Sermon subpoenas? Why churches should ditch state charters

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Lectures at this church on East Brainerd Road in Chattanooga will explore the corporate status of the church.

Lord’s Day lectures at Brainerd Hills Pres on East Brainerd Road in Chattanooga will explore the corporate status of the church.

By David Tulis

A series of lectures is being held each Lord’s Day morning at Brainerd Hills Presbyterian church on the topic of church incorporation in the state. Elder Vaughn Hamilton will explore the great peril to the church of the corporate status. The talks, part of Sunday school — or Sabbath school, as we are wont to call it — will account for the compromise in Christendom for which the remedy is dissolution of corporate charter.

The church as state corporation arose at the time of U.S. president Lyndon Johnson, who sought to reduce the influence of an already weakened American church. In the 1960s most churches laid aside their distinct legal character as churches and assumed a parallel structure, that of state corporation. Others went further and became corporations designed to fit the requirements of internal revenue code section 501(c)3, a sop Mr. Johnson enacted by regulation for their benefit.

The 30-minute lectures begin at 9:45 a.m. The talk is followed by a worship service, after which members and visitors share lunch in the dining hall. Brainerd Hills Pres is part of the reformed church and is a member of the PCA. I am a deacon. Mr. Hamilton’s topic is one of utmost importance.

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