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Law on Church Organization (Trusts, Property tax, etc.)

Case Notes

These notes deal with issues important in church organization (incorporation, trust, property tax exemption, 501(c)(3) tax exemption, etc.). These matters should be important to churches who wish to remain non-legal entities in accordance with New Testament Doctrine. There is a lot of misinformation being spread by pseudo-lawyers and self-proclaimed legal analysts, paralegals, etc. concerning church organization. Hopefully, these articles, which, in the main, will just quote from court holdings, will clear up some of the misinformation for those who are interested in serious consideration of how to organize and operate a church according to the principles of the New Testament. These notes are being added starting August 10, 2017. A lot of my prior writings have dealt with legal issues. These notes will consist mainly of quotes from court cases on important church issues.

1. Case Notes (081017). Click here to go to article which looks at 2 cases:

1. KOPSOMBUT-MYINT BUDDHIST CENTER, v. STATE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION, 728 S.W. 2d 327 (1986)(Two members of a Buddhist organization formed a joint venture and bought property for a Buddhist organization. They requested a property tax exemption. The appeals court, among other things, implied that an oral “trust” was created and explained the effect of that as to state church property tax law.)
2. Excerpts from PARSHALL CHRISTIAN ORDER v. BOARD OF REVIEW, COUNTY OF MARION, 315 N.W.2d 798 (1982)(Family bought land and asserted claimed property tax exemption as a “religious institution or society.” The court explained, in some detail, what constitutes a “religious society.” The court’s reasoning was very good.)

2. Case Notes August 22, 2017. Click here to look at article which looks at one case: 

1. FELLOWSHIP OF HUMANITY (a Nonprofit Corporation) v. COUNTY OF ALAMEDA, 153 Cal.App.2d 673 (California Court of Appeals. First Dist., Div. One1957) The precise question involved in the instant case–whether the reverence of a deity is a prerequisite to the receiving of a tax exemption for church property. In this case, a humanist organization applied for property tax exemption on the ground that the property was used “solely and exclusively for religious worship” within the meaning of article XIII, section 1 1/2 of the state Constitution. The trial court below determined that the Fellowship did use its property” solely and exclusively for religious worship” and was entitled to the claimed exemption. The basic problem involved is whether or not, under the findings, the respondent is entitled to this tax exemption. The solution to this problem turns upon whether or not the conclusion that respondent uses its property “solely and exclusively for religious worship,” as these terms are used in article XIII, section 1 1/2, is supported by the findings. Appellants contend that the term “religious worship” necessarily requires reverence to, and adoration of, a Supreme Being, and that under the findings the respondent organization does not require as a condition of membership that its members believe in God, and that such an organization does not use its premises “solely and exclusively for religious” The fundamental question–is a belief in God or gods essential to “religious worship,” as those terms are used in the state Constitution?

In this case, born again students of the Word of God can easily see how preposterous putting secularists (courts) in the position of defining “church,” “religion,” “religious practice,” etc. All man’s laws which give benefits to religion and churches make necessary the definition of such terms. That is one very good reason that a church should remain under the First Amendment and corresponding state constitutional provisions and laws. Incorporating, getting 501c3 status or becoming a legal entity of any kind takes a church out from under such provisions and from under God thereby violating New Testament Church Doctrine and grieving our Lord.

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