‘The Pandemic Exposed the Real God of the 501c3 Church’


A non-COG reader sent me a link to the following:

The Pandemic Exposed the Real God of the 501c3 Church

April 22, 2020

I would have to say, on a whole I am deeply ashamed of how the body of believers the world over handled this New World Order plandemic crisis, but especially that of the American church. It’s like God, in His infinite wisdom, sent the church a mighty test, a once in a millennia grand opportunity to shine, to proclaim bold Truth, condemn the overreach of government, to show faith rather than fear, to direct the lost to the light of Christ; but instead they hid that light under a bushel. …

A recent study of cellphone data, tracking Americans behavior showed a complete fall-off in church attendance and activity on past Sunday’s as well as Easter Sunday.

“Cellphone data tracking Americans’ behavior shows that the vast majority of people who might normally be in church stayed away on Easter, the day churches often pull in their highest attendance of the year.

Americans’ attendance at Sunday religious services began dropping dramatically in early March, according to a Washington Post analysis of mobile location data provided by SafeGraph, a company that aggregates location data from tens of millions of devices and compares it with building footprints of all types, including grocery stores, schools and religious organizations.

By then, many states had started to restrict large gatherings, and several denominations had halted in-person worship services in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.” (Washington Post, 4/17/2020)

The sad part about this data is it shows that the modern church lives in fear, they live in fear of the IRS and government retribution, they live in fear of the condemnation of their fellow citizens who would have undoubtedly shamed them and chastised them for their church services, and they live in fear of a common cold virus that has a death rate lower than that of the seasonal flu. It is obvious they listen to the media and government officials; more so than their own hearts or the Bible. …

I want to remind all of the pastors out there that jumped when government said to close their doors that we have the perfect example of Christ, a perfect leader who took masses of people to the most diseased parts of town to teach and heal people. …

By shutting their doors on Sunday pastors told their congregants that they were not essential in times of disease and poverty, they told the frontline workers at hospitals that their prayers and presence was not needed, they told the IRS that their 501c3 tax exempt status was more important than speaking out, they told government that they will universally bow the knee to the state over any emergency real or imagined without hesitation, and ultimately they told God that they will allow government to protect and instruct them over and above what God would have them do during these times. …

Who is the God of the American church? Because the God of the Bible would have these churches saying like Peter,

“…We ought to obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29


While I do not agree with all the above assessments, the reality is that among various churches, many are afraid of the IRS because of being 501(c)(3) (as my previous COG was in 2012) and this has impacted the willingness of many to boldly preach on various matters.

That being said, certainly quarantining the ill is biblical, but shutting down all churches was not. Most COGs, 501(c)(3) or otherwise, did not fully shut down, of course, as most went to some version of online services. But some jumped faster and more than, in my view at least, they should have because of government statements and threats.

In the Letter to the Brethren: March 19, 2020 the Continuing Church of God announced the following related to COVID-19 and church services:

Now, with all the quarantines and travel restrictions being imposed, what about attendance at weekly Sabbath services?

Our policy has always been, and still remains, if you have a contagious disease, you should not attend church services.

In this time of COVID-19, if you think you may have a fever, you should not attend services. If you are not feeling well, please stay home.

As far as ‘social distancing’ goes, church leaders in their respective countries and local groups need to decide the relative safety of holding Sabbath services (though in some places landlords and/or government officials may be placing their own limits–the early Christian church met in houses and that is one thing that can be done when meeting halls are not around and/or there are governmental restrictions) as not only are they closer to their situation, they can react to local conditions in a timely way.

If any person is not comfortable being in a group at this time, they may wish to stay home. And, of course, we do have services available online which is what most native English speakers we have are doing already.

Tuesday, the BBC reported that German, “Chancellor Angela Merkel has banned religious services and told people to cancel any domestic or foreign holiday travel” (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-51918596 03/17/20).

While we cooperate with government authorities when we can, we do not believe that government authorities should interfere with the ability to hold holy convocations or other biblical observances.

As the Apostles said, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

Hence, yes, we believe that true Christians should, for example, keep Passover next month. Though in some areas, it may be wise to have only very small groups meeting together.

We did, in fact, hold Passover services and other services since that announcement. We also produced several videos about the ramifications of government actions and COVID-19.

As far as 501(c)(3) goes, a while back, someone sent me a link that led to the following:


Cleveland Futch & Dan Peterson*

I . Free Expression of Religion and Freedom of Speech or Not, That is the Question There is considerable confusion today on what pastors can and cannot say from the pulpit. 1 Most of this confusion rests squarely on the structural foundation of the church. If the church is founded as a 501 (c)(3), the church has free speech restrictions. 2 All 501 (c)(3) organizations are prohibited from influencing legislation and political campaigns. 3 As social issues have become political issues, churches and church leaders are increasingly avoiding issues, avoiding taking positions, and selectively addressing Biblical principles and training Godly leaders out of fear of what might happen if they do. Now more than ever churches need to lead in the call of training and developing leaders in our communities and nation consistent with Biblical beliefs. Our hope is that professionals who advise religious leaders will remain open to learning a better way to structure churches and church ministries to affect that call. The purpose of this analysis is to show the dangers and restrictions of the church foundation as a 501 (c)(3) compared to the benefits and rights of the church being a 508 (c)(1)(a).

4. In 1954 our U.S. Congress amended Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code to include language that these organizations could no longer “participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.” The bill was introduced by then Senator Lynden Johnson to silence two private foundations that supported his political opponent. Before this amendment there were no speech restrictions on churches. Since the amendment passed, the IRS has maintained that church’s speech and pastor’s sermons, in the IRS’ sole judgement, could be interpreted as supporting or opposing candidates or attempting to influence legislation and can result in the church losing its tax exempt status. Many churches and church leaders accept this interpretation of the Code and avoid speech that could be construed as political. We believe that the speech restrictions of the Johnson Amendment in Section 501(c)(3) are unconstitutional in restricting speech of pastors and churches.

Before going further, let me state that although US President Donald Trump said he would get rid of the Johnson Amendment, he did not. All he did was prohibit enforcement with an executive order in 2017. This can easily be changed by any president, and thus this is not legal safety. While I agree that the Johnson Amendment is unconstitutional, the USA has done many things that are in violation of its constitution.

Getting back to the paper, WHY ALL CHURCHES SHOULD BE A 508(c)(1)(a), it also states:

There is no statute anywhere that says a “church” has to be a 501(c)(3) . Nowhere in Section 501(c)(3) is the word “church” used. …

Churches, Integrated Auxillaries, and Association of Churches, hereinafter Faith Based Organizations (FBO’s), have rights that no other non-profits enjoy. The First Amendment guarantees the right of “Free” exercise of religion. 11 The First Amendment also guarantees the right of “Freedom” of speech. Only FBO non-profits enjoy these dual rights. Any law or rule passed that conflicts with these rights would be unconstitutional. FBO’s have the right to speak freely about social and political issues without losing tax-exempt status, however most voluntarily waive this constitutional right in applying and receiving a “Letter of Determination” as a 501 (c)(3).

All 501 (c)(3) FBO’s have waived their rights. Corporations, like people, can waive rights. You can waive your right to a hearing, waive your right to speedy trial, even waive your Miranda rights if arrested. A waived right can be final on appeal. 12 If an FBO chooses to apply and then receives recognition of exemption from the IRS they also waive rights. First, in organizing for their exempt purpose FBO’s are required to waive free expression of religion and free speech in order to qualify. Second, in operating for their exempt purpose the IRS has sole discretion to vacate FBO’s tax exempt status at the IRS’ discretion and interpretation for any violation of 501(c)(3) restrictions. …

There is no law that prohibits churches from speaking on candidates, politics, or legislation. The 501(c)(3) speech restrictions apply only to corporations that are organized as a 501(c)(3). Churches that believe it is their responsibility to raise and foster Godly leaders in our representative democracy may do so, but not as a 501(c)(3).

There is also no statute anywhere that says an FBO is required to be a 501(c)(3). In fact, there are several ways an FBO could be organized. An FBO could be organized as a 501(c)(4), a 501(d) , and even a for profit corporation. An FBO also can and should be organized as a 508(c)(1)(a).

The Continuing Church of God organized as a 508(c)(1)(a). We also have been officially granted tax-exemption from the State of California.

Legally, we also organized as a “corporation sole.” This form of organization was used by a Church of God leader (Herbert W. Armstrong) in the past to deal with unconstitutional government actions.

Sadly my two previous COG organizations were 501(c)(3) and were not formed as a “corporation sole,” nor are any other larger COGs that I am aware of.

Not being so ended up essentially destroying the old Global Church of God (the split in GCG in November 1998 could not have occurred as it did if GCG had been a “corporation sole”).

The fact of the 501(c)(3) registration by the Living Church of God got it to distance itself from prophetic truths and has also resulted in it being unwilling to make various public statements (see 501(c)(3)? Why the Continuing Church of God chose a better option).

Of course, GCG and LCG are not the only COGs organized as 501(c)(3) non-profit corporations. Most of the larger COGs and world’s churches are structured as corporation aggregates, which basically means that ‘legally’ a committee runs them. This is also not in accordance with true biblical governance. Later on in his life, Herbert W. Armstrong realized this, to a degree, and set up the church as a corporation sole.

We in the Continuing Church of God believe we chose the best available legal ways to form to lead the Philadelphian work in the end times.

This, of course, does not mean that the State or Federal governments may not take improper actions against us.

Actually, we believe that is prophesied (cf. Amos 8:11-12).

But what it does mean is that we in the Continuing Church of God are serious about fulfilling Jesus’ commissions in Matthew 24:14 and 28:19-20. And in the end times, boldly fulfilling the following:

1 Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)

Many other COG groups are more cautious and unwilling to do that as much as they should. Part of the reason from USA based groups is that most of them are 501(c)(3) registered and are not corporation soles.

Jesus warned that most Christians would be lukewarm in the end times, and we are seeing that.

Forming the way we in the Continuing Church of God did was part of our preparation for the short work (Romans 9:28)–as we feel that is the best way to fulfill various biblical teachings on end time proclamations.

Some items of related interest may include:

Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world. Here is a link to a related sermon: CCOG, a corporation sole, not a 501(c)(3).
501(c)(3)? Why the Continuing Church of God chose a better option Churches in the USA do NOT have to register as 501(c)(3). Why would they? Why is what CCOG did better?
Why is the Continuing Church of God a corporation sole? What is a ‘corporation sole’ and why is this a better organizational choice?
Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word What is the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it? Here is a link to a related video sermon titled: The Short Work.
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
6. The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
7. The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy.
There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety’ and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory. There is also a video on the subject: Might Petra be the Place of Safety? Here is something related in the Spanish language: Hay un lugar de seguridad para los Filadelfinos. ¿Puede ser Petra?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.
Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse What is the pale horse of death and pestilences? What will it bring and when? Here is a link to a related sermon: Fourth Horseman, COVID, and the Rise of the Beast of Revelation. Some shorter related videos may include Amphibian Apocalypse: Threat to Humans? and Zombie Deer Disease is Here! Are the 10 Plagues on Egypt Coming? Here is a version of the article in Spanish: El cuarto jinete de Apocalipsis, el caballo pálido de muerte y pestilencia.
COVID 19 is NOT the End, but could it be TEOTWAWKI? The novel coronavirus called COVID-19 is wreaking havoc around the world. Many states of the USA as well as countries in Europe are on lockdown with shelter in place /shelter in residence requirements. In France, a form is required when you are not at your house. In Spain, drones are being used to warn people who are outside to got back to their homes–does that bring up feelings of ‘Big Brother’? Italy, France, and other areas are using police and/or military force to encourage people to stay inside. According to the Bible could this be the end? If not, what has to happen first? Have the second and third of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse started their ride? Could COVID-19 be the fourth horseman? Why or why not? Could we be seeing The End of the World as We Know It (TEOTWAKI) like the R.E.M.’s 1987 single song discussed? Do Christians need to fear? What did Jesus teach? What did the Psalmist teach? This is a video. Here is a link to a version in the Spanish language: Corona 19 no es el final PERO es el TEOTWAWKI.
COVID-19 Leading to 666? The novel coronavirus of Wuhan, China fame, is now called COVID-19. It has also been called the ‘Coronapocalypse.’ Does COVID-19 have any prophetic ramifications? What did Jesus teach about pestilences and sorrows in the Olivet prophecy in Matthew 24? Could COVID-19 be the ride of the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse? Why was this type of disease expected according to the O. Here is a link to a version in the Spanish language: ld Testament prophecies in Deuteronomy and Leviticus? What has the US Centers for Disease Control warned about? What has the CDC reported about the flu? Were there lessons about fear and infections in the 2011 movie ‘Contagion’? Because of COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO), nation of Iran, and certain French locations are telling people not to use cash, but instead electronic forms of payment. The US Federal Reserve is now quarantining money repatriated from Asia to reduce the potential spread of the coronavirus on US currency bills. Is COVID-19 worse than we have been told or could this all be a ‘false flag’ event to encourage people to move towards a cashless society? If the thousands of deaths associated with COVID-19 are pushing parts of the world towards cashlessness, how much more likely will the ride of the fourth horseman and over a billion human deaths motivate people to move to making electronic payments that can be monitored? The Bible tells of a soon coming society that controls buying and selling to force allegiance to a coming European Beast power, known as 666 (Revelation 13:16-18). Does the ‘great tribulation’ begin before ride of the fourth horseman or with the opening of the fifth seal of Revelation 6? Do the words of Jesus helps us better understand the sequence of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse and the start of the Great Tribulation? Will the ride of the fourth horseman help lead to the rise of 666? Is that ride very close? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more in this video. Here is a link to a version in the Spanish language: El COVID-19 ¿Conduce al 666?

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