowship Conference said to me something others have commented on over the years, “We use the term steward because Biblical law is over man’s law.”  This article will look at Bible teaching to address this and related matters:  the meanings of the words “steward,” “trust,” “trustee,” “beneficiary,” “trust estate;” the eternal and temporal applications of the relationship; just versus unjust stewardship according to God; and the consequences of just and unjust application of the relationship. This lesson will explain (1) why the term “trustee,” a derivative of the word “trust,” is, in only one context which will be differentiated below near the end of this lesson, the equivalent of the term “steward,” and, therefore, (2) why the use of “trustee” is preferable.

The Bible explains the God-ordained trust relationship with all property and the functions of each party to the trust relationship. See, Trust is a Bible Concept. That relationship has a trustor, a trustee or steward, and a beneficiary. The term “trust” is used in the Bible; “trustee” is explained but the term “trustee” is not used in the Bible. “Steward” is used in the Bible. “Steward” refers to the person to whom someone commits the care and management of his goods for his benefit.

One use of term “trust” references a relationship with property. “Trust,” in the context of the common law trust relationship with property, means:

“Property committed to a person’s care for use or management, and for which an account must be rendered. Every man’s talents and advantages are a trust committed to him by his Maker, and for the use or employment of which he is accountable.”

the suffix -or means a person who is something, such as lessor (a person who leases property) or trustor (a person who establishes a trust relationship with property). A trustor commits to the care of someone God’s property for the sole benefit of God, the owner of the property, the owner of the property held in the trust estate. New Testament churches never owned or falsely claimed ownership of property; they were spiritual entities only, entirely separate from civil government and worldly entanglements. See, Is a Church a Spiritual or Legal Entity? In the context of the Bible trust established by a church, the trustor, a derivative of the term “trust,” establishes the trust relationship, not with property of the church, since the church, when in obedience to the Word of God, claims ownership of no property, but with property of the true owner of all things, God..

The suffix -ee is used (1) with some verbs to make nouns meaning someone who is affected by an action—as a trainee or an employee-and (2) with some verbs to make nouns meaning someone who performs an action—as a lessee, escapee. When added to the word trust, we have “trustee,” someone who performs an action. A trustee holds and manages property for the benefit of the owner of the property. Thus, even though the term “trustee” is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, trustee accurately describes the one to whom God has entrusted His property.

The beneficiary – that is, the true, equitable, and beneficial owner – of the property held in a Bible trust is the Lord Jesus Christ, and all of the properties of the trust estate are held in trust, by the trustee, solely for the benefit of the Lord Jesus Christ who is the true, equitable, and beneficial owner of all property including all property held in the Trust. The trustor, in establishing the church Bible trust relationship with property is not naming or making the Lord Jesus Christ the Beneficiary or the Trust Estate; Christ is the Beneficiary–the true, equitable, and beneficial owner of the earth and all that is in it (Exodus 19:5, Leviticus 25:23, 1 Chronicles 29:11-12, Psalm 24:1, Psalm 50:10, Psalm 89:11, Haggai 2:8).

The term “trust” refers to both temporal/earthly and eternal/heavenly or spiritual relationships. “Trust” relationships are found throughout the Bible, even when the word “trust,” “trustee,” or “steward” is not mentioned. Luke 16 speaks of a temporal material trust, and relates that trust to an eternal spiritual trust. 1 Thessalonians 2.4, and Titus 1.11 speak specifically and solely of the eternal spiritual trust.

The first time the relationship is mentioned is in Genesis 1.27-31, where obviously, although not explicitly stated, the relationship is both earthly and spiritual:

  • “27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. 29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. 31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

All such earthly and spiritual relationships have several essentials: the possession(s); the true, equitable, and beneficial owner of the possession(s); the commitment by the true owner of the possession(s) to another’s care and management; and the one to whom is entrusted the care and management of the possession(s) for the benefit of the true owner. Every Bible dispensation presents a specific stewardship under God.

Only once in the Bible, in Luke 16.1-13, are the words “steward” and “trust” used in the same passage. That passage is concerned with an earthly steward dealing with earthly possessions of his earthly master, the true owner of the possessions. There, “steward” refers to the person who has a duty to manage the goods of his master, for his master’s benefit. However, the Lord makes a connection between one’s earthly stewardship and his eternal stewardship (“Stewardship” means the office of a steward). The Lord says, “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? … “Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Lk. 16.11, 13).

As has been pointed out, “steward,” in one context, has the same meaning as “trustee.” So why not use “steward” instead of using derivatives of the word “trust,” to include “trustee.” The conclusion will answer this question; but first, this brief article takes a further look at “steward” and “trust.”

God entrusted mankind with all possessions, real and personal as well as spiritual. He owned all things—even the body, soul and spirit of man—but left all things, including the real estate, to man to be used for Him. God trusted man with all His earthly and eternal possessions. God committed all to his trust. He was “steward” or “trustee,” the one to whom God entrusted management and care of His possessions.

Now, let us examine the term “steward” and “stewardship” from a Bible perspective. Then we will look more at “trust” and related terms—“trustor,” “trustee,” and “trust estate.”

The term “steward” is found in Genesis 15.2, 43.19, 44.1, 44.4; 1 Kings 16.9; Daniel 1.11; Matthew 20.8; Luke 8.3, 12.42; 16.1,2, 3, 8; 1 Corinthians 4.1,2; Titus 1:7. The word “stewardship” is used only three times in the Bible, all in Luke 16, verses 2, 3, and 4. “Stewardship” simply means “The office of a steward.”

A steward is a man who has charge of another’s goods. As defined in the Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, “steward” means: “(1) A man employed in great families to manage the domestic concerns, superintend the other servants, collect the rents or income, keep the accounts, &c. See Gen. xv. 2—xliii. (2) In Scripture and theology, a minister of Christ, whose duty is to dispense the provisions of the gospel, to preach its doctrines and administer its ordinances. It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 1 Cor. iv.”

The first meaning of “steward” is reflected in several passages of the Bible: Genesis 15.2, 43.19, 44.1, 44.4; 1 Kings 16.9; Matthew 20.8; Luke 8.3, 12.42, 16.1-13 (parable of the unjust steward). Certainly, although not directly dealing with the eternal meaning, many of those stewardships have spiritual applications: Matthew 20.8; Luke 12.42-48 (levels of punishment based upon whether or not the steward knew the Lord’s will), 16.1-13.

The eternal application alone is seen in 1 Corinthians 4.1, 2: “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.  Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”; and Titus 1.7: “For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre.”.

The story of a rich man and his unjust steward, which is related in Luke 16.1-13, is very instructive. The terms “trust” and “steward” are used in that parable. The master committed his goods to the steward’s trust (verses 1 and 11). The master was the beneficiary, “the true, beneficial, and equitable owner.”

The steward in this parable was an out-and-out-crook. He was guilty of malfeasance in office and misappropriation of funds. He wasted the goods of his master. His day of reckoning had come (Lk. 16.3). He was afraid of losing his stewardship, felt he could not do manual work, and was ashamed to beg. However, he, like many, was not ashamed to steal (verse 3). He did not repent, nor did he have regret or remorse for his actions. He was crooked—called “clever” by the world’s standards. He had no training for other work, his age was probably against him, he was too proud to beg, but he was not ashamed to be dishonest. He called all his master’s debtors and gave them big discounts.

The Bible tells us that the world loves its own but hates those who belong to God. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (Jn. 15:18-19). In Galatians 1.3-4, Paul says, “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” Again, in Romans 12.2, Paul says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” “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” (1 Jn. 2:15).

The first commandment of the world is “self-preservation.” A shady business deal is winked at, questionable practices countenanced, and a clever crook is commended by the world. The law is on the side of the crook and the criminal many times. Every man, according to the world’s law, is innocent until proven guilty. God takes the opposite approach. God says that a man is guilty until proven innocent. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Ro. 3.23). A man can never be innocent before God, but he can be justified before Him. When a man trusts Jesus Christ as his Savior, he is justified by faith. See, e.g., Ro. 8.1.

The master did not punish the unjust steward, but commended him. Apparently the rich man got rich using the same kind of principles that his unjust steward used and he commended him, saying that the steward had done wisely. In what way? According to the principles of the world. This is the world that hates Christ. It makes its own rules. The law of the world is “dog eat dog.” The worldly master commended his worldly steward for his worldly wisdom according to his worldly dealings. The Lord Jesus said, “… For the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” That is, the children of this world, of this age, use their money more wisely than do the children of light.

Then, our Lord makes the most shocking and startling statement of all. It concerns the relationship of the “mammon of righteousness,” that is, riches, money: “Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations” (Lk. 16.9). Money is not evil in itself; it is amoral. The love of money is the root of all evil. For believers, money is to be spiritual. Our Lord said that we should lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven. We should be wise in the way we use our money. Then when we “fail” or come to the end of life, we will be welcomed in heaven.

Believers are spiritual stewards (trustees) of all that God commits to their trust; all of which is spiritual. We own nothing as believers. We are responsible to God for how we use His goods. We are to use the “mammon of unrighteousness” to gather spiritual wealth:

  • “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trustthe true riches?  And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own. No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Lk. 16.10-13).

In this parable, the Lord Jesus is saying, “Do you think God is going to trust you with heavenly riches if you are not using properly or rightly the earthly possessions which He has given you?” Are you serving God or mammon? You cannot serve both.

Now, let us review and supplement “trust” and related terms. “Trustor,” “trustee,” and “trust estate” are derivatives of the word “trust,” a concept found throughout the Bible. The suffix “-ee” added to trust results in a new word meaning a person with to whom something is entrusted. A “trustor” is one who entrusts monies and properties to a “trustee” who holds the money and property entrusted to him in “trust” for the benefit of the true, equitable, and beneficial owner, the “beneficiary.”

Some meanings of trust, as given in the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary, are: “(1) Confidence; a reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship or other sound principle of another person. He that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe. Proverbs 20.25. (2) Something committed to a person’s care for use or management, and for which an account must be rendered. Every man’s talents and advantages are a trust committed to him by his Maker, and for the use or employment of which he is accountable.” In the context of definition (2), the word “trust” is mentioned four times in the Bible:

  1. “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts” (1 Thes. 2.4).
  2. “According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust” (1 Ti. 1:11).
  3. “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called” (1 Ti. 6:20).
  4. “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who [what trustor] will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own” (Lk. 16:11-12)?

In all these references, that which God entrusted was not material and spiritual, but spiritual only—“the true riches.”

The Lord spoke of this concept of trust, in conjunction with an earthly temporal example, in Matthew 25.14-30 and Luke 19.12-27, although He used neither the word “trust” nor “steward or stewardship.” He spoke of an earthly master leaving certain amounts of his goods or money with his servants, according to their abilities. Actually, the more important parallel spiritual meaning was to the Lord and His servants. The master had an absolute right to his own goods, but he distributed to his servants to be used for the benefit of the master, the servants to be awarded according to their profitable use of the property entrusted to them. Some used the money productively and upon the master’s return presented him with a profit. The property belonged to the master, and the servants were to use it for the master’s benefit, not for their own benefit. Of course, they would be rewarded if they used the property wisely for the benefit of the master. One servant in each example returned only the original amount left in trust with them. The master instructed that the goods which he had left with the unprofitable servants be taken from them, and they were left with nothing. The profitable servants were rewarded by the master. In the story found in Matthew, the Master said, “[C]ast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt. 25.30). Men, as servants of the Master are likewise left in trust of all things for His benefit and will be rewarded or punished according to their use of His goods.

In conclusion, the words “steward” and “trustee” signify the same thing. However, the use of the term “trustee,” a word derived from the word “trust” by adding the suffix “-ee”  is preferable to the use of “steward” when describing the entire relationship. Why? For six reasons taken together. First, in only one context do the terms “steward” and “trustee” mean the same thing.

Second, the one time “trust” and “steward” are used in the same immediate verses, “steward” denotes the person with the responsibility over another’s goods and “trust” is used to signify the fiduciary relationship with the master’s goods or property (Lk. 16). Even though “steward” is the one with the duty to rightly administer the goods the master commits to his trust, the name given to the arrangement is “trust.”

Third, nowhere in the Bible are all the terms involved in the relationship reduced to singular (as “trustor”) or modified terms (as “trust estate”); yet, those terms accurately explain elements of the trust relationship even though the specific terms are not in the Bible.

Thus, fourth, the use of “trust” and derivatives is more practical. The term “trust” as a noun (and as an adjective) and its derivatives, more succinctly describe all aspects of the relationship: “trustor,” “trustee,” and “trust estate.” On the other hand, the term “stewardship” is less adaptable: one can interchange “steward” and “trustee;” but the word “trust” describes the overall relationship. No word derived from “steward” describes the person who establishes the stewardship (the “trustor”). No word derived from “steward” describes the estate the steward is responsible for (“trust estate”)—er, perhaps the “stewardship estate?”; but stewardship means the office of a steward. Parallel words leave less room for argument and misunderstanding. Imagine trying to explain these matters to a lost person.

Fifth, the church, not God declares a Bible Trust relationship with property. To repeat: “Steward” refers to the person to whom someone commits the care and management of his goods for his benefit. In the church Bible Trust context, the church, the trustor, not God, commits the care and management of God’s goods for God’s benefit.

Finally, American law, although not establishing the Bible concept of trust, recognizes it. See, Trust is a Bible Concept. In so doing, American law uses the Bible term “trust” and its derivatives.  For example, American Jurisprudence 2d Trusts, a highly regarded encyclopedia of American law, describes “trust” in § 1, as follows:

  • “The fundamental nature of a trust is the division of title, with the trustee being the holder of legal title and the beneficiary that of equitable title. By definition, the creation of a trust must involve a conveyance of property.
  • “A ‘trust’ exists where the legal title to property is held by one or more persons, under an equitable obligation to convey, apply, or deal with such property for the benefit of other persons. A trust has been defined as a fiduciary relationship with respect to property, subjecting the person by whom the title to the property is held to equitable duties to deal with the property for the benefit of another person, which arises as a result of a manifestation of an intention to create it. The Restatement definition is similar, providing that a trust, when not qualified by the word ‘resulting’ or ‘constructive,’ is a fiduciary relationship with respect to property, arising from a manifestation of intention to create that relationship and subjecting the person who holds title to the property to duties to deal with it for the benefit of charity or for one or more persons, at least one of whom is not the sole trustee.
  • “Caution: A trust consists not only of property, but also of the trust instrument, the trust’s beneficiaries and trustees, and the trust administrator [if any].”

American Jurisprudence 2d, Trusts § 2 makes clear that a “trust” is not a legal entity, but merely a fiduciary relationship with property. For one thing, this means that the one cannot sue the trust, since it is not recognized as a legal entity. This is not true of a “business trust,” a “charitable trust” or some other legal extensions of the “trust” relationship. See, FORWARD: A CHURCH WHO ESTABLISHES A BIBLE TRUST RELATIONSHIP WITH PROPERTY IS NOT ORGANIZING AS A TRUST.

Even though particular words are not necessary to create the Bible Trust relationship, as a study of God’s Word reveals, using certain words is a simplified way of declaring the Bible Trust relationship. “No particular words are necessary to create a trust if there exists reasonable certainty as to the intended property, object, and beneficiary. Further, the purpose and intention, rather than the use of any particular term, determines whether a valid trust has been established.” American Jurisprudence 2d, Trusts § 65. The preservation of God’s Word exactly as inspired by the Holy Spirit is very important to God. See, e.g., Psalm 12:6-7, Deuteronomy 4:1-2, Proverbs 30:5-6; Revelation 22:19. Within those Words are concepts which God wishes His children to understand, apply, and obey.

The important thing for the born again believer, regardless of the terms used, is that he handle the use of God’s properties, all of which are spiritual to a born again believer, according to the principle of trust as described in the Bible. Those faithful and wise churches who remain under God only will be blessed by their Lord. However, churches who choose to leave their first love by placing themselves at least partially under the state (for example, corporate (aggregate of sole) 501(c)(3) or 508 churches), have left their first love and betrayed their Lord’s trust. They are unfaithful and act unwisely; they act either knowingly or unknowingly and will  punished accordingly (see Lk. 12.42-48; see also Lk. 16 discussed above).

Lesson 4: The Wisdom of a Written Declaration of Trust

Copyright © by Jerald Finney
December 14, 2021

Go to the following webpage for links to additional lessons:
Lessons on the Bible (Common Law) Trust.

Wisdom dictates that the best course of action for a church organized according to New Testament Church Doctrine is to properly write and execute a declaration, with supporting document(s), of the principles behind and terms of their Bible Trust agreement. One good name for this type of writing is “Declaration of Trust (‘DOT’).” A “declaration” is a publication or manifestation. Such a declaration will keep a church out of trouble as long as the terms of the trust are  honored and maintained. An oral church Bible trust relationship with property will most likely, sooner or later, get a church into trouble. This lesson will cover the reasons why wisdom recommends the use of a written declaration and supporting documents.

Should a church repent of an unbiblical church organization—such as incorporation, unincorporated association, Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) or § 508(c)(1)(a) status—biblically correct and comprehensive documents set the stage for implementation of the new, Christ-ordered direction and organization of the church. For churches already organized and operating according to New Testament Church Doctrine (for example, the church owns or leases no property whatsoever, holds no bank account or money, holds no insurance, etc.), written declaration agreed to by church members educates and eliminates ignorance concerning New Testament Church Doctrine. Proper documents perpetually benefit, educate, and set an example for present and future members of a church, other churches, the general public, and the world. Comprehensive and correct documents obey, glorify, and please God by, among other matters:

  • Stating the New Testament doctrines and principles relied on for church organization under Christ and Him alone;
  • Stating New Testament doctrine concerning church, state, and the God-ordained relationship between church and state;
  • Stating the legal basis upon which a church relies for church organization under the authority of Christ and Him alone;
  • Stating and define the elements of the irrevocable common law trust; and
  • Defining the nature of the irrevocable common law trust, a relationship with property only, a non-legal entity.

A DOT which declares a Bible Trust relationship totally conforms to Scriptural principles and guidelines. See Lesson 3: Trust is a Bible Concept. It, with supporting documents, makes clear to all that the church, as trustor or settlor, remains a spiritual entity and closes the door to all legitimate arguments that the church is a legal, as opposed to a spiritual, entity.

If the trust relationship is understood, honored, declared, and correctly applied and managed, a correct DOT and supporting documents settle arguments about the intent and terms of the trust, the principles and facts relied upon, and the intended ownership and management of the trust estate. No disgruntled church member can rewrite or control the terms of the trust agreement (without support of the other members). No such member can argue that any type of contract, charitable trust, or other legal arrangement was intended or implemented.

Remember, only a legal entity can be sued or charged with a crime. A court has no jurisdiction over a church which is not a legal entity, a church under Christ alone, a First Amendment church. See Lesson 1: The basics of the Bible Trust and how a Church which has established a Bible trust can become a legal entity thereby nullifying status of the church as a spiritual body under Christ and Christ alone. Should a misguided member attempt to sue the church, a designated church member, probably the pastor, should make a special appearance in court contesting jurisdiction. The representative should point out that the church is a First Amendment church as opposed to a Fourteenth Amendment church which is a legal entity such as a church which is a legal entity such as an incorporated (sole or aggregate) church, an Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt church, a charitable trust church, or an unincorporated association church. He should point out that the church has no constitution, by-laws, employees, salaries, bank accounts, etc.; that the church owns or leases no property. The church itself judges all matters within the church. See, 1 Corinthians 5 and 6.

The door is closed for church member to control Lord’s property and/or to control the spiritual direction of the church. the Declaration makes clear (1) that the trust property and monies belong to God, not to the church and are to be administered by the trustee solely for the benefit of the Lord Jesus Christ, the owner of the trust estate, according to His will as given in the Word of God, not the benefit of the trustee, and (2) the duties and powers of the trustee. Of course, Ephesians 4:1-16 explains the correct manner of dealing with differences Endnote [i].

No government law, court, agent, or officer can argue the type of trust created or the intent of the creator(s) of the trust agreement. The state cannot order the church to shut down or place other rules on the church. Of course, God allows free will to every civil government; He allows a state to exert tyrannical authority over individuals, but the state cannot exert any authority over a church under Christ alone.  Nor can a state control or take authority over the trust because the trust is not a legal entity. The trust is a relationship with property. A tyrannical state can exert unlawful control over property.

The written Declaration, if in conformity to Bible principles, serves as the light and authority as to intent and terms. Should anyone dispute the terms of the trust relationship, the Declaration serves as the standard. The declaration and supporting documents make clear that all trust property belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ and is to be used solely for His benefit according to His will given in the Word of God. The DOT makes clear that the trustee may not utilize, sell, or encumber any trust property for his own benefit.

A properly worded and executed declaration and supporting document(s) are solid proof that neither the trust agreement thereby declared nor the trustor church are legal entities subject to the authority of man. The documents make clear that (1) the church is organized according to Bible doctrine, a spiritual entity under God alone, not  creature of the state—a business, a business trust, charitable trust, non-profit corporation, unincorporated association, Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) or § 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt religious organization and that (2) the church is  not a two-headed monster, at best partially under the state and partially under God, or partially or totally under the state.

Keep in mind that a church can assume the status of a legal entity by hiring employees, paying salaries, holding a church bank account, purchasing property or insurance, leasing property, submitting to court jurisdiction, or acting legally in any other way. A church under Christ is organized and operates within the parameters of New Testament church doctrine.

The church under Christ alone can do all that a church under man, a church which is a legal entity, can do and more. Unlike the compromised church under God and man (the church which is a legal entity), she can glorify and please God in her organization and operation. She can have the use of a meetinghouse, vehicles, pews, seats, computers, etc. owned by the Lord not by the church.

In all matters, she can honor both God and man. For example, church members can resolve that a certain weekly, bi-weekly, monthly gift from the trust estate (which is owned by the Lord) will go to support the pastor and his family since this corresponds to the will of the Lord as given in His Word. The pastor can report this on his income tax return, but not on Schedule C, or not as wages, tips or salaries. He should report the gifts received as “other” on Schedule 1.

The trust arrangement honors both God and man. God’s light shines through and God is glorified by biblically correct documents which declare the Bible Trust relationship. A church declaration of trust, whether oral or written, as long as not compromised through improper church action, sets in place the Biblical principle of separation of church and state. America’s highest man made law, the First Amendment religion clause, is a statement of the Biblical principle of separation of church and state. See, for explanation, Is Separation of Church and State found in the Constitution?


Endnote [i] Ephesians 4:1-16: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 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: 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; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 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.”