April 13, 2014


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

April 2, 2014


Robert’s Rules of Order

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
Corporate Charter
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.

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