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Elder Marlving Charlet and Church Discipline, Part 2

Written on:May 31, 2012
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Elder Marlving Charlet

Elder Marlving Charlet

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Discipline within the Seventh-day Adventist Church is designed to either bring to repentance members who have committed grievous sins thereby leading them back into full fellowship or separate from the church those who refuse to yield to God’s commandments.

Elder Marlving Charlet in August 2011 orchestrated one of the most bizarre disciplinary actions ever in the history of Brooklyn Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church.

This story begins more than about sixteen years ago with the marriage of Brother and Sister B. Brother B was baptized at Brooklyn Temple shortly before the marriage. This allowed Brother and Sister B to be married by a Seventh-day Adventist clergyman since Adventist clergy are not allowed to perform a marriage ceremony involving a member of the Adventist church and a non member.

Several months after the wedding ceremony a healthy and apparently a full term baby was born to Brother and Sister B suggesting that Sister B was pregnant but not showing at the wedding.

Brother B never really attended Brooklyn Temple nor was he involved in the activities in the church on the level that would make him a member in regular standing. Despite these circumstances Brooklyn Temple never sought to remove his name from its membership rolls.

Sister B discovered that Brother B had a child by another woman who was only a few months old in early 2011. Sister B divorced Brother B. This information eventually reached Elder Charlet who as chairman of the church board initiated procedures to have Brother B’s name removed as a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual specifies that a member who is to be the subject of a disciplinary action should be notified in writing of the disciplinary meeting at least two weeks before the meeting. Elder Charlet never bothered following the church manual but rather called Brother B to tell him of the impending action.

Brother B never appeared for the disciplinary meeting. And why should he? Brother B was not really an active member of Brooklyn Temple but rather a member in name only. One member of the church board as they deliberated recommended dropping Brother B from membership tepidly claimed to have reached out to Brother B to help satisfy the question as to the church fulfilling its obligation to reach out to an erring brother.

Brother B was summarily removed from membership.

Elder Charlet once again just did things his way. As a representative of the Northeastern Conference of Seventh-day Adventists he is obligated to follow the Bible first and then the church manual. But he just continues to violate the policies of the Adventist church with impunity.

First Elder Charlet was obligated as an ordained minister of the Seventh-day Adventist church to reach out to Brother B in an attempt to get him into a right relationship with God. This should have been done as soon as Elder Charlet realized he had a name on the books and the body was not attending. But he didn’t.

Second the church previously only censured the several women who had children with someone who was not their spouse. Brother B violated the same commandment. In fact unlike some of these women he was not claiming to be or acting like he was an Adventist. Elder Charlet should have been willing to give Brother B at least the same consideration in an attempt to convert him. But he didn’t.

Third since Brother B was in actual fact an Adventist in name only why not drop him from membership due to non reporting? Brooklyn Temple cannot say honestly that they had done all they could to get or keep Brother B in a right relationship with God. If they had, they would have realized that he wasn’t in fact an Adventist and he could or would have been dropped from membership long before he fathered a child by someone other than his wife. Therefore, why wait to discipline him for violating the seventh commandment? Elder Charlet failed miserably as the leader of the flock in reclaiming a lost member.

Fourth was Elder Charlet punishing as opposed to redeeming Brother B for fathering a child by someone other than his wife? Brother B didn’t place himself under the authority of the church so removing his name from the church membership rolls meant nothing to Brother B since he had withdrawn himself or maybe never was in fact a member of Brooklyn Temple. Once again, wisdom and love for the lost would have dictated just dropping Brother B’s name for non reporting and then make attempts to reclaim him.