POLICY REGARDING CREDENTIAL HOLDERS IN GOOD STANDING
- Holds current credentials
- Is committed to the Mission Statement
- Adheres to, without reservation, Elim Fellowship's Statement of Faith
- Continues to support the Core Values
- Attends area meetings when possible
- Faithfully fulfills their commitment to support Elim Fellowship financially
- Is not under discipline by Elim Fellowship
Credentials may be suspended by the Council of Elders upon substantiation of any moral charges, serious departures from the faith, a manifest spirit of rebellion or any conduct that is not consistent with Scriptural standards as found in 1Timothy 3 and Titus 1.
In the restoration of such a credentialee, our objective is to heal, restore, and bring the individual to a position of strength greater than that previously experienced.
Biblically, the burden of restoration is incumbent upon "ye that are spiritual" to "restore such a one." It is our hope that initially "such a one" will take the initiative to seek help from leadership within the Fellowship. When any situation involving a credential holder appears to warrant investigation, the initial inquiry will be the responsibility of the Council of Elders. If there is reasonable cause for action from the Council of Elders then they will arrange for a meeting with the credential holder and representatives of the Council of Elders who will be empowered to take appropriate action.
In order for restoration to take place there must be:
1. Acknowledgement of sin by the offender. The extent of confession should be commensurate with the extent and nature of the offense.
2. Repentance toward God and any other individuals affected. Restitution will be required when appropriate.
3. Redemptive discipline. This may include suspension or revocation of credentials and removal from ministerial responsibilities. When credentials are suspended, the credential holder shall return his current credential card to the Fellowship and shall refrain from all ministry. Voting privileges in Fellowship matters will be forfeited until such a time as the credentials are restored. The credentialee shall be requested to take whatever steps may be necessary, possibly including relocation, to relate to a senior pastor who will provide spiritual nurture in the form of prayer, counsel and encouragement. A representative appointed by the Council of Elders will be assigned to maintain contact with the credential holder and submit periodic reports. The credentialee may or may not be required to receive counsel from a mutually agreed-upon counselor.
While credentials are suspended the individual is still considered part of Elim Fellowship. That person and spouse have a standing invitation to attend all Elim Fellowship events. They shall receive all Elim publications and data pertinent to all credential holders. They are still eligible to receive benevolent help from EF should that be needed. The suspended individual is expected to attend the EF area meetings, renew his EF credential (even though a new card will not be issued until suspension is lifted), contribute to the Credential Holders Account and fulfill all the requirements for full restoration back to active ministry. In considering the nature and duration of the discipline, the Council of Elders will have concern for the possible impact of the disciplinary process on the spouse and family of the credential holder involved.
1. Where possible and appropriate these steps will be coordinated with the leadership of any local congregation affected by the situation.
2. Reinstatement. The decision for either reinstatement or taking further steps shall occur when the Council of Elders, the appointed representative from the Council of Elders and leadership from the local congregation affected (where applicable) have conferred and agreed.
In the event that the credential holder has a grievance concerning the final report they may request an appointment with the Council of Elders.
In the event that a credential holder, whose credentials have been suspended, does not cooperate with or respond positively to the measures previously outlined, that individual's credentials shall be revoked. Once credentials have been revoked, Elim Fellowship's obligation to the credential holder ceases.
Revoked credentials may be restored upon application being made and evidence of repentance being provided. Revocations and reinstatements shall be communicated to the Elim Fellowship credential holders.
It is understood among us that discipline is restorative, not punitive. We must embrace the individual in such a way that we magnify God's grace rather than the sin.
POLICY CONCERNING DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE
We regard marriage as a sacred relationship instituted by God for the mutual well-being, joy and fulfillment of husband and wife. The Scriptures clearly teach that God intended marriage to be a monogamous relationship, faithfully sustained by both partners until terminated by death.
We urge upon our pastors to teach by precept and example the high standard of marriage as presented in the Scriptures.
Because of the harm done to society, the church, the home, family ties and the individuals involved, we discourage divorce. When a marriage is threatened, we urge that every consideration be given to the possibility of reconciliation and the healing of the relationship through forgiveness so that the tragedy of divorce might be avoided.
Since some hold the view that divorce and remarriage are permissible "for the cause of fornication" (Matt. 5:31,32; Matt. 19:3-9) we recommend that each pastor hold to his/her conviction of the Scriptural position regarding the remarriage of divorced persons whenever he/she is asked to officiate. In cases where his/her convictions permit him/her to officiate for such persons, a pastor should be in agreement with the leadership of the local congregation and confer with mature, ordained brethren of the Fellowship.
Since a minister of the gospel is to be an example of godliness, his/her marital status must be "blameless and above reproach." (I Tim. 3:2-7; Titus 1:6-9).
Because the matter of recognizing the ministry of an applicant for credentials with a history of divorce and remarriage, or marriage to a divorced person, is a difficult one, the Council of Elders will be extremely cautious before granting credentials to such applicants. The granting of credentials in such a case will always require a personal interview with a representative of the Council of Elders who will be particularly concerned for, and carefully weigh, the spiritual state of the individual concerned at the time of the divorce, especially where any such divorce and/or remarriage, or marriage to a divorced person has occurred subsequent to what we understand to be a conversion experience. Also, careful consideration will be given to the individual's current perspective on the whole issue of divorce and the factors which led to the original divorce.
When the Council of Elders is satisfied that the lives of the individuals concerned properly and adequately reflect the biblical standards in this and other areas, they will recognize such persons as bearing God's approval for ministry. Such an application will require the participation by all members of the Council of Elders and a unanimous endorsement of the whole body of the Council of Elders.
Elim Fellowship Canada