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Is incorporation or licensing wrong?

Submitted: 1/9/2013
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Question: Do you believe it is scriptural for churches to be incorporated or even for 'ministers' to be licensed? Thank you

Answer: The question is not whether or not it is scriptural, but whether or not it is unscriptural. We find nothing in the Bible that expressly forbids either incorporation of churches or licensing of men for ministry. Some say that incorporation puts a church under the authority of the state, but we disagree. The state does not create corporations; it only creates the legal basis for a group of people to create a corporation. We have not found any instances where being incorporated gave the state any kind of control over a church. Ministerial licensing is a creation of man, but in some circumstances it can be for a good purpose. The problem comes in when the license becomes a means for making an unbiblical distinction between a ministerial class (those with licenses) and a laity class (those without licenses) within the church. This is harmful to the unity of the body of Christ. Please see our articles called 'Offices and Titles in the Local Assembly' and 'Letter to a Pastor' on the Apostolic Free Library.