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Did President Trump do away with 501(c)(3) requirements?


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Jerald Finney
Copyright © December 2, 2017


President Trump, desiring to help churches and “Christians,” and according to the advice of those “Christians”  who surround him, pledged to eliminate the Johnson Amendment which limits all nonprofits from endorsing and opposing political candidates. I believe he is sincerely trying to help churches. Accordingly, he signed an executive order easing restrictions on political activity by non-profits. Of course, he cannot unilaterally change the law; but he did all he could do to help – ease but not eliminate one of the five restrictions which come with 501(c)(3) status. Just as non-profit corporation status puts the state of incorporation over a church for many matters, 501(c)(3), a man made law, still puts the federal government and the IRS agency over churches with respect to certain rules that come with the chosen status.

Does this action by the President correct the problem with 501(c)(3)? No. I explain why in this article

One should be aware that the highest man made law in America, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and corresponding state constitutional provisions make clear that churches have a choice – remain under Christ only or submit themselves to the state and federal governments through corporate 501(c)(3) status.

Keep in mind, for example:

  • Matthew 16:18 “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.” Is a church built partially or wholly by man (man’s law) a church of Christ? Is such a church His church?
  • Ephesians 1:22 “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.” Is Christ the head over all things to an incorporated 501(c)(3) or 508 church? The simple to comprehend answer is an emphatic, “No!”
  • Colossians 1:18 “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”

Let us first briefly examine or look at what church 501(c)(3) status really is. This will highlight the real issue. We will have to touch on incorporation since the two are intertwined.

Most churches choose to apply for both corporate and 501(c)(3) tax exempt status even though a choice not to do so is protected by the First Amendment and corresponding state constitutional provisions. Churches who incorporate and/or get 501(c)(3) or 508 status are established churches. They combine with civil government under man-made law. They get some perceived “benefits” and powers from civil government. In return, they agree to abide by the non-profit corporation laws of the state of incorporation and the commandments which come with the federal 501(c)(3) law they sought and agreed to. They also agree that, in the event they have issue with a commandment imposed by the law, the authority who will decide the issue is the government through its court systems. Their authority for many matters is the civil government, not the Lord Jesus Christ. One might call those churches who constantly defy and complain about the rules or commandments they agreed to “hypocrites.”

Churches who seek and obtain 501(c)(3) agree to abide by the rules that come with 501(c)(3), and also to any future rules added by the federal government though legislation, or by the Internal Revenue Service and upheld by the courts. Maybe some do not realize what they are doing when they get such status; some may proceed without knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. Nonetheless, when they get the status, they agree to the rules and commandments which come with the status and they agree that, in the event their authority who will decide the issue is the first the agency process with appeal to federal court available to the losing side, not the Word of God. Corporate 501(c)(3) churches proudly proclaim victory when their authority rules in favor of their position and moan and groan when their authority decides against them. They cannot understand that they lost no matter what their authority decides because they have put themselves under the wrong authority, according to the Word of God; and even their so-called victories are riddled with compromise.

Originally, 4 commandments or rules, added by legislative law, came with 501(c)(3). The IRS added a fifth. Prior to Bob Jones University v. United States, 461 U.S. 574 (1983), there were four rules. Bob Jones University upheld the IRS “shall not violate fundamental public policy” rule. Now there are five commandments. The fifth one has not yet been applied, as far as I know, to a church. Many pastors do not preach of certain matters because they fear that they will be in violation of that rule—they do not wish to offend their master, their authority, by preaching certain offensive matters covered by the Word of God. Other pastors openly preach on prohibited matters knowing that the state may exercise their authority and command them to comply or lose their status. The only authority to which a church can then appeal is the civil court system who will decide whether they are not obeying their master and, if so, the consequences. By the way, the court will not allow such a church to make Bible based arguments. With corporate 501(c)(3) status comes the loss of many of the church’s First Amendment rights. A corporate 501(c)(3) church is a “legal entity,” an artificial person who has placed herself under the Fourteenth Amendment for many purposes thereby giving up much of her First Amendment protection.

One who does just a little study can easily understand that the governments of the state of incorporation and the federal government are the authorities, for many purposes, of a corporate 501(c)(3) church. Civil government is their head as to many matters. The Lord Jesus Christ is, at most, only one of their authorities or heads. For many churches, Christ is completely eliminated from the equation and their sole authority is civil government. Churches grieve our Lord by submitting to another head. Christ is not over “over all things to” those churches.  According to the Bible, this raises a very important question, “Are corporate 501(c)(3) churches churches of Christ, built by Christ and Him alone? They are churches, but are they Christ’s churches? The answer is obvious.

So the main issue is one of authority. Looking beyond that, only the legislature, not the President, can eliminate the Johnson Amendment or any other rule that comes with 501(c)(3) status. It is a law, passed by Congress and signed by the President. The President, of course, is the law enforcer. Like any law enforcer, he can choose to ease or relax his efforts to enforce what he deems to be an unjust law, you might say. He cannot do away with the fact that the authority of the 501(c)(3) church, as to the rules that come with it, is the federal government through its agent, the IRS. The courts, not the President, decide unresolved clashes between 501(c)(3) churches and the IRS. Only the legislature, not the President, can repeal a law subject to his signature of approval. The legislature has taken no action to overrule the Johnson Amendment in the many months since President Trump filed his executive order nor has President Trump encouraged the legislature to do away with either 501(c)(3) status or any of the other rules that come with 501(c)(3).

Even should the Johnson Amendment be eliminated by legislative law signed by the President, there would still be four other rules that churches agreed to comply with when they chose to apply for 501(c)(3) tax exemption. It is no secret that churches and so called “Christian” lawyers have also been worried about rule number five, the fundamental public policy rule, for at least 15 or 20 years. Their advice: “pray about it.” I would like to hear one of their prayers. I do not think they will pray, “Lord, forgive us for dishonoring you and causing you much grief by prostituting your churches. We repent. Help us to honorably withdraw from our unholy alliances.”

I have touched on the main issue. Let me restate some of the above points and list some other matters. President Trump’s speeches and his executive order reflect Christian revisionist history. They:

  1. ignore the fact that churches are not required to give up some of their First Amendment protections when they choose to become 501(c)(3) organizations who submit to the federal government as to certain matters;
  2. ignore the fact that churches voluntarily put themselves under 501(c)(3) with all the rules that accompany their choice spelled out in form 1028;
  3. ignore the fact that churches voluntarily give up much of their First Amendment protection when they place themselves under a law which commands them not to do certain things;
  4. ignore the fact that churches who incorporate and get 501(c)(3) status put themselves, for many purposes, under the Fourteenth Amendment;
  5. do not take into account that 501(c)(3) was a law implemented in 1954, 164 plus years after the adoption of the First Amendment;
  6. ignore the question of whether 501(c)(3) is even constitutional since the First Amendment religion clause says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or preventing the free exercise thereof;”
  7. reflect a lack of understanding of the true history of the First Amendment;
  8. reflect the “Christian” revised history of the First Amendment;
  9. misrepresent what church/state establishment meant when the Constitution and First Amendment were adopted;
  10. misrepresent what Thomas Jefferson, for example, stood for (He stood for a secular state with complete separation of church and state);
  11. disregard and go contrary to Bible principles concerning church, state, and the relationship God desires between church and state;
  12. ignorantly work for the end-time one world union of church and state under the beast;
  13. etc.

I wish to make one other point: I believe that freeing 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations to become active in politics will unleash liberal 501(c(3) organizations–atheist, secular, and religious–who will fight for liberal candidates, and that those organizations substantially outnumber and have much more money and power than the conservative churches who constantly attack the rule. Those liberal organizations include Planned Parenthood, Inc. (an organization that gets a lot of government money), the Church of Wicca,  Inc. and many many other incorporated 501(c)(3) organizations and churches who will support liberal candidates.

In conclusion, I believe that President Trump is sincerely trying to help the cause of religious liberty. But he is being misled by certain “Christian” persons and organizations who will use any means necessary to achieve their goals. Their false Biblical interpretations and goals hasten fulfillment of end time prophecies—religion and government will unify and bring in a 3 ½ year of peace followed by 3 ½ year period of great tribulation, and finally the appearance of our Lord who will crush the world powers who are coming against Israel and then establish His 1000 year reign, the Kingdom of Heaven.


Links to some articles: Trump Vow: ‘Totally Destroy’ 501(c)(3) Political Activity Ban, February 3, 2017.  President Trump vowed to He signed an executive order easing restrictions on religious participation in politics. See Trump signs executive order to ease restrictions on religious participation in politics, May 4, 2017. TRUMP RELAXES 501(C)(3) POLITICAL ACTIVITY RULES, May 5, 2017.

The Bible Answer to the Question, “Is an Incorporated 501(c)(3) or 508 Church a Church of Christ?” (Prepared for a talk given at the September 16-19 Liberty Baptist Church of Albuquerque, NM, Southwest Baptist Heritage Camp Meeting. Click here to go to Part I of the video of that presentationClick here to go to Part II of that presentation, “Why a Church Is Not a Business.” Part II was removed from Part I. In Part II, Jerald Finney invited Evangelist and Pastor Terry Woodside to tell his story which demonstrates that a church which is a non-legal entity cannot be sued in America. Click here to go to the page which has links to all sermons and presentations at that meeting.)


Resources for Additional Study

A Call to Anguish: Churches Reject God’s Authority

The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus/A Case of Premeditated Murder/Christian Revisionists on Trial/The History of the First Amendment
This book examines not only the history of the First Amendment but also the Catholic/Calvinist/Reformed tactics and motives for killing “heretics” and lying about history and other matters as they attempt to unite church and state.

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)

The church incorporation-501(c)(3) control scheme
(Section VI, Chapter 5 of God Betrayed; Chapter 5 of Separation of Church and State)

Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities?

Is a church a spiritual or a legal entity?

Is Separation of Church and State Found in the Constitution?

The History of the First Amendment

An Abridged History of the First Amendment

God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application
This book examines all aspects of the issue of separation of church and state

For verification of the truths presented, see
List of Scholarly Resources Which Explain and Comprehensively Document the True History of Religious Freedom in America

 

Will Churches in America Have a Choice about Sodomite Marriage: A short critique of the article “Christian schools will have no choice about gay marriage: Column” as it relates to churches

Michael Farris
Michael Farris

Equality Act Creates LGBT Rights Everywhere! (102315)(Revealed: LGBT Nuclear Bomb Against Churches – Will apply to state churches, such as incorporated 501c3 churches, only. The article  below explains how this applies to state churches, but not to New Testament churches.)

Jerald Finney
Copyright © May 23, 2015

A new article was just posted:

The article, “Christian schools will have no choice about gay marriage: Column,” again puts the ignorance of “Christians” on display. The author of the article, Michael Farris, laments the fact that the United States Supreme Court is posed to deny 501(c)(3) status to Christian colleges and even to churches which oppose same-sex “marriage” (Actually, any union outside that of a male and a female is not marriage. See Jerald Finney’s letter on the webpage “The Sodomite Agenda, Religious Organizations, And Government Tyranny.”). I limit this reply to that article to churches only, even though I could say much about so-called “Christian” schools and institutions of higher learning.

6The author of the article, Michael Farris, is a good lawyer who has done much for the cause of homeschooling in America; but his article reveals that he, like most American “Christians,”  has no clue as to the important Bible doctrines of church, state, and separation of church and state and their application in America (See the first three sections of God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application which is available free in both online and PDF form. The first three sections of the online version are updated. One may study the website Separation of Church and State Law for articles, books and other resources concerning the issue of church organization.). Nor does he understand church incorporation law or Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) as applied to churches. He therefore does not understand that churches who incorporate, get 501(c)(3) status, or become legal entities in any way have grieved our Lord by combining church and state (See section VI of God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application). Believers should have realized this long ago and should have shunned any type combination with the state. When a church in America incorporates and/or claims either 501(c)(3) or 508 status, she has subjected herself to a head other than the Lord Jesus Christ. That is a gross violation of New Testament church doctrine. For more understanding of Internal Revenue Code Section 508 status see Church Internal Revenue Code § 508 Tax Exempt Status.

In the article, Farris states:

“Christian colleges and churches need to get prepared. We must decide which is more important to us — our tax exemption or our religious convictions. Keep in mind, it is not the idea that the college itself might have to pay taxes that is the threat. Schools like Patrick Henry College, which I started, never run much of a profit. But since PHC refuses all government aid, all of our donations for scholarships and buildings come from tax deductible gifts. Cutting off that stream of revenue is effectively the end of such colleges absent a team of donors who simply don’t care if gifts are deductible.”

Had the convictions of churches in America concerning the relationship of church and state been based upon Bible principles instead of misguided “convictions,” no church in America would have ever incorporated, applied for 501(c)(3) status or become a legal entity in any way; they would have all maintained their First Amendment status thereby remaining under God only. By the way, the First Amendment implements into the highest law of the land the principle of separation of church and state (See The History of the First Amendment or An Abridged History of the First Amendment; See also, The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus which explains not only the history of the First Amendment but also Christian and Secular revisonist history.)

Mr. Farris’ article points out something that I have pointed out for many years. He states:

“Keep in mind, it is not the idea that the college itself might have to pay taxes that is the threat. Schools like Patrick Henry College, which I started, never run much of a profit. But since PHC refuses all government aid, all of our donations for scholarships and buildings come from tax deductible gifts. Cutting off that stream of revenue is effectively the end of such colleges absent a team of donors who simply don’t care if gifts are deductible.”

5

One will find on the Partrick Henry College website the following statement:

Patrick Henry College is a not-for-profit corporation created and authorized to operate under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, the College is a qualified charitable institution and contributions to PHC are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

Patrick Henry College, like incorporated churches, is a creature of the state. The state of Virginia created the corporation and authorizes her to operate under the laws of Virginia, not under the laws of God. PHC is further controlled by the federal government by the rules that go along with 501(c)(3) status. More rules can be added as shown in Bob Jones University, 461 U.S. 574; 103 S. Ct. 2017; 76 L. Ed. 2d 157; 1983 U.S. LEXIS 36; 51 U.S.L.W. 4593; 83-1 U.S. Tax Cas. (CCH) P9366; 52 A.F.T.R.2d (RIA) 5001 (1983)(See pp. 386-388 of God Betrayed for an analysis of Bob Jones University). The college has turned to the state of Virginia and the federal government, specifically the Internal Revenue Service, for aid. The aid comes in the form of gifts given by donars who claim tax deductions for their gifts. People give for a tax deduction, not for the glory of God. In return for state aid, the non-profit 501(c)(3) organization agrees to abide by the rule (and future rules) set unilaterally by their benefactor. Therefore, the statement that Patrick Henry College refuses all government aid is patently false. Churches who become non-profit corporate religious organizations and/or claim 501(c)(3) status have turned to state and the federal government for financial aid.

Churches who are not non-profit 501(c)(3) religious organizations are not concerned about being taxed because they are non-taxable if they are correctly organized as spiritual entities only and had as their goal the glory of God. Furthermore, the First Amendment protects the non-legal status of New Testament  churches. 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.”

Those churches and religious organizations who become legal entities place themselves under the Fourteenth Amendment for many purposes. The First Amendment guarantees that no church has to incorporate or place themselves under the rules of 501(c)(3). One big change for a church who takes 501(c)(3) or 508 status is that the church becomes “tax exempt” as opposed to non-taxable; they place themselves under Internal Revenue Code Sections 501(c)(3) or 508, laws made by Congress (notice that the First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting….”) and signed by the President. Before they do that, if they are not some type of legal entity such as a non-profit corporation, they are wholly protected by the First Amendment and are free to exercise their “religion” in conformity to New Testament principles.

Churches can make no profit if operated according to the principles of the New Testament. Without profit there are no taxes anyway. Even a business (something entirely different from a New Testament church but very like most American state churches) pays no taxes if it makes no profit. It is interesting that most American churches today are run like businesses, not like New Testament churches. That was another inevitable result of ordering a church according to the precepts of man, not those of God. Most are glorified social clubs or nightclubs. They are really businesses which pay no taxes because they call themselves churches and organize under state non-profit incorporation law.

What churches which become legal entities are really concerned about, since there is no need to worry about being taxed, is maximizing donations. They believed, after section 501(c)(3) was added to the Internal Revenue Code, that they would get more donations from people who were more concerned about getting a tax deduction than they were about glorifying God by honoring His precepts, from those whose motivation for giving was American “practicality” and not God’s pleasure. You see, God’s precepts often do not seem practical to most American believers. Churches cannot afford to operate the way they want without bringing in huge amounts of money and they cannot bring in that type of money through the tithes and offerings of born-again believers each of whom loves the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength because most of their members do not fit that description and would not tolerate teaching, preaching, and practice of all Bible doctrines. I explain all this and more in God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application and in other articles and teachings on the Separation of Church and State Law website-see Section VI of God Betrayed for a thorough study of the relevant law.

The inevitable results of  proceeding without biblical knowledge, understanding, and wisdom are now coming to fruition, and the vast majority of American “Christians” are in panic mode. They fear man more than they fear God. It is a good thing for them to be in panic mode. Maybe some of them will, as a last resort, wake up and study the word of God, repent, and reorder their churches.

The June 2010 article Preaching on Sodomy in a Hate Crime Atmosphere explained what a both state churches (a church organized as a legal entity) and New Testament churches must do when they take issue with the civil government.

Endnote

I must mention that I believe that God has preserved his word in English. Since all English versions differ, and since there can only be one word of God, which English version is God’s word? One must answer this question or he has no Bible and no authority.

See the Separation of Church and State Law website and the newly launched website abibletrust.com for help with New Testament church organization.

For more information on incorporation of church see:

  1. Church corporate 501(c)(3) status: Union of church and state
  2. Corporation: A human being without a soul

To learn more about the church 501(c)(3) education control scheme specifically see:

  1. 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)
  2. The church incorporation-501(c)(3) control scheme (Section VI, Chapter 5 of God Betrayed; Chapter 5 of Separation of Church and State)

END

The Sodomite Agenda, Religious Organizations and Government Tyranny

I Pledge Allegiance to God and His Kingdom, Not to America

The Proper Response by believers and churches to Obergefell, the United States Supreme Court same sex marriage decision (063010)

The Republican Response to Obergefell – Wrong!!!!!! (070715)

The Hierarchy of Law as it relates to sodomy and sodomite marriage (060115)

Preaching on Sodomy in a Hate Crime Atmosphere (06_10)

Appendix B: Corporation sole churches and Internal Revenue Code §§ 501(c)(3) and 508

Contents of this booklet (left click link to go to entry):

Introduction

Chapter 1: Legal Entity Status and the Corporation Sole
Chapter 2: Analysis
 of “Benefits of the Corporation Sole Compared to a Traditional 501c3 Church”
Chapter 3: Analysis of “Church Establishment Affidavit”

Conclusion

Appendix A: What is a Corporation Sole?
Appendix B:
Corporation Sole and Internal Revenue Code §§ 501(c)(3) and 508 (Below)

Related articles:

Jerald Finney
Copyright © February 6, 2015

As shown in Appendix A, a corporation sole church is a non-profit corporation, a creature of the state. Let us look at the 501(c)(3) ramifications of this.

Internal Revenue Code Section 501c)3)
Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). Click image above to go directly to 501(c)(3)

Internal Revenue Code § 501(a)(c)(3) states, in relevant part:

“(a) Exemption from taxation

An organization described in subsection (c) or (d) or section 401 (a) shall be exempt from taxation under this subtitle unless such exemption is denied under section 502 or 503.

“(c) List of exempt organizations

The following organizations are referred to in subsection (a):

“(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.”

Thus, according to Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3), corporations are exempt from taxation. A corporation sole is a corporation and therefore may apply for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. (See Appendix A.).

Some corporation sole churches do not like the rules that go with 501(c)(3) status. Therefore, they make the argument that, since they are not corporations, they may obtain Internal Revenue Code § 508 status, become automatically exempt, and not be subject to the rules that come with 501(c)(3). Their arguments are untenable because they are non-profit corporations. Yes, they, like any other church, may claim § 508 status; yes, they may become exempt under § 508; no, they, as § 508 churches, do not avoid the 501(c)(3) rules thereby. § 508 churches are subject to 501(c)(3) rules.

Corporation sole churches know that they may have to go to court to defend their position. This is an admission that they are legal entities who are under the authority of the state of incorporation and the federal government as to Internal Revenue Code matters. Whether they admit this or not, it is a fact established when they accepted the state’s offer for state, non-profit corporation status and when they claim § 508 status. Since they are legal entities, creatures of the state, their only challenge to rules they do not like is through action in state or federal court. Should they be taken to court, for example by the Internal Revenue Service, they have agreed that the state is the final judge of the issue being litigated.

The issue is one of authority. Those who love the Lord are willing to give their all if necessary as they refuse to follow lower laws when those laws conflict with the highest law. Millions of martyrs have followed the example of the apostles who said, when the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ was at issue, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

Internal Revenue Code Section 508. Click image above to go directly to 508.
Internal Revenue Code Section 508. Click image above to go directly to 508.

Some corporation sole churches try to argue that they are not corporations and therefore that they may claim Internal Revenue Code § 508 status which insulates them from following the requirements of 501(c)(3). They do not mind being a creature of the state under the corporation sole law, but they try to avoid being under the rules that come with 501(c)(3). What they are trying to do is attain government approved tax exempt status (as opposed to First Amendment non-taxable status) without submitting to the rules of 501(c)(3). They do not mind the fact that they are not organized according to God’s rules in the New Testament and that they are a creature of the state of incorporation. They wish to twist the law in order to get what they falsely perceive to be benefits without the rules that come with the “benefits.” Their effort is not according to knowledge. The IRS has already covered this matter. 508 churches are held to be subject to the rules that come with 501(c)(3). (See Church Internal Revenue Code § 508 Tax Exempt Status for a full explanation).

Many non-profit corporation churches claim 501(c)(3) status without filing Internal Revenue Service form 1023. They do so in various ways One way is to include the provisions of 501(c)(3) in their corporate constitutions. Another is to simply acknowledge the exemption by giving acknowledgement to those who give. Even should a church not give acknowledgement, in the event of taxpayer audit, what the IRS wants to know is “what was given,” “did the taxpayer give in a manner prescribed by the IRS Code,” and “was the deduction given to a church (whether a legal entity or not.)”.

Corporation sole churches who try to twist the law to keep their deductible status while avoiding the rules that go with exempt status show their true colors to God and to those who take the time to examine what they are doing. Perhaps they act and speak ignorantly because of lack of both Bible and legal study which renders the subject outside their field of expertise.

Chapter 2: Analysis of “Benefits of the Corporation Sole Compared to a Traditional 501c3 Church”

This is the webpage being analyzed. Click the above image to go to the "Church Freedom and the Corporation Sole" website
This is the webpage being analyzed. Click the above image to go to the “Church Freedom and the Corporation Sole” website

Contents of this booklet (left click link to go to entry):

Introduction

Chapter 1: Legal Entity Status and the Corporation Sole
Chapter 2: Analysis of “Benefits of the Corporation Sole Compared to a Traditional 501c3 Church” (Below)
Chapter 3: Analysis of “Church Establishment Affidavit”

Conclusion

Appendix A: What is a Corporation Sole?
Appendix B: Corporation Sole and Internal Revenue Code §§ 501(c)(3) and 508

Related articles:

Jerald Finney
Copyright © February 2, 2015

For understanding, please read the Introduction and Chapter 1: Legal Entity Status and the Corporation Sole before studying this chapter.

This chapter will analyze the Benefits of the Corporation Sole Compared to a Traditional 501c3 Church webpage.

Quotations from the webpage Benefits of the Corporation Sole Compared to a Traditional 501c3 Church will be in red.

The analysis will be in the following order:

1. Analysis of the first sentence and the first paragraph
2. Analysis of Alleged Benefit # 1 – IT BRINGS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM OF SPEECH BACK TO THE CHURCH!
3. Analysis of Alleged Benefit #2 – Local Cities and Governments Can No Longer Impose Permits, Fines and Penalties to Churches for Helping Feed the Homeless
4. Analysis of Alleged Benefit # 3 – A Corporation Sole Requires NO BOARD OF TRUSTEE’S
5. Analysis of Alleged Benefit #4 – The Church Is Now MANDATORILY EXEMPTED From Both Taxation and Being Required to File Annual Information Return to the IRS
6. Analysis of Alleged Benefit #5 – NO BY-LAWS OR CHURCH CORPORATE CHARTER
7. Analysis of Alleged Benefit #6 – A CORPORATION SOLE CAN ISSUE PROMISSORY NOTES
8. Analysis of Alleged Benefit #7 – STATE TAX EXEMPTIONS
9. Analysis of Alleged Benefit #8 – TAX DEDUCTIBLE CONTRIBUTIONS
10. Analysis of Alleged Benefit #9 – TITLE TO REAL PROPERTY
11. Analysis of Alleged Benefit #10 – CLEAR LINE OF SUCCESSION
12. Analysis of Alleged Benefit #11 – DOES NOT REQUIRE AN ATTORNEY
13. Analysis of Alleged Benefit #12 – THE CORPORATION SOLE ACTS AS A NATURAL PERSON

1. Analysis of the first sentence and the first paragraph

The first sentence of Benefits of the Corporation Sole Compared to a Traditional 501c3 Church states:

The benefits of the Corporation Sole are near limitless compared to every other form of a Church legally organizing itself.”

That sentence is revealing in so many ways to the knowledgeable believer. As one goes through this analysis, he will discover whether the language declaring the benefits to be limitless is accurate or false hyperbole.

First, that sentence is a clear recognition that the corporation sole organization is a legal entity which also organizes a church legally (makes the church a legal entity). As explained in the Introduction, a New Testament church cannot also be a church which is organized legally because this places the church under the authority of a head other than the Lord Jesus Christ; the legal entity status of the church makes the church a creature of the state. See also, Chapter 1: Legal Entity Status and the Corporation Sole for definition and implications of “legal entity.”

The New Testament teaches that, in order to be in God’s will, a church is to be a spiritual organism under God only; that Jesus Christ is to be her only head; that God is the highest power; and that we are to obey God rather than man when man’s law contradicts God’s law. All this is covered in some detail in The biblical doctrine of government, The biblical doctrine of the church, and The biblical doctrine of separation of church and state. Those who already agree with the Bible on this may wish to go directly to Separation of Church and State to get a quick review of what a church incorporation is. (See Incorporation of churches). Remember that the analysis of church incorporation, for the most part, can also be applied to the corporation sole church: the few differences will be obvious and both Oregon Non-Profit Corporation Law and the article being analyzed here make clear the differences.

Further down in the article, the author quotes the 2011 Oregon Revised Statutes, Oregon Non-profit Corporation Law, Volume 2 Business Organizations, Commercial Code § 65.067(1):

The statute that establishes the corporation sole church as a legal entity.
The statute that establishes the corporation sole church as a legal entity.

“Such corporation shall be a form of religious corporation and will differ from other such corporations organized hereunder only in that it shall have no board of directors, need not have officers and shall be managed by a single director who shall be the individual constituting the corporation and its incorporator or the successor of the incorporator.” – Oregon ORS § 65.067(1)

The article quotes the 2011 statute. Note that in 2013, the law was amended and can be accessed at the following link: 2013 Oregon Revised Statutes, Oregon Non-profit Corporation Law, Volume 2 Business Organizations, Commercial Code § 65.067.

The law itself makes clear that the only difference in the corporation sole and the corporation is that the corporation sole is headed by one man. Perhaps this will be of advantage to the pastor who believes that he should be an earthly dictator of a worldly or legal organization and and not a Bible ordained leader, steward, trustee, overseer, and under shepherd of a New Testament spiritual only church:

“Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.  And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away” (1 Peter 5:2-4).

After that first sentence, the article then states as it leads into alleged “Benefit # 1”:

Let us explain each one of the benefits in great detail so you have a better understanding for how the Corporation Sole can bring legal deliverance to your ministry as a whole.

Supposedly, according to the article, “the Corporation Sole can bring legal deliverance to your ministry as a whole.” Does it really? I thought the Lord Jesus Christ was the deliverer of the church. What about spiritual deliverance under God? How can a legal entity deliver God’s church?—I forgot, he said “deliverance to your ministry as a whole.” [Emphasis mine]. So by violating fundamental Bible principle for church organization “your ministry” can be delivered?

Notice, as you read the alleged benefits, that he gives no understanding under the so-called explanation  as to “how the Corporation Sole can bring legal deliverance to your ministry as a whole.” He just says that it will do so.

2. Analysis of Alleged Benefit # 1

Corporation sole status combines church and state.
Corporation sole status combines church and state.

Then the article gets into the alleged Benefit #1 – IT BRINGS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM OF SPEECH BACK TO THE CHURCH!:  One can go to the article Benefits of the Corporation Sole Compared to a Traditional 501c3 Church on the Church Freedom and the Corporation Sole website to read the alleged benefits. The corporation sole organization is the same as that of any other Oregon non-profit corporation except for very limited matters (see Oregon Revised Statutes, Chapter 2, Non-Profit Corporations.). Notice under that there is no explanation of “how” on the webpage, thus leaving several questions unanswered:

(1) How can the corporation sole bring religious freedom of speech back to the church since the corporate sole organization is to comply with all but a very few requirements of the extensive Oregon non-corporation law?
(2) How can the corporation sole bring religious freedom of speech back to the church since the corporate sole non-profit corporation renders the church a legal entity just as does any other non-profit corporate state law organization?
(3) In short, how can the corporation sole bring religious freedom of speech back to the church while at the same time putting the church under the state? (See Chapter 1: Legal Entity Status and the Corporation Sole), whereas a church which is not under state authority has all her First Amendment rights including freedom of speech.

The answer to all three questions is that the corporation sole cannot bring religious freedom of speech back to the church. It cannot do so because it takes religious freedom from a church.

Benefit number 1 is an impossibility. Nonetheless, the website, in the article, Church Establishment Affidavit, gives a ridiculous answer as to how the Corporate Sole form brings religious freedom of speech back to the church. That article states:

The reason we emphasis that a Church must first be organized through an Church Establishment Affidavit, is because an Affidavit is the highest form of evidence a person can bring forth into a Federal courtroom. This allows your ministry to prove to the court, without a reasonable doubt, the distinct legal existence of your Church, its MANDATORY tax exemption jurisdiction under the law of 26 USC 508(c)(1)(a), creates a record that is signed under the penalties of perjury by multiple Church members and declares that your Church even adopts the IRS’s own 14 point standard to even be legally recognized as a Church! Its creation and use also allows the Church to create a legal and jurisdictional separation of responsibilities between the role of the Church itself and the isolated and incorporated office of the Corporation Sole (which the latter is under 501c3’s jurisdiction).”

As a sidenote, an Affidavit is not the highest form of evidence a person can bring forth into any courtroom (not just a Federal courtroom) in America. Live testimony is the highest form of evidence since it is subject to cross-examination and is judged by the trier of fact (the judge or the jury, as the case may be) as to its veracity. An affidavit is not acceptable evidence in a trial; only live testimony of a fact witness will be heard since the opposing side has the right to cross-examination, and it is impossible to cross-examine an affidavit. Disputes brought under the contracts created by incorporation, including corporation sole, will be heard in a courtroom in the state of incorporation.

Church Establishment Affidavit then continues with an “explanation” which is not an explanation at all, but a pure exercise in postmodernism. It is so ridiculous to the knowledgeable reader that it, as does the entirety of the website, completely discredits the “Church Freedom and the Corporation Sole” organization.

The above quoted paragraph from Church Establishment Affidavit, has many flaws, some repeated and addressed already in this analysis. The church establishes herself as a legal entity by legally executing the paperwork which created the contract between the church and the state of Oregon, the contract between the members of the church and the church, the contracts between the members themselves, and the contracts between the members and the state (See Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities or Section VI of God Betrayed for an explanation of the law which makes this clear.).  Furthermore, any church, no matter how organized, may claim 26 USC 508(c)(1)(a) tax exemption even though a New Testament church gives up her New Testament spiritual only status when she does so; the paragraph above from Church Establishment Affidavit does not explain that church 508 status brings the church under the rules that come with 501(c)(3). This is explained in detail in the article  Church Internal Revenue Code § 508 Tax Exempt Status (Click link to go directly to that article.).

The creation and use of a corporation sole does not allow “the Church to create a legal and jurisdictional separation of responsibilities between the role of the Church itself and the isolated and incorporated office of the Corporation Sole.”

One church member handles all the corporate responsibilities of the corporation sole: the pastor, not several officers as in the case of other non-profit corporations which are created by the same law as the corporation sole. Remember that the corporation sole law is just part of the Oregon Non-Profit Corporation Statute. Remember Oregon Revised Statutes, Oregon Non-profit Corporation Law, Volume 2 Business Organizations, Commercial Code § 65.067(1), 2013 which reads, in relevant part:

“(1) An individual may, in conformity with the constitution, canons, rules, regulations and disciplines of a church or religious denomination, form a corporation under this section to be a corporation sole. The corporation sole is a form of religious corporation and differs from other religious corporations organized under this chapter only in that the corporation sole does not have a board of directors, does not need to have officers and is managed by a single director who is the individual who constitutes the corporation and is the corporation sole’s incorporator or the successor of the incorporator….”

Again, the church, as a legal entity, a non-profit corporation, created by the corporation sole law, is represented by one officer instead of several officers.

Go back and study Introduction and Chapter 1: Legal Entity Status and the Corporation Sole for clarification.

Furthermore, is one to believe that he can pick and choose the manners in which he is to violate God’s precepts? Is it OK with God for a church to submit herself to the state through non-profit corporation sole status, and then supposedly remove her submission to the state and submit herself to God by concocting, without understanding, a scheme which only purports to retain complete freedom when fact clearly shows that that corporation sole law which established the church as a legal entity gives the state who created her certain controls over her? Does the church want to retain their givers who give only if they get a tax deduction (not because they love the Lord) by falsely propping up this worthless scheme? Does a person lose their tax deduction for giving to a church who is totally under God as opposed to a church who is a non-profit corporation (which includes the corporation sole church)? Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities and Section VI of God Betrayed explain these tax matters in some detail, including what the Internal Revenue Code says about the deductions.

All churches can help the homeless.
All churches can help the homeless.

3. Analysis of Alleged Benefit # 2

Now, let us examine supposed Benefit #2 – Local Cities and Governments Can No Longer Impose Permits, Fines and Penalties to Churches for Helping Feed the Homeless.

Again, this is so disjointed and full of false statements that it is very difficult to analyze. Of course, everyone knows that people will be moved when one alleges, against the truth, that his scheme will allow a church to help the homeless, an opportunity to gain sympathy for the deception.

Lately, local City Governments across America have been treating traditional 501c3 incorporated Churches that feed the homeless no differently than any other corporate entity and have begun imposing sham taxes upon them in the form permits, fines and levies. The City Governments are able to accomplish this because of a little known Supreme Court ruling called Hale v. Henkle (1906) in which then US Supreme Court Chief Justice Melville Fuller stated that ALL incorporations (including incorporated Churches) are all considered to be, ‘Creatures of the State’.

The corporation sole is a non-profit corporation under the law of the state of Oregon (in this case). Therefore, corporation sole organization will have no effect on the ability of the church to do these type of good deeds without meeting the requirements of law. (See Chapter 1: Legal Entity Status and the Corporation Sole. See the index of God Betrayed for Hale v. Hinkle.) As the article states, “ALL incorporations (including incorporated Churches) are all considered to be, ‘Creatures of the State’.” The corporation sole church is an incorporated church and a “creature of the state.” (Ibid.).

In the 1980’s the church I was saved in and a member of went downtown and fed the homeless for several years. The city tried to stop us by citing the pastor. The church was not incorporated as a non-profit corporation. Yet, after citing the pastor 80 or 100 times, the case finally went to trial and justice prevailed. The same result would have occurred had the church been a legal entity or not. The church was not charged with a crime, the pastor (who was leading the effort) was charged.

The article continues:

Once a Church incorporates under 501c3, it instantly looses its Mandatory Tax Exemption status under the law of 26 U.S.C. 508(c)(1)(a) and opens itself to needless legal attack. Only a Church that has been properly established through both a Statutory Declaration Affidavit and a Corporation Sole are completely immune to these types of restrictions and impose taxes. The Church reformed with a Corporation Sole is now able to be completely immune from these type of penalties because it is no longer incorporated (nor considered a creature of the state) and is under the better law of 508(c)(1)(a) instead of 501c3. A Church that is under 508(c)(1)(a) is completely immune to ALL forms of state imposed taxation (this includes City permits to feed the homeless). Without a Corporation Sole, Churches across America are wide open to needlessly imposed taxes that they never had to experience in the first place!

A church is not incorporated under 501c3. A corporation sole church is incorporated under state law, in this case Oregon Non-profit Corporation law. A church who applies for 501(c)(3) under federal law does not lose her 508(c)(1)(a) status. No church has 508(c)(1)(a) status unless she claims it; there are several ways in which churches can do this. By claiming 508 status, a church gives up her First Amendment only status. She does this by putting herself under a law as opposed to under the First Amendment. The First Amendment says, in relevant part: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or preventing the free exercise thereof.” 508 is a federal law respecting an establishment of religion and which prevents the free excercise thereof. When a church claims 508 status, she has put herself under a federal law, thereby revoking her First Amendment non-taxable status.

Applying for 501c3 tax exempt status and claiming 508 automatic exemption status affect the church in the same manner. Again, this is explained in the article Church Internal Revenue Code § 508 Tax Exempt Status.

The statement “The Church reformed with a Corporation Sole is now able to be completely immune from these type of penalties because it is no longer incorporated (nor considered a creature of the state) and is under the better law of 508(c)(1)(a) instead of 501c3” is utterly ridiculous, at best. Of course it is still incorporated and a creature of the state. The church applied to the state for non-profit corporation sole status as controlled by state law. And, as explained in preceding paragraphs and the linked to article, the 508 church must meet the same requirements as the 501c3 church in order to maintain her tax status.

4. Analysis of Alleged Benefit # 3

One Man Board of Directors.
One Man Board of Directors.

Examination of Benefit #3 – A Corporation Sole Requires NO BOARD OF TRUSTEE’S:

Under the law of 501c3, the law states, “no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual” it is specifically due to this clause that EVERY Church in America organized under 501c3 has a polity body (aka a Board of Trustee’s, Board of Directors, Board of Elders and etc). The Corporation Sole is the ONLY EXCEPTION TO THIS RULE. In fact, States like Oregon fully recognize this difference and include it in their state law:

“Such corporation shall be a form of religious corporation and will differ from other such corporations organized hereunder only in that it shall have no board of directors, need not have officers and shall be managed by a single director who shall be the individual constituting the corporation and its incorporator or the successor of the incorporator.” – Oregon ORS § 65.067(1)

Of course, the phrase relied upon in the statute, “no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual” has nothing to do with establishing a “polity body (aka a Board of Trustee’s, Board of Directors, Board of Elders and etc.”) in a corporation. The corporation statute of the state of incorporation establishes a corporate “polity body” of corporations created thereunder.  501c3 was not enacted until 1954. The law of incorporation came long before that and provided for a Board of Trustee’s, Board of Directors, Board of Elders and etc. The Corporation Sole also has a long history, as pointed out on the website being examined at: The History of the Corporation Sole (I have not examined that article for accuracy, but the Corporation Sole does have a long history.). The clause in 501c3 had and has absolutely nothing to do with the body polity of any corporation including the corporation sole.

This means that a Corporation Sole only has ONE director…the Senior Pastor or Overseer of the Church. Most do not understand how utterly significant this is and why it is such a blessing. You see, most of the headache for Pastors (among other things) is the fact that 501c3 forces Churches to have appropriation committees! It should not take a board to approve whether or not to provide the necessary funds the Church needs to fulfill the Holy Spirit led vision of the Senior Pastor. A Church that has a Corporation Sole does not have to deal with this issue. Now, certain individuals might raise the question, “How can you trust a Pastor with the finances of the Church?” Our reply is simple: The Lord Jesus says in Luke 16:10“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” If you cannot trust your Pastor with $5, then you cannot trust them with $5 million and they do not need to be your Pastor or be a leader within the Body of Christ. For those Pastors that are Spirit led, this benefit of not having to go through a board, is a tremendous victory for the vision the Lord has laid on their heart. It cuts out any possible confusion and manipulation regarding the Churches finances.

There is a correct way to establish the pastor as overseer of God’s money and property, and the correct way is not the establishment of any kind of church corporation including a corporation sole. This is explained in the my writings already cited.

5. Analysis of Alleged Benefit # 4

Alleged “benefit # 4” is so completely dishonest that it grieves not only the Lord, but also this author, to know that believers fall for this con.

P. 24 of IRS Publication 557. Click image above to go directly to the Publication
P. 24 of IRS Publication 557. Click image above to go directly to the Publication

Benefit #4 – The Church Is Now MANDATORILY EXEMPTED From Both Taxation and Being Required to File Annual Information Return to the IRS:

Unlike a traditional 501c3 Church that has filed an IRS Form 1023 seeking their official recognition of their tax exemption status (and is mandatorily required to file their annual informational returns consecutively every three years or face an automatic revocation of their tax exemption status), A Church properly organized through the use of a Statutory Declaration Affidavit and a Corporation Sole are MANDATORILY exempted from BOTH taxation and being required to file their annual information returns. This is due to the Church now being properly established underneath the jurisdiction of two unique federal laws. First is the mandatory tax exemption law of 26 USC 508(c)(1)(a) which states,

“‘(a) New organizations must notify Secretary that they are applying for recognition of section 501(c)(3) status: Except as provided in subsection (c), an organization organized after October 9, 1969, SHALL NOT BE TREATED as an organization described in section 501(c)(3).’

With key emphasis on the writing of the law that states, SHALL NOT BE TREATED as an organization described in section 501(c)(3).

From p. 3 of IRS Pub. 1828. Click image to go directly to publication.
From p. 3 of IRS Pub. 1828. Click image to go directly to publication.

The above gives a portion of the law (IRC § 508, Subsection (a)), and then a few words from that portion of the law which is emphasized in the article by placing it in bold capital letters (“shall not be treated”). The article then gives that portion of the law, out of context, a false meaning. This is clear when the entirety of the relevant law is read. The entire relevant portion of section 508 (sections (a) through(c)) states:

“(a) New organizations must notify Secretary that they are applying for recognition of section 501(c)(3) status
“Except as provided in subsection (c), an organization organized after October 9, 1969, shall not be treated as an organization described in section 501 (c)(3)
“(1) unless it has given notice to the Secretary in such manner as the Secretary may by regulations prescribe, that it is applying for recognition of such status, or
“(2) for any period before the giving of such notice, if such notice is given after the time prescribed by the Secretary by regulations for giving notice under this subsection.
“(b) Presumption that organizations are private foundations
“Except as provided in subsection (c), any organization (including an organization in existence on October 9, 1969) which is described in section 501 (c)(3) and which does not notify the Secretary, at such time and in such manner as the Secretary may by regulations prescribe, that it is not a private foundation shall be presumed to be a private foundation.
“(c) Exceptions
“(1)
 Mandatory exceptions
“Subsections (a) and (b) shall not apply to—
“(A) churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches, or
“(B) any organization which is not a private foundation (as defined in section 509 (a)) and the gross receipts of which in each taxable year are normally not more than $5,000.”

Please notice the blatant dishonesty of the Church Freedom and the Corporation Sole website. They quote only a portion of the law and then take that portion out of context to mean something that it does not mean when taken in context. They leave out (a)(1) and (a)(2), and (c)(1)(A) which when taken together with (a), as they have to be to understand the true meaning. When the relevant sections are all considered, they make clear that churches are excepted from the (a) and (b) notice requirements of other non-church non-profit organizations.

Their ridiculous conclusion – “With key emphasis on the writing of the law that states, SHALL NOT BE TREATED as an organization described in section 501(c)(3)”- is also totally unfounded. Again, for an accurate understanding of 508 status, I urge the student to go to and study Church Internal Revenue Code § 508 Tax Exempt Status.

Subsection (C) is for: churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches. (source: Cornell Law)

This means that the Church is immune to ALL forms of taxation. This includes cities that try to impose an excise tax on Churches for requiring them to obtain permits to feed the homeless and more. There are NO preconditions either (unlike 501c3’s political restrictions and conditions).”

More ridiculous statements.  The quote from Subsection (c) does not mean that the church is immune to ALL forms of taxation. Subsection (c) deals with only the matters within its context. Yes, churches, no matter how organized, do not have to pay sales taxes, excise taxes, and other forms of taxes, but those matters are covered by state laws, not the Internal Revenue Code which is federal law.

1The insanity continues:

The Church is also immune from FILING annual informational returns to the IRS. This is due to the Law of 26 USC 6033(c)(a)(1-3). This Federal law gives the Church and its subsequent Corporation Sole immunity for being required to file annual information returns. The law states,

Except as provided in paragraph (3), every organization exempt from taxation under section 501 (a) shall file an annual return, stating specifically the items of gross income, receipts, and disbursements, and such other information for the purpose of carrying out the internal revenue laws as the Secretary may by forms or regulations prescribe, and shall keep such records, render under oath such statements, make such other returns, and comply with such rules and regulations as the Secretary may from time to time prescribe; except that, in the discretion of the Secretary, any organization described in section 401 (a) may be relieved from stating in its return any information which is reported in returns filed by the employer which established such organization.”  – Source, Cornell Law University

“Parapgraph (3) excludes the following:|

“(3) Exceptions from filing
(A) MANDATORY EXCEPTIONS
Paragraph (1) shall not apply to—
(i) churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches,
(ii) any organization (other than a private foundation, as defined in section 509 (a)) described in subparagraph (C), the gross receipts of which in each taxable year are normally not more than $5,000, or
(iii) the exclusively religious activities of any religious order.

“The church falls underneath the jurisdiction of subsection (i) while the Corporation Sole falls under the jurisdiction of subsection (iii) as it is operating and exclusively acting on the behalf of the religious order that manages the Churches assets.

“These are two ENORMOUS benefits that traditional 501c3 Churches do not get to enjoy.”

I cannot believe what I am reading. First, he gets the nomenclature of the statute wrong. He says 26 USC 6033(c)(a)(1-3) but the correct nomenclature is 26 USC 6033(a)(1-3), no big deal. However what follows in the above is a big deal. 26 USC 6033(a)(3)(i) clearly says that churches are mandatory exceptions to the filing requirement in 26 USC 6033(c)(a)(1). Thus churches, whether incorporated (corporations sole or otherwise) are subject to the same IRC rules and IRS regulations.  “Traditional 501c3 churches” and corporation sole 508 churches do not have to file. Non-incorporated, non-501c3, non-508 churches (First Amendment) churches do not have to file (See Church Internal Revenue Code § 508 Tax Exempt Status for explanation.).

The statement which follows,

The church falls underneath the jurisdiction of subsection (i) while the Corporation Sole falls under the jurisdiction of subsection (iii) as it is operating and exclusively acting on the behalf of the religious order that manages the Churches assets. These are two ENORMOUS benefits that traditional 501c3 Churches do not get to enjoy.”

is nonsensical, facetious, and false. The corporation sole is not a religious order that manages the churches assets. The law makes clear that the corporation sole is a non-profit corporation (a legal entity) and that corporation sole status makes a church a legal entity (Review, e.g., Chapter 1: Legal Entity Status and the Corporation Sole and Appendix A: What is a Corporation Sole for explanation). The above quote is saying that the law by which a church becomes a legal entity non-profit corporation for which the pastor acts as the only officer is magically transformed by the above ridiculous rhetoric. Obviously, the corporation sole church is in the same position as she would be in as any other non-profit corporation church as to these matters and the two alleged “ENORMOUS benefits” that “traditional 501c3 churches” do not get to enjoy are nonexistent.

6. Analysis of Alleged Benefit # 5

Benefit #5 – NO BY-LAWS OR CHURCH CORPORATE CHARTER: Jesus was asked a question in Matthew 22:36-40 which states, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

“‘ALL the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’ -Yeshua Ha-Mashiach

“ALL other laws that govern the Church that have been made in addition to these two commandments are MAN MADE By-Laws and are NOT from the Holy Spirit. These man-made by-laws do nothing but show us someone else’s personal standard of holiness and serve to do nothing more than bring forth both condemnation and a spirit of religion. In fact, By-laws in there very nature defy the scriptures of both Romans 14:22 and Colossians 2:14-15! We’ve witnessed Churches here at The Empowerment Center that deny membership access to Christians because the husband drove a beer truck to provide income for his family! Not that he was drinking the beer, but simply because he DROVE THE TRUCK. By-Laws have directly influenced Churches across the nation to separate from the fellowship of all Christians and bring forth unnecessary doctrines. Certain denominational by-laws state that you MUST be baptized in water in order to be saved, while others claim that you need to be baptized in the fire of the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues! So, who is right and who is wrong? These By-Laws do NOTHING but create both confusion, disorder, separation and death to the fellowship (1 Timothy 1:4-7 and 2nd Timothy 2:14).

“One of the unique attributes of a Church that is properly established through both a Statutory Declaration of Church Establishment Affidavit and a Corporation Sole is that it requires absolutely no By-Laws whatsoever. In fact, the Statutory Declaration Affidavit we freely provide Church leaders is specifically written in such a manner where it lawfully fulfills ALL 14 points to the IRS’s own requirements to even be considered a Church! There are no additional needless by-laws that cause either separation nor condemnation. The Corporation Sole itself requires no by-laws whatsoever. We’ve took careful consideration to make sure that only the Statutory Declaration itself declares nothing more than the Office of the Corporation Sole’s status and the Corporation Sole’s intended successor and/or secretary’s positions and nothing more. This provides the Church will an unheard of level of freedom that other traditional 501c3 Churches do not presently have.”

The above is inaccurate. The law which the Church Freedom and the Corporation Sole utilizes to help churches organize as corporations sole, Oregon Revised Statutes, Oregon Non-profit Corporation Law, Volume 2 Business Organizations, Commercial Code § 65.067(1), 2013 states:

ORS § 65.067(3). Click the above image to go directly to the law.
ORS § 65.067(3). Click the above image to go directly to the law.

65.067 Corporation sole. (1) An individual may, in conformity with the constitution, canons, rules, regulations and disciplines of a church or religious denomination, form a corporation under this section to be a corporation sole. The corporation sole is a form of religious corporation and differs from other religious corporations organized under this chapter only in that the corporation sole does not have a board of directors, does not need to have officers and is managed by a single director who is the individual who constitutes the corporation and is the corporation sole’s incorporator or the successor of the incorporator.
“(2) The name of the corporation sole is the same as the office within the church or religious denomination that the incorporator holds, followed by the words “and successors, a corporation sole.
“(3) All of the provisions of ORS 65.044 to 65.067 apply to a corporation sole. If the corporation sole has no officers, the director may perform any act that an officer may perform with the same effect and in the same manner as though one or more officers of the corporation sole performed the act.
“(4) If a corporation sole or the individual that constitutes the corporation sole is the only member of a religious corporation, the religious corporation is not required to hold an annual membership meeting under ORS 65.201 if the religious corporation is:
“(a) Incorporated under the provisions of this chapter; and
“(b) Of the same church or religious denomination as the corporation sole. [1989 c.1010 §27; 2013 c.139 §1]” [Bold emphasis which is mine is the portion relevant to this analysis.]

The bold portion of the law cited above makes clear that “All of the provisions of ORS 65.044 to 65.067 apply to a corporation sole.” Those sections are as follows:

65.044       Incorporators
65.047       Articles of incorporation
65.051       Incorporation
65.054       Liability for preincorporation transactions
65.057       Organization of corporation
65.061       Bylaws
65.064       Emergency bylaws and powers
65.067       Corporation sole

ORS § 65.061. Click above image to go directly to the law.
ORS § 65.061. Click above image to go directly to the law.

Section 65.061 which covers Bylaws states:

“(1) The incorporators or board of directors of a corporation, whichever completes the organization of the corporation at its organizational meeting, shall adopt initial bylaws for the corporation.
“(2) The bylaws may contain any provision for managing and regulating the affairs of the corporation that is not inconsistent with law or the articles of incorporation. [1989 c.1010 §25]”

Thus, to put it simply, law which creates the corporation sole clearly states that the corporation sole non-profit corporation “shall adopt initial bylaws for the corporation and that the bylaws may contain any provision for managing and regulating the affairs of the corporation that is not inconsistent with law or the articles of incorporation.”

Thus any church who adopts the corporation sole form of organization and who does not adopt bylaws is in violation of the law. The church violates the law because she becomes a legal entity by voluntarily seeking and obtaining corporation sole status. As a legal entity, she can sue, be sued, enter into contracts, etc. Again, she entered into a contract when she accepted the state non-profit corporation sole offer. (See Church Internal Revenue Code § 508 Tax Exempt Status for clarification.).

The response to the rant attributing various practices and doctrines of some “churches” to their bylaws is:

  1. a church who includes their beliefs in their by laws could also implement those practices and beliefs into the by laws required by corporation sole status or,
  2. should they not be incorporated in any way, into a church covenant, statement of faith, or written creed, or
  3. should they not be incorporated in any way, they could believe and practice their religion without any writing except the Bible.

Finally, a corporation sole cannot get around the law of incorporation above by using a Statutory Declaration of Church Establishment Affidavit. That is so obvious that to contend otherwise is patently absurd, as are other Church Freedom and Corporation Sole matters.

7. Analysis of Alleged Benefit # 6

aBenefit #6 – A CORPORATION SOLE CAN ISSUE PROMISSORY NOTES: A Corporation Sole can issue promissory notes.  A promissory note is a legal instrument (more particularly, a financial instrument), in which one party (the maker or issuer) promises in writing to pay a determinate sum of money to the other (the payee), either at a fixed or determinable future time or on demand of the payee, under specific terms. If the promissory note is unconditional and readily salable, it is called a negotiable instrument. – Source Wikipedia

Wikipedia. Click above image to go to the Wikipedia page.
Wikipedia. Click above image to go to the Wikipedia page.

The above is all that is said about this alleged benefit. One would suppose that the alleged benefit of this “legal instrument” for the corporation sole is to provide capital or to act as a source of finance to the creditors of the corporation sole. This author is not going to waste his time explaining all the ways in which this scheme violates New Testament church principle since any believer who has read his Bible should be able to figure this out.

8. Analysis of Alleged Benefit # 7

9“Benefit #7 – STATE TAX EXEMPTIONS: A Corporation Sole is awarded ALL current state 501c3 tax exemptions. This can include property tax exemptions and more. Since the Corporation Sole is considered a 501c3 (because it is incorporated), it is qualified to seek any current state tax exemptions. It’s also important to note that even if you live in a state that does not have a current Corporation Sole (like here in Oregon) that you can still seek this exemption by having our Church, The Empowerment Center freely represent your Corporation Sole as a registered agent here in Oregon. In this case, your home state WILL fully recognize the tax exemption status of your Oregon based Corporation Sole (this is due to the commerce clause in the US Constitution). We’ve currently helped teach nearly 22,000+ Churches across America about the Corporation Sole and not a single Church has been denied an exemption from their home state.”

Property tax exemptions, sales tax exemptions, and what ever the “and more” tax exemptions are are all the product of state law. 501c3 is a federal law. 501c3 has nothing to do with state tax law provisions. Any church, whether a legal entity or not, is granted property tax exemptions “and more.” Churches who are not legal entities are granted such exemptions—this author has personal knowledge of this and knows of many churches who are not legal entities and who do not pay sales taxes, property taxes, etc.. Of course, an incorporated church such as a corporation sole church pays no such taxes. So this benefit is no benefit all. The Church Freedom and the Corporation Sole website does here recognize that the Corporation Sole “is considered a 501c3 because it is incorporated“), which contradicts teachings covered above which state that the corporation sole church is a IRC section 508 church.

9. Analysis of Alleged Benefit # 8

Benefit #8 – TAX DEDUCTIBLE CONTRIBUTIONS: A Church that has a Corporation Sole CAN receive tax deductible contributions from any member that gives a gift. The Corporation Sole is also immune from being required by law to give the donor a receipt acknowledging their gift! In this case, it is the responsibility of the donor to keep their records and NOT the Church or Corporation Sole. If your Church chooses to do so, it may voluntarily and freely (out of the kindness of its heart) give the donor a receipt acknowledging their contribution or donation.

No church has to give a receipt acknowledging their gift. The law requires no church to give an acknowledgement for gifts. If you disagree, I challenge you to show me that law – there is none. I deal with this issue often in discussing the right way for a church to organize according to the New Testament (and the right way is not any kind of non-profit corporation including the corporation sole.). The sad thing about this alleged benefit is that the corporation sole church has no reason not to give an acknowledgement since, if she claims 508 status, she is a legal entity who is subject to the rules of 501c3. See “5. Analysis of Alleged Benefit # 4” above, Corporation Sole and Internal Revenue Code §§ 501(c)(3) and 508,  and Church Internal Revenue Code § 508 Tax Exempt Status.

10. Analysis of Alleged Benefit # 9

Benefit #9 – TITLE TO REAL PROPERTY: Other Advantages of a Corporation Sole, it can claim title to real property. This is especially great for possible State Property Tax Exemptions.

Any corporation, including any non-profit corporation such as a corporation sole, can buy and sell property. That is one of the attributes of being a legal entity. Since the corporation sole church becomes a legal entity by means of the corporation sole statute, the church is the legal owner of the property, although only one church member acts to fill all offices of the corporation sole.

11. Analysis of Alleged Benefit # 10

Benefit #10 – CLEAR LINE OF SUCCESSION: Property and powers of a corporation sole are transferred on the death of an incumbent to successors in the office, “not to heirs or through executors”. This is especially nice for married couples that would like their spouse to continue leading their home based Church/Ministry. If the spouse in question is appointed the position of being the successor for the Corporation Sole, it is done through the unanimous consent of the entire Church and is lawfully declared through the Statutory Declaration of Church Establishment Affidavit. Currently, there is no Federal Law that prohibits this type of assignment within a Corporation Sole.  This is due to the 1st Amendment to the Constitution which states the following:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” – 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution (the Supreme Law of the Land).

Let me first deal with the recitation of the First Amendment in this context. As any believer who understands the history of that Amendment knows, it came about as a result of 17 centuries of persecution (including hanging, burning at the stake, beheading, drowning, live burial, cruel torture) of martyrs who refused to profane God’s truths. This alleged benefit desecrates the holy as does this entire Church Freedom and the Corporation Sole website.

Church Freedom and the Corporation Sole website is here advising people to dishonor God’s precepts for the ordered church and also to use “religion” to protect their personal assets. People may declare themselves to be a “church” according to the 14 Internal Revenue Code criteria, but meeting the requirements of those criteria may be difficult for one who is just concocting a scheme to avoid probate law. Instead of keeping the church pure under God, as any believer who loves the Lord wants to do, this scheme uses man’s law to define their “church” and their motivation is to protect assets while dishonoring God.

Can anyone so motivated actually operate their “church” in conformity to Internal Revenue Code requirements? They may be called on the carpet by the IRS to prove that they have done so. Let’s look at those requirements. In attempting to define “church,” the IRS has “given certain characteristics [14 criteria] which are generally attributed to churches.” (S Publication 1828 (2007), p. 23)  The court has recognized that 14-part test in determining whether a religious organization was a church. The 14 criteria are:

 “(1) a distinct legal existence;
“(2) a recognized creed and form of worship;
“(3) a definite and distinct ecclesiastical government;
“(4) a formal code of doctrine and discipline;
“(5) a distinct religious history;
“(6) a membership not associated with any other church or denomination;
“(7) an organization of ordained ministers;
“(8) ordained ministers selected after completing prescribed studies;
“(9) a literature of its own;
“(10) established places of worship;
“(11) regular congregations;
“(12) regular religious services;
“(13) Sunday schools for religious instruction of the young;
“(14) schools for the preparation of its ministers.”

(American Guidance Foundation, Inc. v. United States, 490 F. Supp. 304 (D.D.C. 1980)).

“In addition to the 14 criteria enumerated above, the IRS will consider ‘[a]ny other facts and circumstances which may bear upon the organization’s claim for church status.’ Internal Revenue Manual 7(10)69, Exempt Organizations Examination Guidelines Handbook 321.3(3) (Apr. 5, 1982).” (88 T.C. at 1358).

Again, another alleged benefit profanes the holy, and actually testing this benefit may result in bad IRS consequences.

12. Analysis of Alleged Benefit # 11

Corporation sole pastor (his own attorney)
Corporation sole pastor (his own attorney)

Benefit #11 – DOES NOT REQUIRE AN ATTORNEY: A Corporate Sole can Sue and be sued, and defend, in all courts, and places, in all matters and proceedings wherever. It represents itself because it acts and behaves as a Natural Person.

They give the attributes of any legal entity, including those of a corporation sole which is a non-profit corporation.

Who will represent the corporation sole? The pastor, as the one officer? One of the church members?

Anyone can represent themselves in court. However, a person cannot represent another person in court. Furthermore, legal matters can be very complicated substantively and procedurally. The old adage “he who represents himself in court has a fool for a client” should be considered.

13, Analysis of Alleged Benefit # 12

Benefit #12 – THE CORPORATION SOLE ACTS AS A NATURAL PERSON: A Corporation Sole is recognized by the IRS as a Natural Person in ALL business related transactions for the Church. A Natural person is legally defined pursuant to the United States Supreme Court ruling of Hale v Henkle in which former United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Melville Fuller states,

“‘The individual may stand upon his constitutional Rights as a citizen. He is entitled to carry on his private business in his own way. His power to contract is unlimited. He owes no such duty [to submit his books and papers for an examination] to the State, since he receives nothing therefrom, beyond the protection of his life and property. His Rights are such as existed by the law of the land [Common Law] long antecedent to the organization of the State, and can only be taken from him by due process of law, and in accordance with the Constitution. Among his Rights are a refusal to incriminate himself, and the immunity of himself and his property from arrest or seizure except under a warrant of the law. He owes nothing to the public so long as he does not trespass upon their Rights.” – United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Melville Fuller

I must interject a comment here. The above Church Freedom and the Corporation Sole website leaves out the first sentence of the above quote from Have v. Henkle. I quoted the entire paragraph in God Betrayed in 2008, which is reproduced below. The first sentence says, “[T]here is a clear distinction in this particular between an individual and a corporation, and that the latter has no right to refuse to submit its books and papers for an examination at the suit of the State.”

“Its also important to note that a ‘Natural Person” is legally defined by Blacks Law Dictionary as,

“A “natural person” and an “individual” are defined by Blacks Law Dictionary 9th Edition as:

Person (Be) 1. A human being. Also termed natural person.

Individual, adj. (I5c) 1. Existing as an indivisible entity. 2. For relating to a single person or thing, as opposed to a group. – Blacks Law Dictionary 9th Edition

There is a possible legal argument to be made that even though a Corporation Sole is registered with a Secretary of State as a corporation, that it in fact has the same rights as individual rights, which supersede corporate law. It is the only known corporation in American law to do this. It is also important to note that this argument has not been used in Federal Court as a defense (because they have not thought to do so).”

From p. 75 of God Betrayed
From p. 75 of God Betrayed. Click above image to go to PDF of the book.

The legal argument proposed in the last paragraph would be laughed out of court. This has already been settled. I covered this in God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (2008)(Click here to go to the online PDF of the book.). The following is from pages 375-376 of that book.

The incorporated church [such as a non-profit corporation sole church] is an artificial person and a separate legal entity. This has many ramifications.

  1. “The corporate personality is a fiction but is intended to be acted upon as though it were a fact. A corporation is a separate legal entity, distinct from its individual members or stockholders.
  2. “The basic purpose of incorporation is to create 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….
  3. “A corporate owner/employee, who is a natural person, is distinct, therefore, from the corporation itself. An employee and the corporation for which the employee works are different persons, even where the employee is the corporation’s sole owner…. The corporation also remains unchanged and unaffected in its identity by changes in its individual membership.
  4. “In no legal sense can the business of a corporation be said to be that of its individual stockholders or officers.”

(18 AM. JUR. 2D Corporations § 44 (2007)).

“A corporation is a person within the meaning of the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and similar provisions of state constitutions and within the meaning of state statutes.” (Johnson v. Goodyear, 127 Cal. 4 (1899). “However, a corporation is not considered as a person under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (religious liberty clause) or under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

Hale v. Hinkle, 201 U.S. 43, 74-75; 26 S. Ct. 370; 50 L. Ed. 652; 1906 U.S. LEXIS 1815 (1906) stated:

  • “[T]here is a clear distinction in this particular between an individual and a corporation, and that the latter has no right to refuse to submit its books and papers for an examination at the suit of the State. The individual may stand upon his constitutional rights as a citizen. He is entitled to carry on his private business in his own way. His power to contract is unlimited. He owes no duty to the State or to his neighbors to divulge his business, or to open his doors to an investigation, so far as it may tend to criminate him. He owes no such duty to the State, since he receives nothing therefrom, beyond the protection of his life and property. His rights are such as existed by the law of the land long antecedent to the organization of the State, and can only be taken from him by due process of law, and in accordance with the Constitution. Among his rights are a refusal to incriminate himself, and the immunity of himself and his property from arrest or seizure except under a warrant of the law. He owes nothing to the public so long as he does not trespass upon their rights.
  • “Upon the other hand, the corporation is a creature of the State. It is presumed to be incorporated for the benefit of the public. It receives certain special privileges and franchises, and holds them subject to the laws of the State and the limitations of its charter. Its powers are limited by law. It can make no contract not authorized by its charter. Its rights to act as a corporation are only preserved to it so long as it obeys the laws of its creation. There is a reserved right in the legislature to investigate its contracts and find out whether it has exceeded its powers. It would be a strange anomaly to hold that a State, having chartered a corporation to make use of certain franchises, could not in the exercise of its sovereignty inquire how these franchises had been employed, and whether they had been abused, and demand the production of the corporate books and papers for that purpose.”

When a church incorporates or becomes a legal entity, that church contracts with the state gaining certain “protections” but gives up certain constitutional rights. She takes herself partially out from under First Amendment protection, and puts herself, for some purposes, under the Fourteenth Amendment. While a corporation must “obey the laws of its creation,” it also has constitutionally protected rights. (See Ibid., pp. 74-75). Only the church who is not satisfied with the freedom and provisions afforded the church by God (which, by the way, are implemented by the First Amendment) seeks incorporation. For the incorporated church, God’s provisions are not adequate. Although perhaps the individual church member seeks incorporation for protection by civil government as opposed to protection by God, that member forgets that God is a far more strong and benevolent protector than the state. Furthermore, when a church is not a legal entity, that church cannot be sued. One can sue a legal entity such as a corporation, but how does one sue a church who is “a spiritual house made up of spiritual beings offering up spiritual sacrifices, and not a physical house made by man?” (See Section II of God Betrayed). Individuals, including members of a New Testament church, can be sued for tortious actions or tried for criminal acts, but a New Testament church cannot be sued or tried for criminal acts.

End

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


Jerald Finney
Copyright © December 10, 2012


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


Contents:

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

Preface

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

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

I. Introduction

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

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

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

This article will deal with the third and fourth reasons listed above: civil government recognition of tax exempt status assures church leaders, members, and contributors that the church is recognized as exempt and qualifies for related tax benefits (For example, contributors to a church that has been recognized as tax exempt would know that their contributions generally are tax-deductible); and convenience. “Church Incorporation Increases Liability of Church Members” looks at the first reason, limited liability. “Analysis of another reason given for church corporate status” addresses the second reason, to hold property.” In addition, audio teaching on these issues are available on this website (see the categories at left); and Jerald Finney has written on these issues in (See God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application and/or Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities? and other books by Jerald Finney for a thorough analysis of these matters. Click the following link to preview God Betrayed: Link to preview of God Betrayed.  These books and many other resources are available on the “Books” page of  the “Church and State Law” website.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

III. The deductibility of gifts to New Testament churches 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Acknowledgement. The acknowledgement must meet these tests:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

V. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

Note

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

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

Letters from pastors regarding Hyles/Schaap and other articles


Jerald Finney
Copyright © September, 2010


Contents of this article:

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

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


I. Introduction

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

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

These e-mail letters not only raise important questions which need to be addressed, but also give insights into the thoughts of pastors on issues such as church incorporation and 501(c)(3).

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

Brother Finney,

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

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

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

Dear Pastor ________________,

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

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

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney

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

Mr. Jerald Finney,

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

Sincerely In Christ
Pastor _____________________
____________ Baptist Church

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

Dear Pastor _______________,

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

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

May the Lord continue to richly bless you and yours.

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney

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

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

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

Dear Mr. _____________________,

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

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

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

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

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

For His Glory
Brother Jerald Finney

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

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

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

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

Dear Pastor _______________,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney

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

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

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

Pastor _______________________

XI. My Reply to Letter No. 4

Dear Pastor ______________________,

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

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

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

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

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

For His Glory,
Jerald Finney

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

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

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

Dear Sir,

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

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

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

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

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

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney

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

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

_____________________

XV. My Reply to Letter No. 6

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

Sincerely,
Jerald Finney

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

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

Pastor __________________, Hyles Anderson College, class of __________.

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

XVII. My Reply to Letter No. 7

Dear Mr. _________________,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

____________________ (____________@uno.com)

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

Dear Pastor ___________________,

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

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney

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

Bro Finney,

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

Info:

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

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

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

Dear Pastor _______________,

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

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

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

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

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

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney

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

Bro. Finney,

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

Thanks

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

Dear Pastor _____________________,

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

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

May the Lord continue to richly bless you!

For His Glory,
Bro. Jerald Finney

XXIV. Note

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

XXV. Links to Internal Revenue Code Laws

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

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

XV. Note

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

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

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

END

Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy


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


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


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

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


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

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

WivesMinistryToHusband


Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy

Contents:

I. Introduction
II. 2012 and 2013 updates

III. Heresy and apostasy
IV. Conclusion

Endnote (Information on books by Jerald Finney)


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

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

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

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

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

Sermon by Jack Schaap: Polishing the Shaft

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

Ignoring the Sin of First Baptist of Hammond

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

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


I. Introduction 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


II. 2012, 2013 Update

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

Ignoring the Sin of First Baptist of Hammond

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Videos exposing Pastor Jack Schaaps heretical worldly views include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


III. Heresy and apostasy

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

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

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

“Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth” (Luke 18.8b)?  The reference is not to personal faith, but to belief in the whole body of revealed truth. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”( 1 Ti. 4.1).

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

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

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

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

Gentile world apostasy comes in seven stages:

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Ro. 1.21-23).

As a result of this worldwide Gentile apostasy, mankind sinks to the depths of depravity:

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

The apostasy is usually introduced by ungodly men who will “wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Ti. 3.13). Our Lord warned against false teachers:

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

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

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

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

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

Only a little leaven (false teaching) can completely change and pervert the truth of the Gospel: “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?  This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Ga. 5.7-9).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


IV. Conclusion

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

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


Endnotes

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

En2 

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

cheshirecatschaap

FBI – Schaap looked like a Cheshire Cat kissing the Teenager

ARTICLE WRITTEN FROM FBI AND PROSECUTION EVIDENCE – LINK BELOW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alum of Hyles-Anderson College – David Williams


‘My Pastor Is on the Ashley Madison List.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Churches Matter

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

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

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

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

If Your Pastor or a Staff Member Is Resigning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If Your Pastor Is on the List

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Repentance must be public.

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

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

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

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

2. Repentance must be thorough.

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

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

Repentance is freeing.

3. Repentance should lead to restoration.

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

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

God’s Grace

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

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

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

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

Chris Martin and Marty Duren contributed to this post.