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Old 02-14-2018, 03:13 AM   #1
Kevin
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Default Should a church seek for incorporation?

Does scripture prohibit registering a local church at the SEC (Security Exchange Commission) or the 501(c)(3) incorporation in the United States?

It seems to me that one of the major reason of divison among the Local Churches in the Philippines was over church incorporation. Isn't this quite a minor disagreement?

There are several reasons from the negative side to disregard church incorporation:

1. It becomes a religion.
2. The government becomes the head of the church.
3. The church is registered in heaven, not on earth (Hebrews 12:23).
4. Matthew 22:21 and Mark 12:17
5. The church marries the world.
6. Article 2 Sec. 6 "The separation of Church and State.

Does registering a Church in the SEC negate its authenticity?

They are worst than I thought than those of the members of the LCM. They considered those registered churches worldly and therefore are told by their elders to refrain from fellowshipping with other Christians. Extreme exclusivism from these former LCers.
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Old 02-14-2018, 03:42 AM   #2
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Default Re: Should a church seek for incorporation?

The changing IRS tax structure in the USA is basically removing charitable deductions by expanding the "standard" deduction -- one of the side effects of a simplified tax form. There is basically no more tax incentive for the typical church goer.

Can you say more about the divisions in the Philipino LC's?
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Old 02-14-2018, 05:34 AM   #3
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Default Re: Should a church seek for incorporation?

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Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
Does scripture prohibit registering a local church at the SEC (Security Exchange Commission) or the 501(c)(3) incorporation in the United States?
An interesting and thorny question. No doubt once you bring money into the equation the degree of difficulty of having a gathering into the name of Jesus rises.

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It seems to me that one of the major reason of divison among the Local Churches in the Philippines was over church incorporation. Isn't this quite a minor disagreement?
Not familiar with what you are talking about.

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Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
There are several reasons from the negative side to disregard church incorporation:

1. It becomes a religion.
2. The government becomes the head of the church.
3. The church is registered in heaven, not on earth (Hebrews 12:23).
4. Matthew 22:21 and Mark 12:17
5. The church marries the world.
6. Article 2 Sec. 6 "The separation of Church and State.
I don't agree with #1. The NT definition for religion is in James, there is nothing to say that incorporating makes you a religion, nor is the term negative. I also don't agree with #2. Paul appealed to Caesar, this didn't make Caesar Lord. The NT says that the authorities have been appointed by the Lord and do not cause a terror to the righteous, only to the unrighteous. As for #3, I do agree, but the church is not the meeting hall. We don't register the meeting with the IRS, we register assets like land and meeting halls which the IRS does have jurisdiction over. As for #4
21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. -- The Lord is telling us to render unto the authorities the things that are theirs, like taxes. Since you need to pay taxes, pay mortgages, light bills, telephone bills, etc. It makes perfect sense to do this in a way that is honorable and wise. As for Matthew 12:17 I do not understand how that affects your argument. I also agree that #5 is something we need to be concerned with, but I don't agree that the process of incorporating "marries the world". The Lord said that we were "in the world but not of the world". Finally, I don't understand how incorporating confuses the separation of church and state.

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Does registering a Church in the SEC negate its authenticity?

They are worst than I thought than those of the members of the LCM. They considered those registered churches worldly and therefore are told by their elders to refrain from fellowshipping with other Christians. Extreme exclusivism from these former LCers.
Once again, not familiar with what you are talking about.
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Old 02-14-2018, 06:07 AM   #4
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Default Re: Should a church seek for incorporation?

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1. It becomes a religion.
2. The government becomes the head of the church.
3. The church is registered in heaven, not on earth (Hebrews 12:23).
4. Matthew 22:21 and Mark 12:17
5. The church marries the world.
6. Article 2 Sec. 6 "The separation of Church and State.:
I would like to answer those objections raised by the former LCers in the Southern part of the Philippines:

1. Islam is a religion, it was not registered in the SEC when it started to flourish.
2. Paying taxes to Cesar does not make him head of the Church, Jesus said give to Cesar what belongs to Cesar.
3. Registering a Church in SEC does not negate it's authenticity. A false church is a church that teaches heresies.
4. None of this verses are arguing against SEC registration.
5. The Church is the bride of a Christ it only becomes a harlot church not by giving to Cesar what belongs to Cesar but by becoming worldly in deeds and desires.
6. The separation of Church and State was put into place to prevent the goverment from establishing its own religion or to prevent the State from favoring a religion. SEC registration applies to any religion without discrimination.

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Once again, not familiar with what you are talking about.
Are you from the Philippines? If so, are you familiar the history in Mindanao where a great turmoil had taken place?
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Old 02-14-2018, 06:26 AM   #5
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Can you say more about the divisions in the Philipino LC's?
I don't have much information about our history. But what I do know for sure that they hold a modalistic leaning that comes from their mouth that Jesus is simply the Father. Quite far enough they are more modalistic than LCers.
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Old 02-14-2018, 06:48 AM   #6
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Are you from the Philippines? If so, are you familiar the history in Mindanao where a great turmoil had taken place?
No. Not familiar.
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Old 02-14-2018, 07:01 AM   #7
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Default Re: Should a church seek for incorporation?

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No. Not familiar.
It was John Ingalls who went to Mindanao and later on John So was in Manila for a short time. It had begun years ago, a brother who went to the Philippines from Anaheim concerning the case of Philip Lee's misbehavior and couple of reasons that sprung up a devastation turmoil throughout Mindanao.
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Old 02-14-2018, 07:06 AM   #8
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It was John Ingalls who went to Mindanao and later on John So was in Manila for a short time. It had begun years ago, a brother who went to the Philippines from Anaheim concerning the case of Philip Lee's misbehavior and couple of reasons that sprung up a devastation turmoil throughout Mindanao.
There were many splits between the LRC, many of which PL factored into the decision (Germany, etc). In none of the other splits has the issue of incorporation been raised as a factor.
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Old 02-15-2018, 11:38 AM   #9
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Default Re: Should a church seek for incorporation?

This is a very relevant question on for this website as much of the contention regarding Witness Lee, the Living Stream Ministry, and the relationship between the two and what is referred to as the "Local Churches" (a title I don't agree with and try not to use) is in regards to money... And once money is involved... You can bet your last dollar that the government is going to be involved... AND... People's emotions are going to be involved.

So, here we go... Business is one of the foundational pillars of the way of the world — worldiness... Commerce... Trade... For profit.

Okay... Sounds reasonable... What's wrong with conducting commerce/trade for profit? . . . Always go to scripture for enlightenment... Always...

Ezekiel 28:13-15... "You were in Eden, the garden of God. Every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, diamond, chrysolite, onyx, jasper, sapphire, carbuncle, and emerald, with gold. The workmanship of your tambourines and your pipes was prepared with you on the day that you were created... You were the anointed cherub who covered the Ark; indeed I set you, so that you were upon the holy mountain of God; you walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire... You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you."

That's... "...perfect... until unrighteousness was found in you." . . . But what "...unrighteousness..."?

Ezekiel 28:16... "...By the abundance of your trading they filled your midst with violence, and you sinned. So I cast you out as profane from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire... Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness. I cast you to the ground; I presented you before kings that they may look at you... By the multitude of your iniquities in the unrighteousness of your trading you have profaned your sanctuaries..."

The Hebrew word translated as "...unrighteousness..." in the above quoted scripture is "...עֶוֶל..." (transliterated as "`evel") and means... "...injustice, unrighteousness, wrong..." in a moral sense... In fact, this Hebrew word comes from the root Hebrew word "...עול..." (transliterated as "`aval") which means... "...to act wrongfully or unjustly, deviate from..." in a manner that distorts (morally).

So in the above quoted scripture verses we find it being said of someone — who from verse 2 we know to be "...prince of Tyre..." — that unrighteousness... Which is defined in the scripture verses as acting in a manner that distorts morals (standards of behavior/being)... Was found in this person.

And what exactly does scripture tells us was what this "...unrighteousness..." out of? . . . "...By the abundance of your trading they filled your midst with violence, and you sinned..." . . . And we know from scripture that "...all unrighteousness is sin..." (1 Jhn 5:17)... So we can know that this "...unrighteousness..." of the "...prince of Tyre..." was out of "...the abundance of your trading...".

Why? . . . Because it "...filled your midst with violence..." which led him to sin.

Yet we know that scripture tells us of Paul, "...And because he was of the same trade, he remained with them and worked; for they were tentmakers by trade..." (Acts 18:3)... So why wasn't Paul deemed unrighteous for conducting trade?

As always... With God... It is a matter of the condition/intention of the heart of the person... And we know from scripture that man's heart is... Jeremiah 17:9... "The heart is deceitful above all things, And it is incurable; Who can know it?..."

And God's response to the above is... Jeremiah 17:10... "I, Jehovah, search the heart And test the inward parts, Even to give to each one according to his ways, According to the fruit of his deeds."

It is not the conducting of commerce/trade that caused the prince of Tyre to become unrighteous (to sin)... It was that the prince of Tyre allowed his conducting of commerce/trade to fill his "...midst with violence..." that was brought him into sin... And how did this take place within one who was perfect?

"...Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness..."

Vanity... Always... Vanity... And what is "...vanity..."?... Exaggerated self-opinion.

In scripture we see that a proper understanding of human life apart from God, even at its best, is that it has no ultimate significance and consequently is valueless... And when a person thinks their life has value apart from God, this person is only expressing vanity... And the word "...vanity..." in old testament Hebrew, simply means "...emptiness..."... So we can know from the above quoted Ezekiel scripture verses that the prince of Tyre was simply unrighteous in his exaggerated self-opinion that came out of his abundance of trade.

But here is where this matter gets even more interesting... Let's take a closer look...

"...Thou wast perfect in thy ways. The glory of the King of Tyre was, the prophet goes on to say, conditional. He began his reign in righteousness, but afterwards iniquity was found in him." - Pulpit Commentary

"...Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created,.... From the time that Tyre became a kingdom, or this king was set over it, everything was wisely conducted, and all things happily succeeded;..." - Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Interesting isn't it... First there was perfection (an expression of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding — righteousness)... Then came iniquity (an expression of immoral or grossly unfair behavior — unrighteousness).

But how could unrighteousness come out of righteousness?

Scripture tells us that there is only one way for this to happen... Rebellion.

And what is "...rebellion..."?... An act of violent or open resistance to an established government or ruler... "...You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you. . . . By the abundance of your trading they filled your midst with violence, and you sinned..."

Specifically, this... "...By the abundance of your trading... they filled your midst with... violence,... and you sinned..."

The Hebrew word translated as "...violence..." in the above quoted scripture is "...חָמָס... (transliterated as "chamac") and means... "...violence, wrong, cruelty, injustice; to do that which is wrong, for unjust gain."

To... Morally... Distort... With the intent of unjust gain... Which... In God's eyes... Coming from someone who was made perfect by God and therefore perfect before God... Is equal to... Rebellion against God (unrighteousness/sin).

So what we can know from the above quoted scripture verses from Ezekiel is that the prince of Tyre chose to allow his success in commerce/trade to succumb to vanity... And cause him to rebel against God... And therein is the connection to us today... Regarding all that we are, do, and come in contact with... Including the matter of forming a business... Even a "...church business...".

Will we allow any success we have in this endeavor to cause us to be lifted up in our vanity and through this, rebel against God?
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Old 02-15-2018, 02:23 PM   #10
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Default Re: Should a church seek for incorporation?

I'm OK w churches incorporating; LCM or any other denomination. I had a friend in high school who refused to get a SS number because it was the mark of the beast. It didnt stop us from being friends. I wonder how he feels today?
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