Faithful Servant Profile: Ruling Elder Philip Dudt

Midway Presbyterian Church’s Prayer Warrior…

Given that Midway Presbyterian Church is in the unprecedented situation of having a third of the Ruling Elders elected by its congregation indicted, charged, and suspended in recent times by the Session majority led by Senior Pastor David Hall, the Midway Guardian Editorial Board is pleased to present a new series: Faithful Servant Profiles. This series is intended to highlight a faithful servant from Midway’s Session who has been on the receiving end of misused church discipline.

Ruling Elder Philip Dudt

Philip Dudt has been involved in the Reformed church his entire life. RE Dudt, a graduate of Covenant College, and his wife, Susan, joined Midway Presbyterian Church shortly after they were married in 1987. Since that time, they have served faithfully in many ministries. Susan served as the WIC president and has been involved in the women’s Bible studies at the church. She is a long time member who has served on the School Board of Midway Covenant Christian School.

Philip has always been involved in teaching the Word, having led high school and adult Sunday School classes at Midway Presbyterian Church. He has served regularly alongside Susan in the children’s and youth ministries of the church as well as its special care ministry. He served faithfully on the Diaconate for a decade. Philip and Susan were founding members of Midway’s daughter church plant, Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Dallas, Georgia. He also served faithfully on the Diaconate of that church and managed well as its Treasurer.

Philip and Susan have been particularly active on the mission field and have been a stable presence across various mission teams from Midway Presbyterian Church for years spanning diverse locations such as Albania, Haiti, and Peru. Philip served on Midway Presbyterian Church’s missions committee for over a decade and was its chairman for a time.

Perhaps Ruling Elder Philip Dudt’s most characteristic contribution to Midway Presbyterian Church has been his clear call to promote prayer among the leadership and membership of the church. Philip faithfully led the Wednesday prayer meeting at the church for nearly a decade. He is known far and wide as a prayer warrior who has embraced this spiritual discipline in his own life and has promoted the practice diligently among his covenant family.

Philip, a faithful servant of the Lord, was elected by the congregation as a Ruling Elder in 2016.

Charged and Suspended…

Sadly, Ruling Elder Philip Dudt was indicted for allegedly violating his ordination vows by the Session majority under Senior Pastor David Hall’s leadership following a divisive congregational meeting in 2020. He was subjected to an all night secret trial against his will, where the Session refused him reasonable indulgences, and even refused his wife Susan from being at his side during his trial. Dozens of members of Midway Presbyterian Church who came to support Philip and Susan were ejected from this secret trial by Senior Pastor David Hall. The Session convicted him. His appeal is currently pending a decision from the Standing Judicial Commission (SJC) of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).

Does the Session expect the church to believe that this man who served faithfully for decades in a variety of positions is a vow breaker guilty of notorious sin? If Philip Dudt is known notoriously for anything – it is for prayer.

Philip’s crime? Sending an email in temperate language to the congregation of Midway Presbyterian Church offering an alternative motion at an upcoming congregational meeting.

Among the many sanctions, including suspension from office, imposed on RE Dudt by the Session, he is no longer allowed to lead the Wednesday night prayer meeting which he had done for over a decade. He is also no longer allowed to teach the Word, shepherd any church member, or serve as chaplain of Midway’s scouting ministry. But that has not deterred RE Dudt. He is still a faithful attendee at those Wednesday night prayer meetings as well as praying, as he has done for over a decade, with several men of the church on Saturday mornings.

How can it be that a man who has served the Lord faithfully, committed to missions and prayer in his local church, is all of the sudden charged and suspended following a politically motivated congregational meeting at the church? Perhaps his conviction was more motivated by the politics of control on the local Session than by any alleged sin he has committed.