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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, 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, With Spotlight on the Ecclesiastical Law Center

* 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. This article will spotlight one such ministry, the Ecclesiastical Law Center.

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. This type of trust is also in conformity 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.

Does obtaining an EIN compromise the status of the church and trust as non-legal entities? The answer is, “No, absolutely not, if properly done.” 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.

An EIN can be obtained by the trustee “for banking purposes only.” Why? Because 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 contacted three trustees who have established the common law trust relationship 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 three cases, that ended the matter without further action.

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. Click here to see that letter, without identifiers, to the IRS.

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. See the letter by clicking here.

See EN [iii] for links to copies of the above three 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 three 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.

[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.”

 

God’s Final Judgment of America and the Nations Gets Closer by the Day

Jerald Finney
Copyright © March 7, 2020

The End May Be Closer Than You Think

No matter the state of affairs in a nation and the churches of a nation, it is a time of rejoicing for the remnant of individuals and churches who have repented toward God, put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and continued in His word. This is true even though:

  1. The Bible doctrine of government makes clear that God has judged, is judging, or will judge every nation.[i]  Every nation includes America.
  2. The Bible doctrine of the church reveals that churches, except for a remnant, will go into apostasy and the Babylonian religious system.[ii]
  3. Bible teachings concerning the relationship of church and state make clear that churches are to remain totally under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ; not to combine with state in any manner including incorporation, tax exempt status, or any other kind of status established by man’s law.[iii]  Some churches who have violated this principle are practicing heresy to one degree or another; but have not gone into apostasy. However, many or most “churches” are now apostate and part of the Babylonian religious system.

America is a moral cesspool which is becoming more contaminated by the day. God judges a nation for moral decadence.[iv] He also judges a nation based upon the way a nation treats Israel. America, like all nations, is on probation, and she has violated the terms of her probation. America has not yet completely turned her back on Israel. She, for the most part, has turned her back on God, and embraced the god of this world and his anti-God moral and spiritual principles. Of course, a remnant remains true to God.

Any Bible believer who has studied the Word of God and who has viewed the downward moral slide of America, especially since the 1960s, should know this. The rapid moral degeneration in America is glaringly evident in matters regarding individual, family, civil, and, most notably, church governments. With the help of apostate religious leaders, the secular media, social media, universities, public schools, the United States Supreme Court, an ever growing number of state and federal representatives, senators, bureaucrats, government employees, government agencies universities, sports teams and organizations, etc. are now promoting gross immorality and censoring and seeking to punish anyone who as much as hints at God’s truths.

The United States Supreme Court did two things which ultimately resulted in the assurance that God and His principles would not in any way be over the United States or any state therein. First, it gradually deconstructed the intent of the Fourteenth Amendment to the point where the Court began to apply the First Amendment to state, county, and city governments.

Second, the Supreme Court redefined separation of church and state in such a way that allowed the Court to begin to separate God and state on the national, state, county, and city government levels. For the history of Supreme Court cases which have removed God from practically all civil government matters, see, The Supreme Court Reinterprets the First Amendment and Removes God.

The Court has defied God in some recent notable cases which include:

  1. Striking down laws which criminalize the murder of unborn babies. Roe v. Wade, 410 US 113, 93 S. Ct. 705, 35 L. Ed. 2d 147 (1973)
  2. Striking down laws which criminalize sodomy. Lawrence v. Texas, 539 US 558, 123 S. Ct. 2472, 156 L. Ed. 2d 508 (2003).
  3. Allegedly redefining marriage. OBERGEFELL ET AL. v. HODGES, DIRECTOR, OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL (June 26, 2015). See, The Proper Response by believers and churches to Obergefell, the United States Supreme Court same sex marriage decision (063015)The Republican Response to Obergefell – Wrong!!!!!! (070715).

Abortion, the murder of unborn babies, and the legitimization of homosexuality and lesbianism, among other things attack God’s first and basic institution, the institution of marriage and the family. In reality, no earthly court can redefine what God defines in His Word. Marriage is still the union of one man and one woman, no matter what any earthly power declares. The Supreme Court has encouraged sins which are an abomination to God, thereby accelerating the downward moral decline of America.  

As shown in a recently published article, In Congress, an Assault on Religious Liberty, in the Name of LGBT Rights,[v] the forces of Satan are becoming bolder in their attacks on God and His principles. That article points out the coordinated satanic attacks by leaders in both civil government and many “churches.” False prophets from “churches” are joining hands with leaders in civil government to advance the morality promoted by Satan more blatantly than ever before. The evil progression is accelerating at an ever increasing rate.

Thank God for President Trump. He is the best president American could hope to have at this time. He is doing some good things. He is also doing and saying some bad things, when examined from God’s perspective, as stated in His word. He is giving America a reprieve; a delay in punishment. His efforts are not only too little, too late; they are also, in some cases, not according to Bible knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

A close look at President Trump reveals that he is either lost or a baby Christian. Those he depends upon for spiritual advice are lacking in Bible understanding. He is prayed for, supported, and misled not only by some sincere, but uninformed believers, but also by false prophets. A false prophet is anyone who, without having it, claims a special connection to God and sets himself up as a source of spirituality, as an authority, preacher, or teacher.

How can one know a false prophet? The word of God gives the answer:

  • “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 18:20-22). [Bold emphasis added]. Of course, even though the mandate that the false prophet would die was applied in the theocracy of Israel and does not apply to false prophets today, the principle that he is not a prophet of God is still in effect.

One prophecy that fails to come about means the prophet is not from God. God knows everything, past, present and future; He makes no mistakes. If a prophet says God told him that something would happen at a time certain, and it does not come to pass, or does not happen at the time prophesied, the prophet is a false prophet. Many times such a prophet may make prophecies which come true, but also prophecies which are not totally accurate; but it only takes one false or inaccurate prophecy to reveal that the prophet is not of God. False prophets, as a general rule, make more than one false  and/or defective prophesy.

Children of God are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:17).

In conclusion, those individual children of God and churches who remain true to the Lord have no cause for alarm. Children of God are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:17). God’s word reveals that the Lord Jesus Christ, the smiting stone, will come again; and, by force, subdue and rule over the nations for a thousand years.[vi] That time will be followed by eternal glory for the believer, and eternal torment for the lost person. Every individual has a choice which will determine his eternal destination.[vii] God will honor the choice of every person. Please, dear sinner, do not let pride, gay or otherwise, keep you from repenting toward God and putting your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.[viii]


Endnotes

[i] See, e.g., Psalms 2, Jeremiah 25:15-38, and for a more thorough study, go to The Bible Doctrine of Government.

[ii] See, The Bible Doctrine of the Church.

[iii] See, The Bible Doctrine Concerning the Relationship Between Church and State.

[iv] See, e.g., Leviticus 18; Romans 1:18-32 gives the steps in the downfall of a Gentile nation. See also, GENTILE, GENTILE NATIONS, TIMES OF THE GENTILES; God Judges Nations; Government, Biblical Teaching on.

[v] John Hirschauer, In Congress, an Assault on Religious Liberty, in the Name of LGBT RightsMarch 5, 2020.

[vi] See, Bible Studies on Jesus Christ, page 16.

[vii] SeeGod’s Plan of Salvation.

[viii] See, From Queer to Christ.

Inquiry Concerning Organization of a Ministry Formed to Unify Believers Nationwide

Inquiry:

___________________________ To:jerald.finney@sbcglobal.net Thu, Feb 20 at 12:15 AM

I have a ministry that I have done since 2010 actively. I have regular records of activities, but have lived by and on faith. About 4 years ago, a man I met on a nationwide prayer call set up a 508c1a foundation for me with a clear Christian statement but the Lord always said to operate only on faith though some donations have been given. The next phase of what the Lord has called me to requires unity of believers nationwide and will require a lot of funding – major donors. This is the first time He has even allowed me to proceed in anyway with obtaining funding. I have some donors  interested but, of course, they want the 501c3 write off they are familiar with. I prayed about it and the Lord clearly said No to a 501. So I began to research and and came across your site.

Can you help point me in a direction where donors might have the documentation they could feel comfortable with? And/or would you recommend not using the 508c1a? I have read about the Sole Corporations. It’s very confusing and I understand peoples hesitancy. I also read on a site called start church – they warn against all of it and say the IRS code doesn’t release you from the regulations of the 501.

Of course, accountants and attorneys I have talked with have been of no assistance and basically help cement fear – which is also where late donors will go for advice. I do however have some that may be open and also some that may not care about the write off but those will not create enough revenue for what we need. I am open to keeping books and spending open for all to see and/or can document history of the work I’ve been doing. Can you point me to account or “authority” who can help validate?

Thank you for any assistance.

Blessings
_______________________


My Reply:

Dear ___________________,

I humbly, in love, respond to your concerns. First, let me respond to your primary concerns:

  1. 501(c)(1)(A) puts an organization in the same position as 501(c)(3). For explanation, see Church Internal Revenue Code § 508(c)(1)(A) Tax Exempt Status.
  2. Although you are already against 501(c)(3) status, for full understanding of 501(c)(3) status, see, Federal government control of churches through 501(c)(3) tax exemptionand The church incorporation-501(c)(3) control scheme. For a thorough look at the issues of 501(c)(3), 501(c)(1)(A), and church legal entity status such as incorporation, see Separation of Church and State: God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities?
  3. As to the corporation sole, see Critique of “Church Freedom and the Corporation Sole” Website. The links to that website may no longer be good, but the principles for corporation sole have not changed.
  4. The site, Start Church, is a very deceiving website. The authors of that site are con artists who do not understand the Bible doctrine of the church, but take advantage of unknowledgeable, unwise “Christians.” However, what they told you about corporation sole is very true. The corporation sole is nothing more than another form of incorporation. See the article in 3 above for full explanation.

Your inquiry raises some important questions:

  1. Does one learn the mind of God on this matter directly by revelation of God and nothing else?
  2. Where does one learn what God teaches about the organization, if any, which God ordained to do His work?
  3. For example, was the “church” founded and preserved by tradition and revelation to individuals only, not by unchangeable written Word?
  4. To what authority can one appeal for verification that a revelation of an individual is from God?
  5. As to a related issue: “What if one’s prophesies, or even a single prophesy, are proven to be false? Is the prophet a prophet of God?”
  6. Cannot anyone claim to have the truth, received by direct revelation of God, about doing the work of God or some other matter?
  7. If God preserved His precepts concerning a matter or matters in a written Word, do we have that Word in English?
  8. If God, in His Word, ordained an institution to do His work, what is that institution?
  9. If He ordained such an institution, did He give precepts for the organization, goals, purpose, fate, headship, etc. of that organization?

This ministry is founded upon a belief that the Bible is the basis for all matters of faith and practice. Of course, the Holy Spirit of God indwells every believer, and, among other things, teaches individuals the truths that are proclaimed in God’s Word. However, such truths are learned with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, through diligent study of the Bible. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Of course, the truth is to be preserved by churches under Christ. See, EN [i].

The Bible, in the New Testament, teaches the doctrine of the church; and lays out, in the epistles of Paul, all that a believer needs to know concerning a local church under Christ. Christ declared that He would build His church (Matthew 16:18), speaking of the institution of the church which is, for the present time, made up of local, autonomous, spiritual bodies under Christ.

The Epistles of Paul develop the doctrine of the church. They explain how, when, and of what materials, that church should be built, and what should be its position, relationships, privileges, and duties. Through Paul alone, as inspired by the Holy Spirit, we know that a church is not an organization but an organism, the body of Christ; instinct with His life, and heavenly 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.

The church was a mystery “hid in God,” a wholly new thing proclaimed and founded, but not explained, by Christ. The revelation of this mystery was committed to Paul (See Ephesians 3). The divine purpose of the present local church, and the future eternal church (assembly), was to make Jew and Gentile a wholly new thing—Christ’s body.

Nowhere in God’s Word can one find authority for any institution, other than the church, to do God’s work. Every ministry, according to the Word of God, should be under the authority of a local, autonomous, church under Christ, for good reason. See, EN [1].

Another issue raised by your inquiry is unification of believers nationwide. Again, nowhere in the Bible can one find any teaching which would support such a thing. First, the Bible predicts apostasy for the church. To understand this, see the essays on heresy and apostasy at The Biblical Doctrine of the Church. The Bible teaches that there will always be a remnant of churches under Christ and believers who follow His commandments and precepts as given in the Word of God, but the professing church will go into apostasy. The great majority of “Christian” churches in America are now apostate or on the path to apostasy.

Second, Christ did not call His children and His churches to unify all believers. Their commission is given in Matthew 28:19-20, 16:15-16, and Luke 24:47. Of course, a local church is to seek unity. Again, see EN [1].

Third, one cannot unify those who differ on essentials. Some essentials are:

  1. A common authority. Churches and believers refer to many so called “interpretations” of the “Bible” as their authority. All those “interpretations are significantly different. Since one cannot refer to a non-existent original of the Word of God, which of those interpretations should one use. Which would be used by a “unified” nationwide organization? This ministry believes that God has kept His promise to preserves His Word—the King James Bible, in English. See, The King James Bible.
  2. A common understanding of the doctrine of the church. This ministry bases what it believes concerning the God-ordained institution for doing His work upon the King James Bible. See, The Bible Doctrine of the Church. Mass confusion and disagreement on this and many other matters among “believers” is the order of the day in America.
  3. A common understanding of the Bible doctrine of government. See, The Bible Doctrine of Government.
  4. A common understanding of the Bible doctrine concerning the relationship of church and state. Catholicism, Protestantism, the Charimatic Movement, Pentecostalism, and others, believe in union of church and state. Historic Baptists, as does this ministry, believes that the Word of God supports separation of church and state. See, Bible Doctrine Concerning the Relationship of Church and State. For an explanation of the ongoing theological warfare between various beliefs, and a history of the persecutions of dissenters against Protestant/Catholic union of church and state, and other matters, see, The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus/A Case of Premeditated Murder: Christian Revisionists on Trial.

Our Lord knew that unity would be impossible in this present age. His Word makes this clear. Forgive me for not giving you more Bible authority to support this conclusion; I think I have given you enough information to consider as you move forward. I am sure that you understand, after reading this response, that this ministry helps New Testament Churches under Christ only; and not other extra-Biblical organizations.

God bless.
Brother Jerald Finney

P.S.

2 Corinthians 10:5 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

Colossians 2:6-8 “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”


Endnote

[i] Ephesians was written to the local church at Ephesus, and the principles therein are applicable for every local church under Christ.

Ephesians 4:11-16: “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.

More lies of “Christian” law firms and lawyers concerning church organization

Jerald Finney
Copyright © February 11, 2020

See, for analysis of more lies:
False Reasons of “Christian” Lawyers and Pastors for Corporate,
501(c)(3) Status, or Legal Status of Any Kind

“This article [in the Constitution of Massachusetts] was drawn by [a] great lawyer; and men of that profession are interested in supporting religious teachers by force as really as any men in the world; for a great part of their gains come by controversies about religion; and when teachers and lawyers are in confederacy together, they will make words to mean any thing which they please.” Isaac Backus, A History of New England With Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians called Baptists, Volume 2 (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, Previously published by Backus Historical Society, 1871), pp. 328-329. Backus was a Baptist leader who fought against religious establishments (church incorporation) during the colonial period and the years following the adoption of the United States Constitution.

“Christian” lawyers are still lying about facts, law, and history to support unholy union of church and state.

Here are some statements of “Christian” lawyers asked by pastors about establishing a “trust” relationship with property (includes money) so as to keep a church under Christ alone according to New Testament Church doctrine. The conclusions of those lawyers are first quoted in red. Then, each conclusion is requoted followed by a correct legal analysis of their conclusion:

  1. “A church may organize as a trust.”
  2. “No legal or religious reason mandates that legal form of governance [charitable trust].”
  3. “The church is a co-equal sovereign to the government. This position responded to the state-sponsored churches frequently seen in Europe. The early settlers did not want government involved in religion. Churches could not incorporate without becoming subordinate to the government or an instrument of the state. So churches were organized as charitable trusts. In the 1800s, various states began allowing churches to incorporate. Virginia did not allow churches to incorporate until 2006.”
  4. “When the income tax arrived, Congress mandated that churches become tax exempt simply because they are churches. Qualifying charitable trusts are treated as tax-exempt just as a nonprofit corporation under income tax laws. So a church organized as a trust is automatically tax exempt under Section 508 and described in Section 501(c)(3). Organizing as a charitable trust does not avoid classification as a Section 501(c)(3) organization.”
  5. “If the goal is to operate outside of Section 501(c)(3) requirements, nothing prevents a church from organizing as a for-profit entity.” Christian lawyers have assisted pastors in creating such churches. They claim that this is the only other option for a church.”
  6. “Organizing as a trust creates more problems than it solves. For example, trusts are governed by a state statute, just as nonprofit corporations are governed by state statute. In both cases, they are subordinate to the state statutes. In most states, charitable trusts can only amend the trust instrument with state AG and court permission. If charitable immunity exists in a state, the question exists whether it applies to charitable trusts. The fiduciary duty that a trustee owes is higher and more stringent than the fiduciary duty owned by a corporate director. In other words, a charitable trust is not the ideal entity.”
  7. “Corporation sole is an entity recognized in 7 states. It is commonly used by the Mormon and Catholic faiths for their Office of Bishop. The remaining 43 states treat the Office of Bishop as a charitable trust. Corporation sole is frequently listed among the top 5 fraudulent tax schemes. Currently, about 20 Catholic Dioceses have converted to nonprofit corporations in light of sexual misconduct judgments. The Catholics have exposed the weakness of organizing as charitable trusts.”
  8. “I do not think a church subordinates itself to the state by forming a nonprofit Corporation. I do not think Section 501(c)(3) is unbiblical.”

The legal conclusions above are repeated below in red. The correct legal analyses of those conclusions follow in black.

  1. “A church may organize as a trust.”

Correct legal analysis:

Yes, a church may organize as a trust, but a church should not organize as any kind of legal entity, including as a charitable or business trust. By organizing as a trust, a church submits herself to the law of the state of organization since charitable and business trusts and some other types of trusts are creatures of state law. Like an incorporated church, that church has given up much of her First Amendment protection in favor of Fourteenth Amendment status; that church has placed an authority other than the Lord Jesus Christ over the church for many matters.

However, a church can establish a common law trust, which is a relationship with money and property, whereby an appointed trustee holds the trust estate for the benefit of the beneficiary who is the true owner of all money and other property in the trust estate. The beneficiary is the Lord Jesus Christ. When this is done, the church is not organizing as a trust, and the church remains a spiritual entity, under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ only, as long as she does not make mistakes which compromise her status under Christ only. The church retains all her First Amendment protections. She is under God only, not under God and man. Unlike the established church who has submitted herself to an authority or authorities other than the Lord Jesus Christ, she is a law keeper not a law breaker. She honors both God and man. Many American churches are doing this very thing right now; contact this ministry for proof.

See, The Church Bible Trust Relationship Explained and How a Church Can Nullify Her Efforts to Remain Under Christ Only, 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) What God Has Committed to Man’s Trust: “Ye Cannot Serve God and Mammon”: Steward or Trustee?, and the other articles linked to at The Bible Trust Relationship: Essays and Other Resources, which explain the common law trust relationship.

  1. “No legal or religious reason mandates that legal form of governance.”

Correct legal analysis:

True, but incomplete. To be correct, the statement should include:

  • No legal or religious reason mandates any legal form of governance for a church. Legal forms of governance include charitable trust, business trust, incorporation, unincorporated association, and Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) or § 508 status.
  • According to Bible doctrine, a church does not remain under Christ alone should that church organize under man’s law; that is, should she submit to a legal form of governance; “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21; Mark 22:17; Luke 22:25).
  • Churches under Christ are under His authority alone. Churches under man are, at best, partially under man and partially under Christ. “Come out from among them and be ye separate” (2 Corinthians 6:14-17). “You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13).” See, e.g., Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities; Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study or Romans 13 and Related Verses
  • The First Amendment to the United States Constitution and corresponding state constitutional provisions, protect churches who wish to remain outside of both federal and state laws such as Internal Revenue Code tax exemption law, state non-profit corporation law, charitable trust law, etc. The First Amendment religion clause separates church and state. The First Amendment separates church and state, not God and state. For explanation see, Is Separation of Church and State Found in the Constitution?
  • One way for a church to remain separate from civil law is by establishing an irrevocable common law trust, which is nothing more than a relationship with money and property whereby a trustee manages the trust estate owned by the beneficiary, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the true owner of the trust estate.
  • This type of trust is not the church, and the church is not the trust. A church who establishes this type of trust relationship is not a legal entity, as long as she does not do something which nullifies the status of the church as a non-legal entity. See, The Church Bible Trust Relationship Explained and How a Church Can Nullify Her Efforts to Remain Under Christ Only.
  • Banks, which open accounts for these type of trusts, usually send the trust documents to their legal departments for examination prior to opening the trust account. All trusts established by churches with the help of this Churches under Christ Ministry, have opened trust bank accounts. All real estate properties, held in trust for the Lord Jesus Christ, have been and are granted property tax exemption, usually without much trouble from the local property tax board. In two instances, there was trouble, but the trusts prevailed, one in court and one in the agency process, and the real estate got property tax exemption. Property tax exemption is a courtesy given churches, without rules or regulations, by all states since the beginning of this nation, and strengthens rather than diminishes religious freedom. See, Walz v. Tax Comm’n, 397 U.S. 664,, 676-680, 90 S.Ct. 1409, 1415, 25 L.Ed.2d 697 (1970).

See, The Indiana Board of Tax Review Determines that Property Held in Trust for the Lord Jesus Christ Must Be Granted Property Tax Exemption. The trustee, on behalf of the trust, prevailed in the agency process provided for by Indiana law. Links to video of the agency hearing and the FINAL DETERMINATION OF THE INDIANA BOARD OF TAX REVIEW.

See also, Another Victory for a Church under Christ. A local property tax board denied the property tax exemption on the property owned by the Lord Jesus Christ, and held in trust by the Pastor/Trustee who had a fiduciary duty to manage the Trust Estate, which included the meetinghouse and the land it was on for the benefit of the Lord Jesus Christ, the true owner of the property. Other property in the Trust Estate includes a bank account, liability insurance, and personal property. In Minnesota, the only recourse is court action. The trust prevailed and the property tax exemption was granted, without trial, after a court petition was filed, motions were entered, and oral argument was made by the parties. The redacted written motion for the petitioner (trustee on behalf of the trust) can be viewed at, PETITIONER’S RESPONSE TO RESPONDENT’S MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF PETITIONER’S CROSS-MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT” (This response was drafted by Jerald Finney).

For much more information on the common law trust used, see, https://jeraldfinney.com/; The Bible Trust Relationship: Essays and Other Resources.

  1. “The church is a co-equal sovereign to the government. This position responded to the state-sponsored churches frequently seen in Europe. The early settlers did not want government involved in religion. Churches could not incorporate without becoming subordinate to the government or an instrument of the state. So churches were organized as charitable trusts. In the 1800s, various states began allowing churches to incorporate. Virginia did not allow churches to incorporate until 2006.”

Correct legal analysis:

The only correct statement in this legal position is the last sentence, “Virginia did not allow churches to incorporate until 2006.” All before that statement is so ridiculous that only a functional illiterate on the subject would either state it or give it any merit. It is totally antithetical to history, to American law, and to what the Bible teaches concerning church and civil government. It is fraught with lies.

In the church state establishments, in Europe prior to and for some time after the colonization of America, the established (incorporated) churches worked hand in hand with the government for the same spiritual and political goals. The church/state establishments enforced all ten of the commandments. Usually dissenters were severely persecuted or killed. Most of the colonies had established churches. These church/state establishments continued to persecute dissenters.

During the American colonial period, a great theological battle, between established (incorporated) churches and dissenters, took place during the period between the arrival of the Anglicans in Jamestown in 1607 and the Puritans in Massachusetts in 1629, and the adoption of the First Amendment to the Constitution in 1791. These establishments enforced all ten commandments and persecuted dissenters. Puritans, for example, wanted freedom of religion for themselves only and relentlessly persecuted dissenters. The result of that spiritual warfare between the establishments and the dissenters led to the adoption of the First Amendment.

The established churches (incorporated churches) in the colonies controlled the state to one degree or another. On the other hand, contemporary established churches (incorporated, charitable trust, 501(c)(3) or 508 churches, etc.) in America have no control over the state whatsoever, but are subject to the law of incorporation under which they became established; the state is the creator and sovereign of the incorporated church for many purposes; 501(c)(3) and 508 churches have no authority over the federal government, but rather they agree to the government rules and regulations that come with the status they voluntarily apply for. The IRS has authority over churches who choose to ask for 501(c)(3) or claim 508 status as to those rules. The IRS can call a church in for violation of those rules, subject to agency hearing and appeal to federal court.

For documented history, see, The History of the First Amendment; see also, Course on History of Religious Freedom (History of the First Amendment).

For more on incorporation see, Is it illegal for a church in America not to incorporate? Does a church have to be a 501c3?; What does church, inc. mean?; Who Is the head of an incorporated church?; Does God Care if our Church is Incorporated? What is an established church?;  What is a First Amendment Church? For more on 501(c)(3) and 508, see What is 501c3?; What is 508?; Should a Church Be a 508 Church?; For answers to other relevant questions, see, Short Answers to Important Questions.

God ordained civil government as well as the institution of the church and church government. He gave civil government jurisdiction over temporal, worldly matters. He gave church government over eternal, spiritual matters. The two are so distinct that they are mutually exclusive. See, The Biblical Doctrine of Government, The Biblical Doctrine of the Church, and The Biblical Doctrine of Separation of Church and State; for shorter, more concise studies, go to Bible Doctrine of Government, Bible Doctrine of the Church, Bible Doctrine Concerning the Relationship of Church and State.

  1. “When the income tax arrived, Congress mandated that churches become tax exempt simply because they are churches. Qualifying charitable trusts are treated as tax-exempt just as a nonprofit corporation under income tax laws. So a church organized as a trust is automatically tax exempt under Section 508 and described in Section 501(c)(3). Organizing as a charitable trust does not avoid classification as a Section 501(c)(3) organization.”

Correct legal analysis:

A church is not tax-exempt just because it is a church. A church can, if she chooses to do so, apply for 501(c)(3) or claim 508(c)(1)(A) status. A church which does not apply for 501(c)(3) or claim 508(c)(1)(A) status is non-taxable under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The acceptance of the federal governments offer for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status is accepted by filling out and filing IRS Form 1023 and by thereafter (after tax exempt status is granted by the Internal Revenue Service) giving out Internal Revenue Service Acknowledgements for gifts to the religious organization. The federal government’s offer of 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt status is accepted by giving out Internal Revenue Acknowledgements to donors, and by complying with the rules and regulations that come with 501(c(3).

The income tax “arrived” in 1913. Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) “arrived” (became law) in 1954. Before 1954, there was no tax exempt status for churches and therefore no rules that go with such status. The federal government offered tax exempt status for churches; and in return, churches who accepted the offer, for such status, agreed to go by the rules and regulations that come with the status.

Unlike the unincorporated non-tax exempt church who retains all her First Amendment protections, an incorporated and/or 501(c)(3) or 508 church (or church organized legally in some other way) has given up much or her First Amendment protections. The former is nontaxable, the latter is tax exempt.

The church under Christ, who rejects any kind of legal organization, retains all her First Amendment protections including her nontaxable status. There is a great difference between tax exempt status and nontaxable status. Only legal entities are tax exempt. First Amendment churches (churches under the authority of the First Amendment only) are nontaxable. The Internal Revenue Code applies to legal entities. The First Amendment and corresponding state constitutional provisions are the only laws which apply to a church who has chosen not to become a legal entity. Without a law taxing any church, or even a particular legal entity, no tax can be exacted by civil government.

The religion clause of the First amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” All taxation is created and controlled by a law made by civil government. Should a church remain under the First Amendment only, she has not submitted to any man made law. The First Amendment guarantees that government cannot force a church to submit to any man made law. Internal Revenue Code Sections 501(c)(3) and 508 are man-made laws.

Churches who choose to become legal entities such as non-profit corporations, charitable trusts, business trusts, unincorporated associations, and/or 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(1) religious organizations render unto Caesar the things that are God’s.

The Internal Revenue Code invites churches to apply for 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A) status. See, e.g.:

501(c)(3) status comes with four rules which those who voluntarily apply for, and are granted the status, agree to abide by:

  • Internal Revenue Code Publication 1828, 2019, page 2. (This portion of Pub. 1828 simply repeats the rules that are stated in IRC § 501(c)(3)) “Churches and religious organizations, like many other charitable organizations, qualify for exemption from federal income tax under IRC Section 501(c)(3) and are generally eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. To qualify for tax-exempt status, the organization must meet the following requirements (covered in greater detail throughout this publication): the organization must be organized and operated exclusively for religious, educational, scientific or other charitable purposes; net earnings may not inure to the benefit of any private individual or shareholder; no substantial part of its activity may be attempting to influence legislation; the organization may not intervene in political campaigns; and the organization’s purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy.”

Churches that claim Internal Revenue Code § 508(c) status are subject to the rules and regulations that come with 501(c)(3) status. The correct position which is held by the Internal Revenue Service is that a church has submitted herself to IRC § 501(c)(3) regulation and ignored her First Amendment status by relying on 508 (a law passed by Congress) instead of the First Amendment. The IRS makes this position clear:

  • Page 2 of IRS Publication 1828states that “churches that meet the requirements of § 501(c)(3) [508 churches] are automatically considered tax exempt and are not required to apply for and obtain recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS” [Bold emphasis added].
  • The IRS repeats this on page 24 of IRS Publication 557, “Tax –Exempt Status for Your Organization.” Under Organizations Not Required To File Form 1023 churches are listed. The following sentence is included: “These organizations are exempt automatically if they meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3).” [Bold, red emphasis added.]
  • See, Church Internal Revenue Code § 508 Tax Exempt Status for thorough explanation.

No law mandates that a church apply for 501(c)(3) status or claim 508 status. Such status, as shown above, is a choice a church freely chooses to make, not a requirement. A church may choose to accept the government offer for tax exempt status or remain non-taxable under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Congress did not mandate that churches become tax exempt, under either Section 501(c)(3) or 508, for any reason, including “simply because they are churches”: the Internal Revenue Service understands this and states in IRS Publication 1828, page 2:

  • “Although there is no requirement to do so, many churches seek recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS because this recognition assures church leaders, members and contributors that the church is recognized as exempt and qualifies for related tax benefits. For example, contributors to a church that has been recognized as tax exempt would know that their contributions generally are tax-deductible.”

501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt status not only come with five government imposed rules, such status also invokes a myriad of regulations. See, e.g., Publication 557 (01/2019), Tax-Exempt Status for Your OrganizationApplication for Recognition of ExemptionExempt Organizations Treasury RegulationsCharities and Nonprofits A-Z Site Index (F-J)Exempt Organization Revenue RulingsPub. 1828, Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations (PDF)Common Tax Law Restrictions on Activities of Exempt OrganizationsExempt Organizations – Ruling and Determinations LettersrExempt Organizations – Private Letter Rulings and Determination LettersExempt Organizations AnnouncementsAnnual Filing Requirements for Supporting OrganizationsExempt Organizations NoticesPublic Disclosure and Availability of Exempt Organizations Returns: Copies of Exempt Organizations Tax DocumentsExempt Organization Revenue ProceduresExempt Organizations UpdateExempt Organizations – Employment TaxesThe Truth About Frivolous Tax Arguments – Section IITermination of Exempt Organization(“… Internal Revenue Code Section 6043(b) and Treasury Regulations Section 1.6043-3 establish rules for when a tax-exempt organization must notify the IRS that it has undergone a liquidation, dissolution, termination, or substantial contraction. Generally, most organizations must notify the IRS when they terminate. Among other things, notice to the IRS of a termination will close the organization’s account in IRS records. …);

  1. “If the goal is to operate outside of Section 501(c)(3) requirements, nothing prevents a church from organizing as a for-profit entity. Christian lawyers have assisted pastors in creating such churches. They claim that this is the only other option for a church.”

Correct legal analysis:

This statement should cause great distress to the knowledgeable believer who loves the Lord. See, A Call to Anguish: Churches Reject God’s Authority (November 21, 2017)(The real meaning of church 501(c)(3) application and status emphasized in analysis of new article: “A New Religion Forms That Will Worship A ‘Godhead’ Based on AI”).

The statement is utterly ridiculous. It defies reason that one who is depended upon for learned counsel, a “Christian” lawyer, would claim that a church can organize as a for-profit entity as the only alternative to seeking 501(c)(3) status. Anyone who would recommend that a church, who names the name of Christ, should organize in such a manner is completely devoid of any understanding of Bible teaching on the New Testament Church.

Becoming a for-profit entity is not the only other option. A church can organize according to New Testament Church doctrine while, at the same time, honoring the Bible principle of separation of church and state and the highest law of the land, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, as well as corresponding state constitutional provisions.

Of course, a church can organize as a for-profit entity. However:

  • Such churches are not New Testament Churches. They are not churches under Christ. They are churches only in the sense that they are assemblies of people coming together for some purpose or purposes. Christ stated that He would build His churches (ekklesias, assemblies)(Mt. 16.18). He knew that there were already “churches,” assemblies of people, “ekklesias.” He knew that some counterfeit assemblies would give lip service to His name and to His Word. Therefore, He said He would build His church. Assemblies, not built by our Lord, are not His.

The Epistles of Paul lay out the doctrine of the church, to include organization, purpose, headship, and all other matters concerning churches under Christ. Churches built by Christ are under the authority of Christ alone (See the New Testament, Ephesians 1.22; Colossians 1:18, etc.).

Fake churches displease our Lord. They are, at best, in God’s permissive will as opposed to His perfect will. They grieve our Lord when they honor Him with their lips, but their heart is far from Him (Ephesians 5:25-27; The Love Relationship between Christ and His Churches as Depicted in Song of Solomon; Christ and His Churches: A Love Story). ). A church organized as a for-profit entity is not in God’s perfect or permissive will. They “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power [authority] thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:5). “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” They abandon truth (1 Timothy 3:15). “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). “For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel” (Colossians 1:5). “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

See, The Question that Changed My Life by David Ryser (This article states, in part: “Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise.’

“Some of the students were only 18 or 19 years old–barely out of diapers–and I wanted them to understand and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by adding, ‘An enterprise. That’s a business.’ After a few moments Martha, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly. Nevertheless, I acknowledged Martha’s raised hand, ‘Yes, Martha.’ She asked such a simple question, ‘A business? But isn’t it supposed to be a body?’ I could not envision where this line of questioning was going, and the only response I could think of was, ‘Yes.’ She continued, ‘But when a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?’ …”).

  1. “Organizing as a trust creates more problems than it solves. For example, trusts are governed by a state statute, just as nonprofit corporations are governed by state statute. In both cases, they are subordinate to the state statutes. In most states, charitable trusts can only amend the trust instrument with state AG and court permission. If charitable immunity exists in a state, the question exists whether it applies to charitable trusts. The fiduciary duty that a trustee owes is higher and more stringent than the fiduciary duty owned by a corporate director. In other words, a charitable trust is not the ideal entity.”

Correct legal analysis:

When a church establishes a common law trust, she has not organized as a trust. A common law trust is not created, governed by, or subordinate to state statute. See “1.” above.

All 50 states have adopted the Uniform Trust Code. The UTC governs charitable trusts and business trusts, among other types of trusts. However, the UTC recognizes the common law trust which is not a creation of state law, but which is recognized by state law. See, for explanation, 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 organizational documents, which many churches in America have adopted, establishes a trust relationship with property and spell out many matters in much detail. The documents make clear that the relationship being created is that of a common law trust, not a charitable or business trust; that charitable and business trusts are legal entities and that a church who organizes as any kind of legal entity has violated Bible principle by choosing to become a legal entity, etc. See, Documents which Establish a Church under Christ. For more essays on the common law trust relationship see, The Bible Trust Relationship: Essays and Other Resources.

  1. “‘Corporation sole’ is an entity recognized in 7 states. It is commonly used by the Mormon and Catholic faiths for their Office of Bishop. The remaining 43 states treat the Office of Bishop as a charitable trust. ‘Corporate sole’ is frequently listed among the top 5 fraudulent tax schemes. Currently, about 20 Catholic Dioceses have converted to nonprofit corporations in light of sexual misconduct judgments. The Catholics have exposed the weakness of organizing as charitable trusts.”

Correct legal analysis:

I am familiar with the corporation sole scheme and have exposed it in the online booklet Critique of “Church Freedom and the Corporation Sole” website. Some of the links to online webpages and webposts in that booklet may no longer be good, but the facts have not changed.

  1. “I do not think a church subordinates itself to the state by forming a nonprofit Corporation. I do not think Section 501(c)(3) is unbiblical.”

Correct legal analysis:

God is not interested in what a lawyer thinks. He is interested in what His Word says. This lawyer’s thinking is human thinking with no knowledge, understanding, and wisdom of the Word of God, law, and history. It is the product of postmodernism. Postmodernism starts with an answer and seeks confirmation of that answer rather than truth. Postmodern truth is created by rhetoric which no one has a right to challenge since all “truths” are to be tolerated; all truths, that is, except the intolerable, that which says there is only one truth. Of course, postmodernism is not new. It was instituted in the Garden of Eden by Satan where Satan first deceived man. Satan’s techniques have not changed.

“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 Corinthians 11:1-3).

The reference to Eve, in the above passage, is not accidental, for Eve was a type of the church. As God wanted Eve to remain pure, so He wants His churches to remain chaste virgins. Eve was deceived by lies from Satan—lies which were directly contrary to God’s Word. She was deceived about a simple truth. At the time, she needed no salvation. She was destined for a life in paradise on earth and for eternity. She gave up that earthly paradise and polluted herself because she followed the deception. Just as her deviation from God’s Word had far reaching consequences for her, for Adam, and for every person who has ever lived, the deception of God’s churches has and will lead to dire consequences not only for those churches, but also for millions of people who hear God’s truth, but are like “stony ground,” where the Word of God will not take root and grow.

The tempter would always have us claim God’s promises without regarding His precepts, “which is the practice the tempter would have drawn our Saviour into.” (Isaac Backus, A History of New England …, Volume 2, p. 254 ). The first Adam failed when Satan approached and deceived Eve by misquoting the Word of God. The second Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ, showed us how to face the deceptions of the devil. Satan approached Him in the wilderness where Christ had gone “to be tempted of the devil” (See Matthew 4.1-11; Mark 1.12, 13; Luke 4.1-13). After Christ had fasted forty days and nights, Satan came to him with a threefold temptation. (Ibid.). First, Satan said to Christ, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread” (Matthew 4.3). This was a physical temptation. The Bible calls this type of temptation the “lust of the flesh:”

  • “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (I John 2.15-17; see also, J. Vernon McGee, Matthew, Volume I (Pasadena, California: Thru the Bible Books, revised printing 1980), p. 49).

Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy 8.3: “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4.4).

Then, Satan tested the Lord by taking him into the holy city, setting him on the pinnacle of the temple and inaccurately quoting Psalm 91.11 and 12: “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” (Matthew 4.5, 6; see also, J. Vernon McGee, Matthew, Volume I, (Pasadena, California: Thru the Bible Books, 1980), p. 49). This was the “spiritual temptation.” For Eve it was that she saw the fruit was “to be desired to make one wise.” For the Christian, it is the “pride of life.” (McGee, Matthew, Volume 1, p. 49). Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy 6.16: “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” (Matthew 4.7).

Finally, Satan tested the Lord by taking Him “up into an exceeding high mountain, and [showing] him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, [and saying] unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” (Matthew 4.8, 9). “This, you see, was the psychological temptation. Man lusts for power. Eve was subjected to the same temptation: ‘ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.’ (Genesis 3.5). Many of us succumb to this test.” (McGee, Matthew, Volume 1, p. 50). Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy 6.13 and 10.20: “… Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Matthew 4.10).

Thus, Jesus demonstrated to Christians how to confront the devil: quote the Word of God accurately. This author, contrary to the route taken by most “Christian” lawyers, will attempt to point out the scriptural, not the legal, principles governing the issues and doctrines discussed. He will discuss laws and/or caselaw insofar as they are applicable to and/or comply with or deviate from those principles. The Bible, not the laws, statutes, regulations, executive orders, and cases handed down by the civil government, is the supreme authority which sets the standards which a church is to follow.


The 501(c)(3) Song


See the links to information on church incorporation and 501(c)(3) above. See also, e.g.:

Links to informative articles concerning the common law trust:

How does my church get out of the Southern Baptist Convention?

February 6, 2020

Question Presented

On Wednesday, February 5, 2020, 11:35:38 AM CST, __________________________.com> wrote:

Hi Mr. Finney,

Do you know if my church needs to do anything other than writing a letter to the Southern Baptist to get out of their organization?


NOTE. After a couple more back and forth e-mails (in which the inquirer also said he did not know if his church was 501c3, I sent the following reply:

My Reply

Jerald Finney jerald.finney@sbcglobal.net To:____________________________ Feb 6 at 4:36 PM

Dear ___________________________,

First, would you like to be put on the ministry mailing list? If so, please reply to this e-mail.

Before we talk, please answer the following questions:

  • Does your church wish to organize according to the principles of New Testament church doctrine?
  • Do you want the help of this ministry in doing so?
  • If you want the help of this ministry in doing so, please carefully read the following and the webpages referred to thereon: Need Help?

There are no charges for the services of this Churches under Christ Ministry. See, Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines.

After carefully considering the above questions and if you wish the help of this ministry, we can go on to the issue of withdrawing from the SBC as well as  the church 501(c)(3) tax exempt status and other related matters. To address those matters, I will need to see your church organizational papers and also any documents related to your SBC membership. Can you please do that research and send me any such documents? Also, you will need to determine if your church is incorporated and/or 501(c)(3)? Does the church give IRS acknowledgements for gifts (tithes, offerings, etc.)?

Before having some basic facts, I cannot do more than speculate – a waste or your time and my time.

God bless.

Brother Jerald Finney