JUDICIAL PROCEDURE

To read the actual judicial procedure, click here.

Spirit of Intent

From the inception of the Judicial procedure, neither the General Board nor the General Conference of the United Pentecostal Church International intended for the Judicial Procedure to supersede the Word of God. It was always the intent that grievances, complaints, charges, and other matters brought against a minister be handled with the utmost integrity and discretion within the bounds of the Bible. The Judicial Procedure is not intended to be the stream but merely the channel through which positive spiritual scriptural flow can be given to negative situations.

In both the older version of the Judicial Procedure as embodied in the 1989 Manual and the current version embodied in the 1992 Manual, provisions are made for the resolution of grievances before they erupt into complaints and charges. All parties are enjoined to follow the mandates of Matthew 18:15-16: "Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established."

The 1989 Manual, Article II, Section 2 stated: "In the event the differences are not resolved in the above suggested manner, the two or three witnesses should consult with the District Superintendent and give him an opportunity to settle the matter." It is quite apparent that the District Superintendent has always been enjoined to settle matters before they are locked into a full judicial procedure.

The 1992 Judicial Procedure further states: "This Judicial Procedure seeks a simple means of resolving ministerial problems in an orderly and Christian atmosphere without regard to any legal training. No person should attempt to use its provisions to evade guilt or to bend its authority to create confusion. We are further enjoined by this Procedure, "since the Bible instructs us to resolve ministerial and church problems within the church (I Corinthians 6:1-8), the United Pentecostal Church International does not approve of any minister in this organization resorting to the civil courts to seek resolutions of conflicts that arise with the structure of the organization."

The 1992 Judicial Procedure, Article V, Section 1, plainly states: "The District Superintendent is encouraged to communicate and counsel privately with the minister about whom any question has surfaced in an attempt to resolve the problem." It fully empowers the District Superintendent to try to resolve a matter before further action is taken.

The Judicial Procedure was never intended to supersede the obligations of the ministry as found in Article VII, Section 7 of our General Constitution. There are numerous challenges in this article that are left to arbitration by the District Superintendent or the District Board, such as the holding of a meeting in a town or community where there is an affiliated church or pastor, the starting of a new work in a specific area, the moving of a church from an existing location to a different neighborhood, and the accepting of an invitation to minister in a church that is held in question. It would appear from these that there is a spirit of brotherhood that would transcend any judicial procedure that should be adhered to by all parties involved. The District Superintendent or his designee does have the right to counsel with, assist, and even make preliminary judgment in obvious cases. Why would a District Superintendent want to subject a brother to the trauma of a full investigation and trial when it is obvious at the outset that there is insufficient evidence? One of the main criteria should be, "What would Jesus Christ do in this case?" Jesus individually told the woman caught in adultery, "Go, and sin no more." The strictures of the judicial structure must not take precedent over a District Superintendent or any official or any brother who is seeking to amicably before God settle a matter in the fear and love of the Lord.

This concern is redemptive in nature and protective of the rights and privileges of all persons accused of violations as well as those who file complaints in compliance with the Judicial Procedure.

Any effort to justify the guilty or to condemn the innocent is viewed with abhorrence. In view of these facts, we urge all officials involved in the Judicial Procedure to utilize any means proper and just to both protect the rights of the innocent and bring about the just judgment of the guilty.

The purpose of this position paper is to allow an amicable and mutually agreed settlement of any and all disagreements, complaints, and/or charges without initiation or furtherance of any judicial process. It is not intended to circumvent, obstruct, or deny any minister due process by judicial action.

The above is a position paper of the United Pentecostal Church International and is provided for informational purposes.


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August 23, 1997
Page Added October 6, 2005
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