Midway Session Majority was unable to discern between good and evil.
Second Charge: Mr. Dudt violated 9th commandment with the letter as a whole and, in doing so, violated vow #6 (BCO 24-6). The purpose of the letter (specifically, his use of the SJC decision) was to challenge the competency, credibility, and trustworthiness of the Session. Mr. Dudt did not accurately represent the Session’s process or position. He employed partial truth to bias the congregation against its elders in order to defeat their recommendation at the forthcoming July 19th, 2020 congregational meeting. In so doing, he failed to promote the truth between man and man and to promote the good name of his neighbor (WLC 144). Rather than “covering his brothers’ alleged infirmities” (WLC 144), he publicly displayed them, prejudicing the truth and slandering the Session’s good name (WLC 145).
To this false charge (which should have been apparently false to anyone who read RE Dudt’s letter) was shattered by the SJC Panel in their proposed ruling:
In the 5th specification of Session error, Appellant alleges that Session erred in finding RE Dudt guilty of the second charge of the indictment, to wit, violating the ninth commandment by including false statements in the July 12 email sent from RE Dudt to the congregation.
This specification of error is sustained.
A Minute Explanatory. The ROC does not show evidence for the allegation that there were false statements in the Appellant’s July 12 email. Absent such evidence, the Session’s finding is clearly in error.SJC Panel Decision 2021-13
The SJC Panel could find no evidence in the ROC (Record of the Case) that showed that any of RE Dudt’s statements in the letter were false. It is truly amazing to think that the Session majority, which included at the time three of Midway Presbyterian Church’s current pastors (TEs Hall, Harrington, and Barry), could not discern truth from falsehood on a matter as simple as this? It should not have required an all night secret trial to decide whether there were false statements in the letter, and even if it did, all that time spent and the Session Majority still came to the wrong conclusion!
A ROC that was the product of an all night secret trial, and even had the dishonest benefit of evidence added after the trial by TE Marc Harrington, and yet – after all of this – this same ROC did not contain any actual proof that the letter had false statements in it? Next time TE Mac Harrington crafts evidence, he should make sure it supports the charges being brought.
Poor judgment to this degree from a governing body with seminarians at the helm should be deeply troubling to all members of Midway Presbyterian Church.
How could they get it this wrong? Either readers are to believe that the Session majority and the pastoral staff at the church are incompetent or they were scheming to remove RE Dudt from the Session from the start and never thought their mistreatment of him would make it all the way to the SJC for an honest hearing. After all, the ”evidence” used to conclude on conviction was part of a secret proceeding of the court.
Isaiah’s words are applicable here: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”
The very men accusing RE Dudt in the name of Jesus Christ and His church of bearing false witness against them, in fact bore false witness against RE Dudt in making the charge. Remember that the ”Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain.”
Concerned members of Midway Presbyterian Church should ask their elders how such an outcome is even possible. Further, now that the duplicity and carelessness with which the Session and pastoral staff consent to charges in Jesus’ name, they should be confronted and questioned as to whether the ongoing judicial processes against Ruling Elders Clay David, James Scott, and Don Barnett are equally as erroneous and indictable.