Tag Archives: the bride of Christ

Lesson 11: A Church Is a Spiritual Body (Ephesians)

The Church Will Be a Bride: The Expectation of the Church – Ephesians 5.25-33
(16 questions with answers following)
Click here to go to the “Bible Studies on the Doctrine of the Church” (Has links to all lessons) 
Click here to go to Lesson 12
Added on April 8, 2017

Answers at the end, following the questions
Those who disagree with anything please see the note at the end. Reasoned dialogue is encouraged and any Bible or fact based comments, if made in a Christian manner in an attempt to get to the truth will be considered.

These are open book quizzes. Refer to your Bible for answers.

Ephesians 5:25-33: “ 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 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. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

  1. Only the Christian can know what is real love in __________, because it is carried to the high plane of the relationship between ________ and the ________.
  2. Christ loved the ________ and gave Himself for ___ – that is in the ______.
  3. In the __________ He is sanctifying the church with the ________ of the ______ of God.
  4. The cleanser, the ________, is better than any _________ advertised on radio or television.
  5. In the ________, he will present it to Himself a ____________ church, without ______ or wrinkle but holy and without __________.
  6. A church is not an _____________ with a steeple, a pulpit, and an organ. A church is a spiritual ______ (a living ____________) made up of true believers. Ephesians 5.27 means he is washing each __________, preparing ______ _____ for the marriage of the ______.
  7. In Ephesians 5.28-32, Paul draws on _____ themes and goes ______ and forth, _________ and ______, ________ and his ________.
  8. What a couple needs for their wedding ceremony is

    a. a champagne supper
    b. lots of useful gifts
    c. to be filled with the Holy Spirit
    d. a high priced reception
  1. Marriage makes a wife a part of the ______ of her __________.
  2. It is unnatural for a man to hate his own _______, so the _________ is to love his wife because she is his own _______.
  3. Christ, knowing the weakness of a church, ____________ and ____________ it.  __________ are to do the same.
  4. Verse 31 is a quotation from

    a. Exodus 10.6
    b. Genesis 2.24
    c. Song of Solomon 4.3
    d. Psalm 5.7
  1. Paul refers, in verse 31, back to a relationship that existed in the Garden of ______ between ______ and _____. That first couple is a figure of the future union of ________ and the ________ as ______________ and bride.
  2. God meant for Christians to have this relationship on a much _________ plane than the new morality and sexual freedom, which put young people in __________.
  3. I say to you young Christian ladies today: Don’t marry a ______ man. Don’t take anything but the ______ that _____ has to offer you.
  4. Ephesians 5.33 is the practical part about marriage down here. The _________ and ______ in the home are to set forth in simplicity the __________ of the coming glory. Here, Paul brings the romantic into the realm of _________.

Answers

  1. Only the Christian can know what is real love in marriage, because it is carried to the high plane of the relationship between Christ and the church.
  2. Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it – that is in the past.
  3. In the present He is sanctifying the church with the water of the Word of God.
  4. The cleanser, the Bible, is better than any cleanser advertised on radio or television.
  5. In the future, he will present it to Himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle but holy and without blemish.
  6. A church is not an organization with a steeple, a pulpit, and an organ. A church is a spiritual body (a living organism) made up of true believers. Ephesians 5.27 means he is washing each believer, preparing each one for the marriage of the Lamb.
  7. In Ephesians 5.28-32, Paul draws on two themes and goes back and forth, husband and wife, Christ and his church.
  8. c. to be filled with the Holy Spirit
  9. Marriage makes a wife a part of the body of her husband.
  10. It is unnatural for a man to hate his own flesh, so the husband is to love his wife because she is his own flesh.
  11. Christ, knowing the weakness of a church, nourishes and cherishes it. Husbands are to do the same.
  12. b. Genesis 2.24
  13. Paul refers, in verse 31, back to a relationship that existed in the Garden of Eden between Adam and Eve. That first couple is a figure of the future union of Christ and the church as bridegroom and bride.
  14. God meant for Christians to have this relationship on a much higher plane than the new morality and sexual freedom, which put young people in slavery.
  15. I say to you young Christian ladies today: Don’t marry a lost man. Don’t take anything but the best that God has to offer you.
  16. Ephesians 5.33 is the practical part about marriage down here. The husband and wife in the home are to set forth in simplicity the mystery of the coming glory. Here, Paul brings the romantic into the realm of reality.

Should you disagree with an answer given, please explain why you disagree in the comment section below the article. All reasoned comments will be published, perhaps with reply. The purpose of this website is the Glory of God. God cannot be glorified by shutting out honest disagreement in the search for truth. The author would be interested in your explanation. The comments are required by the website to be approved or disapproved. The author is very busy with many matters and may or may not immediately notice your comment. He will address it as soon as he notices it. He almost always approves comments presented with a godly spirit. He never alters comments. Sometimes, he replies to comments.

Lesson 9: A Church Is a Spiritual Body (Ephesians)

The Church Will Be a Bride: The Engagement of the Church – Ephesians 5.1-17
(13 questions with answers following)
Click here to go to the “Bible Studies on the Doctrine of the Church” (Has links to all lessons)
Click here to go to Lesson 10
Added on  March 28, 2017

Answers at the end, following the questions
Those who disagree with anything please see the note at the end. Reasoned dialogue is encouraged and any Bible or fact based comments, if made in a Christian manner in an attempt to get to the truth will be considered.

These are open book quizzes. Refer to your Bible for answers.

  1. The emphasis on this chapter is the __________. The church will be a ________.
  2. Today the church is not a bride. The church is a _____ ______ walking in the world; and the church is espoused (engaged) to _________, but is not wedded to ______. On earth, we are to _______ as a future ________.

    Revelation 19:7 “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.” Revelation 21: “2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.
  3. 2 Corinthians 11:2-3 “For I am jealous over you with godly __________: for I have __________ you to one ________, that I may present you as a chaste ________ to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the ____________ that is in Christ.”

    In 2 Corinthians 11:2-3, Paul is speaking to the church at ________. The only representation of the institution of the church until the marriage of the lamb is the local, autonomous, New Testament _________.
  4. According to Ephesians 5.1-18, the future bride espoused to the Lord Jesus Christ is to _______ in a prescribed manner. This manner of walk parallels the proper walk of a woman who is espoused to a _________. This manner of walk is an __________ of _______. Before becoming a believer, the children of God walked on a very ________ worldly plane. After salvation they are called “________ children” and are lifted to the plane of the __________ which Christ exhibited when He loved us enough to give Himself as an offering and a _________ for our sin.

    Ephesians 5:2 “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a ________ to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”
  5. Ephesians 5.3-5 describes sins prevalent among _____________. Paul is saying that the child of God cannot ____________ engage in these. Even a slight indulgence brings about a revulsion and agony of ______. If you can get into_____ and not be troubled or bothered by it, you are not a child of God.
  6. List the sins pointed out in Ephesians 5.3-4.
  7. Rather than partaking in those sins, the believer is to give _________.
  8. The _____________ man who practices these sins has no portion in the Kingdom of Christ and of God. God will pour out his ________ upon the children of ____________. If you are a child of God and do these things, God will __________ you.
  9. In Ephesians 5.8-10, Paul reminds believers of their former state: they “were sometimes ____________,” but now are “_________ in the Lord.” They are to “walk as children of  _________.” For the fruit of the spirit is all ____________ and _______________ and _________. They are “proving what is ____________ to the Lord.”
  10. In Ephesians 5.11-13, Paul speaks of the “unfruitful works of __________.” The believer is to have “no ______________ with them,” but “rather to reprove” “It is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in __________.” The ________, by __________, makes those things manifest.
  11. In Ephesians 5.14-17, Paul tells believers to ________ and _________ from the dead. Only ______ can _________ us from our spiritual stupor. He again instructs us to walk circumspectly, “not as _________, but as _______. We are to _________ the time, because the days are _______. He again, in verse 17, urges us to be ______, knowing the ______ of the Lord.
  12. Thus, we are instructed, to ______ a certain way during our engagement leading up to our marriage to the Lamb of God.
  13. These verses, in the context of this chapter and Ephesians as a whole, is speaking to the members of body of the church at __________ and to the members and bodies of all New Testament ___________.

Answers

  1. The emphasis on this chapter is the future. The church will be a bride.
  2. Today the church is not a bride. The church is a new man walking in the world; and the church is espoused (engaged) to Christ, but is not wedded to him. On earth, we are to walk as a future bride.

    Revelation 19:7 “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.” Revelation 21: “2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.
  3. 2 Corinthians 11:2-3 “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

    In 2 Corinthians 11:2-3, Paul is speaking to the church at Corinth. The only representation of the institution of the church until the marriage of the lamb is the local, autonomous, New Testament church.
  4. According to Ephesians 5.1-18, the future bride espoused to the Lord Jesus Christ is to walk in a prescribed manner. This manner of walk parallels the proper walk of a woman who is espoused to a man. This manner of walk is an imitation of God. Before becoming a believer, the children of God walked on a very low worldly plane. After salvation they are called “dear children” and are lifted to the plane of the love which Christ exhibited when He loved us enough to give Himself as an offering and a sacrifice for our sin.

    Ephesians 5:2 “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”
  5. Ephesians 5.3-5 describes sins prevalent among unbelievers. Paul is saying that the child of God cannot habitually engage in these. Even a slight indulgence brings about a revulsion and agony of soul. If you can get into sin and not be troubled or bothered by it, you are not a child of God.
  6. The sins pointed out in Ephsians 5.3-4 are: fornication (both earthly and spiritual—a church can commit fornication by, for example, having a relationship with the civil government); all uncleanness (all forms of immorality); covetousness ( a grasping and desire and not just for material wealth; a church, for example is covetousness when it desires big buildings, wealthy members regardless of their spiritual condition, position, power beyond that provided by God, etc. ); this is a rotten sin “not to be once named among you.”); filthiness (the utmost in depravity); foolish talking (to gloat or brag about sinning); jesting (this does not include good, clean, humor).
  7. Rather than partaking in those sins, the believer is to give thanks.
  8. The unregenerate man who practices these sins has no portion in the Kingdom of Christ and of God. God will pour out his wrath upon the children of disobedience (Ep. 5.5-7). If you are a child of God and do these things, God will chasten
  9. In Ephesians 5.8-10, Paul reminds believers of their former state: they “were sometimes darkness,” but now are “light in the Lord.” They are to “walk as children of light.” For the fruit of the spirit is all goodness and righteousness and truth. They are “proving what is acceptable to the Lord.”
  10. In Ephesians 5.11-13, Paul speaks of the “unfruitful works of darkness.” The believer is to have “no fellowship with them,” but “rather to reprove” “It is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.” The light, by reproof, makes those things manifest.
  11. In Ephesians 5.14-17, Paul tells believers to awake and arise from the dead. Only God can awaken us from our spiritual stupor. He again instructs us to walk circumspectly, “not as fools, but as wise. We are to redeem the time, because the days are evil. He again, in verse 17, urges us to be wise, knowing the will of the Lord.
  12. Thus, we are instructed, to walk a certain way during our engagement leading up to our marriage to the Lamb of God.
  13. These verses, in the context of this chapter and Ephesians as a whole, is speaking to the members of body of the church at Ephesus and to the members and bodies of all New Testament churches.

Should you disagree with an answer given, please explain why you disagree in the comment section below the article. All reasoned comments will be published, perhaps with reply. The purpose of this website is the Glory of God. God cannot be glorified by shutting out honest disagreement in the search for truth. The author would be interested in your explanation. The comments are required by the website to be approved or disapproved. The author is very busy with many matters and may or may not immediately notice your comment. He will address it as soon as he notices it. He almost always approves comments presented with a godly spirit. He never alters comments. Sometimes, he replies to comments.

Spurious rationale for church corporate-501(c)(3) status: One’s convictions


Jerald Finney
Copyright © December 10, 2012


From Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities. Not in God Betrayed.


Preface

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

This article will deal with the fifth false reason, one’s convictions. Other articles cover the other five reasons:  

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

Article:
Spurious rationale for church corporate-501(c)(3) status: One’s convictions

Pastors, Christians, and churches give various “theological” reasons to excuse the incorporation and 501(c)(3) tax exemption of churches. The theologies of Catholic and Protestant churches have traditionally supported church-state union and therefore incorporation and 501(c)(3), although such churches have some problems with American incorporation and 501(c)(3) which give civil government considerable control over churches rather than giving the established church control over civil government (select articles from the categories at left for information on the control given civil government through incorporation  and 501(c)(3)). In most cases, their objection to corporate 501(c)(3) status and the control such a position gives civil government over their churches does not prevent them from submitting and obtaining that status. The author explains the Catholic and Protestant theologies that support church establishment in God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (all books by Jerald Finney are also available free in both PDF and online form on this website; for information on ordering the paperback copies of the books see the “Books” page of the “Church and State Law“ website, or the “Order information page for books by Jerald Finney” page of this website); in the article “An Abridged History of the First Amendment“; in his radio broadcasts which are archived on the “Radio Broadcast” page of the ”Church and State Law” website; and in the audio teachings which are linked to on the “Blog” page of “Church and State Law” website. (Click the following link to preview God Betrayed: Link to preview of God Betrayed.))

Bible believing churches are not as sophisticated in their rationale for incorporating and getting 501(c)(3). Their rationale is anemic since biblical principle, without the perversions of Catholic and Protestant theologies,  supports separation of church and state (not separation of God and state). One reason given by “Bible believing” churches, especially Baptist,  is that the issue of whether to incorporate and/or get 501(c)(3) status is an important issue, but it is not the most important issue; therefore, they reason, if a church finds it impractical to discard or reject the corporate and/or 501(c)(3) status, then just go ahead with that status and do the best you can because the most important thing for believers and churches is winning souls. That reason is false, as the author explains in various resources: for example, (1) the booklet, The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls (all books by Jerald Finney are also available free in both PDF and online form on this website; for information on ordering the paperback copies of the books see the “Books” page of the “Church and State Law“ website, or the “Order information page for books by Jerald Finney” page of this website); (2) the article, The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls; and (3) audio teachings on The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls, available on the “Radio Broadcast” page of “Church and State Law”.

Another reason given by some pastors and Christians of “Bible believing” churches for their decision to incorporate is that it is up to each individual church to decide the issue based upon “their convictions.” The author hears this excuse from pastors all the time. In this article, he addresses this rationale using an article written by Dr. Charles Brown as a springboard.

The question to be answered is: “Can one decide either to incorporate a church (or to continue as an incorporated church) or not to incorporate a church and still please God?” The proper place to begin is by defining “conviction” and “principle.” Relevant definitions of “conviction” are: (1) “a strong persuasion or belief;” (2) “the state of being convinced” (Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (10th ed., 1995)). Principle may be defined as: “a comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption” (Ibid.). Of course, if a conviction is based upon biblical principles, that conviction is valid in the eyes of God. Cannot true followers of Christ agree that if one acts upon a conviction which is contrary to or not based upon principles in the Word of God, “sin lieth at the door?”

Dr. Charles Brown wrote an article, “To Incorporate or Not to Incorporate,” which was published in the April, 2008 issue of The Landmark Anchor. In that article, Dr. Brown explains why his conviction is that a church should incorporate. However, he also states in the article, “If  a church has theological objections to becoming incorporated, then, by all means, do not incorporate.” In other words, according to that statement of Dr. Brown, since the Bible does not offer any comprehensive principles or doctrine controlling church corporate status one can safely choose either corporate or non-corporate status without violating biblical precept.

However, while making that statement, Dr. Brown also makes his case for church incorporation. Interestingly, he does not state any biblical principles concerning the organization, purpose, fate, or nature of churches to back up what he says. Rather, he bases his understanding upon “research and consultation with a law firm.”

He refers to the law in his article:

(1)    He correctly states that a “corporation is a legal status that enables a group joined together for a stated reason … to act as if it is a person. That ‘legal person’ may own property, conduct business, and otherwise carry out its purpose.” A New Testament and First Amendment church (hereinafter referred to as a “First Amendment church”) may not own property, or conduct business (as the word is used in America). A First Amendment church cannot also be a “business.” However, a First Amendment church may utilize property in American in a manner consistent with biblical principles; and, unlike the state incorporated church, she may carry out her purpose within the letter of civil law while still pleasing her Lord. The incorporated church has a “form of godliness, but denies the power thereof.”

Note. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is the implementation of the biblical principle of separation of church and state (not separation of God and State). This is fully explained in the book God Betrayed which, as explained above, is available on this website in both PDF and online form and can be ordered in paperback form.

(2)    Dr. Brown then asserts that “Usually a church incorporates to limit its liability.” His statement is true as to a false reason given for incorporation of a church.  It is not true that a state incorporated “church” and its members has more protection from liability than a First Amendment church and her members. Again, I explain this in Section VI, Chapter 6 of God Betrayed, in audio teachings available on the “Blog” and “Radio Broadcast” pages of “Church and State Law,” and in the article “Church Incorporation Increases Liability of Church Members.”

(3)    Dr. Brown states, “An unincorporated church is owned by individuals. Each share in the liability of the property and all things done in the name of that church. In a church split, the assets of the church may be claimed by either side and lawsuits could erupt, because each member owns the church.” (This is a direct accurate quote from his article.).

His assertions are totally wrong as to a First Amendment church, but correct as to the incorporated church. A First Amendment church, a spiritual entity only, is owned by the Lord Jesus Christ only. A First Amendment church owns no property, although there are many legal means in America for such a church to utilize property without owning property. Perhaps Dr. Brown should reread the Bible, and especially I Corinthians Chapter 6 in regard to lawsuits by church members. All the legal problems occurring within churches are in incorporated churches – to understand this, just make use of Google.

In fact, the incorporated church creates several contracts when it incorporates – contracts between the state and the corporation, between the corporation and the members, between the members themselves, and between the members and the state. The controlling party to all these contracts is the state, and the state will decide disputes based upon secular, not Biblical, law. Try appealing to the Bible when you get into such a dispute. The sovereign of the corporation will quickly explain your error and hold you in contempt if you do not  abandon your appeal to God’s principles.

(4) He also asserts: “The United States Constitution guarantees freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Churches fit in those categories. Anything the state might choose to do (prosecute, regulate, etc.) to a church, they may do regardless if the church is incorporated or not.”

The author explains in detail why this is a totally ridiculous and false statement in various resources. A man who make such a statement is speaking outside his field of expertise.

(5) Dr. Brown proclaims: “[A] church is not state licensed because it is incorporated. A license is a recognition from a responsible authority to conduct an activity that would be illegal to conduct without that license. No church needs to be licensed to be a church. An unincorporated church may legally do the same activities that one that is incorporated.”

That statement by Dr. Brown is a jumbled mess. First, who is a “responsible authority?” Perhaps he is referring to a civil government. What if the civil government which requires a license is not a responsible authority? A First Amendment church which is not a legal entity such as a corporation cannot get a license. A corporate church, since she is a legal entity, can get a license. The author explains that in his resources.

Second, individual believers can choose to get such a license and thereby displease our Lord. One notable Christian who chose not to get a license was John Bunyan. One can read a portion of his trial transcript in the article, “An Abridged History of the First Amendment.” If you read the article, you will find out the reasons a Christian should not get a license for preaching, holding church meetings, and for certain other spiritual activities.

Third, although licensure and incorporation are not the same, they both violate the  biblical doctrine of the church.

Fourth, an incorporated church cannot do everything that a First Amendment church, which is not a legal entity in any way, can do.

Furthermore, the corporate church is organized according the law of her sovereign state (the law makes clear that the sovereign of the corporation, including the non-profit religious organization – the correct name for an incorporated “church” – is the state of incorporation). One can find out exactly what non-profit incorporation is in my books, articles, and audio teachings available from “Church and State Law” and “Separation of Church and State Law” blog.

Finally, the nature of a corporate church is entirely different from that of a First Amendment church in many respects. The corporate church has given up much of her Constitutional protections. She falls under the Fourteenth Amendment as opposed to the First Amendment as to many matters. She has also grieved our Lord since she has placed herself at least partially under another head.

(6) He goes on to say that “Incorporated churches are not ‘state run churches.’ Incorporated churches do not have to report to the state what they preach, how much money is spent, how they run their affairs, or who tithes. They do have to give the state an application typically containing: name and address of the church, purpose of the organization, manner of election of ‘officers,’ the  name and  address of the initial registered agent (usually the Pastor), and three names and addresses of the incorporators (usually trustees or deacons). The church ought to have a constitution and bylaws but they are for the internal working of the church and the state will not review them, nor want them.”

Dr. Brown does give a few isolated facts about incorporation, but he does not examine the law involved in any depth. He does not mention the biblical principles for a church and compare those principles to the facts and law concerning incorporation. He, for example, fails to mention that the “sovereign of the corporation is the state,” that the corporation is a creature of the state, that the corporation must follow the rules that are given her by her sovereign, that the corporation must be structured according to the organizational rules laid down by the sovereign state, etc. The author explains exactly the law of the non-profit corporation in books, articles, and audio teachings.

Again, the author has compared biblical principle with the law and facts about incorporation in various resources including his books (available for purchase on the “Books” page of “Church and State Law”; in articles audio teachings available on the “Radio Broadcast” and “Blog” pages of “Church and State Law;” and in articles and audio teachings on this “Separation of Church and State Law” blog.).

(7) Finally, Dr. Brown mentions the court case, Hale v. Hinkle, a Supreme Court decision. His analysis is flawed. See the article linked to in the next paragraph for my comments on this.

In “To Incorporate of Not to Incorporate: Attorney Jerald Finney Answers Dr. Charles Brown, Executive VP of Landmark Baptist College,” (as a reminder, you can left click the preceding link to go directly to that article; however, the website was hijacked and all the issues of the magazine from which the article was taken, “The Trumpet,” have as of this date – September 4, 2013, to have been restored) an article published in the July-September issue of The Trumpet, the author rebuts to Dr. Brown’s article. That article, which was originally entitled “Responses to Arguments that Biblical Principles Do Not Clearly Warn Against Incorporation of Churches” addresses Dr. Brown’s article in more detail than does this brief article.

All Jerald Finney’s resources comprehensively deal with the issue of separation of church and state. Involved in the issue is the issue of whether incorporation and 501(c)(3), or becoming a legal entity in any way) violates principles in the Word of God and therefore grieves our Lord and ultimately results in bad consequences. When one applies the law and facts to biblical principles,  he sees that it is very clear that incorporation and 501(c)(3), etc. of churches are “iniquities” and grieve our Lord.

The church who is serious about her relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ may be ignorant about the biblical doctrines of church, state, and separation of church and state. Sooner or later, she will suffer consequences as will the individuals and families in that church. However, the willfully ignorant church or the church which continues in presumptuous sin, her individual members, and the families within her church family are in greater danger (see, e.g., 2 Peter 1 and Hosea 4).

Endnote

Responses to Arguments that Biblical Principles Do Not Clearly Warn Against Incorporation of Churches
By Jerald Finney
Lead Counsel for the Biblical Law Center

Dr. Charles Brown recently wrote an article entitled “To Incorporate or Not to Incorporate” which was published in the April, 2008 edition of The Landmark Anchor. In that article, he brought out important issues which, from a biblical perspective, are preeminent for a New Testament church. This article briefly answers some of the common assertions of various Christians which are reflected in Dr. Brown’s article.

I recently completed a book called God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application. In that 453 page book I thoroughly addressed all the issues Dr. Brown raises and more. I want to encourage every Bible believer to get this book and study it. In the above mentioned article, Dr. Brown does not get into United States Code § 501(c)(3) (“501(c)(3)”) tax-exempt status for a church. Since almost all churches which incorporate also get 501(c)(3) status, such status should be considered in conjunction with the issue of incorporation of churches; but since Dr. Brown did not include the issue in his article, I will not address the issue herein. God Betrayed examines the issue of 501(c)(3) tax-exemption of churches.

It is impossible to do this subject justice in a short article, but I will attempt to shed some light on the issues he raised as succinctly as possible.

Dr. Brown stated: “A church does not have to be incorporated to be a real church.” My reply to that statement follows:

  • What is a real church? The New Testament gives the answer to that question. The revelation of the mystery of the church, which was foretold, but not explained by Christ in Matthew 16.18, was committed to Paul. In his writings alone we find the doctrine, position, walk, and destiny of the church. God Betrayed delves into the biblical doctrines concerning the church.
  • New Testament churches never submitted themselves to the state in any way. In fact, the apostles were careful not to render to Caesar the things that were God’s. They were jealous of God’s churches. Paul said to the church, “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (II Cor. 11.2-3).”
  • Is a corrupted church a real church? What if the leaders of a church reject knowledge and succumb to Satan’s seductions? In other words, what if those leaders are willfully ignorant (see Hosea 4)? Individuals have a responsibility after being saved—they are to add to their faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge temperance, to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity (II Pe. 1.4-7). They are to engage in spiritual warfare using spiritual weapons which constitute the whole “armour of God” (Ep. 6.10-18). Included in that “armour” is having one’s loins girt about with truth (Ep. 6.14).
  • A New Testament church is a spiritual entity only. Doing anything in America which subjects a church to the civil government in any way renders that church a “legal entity.” A “legal entity” is “an entity, other than a natural person, who has sufficient existence in legal contemplation that it can function legally, be sued or sue and make decisions through agents as in the case of corporations (BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY (6th Ed., 1990), definition of ‘Legal Entity’).”
  • God desires that Christ be the only head over His churches (Ep. 1.22, 23; 2.22; 5.23-24; Col. 1.15-18).
  • The church is analogized to a husband and bridegroom of the church (Jn. 3.28, 29; Ro. 7.4; II Co. 11.1-4; Ep. 5.23-33; Re. 19.6-8).

Dr. Brown stated: “The United States [C]onstitution guarantees its citizens freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Churches fit in those categories.” My response:

  • The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and the right to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” In the religion clause, churches are guaranteed freedom from government control. The words and history of the Amendment make this clear. Section VI of God Betrayed gives an unrevised account of the history of the First Amendment.
  • The words of the religion clause state, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment or religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Thus, the First Amendment allows a church to remain under God only without persecution, or to repent if they incorporated, gained 501(c)(3) status, or made ithemselves a legal entity in any way. The Biblical Law Center has already helped many churches to return to New Testament church status and is there to help other churches who wish to please God and return to New Testament church status. The freedom guaranteed a church by the First Amendment can be enjoyed within the parameters of the laws of the states and of the United States. The United States Supreme Court still recognizes that the state cannot interfere with a New Testament Church. Of course, there may be rogue governmental agencies and courts that may ignore these protections; but if a New Testament church makes sure to close all doors to being classified as a legal entity, there is no avenue for suit or attack against that church.

Dr. Brown stated: “Anything the state might choose to do (prosecute, regulate, etc.) to a church, they may do regardless if the church is incorporated or not.”

  • This statement not only contradicts what Dr. Brown said in his previous two sentences, it also is simply not true. A New Testament church cannot be prosecuted. It is not a legal entity. An individual within a New Testament church may be prosecuted for crimes or sued for torts allegedly committed, whether as principal or party. However, a New Testament church is not a legal entity as is an incorporated 501(c)(3) church; and, therefore, she cannot sue, be sued, or be charged with a crime. Only a member or members who allegedly committed a crime or tort can be charged with a crime or sued under the laws of a civil government.
  • The First Amendment guarantees that a New Testament church cannot be prosecuted, regulated, etc.

Dr. Brown’s statements concerning incorporation which follow his last mentioned statement are jumbled and very misleading. He is correct to say that incorporation “is a legal status that enables a group joined together for a stated reason (business, church, club, etc.) to act as if it was a person. That ‘legal person’ may own property, conduct business, and otherwise carry out its purpose.” As I stated above, a corporation is a legal entity. However, Dr. Brown’s description is incomplete. As pointed out in much more detail and with legal citations given in God Betrayed, civil law makes clear that:

  • “A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible and existing only in the contemplation of law. As a mere creature of law, it possesses only those properties which the charter of its creation confers upon it. A corporation is not a natural person but rather an artificial person, that is, a legal fiction or a creature of statute (18 AM. JUR. 2D Corporations § 1 (2007)).”
  • The sovereign of the corporation is the state that creates it. “No corporation can exist without the consent or grant of the sovereign, since the corporation is a creature of the state and derives its powers by legislative grant…. Because the granting of the privilege to be a corporation and to do business in that form rests entirely in the state’s discretion, a state is justified in imposing such conditions on that privilege as it deems necessary, so long as those conditions are not imposed in a discriminatory manner (18A AM. JUR. 2D Corporations § 156 (2007)).”
  • A corporation is defined as “An artificial person or legal entity created by or under the authority of the laws of the state.” (BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY 340 (6th Ed. 1990), under definition of “Corporation,” citing Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 17 U.S. (4 Wheat.) 518 (1819)).”
  • Early in our national history, the United States Supreme Court solidified already existing precedent—in a case involving a religious institution of higher learning and which influenced many churches to incorporate—concerning the attributes of incorporation which are applied to churches (Dartmouth College). In that same case, the Supreme Court defined the differences between public and private corporations. Public corporations are not voluntary associations and there is no contractual relation between the government and the individuals who compose the corporation as there is with the private corporation (such as railroad companies, banks, insurance companies, charities, churches, religious organizations, etc.); a corporation which does not possess governmental powers or functions is a private corporation (Ibid.).

Dr. Brown states that “[a]n unincorporated church is owned by individuals.”

If an unincorporated church is not a legal entity (incorporating and getting 501(c)(3) status are not the only ways to become legal entities), it is a New Testament church and the church is owned by the Lord Jesus Christ who said, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Mt. 16.18)(Emphasis mine).” A New Testament church remains a spiritual entity only and owns no property. God Betrayed explains how an American church can assemble on property without owning it, etc.

Dr. Brown asserts that churches usually incorporate to limit liability.

However, in addition to limited liability, other reasons for incorporating are given by members of “churches:” incorporating protects their personal assets (1) from liability for the debts of the corporation, (2) from the torts and criminal acts of the corporation, and (3) from liability on contracts entered into by the corporation. Although such arguments are partially correct, they are misleading. These arguments are spurious for several reasons which are more thoroughly discussed in God Betrayed. The corporate veil can be pierced. Limited liability is not absolute as is explained in God Betrayed. Also, biblical principle is against a church going into debt; and if she does go into debt, not only does the Word of God teach that God expects her to honor her debts; but also that church has become a legal entity because she can be sued if she defaults on her debts and she can sue if the other party to the debt defaults on her agreements surrounding the indebtedness. As to torts and criminal acts, only visible members of a New Testament church can commit such acts. A New Testament church cannot commit a tort or a crime. Thus, only people (members), not a New Testament church (a spiritual entity only and not a legal entity), can be charged with a tort or crime to which they have allegedly either been principal or party. As to contracts, a New Testament church (a spiritual entity) has no need to and cannot enter into contracts. One can get around these principles only by means of human reasoning which are contrary to God’s principles.

Dr. Brown asks the question, “Is becoming an incorporated church the same as being a state licensed church?”

This question is a diversionary tactic. Of course the two are not the same; but, according to biblical principles, to license a church is a wicked act, and to incorporate a church is a wicked act. I have already pointed out many of the reasons why incorporation is wrong. God Betrayed gives other reasons and is much more detailed.

Dr. Brown then asks, “What about theological objections to incorporation?”He recommends not incorporating if one has theological objections.

  • The Word of God does not leave such an important issue up for grabs, and God expects His children to seek out and apply the principles He has laid down. God Betrayed is theological. Unlike most lawyers, including many or most of those who call themselves Christian, the foundation for all that I believe, as stated in God Betrayed, is biblical. My authority is not Supreme Court cases or civil laws. In God Betrayed, I first go to the Bible and explain the biblical principles of government, church, and separation of church and state. Then I examine history, Supreme Court decisions, and civil law (specifically incorporation, 501(c)(3), and other related laws as regards churches) in light of biblical principle. My main message is to New Testament churches, churches who want to be New Testament churches in obedience to biblical principle due to love for God, and to any other churches or Christians who want to know truth concerning these vital issues.
  • The real question should be, “What does the Bible teach about incorporation?” God Betrayed explains the biblical principles concerning incorporation (and 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status) for churches and the consequences for violating those principles. God teaches that a church which incorporates has committed a wicked act. That church may continue to operate within God’s permissive will, but as with the nation Israel, the only true theocracy which has ever existed,  when she rejected God as ruler (and God permitted Israel to reject Him), once a church dishonors her relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, that church is on a slippery slope down. The end result will be spiritual apostasy, moral awfulness, and political tyranny. As the Bible teaches, the only remedy for apostasy is judgment.

Dr. Brown states that the Christian Law Association (“CLA”) has some excellent printed material that explains these issues simply and thoroughly.

I disagree. Although simplistic, CLA explanations on the issue of incorporation (and 501(c)(3) status) of churches are wrong according to biblical principles. As a Christian, I contributed to the CLA for a few years and respected much of what they did, as I still do concerning some of their work. Then I was called by God to become a lawyer. A few years ago, I began an intense study of the Bible, history, and the law concerning the issue of separation of church and state. I discovered that CLA founds what it believes on man’s statutory and case law, interprets the Bible according to man’s statutory and case law, revises history, and disseminates myths about the issue of separation of church and state (which involves the issues of incorporation and 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status for churches). In fact, David Gibbs of the CLA once taught biblical principles concerning these issues but was persuaded by powerful pastors who had decided that they were going to seek incorporation and 501(c)(3) status that he should go with them on the issue. According to some sources, these pastors told him that if he did so they would establish his legal practice. It is irrefutable that after Attorney Gibbs switched his position, his earthly power and influence were multiplied many times over and the CLA began to thrive materially as an earthly entity with the financial support of thousands of churches and believers. Perhaps he felt that he should go with them to help and protect them, just as Jeremiah went with some of the Jews to Egypt against God’s warning. However, Jeremiah still spoke total truth as given him by God.

Dr. Brown then states that “Incorporated churches are not ‘state run churches.’”

  • In fact, incorporated churches, as fully explained in God Betrayed, are two-headed monsters. “Thus, whenever there is an incorporated church, there are two entities—the one, the church as such, not owing its ecclesiastical or spiritual existence to the civil law, and the other, the legal corporation—each separate, although closely allied. The former is voluntary and is not a corporation or a quasi corporation. On the other hand, a corporation which is formed for the acquisition and taking care of the property of the church, must be regarded as a legal personality, and is in no sense ecclesiastical in its functions (66 AM. JUR. 2D Religious Societies § 5 (2007)).”
  • An incorporated church gets part of her powers from God and part from the civil government. She is under two heads. Part of the church, as a legal entity, can sue and be sued as to both earthly and some spiritual matters. Part of the church must have elected officers who conduct business meetings, meet statutory requirements, etc.
  • This bifurcation of a church has other consequences. As has been shown, the state is sovereign of the incorporated part of a church. “Sovereign” means: possessed of supreme power or unlimited in extent: ABSOLUTE (BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY (6th Ed., 1990), definition of “sovereign”). Incorporation of churches creates contracts between the state and the corporation, the state and the members of the corporation, between the members themselves, and between the members and the corporation. Contract (agreement between two or more parties) is not biblical. The Bible teaches that the proper way to agree with another or others is through biblical covenant (covenant between two or more people and God).  The contracts created by incorporation entangle the incorporated church with earthly satanic concerns, solutions, and procedures. Furthermore, the statutory requirements as to the form and content of the articles or certificates of incorporation must be substantially followed. As sovereign, the state has ultimate authority in interpreting the articles of incorporation as well as the various contracts involved in incorporation should disputes be taken to court. By incorporating, a church gives up much of its First Amendment protection. It must, for example, keep records and make those records available to the state, on demand. Only a church which is not satisfied with the freedom and provisions afforded the church by God (which are, by the way, implemented by the First Amendment) seeks incorporation.
  • An incorporated church must deal with all the government red tape that comes with incorporation. The incorporated church must now elect officers, hold business meetings, notify members of those meetings pursuant to statutory requirements, keep records, etc. All these secular activities take tremendous time, energy, and resources which could be used in pursuing the God-given purposes of a church. The incorporated church which does not comply with statutory requirements is being dishonest and could face further problems from her sovereign state.

Notice that Jesus said that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against [my church].” What about the church that is partly under God and partly under Satan? That church has fallen for Satan’s seduction:

“SEDUCTION, n. … 2. Appropriately, the act or crime of persuading a female, by flattery or deception, to surrender her chastity. A woman who is above flattery, is least liable to seduction; but the best safeguard is principle, the love and purity of holiness, the fear of God and reverence for his commandments. (AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, NOAH WEBSTER (1828))”

A corporation cannot be the bride of Christ, the wife of Christ. The incorporated part of an incorporated church is not the bride of Christ, the wife of Christ, but rather an extramarital illicit relationship existing alongside the marriage. An incorporated church, having compromised her love for her Husband, will continue to make incremental compromises, and ultimately (perhaps in 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, or 200 years or more) will fall into heresy and apostasy. And from the beginning of that initial compromise, the Lord, even though longsuffering in His love and mercy, is grieving because of His wife’s compromise; and the compromising church gives up at least a portion of the power of God.

With the above information it should already be completely obvious to any born again believer who loves the Lord and who has been saved any length of time at all that a church should never incorporate. Scripture contains no principle consistent with church incorporation or incorporation in general. In fact, everything about incorporation is anti-biblical. If one who loves the Lord and comes into this understanding is in a church that is already incorporated, he will do all he can to shed the 501(c)(3) and/or corporate status of that church.

Dr. Brown then refers to Hale v. Hinkle.

He is partially right about his observations concerning that case. Although God Betrayed very briefly mentions Hale v. Hinkle, 201 U.S. 43 (1906), the case could be eliminated from the book without compromising any assertions in the book. Dr. Brown is correct when he states that the case did not deal with a church. He says that “this ruling had nothing to do with a church and does not mean that a church is a state run entity.” This statement is only partially true in that a church was not involved in the case. However, Hale v. Hinkle presents general incorporation law, and the principles in the case are applied to the issue of church incorporation. For example, an incorporated church does give up some of its constitutional protections such as its First Amendment Rights while retaining only due process and equal protection rights just as the corporate officer in Hale v. Hinkle gave up Constitutional rights, as Dr. Brown mentions in his article.

Dr. Brown closes his article by saying he has “no particular advice to offer for a church to get or refuse to get incorporated.”

In effect, Dr. Brown is stating that God does not care what a church does concerning incorporation since, as he puts it, “It is an issue to decide for themselves.” In other words, according to Dr. Brown, the Bible can be read to both support and condemn incorporation. However, when one opens the Word of God, one opens the mind and heart of God concerning this issue as well as many others.

Loving God is preeminent for a believer and for a church. One does not love God by just asserting that he loves God. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments (John 14.15).” The greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mt. 22.37; Mk. 12.30; Lk. 10.27).

Love is action. This love which Christ has for His church and which he desires His church to show Him is seen in the Song of Solomon which is primarily an expression of pure marital love, and secondarily of Christ and His heavenly bride, the church. Song of Solomon  8.7 says, “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would be utterly contemned.”  “Contemned” means “despised, scorned, slighted, neglected, or rejected with disdain (AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, NOAH WEBSTER (1828), definition of “CONTEMNED.”).” God despises, scorns, slights, neglects, or rejects with disdain all that a church does, whatever professions of love she makes, if those acts and/or professions are without love. A church that does not honor Christ as a wife is to honor her husband, her bridegroom, by remaining chaste, does not display love for the Lord. Thus, loving ones neighbor by witnessing to him, sending missionaries to him, leading him to the Lord,  or helping him materially or any other way in obedience to the second commandment—“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”—is vanity in God’s eyes if one ignores the greatest commandment. Souls will still be saved because of the grace of God, but not as many, especially in the long run, as would be saved had the churches displayed love for their bridegroom, husband, and head.

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

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

“In a theological sense, [‘charity’] “includes supreme love to God and a universal good will to men. 1 Cor. xiii. Col. iii. 1 Tim. I (AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, NOAH WEBSTER (1828), definition of “CHARITY.”).”  Love is an act of the will. A church refutes its proclamations of love for the Lord when it wholly or partially takes the church from under the headship of her Husband, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Love “[r]ejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth (I Co. 13.6).” Iniquity means “Injustice, unrighteousness, … [w]ant of rectitude [rightness in principle or practice], … a sin or crime; wickedness (Ibid., definitions of “INIQUITY” and “RECTITUDE.”)….” Bible truth makes clear that the love of Christ for His church is immense, that He wants to be the only Head and companion of the church which is likened to His wife and bride, and that for a church to even partially put herself under or associate with another entity is a great wickedness and repudiates all professions of love for the Lord. As shown in Section VI of God Betrayed, the church that secures a 501(c)(3) tax-exemption and/or incorporates puts herself partially under another head, commits a wicked sinful act in violation of biblical principle, rejoices in iniquity, and refutes its professions of love for the Lord.

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

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

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

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

As the Lord Jesus Christ is jealous over His churches, so should pastors and church members be jealous, with a godly jealousy, over the church they belong to, just as Paul was:

“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him (II Co. 11.2-4; Lk. 18.8; II Ti. 3.1-8).

The church that really loves her Husband, the Lord Jesus Christ, will seek to maintain her purity, to be subject to her Husband in all things whether that church is persecuted or not. All the professions of love, all the good deeds, the hymns sung, and the messages preached by a church which does not totally submit herself in all things to her Husband, are contemned by the Lord. A church that takes a 501(c)(3) tax exemption, an incorporation, a license, or any type permit from the state, or puts herself under the state in any way, becomes an earthly legal entity subject to the jurisdiction of an earthly power, the civil government. Such a “church” is in fact a two headed monster. In spite of her emotions and professions of love for the Lord, according to her acts she shows, based upon God’s definition of love in the Bible, that she does not love the Lord Jesus Christ.

Book Review: Outcome-Based Religion: Purpose, Apostasy, & the New Paradigm Church

Book Review:
Outcome-Based Religion: Purpose, Apostasy, & the New Paradigm Church
by Mac Dominick,
Cutting Edge Ministries, 2005

Jerald Finney
Copyright © March 28, 2011

Outcome Based Religion

Sometimes being honest with oneself is so difficult that even a believer will not face fact and admit that he has been wrong and sinned. Even if his sin was out of ignorance and even if he was following the leadership of others within the “Christian community,” his response in the event that he discovers his sin, according to our Lord, should be one of contrite repentance. That was and is my situation as to, among other things, my religious-political actions for over a twenty year period. In the late 1990s I began to see that the political work of me and millions of other “moral conservatives” had been counterproductive. Since we had neither proceeded according to knowledge nor followed God’s guidelines as laid out in His Word, our efforts have resulted in negative consequences for people, families, churches, and the nation. In fact, many families and individuals along with churches and the nation, have slid down the drain pipe into a moral cesspool. Far fewer people are being saved, and those who are usually end up in compromising churches who are either afraid to preach the whole counsel of God or have completely abandoned Bible preaching. Many men and women conduct their lives in accordance with Satan’s principles of sexual lust, ambition, greed, and/or selfishness. Biblical principles for family are honored by only a small remnant. Apostasy is running rampant. Dr. Bob Jones accurately observed: “the culture was not saved, the converts of the Super-aggressive churches disappeared, promises were not kept, and the majority became very disillusioned.’ As a result, many newly disenfranchised former Fundamentalists were ripe for the picking.” (All quotations are from the book, Outcome-Based Religion). Well-meaning believing activists have contributed to the religious, moral, and political decline of America. En1 (Statement of repentance).

Outcome-Based Religion, studied in conjunction with God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application, En1 (Information on previewing and/or ordering God Betrayed and Outcome-Based Religion) explains in detail why and how this happened. Studying these books will afford a born-again believer the facts, history, and biblical analysis he needs to understand why, in general, churches in America are apostate and America is now morally awful and politically tyrannical. My studies, experiences, and observations confirm much of what is written in Outcome-Based Religion. Additionally, the book includes insights and information that I never discovered and/or considered.

Outcome-Based Religion answers many questions including the following: “Why have none of the goals of the Moral Majority or the Christian Coalition been met? What is the real impact of these conservative Christians upon American politics? Better yet, how has the Religious Right political machine impacted modern culture? Exactly what has been accomplished from 22 years of effort to ‘change America?’ Why have the well-funded Dominionists not transformed our Constitutional Republic into their ‘heaven-on-earth’ theocracy? Would the reaction to the September 11 terrorist attack on the United States result in a national religious revival, transform the culture, and result in the establishment of Robertson’s theocracy?”

Interwoven throughout the book is the theme of separation. Mr. Dominick correctly points out the two strategies for countering Satan’s attack on the true church: (1) Remain in the body and attempt to reform the body by exposing the error (as in the Protestant Reformation). (2) Separate. “Charles Spurgeon said:

‘Complicity with error will take from the best of men the power to enter any successful protest against it. It is our solemn conviction that where there can be no real spiritual communion there should be no pretense of fellowship. Fellowship with known and vital error is participation in sin. As soon as I saw, or thought I saw, that error had become firmly established, I did not deliberate, but quitted the body at once.  Since then my counsel has been, ‘Come out from among them.’ I felt that no protest could be equal to that of distinct separation from known evil. That I might not stultify my testimony I have cut myself clear from those who err from the faith, and even from those who associate with them.  Cost what it may to separate ourselves from those who separate themselves from the truth of God is not alone our liberty, but our duty.’”

Men, even saved men, have a hard time digesting the fact that “When engaging in God’s work, the end never justifies the means. Put simply, God’s work is to be performed God’s way.” “Furthermore, the ‘end justifies the means’ mindset is the certain path to a deepening apostasy. Once Scripture is ignored in one area, another departure will soon follow. The ‘snowball effect’ evidenced by history then leads one religious body after another from small compromises into a complete departure from the truth. This creeping departure is very subtle, and one must look at history and understand the battle for a pure, true church in order to combat apostasy’s deceptive nature.”

“The first six chapters of Outcome-Based Religion detail the movement of conservative Christianity in a steady slide to the left. No sooner had the quest for the truth gained momentum than another attack sought to strike at the heart of biblical truth. These attacks manifest themselves when the church loses the focus of its true mission, and digresses into areas outside of the commands and precepts of Scripture. The true mission of the church is the edification of the saints, reaching the lost for Christ, and to subsequently nurture those converts to spiritual maturity. As to the strategy of many fundamental churches starting in the 1950s, ‘the tragic results [was the production of] an entire generation of born-again individuals whose impact for the cause of Christ was virtually nullified due to the lack of Christian growth and maturity that comes only from sound biblical teaching, true Christian fellowship, and the expository preaching of the Word of God.’” “Yes, the motive was indeed, from a human perspective, noble. The stated outcome—mass evangelization—was praiseworthy. However, the methodology that contradicted the Word of God was seriously flawed. In the final analysis, evangelism in the absence of sound doctrine fails to perpetuate itself.” History proves this to be true. “The great tragedy of the second half of the Twentieth Century and the early Twenty-first Century is the fact that many of the Bible-believing churches organized in opposition to and as a direct result of Modernism in the 1960s and 1970s are now succumbing to New Evangelicalism and Outcome-Based Religion.” How this happened is the subject of the book.

“In order to fully grasp the sequence of events that birthed the New Paradigm Church, the subject of Outcome-Based Religion cannot merely be approached as a phenomenon of the last decade. It must instead be investigated from a complete historical perspective. Therefore, the study of this subject [is] approached from a historical perspective so as to lay the necessary foundation to enable a complete understanding of all aspects of that which is commonly termed the Church Growth Movement.” The book is in two parts. Part I delves into the historical events that contributed to the makeup and basis of the rise of Outcome-Based Religion and Part II discusses the details and components of the resulting organism of Outcome-Based Religion—the New Paradigm Church.

Part I addresses: church history from the first century on, the wedding of paganism and Christianity in the Catholic Church; the Protestant Reformation; the origins of modernism; the infiltration of modernism into American theological institutions and churches; the flaws in the methods of fundamentalist churches 1950-1975 and on which led to their decline; the ecumenical movement; Vatican II which brought a change in Catholic tactics and rescued the ecumenical movement and took a large step toward the establishment of the one world church and the one world political system; modernism and its effects within the Southern Baptist Convention; the Charismatic movement (basic concepts, origins, the three waves, and the results of); Calvary Chapel (a transitional hybrid between Fundamentalism and right wing Charismatic teachings); dominion theology; the rise and fall of the religious right; the attempt to establish the United States as a bona fide religious theocracy; Christian Reconstructionism versus Dispensational Fundamentalism; the Religious Right; the Moral Majority; the Christian Coalition; the death of the Religious Right; the absence of convictions along with the advance of the philosophy and the new definition of tolerance which now guides almost all Americans including those in church; George Bush as the new leader of the religious right; the relationship between the religious right and Outcome-Based Religion; and much more. In short, Part I covers most historical and factual matters which a discerning believer should at least have a working knowledge of in order to be an effective soldier in the spiritual warfare for the souls of men.

Part II explains and analyzes: the goals, motivation and methods of New Paradigm churches. Subjects addressed include a new way of playing church—by the numbers; the battle against Outcome-Based Religion; defining the terms: Purpose-Driven Church, New Paradigm Church; expository preaching; pragmatism; worship; seeker sensitive; doctrine; sin; evangelism; market strategy, change agent; felt needs, cultural relevance; Christian psychology, contemporary Christian music, the Gospel; the object of the game: (The complete transition of the Church from the traditional, Biblical, separatist position to become more aligned to and in tune with the dictates of the Postmodern Culture—thus initiating exponential church growth.); the rules of the New Paradigm Church (Change “Our Thinking of what God is Trying To Do,” Develop a Market Strategy, Build Relationships of Integrity with the Unchurched, Never Criticize What God is Blessing, Never Communicate God’s Word in an Outdated Style (which requires that the church should relate to the popular culture—no KJV—focusing on felt needs, utilizing psychology and counseling, forgetting theology and just loving Jesus, etc.), The music in the Church should be the Style the Target Market listens to on the Radio (the origins of rock and roll, the assertion the music is amoral, etc.), Those Who Oppose the Vision for Change Must be Marginalized or Eliminated); the forerunners of the New Paradigm church movement; the fathers of the church growth movement; the facilitators of the church growth movement; the facilities of the Church Growth Movement (Fuller Theological Seminary being the most influential); living in the time of the paradigm shift, defining the paradigm shift; Outcome-Based Education and Outcome-Based Religion; the Drucker/Demming connection; Drucker and Company in the New Paradigm Church, oaths, covenants, and faith promise; trickle-down church-o-nomics; paradigm shifting sands produce unstable foundations; the purpose-driven life; transformation and acceptance of postmodern, tolerance-based’ global ethics; an appeal  to pastors and an appeal to church members; a call to personal holiness; and more.

“Sadly, the ‘Christian population of western culture has forsaken the ‘old paths’ of the Word of God and  is blindly accepting any lie that sounds religious while not tampering with their lifestyle.” This book will prove very enlightening for those few who still have the ability and desire to seek truth:

1. Christians who still attend a remnant church (a church who still preaches biblical doctrine, loves the Lord and man, and attempts to honor the Great Commission) will gain great insights.
2. Those in mega churches (New Paradigm churches) who actually want to know what they have gotten themselves into and whether they should be there. They will not learn this from their church leaders.
3. Anyone in America who is seeking truth. Sadly, this will exclude a large percentage of Americans, including most who attend a “church.” Most Americans including almost all “Christians,” as pointed out in the book, are the products of Outcome-Based Education and have bought the concepts of the “New Tolerance” and Postmodernism. Such people cannot, as a general rule, seek truth. Truth is antithetical to their very mindset.

“The members of the Church of Jesus Christ must honestly ask the question, ‘How did we allow this to happen to us, and where did we all go so wrong?’ … In the final analysis, Fuller Theological Seminary, Christianity Today, the New and Young Evangelicals, Modernists, Charismatics, Reconstructionists, and Dominionists are to be sarcastically congratulated. They have successfully managed to blindly align themselves with the dark forces of Lucifer at a level sufficiently subtle to enamor the entire evangelical community from the Fundamentalists to the Charismatic Catholics into falling into the snare that has come to characterize Outcome-Based Religion.” “This alignment with Luciferic forces did not transpire overnight. The transition was so subtle and gradual that it can be compared to the proverbial frog in water brought to a slow but deadly boil.” “[T]he call for this new political paradigm known as the New World Order is based primarily on the ancient values of those early generations after the Flood of Noah and their demonically instigated desire for a return to the ungodly civilization that existed prior to the Flood.”

Endnotes

En 1 Writing this book review gives me an opportunity for public repentance. I first repent and ask forgiveness for my sins of ignorance from God; second, from my Christian brothers; and finally, from America and its citizens. I followed unbiblical, uninformed courses of action as to the above mentioned matters for many years after my salvation in 1982. My motive was honorable from a human point of view, but my goal and my methods were not according to the Word of God. That everything is falling into place as foretold in God’s Word and that the One-World government and religion will become a reality even had my actions been according to the Word of God does not nullify the reality that I sinned.

En2 Outcome-Based Religion can be ordered on amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com; Jerald Finney has a limited number of copies for sale (click this link for contact information: contact page of churchandstatelaw.com). 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.com at 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.

The Biblical Doctrine of the Church

Jerald Finney
© October, 2009

Have you ever done an in depth study of the biblical doctrine of the church? Every Bible believer, and especially every pastor, should have done such a study. Every Bible institute and college should give priority to such a study. Did not Christ “love the church and give himself for it?” Included in that study should be a study of the application of the doctrine of the church. In other words, a scholarly spirtual study of the church would require an in depth study of the definition, organization, and purposes of a church. This  would require a study of such matters as the organization of churches as corporations, unincorporated associations, corporations sole, etc. and seeking Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) of churches. Do such devices comport with biblical principles? Is our Lord grieved when such devices are employed by churches? What are the consequences to churches, individuals, families and the nation?

The players below will teach on the biblical doctrine of the church. In conjunction with other audio teachings on other pages of this blog, a spirit filled believer will be given the knowledge to answer all the questions in the paragraph above and more. You may or may not agree with all this teaching, but this study will be invaluable to the Bible believing Christian who wants to do things God’s way. This study is patterned after Section II of the book God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Ordering information for this and other books is on the “Books” page of churchandstatelaw.com.).

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

1. Introduction to the biblical doctrine of the church (Section II, Chapter 1 of God Betrayed) (The audio opens with a song by Brother Rocky Otwell, “Wilt Thou Be Made Whole?” followed by opening remarks and prayer. That portion of the audio is 5 min. 3 sec. in length. The total length is 14 min. 55 sec.).

2. Definition, organization, and purposes of a church (Section II, Chapter 2 of God Betrayed) (27 min. 22 sec.).

3.  The love relationship between Christ and His church (In God Betrayed, but not a specific chapter) (52 min. 16 sec.). This is covered in the booklet which is reproduced on this website at The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls?)  This may be the most important teaching concerning the issue of separation of church and state. The last few minutes of the audio is of poor quality because of technical difficulties that were later corrected).

4. Heresy and apostasy (Section II, Chapter 4 of God Betrayed) (Begins with a song, “In Times Like These,” sang by Rocky Otwell and prayer. Prayer ends at 3 min. 31 sec. Total length of segment is 28  min. 15 sec.).

5. Recent accelerated apostasy in America (Section II, Chapter 5 of God Betrayed) (14 min. 22 sec.).

6. Apostasy at the end of the church age (Section II, Chapter 6 of God Betrayed) (3 min. 30 sec.)(This audio teaching has been significantly revised. Click “Apostasy at the end of the church age”  to see the revisions).

7. The church will reign with the Lord (Section II, Chapter 7 of God Betrayed) (1 min. 56 sec.)(This audio teaching has been significantly revised. Click “The coming universal church will reign with the Lord”  to see the revisions).

8. Conclusion (Section II, Chapter 8 of God Betrayed) (Conclusion is 5 min. 41 sec. followed by song and prayer. Total length is 8 min. 51 sec.).

I am adding a new study of specific books and teachings on the Bible Doctrine of the Church. Click here to go to that study series.

End

For His Glory,
Jerald Finney
Christian and practicing attorney