Category Archives: Miscellaneous Spiritual/Legal Matters

Articles on Christian Persecution – The Trail of Blood Continues

See also, The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus

Church and State Unifying In Russia:
How Putin Is Using The Orthodox Church To Build His Power (HBO)

121817_PakistaniPersecution

Hindu Leader Demands that All Christians Leave India in Publicized Video (060118)
For more articles on persecution of Christians in India, google “Chief Threat To India’s Hindu Only Nation: Christianity”

For more articles, google, “Persecution of Christians.”

Featured Articles, Etc.
(Scroll down for links to all articles):



Chronological Listing:

A Call to Anguish: Churches Reject God’s Authority


Recommended sermon which further explains this preliminary article:
Authority, the Greatest Thing in the Universe
Dr. Greg Dixon 2005.
This sermon explains the two meanings of power as used in the Bible and the importance of authority and power and correct doctrine to a church. It explains how great men of God can proceed according to some false doctrine and the consequences thereof.

Recommended: listen to this 7 min. 24 sec. excerpt from a sermon, in conjunction with this article:
A Call to Anguish


Jerald Finney
Copyright © November 21, 2017


A Call to Anguish: Churches Reject God’s Authority

1God grieves because His people neither understand nor honor His authority and His precepts. God’s grief calls churches and believers to anguish, but few grieve, few cry, few pray, few even know that there is a call to anguish. The call started a long time ago. Authentic churches in the colonies and then the new nation, even though warned by God’s remnant, betrayed their roots and compromised the authority of God. Their betrayal passed on to future churches. The betrayal of God increased exponentially for 225 plus years to this very day. This article points out one proof of the consequences of this betrayal that should call believers and churches to anguish.

God ordained civil government and laid out its jurisdiction. God gave civil government no authority or ability to define “church.” God defines “church” in the New Testament.  God also made clear that church and state were to remain totally separate. Yet, that was never the case, except for a remnant, in either the American colonies or the states.

How far off base would civil government go in the definition of “church” as multitudes of organizations sought and continue to seek non-profit corporation and tax exempt status? Let us look at an illustration. “A New Religion Forms That Will Worship A ‘Godhead’ Based On AI” states in the introduction:

“Anthony Levandowski has already filed paperwork with the IRS for the nonprofit corporation that is going to run this new religion.  Officially, this new faith will be known as ‘Way Of The Future.’” The article goes on to explain the tenets of the “Way Of The Future,” which include a faith in science which will create a “Godhead” which will make things better and a denial of the existence of God.

Had God remained the sole authority for churches, organizations  like “Way of the Future” could have existed, but they could not have received official sanction and “benefits” from any authority, earthly or heavenly.

Religious Americans, to include many Baptists alongside obviously heretical or apostate Protestants and Catholics, gave civil government the power, the authority to define “church.” Civil government took to the task, first in issues involving state non-profit corporate status; then, later in the twentieth century, income tax exemption status.

As to federal tax exemption law, the authority has developed a process and rationale to determine whether an organization applying for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status is a “church.” When determining whether an organization is a “church,” a “religious organization,” or a “religious society,” the IRS (and court, if the IRS ruling is appealed), has a 14 part criteria, which—though not all-conclusive since other factors will be considered when deemed appropriate by the IRS—is a man-made definition; a definition which is partially contrary to the Word of God. En 1 gives the IRS definition of church with link to online IRS webpage; En 2 discusses a sample IRS ruling; En 3 briefly discusses some cases which have attempted to define church and links directly to those cases.

The IRS agency makes initial determinations, but the ultimate authority is the judiciary. Regardless of the ruling of the IRS, the losing party can appeal to the appropriate court asking for reversal and laying out their arguments for their position. Ultimately, the case could go all the way to man’s highest authority on issues such as this, the United States Supreme Court.

What is wrong with this? God made clear that Christ in heaven is to be the only authority (power or head) “over all things to” His churches. Put another way, a church, the spiritual body whose feet walk and work on earth, is to be connected to only one spiritual head, Christ in heaven. This connection was made after Christ ascended to heaven and filled the members of the church with the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost (Ac. 2.4). God the Son, before his ascension, walked with his disciples and apostles. God the Holy Ghost now indwelt them, thereby giving them a direct spiritual link to their God-ordained Head who was now in heaven.

  • “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ep. 1.19-23).
  • “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ep. 2.19-23).
  • “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1.18).

From the above verses, and many more that could be quoted, one sees that God desires his churches to be spiritual entities or bodies (See also, e.g., Ep. 4 and the whole book of Ep., Col., and 1 Co. 12 for more on churches as spiritual bodies) connected to their only God ordained Head, the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven, while walking and working for the glory of God as heavenly, spiritual, eternal entities only here on the earth. Churches are to be “builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit,” not built together as corporate 501(c)(3) or 508 organizations according to man’s earthly, temporal, legal laws.

Most of the credit for the door being opened to Godless “religions” to gain the ability to be labeled as “churches” lies with not only with Protestants and Catholics but also with the progenitors of those martyrs who gave their lives standing for New Testament principles, one of which is separation of church and state. Once they had an opportunity to do so, the majority of even authentic Baptist believers and churches who honored and even died standing for the principle of separation of church and state while persecuted betrayed their head, their authority, the Lord Jesus Christ. They incorporated, and with the advent of tax exempt law, they applied for tax exempt status; along with many new breeds of “churches.”

All incorporated and/or 501(c)(3) and 508 “churches” operate under the authority of both the state government of incorporaton and the federal government, even those who also have or once had some connection to the Lord Jesus Christ. The latter sometimes operate partially under Jesus Christ and partially under civil government; sometimes solely under the authority of civil government.

New Testament churches who obtain state non-profit corporation status and get federal tax exempt status partially or totally lose the power of God.  They are no longer spiritual entities only under the authority, headship or power of Christ alone. They have chosen to become earthly legal entities partially or totally connected to earthly heads, the government of the state of incorporation and the federal government. Without the power of God, they are ill-equipped to do their work: the perfecting of the saints (inside the assembly), the work of the ministry, the edification of the body of Christ, going into all the world and preaching the gospel to every creature (Mk. 16.15), and performance of other duties outside the assembly. They no longer resemble the spiritual bodies described in the New Testament:

  • “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (Ep. 4.11-16)[Bold emphasis mine]
  • See also, e.g., 1 Co. 12.

Aditionally, by mixing church and state, churches opened the door to the untenable situation where an earthly temporal civil government which has neither the authority nor the ability to understand spiritual matters is granted power over the church and put in charge of defining “church,” “religious organization,” “religious society,” etc. This mixing of the holy with the unholy has resulted in the inevitable consequences we see shaping up as a result of civil government definition of “church.”

2In conclusion, should the IRS and/or the court decide that “Way Of The Future” is a qualified tax exempt religious organization or church, true churches will coexist as earthly legal entities alongside not only already existing corporate 501(c)(3) organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the Church of Wicca, and the Church of Satan, but also another Godless and God-defying organization which directly challenges God and His existence. Because they do not remain under their God-ordained authority (power or headship)—the Lord Jesus Christ—they will possess either no power of God or, at best, a watered down power of God. They betray their Lord, they lose God’s power, God grieves, and they could care less!

Churches have betrayed God, lost the power of God, and caused our Lord who loved the church and gave himself for it to grieve by incorporating and getting 501(c)(3) status.  Where is the anguish?

Listen to the powerful clip from sermon A Call to Anguish.

[For complete studies which cover all issues (such as the Ro. 13 issue, the incorporation issue, etc.) see the resources linked to in En 4.]

Endnotes

En 1 Churches Defined

“The term church is found, but not specifically defined, in the Internal Revenue Code. With the exception of the special rules for church audits, the use of the term church also includes conventions and associations of churches as well as integrated auxiliaries of a church.

“Certain characteristics are generally attributed to churches.  These attributes of a church have been developed by the IRS and by court decisions.  They include:

  • Distinct legal existence
  • Recognized creed and form of worship
  • Definite and distinct ecclesiastical government
  • Formal code of doctrine and discipline
  • Distinct religious history
  • Membership not associated with any other church or denomination
  • Organization of ordained ministers
  • Ordained ministers selected after completing prescribed courses of study
  • Literature of its own
  • Established places of worship
  • Regular congregations
  • Regular religious services
  • Sunday schools for the religious instruction of the young
  • Schools for the preparation of its members

“The IRS generally uses a combination of these characteristics, together with other facts and circumstances, to determine whether an organization is considered a church for federal tax purposes.

“Source:  Publication 1828, Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations.”

See DEFINING “CHURCH” – THE CONCEPT OF A CONGREGATION by Robert Louthian and Thomas Miller for a discussion of court application of the above criteria.

En 2: Internal Revenue Service Private Letter Ruling 8833001, 1988 PRL LEXIS 1594:

Just one illustration of what can happen when the civil government determines if an organization is a church, when IRS officials determine what constitutes a church within the meaning of IRC § 170(b)(1)(A)(i), follows. The threshold question in determining whether an organization is a church described in § 170(b)(1)(A)(i) is whether the organization qualifies as a religious organization described in § 501(c)(3). Using the 14-part IRS test to determine whether a religious organization was a church, IRS officials held that an organization with the following purpose as stated in its articles of incorporation and bylaws was a church: “[T]o establish an ecumenical church to help people learn to pay attention, wake up, and discover what both Christ and Buddha referred to as one’s true self.

The ruling stated:

“The organization was established to develop an ecumenical form of religious practice, place greater significance on the modes of religious expression that would unify western and eastern modes of religious practice, place greater significance on the mystical or interior experience of religious truth than that of most western church denominations, and be more spiritually satisfying to members than other existing church organizations.”

In other words, the IRS determined that an organization whose purpose was directly contrary to the principles for a church laid down by the Lord in His Word was a church.

Note. The above ruling is available on LEXIS, a legal website which charges for its services. The website can be assessed in some public law libraries and law firm libraries.

En 3: A small sampling of cases which have attempted to define church and links directly to those cases. These cases cite many other cases which deal with the definition of “church”:

PARSHALL CHRISTIAN ORDER v. BOARD OF REVIEW, COUNTY OF MARION, 315 N.W.2d 798 (1982)(Supreme Court of Iowa)

A family organized as an incorporated 501(c)(3) “religious society” and claimed property tax exemption. “People may not transform their families into religious organizations and thereby obtain exemption for property over which their dominion and use remain unaffected. Granting tax exempt status to PCO would exalt form over substance and violate the rule of construction that exemption statutes are strictly construed.” The case cites and discusses various cases from other jurisdictions.

Ideal Life Church of Lake Elmo v. Washington County, 1981, 304 N.W.2d 308 (Supreme Court of Minnesota)

Purported religious organization which was organized and operated primarily for motive of tax avoidance by private individuals in control of 501(c)(3) corporation, had no formally trained or ordained ministry, had no sacraments, rituals, education classes or literature of its own, had no liturgy other than simple meetings resembling mere social gatherings or discussion groups and did not require a belief in any supreme being or other being, and whose doctrine and beliefs were intentionally vague and nonbinding upon its members and whose members freely continued to practice other religions, was not a “church” as such term was used in state’s tax exemption laws.

In re Collection of Delinquent Real Property Taxes, State of MN v. American Fundamentalist Church, 1995, 530 N.W.2d 200 (S.Ct. Minnesota) rehearing denied

Threshold question in determining whether real property is “church” entitled to tax exemption is whether entity claiming exemption is “church” within meaning of statute…. The organization in this case was an incorporated 501(c)(3) church. Test for determining whether organization is “church” entitled to tax exemption is subjective one, focusing on sincerity of belief and taking into account evidence on objective issues. … Principal motivation for organizing religious corporation was tax minimization and therefore, organization was not “church” and, therefore was not entitled to real property tax exemption in view of evidence that most of financial contributions to organization came from individual founder, that most of founder’s income came from taxpayer, that founder was primary beneficiary of organization’s financial actions, and that founder and his wife, who was co-founder, dominated meetings of organization’s board of trustees.

FELLOWSHIP OF HUMANITY (a Nonprofit Corporation) v. COUNTY OF ALAMEDA, 153 Cal.App.2d 673 (California Court of Appeals. First Dist., Div. One1957)

The precise question involved in the instant case–whether the reverence of a deity is a prerequisite to the receiving of a tax exemption for church property. A humanist organization organized as a nonprofit corporation under the laws of California, Fellowship of Humanity, applied for property tax exemption on the ground that the property was used “solely and exclusively for religious worship….” The fundamental question–is a belief in God or gods essential to “religious worship,” as those terms are used in the state Constitution? The answer of the court: “No.”

WAUSHARA COUNTY v. Sherri L. GRAF, 166 Wis.2d 442 (1992), 480 N.W.2d 16, Supreme Court of Wisconsin. Submitted on briefs October 4, 1991.Decided February 17, 1992

The Supreme Court of Wisconsin reviewed the evidence and concluded that “The evidence indicates that Basic Bible was established to evade taxation. Basic Bible failed to meet its burden of proving that it is a “church” or “religious association” under [Wisconsin law]. The court held that Basic Bible was not property tax exempt.” The fact that the church held “in trust” the property for which a property tax exemption was sought was not a factor in the decision. The Court concluded that incorporation and 501(c)(3) status is not a prerequisite for church property tax exemption; and, again, made clear that the fact that the church held the property “in trust” did not disqualify the church from property tax exemption.

En 4 For further study for the interested believer:

·  Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses

·  The Biblical Doctrine of Government

·  The Biblical Doctrine of the Church

·  The Biblical Doctrine of Separation of Church and State

·  The History of the Religious Freedom in America

·  God Betrayed/Union of Church and State in America (covers church incorporation and 501c3 and 508 status, among other things)

·  Separation of Church and State: God’s Churches – Spiritual or Legal Entities?

· The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus/A Case of Premeditated Murder: Christian Revisionists on Trial

Murdering Unborn Babies; Abortion Counselor Tried for Crime: Court Briefs and Decision; Articles, Sermons, Etc. on Murdering Unborn Babies; Jury Nullification

Jerald Finney, October 26, 2017
Last edited on November 29, 2017


God’s Word makes clear what He thinks and how He feels about the murder of unborn babies and a nation which legalizes such slaughter. Legalizing such criminal activity has not only resulted in the brutal murder of tens of millions of innocent lives, but also the attendant destruction of the family in America. It is an outright Satanic attack on the fundamental institution ordained by God, on individuals, families, and the nation.

Here are some resources for those who are deeply grieved over this matter.

1. “Murdering Unborn Babies” webpage. Links to up-to-date articles, audio teachings, sermons and teachings on abortion (e.g., teaching on the role of Charles Darwin and his followers in promoting abortion), and more.

2. Links to up-to-date articles on the murdering of unborn babies (abortion)

43. Steve Lee Drake v. State of Texas (This was a case in which a sidewalk counselor at an abortion clinic was falsely charged with violation of the City of Austin, TX sign ordinance. In falsely charging Steve, the city violated his First Amendment freedom of speech. Jerald Finney handled the case from trial (Finney’s second trial) to final appeal (his first appeal) and reversal of Steve’s conviction and order to dismiss).

The appeals court reversed the liberal jury conviction and ordered that the case be dismissed. The whole jury panel was flaming liberal except for 3 Christians who were honest in their answers in jury selection and therefore eliminated by the prosecution for cause, while 6 liberals lied to critical questions posed by defense counsel in order to get on the jury and convict. Why cannot Christians Understand jury nullification? Liberals are more passionate to their cause than are Christians.

Simply left click to go to a particular document:

Brief for Appellant Steven Lee Drake (PDF)
State’s Reply Brief (PDF)
Appellant’s Reply To Brief For Appellee (PDF)
Decision Of Court Of Appeals (PDF)
Trial Court’s Finding Of Not Guilty In Compliance With Judgment of Appeal Court (PDF)
Trial Court’s Final Letter To Attorney Jerald Finney (PDF)

 4. Click here to see post “Jury Nullification: Article, Brief, and Requested Jury Instruction.”

15

An Informed Christian Response to the Article, “IRS Again Pressured To Hammer U.S. Churches”

Jerald Finney
August 25, 2017

This brief article is an informed Christian reply to an articles, IRS Again Pressured To Hammer U.S. Churches, and Trump Relaxes 501(c)(3) Political Activity Rules. Churches who violate the rules that come with Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) status should – subject to challenge presented to their chosen authority, the government court – have their tax exemption revoked. They agreed to the rules when they voluntarily and contrary to First Amendment and Bible principles sought and obtained 501(c) status. President Trump has no power to cancel the rules that come with 501(c)(3). Only the legislature can do so, subject to Presidential agreement and signing of legislation. The issue is one of authority. Christ wants to be the only Head of His churches (See, e.g., Ephesians and Colossians).

This article is written and being disseminated to both sides for the glory of God. I have contacted Freedom From Religion Foundation and encouraged them to go to this article for Biblical, historical, and legal arguments which support their position. It is time that Christians face the consequences for their hypocritical betrayal of our Lord by seeking and gaining legal entity status of any kind (incorporation, 501c3 or 508 status, unincorporated association status, etc.). This is being done in accordance with Bible principles.

I have covered the reasons – Biblical, historical, and legal – for this position in my writings which are available online. The following articles deal with the issue and link to materials which give more in depth analysis of Bible principles, history, and law:

A complete listing of articles is on the Articles tab of Separation of Church and State Law website.

For a short book on this, see Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entitiesor, for more complete analysis, see God Betrayed/The Biblical Principles and the American ApplicationBoth are available online free in both online form (which has the all additions and minor revisions), and PDF, or may be ordered. The second edition of Separation of Church and State is available in PDF only.

Here are some specific writings that explain church 501c3 status:

A good law review article on the tax exemption for churches is:

“Prohibition in Search of a Rationale: What the Tax Code Prohibits; Why; to What End?” (Deirdre Dessingue, Prohibition in Search of a Rationale: What the Tax Code Prohibits; Why; To What End?, 42 B.C.L. Rev. 903 (2001), http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol42/iss4/6)(PDF at http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2186&context=bclr)(Abstract: Each Presidential election renews the thorny debate over the appropriate role of churches and other religious organizations in American political life. Although churches are subject to other restraints on political activity, the prohibition on church political activity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code is the harshest in terms of penalties. Faced with the extraordinary scope of the prohibition as interpreted by the IRS, and perceived non-enforcement of egregious violations, churches tend toward one or two extremes: they either ignore the prohibition and endorse candidates or they avoid legitimate involvement with important policy issues.)”

For links to more Law Review Articles, click here.

The Loveliness of Jesus

2Click here to go to the sermon
The Loveliness of Jesus
by Dr. J. Vernon McGee.
Once there,
you can click the scrollbar to bypass the introduction if you desire.
 

Article: “The Loveliness of Christ” by…:

“Yea, He is altogether lovely.” Song of Solomon 5:16

All other greatness has been marred by littleness; all other wisdom has been flawed by folly; all other goodness has been tainted by imperfection. Jesus Christ remains the only Being of whom, without gross flattery, it could be asserted, “He is altogether lovely.”

Perfect Humanity

First, of all, as it seems to me, this loveliness of Christ consists in His perfect humanity.

In everything but our sins and our evil natures, He is one with us. He grew in stature and in grace. He labored and wept and prayed and loved. He was tempted in all points as we are — sin apart.

With Thomas, we confess Him Lord and God. We adore and revere Him. There is no other who establishes with us such intimacy, who comes so close to these human hearts of ours: no one else in the universe of whom we are so little afraid. He enters as simply and naturally into our twentieth century lives as if He had been reared in the same street with us. He is not one of the ancients; He is one with us.

How wholesomely and genuinely human He is! Martha scolds Him. John, who has seen Him raise the dead, still the tempest, and talk with Moses and Elijah on the mount, does not hesitate to make a pillow of His breast at supper. Peter will not let Him wash his feet, but afterwards wants his head and hands included in the ablution. They ask Him foolish questions, and rebuke Him, and venerate and adore Him in one breath. And He calls them by their first names, and tells them to fear not, and assures them of His love. In all this He seems to me altogether lovely. His perfection does not glitter; it glows. The saintliness of Jesus is so warm and human that it attracts and inspires. We find in it nothing austere and inaccessible, like a statue in a niche. The beauty of His holiness reminds one rather of a rose, or a bank of violets.

Jesus receives sinners and eats with them — all kinds of sinners: Nicodemus, the moral, religious sinner, and Mary of Magdala, “out of whom went seven devils” — the shocking kind of sinner. He comes into sinful lives as a bright, clear stream enters a stagnant pool. The stream is not afraid of contamination, but its sweet energy cleanses the pool.

Perfect Compassion

Moreover, Christ’s sympathy is altogether lovely. He is always being “touched with compassion.” The multitude without a shepherd, the sorrowing widow of Nain, the little dead child of the ruler, the demoniac of Gadara, the hungry five thousand — all these represented suffering, and whatever suffers touches Jesus’ heart. His very wrath against the scribes and Pharisees is but the excess of His sympathy for those who suffer under their hard self-righteousness.

Did you ever find Jesus looking for “deserving poor”? He “healed all their sick.” And what grace there is in His sympathy! Why did He touch that poor leper? He could have healed him with a word as He did the nobleman’s son. Why, for years the wretch had been an outcast, cut off from kin, dehumanized. He lost the sense of being a man. It was defilement to approach him. Well, the touch of Jesus made him human again.

A Christian woman, laboring among the moral lepers of London, found a poor street girl desperately ill in a bare cold room. With her own hands she ministered to her; she changed her bed linen, procured medicines and nourishing food and a fire, making the poor place as bright and cheery as possible. And then she said, “May I pray with you?”

“No,” replied the girl, “you don’t care for me. You are doing this to get to heaven.”

Many days passed — the Christian woman unwearily kind, the sinful girl hard and bitter. At last the Christian said: “My dear, you are nearly well now, and I shall not come again, but as it is my last visit, I want you to let me kiss you,” and the pure lips that had known only prayers and holy words met the lips defiled by oaths and unholy caresses — and then, my friends, the hard heart broke. That was Christ’s way.

Perfect Humility

Again, Christ’s humility is altogether lovely. Can you fancy His calling a convention of Pharisees to discuss methods of reaching “the masses”? He, the only one who ever had a choice of how He should be born, entered this life as one of “the masses.” What meekness, what lowliness! “I am among you as one that serveth. He “began to wash his disciples’ feet.” “When he was reviled, reviled not again.” “As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” Can you think of Jesus as posing and demanding His rights?

Perfect Gentleness

Further, Christ’s gentleness is altogether lovely. It is in His way with sinners that the supreme loveliness of Jesus is most sweetly shown. How tender He is, yet how faithful; how considerate, how respectful! Nicodemus, candid and sincere, but proud of his position as a master in Israel, and timid lest he should imperil it, “comes to Jesus by night.” Before he departs, this master in Israel has learned his utter ignorance of the first step toward the kingdom, and goes away to think over the personal application of the truth, “they loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” But he has not heard one harsh word, one utterance that can wound his self-respect.

When He speaks to that silent despairing woman, after her accusers had gone out, one by one, He uses for “woman” the same word that He used when addressing His own mother from the cross.

Follow Him to Jacob’s solitary well and hear His conversation with the woman of Samaria. How patiently He unfolds the deepest truths, how gently yet faithfully He presses the great ulcer of sin which is eating away her soul! But He could not be more respectful to Mary of Bethany.

Even in the agonies of death, He could hear the cry of despairing faith. When conquerors return from far wars in strange lands they bring their chief captive as a trophy. It was enough for Christ to take back to heaven the soul of a thief.

Perfect Poise

Finally, Christ is altogether lovely in the perfect equipoise of His various perfections. We could speak at length of His dignity, of His virile manliness, of His courage. In Him, all the elements of perfect character are in lovely balance. His gentleness is never weak. His courage is never brutal. My friends, you may study these things for yourselves. Follow Him through all the scenes of outrage and insult on the night and morning of His arrest and trial. Behold Him before the high priest, before Pilate, before Herod. See Him browbeaten, bullied, scourged, smitten upon the face, spit upon, mocked. How inherent greatness comes out! Not once does He lose His self-poise, His high dignity.

I close with this word of personal testimony: This is my Beloved and this is my Friend. Will you not accept Him as your Saviour and likewise discover His loveliness?

Is He not altogether lovely?

 

The Trials and Tribulations of the Old Paths Baptist Church ‘No Small Stir’ Street Preaching Ministry

The Trials and Tribulations of the Old Paths Baptist Church ‘No Small Stir’ Street Preaching Ministry

Jerald Finney
Copyright
 © January, 2014

Notes taken on very poignant statements by a fellow believer and Chicago attorney:

If you don’t believe in evil, if all you are looking for is heaven, (like, dare I say most, pre-trib believers) there is no reason to do anything for the glory of God – just be a little good. It is OK to do everything the world does (drink, listen to evil music, dance, fornicate (includes sodomy), etc. because there is no hell for them. I “love” and I am good enough. Those so-called Christians believe in hell but they do not think they are going there. They have their “fire insurance,” they think. They think: “I have my ticket to heaven so I need do nothing for the glory of God the rest of my life.” They do not believe in hell, the devil or evil – or at least as applied to them – or they would love Bible preaching. Real Christians, as opposed to these fake believers, these children of the devil, would get down on their knees and say “Thank you” to Bible based street preachers.

Contents:

Latest Development: April 6, 2016. Northfield News prints a libelous, biased, slanted one-sided attack against OPBC street preachers. Response and further developments will be included. Read the whole story as it develops at: Citizen v. Citizen: Some Northfield, Minnesota Citizens Seek to circumvent First Amendment

Preface (Below)

  1. Examples of correct police conduct and correct response to illegal police conduct
  2. Link to article: Anti-Christian Hatred Sweeps The World
  3. Recent relevant free speech decision (Street preachers who displayed hog’s head, denigrated Muslim traditions, and preached a strong anti-Muslim message, and denigrated Muslim traditions at Muslim event, were attacked by Muslims. There was little intervention by the police as to the Muslim attacks and the police threatened the preachers with arrest if they did not leave. Such treatment was “solely on the basis of the views they espoused,” which violated the Plaintiffs’ rights under the First and 14th   Moreover, the Court of Appeals determined that the Deputy Chief Defendants are civilly liable to the Plaintiffs for violating clearly established precedent.  The County was also found civilly liable because of the improper guidance it provided to its Deputy Chiefs.  Importantly, the Court described the police officers’ indifference to the mob to be a “heckler’s veto,” in violation of the Plaintiff’s free speech.  In essence, the officers’ failure to quell the mob, despite repeated requests for assistance from the Plaintiffs, shut down the Plaintiff’s freedom of speech/expression in an unreasonable manner.  Making matters, worse, the officers threatened to charge the Plaintiffs if they remained, further attenuating the Plaintiffs’ rights.”) For more thorough legal analysis, see: Street Preaching in America: Is it Legal?
  4. Link to article: First Amendment Ultimate Safeguard Against Encroaching Shariah In America
  5. Facebook comment concerning OPBC street preachers by Satanists
  6. Articles, sermons, etc. chronicling the attacks, including and beginning with the Northfield MN attacks, against OPBC street preachers

(The following is a summary of contents of link no. 6. Click link above for full stories.)

  1. Preface
    b. Introduction
    c. Relevant facts concerning the first attack in Northfield (including link to audio of actual
    events)
    d. Updates of attacks against the street preachers following that in “c.”: February 16, 2014 
    (The attack  of the officer seems to have been that of a “lone wolf” police officer – video included of prior proper police conduct.)

March 30, 2014 (Courteous Northfield officer approaches OPBC preachers in response to a complaint, mentioned certain city ordinances, but did not arrest or cite anyone in that he needed clarification. The ordinances are quoted and the audio of the encounter is included.)
March 31, 2014
 (OPBC member calls Alliance Defense Fund for possible legal representation in the even the city violates the First Amendment. Police inform Pastor Cooley that the city attorney told him there was nothing they could do. Etc.)
June 21, 2014
 (On June 21, 2014, some OPBC men went to Faribault MN to preach in the public forum. Complaints were called in and police threatened the preachers with citation and arrest. See how this played out by reading the story below and the article linked thereto.)
August 17, 2014 (Business owners unsuccessfully tried to shut down street preaching in Northfield MN. The obtained a permit for the purpose of preventing the street preaching. The OPBC preachers returned the first week after the permit was issued and nothing was done to them because of First Amendment law.)
September 12, 2013 (Debate on the First Amendment as a result of Old Paths Baptist Church street preaching. Includes op-ed article by Jerald Finney, “Street Preaching: A Misunderstood Blessing.”)
October 11, 2014 Link to report and testimonies on the “No Small Stir” street preaching ministry activity in St. Paul. The enemy continues to oppose the preaching of God’s word.
April 18, 2015. (On this date, OPBC men went to Minneapolis, MN to preach in the public forum. Some were assaulted. The police came and told them to leave in 5 minutes or be arrested, thereby violating their civil rights (First Amendment speech rights). Read the whole story as it unfolds by clicking: April 18, 2015 encounter with unlawful police officer in Dinkeytown, Minnesota and subsequent actions by the offended parties.)
August, 2015. Police try to chill rights of OPBC street preachers, but they hold their ground: 2 videos.
October 21, 2015. Advance letter to “The Halloween Capital of America” concerning street preaching by the men of Old Paths Baptist Church
April 6, 2016. Northfield News prints a libelous, biased, slanted one-sided attack against OPBC street preachers. Response and further developments will be included. Read the whole story as it develops at: Citizen v. Citizen: Some Northfield, Minnesota Citizens Seek to circumvent First Amendment

  1. Highest Law (God’s Law)
    f. United States Constitution and relevant case excerpts which interpret that law
    g. Constitution of the State of Minnesota
    h. Northfield, Minnesota Code of Ordinances and Charter

 

1. Preface

Jesus said in Luke 24.46-47, “And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem..” In Acts 1.8 He instructed his followers, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

When men of Old Paths Baptist Church began to obey the above instructions, no small stir arose. Some police in southeast Minnesota understood and correctly applied the First Amendment law which requires peace officers to protect those speaking in the public forum and not to arrest, interfere with, or shut down the speakers.

Others who did not know the law and their role in protecting public speakers, have been educated. OPBC has endeavored to prevent the need for court intervention, something which proves costly to the police officers, police departments, city officials and the city involved. Sadly, the costs of the city are born by the citizens and the desire of OPBC is to avoid spending taxpayer dollars on issues that are well settled in the law.

Most likely, it will be necessary to educate others as the men of OPBC preach in forums never before confronted with public speech protected by the First Amendment.

OPBC is very thankful to those historic Baptists who fought the spiritual warfare which resulted in the First Amendment to the Constitution.  Historic Baptists stood in spite of loss of life, liberty, property, and family. We would be remiss not to stand when facing none of those trials. See The History of the First Amendment

Answer to the question: “What part of the constitution is the basis for outlawing murder?”

Someone asked, on Avvo, a legal website, the following question:

“What part of the consititution is the basis for outlawing murder? am wondering if a person says they worship allah and allah says to kill gays…what is to prevent them from doing this and saying it is the freedom of their practice of religion?”

Some lawyers replied, including myself. You may view the question and answers at: https://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/what-part-of-the-consititution-is-the-basis-for-ou-3079274.html.

My answer was as follows:

“Islam and true Christianity are diametrically opposed. When I say true Christianity, I am speaking of that practiced by true born again believers since the beginning of the church age as recorded in the New Testament. In order to answer your question, I believe I should give you a thumbnail sketch of how American law came to be. It was not founded upon the a religion that combines church and state (Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, etc. or atheism). It came about as a result of a spiritual warfare which raged for many hundreds of years. I would add, without explanation, that sadly, the highest man made law in America, the United States Constitution, was a blend of God’s law and man’s reasoning; I do not have time to explain that in this comment.

“After the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts, the Jewish religious leaders, then Rome, then the official ‘church’ of Rome formed when Constantine combined church and state, the Protestant churches establishments which came much later, viciously persecuted (imprisoned, beheaded, drowned, tortured, etc.) those labeled heretics by established churches. 50-150 million of these “heretics” were so murdered. Many of them were authentic born again believers who had formed New Testament churches. This persecution, though less intense, was continued in the American colonies. As a result of that spiritual warfare, the First Amendment to the United States Constitutions was adopted in 1791. To read this whole story, go to https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/god-betrayed….

“Under Islam (which combines religion and state), murder of certain people is practiced because the Islamic “holy books” say this is to be done. However, the Bible does not condone the murder of people by others. Of course, civil government (man ruling over man under God) was ordained by God as was capital punishment. God ordained Gentile civil government, and the theocratic government/nation of Israel. I explain this in The Biblical Doctrine of Government. America is a Gentile nation. America chose to honor God (the only God-the God of the Bible) in many ways. One of those ways was to provide that the government punish those who intentionally kill another or others without legal justification. In America, no one has a right to kill anyone else unless justified (self-defense, defense of a third person, etc.).

“I understand that some Muslims, including many who now live in America, want to convert the world and actively work to promote that goal. Those Muslims did not come to America to assimilate, but for that reason mentioned in the last sentence. However, this is not a Muslim nation. This is America. I suggest that anyone is free to seek to move to a nation that more closely practices their beliefs and that doing so should be their preferred course of action.”

Short Explanation of “Dispensation”

From J. Vernon McGee, Ephesians, p. 47 (teaching on Ephesians 1.9-10)

Dispensation is another word like mystery. It is often misunderstood, and a great many people think it is a dirty word. It is a great word! Some Bible teachers won’t even use the word because it is a word that is hated. There are a lot of words in the Bible that are hated—words like blood, and redemption, and the cross. Paul says the cross is an offense, but that cannot keep us from preaching about it. The Bible teaches dispensations, and so we will not avoid the subject at all.

“Let me say first of all that a dispensation is not a period of time. That is where dispensation differs from the word age. We hear the ‘age of grace’—that is a period of time. Dispensation is an altogether different word that is translated in several different ways. It can mean ‘a stewardship,’ ‘an order,’ or ‘an administration.’ An English transliteration of the Greek word would be ‘economy.’ It is an order or a system that is put into effect. It is a way of doing things.

“For example, girls in school take a course called home economics or domestic economy. They learn how to run a household. When a woman has her own home, she may decide to have baked beans one night and a roast the next night. She set up the order of meals and that is the way she organizes her schedule. Down the street the mother in another family decides they won’t have a roast that night, but they will have fish. That is the way she runs her house, and she has a right to run it like that.

“There is also a political economy—a subject that is taught in our colleges today. A lot of young men go into that field, and they learn how to run a government, the way to run a nation. England runs her government differently than we do over here. Each has a right to its own system and I wouldn’t say that either place has the right system. Russia has an entirely different system, and we certainly wouldn’t better ourselves by taking theirs. Countries even have different systems of running traffic. In England, they drive down the left side of the street! I enjoyed kidding our driver when we were in England, ‘Look out, there comes a car on the wrong side of the street!’ ‘That’s all right,’ he would say, ‘I’m going on the wrong side myself.’ In England the right side is the left side. Now that is confusing to a poor American visiting over there.”

“A dispensation may fit into a certain period of time, but it actually means the way God runs something at a particular time; it is the way God does things. It is evident that God had Adam on a different arrangement than He has for you and me. I thing even the most ardent anti-dispensationalist can understand that the Garden of Eden was different from Southern California today. And God dealt with Adam in a different way than he deals with us. (Now, I will admit that when people first moved out to Southern California, they thought it was a Garden of Eden. I thought so, too, when I first came here, but now it is filled with smog and traffic [and sinful abominations]!

“Now God has never had but one method to save folk; everything rests upon one method of salvation. The approach and the man under the system have been different, however. For example, Abel offered a lamb to God, and so did Abraham. The Old Testament priests offered lambs to God. God had said that was the right way. But I hope you did not bring a lamb to church last Sunday! That is not the way God tells us to approach Him today. We are under a different economy.

“‘Of the fulness of times.’ [Ephesians 1.10]. What is the ‘fulness of times’? I can’t go into all phases of that, but God is moving everything forward to the time when Christ will rule over all things in heaven and earth. This is the fulness, the pleroma, when everything is going to be brought under the rulership of Jesus Christ. The pleroma  is like a vast receptacle into which centuries and millenniums have been falling. All that is past, present, and future is moving toward the time when every knee must bow and every tongue must confess that Jesus is Lord. This is the mystery that is revealed to us, ‘That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.’ We learn this about Christ, that God ‘hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him; (Hebrews 2.8). This states very clearly that we have not yet come to that time. We are under a different dispensation today; we live under a different economy. But God has revealed this to us that is to come to pass, something that had not been revealed in the past.

“Heaven and earth are not in tune today—we are playing our own little tune. We have our rock music going down here, while the only Rock up there is the Lord Jesus. He is the Rock: He is that precious Stone that is the foundation upon which the church rests today. And the day will come when heaven and earth will be in tune and all things will be gathered together in Christ.”

For more on dispensationalism see Dispensation Theology versus Covenant Theology

Note. That universality of the church will begin at the marriage of the Lamb. See Revelation 19.7-10; Hebrews 19.22-24.

Bible Study Guidelines

2ti2-15Jerald Finney
January 2, 2017/1st Edition completed: January 6, 2016

Click here for 5 min. 57 sec. study which teaches why Christian programs for young people have not and do not work.
What is the problem when one cannot understand the Word of God? Is it the Bible? Are there errors in the Bible? Is it head trouble? What is it? Learn the answer and more in this great teaching from Proverbs 8.8-36.
Click here to listen to a great teaching on studying the word of God: Nehemiah 8, Dr. J. Vernon Mcgee. 

Timothy 2:15:  “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Bible study is essential for Christian growth. It is not to replace one’s active participation and learning in his local New Testament church, nor the teaching and preaching therein, but to complement it.

To understand God’s truths as revealed in the Bible, keep in mind that you must believe it. To become a disciple of Christ, you must continue, believing, in His word. Remember, that only the King James Bible is the word of God in English (See, King James Bible page).

John 8:31-32  “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Bible study includes “analysis,” not just reading and memorization. In fact, analysis is much more important than memorization, for many purposes. Memorization of some Scripture is very helpful, e.g., for street preaching, but memorization without proper understanding and application is not to be desired. Someone may be very good at memorizing, but memorization alone is not sufficient. To enjoy all that God offers you in his word, you must – as you read – believe, study, analyze, and apply. Without application of correct doctrine, study and analysis are useless. Application takes place where the rubber meets the road – where one lives his daily life – regardless of his circumstances.

Proper analysis of the Bible guards against heresy and apostasy. For example, some verses, out of context, can be recited which seem to indicate, with proper contextual analysis, that water baptism saves, or that water baptism is a part of salvation. Other verses can be, and have been, manipulated to seemingly teach that the Church has replaced Israel, that God is finished with Israel, and that the principles for the “theocracy” of Israel are God’s model for all nations. Both heresies have resulted in establishment of religions which have misled untold millions as to certain fundamental Bible doctrines. The latter heresy has also resulted in the murder, in the name of God, of tens of millions who refuse to bow down to the official church/state establishment (See, The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus). Test doctrines by a contextual analysis of all Scripture

At salvation, one is a babe in Christ. Christ does not want you to continue in that state.

Hebrews 5:12-14  “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

God wants his children to go on to perfection. This can happen only within a local New Testament body of believers:

Ephesians 4:11-16  “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

A new believer should be baptized into a church which believes, preaches, practices, and applies the word of God. If one’s studies reveal that the church he is a member of does not honor and glorify God by accurate Bible teaching and practice, he should seek out another church. Some good Bible teachers and teachings can be found online, but most online teachers and ministries are heretical and/or apostate.

In your studies, you must consider both the immediate and the overall context of Scripture. Look at the verse, the surrounding verses and chapters, and all the verses on the subject from Genesis to Revelation. Instead of relying upon any doctrine – e.g., Calvinism, Catholicism, Armenianism, Landmarkism, Pentacostalism, etc.- rely on the word of God. If a doctrine is correct, it will correspond to the teachings in the word of God. Generally speaking, many dogmatists will walk one through a series of verses, out of context, to prove their dogma. That is not the way to find truth.

To effectively learn correct Bible doctrine, the saved student must start with Genesis 1.1 and proceed, in diligent study, to Revelation 22.21. Do not just read. Pick out a doctrine which you wish to understand. Take notes. In your notes, quote each verse, verses, chapters, etc. which develop the doctrine you are studying. With the computer this is easy, especially if you have a good King James Bible software program which allows you to easily copy and paste verses. This author uses SwordSearcher software which has instant access to many commentaries on each verse and many other extremely helpful properties that greatly speed up your studies.

Isaiah 28:9-13  “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.  For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:  For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.  To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.”

Study each verse, as you go through the Bible, word by word. Examine the meaning of each word. If the word is a noun, like “heaven,” do a word search. Go the the first use of the word, then proceed through the Bible to all uses of the word and its derivatives to uncover the meaning of that word. If a word is a noun with an added suffix, the resulting word is usually an adjective. Find the meaning of the the suffix. The suffix “ly” means “like.” For example, “heavenly means “like” heaven. Search out the meaning of the noun, in this case “heaven,” beginning with the first use in the Bible. Sometimes verses that do not explicitly include the word itself will be instructive. Start with each word, then go to phrases, sentences, verses, chapters, books, sections, and finally to the whole Bible. However, get an overall understanding of the whole Bible before getting into deeper study.

For example, to understand the sovereignty of God and the free will of man, do not make the mistake of being directed to selected verses. Start with Genesis 1.1 and go to the end. List and quote every verse you encounter which explains or applies these doctrines.

Keep in mind, during your study, to look for the concept, not just the word. Sometimes, a verse may not, for example, say “free will,” but deal with the matter nonetheless: Luke 18. 9-14, e.g., (only verse 14 quoted here): “14  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Another example is found in John 3, verses 17-20. In those verses, the word “repentance” is not used. However, the verses address “repentance” nonetheless.

Once you have gone through the Bible and written down all the verses you have come across which deal with the word or doctrine you are studying, you can then go back to those verses and analyze them for an understanding of the word or doctrine. Good Bible commentaries are very useful in such an analysis. When one has gone through the Bible a few times using this approach, he will begin to discern when someone else is presenting error on doctrines he has studied. The only way to decide differences is to have open-minded debate. The minute one takes the position that everyone who disagrees with his interpretation is an heretic, honest search for truth is impossible.

To understand any particular part of the Bible, you must first have some understanding of the rest of it. “It is found that the fact that no particular portion of Scripture is to be intelligently comprehended apart from some conception of its place in the whole. For the Bible story and message is like a picture wrought out of mosaics: each book, chapter, verse, and even word forms a necessary part, and has its own appointed place. It is, therefore, indispensable to any interesting and faithful study of the Bible that a general knowledge of it be gained. 

First. The Bible is one book. Seven great marks attest this unity. (1) From Genesis the Bible bears witness to one God. Where ever he speaks or acts he is consistent with himself, and with the total revelation concerning him. (2) The Bible forms one continuous story–the story of humanity in relation to God. (3) The Bible hazards the most unlikely predictions concerning the future, and, when the centuries have brought around the appointed time, records their fulfillment. (4) The Bible is a progressive unfolding of truth. Nothing is told all at once, and once for all. The law is, ‘first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn.’ Without the possibility of collusion, often with centuries between, one writer of Scripture takes up an earlier revelation, adds to it, lays down the pen, and in due time another man moved by the Holy Spirit, and another, and another, add new details till the whole is complete. (5) From beginning to end the Bible testifies to one redemption. (6) From beginning to end the Bible has one great theme – the person and work of the Christ. (7) And, finally, these writers, some forty-four in number, writing through twenty centuries, have produced a perfect harmony of doctrine in progressive unfolding. This is, to every candid mind, the unanswerable proof of the Divine inspiration of the Bible.”

“Second. The Bible is a book of books. Sixty-six books make up the one Book. Considered with reference to the unity of the one book the separate books may be regarded as chapters. But that is but one side of the truth, for each of the sixty-six books is complete in itself, and has its own theme and analysis. [The sincere student should outline] the entire book and insert the divisions and subdivisions. [Sometimes a good study Bible will be helpful if formulated by one who believes, rather than interprets, the Bible. When one compares the guidelines of others with Scripture, he will be able to spot error, if any.] It is therefore of the utmost moment that the books be studied in the light of their distinctive themes. Genesis, for instance, is the book of beginnings – the seed plot of the whole Bible. Matthew is the book of the King, etc. 

Third. The books of the Bible fall into groups. Speaking broadly there are five great divisions in the Scriptures, and these may be conveniently fixed in the memory by five key words.

“PREPARATION. the O. T.
“MANIFESTATION. The Gospels.
“PROPAGATION. The Acts.
“EXPLANATION. The Epistles.
“CONSUMMATION. The Apocalypse.

“In other words, the Old Testament is the preparation for Christ; in the Gospels he is manifested to the world; in the Acts he is preached and his gospel is propagated in the world; in the Epistles his Gospel is explained; and in the Revelation all the purposes of God in and through Christ are consummated. And these groups of books in turn fall into groups. This is especially true of the Old Testament, which is in four well defined Groups. Over these may be written, as memory aids:

REDEMPTION  ORGANIZATION   POETRY                   SERMONS

Genesis                     Joshua                        Job                          Isaiah        Jonah
Exodus                      Judges                        Psalms                    Jeremiah  Micah
Leviticus                   Ruth                           Proverbs                  Ezekiel  Nahum
Numbers                   I, II Samuel           Ecclesiastes          Daniel Habakkuk
Deuteronomy        I, II Kings         Song of Solomon      Hosea Zephaniah
                                      I, II Chronicles       Lamentations         Joel Haggai
                                      Ezra                                                                   Amos Zechariah
                                      Nehemiah                                                    Obadiah Malachi                                          Esther

“Again care should be taken not to overlook, in these general groupings, the distinctive messages of the several books composing them. Thus, while redemption is the general theme of the Pentateuch, telling as it does the story of the redemption of Israel out of bondage and into ‘a good land and large,’ each of the five books has its own distinctive part in the whole. Genesis is the book of beginnings, and explains the origin of Israel. Exodus tells the story of the deliverance of Israel; Leviticus of the worship of Israel as a delivered people; Numbers the wanderings and failures of the delivered people, and Deuteronomy warns and instructs that people in view of their approaching entrance upon their inheritance.

“The poetical books record the spiritual experiences of the redeemed people in the varied scenes and events through which the providence of God led them. The prophets were inspired preachers, and the prophetical books consist of sermons with brief connecting and explanatory passages. Two prophetical books, Ezekiel and Daniel, have a different character and are apocalyptic, largely.

Fourth. The Bible tells the Human Story. Beginning, logically, with the creation of the earth and of man, the story of the race sprung from the first human pair continues through the first eleven chapters of Genesis. With the twelfth chapter begins the history of Abraham and of the nation of which Abraham was the ancestor. It is that nation, Israel, with which the Bible narrative is thereafter chiefly concerned from the eleventh chapter of Genesis to the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. The Gentiles are mentioned, but only in connection with Israel. But it is made increasingly clear that Israel so fills the scene only because entrusted with the accomplishment of great world-side purposes (Deut. 7.7).

“The appointed mission of Israel was (1) to be a witness to the unity of God in the midst of universal idolatry (Deut. 6.4; Isa. 43.10); (2) to illustrate to the nations the greater blessedness of serving the one true God (Deut. 33.26-29; 1 Chron. 17.20, 21; Psa. 102.15); (3) to receive and preserve the Divine revelation (Rom. 3.1, 2); and (4) to produce the Messiah, earth’s Saviour and Lord (Rom. 9.4). The prophets foretell a glorious future for Israel under the reign of Christ.

“The biblical story of Israel, past present, and future, falls into seven distinct periods: (1) From the call of Abram (Gen. 12) to the Exodus (Ex. 1-20); (2) From the Exodus to the death of Joshua (Ex. 21 to Josh. 24); (3) from the death of Joshua to the establishment of the Hebrew monarchy under Saul; (4) the period of the kings from Saul to the Captivities; (5) the period of the Captivities; (6) the restored commonwealth from the end of Babylonian captivity of Judah, to the destruction of Jerusalem, A.D. 70; (7) the present dispersion.

“The Gospels record the appearance in human history and within the Hebrew nation of the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ, and tell the wonderful story of his manifestation to Israel, his rejection by that people, his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.

“The Acts of the Apostles record the descent of the Holy Spirit, and the beginning of a new thing in human history, the Church. The division of the race now becomes threefold – the Jew, the Gentile, and the Church of God. Just as Israel is in the foreground from the call of Abram to the resurrection of Christ, so now the Church fills the scene from the second chapter of the Acts [forward]. The remaining chapters of [the Revelation] complete the story of humanity and the final triumph of Christ.

Fifth. The Central Theme of the Bible is Christ. It is this manifestation of Jesus Christ, his Person, as “God manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3.16), his sacrificial death, and his resurrection, which constitute the Gospel. Unto this all preceding Scripture leads, from this all following Scripture proceeds. The Gospel is preached in the Acts and explained in the Epistles. Christ, Son of God, Son of man, Son of Abraham, son of David, thus binds the many books into one Book. Seed of the woman (Gen. 3.15) he is the ultimate destroyer of Satan and his works; Seed of Abraham he is the world blesser; Seed of David he is Israel’s King, ‘Desire of which is his body,’ while to Israel and the nations the promise of his return forms the one and only rational expectation that humanity will yet fulfill itself. Meanwhile the Church looks momentarily for the fulfillment of his special promise: ‘I will come again and receive you unto myself’ (John 14.1-3). To him the Holy Spirit throughout this Gospel bears testimony. The last book of all, the Consummation book, is ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ’ (Rev. 1.1).”

Click here to listen to a great teaching on studying the word of God: Nehemiah 8, Dr. J. Vernon Mcgee.

END

How a Church Can Organize To Remain a New Testament Church (Holding Property in Trust for God Is a Scriptural Principle Recognized, but not Created, by the Legal System)

Jerald Finney
Copyright © May 6, 2016
“Separation of Church and State Law” ministry

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.Lk. 16:10-13
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” 1 Co. 4.1-2
But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.” 1 Th. 2:4
According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.” 1 Ti. 1:11
O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:1 Ti. 6:20

See also, Documents Which Establish a Church under Christ Alone.

 

Note. “Property” included both real and personal property. Personal property, also referred to as movable property, is anything other than land that can be the subject of ownership, including money and bank accounts.

Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Trust is a Bible concept
  3. The Trustor
  4. The Trustee
  5. A church Bible trust agreement and estate
  6. The wisdom of a Declaration of Trust
  7. American law recognizes and applies the concept of trust
  8. Conclusion

1. Introduction

American law recognizes, but did not originate, the concept of trust. Efforts of scholars to trace the origin have been futile. See, e.g., Fn 1Trusts, Trust-Like Concepts and Ius Commune, 8 Eur. Rev. Private L. 453 (2000), C. H. van Rhee: “… Whether these origins are Roman, Canonical or Germanic [or of some other origin] remains an unresolved question. …”

Scholars have not considered all historic evidence. Had they done so, they would have discovered that the concept of trust was originated by God in the manner in which He ordered things. “Trust” is recognized by American law as will be seen below. See, 7. American law recognizes and applies the concept of trust, below. The concept of “trust” started in the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, and is evident throughout the Word of God. In the Bible, one finds by implication “trust” (also explicitly stated), “trust estate,” “trustor,” (or “grantor” or “settlor”), “trustee,” “beneficiary,” and “fiduciary.” Actually, the concept is just part of the way things work, the way God arranged things, as He explains in His Word.

The Roman Catholic “Church,” with all its heresies understood the this matter, although with some distortion, a long time ago:

“Trust-like devices were popular in the Church [speaking of the Roman Catholic ‘church’], since they allowed this institution to accumulate the necessary means to discharge its tasks. At the same time, these devices preempted the criticism that the Church was not practising [sic] its own teachings on the spiritual dangers of wealth. The wealth accumulated by the Church was not regarded as property owned by the Church itself. According to S. Herman, it was said to belong to God the Father as sovereign Lord, the Pope and his clerical lieutenants acting as His stewards. In trust terminology: God acted as ‘settlor’, while the Pope and his clerical lieutenants acted as trustees. Christ, the meek, the poor and the congregation were usually designated as ‘beneficiaries’. God, as the settlor, also figured as the ultimate beneficiary of creation. In this way, the wealth of the Church could be justified, since the Church simply acted as a depositary of goods created for all. Church officials were charged with managing the goods entrusted to them as ‘trustees’ and with using them for the good of the community. ” See Trusts, Trust-Like Concepts and Ius Commune Op Cit.

Of course this Catholic misunderstanding allowed the Institution of the Roman Catholic “Church” to prosper and the clergy to live a luxurious life (the “beneficiaries” in practice although not in name) because the trust estate was not used for the benefit of God, the true owner of all things, and all mankind. The Catholic Church, accordingly, has stored up tremendous wealth and actually worships mammon. Nonetheless, even though misapplying the concept, Catholicism recognized it.

Most contemporary “Bible believing Christians” in America have no idea of the concept. Rather, most prostitute their churches through the use of various legal entity devises such as church incorporation and Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) or 508 status.

This article examines the Bible doctrine of trust and its proper application by churches. A church can operate according to the principles of the New Testament only should she apply the concept of trust. God entrusts a New Testament (“NT”) church to her members. He wants each church to operate and organize according to His precepts as laid out in the Bible. According to the NT, a church is to be a spiritual entity only. A spiritual entity cannot hold property or money, sue, be sued, enter into contracts or act legally in any way. Only a temporal entity can do those things. See, for explanation, What Is a Church  Under Christ (a New Testament Church) and What Upholds Her Integrity? (article); see also, Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities? (book).

God wants members of His churches to give to Him, not to their church. If church members (a church is made of her members ) give to a church, that church gives to herself. Of course, many believers in non-NT churches while giving to the churches they are members of, not to God, believe in their heart they are giving to God. I believe God will honor their giving, even though not according to knowledge, understanding and wisdom. However, when one grows to understand the truth about giving to God, he has a responsibility to begin to do things God’s way.

This article will answer the question, “How can a church organize such that the church complies with Bible principles?” The answer in a nutshell is by complying with Bible teaching on the matter. There is only one Bible way to do so. That is by establishing a trust relationship with money and property. When church members give to God, they should entrust their gifts and offerings to someone who holds and manages God’s money and property for the benefit of the true owner, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The principle of trust originated with God. God embedded this precept in His word and it is seen from Genesis to Revelation. God has administered his rule over the world in various dispensations or economies as He progressively works out His purpose of world history. The principle is still effectual to this day. Primarily, dispensations are stewardships. All in a particular dispensational economy are stewards, although one man usually stands out. For example, Paul was used by God more than any other to reveal His grace. Nonetheless, all the apostles and every other believer are also stewards of God’s grace. All have a responsibility to respond to that grace. God will judge those who fail to do so. (Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995), pp. 56-57; for an more detailed analysis of dispensations and dispensationalism, see the short article The Essence of Dispensationalism).

God created all things and owns all things. (Ge. 1.1). After the creation, God “saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Ge. 1.31).

God is trustor or settlor – God established the trust relationship whereby man holds God’s property in trust for God, the owner. Man is trustee under God with a fiduciary duty to use all God has given him for the glory of God. Obedience to God brings blessings. Disobedience brings curses.

God entrusted the earth to man. God as trustor or settlor established the trust agreement. The trust estate is His. Man was trustee. Man, as trustee, has a fiduciary duty, under God, to care God’s earthly trust estate for Him. Man’s God-given purpose is to glorify God in all things.  “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (Corinthians 10:31).

Jn.3.20-21_2Every man has a choice of glorifying God or not glorifying God. The first step is salvation. The light  of salvation comes to every man (See John 3.16-22); some come to it, some do not. Even after salvation, new light continues to shine through; one either comes to that light or rejects it. Only the saved man is made privy to additional light from God; when that light comes to him, he either accepts and acts on it or rejects it. “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:20-21). “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” (Romans 13:12; written to believers).

God made man trustee of that which God gave him. A trustee is one who holds money or property for the benefit of someone else. He has a fiduciary duty to do so.

The beneficiary of all things is God. Man, as trustee, is to hold and manage all things for the benefit of the true, beneficial, and equitable owner of all things, for God.

God gave the first man man only one commandment or rule—not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Man violated the rule and fell. All was no longer good. God judged the serpent, Adam, and Eve. Man remained trustee of all that God had given him; but God changed things. Churches, in general, continue to dishonor rather than to glorify God by rejecting God’s trust relationship and replacing it with some kind of earthly man-made organizational scheme which places them under some authority other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. Trust is a Bible concept

Some meanings of trust, as given in the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary, are:

  1. Confidence; a reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship or other sound principle of another person. He that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe. Proverbs 29:25.
  2. Something committed to a person’s care for use or management, and for which an account must be rendered. Every man’s talents and advantages are a trust committed to him by his Maker, and for the use or employment of which he is accountable.

Both definitions are Biblical. This article will deal with definition 2 above. From that definition, one can see that the God ordained trust arrangement with mankind has a trust estate, a trustor, a trustee, a beneficiary. The true, beneficial, and equitable owner of all things, both material and spiritual, is God; He is the beneficiary. The creator, trustor, or settlor of the trust arrangement is God. God established the trust estate, made up of both material and spiritual elements. Man is the trustee of all the trust estate. As trustee, he is to manage all that God entrusted to him for the benefit of, God, the true owner of the estate.

God owns everything—not only the land, but also everyone and everything. That ownership is implicit in the fact that He created it all. (Ge. 1). He clearly stated His ownership of all in His Word:

  • God said, “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:” (Ex. 19.5).
  • God said, “The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.” (Le. 25.23).
  • “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee [God], and of thine own have we given thee.” (1 Chr. 29.14).
  • “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” (Ps. 24.1).
  • God said, “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” (Ps. 50.10).
  • “The heavens are thine [God’s], the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them.” (Ps. 89.11).
  • “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Hag. 2.8).

For example, when a church assembles together, God owns the land upon which they meet. The land is temporarily loaned to man for the benefit of God, the true owner. Although man has the temporal and legal title to the land, God is the true, beneficial, and equitable owner. An equitable owner is “[o]ne who is recognized in equity as owner of the property, because real and beneficial use and title belong to him, even though bare legal title is invested in another.” (BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY (6th Ed. 1990), 539). “In a trust relationship, as distinguished from a ‘contract,’ there is always a divided ownership of property, to which the trustee usually has legal title and cestui [que trust] an equitable title.” (90 C.J.S. Trusts § 1, fn. 13 (2007). C.J.S., like AM. JUR 2D, is a highly respected, used, and cited legal encyclopedia).

Re.4.11The Bible teaches that God, the true owner of all things, entrusted man, under God, with the earth and all that was in it. God entrusted man with His property. Man was put in trust to administer God’s earthly property according to God’s plan. Man did not own the earth, but, of course, man benefited from use of the property entrusted him. Man was to use the property God entrusted him with for the glory of God, for God’s pleasure. (Re. 4.11).

The word of God also teaches that God entrusted a New Testament church to the members of the church.

A trustee is “a person to whom anything is committed, in confidence that he will discharge his duty.” Man was trustee of God’s property. Church members are trustees of the church they are members of.

Man was a fiduciary. Fiduciary, as a noun, means “One who holds a thing in trust; a trustee.” Man, as trustee, had a fiduciary duty to hold and administer God’s property for the benefit of God. Church members have a fiduciary duty to organize and operate the church they belong to according to God’s guidelines as stated in the New Testament. Fiduciary as an adjective means, “Not to be doubted; as fiduciary obedience” or “Held in trust.” Man benefits from use of God’s property and church members benefit from belonging to a church under God only.

 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Ge. 2:16-17). Eating of the true of knowledge of good and evil was a violation of man’s fiduciary duty to administer God’s property for the benefit of the true, beneficial, and equitable owner of the property.

God entrusted Adam and Eve with the earth and all that is in it and gave them responsibilities:

Ge.1.26-28“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.  And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.  And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.  And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” (Ge. 1.28-31).

Man violated his duty and God held him accountable. Satan lied to man and tempted him to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and man fell or violated his fiduciary duty with bad results.

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.  And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” (Ge. 3:6-7).

God then judged man, woman, and Satan. Things changed. No longer was all that God had made good.

 “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” (Ge. 3:22-24)

Man remained in trust of all that God gave him. Mankind continued as trustee of God’s earthly property. Man had legal title to God’s earthly propery. The perpetual principle that nations—Gentile nations and Israel—and individuals were left in trust of land and all things for the benefit of God runs throughout the Bible and continues.

As recorded in the NT, God ordained his church, an institution made up of local autonomous spiritual bodies.

3. The Trustor

As shown above, God is trustor or settlor of all things. A trustor or settlor is the one who establishes a trust agreement. This is  because He owns all things. Once God created man, He gave man the duty to oversee His creations; God put man in trust with His earth and all that is in it. God put church members in trust with His churches.

Lk.19.27The Lord spoke of the concept of trust in at least two parables as recorded in the books of Matthew and Luke. (Mt. 25.14-30; Lu. 19.12-27). He spoke of an earthly master leaving certain amounts of his goods or money with his servants, according to their abilities. The more important parallel spiritual meaning was to the Lord and His servants. The master had an absolute right to his own goods, but he distributed to his servants to be used for the benefit of the master, the servants to be awarded according to their profitable use of the property entrusted to them. Some used the money productively and upon the master’s return presented him with a profit. The property belonged to the master, and the servants were to use it for the master’s benefit, not for their own benefit. Of course, they would be rewarded if they used the property wisely for the benefit of the master. One servant in each example returned only the original amount left in trust with them. The master instructed that the goods which he had left with the unprofitable servants be taken from them, and they were left with nothing. The profitable servants were rewarded by the master. In the story found in Matthew, the Master said, “[C]ast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mt. 25.30).

The parables of the last paragraph speak of the heavenly master (trustor) and his earthly trustees. Men, as servants of the Master are left in trust of all things for His benefit and will be rewarded or punished according to their use of His goods.

A church, under God, acts as the trustor of a church Bible trust agreement—the church by so doing is recognizing and acting on the Bible principles regarding trust.

4. The Trustee

According to Scripture, who should be the trustee named in a church Bible trust agreement?

1Ti.6.20-21Timothy was a preacher with a special position of trust. Timothy was a trustee of a spiritual heritage: “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:” (1 Ti. 6.20). Likewise, elders, which includes pastors, must meet specific requirements which not every man in a church can meet. (See, for example, Tit. 1.5-9). These elders must hold fast the Word of God, “that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers” (Tit. 1.9-16, 2.2; see also, Ac. 11.30, 14.23, (ordained elders in every church), 15.2, 4, 6, 22-23, 16.4, 20.17, 21.18; 1 Ti. 5.1 (“rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father”), 1 Ti. 5.17-19; Ja. 5.14-15; He. 13.7, 17; 1 Pe. 5.1 (Peter the Apostle was an elder, here writing to “the elders who are among you”; 1 Pe. 5.5 (younger to submit to the elder, and all to submit to one another); 2 Jn. 1 and 3 Jn. 1 (John the Apostle was also an elder);

Biblically, a pastor must meet stringent God-given requirements:

  • “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop [pastor], he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.  Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” (1 Ti. 3.1-7).
  • “For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;” (Tit. 1.7).

These requirements are strict because a pastor, and every member of a church, is entrusted by God to “take care of the church of God.” (1 Ti. 3.5). He is a trustee of God.

“The elders [pastors included] which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (1 Pe. 5.1-5).

The Bible proclaims: “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” (He. 13.7). “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” ( He. 13.17). “Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints….” (He. 13.24). “Them” is plural, and includes the pastor  and other elders of a church.

The elders, including the pastor, are to oversee a church: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” (Ac. 20.28). Paul was speaking to the elders of the church at Ephesus (Ac. 20.17-18).

A pastor is responsible to act as a ruler, trustee, steward, and overseer of a church. As such, he should be as qualified as any other elder to be the trustee given oversight of a trust established by a church.

Likewise, all men are trustees over that with which God has entrusted them. A father is a trustee of his family. A civil government is a trustee which is to operate under God within its God-given jurisdiction. God has appointed every human being who has ever lived as trustee over himself, all that God has given him, his spiritual heritage, and his spiritual destiny. The earth is still God’s, but He told man care for and possess His earth. Mankind is “trustee” of the earth. The pastor is a trustee, and a prominent trustee, of a church.

5. A church Bible trust agreement and estate

A church can remain a spiritual entity only by utilizing the Bible concept of trust, whether declared in writing or not. In a Bible trust arrangement, God’s spiritual and temporal rules are honored. Regarding money and property, a church is trustor, the  appointed temporal and legal owner of the trust estate is the trustee, and the Lord Jesus Christ is the beneficiary. The beneficiary is, by definition, the true, beneficial, and equitable owner of the property held in the trust estate. Gifts, tithes, and offerings are to God (to the trust estate which is owned by God), not to the church. The church is the giver, God is the recipient and owner.

This type of trust arrangement is Scriptural. The church is not the trust and the trust is not the church. The church remains totally under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and His word. The trustee does not hold the property for the church. The trustee holds the property for the benefit of the true owner of the property, the Lord Jesus Christ. The trustee is the legal owner of the property and the Lord Jesus Christ is the true, equitable, and beneficial owner. The trustee has a fiduciary duty under God to use the property, not for his own or the trustor church’s benefit, but for the benefit of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As to property on which a church meets, the state will declare someone to be legal owner of that property if no one lawfully has title and if it is brought to the attention of the state. The law requires someone to hold legal title to real property. A New Testament church is to be, according to Scripture, a spiritual entity only. Therefore, a New Testament church cannot hold title to property. Should a church hold title to property through a trustee or trustees, that church is no longer a spiritual entity only because she has entwined herself with the legal system. A title is a legal declaration of ownership.

Only a legal entity can act legally, sue, be sued, enter into contracts, or be charged with a crime. To assume ownership of property is to act legally. Every American citizen in his right mind is a legal entity. Likewise, corporations (aggregate of sole, profit or non-profit), charitable trusts, business trusts, and Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) and § 508 organizations are legal entities. A church who owns property through one of these legal devises is asserting ownership. A  church who does not hold property or money but puts money and perhaps property into a trust estate whose owner is the Lord Jesus Christ is not acting legally. The trustee of such a trust holds legal or earthly title to the money are property, if any, in the trust estate. He is to administer the money and property, if any, for the benefit of the true owner of the property, the Lord Jesus Christ. On the other hand, a church who holds property through a trustee for the benefit of the Lord Jesus Christ is a legal or earthly entity.

Holding property in the recommended manner has additional benefits. Not only does holding property in this manner comport with biblical principles, it also lessens the chances that the property, and especially the buildings, will become idols. “Their idols are … the work of men’s hands.  … They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.” (Ps. 115.4-8). Finally, holding property in this way assures that a church has chosen not to be structured like a business or a government created organization; that church can operate according to the principles in the New Testament.

6. The wisdom of a Declaration of Trust

4Wisdom dictates that the best course of action—for a church who meets on property entrusted to a trustee for the benefit of the true owner of the property, the Lord Jesus Christ, and or hands over tithes, offerings, and/or gifts to a trustee to be held and used for the benefit of the Lord Jesus Chris—is to properly write and execute a declaration with supporting document(s) of the principles and terms of the trust. A “declaration” is a publication or manifestation. A good name for this type of writing is “Declaration of Trust (‘DOT’).” This section will cover the reasons why wisdom recommends the use of such a declaration.

First, a DOT which describes a Bible Trust relationship totally conforms to Scriptural principles and guidelines. It, with supporting documents, makes clear to all that the church, as trustor or settlor, remains a spiritual entity and closes the door to all legitimate arguments that the church is not a legal, as opposed to a spiritual, entity.

Second, a well written and executed DOT and supporting documents settle arguments about the terms of the trust and the intended use of the trust estate. No disgruntled church member can rewrite (without support of the other members) or control the terms of the trust agreement. No such member can argue that any type of contract, charitable trust, or other legal arrangement was intended or implemented. The door is closed for such a member to control the church property (the Declaration makes clear that the trust property and monies belong to God, not to the church), and/or to control the spiritual direction of the church. No government agent can argue the type of trust created or the intent of the creator(s) of the trust agreement. The written Declaration, if in conformity to Bible principles, serves as the light and authority as to intent and terms. Should anyone dispute the terms of the trust relationship, the Declaration serves as the standard.

Third, if such Declaration and supporting document(s) reflect Bible principles, they serve as an educational tool to church members, other churches, the lost, and the saved. God’s light shines through the documents. The documents proclaim the Bible truths being implemented.

Fourth, a properly worded and executed Declaration and supporting document(s) are solid proof that neither the trust agreement thereby created and declared nor the trustor church is a business trust, charitable trust, non-profit corporation, unincorporated association, or other type of creature of the state which is legally organized under state law.

Fifth (to repeat the first for emphasis), a properly worded and executed DOT and supporting document(s) make clear that no type of business or government entity is thereby created and that the church is a spiritual entity under God only, not a two headed monster partially under the state and partially under God.

7. American law recognizes and applies the concept of trust

One can start his legal research to verify this matter in many places. He can do a word search on a legal website such as Westlaw or Lexis. Since access to these websites is expensive, for the most part only lawyers and paralegals who regularly practice or research law will find it practical to use them. One can also go to the law library and go to case digests, treatises, case reporters, legal encyclopedias and other sources.

On the subject of trusts, this author started with a legal encyclopedia, American Jurisprudence 2nd, Volume 76, Trusts. In explaining the concept of trust, this author used that resource, with some information from Corpus Juris Secundum, another legal encyclopedia, to give an overall explanation of the concept in its use by churches to remain spiritual entities only, as opposed to incorporated 502(c)(3) legal organizations. See, Chapter 7 of PDF of 2nd Edition of Separation of Church and State: God’s Churches – Spiritual or Legal Entities?

See Fn2 for some excerpts from some cases which define and apply the trust relationship.

8. Conclusion

God instituted the concept of trust in the beginning, in the Garden of Eden. It is a biblical concept which, when properly implemented, keeps a church under God (the Scriptures) only. If a church is a NT church, that church has established a trust agreement with the Lord; her gifts are to a trustee. The trustee holds any money or property given to the Lord for the benefit of the true owner or the money and property, the Lord Jesus Christ. A properly worded and executed Declaration of Trust and supporting documents serve as a standard for church members and for the world as to the intent of the creators of the trust agreement and as a light to the world.

The American legal system did not legislate the concept of trust, but merely recognizes the concept. A basic trust is not a legal entity. See, Powerpoint: The Basics of the Bible Principle of Trust in Church Organization; Explanation of “Trust,” as opposed to “Business Trust,” “Charitable Trust,” and other kinds of trusts. How can you know who to trust for the truth about these matters? How can you know if what is presented here is the truth? Etc. Of course, the legal system has expanded the basic concept of trust far beyond its original God established meaning. “Business trusts,” “charitable trusts,” and various other types of trusts are legal entities. The legal system recognizes the basic “trust” in the church and religious institution context, as shown above.

Should any member dislike the way the Lord’s money is spent by the trustee, he can quit giving his money to the Lord’s estate. Should he complain about property which were paid for in part or whole by his past giving, he can take it up with the Lord since the property is the Lord’s.

downloadThe church, the trustor or settlor, implements God’s guidelines as to both eternal spiritual and temporal material matters. The trustee holds property (if any) and money in a trust estate for the benefit of the Lord Jesus Christ, the true, equitable, and beneficial owner of all things. As trustee, he is the temporal and legal owner of the Lord’s properties and monies held in the trust estate.

The trustee has a duty as a fiduciary to manage the trust estate for the benefit of the Lord Jesus  Christ, not for his own benefit. He is not to utilize the property as a profit-making venture in any way. If he violates his fiduciary duties as God’s trustee, God will certainly hold him accountable. “For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (He. 10.30-31).

For a basic understanding of the concept as it should be applied by churches see PowerPoint: The Basics of the Bible Principle of Trust in Church Organization. “Trust” Explained and Differentiated from “Business Trust,” Charitable Trust, and other kinds of trusts. (If you click the link, the PowerPoint will download onto your computer.

Footnotes

Fn 1. Trusts, Trust-Like Concepts and Ius Commune, 8 Eur. Rev. Private L. 453 (2000), C. H. van Rhee:  This article concludes:

Trust and Ius Commune: an Assessment
On the basis of the above, several conclusions may be drawn. Firstly, it may be concluded that it is very likely that the origins of the trust cannot completely be traced. Whether these origins are Roman, Canonical or Germanic remains an unresolved question. A link between Romanocanonical usus -Roman usus in a Canonical guise- and the trust seems the most promising of all possible links. However, much research needs to be conducted of ecclesiastical records both on the continent and in England. Examining these records should be the primary aim of legal historians interested in the origins of the trust.

“Secondly, the nineteenth-century shift from Roman law to indigenous law as the alleged origins of the trust did not change the position of the trust as a concept which may be placed in the ius commune tradition. Both the Germanic and Romano-canonical origins of the trust are of interest to scholars studying the question of whether trusts are part of a shared European tradition. As we know, ius commune comprised elements from both the Germanic and the Romano-canonical legal traditions.

“And thirdly, it may be concluded that it is very unlikely that there has been an exact
continental equivalent to the English ‘use’ or trust. The conclusion may be drawn that trust law cannot be viewed as an amalgam of concepts from the Corpus Iuris. This conclusion has also been drawn by Kenneth Reid (see his paper), who alleges that the modern trust is a relatively new concept, which cannot be explained solely by a contract/real right model. Nevertheless, we must continue to ask the question whether the uncovered similarities amount to more than parallels reflecting similar social conditions. My answer to this question is that it is very likely that English trust law was influenced by ideas on the Continent. This is not too bold a statement paying regard to the influence of the ecclesiastical courts in England as well as to the fact that English civilians frequently used Roman and Canon law texts when describing trusts.”

An interesting except from the article: 

“Trust-like devices were popular in the Church [speaking of the Roman Catholic ‘church’], since they allowed this institution to accumulate the necessary means to discharge its tasks. At the same time, these devices preempted the criticism that the Church was not practising [sic] its own teachings on the spiritual dangers of wealth. The wealth accumulated by the Church was not regarded as property owned by the Church itself. According to S. Herman, it was said to belong to God the Father as sovereign Lord, the Pope and his clerical lieutenants acting as His stewards. In trust terminology: God acted as ‘settlor’, while the Pope and his clerical lieutenants acted as trustees. Christ, the meek, the poor and the congregation were usually designated as ‘beneficiaries’. God, as the settlor, also figured as the ultimate beneficiary of creation. In this way, the wealth of the Church could be justified, since the Church simply acted as a depositary of goods created for all. Church officials were charged with managing the goods entrusted to them as ‘trustees’ and with using them for the good of the community. “

Fn2 You may go directly to the cases by clicking the casename.

KOPSOMBUT-MYINT BUDDHIST CENTER, v. STATE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION, 728 S.W. 2d 327 (1986) Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Middle Section, at Nashville. Permission to Appeal Denied, April 6, 1987. IMPORTANT POINT: The court itself declared that the property at issue was held in trust even though there was no writing directly proclaiming a trust. The court did this in order to uphold a property tax exemption. Property held in trust for a Buddhist Temple qualifies for a property tax exemption, if the property is used for religious purposes and the owner, any stockholder, officer, member or employee of such institution is not lawfully entitled to receive and pecuniary profit from the operations of that property in competition with like property owned by others which is not exempt. Property held in trust and which otherwise qualifies for the exemption is to be exempted from property tax.  Of note, for emphasis, it was obvious that corporate, 501(c)(3) status was not a prerequisite for religious property tax exemption. Also, this case deals with a “trust,” not a “business trust” “charitable trust” or some other type of trust that is a legal entity.” The opinion states:

  • “A valid trust need not be in writing. It can be created orally unless the language of the written conveyance excludes the existence of a trust. Sanderson v. Milligan,585 S.W.2d 573, 574 (Tenn. 1979); Linder v. Little, 490 S.W.2d 717, 723 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1972); and Adrian v. Brown, 29 Tenn. App. 236, 243, 196 S.W.2d 118, 121 (1946). However, when a party seeks to establish an oral trust, it must do so by greater than a preponderance of the evidence. Sanderson v. Milligan, 585 S.W.2d 573, 574 (Tenn. 1979); Hunt v. Hunt, 169 Tenn. 1, 9, 80 S.W.2d 666, 669 (1935); and Browder v. Hite, 602 S.W.2d 489, 493 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1980).
  • “The existence of a trust requires proof of three elements: (1) a trustee who holds trust property and who is subject to the equitable duties to deal with it for the benefit of another, (2) a beneficiary to whom the trustee owes the equitable duties to deal with the trust property for his benefit, and (3) identifiable trust property. See G.G. Bogert & G.T. Bogert, The Law of Trusts and Trustees § 1, at 6 (rev. 2d ed. 1984) and Restatement (Second) of Trusts § 2 comment h (1957). We find that the Kopsombut-Myint Buddhist Center has proved the existence of each of these elements by clear and convincing evidence.” [p. 333].

WAUSHARA COUNTY v. Sherri L. GRAF, 166 Wis.2d 442 (1992), 480 N.W.2d 16, Supreme Court of Wisconsin. Submitted on briefs October 4, 1991.Decided February 17, 1992The Supreme Court of Wisconsin reviewed the evidence and concluded that “The evidence indicates that Basic Bible was established to evade taxation. Basic Bible failed to meet its burden of proving that it is a “church” or “religious association” under [Wisconsin law]. The court held that Basic Bible was not property tax exempt.” The fact that the church held “in trust” the property for which a property tax exemption was sought was not a factor in the decision. The Court concluded that incorporation and 501(c)(3) status is not a prerequisite for church property tax exemption; and, again, made clear that the fact that the church held the property “in trust” did not disqualify the church from property tax exemption.

Note. Many, many cases are on the record involving denials of “church,” or “religious organization” property tax exemption for incorporated 501(c)(3) tax scams. See, for some examples, III. Organizations which created religious scams in order to obtain Property Tax Exemption on the webpage, Law on Church Organization (Trusts, Property tax, etc.). WAUSHARA COUNTY v. Sherri L. GRAF is the only case I have found in which a “church” or “religious organization or society” which held property and/or money in trust was held to be such a scam. Also, by reading this entire case with knowledge, one versed in these matters readily sees that Basic Bible did not understand the law nor the Bible. One could write a lengthy analysis proving that. Also very interesting is the analysis of the pro se representation in this case.]. This case reminds one of the unjust steward, an outright crook, in Luke 16. “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” Luke 16.13.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court stated, in WAUSHARA COUNTY v. Sherri L. GRAF:

  • “We need not reiterate the excellent discussion and analysis underpinning that conclusion that appears in the court of appeals opinion. 157 Wis. 2d at 539-49” [the citation for this case].

The opinion from the court of appeals referred to by the Wisconsin Supreme Court was WAUSHARA COUNTY v. Sherri L. GRAF, 157 Wis.2d 539 (1990), 461 N.W.2d 143, Court of Appeals of Wisconsin. Submitted on briefs December 8, 1989. Decided August 2, 1990Here are some very important points made on pp. 539-49 of that decision:

The court examined the legislative history of the pertinent statutes to determine if a church or religious organization must be incorporated for its property to be tax exempt [under state law].

  • The court started with examination of the first exemption from taxation of the property of churches and religious organizations—in sec. 24, ch. 47, Revised Statutes of 1849. “Chapter 47 prescribed the procedure by which persons belonging to a church congregation or religious society, “not already incorporated,” could incorporate. … The exemption was not limited to religious societies incorporated under ch. 47.
  • “Chapter 130, Laws of 1868, provided for the assessment of property for taxation and for exemptions therefrom. Section 2, 3d exempted “[p]ersonal property owned by any religious, scientific, literary or benevolent association, used exclusively for the purposes of such association, and the real property necessary for the location and convenience of the buildings of such association . . . not exceeding ten acres. . . .” Chapter 130 did not define “association.”
  • “Section 2 of ch. 130, Laws of 1868, was incorporated, without substantial change, in Section 1038, Wisconsin Statutes of 1898. Section 1038, subd. 3 was renumbered sec. 70.11(4), Stats., by sec. 16, ch. 69, Laws of 1921. Throughout its history, the exemption from taxation of property of churches and religious associations has been accorded in substantially the same language. No “linkage” has existed between the exemption statutes and those affecting the organization of churches and religious associations or societies.
  • “Chapter 411, Laws of 1876, provided for the incorporation of religious societies. Apparently this act replaced ch. 47 of the revised statutes of 1849. Chapter 411 is silent as to the taxation or exemption of the property of religious societies incorporated thereunder.
  • “The procedures for the incorporation of religious societies were included in ch. 91, Revised Statutes of 1878. Nash’s Wisconsin Annotations (1914), sec. 1990, ch. 91 at 753, states: ‘The revisers of 1878 in their note said: ‘Chapter 411, 1876, is taken to have been intended as a revision of the law for the incorporation of religious societies.’ The privilege of organizing a corporation is extended to all classes and denominations, it not being supposed the law means to be intolerant of any religious belief or to be partial in its offer of privileges.’
  • “The same annotation at page 755 states: ‘Church’ and ‘Congregation.’ A church consists of those who are communicants, have made a public profession of religion and are united by a religious bond of common spiritual welfare. It is the spiritual body, not the legal one. But a religious society or congregation, under the statute, is a voluntary association of persons, generally but not necessarily in connection with a church proper, united for the purpose of having a common place of worship and to provide a proper teacher to instruct them in doctrines and duties, etc. [Citations omitted.]
  • “Decisions interpreting ch. 91, Revised Statutes of 1878, make plain that failure of a church or religious organization to incorporate thereunder did not affect the power of the church or religious organization to hold title to property. “Under the repeated decisions of this court, we must hold that the mere fact that [a] church or religious society had not yet been incorporated at the time of the delivery of [a] deed in no way frustrated the trust thereby created, if such trust was otherwise valid.” Fadness v. Braunborg, 73 Wis. 257, 278-79, 41 N.W. 84, 90 (1889) (emphasis in original).
  • “In Holm v. Holm, 81 Wis. 374, 382, 51 N.W. 579, 581 (1892), the facts included that the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Roche-a-Cree was a voluntary association until February 7, 1889. The court noted that “[p]rior to that date the title to the churches in which the members of the association worshiped was vested in trustees named in . . . deeds, and their successors in office. . . . The trusts imposed by such deeds appear to have been valid upon the principles stated by this court in Fadness v. Braunborg. . . .” Id.
  • “In Franke v. Mann, 106 Wis. 118, 131, 81 N.W. 1014, 1018-19 (1900), the court further said that ‘[w]hat has been said is in harmony with the law regarding trusts for religious uses, whether the trustees be officers of a religious corporation or of an unincorporated ecclesiastical body. . . .’ Id. at 131-32, 81 N.W. at 1019 (emphasis added).
  • “It is plain from these decisions that the court did not consider that the legislature, by offering to ecclesiastical bodies the advantages of incorporation, intended to impose corporate structure upon such bodies. The property of unincorporated ecclesiastical bodies was commonly held in trust for the benefit of the members.
  • “The Basic Bible Church established that title to the real estate subject to foreclosure was held in the name of the trustees for the benefit of the church. We conclude that the trust constituted an “entity” which could claim tax exemption under sec. 70.11(4), Stats., for the benefit of the Basic Bible Church.”