Tag Archives: Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3)

Can a church force a homosexual to turn straight to stay in the church?

Jerald Finney
Copyright © September 9, 2015

This article presents a question on AVVO, a legal website, asked by person who practices homosexual conduct, and my answer. On September 14, 2014, I was notified that the question asker picked mine as the best answer. The following, before the article, is a copy of that notification:

BestAnswer

The following question was asked on AVVO, a legal website on 090815:

A church which is a legal entity (e.g. incorporated 501c3 church) grieves our Lord and is partially, at the least, under a head other than the Lord Jesus Christ.
A church which is a legal entity (e.g. incorporated 501c3 church) grieves our Lord and is partially, at the least, under a head other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am homosexual and my new pastor says that I have to turn straight to stay in my church. Can force me to it to be able to stay?

“I have gone to the same church for 11 years. I have never had a problem in my church even if I am openly gay and dress quite feminine. We have a new pastor since a year and he has tried to talk me into becoming straight since day one. Clearly, he is quite homophobic…. I have been able to laugh about if until now, but he is now trying to put pressure on my by the other pastors.

“They have never had a problem with me before. Suddenly they want me to dress differently and “become straight”.

“I am feeling harassed by my pastor and he even talked about me in church yesterday. It was clearly about me and I could feel the hostility.

“What can I do? Can I even try to do something legal against my pastor or is he protected by the law since he is God’s voice?”

My answer  to the above question was as follows:

“Yours is not like the case in which the baker refused to do a wedding cake for homosexuals. That was a business. Your dispute is with a church. Businesses are not covered by the First Amendment whereas churches are. The First Amendment says:

4“‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’

“One can read the history of the First Amendment at: https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/contents/onl….

“An abbreviated version of that history is at: https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/a….

For the history incorporated with an examination of both Christian and Secular Historical revisionism of the history of the First Amendment see https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/god-betrayed/books/the-trail-of-blood-of-the-martyrs-of-jesus/ 

“I cannot fully answer your question in this forum, but I will give you an answer in a nutshell with additional resources for more detailed study.

“If your church is totally under the First Amendment (has not become a legal entity by incorporating, getting Internal Revenue Code Section 501c3 or Section 508 status, etc.), you have no legal recourse whatsoever against your church.

9“On the other hand, should your church be a legal entity, she has voluntarily taken herself, for many purposes, out from under First Amendment protections. For example, your church may be held in violation of the rule which says that the 501c3 religious organization shall not violate fundamental public policy. This rule was set in place by the IRS and upheld by the United States Supreme Court as to a religious organization – a religious school named Bob Jones University. The issue involving a church has not been dealt with. What the court would do in the church religious organization setting is not certain. However, I believe that the court should enforce the “against public policy” exception as to any religious organization. After all, if a church has voluntarily agreed to 501c3 status, she has agreed, as do religious schools, charitable trusts, Planned Parenthood, the Church of Wicca, and other organizations, to abide by the rules that go along with the status. The religious organization is getting benefits, so she should be willing to abide by the give and take contract she eagerly sought. There are many arguments one can make to support upholding the rules for all 501c3 organizations, not just select organizations.

Click the above to go to online version of God Betrayed.
Click the above to go to online version of God Betrayed.

“I don’t have the room to cover all the arguments, the law, etc. in this short space. This is all covered in much detail on the website, opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com. A link to the PDF of the comprehensive book on these matters is at https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/contents/boo…. One can go to the index and look up Bob Jones University, and many other specific issues, or the Table of Contents to get general subjects such as incorporation, 501c3, etc. The online version has updates and is at: https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/contents/boo…. The online version does not have an index.

“To look at church legal entity status one can go online to https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/contents/boo….

“The courts have not yet addressed the question of violation of fundamental public policy in the church (religious organization) context. As I said above, the courts have no jurisdiction over the purely spiritual church (the non-legal entity) church; such a church in America may still operate according to the principles in the Bible without civil government jurisdiction and persecution.

“You will need someone to help you who is well-versed in the law should you desire to proceed legally. The res
End – out of characters”

To go the the webpage of the above question with answers from other attorneys, click here.

Church Internal Revenue Code § 508 Tax Exempt Status

See also, Legal answer to Pastor’s inquiry concerning whether a potential donor of substantial gift an claim a tax deduction under IRC Section 508 even though the church will not give an IRS acknowledgement (123118)

Jerald Finney
Copyright © April 28, 2014

Click the above to go to online version of God Betrayed.
Click the above to go to online version of God Betrayed.

In the book God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (“God Betrayed.”)(See Endnote 1 for links to the two free versions or for ordering information should you desire a softback copy as well as information on other books and resources by Jerald Finney.) as well as in other books and writings, I originally taught that a New Testament church could depend upon Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) § 508 (“508”) for her non-taxable status. I was wrong. After years of study, I have learned that a New Testament church cannot depend upon 508 for her non-taxable status because, in so doing, the church gives up her New Testament and First Amendment status. However, I am more certain than ever of the correctness of my original biblically based conclusions that a church grieves the Lord when they intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently attain church corporate and/or 501(c)(3) status or legal entity status (See Endnote 1) of any kind. I ask those who have followed my teachings to forgive me for misleading them concerning church 508 status. This brief article explains church 508 status and its effect.

A New Testament Church is also a First Amendment Church. This is because the First Amendment is a law which corresponds with some biblical principles including the principle of separation of church and state. The First Amendment is a part of the second highest law of the land, the United States Constitution. The highest law of every nation is God’s law, whether a nation recognizes it or not. The Lord, for the time being, allows individuals, families, churches, and nations free will to honor His precepts or not. The choices determine the ultimate consequences. Click here to listen to Jerald Finney’s lecture “Hierarchy of Law” (CD of speech at Old Paths Baptist Church in Fayetville, TN. given on the Sunday the church formally adopted the Declaration of Trust). The following article “First Amendment Protection of New Testament Churches/Federal Laws Protecting State Churches (Religious Organizationsalso explains hierarchy of law.

The First Amendment says:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Notice especially that the First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” [Emphahsis mine.]

Are not those words very clear? No law means “no law.” What is IRC § 508? It, like IRC  501(c)(3), is a law made by Congress and signed by the President. According to the clear meaning of the First Amendment, IRC § 508 and IRC  501(c)(3) are, when applied to churches, laws “respecting an establishment of religion and preventing the free exercise thereof.”

Why would a church take themselves from First Amendment status and protection to either IRC § 508 or IRC § 501(c)(3)? One reason is lack of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. When a church claims either 508 or 501(c)(3) status, she has rejected her First Amendment non-taxable status and freely accepted the offer of the federal government to enter into an agreement (contract) for tax exempt status as provided by a law. (See God Betrayed for teaching which explains this)

Let me repeat: First Amendment churches under God are non-taxable. 501(c)(3) and 508 religious organizations are tax exempt. IRC § 508 (the codification of Public Law 91-172 ratified in 1969) provides in relevant part:

A portion of Internal Revenue Code § 508. Click to the above to go to § 508.
A portion of Internal Revenue Code § 508. Click the above to go to § 508.

§ 508. Special rules with respect to section 501(c)(3) organizations. “(a) New organizations must notify secretary that they are applying for recognition of section 501(c)(3) status. “(c) Exceptions. “(1) Mandatory exceptions. Subsections (a) and (b) shall not apply to— “(A) churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches” (26 U.S.C. § 508). [Emphasis mine.]

§ 508(a),(c) says churches are excepted from obtaining IRC § 501(c)(3) tax exempt status (See Endnote 2 for links to articles which fully explain church IRC § 501(c)(3)) status). 508 churches are an exception to the civil government requirement that certain organizations file for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.

A church should rely on the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, not on 508 status for three reasons. First, the First Amendment is a statement of the biblical principle of separation of church and state (See, for a short explanation with links to more in depth studies, Is Separation of Church and State Found in the Constitution?). When a church relies on the First Amendment, they are relying on a biblical principle. Should the biblical principle be abused or ignored by the civil government, so be it—a church should then rely and act only on the biblical principle. Endnote 3.

A law of man which enacts some biblical principles.
A law of man which enacts some biblical principles.

Second, to rely on 508 contradicts the First Amendment. To repeat, the First Amendment religion clause states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

IRS Publication 1828. Click the above to go directly to IRS Pub. 1828.
IRS Publication 1828. Click the above to go directly to IRS Pub. 1828.

Obviously, 508 is a law made by Congress which regards an establishment of religion; 508 also prevents the free exercise of religion because a church which claims 508 status thereby submits themselves to some control by the federal government in that the church becomes subject to the rules that come with IRC 501(c)(3) status. 508 does not state that the First Amendment forbids Congress from making any law in violation of the First Amendment; and that, therefore, a church is non-taxable. 508 is a law made by Congress which states that Congress, by law, is declaring an exemption for churches. Thus, by a clear reading of the First Amendment, 508 is clearly unconstitutional. Most churches and pastors could care less about this technicality.

From IRS Publication 1828

The correct position which is held by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) is that a church has submitted herself to IRC § 501(c)(3) regulation and ignored her First Amendment status by relying on 508 (a law passed by Congress) instead of the First Amendment. The IRS makes this position clear. Page 3 of IRS Publication 1828 states that “churches that meet the requirements of § 501(c)(3) are automatically considered tax exempt and are not required to apply for and obtain recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS” [Bold red emphasis mine]. The IRS repeats this on page 24 of IRS Publication 557, “Tax –Exempt Status for Your Organization.” Under Organizations Not Required To File Form 1023 churches are listed. The following sentence is included: “These organizations are exempt automatically if they meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3).” [Bold red emphasis mine.]

IRS Publication 557, p. 24. Click the image to go directly to the publication.
IRS Publication 557, p. 24. Click the image to go directly to the publication.

One should also understand that the New Testament (First Amendment) church will not be involved with the IRS for several reasons: the church claims no 501(c)(3) or 508 status; is not a legal entity such as a corporation aggregate or sole, an unincorporated association, or a charitable trust; is not a business; has no income; has no employees or staff; has no constitution or by-laws; and, no matter what the particular civil government does, honors the biblical principle of separation of church and state which is reflected in the First Amendment in America.

The New Testament (First Amendment) church who loves the Lord will be prepared for the eventuality that the Internal Revenue Service, some other Federal agency, the President (recent presidential actions and orders as well as the actions of many prior presidents demonstrate what a tyrannical president can and will do), and/or the Supreme Court of the United States may someday misinterpret and apply the First Amendment, and a New Testament church who loves the Lord and is committed to pleasing Him will remain submitted to the higher authority. God Betrayed (see above for free links to the book) explains all this and also shows how churches are operating in America without becoming legal entities such as incorporated 501(c)(3) religious organizations thereby retaining their First Amendment and biblical status. For specifics on how to organize a church under the Bible principle of separation of church and state, one can also go to: ABIBLETRUST.COM.

Third, a New Testament church (a church organized according to the principles of the New Testament), among other things, receives no income, is not a 501(c)(3) or 508 religious organization, has no constitution or by-laws,  has no employees or staff, and runs no businesses (daycare, “Christian” schools, “Bible” colleges, seminaries, cafes, etc.). Church members of a New Testament Church give their tithes and offerings to God, not to a religious organization, for use in ways consistent with New Testament teaching. All monies given to God are disbursed in accordance to the guidelines of the New Testament, and no money is left over. Let us use our common sense, if not our biblical sense: Even a business which makes no profit pays no taxes. A church which has no income cannot be taxed. A church which does have net income should be taxed since (1) she is operating as a business and not as a New Testament church; and (2) (if she is a legal entity such as a non-profit corporation (includes corporation sole – see Critique of “Church Freedom and the Corporation Sole” Website), or unincorporated association she is set up as a non-profit religious organization and therefore violates not only biblical principles for the organization of a church but also her non-profit agreements with the state of incorporation by making a profit.

Uncle Sam Wants God's Churches
Uncle Sam Wants God’s Churches

If a church does not apply for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status or claim 508 tax exempt status, and if she is organized as a New Testament church, according to the First Amendment which agrees with the biblical principle of separation of church and state, the non-taxable status of that church must be honored. No matter what the civil government claims, that church cannot be taxed anyway because she has no income; she gives her tithes, offerings, and gifts to God, not to a government created religious organization. Said another way, the church (the members) give to God, not to the church, inc.

Always keep in mind matters which I cover in detail in other writings and teachings: a church who incorporates (non-profit corporation or corporation sole), or becomes a charitable trust, unincorporated association or some other type legal entity has voluntarily given up her exclusive First Amendment status in favor of partial and substantial Fourteenth Amendment status since she has become a legal entity.

There are other ways a church may violate biblical principles concerning the doctrine of the church thereby becoming some type church other than a New Testament church. Understanding these matters requires a believer to grow in knowledge, understanding, and wisdom through dedicated Bible study.

If a church successfully applies for 501(c)(3) status or claims 508 exempt status, the government is granted some jurisdiction over the church since the civil government now declares and grants an exemption.

Please, God’s dear churches, do not lose your New Testament status by becoming a legal entity of any kind. Please learn to love the Lord as he loves you and gave Himself for you;

“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).

Please, dear believer, learn to think Biblicly (spiritually), not practically from the human perspective (fleshly). Please become more Christian than American, more heavenly than earthly. God made clear that Christ in heaven is to be the only authority (power or head) “over all things to” His churches. Put another way, a church, the body whose feet walk and work on earth, is to be connected to only one head, Christ in heaven. A church with two heads (authorities or powers) is a monstrosity.

  • “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ep. 1.19-23).
  • “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ep. 2.19-23).
  • “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1.18).

From the above verses, and many more that could be quoted, one sees that God desires his churches to be spiritual entities or bodies (See also, e.g., Ep. 4 and the whole book of Ep., Col., and 1 Co. 12 for more on churches as spiritual bodies) connected to their only God ordained Head, the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven, while walking as spiritual entities only here on the earth. Churches are to be “builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit,” not built together as a corporate 501(c)(3) or 508 organization according to man’s earthly, legal laws.

Please repent and turn from the deceits of the god of this world to the precepts of God. Please prepare for the day when believers and churches will have to choose either to lay it all down for God and for eternal reward or to lay it all up for Satan for a perceived earthly security. That day has not yet arrived for believers and churches in America, but that day appears to be fast approaching.

Endnotes

1. For the definition of and more information on “legal entity” see the index of God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State:The Biblical Principles and the American Application which is available free in PDF, in online form (no index), or which may be ordered by clicking Order information for books by Jerald Finney.”

All books, except An Abridged History of the First Amendment, by Jerald Finney are available free in both PDF and online form. One may go to Order information for books by Jerald Finney should he desire to order any of the books which are in print.

God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Link to preview of God Betrayed)(PDF; online form) 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 Order Information for Books by Jerald Finney 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)(PDF; online form);
  2. The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls (Kindle only from Amazon.com; see Order information for books by Jerald Finney to order directly from Kerygma Publishing Co.)(PDF; online form) ;
  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 (PDF; online form)
  4. An Abridged History of the First Amendment is available in PDF only.
  5. Tract on the legality of street preaching is available in PDF only.
  6. “Quick Reference Guide for Churches Seeking to Organize According to the Principles of the New Testament” is available in PDF only.
  7. Miscellaneous articles by Jerald Finney.
  8. Links to some of Jerald Finney’s writings on legal issues.

Click here to see for updated list of Finney’s books. This Endnote is complete up to August 1, 2014.

Companion website:Church and State Law

When Did the Church Become a Business?” a beautiful song by Jason Bellard

2.Federal government control of churches through 501(c)(3) tax exemption” and “The incorporation-501(c)(3) control scheme.”

3. To understand the hierarchy of law, one may read the article “Laws Protecting New Testament Churches in the United States: Read Them for Yourself” or listen to the lecture “Hierarchy of Law.”

When Did the Church Become a Business?” a beautiful song by Jason Bellard

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

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 the principle. Finney’s teachings prove that the revisionist view of Separation of Church and State accepted without examination by most American “Christians” is false and has done great damage to the cause of Christ and to America.

Spurious Rationale for church corporate-501(c)(3) status: tax exemption and tax deduction for contributions OR Tax Reasons Given for Church Corporate/501(c)(3) Status: A Biblical and Legal Analysis


Jerald Finney
Copyright © December 10, 2012


Note. This is a modified version of Section VI, Chapter 8 of God Betrayed: Separation of Church and State/The Biblical Principles and the American Application;  Chapter 8 of Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities?


Contents:

Preface
I. Introduction
II. Tax reasons for which churches seek 501(c)(3) tax exemption
III. The deductibility of gifts to New Testament churches
IV. Another reason some churches seek 501(c)(3) status: the convenience offered state 501(c)(3) church members
V. Conclusion
Note

Preface

This is a teaching and helps ministry motivated by love: love for our Lord first, and love for others second. I can find no more important subject than the love relationship between Christ and His children and Christ and His churches. Since I am convinced that this is a God-called ministry, I conduct this ministry at my own expense. I do not wish to dishonor my Lord by seeking worldly gain or riches through this ministry or by teaching heresy. Since I am not paid, nor do I seek to be paid for my work in this ministry, I will be convinced only by solid biblical reasoning. In other words, no one can buy me since my Lord, and my Lord only, has paid it all. My highest allegiance is to Him.

If you can disprove what I am teaching, you have an obligation—to God first, and to your brother in Christ second—to correct me. I will not accept conclusory statements backed up by nothing. I will only accept Holy Spirit guided insights based upon biblical principles and the application of legal and historical facts to those principles. If you prove me wrong, I have an obligation to repent, ask your forgiveness, and correct my teachings. If what I am saying is true, you have an obligation to God to conform your actions to God’s principles, including, if need be, repenting and reorganizing your church according to the principles of God.

I. Introduction

Today, the most common reasons given by churches for incorporating and seeking 501(c)(3) status are (1) to obey every ordinance of man (2) limited liability; (3) to allow a church to hold property; (4) tax reasons and convenience—it is easier to get a tax deduction for tithes and offerings given to an incorporated 501(c)(3) religious organization than for tithes and offerings given to a New Testament church; (5) one’s convictions; and (6) winning souls is  more important than loving God; if a church is incorporated, don’t cause problems. Just continue winning souls because winning souls is more important than anything else, including loving God.

This article will deal with the fourth false reason, tax reasons. Other articles cover the other five reasons:  

  1. Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses When a pastor is asked why his church is incorporated, he will often quickly answer: “Because of Romans 13 [Romans 13:1-2 “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” Or “We are to obey every ordinance of man.” He may also rely on some other verses. All these verses are examined in this online booklet which is also in online PDF form on this website. Not only that, no law requires a church to get incorporated or apply for 501(c)(3) status or claim 508 status. Instead, the highest law in America protects the right of churches to choose to remain free from corporate and 501(c)(3) or 508 status. See, e.g., First Amendment Protection of New Testament Churches/Federal Laws Protecting State Churches (Religious Organizations) 
  2. Limited liability (corporate status actually increases the liability of church members) (Section VI, Chapter  of God Betrayed; Chapter 6 of Separation of Church and State).
  3. Spurious rationale for incorporating: to hold property (Section VI, Chapter 7 of God Betrayed; Chapter 7 of Separation of Church and State)
  4. Spurious rationale for church corporate-501(c)(3) status: tax exemption and tax deductions for contributions OR Tax reasons given for church corporate 501(c)(3) status: a biblical and legal analysis (Section VI, Chapter 8 of God Betrayed; Chapter 8 of Separation of Church and State).
  5. Spurious rationale for church corporate-501(c)(3) status: one’s convictions (Not included in God Betrayed or Separation of Church and State)
  6. Spurious rationale for church corporate-501(c)(3) status: winning souls is more important than loving God/The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls

This article will deal with the third and fourth reasons listed above: civil government recognition of tax exempt status assures church leaders, members, and contributors that the church is recognized as exempt and qualifies for related tax benefits (For example, contributors to a church that has been recognized as tax exempt would know that their contributions generally are tax-deductible); and convenience. “Church Incorporation Increases Liability of Church Members” looks at the first reason, limited liability. “Analysis of another reason given for church corporate status” addresses the second reason, to hold property.” In addition, audio teaching on these issues are available on this website (see the categories at left); and Jerald Finney has written on these issues in (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.  These books and many other resources are available on the “Books” page of  the “Church and State Law” website.)

The author judges, as instructed by Scripture, all spiritual matters which he examines by the Word of God (1 Co. 2). After all, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Ti. 3.16-17; see also, e.g. 2 Pe. 1.19-21). The Bible is therefore written by the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit guides the born again believer who meditates upon God’s Word in conjunction with reality, historical fact, and law concerning a given subject into truth concerning the matter which he is examining (See, e.g., Jn. 16.13; 1 Jn. 4.6; 2 Ti. 2.15-26). Only when a believer, a family, a church, and a nation do this will they escape the “snare of the devil who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Ti. 2.15-26). Sadly, many individuals (including pastors), families, and churches who profess to be Bible believers have been deceived as to biblical principle, historical fact, and law concerning the preeminent issue of separation of church and state. Many churches who proclaim that they preach the Word of God have been mislead about historical fact, law, and biblical principle concerning this issue.

God chose every Christian to be a soldier (2 Ti. 2.4). He wants us to “endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Ti. 2.3). God told us, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Ti. 4). We are further told to walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh (Ga. 5). Our weapons are to be spiritual only (Ep. 6.10-18). Only when we fight with the spiritual armor as specified by God may we “be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ep. 6.11). This is because “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wichedness in highplaces” (Ep. 6.12).

And yet most Christians, including pastors, and churches walk in the flesh in at least one way. They combine the church with the state by incorporating and getting Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) § 501(c)(3) (“501(c)(3)”) status for earthly or fleshly reasons.

The author has fully examined the biblical principles as well as the application of those principles to the law of church incorporation and 501(c)(3) status in audio teachings, books, and articles. To fully understand these matters requires study, something which most “Christians” are unwilling to do. Some are willfully ignorant in that they just do not want to face truth. Others may be lazy, and some just don’t have the time. Pastors, evangelists, and missionaries have no good excuse. They are looked up to by other Christians for biblical guidance and leadership. They hold a high position of trust under our Lord.

II. Tax reasons for which churches seek 501(c)(3) tax exemption

As the author has shown in his articles, audio teachings, and books, according to IRC § 508, churches are an exception to the 501(c)(3) filing requirement (See, e.g., “Laws Protecting New Testament Churches in the United States: Read Them for Yourself;” “An Abridged History of the First Amendment,” etc.). Churches which do not file for exempt status under 501(c)(3) are non-taxable. Other types of religious organizations are not so: “Unlike churches, religious organizations that wish to be tax exempt generally must apply to the IRS for tax-exempt status unless their gross receipts do not normally exceed $5,000 annually” (IRS Publication 1828 (2009), p. 3): this link may be slow to download. Internal Revenue Service publications are not the law, just a comment on the law.).

New Testament churches under God are non-taxable. 501(c)(3) religious organizations under civil government are tax exempt. IRC § 508 (the codification of Public Law 91-172 ratified in 1969) provides in relevant part:

Ҥ 508. Special rules with respect to section 501(c)(3) organizations.
“(a) New organizations must notify secretary that they are applying for recognition of section 501(c)(3) status.
“(c) Exceptions. [Emphasis mine.]
“(1) Mandatory exceptions. Subsections (a) and (b) shall not apply to—
“(A) churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches.” (26 U.S.C. § 508 (2007)) [Emphasis mine.]
Note. A church applies for 501(c)(3) recognition by filling out and filing IRS Form 1023.

§ 508(a),(c) says churches are excepted from obtaining § 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. In other words, churches are non-taxable; and, therefore, churches are an exception to the civil government requirement that certain organizations file for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. Thus, even the federal government recognizes that a New Testament church is non-taxable.

If a church does not apply for exempt status, and if it is organized as a New Testament church, according to both God’s law (the hightest law) as laid out in the Bible and the First Amendment which agrees with the biblical principle of separation of church and state, the church is non-taxable. A church is better advised to claim First Amendment protection as opposed to  § 508(a),(c) status. If so, a church should not give acknowledgements for tithes and offerings. In a New Testament church, tithes and offerings are given by church members to God, not to the church. In effect, the church does the giving and the recipient is God. This does not mean the church member may not claim deductions for his tithes and offerings. contact attorney Jerald Finney for more on this matter.

If a church successfully applies for exempt status (and maybe if the church claims exempt status under § 508(a),(c)), the government is granted some jurisdiction over the church since the civil government now declares and grants an exemption.

Why then do churches seek 501(c)(3) tax exemption? The IRS gives the answer which pastors and Christians already know: “Although there is no requirement to do so, many churches seek recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS because such recognition assures church leaders, members, and contributors that the church is recognized as exempt and qualifies for related tax benefits. For example, contributors to a church that has been recognized as tax exempt would know that their contributions generally are tax-deductible” (IRS Publication 1828 (2009), p. 3).

Many Christians who do not love the Lord and who have not studied this matter are fearful and want the assurance of civil government that their tithes and offerings will be tax-deductible. They do not realize that the First Amendment already gives them the assurance that their tithes and offerings will be tax-deductible (one day they may have to fight this issue out in court, but, as of now, the author knows of no non-501(c)(3) church member who has not been allowed the deduction after showing the IRS that the deduction claimed is for tithes and offerings to a church). What is one’s motive for giving: the glory of God or a tax deduction from the civil government?

As will be shown below, many church members also want the convenience given the state church (a church which is a legal entity such as a corporation, corporation sole, charitable trust, unincorporated association, and maybe also a 501(c)(3) religious organization) by the IRS in making their tax deductions for tithes and offerings . Many give tithes and/or offerings because they get a deduction. Some use earthly or fleshly reasoning, displease our Lord, and excuse themselves by saying that they can give more if they get the deduction, as if God could not and would not make up the difference. God does not want our money, He wants our love. If we love Him and our neighbor, all that we have will be His, and our only regret will be that we do not give more, regardless of earthly rules (See “The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls” for a biblical study of the love relationship between Christ and His churches).

III. The deductibility of gifts to New Testament churches 

Will the IRS disallow a tax deduction for gifts to a New Testament church (a church which is not a legal entity such as an incorporation, unincorporated association, charitable trust, or corporation sole and which does not have 501(c)(3) status)? The IRS Code provides:

“§ 170.  Charitable, etc., contributions and gifts….
“(a) Allowance of deduction.
“(1) General rule. There shall be allowed as a deduction any charitable contribution (as defined in subsection (c)) payment of which is made within the taxable year. A charitable contribution shall be allowable as a deduction only if verified under regulations prescribed by the Secretary. [Emphasis mine.] …
“(c) Charitable contribution defined. For purposes of this section, the term ‘charitable contribution’ means a contribution or gift to or for the use of— …
“(2) A corporation, trust, or community chest, fund, or foundation–
“(A) created or organized in the United States or in any possession thereof, or under the law of the United States, any State, the District of Columbia, or any possession of the United States;
“(B) organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals;’
“(C) no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual; and
“(D) which is not disqualified for tax exemption under section 501(c)(3) [26 USCS § 501(c)(3)] by reason of attempting to influence legislation, and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office” (26 U.S.C. § 170).

The author has found only one case, Morey v. Riddell, 205 F. Supp. 918 (S.D. Cal. 1962), which addresses the issue of deductions for members of a New Testament church. That case held that § 170 applies to what appears from the record to have been, at least for the most part, a New Testament church. The government argued that contributions did not qualify as deductions. The Court held for the church on all points. The government’s arguments and the court’s holdings in Morey follow:

   “(1) The government argued that the church was not in fact an ‘organized association as contemplated by the statute (no distinctive identifying name, no written charter, constitution, bylaws, or operational guide other than the Holy Bible; it had no permanent headquarters, it did not maintain comprehensive records, and its funds were not held in a bank account designated as a church account.)
Held. The members of the church regard themselves simply as members of the body of Christ (as following the teachings of Christ in the NT). They have no denominational name, no written organizational guide supplementary to the NT because they believe to do so would be to add an arbitrary gloss to biblical precepts, thus obscuring the word of God. Yet, in adherence to this philosophy, they have bound themselves together in an organized association. Many of them have worshipped together for years in furtherance of the purposes of the church.  They hold regular public meetings in homes and rented quarters for Bible study, worship and evangelism. They assemble together in ‘camp meetings’. As an association, they sponsor radio broadcasts and print and distribute Bible literature.  They recognize specific individuals as ministers and as church officers, from whom they accept guidance.  Through the years their ministers have regularly performed marriage ceremonies accepted as valid by civil authorities.  Thus, while the church lacks some of the common indicia of organization, it plainly is an organized association of persons dedicated to religious purposes.
(2) The government argued that the church was not organized in the U.S. as required by statute.
Held. The basis for this contention is certain testimony that the church had its beginnings in Jerusalem in 33 A.D. It is perfectly obvious that what was meant by this testimony was that the Christian Church in the all-inclusive sense began in Jerusalem in 33 A.D. There is no doubt that the association constituting the church for whose use the contributions were made was organized in the United States.
(3) the government argued that the church does not qualify as a beneficiary for deductible contributions because no showing has been made that in the event of its dissolution its assets would by operation of law be distributed solely for religious purposes.
Held. This suggestion is prompted by [certain sections of the Income Tax Regulations and the C.F.R. that establish] that upon dissolution its assets must be distributable solely for an exempt purpose, either by terms of its articles of by operation of law. This regulation has no governing force in respect to the determination of the deductibility of plaintiffs’ contributions for two reasons. It had not yet been promulgated at the time the contributions were made and tax returns filed…. The regulation … is obviously intended as a safeguard against the possibility that funds accumulated by an organization by reason of its tax-exempt status might, in the event of its dissolution, be used for purposes other that those to which it was dedicated…. [See case for important part of the analysis.] It is evident that the contributions made by plaintiffs have long since been spent in furtherance of the religious purposes of the church, and that there is no possibility of their application to other uses.
(4) The government argued that the contributions were made by checks payable to the order of four of the church’s ministers.
Held. The government cites several cases in which bequests inured to the benefit of the order. These cases are factually distinguishable because in each case the Court found that the testator intended to make the bequest to the named individual. In the present case, it is clear from the evidence that plaintiffs did not intend to make contributions to ministers, individually, but placed the funds in their hands, as agents, for the use of the church.
 “(5) The government argued that the plaintiff’s contributions were not deductible because they inured to the benefit of individuals (the church’s ministers).
Held. The individuals benefited were the church’s recognized ministers, who employed a portion of the contributions given for the use of the church to pay their living expenses.  Such use of the contributions does not constitute a departure from the statutory requirement that no part of the net profits of the organization shall inure to the benefit of any individual, for the sums expended to meet the living expenses of the ministers were no part of the net profits of the church. They were monies expended to meet legitimate expenses of the church in implementing its religious purposes. These expenses were of the same character as the salaries paid by any religious or charitable organization to its staff. The evidence was clear that the ministers devoted the major portion of their time to work of the church and that the amount of church funds used to pay their modest living expenses was small in comparison to the extent of their services.”

The IRS agrees that contributions to a non-incorporated, non-501(c)(3) church are deductible: “You can deduct contributions only if you make them to a qualified organization. To become a qualified organization, most organizations, other than churches and governments, as described below, must apply to the IRS…. You can ask any organization whether it is a qualified organization, and most will be able to tell you. Or you can check IRS Publication 78 which lists most qualified organizations. You may find Publication 78 in your local library’s reference section. Or you can find it on the internet athttp://www.irs.gov. You can also call the IRS to find out if an organization is qualified. Call  1-877-829-5500…” (IRS Publication 526 (2009)). [Bold emphasis mine.]

IRS Publication 778 also reflects the provisions of IRC § 508IRS Publication 778 states: “Publication 78 is based on information received in applications seeking recognition of exemption under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3). Churches, their integrated auxiliaries, conventions or associations of churches, and public charities whose annual gross receipts are normally not more than $5,000 may be treated as tax-exempt without filing an application. Also, many churches are included in group exemptions (see below)  Thus, they may not be listed in Publication 78.”

 IRS Publication 526 and IRS Publication 778 comply with the law, IRC § 508, which is quoted in relevant part above.

IV. Another reason some churches seek 501(c)(3) status:
the convenience offered state 501(c)(3) church members

However, the above does not tell the whole story. Another reason some churches seek 501(c)(3) status is that IRS regulations make it more difficult for members to receive tax deductions for tithes and offerings to a New Testament church than to an incorporated 501(c)(3) religious organization. Those regulations are unconstitutional in that they prefer members of corporate-501(c)(3) churches over First Amendment churches (churches who choose to retain their First Amendment and New Testament status). In other words, those regulations encourage carnal and uninformed believers to join churches organized under secular, as opposed to biblical, law.

“A donor cannot claim a tax deduction for any single contribution of $250 or more unless the donor obtains a contemporaneous, written acknowledgment of the contribution from the recipient church or religious organization. A church or religious organization that does not acknowledge a contribution incurs no penalty; but without a written acknowledgment, the donor cannot claim a tax deduction” (IRS Publication 1828 (2009), p. 24).

To receive a deduction, one must have records to prove his contributions. For cash contributions (includes cash, check, electronic funds transfer, debit card, credit card, or payroll deduction) less than $250, he must keep one of the following:

“1. A cancelled check, or a legible and readable account statement that shows:
“a. If payment was by check—the check number, amount, date posted, and to whom paid,
“b. if payment was by electronic funds transfer—the amount, date posted, and to whom paid, or
“c. if payment was charged to a credit card—the amount, transaction date, and to whom paid.
“2. A receipt (or a letter or other written communication) from the charitable organization showing the name of the organization, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution.
“3. The payroll deduction records described next. … (IRS Publication 526 (2009)). See pp. 18-19 for rules for payroll deductions, contributions of $250.00 or more, and for noncash contributions.).

For contributions of more than $250, one must keep one of the following:

“You can claim a deduction for a contribution of $250 or more only if you have an acknowledgement of your contribution from the qualified organization or certain payroll deduction records.
“If you claim more than one contribution of $250 or more, you must have either a separate acknowledgement for each or one acknowledgement that shows your total contributions and the date of each contribution and shows your total contributions.” (Ibid.).

“Acknowledgement. The acknowledgement must meet these tests:

“1. It must be written.
“2. It must include:
“a. The amount of cash you contributed.
“b. Whether the qualified organization gave you any goods or services as a result of your contribution (other than certain taken items and membership benefits), and
“c. A description and good faith estimate of the value of any goods or services described in (b) other than intangible religious benefits, and
“d. A statement that the only benefit you received was an intangible religious benefit, if that was the case. The acknowledgment does not need to describe or estimate the value of an intangible religious benefit. An intangible religious benefit is a benefit that generally is not sold in commercial transactions outside a donative (gift) context. An example is admission to a religious ceremony.
“3. You must get it on or before the earlier of:
“a. The date you file your return for the year you make the contribution, or
“b. The due date, including extensions, for filing the return.”

 “If the acknowledgment does not show the date of the contribution, you must also have a bank record or receipt, as described earlier, that does show the date of the contribution. If the acknowledgment does show the date of the contribution and meets the other tests just described, you do not need any other records” (Ibid.).

“Payroll deductions. If you make a contribution by payroll deduction, you do not need an acknowledgement from the qualified organization. But if your employer deducted $250 or more from a single paycheck, you must keep:

“1. A pay stub, Form W-2, or other document furnished by your employer that date and amount of the contribution, and
“2. A pledge card or other document prepared by or for the qualified organization that shows the name of the organization.

“If your employer withheld $250 or more from a single paycheck, see Contributions of $250 or More, next.” (Ibid.).

Also, according to the IRS, a church may assist the IRS and issue written statements for gifts of $250 or more given the church, which will be honored by the IRS if such receipts contain the following information:

“the name of the church or religious organization; date of contribution; amount of any cash contribution, and description (but not the value) of non-cash contributions; statement that no goods or services were provided by the church religious organization in return for the contribution; statement that goods or services that a church or religious organization provided in return for the contribution consisted entirely of intangible religious benefits, or description and good faith estimate of the value of goods or services other than intangible religious benefits that the church or religious organization provided in return for the contribution.
“The church or religious organization may either provide separate acknowledgments for each single contribution of $250 or more or one acknowledgment to substantiate several single contributions of $250 or more. Separate contributions are not aggregated for purposes of measuring the $250 threshold” (IRS Publication 1828 (2009), p. 24).

A pastor/trustee of a New Testament church holds property for the benefit of the Lord Jesus Christ (See “Analysis of another reason given for church corporate status: to hold property”). Thus, the pastor of a New Testament church, not the church herself, may keep records if he so desires. However, since all monies given are used for legitimate purposes, there are no profits. As to membership records, only those who have been born again are members of a church and only God knows who has been saved and adds to the church. The Bible contains no example of our Lord or the church keeping financial records. Judas stole from the money bag he carried” (See John 12.6). No apostle made an issue of it. Christ knew about it, but did not rebuke him in any way or turn Judas in to the civil authority. No instructions for a church to keep financial records can be found in the New Testament.

IRS regulations require that: “All tax-exempt organizations, including churches and religious organizations (regardless of whether tax-exempt status has been officially recognized by the IRS), are required to maintain books of accounting and other records necessary to justify their claim for exemption in the event of an audit” (IRS Publication 1828 (2009), p. 21).

A New Testament church is not an earthly entity or organization. Therefore, she has no earthly matter to keep records of. Keeping records would require a church to behave somewhat like a business and keep records of tithes and offerings, thereby destroying her status as a spiritual entity. Again, the pastor/trustee of a New Testament church may keep such records if he so desires. A pastor/trustee is not the church. He is just holding property and/or funds in trust for the benefit of the Lord Jesus Christ, an awesome responsibility under the Lord.

In addition, “charitable contribution” under IRC § 170 quoted supra, means “a contribution or gift to or for the use of … a corporation, trust, or community chest, fund, or foundation … organized and operated exclusively for religious [or] charitable … purposes … which is not disqualified for tax exemption under section 501(c)(3) [26 USCS § 501(c)(3)] by reason of attempting to influence legislation, and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.” A New Testament church is not any of the organizations named in IRC § 170 and cannot accept limitations on her spiritual responsibilities. Remember, a New Testament church retains all her protections under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, as well as under the state constitution and statutes of the state wherein she meets.

The author believes that a New Testament church cannot have employees. First, he believes that to do so is unbiblical. Secondly, to do so subjects the church to Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes which consist of Social Security and Medicare taxes. (Ibid., p. 18).

“Whether a church or religious organization must withhold and pay employment tax depends upon whether the church’s workers are employees. Determination of worker status is important. Several facts determine whether a worker is an employee. For an in-depth explanation and examples of the common law employer-employee relationship, see “IRS Publication 15-A, Employer’s Supplemental Tax Guide.  Those IRS definitions do not apply to members of a New Testament church involved in ministry because those members do not receive wages. The IRS states:

“Wages paid to employees of churches or religious organizations are subject to FICA taxes unless one of the following exceptions applies: (1) wages are paid for services performed by a duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church in the exercise of his or her ministry, or by a member of a religious order in the exercise of duties required by such order, (2) the church or religious organization pays the employee wages of less than $108.28 in a calendar year, or (3) a church that is opposed to the payment of social security and Medicare taxes for religious reasons [files Form 8274]…. If such an election is made, affected employees must pay Self-Employment Contributions Act (SECA) tax… (IRS Publication 1828 (2009) p. 18).”

Other IRS rules apply to taxes on compensation of ministers. A New Testament church cannot pay wages or any type of compensation to her pastor or anyone else. According to the Bible, members of such a church can give gifts to take care of a pastor, but those gifts are not wages and are not required by contract or any other earthly rule.

Unlike exempt organizations or businesses, civil law provides that a church is not required to withhold income tax from the compensation that it pays to its duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed ministers for performing services in the exercise of their ministry” (Ibid., p. 18-19). In fact, a New Testament church cannot “compensate” anyone since she is a spiritual entity, and therefore can hold no property of any kind, nor can she hold money. Members as individuals can give tithes and offerings to be used for biblically approved uses. Such gifts are can be held by a pastor/trustee who holds property and money for the benefit of the Lord Jesus Christ and disperses money given for biblically acceptable ministries and uses.

Furthermore, anyone can give a gift or gifts to anyone else. According to the Internal Revenue Code § 102, gifts up to a certain amount are not income and therefore, not taxable. In 1998, gifts of up to $10,000 were not taxable, and that limit has increased each year since according to the formula laid out in Internal Revenue Code § 2503.

V. Conclusion

The Bible lays out the guidelines for churches. No matter what civil law says, a church and her members should adhere to those guidelines, even if inconvenienced, penalized, and/or persecuted. American law is more favorable to true New Testament churches than are the laws of almost all other nations, but the law has become somewhat convoluted, especially regarding deductions for the tithes and offerings of New Testament church members. The conveniences which the federal government offers churches through the 501(c)(3) exemption-definition-control scheme actually violates the First Amendment (See “The Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) Exemption-Definition-Control Scheme” for more information on 501((3)). The First Amendment to the United States Constitution declares that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….”

The complications, inconveniences, and penalties caused members of New Testament churches have come about because the great majority of churches and pastors have not honored the Lord in their understanding of and application of the biblical doctrine of the church. They have not determined, as did the Apostle Paul, to present their church as a chaste virgin to Christ (See II Co. 11.2). In other words, most churches do not love the Lord as He loves His churches (See,  “The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls“). Most incorporate (or become unincorporated associations or corporations sole) and get 501(c)(3) status. As to this matter at least, they walk in the flesh, not in the Spirit. As the author chronicles in Section VI of God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application and in other articles and audio teachings, after the adoption of the First Amendment, many “Bible believing” churches who had fought long and hard for religious liberty ignored the sound biblical advice of men like Isaac Backus and began to run to the state to incorporate. In the twentieth century churches sought 501(c)(3) status when it became available. They violated biblical principles, displeased the Lord, and gave up much of their First Amendment rights and protection.

“Nearly 30 years ago, an eminent minister insisted before Congress that: [T]he first amendment … should not permit the state to tell the church when it is being ‘religious’ and when it is not. The church must be permitted to define its own goals in society in terms of the imperatives of its religious faith. Is the Christian church somehow not being religious when it works on behalf of healing the sick, or for the rights of minorities, or as peacemaker on the international scene? No, the church itself must define the perimeters of its outreach on public policy questions” (Richard W. Garnett, A Quiet Faith? Taxes, Politics, and the Privatization of Religion. 42 B.C. L. Rev. 771, 772, 2001, citing Legislative Activity By Certain Types of Exempt Organizations: Hearings Before the House Ways and Means Committee, 92d Cong., 2d Sess. 99, 305 (1972) quoted in Edward McGlynn Gaffney, Jr., On Not Rendering to Caesar: The Unconstitutionality of Tax Regulation of Activities of Religious Organizations Relating to Politics, 40 DePaul L. Rev. 1, 20 (1990)).

A New Testament church is protected by God forever, and temporally by the First Amendment. On the other hand, a state incorporated church enters into a contract with the state, the sovereign of the corporation. By so doing, the incorporated church assumes a second personality—that of an artificial person, a legal entity, capable of suing and being sued (See “Separation of Church and State: Christians Who Call Evil Good and Good Evil” for more information on the meaning of church incorporation.). Incorporation provides for civil governmental regulation in many areas, and it does not protect the church from all governmental interference with matters outside the contract. When a church seeks and acquires 501(c)(3) status, she thereby has agreed to certain restrictions and that she will abide by public policy (See “The Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) Exemption-Definition-Control Scheme” for more information on 501(c)(3) tax exemption.). She also submits herself to anti-biblical teaching from civil government through the IRS. Most egregious of all, she, like Israel who asked for a king, has committed a great wickedness against God by putting herself, at least partially, under another head. We are witnessing the undesirable consequences which follow church incorporation and 501(c)(3).

Most churches walk in the flesh and not the spirit as to the issue of separation of church and state and are guilty of one or more of the following, among other things: using far more resources to build magnificent edifices than to reach the lost; catering to individual’s flesh instead of preaching against sin, proclaming the true Gospel of salvation, and teaching the deeper principles and doctrines of Scripture; and organizing and running “businesses” instead of New Testament churches to one degree or another. The results are: churches, believers, and church families lack the power of God; many individuals, families, churches, and the nation follow Satan and his principles; and, most importantly, far fewer souls in America, as a percentage, are being saved than would be the case would churches only get serious about the love relationship between Christ and His churches.

Note

All legal conclusions in this article are those of the author, a Christian and a licensed attorney. 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. One who has not paid the price and done his homework in these matters cannot gain a correct understanding of the issues by reading a few articles over the internet—including articles in this “Separation of Church and State” blog—or elsewhere; by studying cases and law himself; by consulting with lawyers, pastors, or Christians of state churches; by consulting with lawyers, pastors, or Christians who embrace a false theology; and/or by consulting with pastors or Christians who have no actual training in a bona fide law school and who have not practiced law.  Those with the proper credentials and who specialize can see and understand things that others cannot. The Lord wishes a church to be a spiritual body and each member of that body to practice the gift with which God has entrusted him. Many “Christians,” including many “Christian” lawyers who are making a lot of money by recommending legal status (non-profit corporation, 501(c)(3) tax exemption, etc), sometimes motivating the unknowledgeable through fear tactics, and helping churches to get legal entity status are not qualified under God and/or under man to advise on church-state issues. Every church and every believer is responsible to God in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, even in matters which require a deep understanding of biblical principles and man’s laws relating thereto.

The author is totally aware that many “Bible believing” pastors and Christians will not seek truth regarding these preeminent legal and spiritual facts and doctrines. He is at peace though, because he has done what the Lord has called him to do—declare the truths about these matters. That is all he can do. After all, the religious crowd did not have ears to hear and rejected the truths which were declared to them by God Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Spurious rationale for church corporate-501(c)(3) status: Winning souls is the most important thing/The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls?

Jerald Finney
Copyright © December 10, 2012

Contents:

Preface

I. Introduction
II. The Spirit Filled Walk of the Believer and God’s
Churches and the greatest Commandment
III. The love relationship between Christ and His
churches
A. Practical experience demonstrates the love
relationship between Christ and His churches
B. Old Testament insights concerning the marriage
relationship between Christ and His churches
C. Additional New Testament insights into the love
relationship between Christ and His churches
D. A I Corninthians 13 analysis of the love
relationship between Christ and His churches
IV. Conclusion

The sermon, “The Church Who Left Their First Love” given at Old Paths Baptist Church in Northfield, Minnesota on September 2, 2012 compliments this article, giving additional insights.

Preface

This is a teaching and helps ministry motivated by love: love for our Lord first, and love for others second. I can find no more important subject than the love relationship between Christ and His children and Christ and His churches. Since I am convinced that this is a God-called ministry, I conduct this ministry at my own expense. I do not wish to dishonor my Lord by seeking worldly gain or riches through this ministry or by teaching heresy. Since I am not paid, nor do I seek to be paid for my work in this ministry, I will be convinced only by solid biblical reasoning. In other words, no one can buy me since my Lord, and my Lord only, has paid it all. My highest allegiance is to Him.

If you can disprove what I am teaching, you have an obligation—to God first, and to your brother in Christ second—to correct me. I will not accept conclusory statements backed up by nothing. I will only accept Holy Spirit guided insights based upon biblical principles and the application of legal and historical facts to those principles. If you prove me wrong, I have an obligation to repent, ask your forgiveness, and correct my teachings. If what I am saying is true, you have an obligation to God to conform your actions to God’s principles, including, if need be, repenting and reorganizing your church according to the principles of God.

Today, the most common reasons given by churches for incorporating and seeking 501(c)(3) status are (1) to obey every ordinance of man (2) limited liability; (3) to allow a church to hold property; (4) convenience—it is easier to get a tax deduction for tithes and offerings given to an incorporated 501(c)(3) religious organization than for tithes and offerings given to a New Testament church; (5) one’s convictions; and (6) winning souls is  more important than loving God; if a church is incorporated, don’t cause problems. Just continue winning souls because winning souls is more important than anything else, including loving God.

This article will deal with the second false reason, limited liability. Other articles cover the other five reasons:  

  1. Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses When a pastor is asked why his church is incorporated, he will often quickly answer: “Because of Romans 13 [Romans 13:1-2 “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” Or “We are to obey every ordinance of man.” He may also rely on some other verses. All these verses are examined in this online booklet which is also in online PDF form on this website. Not only that, no law requires a church to get incorporated or apply for 501(c)(3) status or claim 508 status. Instead, the highest law in America protects the right of churches to choose to remain free from corporate and 501(c)(3) or 508 status. See, e.g., First Amendment Protection of New Testament Churches/Federal Laws Protecting State Churches (Religious Organizations) 
  2. Limited liability (corporate status actually increases the liability of church members) (Section VI, Chapter  of God Betrayed; Chapter 6 of Separation of Church and State).
  3. Spurious rationale for incorporating: to hold property (Section VI, Chapter 7 of God Betrayed; Chapter 7 of Separation of Church and State).
  4. Spurious rationale for church corporate-501(c)(3) status: tax exemption and tax deductions for contributions OR Tax reasons given for church corporate 501(c)(3) status: a biblical and legal analysis (Section VI, Chapter 8 of God Betrayed; Chapter 8 of Separation of Church and State).
  5. Spurious rationale for church corporate-501(c)(3) status: one’s convictions (Not included in God Betrayed or Separation of Church and State).
  6. Spurious rationale for church corporate-501(c)(3) status: winning souls is more important than loving God/The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls.

I. Introduction

Many churches, even “Bible believing churches” with saved pastors and members, state that the salvation of souls (witnessing to others in order to lead them to salvation) is more important than making sure that a church is not entangled with the civil government. Of course, salvation of souls is very important. The Great Commission is still in the Bible; but so is the principle that God desires His people and His churches to love Him. In fact, loving God is the greatest commandment. Loving God, according to the Bible is more important than loving one’s neighbor. However, if one loves God, he will love his neighbor. Please continue reading to the end to see how the Word of God makes this clear. Should you disagree with me, please contact me and give me the biblical basis for your disagreement. If God’s people and God’s churches love God first, many more souls will be saved, since churches who love God will have the power of God rather than a form of godliness.

Of course, churches (not to speak of individuals and families) dishonor their love relationship with Christ in many ways. My ministry is primarily concerned with a much neglected and egregious sin of churches as to their relationship with Christ—the union of churches with civil government through incorporation, unincorporated association status, corporation sole, and Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.

I have addressed the biblical principles and the facts concerning legal entities and 501(c)(3) in books, articles on this “Separation of Church and State” blog, and audio teachings. This article is concerned only with the most important of the many sub-issues which must be developed to fully understand the issue of the God-desired relationship between church and state. What does it mean for a church to love God? How does a church demonstrate that she loves God or not? Other sub-issues—such as the God-given definition, purposes, and organization of a church—are covered in God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (For free audio teaching on the book, click this link: “Free abridged audio of God Betrayed;” to order the book, click the following link: “Books”. Click the following link to preview God Betrayed: Link to preview of God Betrayed.).

Application of biblical principles to incorporation, other methods of making a church a legal enitity, and Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) tax exempt status makes clear that churches who become legal entities such as corporations and get 501(c)(3) status violate several biblical principles including the principle of separation of church and state, thereby dishonoring the love relationship between Christ and His church. Nonetheless, many churches use the excuse that the most important thing is winning souls to justify proceeding in the flesh and dishonoring their love relationship between Christ and His church by incorporating and obtaining 501(c)(3) status. However, as the Word of God teaches and reality reveals, corporate 501(c)(3) churches become more and more anemic with the passing of time. They do this because they resort to anti-biblical devises and place themselves at least partially under another sovereign and the anti-biblical rules of that sovereign

II. The Spirit Filled Walk of the Believer and of God’s
Churches and the Greatest Commandment

Just as it is important for a family to understand God’s definition, purposes, and principles for family, so it is important that a church family understand the God-given definition, purposes, and principles for a church and her members in order to fully understand and apply the biblical principle of separation of church and state. Very importantly a New Testament church is a purely spiritual entity made up of saved individuals who are instructed to walk in the spirit. A church will be spiritual only to the degree that the members, individually and as a church, walk in the spirit. Part of the walk of believers requires them to make sure that the church they are members of continues to organize and operate according to New Testament principles.

Scripture teaches that the most important thing for a church is the love relationship between Christ and His churches. Nothing a church can do overrides the importance of honoring that relationship. Jesus responded to “[a] lawyer, [who] asked a question, tempting [Jesus], and saying Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and prophets” (Mt. 22.37-40. See also, Mk. 12.28-34 and Lu. 10.25-28 (Mk. 12.28-34 and Lu. 10.25-28 add loving God with “all thy strength” along with “all thy heart, soul and mind” to the greatest commandment.”)). These commandments were also stated in the Old Testament (See, e.g, De. 6.5 and the Ten Commandments in Ex. 20.1-17).

Most believers will agree with the principle (How can believers who have even a rudimentary knowledge of God’s Word deny this?). Sadly, many miss the mark in the definition and application of love since they have not studied and meditated on relevant biblical teachings and applied them in the real world.

The Bible teaches that loving God first will result in loving one’s neighbor by witnessing to him, helping him, sending missionaries to him, etc. When one loves God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength, loving one’s neighbor comes naturally and “is like unto [loving God]” (Mt. 22.37-39; Lu. 10.27; Mk. 12.29-31). One who loves God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength will carry out the Great Commission, seek to lead others to salvation, disciple believers, help his neighbors, and walk in the spirit individually and as a church (keep his church body a spiritual entity subject only to the Lord Jesus Christ).

However gifted, moral, or refined, the natural man is absolutely blind to spiritual truth, and impotent to enter the kingdom; for he can neither obey, understand, nor please God because he is not born again and the Spirit of God does not dwell within him. “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (Jn.  3.3, 5, 6).

Only believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit” (I Jn. 4.13). Only one who has the Spirit of God dwelling in him can love God. This does not mean that such a person actually loves God, at least with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength. It does not mean that a believer walks in the spirit (See Jn. 6.63; Ro. 8.1-13; Ga. 5.16-25; Ep. 5.1-17). Positionally, when one is saved, in the reckoning of God, the old man is crucified, and the believer is exhorted to make this good in experience, reckoning it to be so by definitely “putting off” the old man and “putting on” the new (Col. 3.8-14; Ep. 4.24). “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ep. 4.23-24). The fruit God desires from Christians is spiritual. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Ga. 5:22-23).

As has been pointed out, born-again believers are instructed to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. In God’s point of view, doing for others may help a person and make his live temporarily happier, but the Word of God teaches that doing for others is not love if one does not love God. The lost man does not know or love God, and he has no clue as to eternal matters. The natural man can only impart earthly, temporal help to others. Although this is not in and of itself a bad thing, this alone—from God’s point of view—is not love.

God is, and He desires His children to be, primarily concerned with the spiritual, the eternal. “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (II Co. 4.18). Only the saved man can offer anyone eternal hope in addition to helping him with temporal matters (see I Co. 2.1-16). One who loves God first will love and serve his fellow man as to eternal matters first, and temporal matters second; helping others without loving God first is not loving others from God’s eternal spiritual viewpoint.

If one loves, God dwells in him, and he will be a light to others. “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us” (I Jn. 4.12). “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (I Jn. 4.16). “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Co. 4.6).

III. The Marriage Relationship between Christ and His Churches

Christ is the Bridegroom/Husband/Head of His churches. As to the issue of separation of church and state, this is particularly important. The church is called the bride of the Lamb (Jn. 3.28, 29). The church is “married” to Christ. “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, evento him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Ro. 7.4). Christ wants to be the only Head of His churches (Ep. 1.22; 5.23-33; Col. 1.15-18).

The apostle Paul, from whom Christians are given almost all doctrine of the church, was very concerned about the spiritual status and fruit of God’s churches. Paul spoke of the church as the virgin espoused to one Husband, and reveals that Eve is a type of the church as bride and wife of Christ. Paul said to churches, “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” (II Co. 11.2). Because of this jealousy over Christ’s church, Paul feared, “lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so [the minds of church members] should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Co. 11.3).

God, as revealed by the apostle Paul, likens the marriage relationship of husband and wife to the relationship of Christ and His church:

“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wivesbe to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish…. For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Ep. 5.23-27, 29-33).

A. Practical Experience demonstrates the love
relationship between Christ and His Churches

The Bible tells believers how God feels concerning certain actions of His churches. The Husband-wife and Bridegroom-bride analogies depicting Christ and His churches have important implications. From the Husband-wife analogy, we know that Christ, likened to a husband, wants to be over His wife, the church, in all things; and He is jealous when His wife, even if remaining for some purposes under Christ, also puts herself under another head. God obviously wants us to know how important this relationship is and how God feels when a church dishonors that relationship. New Testament teaching concerning the relationship of Christ and His churches (as we have already seen and will examine moreinfra), practical experience regarding the husband-wife relationship of man and woman as analogized by God to the marriage of Christ and His churches, and Old Testamentpassages concerning the Husband-wife relationship between God the Father and Israel reveal to the believer how God feels about the relationship of Christ and his churches.

Concerning practical experience, what godly husband would not be jealous if his wife came to him, arms around another man, and said:

“You know that I love you very much. I appreciate your love for me and all you do for me. I have entered into an agreement with Joe. I want you to know that I have decided that I am going to meet with Joe a couple of times a week for breakfast, or lunch, or dinner; and maybe occasionally meet with him just to talk. He cares for me, and he can give me additional advice and information which will be very helpful to me and which you are not able to give, although the advice you do give is most appreciated and helpful as far as it goes and as far as it is correct. He will also help me financially, since you cannot give me all that I need and want. I will still love and honor you. I know that my relationship with Joe will be alright with you.”

How would a husband feel about such an arrangement? Would it affect the marriage in any way? Would not it affect the way the husband and wife treat and respond to one another? Would the husband be jealous? In many such situations, would not the result be a ruined marriage and family? Thus God’s Word uses reality to reveal to us that Christ is jealous over His church and is grieved when His spiritual wife puts herself under the state through incorporation and 501(c)(3) tax exempt status or in any other manner. (See God Betrayed, Section VI and/or Jerald Finney, God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities?(Austin, TX: Kerygma Publishing Co., 2009; these books are summarized in the audio teachings found on the following link: “Articles and audio teachings.”) for a thorough explanation of the incorporation and 501(c)(3) tax exemption of churches).

What happens when a wife starts to have an affair, even a non-sexual affair? She may be able to hide her earthly affair from her husband, but she cannot hide the effects of the affair. (Of course, a church cannot hide her affair from the Lord.) The attitude, speech, and actions of the wife change. Her relationship with her husband changes. Her husband now has to share his time with another who is partially over his wife. Joy leaves the marriage. Many times, if she does not repent, the marriage is destroyed. Even if she repents, she and her husband will never forget. Hopefully, he will forgive.

In many ways, it is the same with the local assembly that enters into an unholy union with the civil government. Many times, the church who does so tries to minimize the dishonor and grief she has caused her Husband, the Lord Jesus Christ. Many of those who even think about the possible implications of what they have done say, “Well, if my new partner ever tells me that I cannot preach salvation, he will have gone too far.” The pastor and members of such a church actually, if not knowingly, are saying by their actions:

“The Lord and his ways are not sufficient. The civil government takes better care of me than does the Lord. Civil laws are wiser and more beneficial than the precepts of the Word of God. The civil government protects the church, allows the church to enter into contracts, gives the church limited liability, gives the church tax exemption (not realizing that God makes the church non-taxable which is not good enough), allows my people to deduct their contributions, etc.”; or “Romans 13 requires a church to incorporate and get 501(c)(3) status (click the following link for an article which addresses this argument: “American Abuse of Romans 13.1-2 and Related Verses“.).

Any rationale given to justify a union of church and state is spurious, and the Christian who offers such reasoning either does not understand or ignores the Word of God in these matters. He does not understand that God instructs him that the Lord is to be the only Head over His churches, that he is at the very least combining the holy with the unholy, or that he is at worst committing spiritual adultery, and that disastrous consequences, sooner or later, are ahead. He does not understand the spiritual effects that such an unholy relationship has upon the church body, church members individually and as families, and upon society as a whole.

Like the people of the nation Israel, not satisfied with proceeding directly under God as a theocracy, demanded and were granted a king by God, a church who is not satisfied with being solely under God will incorporate, get 501(c)(3) status, organize as a charitable trust, or become a legal entity by some other means. That church may still be blessed by God to some extent; but, like Israel (See I S. 8, 12.16-25), she has committed a great wickedness and started down a slippery slope. After taking the first step to dishonor her Husband, additional steps follow. The church and her members proceed, to a significant extent, according to earthly rules and procedures designed by the god of this world, not by Christ as given in His Word. Incremental compromises begin and continue, resulting in negative spiritual effects to the church, her members and families, and society to one degree or another. Sooner or later complete apostasy will likely result.

Unlike many earthly husbands who have been betrayed, God can and will forgive and forget if a wayward church repents and turns back to the Lord. Christ said to the church at Ephesus who had left her first love (Christ), “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Re. 2.5). How vexing to see that most men of God can understand the importance of honoring the marriage relationship between man and woman, but cannot understand the importance of honoring a more important marriage relationship.

B. Old Testament insights concerning the marriage relationship

The Old Testament offers additional insights about the marriage relationship between Christ and His churches. There God describes His feelings about the Husband-wife relationship. Israel is depicted as the wife of Jehovah God the Father who is called the Husband of Israel.

Isaiah 54 deals with Israel the restored wife of Jehovah & security and blessing of restored Israel. God the Father was the Husband of Israel.  “For thy maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy one of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called” (Is. 54.5).

Hosea depicts the dishonored wife (Israel), and the sinful people. “… Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither  am I her husband. Let her  therefore put away her  whoredoms out of her  sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts; Lest I  strip her naked, and set her  as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst. And I will not have mercy on her children; for they be the children of whoredoms. For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after other lovers, that give me  my bread and  my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink” (Ho. 2.2-5).

Hosea 4.6-11 speaks of the willful ignorance of Israel: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou has forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget my children…” (See Ho. 4).

Jeremiah 2-6 discusses the harlotry of Israel toward her Husband, Jehovah, and His warnings and promises to her depending upon whether she repents. “Turn, O backsliding children saith the LORD; for I am married unto you…. Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD” (Je. 3.14, 20).

Various people in the Old Testament are types of Christ and the church, the Bridegroom and the bride. For example, Rebecca was a type of the church, the “called out” virgin bride of Christ. Isaac was a type of the Bridegroom, who loves through the testimony of the unnamed Servant: “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory[.]” (I Pe. 1.8). Isaac was a type of the Bridegroom who goes out to meet and receive his bride.

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first[.]” (I Th. 4.14-16).

“Typically, the book of Ruth may be taken as a foreview of the church—Ruth, as the Gentile bride of Christ, the Bethlehemite who is able to redeem” (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, Headnote to Ru., p. 315).

The coming of the Bridegroom is cause for great rejoicing by the believer, the friend of the Bridegroom (See, e.g., Jn. 3.29). The marriage of the Lamb to His bride the church will be a glorious event which will occur in heaven:

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God” (Re. 19.7-9; see also, Re. 21.9-22.17).

C. Additional New Testament insights into the love
relationship between Christ and His churches

As we have seen, the husband is to be the only head of the wife, and Christ is to be the only Head of His churches (See Ep. 5.23-27, 29-33 quoted above). “And hath put all thingsunder his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church” (Ep. 1.22). “[Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whetherthey be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1.15-18).

Christ, likened unto a husband, because of His love for His churches, gave Himself to redeem them. He is, in love, sanctifying the church, and will present the church to Himself as a reward for His sacrifice and labor of love, a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, a perfect church without spot or blemish, “one pearl of great price” (Mt. 13.45-46).

Jesus is the Father’s love-gift to the world: “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” (Jn. 3.16).

The believer, the church member, is His reward, given Him as a love-gift by the Father. “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him” (Jn. 17.2). “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word” (Jn 17.6). “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine” (Jn. 17.9). “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are” (Jn. 17.11). “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (Jn. 17.24). Does not the Lamb of God deserve the reward of His suffering: a chaste virgin?

Just as a bridegroom gives gifts to his earthly bride, so Christ gives gifts to His bride, to those whom the Father gave Him. He gives her: (1) Eternal life: “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him” (Jn. 17.2). (2) The Father’s name: “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word…. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (Jn. 17.6, 26). (3) The Father’s words: “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me…. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (Jn. 17.8, 14). (4)His own joy: “And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves” (Jn. 17.13). (5) His own glory: “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one” (Jn. 17.22).

As Christ loves His churches, so should they love Him. Mere emotion and proclamations do not equal love. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (Jn. 14.15). “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (Jn. 14.21). “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (Jn. 14.23 ). “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love” (Jn. 15.10).  “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (Jn. 15.14). “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (I Jn. 5.3).

What are Christ’s commandments? As has already been mentioned, the first and greatestcommandment is to love the Lord with all one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength, and thesecond is “like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

D. A I Corninthians 13 analysis of the love relationship
between Christ and His churches

This love between Christ and His church and what it entails is seen in the Song of Solomon: The Song of Solomon, “[p]rimarily, is the expression of pure marital love as ordained of God in creation, and the vindication of that love as against both asceticism and lust—the two profanations of the holiness of marriage. The secondary and larger interpretation is of Christ, the Son and His heavenly bride, the Church (2 Cor. 11.1-4, refs.)” (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, Headnote to Song of Solomon, p. 705).

“Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would be utterly contemned” (Song of Solomon 8.7). “Contemned” means “despised, scorned, slighted, neglected, or rejected with disdain” (AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, NOAH WEBSTER (1828), definition of “CONTEMNED.” Unless otherwise indicated, all definitions which follow are from this dictionary.). God despises, scorns, slights, neglects, or rejects with disdain all that a church does, whatever professions of love she makes, if those acts and/or professions are without love. No matter what she says, a church who does not honor Christ as her Husband, her Bridegroom, by remaining pure and chaste, demonstrates that she does not love God with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength. Thus, loving ones neighbor by witnessing to him, sending missionaries to him, helping him materially or any other way in obedience to the second commandment—“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”—is vanity in God’s eyes if one ignores the greatest commandment.

This truth is also articulated in the New Testament. The Lord Jesus is jealous over His churches. If we do not love the Lord Jesus, He despises all the “Christian” work we do and the money we put in the offering plate:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am becomeas sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing” (I Co. 13.1-3).

“In a theological sense, [‘charity’] “includes supreme love to God and a universal good will to men. 1 Cor. xiii. Col. iii. 1 Tim. i.” (definition of ‘CHARITY’). I Corinthians 13.4-8 reveals that love is an act of the will and describes what actions constitute love. A church refutes its proclamations of love for the Lord when it wholly or partially takes the church from under the headship of her Husband, the Lord Jesus Christ and/or violates any of the other attributes of love as given in those verses.

Churches who put themselves even partially under another head dishonor their Husband. Such churches, by their actions, show that they do not have a supreme love for God, that they do not love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Let’s examine I Corinthians 13.4-8 verse by verse and apply it to the love of a church for the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up” (I Co. 13.4). “Suffereth long” means that one is patient and forbearing. In other words, he waits upon the Lord. “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew theirstrength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; andthey shall walk, and not faint” (Is. 40.31).

“But they that wait upon the Lord – The word rendered ‘wait upon’ here (from קוה qavah ), denotes properly to wait, in the sense of expecting. The phrase, ‘to wait on Yahweh,’ means to wait for his help; that is, to trust in him, to put our hope or confidence in him…. “It does not imply inactivity, or want of personal exertion; it implies merely that our hope of aid and salvation is in him – a feeling that is as consistent with the most strenuous endeavors to secure the object, as it is with a state of inactivity and indolence. Indeed, no man can wait on God in a proper manner who does not use the means which he has appointed for conveying to us his blessing. To wait on him without using any means to obtain his aid, is to tempt him; to expect miraculous interposition is unauthorized, and must meet with disappointment. And they only wait on him in a proper manner who expect his blessing in the common modes in which he imparts it to men – in the use of those means and efforts which he has appointed, and which he is accustomed to bless. The farmer who should wait for God to plow and sow his fields, would not only be disappointed, but would be guilty of provoking Him. And so the man who waits for God to do what he ought to do; to save him without using any of the means of grace, will not only be disappointed, but will provoke his displeasure” (Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible…).

A church who loves the Lord and suffers long is patient and waits on the Lord, while using only those means authorized by Him. An incorporated 501(c)(3) church has not “suffered long.”

Charity is kind. “A man who truly loves another will be kind to him, desirous of doing him good; will be gentle, not severe and harsh; will be courteous because he desires his happiness, and would not pain his feelings” (Ibid.). A Church who loves God will not cause God pain or grief by dishonoring her love relationship with the Lord Jesus.

Charity envieth not. One who truly loves another will not envy in the bad sense; that is, he or she “will be kind to him, desirous of doing him good; will be gentle, not severe and harsh; will be courteous because he desires his happiness, and would not pain his feelings” (Ibid.).

Charity vaunteth not itself:

“The idea is that of boasting, bragging, vaunting. The word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. Bloomfield supposes that it has the idea of acting precipitously, inconsiderately, incautiously; and this idea our translators have placed in the margin, ‘he is not rash.’ But most expositors suppose that it has the notion of boasting, or vaunting of one’s own excellences or endowments. This spirit proceeds from the idea of superiorityover others; and is connected with a feeling of contempt or disregard for them. Love would correct this, because it would produce a desire that they should be happy–and to treat a man with contempt is not the way to make him happy; love would regard others with esteem–and to boast over them is not to treat them with esteem; it would teach us to treat them with affectionate regard–and no man who has affectionate regard for others is disposed to boast of his own qualities over them. Besides, love produces a state of mind just the opposite of a disposition to boast. It receives its endowments with gratitude; regards them as the gift of God; and is disposed to employ them not in vain boasting, but in purposes of utility, in doing good to all others On as wide a scale as possible. The boaster is not a man who does good. To boast of talents is not to employ them to advantage to others. It will be of no account in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, comforting the sick and afflicted, or in saving the world. Accordingly, the man who does the most good is the least accustomed to boast; the man who boasts may be regarded as doing nothing else” (Ibid.).

The application to the church regarding attachments to the civil government is obvious to the spirit filled believer.

Charity is not puffed up (jusioutai). This “word means, to blow, to puff, to pant; then to inflate with pride, and vanity, and self-esteem. [This word the feeling expresses the feelings of pride, vanity, etc.]…. Love[, on the other hand] is humble, meek, modest, unobtrusive” (Ibid.). Pride, vanity, and self-esteem exclude God, and lead to a betrayal of God by turning to another such as the civil government.

“Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil[.]” (I Co. 13.5). Charity “doth not behave itself unseemly” means, “to conduct improperly, or disgracefully, or in a manner to deserve reproach. Love seeks that which is proper or becoming…” (Ibid.). A church who loves the Lord will seek to abide in Christ and His principles for His churches.

Charity “seeketh not her own:”

“It means, to conduct improperly, or disgracefully, or in a manner to deserve reproach. Love seeks that which is proper or becoming in the circumstances and relations of life in which we are placed. It prompts to the due respect for superiors, producing veneration and respect for their opinions… [I]t prompts to the fit discharge of all the relative duties, because it leads to the desire to promote the happiness of all.” (Ibid.).

Churches incorporate, get 501(c)(3) tax exemption, or become legal entities in other ways in violation of their God-given duties thereby disrespecting their Highest Superior.

Charity “is not easily provoked, paroxunetai:”

“The meaning of the phrase in the Greek is, that a man who is under the influence of love or religion is not prone to violent anger or exasperation; it is not his character to be hasty, excited, or passionate. He is calm, serious, patient. He looks soberly at things; and though he may be injured yet he governs his passions, restrains his temper, subdues his feelings. This, Paul says, would be produced by love. And this is apparent. If we are under the influence of benevolence or love to any one, we shall not give way to sudden bursts of feeling. We shall look kindly on his actions; put the best construction on his motives; deem it possible that we have mistaken the nature or the reasons of his conduct; seek or desire explanation (Mt. 5:23-24).… That true religion is designed to produce this, is apparent everywhere in the New Testament, and especially from the example of the Lord Jesus; that it actually does produce it, is apparent from all who come under its influence in any proper manner.” (Ibid.).

A church who becomes a legal entity has not looked soberly at the principles concerning separation of church and state in God’s Word; and she has not governed her passions and subdued her feelings. This is true even though that church may have acted in ignorance without anger or exasperation.

Charity “thinketh no evil.” This proscription does not apply to the issue we are looking at if one interprets it to mean that one is not to think evil of another, his motives or conduct. However, a church who becomes a legal entity has definitely committed an evil act against God whether she knows it or not.

Charity “[r]ejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth” (I Co. 13.6). Iniquity means “Injustice, unrighteous-ness, … [w]ant of rectitude [rightness in principle or practice], … a sin or crime; wickedness….” Jesus is the truth (Jn. 14.6). By following man’s devises and combining Christ’s church with civil government, a church is in effect following man-made principles which are contrary to God’s precepts, committing a great wickedness or sin, and rejoicing in the fact that she is following the methods and provisions of a head other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

Charity “Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things” (I Co. 13.7). A church who is a legal entity is seeking to avoid bearing perceived burdens such as losing rich earthly oriented church members. She is operating outside scriptural principles so that she can enter into contracts—such as contracts to pay her pastor or others a salary (for a church to pay anyone a salary violates biblical principle. See God Betrayed)—limit liability (not knowing that in effect, she is probably increasing risk and liability rather than limiting it. See Ibid., Section VI, Chapter 6), hold property (not knowing that a church can utilize property in America while honoring biblical principles. (See Ibid., Chapter 7), give tax deductions for contributions (See Ibid., Chapter 8), and for other spurious reasons. She may be allegedly seeking to obey what she incorrectly believes is her master, the civil government (See Ibid., Section III, Chapters 5 and 6,and Jerald Finney,Render Unto God the Things that Are His (Austin, TX: Kerygma Publishing Co., 2009)). Finally, she is attempting to avoid any persecution and any adverse affects—she wants to assure her members that they will have no persecution or anything else to endure. A church who is a legal entity is not believing all the Word of God and she is not placing her hope in the Lord. At the very least, part of her hope is in civil government.

“Charity never faileth” (I Co. 13.8). A church who depends upon and subjects herself to the civil government has certainly failed the Lord.

IV. Conclusion

The Lord Jesus gave a warning to the church at Ephesus:

“I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Re. 2.2-5).

As Dr. J. Vernon McGee teaches us, this warning was for every church who has lost her love for the Lord Jesus:

“It was a warning of danger of getting away from a personal and loving relationship with Jesus Christ. The real test of any believer, especially those who are attempting to serve Him, is not your little method or mode or system, or your dedication, or any of the things that are so often emphasized today. The one question is: Do you love Him? Do you love the Lord Jesus? When you love Him, you will be in a right relationship with Him, but when you begin to depart from the person of Christ, it will finally lead to lukewarmness. The apostate church was guilty of lukewarmness. It may not seem to be too bad, but it is the worst condition that anyone can be in. A great preacher in upper New York state said: ‘Twenty lukewarm Christians hurt the cause of Christ more than one blatant atheist.’ A lukewarm church is a disgrace to Christ” (J. Vernon McGee, RevelationVolume I(Pasadena, California: Thru the Bible Books, 1982), pp. 121-122).

As the Lord Jesus Christ is jealous over His churches, so should pastors and church members be jealous, with a godly jealousy, over the church they belong to, just as Paul was (See II Co. 11.1-3).

The church who really loves her Husband, the Lord Jesus Christ, will seek to maintain her purity, to be subject to her Husband in all things. All the professions of love, all the good deeds, the hymns sung, and the messages preached by a church who does not totally submit herself in all things to her Husband are contemned by the Lord since that church, by her actions, shows that she does not love the Lord Jesus Christ with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength. A church who incorporates, organizes as a charitable trust or unincorporated association, takes a 501(c)(3) tax exemption, a license, an employee or taxpayer identification number, any type permit from the state, or puts herself under the state in any way, becomes an earthly legal entity subject to the jurisdiction of an earthly power, the civil government; and, in spite of any professions of love for the Lord, according to her actions, shows that she does not fully love the Lord Jesus Christ.

END

1,000 Pastors who pledge to defy IRS and preach politics from pulpit ahead of election misunderstand the law and the hierarchy of law

Jerald Finney
Copyright © October 3 , 2012

Authority, The Greatest Thing In The Universe,” Dr. Greg Dixon 2005. This sermon explains the importance of authority and power and correct doctrine. It explains how great men of God can proceed according to some false doctrine and the consequences. For example, John and Charles Wesleys’ teachings led to the tongues movement and all its modern derivatives and adnerents such as TD Jakes, Joycd Meyers, Kenneth Hagan, etc.

Click here to go to sermonaudio teaching “Texas Pastors getting ‘Sermon Protection Act’-Do We Need It?” 

Pastors pledge to defy IRS, preach politics from pulpit ahead of election

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; … In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Romans 2.12, 16).

By intentionally preaching on politics before the upcoming election in defiance of the rule in Internal Revenue Code §501(c)(3) (“501c3”)(click the link to go directly to the law and read it for yourself), 1000 pastors plan to challenge the constitutionality of that provision. This article analyses their actions and intentions based upon a look at 501c3 in light of American civil law and Biblical principle and teaching.

American law says that hierarchal governance shall be in the following order: The constitution of the United States, those federal statutes that control states under the supremacy clause, the state constitution, state statute, and county and city ordinances. Thus, for example, when a person is charged with a crime for violating a city ordinance which forbids speech in the public forum (i.e., government owned property such as sidewalks and parks which have been traditional forums for free speech), one can move to quash the action based upon his United States and state constitutional rights to free speech. Of course, one’s constitutional right to free speech in a public forum does not apply to certain criminal activity such as obstructing the sidewalk by rendering the sidewalk impassable or rendering passage unreasonably inconvenient or hazardous after disobeying a reasonable request or order to move by a peace officer, fireman, or person with authority to control the use of the premises.

American hierarchal law is adequate to deal with a legal issue like the one presented in the preceding paragraph. However, in spite of its sufficiency in dealing with most temporal matters, it is incorrect and also inadequate. American hierarchal law does not recognize the highest law, God’s law as given in the Bible. God’s law is above man’s law whether man recognizes it or not. Civil governments, like individuals and churches, have a choice to make. God temporarily gives man free will because He wants man’s love. That which is forced can never be love. Thus, God allows civil governments to refuse to know and/or recognize that He is God. Nations who choose not to recognize God and operate within their God-ordained jurisdictions will ultimately be cursed according to their choice. Those who operate according to His principles will be blessed. No nation, individual or church can complain because reality, when looked at in the light provided by the Bible, gives man all he needs to know to make the right choice. Light ignored or rejected halts positive progress and brings ultimate undesirable consequences.

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

The author would note that God’s law teaches that civil government under God establishes separation of church and state and freedom of religion (which can also be called freedom of conscience or soul liberty) while at the same time recognizing His Supremacy, because, as stated in the last paragraph, God wants every man to have a choice (See “Is Separation of Church and State Found in the Constitution?). Thus a nation under God will separate church and state and will guarantee religious freedom while at the same time recognizing God and keeping its own authority within the jurisdictional boundaries which God has established in His Word. Just because America does not recognize the highest law does not mean that God’s law is not in effect: Although the First Amendment to the United States Constitution still forbids and corresponding state constitutional provisions protect against religious establishment (union of church and state) and freedom of religion, due to her successful attempts to remove God from practically all civil government matters, America is beginning to suffer the inevitable consequences and is now a moral cesspool in which wickedness is the rule of the day.

Sadly, most of those who claim to know God and His law have accepted the American hierarchy of law as opposed to the Biblical hierarchy of law. Even the vast majority of pastors, men who should know better, claim that the Bible teaches that believers should obey every ordinance of man; and they cite Romans 13:1 or 1 Peter 2:13, out of context to support their position. (All these matters are dealt with on the “Separation of Church and State Law” website and also in books written by this author. Go to Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 an Related Verses for an online version of the book which explains the true meaning of Romans 13:1, 1 Peter 2:13, and other related verses. Go to the Sermons page of “Separation of Church and State Law Website” to hear sermons on Romans 13, 1 Peter 2:13 and other relevant matters. See also, Endnote. Note. All Jerald Finney’s teachings can be accessed on his websites at no cost whatsoever.). They even go so far as to say that churches should incorporate and apply for 501c3 status, even though there is no ordinance of man in America requiring churches to do so. In fact, the laws of incorporation and 501c3 violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. (See infra).

A few years ago, the Alliance Defense Fund (“ADF”) had a pulpit initiative in which 100 pastors preached on politics in defiance of one of the several the rules they agreed to when they asked for and were granted 501c3 status. The ADF informed the Internal Revenue Service and widely advertised the date of their upcoming activity. After the date of their activity, the Internal Revenue Service simply ignored it. No action against the pastors and churches involved was taken.

Now, more than 1,000 pastors of churches who asked for and were granted 501c3 status are again planning to challenge the IRS next month by deliberately preaching politics ahead of the presidential election despite the law which forbids 501c3 churches and pastors from preaching on politics. (Go directly to “Pastors pledge to defy IRS, preach politics from pulpit ahead of election” by clicking link. The article is also reproduced in En2 below.). Their position is that prohibiting preachers from preaching on politics is unconstitutional; that the law violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The First Amendment says:

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

A cursory examination of the law and the position of the 1,000 pastors quickly reveals the folly of their action. Is not the entirety of Internal Revenue Code §501(c)(3) unconstitutional as to its application to churches? Is not it a law respecting an establishment of religion and a law which prohibits the free exercise thereof? If so, and if the 1,000 pastors truly honor the Constitution, then why did they seek 501c3 status in the first place? Why did they and untold thousands of other pastors not cancel their 501c3 status in its entirety and legally attack the entire law as being unconstitutional as applied to churches? Of course they and this author know the reason. They incorrectly perceived that such status would be of benefit to them and the churches they pastor as they proceed with their attempts to build their mini-kingdoms on earth as well as to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth; attempts guided by humanistic and/or heretical, not Biblical concepts.

A non-501c3 church which is careful to operate as a spiritual entity only, not a legal entity, is protected by God and by the First Amendment. It is a First Amendment Church; it is, as to its organization, a New Testament church. The federal government and the Internal Revenue Service understand this. The author has thoroughly explained all these matters in some detail in his books and websites. He quotes directly from the Internal Revenue Code, Internal Revenue Service Regulations, and from various other legal sources. See En1. The First Amendment is a statement of the Biblical principles of separation of church and state and protects any church who does not become a legal entity such as a corporation, unincorporated association, or charitable trust and who does not obtain 501c3 or 508  status.

First Amendment churches have many benefits which a 501c3 or a 508 church does not have. First Amendment churches are free to preach whatever God leads them to preach without persecution. They please God in their manner of organization since they submit themselves to no head other than their Bridegroom and Husband, the Lord Jesus Christ. The members of First Amendment churches have greater protection against criminal and civil actions and liability than do members of corporate 501c3 churches. First Amendment churches, unlike 501c3 churches, can have the power of God if they also honor other Biblical precepts. Again, all these matters are explained in detail in Jerald Finney’s books and websites. Many churches in America are now operating without legal entity status and without 501c3 status.

SeparationOfChurchAndState4These 1,000 pastors, according to the Bible, are proceeding without Biblical knowledge. They want their cake and to eat it too. They want the part of the unconstitutional law that they like, and they want to discard the part of the unconstitutional law they do not like, based upon a constitutional argument that only the part of the law which they do not like is unconstitutional. God is not going to honor their efforts, no matter the outcome of their actions. These pastors simply do not seem to possess the wisdom necessary to understand that God wishes His churches to be under Him only, that He is sufficient without the help of their other “lover,” and that he in fact is jealous of His churches. They do not realize that First Amendment churches in America can do much more for the Lord than can 501c3 churches since non-501c3 churches can have something that they can never have – the power of God. They miss the main point of it all: legal entity status for a church violates the Biblical principles of separation of church and state and the right to free exercise of religion. They should readily understand all this since they are seeking a resolution to the problem from their 501c3 authority, the federal government and her court system, to decide the issue; and they will be required, as 501c3 churches which have submitted themselves to the federal government, to honor the decision of their sovereign. They want the Internal Revenue Service to challenge their political preaching so they can challenge the IRS by going to federal court, the designated agent of their sovereign.

It is obvious to the Bible believer that God is very displeased with what they are doing. They do not understand that they gave up their First Amendment rights (their God-given freedoms) and placed themselves under the Fourteenth Amendment as to many matters when they intentionally became legal entities and/or asked for and received 501c3 status. They do not and maybe cannot understand American law, God’s law, and the true hierarchy of law. They do not understand the truth of what the Bible teaches about church, government, and separation of church and state. They are not and will not be free until they believe, understand, and act according to God’s word. “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8.31-32).

Endnotes

En 1

The foundational truths for all Jerald Finney's writing and teachings
The foundational truths for all Jerald Finney’s writing and teachings

Order information, free PDF, and free online version page for books by Jerald Finney

  1. Miscellaneous essays and articles by Jerald Finney.
  2. Links to some of Jerald Finney’s writings on legal issues.

En2 [Copy of the article without pictures is below]

Pastors pledge to defy IRS, preach politics from pulpit ahead of election

By Cristina Corbin
Published September 23, 2012
FoxNews.com

More than 1,000 pastors are planning to challenge the IRS next month by deliberately preaching politics ahead of the presidential election despite a federal ban on endorsements from the pulpit.

The defiant move, they hope, will prompt the IRS to enforce a 1954 tax code amendment that prohibits tax-exempt organizations, such as churches, from making political endorsements. Alliance Defending Freedom, which is holding the October summit, said it wants the IRS to press the matter so it can be decided in court. The group believes the law violates the First Amendment by “muzzling” preachers.

“The purpose is to make sure that the pastor — and not the IRS — decides what is said from the pulpit.”

– Erik Stanley, Alliance Defending Freedom

“The purpose is to make sure that the pastor — and not the IRS — decides what is said from the pulpit,” Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for the group, told FoxNews.com. “It is a head-on constitutional challenge.”

Stanley said pastors attending the Oct. 7 “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” will “preach sermons that will talk about the candidates running for office” and then “make a specific recommendation.” The sermons will be recorded and sent to the IRS.

“We’re hoping the IRS will respond by doing what they have threatened,” he said. “We have to wait for it to be applied to a particular church or pastor so that we can challenge it in court. We don’t think it’s going to take long for a judge to strike this down as unconstitutional.”

An amendment was made to the IRS tax code in 1954, stating that tax-exempt organizations are “absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”

“Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise tax,” the IRS says in its online guide for churches and religious organizations seeking tax exemption.

Stanley and others, like San Diego pastor Jim Garlow, say the IRS regularly threatens churches that they will lose their tax-exempt status if they preach politics. But Stanley and Garlow claim the government never acts on the threat because it wants to avoid a court battle.

“It is blatantly unconstitutional,” said Stanley. “They just prefer to put out these vague statements and regulations and enforce it through a system of intimidation … Pastors are afraid to address anything political from the pulpit.”

“The IRS will send out notices from time to time and say you crossed the line,” added Garlow, a senior pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego. “But when it’s time to go to court, they close the case.”

A spokeswoman for the IRS did not comment on the matter and instead referred all inquiries to the government’s online handbook.

Garlow and other pastors say their concerns over the code extend well beyond the law.

“I’m very concerned about the spiritual side of this,” Garlow told FoxNews.com. “There’s a phenomenon occurring in America and that’s a loss of religious liberty.”

“If I would have said 50 years that ‘Tearing up a baby in the womb is a bad thing,’ people would have said ‘Of course it is,’” Garlow said. “But If I said that today, people would say ‘Pastor, you’re being too political.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/09/23/pastors-pledge-to-defy-irs-preach-politics-from-pulpit-ahead-election/#ixzz27citUigN

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

Letters from pastors regarding Hyles/Schaap and other articles


Jerald Finney
Copyright © September, 2010


Contents of this article:

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

I. Introduction
II. (+) Letter No. 1 (Response to the article
“On Jack Hyles’ Sermon, The Treasure is in a Field”
)
III. My Reply to Letter No. 1
IV. (+) Letter No. 2 (Response to the article
“Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy”)
V. My Reply to Letter No. 2
VI. (-) Letter No. 3 (Response to the article
“Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy”
)
VII. My Reply to Letter No. 3
VIII. Pastor’s Reply to My Reply – Letter No. 3
IX. My Reply to Pastor’s Reply – Letter No. 3
X. (-) Letter No. 4 (Response to the article
“Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy”
)
XI. My Reply to Letter No. 4
XII. (+) Letter No. 5 (Response to the article
“Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy”
)
XIII. My Reply to Letter No. 5
XIV. (-) Letter No. 6 (Response to the article
“Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy”
)
XV. My Reply to Letter No. 6
XVI. (-) Letter No. 7  (Response to the article
“On Jack Hyles’ Sermon, The Treasure is in a Field”
)
XVII. My Reply to Letter No. 7
XVIII. (+) Letter No. 8 (In appreciation for articles on heresy and apostasy)
XIX. My Reply to Letter No. 8
XX. Letter No. 9 ()
XXI. (+) My Reply to Letter No. 9 (Response to article
“Your conviction to incorporate God’s church or not”
)
XXII. (+) Letter No. 10 (Response to article
“Your conviction to incorporate God’s church or not”
)
XXIII. My Reply to Letter No. 10
XXIV. Note with link to the book God Betrayed and other info. on books
XXV. Links to IRS Laws


I. Introduction

This article presents more e-mails from pastors with their comments, concerns, and questions concerning articles on this blog, and my replies to those e-mails. Pastors’ letters commenting upon the last article published on this “Separation of Church and State” blog – Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy – raised concerns on matters such as church autonomy which the author addresses in his replies below.

This is the fourth article on this blog with letters from pastors. The first article was What Pastors Are Saying in Response to this “Separation of Church and State Law” Blog (click link to go to article). The second article was Letters from Pastors in Response to this Separation of Church and State Blog and My Replies. The third article was More Letters from Pastors in Response to this Separation of Church and State Blog and My Replies.

These e-mail letters 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).

II. Letter No. 1 (Received on August 17, 2010 in response to the article
“On Jack Hyles’ Sermon, The Treasure is in a Field”)

Brother Finney,

I want to thank you for your emails they are a great encouragement to me. You graciously attempted to contact me approximately two years ago after I wrote to you the first time. You left your info for me to call back but I must confess and ask your forgiveness, I failed. Who knows why, I could have been busy, or just tired. I don’t know for sure. To rekindle your memory, I am a son in the ministry to Doc. Dixon. I am a bus kid from the Temple, I was on staff from 85-89. I pastor in Lafayette, Tn. now. I am a preacher that believes the unregistered position is absolutely scriptural. You and I have a few differences but just enough to sharpen each other and not hurt or divide. I again want to tell you thanks for writing and working. One day we will meet. Until then, like the song says, We’ll work til Jesus comes.

Bro ________________, _____________ Baptist Church; [Phone numbers given]

III. My Reply to Letter No. 1 (August 27, 2010)

Dear Pastor ________________,

Thank you so much for your e-mail. It was a great encouragement to me to hear from a dear brother of like mind and understanding of the Word of God. Don’t worry about not getting back with me sooner. I know how it is to not have enough hours in the day to do all I want to do. That is why I am just now getting to your e-mail.

May the Lord continue to richly bless you. Don’t hesitate to call anytime with suggestions (I certainly don’t know it all and appreciate any advice a brother in Christ can offer), questions, encouragement (to me or you), or for any other reason.

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney

IV. Letter No. 2. (Received on September 5, 2010 in response to the article
“Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy”)

Mr. Jerald Finney,

I’ve spoken to you on several occasions, I enjoyed each of them . I have one question to ask you. What does it profit the local church or churches when you constantly malign other pastors and churches especially since we believe in the Independence of the local church .As far as my King James bible says that if God can judge the congregation ( and does and will) He also will judge the man of God ( pastor/teacher.) without any of our help. I can tell through your writings that you are  equipped to take many to task , but God has not given that responsibility over to us.  Please continue to keep us informed ,stop lecturing others about church matters and their errors , you’ll be far more helpful .

Sincerely In Christ
Pastor _____________________
____________ Baptist Church

V. My Reply to Letter No. 2 (September 6, 2010)

Dear Pastor _______________,

Thank you for your letter. I  love and appreciate you.

I have answered your objections in my next article [this article] made up of pastor’s comments and my replies which will be published in a couple of days [referring to this article]. I believe that I am biblically correct in publicly confronting the publicly proclaimed issues I present in the article you reference. I believe in local church autonomy, but I also believe in freedom of religion and speech, fighting this spiritual warfare we are involved in as soldiers called by God, and seeking to save souls by proclaiming truth in the face of diabolical lies.  I have not done anything which will prevent First Baptist and Jack Schaap from preaching and teaching whatever they want, but I have warned against false teaching which has been published over the internet as well as to pastors and other believers who go to Jack Schaap and First Baptist for teaching and training. Thus, the false teaching I refer to deceives not only First Baptist, but also multitudes of others who look to this highly regarded pastor and  mega church for guidance. If you read the upcoming [this] article and still maintain your position, please let me know your reasoning. I will certainly retract, repent, and ask forgiveness for any of my positions on which one can prove to me that I am biblically wrong or out of line.

May the Lord continue to richly bless you and yours.

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney

VI. Letter No. 3 (Received on August 28, 2010 in response to the article
“Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy”)

Take me off your list and do not send me anything else.  I am not a Schaap follower.  I do not go to Pastor’s School, Youth Conference, or Women’s Spectacular, or anything else, but I do not want to participate in the independent Baptist gossip columns.

VII. My Reply to Letter No. 3 (August 28, 2010)

Dear Mr. _____________________,

I love you in the Lord. I thank the Lord that you have not been deceived. I agree with you about participating in independent Baptist gossip columns. I do not wish to participate in them either, nor will I. However, my articles do not fit into that description. If you notice in the New Testament, Paul and other apostles pointed out the heresies and apostasy that had already crept into certain churches. He named names and specific false teachings of those he named. Our Lord and the apostles warned against, stood against, and taught against false teachers and teaching. God’s Word tells us to fight this spiritual warfare in high places (what  higher places on earth than God’s churches?). We are given our weapons and told to stand against the “wiles of the devil;” included therein are heresy and apostasy.

I put forth solid facts that  you can look at for yourself. I always include that if the matters offered are not facts, please let me know and I will recant. I did not gossip about them, but offered them to everyone, to the world, just as the propaganda from Jack Schaap to which I replied was put forth over the internet and through other sources to the world. What I do is in line with God’s instructions to his children whom He has called to be soldiers.

God’s Word explains all one needs to know about heresy and apostasy in order to spot it when he sees or hears it. Many pastors, much less other believers, have not studied the Bible and many biblical principles. As a result, when anyone and especially one who has inherited great prestige and authority, as a pastor of a mega church, begins to spread heresy and/or apostasy so smoothly and convincingly, many other pastors and believers are duped.

When such heresy and/or apostasy are left unchallenged, true New Testament churches begin to disappear at an alarming rate, and far fewer people are saved than would be saved had God’s soldiers done their duty. Sadly, most Christians have deserted their calling to be soldiers in God’s army. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Please send the e-mail address and state so I can promptly honor your request to be removed. I must have the state because I send to thousands of addresses by state and I probably cannot  find your address  without the state. Thank you in advance for your courtesies in this matter.

For His Glory
Brother Jerald Finney

VIII. Pastor’s Reply to My Reply – Letter No. 3

I agree that apostasy must be preached against and exposed, but Paul and others exposed them to the local churches that they personally had or were ministering in at the time.  This is, I believe the extent of the authority given to you or any other preacher – to expose heresy within churches that you have worked directly with or are ministering with at the time.  If every preacher did that, the heresies would be exposed without mass emails and the appearance of disunity among independent Baptist.  Let me say, that I love you in the Lord as well.  I hope your ministry leads to the salvations of many and the strengthening of many Christians.

My email is ___________________ and I live in the state of ____________________.

IX. My Reply to Pastor’s Reply – Letter No. 3

Dear Pastor _______________,

Thank you for your considerate and Christian manner of response. Let me say that if I believed you to be correct in your analysis, I would recant immediately.

I believe your reasoning is incorrect for several reasons including the following:

1) Paul sent his inspired letters to particular churches. However, they were for the benefit of all churches and believers, then and now. Those writings are for sale to anyone who desires to have them. Everyone in America may possess those writings which are the inspired Word of God. Those writings contain principles for all believers and churches. Every true church and believer (of course, only God knows for sure which churches have not gone past the line and are not really churches) should have His Word, and go by the principles therein.
2) God instructs Christians to expose and stand against the wiles of the devil which include heresy and apostasy.  The basis of our understanding is to be God’s Word. I try to maintain e-mail lists that consist of churches that  claim to be “fundamental” and “Bible-believing.” Most of them are on other online lists and make the claim that they are “fundamental” and “Bible-believing.” Thus, they claim to be the type churches that God was writing to in the Bible. I point out facts. Those facts need no explanation to a knowledgeable and wise child of God as to the  biblical principles, heresies, and or apostasy involved. Sometimes I apply biblical principle(s) to those facts in order to expose heresy and/or apostasy since many believers are still on milk.
3) A church and pastor who begins to teach and train other churches and pastors especially opens itself up to biblical challenge, since the influence of that church and pastor extends far beyond that particular church body. When one of the largest fundamental Baptist churches, or the largest and most influential fundamental Baptist church, in America preaches and teaches, thousands of other churches, believers, and lost people are influenced, and the eternal fate of countless numbers of souls are affected. When such a church preaches or teaches heresy and/or apostasy to untold thousands of other believers and that teaching is available for all the world – including myself – to see, I as a believer have a biblical mandate and a God-ordained calling to stand up and be counted in this great warfare which God has chosen all believers to be involved in (See 2 Ti. 2.1-4).

I did not plan to write the article you take issue with. The Lord laid on my heart the theme of the article and then – thorough sermons I heard, unsolicited input from friends [including a good pastor friend] who knew nothing about the article God had laid on my heart, and Bible study – brought information which I had never heard before and insights thereto which He wanted me to have concerning heresy and apostasy, Dr. Jack Hyles, and Jack Schaap and which He wanted in the article. I believe He did this in order to bring to pastors’ attention biblical teaching on the subject of heresy and apostasy and the heresy and apostasy in God’s churches. I will continue with two more articles on the subject. Hopefully, some will wake up and understand the dire state of many “Bible-believing” churches in America.

In my articles, audio teachings, and books I apply biblical principles to earthly facts. If I point out heresy or apostasy, I am merely standing against the “wiles of the devil” which have invaded the highest places (“spiritual wickedness in high places”). I am attacking heresy and/or apostasy – if it comes from a Baptist church or preacher, so be it. I make clear that I am always open to Bible based reasoning and challenges. If anyone can show me that the facts I present are not accurate and/or that I am heretical in any manner, I will recant, repent, ask forgiveness, and modify my facts and/or conclusions so that they are in line with reality and/or biblical truth.

To explain this matter completely would take volumes. See my books, audio teachings, and articles.

Thank you again. Always feel free to present your point of view to me. Unlike your most Christian approach to expressing your differences with me, some attacks and/or challenges against me and my teachings are baseless, and without any type of reasoning – secular or biblical.

As you requested, your e-mail address,  _________________,  has been REMOVED from my _____________ list.

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney

X. Letter No. 4 (Received on September 4, 2010 in response to the article
“Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy”)

Why should I care about anything another pastor does. Being a pastor that believes that Bible Believing Baptist Churches are autonomous means I believe that if there is a problem at First Baptist of Hammond, Indiana, it is to be taken care of in that Church and that Church alone. Independent Baptist Churches are not part of a convention. Therefore, you have no say in the affairs of that Church, unless you are a member of it.

Please take me off of your email list. Thank you very much.

Pastor _______________________

XI. My Reply to Letter No. 4

Dear Pastor ______________________,

In love, I offer this reply. Every individual, family, church, and civil government has free will and is autonomous. However, that does not mean that when an individual, family, church, or civil government publicly teaches heresy and/or apostasy that no one should exercise his free will and point out the errors being published. Untold numbers of souls are being lost because most pastors and believers do not understand that Christians are called by God to stand against the “wiles of the devil,” including heresy and apostasy.

God’s Word warns against false teaching. If a son of God does not see a warning or principle in the Bible, God will bring a Nathan, an Ananias, a Phebe, a Paul (as to Peter – see Ga. 2) to see if he will listen. Peter got hold of Mark, and it was several years before the Apostle Paul got hold of him. Mark got right with God and when he did, God used him. (2 Ti. 4.11). Sadly, despite the warnings, many Christians and churches, as did Israel, “turn back and tempt God, and limit the Holy One of Israel” (See Ps. 78.31). The hope is that when God issues a clear warning, some will listen.

A great man of God told me that although he and many of the pastors he knows have practiced biblical covenant marriage in their ministries, they have not completely understood the issue of covenant (biblical covenant includes God as a party) versus state contract marriage. He commented that I explained the matter in God Betrayed. I am a Bible believing lawyer whose standard for all matters is the Word of God. Once I researched the law on the marriage of man and woman and the law on church (the church being the wife of Christ) incorporation and 501(c)(3) and applied biblical principles to those matters, I saw some things which a pastor cannot see since he is not trained in the law and has not researched legal history. I was sent to help those pastors who do not think they know it all and will listen concerning certain matters for which the Lord has given me special insights.

Your letter (without identification) will appear in an upcoming article along with letters from other pastors and my responses. By reading my articles, those letters, and my responses, one can learn why God desires His children to stand against heresy and apostasy.

Please send your state and e-mail address(es) you wish to be removed, and I will promptly honor your request. Since I send to thousands of addresses by state, I must have the state as well as the e-mail address in order to remove an address.

For His Glory,
Jerald Finney

XII. Letter No. 5 (September 1, 2010 in response to the article
“Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy”)

While I am not disputing your article, I am wondering why you think it necessary to attack a man who pastors a different church than the one you are a member of?  While I certainly do not agree with Jack, I am not going to attempt to raise my stature by putting my foot on his head.  He is the pastor of an independent Baptist church, duly called by its members, and not under our headship or our control.  Have we run out of Catholics, Adventists, Mormons and other cults that we must now shoot our own soldiers?  I am not trying to attack you or the good work you are doing, but Jack, no matter what his faults may be, is “another man’s servant.”

XIII. My Reply to Letter No. 5 (September 2, 2010)

Dear Sir,

The Lord called me into this ministry. I am not a pastor, but I am a soldier in the army of God who will go wherever He directs me. Jack Schaap does not restrict himself and his teachings to his church. He and his teaching are all over the internet. He trains many pastors from other churches. In other words, he is trying to convert others outside his church to his way of thinking. Therefore, it is my duty as a soldier in God’s army to confront his false teaching.

Our Lord instructed us to stand against the wiles of the devil by putting on the “whole armour of God” (See Ep. 6.1018; study those verses in context of the Word of God to understand more about this matter). He warned us against false teachers. The Lord himself, while on earth and then through Paul, Peter, John, Jude, and other believers then and since confronted false theologies and teachers that had already crept into the churches. Our Lord’s principles and their application did not end with the apostles and the first church members. We are to continue the spiritual warfare that our Lord began and the apostles and true and knowledgeable believers then and since have engaged in.

The article you comment on goes a long way to answering your question. Perhaps you should read the article and my other articles which deal with heresy and apostasy again. I will be answering your arguments in a future article which will deal with Pastor’s comments and my replies [this article]. It appears that many men of God have never considered what the Word of God has to say about false teachers, heresy, apostasy, and our duties – under God and the guidelines in His Word – as soldiers, called by Him, to fight spiritual warfare “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Spiritual wickedness is found not only within the cults. It has proliferated within our “fundamental” churches like a wildfire. God called me to operate on this front in 2005. I know of others who are called to other fronts to fight against certain cults and religions. I cannot do everything, but I can do what God called me to do. I also faithfully attend a fundamental Bible-believing Baptist church, through which I give my tithes and  offerings, do street preaching, door to door evangelism, etc.

I will write no more here. To fully answer your question would require days. Read my articles on heresy and apostasy (Two more will soon be published). Hopefully you will grow to understand that fighting a limited spiritual warfare is not God’s desire for His army. He wants his children and soldiers to advance on all fronts, as I pointed out in the article. Because Christians have not proceeded with knowledge, understanding, and wisdom as individuals, families, churches, and within the nation, individuals, families, churches, and American civil government are now experiencing the tragic consequences, true churches are dying, and far fewer people, as a percentage, are being saved.

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney

XIV. Letter No. 6 (Received on August 28, 2010 in response to the article
“Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy”)

Thank you for being the police of fundamentalism.  if you dont like Schaap Dont go to Pastors School. If you are a member of FBC hammond then complain. But dont send me your junk mail, Please

_____________________

XV. My Reply to Letter No. 6

 [I copied and pasted another of my responses and e-mailed it to this person. and asked him to send his state and the e-mail address(es) he wanted removed so that I could promptly honor his request.]

Sincerely,
Jerald Finney

XVI. Letter No. 7 (Received on August 14, 2010 in response to the article
“On Jack Hyles’ Sermon, The Treasure is in a Field”)

The man has been dead for eight years. Why in the world would you dredge this up. I have read you commentary on it and quite frankly would think you have better things to do with your time  than this. Whether you are right or wrong, that’s not the issue. The issue is the last word has to end with you seeing that Brother Hyles has no way of defending his point either way since he has been dead for eight years. Forward. No. Take me off your email list. Yes. Thank you.

Pastor __________________, Hyles Anderson College, class of __________.

PS Learn your grammar it would be Hyles’s not Hyles’. The apostrophe would be used like that primarily with Biblical figures as in Moses’ and Jesus’ not with names now. “Although names ending in s or an s sound are not required to have the second s added in possessive form, it is preferred.” I know it is not required but preferred.

XVII. My Reply to Letter No. 7

Dear Mr. _________________,

Thank you for your e-mail response and for the grammar lesson. I apologize for the misunderstanding. I reread the article and, after many reviews, still do not see that I was attacking Dr. Hyles. In fact, I praised him and said some very complimentary things about him. What I was doing was to take issue with a very important matter brought up in Dr. Hyles’ referenced sermon. Dr. Hyles published the sermon for the world to read. He was wrong, according to the Bible, about a very important matter.

You did not say that I was wrong about what he said in his sermon. My main point was that he was wrong as to the “main cause for divorce in our country, and the main cause for church splits and church troubles in your country.” I then went on to give the real main cause for those problems.

My articles and other teachings address a preeminent issue in the spiritual warfare which is going on in our churches, an issue that is near and dear to the heart of the Lord Jesus Christ. In His Word, He gives us the reasons for the problems Dr. Hyles mentioned. Our Bible believing churches are going under at an alarming rate, more and more Christians are remaining carnal spiritual babies, marriages are being  broken, the godly family is disappearing, etc. because Churches and Christians simply are not standing on the truths of God’s Word. I address those problems, as led by my Lord and Savior, in my teachings.

I have the right to criticize the sermon because it was preached by an evangelist in the church I attend and is also published on the internet. I believe that any believer has a right to confront heresy which is presented to him and the entire Christian community in churches all over the nation and over the internet.

I can think of nothing more important or compelling to do.

I will promptly remove you from my list if you will send me your state. I cannot remove you without the state because I send to thousands of addresses, by state. However, I ask you to reconsider since my next article will be a follow-up on this article.

For His Glory,
Jerald Finney, born again believer, BBA, JD

XVIII. Letter No. 8 (Received on June 1, 2010 in appreciation for articles on heresy and apostasy)

I appreciate your series of articles, especially this one [this was three months before the articles on heresy and apostasy].  I don’t know enough to proclaim your teachings “right” or “wrong”, but they make sense.  My undergrad degree is in Accounting, so I’m not a total neophyte.

We’re a young church and meet in a rented building now, but may need to cross the bridge of getting a permanent building soon, so these are timely articles.

____________________ (____________@uno.com)

XIX. My Reply to Letter No. 8 (June 1, 2010)

Dear Pastor ___________________,

Thanks for your comment. Feel free to contact me should you have any insights, recommendations, questions, etc. I never charge for anything I do in this ministry.

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney

XX. Letter No. 9 (Received on May 22, 2010 in response to article
“Your conviction to incorporate God’s church or not”)

Bro Finney,

I need to know how to organize our church the way you are recommending.  What is required?  How do we get started?  We are going to be needing church property and I don’t want to wait until the last minute.   As you have time please advise.

Info:

Name: ____________________ Baptist Church
Address: ________________________________
Status: We were organized 501c3 in 2000 but administratively dissolved in 2001 for failure to file
Membership: _____ Adults
Attendance: 65-70 currently
Property: We own _________________
I would be glad to provide any other information.

Servant to the King of kings,
______________________
Pastor, __________________ Baptist Church

XXI. My Reply to Letter No. 9 (May 22, 2010)

Dear Pastor _______________,

It is a great blessing to hear of another church who is prospering spiritually and desires to do things in a manner which honors our Lord.

I would be glad to discuss this matter with you. I charge nothing and receive nothing for my help in these matters.

One should  not attempt to do these things himself. The whole system used is totally legal and is in place in many churches who are now operating as New Testament  churches under the Lord Jesus Christ only.

I just tried to call you, but got no answer.  I have a trial set for Monday, so it would be better to talk with you later next week. I tried to call the number you gave, but got no answer. If you had answered, I was going to suggest that we talk about this late next week when my trial will be over. I will answer any questions or concerns you may have when we talk.

May the Lord continue to richly bless you and _____________________ Baptist Church.

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney

XXII. Letter No. 10 (Received on May 18, 2009 in response to article
“Your conviction to incorporate God’s church or not”)

Bro. Finney,

Appreciate the articles I’ve been rec’ing. Wonder if you could check out this web site and the church and a special symposium day on law. The site is glbbc.org and the organization is Rochester Law. What do you think about this? Sounds  a little fishy.

Thanks

XXIII. My Reply to Letter No. 10 (May 18, 2010)

Dear Pastor _____________________,

Thanks for your e-mail. It was a great encouragement to me. I checked out the site and tried to go to the details by clicking “Click Her for More Details” on the June 19 Law Symposium. I got no response to that click. I can only hope that the symposium is not the same old legal disinformation that thousands of churches continue to propogate.

Thanks again. If you find out more about it, please let me know.

May the Lord continue to richly bless you!

For His Glory,
Bro. Jerald Finney

XXIV. 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.

XXV. Links to Internal Revenue Code Laws

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

XV. 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

Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy


Jerald Finney
Copyright © August, 2010
Updated in 2012, 2013


To hear companion sermon, “Ten Shekels and a Shirt” click following link
and scroll down to the sermon link: “Sermons


See also,  On Jack Hyles’ Sermon, “The Treasure Is in the Field”

This article is an example of the results of church heresy and apostasy. Subjection of a church to the civil government through church incorporation (aggregate or sole), charitable or business trust status, IRC Code Section 501(c)(3) or Section 508 status, etc. is one step along that road to heresy and apostasy, and may even be the first step. First Baptist of Hammond is a very large corporate, 501(c)(3) religious organization, not a New Testament or Historic Baptist Church, contrary to the claims of the leaders of that religious organization. To understand these issues in more detail see The Biblical Doctrine of the Church or the much more succinct teachings at Lessons on Bible Doctrines (including Bible doctrine of the church).


LETTERS FROM PASTORS REGARDING HYLES/SCHAAP … ARTICLES


Jack Hyles Cult Exposed
(Facts one cannot deny about Hyles and his followers are presented and verified in videos, many made by First Baptist of Hammond itself.)
The Truth About Jack Hyles Part 1
The Truth About Jack Hyles Part 2
The Truth About Jack Hyles Part 3
The Truth About Jack Hyles Part 4
(These videos give a lot of undeniable facts that are caught by the camera. One is the story of one of Hyles’ daughters who tells it all. Her story and the culmination of the heresy and apostasy by Hyles is given to the world and do tremendous damage to the cause of Christ and true historic New Testament churches. The more an independent Baptist pastor follows the pattern of Hyles, the more he and the church(es) he pastors will eventually damage the cause of Christ. Hyles’ system was, in fact, Satanic. People like Hyles do great harm to the cause of Christ as did Hyles. The chief error is their failure to preach and teach true saving faith. Another great error in their teaching is to divide the church into clergy and laity, as do Protestant churches and as does the Catholic church-this may be one cause of the sexual abuse and appetites of many fundamental Baptist pastors and Catholic clergy. Another chief error is to run a church like a business, according to business methods developed by the god of this world.)

Fundamental Baptist churches who follow Hyles/Schaap principles and methods do great damage to the family through their preaching on husband/wife/family. As the above presentations prove, Hyles’ family was a disaster as is the case with many Fundamental Baptist families who ignore Bible principles. The following two sermons exemplify, in tone and substance, how a pastor should preach to the husband/wife/family in order to glorify God and edify husband/wife/family. Notice that babies are crying in the service. That is the application of Bible principles. Families are to be in church together, not separated so that children are instructed and cared for by others. The parents are responsible for their children in all matters. Youth ministries, Sunday school classes, etc. cannot be justified by accurate Bible study or interpretation.:
Husband’s Ministry To His Wife
Wife’s Ministry To Her Husband

WivesMinistryToHusband


Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy

Contents:

I. Introduction
II. 2012 and 2013 updates

III. Heresy and apostasy
IV. Conclusion

Endnote (Information on books by Jerald Finney)


Note. Left-click blue underlined links to go directly to sites.

All the biblical principles for the relationship between Christ and his churches and between church and state are meticulously covered on this website and in the books by this author. Churches who violate those principles are building upon the same foundation as did First Baptist of Hammond, Indiana, even if they have not fallen to the degree of that church. One who is a member of a Scripturally compromised church should not criticize Schaap too harshly. The author personally knows of situations in churches similar to that of First Baptist and Jack Schaap as well as variations thereof. The tentacles of First Baptist and its heresies and resulting sins have been spread to untold numbers of “Fundamental” Baptist churches (as well as other types of churches) all over this nation” (Quote from article below).

After I had written the above quote someone emailed me the link to the following article: Let Us Prey: Big Trouble At First Baptist Church. (Notice that this article is 7 pages long, with links at bottom of pages to go to next page.)

  “For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die” (2 Sa. 12:12-14). King David repented, neither Schaap nor First Baptist of Hammond have done so.

  “Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,  In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;  By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Co. 6:3-10)(Bold emphasis mine).

Sermon by Jack Schaap: Polishing the Shaft

Click the following link to go to an excellent article dealing with the unbiblical responses of big-name pastors to giving their unqualified blessing to the church and the ministry of the new pastor, John Wilkerson:

Ignoring the Sin of First Baptist of Hammond

‘My Pastor Is On The Ashley Madison List’ (082715)(What about your pastor? My pastor is not on that list. Jack Schaap and many of the other “Hyles” preachers were found out even though they may not have been on that list; by extrapolation, one (especially a believer who loves God and has been exposed to Hyles type ministries) can conclude that many have not. This article is also reproduced below.)

To understand more about the unchecked heresies of Jack Hyles, Jack Schaap, the progression of those heresies and the inevitable consequences click here to read the entire article, “Open Letter to First Baptist Church – Hammond Indiana” by Linda Murphrey, daughter of Jack Hyles.


I. Introduction 

Being called by the Lord to deal with this matter brings no joy to the author. Seeing First Baptist of Hammond and many other churches continue down the road of heresy despite the lessons to be learned from Hyles, Schaap, and First Baptist of Hammond brings grief, not joy, to the author and to the Lord. Pastor Hyles honored the Lord in some of what he preached and practiced, but flaws were obvious and First Baptist did not deal with them. The main flaw, among many, of Hyles was his incorrect plan of salvation. Pastor Schaap took Hyles’ incorrect practices to new depths and introduced new heresies which any serious student of the Word of God can quickly discern. Yet First Baptist did nothing until the corporate board of directors, in order to protect the corporation and in conformity to the corporate bylaws, dismissed him. Seeing the untold numbers of believers who ignorantly continue to follow the leaders of those churches brings sorrow to the author as well as to the Lord. Understanding that far fewer persons are being saved and that many of those who are live immoral lives as the result of the heresies and practices of so-called Bible believing churches in America is vexing, to say the least.

Publishing these matters is done in love. What has been going on at the First Baptist Church of Hammond is illustrative of the natural progression of unchecked heresy. The heresy there, among other things, promoted even inappropriate sexual behavior (See Section II below). The church as well as all those who looked the other way and continued to idolize both Pastor Hyles and Pastor Schaap without checking their inappropriate behaviors are to blame. The church members sat and listened to dangerous heresy and took no action to take the prescribed biblical action. The church, to this point, is proceeding in their misguided direction.

The foundation for this article, which will summarize biblical teaching on heresy and apostasy in Part III below, was laid in the article On Jack Hyles’ Sermon, “The Treasure is in a Field” (The author suggests that the reader study that article and avail himself of the resources linked thereon. If you have already read it, it was revised on August 20, 2010.). In that article, the author pointed out that Dr. Hyles missed a preeminent principle in the Word of God as to the organization of God’s churches in his sermon, The Treasure is in a Field. As a result of his error, the chickens may already be coming home to roost at the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana (referred to hereinafter as “First Baptist”). Spiritual treasure is being lost and abandoned and no one seems to know why.

Although the author will link to a few controversial resources below, he will spend little time and space getting into all the controversies over Jack Hyles, Jack Schaap, and First Baptist church. The purpose of this “Separation of Church and State” site is to teach biblical principles concerning the issue of and sub-issues around separation of church and state, historically an important Baptist distinctive. Unless our Christians and churches fall in love with the Savior, the Head, Bridegroom, and Husband of His churches; spiritually educate themselves in the Word of God; repent; and reorganize their churches according to biblical principles, the decline in the number of true born again believers and Bible believing churches in America will continue.

After Dr. Jack Hyles died in 2001, Jack Schaap was voted in as pastor of First Baptist. From a short study, it is for sure that Schaap in now leading in the promotion of at least one dangerous heresy and possibly others. The first is his teaching on the King James Version. Another which this article will consider may be his teaching on the prosperity gospel.

One can view what he says about the KJV by clicking the following links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jMP1S7xvdg; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYGzQkaNBiY&feature=related; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–Nq-vhjPGc&NR=1; Please inform the author if you believe that these are not the teaching of Jack Schaap. If he did not teach what is on the video, the author will certainly recant.

Thanks be to God that the author has had pastors who have understood the importance of and come down on the right side of the KJV issue. They have brought in preachers and scholars who have spent tens of thousands of hours studying these matters (as opposed to the 1000 to 1500 hours Schaap has allegedly spent studying the issue, and obviously not studying all points of view on the matter.). His pastors have also taught on the issue themselves. He has several books that explain why the KJV is the only inerrant, infallible, verbally inspired English translation of God’s Word. No Holy Spirit led, knowledgeable, born-again believer can deny this; every such person easily sees the lies in the above videos and is able to counter them with sound facts and reasoning. All English versions of the Bible, other than the KJV, are nothing more than perverted interpretations. Yet Bible colleges and churches all over the nation are lying about this matter. Those who discount the KJV should be glad that most Christians neither read well nor can they think and analyze. Otherwise, believers would not be so easily deceived. Yes, fewer and fewer in America are being saved, and one big reason for this is that Christians are more and more going to interpretations and not to the one true translation. This nation was built by Christians who relied upon the mighty spiritual sword—the KJV. With the pejoritive statements about and abandonment of the KJV has come the demise of Christianity in America. As goes the KJV so goes Christianity in the U.S.A.

Some important points for the reader to consider: There was never one substantive change in the original KJV, only changes in spelling and punctuation as spelling and grammar developed and changed in the English language. Would not a studied person know this and point this out when referring to those “errors” or “mistakes” which were “corrected?” Also, in case the reader does not know it, there are no originals, only copies of copies of copies…. The originals are long gone and no one will ever see them. So all that is available for anyone, in any language, are copies of copies of copies, etc.… Yet, God will preserve His Word for those of every language who earnestly seek Him (Read Psalms 12.6-7, Isaiah 59.21, Matthew 24.35, Proverbs 30.5-6, Isaiah 31.1-2, Matthew 12.36-37, John 12.47-48 (How can one be judged by a non-existent Word of God and only by originals which do not exist?), Revelation 22.18-19, John 12.47-48. Be sure to read these verses in the KJV because the interpretations pervert many of them. It would be good to compare.). Jesus believed, verified, and read from the Scriptures (even though the originals had long-since decomposed and all he had was a translation from copies of copies of copies (See, e.g., John 5.45-47, John 5.9-11, Mark 2.2, Matthew 24.35, Mark 8.28, John 10.31-36, etc.). Our Lord constantly referred to the historical Scriptures (translation of copies of copies of copies), and not once did he ever cast doubt on the authority of the Bible.). The same analysis applies to the apostles. The true teachers on this matter go on and on and completely destroy every lie of the modernist, such as all the arguments put forth to belittle the KJV.

A tremendous book on the KJV conflict is The Word: God Will Keep It/The 400 Year History of the King James Bible Only Movement. See Review of The Word: God Will Keep It/The 400 Year History of the King James Bible Only Movement for more information on that book plus a radio interview of the author of the book.

To listen to a radio interview of scholar John Hinton concerning the KJV conflict click: May 18, 2013 radio interview of John Hinton.

Schaap may twist Scripture in his preaching on the “prosperity dotrine: http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/exposes/schaap/fbcprosd.htm; but see, http://www.jojomoffitt.com/DrSchaap3.shtml. The author has not done an in depth invvestigation of this matter.

Another video which raises concerns is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjVZGUWRJgA. In this video Schaap praises preachers who are pointed out in the video as being heretical, at the least. The author offers no explanation or critique of the video, but it concerns him. The alleged religious practices of the pastors praised by Schaap, if the information given on them is accurate, clearly violate the biblical principles of holiness and separation; principles which, as the author understands it, Dr. Hyles upheld (Note. Of course, everything presented in the videos about those preachers does not violate biblical principles). Again, let Jerald Finney know if this video has been created, altered, or if the allegations are inaccurate. The author includes this video because, on several occasions when he has been out of town, he has visited a church that purports to be a “Bible believing” church (once a Baptist church which renamed herself and started indulging in many modernistic practices) and that reflects some of the practices of the churches pastored by men praised in the video.

Heresies are rampant in many churches which were once fundamental and Bible believing. As pointed out in the article On Jack Hyles’ Sermon, ‘The Treasure is in a Field:

“untold numbers of fundamental Baptist churches are betraying our Lord; abandoning the fundamental doctrines and teachings of the Word of God as well as the Word of God itself; turning to corrupted interpretations of the Bible instead of the tried and true translation; resorting to psychology and other humanistic and business devices in order to increase attendance; feeding milk instead of meat to envying, striving, divided church bodies who are not able to bear the deeper things of God; teaching and/or practicing heresy; and some are falling into apostasy. Every year, droves of fundamental Baptist preachers are abandoning or betraying the faith and scores or hundreds of fundamental, Bible-believing Baptist churches are ceasing to exist. In other words, spiritual treasure is being abandoned and lost and, sadly, very few understand why.”

Based upon his own study and observations as well as conversations with a considerable number of pastors and other Christians, many of whom are far more knowledgeable about these matters than the is he, the author believes that Jack Schaap, First Baptist, and all the other “fundamental Bible-believing” Baptist churches in America who operate as state churches (incorporated, 501(c)(3) religious organizations) prove the author’s theses as stated in On Jack Hyles’ Sermon, “The Treasure is in a Field” (left click to go directly to article). Many or most of those churches are no longer led by a good pastor, the churches themselves have been corrupted, heresy is rampant, and some are in the apostasy stage. The author suggests that one who truly loves the Lord should studiously reread that last article with prayer and under the power of the Holy Spirit: study the author’s theses and arguments in that article and in his other works which cover the totality of the issues involved and begin to examine them in the light of the Word of God.

Unless believers and church bodies first of all become knowledgeable and wise in their understanding of spiritual matters, American churches and believers will suffer the fate of European churches and believers—that is, only a minute remnant (even a much smaller remnant than now exists in America) will remain. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 2.7, 17, 29; 3.6, 13, 22).

Had First Baptist and other “Bible believing” churches in America honored their love relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and done things God’s way as to the organization of operation of churches, Christ would have continued to build his churches upon solid foundations; churches would have thrived spiritually; the lost would have seen the power of God instead of the monstrous corporations, businesses, and social clubs that make a mockery of the Word of God; untold people would have continued to be saved; and America would have been a light for Christ in this world.

The remainder of this article is a summation of biblical teaching on heresy and apostasy, an important topic in the study of the doctrines of the church and separation of church and state. The material is taken from Section II, Chapter 4 of God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application: Link to preview of God Betrayed. God Betrayed may be ordered from Amazon and other sources by left clicking the following link: Books.[See Endnote] (Note the study guide for God Betrayed in the last article). The article which follows this one within a few weeks will chronicle the recent accelerated apostasy in the United States, and will shed light on how American churches have reached their present state. One can also go to the Apostasy page of the Church and State Law”\ website for links to articles on the alarming heresies and apostasies of churches in general.


II. 2012, 2013 Update

Click the following link to go to an excellent article dealing with the unbiblical responses of big-name pastors to giving their unqualified blessing to the church and the ministry of the new pastor, John Wilkerson:

Ignoring the Sin of First Baptist of Hammond

Very good biblically based and biblically appropriate teachings on the First Baptist of Hammond situation are at the following cites: Schaap and the sins of First Baptist; Jack Schaap and First Baptist Church Road to Reconciliation; Avoiding Schaap’s Fall. These teachings are obviously given by pastors with a spirit directed by not only the love of God, but also by the love of their fellow man, including Jack Schaap, the members of First Baptist of Hammond, and the untold numbers of believers and churches who have followed Schaap and First Baptist down the road of heresy and immorality.

The Lord inspired the author to write and publish two articles on Dr. Jack Hiles (On Jack Hyles’ Sermon, ‘The Treasure is in a Field,” August 7, 2010), Dr. Jack Schaap (this article, August 21, 2010), and First Baptist of Hammond, Indiana in 2010. Those articles were meant to serve as a warning against continued heresy at First Baptist and other churches and to proclaim biblical teaching church heresy an apostasy (See part IV below, which was Part III in the original article). After he published those articles, he received numerous letters from pastor, and he published those letters with his responses (Letters from Pastors Regarding Hyles/Schaap and Other Articles, September 2010). Those articles dealt with the marriage of Christ and His church, and the marriage of a man and woman. Those articles alerted readers to certain heresies of Hyles, Schaap, and First Baptist of Hammond and warned Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, and any others of the ultimate consequences of unchecked and unrepented of heresies within a church body. Since First Baptist, Hyles, and Schaap published their heresies, not only to their church but also to the world in many ways including the internet, sales of books, CDs, DVDs, seminars attended by pastors and believers from all over the nation, this author, as a part of that world to which their heresies were offered, published biblical principles and teachings which exposed some of the main heresies practiced and preached by Hyles and Schaap.

Schaap published an alarming book of heresies, not mentioned in this author’s 2010 articles on heresies coming from that church, back in 2010. Click the following link for information on that heresy: Marriage: The Divine Intimacy by Jack Schaap. In that book, Schaap revealed the extent of his heresies regarding marriage and matters inherently involved with marriage.

The following is from Pastor Jack Schaap’s Perverted Mind was Already Manifested in Sermons and Books:

“Jack Schaap authored, Marriage: The Divine Intimacy. On page 50, his perverted mind is plainly manifested. He sees ‘the marriage bed’ almost everywhere he looks in the Bible.

“On July 8th, he preached a sermon titled, ‘What Mom And Dad Don’t Know Will Hurt Him.’ Many things he preached cannot even be quoted here. One example will suffice:

“‘You know, the most common question I ask our teenagers: are you safe in how you act? Mom and dad, you understand the language?…when your children reach that age, and they start going through that 13, 14, 15 year stage, send them to me, I’ll talk to them. Please don’t look at me like I’m stupid, why are you talking this way?’

“In other words, he obviously thought that the most important subject to discuss with teenagers is how to be ‘safe’ in their lewdness. Many pastors around the country are jumping on the new ‘openness’ band-wagon, as they try to attract attention by shocking the world and their congregations with their frank (profane) language concerning the marriage bed, etc.

“Many ‘Christians’ are using the examples of this pastor to attack what they call ‘fundamentalism.’ Yet, look at what is happening in the Catholic church, in charismatic churches, and in mega-churches with a non-fundamental agenda! It is not what is often called “fundamentalism” that is the problem. It is the lack of fundamentalism in so-called fundamental churches! Hollywood has invaded these churches, and it can be seen in the language used by the preachers. Evil communication corrupts good manners!”

Videos exposing Pastor Jack Schaaps heretical worldly views include:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMk2F-KLYkQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rC-SfQ100uE&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jMP1S7xvdg&feature=related

First Baptist of Hammond, despite the warnings of this author and others, has proudly and arrogantly continued down the road of heresy. Much damage was being done to individuals, families, churches, and the nation because of those heresies. A climactic, but not final, event resulting from the proud anti-biblical march forward of First Baptist of Hammond is now international news.

The Bible is clear. One heresy leads to another to another. Biblical teaching on church heresy and apostasy is clear. It is also clear on the importance the believer’s and church’s God-given goal of glorifying Him in both belief and method. From all appearances, First Baptist has not learned their lesson. Even in addressing the sin of Schaap, the methods and rationale used by First Baptist dishonor our Lord. One man they immediately called in to preach will make sure that they continue down the same heretical, unrepentant road. In addition to insights to be gleaned from the writings and audio teachings of this author, an article authored by Dr. Bob Gray, in Sincere Questions, published August 4, 2012, offers important questions and insights on the situation at First Baptist of Hammond.

All the biblical principles for the relationship between Christ and his churches and between church and state are meticulously covered on this website and in the books by this author. Churches who violate those principles are building upon the same foundation as did First Baptist of Hammond, Indiana, even if they have not fallen to the degree of that church. One who is a member of a Scripturally compromised church should not criticize Schaap too harshly. The author personally knows of situations in churches similar to that of First Baptist and Jack Schaap as well as variations thereof. The tentacles of First Baptist and its heresies and resulting sins have been spread to untold numbers of “Fundamental” Baptist churches (as well as other types of churches) all over this nation.

After I had written the quote in the above paragraph, someone emailed me the link to the following article: Let Us Prey: Big Trouble At First Baptist Church (Notice that this article is 7 pages long, with links at bottom of pages to go to next page.):

For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die” (2 Sa. 12:12-14). King David repented, neither Schaap nor First Baptist of Hammond have done so.  “Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,  In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;  By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Co. 6:3-10).

Click this link to see the Government’s Sentencing memorandum in the Jack Schaap case.

Click this link to see an appraisal of the Jack Schaap/First Baptist of Hammond situation by a man who loved First Baptist, Graduated from the college there, knew Jack Schaap, etc.  (Also reproduced in En 2 below).

To understand more about the unchecked heresies of Jack Hyles, Jack Schaap, the progression of those heresies and the inevitable consequences click here to read the entire article, “Open Letter to First Baptist Church – Hammond Indiana” by Linda Murphrey, daughter of Jack Hyles.


III. Heresy and apostasy

Prior to the return of the Lord, the local, visible churches will go into apostasy. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition: who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Th. 2.3-4).

“Apostasy, ‘falling away,’ is the act of professed Christians who deliberately reject revealed truth (1) as to the deity of Jesus Christ, and (2) redemption through His atoning and redeeming sacrifice (1 Jn. 4.1-3 [‘Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.’]; Phil. 3.18 [‘For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:”]; 2 Pet. 2.1 [“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.’]). Apostasy differs therefore from error concerning truth, which may be the result of ignorance (Ac. 19.1-6 [‘And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.’]), or heresy, which may be due to the snare of Satan (2 Ti. 2.25, 26 [‘In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.’]), both of which may consist with true faith. The apostate is perfectly described in 2 Ti. 4.3, 4 [‘For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables.’]. Apostates depart from the faith, but not from the outward profession of Christianity (2 Ti. 3.5 [‘Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, from such turn away.’]). Apostate teachers are described in 2 Ti. 4.3 [“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.]; 2 Pe. 2.1-19 [quoted here in part: ‘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. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.  And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: … But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; …  Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; ….These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.  While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.’]; Jude 4, 8, 11-13, 16 [‘For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ…. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities…. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.’].  Apostasy in the church, as in Israel (Is. 1.5, 6; 5.5-7), is irremediable, and awaits judgment (2 Th. 2.10-12 [‘And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness’]; 2 Pe. 2.17, 21 [‘These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever…. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.’]; Jude 11-15; Re. 3.14-16)” (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, n. 1 to II Timothy 3.1, p. 1280). [Bold emphasis mine].

Inevitably, there is no remedy for apostasy but judgment (Is. 1.2-7, 24, 25; He. 6.4-8; 10.26-31). For example, Noah preached for 120 years, won no converts, and the judgment predicted by his great-grandfather fell (Jude 14, 15, Genesis 7.11.).

“Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth” (Luke 18.8b)?  The reference is not to personal faith, but to belief in the whole body of revealed truth. “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”( 1 Ti. 4.1).

In the New Testament, the apostasy was treated as having already set in. In fact, the Asian churches had not disbanded, nor ceased to call themselves Christian; but they had turned away from the doctrines of grace distinctively revealed through the Apostle Paul. Thus, even in the beginning of the church, the apostle Paul and Jude were concerned with the tendency to depart from the faith due to the influence of false teachers:

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you; and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Ga. 1.6-8).

“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).

Many of our churches today, even many of our independent Bible believing churches, have perverted the gospel of Christ and turned the grace of our God into lasciviousness (“Looseness; irregular indulgence of animal desires; wantonness; lustfulness; Tendency to excite lust, and promote irregular indulgences.” AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, NOAH WEBSTER (1828) definition of “LASCIVIOUSNESS.”) even though perhaps they have not verbally denied our Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

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 worldwide Gentile apostasy, mankind sinks to the depths of depravity:

“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents. Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Ro. 1.24-32).

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:

     “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Mt. 7.15).
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Mt. 7.21-23).
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Mt. 24.4-5).
“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (Mt. 24.11).
“For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect” (Mk. 13.22).
“Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5.19).
“But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mt. 15.9).

The Lord is obviously warning that many of His children will be deceived by the many false prophets which shall arise. With heresy and apostasy, the God-given doctrines and goal for churches and for Christians are left in the dust. The goal or purpose of most churches and “Christians” is the happiness of man and not the glory of God. They ask “What can God do for me,” not “What can I do for God?” Their purpose for giving, for doing, and for going to church is to get something back from God. Many believers today, many in independent Bible believing churches, are being deceived about many biblical doctrines, including the doctrine of separation of church and state. As a result, they are, among other things, incorporating, operating as unincorporated associations, and becoming 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations. Section VI of God Betrayed discusses incorporation and tax exempt status of churches in some detail, and explains ways that a church can hold property and also please God.

As a result, God is not glorified at all. Everything in the ultimate modern American church is for self—the headship, the “Bibles,” the doctrines taught, the preaching, the music, the dress, the goal, everything.

Peter, Paul, and Jude traced the origin of apostasy to false teachers, explained their methods of operation, and warned the church to beware of the apostasy:

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing he flock: Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (Ac. 20.28-31).
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Ga. 1.8-9).
“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you” (Ga. 3.1)?
“For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1 Co. 11.19).
“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him” (2 Co. 11.4).
“For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision; Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake” (Tit. 1.10-11).
“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 Ti. 4.1-2).
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Ti. 4.3-5).
“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. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not….  Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage” (2 Pe. 2.1-3, 15-19. All of 2 Pe. 2 deals with false teachers.).
“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 Jn. 9-11).
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Pe. 3.3-4).
“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4. Jude predicts the apostasy of the professing church and describes the cause and course of the apostasy. As in II Timothy and II Peter, the apostasy is treated as having already set in.).

Only a little leaven (false teaching) can completely change and pervert the truth of the Gospel: “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” (Ga. 5.7-9).

False teachers deny redemption truth: “[False teachers] shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Pe. 2.1). Others deny the truth concerning Christ’s person as Son of God, God himself: “BELOVED, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them” (1 Jn. 4.1-5; see also, 1 Jn. 2.18-28).

In Jude all phases of apostasy are seen. Jude mentions those who “ran after the error of Balaam for reward.” Many pastors and other Christians today, like Balaam, revert to human reasoning and, among other unbiblical practices, put God’s church under the state for reward—that is, for money, for popularity, or power. They may not have gone completely into apostasy, but heresy is the first step toward apostasy.

Both Peter and Paul foresee the apostasy in which the history of the professing church will end. Paul finds that apostasy in its last stage when the so-called laity have become infected:

“1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Ti 3:1-7) “3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Ti. 4:3-4).

Peter traces the origin of the apostasy to false teachers (2 Pe 2.1-3,15-19, quoted above). In Peter the false teachers deny redemption truth (2 Pe 2.1); In First John one finds a deeper depth–denial of the truth concerning Christ’s person (1 Jo. 4.1-5).

In this time of heresy and apostasy in modern America, as Jack Schaap points out in the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjVZGUWRJgA, which is also linked above, the population is going up while fewer and fewer are being saved. What do you do? Too bad most modernistic teachers, so fully indoctrinated by secularlism, turn  to the god of this world and his techniques—business and sales techniques, psychological techniques, anything but the Word of God, to answer that question. 2 John tells the believer what to do when “many deceivers are entered into the world” (v. 7). John says we are to go forward with “the truth” (the Scriptures). “The Bible, as the alone authority for doctrine and life, is the believer’s resource in a time of declension and apostasy” (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, Headnote to 2 Jn.). Paul instructed Timothy, a preacher whom Paul called his “dearly beloved son” (2 Ti. 1.2) and his “own son in the faith” (1 Ti. 1.2), what to do in a time of apostasy: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Ti. 4.1-2).

The believer’s resources in a day of general declension and apostasy are faith (2 Ti. 1.5), the spirit (2 Ti. 1.6-7), the Word of God (2 Ti. 1.13; 3.1-17; 4.3-4), the grace of Christ (2 Ti. 2.1), separation from vessels unto dishonor (2 Ti. 2.4, 20-21), the Lord’s sure reward (2 Ti. 4.7-8), and the Lord’s faithfulness and power (2 Ti. 2.13, 19).

The tone of the New Testament writers when dealing with heresy and apostasy is never one of dejection or pessimism. God & His promises are still the resource of the believer. Although Paul as recorded in II Timothy and Peter as recorded in II Peter are aware that martyrdom is near (See 2 Ti. 4.6-8, 2 Pe. 1.14, and Jn. 21.18-19), both are apparently sustained and joyful:

“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Ti. 4.7-8).

The whole book of II Timothy reflects Paul’s joyful attitude as II Peter shows Peter to be likewise joyful and sustained.

II Timothy, II Peter, Jude, and II & III John deal the personal walk and testimony of a true servant of Christ in a day of apostasy and declension. For example, Paul instructs the “good soldier” in the face of apostasy:

“[B]e strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou has heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life: that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier….  Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: …  It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: If we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself….  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: …  Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Ti. 2.1-4, 8, 11-13, 15-17a, 22-25).


IV. Conclusion

The Lord enlisted believers to be soldiers in His army (2 Ti. 2). We are to fight this spiritual warfare on all fronts using spiritual, not carnal, weapons (2 Co. 10.3-5; Ep. 6.10-18). Our God-given goal is to please our Lord and glorify Him. The main thrust in this warfare is the salvation of souls. This warfare requires not only that a preacher preach truth inside a building on Sunday morning and maybe also on Sunday and Wednesday evenings. This warfare must go on in the streets; from door to door; in prisons; in the city halls and capital buildings of our state and nation; in our courtrooms; in our Bible institutes, colleges, and seminaries; in internet articles and videos; in every nook and cranny. The evils occurring everywhere, including and most importantly in our churches, must be confronted if we are to be the good soldiers that God called us to be. What higher places of spiritual wickedness than in many churches where heresy has crept in or apostasy has overcome can be found? In order to fight this warfare, every believer must seek to disentangle himself from the affairs of this world and “endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ,” “that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Ti. 2.3-4).

Let us joyfully march forward with knowledge, understanding, wisdom gained through Holy Spirit led study of the God’s Word, the KJV in English, as we face the inevitable persecutions that follow those who sell out to the service of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us disentangle ourselves from the affairs of this life (for example, church incorporation and 501(c)(3), psychology, business and sales techniques, etc.) that we may please our Lord. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (He. 12.1-2).


Endnotes

En1 Order page and free online versions and online PDFs of books by Jerald Finney

En2 

A Hyles-Anderson Graduate Speaks Out on Jack SchaapPosted: 19 Mar 2013 06:12 PM PDT

cheshirecatschaap

FBI – Schaap looked like a Cheshire Cat kissing the Teenager

ARTICLE WRITTEN FROM FBI AND PROSECUTION EVIDENCE – LINK BELOW

This past year has seen the complete destruction of all that we hold dear in Hammond, Indiana.  The crimes and sins of Jack Schaap which he has never confessed as sin have soured people around the world including me.  I even created a YouTube video defending First Baptist Church and Hyles-Anderson College.  I especially defended Dr. Jack Hyles and even made a video from his sermon FRESH OIL recorded in the 1980′s.  I was there when Jack Schaap was still a student and then began to teach in the college.  I was there when he proposed to Cindy Hyles who was in some of my classes.  In order to fully understand how shocked some of us are as graduates and alumni of Hyles-Anderson one needs to have been there and known the rules of the college.

One rule was that if a guy or girl had entered any room or classroom of the church or school, a member of the opposite sex was to stay out until there were at least one other guy or girl present so that there would always be an uneven number in the room at the same time.  This was also a rule on the busses and even the night bus did not allow the young women to be on the evening routes because of the late arrival time of those returning from dropping off the night riders.

Another fact was that we were taught in Church Ed class and in Dr. Hyles’ special sessions for young preachers that when counseling a woman, there should never be a one-on-one session.  It would always be preferred to have a woman counsel with women and a man counsel with men.  If for any reason a pastor needed to speak to a woman or young girl, it was to be with a woman present or with a secretary sitting outside a door that was open so that there could be no mistake about what was going on during the counseling session.

What about the story that Dr. Hyles told about two teens that came to his office and they were coming to confess about how that they had “fallen into sin?”  He asked them what they did.  They said that they “held hands,” and he then told them that they still had hope and that God would forgive them. He privately jumped with glee after they left because he had kept them so far away from the edge that they had only “stumbled” into “holding hands” instead of something far worse.  You see, the rules at the college, the grade school, junior high, and high school were totally against even holding hands, much less kissing.  That was the surest way to keep one pure until marriage and it was always a great joy to see a couple kissing for the first time the day they were married.  One of my friends in college, Brad Lake, did not kiss his wife (they met at Hyles-Anderson) until his wedding day.  We all had to grin as they could not stop kissing even during the reception.  That was quite common at First Baptist most of the time with couples who kept themselves until marriage.

Another thing that comes to mind is the philosophy that Dr. Hyles preached in a sermon entitled HOW NOT TO DIE was the principle taught in James.  “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”  (James 1:13-15)  Let me explain:

The principle about staying away from death is to stay away from sin.  So then we ask ourselves, how does one stay away from sin.   The scripture explains that the thing that brings sin is lust.  Well then, if it is lust that causes sinand it is sin that brings death, then it seems only logical that in order to avoid death, avoid sin and lust.  That seems fairly simple.  If you don’t want to die, avoid sin and if you don’t want to sin then avoid lust.  But what does James teach us?  It says that a man is drawn away to lust when he is enticed.  This means that if there is no enticement, then there would be no lust.  It means that without lust, there would be no sin and thus no death.  But here is where we get to the whole root of the principle taught by Dr. Hyles and by Hyles-Anderson and First Baptist Church.  There are two statements that the Bible makes that completely obliterates JACK SCHAAP and his excuses which, by the way, seem to be backed by over 100 people who wrote the court in his defense.  First, the Bible says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.”  We have seen in Jack Schaap’s book on DIVINE INTIMACY that he makes God the one who tempts with evil.  DO YOU HEAR WHAT I AM SAYING?  If Jack Schaap’s “god” was at the root of his temptations THEN HIS GOD WAS SATAN.  The second point I would like to make is that the Bible also says “drawn away.”

When Dr. Hyles taught this in First Baptist he told the story about how he learned this lesson.  It seems that he was with some friends on the way home from school.  They always went the same way home and never turned down a different path but went straight to their houses.  One day a friend asked the others to go just one block over to walk home that day.  Wouldn’t you know that because they went a different way (drawn away) they saw an orange tree on the other side of the fence of a home owner.  It enticed them.  Someone said that there were some oranges leaning over the fence and they could lift up one of them to reach the orange.  They all thought about the good taste of the orange (lust).  So, someone challenged the others and Jack Hyles was elected to be the one lifted up at the edge of the fence.  He and his friends decided to steal an orange from a yard when it did not belong to them (sin).  Then the most horrible thing happened, because it was so hard to reach and it was farther away than he thought, he fell over the fence into the other yard.  Someone must have called the police because before he could escape with his stolen fruit, they showed up (death).  What is the moral of the story?  If he had not gotten diverted from the normal way home he would never been enticed, which means he would never have lusted, and it would not have lead to sin anddeath.

Now here is my problem as we read what is reported CHICAGOMAG.COM.  I am going to take the points that have caused a worldly court system and a public prosecutor to condemn the actions of someone who certainly should have known exactly what is written above.  This is quoted from the online site:

1) Schaap kissing the victim during counseling. “When I asked you if it was wrong, you said, ‘No,’” the girl said in a statement. “You told me that I was sent to you from God; I was his gift to you.”

2) Schaap’s claim that Christ wanted the two to be together. The two spoke on the phone or texted each other more than 600 times, according to prosecutors. In one transcript, a text from Schaap reads: “Yesterday was ‘off-the-charts!’ :) ))”. Another read, in part, “[this] is exactly what Christ desires for us. He wants us to marry + become eternal lovers!”

3) Schaap’s cover stories for his numerous rendezvous with the teen. One, for his trips to an Illinois forest preserve, was that he needed to “spend time with God walking and praying.” To explain his taking the girl alone to his Michigan cabin, he told his assistant that he needed to spend extended periods of time alone with the girl to “save” her—both literally and spirtually. Investigators later recovered photos taken inside the cabin showing a grinning Schaap “on a couch in an intimate pose” with the girl and also “french-kissing [her] while touching her in a sexual manner.”

4) Schaap having sex with the teen in his office. During a church youth conference.

5) Schaap dishonoring the teen’s father and mother. “I will never forget how [he] looked me in the eyes…and told me how great my daughter was doing,” the father wrote in a victim’s impact statement. “It is sickening to me that a man who claims to be a messenger of God, with a daughter of his own, would take advantage of a young girl in such an evil and immoral manner.”

Let me take them one at a time and show why there is a very deep problem in the thinking and the fact that ANYONE would defend him for ANY REASON.

1) Schaap kissing the victim during counseling.   I need to cry out WAIT A MINUTE! WHAT ABOUT HOW TEENS WERE TAUGHT THAT EVEN HOLDING HANDS WAS WRONG?  So it is wrong for a teen to hold hands but the pastor can not only hold hands but kiss during counseling?  The FBI said Schaap was grinning like a Cheshire Cat!  Do you mean that he was counseling a woman (teen) in his office alone?  Do you mean that no secretary was sitting right outside the door?  Do you mean that when the school asked him to counsel a troubled teen he did not ask his wife who is the author of many books to take the case so he could be above reproach?  And, may I ask you, why would one of the directors of the school ask the pastor to do something that was clearly against all that they were taught and against every principle of decency and morals in the whole church, Christian schools, and college?  Why did not someone say, “…that is not how we do things here…” but instead they had blinders on their eyes and no one was bold enough to speak up based upon their own rules or on the principles of the Bible that Dr. Hyles had taught and everyone knew.  Lastly, I might ask, what did God think about this.  The scripture is plain when it says  “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.”  Any man of God who is walking in the presence of God every day WOULD NEVER AGREE TO SUCH AN IMMORAL ENTICEMENT.  Dr. Lee Roberson was known by many as a man who would not even pick up his own daughter if she were walking down the road with her car broken down because he did not want anyone to get the wrong impression that the MAN OF GOD had just picked up a WOMAN in his car alone.  I mean, we are not just talking about a girl being in the office but he was kissing her during counseling.  Has anyone ever read that Jack Schaap made a statement saying, “I HAVE SINNED?”  No, because he is so filled with his own selfish ways that he cares not about the intrinsic value of his wife, his church, his schools, his college, his call to the ministry, his salvation (if he is saved) or the intrinsic value of his WALK WITH GOD.  Wasn’t he afraid that God would write ICKABOD on his ministry?  Oh, I almost forgot, he got drawn away.  He was drawn away from everything the institution he pastored believed and taught on a daily basis.  Bob Jones Sr. said that EVERY TRAGEDY IN HUMAN CHARACTER IS BROUGHT ABOUT BY A PROCESS OF WICKED THINKING.  One only needs to look back over the ministry of Jack Schaap and at the book he wrote about DIVINE INTIMACY which is straight out of the PIT OF HELL and was dictated to him by SATAN himself just like an angel spoke to Muhammad when he wrote the Quran.

2) Schaap’s claim that Christ wanted the two to be together.   The article says that Schaap and the girl spoke on the phone or texted one another 600 times.  I have one question:  WHERE WAS HIS WIFE CINDY?  It is obvious that in his mind he was drawn away from his own wife.  Do you mean that she never noticed?  Did he have no conscience about telling the girl he loved her and that he had never felt like this about anyone else in his whole life? Does it mean he never really loved his own wife?  Does that sound like a man that loves God?  Does that sound like a man that loves his church?  Does that sound like a man who loves souls and the ministries around the world?  Does that sound like a man that loves the bus ministry?  Does that sound like a man that loves teens?  Does that sound like a man that walks with God?  Does that sound like a man that reads the Bible?  Is he actually saying that GOD TEMPTED HIM?  How can someone with that mindset even be saved?  It sounds like he was drawn away from his wife, drawn away from his Bible, drawn away from his prayer life, drawn away from his walk with God,drawn away from his position, drawn away from his reputation, drawn away from his teaching in his home, church, and college, drawn away from sound counsel, drawn away from the rules that attended the church and all the schools of that institution, drawn away from good wisdom as Solomon wrote about in Proverbs talking about the fool that got caught by the whore, drawn away from the promise he made to the parents of the girl, drawn away from caring about the fact that this girl was to be someone else’s wife one day, drawn away from the desire to be a good Christian testimony, drawn away from being moral which means loving God and others more than self-gratification, drawn away from even the most base thoughts of conscience even among the unsaved like the FBI and prosecutors who have levied this sentence against him, drawn away from the mind of Christ, drawn awayfrom the writings of Paul who said he feared that after he had preached to others he would be a castaway.  THERE IS NO WAY IN ALL THE THINKING OF THE WORLD OR IN HEAVEN THAT GOD WANTED THEM TO BE TOGETHER.

3) Schaap’s cover stories for his numerous rendezvous with the teen.   I don’t know how I can get through this one without splitting a blood vessel.  JACK SCHAAP LIED IN SAYING HE WAS GOING OFF TO WALK WITH GOD AND PRAY!  This is almost blasphemy of the Holy Spirit!  The truth is that he was being drawn away to spending time with an UNDERAGED TEEN at the complete disregard of any relationship he had with his wife or with God.  When Dr. Hyles had difficulties in his ministry he went out into the woods to GET FRESH OIL not to cavort with an underage teen so he could engage in fornication and commit statutory rape.  Charles Finneywent out into the woods one day and after being there all day he was saved and filled with the Holy Spirit in such a powerful way that he preached some of the greatest revivals this country has ever known.  Oh by the way, Jack Schaap told his assistant he wanted to “save her.”  Well, he SAVED HER all right.  Now the family has been asked to leave the church.  WHY? THEY ARE THE VICTIMS!  He saved her all right.  He saved her from morality, from being in the church she had grown up in, from being in a Christian school (she goes to public school now), from decency, from self esteem, from being able to meet a good Christian young man, from thinking that God loves her, from thinking that she could ever have a name that is not associated with tragedy and immorality, from the love and affection that all her school teachers gave her and her Sunday School teachers taught her,  from any good memories that most teens have at that age, from any desire to serve God or become a minister’s wife or missionary, from any desire to raise her children in a Christian environment, from a desire to pray and walk with God, from a desire to make the Bible the foundation of her life, from a life not entangled with all the vices of the world because with no Christian support group, WHAT HOPE DOES SHE HAVE unless she decides to make God her greatest friend and live in HIS PRESENCE?  Don’t tell me that this liar, Jack Schaap, even had one hint of a bad conscience while he was doing all of this because of his PROSTRATE PAIN.  Maybe we need to get back to the Old Testament where God never gave any excuse for adultery or fornication and in a situation like this the man would be stoned to death.  WHERE IS THE PUBLIC STATEMENT FROM FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH DISTANCING THEMSELVE FROM THESE EGREGIOUS STATEMENTS?  We are waiting for their News Release defining how they believe and showing that they are in total disagreement with these disarming statements.

4) Schaap having sex with the teen in his office. During a church youth conference.   Let me see now!  Was it not during a conference that had as its goal getting teens to live a pure life?  Was it not when they had a theme about the cross of Christ?  Was it not during a time when they were being taught that they should DIE WITH CHRIST so they will not fulfill the lust of the flesh?  Was it not during a time when teens were going forward surrendering themselves to live chaste and keep themselves pure until marriage?  Was it not during a time when they were all making a vow that they would not even hold hands but that their first kiss would be with the one that they marry on their wedding day?  Were the teens all praying in groups for the lost in their home towns?  Were they bonding together in their vows to walk with God and be an example when they got back home?  Were they promising to burn their rock-n-roll records and separate themselves from that crowd because of their immoral ways?  My book FOUNDATIONS OF MORALITY has this to say:

Obedience cannot be partial.  A moral being cannot partly obey and partly disobey all at the same time.

When one speaks of consecration or obedience to moral law, they mean that to be real it must be entire and universal.  There is a simplicity of moral action, namely, it is all or nothing.  We mean wholly conformed or wholly not conformed to moral law.  As we explore this further we will look at two distinct areas:

  1. Can the will make opposite choices at the same      time?  Can it choose the highest good of being as an ultimate end and      at the same time choose the opposite?  Can it make any choices that      are inconsistent with the ultimate choice of highest good?

Can the will make opposite choices at the same time?  Can a person choose something inconsistent with the ultimate end in view?  Let’s make some observations:

  1. When one talks of the ultimate end they are talking      about what must be the supreme preference of the mind.   Sin is      a supreme desire for self-gratification while holiness is a supreme desire      for the good of being.  Can these two opposite ultimate preferences      co-exist in the mind at the same time?  No, it is impossible to make      opposite choices at the same time, to choose conflicting ends.
  2. We have previously shown that all intelligent choice is      for the purpose of some ultimate end or means.  The choice is equal      to the intention.  A choice means that something has been intended or      chosen.  The thing chosen is also chosen for its own sake as an end     in and of itself or for the sake of something else that is related to this      end or means.  If this not so the choice is not intelligent, yet we      are talking about the intelligent choice of a moral agent.
  3. Our conclusion from these truths is that no choice can      ever be made that is inconsistent with the current choice of an ultimate      end.  The mind could never choose two opposite ultimate ends at the      same time.  It is either one or the other.  This means that one      can never choose one ultimate end and then while in the course of acting      with that end in view, make another choice of the opposite or use the      means to secure the opposite.  When we speak of choice being means or      ends and that a person can make one ultimate choice at a time, then it      follows that while in the course of one ultimate end the mind cannot      choose anything inconsistent with that choice.  The reason is that      the mind, while in pursuit of a certain end, is using whatever means it      can to accomplish that end.  That would mean that before the mind can      will the means to secure another ultimate end, it would have to change its      choice to another ultimate end itself.   From these statements it      would follow that if the soul of man chooses the highest well-being of God      and of the universe as the ultimate end, it cannot at the same time that      this choice is in operation choose any other means to another end.       That means that while choosing the highest well-being of God and the      universe, the mind could never choose self-gratification or any other end      at the same time.  It couldn’t be inconsistent with the end that it      has chosen.  The only way a change can be made is to change the      ultimate end and when that is done, new means may be used to secure that      new ultimate end.  That means that only when a new ultimate end has      been chosen, only then can new means to that end be used or chosen and not      before.  From this it should be plainly seen that obedience to the      moral law cannot be partial or less than complete for the same reason that      the mind can not go in two opposite directions at the same time.       This is what makes the Bible so true when it says, “Ye cannot serve God      and mammon….”  One could never will the good of being as the ultimate      end and then at the same time want self-gratification as the ultimate      end.  You cannot be selfish and loving at the same time.  Until      self-gratification is the ultimate end, the means to arrive at      self-gratification will never be used.  No one can choose the highest      good of being and self-gratification at the same time as opposite ultimate      ends.

This calls into deep doubt everything about this man, his call, education, service, marriage, teachings, walk with God and more.  NO MAN THAT WALKS WITH GOD COULD EVER DO SUCH HARM TO HIS LORD JESUS CHRIST.  In my mind, 10 years is not enough in prison, he needs to spend life behind bars.  Has he ever repented?  No!  The officers of the church said that they wished he would but he has not.

5) Schaap dishonoring the teen’s father and mother.  I can say that I don’t know how this man restrains himself.  What would you do if you sent your daughter to the pastor for help and found out that he was having sex with her?  The worst thing is that he actually told the father “how great his daughter is doing.”  What did he mean?  Did he mean how great she was at kissing?  How about writing love notes?  Or, maybe she was great at building his ego and satisfying his lust for self-gratification.  Was she doing great in sending 600 texts and phone calls?  How about doing great in keeping the news private so no one could find out (until a member of the church saw the picture of them French kissing on the pastor’s cell phone?)  How about keeping the trip to Illinois to the beautiful farm that Cindy and Jack had bought for $628,700 (this was a discount by the previous owner who had it on the market at $800,000 to $900,000 but gave them a deal because he was a pastor and school chancellor.)  Maybe she did good not mentioning that Jack and her went to his cabin in Michigan on the “girls night out” and the staff member that drove her there with her own daughter almost made an amber alert when he took the girl to Schaap and they did not show up at their motel for 36 hours.  Perhaps we could fault the parents when she was writing the pastor for not knowing that the text messages were not about improving her life but about having sex and how great it was the last time because it was “off the charts” (Schaap’s own quote to her).  I have to admit that I would have a real problem.  I don’t know if I could be restrained from going to Schaap and beating the living breath out of him and putting him in the hospital with every bone in his body broken so no one could recognize who he was after what Schaap had done to my daughter.

So here is what I am saying to anyone that reads this.  We need to flood First Baptist Church and the new Pastor Wilkerson.  We need to see if they have the morals and the intestinal fortitude to distance themselves from this PERVERT once and for all.  Just calling a new pastor is not enough.  Just reporting this to the authorities is not enough.  I think that there needs to be some serious questions asked about what the position of the church is toward this kind of activity that is strictly taught against by all their institutions and by their former pastor Dr. Jack Hyles.  I have watched their services and it appears that the people are getting back to the old schedule.  I have some questions:

  1. Is the church going to welcome this family back as the victims and not the perpetrators of Schaap’s crimes rather than  tell them that they better not come back for their own safety?
  2. Is the new pastor going to clearly issue a  press release showing how his doctrine and principles are thousands of  miles away from all that Schaap believed, preached and taught?
  3. Is the church going to also issue a clear statement that from now on there will not be any man staff member counseling a young  woman or teen and make it stick so that the world will know they have  cleaned house? 
  4. Is this institution, church, schools, and  college, going to examine all staff members and find out who has been a party to such activities (like the lady staff member who drove the girl across the state lines and should have called the police but didn’t) and make sure that they are removed from their positions?
  5. Is Jack Schaap going to be removed from the membership by church discipline for sins and crimes not becoming a Christian, much less as a pastor?

When we see these things coming out in public as a news release, then we will begin to think that the healing can commence and we can again trust the place that has meant so much to thousands of people around the world.

Alum of Hyles-Anderson College – David Williams


‘My Pastor Is on the Ashley Madison List.’

Too many Christians have been caught using Ashley Madison, many of them pastors and church leaders. What now? |

This week, I’ve already written a couple of posts on the Ashley Madison hack and information leak because pastors, Christian leaders, and families are facing devastating revelation and the after-effects of public sin.

Based on my conversations with leaders from several denominations in the U.S. and Canada, I estimate that at least 400 church leaders (pastors, elders, staff, deacons, etc.) will be resigning Sunday. This is a significant moment of embarrassment for the church—and it should be. To be honest, the number of pastors and church leaders on Ashley Madison is much lower than the number of those looking to have an affair. Yet, there is still much that we must consider in the midst of the embarrassment.

Also, to be clear, in situations like these, we must confirm all things. Not everyone on the list signed themselves up. Among those who did, the sin and circumstances will be different. Many likely signed themselves up and didn’t actually go through with adultery. Regardless, though, trust has been shattered and hearts have been broken. But before we assume a name on a list means adultery has taken place, we must confirm all things and seek the full truth.

On Tuesday I wrote “Life Is Eternal. Don’t Have an Affair,” reflecting on the issue. Yesterday, I wrote, “I’m on the Ashley Madison List. Now What?” to help people caught on the list deal with the consequences.

Today, I want to focus specifically on pastors and staff members.

What happens to the sheep when the shepherd is disqualified from pastoral ministry?

Pastors have been caught on the Ashley Madison list, and it’s devastating to hear the stories. Yet, rarely do people consider a larger group affected by a pastor’s failure, a group larger than even the pastor’s own family, who is facing the primary brunt of the agonizing pain.

For a moment, I want to address what many churches will be addressing this weekend.

What happens to the sheep when the shepherd is disqualified from pastoral ministry?

This is not the only issue, and perhaps not the first to be addressed—spouses have been betrayed, children’s hearts crushed, and more. As I wrote yesterday, some are considering suicide and more at the discovery of their sin.

Churches Matter

Yet, this really isn’t something we can ignore—churches matter here as well.

When the shepherd has violated a sacred trust, it harms the whole flock. This is not the time to act as if everything is fine, rush together a pastor search team, while ignoring the hurt and bleeding flock.

First aid takes a while, and the wounds of the flock must be considered before the shepherd is hurriedly replaced.

Even when members of a church don’t idolize their pastor, there is a great deal of implicit trust in the relationship. The members believe the one teaching them week after week is the same in the park as in the pulpit, the same in private as in public. When a revelation like the Ashley Madison hack occurs, the breach of trust is severe, and often lasting far beyond his moment.

If Your Pastor or a Staff Member Is Resigning

If you are a member of a church whose pastor is outed, what should you do for your own spiritual health and that of your church? Here are a few thoughts.

Focus on God who does not fail. This is the time to remember no one is without blame. Remember—not to alleviate your pastor’s guilt—but to refuse to focus on it. God remains on His throne; He, not your pastor, will never fail. The Apostle Peter failed three times in the same night, but Jesus did not fail. Keep your eyes on Him.

Support those who struggle more than others. Some in your church will struggle more than others with an admission like this. Some will be tempted to “quit church” altogether because “the pastor was a hypocrite.” For some, this is a weight they are spiritually unable to bear alone. Put Galatians 6:2 into practice: come alongside them, bear their burden, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

When the shepherd has violated a sacred trust, it harms the whole flock.

Care for your pastor/staff family. Yes, your church has been betrayed, but not in the same way the spouse has. I sent this to my church staff earlier this week:

If any of you guys have used the service, I need you to let me know now. You will be loved and brought through a process of repentance, counseling, and care. Your wives will be ministered to and loved. But, you need to come clean now. The names are coming out.

Honestly, I am much more inclined to care for those betrayed than the betrayer, but we must care for all.

Love your pastor publicly and privately, with grace and truth. Be consistent in your love for your pastor, who has self-destructed before you and whose world has just crashed. No doubt it is a self-inflicted wound, but even those need care. Speak honestly, but lovingly. I know you are angry—I’m angry—and that’s appropriate, but be angry with grace and with truth.

Love your pastor for the ministry you previously received, and love your pastor and church leaders through the ministry they need now. Remember the grace you have been given in Christ, and do not forget your broken pastor has been afforded that same grace. The same holds true if it’s a pastor, elder, deacon, or other church leader.

If Your Pastor Is on the List

If it comes to it, and no one else, to your knowledge, has done so, confront your pastor or report the information to church leadership.

Thankfully, despite millions of names released in the database breach, it will be a small number who are pastors. The majority are continuing faithfully, obediently in the ministries where God has placed them. The few will be found out sooner or later. Even when they are, it will not be the end of the Kingdom. God reigns and His authority is not threatened when His children fail. Nor is He in danger of overthrow when some are exposed as goats rather than sheep.

God reigns and His authority is not threatened when His children fail.
Recognize That with the Office Comes the Responsibility

I know this is hard, but quiet resignations and hushed conversations are not the answer. Pastoral repentance is different—the Bible says it is.

I know of pastors right now who are negotiating a quiet resignation after an Ashley Madison related affair—but you don’t get to do that if you have taken on the office of pastor.

As I wrote earlier, full and public repentance matters. And, in regard to pastors, the same Bible you preached includes a clear teaching for this moment. First Timothy 5:19 should be a warning to us all: “Publicly rebuke those who sin, so that the rest will also be afraid.”

As I wrote in a post on the need for full, public repentance:

Yes, repentance should be evident when any believer is caught in sin, but something more is required when a pastor is involved, and this matters just as much as the cautions against accusations.

With this higher standard in mind, I want to offer three principles of repentance for pastors and Christian leaders.

1. Repentance must be public.

Yes, pastors have a higher standard to receive criticism, but when that standard is met, a new standard kicks in– as far as the sin is known the repentance should be known.

Pastors have a responsibility to what has been entrusted to them. If you are a small church pastor, your church should know. If you have been entrusted with a global ministry, however, your repentance should be known on a global scale.

Yes, that’s hard. But you cannot use the higher standard of receiving criticism to your advantage when it is beneficial, but ignore the higher standard of repentance when things are difficult.

The details don’t need to be known, but the sin does. Adultery, lying, theft should be named, not hinted. When you became a pastor, you forfeited the right for your sin not to be known when the accusations prove to be true. It does not have to be prurient, but it must be clear.

2. Repentance must be thorough.

…As Lanny Davis wrote about political scandals, Tell it all, tell it early, tell it yourself.” Or, to quote a paraphrase of Proverbs 28:13, “What we cover, God uncovers and what we uncover, God covers.

There is great freedom in confessing it all, early, and moving on toward restoration. The alternative is to be trapped in a cycle of waiting until more evidence comes forward and then trying to spin it to salvage our reputation.

Repentance is freeing.

3. Repentance should lead to restoration.

…When it comes to pastoral repentance, fear leads to forever hiding where faith leads to confession and restoration.

I’m not saying that every pastor can be restored to every role—that’s a discussion for another day. But, a pastor who commits adultery, for example, needs to be under a discipline process with the church that lasts a considerable length of time (at least two years in my opinion).

God’s Grace

For reasons I cannot share (as it is not my story to share), I have much more concern for the victims, but if we care about the church (and the fallen pastor), we need to have a church conversation.

God’s grace is sufficient for the shepherd who falls, and the flock left vulnerable.

God’s grace is sufficient for the shepherd who falls, and the flock left vulnerable. We have a Great Shepherd, a Chief Shepherd, who is for us what earthly shepherds can never be: perfect, absolutely trustworthy, and never failing. It is He who leads us beside still waters in and into green pastures. Let us place our faith in Him, and we will find rest for our weary souls.

Pray for your pastors and church leaders today, even if they weren’t found to be in sin. Pray for them to resist temptation and cling to the cross when presented with sin.

Chris Martin and Marty Duren contributed to this post.