SJC Panel: Northwest Georgia Presbytery Wrongly Concluded that Midway Session Indictment Against RE Dudt Was Scripturally Supported

Sprinkling some verses into an indictment does not adequately prove that the indictment’s charges are biblical…

BCO 29-1 defines an offense as “anything in the doctrines or practice of a Church member professing faith in Christ which is contrary to the Word of God.”

Further, it elaborates that the Constitution is how the PCA interprets the Word of God. “The Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms of the Westminster Assembly, together with the formularies of government, discipline, and worship are accepted by the Presbyterian Church in America as standard expositions of the teachings of Scripture in relation to both faith and practice.”

It concludes that “Nothing, therefore, ought to be considered by any court as an offense, or admitted as a matter of accusation, which cannot be proved to be such from Scripture.”

The verses cited in the indictment simply don’t explain how RE Dudt’s email to the congregation was an offense, properly defined.


Again, the SJC Panel recognized this, even though neither the Midway Session nor its right arm, the Northwest Georgia Presbytery, could.

The SJC Panel decision says:

14th specification of Presbytery error, Appellant alleges that Presbytery erred by ruling that charge 1 of the Session’s indictment, citing Acts 15:24-25; Titus 1:6-7, 10, gave adequate Scriptural support for the charge that RE Dudt’s email constituted an offense as defined by BCO 29-1. [ROC 668, footnote 6]

This specification of error is sustained.

A Minute Explanatory. See Minute for the 3rd specification of Session error.

The Minutes for the 3rd specification of Session error said, “A Minute Explanatory. 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 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).”


Again, the Northwest Georgia Presbytery has been incapable of ruling against its head, the Midway Session, when confronted by even the most obvious of errors.

What wrath would fall upon its members, and from whom, if it decided to do the right thing?

The more important question is this: whose wrath will fall upon it if it continues to do the wrong thing?