I am a Senior Pastor. I not only am responsible by Divine Call for preaching, teaching, baptizing, absolving, and communing, but according to human arrangement I am also to lead, develop, supervise, and other things of an administrative nature.
With regards to all of these tasks, I am no lord over the congregation. There are checks and balances on my authority. That is good. I am a sinner. Even if a situation happens where I don’t sin, I don’t have all the wisdom in the world and may not be making the best decision. The checks and balances of congregational membership and the various boards of my congregation (especially the Board of Elders) are GOOD for me and for the congregation I serve.
Government in a fallen world requires checks and balances. Sinners sin. They mess up. They need correction. We don’t always have all the wisdom of the world working in our favor so we can often err. We have that in American government. We have that in the congregation’s government as well.
There has been much outcry against the improvements being suggested to the Dispute Resolution Process, especially the return to being allowed to appeal things to the Praesidium of the Synod (Synod President, First Vice-President, 5 Regional Vice-Presidents). Those crying out are upset that a decision by a District President can be appealed. I said “return” because this was a part of the process that had been available in one form or another for 50 years before 2004. But now, this return is being decried as a form of power-struggle and so forth. Much of this outcry has come from District Presidents who of course stand to have a traditional check and balance restored to their office.
Again I repeat the Praesidium’s answer:
What does Resolution 12-01 actually propose?
Resolution 12-01 proposes to restore the right of an accuser to appeal to the Praesidium, if the district president declines to act. This, in fact, was the arrangement that Synod had for decades, from before 1956 up to 2004, based on the President’s general responsibilities articulated in Article XI of the constitution. During the time this option for appeal was available, it was actually used quite rarely.
If Resolution 12-01 is passed, will it take away from district presidents the ability to exercise ecclesiastical supervision of individual members in their districts and concentrate it instead in the Office of the President or the Praesidium?
No. The district president still has full ecclesiastical supervision over all of the congregations and rostered church workers of his district, as well as the full authority to take appropriate action. If, however, a district president fails to take action in a matter involving doctrine, the accuser then would have the right to appeal to the full Praesidium (not the President). The Praesidium would then decide whether the case should be closed or should move forward.
I am not a District President. I am a Senior Pastor. I am a sinner who needs checks and balances. District Presidents are sinners also. What would you think if your pastor was afraid of checks and balances upon his work in the parish? What are we to think of District Presidents who do not want to allow appeals to another group?