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Imagine: A Bad, Bad Song and a Bad, Bad Idea

Jerald Finney
September 26, 2020

JohnLennonImagine
John Lennon

“Imagine” by John Lennon

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world, you

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine, a song sung around the world.

Imagine (UNICEF: World Version)

It’s a sign of the times on the way to the one world government/religion forecast in the Bible. Many in America and in the world, having discounted God and His Word, are wanting to reimagine the way the government solves problems such as “police brutality.” Witness the reaction of the typical person when he or she listens to Imagine: Queen + Paul Rodgers – Imagine (Live in Hyde Park). When God and His Word is forgotten, the song seems so reasonable to the emotions; that is, unless one gives it serious consideration, assuming that one is capable of doing so.

“Liberal,” “Marxist” politicians and others are using the word “reimagine” on a regular basis these days, especially when supporting the Marxist looters and criminals who are running wild in some of the liberal strongholds of America:

  1. “In these horrifying and divisive times, all of us — progressives and right-wingers, Karens and corona doves — need a cause around which we can unite. The question is what, though. On Wednesday, Bill de Blasio provided the answer: ‘I don’t mean to make light of this,’ the mayor of New York City said in reference to the worst rioting America has seen in my lifetime, ‘but I’m reminded of the songImagineby John Lennon [Bold red emphasis mine]. We played it at my inaugura
    Antifa

    tion. I think everyone who hears that song in its fullness thinks about a world where people got along differently.'” Quote from Matthew Walther, “‘Imagine’ is a bad, bad song,” June 4, 2020; this is an excellent  article from a non-Biblical perspective showing that some people, although not familiar with the word of God, still use their common sense and listen to their God given conscience (See Romans 2:14-15).

  2. Kamala Harris

    Kamala Harris told “The View” in June of this year that “a big part of this conversation really is about reimagining how we do public safety in America, which I support,” according to the Western Journal. Quote from News American Patriot, Kamala Harris Caught Contradicting Her Own Platform In Public. [Bold red emphasis mine].

Let us go beyond our common sense and conscience and directly to the Word of God for the definitive analysis of this matter. Man, created in innocence and placed in the Garden of Eden, failed his first test under God when he ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God judged the serpent, the woman, and the man (Genesis 3:14-19). God then drove out man, who now knew good and evil, from the Garden (Genesis 3:22-24).

“Expelled from Eden and placed under a new covenant, man was responsible to do all known good, to abstain from all known evil, and to approach god through sacrifice. Abel, a type of spiritual man, approached God through the approved offering, the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof (Genesis 4:4). His sacrifice, in which atoning blood was shed (Hebrews 9:22), was therefore at once his confession of sin and the expression of his faith in the interposition of a substitute, ultimately the seed of the woman, the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 11:4).”

“But God had no respect for the offering brought by Cain, the fruit of the ground” (Genesis 4:3). “The religion of Cain, as a type of the mere man of the earth, was destitute of any adequate sense of sin, or need of atonement. Seven things are said of him:

  1. He worships self-will;
  2. is angry with God;
  3. refuses to bring a sin offering;
  4. murders his brother;
  5. lies to God;
  6. becomes a vagabond;
  7. is, nevertheless, the object of the divine solicitude.”

His offering being rejected by God, Cain rose up and slew his brother Abel (Genesis 4: 8). He was punished directly by God:

“And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.  Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him” (Genesis 4:13-15).

The LORD was making clear that He was giving man no authority over man. He forbade man from punishing evil doers. God himself judged Cain and made clear that only He was to take vengeance.

Antifa and Anarchists riot, loot, assault, and kill

Within a relatively short period of time man, being controlled only by his conscience, his knowledge of good and evil, utterly failed. “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). [Bold red emphasis added]. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it” (Jeremiah 17:9)? “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth” (Genesis 6:11-12).

The only remedy was judgment. Man’s conscience was not sufficient to control his evil imagination. Only one man, Noah, and his family “found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” The judgment of the flood followed for all except Noah and his family.

Civil government “is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” (Romans 13:4).

God then ordained the institution of human government—the government of man by man. “The highest function of government is the judicial taking of life. All other governmental powers are implied in that. Man is responsible to govern the world for God. That responsibility rested upon the whole race, Jew and Gentile, until the failure of Israel under the Covenant God made with Israel” before she went into the promised land under Joshua. “That both Israel and the Gentiles have governed for self, not God is sadly apparent.”

The whole earth was of one language and speech. In direct rebellion against God:

“[I]t came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.  And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:2-4). This was the first attempt to establish a one-world government in direct defiance of God. Mankind, in general, has never forsaken this goal, as is very apparent in these times.

“And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth” (Genesis 11:5-9). [Bold red emphasis added].

The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth (Genesis 8:21). This is a universal truth. With such a heart, imagination is leading mankind to the final judgments prophesied in God’s Word. There is a heaven and a hell. There is a God who is in control, who tests mankind, and who judges mankind when he fails. Mankind, except for God’s remnant, led by his evil imagination will again fail God, even in this time of God’s grace; and God will ultimately, by force, subdue the nations by force and reign for a thousand years on earth. Until then, there will be killing, religion, wars and rumors of wars, greed and hunger. Thus it will be. The answer for the individual is explained, not by the song “Imagine,” not by reimagining, but in God’s Word. See God’s Plan of Salvation.


Galatians

Click here to go to “Bible Studies on the Doctrine of the Church” from other books of the Bible.

The Church of Christ adds works, Catholicism adds works, etc.

NOTE. For more details see, McGee, Galatians. This study is taken from that book with some modifications.

Written by Paul (Galatians 1:1) about A.D. 57, to all the churches in Galatia.

Galatians is a stern, severe, and solemn message (Galatians 1:6-9; 3:1-5). It does not correct conduct as the Corinthian letters do, but it is corrective. The Galatian believers were in grave peril because the foundations of their faith were being attackedeverything was threatened.

The epistle, therefore, contains no word of commendation, praise, or thanksgiving. There is no request for prayer, and there is no mention of standing in Christ. No one with him is mentioned by name. If you compare this epistle with the other Pauline epistles, you will see that it is different.

In this epistle, the heart of Paul is laid bare, and there is deep emotion and strong feeling. This is his fighting epistle. He has on his war paint. He has no toleration for legalism. Someone has said that the epistle to the Romans comes from the head of Paul while the epistle to the Galatians comes from the heart of Paul. A theologian has said, “Galatians takes up controversially what Romans puts systematically.”

The epistle is a declaration of emancipation from legalism of any type. It is interesting to note that legalists do not spend much time with Galatians. It is a rebuke to them. It has been called the Magna Carta of the early church. It is the manifesto of Christian liberty, the impregnable citadel, and a veritable Gibraltar against any attack on the heart of the gospel.

Galatians is the strongest declaration and defense of the doctrine of justification by faith in or out of Scripture. It is God’s polemic on behalf of the most vital truth of the Christian faith against any attack. Not only is the sinner saved by grace through faith plus nothing, but the saved sinner lives by grace. Grace is a way to life and a way of life. These two go together.

Outline

  1. Introduction, 1:1-10
  2. Salutation—Cool Greeting, 1:1-5
  3. Subject Stated—Warm Declamation, 1:6-10
  4. Personal—Authority of the Apostle and Glory of the Gospel, 1:11-2:14
  5. Experience of Paul in Arabia
  6. Experience of Paul with the Apostles in Jerusalem, 2:1-10
  7. Experience of Paul in Antioch with Peter, 2:11-14
  • Doctrinal—Justification by Faith, 2:15-4:31

Faith vs. Works, Liberty vs. Bondage

  1. Justification by Faith—Doctrine Stated, 1:15-21
  2. Justification by Faith—Experience of Galatians, 3:1-5
  3. Justification by Faith—Illustration of Abraham, 3:6-4:18
  4. Justification by Faith—Allegory of Hagar and Sarai, 2:19-31
  5. Practical—Sanctification by the Spirit, 5:1-6:10

Spirit vs. Flesh, Liberty vs. Bondage

  1. Saved by Faith and Living by Law Perpetrates Falling from Grace, 5:1-15
  2. Saved by Faith and Walking in the Spirit Produces Fruit of the Spirit, 5:16-26
  3. Saved by Faith and Fruit of the Spirit Presents Christian Character, 6:1-10
  4. Autographed Conclusion, 6:11-18
  5. Paul’s Own Handwriting, 6:11
  6. Paul’s Own Testimony, 6:12-18
  • Cross of Christ vs. Circumcision, 6:12-15
  • Christ’s Handwriting on Paul’s Body, 6:16-18
    (The New Circumcision of the New Creation)
  1. Introduction, 1:1-10

Galatians is God’s polemic against legalism of every and any description. The Mosaic law is not discredited, despised, nor disregarded. Its majesty, perfection, demands, fullness, and purpose are maintained. Yet these very qualities make it utterly impossible for man to come this route to God. Another way is opened for man to be justified before God, a way which entirely bypasses the Mosaic law. The new route is by faith. Justification by faith is the theme, with the emphasis on faith.

Three epistles in the New Testament quote Habakkuk 2:4, “The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17 emphasizes the just. Hebrews 10:38 emphasizes shall live. Galatians 3:11 emphasizes by faith.

In Galatians, Paul is defending the gospel from those who would add law to justification by faith. Faith plus law was the thrust of Judaism. Faith plus nothing was the answer of Paul.

The Judaizers questioned Paul’s authority as an apostle and his teaching that simple faith was adequate for salvation. Paul defends his apostleship and demonstrates the sufficiency of the gospel of grace to save.

  1. Salutation—Cool Greeting, 1:1-5

In verse 1, Paul states he is an apostle. Paul states that his is not “of men.” He also declares that his apostleship is not “by man.”

Paul was an apostle by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead. Jesus laid His hand upon Paul, called him, and set him apart for the office (Acts 9:15, 16).

Men had nothing to do with Paul’s apostleship. This differs from the pastor who is ordained by men.

Paul’s greeting in verse 2 is cool, brief, formal, and terse. No one is personally mentioned. He is writing to “churches of Galatia,” not to a universal church. Of course, the principles apply to every church, to every local assembly.

Two main views of “the church” are proposed. The first says that one meaning of church includes the entire body of believers, of all different groups, who have trusted Christ as Saviour. The other meaning of church refers to local assemblies. There were local churches, or local assemblies, in many parts of Galatia. This first view takes the position that Ephesians looks at the corporate believers—the invisible church. But the invisible body is to make itself visible today in a corporate body.

The other view of the church is that there is no universal body of believers today, known as the church. Rather, the church is an institution which today is made up of local assemblies of believers. When one is saved, he becomes a member of the family of God, not a member of a universal church. Then, such as are saved should become part of a local assembly of believers, a local church. That is the view which, for many reasons, I believe is correct. I have heard arguments for both sides, and I find many holes in the former view. We can all agree that believers should be identified with a local body of believers.

Verse 3 is Paul’s formal greeting that he uses in most of his epistles.

Verse 4: Jesus Christ “gave himself for our sins.” He could give no more. “That he might deliver us from this present evil world.” There is a present value of the gospel which proves its power and genuineness. The gospel can deliver you. It can deliver one from alcohol, drugs, and sex sins. Christ alone can deliver in cases like that. This proves the genuineness of the gospel. Christ died for us and rose from the dead “that he might deliver us from this present evil world.” You and I cannot add to that. We have nothing to add.

This is “according to the will of God and our Father.” He can deliver us, not according to law; but according to the will of God. The will of God is that after He has saved us, we are not to live in sin. He can deliver us. He wants to deliver us. He will deliver us, and He will do it according to the will of God.

When one turns to God, and puts His faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, God makes of him a new creature. That new creature is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and no longer desires to wallow in sin. He will sin, but he will now grieve over his sin. He will never be content with his sin again.

Verse 5: “To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Paul praises God, as we should also.

  1. Subject Stated—Warm Declamation, 1:6-10

v6 There are two aspects of the gospel, and it can be used in two senses: (1) the facts of the gospel, and (2) the interpretation of the gospel. The facts of the gospel are the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul said to the Corinthians, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received [Paul didn’t originated the gospel; he received it], how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Co. 15:3, 4). These are the historical facts of the gospel which cannot be changed. You have never preached the gospel unless you have stated these facts.

The second aspect of the gospel is the interpretation of the facts. They are to be received by faith plus nothing. The subject of Paul’s letter to the Galatian believers concerns the interpretation of the facts of the gospel. The Judaizers who had followed Paul into Galatian country challenged the interpretation of the gospel (heresy), not the facts of the gospel. Five hundred witnesses had followed Paul into Galatian country. They were very sly and subtle, and said something like, “Brother Paul is accurate as far as he goes (in that he preached the gospel to you and you accepted it), but he doesn’t go far enough. Did he tell you that you should keep the Mosaic law? He didn’t. Well, he should have told you that. Yes, you are to trust Christ, but you must also follow the Mosaic law or you won’t be saved.”

This is one of the oldest heresies known, and it is still with us today. It is adding something to the gospel of grace; it is doing something rather than simply believing something. Every cult and ism has something for you to do in order to be saved.

Christ told the apostles to preach the gospel of salvation by grace. They were not to do anything to gain their salvation, but they were to trust what Christ had done for them. The gospel shuts out all works. Had man been able to believe in the coming Messiah and keep the Mosaic law for salvation, there would have been no reason for Christ to come and die for their sins.

v7  To attempt to change the gospel has the effect of making it the very opposite of what it really is.

v8 Paul says that even if an angel dared to declare any other message that the gospel, he would be dismissed with a strong invective. There are many today who are trying to give us another “gospel.” They may look like angels to you—after all Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light, and his ministers are transformed and the ministers of righteousness (2 Co. 11:14, 15).

v9 Paul says if any man preach any other gospel, let him be damned. The gospel shuts out all works. Romans 4:5:“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” The only class that God saves is the ungodly. The Lord Jesus said he did not come to save the righteous to repentance; He came to call sinners. The reason He said that is because there is and was  none righteous, no not one. Even the righteousness of man is as filthy rags in God’s sight. Law condemns man and makes him speechless before grace can save us.

Romans 3:19 “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” The real difficulty is not that people should be “good enough” to be saved, but that they are not “bad enough” to be saved. Humanity always refuses to recognize its lost condition before God.

The Judaizers did not deny the facts of the gospel. They denied that this was adequate. They insisted that you have to keep the law plus trusting Christ. Paul says let the one who mingles law and grace be damned! Why? Because they pervert the gospel. They do not deny the facts of the gospel. They pervert the gospel.

v10 The preaching of the gospel is not pleasing to lost man. No man can please both man and God. Preaching the gospel today may get you into trouble because the sinner hates it. The gospel of grace puts us in the dust and makes us beggars before God.

By nature man responds to legalism. He thinks he does not need a Saviour. All he needs is a helper. I have heard sermons on the radio where the preacher, many times highly regarded by the “Christians” who listen to him, talk about Jesus coming into the world, about His death and resurrection. But they failed to mention that the listeners were sinners and needed a Saviour. He neglected to inform them that Jesus died for them and that, to be saved, they had to trust Him, to put their faith in him. These preachers often talk about commitment. They invite folks to commit their lives to Christ. Christ does not want your old life, nor does He want mine. We have nothing to commit to him.  He wants to do something through us today.

God is not even asking you to live the Christian life. You cannot live it. God is asking that He might live the Christian life through you. The epistle to the Galatians teaches this. But first, we must come to Christ as hopeless lost sinners and be saved. Churches are filled with people who have never come to Christ and received His as Saviour. You have nothing to commit to him. He is the one who died, and he si on the giving end. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Man conscience, his knowledge of good and evil, witnesses to the law, and legal conviction will lead to works. Man tries to compensate for the fact that he is not doing enough. He tries to balance his good works against his sins and have enough on the plus side to be saved.

The Holy Spirit witnesses to grace today. This is gospel conviction that leads to faith. The law denies the fall of man—this was the position of Cain. Grace acknowledges the fall of man, as Abel did when he brought his offering to God.

II.  Personal—Authority of the Apostle and Glory of the Gospel, 1:11-2:14

 1.  Experience of Paul in Arabia, 1:11-24

v11 Paul is again stating that he is a God-appointed apostle. He did not get the gospel he preached from man. The Judaizers questioned Paul’s message and Paul’s apostleship.

v12 Paul did not receive his apostleship by going to school, by being ordained, or by hands being laid on his head. His apostleship came by direct revelation of Jesus Christ. The gospel is a revelation, just as is the book of Revelation. The gospel was unveiled to the Apostle Paul.

v13 Paul says you have heard of my manner of life in the Jewish religion in which he was brought up. He was saved not in Judaism, not by Judaism, but from Judaism.

vv15-17 Paul did not combine Judaism with Greek Philosophy to come up with Christianity, as some modernists assert. He received the gospel by direct revelation of Jesus Christ.

v18 This is the same record given in Acts 9:26-29:

“And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him.”

God trained Moses in the desert. He put Abraham in a rather unique place to train him, and Elijah had that same type of experience.  It has been God’s method to put his man out on the desert to train him. David was outdoors in the caves of the earth while he was running away from King Saul. God sent Paul into the deserty for les sthan three years. Then he went to Jerusalem, saw Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days.

v19 Paul had no contact with the apostles except Peter and James, the Lord’s brother; and he received nothing from them.

v20 Paul says he does not lie. The modernist, mentioned above, said Paul got the gospel by making an homogenized stew out of Greek philosophy and the Mosaic system. One of the two is lying.

vv21-24 In these verses, Paul outlines his first years after his conversion. I don’t think they were the happiest years of his life. Apparently he tell us us something about the failure in his personal life in Romans 7. There were three years in the life of the Apostle Paul”

  1. Paul was a proud Pharisee. He had a marvelous m ind and was an expert in the Mosaic Law. As many of his biographers have said, the world would have heard of Paul even if he had not been an apostle and even if he had not been converted. Dr. McGee does not think there as any question about that. He was an outstanding man. But he was a proud young Pharisee who thought he knew it all. He hated Christ. He hated the church and attempted to eliminate it. He was ruthless in his persecution of the churches.
  2. The second period began on the Damascus Road when he was knocked down into the dust. This brilliant Pharisee found out he did not know Jesus Christ, whom to know is life. He thought Jesus was dead. And he asked, “Who art thou, Lord?” Jeus replied, “I am Jesus whom you persecute. When you persecute my church, you persecute me.” When Paul became acquainted with his Lord, he immediately asked, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” After Paul met Christ, he spent some time in Arabia. During those first years he attempted to minister and found that what he wanted to do he could not do. Finally he cried out, “O wretched man that I am? who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24). It was not an unsaved man who said that; it was Paul the Apostle in the first stages of his conversion.
  3. Then came that glorious period when he walked in the Spirit. That was the time he could live for God. See Romans 7:24 – Romans 8). That is the place where many of us need to be today. There are so many unhappy Christians. They are saved, Dr. McGee thinks, but as Dwight L. Moody put it in his quaint way, “Some people have just enough religion to make them miserable.”

Since Paul received the gospel apart from the other apostles—who were with the Lord three years and saw the resurrected Christ—is Paul preaching the same gospel? If he is not, something is radically wrong. In the next chapter, we will see that Peter and the other apostles in Jerusalem approved Paul’s gospel and being the same as theirs.

 2.  Experience of Paul with the Apostles in Jerusalem.

v1 Paul took Titus with him to Jerusalem. Titus was a young preacher and a Gentile. This, Dr. McGee believes, is the 1st great council at Jerusalem as recorded in Acts 15. The question to be settled: Whether men are saved by the grace of God or whether they should come under the Mosaic law. Titus was Paul’s exhibit # 1. Titus had not been circumcised. Would he be forced to be circumcised? The Judaizers in the church in Jerusalem, an all-Jewish church, held that all believers in Christ should be under the Mosaic law. Paul and Barnabas came there to get the official word regarding law and grace.

v2 Paul realized that if they were preaching a different gospel from what the other apostles were preaching, something was radically wrong, that he would be wrong, and would have run in vain.

vs3, 4 Titus was not compelled to be circumcised by the church at Jerusalem. Some who were not believers had come where Paul had been preaching to spy out the liberty they had in Christ. To compel circumcision for salvation would be to put one right back under the bondage of the Mosaic law rather than enjoying the freedom by the Spirit of God and the freedom in Christ.

v5 Paul rejected the teaching of the false brethren. Titus was saved by faith apart from the law.:

v6 Paul says we sat down and communicated the gospel there at Jerusalem.  Paul found out that these apostles did not have anything to add to what he has been preaching. He was preaching the grace of God. They find they are in full agreement. They are all preaching the same gospel.

v7 There are not two gospels in the sense of Peter’s gospel and Paul’s gospel. These men were in complete disagreement. The gospel of the circumcision and the gospel of the uncircumcision refer to the groups the gospel was going to. Paul was called to go to the Gentiles, Peter to his own Jewish brethren who were the circumcised.

v8 When Peter and Paul preached the gospel, quite a few were saved. Both were preaching the same gospel.

v9 The apostles accepted Paul’s apostleship.

v10 The apostles remind Paul to remember the poor. Paul came back later with an offering for the poor saints at Jerusalem. They had been persecuted and were in a sad condition. This was a social service. James 2:15-17: “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

3. Experience of Paul in Antioch with Peter, 2:11-14

In this personal section of Paul’s life we have seen his experience in Arabia with the Lord Jesus Christ, and his experience with the apostles in Jerusalem. Now we see his experience with Simon Peter in Antioch. The church in Antioch was largely Gentile, although it was a mixture of Jew and Gentile. The early churches had a love for a feast held in connection with the Lord’s supper. Paul has a lot to say about this in 1 Corinthians. The early believers came together for a love feast, before they celebrated the Lord’s supper. The Gentiles had been accustomed to eating meat that had first been offered to idols, and they also ate pork and other animals designated as unclean in the law of Moses.

To keep from offending the Jewish Christians, two tables were established. One, the kosher table; the other the Gentile table. Paul ate at the Gentile table. He taught that whether you eat mean or you don’t eat meant makes no difference—meat will not commend you to God.

When Peter came to visit Paul in Antioch, he had never eaten anything unclean. Remember what he told the Lord on the roof in Joppa before he went to the home of Cornelius (Acts 10). Peter had been a believer for some time when he came to Antioch.

vs11, 12 Peter ate at the Gentile table; but when some elders from Jerusalem arrived, he ate at the kosher table.

vs 13, 14 For fear of the brethren from Jerusalem, Peter went back to the kosher table. By his actions, he is saying the Gentile table is wrong. The brethren from Jerusalem were austere legalists, and under grace that was their privilege. Dr. McGee has no objection to those who feel that you should not eat certain meats. But they are also to give me the liberty of eating what I choose to eat. Simon Peter turned from the liberty he had in Christ back to Judaism.

The nature of Paul’s rebuke shows, first of all, the inconsistency of lawkeeping. If it was right for Simon Peter to live as the Gentile believers lived, why should he desire the Gentiles to live as the Jews? That is what he was saying when he left the Gentile table for the kosher table. If Gentile living under grace apart from the law was good enough for Peter, was it bad for the Gentiles themselves? If Simon Peter was free to live outside the law, was it not lawful for the Gentiles to do the same?

III. Doctrinal—Justification by Faith, 2:15-4:31
Faith vs. Works, Liberty vs. Bondage

1. Justification by Faith—Doctrine Stated, 1:15-21

v15 Jews in that day looked upon Gentiles as sinners. Gentile and sinner were synonymous terms. Therefore, Paul’s rebuke shows the folly of lawkeeping.

v16 This is a clear-cut and simple statement of justification by faith. The legalist has trouble with this verse. To say that you have to add anything to faith in Christ absolutely mutilates the gospel. If a Jew had to leave the law behind, to forsake it, Paul’s question is, “Why should the Gentile be brought under the law?” That was the great argument at the council in Jerusalem in Acts 15: “Should the Gentile be brought under the law?” The answer was that the Gentile was not under the law for salvation—nor for his daily living, as he was called to a much higher plane.

The Jews had already proved that justification under the law was impossible. They had the law for almost 1500 years and had not been able to keep the law at all. Why force the Gentile under that which had not saved even one Israelite?

“Knowing that a man.” You can know this. All men are on  one level before the cross. That level is “sinner.”

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law.” Paul embraces the whole legal system that is found in every religion. Only Christianity is different. Every other religion instructs us to do something. Christianity tells us that we are justified by faith; faith in an accomplished act and fact for you. Every other religion says do. Christianity says done. The great transaction is done, and we are asked to believe it.

1 Corinthians 12:3: “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” The question is, “How can we call Jesus accursed?” If someone says to me, “When you came to Christ and accepted him as your Saviour, you didn’t get all that was coming to you. The Holy Spirit  can give you something that you didn’t get in Christ, and you ought to seek that today.” My friend, to do that depreciates the work of the Lord Jesus on the cross when he came to this earth to die for you and work out a salvation so perfect that when he went back to heaven he sat down at the right hand of God (Hebrews 1:3). He sat down because there was nothing else to be done. When you say he did not do it all for  me, you are saying that Jesus is accursed. And you can’t say that by the Holy Spirit of God. That is, you are not giving me the word of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, ” “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you” (John 16:13-14). When you came to Christ, he gave you everything you will need in this life. Christ is the one who administers all the gifts. The Holy Spirit is the one who gives them, but he is working under the supervision of the second person of the Godhead. We have everything in him. He is the Alpha and Omega. He is the Amen—and when you say amen, you are through. Christ did it all.

This verse is so clear that it is impossible to misunderstand it. It is  not faith plus something. It is faith plus nothing.

The verse continues: “even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ.” By “we,” Paul includes himself, meaning we Israelites. Jews have to leave the law, cone to Christ and trust him in order to be justified by the faith of Christ rather than by the works of law.

The conclusion of the verse is very clear and means what it says: “for by the works fo the law shall no flesh be justified.” I was a hell doomed sinner. I trusted Him as my Saviour, and I received a perfect salvation from him.

v17  [of Galatians 2]

This study is complete to here. The following outline will be filled as the study progresses.

III. Doctrinal—Justification by Faith, 2:15-4:31

Faith vs. Works, Liberty vs. Bondage

  1. Justification by Faith—Doctrine Stated, 1:15-21
  2. Justification by Faith—Experience of Galatians, 3:1-5
  3. Justification by Faith—Illustration of Abraham, 3:6-4:18
  4. Justification by Faith—Allegory of Hagar and Sarai, 2:19-31
  5. Practical—Sanctification by the Spirit, 5:1-6:10

Spirit vs. Flesh, Liberty vs. Bondage

  1. Saved by Faith and Living by Law Perpetrates Falling from Grace, 5:1-15
  2. Saved by Faith and Walking in the Spirit Produces Fruit of the Spirit, 5:16-26
  3. Saved by Faith and Fruit of the Spirit Presents Christian Character, 6:1-10
  1. Autographed Conclusion, 6:11-18
  2. Paul’s Own Handwriting, 6:11
  3. Paul’s Own Testimony, 6:12-18
  • Cross of Christ vs. Circumcision, 6:12-15
  • Christ’s Handwriting on Paul’s Body, 6:16-18
    (The New Circumcision of the New Creation)

 

 

John MacArthur and Grace Community Church Continue to Dishonor God and Make a Mockery of Truth

John MacArthur and Grace Community Church: Displeasing our Lord and harming the cause of Christ.

Jerald Finney
August 17, 2020

Note. After writing this article, Brother David Houston informed me that GCC lost on appeal. See, BREAKING: LA County wins Appeal: County can ban church services.  I will follow up on that in the next few days.

This article is a follow-up on A Warning From God’s Word to Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church which explains that Grace Community Church violated the Bible principle that a church should be solely under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. How?  By becoming a legal entity, a “fictitious person” under the authority of civil government via the Fourteenth Amendment, by incorporating and obtaining Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. She rejected her Biblical, spiritual, eternal, First Amendment status in favor of secular, earthly, temporal, compromised status. Churches such as GCC have a form of godliness but deny the authority of God. This article will, very briefly, comment on subsequent developments in the GCC situation and how they dishonor the Lord Jesus Christ. A final note below this article explains the biblical road that MacArthur and GCC should have followed.

GCC filed suit in civil court, and claimed victory in that suit. In CA Pastor Hires Prominent Lawyers To Fight Newsom’s ‘Unconstitutional’ Order To Shut Down Church, July 7, 2020. GCC went to her chosen authority seeking permission to hold services. The article exposes God dishonoring arguments that the lawyers made to the church’s chosen authority, the court. The believer who cannot correctly, on the basis of Bible principle, analyze the problems with those arguments, needs to delve into deep study of the Bible. Believers and churches are commanded to fight a spiritual warfare and how to do so:

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” (Ephesians 6:10-18.)

Instead, MacArthur and GCC totally ignore their Supreme Commander’s orders. Neither MacArthur nor his attorneys, at least in the statements in the article, mention one Bible verse or principle to back up their position. Their arguments are secular. They fight in the devil’s courtroom using secular arguments. Their arguments and statements are not biblical.

It remains to be seen whether the state will appeal, and, if they do, the outcome. From the perspective of the word of God, GCC loses, no matter the final court decision.

As reported in the articles, MacArthur incorrectly stated, for example:

  • “Never before has the government invaded the territory that belongs only to the Lord Jesus Christ” and told us, we can’t meet. We can’t worship. We can’t sing.” [This is a lie. The territory does not belong only to the Lord Jesus Christ as explained in A Warning From God’s Word to Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church]
  • “This is not the first time we as Christ’s church have stood for Truth.” “We will continue to stand firm for the Truth today like we have every prior day in our 63-year history and in the over 2000-year history of the biblical, New Testament Church. [GCC is not a Church under Christ, it is not “Christ’s church.” It is a church which is substantially, for many matters, under the authority of the state of California, through its chosen corporate status, and the federal government, through it’s chosen 501(c)(3) status. They choose which “truths,” if any, they will stand for.]
  • We stand firm to continue fulfilling our biblical mandate from Christ to proclaim the Gospel and assemble together, and I earnestly hope that our stance will encourage other pastors, churches, and the general public across America and the world to also stand firm for biblical Truth. [They have not stood firm on that mandate. They are asking the state to give them permission to meet. Below, this article will briefly explain how they could have stood firm the Bible way, God’s way. Their stance grieves those pastors and churches who know God and His word. Their stance does not stand firm for biblical Truth; instead, their stand denies Bible truth. MacArthur and GCC cause the general public to blaspheme the name of Jesus because lost people know a fake when they see it.]
  • Church is essential. [Not churches like GCC. GCC betrayed the Lord many years ago. She is not a biblical New Testament Church. Yes, they decided, after initially folding on the issue of assembling, to fight their authority in their authority’s court. They were obliged to do so because they had freely chosen their authority. No matter the decision of their authority, they lose, in the eyes of God. That is, unless they repent toward God, get rid of their legal status, and proceed according to God’s Word.]

In Historic Win: John MacArthur in Lawsuit over Church Restrictions, we read that “A judge ruled late Friday afternoon that Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, can continue hosting indoor worship services and does not have to adhere to any attendance caps or bans on singing.” “MacArthur said in a response to the court’s ruling, “I am very grateful the court has allowed us to meet inside and we are happy for a few weeks to comply and respect what the judge has asked of us because he is allowing us to meet. This vindicates our desire to stay open and serve our people. This also gives us an opportunity to show that we are not trying to be rebellious or unreasonable, but that we will stand firm to protect our church against unreasonable, unconstitutional restrictions.” It remains to be seen whether the state will appeal, and, if they do, the outcome. By the way, who is he referring to when he says, “We” and “our people?” A church is an assembly of believers, all working together exercising their God given gifts. A church under Christ is a spiritual body made up of born again spiritual believers:

  • “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will” (1 Corinthians 12:1-11).
  • “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. This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind” (Ephesians 4:11-17).
  • “For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (1 Corinthians 12:14-27; 1 Corinthians was written to the local church at Corinth and the principles apply to all local churches. The “ye” (a plural in the King James English) spoken to is the church at Corinth.).

How sad is the whole affair from a Bible Christian perspective. Compromising churches and pastors cause the world to blaspheme the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the rapid decline of the percentage of those being saved in America. Again, lost people know a fake when they see it. GCC and most churches in America are modeled after and run like businesses, to one degree or another. They, like businesses are legal, not spiritual entities, organized according to legal, not Bible, principles. They are entertainment centers who find out what people want and give it to them. Most fight a worldly political warfare, not a heavenly spiritual one. They seek to turn America to God when they themselves have turned from God and his principles. Their hope is in America, not in God. They fail to understand preeminent Bible principles such as the principles of government, church, the relationship of church and state and the application of those principles.

The Biblical Methodology

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution and corresponding state constitutional provisions protect those churches who choose to remain under Christ and Christ alone. No law mandates that a church in America become a legal entity. Were there such a law, the Bible commands churches not to obey that law. See, for example, Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses. Churches in China, North Korea, and many other nations of the world have been forced to go underground in order to honor the Lord. Churches in America can choose to remain under Christ alone, without persecution. This ministry helps churches who choose to organize according to Bible principle. See, Churches under Christ Ministry Website. The website covers the many matters – Bible principles, legal precedents, explanation of incorporation and 501(c)(3) status and other legal status, history and meaning of the First Amendment, etc.

Once a church is so organized, that church will not be a legal entity. She will be under Christ only. By suing, submitting to an attempted suit against the church, or doing anything in the legal system, she chooses to forfeit her status as a church under Christ alone. Should someone attempt to name her in the suit, she must, through a person, inform the court that she is not a legal entity (contest jurisdiction). At that point, facts must be presented by the adversary to establish that she is a legal entity and there are no such facts: the church owns no property ( a church can, for example, meet in someone’s property, in property owned by a trust arrangement whereby all trust property belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ), the church has no employees or salaries (the church members can, according to the Bible, provide for the pastor and his family, if able, through gifts for which the pastor can pay income taxes without compromising the integrity of the church), the church has no bank account (God’s  money can be placed in a bank account owned by the Lord Jesus Christ).

The only option, for the state who wishes to come against a Church under Christ, is to come against the individuals of the church. This is how church-state establishments, atheistic states such as the Soviet Union, Red China, Korea, and many Moslem nations have always handled the matter. Roman Catholic establishments brutally tortured and murdered fifty million plus so-called heretics who would not bow down to their ungodly organizations. In the present crisis, a Church under Christ alone could obey God. They could meet, worship God, sing praises to His name, and do all they are called to do regardless of civil law. A tyrannical state could cite, arrest, and charge individual church members. The state  might choose go against only one person, probably the pastor. If released, he could again obey God; or another could step up, be cited, charged, and arrested. Etc. Each could claim their Bible and First Amendment positions. Each could confront the adversary. Each could wrestle against principalities, powers, the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Each could, like Bible believing martyrs since the beginning of the church, give their all for their Lord and fight God’s warfare God’s way. Each could display to the world the power of God. Had authentic churches, from the founding of this nation and on, like the colonial dissenters whose stand resulted in the First Amendment to the United States Constituion (see, The History of the First Amendment), done so, America would not be the moral, political, and spiritual cesspool that she has become.

A Warning From God’s Word to Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church

Preface

Pictured above is Pastor John MacArthur.

I received the following e-mail the other day:

California Pastor Says ‘God Has Not Granted Civic Rulers Authority’ Over How The Church Meets | CBN News

david huston dhuston2000@yahoo.com To:Jerald Finney Sun, Jul 26 at 11:08 AM

https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2020/july/california-pastor-says-god-has-not-granted-civic-rulers-authority-over-how-the-church-meets

Good day brother Finney! I couldn’t wait to send this hot-off-the-press, “potential” 501(c)(3)-related issue your way! Interestingly, just this past week, SCOTUS sided with Nevada over similar legal questions. Would this fall under the 501(c)(3) prohibition against “violating fundamental public policy” concerns?Moreover, now that John MacArthur et al. has formally [i.e. legally] thrown Grace Community Church’s proverbial hat into the ring of civil and/or legal disobedience – will something like this ultimately boil-down to a 501(c)(3) decision – due to everything you’ve been teaching us about this issue?I hope you’ll be able to take a little bit of time to evaluate this, and maybe write, or speak about it somewhat openly??It’s a shame you can’t sit down and have a face-to-face conversation with the corporate exec. Pastor, John MacArthur, and his corporate legal eagles. And may God bless you immensely brother…have a very blessed week! Thank you for ALL you do, for the perhaps soon coming outward manifestation of the Kingdom of God on planet earth! Brother David HustonTallahassee, FL.

Besides that email, another pastor asked me about the same matter while we were talking over the telephone. We briefly discussed the issue. That pastor forwarded the following email to me (I have removed identifiers):

———- Forwarded message ———
From: ___________________ Date: Mon, Jul 27, 2020 at 9:55 AM Subject: RE: Question To: ___________

Yes, since you are a student / friend of _____ and are much aware of theology and the 501 c 3 crisis, I would be interested in your opinion of Grace Church (a 501 c 3) and John McArthur’s change of position from compliance to resistance. See: https://www.gracechurch.org/news/posts/1988

[My note on the post at https://www.gracechurch.org/news/posts/1988: The post demonstrates that MacArthur does not understand God’s desired relationship between church and state as expressed in the Bible. He does not understand Romans 13 and all Bible teachings on church, state, and God’s desired relationship between church and state as stated in God’s Word (the King James Bible). The short article below cannot delve into all matters raised by MacArthur’s waffling positions and unlearned teachings. For an examination of the Bible postion on these matters, see, for example, God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application. For a correct understanding of Romans 13 and related verses, see Render Unto God the Things That Are His. Other relevant and helpful books, in free online form, PDR, and with ordering information for those in print can be accessed at Books by Jerald Finney. The following website has articles, essays, books, and other resources covering relevant issues, law, history and facts for those interested in these the institution Christ loved and gave Himself for, the church: Churches under Christ.]

John … teaches that the church should be subject to all powers (Romans 13:1) and agreed to shut down his church for two months. Suddenly, John reversed his position (probably because the church was sinking like a lead balloon financially) and opened up Grace Church in defiance of Governor Gruesome. …

This is a good case study on the church, [church incorporation and] 501 c 3 status, and confrontation with the State. …

Yes, I would like your thoughts on this. Thank you. Pastor ______________

Please read the following article, the target of the post below, to understand the context. If the quotes are inaccurate or out of contest, please let me know. Again, the link to the article is:

https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2020/july/california-pastor-says-god-has-not-granted-civic-rulers-authority-over-how-the-church-meets

A Warning From God’s Word to Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church
Jerald Finney
July 29, 2020

One uneducated in these matters may look at the quotes attributed to MacArthur in the article and believe he eloquently articulates the issues very well. However, a believer who has studied these matters immediately sees that his statements are Biblically and legally flawed. The issue is one of authority. The Bible is clear that God gave civil government no authority over churches who honor their relationship with Him and that He desires that Christ be the only head (authority) over His churches. EN [i]. MacArthur’s reference to Grace Community Church’s “faithfulness to Christ” is misplaced. They are not “faithful to Christ” since they chose to deny the authority of Christ in all church matters. The authority of the state offered additional benefits,  temporal benefits, beyond those supplied by God, so they reasoned.  Churches like this are mightily damaging the cause of Christ in America.

Neither God in His Word nor the United States, because of the First amendment to the Constitution, has granted California, or any other state in the United States, authority over how a “church under Christ and Christ alone meets.” Grace Community Church (“GCC”) is not such a church because she has freely chosen to place herself under the authority of the state of California (through her non-profit corporation status) and the federal government (through her federal “tax exempt” status). Pastor MacArthur can argue whatever he wishes to argue; but, as he knows, the authority of GCC in the matter involved, the state through its courts, will decide – if the state proceeds with this matter – whether this is an ecclesiastical matter which government officials have a right to interfere “in a way that undermines or disregards the God-given authority of pastors and elders.”

No matter what the court decides, the church displeases our Lord by putting herself under an authority other than the Lord Jesus Christ. She, like most American churches, is a spiritual harlot. These churches are doing great harm to the cause of Christ. They have chosen to combine the holy with the unholy and are therefore corrupted. Once a church takes one step that dishonors our Lord Jesus Christ, other steps inevitably follow. The slide toward heresy and apostasy has begun. First incorporation, then gradual compromise of one Bible precept after another. Many solid Bible believing churches planted during the colonial and early national period who chose to incorporate have now fallen away from the faith. Pastor MacArthur and GCC may be right about some things, but they are dead wrong about the relationship they should have with the state of California and the federal government.

GCC has rendered unto Caesar the things that are God’s. God’s Word teaches separation of church and state (not separation of God and state). God ordained civil government. He also ordained the local church. He gave each a distinct jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of a church is eternal, heavenly, and spiritual. The jurisdiction of a civil government is temporal, earthly, and fleshly. God’s Word reveals that civil government and churches under Christ should both be under God; but neither is to be under, over, or combined with the other.

Christ, not Caesar, is the only authority over a church who chooses to remain under Christ and Christ alone. The First Amendment enacted the Bible principle of separation of church and state; it did not  separate God and state. Because of the First Amendment, churches have an option: remain under Christ alone without legal persecution, or place yourself under the law and authority of man. The United States Supreme Court separated God and state. To understand the First Amendment and how the Supreme Court separated God and state, see EN [ii].

The First Amendment, and corresponding state constitutional provisions, protect churches who do not submit themselves to civil government. The First Amendment grants religious freedom to churches who choose to remain First Amendment or New Testament churches with Christ as their only head. Churches who choose to become legal entities, established churches such as non-profit corporate 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt organizations lose much of their First Amendment protection. They are treated as “artificial persons” under The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. If GCC had not, of her own free will, chosen to be a legal entity, the state could take no action against the church. The state would not be an authority over the church.

This does not mean that the state could not take action against a member of or members of the church, since every citizen in his or her right mind is a legal entity. A legal entity is an entity that can be charged with a crime, sue, be sued, enter into contracts, own property, or act legally in some other way.  Civil governments and church state establishments have taken jurisdiction over, and brutally murdered and tortured, untold millions of believers who would not bow down to Caesar or to the state church.  Caesar can kill the body, but not the soul. A civil government, like a church, can choose to be tyrannical and act against the the principles that God proclaims for its guidance, for the time being. The United States become tyrannical and can, but has not to this point, disregard or pervert the meaning of First Amendment religious and soul liberty. Regardless of what the United States or any state therein does, believers and churches “should obey God rather than man” with regard to eternal spiritual matters within the sole jurisdiction of the Lord.

He further states according to the article:

  • “As government policy moves further away from biblical principles, and as legal and political pressures against the church intensify, we must recognize that the Lord may be using these pressures as means of purging to reveal the true church,” he wrote.
  • “Succumbing to governmental overreach may cause churches to remain closed indefinitely. How can the true church of Jesus Christ distinguish herself in such a hostile climate? There is only one way: bold allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ.”

He expects the government, composed of heathens, to stay within biblical principles when GCC has strayed so far from New Testament Church Doctrine as declared in the epistles of Paul? He says that the Lord may be using these pressures as a means of purging to reveal “the true church.” True churches are churches who honor their head, the Lord Jesus Christ, in all matters. GCC certainly is not, according to the epistles of Paul, true to the Lord. GCC is not a “true church.”

A true church can distinguish herself in such a hostile climate just as she could have when the climate were not hostile: by doing things God’s way, by remaining a non-legal entity (a non-established church), and by following all God’s guidelines for local church as to nature, purpose, and form of organization. A local church under Christ, unlike GCC, is an organism, the body of Christ; instinct with His life, and heavenly (not earthly) in calling, promise and destiny; and again, such a church is under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ alone.

Christians and churches, since the beginning of the church age, have been and are being persecuted for their refusal to bow down to civil governments and to church state establishments. Because of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and corresponding state constitutional provisions, Christians in America have soul liberty and churches can choose to do things God’s way without persecution. EN [iii] GCC has chosen to prostitute herself.

Now, I will briefly address Brother Huston’s question regarding the 501(c)(3) “shall not violate fundamental public policy” rule. Perhaps the state might argue that the church has violated that. As far as I know, that rule has not yet been applied to 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A) churches; but that does not mean that it will not happen. I expect that it will sooner (or maybe later) be applied to established churches such as GCC in the area of same sex “marriage.” See, EN [iv]. Pastors and “Christian” lawyers have long anticipated that this may occur. They have taken steps such as inserting their Bible beliefs concerning such matters in their corporate Constitutions and by-laws. However, a state court, the authority in the matter – if controlled by anti-Christian, anti-God judges – will find that fundamental public policy outweighs the church’s unilaterally made policies. Not only that, but many churches have already, and more do so by the day, fold on the matter of sexual perversion and same-sex marriage. Satan surely takes great delight in pointing this out to God. Of course, God already knows it and even prophesied the apostasy of the churches. EN [v].

God ordained a theocracy, the nation Israel, to be directly under His authority alone. Israel wanted to be like all the other nations and demanded a king. I Samuel 8. Samuel was “displeased and prayed unto the Lord.”  “And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them” (1 Samuel 8:7). God, through Samuel, then warned them about the actions of an earthly king.

  • “Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.” 1 Samuel 8:19-22.

God wants his people in this age of grace, those who are saved, and His churches to remain under Him alone. But He honors the free will of man. He gave Israel what they requested. Israel, at least, acknowledged that they had committed a great evil, but Israel did not repent. 1 Samuel 12:19. God, through Samuel, told them:

  • “And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart; And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people.” 1 Samuel 12:20-22.

However, Israel had taken the first step away from their lover. The slide into apostasy had begun.  The Old Testament history chronicles the downward slide of Israel into apostasy and judgment. Just as the Lord, through His prophets, told Israel in advance all that was to come, He has told Christians and churches of  the future history of the world, of nations, and of the churches, to include the apostasy that is now apparent to one studied in the Word of God. The apostasy of the churches parallels the apostasy of the nation Israel. Once a church takes that first step to dishonor her espoused, other steps inevitably follow, unless the church repents. God’s message to GCC, as made clear from a study of His Word, is “Turn to me and repent of this great wickedness which you have done.”

The consequences

Millions blaspheme the name of the Lord as they view worldly organizations like GCC, churches with a form of godliness, who call on the name of God but deny the power thereof. Lost people know a business disguised as a church when they see it. The percentage of churchgoers, much less born again believers, in the United States is diminishing at an alarming rate because of fake churches and false teachers who have betrayed God.

Note. See EN [vi] for links to short essays which explain related matters such as “What is a corporation,” “What is 501(c)(3),” etc.


Endnotes

EN [i] To fully understand this, see God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application.

 EN [ii] See, e.g., for an understanding of the First Amendment:

See, for an explanation of how the Supreme Court has removed God from practically all civil government matters: The Supreme Court Reinterprets the First Amendment and Removes God.

EN [iii] See:

 EN [iv] See:

EN [v] See the articles and essays on the apostasy of the church at: The Biblical Doctrine of the Church.

EN [vi] Short Answers to some important questions:

  1. What is a Spiritual entity?
    2. What is a legal entity?
    3.Is a church a Spiritual entity, a legal entity, or a Spiritual/legal entity?
    4. Is it illegal for a church in America not to incorporate? Does a church have to be a 501c3?
    5. 
    Does God Care if our Church is Incorporated?
    6. 
    Should a Church Be a 508 Church?
    7. 
    Does a church in America need an Employer (Tax) ID Number?
    8. 
    Did President Trump do away with 501(c)(3) Requirements?
    9. What does church, inc. mean? 
    10. Who Is the head of an incorporated church?
    11. What is 501c3?
    12. What is 508?
    13. What is the history of the First Amendment?
    14. What is the History and Meaning of “Establishment of Religion” in America?
    15. What is an established church?
    16. What is a First Amendment Church?
    17. Question from a Church Concerning Church Organization
    18. The Bible Answer to the Question, “Is an Incorporated 501(c)(3) or 508 Church a Church of Christ?”

A Short Treatise on Romans 13

Romans 13:

1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

12 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.

13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

EN [i] Has links to more studies on Romans 13 and related verses.


A Short Treatise on Romans 13

Jerald Finney
Copyright © May 27, 2013

God the Supreme Power (Authority or Government; See EN [ii] for definitions of “power,” “authority,” and “government.”) ordained (established with particular functions and jurisdictions) lower powers (13:1). He ordained four powers to operate below Him. Romans 13 speaks to civil government, which he ordained at the flood. The Old Testament explains why God ordained civil government; and the two types of civil governments, Gentile civil government and also the theocracy of Israel. In Romans 13, God gives the jurisdiction of Gentile civil government and instructs believers as to their responsibilities to that government. The God-given jurisdiction of civil government is over certain evils of man against another or others. God gave civil government no authority over man’s relationship with God. Man is under man or civil government only as regards certain temporal, fleshly, earthly matters.

God ordained the powers that be, and there is no power but of God (13:1). God, the Supreme Power, ordained the lower powers. The lower powers (authorities) which God ordained are:

  1. individual government (Genesis 1-3);
  2. family government (Genesis 3 and other passages throughout the Bible);
  3. civil government (Genesis 9:5-6);
  4. church government (Mt. 16:8, 18:15-17, Paul’s epistles).

God, the Highest Power established an hierarchy of law. God is the highest power. He is at the top of the hierarchy. Every lower power is subject to him. He is over the individual, the family, the civil government, and the local church. Each lower power ordained by God is subject to the earthly powers above it (13:1-2). God is the judge of every lower power. Certainly, a lower earthly power has no authority to overrule the God-given authority of any higher earthly power above it, unless that power becomes tyrannical and acts outside its God-given jurisdiction. The individual is subject to God in spiritual matters and to civil government as to certain worldly sins against the life, liberty, and property of his fellow man. Each lower power is given free will and can decide whether to obey the Supreme Power and any higher earthy power acting within its God-given jurisdiction.

A civil government, a lower power or authority, can choose either to honor the Supreme Power and operate within its God-given jurisdiction or to become tyrannical.  A civil government, as with all lower powers, is free to operate outside of its God-given jurisdiction. A civil government can honor or dishonor God and will be blessed or cursed accordingly. They that resist the ordinances (See EN [iii] for definition of “ordinance”) of God shall receive to themselves damnation (13:2).

Romans 13 deals with Gentile civil government, which was ordained by God at the flood. Sometime after the flood and after the ordination of Gentile civil government, God called out a civil government, a nation, unto Himself, the nation of Israel. At that point, all other nations, all Gentile nations, continued under the dispensation of human or civil government. EN [iv].

Romans 13 states the jurisdiction of Gentile civil government. God ordained Gentile civil government to be God’s minister to reward those who do good, and to execute wrath upon those who do evil (13:4). Rulers are “not a terror to good works, but to the evil;” and are to praise those who do good (13:3). Thus, God gave civil government jurisdiction over the last Six of the Ten Commandments, which deal with man’s relationship to man (Romans. 13:8-10). He did not give civil government jurisdiction over men’s relationship with God, which is the subject of the first Four Commandments. When a civil government exceeds its jurisdictional boundaries and intrudes into religion and conscience, it has exceeded its God-given jurisdiction.

The New Testament, not to mention the Old Testament, records the activities of many who did not bow down to civil government when civil government acted outside its God-given jurisdiction: Jesus Christ, Stephen as recorded in Acts 7, those Christians who were sought and persecuted by Paul and the Jewish religious crowd before he became an apostle, all the apostles. According to history, Christians from the beginning of the dispensation of grace to this very day have been and are being persecuted for not bowing down to earthly civil governments or earthly establishments, unions of religion and state.

The Apostle Peter, who wrote “… obey every ordinance of man …” (1 Peter 2:13; see the immediate context of that statement in your Bible) understood God’s hierarchy of law. He and John were arrested after healing the lame man and preaching in the name of Jesus. The authorities ordered them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus, threatened them, and let them go. Then, they immediately:

  • “… lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus” (Acts 24-31).

Notice their prayer. They understood God’s hierarchy of law. They quote from Psalms 2, which is particularly instructive on the matter of the authority of God and of Gentile civil government. They knew that all the work they did for God was to be done in the name of Jesus, under the authority of God. They understood that the earthly power has assumed unlawful jurisdiction over the things of God. After their prayer, they continued to do what God commanded them to do, contrary to their orders for their earthly authority who has stepped outside their jurisdictional authority.

Most American “Christians” walk in darkness. They carelessly cite Romans 13 when asked about their submission to the authority of civil government in all things. Some will qualify their submission with, “If the government ever tells me that I cannot preach salvation, they will have crossed the line.” They eliminate all the commandments and precepts to Christians in the New Testament but one. They fight on one front only, while Satan has been very active on all fronts. When the day of reckoning comes, many or most of those sort will obey civil government when told they cannot preach salvation. As the Lord, the apostles, and martyred and persecuted Christians since the beginning of the New Testament churches have understood, believers and churches are to be soldiers for the Lord Jesus Christ, and to engage in the spiritual warfare He has commanded us to fight (2 Timothy 2:1-7; Ephesians 6:10-18). “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” (13:12).


Endnotes

EN [i] Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses and other works cited on that page.

EN [ii] Power means:

Command; the right of governing, or actual government; dominion; rule, sway; authority…. The powers of government are legislative, executive, judicial, and ministerial…. Power is no blessing in itself, but when it is employed to protect the innocent. Under this sense may be comprehended civil, political, ecclesiastical, and military power. 13. One invested with authority; a ruler; a civil magistrate. Romans 13:1.

Authority means:

“Legal power, or a right to command or to act; as the authority of a prince over subjects, and of parents over children. Power; rule; sway.” or “Government; the persons or the body exercising power or command; as the local authorities of the states.” (1828 WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY, definition of “authority.”)

Status as a legal entity of any kind is a product of man-made law (civil government law) and gives the civil government authority over the church in many matters. Civil government, man’s law, creates and is sovereign, for many purposes, over a corporation sole or aggregate, an Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) or § 508(c)(1)(A) federal tax exempt organization, a charitable trust, etc.

Government means:

noun Direction; regulation. These precepts will serve for the government of our conduct.

  1. Control; restraint. Men are apt to neglect the government of their temper and passions.
  2. The exercise of authority; direction and restraint exercised over the actions of men in communities, societies or states; the administration of public affairs, according to established constitution, laws and usages, or by arbitrary edicts. Prussia rose to importance under the government of Frederick II.
  3. The exercise of authority by a parent or householder. Children are often ruined by a neglect of government in parents. Let family government be like that of our heavenly Father, mild, gentle and affectionate.
  1. The system of polity in a state; that form of fundamental rules and principles by which a nation or state is governed, or by which individual members of a body politic are to regulate their social actions; a constitution, either written or unwritten, by which the rights and duties of citizens and public officers are prescribed and defined; as a monarchial government or a republican government

  1. An empire, kingdom or state; any territory over which the right of sovereignty is extended.
  2. Management of the limbs or body. [Not in use.]

EN [iii] Ordinance means, in this context: “A rule established by authority; a permanent rule of action. An ordinance may be a law or statute of sovereign power. In this sense it is often used in the Scriptures. Exodus 15:25Numbers 10:8Ezra 3:10.”

EN [iv] See God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application, Part One, Section I, The Biblical Doctrine of Government.

According to the Bible, God Grieves when a Church Chooses to Organize Under Any Law of Man (Non-Profit Corporation Law, Federal Tax Exempt Law, Charitable Trust Law, Etc.)

Click here for examination of more False Reasons of Believers and “Christian” Lawyers for Church Corporate, 501(c)(3) Status or Legal Status of Any Kind.

Jerald Finney
Copyright © May 21, 2020

Believe it or not, another false reason by some unlearned believers for church establishment (corporate, 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt status, charitable trust status, or any church status created, defined, and controlled by man’s law) is: “The Bible does not say that a church should not incorporate, get tax exempt status, or organize under man’s law.” Another pastor stated the same argument in a different way: “We are Bible believers. If the Bible says not to do something, we do not do it.” The problem with the argument is that New Testament Principles for a Church under Christ teach the Holy Spirit led believer who studies the matter that a church should not submit herself to any authority other than the Lord Jesus Christ (See, e.g., Matthew 16:18; Ep. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18, etc.).

Authority means:

“Legal power, or a right to command or to act; as [the authority of God over all the lower powers or authorities which God ordained – individual government, family government, civil government, and church government, (see Romans 13 in context with the Old and New Testaments)], the authority of a prince [civil government] over subjects, and of parents over children. [Power of a civil government over a church is illegitimate, according to the Word of God]. Power; rule; sway. Legal power, or a right to command or to act; as the authority of a prince over subjects, … of parents over children, [or the authority of a civil government over a church]. Power; rule; sway. Government; the persons or the body exercising power or command; as the local authorities of the states.” (1828 WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY, definition of “authority.”). For a thorough Bible explanation of the authorities that God ordained, see Part One of: God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application.

Status as a legal entity of any kind is a product of man-made law (civil government law) and gives the civil government authority over a church in many matters. Civil government, man’s law, creates and is sovereign, for many purposes, over a church corporation, a church Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) or § 508(c)(1)(A) federal tax exempt organization, a church charitable trust, etc.

  • For an understanding of church incorporation, see What does church, inc. mean? and the resources linked to thereon.
  • A corporation sole is a legal entity, just as is a non-profit corporation; and just like a church which chooses the corporation aggregate status, the corporation sole has chose to place another authority other then the Lord Jesus Christ over the church as to many matters. The only difference is that the corporation sole has only one officer. For an examination of the church corporation sole scheme which is peddled to churches, see Critique of the “Church Freedom and Corporation Sole” Website
  • To understand Internal Code § 501(c)(3) or § 508(c)(1)(A), see What is 501c3?, What is 508? and the resources cited in those short essays.

The following verses are instructive concerning God’s feelings toward the chastity and faithfulness of His churches:

  • Ephesians 5:23-27: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
  • 2 Corinthians 11:1-3: “Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
  • 2 Timothy 3:5: “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power [authority] thereof: from such turn away.”

Clearly, a church, like a wife, who submits herself to an authority other than her God ordained authority grieves our Lord. Consider the feelings of a husband at home one day when his wife comes in the door with her arms around another man with a big smile on her face. The wife says,

“Dear, I want you to meet Joe. I met him a couple of months ago. Since that time, we have spent a lot of time together, eating out, talking. I have found Joe to be a very wise man. His thoughts and ways differ from yours and are, in many respects, better than yours. You could learn a lot from him. He is willing, with your approval, to work with you and me to make our lives better. If you choose to work with Joe, he will also help us financially. Will you welcome Joe as an authority in our marriage?”

Click the above to go to the article, “Is Separation of Church and State Found in the Constitution?

See the following resources for an help in understanding God’s desired church/state relationship:

Click here for examination of more False Reasons of Believers and “Christian” Lawyers for Church Corporate, 501(c)(3) Status or Legal Status of Any Kind.

Marriage: Civil Contract or Holy Covenant?

Jerald Finney
Born Again Believer and Attorney at Law
Copyright © April 10, 2020

God ordained marriage in the Garden of Eden, prior to the fall (Jesus, in Mt. 19:3-6 EN [i], quotes and explains Ge. 2:23-24 EN [ii]). Like all things, God created marriage for His pleasure (Re. 4:11 EN [iii]). God desires that marriage be holy, set apart to the service and worship of God. Marriage is a covenant, established by God, between a man, a woman, and God. God is to be the controlling party.

Marriage is also a picture of the relationship of Christ and His church (See, for full explanation, Christ, the Head/Husband/Bridegroom of His churches, and Christ-Church-Husband-Wife, Bridegroom-bride). God, in His Word, lays out all matters concerning the marriage relationship. Of course, the man or the woman, according to their God-given free will, can rebel and dishonor the covenant. Anytime that happens, bad consequences come to the man, the woman, and any children born to the marriage.

God ordained civil government, man ruling over man under God, at the flood (Ge. 9:5-6 EN [iv]; See also, for a Bible study on the four God-ordained governments, The Biblical Doctrine of Government). He ordained civil government to provide direct control over those who commit crimes against others. Civil government is to be the minister of God for good, and as a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. (Ro. 13:3-5, 9 EN [v]).

God never gave civil government jurisdiction over marriage, yet, in the “common law” which traces its roots to Protestantism and Catholicism, marriage was treated as a civil contract. America adopted the common law treatment of marriage. EN [vi]. Early on, even the first dictionary published in America gave one definition of “CONTRACT” as “The act by which a man and woman are betrothed, each to the other” (AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, NOAH WEBSTER (1828)). Compare that with the covenant marriage of a man and woman under God. Contract is a humanistic or enlightenment principle which has been used to attack and destroy, among other things, the God ordained institutions of marriage, family, church, and state:

  • “The idea of government remaining neutral over values coincided with the use of contract law as a means of restructuring society. Contract law accords the individuals to any bargain the right to assert their own goals, values, and priorities. The law enforces the bargain, not the values contained in it. Yet implicitly, contract law enforces individualism over communitarianism by its refusal to impose a communitarian ethic upon contracting parties” (Mark Douglas McGarvie, One Nation Under Law: America’s Early National Struggles to Separate Church and State (DeKalb, Illinois: Northern Illinois University Press, 2005), p. 86).

4The contract clause of Article I, Section 10 of the United States Constitution has been used by civil government to control and destroy the two basic institutions ordained by God—the family and the church—and the two types of marriages—the marriage of a man and a woman and the marriage of Christ and His church. The contract clause applies Satanic principles in dealing with those marriages. How? To answer succinctly, contract law leaves God and His principles out of the equation.

Under contract law, two or more equal persons, alone and without God and His principles, supposedly, but not actually, form a contract of marriage as opposed to a biblical covenant in which God is an active party. Under contract law, a marriage is an agreement between two equal people with equal voices. Violation of the contract allows one or both parties to petition the sovereign state, the controlling party of the contract, for a divorce. Originally in America, civil law and courts reflected, to a great degree, Bible principles for marriage and divorce. That was changed. Today, no violation of terms is needed—the state has provided for “no-fault” divorce. Thus, a spouse can petition the state for a divorce for no reason at all.

Under contract law, the family is treated as a democracy in which all members of a family, including the children, are to be equal, with equal rights and equal voices. Innumerable numbers of good parents get caught up in state programs which teach “child abuse prevention.” These programs mix some truth with a lot of error. The overall effect is Satanic. For example, “[in] 1987 in Texas, DHS [Department of Human Services] investigated 63,204 reports of suspected child abuse and neglect. Investigators confirmed physical abuse of 14,177 children”  (“Child Abuse Prevention Program” Manual, p. 6, used by the Austin Stress Clinic, Austin, Texas, in the mid-1990s).

The author handled two cases, in the mid-1990s, in which two Christian mothers were not only forced to take part in state indoctrination programs, but also were charged with criminal injury to a child, a third degree felony, for spanking their children with a switch on the behind. Both cases were successfully resolved, by the grace of God, without the children being permanently taken, but both parents suffered extreme stress at the prospect of going to prison and possibly losing their children. One case went to criminal trial. God gave the victory. The jury found the accused “not guilty,” but the injustice of her having to go through such an ordeal was tragic.  In neither of those cases did any abuse occur when judged from a biblical perspective. Yet those mothers were forced by civil law, “family law,” to go through Satanic counseling. Of the approximately 50,000 investigations that resulted in no confirmation of physical abuse in 1987 in Texas, one may safely assume that almost all or all of those parents had to take counseling ordered by the state.

Those forced to take such counseling are taught, among other things:

  • “In order to deal more effectively with the stresses in your life, you will need to have a plan for replacing physical discipline with more positive behaviors…. It hurts to get hit. When someone hits you, you learn that it is OK to hurt other people…. Children who are physically disciplined are more aggressive than other children. Violent criminals in prison have a much higher incidence of physical abuse and cruel punishment as children by their parents than the population in general…. When children see violence, they believe that violence is a way to resolve differences/problems…. CAPP staff believes that any form of violence and especially physical discipline have no place in raising children. They must be eliminated from your life. This may mean a drastic change in the way you think and how you discipline your kids…. Hitting children and causing them pain teaches children to be afraid of parents rather than to respect them…. Spanking may stop misbehavior for a while, but in time it loses its effect as a way to control behavior. Spanking may relieve a parent’s anger, but most parents feel guilty afterward. Some children learn to use that guilt to get all sorts of privileges after a spanking. As you can see, there are many reasons to stop abuse and physical discipline” (Ibid., pp. 3, 6, 8).
  • “Times have definitely changed since we were growing up as children. Most of us accepted our parents’ rules and orders without question. We just did what they told us to do. If we didn’t, we could probably expect a spanking. Why are things different now? Why do our kids challenge us with ‘NO’ and ‘WHY’ so effectively? And why can’t our response simply be ‘because I said so’ or a spanking?
  • “We may need to look at how society has changed since we’ve grown up to get some answers to our questions.
  • “When most of us were growing up, society had an order to how it operated. The president ruled the country, men were the heads of the households, whites and people of color were segregated, and fathers were disciplinarians. People did not question the ‘order’ of things. If they did, they were told to stay in line…. “While we called it a democratic society, in many ways the majority of people (people of color, women, and children) were ruled by a minority (mostly white men). This is not really a democracy.
  • “[Movements mentioned that changed things.] Children also benefited from these movements. For centuries, children had been considered the property of their parents. They were supposed to respect their elders and follow their orders without question. Parents’ wishes were enforced through physical force. Children were often hurt both physically and emotionally by this….
  • “With the empowerment of other groups came questions about the rights of children. Laws about physical discipline and abuse were made. Children were no longer considered just ‘property’ but members of a democratic family with certain rights.
  • “How does a democratic family work? First and foremost, both parents and children are considered equal. They are considered equal in terms of individual worth and dignity. Both child and parent are entitled to receive love and respect. Thus, each must treat the other with love and respect.
  • “Secondly, in a democratic family, each person has a responsibility to make decisions for him/herself (within appropriate limits) and then to be accountable for the decisions that they make….
  • “Having a democratic family means taking more time to make decisions, encouraging opinions and listening to them, showing appreciation for good things people do, showing respect for personal territory, and showing interest and support for things that are important in people’s lives. It also means sharing power. But the end result is good: people feeling better about themselves and being able to ask for what they want appropriately.”

(“Child Abuse Prevention Program” Manual, p. 8-9, used by the Austin Stress Clinic, Austin, Texas, in the mid-1990s. The author still has a copy of this manual in his files.).

Any true Christian who is knowledgeable in Bible principles can readily discern the Satanic principles in the above excerpts. Some truth is injected in a lot of false conclusory statements. Issues having nothing to do with discipline of children and the operation of a family are misconstrued, exaggerated, and inappropriately applied. Behind all this is a total lack of understanding of the nature of man and the applicability of the principles of the Sovereign, which, when properly understood and applied, bring positive consequences. Unfortunately, the human instruments who teach these concepts have been duped by a being whose goal is being realized in America. That goal is the removal of God and His Word from society, destruction of God’s crowning creation, man, both temporally and eternally, and destruction of all of God’s institutions: marriage, family, church, and civil government.

Although God has given civil government no jurisdiction over marriage, civil government has assumed jurisdiction, with the willing participation of many pastors. When a man and a woman enter a state ordained marriage, or when the members of a church incorporate the church, they enter into a contract under and with the state and come under the jurisdiction of the civil government.

A civil contract of marriage allegedly gives the state jurisdiction over the marriage; but effectively, God is involved in any marriage, whether man recognizes it or not. Any marriage involves a covenant which includes a man, a woman, and God. All marriages are spiritual unions under God—the problem comes when one forgets or fails to understand and apply this.

God’s rules always apply, whether civil government and/or man recognize them or not. Lies, false definitions, and Satanic principles do not change truth. “O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD” (Ps. 117.1-2). God joins a man and woman no matter what civil government declares. Neither man nor civil law can destroy that spiritual union, although civil law and the man and/or woman can ignore or be ignorant of that aspect of marriage and physically divide the union. That is, a wife and/or husband can separate and secure a divorce from civil government, but God recognizes no such divorce as destroying the spiritual union which He created.

“But I [Jesus] say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” (Mt. 5.32; see also, Mt. 19.9). “And he [Jesus] saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her” (Mk. 10.11). “And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery” (Mk. 10.12). “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery” (Lu. 16.18).

9In a civil government marriage ceremony, a pastor or other state recognized official proclaims the bride and groom to be husband and wife by the authority given him by the state and maybe also by the authority of God. How could it be that God gave him authority to conduct a marriage under the authority of the state or the state and God when the principles of each are diametrically opposed? God did not tell man (civil government), “you have authority to institute marriage less than, coequal, or above my authority to join man and woman in marriage.” God told man (civil government) not to put asunder “what God [not civil government or civil government and God] hath joined together.”

In any event, state officials, which sadly includes many pastors, have ignored God’s principles and erroneously declared man and woman to be husband and wife by the authority of the state and God. If the contract of marriage is performed by a pastor who acts by the authority of both the state and God, even should the form of the ceremony and vows be somewhat in line with biblical principle, a marriage based upon a blend of Godly and satanic principles has been initiated. The pastor of that ceremony hands the authority over that marriage to the state and places the marriage and subsequent family under the Satanic principles of the state. Many were married in this manner, including this author, before they learned these truths.

The ultimate fruition of the application of contract law to marriage is being seen in today’s American society even among “Christians” in high divorce rates, high percentages of people who just “shack up,” and in the ultimate assault by Satan—the redefinition of marriage to include the union of two of the same sex (See, OBERGEFELL ET AL. v. HODGES, DIRECTOR, OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL (June 26, 2015); See also, The Proper Response by believers and churches to Obergefell, the United States Supreme Court same sex marriage decision.). Civil government is taking the nation toward an American Sodom and Gomorrah. This ultimate result, which is to be followed by the wrath of God, came about because men “hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Ro. 1.18) and was foretold in God’s Word:

  • ”Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Ro. 1.21-32).

Of course, even though civil government now defines marriage in such a way as to allow the union of two men or two women or any other combination except one man and one woman, such unions are not marriage. God defined marriage in His Word, and that definition cannot be nullified by human law.

In conclusion, the contract clause has been used to attack marriage of a man and a woman and the marriage of Christ and His churches (See, Church Corporate/501(c)(3) Status: Union of Church and State). Like man and woman as husband and wife, Christ and a church, as Husband and wife, are one flesh: “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bone” (Ep. 5.29-30). Any time man deviates from God’s principles, the slide down toward the moral cesspool has begun. As to both types of marriage, all, except for God’s remnant, practice and teach Satan’s  principles ((See, Satan orchestrates the world system).

Note. Family law regarding marriage and divorce vary widely from state to state. Some states, like Texas, still honor “common law” marriage; that is, no marriage license from the state is required. Other states do not honor such marriages and many inflict criminal penalties on a pastor or anyone who performs a marriage without a state license. In fact, a Bible honoring marriage has no officiant . However, in those states which do not recognize common law marriage, employer provided insurance will not cover the wife unless the couple lived in and claimed common law marriage in another state before moving to the non-common law marriage state.


Endnotes

EN [i] Matthew 19:3-9 “The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”

EN [ii] Genesis 2:23-24:  “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

EN [iii] Revelation 4:11 “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

EN [iv] Genesis 9:5-6 “And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”

EN [v] Romans 13:3-5, 9 “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. … For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

EN [vi] WEBSTER’S 1828 DICTIONARY DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE: “The act of uniting a man and woman for life; wedlock; the legal union of a man and woman for life. marriage is a contract both civil and religious, by which the parties engage to live together in mutual affection and fidelity, till death shall separate them. marriage was instituted by God himself for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, for promoting domestic felicity, and for securing the maintenance and education of children.” Catholicism and Protestantism support union of church and state. The ideal for both was church and state working together, the state to be an arm of the state church. The “church” handled the religious part, and the state the legal part.

Stewards of the Mystery of the Church Found Lacking, Except for a Remnant

Believers in the local church are stewards of the mysteries of God, including the mystery of the local church.

Jerald Finney
Copyright © March 30, 2019

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 Corinthians 4:1-2).

See also, A Church Is a Mystery, an Assembly, a Spiritual Body (January 1, 2018)

Introduction

Although God has appointed believers to be faithful stewards (trustees) of the mysteries of God, few believers and churches have any knowledge of those mysteries, and fewer take their assigned task seriously. This is especially true of the subject of this article, the mystery the church. EN[i]. Most believers, not to mention the vast numbers of lost “church members (‘the churched’, as labeled by apostate mega church leaders such as Joel Olsteen, Rick Warren, John MacArthur (as proven by the widely published fight he is now engaging in with his overriding authority, the state of incorporation of Grace Community church, et al.),” are offended should a believer even mention something that challenges the traditional, business, earthly, and/or temporal practices of a particular church or churches. Fundamental Baptist Churches of several ilks, those with which I am most familiar, are, for the most part, controlled by their traditions concerning church organization. Few ever preach on Bible church doctrine, fewer get it right when they do preach on it, and, in general, many of those who do preach on it, only touch on it. They give many off hand responses when one asks for discussion about church organizational issues such as legal organization under man’s law (laws establishing churches as non-profit corporations, charitable trusts, unincorporated associations, Internal Revenue Code  501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt religious organizations, etc.). This article briefly looks at:

A. The Mystery of the Church, Hidden from Past Ages but now Revealed
B. God’s Epistles, Written by Paul, Reveal the Mystery of the Church
C. God–given Stewardship of the Mystery of the Church Ignored, Except by God’s Remnant

A. The Mystery of the Church, Hidden from Past Ages but now Revealed

Ephesians 3 is quoted in its entirety in EN[ii].

Ephesians 3:1-12 explains:

  1. That God entrusted Paul, and from Paul to believers and to the local church, with  revelations concerning the dispensation of grace and the mystery of the church;
  2. That the church is a mystery which God made known to Paul, that “the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” … “which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.”
  3. That Paul was made a minister … that he “should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ;”
  4. The purpose: “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.”
  5. That the local church may know “the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.”
  6. The mystery of the church is revealed by God through the apostle Paul, and members of Churches under Christ are to know it, “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery.”

Ephesians 3:13-21 then states Paul’s prayer for inner fullness and knowledge; in context, concerning the matters He had written of in the previous 12 verses. My experience has been that churches, believers, and especially pastors, except for a remnant, have never studied; and, therefore, have no knowledge of the “mystery of the church;” they summarily reject any attempts to bring to their attention New Testament principles concerning the revealed mystery of the church and the application of those principles to their local assemblies.

B. God’s Epistles, Written by Paul, Reveal the Mystery of the Church

“All Scripture, up to the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion, looks forward to the cross, and has primarily in view Israel, and the blessing of the earth through the Messianic Kingdom. But ‘hid in God’ (Ephesians 3:9) was an unrevealed fact—the interval of time between the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ and His return in glory; and an unrevealed purpose—the outcalling of the institution of church. In Matthew 16, the Lord announced” the foundation and building of that church and the unrevealed purpose, “but wholly without explanation as to how, when, or of what materials, that church should be built, or what should be its position, relationships, privileges, or duties.”

The epistles of Paul develop the doctrine of the church, an institution made up, at this time, of local assemblies, under Christ. In his seven letters to Gentile churches (in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossee, and Thessalovica), the church, the “mystery which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God” (Ephesians 3:9), is fully revealed, and fully instructed as to her unique place in the counsels and purposes of God. God, through Paul makes known that a “church is not an organization but an organism, the body of Christ; instinct in calling, promise, and destiny.” “Through him alone we know the nature, purpose, and form of organization of local churches, and the right conduct of such gatherings. Through him alone we know that ‘we shall not all sleep, that the dead in Christ shall rise first,’ and that the living saints shall be ‘changed’ and caught up to meet the Lord in the air.” See, EN[iii] for link to studies of Paul’s Epistles (not yet completed).

Christ gifts each member of the local spiritual organism or body, the local church, with gift(s) to be used in the local assembly:

“for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Til we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto 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.” (Ephesians 4:7-16; EN[iv] quotes Ephesians 4:7-16).

The overwhelming purpose of every believer and church is the salvation of souls with the simultaneous indwelling of the Holy Spirit, followed by water baptism, church membership, and discipleship in order to prepare them to go outside the assembly, lead people to salvation, disciple them, and send them out to lead others to salvation, baptism, local church membership, and discipleship. So it is with this ministry. Without being faithful stewards of the mysteries of God, to include the mystery of the church, one’s efforts are out of Bible order, less effective, and slide down the slippery slope to further heresy and, ultimately, apostasy, as fewer and fewer, as a percentage, are saved. This is clearly demonstrated by the apostasy of the churches in America, except for a remnant.

A disciple follows Christ and His principles. How can one follow Christ and His principles without first knowing Him, and then knowing His principles? How can one know His principles without knowing His Word through Holy Spirit led study of the Word of Christ? Is a believer following Christ if he knows Christ’s teachings and commandments, to include the mystery of the assembly (church) and related commandments, but does not apply them?

Are believers and churches performing their God-given duty as stewards of the mysteries of God, specifically the mystery of the church?

C. God–given Stewardship of the Mystery of the Church Ignored, Except by God’s Remnant

Any believer with his spiritual eyes open can see that churches and church members, except for a remnant, have by-passed and ignored their duties as stewards. This is especially true of the mystery of the church. See, The Biblical Doctrine of the Church for studies of the apostasy of the churches in America. This ministry constantly encounters real life examples of this failure. Here are some examples:

  1. A brilliant young man in South Carolina had a tumultuous upbringing. He turned to drugs and vile living and even contemplated suicide. In college, he met a young lady who was a Christian and fell in love with her. She became his friend, but told him that she could be no more than a friend because he was not saved. She led him to the Lord. They married and joined a Charismatic church. He was a serious student of the Word of God. His studies led him to the website of this ministry. There he studied church organizational matters, including the 501(c)(3) issue. He asked his pastor if he would discuss that matter with him. His pastor said, “Don’t be listening to that Jerald Finney guy.” He persisted and the pastor arranged a meeting. At the meeting, the whole group, including the pastor, gave his concerns no consideration, etc. The young man moved his wife and child 1000 miles to attend a church which was not incorporated or 501(c)(3).
  2. Sometime around 2008, my pastor asked me to teach a class at the church institute due to the teacher being out of town. The institute included young people from other fundamental Baptist churches as well children of members of the church. Two of the students, seventeen year old twin boys made clear by their expressions that they were hostile to my teachings and beliefs. Their father was a pastor (I believe) whom I had met when he visited the church. From my brief encounters with him, I knew he did not like me for some reason. I asked the class, “What is more important, loving God or winning souls?” Then I called on one of the aforementioned students to respond. He said, in a very authoritative tone, “Loving God is important, but if you are called to pastor an incorporated church you should ignore that matter and win souls. There is no need to make waves.” He had been well trained by his heretical father. Thankfully, a couple of the girls in the class responded with godly knowledge, understanding, and wisdom and explained that loving God is most important and what that meant in practice. I had known before that some fundamentalists I knew of stated, according to the teachings of Jack Hyles and his followers, that “Soul winning takes care of everything for a church” (a paraphrase). Soon thereafter, I wrote “The Most Important Things: Loving God or Winning Souls?
  3. A wonderful couple wanted to approach their pastor about the church 501(c)(3) issue. We talked at length. They loved their church, where they had been members for 11 years, but they loved the Lord more. They had already been alerted to the 501(c)(3) issue by Mark Taylor and others. I sent them links to resources that explained church incorporation and 501(c)(3). I also gave them a thumbnail explanation of how a church can remain under Christ alone, according to New Testament principle, by establishing a common law trust relationship with property, both real and personal (personal property includes money), so as to remain under Christ alone, with the protection of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and corresponding state constitutional provisions. They studied the issue for some time and arranged a meeting with their pastor. Of course, he tried to show them where they were wrong. They persisted and asked him if he would talk with me. When we talked over the phone, his tone was not cooperative as to seeking truth and his rationale was illogical and unstudied. I explained the problems with church incorporation and 501(c)(3) status and also the basics of the common law trust as applied by many churches. Obviously, he was going to follow his traditions and the doctrines of the “commandments of men.” I told him I would be glad to debate any relevant issue with anyone he chose. Instead, he got a written “opinion” from a lawyer who gave him the answers he wanted. I published my analysis of that lawyer’s very disappointingly unlearned opinion at: More lies of “Christian” law firms and lawyers concerning church organization and the common law trust as a means of establishing a church under Christ alone outside civil government law. The couple, of their own desire, left the church and are seeking to do things God’s way as to their local assembly under Christ.
  4. A much younger member of a church said to me, in a very condescending manner, when I just mentioned a matter of church doctrine in a friendly discussion among several of us, and in which he had lectured on some other Bible matters, “We know that!” He was saying, shut up about that. I love him dearly, but he and I were obviously not on the same page on the matter of the importance of the mystery of the church. I know that he had little or no understanding on the matter and does not wish to hear more.
  5. For more, see the following resources:

Conclusion

Churches and believers are commanded to shine the light of God’s Word, no matter the results, to “make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery” of the church (Ephesians 3:9). Have you and your church come to the light? Is your light and the light of your church shining? Some hate the light and do not come to it; some come to it. “[E]very 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). “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Ephesians 3:21).


Endnotes

EN[i] See, What God Has Committed to Man’s Trust: “Ye Cannot Serve God and Mammon”: Steward or Trustee? for a Bible study of steward/trustee; See, How a Church Can Organize to Remain a New Testament Church (Holding Property In Trust For God Is A Scriptural Principle Recognized by American Law)for a Bible study of stewardship/trusteeship).

EN[ii] Ephesians 3:1-12: “1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9  ]And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: 12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. 13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. 14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

EN[iii] Bible Studies: The Doctrine of the Church.

EN[iv] Ephesians 4:7-16: “7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 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: 14 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; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 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.”

Close, But No Cigar: Dishonest and Unlearned Use of the Church Common Law Trust

* Jerald Finney
Copyright © March 26, 2020

Numerous unlearned pastors and “ministries” advise churches on the matter of organizing as churches under Christ and Christ alone as opposed to legal organizations such as corporations, corporations sole, charitable trusts, unincorporated associations, and Internal Revenue Code §§ 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(1)(A) tax exempt organizations.

The Ecclesiastical Law Center was founded by Robin Wright. Brother Wright was a member of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple in the 1980s. Attorney Al Cunningham helped churches, including IBT where he spent a lot of time, reorganize under Christ, as opposed to legally organizing under man’s law. During that time, Robin Wright picked Attorney Cunningham’s brain on the use of the common law trust by churches.

Brother Wright left IBT and became pastor of a church. He also founded the Ecclesiastical Law Center. He modified the principles he had learned from Attorney Cunningham, as the ELC began to help churches organize. The ELC claimed to have come up with a Biblical as opposed to a legal solution for church organization. Actually, the concept, if correct in the details, is Biblical; but neither Wright, his close confidant Ben Townsend, or the ELC originated the concept, nor did they correctly implement it and related matters.

The concept is that of the common law trust, proper effectuation of which corresponds with Bible principle. See,  How a Church Can Organize to Remain a New Testament Church (Holding Property In Trust For God Is A Scriptural Principle Recognized by American Law). A church can establish a relationship with property whereby a person holds and manages property, not for his own benefit, but for the benefit of the true owner of the property, the Lord Jesus Christ. A proper church common law trust relationship corresponds with New Testament Church doctrine.

Ben Townsend was a friend of Robin Wright at IBT. He also left IBT and remained a close associate of Wright. He co-authored books and articles dealing with the trust and other church matters with Wright. When Robin Wright passed away, Townsend took over the ELC.

The ELC methodology is close to being correct. Close but no cigar. Not being learned in legal matters, the ELC misleads pastors, churches and other believers. See, An analysis of Ecclesiastical Law Center Attacks against the Ordinary Trust Recommended by this Old Paths Baptist Church “Separation of Church and State Law Ministry (online booklet which explains some of falsehoods of the ELC).

The ELC advises churches to hold real estate in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The ELC method places churches in the position of legal entities since ELC churches hold the property through a trustee or trustees. The church property is to be managed by persons or a person solely for the benefit of the true owner of the property, the Lord Jesus Christ. See, ibid. This type of church legal status does not, of course, come with all the organizational requirements as does corporate status, charitable trust status, or federal tax exempt status; but it does make the church a legal entity which is under the jurisdiction of civil government courts for some purposes.

An ELC church or trust does not and cannot get a bank account. The ELC, by admission in their own writings, are establishing a common law trust. They do so without a writing executed by the church. ELC churches operate in cash. The ELC ignorantly advises that putting the trust relationship into a written declaration will get a church into trouble. In fact, no church has ever gotten into trouble because of a properly drafted, executed, and practiced Declaration of Trust and associated documents in spite of the fictitious reports published by the ELC. Furthermore, it is wise to properly draft and execute trust documents. See, How a Church Can Organize to Remain a New Testament Church (Holding Property In Trust For God Is A Scriptural Principle Recognized by American Law).

The ELC constantly disseminates false information concerning the use of documents to establish the church common law trust. An analysis of Ecclesiastical Law Center Attacks against the Ordinary Trust Recommended by this Old Paths Baptist Church “Separation of Church and State Law Ministry examines some, but not nearly all, of their uneducated and false attacks.

The Churches under Christ ministry just aided a church which had obtained real estate some years ago, with the help of the ELC, in the name of “The Lord Jesus Christ with the [Name of Church] (Church) as Deacons of His Property.” The trustee of the trust saw the flaws with the methods of the ELC. He desired to open a trust bank account. He called this ministry. The trustee talked many hours with this ministry, studied materials published by this ministry, and answered Questionnaires 1 and 2. The ministry explained to him many of the problems with and misconceptions of the Townsend/ELC methodology. The church executed trust documents and is in the process of deeding the property to the trust. The property, which will be deeded to the trust and placed in the trust estate, is still owned by the Lord Jesus Christ, as in the present deed; but the property in the trust estate is not “church” property which is held by the trustee for the church. Once the property is placed in the trust estate under the new arrangement, it is no longer “church” property. The next step will be to open a bank account.

Opening a property constituted common law trust bank account in no way compromises the position of the church as a church under Christ alone or the status of the common law trust as a fiduciary relationship with property only, not a legal entity (organization) of any kind.

Churches should be diligent as they seek to glorify the Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. This requires dedicated study, and consultation with those who love the Lord and do their homework before diving into God’s preeminent matters.


Obtaining a Church Common Law Trust Employee Identification Number “For Banking Purposes Only”

Jerald Finney
Copyright © March 17, 2020

Believers in the local church are stewards of the mysteries of God, including the mystery of the local assembly under Christ. See EN [iii] and EN [iv].

The Churches under Christ Ministry helps churches with all matters related to the church irrevocable common law trust agreement which conforms to Bible principles of trust. See, EN [i]. For example, the ministry advises trustees as they open trust bank accounts. Once a church executes proper trust documents, and the trust relationship is up and running, the trustee of the trust usually opens a trust bank account (not a church bank account) in which to hold God’s money.

More and more, banks are refusing to open the accounts without an Employee Identification Number. As explained in Obtaining a Common Law Trust Employee Identification Number “For Banking Purposes Only, obtaining an EIN for the trust for banking purposes only does not compromise the status of either the church or the trust as non-legal entities. This is true for the church, because the church is not the trust and the trust is not the church. Once the church establishes the irrevocable common law trust, everything placed in the trust estate is thereafter the property of the Lord Jesus Christ, not the property of the church. The Lord Jesus Christ, not the church, is the owner of the trust estate. All this, and much more, is made clear in the documents by which the church  (not the state or the church and the state) establishes the trust.

Here is a short explanation of why an EIN can be obtained by the trustee “for banking purposes only.” See the above article for more details. The church has established a common law trust, a private matter which is need not be filed with or approved by the state. The church has not organized as a trust and has not contracted with the state to become a legal entity. Remember, the church common law trust is merely a relationship with property, not a legal entity. This EIN, obtained “for banking purposes only,” does not compromise the non-legal status of the trust.

A charitable trust, a business trust, or any trust which is established in accordance with a law of civil government, man’s law, cannot get an EIN for banking purposes only. Such a trust is a legal entity. When a church contracts with the state according to the terms of state charitable or business trust law, the church, in organizing as a trust, becomes an earthly legal entity.

Practically, how does a trustee of a church common law trust agreement open a bank account? The trustee tells the bank that he wants to open a trust bank account. He gives the bank a copy of the executed Resolution to Adopt the Declaration of Trust and Declaration of Trust. Those documents, if properly drafted and executed, lay out all the details of the trust relationship including: the Bible principles, the common law of trust, and the highest American law, the First Amendment religion clause, which protects freedom of religion from civil government control for those churches under Christ who reject any type of legal status under laws which allow churches to contract with civil government for corporate (sole or aggregate), charitable trust, business trust, and/or tax exempt (under Internal Revenue Code Sections 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A)), status.  Usually, the banker will submit the documents to the bank legal representatives for an opinion. The legal department reviews the documents and tells the bank that everything is in order.

After the bank agrees to open the account, the trustee can give the bank either his social security number, if the bank will accept it, or an EIN. Should the bank require an EIN, or should the trustee prefer to use an EIN rather than his social security number to identify the bank account, the trustee obtains an EIN “for banking purposes only.” To apply for the EIN “for banking purposes only,” the trustee of the trust should properly fill out and submit Form SS-4. See EN [ii].  Once the identifying number for banking purposes only is given to the bank, the bank opens the trust banking account. This ministry has a line by line PowerPoint that presents a line by line guide on how to fill out the SS-4.

Sometimes banks will open the account using the trustee’s social security number. A bank in Massachusetts insisted on the use of the trustee’s social security number. Some banks insist upon an EIN. In either case, every trustee has been able to open a trust checking account with the “for banking purposes only” identifying number: either the trustee’s social security number or an EIN. The trustee makes sure that the account is not classified as a “dba” account.

In the majority of cases where churches have established a common law trust and the trustee has applied and been assigned an EIN “for banking purposes only,” the Internal Revenue Service has come into the picture. However, the IRS has recently began to contact trustees who have established the common law trust relationship, applied for and been given an EIN “for banking purposes only,” and informed the them that they have to submit Form 1041 to the IRS. This ministry has contacted the IRS on behalf of those trustees and explained why their concern that Form 1041 be submitted is unfounded. In all cases, that ended the matter without further action.  As the letters explain, the IRS must honor the position of the trustee since the IRS can, in no way, relate such a trust to the types of trusts for which filing of form 1041 is required.

The first time this happened was in 2017. The church executed trust documents, applied for a trust banking account, obtained an EIN “for banking purposes only.” The bank opened the account. In applying for the EIN, the trustee did not correctly fill out Form SS-4. The IRS wrote the trustee and asserted that he had to file Form 1041 each year. I wrote the IRS, and the trustee did not have any future problems arise on the matter. That ended it.

The second instance occurred in 2019. The trustee correctly filled out Form SS-4; but the IRS nonetheless informed him that he had to submit Form 1041 each year. I wrote the IRS, in January, 2020, and that ended the matter.

The third time occurred in 2019. In that case, the trustee probably incorrectly filled out Form SS-4. He did not keep a copy of the Form. I wrote the IRS.

The  last time this  occurred  was in  2020. The  pastor kept  a copy  of  the completed Form SS-4.

See EN [iii] for links to copies of the above letters, without identifiers. Each letter points out to the IRS that the trust is a common law trust, not a legal entity such as a charitable or business trust. IRS regulations regarding “trusts” are applicable to legal entities which include charitable and business trusts, not to the common law non-legal entity trust. These and other facts can be ascertained by anyone who has the minimum of expertise in legal research. The letters also point out that the church is the creator of the trust, that the trustee of the trust has a duty to manage the trust estate solely for the benefit of the Lord Jesus Christ, the true owner of the trust estate, that the church does not have 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt status, and other such matters.

In short, the letters to the IRS linked to above explain the basics of the common law trust relationship. This is solid proof that churches in America can, without persecution, openly do things God’s way; and proclaim to the world—both religious (including misled “Bible believing” Baptists) and secular (including the federal government and its agency, the Internal Revenue Service):

  1. That they are protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and corresponding state constitutional provisions;
  2. The true history and meaning of the First Amendment and corresponding state constitutional provisions; See, EN [iv].
  3. That they can, without fear, apply and proclaim some of God’s important truths concerning the local church, the God-desired relationship between church and state, and other matters to the world;
  4. That they remain under Christ and Christ alone, in accord with New Testament Church doctrine and the First Amendment;
  5. That, as churches under Christ alone, they are not subject to any man made law such as laws creating corporations, charitable trusts, business trusts, federal tax exemption laws (Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) or § 508(c)(1)(A) tax exemption law and the rules and regulations which come with that status);
  6. That correctly establishing a common law trust does not subject either the church which does so, or the trust relationship established by the church, to the jurisdiction of civil government or any government agency such as the IRS;
  7. That, as churches under Christ alone, they are under the sole authority of the Lord Jesus Christ;
  8. That churches can still be a light to the world as they do things God’s way, as opposed to compromising and adopting the dark methods used by churches who have abandoned their duty to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God (En [v]), in this case the mystery of the church (EN [vi]).

These matters are practiced fact, not unproven theory or speculation; just as is the fact that real estate used for a church meetinghouse can be owned by, and titled in the name of, the Lord Jesus Christ, the owner of the trust estate. A remnant of churches in America prove the assertions in this article.

According to God’s word, the goal of believers and churches is to glorify God. What matter can be more important, for a local assembly of believers, than honoring the sole authority of Christ over His churches? As stewards of the mystery of the local church, can you and the church you attend be found faithful? The truth, when explained, need not be argued about with “them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).


Endnotes

[i] How a Church Can Organize to Remain a New Testament Church (Holding Property In Trust For God Is A Scriptural Principle Recognized by American Law)

[ii] This ministry has a PowerPoint that explains, from the information of Form SS-4 and in the Instructions on Form SS-4, how one may obtain an EIN “for banking purposes only” and, line by line, how to fill out the Form SS-4 “for banking purposes only.” Click here to go to an online PDF of Form SS-4; Click here to go to an online form for the Instructions for Form SS-4.

[iii] Click here to go to PDF of letter 1, without identifiers; click here to go to PDF of letter 2, without identifiers; click here to go to PDF of letter 3, without identifiers; click here to go to PDF of letter 4.

[iv] The History of Religious Freedom in America.

[v] 1 Corinthians 4:1-2: “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.”

[vi] Ephesians 3:1-12 (These verses reveal the mystery of the local body, the local church, the local assembly of believers who choose to remain under Christ and Christ alone.): “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,  Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.”