The Session received accusations against RE Dudt from deeply interested people…
The Session’s indictment against RE Dudt claimed multiple church members were offended by RE Dudt’s actions and had approached him in response:
The result of Mr. Dudt’s actions were divisive and led to many members emailing and calling both Mr. Dudt and other officers for an explanation. It also led to a divisive congregational meeting due in large part to Mr. Dudt’s letter. Mr. Dudt has been approached or written to by several members or officers of Midway but has denied any wrongdoing. Despite repeated overtures from fellow elders and other members, he has refused to repent.
Those are the kinds of accusations you need to support with evidence.
SPECIFICATION 24 OUT OF 40
RE Dudt stated the following specification of error against the Midway Session in his appeal:
24. The Session of Midway Presbyterian Church of the Presbyterian Church in America erred in procedure by receiving accusations from witnesses deeply interested in any respect in the conviction of the accused (BCO 31-8). For example, one of the first and primary pieces of evidence introduced by the prosecution was an email from the mother of one of the associate pastors included in the motion presented to the congregation.
THE SJC PANEL’S RESPONSE
The SJC panel concurred with RE Dudt. It wrote:
This specification of error is sustained.
A Minute Explanatory. The ROC indicates there are at least two instances of evidence of accusations being received from individuals who were “deeply interested in any respect to the conviction of the accused” (BCO 31-8). (ROC 171-180 and 163-164)
IMPLICATIONS OF THIS VIOLATION
The SJC panel cited two instances from the record in which questionable evidence was received. One of those was an email from the mother of one of the associate pastors read into the record by a witness for the prosecution.
The BCO says “great caution” ought to be exercised in receiving accusations from deeply interested people in any respect.
The prosecution’s primary evidence consisted of an email from the mother of one of the assistant pastors who was about to be elected as an associate, stating her concerns and accusations that RE Dudt had disrupted the peace and unity and violated his officer vows by sending his email.
A reasonable person would recognize that perhaps the pastor’s mother was being motherly. No reasonable person would conclude that her reaction should be representative of the congregation.
To base their case on this “key” piece of evidence reveals the Session’s poor judgment. Concerns should be raised as to why these men are okay bringing in the objections of a loving widow who supports her son and is active in the church to support their claim that “many members” called or emailed RE Dudt.
The Midway Session, led by Senior Pastor David Hall, appears to have no shame in using anyone or any means at its disposal to get its way.
“Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation” (Luke 20:46-47).