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Church Incorporation - The Great Apostasy!
There has been a great transformation of the external church (the one seen physically) since about the late 1800's. Money and power became the great desire to which the organizational church fell into it's witchcraft like spell and churches for the first time in history, gave up having Christ as their head for a union of the State and Church. Early Christians as you will read were sincerely persecuted for resisting Rome's law, which asked of them to incorporate, which they resisted to the loss of life. Caesar would never be their king, they had King Jesus. Let's look at this apostasy for which it is, and since the church has fallen into worse degradation and apostasy from Christ as their head in these modern times since the 20th century began. The Ekklesia, is not an organization or a building, it is made up of the true temple of God, which is ALL His people. The word "church" is not in the New Testament it is a word derived from an old English word (Kirke) that replaced the word Ekklesia. It is especially never intended to be thought of as we do in our minds, as a place to which we go. God's Ekklesia is made up of all his true believers and not necessarily found in the buildings built by the hands of men. Jesus Christ is their High Priest, not a Pope, Priest or Pastor, and they as a whole and individually are the dwelling place of God, by the indwelling resurrected Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, they are His priesthood. Let's look how incorporation has furthered the apostasy of the seen "church", thus effecting those that are the real Ekklesia. The Ekklesia, those that choose God as their protector, and Jesus as their King, and the rule of the Father in their hearts as the Kingdom of God. Let's examine something that man once again has instituted into what is suppose to represent the Ekklesia, that is purely paganistic and has no scriptural foundations. Let's look at the legalise of what and who a corporation is, in the terms of law. Let's look at the consequences theologically and legally for the church for choosing the traditions of men over the commandments of God. Let's look at how incorporation is not scriptural for any body of Christ meeting in assembly with one another, therefore it is anti-biblical, therefore anti-Christ and

how it violates everything our forefathers intended in writing into the Constitution the separation of church and State. Let's look at recorded history of the Early Church and the Great Persecution, Colonial times, and the history of the physically seen organized church once more for truth. Let's look at some legal descriptions first. The truth and just what it does mean since your church or other church may have incorporated or is about to. A corporation is defined as: Corporation. An artificial person or legal entity created by or under the authority of the laws of a state. An association of persons created by statute as a legal entity. The legal attributes of the corporation, and the alleged “benefits” that attorneys most commonly discuss with churches to convince them of their need to incorporate are: 1. A corporation has limited liability protection. 2. A corporation may exist in perpetuity. 3. A corporation may hold title to real property. One additional legal attribute of any corporation is something that attorneys generally don't like to discuss with their church clients: A corporation may sue and be sued. In point of fact, there is a great deal that your attorney is not likely to disclose, in the way of the various legal attributes of the corporation, that you might not find so attractive. In the landmark case of Hale vs. Henkel, the U.S. Supreme Court stated the following regarding corporations: 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. Law limits its powers. 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. Hale v. Henkel, 201 U.S. 43 at 74 (1906) From this case we learn that: · A corporation is “a creature of the State.” · The State is "sovereign" over the corporation. · The corporation is “incorporated for the benefit of the public.”

· A corporation is a State “franchise.” · Incorporation is a State “privilege.” · A corporation is “subject to the laws of the State.” · “Its powers are limited by law.” · It must “obey the laws of its creation.” · A corporation has no constitutionally-protected rights. These are not new or novel legal principles that the Supreme Court just discovered in 1906. Rather, these are legal principles that date back many centuries. The corporation is a product of ancient Rome. The corporation, as the legal entity we are familiar with today, dates back to at least 250 B.C. By 6 A.D. and the codification of Corpus Juris Civilis (the first great codification of Roman civil law) all "spontaneous collectivities of persons" were required to incorporate. The early church was persecuted over their refusal to incorporate. Had they incorporated they could have avoided much of the persecution they otherwise suffered at the hands of the Romans. Rome persecuted the Christians not for who they worshipped. Rome had hundreds of deities, and they could care less who or what you worshipped, as long as you were "licit" (licensed). The church was persecuted not because they worshipped Jesus Christ, but because of the manner in which they functioned -- an Ekklesia. The church was declared to be "illicit," and held in a state of "civil disobedience," because of their refusal to incorporate. Why did the church refuse incorporation? Largely because they knew that it would destroy their testimony that Jesus Christ is "Lord" and "Sovereign." Under Roman civil law, "Caesar is sovereign over the corporation," and "the corporation is a creature of the State." The early church willingly suffered for its refusal to accept "State privileges and benefits." Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. (3 John 7) Corporations have been known and widely used for many centuries in virtually every corner of the earth. However, the corporation was not at all widely known in America during the colonial era, and for many decades after our independency. Indeed, the corporation was an entity viewed with great suspicion, if not trepidation. For many years it was extremely difficult and expensive to incorporate and, therefore, it was rather difficult to identify corporations of any

kind, especially incorporated churches. Today, all that is necessary to incorporate is that you fill out the necessary forms and file them with your Secretary Of State's office; but that wasn't always the case. It used to be that if you wanted to incorporate you would have to petition your state legislature for a corporate charter, and they weren't in the habit of handing those out to just anyone who wanted one. In order to be issued a corporate charter, you had to prove to a majority of your state legislators that you simply couldn't operate any other way. As a result, the vast majority of businesses operated as sole proprietorships and general partnerships. Those who have ever had to petition their state legislature for anything know that it is a time-consuming process, and often leads to frustration, if not failure. For any church to request a corporate charter would surely be met by failure (at least after ratification of the Constitution and the First Amendment), since the states viewed the incorporation of any church as a government "establishment of religion." Some state legislatures, such as Virginia and West Virginia, went so far as to amend their state constitutions to "forever prohibit the incorporation of any church." In 1811 Congress ratified a bill, to incorporate the Protestant Episcopal Church in Alexandria, Virginia. When the bill was presented for President James Madison’s signature, he promptly vetoed it. He furnished a list of his objections, in a veto message, which in part included: "Because the bill exceeds the rightful authority to which governments are limited by the essential distinction between civil and religious functions, and violates in particular the article of the Constitution of the United States which declares that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting a religious establishment.’ The bill enacts into and establishes by law sundry rules and proceedings relative purely to the organization and polity of the church incorporated… This particular church, therefore, would so far be a religious establishment by law, a legal force and sanction being given to certain articles in its constitution and administration." James Madison had no difficulty with grasping the fact that the bill was wholly unconstitutional, although the majority in Congress evidently did have a problem with understanding that the Bill was unconstitutional. With the Episcopal Church having already declared its intentions, the Virginia state legislature prevented any church from ever incorporating by amending their Constitution to preclude their

doing so. To this very day, it is unlawful to incorporate a church in Virginia. In Caesar's Grip, page 66, by Peter Kershaw Of Madison's historic veto, constitutional law professor John Eidsmoe states in his book, Christianity and the Constitution: His reason was that incorporation was a form of licensing by which government gave churches permission to operate. Therefore, incorporation was superfluous; government has no jurisdictional authority to tell churches they can or cannot operate. Madison's veto set an historic precedent that was seldom departed from, at least up until the turn of the twentieth-century. In 1898, New Jersey became the first state to "liberalize" their incorporation laws. The New Jersey state legislature delegated its powers to incorporate to the New Jersey Secretary Of State. Rather than issuing corporate charters, the Secretary Of State issued "articles of incorporation." All the former impediments to obtaining corporate status were done away with. In order to "compete" with New Jersey, other states quickly followed suit and liberalized their incorporation laws, as well. Soon the mainline church denominations, no longer hindered by state legislators, incorporated. Andrew Carnegie, a wealthy industrialist who sat on the board of directors for the largest Presbyterian denomination (PCUSA), was first to encourage his denomination to incorporate. Carnegie did so not because of all the reasons we hear today. Not once did he ever even mention limited liability protection. Rather, Carnegie spoke highly of the corporation, based upon its alleged "efficiencies." Other industrialist tycoons, such as Cleveland Dodge and John Wanamaker, who sat on the boards of other mainline denominations, also encouraged their denominations to incorporate, based upon their theories of "improved efficiency." This was the industrial age and industrialists had rapidly become "corporate men." In their worldview, the church too must become "modernized," and incorporation was a necessary element of modernization. Eventually, many local churches, encouraged by the example of their denominations, also incorporated. By the mid-twentieth century, incorporation of the church had become the status quo. Madison's veto of 1811, and his reasons for that veto have, by and large, been

abandoned, if not completely forgotten. Of even greater concern is the fact that today's church has, with few exceptions, abandoned the beliefs of the early church fathers that refused to incorporate, and suffered Rome's persecution, as a direct result. Incorporation was mandatory for all "spontaneous collectivities of persons" throughout Rome. Yet they refused Caesar's "privilege." In America, incorporation is completely voluntary. Furthermore, as we've already mentioned, it used to be almost impossible to incorporate a church, based upon the fact that no church can be free and independent of that government that incorporates it. Yet churches today incorporate routinely, a decision that they make with about as much care and consideration as what brand of tissue paper to use in their lavatories this in spite of the fact that there are huge legal and theological ramifications to any church seeking incorporation. . Limited Liability Protection? Limited liability protection is generally first among the legal “benefits” used by attorneys to convince a church to incorporate. However, limited liability protection is, for a number of reasons, largely a phantasm promulgated by (you guessed it) the legal profession, and fails to take into account significant trends in tort law in recent years. The American Bar Association has hosted “Tort & Religion” conferences since at least 1989 in which they instruct attorneys in the finer points of how to target incorporated “religious organizations” and “pierce the corporate veil.” Incorporation does little if anything in the way of actually protecting the church. The legal reality is that a church cannot be sued and brought into court until it incorporates. A church “is not an entity recognized in law.” If the court cannot legally recognize it, it cannot be sued. A church is not subject to the jurisdiction of any court. However, should a church incorporate it most certainly may be sued. Incorporation becomes the nexus of government jurisdiction to the incorporated church. One of the legal attributes that seldom if ever are discussed by the attorney is: · A corporation may sue and be sued. How they can sell that, as a “benefit” is hard to comprehend. The Fox Guarding the Henhouse One thing attorneys will never discuss is just who offers the “protection” to the

corporation. The answer is the State. Is this wise or prudent? Even decades ago when the State was openly cordial to the church it would be hard to argue from Scripture that the church should seek its “protection” from the State. But in postChristian America when the State has grown openly antagonistic toward biblical Christianity, is it smart to seek State “protection”? That would be like asking the fox to guard the henhouse (or in biblical vernacular, the wolf protecting the sheep)! There are numerous problems associated with a church organizing as a corporation. Attorneys will enthusiastically market the alleged “benefits,” but nary a word is mentioned about all the pitfalls of incorporation. Not only are there legal pitfalls, but there are significant theological ones, as well. A Creature Of the State Two of the most serious of all problems for the church that incorporates is the legal fact that: · The corporation is a “creature of the State.” · The State is “sovereign over the corporation.” These legal maxims originated in ancient pagan Rome, and they survive as governing legal dictum to this day. The Romans perfected the corporation that we know today, with all of its legal attributes, at least 250 years prior to the birth of Christ Jesus. Those who have studied Roman culture will appreciate how every element of society, including its legal system, was imbued by their pagan worldview. There were no personal liberties in the Roman Empire, only State-sanctioned privileges and benefits. The State was sovereign (the supreme authority) in all matters and nothing could be done absent the State’s license. Incorporation became mandatory by 6 A.D. for all “spontaneous collectivities of persons.” The church was not persecuted by Rome because of whom they worshipped (there were hundreds of deities that Rome permitted to be worshipped). Persecution began because of the manner in which they worshipped. The church was held to be “illicit” because they refused to seek the permission of the State through incorporation. Why would the early Christians suffer the wrath of Rome rather than incorporate? The answer is both legal and, necessarily, theological. For the church to incorporate would have been a public proclamation that Caesar was sovereign (the supreme authority) over Jesus Christ, the object of the church’s worship.

Those Christians would have considered such a thing blasphemy! Secondly, they well knew that the church is the body of Christ -- Corpus Christi -not the corpus of the State (the word “corporation” comes from the Latin “corpus” or “body”). The early church had far more regard for the consistency of their testimony than many churches do today. We should try to learn something from their example. It is because of that testimony that they at no time sought the privileges and benefits of the Roman State: Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. (3 John 7) The early church existed to testify to the world the authority and Lordship of its Head and Founder, the Lord Jesus Christ -- an imperial gospel. The local church, though persecuted, was free and unconstrained to impact the culture of the Roman Empire, not become subordinate to its pagan rulers. Incorporated churches in America today, however, are constrained by the dictates of the State by virtue of the myriad of laws, which apply to non-profit corporations. This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine Let’s now follow one of the more typical scenarios in how the pastor (and often the elders, and deacons) are convinced to incorporate the local church. Sunday morning the pastor gives a stirring sermon on the passage from John 3:3, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” He closes with an altar call and proclaims, “Friends, Jesus is not only the Savior merely of men’s souls, He is the Savior, the Lord, the Sovereign of every area of our lives, Jesus wants to not only save your soul from eternal damnation, His will is to govern every area of your life. Jesus is the Provider. Jesus is the great Protector.” And many a soul is saved that day. They are convinced the Pastor really believes what he says. With Monday morning into the church comes an attorney who informs the Pastor, “Reverend, in combing through the Secretary Of State’s records, I noticed that your church is not incorporated. Don’t you know that most churches are incorporated? Pastor, you’re flirting with danger. Didn’t you hear about the church just down the road here that got sued because some grandmother walked in and

fell over a rumple in the carpet and broke her hip? She got a judgment not only against the church, but because the church wasn’t incorporated she was able to attach the personal assets of the pastor, elders, deacons, and any of the members of the church with deep pockets.” What the attorney just presented to the Pastor is a lie (just ask that attorney to give you a citation for the case of granny and her broken hip, and you’ll never see him again), but lies rooted in fear often sell, and the attorney well knows this. He’s not concerned for the truth, just for roping in another paying client. The law profession is far more competitive than most people realize. There are over one million attorneys in America (that’s more than the entire attorney population of the rest of the world combined). There are too many attorneys chasing too little legitimate legal work, so many of them have to create work for themselves -- to create a perception of a need where no legitimate need exists. Just what kind of a testimony is it to the world when the church incorporates, and particularly when we do so out of a spirit of fear? Sadly, the issue of our testimony is seldom ever considered when making that monumental decision. But it is one that many others will ponder when they are presented with the gospel message. “Let’s see, the Pastor just said that Jesus not only saves my soul, but He will be my Savior in every area of my life. He’s my Provider. He’s my Protector. If he’s such a great Protector, why then did this church think they needed to go to the State and get its limited liability protection by incorporating? Obviously the church must not think very much of Jesus’ ability to protect them.” “Because that for His name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.” (III John 7) A great many of the church's problems today are a direct result of the church "taking" and actively pursuing a legal status that makes it inferior to, and a subordinate of, the civil government. The two most significant ways this occurs is by incorporation (state jurisdiction) and the tax-exempt 501c3 status (federal jurisdiction). Scripture simply does not support the notion that the church is an inferior institution to the State. Nor, for that matter, is the church a superior institution to the State. God has ordained both the church and the civil government as His

"ministers." The church is the minister of grace, while the State is the minister of justice. Church and State are two distinct and independent spheres of authority (jurisdictions) ordained by God. However, no church can remain separate and distinct from the civil government when it incorporates and/or accepts 501c3 status. For legal purposes an incorporated 501c3 church has subordinated itself, by contract, to the civil government. For theological purposes, that church has made a covenant with the State, a covenant which Scripture in no way supports. What is the solution to the church's current messy state of affairs? It must cease operating as an underling of the State. The solution is for the church to legally operate as it once had in America (and we might add, quite successfully so). Rather than operating as "tax-exempt nonprofit religious corporations," churches once functioned as "free-churches." Just what exactly is a free-church? A free church operates independent of, and is in no way subordinate to, the civil government. It is the right of any church to operate free of the corrupting and compromising influence and control of the State; and it is a right guaranteed by the Constitution: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof… A free-church is not some radical-fringe concept. Rather, the Free Church was one of the most influential, and certainly one of the most common, institutions in early American history. The worldview of those men who fought for America's independence embraced an uncompromising belief that the church was not an underling, a vassal, or in any way subordinate to any king, parliament, or any other civil government body. The church is the religious institution ordained and established by Jesus Christ Himself, and Christ has never delegated His authority to the civil jurisdiction to rule in the affairs of His church. A free church is the opposite of a State-Church. The Church of England is a StateChurch system. State-Churches are well known throughout Europe, and there have been State-Churches there for many centuries. Europeans not only have a very low regard for their State-Churches and government-licensed clergy, they often hold them in open contempt, and this is reflected statistically by what is the lowest church attendance in the world. Rather than being quick to criticize the Europeans for not attending church, we

should ponder whether their contempt for the State-Church system isn't well deserved. If you're ever inclined to have a church experience that is cold, empty, meaningless and downright depressing, just attend the average European church service (it's little wonder there are so many agnostics and atheists there). A State-Church is a church which is organized by the State, and/or is controlled and regulated by the State, or which exists at the pleasure of the State. Christians in Europe have, for a number of generations, grown up surrounded by nothing but State-Churches. As such, they are generally not offended by the notion that the State controls their church (they just don't bother to show up unless it's Christmas). It's simply a way of life for them that they generally do not question. Americans, on the other hand, are generally offended by the notion of the State creating or controlling their churches, or that their churches would be subordinate to the State. However, this is exactly what has occurred in recent years as a direct result of churches incorporating and seeking a 501c3 status -- they have become State-Churches. A free church is a church that is truly separate, independent and autonomous from the State. It is established by a local body of Christian believers, or chartered or "planted" by another church body or denomination, without the permission or sanction of the State. The only "sovereign" of the Free Church is the Lord Jesus Christ. A free church cannot incorporate, it cannot seek a 501c3 status, it cannot become a tax collector for the State (withholding agent), it cannot accept government-issued tax numbers (EIN). The term "free-church" was widely used by the American colonists. It was not a term that they coined, but one which they inherited from their fathers and forebears such as the Scottish Covenanters, and the "non-conformist" English clergy, both of whom fled the persecutions of the Anglican State-Church and it's "sovereign head" the British monarchy. Even after American independence there continued to be Christians who fled the religious persecution of their State-Church systems for the freedom of religion America offered them. They too often used the term "free-church" to describe the churches they organized. Such an example of this would be the Evangelical Free Church, which was founded by a group of Scandinavians who settled in America in the mid-nineteenth century. Tragically, the Evangelical Free Church In America today has become a "Free Church" in name only. By incorporating and becoming a 501c3 they, some years ago, decided to abandon those principles that there Swedish, Danish and

Norwegian forefathers endured great persecution for. Equally tragic is the demise of the so-called "Free-Church of Scotland." Were they honest it would be renamed the "State-Church of Scotland." So thoroughly has it become a State-Church that Scottish pastors receive their paychecks from the government (and it happened because the Scottish clergy insisted upon it). He who pays the piper calls the tune. The church must cease operating as an underling, subordinate to the State, or in any way dependent upon the State for "privileges and benefits." The solution rests in the church organizing and operating as a church -- the ecclesia, not as something other than what the Lord Jesus Himself ordained and specified. Jesus spoke of the church as a “body” with Himself as the “head” of His church, and we as various “members of the body.” The church is, therefore, not an “organization” (a “legal entity”) but a living, breathing “organism.” This should not be a difficult biblical doctrine to grasp, particularly for the Pastor. Sadly, however, ever since local churches started organizing as tax-exempt nonprofit corporations in the mid-twentieth century, and since the incorporated 501c3 church is now the status quo, many folks have a hard time conceiving of the church operating as just a church. For some odd reason, just being a church isn’t good enough anymore for too many Christians. The thinking today appears to be that we must somehow be smarter than Jesus and His disciples were. They refused to incorporate and that refusal resulted in their persecution (incorporation of all “spontaneous collectivities of persons” became mandatory throughout the Roman Empire by 6 A.D.). We’re told that we live in a far more complex world than the first-century church, and so the church too must inevitably become more complex and just adapt to the complexities of the modern information age. The simplicities of the organizational infrastructure (polity) of the early church are no longer adequate to address the complex world in which we live. Those who hold to such beliefs, whether in word or deed, are in reality, making a public proclamation that Jesus Christ is no longer competent to govern His own church and provide for, and protect it. The courts well-understand that “a church is not an entity recognized in law,” meaning that they have no jurisdiction over the church. However, organizing a church as a church is an especially difficult concept for attorneys to grasp. Few attorneys can comprehend that there are things and issues completely outside the purview and jurisdiction of the civil government, nor do they much care for the

idea. After all, it’s hard to get many billable hours out of those churches that understand that the civil government has no jurisdiction over them. A free-church needs an attorney like a fish needs a bicycle. The legal support for the State’s lack of jurisdiction over the church in America is not only the Word of God, but the First Amendment to the Constitution for the United States: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof… No church in any nation at any point in history can lay claim to the freedoms and liberties that are guaranteed the church in America. The First Amendment is an act of God’s Providence to safeguard His church and maintain its independence from the State. The First Amendment is the highest form of real protection the church has ever known in history. The solution rests in the church abandoning the phony third-rate protections and benefits of the State and returning to those real protections and benefits that are ours in Christ Jesus. Although it's not inherently difficult to unlicense a State-Church and/or organize and operate as a free church or free-ministry, you'll still need some guidance and direction. Thankfully, there's no need to hire an attorney. If any real body of Christ meeting to encourage one another, to build up one another in their most holy faith, comes to realize that behind Incorporation is the love of money, and the replacement of Christ as the Head for the State and they would like to un-incorporate, I would advise them to contact Heal Our Land Ministries- via http://www.hushmoney.org. Dr. J.