A Critique of Pastor Steve Anderson’s YouTube Comments on Church Incorporation and Church 501c3 Status
Copyright © October 14, 2013
Someone recently referred me to a YouTube excerpt from one of Pastor Steven Anderson’s sermons dealing with the issue of church Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0l2EkAZwB8&feature=youtu.be. A brief review of his ridiculous tirade is in order since Pastor Anderson’s teaching in that blurb is published for the world and since it deals with the institution which Christ loved and gave Himself for. The author offers a cursory analysis in this article, but one can educate himself biblically, historically, and legally on these matters by going to the Separation of Church and State Law blog. Pastor Anderson’s statements, usually in parentheses, are followed by the author’s comments.
The author will address some of Anderson’s points in the order or his presentation:
(1) “I don’t go to church because all the churches are 501c3. You didn’t get that from reading the Bible….”
The Bible is a book of many principles. One such principle is separation of church and state. 501c3 churches have at least partially submitted themselves to a head other than the Lord Jesus Christ who desires to be the only head of the local New Testament church. This is explained in much detail in the materials on the above website. For specific information on 501c3 go to the following articles: Federal government control of churches through 501(c)(3) tax exemption and The church incorporation-501(c)(3) control scheme.
(2) “You got that off the internet, off some website…. ”
How does he know where they got it? The author got it from studying the Bible and 501c3 to see if 501c3 displeases our Lord. That is where the author’s pastor got it. The truth about the matter is undeniable by any knowledgeable believer. Of course, one must first understand the Biblical principles of church, government, and separation of church and state before he can fully understand some more advanced matters, but the above articles will easily be comprehended by the believer who has done some study of the Bible. One can study the Biblical principles of church, government, and separation of church and state by going to sections 1-3 (A-C) of the book God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application. The book is available free in both PDF and online form. Or one can order this and other books by Jerald Finney by going to Order information for books by Jerald Finney.
(3) He then swerves into an explanation of the meaning of incorporation.
To understand incorporation, go to Church Corporate-501c3 Status, and especially to the Incorporation of Churches chapter. You will discover that he does not know what he is talking about. He is out of his field of expertise.
He states that the vehicle outside belongs to “the church” and that for the church to own it, the church has to be its own entity.
He is right about that. However, a church can take advantage of the use of a vehicle or the use of a building, for example without owning it. To own anything, a church must become a legal entity, as opposed to a spiritual entity. The Biblical principle is that God desires all His churches to remain spiritual entities only. Study the free materials above to understand this. The book, Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities, is a short book for a pastor or believer who already has a basic knowledge of Biblical principles. Pastor Anderson does not meet that condition. The book is available in both PDF and online form, or can be ordered (see the link above).
(4) He then abruptly asks, “Who thinks we should get rid of driver’s licenses, … birth certificates, … not carry I.d…?
That has nothing to do with church incorporation and 501c3. Those things involve the individual, not the church. This author has a driver’s license, birth certificate, and carries an I.D. Anderson, not knowing what he is talking about, resorts to “straw men,” and attacks the straw men. Those who are not studied in these matters may be convinced.
(5) He says, “Running a church legally is really complicated. I spend days ….”
He is incorrect. His church is run illegally and it takes so much time and effort to run his religious organization that he does not have the time to also pastor a First Amendment (New Testament) church. Maybe that is why he is so ignorant about these matters. He does not have the time to do the studying a pastor is instructed by the Bible to do. He does not have time to be a pastor because his religious organization is a legal entity (not a church or a spiritual entity) and the non-profit corporation law requirements of the sovereign under whose laws that entity was organized (the state) overwhelm the pastor, the trustees, and the corporate offices in legal red tape. The incorporated religious organization, a legal entity, is illegally organized according to the Highest Law (God’s Law) and man’s law (The First Amendment to the United States Constitution). According to the First Amendment, the civil government may make no law respecting an establishment of religion or preventing the free exercise thereof. Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) is a law which was made by Congress which, when applied to churches, violates the First Amendment which is a statement of the Biblical principle of separation of church and state (not separation of God and state). Even though many religious organizations run down to get their illegal 501c3 status, the First Amendment guarantees churches the freedom to do things God’s way. Again, see the website for more information on this – the following articles give a quick look at the issues: Does God and/or Civil Government Require Churches to Get 501(c)(3) Status, and Christians Who Call Evil Good and Good Evil.
(6) Then he says “Same thing with my business. Running a business is even worse than running a church…. [It takes me days and weeks to figure out my taxes].”
He runs his church like he runs his business! Exactly. Are you getting the picture? Of course, when one runs a church like he runs a business, he is grieving our Lord, according to the Bible. No wonder this man is so utterly ignorant about these matters. Here he is, running his business and running a church according to the same principles. In addition, he leaves absolutely no significant time to study, prepare his sermons, and serve as a pastor.
(7) “That is the way you have to do it in America to be legal in America, like you have to drive with a driver’s license…. I know a pastor in town … he has no driver’s license, he has no vehicle registration, he never files taxes, his church is totally off the grid, I mean he doesn’t report anything….. He even says to me, ‘Don’t do this’…. His church is much smaller than ours…. All of these people jumping up and screaming, ‘I don’t want to go to any church that’s incorporated,’ … you’d think he’d have 5000 people in his service this morning…. That’s shows me that these people are all just talk. They just have an excuse for not going to church…. ”
There are plenty of non-incorporated non-501c3 churches. Refer to the author’s comments under (4) and (5) above for more relevant information. No more time will be expended to explain the obvious about these ludicrous remarks.
(8) “There’s all this disinformation and lies out there claiming that any church that’s incorporated is of the devil, and that it’s worshiping Satan, and the head of the IRS actually runs the church….”
See Separation of Church and State Law blog, for biblically, historically, and legally reasoned and reliable teaching on these matters. Perhaps Anderson is offering his spurious diatribe as justification for his own presumptuous, willful, or ignorant sin.
(9) “None of it’s Biblical, none of it came from studying of the word of God, none of it came from the Holy Spirit.”
Those assertions are applicable to his arguments.
(10) “There are different levels of going off the grid against government…. [Gets back into straw men arguments as “Driver’s License.”] I render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars.”
He renders unto Caesar the things that are God’s when he incorporates a church. The church the author is a member of (Old Paths Baptist Church of Northfield, Minnesota), the pastor (Pastor Jason Cooley), and the members thereof render unto God the things that are His and unto Caesar the things that are Caesars. See Render unto God the Things that Are His/A Systematic Study or Romans 13 and Related Verses, available in both PDF and online form.
(11) I’ m not going to prison…. If anyone goes to prison because of the way offerings are taken and the way the bank account is, I’m the one that’s gonna go to prison. Pastor Anderson, the money that you make pastoring, I don’t think you should pay taxes on that. You need to be off the grid, our church needs to be totally off the grid. I church needs to do everything in cash. I’m the one that’s gonna go to prison and you’re just gonna disappear off into the sunset.”
Anderson speaks like a businessman or the CEO or a corporate religious organization. He speaks in secular, not Biblical terms. A religious organization pays its pastor. The members of a First Amendment (New Testament) church provide for the pastor and his family.
The church the author is a member of is a First Amendment (New Testament) church (Old Paths Baptist Church of Northfield, Minnesota) which means it is non-incorporated and non-501c3. The pastor (Pastor Jason Cooley) pays income tax on the money given by the church body to provide for him and his family. Tithes, offerings, and gifts which are administered through a bank account (which is not in the name of the church but which is held in accordance with the law) are given to God, not to a religious organization or a corporation (as is the case with the incorporated and/or 501c3 religious organization), and used for Biblically acceptable purposes. If any pastor or church member commits a crime and is charged and convicted, he will be punished according to the prescriptions of his state (or the federal) penal code. That is true no matter how one’s church is organized. If one commits a tort, he is subject to suit in civil court, no matter how his church is organized. See Separation of Church and State Law and resources thereon for much more on this. See the website to learn who is more subject to liability – the member of the incorporated and/or 501c3 church or the member of a church which is not a legal entity.
(12) “Most churches are 501c3 and to say they’re wicked, you’re wicked.”
His misleading and false arguments and attacks would be funny if the subject matter were not so important. Sadly, many so called “Doctors” who are pastors, presidents of Bible Colleges, etc. are as lacking in substance and reasoning ability as this man as they argue before their “herd” and before the world, thereby not only hurting the cause of Christ as they mislead the members of their corporation while giving the world a good laugh as they are turned off to what they perceive to be a ridiculous religion. If one is going to invoke the ire of the world, why not do it in a manner which honors God – that is, with knowledge, understanding, and wisdom – the way the apostles did it and the way the Lord instructs us to do it in his word.
The author chooses to stop there with the analysis. The reader has access to enough information in the links above to check the matter out for himself. He can also get the same information by studying the Bible, law, and history. “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.” (2 Corinthians 11:2). “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27). The incorporated church and the 501c3 church have taken on another lover for worldly approval, help, direction, control, power and financial gain. If a church is both incorporated and 501c3, that church has taken on two other lovers and is doubly the adulteress. These actions grieve our Lord, the Bridegroom, Husband, and Head of the church. Ultimately, these actions result in the death of the adulterous, heretical, and apostate churches.
Book Review: We Won’t Get Fooled Again/Where The Christian Right Went Wrong, and How to Make America Right Again
We Won’t Get Fooled Again/Where The Christian Right Went Wrong, and How to Make America Right Again
by Gregg Jackson and Steve Deace
Reviewed by Jerald Finney, BAB (Born Again Believer), BBA, JD, Church and State Law Specialist
June 24, 2013
First printed in October 2011, this book is (1) an admission of the failure of the evangelical political movement and its Christian Right political allies, marching under the banner of the major pro-family and Christian Right organizations and (supposedly) (2) a long overdue reassessment and reevaluation. The forward states, “It [the evangelical political movement] has not reversed, nor even appreciably slowed, the process of moral, cultural, political and legal degeneration in America. The culture is inexorably ‘slip-sliding-away’ to the Left.” In fact, as James Dobson is quoted as saying in the book, “America is absolutely awash in evil.”
The book states that “Christians’ lack of political and cultural success is of enormous significance, yet most evangelical and pro-family voters who support Christian Right organizations with their votes, lobbying, and funds seem oblivious to the gravity of the losses and the depth of cultural demise…. This book will awaken many of the rank and file to the real record of their leaders, although it is not just about these failed leaders and their organizations, but also about the future of our families, our churches, and yes, our country too.” The authors correctly access facts about some of the Christian Right allies, the Republican Party, President George Bush, Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed, John Piper, John MacArthur, Mitt Romney and others and the failures of “Christians” working in the political system to point out their shortcomings and hold them accountable.
The authors also include interviews of David Barton, Steve Baldwin, Ann Coulter, and thirteen other leaders of the Christian right movement in their search for answers to “Where the Christian Right went wrong and how to make America right again.” These sources, for the most part, have given us the wrong answers since at least the 1980s as shown by the results of listening to and following them. The conclusion of the book purportedly tells “how to make America right again.”
The book is an eye-opener as to factual matters mentioned above for “Christians” who have had their eyes closed. For others, it is a waste of time, not only as to factual revelations but also and especially in one’s search for the answers to the questions posited. Reading the book is akin to reading the analysis of the reason for Job’s losses and sufferings (ultimately, for the answer to the question of “Why are the righteous afflicted?”) given by his “friends” Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. The platitudes of the authors of the book are true enough, but then every “Christian” who has been involved in the cultural wars for any length of time knows them, and they shed no light on the problems addressed.
Only when God answered Job out of the whirlwind was the answer to the question revealed. Likewise, only when American “Christians” listen to the Word of God and apply the God’s knowledge, understanding, and wisdom contained therein will they truly know how to fight the spiritual battles they have been called to fight as children of God. To gain that knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, they must be willing to do a lot of Holy Spirit led meditation on the relevant biblical principles. Of course, the principles of God’s Word must be applied in real life to be effective. Therefore, in order to apply those precepts involving civil government, one must understand the historical, spiritual, and legal atmosphere in which he is operating. This book does nothing to lead one to any understanding of these matters. The book gives no biblical understanding of the principles concerning (1) God-ordained governments (individual, family, civil and church), and the (2) the God-ordained relationship between church and state, nor is it insightful concerning (1) relevant American history, (2) relevant American law, and (3) the American application of the relevant biblical principles. The “authorities interviewed in the book for the most part, including David Barton, have no understanding of these matters. The smooth-talking, charismatic Barton, in particular, has indoctrinated and misled millions of American “Christians” (including the author of this review until he spent several years in intense study) with selected facts taken out of the context of the entirety of the facts. He has revised history and, in effect, pushed anti-biblical goals and methods.
In conclusion, the book is a waste of time for anyone who really wants to make a difference. Following the advice and teachings offered therein will only contribute to continued disaster. Instead of misusing one’s time on such a sham, the concerned believer should go to another source for help, a source whose standard is the Word of God. One such source is the “Separation of Church and State Law” blog (jeraldfinney.wordpress.com). The author of the blog has done the vast biblical, legal, and historical studies that will equip a believer for spiritual warfare. There one can have free access to all the materials he needs to put on the spiritual armor he needs to successfully glorify God. Even the the books are available free in online and PDF form (of course, if one prefers and can afford the hard copies, such are available). As the student studies the materials, his standard should be the Word of God (in English, the KJV).
More letters from pastors and others regarding issues raised on this “Separation of Church and State Law” blog
Copyright © April 18, 2013
Left click one of the following link for easy access to all articles on this website:
Complete listing of articles on “Separation of Church and State Law” blog
The following is a complete list (with links) to prior publications of letters concerning this blog. Notice the article Letters from Pastors Regarding Hyles/Schaap and Other Articles which was published September 9, 2010, not long after the 2010 Hyles/Schaap articles were published.):
To download a document, right click the link, then left click “Download Linked File” or “Download Linked File As.”
Contents of this article:
Note. A “+” represents a supportive letter, a “-” a negative letter
II. (+) Letter No. 1 and my reply (From a pastor in the Philippines regarding the website and some Philippine church matters)
III. (+) Letter No. 2 and my reply (Insights of an x-member of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana)
IV. (+)Letter No. 3 and my reply (Concerning Internal Revenue Code § 508 status for churches)
V. (+)Letter No. 4 and my reply (Letter criticizing the publication of the article Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy)
VI. (+) Letter No. 5 (Pastor Mark Manzoni comments on Pastor Jason Cooley’s message “Whose Church Is It Anyway?)
VII. (-) Letter No. 6 and my reply (Criticizing me for being critical of Jack Schaap)
VIII. (+) Letter No. 7 and my reply (Commenting on the website)
IX. (-) Letter No. 8 (Letter attacking me and my article Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy)
IX. Information on books by Jerald Finney including links to online previews of two of his books.
X. Links to IRS Laws (Some of these links may no longer work. If so, you can use Google to find the laws)
This article presents more e-mails from pastors and others with their comments, concerns, and questions concerning articles on this blog, and my replies to those e-mails. These e-mail letters not only raise important questions which need to be addressed, but also give insights into the thoughts of pastors and other believers and non-believers.
II. Letter No. 1 received April 17, 2013 (From a pastor in the Philippines regarding the website and some Philippine church matters)
Thanks for educating the readers like me about the real principle in separation of Church and state. I learned that our Philippine constitution is pattern to USA constitution. But the Roman Catholic is would like to dominate and benefits the programs of our government. Requiring us Baptist Church and Pastors to submit to the governments when it comes to our Christian school. I started to stand that educating the children both those in our church and from outside that wanted our Christian system of education is our constitutional rights and it is part of our faith and practices so the government should respect it. There is ongoing debate Davao City Counsel concerning our right to have Christian school.
My Reply to Letter No. 1 on April 18, 2013
Thanks for your comment and thanks for taking a stand in the Phillippines! It is encouraging to hear from someone outside the U.S.
Brother Jerald Finney
III. Letter No. 2 received on April 16, 2013 (Insights of an x-member of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana)
Dear Brother you put into words what i was actually trying to convey. I am just SKEPTICAL after being told by a Reverand that i had plenty of time to be saved. Now i credit a Deacon at FBC for showing me that thou knowest not the day nor the hour when thy Lord cometh. Today is the day now is the time for thy salvation. So FBC indeeed led some souls to the Lord, just not through any QUICK PRAYERISM.
Then later being FOOLED by the likes of Dave Hyles and others. Now I had always wondered why the Hyles children was always kept in secret, sort of out of the public eye. It wasn’t until i was a member of Dave Hyles Miller Road Baptist Church in Garland that the Hyles house of cards started to fall. It was then that i started getting some REAL answers. Later i got a hold of Dr. Cloud and some of his e-mails. Then later Dr. Dixon, Joey Faust, yourself, and Pastor Cooley. I grieve over the facts as they came out. Just as the office of the Presidency has been abused so has the pulpits of america. Which is FAR MORE IMPORTANT. The Bible speaks of hirelings.
I know quite a few soul winners have fallen also. We just aren’t here to be followers of Paul or Appolos as the Bible declares. What people think about the pulpits of America is more disgraceful now than the office of the Presidency. II. Chronicles 7:14 If MY PEOPLE, which are called by MY NAME, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek MY FACE, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I HEAR from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Psalms 118:8 It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. Psalms 146:3 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. Jerimiah 17:5 Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusted in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. The more i reread the scriptures the more my heart is broken for this country. My hope is BUILT on nothingless than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but WHOLLY lean on Jesus name. No not even the tea party is gonna get us out of this. It will take the KING of KINGS! I do not intend on fighting or quabbleing with fellow brethren. I shall continue to tell others about Jesus, just as i did when i went to jail twice. For inside or outside i will spread the gospel as the Bible says to do. Matthew tells us of Pastors who scatter the flocks. We have seen through Jack Schaap what the Lord WILL DO! As in Acts 5:11 WOW! If i had not been through so much heresy as with the first reverand then with so called pastors later i may not be so Skeptical of who to give any certain amount of honor to. For fear it may again continue on into man worship. I will let the Lord lead in that part of my life as he did in getting me out of FBC in 1981.
Thank you for your e-mail, please understand i am just being cautious. In Feb. there was a lot of preachers praising FBC and saying how it is the best Church in the world. And yet the Church has not repented nor the deacons for bringing Christ to public reproach. The mockery of Christ and the Bible was bad enough without FBC adding fuel to the fire. Titus 2:5,8 Titus 2:10 I. Timothy 3:7 2nd. Samuel 12:14
I let that reverand tell many other little boys and girls that they have plenty of time to get saved without even getting a chance to rebuke him accordingly. So naturally i am upset over the continuance of similar heresies in our own camps grossly ignored. I shall continue to pray and let the Lord lead.
Sincerely In Christ Brother ___________________
The brother above later sent another e-mail (after my reply below):
With my FULL PERMISSION! And without RESERVATION! I had thought about including my name, but i am already EXPERIENCING great battles from FORMER FBC and FBC and H.A.C. people. Some of whom i am RELATED to. I am outspoken and opinonated but try to be Biblical about such matters. I CERTAINLY INCLUDE myself in II. Chronicles 7:14 because i am only a SINNER saved by grace and no better than anyone else. Perhaps the Chief among sinners. The Bible says ALL we like sheep have gone astray. Everyone has turned their own way. I fall and with the help of my Lord i rise again. Isn’t it WONDERFUL to have such a Heavenly Father to turn to?
What REALLY UPSETS me is the failure of repentance! The facts that Schaap had written such vulgar books without remorse and then turning against the God of the Bible! Denying the POWER thereof. The Bible is VERY CLEAR on such matters! He ACTUALLY said the Bible has 22 thousand errors and then turned around and said it is mostly correct. You cannot have it both ways or partial ways. The FACTS remain that FBC is 501c3 worships the god of money/mammon and did NOTHING to stop Schaap from the very begining.
My Reply on April 18, 2013
Dear Bro. __________,
Thanks for your very insightful reply. Especially thanks since you are one former member of FBCH who has the biblical understanding of the matter and the implications.
Amen! I agree with you 100%. It is very vexing to see God’s people behaving without remorse or repentance. The men of FBCH not seeing how they failed. Now lawyers and big-name preachers standing up for FBCH instead of calling for an application of II Chronicles 14. And a double Amen to your insight that [many of the] pulpits of America are more disgraceful than the office of the Presidency.
With your permission I will publish this exchange of e-mails, without identities, of course, unless you inform me that you do not want this published. It will be in an article on letters and my replies.
Keep up the great work for our Lord!
For His Glory,
IV. Letter No. 3 received on April 13, 2013 (Concerning Internal Revenue Code § 508 status for churches)
Greetings and Shabbat Shalom,
I ran across your information and the website while researching information for the 501. Reason is that I stepped out in ministry as led, first with a home group and then within the will of the lord, establishing a congregation/church. I am very curious after researching the 508 section. What I can not figure out, is how the church receives recognition in order to obtain this standing under 508. The IRS recognition appears to be necessary to obtain state exemption as well. Are there forms, as the government is famous for, for the status under 508? Do you have any books or such that outline how to obtain recognition under section 508? How do expenses, salaries and receipts for offerings, tithes, etc be given to members as well as other contributors and then recognized for tax deduction purposes.
I can say, after recently retiring from 23 years of government service in a management position in Law Enforcement, I by no means trust the government and especially under the present administration. I did not particularly like the idea of the 501, but till I saw your information, I did not think there was any other way.
Any information to clarify this would be greatly appreciated.
Thank You for your time and attention,
My Reply to Letter No. 3
Thank you so much for your inquiry. I love you in the Lord. I will succinctly answer your questions. To completely answer your questions requires a treatise. I have written comprehensively on these matters. One can have free access to all my books and writings in both online and PDF form on the “Separation of Church and State Law” blog (jeraldfinney.wordpress.com). Four of the books are now available to be purchased from amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. You can also see the “Books” page of churchandstatelaw.com for ordering information. Sadly, the internet serves as proof that there are many, many uninformed people who will give you their opinions about these matters. Take such opinions for what they are worth.
I am just beginning a free online course that goes through my teachings. I am teaching one chapter at a time, beginning with teaching on the biblical doctrine of government. You can go to that course at http://jeraldfinney.wordpress.com/course/.
To claim 508(c)(1)(A) exemption in at least some cases, and maybe in all cases, puts a church in the same position that they would be in if that church applies for and receives 501(c)(3) status. Some churches are including all the 501(c)(3) requirements in their corporate constitutions or in other church documents in order to claim 508(c)(1)(A) status. They are effectively putting themselves under the civil government, under the 501(c)(3) rules when they do this. By the way, incorporation and any other legal entity status of a church is just as grievous to our Lord as 501(c)(3) status. I cover this completely in my writings and audio teachings.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is a statement of the biblical principles of separation of church and state, freedom of religion, soul consciousness, free will, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of association, and the right to petition one’s civil government for a redress of grievances. The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights that prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. A church in America can choose to retain her First Amendment freedoms. The First Amendment protects those churches who wish to remain under God only, mandates that churches can operate without government intervention, protects freedom of conscience, etc. However, the federal government violated the First Amendment and passed section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code, a law which allows a church to voluntarily give up her First Amendment protections. The law is clearly unconstitutional – that is, the law clearly violates the First Amendment. Nonetheless, churches, as they form, ignorantly line up to get their 501(c)(3) status.
Section 501 is a law passed by the federal govenment which, when applied to churches, respects an establisment of religion and prevents the free exercise thereof. 501(a) says: “(a) Exemption from taxation: An organization described in subsection (c) or (d) or section 401 (a) shall be exempt from taxation under this subtitle unless such exemption is denied under section 502 or 503.”
Section 501(c)(3) says: “(c) List of exempt organizations: The following organizations are referred to in subsection (a): (3) Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”
Please notice the rules that are written into 501(c)(3). 501(c)(3) obviously is a law respecting an establishment of religion and which, according to the rules written into the law, “prevents the free exercise thereof.” The Internal Revenue Service added another rule – “may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy” – which was challenged in court but upheld in the Bob Jones University Case, 461 U.S. 574 (1983) (which is discussed in my writings and audio teachings).
508, like 501(c)(3), is a law passed by the federal government which regards an establishment of religion. If there were no unconstitutional law applicable to churches, 501(c)(3), there would be no need for another unconstitutional law, 508(c)(1)(A) to be applied to churches. Because of the First Amendment which forbade Congress to “make any law respecting an establishment of religion or preventing the free exercise thereof,” and because Congress did just that when it passed 501(c)(3), Congress was left with a dilemma; Congress probably realized that they needed more in order to satisfy the First Amendment. Therefore, instead of repealing 501(c)(3) insofar as it applied to churches, Congress passed 508(c). 508(c) recognizes that churches do not have to get 501(c)(3) status. Why? Because churches are non-taxable under the First Amendment? 508(c) does not say that. 508(c)(1)(A) says that “churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches” are “mandatory exceptions” to the requirement for certain organizations to get 501(c)(3) status. 508(c) gives no reason for stating that church are mandatory exceptions. The natural and logical interpretation of 508(c) would be that the First Amendment mandates that churches cannot be required to get 501(c)(3) status; that is, churches are non-taxable because of the First Amendment. The First Amendment says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment or religion, or preventing the free exercise thereof.” Since both 501(c)(3), if applied to churches, and 508(c) are laws respecting an establishment of religion and which prevent the free exercise thereof, both are unconstitutional in their application to churches. I could say much more about this, but I have said enough to show one who thinks seriously that a church should rely on the First Amendment - a statement of the biblical principle of freedom of religion – which protects churches from government power, influence, and interference rather than rely upon the unconsitutional 501(c)(3), as applied to churches, and 508(c) statutes passed by the federal government in spite of First Amendment prohibitions. Thus, I recommend that churches claim First Amendment status as opposed to 508 status. I am sure that the God of this world is highly entertained and that our Lord is grieved by the ignorance of most American preachers and churches concerning these matters.
Why are churches non-taxable? For several reasons. First, as to a church who does not illegally, intentionally, and knowingly give up her First Amendment status, because of the First Amendment. Second, even if the First Amendment did not exist, because a true church (a church whose purpose, organization, goals, and operation is in line with New Testament church doctrine) does not make a profit. Even a business which does not make a profit pays no income taxes. A true church is not a business wholly or partially. A true church cannot operate a business or businesses and still be a true church. A true church does not sell a good or a service. A true church makes sure that all tithes and offerings go to God and His purposes. A true church is not a legal entity and therefore acts in no legal way; for example, a true church does not get insurance, hold property, get a bank account, etc. I cover these matters in great detail in my writings and audio teachings. To get more explanation and information on these matters in a nutshell, click the following link: Quick Reference Guide for Churches Seeking to Organize According to New Testament Guidelines.
The real reason churches seek “tax-exempt” status is because they feel that they need to let people know that tithes, offerings, and gifts will be tax-deductible. Other false reasons are given to justify corporate 501(c)(3) church status. I go over all these matters in my writings. The main thing a believer and a church should understand is that God wishes believers and churches to do things according to the principles He has given us in His Word, no matter what the earthly consequences. Even if one has to pay a sales tax, he should never violate God’s law in order to avoid paying the tax. Which is more important, pleasing God or paying a sales tax? That said, no sales taxes are paid on goods bought by the pastors of the churches I have worked with and who operate totally under God without any connections to civil government.
In order to understand these matters, one first needs to understand the biblical doctrines of government, church, and separation of church and state. Then he needs to understand the American application of the biblical principles. That includes an understanding of the First Amendment, including the history of the Amendment. My resources will save you thousands of hours of study. I am not making available a course of study which will teach the biblical doctrines of government, church, and separation of church and state. I have added the first study segment, with self-test questions. Click the following link to go to that course of study: Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application.
Any local, autonomous New Testament church can honor God, including churches in China, Korea, Iran or the many other nations where there is no religious freedom. However, individuals in non-state churches in those nations will be persecuted, many times murdered. For example, in Korea, there are no open churches and to be found with a Bible or heard saying the name of Jesus means death.
A church anywhere who puts themselves under the civil government in any way grieves our Lord. You see, he is the sovereign of the universe and had made clear that he wants his children and believers to “obey God rather than man.” Of course, an individual and a church should obey his civil government as long as civil government laws are consistent with biblical principles.
Again, I cover this and all related matters in my writings. I cover first the biblical, then the historical and legal information a believer needs to know in order to please God in the organization of one of His local churches. I don’t have time to rewrite my books in this letter. If you are concerned with pleasing God, I humbly suggest that you begin to study these matters in the light of His Word.
May the Lord bless you as you search to please Him.
For His Glory,
V. Letter No. 4 received on April 9, 2013 (Letter criticizing the publication of the article Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy)
Jerald…. while I admire your attack on heresy, I think all this should not be aired on the Internet, etc. Why should we air our dirty laundry before the world It just gives more reason (s), or excuses to reject Christ as Lord.
I would like to know why this is being passed around to the world. Is it uplifting or edifying? I think not. I became pastor of my first church at the age of 19, back in 1956. I have pastored in four states, from California to Florida and several in between. Every where I lived we had men who strayed into sin. The best work was done in Scriptural confrontation, discussion, edification, prayer “trying to lift up the fallen”….before we walked away and gave him up to the Devil – on his rejection of our love.
I urge you to stop this castigation before the world, lest it aid others on their trip to Hell.
Dr. ______________________ (retired Baptist minister)
My Reply to Letter No. 4 on April 10, 2013
Dear Dr. ________________________,
I apologize for my short answer, but I have a lot on my plate.
I have already partially answered your questions in my letters link which was on the e-mail you received [Click the following link to go to those letters: Letters from pastors regarding Hyles/Schaap and other articles.]. This is being aired all over the world by the lost. I am representing the Lord Jesus in the way he prescribes in His Word. I am calling for contrite repentance which would include beginning at this point to do things God’s way as churches and believers. The world knows what happened at Hammond and is publishing it widely. The world needs to see mourning and true repentance, not the pride being displayed. That might influence the world to consider the message of the Savior, rather than to disdain His message.
I don’t use humanistic reasoning; rather, I seek to obey our Lord in his mandates to his churches and those who make up the body of his churches.
[You may read another article which I have now linked to in the Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy which goes into some detail concerning biblical reasons for publicly publishing articles like mine by clicking the following link: Ignoring the Sin of First Baptist of Hammond.]
May the Lord bless your work for Him.
For His Glory,
Bro. Jerald Finney
VI. Letter No. 5 (Pastor Mark Manzoni comments on Pastor Jason Cooley’s message “Whose Church Is It Anyway?)
Much appreciated receiving your recent email.
Pastor Cooley’s message “Whose Church Is It Anyway” says it so well. [Click here to go to the the Sermon’s page on the Separation of Church and State Blog and scroll down to the sermon.]
A blessed encouragement; I passed it on to some other preachers who would give it a hearty amen.
In the Service LORD.
Fellowship Baptist Church
982 Mendon Road
Cumberland, RI 02864
My Reply to Letter No. 5
Thanks Pastor Manzoni! It is always good to hear from you. I will forward this message to Pastor Jason.
VII. Letter No. 6 received August 9, 2012 (Criticizing me for being critical of Jack Schaap)
Let me ask you a question. Who benefits by you being critical of Jack Schaap? Have you ever thought of that? Even if what you say is true, how does that glorify the Lord Jesus Christ?
While you are exposing the sins of another, you are guilty of sins of your own. The men that you criticize will answer to God. And, besides that, this is a local church discipline matter, not your’s.
Please answer these questions.
My Reply to Letter No. 6 on August 11, 2012
I have answered these questions and many more time and time again through my audio teachings and writings. My answers have always relied upon precepts and directions from the Word of God. The answers are published online at jeraldfinney.wordpress.com [Also, one can refer to my reply to letter no. 4 above for more reasoning and resources.]. I really do not have time to continually repeat my answers. Let me add that among those who have an interest in spiritual matters there are far more who are knowledgable and thankful that someone is doing the work of God as to these matters than there are those who will not and maybe cannot understand truth when presented.
If only more folks would get saved and rally around Christ and his truths, there would be far fewer instances of heresy and its consequences as demonstrated by Jack Schaap and First Baptist of Hammond. There is sanctification and unity in truth.
I am a sinner saved by grace through faith unto good works which God hath ordained that I should walk in them. I deserve hell, but He gave me eternal life.
If you are lost, my prayer is that you will be saved. If you are saved, my prayer is that you will seek the guidance of the Word of God as led by the Holy Spirit in a search for truth.
For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney
VIII. Letter No. 7 on July 12, 2012 (Commenting on the website)
I really like your web site!
My Reply to Letter No. 7 on July 13, 2012
Thanks for the encouragement! Posted on July 13, 2012
IX. Letter No. 8 received on August 9, 2012 (Letter attacking me and my article Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy)
Please take me off of your mailing list. I am not pro-Dr. Schapp or anti-Dr. Schapp or First Baptist Hammond as far as that is concerned. My concern is that a church and families are hurting. There is no edification in your slander or hate. Go and win someone to the Lord. Go support a missionary. You are not a defender for God’s purpose. I will pray for you and hope that you will remove yourself from this type of correspondence.
My Reply to Letter No. 8 on August 9, 2012
I support missionaries to the tune of $300+ per month and tithe of all that I possess. I have won many to the Lord. I am a faithful member of a Baptist church & have been since salvation in 1981. Etc.
I love you, so I give you truth.
Obviously, you are a spiritual midget. Name calling instead of honesty and biblical analysis is what I detect in your offering. People are hurting because of unchecked heresy by a church and her pastor. Someone is trying, in love, to alert, and spiritual morons distort biblical principles, history, heresy, and apostasy. As a result, far fewer souls are being saved as churches, families, and the nation slide down the slippery slope to hell.
I will continue to do whatever the Lord calls me to do despite unfounded vicious attacks by the unknowledgeable.
I don’t want your prayers because I do not believe they will be heard. You need to get the log out of your eye before attempting to help anyone else.
For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney
God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Link to preview of God Betrayed): may be ordered from Amazon by clicking the following link: God Betrayed on Amazon.com or from Barnes and Nobel by clicking the following link: God Betrayed on Barnes and Noble. All books by Jerald Finney as well as many of the books he has referenced and read may also be ordered by left clicking “Books” (on the “Church and State Law” website) or directly from Amazon by going to the following links: (1) Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses (Kindle only); (2) The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls (Kindle only); (3) Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities? (Link to preview of Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities?) which can also be ordered by clicking the following Barnes and Noble link: Separation of Church and State on Barnes and Noble.
X. Links to Internal Revenue Code Laws
You can read portions of the following Internal Revenue Code laws which pertain to churches and pastors by going to the following site: “Laws Protecting New Testament Churches in the United States: Read Them for Yourself”; or you may read an entire law online by clicking the following links:
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is above all laws including those listed below when a church chooses to remain a totally spiritual entity (does not do something (incorporating, obtaining Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) status, or by becoming a legal entity by some other action) .
1. § 501(c)(3). Exemption from tax on corporations, certain trusts, etc.
2. § 508. Special rules with respect to section 501(c)(3) organizations
3. § 7611. Restrictions on church tax inquiries and examinations
4. § 1402. [Dealing with taxes on income of pastors]
5. § 107. Rental value of parsonages
6. § 102. Gifts and inheritances (Tithes and offerings are gifts and, therefore, according to the Internal Revenue Code § 102, not income)
7. § 2503. Taxable gifts
8. § 170. Charitable, etc., contributions and gifts
Copyright © January 20, 2012
Left click one of the following link for easy access to all articles on this website:
Complete listing of articles on “Separation of Church and State Law” blog Or Contents
Note. This is an edited version of Section I, Chapter 2 of God Betrayed.
An individual, family, church, or civil government will stay on track only should it, in addition to fearing God, have the proper motivation and set the proper God-given goal. The proper motivation for the saved is love for God first, and love for man second. Love is the key. Notice the use of the word “love” throughout the articles on this website and the book God Betrayed (which is reproduced on this website)(See The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls which is a revised version of the booklet by the same name.). The improper motivation is love for oneself. If one’s motivation is love for God first and man second, he will set the proper goal—the glory of God—and he will have happiness as a side-effect, at least in eternity. If one’s motivation is self-love, he will set the wrong goal—his own happiness—and sooner or later he will be unhappy.
One who is not a child of God cannot love God or neighbor. It is only natural for God’s children to love and glorify God:
“We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also” (1 Jn. 3.14, 4.7-21).
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Co. 2.9-16).
“Goal” means “the end or final purpose; the end to which a design tends, or to which a person aims to reach or accomplish” (AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, NOAH WEBSTER (1828), definition of “GOAL”). The two ultimate and mutually exclusive goals are “the glory of God,” and the “happiness of man.” Should a person aim for the goal of “the happiness of man,” his path must differ from one whose goal is “the glory of God.” The conflict between these two goals is seen throughout Scripture and history in the life of every individual, family, church, and nation. Every entity, spiritual or earthly, sets one of these two goals.
Adam and Eve, Abel and Cain set one of the above-mentioned goals. All the heroes of the faith in the Bible understood or came to understand the importance of setting the proper goal. For example, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, King David, the prophets, the apostles, and the Christian martyrs throughout the ages understood the importance of setting the right goal. Joshua understood the importance of setting the right goal. He said, “[C]hoose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Jos. 24.14-15).
Paul understood this. Amidst persecution and on his way to martyrdom, he joyfully said, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Ph. 3.14). In the midst of bonds and afflictions, he said, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Ac. 20.24). Certainly his lifestyle would have taken a different course if his goal had been his happiness. If all he had counted his salvation for was “fire insurance,” and his own eternal happiness in heaven, he could have avoided the physical torture, pain, and martyrdom which he experienced on earth. Perhaps one who professes to know Christ as Savior only in order to obtain eternal happiness in heaven without real repentance should examine his eternal salvation. Most “Christians” today have as their goal not only eternal but also temporal happiness.
God desires the goal of every government to be “the glory of God” and not “the happiness of man.” One will set this goal only if he loves God. Should the author of this book, or anyone else, serve God his entire life and die and go to hell, he would only be getting what he deserves. Every person should realize that. But hell does not have to be the destination of sinful man: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3.16). “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 Jn. 4.19). Eternal happiness in heaven is promised to the believer, but that is never the goal of the believer; it is only a side effect.
The Bible glorifies God and reveals that the glory of God is the God-given goal for every person and that everything was created for His pleasure. The first of the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20.3), is a concise statement of this principle. Besides that verse, the Bible makes abundantly clear that the God-given goal of man, which man can embrace or reject, is the “glory of God,” and that glory is due to God for many reasons.
“Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah” (Ps. 24.7-10).
“And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran” (Ac. 7.2).
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him” (Ep. 1.17).
“And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen” (Ps. 72.19).. “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (Ro. 11.36).
“… Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name” (1 Chr. 29.10-13).
“Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory. The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever” (Ps. 29.1-2, 9-10).
“Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously” (Ps. 96.7-10).
“The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled. The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory” (Ps. 97.1-6).
“The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens. Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high” (Ps. 113.4-5).
“Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake. Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased” (Ps. 115.1-3).
“All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations” (Ps. 145.10-13).
“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple…. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory…. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Is. 6.1, 3, 5).
“Do not abhor us, for thy name’s sake, do not disgrace the throne of thy glory: remember, break not thy covenant with us” (Je. 14.21).
“And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Da. 7.14).
“And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Mt. 19.28. See also, Mt. 25.31). “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Ti. 1.17). “To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 25).
“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Re. 5.13).
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Re. 4.11).
“And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen” (Re. 7.10-12).
“The Bible indicates that God is glorified through His sovereign dealings with nations (Ezek. 39:17-21), rulers (Rom. 9:17; Dan. 4:17, 34-37), Israel (Isa. 43:1, 7; 46:13; 60:1-3; Jer. 13.11), the Church (Eph. 3:20-21), and the nonelect (Rom. 9:17-18, 21). God is glorified by His sovereign act of creation (Ps. 19:1; Rev. 4:11), His sovereign acts in storm (Ps. 29.1-3, 9-10), His sovereign judgments (Isa. 2.19, 21; 59:18-19; Ezek. 39.17-21; Rev. 11:13; 19:1-2), and His sovereign act of hiding knowledge from human beings (Prov. 25:2). God glorifies Himself by sovereignly redeeming lost human beings and sovereignly keeping those whom He has redeemed (Rom. 9:23; 15:7-9; Eph. 1:5-6, 12, 14, 18; Phil. 4:19-20; 2 Tim. 4:18). God is to be glorified through the righteous deeds of believers performed through the equipment which God sovereignly gives (1 Cor. 10:31; Phil. 1:11; Heb. 13:21)” (Renald E. Showers, There Really Is a Difference: A Comparison of Covenant and Dispensational Theology (Bellmawr, New Jersey: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1990), p. 13).
“Christians” who do not love God and whose goal is “the happiness of man,” as opposed to “the glory of God,” probably will not respond to God’s call for active service. They will be like Micah who combined a little of the world with a little religion and employed a Levite for ten shekels, a suit, and his victuals and then said, “Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest” (Jud. 17.13). They have their goal—they think will be eternally happy in heaven so why not use God to also bring temporal happiness on earth?
This principle applies to individuals, families, churches, and nations. The goal of lost people and most “Christians” is happiness, not the glory of God. Many families whose goal is “the happiness of man” will seek the American way of life into which they have been indoctrinated. Mom will work, the children will be left at day-care, will attend public schools, and will be brainwashed in Satan’s principles. Many “Christians” set out to make themselves and others happy, not to glorify God. Many nations likewise have the goal of “the happiness of man,” although that goal is only for an elite in many nations.
Individuals and families who love God and whose goal is to glorify God will get to work for the Lord. They will be seeking what they can do for God, not what God can do for them. They will be faithful to a Bible-believing, Bible-preaching church which operates according to biblical principles no matter what. They will seek to serve God, to carry out the Great Commission, and to love everyone, including their enemies. Churches and civil governments who love God will remain totally under Him and neither will seek to be over or under the other.
Saved people will one day be in heaven where they will be happy. There they will be happy, and they, along with all other creatures, will glorify God:
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Re. 21.4).
“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Re. 5.13).
Copyright © January 16, 2012
Left click one of the following link for easy access to all articles on this website:
Complete listing of articles on “Separation of Church and State Law” blog Or Contents
Note. This is an edited version of God Betrayed, Section V, Chapter 3.
The Supreme Court used the Fourteenth Amendment to open the door for the federal government to get into state government affairs. Since state governments had illegally gotten into the affairs of individual, family, and church governments, the United States Supreme Court was able to intercede into those governments. The purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified after the Civil War, was to protect the status of Black Americans and insure their freedom, but it has been used for other purposes with no regard for its intent. The Fourteenth Amendment says, in relevant part:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (U.S. CONST. amend. XIV, § 1).
Although the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868, the complete sovereignty of the states in matters of religion was not challenged until well into the twentieth century. When that challenge came, the constitutional prohibition of an establishment of religion was expanded into a prohibition of the reading of the Bible, the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in public schools, posting the Ten Commandments in public schools of America, and many other prohibitions intended to remove all vestiges of God over civil government. Endless debates continue concerning the limitations imposed by the First Amendment by the Supreme Court through the Fourteenth Amendment. One thing is certain—only a view that allows the Supreme Court to invoke the philosophies and beliefs of the majority on the Court and impose them on the American people can explain the perversion by the Court of the fundamental law of America.
Two “distinct and totally divergent trends” in Supreme Court Fourteenth Amendment jurisprudence emerged. Initially, after the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court declared unconstitutional laws passed to uphold the rights of Negroes. At the same time, the Court relied upon the Fourteenth Amendment to control state legislative power over corporations. The Court extended “to corporations by a series of ever widening interpretations of the amendment a measure of freedom from state regulation that accorded with the spirit of the times but hardly with the spirit of the men who framed the amendments and the American people who adopted them.” Thus the amendment became the “Magna Charta of corporation freedom … while its application to its real purpose, the achievement of legal equality for all Americans, was lulled to a fitful slumber” (William H. Marnell, The First Amendment: Religious Freedom in America from Colonial Days to the School Prayer Controversy (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1964), p. 144). However, the incorporation of the First Amendment into the Fourteenth would be almost eighty years in the future.
The first instance where the Supreme Court may have applied the First Amendment to the states through the Fourteenth was in 1871. The case involved a dispute between majority (who disbelieved in slavery) and minority (who supported slavery) membership in a Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, each claiming the exclusive use of the property held and owned by that local church (Watson v. Jones, 80 U.S. 679, 728 (1871)). The Court stated, “The full and free right to entertain any religious belief, to practice any religious principle, and to teach any religious doctrine which does not violate the laws of morality and property, and which does not infringe on personal rights, is conceded to all. The law knows no heresy, and is committed to support no dogma, the establishment of no sect” (Ibid. at 728). “The statement is not explicit, but in its context this is obviously a declaration of religious freedom for minorities. For over seventy years, the Fourteenth Amendment would be applied for the protection of minority freedom” (Marnell, pp. 145-146).
In 1879, an opinion delivered by Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Field
“at least intimated that the Fourteenth Amendment was applicable to the protection of religious liberty. He stated, ‘In our country hostile and discriminating legislation by a statute against persons of any class, sect, creed or nation, or whatever form it may be expressed is forbidden by the Fourteenth Amendment’ (Ho Ah Kow v. Numan, 12 Fed. Cas. No. 6546, pp. 252, 256. In 1885 he expanded this doctrine: ‘The Fourteenth Amendment … undoubtedly intended not only that there should be no arbitrary deprivation of life or liberty, or arbitrary spoliation of property, but that equal protection and security should be given to all under like circumstances in the enjoyment of their personal and civil rights…’ (Barber v. Connolly, 113 U.S. 27, 31). His point of view was shared in various dissenting opinions by Justice John M. Harlan (1833-1911), but the Supreme Court majority continued to … disregard its possible applicability to cases involving religion” (Ibid., pp. 148-149. See also, Spies v. Illinois, 123 U.S. 166 (1887) and in in re King, 46 F. 905, 912 (a circuit court opinion) for evidence of this viewpoint.).
It took fifty more years for a majority of the Court to imply that the Fourteenth Amendment gave religious liberty to the citizens of the states. In 1923 the Supreme Court in Meyer v. State of Nebraska took another step toward incorporation of the First Amendment into the Fourteenth:
“Defendant, state of Nebraska, enacted a statute that [criminalized] the teaching of languages other than English to any child [in a private, denominational, parochial or public school] who had not completed the eighth grade. Plaintiff teacher was tried and convicted for teaching German to a child who had not yet passed the eighth grade. The state supreme court affirmed the judgment. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the statute was arbitrary and unreasonable and infringed on the liberty guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. [The issue was whether a Nebraska state ‘statute as construed and applied unreasonably infringed upon the liberty guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution: ‘No state … shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law.’] The Court stated that education and acquisition of knowledge were matters of supreme importance that should be diligently promoted. The Court held that the liberty guaranteed by U.S. Const. amend. XIV protected plaintiff’s right to teach and the right of parents to engage plaintiff to teach their children” (Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 397; 43 S. Ct. 625, 626; 67 L. Ed. 1042; 1923 U.S. LEXIS 2655; 29 A.L.R. 1446 (1923)(edited)).
The Court “gave an oblique rather than a direct guarantee to religious freedom from state action” (Marnell, p. 150). In defining the liberty guaranteed the Court stated:
“While this Court has not attempted to define with exactness the liberty thus guaranteed, the term has received much consideration and some of the included things have been definitely stated. Without doubt, it denotes not merely freedom from bodily restraint but also the right of the individual to contract, to engage in any of the common occupations of life, to acquire useful knowledge, to marry, establish a home and bring up children, to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and generally to enjoy those privileges long recognized at common law as essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men…. The established doctrine is that this liberty may not be interfered with, under the guise of protecting the public interest, by legislative action which is arbitrary or without reasonable relation to some purpose within the competency of the State to effect. Determination by the legislature of what constitutes proper exercise of police power is not final or conclusive but is subject to supervision by the courts” (262 U.S. at 397-400). [Emphasis mine.]
What was not addressed in Meyer “was the fact that training in this school had religious connotations; indeed, Meyer based his defense upon that fact. On the basis of the precedent set in Meyer … there came two years later a finding, much better known…” (Marnell, p. 151). In Pierce v. Society of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, 268 U.S. 510, 534-535; 45 S. Ct. 571, 573; 69 L. Ed. 1070; 1925 U.S. LEXIS 589; 39 A.L.R. 468 (1925), the Court held that Oregon Compulsory Education Act of 1922, which practically construed required all normal children between ages of 8 and 16 years to attend public schools. The issue in the case was the constitutional right of religious organizations to operate a religious-oriented, alias parochial, school in the face of a contrary state statute affirmed by the voters. The Court held that the Act violated the Fourteenth Amendment in that it deprived parents and children of their rights in matter of selection of schools and … destroys private schools and diminishes the value of their property. The Court said:
“Under the doctrine of Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, we think it entirely plain that the Act of 1922 unreasonably interferes with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control. As often heretofore pointed out, rights guaranteed by the Constitution may not be abridged by legislation which has no reasonable relation to some purpose within the competency of the State. The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations” (Marnell, p. 153 citing 268 U.S. at 534-535; 45 S. Ct. at 573).
Meyer and Pierce gave parochial schools their legal guarantee of existence. “[T]he Court protected a religious minority in the exercise of a right which could hardly be said to have a common border with the corresponding right of the majority” (Ibid., p. 154).
Little by little, the Court used the Fourteenth Amendment to secure the rights of Americans against state infringement, although the Court, in 1937, restricted application of the Fourteenth Amendment to fundamental liberties which included freedom of thought and speech (Palko v. State of Connecticut, 309 U.S. 319 (1937)). In Gitlow a New York Statute prohibited language advocating, advising, or teaching the overthrow of organized government by unlawful means (Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652, 664-665 (1925)). Although the constitutionality of the statute and the conviction were upheld, the Court stated, “For present purposes we may and do assume that freedom of speech and of the press—which are protected by the First Amendment from abridgment by Congress—are among the fundamental personal rights and ‘liberties’ protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment from impairment by the States (Ibid., p. 666). “It was widely inferred that freedom of speech and of the press carried as an inevitable corollary freedom of religion” (Marnell, p. 155). Justice Cordoza, in a concurring opinion in Hamilton, a case which upheld a law requiring military training at a state university, stated, “I assume for present purposes that the religious liberty protected by the First Amendment against invasion by the nation is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment against invasion by the states” (Hamilton v. University of California, 293 U.S. 245, 265 (1934)).
In 1938 the Court, in a case involving a Jehovah’s Witness arrested convicted, and fined for distributing religious tracts without a permit, held that the ordinance requiring a permit was unconstitutional, ruling that “it strikes at the very foundation of the freedom of the press by subjecting it to license and censorship (Lovell v. City of Griffin, 303 U.S. 444 (1938)). Liberty of circulating is as essential to that freedom as liberty of publishing; indeed, without the circulation, the publication would be of little value” (Ibid., pp. 451, 452).
Soon thereafter, Jehovah’s Witnesses in Connecticut were arrested, tried, and convicted for violating an ordinance requiring approval by a certain public official before one could solicit funds for “any alleged religious, charitable, or philanthropic cause.” The Supreme Court reversed the state court stating:
“We hold that the statute, as construed and applied to the appellants, deprives them of their liberty without due process of law in contravention of the Fourteenth Amendment…. The First Amendment declares that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The Fourteenth Amendment has rendered the legislatures of the states as incompetent as Congress to enact such laws. The constitutional inhibition of legislation on the subject of religion has a double aspect. On the one hand, it forestalls compulsion by law of the acceptance of any creed or the practice of any form of worship. Freedom of conscience and freedom to adhere to such religious organization or form of worship as the individual may choose cannot be restricted by law. On the other hand, it safeguards the free exercise of the chosen form of religion. Thus, the Amendment embraces two concepts—freedom to believe and freedom to act. The first is absolute, but, in the nature of things, the second cannot be. Conduct remains subject to regulation for the protection of society. The freedom to act must have appropriate definition to preserve the enforcement of that protection. It is equally clear that a State may, by general and nondiscriminatory legislation, regulate the times, the places, and the manner of soliciting upon its streets, and of holding meetings thereon, and may in other respects safeguard the peace, good order, and comfort of the community without unconstitutionally invading the liberties protected by the Fourteenth Amendment….
“It will be noted, however, that the Act requires an application to the secretary of the public welfare council of the State; that he is empowered to determine whether the cause is a religious one, and that the issue of a certificate depends upon his affirmative action. If he finds that the cause is not that of religion, to solicit for it becomes a crime. He is not to issue a certificate as a matter of course. His decision to issue or refuse it involves appraisal of facts, the exercise of judgment, and the formation of an opinion. He is authorized to withhold his approval if he determines that the cause is not a religious one. Such a censorship of religion as the means of determining its right to survive is a denial of liberty protected by the First Amendment and included in the liberty which is within the protection of the Fourteenth” (Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296, 303-304, 305 (1940)).
For the first time, the Court explicitly held that the Fourteenth Amendment secures the religious guarantees of the Bill of Rights against state infringement. Prior to Cantwell, the few religion-clause cases decided by the Court involved actions against the federal government. After Cantwell, the majority of religion clause cases going to the Supreme Court were aimed at state actions.
Next came two flag-salute cases, Minnersville School District v. Gobitis, 310 U.S. 586 (1940) and West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943). Barnette reversed Minnersville which upheld a state law that required all public school students to salute the American flag. Jehovah’s Witnesses refused to do so based upon a literal interpretation of Exodus 20.4, 5—they considered the flag an “image.” Minnersville held that the promotion of national cohesion through the compulsory flag salute was an interest more important than the preservation of religious freedom.
Barnette held that the required flag salute was a violation of the first and Fourteenth amendments in the case of students with a conscientious objection to it grounded upon religious belief. Justice Jackson, writing for the majority stated:
“The freedom asserted by these appellees does not bring them into collision with rights asserted by any other individual. It is such conflicts which most frequently require intervention of the State to determine where the rights of one end and those of another begin. But the refusal of these persons to participate in the ceremony does not interfere with or deny rights of others to do so. Nor is there any question in this case that their behavior is peaceable and orderly. The sole conflict is between authority and rights of the individual….
“To sustain the compulsory flag salute we are required to say that a Bill of Rights which guards the individual’s right to speak his own mind, left it open to public authorities to compel him to utter what is not in his mind….
“The problem is whether under our Constitution compulsion as here employed is a permissible means for its achievement…. Ultimate futility of such attempts to compel coherence is the lesson of every such effort from the Roman drive to stamp out Christianity as a disturber of its pagan unity, the Inquisition, as a means to religious and dynastic unity, the Siberian exiles as a means to Russian unity, down to the fast failing efforts of our present totalitarian enemies. Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard” (West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 at 630, 634, 641 (1943)).
The above assertions of the court were biblically correct, but the societal context as compared to that of the founding of the nation had been changed considerably in an unconstitutional and unbiblical manner. For example, the education of the majority of children had been placed in the hands of a public school system. Justice Jackson noted:
“These principles [in the Bill of Rights] grew in soil which also produced a philosophy that the individual was the center of society, that his liberty was attainable through mere absence of governmental restraints, and that government should be entrusted with few controls and only the mildest supervision over men’s affairs. We must transplant these rights to a soil in which the laissez-faire concept or principle of non-interference has withered at least as to economic affairs, and social advancements are increasingly sought through closer integration of society and through expanded and strengthened governmental controls. These changed conditions often deprive precedents of reliability and cast us more than we would choose upon our own judgment. But we act in these matters not by authority of our competence but by force of our commissions” (Ibid., pp. 639-640).
The court also examined the question of power of the civil government versus individual liberty, and then discussed whether the proper place to address the issue was within the legislature:
“The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections” (Ibid., p. 638).
As to this assertion, the Court can and does hand down decisions which make law and which go beyond interpretation of the Constitution. Some such decisions are within the Constitutional powers of the Court, but some are not. As it has turned out, many decisions of the Court were correct when judged by the highest law, the Bible, while others were contrary to the principles of the highest law and will contribute to the ultimate destruction of the nation. It is important to note that not just the Court, but all branches of civil government, both state and national, as well as individual government, family government, and church government have steadily declined toward chaos as man acts according to his nature without the proper standards (doing that which is right in his own eyes).