Separation of Church and State Law

Home » Articles by Pastors and Other Believers » Pastor Jason Cooley » Part I: THE Human Reasoning BEHIND a church organizing under the 501c3 corporation

Part I: THE Human Reasoning BEHIND a church organizing under the 501c3 corporation

Pastor Jason Cooley
Copyright © July 28, 2011
Left click the following links to go directly to the websites held
in trust by Jason Cooley, Pastor/Trustee of Old Paths Baptist church:
Pastor Cooley preaches the whole counsel of God, but the following will link
you to four great sermons he has preached relevant to church and state issues:
“Do We Believe in the All-sufficiency of Scripture?”
“Whose House Is It Anyway”
“Are You Heavenly Minded or Earthly”
“The Method Matters to God”
These sermons are also on the “Sermons” page at the top of this website

This will be part one of a series Entitled: Human reasoning in organizing a church under the 501c3 corporation model. As I have studied the 501 c3 corporate status of churches today I have come to the realization that the only reason that pastors organize that way is human reasoning. Paul warned us in scripture not to fashion ourselves after the rudiments of this world. Colossians 2:8: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” At the least one would have to say that incorporating a church is after the tradition of men, it is certainly not after the Christ model found in the Word of God. Let’s look at the human reasoning behind churches incorporating.

THE CORPORATION IS HUMANISTIC IN ITS VERY EXISTANCE. You may be thinking right now that this is the opinion of an overzealous Baptist preacher. But this is actually the opinion of the Supreme Court: “Upon the other hand, the corporation is a creature of the State. It is presumed to be incorporated for the benefit of the public. It receives certain special privileges and franchises, and holds them subject to the laws of the State and the limitations of its charter. Its powers are limited by law. It can make no contract not authorized by its charter. Its rights to act as a corporation are only preserved to it so long as it obeys the laws of its creation.”

Do you see the humanistic design? It is a creature or invention of the state. It is not the design of God Almighty for his Bride the Local New Testament Church. God is the creator of mankind. Therefore, God set down his order and we are to follow it and if we do not there are consequences for those actions. So it is with the church that is a 501c3. The state is the creator of the corporation. The state says what the corporation is allowed to do and the state lays down rules for the corporation to follow. If a corporation does not, it is subject to certain consequences.

This is human reasoning at its highest level. Remember, we are to follow the order that God laid down for his church in Scripture, not recognize some other authority in the local church. 1 Timothy 3:15: “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” Paul laid down the proper behavior, the order or proper church government  that was to be followed in the local church. But today humanistic reasoning has crept in and churches have looked at another head to another entity beside the Lord Jesus Christ over his church.  Many believers wrongly believe that INCORPORATION IS RIGHT TO DO BECAUSE IT PROTECTS THE ASSETS OF INDIVIDUAL CHURCH MEMBERS.

The number one humanistic argument is that incorporation protects the members from lawsuits and from their personal assets being taken from them. First of all, this statement implies that members that go to an unregistered church are in danger of losing everything they own, that automatically if a crime occurs in the local church or somewhere in the ministry that someone that has no knowledge of the crime will be sued and they will take everything you own. That is a deceitful approach and scare tactic of David Gibbs and the Christian Law Association and other “Christian” legal associations to push their agenda of bowing down to government at any cost.

The truth is actually the complete opposite of this fable. And Unregistered Baptist Church that is organized under the Declaration of trust is not a legal entity and cannot be sued as such. The church I pastor, Old Paths Baptist Church, is not a legal entity. When a church accepts 501c3 status, that church becomes a legal entity. Let’s look at the definition of a legal entity  from the dictionary:

“An association, corporation, partnership, proprietorship, trust, or individual that has legal standing in the eyes of law. A legal entity has legal capacity to enter into agreements or contracts, assume obligations, incur and pay debts, sue and be sued in its own right, and to be held responsible for its actions.”

So you see by the very definition of “legal entity” a church that establishes a well crafted, biblically honoring, law abiding declaration of trust is not a legal entity at all (As long as she is careful not to act as a legal entity in some other manner). Such a church cannot be recognized as a legal entity because it holds no property, does not buy or sell, and acts legally in no way whatsoever. Therefore it cannot be sued or sued.

The Declaration of Trust allows the Pastor/Trustee to hold property for the benefit of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Declaration of Trust is not the church. The Pastor is not the church in his capacity as Pastor/Trustee. On the other hand, churches which accept the invitation from the federal government to become a 501c3 corporation are legal entities and can sue and be sued.

Another misconception is that if you go to a 501c3 incorporated church you cannot be sued. This is false. Every human being alive is a legal entity. We buy and sell and we conduct business and we are held responsible for our actions. Being a member of a 501c3 corporate church does not give you the ability to sign away liability for torts and crimes you commit against someone else. If you commit a tort (“A private or civil wrong or injury, including action in bad faith breach of contract, for which the court will provide a remedy in the form of an action for damages…. A legal wrong committed upon the person or property independent of contract.” BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY) or harm someone you can be sued or if it can be proven that you were negligent. If you commit, participate in, or encourage a crime being committed you can be charged with a crime. Do not the Scriptures say so as well? Ecclesiastes 5:8: “If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for [he that is] higher than the highest regardeth; and [there be] higher than they.”  The Scriptures clearly say that if you and I see the oppression of someone and do nothing about it, God who is full of justice sees it from above and will rightly judge the matter.

Civil government does have the obligation and jurisdiction under God to protect one person from another if physical harm is done. That is why anyone, member of a corporate church or not, can still be charged if he knowingly participates in, encourages, or knows about and does nothing to prevent a crime or tort (harming another causing damages).

But many Christian Lawyers or falsely so called will go around to churches that have never been incorporated and they will tell them that Grandma that is down stairs cooking the chicken noodle soup for the church fellowship can be sued for something that takes place upstairs that she has no knowledge, or control over. This is a ridiculous scare tactic and needs to be exposed. In fact, try doing Google searches to determine what goes on in corporate 501(c)(3) churches.  You will be amazed at the extent of the graft and criminal and tortious activity that goes on in such churches.

In America we have the opportunity to purchase a liability insurance to protect those who are injured or hurt in some way while at the meeting house. If organized under the Declaration of Trust, the Pastor/trustee can purchase such a policy as God has entrusted the pastor with the care of the flock, to feed, them spiritually and to protect them from harm; the church does not purchase the insurance. Rather, the Pastor/Trustee purchases the policy.

The false protection that David Gibbs and the CLA sells people is actually enslaving them to the state. It is based on nothing more than human reasoning (and bad reasoning, at that). The Bible clearly says that Jesus is the Savior or Protector of the body:  Ephesians 5:23: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” They trade this false security of being protected for the protection of the Lord. This is humanism. This humanism leads to acceptance of the State’s rules and regulations for the local church.

The corporate church must elect unscriptural officers and file mandatory reporters with the Secretary of State. It does not have the right to deny the state access to church finances: In Hale vs. Henkel, 201 U.S. 74-75 (1906) the Court  stated regarding corporations:

“There is a clear distinction in this particular between and individual and a corporation and that the latter has no right to refuse to submit its books and papers for examination at the suit of the State. While an individual may lawfully refuse to answer incriminating questions unless protected by an immunity statute, it does not follow that a corporation vested with certain privileges and franchises may refuse to show its hand when charged with an abuse of such privileges.”

So you see the human reasoning has set the church up with another head and another set of rules to govern by. Remember the warning that the Apostle Paul gave us: Colossians 2:8: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Our churches must return to their Sovereign Head, the Lord Jesus Christ, and not be entangled with the state.


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