Tag Archives: Calvinism

The Sovereignty of God and the Salvation of Man


Jerald Finney
Copyright © September 13, 2017


There are many variations of Calvinism. The problem with historic “Calvinists” is that they take verses out of context thus instituting a pretext. The Bible teaches that God is sovereign and that He gave man freedom to choose the world or God. Man chooses, God judges. “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Romans 1.32; see the Endnote for Romans 1.18-32 with comments).

The best way to understand a Bible issue is by starting in Genesis and going through Revelation. Let us consider Calvinism in that light. Adam and Eve had free will – they chose whether to obey God’s one rule. They failed. After the fall, everyone was born with a sin nature:

  • Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
  • Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

1But man still had freedom of choice:

  • Genesis 4:7-15 “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.” [Notice that God is forbidding man to rule over other men. Men are to be controlled only by their conscience, their knowledge of good and evil. God changed this at the flood. See The Biblical Doctrine of Government.]
  • Joshua 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

A study of the Word of God from Genesis to Revelation, looking at all the verses in the immediate and overall context, makes clear the Sovereignty of God and the freedom of man to choose or to reject God.

Let me skip forward to the NT for just a couple of examples:

  • Luke 16:10-13 “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
  • Luke 18:10-14 “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10 “For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”

The idea that the sovereignty of God means God controls everything that a man does is a philosophy with a few Bible verses thrown in, here and there, as a pretext to support the philosophy. Calvinists state that God is Sovereign; that is true. Many Calvinists then assert that only those chosen by God are His elect and will be saved while all other are destined to hell. The Bible truth is that the Sovereign God gave man freedom to choose God or the world. Yes, as Calvinists assert, man has a sin nature. However, every man has a choice to make. He can choose to turn to God or not to turn to God. As will be shown below, the choice he makes is not a work.

Calvinism teaches that since man is totally depraved, He can do nothing to save himself. The latter is true, but what about the former? Is man totally depraved?  Sometimes concepts are found in the Bible and labels are attributed to them. Is the total depravity of man a concept found in the Bible? True, man can do nothing to earn his salvation. God does it all when a man chooses to turn to God and put his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to save him from his sin. All men are sinners. “Sin” and “sinners” are words found in the Bible. However, I don’t find the word depraved (which means “morally corrupt, wicked” or, according to the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary “Corrupt; wicked; destitute of holiness or good principles.”) in the Bible. I do not find the concept of total depravity in the Bible. I do find the word “wicked” in the Bible, but it is not referring to all men. Some lost people are virtuous to one extent or another, more so than some “Christians” and even some “Calvinists” that I have met. So how can one say that every man is “totally” depraved? One can say that there is none good, in God’s eyes and according to God’s standards, but can one say that some men do not have a degree of virtue – I think not.

I have known men who had some virtue, so much virtue that they felt they were good. Yes, they would admit to me that they had sinned, but only in a minor sense. Their greatest sin, which they did not realize, was their self-esteem, their self-righteousness, their pride. I can’t say that they were wicked or totally depraved. Yet, they were sinners in need of a Savior, as are all men. 

The word “pride” is in the Bible; God hates pride – do a word study in the Bible, the King James Bible. The man who refuses to turn to God is proud. According to the Bible, turning to God, true repentance, is accompanied by contrition, humility, and a broken heart brought by the realization that one is a hopeless sinner, bound for hell, and that only God – not his good works, not his idols, not his religion – can save him.

  • Psalms 34:18 “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
  • Psalms 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
  • 2 Corinthians 7:9-11 “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”
  • See also, Isaiah 57.15, 66.2: Jeremiah 44.10, 2 Chronicles 7.14;
  • for many other relevant Scriptures do word searches of “humble,” “contrite,” “pride,” “proud,” etc.

Calvinists in New England, like their forefathers in Geneva, expected virtue from every man, but they acknowledged that only the elect were saved (and therefore “pious”); Calvinist pastors taught that God would make known, at some time in one’s life, whether he was one of the elect; they further taught that every man was to live a “virtuous” life.  Obviously, to them total depravity did not mean total inability to live a virtuous life. By legislating all the commandments and much of the Levitical law, they believed the civil government could enforce virtue. Their covenant theology which arbitrarily applied selected rules for the theocracy of Israel to a Gentile nation was much flawed.

A caveat must be added here. Some “Calvinists” are not Classic Calvinists. For example, Isaac Backus, in Massachusetts colony, came out of Calvinism after being saved during the famous Whitefield revival. Thereafter, he began intense Biblical examination of his Calvinist beliefs, instilled in him by many years of faithful church attendance. He ended up rejecting infant Baptism, Covenant Theology, and Separation of Church and State, three bedrocks of Classic Calvinism. He became a Separatist and finally a Baptist, even though he still claimed to be a Calvinist. To understand what a “Calvinist” really believes, one must know what he believes. There are  many variations of belief of those who claim to be “Calvinist.” Classic Calvinism is dead wrong about most Bible issues.

What about the elect? The Bible does not teach that the elect were chosen by God from they beginning. Rather, the Bible teaches that the elect were foreknown by God, something entirely different.  The elect are those who choose to repent toward God and put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to save them.

The Bible never uses “predestinate” or “predestinated” in reference to the lost; in context, both terms are referring to the saved. For example, God predenstined those who are saved “to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).

Most of our founding fathers thought that virtue, not piety, was enough to preserve the country. How wrong they were. They saw a lot of “virtuous” men in their society. Even lost people respected the Word of God, generally speaking. One can be so good or “virtuous,” in his eyes and even in the eyes of others, that he thinks he does not need a Savior. Or, if he is a Calvinist, he waits on evidence of His salvation, rather than choosing to repent and put his faith in Jesus Christ. I believe that some Calvinists actually turn to God and put their faith in Jesus Christ even though it is not a well thought out matter. If they do that, they are saved. Some Calvinists trusted Christ as Savior and later, not being well-grounded in the Word of God and proper Bible interpretation, are deceived:

  • 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” (Colossians 2:6-8)

God has given every person a God consciousness, a knowledge of who God is (Romans 1.18-32). That consciousness includes the understanding that God is a God of wrath and judgment (Id. 1.18, 32). In progressive stages, God continues to deal with a man. At any point before God gives him up to a reprobate mine (verse 28 et. seq.), a man may choose to seek God. Once given up to a reprobate mind, the man can no longer turn to God. Should a man turn to God, God will then deal with him through his conscience, his knowledge of who he is–a hopeless lost sinner who cannot do enough good works to be saved (Romans 2).

At the fall, the Sovereign God gave to every person a conscience (the knowledge of good and evil). Later, He gave the Law to the theocracy of Israel, but the law is written in everyone’s heart. Both Jew and Gentile are responsible to God:

  • Romans 2:12-16 “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”

The conscience and the law condemn a man. If a man accepts the fact that he is a hopeless lost sinner, God reveals to him, through God’s Word, the way to be found not guilty even though he is guilty, how to be justified before God (Romans 3). If a man acts on that light, God saves him.

God saves the man who chooses to turn to Him and to put his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Such a man realizes that he is condemned by his sin and that he can do absolutely nothing worthy of salvation, that only repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ can save him from his trespasses and sins. Repentance means turning and is not a work. When one turns toward God, he has to turn away from the world – his sin, his idolatry, his religion. He turns to God as a helpless lost sinner and trusts the One who can save him.

Repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ are not works; they are the opposite of works:

  • Romans 4:1-8 “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”
  • John 3:16-21 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”

Again, a multitude of other verses prove these matters.

  • Romans 10:9-13 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Endnote

The first step toward salvation is acknowledging God. God put a God-consciousness in everyone. The next step is acknowledging oneself – who he is (Romans 2-3). The third and final step is realized when one turns to God as a hopeless, lost sinner who can do nothing to earn his salvation, and and trusts Jesus Christ to save him from his sin.

As to the first step, Romans 1.18-32 is very clear:

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

See also, Scripture study on “Repentance, the new creature, the new life, and changed behavior after salvation.”

See also, God’s Plan of Salvation.

 

More letters from pastors and others

Jerald Finney
Copyright © November, 2011
Left click one of the following link for easy access to all articles on this website:
Complete listing of articles on “Separation of Church and State Law” blog
or
Contents

Recommended websites: The Old Time Way;  Old Paths Baptist Church; Only Way: An Appeal to Heaven
Recommended reading: Outcome Based Religion (Click to see review)

Contents:

Note. A “+” represents a supportive letter, a “-” a negative letter

I. Introduction

II. (+) Letter No. 1 and my reply (Thanks for encouraging churches with the truth)
III. (+) Letter No. 2 and my reply (Legal Questions from a pastor)
IV. (-) Letter No. 3 (Letter from a 501c3 state church pastor and my reply)
V. (-) Letter No. 4 and my reply (Letter stressing “Our Common Christian Heritage” and my reply)
VI. (+) Letter No. 5 and my reply (Church member wants advice and help in order to present the truth about church incorporation to the members of his incorporated church)
VII. (+) Letter No. 6 with no reply (Keep them [the articles, sermons, etc.] coming!)
VIII. () Letter No. 7 and my reply, his reply, and my final reply (Calvinism versus free will)

IX. Information on books by Jerald Finney including links to online previews of two of his books.
X. Links to IRS Laws (Some of these links may no longer work. If so, you can use Google to find the laws)
XI. Note concerning the Biblical Law Center and Jerald Finney

I. Introduction

This article presents more e-mails from pastors and others with their comments, concerns, and questions concerning articles on this blog, and my replies to those e-mails. These e-mail letters not only raise important questions which need to be addressed, but also give insights into the thoughts of pastors and other believers and non-believers.

II. Letter No. 1 received October 19, 2011 in response to Film: Divided (Why young people are leaving churches); Sermon: The Method Matters to God; Essay by colonial Baptist Pastor John Leland + MORE

Jerald,

Thank you for the email and the information packet.  Cornerstone is an solid independant fundamental baptist church… and heartily say amen to the information that you so graciously sent to us.

May the Lord bless you as you encourage churches with the truth,
Pastor __________________
Senior Pastor
____________________ Baptist Church
_________________________, Mi

My Reply:

Thanks, Pastor __________________________. Your letter is an encouragement to me.

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney

III. Letter No. 2 received October 19, 2011 (Legal Questions)

Brother Finney,

Thank you for emailing me back. I am definitely planning on starting my church the Bible way and not place it under the restrictions of a 501c3 which would make God’s church into a government-approved Non-Profit Organization. I have recently talked to a Pastor in West Virginia who has been to court twice due to his church not being a 501c3 and he won both times. He told me that the government will consider your church an organization if you have any 1 of these 5 things: a church constitution, church membership, employees, and there were 2 others I cannot think of. I’m trying to learn all I can about how to avoid making any mistake that would cause my church to be defined as an organization or corporation by the government. I learned not to have a church constitution but to claim the Word of God as the church’s defining document. One thing I recently had questions on was how do churches pay their employees… any church that grows will need full-time Christian workers serving in the church, well, I found that churches do not have employees, they have servants who are given love offerings of support and the church cares for them as it does the pastor. That made sense to me.

I undoubtedly will need help and guidance in the matter when I do start my church.  I have many questions, but I am not ready to start a church yet, I have a Bible college degree, I have God’s calling on my life, I have been ordained and had hands laid on me and prayed over, and I believe I know what city God is sending me to, but I am still waiting on God to send me the wife He has chosen for me before I start my church. When that happens, I will be contacting you.

I appreciate the work that you are doing for pastors like me who are not taught these things, as a matter of fact, most pastors have told me to file 501c3 for lawsuit protection, it’s amazing what people tell you, it seems to me that most pastors are simply afraid of the IRS.

Thank you for your future assitance in the ministry God has called me to.

– ___________________

My Reply to Letter No. 2:

Dear Brother _______________,

I was reviewing old e-mails and came across our communications below. I don’t recall is we ever talked about your questions.

If not, feel free to call me.

Brother Jerald Finney

From:
To: Jerald Finney <jerald.finney@sbcglobal.net>
Sent: Wed, December 1, 2010 1:35:31 PM
Subject: Re: Legal Questions

Hello Brother Finney,

Thank you for writing me back. I am available most afternoons and evenings, except on Wednesdays and Sundays. So just let me know what time you’d like for me to call you, it’d have to be sometime next week since this is deer gun season week in Ohio.

Thank you again.
– Brother __________________

From Jerald Finney; To _________________________; Sent: Wednesday, December 01, 2010 2:13 PM; Subject: Legal Questions ______________________

Dear Brother ___________________,

I do have answers to all your questions, but I just have a minute right now. To go over all the questions would take more time than that. I would be honored to discuss your questions with you, so perhaps we can arrange to talk about this over the phone. My cell number is 512-785-8445, and my home number is 512-385-0761. Maybe we can touch base and arrange a time to talk about these matters of utmost importance to our Lord. I will be looking forward to meeting and talking with you. Let me just mention that this is a ministry with me and I do not charge pastors and missionaries.

May the Lord richly bless you in all that you do.

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney

From: …; To: jerald.finney@sbcglobal.net; Sent: Tue, November 30, 2010 6:25:05 PM; Subject: Legal Questions

Hello Brother Finney,

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is ___________________, I recently graduated from Commonwealth Baptist College and God has called me to plant an Independent Fundamental KJV Baptist church in _________________, PA. I’m currently preparing to go on deputation to start raising the support needed to do such. This is all new to me and I’m trying to learn as much as I can – especially about the legalities involved. I stumbled upon your website while trying to find info about the 501c3.

I’ve spent half the day reading various articles on your website blog regarding the legalities and issues that come with incorporating a church, I did not know you had the option. I have heard very little about incorporation but had been told it was something I’d need to do to protect myself from lawsuits and to get tax exempt status. I now see that you do not have to be incorporated to receive tax exempt status which I’m thrilled to learn since I do not believe the government has any right to tax or regulate our churches nor do I want them having any kind of control over God’s pulpit. I also now understand why many pastors say they will lose their tax-exempt status if they endorse a political candidate or fear preaching against sodomy, it’s all related to incorporations, contracts, and government oversight.

So, thank you for your articles, they’ve enlightened me and helped me a lot. But I still have some questions if you wouldn’t mind taking the time to answer them.

First in the matter of deputation, I know most missionaries are supported by monthly check going through their local church, is this money taxable as income? Is it wise for a missionary to receive support money directly or should it go through a local church? I plan to raise support then use that support to both live on and to find a church building to rent or buy.

As a non-incorporated New Testament Baptist Church, how would I go about receiving church money, and specifically a salary, legally? Is my salary taxable? What about church property, would the church have to pay property taxes? Would I need to purchase the church property and put all buildings and such in my name or is there a way of putting it in the church’s name without it being incorporated? Can you open a bank account in a non-incorporated church’s name?

In the event I were to need an assistant pastor, how would I go about “hiring” and paying him legally? or a secretary for that matter? since a non-incorporated church cannot have employees. How would a non-incorporated church go about starting a Christian school? Would the school need to be incorporated?

I apologize for the many questions, I am just thinking ahead and trying to learn as much as I can about the legalities involved so I can plan accordingly. I plan on starting a bus ministry, Christian school, and a Christian children’s home, along with many other things in the future and want to make sure everything is done right from the start.

Thank you for your time and blogs, they have been a blessing.

– Brother ______________________

IV. Letter No. 3 received on March 25, 2010

You stereotype every 501c3 church as doing all of these things when you don’t even know who does and who don’t. It is apparent that you are against having a 501c3, but I would submit to you Romans 14:4. I can stand before God with a good conscience over this issue and I nor our church is guilty of anything you accuse. Now I know that probably bugs you, but I am thankful the God is my judge and not you sir. Tell you what, you keep condemning churches like ours and I will keep trying to win the lost to Christ and glorifying Him.

May you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ

My Response to Letter No. 3

Dear Sir,

You cannot bug me because I love God first and my neighbor (which includes you). Your letter gives me a chance to challenge you to look at the Word of God, history, and law and support what you say from those sources, not from your “conscience.” If your conscience does not condemn you for prostituting God’s bride, then your conscience may have been seared, at least as to this matter. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:1-2).

I have done a comprehensive assessment of your argument in the booklet, The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls. That booklet is also reproduced on this website at the following link: The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls.

One should try to win souls to Christ without leaving other biblical duties undone (without dishonoring one’s love relationship with Christ). The church I am a member of emphasizes soul winning and support of missionaries. I spend approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours a week devoted directly to one on one soul winning (door to door evangelism) as well as taking every other opportunity to present the Gospel of salvation to those with whom I come into contact. I pledge monthly support which results in the salvation of souls worldwide. The same can be said of my pastor (who is even more devoted to this cause than I) and other members of the church. By operating according to the principles of Satan in some matters, most “Bible-believing” churches are contributing to the loss of untold numbers of souls, since, by proceeding according to human reasoning rather than Bible principle, they lose the power of God to one degree or another. Honoring God’s principles is much more important than reasoning based upon what one does while discounting or ignoring what one does not do but should be doing.

I do not condemn you-a true understanding of Word of God, history, and law condemn you. I have stereotyped no church. I have explained in detail the biblical principles violated by church incorporation and 501c3. Just operating under those satanic devices violates biblical principle, prostitutes the bride of Christ, and grieves our Lord. You do not address any of my biblical, historical, and/or legal teachings. “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).

Should you wish to contribute intelligently to a resolution of your disagreements with me, please contact me. Read my writings and/or listen to my audio teachings and tell me where you believe I am wrong. I will calmly and sincerely consider what you have to say. I doubt that you can convince me that I am wrong, but if you can, I will publicly repent of any error.

For His Glory,
Jerald Finney

V. Letter No. 4 received on September 13, 2011  in response to “ON SABBATICAL LAWS” by colonial Baptist Pastor + article on the biblical doctrine of government

OUR “CHRISTIAN HERITAGE IS LONGER, STRONGER” THAN ANY OTHER HERITAGE YOU MIGHT ASPIRE TO- WHY STRESS AN ANTI-BIBLICAL DENOMINATIONAL HERITAGE??

My Reply to Letter No. 4

Dear ____________:

I love you. I always get straight to the truth, for I have not enough time for anything else.

God’s people in America are being destroyed for lack of knowledge (among other things such as love for our Lord) (See, e.g., 1 Peter 1 and Hosea 4). Baptists have no common Christian heritage with Protestants and Catholics. Catholicism, led by Constantine and justified by perverted biblical interpretations of Augustine, began in the fourth century to viciously torture and murder all those who refused to bow down to the unified church-state alliance. As many as 50,000,000 people deemed to be “heretics” were killed by that wicked alliance. The Protestant churches which came out of Catholicism adopted the Catholic union of church and state theology, and continued to persecute any who refused to submit to their wicked religion. For example, Martin Luther in Germany, although he at first espoused separation of church and state, succumbed to pressure, changed his theology, and began to persecute Jews and believers who would not bow down to the teachings of the official state church, the Lutheran church. The persecution of Baptists and other dissenters by Protestants continued in the American colonies. In fact, a great spiritual warfare between the dissenters, mainly Baptists, and the Protestants (mainly the Congregationalists in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire and the Anglicans in the southern colonies) resulted in implementation of soul liberty (religious freedom) in the First Amendment to the Constitution.  Those who were by belief Baptist have always been persecuted by the arm of the civil magistrate at the behest of state churches when those churches were united with a civil government.

Sadly, informed secularists know these facts. The common Christian heritage they love to refer to includes the murder of millions when “union of church and state” was practiced, wars (like the Crusades) initiated by the state church; persecution of Baptists and other dissenters by the state established churches in the American colonies, etc. The false revised teachings being disseminated in the “Christian” community in America, in deciding to promote a false “common Christian heritage” in their arguments which allege that America is a “Christian” nation have unknowingly worked with Satan in bringing the downfall of America and the one world government and religion prophesied in Scripture. I cover all these matters and much more in my books, articles, and audio teachings.

Since true believers have decided to revise history, or follow Christian revisionist history, they have become a laughing stock among secular scholars and, due to the trickle-down effect, to the uninformed secularist masses. We see the result of the “Christian” endeavors to bring America back to God, since those endeavors have not been according to knowledge. Individual, family, church, and state morality and depravity have regressed at an accelerating rate. America, American individuals and families (in general), and American churches (in general) are now moral cesspools.

Your e-mail, dear sir, shows your ignorance of history and biblical theology. Biblical doctrine is preeminent for the believer, as is exposure of heretics and apostates. Unrevised history is very important. Without understanding history, one can never learn from and correct the mistakes, heresies, etc. of the past.

To include apostates and heretics in our “Christian” heritage other than to expose their false theologies and consequences thereof has led to tragedy, including the downfall of this nation which has paralleled a dumbing down of Americans-including most “Christians.”

For His Glory,
Jerald Finney

VI. Letter No. 5 received on April 21, 2010

Mr. Finney,

My husband will be attending a Board of Directors Meeting tonight at the church where we attend and presenting the TRUTH about caving to the State for incorporation. This will be a tremendous amount of information to digest for these men and my husband doesn’t want to overwhelm them. However, it is important to give them a snapshot of what it entails to “dissolve” a 501(c)(3) corporation. (He can’t present the PROBLEM with submitting a SOLUTION.)

Could you please provide the process regarding the Declaration of Trust in a nutshell? We realize this process isn’t going to be easy, but understand it is doable.

Your suggestions, comments, or guidance will be appreciated!

Because of Him,
__________________

My Reply to Letter No. 5

Dear Mrs. ______________________:

In order to advise your husband on this matter, I need to talk to him. Dissolving the 501c3 corporation and/or organizing a church under the Declaration of Trust involves complex legal matters. Every case has to be examined individually to determine the best way proceed.

Please have your husband call me and I will be glad to discuss this matter with him. My phone number is 512-385-0761 or 512-785-8445 (cell).

For His Glory,
Jerald Finney

Note. I did talk with and advise this concerned church member. I also sent him copies of all my books at no charge.

VII. Letter No. 6 received July 31, 2011 in response to Pastor’s article on church incorp. & 501c3; Sermon: “Him”

KEEP them coming!   ”  make them shorter ”  CUZ the time(s) are getting shorter before our Lord’s return & the Meeting in the air!

No Reply to Letter No. 6

VIII. Letter No. 7 received March 11, 2011
in response to “The Biblical Doctrine of Separation of Church and State.”

Dear Jerald:

On page 16 of “God Betrayed” you stated: “Man makes a choice of his own free will as to how he will respond to God. The principle of freedom of conscience or free will is found throughout the Bible.”

You quoted from John 3:16, 18 and Rev 22:17. However, I could not see how those passages supported your point that “man makes a choice of his own free will.” Certainly, those passages make the point that salvation is by faith and man must be willing to believe, but they do not in any way suggest that belief is a choice made by man’s “own free will.”

You further stated that “the principle of freedom of conscience or free will is found throughout the Bible.” When I read the bible, however, I find quite another view of man’s condition. The bible states that man is dead in trespasses and sin. We, who are saved, were at one time dead in sin, but God, through his Holy Spirit, made us alive by his glorious grace. “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Ephesians 2:1.

It is not possible for a dead man to do anything, a dead man cannot even have faith, he must be made alive again. Man does not have it in him to come to Jesus; God must draw him. “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44. Indeed, Jesus must be the source of our faith because “there is none that seeketh after God.” Romans 3:11.

Notice what Jesus makes clear in John 15:5: “without me ye can do nothing.” Hebrews 12:2 confirms what Jesus said in John 15:5, and pretty well precludes any source for our faith other than Jesus: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” Hebrews 12:2.

If Jesus is the author of our faith, then that precludes man from being the author through his free will decision. An author is one that originates or creates. There is no mention in the bible of there being any coauthors of our faith, it is Jesus alone who is the author of our faith. He originates and creates faith in the believer. Jesus is also the finisher of our faith, that is, he completes and perfects our faith. So there is no room for anyone to say that God only makes an offer of salvation, and that we must accept that offer of our own free will. That is to contradict God’s word and say that man is the finisher of his own faith. The bible makes it clear that Jesus is the finisher of our faith. Jesus must first set our will free from the bondage of sin. Our faith in Jesus is both authored and finished by Jesus. Our will is enslaved to sin, and we can only believe in Jesus if Jesus frees us from that bondage and imparts the faith in us, making us new creations by the Spirit of God.

This is not some theological nit-picking; it is the very heart of the gospel. “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe.” (Romans 3:22 KJV) Notice that the righteousness of God is “by the faith of Jesus Christ.” The passage explains the source of the faith; faith comes from Jesus Christ, hence it is the “faith of Jesus Christ.” The plain language of Romans 3:22 indicates that our faith comes from Jesus. One cannot have faith in Jesus without being given the faith of Jesus.

Next, read Galatians 2:16. The passage indicates that Jesus Christ is both the source of our faith and the object of our faith. There is a clear distinction in the passage between the faith “of” Jesus and the faith “in” Jesus. The passage reveals that the faith “of” Christ is the reason we have faith “in” Christ. Our Justification is by the faith “of” Christ. We believe “in” Jesus, because we have the faith “of” Jesus. Jesus is both the object of our faith and the source of our faith. The faith supplied by Jesus is the means of our justification. Jesus has done it all! The passage refers to the source of our faith as being “of” Christ in two separate clauses.

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Galatians 2:16.

The passage that absolutely crushes the claim that man has a free will to believe in Jesus is found in John 1:13. In John 3:3 we read that Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born again to see the kingdom of God. That is a spiritual rebirth that cannot be by the will of man or through the flesh. God made it clear just three chapters earlier in John 1:13 that this new spiritual birth comes to those “[w]hich were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:13.

Notice God has stated unequivocally in John 1:13 that man does not believe in Jesus by the will of man. Man indeed is completely helpless to believe in Jesus. God must give the man a new heart to believe. Man must be born again by the Spirit of God. Man is then given the faith of Jesus to believe in Jesus. Jesus is not only the object of our faith, he is the “author and finisher of our faith.” There is no room in the gospel for man to believe in Jesus by his “own free will.” The gospel theme encapsulated in John 1:13 is that salvation is completely by the sovereign will of God.

The very theme of the gospel is that God seeks men, men do not seek God. While you state that mans belief is by his “own free will,” God states that belief is not from man’s will, but is completely an act of God’s act of mercy. “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” Romans 9:16. From the beginning of Jesus’ ministry he made it clear that he was Lord, and he chose his disciples, they did not choose him. “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” John 15:16.

Salvation is by grace through faith. Ephesians 2:8. The faith comes by God’s grace; faith is not by man’s “own free will.” Indeed, it cannot be, because man’s condition is one of enslavement to sin and the whole point of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was to free his elect from their slavery to sin. Luke 4:18.

Please let me know if you think that I am in error on this. If you have contrary biblical authority supporting your position that “man makes a choice of his own free will” to believe in Jesus I would very much be interested in reading it.

Sincerely,
__________________

My Reply to Letter No.7

Dear Mr. ______________:

I respectfully disagree with your position in the letter [above], based upon what the Bible teaches. Very briefly, I would remind you that “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Ro. 4.5); in other words, one’s faith is not a work.

I do not have the time to address all your arguments, but let me refer you to your paragraph 2 which says:

“You [Jerald Finney] quoted from John 3:16, 18 and Rev 22:17. However, I could not see how those passages supported your point that ‘man makes a choice of his own free will.’ Certainly, those passages make the point that salvation is by faith and man must be willing to believe, but they do not in any way suggest that belief is a choice made by man’s “own free will.’”

How can man be “willing to believe” if he has no free will? He cannot. Thus, that argument is contradictory, and all your arguments can be easily answered by a believer educated in God’s Word.

All the arguments on both sides of this issue have been made. Having read the Bible many times and having heard preaching by pastors of both persuasions, it is obvious to me that the Bible teaches that man has free will. One can selectively choose Scriptures which, when taken alone and without a consideration of other Scripture, teach what you contend in your letter.

I quoted some other pastors and gave their reasoning in the book. I believe the quote of Pastor Joey Faust is especially instructive. However, the purpose of the book was not to debate a tenet of Calvinism (I say “a tenet of Calvinism” rather than “the sovereignty of God” because you and I would agree that God is sovereign—I make this clear in the book) or to fully develop what the Bible teaches about free will. I would note that many things such as salvation and the relationship between a local church and Christ (the main issue of the book) is irrelevant if man is just a robot who can make no choice since an individual is either preordained by God to salvation or eternal death in the lake of fire and a church cannot make a choice of whether to remain under Christ alone or submit herself to civil government. If there is no free will, sin is not a choice, repentance (a change of mind, or a conversion from sin to God) is not a choice, nothing is a choice; one cannot exalt himself, humble himself, or abase himself negating verses such as “every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 18.14). Any given person is destined for either heaven or hell and he has no choice as to the matter.

I have much other biblical authority, but really don’t have time to argue with anyone about this. Let me suggest that you listen to the sermon at the bottom of the “Salvation” tab of church and state law. That sermon makes clear that salvation is all of God. However, that does not mean that a man does not have free will to choose to exercise the faith that saves or not.

I was talking to a Baptist preacher and friend who believes as do you about this matter. I said, “Will you explain this portion of Scripture to me?” I read the Scripture to him. His response was, “It doesn’t mean what it says.” He is a brilliant man, but he could not explain away that example of man exercising his free will. I could have given him many others. However, neither of us convinced the other, and you will not convince me nor I you. I still love you in the Lord. There are pastors and others whom I deeply respect and love with all my heart who believe as you do. I don’t argue with them about this matter. It is between them and the Lord.

I hope you will agree that the Lord Jesus commissioned us to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,” and “to preach repentance and remission of sins in his name among all nations beginning at Jerusalem.” Let us be about our Father’s business as we continue to love one another.

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney

Mr. ___________________’s Reply:

Dear Jerald:

Thank you for getting back to me. It is obvious to me when reading your book that God has gifted you with a sharp intellect. I realize that sometimes discussions like this can be tedious, and if it gets to that point just let me know, and we can leave the issue be. Your email, though, raised some interesting points that I want to follow up on.

I agree with you that “salvation is all of God.” Yet, I can find no biblical authority for your next statement, which contradicts the first: “However, that does not mean that a man does not have free will to choose to exercise the faith that saves or not.” If man has a “free will” to choose, then it cannot be that “salvation is all of God.”  The two statements are mutually exclusive and cannot both be true.  Wouldn’t you agree that if man has free will to choose, then salvation is at least in part of man?

The theme of the bible is that man is spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and that“there is none that seeketh after God.” Romans 3:11. Do you accept that premise? If you accept that premise, how does a man obtain a “free will” without God first regenerating the man?

I can cite passages that unequivocally state that salvation is not by the “choice of man’s own free will.” John 1:13; Romans 9:16.  Can you cite one single passage anywhere in the bible that sates in like unequivocal fashion that salvation is by the “choice of man’s own free will?”

Free will assumes a will unhindered by God (hence the term “free will”). If man has an unhindered free will, that means that Judas had a free will and God was rolling the dice and hoping that Judas would betray Jesus. Under the free will theory, the crucifixion of Christ was one big gamble that paid off for God and man.

The true gospel, however, tells a different story. Judas betrayed Jesus as prophesied by God hundreds of years earlier. Jesus stated, while praying to God the Father: “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” John 17:12.

Not only did Judas not have a free will to choose whether to betray Jesus, but every single act of Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Jews, and the Romans was preordained and orchestrated by the sovereign God of Heaven. “For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” Acts 4:27-28. In fact, God orders the steps of all men and controls their very tongue. “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue are from the Lord.” Prov. 16:1.

How do you reconcile the theory that unregenerate man has a free will to choose to believe in Jesus with those bible passages that state clearly that the unregenerate do not and cannot seek after God and that salvation is not by the will of man and the fact that God preordained and moved Judas, Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Jews, and the Romans with his divine hand to betray and crucify Jesus?

Sincerely,
_______________

My Reply to Mr. ______________’s Reply:

Dear Bro. ______________________,

Thank you for your concern and kind Christian manner in your correspondence. [Note. If your position is right, I don’t know why I would be thanking you for anything since God actually is responsible for your concern (actually, if you are right, you have no concern nor does God) and your kind Christian manner (actually, if you are right, that manner is not of you, but totally predetermined by God). Since I don’t believe as you do, I will leave the thank you above in this e-mail. Of course, if you are right, God is responsible for everything I write in this e-mail, including this Note and for my leaving this note in it.
Your position on this matter is very confusing. I thought that the Bible says that God is not the author or confusion (1 Co. 14.33). If He is not, then no one can be the author of confusion, since no one else does anything except as God as determined in advance.]

Again, I have heard most of the arguments on both sides and come down on the side that says that the Sovereign God chose to give man a choice. That is my biblically based belief. You pick out Scriptures to support a lot of unbiblical beliefs based upon a partial reading of Scripture. You also reach conclusions that are not supported by a full reading of Scripture. In my e-mail last reply to you, I summarily addressed some of the arguments you stated in your most recent e-mail [above]. You have not even considered those succinct arguments which I presented.

Once more, I refer you to my prior e-mail and to Pastor Joey Faust’s footnote in my book. I believe he offers great insight into this matter.

If you are right, it does not matter what we do or say since we are responsible for nothing we do, say, or believe. My arguments are not my arguments since it was predetermined that I would make them. Likewise, your arguments were also predetermined by God. Each person’s fate is also set. We have no responsibility for anything. God is responsible for everything that every person has ever done, said or believed. He is responsible for every sin, crime, lie, etc. that has ever happened. Only He is responsible for anything. Everything is a gigantic game being totally controlled by God. No person is responsible for anything. God is responsible for what I am writing you at this moment. I have nothing to do with it. God is in fact arguing with Himself. What do you think is the reason for that?

On the other hand, if I am right, each person is responsible and will be held accountable.

I love you in the Lord and wish you the best, but the Lord has already filled my plate with work (not to attain my salvation, but for His Glory and pleasure). I work because I am saved, not to be saved. People have presented postions to me on other biblical matters which are not directly related to the issues concerning church, state, and separation of church and state; for example, matters involving Israel and the Sabbath. They have made arguments that I have  looked into as I do my daily Bible study. I have taken notes and meditated upon their arguments. Sometimes my beliefs have been modified, sometimes not. However, I have not taken the time for lengthy debates on most matters simply because God did not call me to argue about everything that comes along.

May the Lord richly bless you and may you grow in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. I mean nothing personal by this: I will not be taking the time to answer future e-mails about this matter for the reasons already explained. If your position is correct, God has already predetermined that this would be my final response as to this matter. Regardless of who is right, please take the matter up with Him.

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney

IX. Note

God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Link to preview of God Betrayed): may be ordered from Amazon by clicking the following link: God Betrayed on Amazon.com or from Barnes and Nobel by clicking the following link: God Betrayed on Barnes and Noble. All books by Jerald Finney as well as many of the books he has referenced and read may also be ordered by left clicking “Books” (on the “Church and State Law” website) or directly from Amazon by going to the following links: (1) Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses (Kindle only); (2) The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls (Kindle only); (3) Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities? (Link to preview of Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities?) which can also be ordered by clicking the following Barnes and Noble link: Separation of Church and State on Barnes and Noble.

X. Links to Internal Revenue Code Laws [Some of the following links may no longer work [As of November 5, 2011]. If not, you can find the laws by using Google.]

You can read portions of the following Internal Revenue Code laws which pertain to churches and pastors by going to the following site: “Laws Protecting New Testament Churches in the United States: Read Them for Yourself”; or you may read an entire law online by clicking the following links:

1. § 501(c)(3). Exemption from tax on corporations, certain trusts, etc.
2.
§ 508. Special rules with respect to section 501(c)(3) organizations
3.
§ 7611. Restrictions on church tax inquiries and examinations
4.
§ 1402. [Dealing with taxes on income of pastors]
5.
§ 107. Rental value of parsonages
6.
§ 102. Gifts and inheritances (Tithes and offerings are gifts and, therefore, according to the Internal Revenue Code § 102, not income)
7.
§ 2503. Taxable gifts
8.
§ 170. Charitable, etc., contributions and gifts

XI. Note

The Biblical Law Center helps churches to organize as New Testament churches completely out from under civil government and under God only. See churchandstatelaw.com for contact information for Jerald Finney, counsel for the Biblical Law Center. This is a ministry, not a business enterprise. Jerald Finney has made no profit at all in this endeavor of Christian love, but rather has expended much of his own money for God’s glory, in attempting to provide information and service for God’s churches.

All conclusions in this article are opinions of the author. Please do not attempt to act in the legal system if you are not a lawyer, even if you are a born-again Christian. Many questions and finer points of the law and the interpretation of the law cannot be properly understood by a simple facial reading of a civil law. For a born-again Christian to understand American law, litigation, and the legal system as well as spiritual matters within the legal system requires years of study and practice of law as well as years of study of Biblical principles, including study of the Biblical doctrines of government, church, and separation of church and state. You can always find a lawyer or Christian who will agree with the position that an American church should become incorporated and get 501(c)(3) status. Jerald Finney will discuss the matter, as time avails, with any such person, with confidence that his position is supported by God’s Word, history, and law. He is always willing, free of charge and with love, to support his belief that for a church to submit herself to civil government in any manner grieves our Lord and ultimately results in undesirable consequences. He does not have unlimited time to talk to individuals. However, he will teach or debate groups, and will point individuals to resources which fully explain his positions.

About Jerald Finney: The author is a Christian first and a lawyer second. He has no motive to mislead you. In fact, his motivation is to tell you the truth about this matter, and he guards himself against temptation on this and other issues by doing all he does at no charge. He does not seek riches. His motivation is his love for God first and for others second. His goal is the Glory of God. Jerald Finney has been saved since 1982. God called him to go to law school for His Glory. In obedience, Finney entered the University of Texas School of Law in 1990, was licensed and began to practice law, for the Glory of God, in November of 1993.  To learn more about the author click the following link: About Jerald Finney.

END