Cops Close Church Service
November 23, 2008 - 7:09 PM
Half the members belonging to Avondale Church of Christ held Sunday services outside today. They're singing outside because Chattanooga police shut down service inside and removed everyone from church this morning.
We learned it's part of an ongoing battle that restarted when minister Gerald Taylor along with part of the congregation came to worship today after a year-long battle over the pulpit.
"Its not the thing that usually happens at a church but keep in mind churches involve in spiritual warfare and it will show its face in different ways," says Avondale's Minister Gerald Taylor.
This church's warfare has been going on for four years.
"There have been two churches been worshiping at this church like I said one doesnt want elders, others do and some just standing back waiting for us to duke it out like Mighty mouse and fight to the finish," says Avondale Elder Frank Bradford.
Members say leadership divided in 1994 because they didn't agree on the church's direction. The dispute prompted a civil lawsuit between members of the men's business committee, church elders and Minister Taylor.
A judge eventually turned the church over to Samuel Cosely and John Tucker, who were part of the Mens Business Committee.
"The courts gave the whole church over to two men, two men one is a bookkeeper the other is a jackleg preacher. They don't want spiritual leadership they cant endure sound doctrine so they formed a social club," says Bradford.
However, some members say this fight is far from finished. Minister Gerald Taylor says the Supreme Court overturned the originally ruling and named him the rightful minister of Avondale Church of Christ. But when he came to claim his position in the pulpit it resulted in this.
"Hopefully we can begin a discussion. Toward some kind of resolution," says Taylor.
Today we tried to talk to Samuel Cosely, John Taylor and their attorney John Anderson. All three of them said no comment.
Seriously? They went to court over whether or not to have an eldership? Whatever happened to submitting to the eldership? And that whole part about having an eldership in the first place? And not taking your brother to court? I've heard all kinds of ridiculous stuff from the CoC in this area, but this one really takes the cake.
And we wonder why it seems that the church of Christ is dying out, when this is the example we're plastering across the news! (mental headslap)