The Constitution of the Society of Evangelical Arminians
As adopted on April 23, 2011.
ARTICLE I: NAME
The name of this association shall be the “Society of Evangelical Arminians.”
ARTICLE II: PURPOSE
The purpose of the Society shall be to glorify God, edify his people, protect them from error, and foster the proper representation of our magnificent God to the world by lovingly and respectfully (1) promoting and advancing sound, biblical Arminian theology, and (2) refuting Calvinism and diminishing the number of its adherents, through the concerted, strategic effort of Arminians networked through the society for the accomplishment of these goals as well as (3) mutual encouragement, support, and growth in the truth of God’s word.
ARTICLE III: DOCTRINAL BASIS
1. We believe the Scriptures as originally given by God, both Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired Word of God, infallible, entirely trustworthy, and the supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
2. We believe in one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who possesses perfect and exhaustive knowledge of the past, present, and future, and who preserves, regulates, governs and directs all things so that nothing in the world happens without either his causation or permission. God is the author of good but not of evil. Yet even evil is governed by God in that God limits it and directs it to an end fitting with his overall plan and purpose.
3. We believe that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life and died on the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice for all sinners. He arose bodily on the third day and ascended to the right hand of the Father. He will return personally and visibly at the end of the age to fully establish God’s Kingdom.
4. We believe that part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and, during this age, to convict sinners, enable them to believe, regenerate the believing sinner, and indwell, guide, instruct, and empower the believer for godly living and service.
5. We believe that humanity was created in the image of God but fell from its original sinless state through willful disobedience and Satan’s deception, resulting in eternal condemnation and separation from God. In and of themselves and apart from the grace of God human beings can neither think, will, nor do anything good, including believe. But the prevenient grace of God prepares and enables sinners to receive the free gift of salvation offered in Christ and his gospel. Only through the grace of God can sinners believe and so be regenerated by the Holy Spirit unto salvation and spiritual life. It is also the grace of God that enables believers to continue in faith as well as good in thought, will, and deed, so that all good deeds or movements that can be conceived must be ascribed to the grace of God.
6. We believe that the shed blood of Jesus Christ and his resurrection were provided for the salvation of all people, but are effective only for those who believe. Christ’s death and resurrection provide the only ground for justification and salvation, and only those who believe in Jesus Christ become born of the Holy Spirit and thus become children of God.
7. We believe that God’s saving grace is resistible, that election unto salvation is conditional on faith in Christ, and that persevering in faith is necessary for final salvation.
8. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead; of believers to everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord; and of unbelievers to judgment and eternal punishment.
ARTICLE IV: MEMBERSHIP
Membership in the society shall be granted to individuals who request it, are at least 18 years of age, provide their name, address, and phone number, and affirm in writing the society’s statement of faith, goals, and recognition of Calvinists as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
Members of the society must continue to agree with the society’s statement of faith, goals, and recognition of Calvinists as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in order to remain in membership. Any member who comes to disagree with any of these should withdraw his or her membership. Moreover, disagreement with any of these on the part of any member is grounds for his or her immediate removal from the society. If at least three members of the Executive Committee agree that a member of the society is in disagreement with the society’s statement of faith, then they may remove that member from the society.
It is part of the society’s ethos to act with Christian love and respect towards all, whether in the society’s private discussion or in pursuit of our goals in the public sphere. Therefore, members who exhibit rude, divisive, or unseemly behavior in the opinion of a member of the Executive Committee may be removed from the society on the agreement of three members of the Executive Committee. Moreover, any member of the society thought by a member of the Executive Committee to be in violation of the cordial spirit expected of the society’s members may be suspended by any member of the Executive Committee from participation in the society’s private discussion group pending a decision concerning his or her membership status. Furthermore, any member of the Executive Committee may suspend any member of the society outside of the Executive Committee from participation in the society’s private discussion group for a period of two weeks for behavior deemed to be contrary to the society’s ethos without initiating the process for consideration of removal from the society.
Minors with parental consent may join the society’s private online discussion group on the same conditions necessary for membership in the society besides that of age, provided that the approval of a duly authorized officer of the society is granted. Minor members of the society’s online discussion group shall not be considered voting members of the society or the discussion group and must continue to meet the conditions for membership in the society apart from age in order to remain in the discussion group. The same priciples that apply to continuing in, withdrawing from, or removal from the society or its discussion group for full members, set out in sections 2 and 3 of this article, also apply to minors with respect to the discussion group except that minor members of the discussion group may be removed from the group or temporarily suspended from it at the discretion of any member of the Executive Committee if the committee member thinks it best for any reason.
Members shall have the right to vote when society voting is conducted after three months of membership in the society. However, each member shall be responsible for being aware of opportunities for voting, which will be announced in the society’s private discussion group. Each member shall also be responsible for casting his or her vote by the means identified by the voting announcement made in the society’s private discussion group. Each member shall have the right for his or her vote to be counted only if he or she casts his or her vote in the manner prescribed by the voting announcement and within the time allotted for voting.
ARTICLE V: GOVERNMENT
The society shall be governed by a body known as the “Executive Committee” consisting of a president and four vice-presidents.
Each member of the Executive Committee shall have the power to take any authoritative action on behalf of the society he or she chooses except for anything at odds with what is stated in this constitution or alteration of anything stated in this constitution. This is a broad ranging power intended to give each Executive Committee member great freedom and latitude to enact whatever policies or specific actions he or she chooses in governing the society short of the exceptions just mentioned. The President reserves the right to block or revoke the decision of any other member of the committee. At the same time, three members of the committee in agreement may block or override any decision of the President.
New members of the Executive Committee shall be nominated by agreement of at least three members of the Executive Committee. Nominees for the Executive Committee shall be appointed to the committee only if approved by a majority of the votes cast by the society’s members who respond to the call for a vote on the appointment. Whenever a position on the committee becomes vacant, the committee shall nominate a new member to fill the vacancy and call for a vote on the appointment within two weeks of the vacancy. Society members will be given two weeks to respond to an announcement of the vote posted to the society’s private discussion group. Appointment to the committee shall require a majority vote in favor of the appointment among the votes cast by society members who respond to the call for the vote. If a nomination fails to receive a majority vote for approval, then the nominee will not be appointed to the committee and a new nominee is to be named and the process repeated until a new committee member is appointed.
A position on the Executive Committee continues unless the committee member resigns or is removed from the committee and/or the society. Removal of a member of the committee may take place only by either of two means. Method 1: Executive Committee Initiated Removal — A member of the committee may be removed on the agreement of at least three committee members and a majority of the votes cast by the society’s members who respond to the call for a vote on the potential removal. Method 2: Society at Large Initiated Removal — A vote on the removal of a member of the Executive Committee shall be conducted by an unchallenged member of the committee at the request of a coalition of at least 10% of the membership of the society’s discussion group (determined by the number of accounts in the discussion group rounded to the nearest ten) in agreement on the request. The challenged member of the committee shall be removed if at least 66% of the votes cast by the society’s members who respond to the call for a vote on the potential removal are cast in favor of the removal.
If for some reason there are ever less than three Executive Committee members, the remaining committee member(s) is/are to nominate new committee members with a view toward filling each vacant committee position contingent on approval of the society’s membership as a delineated in section 3 of the present article. If there are only two committee members, they must agree on nominations of new committee members for the appointments to be brought to a vote.
Voting shall be conducted by a member of the Executive Committee or a duly authorized representative. When any vote takes place, an announcement of the vote shall be made in the society’s private discussion group, including instructions for the vote. Society members will be given two weeks from the date of the announcement to cast their vote. The results of voting shall be determined from the votes cast; a quorum of the society’s membership shall not be required for a society vote to be valid.
ARTICLE VI: AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION
This constitution, barring the society’s doctrinal basis/statement of faith, may be amended by the approval of at least 66% of the votes cast by the society’s members who respond to the call for a vote on amendment. The society’s doctrinal basis may be amended by the approval of at least 75% of the votes cast by the society’s members who respond to the call for a vote on amendment. Conducting a vote on proposed amendment of the constitution or the society’s doctrinal basis requires the agreement of three members of the Executive Committee or a request made to the Executive Committee by a coalition of a majority of the society’s membership. If such a request is made to the Executive Committee, then a member of the committee shall conduct a vote on the proposed amendment in accordance with Article V Section 6 of this constitution.