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DISCIPLINE

RECONCILIATION:

TELL IT TO YOUR BROTHER

TELL IT TO THE CHURCH

A. YOU HAVE OFFENDED SOMEONE  Matt. 5:21-26

1. You Have offended a Christian Brother vs. 21-24

a. You Go to Him and be reconciled  vs. 23

b. You Go to him and be reconciled vs. 24

c. Reconciliation is more important than worship.

2. You have offended a Non-Christian - and he is taking you to court vs. 25-26

a. You have an unpaid debt vs. 25

b. Settle out of court

c. Reconciliation is more important than money.

B. YOUR BROTHER HAS OFFENDED YOU OR SOMEONE ELSE. Matt. 18:15-17

1st STEP - Go to him alone

a. Caring enough to confront

b. If your brother sins

c. Go to him.

d. Tell him his fault - "I always want to give a good report about you to anyone who asks. For this reason would you explain..."

e. Go to him alone and in private.

f. If he listens to you, you have won your brother.

2nd STEP - But if he does not listen vs. 16

a. Confront with two or three others who are mature.

b. Confirm what is said and the need for reconciliation.

c. But if he refuses.

3rd STEP - Tell it to the Church Leaders vs. 17

a. Purpose

b. Procedure

4th STEP - Tell it to the entire Church vs. 17

a. Purpose is to enlist the congregation to help restore the brother.

b. Sermon - Give outline of the Scriptural teaching.

c. Specific scripture verses that call for the church to act on this sin.

d. The person's name.

e. A tape of the service and what is said is set to him.

f. But if he refuses to repent.

FOR WHAT SINS DO I CONFRONT MY BROTHER???

A. Where is it written? Scripture verse please.

B. The difference between cultural sins and sins listed in scripture.

C. In areas of question - Freedom.

D. Avoiding the extremes

E. Basic Types of offenses requiring action.

1. Disruption of fellowship Matt. 18:15-17; Rom. 16:17-18;

                        Quarreling among the believers

2. Gross sins I Cor. 5:1-13; Rom 13:9; Gal. 5:19-21;

a. Immoral - Fornication                     = 7th Commandment

 - Adultery

 - Incest

 - Bestiality

b. Covetous, envying                          = 10th Commandment

c. Idolater                                            = 1st & 2nd Commandment

d. Railer-Slander-False witness          = 9th Commandment.

e. Drunkard-Alcoholic-Carousing-Night Clubbing - Bar hopping.

f. Extortioner-Swindler                       = 8th Commandment

g. Murderer                                         = 6th Commandment

h. Witchcraft-Sorcery            

- Occult

- Divination

3. False Teaching - Heresy  II Tim. 2:17-18; Rev. 2:14-16;

a. Minor Doctrines - Freedom - Disagreement

b. Major Doctrines - Agreement Rom. 16:17-18

c. To Preserve the truth.                                   Titus 3:9-10

F. If he repents, receive him back into the fellowship James 5:19-20

              Restoration is the purpose. I John 1:9

5th STEP - Put him out of the church - Excommunication.

A. Purpose  I Cor. 5:5 Delivered unto Satan for the Destruction of the flesh but to save the Soul.

B. The Sin unto death

I Cor. 5:5

I Cor. 11:28-32

James 5:12-20

I John 5:16-17

The Goal is restoration of fellowship - Reconciliation.

II Cor. 2:6-8


 

Reconciliation

CHURCH DISCIPLINE

by  J. Hampton Keathley III

Though church discipline is a very difficult area of doctrine and one hard to practice, it nevertheless rests upon the divine authority of Scripture and is vital to the purity, power, progress and purpose, of the church. The responsibility and necessity for discipline is not an option for the church if it obeys the Word of God, but a church must be equally concerned that Scripture is carefully followed in the practice of church discipline. The following summary is suggested for study and as a guide for this very important area of doctrine.

THE PRINCIPLE OF DISCIPLINE DEFINED

R.C. Sproul writes, "The church is called not only to a ministry of reconciliation, but a ministry of nurture to those within her gates. Part of that nurture includes church discipline . . . " (R.C. Sproul, In Search of Dignity, Regal Books, 1983, p. 182). The idea of church discipline is totally consistent with the basic purposes of the church--evangelism and edification. Evangelism ministers to those without the church who are in bondage to sin to bring them to faith in Christ where the transformation process begins. The edification process is designed to build up believers so they can be conformed to the image and character of Christ. Church discipline as a part of the edification process ministers to those within the body of Christ who are dominated by some area of sin so they can experience liberation from its power through fellowship with Christ.

HOW THEN DO WE DEFINE CHURCH DISCIPLINE?

Carl Laney states, Church discipline may be broadly defined as the confrontive and corrective measures taken by an individual, church leaders, or the congregation regarding a matter of sin in the life of a believer (italics his) (Carl Laney, A Guide to Church Discipline, Bethany House Publishers, p. 14).

Discipline in the church is not punishment. It is discipline and discipline is designed to train and restore.

THE PATTERN AND BASIS FOR DISCIPLINE

(1)   The discipline of the church is first patterned after the fact that the Lord Himself disciplines His children (Heb. 12:6) and, as a father delegates part of the discipline of the children to the mother, so the Lord has delegated the discipline of the church family to the church itself (1 Cor. 5:12-13; 2 Cor. 2:6).

(2)    Discipline is further based on the holy character of God (1 Pet. 1:16; Heb. 12:11). The pattern of God's holiness--His desire for the church to be holy, set apart unto Him--is an important reason for the necessity of church discipline. The church is therefore to clean out the leaven of malice and wickedness from its ranks (1 Cor. 5:6-8). A failure to exercise discipline in the church evidences a lack of awareness of and concern for the holiness of God.

(3)    Church discipline is to be patterned after and based on the divine commands of Scripture (1 Cor.4:6). We have numerous passages of Scripture which both command and give us God's directives on the how, why, when, and where of church discipline. Again, a failure to exercise this responsibility demonstrates a lack of obedience and belief in the authority of the Bible (1 Cor. 5:1-13; Matt. 18:17-18; Titus 3:10; 2 Thess. 3:6-15; 1 Tim. 5:20; Gal. 6:1).

(4)    Another basis for the necessity of church discipline is the testimony of the church in the world (1 Pet. 4:13-19). The world observes the behavior and life of the church. When the church acts no differently than the world, it loses its credibility and authenticity (1 Pet. 2:11-18; 3:8-16; 4:1-4).

THE PURPOSES OF CHURCH DISCIPLINE

(1) To bring glory to God and enhance the testimony of the flock.

(2) To restore, heal, and build up sinning believers (Matt. 18:15; 2 Thess. 3:14-15; Heb. 12:10-13;

            Gal. 6:1-2; Jam. 5:20).

(3) To produce a healthy faith, one sound in doctrine (Tit. 1:13; 1 Tim. 1:19-20).

(4) To win a soul to Christ, if the sinning person is only a professing Christian (2 Tim. 2:24-26).

(5) To silence false teachers and their influence in the church (Tit. 1:10-11).

(6) To set an example for the rest of the body and promote godly fear (1 Tim. 5:20).

(7) To protect the church against the destructive consequences that occur when churches fail to carry out church discipline. A church that fails to exercise discipline experiences four losses:

THE LOSS OF PURITY:

 Church discipline is vital to the purity of the local body and its protection  from moral decay and impure doctrinal influences. Why? Because a little leaven leavens the entire lump (1 Cor. 5:6-7). This is the "rotten apple" problem or the "snowball" effect.

An illustration of this is the Corinthian church, which showed a lack of concern for purity.

They neglected the responsibility to discipline and suffered as a result. Their insensitivity to one moral issue may have led to their compromise on other issues. Laney writes, "The Corinthians engaged in lawsuits, misused their liberty, profaned the Lord's Supper, neglected the primacy of love, failed to regulate the use of their gifts, and questioned the resurrection" (Ibid., p. 20). Failure in church discipline in Corinth could be compared to a snowball tumbling downhill.

THE LOSS OF POWER:

Sin in the life of the church grieves the person of the Holy Spirit and quenches His power. If sin remains unchecked by the loving application of church discipline in a body of believers, the Holy Spirit must abandon such a church to its own carnal resources. The unavoidable result will be the loss of the Lord's blessing until the sin is dealt with.

The defeat of Israel because of the sin of Ackan in Joshua 7 illustrates the principle. This is just as true for the church today, especially when we know certain things exist but ignore them or simply look the other way because it is difficult to deal with or because it involves one of our friends and we do not want to risk causing problems in the relationship.

THE LOSS OF PROGRESS:

 A church that refuses to practice church discipline will see its ministry decline. The church may want to grow and reach out and it may try all kinds of stopgap measures, promotional campaigns, and programs in an attempt to turn things around, but if there is sin in the camp, it will all be to no avail. See Revelation 2:5 and 3:16 for illustrations of this principle.

THE LOSS OF PURPOSE:

 As His ambassadors to a lost and dying world, God has called the church to be a holy people, a people who, standing out as distinct from the world, proclaim the excellencies of the works of God in Christ (1 Pet. 1:14-16; 2:9-15). If this is to occur, we must be different from the world and church discipline helps us to both remember and maintain that purpose. One of the recurring judgments against the church today as demonstrated in various polls taken across the country is the fact there is little or no difference between the church and the secular world when it comes to attitudes, values, morals, and lifestyle. We have lost our sense of purpose.

THE PRACTICE OF CHURCH DISCIPLINE

THE MANNER

The above goals or purposes automatically govern the spirit in which all disciplinary action is to be given. Thus:

(1)   Discipline must be done by those who are spiritual, walking by the Holy Spirit and growing in the Lord (Gal. 6:1).

(2)   Discipline must be done in a spirit of humility, gentleness and patience, looking to ourselves lest we too be tempted (Gal. 6:1-2; 2 Tim. 2:24-25).

(3)   Discipline must be done without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality (1 Tim. 5:21).

(4)   Those who walk disorderly are to be admonished, warned, and appealed to in love (1 Thess. 5:14-15; 1 Tim. 5:1-2; Eph. 4:15; 2 Tim. 4:2). This admonishing, is not restricted to church leaders, but may be done by any person in the body with another if that person is Spirit controlled and spiritually minded (cf. 1 Thess. 5:14 with Gal. 6:1). 

(5)   If there is no response in repentance and obedience, then the sinning believer is to be rebuked publicly and members of the body are to withhold intimate fellowship through the process and procedure of group disapproval and social ostracism as prescribed in the procedures of V. below (2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15; Tit. 3:10; 1 Tim. 5:20). This action has a two-fold objective:

It is to indicate to the offender that his/her action has dishonored the Lord and has caused a rupture in the harmony of the body. The goal is always restoration and the person is still to be counted as a brother (2 Thess. 3:14-15).

            It is to create fear in the rest of the flock as a warning against sin (1 Tim. 5:20).

(6) If there is still no response in repentance and obedience, the church is to apply the procedures of excommunication as directed in Matthew 18:17.

Several examples of church discipline are found in Scripture. The Corinthian believers were to be "gathered together" in order to take action against the offending brother (1 Cor. 5:4-5; Rom. 16:17; 2 Thess. 3:6-15; Phil. 3:17-19).

This is defined by Paul as "punishment inflicted by the majority" (2 Cor. 2:6). As a protective measure, we also find that the whole church in Rome and in Thessalonica were to take action with regard to the unruly and schismatic, not just a few (2 Thess. 3:6-15; Rom. 16:17).

(7) Finally, discipline in the name of our Lord always includes a readiness to forgive. The many or majority who discipline must also be ready and eager to forgive, comfort, and reaffirm their love to the sinning person (2 Cor. 2:6-8). (See V. below.)

REASONS FOR CHURCH DISCIPLINE

In church discipline we must exercise extreme care. Scripture does not warrant the exercise of discipline for an individual's or a church's taboos or pet peeves--the "dirty dozen" or the "nasty nine." Scripture, not our opinions or dislikes, must be the guide for what is sin. Further, we must not become hypercritical or "speck inspectors."

(1) General Causes: Disorderly conduct, conduct clearly out of line with the prescribed commands of Scripture and which negatively impacts the testimony and unity of the church (2 Thess. 3:6-15).

(2) Specific Causes:

* Difficulties between members (Matt. 18:15-17).

* Divisive or factious people causing divisions in the church (Rom. 16:17-18; Titus 3:9-11).

* Immoral conduct; sins of the type mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5 such as

* Incest,

* Immorality,

* Covetousness,

* Idolatry,

* Abusive speech,

* Drunkenness,

* Swindling, or

* Idle busybodies who refuse to work and

* Run around spreading dissension (1 Cor. 5:1, 11; 2 Thess. 3:10-15).

* False teaching; erroneous teaching and views, which concern the fundamentals of the faith   and not lesser differences of interpretation (1 Tim. 1:20; 2 Tim. 2:17-18; also implied in Rev. 2:14-16; Phil. 3:2-3, 15-19; Rom. 16:17-18).

The key concerns that guide us in this are:

(1a) The holy character of God,

(b) The testimony of the flock,

(c) The effect upon the unity and purity of the flock, and

(d) The edification and restoration of the individual.

PROCEDURES FOR CHURCH DISCIPLINE

The scriptural procedure is clear and specific steps are prescribed as follows:

CAUTIONS

If you see the offense or you have accurate knowledge of the sin(s). Please note these cautions:

     Be sure it is an offense, which calls for discipline and not merely one of our pet peeves. Again, the

            Word must be our criterion.

     Remember how we too have sinned in the past and heed the warnings of Galatians 6:1.

     Bring the matter before the Lord in prayer before the confrontation takes place (1 Sam. 8:6).

     Don't procrastinate. The longer the delay, the more difficult the condition can become.

            Remember the consequences listed above.

     Don't gossip or even talk to others about it in the sense of Matthew 18:16 until you have talked to

            the sinning believer privately. We must guard and protect the person and the flock from

            rumors and a slanderous tongue (Prov. 6:19b; 10:19; 11:13; 18:8, 21; 20:19).

FIRST STEP

First, seek private correction and/or reconciliation with the offender (Matt. 18:15). In Matthew 18:15 many manuscripts have "and if your brother sins against you, go and reprove him in private."

There has been no little debate as to whether the words "against you" are part of the original manuscripts. The words "against me" in verse 21 may have led a scribe or copyist to personalize the matter in verse 15. Or, one could argue the omission was deliberate in order to generalize the passage. While some important manuscript tradition lacks the words "against you," many feel there is good evidence for their originality. First, the words, "reprove him in private," and second, the question of Peter in verse 21 about forgiving a brother who sins "against me" suggests their inclusion.

Whether the words "against you" were in the original text or not, Galatians 6:1 teaches that believers have a responsibility to confront sin in general in the life of other believers and not just when it is an offense against one's person. It would seem, then that there is a two-fold application:

(1)   When the problem involves one believer sinning against another, there are two problems that need to be taken care of: reconciliation and restoration (Matt. 5:23-24).

(2)   When the problem involves a believer overcome in or by some sin, as was the case in Galatians 6:1, the need is restoration.

Matthew 18:16-17 should not be limited to the problem of one believer sinning against another in view of Galatians 6:1. So, the one offended or who recognizes the offense or sin is to go privately and try to rectify the problem.

PLEASE NOTE THESE GUIDELINES:

(1)   Begin by expressing your genuine appreciation for the person and their good qualities to show you are genuinely concerned about their welfare. Then and only then bring up the matter, which is of concern.

(2)   In some situations the sin is apparent and there is no question, but we must allow for the possibility that we have misjudged or have wrong information. We must listen to the other person's side of the story and seek the facts in the interest of truth and fairness.

(3)   If the person fails to respond, warn them that, according to the instructions of Scripture (Matt. 18:16), you will have to get others as witnesses and return with them to deal with the problem.

SECOND STEP

If the first step fails, take witnesses to strengthen the effect of the discipline, preferably spiritual leaders, so that if it has to be brought before the whole church it can be firmly proven and established (Matt. 18:16-17; 1 Tim. 5:19). The aid of church leadership should be sought if the problem involves an offense that is against the whole body or if it is a threat to the unity of the body.

These initial contacts, private and with witnesses, provide opportunity for loving admonition, correction, and forgiveness. On the other hand, if these first steps do not produce results, it constitutes a warning that further action will be taken and provides occasion for serious rebuke (2 Tim. 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:12-13; Titus 2:15; 3:10).

THIRD STEP

If the second step fails, seek reconciliation and restoration through the whole body. If further action is necessary, it is to be taken before the whole church (2 Thess. 3:14-15; Matt. 18:17; 1 Tim. 5:20).  This action appears to fall into two stages when we combine 2 Thessalonians 3:14 and 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 with Matthew 18:17.

(1)   The body is to exercise group disapproval by way of social ostracism (refusal to have intimate fellowship).

(2)   If this doesn't work, the local body of believers is to exercise excommunication: removal from church membership, loss of voting privileges, and continuation of the loss of intimate fellowship.

(3)   This must be approved of and done by the entire congregation (2 Cor. 2:6). 

(4)   This is, in essence, the Lord carrying out discipline through the action of the entire body under the leadership of the elders or the spiritually mature (1 Cor. 5:4). Similar heavenly authority is seen in the ratification of this disciplinary action as spelled out in Matthew 18:18-19.

 

PROCEDURES FOR RESTORATION

FORGIVENESS

In keeping with the goal of restoration, the role of the church must change after there is repentance. This means accepting the person and forgetting the past (2 Cor. 2:7a).

But how do we know when repentance is genuine? What is our responsibility when the sinning party acknowledges their wrong and claims repentance? The following two passages answer this for us.

     Luke 3:8, when they ". . . bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance."

Acts 26:20, ". . . that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance."

Genuine repentance will make itself evident by its deeds and attitudes. The repentant person will:

(1)   Freely acknowledge his sin (1 Jn. 1:9; Prov. 28:13a).

(2)    Cease the activity for which he was disciplined or at least seek help if it's a case of life dominating patterns (Prov. 28:13b; Gal. 6:1f; Jam. 5:19-20).

(3)    Make restitution and/or ask for forgiveness from those hurt as it is applicable Philemon 18-19; Matt. 5:23-24).

(4)    He/she will demonstrate a genuine change of heart, a real concern and godly sorrow over his actions, not in order to be forgiven, but because of the harm caused to the glory of God and the hurt caused others (2 Cor. 7:8-11; Ps. 51:17).

(5)    He/she will begin to manifest the fruit of the Spirit and a concern for the things of Christ (Gal. 5:22f).

COMFORT

This means reaching out to them, assuring them of your support, and encouraging, exhorting and challenging them to move on (2 Cor. 2:7b).

This means including them, drawing them close, doing for them that which will aid their growth and complete recovery (2 Cor. 2:8). This would include encouraging them to get involved in ministry (Luke 22:31-32). For positions of leadership, there should be a time of testing to demonstrate their qualifications after the analogy of 1 Timothy 3:10.

For excellent and more complete studies on this subject, see

(1)   A Guide to Church Discipline, by Carl Laney, Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, Mn, 1985, 

(2)    Healing the Wounded, The Costly Love of Church Discipline, by John White and Ken Blue, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1985.

CHURCH DISCIPLINE PAPER FOR JOY EVANGELICAL FREE

By Pete Bogle

Although Joy Evangelical Free Church recognizes the Holy Bible as the final authority on this topic, we believe that writing out a policy may aid in making church discipline work more effectively. We do not believe that this paper will address all the concerns or be the final answer in every situation. We hope that it will help us to define what the Scriptures say concerning at least some of these issues.

The format is to identify specific areas where we believe that the church definitely must act to protect both the interests of the church body and individuals in the church from spiritual harm.

These areas are by no means exhaustive of areas that may be identified in Scriptures.  The Elder Board as an elected body of Joy Evangelical Free Church may decide to address other issues as they come up. They may also make further recommendations to the congregation to make additions or changes to this paper in the future.

______________________________________________________________________

Disclaimer- This paper is at this time only a draft, which must be voted on by the congregation before becoming a working paper. Any member of the congregation is invited to introduce suggested revisions and/or additions to any member of the Elder Board in writing.

______________________________________________________________________

FALSE DOCTRINE

 "Now I urge you brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned' and turn away from them." Roman. 16:16

 Joy Evangelical Free Church has adopted the twelve doctrinal statements as its position on doctrinal issues. Adoption of these statements are required to be affiliated with the Free Church of America. Although these statements were written by men, they were carefully drafted to follow the basic teachings of Scripture. To a large extent, the substance of these teachings have been the basis of the doctrinal position of the Christian Church from the beginning and the substance of them is held to by the majority of current evangelical churches.

In addition, Joy Evangelical Free Church has adopted a constitution, which we believe also follows Biblical principals.

Third, we have voted to accept several position papers, which, although they do not carry the same weight as the doctrinal statements. Do address some doctrinal issues.

Fourth, there are many doctrinal issues dealt with in Scripture that have not been addressed in the above papers. Some of these may be difficult issues with varying interpretations.

We encourage members and those who serve in positions (pastors, teachers, leaders, etc.) at the pleasure of Joy Church, to be cognizant of the above-mentioned documents. The procedures listed below will be used to address any problems concerning "false doctrine" that come to the attention of the Elder Board.

These procedures will not be used to stem intellectual exploration and discussion of theories that may differ from the positions held. We believe that true Christianity makes logical sense and can stand intellectual scrutiny.

These procedures will not be used to sanction any member or person who serve at the pleasure of Joy Church who holds a differing view providing they do not use their office or position to propagate their belief.

They will be used to defend the Vulnerable and to assure that there is no over zealous or brain washing tactics being used to deceive the elect.

PROCEDURE

1. Any person believing that false doctrine is being taught must bring the charge to the Elder Board preferably in writing. Verbal charges will be considered, but you will be asked to make a written charge.

2. The Elder Board will investigate the charge by questioning the person bringing the charge and the person being charged, as well as any other witnesses as they deem necessary. Notes will be kept of all investigatory interviews. Agreement as to what was said must be confirmed.

3. The Elder Board will reach a consensus as to whether or not this policy has been violated. Notes of this meeting will be kept. Agreement as to what was said must be confirmed

4. The Elder Board will inform each party as to the consensus reached. A written statement of this consensus will be given to each party.

5. If the consensus is that there was no Violation of this policy, the Elder Board will take no further action.

6. If the consensus is that there was a Violation of this policy, the Elder Board will meet with the accused to discuss its future expectations. All decisions of disposition will be in writing.

7. The following dispositions are possible:

a. Instruct the accused to cease and desist further teaching on that subject. (Verbal and letter)

b. Remove the accused from that office or position. (Verbal and letter)

c. Issue a letter of disposition and actions taken to correct the damages to the congregation if it is deemed necessary.

d. If the accused continues to invent ways to push his/her agenda on the congregation,

               recommend removal from the congregation by vote as spelled out in the constitution.

CHURCH DISCIPLINE PAPER FOR JOY FREE BY PETE BOGLE December 5, 1997

DISPUTES proposal By Pete Bogle

Disputes cover a very broad area and can be divided into three general categories as follows:

1. No sin involved

a. Personality differences

b. Cultural differences

c. Differences of opinion

2. Sin alleged, not criminal or generally not prosecuted

a. Jealousy

b. Anger

c. Lying

d. Drunkenness leading to out of control behavior

e. Disrespect

f. Disobedience of authority

g. Adultery

h. Gossip

i. Slander

g. Any other of a number of disruptive behaviors

3. Sin alleged, criminal

a. Stealing

b. Vandalism

c. Assault

d. Rape

e. Child abuse

f. Murder

g. Any of a number of criminal violations

The general rule for settling disputes is given in two Scripture passages:

Matthew 5:21-26

Matthew 18:15-17

However, there are many other Scripture passages that also deal with this subject. The purpose of this document is not intended to be exhaustive and Joy Church recognizes that Scripture is the final authority in settling any dispute. Also believe that this document will assist in making good judgments in disputes brought to our attention.

In the first area above (no sin involved), we believe that genuine Christian love should make it possible for the vast majority of disputes to be resolved by the two parties. Many times, the solution will be to accept that we can disagree in love. We also recognize that many times disagreements between parties leads to more creative ideas and therefore, has a positive purpose in God's plan. But, unresolved issues also can lead to sin. Therefore, we welcome the opportunity to assist if it is necessary to get assistance.

Normally the pastor or a member of the Elder board would be the logical avenue of approach. However, any believer who the parties respect could also be asked for assistance. As long as sin is not involved, the process should never get before the church.

With the second area, (Sin alleged not criminal), the Matthew 18 passage should be followed. In this case, if a resolution cannot be reached at the first level, then The Elder board should be involved. The first action of the Elder board will be to appoint one or two Elders to conduct an investigation to determine the facts. This will include meeting with the parties involved and any other witnesses as is deemed necessary. Everything will be documented. At this time, a determination will be made as to how to proceed based on the facts as gathered. If a meeting of the two parties is thought to be beneficial the two parties wilt be contacted to set up a meeting. If a resolution cannot be obtained, the Elder board will make a determination as to what step should be taken next. If the charge is deemed serious enough to proceed with step three, the matter will be brought before the church. The final step could lead to a recommendation for excommunication. Of course, this step would be taken only in the most extreme case and only with much serious thought and prayer. It is anticipated that very few cases would proceed to this level.

The third area, (Sin alleged, criminal), the same steps would be taken as above with the additional considerations given below. At any time that the Elder board determines that legal authorities need to be brought in, they will do so. They wilt not be bound by any clergy privilege when they deem that the safety or life of anyone is in danger. Joy Free Church believes that anyone who breaks the law owes a debt to society even if confession is made. In fact, part of reconciliation with society is to submit to the legal authority. Therefore, we will council you to turn yourself in to the authorities if we determine that this is the correct thing to do. Failure to do so could result in a decision by the Elder board to report you to authorities.

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

SEXUAL PREDATION (RAPE AND CHILD MOLESTATION)

Because of safety concerns surrounding sexual predation allegations, the following additional steps will be taken:

If any allegation is received concerning crimes of sexual predation, the Elder board or any member of the church should report it to authorities immediately if they feel that this is necessary to protect innocent victims. The Elder board may decide to conduct its own investigation if they determine it to be necessary. Anyone who is accused must be relieved of his/her official duties at the church unfit the investigation is completed. At a time that the Elder board deems it necessary to take further action, it should determine whether to restore the individual to his/her duties or to permanently remove the individual from any or all positions. If the individual holds an elected office, a recommendation would be made to the congregation, and a vote will be taken.

In cases of alleged sexual predation, it may be that you would be barred from certain or all-future offices even if you are not convicted of a crime. If you feel that you are innocent, we ask you to humbly submit to the church policy and the Elder board wilt work with you to assist you in finding any ministry opportunities that you and they can mutually agree is wise. This policy is as much for your protection as it is for the church and its members and friends.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Joy Free Church stands firmly opposed to any form of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is defined as follows:

Any act or verbal communication of a sexual nature that an individual finds offensive or views as a threat or an affront to their dignity that continues beyond one incident after the perpetrator has been duly informed that his/her behavior or verbal statements are not appreciated by the individual.

The important word here is "informed". The onus is on the offended individual to notify the offender of what behavior they wish to see eliminated or modified. After this has been done, the onus now has been transferred to the perpetrator to cease the offending behavior or communication.

Following is a list of some possible offending activities in and of themselves many of these are acceptable. However, if they are not wanted or appreciated by an individual, Christian love dictates that we not offend.

Hugging

Kissing

Touching

Handshakes

Jokes of a sexual nature

Leering

Staring

Hazing - Teasing with a sexual connotation

Stalking

Asking for dates

Gift giving

Requesting sexual favors

Any verbal communication of a sexual nature that dictates or implies terms of employment will be affected by an individual's response. This includes threats of job loss, loss of promotional or raise opportunities, or offers of improved job opportunities for sexual favors.

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