8/03/2008

Tkach's Law: The Statutory Religious Bylaws of the WCG Church Association

BYLAWS OF THE CHURCH OF GOD (a/k/a WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD) AN UNINCORPORATED ASSOCIATION

1.1 "Church" shall mean and include the Church of God, a/k/a Worldwide Church of God, an unincorporated association.

1.2 "Church Authority" (meaning Joe Tkach Jr.) shall mean and include the power and authority vested in the Pastor General and his duly authorized delegates, and in the event that either of the conditions occur set forth in sections 5.4 and 5.5 of Article V of the Articles of Association (or any corresponding renumbered section or article), then it shall mean and include the Advisory Council of Elders and their duly authorized delegates.

1.3 "Church Law" shall mean and include the Church's Articles of Association, bylaws, resolutions, and its ecclesiastical doctrines, Determinations, tenets, rules, customs and teachings, all as they are now in force or may hereafter be adopted, amended or repealed, with or without notice, by the Church Authority.

1.4 "Ecclesiastical Determination" shall mean and include a decision that requires spiritual discernment. Such decision shall be within the sole and subjective discretion of the Church Authority, shall be conclusive and final, subject to review by the Church Authority, and shall not require oral or written evidence as to its basis.

ARTICLE II -- OFFICES

2.1 The principal Office and other offices of the Church, for the transaction of its ecclesiastical and temporal activities, shall be designated by the Church Authority as they deem advisable according to circumstances.

ARTICLE III - MEMBERS

The Classes of Members

3.1 Associational Members. The Association as an entity shall have one class of members. The only members of the Association shall be the Pastor General and the Advisory Council of Elders as it shall from time to time be constituted.

3.2 Church Members. Distinct from the Association as a legal entity, Church Members shall be members of the spiritual body of Jesus Christ, as defined biblically in I Corinthians 12:12-28, Romans 8:9 and Ephesians 4:4-16. In accordance with the biblical example, Church Members shall have no voting rights. Neither shall they have any authority or power over or regarding the ecclesiastical or temporal affairs of the Church, except as authorized by the Church Authority. The privileges of each Church Member shall be determined by the Church Authority. All Church Members consent and agree to be under the Church Authority and to be bound and abide by the Church Laws.

3.3 Co-workers. Distinct from the Association as a legal entity, Co-workers shall be affiliated with the spiritual body of Jesus Christ as defined biblically in Matthew 6:21. In Accordance with the biblical example, Co-workers shall have no voting rights. Neither shall they have any authority or power over or regarding the ecclesiastical or temporal affairs of the Church. The privileges of each Co-worker shall be as determined by the Church Authority.

Qualifications of Members

3.4 Associational Members. Only the Pastor General and the duly appointed members of the Advisory Council of Elders shall constitute and qualify as Associational Members.

3.5 Church Members. According to the teaching of the Bible a person does not "join" the Church in the usual sense of the word. The qualifications for a person to become a Church Member in the spiritual body of Jesus Christ are a calling from God; true repentance; baptism and the laying on of hands under the authority of a duly authorized minister, and the receiving of God's Holy Spirit.

3.6 Co-workers. The qualifications for a person to become a Co-worker shall be by voluntary affiliation with the Church by financial and moral support.

Determination of Membership Status

3.7 The Church Authority shall be the sole source to make the Ecclesiastical Determination whether or not a person is an Associational Member, Church Member or a Co-worker, or other status in relationship to the Church.

Suspension, Disfellowshipping and Reinstatement

3.8 Membership as an Associational Member, Church Member or a Co-worker shall terminate automatically upon death, being disfellowshipped or upon written resignation.

3.9 The Church Authority shall be the sole source to make the Ecclesiastical Determination whether or not to suspend, disfellowship and reinstate an Associational Member, Church Member or a Co-worker.

3.10 Neither non-ministerial Church Members nor Co-workers, individually or collectively, shall have any authority to suspend, disfellowship or reinstate.

Grounds for Suspension, Disfellowshipping and Reinstatement

3.11 As the basis and reasons for suspending, disfellowshipping or reinstating are spiritual in nature, and in many cases may consist solely of subjective attitudes unaccompanied by even words or acts, and therefore ascertainable only by spiritual discernment, the determination to suspend, disfellowship, reinstate or refuse to reinstate, shall be an Ecclesiastical Determination.

3.12 Without limitation upon the generality of the foregoing, the Church Authority may suspend, disfellowship or refuse to reinstate for fomenting strife or division; for continuing in the breaking of any of the commandments of God; persisting in a spirit of opposition, competition, or dissension; disloyalty to the Church, its mission, work or any of its institutions; or for any other act or attitude deemed contrary to Scripture, or in any manner whatsoever detrimental or threatening to the spiritual unity of the congregation or the spiritual welfare and growth of any of its individual members or prospective members.

3.13 The Church Authority, or the person authorized by them, may "mark" a disfellowshipped Church Member when they determine it is to be necessary. Such determination shall be an Ecclesiastical Determination.

Procedure for Suspension, Disfellowshipping and Reinstatement

3.14 When the person authorized by Church Authority concludes that a Church Member should be suspended, disfellowshipped, reinstated, or not reinstated, he should so inform the Church Member. He may do so orally or in writing, as he, within his sole discretion may elect. He may inform the Church Member of the basic reason, or reasons, in general terms, but shall not be required to delineate any of the evidence or information upon which his decision is based. The authorized person shall delineate the evidence or information upon which his decision is based if the same is requested by the Church Authority.

3.15 The suspended or disfellowshipped Church Member, or Church Member who has been refused reinstatement, may appeal within 15 days from the date he is informed of being suspended, disfellowshipped, or his reinstatement refused. He may do so by submitting, in writing, his reasons as to why he feels he should not be suspended, disfellowshipped, or his reinstatement refused and forwarding the same to the Church Authority by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. Should said suspended or disfellowshipped Church Member, or Church Member whose reinstatement has been refused, for any reason not so appeal, the authorized person's decision shall be deemed conclusive and final.

3.16 In the event of such appeal, the Church Authority, when time permits, shall designate a person or persons to establish any necessary rules and procedures and decide the appeal. Such decision shall be an Ecclesiastical Determination.

3.17 The decision of the authorized person shall be deemed correct and shall remain in full force and effect unless reversed on appeal.

Membership Records

3.18 The records of the Church regarding the status of any Associational Member, Church Member or Co-worker shall be conclusive and final as to such fact, subject to an Ecclesiastical Determination by the Church Authority that such records are true and correct.

Transferability

3.19 All memberships are non-transferable and non-assignable.

Property Rights

3.20 Associational Members, Church Members and Co-workers shall have no vested property right, title or interest, legal or equitable, in or to any Church assets, real, personal, intangible or mixed. An exception to the foregoing, is that Associational Members may receive and hold title to Church assets in a capacity as trustee for the benefit of the Church or its affiliated or subordinate organizations.

3.21 Any privilege or permission of a Church Member or Co-worker to enter upon or use the Church assets shall be revocable at any time, with or without cause or notice, and such privilege or permission shall be revoked and terminated automatically upon the death, suspension or disfellowshipping of such Church Member or Co-worker.

ARTICLE IV - CHURCH RECORDS

4.1 Church books, documents and records shall be deemed absolutely confidential and secret, and no person shall have any right of access to or utilization of said information unless authorized or subsequently approved by an Ecclesiastical Determination of the church Authority.

ARTICLE V - ADVISORY COUNCIL OF ELDERS

Numbers and Qualifications

5.1 The number of members of the Advisory Council of Elders shall vary, from time to time, as appointed or removed by the Pastor General. Each member of the Advisory Council of Elders must be a Church Member at the time of his appointment and shall remain such during his term in office.

Terms of Office

5.2 The Pastor General shall be Chairman and a member of the Advisory Council of Elders for life. Members of the Advisory Council of Elders shall serve until they are removed.

Appointment and Removal

5.3 The Pastor General shall be vested with the unilateral and sole power and authority to appoint and remove any single member from the Advisory Council of Elders, or the entire Advisory Council of Elders, at any time, with or without notice or cause. In order to prevent a fraud upon the Pastor General, the Advisory Council of Elders or the Church, the appointment or removal of any member of, or the entire Advisory Council of Elders must be (1) upon the unambiguous oral or written statement of the Pastor General, which statement, if oral, is made in the presence of at least two members of the Advisory Council of Elders, which two members subsequently reduce such event to writing and affirm to the same as having taken place, or (2) the Pastor General shall have made such appointment or removal during a meeting of the Advisory Council of Elders and such event is recorded in the Minutes of the meeting.

Place of Meetings

5.4 All meetings may be held within or without the State and in such locations as the Pastor General shall designate.

Call and Notice of Meetings

5.5 Only the Pastor General shall be empowered to call meetings. He may call a meeting at any time, upon oral communication, without advance notice.

Definitions applicable to Advisory Council of Elders

5.6 "Inability . . . to govern" as used herein and in Section 5.5 of the Articles of Association of the Church, shall mean:

      5.6.1 The unambiguous oral or written statement by the Pastor General that he is subject to an "inability to govern," which statement is made in the presence of four members of the Advisory Council of Elders, which four members subsequently reduce such event to writing and affirm to the same as having taken place, or

      5.6.2 A court of competent jurisdiction entering an order that it is necessary to appoint either a temporary or permanent conservator or guardian, of either the estate or person, or both, of the Pastor General, or

5.6.3 The total physical or mental incapacity of the Pastor General, or

      5.6.4 A court of competent jurisdiction enters an order purporting to divest the Pastor General of governance over the Church or any of its affiliated or subordinate organizations, or

5.6.5 The total physical restraint of the Pastor General.

      5.6.6 In addition to any one or more of the foregoing, it shall be necessary that the Advisory Council of Elders unanimously conclude that the Pastor General is, in their opinion, in fact subject to an inability to govern.

5.7 "Terminated" as used herein, and in Section 5.5 of the Articles of Association of the Church, without limitation shall mean:

      5.7.1 In regard to any inability to govern as a result of Section 5.61 of the Bylaws, an unambiguous oral or written statement by the Pastor General that he is no longer subject to an inability to govern, which statement is made in the presence of three members of the Advisory Council of Elders, which three members subsequently reduce such an event to writing and affirm to the same as having taken place.

      5.7.2 In regard to any inability to govern as a result of Section 5.6.2 of these Bylaws, a court of competent jurisdiction staying, vacating, reversing or otherwise dissolving the court order appointing either a temporary or permanent conservator, of either the estate or person, or both, of the Pastor General.

      5.7.3 In regard to any inability to govern as the result of Section 5.6.3 of the Bylaws, the total physical or mental incapacity of the Pastor General ceasing to exist.

      5.7.4 In regard to any inability to govern as a result of Section 5.6.4 of these Bylaws, a court of competent jurisdiction entering an order reversing, vacating or otherwise dissolving the order purporting to divest the Pastor General of governance over the Church or any of its affiliated or subordinate organizations.

      5.7.5 In regard to any inability to govern as a result of Section 5.6.5 of these Bylaws, the physical restraint of the Pastor General to exist.

ARTICLE VI - MINISTERS

Nomination, Ordination and Appointment

6.1 The Pastor General shall be vested with the sole power and authority to approve candidates for the ministry. The Pastor General or any ordained minister of the Church authorized to do so by the Church Authority shall be empowered to ordain or appoint a person so approved for the ministry. Upon such ordination an ordination certificate, licensing such person to preach, may be issued. The ownership of said certificate shall remain in the Church.

Classes of Ministers

6.2 The two basic classes of ministers shall be "ordained" and "regular ministers of religion." There shall be different ranks within these classes as designated by the Church Authority.

Qualifications

6.3 To qualify as a minister of the Church, the minister must fulfill the biblical qualifications as determined by the Church Authority, and must be a Church Member and remain such during the term of his ministry.

Suspension and Removal

6.4 The Pastor General shall have the unilateral and sole power and authority to suspend or revoke an ordination or appointment, or to remove a minister from his office or from any particular rank, at any time, with or without cause or notice. Such a decision is an Ecclesiastical Determination.

6.5 In the event such ordination is revoked, the person whose ordination is revoked shall return his ordination certificate forthwith, and he shall no longer hold himself out as a minister of the Church.

ARTICLE VII - INDEMNIFICATION

7.1 Every person who serves as a director, officer, employee or agent of the Church, its affiliated or subordinate organizations, or their predecessors or successors, may in the discretion of the Church Authority be indemnified and held harmless by the Church from and against any damages that may be imposed on, or incurred by him, in connection with or resulting from any claim, action, suit or proceeding, either civil or criminal, in which he may become a party or otherwise involved because of his being or having been a director, officer, employee or agent of the Church, its affiliated or subordinate organizations, or their predecessors or successors, whether or not he has terminated said relationship when the damages were imposed or incurred.

7.2 The word "damages" shall include without limitation, all reasonable and necessary loss, cost, liability, expense and attorney's fees actually incurred or expended, in defense or settlement of said claim, action, suit, or proceeding, whether civil or criminal, whether only threatened or actually commenced, and all judgments, fines, or penalties levied or rendered against the indemnified person.

7.3 Such costs, expenses and attorney's fees may be advanced by the Church before final disposition of the claim, action, suit or proceeding upon such terms and conditions as the Church Authority shall deem just. Any right of indemnification under this Article shall not affect any other rights to which the indemnified person may otherwise be entitled by law, insurance or contract.

7.4 The Church shall have power to purchase and maintain insurance on behalf of any director, officer, employee or agent of the Church, its affiliated or subordinate organizations, or their predecessors or successors against any liability asserted against or incurred by them in such capacity or arising our of their status as such whether or not the Church would have the power to indemnify them against such liability.

Enacted June 30, 1981 (Herbert W. Armstrong)

Revised and Executed this 21st day of February, by Joseph W Tkach

Joseph W. Tkach, Pastor

General and Member of

Advisory Council of Elders

We, the undersigned members of the Advisory Council of Elders, hereby state that we have read the foregoing bylaws which were adopted and ratified by us, and agree to be bound by the same.

Richard Ames

Richard Ames, member of

Advisory Council of Elders

Dibar K. Apartian

Dibar K. Apartian, member of

Advisory Council of Elders

Dean Blackwell

Dean Blackwell, member of

Advisory Council of Elders

Herman L. Hoeh

Herman L. Hoeh, member of

Advisory Council of Elders

Harold Jackson

Harold Jackson, member of

Advisory Council of Elders

Ellis E. La Ravia

Ellis E. La Ravia, member of

Advisory Council of Elders

Raymond F. McNair

Raymond F. McNair, member of

Advisory Council of Elders

Roderick C. Meredith

Roderick C. Meredith, member of

Advisory Council of Elders

Leroy Neff

Leroy Neff, member of

Advisory Council of Elders

Richard Rice

Richard Rice, member of

Advisory Council of Elders

Norman Smith

Norman Smith, member of

Advisory Council of Elders

Leon Walker

Leon Walker, member of

Advisory Council of Elders



Every WCG church member should read, possess and have a current copy of their denomination's constituent documents and know exactly what kind of religious "club" they belong to. They owe it to themselves to "blow the dust off" the WCG's Church Law, to see if they believe and agree with it. If they dare question the "Church Authority" himself and ask for one more recent than the above twenty-two year old reproduction. These constitute the most basic WCG church documents determining who has what power for how long, how badly the WCG is run, who gets to make what decisions, how your money is wasted, and when the wasted money spent is reported how and to whom, and with what level of detail, if any, back to the people who donated it.

Unfortunately, the only core WCG documents obtained so far include the business corporation documents related to the mercifully short 1946 California religious corporation Armstrong founded (a Radio Church corporation front to transact the business, banking and money matters of his church), some additional 1948 changes (including some specifics on Ambassador College, to be seperately incorported later) to the Radio Church corporation, then corporate name change from Radio to Worldwide. Documents around November 1977 show substantial changes to the now WCG corporation articles. Additional very important, substantial changes in the corporation articles and bylaws were made by Tkach Sr. in June, 1987. Also, the religious bylaws simultaneously governing the unincorporated WCG Church Association have been leaked, as reproduced above. The latest copy extant is the leaked revised version signed by Tkach Sr. into WCG Church Association law above on Feb 21, 1986.


Note what the Church Association bylaws repeatedly define as the "Church Authority" on various matters. "Church Authority" in the WCG is in the possession of the the Pastor General. The appointed church board has supposed to have excercised sound fiduciary and oversight responsibilites to counterbalance the unchecked power of the Pastor General, but so far has been more of a replaceable joke. Among the PG's unchecked powers are to change WCG doctrines with or without notice, and have the sole and unquestioned Church Authority to dismiss, mark and disfellowship any and all members of the Board of Elders, or for that matter, any minister, employee of the church, or church member.

What about all of the regular or "lay" WCG members in various countries worldwide?

The church bylaws above state ordinary WCG members shall have NO vested property rights, title or interest, legal or equitable, in or to ANY Church assets, real, personal, intangible or mixed. Members can for "subjective attitudes unaccompanied by even words or acts" be marked and disfellowshipped. And it claims that in accordance with some "biblical example", Church Members worldwide shall have NO denominational voting rights about anything - even the finances or financial reporting schemes.

Also, note who are the Church Association members. Church members are held legally apart in WCG Church law from Church Association members:

3.1 Associational Members. The Association as an entity shall have one class of members. The only members of the Association shall be the Pastor General and the Advisory Council of Elders as it shall from time to time be constituted.

The Pastor General has the sole authority to determine who are WCG Church Association members. With their church membership at the control of the of the Pastor General, how can members possibly exercise their fiduciary oversight and voting responsibilities, should they beg to differ with the Pastor General? The undue influence of the Pastor General over the board can be overwhelming.

To illustrate the power of the unincorporated Church Association, even though a church member, Ambassador grad and ordained minister of the WCG at one time, Dennis Diehl was never a member of the WCG Church Association, just as vast majority of his fellow ministers (perhaps 99%) were never members of the WCG Church Association. That power is reserved exclusively only for Tkach Jr. and the few men he selects to serve him as the members of his WCG unincorporated Church Association Advisory Board of Elders. The Pastor General's WCG unincorporated Church Association and the Articles and Bylaws of that Association are used as the legal control mechanism for the Church in other countries. That is how Tkach controls the ministry, money, membership, and WCG corporate boards in other countries, such as this action in Canada. While the considered action of the Canadian board seemed entirely voluntary to suddenly and completely shred the entire Canadian WCG Policy Governance Manual with the Carver model, and immediately change over to the Tkach denominational model, the hidden legalities of the WCG Church Association tell us it wasn't truly voluntary.

While the above WCG Church Association bylaws cover certain contingencies when a Pastor General has an inability to govern under various specific situations that may occur, these bylaws don't specifically explain the alleged power of the Pastor General to personally select and name his own successor(s) while in office, as HWA and Tkach Sr. did. Worldwiders will have to hold their breath and wait until Tkach hands out the unincorporated Articles of his WCG Church Association, to find out how that works.



2 comments:

Kiss My Ring said...

All the WCG ministry and members have to bow down to Tkach and kiss his ring.

Well, maybe not exactly! ;)

Mr. Scribe said...

Kscribe has the form you need to resign. Resignation form