Chapter 1: General Principles
A. Meaning and Purpose of Church Discipline
5000. The Church has the responsibility to provide a holy and harmonious environment that fosters Christlike conduct and relationships. The purpose of church discipline is the vindication of the truth, the preservation of the integrity of the body, the restoration and salvation of the guilty, and the warning of the careless.
B. The Administration of Church Discipline
5002. In order that the purposes of the church may be realized, discipline in The Wesleyan Church shall be administered in accord with the following principles:
- (1) A prayerful and Christlike spirit shall be maintained at all times by all parties.1
- (2) Every effort shall be made to bring back to the Lord any who have wandered from Him (cf. 268).2
- (3) A sincere and reasonable effort shall be made to resolve an accusation or to deal with an offending person in keeping with scriptural admonitions.3
- (4) Each accusation and all proceedings shall receive prompt and careful attention by the proper authorities.
- (5) Any offending person shall be dealt with kindly, yet faithfully, according to the seriousness of the offense and as provided for in The Discipline of The Wesleyan Church and The General Board Policy for Church Discipline and Ministerial Restoration.
C. Conflict Resolution
5004. Conflict Resolution. The person having the grievance shall be first required to follow the Lord’s directions in Matthew 18:15-17
- (1) The person having the grievance should go to the accused and point out the issue, just between the two of them.
- (2) If unresolved, the person having the grievance shall seek counsel from the official having jurisdiction (pastor, district superintendent, general officer) relative to the steps to be taken.
- (3) If the personal grievance remains unresolved or affects the body of believers, the official having jurisdiction or a designated representative shall privately inquire, and, if necessary, instruct and admonish an offending person. If there is an acknowledgment of the fault and correction is made, the matter shall be dropped.
- (4) If the grievance continues, the official in charge shall provide intervention. If the conflict remains unresolved, and if the matter rises to the level of a fair and impartial hearing of charges pending, procedures shall be followed according to The General Board Policy for Church Discipline and Ministerial Restoration.
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