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
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