Faith Baptist Church Trust; Kearney, Nebraska

Pastor Clarence Patterson and Faith Baptist Church of Kearney, Nebraska declared the common law trust relationship with property in 2003, the year Pastor Patterson was called to be pastor of the church. Prior to coming to Faith Baptist Chruch, he had pastored incorporated churches since 1979.

I have found Pastor Patterson to be a great hero of the faith, a pastor dedicated to honoring the Lord Jesus Christ and reaching people. His authority is the Word of God and he understands the importance of applying Bible principles in all matters of faith and practice.

He began to study the issue of church incorporation in the early 1980’s because of battles that were going on with state control of churches: for example, the battles over state licensure of Church Schools in Nebraska (which the churches won), the battle over the Roloff Children’s home in Texas, and the Indianapolis Baptist Temple battle in Indiana.

He came to be a close friend and confidant of Dr. Greg Dixon. His reply when a pastor would say something such as, “Dr. Dixon is an idiot” was, “Do you know Dr. Dixon. He would be glad to talk with you and your grievances with him.” The pastor would usually, at that point start stammering and stuttering.

When he was called to pastor Faith Baptist Church in 2003, he taught New Testament principles of church organization. As a result, the church declared a trust relationship with property, thereby rejecting the corporate status.

Website: https://www.faithbaptistofkearney.com/  (click to go directly to website)
Church office: 308-237-5237
Pastor Cell: 308-440-8757
Bus Ride: 308-293-6368
Email: faithbaptistofkearney@gmail.com

A Biblical and Legal Analysis of “How to Start a Church” by Helping Hands Outreach

Other relevant essays and articles:

  1. Church Internal Revenue Code Sections 508(c)(1)(A) Tax Exempt Status (042814)
  2. Federal government control of churches through IRS Code Sections 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) tax exemption (121012)
  3. The church incorporation-501(c)(3) control scheme (121021)
  4.  The Rules and Regulations that Come with Church IRS Code Sections 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) Tax-Exempt Status (031722)
  5. Are Churches Automatically Tax Exempt? (040822)
  6. A Biblical and Legal Analysis of the Helping Hand Outreach Publication, “WHY ALL CHURCHES SHOULD BE A 508(c)(1)(a).”
  7. Legal answer to Pastor’s inquiry concerning whether a potential donor of substantial gift an claim a tax deduction under IRC Section 508 even though the church will not give an IRS acknowledgement (123118)

1 John 2:5: “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”

John 14:23: “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

Please feel free to call me at any time to discuss church organization. If you get a voicemail, please leave a message and I will return your call at any time, as does Helping Hand Outreach. This is a  ministry and does not charge for ministry services or time. God bless.

Jerald Finney
Copyright © April 24, 2022

This article, and the resources linked to herein, explain why  Helping Hand Outreach is devoid of both Biblical and legal understanding. The Bible–not mysticism, man’s reasoning, man’s philosophies, or man’s law–is to be the sole foundation for all matters of faith and practice. The word of God gives the principles which every Christian and church should seek to honor when considering church order. According to Bible church doctrine, “NO CHURCH SHOULD BE 508(c)(1)(A)” or a legal entity of any kind.

Helping Hand Outreach and its website were pointed out to me by a pastor who took the time to seek out the matter of proper church organization. He examined what they had to say. He stated the charges for their services are considerable and continuing. Then he found the Churches under Christ Ministry website, studied materials on the website, and contacted the ministry. He is now organizing the church he is head elder of according to New Testament principles. This article reveals that Helping Hand Outreach – like StartCHURCH, other similar organizations and many “Christian” lawyers and law firms – are worldly organizations that help churches grieve our Lord and dishonor their His Word, the Bible, by violating New Testament church doctrine. They do so  by entangling churches with the state and federal governments. These organizations prey upon the ignorance of pastors, church leaders, and churches. They lead the unlearned into darkness.

Of course, Helping Hand Outreach adds a new twist. The website states:  “We are the leader in starting Faith Based Organizations as 508(c)(1)a)’s. We have been performing for 12 years and our FBO’s are operating in 48 out of 50 states.” They state that all churches should be “508(c)(1)(A).” The truth is that no church should be 508(c)(1)(A), 501(c)(3), or a legal entity of any kind.

When I went to the  website and clicked the “get started” button and filled in the requested information, they sent me an email which read, in part:

  • Thank you for expressing interest in starting a 508(c)(1)(a) Ministry. How your ministry if formed is crucial to what it can and cannot do. Nonprofit organizations are not all the same; some have rights and benefits that others do not.
  • Please complete one of the following options. 1) Fill out the order and pay online through our secure shopping cart at https://www.helpinghandoutreach.com/product/508/ or, 2) Fill out the attached PDF “508 Application” and return with payment of a check or payment made by credit card over the phone.
  • The filing includes the 1) articles of incorporation, 2) certificate of incorporation, 3) certificate of good standing, 4) SS4 with TEIN from the IRS, 5) the charities registration exemption letter, 6) draft bylaws, and 7) sample first minutes of the board meeting. This is a Washington State filing. The 508 is good in all 50 states and recognized in all foreign countries that have signed the Hague Convention. It is common for ministries to be formed in one state but operate in other states. We serve as the registered agent for your organization.
  • The total fees includes recording, all recording fees and the first year of registered agent services is $2500. We do accept pay plans and do not charge any interest on balances. The ministry filing is completed within 20 days.
  • In addition we can acquire an apostille if your ministry will be doing international work. An “apostille” is a form of authentication issued to documents for use in countries that participate in the Hague Convention of 1961. A list of countries that accept apostilles is provided by the U.S. State Department. The fee for an apostille is an additional $30.
  • After formation, once a year the 508(c)(1)(a) Ministry needs to be renewed. The renewal fee, including the state fee, is $110. Please let us know if you have additional questions.
  • Jerald, we look forward to helping you be a light to the world!

See the Endnote for the entire email.

Let me explain, uniquivocally, why “NO CHURCH SHOULD BE 508(c)(1)(A)” and no church should be a legal entity of any kind.

A church dishonors God when she recognizes any authority other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord loved the church and gave Himself for it (Ep, 5:25). He purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28). Our Lord wishes churches to choose to keep Christ the head (authority) over all things to the church (See, e.g., Ephesians 1:22, Colossians 1:18).

A church under Christ alone is a spiritual non-taxable entity only protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and outside the jurisdiction of man’s law. The pastor of such a church, as well as the church, has all the protections of the First Amendment. He can preach as the Lord, not the federal government, leads.

A church who becomes a legal entity of any kind has chosen another authority, civil government, for many purposes. A legal entity is a temporal earthly entity which can contract, sue, be sued, be charged with a crime, or act legally in any other ways. A church can only become a legal entity through man’s law: through non-profit corporation law, unincorporated association law, charitable trust law, business trust law, Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A) tax exemption law, etc. For thorough Biblical and legal explanation see God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application. See also, Short Answers to Some Important Questions for shorter quicker answers to some important matters. A church who chooses to become a legal entity has voluntarily placed herself, as a legal person, under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution for many purposes.

Of course, the Helping Hand Outreach publication has a small amount of truth mixed with a lot of lies. For example, as Helping Hand Outreach states,  there is considerable confusion about what pastors can and cannot say from the pulpit. Their article does not address the cause of the confusion. The cause of the confusion is a lack of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom of God’s word and the application thereof. Pastors and members of churches who choose to remain under Christ and Christ alone have not been confused. They have always, even under penalty of death, preached what the Lord leads them to preach. They have always exercised their God-given freedoms and principles regardless of the laws of civil government. They have always honored civil government as long as civil government law did not require them to disobey God.

America, by making the First Amendment part of the highest law of the land, became the second civil government, with any lasting influence, to protect religious freedom and soul liberty. Originally, the First Amendment applied only to federal jurisdiction. However, in 1833, Massachusetts became the last state to abolish the requirement for church establishment (church incorporation) on the state level. Church legal entity status is a choice, but not a requirement, on the state level. However, most American churches have betrayed God and chosen to become corporations or other types of legal entities on the state level and/or either to apply for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status or claim 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt status on the federal level. The Lord Jesus Christ as sole authority over the church is not sufficient for them. See, The History and Meaning of the First Amendment.

Click here to see what President James Madison, the man who had led the fight for the adoption of the First Amendment in 1791, wrote on February 21, 1811 in vetoing with a bill which would have incorporated a church in Washington D.C.

Because of the First Amendment and corresponding state constitutional provisions, churches can choose, without persecution, to do things God’s way which is explained in the New Testament. The First Amendment provides for religious freedom and soul liberty. The First Amendment protects those churches who choose to remain under Christ alone.

Sections 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt status, not Form 1023 as stated in the Helping Hand Outreach publication, violate the First Amendment. Form 1023 is merely an application form, not a law. The tax exempt law, 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A), violates the First Amendment as to churches. Both 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) are laws passed by Congress and signed into law by the President. The First Amendment says:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Thus, by voluntarily submitting to a law such as 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A), a church has taken herself from under the founding law of the land, the highest law regarding religion, speech, association, and press while submitting to a legislative law which on its face is unconstitutional for churches. Churches choose to do this because of ignorance of God’s will and for perceived “benefits.”

For a complete analysis of church 508(c)(1)(A) status, see Church Internal Revenue Code § 508(c)(1)(A) Tax Exempt Status. That essay explains in some detail matters such as the difference between church 501(c(3) and 508(c(1)(A) tax exempt status, and church First Amendment non-taxable status.

Even a business which does not make a profit will pay no taxes. Is a church to be an earthly temporal organization whose gifts to the corporation operates under man-made law, rules, and regulations? Or is a church to be a spiritual eternal body ordered according to the principles of God and which uses money given to God according to the will of God? The real reason for federal tax-exempt status, whether through 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A), is to assure donors that the IRS will approve tax deductions for gifts. In the event of audit, the donor must show an IRS Acknowledgment from the 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A) church. The IRS may require the giver to the 508(c)(1)(A) church to prove that it was a church he gave to. Of course, 501(c)(3) churches are on the IRS list of approved tax exempt organizations.

By giving IRS Acknowledgments, the 508(c)(1)(A) church claims tax exempt status without having filed Form 1023. She has put herself in the same position, by claiming the same status, as the 501(c)(3) church. She has taken herself from under the First Amendment and put herself under a law, a law which the First Amendment forbids, as to churches.

Of course, churches do not have to worry too much anyway. The IRS, to this point in time, does not have the resources and personnel to keep an eye on churches. Besides, cannot churches and pastors can be trusted to proceed with honesty, integrity, knowledge, understanding and wisdom? Or can they? Those who feel that the 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt church is not under the same rules and regulations as other tax exempt churches certainly cannot.

For analysis of 501(c)(3) see: Federal government control of churches through 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) tax exemption and The church incorporation-501(c)(3) control scheme .

The Helping Hand Outreach teaching, WHY ALL CHURCHES SHOULD BE 501(c)(1)(A), mentions only one rule that comes with 501(c)(3), the Johnson Amendment. The truth is that Sections 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt status for churches come with five rules and a host of regulations. Note Rule 5, “Shall not violate fundamental public policy,” has not “yet” been applied to churches. See, The Rules and Regulations that Come with Church IRS Code Sections 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) Tax-Exempt Status.

No Christian or church should go to Helping Hand Outreach for help with the matter of church organization.

For an examination of many false reasons churches give for legal entity status, see Analysis of False Reasons of Christians and Lawyers for Church Corporate, 501(c)(3), 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt status or Legal Status of Any Kind.


Endnote

508(c)(1)(a) Application
Yahoo/Inbox
  • Dan Peterson <info@helpinghandoutreach.org>Unsubscribe
    To:Jerald
    Tue, Apr 26 at 7:03 PM
    508(c)(1)(a) Application
    Hello Jerald,
    Thank you for expressing interest in starting a 508(c)(1)(a) Ministry. How your ministry if formed is crucial to what it can and cannot do. Nonprofit organizations are not all the same; some have rights and benefits that others do not.
    Please complete one of the following options. 1) Fill out the order and pay online through our secure shopping cart at https://www.helpinghandoutreach.com/product/508/ or, 2) Fill out the attached PDF “508 Application” and return with payment of a check or payment made by credit card over the phone.
    The filing includes the 1) articles of incorporation, 2) certificate of incorporation, 3) certificate of good standing, 4) SS4 with TEIN from the IRS, 5) the charities registration exemption letter, 6) draft bylaws, and 7) sample first minutes of the board meeting. This is a Washington State filing. The 508 is good in all 50 states and recognized in all foreign countries that have signed the Hague Convention. It is common for ministries to be formed in one state but operate in other states. We serve as the registered agent for your organization.
    The total fees includes recording, all recording fees and the first year of registered agent services is $2500. We do accept pay plans and do not charge any interest on balances. The ministry filing is completed within 20 days.
    In addition we can acquire an apostille if your ministry will be doing international work. An “apostille” is a form of authentication issued to documents for use in countries that participate in the Hague Convention of 1961. A list of countries that accept apostilles is provided by the U.S. State Department. The fee for an apostille is an additional $30.
    After formation, once a year the 508(c)(1)(a) Ministry needs to be renewed. The renewal fee, including the state fee, is $110. Please let us know if you have additional questions.
    Jerald, we look forward to helping you be a light to the world!
    May the Lord Bless you and keep you,
    Dan Peterson
    253-459-9553
    Why All Churches Should Be A 508(c)(1)(a)
    Many professionals have been asking for more detailed information on Section 508(c)(1)(a). We have prepared a legal analysis about the legislative history, intent, and court rulings concerning Faith Based Organizations organizing and operating under Section 508(c)(1)(a) and Section 501(c)(3). If you value freedom of speech and freedom to express religion, please click on the link below to our website for this important information.
    Like Twitter
    3501 S 38th St #109, Tacoma, WA 98409, United States
    You may unsubscribe or change your contact details at any time.

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Concerning Stand-alone Ministry outside the Authority of a Local Church and the Obligations of a Church Who Takes a Ministry under Her Umbrella With Comments from a Bible Believing/Preaching Pastor Included

Jerald Finney
Copyright © April 19, 2022

I received the following email today, April 19, 2022.

Hello Brother Finney,

My husband and I are pastors at a 501c3 church. We felt the Lord leading us to start a ministry that He had spoken to us like 30 years ago. We purchased the name “____________ Ministries”. We have an e-mail, a domain name, and recently, we received an EIN number. Then I felt like I needed to go into prayer for directions because I was strongly feeling like “DO NOT BE 501(3)c”. I then ran across an article about 508 (C) 1 (A). And while studying a praying, I felt like that wasn’t the route either. I ran across your site accidently, or rather what I would call, a divine Godly appointment. Anyways, I really don’t know what to do next. I am not registered as anything at the moment (Ex: business, unincorporated or corporation, etc…) I felt like I needed to just email you to see if you could guide me. We feel the Lord leading us to start home meetings under “______________ Ministries” but I want to make sure we do this correctly. I have people that want to send tithes and offerings to _______________ Ministries but we have not set up any financial stuff yet due to wanting God’s direction instead of man’s direction. Could you please advise me as to what we need to do correctly, so that we don’t run into issues with the government or law. I appreciate your time. Please understand that our Ministry is not connected to the Church we are currently pastoring at. We strongly feel that the day may come that the government closes church doors and we are trying to get ahead of this by choosing a different direction that won’t hinder us from preaching the truth of the Gospel so that we may all Glorify God like we are supposed to.

Waiting patiently,
___________


I replied as follows:

Dear ____________________,

Thanks for contacting me about this matter. It is obvious that you wish to please our Lord in your work for him. This reply is motivated by love, love for our Savior. It must be succinct and to the point. The ministry has many resources on the website which more completely explain what I say in this short reply.

This ministry helps “churches” who wish to organize according to New Testament church doctrine. That necessarily requires such churches to reject establishment under any civil government law, including non-profit corporation law, unincorporated association law, charitable trust law, federal tax-exempt law (501c3 or 508c1A), etc. Church-state establishment is, simply stated, church organization by, and under the authority of, civil government as provided by a civil government law. An established church is a two-headed monster who has chosen to commit spiritual fornication.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution and corresponding state constitutional provisions provide that a church can, without persecution, choose to be under Christ alone or under civil government for many purposes. For example, a church man choose to dishonor God by submitting herself to civil government law as opposed to remaining a church under the authority of Christ alone. No church anywhere, anytime, should unify with any civil government whether persecuted of not.

God, in his word, the King James Bible, makes clear that the local church is the only institution he ordained in this age of grace to do His work on earth. All ministry should be under the authority of the local church. That is his perfect will.

I understand that many times God calls someone to do a ministry, a work for him, which no church will recognize or that there is no God honoring church available in a locality. In that case, the one called to that ministry must, through no fault of his own, operate outside the authority of the local church. That is his permissive will.

In your case, the Bible answer must be that your church get right with God and take the ministry under her authority. You propose to create an alter-ego, a collateral ministry alongside your local assembly. This is unacceptable under both God’s law and man’s law for reasons which I do not have time to explain in this brief reply.

A church, in recognizing a ministry, should do more than give that ministry lip service in order to keep the member called to the ministry happy. The church should understand the ministry and agree that the ministry is doing a legitimate work for the Lord. All mature members of the church should have, at the very least, an understanding of the Bible principles supporting the ministry, and they should agree that ministry application of those principles are Biblically correct.

God bless you as you go forward according to his will. I hope this has been of help to you as you seek to glorify God.

For His Glory,
Jerald Finney

Comments concerning the above from:

Pastor Neal Arthur
Home/Church: 814-72-1067
Cell 814-730-2223
Victory Baptist Church
Box 310
Clarendon, Warren County, PA 16313
status74@westpa.net
Wed, Apr 20 at 8:25 AM

Good morning brother,

I don’t know what was more frightening, the two-headed snake or the e-mail you received. She obviously doesn’t know the Scriptures about women preaching to men either. (Or doesn’t care)

An incident similar to this about Biblical ignorance came up, from someone “who should know better, but must be backslidden” is the response I got. It’s quite amazing that I find that the word “backslidden” is applied to every “Christian” who goes off the deep end.

And then as I was looking at II Thessalonians 2:3 just a couple days ago while I was thinking on all of the excuses we make for professing Christians who “fall” into sin it dawned on me, the Scripture says “…except there come a falling away first”,  the Scripture doesn’t say “except there come a BACKSLIDDING first.”

I know there is a big difference between backsliding and falling away into apostasy. The apostate was never saved. I know that we as believers want to give every “professing” Christian the benefit of the doubt, and I for one have experienced the “snakebite” more than once when I fell for “If we err, let’s err on the side of grace” instead of “No, let’s err on the side of caution” and confront this matter head on. I have found that the word “grace” is used as a weapon by modernists and liberals and applied to us fundamentalists when we want to go by the Holy Scriptures and not our feelings. Anyway, just some thoughts brother. Have a great day and God bless you.

Brother Arthur

Living Springs Baptist Church, Idaho

It has been a joy to work with Pastor David R. Hethorn as he has diligently studied and applied New Testament church doctrine before and after declaring the Living Springs Baptist Church Trust. He, as trustee of the trust, has meticulously held and managed the Lord’s property held in the Trust Estate. He has made sure not to do anything that would compromise the New Testament status of the church or the status of the Bible trust as a non-legal entity, a relationship with property only. His path as trustee has not always been convenient, but it has always been successful and correct.

He told me to feel free to announce that you may contact him. He truly enjoys talking about matters of concern to our Lord.

Pastor David R. Hethorn
Couer D Alane, County Kootania, Idaho
509-496-1381
pastor@livingspringsbc.org

The trust has established a website: livingspringsbc.org.

Click the image above to go to the website, livingspringsbc.org.

Click her to go to the Parent Page, Church Common Law Trusts: Real Life Examples with Contact Information.

Are Churches Automatically Tax Exempt?

Jerald Finney
Copyright © April 8, 2022

Regardless of what one has been told or believes, an honest examination of the evidence proves that churches are not automatically tax exempt. See the essay below, and other resources linked to below, for proof of this conclusion. However, “Churches that meet the requirements of § 501(c)(3) are automatically considered tax exempt [under § 508(c)(1)(A)] and are not required to apply for and obtain recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS.” This quote is from IRS publications and is the correct position. If a church does not meet the requirements of 501(c)(3) that church is not “tax exempt.”

Furthermore, according to principles in the Word of God, church tax exempt status is spiritual fornication since she has submitted herself to man’s law, become a temporal legal – as opposed to spiritual eternal only – entity,  and chosen to submit to an authority other than the Lord Jesus Christ as to many church matters. A church can choice is to remain under Christ only as a eternal spiritual organism as opposed to a temporal earthy organizaion. In America, the First Amendment and corresponding state constitutional provisions protect this choice from persecution. This essay, and the other essays and articles on this website explain these matters more comprehensively.

See also:

Jerald Finney
Copyright © April 8, 2022

Many Christians and churches take the position that churches who do not file Form 1023 in order to obtain federal tax exempt status are “automatically exempt.” They believe that Internal Revenue Code § 508(c)(1)(A) grants automatic tax exempt status to churches. Is this position correct? For emphasis, this brief essay will go directly to that one question which I have already answered in more extensive and comprehensive writings such as Church Internal Revenue Code § 508(c)(1)(A) Tax Exempt Status, and  The Rules and Regulations that Come with Church IRS Code Sections 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) Tax-Exempt Status.

A church, because of the First Amendment, can choose either to be automatically non-taxable without any civil government control; or it can choose to be 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt organizations if … (explained below). No if can come with automatic status. Automatically means: “(with reference to a device or process) by itself with no human control.” According to that definition, churches definitely are not “automatically tax exempt.”  Both 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt status come with IRS rules and regulations. See, The Rules and Regulations that Come with Church IRS Code Sections 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) Tax-Exempt Status.  Please let me explain.

508(a),(c)(1)(A) states:

“(a) New organizations must notify Secretary that they are applying for recognition of section 501(c)(3) status

“(c) Exceptions
“(1) Mandatory exceptions Subsections (a) and (b) shall not apply to
“(A) churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches….”

508(c)(1)(A) does not state that churches are “automatically exempt.” Clearly, 508(c)(1)(A) states that churches are mandatory exceptions to the requirement for for filing for Internal Revenue Code § (501)(c)(3) tax exempt status. “Churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches” (not other types of other organizations)  may claim tax exempt status without filing for it. To claim tax exempt status under 508(c)(1)(A) instead of submitting IRS Form 1023 for tax exempt status under 501(c)(3), a church must make clear to the public and to its members that the church is tax exempt (that givers may deduct their gifts on their income tax returns); and, like a 501(c)(3) church, give IRS Acknowledgements to givers.

Rules and regulations come with both 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1(A) tax exempt status.  One cannot separate the status from attributes, rules, and regulations that go with it. The attributes, rules, and regulations of the status define the status. According to 508(c)(1)(A), a church may claim the status without filing for it. Contrary to unlearned “Christian” propaganda, churches who do so are to comply with the IRS rules and regulations that come with the status. The requirements of 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) status are given in The Rules and Regulations that Come with Church IRS Code Sections 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) Tax-Exempt Status.

The IRS, and correctly so, understands this simple truth. Page 3 of IRS Publication 1828 states, churches that meet the requirements of § 501(c)(3) are automatically considered tax exempt and are not required to apply for and obtain recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS” [Bold red emphasis mine]. The IRS repeats this on page 24 of IRS Publication 557, “Tax –Exempt Status for Your Organization.” Under Organizations Not Required To File Form 1023 churches are listed. The following sentence is included: “These organizations are exempt automatically if they meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3).” [Bold italicized emphasis added.].

By placing a church under a civil government law, either 501(c)(3) or IRC § 508(c)(1)(A), a church rejects her First Amendment non-taxable status and accepts the federal government offer for tax exempt status.  Offer and acceptance are necessary fot the agreement, the contract, to be completed. The First Amendment makes clear that a church may choose to retain religious freedom without persecution. IRS  §§ 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) give churches an alternative: giver up First Amendment status as a non-legal entity in favor of Fourteenth Amendment status as a legal entity.

Most churches who obtain either 501(c)(3)  or 508(c)(1)(A) status have already given up much of their their First Amendment protection and status by submitting themselves to state non-profit incorporation law, unincorporated association law, charitable trust law, etc. Churches who are corporations,  Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt, or legal entities of any kind have forsaken higher law by submitting to authorities other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

With 508(c)(1)(A) the government declared in law that they trusted churches and “Christians,” of all people, to understand their actions and to honor their agreements. The government made it more convenient for churches, and for no other type of organization, to obtain tax exempt status. They falsely believed that Christians and churches were bound by a higher law and could be trusted to diligently honor their word.

As mentioned above, one requirement for 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt status is that the church give donors IRS Acknowledgements for tithes, offerings, and gifts. Should the IRS audit a donor who claimed a deduction for gifts to a church, the IRS will want the IRS Acknowledgment; and proof that the giver of the Acknowledgement was a church. If the church has 501(c)(3) status, the proof is on the IRS list of tax exempt churches. If the church has 508(c)(1)(A) status, the IRS may require the person claiming the exemption to prove that the gift was to a “church” even though they should have a copy of the IRS Acknowledgement for the gift.

The real reason churches file for or claim  tax exempt status is to motivate people to give, and to give more. Some Christians will not give to a church who is not on the Internal Revenue Service list. See, for an interesting study on this matter, “Churches, Politics, and the Charitable Deduction” (Ellen P. Aprill, Churches, Politics, and the Charitable Contribution Deduction, 42 B.C.L. Rev. 843 (2001).

To reject the offer of the federal government for “tax exempt” status, all a church must do is to reject all offers of state and/or federal government for combination with civil government (incorporation, charitable trust status, unincorporated association status, tax exempt status under 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A), or union with the state in any other way); refuse to give IRS Acknowledgements for tithes, offerings, and gifts; and make it known that the church is a First Amendment church solely under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Some Christians argue that they don’t care what the government requires in order for granting them the “benefits” of tax-exempt status. They know that their authority, the IRS, probably will not catch them since they do not have the resources to monitor churches and pastors. These Christians and churches take God out of the equation. The Lord knows all and does not honor such behavior by believers and churches. He expects his children to honor their word and their agreements which they voluntarily enter into. They are dishonoring God and man, and ignorance will not excuse their misdeeds:

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Peter 1:1-10).