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Denominational Bylaws and Local Church Property

Are denominational bylaws regarding district supervision legally valid?

• What is the legal effect of denominational bylaws giving a denomination the authority to assume control of a dissident congregation's property? That was the issue before a Missouri appeals court. The board of deacons of a local Assemblies of God church voted to oust its pastor. The next day, the pastor contacted the Southern Missouri District of the Assemblies of God, and requested that the District intervene on the basis of "irreconcilable differences" between himself and the board. The local church's bylaws contained a provision specifying that "[s]hould there arise irreconcilable differences between the pastor and members of the official church board, destroying unity and the successful ministry of the local assembly, the District executive presbytery … upon request from the pastor or a majority of the official board, shall investigate such differences and … may declare ...

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  • May 1, 1992

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