Application to Corporate Members

EMNR’s structure allows membership for both individuals and corporations (groups, ministries, churches, committees, etc.). The standards in this Manual apply to corporate as well as to individual membership. However, since corporations can have many secondary and tertiary associations as well as staff persons or volunteers who may be near or remote to the corporation or ministering entity, the terms of this Manual are qualified for corporate entities.

A corporation may have staff members who function as directors, speakers, writers, or field representatives. Further, it may have a board of directors, prayer partners, secretaries, artists, mail and shipping clerks on staff. It may also have a board of reference, a church home or sponsor, an overseas division, and other affiliations not related to cult evangelism or new religious movements. Thus, a large number of persons with a wide range of callings and vocations may be somehow related to a corporate member of EMNR.

While maintaining high ethical norms are a divine charge given to all Christians everywhere, EMNR does not intend to apply the terms of this Manual with equal force to all persons who may be associated with a member ministry or corporation. We recognize that some staff personnel or volunteers to a corporation which is a member of EMNR will never have heard of EMNR, will never attend a single EMNR function, or read any of our publications. We cannot expect them to responsibly follow a Manual they are unacquainted with.

However, corporations are responsible to uphold moral standards among their own ranks, and to present an untarnished or (at least) disciplined picture of Christianity to the watching world. Therefore, our general rule in applying the terms of this Manual to the members or staff within EMNR member ministries is this: The closer a person within the corporation is to EMNR, and especially to this Manual, the more stringently the terms of the Manual will be applied to the corporation in the case of infractions.

The following four hypothetical examples will show how this rule will be applied to corporate members:

(a) “Helmet, Sword and Shield” is a cult outreach and study group sponsored by First Church. This study group has joined EMNR. The pastor of First Church is not a member of the study group. The church choir director commits adultery with the organist; both of them divorce their spouses and marry each other, never leaving their positions with the church. The facts are common knowledge to insiders within the church, but the pastor does not discipline or remove his organist and choir director.

Since neither the organist nor the choir director are members of the cult outreach, at most, EMNR would privately communicate the unsatisfactory nature of this neglect of discipline to the ministry leader (this would be even lighter than a Letter of Admonition). If the pastor of First Church were a member or leader of the study group, the group as a whole would receive a Letter of Admonition, and the pastor should be sent a book on the importance of church discipline.

If the sinning church members attended the study group once or twice while the pastor was not involved at all, nothing would be done, but if they had had a leading role in the group (especially while the adultery was going on), the study group would receive a Letter of Rebuke, with Probation. Likewise, if First Church had joined EMNR as a church (not as a study group), even if the adulterous members were not part of the study group, then the church would warrant a Letter of Rebuke, with Probation, for this conduct. (The assumption here is that if First Church joins EMNR as a church, then its pastor should have had contact with our Manual of Ethical and Doctrinal Standards.)

(b) “Missionaries Against Satanic Heresy” is a parachurch ministry with three affiliated chapters in other parts of the country. The ministry accountant reveals that the national director has been skimming off indeterminate amounts of money from speaking engagements while on the road, and raising money for projects which never seem to materialize. The national director fires the accountant, denies the claims, and refuses to discuss the charges against him.

EMNR would hold the affiliated chapters unaffected, since chapters must join EMNR individually. If the accountant was able to provide prima facie evidence that something was amiss with the funds, and if the director still refused to discuss the matter with a personal delegation from EMNR, the ministry should be Temporarily Suspended from Membership until a more satisfactory reply comes from the director. If the accountant’s evidence was debatable or ambiguous, and the director nonetheless refused to discuss the questions brought to him by EMNR, the director would be sent a Letter of Admonition (or more, depending on circumstances) for failing to resolve the (presumed) misapprehensions of his staff member and failing to make himself accountable to others as they try to help him to resolve the accusations.

(c) “Defenders Tract Service” is a publisher of several tracts on cults and a member of EMNR. There are 4 people in the ministry (two married couples), although “DTS” is in fact directed by one of them, Pastor Bob. The other man associated with the ministry, Rev. Rick, has a particularly nasty tongue and has spread many hurtful stories about other Christian ministries, which he posts on the Internet. Pastor Bob continually apologizes for Rick’s language, who knows only that his ministry is a member of EMNR but otherwise has never had contact with EMNR. Pastor Bob is a wonderful brother, and we are reluctant to censure Bob for the actions of his friend.

Since DTS is such a small ministry, and since Rick is involved with it, it is incumbent both on Bob to have told his friend, and on his friend to have inquired, about what is involved in EMNR membership. If the name of Rev. Rick was listed as “staff” on the EMNR Membership Application Form, then this would clinch the case that the friend had a duty to know (yet even if Rick were not listed, DTS would not therefore be exonerated). A Letter of Admonition is sent to both Bob and Rick, warning them that they are not advancing the cause of their ministry by this language. Their postings on the Internet will be monitored to insure that Rick improves his manner of speech.

(d) “The Brighter Light” is a national parachurch ministry to Jehovah’s Witnesses. One of the fourteen members of its board of directors committed a serious moral compromise. Their board knows little of EMNR, and was formed only to give financial backing to the ministry, which in fact is run largely by the ministry’s president. It was the pres-ident’s idea to join EMNR.

Sometimes a “Board of Directors” doesn’t really direct, and the persons involved with it are practically invisible. In this situation, the offender seems much more “remote” from the day-to-day operations and identification with the ministry than was Rick in the previous example. Though the board member was wrong in his moral failure, he is less responsible to maintain EMNR standards than Rick was. A Letter of Admonition is in order, but no attempt to monitor the composition of the board of “The Brighter Light” should occur thereafter.