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    Seeking writers with positive stories, anecdotes, essays, announcements, posts and experiences involving the SBC. WHAT'S GOD UP TO IN YOUR CHURCH? YOUR SCHOOL? YOUR VOCATION? YOUR MISSION FIELD?

« The Majority of Southern Baptist Education NOT Historically Calvinist | Main | Not For the Weak of Heart, Nor Thin Skinned »

July 11, 2012


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William Thornton

Years ago, I worked in this area of municipal government. There is a tension between freedom of religion and the state's police power of the state in zoning laws. At some stage few people would object to the state restricting assembly and the traffic, parking etc associated with it even in private homes.

It's not a slam dunk and I'd guess that there is more to this one than was in the article you linked.

These type of cases pop up regularly. I appreciate your drawing attention to it and I am interested in where this one will go.


William, welcome to Enc. I have heard of it happening before but more on the "stop doing it" level of a reprimand. I've never heard of it going so far as to imprison someone and making them pay such and exorbitant fine and probation. This is ridiculous! I'm guessing this will be appealed. It's sure to get some national attention. Thanks for stopping in. selahV

Mike Bergman

There's another article at the Examiner ( that talks about how this pastor has been in court before about this issue and lost.

It says there's a separate building on the back of his property he's using. The city says it’s a church and needs the proper code requirements (which I would assume like most places would be exit signage, fire extinguishers, and maybe a sprinkler system and the likes) if they're going to meet regularly there. The court agreed. The pastor said “no” in defiance of such rulings.

This isn't that they just went in heavy-handed. This is: he's had several issues with this, been to court with this, still refuses to obey the law (which in itself is a violation of Romans 13 where the law does not conflict with the Word--and in this case it doesn't), and has therefore been arrested and fined.


He's not been arrested fro a Bible Study in his home. He's been arrested for trying to bypass building codes

[T]he Salmans jumped through the hoops required by City Hall for construction of a 2,000-square-foot outbuilding in their backyard. It took engineers, architects, and roughly $80,000, but the city ultimately signed off on everything.

The problem is that the Salmans told the city they planned to use the building as a personal "game room." Instead, they're using it as a church.


Mike, I totally agree with you. If that is how this pastor is conducting a bible study then he is definitely in the wrong. AND has placed a blotch on legitimate churches which seek to honor God by following the Biblical directives to obey the law of the land. Thanks for that link. selahV


PewPotato, thanks so much for visiting and adding more light to this issue. Sounds like this pastor violated laws that are there to protect the freedoms of all. Appreciate the link. selahV

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