Update on Charges Against Dr. K. Scott Oliphint

The Presbytery of the Southwest of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) voted to dismiss all four charges that had been filed against the Rev. Dr. K. Scott Oliphint.

The presbytery then immediately determined not to institute judicial process on all four charges, since all four charges relied on essentially the same documentary evidence. A vote was held, and the presbytery passed the ultimate motion to dismiss all four charges.

 

On Friday, May 3, 2019, the Presbytery of the Southwest of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) voted to dismiss all four charges that had been filed against the Rev. Dr. K. Scott Oliphint.

During the proceedings, the moderator of the presbytery provided ample opportunity for the presbytery’s Committee on Bills and Overtures, functioning as its Preliminary Investigation Committee (PIC), to present its report and to answer questions. The PIC summarized its opinion of the charges and made its recommendation, “That the Presbytery, having reviewed the findings of the Committee in accordance with BD III.7.b-c, find that the original charges are serious enough to justify instituting judicial process.”

In order to institute judicial process in accordance with the OPC’s Book of Discipline, the presbytery would be required to vote to conduct a trial, which the PIC proposed to begin in September, 2019.

Subsequent to the PIC’s recommendation, the presbytery spent approximately 9 hours hearing the charges, reviewing the committee’s work, deliberating on the committee’s recommendation, and discussing other related matters. On several occasions the moderator emphasized the relevant chapter (III) of the Book of Discipline’s requirement that a judicatory “shall not dismiss the case on technical grounds.” This imperative was affirmed at various points by individual presbyters throughout the proceedings.

After its initial discussion, the presbytery determined to conduct a more expansive investigation than was initially performed, and as the Book of Discipline requires (III.8). As it began this fuller review of the first of the four charges, the presbytery voted to find that “the apparent authenticity, admissibility, and relevancy of the documents, records, and recordings adduced did not support the charge and specifications.” The evidence under review comprised of quotations from seven named writings and recordings of Dr. Oliphint, in addition to the 2012 edition of his book, God With Us.

The presbytery then immediately determined not to institute judicial process on all four charges, since all four charges relied on essentially the same documentary evidence. A vote was held, and the presbytery passed the ultimate motion to dismiss all four charges.

Note: The complete text of the OPC Book of Discipline can be found on pages 91-120 of the Book of Church Order.

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