False Reasons of Christians and Lawyers for Church Corporate, 501(c)(3) Status or Legal Status of Any Kind

Jerald Finney
Churches under Christ Ministry
February 11, 2020

Pastors give many reasons for church incorporation and 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt status. So do “Christian” lawyers who make a lot of money helping those churches. This page links to resources which examine and prove wrong their rationale from both a Bible perspective as well as  worldly, legal viewpoint.

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1. The primary false reason for corporate 501c3 status or related types of organization, given by many pastors and believers, is that Romans 13 (or some other verses such as 1 Peter 2.13) requires them to do so. They will say, for example, “We believe in obeying civil government as required by Romans 13.” First, no law in America requires a church to organize as an established entity, an entity under man’s law. In fact, the religion clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the highest law of the land, mandates that churches can organize any way they wish, even as spiritual entities under Christ and Christ alone according to New Testament Church doctrine.

To understand the history and meaning of the First Amendment see, Course on the History of the First Amendment; An Abridged History of the First Amendment; The History of the First Amendment.

The Romans 13 and related arguments – such as “We should obey civil government,” and “We do not want to fight civil government.” Paul, Peter, and all the apostles except John, who was exiled on the isle of Patmos were martyred because they would not bow down to civil government when the highest power, God, required them to act contrary to the rules of civil government. What about Elijah, Moses, Daniel, Shadrach Meshach, and Abednego? See the following for a more thorough look at these false arguments:

2. Many believers – in deciding church organization and doctrine – ask, “Is it pragmatic [or practical.”  The question should be, “Is it biblical,” not “Is it practical” or “Is it pragmatic.”  Click here to go to a sermon by Evangelist Randy Keener gives an excellent analysis of “pragmatism” versus “biblical doctrine.”  Violation of the New Testament Church Doctrine sooner or later brings negative consequences for the cause of Christ. This is especially true when churches violate the principle that Christ should be the only authority over His churches and that things should be done God’s way. Look at the history and state of “churches” and “Christianity” in America, except for a small remnant, for proof.


4. A variety of false reasons are examined in Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities? The reasons examined in that book are:

5. Here are some resources which reveal the truth about false reasons given by “Christian” lawyers for church legal entity status:

6. My reply to pastor teaching on Matthew 16.18 and Ephesians 1.22 thereafter questioned by accountant about church non-taxable status and the First Amendment (011419)

7. Legal answer to Pastor’s inquiry concerning whether a potential donor of substantial gift can claim a tax deduction under IRC Section 508 even though the church will not give an IRS acknowledgement

8. Believe it or not, another false reason by some unlearned believers for church establishment (corporate, 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt status, charitable trust status, or any church status created, defined, and controlled by man’s law) is: “The Bible does not say that a church should not incorporate, get tax exempt status, or organize under man’s law.” Another pastor stated the same argument in a different way this way: “We are Bible believers. If the Bible says do not do something, we do not do it.” The following short essay addresses that frivolous argument: According to the Bible, God Grieves when a Church Chooses to Organize Under Any Law of Man (Non-Profit Corporation Law, Federal Tax Exempt Law, Charitable Trust Law, Etc.).

Click here to go to Questions, from Pastors and Others, and Answers on Various Matters.

"Churches under Christ" is a ministry of Charity Baptist Tabernacle of Amarillo, Texas, Benjamin Hickam Pastor. Jerald Finney, a Christian Lawyer and member of Charity Baptist Tabernacle explains how a church in America can remain under the Lord Jesus Christ and Him only. "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church" (Ephesians 1.22).

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