Tag Archives: Jerald Finney

Conclusion: History of Religious Freedom in America


A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry


Previous Series of Lessons:
Religious Freedom in America!

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Jerald Finney
Copyright © March 5, 2018


Early in the colonial period, men formed the first notable government that legally protected separation of church and state and religious liberty. This historical event arose out of a conflict between the two currents which flowed in opposite directions.

  • “A large number of people fled out of the old world into this wilderness for religious liberty; but had not been here long before some put in high claims for power, under the name of orthodoxy; to whom others made fierce opposition professedly from the light within; and their clashings were so great that several lives were lost in the fray. This made a terrible noise on the other side of the water. But as self-defence is a natural principle, each party wrote volume after volume to clear themselves from blame; and they both conspired to cast a great part of it upon one singular man [Roger Williams], whom they called a weathercock and a windmill. Now let the curious find out if they can, first how men of university learning, or of divine inspiration, came to write great volumes against a windmill and a weathercock? secondly, how such a strange creature came to be an overmatch for them all, and to carry his point against the arts of priestcraft, the intrigues of court, the flights of enthusiasm and the power of factions, so as after he had pulled down ruin upon himself and his friends, yet to be able, in the midst of heathen savages, to erect the best form of civil government that the world had seen in sixteen hundred years? thirdly, how he and his ruined friends came to lie under those reproaches for a hundred years, and yet that their plan should then be adopted by thirteen colonies, to whom these despised people could afford senators of principal note, as well as commanders by sea and land? The excellency of this scene above those which many are bewitched with, consists in its being founded upon facts and not fictions; being not the creature of distempered brains, but of an unerring Providence.”[1]

Many brave men and women, with Baptists at the forefront, paid a high price on the path to religious liberty and freedom of speech, association, and the press. One should not forget that those people were motivated by a deep love for God and his word, not by earthly concerns.

As a result of the fight, Christians, and everyone else in America, have religious freedom. The United States Supreme Court still upholds the wall of separation between church and state and freedom of conscience.[2]

Christians in America have been blessed above measure and can choose to please God and not be persecuted for it. The brief time men will be on earth is miniscule compared to eternity. The time an individual Christian is here is nothing more than a blink of the eye. An American believer now has the opportunity to glorify God without persecution. That opportunity was the result of the trail of blood left by the martyrs for Christ.

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed (John 8.36).

Every breath a believer takes out of God’s will is a wasted breath. He will praise God naturally, not as a matter of choice, in heaven. This is his one chance, during his eternal existence, to live for Christ of his own free will. This is the one shot he has to choose to please, serve, praise, and glorify God. After leaving this world, some will learn, when it is too late, that they never glorified him when they had the choice. Some will learn that they did not proceed according to knowledge, understanding, and wisdom; and that they followed and promoted the principles and goals of the god of this world.


Endnotes

[1] Isaac Backus, A History of New England With Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians called Baptists, Volume 1 (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, Previously published by Backus Historical Society, 1871), pp. 408-409.

[2] See Jerald Finney, God Betrayed, Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Xulon Press, 2008 (www.xulonpress.com), Section V. Sadly, while upholding that wall of separation, the Court has also twisted the meaning of the First Amendment so as to remove God from practically all civil government matters.

Conclusion to the Doctrine of the Church


A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry


If you miss one part of the puzzle that is being put together in these studies, you will never see and understand the whole picture.


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Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 9, 2018


The Supreme Ruler ordained the church, as He ordained civil government. He gave churches—as He has given individual, family and civil governments—His Word wherein they can learn God’s guidelines which He desires that they choose to follow. Most churches have followed Satan’s, not God’s, principles. He has used false teachers from the beginning. As a result, apostasy crept into the church shortly after its inception. That apostasy has accelerated in America as the  tribulation approaches.

Many American churches today are heretical or apostate. They say, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing. As to them, God says, you “knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Re. 3.17). They follow the principles of the god of this world, not God’s principles. They are of this world and follow the principles of the god of this world. Christ is not of this world, nor are his followers. [i]

Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression (1 Ti. 2.14, Ro. 5.14, Ge. 3.1-6).  Christ was not deceived, but His bride was. “As the first Adam had to give up a perfect existence in order to be with his wife, so the last Adam, Christ (1 Co. 15.22, 45), stepped down from heaven to save his bride. While the first Adam ‘blew it,’ the last Adam would make everything right! (Ro. 5:12-21) Charles Wesley set this doctrine to music with the words, ‘Second Adam from above, reinstate us with thy love.’ … “The all-important verse that connects this typology to the present Laodicean apostasy is Ec. 1:9a: ‘The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done….’ Thus, the history of mankind will undoubtedly end the same way it began—with a bride being deceived!” (William P. Grady, How Satan Turned America Against God (Knoxville, Tennessee: Grady Publications, Inc., 2005), p. vii.).

Regardless of this inevitable apostasy and the events that are to follow, things are looking good for you and me—that is, if you are a Christian! Christians can have the ultimate hope: the hope that they will reign with the Lord. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Ro. 8.16-17) [Bold emphasis added]. This should be a cause for great rejoicing as well as incentive to be responsible members of a local autonomous New Testament church and to make sure that every effort is made to glorify God and assure that a church remains totally under Christ in every way. The Holy Spirit is now calling out, not the subjects, but the co-heirs and co-rulers of the kingdom.[ii]

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (Jn. 3.16-19).

“[Jesus], being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Ph. 2.6-8).


Endnotes

[i] See Jn. 8.23-45.

[ii] “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” (2 Ti. 2.11-12).

“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Re. 1.6).

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne” (Re. 3.21).

“And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Re. 5.10).

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.’ The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Ro. 8.15-18).

“Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life” (1 Co. 6.2-3)?

 

More letters from pastors and others

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

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

Contents:

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

I. Introduction

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

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

I. Introduction

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

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

Jerald,

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

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

My Reply:

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

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney

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

Brother Finney,

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

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

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

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

– ___________________

My Reply to Letter No. 2:

Dear Brother _______________,

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

If not, feel free to call me.

Brother Jerald Finney

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

Hello Brother Finney,

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

Thank you again.
– Brother __________________

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

Dear Brother ___________________,

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

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

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney

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

Hello Brother Finney,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Brother ______________________

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

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

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

My Response to Letter No. 3

Dear Sir,

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

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

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

I do not condemn you-a true understanding of Word of God, history, and law condemn you. I have stereotyped no church. I have explained in detail the biblical principles violated by church incorporation and 501c3. Just operating under those satanic devices violates biblical principle, prostitutes the bride of Christ, and grieves our Lord. You do not address any of my biblical, historical, and/or legal teachings. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2.15).

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

For His Glory,
Jerald Finney

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

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

My Reply to Letter No. 4

Dear ____________:

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

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

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

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

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

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

For His Glory,
Jerald Finney

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

Mr. Finney,

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

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

Your suggestions, comments, or guidance will be appreciated!

Because of Him,
__________________

My Reply to Letter No. 5

Dear Mrs. ______________________:

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

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

For His Glory,
Jerald Finney

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

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

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

No Reply to Letter No. 6

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

Dear Jerald:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,
__________________

My Reply to Letter No.7

Dear Mr. ______________:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney

Mr. ___________________’s Reply:

Dear Jerald:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,
_______________

My Reply to Mr. ______________’s Reply:

Dear Bro. ______________________,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney

IX. Note

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

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

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

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

XI. Note

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

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

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

END

The Biblical Principles Concerning Government


Jerald Finney
Copyright © October, 2009


One cannot understand the biblical principle of separation of church and state without first understanding the biblical principles of government and the biblical doctrine of the church. Below are links to Jerald Finney’s teachings on the biblical principles of government using the information in Section I of the book God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application. All of Jerald Finney’s writings are now on this website. These broadcasts were prepared for radio broadcasts 6 or 8 years ago. The website, churchandstatelaw.com mentioned in the broadcasts is no longer available.

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

1. Introduction to the biblical principles of government (Section I, Chapter 1 of God Betrayed) (21 min. 32 sec. The first 4 min. 23 sec. are a song, prayer, and opening comments).

2. The motivation and the goal (Section I, Chapter 2 of God Betrayed) (14 min. 17 sec.) Government – individual, family, church, or civil – will stay on track only should it have the proper motivation and set the proper God-given goal.

3. Self-government (Section 1, Chapter 3 of God Betrayed) (23 min. 30 sec.).

4.  Family government and conscience (Section 1, Chapter 4 of God Betrayed) (15 min. 49 sec.; opening song is 2 min. 37 sec. long).

5. Civil government (Section 1, Chapter 5 of God Betrayed) (23 min. 56 sec.).

6. God desires nations to choose to glorify Him (Section 1, Chapter 6 of God Betrayed) (Section 1, Chapter 6 of God Betrayed) (11 min. 51 sec.).

7. Israel – the only theocracy ordained by God (Section 1, Chapter 7 of God Betrayed) (25 min. 59 sec.).

8. God is the God of Israel (Section 1, Chapter 8 of God Betrayed) (41 min. 37 sec. Teaching is 36 min. 26 sec. followed by 5 min. 1 sec. with 2 songs and comments.).

9. God desires Gentile nations to glorify Him (Section 1, Chapter 9 of God Betrayed) (Section 1, Chapter 9 of God Betrayed)(7 min.).

10. God judges nations (Section 1, Chapter 10 of God Betrayed) (15 min. 57 sec.).

11. Satan orchestrates the world system (Section 1, Chapter 11 of God Betrayed) (7 min. 29 sec.).

12. Conclusion (Section 1, Chapter 12 of God Betrayed) (At end is prayer and brief outline of these studies. 7 min. 6 sec.).

End

For His Glory,
Jerald Finney
Christian and practicing attorney

American Abuse of Romans 13.1-2 and Related Verses

Jerald Finney
Copyright © September 29, 2009


Click the above to go to book.

Are you interested in understanding what Romans 13 and other related verses really teach about the relationship of a church and of individual Christians and families to civil government? Has your preacher ever preached on the verses? If so, what position did he take on these verses? Did he interpret the verses in their immediate context and in the overall context of Scripture? Did he explain why the first Christians, including the apostles, as well as God’s own angels and many other biblical characters repeatedly violated, and were sometimes rewarded by God for violating, the modern American “interpretation” of those verses? Did he tell you about the Christians since New Testament days who have been subjected to the most cruel tortures and killed (tarred and feathered, twisted on racks, boiling oil poured down their throats, thrown in with wild beasts, beheaded, pulled apart, beheaded, drowned, buried alive, hanged, etc.) for disobeying the powers that be for refusing to recant their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in Him alone? Did he explain to you that in America the First Amendment provides for religious liberty and that no church is supposedly required by man’s law to incorporate, get a 501(c)(3) tax exemption, or to become a legal entity of any kind? Did he explain to you the biblical doctrines of church, state, and separation of church and state?

Romans 13.1-2 and related verses are among the most abused Bible verses in America today. I use the word “abused” as opposed to “misinterpreted,” although people also misinterpret the verses while abusing them.  According to Webster’s Dictionary, abuse means “to put to a wrong or improper use” or “to use so as to injure or damage.” Webster’s defines “misinterpret” as “to explain wrongly” or “to understand wrongly.” Those who use Romans 13.1-2 and related verses to justify submission to civil government in all matters, including spiritual matters or matters involving the first four commandments, have abused those verses. They have not considered the immediate and overall context of Scripture in reaching their conclusions. They have assumed state superiority in ecclesiastical affairs and the use of religion to further state policy. Such an assumption has been labeled as Erastianism and this assumption or philosophy pervaded all Europe, with the exception of Calvin’s ecclesiocratic Geneva, after the Reformation, and achieved its greatest triumph in England. Sadly, this assumption is widely accepted in America today.

The verses used to support Erastianism include Romans 13.1-2 (“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers…. Whosoever resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation….”), and other Bible verses such as Matthew 17.24-27 (“Doth not your master pay tribute? …”), Luke 20.25 (“Render unto Caesar….” which is also recorded in Matthew 22.21 and Mark 12.17.), 1 Peter 2.13-14 (“Submit to every ordinance of man….”), and 1 Timothy 2.1-6 (which exhorts Christians to pray for all men, including rulers). Many nonbelievers as well as carnal and/or baby Christians in America confidently quote one or more of these verses out of context to support their position that Christians are to bow down to civil government in all things, or all things except limitations on the preaching of salvation.

Some go further and take the unbelievable position that these verses mean that churches should become state churches by incorporating, becoming unincorporated associations or charitable trusts, operating as corporations sole, getting 501(c)(3) tax exemption, or by some other means and that churches which do not are in sin. Many of those Christians and churches who take this position pressure churches which are under God, and God only, to put themselves under the state through one of the methods mentioned above.

If you are interested in an in-depth study each of the above mentioned verses of Scripture, click on the WordPress Players below. Each segment below is an edited version of a radio broadcast. Click the following links to hear Jerald Finney’s audio teachings (Right click link and left click “Save link as…” to download):

Introduction and Matthew 17.24-27: “Doth not your master pay tribute?” (13 min. 42 sec.)

Luke 20.25, Matthew 22.21, Mark 12.17: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God, the things which be God’s” (4 min. 47 sec.)

Romans 13: “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers” (24 min. 15 sec.)

I Peter 2.13: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man….” (6 min. 6 sec.)

I Timothy 2.1-5: Pray for rulers (8 min. 6 sec.)

You may also be interested in:

More on Romans 13: The Powers/Governments God Has Ordained (article)

Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses (booklet)

END

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

Jerald Finney
Copyright © September, 2009
Jerald Finney teaches on “The Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) Exemption-Definition-Control Scheme” Left click to hear Jerald Finney teaching on this subject. Right click the link and then left click “Save link as…” to download. The teaching is preceded by a hymn sang by Rocky Otwell, a great man of God, and prayer. The teaching is approximately 25 minutes, not including the song.
Click here to go to: ANSWER TO QUESTION REGARDING A LAWYERS FALSE STATEMENTS CONCERNING CHURCH CORPORATE 501(C)(3) STATUS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A study of relevant law, as well as IRS regulations and legal scholarship reveals that 501(c)(3) is voluntary and that it is a control-definition scheme.

IRC § 508(a),(c), in line with the First Amendment, 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, the law recognizes that a New Testament Church is non-taxable under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The IRS doesn’t hide the fact that churches are non-taxable under the First Amendment and IRC § 508(a),(c) and that the exemption-definition-control scheme is implemented by invitation. The IRS proclaims in IRS Publication 1828 (2007):

“Although there is no requirement to do so, many churches seek recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS because such recognition assures church leaders, members, and contributors that the church is recognized as exempt and qualifies for related tax benefits…. Unlike churches, religious organizations that wish to be tax exempt generally must apply to the IRS for tax-exempt status unless their gross receipts do not normally exceed $5,000 annually.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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