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Chapter 6: Analysis of “We Can’t Give it to Other Churches!”

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Chapter 6: Analysis of “We Can’t Give it to Other Churches!”

Jerald Finney
Copyright © November 24, 2014

Note. This is a continuation of the examination of Chapter 18 of Approved by God written by Ben Townsend of the Ecclesiastical Law Center (“ELC”). This article looks at the fifth section of that chapter

1More misdirection in this section. The ELC ignorantly states that the DOT recommended by the BLC and the ordinary Bible trust recommended by this “Separation of Church and State Law” ministry is exactly the same as the business trust documents allegedly used by several religious organizations. The ELC states that it is too late to make the statement, “We can’t give it to other churches,” since:

“The Declaration of Trust, being a Trust document, has been used for many years by other denominations including the Presbyterians. It is not solely a Baptist document for unincorporated Baptist Churches to use. The Ecclesiastical Law Center advises churches to not use a Declaration of Trust, a corporation, an unincorporated association, or any legal entity to hold their church assets and property.”

Then the section lists several religious organizations that allegedly “had a Declaration of Trust long before 1986.” This author will not take the time to investigate the truth of whether those religious organizations use DOTs, and, if so, the substance of the trust documents and the kind of trusts thereby created. There are enough obvious (to one who has studied and understands these matters) fallacies in this short section to demonstrate that the ELC misdirects the unwary. As shown throughout these articles, the ELC trust salad includes principles from business trust law, charitable trust law, corporation law, along with fallacies which are derived from the imaginations of ELC teachers (at best). ELC “teaching” mixes all these ingredients into a poisonous salad consumed by many good, unsuspecting believers. They should throw out their poisonous menu and adopt the law of ordinary trust used by the Biblical Law Center (“BLC”) or the ordinary Bible trust recommended by this “Separation of Church and State Law” ministry.

The section ends, “[the BLC trust document and that promoted by this ministry] makes the unincorporated church exactly like those churches listed above. It places the church into a Business Trust, like it or not.” This ridiculous assertion is repeated over and over throughout Chapter 18. (See, e.g., Is the ordinary trust a legal entity?)

3Ironically, the ELC method of church organization leaves a church in legal entity status while the methodology of this ministry and that of the BLC leaves a church in spiritual entity only status (a non-legal entity) as long as the church does not compromise her position in some other manner. No BLC church uses a business trust. As this author explains in other articles in this series, the ordinary trust created by the DOT recommended by the BLC and the ordinary Bible trust recommended by this ministry is not a business trust, a charitable trust, or any kind of trust which is a legal entity. The ordinary trust and the ordinary Bible trust are merely relationships with property which cannot sue or be sued or act legally. Neither the ordinary trust nor the ordinary Bible trust is the church and the church is not the ordinary trust or the ordinary Bible trust. When a church places tithes, offerings and gifts into the estate of an ordinary trust or an ordinary Bible trust, the church does not give up her non-legal entity status by so doing because the church holds or owns no property – the equitable, beneficial and true owner of the trust estate (the money and property held by the trust) is the Lord Jesus Christ.

The ordinary trust and the ordinary Bible trust differ from the trust arrangement recommended by the ELC in that under the ELC methodology, the “property should be held by the church in trust for the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the true and beneficial owner,” and “the church by the Pastor, can execute a deed on behalf of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Only a legal entity can hold property. An ELC church holds property in trust for the Lord Jesus Christ, the true and beneficial owner of the property. An ELC church is therefore a legal entity, a business trust; this conclusion is supported by what the ELC publishes and teaches concerning trust law.

From page 149 of ELC book

From page 149 of ELC book “Approved by God”

From page 150 of

From page 150 of ELC book “Approved by God”

 


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