All posts by Jerald Finney

Jerald Finney was the lead counsel for the Biblical Law Center ("BLC") from May, 2005 until 2011. The BLC helps churches who desire to organize according to New Testament principles. In 2016, he again worked with the BLC and still does, but he now heads up the Churches under Christ Ministry which is under the authority of Charity Baptist Tabernacle of Amarillo TX. Finney is a licensed attorney who can be reached at 512-785-8445 jerald.finney@sbcglobal.net. Over the last few years he has lectured and preached on the issues concerning government, church, and separation of church and state. God called Finney, a Christian and fundamental Baptist since his salvation, to enter the University of Texas School of Law in 1990 at the age of 43 to stand in the gap concerning legal issues facing Christians. Since being saved, he has been a faithful and active member of a local fundamental, Bible-believing Baptist church. He received his JD degree in 1993 and has followed the Lord in the practice of law since that time. Finney received his law license in November 1993 and began practicing law in January, 1994. All along he was seeking the Lord’s direction. The Lord initially led Finney to practice criminal law. He 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 Finney's choice. Very soon after he started practicing, he 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 Finney. He was charged with a crime under the Austin, Texas Sign Ordinance for his activities outside an abortion clinic. Being a new lawyer, Finney called the Rutherford Institute. They asked him to send them a summary of the facts and a copy of the Sign Ordinance. Then they told him that the case could not be won and that they would not help. Steve lost at trial, but God gave 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. Finney's first felony trial came about a year and six months after he 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 the victory at trial. At the same time, Finney 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 Finney 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 Finney 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. Finney has also fought other legal spiritual battles including a criminal 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 for which Finney received $750). In 2005 Finney became lead counsel for the Biblical Law Center. Since his early Christian life, he has 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. He believes, based upon what the Bible teaches, that operating as a corporation (sole or aggregate), unincorporated association, or any other type of legal entity and/or getting a tax exempt status from the federal 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. He believes 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 he took on the position as counsel for the BLC, it was necessary to do an in-depth study of the issue of separation of church and state. He began with the Bible. He initially read through the Bible at least five times (and many more times since then) primarily seeking the answer to the question, “Does the Bible have anything to say about this issue?” He was amazed at what He learned. The Bible gives 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. He continued to read the Bible daily seeking insights into these and other issues. He also began to read other books. he had already read starting shortly after being saved, books and other information by Christian authors. For example, he had read, among other works, A Christian Manifesto[1], The Light and the Glory,[2] From Sea to Shining Sea,[3] The Myth of Separation and some other works by David Barton, [4]Rewriting America’s History,[5] and America’s God and Country.[6] These resources inspired, influenced and guided him and millions of other Christians, gave them philosophical and historical underpinning, and led them into battlefields such as politics, law, and education armed with what they learned from those resources. Sometime in 2006 he began to realize that some of the books by Christian authors which he had come to depend upon were misleading, at the very least. Other books revealed to him 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, he read One Nation Under Law[7] 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.[8] 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 he never dreamed existed. He had expected to be misled in the secular law school he attended. He was amazed that he 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 him the answer to this question. Finney bought two of Beller's books and read them. Those books filled in the details not mentioned in Pastor Beller’s concise PowerPoint presentation. Since that time, God has led Finney into an in depth study of the issues of 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 he has 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 Finney was saved. God Betrayed and Finney's 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. Finney believes 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. [1] Francis A. Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto, (Westchester, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1981). [2] Peter Marshall and David Manuel, The Light and the Glory, (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1977). [3] Peter Marshall and David Manuel, From Sea to Shining Sea (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1986). [4] David Barton, The Myth of Separation, What is the Correct relationship between Church and State? (Aledo, Texas: Wallbuilder Press, 1992). [5] Catherine Millard, Rewriting America’s History (Camp Hill, Pennsylvania: Horizon House Publishers, 1991). [6] William J. Federer, America’s God and Country, Encyclopedia of Quotations (Coppell, Texas: FAME Publishing, Inc., 1994). [7] Mark Douglas McGarvie, One Nation Under Law: America’s Early National Struggles to Separate Church and State (DeKalb, Illinois: Northern Illinois University Press, 2005). [8] 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 is shown in God Betrayed, is a correct application of the biblical principle of separation of church and state.

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, explains 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.
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    3501 S 38th St #109, Tacoma, WA 98409, United States
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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

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.

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….”

501(c)(1)(A) does not state that churches are “automatically exempt.” Clearly, 501(c)(1)(A) states that churches are mandatory exceptions to the requirement for for filing for (501)(c)(3) tax exempt status. “Churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches” (not other types of other organizations)  may claim 501(c)(3) status without filing for it.  501(c)(3) rules and regulations are part of 501(c)(3) status.  One cannot separate the status from attributes that go with it. The attributes of the status define the status. A church may claim the status without filing for it.

The IRS 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.].

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. Some are, but churches who are corporations,  Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt, or legal entities of any kind are not bound by a higher law. They have forsaken higher law by submitting to authorities other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

One requirement for 501(c)(3) 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.

The requirements of 501(c)(3) and 501(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.

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).

The Rules and Regulations that Come with Church IRS Code Sections 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) Tax-Exempt Status

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Jerald Finney
Copyright © March 17, 2022

Contents:

  1. How a church becomes tax exempt (under man-made federal law) as opposed to non-taxable (Under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (“First Amendment”).
  2. An overview of the fundamental changes which result when a church is granted 501(c)(3) or claims 508(c)(1)(A) status
  3. List of rules and regulations which come with tax exempt status.

1. How a church becomes tax exempt (under man-made federal law) as opposed to non-taxable (Under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution).

A First Amendment church—a church who has not applied for and been granted tax exempt status and who has not acted as a legal entity in any way so as to forfeit her status as a church under Christ alone—is non-taxable. The only way a civil government can tax is by law or edict. The First Amendment religion clause forbids  federal law taxing churches (religion) in America. The establishment and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment, consistent with the Bible doctrine of separation of church and state, protect those churches who decide to obey God and refuse federal tax-exempt status. The First Amendment religion clause is consistent with the Bible doctrine of separation of church and state. Although 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) are laws passed by Congress with violate the religion clause, they do not force churches to become tax exempt; rather, the give churches a choice of whether to be tax exempt as opposed to non-taxable.

Contrary to “Christian” propaganda, 508(c)(1)(A) does not state that a church is automatically tax exempt. Rather, 508(c)(1)(A) states that “churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches” are mandatory exceptions to the requirement for filing for tax exempt status under 501(c)(3). To mandate automatic church tax exempt status would violate the First Amendment which states, in part, that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Both 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) are laws passed by Congress which establish a religion and prevent the free exercise thereof. Because of the First Amendment, churches cannot be forced to become tax exempt.

508(c)(1)(A) churches who meet the requirements of 501(c)(3) may claim 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt status. See, Church Internal Revenue Code § 508(c)(1)(A) Tax Exempt Status for explanation and links to relevant IRS Regulations. A church can claim 508(c)(1)(A) status by open declaration which includes providing IRS Acknowledgements to donors for tithes, offerings, and gifts (according to IRS Regulations). The real purpose of tax-exempt status is to attract those who give for easy tax deduction claims and not because of their love for the Lord.

If the IRS audits a donor to a 501(c)(3) tax exempt “church,” the church will be on the IRS list and the acknowledgement from the church will verify his giving. If a church claims 508(c(1)(A) tax exempt status, the IRS may likely require the donor to prove that the donee was a church since the church is not on the IRS list. Internal Revenue Code Section 170 and IRS Regulations deal with the matter of tax exempt deductions for gifts to non-501(c(3) or 508(c)(1)(A) churches. A donor concerned about this matter may see, Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities, Chapter 8, pp. 85-96, “Spurious Rationale for Corporate-501(c)(3) or 508 Status: Tax Exemption and Tax Deduction for Contributions.” Note, the law may have changed since publication of that book. Refer to IRS Code Section 170 for updates and changes in the law.

To become tax exempt (a “501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A)” church), as opposed to non-taxable (a church solely under the protection of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution) a church may apply for Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) tax exempt status by completing IRS Form 1023 (See En[i] for more information of Form 1023) or claim “508(c)(1)(A)” tax exempt status. A church may claim 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt status by declaring that tithes, offerings, and gifts are tax exempt and providing IRS acknowledgements to the donors. When the church claims 508(c)(1)(A) status, she is subject to the rules and regulations that come with 501(c)(3); she is now tax exempt as opposed to non-taxable and therefore loses much of her first Amendment protections. See, Church Internal Revenue Code § 508(c)(1)(A) Tax Exempt Status.

Any non-tax-exempt church should inform all givers, in advance, that it is not tax exempt and that it does not give IRS acknowledgements for tithes, offerings and gifts.

 2. An overview of the fundamental changes which result when a church is granted 501(c)(3) or claims 508(c)(1)(A) status

A church who is not a legal entity of any kind has the total protection of the First Amendment: She can do things God’s way without control or persecution by any civil government, city to national.

A non-legal entity is not controlled by civil government. Of course, a tyrannical government can declare that any entity, whether legal or not, is under their control. Korea, for example, persecutes and kills any one caught speaking the name of Jesus in a positive way, possessing a Bible or Gospel tract, holding a church meeting, etc.

Legal entities are under the authority of of civil government for many purposes. As “persons” under Fourteenth Amendment for many purposes, churches have given up much of their First Amendment status. Corporations (aggregate of sole), unincorporated associations, charitable trusts, business trusts, individuals, and federal tax-exempt organizations are among the list of legal entities.

Whether or not a civil government can enforce an edict against a believer or a church who is not a legal entity depends upon the individual or church. A Christian (one who believes in, loves and follows Christ, His commandments and Word as opposed to one who merely “believes in” Christ) will obey God rather than man when obeying man’s law requires one to disobey God. American believers and churches do not have to face control and punishment by civil government for loving and honoring God and His Word, as of yet.

A church who chooses to become a legal entity places herself under the authority, wholly or partially, other than the Lord Jesus Christ. She no longer has all (or maybe, any) of her First Amendment protections. She is no longer a totally First Amendment Church. She is now, as a legal person, a Fourteenth Amendment Church. See, Corporation: A Human Being with No Soul; see also, Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities? for further explanation of much of what is said in this section.

A church, as a legal entity, can sue, be sued, enter into contracts, pay salaries, be charged with a crime (if she or any or her agents commit crime), hold property and insurance in the name of the church, etc. In other words, she has transformed herself into a worldly enterprise, a business. She is organized like and operates as a business, to one degree or another. She is subject to the laws and accompanying regulations of her creator(s), the state and/or federal government.

As a legal person, a church acts to one degree or another—usually to a greater degree—like a temporal, worldly, fleshly entity ruled by tradition of men and the rudiments of the world as opposed to a spiritual entity ruled by God’s Word. She has a new sovereign or sovereigns; she employs business techniques of organization, operation, and doctrines. Many have become apostate. Their goal is to find out what people want and give it to them rather that finding out what God, in His Word, wants and giving it to Him. They may honor the Lord with their tongues, but their heart is far from Him as they keep the commandments of men rather than those of God.

A church who has chosen legal entity status is subject to civil government. She has agreed that the controlling party, in the case of disputes, is the civil government; and she has agreed to follow all rules and regulations contained in the law they agreed to. A church which chooses to become a legal entity such as a corporation has agreed that the controlling party for many purposes is the court of the state of incorporation. Churches who choose to become tax exempt agree that they will follow accompanying rules and regulations.

Many incorporated churches follow none of, or only some of, the rules and procedures in the non-profit corporation law they agreed to when getting the status. Many churches openly violate some or all of the rules and regulations coming with 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(a) status because they know that the IRS does not have the resources to enforce them; by so doing, they dishonor both God (by dishonoring their legal agreement with the federal government) and man (by entering into a legal agreement which dishonors God). Believers who dishonor their agreements, their word, are not “Christians;” and by their actions, they cause men to blaspheme God.

For more information on church 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) status, see:

  1. Federal government control of churches through 501(c)(3) tax exemption(Section VI, Chapter 4 of God Betrayed; Chapter 4 of Separation of Church and State);
  2. The church incorporation-501(c)(3) control scheme(Section VI, Chapter 5 of God Betrayed; Chapter 5 of Separation of Church and State); and
  3. Church Internal Revenue Code § 508(c)(1)(A) Tax Exempt Status.

 3. List  of rules and regulations which come with tax exempt status.

Under the terms of 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) and IRS interpretation thereof, a church agrees to the rules and regulations that come with the status. The church agrees to abide by the following rules:

“1. must be organized and operated exclusively for religious, educational, scientific, or other charitable purposes,
“2. net earnings must not inure to the benefit of any private individual or shareholder,
“3. no substantial part of its activity may be attempting to influence legislation,
“4. the organization may not intervene in political activity,
“5. the organization’s purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy.”

See, IRS Publication 1828. This and all IRS publications may be accessed at irs.gov. Just mentioning a candidate may violate proscription #4. Detailed guidelines with consequences of violation of proscription #4 given in Pub. 1828. As to proscription #5, public policy is determined by the courts. What is fundamental public policy regarding same-sex marriage? This policy has not been enforced against tax exempt churches, but that may be coming. The real issue is, does church tax exempt or legal status of any kind please God. See also, , Internal Revenue Code  508(c)(1)(A).

Rules and regulations for 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) churches are made by the legislative and executive branch, by the IRS, and by the courts. Rules one through four above are stated in 501(c)(3). Rule four was added by legislation sponsored by Lyndon Johnson. The last requirement—“may not violate fundamental public policy” was first implemented by the IRS and then upheld by the United States Supreme Court in Bob Jones University v. United States, 461 U.S. 574 (1983). See, PDF of Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities? pages 35-37.

501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt status not only come with five government imposed rules, such status also invokes a myriad of regulations. See and read, e.g.,

The interested believer and church who love the Lord may go directly to those regulations by clicking the links above, if this is essay is opened online. Check them out for yourselves and ask yourself, “Does this status glorify and please God?”



En[i] Instructions for Form 1023. On page 2 of the December 2017 Instructions is stated: “Completed Form 1023 required for section 501(c)(3) exemption. Form 1023 is filed by organizations to apply for recognition of exemption from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3). Upon approval, we will issue a determination letter that provides written assurance about the organization’s tax-exempt status, and its qualification to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. Every organization qualifying for exemption under section 501(c)(3) will also be classified as either a “public charity” or a “private foundation.”

A Bible believer may get much greater understanding of the anti-Christ agreement he is entering into by seeking and obtaining 501(c)(3) status by reading Form 1023 and the instructions as well as by reading Internal Revenue Code § 508(c)(1)(A) which places the church in the same position as 501(c)(3) status. See, . For more information from the IRS on Form 1023, see About Form 1023.

See, Basics of the Bible Trust Relationship and How a Church Can Nullify the Trust Relationship

For an understanding of how a church can organize and operated God’s prescribed way, as a spiritual entity under Christ only, see The CUCM Bible Trust.

Can Psychology Deal With the New Nature of the Believer?

1 John 3:4-24 deals with the two natures of the believer in action. 1 John 3:9 says, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” Commit means, in this context, “to do some act, or make some declaration, which may bind the person in honor, good faith, or consistency, to pursue a certain course of conduct, or to adhere to the tenor of that declaration.” The passage does not say, “doth not sin.” It says, “doth not commit sin.” The new nature cannot sin, but the old nature can. Dr. J. Vernon McGee thoroughly explains this matter in his studies on 1 John.

Can psychology deal with the old nature? What about all the books written and sermons preached to deal with the old nature? The following short audio of teaching by Dr. J. Vernon McGee, in this short 3 minute 13 second audio, addresses these questions and more:

Dr. McGee on psychology and controlling the new nature.

Click here to go to the complete program (1 John 3:17-4:1) from which the above was taken.

Click here to go to links to all Dr. McGee’s Thru the Bible studies.

The Love of God Perfected

February 12, 2022

In 1 John, 2:1-4:21, the theme is “God is love” or “walking in love.”

1 John 2:3-5 says: “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”

In the above verses, what is the meaning of “his commandments?” “What is the meaning of “his word?” How is the love of God perfected?

The Holy Spirit, through Paul, commanded, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). He did not also say, “wives love your husbands,” or “Churches love Christ.” Why? This brief Bible lesson by Dr. J. Vernon McGee gives an answer. Click here to go to the study on audio.

For Dr. McGee’s complete audio study of 1 John 2:3-8, click here.

Intro. to 2 John/Love and Truth

What are the 2 marks of a Christian? Christians are to love brothers and sisters in Christ. Are we to also love the lost? How about false teachers (apostates who deny the deity of Christ)? Are we to love them? Which is to prevail, love or truth? Which comes first? In what bounds and context can love be expressed?

These are preeminent matters. This study, by Dr. J. Vernon McGee, looks at those issues and much more.

To hear a 14 minute excerpt from the study click Intro to 2 John.

To go to the entire online study, go to Thru the Bible Radio, Intro. to 2 John; and for links to all of Dr. McGee’s 5 year program of Bible Study, click here.

Lesson 8: Purchasing or Leasing Real Estate for Church Use

Important note: As a reminder, churches in America can, without persecution, choose to honor the principle of separation of church and state with the protection of the highest law of the land dealing with the relationship of church and state, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. See, Is Separation of Church and State Found in the Constitution? Many churches in America have declared and are declaring irrevocable Bible trusts. The trustees of such trusts have presented the trust documents to financial institutions as they obtain trust checking accounts, sellers and lessors of real estate, county property tax assessors, etc. when managing the affairs of the trust. The trust documents have been examined by lawyers of the financial institutions, the lessors and sellers, etc. Trustees have bought or leased real estate, opened trust bank accounts, obtained property tax exemption in the name of the trust on the Lord’s property being held in the trust estate, etc.

Go to the following webpage for links to additional lessons as they are added: Lessons on the Bible (Common Law) Trust 

Lesson 8: Purchasing or Leasing Real Estate for Church Use

Jerald Finney
Copyright ©, February 3, 2022

Churches with ungodly (contrary to God’s Word) Biblical or religious beliefs have no problem with uniting church and state since that is what their ungodly beliefs call for. Churches who understand God’s principles concerning the His desired relationship with church and state are determined to honor their Lord and forebear from spiritual fornication with any earthly civil government or power. See, Written Lessons on God’s Desired Relationship between Church and State. This lesson teaches how a church choose to honor God’s Word and please God in the choice and use of real estate for a meetinghouse.

A church declares a trust relationship with property so as to conform to God’s New Testament guidelines for church organization. See, Lesson 3: Trust is a Bible Concept  and Lesson 6: The church Bible Trust relationship is not something new. Churches under Christ in every thing (under Christ alone) have, by definition, always honored it.. See, Bible Doctrine of Church for details on our Lord’s Will for His churches. A church who purchases or leases real estate or insurance on that real estate in the name of or covering—regardless of the name of the insured on the policy—the church, as opposed to in the name of the trust and covering the trustee (as legal owner of the property) has acted in a temporal, earthly, legal manner and set herself up as a legal entity who can sue, be sued, contract, be charged with a crime, be sued in civil court, etc. She has placed herself under an authority other than the Lord Jesus Christ for many matters. She has profaned the holy. She has grieved the Lord and acted contrary to His Will.

Churches in the New Testament, and a remnant of churches since, have followed the New Testament doctrine of separation of church and state in these and other matters. A church cannot choose to become a legal entity and still be separated from civil government, the state. The authority over a church who is a legal entity is, for many purposes, civil government. The only authority over New Testament churches is and was the Lord Jesus Christ.

Who owned the real estate where New Testament churches assembled? Not the churches. They never held real estate. They never held personal property. They understood and applied God’s principles of the Bible trust relationship with property. For example, members of those churches gave personal property (to include money) to God for purposes consistent with His Will. Each giver lost all title to the property he gave; all ownership was permanently transferred to the Lord Jesus Christ to be used according to His Will. Of course, one had free will to honor the Lord as to his giving; but failure to do so had negative consequences. What they gave was held by a person (who, definitionally, was a trustee) who managed the property held in trust for the benefit of the owner, the Lord Jesus Christ, according to His Will. See, Acts 4:34—5:5.

New Testament churches, as to the matter of assembling themselves together, must, therefore, meet on property owned by someone other than the church. Someone can allow them to meet on his real estate for free. Or, they can meet on the property held in trust and  managed for the sole benefit of the Lord Jesus Christ, the named owner of the property. 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 and Lesson 3: Trust is a Bible Concept.

Once the trust relationship is declared in writing, the trustee of the trust, in conformity to the will of the Lord, the owner of the property, should the need arise, lease or buy property in the name of the trust, not in the name of the church. The property obtained is not the property of the church. As explained in prior lessons, although the trustee is the legal owner of the property leased or purchased, he, according to the trust documents, has no authority to use the property in any way for his own personal benefit or to sell trust property and use any proceeds for his own benefit; all proceeds must be used according to the will the Lord, the owner, for His benefit and according to His will as given in His New Testament. He is the testator, and the Lord’s Will, declared in the New Testament, explains how He wants His property to be handled. The New Testament of Jesus Christ:  His Executor Named and Empowered.

When the trustee leases property for a meetinghouse, the trust is listed on the lease as the lessor. When he buys property for a meetinghouse, the trust is named on the deed as owner of the property. The trustee, as earthly holder of the property, is the legal owner (the one walking in this world who has the authority to hold and manage the property), and the Lord is the true, beneficial owner. The property is not owned by a church, in name or through a trustee. The property is owned by the Lord Jesus Christ.

To negotiate a lease or sale of real estate for a meetinghouse, the trustee presents a copy of the trust paperwork to the lessor or seller of the property, and explains that he is trustee of the trust and that the owner is the Lord Jesus Christ. Trustees have had no problem in making such purchases and leases.

The trustee, when purchasing the real estate, should simultaneously work with the county assessor. He should inform the assessor that he, as trustee (never as pastor since these are two different function) is planning to purchase the property, to be used “for religious, or church, purposes only.” He should examine state property tax exemption law, the application for the property tax exemption to make sure that it does not compromise the trust or the church in any way, etc. Lesson 8a: Property tax exemption of trust real estate (to be added).

He should also, as he is preparing to buy or lease trust real estate, contact an insurance agent about obtaining liability, fire, and/or other insurance on the trust real estate as he is in the process of buying  or leasing. Lesson 8b: Obtaining insurance on leased or owned trust real estate.

In all these and other actions as trustee, the trustee should make clear that he–as trustee not pastor–is acting as legal owner of the property and should present the trust paperwork to the parties he is working with. He should never state that he is acting as the pastor of the church or on behalf of the church. He is acting on the behalf of the Lord Jesus Christ in managing the property in the trust estate, all of which is owned by the Lord, not the church.

This ministry is here to help all along the way in this and all matters. For example, the ministry advises the trustee as he leases or purchases the property, researches state property tax laws, court religious property tax cases interpreting those laws, the application for the property tax exemption, obtaining insurance on the property, etc. and discusses those matters with the trustee as he proceeds.