This shatters the Midway Session Majority’s first charge against RE Dudt…
As a reminder, the Midway Session Majority’s indictment against RE Dudt said he violated vow #5 by
(1) distributing the SJC case 2019-03 to the entire congregation against the express will of the Session and therefore failing to be in subjection to his brethren (vow #5)
The Session claimed that they “had determined and implemented a different course of addressing the wrongs implied in the SJC decision. Nevertheless, Mr. Dudt took it upon himself (against the Session’s decisions) to distribute the SJC case.”
Explaining further how they thought RE Dudt’s actions were so offensive, they wrote that “[t]his action is the rejection of his commitment to be in subjection to his brethren in the Lord and the conscious choice to work against the Presbyterian government of which he is an overseer (Acts 15:24-25; Tit 1:6-7,10). It incited distrust of the Session and pastors within the congregation and divided the church.”
The Midway Session Majority shamelessly convicted RE Dudt of this charge.
THE SJC PANEL: SESSION’S ORDER WAS NOT LAWFUL
In his appeal, RE Dudt alleged that the Midway Session erred in failing to demonstrate that the distribution of SJC case 2019-03 to the entire congregation, against the will of the Session, is properly an offense according to BCO 29-1.
The SJC panel agreed with RE Dudt. They wrote: “This specification of error is sustained.”
They provided a short explanation.
The SJC Panel wrote that, “Regardless of the means employed to express its will, Session has no right to make that will a rule requiring obedience from a Session member that is not based upon Scripture. Preliminary Principle 7 declares: ‘All church power, whether exercised by the body in general, or by representation, is only ministerial and declarative since the Holy Scriptures are the only rule of faith and practice. No church judicatory may make laws to bind the conscience’.”
The SJC Panel clarified that the Session could choose to suppress the information if they desired, but they had no right to ask RE Dudt to do the same: “The Session had a right to refuse to distribute the SJC decision in question. The Session had no right to forbid RE Dudt from doing so, the 5th ordination vow notwithstanding. The promise to be in “subjection to your brethren” is always qualified and limited by “in the Lord.” As the Larger Catechism instructs us, we owe authorities over us “obedience to their lawful commands and counsels. . . . (emphasis added, LC 127).”
The SJC panel vindicated so many members of Midway, who asked themselves and each other some variation of the following question over the last 16 months: How in the world can the Session Majority say that sharing a publicly available piece of information be a sin?
The SJC also confirmed a fact that many Midway members already knew: the Session Majority has bad judgment.
All three teaching elders currently sitting on the Session (Hall, Harrington, and Barry) voted to convict RE Dudt of this charge.
Ask yourself: are these actions and judgments of the ruling elders and teaching elders that make up the Session Majority expressions of Biblical wisdom coming from the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16), or are they expressions of the “wisdom” of men (1 Cor. 2:5)?