90. The Principles of Church Elections
1. God’s chosen people must fellowship about the truth before elections, and they must elect as leaders and workers those who pursue the truth, who have the work of the Holy Spirit and who sincerely expend for God.
2. God’s chosen people must practice the truth during elections, treat everyone fairly, and not rely on affections or private resentments. They must vote impartially according to people’s essence.
3. All God’s chosen people within the church (not including those who have been expelled or segregated) have the right to vote and the right to be elected. People in Group B do not have the right to be elected.
4. Absolutely no one is allowed to appoint a candidate. It must be ensured that over 80% of people in the church attend the ballot for it to be valid.
Relevant Words of God:
Today you see how whosoever serves God in His presence does so with the guidance of God and the work of the Holy Spirit; they are people who pursue the truth. These are the minimum requirements that all who serve God must have.
from “Religious Way of Service Must Be Banned” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Those who can lead churches, supply people with life, and be an apostle to the people, must have actual experiences, must have a correct understanding of spiritual things, a correct appreciation and experience of the truth. Only such men are qualified to be workers or apostles leading the churches. Otherwise, they can only follow as the least and cannot lead, much less be an apostle able to supply people with life. This is because the function of apostles is not to run or to fight; it is to minister life and to lead changes in human disposition. It is a function performed by those who are commissioned to shoulder heavy responsibility and not something which every person can do. This kind of work can only be undertaken by those with life being, that is, those who have experience of the truth. It cannot be undertaken by everyone who can give up, can run or is willing to spend; people who have no experience of the truth, who have not been pruned or judged, are unable to do this type of work. People with no experience, that is, people without reality, are unable to see reality clearly because they themselves do not possess being in this aspect. So, this type of person not only is unable to do leadership work, but will be the object of elimination if they have no truth for a long period of time.
from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The work of a qualified worker can bring people to the right way and allow them to go deeper into the truth. The work he does can bring people before God. In addition, the work he does can vary from individual to individual and is not bound by rules, allowing people release and freedom. Moreover, they can gradually grow in life, go progressively deeper into the truth. The work of an unqualified worker falls far short; his work is foolish. He can only bring people into rules; what he demands of people does not vary from individual to individual; he does not work according to the actual needs of the people. In this type of work, there are too many rules and too many doctrines, and it cannot bring people into reality or into normal practice of growth in life. It can only enable people to stand by a few worthless rules. This kind of guidance can only lead people astray. He leads you to become what he is like; he can bring you into what he has and is. For followers to discern whether leaders are qualified, the key is to look at the path they lead and the results of their work, and look at whether followers receive the principles in accordance with the truth, and whether they receive ways of practice suitable for them to be transformed.
from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Man’s Fellowship:
Before an election is held, each church must gather three to five times to communicate the truth, so that God’s chosen people will understand the importance of the election, and know that electing a good leader is quite relevant indeed for each of God’s chosen people to receive salvation. If the elected leader turns out to be a wicked person, a false leader, or an antichrist, the church life of God’s chosen people as a whole will suffer losses. Why will it suffer losses? As the term for each elected leader is one year, so if the leader is a wicked person, there will be no church life throughout this year. Won’t all chosen people of God suffer losses? Therefore, whether a good leader can be elected by the church involves the question whether you have church life in this year, whether your belief in God in this year can lead to understanding the truth, which is intimately related to the life entry of God’s every chosen person indeed. If the truth is communicated clearly in this regard, God’s chosen people will attach importance to the election. They will seriously ponder and think it over to see which person is suitable for leadership, which person can solve practical problems for God’s chosen people, and which person’s communication of the truth is better. They will cast their votes accordingly after pondering it over. Is it beneficial to you directly? If you vote according to people’s external performance or your imaginations and notions, that will be problematic. You assume that they can run errands since they have a motorcycle, assume that they are passionate and willing to work for God, but they are unfit for leadership because they don’t understand the truth. What a leader must have is an understanding of the truth because it is not his role to guide you in walking. His role is to lead you to understand the truth, to eat and drink God’s word and enter the reality, to enter the right track of believing in God to be saved, to enter the right way of believing in God. Thus electing a leader is not a simple matter. It is not that anyone who can run errands can act as a leader, who has high knowledge can help others understand the truth, or anyone who is eloquent can resolve problems. Instead, he must understand the truth and possess good humanity. A false leader does not have the work of the Holy Spirit. Why doesn’t he? He feels that he is knowledgeable and eloquent, that he is willing to work for God and run errands, so God will not treat him unfavorably if he continues to believe in God like that. As a result, he does not pursue the truth. Because he does not love the truth, he does not have the work of the Holy Spirit. Without the work of the Holy Spirit, what problems can you solve for God’s chosen people despite how well you can run errands? What benefits can you offer God’s chosen people? Someone who has passion, who can only run errands, cannot be a leader. To be a leader, one must understand the truth. When you see someone who understands the truth, someone who has reality and good humanity, who can communicate with God’s chosen people and solve any difficulties they have, if you choose such a person to lead, not only will it be beneficial for your own growth in life, it will also be beneficial for all the God’s chosen people to enter the life. Therefore, you must have principles in choosing a leader. You cannot measure it according to your imagination without principles. To determine who can be a leader, you cannot go by who is well-to-do, who can run errands, who has great passion, and who can lay everything aside. These cannot solve the problems. You are not far off if you go by these criteria in choosing someone to preach the gospel: someone who has a motorcycle, who can run errands, who is eloquent, good at speaking and socializing. It is not bad for someone with these conditions to preach the gospel, but he is completely unqualified to be a leader.
from The Fellowship From the Above
… There must be principles in electing the church leaders and workers at all levels. It must be based on the criteria stipulated by the work arrangements to elect the church leaders and workers at all levels. Election is not arbitrarily conducted. Nor is anyone who has the right to be elected, can actually be elected. The church election is still based on the “three principles”—to choose the best person in your church or in your electoral area to lead. The best person must mainly meet these three principles: First, he really understands the truth and has the truth; second, he has humanity; third, he has work ability. The election of a leader is mainly based on these three principles. The person who basically meets these three principles or the person who is the best by comparison is qualified for election. Then we can elect him. If someone is too far off from these three principles, we will not elect him. Why do we need democratic elections to choose church leaders and workers? It is because the promotion and assignment by leaders at all levels on their own are sometimes inconsistent with the intentions of God’s chosen people. Some of the appointed leaders and workers cannot do practical work and solve practical problems for God’s chosen people. So we ban the power of dictatorship and appointment of leaders and workers at all levels and conduct democratic elections for church leaders and workers at all levels. This is to ensure God’s chosen people to be able to enter the right track of believing in God and enter church life as soon as possible to understand the truth and receive God’s salvation. So, at the time of the election, whoever we see that can lead us to enter the right track of believing in God, to understand the truth and enter the reality, we will elect him. No matter what transgressions or deficiency he has, as long as he can lead us to enter the reality of God’s word and the right track of believing in God, and he is beneficial for the growth of our lives, as long as he reaches such standards, he is the one we will elect. This is the principle we follow for election.
from The Fellowship From the Above
The seven principles of the church’s democratic election that God’s chosen people must understand and comply with are announced as follows.
1. God’s chosen people in the church (except the expelled ones) all have the right to elect and to be elected. No one has the right to interfere with the right of God’s chosen people to elect and be elected.
2. When elections are held by the church, all God’s chosen people must all be notified and everyone must participate (refers to voting). Those who are aware of but do not participate in the election are deemed voluntarily forfeiting their rights. No one has the right to select a portion of people to carry out the election or exclude a portion of people from participating in it. Anyone who deprives others of their rights to vote or restricts them from voting is a wicked person who violates human rights and resists the truth.
3. In the church’s election, no one is allowed to designate a candidate, or deliberately incite or force God’s chosen people to vote by following certain people’s will. This is an act against human rights and against the truth. Before the election, only communicating the truth and preaching the principles to practice are allowed. This is the proper way of communicating the truth and doing one’s duties. Therefore, any election outcome attained by inciting, deluding or coercing people to vote is invalid.
4. The number of voters participating in a church election must account for more than 80% of the church members. For districts and regions, the number of participating voters can temporarily be the maximum number attainable as circumstances dictate. In the event that some of God’s chosen people are unable to participate in voting because they have not been notified, that particular election is invalid. A church election must ensure that all God’s chosen people in that church are eligible for voting by notifying everyone. Moreover, they must be informed of the exact time for voting. For an election to be valid, participation by more than 80% of God’s chosen people must be reached. Those who have been informed but do not attend voluntarily forfeit their rights.
5. No one has the right to replace or remove any fairly and duly elected leader or worker regardless of what problems they may have, unless there are special problems that God’s chosen people were not aware of. Under this circumstance, removal must be approved by more than 80% of God’s chosen people in order to conduct by-election.
6. Democratic election of church leaders and workers has been institutionalized. The tenure is one year. No one has the right to promote, appoint, or replace a leader or worker at any level resulting from an election of the church. If an elected leader or worker has committed serious transgressions in office that renders him unable to continue working, by-election can be held after it is approved by the majority of God’s chosen people.
7. From the day God’s house promulgated full implementation of the church’s electoral system, no leader or worker has the right to designate or appoint church leaders at all levels. Leaders at all levels of the church must be elected. This is the administrative rule of God’s house that no one has the right to amend. The promotion and appointment of leaders and workers at all levels in the past by leaders at various levels are voided and nullified. Leaders and workers at all levels must be elected anew to be accepted by God’s chosen people. Whoever violates this administrative rule will be punished as the antichrist.
After implementing the seven principles for the democratic election of church leaders and workers, leaders and workers at all levels and God’s chosen people must comply with the practice accordingly. God’s chosen people have the right to supervise the church’s leaders and workers at all levels to conduct elections according to the seven principles. God’s chosen people can join together to restrict and stop any leader or worker at any level who violates these seven principles. If he refuses, they can appeal to the upper leaders. This is a just act for maintaining the church work. All God’s chosen people should support and cooperate. Only by implementing in such manner can the disturbance and rampage of the false leaders, false workers and wicked people be restricted. The church has the authority to expel any wicked people who have been clearly exposed in the church elections if they fail to repent and admit sins. However, its action must be reported for approval.
from “The Significance of Church’s Democratic Election and Problems Must Be Resolved” in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of The Church of Almighty God
God’s chosen people should all understand that doing a good job of choosing church leaders is a major thing that affects whether or not each one of God’s chosen people can be saved. God’s chosen people should all have this attitude: Pick whoever can lead you onto the right track to believing in God; pick whoever can guide you to be saved by God. No matter how they used to treat you, you should let go of your personal grudges and cast a totally impartial vote. If you truly believe in God, then for the sake of being saved by God, you should elect church leaders and deacons correctly. Voting based on emotions and personal desires only harms yourself and could ruin your life. It won’t achieve any benefits and is not in the interests of any of God’s chosen people. When electing church leaders and deacons, God’s chosen people should all learn to be considerate of God’s will and learn to practice the truth. Don’t vote emotionally, let go of personal grudges, and act in accordance with principle. Only by doing so are you conforming to God’s will and are taking responsibility for your own life. Let’s see who can uphold the truth and cast a fair vote!
from “Church Life Is Affected by the Quality of Leaders” in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of The Church of Almighty God
No one in Group B may stand as candidates in elections for leader or worker positions, and Group B members may only be elected as Group B leaders or Group B evangelical team leaders. In elections of church leaders and deacons, Group B members may only vote in Group B, and can only elect candidates from Group A as church leaders and deacons. If they are unfamiliar with the Group A candidates, they may abstain from voting. Group B members are unqualified to serve as church leaders or deacons. … This is an administrative decree of the church, and none may go against it.
from “How to Approach and Resolve Disorder in Churches Everywhere” in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of The Church of Almighty God
God’s house stipulates that God’s chosen people of all churches (except for those who are about to be expelled) have the right to vote and to be elected. There are several special circumstances that should be handled flexibly:
1. If certain previously replaced leaders and workers with relatively good humanity have had real experiences, substantial progress in life in the past few years and can solve problems by communicating the truth, such people are more qualified to be elected as leaders and workers. God’s work to save people is based on one’s last performance, not on the basis of whether there have been any transgressions in the past.
2. Pertaining to some of God’s chosen people who had been sought after by the authorities and denied of church life in the past few years, they should participate in church life and enjoy the right to vote and be elected if they have not been subject to inquiries and investigation in the recent one-to-two years. Things that happened several years ago should not be treated as immutable. Otherwise, it is akin to wrongfully accusing and entrapping people.
3. Currently (within the past six months), someone who is unable to perform duty due to being sought after or investigated by the authorities or afflicted with serious illness, can vote if he wants to participate in election (no personal attendance necessary). Despite having the right to be elected, he lacks the qualifications to be elected. There is also a situation where someone has committed a considerable number of promiscuous acts or engaged in homosexual acts for a short period in the past but he has truly repented and shown quite good performance. Such a person is also eligible to be elected as long as he can perform the actual work as a leader or worker.
4. If someone with relatively good humanity and work ability carries an infectious disease, as long as the disease does not affect his work, he can fully serve as a leader or worker. When people come in contact with him can avoid infection, it will have no effect on his work. If his health is too poor to work, then he is not qualified to serve as a leader or worker. In an election, when a man and a woman are both completely qualified, there is no need to choose two men or two women. Elections can be implemented in this way, but when it comes to doing duties together, the mingling of a man and a woman alone should be avoided.
Affairs chiefs of regions and districts and gospel preaching commanders are workers, and they must be elected annually for a term of one year. All leaders and workers must be elected and not be allowed for appointment by leaders. Those who perform special duties must be selected by the negotiated efforts of leaders and workers. There is no need for open disclosure to the entire church. In particular, personnel involved in security services should be selected by the negotiated efforts of leaders and workers and must not be openly disclosed to the entire church.
from The Fellowship From the Above
The scope of people participating in church elections must of course be the largest possible one and elections cannot be done only among a small group of people. The election of the leaders and deacons of a church should be participated by all of God’s chosen people in that church, and is only effective if the participation rate is at least 80%. Some places adopt elections in which only people from Group A can vote. This really is absurd and unfair. All of God’s chosen people in the church have the right to vote and to be elected. Apart from people who should be expelled or segregated, everyone else has the right to participate in elections. No one has the right to restrict this. People may voluntarily give up their right, but it is wrong for a leader or worker to restrict any particular group of people from participating in an election. God’s house must not allow this. Church elections must not permit anyone to designate a candidate. Everyone in the church has the right to vote and the right to be elected, and no one is permitted to designate the field of candidates. This is the absurd election method of the great red dragon, and God’s house must never adopt it. Designating candidates is the way of Satan and ought to be rejected by God’s chosen people. The carrying out of church elections must be built on the foundations of trusting God’s chosen people. The majority view of God’s chosen people should be accurate and correct, more so than the views of any leaders or workers. All those who don’t have faith in God’s chosen people and only believe in their own views are all arrogant and conceited people who don’t have reason. All those who always designate candidates for church elections are selfish and despicable people who have ulterior motives. As the church carries out small group meetings, most people do not know each other. Hence, each group may first elect one person internally, and in the end, all those elected from each group can come together to have meetings for a day or two before electing church leaders and deacons. This basically completes the election. After elected leaders and deacons fulfill their duty for a year, God’s chosen people will be familiar with each other, and elections in the following year will become a little easier.
from “The Meaning and Explanation of the Ten Principles of the Church Life Established by God’s Family” in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of The Church of Almighty God