Tag Archives: legal entity

The Church Bible Trust Relationship Explained and How a Church Can Nullify Her Efforts to Remain Under Christ Only

Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 11, 2019

More and more churches are seeking to exercise their Bible freedom and duty to operate under the Lord Jesus Christ in all things; to repent, do the first works as churches of Christ before He removes their candlesticks. American churches who desire to do so are protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and corresponding state constitutional provisions. This short essay will give a simple explanation of the trust relationship used by churches in order to remain under Christ and Christ alone. Then, it will explain ways some of those churches nullify that attempt to honor the Lord Jesus Christ.

The “common law” or “Bible” trust is a fiduciary relationship with real and personal property (personal property includes intangible property such as money and bank accounts) recognized but not created by man’s law. This relationship is created by an agreement between a trustor and trustee, is private, creates no contract with the state (the state is not a party), and is not subject to control by civil government and its courts. Trust documents, if any, are never required to be filed in man’s legal system through any of its courts or agencies. This type of trust is not a legal entity. The trust relationship can be established orally or in writing; a properly drafted writing is better.  If not in writing, and if the facts show the intent to establish a relationship with property to be held by a trustee for the benefit of the true owner of the property then a trust relationship has been established. This is so no matter the terms used. It is not necessary to use the terms “trust,” “trustor,” “trustee,” “trust estate,” or “beneficiary” for a trust relationship to come into existence if the essentials of the relationship are there.

The trustor creates the relationship and names a trustee who agrees to administer a trust estate funded by the trustor (and others, if any, who wish to contribute to the trust estate) solely for the benefit of another, the true owner of the trust estate, the beneficiary. The trustor merely establishes the trust relationship. The trustee administers the trust estate solely for the benefit of the owner of the trust estate. Once assets are placed in the trust estate, those assets permanently belong to the beneficiary, not to the trustor  (in an irrevocable trust).

An inactive trust is no trust at all. The elements of valid trust are: trustor, trustee, beneficiary, and trust estate. If an element is missing, there is no trust. If there is no trustor, trustee, trust estate and beneficiary there is no trust. Without a trust estate, there is no trust. For a trust relationship to exist, all elements of the trust must exist. If there is no trust estate, there can be no trust. One cannot establish a fiduciary relationship with property if there is no property.

Some churches have properly drafted and executed documents establishing a proper trust relationship in order to remain under the Lord Jesus Christ only; but they have nullified their efforts by never listing trust property to the trust estate in an appendix to the trust document. All property and assets in the trust estate should be listed in the appendix. Again, if no property is placed in the trust estate, the trust is non-existent. The Appendix should list all personal property (song books, pews, musical instruments, etc.), real property, motor vehicles, bank accounts and other assets held in trust estate.

Another way churches who have set up a trust relationship with money and property – through a Declaration of Trust, Procedures, or whatever the document is titled – nullify their efforts to remain under Christ only is to act legally. When a church acts legally, she is a legal entity subject to the jurisdiction of civil government.

What is a legal entity? A legal entity is an entity that can be sued, sues, can be charged with a crime, enters into contracts or acts legally in any way. When a church acts legally, she has declared herself to be a legal entity.

How can a church act legally? She can, for example, hold deed to real property, open a bank account, hold title to motor vehicle(s), hold insurance, contract, borrow money, incorporate the church or a ministry of the church, get Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) or § 508 status for the church or a ministry of the church, have employees, pay salaries or do anything else in accordance with or subject to man’s legal system and not according to New Testament church guidelines and example. A church who holds insurance admits that she is a legal worldly entity who can be sued. Doing anything is man’s system makes a church a legal entity subject to man’s law.

A properly implemented trust relationship with money and/or property keeps a church entirely out of man’s earthly legal systems and under the Lord Jesus Christ in all things. That is, if the church does not misstep and declare herself to be a legal entity subject to the law of man in some other way. Thank the Lord and The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus who in putting Christ first in all things paid the price that gave all Americans freedom of religion and soul liberty as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and corresponding state constitutional provisions.

“… Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. … For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” (Ephesians 5.25-27, 30).


Recommended Articles To Begin Your Understanding of the Trust Relationship Which Are Included in the Above Link:

  1. The Church Bible Trust Relationship Explained and How a Church Can Nullify Her Efforts to Remain Under Christ Only
  2. How a Church Can Organize to Remain a New Testament Church (Holding Property In Trust For God Is A Scriptural Principle Recognized by American Law)
  3. What God Has Committed to Man’s Trust: “Ye Cannot Serve God and Mammon”: Steward or Trustee?

Other resources which will be of help in understanding the concept of trust.

Law on Church Organization (Trusts, Property Tax, Etc.)

Links to Essays, Articles, and Other Resources:

The Bible Trust Relationship: Links to Essays and Other Resources

Can One Become a “Sovereign Citizen?”

Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 8, 2019

The sovereign citizen movement grew out of a belief in government abuses of power. Can one really become a sovereign citizen? Yes and no. Does the Bible teach earthly sovereignty for the individual? Yes and no. This short article addresses these issues primarily in the American context.

Technically, everyone born in a nation is a legal or lawful entity subject to the laws of that nation no matter what steps he takes to divorce himself from the law and become “sovereign.” Practically, one may be able to live his entire life as sovereign and never get entangled with the laws of a nation.

Some, in their attempt to become sovereign, do not get a social security number, a driver’s license, or any other government document that ties them to man’s law. American civil government, before the social security number, the driver’s license, or any other kind of license or government contract or document, considered everyone born in America to be a legal entity and so it is today. Today those who have no social security or other government number or license are considered to be citizens and legal entities. Nonetheless, one may be able to live his life as a “sovereign citizen.”

One who takes steps to become a “sovereign citizen” may, for all practical purposes, remain so because American civil government may never interfere with his life in any way. No one in America is forced to get a driver’s license or a social security number or to enter into any agreement with the civil government or with any individual or company. As long as a person controls his life so as not to interfere with or harm the rights of life, liberty, and property of any other person or entity or does interfere with the rights of others and does not get caught, the effects of being a legal or lawful entity will be nonexistent unless he is falsely accused.

If one can remain unnoticed by and outside the jurisdiction of civil government, the effects of being a legal or lawful entity will be nonexistent. Moving to the middle of the Alaskan wilderness by oneself or with one’s family may be the best choice for the man who wishes to remain sovereign. Living in the middle of New York City might work if, in addition to finding and remaining outside any civil government contracts and licenses, one finds a way to provide for himself and those, if any, to whom he is responsible and he:

  • does not enter into any contract with civil government or get any government license or number;
  • does not enter into and/or violate any contracts or agreements with another;
  • does not harm another and get sued for so doing;
  • does not commit a crime and get cited or charged and apprehended;
  • does not get falsely accused of a crime and get cited or charged and apprehended;
  • does not harm or interfere with another’s life, liberty, or property (or without being found out if he does so); and
  • does not act legally in any way.

If anyone commits a crime, he will be charged (if police have facts which give probable cause to believe he did it). If he knowingly, intentionally, negligently (and sometimes recklessly) harms another and causes damages, the victim can file a civil suit for damages. Therefore, one is a legal entity who has, practically speaking, come under the technical definition of “legal entity.” One can choose, even though he may not do so, to enter into agreements or contracts with others. If he ever hires someone to do a job for him, he entered a contract with them to do the work. If he hired them, they did the job as agreed, and he does not pay them as agreed for their services completed, they can sue him whether he has a social security or other government number or not, whether he claims to be “sovereign” or not. One can choose to act legally or not. But one cannot choose to completely remove himself from the legal system such that he is not liable for his crimes or torts. Etc. Therefore, by definition, one is a “legal entity.”

God ordained civil government for certain purposes. He gave civil government jurisdiction over certain matters – the protection of life, liberty, and property. Without direct earthly control of man by man, as is proved by the period between the Fall and the Flood, mankind quickly becomes totally corrupted; violence fills the earth. Jesus did not fight civil government, nor did the apostles and Historic Christians (Historic Baptists by whatever name called).  They did not fight it even though they always chose to obey God rather than men when man’s law contradicted God’s law and forbid them to honor God. They did not fight it although it was tyrannical and was not under God as God ordained. They obeyed God in all things and man as to those matters which did not cause them to violate God’s commandments.

God’s Word teaches that God put earthly controls, civil governments, in place to control earthly fleshly people, those who are not born again of the Spirit (not spiritual beings), and those who say that they are but are not or who say they are but walk in the flesh. Just because civil governments are corrupt and guided, for the most part, by the god of this world and his principles does not mean that one should, according to the will of God, treat civil government as having no authority. Jesus, the apostles, and authentic Christians over the last two thousand years have followed Bible teaching and honored civil government as long as civil governments and combinations of religion and state such as the Catholic/Protestant establishments did not try to force them to dishonor God’s law. When that happened, they lay down their lives for the faith rather than betray our Lord.

What is a Legal Entity?


A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry


Click here to go to All Written Course Segments
Click here to go to General Questions Answered
Click here To Go to Links to All 5 Minute Youtube Course Segments


Click here to go to video of this lesson


Jerald Finney
Copyright © December 8, 2017


articlesofincorp.jpgA legal entity is a temporal earthly entity created and/or recognized by the law of man. The entity can be charged with a crime, sue and be sued, and act legally by entering into contracts, buying property, etc. Civil government has jurisdiction over legal entities.

Individuals are legal entities which are not created by the laws of man, but recognized by the laws of man. Legal speaks of earthly, temporal, as opposed to heavenly or eternal. A person in his/her right mind is a legal entity. If the person is lost, he is a legal entity only. If he is a born-again believer, he is both a legal entity and a spiritual entity. However, an earthly government cannot assume jurisdiction over his spiritual life. “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10.28).

There are also legal entities which are created by the laws of man; these entities are made up of organizations of persons. Included are corporations (aggregate or sole, for-profit and non-profit), unincorporated associations, charitable trusts, business trusts, incorporated 501c3 or 508 tax exempt organizations and the list goes on. These type organizations are subject to the agreements made when they organized under man’s law.

Legal entities include associations; corporations; partnerships; proprietorships; and business, charitable, and other kinds of trusts (but not simple trusts, as explained below). Neither God nor the spirit of God have anything to do with their organization and operation. The law calls them “artificial persons.” They can be charged with crime, sue, be sued, assume legal, temporal, earthly obligations, and act legally by entering into contracts, buying property, opening bank accounts, hiring employees, running businesses (like schools, cafes, day care centers, etc.), and so forth. Satan can infiltrate and take over legal entities since they temporal, worldly, and run at least partially by maybe wholly by the laws of man. See Satan is the god of this world who orchestrates the world system.

All legal entities, other than individuals, are created by man-made civil government law. For example, American corporations, including church non-profit corporations, are created by state corporation law. Other legal entities such as sole proprietorships, are not created by man’s law, but are recognized and controlled by man’s law since they are businesses with income; they must, for example, get an assumed name, file income tax returns, get an Employer Identification Number, pay income taxes on profits and social security taxes on employees, register with the state sale tax office and pay sales taxes, etc.

A simple trust established to  manage money and property for the benefit of a beneficiary is not a legal entity. See  Trust Explained and The Bible Trust Relationship: Links to Essays and Other Resources. Other types of trusts which are either established according to man’s law or which have income are legal entities.

Many churches choose to be both legal and spiritual entities and many are legal entities only. Some churches, the remnant, protected by the law in America–the First Amendment and corresponding state constitutional provisions–choose to remain true to New Testament Church Doctrine and Example by remaining spiritual entities only. See Is a church a spiritual or legal entity? for more concerning this matter.

Churches, unlike businesses or charities, are protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and corresponding state constitutional provisions which guarantee freedom of religion. Those laws give churches a choice. Churches choose whether to become a legal entity or remain a spiritual entity only. For more on this, see Is a church a spiritual entity, a legal entity, or a spiritual/legal entity?

Is a church a spiritual or legal entity?


A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry


Click here to go to All Written Course Segments
Click here to go to General Questions Answered
Click here To Go to Links to All 5 Minute Youtube Course Segments


Click here to go to video of this lesson


 Jerald Finney
Copyright © November 27, 2017


To answer this question, one must define “legal entity” and “spiritual entity.” See What is a legal entity? for explanation of  “legal entity.” See What is a spiritual entity? for explanation of “spiritual entity.”

Ep.2.19-22God desires that a church be a spiritual entity, not a spiritual and legal entity. A church is composed of spiritual beings, born again believers.

  • 1 Peter 2:5 says, speaking to born again believers: “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
  • Ephesians 2.19-22 “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

Ephesians presents the local church. Chapters 1-3 are about the heavenly calling of the church and are doctrinal. Chapters 4-6 are about the earthly conduct of a church and are practical. Believers and churches sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus as they walk on the earth where they are to do God’s work in the family, on the job, in the church, and in the world. Click here to go to more detailed studies on the doctrine of the church from Ephesians and other books in the Bible. They are to walk in the spirit (See, for example, Galatians 5).

Ep.1.19-23_1In Ephesians 1.19-23 we learn that God set Christ “at his own right hand in heavenly places.” The suffix “ly” means “like” or “from,” and when added to a noun creates an adjective. So “heavenly” means like or from heaven. “Heavenly places” therefore means places like or from heaven. God has put all things under Christ’s “feet and gave him to be the head over all things to the church” (v. 22). 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.” His body is to walk on the earth, and be connected to Him. The body is to be connected to the Head. The New Testament makes clear that Christ desires that a church be spiritual, that all the church does be spiritual, that a church have only one head, a spiritual Head, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Again, a believer and a church are to be connected to Christ who is the head. A church is “his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all (23).” He made us to “sit together in Ep.1.22-23_3heavenly places in Christ Jesus” while we walk on the earth doing His work instructed by the Word of God as led by the Spirit of God..

Christ desires to be the only head of His churches. Ephesians 1:22 “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.” 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.”

The Bible has much more to say, but I believe that is enough for our purposes. That describes the church as a spiritual entity or body built by the Lord Jesus Christ over whom Christ is to be the head in all things. A church is a spiritual and eternal organism or body. See, for example, Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12 for more on that.

A church can choose to be what God wants it to be, an eternal spiritual entity under God only. Or a church can choose to be a temporal earthly entity such as a 501c3 corporation under both God and man or under man only. God allows churches the choice.

Spiritual blessings follow obedience; curses follow disobedience even though a church under God and man or under man only may have some temporal earthly success for a time.

The Bible clearly teaches that the unholy always corrupts the holy when the two are combined. As history shows, the official corrupted “church” was vile to the core. The Reformers became especially aware of the corruption within the Roman “church.” Corruption is inevitable when church and state are intermixed.

To quote a great Bible teacher: “The church that sets out to spiritualize the world will soon find that the world will secularize the church. When wheat and tares compromise, it is the wheat that suffers. Light and darkness, right and wrong, good and evil, truth and error are incompatibles, and when they compromise it is the light, the right, the good, and the truth that are damaged.”[1] As Pastor Hank Thompson, has preached: “Holy means set apart for God.  You cannot bring that which is holy and unholy together without making the holy things unholy. Holy things combined with unholy things do not make the unholy holy. It always makes the holy unholy. Being around someone who is sick may make a well person sick. Being around a well person won’t make a sick person well. If you are grounded and touch the ground and a power line at the same time, you are cooked. If you try to touch God and touch the world, you will be corrupted.”[2]

TaxExemptStatusCorruptsThe Holy Bible, the basic source for all truth proclaims:

  • “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God: as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters saith the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6.14-18).
  • Luke 16:13 “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16.13.)[3]

History proves this. Union of church and state corrupted the civil government, the Roman “church” and the people, except for a remnant.  It also corrupted the established Protestant churches and the nations which had established Protestant churches.

For a more thorough explanation of the doctrine of the church, see the resources in En 4.


Endnotes

[1] W. Graham Scroggie, born 1877, twelve times the Bible teacher at the famous Keswick, England conference, They Knew Their God, Vol. 5, 194 cited in The Berean Call, February 2006, p. 5, available at www.thebereancall.org. Separation is a Biblical principle that runs throughout scripture—Pastor Hank Thompson gave a tremendous sermon on “Separation” on Sunday evening, February 12, 2006.

[2] “Separation.” Sermon preached at Capitol City Baptist Church in Austin, Texas by Pastor Hank Thompson, February 12, 2006. See pp. 149-150 of God Betrayed (this is a link to the PDF).

[3] The doctrine of separation is taught extensively in the Word of God.

[4] What Is a Church and What Upholds Her Integrity? [Article], Bible Studies on the Doctrine of the Church, The Biblical Doctrine of the Church, The Biblical Doctrine of the Church


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

Jerald Finney
Copyright © September 9, 2015

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

BestAnswer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My answer  to the above question was as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 1: Legal Entity Status and the Corporation Sole

3

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

Introduction

Chapter 1: Legal Entity Status and the Corporation Sole (Below)
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

Related articles:

Jerald Finney
Copyright © February 2, 2015

Obviously, to one who studies these matters and as will be shown in the following chapters, the conclusion, and Appendix A and Appendix B, the Church Freedom and the Corporation Sole website does not understand the implications of the fact that the corporation sole is a legal entity and the fact that by organizing as a legal entity, a church becomes subject to all the legal requirements and law regarding legal entities.

Before one can understand the implications of corporation sole status (legal entity status), he must first understand the meaning of “legal entity.” BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY 893-894 (6th ed. 1990) defines “legal entity” as: “Legal existence. An entity, other than a natural person, who has sufficient existence in legal contemplation that it can function legally, be sued or sue and make decisions through agents as in the case of corporations.” Black’s definition is not totally accurate in that every citizen of America in his right mind is also a legal entity. A citizen may sue, be sued, be charged with a crime, make decisions himself, and function legally (enter into contracts, obtain insurance, get a bank account, etc.). A legal entity  such as a non-profit corporation (includes corporation sole) is obviously subject to the laws of the civil government which create the legal entity.

Thus, a church who is a legal entity may enter into contracts, open a bank account, obtain insurance in her name, go into debt, and act legally in other ways. Since a church is not a natural person, she must utilize specific law in order to become a legal entity and obtain “sufficient existence in legal contemplation that it can function legally, be sued or sue and make decisions.” She may do this by the use of state non-incorporation (includes corporation sole), charitable trust, business trust, unincorporated association, etc. law. Of course, the pastor of a corporation sole church acts legally on behalf of the church he represents.

The concise book, Separation of Church and State: God’s Churches – Spiritual or Legal Entities? by Jerald Finney, explains church legal entity versus spiritual entity status and the practical implications thereof. The booklet is free in both online and PDF form, or may be ordered from amazon.com.

The Church Freedom and the Corporation Sole website and corporation sole law make clear that a church who uses corporation sole law as a means of organization is a legal entity who is not under God only. The website clearly states the corporation sole is a legal entity and that the corporation sole church is a legal entity.

The statute that establishes the corporation sole church as a legal entity: ORS  § 65.067(1), 2013.
The statute that establishes the corporation sole church as a legal entity: ORS § 65.067(1), 2013.

The law they rely on and quote (they quote from 2011 law rather than the amended 2013 law) makes clear that a corporation sole is a type of legal entity known as a non-profit corporation. The latest version of that law—Oregon Revised Statutes, Oregon Non-profit Corporation Law, Volume 2 Business Organizations, Commercial Code § 65.067(1), 2013reads, 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….

“(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.

“Approved by the Governor May 16, 2013 Filed in the office of Secretary of State May 17, 2013 Effective date January 1, 2014.”

Note. The Church Freedom and the Corporation Sole website quotes from the 2011 version of the law.

Thus, according to Oregon Corporation Sole law, the corporation sole is controlled by the state law which creates it (not by God’s law) except “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.” So what is a Corporation Sole subject to? The rest of the non-profit corporation law, which can be accessed by clicking Oregon Revised Statutes, Oregon Non-profit Corporation Law, Volume 2 Business Organizations, Commercial Code § 65.067(1), 2013, (left click to go directly to the law) explains what law the Corporation Sole, a non-profit corporation and legal entity, is subject to. This author was going to copy and paste the above law below, but it is too voluminous. The concerned student will find that browsing the above linked to law is very enlightening in his examination of what the Church Freedom and the Corporation Sole website teaches.

Corporation: A Human Being with No Soul

15

Jerald Finney
Copyright © July 29, 2014

Some define corporation to mean “a human being with no soul;” of course this statement makes an important point even though it is not literally true. A corporation is not a human being, but it is an “artificial person” (a legal fiction) who acts legally, by, for example, entering into contracts, buying and selling property, suing and being sued. And, as an “artificial person” with no soul, the corporation, whether profit or not for profit, will act accordingly. Human beings with souls in a corporation act within an unnatural, soulless, Godless, state-created fiction; because of the contracts created by their act of incorporation, all disputes can be taken to secular courts where only man’s law and rules will be tolerated; do not try to argue God’s law in that environment. The “church” non-profit corporation will be polluted to some degree, greater or lesser, by the immoral, soulless part of the two-headed monster.

“Christian” churches, wiccan churches, planned parenthood, etc. are all under the same non-profit corporation status.

Many secularists understand the nature of incorporation. The statements in a recent article on corporations “Corporations had been viewed as artificial persons for millennia” (click the blue title to go to the article) gives some of the characteristics of incorporation. I urge the interested reader to read that article. The article concerns business corporations; but, although some of what the article says cannot be applied to church incorporation, much of what the article says is applicable to non-profit church corporations. I have explained the intricacies of church incorporation in the Section VI of God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (PDF, Online Version, Ordering Information) and in Separation of Church and State (PDF, Online Version, Ordering Information). Those resources thoroughly analyze church incorporation for the believer who has an open mind, some degree of intellect, and some Bible knowledge and wisdom about the principles of church, state, and separation of church and state—those requirements eliminate most believers and pastors, especially fundamental Baptist pastors.

5Some of the assertions in the article are applicable to non-profit corporations but some are not. The following are applicable to church incorporation (Quotes from the article are in parentheses. The bold material in brackets [] below are my notes, comments, and additions.):

  • Corporations had been viewed as artificial persons for millennia, the debate over whether they should be afforded the same rights as humans had been raging long before the United States created, or the 14th Amendment was adopted. The degree of permissible government interference in corporate affairs was controversial from the earliest days of the nation.”
  • LegalEntityStatus“Corporations as legal entities have always been able to perform commercial activities, similar to a person acting as a sole proprietor, such as entering into a contract or owning property. Therefore corporations have always had a ‘legal personality’ for the purposes of conducting business while shielding individual shareholders from personal liability (i.e., protecting personal assets which were not invested in the corporation).”

16[I cover “limited liability” for church corporation members in the article “Spurious rationale for church incorporation: limited liability/Incorporation increases liability of church members.”].

  • 6Corporate personhood is the legal concept that a corporation may be recognized as an individual in the eyes of the law. This doctrine forms the basis for legal recognition that corporations, as groups of people, may hold and exercise certain rights under the common law and the U.S. Constitution. The doctrine does not grant to corporations all of the rights of citizens.”
  • “As a matter of interpretation of the word ‘person’ in the Fourteenth Amendment, U.S. courts have extended certain constitutional protections to corporations. Opponents of corporate personhood seek to amend the U.S. Constitution to limit these rights to those provided by state law and state constitutions.”
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
First Amendment to the United States Constitution

[I explain how a church, by incorporating, gives up her First Amendment status and places herself to a large degree under the Fourteenth Amendment in the God Betrayed and Separation of Church and State. Non-incorporated churches (and churches which do not become legal entities in some other manner other than incorporation) are protected by the religion clause of the First Amendment, whereas, of course, the First Amendment religion clause gives no protection to a business. The religion clause is a statement of biblical principles (separation of church and state (the establishment clause) and soul liberty or freedom of conscious (the free exercise clause).]

  • PlannedParenthood_2“The basis for allowing corporations to assert protection under the U.S. Constitution is that they are organizations of people, and the people should not be deprived of their constitutional rights when they act collectively.[5] In this view, treating corporations as “persons” is a convenient legal fiction which allows corporations to sue and to be sued, provides a single entity for easier taxation…, simplifies complex transactions which would otherwise involve, in the case of large corporations, thousands of people, and protects the individual rights of the shareholders as well as the right of association.”

14thAm.[Churches which do not become legal entities, unlike businesses, are protected by the First Amendment religion clause. I explain why First Amendment protection for churches is biblical and much preferable to Fourteenth Amendment protection in God Betrayed and Separation of Church and State. In fact, seeking Fourteenth Amendment protection places a church under Satanic rules and regulations; the creator of the corporation is the state and state incorporation law gives the manner of organization, the officers, etc. that the law of incorporation requires. Therefore, incorporation completely changes the nature of a church. In addition to the books linked to above, some more concise articles on this matter are “Christians Who Call Evil Good and Good Evil,” “Is Separation of Church and State Found in the Constitution” and “Laws Protecting New Testament Church in the United States: Read Them for Yourselves.”]

  • “Generally, corporations are not able to claim constitutional protections which would not otherwise be available to persons acting as a group. For example, the Supreme Court has not recognized a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination for a corporation, since the right can be exercised only on an individual basis.”

[A New Testament (First Amendment)  church can claim First Amendment religion clause protection whereas a corporation cannot. Since a New Testament church, unlike a corporation, is a not a legal entity, she cannot sue, be sued, or act legally. Churches which become incorporated begin to act like corporate businesses in may ways.]

  • 9Corporations are NOT people.While it is true that what guides them is the human activity of their executives, boards of directors, managers and employees, all the human emotional factors of the people in the corporation pass through a “filter” created by the two basic rules: (a) Maximize profit (b) Do whatever is necessary to continue the business.”(Rule a should be modified when it conflicts with rule b).”

[In a church corporation, the officers of the corporation operate an entity whose organization, goals, structure, morality, piety, and officers are mandated by state law in direct contradiction to the organization, goals, structure, morality, piety, and officers given by God’s Holy Bible in the New Testament.]

  • 7“It is a slippery road to give personal rights to corporations. The corporation is an amoral entity, i.e., not governed by human moral values. It lacks guilt for what it does, or empathy for those it harms. What’s worse, this “sociopathic” entity is given the rights of a human being, but not similar responsibilities. A corporation is particularly dangerous because of its great concentration of money, power, and political influence–which it uses freely to reach its goals.”

8[These realities are clearly seen in the Catholic “church” (not incorporated), and also in incorporated Fundamental Baptist Churches. A prime example of the latter is First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana. See the article “Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy.” One can also do a google search to see the reactions of the church lawyer (David Gibbs) and the church members of First Baptist of Hammond for more confirmation. This scenario has played out on a smaller scale in many other Fundamental Baptist Churches, including the offspring, followers, and worshipers of First Baptist of Hammond and her pastors.]

13Other parts of the article (the parts dealing with rights of corporations to make political expenditures under the First Amendment free speech clause, the role corporate money plays and should play in democratic politics, the dangers of giving too much power to corporations to allow corporations to participate directly on political campaigns as a threat to democracy) apply to some degree to church corporations. All one has to do is look at the operations of, for example, the average “fundamental church and her pastor, the average seminary or Bible college and what they teach, and the words and activities of the lawyers involved with those institutions to see the application of those matters. That is all the author will say about that in this brief article.

Fundamental Baptist tradition perceives the truth to be that churches are to incorporate and get 28 U.S.C. Section 501(c)(3) status. At the same time, that tradition preaches that the Bible is to be the sole source of truth. The reality is that the biblical doctrines of church, state, and separation of church and state disprove the first mentioned Baptist tradition. But after all, it is the perception of the truth, not the truth, that matters.