BOSSIER PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A Bossier Parish district judge has agreed to throw out part of a lawsuit filed against First Baptist Bossier and its pastor by former members seeking to invalidate the church’s bylaws.

Tuesday’s ruling was related to one of two lawsuits filed by the former members, in which they claimed senior pastor Dr. Brad Jurkovich illegally amended the church’s 1937 articles of incorporation after he arrived in 2014, giving himself total power over the church, its finances, employees, members, and all other church-related matters, with no oversight.

The church had asked the Court to throw that claim out based on how much time has passed since those bylaws were amended, as well as “the plaintiffs’ lack of standing as non-members, and the Court’s subject matter jurisdiction over ecclesiastical matters.”

While the Bossier Parish District Judge Charles Smith did not agree that the plaintiffs did not have standing as non-members or that the Court does not have jurisdiction over ecclesiastical matters, he did grant the motion based on the timeliness of the claim.

“These articles were unanimously adopted during a properly noticed membership meeting in 2014. Approximately 1,600 members – including many of the plaintiffs to the lawsuit – attended the meeting and participated in the vote,” Jurkovich said in a statement following the ruling. “It is First Baptist Bossier’s position that all of the plaintiffs’ claims are without merit and represent an improper attempt by former members to litigate an internal church dispute.”

Still, Jurkovich said First Baptist Bossier is thankful for the Court’s decision and vowed to continue to fight the rest of the claims in both lawsuits, which came after what petitioners claim was months of trying to get Jurkovich to share financial, personnel, and other church-related records with them and other congregation members.

“We intend to continue our vigorous defense against all remaining claims with the ultimate goal of moving past any efforts to damage and divide our ministry.”

Allison Jones, attorney for the former church members, noted in a statement Tuesday that the ruling focused on one narrow portion of the claims asserted in the second lawsuit, but that “The Court did not and has not yet been asked to determine the merits of my clients’ claims that Dr. Brad Jurkovich and the leadership at First Baptist Bossier have breached their fiduciary duties in the numerous ways alleged in the lawsuit.”

“Today’s ruling does not and will not stop my clients’ ultimate goal of transparency in the Church they have placed so much faith in,” said Jones. “Litigation will continue. Discovery will be conducted, and, ultimately, despite all of the First Baptist Bossier’s leadership’s efforts to stymie the truth being told, the truth will be told. My clients are committed to taking all the necessary actions possible to facilitate the truth being told, in Court or outside of Court. They are likewise simultaneously hopeful that reconciliation will one day be possible, but Dr. Jurkovich’s actions have been antithetical to reconciliation.”

The lawsuits were filed against First Baptist Church of Bossier, senior pastor Dr. Brad Jurkovich, worship pastor Eddie Colvin, and church administrative secretary Lorine Spratt.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuits include Randy Boyett, Gary Cain, Michael B. Cockerham, Ted Hayes, Raymond J. Lasseigne, C.A. “Jackie” Lewis, Mike Pearson, Robert Perry, Wade Rasberry, Steve Robinson, Clinton Scates, Henry W. Smith Jr., Ken Thomas, Mickey Walker and Ronald L. Worley.