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

Letters from Pastors in Response to this “Separation of Church and State Blog” and My Replies: March, 2010 posting

Jerald Finney
Copyright © March, 2010
All articles on this blog may also be accessed from the following link:
Separation of Church and State Law Blog,” the “Blog” page of churchandstatelaw.com)

Contents
I. Letter No. 1
II. My Reply to Letter No. 1
III. Letter No. 2
IV. My Reply to Letter No. 2
V. Letter No. 3
VI. My Reply to Letter No. 3
VII. Letter No. 4
VIII. My Reply to Letter No. 4
IX. Pastor’s Response to My Reply to Letter No. 4
X. My Reply to Pastor’s Response
XI. Letter No. 5
XII. My Reply to Letter No. 5
XIII. Conclusion
XIV. Links to IRS Laws
XV. Note

Click maroon or blue colored links to go directly to the linked articles, websites, etc.

This article gives some pastors’ e-mails with their comments and questions concerning articles on this blog, and my replies to those e-mails. This is the second 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).

I will publish future articles on other e-mails from pastors because these e-mails not only raise important questions which need to be addressed, but also give insights into the thoughts of pastors on issues such as church incorporation and 501(c)(3).

You probably have received and possibly read some of my articles on this blog. Click this link, “Separation of Church and State Law Blog,” for links to all the articles on this “Separation of Church and State Law” blog.

 I. Letter No. 1 (Received October 21, 2009:):

Bro. Finney…Thank you for the email.  Where did you get my info?  I am the pastor of ________________ Church in ______________, TN.  We have recently formed a church and were debating about incorporation.  This is very intersesting, we merged with another church that was incorporated and were about to just chnge the name on the incorporation, even though it is a whole new church.  I asked God to stop me if it was ot His will, and I got your email out of the blue.  I would love to talk to you and get the other side of the story.  What is your #, Mine is ______________________.

[Pastor’s name]
“Ye Must be born again”

II. My Reply to Letter No. 1:

Dear Pastor _______________,

My phone nos. are: C: 512-785-8445; H: 512-385-0761. It would be an honor to discuss this with you. I still have some work to do, then going on visitation and church. I will try to call you as soon as I can get my work done, or feel free to call me at anytime.

For His Glory,
Bro. Jerald Finney

Note. I did call this dear brother

III. Letter No. 2 (received December 19, 2009 Pastor gave me permission to use his identifying information.):

Dear Brother [Finney],

I briefly read your article on Separation of Church and State.

When we planted Fellowship Baptist Church in Cumberland R.I. in 1997, I was getting counsel from my sending church on how to write-up the “articles of incorporation” to become “legitimate” .

I praise the Lord that my eyes were open to God’s wisdom and shut to man’s foolishness.  As I was reading through the laws of what  incorporation meant, it struck me like a lightening bolt that Caesar and of course the devil were immediately seeking to control the church that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ shed His precious blood for.  The State IS NOT the head of the church and if it becomes the head through incorporation, then one has immediately surrendered.

Incorporation is a way for these  State run entities to protect their lands and buildings.  Of course when Peter warned of false prophets making merchandise out of the brethren, clearly the LORD saw our modern day “churches” being run as businesses.

I have had some professed believers who would not join the church because of us not being incorporated.  Clearly, taking this stance separates the sheep from the goats.

I praise God for your article and will share it with the brethren.

In the Love of Christ Jesus,
Mark Manzoni
Pastor
Fellowship Baptist Church
Cumberland, Rhode Island

IV. My Reply to Letter No. 2:

Dear Pastor Manzoni,

Praise the Lord for men of God like you! Any man of God who believes God’s Word should have your insights, but many professors do not. It is an encouragement to hear from you. The Lord called me into this ministry in 2005, and since then I have spent thousands of hours in research as well as writing and speaking on the issue. As you might suspect, many pastors do not respond to this message as you have. It is encouraging every time I meet another pastor or Christian who realizes the importance of this issue to our Lord.

With your permission, I would like to use your letter. It may be a month or two before I publish it. If you do not want your church or name mentioned, I will delete names.

As I teach in my books, articles, etc., members of a corporate church have less protection than a New Testament church. First a New Testament church has the blessing and power of God, which a state church  does not have. Second, if church property is held properly by a New Testament church, church members have more protection than do members of state churches.

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney

V. Letter No. 3 (Received October 15, 2009):

Are you saying we should not be registered?

________________

VI. My Reply to Letter No. 3:

Dear Brother _________________,

It is not what I say or think about an issue. The real question is, “What does the Word of God teach on this issue. That is, what are the biblical principles concerning this issue?” So, first one must understand the biblical principles involved – in this case, the biblical principles concerning church, state, and separation of church and state. Then, one must apply fact to principle to see if principle is being violated.

This is what I do in the studies provided. A pastor or other Christian can study the teachings. This gives one a reference point to consider these issues. Most pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and other Christians today have never looked at these principles. Christ loved the church and gave himself for it that he migh sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word (Ep. 5.25-26). The epistles of Paul develop the doctrine of the church who was jealous over the church with a godly jealousy. As Paul wrote “I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his sutilty, so your  minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (1 Co. 11.2-3). The principles of civil government are also laid out in the Bible as is the principle of separation of church and state. Millions have and continue to give their lives for these principles, but not in America.

It is your love relationship with the Lord that is affected. When an individual and a church violates that relationship, not only is our Lord is grieved but also there are bad consequences.

Thanks for your interest in this matter.

For His Glory,
Bro. Jerald Finney

VII. Letter No. 4 (Received January 16, 2010):

Dear Jerald,

I have been a fundamental Baptist pastor for almost 40 years. My dad was a IFB pastors for 50 years. The churches involved are/were all 501(c)(3). I have never witnessed any government interference or encroachment into church affairs.

Dr. ____________________

VIII. My Reply to Letter No. 4:

Dear Pastor __________________,

There are many good pastors who have never studied either the biblical principles of church, state, and separation of church and state or the facts about the nature of incorporation and 501(c)(3). When a born-again believer does not do such a study, he is easily led astray in the matter of church organization since he does not know or understand those very important biblical principles. Most of the “fundamental Baptist churches” in America are not following God’s principles of organization for His churches. The Bible makes clear that God desires us to continue in His Word so that we may know the truth and so that we may grow and proceed in knowledge, understanding, and wisdom in this spiritual warfare we are in.

In fact, the civil government will not interfere in your church affairs as long as you abide by the rules you agreed to when you took the 501(c)(3). When a church gets a 501(c)(3) exemption, she violates biblical principles and grieves our Lord. 501(c)(3) originally had no rules.  Five rules or requirements for 501(c)(3) organizations have been added to the law since Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) was initially enacted, four of which were added by legislation and one by the Internal Revenue Service and upheld by Supreme Court decision. There is nothing a religious organization can do to stop further rules from being added to 501(c)(3) or to remove those already there because the controlling party to the agreement initiated by 501(c)(3) status is the federal government.

In order to get the 501(c)(3) a church must be a legal entity such as a corporation. The facts about incorporation and 501(c)(3) prove that for a church to incorporate and get 501(c)(3) status violates many biblical principles and grieves our Lord.

The heretical teaching that 501(c)(3) and incorporation of churches is acceptable to God displeases our Lord and leads to further heresy and finally to apostasy. The steps in the downfall of a nation, according to the Bible, are religious apostasy, moral awfulness, and political anarchy. We are well into the third stage in America.

Fundamental Baptist churches who have incorporated and obtained 510(c)(3) status display the results of heresy to one degree or another. Of course, those churches do not even realize their error and the results; but the consequences of their ignorance, whether willful or not, is on display. Since they have no  power of God or a diluted power of God, the world sees nothing in them that is attractive, nor do I or other knowledgeable Christians.

I get into these matters in great detail in my books, audio teachings, and articles.

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney, BBA, JD
churchandstatelaw.com
opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com

IX. Pastor’s response to my reply to Letter No. 4:

Dear brother Finney,

I have annotated several comments below for your consideration. I find it of interest that you as a lawyer consider yourself to have greater understanding of Scripture than ordained men of God who have spent a lifetime studying the Word. What would you think if I as a layman to the legal arena had read some books on law and therefore were making pronouncements about how lawyers should discharge their law practice? By the way, as the founding pastor of this church, I personally filled out the papers to incorporate with the State of Minnesota and then the 501(c)(3) application myself and did not use a lawyer. The Minnesota not-for-profit papers are renewed each year (or 3 years whatever) on a 3″x5″ post card or more recently a couple of clicks on the internet. I am aware of the benefits of incorporation and have never seen any of the supposed problems thereof in the real-life work of the church.

X. My reply to His response:

Dear Pastor __________________,

A lot of the ordained men of God who have studied the relevant principles agree with me. The problem is that many who do not agree with me have not studied the principles, facts, history, or legalities; nor were they taught these matters in church, Bible College or Seminary, or by the “Christian” lawyers who make millions helping state churches or helping churches to become state churches.

I have been saved since 1982. I was saved in a revival meeting at a non-incorporated, non-501(c)(3) Baptist church. Of course I had no idea that the church was non-incorporated or non-501(c)(3) at that time. I knew nothing about such matters. However, for the first time in my life, I saw the power of God at work.

Since that time, I have been faithful to church and faithful to studying the Bible. In addition to the teaching from my pastors, I read the Bible, heard and took notes on thousands of sermons since I rarely missed church services and attended camp meetings where many pastors preached and taught, and followed the teaching of Dr. J. Vernon McGee for many years. I have been an active particpant in many ministries, a faithful tither and giver, etc.

In 2003, I began an intense study of the biblical principles of church, state, and separation of church and state. I have read many, many other books dealing with those issues, and was called by God, in 2005, to actively deal with those issues. I wrote my findings in my writings, beginning with God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application. Before I published it, I gave it to several pastors, including my own pastor, and asked for them to critique it. I received feedback from a few. My pastor said the book was OK to publish.

After publishing the book, I gave copies to probably 50 or more pastors, missionaries, Bible teachers, and other Christians, besides those who have bought the book. I asked for honest feedback. I told everyone, and continue to do so, “Tell me where you believe I am wrong and I will be glad to have a congenial and honest discussion to see if  you can convince me I am wrong.”

The  result has been that many have praised or agreed with the book. However, those Christians and pastors who are against it, but cannot refute it (or just do not take the time to study it), get mad, usually as soon as they learn that I am crusading against churches becoming incorporated and getting 501(c)(3) status or becoming legal entities in any way, and that I believe doing so is contrary to the will of God as laid out in His Word.

I have met very few pastors, Christians, lawyers or anyone else, as a percentage,  who have done a study of the biblical principles of church, state, and separation of church and state; and I have met very few who have studied incorportion, 501(c)(3) or the other methods of becoming a legal entity. Especially of note is that I have never met the pastor of an incorporated, 501(c)(3) who has a clue about the relevant biblical principles and facts, both legal and historical. I see, for the most part, the blind leading the blind.

It is easy for a church to incorporate and get a 501(c)(3) exemption. It is just a matter of filling out forms. Anyone of average intelligence can fill out forms. Thank God you did not abuse God’s money by using a lawyer to do that. However, understanding the law, facts, and biblical principles concerning what you were doing is something entirely different. How many hours have you spent to understand those matters?

I invite you to critique my books. In order to do that, you must read and study them, as well as the Word of God, with an open mind as led by the Holy Spirit. It will be well worth the effort because “Christ loved the church and gave himself, for it;” because He likens His church to His wife, his bride over whom He desires to be the only Head; because He is jealous of His church, etc. Let me say that there are problems with incorporation and 501(c)(3), but only one who is walking in the Spirit according to knowledge, wisdom, and understanding can see them.

All born again believers, including pastors, have a responsibility to study the Word of God. The Holy Spirit leads them into truth when they diligently continue in God’s Word. Every one of us is responsible for growing in knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

I  am not  your enemy. Actually, I was sent by God to help those who have an ear to hear. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 3:22).

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney
churchandstatelaw.com

XI. Letter No. 5 (Received 12/28/09):

Dear Jerald Finney, JD

I’m the Pastor of an Independent Baptist church in Texas. I find your information very informative . Now comes my question if our church iscurrently a 501 (c) (3) what can we do to leave the governments program . Would we face legal repercussions. Please when you have time advise me .

Sincerely In Christ,
Pastor _________________

XII. My Reply to Letter No. 5:

Dear Pastor ________________,

In order to properly advise you, I need to talk to you. There is absolutely no charge for my services. Should you decide to go forward, I do ask a love gift for my legal associate who does the ground work. She is highly qualified, and I do ask a love offering for her services since she has given her life to serving the Lord in this cause.

Can you all me at 512-385-0761 (H&O) or 512-785-8445?

For His Glory,
Jerald Finney

Note. Pastor ______________ called and we discussed this matter.

XIII. Conclusion

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

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

XIV. 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

For His Glory
Jerald Finney, BBA, JD
churchandstatelaw.com
opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com

Does God and/or Civil Government Require Churches to Get 501(c)(3) Status?

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: God’s law honored by man’s law

Jerald Finney
Copyright © March, 2010
Revised on April 10, 2013

Does the Word of God teach that churches in America should get Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) (“501c3”) status? What about civil law? Does American law purportedly require that churches get 501c3 status? This article will answer those questions.

Since you will probably want to know something about Jerald Finney before you give any consideration to his positions, this article will begin by providing you with a brief profile of Finney. At the end of the article are links to important Internal Revenue Code laws concerning churches as well as an important note.

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.

The Bible makes clear that God desires that Christians love Him and He tells them what it means to love God. The relationship between God and his children is very important to Him. Likewise, the love relationship between God and His churches is preeminent to Him. After all, “Christ loved the church and gave himself for it” (Ep. 5:25). Do you understand God’s definition of love? Jerald Finney has covered this subject in the booklet, The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls? which is available on the Order Information on Books by Jerald Finney page of this website, and also free on this website at The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls in online form as well as in PDF form. Of course, if one loves God, he will win souls.

The author realizes that there are different interpretations of Scripture on any given subject—there are false interpretations and one true interpretation. Christians, including the author, should do everything possible to make sure they correctly divide Scripture since the Bible commands them to do so. In fact, the biblical way for a Christian to make sure that he is right about an issue was given to Timothy and to all Christians by Paul: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Ti. 2.15). Most Christians rely totally or heavily upon their pastors for leadership in instruction in spiritual matters. Sometimes, as is the case with the author, they rely upon their pastors and others, and are also called themselves to deal specifically with an issue.

To totally understand all the issues and sub-issues involved with the 501c3, one must not only have extensive knowledge of biblical principles, but he must also have an understanding of history and law. You see, the issue of the relationship between church and state is very important to God and His Word completely explains His desired relationship. Historically, true Christians understood the importance of this relationship, and they stood up for their relationship even though they suffered greatly for their stand on this issue—they were imprisoned, drowned, beheaded, burned at the stake, hung, tortured, etc. because they loved their Savior and were willing to do all that He asked them to do.

With that said, let us now go to the issues—first the issue of the truth about civil government requirement that churches get 501c3 status. The unabashed truth is that civil government does not require churches in America to get 501c3 status. They do so completely voluntarily, just as they incorporate on a voluntary basis. Since there is absolutely no law that requires a church to get 501c3 status, no attorney, pastor, or anyone else can show you such a law.

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

In fact, there is a law that clearly states that you do not have to get 501c3 status: The First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment 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.

The religion clause of the First Amendment, in conjunction with the other clauses of the First Amendment, is a statement of the biblical principle of separation of church and state. To understand this, read An Abridged History of the First Amendment or the more complete version (Section IV of God Betrayed, or Part II of The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus which are available free or can be purchased in softback. (See Order information, free PDF, and free online version page for books by Jerald Finney) or. The First Amendment commands that the federal government make no law respecting an establishment of religion or preventing the free exercise thereof.

When I first wrote this article, I stated that Internal Revenue Code § 508 (“508”) is a law that protects churches and states that churches are an exception to getting 501c3 status. That law explicitly states that churches are an exception to the requirement that certain organizations get 501c3 status. However, after years of study, I am convinced that a church should never claim 508 status. A church should rely on the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, not on 508.

508 is a law made by the federal government that regards and establishment of religion and prevents the free exercise thereof. Therefore, a church that agrees to 508 status has agreed to place herself under a law which is unconstitutional as applied to churches (a law which violates the First Amendment when applied to churches) thereby waiving First Amendment status and also weakening the First Amendment. The federal government can also argue that churches who claim 508 status have agreed to the rules of 501c3, since the state may argue that the federal government is granting the exemption under 508 and the church chose to depend upon 508 instead of the First Amendment. The Internal Revenue Service completely understands the First Amendment implications as to churches. The Internal Revenue Service states in Internal Revenue Code Publication 1828: “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.” One may argue that this interpretation of 508 is too explicit, but the devil is in the details, and the legal system is expert in arguing the details. See, for more thorough explanation, Church Internal Revenue Code § 508 Tax Exempt Status.

501c3 comes with rules that churches agree to honor. Thus, when a church gets 501c3, she places herself under a sovereign other than God to some degree. The author goes into the rules that come along with 501c3 in the following articles: The Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) Exemption-Definition-Control Scheme, Laws Protecting New Testament Churches in the United States: Read Them for Yourself.

A 501c3 church also has many regulations which it is required to honor. See Publication 4221: Compliance Guide for Tax Exempt Organizations (“Federal tax law provides tax benefits to nonprofit organizations recognized as exempt from federal income tax under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (the Code). The Code requires that tax-exempt organizations comply with federal tax law to maintain tax-exempt status and avoid penalties….”).

In spite of the irrefutable fact that churches are not required to get 501c3, many Christians will tell you that Romans 13 requires that churches get 501c3 status. Of course, that is a ridiculous statement, since American law clearly gives each church a choice in the matter. No “ordinance of man” requires churches to get 501c3; therefore, churches cannot violate an ordinance which does not exist. To repeat, does God require that a church get 501c3? Of course not, and no “ordinance of man” purportedly requires man to get 501c3.

Another important question, although not at all relevant (as we have seen) to the issue of whether churches in America are required to get 501c3,  is this: “If God is against a church obeying a certain civil law, even if the civil law purportedly requires churches to obey that law, is man to obey the civil law?” When one does an honest and systematic biblical study of the issues involved, the answer becomes very clear. The author has done such a study and has written and taught on this very issue. He has written four books that cover the biblical principles as well as history and law. Again, those books are available free on this website in online form as well as in PDF form or may be ordered in paperback. See Order information, free PDF, and free online version page for books by Jerald Finney.

This article will just mention a few Biblical principles and teachings. Clearly, when a man-made law conflicts with God’s law, Christians are instructed by God to obey God’s law. All the apostles, except John, were martyred for adhering to this principle. Likewise,  as mentioned above, Christians down through the ages in and since the primitive church have stood on this principle.

The Bible teaches that God is sovereign over all, and that He ordained all powers that be. Thus, God established or ordained civil government. He gave civil government the responsibility for ruling over men, under Him. He also gave man free will. Since civil government is run by a man, or by men, civil government, like man, is free, under God to honor or dishonor Him and His principles. Of course, God desires that civil government honor Him, but sadly, civil governments rarely do so, and they never permanently do so in this age. This is the clear teaching of history.

To interpret Romans 13 and other verses to mean that Christians are to obey all civil laws which contradict God’s law would mean that Romans 13 is inconsistent in both the immediate and overall context of Scripture. Many Old Testament characters, the apostles, God, God’s own angels, and Christians throughout the last 2000 years who have refused to honor laws of men which require God’s children to submit to man rather than to proceed under God only in certain matters, violated the modern American interpretation of Romans 13. The author goes into all the details on this matter in Render unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses and in God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (The book is in online form at Render unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses. Also, click the following links for other articles which teach on this matter: Separation of Church and God, American Abuse of Romans 13:1-2, An Abridged History of the First Amendment.

In conclusion, churches who get 501c3 dishonor the Lord and His principles concerning His desired relationship between church and state. Christians are responsible to God to study His Word and make the practical application of His Word to real life. The relationship between Christ and His churches is very important to Him: “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” (Ep. 5.25-27).

That relationship has been so important to Christians since the beginning of the Church that they have been willing to die rather than to dishonor it. How important is that relationship to you and your church?

You can read the following Internal Revenue Code laws 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 (A
ccording to Internal   Revenue Code § 102 tithes and offerings are                        gifts and, therefore, , not income)
7. § 2503. Taxable gifts
8. § 170. Charitable, etc., contributions and gifts

Note. Should you desire to know how your church can organize according to both biblical principles and also within the parameters of American law contact Jerald Finney, a licensed lawyer. Click here for contact information for Jerald Finney.

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.

END

First Amendment Protection of New Testament Churches/Federal Laws Protecting State Churches (Religious Organizations)

Jerald Finney
Copyright © February, 2010
Revised, September 2013, July 13, 2015, December 30, 2106

Preliminary note. The author has made significant revisions to this article as his knowledge grows with continued study. The original title to the article, “Laws Protecting New Testament Churches: Read Them for Yourself,” was changed to “First Amendment Protection of New Testament Churches/Federal Laws Protecting State Churches (Religious Organizations)” on July 13, 2015.

You can always find a lawyer or Christian who will agree with the position that an American church should become a religious organization by becoming a legal entity such as a non-profit corporation (included corporation sole), unincorporated association, charitable trust, etc. and get 501(c)(3) or 508 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.

You may go directly to a link (letters in maroon), or, to save time, you may read only the relevant portions of a provision or law which are in the article below.

Virginia Passes Legislation Forcing Churches to Allow “Transgender” Males into Women’s Bathrooms(04720)(Of course, this will be contested in court. Regardless of the outcome of such contest(s), keep in mind that the established church (incorporated, 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(1)(A) churches have voluntarily given up much of their First Amendment protections and placed themselves under the 14th Amendment for many purposes. Churches who choose to remain under the First Amendment for all purposes are not subject to state legislation. Contact this Churches under Christ Ministry for more information.)

Contents:

Note. At the very end is an excellent Facebook comment on “What happens if we abuse liberty” by Herei Stand on October 16, 2015.

I. Introduction
II. The Highest Law: God’s Law
III. United States Law: Man’s Law
     A. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution
     B. The Internal Revenue Service Code
          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 (A
ccording to Internal   Revenue Code § 102 tithes and offerings are                        gifts and, therefore, , not income)
          7. § 2503. Taxable gifts
         8. § 170. Charitable, etc., contributions and gifts

IV. Laws from one state, Kansas
     A. The Kansas Constitution
           1. Preamble.
          2. Bill of Rights, § 1.
 Equal rights.
          3.
 Bill of Rights, § 3Right of peaceable assembly; petition.
          4. Bill of Rights, § 7. Religious liberty
          5. Bill of Rights, § 11. Liberty of press and speech; libel.
          6. Bill of Rights, § 15. Search and seizure.
          7. Article 11, § 1(b)
System of taxation; classification; exemption.
     B. Kansas Statutes
          1. Chapter 79. Taxation.  Kansas Statutes, Chapter 79. Taxation. Article 2.—PROPERTY EXEMPT FROM TAXATION
              § 79-201
Property exempt from taxation.
          2. Chapter 79.–TAXATION. Article 36.–KANSAS RETAILERS’ SALES TAX
79-3603.
  Retailers’ sales tax imposed; rate.
79-3606.  Exempt sales.

I. Introduction

1The author is completely aware that most “Christians” and “Christian” lawyers tell churches to incorporate, get 501(c)(3) or 508 status or to become a legal entity in some other manner. The author takes issue with those lawyers and Christians and has written and taught extensively on the God-given principles concerning church and state and the application of those principles in America.

Those of you who do not know the author cannot be expected to trust him. Therefore, in order that a Christian can see for himself what the law says, this article will lay out the law which protects New Testament (the First Amendment) churches, and the laws which allegedly protect state churches. The First Amendment (quoted below) says that Congress shall make “no law” as to certain matters. Yet, 501(c)(3) (and 508) is a law which does exactly what the First Amendment forbids, as to churches. When a church submits herself to either of those laws, she becomes a religious organization (according to the explicit words in those laws) and subjects herself to the rules that come with those laws. The federal government, specifically the Internal Revenue Service, becomes sovereign of a 501(c)(3) or 508 church for certain purposes and enforces the rules that come with 501(c)(3) at its discretion; indeed, as will be seen, the IRS can add rules, having already added one rule which was contested and upheld the Supreme Court. Having succumb to the sovereignty of the federal government for some purposes through willing submission to 501(c)(3) law, the federal government added other laws to the Internal Revenue Code to protect religious organizations to a degree from arbitrary actions by the Internal Revenue Service.

A church which is a legal entity such as in incorporated church and or which gets Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) status loses much of her First Amendment protection and places herself under the Fourteenth Amendment to a large degree; the author fully explains this in his teachings on this website. One can go directly online to the laws in their entirety by clicking the blue underlined links.

In case you are not aware of it, an American church can operate as a spiritual entity only, under the First Amendment, without persecution, under God as a non-legal entity (as a spiritual entity) instead of a legal entity such as a non-profit corporation, charitable trust, unincorporated association, or corporation sole and without Internal Revenue Code Section (“IRC”) 501(c)(3) (“501(c)(3)” or Section 508 (“508”) status.FN1

New Testament churches are protected, for the time being, by the First Amendment which is a statement of Bible principle and, therefore, in line with God’s law. State churches and other religious organizations – the protection of the First Amendment and God not being enough for them to attain their worldly temporal goals (they think) – have turned to laws which contradict the First Amendment for protection. In so doing, they have shunned the protection of God and the First Amendment for many purposes. The chickens are coming home to roost.

II. The Highest Law: God’s Law

Of course, the highest law that protects churches everywhere, including churches in America, is God’s law as laid out in His Word. Although, in many nations, churches who wish to operate under God only will suffer persecutions, including physical death, for honoring God and His principles of organization and operation, no civil government can take the life or liberty of a true Christian or destroy a true church. The author has done a complete systematic study God’s principles concerning church and state in his other works.FN2

No nation gives anyone or any church life or liberty. Nations choose whether to protect the God-given life and liberty of individuals and churches from persecution.

3God, the highest authority, establishes His churches and gives life to believers only:

  • “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
  • “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:12).
  • “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. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 4.18; 5.1-6, 7-8; See also, Romans 8.18-25.).

Additionally, only Christ gives liberty to believers, and only to believers who continue in His Word:

  • “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18).
  • “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).
  • “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).
  • “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:18).
  • “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Romans 6:22).
  • “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).
  • “Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21).
  • “For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant” (1 Corinthians 7:22)
  • “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more” (1 Corinthians 9:19).
  • “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17).
  • “And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage” (Galatians 2:4).
  • “So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free” (Galatians 4:31).
  • “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).
  • “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).
  • “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:25).
  • “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” (2 Peter 2:19).

ROMANSChristians are to walk in the spirit, not in the flesh.(See, e.g., 1 Corinthians 2; 3.1-3; Galatians 5, Romans 6-8). Most do not. New Testament churches are spiritual organisms, not earthly entities. Thus, an incorporated, 501(c)(3) or 508 church has violated God’s principles by placing herself, at least partially, under a head other than the Lord Jesus Christ. For systematic studies of all the arguments used to justify submission of individuals and churches to civil government see FN3.

The Martyrs of the faith clearly understood the liberty given them by Jesus Christ.

Martyr’s Song by Watchmen

III. United States Law-Man’s Law

 A. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution

Man’s law is below God’s law. Again, God gives civil governments the option of honoring Him and His principles. America, as a result of a great theological warfare between persecuted dissenters (the persecutions were carried out by colonial governments acting under the guidance of the established churches and their theologies) and the established churches, became the first nation, the second civil government behind the colony of Rhode Island, to apply God’s principles concerning the relationship between church and state and the individual person and the state and to guarantee religious liberty.  This was done in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (the second highest law in America after God’s law) which reads as follows:

First Amendment to the United States Constitution
First Amendment to the United States 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 peaceable to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” FN4

The following lay out the history of the First Amendment:

The History of the First Amendment
An Abridged History of the First Amendment

The First Amendment did not originally apply to the states. As a result, states were free to pass laws which provided state corporate status to churches, and they did so. Many churches ran down to incorporate under state law soon after the Constitution and First Amendment were ratified.FN5  Some did not incorporate or become state churches.

Although the United States Supreme Court has now applied the First Amendment to state and other lower governments, incorporation of churches by state statute has never been held to violate the First Amendment, even though incorporation of churches is contrary to the First Amendment as well as Bible principles.

Churches which become legal entities such as corporations (includes corporation sole), unincorporated associations, charitable trusts, 501c3 and 508 religious organizations lose much or their First Amendment protections and fall, as artificial persons, under the Fourteenth Amendment for many purposes.

Churches which are spiritual entities only are New Testament churches and have the protections of the First Amendment. As we know, First Amendment protections enjoyed since 1791, the date of adoption, are targeted for destruction. When the First Amendment is destroyed, God’s churches, as opposed to state churches (churches which are legal entities) will have no choice but to operate underground, much as the churches in China, North Korea and many other countries, especially in many Muslim countries operate.

B. Internal Revenue Code

5Once a church becomes a religious organization under Internal Revenue Code, Section 501(c)(3) or Section 508, she does have some protection from arbitrary attack by the federal government for some purposes. Such protections are not needed by a First Amendment church since that church is under God only. After the government destroys First Amendment protections for churches and believers, they will have to go underground to maintain their New Testament status.

1. Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3)
Click the following link to go to the entire section: IRC § 501(c)(3)
Click the  following link to go directly to a more in-depth study of 501(c)(3):
The Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) Exemption-Definition-Control Scheme

IRC § 501 provides in relevant part:

§ 501. Exemption from tax on corporations, certain trusts, etc.:

“(a) Exemption from taxation. An organization described in subsection (c) … shall be exempt from taxation under this subtitle [26 USCS §§ 1 et seq.] unless such exemption is denied under section 502 or 503 [26 USCS § 502 or 503]….
“(c)(3) Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, 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, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)), 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….
“(h) Expenditures by public charities to influence legislation. (1) General rule. In the case of an organization to which this subsection applies, exemption from taxation under subsection (a) shall be denied because a substantial part of the activities of such organization consists of carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation….”

In the twentieth century, the United States passed § 501(c)(3), a law which, when applied to churches or any other religious organization,  “respects an establishment of religion” and prevents “the free exercise thereof.” 501(c)(3) may be utilized by earthly and religious organizations. A church is not required to get 501(c)(3) and 508 status, but that status is available for any church who wants it. That a church is not required, by civil law, to obtain 501(c)(3) status is made clear by the First Amendment. When a church chooses to get 501(c)(3) or 508 status, she has—in addition to placing herself under state authority through incorporation or some other means—also placed herself under the authority of the Federal government. For more on 508 status, see Church Internal Revenue Code § 508 Tax Exempt Status.

When a church gets 501(c)(3) or 508 status, that church becomes a religious organization. Churches who have 501(c)(3) or 508 tax-exempt status are under four rules which are stated in the 501(c)(3) law. Those rules or laws prevent the free exercise of religion under God by churches.

One can see four requirements in 501(c)(3) by reading the law above. Those rules are:

1. must be organized and operated exclusively for religious, educational, scientific, or other charitable purposes,
2. net earnings must not inure to the benefit of any private individual or shareholder,
3. no substantial part of its activity may be attempting to influence legislation,
4. the organization may not intervene in political activity.

Those four rules for religious organizations were in the law made by Congress and signed by President Eisenhower. All 501(c)(3) and 508 religious and other organizations are required to comply with the requirements. Congress and the President are free to put other requirements into law in the future. You see, they are the sovereigns elected by the people. They decided to dishonor God’s law first and the First Amendment second when they made 501(c)(3) and 508 status available to churches. Churches who incorporate and get 501(c)(3) or 508 status dishonor God and place themselves under two other sovereigns. Of course, they still have some of their God-ordained freedom, but they have voluntarily given up some of those freedoms as they have submitted to other sovereigns.

Not only have Congress and the President added requirements to 501(c)(3) since its initial passage into law, the Internal Revenue Service has also added a requirement to the law which was approved by Supreme Court opinion. The case considered an action—deemed to violate fundamental public policy—by Bob Jones University, an incorporated 501(c)(3) religious organization.FN6  Of course, Bob Jones University was not a church, but a future Supreme Court could easily declare that the new requirement applies to churches, and a future Court could add additional requirements to 501(c)(3). The new requirement is this:

“the organization’s purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy.”FN7

An old adage in the law says, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” In other words, just because one is ignorant of the law does not excuse one from obeying it, especially when one was not required to submit to a law but did so voluntarily. Christians are instructed to proceed with knowledge (See, e.g., 2 Peter 1.3-10). Christians are also to have integrity. If they agree to something, they are to keep their part of the contract or bargain. Corporate 501(c)(3) churches contract with the state when they incorporate, the state being the controlling party to the contracts created by incorporation—in the event of disagreement or suit because over contract, civil courts will decide the issue. Those courts will decide such issues based upon man’s law, not Biblical principle.

Likewise, when a church, of her own free will, obtains 501(c)(3) or 508 status, she agrees (whether she knows it or not) both to be bound by the rules in existence at the time she receives state exemption and any rules which may be handed down after obtaining the status. Only ignorance prevents her from recognizing that, in the event of disagreement with IRS assertion that an action of the church is in violation of the statute, the state (not God) will decide the issue.

2. Internal Revenue Code § 508
Click the following link to go to the complete section:
 IRC § 508

IRC § 508 (the codification of Public Law 91-172 ratified in 1969) provides in relevant part:

§ 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.” FN8 [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, the federal government recognized by law that churches are non-taxable; and, therefore, that churches are an exception to the civil government requirement that certain organizations file for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.

Churches should claim First Amendment, not § 508 status. By claiming § 508 status, a church has claimed the protection of a law made by the federal government. Remember what the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” § 508 is a law respecting an establishment of religion (and likely may be used to prevent the free exercise thereof) made by Congress and is therefore unconstitutional. By claiming § 508 status, a church thereby agrees that, should an issue regarding that church end up in court, that the court may look at § 508 and interpret issues from the perspective of § 508. In other words, the court will define the terms and determine the relevance and meaning of § 508 and the words therein rather than looking at the First Amendment and clear language of that amendment which was written so that anyone can understand it and make the applications. For example, the court would tell the litigants what the term “exception” means. Also, by claiming § 508 status, a church may be argued to have made itself a legal entity required to abide by the rules that come along with § 501(c)(3) in order to maintain their “tax exempt” status. First Amendment churches are non-taxable whereas § 501(c)(3) churches are “tax-exempt.” For more on this, see Church Internal Revenue Code § 508 Tax Exempt Status.

Churches who remain under God and His principles for churches (First Amendment churches) even if there were no First Amendment are non-taxable anyway because they are not businesses, they are not legal entities of any type, and they have no income and make no profits. Even businesses pay no taxes if they make no profit. To make a profit, income must exceed expenses and deductions. A legal entity, such as a corporate 501(c)(3) religious organization, who poses as a church, who is in business(es), and who makes a profit should, in the opinion of the author, pay taxes.

New Testament (First Amendment) churches are not legal entities, so they cannot and do not receive income. Church members give tithes and offerings to God and which are used for certain purposes and ministries approved by God; for providing for their pastor; for providing for a place to meet; for helping the poor; and for any other purpose consistent with Biblical principle.

If a church does not apply for exempt status, and if it is organized as and operates in conformity to Biblical principle, according to the First Amendment which agrees with the Biblical principle of separation of church and state, the church maintains her non-taxable status.

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

3. Internal Revenue Code § 7611
Click the following link to go to the entire section:  IRC § 7611

IRC § 7611 gives the only reasons for which the Internal Revenue Service can audit a religious organization defined as a church by the federal government. Of course, a New Testament church is not a legal entity, has no income, and cannot be audited. All tithes, offerings, and gifts by church members are given to God, not to a religious organization such as an incorporated 501(c)(3) or 508 church. There are not church (religious organization) books to keepl IRC § 7611 states in relevant part:

§ 7611. Restrictions on church tax inquiries and examinations

 “(a) Restrictions on inquiries.—
“(1) In general.—The Secretary may begin a church tax inquiry only if—
“(A) the reasonable belief requirements of paragraph (2), and
“(B) the notice requirements of paragraph (3), have been met.
“(2) Reasonable belief requirements.—The requirements of this paragraph are met with respect to any church tax inquiry if an appropriate high-level Treasury official reasonably believes (on the basis of facts and circumstances recorded in writing) that the church –
“(A) may not be exempt, by reason of its status as a church, from tax under section 501(a), or
“(B) may be carrying on an unrelated trade or business (within the meaning of section 513) or otherwise engaged in activities subject to taxation under this title.
“(3) Inquiry notice requirements.—
“(A) In general.—The requirements of this paragraph are met with respect to any church tax inquiry if, before beginning such inquiry, the Secretary provides written notice to the church of the beginning of such inquiry.
“(B) Contents of inquiry notice.—The notice required by this paragraph shall include—
“(i) an explanation of—
“(I) the concerns which gave rise to such inquiry, and
“(II) the general subject matter of such inquiry, and
“(ii) a general explanation of the applicable—
“(I) administrative and constitutional provisions with respect to such inquiry (including the right to a conference with the Secretary before any examination of church records), and
“(II) provisions of this title which authorize such inquiry or which may be otherwise involved in such inquiry.

“(b) Restrictions on examinations.—
“(1) In general.—The Secretary may begin a church tax examination only if the requirements of paragraph (2) have been met and such examination may be made only— 
“(A) in the case of church records, to the extent necessary to determine the liability for, and the amount of, any tax imposed by this title, and
“(B) in the case of religious activities, to the extent necessary to determine whether an organization claiming to be a church is a church for any period.
“(2) Notice of examination; opportunity for conference.—The requirements of this paragraph are met with respect to any church tax examination if—
“(A) at least 15 days before the beginning of such examination, the Secretary provides the notice described in paragraph (3) to both the church and the appropriate regional counsel of the Internal Revenue Service, and
“(B) the church has a reasonable time to participate in a conference described in paragraph (3)(A)(iii), but only if the church requests such a conference before the beginning of the examination.
“(3) Contents of examination notice, et cetera.—
“(A) In general.—The notice described in this paragraph is a written notice which includes –
“(i) a copy of the church tax inquiry notice provided to the church under subsection (a),
“(ii) a description of the church records and activities which the Secretary seeks to examine,
“(iii) an offer to have a conference between the church and the Secretary in order to discuss, and attempt to resolve, concerns relating to such examination, and
“(iv) a copy of all documents which were collected or prepared by the Internal Revenue Service for use in such examination and the disclosure of which is required by the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552).
“(B) Earliest day examination notice may be provided.—The examination notice described in subparagraph (A) shall not be provided to the church before the 15th day after the date on which the church tax inquiry notice was provided to the church under subsection (a).
“(C) Opinion of regional counsel with respect to examination Any regional counsel of the Internal Revenue Service who receives an examination notice under paragraph (1) may, within 15 days after such notice is provided, submit to the regional commissioner for the region an advisory objection to the examination.
“(4) Examination of records and activities not specified in notice.—Within the course of a church tax examination which (at the time the examination begins) meets the requirements of paragraphs (1) and (2), the Secretary may examine any church records or religious activities which were not specified in the examination notice to the extent such examination meets the requirement of subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) (whichever applies).

(c) Limitation on period of inquiries and examinations.—
“(1) Inquiries and examinations must be completed within 2 years.—
“(A) In general.—The Secretary shall complete any church tax status inquiry or examination (and make a final determination with respect thereto) not later than the date which is 2 years after the examination notice date.
“(B) Inquiries not followed by examinations.—In the case of a church tax inquiry with respect to which there is no examination notice under subsection (b), the Secretary shall complete such inquiry (and make a final determination with respect thereto) not later than the date which is 90 days after the inquiry notice date. 
“(2) Suspension of 2-year period.—The running of the 2-year period described in paragraph (1)(A) and the 90-day period in paragraph (1)(B) shall be suspended – 
“(A) for any period during which—
“(i) a judicial proceeding brought by the church against the Secretary with respect to the church tax inquiry or examination is pending or being appealed,
“(ii) a judicial proceeding brought by the Secretary against the church (or any official thereof) to compel compliance with any reasonable request of the Secretary in a church tax examination for examination of church records or religious activities is pending or being appealed, or
“(iii) the Secretary is unable to take actions with respect to the church tax inquiry or examination by reason of an order issued in any judicial proceeding brought under section 7609,
“(B) for any period in excess of 20 days (but not in excess of 6 months) in which the church or its agents fail to comply with any reasonable request of the Secretary for church records or other information, or
“(C) for any period mutually agreed upon by the Secretary and the church.

“(d) Limitations on revocation of tax-exempt status, etc.—
“(1) In general.—The Secretary may—
“(A) determine that an organization is not a church which—
(i) is exempt from taxation by reason of section 501(a), or
(ii) is described in section 170(c), or
“(B)(i) send a notice of deficiency of any tax involved in a church tax examination, or
“(ii) in the case of any tax with respect to which subchapter B of chapter 63 (relating to deficiency procedures) does not apply, assess any underpayment of such tax involved in a church tax examination, only if the appropriate regional counsel of the Internal Revenue Service determines in writing that there has been substantial compliance with the requirements of this section and approves in writing of such revocation, notice of deficiency, or assessment.
(2) Limitations on period of assessment.—
“(A) Revocation of tax-exempt status.—
(i) 3-year statute of limitations generally.—In the case of any church tax examination with respect to the revocation of tax-exempt status under section 501(a), any tax imposed by chapter 1 (other than section 511) may be assessed, or a proceeding in court for collection of such tax may be begun without assessment, only for the 3 most recent taxable years ending before the examination notice date.
“(ii) 6-year statute of limitations where tax-exempt status revoked.—If an organization is not a church exempt from tax under section 501(a) for any of the 3 taxable years described in clause (i), clause (i) shall be applied by substituting “6 most recent taxable years” for “3 most recent taxable years”.
“(B) Unrelated business tax.—In the case of any church tax examination with respect to the tax imposed by section 511 (relating to unrelated business income), such tax may be assessed, or a proceeding in court for the collection of such tax may be begun without assessment, only with respect to the 6 most recent taxable years ending before the examination notice date. 
“(C) Exception where shorter statute of limitations otherwise applicable.—Subparagraphs (A) and (B) shall not be construed to increase the period otherwise applicable under subchapter A of chapter 66 (relating to limitations on assessment and collection).
 
“(e) Information not collected in substantial compliance with procedures to stay summons proceeding.—
“(1) In general.— If there has not been substantial compliance with— 
“(A) the notice requirements of subsection (a) or (b),
“(B) the conference requirement described in subsection
(b)(3)(A)(iii), or
“(C) the approval requirement of subsection (d)(1) (if applicable), with respect to any church tax inquiry or examination, any proceeding to compel compliance with any summons with respect to such inquiry or examination shall be stayed until the court finds that all practicable steps to correct the noncompliance have been taken. The period applicable under paragraph (1) or subsection (c) shall not be suspended during the period of any stay under the preceding sentence.
“(2) Remedy to be exclusive.—No suit may be maintained, and no defense may be raised in any proceeding (other than as provided in paragraph (1)), by reason of any noncompliance by the Secretary with the requirements of this section.
 
“(f) Limitations on additional inquiries and examinations.—
“(1) In general.—If any church tax inquiry or examination with respect to any church is completed and does not result in— 
 “(A) a revocation, notice of deficiency, or assessment described in subsection (d)(1), or
“(B) a request by the Secretary for any significant change in the operational practices of the church (including the adequacy of accounting practices),

no other church tax inquiry or examination may begin with respect to such church during the applicable 5-year period unless such inquiry or examination is approved in writing by the Secretary or does not involve the same or similar issues involved in the preceding inquiry or examination. For purposes of the preceding sentence, an inquiry or examination shall be treated as completed not later than the expiration of the applicable period under paragraph (1) of subsection (c).

“(2) Applicable 5-year period.—For purposes of paragraph (1), the term “applicable 5-year period” means the 5-year period beginning on the date the notice taken into account for purposes of subsection (c)(1) was provided. For purposes of the preceding sentence, the rules of subsection (c)(2) shall apply.

“(g) Treatment of final report of revenue agent.—Any final report of an agent of the Internal Revenue Service shall be treated as a determination of the Secretary under paragraph (1) of section 7428(a), and any church receiving such a report shall be treated for purposes of sections 7428 and 7430 as having exhausted the administrative remedies available to it.
 
“(h) Definitions.—For purposes of this section— 
“(1) Church.—The term “church” includes— 
“(A) any organization claiming to be a church, and
“(B) any convention or association of churches.
“(2) Church tax inquiry.—The term “church tax inquiry” means any inquiry to a church (other than an examination) to serve as a basis for determining whether a church –
“(A) is exempt from tax under section 501(a) by reason of its status as a church, or
“(B) is carrying on an unrelated trade or business (within the meaning of section 513) or otherwise engaged in activities which may be subject to taxation under this title.
“(3) Church tax examination.—The term “church tax examination” means any examination for purposes of making a determination described in paragraph (2) of— 
“(A) church records at the request of the Internal Revenue Service, or
“(B) the religious activities of any church.
“(4) Church records.—
“(A) In general.—The term “church records” means all corporate and financial records regularly kept by a church, including corporate minute books and lists of members and contributors. 
“(B) Exception.—Such term shall not include records acquired – 
“(i) pursuant to a summons to which section 7609 applies, or
“(ii) from any governmental agency.
“(5) Inquiry notice date.—The term “inquiry notice date” means the date the notice with respect to a church tax inquiry is provided under subsection (a).
“(6) Examination notice date.—The term “examination notice date” means the date the notice with respect to a church tax examination is provided under subsection (b) to the church.
“(7) Appropriate high-level Treasury official.—The term “appropriate high-level Treasury official” means the Secretary of the Treasury or any delegate of the Secretary whose rank is no lower than that of a principal Internal Revenue officer for an internal revenue region.
 
“(i) Section not to apply to criminal investigations, etc.—This section shall not apply to— 
“(1) any criminal investigation,
“(2) any inquiry or examination relating to the tax liability of any person other than a church,
“(3) any assessment under section 6851 (relating to termination assessments of income tax), section 6852 (relating to termination assessments in case of flagrant political expenditures of section 501(c)(3) organizations), or section 6861 (relating to jeopardy assessments of income taxes, etc.),
“(4) any willful attempt to defeat or evade any tax imposed by this title, or
“(5) any knowing failure to file a return of tax imposed by this title.”

4. Internal Revenue Code Chapter 26, Subtitle A § 1402
Click the following link to go directly to a complete online copy of § 1402 and surrounding sections of the law:
 TAX ON SELF EMPLOYMENT INCOME

Note. A New Testament church cannot have employees as defined by American law. If a church has employees, she is a religious organization. Biblical principle defines a church, her members and their roles, and her destiny. No Biblical teaching is consistent with a church having employees. According to God’s Word, however, a New Testament church must have members and a pastor who is to be provided for by the members. Also, members or anyone else may give gifts to anyone they please.

The following is directly from IRC § 1402:

§ 1402. Definitions

“(a) Net earnings from self-employment.—The term “net earnings from self-employment” means the gross income derived by an individual from any trade or business carried on by such individual, less the deductions allowed by this subtitle which are attributable to such trade or business, plus his distributive share (whether or not distributed) of income or loss described in section 702 (a)(8) from any trade or business carried on by a partnership of which he is a member; except that in computing such gross income and deductions and such distributive share of partnership ordinary income or loss—”…
“(8) an individual who is a duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church or a member of a religious order shall compute his net earnings from self-employment derived from the performance of service described in subsection (c)(4) without regard to section 107 (relating to rental value of parsonages), section 119 (relating to meals and lodging furnished for the convenience of the employer), and section 911 (relating to citizens or residents of the United States living abroad), but shall not include in such net earnings from self-employment the rental value of any parsonage or any parsonage allowance (whether or not excludable under section 107) provided after the individual retires, or any other retirement benefit received by such individual from a church plan (as defined in section 414 (e)) after the individual retires;
“…
“(14) in the case of church employee income, the special rules of subsection (j)(1) shall apply;
“…
“(b) Self-employment income.—The term “self-employment income” means the net earnings from self-employment derived by an individual (other than a nonresident alien individual, except as provided by an agreement under section 233 of the Social Security Act) during any taxable year; except that such term shall not include—
“…
“(2) the net earnings from self-employment, if such net earnings for the taxable year are less than $400.

“(c) Trade or business.—The term “trade or business”, when used with reference to self-employment income or net earnings from self-employment, shall have the same meaning as when used in section 162 (relating to trade or business expenses), except that such term shall not include—
“…
“(2) the performance of service by an individual as an employee, other than—
“…
“(D) service described in paragraph (4) of this subsection,
“…
“(4) the performance of service by a duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church in the exercise of his ministry or by a member of a religious order in the exercise of duties required by such order;

The provisions of paragraph (4) or (5) shall not apply to service (other than service performed by a member of a religious order who has taken a vow of poverty as a member of such order) performed by an individual unless an exemption under subsection (e) is effective with respect to him.

“(d) Employee and wages.—The term “employee” and the term “wages” shall have the same meaning as when used in chapter 21 (sec. 3101 and following, relating to Federal Insurance Contributions Act).

“(e) Ministers, members of religious orders, and Christian Science practitioners.—
“(1) Exemption.—Subject to paragraph (2), any individual who is (A) a duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church or a member of a religious order (other than a member of a religious order who has taken a vow of poverty as a member of such order) or (B) a Christian Science practitioner, upon filing an application (in such form and manner, and with such official, as may be prescribed by regulations made under this chapter) together with a statement that either he is conscientiously opposed to, or because of religious principles he is opposed to, the acceptance (with respect to services performed by him as such minister, member, or practitioner) of any public insurance which makes payments in the event of death, disability, old age, or retirement or makes payments toward the cost of, or provides services for, medical care (including the benefits of any insurance system established by the Social Security Act) and, in the case of an individual described in subparagraph (A), that he has informed the ordaining, commissioning, or licensing body of the church or order that he is opposed to such insurance, shall receive an exemption from the tax imposed by this chapter with respect to services performed by him as such minister, member, or practitioner. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, an exemption may not be granted to an individual under this subsection if he had filed an effective waiver certificate under this section as it was in effect before its amendment in 1967.
“…
“(g) Members of certain religious faiths.—
“(1) Exemption.—Any individual may file an application (in such form and manner, and with such official, as may be prescribed by regulations under this chapter) for an exemption from the tax imposed by this chapter if he is a member of a recognized religious sect or division thereof and is an adherent of established tenets or teachings of such sect or division by reason of which he is conscientiously opposed to acceptance of the benefits of any private or public insurance which makes payments in the event of death, disability, old-age, or retirement or makes payments toward the cost of, or provides services for, medical care (including the benefits of any insurance system established by the Social Security Act). Such exemption may be granted only if the application contains or is accompanied by—
“…
“(h) Regular basis.—An individual shall be deemed to be self-employed on a regular basis in a taxable year, or to be a member of a partnership on a regular basis in such year, if he had net earnings from self-employment, as defined in the first sentence of subsection (a), of not less than $400 in at least two of the three consecutive taxable years immediately preceding such taxable year from trades or businesses carried on by such individual or such partnership.
“…
“(j) Special rules for certain church employee income.—
“(1) Computation of net earnings.—In applying subsection (a)—
“(A) church employee income shall not be reduced by any deduction;
“(B) church employee income and deductions attributable to such income shall not be taken into account in determining the amount of other net earnings from self-employment.
“…
“(4) Church employee income defined.—For purposes of this section, the term “church employee income” means gross income for services which are described in section 3121 (b)(8)(B) (and are not described in section 3121 (b)(8)(A)).”

5. Internal Revenue Code § 107
Click the following link to go online to the entire law: 
 IRC § 107

 “§ 107. Rental value of parsonages

 “In the case of a minister of the gospel, gross income does not include—
“(1) the rental value of a home furnished to him as part of his compensation; or
“(2) the rental allowance paid to him as part of his compensation, to the extent used by him to rent or provide a home and to the extent such allowance does not exceed the fair rental value of the home, including furnishings and appurtenances such as a garage, plus the cost of utilities.”

6. Internal Revenue Code § 102
Click the following link to go online to the entire section: IRC § 102

§ 102. Gifts and inheritances

“(a) General rule
“Gross income does not include the value of property acquired by gift, bequest, devise, or inheritance.
“(b) Income
“Subsection (a) shall not exclude from gross income—
“(1) the income from any property referred to in subsection (a); or
“(2) where the gift, bequest, devise, or inheritance is of income from property, the amount of such income.

“Where, under the terms of the gift, bequest, devise, or inheritance, the payment, crediting, or distribution thereof is to be made at intervals, then, to the extent that it is paid or credited or to be distributed out of income from property, it shall be treated for purposes of paragraph (2) as a gift, bequest, devise, or inheritance of income from property. Any amount included in the gross income of a beneficiary under subchapter J shall be treated for purposes of paragraph (2) as a gift, bequest, devise, or inheritance of income from property….”

7. Internal Revenue Code § 2503
Click the following link to go online to the entire section: 
 IRC § 2503

§ 2503. Taxable gifts
“(a) General definition.
The term ‘taxable gifts’ means the total amount of gifts made during the calendar year, less the deductions provided in subchapter C (section 2522 and following).
“(b) Exclusions from gifts.
             “(1) In general.—In the case of gifts (other than gifts of future interests in property) made to any person by the donor during the calendar year, the first $10,000 of such gifts to such person shall not, for purposes of subsection (a), be included in the total amount of gifts made during such year. Where there has been a transfer to any person of a present interest in property, the possibility that such interest may be diminished by the exercise of a power shall be disregarded in applying this subsection, if no part of such interest will at any time pass to any other person.
“(2) Inflation adjustment.—In the case of gifts made in a calendar year after 1998, the $10,000 amount contained in paragraph (1) shall be increased by an amount equal to—
“(A) $10,000, multiplied by
“(B) the cost-of-living adjustment determined under section 1 (f)(3) for such calendar year by substituting “calendar year 1997” for “calendar year 1992” in subparagraph (B) thereof.

“If any amount as adjusted under the preceding sentence is not a multiple of $1,000, such amount shall be rounded to the next lowest multiple of $1,000.
“….”

 8. Internal Revenue Code § 170
Click the following link to go to the entire section: 
 IRC § 170 

Note. 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 author has done an analysis of the case in God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application. Each member of a New Testament church is responsible to God first and the civil government second for the decision he makes as to whether to take a deduction for tithes and offerings to a New Testament church.

IRC 170 provides in relevant part:

“§ 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.
“…
“(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) 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 contribution or gift by a corporation to a trust, chest, fund, or foundation shall be deductible by reason of this paragraph only if it is to be used within the United States or any of its possessions exclusively for purposes specified in subparagraph (B). Rules similar to the rules of section 501 (j) shall apply for purposes of this paragraph.”

IV. The Laws of Kansas

 A. The Kansas Constitution
Click links (maroon colored words) to go directly to quoted provisions.

1. Preamble.

PREAMBLE. We, the people of Kansas, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges, in order to insure the full enjoyment of our rights as American citizens, do ordain and establish this constitution of the state of Kansas, with the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning at a point on the western boundary of the state of Missouri, where the thirty-seventh parallel of north latitude crosses the same; thence running west on said parallel to the twenty-fifth meridian of longitude west from Washington; thence north on said meridian to the fortieth parallel of north latitude; thence east on said parallel to the western boundary of the state of Missouri; thence south with the western boundary of said state to the place of beginning. 

2. Bill of Rights, § 1

§ 1. Equal rights. All men are possessed of equal and inalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

3. Bill of Rights, § 3

§ 3. Right of peaceable assembly; petition. The people have the right to assemble, in a peaceable manner, to consult for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, for the redress of grievances.

4. Bill of Rights, § 7

§ 7. Religious liberty. The right to worship God according to the dictates of conscience shall never be infringed; nor shall any person be compelled to attend or support any form of worship; nor shall any control of or interference with the rights of conscience be permitted, nor any preference be given by law to any religious establishment or mode of worship. No religious test or property qualification shall be required for any office of public trust, nor for any vote at any elections, nor shall any person be incompetent to testify on account of religious belief.

5. Bill of Rights, § 11

§ 11. Liberty of press and speech; libel. The liberty of the press shall be inviolate; and all persons may freely speak, write or publish their sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of such rights; and in all civil or criminal actions for libel, the truth may be given in evidence to the jury, and if it shall appear that the alleged libelous matter was published for justifiable ends, the accused party shall be acquitted.

6Bill of Rights, § 15

§ 15. Search and seizure. The right of the people to be secure in their persons and property against unreasonable searches and seizures shall be inviolate; and no warrant shall issue but on probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or property to be seized.

7Article 11, § 1(b)

§ 1(b). § 1: System of taxation; classification; exemption. … (b) All property used exclusively for state, county, municipal, literary, educational, scientific, religious, benevolent and charitable purposes, farm machinery and equipment, merchants’ and manufacturers’ inventories, other than public utility inventori es included in subclass (3) of class 2, livestock, and all household goods and personal effects not used for the production of income, shall be exempted from property taxation.

B. Kansas Statutes

1. Chapter 79. Taxation.
Kansas Statutes, Chapter 79. Taxation. Article 2.—PROPERTY EXEMPT FROM TAXATION
              § 79-201

79-201.  Property exempt from taxation; religious, …. The following described property, to the extent herein specified, shall be and is hereby exempt from all property or ad valorem taxes levied under the laws of the state of Kansas:

First.  All buildings used exclusively as places of public worship … with the furniture and books therein contained and used exclusively for the accommodation of religious meetings … together with the grounds owned thereby if not leased or otherwise used for the realization of profit, except that: … (b) any building, or portion thereof, used as a place of worship, together with the grounds upon which the building is located, shall be considered to be used exclusively for the religious purposes of this section when used as a not-for-profit day care center for children which is licensed pursuant to K.S.A. 65-501 et seq., and amendments thereto, or when used to house an area where the congregation of a church society and others may purchase tracts, books and other items relating to the promulgation of the church society’s religious doctrines.

Second.   All real property, and all tangible personal property, actually and regularly used exclusively for … religious … purposes, including property used exclusively for such purposes by more than one agency or organization for one or more of such exempt purposes. Except with regard to real property which is owned by a religious organization, is to be used exclusively for religious purposes and is not used for a nonexempt purpose prior to its exclusive use for religious purposes which property shall be deemed to be actually and regularly used exclusively for religious purposes for the purposes of this paragraph, this exemption shall not apply to such property, not actually used or occupied for the purposes set forth herein, nor to such property held or used as an investment even though the income or rentals received therefrom is used wholly for … religious … purposes. In the event any such property which has been exempted pursuant to the preceding sentence is not used for religious purposes prior to its conveyance which results in its use for nonreligious purposes, there shall be a recoupment of property taxes in an amount equal to the tax which would have been levied upon such property except for such exemption for all taxable years for which such exemption was in effect. Such recoupment tax shall become due and payable in such year as provided by K.S.A. 79-2004, and amendments thereto. A lien for such taxes shall attach to the real property subject to the same on November 1 in the year such taxes become due and all such taxes remaining due and unpaid after the date prescribed for the payment thereof shall be collected in the manner provided by law for the collection of delinquent taxes. Moneys collected from the recoupment tax hereunder shall be credited by the county treasurer to the several taxing subdivisions within which such real property is located in the proportion that the total tangible property tax levies made in the preceding year for each such taxing subdivision bear to the total of all such levies made in that year by all such taxing subdivisions. Such moneys shall be credited to the general fund of the taxing subdivision or if such taxing subdivision is making no property tax levy for the support of a general fund such moneys may be credited to any other tangible property tax fund of general application of such subdivision. This exemption shall not be deemed inapplicable to property which would otherwise be exempt pursuant to this paragraph because an agency or organization: (a) Is reimbursed for the provision of services accomplishing the purposes enumerated in this paragraph based upon the ability to pay by the recipient of such services; or (b) is reimbursed for the actual expense of using such property for purposes enumerated in this paragraph; or (c) uses such property for a nonexempt purpose which is minimal in scope and insubstantial in nature if such use is incidental to the exempt purposes of this paragraph; or (d) charges a reasonable fee for admission to cultural or educational activities or permits the use of its property for such activities by a related agency or organization, if any such activity is in furtherance of the purposes of this paragraph; or (e) is applying for an exemption pursuant to this paragraph for a motor vehicle that is being leased for a period of at least one year.”

2. Chapter 79.–TAXATION
Article 36.–KANSAS RETAILERS’ SALES TAX

79-3603.  Retailers’ sales tax imposed; rate. For the privilege of engaging in the business of selling tangible personal property at retail in this state or rendering or furnishing any of the services taxable under this act, there is hereby levied and there shall be collected and paid a tax at the rate of 5.3%. Within a redevelopment district established pursuant to K.S.A. 74-8921, and amendments thereto, there is hereby levied and there shall be collected and paid an additional tax at the rate of 2% until the earlier of the date the bonds issued to finance or refinance the redevelopment project have been paid in full or the final scheduled maturity of the first series of bonds issued to finance any part of the project upon:

“(a) The gross receipts received from the sale of tangible personal property at retail within this state; …”

79-3606.  Exempt sales. The following shall be exempt from the tax imposed by this act:

“…

“(aaa) all sales of tangible personal property and services purchased by a religious organization which is exempt from federal income taxation pursuant to section 501(c)(3) of the federal internal revenue code, and used exclusively for religious purposes,”

Non-state churches should contact Jerald Finney for help in seeking exception from sales tax on items bought for use in church ministry.


FN1 Many books, articles, and audio teachings address the Biblical principles, history, and facts one can refer to in order to determine that when a church becomes a legal entity and obtains 501(c)(3) status, she violates Biblical principles and displeases our Lord.

 IRC § 5O1 provides in relevant part:

§ 501. Exemption from tax on corporations, certain trusts, etc.:

“(a) Exemption from taxation. An organization described in subsection (c) … shall be exempt from taxation under this subtitle [26 USCS §§ 1 et seq.] unless such exemption is denied under section 502 or 503 [26 USCS § 502 or 503]….

FN2 Browse this website for all written and audio teachings, available at no cost. Books can be ordered – see the Books page. All the books by Jerald Finney are available free in online and PDF form. The links to all online books and PDFs are at the Books Order Information page.

FN3 Ibid. For example, the author analyzes Romans 13:1-3, 1 Peter 2:13 and other articles taken out of context to support a false view of the relationship between individuals and state and the church and state. See, Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses.

FN4 U.S. CONST. amend. I.

FN5 See God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Xulon Press, 2008 (www.xulonpress.com) or Austin, TX: Kerygma Publishing Co. 2008 (churchandstatelaw.com), Section IV. This book and all books, articles, audio teachings of Jerald Finney are available at no cost on this website. Ordering information for the books is available at Order Information for Books by Jerald Finney.  All the books by Jerald Finney are available free in online and PDF form. The links to all online books and PDFs are at the Books by Jerald Finney Page.

FN6 Bob Jones University, 461 U.S. 574 (1983).

FN7 Ibid.

FN8 26 U.S.C. § 508 (2007).

“(a) Exemption from taxation. An organization described in subsection (c) … shall be exempt from taxation under this subtitle [26 USCS §§ 1 et seq.] unless such exemption is denied under section 502 or 503 [26 USCS § 502 or 503]….
“(c)(3) Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, 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, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)), 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….
“(h) Expenditures by public charities to influence legislation. (1) General rule. In the case of an organization to which this subsection applies, exemption from taxation under subsection (a) shall be denied because a substantial part of the activities of such organization consists of carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation….”

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Separation of Church and God

Jerald Finney
© December, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

“Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.  For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Co. 11.1-3).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The New Testament makes clear that the visible churches, except for a remnant, will go into apostasy (See, e.g. 2 Th. 2.3-4; 1 Ti. 4.6; Jude 4). Church apostasy has a great effect on nations. As Dr. J. Vernon McGee has taught, the steps in the downfall of a nation are religious apostasy, moral awfulness and political anarchy. Gentile world apostasy comes in seven stages: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Ro. 1.21-23). As a result of this Gentile world apostasy, mankind will sink into the depths of depravity (See Ro. 1.24-32).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

[3] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

END

Union of Church and State in America: Incorporation and 501(c)(3) Tax Exemption of Churches

Jerald Finney
© October, 2009

Persecuted Christians down through the last two thousand years, including untold millions in the world today, have understood the biblical principles of separation of church and state and have refused, even under the penalty of torutre, imprisonment, and/or death to submit the church and spiritual matters to the ungodly – to the state-religion combination or to civil government.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution as well as state constitutional provisions and laws allow churches in America to operate totally free from civil government without persecution. Nonetheless, American churches line up to incorporate, become unincorporated associations, corporations sole, charitable trusts and get their 501(c)(3) tax exemptions, thereby violating the biblical principle of separation of church and state. When they do that, they grieve our Lord who is the Bridegroom, Husband, and Head of His churches.

To play, just click the link. To download, right click link and then left click “Save link as.”

1. Introduction to Section VI of God Betrayed  (Song and prayer is 4 min. 34 sec. Total is 6 min. 13 sec.)

2. Spiritual versus legal entities  (7 min. 22 sec.)(This may also be assessed in a more thorough written form by clicking the following link: Chapter 2 of Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities?)

3. Incorporation of churches (Section VI, Chapter 2 of God Betrayed; 30 min. 7 sec.)

4. Federal government control of churches through 501(c)(3) tax exemption (Section VI, Chapter 4 of God Betrayed; 19 min. 46 sec.)

5. The incorporation-501(c)(3) control scheme The incorporation-501(c)(3) control scheme (Section VI, Chapter 5 of God Betrayed; 3 min. 37 sec.)

6. Spurious rationale for incorporating: limited liability Spurious rationale for incorporating: limited liability (Section VI, Chapter 6 of God Betrayed; 13 min. 58 sec.)

7. Spurious rationale for incorporating: to hold property Spurious rationale for incorporating: to hold property (Section VI, Chapter 7 of God Betrayed; 42 min. 10 sec.)

8. Spurious rationale for corporate-501(c)(3) status: tax exemption and tax deduction for contributions (Section VI, Chapter 8 of God Betrayed; 17 min. 52 sec.)

9. Conclusion to Section VI of God Betrayed Conclusion to Section VI of God Betrayed (Section VI, Chapter 10 of God Betrayed; 6 min. 42 sec.)

Note. All the chapters of Section VI of God Betrayed are not included above. All the chapters of Section VI in written form, plus more, follow:

  1. Preface to “God Betrayed: Union of Church and State in America”
  2. Introduction to Separation of Church and State: God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities? (Chapter 1 of Separation of Church and State: God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities. This introduction is more suitable for one who has not read God Betrayed.
  3. Introduction to Chapter 1, Section VI of God Betrayed: Separation of Church and State/The Biblical Principles and the American Application. This introduction is far one who has read the first 5 sections of God Betrayed.
  4. Spiritual versus legal entities (Chapter 2 of Separation of Church and State.This is a summary of important information for one who has not read God Betrayed.).
  5. Incorporation of Churches (Section VI, Chapter 2 of God Betrayed; Chapter 3 of Separation of Church and State)
  6. Incorporation of churches in the colonies and the new nation (Section VI, Chapter 3 of God Betrayed; Not included in Separation of Church and State)
  7. Federal government control of churches through 501(c)(3) tax exemption (Section VI, Chapter 4 of God Betrayed; Chapter 4 of Separation of Church and State)
  8. The church incorporation-501(c)(3) control scheme (Section VI, Chapter 5 of God Betrayed; Chapter 5 of Separation of Church and State)
  9. Spurious rationale for church incorporation: limited liability/incorporation increases liability of church members (Section VI, Chapter 6 of God Betrayed; Chapter 6 of Separation of Church and State)
  10. Spurious rationale for church incorporation: to hold property (Section VI, Chapter 7 of God Betrayed; Chapter 7 of Separation of Church and State)
  11. 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)
  12. Spurious rationale for church corporate-501(c)(3) status: one’s convictions (Not included in God Betrayed or Separation of Church and State)
  13. 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 (Not included in either God Betrayed or Separation of Church and State)
  14. The results of ignoring the biblical principle of separation of church and state (Section VI, Chapter 9 of God Betrayed; Chapter 3 of Separation of Church and State; Not included in Separation of Church and State)
  15. Conclusion to Separation of Church and State
  16. Conclusion to Section VI, Chapter 10 of God Betrayed: Separation of Church and State/The Biblical Principles and the American Application

END

For His Glory,
Jerald Finney
Christian and practicing attorney

The Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) Exemption-Definition-Control Scheme

Jerald Finney
Copyright © September, 2009
Revised January 31, 2020

Click here to go to: ANSWER TO QUESTION REGARDING A LAWYERS FALSE STATEMENTS CONCERNING CHURCH CORPORATE 501(C)(3) STATUS

“And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light” (Lu. 16.8b).

It is amazing to see that most of the fundamental “Bible believing” pastors and Christians that I know believe that something is wrong with a church who refuses to incorporate and get Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) §501(c)(3) (“501(c)(3)”) status. Biblical principles are against incorporation and 501(c)(3) for churches, and civil law does not purport to require that churches get either corporate or 501(c)(3) status. In fact, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, laws, and regulations of the federal government as well as the constitutions, laws, and regulations of the states guarantee that churches may remain free under God without persecution. This article addresses church 501(c)(3) status.

501(c)(3) invites churches to seek a tax exemption from civil government, even though the First Amendment already has erected a “high and impregnable wall” of separation between church and state which forbids civil government from making any law, including any taxing law, respecting a New Testament Church.

The more I study the subject of “separation of church and state,” the more I realize that secular scholars have more insight into the issue than do most of those, including pastors, who call themselves fundamental Bible believers.  Both the Internal Revenue Service and secular scholars know that churches are not required by law to be incorporated and get 501(c)(3) status and that 501(c)(3), as applied to churches, is an exemption-definition-control scheme which is implemented simply by invitation. In this article I give a brief review of the 501(c)(3)  exemption-control-definition scheme and insights from the law, from the Internal Revenue Service, and from legal scholars.

To qualify for tax exempt status under 501(c)(3) religious organizations must meet the following requirements, i.e. abide by the following rules:

1. Must be organized and operated exclusively for religious, educational, scientific, or other charitable purposes,
2. net earnings must not inure to the benefit of any private individual or shareholder,
3. no substantial part of its activity may be attempting to influence legislation,
4. the organization may not intervene in political activity, and
5. the organization’s purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy.

The above listed rules, except for rule number 5, are stated in 501(c)(3). The original 501(c)(3) law had no accompanying rules, but four of the five were added by legislative enactment, and signed into law by the president. The last one, “may not violate fundamental public policy,”is not stated in the law; that is, it is not listed as a requirement in § 501(c)(3). This requirement was unilaterally implemented by the Internal Revenue Service and upheld as law by the United States Supreme Court in the illogical Bob Jones University, 461 U.S. 574,  (1983) case. The federal government may add additional requirements to the law in the future.

Under these rules, the state controls, defines, and instructs a corporate 501(c)(3) religious organization to a large degree. Control and definition go hand in hand. The federal government wants to control churches, and does so through 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A).

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

A study of relevant law, as well as IRS regulations and legal scholarship reveals that either 501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A) status is voluntary. 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) churches are tax exempt, whereas First Amendment churches are non-taxable. See, First Amendment Protection of New Testament Churches/Federal Laws Protecting State Churches (Religious Organizations) (022610).  In addition,  501(c)(3) or 508(c)(1)(A) statuses are control-definition schemes.

IRC § 508(c)(1)(A) declares that churches are an exception to the requirement for filing for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. According to 508(c)(1)(A), churches are automatically tax exempt if they obey the rules and regulations that come with 501(c)(3). See Church Internal Revenue Code § 508 Tax Exempt Status (042814).

The IRS doesn’t hide the fact that churches are non-taxable under the First Amendment and that the exemption-definition-control scheme is implemented by invitation. The IRS proclaims in IRS Publication 1828 (2007):

“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…. 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.”

In the exemption and restriction scheme, the government extends an invitation to incorporated “religious organizations” to receive a tax exemption in return for allowing the government to interpret and categorize their expression and activities.

Civil government not only knows what it is doing when encouraging churches to incorporate and seek 501(C)(3) status; it also blatantly belittles the fact that the IRC provisions exempting churches from taxation and providing for certain controls over corporate 501(c)(3) “churches” are contrary to the First Amendment. The federal government flaunts the lack of knowledge and understanding of the average Christian as to both spiritual and earthly matters. IRS Publication 1828 states:

Congress has enacted special tax laws applicable to churches, religious organizations, and ministers in recognition of their unique status in American society and of their rights guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.” [Emphasis mine.] …

A comparison of the above statements of the IRS with the words of the religion clause of the First Amendment reveals the fact that the IRS flaunts the fact that Congress has enacted laws “respecting the establishment of religion and preventing the free exercise thereof.” The First Amendment religion clause says:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….”  [Emphasis mine.]

Some legal scholars who have studied the issue know what the civil government is up to with the exemption-definition-control scheme. For example, Richard Garnett, assistant professor at Notre Dame Law School, wrote in A Quiet Faith? Taxes, Politics, and the Privatization of Religion, published in Volume 42 of B.C. L. Rev. starting on page 771 (this is a paraphrase of selected portions of the article with citations omitted):

  1. “The imposition of a tax is, after all, an assertion of power and an ‘application of force.’ The same is true of the decision not to tax, or to exempt from taxation. A power is no less real that is exercised selectively or indulged with restraint. The decision to exempt certain associations, persons, activities, or things from taxation presupposes and communicates the ability to do otherwise; definitional lines drawn to mark the boundaries of such exemptions implicitly assert the power to draw them differently…. My claim here is that the decision to exempt religious associations from federal taxation may reasonably be regarded as an assertion of power—the power, perhaps, to ‘destroy’—over these communities, their activities, and their expression….
  2. “In other words, maybe the power to tax churches, to exempt them from taxation, and to attach conditions to such exemptions really does as Chief Justice Marshall quipped, ‘involve the power to destroy’ religion. Neither heavy-handed repression nor even overt hostility toward faith is required, but merely the subtly didactic power of the law. Government need only express and enforce its own view of the nature of religion—i.e., that it is a private matter—and of its proper place—i.e., in the private sphere, not in politics—and religious believers and associations may yield to the temptation to embrace, and to incorporate, this view themselves….
  3. “It is an exemption-and-restriction scheme in which the government extends an invitation to ‘religious organizations’ to receive a tax exemption in return for allowing the government to interpret and categorize the expression and activities of the church.  There is the danger that, having made their own the government’s view of religion’s place, now-humbled and no-longer-prophetic religious associations will retreat with their witness to the ‘private’ sphere where—they now agree—they belong, leaving persons to face the state alone in the hollowed-out remains of the public square….
  4. “Still it strikes me that the Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3)’s exemption-and-restriction scheme is noteworthy in the extent to which it invites government to label as ‘propaganda’ or ‘campaign[ing]’ what are, for religious believers and communities, expressions of their faith and responses to their calling. It is far from clear that this is an appropriate task for the liberal state….
    “My concern … is that the premises of the conditional exemption scheme, the labeling it invites, and the monitoring of distinctions it creates will tame religion by saying what it is and identifying what it is not, tempt religion to revise its conception of itself and of its mission, and convince religious consciousness to internalize the state’s own judgment that faith simply does not belong in politics….
  5. “[The tax exemption] is simply the government’s way of paying churches not to talk about certain things, enforce certain beliefs, or engage in certain actions—in other words, it’s the government’s way of privatizing the church….
  6. “By determining for its own purposes the meaning of religious communities’ statements and activities, and by enforcing the distinctions it draws, government subtly reshapes religious consciousness itself. In other words, by telling religion what it may say, really is saying, or will be deemed to have said, and by telling faith where it belongs, government molds religion’s own sense of what it is….
  7. “[Certain pronouncements] led my colleague, Professor Bradley, to suggest in another context that ‘[t]he Court is now clearly committed to articulating and enforcing a normative scheme of ‘private religion.’ Indeed, he argues powerfully that the Court’s post-Everson v. Board of Education cases ‘are most profitably understood as judicial attempts to move religion into the realm of subjective preference by eliminating religious consciousness.’ … [T]he Court turned to privatization ‘as the ‘final solution’ to the problem of religious faction.’ Its ambition—not merely the unintended effect of its decisions—is not only to confine the potentially subversive messages of religion to a ‘nonpublic ghetto,’ but also to revise and privatize the messages themselves. Having acquiesced to judicial declarations that it is a private matter, and accepted that its authority is entirely subjective, religious consciousness is unable to resist the conclusion that its claims to public truth are ‘implausible nonsense,’ and therefore cannot help but concede the field of public life and morality to government….
  8. “[T]his privatization of religion is not simply its institutional disestablishment or an entirely appropriate respect on government’s part for individual freedom of conscience and autonomy of religion institutions. Nor is the claim only that the exemption privatizes religion by deterring political activism and silencing political advocacy by religious believers and communities. It is, instead, that the exemption scheme and its administration subtly re-form religion’s conception of itself. Government evaluates and characterizes what churches say and do, and decides both what it will recognize as religious and what it will label as political….
  9. “[P]rivatization of the church is its remaking by government and its transformation from a comprehensive and demanding account of the world to a therapeutic ‘cacoon wrapped around the individual.’ It is a state-sponsored change in religious believers’ own notions of what their faith means and what it requires…. The government tells faith communities that religion is a private matter, and eventually, they come to believe it.
  10. “And finally, the retreat of religious associations to the private sphere suggests an ill-founded confidence that government will not follow. But it will. The privatization of religion is a one-way ‘ratchet that stems the flow of religious current into the public sphere, but does not slow the incursion of political norms into the private realm.’”

Michael Hatfield, Associate Professor of Law at Texas Tech University School of Law makes some important points in his article published in Volume 20 of Notre Dame Journal of Ethics and Public Policy beginning on page 125. (I suggest that the serious student get the article and study it for himself.):

  1. “There is an assumption among contemporary scholars [&, I might add, among Pastors and other Christians] that a church doing without tax exemption is ‘fundamentally repugnant,’ so there is no need for substantive analysis of the tax issues involved if a church becomes taxable. Instead of analyzing the tax problem, the tax problem tends to be used to introduce ‘bigger’ ideas about the Constitution, religion, and politics. In the current scholarship, the context of the issue – religion and politics – tends to become substituted for the substance: federal income taxation. The critical issue, however, is federal income taxation.”
  2. Professor Hatfield states that he uses the terms ‘Taxable Church’ and ‘Tax Exempt Church’ to make it clear that churches need not be Section 501(c)(3) organizations.…
  3. Professor Hatfield states, “A tax without a cost has no meaning.… Because of the unique treatment churches receive under the Internal Revenue Code, the impact of the revocation is likely to be more symbolic than substantial.”
  4. He states: “Churches ought not make guesses about the value of their assets or their moral convictions. There is no reason to believe that most American churches are eager to claim an express political identity, though there are indications that, more and more, religious and political identities in America are being fused. For churches with a clear moral conviction to campaign, the implication of the Asset Management Analysis is clear: crunch the numbers. Determine the cost of losing tax exemption. Decide if that cost is worth campaigning. Do not be distracted by imaginations as to what tax exemption is about. It is about taxes. It is about money. It is not about the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to be a church, which is a religious issue and not a tax issue. It should be – and presumably is – the religious convictions and not the tax worries of churches that keep them out of politics.”

Thus, a New Testament Church (“NTC”) – that is, a church operating according to New Testament principles – is non-taxable, because even if the term “taxable” is used, civil government cannot, according to its own IRS law, tax a NTC because (1) all her income is from gifts (See Section 102 of the IRS Code; Professor Hatfield points this out in his article), and (2) a NTC spends every dime given in tithes and offerings for church ministries.  Since gifts are not net income, what is left after subtracting expenses from net income? Even a business with no net income pays no taxes. And an individual or a business has to make a certain amount of money before paying any taxes.

How can it be that “Bible believing” Christians have gotten the churches of America so far astray from the principles for churches laid down by God in His Word? Are pastors and Christians ignorant or are they willfully ignorant? We cannot hope to straighten America out unless we first straighten our churches out, but it seems that more Christians are concerned about the state of America than they are about the state of the churches in America. God’s people and God’s churches, as well as America, are being destroyed because of a lack of knowledge.

Note. The sodomites understand what 501(c)(3) for churches means, yet pastors and other Christians continue to ignore the issue because they, like lepers to whom the leprosy has spread to the head, have ‘their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over to lasciciousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Ephesians 4.18-19).  Here is a link to a sodomite article on the issue: “Equality is what we’re all about in Maine” (110518: Checked link; link is no longer active).  

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

Jerald Finney
Copyright © September, 2009

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

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

Jerald Finney continues his audio teaching on incorporation of churches

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many Christians have not heeded the warning of Col. 2: 6-8:

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” They have not, to one degree or another, escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust because they have not added to their faith knowledge without which they are “blind, and cannot see afar off.”  When God’s people reject knowledge, they will be destroyed (see 1 Peter 1.4-10; Hosea 4.6).

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