- Chapter 1: Analysis of the title and first two paragraphs of Chapter 18 of “Approved by Man” by Wright/Townsend (ELC leaders)
- Chapter 2: Analysis of the first section of chapter 18 “The Propagation of the Declaration”
- Chapter 3: Analysis of the second section of Chapter 18, “Why such a strong stand against the DOT?
- Chapter 4: Analysis of the third section of Chapter 18, “Biblical Law Center Bulletins” (Below)
- Chapter 5: Analysis of the fourth section of Chapter 18, “More Exclusivity Statements”
- Chapter 6: Analysis of fifth section of Chapter 18, “We Can’t Give it to Other Churches!”
- Chapter 7: Analysis of the sixth section of Chatper 18, “Has it ever been tested in court?”
- Chapter 8: Analysis of the last section of Chapter 18, “The Questions will keep coming”
- Chapter 9: Ben Townsend Explains Chapter 18 of Approved by Man: He admits that he did not know what he was talking about
- Chapter 10: Reply to Ben Townsend’s Article, “Give and Take”
- Chapter 11: Answer to Ben Townsend’s Article, “It Really Isn’t Personal: “It’s Financial!”
- Chapter 12: Answer to Ben Townsend’s Article, “God is our Benefactor; He is NOT a Beneficiary”
- Analysis of Ben Townsend’s Article, “A Law, Made by Man, Will be Changed” and Conclusion
- Exposing or Silently Co-existing with False Teaching Causes Suffering and Persecution from Within and Without a Church (050217)
- The Only Way a Church Can Organize to Remain a New Testament Church (050616 article which explains that why trust is a Bible concept and why it is the only way a church can organize in accord with New Testament principles and the wisdom of using a properly worded and executed Declaration of Trust with supporting documents.)
- Expose And Reject The Teachings and Methods of Church Organization Con-Artists and Charlatans (050616)
- Why Understanding and Applying Church and State Law Is Important for Believers and Churches (June 3, 2012 article)
- Is the ordinary trust recommended by this “Separation of Church and State Law Ministry” and by the BLC a legal entity?
- See Comparison of Bible Trust (ordinary trust), Incorporation (includes corporation sole), and Ecclesiastical Law Center Trust for a concise chart of the differences each brings to church organization.
- See Spurious rationale for church incorporation: to hold property (Section VI, Chapter 7 of God Betrayed; Chapter 7 of Separation of Church and State) for an explanation of the ordinary trust. That chapter shows how the ordinary trust comports perfectly with Bible principle and why this author now co-labels the ordinary trust a Bible trust.
Chapter 4: Analysis of the third section of Chapter 18, “Biblical Law Center Bulletins”
Copyright © November 17, 2014
Note. This is a continuation of the examination of Chapter 18 of Approved by Man, an Ecclesiastical Law Center (“ELC”) Publication, which attacks the ordinary trust. This article looks at the third section of that chapter “Biblical Law Center Bulletins.”
In the following analysis, ELC quotes will be in red in quotation marks and analysis of their statements in black. This chapter exposes and defeats the false, virulent, hostile accusations and conclusions of the ELC in this section of their article.
The third section of chapter 18 starts out:
“The Declaration of Trust must be validated by those who propagate it. This places all their documents under the scrutiny of a legal microscope. The reason for this answer is because good men of God, who love their churches, have actually asked why is this document being pushed so hard by these people.”
This author, an attorney, has placed BLC documents under a “legal microscope.” His qualifications: legal research at Jr. College prior to going to law school, graduation from one of the best law schools in the country (The University of Texas School of Law), continuing to study and apply legal research and analysis, and practicing law for twenty-one years. In addition to that, he, a born-again believer, has spent just as much time studying the biblical doctrines of government, church, separation of church and state and the application of those principles in the United States. Studying and growing in knowledge, understanding, and wisdom are prescribed by God’s word, but some will make fun of someone who actually obeys these directives.
A pastor is just one member of a church body. The other members are told to exercise their gifts and work with the other members, including the pastor, in fighting the spiritual warfare believers and churches are involved with. Sadly, some pastors think they know it all and can do it all just because they are the pastor. They cannot possibly know it all and do it all. Hence the need for a member who, according to God’s call, studied legal, as well as, Bible matters.
This author finds nothing out of order with the basic concepts concerning the Declaration of Trust (“DOT”) and the ordinary trust thereby created. A properly worded and executed Resolution and DOT and the ordinary (Bible) trust thereby created implement biblical principle, conform to the biblical doctrine of trust, are provided for in American law, and allow a church to remain under God only. The analysis below again shows that the ELC will say anything to support their attack on the DOT and the ordinary (Bible) trust.
The ELC constantly approaches pastors and others about their ideas concerning church organization. They try to recruit people to their way and condemn other methodologies. This is a good thing as to church corporate (including corporation sole), unincorporated association, and 501(c)(3) status. However, the ELC method is seriously flawed, and yet they incessantly attack the use of the ordinary (Bible) trust and the DOT which creates it. Their attacks are wrong and not according to knowledge, as this series of articles shows. One can certainly ask why the ELC method is being pushed so hard by those who promote it; the answer is bias, motive and lack of knowledge.
The ELC article continues:
“A recent ‘Bulletin’ stated, ‘In recent weeks we have seen churches continuing to use the DOT to great advantage. Several have reported opening bank accounts without an EIN#. (Biblical Law Center Bulletin, April 12, 2007)’ Unless they provide the ‘several’ who have done this, I believe it to be a careful distortion to attempt to soothe men who have questioned the document. A pastor close to this situation wrote that this pastor never showed the Trust document to the Bank, but the bank accepted the existence of the Trust by a verbal statement of the pastor. Also, the pastor in question provided his Social Security Number to open the church account.”
Contrary to what the ELC asserts in the above paragraph, the pastor/trustee of an ordinary (Bible) trust does not open a church account. He opens a trust account. The church who used the DOT and ordinary trust thereby created is not a legal entity and cannot open a bank account; for a church to open a bank account makes the church a legal entity. Although the ELC method uses cash only, a church which utilizes the ELC method is a legal entity as is proved in other parts of this booklet.
When this author was lead counsel for the BLC, a number of churches adopted the DOT and the ordinary trust which was recommended by the BLC. A bank account was opened for the trust by the Pastor/trustee in each instance; the pastors were able to do so using their social security number. One of those pastors is now the pastor of the church to which this author now belongs, Pastor Jason Cooley, who opened a trust account for the trust created by the DOT. Pastor Cooley provided his Social Security Number in opening the account. He did not open a bank account in the name of the church. To have done so would have made the church a legal entity.
When Pastor Jason looked at incorporation and IRS tax exempt status he realized that such devices violate New Testament church doctrine. A mutual friend referred Pastor Jason to this attorney concerning church organization. They spent many hours discussing the DOT and the trust thereby created as Pastor Cooley studied the Bible doctrine of the church, the DOT, and the ordinary trust. Prior to discussing these matters with this attorney, he had talked with ELC men. He studied both the ELC recommended methods and those of the BLC. The church (Old Paths Baptist Church) resolved to adopt the DOT and ordinary trust recommended by the BLC. The BLC helped him do this.
This Old Paths Baptist Church “Separation of Church and State Law” ministry has helped other churches execute a DOT and ordinary (Bible) trust with no problems in opening a bank account for the trust. In each case the pastor/trustee provided his social security number in opening the account.
The ELC is confused and does not understand that the a church who creates a trust recommended by the ELC is a legal entity; nor do they understand that ta church which establishes an ordinary (Bible) trust is not a legal entity as long as that church does not compromise her position in some other manner. The ELC does not understand that their trust can be classified as a legal entity whereas the ordinary (Bible) trust cannot. The ELC is against bank accounts for their church trust (a legal entity). This “Separation of Church and State Law Ministry” has no problem with opening a Bible trust bank account since (1) it can find nothing wrong with so doing, biblically or legally (Since the legal system recognizes the principle of the Bible trust); (2) the trustee opens the account for the trust, not for the church since the church is a non-legal entity which holds no money or property; (3) ordinary Bible trusts are administered by pastors/trustees with integrity who wish to be light to the world and have nothing to hide. These matters are explained more thoroughly in other articles in this series.
The pastor/trustee of either an ELC trust or an ordinary Bible trust is a legal entity. Every citizen in his right mind is a legal entity who can act legally in many ways. As pastor/trustee, he can do things which subject him to the civil government legal system (criminal and/or civil) should someone file a complaint (criminal) or initiate a lawsuit (civil). Civil government will take jurisdiction (criminal or civil) to any dispute over money or property to which the government is alerted and which contravenes criminal or civil law. As long as one does right, according to the law, he can only be brought into the legal arena as a defendant (either criminal or civil) by lies or misleading circumstances. The church which places tithes, offerings, and gifts into an ordinary Bible trust to be held by the trustee for the benefit of the true owner of the property, the Lord Jesus Christ, cannot be brought into a lawsuit or charged with a crime since it is not a legal entity; this is not true of the church organized according to ELC methods. Someone who is a member of a church, no matter how the church is organized, can be the subject of a criminal charge or civil suit should a proper criminal complaint be made or civil lawsuit filed.
The ELC continues:
“In their very next bulletin, the ‘several’ reports of bank accounts became ‘many’ in just one day.” The ELC then quotes from a letter from a pastor/trustee who had followed the BLC recommendation in which the pastor opened a trust bank account and states that he had no problem opening a trust bank account with his social security number only. Then the ELC states: “It is ludicrous to think that the document did any good whatsoever. The bank took his Social Security Number and he opened a church account with it. It is dangerous for a pastor to do something like this. The IRS can now attribute those funds as his own. And how exactly is he to try to refute that premise? He cannot.”
Again, the ELC does not know what they are talking about. The pastor did not open a church account. The pastor opened a trust account. The government already had his social security number as well as that of anyone who has a social security number. Should a pastor open an account in his name as an individual, the IRS can attribute the funds to that pastor. However, when a pastor/trustee of a Bible trust opens a trust account, those funds cannot be attributed to the pastor. A properly worded and executed Declaration of Trust and supporting documents validates and explains the Bible trust so that the bank, the IRS, and anyone else may examine the documents if allowed to do so by the pastor/trustee. American law which recognizes the Bible trust rather than providing for the creation of such a trust and the elements thereof. State law does not provide for creation of a Bible trust whereas state law provides for creation of a corporation which is a creature of the state. The ordinary trust for which he opened the account is not a legal entity as is, for example, a corporation. (See, Is the ordinary trust a legal entity?). The Resolution Adopting the DOT and the DOT make clear that the trust is not a legal entity and that the trust creates nothing more than a means, recognized by the legal system, to hold and manage money and property. The law says an ordinary trust is not a legal entity: the law says this because the very nature of the ordinary trust is clear – by its very nature, such a trust cannot be a legal entity. Always remember, the ordinary Bible trust is not the church, the church is not the the trust or the trustee, and the church does not hold property by a trustee as in the case of the ELC trust.
This attorney recommends that the pastor/trustee take the Resolution and the DOT which creates the ordinary Bible trust with him to the bank when he goes in to open a trust account. Should the bank wish to see the documents, the pastor/trustee should show the documents to the bank. There is nothing wrong with doing so. He has nothing to hide. In fact, by shining light, he glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ.
As to the bank taking his social security number (“SSAN”), if the pastor/trustee has a social security number, he should show it to the bank. If he has never had, or has tried to disown, a SSAN, he is fighting another battle which this author has considered but concluded that that fight involves something about which he is not convicted. The pastor/trustee should show his SSAN to the bank because it is an identifying number for which he has not had to betray the Lord; he is stuck with it, but by using it in this context, he does not implicate a church nor does he endanger himself. Whether one has a SSAN or not, he is a legal entity and he can be held accountable by the civil government for wrongdoing brought to the attention of the civil government. See The Biblical Doctrine of Government for more insights on the jurisdictional boundaries of each type of God-ordained government.
The bank will not attribute those funds as being “his own” (belonging to the pastor). Most banks understand trust law and the different types of trusts. Many have their own trust departments. They know that this type trust is an ordinary trust. They know that the pastor/trustee merely administers the funds for the benefit of the true, equitable, beneficial owner of the money. The IRS also understands trust law. Neither the banks nor the IRS are bound by ELC’s perverted statements of what the ELC says is the law. The banks and the IRS are bound by established law. The Resolution and the DOT refute ELC perversions of the law and are there to dispel any doubts.
In conclusion, one could rationally conclude that the writer of Chapter 18 is a half-postmodernist. A postmodernist believes he can create reality through his rhetoric, but also believes that all truth-claims are equal – The first half can be applied to ELC teaching but the second half cannot since the ELC believes that only its truth claims are true when in fact they are nonsense. The ELC articulates a case not according to the facts. I would love to face their pseudo lawyers in a court proceeding called to determine the truth about their ridiculous assertions. They would not stand the chance of a snowball in hell. Fortunately for them, they appeal to many good believers who are duped by their con and do not have the expertise to examine ELC lies and distortions. This booklet serves as a guide to those who take the time to study these matters out. The important thing is truth, not ad hominem attacks by ELC leaders desperate to defend their unlearned positions.