In 1987, Drs. Townsend and Wright recognized the need for someone to teach pastors and churches the Biblical truth of Lordship, as it applied to the church; to assist them in unentangling themselves from the headship of the state; and to stand with faithful pastors and churches in times of difficulty and attack. It was from this vision that the Ecclesiastical Law Center was born.

Over the years, since 1987, the Law Center has assisted churches in 39 states to return to the Lordship of Christ over HIS church. In those 18 plus years, the Lord has intervened to allow our churches to stand on Biblical conviction, without compromising the position of Christ over His church, in every situation God has sent our way.

In 2001, James Wright joined the staff of the Law Center as our Legal Education Coordinator, webmaster and research assistant. James is responsible for the ELC website and contributed significant research and the first two chapters to the Law Center’s book, APPROVED BY GOD.

In 2004, after nearly 8 years of research, the Law Center published the book APPROVED BY GOD: A Case for Modern Disestablishment. The book covers the scriptural, historical, legal and practical aspects of the Lordship church position.

In 2009, the Law Center published their second book APPROVED BY MAN: A Case for Biblical Reasonableness.  This book takes one more step in stopping the mouths of those who argue that “incorporation” and “Lordship” are not that big of a deal.  God’s testimony is often damaged beyond recovery by the confrontational attitude of those claiming to stand for the Lord.  There is, however, a way to be right and be reasonable at the same time.  This is the subject of this book: Biblical Reasonableness.

In 2011, Pastor Keith Hoover joined the staff of the Law Center as the Assistant Director, after Dr. Wright went home to Glory.  He actively represents the ELC to churches and Pastors across the country.  Trained by Pastor Wright in 2002, Pastor Hoover has continued intensive training with Dr. Townsend since 2011.

Also in 2011, Bro. Jason Burton joined the staff as the Research Director.  Bro. Jason has done a fantastic job researching thousands of pages of legal work and has found things that have been crucial to our ministry.  In 2008, Jason was ordained to preach and was sent to Douglas, AZ to establish Haven Baptist Church.  He is currently serving under Pastor Keith Hoover in Indiana.

The Law Center has the Bible as its central focus. The discussion surrounding the “unincorporated” church or the “unregistered” church today often centers on constitutional or legal argumentation. The Bible becomes almost a sidelight. Our position is clear: We need to do what the Bible says and stand where the Bible says to stand. This unique, Biblical approach to the church has allowed our churches to stand on Biblical principle and maintain a testimony for Christ, even in the times of battle. Above all, the testimony of Christ must be upheld … it is HIS church.

To learn more click HERE


Churches of the Lord Jesus Christ

Payson First Baptist Church

Payson, Arizona

Stamper’s Creek Historic Baptist Church
Orleans, Indiana

Town Center Baptist Church
Happy Valley, Oregon

Cornerstone Historic Baptist Church
Union City, Indiana

Books and Literature
Approved of God / Approved of Man  

What do they do?

  • Spread the word
  • Instructing the pastor (it is important to work through the pastor)
  • Helping the pastor teach his flock
  • Helping in the process of Unincorporated
  • Supporting the church through the process
How do they approach a situation?

  • They Discern what the Intentions are … understanding who the enemy really is.
  • They Consider what the options are, without compromise.
  • They are sure to Present Alternatives
  • They Seek Peace in any Disagreement, and most importantly,
  • They always Strive to Preserve the Testimony of the Bride of Christ
What’s the Difference Between a Church and a Corporation?
True Church 

  • Created by God
  • Sanctified by the Word of God
  • Empowered by the Holy Spirit
  • Subject to Jesus Christ in all things
Corporate Church

  • Created by the State
  • Sanctified by the words of the State (statute)
  • Empowered by the legislature, and 
  • Subject to the courts in all things