Memorial 900

JUDICIARY: Revision

Whereas, The 2012 General Conference called for a task force to thoroughly review and revise the Judiciary and ministerial restoration policy with the objective of simplifying procedures for conflict resolution and church trials, and to report its recommendations to the General Board for recommendation to the 2016 General Conference;

Whereas, The General Board separated the tasks of Judiciary revision and ministerial restoration policy revision, and assigned the ministerial restoration policy revision to an in house committee; and

Whereas, The task force, upon reviewing the Judiciary, determined that the amount of material included in The Discipline should be limited to paragraphs 5000 through 5008, with the remainder, along with paragraphs 5000 through 5008, being included in a General Board Policy for Church Discipline and Ministerial Restoration;

Resolved, That Part 9 of The Discipline be revised by striking everything after paragraph 5008;

Resolved, That Part 9 of The Discipline, with appropriate revisions, be placed in The General Board Policy for Church Discipline and Ministerial Restoration;

Resolved, That paragraphs 5000 through 5008 of The Discipline be revised as follows:

PART 9

JUDICIARY

Chapter 1

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

A. Meaning and Purpose of Church Discipline

5000. Church discipline is the proper exercise of the authority which Christ has vested in His church for the prevention and correction of offenses and the removal of scandal (cf. Matt. 18:15–18; 1 Cor. 5:1–5). The Church has the responsibility to provide a holy and harmonious environment that fosters Christlike conduct and relationships. The purpose of church discipline is the vindication of the truth, the preservation of the integrity of the body, the restoration and salvation of the guilty and the warning of the careless.

B. The Administration of Church Discipline

5002. In order that the purposes of the church discipline may be realized, discipline for in The Wesleyan Church shall be administered in accord with the following principles:

(1) A prayerful and Christlike spirit shall be maintained at all times by all parties[i] (1 Cor. 13:4–7; Eph. 4:15; 2 Tim. 4:2).

(2) The restoration and salvation of erring persons shall ever be kept in view. Every effort that love can suggest shall be made to bring back to the Lord one any who, while under the Church's care, has have wandered from Him (cf. 268).[ii] (See 1 Thess. 5:14; Jude 22–23.)

(3) A sincere and reasonable effort shall be made to clear up resolve an accusation or to deal with an offending person without the formality of a church trial, in keeping with scriptural admonitions[iii] (Matt. 18:15–18; Gal. 6:1–2; James 5:16, 19–20).

(4) Each accusation and all judicial proceedings shall receive prompt and careful attention by the proper authorities.

(5) The doctrines and standards of The Wesleyan Church shall be maintained without respect of persons. Any offending person shall be dealt with kindly, yet faithfully, according to the seriousness of the offense and as provided for in this Judiciary and in The Discipline of The Wesleyan Church and The General Board Policy for Church Discipline and Ministerial Restoration.

(6) Legal technicalities shall not be permitted to obstruct the sincere search for truth, while at the same time the fundamental principles and procedures of justice shall be upheld. There shall be no attempt to confuse or entangle anyone in the process of an investigation or a trial (cf. 276).

C. Offenses Conflict Resolution

1. Individual

5004. Any covenant member, minister, special worker or district or general official of The Wesleyan Church shall be liable to disciplinary proceedings and trial for any of the following offenses:

(1) Holding or teaching any doctrine contrary to the doctrine of The Wesleyan Church as stated in The Discipline. (See 2 Thess. 3:6,14–15; 1 Tim. 6:3–5; 2 John 9–11.)

(2) Disobedience to the provisions of The Discipline or tolerating such disobedience.

(3) Insubordination or willful refusal to recognize Church authority. (See Rom. 16:17–18; Titus 3:10–11; 3 John 9–10.)

(4) Conduct unbecoming a covenant member or minister of The Wesleyan Church.

(5) Immorality or crime. (See 1 Cor. 5:1–13; 6:9–11.)

(6) Serious or persistent neglect of duty.

2. Local Church, District or Official Body

5006. Any local church, district, official body or other agency of The Wesleyan Church shall be liable to disciplinary proceedings and trial for any of the following offenses:

(1) Disseminating or tolerating the teaching of any doctrine contrary to the doctrines of The Wesleyan Church as stated in The Discipline. (See 2 Thess. 3:6,14–15; 1 Tim. 6:3–5; 2 John 9–11.)

(2) Disobedience to the provisions of The Discipline or tolerating such disobedience.

(3) Insubordination or willful refusal to recognize Church authority. (See Rom.16:17–18;Titus 3:10–11; 3 John 9–10.)

5008 5004. Personal Grievance Conflict Resolution. If a person alleges a personal grievance, the The person having the grievance shall be first required to follow the Lord's directions in Matthew 18:15–17: before filing accusations or charges against the offending party. The

1) The person having the grievance should go to the accused and point out the issue, just between the two of them.

2) If unresolved, the person having the grievance may shall seek counsel from the official having jurisdiction (pastor, district superintendent, general officer) relative to the redemptive steps to be taken.[iv] (See 1 Cor. 6:1–8.)

5010. Corporate Offense and Counsel.

3) If the personal grievance is not remains unresolved in keeping with 5008, or if the suspected offense really affects the body of believers, for example an error in doctrine, disobedience to the order and Discipline of the Church, the indulging in sinful tempers or words, the sowing of dissension or other similar matters, the official having jurisdiction or a designated representative shall privately inquire, and, if necessary, instruct and admonish an offending person. If there is an acknowledgment of the fault and correction is made, the case matter shall be dropped.

4) If the offense grievance continues, the official in charge shall provide take along two or three other discreet covenant members or ministers of The Wesleyan Church and give further instruction and reproof intervention. If the offense conflict remains unresolved continues, and if the offending person matter shall be brought to rises to the level of a fair and impartial hearing of charges pending, procedures shall be followed according to The General Board Policy for Church Discipline and Ministerial Restoration.

5006. Left intentionally blank.

5008. Left intentionally blank.

[i] 1 Cor. 13:4-7; Eph. 4:15; 2 Tim. 4:2.

[ii] See 1 Thess. 5:14; Jude 22-23.

[iii] Matt. 18:15-18; Gal. 6:1-2; James 5:16, 19-20.

[iv] See 1 Cor. 6:1-8.

Resolved, That paragraphs 5000 through 5008, free from strikethroughs and bold type that indicates changes, would then read as follows:

PART 9

JUDICIARY

Chapter 1

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

A. Meaning and Purpose of Church Discipline

5000. The Church has the responsibility to provide a holy and harmonious environment that fosters Christlike conduct and relationships. The purpose of church discipline is the vindication of the truth, the preservation of the integrity of the body, the restoration and salvation of the guilty and the warning of the careless.

B. The Administration of Church Discipline

5002. In order that the purposes of the church may be realized, discipline in The Wesleyan Church shall be administered in accord with the following principles:

(1) A prayerful and Christlike spirit shall be maintained at all times by all parties.[1]

(2) Every effort shall be made to bring back to the Lord any who have wandered from Him (cf. 268).[2]

(3) A sincere and reasonable effort shall be made to resolve an accusation or to deal with an offending person, in keeping with scriptural admonitions.[3]

(4) Each accusation and all proceedings shall receive prompt and careful attention by the proper authorities.

(5) Any offending person shall be dealt with kindly, yet faithfully, according to the seriousness of the offense and as provided for in The Discipline of The Wesleyan Church and The General Board Policy for Church Discipline and Ministerial Restoration.

C. Conflict Resolution

5004. Conflict Resolution. The person having the grievance shall be first required to follow the Lord's directions in Matthew 18:15–17:

1) Go to the person and point out the issue, just between the two of you.

2) If unresolved, the person having the grievance shall seek counsel from the official having jurisdiction (pastor, district superintendent, general officer) relative to the redemptive steps to be taken.[4]

3) If the personal grievance remains unresolved, or affects the body of believers, the official having jurisdiction or a designated representative shall privately inquire, and, if necessary, instruct and admonish an offending person. If there is an acknowledgment of the fault and correction is made, the matter shall be dropped.

4) If the grievance continues, the official in charge shall provide intervention. If the conflict remains unresolved, and if the matter rises to the level of a fair and impartial hearing of charges pending, procedures shall be followed according to The General Board Policy for Church Discipline and Ministerial Restoration.

5006. Left intentionally blank.

5008. Left intentionally blank.

COMMITTEE ON MEMORIALS

Wayne A. MacBeth, Secretary

Committee on Memorials

Recommended

General Conference

____ Adopted ____ Not Adopted

[1] See 1 Cor. 5:1-3; 6:9-11.

[2] 1 Cor. 13:4-7; Eph. 4:15; 2 Tim. 4:2.

[3] Matt. 18:15-18; Gal. 6:1-2; James 5:16, 19-20.

[4] See 1 Cor. 6:1-8.


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