801 Elgin Street, Amarillo TX, 79118; 512-785-8445
The Bible Answer to the Question, “Is an Incorporated 501(c)(3) or 508 Church a Church of Christ?” (Prepared for a talk given at the September 16-19 Liberty Baptist Church of Albuquerque, NM, Southwest Baptist Heritage Camp Meeting. Click here to go to Part I of the video of that presentation. Click here to go to Part II of that presentation, “Why a Church Is Not a Business.” Part II was removed from Part I. In Part II, Jerald Finney invited Evangelist and Pastor Terry Woodside to tell his story which demonstrates that a church which is a non-legal entity cannot be sued in America. Click here to go to the page which has links to all sermons and presentations at that meeting.)
Many new audio teachings will be added starting in January 2018 at: Video Lectures on Church State Relationship. These lectures will accompany the short written lessons which are being posted at: Written lessons on Church State Relationship.
To listen to a lecture by Jerald Finney on August 26, 2012 at Old Paths Baptist Church in Fayetville, Tennessee on the 16th anniversary of that church and also the day the church finalized their change from incorporated 501(c)(3) religious organization and legal entity to a non-legal, spiritual enity only:
Jerald Finney Lectures on Hierarchy of Law (CD of speech at Old Paths Baptist Church in Fayetville, TN. given on the Sunday the church formally adopted the Declaration of Trust)
For Jerald Finney’s message to OPBC on April 10, 2016 which dealt with his article on this conflict submitted to the Northfield News and related matters click:
Separation of church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application on Youtube (041016)(Click here for sermonaudio.com of this message.)
Church Corporate 501(c)(3) status (Youtube)
Blogtalk Radio Shows:
Top Reasons Given For Church Corporate 501c3 Status April 17, 2014
(Go to about the 50 minute mark for beginning of the discussion on this issue. This broadcast begins the study of the “limited liability” excuse.)
Aron Brackeen, of Go Ye International, was the first to interview Jerald Finney after the publication of God Betrayed in 2008. In the interview, Mr. Brackeen actually reviewed the entire book. The interview may also be heard on the Go Ye International website. The interview is presented here in three segments:
To play the above, just click the link. To download, right click link and then left click “Save link as.”
To hear an 2008 Southwest Radio Ministries radio interview of Jerald Finney by Larry Spargimino go to this YouTube site: Larry Spargimino interviews Jerald Finney on the subject of Separation of Church and State. Click “Southwest Radio Church” and scroll down to 7/3/08 and 7/4/08 and click to hear Larry Spargimino’s interviews of Jerald Finney. Mr. Spargimino is especially well versed in the issues concerning church and state law and his questions and comments were especially insightful. Some other interviews of Jerald Finney are linked to at Radio Interview page of Church and State Law.
About Jerald Finney after his salvation/Full version
“Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone. But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that hateth his life in this world, shall keep it unto life eternal.”[En1] “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”[En2]
At the time this was written, Finney practiced law in Austin, Texas, and could be reached at [512-385-0761 (home); 512-808-5529 (office) these are no longer in service and Finney now lives in Amarillo TX where he dedicates himself totally to helping churches organize according to New Testament principles;] 512-785-8445 (cell); firstname.lastname@example.org. His Texas State Bar No. is 00787466.
The journey that has brought Jerald Finney to the point of working as a church and state lawyer with the Biblical Law Center, writing God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application and other books and articles in the church-state law, and finally dedicating himself to the Churches Under Christ Ministry of Charity Baptist Tabernacle began in 1982. He was saved and baptized and became a member of Community Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas in July 1982. Being a new Christian was exhilarating. Within a year of his salvation the Lord had laid it on the hearts of the members of the church to start a boy’s home. As a result of that calling the church stepped forward in faith and opened a home for wayward boys shortly after that.
Finney was the lead counsel for the Biblical Law Center (“BLC”) from May, 2005 until early 2011. The BLC helps churches who desire to organize according to New Testament principles. In 2011, The Lord led him to withdraw as lead counsel and assistant director of the Biblical Law Center in order to work as an church and state law legal specialist as part of the “Church and State Law” ministry in Minnesota where he obtained a license to practice law. In February 2017 he again began to work with the Biblical Law Center and in 2018 he moved to Amarillo and started the Churches Under Christ Ministry under the authority of Charity Baptist Tabernacle. He still has the greatest of love and respect for Dr. Greg Dixon and the Biblical Law Center and maintains close contact with Dr. Dixon.
Finney has honestly evaluated several methods of church organization used by various other organizations and individuals which allegedly comport with both biblical principles and civil law. His extensive Holy Spirit led studies of the Bible, civil law, and history have totally convinced him that the method first used by Attorney Al Cunningham to organize church matters comports with both biblical and legal principles and methodologies. The teachings on this website, and in particular Section VI of the book God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Applicaiton, fully explains why the methods first utilized by attorney Al Cunningham are in line with Bible Principles. All books by Jerald Finney are available free in PDF and online form, and some can be ordered – ORDER INFORMATION, FREE PDF, AND FREE ONLINE VERSION PAGE FOR BOOKS BY JERALD FINNEY. On, the other hand, some methods being promoted by some other individuals and organizations are invalid legally and biblically. See. e.g., Comparison of Three Methods of Church Organization: Bible Trust (ordinary trust), Incorporation (includes corporation sole), and Ecclesiastical Law Center Trust, Critique of “Church Freedom and the Corporation Sole” Website, and Ecclesiastical Law Center Exposed.
[Note. From here on Finney will be referred to in the first person.]
Being a part of the Community Baptist Church boy’s home ministry was one of the most joyful and blessed experiences of my life. I began to know some of the boys personally. One of the boys would assist me part time in my photography business, and several were always in line wanting to take over if and when the boy who was helping me left. They seemed to enjoy working in photography, and, of course, it gave them some spending money. After the home was attacked and closed down by the state, Randy, the boy who was assisting me at that time, had to be put into a mental ward. Before the battle began, he seemed very happy and the mental problems he had before coming to the home were in remission. He had a home where people loved him. After the battle started, I began to see evidence of recurrence of his mental problems when he was assisting me photographing weddings. The loss of his home was devastating to him, probably even more than it was to me.
March 31, 1986 was one of the saddest days of my life, and one of the most tragic days in the history of the state of Texas. On that date, State District Judge Paul R. Davis ruled that Community Baptist Church had to accept a state license or close its children’s home ministry. The ruling ultimately not only took dozens of boys from the home they loved and from the people that loved them, but also indicated to me that religious freedom as supposedly guaranteed by the federal and state constitutions was dead in Texas.
In addition to being heartbroken, I was quite angry about what the state had done. Boys were being helped at no cost to the state. I had the privilege of being a part of a church who was actually practicing the second great commandment—“love thy neighbor as thyself.” How could officials of the civil government believe that state employees, the vast majority of whom were unregenerate, cared for children more than Christians whose motivation was love, not money, benefits, and retirement?
Lost people and Christians (saved people who follow the principles of God as laid down in the New Testament) have different natures. I understand lost people. I was one for thirty-five years. In the eyes of the world, I was a good person. I had been trained by America through my secular public school and college education as well as by other secular sources to seek the American dream which the Declaration of Independence (“life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”) and the United States Constitution allowed me the freedom to seek (again, as taught me by America’s civil government, schools, and institutions of higher learning and media)—to be selfish, to seek to make a good life for myself by becoming successful at my chosen vocation, obtaining a certain type of house, car and other material possessions, and to ease my conscience by trying not to hurt anyone, helping someone financially here and there, contributing to charities and the like.
I believe that state agencies that help young people are mostly staffed by lost people who have never experienced the love of God, the love He is willing to so freely give. These people are paid good salaries and get substantial material benefits, at least in comparison to the pittance, if anything, the workers in the church ministry received in gifts. The main motivations of state employees are worldly success and money. They let that be known by their constant complaints about their salaries and benefits and their attempts to persuade the government to give them more so that they can do a better job in serving students or others that their state agency or profession serves. Do you believe that they would continue to do their work without being paid as many Christians do? Do you believe that their motivation is love or love alone?
After the Lord saved me, I slowly began to grow in the Lord, as a born again Christian with a new nature. As a Christian, I no longer enjoy the same environment, appetite, or associations that I enjoyed as a lost man. Now the center of my universe is the Lord. My goal is to glorify Him by loving him and loving my fellow man, lost or saved. My motivation and the motivation of any Christian is love for God and man, not selfishness. Many of the Christians I have been associated with have always given much of their time in service to God and their fellow man for little or no financial reward. I and the members of Community Baptist Church wanted to help those boys because of the love of God and love for the boys. After salvation, much of my time was spent not in trying to become successful in a worldly sense, but in service to God through my church, which included first spreading the message of salvation, then serving the boys in the home as well as serving others, motivated not by selfishness, but by God’s love as demonstrated by the sacrifice of his son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
During those early years as a Christian, I knew little about church-state separation, but because of the devastating effects of the illegitimate actions of the state of Texas against God’s church, the Lord has guided me since then to become more biblically educated about separation of church and state and to make myself available wherever He opens the door concerning this preeminent issue.
The battle that ended in the closing of the Community Baptist Church Boy’s Home started when the state found out about the home. State agents came in and secluded all the boys in the church building. They interrogated all the boys. Not one boy had anything bad to say about the home. They loved it there—it was their home. Nonetheless, the state told us that the home had to get a license because of the 1975 Texas Child Care Licensing Act (“the Act”).[En3] The Act required any institution or person that cared for more than six children to apply for a state license. Our pastor, with the church body behind him, refused. We considered this to be God’s ministry.
The state filed suit to force compliance. We stood our ground and a long battle resulted. Many pastors and other Christians came to be with us during that battle. Among those was Pastor Hank Thompson, my pastor from 1992 until 2011, and other members of the body of Capitol City Baptist Church who came from Austin, Texas and stood with us for several months. Dr. Greg Dixon was also with us. He was a great inspiration to us all. Other inspirational leaders who came to help included Pastor Aubrey Vaughan, Pastor Bob McCurry, and Pastor W. A. Parks. I have forgotten the names of many of the others, but the Lord remembers their names and their contributions.
During the confrontation between the state of Texas and the Community Baptist Church Boy’s Home, I saw Community Baptist Church come under siege by the state of Texas. During the siege, a spiritual battle was fought. For example, on October 17, 1986 over 100 armed law enforcement personnel surrounded the church and invaded the property of the church in an unsuccessful attempt to remove boys from their home. On October 22, 1986, Judge Davis ordered the home padlocked.
As a young Christian, I was shocked at this display of power by the state which defied logic and violated not only biblical principles but also the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The Texas Court of Appeals at Waco upheld the trial court and decided in favor of Corpus Christi People’s Baptist Church, which was led by Pastor Lester Roloff, in 1984.[En4] Corpus Christi Baptist Church had also refused to take a license to run their home for children (“the Roloff Home”). The court held that the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protected the Corpus Christi People’s Baptist Church from interference by the state; that application of the Act to church violated [Article I] Section 6, Article I Section 19, Article II Section 1, Article III Section 1, and Article I Section 3(a) of the Texas Constitution; and that application of the Act to the pastor, staff, children and parents of children in the homes would violate 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by depriving them of the civil rights secured to them by the U.S. Constitution.[En5]
The Department of Human Services (“DHS”) requires 100% compliance with over 240 minimum standards contained in the Act.[En6] Many of those standards are in direct conflict with the biblical guidelines for the care of children.[En7] The Act gives DHS ultimate control of the plan of care at a child care facility, whether that facility is religious or secular.[En8] For example, the Act requires that children be given professional consultation and treatment, which at the discretion of the DHS must include psychiatric treatment.[En9] Under the Act, the DHS views as its responsibility to supervise the moral and emotional development of all children residing in child care facilities.[En10] The DHS reserves the right to determine who is or is not qualified to work in a child care facility, and will also determine, in its own judgment, whether the mode of dress at a licensed institution is acceptable.[En11] In short, the Act gives the DHS almost total control of the facility.
The Texas Supreme Court reversed the Waco Court of Appeals.[E1n2] The Court noted that “People’s Baptist does not, however, resist all licensing to do business in Texas. In fact, it does its business and service as a corporation under the corporate name of Corpus Christi People’s Baptist Church, Inc., and it complies with all business licensing requirements.”En13] The Court stated that “The record reveals that People’s Baptist has provided excellent physical facilities, a dedicated staff and a list of many children who have been successfully treated by its programs.”[En14] The opinion analyzed the case based upon the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment:
“First, the party complaining of a Free Exercise Clause violation must show that the regulations under review impose a substantial burden on the exercise of his religion. Second, if the complaining party demonstrates that it is burdened by the regulations, then the State must have a compelling state purpose for the laws. Relevant to this prong of the test is an inquiry into whether there exists a less restrictive alternative to the regulation.
“We hold that, as a matter of law, the State has a compelling interest of the highest order in protecting the children in child-care facilities….
“The state has a right and a duty to protect and nurture its minor children….
“Licensing and regulation of child-care facilities are the least restrictive of the alternatives that the State could provide for the protection of children…. No entity other than the State can carry out these responsibilities for the public.”[En15]
Although the Court did not consider biblical principles, of course, and even though the Court’s reasoning was wrong and illogical, the Court was right in its decision, according to Scripture. When a church incorporates, as did Corpus Christi People’s Baptist Church, that church commits a wicked act which grieves the Lord, places herself under the control of the state, and, as will be shown in Section VI, submits herself to the private-public division of responsibilities declared by the United States Supreme Court in the early nineteenth century—charity being declared a public responsibility of civil government. Pastors such as Lester Roloff, a great man of God, had an excuse for their lack of knowledge concerning biblical principles concerning church and state and church entanglement with civil government. Alliance with the state had not caused the churches in America many problems before, and education for the ministry had not included a study of the issue. Today, however, even though almost all Bible colleges, institutes, and seminaries encourage incorporation and Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) (“501(c)(3)”) status, and provide no biblical instruction on those issues, many Bible believing pastors have no excuse because there are those who have tried to warn them that incorporation and 501(c)(3) status violate biblical principles concerning the relationships between the state and the Lord’s church, between God and state, and God and church.
Compared with the spotless record of the Roloff Homes and the Community Baptist Church Boy’s Home, the record of licensed facilities is and was no less than horrendous. All one has to do to see the severe problems with state run help organizations is to follow the news for a while.
“The State as an Abuser of Children”
- “Regardless of the facts, people in the juvenile justice system cannot overcome the myth that state intervention is good for children. This is true despite the fact that the reality of the system has been graphically exposed time and again. Consider what the state of Texas had done to its children in the 1970’s.
- “When new children (known as ‘fresh fish’) were admitted to the Mountain View State School for Boys, they were regularly beaten by other boys at the facility as the initiation rite, under the supervision of the guards. Guards also employed a system of ‘racking’: Boys were lined up against a wall with their hands in their pockets while a correctional officer punched each one in the stomach. Documented reports from Mountain View include the case of one boy who was hit and kicked by a guard until knocked unconscious and another boy who was knocked down and had tear gas sprayed in his face for not answering questions about why he had attempted suicide. Another boy struck by a guard ended up ‘with a hole going straight through’ his eardrum.
- “Some of the less shocking situations included work details established by the institution. In one work detail, known as ‘picking,’ boys were forced to line up foot to foot with their heads down and were required to strike the ground with heavy picks swung overhead as the line moved forward. They did this for five hours at a time with three fifteen-minute breaks. During the breaks, all were required to sit with their heads between their legs looking down without talking. In a second detail, aptly called ‘grass pulling,’ boys were required to bend from the waist with their knees straight and pull grass out of the ground without talking or looking at one another for six hours a day. If they bent their knees they were ‘racked’ or otherwise beaten. It is perhaps unnecessary to add that nothing was ever planted in these fields. The work was ordered solely for discipline.… The Texas abuses can in no way be considered isolated, and they do condemn the entire system….
- “Far from being isolated, state abuse of children is the most rampant problem we face. The state is, by far, the greater abuser of children in this country. And the abuse is imposed, it is to be remembered, not as punishment, but for the children’s ‘own good.’”[En16]
Abuse in state run youth facilities has continued and will continue. Without regeneration and sanctification, fleshly desires and lusts control people to one degree or another. Of the two criminal justice issues which dominated the 80th legislative session in 2007 and media news coverage, one was “the sexual abuse scandal at the Texas Youth Commission.”[En17]
Despite intensive investigations by the civil government, no abuse occurred; and, therefore, no abuse was discovered at the Roloff Home. As a matter of court record, the “Surveillance by the Department of Human Resources (“DHR”) of the ‘Roloff homes’ was continuous and extensive.”[En18] The court stated that the investigative personnel working for DHR used surveillance methods which stressed surreptitious techniques, used binoculars, cameras, tape recorders, and the soliciting of information from persons connected with the homes.[En19] DHR personnel even posed as church members to gain access to worship services and their reports “detailed contents of sermons and the hymns sung at the worship services” according to the court records.[En20] Furthermore, a child, a parent, an outside observer, or a conscientious worker in the home is free to report abuse. But in over 30 years of operation, no one in the Roloff Home was ever convicted of child abuse or neglect, and the Community Baptist Church Boy’s Home had the same spotless record for over 2 years of operation.
When the records of licensed facilities is compared with the records of the Roloff and Community Baptist Church Boy’s Homes, only a totally biased dogmatist could believe that the state’s concern is for the health, safety, and welfare of the children. This and other state arguments to justify licensing were given to create a smoke screen to hide the real motive behind the state’s desire to license. The real issue is control, as made clear in the court case dealing with the Roloff Homes.
And besides all that, the civil government, through its criminal law and also its civil law, through the Texas DHR, already provides the means to protect children. Child abuse (according to biblical guidelines of abuse), no matter where it occurs in Texas, is and should be against the law. An unlicensed institution has no more right to abuse children than does a licensed facility. Anytime a child is abused in a church ministry, those guilty may be charged, convicted, and jailed just as easily, if not more so in this anti-Christian society, as those guilty of such an act in a licensed home. Unfortunately, many in civil government and especially in the social service agencies, having received a very narrow and biased education, and having been indoctrinated in a world-view which is anti-biblical and anti-Christian, classify as abuse some actions which the Bible requires of, for example, a loving Christian parent. Too bad the state does not apply those same guidelines to its own child-care operations. And too bad the state does not utilize the principles of the Bible, including the love of God and the love of man, in structuring itself and its agencies. If it did, it would not have most or any of those agencies. It cannot because the vast majority of state leaders, officials, and employees are either unregenerate or baby Christians who are more American than Christian.
Early in my Christian life, I came to believe, based upon both the teaching and preaching of my pastor and other pastors and independent study, that the Bible teaches that God desires both the church and state to be under God only and that neither the church nor state is to be under the other. As I have become more knowledgeable, my belief has been strengthened, not changed. Although our federal and state constitutions guarantee separation of church and state (according to biblical principle), the humanistic decisions of United States Supreme Court Judges have added to the meaning of the First Amendment religion clause so as to remove God from public life while at the same time upholding the wall between a New Testament church and the state.
The ignorance of Christians and state personnel concerning biblical principles of separation of church and state was responsible for the closing of the Roloff Home. The perverted interpretations of the principle of separation of church and state as set out in our Federal Constitution and many of our state constitutions were responsible for the closing of the Community Baptist Church Boy’s Home. Neither the Roloff Home nor the Community Baptist Church Boy’s Home received one dime from the state. The Roloff Home was partially under the state and not entirely under God since the ministry was an incorporated creature of the state which received benefits from the state and submitted to other state licenses. The Community Baptist Church Boy’s Home was not under the state in that Community Baptist Church was neither incorporated nor had it taken a 501(c)(3) tax exemption—this issue was never litigated.
Although a worldly observer might conclude that Community Baptist Church lost and the state of Texas won, I believe that God would say that Texas lost and Community Baptist Church won. Anytime a church does things God’s way, that church is a winner and the government that asserts false authority over that church is the loser. Anytime a “church” does things man’s way, that church, the individual, the family, and the government are the losers.
During and after the battle with the state, the Lord dealt with me about the need for more Christian lawyers. At the same time, I realized the dangers to a Christian in becoming a lawyer. Isaac Backus wrote, concerning lawyers and while discussing the role of lawyers in forming the Constitution of Massachusetts which at the time required supporting religious teachers by taxation:
“This article [in the Constitution of Massachusetts] was drawn by [a] great lawyer; and men of that profession are interested in supporting religious teachers by force as really as any men in the world; for a great part of their gains come by controversies about religion; and when teachers and lawyers are in confederacy together, they will make words to mean any thing which they please.”[En21]
Although I knew that in becoming a lawyer, I faced the danger of being indoctrinated by the secular state and/or of using the power of the attorney for purposes and in ways displeasing to God, I was assured by God’s Word: “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”[En22]
There was obviously a need and a cause. As a result, the Lord opened the door and I entered the University of Texas School of Law in August 1990. The Lord made it possible for me to get my license to practice law in November of 1993.
All along I was seeking the Lord’s direction. He initially led me to practice criminal law. I knew that not many, if any, of the Christian law firms dealt with or specialized in criminal law, and that some Christians were being charged with crimes for their Christian behavior and for taking a stand for God’s principles.
The Lord confirmed my choice. Very soon after I started practicing, I helped an Eastern Orthodox priest with a criminal charge. He was charged under a criminal statute for trying to expose the promotion of sodomy and other sins within a Catholic Church. God gave the victory in that case. Then Steve, a Christian who counseled outside abortion clinics, called me. He was charged with a crime under the Austin, Texas Sign Ordinance for his activities outside an abortion clinic. Being a new lawyer, I called the Rutherford Institute. They asked me to send them a summary of the facts and a copy of the Sign Ordinance. Then they told me that we could not win the case and that they would not help. We lost at trial, but God gave us the victory on appeal. The Austin Police Department immediately cited Steve for violation of the state sign ordinance. The Lord gave the victory at trial.
My first felony trial came about a year and six months after I started practicing law. A single Christian mother was charged with third degree felony injury to a child for spanking her six year old son. She left some prominent stripes across his rear end and also a stripe across his face when he turned suddenly during the spanking. The Lord gave us the victory at trial. At the same time, I was also representing another Christian married lady who was charged with the same crime for spanking her little girl with a switch. On the date the trial in that case was to begin, the prosecutor, with prompting by the judge, lowered the offer to deferred adjudication probation of short duration on a misdemeanor charge with very few conditions on the probation. In a deferred adjudication in Texas, there is never a judgment of guilt if the probationer successfully completes the term of the probation, (and, with successful completion of the probation, the probationer can now file a Motion for Nondisclosure which, if granted, requires the file to be sealed so that the general public has no access to it). The mother decided to take the offer.
The Lord has also allowed me to help Christian parents in numerous situations involving Child Protective Services (“CPS”) infringement into parental rights. God has given the victory in all those situations.
The Lord has also used me to intervene in numerous situations where government officials or private companies tried to deny certain Christians their rights to do door-to-door evangelization, preach on the street, hand out gospel literature in the public forum, and pass out gospel tracts and communicate the gospel at their place of employment.
The Lord has brought numerous other legal spiritual battles my way. The most recent of those battles which went all the way to trial was a 2003 case in San Antonio. A peaceful pro-life advocate was arrested and charged with criminal trespass for handing pro-life literature giving information about the development of the unborn baby, places to go for help, and other information to women entering an abortion clinic. All the above-mentioned cases as well as others not mentioned were handled free of charge (except the last spanking case mentioned above for which I received $750 for my services). Since that time, and even before, I have felt that the Lord was telling me that it is time to move on. I have been seeking His will. My prayer was that He would show me His direction.
Again, He answered my prayers. While at a Camp Meeting at Heritage Baptist Church outside Mount Enterprise, Texas, at the first meal, I sat down to eat at the only open chair I spotted on the side of the room I was on. As it turned out Dr. Greg Dixon was sitting diagonally across the table from me. We began to talk. As a result of that encounter, Dr. Dixon ultimately asked me to consider becoming legal counsel for the Biblical Law Center (“BLC”).
It did not take me long to decide that, if the Lord opened that door, I would step in. I discussed the opening with my pastor who gave his approval. Since my early Christian life, I have considered the issue of separation of church and state as taught in the Bible to be one of the primary issues facing New Testament churches today. I believe, based upon what the Bible teaches, that incorporating or intentionally operating as an unincorporated association and/or getting a tax exempt status from the government at the very least puts the church under the headship of both the Lord and the state, and may even take the church from under the headship of Christ and put the church under the headship of the state. I believe that taking scriptures out of context and applying human reasoning contrary to biblical teaching (such as “Obey every ordinance of man,” or “We should be good stewards and incorporation is good stewardship”) in order to justify unbiblical marriage with the state” causes our Lord much grief.
Once I took on the position as counsel for the BLC, which I held until 2011 when I became a part of the “Church and State Law” ministry of Old Paths Baptist Church in Northfield, Minnesota, it was necessary to do an in-depth study of the issue of separation of church and state. I began with the Bible. I initially read through the Bible at least five times (and several more times since then) primarily seeking the answer to the question, “Does the Bible have anything to say about this issue?” I was amazed at what I learned. The Bible gives us God’s principles concerning separation of church and state, the purpose of a church, the purpose of the civil government, the headship of church, the headship of civil government, the principles by which each is to be guided, and much more concerning these two God ordained institutions. I continue to read the Bible daily seeking insights into these and other issues.
I began an in depth study of the issues government, church, and separation of church and state. God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application and the other books I have written and listed on this website were written as a result of those studies.God Betrayed is not a rehash of the same information that has been circulated in the Fundamental Baptist and Christian community through sermons, books, seminars, etc. since at least 1982, the year I was saved. God Betrayed and my other books reveal facts and information that must be understood in order for a pastor and other Christians to begin to successfully (in God’s eyes) fight the spiritual warfare we are engaged in according to knowledge.
My writings and teachings on church and state law prove, to a believer who has the qualifications to understand these matters, that the Declaration of Trust is the only biblically acceptable manner for a church to avoid legally entangling herself with the world (becoming a legal entity). God Betrayed is written for the scholarly world, primarily Christian but also secular, and is an open declaration of the biblical and legal principles involved in the issue of separation of church and state. No one has presented anything other than name calling, lies, distortions, insipid human reasoning devoid of anything that even resembles logic in attacking me and my teachings and conclusions. I know of no attack mounted by someone who has honestly studied my teachings. One web site in particular and the people and organization involved in its operation are obsessed with attacking the Biblical Law Center and the Declaration of Trust; the attacks on the Declaration of Trust are so absurd that it is hard to believe that any believer would give any credence whatsoever to them; but the ignorant are easily deceived. I have been lied about and attacked both publically and in private. One man whom me has never met makes outrageous claims against me. Hopefully, few will be misled by such antics or by frivolous hate filled lies and ad hominem attacks. Again, should honest reasoning come forth showing me wrong, he will publically repent and recant. His Lord requires nothing less when one is shown to be in error.
I believe that the lack of attention to the biblical doctrines concerning government, church (which is likened to the wife and bride of Christ), and separation of church and state, has had dire consequences for individuals, families, churches, and America. Unless pastors educate themselves on these doctrines and their application in America, the rapid downhill slide will continue at an accelerating pace.
Immediately after being saved, I began to “Christian” and literature. I had already read starting shortly after being saved, books and other information by Christian authors. For example, I had read, among other works, A Christian Manifesto[En23], The Light and the Glory,[En24] From Sea to Shining Sea,[En25] The Myth of Separation and some other worksby David Barton, [En26] Rewriting America’s History,[En27] and America’s God and Country.[En28] These resources inspired, influenced and guided me and millions of other Christians, gave us philosophical and historical underpinning, and led us into battlefields such as politics, law, and education armed with what we learned from them.
Sometime in 2006 I began to realize that some of the books by Christian authors which I had come to depend upon were misleading, at the very least. Other books revealed to me that some of the above mentioned books had misinformed and misled sincere Christians by revising and/or misrepresenting the true history of separation of church and state in America. In 2006, I read One Nation Under Law[En29] which cites a wealth of resources for one seeking to understand the history of separation of church and state in the United States and of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.[En30] Reading One Nation Under Law, some of the books it cited, and some other books was a launching pad into the universe of historical information which I never dreamed existed. I had expected to be misled in the secular law school I attended. I was amazed that I had been misled by Christian brothers. I asked myself, “How could Peter Marshall and others have missed this vital information?” At an Unregistered Baptist Fellowship conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, James R. Beller, a Baptist historian, gave a PowerPoint presentation which gave me the answer to this question. I bought two of his books and read them. Those books filled in the details not mentioned in Pastor Beller’s concise PowerPoint presentation.
Misleading information put out by some of the above authors has been parroted by many others. So, I was dismayed after recently reading one of another in a long line of similar books,[En31] because I realized that the deception continues. Nowhere in books of this type can we learn the real history behind the First Amendment.
Actually, the First Amendment came primarily as a result of a conflict between persecutors (the established state-churches and church-states) and persecuted (dissenters from the official state-church or church-state position, that is dissenters from the established church position.). For example, America would never have had a First Amendment had the Puritans, the Anglicans, or other Protestant denominations had their way. Church-states believed that the church should use the state to enforce all ten of the Ten Commandments. Under state-churches, the King or the state was head of the church and enforced the official version of theology.
This controversy has been a dividing point among Christians since early in church history, and Christians on the Judaizing side of that issue, at first the Catholics after their unholy marriage with the state in the fourth century and then the Protestants which came out of Catholicism, according to all the ramifications of their church-state theology, have tortured, imprisoned, and killed millions of Christians, including my Baptist spiritual forefathers who were on the other side of the issue.
Thus, many false teachers have led sincere Christians to believe either the falsehood that all the Christian sects in America lived harmoniously, shared the same basic fundamental beliefs, and that we owe to all these Christian forefathers our freedoms of speech and religion, among other freedoms that are guaranteed by our Constitution, or that we owe our religious freedom to the Puritans and other Protestants. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, a great spiritual warfare, a continuation of that in Europe, took place. Established churches, Catholic[En32] and Protestant—the persecutors—in general, did not share fundamental beliefs with dissenters—the persecuted—the most predominant of which in America became the Baptists.
“This conflict between the demands of authority and the permissiveness of freedom, between the established church and the dissenters unwilling to be bound by their restraints, lasted more than three centuries.”[En33] Out of this conflict between the persecutors and the persecuted came the greatest law providing for freedom of conscience and action that has ever been written. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution gave everyone in America the freedom not only to choose and practice his religious beliefs, but also to proclaim those beliefs in the public square. The law in America did not require Christians to choose between confining their beliefs to their minds and outwardly accepting the doctrines of the official state-church or suffering persecution by the civil government. Sadly, as this book will show, most churches have willingly put themselves under the authority of the state thereby giving up their First Amendment freedoms.
 John 12.24-25.
 John 15.13.
 Vernon’s Ann.Civ.St. art. 695a—3, §§ 1 to 27; TEX. HUM. RES. CODE. ANN. § 42.001; (1975).
 State v. Corpus Christi People’s Baptist Church, Inc., No. 10-83-128-CV (Tex. App.—Waco, April 26, 1984)(unpublished opinion).
 Ibid. and TEX. HUM. RES. CODE. ANN. § 42.001.
 State v. Corpus Christi People’s Baptist Church, Inc. No. 10-83-128-CV.
 State v. Corpus Christi People’s Baptist Church, Inc. et. al, 683 S.W.2d 692 (Tex. 1984).
 Ibid., p. 694.
 Ibid., p. 696.
 Martin Guggenheim, “A Call to Abolish the Juvenile Justice System,” II Children’s Rights, Report No. 9, June 1978; Reprinted in Sanford J. Fox,Modern Juvenile Justice: Cases and Materials (St. Paul: West Publishing Company, 1981), pp. 50-53; cited in John Eidsmoe, God and Caesar: Biblical Faith and Political Action (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stack Publishers, 1997), p. 129.
 Allen Place, “Criminal Law,” Texas Bar Journal, Vol. 70, No. 8, (September 2007), p. 676.
 State v. Corpus Christi People’s Baptist Church, Inc. No. 10-83-128-CV.
 Isaac Backus, A History of New England With Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians called Baptists, Volume 2 (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, Previously published by Backus Historical Society, 1871), pp. 328-329.
 I John 4.4.
 Francis A. Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto, (Westchester, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1981).
 Peter Marshall and David Manuel, The Light and the Glory, (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1977).
 Peter Marshall and David Manuel, From Sea to Shining Sea (Old Tapan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1986).
 David Barton, The Myth of Separation, What is the Correct relationship between Church and State? (Aledo, Texas: Wallbuilder Press, 1992).
 Catherine Millard, Rewriting America’s History (Camp Hill, Pennsylvania: Horizon House Publishers, 1991).
 William J. Federer, America’s God and Country, Encyclopedia of Quotations (Coppell, Texas: FAME Publishing, Inc., 1994).
 Mark Douglas McGarvie, One Nation Under Law: America’s Early National Struggles to Separate Church and State (DeKalb, Illinois: Northern Illinois University Press, 2005).
 The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states: “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.” The religion clause, properly interpreted, as will be shown in this book, is a correct application of the biblical principle of separation of church and state.
 David C. Gibbs, Jr., One Nation Under God, Ten Things Every Christian Should Know About the Founding of America (Seminole, Florida: Christian Law Association, 2003).
 It should be noted that the Catholic Church in America has never yet had the power it had in other nations to persecute those with dissenting views.
 Edmund S. Morgan, The Puritan Dilemma: The Story of John Winthrop (Boston, Mass., Toronto, Canada: Little, Brown and Company, 1958), p. 1.
A biblical and historical Baptist principle is that God desires separation of church and state, not separation of God and church or separation of God and state. Study Jerald Finney’s writings and/or audio teachings to discover the truth about and how to apply the principle.