Guest / Limited Access /

The President's Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships voted in February on whether the government should require houses of worship to form separate corporations to receive direct federal social-service funds. Thirteen members voted yes; twelve, including most evangelicals on the council, voted no.

"The government regulates what it funds. If it funds church activities, it will regulate them. But if churches form separate corporations to receive federal funds, this will help ensure that congregations will be free from government subsidies and corresponding government oversight. The formation of a separate corporation helps to shield a church from liability. It also avoids intrusion into core bodies, maintains a clear distinction between the institutions of church and state, and avoids some of the most difficult church-state conflicts."

"The state may wish for collateral, and it may want the church's other affairs to be investigated. This is a practice I would work to avoid, as the risks may outweigh the benefits. Furthermore, there may be a few members opposing the program. As a church program, their opposition can be detrimental and cause a rift; [whereas] a program carried out by an nonprofit organization that is aligned with the church does not need such unanimous approval and may prevent internal conflicts and avoid staff hiring conflicts."

"Establishing nonprofits is a 21st century expression of the Wesleyan legacy. Wesley believed the world was his parish and operated accordingly in starting social ministries. In today's society, one of the most effective ways to minister to the world is to establish a 501(c)3. If today's church were the Acts church, there would be no need for the department of health ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only 210 Million Reasons to Adopt
Haiti's devastating quake reminds us that orphans matter to God.
RecommendedNo Middle Ground: Evangelical Leaders Reject Compromise on LGBT and Religious Rights
No Middle Ground: Evangelical Leaders Reject Compromise on LGBT and Religious Rights
Scores sign statement against SOGI protections.
Trending‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian
‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian
Islamic extremism now has a rival, according to 2017 World Watch List.
Editor's PickLatasha Morrison: The Church Is the ‘Only Place Equipped to Do Racial Reconciliation Well’
Latasha Morrison: The Church Is the ‘Only Place Equipped to Do Racial Reconciliation Well’
The founder of Be the Bridge reveals her vision for solving America's race problem.
Christianity Today
Should Churches Incorporate?
hide thisApril April

In the Magazine

April 2010

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.