Galatians 3:1 (NKJV)
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?
Galatians 3:1 (NKJV)
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?
The other day I heard someone say, the Church of God in Christ is a “hierarchical church”. The word “hierarchical” is used in more than one way.
One meaning is as the person said, the power is vertical, meaning the Presiding Bishop is over the Jurisdictional Bishop, who is over the Superintendent and the Pastor.
The other and most devastating usage is that used by the civil court. The civil court does not care about the leadership structure. They deal with property ownership. To the civil court, in a hierarchical church, the National or parent organization OWNS the property and the local people purchase it and maintain it as a gift to the National Church. The US Supreme Court used the labels Congregational and Hierarchical for the first time in the infamous case WATSON Vs JONES, and since it benefits the National Church, they all said Amen.
A Hybrid would use parts of both systems. For property ownership, it could use aspects of the Congregational system. Combining the two systems would give you the HYBRID
The General Assembly of the Church of God in Christ can define itself. You can say what type of Government or as a lawyer would say “polity” your church has.
Concerning property ownership, The Church of God in Christ lets it’s members believe the local church owns the property: (Congregational). Concerning the leadership structure, I think Bishop Blake in his wisdom said it best
“Thus, the structure is not a pure hierarchy; it is a “hybrid structure” in which power flows both upwards and downwards. Power flows upwards (not downwards like a hierarchy) from the delegates of the General Assembly to the General Board and Presiding Bishop. And then it flows downwards (as in a hierarchy) to the bishops and to those under their charge. It is episcopal in that it affirms the authority of the bishops who are those above. At the same time, it is governed by a constitution, and thus the constitutional rights of the pastors and congregations, who are those who are below, must not be abused or alienated from them.” (page 4, paragraph 2, of the book “WHY I STOOD FOR THE DEFENSE IN ORLANDO” ) Click this link to read the complete book by Bishop Charles E. Blake.
To see how the court views this word click this link THE HIERARCHICAL CHURCH.
For additional information or if you have questions contact me by using the contact form shown below. No question or information will be posted from this contact form.
In case you think this can’t be true, here is a copy of the opinion of the Kansas Appeals court. KANSAS COURT CASE involving a church in Liberal, Kansas
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (Hosea 4:6, AV)
The Church of God in Christ like many other deliberative bodies, has chosen Robert’s Rules of Order as its parliamentary law.
Knowledge of these laws empower the average delegate and will help them understand how to conduct the business of the General Assembly. These rules and knowledge of them, enable the average delegate to become a knowledgeable participant. The following rules are from the 11th Edition of Roberts Rules of Order which can be obtained from your local bookstore. Here are a few of the very important ones. For emphasis I have added the bold and underline type.
The way you would read these would be Chapter 1, section 2, page 11, lines 30-34
Chapter I, §2, p. 11, ll. 30-34
In an incorporated organization, the corporate charter supersedes all its other rules, none of which can legally contain anything in conflict with the charter. Nothing in the charter can be suspended by the organization itself unless the charter so provides.
Chapter I, §2, p. 16, ll. 21-31, p. 17, ll.1-3
Rules of Order
When a society or an assembly has adopted a particular parliamentary manual—such as this book—as its authority, the rules contained in that manual are binding upon it in all cases where they are not inconsistent with the bylaws (or constitution) or any special rules of order of the body, or any provisions of local, state, or national law applying to the particular type of organization. What another manual may have to say in conflict with the adopted parliamentary authority then has no bearing on the case. In matters on which an organization’s adopted parliamentary authority is silent, provisions found in other works on parliamentary law may be persuasive—that is, they may carry weight in the absence of overriding reasons for following a different course—but they are not binding on the body.
Chapter I, §2, p. 19 ll. 1-18
In some organizations a particular practice may sometimes come to be followed as a matter of established custom so that it is treated practically as if it were prescribed by a rule. If there is no contrary provision in the parliamentary authority or written rules of the organization, the established custom should be adhered to unless the assembly, by a majority vote, agrees in a particular instance to do otherwise. However, if a customary practice is or becomes in conflict with the parliamentary authority or any written rule, and a Point of Order (23) citing the conflict is raised at any time, the custom falls to the ground, and the conflicting provision in the parliamentary authority or written rule must thereafter be complied with. If it is then desired to follow the former practice, a special rule of order (or, in appropriate circumstances, a standing rule or bylaw provision) can be added or amended to incorporate it.
Chapter VIII, §25, p. 263, ll. 1-14
RULES THAT CANNOT BE SUSPENDED. Rules contained in the bylaws (or constitution) cannot be suspended—no matter how large the vote in favor of doing so or how inconvenient the rule in question may be—unless the particular rule specifically provides for its own suspension, or unless the rule properly is in the nature of a rule of order as described on page 17, lines 22-25. A rule in the bylaws requiring that a vote—such as, for example, on the election of officers—be taken by (secret) ballot cannot be suspended, however, unless the bylaws so provide ( see also Voting by ballot, pp. 412-413)
No applicable procedural rule prescribed by federal, state, or local law can be suspended unless the rule specifically provides for its own suspension.
There is a lot of confusion as to what the ‘Trust Clause” found in the COGIC, Inc constitution really means. The COGIC Trust clause found in the Official Manual, Article III, Part II, Section D paragraph 9 on page 16 states;
“The said property is held in trust for the use and benefit of the members of the Church of God in Christ with National Headquarters in the City of Memphis. Shelby County. Tennessee, and subject to the Charter, Constitution, Laws and Doctrines of said Church, now in full force and effect or as they may be hereafter amended, changed or modified by the General Assembly of said Church”
How many people really know what that means? To put it bluntly it gives the National Church ownership of your property.
In Wichita, Kansas, in 2005, in District Court, the former General Counsel said;
” The members of the Church of God in Christ are all members who are a part of the national organization from the headquarters down to the local assembly.”
Since the General Counsel in his official position stated this for the court, that is the position of the Executive branch of COGIC, Inc.
Did you know you are holding your Church for everybody who is part of the national organization? And here you thought it was for the local members.
Black’s Law Dictionary gives the definition of a Trust as;
1. An equitable or beneficial right or title to land or other property, held for the beneficiary by another person, in whom resides the legal title or ownership, recognized and enforced by courts of chancery. See Goodwin v. McMinn, 193 Pa. 046, 44 Atl. 1094, 74 Am. St. Rep. 703; Beers v. Lyon, 21 Conn. 613; Seymour v. Freer, 8 Wall. 202, 19 L. Ed. 300. An obligation arising out of a confidence reposed in the trustee or representative, who has the legal title to property conveyed to him, that he will faithfully apply the property according to the confidence reposed, or, in other words, according to the wishes of the grantor of the trust. 4 Kent Comm. 304; Willis, Trustees, 2; Beers v. Lyon, 21 Conn. 613; Thornburg v. Buck, 13 Ind. App. 446, 41 N. E. 85. An equitable obligation, either express or Implied, resting upon a person by reason of a confidence reposed in him, to apply or deal with the property for the benefit of some other person, or for the benefit of himself and another or others, according to such confidence. McCreary v. Gewinner, 103 Ga. 528, 29 S. E. 9G0. A holding of property subject to a duty of employing it or applying its proceeds according to directions given by the person from whom it was derived. Munroe v. Crouse. 59 Hun. 248, 12 N. Y. Supp. 815.
Law Dictionary: http://thelawdictionary.org/trust/#ixzz2rGkq7QOw
In layman’s terms, what that means is; you give the beneficiary (the National Church) an equitable (think equity as in equity in your house) interest in your Church. Their name does not have to be on the deed. When you join, pay your National Reports, participate and go to the meetings you are on the hook.
The attorneys know this but they talk in legal speak where words have a different meaning to them and the civil court than it does to those not trained in the law. This I think is done to deceive, when you want to communicate truth you speak the language your hearer will understand.
Different states also handle this differently. Some states use the “Neutral Principle”, that means whatever name is on the deed, that whose it is. Others states use whatever their state law says. The third and the one that is most harmful to the local members is the “Hierarchical Principle”. You should find out which policy your state uses but remember, it could change with the stroke of a judges pen.
If the Trust Clause stated it was held for none but the local church members or congregation, it would protect the local church.
As it stands, every chicken dinner, every bake sale done for the church is for the National Church, because of the “Trust Clause.”
Because of the Trust Clause, you are owners in name only. Which makes you a sharecropper.
The resolution granting the authority to suspend, presented and passed on November 12, 2002 is being used in a manner that causes due process for pastors and potentially all credential holders to be in jeopardy. (Resolution is found on page 2)
It was originally purported as way to protect the National Church from Misconduct involving Sexual Molestation (See the first and last Whereas).
From the Church of God in Christ online Sexual Misconduct course, the definition of Sexual Misconduct is;
Any conduct of a sexual nature that is non-consensual, including but not limited to sexual harassment and sexual assault, or any behavior that has the effect of threatening or intimidating the individual against whom such conduct is directed. A minor or mentally incapacitated individual can never consent to conduct of a sexual nature.
From the Church of God in Christ online Sexual Misconduct course the definition for Sexual Harassment is;
Sexual harassment, which is a form of sexual misconduct, is unwelcome attention, advances, touching, or harassment of a sexual nature that includes a range of behavior from mild, implicit or subtle transgressions an annoyances to overt and blatant activity or conduct than can involve forced sexual activity in an employment environment.
This resolution has been misapplied and used as an excuse to deny Pastors their due process under the law of the Church of God in Christ. It is an act of injustice to use this resolution to circumvent the pastor’s constitutional rights of due process when competent, consenting adults are involved.
One such case is at the Bethel Temple Church of God in Christ in Gary, Indiana in the Third Jurisdiction of Indiana, Bishop E. Bobby Warren is the Jurisdictional Bishop .
When you look at the picture of the church, one wonders if the true motive is the acquisition of the church.
An allegation was made of conduct between two consenting adults. The accusation have to this point not been substantiated but have been categorically denied, a case of He said/ she said. The pastor was denied the rights as shown here from ARTICLE VIII, Section B, paragraph 2, sub paragraph, pages 31-32 of the Official Manual;
2 The procedure for the trial of a local Pastor shall be as follows:
(a) When a majority of the members of the Church Of God In Christ have documented evidence that a Pastor of a local church has committed any or all of the offenses enumerated hereinabove, they may file charges against such Pastor specifically setting out the acts and things complained of The original copy of the charges shall be filed in the office of the Secretary of the Assembly of the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of which the Church and Pastor are a pan, or with which they are affiliated, and copies thereof shall be filed in the office of the General Secretary of the Church Of God In Christ at its National Headquarters in Memphis. Tennessee.
How will the General Council of Pastors and Elders respond?
Will the council require the law be followed?
As we prepare to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I am thought a line from his paper, ”Letters from the Birmingham Jail” where he wrote;
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” [Source ]
The First Judiciary Board in the Church of God in Christ was established as early as the 1940′s and operated until the new era of Church Government, (The General Board). The actions and recommendations of the board was recorded in the General Assembly (first known as the General Council of the Church of God in Christ) Minutes of 1959 as well as 1960. The minutes verify two cases found in the book “HISTORY REVEALS THE FACTS”, with a date of March 18, 1993 found on the page with a heading “Overview”. This Judiciary Board operated from at least 1959-1969 and then, for unknown reasons, ceases to exist. In the 1959 General Assembly Minutes (click here to view a copy) Item #5 shows the Judicial Board addressing a case known as “Richardson versus Jefferson. In 1960 it shows the Judicial Board making a recommendation the the General Assembly (Click here to view the minutes).
In 1992 a Judiciary Board was elected by the General Assembly and has mistakenly been identified as the First Judiciary Board of the Church of God in Christ.
History has proven this to be inaccurate. The first Judiciary Board, the original, was established in the 1950s by the General Assembly. It consisted of Bishop J. W. White, Bishop C. C. Cox, Bishop A. T. Moore, Bishop W. A. Patterson, Bishop J. L. Lewis, Bishop F. Clemmons, Bishop W. L. McKinney, Bishop L. T. Walker, Bishop Monte J. Bradford, Bishop Van Goodlow, Bishop E. B. Stewart, and Bishop F. J. Hayden.
For reasons that are unknown as of this writing, this original Judiciary Board became inactive and the General Board assumed its responsibilities.
The Judiciary Board established in the ’50s has never been formally dismissed. As you read these pages you will learn of some of the cases that were handled by this board
(Click on the picture below to read the book))
I have obtained copies of the books; A Guide Through the Church of God in Christ Judicial Process , Due Process for Pastors And Elders , The Judicial Code of Conduct , and The Church and Government. I am sharing them to help the people of God navigate the Church of God in Christ Judicial System. Click on the above titles to view these helpful books.
The author of these books is Dr. Frederick Jenkins. Click here to read about the author
Contact Dr. Jenkins for printed copies of these publications at;
Dr. Frederick Jenkins
P.O. Box 356
Douglasville, GA 30133
Here is the text found in ARTICLE VIII of the CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST, INC. Constitution. When the word “shall” is used, it indicates a mandate. There are no choices, there are no other options. I have placed the items in bold print that pertain to those who are qualified to be the Ecclesiastical (Board of Bishops) representative and who is qualified to be the Ministerial (General Council of Pastors and Elders) representative.
Click on the manual cover to view ARTICLE VIII in its entirety.
(Excerpt taken from the Judiciary Board Manual)
ARTICLE VIII – JUDICIARY BOARD
There shall be established a Judiciary Board for the Church of God in Christ, Incorporated. The Judiciary Board shall be both an ecclesiastical and appellate court.
COMPOSITION and CRITERIA
The Judiciary Board shall be composed of nine (9) members designated in three (3) categories: episcopal, ministerial, and general. Three (3) members shall be jurisdictional bishops (episcopal), three (3) members shall be elders other than bishops (ministerial), and three (3) members shall be from the church at large (general). Each member shall be at least forty-five years of age and an active member of the Church of God in Christ for not less than twenty (20) successive years, a person of mature judgment, proven ability, integrity and knowledgeable in Church of God in Christ constitutional matters.
TO READ THE LATEST LETTER WRITTEN BY BISHOP SAMUEL NESBITT, CLICK ON THE BOOK COVER
TO: The Presiding Bishop, General Board, General Assembly, Board of Bishops,
Council of Pastors and Elders, Officers, Members and Friends,
Church Of God In Christ, Inc.
As reported by WGCL-TV in Atlanta, GA, a lawsuit was filed by Bishop Larry Shaw against Bishop John Sheard, Chairman of the Board of Bishops and Elder William McCray III on October 1, 2013. To view report by WGCL-TV click here.
To view the complete 15 page complaint, click on the cover page below.
Elder William McCray
Bishop John Sheard