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Elder Marlving Charlet and Church Discipline, Part 1

Written on:February 2, 2012
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Elder Marlving Charlet

Elder Marlving Charlet

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The disciplinary process for Seventh-day Adventist (Adventist) is clearly based on the words of Christ as recorded in Matthew 18:15-17. The Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, 2010 edition (church manual or manual), states what has been the policy for decades. The discipline of any member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church must follow the Biblical command.

The manual gives specific reasons for which a church may discipline a member. Discipline is restricted to these reasons and these reasons alone. No individual minister or church board can create any other reason for discipline.

Further, the church board must determine based on the manual if it is necessary to discipline a member and recommend to the church in business session either censure or disfellowship. In order for this process to be carried out the church board must receive truthful information.

A member must be informed in writing two weeks before the disciplinary meeting. At the meeting the member has the right to defend himself/herself. Only the church in a business session can discipline a member and that by majority vote.

One final note on the disciplinary process. If the member is dissatisfied with the vote of the church in business session because the member feels that an injustice has been done, the member can appeal to the conference’s executive committee.

Elder Charlet conducts the disciplinary process in whatever manner he feels. As a Seventh-day Adventist minister he is bound by church policy to discipline according to the church manual. This is to protect the rights of the member. Because these policies are voted by the General Conference in business session, which is the highest authority of the Adventist church they must be followed by all local churches and conferences.

A member of Elder Charlet’s church, Brooklyn Temple of Seventh-day Adventists (Brooklyn Temple), was disciplined in 2011 without having the specific violations of Biblical or church manual policy stated. In addition Elder Charlet never informed the member in writing of the date and time of the disciplinary meeting. Further, Elder Charlet never spoke to the member alone as both the Bible and church manual mandate to let the member know of the reasons for possible discipline.

This travesty of church discipline began when Brother A, a member of Brooklyn Temple and its church board handed out a CD and two memos to members of the church board on April 9, 2011. The CD was a session from the Northeastern Conference of Seventh-day Adventists officers training event held in February 2011. The memos were additional information that Brother A wanted to share with his fellow board members. About 30% of the board members actually received the material.

In anger Elder Charlet held an emergency church board meeting that evening threatening to come back with a recommendation about Brother A’s behavior at the regularly scheduled church meeting on April 17, 2011. Apparently Elder Charlet needed to come with reasons to discipline Brother A since handing out CD’s and memos is not grounds for discipline.

At the April 17, 2011 church board meeting Elder Charlet and the First Elder built a case for censure based on lies and behavior that they didn’t like but are not reason for discipline. Elder Charlet was pressed three times by one church member as to the validity of his statements and he insisted that he was telling the truth.

Brother A was notified verbally by Elder Charlet just before worship service on April 30, 2011 that a church business meeting was going to be held that evening and a vote of censure had been recommended by the church board. Elder Charlet informed Brother A that he had to choose between two options. Option one was that the issue could be returned to the church board. Option two was that the recommendation of the church board would go to the church business meeting and Brother A could not speak in his defense.

It must be pointed out that the church manual allows an individual to defend themselves in a disciplinary meeting. Elder Charlet was forced to allow Brother A to defend himself.

The meeting was held without a recording secretary. There are no minutes from that meeting. Even without a recording secretary one member made a motion that the recommendation be returned to the board for further consideration. Elder Charlet ignored that and entertained the board recommendation without a motion placing it on the floor.

It was during this meeting that Elder Charlet made statements that were different from those he had made at the meeting of the church board. He was called on it and responded by telling the board members who challenged him that they were not allowed to speak.

Elder Charlet pressed on trying to force a vote on the disciplinary recommendation. The meeting was eventually recessed because of the lateness of the hour.

On May 7, 2011, Elder Charlet had an emergency board meeting and asked the church board members to vote that there would be no discussion during the meeting to be held that evening. The board voted not to allow discussion. The church in the business meeting held that evening voted for censure until the end of the year.

Just about every phase of this process as conducted by Elder Charlet violated the policies of the church and subsequent rights of a member. The Biblical mandate of Matthew 18:15 – 17 was not followed. The church in business session lacked a recording secretary. If there had been a recording secretary, Elder Charlet completely ignored a motion made by a member. The church board has no voting authority to override a church manual policy.

Why did Elder Charlet decide to violate Biblical standards and church policy?

Seventh-day Adventists like to think of themselves as “converted” beings. After all, they have the Bible to guide their behavior. But when they want something, the human mind seems to have an endless capacity to rationalize the most unethical of acts. Like it or not, some Seventh-day Adventists and their ministers deceive, cheat, steal, and lie to get what they want and probably always will.

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  1. Pingback:Elder Marlving Charlet and Church Discipline, Part 3 | The Adventist Mockingbird

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