Tag Archives: church incorporation

Separation of Church and God

Jerald Finney
© December, 2009

 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

Can we agree that Satan likes nothing better than to keep the lost from God, and to separate both the saved and God’s churches from God? If so, this article may be of interest to you because it is concerned with the latter—the separation of God’s churches from God.

The Bible itself is God’s book of theology, history, law, and grace. The Bible (1) chronicles history from the beginning to the end, although some of that history is in the form of prophecy which has not yet been fulfilled; (2) lays out the principles of law and grace for both Israel and Gentile nations; and (3) applies principles to history and law as regards individuals, families, nations, and churches. Once grounded in truth in God’s church in conjunction with Holy Spirit led study of God’s Word, God’s people are then equipped to apply His principles as individuals, families, and as citizens of the nation which they inhabit.

This article deals primarily with the doctrines of the church and separation of church and state. Satan knows that Christ “loved the church and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word” (Ep. 5.24-26). Satan also knows that individuals, families, and nations will not succeed in their God-given goals without churches where God is loved and the whole counsel of God is preached with “all longsuffering and doctrine” (See, e.g., 2 Ti. 3 and 4). After all, God’s churches are the “pillar and ground [i.e., foundation] of the truth” (2 Ti. 3.15). In the church age, God establishes churches for His people, and only His people have the ability to apply His principles by growing in knowledge, understanding, and wisdom concerning the Bible (theology), history, law, and grace.

If Satan can separate churches from God, then individuals, families, and nations will fall. Therefore believers should be diligent in keeping the following admonition of the Apostle Paul to churches:

“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 Co. 11.1-3).

After an intensive study of biblical principles concerning church and state, history, law, and grace, I have concluded that Satan has seduced most of America’s churches. Please consider my arguments below before you quit reading. Then make up your mind as to the truth of my assertions.

Historically, many Bible believing Baptists stood for religious freedom in the face of persecution, not only in the American colonies but also since the beginning of the church age—separation of church and state, or religious liberty, or soul liberty was a Baptist distinctive.[fn1] How sad to see that many Baptists compromised the love relationship between Christ and his church soon after the United States Constitution and the First Amendment thereto were ratified. They compromised some biblical doctrines. For example, many Baptist churches incorporated for anti-biblical reasons. In the twentieth century, Baptist churches further violated the principle of separation of church and state by acquiring Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) (“501c3”) status.

One must diligently search the Scriptures and apply the relevant principles to the facts concerning incorporation and 501c3 to understand that incorporation and 501c3 of a church violate biblical principles. I have fully explained the nature of incorporation and 501c3 and the relevant biblical principles in two books and also in two articles on this blog.[fn2]  An honest study by a born again believer can arrive at no other conclusion than that “a corporation cannot be the bride of Christ, the wife of Christ. The incorporated part of an incorporated church is not the bride of Christ, the wife of Christ, but rather an extramarital illicit relationship existing alongside the marriage.”[fn3] Incorporation and 501c3 for churches is an exemption-definition-control scheme devised by civil government.[fn4]

The Bible explains and applies the principles of apostasy to the nation Israel as well as to the church. The history and consequences of apostasy concerning the nation Israel, God’s chosen nation and the only theocracy He ever ordained, is clearly recorded in the Old Testament. While under God, and recorded in the book of Judges, when Israel forsook the Lord and followed other gods, they provoked the Lord who “delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies” (Jud. 2.12-14). Since she had no earthly king, Israel had no choice but to turn to the Lord. The Israelites would “cry unto the Lord” who would then raise them up a deliverer, a judge, whom God would use to deliver them.

Israel reached the point where she decided that she did not like being directly under God. The road to total apostasy for the nation Israel began when Israel demanded a king so that, as they said, “we may also be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go our before us, and fight our battles” (see 1 S. 8). God gave Israel what she wanted, but warned them of the consequences (1 S. 8.11-17). God’s Word makes clear that this act of Israel was wicked (see 1 S. 12). Even though the nation had done wickedly, God, through Samuel, told Israel:

“… Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart; And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people” (1 S. 12.20-22).

Israel was now within the permissive, as opposed to the perfect, will of God.

After she rejected God, Israel was ruled and led by her king, not God. After the division into the northern and southern kingdoms, Judah had some good kings, but Israel never had a good king. Under her good kings who followed the Lord, Judah was ordered according to God’s principles, the people honored God, and God blessed the nation. However, Judah and Israel never chose to be under God when ruled by evil kings. As a result, both kingdoms became more and more evil until they both reached the point of no return (total apostasy) and the only remedy was judgment. At that point, God arranged, as prophesied, first that Israel would be taken captive by Assyria, then Judah would be taken captive by Babylon.

This same pattern of apostasy, as prophesied and explained in the New Testament, has been followed by churches in America. Of course, there has always been a remnant of true churches and believers who teach and practice the whole counsel of God. Baptist churches in the United States were warned by God’s prophets such as Isaac Backus and others not to incorporate because incorporation violated biblical principles; but many or most refused to look at the issue from a biblical point of view. Most of the same Baptists who had fought long and hard for religious freedom in America entered the road to apostasy soon after the ratification of the Constitution—they ran down to their state governments and sought and received corporate status from a lesser sovereign. They could do this because the First Amendment to the United States Constitution did not apply to the states until well into the twentieth century.[fn5] They could not do this on the federal level because of the First Amendment:

On February 21, 1811 President James Madison vetoed a bill entitled “An Act incorporating the Protestant Episcopal Church in the town of Alexander, in the District of Columbia” the District of Columbia being under federal jurisdiction. He stated that the bill violated the religion clause of the First Amendment.[fn6]

In all biblical covenants to which God is a party, the parties to the covenant accept duties and obligations underlining the fact that power is established through the consent of both sides rather than through tyranny by the more powerful party.[fn7] God gives churches (as well as individuals, families, and nations) free will. Churches choose to either honor or dishonor the Sovereign who is their spiritual Bridegroom, Husband, and Head. Through incorporation, churches choose the seductions of a lesser sovereign and place themselves at least partially under the permissive, as opposed to the perfect or directive, will of God. They violate the principle of separation, specifically the principle of separation of church and state for which our Baptist forefathers stood, suffered, and died. They choose the road toward apostasy. Like Israel who dishonored her love relationship with God the Father, these churches dishonor their love relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.[fn8]

Of course, for a long time, God honored America and America’s Bible believing churches even though most had chosen to dishonor their love relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ; but a little leaven[fn9] will grow and eventually pervert the truths in the Word of God. “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?  This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (See, e.g., Ga. 7.5-9. This principle is seen throughout the Bible.). False teaching takes its toll on churches and unrepentant heretic[fn10] churches will eventually go into complete apostasy, denying redemptive truth. “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Pe. 2.1). Many churches and cults deny truth concerning Christ’s person as son of God, God Himself, (1 Jn. 2.18-28; 4.1-5)and salvation by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

The New Testament makes clear that the visible churches, except for a remnant, will go into apostasy (See, e.g. 2 Th. 2.3-4; 1 Ti. 4.6; Jude 4). Church apostasy has a great effect on nations. As Dr. J. Vernon McGee has taught, the steps in the downfall of a nation are religious apostasy, moral awfulness and political anarchy. Gentile world apostasy comes in seven stages: “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” (Ro. 1.21-23). As a result of this Gentile world apostasy, mankind will sink into the depths of depravity (See Ro. 1.24-32).

The apostasy is usually introduced by ungodly men who will “wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Ti. 3.13). Our Lord warned against false teachers (See, e.g., Mt. 5.19; 7.15, 21-23; 15.9; 24.4-5, 11; Mk. 13.22). Peter, Paul, and Jude traced the origin of apostasy to false teachers, explained their methods of operation, and warned the church to beware of apostasy (See Ac. 20.28-31; Ga. 1.8-9; 3.1; 2 Co. 11.4, 19; Tit. 1.10-11; 1 Ti. 4.1-2, 3-5; 2 Pe. 2.1-3, 15-19; (all 2 Pe. 2 deals with false teachers); 3.3-4; 2 Jn. 9-11; Jude 4). Jude predicts the apostasy of the professing church and describes the cause and course of the apostasy. As in 2 Timothy and 2 Peter, the apostasy is treated as already having set in.

Apostasy has been apparent in some of the mainline denominations for a long time. Even many Bible believing Baptist churches have steadily increased in heretical teaching since the birth of the United States. For example, incorporation in authentic American churches was followed by the assaults of religious modernism, the building of huge edifices, watered down versions of the Word of God, infiltrations by psychology and other human techniques, organizing and operating churches like businesses to one degree or another, and so forth. The erosion of God’s New Testament churches was already being noted by some American preachers in the 1800s.

We are witnessing the inevitable consequences of the leaven of union of church and state through incorporation and 501c3 tax exemption. A wife who takes that first step away from her husband by fraternizing with another lover damages the marriage relationship and the journey toward the destruction of the marriage has begun. We now see the fruition of the practice of false doctrine in the apostate church growth and emerging church movements. In addition, most or many even so-called “Bible believing churches” today define their doctrine based upon the desires and philosophies of man. Many “Baptist” churches are now “Baptist” in name only. More and more close their doors each year. Thank the Lord that many heretical and apostate “Baptist” change their names from “Baptist”—it is too bad more of those type churches do not do so.  Many have “a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof.”

Some incorporated churches have good pastors who still preach and apply biblical principles concerning individuals and families and reach out to the lost through missions programs, public ministries such as door to door evangelism, street preaching, helping the poor, etc.; but I again repeat, as time marches on more and more of those churches are being cursed with pastors who are leading them into heresy to a greater or lesser degree and sometimes into apostasy. The road to total apostasy and judgment in Israel, after Israel chose to be ruled by a king, took 400 years. America has been a nation for only 235 years, but look at the spiritual condition of her churches, generally speaking.

This situation would not have arisen had pastors and churches loved their Savior, Lord, Head, Bridegroom, and Husband. Have you ever applied the principles of love in the Bible to your love for the Lord Jesus Christ in order to determine if you really love Him? I explain in two of my books how a church denies her love for the Lord Jesus Christ when she incorporates or becomes a legal entity in any way, including securing 501c3 religious organization status.[fn11]

Saying that one loves God is easy. Not many “Bible-believing” pastors and Christians will admit to not loving God. In fact, most will be infuriated if their love for the Lord is questioned. What is the proof of their love for God, according to the word of God? Is it the fact that they win souls; that they preach the Gospel; that they do many wonderful works; that they say unto Jesus, Lord, Lord; that they prophesy in Christ’s name (that they have the gift of prophecy so that they understand all mysteries, and all knowledge); that they cast out devils in Jesus name; that they do many wonderful works in Jesus name; that they speak with the tongues of men and of angels; that they have all faith, so that they can remove mountains; that they bestow all their goods to feed the poor; that they give their bodies to be burned?  If one does all those things and more, but does not have “charity” (supreme love for God and man), it profits him nothing, and he is nothing but is as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal (See Song of Solomon, esp. 8.7 and 1 Co. 13. Many of us forget that these verses should be used not only to examine our love for our fellow man, but also, and more importantly, our love for God.). God’s Word tells us that love is not an emotion or feeling, but action. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us what actions constitute love. Jesus Christ personified love through His actions, not through His Words. His Words merely proclaimed His love which were backed up by His actions. We show our love for Him through our actions.

The relationship of a church to her Lord is of utmost importance. You may be like the church at Ephesus. If so–and in spite of your works, labor, patience, and the fact that you “cannot bear those who are evil, and hast born, and hast patience, and for Jesus’ names sake have labored, and hast not fainted”—the Lord has somewhat against you, because you have left your first love. He wants you to repent and do the first works. If you do not, He will come to you quickly and remove your candlestick—in other words, you will no longer be a church even though you may call yourself a church.

You can, for the time being, choose the type church you want to be in America without persecution. You can be like the church at Ephesus, the church at Pergamos, the church at Thyatira, the church at Sardis, the church at Philadelphia, or the church at Laodicia. If you are a church in America, you cannot presently experience tribulation and poverty like the revered church at Smryna, but you can still choose, as did the church at Philadelphia, to keep the word of His patience and not deny His name. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

[1] I would note that “true Christianity is not found by any visible tracing through one set of people. It has been enwrapped in all who have followed purely apostolic principle through the ages; and thus the purity of Baptist life is found in the essence of their doctrines and practices by whomever enforced…. Pure doctrine, as it is found uncorrupted in the word of God, is the only unbroken line of succession which can be traced in Christianity.” See, e.g., Thomas Armitage, The History of the Baptists, Volume 1 (New York: Bryan, Taylor, & Co.; Chicago: Morningside Publishing Co., 1887), pp. 1-12 reprinted by Baptist Bible College in Srpingfield, Mo., 1977.

[2] The books are: Jerald Finney, God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Austin, TX: Kerygma Publishing Company, 2008 and Xulon Press, 2008), Section VI; (this book thoroughly analyses the biblical principles and the American application of those principles); Jerald Finney, Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities? (Austin, TX: Kerygma Publishing Company, 2009 and also Xulon Press, 2009). The articles are “Separation of church and state: Christians who call evil good and good evil” and “The Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) exemption-definition-control scheme.” A link to that article is included below. One can hear my audio teaching on the subject by clicking the player included with the article.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid. See Section VI, Chapter 5 of God Betrayed and Chapter 5 of Separation of Church and State.

[5] I explain how the First Amendment came to be applied to the states in Section V of God Betrayed. In that section, I also explain how the United States Supreme Court redefined the term “separation of church and state” in such a way that the new definition has been used to remove from practically all civil government matters.

[6] See God Betrayed, p. 365 for the full quote of President Madison’s objections to the bill.

[7] This accurate description was stated in Tashbih Sayyed, Ph.D., Levitt Letter, “A Muslim Observes A Jewish Land,” November 2009, p. 2.

[8] See God Betrayed and also, Jerald Finney The Most Important Thing:  Loving God and/or Winning Souls? (Austin, TX: Kerygma Publishing Co., 2008).

[9] Leaven means false doctrine or something which corrupts or depraves that with which it is mixed. “Beware the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Saducees…. How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Mt. 16.6, 11-12.

[10] “Heresy,” in its modern sense, means “any opinion which is repugnant to the doctrines of Scriptures. However, as men differ in the interpretation of Scripture, an opinion deemed heretical  by one body of Christians, may be deemed orthodox by another.” See AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, NOAH WEBSTER (1828), definition of “heresy.” Of course, Scripture contains truth and no alternatives to truth are possible.
One needs to consider the original sense of the meaning of “heresy” and “heretic.” Established churches have killed millions of those whom they labeled “heretics.” They did this because they denied choice to those who disagreed with the state religion. Thus, harlot religious organizations have perverted Scripture in order to force unity. These state religions, heretics themselves according to the modern sense, falsely labeled even true believers “heretics.” “The word “heresy” is derived from the Greek very hairein, which translates: “make-choice-between-alternatives” or “to exercise choice in the presence of alternatives.” See Leonard Verduin, The Reformers and Their Stepchildren (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1964), p. 72 and Leorard Verduin, The First Amendment and the Remnant (Sarasota, Florida: The Christian Hymnary Publishers, 1998), pp. xiii-xiv, 20.
The Word of God teaches that God gives everyone freedom of conscience to choose truth or error, regardless of civil government laws which require imprisonment, persecution, and death for “heretics.”

[11] God Betrayed and The Most Important Thing:  Loving God and/or Winning Souls?


What Pastors Are Saying in Response to this “Separation of Church and State Law” Blog: October, 2009 posting

Jerald Finney
© October, 2009
All articles on this blog may also be accessed from the following link: http://churchandstatelaw.com/gpage8.html

This article gives (without names or identifying information) some pastors’ e-mails with comments and questions concerning articles on this blog and my responses. I have received other e-mails from pastors and may do future articles on their comments and my responses because these e-mails not only raise important questions which need to be addressed, but also give insights into the thoughts of pastors on issues such as church incorporation and 501(c)(3) as well as the biblical doctrines of government, church, and separation of church and state.

My conclusions from reading and responding to these e-mails, as I believe you will agree, is that:

“the understanding of the biblical principles, history, law, and facts among pastors varies widely. Some pastors are like secularists in that they have no spiritual knowledge, wisdom, and understanding and refuse to  (and maybe cannot) look at the issues with an open mind. Some rely on their opinions as opposed to the Word of God as the basis for what they believe. Many take Scriptural verses completely out of context to support their erroneous views. Others are eager to please the Lord, and seek to increase their knowledge about these preeminent matters. Some already have some degree of understanding, greater or lesser, about these issues. Some are already practicing biblical principles in the area of church and state.”

You probably have received and possibly read some of my articles on this blog. Go to the very end for links to all the articles on this “Separation of Church and State Law” blog.


E-mail from a pastor who read some of my articles:

“I am writing to ask questions… not as a know it all, or in anger…. but because I always seek to do those things pleasing to the Lord, and according to law as a citizen of both Heaven and the USA.  I became the pastor of a church planting effort almost 3 years ago.  When we wanted to open our own bank account we were told that we needed our own EIN.

“I did not rush into the decision, but after counsel from others who said even Christ paid a “religious” tax with his disciples that he was certainly exempt from… that we could submit to the request to receive such a number.

“Our church did incorporate, believing that this was necessary so that we could file w-2 forms for me as the pastor.  We did not seek 501(c) 3 status because the law explicitly said we did not need to.

“Question:  How would I as a pastor pay tax on my income if I did not incorporate and receive an EIN.

“Question:  How do you have a bank account to hold church money that is given, without an EIN.

“Question:  If these things can be done, how would I communicate that to my bank.

“As a citizen of the USA, I am also a Citizen of Heaven.  I  have a social security number and the government defines much of what I can and cannot do.  Yet I do not tear up such a number, I simply walk when I can in agreement with the law, and when I cannot I obey God.  How is this different from what I now do as a pastor.  I do not read IRS code to determine what I preach.

“I appreciate the work you are doing… but do not think I fully understand.  I did listen to one of your broadcast that was linked below.”

Pastor ____________________

My response:

Dear Bro. __________________,

It is always exciting to hear from a pastor who has an mind open to consider these preeminent issues.

Can you call me? To answer your questions would be much easier if we could talk. Or e-mail me and leave your phone number and I would be glad to give you a call.

Let me suggest my blog article American abuse of Romans 13.1-2 (I think you can access the article by clicking the title) and other related verses. There is an audio teaching included with that article. I have one book which deals specifically with Romans 13 and other verses including the verses dealing with the tribute money which are routinely misinterpreted by many pastors and Christians.

To understand the issues, one must do a dedicated study of Scripture. I have done such a study and have put my findings in God Betrayed. I have also written on three other books dealing with related issues. My studies have consumed thousands of hours. Most pastors, through no fault of their own, were never taught the biblical principles and doctrines concerning church, state, and separation of church and state.

I would be happy to discuss all your questions with you, but I just don’t have the time to write out the answers since to fully answer them would require writing a book.

I appreciate all Bible believing pastors. Hopefully more will, like you, begin to look into these very important issues.

 For His Glory,
Jerald Finney



After reading the e-mail, I first offer this response followed by his comments and my responses:

Dear Pastor __________,

Thanks for taking  your valuable time to offer your opinions on this subject. I offer the following insights in love. I do not offer my opinions. I base all I say on the Word of God. I base my analysis of fact, law, and history on the Word of God. Truth is not based on opinion. In your opinion, incorporation and 501(c)(3) for churches is a minor issue. To God, according to His Word, this is a major, major issue. That this is a major issue to God is apparent from His Word. That is why He likens Himself to the Bridegroom, Husband, and Head of His church who is the wife and bride of Christ. That is why He tells us:

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27).

God is giving this analogy so that a Christian who is walking in the spirit can understand how important these issues are.

In addition to telling us how He feels about His churches, He gives us His desired organization, purposes, and definition of His churches. I go over all this in great detain in my books and in the audio teachings on my “Separation of Church and State Law” blog.

Now to your comments and my answers – I have already addressed some of your comments. I will give my answer after each of your paragraphs:

To: Jerald Finney <jerald.finney@sbcglobal.net>
Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 7:51:08 AM
Subject: RE: Important information on 501c3 and incorporation of churches

Pastor’s comments:

Dear Brother Jerald,

Thanks for the e-mail my kind sir,  but no thanks on the message.  The day the Feds come after the churches for whatever excuse they will think of, it will matter not if one is 501c3. Matter of fact, they will probably go after the non 501c3 churches first.  While I am very familiar with the whole of the issue wither to be or not to be 501c3,  I find it to be a sub issue with little to no relevance to our Faith and practice as a local Church.  This is a minor issue ,one has to have been burned as BJU (a non local church taking a unbiblical stand, {that they have later recanted of}) was to think it a major one.  The Control of the Federal Government via 501c3 on local churches is nil in my 25 years of ministry experience.  Churches & ministries trying to fleece the people of God with book stores, fund raisers  and the like, ought to be paying taxes when they are turning a profit, like A-BEKA was.

My response: Civil government in America would go after New Testament churches (churches which are not legal entities such as corporations, unincorporated associations, corporations sole, etc. and which have not obtained 501(c)(3) status) if they could. They do not for two reasons: first, such churches are free under God – they are free in America, in China, Korea, and in every nation. I could show you this biblically, but that is a deep study. Let me just give you one verse: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16.18)(He is speaking of His churches, not state churches). Tyrannical governments can force churches to meet underground, but they cannot touch those churches. They can only persecute Christians when they are caught practicing their faith and destroy or take property. Nonetheless, those Christians are free. Most Christians in America, like lost people, are in bondage to the American system – they have been so Americanized that they cannot walk in the Spirit and do things God’s way in spite of the fact that they can do so without persecution and with only mild inconveniences.

Second, New Testament churches in America are protected by the First Amendment and various state constitutional and legal provisions. Civil government will go after, as they are already doing, state churches (legal entities such as corporations, unincorporated associations, corporations sole, etc. and possibly also 501(c)(3)) first. They have controlled and defined those churches to one degree or another. State churches reflect America’s principles, not God’s principles. Furthermore, state churches have given up much of their First Amendment protection which non-state churches still enjoy. The “gates of hell” are already prevailing against those churches. I do not have time to fully explain this – see my books. Obviously, from the contents of your letter, you are not familiar with the issue of incorporation and 501(c)(3).

By the way, Bob Jones University was not a church, nor was it a free educational institution. It was an incorporated 501(c)(3) institution of higher learning which had subjected itself to civil government control in return for supposed government perks. I have thoroughly read the case and analyzed it in two of my books.

I agree with you about churches which conduct businesses. I believe that they should be taxed. I cannot remove a candlestick, but God may have already done so as to many churches which, to Him, are no longer churches. Ultimately, God is and will be their judge, just as He will judge those churches and Christians who have failed to “love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.” Incorporated 501(c)(3) churches and churches who have chosen to become legal entities in any way have not loved God, from His perspective – therefore, they do not love Him. State churches arrange their affairs according to man’s laws, not those of God. Even though they may be right about some things, they are wrong in their organization, procedures, and operation. I go over this thoroughly in The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls. In that book, I explain what the Bible teaches on the subject, not what I think; and I do not take verses out of context to support my opinion.

And let me say this, no one in America is forced to go to any church. In addition, the First Amendment as well as state constitutional provisions and laws protect those churches who do things God’s way and choose not to entangle themselves in the control-definition schemes devised by civil government. I do not go to a state church because to do so would be to dishonor my Lord and Savior. I go to a New Testament church. You are free to run a state church and people are free to go to that church. In America, one is free to serve either God or mammon without persecution.

Also, anyone who commits a crime, regardless of what church he is in, can be charged and subjected to the criminal justice system. I believe that many more members of state churches are guilty of sinning against God and man than members of true New Testament churches.

Pastor’s comments: I know of churches that have un-incorporated, so they can say, “we have no power but God over us.” only to find out that they could not get a bank account, people could no longer deduct their giving, and the church had to operate on a complete cash basis, anyone could be sued personally with no protection and as an added bonus, draw the community’s attention of being secretive and cultish.  No Thanks!  While I am sure the anti-christ in the tribulation will utilize the current finical computer systems of the banking industry to control the masses, I don’t plan on being here.  And Until such time that being 501c3 violate clear biblical  command to obey God rather than man, our church will utilize to the current system of protection set up by the American government.

My response: I know churches who are pleasing God and operating according to the principles of the New Testament. There are ways under the laws of America for New Testament churches to operate and utilize property while not owning that property. Also, it is possible to set up bank accounts for the use of the monies given by church members. I know of many churches which are now utilizing those methods and honoring God. Their people are happy, and they love the Lord and His precepts. Although they suffer some minor inconveniences, many of them take tax deductions. Internal Revenue Code Publications (see my books and audio teachings), in accordance with the law says they can do so and the issue has been taken up and ruled upon positively by at least one federal court. I personally do not take such a deduction, since I give for His pleasure, not so that I can get a tax deduction. One caveat is this – since the enactment of the Patriot Act there are sometimes hurdles for a New Testament church to jump in attempts to open a bank account.

You allow the community, not God to define you? You fear that they will label you as secretive and cultish? Let me tell you, the non-state churches I know of are completely open. Anyone can come and observe them. No IDs are taken at the door and they, like state churches, probably have state agents observing them. God’s churches love and fear God, not man and civil government. The Bible speaks much on the issue of fear to the believer who is walking in the Spirit. For example, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

In America today, even sold out state churches are disdained. Even pseudo-Christians in state churches are disdained. Jesus was disdained. The apostles were all disdained and persecuted. True Christians over the last two thousand years have been labeled as cultish and secretive by their communities. Furthermore, they have been beheaded, drowned, burned alive, imprisoned, etc. by the church state alliances (by the established churches using the arm of the state or the state using the established churches) all because they would have no power over them but the Lord Jesus Christ. John Bunyan was one of those who refused to bow down to civil government. And over hundreds of years, they had to be somewhat secretive, because to operate openly meant certain torture and/or death. For a state church to use the example of John Bunyan to support their position is beyond ludicrous.

And you fall back on the rapture. I believe in the rapture. But don’t count on it to save you from persecution. First, if you are not saved, you will not be taken in the rapture. Second, there is no guarantee that Christians in America will not once again suffer persecution. Christians all over the world to this very day are beaten, imprisoned, tortured, killed, etc. for their faith by communities and governments who label them as secretive and cultish. What makes you think American Christians are any better? What gives you the right to discount persecution? We are told that those “who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Jesus said,

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5.10-12).

Christians who are persecuted for Christ’s are highly favored by God. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15.13). Christ laid down his life for his children, but “Christians” in state churches are unwilling to lay down anything, much less their lives, for Him. After all, that is not necessary since they believe that they will be raptured out of here before they have to suffer anything for our Lord.

Getting 501(c)(3) clearly violates biblical principles and grieves our Lord. You take a portion of 1 Peter 2.13 out of its immediate context and the context of Scripture as a whole to support your erroneous position. I deal with 1 Peter 2.13, Romans 13 and other verses taken out of context and abused by Christians as well as secularists in my books and teachings. One of my books, Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses, as well as one audio teaching on “Separation of Church and State Law” blog are devoted entirely to this issue. To fully understand the issue, one must either do his own extensive study or get God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application.

Pastor’s comments: Do I trust them?  No, no more than Paul did when Rome (the powers that be) cut off his head, but little he did, stopped the Roman government from its evil plan orchestrated by Satan.   So to, little that we do in the matter of 501c3 will have any effect on the end times and Satan’s master plan for world domination.

My response: Here you say you don’t trust them, but in the other paragraphs you praise them for protecting state churches and their members. Our God-given goal is not to “stop them.” Our God-given goal is to glorify Him by following his principles as laid down in His Word. We can only do that if we  are saved, and then only if we cherish Him and His precepts and submit ourselves to Him. We cannot do this  if we are ignorant.

Pastor’s comments: In Conclusion, while I find the premise of why not to be 501c3 somewhat valid biblically, I find the practice of operating without the protection of 501c3 risky and  as well non-biblical, for Christ told us to be as wise as serpents and gentle as lambs.  I must ask myself as a pastor, how wise is it to subject my people to possible lawsuits, government inquires to why we operate below radar,  community people accusing us of not being above board and cultish thus hurting the testimony of Christ.   No, I have made my decision, this is not jolly old England telling me to get a permit to preach the gospel as they did John Bunyan, this is the USA trying to give protection to the 1st amendment as well as keep charlatans who would operate as a non-profit churches and ministries who’s real purpose is political or for profit or worse yet for fleecing the people of God.

My response: Your first sentence in your conclusion is internally inconsistent and you quote a verse completely out of context to support a position that the verse does not speak to. Again, to understand what Scripture teaches about government, church, and separation of church and state requires systematic study. See 2 Timothy 2.15.

As to your reliance on incorporation for “limited liability,” I address this and other spurious rationale you give for becoming a legal entity in my books. I can’t do the subject justice here, but will give you a brief synopsis of biblical truth on the issue of limited liability. See my books for God’s perspective on the other false reasons given for incorporating and getting a 501(c)(3). A state church (legal entity such as corporation, etc. and 501c3) and members of that church have less protection than a non-state church. Members of each are still liable for their crimes and torts and crimes and torts to which they are a party. As to protection of personal assets against suit against the church for failure to pay debts of the church, biblical principles make clear that we are not to go into debt, but that if we do, as Christians, we are to pay those debts, not seek protection through a legal device devised by man. And that device does not offer the protections you allude to. Check my books and audio teachings for a full understanding.

A New Testament church is still fully protected by the First Amendment. A New Testament church cannot be sued, since she is not a legal entity and is protected from state attempts to make it a legal entity by the First Amendment as well as by state constitutional and statutory provisions. Her members can be sued or charged for their crimes and  torts. A New Testament church cannot enter into contract, because she is not a legal entity.

A state church has given up much of its First Amendment protection. Such a church now falls under the Fourteenth Amendment. Again, see my books and teachings.

Whether you know it or not, the state has limited you as to what you can preach if you are an incorporated 501(c)(3) church. Five rules go along with the 501(c)(3) status. Four are clearly stated in the law and one has come about by court decision. If you are like most state church pastors, you have never read the law or the rules that you agreed to when you got your 501(c)(3). In addition, God expects you to honor any rules you agree to, even if they are contrary to His rules. Obviously, He would rather you honor Him in the first place. Should the state say you have violated one or more of those rules, your only recourse is to go to court – the court will tell you whether you have violated the rule(s) and will tell you the consequences. You will not be able to appeal to God’s Word and rules, only the reasoning and rules laid down by the civil government. I go over all this in detail in my books and teachings.

A state church has denied the power of God. She has turned to the state because God and His principles are not sufficient. Christians in state churches (in general), as evidenced by your letter, do not know His principles, much less the facts about incorporation, 501(c)(3), etc. State churches believe that civil law gives them more protection than does God, but they are totally deceived – they have less protection. Most state churches don’t even examine the rules, procedures, etc. that they have bound themselves to keep. To fully understand this read my books and/or listen to my audio teachings.

This does not mean that a church which has chosen not to become a legal entity is operating according to God’s truth in all areas. Those New Testament churches I know of operate very honorably and according to the Word of God. Their pastors preach the whole counsel of God. Although preeminent, church organization and operation are not the only aspects of the Christian walk. New Testament churches who operate according to God’s principles in the area of church organization are much more likely than state churches to honor God’s other precepts as well. On the other hand, state churches are definitely operating outside God’s will in their organization, are at least partially under a head other than the Lord Jesus Christ, and are causing God much grief, even though they may be honoring one or some of His principles.

Churches and pastors who choose to honor God in the way they organize their churches are much more likely to honor him in other ways. The New Testament church pastors I know are far more honorable that most state church pastors I have ever met. Those preachers of New Testament churches do not get big salaries and perks. They preach the whole counsel of God, not just selected portions that do not offend. They are honorable men.

I would like to add that even a state church can have a good pastor. I know such pastors. A state church is like the nation Israel when  she  demanded a king. Being under God alone was not what they wanted. God granted their wish since He always give people what they want, when they have a choice (See 1 Samuel 8). Even though they had committed a great wickedness in demanding a king, God still promised that he would bless them if they would serve the Lord with all their heart and turn not aside (See 1 Samuel 12). However, the nation had dishonored their Husband (Yes, Israel was called the wife of God the father, just as the church is likened unto the wife of the Lord Jesus. See my books.). Once one takes the first step away from her husband, other steps inevitably  follow. Before it was over, Israel was into complete apostasy and the only remedy was judgment. Judah, after the division, had some good kings although most were evil. When she had a good king and followed God, she was blessed and vice versa. Israel never had a good king – all were evil. The same principles apply to a church who has taken that first step to dishonor her Husband. Sooner or later she will not have a good pastor. Sooner or later she will sink into heresy and then into apostasy. We are seeing this happen in many state churches in America.

You try to bolster your opinion with lies that you cannot substantiate interspersed with total ignorance of the issues. Here is one specific example of that from your conclusion: “[T]his is the USA trying to give protection to the 1st amendment as well as keep charlatans who would operate as a non-profit churches and ministries who’s real purpose is political or for profit or worse yet for fleecing the people of God.”  You attack the many excellent New Testament churches, pastors, and Christians in those churches with no basis to support your attack. No New Testament church I know of makes a profit. Every dime given by the members of New Testament churches I know of goes for biblically sound purposes, mostly for legitimate ministries. The last I heard, the church I attend gives 60 or 70% of all tithes and offering to missions.  The only churches I know of that are illegitimate and doing the things you mentioned in the quote above are state churches – churches who have chosen to operate according to worldly principles as legal entities such as corporations, corporations sole, unincorporated associations, etc. and with 501(c)(3) religious organization tax exempt status.

Your statement about what the USA is trying to do is so ridiculous, I am not going to reply to it.

Pastor’s closing:

Take it for what is worth, my brother,
Pastor _______



Another pastor e-mailed me the following question: “Are you saying we should not be registered?”

My reply:

Dear Brother _________________,
It is not what I say or think about an issue. The real question is, “What does the Word of God say about and teach on this issue. That is, what are the biblical principles concerning this issue?” So, first one must understand the biblical principles involved – in this case, the biblical principles concerning church, state, and separation of church and state. Then, one must apply fact to principle to see if principle is being violated.
 This is what I do in the studies provided. A pastor or other Christian can study the teachings. This gives one a reference point to consider these issues. Most pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and other Christians today have never looked at these principles. “Christ loved the church and gave himself for it that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word” (Ep. 5.25-26). The epistles of Paul develop the doctrine of the church who was jealous over the church with a godly jealousy. As Paul wrote, “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” (1 Co. 11.2-3). The principles of civil government are also laid out in the Bible as is the principle of separation of church and state. Millions of Christians have given their lives and Christians continue to give their lives for these principles, but not in America.
 It is your love relationship with the Lord that is affected. When an individual and a church violates that relationship, not only is our Lord is grieved but also there are bad consequences.
Thanks for your interest in this matter.
For His Glory,
Bro. Jerald Finney
Bro. Finney,

I have no desire to be 501c3, and know the reason why.  The first link on our email contains an extra “.” which prevents folks from accessing the information (unless they notice the extra period).

Any relation to Charles Finney?  He is from this area (not that I hold to all that he did).

Bro. _____________________



Another pastor commented as follows to one of my articles: “Stop connseling pastors and go back to practicing law. You are not helping anyone.”

My response: “The legal association to which I volunteer much of my time (pro bono) has helped many churches to organize according to the biblical principles. Pastors and other Christians who have biblical knowledge, spiritual understanding and wisdom and open minds are coming to me ever more frequently for help in understanding and applying biblical principles relating to church organization.”
May you find the audio teaching and articles on this “Separation of Church and State Law” blog inspiring and helpful in your attempts to submit to our spiritual Husband and Head, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Separation of Church and State: Christians Who Call Evil Good and Good Evil

Jerald Finney
Copyright © September, 2009

Lecture entitled “Hierarchy of Law” by Jerald Finney on August 26, 2012 at Old Paths Baptist Church in Fayetville, Tennessee on the 16th anniversary of that church and also the day the church finalized their change from incorporated 501(c)(3) religious organization and legal entity to a non-legal, spiritual enity only.

Jerald Finney: Audio teaching on legal versus spiritual entities and incorporation of churches

Jerald Finney continues his audio teaching on incorporation of churches

To download one of the above audio teachings, right click link and left click “Save link as…”

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Is. 5.20)!  I would guess that most Christians would apply this verse, as I have in the past, to the unregenerate, and possibly to carnal Christians. But having been intimately involved in two fundamental Bible believing churches since being saved, I have by experience learned that many pastors, missionaries, and other Christians have been deceived as to the doctrines of church, government, and separation of church and state to the extent that they call certain evil good and certain good evil, put darkness for light, and light for darkness, bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. Please let me explain.

8My pastors have always stood for the biblical doctrines of church, state, and separation of church and state. Nonetheless, they associate with pastors and other Christians who are members of state churches. By state churches, I mean churches who are legal entities. Legal entity means:

“Legal existence. An entity, other than a natural person, who has sufficient existence in legal contemplation that it can function legally, be sued or sue and make decisions through agents as in the case of corporations” (BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY 893-894 (6th ed. 1990), definition of “legal entity).”

Many avenues are open for a church to become a legal entity. A few of many examples are incorporation, corporation sole, unincorporated association, 501(c)(3) tax exemption, and taking insurance in the name of the church.

A New Testament church (which, in America, is also a United States Constitution First Amendment church) cannot also be a legal entity. A New Testament or First Amendment church is a spiritual entity only, and cannot sue or be sued. A New Testament church is a spiritual body of whom Christ is the head and the members on earth the body (Jn. 3.28-29; Ro. 7.4; 1 Co. 12.12-27; Ep. 1.22-23; 4.15-16; Col. 2.19).  The Bible calls Jesus Christ the bridegroom and husband of the church who is the bride and wife (see, e.g., Ep. 5.22-33; 2 Co. 11.1-4; Re. 19.6-8).

EvilGood_GoodEvilWhen a believer who is walking in the Spirit according to knowledge, wisdom, and understanding applies earthly fact to biblical principle, he cannot help but see that a church who becomes a legal entity puts herself at least partially under another head, submits herself at least partially to another lover, entangles herself in earthly as opposed to biblical or spiritual  procedures and requirements, and is at least partially financed, educated, directed, and/or  controlled by an earthly entity (two such entities if a church is both incorporated and also under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code). In other words, such a church has violated the biblical principle of separation as well as many other biblical principles. (See God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application and/or Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities? and other books by Jerald Finney for a thorough analysis of these matters. Click the following link to preview God Betrayed: Link to preview of God Betrayed.  The book can be ordered from the “Books” page of the “Church and State Law website.”  These books and many other resources are available on the “Books” page of  the “Church and State Law” website.)

Here are some earthly facts about incorporation which can be applied to biblical principles:

(1) The sovereign of a non-profit or private corporation such as an incorporated church is the state (see, e.g. 18A AM. JUR. 2D Corporations §§ 74, 156 (2007)).
(2) “A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law. As a mere creature of law, it possesses only those properties which the charter of its creation confers upon it, either expressly or as incidental to its very existence; these are such as are supposed best calculated to effect the object for which they were created. It is essentially the legal identity of a set of contractual obligations and entitlements” (18 AM. JUR. 2D Corporations § 1 (2007)).

A biblical and historical Baptist principle is that God desires separation of church and state, not separation of God and church or separation ofSeparationOFChurchAndState10 God and state. Study Jerald Finney's writings and/or audio teachings to discover the truth about and how to apply the principle.
A biblical and historical Baptist principle is that God desires separation of church and state, not separation of God and church or separation of God and state. Study Jerald Finney’s writings and/or audio teachings to discover the truth about and how to apply this principle.

(3) “A corporate charter frequently is described as a contract of a threefold nature; that is, a contract between the state and the corporation, a contract between the corporation and its stockholders [or members if a private religious corporation], and a contract between the stockholders [or members] inter se. The charter also is spoken of as a contract between the state and the corporators” (18 AM. JUR. 2D Corporations § 81 (2007)). Other contracts are created by the bylaws of the corporation: contracts between the members or stockholders of a corporation, and contracts between the corporation and its members or its stockholders. Contract is not biblical because contract leaves God out of the equation. The controlling party to the contracts involved in church incorporation is the state, and the state will not allow biblical principles to be invoked in resolving any disputes arising under those contracts. The multiple contracts created by the articles of incorporation and the bylaws entangle the incorporated church with earthly satanic concerns.
(4) An incorporated 501(c)(3) church gets part of her powers from God and part from two civil governments-the state of incorporation and the federal government. She is under three heads. The church, as a legal entity, can sue and be sued as to both earthly and spiritual matters. The church must have elected officers who conduct business meetings, meet statutory requirements, etc. as required by the law of the sovereign, the state of incorporation. The church, be getting 501(c)(3) status, agrees that she will abide by the rules that go along with 501(c)(3); the church has become part of the 501(c)(3) government education and control scheme for churches.
(5) The incorporated church, as has been stated, is an artificial person and a separate legal entity. This has many ramifications.
(6) The purpose of the corporation is at odds with the God-given purpose of a church. Ultimately, the purpose of a church is to glorify God by submitting herself to her Husband in all things (See Ep. 5.24).  The basic purpose of incorporation is to allegedly increase the happiness of man by creating a “distinct legal entity, with legal rights, obligations, powers, and privileges different from those of the natural individuals who created it, own it, or whom it employs” (18 AM. JUR. 2D Corporations § 44 (2007)).
(7) A corporation and a church have different creators. Church members, under authority of and in conjunction with the state, create the corporation. God supernaturally creates a church: “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Ac.  2.47b).
(8) The organization of a church and a corporation are different. The incorporated “church” has “employees.” Even should the incorporated “church” call their “employees” ministers, the state looks at them as “employees,” and the state is the sovereign of the corporation. A New Testament church cannot have employees and remain a New Testament church.
(9) Whereas a church is to have pastors, teachers, and so forth, state laws which create corporations require the corporation to have officers such as president, treasurer, secretary, and so forth.
(10) Ownership of a church and a corporation differ. “Members in a nonprofit corporation are the ‘owners’ of the corporation and generally play a role similar to shareholders in for-profit corporations” (18A AM. JUR. 2D Corporations § 609 (2007)). The corporation owns the assets of the church.  Jesus Christ  owns a New Testament church, and a New Testament church owns nothing. In America, a New Testament church can still enjoy the use of both real and personal property without owning it. Old Paths Baptist Church church and state law ministry helps churches structure themselves as New Testament churches.
(11) An incorporated church must deal with all the government red tape that comes with incorporation. The incorporated church must now elect officers, hold business meetings, notify members of those meetings pursuant to statutory requirements, keep records, etc. All these secular activities take tremendous time, energy, and resources which could be used in pursuing the God-given purposes of a church. The incorporated church who does not comply with statutory requirements is being dishonest and could face further problems from her sovereign state.
(12) An incorporated church, having compromised her love for her Husband, will continue to make incremental compromises, and ultimately (perhaps in 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, or 200 years or more) will fall into heresy and apostasy. And from the beginning of that initial compromise, the Lord, even though longsuffering in His love and mercy, is grieving because of His wife’s compromise.
(13) A corporation cannot be the bride of Christ, the wife of Christ. The incorporated part of an incorporated church is not the bride of Christ, the wife of Christ, but rather an extramarital illicit relationship existing alongside the marriage.

An analysis of corporation sole and unincorporated association reveals the flaws in those types of legal entities when applied to churches. Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) tax exempt status puts a church further under the control of the state and is thoroughly analyzed in two of the above mentioned books written by Jerald Finney. Any time a church sets herself up to be a legal entity, she violates biblical principle, grieves our Lord, and puts herseslf on the road to heresy and apostasy. As long as a church has a good pastor, God will still bless that church to an extent. However, both the Old and New Testaments warn about the ultimate consequences of taking that first step away from our spiritual lover. Sooner or later, a state church will have a pastor who will no longer  honor God, and she will degenerate deeper and deeper into heresy, and ultimately into apostasy.

My pastor is a great man of God who preaches the whole word of God. In the past, before I became a member of Old Paths Baptist church, I attended church conferences which were well attended by pastors and missionaries. At those conferences, certain of those pastors and missionaries have struck out against the fact that the church which I attended was not a state incorporated 501(c)(3) church. In addition, I have, over the years, witnessed many other Christians who believe that a church in America should become state incorporated 501(c)(3) church, and have seen them become very angry at a pastors who refuse to operate as a state church. These Christians are, in effect, calling evil good and good evil. They are, as to this aspect of their Christian walk, proceeding without knowledge and wisdom; they are walking in darkness rather than light. They know not of which the speak (and act). They are on the road to heresy and apostasy.

One more relevant matter (mentioned above) needs to be addressed. A church in the United States can choose to be either a New Testament church who operates according to biblical principles or a state church. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution as well as provisions in most or all state constitutions provide that churches can operate totally free from governmental control. Churches in America, by law, can operate according to the principles of the Word of God. Those who choose the latter will not be defined, controlled, and restricted by the world as is the state church, but they will suffer a degree of persecution by some other Christians.

Many Christians have not heeded the warning of Col. 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.” They have not, to one degree or another, escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust because they have not added to their faith knowledge without which they are “blind, and cannot see afar off.”  When God’s people reject knowledge, they will be destroyed (see 1 Peter 1.4-10; Hosea 4.6).