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.”