Pastor, Church & Law
Powers of a Local Church
It often is necessary to determine the nature and extent of a church's powers, for a church's actions may be subject to challenge if they exceed the church's authority. As has been noted elsewhere,513 unincorporated churches possess only such authority as is granted to them by state law. Many states have enacted legislation enabling unincorporated churches to sue and be sued and to hold property in the name of trustees. But without any specific delegation of authority from the state, an unincorporated church has no legal powers and must act in the name of its members.514
In many states a church may incorporate under either a general nonprofit corporation law or a religious corporation law. State nonprofit corporation law ordinarily confers several ...
Copyright © 2008 by Christianity Today. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review.
This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."
Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.