It’s been brought to my attention that the New and Improved Handbook has an interesting change for the Commission on Adjudication (COA). I’ve quoted the text in full and bolded the part that should concern every member of LCC.
The Commission of Adjudication shall have jurisdiction in the following:
a. procedural questions involved in excommunication cases;
b. cases under Article XIII of the Constitution, including, but not limited to
1. cases of conduct or teaching contrary to the confession laid down in Article II of the Constitution, in which instance the process shall include admonition aimed at correcting the erring member, receiving his recantation of error (publicly if necessary), and assuring the Synod that the individual is fit to continue to be a Member of LCC,
2. cases of offensive conduct, in which instance the process shall include seeking to restore the sinner to the fellowship of the church through repentance, forgiveness, and (where necessary and possible) making appropriate amends, even though he or she may not be able to remain as a pastor or deacon, and
3. cases of discipline, which a regional pastor may bring forward, against the persistently offensive conduct of a Member who refuses to comply with a ruling of a reconciliation panel;
c. cases in which an Individual Member (pastor or deacon) shall have been removed from an office of ministry which he holds in a congregation which is a Member Congregation in which instance the pastor or deacon may bring the case to the Commission on Adjudication;
d. cases in which a person, whether or not a Member of LCC, has been removed from the position which he holds in LCC;
e. all cases in which LCC itself, is a party; and
f. all cases in which a person, whether or not a Member of LCC, holding a position in either LCC is a party.
The Commission may refuse to hear any case or may limit any decision to advisory to the parties. In those cases in which there is involved an employer-employee relationship, the finding of the Commission shall be advisory to the parties involved.
I thought the old rules spelled out the requisite duties and responsibilities of the COA quite clearly. It mandated that they take action when it was appropriate and gave them options when it was necessary. Apparently the COA doesn’t agree given their behavior in wiggling out of dealing with the single case they had during the past triennium.
Now the COA has a shiny new Official Synodical “Get Out Of Jail Free”(tm) card in the form of a “We don’t have to deal with anything we don’t want to” bylaw officially written into the Synodical Bylaws. Given the near-certainty that more cases will come to the fore as the CEF & DIL Representative Actions start grinding into gear and forcing unpleasant facts into the light, I fully expect the COA to repeatedly play this card to the consternation, dumbfounded amazement, and disillusionment of any LCC members looking for justice from their Synod.
I’ll also note that – strictly speaking – the relationship between a congregation and a pastor could also be termed an employee-employer relationship. If the COA accepts that interpretation then any pastor or congregation looking for definitive redress from the inappropriate behavior of their counterpart – is out of luck.
I fear the next four years are going to be long and dark ones for anyone that hungers and thirsts after righteousness.
And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Matthew 24:12-13