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Pastor, Church & LawMember access only

by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA


§ 6.06.02
Key point 6-06.02. Officers and directors must be legally authorized to act on behalf of their church. Legal authority can be express, implied, inherent, or apparent. In addition, a church can ratify the unauthorized actions of its officers or directors, but this is not required.


It is often said that church officers may perform only those acts for which they have authority, and that the authority of church officers is similar to that exercised by officers of private corporations.[173] Lewis v. Wolfe, 413 S.W.2d 314 (Mo. 1967).

The legal authority of a corporate officer may derive from four sources:

  • express authority
  • implied authority
  • inherent authority
  • apparent authority

The most basic kind of authority possessed by a church officer consists of express authority deriving from those powers and prerogatives conferred by statute, charter, bylaw, or resolution. Some nonprofit corporation ...

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