Monday, February 10, 2020

"Neutral Principles" Approach Controls Issue of Joining Parent Church

In Korean New Life Methodist Church v. Korean Methodist Church of the Americas,(CO App., Feb. 6, 2020), a Colorado state appellate court held that the neutral principles of law approach should be used in deciding a dispute over whether a local church agreed to be under the authority of a national denomination.  It agreed that the trial court, using that approach, correctly determined that the local church never gave up control to submit to the authority of the parent church body, saying in part:
[W]e conclude that the question of submission does not involve a “religious dispute” covering ecclesiastical matters or involving church doctrine.... Rather, it involves an inquiry into the local church’s organizational intent as evidenced by church documents, testimony, and conduct.